Soros Foundation Wants Photographers To Further Color-Revolution Agenda In Central Asia and Caucasus

The Soros Foundation announces next grant opportunity for documentary photographers from Central Asia

Ferghana

“The project in the field of documentary photography “and “Program for Arts and Culture ‘ Open Society Institute announced a new grant opportunity for documentary photographers and opportunities for participation in the training program.

Invited photographers from Central Asia, South Caucasus, Afghanistan, Mongolia and Pakistan. According to a release, “the grant is provided for visual documentation of issues of importance in the region, as well as to provide training and support photographers from the region.”

Organizers of the project called themes, preferred for the photo essay: women’s rights, sexual and reproductive health, ethnic minorities, migration, including migrant workers, the detention of migrants, returned migrants, border control, migrant children and abandoned children, migrant workers from the Central Asian republics in Russia; rights of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender), statelessness and citizenship pre-trial detention, including ill-treatment in detention, war crimes and crimes against humanity, freedom of religion, climate change and environmental issues, urban renewal and transformation, issues of public health; palliative care, substance abuse and drug policies, human resource development and exploitation, violence against women, ethnic and regional integration, youth activity, and the rights of people with disabilities.

Organizers note that it is possible to submit proposals, and on topics not included in this list.

Ten people whose application for participation in the project will be selected for scholarships will be awarded U.S. $ 3,500 and the opportunity to participate in two seminars for professional photographers, “the visual narrative by means of photography and multimedia.” It is assumed that each grantee must create a photo essay on a topical theme, or human rights or the social life of the region. Seminars will be conducted by recognized professionals, who together will be in six months “supervise” the work of scholars. Where will the workshops be held, is still unknown. Participants of previous projects have met in Tbilisi (Georgia) and Istanbul (Turkey). All travel and hotel expenses paid for funds, “Open Society”, including per diem and incidental expenses for the seminars.

The project will begin in November 2012 and be completed in June 2013. However, the application must pass before 17.00 CET 10 May 2012.

Remember Rachel Corrie–(March 16, 2003)

Rachel Corrie, Truth is no more Invisible

Eslam al-Rihani
“We are protecting civilians. We are unarmed. We are no threat to you. Please do not shoot.”Rachel Corrie

Rachel Corrie with her colleaugues of Inernational Solidarity Movement in GazaOn , in the town of Rafah in southern Gaza, an “international peace protester,” dropped to her knees in front of an Israeli bulldozer. She expected it to stop, but it kept moving, trapping her under its tracks.

For those who don’t recall, Rachel Corrie was a 23-year-old American peace activist killed in 2003 while attempting to block a Zionist military bulldozer. Corrie arrived in the occupied territories as part of an independent study program during her senior year at Evergreen State College. It was there that Corrie first heard of going to Gaza with the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) amid the height of the second intifada.

“Sometimes I sit down to dinner with people and I realize there is a massive military machine surrounding us, trying to kill the people I’m having dinner with.”Rachel Corrie

During her stay in Gaza, Corrie offered assistance to the Palestinian families and children of Gaza. Her life ended when she tried, along with her colleagues, to prevent the razing of Dr. Samir Nasrallah’s house, acting as human shields against the ‘Israeli’ tanks and bulldozers clearing a security zone around the border. Almost every other structure in the area had been knocked down in recent months.

On that day, March 16, two ‘Israeli’ occupation army bulldozers and a tank were present in the place. For a period of two hours, the activists played ‘cat and mouse’, attempting to prevent the illegal demolitions by physically blocking the passage of the two bulldozers.

“Follow your dreams, believe in yourself and don’t give up.”Rachel Corrie

On that day, Corrie was able to get away from the criminal bulldozer. Yet, she refused to allow that huge body to swallow memories of a whole family. She decided to sacrifice her body for others’ survival.

Rachel Corrie suffered the moment her blood was mixed with the soil of Gaza. She felt the buried dreams of the Palestinians killed in Rafah and families displaced.

After all, Rachel Corrie murdered for her sins, she was pro-humanity activist !!

 

Rachel Corrie

Rachel Corrie

Rachel Corrie

Rachel Corrie

 

Source: Al-Manar

more about “Rachel Corrie Death Scene“, posted with vodpod

Dialogue for Syria, Justice for Bahrain, Freedom for Palestine

Sayyed Nasrallah: Dialogue for Syria, Justice for Bahrain, Freedom for Palestine

Sayyed Nasrallah during the inauguration ceremony of Sayyeda Zeinab (AS) complex in Southern Suburbs of the Lebanese capital of Beirut FridayStressing that the people of Bahrain is an Arab people insisting on the peaceful option but being killed every day, Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah said that the option of foreign military intervention in Syria was clearly no longer an issue.

During the inauguration ceremony of Sayyeda Zeinab (AS) complex in Southern Suburbs of the Lebanese capital of Beirut Friday, Sayyed Nasrallah stated that “the situation in Syria requires a political solution which Hezbollah was calling for since the first day of the crisis.

“UN envoy Kofi Annan’s act in Syria was not based on the Arab League initiative, which means that the option of foreign military intervention in Syria was clearly no longer an issue,” his eminence said.

Sayyed Nasrallah added that only a political solution could resolve the crisis in Syria.

“The political solution is based on two things: dialogue between the regime and the opposition, and reforms.”

Audience during the inauguration ceremony of Sayyeda Zeinab (AS) complex in Southern Suburbs of the Lebanese capital of Beirut Friday“Anything else is neither in the interest of Syria and its people nor in the interest of Palestine. It would be only in Israel’s interest and in the interests of those who want to push the region towards total chaos, which is sought by the Americans,” he warned.

His eminence noted that “there is a decline in the international situation affected the by the status on ground, where the armed opposition is unable to bring down the regime.”

“The bid to overthrow the Syrian regime militarily has failed and has significant costs,” he said.

His eminence also ruled out any “foreign military intervention” in the country, saying the U.S. is “weaker than being able” to engage in a military action against Syria given that “they were defeated in Iraq and are facing a dire situation in Afghanistan.”

Moving to the revolution in Bahrain, Sayyed Nasrallah pointed out that “it is normal for Syria to receive regional and international attention, where three summits were held yesterday while the world’s high-influence countries sat on the table, but it is abnormal and rather condemned that the issue of Bahrain is being overlooked.”

Sayyed Nasrallah during the inauguration ceremony of Sayyeda Zeinab (AS) complex in Southern Suburbs of the Lebanese capital of Beirut Friday“What’s happening in Bahrain is a national tragedy, as there are hundreds of people who are demonstrating and people who are demanding a peaceful solution are being killed every day,” Nasrallah said, accusing the Bahraini regime of “hiring mercenaries” and firing “poisonous gases” against “homes, women and children.”

“This is a type of premeditated murder (with lethal gas bombs),” Sayyed Nasrallah said, adding “this ignorance increases the injustice, but will not affect the morale and determination of the Bahraini people who suffer this situation since the start of their revolutiond.”

On Land Day, his eminence noted that it is one of Palestine’s and al-Quds (Jerusalem) days.

“This commemoration has a great significance for it expresses the adherence to Right, Cause, Land and Holy Sites.”

Sayyed Nasrallah believed that Israel is mocking the Arab world and Arab summits with its tendency to seize more pieces of West Bank territory, noting that Palestine remained the first priority due to many factors, particularly the factor of resistance “which kept this cause alive till today.”

“All attempts to root out the Palestinian cause had been failed, despite spending millions of dollars for that purpose,” he stressed, even though “occupiers and conspires want the Palestinian people and our nation to forget Palestine and to give up to this de facto.”

Audience during the inauguration ceremony of Sayyeda Zeinab (AS) complex in Southern Suburbs of the Lebanese capital of Beirut FridayHis eminence made clear that “the nation does not shoulder responsibility even though it is able to achieve victories. It has significant potential to easily retrieve Palestine and al-Quds.”

Sayyed Nasrallah expressed believes that the future of our region is the future of resistance ideology.

Turning to local affairs, Hezbollah Secretary General said that the government must “work night and day” and in a “serious” manner even if its survival depended on the political factors and the developments in Syria, calling on some parties to “reevaluate” their calculations “given that the general course of things in Syria has become clear.”

“It is true that there are some details and problems and that the security situation needs some time (to return to normalcy) in Syria … but the inclination is clear and thus there’s no need for futile bets,” his eminence said during his televised speech.

Sayyed Nasrallah during the inauguration ceremony of Sayyeda Zeinab (AS) complex in Southern Suburbs of the Lebanese capital of Beirut Friday“This reevaluation would leave an impact on the internal situations in Lebanon,” he added.

Sayyed Nasrallah stressed that “the government’s survival is in the interest of the country’s security and stability,” calling on the government to be “productive.”

He noted that the rival camp’s “bets on the government’s failure are futile,” adding that “politics topple and make governments in Lebanon.”

“This government must make achievements and must work night and day, even if there is a vote of confidence tomorrow,” he went on to say.

“Politically speaking, the government will survive and that is not because Hezbollah wants it to survive. This is untrue. The political factors and the events in Syria are going in that direction and this is what indicates that the government will stay,” Sayyed Nasrallah added.

His eminence called on the government to shoulder its responsibilities to tackle people’s livelihood issues, concerning “their security, dignity, finances and health.”

 

Source: Al-Manar

Iran/Israel locked in Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD) deterrence status

Iran/Israel locked in Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD) deterrence status

Franklin Lamb
…and it’s potentially beneficial for peace in the region
Beirut

Hezbollah
Israel Worried Over Syrian Hezbollah Missiles – Haaretz

Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD), the doctrine  of military strategy and national security policy in which a full-scale use of high-yield weapons  by two opposing sides would effectively result in the potential  annihilation of both the attacker and the defender becoming thus a war that has no victor but only reciprocal destruction is, increasingly becoming relevant in Iran/Israel relations. guns

MAD is based on the theory of deterrence according to which the deployment, and implicit menace of use, of massive weapons is essential to threaten the enemy in order to prevent the use by said-enemy of the same weapons against oneself. The strategy is a form of the famed mathematician, John Forbes Nash (“A beautiful Mind”) equilibrium in which neither side, once armed, has any rational incentive either to initiate a conflict or to disarm. The Mad Doctrine assumes that each side has enough weaponry and military tenacity among its forces to destroy the other side.  That being the case, if either side is attacked for any reason by the other, the country attacked would retaliate without fail with equal or greater force.

BombsSome Pentagon analysts with much experience with MAD as part of U.S. and USSR strategic doctrine during the cold war believe that continuing Israel aggression and even nuclear war in the Middle East could best be prevented if neither Iran nor Israel could expect to survive a full-scale exchange as a functioning state. Although the Cold War ended in the early 1990s, the doctrine of Mutual Assured Destruction continues to apply and increasingly between Israel and Iran.

In recent months “the imminent threat” of Iran has become shriller from the U.S, Israel and its “international community” allies.  The people of the world on the other hand are increasingly viewing Iran’s strong military position rather differently.  This is true not only among Middle Eastern countries but also among the 120 member nonaligned countries that support Iran’s right to enrich uranium. An opinion survey conducted by WorldPublicOpinion.org  is also reporting this week that a record high 75% of the American public favors an immediate withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan and a majority do not view Iran as a threat.Noam Chomsky

As pointed out recently by Professor Noam Chomsky, Europeans regard Israel, not Iran as the greatest threat to world peace and are worried about the dangers it poses in the Middle East. The survey concludes that while Iran is disliked by some Arab regimes but seen as a threat only by a very small minority. Israel and the U.S. are regarded as the pre-eminent threat. A majority think that the region would be more secure if Iran had nuclear weapons: In Egypt on the eve of the Arab Spring, 90 percent held this opinion, according to Brookings Institution/Zogby International polls. Moreover, China and Russia oppose U.S. policy on Iran, as does India, which announced that it would disregard U.S. sanctions and increase trade with Iran. Turkey has followed a similar course. Their populations tend to favor a strong Iran as deterrence to Israel’s history of aggression.

There is little credible discussion of just what constitutes the Iranian threat, though we do have an authoritative answer, provided by U.S. military and intelligence. Their presentations to Congress make it clear that Iran doesn’t pose a military threat.

Ahmadinejad
Ahmadinejad aboard the 15th Fleet’s submarine

In numerous presentation to Congress by U.S. military and intelligence its strategic doctrine is defensive, designed to deter invasion long enough for diplomacy to take effect. If Iran is developing nuclear weapons (which is still undetermined), that would be part of its deterrent strategy.

The understanding of serious Israeli and U.S. analysts is expressed clearly by 30-year CIA veteran Bruce Riedel, who said in January, “If I was an Iranian national security planner, I would want nuclear weapons” as a deterrent.

One pillar of the current mutual deterrence status between the growing Resistance alliances confronting Israel is the weapons ambiguity of Hezbollah.  During Israel’s 5th war against Lebanon in July 2006, the National Lebanese Resistance led by Hezbollah is widely known, for a variety of reasons including suggestions from allies, including Iran, to have held back on using its most devastating weapon (s).  This is unlikely to the case in the next war.

Syria also did not contribute to its allies her most powerful weapons in 2006 and it remains unclear which of its current weapon systems would be available to its allies to be used against Israel given the current uncertainty in Syria.

ant-aircraftAssad with PutinAccording to Israeli officials, hundreds of Hezbollah fighters have been receiving training in the use of advanced anti-aircraft weapons in Syria and Iran in recent months; in a development the Israeli military says absolutely jeopardizes its aerial supremacy. Russia also sent Syria other modern antiaircraft missiles last year, including about 40 SA-17 Grizzly missiles and two medium-range SA-17 Buk systems, according to SIPRI.MiG-29

In addition, Israel believes Russia has recently delivered upgraded versions of the MiG-29 combat aircraft to Syria and has upgraded hundreds of T-72 tanks every year since 2007, fitting them with far more modern weapons and that National Lebanese Resistance fighters led by Hezbollah have been training on these weapons.

Tactical ambiguity about Resistance weapons and exactly which weapons of mass destruction may have been placed along Israel’s borders and aimed at key military centers has led to more frequent Israeli movements along the northern border of occupied Palestine with Lebanon and on the Golan heights. Rumors range from nuclear weapons to “dirty bombs.” What exactly is the truth adds credence to the growing deterrence status between Iran and Israel.

The understanding of serious Israeli and U.S. analysts was expressed recently by 30-year CIA veteran Bruce Riedel, who testified in January, “If I was an Iranian national security planner, I would want nuclear weapons” as a deterrent.

Ahmad VahidiLast month, Iranian Deputy Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi invoked Iran’s deterrence doctrine in warning Israel against mounting such an attack on Iran: “Any act by the Zionist regime against Iran will bring about its destruction.”

Speaking at a ceremony honoring past Hezbollah commanders, Vahidi said that “Israel is weaker than it has ever been and its army is tired and humiliated… This is why it is trying to solve its problems by talking about taking action against Iran. But these are ridiculous statements. Iran’s warriors are ready and willing to retaliated and destroy Israel and we have the capacity to do so,” he declared.

U.S. and Israeli intelligence staff are said to take the current growing MAD status between Iran and Israel as seriously as it was taken during the cold war period. If both parties continue taking it seriously a major war in the Middle East might be avoided.

Meanwhile, the 16 agency US intelligence community continues perhaps its most pressing assigned task and that is of developing the capacity for the U.S. to block Israel’s triggering a nuclear weapon.

  Franklin Lamb in doing research in Libya and can be reached c/ofplamb@gmal.com

Iran panic – Part one: Iran via Syria

 

Iran panic – Part one: Iran via Syria

nCa Analysis

Ashgabat, 3 April 2012 (nCa) — A conference of some 50 countries decided 1 Apr in Istanbul to fund and arm the Syrian opposition. This is deliberate disruption of peace process being painstakingly shepherded by Kofi Annan.

Whether the conference participants are ‘Friends of Syria’ is a question best answered by the people of Syria. What is apparent from their intentions and actions is that they are ‘Enemies of Peace.’

The Gulf countries will channel about US $ 100 million to the Syrian armed opposition. The USA will provide most sophisticated communication equipment, for point-to-point communication and Internet and satellite transmission.

It appears that the aid by Gulf countries will quite certainly include arms and ammunitions. The USA, Turkey and other allies are likely to close their eyes and feign ignorance of the whole thing. The narrative through media would be a blown-up replica of earlier models used in Libya, Yemen etc.: Humanitarian concern, moral obligation, curtailment of a repressive regime, blah, blah, blah.

A report on Istanbul conference can be found here:

Syria conference: Gulf countries to fund rebels

http://news.yahoo.com/syria-conference-gulf-countries-fund-rebels-123236191.html

The alarming thing is that the Syria plan is just a step in the unending quest to cripple Iran economically, start a civil war there and bring down its government.

This has serious implications for Central Asia. As a matter of fact, if Syria falls, Iran will be next in line.

The expected timeline suggests that the USA and its Gulf allies would like to topple Assad regime by June, possibly July 2012. By that time it would be somewhat clear if Iran can withstand the unilateral American oil sanctions.

Regardless of one’s personal feelings about the Syria situation, an important aspect is that western and Gulf allies are crossing a line from where it would not be possible to return.

A precedent once created is there to stay always. Funding and arming of opposition in Libya was the seed from which has sprouted the whole tree of this blatant intervention.

But the trouble with the world today is that no one has the absolute military power and moral authority to impose a readymade solution. Interference in Syria, to the extent of openly announcing the plans to arm and equip the rebels, is a boomerang and in due course of time it will return to its authors.

Our main concern in this analytical series is Iran because the fate of Central Asia is inextricably linked with that of Iran.

Syria, as we said, is a stepping stone toward Iran. The American government, acting on behalf of some interested parties, is eager to see quick fall of Assad so that it can focus its dwindling resources and capacity to strangulate Iran.

Meanwhile, Syria is also being used as a lab to refine the schematic path for Iran.

In parallel, there are signs that the process of softening Iran ahead of direct confrontation is already in motion.

To be continued . . .

Russians Disrupt Conspiracy To Murder Greek Prime Minister and Sow Anarchy

Plan “Pythia 1″ for assassinating PM Karamanlis

Project "Pythia 1" for murder Karamanlis
“Epikaira” magazine reveal today the plan for the assassination of former Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis codenamed “Pythia 1″. The plan allegedly carried out by “allied intelligence services” involved at least twenty Greek colleagues, who “do not belong to the anarchist/terrorist area”.

Top secret document from the National Intelligence Service (EYP), codenamed “Special Newsletter” (No. 219 / 5 February 2009), informed the then prime minister Karamanlis that the service had been informed by the Russian FSB, that a special task force, which consisted of nineteen individuals, identified and revealed plan of attack against the former prime minister. According to the FSB the goal was “to postpone or cancel the energy policy of the country.”

This FSB special task force was in Greece because of attempts to wiretape conversations between Mr Karamanlis, Putin and Parvanof. The task force was organizing primarily counter-monitoring operations. In other words, their purpose was to identify individuals or groups who watched the former Prime Minister, especially during movements, recording every detail and anything that might be useful. According to the FSB report this “group” is described as “professional and their activity growing since April 2008.”

However, during the operation and at least in one case, groups of agents of the FSB and the men who watched the car of the Greek Prime Minister had a close encounter at the Nea Makri area at Attica. According to the report during that afternoon, sometime between 20 and 25 April 2008, a “managed process of engagement” was held between FSB and Western Service agents and MOSSAD, which did not last more than 30 seconds.

That engagement was carried out because in that region a suspicious vehicle (brand Toyota Hiace) was identified.  Four FSB agents participated in the reported involvement. The suspects were two,  unarmed, muscular, Greek speakers and fled from the area of involvement using a yellow Enduro motorcycle, which did not bear any registration plate. The suspicious vehicle was abandoned at the site of the involvement. A few lines further down, this document confirms that the suspects’ objective was Mr. Karamanlis.  In the abandoned vehicle the following items were found:

- Maps with a detailed record of the route followed by Mr. Karamanlis moving from the Prime Minister Office to his home in Rafina.

- Notes on the number of security men and details of vehicles accompanying Prime Minister’s car.

- Other maps marking the intersection of monitoring and support groups

- Night vision binoculars and camouflage materials

- High tech communications systems monitoring Police frequencies

- Kalashnikov and Tokarev guns, remote control, food and tents.

- Explosive C-4. This is military explosive, which is not traded and has not been used until now in none of the terrorist acts that have taken place in our country.

Pythia Plan

According to the National Intelligence report the planned assassination of Karamanlis, was part of a broader plan to destabilize the country, “an attack against the target, especially with a view to postponing or cancelling the energy policy of the country.” Somebody wanted to overthrow the energy policy, treating non political, diplomatic or economic means, but the physical elimination of the “target” with “offensive means”. In particular, the “Pythia 1″ plan included four items:

1. Political instability, indicated by the ‘Vatopedi’ case.

We note that this case while it was ongoing for several years, was made public in the summer of 2008, marking the beginning of the end of the Karamanlis government.

2. Business destabilization by downgrading the Greek economy. This involved the kidnapping of businessmen.

Two businessmen, Giorgos Milonas (June 2008) and Pericles Panagopoulos (January 2009), were kidnapped during that period.

3. Social instability implemented with various forms of social unrest, including terrorist acts.

In December 2008, Athens was transformed into a battlefield. In the background of these events much talk had been made about the involvement of “foreign services”.

4. Various problems in foreign policy.

No positive outcome statement for our national issues, even for comparatively minor issues such as the abolition of Visas for Greek citizens visiting the U.S.

All information contained in this intelligence report comes from a Russian official. He describes in detail all the events and actions of the FSB in Greece. This activity, as it appears, lasted from March until the end of 2008. Mr. Karamanlis was informed later on at February 5, 2009. As implied by this document Americans and many of the other allies were not only annoyed by the Karamanlis government’s energy policy but also by the foreign and economic policy pursued. Many analysts believe the debt crisis could be treated quite differently. By the end of 2009 Greece was borrowing money at very low interest rates. Moreover, the economic alliances, which were then promoted, would probably enable the country to turn for help to rival powers (Russia, China).

However, as the Greek Secret Service stresses the validity of the information cannot be controlled and thus does not exclude that the information included is an attempt to misinform the government authorities, in order to meet specific interests.

Secret services and terrorism

The Russian reports gives a particularly interesting perspective on the activities of terrorist groups in our country. According to the document, the Russian secret service believes that the current generation of terrorists in Greece is controlled by Western agencies. The FSB special task force reached this conclusion through thorough examination of the Greek terrorist groups. They divide them into two categories: those engaged in urban warfare and those specializing in robbery and kidnapping, noting that they perfectly handle weapons and vehicles and they always have an escape plan. FSB also speculates on their places of concealment. If this claim is true, then all analysts arguing on the close relationships between terrorism, crime and foreign intelligence are proved right.

“Epikaira” had revealed the “energy coup”

In the 77th issue, “Epikaira” (4/7/2011) unveiled the “energy coup” imposed by the US in Greece. In that issue the telegram of the then U.S. Secretary of Energy Mr. Matthew Bryza to the Greek ambassador in Washington Alexandros Mallias was publicized. In that telegram the U.S. Secretary stated: “This is a pernicious act of Prime Minister Karamanlis. Do we work together on issues of energy security? If yes, would not be right to at least send us a warning?” And continues saying, in the same highly irritated and threatening tone: “What happens? Greece has decided to throw a white towel on the TGI [pipeline] and forge a strategic partnership with Russia on natural gas, resulting in the share of Gazprom in the Greek gas market to be 100%? “The telegram concludes:” We are confused “. It was December 17, 2007, three months after the last elections. In the same issue another document of the same period from the American ambassador to Greece Daniel Speckhard, published on WikiLeaks, was revealed. The same issue also included another document from the US embassy by Mrs. Deborah McCarthy. Those documents report that the U.S. Embassy in Greece is working to “cancel” the agreement to purchase armored vehicles from Russia and the agreement on the South Stream pipeline. Karamanlis’ government, apart from planning the construction of South Stream pipeline was privately met in Istanbul with the then Russian President Vladimir Putin. They were talking on the construction of the Burgas – Alexandroupolis pipeline which for years had remained a plan. With these two energy pipelines, Russia circumvents Turkey and finds an outlet in the Mediterranean and thus in Southern Europe. On top of that, Americans and other allies were further frustrated with the attitude of former Prime Minister on April 2, 2008 in Bucharest, where, defying the will of George W. Bush, vetoed the entry of FYROM to NATO.

Source:  epikaira.gr

‘US alerted over Bales behaviour’

‘US alerted over Bales behaviour’

By Yalda Hakim

Dateline VJ & Presenter

 

Afghan officials investigating the shooting of 17 civilians by US solder Robert Bales have told SBS Afghan guards alerted US forces about the unusual behaviour of a US soldier that night.

Afghan Massacre Victims Recount Multi-Soldier A…, posted with vodpod

SBS’s Dateline has uncovered more detail about what happened the night an American soldier allegedly went on a shooting rampage in Afghanistan’s Kandahar province earlier this month.

Staff Sergeant Robert Bales is facing 17 counts of pre-meditated murder, along with a string of other charges, for the massacre of Afghan civilians in two villages in Panjwai District in the early hours of 11 March.

Dateline journalist Yalda Hakim and cameraman Ryan Sheridan were granted rare access to President Hamid Karzai’s chief investigator, to survivors and their relatives, and to the area where the attacks took place.

Hakim found that an Afghan soldier who was on duty at the entrance of the Camp Balambai military base that night, sent a colleague to alert American forces about the unusual behaviour of a US soldier entering the camp at 1.30am after the first series of killings at Alkozai village.

“I told him that an American had just entered the base. He went to the interpreter to notify the foreign forces. After that, I don’t know what happened,” he told Hakim.

In spite of the warning, Sgt. Bales is believed to have then remained at the camp for a full hour before leaving again for a second village, Najiban, where his rampage continued.

Another Afghan guard told Hakim that he saw the soldier walking out of the base, towards Najiban village.

An Afghan guard reported seeing Bales outside the base.

(An Afghan guard says he reported sighting Bales outside the base.)

“He had an M4 gun, a helmet and his bullet proof vest. He started to walk off. When he started to move away I called a patrol and told them that an American has left the base. The patrol called the platoon commander and the platoon commander notified the foreign forces,” the Afghan guard who spotted Bales returning from Najiban told Hakim.

When recounting the attacks, several survivors referred to more than one American soldier being involved. Amina, a mother of six children whose husband was murdered, told Hakim:

“When they shot dead my husband, I tried to drag him into the house, they’d shot him in the head so his brain was all over my hands. I had to use a bowl for his blood.

“I saw more than 20 people when I looked out the house. The Americans pointed their gun at me and threatened me, telling me not to leave the house or they’d kill me,” Amina continued.

Claims that Bales did not act alone are being examined by President Hamid Karzai’s chief investigator, General Sher Mohammad Karimi.

“What they claim is that there were boot prints in the area, in some area they see the kneeling position of three, four individuals, and also they claim that the helicopters were there to support the operations,” General Karimi told Hakim.

“Of course I told them the helicopters were used when the guy went missing when they were searching for him. They said ‘no, the noise of the helicopters were from the very beginning the shooting start’. So, that means there were many Americans who were supporting this issue that were doing this deliberately it is not an individual. So, that is the claim of the people,” General Karimi continued.

Bales was formally charged last week with 17 premeditated murders as well as six counts of assault and attempted murder in the Panjwai district of Kandahar province. He could face the death penalty if convicted.

TRANSCRIPT of Yalda Hakim’s story Anatomy of a Massacre

INTERVIEW WITH YALDA - Yalda Hakim explains to SBS Radio’s World News Australia how she was able to get such unprecedented access to the massacre investigation.

Watch Yalda Hakim’s earlier interview with President Hamid Karzai

Why Do Some Foreign Countries Hate American NGOs So Much?

Why Do Some Foreign Countries Hate American NGOs So Much?

 The United Arab Emirates is latest country to shut down a U.S.-funded democracy organization.

cairo april2 p.jpg

U.S. citizen Robert Becker of the National Democratic Institute leaves the defendants’ cage during the opening of his trial in Cairo / Reuters

The Times reports that the United Arab Emirates has shut down the offices of the National Democratic Institute, a nonprofit U.S. agency whose mission is to promote democracy around the globe. The NDI is often called an NGO, short for nongovernmental organization, which might leave some people a bit quizzical given that this particular NGO is funded to a significant extent by the U.S. government. But Wikipedia helpfully explains: “In cases in which NGOs are funded totally or partially by governments, the NGO maintains its non-governmental status by excluding governmental representatives from membership in the organization.”

Given the language of the Times story on the matter, by reporter Steven Lee Myers, one could get the impression that most people consider it the most natural thing imaginable for the U.S. government to fund organizations that send people into the world to spread democracy, even to the point of helping to foster revolutions in countries deemed insufficiently Jeffersonian. Myers calls the UAE decision “a surprising act of diplomatic defiance.” He also labels it “especially provocative,” given that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was scheduled to arrive in the region shortly for talks with the UAE and other members of the Gulf Cooperation Council.

And Clinton herself followed suit by declaring that “we very much regret” the UAE action and adding that NDI plays “a key role in supporting NGOs and civil society across the region, and I expect our discussion on this issue to continue.”

But perhaps there’s merit in stepping back just a bit and seeking to look at it from the perspective of the receiving country. Egypt recently arrested members of a number of democracy-promoting NGOs operating in that country and threatened to prosecute them amid concerns expressed by many Egyptians that they were meddling in Egypt’s internal affairs. Egyptian officials were responding in part to reports that three U.S. NGOs–NDI, Freedom House and the International Republican Institute–had received some $65 million to press their views in Egypt on how that country should conduct its government. They said this was “illegal foreign funding” to influence their elections.

The case got particular attention in the United States because the son of Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood was charged in criminal court there along with a number of others. They were released only after the U.S. government threatened to halt $1.3 million in projected arms sales to Egypt. But the NGO activities were not allowed to resume.

Russia also has expressed outrage at the activities of U.S. NGOs in that country. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin complained, during his race for the Russian presidency, that hundreds of millions of dollars, mostly from the United States, were being funneled into his country to influence those elections. China has expressed similar concerns.

And now the United Arab Emirates, which some NGO officials find particularly puzzling given that the NGO activists there weren’t seeking to influence governmental structures in the Emirates but rather in nearby countries such as Saudi Arabia.

For anyone trying to understand why this anger is welling up in those countries, it might be helpful to contemplate how Americans would feel if similar organizations from China or Russia or India were to pop up in Washington, with hundreds of millions of dollars given to them by those governments, bent on influencing our politics. One supposes it would generate substantial anger among Americans if these groups tried to tilt our elections toward one party or another. But suppose they were trying to upend our very system of government, as U.S.-financed NGOs are trying to do these days in various countries–and have done in recent years in numerous locations.

This is a foreign-policy issue that deserves more attention than it is getting in American discourse. Hardly anyone seems interested in the anti-American anger that such activity generates and the diplomatic complexities it creates for our country. The Steven Lee Myers article in the Timesreflects the general view that these NGO activists are merely doing what comes naturally to those who believe American democratic structures represent universal values that should be embraced universally throughout the world.

But the arrogance of many of these people is almost guaranteed to be incendiary in target countries. Consider the words of Michael McFaul, once the NDI’s representative in Russia. “We’re not going to get into the business of dictating [Russia's] path [to democracy],” he said. “We’re just going to support what we like to call ‘universal values’–not American values, not Western values, universal values.” Who, one might ask, is the arbiter of such universal values, and how does one get appointed as crusader in their behalf? To get an answer you would have to travel to Russia, where McFaul now serves as U.S. ambassador.

One contrarian voice on this issue is Patrick J. Buchanan, the conservative commentator (and member of the TNI advisory council), who argues that such activity is not only wrong but harmful to American interests. He asks: “Does the United States interfere in the internal affairs of nations to subvert regimes by using NGOs to funnel cash to the opposition to foment uprisings or affect elections? Are we using Cold War methods in countries with which we are not at war–to advance our New World Order?”  He replies: “So it would seem.”

It would indeed seem that Buchanan’s questions deserve at least some attention in the country’s public policy discussions. That’s because crusades on behalf of presumed “universal values” have a way of going awry.

This article originally appeared at The National Interest, an Atlantic partner site.