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Three Blind Mice? US Intel Chief Is Clueless On London Terror Plot

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December 23, 2010: Brett Michael Dykes / Yahoo News (The Lookout) – December 22, 2010

Surely with so many terror plots developing around the world in recent days, it’s understandable that someone might miss one, right? Well, for ordinary Americans, sure — but you’re held to a different standard if you’re the head of U.S. intelligence. That’s why U.S. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper is having a very bad day Wednesday. Clapper appeared to draw a blank when ABC’s Diane Sawyer asked him about the arrests hours earlier of 12 men accused of plotting an al-Qaida-type attack in London.

“First of all, London. How serious is it? Any implication that it was coming here?” Sawyer asked at the start of an interview that also included chief counter-terrorism adviser John Brennan and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. Clapper, puzzled by Sawyer’s question, responded, “London?” and turned to Brennan for help responding to Sawyer’s questions about the arrests that had occurred several hours before the interview took place. Later in the interview, Sawyer told Clapper that she was “a little surprised you didn’t know about London.”…”Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t,” Clapper replied. You can watch video of the interview below, courtesy of ABC News [via YouTube] – the initial exchange with Sawyer occurs at the 3:56 mark.

Clapper’s office initially suggested that he had merely been confused by Sawyer’s “ambiguous” question. Later, though, a spokeswoman for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence acknowledged in a statement to the press: “Director Clapper had not yet been briefed on the arrests in the United Kingdom at the time of this interview taping.”

She added that Clapper had been “working throughout the day on important intelligence matters, including monitoring military and political developments on the Korean Peninsula, providing answers to questions concerning the ratification of the START nuclear treaty, and other classified issues. He wasn’t immediately briefed on London because it didn’t appear to have a homeland nexus and there was no immediate action by the DNI required. Nevertheless, he should have been briefed on the arrests, and steps have been taken to ensure that he is in the future. The intelligence community as a whole was fully aware of this development and tracking it closely.”

Diane Sawyer Stumps Director Of National Intelligence – Priceless!

The Tonka Report Editor’s Note: Three blind mice? Not a chance! These are the rats in the sewer! But also pay attention to the continued rhetoric of “homegrown terrorists.” This is COINTELPRO directed at us! – SJH

Link to original article below…

http://news.yahoo.com/s/yblog_thelookout/20101222/ts_yblog_thelookout/u-s-intelligence-chief-draws-blank-on-london-terror-plot-in-interview

WikiLeaks Release 391,832 Damning Iraqi War Log Files To Media

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October 23, 2010: Jason Ditz / AntiWar.com – October 22, 2010

It was several days after the previously reported Monday release, and earlier than some more recent indications, but WikiLeaks finally released its 391,832 “war logs” files from the Iraqi War.

As with the previous leak, The Guardian was at the forefront with a major, well-organized web release.

The document dump is by far the largest release of classified war documents in American history, and centers around field reports detailing civilian killings, friendly fire incidents, and killings of insurgents who were trying to surrender. The documents revealed 15,000 previously unreported killings, and underscored that the military actually had been keeping track of civilian deaths, despite claims that no such counts were being made.

Another major revelation surrounded a standing order that existed ordering US military personnel not to investigate the rampant torture by Iraqi security forces. Officials had pled ignorance about what Iraqi officials were doing to detainees but the ignorance was “by design.” Al-Jazeera reported that the order not to probe the torture came from Gen. Sanchez.

According to WikiLeaks’ twitter, the documents were made available in advance to “TBIJ, IBC, Guardian, Spiegel, NYT, Le Monde, Al Jazeera, Chan4, SVT, CNN, BBC,” all of which are expected to release coverage related to it. Al-Jazeera is running an hour-long special beginning at 5:00 PM Eastern. Below is a list of the coverage so far from these sites, more will be added as they are available…

The interactive: Every death mapped

The story: How US ignored torture

The deaths: 15,000 previously unlisted

Grim toll at Iraq’s checkpoints

Men who tried to surrender killed

‘No further action’ – US order on abuse

How friendly fire became routine

No answer for deaths of journalists

Apache helicopters kill 14 civilians

Serial abuse by coalition troops

Civilians in the crossfire

Crazy Horse’ and collateral damage

Reports Detail Iran Aid to Iraq Militias

Civilians Paid War’s Heaviest Toll

WikiLeaks Iraq FAQs: What the Logs Really Say

Beaten, Shocked, Eyes Gouged: Iraq Abuse, Wikileaked

Iraq War Logs: Wikileaks V Washington

Iraq War Logs: Seven Killed, Including Two Children, by Marines ‘Speeding Towards’ Checkpoint

Iraq War Logs: 200 Bullets Fired by Soldiers at Speeding Vehicle Kills Parents and Wounds Their Two Children

Chemical Weapons, Iranian Agents and Massive Death Tolls Exposed in Wikileaks

Iraq War Logs: UN Calls on Obama to Investigate Human Rights Abuses

Wikileaks: Iraq War Logs Claim British Soldier ‘Killed Iraqi Girl, 8, as She Played

WikiLeaks: Collateral Murder [Iraq]

The Tonka Report Editor’s Note: Meanwhile, the US government and mainstream corporate media whores cry about endangering American servicepeople to cover their blatant international war crimes– SJH

Related – AFP: WikiLeaks Papers Detail Iraq Torture, US Killings

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2010/10/wikileaks-papers-torture-killings/

Link to original article below…

http://news.antiwar.com/2010/10/22/wikileaks-war-logs-391832-iraq-war-files-released-to-media/

US Had Multiple Warnings On Alleged “Plotter” Of Mumbai Attacks

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October 16, 2010:  Jane Perlez, Eric Schmitt, Ginger Thompson / NY Times – October 16, 2010

Less than a year before terrorists killed at least 163 people in Mumbai, India, a young Moroccan woman went to American authorities in Pakistan to warn them that she believed her husband, David C. Headley, was plotting an attack.

It was not the first time American law enforcement authorities were warned about Mr. Headley, a longtime informer in Pakistan for the United States Drug Enforcement Administration whose roots in Pakistan and the United States allowed him to move easily in both worlds. Two years earlier, in 2005, an American woman who was also married to the 50-year-old Mr. Headley told federal investigators in New York that she believed he was a member of the militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba created and sponsored by Pakistan’s powerful intelligence agency.

Despite those warnings by two of his three wives Mr. Headley roamed far and wide on Lashkar’s behalf between 2002 and 2009, receiving training in small-caliber weapons and countersurveillance, scouting targets for attack, and building a network of connections that extended from Chicago to Pakistan’s lawless northwestern frontier. Then in 2008, it was his handiwork as chief reconnaissance scout that set the stage for Lashkar’s strike against Mumbai, an assault intended to provoke a conflict between nuclear-armed adversaries, Pakistan and India.

An examination of Mr. Headley’s movements in the years before the bombing, based on interviews in Washington, Pakistan, India and Morocco, shows that he had overlapping, even baffling, contacts among seemingly disparate groups — Pakistani intelligence, terrorists, and American drug investigators.

Those ties are rekindling concerns that the Mumbai bombings represent another communications breakdown in the fight against terrorism, and are raising the question of whether United States officials were reluctant to dig deeper into Mr. Headley’s movements because he had been an informant for the D.E.A.

More significantly, they may indicate American wariness to pursue evidence that some officials in Pakistan, its major ally in the war against Al Qaeda, were involved in planning an attack that killed six Americans.

The Pakistani government has insisted that its spy agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate, a close partner of the C.I.A., did not know of the attack. The United States says it has no evidence to counter this, though officials acknowledge that some current or retired ISI officers probably played some role.

It is unclear what United States officials did with the warnings they had gotten about Mr. Headley — who has pleaded guilty to the crimes and is cooperating with authorities — or whether they saw them as complaints from wives whose motives might be colored by their strained relations with their husband.

Federal officials say that the State Department and the F.B.I. investigated the warnings they received about Mr. Headley at the time, but that they could not confirm any connections between him and Lashkar-e-Taiba. D.E.A. officials have said they ended their association with him at the end of 2001, at least two months before Mr. Headley reportedly attended his first terrorist training. But some Indian officials say they suspect that Mr. Headley’s contacts with the American drug agency lasted much longer.

The investigative news organization ProPublica reported the 2005 warning from Mr. Headley’s American ex-wife on its Web site and in the Saturday issue of The Washington Post. By ProPublica’s account, she told authorities that Mr. Headley boasted about working as an American informant while he trained with Lashkar.

On Saturday, Mike Hammer, a spokesman for the National Security Council, said in a statement, “The United States regularly provided threat information to Indian officials in 2008 before the attacks in Mumbai.” He also said, “Had we known about the timing and other specifics related to the Mumbai attacks, we would have immediately shared those details with the government of India.”

Mr. Headley’s American wife was not the only one to come forward. The Moroccan wife described her separate warnings in an interview with The New York Times. Other interviews illustrate his longstanding connections to American law enforcement and the ISI.

Among the findings:

An officer of the Pakistani spy agency handed Mr. Headley $25,000 in early 2006 to open an office and set up a house in Mumbai to be used as a front during his scouting trips, according to Mr. Headley’s testimony to Indian investigators in Chicago in June. As part of Mr. Headley’s plea agreement, Indian investigators were allowed to interview him in Chicago, where he was arrested in October 2009.

The ISI officer who gave Mr. Headley the cash, known as Major Iqbal, served as the supervisor of Lashkar’s planning, helping to arrange a communications system for the attack, and overseeing a model of the Taj Mahal Hotel, so that gunmen could find their way around, according to Mr. Headley’s testimony to the Indians.

While working for Lashkar, which has close ties to the ISI, Mr. Headley was also enlisted by the Pakistani spy agency to recruit Indian agents to monitor Indian troop levels and movements, an American official said.

Besides Mr. Headley’s guilty plea in a United States court, seven Pakistani suspects have been charged there. American investigators say a critical player who has not been charged is Sajid Mir, a Lashkar operative who became close to Mr. Headley as the plans for the Mumbai operation unfolded. The investigators fear he is still working on other plots.

Mr. Headley was known both to Pakistani and American security officials long before his arrest as a terrorist. He went to an elite military high school in Pakistan, whose graduates went on to become high-ranking military officers and intelligence operatives. After arrests in 1988 and 1997 on drug-trafficking charges, Mr. Headley became such a valued D.E.A. informant that the drug agency sent him back and forth between Pakistan and the United States.

In several interviews in her home, Mr. Headley’s Moroccan wife, Faiza Outalha, described the warnings she gave to American officials less than a year before gunmen attacked several popular tourist attractions in Mumbai. She claims she even showed the embassy officials a photo of Mr. Headley and herself in the Taj Mahal Hotel where they stayed twice in April and May 2007. Hotel records confirm their stay.

Ms. Outalha, 27, said that in two meetings with American officials at the United States Embassy in Islamabad, she told the authorities that her husband had many friends who were known members of Lashkar-e-Taiba. She said she told them that he was passionately anti-Indian, but that he traveled to India all the time for business deals that never seemed to amount to much.

And she said she told them Mr. Headley assumed different identities: as a devout Muslim who went by the name Daood when he was in Pakistan, and as an American playboy named David, when he was in India. “I told them, he’s either a terrorist, or he’s working for you,” she recalled saying to American officials at the United States Embassy in Islamabad. “Indirectly, they told me, to get lost.” Though there are lots of gaping holes left in Mr. Headley’s public profile, the one thing that is clear is he assumed multiple personas.

He was born in the United States, the son of a Pakistani diplomat and a socialite from Philadelphia’s Main Line. When he was about a year old, his parents took him to Pakistan, where he attended the Hasan Abdal Cadet College, the country’s oldest military boarding school, just outside of Islamabad. Mr. Headley’s parents divorced. And before he finished high school, he moved to Philadelphia to help his American mother run a bar, called the Khyber Pass. Later he opened a couple of video rental stores.

But at the same time he was involved in a life of crime. Each time he was arrested on drug trafficking charges, he used his roots in the United States and Pakistan to make himself as valuable an asset to law enforcement as he was to the traffickers; one with the looks and passports to move easily across borders, and the charisma to penetrate secretive organizations.

He was married at least three times. For one period he was married to all three wives — Ms. Outalha, who is a medical student half his age, a New York makeup artist, and a conservative Pakistani Muslim — at the same time. Those relationships, however, caused him trouble. In 2005, his American wife filed domestic abuse charges against Mr. Headley, according to federal investigators in New York, and reported his ties to Lashkar-e-Taiba. The investigators said the tip was passed on to the F.B.I.’s Joint Terrorism Task Force.

Then in December 2007, Ms. Outalha talked her way into the heavily guarded American Embassy in Islamabad. She went back a month later with more information. A senior administration official acknowledged that Ms. Outalha met twice with an assistant regional security officer and an Immigration and Customs Enforcement officer at the embassy. However, the administration official said Ms. Outalha offered almost no details to give credibility to her warnings.

“The texture of the meeting was that her husband involved with bad people, and they were planning jihad,” the official said. “But she gave no details about who was involved, or what they planned to target.”

Given that she had been jilted, Ms. Outalha acknowledged she may not have been composed. “I wanted him in Guantánamo,” she said. More than that, however, Ms. Outalha says, she went to American authorities looking for answers to questions about Mr. Headley’s real identity. In public he criticized the United States for the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. But at night he loved watching Seinfeld and Jay Leno.

Sipping tea in a cafe overlooking a plaza in Morocco, Ms. Outalha said that in hindsight, she is convinced that he is both men. She claims to be puzzled that American officials did not heed her warning. “I told them anything I could to get their attention,” she said of the American authorities at the embassy in Islamabad. “It was as if I was shouting, This guy was a terrorist! You have to do something.”

RT: Mumbai Siege Suspect A US Double Agent

The Tonka Report Editor’s Note: Again the CIA is neck-deep in both drug dealing and terrorism! – SJH

Link to original article below…

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/17/world/asia/17headley.html?pagewanted=2&hp

Obama Exaggerated Terror Threat To Legitimize US Drone Attacks

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October 7, 2010: Simon Tisdall and Richard Norton-Taylor / London Guardian – October 7, 2010

A US terror alert issued this week about al-Qaida plots to attack targets in western Europe was politically motivated and not based on credible new information, senior Pakistani diplomats and European intelligence officials have told the Guardian.

The non-specific US warning, which despite its vagueness led Britain, France and other countries to raise their overseas terror alert levels, was an attempt to justify a recent escalation in US drone and helicopter attacks inside Pakistan that have “set the country on fire”, said Wajid Shamsul Hasan, the high commissioner to Britain.

Hasan, a veteran diplomat who is close to Pakistan’s president, suggested the Obama administration was playing politics with the terror threat before next month’s mid-term congressional elections, in which the Republicans are expected to make big gains.

He also claimed President Obama was reacting to pressure to demonstrate that his Afghan war strategy and this year’s troop surge, which are unpopular with the American public, were necessary.

“I will not deny the fact that there may be internal political dynamics, including the forthcoming mid-term American elections. If the Americans have definite information about terrorists and al-Qaida people, we should be provided [with] that and we could go after them ourselves,” Hasan said.

“Such reports are a mixture of frustrations, ineptitude and lack of appreciation of ground realities. Any attempt to infringe the sovereignty of Pakistan would not bring about stability in Afghanistan, which is presumably the primary objective of the American and Nato forces.”

Dismissing claims of a developed, co-ordinated plot aimed at Britain, France and Germany, European intelligence officials also pointed the finger at the US, and specifically at the White House. “To stitch together [the terror plot claims] in a seamless narrative is nonsensical,” said one well-placed official.

While Abdul Jabbar, a Briton, and others killed by an American drone strike on 8 September in North Waziristan, in Pakistan’s tribal areas, were heard discussing co-ordinated plots, including possible “commando-style” attacks on prominent buildings and tourist sites in European capitals, security and intelligence officials said the plots were nowhere near fruition.

The officials did not deny the men, and other foreign-born jihadi recruits who travel to the tribal areas for indoctrination and training, represented a potentially serious threat. “You have discussions about all sorts of things – that does not necessarily mean there is anything concrete. It is not easy to set up groups,” said one counter-terrorism official.

By making it clear that the US drone strikes were pre-emptive, and were not in any way combating an imminent threat, European officials raised fresh questions – this time directly involving a British national – about the legality of the attacks, which could be viewed as assassinations.

They said Washington was the “driver” behind claims about a series of “commando-style” plots and that the CIA – perhaps because it was worried about provoking unwelcome attention to its drone strikes – was also extremely annoyed by the publicity given to them. The plot claims, which western intelligence agencies were aware of for months, were leaked last week to the American media.

They were followed by a spate of what security and intelligence officials said were exaggerated claims in the British media, a US state department warning to American citizens to be vigilant when visiting Britain, France, and Germany, a “tit for tat” warning by France to its citizens visiting the UK, and alerts issued by the Swedish and Japanese governments.

Thomas de Maizière, Germany’s interior minister, publicly expressed his scepticism about the US terror warning, saying he saw no sign of an imminent attack on Germany. He described the danger to Germany as “hypothetical”.

The sharp rise in US unmanned drone attacks in Pakistan’s tribal areas, coupled with several cross-border raids by American helicopter gunships that culminated in the killing of two Frontier Corps soldiers last week, was destabilising Pakistan, Hasan said.

“Why are they putting so much pressure on us? It is a threat to the democratic system … But people in Pakistan feel Washington does not care.” American actions were “obviously” linked to Obama’s decision to set a timetable for leaving Afghanistan. The US leader had “jumped the gun” and now “the Americans are in a hurry”.

He said fears were growing in Pakistan that the US was planning a bombing campaign using fixed-wing aircraft as well as drones in North Waziristan.

Hasan said Washington politicians failed to understand how much the US needed Pakistan in the “war on terror”. Nor did they realise that public anger over repeated US infringements of Pakistani sovereignty could boil over into attacks on American personnel and interests that the government might not be able to control.

“The government does not want to go down this road,” he said. “But people feel abused. If they [the Americans] kill someone again, they will react. There is a figure that there are 3,000 American personnel in Pakistan. They would be very easy targets.”

Hasan said American personnel stationed at the Pakistani air force base at Jacobabad, on the border between Sindh and Baluchistan provinces, could be vulnerable if the situation deteriorated further. The US requested the use of Jacobabad, and other bases at Dalbandin and Pasni, after the 9/11 attacks, and has maintained a military presence there ever since.

Another Pakistani diplomat said Jacobabad was the main centre of operations for CIA and US army drones, which are ultimately controlled from America. “They have hangars there. That’s where they fly from and that’s where they return.”

The drone operations began in June 2004 with the tacit, reluctant agreement and involvement of the Pakistani authorities but were now in effect running beyond Pakistan’s control, the diplomat suggested. “We have always denied it in the past. But everybody knows this is happening. We need to wake up,” the official said.

A US official said: “Our allies have been briefed on the nature of the threat and the intelligence that led to the travel alert and everyone understands this cannot be taken lightly. To try to ascribe any political motivation is misguided and irresponsible.”

RT:  “US Cries Wolf To Rev Up World For Dominance War”

The Tonka Report Editor’s Note: This is clearly being orchestrated by the US, CIA and Israel to destabilize Pakistan, which is the only nuclear armed Muslim nation in the region, prior to an impending attack on Iran! – SJH 

Link to original article below…

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/oct/07/barack-obama-terror-threat-claims

Killing Each Taleban “Soldier” Costs Estimated $50 Million Dollars

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October 3, 2010: Matthew Nasuti / Afghanistan Press – September 30, 2010

The Pentagon will not tell the public what it costs to locate, target and kill a single Taliban soldier because the price-tag is so scandalously high that it makes the Taliban appear to be Super-Soldiers.

As set out in this article, the estimated cost to kill each Taliban is as high as $100 million, with a conservative estimate being $50 million. A public discussion should be taking place in the United States regarding whether the Taliban have become too expensive an enemy to defeat.

Each month the Pentagon generates a ream of dubious statistics designed to create the illusion of progress in Afghanistan. In response this author decided to compile his own statistics. As the goal of any war is to kill the enemy, the idea was to calculate what it actually costs to kill just one of the enemy. The obstacles encountered in generating such a statistic are formidable. The problem is that the Pentagon continues to illegally classify all negative war news and embarrassing information. Regardless, some information has been collected from independent sources. Here is what we know in summary and round numbers:

1. Taliban Field Strength: 35,000 troops

2. Taliban Killed Per Year by Coalition forces: 2,000 (best available information)

3. Pentagon Direct Costs for Afghan War for 2010: $100 billion

4. Pentagon Indirect Costs for Afghan War for 2010: $100 billion

Using the fact that 2,000 Taliban are being killed each year and that the Pentagon spends $200 billion per year on the war in Afghanistan, one simply has to divide one number into the other. That calculation reveals that $100 million is being spent to kill each Taliban soldier. In order to be conservative, the author decided to double the number of Taliban being killed each year by U.S. and NATO forces (although the likelihood of such being true is unlikely). This reduces the cost to kill each Taliban to $50 million, which is the title of this article. The final number is outrageously high regardless of how one calculates it.

To put this information another way, using the conservative estimate of $50 million to kill each Taliban:

It costs the American taxpayers $1 billion to kill 20 Taliban

As the U.S. military estimates there to be 35,000 hard-core Taliban and assuming that no reinforcements and replacements will arrive from Pakistan and Iran:

Just killing the existing Taliban would cost $1.75 Trillion

The reason for these exorbitant costs is that United States has the world’s most mechanized, computerized, weaponized and synchronized military, not to mention the most pampered (at least at Forward Operating Bases). An estimated 150,000 civilian contractors support, protect, feed and cater to the American personnel in Afghanistan, which is an astonishing number. The Americans enjoy such perks and distinctions in part because no other country is willing to pay (waste) so much money on their military.

The ponderous American war machine is a logistics nightmare and a maintenance train wreck. It is also part-myth. This author served at a senior level within the U.S. Air Force. Air Force “smart” bombs are no way near as consistently accurate as the Pentagon boasts; Army mortars remain inaccurate; even standard American field rifles are frequently outmatched by Taliban weapons, which have a longer range. The American public would pale if it actually learned the full story about the poor quality of the weapons and equipment that are being purchased with its tax dollars. The Taliban’s best ally within the United States may be the Pentagon, whose contempt for fiscal responsibility and accountability may force a premature U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan as the Americans cannot continue to fund these Pentagon excesses.

If President Obama refuses to drastically reform the Pentagon’s inefficient way of making war, he may conclude that the Taliban is simply too expensive an enemy to fight. He would then have little choice but to abandon the Afghan people to the Taliban’s “Super-Soldiers.” That would be an intolerable disgrace.

The problem is not simply within the Pentagon.

The hapless U.S. State Department is equally to blame. It:

1. Continues to sit on the sidelines of this war;

2. Refused for nine years to deploy an adequate number of civilian experts;

3. Continues to hire abusive and disreputable security contractors;

4. Failed to fight for the needs of Afghan civilians; and

5. Has made little effort to win their hearts and minds.

A crucial statistic that demonstrates this is to compare military and security expenditures by the United States in Afghanistan with expenditures for civilian aid, such as reconstruction. That statistic is as follows:

Money spent on Military/Security: $365 billion – Money spent on Afghan civilians: $8.5 billion

This latter number spells out “FAILURE.” U.S. diplomats and USAID officials have failed to improve the lives of ordinary Afghans and as a result they have accomplished the impossible. Their lack of resolve and interest has made an increasing number of disillusioned Afghans view Taliban rule as potentially an improvement.

Appendix (Supporting Information)

Taliban Field Strength:

The figure of 35,000 is based on an interview given by General Stanley McChrystal earlier this year.

Taliban Soldiers Killed:

The Pentagon refuses to disclose the total number of Taliban killed each month in Afghanistan by coalition forces, special operations personnel and the CIA. One reason became obvious during Operation Moshtarak in Marjah earlier this year. The Pentagon and NATO refused to specify the actual number of Taliban casualties in Marjah because the number was embarrassing low. American, NATO and Afghan forces reportedly suffered more casualties (killed and wounded) than they inflicted on the Taliban, making Marjah a military defeat for the West (if casualties determine victory or defeat).

To fill the gap created by Pentagon silence on this issue, media groups have published their own Taliban casualty count based on official and press reports. That count is inflated as the U.S. military labels everyone it kills a “Taliban militant,” even if they are criminals, drug traders, war lords or civilians defending their homes. As a result of the Pentagon’s lack of credibility on this issue, this author assumes that only 50% of those labeled as Taliban actually are.

The Associated Press has reported that 3,800 militants were killed in 2008, and 4,500 in 2009. Pro-NATO blogs, such as the web site “Terrorist Death Watch,” have calculated that 3,667 terrorists have been killed in Afghanistan since January 1, 2006, (about 700 per year). The author assumes that an average of 2,000 hard-core Taliban are killed each year

U.S. Military Costs:

Total military expenditures in Afghanistan are not clear as the Pentagon does not release all of its direct and indirect cost for the war. While most direct costs are known, billions of dollars in CIA and special operations costs are improperly classified and remain hidden. In addition, the indirect costs for the war (i.e., military regular pay, equipment depreciation, wear & tear, long term health costs, Pentagon support costs within the U.S., USTRANSCOM transportation costs, transport hub costs such as Manas air base, costs for borrowing funds etc.) are not precisely known. Independent studies conducted of the Iraq war are available and they calculate that the indirect costs equal or exceed the direct costs.

What we know about Pentagon direct costs is as follows:

– From 2001, to April 2009, the Pentagon directly spent $171.7 billion in Afghanistan.
- From May 2009, to the present, the Pentagon directly spent an additional $166.3 billion. This is an incredible increase over the past 17 months.

Monthly expenditures have also seen a staggering increase.

- October 2009, the Pentagon was directly spending $3.6 billion a month.
- February 2010, the Pentagon was directly spending $6.7 billion a month.
- October 2010, with the addition of 35,000 more combat and support troops into Afghanistan, the number must be close to $8 billion a month.

Some estimates place direct Pentagon Afghan war costs for all of 2010, at $105 billion.

U.S. State Department Costs:

Officially the State Department and USAID have expended about $35 billion in Afghanistan since 2001. According to most audits, about 75% or $27.5 billion has been spent on training, housing and equipping the Afghan security services and road construction with the balance ($8.5 billion) being spent on civilian projects. Much of this $8.5 billion has been wasted on dilapidated schools and minor “trophy” projects in Kabul.

The Tonka Report Editor’s Note: But the Pentagon, CIA, and US Military have accomplished one astounding fact: Since the US illegally invaded Afghanistan after 9/11, the opium production has gone from nearly zero, to now accounting for over 90% of the world’s heroin. Nice job, boys! – SJH

Link to original article below…

http://www.kabulpress.org/my/spip.php?article32304

Operation Dragon Strike – US Slaughter Intensifies In Afghanistan!

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September 27, 2010: Bill Van Auken / World Socialist Web Site (WSWS) – September 27, 2010

The US military claimed responsibility for killing scores of insurgents over the weekend as it unleashed its long-awaited offensive against Kandahar, Afghanistan’s second-largest city.

The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), the NATO umbrella organization for the US-led occupation, reported the largest body counts in two eastern regions of the country.

In eastern Laghman Province, ISAF reported that a US-led air assault killed at least 30 in an “engagement with enemy fighters” in the Alishing district. The report claimed that there were no injuries to civilians in the area. On Saturday, however, several hundred Afghans demonstrated in the streets of Mihtarlam, the provincial capital, to protest the slaughter of unarmed civilians in the raid. The protesters chanted slogans condemning the US-led occupation.

The Afghan news agency PAN quoted one of the demonstrators, Sharifulla, as saying that no militants had been killed in the operation and that all the victims were noncombatants. The New York Times also quoted a Taliban spokesman as saying there was no activity on the part of its fighters in the area and that all of those killed had been civilians.

Police used fire hoses and fired live ammunition to disperse the demonstrators. “It was not really a protest,” the provincial police chief, Ghulam Aziz, told the Times. “It was actually an insurrection by some elements who want to disrupt security.” After the protests, a spokesman for ISAF said, “If there’s an indication at all of civilian casualties, we will investigate it.”

The other major killing field was in eastern Khost province, where a NATO spokesman reported that 42 “insurgents” were killed in US air strikes after they were detected attempting to cross the border from Pakistan.

Separately, ISAF reported that four “insurgent commanders” had been arrested or killed in Khost, Paktika and Helmand provinces. These appeared to be the result of continuing raids by special operations killing squads that are directed against suspected participants in the armed groups opposing the occupation and the US-backed government of President Hamid Karzai. These raids have been a major source of civilian casualties.

In another incident, a spokesman for the US-led occupation was forced to acknowledge that US troops had shot and killed two civilians in southern Helmand Province on Sunday. The killings took place in the town of Musa Qala, where troops had set up checkpoints following attacks by members of the Afghan resistance.

The military claimed that the two men, who were riding a motorcycle, ignored “verbal and visual warnings” and continued to accelerate while heading toward the checkpoint. “Initial reports indicate coalition forces followed the appropriate escalation of force procedures,” the ISAF report concluded. That such killings of unarmed civilians are deemed “appropriate” only underscores how common they are, with most going unreported.

Occupation officials reported Saturday that three NATO troops had been killed in two separate bomb blasts, one in the east of the country and the other in the south. They gave no details on the attacks or the nationality of those killed. The latest fatalities bring to 531 the number of foreign troops killed so far in 2010, which is already the bloodiest year for the occupation since the US invasion of Afghanistan in October 2001.

Meanwhile, the main focus of US military operations is in and around the southern city of Kandahar, where the largest offensive in the nearly ten-year occupation is now unfolding. Some 8,000 US troops, the majority of them drawn from the 2nd Brigade Combat Team and the 101st Airborne Division, together with Afghan puppet forces and some other foreign troops, are carrying out attacks in the Arghendab River Valley. This is a key approach route to Kandahar and links the city, a Taliban stronghold, to neighboring Helmand Province, which is also a center of the insurgency.

Dubbed Operation Dragon Strike, the attacks have been concentrated in the Zhari and Panjwai districts of Kandahar Province, which are immediately to the west of the city. PAN, the Afghan news agency, cited local officials as reporting that at least five Taliban fighters were killed in clashes Sunday. The US troops have reportedly been compelled to move slowly because of numerous improvised explosive devices planted by the resistance.

ABC News correspondent Miguel Marquez reported from the scene of the offensive: “Throughout the night loud explosions echoed through the Valley as 72-ton Assault Breacher Vehicles cleared wide paths through the thick agricultural area along the Arghendab River which soldiers call ‘the greens.’ Smaller mine-clearing charges were used to clear foot paths of possible improvised explosive devices. The threat of IEDs is the biggest threat to soldiers as they move into territory controlled by the Taliban for years. Soldiers spent much of the night stringing the plastic explosive C4 to trees and walls to destroy known Taliban fighting positions.”

To what extent this clearing of “wide paths” by 72-ton vehicles is destroying the crops of local farmers in the Arghendab valley, the reporter did not indicate. Such destruction seems likely however, and would undoubtedly increase support for the resistance in an area that has exhibited deep hostility to the presence of foreign troops.

Marquez quoted local commanders as comparing the operation in Kandahar to “squeezing an orange” and predicting that it would take months to complete. For the most part, he reported, local residents “keep their distance” from US troops as they patrol Sengaray, a community of roughly 10,000 people in Zhari district that has been occupied by the 101st Airborne.

Brig. Gen. Josef Blotz, an ISAF spokesman, warned Sunday, “We expect hard fighting.” US troops, he said, would be “destroying Taliban fighting positions so they will not have anywhere to hide.”

“Afghan and coalition forces are repeatedly hitting the insurgents in their backyard, allowing them no time to regroup,” said another spokesman, Col. Rafael Torres, director of ISAF’s Joint Operations Center. His choice of words only underscored the fact that the US-led military force is attacking an indigenous popular insurgency.

An estimated 30,000 US and other foreign occupation troops have been massed in Kandahar. The offensive was launched shortly after the last of the additional 30,000 US troops deployed to Afghanistan in the Obama administration’s military surge arrived in the country. There are now nearly 100,000 US troops deployed in Afghanistan, together with some 50,000 NATO and other foreign forces.

The Kandahar operation has been widely described as crucial for the Obama surge. However, US officials have until recently been downplaying the military offensive, following the failure of a much-touted offensive in the Marjah district of Helmand Province last February to uproot the resistance.

ABC News quoted two officers involved in the offensive on the “clear, hold and build” strategy being pursued by the US military. “This is where you separate the enemy from the people,” said Lt. Col. Johnny Davis, commander of the 1st Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment. “This is one of the many phases where we not only bring heavy security, but we bring governance where governance has not been before.”

Capt. Brant Auge, the commander of Bravo Company, told ABC: “The reason it hasn’t worked is because we are giving people a choice between us and the Taliban. The Afghan government is the key, because they’re the ones who can win this thing. It’s not a choice between us and the Taliban, it’s a choice between the Afghan government and the Taliban.” This supposed “choice” highlights the crisis of the US occupation. The Washington-backed Afghan government of President Hamid Karzai is more discredited now than ever, particularly after September 18 parliamentary elections characterized by rampant fraud.

Evidence of the wholesale vote rigging has continued to mount over the past week, with the Electoral Complaints Commission, a joint Afghan-international monitoring body, reporting nearly 4,000 complaints. Over 1,000 of these have already been classified as “potentially significant,” meaning the fraud reported could have affected the outcome of the race. Amateur videos have surfaced showing election officials and police stuffing ballot boxes and campaign officials openly haggling over the price for buying votes.

In one case in Kandahar Province, border police “handcuffed and detained for the entire day of the election” three separate groups of election workers to prevent them from counting ballots. The workers were then presented with polling papers filled in with fraudulent results and ordered to sign them. Apparently, the operation was coordinated by a close political ally of the local political strongman, Ahmed Wali Karzai, the president’s brother.

The New York Times also reported violent intimidation of voters in the northern province of Takhar by gunmen supporting Abdul Baqi, a candidate. “Mr. Baqi and his gunmen were slapping and pulling people to the ballot boxes to vote for him,” a local resident told the paper. He added that the gunmen went to the polling section for women and forced election workers to stuff their ballot box with 200 fraudulent votes. “From an overall democracy-building perspective, it does not look rosy,” a Western diplomat told the Times.

The reports make a mockery of Washington’s assertions that the election represented some sort of democratic advance. The senior US commander in Afghanistan, Gen. David Petraeus, claimed last week that “the people of Afghanistan sent a powerful message” to the Taliban. On the contrary, the gross fraud and violence perpetrated upon the Afghan people in the course of this rigged vote has undoubtedly strengthened support for those resisting foreign occupation.

Press TV: Kaneez Fatima talks to James Morris on War in Afghanistan

The Tonka Report Editor’s Note: In the video above, I have to disagree with James Morris concerning his statement that Obama is actually in control of the CIA… Just ask JFK! – SJH

Link to original article below…

http://www.wsws.org/articles/2010/sep2010/afgh-s27.shtml

US And Afghan Troops Begin Operation Dragon Strike In Kandahar

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September 26, 2010: Rod Nordland / The New York Times – September 26, 2010

ARGHANDAB, Afghanistan — American and Afghan troops have begun the active combat phase of a military operation designed to drive the Taliban out of districts around the Taliban stronghold of Kandahar city, military officials said Sunday.

Code-named “Operation Dragon Strike,” the push is focusing on clearing the Taliban from three districts to the west and south of the city, said Brig. Gen. Josef Blotz, a NATO spokesman for the International Security Assistance Force in Kabul. “We expect hard fighting,” he said. The aim, he said, would be “destroying Taliban fighting positions so they will not have anywhere to hide.”

The operation is the first large-scale combat involving multiple objectives in Kandahar Province, where a military offensive was originally expected to begin in June. That offensive was downgraded to more of a joint civil-military effort after the military encountered problems in trying to pacify the much smaller city of Marja and because of resistance from Afghan leaders concerned about the possibility of high civilian casualties.

During the last week of August, at the instigation of Afghan authorities, American troops supported a major push into the Mehlajat area on the southwest edge of Kandahar city, driving them from that area but with few casualties on either side. At the time, military officials said that was the beginning of what would be an increase in active combat operations around Kandahar.

Winning over Kandahar, the birthplace of the Taliban, is considered crucial to President Obama’s efforts to shift the balance of power in Afghanistan after the militants staged a comeback in recent years.

General Blotz said the combat phase of Dragon Strike began five or six days ago in Arghandab, Zhari and Panjwye districts, with “shaping operations” preceding that for several weeks. He declined to release further details on the new operation, other than to say it involved a large number of troops with air support, and that for the first time in a major operation, more Afghan forces were deployed than coalition ones.

Bismillah Khan, the police chief in Zhari district, said the combat operation began there on Saturday, but he declined to give further details. “Afghan and coalition forces are repeatedly hitting the insurgents in their backyard, allowing them no time to regroup,” said Col. Rafael Torres, director of ISAF’s Joint Operations Center. “The ultimate goal is to disrupt the enemy’s sanctuaries and staging areas for attacks into Kandahar city.”

American troop strength in Afghanistan peaked earlier this month at just over 100,000 soldiers with the arrival of the last of 30,000 reinforcements ordered by President Obama as a surge of additional forces in Afghanistan. With other NATO forces, that brings the total coalition forces to 150,000, the most at any point in the nine-year-long war. At least 30,000 of those troops are estimated to be in the Kandahar area.

American troops here and in the other districts have reported a steadily increasing tempo of contacts with Taliban insurgents, and particularly with roadside bombs hidden by them, in recent weeks as the number of foreign forces here increased.

Here in Arghandab, the inflow of troops has made it possible to begin trying to pacify an area where thick vegetation, irrigation canals and pomegranate orchards provide good cover for Taliban insurgents, according to Col. Joe Krebs, the 2nd Brigade Combat team’s deputy commander.

No sooner had the 1st Battalion of the 22nd Armored Regiment of the United States Army arrived here than five of its soldiers were killed, in a roadside bomb directed at their convoy. The dead included the first army chaplain to be killed in active duty during the Afghan conflict. The chaplain, Capt. Dale Goetz, 43, had been on a tour of some of the 18 combat outposts the military has established just in the Arghandab district.

While no official casualty totals have been released for the recent operations in the Kandahar districts, a count by iCasualties.org, which tracks coalition deaths, showed 14 American fatalities in Kandahar between Aug. 30 and Sept. 23, the latest date for which details are available. At least six of them were in Arghandab and two in Zhari district. That compares to 10 American personnel lost during that same period in Helmand Province, where the United States Marines have been struggling to suppress the Taliban in and around Marja, scene of the year’s first major offensive, Operation Mustarak, which began Feb. 14.

Kandahar’s Operation Hamkari, the combined civilian-military effort of which the more recent Dragon Strike is a part, adopted a strategy of concentrating on development projects in key districts around Kandahar City, as well as in the city itself, while at the same time increasing the military presence.

“I look at each one of my 13 combat platoons as a development team,” said Lt. Col. Rodger Lemons, commander of the 1st Battalion, 66th Armored Regiment, stationed at the district headquarters here. “I’m not going to tell you the population is fully in support, but they are much more in support of the government and the coalition than they are of the Taliban,” he said.

Along with the military buildup has come a similar effort to increase the presence of United States State Department employees, along with aid contractors paid by the Americans, staffing district stabilization teams in those key districts. The civilian buildup has not been as dramatic as the military one, however, and although province-wide some 300 American civilian staff have arrived, at the district levels there are only a few.

Arghandab, where the civilian effort is deemed to have been the most successful, the district team still comprises only two Americans, as well as contractors and local employees. “It’s hard to get people to come here,” says Kevin Melton, who is just finishing up a year-long tour in Arghandab.

When Mr. Melton arrived, there was essentially no functioning district government, and its headquarters was a military barracks. Now, the local government has an active shura, with villagers coming to the center regularly, attracted by generous aid programs. “Five dead and that’s the news that gets out,” he said. “Yeah, we know what’s going wrong, but look what’s going right. If we had done this eight years ago, would we have been here now?” By comparison, other districts like Zhari and Panjwye are just getting started, he said.

Three ISAF service members were killed in two roadside bombings in southern Afghanistan, two on Sunday and one on Saturday, the military said. There was no indication whether the deaths took place in the Kandahar districts, since details are not released until after next of kin have been notified. So far this year, 354 American soldiers have died in Afghanistan, more than the 317 who died in all of 2009.

The Tonka Report Editor’s Note: Just take a good, long look at the image above, because that’s precisely what Americans are dying for in Afghanistan… Protecting the international opium and heroin trade! – SJH

Afghan Official Says More Than 200 Civilians Killed In Two US Airstrikes

http://news.antiwar.com/2010/09/25/more-than-70-taliban-civilians-killed-in-2-airstrikes/

Link to original article below…

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/27/world/asia/27afghan.html?_r=1&hp=&adxnnl=1&adxnnlx=1285513662-nJWoZbRaRvt/bmO8ThXIxQ