Albion Monitor Issue 178 FEBRUARY-APRIL 2009
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Afghanistan's Three Futures
Kabul, capitol of Afghanistan and its largest city with an estimated population of 3 million. Basic services such as electricity are still unreliable, even though most foreign aid has gone to big cities (PHOTO © Manoocher Deghati/IRIN)

NEW! FREE! Want a billion dollars in development aid? If you happen to live in Afghanistan, the two quickest ways to attract attention and so aid from the U.S. authorities are: Taliban attacks or a florishing opium trade. For those with neither, the future could be bleak.

Just outside one of the many single-room mud houses that line the floor of Dragon Valley, I met Abdul Karim, an unskilled laborer who has been looking daily for work in the fields or on construction sites since he returned from Iran a year ago. Most days, he comes home empty-handed. "We have nothing, no work, no electricity, no help from the government or aid organizations. Right now our situation is terrible, so of course I have no hope for the future. I'm not happy with my life here, I'm ready to die because we have nothing."

Traveling in Bamiyan province, I repeatedly heard the same story with slight variations. In the wheat fields outside the village of Samarra, I met a peasant who told us that he and his son had fled to escape the Taliban. "My son and I labored hard pulling big carts full of timber and heavy loads until we could raise enough money to return to Bamiyan." The situation has so disintegrated that many say they wish they could simply return to the refugee camps in Iran.

The bulk of the foreign aid has gone to big cities like Kabul and Mazar, but much has also gone into the coffers of foreign contractors and consultants like the Louis Berger Group, Bearing Point, and DynCorp International in Afghanistan. The rest of the aid money has been poured into "rural development" projects in southern provinces like Kandahar where Canadian and U.S. troops are fighting the Taliban, and into provinces like Helmand where British soldiers, alongside U.S. troops, are struggling against the opium trade

Pakistan Under Taliban Siege

Terror attacks "are very well organized, very well co-ordinated and unfortunately very well executed"

Taliban Now Centered in Pakistan, not Afghanistan, Strategists Claim

Afghan War might actually make al Qaeda threat far more serious

Obama Nixed Pentagon Plan for Full Afghanistan Surge

After Joint Chiefs admitted no 'end game' in sight

Pentagon Delayed Releasing Innocent Gitmo Prisoners in Fear of Bad Press

New docs also show military and CIA worked closely on 'black site' prisons

Pakistan Frees Rogue Nuclear Scientist A. Q. Khan

Role of Pakistan's military and ISI in selling nuke secrets to Iran, Libya and N Korea never revealed

Study Debunks Claims of Gitmo Recidivism

Concerns that Bush administration holdovers deliberately playing up the cases i to undercut Obama

At Least 22 Children Among Gitmo Prisoners

As young as 14

Antarctic Ice Melt Means North America Disaster, New Study Finds FREE!

Projected 21 foot rise in sea levels

Obama Justice Dept. Seeks to Continue Bush "State Secrets" Privilege

ACLU: "This is not change. This is definitely more of the same"

Petraeus Leaked Misleading Story on Pullout Plans

Attempted to show generals opposed 16-month Iraq withdrawl
404 reports


Maliki Draws U.S. Troops into Crackdown on Sunnis

U.S. "is compelled to work with the man we helped put in power"

Kurds Worry That U.S. Will Pullout Before Conflicts With Iraqi Arabs Settled

Statements by Kurdish and U.S. officials reveals the two sides are mostly talking at cross purposes when they speak of a "responsible" withdrawal

Most Iraqi Doctors Practice Medicine in Stealth

Prime trgets for kidnapping since they earn more money than most

Thousands of Iraqi Homeless Squat in Bombed Buildings

250,000 in Baghdad alone

Fish Disappearing From Tigris as Pollution Contaminates Iraq's Main River

Dumping garbage in the river was punishable under Saddam, but now common

U.S. and Iraqis not Counting Dead in Vast Unofficial Cemeteries

No unemployment among gravediggers

Chevron Silent on Bribery Allegations

Off-shore oil in Cambodia worth billions a year

Arms Makers Need Bailout Too, Say Neo-Cons

Projected 8% boost over last year just not enough, they say

Polio Spreading From Afghanistan Into Pakistan

Taliban spreading rumor that vaccine is U.S. bioweapon

Israeli Siege Wiped Out Gaza Infrastructure, UN Finds

Strategic economic areas that Gaza depends on to relieve its dependency on aid were wiped out

Hamas Ends With More Arab Support After Israeli Siege

Israeli officials went from saying that the goal of the operation was 'removing' Hamas to 'teaching Hamas a lesson'

Israel Braces for Wave of Lawsuits Over Gaza Assault

Israeli rights activists also charge war crimes

No Progress in Exposing Human Trafficking, UN Finds

4 in 5 are women and girls forced into sex slavery

Study Shows Wall St. Lobbyists Shaped Deregulation Behind Crisis

"The progressive erosion of regulatory restraining walls led to a flood of bad loans, and a tsunami of bad bets based on those bad loans"

Pakistan's Peace Deal With Taliban a Setback for Women

Shariah law to now be enforced

Israelis Slowly Moving Away From Simplistic Views of Palestine Conflict, Study Finds

Victimized narratives begin to make room for more unbiased perspectives

Christian Right Labels Jimmy Carter as Enemy of Israel

Sharp rebuke of Carter's efforts at peaceful solution to the Israel/Palestine conflict

N Pole, Antarctic Teeming With Life, Study Finds

235 species found at both poles and nowhere else


Joe Conason

The Con Game of Blame

Push Back Against AIG's 'Brightest'

From Frozen Minds, A 'Spending Freeze'

Rushing Toward Irrelevance

Pushed To the Margins, Finally

No GOP "Victory"

Stronger, Please, Mr. President

Stimulus Skeptics Wrong...Again


Robert Scheer

Obama's Toxic Advisers

AIG the Biggest Shark of All

Socialism? Not Hardly

AIG Returns to the Federal Feeding Trough

Obama Speech Hits the Right Notes

Republicans Fiddle While America Burns

No Tough Love for Wall Street

Runaway Wall Street


Alexander Cockburn Obama's Fall Guy

NATO -- Still Mission-Creeping At 60

How the Networks Went into the Drug Peddling Business

The Third Obama

Payback Time Creeps Closer for Bush and his Top Officials

The Parable of the Shopping Mall

Notes from the Road in a Tailspin Economy

Too Small Glimmers of Hope


Steve Young NEW! Thanks

Bill the Brawler, Keith the Pugilist

O'Reilly Myth #9,368: Only Liberal Newspapers Closing

Coming Soon: The New Fox News Network

A Presidency In Ruin

FOX, Friends, Dems, and Nazis

Evening At The Tucker Carlson Improv

Don't Let Your Kids Go To Fox News During Spring Break

Pilgrimage to Mount RUSHmore

The Train, The Mouse And The ACORN

Fairness For Those Who Can Afford It

Helen Thomas, Please Stop Tormenting O'Reilly

Obama: Role Model...Bush: Not


FREE! The seeds of the current piracy were planted around the time of that collapse when a group of vigilante fishermen calling themselves the Volunteer Coast Guard of Somalia started heading out to sea in speedboats, intercepting and levying a "tax" on foreign, mostly Western, ships, some of which were smuggling goods in and out of the country, others of which were busily overfishing coastal waters, depriving nine million starving Somalians of food.

What's more, European ships, taking advantage of the onshore chaos, dumped barrels of nuclear waste offshore. "There is also lead," he claimed, "and heavy metals such as cadmium and mercury -- you name it." Hari reports that after the Christmas 2005 tsunami, hundreds of leaking barrels washed up on shore and more than 300 died from radiation sickness

Albion Monitor
Issue 178

Editor: Jeff Elliott (

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