Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
December 10, 2019

Some Truth About The War On Afghanistan

The Washington Post liberated some 2,000 pages of more than 400 interview transcripts and summaries from the Office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR). The interviews were with officials and soldiers involved in the war on Afghanistan.

Reading through the three part series on the papers is depressing. The opinions and narrations of the insiders are, as could be expected, devastating:

“We were devoid of a fundamental understanding of Afghanistan — we didn’t know what we were doing,” Douglas Lute, a three-star Army general who served as the White House’s Afghan war czar during the Bush and Obama administrations, told government interviewers in 2015. He added: “What are we trying to do here? We didn’t have the foggiest notion of what we were undertaking.”

Since 2001 the U.S. has spent more than $1 trillion on Afghanistan. Most of the money has flown back to 'contractors' in the United States. A significant part, whatever bribes and corruption would generate, was invested by Afghan officials in real estate in Dubai.

In public, U.S. officials insisted they had no tolerance for graft. But in the Lessons Learned interviews, they admitted the U.S. government looked the other way while Afghan power brokers — allies of Washington — plundered with impunity.

Christopher Kolenda, an Army colonel who deployed to Afghanistan several times and advised three U.S. generals in charge of the war, said that the Afghan government led by President Hamid Karzai had “self-organized into a kleptocracy” by 2006 — and that U.S. officials failed to recognize the lethal threat it posed to their strategy.

Little of the money reached the common people of Afghanistan. Where it did it was wasted on projects that Afghanistan will never be able to sustain. The corruption is one reason why many Afghans tolerate or even favor Taliban rule. (The areas the map shows as 'contested' are in fact Taliban ruled.)


The war was and is completely unnecessary to begin with:

Jeffrey Eggers, a retired Navy SEAL and White House official under Bush and Obama, said few people paused to question the very premise for keeping U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

“Why did we make the Taliban the enemy when we were attacked by al-Qaeda? Why did we want to defeat the Taliban?” Eggers said in a Lessons Learned interview. “Collectively the system is incapable of taking a step back to question basic assumptions.”

The war was and is a racket.  It has no purpose but to move money from the taxpayer towards special interest. To justify the theft politicians and military commanders have lied to the public again and again:

Several of those interviewed described explicit and sustained efforts by the U.S. government to deliberately mislead the public. They said it was common at military headquarters in Kabul — and at the White House — to distort statistics to make it appear the United States was winning the war when that was not the case.

“Every data point was altered to present the best picture possible,” Bob Crowley, an Army colonel who served as a senior counterinsurgency adviser to U.S. military commanders in 2013 and 2014, told government interviewers. “Surveys, for instance, were totally unreliable but reinforced that everything we were doing was right and we became a self-licking ice cream cone.”

The ice cream cone continues to lick itself.

Presidential elections in Afghanistan were supposed to be held in March of this year. They were moved twice and finally took place in September. The results were supposed to be announced in October but that date was moved to November. Then the election commission decided to delay the announcement a second time, indefinitely.

The positions at the top of the Afghan government are extremely lucrative. None of the leaders will make room for another.

The Trump administration is now again talking with the Taliban to negotiate some peace deal. The conditions the Taliban set are clear. They will not allow foreign troops in their country. The U.S. military and the CIA are unwilling to agree to that even as the 12,000 U.S. soldiers there serve no recognizable purpose.

The only way to leave Afghanistan is to leave Afghanistan. Trump should just order the troops out. All of them. Unconditionally and as soon as practically doable. The bigwigs in Kabul will move to Dubai, the Taliban will take over Kabul and will, within a few months or a year, pacify the country. Only then, when Afghanistan is ruled by hopefully non-corrupt leaders, will it be possible to sensibly develop the country. A lot could be done with less than 1% of the money that is currently spent on the war.

But that only makes sense and will therefore not happen.

Posted by b on December 10, 2019 at 15:14 UTC | Permalink


- The US invaded Afghanistan because it would bring US troops closer to Russia, Iran & China. And that's the reason why the US won't ever withdraw its troops from that country. But it will be a matter of time before the US will be FORCED to pull out their troops from Afghanistan. "Financial problems" at home (in the US) will be the driver to do so.
- Trump won't withdraw US troops from Afghanistan because doesn't dare to resist the Military-Industrial-Congressional complex.
- One Johan Galtung predicts that the US Empire will collapse in/around the year 2020.

Watch this video:

Posted by: Willy2 | Dec 10 2019 15:39 utc | 1

Good question: When will the dollar, as Putin put it recently, "collapse"? Presumably, a collapse would come in connection with uncontainable, interconnected financial crises and would cause a whole lot of Afghan-style military ops all over the world to come to a screeching halt.

Been reading M. Armstrong recently. Would be interested to know Mr. Bernard's take on how the looming financial crisis in the West will push geopolitics over the net 20 years:

"With all the disinformation circulating around about this Repo Crisis, one must question can they really be that stupid? This is really the Mother of all Financial Crises, which will impact everything it touches. This will make the 2007-2009 financial crisis look like a trial run. There is no politician who will stand up and talk about this crisis nor will they dare to even ask pertinent questions for fear of what will be revealed." - Armstrong.

Posted by: casey | Dec 10 2019 15:52 utc | 2

Is this Jeff Bezo’s revenge against the DOD for not getting the JEDI contract?

Posted by: CognitiveDissonance | Dec 10 2019 15:57 utc | 3

We didn’t have the foggiest notion of what we were undertaking.

Which is a euphemism for: 1. Attempt to control the heroin trade. 2. Attempt to encircle Iran, China and Russia. 3. Attempt to control the heroin trade.

Posted by: 0use4msm | Dec 10 2019 16:00 utc | 4

From Nafeez Ahmed in 2015:

The post-Cold War period saw the Pentagon’s creation of the Highlands Forum in 1994 under the wing of former defense secretary William Perry — a former CIA director and early advocate of neocon ideas like preventive war...

O’Neill reveals that the Pentagon Highlands Forum was, fundamentally, about exploring not just the goals of government, but the interests of participating industry leaders like Enron...

Through the late 1990s, Enron was working with California-based US energy company Unocal to develop an oil and gas pipeline that would tap Caspian basin reserves, and carry oil and gas across Afghanistan, supplying Pakistan, India and potentially other markets. The endeavor had the official blessing of the Clinton administration, and later the Bush administration, which held several meetings with Taliban representatives to negotiate terms for the pipeline deal throughout 2001. The Taliban, whose conquest of Afghanistan had received covert assistance under Clinton, was to receive formal recognition as the legitimate government of Afghanistan in return for permitting the installation of the pipeline.

Enron paid $400 million for a feasibility study for the pipeline, a large portion of which was siphoned off as bribes to Taliban leaders, and even hired CIA agents to help facilitate.

Then in summer 2001, while Enron officials were liaising with senior Pentagon officials at the Highlands Forum, the White House’s National Security Council was running a cross-departmental ‘working group’ led by Rumsfeld and Cheney to help complete an ongoing Enron project in India, a $3 billion power plant in Dabhol. The plant was slated to receive its energy from the Trans-Afghan pipeline...

Then in June 2001, the same month that Enron’s executive vice president Steve Kean attended the Pentagon Highlands Forum, the company’s hopes for the Dabhol project were dashed when the Trans-Afghan pipeline failed to materialize, and as a consequence, construction on the Dabhol power plant was shut down. The failure of the $3 billion project contributed to Enron’s bankruptcy in December...

By August, desperate to pull off the deal, US officials threatened Taliban representatives with war if they refused to accept American terms: namely, to cease fighting and join in a federal alliance with the opposition Northern Alliance; and to give up demands for local consumption of the gas...

Two days before 9/11, Condoleeza Rice received the draft of a formal National Security Presidential Directive that Bush was expected to sign immediately. The directive contained a comprehensive plan to launch a global war on al-Qaeda, including an “imminent” invasion of Afghanistan to topple the Taliban. The directive was approved by the highest levels of the White House and officials of the National Security Council, including of course Rice and Rumsfeld. The same NSC officials were simultaneously running the Dhabol Working Group to secure the Indian power plant deal for Enron’s Trans-Afghan pipeline project. The next day, one day before 9/11, the Bush administration formally agreed on the plan to attack the Taliban.

Posted by: Fec | Dec 10 2019 16:12 utc | 5

I differ with b. Given that anyone and almost everyone on the outside knew full well what a mess Afghanistan was and how dishonest the official view was, I find myself reassured to discover that there were a few on the inside who knew it too.

WaPo no doubt bragging about its journalism now having blatantly repeated the obvious lies for 18 years.

Posted by: Michael Droy | Dec 10 2019 16:18 utc | 6

Why has the Washington Post, that is closely aligned to the CIA, suddenly decided to 'come clean' and explain in great detail why the war in Afghanistan war is a complete flop?

Is it because Jeff Bezos has had a change of heart and joined the other peace activists??

No. It's because, after 18 years of utter futility, the elites who own this fu**ing country have decided to throw in the towel. That's why.

This is not a 'win' for the Afghani or American people. It is just another sign that scheming, bloodthirsty oligarchs continue to control all the levers of state power.

Welcome to the shining city on a hill.

Posted by: plantman | Dec 10 2019 16:29 utc | 7

I was wondering if you were going to write about this b. Thanks for doing so but I disagree with the following you wrote
The war was and is a racket. It has no purpose but to move money from the taxpayer towards special interest.
From my perspective the bigger purpose for war is to keep the masses from not asking impertinent questions about how the world works (global private finance at the core of the social contract).

@ Posted by: CognitiveDissonance | Dec 10 2019 15:57 utc | 3 who wrote
Is this Jeff Bezo’s revenge against the DOD for not getting the JEDI contract?
followed by Posted by: Michael Droy | Dec 10 2019 16:18 utc | 6 who wrote
WaPo no doubt bragging about its journalism now having blatantly repeated the obvious lies for 18 years.

an emphatic YES to both statements.....the rats may be leaving the ship but it seems a bit late for that.

We can only hope that what casey in comment #2 wrote
Presumably, a collapse would come in connection with uncontainable, interconnected financial crises and would cause a whole lot of Afghan-style military ops all over the world to come to a screeching halt.
will happen.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Dec 10 2019 16:30 utc | 8

And what will happen?.....(pause)......Nothing.

Posted by: Jose Garcia | Dec 10 2019 16:44 utc | 9

There were so many pipeline fantasies leading up to to war it got nicknamed Pipelinestan. Chevron was lobbying hard in the early 90's for the war, laying out the plan before the House Foreign Intelligence Committee in '91. In 1999 the CEO of Chevron opened the NYSE one morning with the announcement they had discovered a pool of oil "bigger than Saudi Arabia" in central Asia. About five years later well into the war Chevron realized their mistake and quietly backed out of the region selling their interest to Chinese and Russian companies. What company named an oil tanker after Condoleeza Rice? What company did virtually all
the Afghan leadership the US installed work for before the invasion?

Posted by: SwissArmyMan | Dec 10 2019 16:50 utc | 10

"“What are we trying to do here? We didn’t have the foggiest notion of what we were undertaking.”

Cui bono, herr general? Israel, MIC, Pentagon, White House. Oh, yea. And poor Mr. Rothschild finally got his 1st Central Bank of Afghanistan up and running!

JUST what the White House wants; "Thank you, general. Now just go out there and win one for the Gipper!"

Or Israel


Good to know, though, we have such complete fucking idiots in charge of weapons who JUST FOLLOW ORDERS!

(Still think the US military won't fire on US civilians?)

Posted by: ~ Occams | Dec 10 2019 16:57 utc | 11

"The war was and is a racket. It has no purpose but to move money from the taxpayer towards special interest."

b is doing impression of captain obvious?

"...bigger purpose for war is to keep the masses from not asking impertinent questions about how the world works (global private finance at the core of the social contract)."

hi psychohistorian. you meant to leave out the word 'not' in the above?
so as to say a purpose for war besides b's observation that it is conducted to enrich wealthpower giants, is to keep the underpaid mass from questioning why the world does indeed NOT work for them, for their prosperity, safety, happiness, health, peace - all the good stuff?

also, by 'global private finance' you mean the power to issue a nation's (indeed many nations') credit being in private hands? for no REASON whatsoever? as one of the biggest legal thefts concocted to ceaselessly shift wealth from its rightful earner-owners to freebie-getters?

(that is a huge legal theft BUT it is only one of myriad legal thefts btw)

Posted by: Phryne's frock | Dec 10 2019 17:01 utc | 12

thanks b... business as usual... same deal a war on iran, or wherever... taxpayer supported murder and kleptocracy... hopefully no one thought different... that's the reality..shocking wapo might let some of that light in.. they are not acting like a proper gatekeeper right now, are they??

Posted by: james | Dec 10 2019 17:06 utc | 13

So we have an exposee confirming what was obvious from day one. The WaPo is confident it won't make any difference to US war policy, the intentions of any 2020 presidential candidate, or the opinion of partisan voters, otherwise they wouldn't have published it. We know what a war-monger and aspiring war profiteer Bezos is.

It's no surprise that those carrying out any aspect of the US global assault have no clear idea what they're doing, since the US corporate state itself has no clear idea, no coherent goal, no purpose, no envisioned end. This is the concentrated war manifestation of capitalism (really, productionism) itself, which is purely totalitarian, is purely cancerous in seeking infinite "growth" for no reason anyone could ever explain, which has zero consciousness but to use money and power to gain more money and power.

Taking the actions at face value, the only two goals seem to be to commit as much ecocide as possible and especially to kill people and wreck societies.

Since it's difficult to maintain military professionalism under such circumstances where no real war goal exists and where you're really more of a murderer and arsonist than a bona fide soldier, and since every incentive urges you to focus on personal enrichment, it's no wonder actual performance deteriorates no matter what the paper preponderance of forces.

(Also, it's always interesting to see details of how seamless was the continuity from Bush to Obama, how little personnel turnover there was.)

Posted by: Russ | Dec 10 2019 17:16 utc | 14

yeah, what a waste!

Posted by: john | Dec 10 2019 17:40 utc | 15

On the surface, we would think the USA insists on maintaining a foothold in Afghanistan because it wants a foothold in the Heartland.

But the USA won't be able to bother Russia and China with just 12,000 personel.

Besides, the USA is not a very strong land force. Its strength comes from the sea, its navy. Airlifts are extremely inneficient, difficult and costly.

My guess is, besides the obvious MIC thing, the Americans want to keep tight control over the poppy fields, so they can keep their opiate and heroin production monopoly. I believe that's the case for two reasons: 1) it is already known among Contemporary History historians that it was the USA which transformed Afghanistan into a narcostate and 2) since the 2008 meltdown, the USA is not in any conditions for long term planning, it is still punch drunk.

Posted by: vk | Dec 10 2019 17:42 utc | 16

Afghanis are always waiting for invaders. Hard decades but they got the two biggest supa powers and trophies next to their Great-granpa's. They might have been bribed to shadow box, but the racket has to be minderbender expensive. Every air raid tuned with USGS mining surveys. Americans don't want Truth. They want a movie and a nothingburger, and some coke (or someth ing to help with sleep). The villians are still alive, but where will they get a long-term war they can lose again?

Posted by: failure of imaginati | Dec 10 2019 17:50 utc | 17

I recall thinking in the 2008/09 debacle that the only good part of it would be the forcing of the US to back off on its military adventures but that did not happen and a bit to my surprise it actually accelerated.

Posted by: arby | Dec 10 2019 17:52 utc | 18

I think the war in Afghanistan is a success. The US has successfully created another failed state that is more easily plundered. Isn't western capitalism extracting oil from the failed states of Libya, Iraq, Syria? Whatever deal is made with the Taliban will preserve poppy production. I agree with ouse4msm above.

Posted by: TheBAG | Dec 10 2019 17:53 utc | 19

re failure of imaginati | Dec 10 2019 17:50 utc | 17

"Every air raid tuned with USGS mining surveys."

The art of sniffing. Well stated! as example of broadest revelation in fewest words.

This is global sniffing tech [including all forms of remote sensing] that leads to endless global resource grabs; overt and covert free-for-all erasing relics of sovereignty and boundaries and fences.

The new private armies will depend on resource brokers, not bankers.

Posted by: chu teh | Dec 10 2019 18:39 utc | 20

Astan is about rare earth metals, most of which are otherwise in China.

Posted by: Fec | Dec 10 2019 18:43 utc | 21

Trump is being blackmailed by impeachment. The impeachment hearing began in September right after Trump in August made a deal with Erdogan to remove American sponsored fighters from Northern Syria to create a buffer zone. Whatever was planned by Trump and Erdogan it was clear that because Trump wanted troops out of Syria for election season, that the agreement with Erdogan was only a beginning of something more. A few weeks after that as a way to threaten Trump into not pulling troops to look good for his base before the election, which is why the impeachment has been such a joke, they knew they had nothing but they needed to keep it going to keep a threat over Trump.

The impeachment is going to lose unless Trump does something else to pull troops out of Syria or Afghanistan. If the impeachment proceedings end with no impeachment and then Trump pulls troops completely, expect another impeachment to try to intimidate him to stay.

Also, check this out about Tulsi Gabbard

Posted by: Kali | Dec 10 2019 18:51 utc | 22

@ Russ | Dec 10 2019 17:16 utc | 14

"[capitalism] is purely cancerous in seeking infinite "growth" for no reason anyone could ever explain . . ."

Actually, someone did explain it -- Karl Marx explained it thoroughly, in his Theory of Surplus Value.

His writing about this can be tough going, but there's a great explanation in a chapter called "The Mathematics of a Dream," from the book "The Iron Heel" by Jack London. The chapter is available all over the web -- just search on the chapter name.

Posted by: AntiSpin | Dec 10 2019 19:27 utc | 23

The human rights issue globally and in Afghanistan is used by just about every faction to help bolster their argument. This is also the situation with Myanmar with today's Global Times op/ed being very reflective of its use for nefarious ends by those in the West:

"After Suu Kyi came to power, Myanmar didn't totally tilt toward the West as the latter had expected. She has chosen to be a pragmatic leader defending Myanmar's national interests and continued to develop steady and healthy relations with China. As a result, Suu Kyi, the once highly hailed democratic icon, has now been labeled a "spokesperson for mass atrocity" by the West. Some international relations scholars have pointed out that the Rohingya issue has been overly politicized and embroiled in major-power competition.

"The West is not as unbiased and just as they have claimed concerning human rights issues. Its criteria can never be regarded as a global yardstick. Solving the Rohingya issue is more difficult than Western critics have thought. The last thing Myanmar needs is their empty talk." [My Emphasis]

A very long list of Western politicos needing to be judged at The Hague ought to precede Suu Kyi's appearance there beginning at minimum with Clinton/Gore/Albright.

I should note that the Cyber War against China now includes Microsoft as it's issued an update for its IE browser that tags Global Times as an "unsecure website":

"This site is not secure

"This might mean that someone’s trying to fool you or steal any info you send to the server. You should close this site immediately." [My Emphasis]

Which is utter bullshit I encountered yesterday. This was also done to RT on another computer of ours. I haven't used it yet to see if it was also updated to censor Global Times.

Posted by: karlof1 | Dec 10 2019 19:34 utc | 24

History! We're reliving it! This is an opium war... The Taliban was interfering with the supply chain.

Posted by: Just Me | Dec 10 2019 19:43 utc | 25

@Casey (#2):

- No, it's NOT the USD that is going to collapse, it is going to be the US credit/debt markets that are going to "break down" and take the Empire down with it.
- The collapse of e.g. the US credit markets also will send (US) interest rates through the roof.
- Geopolitics ? the break-down of the credit markets will also break the United States of America into between say 10 to 50 DIS-United States of America. And then it will be "Bye Bye US Empire".
- Martin Armstrong ?? I agree with him on a number of things but with some other things he simply "doesn't get it".

Posted by: Willy2 | Dec 10 2019 19:50 utc | 26

[email protected]
Safari is also blocking the Global Times.

Posted by: NOBTS | Dec 10 2019 19:58 utc | 27

antispin 23

I'm familiar with Karl Marx. I read it all a long time ago. I was referring to the apostles of "growth" and their propaganda.

And I too can explain why they do it, as can any dissident. In fact I can explain it better than Marx, since he too believed in the civilizing mission of production for production's sake, and also wouldn't be able to explain why anyone would want to do that. (The early Marx had some ecological inklings, but that's one of several promising roads he didn't take.)

Posted by: Russ | Dec 10 2019 20:05 utc | 28

The WaPo will point out the futility of remaining in Afghanistan, but if Trump tries to leave, we'll get the usual editorials about how we can't, are betraying allies, etc...

Posted by: ian | Dec 10 2019 20:11 utc | 29

- A punitive war was necessary to warn other countries to not host terrorists attacking the US
- A punitive war would have looked immoral to the American public so nation building had to at least given the old college try after the invasion
- Victory is out of reach bu staying in Afghanistan indefinitely with a presence of 20,000 troops doesn't cost too much and prevents complete defeat, which would be really humiliating and might even involve a helter skelter evacuation
- $1 trillion is a lot of money to waste but it is only 5% of GDP and since the US economy is so massive, it's really hard to spend military wise enough to do lasting harm
- The Post inaccurately portrays government officials as liars when all they were doing by giving a false positive spin was not contaminate the war environment with defeatism
- Lastly, the Post didn't obtain these documents, Obama's former White House Counsel from the platform his Wall Street law firm Skadden, did the pro bono work necessary to push through the FOIA request. They got him good. Mueller referred him for prosecution and he was charged with crimes related to work for the Ukrainian government in 2012. Skadden was also put under investigation and paid a $4.6 million settlement.

Posted by: march | Dec 10 2019 20:25 utc | 30

NOBTS @27--

Thanks for that info. As some know, Global Times editorial pages present the views of China's government; so, to censor the outlet is an attempt to gag China's government that provides further proof of the evil intensions of the Outlaw US Empire and collusion of its tech firms with its illegal "intelligence" agencies.

Posted by: karlof1 | Dec 10 2019 20:36 utc | 31

Anyone know the answer?

I recall once watching a program about LBJ and the Vietnam War. LBJ sent a hawk advisor to the Pentagon to
observe. After a few days the hawk advisor was now a dove advisor, he exclaimed to LBJ (approximately):
"They don't have a plan to win this thing. No plan."

Anyone know who that advisor was?

Posted by: librul | Dec 10 2019 21:04 utc | 32

Karlofi-- just tried it on Firefox-- same thing

Posted by: arby | Dec 10 2019 21:18 utc | 33

Librul @ 33: Would that have been the then US Secretary of Defense, Robert McNamara? He was known to have supported the war publicly but to have had doubts about the way it was being conducted in private.

Posted by: Jen | Dec 10 2019 21:28 utc | 34

Via b above: "Jeffrey Eggers, a retired Navy SEAL and White House official under Bush and Obama, said few people paused to question the very premise for keeping U.S. troops in Afghanistan.
“Why did we make the Taliban the enemy when we were attacked by al-Qaeda?"

But of course it's complete hogwash that "we were attacked by al-Qaeda". And the attack on Afghanistan was planned by the US before the treasonous false flag of 9/11.

Recall that NATO's 'all for one and one for all' absurdity was invoked by the US to draw NATO countries into killing and maiming and being killed and maimed in Afghanistan.

In Canada here, brainwashed soldiers initially commonly declared their "belief in the mission", which was portrayed as a kind of peace corps project, building schools and bridges and such, and there was an implicit agenda of exporting the mythological, cryptic, and hypocrisy-ridden often-referred-to chimera of 'Canadian values', including equal rights for women. Later, traumatized, wounded, poisoned, educated more, many of the troops lost their fervor for the mission.

Other agendas variously posited as being of the part of the plot, alongside the omnipresent seeking of profits via destruction for the MIC, included Israeli desire to have a US military presence next door to Iran, gaining more control over and profits from the global heroin network; access to legendary amounts of rare earth minerals, military presence near China and Russia, and oil and gas proximity and pipelines. Beyond all this there remains the 'titanic' hubris of seeking 'full spectrum domination', which logically must include subduing those pesky medieval-mentality warriors in the primitive wilds of Afghanistan.

But beyond all that there is the incredibly stupid and brainwashed US 'elite' and the incredibly brainwashed and easily manipulated common consumers of everything but common sense American people, armed to the teeth. Was it not Madeleine Albright, whose name includes clues to pertinent truths ('Mad...' and not so '...bright') who opined something along the lines of 'given the existence of the wondrous US military, it would be a shame to not use it.'

Posted by: Robert Snefjella | Dec 10 2019 21:40 utc | 35

@24 karlof1... i too have to go to advanced options to see the article via firefox.. unsecure site and blah, blah, blah... this is another way to control the narrative.. force everyone to use the accepted code and certs from the west, or have the site you want to visit referred to as unsecure / dangerous...

here are a couple of paragraphs from the article that seems to hit the nail on the head, especially the last paragraph here..

"Military operations launched against the militant Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army, which has been declared a terrorist group by the Myanmar government, after it attacked police posts in Rakhine state in northern Myanmar, led thousands of Rohingya people to flee their homes since August 25, 2017.

Suu Kyi said in a speech in Singapore in August that "the danger of terrorist activities, which was the initial cause of events leading to the humanitarian crisis in Rakhine, remains real and present today." However, the West accused Myanmar of carrying out "genocidal violence" against the Rohingya community, turning a deaf ear to what the country and its leaders have said.

Why should the West have the final say on human rights issues in non-Western countries? Is it wrong that non-Western countries address their own problems in their own way based on actual conditions? The West hasn't offered a solution to Myanmar's Rohingya conundrum. Its criticism and accusations against the country is of no help to resolving the issue, but will only fuel confrontation in Myanmar."

Posted by: james | Dec 10 2019 21:40 utc | 36

As long as Afghanistan sits on US$1 trillions' worth of rare earth minerals like lanthanum, lithium, cerium, neodymium and loads of other unobtainiums, Donald Trump can always be talked into keeping US soldiers in Afghanistan.

If the US can't get its greedy paws on all those precious minerals - rare earth minerals worth US$89 billion are apparently sitting in a deposit in Helmand Province (Taliban-controlled, by the way) - then by hell the 'Murkans won't allow anyone else to get 'em out!

"... The value of a mineral deposit is not the value of the metal once it has been extracted. It's the value of the metal extracted minus the costs of doing the extraction. And as a good enough rough guess the costs of extracting those minerals in Afghanistan will be higher than the value of the metals once extracted. That is, the deposits have no economic value ..."

While Tim Worstall is correct in suggesting that the costs of war and the instability it causes, to say nothing of its other consequences, mean that those rare earth mineral deposits are no better than worthless, he's not seeing the wider geopolitical context. If the US were to give up its war in Afghanistan, those rare earth minerals would become valuable ... to China: that nation has not fought any recent wars in Afghanistan.

No way in Heaven of Hell would the Taliban in Kabul or any other Afghanistani government there allow access to US mining companies if it had any say.

Posted by: Jen | Dec 10 2019 21:43 utc | 37

Global Times is probably so rated due to HTTP not HTTPS

Posted by: Bart Hansen | Dec 10 2019 22:00 utc | 38

i like how they accuse the afghan warlords of being the corrupt ones siphoning the money......

Posted by: jason | Dec 10 2019 22:08 utc | 39

The attack on Afghanistan was planned before 9/11:

U.S. sought attack on al-Qaida

President Bush was expected to sign detailed plans for a worldwide war against al-Qaida two days before Sept. 11 but did not have the chance before the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, U.S. and foreign sources told NBC News.

Shortly after the Taliban offered to surrender bin Laden:

Bush rejects Taliban offer to surrender bin Laden

After a week of debilitating strikes at targets across Afghanistan, the Taliban repeated an offer to hand over Osama bin Laden, only to be rejected by President Bush.

It was another supreme international crime but hey, who's keeping track:

‘It Was Illegal and Still Is Illegal’

Now, this did not satisfy either one of those prongs. It was not lawful self-defense, under Article 51 of the UN Charter, because these were not armed attacks by another state. The 9/11 attacks were carried out by 19 men, 15 of whom came from Saudi Arabia; Afghanistan did not attack us, and there was no imminent threat of an armed attack on the US after 9/11, or the US wouldn’t have waited three weeks before initiating its bombing campaign. And, furthermore, the Security Council did not authorize the invasion.

Posted by: Tobin Paz | Dec 10 2019 22:16 utc | 40

Firstly IMO the Global Times block is more likely to be related to this issue
China tells government offices to remove all foreign computer equipment
Directive is likely to be a blow to US multinational companies like HP, Dell and Microsoft
That announcement was made about 36 hours ago.
It seems the Chinese have finally had enough of seeing bulldust boycotts of their tech eg Huawei, at the same time amerikan, englander & euro tech is loaded chock full of sniffers, scrapers & spyware before being dropped into Chinese government offices. The 'big tech' ninnies are learning there is a cost associated with being the empire's double dealing drongo and they are retaliating in a disorganised kneejerk manner which indicates how panicked they must be. I had no problem accessing Global Times on this system a few minutes ago using Opera. Normally when those blocks happen it is the result of a bureauucratic mix up over site certificates and is very temporary, but it is universal as the site certificate nonsense is applied much the same across all browsers, altho it isn't always easy to ignore on browsers. Mozilla firefox will generally let you visit anyway, IE not.
The block is gonna be temporary I reckon, just M$ trying to fight back and failing.

We do not pay sufficient attention to the time of year. Every year governments release information that would usually create huge problems at this time right before xmas, outcomes of embarrassing commissions of inquiry, bulldust excuses for impeachment, now it seems the media and international organisations are doing the same.
As important as the 'truth' about Afghanistan is, I predict it won't have much penetration. Early next year the media who didn't bother to go in depth on the SIGAR dox will call the whole thing 'old news' and move on, keeping troops in an ever decreasing area administered by the empire's gangsters.
The same thing will happen to the witch of Burma, Aung Sung Suu Kyi. Whatever deal needed to be done with her will have been done and eventually (it may even be as late as this time next year) an announcement will be made that the case is unproven. Why? Because as far as the empire is concerned, the alternative to her, military rule, when the military is close to China, is far worse.
She will continue her burman supremacist policies, on the understanding with usuk that it never gets as loud again. Look out indigenous people of Burma (which the burmans are not). The Rohinya who have been living in that region longer than burman, are going to have an extremely sh1tty existence even by the standards of sh1ttiness they had to suffer in Burma for the last 70 years.

As others have commented, all that has been revealed in the SIGAR release is stuff most of us already knew. Those who didn't want to believe it pre-release are not going to change their P.O.V. because of what the much detested Wapo published.
I just shot over to NYT for a quick squizz, on front page, buried under endless yarns of impeachment is a single article, an opinion piece which instructs on how amerikans shouldn't care they were fed lies about afghanistan because endless wars are the new normal.

Posted by: A User | Dec 10 2019 22:16 utc | 41

The war has been run by military officers auditioning to become millionaires working, 'in retirement', for the MIC.
In order to get these jobs they have to conform, build up networks in the service and learn to charm both superiors and subordinates. This isn't hard for them to do, these are the same skills needed to get through West Point and make a steady rise up the promotion ladder.
The First Commandment is to conform, to follow orders and to obey without question.
The problems with organisations staffed thus is that they generally get wiped out. The beauty of Afghanistan and wars like it is that contact with the enemy is very restricted. There are few American casualties-almost too few from the PR point of view which thrives on funeral orations and pledges to revenge the dead- which means that there is very little pressure from, for example Congressmen with grieving constituents. Sending few men into danger like ending the draft allows the military -and the MIC which owns it- to keep wars going pretty well indefinitely.

Then there is the Protestant Ethic, which dominates American culture and can be summed up as the belief that nothing is less important than the truth, appearances-as @30 told us- are what matter: the war costs annually as much as Medicare for All would cost; it has no benefits apart from those of keeping the military employed and diverting the proceeds of labour into the maw of what Ike called the "Military Industrial Congressional Complex. It has costs which are unimaginably high in terms of blighted and prematurely ended lives-Afghanistan is nailed to a cross.
But nobody likes to say so.
I haven't read all these documents, nor am I going to. We have all known not only that "victory" is not on the agenda in Afghanistan but that everyone in the military, the media and politics with enough brains to use a knife and fork knows it too. And has known it for a long time.
That as 'b' tells us, it is a racket out of which a lot of people are making fortunes and millions more are paying through their noses for. Which is the way that Capitalism works: it is just one more, tried and true, method of making the rich richer and keeping the poor hungry enough to want another job.
And it is all made possible because like the crowd-suffused with the Protestant Ethic-which greeted the Emperor in his new outfit, nobody in the media, in the military, in politics dares to say what everyone knows.
Because, from an early age they are taught to conform. And to ensure that they do, and will never dare to depart from the course their rulers want them to follow, they are tested throughout life by being challenged to deny their instincts and believe not just a couple of impossible things before breakfast but an entire world view of impossibilities.
But that's another story.

Posted by: bevin | Dec 10 2019 22:19 utc | 42

"Trump should just order the troops out."

Obama couldn't do that for Guantanamo because they passed a law prohibiting spending on the move.

Posted by: Keith McClary | Dec 10 2019 22:34 utc | 43

I can see the appeal of explanations like Jen's resource grab @38 and bevin's disaster capitalism @43 but I think Afghanistan's strategic position (especially in light of the ever-looming conflict with Iran) shouldn't be dismissed.

AFAIK, USA has not tried to mine resources in Afganistan (though Jen notes that denying those resources to others may be just as important) and the US military has many other ways of cheating the taxpayer (though they are unlikely to easily give up ANY such opportunity).

Let's not ignore the 800-lb EMPIRE in the room. The Empire is fueled by greed and hubris. The economics follow the stench emitted by bloated egos.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Dec 10 2019 22:56 utc | 44

Anyone know the answer?

I recall once watching a program about LBJ and the Vietnam War. LBJ sent a hawk advisor to the Pentagon to
observe. After a few days the hawk advisor was now a dove advisor, he exclaimed to LBJ (approximately):
"They don't have a plan to win this thing. No plan."

Anyone know who that advisor was?

Posted by: librul | Dec 10 2019 21:04 utc | 33

Thanks Jen @35, I just found the answer:
Clark Clifford, Robert McNamara's replacement as US Secretary of Defense.

When I asked for a presentation of the military plan for attaining victory in Vietnam, I was told that there was no plan for victory in the historic American sense. Why not? Because our forces were operating under three major political restrictions: The President had forbidden the invasion of North Vietnam because this could trigger the mutual assistance pact between North Vietnam and China; the President had forbidden the mining of the harbor at Haiphong, the principal port through which the North received military supplies, because a Soviet vessel might be sunk; the President had forbidden our forces to pursue the enemy into Laos and Cambodia, for to do so would spread the war, politically and geographically, with no discernible advantage. These and other restrictions which precluded an all-out, no-holds-barred military effort were wisely designed to prevent our being drawn into a larger war. We had no inclination to recommend to the President their cancellation. “Given these circumstances, how can we win?” We would, I was told, continue to evidence our superiority over the enemy; we would continue to attack in the belief that he would reach the stage where he would find it inadvisable to go on with the war. He could not afford the attrition we were inflicting on him. And we were improving our posture all the time.

I then asked, “What is the best estimate as to how long this course of action will take? Six months? One year? Two years?” There was no agreement on an answer. Not only was there no agreement, I could find no one willing to express any confidence in his guesses. Certainly, none of us was willing to assert that he could see “light at the end of the tunnel” or that American troops would be coming home by the end of the year.

After days of this type of analysis, my concern had greatly deepened. I could not find out when the war was going to end; I could not find out the manner in which it was going to end; I could not find out whether the new request for men and equipment were going to be enough, or whether it would take more and, if more, when and how much; I could not find out how soon the South Vietnamese forces would be ready to take over. All I had was the statement, given with too little self-assurance to be comforting, that if we persisted for an indeterminate length of time, the enemy would choose not to go on. And so I asked, “Does anyone see any diminution in the will of the enemy after four years of our having been there, after enormous casualties and after massive destruction from our bombing?”

The answer was there appeared to be no diminution in the will of the enemy… And so, after these exhausting days, I was convinced that the military course we were pursuing was not only endless, but hopeless. A further substantial increase in American forces could only increase the devastation and the Americanization of the war, and thus leave us even further from our goal of a peace that would permit the people of South Vietnam to fashion their own political and economic institutions. Henceforth, I was also convinced, our primary goal should be to level off our involvement, and to work toward gradual disengagement.

Posted by: librul | Dec 10 2019 23:18 utc | 45

~ Occams #11

Good to know, though, we have such complete fucking idiots in charge of weapons who JUST FOLLOW ORDERS!

(Still think the US military won't fire on US civilians?)

The US military always have and always will fire on US civilians. They just wear the uniforms in their 'National Guard' locker or 'Police' locker.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Dec 10 2019 23:24 utc | 46

Bart Hansen @39--

Global Times url begins with https.

A User @42--

Thanks for your reply. Yes, the censorship's likely related to that decision which I noted yesterday when linking an article about it to the open thread. I can still access the site as my linking articles from it proves; I just need to jump through some additional hoops. And that brings me to a question related to the obvious collusion between Western tech companies and the Outlaw US Empire--where can one get a laptop that isn't compromised by such soft & hardware? The Lenovo I'm using at the moment's certainly compromised. And just being assembled in China doesn't mean the device isn't compromised.

The irony of the censorship is it proves the correctness of China's decision and ought to incentivize consumers to shun the West's compromised products.

Posted by: karlof1 | Dec 10 2019 23:29 utc | 47

Jackrabbit #45

Let's not ignore the 800-lb EMPIRE in the room. The Empire is fueled by greed and hubris. The economics follow the stench emitted by bloated egos.

YEP that's it. There don't have to be resources to plunder in the nation they have invaded. The Empire of global private finance has many pipelines leading to it. Some carry $$$ extorted from public funds to the MIC some carry $$$ from heroin trading, some $$$ from cobalt or lithium or oil theft, some just obstruct the huge Eurasian projects of China and Russia and so on. Some are just revenge against recalcitrant states like Cuba and Iran and Venezuela.

Invading Afghanistan may not have been for any local resource grab at all, it may simply have been to skim the military manufacturing budget at home. That is the nature of the USA manifestation of empire, pernicious, mendacious, dishonourable.

But many US citizens are steadfast in their will to change it. Good luck to them all.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Dec 10 2019 23:38 utc | 48

Not for me with Vivaldi. And others have complained as well.

Posted by: Bart Hansen | Dec 10 2019 23:41 utc | 49

Keith McClary @44--

Thanks for the reminder that the Imperial Rot is bipartisan and that merely changing the face within the White House isn't enough to rid the nation of its imperial posture. The most consistent anti-Empire POTUS candidate, Tulsi Gabbard, has stated she'll boycott the December "debates" regardless if she polls well in enough DNC approved polls, while also attempting to out Buttigieg as a fraud.

Posted by: karlof1 | Dec 10 2019 23:44 utc | 50

@ librul # 46 who quoted Clark Clifford as writing about US/Vietnam
....A further substantial increase in American forces could only increase the devastation and the Americanization of the war, and thus leave us even further from our goal of a peace that would permit the people of South Vietnam to fashion their own political and economic institutions.....

Weasel words.

The West/America/empire's goal of "a peace that would permit the people of South Vietnam to fashion their own political and economic institutions" is one under the dictatorship of global private finance.

Just like the dictatorship trying to be imposed on Venezuela

Just like the dictatorship trying to be imposed on Bolivia

Just like the dictatorship trying to be imposed on Iran

Just like the dictatorship trying to be imposed on China

Just like the dictatorship trying to be imposed on Russia

The world is in a civilization war over whether going forward there will be public or private finance at the core of the social contract. For centuries the world has been mostly under the private finance social contract and that hegemony is being increasingly challenged and is at the core of all the conflicts.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Dec 10 2019 23:47 utc | 51

Bart Hansen @50--

I presume your comment's directed at me. There you have it, a link to Global Times not masked by html tag. I see my favorites listing for the site was altered from https to http, and my Craig Murray fav was disappeared too. Yes, those updates you're almost forced to download are often aimed at compromising your machine and mining the sites you visit.

Posted by: karlof1 | Dec 10 2019 23:54 utc | 52

Bart Hansen @50

Downloaded Vivaldi.



Posted by: Jackrabbit | Dec 11 2019 0:05 utc | 53

@just me

History! We're reliving it! This is an opium war... The Taliban was interfering with the supply chain.

Exactly. The British Empire destroyed China in the nineteenth and the early twentieth centuries through narco-aggression. The cultivation of the poppy fields in Afghanistan gives the USA the means to wage this type of war on Russia, China, Iran and the Stans.

Posted by: cirsium | Dec 11 2019 0:11 utc | 54

It appears that this solution--"Trade and Peaceful Cooperation Will Beat the Warmongers" is becoming the policy of choice by ever more nations as the world's war mongers are now decidedly confined to one group:

"One solution for Russia and China is simply to ignore the war drums and Nato’s belligerent posturing and continue with what is going very well indeed — namely the expansion of their bilateral economic cooperation and development of similar collaboration between Russia, China and the European Union."

A few other good insights are presented by the writer. And I'd be remiss not to endorse The Saker's analysis of the Normandy 4 Summit.

Posted by: karlof1 | Dec 11 2019 0:22 utc | 55

Willy2 #1

Thank you for your link to Johan Galtung.

He is also worth considering here.

And in interview published by American Friends Service Committee interviewer Amy Goodman.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Dec 11 2019 0:41 utc | 56

phychoh @ 52 opined;"The world is in a civilization war over whether going forward there will be public or private finance at the core of the social contract. For centuries the world has been mostly under the private finance social contract and that hegemony is being increasingly challenged and is at the core of all the conflicts."

Yep, this synopsis is the core explanation for our global problems. Everything else pales by comparison..

Posted by: ben | Dec 11 2019 0:44 utc | 57

@Karloft 31 and NOBTS 27

Using DuckDuckGo on Firefox brings Global Times up, with no problem, no warnings.

Posted by: smoke | Dec 11 2019 0:47 utc | 58

everyone knew that this war was 'un-nessesary'. it was however very profitable for a few and that is what counts.
But will that revelation be enough to get them out? I doubt, there is still a lot of money to be made and that is what counts.

Posted by: Sabine | Dec 11 2019 0:58 utc | 59

WaPo reports getting this investigation through FOIA request. So someone wanted to give it to them. Not like Ellsberg outing the Pentagon Papers illegally.

Does anyone wonder if groundwork is being laid for troop withdrawals from Afghanistan, so that forces will be freed for a new conflict elsewhere?

Or found a better somewhere to funnel taxpayer funds to private interests?

Posted by: smoke | Dec 11 2019 0:59 utc | 60

but...but...that would mean giving up on capturing the Eurasian "heartland" which they still think will mean world domination...and along the way the monopoly over the opium growing and trading from Afghanistan so the empire will stumble along its course of slaughter of innocent people for the profit and pleasure of the oligarchy.

Posted by: Babyl-on | Dec 11 2019 1:06 utc | 61

@ 44

And just to add more fuel to the fire, here's the American Cato, mr. Thomas L. Friedman:

Impeach Trump. Save America - It is the only thing to do if our country’s democracy is to survive.

After murdering Gaius Iulius Caesar in a Senate meeting, this group of senators who murdered him went out to the packed Forum to shout and openly celebrate their deed, telling the Roman people they were free at last. They called themselves the liberatores - the liberators of Rome.

They wrong, so wrong...

Posted by: vk | Dec 11 2019 1:14 utc | 62

Since ancient Athens, the world has not known true democracy.

Posted by: lysias | Dec 11 2019 2:27 utc | 63

Only an idiot like Friedman would think that what we have in the U.S. now is democracy.

Posted by: lysias | Dec 11 2019 2:33 utc | 64

@karlof1 48

You pose a tricky question. I have always built my own PC's and AFAIK every motherboard manufactured since about 2010 contains writeable flash memory in the chipset which cannot be accessed or 'wiped' by the user but can be got at by MS, hardware manufacturers plus most likely our old friends the NSA.
If you live in amerika and are prepared to put in the effort you will find there are surplus dealers who still stock and sell new still in the box long ago manufactured PC parts eg motherboards, cpu's and memory chips.
The problem is what you build will struggle to deliver all the stuff from web 2.0 and beyond, but it should still basically browse OK if you install a linux distro that has been properly checked by cypherpunk types who are into online privacy. Also make sure the motherboard doesn't have onboard wifi as wifi is one of the major weak links.
It won't be a laptop and it won't be good for youtube, facebook, instagram and the rest of the intrusive rips web2.0 was designed for. But if you are prepared to put in the time & energy & cash, you will have a box that will be as safe as it is possible to have. I would also not use it for email since the transport layer encryption most email demands is heavily compromised as it like wifi had a coupla NSA engineers on the IEEE committee which set the standard.

I have thought about doing that or getting an old machine outta the lock-up, but after all that and all the stuff I've already done, somehow I doubt that will keep the sheetsniffers away if they really were interested, personally I reckon old age and the associated indolence keeps me safe.

A truly secure mobile phone would interest me more, but the fbi keeps setting up and busting anyone who tries to make and sell them.

Posted by: A User | Dec 11 2019 2:40 utc | 65

Posted by: Keith McClary | Dec 10 2019 22:34 utc | 44

"Trump should just order the troops out."

Obama couldn't do that for Guantanamo because they passed a law prohibiting spending on the move.

Obama couldn't do that because he didn't want to. Any fake "law" was just briar-patching to politically assist him. Same goes for any other time a president claims to be constrained by any such law. Every president breaks a dozen laws a day where he wants to, and "obeys" the ones he wants to.

Posted by: Russ | Dec 11 2019 5:59 utc | 66

And as the worm turns

KABUL (Reuters) - A suicide bomber in Afghanistan detonated explosives on Wednesday outside the United States’ main military base of Bagram in an attack that wounded five people, Afghan and NATO officials said.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blast.

All five wounded in the attack at the southern entrance to the base were Afghans, said Wahida Shahkar, a spokeswoman for the governor of Parwan province, where the base is located.

“A 30-minute clash also happened between the attackers, who obviously wanted to enter the base, and foreign forces,” she told Reuters.

The attack was “quickly contained and repelled” and there were no U.S. or coalition casualties, but a medical base being built for locals was badly damaged, Resolute Support, the NATO-led mission in Afghanistan, said in a statement.

Wednesday’s attack comes as the United States looks to revive stalled peace talks with Taliban militants who control more territory than at any point since being ousted from power by coalition forces in 2001.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Dec 11 2019 6:31 utc | 67

It is important to remember the relevant history. The US decided to invade Afghanistan well before September 2001. The decision was made when the Taliban government gave the pipeline contract to Bridas Corporation. One of the first acts post invasion was to cancel the Bridas contract. They eventually won compensation. The second major factor that you do not mention is that the Taliban destroyed the heroin trade. That was instantly restored by the US and today Afghanistan accounts for more than 90% of the world heroin supply, enriching mainly the CIA and other US organisations. Afghanistan also has borders with a number of countries that are not US allies, including China. It would be naive to assume the US will leave Afghanistan voluntarily.

Posted by: James O'Neill | Dec 11 2019 7:40 utc | 68

James O'Neill @|70

"The second major factor that you do not mention is that the Taliban destroyed the heroin trade."

McCoy, in "The Politics of Heroin" gives a more complete picture:

In 1996, following four years of civil war among rival resistance factions, the Taliban's victory caused further expansion of opium cultivation. After capturing Kabul in September, the Taliban drove the Uzbek and Tajik warlords into the country's northeast, where they formed the Northern Alliance and clung to some 10 percent of Afghanistan's territory. Over the next three years, a seesaw battle for the Shamali plain north of Kabul raged until the Taliban finally won control in 1999 by destroying the orchards and irrigation in a prime food-producing region, generating over 100,000 refugees and increasing the country's dependence on opium.

Once in power, the Taliban made opium its largest source of taxation. To raise revenues estimated at $20-$25 million in 1997, the Taliban collected a 5 to 10 percent tax in kind on all opium harvested, a share that they then sold to heroin laboratories; a flat tax of $70 per kilogram on heroin refiners; and a transport tax of $250 on every kilogram exported. The head of the regime's anti-drug operations in Kandahar, Abdul Rashid, enforced a rigid ban on hashish "because it is consumed by Afghans, Muslims." But, he explained, "Opium is permissible because it is consumed by kafirs [unbelievers] in the West and not by Muslims or Afghans." A Taliban governor, Mohammed Hassan, added: "Drugs are evil and we would like to substitute poppies with another cash crop, but it's not possible at the moment because we do not have international recognition."

More broadly, the Taliban's policies provided stimulus, both direct and indirect, for a nationwide expansion of opium cultivation. . . Significantly, the regime's ban on the employment and education of women created a vast pool of low-cost labor to sustain an accelerated expansion of opium production. . . . In northern and eastern Afghanistan, women of all ages played "a fundamental role in the cultivation of the opium poppy"---planting, weeding, harvesting, cooking for laborers, and processing by-products such as oil. The Taliban not only taxed and encouraged opium cultivation, they protected and promoted exports to international markets.

In retrospect, however, the Taliban's most important contribution to the illicit traffic was its support for large-scale heroin refining.
. . .
Instead of eradication, the UN's annual opium surveys showed that Taliban rule had doubled Afghanistan's opium production from 2,250 tons in 1996 to 4,600 tons in 1999--equivalent to 75 percent of world illicit production. (508-509)
. . .
War on the Taliban

All this [heroin] traffic across Central Asia depended on high-volume heroin production in politically volatile Afghanistan. In July 2000, as a devastating drought entered its second year and mass starvation spread across Afghanistan, the Taliban's leader Mullah Omar ordered a sudden ban on opium cultivation in a bid for international recognition. (p.517)

Posted by: pogohere | Dec 11 2019 8:12 utc | 69

@Karlof1 Please drop the conspiracy hat. Your browser is not censoring Global Times. If it tells you the website is not secure than it is not secure.

The internet is a dangerous place. In recent years virtually every website moved on to using secure https. This is not that difficult to implement. Everyone with computer skills can setup a secure webserver using a free certificate from for example I have done so multiple times.
As the internet moved towards encrypting everything, all major web browsers also increased their security checks. A website that is not using proper https with ALL content is not considered secure. Their is good reason for warning you about that.

Now about the Global Times. You can access the site using two methods: (not secure) (note the https)

Most sites today have implemented HSTS (HTTP Strict-Transport-Security). This mechanism ensures that a website is not accessible through insecure HTTP. Global times did not. It does not even redirect http requests to https using a redirect-permanent response.

What is even worse, when you access the site using HTTPS, you may assume you are secure, but you are not. Many components like images, scripts or stylesheets are linked in the HTML using unencrypted HTTP.

The site in question is even using Adobe Flash for playing video's, which has a bad security record. The website was probably developed a long time ago when security was not such a concern as it is today.

Posted by: Joost | Dec 11 2019 9:09 utc | 70

: Joost | Dec 11 2019 9:09 utc | 70
I don'y know you or your agenda Joost, but I do know that one of the chief reason the net is not currently secure is down to the protocol you appear to extol, secure HSTS which still relies on the encryption protocols formulated by the IEEE which has already been demonstrated to be a useless satrap of the NSA. This article from back in 2013 sets out to explain how the NSA has corrupted net security.

If your contention that Global Times problem is down to an insecure poorly administered website were correct, then no up to date properly maintained browser would be anle to access the Global Times.
That is not the case, the browsers which struggle to access it, are the very same browsers which are manufactured by those likely to lose the most should the PRC develop net software that isn't based on US models as these examples are. eg internet explorer or safari.

Of course cui bono does mot provide evidence, however the timing of this issue and the fact that the problems with connecting to browsers who don't have a dog in the "we could lose China market-share" fight is non-existent, do suggest to anyone capable of analysis and un-corrupted thinking, that this problem is a manufactured in DC by lobbyists, piece of nonsense propaganda.
Not for nothing has the amerikan government refused any other nation a meaningful say in internet administration. See This piece which is one of many, to comprehend that, despite assurances to the contrary, the net belongs to amerika.

Posted by: A User | Dec 11 2019 10:02 utc | 71

Chromium, ubuntu, Global Times, no problem, first time I've been there. Not a peep. (This machine is > ten years old, custom built no name PC.)

There is no such thing as privacy and security on the web, That is all bullshit they want to sell you. The web is about access to information, not protecting information, access to people, not hiding from people, if you want something else, the web is not a good place to look for it.

Back in the 90s when they started to put bank accounts online, I knew then they didn't give a crap about our security, our "leaders".

Posted by: Bemildred | Dec 11 2019 11:08 utc | 72

Maybe the answer to “What are we trying to do here?" is hard to find inside the standard narrative because its mystery is hidden in plain sight: the Afghanistan war may have been a cover-up from the beginning.

First I remember the fact that after weeks of pressure Mullah Omar finally conceded to hand Bin Laden over to the US. The refusal to do so had been the only rationale for the diplomatic and PR-pressure and the open deployment of thousands of combat troops. After Mullah Omar publicly changed his mind it should have been easy to take him on his word. But the US not even pretended to do so. They were ready for the war - now without even the slightest justification - and willing to wage it.

This underscores the second fact I remember but which I can't produce evidence for at the moment: the Wolfowitz/Cheney/Rumsfeld gang wanted to start immediately a war against Iraq - but hearing this Colin Powell stepped in, frantically demanding that they should at least attack Afghanistan first!

This sounds too fitting to me. The war in Afghanistan as the veil for the actually wanted war against Iraq.

The validity of this interpretation depends on evidence for the supposed action by Colin Powell.

Is there anyone out there who might help find the corroboration?

Posted by: kalo | Dec 11 2019 12:39 utc | 73

kalo @73: What I remember is that we had to attack Afghanistan first because Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11, which was the pretext for getting the war resolution, which is still the fig leaf for all of our wars. There was in the beginning some resistance to the idea that the 9/11 response should be militarized at all, instead treating it as a criminal justice problem, a crime. Or course, that didn't last long thanks to the Mighty Wurlitzer.

All of these places since have been found to have terrists too you know. /sarc

Posted by: Bemildred | Dec 11 2019 13:29 utc | 74

When I served in Vietnam, we had saying: "same shit, different day".

Nothing has changed, except that now it's no longer "same shit" but "worse shit".

Posted by: Trisha | Dec 11 2019 16:08 utc | 76

@SwissArmyMan #10
Do you have some links to what you have reported?
I am curious as to why Chevron would have interests in Afghanistan pipelines. I know they have a pipeline business, but the oil has to get from somewhere to somewhere (presumably China?).
Names of the Chevron mouthpieces are also of interest.

Posted by: c1ue | Dec 11 2019 17:11 utc | 77

re 3-star General's whine:

"We didn’t have the foggiest notion of what we were undertaking.”...

Of course you don't. You are not an insider.

Posted by: chu teh | Dec 11 2019 17:13 utc | 78

@karlof1 #24
Global Times is not using https. A lot of Chinese sites don't, including Baidu last I checked.
This is pretty much automatically an alert from various browser companies.
It isn't clear that there is additional warnings; there definitely are some sites which are "black listed", but all the ones I've seen were hosting malware.
I don't get the warning.

Posted by: c1ue | Dec 11 2019 17:16 utc | 79

@karlof1 #47
Unless you're a top tier target, the likelihood of the really cool snooping stuff being used on your computer is extremely - even vanishingly low.
I'm talking about the long range wireless type bugs which are seen once in a while.
Almost all snooping is far more easily done at the ISP level.
If you're worried, install WireShark and sample outbound traffic regularly.
Any modern CPU is easily compromiseable because they're all designed with some form of remote management.

Posted by: c1ue | Dec 11 2019 17:21 utc | 80

@A User #65
As I noted in the previous post - there are far more easy ways to spy than install a physical wireless transmitter.
The age of the computer only matters in that the old CPUs don't have the remote management capabilities; but to compensate, they are crap for handling modern encryption at speed.
As for cell phones: no cell phone is secure. Any consumer operating system is trivially compromised at many levels - telco, app store, OS, hardware maker, etc etc.
Even a cell phone with a fully custom OS - the user is still automatically located by the cell signalling system, and SS7 means text messages and what not are also trivially compromised.

Posted by: c1ue | Dec 11 2019 17:24 utc | 81

A User @65--

Thanks for your replies! I have two older HP desktops run by very old OS--Windows ME & Vista--that got corrupted, were taken offline and replaced but never fixed. I've thought of having them debugged by a local techie who's really into security and privacy and put back to use as storage units, one for photos and one for music. That would leave us with her work-only laptop, the Lenovo, a Toshiba laptop with kaput wifi, and an HP desktop I haven't used for a few years since its monitor went kaput but have replaced. Long ago I assumed NSA (I worked for it tangentially during my short Army career) was capable of getting whatever it might want, so Snowden's revelations weren't surprising. IMO, a computer maker that can back up its claim to being 100% secure will capture the market and that's what the Outlaw US Empire and its tech company vassals are terrified of.

You'd think I can't read what my address bar says when I'm at Global Times. I even provided an unmasked link that shows it uses https. Geez!

Posted by: karlof1 | Dec 11 2019 17:33 utc | 82

Today's edition of China's CGTN World Today covered WaPo's whistle-blower-ish story from a similarly scathing perspective as MoA's critique. They also managed to squeeze in several short video clips of AmeriKKKa's hi-profile full-time liars doing what they do best - being sincerely mendacious :-)

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Dec 11 2019 18:39 utc | 83

@ karlof #83
"You'd think I can't read what my address bar says when I'm at Global Times. I even provided an unmasked link that shows it uses https. Geez!"

If your address bar shows you "HTTPS", that only means that the main html document is transmitted through an encrypted connection. Said document contains links to images, stylesheets, scripts and whatever content it embeds. Some of those links are still HTTP. That is what some browsers are bitching about. Browsers differ in what they allow and how they inform the user. Some prefer to protect the user against him/herself, others just notify or ignore things completely.

As proof I made a screenshot of my opera developer console:

Note the console error messages below in the screenshot, for example:

(index):1 Mixed Content: The page at '' was loaded over HTTPS, but requested an insecure image ''. This content should also be served over HTTPS.

but also:
VM31 file.js:7 Mixed Content: The page at '' was loaded over a secure connection, but contains a form that targets an insecure endpoint ''. This endpoint should be made available over a secure connection.

The last one is most dangerous. You think you are on https but you fill out a form that is submitted without encryption.

Posted by: Joost | Dec 11 2019 18:54 utc | 84

Apologies for the Off Topic but this thread is about Arseholery...

Xymphora's Dec 11 post reproduces extracts from an interview with Vanessa Beeley on the topic of Syria's victory over terrorism. She's extraordinarily truthful about the pro-"Israel" pseudo-Christian West's role in the horrors perpetrated against the people of Syria.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Dec 11 2019 19:41 utc | 85

RE: Global Times foofaraw, looks like they just updated their certificate. New cert is valid 03-DEC-2019 to 03-DEC-2020. I had no trouble visiting either flavor of the site with Firefox V 71.0.

Also, keep in mind, the certificate is really important if you...

1) Wish to trust the info you receive from the site
2) Are using the cert validity as a 'warrant canary'
3) Are buying something from the site (cc transaction)
4) Use the site as a secure comm channel

There are probably many more esoteric reasons to worry about the cert, but if you're just browsing news sites it's not very important.

Posted by: Dr Wellington Yueh | Dec 11 2019 19:56 utc | 86

i had to get a cert for my own website, and this conversation on global times motivated me to do it... here is the website my friend went to, to get the cert.. it in turn is overseen by a company out of san francisco - .. my only concern here is routing anything thru usa companies which are subject to the crazy ass american sense of justice, which is to say not just.. other then that, my friend tells me it is nothing to be concerned about..

Posted by: james | Dec 11 2019 21:22 utc | 87

apologies on the ot comment... it is just more bullshite from the usa that is the only connection to these revelations on afganistan and accessing sites on the internet like global times..

Posted by: james | Dec 11 2019 21:23 utc | 88

- The US invaded Afghanistan because it would bring US troops closer to Russia, Iran & China.......hee hee hee. Funny how they came in just before poppy planting time. Funny how the only real photos of troops are in those fields. Funny how poppy production went up over four hundred percent the first year. Funny how white heroin showed up all over the streets in the US shortly afterwards. Take my word for it, it was an inferior product, priced too high, compared to the CIA sanctioned China White.

Posted by: Slaribartfast McGee | Dec 12 2019 1:01 utc | 89


The only conclusion one can draw.

You are a narcissist.

Or a narc.

Lmao. Yes I have been banned but I will make my annual 100 euro donation nonetheless.

And no fools, Im not connected to anyone or anything....except your rather mundabe paranoia.

Posted by: donkeytale | Dec 12 2019 2:01 utc | 90

Below is a ZH link about a 12 hour siege of the Bagram base today

Hours-Long Taliban Assault On Bagram Repelled By US Airstrikes Days After 'Peace' Talks Resume

Think of all the money the MIC will make today selling more war goods.....

Posted by: psychohistorian | Dec 12 2019 2:41 utc | 91

Below is a link to a Mises Institute posting about the Afghanistan Papers


I am not a supporter of the Mises Austrian school of economics, nor their Libertarian/propertarian point of view but at least they have some morals and even showed support in the piece for Tulsi Gabbard

Posted by: psychohistorian | Dec 12 2019 4:16 utc | 92

if you take a look at the source code for that Global Times article you will find 2 links inside that are http and not https. to be precise they are and The beauty is that they open both as http as well as https so it appears to be sloppy coding rather than any bad thing related to browsers.

it is not fair to assume Microsoft is banning Global Times, in my opinion they are merely being condescending in assuming you are not responsible enough to open a risky site whereas other browsers either don't care or give you a warning that something just aint right.

Posted by: dan of steele | Dec 12 2019 5:18 utc | 93

That the American Kleptocratic wing of it's Ruling Bourgeoisie had no clue what they were doing, no plan for the day after tomorrow, has been clear from comments made by President Putin, for a long time. He commented, in one Q & A that "we asked them [re Iraq and the terrorists they planned to use ] "what are you going to do with them when you succeed in controlling Iraq? How are you going to handle them? Do you expect to be able to swat them away like flies?" and waved a piece of paper at them. He shrugged. They had no idea, no plan. [Many ISIS were dispossessed Iraqi military, trained, angry and turned lose with no money and nowhere to go]. He asked, rhetorically once, on a Valdai club Q & A "are these people unable to think an inch beyond their noses?" - I was shaking my head, murmuring, "No, no, they don't do that". An ex US Forces and Soldier of Fortune writer, Fred Reed, once asked, rhetorically, again "what does Hilary clinton know of the people of the alleys and markets of Iraq? Syria?. does she speak any languages? Has she lived in China among the hard working, poor peasantry? Has she experienced what ordinary Russians think and say?" [Some examples I may have remembered wrongly, but not the principle]. Alexis de Tocqueville commented on the power of National Identity - that each nation has such a wealth of different experience, that in order to understand them, one has to virtually lose your own identity. Clearly, not one person holding power in US has the slightest understanding of those they attack, nor any intellectual ability to gain it. So naturally, they have no clue what the hell they are doing at any time, let alone when invading a foreign country of an alien culture.

Posted by: Isabella | Dec 12 2019 14:14 utc | 95

@dan of steele #93
When you first connect to a given web site, and how the web site is configured. If you connected via http originally and the web site isn't configured to reset the connection type (and still supports http), you will forever be connecting via http even if https support is later added.

Posted by: c1ue | Dec 12 2019 16:29 utc | 96

Posted by: A User | Dec 10 2019 22:16 utc | 41
That would not explain the similar warning about the Unz Review.

Posted by: foolisholdman | Dec 12 2019 16:42 utc | 97

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