In 2001, when the Taliban was toppled from power, Afghanistan’s musical culture was left in ruins. Music gradually came back onto the streets and into people’s lives, but by 2009 there was still no orchestra capable of playing the Afghan national anthem.
In that year, renowned musicologist Dr Ahmad Sarmast returned from exile in Australia, and the Ministry of Education charged him with establishing the first National Institute of Music (ANIM). Based in what had been Kabul’s School of Fine Arts, ANIM got off to a slow start: the building was a ruin and there were virtually no instruments.
Dr Sarmast’s Music School follows ANIM’s progress over two years as, gradually, the school is repaired and made habitable. Fine instruments – many donated by foreign sponsors – flood in, and the school’s 150 pupils gradually learn to play to professional standards.
The consequences of Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s loose lips with secret information about the informant in the assassination of Osama bun Laden in Pakistan, has put many lives at high risk.
As one of only three countries in the world where polio is still endemic, Pakistan launched a three day vaccination drive yesterday with a target of vaccinating the 318,000 children in North and South Waziristan who have not received their vaccinations. Across all of Pakistan, the goal is to vaccinate 34 million children under the age of five. The drive is being held despite a push by the Taliban to prevent vaccinations in tribal areas. The Taliban’s ban on vaccinations is aimed at stopping US drone strikes in the tribal areas and is in response to the vaccination ruse by the CIA. Dr. Shakeel Afridi pretended to be doling out hepatitis vaccines in a failed attempt to retrieve DNA samples for the CIA from the bin Laden compound when it was under surveillance prior to the attack that killed Osama bin Laden. Today, a UN doctor and his driver were wounded when a shooter opened fire on them in Karachi. The doctor was reported to be working on the vaccine program. [..]
It seems that Leon Panetta’s approval of and subsequent public confirmation of Afridi’s vaccine ruse is a problem that just continues to affect the lives of more and more children every day. Although the Pakistani government’s vaccine drive is legitimate and urgently needed, Panetta’s poor judgment is putting that drive at risk and assuring that it will fall far short of the rate of vaccination needed to prevent a record year for polio cases in Pakistan.
The consequences are that the informant, Pakistani doctor Shakeel Afridi, was jailed for 33 years in May, 34 million children are at risk and trying to save those lives can get you killed. MR. Panetta should be sentenced to driving doctors and aid workers in North and South Waziristan for the rest of his life.
If the past decade plus didn’t answer that question, after 9/11, as well as the one about our ‘freedoms’, because you didn’t pay attention to what’s done in your names over the decades, maybe these very recent news reports will jog that overwhelming arrogance and total apathy embedded in the minds of this country.
As Lieberman deliberated, the new chair of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), told HuffPost that the party would consider supporting Lieberman if he returned to the fold.
Joe & George the President
The feeling of ill will is mutual: Lieberman said during the health care debate that one reason he opposed a Medicare buy-in compromise was that progressives were embracing it.
March 20, 2003
” What we are doing here is not only in the interest of the safety of the American people. Believe me, Saddam Hussein would have used these weapons against us eventually or given them to terrorists who would have. But what we are doing here, in overthrowing Saddam and removing those weapons of mass destruction and taking them into our control, is good for the security of people all over the world, including the Iraqi people themselves.”
Joe and John in Iraq
September 29, 2011. 10 years and 18 days after 9-11 attacks on NYC
” It is time for us to take steps that make clear that if diplomatic and economic strategies continue to fail to change Iran’s nuclear policies, a military strike is not just a remote possibility in the abstract, but a real and credible alternative policy that we and our allies are ready to exercise.
It is time to retire our ambiguous mantra about all options remaining on the table. It is time for our message to our friends and enemies in the region to become clearer: namely, that we will prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability — by peaceful means if we possibly can, but with military force if we absolutely must. A military strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities entails risks and costs, but I am convinced that the risks and costs of allowing Iran to obtain a nuclear weapons capability are much greater.
Some have suggested that we should simply learn to live with a nuclear Iran and pledge to contain it. In my judgment, that would be a grave mistake. As one Arab leader I recently spoke with pointed out, how could anyone count on the United States to go to war to defend them against a nuclear-armed Iran, if we were unwilling to go to war to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran? Having tried and failed to stop Iran’s nuclear breakout, our country would be a poor position to contain its consequences.
I also believe it would be a failure of U.S. leadership if this situation reaches the point where the Israelis decide to attempt a unilateral strike on Iran. If military action must come, the United States is in the strongest position to confront Iran and manage the regional consequences. This is not a responsibility we should outsource. We can and should coordinate with our many allies who share our interest in stopping a nuclear Iran, but we cannot delegate our global responsibilities to them.”
Idiots at the Pentagon who constantly claim to recognize “suspected insurgents” through the tiny cameras in Predator drones as they destroy whole villages in Afghanistan…
Idiots at the Pentagon who hire Blackwater assassins to murder “suspected insurgents” all over Pakistan and Afghanistan …
Those same idiots can’t even recognize the second-ranking commander of the Taliban, Mullah Akhtar Muhammad Mansour!
For months, the secret talks unfolding between Taliban and Afghan leaders to end the war appeared to be showing promise, if only because of the appearance of a certain insurgent leader at one end of the table: Mullah Akhtar Muhammad Mansour, one of the most senior commanders in the Taliban movement.
But now, it turns out, Mr. Mansour was apparently not Mr. Mansour at all. In an episode that could have been lifted from a spy novel, United States and Afghan officials now say the Afghan man was an impostor, and high-level discussions conducted with the assistance of NATO appear to have achieved little.
“It’s not him,” said a Western diplomat in Kabul intimately involved in the discussions. “And we gave him a lot of money.”
From CNN, Your Most Trusted News Source:
The October Surprise
Anonymous NATO Spokesperson Upgrades Osama Bin Laden From Cave To House in Pakistan, Getting a Jump on the Latest Wikileaks Which Will Show He’s Working at al- Zawahiri’s International House of Naancakes
Kabul, Afghanistan, CNN, Monday, October 18, 2010
Osama bin Laden and his deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri are believed to be hiding close to each other in houses in northwest Pakistan, but are not together, a senior NATO official said.
“Nobody in al Qaeda is living in a cave,” said the official, who declined to be named because of the sensitivity of the intelligence matters involved.
The official would not discuss how the coalition has come to know any of this information, but he has access to some of the most sensitive information in the NATO alliance.
Wikileaks Donation Site Shut Down
CNN, Friday October 15, 2010
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange claims the U.S. government was behind the decision by Moneybookers to shut down the account, an allegation denied by American officials.
According to e-mails provided to CNN by Assange, Moneybookers informed WikiLeaks of its decision in August, shortly after the Pentagon demanded WikiLeaks return all of the military documents and remove them from its website. WikiLeaks refused to do so and is expected to release hundreds of thousands of additional Pentagon papers later this month.
The first e-mail from Moneybookers that notified WikiLeaks of its decision indicated one of the potential grounds for termination was “to comply with money laundering or other investigations conducted by government authorities, agencies or commissions.”
When Assange asked for a further explanation, he received another e-mail from the company saying the account was initially suspended “due to being accessed from a blacklisted IP address. However following recent publicity and the subsequently addition of the WikiLeaks entity to blacklists in Australia and watch lists in the USA, we have terminated the business relationship.”
The Guardian UK, a British publication, says that they asked to see the 90,000+ wikileaks documents of whistleblower Julian Assange on the Afghanistan War, and has created its own stories on them, and has not paid for this. They say they’ve “crawled through it so you can make sense of it,” which means that they must have had it for a while.
As the U.S. Senate strips out $20 billion of domestic funding resources that would have paid for schools, teachers, and college students, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/…
A spokesman for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., wouldn’t comment on whether the House will simply approve the Senate measure and send it on to Obama for his signature.
But the pressure to do so is intense, especially after Defense Secretary Robert Gates warned lawmakers this week that unless the measure is enacted into law before Congress leaves for its August recess, the Pentagon could have to furlough thousands of employees.
…. out of yet another war “supplemental” bill above the regular military funding, and is poised to influx another massive amount of deficit cash into yet another surge into a country we’ve now occupied for 9 years, the timing could not be better.
Rachel Reid, who investigates civilian casualty incidents in Afghanistan for Human Rights Watch, said: “These files bring to light what’s been a consistent trend by US and Nato forces: the concealment of civilian casualties. Despite numerous tactical directives ordering transparent investigations when civilians are killed, there have been incidents I’ve investigated in recent months where this is still not happening.
Accountability is not just something you do when you are caught. It should be part of the way the US and Nato do business in Afghanistan every time they kill or harm civilians.” The reports, many of which the Guardian is publishing in full online, present an unvarnished and often compelling account of the reality of modern war.
Most of the material, though classified “secret” at the time, is no longer militarily sensitive. A small amount of information has been withheld from publication because it might endanger local informants or give away genuine military secrets.
The Guardian’s war logs homepage of links is here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/worl…
End this fucking war NOW!
Private security contractors protecting the convoys that supply U.S. military bases in Afghanistan are paying millions of dollars a week in “passage bribes” to the Taliban and other insurgent groups to travel along Afghan roads, a congressional investigation released Monday has found.
The alleged payments, which are reimbursed by the U.S. government, help fund the very enemy the U.S. is attempting to defeat and renew questions about the U.S. dependence on private contractors, who outnumber American troops in Afghanistan, 130,000 to 93,000.
Bold text added by the diarist
So taxpayer money is funding contractors in Afghanistan who in turn fund THE TALIBAN with US Government reimbursable bribe money.
More areyoufuckingkiddingme below the fold
So, what are we doing in Afghanistan? Let’s ask some intelligent Afghanis.
(Cross-posted at DKOS)
It’s near-impossible to find anyone in Afghanistan who doesn’t believe the US are funding the Taliban: and it’s the highly educated Afghan professionals, those employed by ISAF, USAID, international media organisations – and even advising US diplomats – who seem the most convinced.
Where does this story come from? The Guardian, which actually takes an interest in digging a little deeper than most U.S. media outlets: Afghans believe US is funding Taliban by Daniella Peled.
Americans are often baffled, if they bother to travel and interact with the natives in a realistic way, at how differently people view the world. For people in the rest of the world conspiracies are normal. False flag events, double-crosses, double-dealing are well known in cultures with long oral traditions. Indeed, had we in America been much interested in history we would realize that there are plots all over the place about all kinds of major and minor issues. Yes, people are not honest. Shocking.
Is there merit to their argument?
I am greatly saddened to report the following . . .
Investigative journalist Seymour Hersh says that US forces in Afghanistan are carrying out what he referred to as “battlefield executions” of prisoners.
“One of the great tragedies of my country is that Mr. Obama is looking the other way, because equally horrible things are happening to prisoners, to those we capture in Afghanistan,” Hersh said during a discussion at the Global Investigative Journalism Conference last month in Geneva, where he was also the keynote speaker. “They’re being executed on the battlefield.”
Bold text added by the diarist
Video and more below the fold
“In one way or another, this is the oldest story in America: the struggle to determine whether “we, the people” is a spiritual idea embedded in a political reality — one nation, indivisible — or merely a charade masquerading as piety and manipulated by the powerful and privileged to sustain their own way of life at the expense of others.”–Bill Moyers