A Pakistani man whose son and brother were killed by what he claims was a US drone strike is seeking $500 million in compensation from the US government over the incident. Kareem Khan said that a CIA-operated drone fired missiles at his house in Pakistan's North Waziristan on New Year's Eve in 2009, killing his son 18-year old son Zaenullah and his brother Asif Iqbal. In a legal notice to US officials, including the heads of the Pentagon and the CIA, Khan's lawyer has demanded a staggering $500m in compensation. "We say to them that these drone attacks you are carrying out are killing innocent people," Khan told the Reuters news agency, describing the message he wanted to convey to the Americans.
[People do not forget and forgive when we kill their innocent loved ones. Never have, never will.]
The U.S. media paid scant attention in June when Amnesty International released a report charging that U.S. cruise missiles carrying cluster bombs had struck the village of al Majalah in southern Yemen on Dec. 17, 2009, killing 41 civilians, including 14 women and 21 children. Pentagon officials declined to discuss the matter at the time. But accusations of direct U.S. participation in that bombing and others in Yemen that reportedly caused civilian casualties quickly became a principal theme of al-Qaida propaganda. That theme is now likely to get even more traction as a result of the disclosure by WikiLeaks of an unusually revealing State Department cable in which Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh and his top ministers appear to agree to cover up the extent of the U.S. military role in disputed air strikes in Yemen.
[The US media and US government can ignore what is happening to the people under the US bombs dropped on them, but that does not mean it will go away. It means the local people will want to retaliate, and possibly join up with al Qaeda or other violent groups.]
Oxfam Report: Security for the vast majority of Afghans is rapidly deteriorating. As 29 aid organizations working in Afghanistan, we are deeply concerned about the impact of the escalating conflict on civilians. It is likely that in-creased violence in 2011 will lead to more civilian casualties, continue to fuel displacement, cut off access to basic services and reduce the ability of aid agencies to reach those who need assistance most.
[Things are getting worse for the ordinary people of Afghanistan. And the next article underlines a reason why.]
Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar has also urged his fighters to try to avoid killing innocent civilians. Many of the crude roadside bombs the insurgents rely on to target NATO or Afghan forces kill ordinary citizens instead. "Pay attention to the life and property of civilians so that ... your jihad activities will not become a cause for destruction of property and loss of life of people," Omar said in a message e-mailed to the media last week.
The Marines have tried to sway public opinion by increasing the number of development projects in Sangin. But they have discovered that better roads and new flood walls may do little good if locals believe the Marines are killing civilians. "The people say we don't need any help, just stop injuring and killing our civilians," Mira Jan Aka, a village elder from central Sangin, said during a recent meeting with the Marines. Aka was one of several elders who spent most of the weekly session complaining about Marines killing civilians. "It's clear the Marines can kill Taliban, so why are they making mistakes and killing civilians by dropping bombs on their compounds?" said Haji Gul Mohammad, an elder from northern Sangin.
The Marines dismissed the cries of the elders, many of whom they believe are sent by the Taliban to deliver a message the insurgents hope will hinder military operations. As proof, they point out that none of the elders have been targeted by the Taliban for meeting with the Marines even though the insurgents threaten locals with death if they go near the base. But locals who don't show up at the base have also complained about Marines killing civilians. Tuma Khan, a landowner from central Sangin, complained to Marines during a recent patrol that they shot and killed one of his farmers who was working in the field. The Marines said the man was planting a homemade bomb in the ground. Mullah Abdul Wali, another landowner from Sangin who recently fled with his family to Helmand's provincial capital of Lashkar Gah, complained that aggressive attacks by the Marines have killed dozens of civilians.
[The US Marines are just dismissing the complaints from the elders, instead of listening to them. Time and time again I have seen local populations complain about the killing of civilians, the US military claim they were not civilians, and then further investigation show the locals were right. Meanwhile, most of the US does not seem to notice. This is an excellent strategy if the goal is to grow more terrorists and make this into a forever war. I am opposed to this plan because it is highly immoral, however, there is also the problem of not being able to afford to keep sinking money into this immoral behavior. This last point is especially true when we are funding both sides of the conflict.]
It’s not as bad as you thought over there. It’s unimaginably worse. Imagine a war in which, if you didn’t pay the enemy to let you play, you couldn’t have the war. For all the talk about fighting terrorists and those Taliban, this is what we have been doing in Afghanistan. Command knows it. Congress knows it. Even Hillary Clinton knows it. Yet now they are talking about dumping another $450 billion into the Graveyard of Empires, in pursuit of a fugitive who isn’t there, to prevent attacks which were planned in Hamburg. This is the firm conclusion of a committee report released from Congress this summer which should qualify as the most underplayed story of the year, both by the media and by politicians of both parties who should care. American dollars are buying arms, explosives, and paying for fighters which are killing brave American soldiers who are being betrayed by their leaders at all levels.
[This is not only immoral, it is vastly stupid - and insane.]
Women may hold 25 percent of seats in the Iraqi parliament, but one in five in the 15-49 age group has suffered physical violence at the hands of her husband. Anecdotal evidence alleges that “many women are being kidnapped and sold into prostitution”, and female genital mutilation is still common in the north, the report notes.“The situation many Iraqi women and girls face is beyond words,” journalist Eman Khammas told IRIN in a telephone interview. “Before, I was a journalist, a professional; now, I am nothing.”
Khammas noted an underlying social climate of intolerance that has become increasingly poisonous for women. She was forced to flee Iraq after receiving death threats that effectively stopped her - like thousands of other Iraqi women - from working. She now lives in Spain.
Women’s participation in the labour force has fallen sharply since 2003. Before the invasion, 40 percent of public sector workers were women, according to a report by the Brussels Tribunal, an anti-war movement. Some sectors, such as the teaching profession, were almost entirely staffed by women, Khammas said.
[This article underlines the after-effects of an invasion and occupation. What makes this so hideously evil is the fact that Iraq did not attack or even threaten us, and we invaded and destroyed the place anyway, against the wishes of nearly the entire world. I also think the Afghanistan war is wasteful and immoral, but there was the backing of a large part of the world for that action. If, after nine years, we have no achieved our objectives, then we probably never will.
I used to hear the argument back in 2003 and 2004 that the US military has to stay in Iraq to "fix it" - well, we all see how well that worked out. We destroyed the place and ruined the lives of tens of millions of innocent people.
And this is why the US military needs to get out of Afghanistan too - we are not helping the people there, we cannot achieve our objectives, and it is unfair to ask young American men and women to go thousands of miles to die by explosives paid for by US taxpayers. And that is exactly what we are doing. I would like to ask Representative Shuler to stop funding both the Taliban and the US military operations in Afghanistan. All this dying and killing is not worth it. Thanks for reading. I am going to put this on my blog too.]