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Afghans in secret jail ‘made to dance’ to use bathroom

Report: Afghans in secret jail ‘made to dance’ to use bathroom

Raw Story
April 15, 2010

Bagram prisoners ‘moved around in wheelchairs with goggles and headphones on’

The US military is operating a “secret jail” at an Afghan airbase where prisoners are deprived of sleep and “made to dance” by US troops whenever they want to use the toilet, a BBC report states.

The BBC interviewed nine people who say they were held at the facility, known as the “black hole,” at the site of the Bagram air base. The prison appears to be separate from the main Bagram prison, which the US established after the 2001 invasion and which continues to be the target of human rights complaints.

A man identified only as “Mirwais” who says he spent 24 days at the facility told the BBC that prisoners are routinely subjected to sleep deprivation.

“I could not sleep, nobody could sleep because there was a machine that was making noise,” said Mirwais. “There was a small camera in my cell, and if you were sleeping they’d come in and disturb you.”

“Mirwais said he was made to dance to music by American soldiers every time he wanted to use the toilet,” the BBC reports.

Witnesses said the lights were kept on in their cells at all times; that the Red Cross had no access to the facility; and most had been beaten by US troops before they were brought there. The BBC report does not address under what circumstances the witnesses found themselves there, or whether any of them were insurgents.

This is not the first time that allegations have been made of a secret facility at Bagram. Last November, Raw Story reported on claims of a secret site at Bagram that was still in operation as of late last year, apparently in contravention of President Obama’s order, upon taking office, to shut down the CIA’s “black sites” around the world.

Three people claiming to be former inmates of the facility told the New York Times “of being held for months after the intensive interrogations were over without being told why. One detainee said he remained at the Bagram prison complex for two years and four months; another was held for 10 months total.”

The secret site appears to be separate from the main prison facility at Bagram, which itself has been the target of complaints from human rights activists. Unlike the Guantanamo Bay facility, prisoners at Bagram aren’t given access to lawyers.

“To this date, no prisoner has ever seen a lawyer in Bagram,” lawyer Tina Foster told the BBC.

The news organization was given a rare peek inside the main Bagram prison complex, a new facility that replaced an aging one earlier this year:

    In the new jail, prisoners were being moved around in wheelchairs with goggles and headphones on. The goggles were blacked out, and the purpose of the headphones was to block out all sound. Each prisoner was handcuffed and had their legs shackled.

    Prisoners are kept in 56 cells, which the prisoners refer to as “cages”. The front of the cells are made of mesh, the ceiling is clear, and the other three walls are solid. Guards can see down into the cells above.

    The BBC was told by the military to wear protective eye glasses whilst walking past the mesh cells as prisoners sometimes throw excrement or semen at the guards.

Faced with a lawsuit from the ACLU, the US military earlier this year released a long-secret list of prisoners at Bagram. The list showed some 645 prisoners being held at the facility, but the BBC now reports that number to be closer to 800, thanks to an increase in prisoner intake likely linked to the increased military effort in Afghanistan in recent months.

“The US military itself has admitted that about 80% of those at Bagram are probably not hardened terrorists,” the BBC reports.

In March, the Times of London reported that the Bagram facility could be expanded and used as a replacement for the Guantanamo Bay detention center. The idea is “being considered as US officials try to find an alternative to Guantánamo Bay,” the Times said.

Last year, former CBS anchorman Dan Rather said “there is a school of thought” that Bagram is already replacing Guantanamo as the site where terrorist suspects from around the world are to be held.

“Some of the contentions that were made about Guantanamo are starting to be made about Bagram,” Rather told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow. “The critical thing is, there is no transparency.”

 

The Guantanamo Guidebook

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rh4mp_WiXGE

U.S. abuse of detainees was routine at Afghanistan bases

 



53% of your Tax Dollar goes to the Military

Tax Day 2010: 53% of your Tax Dollar goes to the Military

Examiner
April 13, 2010

Health care? Social Security? An economic stimulus bill? Wars? Bailing out Wall Street banks? Education? Our nation’s infrastructure? Each may be a good guess based on the issues that get attention in the mainstream media.

The correct answer may be that 53% of the federal tax being collected in 2010 has already been allocated for defense spending.

According to Philadelphia investigative journalist Dave Lindorff, writing for OpEdNews:

The 2011 military budget, by the way, is the largest in history, not just in actual dollars, but in inflation adjusted dollars, exceeding even the spending in World War II, when the nation was on an all-out military footing. Military spending in all its myriad forms works out to represent 53.3% of total US federal spending.

That would mean the military’s share of the approximately $3 trillion 2011 budget is about $1.6 trillion.

On the other hand, anyone can find a handy fact sheet posted on the white house’s web site that puts the department of defense’s share of the budget at a “mere” $708 billion, seemingly bringing the cost down to about 24 cents on the tax dollar.

So, who’s telling the truth? The answer is that both are, depending on how one looks at federal budget allocations.

Just like banks, airlines or a sleazy car dealer, the pentagon and white house’s initial invoice does not include hidden costs and amenities, but the final bill does. One of those add-ons is called supplemental spending.

A war appropriations bill to supplementally finance the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan for an additional $106 billion was signed by President Obama last year. The administration is already poised to ask congress for another $35 billion this year, which they will surely get. There are estimates that supplemental war funding could reach $300 billion by the end of 2010. You can view a cost of war counter here. If supplemental war spending is based on what was spent last year, that brings the defense portion of the check to $814 billion.

A closer look reveals that the 2011 defense budget also does not include: spending on veterans affairs – that means VA hospitals, benefits, etc., for any ex-military personnel that are no longer on active or reserve status. The bill for that is $60 billion. That $60 billion does not include any public funds spent on veterans or immediate family that collect public benefits, such as social security.

Homeland security, judging by the title, can be added to the defense part of the check for approximately another $4.3 billion, bringing the bill to approximately $878.3 billion. So can NASA, for another $19 billion, since their primary function is deploying military satellites. And the National Intelligence Program for another (classified) amount, estimated at about $75 billion. Even the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers gets billed separately at about $5 billion.

Without even considering the costs of foreign military aid to nations such as Israel, Pakistan, Egypt and Columbia, or the costs of purchasing services from private contractors such as Xe (formerly Blackwater) to provide security in occupied countries, or Halliburton to rebuild them, defense spending is already well over $900 billion. There are 750 U.S. military bases in 50 nations and not including Iraq and Afghanistan, approximately 255,000 service members stationed abroad. There are 116,000 in Europe and nearly 100,000 in Japan and South Korea.

Like all government spending, of course, the defense portion has to be financed, so when money is borrowed from whomever or wherever to pay for the $900+ billion tab, add more interest to the approximately $250-400 billion in interest already owed through debt created by defense spending. The huge sum will be borrowed, mostly from China and Japan, to which the U.S. already owes $1.5 trillion.

Having trouble keeping up with your bill yet? That’s because it is designed that way. It gets even more complicated when you have to consider that Social Security expenditures are included in the overall budget, even though it is a trust that is raised and spent seperately from income taxes. What you pay by April 15, 2010 goes to the federal funds portion of the budget. That makes military spending seem smaller in comparison to overall government spending. That also easily puts the figure at about 53 percent.

No matter which figure you want to believe – the $1.6 trillion or the $708 billion, it may be enlightening to put that in two other perspectives.

One is that, according to the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, the U.S. accounted for 48% of global military spending in 2008, compared to 5% for Russia, 8% for China, and 20% for all our European allies combined.

The second is that, according to the non-profit National Priorities Project, less than half of the $708 billion estimate – $300 billion, could have paid for health care for 131,780,734 American children for a year, or for 53,872,201 students to receive Pell Grants of $5,550, or for the salaries and benefits of 4,911,552 elementary school teachers for that same year. Restoring roads and bridges in this country to the condition of past decades and keeping them in decent repair so that they do not fall apart would cost $166 billion a year for the next five years.

Tax day is almost here, and whether 24 cents of your hard-earned dollars, 53 cents, or something in between goes toward military spending, there may be a few things to think about. Do we really need to spend almost as much as the rest of the world combined on “defense?” Could investing our tax $’s to improve our country within our borders provide a better return of investment than occupying countries halfway around the world? If U.S. taxpayers knew how much they are paying for defense and the wars through direct taxes instead of bookkeeping fraud, how long would this continue?

Let’s not forget the human costs of war either…

 



Blackwater, US Military Working For Taliban Drug Lords

Blackwater, US Military Working For Taliban Drug Lords
Blackwater and India’s Intelligence Agency are protecting and supporting Taliban to carry out operations in Pakistan

Veterans Today
January 23, 2010

The following article is by Gordon Duff, a Marine Vietnam veteran, grunt and 100% disabled vet. He has been a UN Diplomat, defense contractor and is a widely published expert on military and defense issues. He is active in the financial industry and is a specialist on global trade. Gordon Duff acts as political and economic advisor to a number of governments in Africa and the Middle East.

BLACKWATER/XE ACCUSED OF COMPLICITY IN TERRORISM AND WAR AGAINST US TROOPS

TOP TALIBAN MILITANTS RECEIVE MEDICAL CARE AT BAGRAM AIR FORCE BASE

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has been briefed by the Pakistani Military High Command that they are being overwhelmed by highly trained and extremely well armed militants in the border regions and terrorists operating across the country. We have been told by the highest sources that Blackwater/Xe and other US based mercenary groups have been actively attacking police, military and intelligence organizations in Pakistan as part of operations under employment of the Government of India and their allies in Afghanistan, the drug lords, whose followers make up the key components of the Afghan army.

Investigations referenced in the Pakistan Daily Mail by abrina Elkani and Steve Nelson indicate that, rather than hunt terrorists who have been killing Americans, these groups have actually taken key militant leaders into Afghanistan where they are kept safe and even offered medical treatment by the United States military. Years ago, we all heard the rumor that Osama bin Laden had received care at a US hospital in Qatar after leaving Sudan to take over what we claim was the planning of 9/11. FBI transcripts verify that bin Laden, according to testimony by former FBI translator Sibel Edmonds, was working for the US at that time and had maintained contact with his CIA handlers through the fateful summer of 2001.

The Army of Pakistan has been regularly capturing advanced weapons of Indian manufacture from militants in the border region. India maintains 17 “consular” camps inside Pakistan, near the border, adjacent to Blackwater facilities, falsely designated as CIA or USAID stations. Pakistan claims these operations train Taliban soldiers and terrorists for operations against civilian targets in Pakistan. Thousands have died in Pakistan over recent months during these attacks. Pakistan also contents these same groups are, not only fighting the Pakistan military but the Americans as well.

General Stanley McChrystal had withdrawn American forces from key areas in Afghanistan across from enemy held regions under attack by the Army of Pakistan. We are now told that this allowed those areas to become safe havens for forces formerly operating in Pakistan, who are now enjoying the freedom and hospitality of, not only Afghanistan but are being ignored by the NATO forces in the region.

The untold story is the massive complicity of Americans with their private airline, now suspected in yet another war, not Vietnam, not Central America/Iran Contra but Afghanistan, for a third time, of smuggling narcotics. The pattern is impossible to ignore.

Hired Killers in Haiti

Iran says US, UK, Canada assist Afghan drug trade

Are America’s Mercenary Armies Really Drug Cartels?

 



Obama authorizes covert economic war against Venezuela

Obama authorizes covert economic war against Venezuela

Wayne Madsen
Online Journal
January 21, 2010

WMR’s intelligence sources have reported that the Obama administration has authorized an economic war against Venezuela in order to destabilize the government of President Hugo Chavez.

After a successful coup against Chavez ally, President Manuel Zelaya of Honduras, and the very thin 51-49 percent electoral win by Chile’s billionaire right-winger Sebastian Pinera on January 17, a buoyed Obama White House has given a green light for political operatives in Venezuela, many of whom operate under the cover of non-governmental organizations (NGOs), to set the stage for massive street demonstrations to protest Chavez’s devaluation of the bolivar, Venezuela’s currency.

Chavez devalued the bolivar by 50 percent to make Venezuelan oil exports less expensive, thus boosting revenue for his country. However, the devaluation has also seen price rises and inflation in Venezuela and the CIA and its subservient NGOs have wasted little time in putting out stories about consumers rushing to the stories ahead of an increase in consumer products, with imported flat-screen televisions being the favorite consumer item being hyped by the corporate media as seeing a huge price increase and long lines at shopping malls favored by the Venezuelan elites.

The state has exempted certain consumer goods such as food, medicines, school supplies, and industrial machinery from being affected by the bolivar’s devaluation through a different exchange rate and price controls, but it is the price increases on televisions, tobacco, alcohol, cell phones, and computers that has the anti-Chavez forces in Venezuela and abroad hyping the ill-effects on the Venezuelan consumer.

To battle against businessmen who are trying to capitalize on the devaluation of the bolivar, Chavez has threatened to close and possibly seize any business that gouges the consumer by inordinately raising prices. The first target of a temporary closure was a Caracas store owned by the French firm Exito.

International investment analysts praised Chavez’s decision to devalue the bolivar and said the decision was overdue considering the fall of oil prices worldwide. However, the CIA and NGOs, many aligned with George Soros’s Open Society Institute and the U.S. National Endowment for Democracy are planning large street demonstrations against Chavez’s handling of the economy.

National Assembly elections are scheduled for September but the Obama administration has decided that if Chavez can be removed now, his allies in Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Paraguay, and some Caribbean island states will quickly abandon Chavez’s alternative to American-led Western Hemisphere financial contrivances and free trade pacts, the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA).

The Obama planners then see Cuba, once again, being isolated in the hemisphere and ripe for increased U.S. political pressure. Cuba was placed on the list of 14 countries requiring additional airline passenger screening as part of the policy to pressure and isolate Cuba. There is a possibility that with the outbreak of U.S.-inspired violence in the streets of Venezuela, that nation could join Cuba on the list as the 15th country.

The Obama administration’s assault is two-fold: economic and political. Pressure is being applied against the gasoline chain Citgo, which is owned by the Venezuelan state oil company, PDVSA, and Venezuelan investment favorability ratings. Politically, the U.S. is overtly and covertly funneling money to anti-Chavez groups through the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and groups affiliated with George Soros.

There is also a small military component to Obama’s strategy of undermining Chavez. U.S., P-3 Orion overflights of Venezuelan airspace from bases in Aruba and Curacao are designed to intimidate Chavez and activate Venezuelan radar and command, control, communications, and intelligence (C3I) systems to gather electronic and signals intelligence data that would be used by the United States to jam Venezuelan military networks in the event of a U.S.-inspired uprising against Chavez by U.S. loyalists embedded in the Venezuelan military, police, PDVSA, and media. The U.S. is also stoking cross-border incursions into Venezuela by Colombian paramilitaries to gauge Venezuela’s border defenses. Last November, Colombian right-wing paramilitary units killed two Venezuelan National Guardsmen inside Venezuela in Tachira state. Weapons caches maintained by Colombians inside Venezuela have been seized by Venezuelan authorities. Venezuela has also arrested a number of Colombian DAS intelligence agents inside Venezuela.

Obama signed a military agreement with Colombia that allows the United States to establish seven air and naval bases in Colombia. An additional agreement by Obama with Panama will see the U.S. military return to that nation to set up two military bases.

It is estimated that some 25 percent of Venezuelans are likely Fifth Columnists who would take part in a revolt against Chavez. Many of them based in the Venezuelan oil-producing state of Zulia and the capital of Maracaibo, where successive U.S. ambassadors in Caracas have stoked secessionist embers and where the CIA and U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency have concentrated much of their efforts. In November, Venezuelan police arrested in Maracaibo, Magaly Janeth Moreno Vega, also known as “The Pearl,” the leader of the right-wing United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC), which has been directly linked to Colombia’s pro-U.S. President Alvaro Uribe and members of his government, including former Colombian Attorney General Luis Camilo Osorio Isaza, appointed by Uribe as Colombia’s ambassador to Mexico.

U.S. Provoking War With Venezuela

 



Iran says US, UK, Canada assist Afghan drug trade

Iran says US, UK, Canada assist Afghan drug trade

Press TV
January 14, 2010

A senior Iranian anti-drug official has accused the US, Britain and Canada of playing a major role in Afghanistan’s lucrative drug trade.

On the sidelines of an anti-drug conference in Tehran, deputy head of Iran’s Drug Control Headquarters Taha Taheri said that Western powers are aiding the drug trade in Afghanistan.

“According to our indisputable information, the presence of the United States, Britain and Canada has not reduced the dug trade and the three countries have had major roles in the distribution of drugs,” IRIB quoted Taheri as saying on Thursday.

Iranian officials have always criticized Western countries over their policies towards Afghanistan, where poppy cultivation has drastically increased since the US-led military occupation of the country in 2001.

Taheri added that drug catalysts are being smuggled into Afghanistan through borders that are controlled by US, British and Canadian troops.

Some 13,000 tones of drug catalysts are brought into Afghanistan every year as the war-torn country is the producer of 90 percent of the world’s opium.

The UN office on drugs and crime said last month that the 2009 potential gross export value of opium from Afghanistan stood at $2.8 billion.

Iranian police officials maintain that drug production in Afghanistan has had a 40-fold increase since the US-led invasion of the country in 2001.

“More than 340 tones of drugs have been seized all over Iran in the past nine months,” IRNA quoted the commander of the drug squad, General Hamid Reza Hossein-Abadi, as saying earlier this month.

The UN has praised Tehran for its commitment to the fight against drug trafficking.

Are America’s Mercenary Armies Really Drug Cartels?

 



U.S. Provoking War With Venezuela

Netherlands has Granted U.S. Military Use of its Islands in the Caribbean

globalresearch.ca
January 14, 2010

The government of the Netherlands recently granted the US military use of its islands in the Caribbean, with the excuse that this is to help in the “war against drugs”. In reality, this is a direct threat to the Chavez government in Venezuela.

In the Dutch media articles have appeared about the “war-mongering” president of Venezuela, Hugo Chávez, who is “preparing a war against Colombia”. Now Chávez has accused the Netherlands of supporting aggression against Venezuela, because the Netherlands has given permission to the American armed forces to use the military bases on the Dutch Caribbean islands of Aruba and Curaçao[1].

In the media Hugo Chávez, as always, has been presented like some “crazy populist”, and of course the “civilised Netherlands” are presented as being totally innocent.

Later Maxime Verhagen, the Dutch minister of foreign affairs, said the American military were on Aruba and Curaçao, as part of the “war against drugs”. He remains silent about what is really happening on Aruba and Curaçao.

Authors such as Noam Chomsky and Eva Golinger have pointed out in different articles that the so-called “war against drugs” has nothing to do with any battle against drug smuggling, but has been used for other causes such as fighting against guerrilla movements and the spying of other countries. Since the start of the “war against drugs” there has only been more smuggling and consumption of drugs.

The fact that the Netherlands are participating in this is quite normal, because the Dutch government has a tradition of supporting American imperialism. After Britain the Netherlands are the biggest ally of the U.S. in Western Europe. The cabinet of Prime Minister Balkenende gave political support to the invasion of Iraq that was based completely on lies. Now the Netherlands have troops in Afghanistan, officially to rebuild the country, but in practice to prop up the corrupt regime of Karzai.

The bases on Aruba and Curaçao

In 1999 the Netherlands and the U.S. signed an agreement for the establishment of Forward Operating Locations (FOLs). This meant that the American military could use air force bases on Aruba and Curaçao. While the bases were originally used for operations against drug smuggling and the Colombian guerrilla movement FARC, this changed with the election of George Bush. Venezuela was seen as a threat by then, because it was a beacon of hope for the poor and working people of Latin America. In 2002 there was a CIA-backed coup attempt against the democratically elected Hugo Chávez. Since then there have only been more intrigues against Venezuela.

In 2006 there was a big military exercise by the U.S., Netherlands, Belgium, Great Britain, France and Canada in the Caribbean, named Joint Caribbean Lion 2006. This exercise was clearly a provocation against Venezuela. After criticisms by the Venezuelan government the then-minister of defence Henk Kamp and some right-wing MPs decided to accuse Chávez of “wanting to conquer the Antilles”. This was based on false statements from the Venezuelan opposition, that stated Chávez claimed everything within 200 miles from the Venezuelan coast as Venezuelan territory, while in that speech Chávez clearly said “12”, and not “200” miles.

Now there is a new conflict. This has everything to do with the recent militarization of Colombia and its seven military bases that have been given to American troops. Venezuela is not talking nonsense as the media keep claiming. Colombia’s military spending now is 5% of its Gross Domestic Product. At the peak of her struggle against the FARC this was 2.5%.

Also the American Fourth Fleet has been stationed back in the Caribbean since 2008. This fleet was disbanded in 1950 after the end of WWII, but now it is back and close to the Venezuelan coast.

The Netherlands are now playing the role of junior partner of the U.S. in the Caribbean. Different spy planes have been detected above Venezuela. An American Boeing RC-135 has taken off at different times from Curaçao and has been detected over Venezuelan air space.

Hugo Chavez orders military to shoot at US aircraft

 



Ron Paul: We Need Revolutionary Change

Ron Paul: We Need Revolutionary Change

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-vLV4jn8BMU