As the US-led NATO forces prepare for their 2014 withdrawal from Afghanistan, the hype around “peace talks” with the Taliban has overshadowed many questions that remain in the minds of the average Afghan.
Amid a sense of urgency for a solution to the decade-long war – for which, the south of the country has unevenly carried the brunt – the unaddressed issues could come back to derail any short-term deal.
The Taliban leaders participating in the Qatar process have been tight-lipped over most issues except the release of their high-profile prisoners out of the US detention centre Guantanamo Bay. What kind of a role do they envision for the Taliban in a future Afghan state? Are they willing to compromise on certain extremities that they were notorious for during their six-year rule?
In an exclusive interview with Mullah Dawran, a senior Taliban commander in northeastern Kunar province, we raised some of these issues. While he is only one voice in an increasingly fractured movement, his views are indicative of the morale and mentality of many who fight for the Taliban.
Dawran has managed to escape several US military raids, in one of which he reportedly lost his wife and two children.
Below is an edited transcript of the conversation.
- By Kavkaz Center
Suspicions appeared in the media that the story about the “Islamic terrorist” Mohamed Merah was actually a pre-election special operation by the ruling French president Sarkozy, in which 8 innocent people were killed by French secret services on the order of Sarkozy.
Mohamed Merah was actually framed, then killed to shift the blame on him for killing three soldiers and four Zionists in France, launch a campaign on “fighting Islamic terrorism” and, against this background, to win the upcoming presidential elections in France.
The lawyer of the father of Mohamed Merah who was murdered by Sarkozy’s police, Zakhia Mokhtari, said in an interview with French newspaper Le Parisien that a group of honest commandos from the RAID, who murdered Merah, sent his father two video footages, which show that Merah was innocent.
While the FBI insists they are acting to defend the US from potential terrorist attacks, a former informant says it treats an entire religious group as suspicious. He told RT about some of the bureau’s ethically murky practices.
RT:Back in 2006 you became Farouk al-Aziz, a French-Syrian in search of his Islamic roots. Tell us how did that happen?
CM: I was successful as an informant from 2003 to early 2006 working on money-for-hire operations, bank robberies, infiltrating white supremacist groups. And one day as I was speaking to my handler, her name was Tracy Hanlon. I said I am interested in infiltrating mosques. And she said “Oh my Gosh! That would be amazing. You would be gold!” They needed a specific kind of man, who can adapt and blend into the Muslim community to learn the language, learn the religion and use the religion and the culture against the Muslim community.
- By Naomi Wolf
In a five-four ruling this week, the supreme court decided that anyone can be strip-searched upon arrest for any offense, however minor, at any time. This horror show ruling joins two recent horror show laws: the NDAA, which lets anyone be arrested forever at any time, and HR 347, the “trespass bill”, which gives you a 10-year sentence for protesting anywhere near someone with secret service protection. These criminalizations of being human follow, of course, the mini-uprising of the Occupy movement.
Is American strip-searching benign? The man who had brought the initial suit, Albert Florence, described having been told to “turn around. Squat and cough. Spread your cheeks.” He said he felt humiliated: “It made me feel like less of a man.”
In surreal reasoning, justice Anthony Kennedy explained that this ruling is necessary because the 9/11 bomber could have been stopped for speeding. How would strip searching him have prevented the attack? Did justice Kennedy imagine that plans to blow up the twin towers had been concealed in a body cavity? In still more bizarre non-logic, his and the other justices’ decision rests on concerns about weapons and contraband in prison systems. But people under arrest – that is, who are not yet convicted – haven’t been introduced into a prison population.
“I Affirm Our Right to Life”: Shaker Aamer, the Last British Resident in Guantánamo, Explains His Peaceful Protest and Hunger Strike
- By Andy Worthington
This article is the second of two articles providing new commentary by Shaker Aamer, the last British resident in Guantánamo — and reproducing a statement he made about conditions in the prison, with additional notes by Ramzi Kassem, one of his lawyers. The two articles were published simultaneously — here and on the website of the “Close Guantánamo” campaign, and this is a cross-post of the article published on “Close Guantánamo.” Also, if you’re interested in seeing Shaker Aamer freed from Guantánamo, please sign the e-petition to the British government calling for his release (if you’re a UK citizen or resident — whatever your age), and the international petition on the Care 2 Petition Site, which will be delivered to both the US and UK governments.
In a letter dated July 15, 2011, which has recently been unclassified by the Pentagon, Shaker Aamer, the last British resident in Guantánamo, explained why he was embarking on a peaceful protest, which also involved a hunger strike. These reasons are posted below, because they provide a compelling snapshot of the current conditions in the prison, touching on the injustice of holding people for nine years — now ten — without charge or trial, so that they can be legitimately regarded as hostages; preventing them from having contact with their families; and not meeting their needs regarding healthcare and diet. He also criticized President Obama administration for not keeping his promise to close Guantanamo within a year of taking office.
Yvonne Ridley reviews the case of Aafia Siddiqui on the 9th anniversary since she first disappeared
- By Yvonne Ridley
I am an investigative journalist and as such details and facts provide the framework from which to build a story. That has been the premise from which I’ve worked now in this industry for nearly 40 years. It is the same premise from which some great investigative journalists have toiled as they sift through genuine documents, interview primary intelligence sources and delve into eye witnesses accounts to get to the truth of a matter. And it is the same premise from which Cageprisoners operates tirelessly in its pursuit to giving a voice to the voiceless. In the last few decades I’ve seen many good people sent down for crimes which they did not commit, especially during the so-called Irish Troubles which saw US dollar-funded terrorism wreak chaos and death in the streets of London as well as other major UK cities. During that period I’ve also seen the same wronged people being released from prison, poorly compensated for their terrible ordeals and miscarriages of justice often followed by a grovelling apologies from the police and Establishment. Groups like the Birmingham Six and the Guildford Four know the pain and injustice of being wrongly convicted and in some ways, while the truth eventually set them free, they will forever be haunted by their experiences and lost lives.
George Clooney: CIA’s “Volunteer” Spokesman for Horn of Africa
- By Thomas C. Mountain
Clooney’s guru for the region is one John Pendergrast, the CIA’s plain clothes specialist for the Horn region and a protégé of Senior Director of US intelligence Gayle Smith (see “Guerilla Mistress to Obama Confidant; The Life and Crimes of Gayle Smith”) presently occupying an office next door to the allegedly “Black President” in the White House USA.
Pendergrast is using “The Looney” Clooney to push the latest phase of the “US Plan To Destabilize Sudan” realizing that the face of a Hollyweird movie star can sell “honesty and sincerity” a lot better than any media presstitute or politrickster.
So !Viola!, George’s face is splashed across television sets world wide bemoaning another “genocide” supposedly brewing in Sudan. Never mind that his whole “Save Dafur” campaign a few years back has been exposed as a fraud (see “Burying the Dafur Genocide Myth”) with over $100 million he helped raise to feed the starving in Dafur unaccounted for.