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Max Forte

Max Forte's Public Library

  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • <tr style="background:#eee;"><td colspan="2" style="font-size: medium; padding: 5px;color: #000; font-weight: bold; text-align: center;">SANTA CRUZ: MAY 4 AS A PANACEA</td><br/> </tr><br/> <tr style="background:#eee;"><br/> <td><div class="s_key"><a rel="nofollow" data-hasqtip="true" oldtitle="Date" alt="The date the document was created." class="i" title="">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" data-hasqtip="true" oldtitle="Canonical ID" 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>" class="i" title="">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" data-hasqtip="true" oldtitle="Original Classification" 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>" class="i" title="">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" data-hasqtip="true" oldtitle="Current Classification" 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>" class="i" title="">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" data-hasqtip="true" oldtitle="Handling Restrictions" 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>" class="i" title=""><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" data-hasqtip="true" oldtitle="Locator" 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>" class="i" title="">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" data-hasqtip="true" oldtitle="TAGS" 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>" class="i" title="">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" href="/plusd/?q=&amp;qftags=BL#result" target="_blank" title="BL Bolivia (11944 documents)" style="color: #216B7C;">BL<span style="color: #216B7C;"> - Bolivia</span></a> <span color:="" style="">|</span> <a rel="nofollow" href="/plusd/?q=&amp;qftags=ECON#result" target="_blank" title="ECON Economic Affairs: Economic Conditions, Trends and Potential (75832 documents)" style="color: #216B7C;">ECON<span style="color: #216B7C;"> - Economic Affairs--Economic Conditions, Trends and Potential</span></a> <span color:="" style="">|</span> <a rel="nofollow" href="/plusd/?q=&amp;qftags=KPAO#result" target="_blank" title="KPAO Public Affairs Office (16420 documents)" style="color: #216B7C;">KPAO<span style="color: #216B7C;"> - Public Affairs Office</span></a> <span color:="" style="">|</span> <a rel="nofollow" href="/plusd/?q=&amp;qftags=PGOV#result" target="_blank" title="PGOV Political Affairs: Government; Internal Governmental Affairs (180409 documents)" style="color: #216B7C;">PGOV<span style="color: #216B7C;"> - Political Affairs--Government; Internal Governmental Affairs</span></a></div></td><br/> <td><div class="s_key"><a rel="nofollow" data-hasqtip="true" oldtitle="Concepts" 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>" class="i" title="">Concepts:</a></div><div title=" -- Not Assigned --" class="s_val"><a rel="nofollow" href="/plusd/?q=&amp;qfconcept=--+Not+Assigned+--#result" target="_blank" title="-- Not Assigned -- (251287 documents)" style="color: #216B7C; ">-- Not Assigned --</a></div></td><br/> </tr><br/><br/> <tr><br/> <td><div class="s_key"><a rel="nofollow" data-hasqtip="true" oldtitle="Enclosure" 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'." class="i" title="">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" data-hasqtip="true" oldtitle="Type" 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>" class="i" title="">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" data-hasqtip="true" oldtitle="Office Origin" 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>" class="i" title="">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" data-hasqtip="true" oldtitle="Office Action" 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>" class="i" title="">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" data-hasqtip="true" oldtitle="Archive Status" 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>" class="i" title="">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" data-hasqtip="true" oldtitle="From" 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>" class="i" title="">From:</a></div><div title=" Bolivia La Paz (9737 documents)" class="s_val"><a rel="nofollow" href="/plusd/?q=&amp;qforigin=Bolivia%23%23La+Paz#result" title="Bolivia La Paz (9737 documents)" style="color: #216B7C; ">Bolivia La Paz</a></div></td><br/> <td><div class="s_key"><a rel="nofollow" data-hasqtip="true" oldtitle="Markings" alt="Markings of declassification/release review of the document.<br /><br /><i class=&quot;b&quot;>Cablegate does not originally have this field. We have given it the entry 'Not Assigned'. </i>" class="i" title="">Markings:</a></div><div title=" -- Not Assigned -- (251287 documents)" class="s_val">-- Not Assigned --</div></td><br/> </tr><br/><br/> <tr><br/> <td class="sc"><div class="s_key"><a rel="nofollow" data-hasqtip="true" oldtitle="To" alt="Who/where received the document.<br /><br /><a rel="nofollow" href=&quot;/plusd/about-to/&quot; class=&quot;j&quot;>A list of destinations, with citations for any acronyms used, is available here.</a>" class="i" title="">To:</a></div><div title=" Argentina Buenos Aires | Brazil Brasilia | Brazil São Paulo | Central Intelligence Agency | Chile Santiago | Colombia Bogotá | Ecuador Quito | Paraguay Asunción | Peru Lima | Secretary of Defense | Secretary of State | Uruguay Montevideo | Venezuela Caracas" class="s_val"><a rel="nofollow" href="/plusd/?q=&amp;qfdestination=Argentina%23%23Buenos Aires#result" title="Argentina Buenos Aires (17123 documents)" style="color: #216B7C; ">Argentina Buenos Aires</a> | <a rel="nofollow" href="/plusd/?q=&amp;qfdestination=Brazil%23%23Brasilia#result" title="Brazil Brasilia (27806 documents)" style="color: #216B7C; ">Brazil Brasilia</a> | <a rel="nofollow" href="/plusd/?q=&amp;qfdestination=Brazil%23%23São Paulo#result" title="Brazil São Paulo (8909 documents)" style="color: #216B7C; ">Brazil São Paulo</a> | <a rel="nofollow" href="/plusd/?q=&amp;qfdestination=Central Intelligence Agency#result" title="Central Intelligence Agency (49267 documents)" style="color: #216B7C; ">Central Intelligence Agency </a> | <a rel="nofollow" href="/plusd/?q=&amp;qfdestination=Chile%23%23Santiago#result" title="Chile Santiago (18094 documents)" style="color: #216B7C; ">Chile Santiago</a> | <a rel="nofollow" href="/plusd/?q=&amp;qfdestination=Colombia%23%23Bogotá#result" title="Colombia Bogotá (18743 documents)" style="color: #216B7C; ">Colombia Bogotá</a> | <a rel="nofollow" href="/plusd/?q=&amp;qfdestination=Ecuador%23%23Quito#result" title="Ecuador Quito (14526 documents)" style="color: #216B7C; ">Ecuador Quito</a> | <a rel="nofollow" href="/plusd/?q=&amp;qfdestination=Paraguay%23%23Asunción#result" title="Paraguay Asunción (7080 documents)" style="color: #216B7C; ">Paraguay Asunción</a> | <a rel="nofollow" href="/plusd/?q=&amp;qfdestination=Peru%23%23Lima#result" title="Peru Lima (17371 documents)" style="color: #216B7C; ">Peru Lima</a> | <a rel="nofollow" href="/plusd/?q=&amp;qfdestination=Secretary of Defense#result" title="Secretary of Defense (69629 documents)" style="color: #216B7C; ">Secretary of Defense </a> | <a rel="nofollow" href="/plusd/?q=&amp;qfdestination=Secretary of State#result" title="Secretary of State (1328443 documents)" style="color: #216B7C; ">Secretary of State </a> | <a rel="nofollow" href="/plusd/?q=&amp;qfdestination=Uruguay%23%23Montevideo#result" title="Uruguay Montevideo (8591 documents)" style="color: #216B7C; ">Uruguay Montevideo</a> | <a rel="nofollow" href="/plusd/?q=&amp;qfdestination=Venezuela%23%23Caracas#result" title="Venezuela Caracas (25977 documents)" style="color: #216B7C; ">Venezuela Caracas</a></div></td></tr>
  • 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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  • 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.

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  • 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.”

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  • Benghazi Committee: New Emails Show Clinton Promoted Blumenthal Interests in Libya


    11:39 AM, Oct 8, 2015   • By STEPHEN F. HAYES
  • The House Select Committee on Benghazi will be making public next week new documents that demonstrate Sidney Blumenthal was seeking business in Libya as he was advising then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on U.S. policy in the country. According to a letter from Chairman Trey Gowdy to Elijah Cummings, the ranking Democrat on the committee, at least once Clinton sought to aid Blumenthal's business interests in Libya. 
  • The 13-page letter also details new concerns about compromised security on Clinton's email, noting that in one unsecured email Blumenthal appears to name a top CIA source in Libya --a revelation that could compromise the safety of that source if it became known publicly. 


    In a statement accompanying the letter, Gowdy makes some of his strongest accusations to date about the Obama administration's obstruction of the committee's work. 


    “These messages should have been made public when the State Department released Secretary Clinton’s other self-selected records on Libya and Benghazi, but there was a clear decision at the time to withhold this information from the American people and the Committee," reads the letter. "The State Department has now made these messages available, and the Committee intends to question Secretary Clinton about them during her appearance.”

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    • Libya crisis: UN proposes unity government

      • 11 minutes ago
  • The United Nations envoy for Libya has proposed the formation of a national unity government after months of difficult talks.

    Since 2014 Libya has had two rival parliaments - an Islamist-backed one in Tripoli and an internationally recognised government in the east.

    UN envoy Bernardino Leon told a news conference in Morocco that Fayez Sarraj would be nominated as prime minister.

    But both parliaments must back the deal and some MPs cast doubt on the UN plan.

    Abdulsalam Bilashahir, of the Tripoli-based General National Congress (GNC), told the BBC: "We are not a part of this (proposed) government. It means nothing to us and we were not consulted."

  • Ibrahim Alzaghiat, of the House of Representatives (HoR), based in Tobruk, said: "This proposed government will lead to the division of Libya and will turn it into a joke. Mr Leon's choice was unwise."

    However, Mr Leon said he believed that the list of proposed ministers for the unity body "can work".

    "After a year of work in this process, after working with more than 150 Libyan personalities from all the regions, finally the moment has come in which we can propose a national unity government," Mr Leon said in the Moroccan city of Skhirat.

    "All of them will work as a team. This was not an easy task," he added.

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    • Libya's parliament extends mandate

      • 6 October 2015
  • Libya's internationally recognised parliament has voted to extend its term beyond 20 October.

    The move could complicate efforts by the UN and Western powers to bring an end to the country's protracted political stalemate.

    The parliament's spokesman said it was still supporting UN-sponsored talks that resumed in Morocco this week.

    Libya has had two rival parliaments and governments, backed by rival militia groups, since last summer.

  • A loose alliance of militias, including Islamists, seized the capital, Tripoli, in August 2014 and reinstated the General National Congress (GNC), forcing the existing and internationally recognised government to flee to the eastern city of Tobruk.

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    The move to extend the parliament's mandate was passed by 112 out of 131 MPs.

    The assembly had acted to "avoid a vacuum in the country", MP Tarek Juroushi told the Reuters news agency.

    Both parties taking part in UN-backed negotiations have been on the fence over the latest draft agreement, which the UN says can no longer be amended, the BBC's North Africa correspondent Rana Jawad reports.

    The country's politicians are facing increasing pressure from the West to reach an agreement, she adds.

  • Civilians returning to their homes with their belongings pass a checkpoint manned by police in the center of Bani Walid, some 180 kilometers (112 miles) southeast of Tripoli, Nov. 3, 2012. (photo by REUTERS/Ismail Zitouny)


    How a small Libyan town insulated itself from surrounding chaos

  • In today’s chaotic Libya, one town stands out as a safe haven where crime rates are down and fighting is considered a thing of the past. Bani Walid is a mountainous town some 180 kilometers (112 miles) southeast of Tripoli, the capital. Its residents and those who had been displaced from it are secure. It is the home of Libya’s largest tribe, Warfalla, whose members are scattered around the rest of the country. Bani Walid and its people became famous for their relentless steadfastness against the NATO-backed rebels. The last town in Libya to be captured by them in September 2011, it soon freed itself of the rebels and gangs.
  • In 2012, its own volunteer security brigade forced the few rebels out of town, and the town’s elders set up the Social Council of Warfalla Tribes (SCWT) as a civilian collective leadership body responsible for managing its affairs.


    I've visited Bani Walid, my hometown, many times over the last couple of years. Every time I come to Libya I check on friends and family and talk to people about how the town is progressing. On my September visit, I was in for a surprise. Bani Walid had actually become a beacon of peace, security and a mecca for those seeking shelter from other troubled towns in Libya. During the second half of September the town received nearly 200 families who fled Sirte as the Islamic State strengthened its control of the coastal town some 250 kilometers northeast of Bani Walid. I spoke to SCWT’s chairman, Salah Maeuf, a professor of history at the local university and tribal leader. “I answered the call when my town needed me,” he explained when asked why he accepted the leadership position. He said, “Bani Walid now is far different from what it was three years ago. It is more peaceful and much more secure compared to the rest of Libya.”

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  • Syria without Assad would be like Libya – bishop
  • If Syrian president Bashar al-Assad were removed from power now, Syria would become like Libya, a Syrian bishop has warned.


    Archbishop Jacques Behnan Hindo, Syrian Catholic Archbishop of Hasakeh-Nisibi, said “the Syrians will decide if and when Assad has to go away, and not the Daesh [the so-called Islamic State] or the West,” continuing “and it is certain that if Assad goes away now, Syria will become like Libya”.


    He also warned that the ISIS-besieged city of Deir al Zor has run out of food so that its population is “literally starving”. 

  • The archbishops’ comments came in the aftermath of American criticism of Russian attacks on anti-Assad rebels linked with al-Qaeda. “US Senator John McCain protested saying that the Russians are not bombing the positions of the Islamic State, but rather the anti-Assad rebels trained by the CIA,” the archbishop said, continuing, “I find these words are disturbing. They represent a blatant admission that behind the war against Assad there is also the CIA.”


    Russian president Vladimir Putin, who has long backed President Assad, claims western intervention in the Middle East has caused the current Middle East crisis. Speaking in the UN last month he said “an aggressive foreign interference has resulted in a brazen destruction of national institutions and the lifestyle itself”, criticising how “policies based on self-conceit and belief in one’s exceptionality and impunity have never been abandoned”.

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  • Scholarship, Security and ‘Spillage’ on Campus

    By Barton Gellman

    This article first appeared on The Century Foundation’s website.

  • This is an adventure in classified speech at an academic conference. If you know a story like it on another campus, please get in touch. Send an email or use my secure contacts for greater privacy.

    On September 24 I gave a keynote presentation at Purdue University about the NSA, Edward Snowden, and national security journalism in the age of surveillance. It was part of the excellent Dawn or Doom colloquium, which I greatly enjoyed. The organizers live-streamed my talk and promised to provide me with a permalink to share.

  • After unexplained delays, I received a terse email from the university last week. Upon advice of counsel, it said, Purdue “will not be able to publish your particular video” and will not be sending me a copy. The conference hosts, once warm and hospitable, stopped replying to my emails and telephone calls. I don’t hold it against them. Very likely they are under lockdown by spokesmen and lawyers.

    Naturally, all this piqued my curiosity. With the help of my colleague Sam Adler-Bell, I think I have pieced together most of the story.

    It turns out that Purdue has wiped all copies of my video and slides from university servers, on grounds that I displayed classified documents briefly on screen. A breach report was filed with the university’s Research Information Assurance Officer, also known as the Site Security Officer, under the terms of Defense Department Operating Manual 5220.22-M. I am told that Purdue briefly considered, among other things, whether to destroy the projector I borrowed, lest contaminants remain.

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  • It holds to something called the doctrine of American exceptionalism, which maintains that the U.S. has a special role in the world.


    Some interpretations of the doctrine argue that America should not be subject to international laws governing other nations. They are also bound up in Christianity and a desire to export American values.


    So little wonder that, when it comes to militaristic excesses, the U.S. holds itself to a different standard.


    For example, the White House and the State Department maintain lists of terrorist organizations and of states they accuse of supporting terror.


    Washington has also seen to it that several foreign leaders have been indicted and judged for war crimes.


    At the same time, it brushes off as ridiculous any assertion that America has funded or supported terrorists, despite ample evidence to that effect over the years, in places like Central America, Southeast Asia and Afghanistan.


    America's violent proxies abroad are always "freedom fighters," because fighting on America's behalf is per se fighting for freedom, under the circular logic of the doctrine of exceptionalism.

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    • Russian Cruise Missiles Help Syrians Go on the Offensive
    • OCT. 7, 2015

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    • Backed by Russian airstrikes, Syrian troops launch offensive


      The attacks target areas in Syria that are important to President Bashar Assad but that not controlled by the Islamic State group.

      • Albert Aji  Nataliya Vasilyeva Associated Press,    Published on Wed Oct 07 2015    

          Photos  View photos 

        •   Civil defence members and civilians search for survivors under the rubble of a site hit by what activists said were cluster bombs dropped by Russian air force in Maasran town, south of Idlib, Syria, on Wednesday.  zoom 



        DAMASCUS, SYRIA—Syrian government troops launched a ground offensive Wednesday in the country’s central region under cover of Russian airstrikes, a Damascus official said. And in the first salvo from the sea, Russian warships fired missiles into Syria, with Moscow saying the targets were militants.


        The latest developments — exactly a week after Russia began launching airstrikes in Syria — add a new layer to the fray in the complex war that has torn this Mideast country apart since 2011.


        In these attacks, Moscow is mainly targeting central and northwestern Syria, strategic regions that are the gateway to President Bashar Assad’s strongholds in Damascus and along the Mediterranean coast.

    • The strikes appear to have given Assad new confidence to try to retake some lost ground. According to the Syrian official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, the government push is concentrated in the adjacent provinces of Hama and Idlib where rebels have been advancing in the past months.


      The Islamic State group is not present in the areas where the fighting is underway.


      Wednesday’s offensive in central Syria and the ensuing clashes with militants, including Al Qaeda’s Syrian branch, was the first major ground fighting since Moscow began launching air raids in Syria last week.



      In Moscow, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said Russia is using warships in the Caspian Sea to target the Islamic State group in Syria. Shoigu told President Vladimir Putin in televised remarks that Russia on Wednesday morning carried out 26 missile strikes from four warships of its Caspian Sea flotilla. Shoigu insisted the operation destroyed all the targets and that the strikes did not hit civilian areas.


      Shoigu also said Russia has carried out 112 airstrikes on IS positions since its operation began on Sept. 30.

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    • Danny Williams says Stephen Harper's tactics are borderline racist


      Former Newfoundland and Labrador premier launches scathing attack of longtime political foe


          CBC News    Posted: Oct 05, 2015

    • Former Newfoundland and Labrador premier Danny Williams says some of the tactics of Conservative Leader Stephen Harper are borderline racist.


      Williams, who led a Progressive Conservative government in Canada's most easterly province from 2003 to 2010, launched his latest scathing attack against Harper and the Conservative Party of Canada on Sunday during an interview with CBC News.

    • He used the word racism in reference to the debate over the wearing of the niqab by Muslim women taking part in the oath of citizenship.


      Williams said the issue is not worthy of becoming a national issue, but the Conservatives have latched onto it in order to secure votes.


      "He doesn't care if he isolates the issues of women or if he isolates the issue of minorities, and even crosses, possibly, that racism line," Williams stated.

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