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Al Jazeera on refugees in Kabul

Refugees face bleak future in Afghanistan’s capital.

Photo Essay: Unembedded in Iraq

[These photographs are taken from Unembedded: Four Independent Photojournalists on the War in Iraq (Chelsea Green Publishing). The following essay appears as the book's introduction.]

Zapatista Code Red

Arronte is referring to a speech Marcos made the night before at a conference outside San Cristóbal. The speech was titled “Feeling Red: The Calendar and the Geography of War.” Because it was Marcos, it was poetic and slightly elliptical. But to Arronte’s ears, it was a code-red alert. “Those of us who have made war know how to recognize the paths by which it is prepared and brought near,” Marcos said. “The signs of war on the horizon are clear. War, like fear, also has a smell. And now we are starting to breathe its fetid odor in our lands.”

RAWA’s Orphanage Program

UNICEF and other sources say:

- 60% of children have lost at least one member of their family or close relatives
- Over 600,000 children sleep on the streets.
- For every 50,000 there is only one physician
- 100,000 children are disabled
- 60,000 children in Afghanistan are addicted to drugs
- Over 37,000 children work and beg in the streets of Kabul alone
- There are about 8,000 former child soldiers
- An estimated one million are child labourers in Afghanistan.

These heart-wrenching statistics about the Afghan children have made the RAWA residential children’s projects the cornerstone of our social programs. The children have been the prime victims of the three decades of unprecedented wars and brutalities. They need help dealing with the trauma of homelessness, hunger, disability, and abuse.

Air War in Iraq and Afghanistan

From DN:

The study reveals that air strikes have escalated dramatically in both Iraq and Afghanistan during the past year, peaking in July 2007 in Iraq and August 2007 in Afghanistan. The numbers are staggering. In July 2007 alone, in Iraq, more close air support strikes (303) were made than in all of 2006 (229). This year in Afghanistan, nearly 3000 close air support strikes have been made – nearly triple the amount made in Iraq this year, and nearly double the number of strikes in Afghanistan last year.

The escalation of the air war in Afghanistan started much earlier than Iraq, beginning in June 2006 coinciding with dramatic coalition casualties in new, aggressive combat operations (including Canada’s operations in and around Kandahar).

Although air strikes have decreased since their peak in the summer, they are still dramatically higher than what they were before the general escalation.

These figures paint a different picture of the war in Iraq where declining coalition casualties have been sold as evidence that the “surge” in the first half of 2007 worked. In reality, the air force has picked up where the army has left off. There are also other very important domestic political factors involved in the “downturn” in violence in Iraq which have been ignored by Bush and the media in their attempts to tell us the surge is working.

It also gives a picture of how the war is being waged in Afghanistan. The dramatic increase in air strikes in Afghanistan can certainly be interpreted as an attempt to make up for the relatively small (in comparison to Iraq) occupation force that has faced an increased degree of resistance since late 2005. It is no wonder, then, that Canada’s commitment to this project “succeeding” is exemplified by the repeated attempts by Canadian politicians to harass other states into sending more troops.

The War on Iraq

Number Of Iraqis Slaughtered In U.S. War On Iraq

Number of U.S. Military Personnel Sacrificed (Officially acknowledged) In U.S. War And Occupation Of Iraq

Cost of U.S. War and Occupation of Iraq

Mirage of Improvement in Iraq

The November 19 New York Times announces, “Baghdad’s Weary Start to Exhale as Security Improves.” The Washington Post on November 23 reports, “Returnees Find a Capital Transformed.” People in the US are willing to believe the establishment media telling them that refugees are returning to their homes in Baghdad in an environment of improved security and new hope. It is true that there have been fewer American soldiers killed in Baghdad and the number of Iraqis fleeing to Syria has declined. However, this relatively quieter security situation needs to be placed in its proper context, something the Western media steadfastly refuses to do.

People at airport were acting out of a sense of justice and compassion

Read an article on the background of Laibar Singh’s case and get the correct facts not disclosed in mainstream media outlets despite numerous attempts through press releases and letters to the editor to correct their information.

Top soldier speaks out on detainee transfers

A top military commander says in a sworn affidavit Canadian troops would have to quit fighting the Taliban if they could not hand prisoners over to Afghan authorities. Listing a long series of possible embarrassments and defeats, Brigadier-General André Deschamps outlined what he says would be the dire consequences, including losing the war, should a Federal Court judge rule in favour of a request by human-rights groups to issue an injunction banning the transfer of detainees to Afghan prisons because of the risk of torture or abuse. “It strikes me as being unduly alarmist,” said Alex Neve, secretary-general of Amnesty International Canada, which along with the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association, is seeking a halt to detainee transfers. Mr. Neve said the government seems to have taken an “all or nothing” position by asserting that a ban on transfers “would be so onerous that it would lead to the collapse of the entire mission.”

Alberta Orders Suncor to Cut Dangerous Emissions

The Alberta government said Tuesday it ordered Suncor Energy Inc to come up with a plan to cut emissions of deadly hydrogen sulfide at its oil sands operations after several reports of high concentrations this year.