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Entries in Afghanistan (16)


Iraq, Afghanistan, and Beyond Audio: Bradley Manning Tells Court Why He Gave Documents to Wikileaks

In a pre-trial hearing on 28 February in military court, Private Bradley Manning --- detained since May 2010 --- explains why he passed videos and hundreds of thousands of documents to WikiLeaks.

At the hearing, Manning pled guilty to 10 reduced charges;h however, the Government said it will pursue all 22 original counts, including aiding the enemy --- which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison --- and espionage. The trial begina in June.

The unofficial transcript of the remarks has also been posted.

An extract from the testimony, in which Manning describes one of the leaked videos, showing US military fire killing civilians and journalists in Iraq in 2007:


US Politics Video and Transcript: President Obama's State of the Union Address

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, members of Congress, fellow Americans, 51 years ago, John F. Kennedy declared to this chamber that “the Constitution makes us not rivals for power, but partners for progress.”


“It is my task,” he said, “to report the state of the union. To improve it is the task of us all.”

Tonight, thanks to the grit and determination of the American people, there is much progress to report. After a decade of grinding war, our brave men and women in uniform are coming home.


After years of grueling recession, our businesses have created over 6 million new jobs. We buy more American cars than we have in five years and less foreign oil than we have in 20.

Click to read more ...


US Feature: General Petraeus and the Kagans --- How "Private Analysts" Become "De Facto Military Advisors"

Kimberly Kagan backs increased US military forces in Afghanistan, June 2010: "We can reverse the Taliban's momentum"

Petraeus allowed his biographer-turned-paramour, Paula Broadwell, to read sensitive documents and accompany him on trips. But the entree granted the Kagans, whose think-tank work has been embraced by Republican politicians, went even further. The four-star general made the Kagans de facto senior advisers, a status that afforded them numerous private meetings in his office, priority travel across the war zone and the ability to read highly secretive transcripts of intercepted Taliban communications, according to current and former senior U.S. military and civilian officials who served in the headquarters at the time.

The Kagans used those privileges to advocate substantive changes in the U.S. war plan, including a harder-edged approach than some U.S. officers advocated in combating the Haqqani network, a Taliban faction in eastern Afghanistan, the officials said.

The pro-bono relationship, which is now being scrutinized by military lawyers, yielded valuable benefits for the general and the couple.

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EA Video Analysis: The Real Story of General David Petraeus

Forget the sex scandal that brought him down. This is the reason why we should remember General David Petraeus --- a man whose ambition and supporters led to the exaggeration of military "success" and the corruption of US foreign policy.


Iran Interview and Analysis: Ahmadinejad's Show Begins with Washington Post --- An Easy Ride on Nukes, And Nothing on Human Rights

An extract from Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's interview with Piers Morgan of CNN

Perhaps most striking is the Washington Post interview is the lack of concern with any developments inside Iran, and thus any consideration that these may be linked to the Islamic Republic's foreign policy. There is nothing here on the economic situation, nothing on the political manoeuvring within the system, nothing about the 2013 Presidential election, and --- perhaps inevitably --- nothing about the post-2009 repression and human rights.

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The Latest from Iran (23 July): Picking A Fight Over an Ahmadinejad Advisor?

See also The Latest from Iran (22 July): Trying to Fix the Economy for Ramadan

1956 GMT: Stay at Home Watch. The Ministry of Culture has banned billboards advertising foreign travel, except for pilgrimages.

1946 GMT: Protest Watch. More on the demonstration over high prices, especially for food, in Neyshabour in northeastern Iran --- ISNA reports that the low number of subsidised chickens stirred the protest and that the head of the Industry & Trade Bureau has promised more will be delivered. The local chief of police attended the gathering as well and assured the crowd that he would report their demands to authorities.

The blog that originally reported the protest has now withdrawn the news and pictures.

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Turkey Live Coverage (14 June): Accusations and Struggle on the Kurdish Issue

1720 GMT: US Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs José Fernandez has said that there is still room to expand the bilateral commercial ties even after a record 34 percent jump in bilateral trade volume last year. According to Fernandez:

The question is whether ties will be good or really good. Currently there are a number of areas where we cooperate very well, but now we’re thinking about how we can help expand and improve bilateral ties. 

One of our chief projects has been helping İstanbul achieve its ambitions to become a major financial center. We’re getting them in touch with members of the Securities and Exchange Commission, showing them the regulations, so they can see how it works. 

1640 GMT: Four members of PKK were killed by security forces in the district Idil of the eastern province of Sirnak after they had been spotted crossing the Turkish border from Syria.

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The Latest from Iran (3 April): Protesting Discrimination

Young Iranian men criticise racism against Afghans, with one of the signs declaring, "I am also an Afghan" (see 0610 GMT)

See also The Latest from Iran (2 April): Talking About Oil

1840 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Student activist Peyman Aref has been released from prison.

Aref, held on six occasions since the disputed 2009 Presidential election, was released in October 2011 after serving a year and receiving 74 lashes, but he was seized again in mid-March.

1805 GMT: Tough Talk of the Day. Masoud Jayazeri, the deputy head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has declared, "In the face of any attack, we will have a crushing response. In that case, we will not only act in the boundaries of the Middle East and the Persian Gulf, no place in America will be safe from our attacks."

Jayazeri added that Iran would not strike any country first.

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The Latest from Iran (26 March): Ahmadinejad Grabs the Spotlight

President Ahmadinejad with Afghan President Karzai (left) and Tajik President Rahmon (right)

See also The Latest from Iran (25 March): Expanding the Sanctions

2050 GMT: Nuclear Watch. If true, this Associated Press report does not bode well for the resumption of talks on 13 April over Iran's uranium enrichment:

[Diplomats say] sensibilities generated by failed previous rounds and disputes on what should be discussed are keeping them from finding a venue.

They say the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China oppose Iran's choice of Istanbul because the last round of talks there 14 months ago ended in failure.

They say Iran, in turn, rejects Vienna because it is home to the International Atomic Energy Agency, which is trying to probe allegations Tehran secretly worked on nuclear weapons.

The diplomats said Monday other venues are still being discussed and the start of the talks is not in jeopardy.

(For what's it worth, I think this is posturing and the talks will go ahead in Istanbul --- if not, this would be a slap in the face by the US and allies to Turkey, as it tries to elevate its broker's role in international affairs.)

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Journalism Feature: Marie Colvin Remembered --- "To Report These Horrors of War With Accuracy and Without Prejudice"

Marie Colvin, Chechnya, 1999

Our mission is to report these horrors of war with accuracy and without prejudice. We always have to ask ourselves whether the level of risk is worth the story. What is bravery, and what is bravado?

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