War vs. Democracy: Untold Stories from the Lynch / Tillman Hearing
-- ...U.S. soldiers whose injuries or deaths remain mired in secrecy. Pat Tillman's brother and fellow Army Ranger Kevin Tillman advocated strongly for other families still waiting for answers. ... "The family was told, it was -- quote -- 'an ambush by insurgents.' Two years later, they found out that those -- quote -- 'insurgents' happened to be the same Iraqi troops that he was training. Before his death, he told his chain of command that these same troops that he was training were trying to kill him and his team. He was told to keep his mouth shut." ...
Thorough and eye-opening examination of the many ways the military spun, lied, withheld information on soldier deaths and injuries for propaganda purposes (and even delayed action until cameras were present in the Jessica Lynch
posted by amberglow
on May 12, 2007 -
Rugs of War
:: "The traditional knotted rugs made by the semi-nomadic Baluch people of northern Afghanistan are famous for their distinctive designs, their rich yet subdued palette and the quality of their construction and materials, which feature traditional patterns and motifs.
The “war rug” is an evolution of these Baluch rugs through the inclusion of militaria and other references to the experience of war and conflict in the region. These significant changes became apparent almost immediately after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, when rug-makers began incorporating complex imagery of war planes, helicopters, machine guns, maps and texts into their designs."
posted by anastasiav
on Jan 8, 2007 -
Guy Kawasaki interviews Aziza Mohmmand.
What’s the most inspiring story of entrepreneurship that you’ve heard in 2006? My answer does not involve two guys in a garage who sell their company to Google for $1.6 billion. No way...my answer is a woman who runs a soccer-ball factory in Kabul, Afghanistan.
posted by davar
on Jan 8, 2007 -
Thieves, murderers, rapists; and how the Pushtuns' ancient tribal code is fighting for survival against radical Islam. via The Economist. More about Puhktuns and Puhktunistan and some history together with a brief explanation of Afghan ethnic groups. There is an interesting discussion of the main article on Sunni Forum.
posted by adamvasco
on Dec 28, 2006 -
"I" is for "Infidel"
"Associated Press and New Yorker
] writer Kathy Gannon
delivers an intimately observed history of Afghanistan from 1986 to the present. The longest-serving Western journalist in the region, Gannon overturns simplistic understanding of the country's politics in this eye-opening talk."
posted by kirkaracha
on Nov 14, 2006 -
The age of horrorism. On the eve of the fifth anniversary of 9/11, Martin Amis analyses - and abhors - the rise of extreme Islamism. In a penetrating and wide-ranging essay he offers a trenchant critique of the grotesque creed and questions the West's faltering response to this eruption of evil.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese
on Sep 19, 2006 -
Cheney Clarifies Iraq, Afghanistan on Meet the Press.
For the first time in three years, Cheney appears on Meet the Press. Transcript here
. "We’ve never been able to confirm any connection between Iraq and 9/11[,]" but Iraq "...was a state sponsor of terror" and "while they found no stockpiles...[the Duelfer report claimed that] Saddam did in fact have the capability and that as soon as the sanctions were ended—and they were badly eroded—he would be back in business again." "[T]his was the place where, probably, there was a greater prospect of a connection between terrorists on the one hand and a terrorist-sponsoring state and weapons of mass destruction than any place else." "...if we had to do it again, we would do exactly the same thing..."
posted by shivohum
on Sep 10, 2006 -
The Afghan Elvis
(with YouTube clip
), the Soviet Elvis
(played by Tom Hanks
), the French Elvis
(now seeking Belgian citizenship
), the Mexican Elvis
, the Swedish Elvis
, the Filipino Elvis
, the Chinese Elvis
, the Sikh Elvis
, the Japanese Elvis
who became a Prime Minister, and other foreign Elvii
posted by jonp72
on Aug 21, 2006 -
So how's the War on Drugs proceeding in Afghanistan? Barry McCaffrey, former drug czar, trumpets
, "Opium production has been dramatically slashed by 48% just in the past year
.". Oops, actually that's the acreage of opium cultivation; production went down by only 10%
, due to increased yields. In any case, that's so last year
. Instead of the socially detrimental policy
of poppy eradication, wouldn't it be preferable
to allow licensing of poppies
for legitimate medical needs? The Afghan farmers agree
, but some think the idea is flawed
posted by daksya
on Jun 16, 2006 -
Afghanistan: On the Brink
- Ahmed Rashid on Afghanistan's precarious situation. Around three thousand of the 23,000 US troops now deployed in Afghanistan are scheduled to return home this summer and Western intelligence officials say several thousand more may depart before November. The start of an American withdrawal in the midst of a vicious Taliban resurgence naturally infuriates Karzai and his government; it is particularly disillusioning for millions of Afghans who, unlike their Iraqi counterparts, still equate a sizable US military presence with security, continued international funding, and reconstruction. In Iraq practically the entire population wants the Americans to leave, however pleased they are about the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. But the survival of the new Afghan government has depended upon the leadership of the US and its ability to convince the rest of the world to rebuild the country. The US needs to contribute money to carry out its promises and show it is willing to stay the course. It is doing neither. Barnett Rubin
. International Crisis Group
posted by russilwvong
on Jun 1, 2006 -
We have flash drives.
Three days after the Los Angeles Times broke the story of the US military secrets for sale at an Afghan bazaar
, a reporter for the paper bought ($40) another computer drive sold openly outside the U.S. air base in Bagram
, Afghanistan. The 1-gigabyte flash drive holds "what appears to be a trove of potentially sensitive American intelligence data, including the names, photographs and telephone numbers of Afghan spies informing on the Taliban and Al Qaeda, personal snapshots, Special Forces training manuals, records of direct action training missions in South America, along with numerous computer slide presentations and documents marked secret." Most documents are neither locked nor encrypted. But the good news is, some of them can't be opened without a password, and the Army is investigating
anyway. (LAT BugMeNot)
posted by PenguinBukkake
on Apr 13, 2006 -
A special report by 2 journalists embedded with Alpha Company of the First Princess Patricia's Light Infantry Battle Group puts human faces to the peacekeeping effort in Afghanistan. It's good to know that our troops stationed there will soon have a taste of home
posted by phoenixc
on Mar 12, 2006 -
Getting Away with Murder
A new Human Rights First report [PDF]
"provides the first comprehensive accounting" of the 98 cases of detainees who have died in US custody in Afghanistan and Iraq since 2002. "Thirty-four deaths were homicides under the U.S. military’s definition...Only 12 deaths have resulted in any kind of punishment
." Most of the people behind the abuse
have been promoted. The Washington Post concludes
that, based on the report, US policy seems to be that torturing a foreign prisoner to death is excusable, but getting photographed doing it will get you in trouble.
posted by kirkaracha
on Feb 28, 2006 -
Imperial Grunts: With the Army Special Forces in the Philippines and Afghanistan—laboratories of counterinsurgency. Robert Kaplan's
has been excerpted over the last while in the Atlantic Monthly, and it's an amazingly relevant and enthralling book. It draws several parallels that are perhaps underrepresented in the media, such as the the similarities between the Iraqi and Afghani insurgency and the the Philippine-American War
. It's also an incredible look at the logistics and tactics involved in fighting wars, both at the forward-operating Special Forces level and within the macro "Big Army" bureaucracy. The focus of the book is the status and abilities of American "empire", its use of power and its goals.
posted by loquax
on Dec 7, 2005 -
In 2001 America destroyed
the Kabul offices of al-Jazeera with two smartbombs; officials said it was an accident. In 2003 America destroyed
the Baghdad offices of al-Jazeera with missiles; officials said it was an accident. Now, two British civil servants are on trial for leaking a memo revealing that Bush intended to bomb al-Jazeera... at their headquarters in allied Qatar
posted by Pretty_Generic
on Nov 22, 2005 -
U.S. soldiers videotaped desecrating Taliban corpses.
The bodies were positioned to face Mecca and burned -- an act of desecration that violates Islamic burial rites and the Geneva Conventions. A U.S. PsyOps specialist broadcast an inflammatory message
to the nearby town in order to incite an attack. "Attention, Taliban, you are all cowardly dogs. You allowed your fighters to be laid down facing west and burned. You are too scared to come down and retrieve their bodies. This just proves you are the lady boys we always believed you to be."
The video aired last night
in Australia, but hasn't surfaced yet in the U.S. It won't be long, though.
. "Wow, look at the blood coming out of the mouth on that one, fucking straight death metal."
posted by insomnia_lj
on Oct 20, 2005 -
Remember our good pal from NowThatsFuckedUp.com,
the one who was trading war photos from soldiers for access to his amateur porn site? Well, looks like he's traded the whole shebang for a stint in the Polk County Jail
for some 300+ counts of obscenity charges. Held on $151,000 bail, he (or his hood friends outside da joint) have set up a new site - http://www.freechris.org
- with significantly less homegrown pr0n
and corpse shots
, and significantly more whining for donations to dude's legal defense fund, starting at $2.
Personally, and in pure technical terminology, I find the whole thing to be really "icky," yet, maybe it's a good thing that people can see the reality of war SOMEWHERE, since the fine folks
of the fourth estate
don't seem too interested in the word "reality", unless it's followed by the word "television."
Either way, there are free speech issues at play here as well it seems. As Voltaire
so wiselely stated: "I disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to be a douchebag.
posted by stenseng
on Oct 19, 2005 -
The Iraq Index
is a statistical compilation of economic, public opinion, and security data. An extensive collection by the Brookings Institue
of indicators outlining the security situation, the economy and quality of life, as well as polling and politics data. (One downside is that it is a pdf file)
. Also from the same source is a comparable compilation for Afghanistan
posted by forforf
on Aug 5, 2005 -
D.C. Circuit: Military Tribunals Just Fine, Thanks.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit unanimously rejected an appeal by an Afghan who is being detained by the military to the tribunals established by the President's Court order in 2001. The decision
reversed a federal trial court ruling that the tribunals violated the Geneva Convention.
posted by esquire
on Jul 15, 2005 -
Afghan Children Burned
Correspondent Jim Rupert and photographer Moises Saman of Newsday have just done a magnificent report explaining how and why Afghan women and children are increasingly getting burned by exploding kerosene lamps. One of the problems is that the black market is sometimes selling aviation fuel--far more combustible at lower temperatures--as regular kerosene; women and children, who usually have lamp lighting duties, are getting maimed when the lamps explode.
posted by etaoin
on Jun 27, 2005 -
Hey! Didn't anybody notice that today is the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking
, sponsored by those bleeding hearts at the UN
? The UNODC is declaring "even occasional use of marijuana is a link in a long and dangerous cycle of crime, degradation and terrorism."
In Afghanistan, 30 -or is it 60?- tons of drugs have been burned in large bonfires
(If they're not sure how much, blame the contact high). Meanwhile China celebrated the day with a massive demonstraton
and a few executions
. The United Arab Emarites is issuing a stamp
. And the U.S.ofA.? Well, it's on the State Department Calendar
, but the Office of National Drug Control Policy has never heard of it
. Still, you can send an Anti-Drugs Day Greeting
to someone you know (is a user).
BREAKING NEWS: In Kenya, 49 Killed, Hundreds Harmed by Poisoned... er... Alcohol. (nevermind)
posted by wendell
on Jun 26, 2005 -
"It wouldn't surprise me if we paid rewards"
--As part of the AP's receipt of transcripts of the millitary tribunals in Guantanamo, multiple reports of our allies using money the US gave them to buy "terrorists" for shipment there. ..."When I was in jail, they said I needed to pay them money and if I didn't pay them, they'd make up wrong accusations about me and sell me to the Americans and I'd definitely go to Cuba," he told the tribunal. "After that I was held for two months and 20 days in their detention, so they could make wrong accusations about me and my (censored), so they could sell us to you."
Another prisoner said he was on his way to Germany in 2001 when he was captured and sold for "a briefcase full of money" then flown to Afghanistan before being sent to Guantanamo....
posted by amberglow
on Jun 1, 2005 -