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Who's To Blame For More Violence Against Afghan Women?

Hillary Afghan

The plight of Afghan women is in the news again. In December, Reuters warned that "(a)larm rises for Afghan women prisoners after Western troops leave," and Macleans published a plea from Afghan parliamentarian and women’s rights advocate Fawzia Koofi, for Western troops to remain in her country.  

Earlier this month, Russia Today reported that:

Violent crimes against women in Afghanistan reached an unprecedented level of brutality in 2013, an Afghan human rights watchdog has announced as the US-led coalition prepares to withdraw.

Chair of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC), Sima Samar, told Reuters that the pace and the hideousness of attacks on women intensified in 2013 with a 25 per cent surge in cases from March through September.

'The brutality of the cases is really bad. Cutting the nose, lips and ears. Committing public rape,' Samar said. 'Mass rape... It's against dignity, against humanity.’

The spokeswoman noted that as the withdrawal deadline draws near for international troops, women in tribal areas are less protected, leaving them vulnerable to violent assaults.

’The presence of the international community and provincial reconstruction teams in most of the provinces was giving people confidence,’ Samar said. 'There were people there trying to protect women. And that is not there anymore, unfortunately.'

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Is Obama Trying to Resolve or Prolong the Conflict in Syria?

Obamasyria1

Suppose a great power declares that it supports a peace process aimed at finding a political solution to a terrible, ongoing conflict.  Then suppose that this great power makes such declarations after it has already proclaimed its strong interest in the defeat of one of the main parties to said conflict.  And then suppose that this great power insists on preconditions for a peace process — preconditions effectively boiling down to a demand for pre-emptive surrender by the party whose defeat the great power has already identified as its major goal — which render such a process impossible.  Is it not reasonable to conclude that the great power in question is (how to put this gently) lying about its purported support for peace?

That, in a nutshell, is the Obama administration’s posture toward the ongoing conflict in Syria.

Earlier this week, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon began sending out invitations for the Geneva II conference on Syria scheduled for January 22.  And, as Ban’s spokesperson acknowledged, the Islamic Republic of Iran was not among the “first round” of nations asked to take part.
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Congress Defers to President On NSA Reform

Congress’s decline from the Founders’ vision as “first among equals” in government to an echo chamber of the unitary executive, has been a slow but steady process. In the process we have seen a steady stream of unconstitutional wars and civil liberties abuses at home. Nowhere is this decline more evident than in the stark contrast between the Congressional response to intelligence agencies’ abuses during the post-Watergate era and its response to the far more serious NSA abuses uncovered in recent years.
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Al-Qaeda is Everywhere!

Osama

How did al-Qaeda, a tiny anti-Communist group in Afghanistan that had no more than 200 active members in 2001 become a supposed worldwide threat?

How can al-Qaida be all over the Mideast, North Africa, and now much of black Africa? This after the US spent over $1 trillion trying to stamp out al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan?

The answer is simple. As an organization and threat, al-Qaeda barely exists. But as a name, al-Qaeda and “terrorism” have become the west’s handy universal term for armed groups fighting western influence, corruption or repression in Asia and Africa. Al-Qaeda is nowhere  but everywhere.

If you’re a rebel group seeking publicity, the fastest way is by pledging allegiance to the shadowy, nowhere al-Qaeda.

Take Iraq, where fighting currently rages between the Shia government and Sunni militias in Anbar Province. Interestingly, the Sunni uprising is centered on Fallujah, which was almost flattened by US Marines and blasted apart by depleted uranium shells and illegal white phosphorus as a dire warning to Iraqis who resisted.
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In Defense of Dennis Rodman

Rodman

Dennis Rodman is one strange dude.

I once visited a club he had in Chicago, during the days of the Michael Jordan led Chicago Bulls championship years. The crowd was the strangest crowd I have ever seen in my life. It looked like a convention of a secret transvestite subchapter of the Hell’s Angels.

Despite his strangeness, Rodman did have an influence on the nation by being the first to cover his body with tattoos. For whatever reason, millions have followed Rodman into getting inked-up bodies. Prior to Rodman’s tattoos, they were mostly worn just by merchant sailors — and only one, on the arm.

But Rodman, his pro basketball playing days well behind him, is now in the national spotlight for playing exhibition games in North Korea at the invitation of NK’s leader, the crazed Kim Jong-un.
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Morality versus the National Security State

One of the horrible consequences of the national-security state apparatus that was grafted onto America’s governmental system is how it has oftentimes placed Americans in the position of choosing between morality and obedience to the law.

Just this week, we have been reminded of the conflict between morality and law back in 1971, during the height of the Cold War, the “war” that was used to justify the existence of the national-security state apparatus in the first place.

The federal government was illegally targeting American citizens who were protesting and demonstrating against the national-security state’s war in Vietnam. In a free society, people are free to protest and demonstrate against anything they want.  Freedom entails letting the government know that one is opposed to what it is doing. Freedom entails having the right to persuade government that it is doing wrong and to change direction. Freedom entails persuading other people to take a stand against government wrongdoing.
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Peace is the Enemy of Empire

Special Ops Map Us 630 0 1

Hardly a day can go by without calls for the U.S. to militarily “do something” in some foreign land. Whether it be Egypt, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Syria, etc…it’s a never ending carousel. And let’s not forget that if there’s ever a lull, some North Korean alarm will always pop into the news cycle to fill the void.

MotherJones published the above map showing the locations of U.S. Special Forces all across the planet.

With U.S. Special Forces sprawled out over half of the Earth, is it any wonder that the U.S. always seems to be involved in every flare up that occurs? Back here at home, we’ve reached the point where a professional sporting event cannot occur without some, and often multiple, homages to “the troops”. Football-field sized flags are constantly unraveled with fighter jets screaming overhead.

Misguided beliefs about troops “protecting freedoms around the world” must always be fresh in every American citizen’s mind. It’s the fuel that fires the Empire.

Why must the homages at sporting events, and in many other places in American life, always be towards war? Why isn’t the national anthem sung by a peaceful and productive member of society, like a nurse, optician, or butcher?
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The Reactionary Essence of the Syrian Insurgency

Al Nusra Execution

Western corporate media, its Oil and Gas counterparts (GCC), and the various acolytes and paid-propagandists in the “tailored analysis” industry, are once again attempting to bolster and rebrand the public image of the fundamentalist rebels in Syria.

In the space of a week, two new formations of armed rebels mysteriously appeared across the mass-media lexicon and declared war on the dominant extremists through the usual “activist” social media accounts. The new brigades have virtually no historical record in the conflict, and appear to be largely a creation of the impotent exile opposition and its western sponsors. An abundance of reports relay stories of the Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham (ISIS) simply abandoning their posts and being turned over by this supposedly “moderate” new force.

Yet, in reality, the most predominant militia in Syria – those of a Salafi-Wahhabi fundamentalist bent, who now fight under the umbrella of the Islamic Front (IF), and are led by Hassan Abboud of Ahrar al-Sham, and Zahran Alloush of Liwa al-Islam – have made a concerted effort to avoid sowing discord between themselves and the overt Al Qaeda affiliates of ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra (JaN).
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Ron Paul Rewind: Defense Spending vs. Empire Spending

Last year, debate “moderators” from Fox News had a hard time understanding the difference between legitimate spending on defending the U.S. versus the wasteful spending on the military empire. Dr. Paul explained it with passion and in true smackdown form, leaving the warmongers on stage, and in the audience, speechless.
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Life in the Electronic Concentration Camp: The Many Ways That You’re Being Tracked, Catalogued and Controlled

Surviellance

What is most striking about the American police state is not the mega-corporations running amok in the halls of Congress, the militarized police crashing through doors and shooting unarmed citizens, or the invasive surveillance regime which has come to dominate every aspect of our lives. No, what has been most disconcerting about the emergence of the American police state is the extent to which the citizenry appears content to passively wait for someone else to solve our nation’s many problems. Unless Americans are prepared to engage in militant nonviolent resistance in the spirit of Martin Luther King Jr. and Gandhi, true reform, if any, will be a long time coming.

Yet as I detail in my book A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State, if we don’t act soon, all that is in need of fixing will soon be unfixable, especially as it relates to the police state that becomes more entrenched with each passing day. By “police state,” I am referring to more than a society overrun by the long arm of the police. I am referring to a society in which all aspects of a person’s life are policed by government agents, one in which all citizens are suspects, their activities monitored and regulated, their movements tracked, their communications spied upon, and their lives, liberties and pursuit of happiness dependent on the government’s say-so.
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