Low Labour Costs, Low Murder Costs

Turbaned elders and weather-beaten farmers trekked to this provincial capital today to accept reparation payments from a government commission that concluded 140 civilians were killed in a fierce battle last week between Taliban fighters and coalition troops. Relatives received about $2,000 for family members killed and $1,000 for those injured.

PS. Just realised the myth above, it was not during fierce fighting, it was merely in the vicinity, so I’m wondering- is this collective punishment being deployed? After all US ally Israel swears by it.

Provincial officials, including the governor Rohul Amin, say that in the lead-up to the bombing there was heavy fighting between hundreds of Taliban and the Afghan Army and police. Going by Mr Faizy’s account there had been, “a fight some seven or eight kilometres from the three villages in which two Afghan Army and a US Humvee were destroyed. A third Afghan Army vehicle was captured.”

The US admits that it did conduct an air strike at the time and place, but it is becoming clear, going by the account of survivors, that the air raid was not a brief attack by several aircraft acting on mistaken intelligence, but a sustained bombardment in which three villages were pounded to pieces. Farouq Faizy, an Afghan radio reporter who was one of the first to reach the district of Bala Baluk, says villagers told him that bombs suddenly, “began to fall at 8pm on Monday and went on until 10pm though some believe there were still bombs falling later”. A prolonged bombing attack would explain why there are so many dead, but only 14 wounded received at Farah City hospital.

Meanwhile here comes the Death Squad commander with a liking for torture-

Lieutenant General Stanley McChrystal will be taking over command of US forces in Afghanistan, pending Senate approval.

McChrystal is presently director of the Joint Chiefs staff, but from September 2003 to August 2008, he headed the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), which oversees such elite units as the Army’s Delta Force and the Navy SEALs. Famed investigative reporter Seymour Hersh recently described the JSOC as an “executive assassination wing” controlled for many years by the office of former Vice President Dick Cheney.

It was a point of pride that the Red Cross would never be allowed in the door, Jeff says. This is important because it defied the Geneva Conventions, which require that the Red Cross have access to military prisons. “Once, somebody brought it up with the colonel. ‘Will they ever be allowed in here?’ And he said absolutely not. He had this directly from General McChrystal and the Pentagon that there’s no way that the Red Cross could get in–they won’t have access and they never will. This facility was completely closed off to anybody investigating, even Army investigators.”

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