Getting to Know Obama's New Man in Afghanistan

Obama and Osama - McChrystal clear
by TRNN
No one really knows the fate of the man who was the reason for the Bush administration-proclaimed "war on terror." Some influential Pakistanis say the Americans don't know it. The Americans admit they don't know it. President George W. Bush wanted him dead or alive. No one really knows whether he's dead or alive. President Barack Obama says he and his organization remain the number one threat to the US But even America's most media-savvy general admits his organization is not in Afghanistan anymore. Would that be reason enough for the US to finally leave Afghanistan? On the contrary: now there's a new - counterinsurgent - top boot on the ground.  
 
 
 
Pepe Escobar: The more it changes, the more the "war on terror" stays the same
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Pat Tillman and Obama's New Hitman in Afghanistan

Red Team, Blue Team: Return Engagements
by C. L. Cook
Way back in 2004, past professional footballer, Pat Tillman died in Afghanistan. Tillman had left his lucrative National Football League career to join the army. His death was used as a timely distraction from the gruesome failures of George Bush's Iraq fiasco. 
 
The tale of Pat Tillman's demise was worthy of a Hollywood film; that is, it was a scripted fantasy, released with great fanfare, with the president himself addressing a filled football stadium remembrance ceremony.
 
The Tillman family were never satisfied with the Army's account of Pat's final day and conducted a lengthy public campaign to get at the truth. One of the generals responsible for pushing and maintaining the fictionalized version of Tillman's fateful end is in the news again. 
 
Lt. General Stanley McChrystal has taken over command of the Afghanistan mission, a move that has many who know of his past duties very worried, and his appointment has renewed interest in his role in awarding Pat Tillman the Silver Star and other things.
 
We'll doubtless hear more of McChrystal as Afghanistan unravels, but here is the article I ran in December of 2004.
 
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Confessions of a Twittering Newbie

Tweet Tweet: Confessions of a Twittering Newbie
by Danny Schechter
Can the Latest Technology Be Useful for an Aging News Dissector? I am now following and being followed - still not sure what that means - but I am told it’s a good start. I am on Twitter, tweeting to the beat.

I realize I am really a retrograde product of another time, when my ultimate goal in journalism was creating substantive investigative reports or long form documentaries. That is increasingly passé. What is valued, now I am told, is short bursts of information speedy technology that reaches the world, or your part of it. It’s that old KISS Axiom — keep it short and sweet, or simple and stupid.

Everyone is adapting to and using the technology — some as a messaging service, some as a networking tool, some to call projects or films or news to public attention, and some just as a goof. I am a macro blogger trying to go micro.
 
What does it mean?


 
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War President Obama: Same Shit, Different Pile

Veterans For Peace to Obama: 'You Will Find Us in the Streets'
by Mike Ferner
Dear President Obama: We write to you again, this time to say we are saddened to see that you now clearly believe in the tired, inhumane and unworkable assumption that violence will somehow work; that might makes right. But that is not the only thing we need to tell you.

We are not just saddened. We are angry. We are outraged by these actions, this practice of "death from above" you are ordering, causing the killing and wounding of hundreds of innocent people, as exemplified by the recent horrific attacks in Afghanistan.

When will it be enough, Mr. President? What is the number of dead and injured at which you will say "this can't go on;" the number at which you will decide it's time to turn away from violence and find another way? This really is the question upon which everything else will turn - how many bodies are too many? You know it is impossible to kill our way to a resolution, if for no other reason than every death and injury creates even more people willing to fight and die to remove us from their land.
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Monkey See? U.S. Charges Taliban Using White Phosphorus

Burn After Reading: Intel Dump Muddies Dirty War Waters
by Chris Floyd
Throughout the long history of the Afghan War, the United States has never accused the Taliban of using white phosphorus weapons -- until now.
 
Gaza: IDF White Phosphorus attack - U.N. compound January 2009
 
Suddenly, after the emergence of glaring evidence of Afghan civilians being seared and maimed by these chemical weapons following American airstrikes and combat operations, the Pentagon has released "classified information" claiming that the Taliban have actually been using white phosphorus weapons for six years, since 2003: a practice that the Pentagon -- which has been using white phosphorus weapons in Afghanistan since 2002 if not before -- denounced as "reprehensible."
 
This is very curious. The bipartistan managers of the Terror War have always been eager to trumpet -- even exaggerate -- the atrocities committed by the various armed groups opposing the imposition of foreign troops in Afghanistan. But now we are to believe that the Pentagon has been keeping evidence of the Taliban's chemical weapons use -- chem weapons! WMDs! -- under wraps for years.

The "classified intelligence" was released in friendly territory: The Times (UK), owned by Fox News' own Rupert Murdoch.

(By the way, isn't it strange that super-duper top-secret material which would threaten the very existence of the United States and its way of life if it were divulged to, say, lawyers for torture victims or members of the public who've been illegally spied upon, can always be released when there are PR gains to be made? Why, it almost makes you think that Arthur Silber might be right when he tell us that "the 'secret' knowledge, which goes by the viciously misnamed designation 'intelligence' ...  is almost always wrong... and is primarily used as propaganda, to provide alleged justification to a public that still remains disturbingly gullible and pliable -- and it is used after the fact, to justify decisions that have already been made.")
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Who Would Rule America

Who Rules America?
by Paul Craig Roberts
What do you suppose it is like to be elected president of the United States only to find that your power is restricted to the service of powerful interest groups?
 
A president who does a good job for the ruling interest groups is paid off with remunerative corporate directorships, outrageous speaking fees, and a lucrative book contract.  If he is young when he assumes office, like Bill Clinton and Obama, it means a long life of luxurious leisure.
 
Fighting the special interests doesn’t pay and doesn’t succeed.  On April 30 the primacy of special over public interests was demonstrated yet again.  The Democrats’ bill to prevent 1.7 million mortgage foreclosures and, thus, preserve $300 billion in home equity by permitting homeowners to renegotiate their mortgages, was defeated in the Senate, despite the 60-vote majority of the Democrats. 
 
The banksters were able to defeat the bill 51 to 45. 
 
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Send in the Drones: Obama's War Stooge Jamboree

The Drones Are Coming: New War on Civilians
by Ramzy Baroud
US President Barack Obama took the podium in a White House press conference and stood with an all-embellished confidence that often accompanies new presidents. He was flanked by two leaders whose apparent grandeur barely reflected their embattled situations on the ground: Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari.

The meeting at the White House on 6 May was fashioned to give the impression that the new US administration is both "serious" and "committed" about resolving the crises plaguing Afghanistan and Pakistan, which are imprudently reduced to that of a Taliban resurgence in the former, and a Taliban- inspired militant encroachment in the latter. Obama declared the meeting "extraordinarily productive" as the three nations, he said, are joined by the common goal to "defeat Al-Qaeda and its extremist allies in Pakistan and Afghanistan".

The skewed reading of reality didn't cease there. "I am pleased that these two men, elected leaders of Afghanistan and Pakistan, fully appreciate the seriousness of the threat that we face and have reaffirmed their commitment to confronting it," Obama said.
 
Both leaders listened solemnly as to reflect the level of their "seriousness."
 
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Untold and Uncounted Casualties of War

THE UNTOLD, UNCOUNTED & UNSUNG CASUALTIES OF WAR
By Jack Random
A disturbed Sergeant serving his third term of duty in Iraq picked up a weapon and killed five of his fellow soldiers.  

Sergeant John Russell of the 54th Engineer Battalion became the latest entry in the unsung casualties of war – a victim that few outside his circle of family and friends will mourn but a victim just the same.  

Sergeant Russell is one of the rare cases whose story is told on national media.  Soldiers under constant duress are frequently pushed beyond the breaking point, they frequently commit acts of violent desperation, but their stories are usually confined to the back pages of local newspapers.  

The army says some 102 soldiers ended their own lives in 2006, another 115 in 2007 and 140 in 2008.  In the opening months of 2009 the numbers continue to mount.  Suicide stories rarely draw attention, their faces are not pictured, and the essential facts of their lives are briefly sketched in obituary columns, lacking content and meaning.  They are not counted in the casualties of war.  There are no songs to pay tribute.  There are no flags buried in their honor.  Yet each of them had dreams, hopes and desires as rich as yours or mine.  Each felt a charge of patriotic fervor when they volunteered for service at a time of war.  

Each had families and loved ones who will also not be counted in the casualties of war but their lives have been altered as well.  Their tears flow as others do and their grief runs as deep in mourning.  
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THE LANGARA DIALOGUES: The Election is Over: Now the Fight for BC Rivers Begins!

The Election is Over: Now the Fight for BC Rivers Begins!
by Langara College
Resolved: Private Power has an important place on our rivers & in our economy.

Arguing the AFFIRMATIVE: Steve Davis, President, Independent Power Producers of BC

Arguing the NEGATIVE: Gwen Barlee, Policy Director, Wilderness Committee
 
 
 
Please join us for THE LANGARA DIALOGUES

Wednesday, May 20, 2009
7:30 PM
Alice Mackay Room, Lower Level,
Vancouver Public Library, Downtown (Homer & Robson)

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Dispatch from the UN Commission on Sustainable Development

Dispatch from the UN Commission on Sustainable Development
by Joan Russow
I am at the UN at the Commission on Sustainable Development. I had an opportunity of speaking at a podcast meeting of Delegates, NGOs and UN agencies.
 
I had encouraged the women's caucus to call for the Human right to water, and then I reinforced the human right to water and pointed out that public, private partnerships, which had been promoted by the International Chamber of Commerced, would lead to the violation of the human right to water. I also followed up on a point by a Senegalese Delegate that had called for food sovereignty.
 
I pointed out that the WTO must be prevented from undermining food sovereignty.

The big issues here are also genetically engineered food and crops and biofuels. The NGOs today in a presentation will be calling   for the banning of genetically engineered food and crops, the prohibiting of patenting of genes, and the ending of biopiracy. I pushed for the banning of biofuels as well but I think that they will only call for a moratorium.

I also keep raising the issue of reallocating funds from the military expenses, and the phasing out of nuclear energy. unfortunately, in
Article 4 of the non proliferation Treaty (NPT) there is still the " inalienable right of states to have access to the "peaceful use of nuclear energy".

Joan

 
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To Disturb and Abuse: Ottawa Cabbie Attack

To Disturb and Abuse
by C. L. Cook
Another unsettling report of law enforcement run amok in Canada surfaced from the nation's capital, Ottawa. Local cab driver, Sami Aldoboni is recuperating with a broken wrist and fingers today following an unprovoked attack, an incident of road rage witnessed by an entire airport taxi stand, by an off-duty Ottawa police officer.
 
No charges yet in Cabbie assault
 
Witnesses claim the assailant also uttered racial slurs, but no arrest was made once police responders discovered the perp was one of their own.

Speaking for the Ottawa police department, Const. Alain "Steve" Boucher defended the unnamed officer, saying he knew him to be;  "[O]f good moral character."

 
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NATO: Exercising the Bear in Georgia

NATO exercises provoke Russia
by TRNN
The Real News Network spoke to William F. Engdahl, economist and author of Full Spectrum Dominance. Engdahl says that the NATO exercises in Georgia are provocative to Russia because of the uncovered fact that Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili was behind the offensive in South Ossetia last August, while he was in the process of applying for NATO membership. Engdahl also says that the NATO countries are interested in securing alternatives to the Russian stronghold over European oil and explains that the missile defense program NATO wishes to install in Eastern Europe and Georgia has less to do with Iran than Russia.
 
 
 
Engdahl: NATO exercises in Georgia are a provocative move against Russia by the Pentagon
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