Violence highest in Afghanistan since 2001, Dennis Ross says talks with Iran before war are a ‘easier sell”, Ismael Hossein-Zadeh on Obama’s ‘doublespeak’ regarding Iran, “U.S. Troops Out of Iraqi Cities? Think Again”, The ACLU sues the gov’t to release torture docs, Gitmo detainee kidnapped as a teenager released to his home, Iraq VP declares ‘no statehood for Kurds’, the U.S. dollar falls more.
Violence highest in Afghanistan since 2001, admits CENTCOM head Gen. David Petraeus. al Jazeera: “Attacks soared by 59 per cent to 5,222 incidents from January to May, compared with 3,283 attacks in the first five months of 2008…. 1,450 attacks in May, according to ISAF, surpassing the 1,400-mark for only the second time since January 2007” as Pres. Obama’s troop surge has grown.
“U.S. Fights an Information War in Afghanistan” David Zucchino (LAT): “The U.S. military initially responded Tuesday as it usually does in such incidents, with a bland statement denying any role in the explosion” of a hand grenade allegedly thown by a U.S. soldier into a crowd of civilians in a marketplace killing two and injuring 56.
The U.S. military is investigating an air strike which killed ten civilians (five children) in the Ghor province. The military has already admitted to “significant errors” in an air strike of the Farah province which killed up to 147 civilians, including 95 civilians.
The U.S. is wants NATO allies to permanently keep 5,000 European troops being sent temporarily to Afghanistan for this summer’s elections. The U.S. is increasing its troop level by 21,000 on top of the ~17,000 in place at the time of Pres. Obama’s inaugu-coronation.
Obama Adminstration adviser Dennis Ross suggests talks with Iran are for the purpose of ‘easier selling’ war with Iran. The Persian Gulf/Southwest Asia (Iran) envoy in his book, Myths, Illusions & Peace: Finding a New Direction for America in the Middle East, co-authored by David Makovsky, says: “Tougher policies — either militarily or meaningful containment — will be easier to sell internationally and domestically if we have diplomatically tried to resolve our differences with Iran… Such an approach may build pressures within Iran not to forgo the opportunity that has been presented, while also ensuring that the onus is put on Iran for creating a crisis and also for making conflict more likely.” This is the way Democrats sell war: talk about talking, talk with no intention of listening, accuse your counterpart of being stubborn and dangerous, strike the counterpart’s civilians with economic sanctions, bomb the hell out of those civilians and blame the counterpart’s stubborness well after people have forgotten that selling military action was the endgame in deciding to begin talks.
“Obama’s Doublespeak on Iran” by Ismael Hossein-Zadeh (Monthly Review Magazine) focuses on the the U.S. involvement in terrorist actions in Iran (citing Seymour Hersh’s great investigative reporting into this matter, amang others), the Newspeak surrounding Iran’s non-existent nuclear weapons program, the role of the Israel Lobby in U.S. policy toward Iran, and Pres. Obama’s hawkish cabinet. (h/t: CAMSII)
A policy of disallowing Iran to enrich uranium is “ridiculous,” says Sen. John Kerry (D-MA), 2004 Democratic presidential nominee and Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, in an interview with the FT adding: “They have a right to peaceful nuclear power [under the nuclear non-proliferation treaty] and to enrichment in that purpose.”
“The margin for the foolishness of anti-Iran hawks [has narrowed]”, says Roger Cohen’s op-ed in today’s NYT, though the Iranian election circus gets more circus-like in the final hours leading to tomorrow’s poll. Pres. Ahmadinejad threatened to kidnap his opponents for criticizing him, likening them to “Hitler”. The election is being seen as a referendum on the current president. No incumbent has been voted out of the president’s seat in Iran’s short electoral history, though a large amount of enthusiasm has surrounded the main opposition of Mir Hossein Mousavi called the “Green Wave” as Robert Dreyfuss analyzes well in a very intriguing post on The Nation blog. Pres. Ahmadinejad is like a Keynesian-on-crack, while Mr. Mousavi calls to “liberalize” the economy and work more to “repairing relations with the U.S., but cautiously… Iran’s economy, hobbled by mismanagement, sanctions and a bloated government sector, is Topic A in the election,” reports Warren Strobel.
The ACLU has filed suit against the U.S. government to release secret torture documents — citing the Freedom of Information Act request from December that has not been met — kicking off their “Accountability for Torture” campaign. Glenn Greenwald hosted a podcast discussion on the “major new accountability campaign”.
Mohammed El Gharani, an Chadian man, has been released from Gitmo five months after a judge’s order. Mr. Gharani was 14 or 16 when he was kidnapped seven years ago. He’s returning to Chad.
Life after Gitmo breeds resentment, but not terrorism, Laurel Fletcher and Eric Stover write in today’s LAT on innocent people freed from the torture camp: “Studies have found that only about 4% of the detainees have returned to terrorism after their release…. Last year, we interviewed 62 released Guantanamo detainees from nine countries in Europe, the Middle East and Southern Asia. We found that although many harbored negative feelings toward the U.S. government, most simply wanted to reintegrate into their families and communities. But they found it difficult to do so.”
Four Uighurs were transferred from Gitmo to Bermuda en route to Palau.
Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov blames the U.S. for creating its destablization and recent violence, not Islam. Hundreds of terrorist acts have been committed in the republic this year and though many attribute this rise to foreign sources, not many blame the U.S.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry will not join Poland and the Czech Republic in allowing the U.S. to build missile shields on its soil as the Pentagon’s suggested. Yesterday, Russian PM Vladmir Putin was quoted that Russia will participate in nuclear disarmament if the U.S. — “those who made the atomic bomb and used it” — does.
“U.S. Troops Out of Iraqi Cities? Think Again” by Kelley Vlahos (Antiwar.com) analyzes the “deliberately confusing” rhetoric of the Obama Administration regarding Iraq withdrawal.
Iraqi Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi says an independent Kurdish state will not be allowed in northern Iraq, ordering the Kurdistan Workers Party to disarm or leave.
Iraq has released three of the five private contractors detained for murder. Trying this crime would be the first time the Iraqi legal system would prosecute an American contractor under a new agreement. The CSM does well in covering the controversy surrounding this case.
A referendum to delay the Status of Forces Agreement for U.S. withdrawal from Iraq seems unlikely. (Antiwar.com)
“Iraqis Becoming Numb to Continued Violence” by Abeer Mohammed (McClatchy)
Israel kidnapped nine more Palestinians in the West Bank after reportedly kidnapping more than 260 in May. More than 11,500 Palestinians are imprisoned by Israel without charges for “security reasons”.
The U.N. is concerned with the “permanent nature” of Sri Lanka’s refugee camps, reports the BBC. Over 250,000 civlians fled their homes in the final surge of the 25-year civil war that’s recently “ended” with Tamil sepratists. The government refuses to participate in any probes into human rights violations, including the bombing of civilian hospitals which the U.N. called a “bloodbath”. Amnesty International is: “calling for the establishment of an independent international commission to investigate allegations of serious violations and abuses of international human rights and humanitarian law by both the Sri Lankan forces and the Tamil Tigers in the recent military hostilities.” Human Rights Watch is calling for Sri Lanka to end “illegal” detentions.
Human Rights Watch: “China has made a mockery of its commitment to the UN Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review process... The Chinese government’s defense of its human rights record during the review process was characterized by statements such as, ‘There is no censorship in the country,’ and responses that the Chinese government would ‘never allow torture to be allowed on ethnic groups,’ despite ample documentation by civil-society groups and international organizations of such abuses.”
“Death Row Case Embodies Systemic Flaws, Critics Say” by Henry Parr (IPS) analyzes the Troy Davis case. 2008 Libertarian [sic] Party presidential candiate Bob Barr wrote on op-ed in the NYT titled, “Death Penalty Disgrace” about a week an a half ago that’ very much worth reading. Mr. Barr’s still a tool, but the article’s what made me aware of this case and is quite good.
The U.S. dollar (USD) fell 0.8% to the euro and 0.4% to the yen by midday. The New Zealand dollar rose 2.5% and the Australian dollar rose 2% to the USD. (FT) China is committing to buy $50bn — with Russia and Brazil are committing to buy $10bn in IMF bonds — over U.S. Treasuries.
Pittsburgh Organizing Group calls for protesting the G-20 Summit in the Pennsylvania city Sept. 24-25.