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What Everyone is Missing About the Afghanistan Papers

We can’t let the Afghanistan Papers obscure itself into nothingness.

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Afghanistan Papers

(TMU Op-Ed) — If you need more proof that lawmakers in the U.S. couldn’t care less about America’s woeful commitment to human rights abroad—or even care about the public who vote them into office—look no further than the recent Afghanistan papers and the reaction to the publications from Congress.

According to the Washington Post, the outlet had obtained 2,000 pages of notes from interviews with more than 400 generals, diplomats, and other officials directly involved in the war. The documents showed that U.S. officials were lying about the progress being made in Afghanistan, lacked a basic understanding of Afghanistan, were hiding unmistakable evidence that the war had become unwinnable, and wasted close to $1 trillion in the process.

Barely a few hours following the Post’s publication, Congress rewarded the Pentagon for its stellar efforts with a $22 billion budget increase. How can we as a society justify this?

One stand-out statistic—among the many concerning ones—is the fact that before the U.S. invasion the Taliban had almost completely put to bed Afghanistan’s illicit opium trade. Since the U.S. invasion, combined with $9 billion in U.S. funding for anti-opium programs, the Taliban is not only stronger than it ever was but sits cemented in a country that now supplies 80 percent of the world’s opium.

I can’t help but think this was done on purpose.

Still, it would be worth re-thinking our outrage over the Afghanistan papers and determining what exactly it is we are outraged about. Are we simply angry because top U.S. officials lied to us about the fact they weren’t winning the war, making it a less worthwhile venture? If the U.S. were winning the war, spending $1 trillion in the process, killing record numbers of civilians, ramping up night raids to terrorize local populations, committing war crimes left right and center, would that suddenly make it all okay? As long as the war is being won, right?

The truth is, like most wars the U.S. finds itself prosecuting; this was yet another war based entirely on lies and misconceptions—right from the outset. As Marjorie Cohn, professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law and president of the National Lawyers Guild famously said:

“The UN Charter is a treaty ratified by the United States and thus part of U.S. law. Under the charter, a country can use armed force against another country only in self-defense or when the Security Council approves. Neither of those conditions was met before the United States invaded Afghanistan. The Taliban did not attack us on 9/11. Nineteen men—15 from Saudi Arabia—did, and there was no imminent threat that Afghanistan would attack the U.S. or another UN member country. The council did not authorize the United States or any other country to use military force against Afghanistan. The U.S. war in Afghanistan is illegal.”

If that was the case in 2001, how this war has continued for close to another two decades begins to beggar belief. In that time, the consequences for the Afghan civilian population has been catastrophic.

In February of 2010, a NATO night raid conducted in a village in the Paktia province of Afghanistan left seven civilians dead, including two pregnant women. NATO tried to spin the raid as an attack on a compound festering with “militant activity,” but this quickly fell apart thanks to a British reporter, Jerome Starkey, who had already reported that this was a false narrative.

The compound actually belonged to an anti-Taliban policeman trained by the United States. At the time, the family had gathered to celebrate the naming of a newborn son. In order to cover the tracks of their reckless decision to execute unarmed civilians, the American troops used knives to dig out the bullets from the bodies of the pregnant women killed.

This is the kind of activity that trillions of dollars of U.S. taxpayer money has been paying for on a regular basis. More than 775,000 troops have served in Afghanistan, with 2,300 U.S. personnel deaths. Not to mention that the U.S. has not been fighting there alone, and has had assistance not just from NATO, but from so-called peaceful states like New Zealand as well (who have been accused of committing war crimes, too).

Yes, we should be outraged that officials lied about the prospects of success. But we should primarily be disturbed that they first and foremost lie in order to push our countries into these wars in the first place, killing countless innocent civilians over and over again.

We can’t let this recent publication obscure itself into nothingness. The recent reaction from Congress is a giant middle finger designed to tell you that (a) there will never be anything you can do about it and (b) they simply don’t care how you feel. Democracy at its finest from the world’s leading propagator of democratic values.

By Darius Shahtahmasebi | Creative Commons | TheMindUnleashed.com

Corruption

Man’s Hand Amputated After Alabama Cops Hold Him In “Unbearably Tight” Handcuffs for Hours

Elias Marat

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An Alabama man is suing the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office for excessive force and civil rights violations after a sheriff’s deputy handcuffed him too tightly for several hours, resulting in major injuries that ultimately led to the amputation of his left hand.

Giovanni Loyola, 26, was at his mother’s trailer in Pinson, Alabama,  on Feb. 16, 2020, when three sheriff’s deputies arrived in response to reports of an alleged fight between two men wielding firearms.

According to the lawsuit, a “Deputy Godber” grabbed Loyola by the wrist and roughly detained him mere moments after Loyola answered the door.

At that point, the deputy then pulled Loyola down the stairs and “slammed” him against the car before throwing him to the ground and punching him in the face. The deputy proceeded to handcuff Loyola in a manner that as “unbearably tight.”

Loyola claims that complications from the incident led to the amputation of his hand 10 months later.

According to the deputy’s report, Loyola was allegedly intoxicated and fighting with family members before he fought the deputies and resisted arrest. Loyola, however, claims that he was merely watching television.

During the arrest, Loyola complained that he was feeling numb in his left hand but deputy Godber ignored his pleas.

“The handcuffs remained tightly on Plaintiff’s wrists until they were removed hours later at the jail,” the amended complaint read. “After Plaintiff got out of jail on February 28, 2020, his left wrist was still in tremendous pain.”

Following his release from jail, Loyola checked into a local hospital and was told that he had a severe blood flow issue requiring surgery. Upon admission at Ascension St. Vincent’s East hospital in Birmingham, his fingertips were grey and doctors had a “concern for necrosis.”

Following multiple hospital visits and four surgeries over the course of 10 months, he eventually had the left hand amputated.

“Deputy Godber handcuffed Plaintiff’s wrists so tightly that Plaintiff immediately lost sensation in one hand, and Deputy Godber refused to loosen the handcuffs even after Plaintiff told him that they were too tight and were causing him pain,” Loyola’s attorneys argued. “These actions and inactions constituted unreasonable and excessive force.”

The lawsuit also alleges that deputies unlawfully searched his home without a warrant. Loyola is now suing for compensatory damages related to the physical and mental toll of the ordeal, his loss of income due to an inability to work, as well as medical costs, legal fees, and punitive damages.

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Corruption

‘Horrible History’: Mass Grave for 215 Indigenous Children Found at Canada Boarding School

Elias Marat

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Indigenous people are in shock and Canadians are reeling after a grim discovery cast a harsh light on the North American country’s bloody history of native genocide.

On Thursday, the chief of the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc Indigenous community confirmed that it had found the remains of 215 children buried in a mass grave at a state-run boarding school, including some as young as three.

The discovery of the mass grave at the Kamloops Indian Residential School offers a sobering confirmation of why such a large number of Indigenous children seized from their homes by Canadian authorities never made it back home – validating some of the worst fears of Tk’emlúps community members as to why their lost loved ones seemingly disappeared.

“It’s a harsh reality and it’s our truth, it’s our history,” said Chief Rosanne Casimir said at a news conference, reports New York Times. “And it’s something that we’ve always had to fight to prove. To me, it’s always been a horrible, horrible history.”

Chief Casimir said that there was always “a knowing” about the disturbing history at boarding schools like the Kamloops Indian Residential School and that proof finally came this past weekend thanks to ground-penetrating radar technology.

The school operated from 1890 to the late 1970s, with enrollment peaking at around 500 during the 1950s. Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission has confirmed that large amounts of Indigenous children fled the schools or died there, their whereabouts unknown. Former students have testified to the horrific sexual, mental and physical abuse they suffered while enrolled at the schols.

The Tk’emlúps Heritage Park where the school was located has now been closed as crews scour the area for more possible remains.

Children as young as three were students at the school, which was once the largest in Canada’s boarding schools for First Nations children.

It is believed that the deaths were swept under the rug and never documented, although Indigenous scholars are working with the Royal British Columbia Museum to find any possible records that may exist.

Chief Casimir has vowed that the Tk’emlups community would take full responsibility to do justice to the hundreds of “lost children” and their families.

“We sought out a way to confirm that knowing out of deepest respect and love for those lost children and their families, understanding that Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc is the final resting place of these children,” Chief Casimir said in a statement.

Work to identify the site began in the early 2000s and was led by Indigenous authorities in tandem with ceremonial Knowledge Keepers to ensure that cultural protocols were respected. State-of-the-art radar technology used to identify potential mass graves led to the recent breakthrough.

“With access to the latest technology, the true accounting of the missing students will hopefully bring some peace and closure to those lives lost and their home communities,” Casimir noted.

“At this time we have more questions than answers,” Casimir added.

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Bizarre

CA Prison Guards Caught Lying About Brutal Torture and Beheading by Satanist Inmate

Elias Marat

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Some California prison guards are in hot water after they were found to have lied in their reports after a Satan-worshipping inmate brutally slaughtered his cellmate, according to a state investigation.

On March 9, 2019, 31-year-old inmate Jaime Osuna decapitated his cellmate Luis Romero, 44, and then dissected him in what the Los Angeles Times has described as “one of the most heinous slayings inside the California prison system.” The grisly murder also raises fresh questions about why Romero was assigned to a cell with Osuna, a self-described satanist with a long history of attacking his cellmates.

Osuna had been serving a life sentence for the murder and torture of a woman in 2011, and had never been given a cellmate in the past. Decked out in face tattoos and known for his over-the-top Charles Manson-like antics, Osuna boasted of his love for torturing people and mocked his victim’s family in court.

Romero, an inmate who had spent 27 years in prison for a second-degree murder he was convicted for as a teenager, was assigned to the same cell as Osuna just before he was going to be eligible for parole.

Using a homemade knife, Osuna cut out one of Romero’s eyes, chopped off his finger, removed a portion of his ribs and sliced off a part of a lung before eventually decapitating him. He then manipulated the corpse into a pose and cut the sides of his mouth to resemble a smile. He allegedly used sheets to cover the bars of the cell.

When guards finally discovered the scene, Osuna was wearing a necklace he made from Romero’s body parts.

However, guards reported on the prior night that both men had been alive. The cell was never checked throughout the night, according to a state probe, while two officers falsely reported that Romero was alive at the time when he was being brutally murdered. Two other officers also failed to properly count inmates on the night of the horrific slaying.

The state report adds that the prison’s internal affairs process was shoddy, while officers who lied and witnesses were never interviewed.

Osuna has since been transferred to the psychiatric inpatient program at Salinas Valley State Prison. He has been diagnosed with unspecified schizophrenia spectrum, antisocial personality disorder and borderline personality disorder and has been ruled not competent to stand trial for the brutal murder of Romero.

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