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Rep. Rogers Wants to Execute Wikileaks Whistle Blower Manning, But Voted for Taliban Funding

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Rep. Mike Rogers has called for the death penalty for Pfc. Bradley Manning for allegedly leaking classified documents to Wikileaks, but himself last week voted for funds which a congressional report shows end up funding weapons and explosives used by the Taliban for attacks on American troops. The amount of U.S. funds going to the Taliban in "protection payments" for truck convoys is estimated between $100 million to $400 million per year. For comparison, the amount the Taliban takes in from opium profits is about $300 million per year.

CBS News reports:

"(CBS) Billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars are fueling corruption in Afghanistan and funding the insurgency, according to a six-month investigation by the House subcommittee on National Security and Foreign affairs.

The committee's chairman, Rep. John F. Tierney, D-Mass., told CBS News: "the business is war and the war is business and you've got "Warlord Inc.' going on over there."

Committee investigators found that private contractors in Afghanistan have been paying local warlords, criminals, government officials and a list of others for security on Afghanistan's roads, to get much needed supplies to U.S and NATO bases. But even worse, anecdotal evidence indicates that U.S. tax dollars are also going into the hands of the Taliban, who own many of the roads and areas through which the trucking convoys have to pass, reports CBS News chief foreign correspondent Lara Logan.

That would mean that the U.S. is literally funding the enemy, as violence escalates daily in Afghanistan and more U.S soldiers and Marines are dying than ever before in this war.

"This is the tip of the iceberg," Tierney said in an interview with CBS News"

It also means that while the U.S. has been publicly pointing fingers at the Afghan government and President Hamid Karzai for not cleaning up corruption in his government, in fact the U.S. is a huge part of the corruption problem..."What shocked me is the constant call of the contractors to bring it to the attention of the Department of Defense," Tierney said."

The report was issued to the House of Representatives on June 22, one month before 308 members of the House, including Rep. Rogers, voted for more funding for the war in Afghanistan, including that which would continue going to the contracotrs in the report. The payments to the Taliban continue, the report notes, because there is no other way to move such huge amounts of supplies to the 200 American bases. A former Defense Department contracting officer said in the report:

"the heart of the matter is that insurgents are getting paid for safe passage because there are few other ways to bring goods to the combat outposts and forward operating bases where soldiers need them. By definition, many outposts are situated in hostile terrain, in the southern parts of Afghanistan. The [Afghan security companies run by warlords] don't really protect convoys of American military goods here, because they simply can't; they need the Taliban's cooperation."

Knowledge of the payments to the Taliban go far back in time. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in testimony to Congress last November 2009:

"You offload a ship in Karachi and by the time whatever it is you know, muffins for our soldiers' breakfasts or anti-IED equipment gets to where we're headed, it goes through a lot of hands. And one of the major sources of funding for the Taliban is the protection money."

In addition, the Wikileaks documents shows that supposed American allies in Pakistan beyond a doubt helped attack American troops. An ABC News report entitled "WikiLeaks Data Seem to Show Pakistan Helped Attack American Troops" says:

"Perhaps the single most damming collection of data in a massive trove of secret documents from Afghanistan released by the website WikiLeaks is some 180 files that seem to show Pakistan's premiere intelligence service, the ISI, helping the Afghan insurgency attack American troops. The United States provides more than a billion dollars to Pakistan each year for help in fighting terrorism, but the papers seem to link the ISI with major Afghan insurgent commanders..."

Shadowy connections between the Pakistani military and the Taliban have long been suspected. However, it has never revealed by the Army's own classified documents to extend to the participation of high-ranking ISI officers in the planning of attacks on American troops.

Rep. Rogers' campaign contributions from the military contracting industry are consistently in the top 20 out of over 400 congressmen. And Rep. John Tierney has handed those in Congress who would stop the wars a cannon with which it could be done. The question is, why aren't they using it?

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Ralph Lopez majored in Economics and Political Science at Yale University. He writes for Truth Out, Alternet, Consortium News, Op-Ed News, and other Internet media. He reported from Afghanistan in 2009 and produced a short documentary film on (more...)

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