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    a small global elite an elite to whom nationalism and religion are little more than a joke The people of France of Europe and of the world should not count on their politicians or their media to lead them out of their blindness to the economic and geopolitical motives behind the immigrant crisis the proxy war in Syria and their own countries complicity therein and the development of jihadism Meanwhile the war goes on Thursday 19 November 2015 Generalissimo Hollande By credited author on Thursday 19 November 2015 22 40 Know Your Empire French president François Hollande s speech to the Congress at Versailles rode a wave of political solidarity most politicians refraining from trying to make political profit off the terror attacks and standing united against a common enemy with the notable exception of Hollande himself He shamelessly used the situation to undermine the political threat from the Right and advance the implementation of an all out police state The satirical Canard Enchainé called him the General of the Division Hollande announced that France s borders were being closed and that he would ask for an extension of the emergency powers he has put in place which can be maintained for a maximum 12 days without a legislative vote to extend them Today as I write all but a handful of deputies voted to grant an extension of three months Hollande further said that he would seek an amendment to the law governing the application of emergency powers allowing the executive to keep them in place longer without consulting the legislature He said that administrative meaning executive searches and seizures will be able to be made with no court order He promised to hire 5 000 new police and gendarmes in the next two years Long planned budget cuts designed to lower the costs of France s armed forces have been frozen through 2019 He promised that he would seek an amendment to the constitution extending the conditions under which he can declare a state of siege equivalent to full martial law Constitutionalization would put the measure out of the reach of challenges from European human rights legislation and France s own Conseil Constitutionnel which could challenge a law All of these legal and constitutional extensions of powers Hollande suggested are needed to cope with a new context which the Republic will evolve to face presumably meaning a context in which young French men and women are recruited and trained as assassins and suicide bombers by jihadist militias whom France itself and its allies have armed and trained for use as proxy armies against Assad Hollande clearly relishes the opportunity to play the strongman to talk tough while undercutting his political adversaries At one point he even made a brief head wagging gesture that was astonishingly reminiscent of Mussolini Or possibly Nicolas Sarkozy Was it calculated or spontaneous Is he being coached by a consultant the way the old George Bush was after his handlers noticed that a few of his gestures were just a touch too graceful Is he simply aping his likely future adversary Sarkozy who parlayed his stint as Interior police minister into a presidential term by baiting immigrants and ghetto youth even stooping so low as to arrest suspected undocumented parents in a pre dawn raid as they prepared their children for the first day of elementary school Or inside the chubby little bookkeeper is there a swaggering Duce bent on taking the stage And is a full scale police state part of a long standing plan to further tighten the grip of the neoliberal matrix In any case Hollande is now hunting on Sarkozy s lands as the French say Beyond his militaristic posturing he deliberately drew a connection between terrorism and the young people in France s pressure cooker suburban housing projects They move from delinquency to terrorism He promised that he would see to it that young offenders born in France and sometimes third generation immigrants have their French nationality stripped from them Playing on the fears of working class citizens by singling out ghetto youths as being part of a foreign population the Republic is harboring in its bosom is one of the techniques Sarkozy had used to co opt the extreme Right Front National on his way to the presidency Now Hollande whose party is a direct inheritor of the Second International is using the horror of November 13 th as cover for doing exactly the same And the media are falling in line while praising Hollande s stern posturing and hypocritical calls for unity The term Islamofascism is again being bandied about A female journalist on the France 24 news network commenting on the reports that a woman terrorist had blown herself up during the police attack in St Denis Wednesday morning said that a page has been turned and that no woman wearing the Islamic veil can ever be trusted again Are women who wear blouson style jackets and coats now suspect too Or only if they are of Middle Eastern complexion Are all pregnant women now potential suicide bombers Or only those who don t have blond hair and or smoke cigarettes The relatively short term gains Hollande will take to the bank may or may not keep their value on the volatile market of politics But the harm he is doing to the liberty that is supposedly one of France s pillar values won t easily be undone And he chooses to do it rather than face the hypocrisy and the contradictions of France s and its allies policies in the world in general and the Middle East in particular Sunday 15 November 2015 France Victim and Perpetrator By credited author on Sunday 15 November 2015 06 57 Know Your Empire Here in France the official take on the Friday the Thirteenth attacks from the politicians and the media is that our values the values of the Republic have been attacked again The narrative is the same one we heard after the Charlie Hebdo masssacre We are a beacon of civilization and They are barbarians Fundamentally in this country where turning an elegant phrase and finding le mot juste is so highly valued it s no more sophisticated than Junior Bush s They hate us because we re so free No one can deny that this was a terrorist attack But nobody mentions the fact that terrorism is simply a weapon of war used by peoples states who face an overwhelmingly strong enemy The nascent Israel used terrorism against the British and no one would dare criticize it today But no terror is an entity like Islam or well freedom These are not people using terror as a weapon never mind the fact that our Western states sytematically use terror against domestic and foreign populations they re just terrorists by nature by birth just as we are free and democratic by birth And yet we re told that this was an act of war that France is at war and that a state of emergency has been declared A state of emergency is essentially martial law though the term is studiously avoided The executive can declare it for a period of twelve days after which the legislature can prolong it by vote a vote the elected representatives of the people would unhesitatingly take just as the US Congress voted overwhelmingly to adopt the USAPATRIOT Act Indeed France s citizens even though they may well be familiar with Franklin s words are probably willing to surrender a measure of freedom in order to have security The discourse about our values the values of the Republic may be hard to swallow but not only do we swallow it we get on the bandwagon and organize huge demonstrations to show that we are free and unafraid When it s a question of us against Them who will deny that we are we and that he or she is not one of Them We buy into the meme and help put flesh on its bones And it becomes part of our culture and as such that much easier to swallow the next time around until we end up thinking that it really is in our nature to be free and fair and enlightened and that They really are slaves to their beliefs submissive and benighted And the result is that no one ever asks a simple question like Since the Socialist President of France learned to admire the role of Commander in Chief and realized that since the Charlie attacks he has a line of credit for extending the military since France decided to make its modest contribution to the West s civilizing program and help oust Assad and keep the money flowing to its own arms makers and perhaps get back part of its former empire how many people have been killed in Syria and Iraq due to France s bombing How many civilians In any event I haven t heard it asked yet in the French media Everyone is blinded by the light of our beloved Republic that beacon of democracy and solidarity with the oppressed peoples And as a matter of fact will the media really entertain the question of who it is we re really at war with Of who the killers actually were Of who We really are Wednesday 17 September 2014 William Blum By credited author on Wednesday 17 September 2014 14 29 Many of the citizens fall for US government propaganda justifying its military actions as often and as naively as Charlie Brown falling for Lucy s football The American people are very much like the children of a Mafia boss who do not know what their father does for a living and don t want to know but then wonder why someone just threw a firebomb through the living room window Wednesday 13 August 2014 Gaza By credited author on Wednesday 13 August 2014 06 59 Monday 4 August 2014 UNRWA School Shelling By credited author on Monday 4 August 2014 15 55 Documents UNRWA School Shelling Press Statement Jen Psaki Department Spokesperson Washington DC August 3 2014 Share on facebook Share on twitter The United States is appalled by today s disgraceful shelling outside an UNRWA school in Rafah sheltering some 3 000 displaced persons in which at least ten more Palestinian civilians were tragically killed The coordinates of the school like all UN facilities in Gaza have been repeatedly communicated to the Israeli Defense Forces We once again stress that Israel must do more to meet its own standards and avoid civilian casualties UN facilities especially those sheltering civilians must be protected and must not be used as bases from which to launch attacks The suspicion that militants are operating nearby does not justify strikes that put at risk the lives of so many innocent civilians We call for a full and prompt investigation of this incident as well as the recent shelling of other UNRWA schools We continue to underscore that all parties must take all feasible precautions to prevent civilian casualties and protect the civilian population and comply with international humanitarian law Tuesday 29 July 2014 Screen shot of Google search showing original version of NBC News story on Gaza hospital strike By credited author on Tuesday 29 July 2014 18 08 NBC News edited a story about strikes near a hospital in Gaza to echo the official IDF version The story originally clearly identified Israel as the perpetrator Also see this piece Continue reading Tuesday 22 July 2014 What Did US Spy Satellites See in Ukraine By credited author on Tuesday 22 July 2014 15 23 Know Your Empire Exclusive The U S media s Ukraine bias has been obvious siding with the Kiev regime and bashing ethnic Russian rebels and Russia s President Putin But now with the scramble to blame Putin for the Malaysia Airlines shoot down the shoddy journalism has grown truly dangerous says Robert Parry Continue reading Thursday 20 March 2014 EU Parliament statement of concern over Ukraine s Svoboda Party By credited author on Thursday 20 March 2014 10 04 Know Your Empire The EU Parliament had issued a statement of concern over the Svoboda Party now in power in Ukraine and considered the legitimate government by the US in December 2013 including the following point European Parliament resolution of 13 December 2012 on the situation in Ukraine 2012 2889 RSP The European Parliament 8 Is concerned about the rising nationalistic sentiment in Ukraine expressed in support for the Svoboda Party which as a result is one of the two new parties to enter the Verkhovna Rada recalls that racist anti Semitic and xenophobic views go against the EU s fundamental values and principles and therefore appeals to pro democratic parties in the Verkhovna Rada not to associate with endorse or form coalitions with this party Monday 3 March 2014 Twilight of the Gods By credited author on Monday 3 March 2014 13 45 Know Your Empire I ve been thinking back on my youth recently on the 60s and on how convinced we were back then that there was such a thing as progress on how sure we were that by the time we were old the world would have changed I was an American and I had been raised on perpetual progress in all areas technology human rights quality of life and was sure that the world would be a more peaceful and prosperous place by now But now as I watch the news on television I see that sabers are again rattling that the Russians are being warned by the US State department that the consequences will be severe if they attempt to keep Crimea in their sphere of influence The TV news doesn t mention the fact that the crisis in Crimea that is in Ukraine was directly caused by the US and its NATO allies through their fomenting the overthrow of the Yanukovich government Why The supposed reason is that Yanukovich in Ukraine and Putin in Russia are despotic leaders and that the real majority of the people not the elites whom these near dictators serve aspire to true democracy The kind of democracy that exists in the US and France and the UK for example The real reason is that Washington and NATO have a master plan for continually extending their influence throughout the globe and that that master plan involves breaking up what was once the USSR into a number of smaller states that can be brought into the NATO fold and their resources channeled into the coffers of the elites in the NATO countries This is of course in direct contradiction with the promises made at the time of the breakup of the former USSR and the de facto dissolution of the Warsaw pact that NATO would not expand into the territory formerly covered by the Pact Back in the 60s and for decades before then the US and its allies were engaged in the same kind of interference in the affairs of other parts of the world always on the pretext of protecting democracy or midwifing freedom or some similar formulation Iran in 1953 and Guatemala in 1954 are examples that immediately come to mind Never was it admitted that the machinations and when the machinations failed the direct military interventions were in fact intended to protect the vital interests meaning the financial interests of the USA meaning the elite that was in power and is still in power And of course there is another reason for the machinations and the ever present threat of military action that is always in the background justifying the existence of the US NATO military machine and the 1 67 trillion spent on it annually Spent or should we say extracted from the populations of the US and the NATO countries As I grow old and face the world of today where the progress of technology seems to have been accompanied by regression in human rights and quality of life I can only wonder watching the news how my attempts to make sense of my own life and make peace with my own past natural as old age approaches can make any sense in such a context It s as if the leaders of the world were eternally young and eternally stupid like the gods of the mythology our culture is founded on It s as if we when I say we I mean we as Americans as French as German or as British as represented by the leaders we have duly elected through our admittedly imperfect but at least functioning democratic processes were trying to play at being Immortals by interfering in the lives of ordinary people to satisfy our own infantile need to have our way our childish greed never being satisfied with the wealth we have or our pusillanimous desire to know everything everyone everywhere is thinking and saying Is our democratic system really such a model for the rest of the world when those we put in power behave in this way How much longer can we remain human if we continue to allow our leaders to play at being gods source SIPRI Wednesday 18 September 2013 UN Report on Ghouta Gas Incident Points to Evidence Tampering not Syrian Culpability By credited author on Wednesday 18 September 2013 08 43 Know Your Empire The United Nations report on the alleged use of chemical weapons in the Ghouta area of Damascus on August 21 does not as newspaper headlines have indicated point to Assad s use of gas 1 confirm that rockets were loaded with sarin 2 or come closer to linking Assad to sarin attack 3 Nor as US officials and some journalists have declared does it reinforce the case that Mr Assad s forces were responsible 4 confirm Damascus s responsibility 5 or undercut arguments by President Bashar al Assad of Syria

    Original URL path: http://blog.reconstructno.org/ (2016-05-02)
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  • Tag - france - it-just-keeps-getting-better
    from owners who are not willing to stay open at night and on Sundays The identity group behind the sticker is almost certainly linked to the Front National which hopes with its recently applied veneer of respectability and photogenic female leader to ride the fear generated by the influx of refugees and the recent terror attacks to victory in the regional elections in the coming weeks The spectre of Daesh ISIL is concretized in photos of terrorist armies waving their black flag The weekly Canard enchaîné carried a story about a Mass celebrated in honor of the victims of the terror attacks in the cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris attended by the Mayor a cabinet minister the presidents of the National Assembly and Senate a former president and two former prime ministers during which the French national anthem the Marseillaise was played on the Great Organ The Canard pointed out that in 1918 Prime Minister Georges Clémenceau a fierce opponent of anti Semitism and nationalism refused in the name of the Republic s sacred principle of secularity to allow members of his government to attend a ceremony of thanksgiving at Notre Dame to celebrate the Armistice The same principle of secularity separation of church and state has been invoked recently to justify the banning of the Islamic veil in schools No one would dare point out a time like this that such a measure has less to do with protecting the values of the Republic than with undermining the Front National Meanwhile Catholics write to the Right tending daily Figaro to protest the inappropriateness of the anthem s being played at Mass pointing out that the Republic has always been the enemy of religion This mixture of politics religion and nationalism does remind one of the Great War In

    Original URL path: http://blog.reconstructno.org/tag/france (2016-05-02)
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  • Tag - nationalism - it-just-keeps-getting-better
    from owners who are not willing to stay open at night and on Sundays The identity group behind the sticker is almost certainly linked to the Front National which hopes with its recently applied veneer of respectability and photogenic female leader to ride the fear generated by the influx of refugees and the recent terror attacks to victory in the regional elections in the coming weeks The spectre of Daesh ISIL is concretized in photos of terrorist armies waving their black flag The weekly Canard enchaîné carried a story about a Mass celebrated in honor of the victims of the terror attacks in the cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris attended by the Mayor a cabinet minister the presidents of the National Assembly and Senate a former president and two former prime ministers during which the French national anthem the Marseillaise was played on the Great Organ The Canard pointed out that in 1918 Prime Minister Georges Clémenceau a fierce opponent of anti Semitism and nationalism refused in the name of the Republic s sacred principle of secularity to allow members of his government to attend a ceremony of thanksgiving at Notre Dame to celebrate the Armistice The same principle of secularity separation of church and state has been invoked recently to justify the banning of the Islamic veil in schools No one would dare point out a time like this that such a measure has less to do with protecting the values of the Republic than with undermining the Front National Meanwhile Catholics write to the Right tending daily Figaro to protest the inappropriateness of the anthem s being played at Mass pointing out that the Republic has always been the enemy of religion This mixture of politics religion and nationalism does remind one of the Great War In

    Original URL path: http://blog.reconstructno.org/tag/nationalism (2016-05-02)
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  • Tag - war - it-just-keeps-getting-better
    from owners who are not willing to stay open at night and on Sundays The identity group behind the sticker is almost certainly linked to the Front National which hopes with its recently applied veneer of respectability and photogenic female leader to ride the fear generated by the influx of refugees and the recent terror attacks to victory in the regional elections in the coming weeks The spectre of Daesh ISIL is concretized in photos of terrorist armies waving their black flag The weekly Canard enchaîné carried a story about a Mass celebrated in honor of the victims of the terror attacks in the cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris attended by the Mayor a cabinet minister the presidents of the National Assembly and Senate a former president and two former prime ministers during which the French national anthem the Marseillaise was played on the Great Organ The Canard pointed out that in 1918 Prime Minister Georges Clémenceau a fierce opponent of anti Semitism and nationalism refused in the name of the Republic s sacred principle of secularity to allow members of his government to attend a ceremony of thanksgiving at Notre Dame to celebrate the Armistice The same principle of secularity separation of church and state has been invoked recently to justify the banning of the Islamic veil in schools No one would dare point out a time like this that such a measure has less to do with protecting the values of the Republic than with undermining the Front National Meanwhile Catholics write to the Right tending daily Figaro to protest the inappropriateness of the anthem s being played at Mass pointing out that the Republic has always been the enemy of religion This mixture of politics religion and nationalism does remind one of the Great War In

    Original URL path: http://blog.reconstructno.org/tag/war (2016-05-02)
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  • Tag - Atrocities - it-just-keeps-getting-better
    Gaza are entitled to struggle for their right to live and prosper That struggle is a form of self defence not aggression against occupation oppression colonialism and imperialism Second culprit Binyamin Netanyahu and Ehud Barak The Israeli prime minister and defence minister have taken a direct and personal hand above and beyond Israel s wider role in enforcing the occupation in escalating the violence Israel and its supporters always make it their first priority when Israel launches a new war of aggression to obscure the timeline of events as a way to cloud responsibility The media willingly regurgitates such efforts at misdirection In reality Israel engineered a confrontation to provide the pretext for a retaliatory attack just as it did four years earlier in Operation Cast Lead Then Israel broke a six month ceasefire agreed with Hamas by staging a raid into Gaza that killed six Hamas members This time on 8 November Israel achieved the same end by invading Gaza again on this occasion following a two week lull in tensions A 13 year old boy out playing football was killed by an Israeli bullet Tit for tat violence over the following days resulted in the injury of eight Israelis including four soldiers and the deaths of five Palestinian civilians and the wounding of dozens more in Gaza On November 12 as part of efforts to calm things down the Palestinian militant factions agreed a truce that held two days until Israel broke it by assassinating Hamas military leader Ahmed Jabari The rockets out of Gaza that followed these various Israeli provocations have been misrepresented as the casus belli But if Netanyahu and Barak are responsible for creating the immediate pretext for an attack on Gaza they are also criminally negligent for failing to pursue an opportunity to secure a much longer truce with Hamas We now know thanks to Israeli peace activist Gershon Baskin that in the period leading up to Jabari s execution Egypt had been working to secure a long term truce between Israel and Hamas Jabari was apparently eager to agree to it Baskin who was intimately involved in the talks was a credible conduit between Israel and Hamas because he had played a key role last year in getting Jabari to sign off on a prisoner exchange that led to the release of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit Baskin noted in the Haaretz newspaper that Jabari s assassination killed the possibility of achieving a truce and also the Egyptian mediators ability to function The peace activist had already met Barak to alert him to the truce but it seems the defence minister and Netanyahu had more pressing concerns than ending the tensions between Israel and Hamas What could have been more important than finding a mechanism for saving lives on both the Palestinian and Israeli sides Baskin offers a clue Those who made the decision must be judged by the voters but to my regret they will get more votes because of this It seems

    Original URL path: http://blog.reconstructno.org/tag/Atrocities (2016-05-02)
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  • Tag - bombing - it-just-keeps-getting-better
    Tag bombing Entries feed Friday 19 April 2013 Juan and John Obama Stumbles On Innocence By credited author on Friday 19 April 2013 10 48 Atrocities bombing drones massacre obama Click to view 1 first responders 2 Serbia 3 Countries

    Original URL path: http://blog.reconstructno.org/tag/bombing (2016-05-02)
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  • Tag - drones - it-just-keeps-getting-better
    Tag drones Entries feed Friday 19 April 2013 Juan and John Obama Stumbles On Innocence By credited author on Friday 19 April 2013 10 48 Atrocities bombing drones massacre obama Click to view 1 first responders 2 Serbia 3 Countries

    Original URL path: http://blog.reconstructno.org/tag/drones (2016-05-02)
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  • Tag - massacre - it-just-keeps-getting-better
    least in part by his dissatisfaction with an overloaded and dysfunctional US military command Yesterday prominent Seattle defense attorney John Henry Browne announced he will represent the soldier Browne s past clients include serial burglar Colton Harris Moore and serial killer Ted Bundy At a news conference in Seattle Browne said the soldier s family was shocked at what happened JOHN HENRY BROWNE He was told that he was not going to be redeployed And they were the family was counting on him not being redeployed And so he and the family were told that his tours in the Middle East were over And then literally overnight that changed So I think that it would be fair to say that he and the family were not happy that he was going back Oh they were totally shocked He s never said anything antagonistic about Muslims He s never said anything antagonistic about Middle Eastern individuals He s in general been very mild mannered So they were very shocked by this Yet somehow the fact that the lawyer who is to defend Bales was also the defender of serial murderer Ted Bundy suggests that a temporary insanity plea is being envisaged Now Goodman introduces Shea and provides background on Shea s recent article in American Scholar AMY GOODMAN We re joined now by journalist Neil Shea He s joining us from Raleigh North Carolina has reported on Afghanistan for many years for Stars and Stripes the military newspaper and The Christian Science Monitor among others His latest article in The American Scholar is called Afghanistan A Gathering Menace Traveling with U S Troops Gives Insights into the Recent Massacre We welcome you Neil to Democracy Now Yours is an extremely disturbing article Tell us what you have found Just walk us through the descriptions you share in your piece NEIL SHEA Well good morning Amy and Juan I found that during one of my last trips to Afghanistan I met up with a group of soldiers who were the first I had ever come across who made me feel pretty nervous about what I was going to see while I was with them And I spent a few days with them and came to just really understand that they had gotten to the edge of violence as we understand it in Afghanistan and they seemed ready and capable of doing some pretty bad things I didn t actually witness them do anything too terrible but the way that they talked and the way that they acted toward Afghan civilians and animals and property in the country was sort of stunning to me And that s what I describe in the article It s talking about these this group of soldiers and sort of their mental state during a multi day mission in a central part of Afghanistan that was supposed to be a Taliban stronghold Many of these guys seemed like they had reached the end of their rope in terms of stability and controlling their aggression Now if one reads the article in question I think it s fair to say that nowhere in it does anything Shea reports about their speech and behavior imply that the men he encountered have been pushed to the edge of violence What emerges about them is rather that their overall attitude toward the lives and property of Afghans and the dignity of Afghan women is one of extreme callousness Shea allows for the possibility that their talk can be discounted as the equivalent of locker room braggadocio but adds that In speech we give ideas life Several of them joke about killing their ex wife or ex girlfriend once back in the States One states that the only thing that kept him from killing a prisoner was the fear of a prison sentence Yet Shea writes I felt I was watching some of the men unravel toward serious crimes and makes a point of saying that the men of what he calls Destroyer platoon were the first I had ever come across who made me feel pretty nervous It is as if he sees the generalized callousness and amorality he witnessed as evidence of a deteriorated state of mind brought on by the stress of war or by faulty command Bales s camp Joint Base Lewis McChord is allegedly dysfunctional rather than an unavoidable reaction to taking part in a war that is itself dysfunctional and the product of a dysfunctional foreign policy Juan Gonzalez pursues this in his next question and Shea answers by citing further examples JUAN GONZALEZ Well Neil what I found amazing about your story is as you say you focus not on any high profile event that might be considered something illegal done by the troops or a war crime but on the everyday occurrences that created greater and greater distance between this particular group of U S soldiers and the civilian population At one point you write Evil or atrocity often explodes from a furnace built by the steady accretion of small unchallenged wrongs Some men in Destroyer platoon had been drifting that way for a long time Can you talk about some of those incidents that you witnessed that were part of this buildup of the psychological perspective viewpoint of these men NEIL SHEA Sure Juan In some ways this article was a culmination of things that I ve seen since 2006 when I first started covering the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan And during those years I ve seen soldiers and marines sort of build up through these cycles of aggression to the point where they start doing they begin with small things They ll insult Iraqis or Afghans behind their backs and that s sort of the very mild beginning of it And then they sort of move up the chain if we can call it that into more serious acts of aggression where they ll kill animals or they ll beat somebody or treat them roughly and it sort of builds up from there and leads up to a revealing point What I saw with these guys in Afghanistan when I was with them was that several of them had already been through multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan and they had reached a point where they hated Afghans they hated the country and they were really not interested in doing any of the hearts and minds stuff anymore that s a crucial part of the mission In other words the hearts and minds stuff is a crucial part of the mission the very phrase Shea uses seems to belie that but our troops in Afghanistan are not interested in doing it because they are overworked and suffering from stress due to multiple missions possibly the fault of dysfunctional command The solution would seem to be clear simply provide more troops give them the means to fight under better more human conditions by providing recreational facilities and female companionship perhaps Nowhere is there the suggestion that the fundamental reasons for the presence of these troops in Afghanistan may be wrong that the hearts and minds stuff is not some optional aspect of the troops mission however crucial that occupying a country militarily is simply not the way to win its people s hearts and minds So by the time I reached these guys they had already been sort of they had been building up anger and aggression in strange ways for a number of years And when I saw them they had just shot a dog that had been a pet in an Afghan home that they had confiscated during the mission and they treated Afghan civilians fairly roughly and they took a few prisoners and treated them very roughly as well Nothing that would rise to necessarily the sort of a crime at that time but the way that they talked about things and the way that they sort of handled themselves was really aggressive And it was only it seemed to me only to be barely kept in check So it s just this small when we cycle our soldiers and marines through these wars that don t really have a clear purpose over years and years I write in the article that we begin we expect light switch control over their aggression We expect to be able to turn them into killers and then turn them back into winners of hearts and minds And when you do that to a man or a woman over many years that light switch control begins to fray And that s what I believe I was seeing with these guys in Afghanistan Shea seems to miss an essential point These wars do have a clear purpose That purpose is neocolonial domination by a military machine But that purpose cannot be admitted And so the endless cycle of massacres of civilians and plausible denials continues Here we have not the usual bad apple if the pattern is followed it will surely be admitted that more than one individual took part in the massacre but one barrel of rotten apples in the huge storehouse that is the US NATO military machine whose overall purpose while at times not clear must surely be benevolent JUAN GONZALEZ You also mention something that I don t think many Americans here realize that when these platoons go out especially on multi day patrols that they often just take over the homes of Afghans evict them and give them a few dollars and basically order them out of their homes and take them over for their own for their own refuge And this creates you quote one soldier saying Well we helped create more Taliban today because of the soldiers themselves recognizing that their actions were creating enormous hostility in the population NEIL SHEA Right This is this was a fairly standard practice in Afghanistan and even in Iraq When platoons were moving out through really rural areas or even some urban areas they needed a place to bed down for the night They d try to find either an abandoned house or if they couldn t find an abandoned one they would move into a place that was relatively secure and they d sort of kick the family out and try to pay them for their trouble In this particular case I was told that the Afghans didn t take the money from the American troops because they didn t want anyone in the region to think that they were siding with the Americans They were afraid that by taking the money they d be seen as American sort of collaborators and perhaps killed later But the point I was trying to make when I talked about when I quoted that soldier as saying that they were on a Taliban recruiting drive he was actually talking about the fact that they had they had treated the Afghans so badly during the mission that the Afghans were going to obviously choose the side of the Taliban because now they hated the Afghan army and they hated the Americans So the brutal treatment that the Americans had sort of pushed upon them drove these civilians into the arms of the Taliban And that s what that particular soldier was talking about And American soldiers all across Afghanistan run into that problem just as they did in Iraq where they have a job to do but sometimes they have to do it so roughly that the civilian population actually turns against them And so that s what that was about Amy Goodman then quotes one of the soldiers Shea encountered and whom he focuses on in the American Scholar article AMY GOODMAN Neil Shea you quote an American Army sergeant who said to you This is where I come to do f up things But she fails to quote him fully The actual quote is This is where I come to do fucked up things Givens said So I don t do them at home What this seems to imply is that the US military rather than employing wholesome red blooded American young men and women is reduced to using social misfits who might very well eventually erupt into mass murder in the US This would seem to imply that if indeed there is a benevolent mission the military is having a very hard time convincing young Americans that it is worth signing onto even with the added inducement of employment in a time of economic crisis at home But Goodman seems to miss the fact that the soldier is showing a certain lucidity not about his own sociopathy but about the attitude of a military who he at least seem to perceive as no longer even trying to convince anyone of the benevolence of the mission This same sergeant is the one who is quoted in Shea s article as saying Yeah we definitely made some Taliban out here It was like a week long Taliban recruiting drive And we had fun doing it I love recruiting for the Taliban It s called job security This demonstrates a lucidity that is not in line with Shea s overall portrayal of these men as being at the brink of elemental savagery This man seems to be more lucid at any rate about the real purpose of his presence in Afghanistan than Shea is Shea sees the problem as a lack of clarity about the mission This soldier sees that in fact there is no mission no mission that is other than to justify the presence of US NATO troops in Afghanistan and by extension the US NATO presence around the globe Goodman continues And I wanted to ask you about this report we can t confirm that says Up to 20 U S Troops Executed Panjwai Massacre Probe by Bashir Ahmad Naadimon And it s from Kandahar city PAN It says 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 Now all the information that we are getting about what took place is from the military you know who this man is the number of tours of duty he had three in Iraq one in Afghanistan that he had a TBI a traumatic brain injury in a rollover in Iraq and now he s been taken out so we don t have any access to him So that s what the U S is saying And the New York Times spoke to family members of some of the people who were killed so we know what happened to some of the people killed But what about this kind of story that is going around in Afghanistan Do you find it credible the idea that it was more than one person who did the killing Notice that although Goodman identifies the source of the allegation that up to 20 troops were involved as coming from an investigative team sent in by the Afghan legislature the Wolesi Jirga or House of the People she ends by referring to the source as this kind of story that is going around in Afghanistan Are we to assume that there is a better way to get to the truth than to move in quickly and perform an investigation on the ground before the trails are cold despite the fact that the alleged lone killer has been removed from any possibility of being interviewed and that the Afghan legislature is not the competent body to conduct that investigation And notice that Goodman rather than asking whether Shea disagrees that an investigative team sent in by the Afghan legislature is at least as believable as the official line of the US military given its history of systematic coverups of such incidents beginning with My Lai and on up to the present asks whether Shea feels that this kind of story is credible NEIL SHEA At this point I don t really think that it s credible While it still is possible that it was more than just this one soldier who were involved in it I think that the idea that it was 20 soldiers from one particular unit going into a village to just sort of slaughter people that actually sounds very far off base to me And I do know that in Afghan culture at least from my observations rumors travel very quickly and they take on their sort of they gather facts as they go in sort of like a game of telephone So I wouldn t be surprised if this story was sort of exaggerated and built up by this point It would really shock me if it was an organized effort by a group of 20 U S soldiers because well for the simple reasons that it would be difficult for to keep a heinous crime like that so quiet Even though the U S military is sometimes good at keeping things quiet that would be almost too big for them to squash So having been prompted to doubt the credibility of the Afghan legislative investigation Shea further undermines that credibility by pointing to an aspect of Afghan culture we viewers may not know about that rumors travel very quickly and gather facts as they go The inherent racism and colonial attitude of such a statement is rather startling On the grounds that rumors are an inherent part of their culture we are being asked to believe that a group of Afghans not ignorant villagers but members of the country s national legislature trying to find out who actually killed 16 of their people is less believable than the colonial power that is occupying their country and that time and time again has been guilty of murdering innocent civilians That the on the ground testimony of eyewitnesses gathered by professional investigators and reported by an international news organization is

    Original URL path: http://blog.reconstructno.org/tag/massacre (2016-05-02)
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