Brave Congressman Explains How US Keeps Afghan Heroin Trade Alive At Your Expense

Source

This week, President Donald Trump, just like his predecessor Obama, promised to continue the utterly corrupt failure of a brutal occupation that is Afghanistan—despite running on a campaign to end it. For decades, the United States has been subsidizing—to the tune of billions of US tax dollars—failed projects, infrastructure, military, police, and yes, even terrorism. Yet Afghanistan is worse off today than they were before the government lied to Americans, claiming they were responsible for 9/11 instead of Saudi Arabia.

In a recent speech on the state of the Afghanistan quagmire, Congressman Thomas Massie (R) KY, exposed some hard truths that very few people in Washington are courageous enough to address. While most politicians cheered Trump’s insane decision to increase US presence in Afghanistan this week, Massie Blew the lid off of it.

For years, Massie has pointed out that the US has blown billions of dollars on failed projects alone. As of last year, the number of failed projects totaled over 100 billion.

To put this number in perspective, the entire amount of money the United States allocates to spend on rebuilding America’s crumbling highways every year is less than half of what it’s blown on failed projects alone in Afghanistan.

 

Massie noted that hundreds of millions of dollars were spent on a hydroelectric damn that the US thought the Taliban would destroy. However, they did not destroy it. ‘Want to know why,’ Massie asked:

“They get the electricity! We’re paying the light bill for the Taliban now. They get 30 percent of the electricity in exchange for not blowing it up, or shooting the operators who are running the damn.”

 

But it’s not just the wasted money giving terrorists electricity, the US is also protecting and funding the drug trade.

Of that wasted $100 billion, $8 billion was spent failing to eradicate the Afghan opium trade. Not only did the this massive amount of money not stop the opium trade and production but it doubled it!

 

Western profiteers are making a figurative killing off of heroin for the literal killing of people in Afghanistan.

former British Territorial Army mechanic, Anthony C Heaford released a report three years ago, and a series of photos, which he says proves that British and American troops are harvesting opium in Afghanistan.

It is also no secret that Afghanistan opium production has increased by 3,500 percent, from 185 tons in 2001 to 6,400 in 2015, since the US-led invasion.

In the video below, Massie explains how he asked the inspector general why they don’t just spray herbicide on all the poppy fields to eradicate the plants. Massie was told they cannot eradicate the plants as the Taliban needs the money from opium production.

“By the way,” Massie explained,

“The Taliban used to prevent people from growing poppy.”

If you think that Trump doesn’t know that a continued US occupation of Afghanistan will lead to a larger heroin epidemic, more innocent civilians killed, more troops needless dying, and more terrorism, think again. For years, Trump decried the war on Terror, pointing out the horrific nature of occupation.

 

But things change, according to Trump, and once he got in the White House, he magically saw the serious need to continue the waste and destruction in Afghanistan.

The lunacy of continuing the occupation in Afghanistan, knowing the only ones who benefit from it are warlords, drug cartels, the CIA, terrorists, and the military industrial complex, is staggering.

Innocent people will die, your children’s children will be forever indebted to the Federal Reserve, and the global war machine—which knows no home country—will be empowered and expanded. For what?

“I had hoped the Afghanistan war would end soon, but now it’s inevitable that babies born during the war will be deploying to the war in 2019,” Massie said shortly after Trump’s speech Monday night.

Sadly, Massie is only accompanied by a handful of people in the house and senate in his stance. The overwhelming majority want more war because their lobbyists tell them that’s what will keep them in their seat.

As you listen to the speech below, remember, every single representative, senator, and adviser, all the way up to Trump, knows these facts, yet they choose to perpetuate them.

This is not only shameful—it’s criminal. Troops aren’t protecting your freedom in Afghanistan, they are being used to enrich a corrupt group of sadistic elites. Please share this article with your friends and family to show them the destructive, deadly, and criminal act of continuing a war in Afghanistan.

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fmises.institute%2Fvideos%2F10155190758643935%2F&show_text=0&width=476

 

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Trump’s Pakistan Policy Is a Disaster

Trump’s Pakistan Policy Is a Disaster

Trump’s Pakistan Policy Is a Disaster

International fame, at last! Pakistan hit the headlines because it was the subject of Donald Trump’s first tweet of 2018. The country will have a small but everlasting place in history.

You know Trump: he’s the man who, immediately after being elected US President was reported by the BBC as having telephoned the then prime minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif to say Pakistan is “a fantastic country, fantastic place” and “amazing with tremendous opportunities.” He ended with the jovial request to “Please convey to the Pakistani people that they are amazing and all Pakistanis I have known are exceptional people.”

It is unlikely that Mr Trump knows any Pakistanis, but it seemed his attitude to Pakistan was positive. And so it continued until New Year’s Day 2018 when Trump tweeted

“The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies & deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools. They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!”

He meant that the Pakistan army, which has had 6,687 soldiers killed fighting terrorists since 2001 when the US invaded Afghanistan, is helping terrorists based in Pakistan.

Since the US attack on Afghanistan, and subsequent expansion of Islamic terrorist groups in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region, Pakistan has suffered 468 suicide bombing attacks, in which 7,230 of its citizens were killed. Before 2001 there was one such attack, in 1995 by a crazy Egyptian who drove a bomb-laden lorry into the Egyptian Embassy’s gates.

When Trump tweeted his message Pakistan had ended a year in which, as recorded by India’s South Asia Terrorism Portal, it suffered 3,001 civilian deaths from terrorism, and 676 of its soldiers were killed in fighting against terrorists, while 1,702 terrorists were killed. It was quite a year, but not as bad as 2009, for example, at the height of the US “surge” in Afghanistan, when almost a thousand Pakistani soldiers were killed while conducting operations against terrorists in their strongholds in the Tribal Areas.

Pakistan army soldiers fighting through Mirali town in North Waziristan in 2014. Five were killed in this anti-terrorist operation

It may be remembered that in 2009 Afghanistan’s President Karzai said there was “an urgent need” for direct negotiations with the Taliban and made it clear that the US government opposed any such approach. Meanwhile, there was indeed increased movement of terrorists between the countries, made less difficult for them because the Afghan government refused to permit erection of any sort of border barrier.

Eleven years ago, Carlotta Gall of the New York Times wrote that the Afghan President “voiced strong opposition on [December 28, 2006] to Pakistan’s announcement that it would lay mines and erect fences along its border with Afghanistan. He said the moves would only hurt the people living in the region and would not stem cross-border terrorism.”

This was nonsense, because natural or man-made barriers can dissuade or even prevent illegal movement. And when covered by observation and fire (as all armies agree they must be), they can verge on the impenetrable. It is essential to have frequent and irregular patrols by troops, surveillance on the ground and from the air (so what have all these US drones been doing?), and artillery in positions from which fire can be directed onto those attempting cross-border forays.

It can be catastrophic if an obstacle is unguarded. During the Vietnam War the Australian army planted an enormous minefield around a mountain occupied by bands of Viet Cong guerrillas but had to withdraw patrolling troops as there was an emergency elsewhere, and the predictable result was that the Viet Cong picked up all the mines — thousands of them — and over the following years used them to kill Australians.

But if minefields had been planted at appropriate places along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, on both sides, as proposed by the Pakistan government, and patrolled aggressively by the armies of both countries, nobody could claim that illegal crossings would have been easy. If the Afghan army had been ordered to cooperate with their opposite numbers across the border, and if there had been coordinated surveillance and foot patrols — as wanted by the Pakistan military — then it would have been very difficult indeed for insurgents to cross in either direction. The US did not approve Pakistan’s proposal for fencing and minefields and did not supply any assistance for the project. So the barrier was not erected.

It is ironic that Trump is cancelling military security aid to Pakistan, because this cash assists Pakistan’s security forces to combat terrorists. In January the Pakistani media reported that

“Pakistan has spent more than Rs 67.3 billion ($605 million) during the last one and a half years in its efforts to stop infiltration of terrorists operating in Afghanistan and securing vital installations, including the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, from cross-border attacks.”

But all was not quite what it seemed. Or perhaps it was, because nobody knows exactly how foreign policy is devised in Trump Washington. Anyway : after the Trump tweet against Pakistan his Defence Secretary, General Mattis, “vowed to continue working with the Pakistan government to defeat terrorism in south Asia despite the United States stopping nearly all its financial aid to the country.” He did not, of course, ask Pakistan if it wanted to continue working with the United States on anything at all, but that’s the way overseas relations are handled in the era of Trump.

Trump was supported by Senator Rand Paul who tweeted

“I’m introducing a bill to end aid to Pakistan in the coming days. My bill will take the money that would have gone to Pakistan and put it in an infrastructure fund to build roads and bridges here at home.”

This was greeted by a Trump tweet saying “Good idea, Rand!” But at the same time a “senior administration official” said “I just want to be clear that it’s been suspended. Nothing has been reappropriated. We’re hopeful that we can lift the suspension and the aid will be able to go forward.” So what is the real policy? Nobody knows.

All this leaves Pakistan with some problems. It can live without the US money, of course, although there’s no doubt it has been most useful and much appreciated, but as time goes by its air force will have difficulty in continuing to operate its F-16 aircraft because the US will probably refuse to sell it replacement parts. Its orders for US attack helicopters may also be affected. But the US is not the only source of defence equipment, and there is little doubt that China, Russia and Turkey will move to plug any gaps. And there are other factors that Washington would do well to contemplate.

One most positive effect of Trump’s insulting tweet has been to unite Pakistanis. It appears that no matter their political leanings they have joined in strong rejection of US policy. Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif said bluntly that the US

“carried out 57,800 attacks on Afghanistan from our bases. Your forces were supplied arms and explosives through our soil. Thousands of our civilians and soldiers became victims of the war initiated by you.”

And his sentiments were echoed by the prominent opposition politician, Imran Khan, who said

“Despite Pakistan clearing up North Waziristan, still half of Afghanistan is in Taliban hands. So, who is responsible for this? To make Pakistan the scapegoat of a failed strategy in Afghanistan is not just a travesty of justice, it is deeply insulting and humiliating.”

Quite so. And this is probably going to be the way ahead for Pakistan. To my certain knowledge, Pakistan has provided intelligence about potential terrorist-related activities in America (and the UK). So why should they continue such cooperation? And as the New York Times pointed out on January 5, “the US “has always relied on Pakistani air and ground routes for supplies to the troops in Afghanistan” — so why should Pakistan continue to offer such facilities? It could cut them off in a moment.

Trump failed to understand that insulting North Korea’s leader would result in such strong reaction to his immature jibes. His anti-Iran diatribes are entirely counter-productive. And he’s playing the same tune again. Trump’s anti-Pakistan policy is a disaster.

Did Obama Arm Islamic State Killers?

Did Obama Arm Islamic State Killers?

EDITOR’S CHOICE | 23.12.2017

Did Obama Arm Islamic State Killers?

Daniel LAZARE

Did Barack Obama arm ISIS? The question strikes many people as absurd, if not offensive. How can anyone suggest something so awful about a nice guy like the former president? But a stunning report by an investigative group known as Conflict Armament Research (CAR) leaves us little choice but to conclude that he did.

Journalist James Foley shortly before he was executed by an Islamic State operative in August 2014

CAR, based in London and funded by Switzerland and the European Union, spent three years tracing the origin of some 40,000 pieces of captured ISIS arms and ammunition. Its findings, made public last week, are that much of it originated in former Warsaw Pact nations in Eastern Europe, where it was purchased by United States and Saudi Arabia and then diverted, in violation of various rules and treaties, to Islamist rebels seeking to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The rebels, in turn, somehow caused or allowed the equipment to be passed on to Islamic State, which is also known by the acronyms ISIS or ISIL, or just the abbreviation IS.

This is damning stuff since it makes it clear that rather than fighting ISIS, the U.S. government was feeding it.

But CAR turns vague when it comes to the all-important question of precisely how the second leg of the transfer worked. Did the rebels turn the weapons over voluntarily, involuntarily, or did they somehow drop them when ISIS was in close proximity and forget to pick them up? All CAR will say is that “background information … indicates that IS [Islamic State] forces acquired the materiel through varied means, including battlefield capture and the amalgamation of disparate Syrian opposition groups.” It adds that it “cannot rule out direct supply to IS forces from the territories of Jordan and Turkey, especially given the presence of various opposition groups, with shifting allegiances, in cross-border supply locations.” But that’s it.

If so, this suggests an astonishing level of incompetence on the part of Washington. The Syrian rebel forces are an amazingly fractious lot as they merge, split, attack one another and then team up all over again. So how could the White House have imagined that it could keep weapons tossed into this mix from falling into the wrong hands? Considering how each new gun adds to the chaos, how could it possibly keep track? The answer is that it couldn’t, which is why ISIS wound up reaping the benefits.

But here’s the rub. The report implies a level of incompetence that is not just staggering, but too staggering. How could such a massive transfer occur without field operatives not having a clue as to what was going on? Was every last one of them deaf, dumb, and blind?

Not likely. What seems much more plausible is that once the CIA established “plausible deniability” for itself, all it cared about was that the arms made their way to the most effective fighting force, which in Syria happened to be Islamic State.

This is what had happened in Afghanistan three decades earlier when the lion’s share of anti-Soviet aid, some $600 million in all, went to a brutal warlord named Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. Hekmatyar was a raging bigot, a sectarian, and an anti-western xenophobe, qualities that presumably did not endear him to his CIA handlers. But as Steve Coll notes in Ghost Wars, his bestselling 2004 account of the CIA’s love affair with Islamic holy war, he “was the most efficient at killing Soviets” and that was the only thing that mattered. As one CIA officer put it, “analytically, the best fighters – the best-organized fighters – were the fundamentalists” that Hekmatyar led. Consequently, he ended up with the most money.

After all, if you’re funding a neo-medieval uprising, it makes sense to steer the money to the darkest reactionaries of them all. Something similar occurred in March 2015 when Syrian rebels launched an assault on government positions in the northern province of Idlib. The rebel coalition was under the control of Jabhat al-Nusra, as the local branch of Al Qaeda was known at the time, and what Al-Nusra needed most of all were high-tech TOW missiles with which to counter government tanks and trucks.

Arming Al Qaeda

So the Obama administration arranged for Nusra to get them. To be sure, it didn’t provide them directly. To ensure deniability, rather, it allowed Raytheon to sell some 15,000 TOWs to Saudi Arabia in late 2013 and then looked the other way when the Saudis transferred large numbers of them to pro-Nusra forces in Idlib. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “Climbing into bed with Al-Qaeda.”] Al-Nusra had the toughest fighters in the area, and the offensive was sure to send the Assad regime reeling. So even though its people were compatriots with those who destroyed the World Trade Center, Obama’s White House couldn’t say no.

“Nusra have always demonstrated superior planning and battle management,” Yezid Sayigh, a senior associate at the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut, said a few weeks later. If the rebel coalition was successful as a whole, it “was entirely due to their willingness to work with Nusra, who have been the backbone in all of this.”

Scruples, assuming they existed in the first place, fell by the wayside. A senior White House official told The Washington Post that the Obama administration was “not blind to the fact that it is to some extent inevitable” that U.S. weapons would wind up in terrorist hands, but what could you do? It was all part of the game of realpolitik. A senior Washington official crowed that “the trend lines for Assad are bad and getting worse” while The New York Times happily noted that “[t]he Syrian Army has suffered a string of defeats from re-energized insurgents.” So, for the master planners in Washington, it was worth it.

Then there is ISIS, which is even more beyond the pale as most Americans are concerned thanks to its extravagant displays of barbarism and cruelty – its killing of Yazidis and enslavement of Yazidi women and girls, its mass beheadings, its fiery execution of Jordanian fighter pilot Moaz al-Kasasbeh, and so on.

Yet U.S. government attitudes were more ambivalent than most Americans realized. Indeed, the U.S. government was strictly neutral as long as ISIS confined itself to attacking Assad. As a senior defense official told the Wall Street Journal in early 2015: “Certainly, ISIS has been able to expand in Syria, but that’s not our main objective. I wouldn’t call Syria a safe haven for ISIL, but it is a place where it’s easier for them to organize, plan, and seek shelter than it is in Iraq.”

In other words, Syria was a safe haven because, the Journal explained, the U.S. was reluctant to interfere in any way that might “tip the balance of power toward Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who is fighting Islamic State and other rebels.” So the idea was to allow ISIS to have its fun as long as it didn’t bother anyone else. For the same reason, the U.S. refrained from bombing the group when, shortly after the Idlib offensive, its fighters closed in on the central Syrian city of Palmyra, 80 miles or so to the east.  This was despite the fact that the fighters would have made perfect targets while “traversing miles of open desert roads.”

As The New York Times explained: “Any airstrikes against Islamic State militants in and around Palmyra would probably benefit the force of President Bashar al-Assad. So far, United States-led airstrikes in Syria have largely focussed on areas far outside government control, to avoid the perception of aiding a leader whose ouster President Obama has called for.” [See Consortiumnews.com’s “How US-Backed War on Syria Helped ISIS.”]

Looting Palmyra

A Russian orchestra performing at Palmyra’s Roman theater on May 5, 2016, after Syrian troops, backed by Russian air power, reclaimed the ancient city from the Islamic State. (Image from RT’s live-streaming of the event.)

The United States thus allowed ISIS to capture one of the most archeologically important cities in the world, killing dozens of government soldiers and decapitating 83-year-old Khalid al-Asaad, the city’s retired chief of antiquities. (After looting and destroying many of the ancient treasures, ISIS militants were later driven from Palmyra by a Russian-backed offensive by troops loyal to President Assad.)

Obama’s bottom line was: ISIS is very, very bad when it attacks the U.S.-backed regime in Iraq, but less so when it wreaks havoc just over the border in Syria. In September 2016, John Kerry clarified what the administration was up to in a tape-recorded conversation at the U.N. that was later made public. Referring to Russia’s decision to intervene in Syria against ISIS, also known by the Arabic acronym Daesh, the then-Secretary of State told a small knot of pro-rebel sympathizers:

“The reason Russia came in is because ISIL was getting stronger.  Daesh was threatening the possibility of going to Damascus and so forth, and that’s why Russia came in, because they didn’t want a Daesh government and they supported Assad. And we know this was growing. We were watching. We saw that Daesh was growing in strength, and we thought Assad was threatened. We thought, however, we could probably manage, that Assad might then negotiate. Instead of negotiating, he got … Putin in to support him. So it’s truly complicated.”  (Quote starts at 26:10.)

“We were watching.” Kerry said. So, by giving ISIS free rein, the administration hoped to use it as a lever with which to dislodge Assad. As in Afghanistan, the United States thought it could use jihad to advance its own imperial interests. Yet the little people – Syrian soldiers, three thousand office workers in lower Manhattan, Yazidis, the Islamic State’s beheading of Western hostages, etc. – made things “truly complicated.”

Putting this all together, a few things seem clear. One is that the Obama administration was happy to see its Saudi allies use U.S.-made weapons to arm Al Qaeda. Another is that it was not displeased to see ISIS battle Assad’s government as well. If so, how unhappy could it have been if its allies then passed along weapons to the Islamic State so it could battle Assad all the more? The administration was desperate to knock out Assad, and it needed someone to do the job before Vladimir Putin stepped in and bombed ISIS instead.

It was a modern version of Henry II’s lament, “Who will rid me of this meddlesome priest?” The imperative was to get rid of Assad; Obama and his team had no interest in the messy details.

None of which proves that Obama armed ISIS. But unless one believes that the CIA is so monumentally inept that it could screw up a two-car funeral, it’s the only explanation that makes sense. Obama is still a congenial fellow. But he’s a classic liberal who had no desire to interfere with the imperatives of empire and whose idea of realism was therefore to leave foreign policy in the hands of neocons or liberal interventionists like Secretaries of State Hillary Clinton and John Kerry.

If America were any kind of healthy democracy, Congress would not rest until it got to the bottom of what should be the scandal of the decade: Did the U.S. government wittingly or unwittingly arm the brutal killers of ISIS and Al Qaeda? However, since that storyline doesn’t fit with the prevailing mainstream narrative of Washington standing up for international human rights and opposing global terrorism, the troublesome question will likely neither be asked nor answered.

Bombing Afghanistan for Peace and Prosperity

Bombing Afghanistan for Peace and Prosperity

BRIAN CLOUGHLEY | 29.11.2017 | OPINION

Bombing Afghanistan for Peace and Prosperity

In May this year the Carnegie Endowment for Peace assessed that “The security environment in Afghanistan is still precarious… the government remains heavily dependent on foreign aid… the combination of a weakening Afghan regime and an unchecked Taliban resurgence could lead to the catastrophic collapse of the Afghan government and state…”

It is essential that a policy be constructed in order to move the country towards security, peace and prosperity, and this, so far, has involved an increase in US combat troops and expansion of the aerial bombing campaign.

According to the US Air Force, 3,554 bombs and rockets were directed at targets in the first ten months of 2017, including 653 in October, the greatest number since November 2010. Some of the most recent strikes were on 10 supposed drug-production facilities in Helmand Province, and the complexity and expense of the operation were considerable.

The commander of foreign forces in Afghanistan, US General John Nicholson, told the media

that the attacks were “a demonstration of our new authorities… And specifically, in striking northern Helmand and the drug enterprises there, we’re hitting the Taliban where it hurts, which is their finances.”

According to Nicholson there are 400-500 opium production facilities in Afghanistan, so there is some way to go before the drug evil is eradicated at the factory stage, and if the effort to destroy them is confined to air power, the cash cost is going to be prodigious.

The bombing included strikes by some Afghan air force Tucano aircraft, but the main assault was by the US Air Force which for the first time in Afghanistan used its F-22 Raptor aircraft, flown from the United Arab Emirates, and B-52 strategic nuclear bombers based in Qatar. F-16s joined in from the Bagram base near Kabul, and the operation also involved KC-10 and KC-135 refuelers, surveillance aircraft and command and control aircraft.

General Nicholson explained that the Raptor aircraft was used “because of its ability to deliver precision munitions, in this case a 250-pound bomb, small-diameter, that causes the minimum amount of collateral damage.”

It has been calculated that the Raptor “costs $68,362 an hour to fly” and thus the expense of its excursion, including tankers, “could have approached $400,000” exclusive of bombs. The Pentagon’s budget for 2015 show that 246 of these bombs cost 219.1 million dollars. This means that the US taxpayer pays $890,000 for each one, which makes the cost of the Raptor strike a remarkably expensive operation. Then General Nicholson said that one of his B-52s dropped “six 500-pound, low-collateral-damage, precision-guided munitions” in order “to keep the collateral damage to an absolute minimum, and we did.”

While it is laudable that General Nicholson wants to minimise collateral damage by using 500 pound bombs, he appeared to veer off course slightly and showed a video of “another B-52 strike on another Taliban narcotics production facility. Now, this particular facility was the largest one we struck last night [November 19], with over 50 barrels of opium cooking at the time of the strike… So this was a B-52 strike, several 2,000-pound bombs, and it completely obliterated the facility.” Presumably the 2000 pound bombs were also precision-guided, in order to avoid collateral damage in accomplishment of complete obliteration.

The general noted that in Afghanistan “We’ve dropped more munitions this year than in any year since 2012. These new authorities give me the ability to go after the enemy in ways that I couldn’t before” and he intends to expand the bombing campaign next year.

The “new authorities” are the orders of President Trump to increase the intensity of the war because “I took over a mess, and we’re going to make it a lot less messy,” and General Nicholson is pleased that “we’re hitting the Taliban where it hurts, which is their finances,” although he did say “we are not going after the farmers that are growing the poppy.”

Of course the US air force should not target Afghan farmers — but bombing opium factories will not result in financial ruin of the Taliban. The heroin industry is extremely lucrative, and in Afghanistan the beneficiaries include very many more people other than Taliban adherents. It is, after all, the eighth most corrupt country in the world.

After the Helmand blitz, Reuters reported a poppy farmer, Mohammad Nabi, as saying that “The Taliban will not be affected by this as much as ordinary people. Farmers are not growing poppies for fun. If factories are closed and businesses are gone, then how will they provide food for their families?” Has General Nicholson got an answer to that?

The Voice of America reported in May 2017 that “Since 2002, the US has spent more than $8.5 billion on counternarcotics in Afghanistan — about $1.5 million a day” while “only 13 of the country’s 34 provinces were reported poppy-free in 2016, and this number has dropped into single digits this year.” The UN Office on Drugs and Crime published its Afghanistan Opium Survey on November 15, and observed that “many elements continue to influence farmers’ decisions regarding opium poppy cultivation. Rule of law-related challenges, such as political instability, lack of government control and security, as well as corruption, have been found to be main drivers of illicit cultivation.”

What a shambles. And Washington’s solution is to bomb it.

Nicholson said that farmers “are largely compelled to grow the poppy and this is kind of a tragic part of the story.” Of course the farmers are “compelled to grow” a crop for sale. And it’s more than “kind of tragic.” It’s a catastrophe, because Afghanistan remains the world’s leading producer of opium.

The farmers would stop producing poppy if there were markets for other crops whose cultivation would provide them a decent living. As long ago as 2004 the US Assistant Secretary for International Narcotics, Robert Charles, told Congress that “To destroy Afghanistan’s opium economy, alternatives to the pernicious cycle of opium credit, cultivation and harvest must be available to rural communities.” So billions of dollars were poured into anti-narcotics campaigns and the result is that after twelve years “the level of opium poppy cultivation is a new record high.”

In March 2012 Donald Trump tweeted that “Afghanistan is a total disaster. We don’t know what we are doing. They are, in addition to everything else, robbing us blind.” Little has changed, except that 45 percent of Afghanistan’s districts are controlled or contested by the Taliban, and General Nicholson acknowledges that “we are still in a stalemate.” But Trump has been persuaded to declare that the US will “fight to win”. So the campaign of airstrikes will continue, and Afghanistan will be bombed towards peace and prosperity.

The Raqqa Exodus: The US Coalition’s “Secret Deal” to Allow ISIS-Daesh Terrorists to Escape…

Global Research, November 27, 2017

Defense Secretary James “Mad Dog” Mattis confirmed in May Washington’s resolve to annihilate the ISIS-Daesh terrorists:

“Our intention is that the foreign fighters do not survive the fight to return home to north Africa, to Europe, to America, to Asia, to Africa. We are not going to allow them to do so… (emphasis added, quoted in the BBC report entitled Raqqa’s Dirty Secret)

That was the “political narrative” of the Pentagon. The unspoken truth is that Uncle Sam had come to the rescue of the Islamic State. That decision was in all likelihood taken and carried on the orders of the Pentagon rather than the US State Department.

Confirmed by a BBC report entitled “Raqqa’s Dirty Secret, the US-led coalition facilitated the exodus of ISIS terrorists and their family members  out of their stronghold in Raqqa, Northern Syria.

Screen Shot of BBC Report

While the BBC report focussed on the details of the smuggling operation, it nonetheless acknowledges the existence of a “Secret Deal” involving the US and its indefectible British ally to let the terrorists escape from Raqqa.

Screenshot BBC Report

The deal to let IS fighters escape from Raqqa – de facto capital of their self-declared caliphate – had been arranged by local officials. It came after four months of fighting that left the city obliterated and almost devoid of people. It would spare lives and bring fighting to an end. The lives of the Arab, Kurdish and other fighters opposing IS would be spared.

But it also enabled many hundreds of IS fighters to escape from the city. At the time, neither the US and British-led coalition, nor the SDF, which it backs, wanted to admit their part.

Has the pact, which stood as Raqqa’s dirty secret, unleashed a threat to the outside world – one that has enabled militants to spread far and wide across Syria and beyond?

Great pains were taken to hide it from the world. But the BBC has spoken to dozens of people who were either on the convoy, or observed it, and to the men who negotiated the deal. …

This wasn’t so much an evacuation – it was the exodus of [the] so-called Islamic State.

(Quentin Sommerville and Riam Dalati, Raqqa’s Dirty SecretBBC, November 2017, emphasis added)

US-led coalition warplanes had been monitoring the evacuation of the ISIS terrorists, but visibly the convoys of buses and trucks were not the object of coalition bombings.

“The coalition now confirms that while it did not have its personnel on the ground, it monitored the convoy from the air. [but no actual aerial bombardment of the convoys took place] …

In light of the BBC investigation, the coalition now admits the part it played in the deal….” (Ibid)

If they had wanted to undermine the ISIS convoy of buses and trucks, this would have been a simple operation for the US Air Force. On the other hand, they could have chosen to block rather than destroy the convoys of trucks and buses (to minimize the loss of life) and detain and incarcerate the foreign fighters.

US officials casually claimed they did not take part in the negotiations and were therefore unable to prevent the exodus of the terrorists:

“We didn’t want anyone to leave,” says Col Ryan Dillon, spokesman for Operation Inherent Resolve, the Western coalition against IS.

“It comes down to Syrians – they are the ones fighting and dying, they get to make the decisions regarding operations,” he says.

While a Western officer was present for the negotiations, they didn’t take an “active part” in the discussions. Col Dillon maintains, … (Ibid)

What is revealing is that most of the ISIS fighters were foreign from a large number of countries pointing to a carefully organized recruitment and training program:

“… There was a huge number of foreigners. France, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Pakistan, Yemen, Saudi, China, Tunisia, Egypt…”

“Most were foreign but there were Syrians as well.” …

He now charges $600 (£460) per person and a minimum of $1,500 for a family.

In this business, clients don’t take kindly to inquiries. But Imad says he’s had “French, Europeans, Chechens, Uzbek”.

“Some were talking in French, others in English, others in some foreign language,” he says. (Ibid)

Screenshot of BBC article

The BBC report suggests a carefully formulated plan to ensure the safe evacuation of the terrorists. The official explanation was that the deal has been brokered by the US supported Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). The US-led coalition “let it happen”, they did not intervene militarily to prevent the exodus and smuggling of the foreign fighters out of Raqqa.

This should come as no surprise. From the very outset in 2014, ISIS-Daesh was supported by the US-led coalition, with the active support of Saudi Arabia. The US and its allies are the State sponsors of the Islamic State (ISIS-Daesh).

Weapons, training, logistics: the ISIS is a US intelligence construct. The ISIS-Daesh terrorists are the foot-soldiers of US-NATO.

The US-led bombings of Iraq and Syria–under the guise of a phony “war on terrorism”– were not directed at ISIS-Daesh. The terrorists were protected by the US led Coalition. The unspoken objective was to kill civilians and destroy the civilian infrastructure of both Syria and Iraq.

Déjà Vu:  

Exodus of ISIS from Raqqa, Syria (2017) vs. Exodus of Al Qaeda “Enemy Combatants” out of  Kundus, Afghanistan (2001)

Is there a pattern in the evacuation of U.S. sponsored terrorists?

Flashback to another US led war. Afghanistan 2001. The objective for the U.S. is ultimately to protect their “intelligence assets”.

The October 2017 ‘Raqqa exodus” bears a canny resemblance to the November 2001 “Getaway” out of Kunduz, ordered by Donald Rumsfeld. In both cases the objective was for the Pentagon and the CIA to organize the escape (and relocation) of US sponsored foreign jihahist fighters.

In late November 2001, according to Seymour M. Hersh, the Northern Alliance supported by US bombing raids took control of the hill town of Kunduz in Northern Afghanistan:

‘[Eight thousand or more men] had been trapped inside the city in the last days of the siege, roughly half of whom were Pakistanis.  Afghans, Uzbeks, Chechens, and various Arab mercenaries accounted for the rest.” (Seymour M. Hersh, The Getaway, The New Yorker, 28 January 2002.

Also among these fighters were several senior Pakistani military and intelligence officers, who had been sent to the war theater by the Pakistani military. The presence of high-ranking Pakistani military and intelligence advisers in the ranks of Taliban/ Al Qaeda forces was known and approved by Washington.

President Bush had intimated: “We’re smoking them out. They’re running, and now we’re going to bring them to justice.” (see CNN, November 26, 2001). They were never smoked out. They were airlifted to safety.

On the orders of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, the exodus (airlifting) of Al Qaeda fighters had been facilitated by US forces in liaison with the Pakistan military:

“The Administration ordered the US Central Command to set up a special air corridor to help insure the safety of the Pakistani rescue flights from Kunduz to the northwest corner of Pakistan”

… According to a former high-level American defense official, the airlift was approved because of representations by the Pakistanis that “there were guys- intelligence agents and underground guys-who needed to get out.” (Seymour Hersh, op cit)

In other words, the official story was: it was not our decision:  “we were tricked into it” by the Pakistani ISI.

Out of some 8000 or more men, 3300 surrendered to the Northern Alliance, leaving between 4000 and 5000 men “unaccounted for”. According to Hersh’s investigation, based on Indian intelligence sources, at least 4000 men including two Pakistani Army generals were evacuated. (Ibid)

The same sense of denial prevailed. US officials admitted, however, that

“what was supposed to be a limited evacuation apparently slipped out of control, and, as an unintended consequence, an unknown number of Taliban and Al Qaeda fighters managed to join in the exodus.”  (quoted in Hersh op cit)

“Unintended evacuation” of Al Qaeda fighters?

 “Terrorists”  and “Intelligence Assets” 

Compare Seymour Hersh’s account in the “Getaway” out of Kunduz pertaining to the US sponsored evacuation of  hard core Al Qaeda and Taliban fighters to the “Escape” of ISIS-Daesh fighters out of the besieged city of Raqqa in Northern Syria.

The foreign and Pakistani Al Qaeda fighters were flown to North Pakistan, to the areas which were subsequently the object of US drone attacks. Many of these fighters were also incorporated into the two main Kashmiri terrorist rebel groups, Lashkar-e-Taiba (“Army of the Pure”) and Jaish-e-Muhammad (“Army of Mohammed”).

What is the next destination of the foreign fighters who have been evacuated out of Raqqa, with the support of the US Military?

To read the complete BBC report entitled Raqqa’s Dirty Secret,by Quentin Sommerville and Riam Dalati click here 

Pentagon Wants Afghan Child Sex Abuse Report Classified

Source

Senate Officials Say Pentagon Opposed Probe in the First Place

Earlier this month, a Pentagon inspector general reported that several troops had been told to “ignore” any signs of Afghan security forces sexually abusing children, though the report insisted this was not a “formal guidance” from the Pentagon leadership.

A far more specific report from the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), however, will not see the light of day at all if the Pentagon has anything to say about it, with the military leadership saying it needs to remain classified.

Senate officials, who requested the SIGAR inquiry in the first place, noted that the military was very opposed to having a second inquiry going separate from the internal inspector general probe. That’s unsurprising, as the Pentagon tends to be unhappy with SIGAR’s vocal criticism of the military’s misdeeds.

Pentagon officials are defending the decision to classify the SIGAR report, but offering no excuse for doing so, rather insisting that they want the focus to be on the much tamer report from two weeks ago.

Child sex abuse has been a recurring problem in the Afghan military since the 2001 US occupation began. US officials are loathe to see the Afghan military’s abuses too highly publicized, and this is seen as a continuation of that effort to cover up their crimes.

IG: US Has Installed Child Rapists in Afghanistan

IG: US Has Installed Child Rapists in Afghanistan

SEE ALSO

An Afghan boy looks on he stands at the site of a landslide that killed at least 350 people and leaving thousands of others feared dead at the Argo district in Badakhshan,inputted on May 4th, 2014. Farshad Usyan/AFP/Getty Images.   An Afghan boy looks on he stands at the site of a landslide that killed at least 350 people and leaving thousands of others feared dead at the Argo district in Badakhshan,inputted on May 4th, 2014. Farshad Usyan/AFP/Getty Images.   

US Troops Taught For Years Child Sex Abuse Is ‘Culturally Accepted’ In Afghanistan

Jonah Bennett and Saagar Enjeti

U.S. troops deploying to Afghanistan were taught for years that child sex abuse is a “culturally accepted practice” in the country, and were provided no guidance that it constituted a violation of the law and human rights until late 2015.

A new Pentagon inspector general report reveals that although troops weren’t explicitly discouraged from reporting cases of child sex abuse, the issue was not discussed until numerous media outlets reported that troops were encouraged to ignore local Afghan officials abusing little boys.

Interviews of troops from the report suggest that military officials didn’t really care much about stopping child sex abuse.

“In some cases, the interviewees explained that they, or someone whom they knew, were told that nothing could be done about child sexual abuse because of Afghanistan’s status as a sovereign nation, that it was not a priority for the command, or that it was best to ignore the situation and to let the local police handle it,” the report noted.

One interviewee said after he reported an Afghan commander who abused little boys to his chain of command, he was told: “It was out of our control” and “There’s nothing we can do about it” and “It’s their country.”

“Soldiers [were] told to ignore it and drive on,” another interviewee stated.

The cultural presentation sailors had to undergo stated that pedophilia is an issue in Afghanistan, but added that readers should “control and overcome any frustration caused by cultural differences that they may experience during their deployments.”

Additionally, the presentation advised sailors that they should ask their chains of command what to do in specific circumstances.

Marine Corps cultural training told Marines that they “need to understand the culture, accept it without making judgments, and figure out how to work with it or around it to accomplish your mission.”

The training also said that sometimes Afghan men joke about pedophilia, but Marines should just ignore it and “move on.”

Marines were not given any guidance about what they should do if they ever encounter instances of pedophilia.

The inspector general’s finding was damning. Effectively, the military only started to care about the problem of pedophilia and abuse after media outlets started reporting on the issue.

“We determined that the DoD did not conduct training for personnel on identifying, responding to, or reporting instances of child sexual abuse involving ANDSF personnel before 2015,” the report noted.

While troops have been told to report human rights violations since 2011, child sex abuse was not declared as a violation until September 2016. Between 2010 and 2016, 16 cases of child sex abuse were reported to the Pentagon, but because no proper reporting mechanisms existed, the exact number of cases is unknown.

The first explicit guidance to report child sex abuse only came about in September 2015, following a report from The New York Times, which interviewed former soldiers. They stated they were told to ignore child sex abuse, despite hearing the screams of boys being sexually abused by high-level Afghan officials on U.S. military installations.

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