1.07.2010

civilian massacre in afghanistan, including children. canada out now!

Killing handcuffed children. That ought to make us safer. This happened about a week ago. After the article, there's information about a town hall meeting in Toronto.
American-led troops were accused yesterday of dragging innocent children from their beds and shooting them during a night raid that left ten people dead.

Afghan government investigators said that eight schoolchildren were killed, all but one of them from the same family. Locals said that some victims were handcuffed before being killed.

Western military sources said that the dead were all part of an Afghan terrorist cell responsible for manufacturing improvised explosive devices (IEDs), which have claimed the lives of countless soldiers and civilians.

"This was a joint operation that was conducted against an IED cell that Afghan and US officials had been developing information against for some time," said a senior Nato insider. But he admitted that "the facts about what actually went down are in dispute".

The allegations of civilian casualties led to protests in Kabul and Jalalabad, with children as young as 10 chanting "Death to America" and demanding that foreign forces should leave Afghanistan at once.

President Karzai sent a team of investigators to Narang district, in eastern Kunar province, after reports of a massacre first surfaced on Monday.

"The delegation concluded that a unit of international forces descended from a plane Sunday night into Ghazi Khan village in Narang district of the eastern province of Kunar and took ten people from three homes, eight of them school students in grades six, nine and ten, one of them a guest, the rest from the same family, and shot them dead," a statement on President Karzai's website said.

Assadullah Wafa, who led the investigation, said that US soldiers flew to Kunar from Kabul, suggesting that they were part of a special forces unit.

"At around 1 am, three nights ago, some American troops with helicopters left Kabul and landed around 2km away from the village," he told The Times. "The troops walked from the helicopters to the houses and, according to my investigation, they gathered all the students from two rooms, into one room, and opened fire." Mr Wafa, a former governor of Helmand province, met President Karzai to discuss his findings yesterday. "I spoke to the local headmaster,” he said. "It's impossible they were al-Qaeda. They were children, they were civilians, they were innocent. I condemn this attack."

In a telephone interview last night, the headmaster said that the victims were asleep in three rooms when the troops arrived. "Seven students were in one room," said Rahman Jan Ehsas. "A student and one guest were in another room, a guest room, and a farmer was asleep with his wife in a third building.

"First the foreign troops entered the guest room and shot two of them. Then they entered another room and handcuffed the seven students. Then they killed them. Abdul Khaliq [the farmer] heard shooting and came outside. When they saw him they shot him as well. He was outside. That’s why his wife wasn't killed."

A local elder, Jan Mohammed, said that three boys were killed in one room and five were handcuffed before they were shot. "I saw their school books covered in blood," he said.

The investigation found that eight of the victims were aged from 11 to 17. The guest was a shepherd boy, 12, called Samar Gul, the headmaster said. He said that six of the students were at high school and two were at primary school. He said that all the students were his nephews. In Jalalabad, protesters set alight a US flag and an effigy of President Obama after chanting "Death to Obama" and "Death to foreign forces". In Kabul, protesters held up banners showing photographs of dead children alongside placards demanding "Foreign troops leave Afghanistan" and "Stop killing us".

Hekmatullah, 10, a protester, said: "We're sick of Americans bombing us." Samiullah Miakhel, 60, a protester. said: "The Americans are just all the time killing civilians."

Next week, I'm attending a town hall meeting in Toronto: "Canada in Afghanistan: Stop the war, end the torture".

Where: 7 Hart House Circle, in the Arbor Room

When: Tuesday, January 12 from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm

More information on the Facebook group here.

5 comments:

deang said...

Hekmatullah, 10, a protester, said: "We're sick of Americans bombing us." Samiullah Miakhel, 60, a protester. said: "The Americans are just all the time killing civilians."

That about sums it up. And many USians are proud of it. Many others, of course, are also opposed to it.

Last week, I got another insight into how USians are inculcated with the idea that it's okay to kill even children in other countries.

I am currently working a temporary job in a university textbook store in the US. On my first day there, I was taking a break in the breakroom, which, like many public waiting areas in the US, was blasting Fox News. A Barbie Doll-looking Fox talking head was claiming in ominous tones that young children throughout the Middle East are made to go to suicide bomber schools where they learn nothing but how to kill.

In the room with me were several people on the cleaning staff, and their reactions to the sensationalistic Fox propaganda were not at all skeptical.

"They just kill people for no reason!" one said.

"They believe they'll go to heaven for it," was the next comment, followed by

"Might as well just bomb all of them, even the kids."

What makes all this even worse is that these comments were made with heavy Mexican accents, so heavy that they're almost certainly recent immigrants. Internalization of US attitudes starts early.

L-girl said...

Thanks for sharing that, Dean. Very disturbing.

It's extra disturbing to hear this from people whose homelands have been invaded, exploited and oppressed by the US - yet apparently have no consciousness of solidarity with others in that situation.

deang said...

It is possible too that they feel vulnerable as recent immigrants in a time of rabid anti-immigrant bias and are trying to seem as patriotic and American as possible in order not to stand out.

Immediately after September 11, 2001, there was a rash of assaults on brown-skinned people, and some of the ESL students I was teaching at the time covered their cars with US flag bumper stickers to try to reduce the likelihood that they'd be stopped by cops. Many also wore US flag pins and patches on their clothes for the same reason. Some form of that might have been going on with that immigrant Fox News audience.

redsock said...

Chris Floyd:

Scott Horton of Harper's gives us chapter and verse of the Justice Department's very deliberate -- and insultingly brazen -- sabotaging of its own case against the Blackwater mercenaries who murdered 17 Iraqis in Nisoor Square back in September 2007. As any sentient observer could have told you then, these hired killers -- gorging on taxpayer dollars as they assisted the mass-murdering invasion and occupation of Iraq -- were never going to do time. Why should they? They were just doing what they were paid, by us, to do: kill ragheads. ...

A highly politicized, deeply corrupt prosecutorial arm is a very powerful tool. And just as Obama is strenuously upholding all the major assertions of authoritarian power the Bush Regime made in other areas (including the arbitrary right to seize anyone -- or kill anyone -- the Leader or his minions arbitrarily declare a suspected "enemy"), he is diligently protecting the dirty workers in the Justice Department. It is not a failure or oversight on Obama's part: it is deliberate policy. ...

In the end, it is almost obscene to pursue a few hired killers for a single incident, when our highest, most honored officials routinely order mass killings of innocent people all over the world, year after year, without the slightest blush. On the contrary, they boast about it, laud themselves for it, and invite our admiration and support for their "toughness."

***

&

Wow.

A ruling last week by one of the highest courts in the US, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, states:

"War is a challenge to law, and the law must adjust. ... the presidential war power to detain those suspected of terrorism is not limited even by international law of war."

As Floyd notes, the ruling states that anything a president does in the course of a war is completely legal. Any laws about war crimes simply do not apply to him. He is above all international law.

L-girl said...

It is possible too that they feel vulnerable as recent immigrants in a time of rabid anti-immigrant bias and are trying to seem as patriotic and American as possible in order not to stand out.

You might be right. It's a generous view, so worth hoping for.

On the other hand, brown skin and/or immigrant status is no guarantee of feelings of solidarity outside one's own specific group. My grandfather (born in Russia) hated and resented the incursion of other ethnic immigrant groups into "his" Brooklyn.