US soldier kills at least 16 Afghans in deadly rampage

12 Mar

UPDATE: A US soldier is being interrogated after opening fire on civilians in southern Afghanistan, killing at least 16, including children, in an attack described by Afghan president Hamid Karzai as “unforgivable”.

US President Barack Obama described yesterday’s massacre as “tragic and shocking”, and called Afghan counterpart Hamid Karzai to express his “shock and sadness”.
Karzai has responded furiously to the massacre, in which women and children were killed in their homes in a pre-dawn rampage.
Nine children and three women were among the dead, Mr Karzai said.
The shooter was an Army staff sergeant based out of the Ft Lewis-McChord joint base in Washington State, senior US officials told FOX News Channel.
In an interview on ABC News, Pentagon Spokesman John Kirby added that the solder is married with two children and was on his first mission in Afghanistan.
According to The Wall Street Journal, the soldier left his base in the Panjway district of Kandahar province and walked about a mile to a nearby village, where he went on a house-to-house rampage during the early hours of yesterday morning (local time).
He was arrested outside the base after the shooting by members of the Afghan National Army, the army corps commander in southern Afghanistan, Abdul Hameed, told AFP.
A joint Afghan-coalition investigation is underway into the shooting, and it remains unclear what the shooter’s motives were or whether he had previous contact with his victims.
The senior US officials told FOX News that after killing his victims, the soldier walked back to the base and immediately turned himself in.
US Air Force Capt Justin Brockhoff, a coalition spokesman in Kabul, said numerous civilian casualties were being treated in coalition military facilities.
The shooting is likely to ramp up tensions between Washington and Afghanistan at a delicate moment for the two countries.
“When Afghan people are killed deliberately by US forces this action is murder and terror and an unforgivable action,” Mr Karzai said in statement.
“The government and the people of Afghanistan demand an explanation from the United States government of this incident.”
President Barack Obama called Mr Karzai yesterday to personally express his “shock and sadness” at the incident.
In a statement, Obama said he supports an investigation of the attack that will hold the perpetrator responsible.
“I am deeply saddened by the reported killing and wounding of Afghan civilians. I offer my condolences to the families and loved ones of those who lost their lives, and to the people of Afghanistan, who have endured too much violence and suffering,” he said.
“This incident is tragic and shocking, and does not represent the exceptional character of our military and the respect that the United States has for the people of Afghanistan.”
Obama quickly moved to assure Karzai, telling him in a phone call of Washington’s “commitment to establish the facts as quickly as possible and to hold fully accountable anyone responsible”, the White House said.
US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta also called Karzai and assured him that a “full investigation” was under way. In Brussels, NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen expressed shock and offered his “heartfelt condolences”.
The US embassy in Kabul sent out an alert to its citizens in Afghanistan warning that as a result of the shooting “there is a risk of anti-American feelings and protests in coming days”.
Deteriorating US-Afghan relations risk complicating negotiations on a strategic partnership agreement between the two countries for when US combat operations end in 2014.
The treaty would likely cover the legal status of any US troops remaining in Afghanistan to help Kabul with intelligence, air power and logistics in the fight against Taliban insurgents.
In Iraq, Washington abandoned its pursuit of a strategic partnership deal and pulled out all its troops, leaving no residual force, after failing to get Baghdad to grant its soldiers legal immunity.
The shooting sparked renewed soul-searching in the US about the war, which began in 2001 when an American-led force toppled the Taliban regime in the wake of the September 11 attacks on the United States.
“There’s something profoundly wrong with how we’re approaching the whole region and I think it’s going to get substantially worse, not better,” Republican presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich told Fox News.’
An Afghan government official, who described Karzai as “very angry” over the incident, said the president had dispatched the army chief of staff to head an investigation.
Afghan resentment of US forces has also been exacerbated by a video posted online in January showing US Marines urinating on the bloodied corpses of slain Afghan insurgents – an incident condemned by the Pentagon.
And in November, the ringleader of a rogue American military “kill team” charged with murder for shooting civilians for sport was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison by a military panel.
Kandahar is a stronghold of Taliban insurgents fighting to oust Karzai’s government, which is supported by some 130,000 US-led NATO troops.
In a statement, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said he also spoke to Mr Karzai, offering his “deepest condolences and profound regret” for the shooting rampage.
“I told President Karzai that the American people share the outrage felt by President Karzai and his fellow citizens,” Panetta said in the statement, noting that the soldier was “clearly acting outside his chain of command.”
A statement issued by ISAF Commander Gen John R Allen said he was “shocked and saddened” in the wake of the incident.
Gen Allen pledged to continue offering medical care to the wounded and to cooperate with Afghan authorities in the investigation.
The shooting comes just weeks after the burning of Korans by US soldiers at a US detention facility north of Kabul. Anti-American riots rippled across the country in response, leaving some 30 protesters dead.
Six US troops were also killed in three separate attacks on American personnel by Afghan service members amid the unrest.
Last year, four US Army soldiers were convicted of deliberately murdering Afghan civilians and collecting their body parts as trophies in Kandahar in 2010.
The US Embassy in Kabul warned US citizens in Afghanistan that there is “a risk of anti-American feelings and protests in coming days, especially in eastern and southern provinces”.
“US citizens in Afghanistan should remain vigilant and avoid areas where Westerners congregate,” it said. “Avoid large public gatherings or demonstrations. Past demonstrations in Afghanistan have escalated into violent attacks on Western targets of opportunity.”
The embassy said it is “carefully monitoring the situation”.
Meanwhile, Afghanistan’s interior ministry urged calm, and said people should await the outcome of investigations into the shooting before reaching any conclusions.
“This is a very unfortunate incident, but we ask people to let us do the investigation first,” Interior Ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqi told Tolo News.

Source: Herald Sun

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US Soldier: “What happened to OUR country while we were gone?”

1 Mar

Editor’s note: Paranoid TSA administration has become a meme already. Here is the story of an american soldier returning home from Afghanistan:

I don’t know of anyone who won’t get a kick out of this one. These are the knuckleheads who are so smart, and so knowing in charge at the TSA near you!

As the Chalk Leader for my flight home from Afghanistan, I witnessed the following:

When we were on our way back from Afghanistan, We flew out of Baghram Air Field. We went through customs at BAF, full body scanners (no groping), had all of our bags searched, the whole nine yards. Our first stop was Shannon, Ireland to refuel. After that, we had to stop at Indianapolis, Indiana to drop off about 100 folks from the Indiana National Guard. That’s where the stupid started.

First, everyone was forced to get off the plane – even though the plane wasn’t refueling again. All 330 people got off that plane, rather than let the 100 people from the ING get off. We were filed from the plane to a holding area. No vending machines, no means of escape. Only a male/female latrine.

It’s probably important to mention that we were ALL carrying weapons. Everyone was carrying an M4 Carbine (rifle) and some, like me, were also carrying an M9 pistol. Oh, and our gunners had M-240B machine guns. Of course, the weapons weren’t loaded. And we had been cleared of all ammo well before we even got to customs at Baghram, then AGAIN at customs.

The TSA personnel at the airport seriously considered making us unload all of the baggage from the SECURE cargo hold to have it re-inspected. Keep in mind, this cargo had been unpacked, inspected piece by piece by U.S. Customs officials, resealed and had bomb-sniffing dogs give it a one-hour run through. After two hours of sitting in this holding area, the TSA decided not to re-inspect our cargo – just to inspect us again: Soldiers on the way home from war, who had already been inspected, re-inspected and kept in a SECURE holding area for 2 hours. Ok, whatever. So we lined up to go through security AGAIN.

This is probably another good time to remind you all that all of us were carrying actual assault rifles, and some of us were also carrying pistols

So we’re in line, going through one at a time. One of our soldiers had his Gerber multi-tool. TSA confiscated it. Kind of ridiculous, but it gets better. A few minutes later, a guy empties his pockets and has a pair of nail clippers. Nail clippers. TSA informs the soldier that they’re going to confiscate his nail clippers.

The conversation went something like this:

TSA Guy: You can’t take those on the plane.

Soldier: What? I’ve had them since we left country.

TSA Guy: You’re not suppose to have them.

Soldier: Why?

TSA Guy: They can be used as a weapon.

Soldier: [touches butt stock of the rifle] But this actually is a weapon. And I’m allowed to take it on.

TSA Guy: Yeah but you can’t use it to take over the plane. You don’t have bullets.

Soldier: And I can take over the plane with nail clippers?

TSA Guy: [awkward silence]

Me: Dude, just give him your F**K**G nail clippers so we can get the F**K out of here. I’ll buy you a new set.

Soldier: [hands nail clippers to TSA guy, makes it through security]

To top it off, the TSA demanded we all be swabbed for “explosive residue” detection. Everyone failed, [go figure, we just came home from a war zone], because we tested positive for “Gun Powder Residue”. Who the F**K is hiring these people?

This might be a good time to remind everyone that approximately 233 people re-boarded that plane with assault rifles, pistols, and machine guns – but nothing that could have been used as a weapon.

Can someone please tell me what the hell happened to OUR country while we were gone?

20 Feb

And all those NATO talks about the freedom of speech in Libya – just found out that one of Ghaddafi’s loyal journalists, Hala al-Misrati, who had been reported to be murdered in her jail cell appeared on a video yesterday, stating that she is alive and well treated.

16 Feb

Scandalous US Marines ID’d

3 Feb

Check this out:
One of the Marines shown urinating on three corpses in Afghanistan was the unit’s platoon commander, two U.S. military officials have told McClatchy, raising concerns that poor command standards contributed to an incident that may have damaged the U.S. war effort.

Even before the unit deployed to southern Afghanistan last year, it suffered from disciplinary problems while the troops were based at Camp Lejeune, N.C., the officials said.

Despite U.S. military doctrine stating that commanders ultimately are responsible for their units’ behavior in combat – and Geneva conventions barring the desecration of dead bodies – the Pentagon rarely has charged commanders in cases where troops have knowingly killed, injured or mistreated Afghans and Iraqis.
Source: FayObserver

And earlier, the Sky News informed that at least two of the four US Marines in a video that apparently shows them urinating on the bodies of Taliban fighters have been identified.

The group were members of the 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marines, which returned to its home base in North Carolina last autumn after a tour in Afghanistan.
Though, ABC reported that all four Marines featured in the video have been identified and interviewed by investigators with the NCIS.
However, CNN contributor and radio host Dana Loesch said that she would have done the same as the soldiers, and Rep. Alan West said that no one should judge them if they haven’t been in war. I’d rather not watch Mrs. Loesch repeating the same ‘ceremony’.
But the thing is that real warriors treat their opponents with respect, even in defeat.

US launched cyber attacks on other nations

31 Jan

The assumption that the US has the technological know-how to cripple a competing nation has always been just that: as assumption. In a recent sit-down interview, however, a former spy chief confirmed that America has already waged cyber attacks.
Mike McConnell, the former director of national intelligence at the National Security Agency under George W Bush, tells Reuters this week that cyber war is more than a distant possibility. According to the current vice chairman at Booz Allen Hamilton, the US has already launched attacks on the computer networks of other nations.
McConnell did not add any input as to what countries have been hit with American cyber warfare in the past, but he did confirm that the US has already used the ability. When asked by Reuters if the United States had the capability to destroy the computer system of an adversary, McConnell responded “Yes.” When asked if it worked, he confirmed “yes” as well.
“Do we have the ability to attack, degrade or destroy? Sure. If you do that, what are the consequences? That is the question,” added McConnell.
Although the former spy chief neglected to name any countries that have been the target of American attacks, the US is believed by some to be the culprit behind a virus that targeted computer systems in Iran in 2010. Stuxnet, an advanced computer worm discovered in June of that year, impacted the computers used in conjunction with Iran’s nuclear program. In a January 2011 article in the New York Times, an American nuclear intelligence expert speaking on condition of anonymity said that the Israelis were behind Stuxnet, placing the blame on one of America’s most important allies. The expert adds in the article that Israel did indeed work hand-in-hand with the US in perfect Stuxnet before sending it to the Iranian networks, but that Washington wanted “plausible deniability.”
Other sources have since all but confirmed America’s involvement in the worm. German cyber security expert Ralph Langner told National Public Radio last year that the virus seemed like something out of science fiction, but added that, “Thinking about it for another minute, if it’s not aliens, it’s got to be the United States.” He went on to call the US “the leading force” behind Stuxnet, an assumption that many in Iran believe as well. While the Iranians have never officially recognized retaliation on their part, rumors of revenge via cyberwar have been rampant in recent weeks, particularly after news broke out of Mexico last month that hackers south of the border were being recruited by Iran to participate in an infiltration of American computers.
Before it launched an airstrike` attack on Libya in 2011, a cyberattack was considered as a route to oust Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, an Obama official said to the New York Times last year. In the end, however, America relied on other techniques. “These cybercapabilities are still like the Ferrari that you keep in the garage and only take out for the big race and not just for a run around town, unless nothing else can get you there,” the insider, speaking on condition of anonymity, told the Times.
Source:

US marines Urinating on dead Taliban bodies

12 Jan

A highly abusive video showing US marines in Afghanistan urinating on dead Taliban fighters could set back efforts to end the devastating war. Such actions are reprehensible and undermine the authority of a marine.