Jump to content
Washington Football Team Logo
Extremeskins

Great news for Air Sarge: film documents massacre of 3,000 Taliban prisoners


Atlanta Skins Fan

Recommended Posts

In my thread on Guantanamo Bay, Air Sarge lamented that the U.S. ever was left with the mess of hundreds of Afghan-campaign prisoners in Guantanamo Bay. Here was his preferred solution:

Personally, I wish they hadn't wasted the gas to bring these a$$holes to Cuba. The plane should have taken off in Afganistan with a bunch of terrorist phucks and landed in Cuba empty. But that would be in Sarge's world.

Well, happy day, Air Sarge! You're probably already aware of this, but it appears that about 3,000 Taliban prisoners actually did die while in custody during the U.S. campaign against the Taliban. Some appear to have suffocated or died of thirst in sealed containers sent on a four-day convoy, while the survivors were shot by Northern Alliance Afghans while U.S. special forces "stood by".

These allegations are documented in a video called Afghan Massacre - Convoy of Death, produced by award-winning documentary film-maker Jamie Doran, formerly of the BBC.

According to Democracy Now!, a U.S. radio/TV news program that premiered the film in the U.S. on May 23,

The film has been broadcast on national television in countries all over the world and has been screened by the European parliament. Human rights lawyers are calling for investigation into whether U.S. forces are guilty of war crimes. But no U.S. media outlet has broadcast the film.

[Film producer] Jamie Doran says of State Department official Larry Schwartz, “Larry said and I quote directly, ‘You have to understand, we’re involved, we’re in touch with the national [newspapers] on a daily basis – this story won’t run, even if it’s true.’” And television industry insiders told Doran, “not now Jamie.”

Here's the remainder of Democracy Now's text coverage of the film:

May 23

Today, on Democracy Now!, the U.S. broadcast premiere of a documentary film called “Afghan Massacre: The Convoy of Death.”

The film provides eyewitness testimony that U.S. troops were complicit in the massacre of thousands of Taliban prisoners during the Afghan War.

It tells the story of thousands of prisoners who surrendered to the US military’s Afghan allies after the siege of Kunduz. According to eyewitnesses, some three thousand of the prisoners were forced into sealed containers and loaded onto trucks for transport to Sheberghan prison. Eyewitnesses say when the prisoners began shouting for air, U.S.-allied Afghan soldiers fired directly into the truck, killing many of them. The rest suffered through an appalling road trip lasting up to four days, so thirsty they clawed at the skin of their fellow prisoners as they licked perspiration and even drank blood from open wounds.

Witnesses say that when the trucks arrived and soldiers opened the containers, most of the people inside were dead. They also say US Special Forces re-directed the containers carrying the living and dead into the desert and stood by as survivors were shot and buried. Now, up to three thousand bodies lie buried in a mass grave.

The film has sent shockwaves around the world. It has been broadcast on national television in Britain, Germany, Italy and Australia. It has been screened by the European parliament. It has outraged human rights groups and international human rights lawyers. They are calling for investigation into whether U.S. Special Forces are guilty of war crimes.

But most Americans have never heard of the film. That’s because not one corporate media outlet in the U.S. will touch it. It has never before been broadcast in this country.

Today, Democracy Now! brings you the premiere broadcast of “Afghan Massacre” in the United States.

“Afghan Massacre” is produced and directed by award-winning Irish filmmaker Jamie Doran. Doran is has worked at the highest levels of television film production for more than two decades. His films have been broadcast on virtually every major channel throughout the world. On average, each of his films are seen in around 35 countries. Before establishing his independent television company, Jamie Doran spent over seven years at BBC Television.

The film was researched by award-winning journalist Najibullah Quraishi, who was beaten almost to death when he tried to obtain video evidence of US Special Forces’ complicity in the massacre. Two of the witnesses who testified in the film are now dead.

May 26

Today, part two of our series on a controversial documentary film that has already been broadcast on national television in Britain, Germany, Italy and Australia and been screened by the European Parliament – but it wasn’t until Democracy Now! broadcast the film on Friday that the film was shown nationally in the United States.

The film is "Afghan Massacre: The Convoy of Death," and it provides eyewitness testimony that U.S. troops were complicit in the massacre of thousands of Taliban prisoners during the Afghan War.

The film tells the story of thousands of prisoners who surrendered to the US military’s Afghan allies after the siege of Kunduz. According to eyewitnesses, some three thousand of the prisoners were forced into sealed containers and loaded onto trucks for transport to Sheberghan prison. Eyewitnesses say when the prisoners began shouting for air, U.S.-allied Afghan soldiers fired directly into the truck, killing many of them. The rest suffered through an appalling road trip lasting up to four days, so thirsty they clawed at the skin of their fellow prisoners as they licked perspiration and even drank blood from open wounds.

Witnesses say that when the trucks arrived and soldiers opened the containers, most of the people inside were dead. They also say US Special Forces re-directed the containers carrying the living and dead into the desert and stood by as survivors were shot and buried. Now, up to three thousand bodies lie buried in a mass grave.

The film also provides footage of CIA officer Mike Spann interrogating American Taliban prisoner John Walker Lindh, just hours before Spann was killed in the famous prison uprising at Mazar-i-Sharif.

The film has outraged human rights groups and international human rights lawyers. They are calling for investigation into whether U.S. Special Forces are guilty of war crimes.

On Friday, Democracy Now! broadcast “Afghan Massacre” for the first time in the U.S. Today, we’ll broadcast excerpts of the film and talk to the film’s director and producer, Jamie Doran.

To purchase an audio or video copy of this entire program, call 1 (800) 881-2359.

Democracy Now page with streaming video links

One World web site with video links

Link to comment
Share on other sites

look, if there is any truth in these stories than I will be among the first to condemn it. But these aren't sources I can trust. Why don't major news outlets carry this... who is democracy now?

Why should we believe anything they say. CNN at least has a vested interest in not presenting blatant untruths. Until someone picks up on this (heck even the UN) i'm not sure it merits discussion.

-DB

Link to comment
Share on other sites

look, if there is any truth in these stories than I will be among the first to condemn it. But these aren't sources I can trust. Why don't major news outlets carry this

Hold on, I think I'm getting the hang of this...

Is it because......................

The Jews control the media!!!!!

Am I right ASF?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by DrunkenBoxer

look, if there is any truth in these stories than I will be among the first to condemn it. But these aren't sources I can trust. Why don't major news outlets carry this... who is democracy now?

Why should we believe anything they say. CNN at least has a vested interest in not presenting blatant untruths. Until someone picks up on this (heck even the UN) i'm not sure it merits discussion.

CNN isn't even reporting the bribing of Iraqi generals (leading to the fall of Baghdad), for which there is the on-the-record testimony of the commanding U.S. general Tommy Franks.

However, the allegations have been raised separately by the Physicians for Human Rights organization, who have apparently convinced the UN special envoy to commence a forensic investigation of mass graves:

PHYSICIANS FOR HUMAN RIGHTS WELCOMES UN ANNOUNCEMENT OF AFGHAN GRAVES INVESTIGATION;

FORENSIC TEAM STANDS READY TO ASSIST

For Immediate Release

September 19, 2002

Contacts:

John Heffernan (617) 695-0041 ext 220/ (617) 413-6407 (cell)

Barbara Ayotte (617) 695-0041 ext 210/(617) 549-0152 (cell)

Boston, MA — Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) welcomed today’s UN decision to authorize an official investigation of mass graves in Afghanistan, including the Dasht-e-Leili site near Sheberghan Prison in Northern Afghanistan. UN Special Envoy Lakhdar Brahimi endorsed a two-step plan to exhume the mass grave first, leaving the full investigation for a later date. This month, PHR was the first organization to outline a two-step process for moving forward with an investigation in the face of concerns about witness protection.

"This decision by the UN Special Envoy is a major step forward for international justice and accountability," said Leonard S. Rubenstein, Executive Director of PHR. "PHR congratulates Ambassador Brahimi for deciding that critical evidence of war crimes must be collected and preserved even as priorities for security and reconstruction go forward. All are necessary for a secure future for the people of Afghanistan," Rubenstein added, "This investigation will also provide an important opportunity to build the capacity of the Afghan Human Rights Commission."

The site allegedly contains the remains of hundreds of Taliban and other combatants that surrendered to the US-backed Northern Alliance after the fall of Kunduz in November 2001. PHR discovered the site in January of this year and completed a preliminary forensic investigation in February, with elements of PHR’s International Forensic Program participating in the UNHCHR (UN High Commission for Human Rights) assessment in May. (view chronology of PHR activities in Afghanistan)

PHR announced that its International Forensic Program, under the direction of Dr. William Haglund, PhD, stands ready to assist in any way necessary. For the past six months, PHR has repeatedly urged the U.S. Government and its coalition partners, the Afghan government, and the United Nations to ensure the security of both the physical site and witnesses and appealed for an official full investigation into these deaths before evidence is destroyed.

---

Founded in 1986, Physicians for Human Rights (PHR), based in Boston, MA, mobilizes the health professions to promote health by protecting human rights.

The San Jose Mercury News reported the allegations on December 23, 2002, disclosing the substance of the documentary film along with denials of complicity or knowledge of atrocities from the U.S. government. Their report included the following summary from the film:

Doran's film includes interviews with Northern Alliance soldiers, Afghan truck drivers and civilian observers who say U.S. troops were not only present but also helped try to conceal what happened.

"Everything was under the control of the American commanders -- two or three hundred bodies were put in each container, then they took them to their final destination, and buried them,'' a Northern Alliance soldier told the filmmaker. "The Americans told the Sheberghan people to get rid of them before satellite pictures could be taken.'' In a coordinated operation, truck drivers reportedly had their vehicles commandeered by armed soldiers. One driver, who transported the sealed boxcars with prisoners inside, said they began to cry for air after about 20 minutes. Northern Alliance commanders ``told us to stop the trucks, and we came down. After that, they shot into the containers. Blood came pouring out. They were screaming inside,'' he said.

Others spoke of American soldiers present during the execution of survivors. "Some of them were alive,'' said another truck driver recounting what happened when the container doors were unlocked at the mass grave site. "They were brought here and shot,'' in view of American forces, he alleged in a recorded interview. "Maybe 30 to 40'' American soldiers were present, he claimed.

Finally, the Guardian (major U.K. daily newspaper) published a report from its own reporter in Afghanistan, making similar allegations with its own sources:

Afghan massacre haunts Pentagon

Luke Harding in Dasht-i-Leili

Saturday September 14, 2002

The Guardian

The dead are not hard to find. Turn left into the desert after the town of Shiberghan and they lie all around - some in shallow graves, others protruding from the sand.

The clothes they wore are still there: decaying black turbans, charred shoes, a prayer cap, even a set of rusted car keys. In the nine months since they were buried the sun has bleached their bones white. But the jaws, femurs and ribs scattered across the desert are unmistakably human. We found teeth, thick black human hair and bits of skull.

There are a few clues to the prisoners' final moments: the site is littered with spent bullets. There are thick jackets lying above ground, which would have seemed useful to their owners last November, during the freezing desert nights.

Nobody knows exactly how many Taliban prisoners were secretly interred in this mass grave, a short distance from the main road. But there is now substantial evidence that the worst atrocity of last year's war in Afghanistan took place here; most controversially, during an operation masterminded by US special forces.

A 10-minute drive away is Shiberghan prison, where about 800 Taliban fighters who surrendered late last November at the town of Kunduz are held. The Afghan warlord General Abdul Rashid Dostum controls the prison; his mansion is nearby.

It was his commanders who transported the Taliban captives to Shiberghan. "It was awful. They crammed us into sealed shipping containers," a 24-year-old survivor, Irfan Azgar Ali, told the Guardian. "We had no water for 20 hours. We banged on the side of the container. There was no air and it was very hot.

"There were 300 of us in my container. By the time we arrived in Shiberghan, only 10 of us were still alive."

The prisoners still in Shiberghan - half of them Afghans, and half Pakistanis - estimate that about 400 people suffocated to death during the journey. Other sources say the figure is between 900 and 1,000. The Physicians for Human Rights group from Boston, which identified the mass grave earlier this year and later sent out a forensic scientist to carry out further tests, suggests that 2,000-3,000 of the 8,000 prisoners taken to Shiberghan died on the way.

But the Guardian has obtained harrowing details which suggest that their death was not a tragic accident but a deliberate act of revenge.

Some of the first Taliban fighters to surrender made the initial part of the journey in open lorries, their faces caked with dust. When they reached Mazar-i-Sharif, 90 miles from Kunduz, they were taken to Qala Zaini, a mud-walled fortified compound on the outskirts of the city. There Gen Dostum's soldiers crammed them into shipping containers. When they protested that they could not breathe, the soldiers told them to duck down, then fired several Kalashnikov rounds into the containers.

"I saw blood coming out of the holes," an eyewitness who refuses to be identified said.

A driver who made four trips to Dasht-i-Leili said not all the prisoners in his lorry were dead when they arrived: some were merely unconscious or gravely injured. The guards laid the dead and the still living out on the desert. "They raked them all with bullets to make sure they were dead," the driver said. "Then they buried them."

Last week Gen Dostum, now deputy defence minister in the new Afghan government, angrily denied accusations of human rights abuses, and pointed out that the Taliban had used shipping containers on numerous occasions to murder their enemies. He admitted that 200 prisoners had died, but said that most of the deaths were "due to wounds suffered in the fighting, but also due to disease, suffocation, suicide and a general weakness after weeks of intense fighting and bombardment".

In a joint statement with three other northern alliance commanders, he added: "There was no intentional killing."

What makes this massacre different from atrocities carried out by the Taliban regime is the presence of US special forces in the area, both at Shiberghan and at Erganak, 200 miles away, where the Taliban prisoners were first loaded into lorries. The question human rights groups want answered is: how much did the American soldiers know at the time?

The Pentagon said last week that the US troops had reported that they were unaware what had happened to the prisoners. But the evidence suggests that they were so close to Gen Dostum's soldiers that they may have been informed.

The general has been on the US payroll for nearly a year. According to Newsweek magazine, an elite team from the Fifth Special Forces Group first met up with Gen Dostum last October, when its members were dropped by Chinook helicopter at his mountain base.

They coordinated the Northern Alliance's dramatic assault on Mazar-i-Sharif, which fell on November 6, and then pursued the Taliban's northern army to Kunduz, where it remained trapped for more than two weeks. During this bloody period the US special forces unit, the 595 A-team, paid repeated visits to Shiberghan prison - plucking the American Taliban fighter John Walker Lindh, for example, from his cell hours after his detention.

Mr Lindh and the other 85 Taliban survivors from the Qala-i-Jhangi were also transported to Shiberghan by container, despite the intervention of the International Committee of the Red Cross.

One source claims that a dust-covered special forces vehicle pulled up at Dasht-i-Leili and parked on the side of the road, 500 metres from where bulldozers were busy burying the Taliban dead. Gen Dostum's soldiers instructed local villagers to stay away from the area.

Afghanistan's president, Hamid Karzai, has called for an inquiry into the massacre, which appears to have taken place at night. Last week he sent a team to investigate. But given Mr Karzai's tenuous grip on power, the team is unlikely to come to any definite conclusions.

The defence minister, Mohammad Fahim, has already dismissed the allegations of a massacre as a mere "rumour". Other senior figures in Mr Karzai's feuding administration have hinted that, given the Taliban's horrific record, the prisoners had it coming.

The issue is a difficult one, Omar Samad, the government's foreign ministry spokesman, said yesterday.

"We are very aware that the allegations need to be looked at thoroughly," he said. "But you have to bear in mind the overall context of what happened in Afghanistan over the past two decades. We are dealing with incidents of massacres, human rights violations and foreign militants entering Afghanistan ... which have built a sense of revenge that needs to be subdued."

A confidential UN memo obtained by Newsweek concluded that there was enough evidence to justify a "fully-fledged criminal investigation". But earlier this week Lakhdar Brahimi, the UN special envoy, said the government was too fragile to investigate further. "Politics is the art of the possible," he said.

The Pentagon has so far declined to answer several tricky questions, among them, were US soldiers present when the containers were first opened at Shiberghan prison?

US intelligence officers spent weeks interrogating Taliban and al-Qaida suspects at the jail, and in time removed 114 prisoners from their cramped, lice-ridden cells to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where they remain without charge.

But the same soldiers appear to have no knowledge of the mass grave just down the road.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Some additional insight into these allegations comes from a source many will question: the World Wide Socialist Web Site. However, if you read enough of their report and cross-check some key facts reported, you will see that their report appears to have some credibility.

Two paragraphs caught my eye in particular:

Many details of the siege remain unclear, but the basic facts are not in dispute. When the Taliban forces in Kunduz surrendered on November 23-24, Afghan Taliban were allowed to return to their villages. But foreign-born soldiers—mainly Pakistanis, but also Uzbeks, Chechens and Arabs—were singled out and taken prisoner. This was in line with public declarations by US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and other American officials, who had vetoed reported negotiations between Northern Alliance generals and Taliban officers to provide safe passage for non-Afghan Taliban in exchange for the surrender of Kunduz.

Hundreds of foreign-born Taliban—estimates have varied between 400 and 800—were trucked from Kunduz to the outskirts of Mazar-i-Sharif and eventually herded into the Qala-i-Janghi fortress, which was serving as General Dostum’s military headquarters. According to a number of press reports, the prisoners had thought they would be released, and were shocked to find themselves imprisoned in the fortress. The December 1 Guardian quoted Amir Jan, the anti-Taliban commander who had negotiated the surrender, as saying, “The foreigners thought that after surrendering to the Northern Alliance they would be free. They didn’t think they would be put in jail.” Jan also told the newspaper that it was the American “advisers” who decided to incarcerate the prisoners in the Qala-i-Janghi fortress, after the Northern Alliance initially proposed to hold them at an airport near Mazar-i-Sharif.

These foreign-born Taliban prisoners were apparently all killed, as the report details.

The distinction of these Taliban being foreign-born is important, in light of Air Sarge's rather helpful detailing of loopholes in the Geneva Conventions. Foreign-born Taliban, Air Sarge would presumably argue, would fall under the heading of "unlawful combatants" under the Geneva Conventions and thus not be accorded the international rights of POWs.

The details in these reports are still sketchy, but a pattern is beginning to emerge. It suggests that the U.S. government at the senior levels (at least as high as Rumsfeld) made a strategic decision to separate the Afghan Taliban from foreign-born Taliban. Two reasons might support their argument: 1) Foreign-born Taliban could be plausibly argued to have foregone Geneva POW protections, and 2) Foreign-born Taliban, by their presence in Afghanistan, would be more likely to meet their generic profile of international terrorists receiving training in Afghan camps.

Having separated these foreign-born Taliban for "special treatment", the U.S. government would feel both legally and morally justified in handling these prisoners "with extreme prejudice." In fact, Rumsfeld was quoted in the Guardian on November 29, 2001, that the U.S. "was not inclined to negotiate surrenders" and that he hoped enemy forces in Afghanistan would "either be killed or taken prisoner". Presumably a "surrender" in Rumsfeld's jargon would be Geneva POWs, and "prisoners" would be those for whom POW status had not been awarded in advance.

It will likely be difficult to establish a clear and official order from Rumsfeld to execute the non-Afghan Taliban prisoners. However, this appears to be the unofficial policy and the actual practice in many cases.

I should add here that I am not being naive about the nature of many (even most) non-Afghan Taliban. I am willing to agree that these people, taken as a group, could be considered extremely dangerous.

However, the execution of actual individuals based on some presumed characteristics of a group is an odious practice and violates non only American judicial principles but even the standards of modern warfare under the Geneva Conventions.

Some of you I know will be pleased by these executions. I can't see the distinction between our actions and the most infamous group slaughters of history. It is the Crusades all over again, in spirit, if not yet in numbers.

Here's the rest of that WSWS article:

The Geneva Convention and the US massacre of POWs in Afghanistan

Statement of the WSWS Editorial Board

7 December 2001

On December 1 the last of some 80 survivors of the US-British-Northern Alliance assault on the Qala-i-Janghi prison fortress outside Mazar-i-Sharif emerged from their underground hideouts and surrendered to their assailants. For six days, beginning Sunday, November 25, American and British special forces joined with troops loyal to Northern Alliance General Rashid Dostum in a massive and one-sided attack on 400 to 800 non-Afghan Taliban who had surrendered the previous day in Kunduz. The US, Britain and Northern Alliance justified their slaughter of the prisoners, most of whom were killed in two days of American air strikes, on the grounds that the Taliban captives had staged an uprising.

But news footage of American and Northern Alliance troops firing down on the POWs from the heights of the fortress walls, and fields littered with the corpses of dead and mutilated prisoners, provided clear evidence of a massacre. Even as the extermination of pockets of survivors continued, demands were being raised by human rights organizations for an investigation into violations of the Geneva Convention and other international laws of war.

Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch called for an inquiry into the events at the Qala-i-Janghi fortress, and were joined by Mary Robinson, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

The United States and Britain have rejected all such appeals. The American media, which paid only passing attention to the bloody events as they were unfolding, has gone completely silent in their immediate aftermath.

But the slaughter of POWs outside of Mazar-i-Sharif cannot so easily be swept under the rug. As the British newspaper the Guardian suggested on December 1: “A single, horrific atrocity can provide the defining moment in a war ... questions are being asked about whether the bloody end to this week’s prison siege at the 19th-century Qala-i-Janghi fort outside the northern Afghan city of Mazar-i-Sharif will be the defining moment of the Afghan war. Pictures of aid workers picking their way through the corpses of Taliban prisoners killed by a combination of Northern Alliance fighters and American bombings have caused revulsion around the world.”

No single act carried out by the American military so clearly bespeaks a war crime as the killing of hundreds of POWs at the prison fortress. In the My Lai massacre in Vietnam, American military and civilian authorities sought to attribute the slaughter of civilians to a rogue element. The chief perpetrator, Lt. William Calley, was prosecuted by US courts.

This time, the statements and actions of top US military and government officials both before and after the siege of the prison fortress provide ample evidence that the massacre was a direct consequence of the decisions of leading US policymakers in Afghanistan. This is a crime of immense proportions that will haunt the American ruling elite. At some point, leading figures in the military establishment and the Bush administration may very well go to jail for their role in the bloodbath at Qala-i-Janghi.

The sequence of events

Many details of the siege remain unclear, but the basic facts are not in dispute. When the Taliban forces in Kunduz surrendered on November 23-24, Afghan Taliban were allowed to return to their villages. But foreign-born soldiers—mainly Pakistanis, but also Uzbeks, Chechens and Arabs—were singled out and taken prisoner. This was in line with public declarations by US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and other American officials, who had vetoed reported negotiations between Northern Alliance generals and Taliban officers to provide safe passage for non-Afghan Taliban in exchange for the surrender of Kunduz.

Hundreds of foreign-born Taliban—estimates have varied between 400 and 800—were trucked from Kunduz to the outskirts of Mazar-i-Sharif and eventually herded into the Qala-i-Janghi fortress, which was serving as General Dostum’s military headquarters. According to a number of press reports, the prisoners had thought they would be released, and were shocked to find themselves imprisoned in the fortress. The December 1 Guardian quoted Amir Jan, the anti-Taliban commander who had negotiated the surrender, as saying, “The foreigners thought that after surrendering to the Northern Alliance they would be free. They didn’t think they would be put in jail.” Jan also told the newspaper that it was the American “advisers” who decided to incarcerate the prisoners in the Qala-i-Janghi fortress, after the Northern Alliance initially proposed to hold them at an airport near Mazar-i-Sharif.

During the night of November 24, a Taliban prisoner about to be frisked detonated a hidden hand grenade, killing himself and two aides to Dostum. A number of other POWs followed suit, blowing themselves up with hand grenades.

The following day, Sunday, November 25, Northern Alliance forces began tying the hands of prisoners behind their backs. Some 250 POWs had been tied up when two American Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) agents inside the fortress began interrogating them. The intervention of the Americans was apparently the spark that set off the ensuing events.

According to Amir Jan, “The prisoners suspected they were about to be shot.” A fight broke out between CIA agent Johnny Spann and one of the prisoners, leading to gunfire that resulted in Spann’s death. The Times of London reported on November 28 that Spann shot and killed four prisoners before he was wrestled to the ground and killed by other POWs. Prisoners then charged the Northern Alliance guards and grabbed their weapons.

The second CIA agent fled the scene and contacted American officials via satellite phone, urging them to send in forces. US and British special forces arrived outside the fort and began directing an all-out assault on the POWs inside, which soon included massive bombings.

In the ensuing days, US special forces oversaw the extermination of the vast majority of POWs. They reportedly instructed Northern Alliance troops to pour diesel fuel into a basement where prisoners were hiding and set it on fire. After the heaviest of the fighting was over, an Associated Press photographer said he saw the bodies of up to 50 Taliban whose hands had been bound, laid out in a field inside the fortress. Other (British) press reports said Northern Alliance forces executed all Taliban prisoners who managed to escape from the fort.

The British Broadcasting Company in a November 29 report documented the direct role of American forces, noting that a half dozen US special forces soldiers were seen firing down on prisoners from outside the compound. The Times of London on November 28 confirmed this report, writing: “Witnesses said it was quickly apparent that trained soldiers were taking part in the assault, as the ragged bursts of Alliance machine gun fire were replaced by the steady single-shooting of marksmen.”

As for the fire-power at the disposal of the prisoners, the Times of London reported that they had captured only 30 guns, two anti-tank weapons and two grenade launchers.

Sophistries and falsehoods

The US government and media have advanced a series of claims to justify the massacre of Taliban POWs and deny that American forces committed war crimes. These involve both factual distortions and misrepresentations of the Geneva Convention on POWs.

Claim # 1: The onus for the bloodbath rests with the prisoners, who staged an unprovoked uprising.

This is the theme that pervades the reportage of the massacre in the American press. The articles published by the New York Times, in particular, are models of ostensibly objective reporting, carefully crafted to diminish the culpability, if not entirely exonerate, the US.

On November 29, in the Times’ first major article on the siege of the prison, Carlotta Gall described the scene as “an uprising against their captors” by prisoners who had “plunged into a desperate battle to the death.” Gall did her best to downplay the role of American forces in the massacre, euphemistically writing of “American and British troops who assisted the Northern Alliance in their defense of the fort.”

In a subsequent article (December 2), Gall ignored the intervening reports in the foreign press pointing to Northern Alliance and US provocations, and described the slaughter as a “prisoner uprising that began last Sunday when prisoners rushed their guards and seized their weapons.”

This version of events was most crudely stated by CIA Director George Tenet, who lauded the slain CIA agent as a national hero and said of the Taliban POWs, “Their prison uprising—which had murder as its goal—claimed many lives, among them that of a very brave American...”

The implication of the Times articles and similar reports is that the prisoners had decided on a mass suicide action, hoping to take as many of their captors as possible down with them. The Washington Post, in a November 27 editorial, stated as much explicitly: “Al Qaeda and Taliban prisoners, many of them non-Afghan, have been willing to set off grenades against their own bodies in order to kill nearby guards. Yesterday some were still fighting what looked like a deliberate battle to the death inside a fort where they were held prisoner.”

The first thing to be said of these claims is that they fly in the face of the facts. The second thing is that, even were they true, they would in no way justify, either morally or legally, the carnage that was unleashed by the US and its allies.

Under international law, any military response to a prisoner revolt must be proportionate. The indiscriminate bombing of prisoners, many of whom were tied up, is clearly a violation of this provision.

The claim, moreover, that the prisoners were bent on either homicide, suicide, or both is belied by the fact that they had just surrendered to their enemies in order to avoid a futile “battle to the death.” At the same time, they had good reason to fear they were being led into a trap and set up for summary execution, since General Dostum’s forces had committed such atrocities only two weeks before in the taking of Mazar-i-Sharif and more recently in the seizure of Kunduz. Having their hands tied behind their backs and facing American interrogators could only have intensified such fears.

Claim # 2: The Taliban prisoners forfeited their legal status as prisoners of war once they resisted their captors.

This claim was made November 26 by US military spokesman Kenton Keith, who said the “status” of the prisoners as POWs covered by the Geneva Convention had changed once they “engaged in offensive action.”

This assertion might merit consideration, from the standpoint of international law, only if it could be shown that the prisoners’ actions were premeditated and unprovoked. The facts, however, point to the opposite conclusion. Moreover, even if the prisoners ceased, in a strictly legal sense, to be POWs, they remained human beings, and the international rules of war were drawn up to minimize gratuitous violence and bloodshed. Indeed, a 1977 protocol to the Geneva Convention makes it illegal “to order that there shall be no survivors.”

Claim # 3: The conflict in Afghanistan is a civil war, not a war between states. Consequently, captured fighters are not covered by the Geneva Convention and lack legal protection under international law.

This rationalization is offered, again, by the New York Times, which states in a December 2 article that non-Afghan Taliban soldiers imprisoned by the Northern Alliance are “foreign soldiers in a civil war; their rights are uncertain...” The same theme is broached in a November 30 commentary by New York Times writer Serge Schmemann, who says of the mass killing at the Qala-i-Janghi fortress, “It was not even clear whether the Geneva Convention applied ... the rules are different for international conflicts—for which the Geneva Conventions were written and under which the United States would be directly responsible for the treatment of POW’s—and internal conflicts. The fighting in Afghanistan is the sort of internationalized civil war that has become increasingly common, but legally complex.”

The claim that the Geneva Convention on the treatment of POWs does not apply to civil wars is false on its face. The Convention, adopted August 12, 1949, declares in Article 3: “In the case of armed conflict not of an international character occurring in the territory of one of the High Contracting Parties, each Party to the conflict shall be bound to apply, as a minimum, the following provisions...” (emphasis added).

The Article goes on to declare that captured soldiers must be treated humanely and proscribes “(a) violence to life and person, in particular, murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture; (B) taking of hostages; © outrages upon personal dignity, in particular, humiliating and degrading treatment; (d) the passing of sentences and the carrying out of executions without previous judgment pronounced by a regularly constituted court affording all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples.”

The United States, Britain and Afghanistan are all signatories to the 1949 Convention, and therefore legally bound by its provisions.

That the Geneva Convention applies to the war in Afghanistan is the opinion not only of the World Socialist Web Site, but also the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the agency authorized by the Convention to monitor the implementation of its provisions. The ICRC issued an unambiguous statement on November 23, on the eve of the surrender of Taliban forces in Kunduz and two days before the onset of the massacre at Qala-i-Janghi. “Article three applies to anybody—the Northern Alliance, the Taliban, al Qaeda, anybody fighting in the territory,” said Catherine Deman, legal adviser to the legal division of the ICRC. She continued: “It is the same in the Afghan mountains as it would be in Rwanda, Iraq or anywhere else.” The United States, Deman added, was morally obliged to abide by the full terms of the Convention.

Amnesty International issued a similar statement last month, stressing that “Any Taliban fighter, or any member of Usama bin Laden’s al-qa’ida organization, captured by US or UK forces must be protected as a prisoner of war.”

A statement issued December 1 by Human Rights Watch on this question bears quoting at some length. Calling for an investigation into the Qala-i-Janghi “slaughter,” the organization declared: “The humane treatment of all persons not actively taking part in hostilities, including detained or surrendered enemy soldiers, is a fundamental principle of international humanitarian law (the laws of war). It must be respected in all circumstances, whether the conflict is considered an international or internal armed conflict, and applied for the benefit of all persons held by an armed force, be they prisoners of war, combatants without prisoner-of-war status, or detained civilians.”

As for the assertion that the conflict in Afghanistan is a civil war, it is fascinating to observe apologists for the Bush administration and the US military suddenly discovering that America’s “war on terrorism,” declared with such fanfare by President George W. Bush in his address to Congress September 20, with ultimatums to Afghanistan and boasts of US readiness to attack the country, is in reality an internal Afghan conflict. Only a few weeks ago the American press was debating the viability of the White House plan to use the Northern Alliance as a proxy force in its war to overthrow the Taliban regime. Now the same newspapers would have us believe that the US is playing only an advisory role in an ongoing civil struggle.

Claim # 4: The Taliban regime is not recognized by the world community as the legitimate government of Afghanistan, and therefore the Geneva Convention does not apply.

This rationalization has been floated by some US officials. It is flatly refuted by the letter of the 1949 Convention. Article 4, which defines the term “prisoner of war,” includes in its definition “members of regular armed forces who profess allegiance to a government or an authority not recognized by the Detaining power.”

Claim # 5: Foreign Taliban fighters are not genuine soldiers. They are all linked to Osama bin Laden’s Al Qaeda organization, and are hardened killers, terrorists and criminals.

The New York Times, in a December 2 article on the prison massacre, stated this theme in crude fashion, asserting that the Qala-i-Janghi prisoners’ resistance proved their criminality: “That the ranks of the foreign Taliban held hardened killers seemed clear enough over the last week, when prisoners revolted and killed an American intelligence officer.”

White House counsel Alberto R. Gonzales sounded the same theme in defending Bush’s proposal to try captured Al Qaeda members before secret military tribunals. Under the rules of war, he declared, they are stateless “unlawful combatants” and not subject to the rules of the Geneva Convention.

Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld has repeatedly equated all foreign Taliban fighters with Al Qaeda and bin Laden. Just last Sunday, speaking on the “Meet the Press” interview program, he branded the survivors of the prison slaughter as “the last hard-core Al Qaeda elements,” adding that “if people will not surrender, then they’ve made their own choice.”

This blanket identification of foreign Taliban with Al Qaeda is false. Indeed, on-the-spot interviews with survivors of the prison massacre have confirmed that many of the non-Afghan fighters are very young and raw recruits, with no connection to bin Laden. Most are supporters of Islamic parties in Pakistan, and many came to Afghanistan only after the US began bombing the country.

As the World Socialist Web Site wrote in an article published three days before the onset of the US-led assault on the prison fortress: “The purpose of branding all foreign Taliban as terrorists is obvious—to justify in advance any slaughter that takes place in Kunduz or elsewhere.”

The US policy of singling out foreign-born Taliban for especially harsh treatment and trial before kangaroo courts is not only arbitrary, anti-democratic and morally reprehensible; it is illegal under the Geneva Convention. Article 3 states: “(1) Persons taking no active part in the hostilities, including members of armed forces who have laid down their arms and those placed hors de combat by sickness, wounds, detention, or any other cause, shall in all circumstances be treated humanely, without any adverse distinction founded on race, color, religion or faith, sex, birth or wealth, or any other similar criteria” (emphasis added).

Moreover, under the Convention, POWs suspected of criminal actions must continue to be treated as POWs, with all of the legal rights which that status entails, unless and until they are convicted by a military court that grants them a public trial, due process and the right to appeal. (See Articles 5, 84 and 106 of the Geneva Convention on POWs, available at http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/lawofwar/geneva03.htm). Bush’s secret military tribunals clearly violate these provisions.

Claim # 6: The United States has little or no control over the Northern Alliance’s handling of captured Taliban, and is therefore not culpable for any atrocities or illegalities that may have occurred in the siege of Qala-i-Janghi.

That American officials can make this claim with a straight face, and the media can repeat it uncritically, only underscores the cynicism and hypocrisy that pervade the US political establishment. Such assertions express contempt for international public opinion and the belief that the US can carry out the most brutal actions with impunity.

Typical of this argument were the remarks of Pentagon spokeswoman Victoria Clarke, who told reporters on November 29, “To say that we can control or dictate what the opposition groups might do is just an overstatement. We can’t.”

Another “senior Defense Department official” was quoted in the press as saying that asking Washington about the treatment of captured Taliban soldiers was “like asking me what conditions prisoners in France are being held in.”

These sophistries fly in the face of the hard fact that American forces directed and participated personally in the slaughter of POWs at the prison fortress. US special forces were on the ground, firing at semi-defenseless prisoners, and CIA personnel inside the fortress provided the spark that ignited the prisoners’ resistance. It was American missiles and bombs that killed the bulk of the POWs.

Moreover, US policy, as enunciated publicly by top Bush administration officials, set the stage for the massacre. Prior to the Taliban surrender at Kunduz, Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld made no bones about the fact that Washington was calling the shots in regard to the handling of Taliban forces. He issued repeated statements vetoing any agreement that would allow foreign Taliban to go free in return for the surrender of the city. He did so with full knowledge that the Northern Alliance commanders had only days before carried out summary executions and massacres in the taking of Mazar-i-Sharif.

Rumsfeld went further, making clear that the course of action preferred by the US was the killing of all foreign Taliban soldiers. In the week preceding the massacre at the Qala-i-Janghi fortress, he told the press the US was “not inclined to negotiate surrenders” and that he hoped what he called Al Qaeda forces would “either be killed or taken prisoner.”

On November 21, Rumsfeld was even more explicit, saying on the CBS “60 Minutes II” program he would prefer that Osama bin Laden be killed rather than taken alive. “You bet your life,” he said.

On November 20, the official spokesman for US and British forces in Afghanistan, Kenton Keith, said the US opposed any negotiated settlement at Kunduz. He then sought to disavow American responsibility for a coming massacre, saying the “coalition” was urging the Northern Alliance to treat prisoners properly. But, he added, “We are not in a position to guarantee anything.”

The implications of the remarks by Rumsfeld and other American officials were unmistakable. On November 23 the Washington Post reported widespread concern in the Middle Eastern press that Rumsfeld’s comments amounted to a “a ‘green light’ from the United States to kill so-called Afghan Arabs.” One commentator wrote, with full justification, that the Northern Alliance was being “encouraged and incited by the Americans” to wreak vengeance on captured Taliban prisoners.

In the aftermath of the massacre at Qala-i-Janghi, some human rights advocates and commentators in the international press have pointed to Rumsfeld’s remarks as evidence of US government complicity in the atrocity.

In a December 2 editorial headlined, “Bloodstained Bush,” the British-based Observer called for a full-scale international probe of the events at Mazar-i-Sharif. “Until the circumstances are investigated,” the newspaper said, “the suspicion will remain that the US is pursuing a policy of capital punishment without trial.”

The US has not concealed the fact that American Special Forces and CIA personnel are directly involved in the interrogation of captured Taliban soldiers. Since the assault on the Qala-i-Janghi fortress, Rumsfeld has repeatedly declared American opposition to any surrender of the last Taliban stronghold, Kandahar, that would allow foreign Taliban and alleged Al Qaeda forces to go free, and has demanded that the anti-Taliban commanders turn over captured Taliban leaders to the US for interrogation and possible trial.

The US posture flies in the face of another core provision of the Geneva Convention, the stipulation, laid down in Article 17, that a POW is bound to divulge only his name, rank, date of birth and serial number, and may not be coerced into giving any additional information to his captors. This right is spelled out in unambiguous terms, with the following injunction: “No physical or mental torture, nor any other form of coercion, may be inflicted on prisoners of war to secure from them information of any kind whatever. Prisoners of war who refuse to answer may not be threatened, insulted, or exposed to unpleasant or disadvantageous treatment of any kind.”

Significantly, Pentagon officials have not denied that Taliban prisoners are being subjected to torture, including those under questioning by American special forces personnel. According to a report in the November 30 Washington Post, a “senior Defense Department official” would only say that “he had not seen any information about whether the prisoners were tortured during those interrogations.”

Washington’s double standard on war crimes

American actions at the prison fortress, as is clear from the preceding analysis, violated the basic prohibitions of the Geneva Convention against murder, torture, or any form of inhumane treatment of captured soldiers. Furthermore, US policy in regard to the handling, questioning and prosecution of prisoners in the Afghan war contravenes other provisions of the Convention.

It also violates the spirit and letter of the US Department of Defense’s own guidelines, which demand adherence to the Geneva Conventions. A Defense Department directive issued in 1994 declares: “It is DoD [Department of Defense] policy that: (1) The US Military Services shall comply with the principles, spirit, and intent of the international law of war, both customary and codified, to include the Geneva Conventions.” The directive continues: “(3) Captured or detained personnel shall be accorded an appropriate legal status under international law.” It goes on to stipulate that any “suspected or alleged violations ... of the international law of war are promptly reported to the appropriate authorities and investigated...”

Another Defense Department document on the treatment of captured soldiers declares: “If there is any doubt about a captive’s status, protect him under the rules of the Geneva Conventions and the US policy until a competent tribunal can determined his status.”

The Geneva Convention of 1949 requires signatory nations to pass the necessary laws and “provide effective penal sanctions” for persons “committing, or ordering to be committed” any “grave breaches” of the Convention. Article 129 goes on to state that each signatory “shall be under the obligation to search for persons alleged to have committed, or to have ordered to be committed, such grave breaches, and shall bring such persons, regardless of their nationality, before its own courts.”

Article 130 defines “grave breaches” as those involving “willful killing, torture or inhuman treatment, including biological experiments, willfully causing great suffering or serious injury to body or health, compelling a prisoner of war to serve in the forces of a hostile Power, or willfully depriving a prisoner of war of the rights of fair and regular trial prescribed in this Convention.”

The massacre of hundreds of Taliban prisoners at the Qala-i-Janghi fortress clearly meets the legal definition of a “grave breach” of the Geneva Convention. The United States, as well as every other signatory of the Convention, is therefore legally obliged to prosecute those responsible.

There is historical precedent for prosecuting government and military officials for atrocities against prisoners of war. A major component of the indictment against German officials at the Nuremberg war crimes tribunal concerned the abuse of POWs.

The United States opposes the establishment of an International Criminal Court that would have jurisdiction over its own actions, and has in the past defied rulings against it by the international court at the Hague—for example, the court’s ruling against the US mining of Nicaraguan ports in 1984. Yet the American government is the most vociferous advocate of war crimes trials against government leaders deemed to be inimical to US capitalism’s global interests.

The US government pressed for the prosecution of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic and hailed his indictment in May of 1999 by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia as a vindication of its air war against Serbia. Yet the original indictment cited the deaths of only 346 Kosovo Albanians, alleged to have been carried out by Serb military and paramilitary forces over a four-month period. The indictment was able to cite only six incidents of multiple or mass killings.

While Serb forces were undoubtedly guilty of atrocities—as were its Kosovo Liberation Army antagonists—nothing cited by the Hague tribunal compared in either the scale of bloodletting, the number of casualties or the massive dimensions of the force employed to the bombing of the Qala-i-Janghi fortress.

In assigning responsibility for the killings in Kosovo to Milosevic, the Hague tribunal produced no direct evidence of his personal role, such as cables, minutes of meetings, directives, public statements, etc. It simply asserted that by virtue of his office as head of state, Milosevic was personally culpable.

In the present case, there is ample evidence that the events of late November outside of Mazar-i-Sharif were the outcome of US government and military policy. Certainly the public statements of Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld make him a prime candidate for prosecution as a war criminal. And inasmuch as no spokesman of the Bush administration, including the president, has repudiated Rumsfeld’s remarks, or opposed the US policy toward captured foreign Taliban soldiers, they all must be held accountable.

History forgets nothing and politics is full of surprises. World public opinion, including that in the United States, will not remain forever in its present state of ignorant stupefaction. Many journalists and media pundits who are today covering up and even lauding the war crimes instigated by US government officials will, in years to come, have a hard time explaining away what they wrote during the bloody enterprise in Afghanistan. And as for those in the administration directly responsible for what has happened, they will, sooner or later, be compelled to respond to allegations of war crimes in the appropriate legal forums.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

One thing you said makes me feel okay about this situation (for now). If the UN is looking into this then that is great. I would hope that we would welcome them to investigate our behavior with open arms. Hiding our actions in afghanistan can only do more harm than good.

I really believe that when it comes down to it, our american soldiers would refuse to carry out orders of this kind or look the other way. I like to believe the best of people until proven otherwise. If it does come out that we willfully killed people surrendering under a white flag, then I have a bone to pick with our administration.

The UN should look into this. Otherwise these news stories will fester in message boards and undermine our international integrity.

As for the CNN not reporting the bribery, I think you'd have to say that it already has been reported. When we "make deals" with top iraqi officials, we're not making them with monopoly money. So, it's not really worthy of a front page story. If this piece of information fails to make it into history books then it would be serious omission.

-DB

Link to comment
Share on other sites

OK, ASF, I have a little bit of time this morning, so let me clue you and your socialist buddies in here.

I was on the ground in Afganistan early last year. I actually got to talk to some of the Northern Alliance members before the campaign started. Nice stories they passed on. They had one guy with them that had been castrated. Know why? Because the taliban caught him in one of "their" towns trying to see his sister and Mom. Guess what happened to his Mom and sister? His sister got raped because he tried to see her( in strict accordance with the koran, I'm sure) and his Mom nearly got beaten to death for the same thing. One other guys sister got raped and killed because she didn't have her entire face properly covered in public. One guy had no front teeth because he didn't recite a koran verse properly. Almost every person had a story about the atrocities of the Taliban. Where are your socialist buddies in reporting this stuff? Why aren't you posting anything on this?

That said, we had a very minimal ground force in theater. Mostly for command and control of the Northern Alliance ground troops, who were doing most of the fighting. We actually did not have the forces necessary to stop them from taking the city of Kabal, which we asked them not to do but they did anyway. The original idea we had would have had a different outcome and would have led to more terrorist being captured, but because of the Northern Alliance actions, a lot of losers got away.

Now, as far as "POW's". As I said, we had minimal ground forces in theater. We definately did not have the resources or logistics availible for large amounts prisoners. I was not around during the roundup of a$$holes, but I do know they put them in conexs's (trailers). This was done under the control of Nothern Alliance troops, as they had the manpower to deal with it. Now, with what I wrote about in my opening, I'm quite certain the Northern guys weren't too concerned about the sanitary facilities or these guys human rights. And who better to know how to treat them than the guys who had been suffering under them for years? I'm sure had the Northern Alliance guys and their Moms and sisters been accorded basic human rights under the taliban regeime, it would have been reciprocated. In the end, I guess in an ideal world, it would have been nice to have these guys processed ( as they were recently in iraq) and sent to where ever they needed to go, but seeing and hearing first hand what kind of carnage they wrought, I have very little in the way of mercy to share with animals like that.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

ASF do you ever work?? It seems all you do is investigate all stories that are out of anyones control. Even if this is true, what good does it do to bring it up?? You make it seem this is like regular prisoners or something. War prisoners don't have the rights that normal prisoners in jails do, did you know that? It is not like you can release these guys in the public, they want YOU, me and everyone dead, they hate us, so why fight for them?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

ASF, you seem like a bright enough guy (you ARE a Skin fan), so please answer a question for me. I do not attempt to chastise ... I really want to know:

Why do you spend so much time and energy searching high and low for all things negative? From politics to war to SUVs ... everything seems to be a crusade with you. It's gotten to the point where you don't even want to live here in the US anymore. What is it that drives you to seek out and expose all the bad things ... or supposedly bad things ... about the US, it's policies and how we live here?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by Brave

ASF, you seem like a bright enough guy (you ARE a Skin fan), so please answer a question for me. I do not attempt to chastise ... I really want to know:

Why do you spend so much time and energy searching high and low for all things negative? From politics to war to SUVs ... everything seems to be a crusade with you. It's gotten to the point where you don't even want to live here in the US anymore. What is it that drives you to seek out and expose all the bad things ... or supposedly bad things ... about the US, it's policies and how we live here?

The issues you cite are all related. Three things at root deeply bother me about the U.S. -- the hijacking of our political system by special interests, the control of the mass media by external influence and corporate consolidation, and the gradual dragging of the U.S. into the endless Middle East blood wars (causing us now to be dragged into a worldwide anti-Muslim clash of civilizations). These three things are now so interwoven that they've become a single problem, and I genuinely fear they will destroy our country as a result -- through our embarking on a 1984-style "endless war" with radical loss of civil liberties.

(If you're wondering where giant SUVs fit in this, they are just a daily reminder of thoughtless U.S. arrogance, which includes the consumption of oil at highly accelerated rates without the development of alternative fuel sources, creating some of the forces that embed us in the Middle East.)

I know it's often lost in the turmoil, but I genuinely love this country. Sometimes I think I love this country more than these flag-waving cheerleaders of war. I'm keenly aware of the forces that will continue to erode and finally eliminate the essence of the "American difference", principles that are enshrined in our Constitution and Bill of Rights.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

CNN isn't even reporting the bribing of Iraqi generals (leading to the fall of Baghdad), for which there is the on-the-record testimony of the commanding U.S. general Tommy Franks.

Yeah, seriously. It's just like CNN, that bastion of conservative thought, to bury a "legitimate" story that would paint the Bush Administration in a negative light.

Hey, ASF, remember when you talked about moving to another country? When's that gonna happen? And you can you make it a country without internet access? Oh, and can you shine my balls? Thanks, I really appreciate it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

ASF,

It was well documented that many Northern Alliance factions slaughtered villagers during the Afghan civil war years before the U.S. ever got involved. (Hell, Hekmatyar used to shell Kabul on a regular basis). US forces went to great lengths to prevent the recurrence of such atrocities whenever possible. Still, there were undoubtedly revenge killings that went on it several areas, but this does not mean US involvement. Do you blame the US for the 4,000 or so revenge killings that the French committed against collaboraters at the end of WWII. You don't seem to have any kind of a grasp on the realities of military involvement. Tens of thousands of US soldiers are still not omnipotent; they can not be everywhere at all times to prevent local inhabitants from taking matters into their own hands. You failed to grasp this reality in many of your criticisms of the Iraq aftermath as well. Of course those who suffered at the hands of rogue Northern Alliance forces will jump at the chance to blame the US for any atrocities committed, and the sources you cite would be all too eager to assign the blame to us, but I do not accept at face value claims that the US was actively engaged in supporting such activities. (Lest we forget PLO supporters fabricated stories of a massacre at Jenin.)

I do not pretend nor do I expect that all US allies must be angels.

After all, the US once allied itself with Stalin - perhaps the most evil man in history - in order to rid the world of an almost equally evil and far more dangerous Hitler. Do you want to blame us for the deaths of all the Germans who surrendered at Stalingrad?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by riggo-toni

ASF,

It was well documented that many Northern Alliance factions slaughtered villagers during the Afghan civil war years before the U.S. ever got involved. (Hell, Hekmatyar used to shell Kabul on a regular basis). US forces went to great lengths to prevent the recurrence of such atrocities whenever possible. Still, there were undoubtedly revenge killings that went on it several areas, but this does not mean US involvement. Do you blame the US for the 4,000 or so revenge killings that the French committed against collaboraters at the end of WWII. You don't seem to have any kind of a grasp on the realities of military involvement. Tens of thousands of US soldiers are still not omnipotent; they can not be everywhere at all times to prevent local inhabitants from taking matters into their own hands. You failed to grasp this reality in many of your criticisms of the Iraq aftermath as well. Of course those who suffered at the hands of rogue Northern Alliance forces will jump at the chance to blame the US for any atrocities committed, and the sources you cite would be all too eager to assign the blame to us, but I do not accept at face value claims that the US was actively engaged in supporting such activities. (Lest we forget PLO supporters fabricated stories of a massacre at Jenin.)

I do not pretend nor do I expect that all US allies must be angels.

After all, the US once allied itself with Stalin - perhaps the most evil man in history - in order to rid the world of an almost equally evil and far more dangerous Hitler. Do you want to blame us for the deaths of all the Germans who surrendered at Stalingrad?

riggo-toni,

With the evidence I've seen so far, I'm somewhat less bothered by these Taliban deaths (in terms of official top-down U.S. responsibility) than I am by the Guantanamo Bay situation.

That's partly because information about the Taliban massacre is very sketchy, and it's hard to prove a top-down U.S. plan to execute Taliban prisoners. I can infer from some evidence that Rumsfeld did single out foreign-born Taliban for "special treatment" and created the conditions for some of these deaths. I suspect the top-down policy was worse, unofficially, but we will likely never have proof of that.

But more important, I do recognize your arguments here and those of Air Sarge that the Taliban could be pretty horrible themselves, and that these killings were in many cases revenge killings by the Northern Alliance. We seem to have arranged things such that one band of creeps could go medieval on another set of creeps. And I'm aware that all this happened to some degree in the fog of war, far from home, in response to a volatile situation, with limited U.S. ground resources.

The main reason I posted this at all was a follow-up to Air Sarge's comment about his preferred solution to avoid the Guantanamo Bay situation (which was to kill the prisoners before they got to Cuba). In essence, this already happened, and I think it's important that the record reflects that. Notice that I did not use language about the U.S. being "complicit" in these massacres in my thread title, which implies proof of official policy. Some of the more inflammatory articles I've seen have used headlines of this kind, and I think that's misleading. But the story is still a bleak one, and the U.S. has some degree of responsibility for the conditions it created and the killings of prisoners that resulted on its watch. And certainly on the ground in Afghanistan, I think we can conclude that the CIA and U.S. special forces elected to look the other way at a minimum -- and at one point actually called in an air strike on their own Taliban prison, killing about 600 foreign-born Taliban.

Maybe this is all for the world's good. I just would just like our debates over U.S. policies to at least be based on the actual practice of those policies, not the kind of flag-waving dream world I see on U.S. network TV.

This brings me to my point: we have a fundamental failure by our mass media to report much beyond what our government wants it to report. George Bush and his men are entitled to be as radical as they want to be. Their radicalism bothers me less than the fact that their radicalism is going unreported, which grossly distorts honest debate in the U.S.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That's partly because information about the Taliban massacre is very sketchy, and it's hard to prove a top-down U.S. plan to execute Taliban prisoners. I can infer from some evidence that Rumsfeld did single out foreign-born Taliban for "special treatment" and created the conditions for some of these deaths. I suspect the top-down policy was worse, unofficially, but we will likely never have proof of that.

Full of ****e again, ASF. NOBODY had orders to single out foreign born combatants fighting for the taliban. The Northern Alliance Afgans did this all on their own, as they took an especially dim view of arabs coming from other countries to fight against them. No one has mercy on mercenaries.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest SkinsHokie Fan

After what the Taliban did to Afghanistan they all deserve to die. They took Islam, perverted it, and used religion to slaughter and devastate a nation. They all deserve to die

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I will only add this:

I do believe that our media is "controlled" in some manner by the Government on some things. Our media is SO SO conservative compared to the media overseas. My inlaws moved to the Phillipines 2 years ago and when I talk to them, that is one thing that they have noticed.

I am sometimes amazed that we are the land of the free but we can't even see boobs on tv. In other countries, it's not as big a deal. I'm sure someone can post some stats that shows other countries have fewer sex crimes than we do here too...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree Code, that this country would be a far better place if we had more female frontal nudity on TV!!!!!!!

I remember this suntan oil commercial that used to come on when I was in Itlay. A gorgeous babe wearing nothing but a thong, rubbing suntan lotion all over her body!!!:jerkoff: :jerkoff:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by riggo-toni

I agree Code, that this country would be a far better place if we had more female frontal nudity on TV!!!!!!!

I remember this suntan oil commercial that used to come on when I was in Itlay. A gorgeous babe wearing nothing but a thong, rubbing suntan lotion all over her body!!!:jerkoff: :jerkoff:

We need to elect leaders that will give us female frontal nudity on TV...!!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...