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JFP 2/18: NYT "Mystery" Op-ed Calls for more deaths of innocents in Afghanistan

Just Foreign Policy News
February 18, 2010


NYT "Mystery" Op-Ed calls for more deaths of innocents in Afghanistan
As Glenn Greenwald notes (see #1, below), the New York Times op-ed page has given a platform today to a "mystery op-ed" that - incredibly - slams the Obama Administration for having *too low a tolerance* for civilian deaths in Afghanistan. Urge the New York Times Public Editor to investigate why this op-ed was published without informing readers who the author is.
public@nytimes.com

End the War in Afghanistan
Our proposal at Change.org just needs about 300 votes to make it into the next round. Please vote if you haven't already and recruit others.
http://www.change.org/ideas/view/end_the_war_in_afghanistan_establish_a_timeline_for_withdrawal_and_begin_political_negotiations

Peace Action: Call for vigils marking 1000th US death in Afghanistan
Soon, the number of American soldiers who have lost their lives in Afghanistan will reach 1,000. Peace Action is calling for vigils and other actions, and has a place where you can post your action.
http://peaceblog.wordpress.com/2010/02/16/a-time-to-mourn/

We've Caught the Taliban Chief! Can We Go Home Now?
President Obama should use the Pakistani arrest of Mullah Baradar to pivot from military escalation to a negotiated political settlement that ends the war in Afghanistan and brings the troops home.
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/node/485

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JFP 2/17 - Porter: Goal of Marja operation is to prepare US opinion for Taliban deal

Just Foreign Policy News
February 17, 2010


We've Caught the Taliban Chief! Can We Go Home Now?
President Obama should use the arrest of Mullah Baradar to pivot from military escalation to a negotiated political settlement that ends the war in Afghanistan and brings the troops home.
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/node/485

Porter: Goal of Marjah Operation is to prepare US public opinion for a deal with the Taliban
The Real News inteviews journalist Gareth Porter.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2zh4brrjQIo

Banana Land and the Corporate Death Squad Scandals
Charlie Cray reviews the evidence that Chiquita and Dole paid terrorists to kill labor leaders in Colombia.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/charlie-cray/banana-land-and-the-corpo_b_463295.html

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Summary:
U.S./Top News
1) A U.S. intelligence official criticized the Pakistani arrest with U.S. assistance of Afghan Taliban commander Mullah Baradar, saying it would set back peace efforts, the New York Times reports. "I know that our people had been in touch with people around him and were negotiating with him," the official said. "So it doesn't make sense why we bite the hand that is feeding us," the official added. "And now the Taliban will have no reason to negotiate with us; they will not believe anything we will offer or say."

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We've Caught the Taliban Chief! Can We Go Home Now?

How the U.S. handles the Pakistani arrest of the top Afghan Taliban military commander, and the aftermath of the U.S. military assault in Marja, may have a decisive impact on whether we get to withdraw our troops from Afghanistan soon, or in the far-off future. Some analysts - like Gareth Porter - think the key motivation of the present U.S. military escalation is political in the bad sense: in order to negotiate with the Afghan Taliban, first the U.S. has to "show that nobody pushes us around," just as President Bush had to escalate militarily in Iraq before he could cut deals with the Sunni Awakening and the Mahdi Army militia. It's a grim world in which the most powerful country kills people to look tough; but right now, the way to minimize human suffering is for the U.S. to take advantage of recent "successes" to take a high road towards going home.

The arrest of Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar could cut two ways, the New York Times notes. While it's obviously a psychological blow, at the least, against the Afghan Taliban, it could complicate efforts to reach a peace deal:

 

JFP 2/16: At least 19 civilians killed in Marja offensive

Just Foreign Policy News
February 16, 2010


Team America Kills Kids in Marja
Five Afghan children were killed by a U.S. rocket in Marjah. "Civilian casualties are inevitable," said U.S. officials before launching their weekend military assault on Marja in southern Afghanistan, and in this case, they were telling the truth.
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/node/483

Urge President Obama and Congress to comply with their obligation to protect civilians under the laws of war.
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/act/marjah

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Summary:
U.S./Top News
1) At least nineteen civilians have been killed so far in the US/NATO offensive in Marjah, Democracy Now reports. DN interviewed Wall Street Journal reporter Anand Gopal, who says the assault in Marjah is perceived as a "show of force" by coalition forces that will change little. Gopal says it's very difficult for reporters to get to Marjah; almost all the reporters who are there are embedded reporters, so they're only seeing one side of the story; and we won't know for some time if there are many more cases of civilian deaths.

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Team America Kills Five Kids in Marja

"Civilian casualties are inevitable," said U.S. officials before launching their weekend military assault on Marja in southern Afghanistan, and in this case, they were telling the truth. Yesterday, the New York Times reports, a U.S. rocket strike "hit a compound crowded with Afghan civilians... killing at least 10 people, including 5 children."

What justification has been provided by the government of the United States for its decision to kill these five children?

It will be argued that the government of the United States did not decide to kill these five children specifically, and that's absolutely true. The U.S. government did not decide to kill these particular children; it only decided to kill some Afghan civilians, chosen randomly from Marja's civilian population, when it decided to launch its military assault. These five children simply had the misfortune of holding losing tickets in a lottery in which they did not choose to participate.

Recall the U.S. government's instructions to Marja's residents before the assault:

 

Afghan villagers should stay inside and "keep their heads down" when thousands of U.S. Marines launch a massive assault on a densely-populated district in coming days, NATO's civilian representative to Afghanistan said Tuesday.

[...]

NATO forces have decided to advise civilians in Marjah not to leave their homes, although they say they do not know whether the assault will lead to heavy fighting.

These five kids were staying inside, as instructed. It didn't save them from U.S. rockets. Perhaps they weren't keeping their heads down.

JFP 2/12: US Assault on Marjah Begins

Just Foreign Policy News
February 12, 2010


U.S. Begins Marjah Assault
The United States and NATO have launched a major assault in the Marjah district in southern Afghanistan. Tens of thousands of Afghan civilians are in imminent peril. Urge President Obama and Congress act to protect civilians in Marjah, in compliance with the obligations of the United States under the laws of war.
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/act/marjah

Jewish Voice for Peace: "The Only Democracy?"
Jewish Voice for Peace launches a new blog on the struggle for civil and human rights in Israel and Palestine.
http://theonlydemocracy.org/

Telegraph/Reuters: Palestinians dressed as Na'vi from Avatar protest Israel's wall
If "a picture is worth a thousand words," this one is worth 2000.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/picturegalleries/worldnews/7222508/Palestinians-dressed-as-the-Navi-from-the-film-Avatar-stage-a-protest-against-Israels-separation-barrier.html

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U.S./Top News

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JFP 2/11: Afghan Civilians Imperiled by US/NATO Assault in Marjah

Just Foreign Policy News
February 11, 2010


Afghan Civilians Imperiled by US/NATO Assault in Marjah
The United States and NATO are poised to launch a major assault in the Marjah district in southern Afghanistan. Tens of thousands of Afghan civilians are in imminent peril. Will President Obama and Congress act to protect civilians in Marjah, in compliance with the obligations of the United States under the laws of war?
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/node/480

Rethink Afghanistan: Civilian Casualties "Inevitable" in Largest Military Operation of the Afghanistan War

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6QUhpHYyTBQ

CCR: Wiesenthal Center Desecrates Muslim Graves to Build "Museum of Tolerance"

The Center for Constitutional Rights files a petition on behalf of the Palestinian families of those buried at the Mamilla Cemetery in Jerusalem, urging international bodies to demand that the government of Israel halt further construction of the "Museum of Tolerance" on the cemetery.
http://www.ccrjustice.org/ourcases/current-cases/mamilla

Beverly Bell: Fighting Like Hell
"Walking on Fire" author Beverly Bell on Haiti's struggle for freedom from foreign domination.
http://www.michaelmoore.com/words/mike-friends-blog/fighting-hell

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Afghan Civilians Imperiled by US/NATO Assault in Marjah

The United States and NATO are poised to launch a major assault in the Marjah district in southern Afghanistan. Tens of thousands of Afghan civilians are in imminent peril. Will President Obama and Congress act to protect civilians in Marjah, in compliance with the obligations of the United States under the laws of war?

Few civilians have managed to escape the Afghan town of Marjah ahead of a planned US/NATO assault, raising the risk of civilian casualties, McClatchy News reports. "If [NATO forces] don't avoid large scale civilian casualties, given the rhetoric about protecting the population, then no matter how many Taliban are routed, the Marjah mission should be considered a failure," said an analyst with the International Crisis Group.

Under the laws of war, the US and NATO - who have told civilians not to flee - bear an extra responsibility to control their fire and avoid tactics that endanger civilians, Human Rights Watch notes. "I suspect that they believe they have the ability to generally distinguish between combatants and civilians," said Brad Adams of Human Rights Watch. "I would call that into question, given their long history of mistakes, particularly when using air power. Whatever they do, they have an obligation to protect civilians and make adequate provision to alleviate any crisis that arises," he said. "It is very much their responsibility."

JFP 2/10: Few civilians escape ahead of US/NATO offensive

Just Foreign Policy News
February 10, 2010


UK Stars Campaign for Financial Transactions Tax to Save Public Services, Help World's Poor
Plus the video is way funny.
http://robinhoodtax.org/

Respect Democracy in Japan
Voters in Japan have spoken. They don't want the US Futenma military base in Okinawa. Ask President Obama and Congress to respect the will of the majority in Japan.
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/act/okinawa

If Michael Moore Would Run for President
If Michael Moore would run for President in 2012, it could be a game-changer in American political life. It would likely shorten the war in Afghanistan by at least six months, and the U.S. and Afghan lives that would be saved would alone justify the effort.
http://www.truthout.org/if-michael-moore-were-run-president56805

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Summary:
U.S./Top News
1) Few civilians have managed to escape the Afghan town of Marjah ahead of a planned US/NATO offensive, raising the risk of civilian casualties, McClatchy News reports. "If (NATO forces) don't avoid large scale civilian casualties, given the rhetoric about protecting the population, then no matter how many Taliban are routed, the Marjah mission should be considered a failure," said an analyst with the International Crisis Group.

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Save Democracy in Japan

Voters in Japan have spoken. They don't want the U.S. military Futenma base in Okinawa.

But instead of respecting the will of the majority of Japanese voters, U.S. officials have tried to bully the newly elected reformist Japanese government into reneging on its election promise to remove the US military base from Okinawa.

Since, as the world knows, the United States of America stands for "promoting democracy," why don't we promote democracy by getting our base out of Okinawa like Japanese voters want?

Last summer, Japan had a national election. Yukio Hatoyama, the new prime minister whose coalition won the election, campaigned on a promise to move the US military's Futenma base off Okinawa. But US officials pressured the Japanese government to break its election pledge, warning the Japanese government of "serious consequences" if it did not accept the base, the Washington Post reported. Threats by U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates caused Japanese news media to describe him as a "bully," the New York Times reported.