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  • The filthy culture of bacha bazi in Afghanistan – The Express Tribune Blog about 10 hours ago
    • The filthy culture of bacha bazi in Afghanistan

        Published: September 21, 2015
    • The Afghans call this revolting act bacha bazi, and it is exactly what it sounds like. Young boys usually ostracised from villages by their families because they were attacked by a paedophile, wearing flowing colourful outfits clad in bells, dancing in seedy places for older turban wearing bearded Afghan men, only to be sexually assaulted after the contemptible night takes a drug and alcohol fuelled turn.
    • The Guardian stated,


      “Dressed in a flowing shirt and long, red skirt, with sherwal pants beneath and small silver bells fastened to hands and feet, the dancer stepped across the floor, face hidden behind a red scarf. The bells chimed with the movement, the skirt brushing past the watching men who stretched out their hands to touch it. The sitar player sang loudly, a love song about betrayal. The dancer twisted and sang hoarsely with him, arms thrown high above a lean, muscular body, moving faster and faster until finally the scarf dropped, revealing a handsome young man’s face with traces of a moustache and beard. One of the men quickly grabbed the scarf and started sniffing it.


      In an adjacent room, 16-year-old Mustafa was preparing to dance next. His owner opened a small bundle of clothes and produced a long, blue skirt, crimson shirt, leather straps and bells. Mustafa stood on a table and nervously smoked a cigarette. Holding his thin arms over his head, he allowed two bearded, turbaned men, giggling and laughing, to dress him like a doll. One combed his long hair, and invited the other to have the “honour” of wrapping the straps around his hands and feet.”


      Bacha bazi is an old central Asian tradition, with roots buried deep in local culture. It has been documented in the award winning film The Dancing Boys of Afghanistan featuring journalist Najibullah Quraishi. The film shares accounts of Afghani boys who have been subjected to sexual slavery.

    11 more annotations...

  • Bacha Bazi: An Afghan Tragedy | Foreign Policy about 10 hours ago
    • With the looming withdrawal of NATO troops and a persistent insurgent threat, Afghanistan is in a precarious position. Innumerable tragedies have beleaguered rural Afghans throughout the past decades of conflict — perpetual violence, oppression of women, and crushing poverty have all contributed to the Hobbesian nature of life in the Afghan countryside.


      While the Afghan government has been able to address some of these issues since the Taliban’s ouster in 2001, archaic social traditions and deep-seated gender norms have kept much of rural Afghanistan in a medieval state of purgatory. Perhaps the most deplorable tragedy, one that has actually grown more rampant since 2001, is the practice of bacha bazi — sexual companionship between powerful men and their adolescent boy conscripts.

    • This phenomenon presents a system of gender reversal in Afghanistan.  Whereas rural Pashtun culture remains largely misogynistic and male-dominated due to deeply-ingrained Islamic values, teenage boys have become the objects of lustful attraction and romance for some of the most powerful men in the Afghan countryside.


      Demeaning and damaging, the widespread subculture of pedophilia in Afghanistan constitutes one of the most egregious ongoing violations of human rights in the world. The adolescent boys who are groomed for sexual relationships with older men are bought — or, in some instances, kidnapped — from their families and thrust into a world which strips them of their masculine identity. These boys are often made to dress as females, wear makeup, and dance for parties of men. They are expected to engage in sexual acts with much older suitors, often remaining a man’s or group’s sexual underling for a protracted period.

    11 more annotations...

  • The Use and Abuse of Culture (and Children): The Human Terrain System’s Rationalization of Pedophilia in Afghanistan about 10 hours ago
    • Over the past eight years, news reports gradually revealed that Afghan soldiers and police officers allied with US military forces are sexually abusing young boys held against their will—sometimes on US military bases. Last month, Joseph Goldstein (2015) published a front page story in the New York Times under the headline “US Soldiers Told to Ignore Sexual Abuse of Boys by Afghan Allies,” which opened with the disturbing story of Lance Corporal Gregory Buckley Jr., who was fatally shot along with two other Marines in 2012. Buckley was killed after he raised concerns about the American military’s tolerance of child sexual abuse practiced by Afghan police officers on the base where he was stationed in southern Afghanistan. Buckley’s father told the Times that “my son said that his officers told him to look the other way because it’s their culture.”
    • The Times story provides the now standard boilerplate narrative that adult men having sex with young boys–some as young as twelve years old–exemplify a culture complex known as bacha bazi, or “boy play.” But it also includes vignettes of US soldiers walking into rooms of Afghan men bedded with young boys, a young teenage girl raped by a militia commander while working in the fields, and the story of a former Special Forces Captain, Dan Quinn, who was disciplined after beating an Afghan militia commander who was “keeping a boy chained to his bed as a sex slave” (Goldstein 2015). The article recounts a number of harsh disciplinary actions taken against other US soldiers and Marines who attempted to stop such abusive practices.


      The military’s position is that these are local cultural practices, like differences in dress, diet, or musical preferences, and American forces should look the other way and not interfere with these cultural differences. According to a recent report by Shane Harris (2015), Marines are offered little direction if they witness rape or other forms of sexual abuse by local people in other countries. Harris obtained a copy of training materials in which sexual assault is explicitly described as a “cultural” phenomenon in Afghanistan.

    22 more annotations...

  • Five Leaders Challenging Western Imperialism :    Information Clearing House - ICH about 11 hours ago
    • Five Leaders Challenging Western Imperialism
        Pope Francis, Vladimir Putin, Xi, Jinping, Hassan Rouhani, and   Jeremy Corbyn
    • By James Petras  

      October 09, 2015 "Information   Clearing House" - Western imperialism, in   all of its manifestation, is being challenged by five political   leaders, through diplomacy, moral persuasion and public pressure. In   recent time, Pope Francis, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Chinese   President Xi Jinping, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Labor   Party leader Jeremy Corbyn have raised fundamental questions   concerning (1) war and peace in the Middle East and the Caucuses;   (2) climate change and the destruction of the environment; (3)   economic sanctions, military threats and confrontation; and (4)   growing inequalities of class, gender and race.

    • The New Global Agenda


      These five protagonists of a new global agenda   differ from past critics from the left both in the style and   substance of their politics.


      The politics of change, reform and peace in the   near immediate period has a particular complex, heterodox   complexion, which contains traditional conservative and popular   components.


      These leaders have a global audience and major   impact on world public opinion – and indirectly and directly on   Western politics.

    8 more annotations...

  • NDP to announce $25 million to fight radicalization | Montreal Gazette about 11 hours ago
    • The NDP will announce its plan to boost national security and fight terrorism Friday, including a pledge of $25 million toward de-radicalization efforts to protect youth from ISIL recruitment.


      It’s a move applauded by Christianne Boudreau, whose son Damian Clairmont was killed in 2014 fighting with an al Qaeda-linked group in Syria, and whose organization, Extreme Dialogue, is at the forefront of the fight against radicalization in Canada.

    • Reached in Calgary, Boudreau said the NDP’s proposed funding and leadership — totally absent under the government of Stephen Harper, she says — is “exactly what the country needs.”


      NDP Leader Tom Mulcair will present his plan to create a National Coordinator to work with local groups on de-radicalization efforts and set out other major planks of the party’s national security platform at Montreal’s Palais des Congrès.


      The NDP promises if elected to have Bill C-51 repealed within 100 days of taking office. It was the only party among the top three to vote against Bill C-51, the anti-terrorism bill that became law in June.


      It will also restore the Inspector General for the Canadian Security Intelligence Service at a cost of $4 million, and allow the Security Intelligence Review Committee to conduct joint investigations with Canada’s other independent national security review bodies, as recommended by the Maher Arar commission.


      The NDP will also set up a special all-party parliamentary committee to oversee national security intelligence activities, an idea also put forward by the Liberal Party.

    2 more annotations...

  • Cable: 08LAPAZ717_a about 13 hours ago
    • <tr style="background:#eee;"><td style="font-size: medium; padding: 5px;color: #000; font-weight: bold; text-align: center;" colspan="2">SANTA CRUZ: MAY 4 AS A PANACEA</td><br/> </tr><br/> <tr style="background:#eee;"><br/> <td><div class="s_key"><a rel="nofollow" oldtitle="Date" title="" class="i" data-hasqtip="true" alt="The date the document was created.">Date:</a></div><div title=" 2008 April 2, 15:58 (Wednesday)" class="s_val">2008 April 2, 15:58 (Wednesday)</div></td><br/> <td><div class="s_key"><a rel="nofollow" oldtitle="Canonical ID" title="" class="i" data-hasqtip="true" alt="Unique document identification number.<br /><br /><i>We have created a canonical ID by taking the original document ID and adding a '_' at the end and then WikiLeaks' annotation for different datasets: Cablegate = a, the Kissinger Cables = b, etc. If document IDs are duplicated in the original datasets we number each duplicate, eg 1976WARSAW05657_b2 is the second document with that ID in the Kissinger Cables.</i>">Canonical ID:</a></div><div title=" 08LAPAZ717_a" class="s_val">08LAPAZ717_a</div></td><br/> </tr><br/> <tr><br/> <td><div class="s_key"><a rel="nofollow" oldtitle="Original Classification" title="" class="i" data-hasqtip="true" alt="Classification the document was originally given when produced.<br /><br /><a rel="nofollow" href=&quot;/plusd/about-oc/&quot; class=&quot;j&quot;>Citations for acronyms used are available here.</a>">Original Classification:</a></div><div title=" UNCLASSIFIED,FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY" class="s_val">UNCLASSIFIED,FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY</div></td><br/> <td><div class="s_key"><a rel="nofollow" oldtitle="Current Classification" title="" class="i" data-hasqtip="true" alt="Classification the document currently holds.<br /><br /><a rel="nofollow" href=&quot;/plusd/about-cc/&quot; class=&quot;j&quot;>Citations for acronyms used are available here.</a>">Current Classification:</a></div><div title=" UNCLASSIFIED,FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY" class="s_val">UNCLASSIFIED,FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY</div></td><br/> </tr><br/><br/> <tr><br/> <td><br/><div class="s_key"><a rel="nofollow" oldtitle="Handling Restrictions" title="" class="i" data-hasqtip="true" alt="All handling restrictions governing the document distribution that have been used to date.<br /><br /><i>In the metadata of the Kissinger Cables this field is called 'Previous Handling Restrictions'.<br /><br />Cablegate does not originally have this field. We have given it the entry 'Not Assigned'.</i><br /><br /><a rel="nofollow" href=&quot;/plusd/about-hr/&quot; class=&quot;j&quot;>Citations for acronyms used are available here.</a>"><br /><br /><i>Cablegate does not originally have this field. We have given it the entry 'Not Assigned'.</i>" class="i">Executive Order:</a></div><div title=" -- Not Assigned -- (251287 documents)" class="s_val">-- Not Assigned --</div></td><br/> <td><div class="s_key"><a rel="nofollow" oldtitle="Locator" title="" class="i" data-hasqtip="true" alt="Where the original document is now held - online or on microfilm, or remains in &quot;ADS&quot; (State Department's 1973 Automated Data System of indexing by TAGS of electronic telegrams and P-reels) with the text either garbled, not converted or unretrievable.<br /><br /><i>Cablegate does not originally have this field. We have given it the entry 'TEXT ONLINE'.</i>">Locator:</a></div><div title=" TEXT ONLINE (1885254 documents)" class="s_val">TEXT ONLINE</div></td><br/> </tr><br/><br/> <tr><br/> <td><div class="s_key"><a rel="nofollow" oldtitle="TAGS" title="" class="i" data-hasqtip="true" alt="Traffic Analysis by Geography and Subject (TAGS)<br /><br />There are geographic, organization and subject &quot;TAGS&quot; - the classification system implemented by the Department of State for its central files in 1973.<br /><br /><a rel="nofollow" href=&quot;/plusd/about-ta/&quot; class=&quot;j&quot;>A list of TAGS, with citations for any acronyms used, is available here.</a>">TAGS:</a></div><div title=" BL - Bolivia | ECON - Economic Affairs--Economic Conditions, Trends and Potential | KPAO - Public Affairs Office | PGOV - Political Affairs--Government; Internal Governmental Affairs" class="s_val"><a rel="nofollow" style="color: #216B7C;" title="BL Bolivia (11944 documents)" target="_blank" href="/plusd/?q=&amp;qftags=BL#result">BL<span style="color: #216B7C;"> - Bolivia</span></a> <span style="" color:="">|</span> <a rel="nofollow" style="color: #216B7C;" title="ECON Economic Affairs: Economic Conditions, Trends and Potential (75832 documents)" target="_blank" href="/plusd/?q=&amp;qftags=ECON#result">ECON<span style="color: #216B7C;"> - Economic Affairs--Economic Conditions, Trends and Potential</span></a> <span style="" color:="">|</span> <a rel="nofollow" style="color: #216B7C;" title="KPAO Public Affairs Office (16420 documents)" target="_blank" href="/plusd/?q=&amp;qftags=KPAO#result">KPAO<span style="color: #216B7C;"> - Public Affairs Office</span></a> <span style="" color:="">|</span> <a rel="nofollow" style="color: #216B7C;" title="PGOV Political Affairs: Government; Internal Governmental Affairs (180409 documents)" target="_blank" href="/plusd/?q=&amp;qftags=PGOV#result">PGOV<span style="color: #216B7C;"> - Political Affairs--Government; Internal Governmental Affairs</span></a></div></td><br/> <td><div class="s_key"><a rel="nofollow" oldtitle="Concepts" title="" class="i" data-hasqtip="true" alt="Keywords of subjects dealt with in the document.<br /><br /><i>Cablegate does not originally have this field. We have given it the entry 'Not Assigned' for this field.</i>">Concepts:</a></div><div title=" -- Not Assigned --" class="s_val"><a rel="nofollow" style="color: #216B7C; " title="-- Not Assigned -- (251287 documents)" target="_blank" href="/plusd/?q=&amp;qfconcept=--+Not+Assigned+--#result">-- Not Assigned --</a></div></td><br/> </tr><br/><br/> <tr><br/> <td><div class="s_key"><a rel="nofollow" oldtitle="Enclosure" title="" class="i" data-hasqtip="true" alt="Attachments or other items sent with the original document. These are not necessarily currently held in this library.<br /><br /><i class=&quot;b&quot;>Cablegate does not originally have this field. We have given it the entry 'Not Assigned'.">Enclosure:</a></div><div title=" -- Not Assigned -- (251287 documents)" class="s_val">-- Not Assigned --</div></td><br/> <td><div class="s_key"><a rel="nofollow" oldtitle="Type" title="" class="i" data-hasqtip="true" alt="Correspondence type or format of original document.<br /><br /><i>Cablegate does not originally have this field. We have given it the entry 'TE' (Telegram).</i><br /><br /><a rel="nofollow" href=&quot;/plusd/about-ty/&quot; class=&quot;j&quot;>Citations for acronyms used are available here.</a>">Type:</a></div><div title=" TE - Telegram (cable) (2008616 documents)" class="s_val">TE - Telegram (cable)</div></td><br/> </tr><br/><br/> <tr><br/> <td class="sc"><br/> <div class="s_key"><a rel="nofollow" oldtitle="Office Origin" title="" class="i" data-hasqtip="true" alt="Which State Department office or bureau sent the document.<br /><br /><a rel="nofollow" class=&quot;j&quot; href=&quot;/plusd/about-of/&quot;>A list of offices, with citations for any acronyms used, is available here.</a>">Office Origin:</a></div><div title=" -- N/A or Blank -- (2117535 documents)" class="s_val">-- N/A or Blank --</div> <br style="clear:both;"><br/> <div class="s_key"><a rel="nofollow" oldtitle="Office Action" title="" class="i" data-hasqtip="true" alt="Which State Department office or bureau received the document.<br /><br /><a rel="nofollow" class=&quot;j&quot; href=&quot;/plusd/about-of/&quot;>A list of offices, with citations for any acronyms used, is available here.</a>">Office Action:</a></div><div title=" -- N/A or Blank -- (1411046 documents)" class="s_val">-- N/A or Blank --</div> </td><br/> <td><div class="s_key"><a rel="nofollow" oldtitle="Archive Status" title="" class="i" data-hasqtip="true" alt="Original documents not deleted or lost by State Department after review are available in one of four formats:<ul><li>Electronic Telegram - declassified and made available (content and metadata available)</li><li>Electronic Telegram Withdrawal Card - telegram not declassified, or was declassified but not released for other reasons (limited metadata available)</li><li>P-reel Index - Index card for other document type that is stored on microfilm (only metadata available)</li><li>P-reel Index Withdrawal Card - P-reel index card that was not declassified, or was declassified but not released for other reasons (limited metadata available)</li></ul><br /><i class=&quot;b&quot;>The Kissinger Cables' metadata does not have this field. It is taken from subsets the documents were released in after State Department review.<br /><br />Cablegate does not originally have this field. We have given it the entry 'Not Assigned'.</i>">Archive Status:</a></div><div title=" -- Not Assigned -- (251288 documents)" class="s_val">-- Not Assigned --</div></td><br/> </tr><br/><br/> <tr><br/> <td class="sc"><div class="s_key"><a rel="nofollow" oldtitle="From" title="" class="i" data-hasqtip="true" alt="Who/where sent the document.<br /><br /><a rel="nofollow" class=&quot;j&quot; href=&quot;/plusd/about-fr/&quot;>A list of origins, with citations for any acronyms used, is available here.</a>">From:</a></div><div title=" Bolivia La Paz (9737 documents)" class="s_val"><a rel="nofollow" style="color: #216B7C; " title="Bolivia La Paz (9737 documents)" href="/plusd/?q=&amp;qforigin=Bolivia%23%23La+Paz#result">Bolivia La Paz</a></div></td><br/> <td><div class="s_key"><a rel="nofollow" oldtitle="Markings" title="" class="i" data-hasqtip="true" alt="Markings of declassification/release review of the document.<br /><br /><i class=&quot;b&quot;>Cablegate does not originally have this field. 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    • 1. (SBU) Summary: During a March 26-28 visit to Santa Cruz, American  Presence Post officer found the city surprisingly calm and  optimistic, although individual Santa Cruz citizens are outraged.  They cite an increasingly long list of grievances and complaints  against the central government, and they are putting all their  energy and hopes into the May 4 referendum on the draft autonomy  statute. Expectations among the population are high, and civic  leaders recognize that hand-in-hand with the get-out-the-vote  campaign they must dampen expectations for what will happen on May  5. Nonetheless, they hope a resounding "yes" vote will mark the  beginning of a new negotiation (difficult though it will be) with  the Morales administration which will result in restructuring the  system of government in Bolivia. End summary.
    • Hitting Where it Hurts  ----------------------    2. (SBU) Santa Cruz citizens have reached the boiling point after a  series of recent moves by the central government designed to hit  where it hurts most: their wallets. The March 19 decree forbidding  exports of cooking oil, an industry central to Santa Cruz's economy  (reftels), were seen as a direct attack not only on the business  owners, but on small producers, transportation workers, and factory  employees; in all 16 sectors of the economy. Since the decree  violates both market principles and common sense (hurting Bolivia's  economy and trade balance as a whole), Crucenos are convinced it is  merely a punishment for resistance to the government's socialist  vision. The only escape valve on this pressure cooker is the May 4  vote on Santa Cruz's autonomy statute.

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  • PUBLIC LIBRARY OF US DIPLOMACY about 14 hours ago
  • The Latin America WikiLeaks Files | Jacobin about 13 hours ago
    • The Latin America WikiLeaks Files 



      US diplomatic cables reveal a coordinated assault against Latin America’s left-wing governments.


    • 9.29.15

      Alexander Main and Dan Beeton work at the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, DC. They are contributors to The WikiLeaks Files: The World According to US Empire​.

    • Earlier this summer, the world watched Greece try to resist a disastrous neoliberal diktat and get a painful thrashing in the process.


      When Greece’s left government decided to hold a national referendum on the troika-imposed austerity program, the European Central Bank retaliated by restricting liquidity for Greek banks. This triggered a prolonged bank closure and plunged Greece further into recession.


      Though Greek voters ended up massively rejecting austerity, Germany and the European creditor cartel were able to subvert democracy and get exactly what they wanted: complete submission to their neoliberal agenda.


      In the last decade and a half, a similar fight against neoliberalism has been waged across the breadth of an entire continent, and mostly outside of the public eye. Although Washington initially sought to quash all dissent, often employing even fiercer tactics than those used against Greece, Latin America’s resistance to the neoliberal agenda has in large part been successful. It’s an epic tale that’s gradually coming to light thanks to continued exploration of the massive trove of US diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks.

    31 more annotations...

  • Joining Empire: Canadian Foreign Policy under Harper – Canadian Dimension about 14 hours ago
    • Volume 49, Issue 4: September/October 2015
    • Joining Empire: Canadian Foreign Policy under Harper

    • Since the Conservative government of Stephen Harper came to power in 2006, shifts in Canadian foreign policy have been a flashpoint of debate in Parliament, the media, and civil society. There is general agreement that a “revolution in Canadian foreign policy” has occurred, to quote Canadian academic Alexander Moens.


      For liberals, Harper’s changes are simply a product of his right-wing ideology and domestic maneuvers, and thus are amenable to executive reform. For social democrats and left-nationalists, the same perspective holds, with the added concern of US influence over Canadian state practices.

    24 more annotations...

  • Emails Suggest Clinton Pushed Libyan Business Interests of Off-the-Books Adviser - Washington Free Beacon about 15 hours ago
    • Emails Suggest Clinton Pushed Libyan Business Interests of Off-the-Books Adviser

      <!-- .entry-header -->  
      Clinton shared classified identity of CIA source, Gowdy reveals in scathing letter to top Benghazi committee Dem
    • BY: Lachlan Markay and Brent Scher


      A Hillary Clinton confidante and informal adviser used his direct access to the then-secretary of state to promote his business interests in Libya during that country’s 2011 unrest, newly released documents reveal.


      According to a letter from Rep. Trey Gowdy (R., Okla.), chairman of the House panel investigating the 2012 attacks on U.S. diplomatic facilities in Benghazi, Libya, Clinton internally raised the possibility of employing American security contractors, one of which Sidney Blumenthal had a direct financial interest in.

    • In a letter last week to Rep. Elijah Cummings (D., Md.), the ranking Democrat on the Benghazi committee, Gowdy also reveals that Blumenthal, who frequently emailed Clinton regarding the security situation in Libya, sent an email to Clinton’s personal address containing the name of a Central Intelligence Agency source in Libya.


      “This information, the name of a human source, is some of the most protected information in our intelligence community, the release of which could jeopardize not only national security but also human lives,” Gowdy wrote.


      “Armed with that information, Secretary Clinton forwarded the email to a colleague—debunking her claim that she never sent any classified information from her private email address,” Gowdy noted.


      That apparent breach of sensitive information and Blumenthal’s attempts to get Clinton on board with efforts to secure Libyan government contracts for his company “raise the likelihood that the Committee will need to bring back Sidney Blumenthal to reopen his deposition,” Gowdy wrote.


      The new revelations were contained in a batch of 1,500 emails from Clinton provided to the committee last month. According to Gowdy, 500 pages of those emails were to or from Blumenthal.


      Blumenthal frequently emailed Clinton with intelligence reports on the situation in Libya gleaned through what has been described as an off-the-books “spy network.”

    5 more annotations...

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