Tuesday, March 29, 2011
From Rolling Stone:
More war crime images the Pentagon doesn't want you to see
[WARNING - Images are extremely graphic and disturbing]
During the first five months of last year, a platoon of U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan went on a shooting spree, killing at least four unarmed civilians and mutilating several of the corpses. The “kill team” – members of the 5th Stryker Brigade stationed near Kandahar – took scores of photos chronicling their kills and their time in Afghanistan. Even before the war crimes became public, the Pentagon went to extraordinary measures to suppress the photos, launching a massive effort to find every file and pull the pictures out of circulation before they could touch off a scandal on the scale of Abu Ghraib.
The images – more than 150 of which have been obtained by Rolling Stone – portray a front-line culture among U.S. troops in which killing innocent civilians is seen as a cause for celebration. “Most people within the unit disliked the Afghan people,” one of the soldiers told Army investigators. “Everyone would say they’re savages.”
Many of the photos depict explicit images of violent deaths that have yet to be identified by the Pentagon. Among the soldiers, the collection was treated like a war memento. It was passed from man to man on thumb drives and hard drives, the gruesome images of corpses and war atrocities filed alongside clips of TV shows, UFC fights and films such as Iron Man 2. One soldier kept a complete set, which he made available to anyone who asked.
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The cable outlined “effective methods” for a propaganda war against bin Laden through the Voice of America language services, interviews with bin Laden’s Muslim victims, commissioned articles in the local press and by virtual presence on the Internet. Arguing in favor of an anti-bin Laden website, the cable said, “Although that would appear to be counterintuitive - that the masses don’t use the Internet - almost all Islamic and Islamist groups do indeed have internet access and use it extensively.” “We are unlikely to make much inroad with OBL’s hard-core supporters because they are true-believers absolutists and tend to think and react emotionally: Facts are less important to them than emotions,” it said, noting, “They are not open to persuasion.” However, the American diplomat in Islamabad argued about a majority of Pakistanis, saying, “This middle ground, or at least somewhat susceptible to reason, or at least to other information, should be our primary target.” “The message crafted for them would also be welcomed by educated, westward-looking elite of both Pakistan and Afghanistan, who feel threatened by OBL’s advocacy and violence and theological obscurantism,” the cable said. “The focus of any enhanced USG public diplomacy effort should be to portray OBL and others around him as criminals, both by international and by Islamic standards. Where possible, responsibility of the movement al Qaeda should be emphasized, not just OBL (bin Laden) as an individual,” it said.
For the audiences in Afghanistan, the cable said, “When we focus on bin Laden, and especially for Afghan consumption, we should make three points: 1) The U.S. is not against Afghanistan and the Afghan people, 2) The U.S. is not against any particular any Afghan political faction, and 3) The U.S. wants OBL expelled from Afghanistan to a place where he can be brought to justice.”
The sensational WikiLeaks exposé has caused people to lend credence to the earlier rumour grist that 9/11 was an indigenous conspiracy, planned and executed by the United States to find an excuse for attacking and invading Afghanistan. The recent disclosure of the presence of precious metals in Afghanistan, the information of which the US had prior to 9/11, is a case in point. It has now come to the fore that The United States has discovered nearly $1 trillion in untapped mineral deposits in Afghanistan, far beyond any previously known reserves and enough to fundamentally alter the Afghan economy and perhaps the Afghan war itself, according to senior American government officials. The previously unknown deposits—including huge veins of iron, copper, cobalt, gold and critical industrial metals like lithium—are so big and include so many minerals that are essential to modern industry that Afghanistan could eventually be transformed into one of the most important mining centers in the world, the United States officials believe.
An internal Pentagon memo, for example, states that Afghanistan could become the “Saudi Arabia of lithium,” a key raw material in the manufacture of batteries for laptops and BlackBerrys. The vast scale of Afghanistan’s mineral wealth was discovered by a small team of Pentagon officials and American geologists. The Afghan government and President Hamid Karzai were recently briefed, American officials said. While it could take many years to develop a mining industry, the potential is so great that officials and executives in the industry believe it could attract heavy investment even before mines are profitable, providing the possibility of jobs that could distract from generations of war. “There is stunning potential here,” General David H. Petraeus, commander of the United States Central Command, said in an interview. The value of the newly discovered mineral deposits dwarfs the size of Afghanistan’s existing war-bedraggled economy, which is based largely on opium production and narcotics trafficking as well as aid from the United States and other industrialized countries. Afghanistan’s gross domestic product is only about $12 billion. However, it has now come to light that the US was in picture of the existence of the minerals before it invaded Afghanistan.
At the same time, American officials fear resource-hungry China will try to dominate the development of Afghanistan’s mineral wealth, which could upset the United States, given its heavy investment in the region. After winning the bid for its Aynak copper mine in Logar Province, China clearly wants more, American officials said. However, it is alarming that the US has orchestrated one of the oldest imperialistic façades of invading a country, it suspected contained rich minerals. It could thus be assured of having exclusive rights to mine the minerals and pocket the profits. If this is true, then the US has a lot to answer to the international court of justice, since its war machine has already slaughtered over 30,000 Afghans and despite suffering defeats at the hands of the Afghan resistance, it is reluctant to depart from Afghanistan.
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