In Libya, ‘We Came. We Saw. He Died.’ Will There Be a Repeat in Venezuela?

In Libya, ‘We Came. We Saw. He Died.’ Will There Be a Repeat in Venezuela?

In Libya, ‘We Came. We Saw. He Died.’ Will There Be a Repeat in Venezuela?

Libya is in a state of anarchic turmoil, with various groups fighting each other for control of the country, and as the Wall Street Journal reported last September, “Islamic State is staging a resurgence in chaotic Libya, claiming more than a dozen attacks in the North African country this year and threatening to disrupt the flow of oil from one of the world’s most significant suppliers.” To such mainstream media outlets as the Wall Street Journalthe fact that oil supplies are being disrupted is much more important than the savage IS attacks that result in slaughter of so many innocent people who are only foreigners, anyway.

The UN Security Council said it deplored the Islamic State’s “heinous and cowardly terrorist attack… in Tripoli on 25 December 2018” and expressed “deepest sympathy and condolences to the families of the victims, as well as to the Libyan people and Government of National Accord, and wished a speedy and full recovery to those who were injured.”

It is laudable that the Security Council should express such sentiments, but if Libya was not “fractured by a six-year civil war”, there would be no need for sympathy from anyone.

The cause of the catastrophe in Libya in Libya was the seven month US-NATO blitzkrieg from March to October 2011 in which thousands of bombs and rockets rained down on that unfortunate land which was governed by President Muammar Ghaddafi whom the West was determined to overthrow by assisting a rebel movement. In Ghaddafi’s Libya, as detailed by the World Health Organisation the government provided “comprehensive health care including promotive, preventive, curative and rehabilitative services to all citizens free of charge through primary health care units, health centres and district hospitals.” Life expectancy was 75 years (as against 66 in India; 71 in Egypt; 59 in South Africa), and the CIA World Factbook noted that there was a literacy rate of 94.2% which was higher than in Malaysia, Mexico and Saudi Arabia.

Ghaddafi was far from being a saint. He dealt with his enemies in the most brutal fashion and was guilty of numerous offences against humanity. But so were (and are) many others like that around the world whose countries are not subject to US sanctions or seven months of strikes by US-NATO planes and missiles.

The US-NATO blitz was successful, and Gaddafi was overthrown and captured by rebel forces, whereupon, as reported, “the increasingly desperate and terrified 69-year-old Gaddafi was thrown on to the front of a white car bonnet, his blood-soaked head locked between the knees of a militiaman… He slipped off the bonnet, his ravaged body unable to cope with the constant battering.” Then, as can be seen in a particularly horrible video, he was beaten mercilessly, sodomised with a bayonet, and murdered.

When she was informed of this, the news caused the United States Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton, to giggle and announce with a laugh that “We came. We saw. He died.”

Trump is the worst president in US history, but at least we have been spared the global ascendancy of a person who cackles with mirth when being told that someone had been murdered.

In any event, Libya was reduced to chaos amid the Clinton cackles, just as is happening in Venezuela at the moment. Its leader, Maduro, is not unlike Gaddafi in many ways, being ruthless and arrogant, and there is no doubt the country has suffered under his regime — but it has suffered a great deal more because of vicious sanctions imposed by Washington, just as happened in Libya.

The United Nations Human Rights Council is not regarded favourably by Washington’s sanctioneers, simply because it points out the negative side of sanctions, in that it is always ordinary people who suffer — and especially the poor, the deprived, the sick, the lame, all those whom Trump says he loves. At a Prayer Breakfast in the White House on 7 February he declared that “America is a nation that believes in redemption” and that religious faith “transforms lives, heals communities and lifts up the forgotten,” which, as with almost everything he says, was a load of hypocritical garbage.

These US sanctions have caused untold suffering. As Al Jazeera reported on 8 February, “a hospital… has said 14 children have died this week following an outbreak of amoebiasis, a form of dysentery transmitted by contaminated food or water. Dozens of other children infected by the disease cannot receive adequate treatment due to a lack of medical supplies.” And on it goes, just as it did in Libya and pre-invasion Iraq which had suffered similarly evil sanctions for so many years.

The UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, has urged everyone involved in the Venezuela crisis to “lower tensions” and begin speaking to each other, but there was no possibility that anyone would listen to him, least of all those intent on the overthrow of Maduro. The UN Special Rapporteur on the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures as affecting human rights, Idriss Jazairy (an admirable and highly intelligent person), stated on 31 January that “coercion” by the US (without naming it) is a “violation of all norms of international law.” He said flatly that “Sanctions which can lead to starvation and medical shortages are not the answer to the crisis in Venezuela… precipitating an economic and humanitarian crisis . . . is not a foundation for the peaceful settlement of disputes.”

But Washington doesn’t want a peaceful settlement of disputes, least of all, at the moment, in Venezuela. It wants to ensure that there is suffering, in order that Maduro can be overthrown by those whom it has deprived of the basic necessities of life. Further, it wants its own man to be at the Top.

So — enter Mr Juan Guaidó, a minor politician in Venezuela’s parliament.

According to the Wall Street Journal on 25 January, “The night before Juan Guaidó declared himself interim president of Venezuela, the opposition leader received a phone call from Vice President Mike Pence. Mr Pence pledged that the US would back Mr. Guaidó if he seized the reins of government from Nicolás Maduro by invoking a clause in the South American country’s constitution, a senior administration official said.”

As the New York Times noted on 8 February, “Mr. Trump said the oil sanctions were meant to punish Mr. Maduro for human rights violations and force him to cede power to Juan Guaidó, the opposition leader whom the United States has recognized as the rightful Venezuelan president.”

The entire “revolution” has been engineered from Washington, but at least, this time, they haven’t gone in with rockets and bombs. There is no doubt that Washington will win, and that Maduro will leave in one way or another.

And my advice to him is : don’t wait too long before you give up and get out. Otherwise, Maduro, baby, They’ll Come. They’ll See. And You’ll Die.

Advertisements

Israeli Murder by Neglect of Palestinian Faris Baroud

By Stephen Lendman
Source

The US is the world’s leading human rights abuser globally. Regionally the dishonor goes to Israel along with Washington’s presence. United they’re an axis of pure evil.

On February 6, Israeli authorities murdered Palestinian prisoner Faris Baroud by medical neglect. Arrested in 1991, he was sentenced to life in prison for alleged involvement in the death of an Israeli settler.

The Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association called his death one of countless other Israeli crimes against Palestinians prisoners, the vast majority held in gulag hell for political reasons.

Like many other long and intermediate-term Palestinian prisoners, Baroud’s health seriously deteriorated in confinement – in his case, greatly aggravated by 17 suffocating years in isolation, torture by other means.

Psychology Today minced no words, saying “(p)lacing prisoners in solitary confinement is tantamount to torture” – prohibited by international law at all times, under all circumstances, with no allowed exceptions for any reasons.

Isolating people in cages for protracted periods is barbarism by any standard – common practice in America, Israel and elsewhere.

Baroud was supposed to have been released years earlier “with the last group of prisoners who were arrested pre the Oslo Accords,” said Addameer. Instead, Israeli authorities froze his release along with 30 others arrested pre-Oslo.

His lawyers explained that he was systematically denied vitally needed medical treatment. In 2018, part of his malignant liver was removed surgically when it was too late to save him – compounded by denying him no proper post-op care, including his return to prison straightaway after surgery.

Denied access to him for the past 12 years, his family had little knowledge of his health status other than he was deteriorating greatly in confinement.

His precise cause of death is unknown. Israeli medical negligence and indifference toward Palestinian prisoners is longstanding.

Since Israel illegally occupied the West Bank and Gaza in June 1967, Addameer documented the deaths of 218 Palestinian prisoners, including 78 murdered, another seven shot by prison guards, 60 dying from medical negligence, 73 more perishing from torture.

Addameer explained that 112 Palestinian prisoners were killed since October 1991 – after Israel became a signatory to the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

Nearly five dozen were killed by Israel after arrest. Almost three dozen died from medical neglect, another two dozen from torture under brutalizing interrogation.

According to Palestinian Ministry of Detainees and Ex-Detainees affairs director Islam Abdu, “(f)or three years we have received a lot of appeals from prisoners about Baroud’s health condition. It was deteriorating daily.”

Reportedly during his last days, he vomited blood daily. Israeli prison regulations state “(p)risoners must be administered proper medical care, at the expense of the detaining state, and a monthly follow-up examination must be made of each detainee’s state of health.”

“It is incumbent on the detaining state to provide the prisoners with sufficient food, drink and clothing.”

Palestinians prisoners are denied what’s provided for incarcerated Jews, part of what apartheid rule is all about.

Fatally ill in severe pain, Baroud was only transferred from Ramon prison to Soroka hospital the day before he died. His sister Fayza said “God released him from the Israeli prison’s torture.”

Hundreds of Palestinian prisoners are chronically ill, many with serious diseases largely going untreated.

PLO Executive Committee member Hanan Ashrawi condemned Baroud’s inhumane treatment, saying:

“The Israeli government is fully responsible for the untimely death of Faris Baroud and the inhumane treatment he was subjected to for nearly three decades,” adding:

“Israel is a serial violator of human rights and its obligations under international humanitarian law, including the systematic use of torture and other inhumane treatment as well as medical negligence.” 

“It is high time for Israel’s brutality against Palestinian prisoners, illegally imprisoned inside Israeli territory, to be thoroughly and independently investigated.”

“This grave situation requires immediate attention from all High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention, who have a legal and moral obligation to end Israel’s policy of mass incarceration and endemic human rights violations of Palestinian political prisoners.”

“The Israeli government must be placed under full scrutiny and accountability for their repeated violations of International law, including international humanitarian law.”

As US Laments Human Rights in Venezuela, US-Allied Colombia Descends into Drug-fueled Humanitarian Crisis

By Whitney Webb
Source

The dichotomy between Washington’s relationship with Venezuela and Colombia is yet another clear example that the public justifications for the U.S.’s Latin America policy are little more than window dressing for the U.S.-backed expansion of neo-fascist governments throughout Latin America.

BOGOTÁ, COLOMBIA (Analysis) — Several troubling situations are currently playing out across Colombia, yet the country’s continuing downward spiral into drug-fueled and politically-motivated violence has caused little concern in Washington, offering yet another clear indication that the U.S.’ current posturing on Venezuela is hardly motivated by concerns about “democracy,” “human rights,” or the welfare of the Venezuelan people.

This, of course, can hardly be considered surprising, given that Colombia is a top U.S. ally whose government has long been closely aligned with Washington’s interests. However, although the lack of U.S. government or media attention to Colombia may effectively hide it from the American public, the country is becoming increasingly lawless, with cocaine production reaching new record levels and the government sanctioning the mass murder of the country’s largest indigenous group. Not only that but since Colombia’s new president, Iván Duque, came to power late last year, the number of indigenous social leaders who have been murdered has spiked to the highest levels in over a decade.

Ultimately, the lack of media coverage of Colombia’s humanitarian crises, which have large implications for the Americas as a whole, is a telling example of how such crises are regularly weaponized by governments and media to exclusively target governments it wishes to pressure or overthrow, while turning a blind eye to those same or worse acts when committed by an allied nation.

An absurdly double standard

Though it was Barack Obama who first deemed Venezuela a “national security threat” and reinitiated draconian sanctions against the oil-rich nation, the Trump administration has greatly increased the sanctions targeting Venezuela, often citing its government’s alleged participation in illegal drug trafficking as justification for doing so. However, the U.S. has offered little in the way of concrete evidence to back up those allegations.

During this same period, moreover, the Trump administration has expressed little concern for the booming illicit drug trade in neighboring Colombia, which has broken records for cocaine production for the last two years in a row. Though the Colombian government and military have been repeatedly tied to the country’s drug trade, the Trump administration – like previous U.S. administrations – hasn’t lifted a finger.

According to UN figures released last September, Colombia’s cocaine production has again broken records, with the country producing an estimated 1,379 tons of cocaine in 2017, the latest year for which such statistics exist. That figure is a 31 percent increase in cocaine production from 2016. 2016 itself was a record-breaking year with cocaine production gaining by 50 percent over 2015 levels.

Though Trump had threatened to decertify former Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos’ government over the rapid growth of cocaine production, he ultimately gave Colombia a pass in the U.S.’ annual determination of countries considered to be “major drug transit or major drug producing” areas “because the Colombian National Police and Armed Forces are close law enforcement and security partners of the United States in the Western Hemisphere.”

The document also described Venezuela, along with its regional ally Bolivia, as “countries that have failed demonstrably during the previous 12 months to adhere to their obligations under international counternarcotics agreements” despite the fact that Bolivia had the fewest illegal coca crops of any South American country that year.

Colombia | cocaine

Since getting a free pass from the Trump administration, Colombia’s current president, Iván Duque, has signaled his hopes to revive a failed, U.S.-backed program to indiscriminately spray suspected coca fields with the infamous Monsanto product glyphosate to reduce cocaine production.

Though the U.S. government and Western media have traditionally placed the blame on leftist guerillas in Colombia, like the FARC, the 2016 peace deal that saw the FARC abandon the drug trade has removed this convenient scapegoat and highlighted the long-standing role of the Colombian military and prominent right-wing politicians in cocaine production.

In fact, the United Nations Drug Control Program (UNDCP) has described the Colombian military — which has been armed and trained for decades by the U.S. under the Clinton era policy known as “Plan Colombia” — as being among “the biggest heroin and cocaine trading institutions.”

The Colombian government has also been intimately involved, particularly during the presidency of Álvaro Uribe, who allegedly served as the “head of Colombia’s paramilitary groups” both before and while in office. Uribe was once ranked by the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency “on a list of 104 important narco-traffickers contracted by the Colombian narcotics cartels.”

There are also indications of the U.S. government’s own involvement in the Colombian cocaine trade. For example, Colombia’s most notorious drug trafficker, Pablo Escobar, at one point worked for the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, according to Escobar’s own children. Escobar allegedly sold cocaine for the CIA to help the U.S. government finance its fight against communism and left-wing governments in Latin America.

As pointed out in the book Cocaine, Death Squads and the War on Terror: U.S. Imperialism and Class Struggle in Colombia, the U.S.’ anti-drug efforts in Colombia were never intended to eradicate cocaine, but instead alter the market share by ensuring that allies of the U.S. in Colombia – the Colombian government, paramilitaries and the wealthy elite who are favorable to U.S. business interests – could monopolize the drug trade with no competition from outsiders. Thus, it should hardly shock anyone that the U.S. continues to turn a blind eye to the country’s booming illegal drug trade and its associated violence, even as it continues to break records year after year.

Erasing the erasure of the Wayuú

As the long-standing, U.S.-backed plan to oust the Chavista regime in Venezuela has unfolded, Maduro’s government has been called out in Western media for “starving his own people,” despite the fact that U.S. sanctions imposed on Venezuela are a driving factor behind the country’s economic crisis. However, since 2011, Colombia has been the site of ongoing genocide against the country’s largest indigenous group – the Wayuú – in the country’s Guajira region, after the Colombian government diverted their only source of water to support the operations of the country’s – and continent’s – largest coal mine.

The suffering of the Wayuú, who have reported the deaths of at least 14,000 children due to the lack of clean water, has gone unreported by the same outlets that routinely raise concern about lack of essential goods in Venezuela. The Wayuú, who comprise around 20 percentof Colombia’s entire indigenous population and 48 percent of the Guajira region’s total inhabitants, are now on the brink of dying out completely seven years after the Ranchería river – their community’s only freshwater source – was diverted by the government-constructed Cercado dam in order to service the water needs of the Cerrejón coal mine.

An estimated 37,000 Wayuú now suffer from severe malnutrition, as they can no longer grow crops or raise livestock without a freshwater source. Each person in the community now lives off of less than 0.7 liters (24 oz.) of water a day while the Cerrejón mine guzzles more than 2.7 million liters of water in a 24-hour period – most of which is used to improve mine “visibility” by minimizing dust pollution. Despite the clear impact of the dam and mine on the humanitarian crisis facing the Wayuú, the Colombian government and supportive Western media have blamed “climate change” and weather patterns like El Niño for the situation.

The most likely reason for the erasure of the slow genocide of the Wayuú from Western media is the fact that the Cerrejón mine is largely a U.S.-backed operation, as the mine was originally founded by ExxonMobil and is now owned by a consortium of largely Western mining companies such as Anglo American and BHP Billiton. These same mining companies often work with right-wing paramilitary groups — who are also closely connected to the Colombian government — and who repeatedly threaten the lives of Wayuú who speak up about their people’s suffering, including their chief legal advocate, Javier Rojas Uriana.

Notably, the Colombian Wayuú have been immigrating to the Wayuú community in Venezuela in order to avoid the slow death caused by malnutrition, lack of water, and waterborne illnesses from the polluted water from the community’s remaining wells. The Venezuelan Wayuú have been largely supportive of Chavismo and have backed the Maduro-led government, referring to U.S.-backed opposition protests as violent riots “intended to create chaos.” The Huffington Post noted in 2017 that the Wayuú’s support for Maduro had largely been erased by the Western media because it “does not match up with the media’s anti-Venezuelan government narrative.”

Liquidating social leaders, activists, human-rights advocates

While the fate of the Wayuú (and thus 20 percent of the country’s entire indigenous population) continues to hang in the balance, the plight of Colombia’s indigenous peoples has grown even worse since the recent inauguration of Colombian President Iván Duque.

Despite Duque’s having come to power just last August, El Tiempo recently reported that the murders of indigenous leaders in the country have spiked to levels unseen in over a decade since Duque became Colombia’s president. According to data cited by El Tiempo, 120 indigenous social leaders – as well as human-rights defenders — have been murdered in cold blood during Duque’s first 100 days in office.

Though the murder of social leaders by right-wing paramilitary groups has been a long standing problem in Colombia’s recent history, this level of targeted murder represents a spike over recent years — in which 226, 159, and 97 such murders occurred over the course of the entire years of 2018, 2017 and 2016, respectively. Notably, the Venezuelan government of Nicolás Maduro has been routinely accused by Western media of murdering opposition activists; yet, those same outlets have been silent on Colombia’s recent spike in activist murders.

Colombia | Slain Activists

Despite the jump, Duque’s government has expressed little concern. This is hardly surprising when one considers that Duque is the hand-picked successor and protégé of Álvaro Uribe, the former Colombian president who was once “the head of Colombia’s paramilitary groups,” according to former paramilitary group commanders of the right-wing death squad AUC, which has been funded by several prominent U.S. corporations.

Uribe, who was Colombia’s president from 2002 to 2010, and was a close ally of George W. Bush, was also personally implicated inorganizing a massacre conducted by a right-wing paramilitary group; and his cousin, Colombian politician Mario Uribe, was charged with mobilizing right-wing death squads in the country to help secure Uribe’s presidential victory in 2002. Uribe’s brother was also arrested for founding a right-wing paramilitary group in 2016.

Under Uribe’s presidency, the Colombian military massacred thousands of civilians — such as in the “false positives” scandal, where the Colombian military dressed up an estimated 5,000 civilians in guerilla clothing and killed them in cold blood, subsequently gaining a bonus from Uribe’s government for the sinister act. It should be no surprise then that, under Uribe, the murder rate of indigenous leaders and human-rights activists reached its all-time high at 1,912 murders in 2003.

Given Duque’s close relationship to Uribe, it is also little surprise that paramilitary groups have endorsed Duque following his election and have vowed to “exterminate” Duque’s opposition, calling prominent Colombian progressives “military targets.”

What to expect if US gets its way in Venezuela

If Washington’s publicly stated concerns about “human rights” and the welfare of a country’s people in Venezuela were genuine, it would be equally critical of Colombia’s government, given the numerous troubling situations currently unfolding in that country. Instead, the dichotomy between Washington’s relationship with Venezuela and Colombia is yet another clear example that the public justifications for the U.S.’s Latin America policy are little more than window dressing for the U.S.-backed expansion of neo-fascist governments throughout Latin America.

Indeed, if Juan Guaidó – the self-declared, U.S.-backed “president” of Venezuela – manages to seize power in the country, the current state of affairs in Colombia is a telling harbinger of what would likely manifest should Nicolás Maduro be overthrown and replaced with the same type of government that the U.S. has either backed or installed in several Latin American countries over the last few decades, and particularly in recent years.

‘We are like the living dead’: Citizens of Mosul in despair 1.5 years after liberation from ISIS

5c612746dda4c8c1228b45de.JPG
A Woman walks next to ruins in the Old City of Mosul © Khalid al-Mousily / Reuters

 

Chaos and misery – that’s what life in Mosul is like more than 1.5 years after Iraqi forces and the US-led coalition staged one of the deadliest battles in decades to liberate the city from Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS).

What was once Iraq’s second-largest city and home to millions was reduced to ash in July 2017, when the US-led coalition dropped bombs and recaptured it from IS. More than 10,000 civilians are estimated to have been killed in the battle.

Thousands of dead bodies are still buried under the rubble amid the lack of recovery crews and equipment. Locals say fraud and corruption are halting the process.

“You can’t even imagine how difficult it is – no hospitals, no schools, no teachers. We are like the living dead. We have a cemetery over there, but here it’s a cemetery for the living. Pot holes are everywhere, there are still corpses everywhere and if anyone brings humanitarian aid here, the local officials just steal it, they are all corrupt,” a Mosul resident told RT.

There’s no reconstruction here, all their reconstruction efforts are just ink on paper.

There are fears that IS could return to the city and use the corruption and chaos to re-emerge. The US-led coalition spent billions of dollars when it bombed Mosul, but when it was done, it didn’t cash out on rebuilding.

Meanwhile, nearly 2 million Iraqis remain displaced, according to UN estimates. Nearly 700,000 of them are from Mosul.“There are no basic services in the city, no jobs – it’s terrible,” one local resident said. “We’re here battling all the hardships. We now regret that we ever came back.”

https://www.rt.com/news/451163-mosul-after-isil-reconstruction-chaos/video/5c611074fc7e9393288b45b0

Afghan Civilians Fear CIA-Backed Death Squads that Can Call In Airstrikes

By Alexander Rubinstein
Source

While the U.S. continues to conduct its mission of nation-building and “democracy promotion” in Afghanistan and attempts broker a peace deal between the Taliban and the government, bombing the country at unprecedented levels and being associated with de facto death squads on the ground could fuel distrust of the Americans.

NANGARHAR PROVINCE, AFGHANISTAN — Elite CIA-backed special forces in Afghanistan are leaving a trail of carnage in the country. As such units do not operate under the umbrella of the Department of Defense, they have been given near-impunity despite standing accused of war crimes.

Last month, the New York Times cited “senior Afghan and international officials” who said that while most strike forces in Afghanistan have been put under the purview of Afghan intelligence since 2012, two of the most “ruthless” units are “still sponsored mainly by the CIA.”

On Friday, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism revealed that at least one of these units has the capability of calling in air strikes.

Of the two special forces units that remain primarily influenced by the CIA, the name of only one was revealed: a group called “02” in the Nangarhar Province. The name of the unit in the Khost Province was not revealed. The units are trained and equipped by CIA agents and CIA contractors, and their fighters make three times the salary of a regular Afghan soldier. The unit in Khost is believed to have between 3,000 and 10,000 fighters while 02 is believed to be about 1,000 fighters strong.

A former senior Afghan security official told the Times that the strike forces were guilty of war crimes, while the United Nations has “expressed concern” about “consistent, credible accounts of intentional destruction of civilian property, illegal detention, and other abuses.” The unnamed unit in Khost was even singled out by the UN, which said it operates “with an absence of transparency and ongoing impunity.”

Brutality worthy of ISIS

In September, elders from the three Nangarhar districts gathered for a press conference in which they claimed that 100 civilians were killed by 02 in August. Elders are putting the number of civilians slain by 02 in the following two months, September and October, at 260.

One man who spoke at the conference said he and his two brothers were detained for three months as 02 tried to force video confessions of Taliban affiliation from him with threats of driving over him with a tank. He said he was placed in handcuffs and that they used needles to puncture holes in his veins.

In one case investigated by the Times, two brothers were killed as they watered their fields. In another case, a unit pursuing an alleged Taliban member entered the wrong home and killed a dozen civilians. In yet another case, 02 placed two brothers in handcuffs and spit hoods and interrogated them in front of their wives and children. After they were done being questioned, 02 dragged the brothers away and executed them in the corner of a bedroom, and then detonated the building.

According to “several current and former Afghan officials,” Americans help the unit find targets and guide operations. Those detained by such units frequently claim they have been tortured and Afghan officials say that Americans have been present at bases during such abuses. In the Nangarhar province alone, human-rights workers registered 15 complaints of torture by 02, according to the Times.

One medical worker who lives in the Bati Kot district in Nangarhar said he initially mistook 02 for ISIS when they showed up at his village surrounded by orange orchards.

“I ran and got my weapon — I thought it was the caliphate people. I didn’t know it was the government,” Khoshal Khan said. “Then they started firing, and I heard the gate blown up. They were speaking English, also.”

Afghanistan | Nangarhar

First, one man in the village, Mohamed Taher, was shot. According to his 16-year-old grandson, Sekander, one of Taher’s sons was also shot while following orders to come out of the building with his hands up. Then, 02 shot one of the grandsons in the head. And then another one of Taher’s sons.

“The women started crying. They called to be quiet, then they blew up the gates and came in,” Sekandar told the Times.

As his father bled to death in the yard after being shot while following orders, Adel, Taher’s 10-year-old grandson, was forced to take shelter inside. “They said, ‘Don’t come out — if the airstrikes hit you, then don’t complain.’” Adel still has shrapnel wounds on his face from the raid.

A relative of some of the people killed in the raid, Mohibullah, said that he sees little difference between the Islamic State and 02, since they both attack civilians without warning.

More killing power than the Caliphate

But, as it turns out, the 02 group is far better equipped than the Caliphate ever was. That’s because they have something Daesh lacked: air support. The Bureau of Investigative Journalism found instances in which 02 raids were quickly followed by airstrikes. One man they spoke to said 16 civilians were killed in an 02 raid on his village, five of whom were family members.

“When my family members heard shots being fired outside, they went out to see what was going on and were hit by an airstrike that killed the five of them. The airstrike also destroyed part of our house,” he said. The outlet claims that 02 called in the strike.

“Numerous residents and relatives” said that one month later 02 killed 13 civilians, including four children, in a raid that included airstrikes. The Interior Ministry claimed that Islamic State fighters were killed, not civilians.

“First, they attacked us with bombs. Then they entered the living room and started to shoot around,” said one witness. “They didn’t care about who they were killing. They killed my uncle and his 9-year-old son. His wife and his other child were injured.” Another man told the outlet he lost seven family members in the raid.

Bombing and death squads a strange approach to nation-building

The CIA’s training, equipping, and support of 02 is reportedly stoking resentment of America’s 18-year occupation of the country, which has little to show in regard to net gains against the Taliban. Near the end of 2018 the Afghan government controlled the smallest amountof territory since a U.S. military watchdog — the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) — started keeping track in 2015. Meanwhile, the U.S. dropped more bombs in 2018 on Afghanistan than during any other year on SIGAR record, which goes back to 2009.

United States Air Forces Central Command Combined Air Operations Center

While the U.S. continues to conduct its mission of nation-building and “democracy promotion” in Afghanistan and attempts broker a peace deal between the Taliban and the government, bombing the country at unprecedented levels and being associated with de facto death squads on the ground could fuel distrust of the Americans.

“When the U.S. also takes on the mission of state-building, then the contradictions between the two approaches — stealth, black ops, and non-transparency vs. institution building, rule of law, and accountability — become extraordinarily difficult to resolve, and our standing as a nation suffers,” bemoaned Karl Eikenberry, a former U.S. commander in Afghanistan who later became a diplomat to the country.

Already, Afghans are beginning to suspect that the U.S. sought to prolong its occupation of their country as means of securing a position to spy on Russia, China and Iran.

Leaked Doc Reveals US Military Use of IMF, World Bank as “Unconventional” Weapons

By Whitney Webb
Source

This “U.S. coup manual,” recently highlighted by WikiLeaks, serves as a reminder that the so-called “independence” of such financial institutions as The World Bank and IMF is an illusion and that they are among the many “financial weapons” regularly used by the U.S. government to bend countries to its will.

WASHINGTON – In a leaked military manual on “unconventional warfare” recently highlighted by WikiLeaks, the U.S. Army states that major global financial institutions — such as the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) — are used as unconventional, financial “weapons in times of conflict up to and including large-scale general war,” as well as in leveraging “the policies and cooperation of state governments.”

The document, officially titled “Field Manual (FM) 3-05.130, Army Special Operations Forces Unconventional Warfare” and originally written in September 2008, was recently highlighted by WikiLeaks on Twitter in light of recent events in Venezuela as well as the years-long, U.S.-led economic siege of that country through sanctions and other means of economic warfare. Though the document has generated new interest in recent days, it had originally been released by WikiLeaks in December 2008 and has been described as the military’s “regime change handbook.”

View image on Twitter

WikiLeaks’ recent tweets on the subject drew attention to a single section of the 248-page-long document, titled “Financial Instrument of U.S. National Power and Unconventional Warfare.” This section in particular notes that the U.S. government applies “unilateral and indirect financial power through persuasive influence to international and domestic financial institutions regarding availability and terms of loans, grants, or other financial assistance to foreign state and nonstate actors,” and specifically names the World Bank, IMF and The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), as well as the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), as “U.S. diplomatic-financial venues to accomplish” such goals.

The manual also touts the “state manipulation of tax and interest rates” along with other “legal and bureaucratic measures” to “open, modify or close financial flows” and further states that the U.S. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) – which oversees U.S. sanctions on other nations, like Venezuela — “has a long history of conducting economic warfare valuable to any ARSOF [Army Special Operations Forces] UW [Unconventional Warfare] campaign.”

This section of the manual goes on to note that these financial weapons can be used by the U.S. military to create “financial incentives or disincentives to persuade adversaries, allies and surrogates to modify their behavior at the theater strategic, operational, and tactical levels” and that such unconventional warfare campaigns are highly coordinated with the State Department and the Intelligence Community in determining “which elements of the human terrain in UWOA [Unconventional Warfare Operations Area] are most susceptible to financial engagement.”

The role of these “independent” international financial institutions as extensions of U.S. imperial power is elaborated elsewhere in the manual and several of these institutions are described in detail in an appendix to the manual titled “The Financial Instrument of National Power.” Notably, the World Bank and the IMF are listed as both Financial Instruments and Diplomatic Instruments of U.S. National Power as well as integral parts of what the manual calls the “current global governance system.”

Furthermore, the manual states that the U.S. military “understand[s] that properly integrated manipulation of economic power can and should be a component of UW,” meaning that these weapons are a regular feature of unconventional warfare campaigns waged by the United States.

Another point of interest is that these financial weapons are largely governed by the National Security Council (NSC), which is currently headed by John Bolton. The document notes that the NSC “has primary responsibility for the integration of the economic and military instruments of national power abroad.”

“Independent” but controlled

Though the unconventional warfare manual is notable for stating so openly that “independent” financial institutions like the World Bank and the IMF are essentially extensions of U.S. government power, analysts have noted for decades that these institutions have consistently pushed U.S. geopolitical goals abroad.

Indeed, the myth of World Bank and IMF “independence” is quickly eroded by merely looking at the structure and funding of each institution. In the case of the World Bank, the institution is located in Washington and the organization’s president has always been a U.S. citizen chosen directly by the president of the United States. In the World Bank’s entire history, the institution’s Board of Governors has never rejected Washington’s pick.

This past Monday, it was reported that President Donald Trump nominated former Bear Stearns economist David Malpass to lead the World Bank. Malpass had famously failed to foresee the destruction of his former employer during the 2008 financial crisis and is likely to limit World Bank loans to China and to countries allied or allying with China, given his well-established reputation as a China hawk.

In addition to choosing its president, the U.S. is also the bank’s largest shareholder, making it the only member nation to have veto rights. Indeed, as the leaked unconventional warfare manual notes, “As major decisions require an 85% supermajority, the United States can block any major changes” to World Bank policy or the services it offers. Furthermore, the U.S. Treasury Secretary, former Goldman Sachs banker and “foreclosure king,” Steve Mnuchin, functions as the World Bank’s governor.

Though the IMF is different from the World Bank in several respects, such as its stated mission and focus, it too is largely dominated by U.S. government influence and funding. For instance, the IMF is also based in Washington and the U.S. is the company’s largest shareholder — the largest by far, owning 17.46 percent of the institution – and also pays the largest quota for the institution’s maintenance, paying $164 billion in IMF financial commitments annually. Though the U.S. does not choose the IMF’s top executive, it uses its privileged position as the institution’s largest funder to control IMF policy by threatening to withhold its IMF funding if the institution does not abide by Washington’s demands.

World Bank IMF | Protest

As a consequence of the lopsided influence of the U.S. on these institutions’ behavior, these organizations have used their loans and grants to “trap” nations in debt and have imposed “structural adjustment” programs on these debt-saddled governments that result in the mass privatization of state assets, deregulation, and austerity that routinely benefit foreign corporations over local economies. Frequently, these very institutions – by pressuring countries to deregulate their financial sector and through corrupt dealings with state actors – bring about the very economic problems that they then swoop in to “fix.”

Guaidó hits up IMF

Given the close relationship between the U.S. government and these international financial institutions, it should come as little surprise that – in Venezuela – the U.S.-backed “interim president” Juan Guaidó – has already requested IMF funds, and thus IMF-controlled debt, to fund his parallel government.

This is highly significant because it shows that top among Guaidó’s objectives, in addition to privatizing Venezuela’s massive oil reserves, is to again shackle the country to the U.S.-controlled debt machine.

As the Grayzone Project recently noted:

Venezuela’s previous elected socialist president, Hugo Chávez, broke ties with the IMF and World Bank, which he noted were “dominated by US imperialism.” Instead Venezuela and other left-wing governments in Latin America worked together to co-found the Bank of the South, as a counterbalance to the IMF and World Bank.”

However, Venezuela is far from the only country in Latin America being targeted by these financial weapons masquerading as “independent” financial institutions. For instance, Ecuador – whose current president has sought to bring the country back into Washington’s good graces – has gone so far as to conduct an “audit” of its asylum of journalist and WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange in order to win a $10 billion bailout from the IMF. Ecuador granted Assange asylum in 2012 and the U.S. has fervently sought his extradition for still sealed charges ever since.

In addition, last July, the U.S. threatened Ecuador with “punishing trade measures” if it introduced a measure at the UN to support breastfeeding over infant formula, in a move that stunned the international community but laid bare the willingness of the U.S. government to use “economic weapons” against Latin American nations.

Beyond Ecuador, other recent targets of massive IMF and World Bank “warfare” include Argentina, which awarded the largest IMF bailout loan in history just last year. That loan package was, unsurprisingly, heavily pushed by the U.S., according to a statement from Treasury Secretary Mnuchin released last year. Notably, the IMF was instrumental in causing the complete collapse of the Argentinian economy in 2001, sending a poor omen for last year’s approval of the record loan package.

Though it was released over a decade ago, this “U.S. coup manual” recently highlighted by WikiLeaks serves as a salient reminder that the so-called “independence” of these financial institutions is an illusion and that they are among the many “financial weapons” regularly used by the U.S. government to bend countries to its will and even overthrow U.S.-disfavored governments.

Imperial America: Humanity’s Scourge-Latest Target Venezuela

Imperial America: Humanity’s Scourge

by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.orgHome – Stephen Lendman)

Washington’s criminal class is bipartisan, at war on humanity at home and abroad for world dominance, targeting all sovereign independent governments for regime change – Venezuela in its crosshairs for the last 20 years.

A slow-motion US coup against its democratically elected leadership accelerated with the recognition of a designated puppet as illegitimate president, wanting fascist tyranny replacing governance of, by, and for everyone equitably if the Trump regime’s plan sticks.

On Wednesday, maestro of regime change in Venezuela Mike Pompeo, defiantly said the US “stands with (illegitimate puppet) interim president Juan Guaido” – a designated stooge, a figure representing US imperial interests in Venezuela.

According to Pompeo, the Trump regime “will take appropriate actions to hold accountable anyone who endangers the safety and security of our mission and its personnel.” 

He barely stopped short of declaring war on Venezuela, belligerent intervention surely drafted, readied to be implemented on command if things go this far.

US-appointed UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres operates as an imperial tool, flagrantly violating UN Charter principles and other international law, opposing what demands support, backing what demands condemnation.

He failed to denounce Washington’s coup attempt in Venezuela, a statement on what’s going on through his spokesman, saying:

He’s “concerned (sic) over reports of casualties in the context of demonstrations and unrest in Venezuela and calls for a transparent and independent investigation of these incidents,” adding:

He “urge(d) all actors to lower tensions and pursue every effort to prevent violence and avoid any escalation. What we hope is that dialogue can be possible, and that we avoid an escalation that could lead to the kind of conflict that would be a total disaster for Venezuela.”

He was silent on the Trump regime’s flagrantly unlawful actions against Venezuelan sovereignty and Nicolas Maduro’s legitimacy as president – the latest betrayal of his mandate as UN secretary general, time and again disgracing the office he holds.

According to Russia’s envoy to Venezuela Vladimir Zaemsky, self-proclaimed interim Venezuelan (US designated puppet) president Juan Guaido was under severe pressure both on 5 January, when he was elected (National Assembly) head, and on 10 January, when Nicolas Maduro” was inaugurated. “He was forced to take this step…reluctant to do it, but…was…overpowered” by US dark forces to act.

Everything disruptive in Venezuela since Hugo Chavez’s election and inauguration two decades ago, including current anti-Maduro street protests, was planned and orchestrated by Washington – a longstanding plot to transform the country into another US vassal state.

On Thursday, Venezuela’s Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza denounced the US coup attempt, saying “(i)t is striking to say that the US government is not behind the coup attempt in Venezuela.” 

“It is AHEAD of it, on the vanguard, without any masks, or pretense. In Washington, they openly designed and executed the plan, giving orders to their governments and satellite actors around the world” to back the coup.

“As the saying goes, you need to know who is the master of the circus. President Maduro yesterday broke off relations with the owner of the circus, with the United States. Satellite governments, submissive governments, are following the instructions of the master.”

Many Latin and Central American regimes, along with others in Britain, France, Germany and elsewhere, saluted and followed orders – like they always do, subordinating their sovereignty to the US, operating like colonies, supporting imperial lawlessness over the rule of law.

On Thursday, Maduro formally severed diplomatic ties with the US, ordering closure of Venezuela’s embassy and consulates in the country, its personnel recalled home.

He denounced the Trump regime’s actions as “a great provocation,” adding “(t)here’s no doubt in the world that it’s…Trump who wants to impose a de facto, unconstitutional government.” 

“It’s a coup in Venezuela against the people and democracy” – orchestrated by Pompeo, likely together with John Bolton, admitting the Trump regime’s goal is for Big Oil to control the country’s oil reserves, the world’s largest, adding:

He, Pompeo, and other regime hardliners are focused on “disconnecting” the legitimate Maduro government “from the source of its revenues” – mainly oil, wanting US designated puppet Guaido controlling them, adding:

“We’re working really around the clock to do what we can to strengthen the” illegitimate regime.

In response to Maduro giving US officials in Venezuela 72 hours to leave the country, after severing diplomatic relations with Washington, Pompeo said they’ll stay, falsely claiming Maduro has no “legal authority to break diplomatic relations with the United States or to declare our diplomats persona non grata.”

At the same time, the State Department ordered non-essential diplomats and staff in Caracas to return home, the facility to remain open.

The Trump regime’s coup attempt  this week was planned long ago. How far US dark forces intend going remains to be seen.

Maduro has majority popular support, based on his overwhelming electoral triumph, along with backing from the country’s military.

As Venezuela’s legitimate president, his best strategy may be to encourage millions of supporters to take to the streets against US imperial designs on the country.

That’s how Bush/Cheney’s April 2002 coup attempt was defeated in 48 hours – popular will triumphing, supported by Venezuela’s military.

A “Day of National Dignity” earlier commemorated the triumph of the human spirit in Venezuela over US imperial aims to control the country.

It’s needed again now to challenge the Trump regime’s designs on its sovereignty, resources and people – a popular uprising against imperial America, against its dirty hands, supporting the preservation of Bolivarian social democracy. It’s too important for Venezuelans to lose.

VISIT MY NEW WEB SITE: stephenlendman.org (Home – Stephen Lendman). Contact at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

%d bloggers like this: