Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Dispatches from Neonazistan and Everybody’s Got Afghanistan Wrong



As a change of pace (at a time when friends like Darkblack, Plutocrap, Shouting Into the Abyss and Barking Rabbits have gone totally black), I would like to point your attention to Dissident Voice, with my buddy Rehctaw up first (Watcher, backwards).

We are living a rare combo platter of unfettered greed, unhinged thinking, untethered policy and a guidance structure that is exceedingly dominated by corporate interests. The whole magilla seems predicated on what best can be categorized as factitious disorder. A factitious disorder is a condition in which a person acts as if they have an illness by deliberately producing, feigning, or exaggerating symptoms.

Factitious disorder by proxy is a condition in which a person deliberately produces, feigns, or exaggerates symptoms in a person in their care. Münchausen syndrome, a severe form of factitious disorder, was the first kind identified, and was for a period the umbrella term for all such disorders.[1] People with this condition may produce symptoms by contaminating urine samples, taking hallucinogens, injecting themselves with bacteria to produce infections, and other similar behaviour.

They might be motivated to perpetrate factitious disorders either as a patient or by proxy as a caregiver to gain any variety of benefits including attention, nurturance, sympathy, and leniency that are seen as not obtainable any other way. In contrast, somatoform disorders, though also diagnoses of exclusion, are characterized by multiple somatic complaints that are not produced intentionally
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When "shift, switch and shaft" first re-emerged on the national stage, it was wrapped in the flag and touted as realizing America's superiority in the world. It fed on nationalism, patriotism and illusionism. It was predicated on the illusion that we could, should and would spend our way to prosperity. We're still not at an acceptable vantage point to gauge such wisdom? I'm there. Been there a long, long time. You may be too? So what, at this point, are our options? We're told our only bet is to put more in, pull the handle and let the chips fall where they may? Who the fuck is running this circus? Who could have predicted...? 

Well, actually almost everyone on the Left. But there again, they weren't looking forward to a bloodbath of dollars.

And what's left of us are still trying to communicate to very few engaged listeners what a catastrophe has been wrought for those at the bottom (of almost all piles). (Although we can pray not if only we believed in prayer.)

We no longer grasp the long con, because life demands that we focus on the constant more immediate threats and concerns. We're so busy tilling and tending fields of fertilizer that we fail to notice that the ONLY seeds being planted have been genetically modified to produce more threats and concerns. If it seems to you as though nothing works as it should, and you simply accept this as a fact of modern life, that is just the current system working to its design. Optimally.

Some extremely illuminating reading lies ahead. Click on the links and go to the originals if you prefer.

Raghead: Dispatches from Neonazistan


by Bill Purkayastha / May 9th, 2014

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(Bill Purkayastha a dentist and author, has published two books. He is 42, divorced, and lives with three big dogs and a lot of books, especially on military history, science and astronomy, apart from novels - of which many are fantasy, horror and science fiction. He's a regular contributor to several sites including Subversify Magazine and The Home Page Of The Dead. And he loves motorcycles and hard rock. Read the further mis-adventures of Raghead. Read other articles by Bill, or visit Bill's website.)

Everybody’s Got Afghanistan Wrong

by David Swanson

May 11th, 2014
This goes deeper than the usual war lies.
We’ve had plenty of those. We weren’t told the Taliban was willing to turn bin Laden over to a neutral nation to stand trial. We weren’t told the Taliban was a reluctant tolerator of al Qaeda, and a completely distinct group.
We weren’t told the 911 attacks had also been planned in Germany and Maryland and various other places not marked for bombing. We weren’t told that most of the people who would die in Afghanistan, many more than died on 911, not only didn’t support 911 but never heard of it.
We weren’t told our government would kill large numbers of civilians, imprison people without trial, hang people by their feet and whip them until they were dead. We weren’t told how this illegal war would advance the acceptability of illegal wars or how it would make the United States hated in much of the world.
We weren’t given the background of how the U.S. interfered in Afghanistan and provoked a Soviet invasion and armed resistance to the Soviets and left the people to the tender mercies of that armed resistance once the Soviets left. 
We weren’t told that Tony Blair wanted Afghanistan first before he’d get the UK to help destroy Iraq.  We certainly weren’t told that bin Laden had been an ally of the U.S. government, that the 911 hijackers were mostly Saudi, or that there might be anything at all amiss with the government of Saudi Arabia.
And nobody mentioned the trillions of dollars we’d waste or the civil liberties we’d have to lose at home or the severe damage that would be inflicted on the natural environment. Even birds don’t go to Afghanistan anymore.
OK. That’s all sort of par-for-the-course, war-marketing bullshit.  People who pay attention know all of thatPeople who don’t want to know any of that are the last great hope of military recruiters everywhere.

And don’t let the past tense fool you. The White House is trying to keep the occupation of Afghanistan going for TEN MORE YEARS (“and beyond”), and articles have been popping up this week about sending U.S. troops back into Iraq. But there’s something more.


9780805091793 

I’ve just read an excellent new book by Anand Gopal called No Good Men Among the Living: America, the Taliban, and the War Through Afghan Eyes. Gopal has spent years in Afghanistan, learned local languages, interviewed people in depth, researched their stories, and produced a true-crime book more gripping, as well as more accurate, than anything Truman Capote came up with.  Gopal’s book is like a novel that interweaves the stories of a number of characters — stories that occasionally overlap.  It’s the kind of book that makes me worry I’ll spoil it if I say too much about the fate of the characters, so I’ll be careful not to.

The characters include Americans, Afghans allied with the U.S. occupation, Afghans fighting the U.S. occupation, and men and women trying to survive — including by shifting their loyalties toward whichever party seems least likely in that moment to imprison or kill them.  What we discover from this is not just that enemies, too, are human beings. We discover that the same human beings switch from one category to another quite easily

The blunder of the U.S. occupation’s de-Baathification policy in Iraq has been widely discussed.  Throwing all the skilled and armed killers out of work turned out not to be the most brilliant move.  But think about what motivated it: the idea that whoever had supported the evil regime was irredeemably evil (even though Ronald Reagan and Donald Rumsfeld had supported the evil regime too — OK, bad example, but you see what I mean). In Afghanistan the same cartoonish thinking, the same falling for one’s own propaganda, went on.

People in Afghanistan whose personal stories are recounted here, sided with or against Pakistan, with or against the USSR, with or against the Taliban, with or against the U.S. and NATO, as the tides of fortune turned.  Some tried to make a living at peaceful employment when that possibility seemed to open up, including early on in the U.S. occupation.  The Taliban was very swiftly destroyed in 2001 through a combination of overwhelming killing power and desertion

The U.S. then began hunting for anyone who had once been a member of the Taliban.  But these included many of the people now leading the support of the U.S. regime — and many such allied leaders were killed and captured despite not having been Taliban as well, through sheer stupidity and corruption. We’ve often heard how dangling $5000 rewards in front of poor people produced false-accusations that landed their rivals in Bagram or Guantanamo. But Gopal’s book recounts how the removal of these often key figures devastated communities, and turned communities against the United States that had previously been inclined to support it. 

Add to this the vicious and insulting abuse of whole families, including women and children captured and harassed by U.S. troops, and the revival of the Taliban under the U.S. occupation begins to become clear.  The lie we’ve been told to explain it is that the U.S. became distracted by Iraq.  Gopal documents, however, that the Taliban revived precisely where U.S. troops were imposing a rule of violence and not where other internationals were negotiating compromises using, you know, words.

We find here a story of a bumbling oblivious and uncomprehending foreign occupation torturing and murdering a lot of its own strongest allies, shipping some of them off to Gitmo — even shipping to Gitmo young boys whose only offense had been being the sexual assault victims of U.S. allies. The danger in this type of narrative that dives deep into the crushing Kafkan horror of rule by brute ignorant force is that a reader will think: Let’s do the next war better.  If occupations can’t work, let’s just blow shit up and leave.

To which I respond: Yeah, how are things working out in Libya? The lesson for us to learn is not that wars are badly managed, but that human beings are not Good Guys or Bad Guys. And here’s the hard part: That includes Russians.

Want to do something useful for Afghanistan? Go here. Or here.


(David Swanson is an anti-war activist and blogger at War Is a Crime. Read other articles by David.)

7 comments:

TONY said...

More revelations about UK-Sponsored torture in Afghanistan are emerging today. I suspect nobody will be held to account as per.

Cirze said...

Right, T.

After all, how could they be? They (the targets) are not real people, er . . . people that count (for much), anyway.

I remember telling my class in 2001, right after 9/11 when the "fighting words" were flying fast on the MSM, that bombing Afghanistan made absolutely no sense if we believed our own propaganda (as they offered to turn Osama bin Ladin over to US if given proof of his involvement, which even the FBI doubted as they never placed him on the Most Wanted list).

I even had made copies of stories (and passed them out the next week or so) about OBL being treated for kidney dialysis at a U.S. hospital in Dubai on 9/10, and the preceding Taliban's decision not to let the UNOCAL oil consortium* proceed with the pipeline in Afghanistan just days before 9/11. (One of my students produced the proof in the first week after the "attack.")

My students agreed, believe it or not, and when the first stories were released about the families that were murdered by the so-called errant bombs, I almost had 100% in the anti-war camp (and this was at a school that voted Republican in 2000!).

Ah, those were the days.

And, of course, why I wasn't invited back to teach for another semester.

We'll never see Anti-War college demonstrations again, I'll bet.

They are absolutely well informed about the NSA and their student loans/status.

Meh.
- - - - - -
* October 12, 2001 ("Mother Jones")

Whenever the US takes military action in the Middle East, critics are quick to ask: Is this really about oil?

Clearly, that question is moot with respect to the current air strikes against Afghanistan. But Central Asia experts point out that energy politics did help set the stage for the current crisis, and that at least one US oil company has provided aid to the Taliban regime in pursuit of a business deal.

Ever since the fall of the Soviet Union, Western energy interests have hungrily eyed the massive, untapped oil and natural gas reserves in the former Soviet republics of Central Asia.

It's estimated that roughly 15 billion barrels of oil and about 9 trillion cubic meters of natural gas lie beneath the soil of Afghanistan's neighbors, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. One calculation puts the potential value of Central Asian fossil fuels at $3 trillion.

Afghanistan itself is not known to have major energy reserves. Instead, the country's most valuable natural resource is its location: It sits smack between the oil and gas fields of its neighbors and potentially huge markets in Pakistan, India, and beyond.

So in the mid-1990s, while Russia, China, Iran, and several European nations squabbled over pipelines through Russia and Iran, California-based oil and gas giant Unocal was looking at another route - from Turkmenistan straight through Afghanistan to Pakistan or India. To build such a pipeline, however, the company would have to dance cheek-to-cheek with the Taliban, who were then rising to power.

Unocal's strategy was straightforward enough: in 1996, the company cobbled together a coalition of six energy companies and the government of Turkmenistan, and went head to head with an Argentinian rival, in a race to win Afghanistan's blessing for a $2 billion gas-pipeline project.

Unocal has long been criticized for doing business in countries with repressive governments, and the company wasn't afraid to pursue the Taliban. "We're an oil and gas company. We go where the oil and gas is," Unocal spokesman Mike Thatcher told "MotherJones.com".

Cirze said...

Whoops!

I forgot to give the link for the quote at "Mother Jones" above:

http://www.guidetoaction.org/magazine/pipeline.html

TONY said...

Thanks for the link, C. Student demos have petered out in the UK too. Playstation generation imo. Short attentions spans. In an independent Scotland things will be different...aaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhh.....

Cirze said...

From your lips . . . .

Love ya!

Bill the Butcher said...

Thanks for sharing my cartoon. It made my Saturday!

Cirze said...

Our thanks to you.

Everyone should enjoy it!