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The Quilliam Foundation, Set Up By the Spooks

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 16/04/2021 - 11:05pm in

Hat tip to Zelo Street for posting about this story. And it’s the type of stuff the conspiracy/ parapolitical magazine Lobster was set up to investigate and publicize: the covert shenanigans and dodgy activities of the British, American and western security services. Earlier this week the Quilliam Foundation, an organisation set up to counter Islamist religious extremism, went under. Its demise, as Zelo Street noted, raised the questions of why it had been wound up, considering all the millions had that been spent on it all these years, why its founder Maajid Nawaz had started deleting all his tweets about it, and what was the role of the security services in all of this. Ian Cobain, a former hack with the Groan knew, and told all.

Quilliam had been set up by the Home Office’s Office for Security and Counter-Terrorism. He knew this, as the OSCT had told him. The government initially planned to fund it covertly. It would ostensibly be funded by benefactors from the Middle East, but this would be a cover for its real source of income, MI6. However, the government then decided that it should be openly funded by the government, but that this would not publicised. This is now seen as a mistake. It should have been funded by the security agencies, who do it all the time apparently without anyone finding out.

Solomon Hughes also noted that its links to the security services seemed pretty open when it was founded, as early staff included Special Forces Captain Ed Jagger, and a ‘journalist’, who goes by the pseudonym ‘James Brandon’. Both of these men now work private security/ intelligence companies. This was all exposed six years ago by Nafeez Ahmed in an article in the Middle East Eye, ‘The Circus: How British Intelligence Primed Both Sides of the Terror War”. Ahmed revealed that the Quilliam Foundation was set up by Ed Husain and Nawaz with funding from the British government. And this, according to Ahmed, was why it failed, as neither of its founders were actually jihadis.

Perhaps the biggest problem with Husain’s and Nawaz’s claim to expertise on terrorism was that they were never jihadists. Hizb ut-Tahrir is a non-violent movement for the establishment of a global ‘caliphate’ through social struggle, focusing on the need for political activism in the Muslim world. Whatever the demerits of this rigid political ideology, it had no relationship to the phenomenon of al-Qaeda terrorism”.

Hizb-ut-Tahrir spawned a terrorist-supporting offshoot, al-Muhajiroun, which has also, like HuT, been banned in Britain as terrorist organisation. I think it was al-Muhajiroun, which was openly campaigning for donations to go to al-Qaeda from British Muslims at the time of the 9/11 terror attack. If I recall correctly, a couple of these jokers made the mistake of doing so in the street, and some other, ordinary stout Muslims lads showed them how strongly they disapproved of terrorism and mass murder. I think it was because of his role as a leading supporter and campaigner for al-Muhajiroun that Anjem Chowdhry, who never met an Islamist terrorist he didn’t like, apparently, ended up in the slammer. I thought Chowdry was behind the outfit, but it seems he wasn’t. It was founded instead by Omar Bakri. According to the US army intelligence officer and prosecutor for the US Justice Department, John Loftus, after Bakr left Hizb-ut-Tahrir he was recruited by MI6 facilitate Islamist activities in the Balkans. Ahmed concluded his piece by wishing that they could round up all the activists in the Quilliam Foundation and HuT and their handlers, and then put them in a boat on a journey to nowhere, so that everyone else could get some peace.

Zelo Street: Quilliam And The Spooks (zelo-street.blogspot.com)

It’s been Lobster’s contention since its foundation in the 1980s that the British security services are incompetent, out of control and very frequently working against the well-being of this country’s ordinary people. MI6’s recruitment of Bakri to assist in Islamist radicalisation and activities in the Balkans adds further evidence to this view. Years ago I found a book in the Central Library here in Bristol by a Muslim, which suggested that the 7/7 bombings had also been the result of a plot by the British security services. This was part of a wider scheme to keep western troops in the former Yugoslavia, ostensibly to keep the peace, but in reality to maintain control of yet another oil pipeline. I don’t know whether MI6 is so lawless that it was behind the 7/7 bombings – I sincerely hope not – but the revelation that it recruited Bakri to promote Islamism in that part of Europe suggests that there’s something to the idea that it’s all about oil politics. It was to get control of an oil pipeline that we invaded Afghanistan, not to overthrow al-Qaeda or the Taliban. And the Iraq invasion was to grab their oil industry as well as loot the country of its other, valuable state enterprises for the benefit of western multinationals.

And somehow the Quilliam Foundation fits in with this mess of Islamist surveillance and manipulation.

The CIA Used To Infiltrate The Media. Now The CIA Is The Media.

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 16/04/2021 - 10:13pm in

Back in the good old days, when things were more innocent and simple, the psychopathic Central Intelligence Agency had to covertly infiltrate the news media to manipulate the information Americans were consuming about their nation and the world. Nowadays, there is no meaningful separation between the news media and the CIA at all.

Journalist Glenn Greenwald just highlighted an interesting point about the reporting by The New York Times on the so-called “Bountygate” story the outlet broke in June of last year about the Russian government trying to pay Taliban-linked fighters to attack US soldiers in Afghanistan.

“One of the NYT reporters who originally broke the Russia bounty story (originally attributed to unnamed ‘intelligence officials’) say today that it was a CIA claim,” Greenwald tweeted. “So media outlets — again — repeated CIA stories with no questioning: congrats to all.”

Indeed, NYT’s original story made no mention of CIA involvement in the narrative, citing only “officials,” yet this latest article speaks as though it had been informing its readers of the story’s roots in the lying, torturing, drug-running, warmongering Central Intelligence Agency from the very beginning. The author even writes “The New York Times first reported last summer the existence of the C.I.A.’s assessment,” with the hyperlink leading to the initial article which made no mention of the CIA. It wasn’t until later that The New York Times began reporting that the CIA was looking into the Russian bounties allegations at all.

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This would be the same “Russian bounties” narrative which was discredited all the way back in September when the top US military official in Afghanistan said no satisfactory evidence had surfaced for the allegations, which was further discredited today with a new article by The Daily Beast titled “U.S. Intel Walks Back Claim Russians Put Bounties on American Troops”.

The Daily Beast, which has itself uncritically published many articles promoting the CIA “Bountygate” narrative, reports the following:

It was a blockbuster story about Russia’s return to the imperial “Great Game” in Afghanistan. The Kremlin had spread money around the longtime central Asian battlefield for militants to kill remaining U.S. forces. It sparked a massive outcry from Democrats and their #resistance amplifiers about the treasonous Russian puppet in the White House whose admiration for Vladimir Putin had endangered American troops.

But on Thursday, the Biden administration announced that U.S. intelligence only had “low to moderate” confidence in the story after all. Translated from the jargon of spyworld, that means the intelligence agencies have found the story is, at best, unproven — and possibly untrue.

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So the mass media aggressively promoted a CIA narrative that none of them ever saw proof of, because there was no proof, because it was an entirely unfounded claim from the very beginning. They quite literally ran a CIA press release and disguised it as a news story.

This allowed the CIA to throw shade and inertia on Trump’s proposed troop withdrawals from Afghanistan and Germany, and to continue ramping up anti-Russia sentiments on the world stage, and may well have contributed to the fact that the agency will officially be among those who are exempt from Biden’s performative Afghanistan “withdrawal”.

In totalitarian dictatorships, the government spy agency tells the news media what stories to run, and the news media unquestioningly publish it. In free democracies, the government spy agency says “Hoo buddy, have I got a scoop for you!” and the news media unquestioningly publish it.

In 1977 Carl Bernstein published an article titled “The CIA and the Media” reporting that the CIA had covertly infiltrated America’s most influential news outlets and had over 400 reporters who it considered assets in a program known as Operation Mockingbird. It was a major scandal, and rightly so. The news media is meant to report truthfully about what happens in the world, not manipulate public perception to suit the agendas of spooks and warmongers.

Nowadays the CIA collaboration happens right out in the open, and people are too propagandized to even recognize this as scandalous. Immensely influential outlets like The New York Times uncritically pass on CIA disinfo which is then spun as fact by cable news pundits. The sole owner of The Washington Post is a CIA contractor, and WaPo has never once disclosed this conflict of interest when reporting on US intelligence agencies per standard journalistic protocol. Mass media outlets now openly employ intelligence agency veterans like John Brennan, James Clapper, Chuck Rosenberg, Michael Hayden, Frank Figliuzzi, Fran Townsend, Stephen Hall, Samantha Vinograd, Andrew McCabe, Josh Campbell, Asha Rangappa, Phil Mudd, James Gagliano, Jeremy Bash, Susan Hennessey, Ned Price and Rick Francona, as are known CIA assets like NBC’s Ken Dilanian, as are CIA interns like Anderson Cooper and CIA applicants like Tucker Carlson.

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This isn’t Operation Mockingbird. It’s so much worse. Operation Mockingbird was the CIA doing something to the media. What we are seeing now is the CIA openly acting as the media. Any separation between the CIA and the news media, indeed even any pretence of separation, has been dropped.

This is bad. This is very, very bad. Democracy has no meaningful existence if people’s votes aren’t being cast with a clear understanding of what’s happening in their nation and their world, and if their understanding is being shaped to suit the agendas of the very government they’re meant to be influencing with their votes, what you have is the most powerful military and economic force in the history of civilization with no accountability to the electorate whatsoever. It’s just an immense globe-spanning power structure, doing whatever it wants to whoever it wants. A totalitarian dictatorship in disguise.

And the CIA is the very worst institution that could possibly be spearheading the movements of that dictatorship. A little research into the many, many horrific things the CIA has done over the years will quickly show you that this is true; hell, just a glance at what the CIA was up to with the Phoenix Program in Vietnam will.

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There’s a common delusion in our society that depraved government agencies who are known to have done evil things in the past have simply stopped doing evil things for some reason. This belief is backed by zero evidence, and is contradicted by mountains of evidence to the contrary. It’s believed because it is comfortable, and for literally no other reason.

The CIA should not exist at all, let alone control the news media, much less the movements of the US empire. May we one day know a humanity that is entirely free from the rule of psychopaths, from our total planetary behavior as a collective, all the way down to the thoughts we think in our own heads.

May we extract their horrible fingers from every aspect of our being.

____________________

New book: Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix.

The best way to get around the internet censors and make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for at my website or on Substack, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. My work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, liking me on Facebook, following my antics on Twitter, or throwing some money into my tip jar on Ko-fi, Patreon or Paypal. If you want to read more you can buy my books. For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I’m trying to do with this platform, click here. Everyone, racist platforms excluded, has my permission to republish, use or translate any part of this work (or anything else I’ve written) in any way they like free of charge.

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If Biden Actually Withdraws Troops From Afghanistan By 9/11 He’ll Have Done Something Good

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 14/04/2021 - 9:59am in

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Sort of self-explanatory. We’ll see if he actually does, Trump had planned to withdraw by May 1st, after all, and spent most of his Presidency talking about withdrawing without actually doing so.

But Biden saying there are no conditions for the withdrawal is a promising sign.

This does mean the Taliban will almost certainly wind up ruling the country again; the Kabul government is not going to stand without US and NATO support.

That’s unfortunate, but the Taliban is the natural ruling party of Afghanistan. That’s just how it is. Probably the US shouldn’t have supported Islamic hardliners even before the Russian invasion (under Carter), but that’s a long ago decision.

Biden’s going to be under immense pressure from the military and much of the media to not withdraw. He needs to hold firm. It would be best to do this as quickly as possible.

And yeah, this means there will be a “fall of Saigon” moment some time after the US leaves.

So be it.

Good on Biden if he sticks to his (non gun) on this.

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Media Concern Trolling About Afghanistan Withdrawal Again

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 11/04/2021 - 10:10pm in

Media Concern Trolling About Afghanistan Withdrawal Again

“Concerns mount that US withdrawal from Afghanistan could risk progress on women’s rights,” blares a new headline from CNN.

“Concerns are mounting from bipartisan US lawmakers and Afghan women’s rights activists that the hard-won gains for women and civil society in Afghanistan could be lost if the United States makes a precipitous withdrawal from the country,” CNN tells us.

What follows is yet another concern-trolling empire blog about why US troops need to stay in Afghanistan, joining recent others geared toward the same end like this CNN report about how the US military will open itself up to “costly litigation” if it withdraws now because it signed defense industry contracts into 2023, and this one by The New York Times about a US intelligence report urgently warning that a withdrawal from Afghanistan could lead to the nation being controlled by the people who live there.

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This latest article by CNN features an extensive series of quotes by Annie Pforzheimer of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) think tank regurgitating the tired old mantra that a withdrawal from Afghanistan needs to be “conditions-based”, to ensure that no women will be mistreated if the US ends its twenty-year military occupation of the country.

CSIS, for the record, is funded by war profiteering corporations like Northrop Grumman and Boeing, as well as fossil fuel companies like Chevron, ExxonMobil and Saudi Aramco. It is also funded by plutocrats. It is also funded directly by the United States government and its allies. This article is precisely the sort of narrative management initiative that such think tanks exist for, and the fact that it’s considered normal journalistic practice to quote sources with such blatant ulterior motives as objective experts shows that western news media is propaganda.

When think tankers like Pforzheimer babble about a “conditions-based withdrawal” from Afghanistan, they are lying about what the requisite “conditions” would actually be. A complete and total withdrawal will have nothing to do with whether women are guaranteed to be treated nicely. It will have nothing to do with whether defense contractors will sue the US government or whether the Taliban will be able to retake control of the nation. A complete and total withdrawal from Afghanistan will happen when Afghanistan ceases to be a vital geostrategic point of control, which effectively means the US will maintain some sort of foothold in Afghanistan for as long as China, Russia and Iran remain sovereign nations.

A US puppet regime in Beijing, Moscow, and Tehran. If that somehow happens one day, the empire will have no further use for Afghanistan. Those are the real “conditions”.

https://medium.com/media/95618ebce5a1f719a2cf71364cd8357a/href

The US empire does not care about women. The US empire routinely kills women and creates lawless environments where rape and sexual slavery are commonplace with its military interventionism. What this hand-wringing about women’s rights in Afghanistan has actually accomplished is a convenient justification for further military occupation, a destructive industry of shady NGOs, and functionally not much else.

But this argument wouldn’t even make sense if it was sincere. The only way to argue with logical coherence that the US should militarily occupy a nation to uphold liberal values is to also argue that the US should invade and occupy all other nations in the world with illiberal cultural values and force them all to change at gunpoint. Unless you uphold this argument with logical consistency in this way (and almost nobody does this because that would be insane), it looks like you’re simply making up arguments to justify invading and occupying geostrategically crucial regions with great military and resource value. And, of course, this is exactly what you are doing.

So much empire propaganda is just concern trolling at mass scale. Oh my it sure is concerning how they’re abusing that poor oppressed population in that nation whose government we just so happen to want to topple. Sure we’d have to butcher mountains of human beings and destabilize entire vast regions in order to rescue them, but that’s a sacrifice we’d be willing to make. We are humanitarians, after all.

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“Concern” is the propaganda carrier for the most violent of interventions. If imperialism was a virus, “concern” would be the benign-looking shape it took so the body didn’t set off an immune response. “Concern” is the most Karen of manipulations.

Still it says a lot that they need to tug at our humanitarian heart strings like that in order to advance their empire-building agendas these days. It used to be stuff like “They’re savages and they need to learn about Jesus,” or even just “Your King has decreed that those people shouldn’t get to control the land they live on anymore.”

We’ve evolved as a society to the point where at least now they need to appeal to our better demons. Where they need to hide their disgusting agendas behind noble-looking ones.

Let’s keep evolving, please. Maybe our collective consciousness can expand so far that they won’t be able to get away with any of their psychopathic murderousness at all.

_____________________

New book: Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix.

The best way to get around the internet censors and make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for at my website or on Substack, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. My work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, liking me on Facebook, following my antics on Twitter, or throwing some money into my tip jar on Ko-fi, Patreon or Paypal. If you want to read more you can buy my books. For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I’m trying to do with this platform, click here. Everyone, racist platforms excluded, has my permission to republish, use or translate any part of this work (or anything else I’ve written) in any way they like free of charge.

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Colonial Ties, Not Oppression, Is the Best Reason for Granting Asylum

This has been irritating me for some time now, and so I’m going to try to get it off my chest. A month or so ago I went to a Virtual meeting, organised by the left wing of the Labour party, on why socialists should be anti-war. It was part of the Arise Festival of ideas, and featured a variety of speakers all concerned with the real possibility that the war-mongering of Tony Blair, George W. Bush and so on would return. They made the point that all the interventions in Iraq, Libya and elsewhere were motivated purely by western geopolitical interests. Western nations and their multinationals had initiated them solely to plunder and dominate these nations and their industries and resources. One of the speakers was the Muslim head of the Stop War Coalition, who stated that many people from ethnic minorities had supported the Labour party because historically Labour had backed independence for their countries of origin. And obviously the Labour party was risking their support by betraying them through supporting these wars. After the failure of these wars – the continued occupation of Afghanistan, the chaos in Iraq and Libya – the calls for further military interventions had died down. But now these wars were being rehabilitated, and there is a real danger that the military-industrial complex will start demanding further invasions and occupations.

I absolutely agree totally with these points. Greg Palast’s book Armed Madhouse shows exactly how the Iraq invasion had absolutely nothing to do with liberating the Iraqi people from Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship, but was all about stealing their oil reserves and state industries. The invasion of Afghanistan has precious little to do with combatting al-Qaeda, and far more to do with the construction of an oil pipeline that would benefit western oil interests at the expense of Russia and its allies. And the overthrow of Colonel Gaddafy in Libya was also about the removal of an obstacle to western neo-colonial domination. These wars have brought nothing but chaos and death to these countries. The welfare states of Iraq and Libya have been decimated, and the freedoms women enjoyed to pursue careers outside the home have been severely curtailed our removed. Both of these countries were relatively secular, but have since been plunged into sectarian violence.

Despite this, one of the speakers annoyed me. This was the head of the Black Liberation Association or whatever Black Lives Matter now calls itself. She was a young a woman with quite a thick African accent. It wasn’t quite what she said, but the tone in which she said it. This was one of angry, indignant and entitled demand, rather than calm, persuasive argument. She explained that the Black Liberation Association campaigned for the rights and self-government of all nations in the global south and their freedom from neo-colonial economic restrictions and domination. She attacked the ‘fortress Europe’ ideology intended to keep non-White immigrants out, especially the withdrawal of the Italian naval patrols in the Med. This had resulted in more migrant deaths as unseaworthy boats sank without their crews and passengers being rescued. This is all stuff the left has campaigned against for a long time. I remember learning in ‘A’ Level geography in school that Britain and Europe had erected tariff barriers to prevent their former colonies competing with them in the production of manufactured goods. This meant that the economies of the African nations, for example, were restricted to agriculture and mining. As for the withdrawal of the Italian navy and coastguard, and the consequent deaths of migrants, this was very much an issue a few years ago and I do remember signing internet petitions against it. But there was one argument she made regarding the issue of the granting of asylum that was weak and seriously annoyed me. She stated that we had to accept migrants because we had oppressed them under colonialism.

This actually doesn’t work as an argument for two reasons. I’m not disputing that we did oppress at least some of the indigenous peoples of our former colonies. The colour bar in White Rhodesia was notorious, and Black Africans in other countries, like Malawi, were treated as second class citizens quite apart from the horrific, genocidal atrocities committed against the Mao-Mao rebellion. The first problem with the argument from colonial oppression is that it raises the question why any self-respecting person from the Commonwealth would ever want to come to Britain, if we’re so racist and oppressive.

The other problem is that the British Empire is now, for the most part, a thing of the past. Former colonies across the globe formed nationalist movements and achieved their independence. They were supposed to benefit from the end of British rule. In some cases they have. But to return to Africa, since independence the continent has been dominated by a series of brutal dictators, who massacred and looted their people. There is an appalling level of corruption to the point where the FT said that many of them were kleptocracies, which were only called countries by the courtesy of the west. Western colonialism is responsible for many of the Developing World’s problems, but not all. I’ve heard from a couple of Brits, who have lived and worked in former colonies, that they have been asked by local people why we left. These were older people, but it shows that the end of British rule was not as beneficial as the nationalists claimed, and that some indigenous people continued to believe that things had been better under the Empire. But the culpability of the leaders of many developing nations for their brutal dictatorships and the poverty they helped to inflict on their people wasn’t mentioned by this angry young woman. And that’s a problem, because the counterargument to her is that the British Empire has vanished, and with the handover to indigenous rule British responsibility for these nations’ affairs ended. It is up to these countries to solve their problems, and we should be under no obligation to take in people fleeing oppression in these countries.

For me, a far better approach would be to stress old colonial ties and obligations with these nations. Part of the ideology of colonialism was that Britain held these countries in trust, and that these nations would only remain under British rule until they developed the ability to manage themselves. It was hypocritical, and I think there’s a quote from Lord Lugard, one of the architects of British rule in Africa, about how the British had only a few decades to despoil the country. Nevertheless, it was there, as was Kipling’s metaphor of the ‘White Man’s Burden’, in which Britain was to teach these nations proper self-government and civilisation. It’s patronising, because it assumes the superiority of western civilisation, but nevertheless it is one of paternal responsibility and guidance. And some British politicians and imperialists took this ideology very seriously. I was told by a friend of mine that before Enoch Powell became an avowed and implacable opponent of non-White immigration with his infamous ‘Rivers of Blood’ speech, he sincerely believed that Britain did have an obligation to its subject peoples. He worked for a number of organisations set up to help non-White immigrants to Britain from her colonies.

It therefore seems to me that supporters of non-White migrants and asylum seekers would be far better arguing that they should be granted asylum because of old colonial ties and kinship in the Commonwealth and continuing paternal obligations, rather than allowed in as some kind of reparation for the oppression of the colonial past.

The first argument offers reconciliation and common links. The other only angry division between oppressed and oppressor.

America’s Longest War Winds Down

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 30/03/2021 - 5:24am in

No bang, no whimper, no victory. Continue reading

The post America’s Longest War Winds Down appeared first on BillMoyers.com.

US Intelligence Warns Withdrawal Could Lead To Afghanistan Being Controlled By Afghans

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 27/03/2021 - 12:51pm in

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News, USA, afghanistan, War

US intelligence agencies have warned the Biden administration that if the United States withdraws its military presence from Afghanistan under current circumstances, the nation would be at severe risk of falling under the control of the people who live there.

A New York Times article titled “Officials Try to Sway Biden Using Intelligence on Potential for Taliban Takeover of Afghanistan” warns that an intelligence assessment has predicted that if “U.S. troops leave before any deal between the Taliban and the Afghan government, the militant group will take over much of the country.”

“The intelligence estimate predicted that the Taliban would relatively swiftly expand their control over Afghanistan, suggesting that the Afghan security forces remain fragile despite years of training by the American military and billions of dollars in U.S. funding,” NYT reports.

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The New York Times, which has consistently supported all US wars including the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan, informs us the Taliban has been “stalling” to avoid signing a power-sharing deal with the existing government in Afghanistan.

“The Biden administration is making a final effort before May 1 to show progress in slow-moving negotiations between the Taliban and the Afghan government in Doha, Qatar,” NYT reports. “The Taliban, according to American officials, are stalling.”

And, I mean, why wouldn’t they? As Defense Priorities policy director Ben Friedman puts it, “If this assessment is right, and the Taliban could take most of Afghanistan if US forces left, and they want that, why sign a deal limiting themselves to less? Or why not sign to get the US out and renege? Keeping US forces there is just a delaying tactic.”

If the most powerful faction in Afghanistan wants power and has the ability to simply take it, they stand nothing to gain by signing a power-sharing agreement with a faction that is incapable of holding power. The New York Times and the US intelligence cartel (if one can even categorize these as separate entities at this point) are trying to spin the ongoing military presence in Afghanistan as a temporary situation awaiting conditions which will be arriving shortly, and that’s simply false. The Taliban will not voluntarily choose to make itself less powerful.

And, after the Afghanistan Papers exposed the fact that the US war machine has been lying left and right to justify the continuation of the occupation of Afghanistan, you would have to be out of your mind to believe that’s not intentional. The US military is in Afghanistan not to protect women’s rights from control by the illiberal Taliban forces, but because it’s a crucial geostrategic region that the US stands much to gain on the world stage by controlling. This is why the Afghanistan Papers were quickly memory-holed by the mass media as soon as they came out, and why now all we hear about is more made-up reasons why leaving would be disastrous.

https://medium.com/media/95618ebce5a1f719a2cf71364cd8357a/href

When the US-centralized power alliance babbles about “conditions” which need to be met before there can be a full military withdrawal from Afghanistan, the conditions they are really referring to are a puppet regime in Tehran, in Moscow, and in Beijing. As long as Iran, Russia and China successfully resist absorption into the empire-like blob of US client states, the military presence will remain and narratives will be manufactured to justify it.

The Taliban is an entirely regional power with entirely regional goals; there is no defense-based argument for using military force to keep them out of power in a nation on the other side of the planet. Arguments that they must be kept out of power by military force to protect Afghan women from their regressive ideology is nonsensical unless you also say the US military must be used to forcibly end all illiberal cultural norms everywhere in the world, which would also be absurd.

All the US empire and its narrative managers are really saying when they claim the Taliban will take power if the US leaves is that without the US in Afghanistan, the US won’t be controlling Afghanistan anymore. And, like, duh. Of course it won’t. The people who live there will be determining the fate of their own nation, by violence if they so choose. Giving a nation back its sovereignty necessarily means letting them control their own fate, per definition. Using that self-evident fact to argue against the cessation of military force is just admitting you don’t believe other nations should be self-sovereign.

Saying there might be violence and oppression without an oppressive force of violent thugs controlling things is silly in a couple of different ways. It is a known fact that Australian forces occupying Afghanistan have already committed horrific war crimes there, and if the US government stopped stopped obstructing the International Criminal Court from investigating potential war crimes of American forces it would certainly find a lot there too.

The US is at this point making the argument, “If we don’t keep killing the Afghans, they might kill each other.” The Taliban has warned that if the United States remains in Afghanistan after the May 1st deadline established in a previous peace deal they will begin attacking occupying forces, so pretending the US empire is maintaining the peace by continuing the occupation is entirely baseless. They’re not there to maintain peace, they’re there to maintain control.

Should the US military permanently occupy foreign countries to control what happens there? That’s really the argument on the table right now. Ignore all the narrative distortion and focus there.

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Boris Says There’s No Money to Pay Nurses, But Has Millions to Spend on Atomic Weapons

Mike’s put up an excellent and disturbing article today, which shows very clearly where Boris Johnson’s priority’s really are. He’s planning to reverse the proposed reduction of Britain’s nuclear arsenal to 180 warheads and increase it instead to 260. As the peeps on Twitter have pointed out, this is a 45 per cent increase. It’s supposed to be in preparation for a possible terrorist attack using chemical or nuclear weapons by 2030. ‘Russ’, one of the critics of this insane proposal, has asked what Boris intends to do in the event of an attack like 9/11, when the terrorists came from four different countries. Would he launch those missiles at four different capitals? He states ‘Not a chance. Idiotic, dangerous, flashy bullshit.’

The question about 9/11 is a very good one. The vast majority of the plotters came from Saudi Arabia, and there is very, very strong evidence that responsibility for the attack goes all the way to the very top, to country’s present king or his head of intelligence. But George Dubya and Blair didn’t order reprisals against Saudi Arabia. Instead, we invaded Afghanistan. The country was indeed hosting Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda, the organisation responsible for it. But I’ve also heard that the Afghans denied all knowledge of the plot and offered to surrender bin Laden to the Americans, but were ignored. The American military were planning the possibility of invading Afghanistan several years before in order to control a planned oil pipeline passing through it.

Saddam Hussein’s Iraq was also accused of complicity with 9/11, and Blair was scaremongering about Hussein having weapons of mass destruction that could be launched within three quarters of an hour. This was also a lie. The real reason for the invasion was, once again, oil. The American and Saudi oil companies wanted Iraq’s reserves and its oil industry, while American multinationals also wanted to get their grubby mitts on the country’s state industries. The actual cost to the Iraqi people has been horrendous. The country’s tariff barriers were lowered as part of a plan to create the low tax, free market state the Neo-Cons dreamed about, with a result that every nation dumped their excess goods there, undermining its domestic businesses. The result was soaring bankruptcy and unemployment. The country’s welfare state was destroyed, as was the ability of women to pursue a career in safety outside the home. The country was riven by sectarian violence, and the mercenaries used as part of the invasion force ran amok, running drugs and prostitution rings. They also shot ordinary Iraqis for sport. The Allied forces also used depleted uranium and other highly toxic materials in their armaments, with the result that the country also has a horrendously high rate of birth defects.

And now Boris wants more nukes. Does he intend to use them on further victims of western imperialism, countries deliberately and wrongfully blamed for terrorist attacks just to further western geopolitical and commercial goals? Mike also suggests that it seems to him that Boris is planning to start some kind of war with a country on or near the Indian and Pacific Oceans, and would like to set off a few nukes to show how tough he is.

This is all too possible. The American radical magazine, Counterpunch, published an article a few years ago arguing that the American military was set on a policy of ‘full spectrum dominance’. This meant that it was to remain the world’s only superpower with the ability to destroy or conquer any other country that could threaten it. And it looked very, very much that Hillary Clinton, who claimed to be terribly offended by the treatment of Meghan Markle, was preparing for a war with China. Lobster has also published a very detailed article arguing that, despite the rhetoric and posturing about the Chinese threatening western security interests in the South China Sea, the Chinese actually aren’t any danger at all. But they do threaten the global American commercial power both in practice and at an ideological level. The Americans believe in deregulation and free trade, while in China capitalism is regulated and state-directed. The global struggle between America and China is partly about which model of capitalism should be dominant.

And then there’s the issue of whether you could ever use a nuclear bomb in the event of a terrorist attack. From the 1970s to historic Good Friday peace agreement in the ’90s, Northern Ireland and Britain suffered terrorist violence and bombings. In Ulster this was by Irish Nationalist and Loyalist paramilitaries, while in Britain the bombings were carried out by the IRA. Following 9/11, one of the critics of the invasion of Afghanistan or Iraq asked whether Britain would have used the same tactics of mass bombing and air strikes on Northern Ireland in response to the IRA’s terrorism. Of course we wouldn’t, although we did send troops there to suppress it. There’s a real possibility that, thanks to Brexit, the Good Friday Agreement could break down and Ulster could once again fall into violence and bloodshed. Which also raises the spectre of further terrorist bombings in Britain. Would Boris nuke Derry or Belfast in response? I doubt it. At the same time, many of the Islamist terrorists responsible for atrocities in Britain seem to be homegrown, Muslim Brits who come from ordinary, peaceful families, but who have been radicalised by Islamist propaganda on the Net or from some firebrand preacher in a British mosque. Obviously, Boris isn’t going to use it in Britain itself.

There’s also the danger that if Boris every uses them against a foreign enemy, it’ll pitch the world into a nuclear war that will end very quickly with the destruction of the planet. I can remember the late, great Irish comedian Dave Allen commenting on this in one of his shows on the Beeb during Reagan and Thatcher’s New Cold War of the 1980s. ‘Do you know,’ he said in his tobacco and whisky cured voice, ‘that there are enough nuclear weapons to blow up the world three times. Three times! Once is enough for me!’ It was a profound relief for millions around the world when Reagan and Gorbachev signed their arms limitation agreement in Iceland. That, and the collapse of Communism, promised the beginning of a better world, where we wouldn’t have to fear nuclear annihilation. Well, it was until India and Pakistan looked set to nuke each other later in the ’90s.

But now those dreams of a better, more peaceful world are fading as Boris once again wishes to send us all back to the days of Thatcher and the Cold War. Thatcher was vehemently in favour of keeping Britain’s nuclear deterrent. So much so that she falsified the results of an experiment to estimate the results of a nuclear war on Britain. The experiment showed that it would end with the country’s major cities reduced to nuclear cinders. This was too much for the leaderene, who had the parameters of the projection altered to give the results she wanted. But this still would have resulted in millions dead, and so she had the parameters altered again to show that Britain would have survived with minimal damage. By which time the whole exercise had to be scrapped as it was completely unreliable.

Michael Foot, the leader of the Labour party at the time, favoured unilateral nuclear disarmament. He was right, but the Tories and their puppet press viciously attacked him as some kind of fool or traitor, who would give in to the evil Commies. The complaint of many Tories was that he would give our nuclear weapons away. Unlike Maggie, the bargain basement Boadicea, as I think Roy Hattersley once called her.

It looks very much like Boris is playing the same game. He’s wrecking the economy, destroying the health service and welfare state, but he’ll have the right-leaning part of the British public praising him for standing up to those evil foreigners and protecting the country with nukes.

And all the while he’s claiming that there’s no money to give the nurses and other hardworking, front-line professionals anything more than what is in reality a derisory cut in wages. Which is clearly a lie. But it does remind me of what Goering once said:

‘Guns will make us powerful. Butter will make us fat.’

He’s following the Nazis in deliberately starving people while splashing the cash on arms.

For further information, see: Nuclear bomb announcement sends clear message: warmonger Johnson has cash to KILL, not heal | Vox Political (voxpoliticalonline.com)

Open Thread

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 30/01/2021 - 4:15pm in

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Australian war crimes show bloody reality of Afghan war

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 23/01/2021 - 1:44pm in

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afghanistan

The barbarity of Australia’s role in Afghanistan was laid bare late last year, with the release of the Brereton report into war crimes by Australia’s much-vaunted elite SAS regiment.

Twenty five current and former soldiers are alleged to have perpetrated 39 cases of war crimes against civilians or prisoners. Some 19 soldiers will be referred for possible prosecution. The report is deliberately based on evidence SAS members were compelled to give, so that it is inadmissible in court.

Practices included allocating junior officers a “first kill” where they would execute a civilian in a practice called “blooding”, and the planting of evidence on slain civilians to make out they had been armed or aiding the Taliban, using weapons known as “throw downs”.

Two 14-year-old Afghan boys had their throats cut and bodies dumped in a river; a man known as Dad Mohammed was shot while lying down in a wheat field in 2012; and an intellectually disabled man in his 20s was executed in what became known in SAS circles as “the village idiot killing”.

Confirmation of the atrocities is a tribute to Afghan village elders and the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission for continuing to document and raise the issue of civilian deaths.

The evidence was dismissed for years by Australian military commanders.

An Australian army lawyer who raised the issue publicly, David McBride, still faces life imprisonment as a whistle-blower. Morrison had the Australian Federal Police raid the ABC and threaten journalists with jail for exposing the war crimes.

All this horror is a direct result of the imperialist occupation of Afghanistan by the US and its allies, including Australia.

While the chief of the Australian Defence Force, General Angus Campbell, apologised to the people of Afghanistan and Australia, he maintained the fiction that, “Afghans asked us to their country to help them.”

This is clearly not the case. The US invaded Afghanistan in 2001 and installed a stooge government, under Hamid Karzai, who then gave approval to the US to remain in the country, after the fact.

The war was justified as a “humanitarian intervention” for democracy and women’s rights against the Taliban government, who were accused of harbouring Osama bin Laden in the wake of 9/11. But the US supported Afghan warlords who were every bit as brutal in their effort to oust them.

The occupation has made life hell for ordinary Afghans, bringing terrible violence and death.

In the last ten years alone there have been over 100,000 civilians killed or injured. The UN recorded 5939 civilian casualties in the first nine months of 2020.

The occupying forces were so brutal that the Taliban was able to rebuild their support. The Australian government also turned its back on refugees from the country, torturing them on the prison islands of Manus and Nauru.

Imperialism

The war was only ever about power and imperialism. Afghanistan became an open-ended occupation because of its geo-political importance to the US, situated alongside its imperial rivals Russia and China.

Afghanistan has the misfortune of lying on one of the fault-lines where the rivalry between great powers is concentrated.

In the 19th century Lord Curzon, British Viceroy of India, coined the term “The Great Game” to describe the rivalry between Britain and Russia over the region. The British invaded Afghanistan three times in 1839, 1879 and 1919.

The 2001 invasion provided the US with an opportunity to create a string of military bases in Central Asia, in a region dominated by Russia during the Cold War.

General Colin Powell, US Secretary of State under George Bush Jnr, boasted in February 2002, “America will have a continuing interest and presence in Central Asia of a kind we could not have dreamed of before.”

But apart from its bases inside Afghanistan, the US has now surrendered the rest.

Australia joined the war not as a lackey of the US but as part of advancing our rulers’ own imperialist interests, both in dominating the local region and in protecting the investments of Australian companies worldwide.

Australia’s rulers have long sought to lock in the US as an imperial partner in furthering these aims.

As Paul Kelly, editor of The Australian, wrote in August 2002, “For half a century, the Australian way of war has been obvious: it is a clever, cynical, calculated, modest series of contributions as part of US-led coalitions, in which Americans bore the main burden. This technique reveals a junior partner skilled in utilising the great and powerful in its own interest, while imposing firm limits upon its own sacrifice.”

The West is not part of the solution in Afghanistan. The atrocities are further evidence of why it should leave.

By Tom Orsag

The post Australian war crimes show bloody reality of Afghan war appeared first on Solidarity Online.

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