The mainstream narrative, that alleged Las Vegas mass-shooter Stephen Paddock’s father Benjamin Paddock was a bank robber, isn’t wrong. It’s just incomplete. Other than both Paddocks being criminals in the end, there is really no link between robbing banks and mass shootings. But do Stephen and his father Benjamin Paddock have more in common? Continue reading
During campaign speeches, Donald Trump promised to kill the family members of terrorism suspects; a war-crime. Nine days after taking office, President Trump makes good on his promise. Trump follows his predecessor, Barrack Obama, down the same path by condemning an American citizen to death without allowing them their constitutionally guaranteed due process. Trump supporters cheered as he took office, excited about the possibilities now that they no longer had an enemy of freedom in the Whitehouse. This goes to show that despite the change of face in Washington, some things never change. Unfortunately, a US Serviceman, CSWO William Ryan Owens, was killed in the raid along with as many as 30 Yemenis.
Source: The Guardian
President Donald Trump personally approved a US commando raid in Yemen that left one elite serviceman dead and may have killed an eight-year-old American girl, the US military has told the Guardian.
At least 14 people died in Sunday’s raid by the elite Joint Special Operations Command, which is now the subject of a preliminary inquiry to determine if allegations of civilian deaths are sufficiently credible to merit a full investigation.
The operation was launched to gather intelligence on suspected operations by al-Qaida in the Arabian peninsula (AQAP), according to Colonel John Thomas, a spokesman for US Central Command. Planning for the raid “started months before”, under Barack Obama’s administration, but was “not previously approved”, he said.
Thomas said he did not know why the prior administration did not authorize the operation, but said the Obama administration had effectively exercised a “pocket veto” over it.
A former official said the operation had been reviewed several times, but the underlying intelligence was not judged strong enough to justify the risks, and the case was left to the incoming Trump administration to make its own judgment.
An eight-year-old girl, Nawar al-Awlaki, was killed in the raid, according to her family. Nawar, also known as Nora, is the daughter of the al-Qaida propagandist and American citizen Anwar al-Awlaki, who was killed in a September 2011 US drone strike in Yemen. Awlaki’s 16-year-old son Abdulrahman was killed in a second drone strike soon afterwards.
On the campaign trail, Trump endorsed killing relatives of terrorist suspects, which is a war crime. “The other thing with the terrorists is you have to take out their families, when you get these terrorists, you have to take out their families,” he told Fox News in December 2015.
Thomas strongly denied that US military forces knew the girl was in the compound before launching the operation, or that any of what Central Command said were an “estimated” 14 people ultimately killed in the raid were civilians. Continue reading
Alternate Source: https://vimeo.com/86611130
Each year, the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime releases a report covering opium production around the world and in Afghanistan, the world’s leading producer of illicit Opiates. Opium production within the Afghan borders has been on the rise since 2001, when the United States invaded the country and usurped Taliban control of the state (the Taliban had completely eradicated poppy production in a single year). In 2014, while yield was slightly off-peak, the land area used to grow Afghanistan’s most popular and lucrative crop has never been higher.
Poppy fields presently cover 224,000 hectares of land in the embattled country; equating to over 20% of the total cultivated land area of the country. That’s right – over 1/5 of Afghan farm land is dedicated to providing the rest of the world with opium-derived substances. To put that into perspective, consider that 224,000 hectares is enough poppy fields to fill either Israel or Haiti completely. Or almost the entirety of the smaller Caribbean Islands. New York City (78,550 hectares), one of the most populous cities in the world could be covered almost 3x over with Afghan poppy fields. In fact, New York AND Los Angeles could easily be covered in 2014’s growing area. Poppy fields are so commonplace in Afghanistan, it’s almost impossible to not have seen the pictures (more) (even more) of US Soldiers passing through waist-high Poppy during patrols over the past several years.
Despite the clarity of the UN report, when it comes to US politicians addressing the endless, costly, unjust war on drugs, everyone is seen scratching their heads like the drugs are coming from an enigmatic source in a distant galaxy. It’s clear to just about every informed person on the planet that something fishy is going on in Afghanistan. The UN report outlines where the opium is grown, who grows it, how much grows, which dates it is harvested and how it leaves the country. Despite this wealth of information, the United States, one of the predominant leaders in the international war(s)-on-ideologies (drugs & terror) has been out-smarted and out-farmed by the simple, tribal peoples of Afghanistan. Poppy fields flourish year after year, with eradication efforts declining significantly (-63% from previous year in 2014). It would seem that Afghan opium (processed into morphine, then heroin or counterfeit prescription pills for foreign markets) is a yet another problem that is not meant to be solved. Annihilating global narcotics trafficking organizations, the markets they serve and the terrorists they fund apparently isn’t a high priority. The United States would rather wait until billions in drug-profits are transformed into machine guns, bombs, RPGs and convoys of Toyotas (filled with angry, sociopathic maniacs) before they take action. Instead of tearing down fields of Poppies (something the pre-9/11 Taliban was able to accomplish in a single growing season), they send soldiers overseas to fight battles in Iraq and Afghanistan that now need to be re-fought. Narcotics profits have been the single biggest boon to terror organizations and policymakers have yet to figure out that narco-terror is a hydra who’s heads will keep regrowing unless the source of power is destroyed once and for all. Within our government, allegedly exists the top minds in law, policy, and essentially, problem-solving. Yet, when faced with the challenge of international networks of money, drugs and weapons over the past 50 years, they are made to look inept. Meanwhile, the American people look on in horror, mouths agape, wondering…”are they doing this on purpose?”
One only has to look into the history of state-complicity in drug trafficking to answer that question…but for now, look into the UNODC Afghan Opium Survey graphics. The full report is worth a read and available online, here. Continue reading
Source: The Guardian
In a war full of failures, the US counternarcotics mission in Afghanistan stands out: opiate production has climbed steadily over recent years to reach record-high levels last year.
Yet one clear winner in the anti-drug effort is not the Afghan people, but the infamous mercenary company formerly known as Blackwater.
Statistics released on Tuesday reveal that the rebranded private security firm, known since 2011 as Academi, reaped over a quarter billion dollars from the futile Defense Department push to eradicate Afghan narcotics, some 21% of the $1.5 bn in contracting money the Pentagon has devoted to the job since 2002.
After years of denial, the UN Office of Drug Control Policy finally admits that Afghan Opium is supplying US markets.
ast Africa is becoming a major transit point for heroin from Afghanistan, especially for shipments to Europe.
Most of it still takes an established path known as the “Balkan route” through Iran and southeast Europe, Reuters reports. Recent seizures along the Kenyan and Tanzanian coastlines, however, point to a “southern route.”
Between 2002 and 2011, Africa was sporadically identified as an origin for heroin reaching Europe. In 2012, however, East Africa became a prominent spot, according to the UN.
Afghanistan is the source of 80% of the world’s illicit opium products, according to The United Nations’ 2014 World Drug Report.
Afghan opium cultivation has increased by 7% from 2013 to 2014 and production increased as much as 17% over the same period, the UN reported in November. “Authorities “are worried that a record opium harvest in Afghanistan will flood global heroin markets this year,” Reuters also notes.
Map covering the drug trafficking through the Middle East. (photo: UNODC)
The US Drug and Enforcement Agency has spent years chasing after one organization, known as “Akasha,” responsible for the production and distribution of huge amounts of narcotics in Africa, according to Reuters.
Increased drug trafficking could destabilize the already volatile region, Western officials say, fearing a repeat of what happened in Guinea-Bissau, Africa’s first “narco state.”
Adding to the global nature of the problem, opiates and opioids, like heroin, top the list of drugs that cause the most disease and drug-related deaths, according to the UN.