I’m getting a bit tired of the “deranged” soldier story. It was predictable, of course. The 38-year-old staff sergeant who massacred 16 Afghan civilians, including nine children, near Kandahar this week had no sooner returned to base than the defence experts and the think-tank boys and girls announced that he was “deranged”. Not an evil, wicked, mindless terrorist – which he would be, of course, if he had been an Afghan, especially a Taliban – but merely a guy who went crazy.
This was the same nonsense used to describe the murderous US soldiers who ran amok in the Iraqi town of Haditha. It was the same word used about Israeli soldier Baruch Goldstein who massacred 25 Palestinians in Hebron – something I pointed out in this paper only hours before the staff sergeant became suddenly “deranged” in Kandahar province.
“Apparently deranged”, “probably deranged”, journalists announced, a soldier who “might have suffered some kind of breakdown” (The Guardian), a “rogue US soldier” (Financial Times) whose “rampage” (The New York Times) was “doubtless [sic] perpetrated in an act of madness” (Le Figaro). Really? Are we supposed to believe this stuff? Surely, if he was entirely deranged, our staff sergeant would have killed 16 of his fellow Americans. He would have slaughtered his mates and then set fire to their bodies. But, no, he didn’t kill Americans. He chose to kill Afghans. There was a choice involved. So why did he kill Afghans? We learned yesterday that the soldier had recently seen one of his mates with his legs blown off. But so what?
The Afghan narrative has been curiously lobotomised – censored, even – by those who have been trying to explain this appalling massacre in Kandahar. They remembered the Koran burnings – when American troops in Bagram chucked Korans on a bonfire – and the deaths of six Nato soldiers, two of them Americans, which followed. But blow me down if they didn’t forget – and this applies to every single report on the latest killings – a remarkable and highly significant statement from the US army’s top commander in Afghanistan, General John Allen, exactly 22 days ago. Indeed, it was so unusual a statement that I clipped the report of Allen’s words from my morning paper and placed it inside my briefcase for future reference.
HIV-positive youngsters who were infected before or at birth reveal their secret lives.
Clive was nine years old when he discovered he was HIV positive. The devastating news that his mother, doctors and support workers had spent years preparing to break to him in the gentlest manner possible, was blurted out by a careless receptionist at his local hospital.
“My mum had bought me to see the doctor because I had earache, and this woman just read it out loud from my notes as she was typing my details into the computer,” says Clive, who celebrated his 18th birthday last week. “I remember standing there, with my mother’s hand around mine, as these feelings of complete confusion and fear washed over me.”
Clive credits the medication given to his mother during her pregnancy for protecting him then from her HIV infection. But, he says, something went catastrophically wrong at the point of delivery, and the infection was passed into his own bloodstream.
After that day at the hospital, however, Clive refused to take medication on his own behalf. “I suddenly realised that the pills my mum had been giving me every day – that I had thought were sweeties – were medicine,” he says. “After that day at the hospital, I would lock myself in the bathroom when my mum took them out of the cupboard. Or I’d pretend to swallow them, then throw them away.”
Clive’s resistance to taking medication became more deep-rooted as he grew up. “The medication makes me feel sick – I was sick every time I took it from 10 to 13 years old. Other times, I just don’t want to remember that side of me. I want to be normal.”
He shrugs sheepishly. “The last time I stopped taking them was because I broke up with my girlfriend and I had other things on my mind.” Clive takes his pills sometimes, he says, but then stops for months at a time. “I know I’m killing myself,” he says truthfully, but with studied nonchalance. An exuberant teenager, full of life, he laughs at my shock. Pulling his homburg hat to a jaunty angle, he throws a caricatured “oh, poor me” puppy dog stare.
But there’s nothing funny about Clive’s attitude towards his HIV status. A decade of sporadic adherence to his drug regime has stunted the teenager’s growth. It has left him close to death three times, and caused him to develop resistance to a number of the drugs that could have almost guaranteed him a long and healthy life. “I was in hospital again in January,” he says, absently drumming a jazz riff on the table in front of him. “But my hospital visit before that was the worst: I got pneumonia after stopping taking my meds. My CD4 count [cells that help fight infection] was down so low that I was basically dead.”
There are around 1,200 children like Clive in the UK and Ireland: young people living with perinatally acquired HIV, contracted from their mother in the womb, at the point of delivery or shortly after birth, while being breastfed.
This article by Michael Meacher MP who was Labour environment minister from May 1997 to June 2003 is just as relevant now as it was nearly 10 years ago. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Meacher
The 9/11 attacks gave the US an ideal pretext to use force to secure its global domination.
Massive attention has now been given – and rightly so – to the reasons why Britain went to war against Iraq. But far too little attention has focused on why the US went to war, and that throws light on British motives too. The conventional explanation is that after the Twin Towers were hit, retaliation against al-Qaida bases in Afghanistan was a natural first step in launching a global war against terrorism. Then, because Saddam Hussein was alleged by the US and UK governments to retain weapons of mass destruction, the war could be extended to Iraq as well. However this theory does not fit all the facts. The truth may be a great deal murkier.We now know that a blueprint for the creation of a global Pax Americana was drawn up for Dick Cheney (now vice-president), Donald Rumsfeld (defence secretary), Paul Wolfowitz (Rumsfeld’s deputy), Jeb Bush (George Bush’s younger brother) and Lewis Libby (Cheney’s chief of staff). The document, entitled Rebuilding America’s Defences, was written in September 2000 by the neoconservative think tank, Project for the New American Century (PNAC).
The plan shows Bush’s cabinet intended to take military control of the Gulf region whether or not Saddam Hussein was in power. It says “while the unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification, the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein.”
The PNAC blueprint supports an earlier document attributed to Wolfowitz and Libby which said the US must “discourage advanced industrial nations from challenging our leadership or even aspiring to a larger regional or global role”. It refers to key allies such as the UK as “the most effective and efficient means of exercising American global leadership”. It describes peacekeeping missions as “demanding American political leadership rather than that of the UN”. It says “even should Saddam pass from the scene”, US bases in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait will remain permanently… as “Iran may well prove as large a threat to US interests as Iraq has”. It spotlights China for “regime change”, saying “it is time to increase the presence of American forces in SE Asia”.
The document also calls for the creation of “US space forces” to dominate space, and the total control of cyberspace to prevent “enemies” using the internet against the US. It also hints that the US may consider developing biological weapons “that can target specific genotypes [and] may transform biological warfare from the realm of terror to a politically useful tool”.
The wreck of the Titanic as never seen before after sonar images reveal details of the doomed liner.
For almost three-quarters of a century its location at the bottom of the ocean was a maritime mystery.
Even when explorers found the wreck of the Titanic in 1985, they struggled to understand exactly what happened on that terrible night she sank.
Now researchers have come up with the clearest picture yet of the huge debris field at the bottom of the North Atlantic.
In a move to avoid being slapped with a cancer warning label, Coca-Cola is making an emergency recipe alteration that involves removing a known carcinogen from the mix. Showing that the company is more interested in preserving sales than actually ridding its products of known cancer-causing substances, the company chose to remove the toxic ingredient to avoid the warning label — not to actively protect the health of the consumer. The compound (used for the drinks’ caramel coloring), known as 4-methylimidazole (4-MI or 4-MEI), has been ousted by the Center for Sciences in the Public Interest as a powerful carcinogen.
In fact, the Coca-Cola company even denied the cancer link, stating that the findings by CSPI and others were simply untrue. Calling the warning label ‘scientifically unfounded’, Coca-Cola says that there is no public health risk that justifies any change.
“While we believe that there is no public health risk that justifies any such change, we did ask our caramel suppliers to take this step so that our products would not be subject to the requirement of a scientifically unfounded warning,” Coca-Cola representative Diana Garza-Ciarlante told the Associated Press news agency.
KANDAHAR CITY (PAN): A parliamentary probe team on Thursday said up to 20 American troops were involved in Sunday’s killing of 16 civilians in southern Kandahar province.
The probing delegation includes lawmakers Hamidzai Lali, Abdul Rahim Ayubi, Shakiba Hashimi, Syed Mohammad Akhund and Bismillah Afghanmal, all representing Kandahar province at the Wolesi Jirga and Abdul Latif Padram, a lawmaker from northern Badakhshan province, Mirbat Mangal, Khost province, Muhammad Sarwar Usmani, Farah province.
The team spent two days in the province, interviewing the bereaved families, tribal elders, survivors and collecting evidences at the site in Panjwai district.
Hamizai Lali told Pajhwok Afghan News their investigation showed there were 15 to 20 American soldiers, who executed the brutal killings.
“We closely examined the site of the incident, talked to the families who lost their beloved ones, the injured people and tribal elders,” he said.
He added the attack lasted one hour involving two groups of American soldiers in the middle of the night on Sunday.
“The villages are one and a half kilometre from the American military base. We are convinced that one soldier cannot kill so many people in two villages within one hour at the same time, and the 16 civilians, most of them children and women, have been killed by the two groups.”
Lali asked the Afghan government, the United Nations and the international community to ensure the perpetrators were punished in Afghanistan.
He expressed his anger that the US soldier, the prime suspect in the shooting, had been flown out of Afghanistan to Kuwait.
He said the people they met had warned if the responsible troops were not punished, they would launch a movement against Afghans who had agreed to foreign troops’ presence in Afghanistan under the first Bonn conference in 2001.
The lawmaker said the Wolesi Jirga would not sit silent until the killers were prosecuted in Afghanistan. “If the international community does not play its role in punishing the perpetrators, the Wolesi Jirga would declare foreign troops as occupying forces, like the Russians,” Lali warned.
President Hamid Karzai on Thursday asked the US to pull out all its troops from Afghan villages in response to the killings.
Pajhwok Afghan News is Afghanistan’s largest independent news agency. With headquarters in Kabul, eight regional bureaus and a nationwide network of reporters and correspondents, Pajhwok delivers an average daily output of three dozen stories in Pashto, Dari and English. Pajhwok also provides photographs, video footage and audio clips to international wire agencies, television and radio stations.
From its beginnings as a small project to report on the 2003 Constitutional Loya Jirga, Pajhwok has become the main provider of daily news to the country’s media and the most trusted source of news about Afghanistan from an Afghan perspective. Pajhwok is wholly owned and operated by Afghans and has no political affiliations.
“The real truth of the matter is, as you know, that a financial element in the large centers has owned the government of the United States since the days of President Andrew Jackson.” Franklin Roosevelt in 1933.
On March 6th, Robert Stanford was convicted in a Houston federal court on 13 out of 14 counts of fraud.
The jury decision was delivered three years after Stanford defrauded 30,000 investors in 113 countries in a Ponzi scheme involving $7 billion in fraudulent high-interest certificates at the Stanford International Bank located in Antigua.
The corporate media has accurately reported Stanford’s use of the fraudulently obtained money (e.g., purchasing mansions, jets, yachts, million dollar condominiums). However, the corporate controlled media conspicuously failed to report that much of the stolen money went to bribing corrupt members of congress on both sides of the aisle as well as their parent political parties. The illegally obtained money was given to the likes of Barack Obama, William Nelson, John McCain, John Boehner, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid.
The mainstream media also failed to mention that both the Republican and Democratic political parties accepted this fraudulently obtained money as well. The court-appointed receiver tasked with returning the money to Stanford investors obtained a federal court order last June against five Democratic and Republican campaigns. Yet, despite the court order, the leadership of both parties has still not returned the money! The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee received nearly a million dollars. The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) has accepted almost a quarter of a million dollars of Stanford’s ill-gotten gains. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee have received almost $200,000 of the stolen money. The Republican National Committee $130,000, and the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) has accepted $83,345.” These facts indict the entire Democratic and Republican apparatus and they are unquestionably participants in a criminal enterprise system which is benefitting from the theft of investor monies in the same fashion as did ex-New Jersey Governor and Goldman Sachs executive, John Corzine, when he stole tens of millions of dollars from MF Global investors.
Stanford used his influence, using the stolen money of his investors, to block two pieces of legislation which would have made it easier to prosecute this crook with millions of dollars on political campaigns donations. The two biggest recipients of the “donations” designed to stop this bill were Senator Bill Nelson (D) and John McCain (R). Other important Democrats on the Senate Banking Committee got checks from Stanford and the reform bill never got out of the Senate.
In the most brazen move in this litany of criminal enterprise actions, both the Republican and Democratic campaign committees actually possess the nerve to appeal the lower court decision to return the money to a higher federal court instead of returning the stolen investor’s money to the rightful owners.
Anyone who votes democratic or republican in subsequent elections gets the government that they deserve. The political whores from both parties have sold out the American people and now they are not even trying to hide their organized criminal activities. Meanwhile, the bulk of the American people are still asleep at the wheel.