Saturday, October 20, 2012


OMNI NEWSLETTER ON AFGHANISTAN AND PAKISTAN #18, October 20, 2012. Compiled by Dick Bennett for a Culture of Peace (#8 April 15, 2011; #9 June 10, 2011; #10 July 3, 2011; #11 July 13, 2011; #12 Sept. 5, 2011; #13 Oct. 2, 2011; #14 Oct. 15, 2011; #15 Feb. 14, 2012 ; #16 April 27, 2012; #17 May 3, 2012)

Here is the link to all the newsletters archived in the OMNI web site. For views and information not found in the mainstream media For a knowledge-based peace, justice, and ecology movement and an informed citizenry as the foundation for change. Here is the link to the Index:

Instead of Defense Department, Say War Department

Instead of War on Terror, Say US War to Dominate World

Instead of Taliban, Say Pashtun Resistance to Occupation

Contents of #15

Taliban Peace Talks

Rolling Stone: McChrystal, Petraeus

Rolling Stone: Full Report

Chomsky: World Militarism

Voices for Creative Nonviolence: Women and Children

PBS Film: We Take Our Stand

Merkley Afghan Withdrawal Amendment Passes Senate

Cortright, Ending Obama’s War

Pakistan After NATO Attack

Protest New Military Budget


Afghans Hungry This Winter

US Torture (3)

To End War Free 5 Prisoners

IED Soldiers’ Deaths

Contents of #16 April 27, 2012

Oppose NATO, Occupation, Warriors, War-Mongers in Chicago

Afghan Women

WAND, Rangina Hamidi

Sheehan, Afghans for Peace for Women

Robert Bales

Stephenson, US Soldier Kills Civilians

Hedges, Murder in War

Shea, Support These Troops?

The War and Afghans

US Labor Against the War

Contents of #17 May 3, 2012

Letter to Representatives

Troops Out, Peace Process In

Since bin Laden Killed, 381 US Soldiers Killed

Peace Action Actions vs Obama’s Occupation Plans

Obama’s Speech and Agreement in Afghanistan

Media Benjamin, Anti-Drone Summit: Pakistan

Assassination of bin Laden

Contents of #18

Porter and Noori, Taliban Influence Afghan Police and Soldiers

Sheridan, CS Film Compassion Campaign, Help Local Afghan Initiatives

Film, Brave New Foundation, Rethink Afghanistan

Hayden, US Defeat

From Hell and Back Again New Documentary

Rajiv Chandrasekaran: Little America Book

Martin, Protests Against NATO and the War

UNAC: Conversion from Occupation to AID

Haqqani Network

Lendmann Review of Cohn and Gilberd on Military Dissent


Taliban Outflank U.S. War Strategy with Insider Attacks

Gareth Porter and Shah Noori, Inter Press Service, Sep 20 2012 New evidence suggests that the Taliban had influenced a number of Afghan soldiers and police who killed NATO personnel, write Gareth Porter and Shah Noori for Inter Press Service. A former senior U.S. counterinsurgency adviser says the evidence indicates most Afghan personnel who killed NATO troops and were not already Taliban when they joined the security forces had later become "de facto infiltrators." Retired Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer, senior fellow and director of communications at the Center for Advanced Defense Studies, says U.S. officers in Afghanistan don't believe the Afghan government's efforts to identify potential Taliban infiltrators or sympathisers will slow the pace of insider killings. "They are all saying it isn't going to have any effect," said Shaffer.

Take 4 minutes now to act for Afghan civilians- new initiative with FCNL

Community Supported Film via

to Dick 8-10-12

We are very excited to launch this first Action Alert as part of our Compassion Campaign for Afghan Civilians.

This new initiative, in collaboration with the Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL), allows you to easily send an email alert to your congressional representative.

After more than a decade of conflict, the U.S. war in Afghanistan may finally be coming to an end. Yet Afghans are far from peace, and many lack the most basic of human necessities. Community Supported Film's Afghan-made documentaries help tell some of these stories, as audiences learn directly from Afghans about the economic reality and challenges in Afghanistan, as well as the capacity of Afghans to move their development forward.

Take 3 minutes to watch one or more excerpts of The Fruit of Our Labor films about Afghans setting up schools, one village’s struggle for water, the overwhelming problemof heroin addiction, or one Afghan woman’s resiliency.

Then take 1 minute to send an email to your congressional representatives. Tell them that Afghan-led development initiatives have a track record of being more sustainable and cost-effective. Ask Congress to redirect military funding for locally-run development initiatives.

If these films move you as they have thousands of others, please consider hosting a screening during the August recess or in the early fall and invite members of your congressional delegation. Through a screening, you will join an international movement calling to reinvest war expenditures into funding for Afghan-led sustainable development. You can follow these easy steps to host a screening and discussion with Community Supported Film to hear what Afghans are doing, what their concerns are, and turn your community’s compassion into action.

Please share this on Facebook, Twitter, and through your networks.

Thank you for your interest, support, and ACTION!

Best wishes,

Michael Sheridan

Founder and Director, Community Supported Film

In partnership with Friends Committee for National Legislation (FCNL)

P.S. Want more information?

Watch a webinar by Community Supported Film and Women’s Action for New Directions that contextualizes the civil society issues in these Afghan-made films.

Check out these video clips from CSFilm’s Congressional Briefing on Capitol Hill, in which Afghan and American NGO leaders and filmmakers give their analysis and recommendations for a way forward in Afghanistan - with endorsements from Reps. James McGovern and John Garamendi.

CSFilm also has a great collection of news articles and readings that elaborate further on the need for Civil Society participation and protection in Afghanistan.

Contact CSFilm for inquiries and dialogue.

CSFilm US: CSFilm Afghanistan:

56 Parkton Rd. c/o Afghan Co-Producer:

Boston, MA 02130 The Killid Group

617-834-7206 Karta-e-sea, Kabul, Afghanistan +93 (0) 787 520 800

Compassion Campaign for Afghan Civilians

Dear Dick,

Your support is already allowing us to take action! Just this week Community Supported Film initiated a powerful collaboration with the Friends Committee for National Legislation (FCNL). Together CSFilm's Compassion Campaign for Afghan Civilians and Fruit of Our Labor films and FCNL's Action Alerts and constituent activists will be used to pressure congress, the US military, NATO and the UN to commit to the long-term stability and development of Afghanistan so that civilians are not once again left in the middle of a geopolitical conflict. We are excited about this powerful collaboration for the future of Afghans - made possible by donations like yours.

But, we have so much more to do. Can you please help us reach our $15,000 goal? We still need to raise $2300 in the next 5 days. Every dollar counts! Please donate as generously as you can and put us over the top.

With your support we will:

Begin the next round of training in the fall for Afghan storytellers to share their voices and vision for a better future for their country;

Continue our Compassion Campaign for Afghan Civilians

Develop programs to train local storytellers in places like:

Haiti: Let’s learn from Haitians about why their country is seemingly trapped in tragedy and poverty. Wouldn’t you like to know?

Burma: Let’s learn from Burmese citizens about their needs and abilities as they emerge from decades of forced isolation.

Your donation trains women and men in poor and developing communities to tell their own stories. Only by learning from their perspectives can we successfully help to create a more peaceful and equitable world.

Please contribute what you can - $10, $100, $1000 ... $5000! - and we will keep opening eyes, ears and minds to unseen perspectives and opportunities.

Many many thanks and best wishes,

Michael Sheridan

Founder and Director, Community Supported Film

CSFilm US: CSFilm Afghanistan:

56 Parkton Rd. c/o Afghan Co-Producer:

Boston, MA 02130 The Killid Group

617-834-7206 Karta-e-sea, Kabul, Afghanistan +93 (0) 787 520 800

Community Supported Film works to strengthen the documentary storytelling capacity in countries where the dissemination of objective and accurate information is essential for development and conflict resolution.

In January 2009, the media narrative in the U.S. favored increasing the number of troops in Afghanistan, bending the public opinion in favor of the same. Understanding the national catastrophe waiting in the wings if lives and scarce national resources were wasted on a military "fix" to a political problem, Brave New Foundation launched Rethink Afghanistan.

Our latest report Rethink Afghanistan: Study of Effectiveness and Messaging Success details the goals of our campaign and how the campaign was ultimately successful. We launched this campaign to convince the public and policymakers that escalation would not make us safer and was not worth the costs. Three years later only 30% of Americans now believe that the Afghanistan War has been worth fighting. Thank you to our donors and activists who helped make all of this possible. Please help us continue the conversation with our new campaign War Costs. We need your support to put renegade defense spending.


"It should be required viewing for everyone in the White House, the Congress, and the Pentagon."

- Arianna Huffington

"An indispensable guide to what's really going on in Afghanistan."

- Oliver Stone

"A wakeup call for those who still believe our military should be in Afghanistan."

- Michael Moore

Check out the 2 for 1 Rethink Afghanistan DVD special


For general questions, email us here.

For technical issues regarding this site, contact us here.


For Press inquiries, please contact Kim at:


Director: Robert Greenwald - Executive Director: Jim Miller - Producer: Jason Zaro - Associate Producer: Dallas Dunn, Jonathan Kim, and Kim Huynh - Researcher: Greg Wishnev - Editor: Phillip Cruess - Political Director: Leighton Woodhouse - VP Marketing & Distribution: Laura Beatty - Production Assistant: Monique Hairston

The American Defeat in Afghanistan

Tom Hayden, Peace Exchange Bulletin, July 12, 2012

The United States government is facing defeat in Afghanistan. But that is not a bad thing in comparison to the alternative: waging war for another decade.

The recent pledges of Western funding and non-NATO ally status are little more than a cover for the defeat the US government is facing in Afghanistan, the famed graveyard of empires. Afghanistan will not be a US outpost flanking China, nor a bonanza of mineral wealth for the easy taking, nor the vanguard of an Islamic Spring. The Taliban will not be defeated, nor the Karzai regime rendered stable.

As Gideon Rose, editor of Foreign Policy, notes in the attachment below, the defeat will be covered up, because that is what governing elites do. Or, to borrow from the cruder language of Sarah Palin, the outcome will be lipstick on a pig.

There will be repercussions from the coming defeat. In Afghanistan, perhaps a renewed civil war. In the US and NATO, continued immunity for national-security elites from the consequences of their terrible judgments. A crippling political debate at home over "who lost Afghanistan?" And a cloud of confused depression for Americans who sent their sons and daughters into "the good war."

Continue reading...


Shown on PBS Independent Lens May 28, 2012.

The website for the film is:

Hell And Back Again’: PBS Airs Documentary On Wounded Marine

May 27, 2012

A hard-hitting documentary follows one Marine’s tormented life back on the homefront.

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Sergeant Nathan Harris has a tendency to pull down his pants to show strangers the Frankenstein-like scar that runs across one buttock and all the way down his right leg. He shows it to an elderly greeter at Walmart, and to the guy who escorts Harris and his wife around a house they hope to rent. It’s as if he needs to prove something--to show that there’s a reason he’s driving a motorized wheelchair; to excuse the fact that a stranger catches Harris doubled over his walker, in a drugged-out stupor.

Harris is the subject of Hell and Back Again, an Oscar-nominated documentary that premieres nationwide Monday night on PBS’s Independent Lens (it airs in the New York City area on Sunday). The film, made by photojournalist Danfung Dennis, tells parallel stories: Harris the soldier, on the battlefield in Afghanistan; and Harris the husband, the wounded warrior, back home in North Carolina. It’s a small movie, a deeply intimate look at one man’s struggle with the war and its aftermath. Yet it does more to convey the toll such fighting takes on its veterans, and the scale of the issues facing America’s returning soldiers, than perhaps any other film in recent memory.

We all know the numbers: 1,966 U.S. forces slain in Afghanistan, according to The Washington Post's latest figures. But civilians rarely get a glimpse of what life is like, either on the battlefield or after deployment, for the so-called lucky ones--men like Harris, a 26-year-old Marine whose unit was dropped behind enemy lines in southern Afghanistan in the summer of 2009. Harris and his fellow Marines were promptly attacked from all sides. Harris survived. Others in his unit did not.

Years later, Harris is hardly feeling lucky. The anxiety of something simple, like trying to find a parking spot, can cause him such frustration that he claims he’d rather be back in Afghanistan, where things are “easier.”

"Hell and Back Again" airs on PBS's Independent Lens on May 28th (PBS)

The film moves fluidly, almost imperceptibly, between the front lines of Afghanistan, where the soldiers are young and the stress is relentless, to another, no less difficult battleground on the homefront. Wounded in war, Harris comes home with a shattered hip and a metal rod holding his leg together. The pain is as constant as it is debilitating. And Harris relies on a bag of prescription painkillers—Oxycontin, morphine, "everything," he says. “It helps a lot but it keeps me loopy." Still, the pain is so severe that several times, it causes him to vomit. In other moments, we see him doubled over on his walker, looking less like a war hero than a doped-up junkie.

As Harris drifts in and out of his opiate-induced haze, we first hear, then see, scenes from Afghanistan. It’s an effective, and affecting, device that mimics the flashbacks so many veterans experience. In Afghanistan, Harris was in charge. He was a warrior, a hero and a cowboy. At home in North Carolina, Harris is none of those things. He’s dependent—on drugs to help ease his pain, on his wife to get him dressed in the morning and to help him get into and out of the car every day. At home, he plays videogames that simulate warfare—the only time in the film he looks almost ecstatic. It makes sense, in a twisted logic, that Harris would miss the war.

“When I was 18 years old all I wanted to do was kill people,” Harris says at one point, explaining his reasons for enrolling in the military. “My first two deployments, I was one of those guys that didn't have any fear whatsoever. I was ready to go do it. I wanted to go fight. I wanted to kill the enemy and be a roughneck and cuss and spit tobacco, come home and do it again. And I did that.”

Harris was injured during his third deployment, just a day before his unit was to go on its final mission. He came devastatingly close to coming home without physical injuries. Still, that wouldn’t necessarily have meant coming home undamaged. Like many veterans, Harris seems to struggle with complex psychological strains. During the film, we watch as his marriage turns from tender to tense. At the beginning of the film, Harris spends car rides leaning his head against his wife’s shoulder, or nuzzling her neck affectionately. Later on, those same trips are dominated by arguments and accusations. At home, Harris plays a version of Russian roulette—one that doesn’t involve actually pulling the trigger—and when it’s his wife’s turn, he finds the chamber is loaded. “Gotcha, bitch,” he laughs. Harris confesses that he sleeps with a loaded gun tucked under his mattress, where he can easily grab it. One night, he falls asleep with it sitting on his nightstand.

Little America: The War Within the War for Afghanistan by Rajiv Chandrasekaran. Published by: Knopf , 2012.

See larger cover


> Rajiv Chandrasekaran is represented by Random House Speakers Bureau

Related Links

From the award-winning author of Imperial Life in the Emerald City, a riveting, intimate account of America’s troubled war in Afghanistan.

When President Barack Obama ordered the surge of troops and aid to Afghanistan, Washington Post correspondent Rajiv Chandrasekaran followed. He found the effort sabotaged not only by Afghan and Pakistani malfeasance but by infighting and incompetence within the American government: a war cabinet arrested by vicious bickering among top national security aides; diplomats and aid workers who failed to deliver on their grand promises; generals who dispatched troops to the wrong places; and headstrong military leaders who sought a far more expansive campaign than the White House wanted. Through their bungling and quarreling, they wound up squandering the first year of the surge.

Chandrasekaran explains how the United States has never understood Afghanistan—and probably never will. During the Cold War, American engineers undertook a massive development project across southern Afghanistan in an attempt to woo the country from Soviet influence. They built dams and irrigation canals, and they established a comfortable residential community known as Little America, with a Western-style school, a coed community pool, and a plush clubhouse—all of which embodied American and Afghan hopes for a bright future and a close relationship. But in the late 1970s—after growing Afghan resistance and a Communist coup—the Americans abandoned the region to warlords and poppy farmers.

In one revelatory scene after another, Chandrasekaran follows American efforts to reclaim the very same territory from the Taliban. Along the way, we meet an Army general whose experience as the top military officer in charge of Iraq’s Green Zone couldn’t prepare him for the bureaucratic knots of Afghanistan, a Marine commander whose desire to charge into remote hamlets conflicted with civilian priorities, and a war-seasoned diplomat frustrated in his push for a scaled-down but long-term American commitment. Their struggles show how Obama’s hope of a good war, and the Pentagon’s desire for a resounding victory, shriveled on the arid plains of southern Afghanistan.

Meticulously reported, hugely revealing, Little America is an unprecedented examination of a failing war—and an eye-opening look at the complex relationship between America and Afghanistan.


Here's the rest of the story

Kevin Martin, Peace Action to jbennet

Call your Senators

In a few weeks, the Senate takes up the National Defense Authorization Act. The number is 202-224-3121 or email them at

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Dear James,

I’m sure you’ve seen the press. Thanks to the organizational energies of Peace Action’s Field Director, Judith LeBlanc, Chicago Area Peace Action and American Friends Service Committee, coverage of the largely peaceful protests around the NATO summit was not about black-masked demonstrators and police riots but rather about the obsolescence and costs of the NATO war machine.

Through op eds, letters to the editor and several editorial board meetings throughout the week of the Counter-Summit, opposition to the war in Afghanistan was the real story. Check out my letter in The New York Times.

After working with coalition partners for months as part of the “Network for a NATO-Free Future,” Peace Action pulled off a buzzing beehive of a Counter-Summit in a church building on Chicago’s North Side on May 18th & 19th in anticipation of the NATO summit hosted by Barack Obama. More than 320 registrants signed up for the Counter-Summit for Peace and Economic Justice, two days of wall-to-wall plenaries and break-out sessions with the likes of Phyllis Bennis, Medea Benjamin, Tom Hayden, John Nichols, Kathy Kelley and Vijay Prashad.

It was truly an international event with activists from England, Canada, Germany, France, Mexico, Nepal, Greece, and Australia in attendance.

For its part, the NATO summit itself was dominated by the universally unpopular war in Afghanistan. Acting as if it were all part of their plan, NATO leaders announced Monday that by mid-2013, “all parts of Afghanistan will have begun transition and the Afghan forces will be in the lead for security nation-wide.” With Australia and France the next countries planning an early exit, this strategic refinement was a rather anti-climatic, foregone conclusion.

Of course, that’s hardly good enough. Clinging to it's ‘never say die’ (unless you personally are doing the dying) policy, NATO leaders are committed to bankrolling Afghanistan’s security forces until 2024. The US plans also include leaving tens of thousands of troops in harm’s way.

Growing opposition to the war and occupation of Afghanistan can force future ‘strategic refinements.’ That’s why Peace Action will continue its campaign to end this war. The next big date is the announced drawdown of troops in September. Thank you for helping me keep the heat on the President and Congress to end this war!

Budget Battles Continue

In a few weeks the Senate takes up the National Defense Authorization Act. Last week the House approved its $642.5 billion version of the bill, a full $8 billion above what Congress agreed to last August as part of the budget deal. Despite the Republicans blocking key votes on Afghanistan and nuclear weapons, we had a victory in clear language that there is NO authorization for war with Iran and another victory reducing troops in Europe. Now it's the Senate's turn. Call both your Senators and tell them to support amendments to cut Pentagon spending, bring our troops home and prevent war with Iran. The number is 202-224-3121 or to email them go to

Humbly for Peace,

Kevin Martin

Executive Director

Peace Action

PS: To see pictures from the actions in Chicago, go to


11 Fwd: [unac] All out Oct 5 - 7. End the wars abroad and at home Mon Oct 1, 2012 Posted by: "Shelly Rockett" UNAC

Date: Sun, Sep 30, 2012

Subject: [unac] All out Oct 5 - 7. End the wars abroad and at home

Sunday, October 7 is the 11th anniversary of the war on Afghanistan. UNAC has called for actions throughout the country around the weekend of October

5 – 7 to protest our continued war on Afghanistan and the threats of war directed at Iran and Syria (Please see the entire list of actions below--also available at

We also want use this anniversary to protest the war at home. The U.S. has spent an estimated 4 trillion dollars on the wars abroad, which instead could have been used for education, healthcare, housing, and other human needs. The increased national security atmosphere caused by the wars has

meant ever increasing, racist attacks on Muslims, immigrants and communities of color.

Add your actions planned for October 5th - 7th to the list by emailing information to or going to

Or join an action in your area.

From: Just Foreign Policy

Date: Tue, Sep 4, 2012

Subject: This week, Secretary Clinton Can Shorten the War and Save Sgt. Bergdahl


Dear Dick,Tell the President and Congress to oppose designating the Haqqani network as a terrorist organization.

Take ActionU.S. policy in Afghanistan is in a moment of crisis. On Sunday, the Washington Post reported that the commander for Special Operations forces in Afghanistan has suspended training for all new Afghan recruits until more than 27,000 Afghan troops working with his command can be re-vetted for ties to the insurgency, following a wave of attacks on U.S. and NATO troops by Afghan soldiers and police. Western military officials now admit that they knew the Afghan troops weren't properly vetted before.

Meanwhile, Secretary of State Clinton is facing a deadline this week on demands from the military and some in Congress to declare the Haqqani network, part of the Afghan Taliban, to be a terrorist group. Some officials in the White House and the State Department say this largely symbolic move would likely obstruct a prisoner exchange that would free Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl—and would also likely obstruct peace talks needed to end the war.

Urge President Obama and your representatives in Congress to oppose moves that would obstruct the release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl and peace talks needed to end the war.

The front page of Sunday's Washington Post reported that the senior commander for Special Operations forces in Afghanistan "has suspended training for all new Afghan recruits until more than 27,000 Afghan troops working with his command can be re-vetted for ties to the insurgency."

"The vetting process for Afghan soldiers and police was never properly implemented, and NATO officials say they knew it," the Post says. [1] Officials now say that the laxity in security that was for years the norm is no longer acceptable, the Post says. This begs the question: why was it acceptable before?

Meanwhile, the Washington Post reported on Friday [2] that Secretary of State Clinton faces a Congressionally-imposed deadline this week on whether to designate the Haqqani network - part of the Afghan Taliban - as a terrorist group. Some U.S. officials say doing so would make it more difficult to restart peace talks with the Taliban, and obstruct a prisoner exchange with the Taliban that would free Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, the U.S. soldier held since 2009 by the Haqqanis. [3]

Officials in the White House and the State Department are pushing back against the military, the Post says. They say designation would be symbolic and would have little real impact, and that the military is using the Haqqanis as an excuse to deflect attention from the military's own failure to achieve what it claimed it could achieve when it demanded that Obama send more troops to Afghanistan.

A U.S. official who opposes designation says it would only make peace negotiations harder:Administration policy "heavily depends on a political solution," this official said. "Why not do everything we can to promote that? Why create one more obstacle, which is largely symbolic in nature?"What does "heavily depends on a political solution" mean? It means that the Administration is counting on the ability, at some point, to achieve a political agreement or agreements with some or all of the Afghan Taliban. There is no plausible story that the training program now underway will be adequate to deal with the insurgency if there is no political agreement. But if there were a political agreement, so that most of the insurgency were removed from the battlefield by political means, then the training program underway could be sufficient to help deal with any remaining holdouts.

Urge President Obama, your Senators, and your Representative to oppose moves to prolong the war and keep Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl in captivity:

Thank you for all you do to help bring about a more just foreign policy,

Robert Naiman, Chelsea Mozen, Sarah Burns and Megan Iorio

Just Foreign Policy

Please support our work. Donate for a Just Foreign Policy.


1. "Training suspended for new Afghan recruits," Greg Jaffe and Kevin Sieff, Washington Post, September 1, 2012,

2. "Obama administration divided over designating Haqqani network as terrorist group," Karen DeYoung, Washington Post, August 31, 2012,

3. "America's Last Prisoner of War," Michael Hastings, Rolling Stone, June 7, 2012,

© 2012 Just Foreign PolicyClick here to unsubscribe

[The following rev. by Stephen Lendman is a major analysis of DISSENT not to be missed. Dick]

FRIDAY, JULY 03, 2009

Reviewing Marjorie Cohn and Kathleen Gilberd's "Rules of Disengagement"

Reviewing Marjorie Cohn and Kathleen Gilberd's Rules of Disengagement: The Politics and Honor of Military Dissent, by Stephen Lendman


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