Aletho News

ΑΛΗΘΩΣ

As deadline nears for Trump-negotiated Afghanistan withdrawal, press prepares public to accept its breach

RT | February 21, 2021

The Biden administration is expected to break the Trump-negotiated deal with the Taliban and keep NATO troops in Afghanistan, according to media reports, and this is supposedly the right thing to do.

The agreement signed in Doha in late February 2020 sets May 1 as the deadline for a full withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan. The Pentagon currently has 2,500 service personnel deployed in the country, with NATO allies fielding some 7,000 more. Under the agreement, the Taliban pledged to make sure the territory under its control is not used by international terrorist groups to launch attacks on the US and to negotiate a peace deal with the US-propped government in Kabul.

While the Taliban did deliver on the promise it gave a year ago not to attack foreign troops, any hope of a reduction in violence in Afghanistan has faltered in the year since. The Biden administration has therefore ordered a review of the agreement, and “the overwhelming consensus among Afghan leaders, foreign diplomats and Western army officers” is that “the US will abandon the deadline,” according to the Sunday Times.

The prediction in the British newspaper comes from veteran war correspondent Anthony Loyd and follows a slew of other news reports outlining Biden’s Afghanistan conundrum and opinion pieces that rationalize breaking the deal.

The Democratic president has inherited a “mess” from Trump and has no good options, according to CNN, which said NATO allies are “growing increasingly concerned” about the situation. If he does withdraw, he would share some of the blame “if there is a collapse of the elected Afghan government,” the New York Times said. And a Taliban takeover would be disastrous for human rights, especially for the rights of women, Deutsche Welle warned.

Keeping Trump’s word and leaving now “would carry a reputational risk for the United States,” because it would “embolden jihadists and perhaps rejuvenate their movement, which has been in retreat,” columnist David Ignatius said. “And there would be an unmeasurable cost to American credibility.” So, of course Biden should listen to his head, not his heart, and keep “a small but sustainable force in Afghanistan,” which would cost relatively little and give the benefit of “checking terrorists, supporting NATO allies, and giving the Kabul government a fighting chance.”

The nudging press stops short of calling the Doha agreement “the worst deal ever made” the way Trump did with the Obama-era nuclear deal with Iran, but they might just as well have done so. The accord with Tehran was scrapped by Trump, but Biden is reluctant to simply deliver on the commitments made by Obama, even if it was one of the crowning achievements of his former boss’ diplomacy. With the Doha deal, history may repeat itself.

But if Biden follows the advice and reneges on the terms agreed to by his predecessor, how will it be read by the Taliban? Or Tehran, or Pyongyang, or Beijing, or Moscow? Probably as the latest proof that a deal with Washington is not worth the paper it’s written on.

The pattern of the US back-pedaling on its promises once there’s a change of leadership in the White House existed long before Trump. This was the case with assurances made to Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev that NATO would not expand into Eastern Europe after the reunification of Germany, for example.

The same thing happened with the 1994 Agreed Framework with North Korea. It was meant to prevent Pyongyang from going nuclear, and thus offered it some concessions, such as building proliferation-proof nuclear power plants. But the George W Bush administration eagerly scrapped it, courtesy of one John Bolton.

Even if given to an ally, Washington’s word is not necessarily solid. Pakistan, for instance, was famously denied the right to purchase F-16 fighter jets after the Soviet withdrawal from neighboring Afghanistan in 1989 made Islamabad a less crucial partner for the US.

Proponents of US global dominance, such as Robert Kagan, say the US is indispensable as a custodian of liberal world order and lament the fact that many Americans are not willing to embrace this role. That they “refer to the relatively low-cost military involvements in Afghanistan and Iraq as ‘forever wars’ is just the latest example of their intolerance for the messy and unending business of preserving a general peace and acting to forestall threats,” the neoconservative commentator and spouse of Victoria Nuland, the Biden-nominated under-secretary of state for political affairs, said in a recent opinion piece.

The ‘low cost’ in Afghanistan was 3,500 dead coalition troops and over $2 trillion dollars in direct and indirect spending. So, what does the US have to show for it? The longest-lasting war in its history that nevertheless failed to produce a self-sustaining government in Kabul. Withdrawal may be perceived as the US losing the war to the Taliban, but what a victory is supposed to look like remains a mystery.

February 21, 2021 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , , | Leave a comment

No decision on any NATO withdrawal from Afghanistan: Stoltenberg

Press TV – February 18, 2021

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg says defense ministers from the Western military alliance made no decision at a recent meeting in Brussels on whether or when to pull out of war-torn Afghanistan.

“At this stage, we have made no final decision on the future of our presence,” Stoltenberg said after a video conference with allied defense ministers on Thursday.

The defense ministers met to discuss the possibility of staying in Afghanistan beyond the May withdrawal deadline agreed between the Taliban militant group and the United States under the administration of former US President Donald Trump.

Key on the agenda at the two-day virtual conference in Brussels was the future of the US-led forces in the war-torn country.

The NATO chief said US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin promised to consult with partners on the way forward.

“As the May 1 deadline is approaching, NATO allies will continue to closely consult and coordinate in the coming weeks. We are faced with many dilemmas, and there are no easy options,” Stoltenberg said.

“If we stay beyond the first of May, we risk more violence, more attacks against our own troops … But if we leave, then we will also risk that the gains that we have made are lost.”

The administration of President Joe Biden is reviewing whether to stick to the looming deadline to withdraw or risk a bloody backlash from the Taliban.

Other NATO members have signaled a desire within the alliance to stay in Afghanistan beyond the deadline. They are willing to remain in Afghanistan if Washington does so.

German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer said on Wednesday that the Taliban must do more to meet the terms of a 2020 agreement with Washington on the withdrawal of US.forces to allow a pullout of the foreign troops.

“We can already say that we are not yet in a position to talk about the withdrawal of international forces from Afghanistan,” the German minister said as she arrived for the meeting.

“This also means a changed security situation, an increased threat for the international forces, also for our own forces. We have to prepare for this, and we will certainly discuss this.”

Nearly two decades after the US-led invasion, Trump struck a deal with the Taliban in the Qatari capital of Doha early last year.

The former White House tenant reached the accord in February 2020, under which the US and its NATO allies are expected to withdraw all troops in 14 months in exchange for the Taliban to halt attacks on foreign forces.

President Biden, however, has said his administration would not commit to a full withdrawal by May.

The United Nations says more than 100,000 civilians have been killed or injured over the past decade across Afghanistan.

February 19, 2021 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism | , , , | 1 Comment

Why Victoria Nuland Is Dangerous and Should Not be Confirmed

By Rick Sterling | Global Research | February 11, 2021

Victoria Nuland exemplifies the neocons who have led US foreign policy from one disaster to another for the past 30 years while evading accountability. It is a bad sign that [proclaimed] President Joe Biden has nominated Victoria Nuland for the third highest position at the State Department, Under Secretary for Political Affairs.

As a top-level appointee, Victoria Nuland must be confirmed by the US Senate. There is a campaign to Stop her confirmation. The following review of her work shows why Victoria Nuland is incompetent, highly dangerous and should not be confirmed.

Afghanistan and Iraq

From 2000 to 2003, Nuland was US permanent representative to NATO as the Bush administration attacked then invaded Afghanistan. The Afghan government offered to work with the US remove Al Qaeda, but this was rejected. After Al Qaeda was defeated, the US could have left Afghanistan but instead stayed, established semi-permanent bases, split the country, and is still fighting there two decades later.

From 2003 to 2005 Nuland was principal foreign policy advisor to Vice President Dick Cheney who “helped plan and manage the war that toppled Saddam Hussein, including making Bush administration’s case for preemptive military actions based on Iraq’s alleged weapons of mass destruction.” The foreign policy establishment, with Nuland on the far right, believed that removing Saddam Hussein and installing a US “ally” would be simple.

The invasion and continuing occupation have resulted in over a million dead Iraqis, many thousands of dead Americans, hundreds of thousands with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder at a cost of 2 to 6 TRILLION dollars.

From 2005 to 2008 Victoria Nuland was US Ambassador to NATO where her role was to “strengthen Allied support” for the occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq.

On the 10th anniversary of the invasion, when asked about the lessons learned Nuland responded “Compared to where we were in the Saddam era, we now have a bilateral security agreement … We have deep economic interests and ties. We have a security relationship. We have a political relationship.” Nuland is oblivious to the costs. Nuland’s loyalties are to the elite who have benefitted from the tragedy. According to online google, “One of the top profiteers from the Iraq War was oil field services corporation, Halliburton. Halliburton gained $39.5 billion in ‘federal contracts related to the Iraq war.’ Nuland’s boss, Vice President Dick Cheney, was the former the CEO of Halliburton.

In January 2020, seventeen years after the US invasion, the Iraqi parliament passed a resolution demanding the US troops and contractors leave. Now, over one year later, they still have not left.

Libya

In spring 2011, Victoria Nuland became State Department spokesperson under Hillary Clinton as she ramped up the “regime change” assault on Moammar Ghaddafi of Libya. UN Security Council resolution 1973 authorized a “No Fly Zone” for the protection of civilians but NOT an air assault on Libyan government forces.

That summer, as US and others bombed and attacked Libyan forces, she dismissed the option of a peaceful transition in Libya and falsely suggested the UN Security Council required the removal of Ghaddafi.

The campaign led to the toppling of the Libyan government and killing of Ghadaffy. Commenting on the murder and bayonet sodomizing of Ghaddafi, Nuland’s boss Hillary Clinton chortled “We came, we saw, he died.”

Before the overthrow, Libya had the highest standard of living in all of Africa. Since the US led assault, Libya has become a failed state with competing warlords, huge inflation, huge unemployment, and exploding extremism and violence that has spread to neighboring countries. Most of the migrants who have crossed the Mediterranean trying to reach Europe, or drowned trying to, are coming from Libya. By any measure, the goal of “protecting” Libyan civilians has failed spectacularly.

Syria

One reason that Clinton and hawks such as Nuland wanted to overthrow Ghaddafi was to get access to the Libyan military arsenal. That way they could funnel arms to insurgents seeking to overthrow the Syrian government. This was confirmed in secret DOD documents which state: “During the immediate aftermath of, and following the uncertainty caused by, the downfall of the ((Qaddafi)) regime in October 2011 and up until early September of 2012, weapons from the former Libya military stockpiles located in Benghazi, Libya were shipped from the port of Benghazi, Libya to the ports of Banias and the Port of Borj Islam, Syria”

In January 2012, Nuland claimed the US is “on the side of those wanting peaceful change in Syria.” While saying this, the US was supplying sniper rifles, rocket propelled grenades, and 125 mm and 155 mm howitzer missiles to the “peaceful” protestors.

The US “regime change” strategy for Syria followed the pattern of Libya. First, claim that the protestors are peaceful. Then claim the government response is disproportionate. Put pressure on the target government to paralyze it, while increasing support to proxy protesters and terrorists. As documented, there were violent Syrian protesters from the start. During the first days of protest in Deraa in mid-March 2011, seven police were killed. As spokesperson for the State Department, Nuland was a major figure promoting the false narrative to justify the “regime change” campaign.

Ukraine

In September 2013 Victoria Nuland was appointed Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs. The uprising in the central plaza known as the Maidan began soon after her arrival. To underscore the US support for the protests, Nuland and Senator John McCain passed out bread and cookies to the crowd.

Protests continued into January 2014. The immediate issue was whether to accept a loan from the International Monetary Fund which was going to require a 40% increase in natural gas bills or to accept a loan from Russia with the inclusion of cheap oil and gas. The opposition wanted the Yanukovych government to take the EU/IMF loan. The opposition was comprised of different factions, including the neo-Nazi Svoboda Party and Right Sector.

In early February 2014, an audio recording of Victoria Nuland talking the US Ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt, was leaked to the public. The 4-minute conversation was a media sensation because it included Victoria Nuland saying, “Fuck the EU.”.

But Nuland’s cursing was a distraction from what was truly significant. The recording showed that Nuland was meddling in domestic Ukraine affairs, had direct contacts with key opposition leaders, and was managing the protests to the extent she was deciding who would and would not be in the post-coup government! She says, “I don’t think Klitsch [Vitaly Klitschko] should go into government…… I think Yats [Arseniy Yatseniuk] is the guy… “

The reason she wanted to “Fuck the EU” was because she did not approve the EU negotiations and compromise. Nuland and Pyatt wanted to “midwife” and “glue” the toppling of the Yanukovych government despite it being in power after an election that was observed and substantially approved by the OSCE (Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe).

Over the next few weeks, the protests escalated. The President of the American Chamber of Commerce in Kiev, Bernard Casey, described what happened next. “On February 18-20, snipers massacred about 100 people [both protestors and police] on the Maidan …. Although the US Ambassador and the opposition blamed the Yanukovych Administration, the evidence points to the shots coming from a hotel controlled by the ultranationalists, and the ballistics revealed that the protestors and the police were all shot with the same weapons.”

The Estonian Foreign Minister later said the same thing: “behind the  snipers it was not Yanukovych, but it was somebody from the new (opposition) coalition”.

President of the American Chamber of Commerce President for Ukraine, Bernard Casey, continues: “On February 20, 2014 an EU delegation moderated negotiations between President Yanukovych and the protestors, agreeing to early elections – in May 2014 instead of February 2015…. Despite the signing of an agreement … the ultranationalist protestors, and their American sponsors, rejected it, and stepped up their campaign of violence.”

The coup was finalized over the coming days.  Yanukovych fled to for his life and Yatsenyuk became President after the coup as planned.

One of the first acts of the coup leadership was to remove Russian as an official state language, even though it is the first language of millions of Ukrainians, especially in the south and east. Over the coming period, the “birth” of the coup government, violence by ultranationalists and neo-Nazis was prevalent. In Odessa, they attacked people peacefully protesting the coup. This video shows the sequence of events with the initial attack followed by fire-bombing the building where protestors had retreated. Fire trucks were prevented from reaching the building to put out the fire and rescue citizens inside. Forty-two people died and a 100 were injured.

bus convoy heading back to Crimea was attacked with the anti-coup passengers beaten and some killed.

In the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine, protests against the coup were met by deadly force.

Victoria Nuland claims to be a “victim” because her conversation was leaked publicly. The real victims are the many thousands of Ukrainians who have died and hundreds of thousands who have become refugees because of Nuland’s crusade to bring Ukraine into NATO.

The audio recording confirms that Nuland was managing the protests at a top level and the results (Yats is the guy) was as planned. Thus, it is probable that Nuland approved the decision to 1) deploy snipers to escalate the crisis and 2) overturn the EU mediated agreement which would have led to elections in just 3 months.

Why were snipers deployed on February 18? Probably because time was running out. The Russian leadership was distracted with the Sochi Olympic Games ending on February 23. Perhaps the coup managers were in a hurry to “glue” it in advance.

Russia

During the 1990’s, Nuland worked for the State Department on Russia related issues including a stint as deputy director for former Soviet Union affairs. The US meddled in Russian internal affairs in myriad ways. Time magazine proudly proclaimed “Yanks to the rescue: the secret story of how American advisors helped Yeltsin win.” The Yeltsin leadership and policies pushed by the US had disastrous consequences. Between 1991 and 1999, Russian Gross Domestic Product decreased by nearly 50% as the social safety net was removed. The Russian economy collapsed, oligarchs and lawlessness arose. Nuland was part of the US group meddling in Russia, deploying economic “shock therapy” and causing widespread social despair.

Meanwhile, the U.S. reneged on promises to Soviet leader Gorbachev that NATO would not expand “one inch” eastward. Instead, NATO became an offensive pact, bombing Yugoslavia in violation of international law and then absorbing Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, the Baltic states, the Czech Republic, Albania, Croatia and more.

Coming into power in 2000, Putin clamped down on the oligarchs, restored order and started rebuilding the economy. Oligarchs were forced to pay taxes and start investing in productive enterprises. The economy and confidence were restored. Over seven years, GDP went from $1300 billion (US dollars) to $2300 billion.  That is why Putin’s public approval rating has been consistently high, ranging between 85% and a “low” approval rating of 60%.

Most Americans are unaware of these facts. Instead, Putin and Russia are persistently demonized. This has been convenient for the Democratic Party establishment which needed a distraction for their dirty tricks against Bernie Sanders and subsequent loss to Donald Trump. The demonization of Russia is also especially useful and profitable for the military industrial media complex.

Victoria Nuland boosted the “Steele Dossier” which alleged collaboration between Russia and Trump and other salacious claims. The allegations filled the media and poisoned attitudes to Russia.  Belatedly, the truth about the “Steele Dossier” is coming out. Last summer the Wall Street Journal reported “the bureau (FBI) knew the Russia info was phony in 2017” and that “There was no factual basis to the dossier’s claims”.

While promoting disinformation, Victoria Nuland is pushing for a more aggressive US foreign policy. In an article titled “Pinning Down Putin”, she says “Russia’s threat to the liberal world has grown”, that Washington should “deter and roll back dangerous behavior by the Kremlin” and “rebuff Russian encroachments in hot spots around the world.”

The major “hot spots” are the conflicts which Victoria Nuland and other Washington neocons promoted, especially Syria and Ukraine. In Syria, the US and allies have spent hundreds of BILLIONS of dollars promoting the overthrow of the Assad government. So far, they have failed but have not given up. The facts are clear: US troops and military bases in Syria do not have the authorization of the Syrian government.  They are actively stealing the precious oil resources of the Syrian state. It is the US not Russia that is “encroaching”. The dangerous behavior is by Washington not Moscow.

Conclusion

Victoria Nuland has promoted a foreign policy of intervention through coups, proxy wars, aggression, and ongoing occupations. The policy has been implemented with bloody and disastrous results in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Ukraine.

With consummate hypocrisy she accuses Russia of spreading misinformation in the US, while she openly seeks to put “stress on Putin where he is vulnerable, including among his own citizens.” She wants to “establish permanent bases along NATO’s eastern border and increase the pace and visibility of joint training exercises.”

Victoria Nuland is the queen of chicken hawks, the Lady Macbeth of perpetual war. There are hundreds of thousands of victims from the policies she has promoted. Yet she has not received a scratch. On the contrary, Victoria Nuland probably has profited from a stock portfolio filled with military contractors.

Now Victoria Nuland wants to provoke, threaten and “rollback” Russia. A quick look at a map of US military bases shows who is threatening whom.

Victoria Nuland is  dangerous and should not be confirmed.

*

Rick Sterling is an investigative journalist in the SF Bay Area. He can be reached at rsterling1@protonmail.com.

February 11, 2021 Posted by | War Crimes | , , , | 2 Comments

US forces ‘transporting by choppers’ Daesh terrorists in Afghanistan: Taliban

Press TV – February 1, 2021

The Taliban says the US occupation forces in Afghanistan are engaged in “transporting by their choppers” members of the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group in the war-torn country’s east.

Senior members of a Taliban delegation, who are on an official visit to Iran for talks on the Afghan peace process and relevant topics, made the assertion in a news conference in Tehran on Monday, saying that the US forces in Afghanistan are assisting the Daesh terrorists to escape the areas that are coming under the Taliban control.

“Daesh were in Nangarhar and Kunar; they existed in those areas. They were eliminated by the Taliban there but their members were transferred by choppers,” Suhail Shaheen, a negotiating member of the Taliban told reporters, adding, “When the Taliban laid a siege on them, we saw that only American choppers could fly as the Afghan airspace is fully under the control of Americans.”

The senior Taliban member also referred to the escalation of violence in Afghanistan after the US-Taliban deal last February and said the US forces were to blame as they defaulted on their obligation to end their occupation and resumed the assault.

“After the signing of the agreement, we gave a chance to the Americans to withdraw their troops from Afghanistan and we were committed not to launch any attacks, so if they terminated the occupation we were committed to refrain from any assaults or attacks so it would pave the way for intra-Afghan talks but unfortunately new attacks were launched against us and we were forced to defend ourselves and they even tried to capture our region and they conducted nightly attacks,” he said.

“We have no access to the media but they have. They attribute violence to us and that is not true. They start the violence. They start the violent action and that’s still continuing.”

During the news conference, the Taliban negotiator said the group was after an “inclusive system and establishment” in Afghanistan and not after “monopolizing power,” adding that they would reconsider the agreement with US ‎if foreign forces failed to withdraw from Afghanistan.

“We have resisted the occupation of Afghanistan for 20 years and we will continue resistance against occupation if foreign forces remain in the country,” the senior Taliban member said.

Last week, the Taliban political delegation arrived in Tehran at the invitation of the Iranian Foreign Ministry, the latest of such visits that have been paid several times over the past months.

Iran strongly supports the realization of peace and stability in Afghanistan, which has been embroiled in decades of militancy fueled by foreign military intervention.

The intra-Afghan talks started after the United States agreed to withdraw 12,000 US troops from Afghanistan in exchange for the Taliban’s halting of their attacks on international forces under a deal between the two sides in February 2020.

The deal was intended to result in the reduction of bloodshed, but violence continues to take a heavy toll on the country.

In recent months, deadly attacks and high-profile assassinations have seen a rise in Afghanistan. The Taliban have denied responsibility for the killings, but Afghan and US officials have pinned the blame on the group.

Despite the ongoing talks between Kabul and the Taliban, the administration of US President Joe Biden has said it would review the peace deal reached last year.

The US first invaded Afghanistan in 2001 under the banner of fighting “terrorism.” The invasion toppled the Taliban, but the group has never stopped its attacks, citing the foreign military presence as one of the main reasons behind its continued militancy.

Since the US invasion of Afghanistan, Washington has spent more than two trillion dollars for the war on the impoverished country, according to some estimates. Over 2,400 US soldiers and tens of thousands of Afghan civilians have been killed.

February 1, 2021 Posted by | Illegal Occupation | , | 1 Comment

Taliban Warns of ‘Consequences’ Amid Reports That Biden Has Scrapped Trump Pledge on Afghan Pullout

By Ilya Tsukanov – Sputnik – 31.01.2021

The Trump administration reached a peace deal with the Taliban last February, with the agreement envisioning a complete pullout of foreign troops from Afghanistan by May 2021, intra-Afghan peace talks, and a pledge by the militant group not to allow the country to become a haven for terrorists.

The Biden administration has nixed its predecessor’s commitment to pull all NATO forces out of Afghanistan by May, Reuters has reported, citing four senior NATO officials speaking on condition of anonymity.

“There will be no full withdrawal by allies by April-end,” one of the officials said.

In mid-January, the Pentagon confirmed that it had met Trump’s order to shave US troop numbers in Afghanistan down to 2,500 troops total. The draw-down came despite efforts by Congress to freeze the withdrawal until a report ‘assessing the impact’ of such a pullout was completed. Trump fired Defence Secretary Mark Esper several days after the November election, replacing him with Christopher Miller over disagreements on plans to withdraw US forces from the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq.

“Conditions have not been met,” Reuters’ source said. “And with the new US administration, there will be tweaks in the policy, the sense of hasty withdrawal which was prevalent will be addressed and we could see a much more calculated exit strategy.”

The US and its NATO allies have been in Afghanistan for nearly 20 years. After invading the Central Asian nation in late 2001 to topple the Taliban regime for its harbouring of Saudi al-Qaeda terror leader Osama bin Laden, NATO spent years hunting the man in the war-torn country. In 2011, he was discovered living comfortably in a secure compound in a wealthy neighbourhood in Abbottabad in neighbouring Pakistan, and was killed in a SEAL Team Six raid. Photos or other material evidence of his death were never released.

Reuters’ NATO sources said the issue of Afghanistan will likely be a key topic for discussion at an alliance meeting next month.

NATO estimates that about 10,000 foreign troops remain stationed in Afghanistan, with the troop numbers expected to remain unchanged until after May despite commitments outlined by Trump before he left office.

A State Department spokesman insisted that Biden remains committed to bringing a “responsible end to the ‘forever wars'”, but was also adamant about “protecting Americans from terrorist and other threats”.

Taliban Feels Betrayed, Warns of ‘Consequences’

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told the news agency that the militant group remains committed to the peace deal signed in Doha last February, and doesn’t want to hear any more “excuses” from NATO.

“No doubt if the Doha deal is not implemented there will be consequences, and the blame will be upon that side which does not honour the deal,” he said. “Our expectations are also that NATO will think to end this war and avoid more excuses for prolonging the war in Afghanistan,” Mujahid said.

The war in Afghanistan has cost the US over $2 trillion, and the lives of more than 2,350 military personnel. Hundreds of NATO coalition troops, over 62,000 Afghan security personnel and tens of thousands of Afghan civilians have also been killed in the war.

The NATO war in Afghanistan is just part of the war-torn country’s generations-long conflict, which began in 1978 after a pro-Soviet government took power in Kabul, prompting a CIA intervention and the funnelling of billions of dollars in military and financial assistance to the Mujahideen – precursors of the Taliban. Moscow was sucked into intervening in the conflict in late 1979 in an attempt to save the Kabul government, sparking the decade-long Soviet-Afghan War, which ended in 1989 with the complete pullout of Soviet forces. In 1992, the Afghan government collapsed, and for much of the 1990s, the Taliban and other militias divided up the country, turning it into a feudal failed state.

January 31, 2021 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , , | 2 Comments

Biden Regime Puts The Brakes On Trump’s Germany Troop Draw Down

By Tyler Durden | Zero Hedge | January 29, 2021

Perhaps as expected, it didn’t take long for the Biden administration to begin putting the brakes on Trump’s previously ordered troop draw downs which occurred in the last two months of his presidency, particularly in Germany, Iraq, and Afghanistan.

The defense analysis and news site Military.com is reporting that new defense secretary under the Biden administration Lloyd Austin is reviewing the withdrawal of 12,000 US troops from Germany:

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has voiced his commitment to shoring up close ties with NATO ally Germany that were strained under the Trump administration, and suggested that the plan to withdraw 12,000 U.S. troops from the country is open to discussion.

The prior Trump plan to cut nearly one-third of total American military personnel from the country was predictably fought from Congressional corners known for being hawkish on Russia, with even some American and European security officials having called the move a “gift to Putin”.

Later in December the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act attempted to override the draw down order, and according to German officials early this year there’s yet to be significant movement of troops from the country.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin this week held phone calls with NATO allied officials in Europe. The Military.com report continues:

In a phone call to his German counterpart, Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, Austin “expressed his gratitude to Germany for continuing to serve as a great host for U.S. forces, and expressed his desire for a continued dialogue on U.S. force posture in Germany,” according to a Pentagon readout of the call released Wednesday.

He also sought “to reinforce the value the United States places on the bilateral defense relationship with one of our closest NATO Allies,” the readout from Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby states.

By all appearances the some 36,000 total American troops in Germany have gone nowhere despite the plan initiated under Esper.

Recent polling of the German public also suggests half or more want to see US troops gone, after being there since World War II.

As the report concludes of Defense Secretary Austin’s phone call, it is “the latest sign of the Biden administration’s intent to reverse or water down the policies of former President Donald Trump, who repeatedly questioned NATO’s worth to the U.S. and rattled allies with demands for more defense spending.”

January 30, 2021 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism | , , , , | 1 Comment

6 Warning Signs from Biden’s First Week in Office

By Kit Knightly | OffGuardian | January 27, 2021

It’s been a busy first week for the 46th President [sic] of the United States, there are the 20,000 troops occupying the capitol city to organise, as well as the totally unprecedented show-trial of his immediate predecessor.

You know, usual democracy type stuff.

On top of that, Biden has now signed at least 37 executive orders in his first week. The record for any President, and more than the previous four presidents combined.

What do these orders, or any of his other moves, tell us about the future plans of the recently “elected” administration? Nothing good, unfortunately.

1. VACCINATION PASSPORTS

I still remember people claiming the introduction of vaccination passports (or immunity passes or the like) was just a “conspiracy theory”, the paranoid fantasy of fringe “covidiots”. All the way back in December, when they were getting fact-checked by tabloid journalists who can’t do basic maths.

These days they are rebranded as “freedom certificates” which are “divisive, politically tricky and probably inevitable”.

Many countries are already preparing to roll it out, including Iceland the UK and South Africa. Biden’s “Executive Order on Promoting COVID-19 Safety in Domestic and International Travel” adds the US to this list:

International Certificates of Vaccination or Prophylaxis. Consistent with applicable law, the Secretary of State, the Secretary of HHS, and the Secretary of Homeland Security (including through the Administrator of the TSA), in coordination with any relevant international organizations, shall assess the feasibility of linking COVID-19 vaccination to International Certificates of Vaccination or Prophylaxis (ICVP) and producing electronic versions of ICVPs.

2. CABINET APPOINTMENTS

Biden’s cabinet is praised as the “most diverse” in history, but will hiring a few non-white people really change the decades-old policies of US Imperialism? It certainly doesn’t look like it.

His pick for Under Secretary of State is Victoria Nuland, a neocon warmonger and one of the masterminds of the Maidan coup in Ukraine in 2014. She is married to Robert Kagan, another neocon warmonger, co-founder of the Project for a New American Century and senior fellow at the Brookings Institute and one of the masterminds behind the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

The incoming Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, is also an inveterate US Imperialist, arguing for every US military intervention since the 1990s, and criticised Trump’s decision to withdraw from Syria.

Biden’s pick for Defence Secretary is the first African-American ever appointed to this role, but former General Lloyd Austin is hardly going be some kind of “progressive” voice in his cabinet. He’s a career soldier who retired from the military in 2016 to join the board of Raytheon Technologies, an arms manufacturer and military contractor.

As “diverse” as this cabinet may be in skin colour or gender… there is most certainly no “diversity” of opinion or policy. There are very few new faces and no new thoughts.

So, it looks like we can expect more of the same in terms of foreign policy. A fact that’s already been displayed in…

3. IRAQ…

Despite heavy resistance from the military and Deep State, Donald Trump wanted to end the war in Iraq and pledged to pull American troops out of the country. This was one of Trump’s more popular policies, and during the campaign Biden made no mention of intending to reverse that decision.

Then, on the very day of Biden’s inauguration, ISIS conducted their deadliest suicide bombing for over three years, and suddenly the situation was too unstable for the US to leave, and Biden is being forced to “review” Trump’s planned withdrawal.

The Iraqi parliament has made it clear it wants the US to take its military off their soil, so any American forces on Iraqi land are technically there illegally in contravention of international law. But that never bothered them before.

4. … AFGHANISTAN…

Turns out the US can’t withdraw from Afghanistan either. Last February Trump signed a deal with the Taliban that all US personnel would leave Afghanistan by May 2021.

Joe Biden has already committed to “reviewing” this deal. Sec. Blinken was quoted as saying that Biden’s admin wanted:

“to end this so-called forever war [but also] retain some capacity to deal with any resurgence of terrorism, which is what brought us there in the first place”.

As a great man once said, nothing someone says before the word “but” really counts. The US will not be withdrawing from Afghanistan, and if there is any public pressure to do so, the government will simply claim the Taliban broke their side of the deal first, or stage a few terrorist attacks.

5. … AND SYRIA

Far from simply continuing the on-going wars, there are already signs Biden’s “diverse” team will look to escalate, or even start, other conflicts.

Syria was another theatre of war from which Donald Trump wanted to extricate the United States, unilaterally ordering all US troops from the country in late 2019.

We now know the Pentagon ignored those orders. They lied to the President, telling Trump they had followed his orders… but not withdrawing a single man. This organized mutiny against the Commander-in-Chief of the US Armed Forces was played for a joke in the media when it was finally revealed.

There will be no need for any such duplicity now that Biden is in the Oval Office, he was a vocal critic of the decision to withdraw, claiming it gave ISIS a “new lease of life”. Indeed, within two days of his being sworn in a column of American military vehicles was seen entering Syria from Iraq.

6. DOMESTIC TERRORISM

We called this before the inauguration. They made it just too obvious. Before the dirty footprints had been cleaned from Nancy Pelosi’s desk it was clear where it was all going.

Within 24 hours of being sworn in as president, Biden had ordered a “review of the threat posed by domestic terrorism”.

As usual, the press are laying down the covering fire for this. Talking heads have been busily comparing MAGA voters to al Qaida in television interviews. The Washington Post and New Yorker journal have cut-and-paste pieces about this supposed threat. Politico published an article titled “Biden vowed to defeat domestic terrorism. The how is the hard part”, which outlines what Biden could do:

Direct the Justice Department, FBI and National Security Council to execute a top-down approach prioritizing domestic terrorism; pass new domestic terrorism legislation; or do a bit of both as Democrats propose a crack down on social media giants like Facebook for algorithms that promote conspiracy laden posts.

That last part is key. The “crack down on social media” part, because the anti-Domestic Terrorism legislation will likely be very focused on communication and so-called “misinformation”.

Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez has publicly called for a congressional panel to “rein in” the media:

We’re going to have to figure out how we rein in our media environment so you can’t just spew disinformation and misinformation,”

And who will be the target of these crack downs and new legislations? Well, according John Brennan (ex-head of the CIA and accomplished war criminal), practically anybody:

They’re casting a wide net. Expect “extremist”, “bigot” and “racist” to be just a few of the words which have their meanings totally revised in the next few months. “Conspiracy theorist” will be used a lot, too.

Further, they are moving closer and closer toward the “anyone who disagrees with us is literally insane” model. With many articles actually talking about “de-programming” Trump voters. The Atlantic suggests “mental hygiene” would cure the MAGA problem.

Again AOC is on point here, clearly auditioning for the role of High Inquisitor, claiming that the new Biden government needs to fund programs that “de-radicalise” “conspiracy theorists” who are on the “spectrum of radicalisation”.

*

As I said at the beginning, it’s been a busy week for Joe Biden, but you can sum up his biggest policy plans in one short sentence: More violence overseas, less tolerance of dissent and strict clampdowns on “misinformation”.

How progressive.

January 27, 2021 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Illegal Occupation, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , , | 1 Comment

Iran-Turkey railway aims for 1M tons of cargo in 2021

MEMO | January 27, 2021

Roughly 1 million tons of cargo are to be transported via rail between Turkey and Iran this year, Turkish authorities said Tuesday, reports Anadolu Agency.

The Transport and Infrastructure Ministry said in a statement that a recent memorandum of understanding signed in a gathering of railway representatives in Turkey’s capital Ankara on January 12-13 would open a new era for the transit railway.

Despite the novel coronavirus pandemic, three train services were run daily between Turkey and Iran in 2020, transporting 564,000 tons of cargo, according to the statement.

The statement also announced that freight trains would also run between Turkey and Pakistan via Iran on a common tariff between the three countries. It added that talks are still ongoing to set this tariff.

With a recently completed railway between Iran and Afghanistan, it will now also be possible to transport freight between Turkey and Afghanistan.

“After the railway connection between Iran and Afghanistan was completed on December 10, 2020, it became possible for a wagon loaded in Turkey to transit Iran to Afghanistan.”

The railway administrations of Turkey, Iran, and Afghanistan will come together in the coming months to set a course for rail transport between Turkey and Afghanistan.

The statement added that efforts were underway for a cargo transportation corridor through Iran between Europe and China.

January 27, 2021 Posted by | Economics | , , | 1 Comment

Iran has prepared initial plan for gas exports to Afghanistan

Press TV | November 9, 2020

Head of the National Iranian Gas Company (NIGC) says the country has a plan in place for launching gas exports to neighboring Afghanistan.

“The initial plan has been prepared and diplomatic negotiations are ongoing,” said Hassan Montazer Torbati on Monday as he briefed reporters on the latest situation of Iran’s gas exports to neighboring countries.

Torbati said gas exports to Afghanistan would be commissioned to private contractors although he insisted that the government has already provided the full infrastructure needed for transfer of gas to its eastern neighbor.

Afghanistan is increasingly relying on Iran for its energy needs as the landlocked country moves to expand economic activity through opening a new trade route that passes through Iran to the Indian Ocean.

However, Iranian energy supplies, including electricity, are mostly available to western parts of Afghanistan where the security of transfer infrastructure can be properly guaranteed.

Iran has increased both the output and exports of natural gas in recent years despite a series of US sanctions that have specifically targeted the country’s energy sector.

Nearly a tenth of Iran’s current output of more than 700 million cubic meters of gas is exported, mainly through pipelines to Turkey and Iraq.

On exports to Turkey, where authorities have touted the discovery of a new gas reserves in the Black Sea, Torbati said Ankara would still need to import gas from Iran to respond to its growing energy demand.

He said talks on renewing a 25-year export agreement with Turkey that is set to expire in several years’ time would start in the near future.

December 27, 2020 Posted by | Economics | , | 1 Comment

The subject of Israeli hegemony over US must be addressed

By Walt Peretto | Press TV | December 25, 2020

It’s pardon season for President Trump. The likely outgoing president has issued 15 pardons that include two members of the Russian investigation and four convicted murderers who worked for the private security firm Blackwater.

These four were convicted of murdering 14 Iraqi civilians in 2007. Private security corporations such as Blackwater (since renamed Academi) have played a major role in war zones since the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq after the false flag events of 9/11/2001. They are also suspected of participation in other domestic false flag events that include the Boston Marathon event in 2013.

These pardons by Trump will facilitate the use of private security firms in the near future both domestically and abroad. Further lockdowns in the US and crushing strains on small business may create unrest which could overwhelm municipal law enforcement and the federal government may choose to hire private security to deal with such occurrences. Overseas, tensions may increase in Syria as the new Democratic president may resurrect the goal of toppling President Assad which would likely be carried out by hiring private mercenaries which the West has done in the past.

I think these pardons by Trump send a signal to private security firms that their actions will not be hampered by long prison sentences for employees who engage in murder. Similar to municipal policing in which cops that murder are virtually never convicted. If the US does rededicate itself to regime change in Damascus, it’s hired security forces and clandestine paid terrorists don’t want restraints like convictions of murder in the courts.

Trump’s pardon of two people involved with the Russiagate fiasco makes sense since Russian collusion was never proven and the whole story was really a distraction for 4 years designed to take people’s eyes off of leaked emails involving Hillary Clinton, the Podesta brothers, Barack Obama and others that were quite damning if they were thoroughly investigated.

For four years the left-leaning media in the United States filled the news with accusations of Russian collusion in US elections and other illegal and immoral interactions between Russian officials and the Trump administration.

This also kept the eye off the elephant in the room called Israel which has seized control of the presidency, the Congress, the Judiciary, the economy through the FED, and the mainstream media.

China has provided another useful distraction from Israeli influence in America. If one honestly examines recent US presidential administrations — don’t strain to find any Chinese or Russian nationals in positions of power in the US federal government. Dual US/Israeli citizens are abundant and ubiquitous in the Trump administration and it will be similar in the Biden administration if he makes it to the White House. The subject of Israeli hegemony over the United States is a subject no one seems to want to address.

Judging from the proposed COVID Stimulus Package which allocates billions of dollars to other countries, this proves that the globalist intention is to bleed the United States dry until it submits wholly to the international cabal of psychopaths that includes Klaus Schwab and his World Economic Forum who are attempting to reset the world into a one-world system led by global organized psychopathy.

December 25, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , | 3 Comments

US continues its long history of using death squads, this time in Afghanistan. This is nothing but horrifying

By Daniel Kovalik | RT | December 23, 2020

The dark story of the CIA running death squads in Afghanistan recently broken by the Intercept follows a very long pattern of US foreign policy going back to the 1960s.

According to The Intercept, “Beginning in December 2018 and continuing for at least a year, Afghan operatives believed to belong to an elite CIA-trained paramilitary unit known as 01, in partnership with U.S. special operations forces and air power, unleashed a campaign of terror against civilians.” This unit carried out night raids in which they reportedly killed civilians, including children. In one night raid alone, targeting a religious school known as a madrassa, 12 children were killed.

The use of such death squads to kill civilians is shocking, but it is not at all surprising given the US’ long-time use of death squads to destroy insurrectionary movements in the developing world. Indeed, it is fair to say that it is standard operating procedure for the US.

The very idea for the modern use of death squads traces its roots back to the early 1960s when US General William P. Yarborough first conceived of them as an instrument to advance US economic interests by violently destroying the progressive social movements in Latin America which began to emerge at the time in response to the Cuban Revolution and the Second Vatican Council which inspired the rise of Liberation Theology and the focus on uplifting the poor.

However, as an article by the Wilson Center notes, the idea of death squads goes back even farther than the 1960’s, reflecting “decades of accumulated experience, beginning with the US effort to squelch Filipino independence after the War of 1898. It also reflected European imperial practices, including the British in Malaya and French in Algeria.”

General Yarborough’s idea of institutionalizing death squads in the modern era was motivated by a desire to get around the growing human rights concerns of the international community by having unofficial, secret military outfits which could give plausible deniability to both the US government and the government of US client states. In other words, they would, in the words of General Yarborough, be a “hidden weapon . . . of hired killers” which would carry out the dirty war which the regular troops “cannot do officially.”

The US would first try out its death squad program in Colombia to destroy the progressive movement there being led by radical peasants, trade unionists and Liberation Catholic priests. These death squads continue to this day.

The US would go on to utilize death squads in other Latin American countries, most famously in El Salvador. Most notably, the US-backed death squads in El Salvador would carry out the murder of Archbishop Oscar Romero, declared a saint by Pope Francis, in 1980, and then the murder of six Jesuit priests in 1989 – these high-profile murders of clergy would punctuate the beginning and the end of the brutal Salvadoran civil war which would claim the lives of 75,000 Salvadorans.

In Honduras, the US has utilized death squads for decades to suppress various left-wing and progressive movements there as well as to harass neighboring states such as Nicaragua and its Sandinista-led government. As writer T.J. Coles explains, under President Ronald Reagan, the US “launched psychological operations against domestic leftism in Honduras. This involved morphing a special police unit into a military intelligence squad guilty of kidnap, torture, and murder: Battalion 316. Inducing a climate of fear in workers, union leaders, intellectuals, and human rights lawyers is a way of ensuring that progressive ideas like good healthcare, free education, and decent living standards don’t take root.”

While Battalion 316 was disbanded in the early 1990s, the US created a new death squad unit after the successful US-backed coup in Honduras in 1989 to suppress left-wing anti-coup groups in that country. As Coles explains, with funding by the US Southern Command, “the 250-person Special Response Security Unit (TIGRES) was established near Lepaterique. The TIGRES are trained by the U.S. Green Berets or 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne) and described by the U.S. Army War College as a ‘paramilitary police force.’” The TIGRES continue to operate in Honduras today with significant US support.

But the US has not limited its use of death squads to Latin America. Thus, it would go on to use death squads in Vietnam as part of the CIA’s infamous Phoenix Program through which around 20,000 Vietnamese were assassinated.

The US would also use death squads in Iraq after the 2003 invasion, openly referring to its program there as the ‘Salvador Option’. The ‘Salvador Option’ was brought to Iraq by retired US Colonel Jim Steele who had helped develop the death squad program in El Salvador in the 1980’s.

In Iraq, the US unleashed Shia death squad units against “the Sunni population as well as the insurgents and their supporters and anyone else who was unlucky enough to get in the way. It was a classic counterinsurgency,” the Guardian reported. “It was also letting a lethal, sectarian genie out of the bottle. The consequences for Iraqi society would be catastrophic. At the height of the civil war two years later 3,000 bodies a month were turning up on the streets of Iraq — many of them innocent civilians of sectarian war.”

For some time, the US was also carrying out the ‘Salvador Option’ in Syria in an attempt to destabilize the Assad government there.

The most recent revelations about the CIA-backed death squad unit in Afghanistan demonstrates that America’s deadly imperial project continues into the 21st century. This project is a reactionary one, designed as it is to suppress independent, anti-colonial movements, many times with goals to create more economically just and equitable societies.

For all of its chest-thumping about spreading human rights and democracy throughout the world, the US, at heart, remains the preeminent force in the world against national liberation, and the means it uses to carry out this retrograde project is nothing less than horrifying.

Daniel Kovalik teaches International Human Rights at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, and is author of the recently-released No More War: How the West Violates International Law by Using “Humanitarian” Intervention to Advance Economic and Strategic Interests.

December 23, 2020 Posted by | Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , | Leave a comment

Congress moves to block US troop pullout from Afghanistan, Germany

Press TV | December 6, 2020

US President Donald Trump’s controversial move to pull out 2,000 American troops out of Afghanistan and 12,000 more from Germany would be blocked by the major defense policy bill, a report has said.

One provision of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal 2021 “would block funding for reducing the number of US troops in Afghanistan from 4,500 to 2,500 by January 15, as ordered by Trump, until the Defense and State Departments verify that it was in the national interest,” Military.com news outlet reported Saturday.

Another provision of the NDAA, it added, essentially urges the incoming Biden administration to take a second look at Trump’s executive order to withdraw 12,000 American troops from Germany.

According to the bill, troop levels in Germany should remain at 34,500 until 120 days after the secretary of defense submitted cost estimates and assessments of the impact of a withdrawal on allies and military families.

The final draft of the NDAA — released Thursday night — underlines that Afghanistan pullout orders, announced by the newly-appointed Acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller on November 17, “gave Congress no estimate of the national security implications.”

According to the report, the Trump administration has so far failed to clarify how a troop withdrawal was “in the national security interests of the United States to deny terrorists safe haven in Afghanistan, protect the United States homeland.”

Trump’s announcement last June that he wanted 9,500 troops out of Germany after years of battling with NATO allies to spend more for defense has also drawn opposition from both ruling political parties in the US Congress.

On July 29, then-Defense Secretary Mark Esper declared plans to carry out Trump’s order that increased the number of US soldiers to be withdrawn from Germany to 12,000.

Some of those troops would return to the US, while others would be transferred to Poland and the Baltic states in a shift eastward to enhance NATO’s purported deterrence against Russia, Esper claimed at the time.

The report further pointed out that the NDAA provision on Germany “means that final decisions on a troop withdrawal could go to Michele Flournoy, a former undersecretary of Defense for Policy who is considered a frontrunner for defense secretary in the Biden administration.”

Flournoy, the report added, has already stated that pulling thousands of troops out of Germany would likely cost more than leaving them in place. He also underlined in an Aspen Security Forum in August that “Our allies were completely surprised by this punitive troop withdrawal from Germany.”

Moreover, once Biden is inaugurated on January 20, he would have the authority to issue his own executive order reversing Trump’s withdrawal mandate.

December 6, 2020 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism | , , | 2 Comments