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I am greatly saddened to report the following . . .
Investigative journalist Seymour Hersh says that US forces in Afghanistan are carrying out what he referred to as “battlefield executions” of prisoners.
“One of the great tragedies of my country is that Mr. Obama is looking the other way, because equally horrible things are happening to prisoners, to those we capture in Afghanistan,” Hersh said during a discussion at the Global Investigative Journalism Conference last month in Geneva, where he was also the keynote speaker. “They’re being executed on the battlefield.”
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Video and more below the fold
Reminiscent of this moment from Vietnam, isn’t it?
(Geneva Convention) Art 13. Prisoners of war must at all times be humanely treated. Any unlawful act or omission by the Detaining Power causing death or seriously endangering the health of a prisoner of war in its custody is prohibited, and will be regarded as a serious breach of the present Convention.
What they’ve done in the field now is, they tell the troops, you have to make a determination within a day or two or so whether or not the prisoners you have, the detainees, are Taliban. You must extract whatever tactical intelligence you can get, as opposed to strategic, long-range intelligence, immediately. And if you cannot conclude they’re Taliban, you must turn them free. What it means is, and I’ve been told this anecdotally by five or six different people, battlefield executions are taking place. Well, if they can’t prove they’re Taliban, bam. If we don’t do it ourselves, we turn them over to the nearby Afghan troops and by the time we walk three feet the bullets are flying. And that’s going on now.
Transcript courtesy of HuffingtonPost.com
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If enemy combatants, as the Bush/Cheney Administration renamed them, are NOT able to prove they are Taliban they are often shot. One can only imagine if they ARE Taliban what might happen.
Perhaps they are taken to Bagram Prison?
The need for transparency was illustrated late last month (back in March 2009)* when the UK government revealed that two individuals it handed over to the USA in Iraq in 2004 had subsequently been transferred to US custody in Afghanistan, where they remain five years later.
Amnesty International has asked the US government to confirm whether the two are held in Bagram and to provide further information on their cases. The organization has raised the possibility that the USA’s transfer of these individuals to Afghanistan constituted a war crime.
Amnesty International continues to call for the Bagram detainees to be granted access to an independent court to challenge the lawfulness of their detentions, to effective remedies in relation to their treatment and conditions of detention, and to meaningful access to legal counsel for such purposes. At present, the detainees have no access to lawyers or courts.
Bold text and some editorializing noted by * added by the diarist
According to Seymour Hersh, the military is “Dominating” Obama and Obama is in real trouble. The important issues in the world, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan are decisions that are being made by the Military Industrial Complex. Though this has been true of America since 1941, one would have hoped that this kind of thing might have changed after the historic Presidential election of Barack Obama.
To his credit, Sy Hersh states that Obama is “much brighter” than Bush/Cheney, but he is in “real trouble” and is following Bush/Cheney’s policies, and even going further in many cases. According to Hersh, Iraq is going to be another disaster where Muqtada al Sadr who had been attacking US Soldiers will be the next Ayatollah of Iraq after al Sistani, the Iranians have come out of our Iraq invasion stronger than ever, and Obama’s policies in Afghanistan can NOT succeed. All of this is very grim news from a very reliable source.
Those words are startling, but worse yet is what has taken place under Obama. Hersh does not blame Obama directly, but he claims that he is “looking the other way”, which sounds eerily like “looking forward”
Sun Tzu once said “If the army is exposed to a prolonged campaign, the nation’s resources will not suffice.” This sums up to well the position that the for profit war industry has put America in. We do not make war to win wars in America anymore, we make war to make war, so that Blackwater and Haliburton and Bechtel may make profits and “secure the principle”. Our nation, our American citizens, and the people of the nations we have occupied are suffering for no other reason than our military industrial complex seeks profit. This must CHANGE NOW, not incrementally, not later because we must “look forward”. NOW. Murder is a crime, and war for an unjust reason is the worst crime of all, but “Battlefield Executions” are horrific, and a symptom of a sick, Orwellian never ending war that has ceased to be about al Qaeda and 9/11 and has become a way for Blackwater and Boeing to make a profit no matter what the cost. This must end.
Any decent person would be outraged by this. Many of us here on the left WERE outraged over things such as these when they took place under Bush/Cheney’s Administration. Is it not our duty then to be just as outraged now that such things are taking place under Democratic President Obama’s Administration?
I am a human being first and foremost. Acts such as “Battlefield Executions” are inhuman and criminal. Politically I am a patriot first and a partisan second. Battlefield executions neither keep our nation safe, nor do they protect our citizens. This is the sign of a civilization collapsing. Torture is WRONG, but murder is worse, and that is exactly what this is.
It is time for it to stop. Bring our troops home NOW, end these damned wars NOW, close Bagram and Guantanamo NOW, and for the sake of our nation, reign in the Military Industrial Complex, cut our military budget as Defense Secretary Robert Gates has asked, and investigate and prosecute ALL of the war crimes that took place under Bush/Cheney, as well as the ones taking place under Obama/Biden. Anything less is not just hypocrisy, it is criminal.
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Crossposted at The Progressive Electorate.com