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Afghanistan

Osama bin Laden is dead – but US imperialism’s worldwide war lives on

The following article is the editorial for the upcoming edition of ML Update. It is posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission.

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By the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation

May 7, 2011 -- The US has proclaimed its success in its decade-long hunt for Osama bin Laden, culminating in the killing of bin Laden by US military operatives in a house in Abbotabad in Pakistan. As the televised triumphalism and images of hyper-nationalist celebrations in the US fade, however, Washington's heroic narrative is being subjected to uncomfortable questions.       

Ironically, Osama bin Laden’s death has come, not in the wake of 9/11 when he was at the peak of his strength, but at a time when bin Laden and his al Qaeda were effectively sidelined in an Arab world that is witnessing a democratic awakening and upsurge. This fact too robs the US narrative of some of its sheen.

David Hicks' Guantanamo nightmare

Review by Coral Wynter

Guantanamo: My Journey
By David Hicks
William Heinemann, 2010

February 25, 2011 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Everyone who is curious about David Hicks and his imprisonment at the US concentration camp at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba for six years, should read this book.

It is an honest account of Hicks’ life as a youngster and his torture at the hands of the US army. Contrary to what many of the mainstream reviews of Guantanamo: My Journey assert, Hicks goes into a lot of detail about why and how he first ended up in Pakistan, and then Afghanistan. He explains, in detail, the circumstances of how he became trapped in Afghanistan and his attempts to get back his Australian passport to be able to return home to Adelaide.

Hicks was like so many teenagers looking for adventure. He was also a confused young man, coming from a broken home when he was just nine years old and finding it difficult to find his place in his second family with his stepmother and stepbrothers.

Wikileaks: Don't forget Bradley Manning -- US detains accused whistleblower in inhumane conditions

Graphic from CourageToResist.org.

December 15, 2010 -- Salon -- Bradley Manning, the 22-year-old US Army private accused of leaking classified documents to WikiLeaks, has never been convicted of that crime, nor of any other crime. Despite that, he has been detained at the US Marine brig in Quantico, Virginia for five months -- and for two months before that in a military jail in Kuwait -- under conditions that constitute cruel and inhumane treatment and, by the standards of many nations, even torture. Interviews with several people directly familiar with the conditions of Manning's detention, ultimately including a Quantico brig official (Lt. Brian Villiard), who confirmed much of what they conveyed, establishes that the accused leaker is subject to detention conditions likely to create long-term psychological injuries.

Defend Wikileaks and Julian Assange! Australia should break the military alliance with US!

Julian Assange.

By the Socialist Alliance (Australia)

December 7, 2010 -- "The Australian government should defend and support Wikileaks and its founder Julian Assange and their efforts to expose the lies, duplicities and outright crimes of the US government and its allies", said Peter Boyle, national convener of the Socialist Alliance on December 7.

"We condemn the Australian government for collaborating with the US government in hunting Julian Assange down. The exposure of classified US government cables and other material by Wikileaks is an enormous plus for all those who are fighting for truth and democracy, and against war and exploitation. Wikileaks and Assange deserve our strongest support.

Message to the US -- Blame the wars, not China

By Paul Kellogg

December 2, 2010 -- PolEconAnalysis -- There is a growing chorus of voices in the media and the academy singling out the actions of the Chinese state as central to the dilemmas of the world economy. This focus finds its most articulate presentations, not in the xenophobia of the right, but in the polite analysis of many left-liberals.

Paul Krugman, for instance, writing in the run-up to November’s G20 summit in South Korea, praised the United States’ approach of creating money out of nothing (“quantitative easing”) as being helpful to the world economy, and criticised the Chinese state’s attempts to keep its currency weak as being harmful. “The policies of these two nations are not at all equivalent”, he argues, adding his influential voice to the chorus which is increasingly targeting China for the world’s woes.[1] Krugman’s, however, is a simplistic analysis which overlooks the role of the US over decades in creating huge imbalances in the world economy, and has the dangerous effect of scapegoating one of the poorest nations of the world (China) for the problems created by the world’s richest.

Malalai Joya interviewed: US occupation making Afghan lives worse

More than 50 people listened to Afghan democracy activist, Malalai Joya (pictured second from left) call on the Australian government to withdraw its troops at a November 12 anti-war vigil in Melbourne. The protest included a spontaneous "die-in" and was also addressed by Chip Henriss from Stand Fast and Dr Richard Tanter at the RMIT Nautilus Institute. Photo: Chip Henriss.

Sunday, November 14, 2010 -- Green Left Weekly -- Malalai Joya is an Afghan feminist and anti-war activist who opposes the US-led occupation of her country. An opponent of both the Islamic fundamentalist Taliban and the equally fundamentalist and corrupt warlords in the US-backed regime of President Hamid Karzai, Joya was the youngest member elected to Afghan parliament in 2005. She was suspended after she said the parliament was full of warlords. Joya is touring Australia.

India: Protest Barack Obama's visit -- `US hands off India, hands off Asia!'

Statement by All India Left Coordination

November 2010 – Liberation – US President Barack Obama’s forthcoming visit to India this November [6-9] will inaugurate a new chapter in the "strategic partnership" between US imperialism and India’s ruling class. As people of India, let us examine the interests that the US president represents and the implications of his visit for India.

Barack Obama became president of the United States because he represented, for the people of the US as well of the world, a promise of "change" – change from the imperialist policies of the Bush regime that had imposed wars, occupations and economic crisis on the world.

Scottish Socialist Party: `Not a matter of "if" the people will resist, but "when", "how" and "where"'

By Colin Fox

October 21, 2010 -- The British people have a long and proud history of defeating repression, tyranny and injustice. They stood up to Hitler in World War II and defeated Thatcher's poll tax in 1991 by invoking an inspiring spirit of resistance against seemingly insurmountable forces. And it’s just a well because they need to call on those traditions once again to defeat those behind the unprecedented and brutal cuts proposed for our public services.

When you stand back from discussions like the one BBC Scotland broadcast on October 14 in which Glen Campbell quizzed an invited studio audience on where the axe should fall you realise there’s an enormous injustice at the heart of this debate. It is the people, the masses, the vast majority, who are being forced by the elite, the rich, landowners, factory owners, bank owners and those who "own" our politicians to pay for this crisis. As usual the hired "commentariat" cannot see "the wood for the trees". They are apparently oblivious to the fact the victims of this economic crime are again being punished by its perpetrators.

South Asia: A regional `new politics' needed to challenge neoliberal agenda

 
October 14, 2010 -- Fisherfolk rally for debt cancellation, Karachi.

By Farooq Tariq

October 2, 2010 -- The recent devastating flood, affecting the lives of more than 20 million people in Pakistan, has once again revealed the severe poverty that people of Pakistan are facing. The only property that many hundreds of thousands were left with after fleeing their mud homes perhaps was just a trunk, few clothes and pottery and may be a donkey, cow or a buffalo.

Afghanistan: Malalai Joya -- `for our people, Obama is a warmonger, like another Bush'

Malalai Joya visits a girls' school in Farah province in Afghanistan. Photo: AfghanKabul.

By Malalai Joya

October 10, 2010 -- rabble.ca -- In the United States, many looked to the ballot box and hoped for real change when Barack Obama was elected president in 2008.

To be honest, I never expected that he would be any different for Afghanistan than President George W. Bush. The truth is that Obama's war policies have turned out to be even more of a nightmare than most people expected. Obama talked a lot about hope and change, but for Afghanistan the only change has been for the worse.

After almost two years of Obama, the number of US troops occupying Afghanistan has more than doubled. And the number of drone attacks in Pakistan has increased. Obama's so-called surge of troops has resulted in increased Afghan civilian deaths.

The documents released by Wikileaks prove what we have been saying about war in Afghanistan. There are more massacres by NATO forces than they wanted us to believe. Now the whole world should know this war is a disaster.

War on Afghanistan: a crime against humanity


Made with Slideshow Embed Tool
Sydney protest rally to mark the ninth anniversary of the US-led invasion of Afghanistan, held on October 8, 2010. Organised by Sydney Stop The War Coalition. Photos by Peter Boyle.

Statement by the Socialist Alliance (Australia) national executive

October 8, 2010 -- On October 17, 2001 the Australian government deployed troops to Afghanistan, just nine days after the US had begun bombing one of the most poverty-stricken and war-weary countries on Earth.

Australia: Interview with new Greens MP Adam Bandt: 'I'll give a voice to the social movements'

Greens MP Adam Bandt.

Adam Bandt interviewed by Jody Betzien

September 2, 2010 -- Green Left Weekly --  Adam Bandt, the Australian Greens' MP elect for the seat of Melbourne (long considered a “safe Labor seat”), and the Greens' first House of Representatives member to be elected in a general election has been very busy since the August 21 election. He says he left the triumphant Greens' election night party at 11pm thinking that he would have to do some media the next day so should get a good night's sleep. He woke up the next morning and after a couple of hours having coffee and reading the paper, the situation sunk in. “And that was the last two hours I've had to myself since”, he told Green Left Weekly in a wide-ranging interview conducted on September 2.

Pakistan: The flood disaster and the way out


By the Labour Party Pakistan (Karachi) and the National Trade Union Federation

August 20, 2010 -- The recent floods represent the worst disaster in Pakistan’s history. The country has been devastated from the northern areas to its southern tip. The state, stripped of its capacity to meet peoples’ needs by neoliberalism and militarism alike, has been found wanting—both in its longstanding failure to maintain existing infrastructure, and in its response to the calamity.

The grassroots relief efforts that have emerged across the country are heartening, but a crisis of this magnitude can only be handled by an institution with the resources and reach of the federal government. As in all disasters, the assistance of the military will be necessary—but this must be subject to civilian oversight, and must not be exploited to glorify the army at the expense of the government. The military’s relative strength is a direct legacy of pro-amy federal budgets, and we remember too well the failures of the Musharraf government in 2005.

Afghans mark Independence Day with anti-occupation protests

Afghan villagers gather at a house which was destroyed during US air raids in the Tagab Valley village of Inzeri, in Kapisa province, Afghanistan.

By Derrick O'Keefe

Rabble.ca -- August 19, 2010 marks 91 years since Afghanistan gained its freedom from the British empire, following three bloody wars of independence. US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton has issued a video statement to mark the occasion. It's worth watching or reading the text in full, if only to appreciate the new empire's irony-laden platitudes.

This August 19th, on behalf of President Obama and the American people, I want to congratulate the people of Afghanistan on 91 years of independence.

Banning the veil: Rights of women or anti-Islamic racism and communalism?

July 21, 2010 -- On July 13, the parliament of France, on the eve of Bastille Day, voted 335 to one in favour of preventing Muslim women wearing a full face-covering veil in public. The July 13 Le Monde said the new law was strongly supported by the right. The Socialist Party, Communist Party (PCF) and Green Party abstained. Anyone who chooses to wear a face covering on religious grounds now faces a fine of 150 euros or a “citizenship course”. The law does not come into effect until spring 2011 to allow a period of “education”. There is also a year in prison and a fine of 30,000 euros for anyone found guilty of forcing a woman to wear a veil, a penalty which is doubled if the “victim is a minor”.

Earlier this year, the Indian organisation Radical Socialist issued a statement taking up this wave of Islamophobic legislation in Europe.

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Statement by the Radical Socialist organisation, India

Timor Leste and Australian activists reject Australian government's racist refugee policy

Statement by Luta Hamutuk, Timor-Leste Institute for Research, Advocacy and Campaigns

Dili, July 7, 2010 -- According to Australian foreign affairs policy announced by the Australian prime minister in Sydney recently and published by a range of media, including the Indonesian newspaper the Java Post, “Prime Minister (PM) Julia Gillard has tightened Australia immigration law. Not wanting to be bothered by the economic and social problems caused by asylum seekers, the Australian leader plans to build a detention center for asylum seekers in Timor-Leste” As quoted by Associated Press (Java Post, 07/07/2010).  

The above statement shows how Australian foreign policy contains “racist characteristics” toward Timor Leste and the region.

Luta Hamutuk's position

Luta Hamutuk, as a member of civil society in Timor Leste, would like to declare our position on this statement as follows:

Tariq Ali: Afghanistan -- `Obama’s war'

By Tariq Ali

[The following talk was given on April 19, 2010, to mark the 30th anniversary of the London Review of Books. It first appeared at Guernica /a magazine of art and politics. It is posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with Guernica's permission.]

Afghanistan now is at a critical stage. And now I’m very glad to say that the London Review of Books, whose thirtieth anniversary we are commemorating, has over the years published myself and others on this subject, taking essentially a critical stance to this war because, as many of you will recall, it became fashionable all over the world, not just in the United States, to think of Iraq and Afghanistan as two very different wars. Which of course, on one level, they are. But I mean different moral values were placed on these wars by good-thinking people. The Iraq war was a bad war, which should never have happened; that is the view of large numbers of people in the United States today, and always was the view of an overwhelming majority of Europeans.

Afghanistan: Exiled members of the former People's Democratic Party return to refound party

By John Bachtell

March 17, 2010 -- People's World -- In a potentially important development, exiled members of the former People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan are returning to the country to re-found the organisation. They plan to hold a congress in Kabul later this year and rename the organisation the Democratic Party of Afghanistan.

The PDPA was the ruling party that led the country on a path of socialism before being ousted from power in 1992 by the US government-backed Taliban. Thousands of PDPA members were slaughtered or driven into exile where they have functioned over the years as scattered groups.

Exiled members met recently in Germany to unite their ranks and agree on an approach to reestablishing a legal political party on Afghanistan soil.

"The main goal is to return to Afghanistan and bring a situation of peace and stability in the region", said Dr. Zalmay Gulzad, professor of social sciences at Harold Washington Community College in Chicago. Gulzad was born in Afghanistan and came to the US as a student in 1971 and stayed. "Once peace is achieved the movement will evolve into different stages."

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