Private US military contractors move into Helmand

By Kim Sengupta in Kabul

Published: 14 October 2007

 

Large numbers of US private military personnel are expected to arrive in Helmand, the focal point of British involvement in Afghanistan, as part of a new effort to promote reconstruction and development in the war-torn province.

The US has contributed the largest sum to the new aid effort, over $200m. But British officials striving to win “hearts and minds” in the conflict against the Taliban have expressed concern over the potential influx of military contractors, amid a continuing furore over the shooting of civilians in Iraq by Blackwater.

As Nato troops reclaim territory from the Taliban, the movement has increasingly resorted to suicide attacks and roadside bombings. “The worry is that there will be a blast, and some contractors will panic and open fire, as happened with Blackwater in Baghdad. That is the very last thing that Helmand needs at the moment,” said a Western diplomat.

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The ‘Good Germans’ Among Us

“BUSH lies” doesn’t cut it anymore. It’s time to confront the darker reality that we are lying to ourselves.Fred R. Conrad/The New York Times
Frank Rich

Ten days ago The Times unearthed yet another round of secret Department of Justice memos countenancing torture. President Bush gave his standard response: “This government does not torture people.” Of course, it all depends on what the meaning of “torture” is. The whole point of these memos is to repeatedly recalibrate the definition so Mr. Bush can keep pleading innocent.

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The New World Order, Forged in the Gulf

Imperial Playground in The Post Cold War Era

After Iran-Contra, and the Iran-Iraq War, which lasted until 1988, new developments began to occur in the region of and around Iran, which have a great deal to do with the current situation we are facing today. In 1989, George H.W. Bush became President, and, after pardoning all the former Contra criminals who kept his part in the Affair secret, had his eyes set on the Middle East as well. This was also an extremely pivotal point in history, as in 1989 the Berlin Wall fell, which was the great symbol of the division between the West and the Soviet Union. Before the world, the Soviet Union began to collapse, just as Brzezinski had hoped, as the war between the Soviet Union and Afghanistan ended in 1989, with the Soviets defeated.

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Amero plot real, says biz columnist

The U.S. dollar might be destined to disappear, replaced by a regional currency called the amero, reports the Tokyo correspondent for the Singapore Business Times today.

“Truth is said to be stranger than fiction sometimes, and what I hear about the future of the U.S. dollar may sound like pure fiction, but the sources from whence the reports spring are, as they say, ‘usually reliable’ ones, and so they do have a ring of truth to them,” writes Anthony Rowley.

Rowley says the slide of the U.S. dollar in relation to other foreign currencies makes such a transition more likely.

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Putin told of ‘assassination bid’

The Russian President, Vladimir Putin, has been warned of a plot to assassinate him during a visit to Iran this week, Kremlin officials have said. The Interfax news agency cited sources in the Russian special services saying a gang of suicide bombers would attempt to kill Mr Putin in Tehran.

Mr Putin will fly to Tehran on Monday after meetings in Germany.

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