Afghan My Lai — Robert Bales was not alone

March 31, 2012 § 7 Comments

That is according to Afghan child witnesses interviewed by Yalda Hakim for Australia’s SBS Dateline. (h/t Shaheen)

Hakim, who was born in Afghanistan and immigrated to Australia as a child, is the first international journalist to interview the surviving witnesses. She said American investigators tried to prevent her from interviewing the children, saying her questions could traumatize them. She said she appealed to village leaders, who arranged for her to interview the witnesses.

Noorbinak, 8, told Hakim that the shooter first shot her father’s dog. Then, Noorbinak said in the video, he shot her father in the foot and dragged her mother by the hair. When her father started screaming, he shot her father, the child says. Then he turned the gun on Noorbinak and shot her in the leg.

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Occupy Wall Street: Surviving the Winter

March 30, 2012 § 2 Comments

Here’s part II of a new documentary on the Occupy movement, co-produced by Jordan Flaherty and Sweta Vohra for Al Jazeera’s Fault Lines. (Watch part I here.)

Time for a Reciprocated Monroe Doctrine: Failed Latin American Policies Applied in the Middle East

March 29, 2012 § Leave a comment

by John Washington

Money doesn’t solve, salve, cure, stabilize, forge peace, make or keep promises. And aid packages, no matter how much they’re needed or with how much philanthropic goodwill they’re sent, will not help anyone by themselves. It matters as much in whose hands the money falls as fast as it flows. The United States State Department should have considered this when deciding to continue to fund and arm the Egyptian military regime.

As pivotal as Egypt has been as an historical ally and an advocate for various degrees of peace in the region, and as necessary as the country may be as a counterweight to the militant authoritarianism of Iran, the United States cannot afford to fund another oppressive regime. Or, rather, it can afford it, but it shouldn’t. And funding is what the Obama administration and Hilary Clinton are doing: sending 1.3 billion dollars of military assistance to the military regime despite clear evidence of human rights abuses.

Since 1979 annual U.S. military aid to Egypt has grown, according to the State Department’s own statistics, to over $1.3 billion dollars a year. A few months ago, because of increasing concern of human rights violations, when we allocated this year’s $1.3 billion package we did so contingently, based on the implementation of “policies to protect freedom of expression, association, and religion, and due process of law.” And yet, as detailed in a letter from Amnesty International urging Clinton not to send more money and arms to Egypt, “Egyptian security forces have killed numerous civilians, and the Egyptian government has demonstrated a systematic failure to rein in security forces and stop the attacks on Egyptian and foreign non-governmental organizations (NGOs) working in Egypt.”

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Max Blumenthal on Trayvon Martin and Shaima Alawadi

March 28, 2012 § Leave a comment

The great Max Blumenthal, Puffin Foundation Writing Fellow for the Nation Institute, is interviewed on RT about the killings of Trayvon Martin and Shaima Alawadi, racial profiling and the normalization of Islamophobia in the U.S.:

Syria on the brink

March 27, 2012 § Leave a comment

A year ago, Syrians took to the streets in peaceful protest demanding democratic change but the regime ruthlessly crushed the uprising. Empire discusses if the world powers can do anything to stop the escalation of force.

March TaxCast

March 25, 2012 § 2 Comments

We encourage readers to tune in to this excellent program produced by the Tax Justice Network. Hosted  by Naomi Fowler, each 15 minute podcast follows the latest news relating to tax evasion, tax avoidance and the shadow banking system. The show will feature discussions with experts in the field to help analyse the top stories each month.

In this month’s show TaxCast covers Apple i-tax dodging, reclaiming Arab Spring country assets, the rich country club of the OECD and the ABCs of setting up letterbox companies…It’s child’s play!

Above the Drone of War, Voices for Peace

March 25, 2012 § Leave a comment

by Davis Smith-Ferri

Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers from Kabul and Bamiyan visiting with Afghan youth at Nangarhar University in Jalalabad.

In 1876, at the so-called Battle of the Little Bighorn when U.S. Cavalry regiments attacked an Indian village along the Little Bighorn River in Wyoming, the first casualty was a ten-year old Lakota Sioux boy named Deeds. Unaware that U.S. troops were nearby planning an attack, he and his father were combing a hillside looking for a lost pony when U.S. troops encountered and killed him. The next casualties were six Lakota women and four children, who were murdered while in a field gathering wild radish bulbs, one of the many indigenous plants that Native people depended on for their livelihood, and hardly a threatening activity.

I think of these events today because of the recent killings of Afghan civilians, not only the 17 women and children killed in villages outside Kandahar, but also two recent and less publicized atrocities resulting from NATO airstrikes that killed civilians in Kapisa Province, including eight Afghan boys who were tending their sheep. Sheepherding, of course, is an activity as integral to their livelihood as gathering indigenous plants was to Lakota people.

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