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War porn: The new safe sex

By       Message Pepe Escobar     Permalink
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US "kill teams" have deliberately executed random, innocent Afghan civilians, mostly teenagers, for sport, planted weapons on their bodies, and then posed with their corpses as trophies. Not by accident they had been operating out of a base in the same area of the Kandahar massacre.

And we should not forget former top US commander in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal, who in April 10, 2010, admitted, bluntly, "We've shot an amazing number of people" who were not a threat to the US or Western civilization.

The Pentagon spins and sells in Afghanistan what it sold in Iraq (and even way back in Vietnam for that matter); the idea that this is a "population-centric counter-insurgency" -- or COIN, to "win hearts and minds", and part of a great nation-building project.

This is a monumental lie. The Obama surge in Afghanistan -- based on COIN -- was a total failure. What replaced it was hardcore, covert, dark war, led by "kill teams" of Special Forces. That implies an inflation of air strikes and night raids. No to mention drone strikes, both in Afghanistan and in Pakistan's tribal areas, whose favorite targets seem to be Pashtun wedding parties.

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Incidentally, the CIA claims that since May 2010, ultra-smart drones have killed more than 600 "carefully selected" human targets -- and, miraculously, not a single civilian.

Expect to see this war porn extravaganza celebrated in an orgy of upcoming, joint Pentagon-Hollywood blockbusters. In real life, this is spun by people such as John Nagl, who was on General David Petraeus' staff in Iraq and now runs the pro-Pentagon think-tank Center for New American Security.

The new stellar macho, macho men may be the commandos under the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC). But this is a Pentagon production, which has created, according to Nagl, an "industrial strength counter-terrorism killing machine".

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Reality, though, is much more prosaic. COIN techniques, applied by McChrystal, relied on only three components; 24-hour surveillance by drones; monitoring of mobile phones; and pinpointing the physical location of the phones from their signals.

This implies that anyone in an area under a drone watch using a cell phone was branded as a "terrorist," or at least "terrorist sympathizer." And then the focus of the night raids in Afghanistan shifted from "high value targets" -- high-level and mid-level al-Qaeda and Taliban -- to anyone who was branded as helping the Taliban.

In May 2009, before McChrystal arrived, US Special Forces were carrying 20 raids a month. By November, they were 90 a month. By the spring of 2010, they were 250 a month. When McChrystal was fired -- because of a story in Rolling Stone (he was competing with Lady Gaga for the cover; Lady Gaga won) -- and Obama replaced him with Petraeus in the summer of 2010, there were 600 a month. By April 2011, they were more than 1,000 a month.

So this is how it works. Don't even think of using a cell phone in Kandahar and other Afghan provinces. Otherwise, the "eyes in the sky" are going to get you. At the very least you will be sent to jail, along with thousands of other civilians branded as "terrorist sympathizers"; and intelligence analysts will use your data to compile their "kill/capture list" and catch even more civilians in their net.

As for the civilian "collateral damage" of the night raids, they were always presented by the Pentagon as "terrorists." Example; in a raid in Gardez on February 12, 2010, two men were killed; a local government prosecutor and an Afghan intelligence official, as well as three women (two of them pregnant). The killers told the US-North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) command in Kabul that the two men were "terrorists" and the women had been found tied up and gagged. Then the actual target of the raid turned himself in for questioning a few days later, and was released without any charges.

That's just the beginning. Targeted assassination -- as practiced in Afghanistan -- will be the Pentagon's tactic of choice in all future US wars.

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Pass the condom, darling

Libya was a major war-porn atrocity exhibition -- complete with a nifty Roman touch of the defeated "barbarian" chief sodomized in the streets and then executed, straight on YouTube.

This, by the way, is exactly what Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in a lightning visit to Tripoli, had announced less than 48 hours before the fact. Gaddafi should be "captured or killed." When she watched it in the screen of her BlackBerry she could only react with the semantic earthquake "Wow!"

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Pepe Escobar is an independent geopolitical analyst. He writes for RT, Sputnik and TomDispatch, and is a frequent contributor to websites and radio and TV shows ranging from the US to East Asia. He is the former roving correspondent for Asia (more...)
 

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