Is the military playing dirty tricks?

It has been widely reported in the last day or so that Colonel Owen McNally, a British army officer serving Afghanistan has been arrested for leaking military secrets concerning civilian deaths in Afghanistan to Rachel Reid, a researcher for Human Rights Watch, to whom Col. McNally was supposedly “close”.

Ms Reid has stated categorically both in a piece at CiF and in a statement issued through her lawyers that the accusations of any kind of relationship between her and Col. McNally are totally false and that she has only met him twice, both authorised meetings at Nato HQ and in the presence of other officials.

She accuses MoD officials of making “a vicious, false slur” and claims that this is motivated by criticisms that HRW has made of the US Military’s reluctance to investigate reports of civilian deaths caused by its troops. Continue reading

An open letter to Barack Obama

Over at Liberal Conspiracy, Conor Foley has posted the following letter from Orzala Ashraf Nemat, an Afghan friend. I would recommend to anyone that they read the full text.

I witnessed a historical moment in Washington when I first learnt of Obama’s victory. I joined the crowed of victorious young and old on the streets of America’s capital that night, somehow with confusing feelings. I say confused because I felt so proud to be in America when it happened, but I was unsure whether I should also be happy with what he would do in Afghanistan. I had just – that same day – seen the shocking pictures of women and children injured by a US coalition-forces bombardment in Shah Wali Kot district of Kandahar province.

Would Obama be able to stop such atrocities? Would he be able to fight the war against terrorism with the social and economic means to oppose the military means?

These were the questions in my mind which caused my confusion and made me doubt whether or not to celebrate the moment. I joined the crowd because I saw, for the first time in the history of this land, that an African-American was elected as president; I did so because I had heard him speaking over the past three months about the working class, the middle class and I saw that he was their voice. Such words sounded very unfamiliar to me in the context of a capitalist country, so I thought at least that he is not trying to ‘rescue’ the rich, but that rather he was there also to help the poor and so on. So I joined the crowed. I saw him speaking: “If there is any one out there who still doubts that everything is possible, today is my answer. For those who want to tear this world up, we will defeat you. For those who are looking for peace and security, we will support you…”

Click here to read the letter in full