iNPLACENEWS Blog Has MOVED

September 14, 2008

Hey everyone!  From all the staff to all the readers of our blog and the watchers of our live news programming broadcasted live over the internet directly to your desktop, we want to thank you for all your support and participatiion.  We have relocated our blog to iNPLACENEWS.COM.  There you will find all our blogs, including the old posts, your comments you made, the place to download our free desktop player and all of the current news from around the world.  Stay up-to-date on all the current events by watching our broadcasts, reading our blogs, and watching videos-on-demand.  Again, go to iNPLACENEWS.COM for all the newest blogs and the older posts you love to go back to read.  Thank you again for your time, support, and participation.

-iNPLACENEWS


US and NATO Deaths in Afganistan Outnumber Iraq

June 30, 2008


Militants killed more U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan in June than in Iraq for the second straight month, a grim milestone capping a run of headline-grabbing insurgent attacks that analysts say underscore the Taliban’s growing strength.

The fundamentalist militia in June staged a sophisticated jailbreak that freed 886 prisoners, then briefly infiltrated a strategic valley outside Kandahar. Last week, a Pentagon report forecast the Taliban would maintain or increase its pace of attacks, which are already up 40 percent this year from 2007 where U.S. troops operate along the Pakistan border.

Some observers say the insurgency has gained dangerous momentum. And while June also saw the international community meet in Paris to pledge $21 billion in aid, an Afghanistan expert at New York University warns that there is still no strategy to turn that commitment into success.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates has noted that more international troops died in Afghanistan than in Iraq in May, the first time that had happened. While that trend – now two months old – is in part due to falling violence in Iraq, it also reflects rising violence in Afghanistan.

At least 45 international troops – including at least 27 U.S. forces and 13 British – died in Afghanistan in June, the deadliest month since the 2001 U.S.-led invasion to oust the Taliban, according to an Associated Press count.

In Iraq, at least 31 international soldiers died in June: 29 U.S. troops and one each from the former Soviet republics of Georgia and Azerbaijan. There are 144,000 U.S. troops in Iraq and 4,000 British forces in additional to small contingents from several other nations.

The 40-nation international coalition is much broader in Afghanistan, where only about half of the 65,000 international troops are American.

That record number of international troops means that more soldiers are exposed to danger than ever before. But Taliban attacks are becoming increasingly complex, and in June, increasingly deadly.

A gun and bomb attack last week in Ghazni province blasted a U.S. Humvee into smoldering ruins, killing three U.S. soldiers and an Afghan interpreter. It was the fourth attack of the month against troops that killed four people. No single attack had killed more than three international troops since August 2007.

“I think possibly we’ve reached a turning point,” said Mustafa Alani, the director of security and terrorism studies at the Dubai-based Gulf Research Center. “Insurgents now are more active, more organized, and the political environment, whether in Pakistan or Afghanistan, favors insurgent activities.”

U.S. commanders have blamed Pakistani efforts to negotiate peace deals for the spike in cross-border attacks, though an initial deal with militants has begun to fray and security forces recently launched a limited crackdown in the semiautonomous tribal belt where the Taliban and al-Qaida operate with increasing freedom.

For a moment in mid-June, Afghanistan’s future shimmered brightly. World leaders gathered in Paris to pledge more than $21 billion in aid, and Afghan officials unveiled a development strategy that envisions peace by 2020.

But the very next day, the massive and flawlessly executed assault on the prison in Kandahar – the Taliban’s spiritual home – drew grudging respect even from Western officials.

U.S. Ambassador William Wood said violence is up because Taliban fighters are increasingly using terrorist tactics that cause higher tolls, but that there’s no indication fighters can hold territory. He said June had “some very good news and a couple cases of bad news.”

“The very good news was Paris. There were more nations represented, contributing more than ever before,” Wood told the AP.

The scramble after the jailbreak to push the Taliban back from the nearby Arghandab valley was the other big plus, Wood said. The Afghan army sent more than 1,000 troops to Kandahar in two days.

“Although Arghandab got major press for being a Taliban attack, the real news in Arghandab was that the Afghans themselves led the counterattack, deployed very rapidly and chased the Taliban away,” Wood said.

The worst news, Wood said, was the prison break, and the possible involvement of al-Qaida.

“The Taliban is not known for that level of complex operation, and others who have bases in the tribal areas are,” he said.

Alani agreed: “The old Taliban could not do such an operation, so we are talking about a new Taliban, possibly al-Qaida giving them the experience to carry out this operation.”

Days after the prison attack, an angry President Hamid Karzai threatened to send Afghan troops after Taliban leaders in Pakistan, marking a new low in Afghan-Pakistan relations.

Contributing to the increased death toll is an increase in sophistication of attacks. U.S. Maj. Gen. Jeffrey J. Schloesser, the top commander of U.S. forces here, said this month that militant attacks are becoming more complex – such as gunfire from multiple angles plus a roadside bomb. Insurgents are using more explosives, he said.

Mark Laity, the top NATO spokesman in Afghanistan, said troops are taking the fight to insurgents in remote areas and putting themselves in harm’s way. One or two events can disproportionally affect the monthly death toll, he said.

“Sometimes it is just circumstance,” Laity said. “For instance you can hit an IED and walk away or not, and what has happened this month is that there’s been one or two instances that there’s been multiple deaths.”

The AP count found that some 580 people died in insurgent violence in June, including around 440 militants, 34 civilians and 44 Afghan security forces. More than 2,100 people have died in violence this year, according to the AP count, which is based on figures from Afghan, U.S. and NATO officials.

Barnett Rubin, an expert on Afghanistan at NYU, said the Paris conference shows a strong international commitment to Afghanistan, but he said there is still no strategy for longterm success.

“Let’s focus on the essentials: creating a secure environment for Afghanistan and Pakistan to address their problems and for the international community to eliminate al-Qaida’s safe haven,” Rubin said. “We haven’t been getting there, and we are not getting closer, pledges or no pledges.”

Written by Jason Straziuso

iNPLACENEWS

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


30 Thousand Troops Going to Iraq

June 28, 2008

The Pentagon is preparing to order approximately 30,000 troops to Iraq early next year in a move that would allow the U.S. to maintain 15 combat brigades in the country through 2009, according to sources via the Associated Press. This deployments would replace troops currently there. This could all change quickly though is Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, decides in the fall to further reduce troop levels in Iraq.

Several officials familiar with the deployments spoke on condition of anonymity because the orders have not yet been made public.

According to the officials, three active-duty Army brigade combat teams, one Army National Guard brigade and two Marine regimental combat teams are being notified that they are being sent to Iraq in early 2009. Officials would not release the specific units involved because the soldiers and Marines and their families have not all been told except the Army National Guard unit who were told last October that they should be prepared to deploy to Iraq early in 2009. They are the 56th Brigade Combat Team, 28th Infantry Division from the Pennsylvania National Guard which is a large brigade with heavily armored Stryker vehicles.

Overall, there are about 146,000 forces in Iraq, and that number is expected to dip to about 142,000 by mid-July when that last unit is all out. That total is at least 7,000 more than the number of troops in Iraq before the buildup began early last year.

Petraeus told Congress in May that he is likely to recommend further troop reductions in Iraq, but he did not provide any details. If he decides in the Fall that fewer brigades will be needed in Iraq during the next year, there is the chance that brigades could simply be directed to the war in Afghanistan instead.

There is a broad consensus that more troops are needed in Afghanistan, to both train the security forces and fight the insurgents. Defense Secretary Robert Gates and President Bush, earlier this year, told NATO allies that they would increase troop levels in Afghanistan in 2009 in response to the growing violence.

Overall, as seems to be the plan of the current administration and its potential Republican successor, the war is not ending, the occupation is not ceasing, and troops are not coming home.

iNPLACENEWS


iNPLACENEWS Interview of Rage Against The Machine’s Tom Morello

June 23, 2008

Tom Morello, best known for his work as the founding member and guitar player for RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE, AUDIOSLAVE, and Nightwatchman is interviewed by iNPLACENEWS’ Paul Stewart. In this interview, they discuss Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, the war in Iraq, and the Presidential Elections. Also, he talks about his most recent tour with Nightwatchman, social responsibility of rockstars and other artists, as well his nonprofit organization Axis of Justice.

Here is what was found in Wikipedia about Tom:

Tom Morello was born in New York, New York. His mother, Mary Morello, who is part Irish and part Italian, is a founder of Parents for Rock and Rap, an anti-censorship group. She was also a teacher at Libertyville High School. His father, Ngethe Njoroge, a Kenyan, was the country’s first ambassador to the United Kingdom. Morello’s great-uncle, Jomo Kenyatta, was the first president of Kenya.

Morello grew up in Libertyville, Illinois, at the time a virtually all-white suburb of Chicago. There he attended Libertyville High School. He sang in the school chorus and was active in speech and drama club – a prominent role was Oberon in A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

He showed his political leanings early. Morello has described himself as having been “the only anarchist in a conservative high school”, but has since identified as a nonsectarian socialist. In the 1980 mock elections at LHS, he campaigned for a fictitious “candidate” named Hubie Maxwell, who came in fourth place after Jimmy Carter at the overwhelmingly Republican school. Ronald Reagan won the mock election. He also wrote a piece headlined “South Africa: Racist Fascism That We Support” for the school’s alternative paper, The Student Pulse.

At age 13, Morello joined Nebula, a Led Zeppelin cover band as lead singer. At this same age, Morello purchased his first guitar at Rigoni Music in Libertyville. He wanted a solid-body Ovation guitar, but he didn’t have the money to buy one. Instead, he purchased a Kay guitar. Wanting to learn how to play “Black Dog” by Led Zeppelin, he took two guitar lessons, but instead was taught the C-major scale. He decided that playing the guitar was a waste of his time, so he placed it in his closet for the next three years.

Around 1984, Morello first started studying the guitar seriously. He had formed a band in the same year called the which featured future Tool guitarist Adam Jones on bass.

Few if any of the Sheep could really play an instrument at first, but the band was an impetus for Morello to start honing his skills. Instead of performing cover songs, the Sheep wrote original material that included politically charged lyrics. None of the songs composed by the Sheep contained solos; soloing was a skill that Morello began learning in college.

At the time, Morello’s musical tastes lay in the direction of heavy metal, particularly Kiss, Alice Cooper, Led Zeppelin, and Black Sabbath. Morello developed his own unique sound through the electric guitar. Later, his music—and musical politics—were greatly influenced by punk rock bands like The Clash, the Sex Pistols, and Devo.

Morello graduated in 1982 and began attending Harvard University. There, he made a point of practicing every day for up to eight hours without fail, no matter how much studying he had to do. He graduated in 1986 with an honors degree in political science. He moved to L.A., where he briefly worked as an aide to Senator Alan Cranston as he set about trying to join or start a band. Adam Jones moved to L.A. as well; Morello introduced Jones and Maynard James Keenan to Danny Carey, who would come to form the band Tool.

iNPLACENEWS


Perhaps the Largest Drug Bust Ever

June 11, 2008


Afghan police seized a massive stockpile of hashish this week. The stash weighed as much as “30 double-decker London buses”, NATO’s International Security Assistance Force said on Wednesday.
An Interior Ministry police unit received a tip on Monday about a drug stockpile in the Spin Buldak area of Kandahar province, about 40 kilometers (25 miles) from the Pakistani border, and found the 261 tons of hash hidden in some trenches.

The hash has an estimated regional wholesale value of $400 million. Officials believe the Taliban, originally a Tribe known for its hash production going back decades, finances its operations in part by illegal drug trade, would have made about $14 million from the sale of the hashish. The Interior Ministry also said police grabbed about 5.6 tons of opium, which has an estimated value of $30 million. 13 suspected drug dealers were also detained in the Helmand province.

iNPLACENEWS


Laura Bush In Afghanistan To See Progress

June 8, 2008

First lady Laura Bush arrived in Afghanistan Sunday for a half-day visit meant to highlight the progress the nation has made since the fall of the Taliban.

The first lady was scheduled to visit Afghanistan president Hamid Karzai and American troops. She also visited Bamiyan province, where two giant statues of Buddha, carved into sandstone cliffs centuries ago, were demolished by the ruling Taliban regime in March 2001.

At Bamiyan, the first lady met with female trainees of a police training center and toured the construction site for an orphanage that is being funded by the Afghan-U.S. Women’s Council of which Bush is an honorary co-chair.

Bush has been a long-time advocate of spotlighting education of women who were denied access to it during the Taliban rule. She was accompanied by Habiba Surabi, the first woman to be appointed a provincial governor in Afghanistan

Bamiyan, the first lady told reporters, is “one of those parts of Afghanistan that I think everyone has watched and looked at over the years since we first heard about the Buddhas.”

The two colossal 6th-century statues of Buddhas stood at the mouth of the caves in Bamiyan, about 80 miles (130 km) northwest of Kabul. At heights of 175 feet (53 meters) and 120 feet (36 meters), the statues were the tallest-standing Buddhas in the world.

In March 2001, the Taliban used explosives to blow up the statues on the grounds that they were un-Islamic. The action drew international condemnation.

Later that year, U.S.-led forces toppled the Taliban following the September 11 terrorist attacks in the United States.

Now, the United Nations’ cultural agency, UNESCO, is trying to restore the bigger of the two statues, a task that could take years.

Bush said that going to Bamiyan will highlight the progress Afghanistan has made since the Taliban’s ouster. She recounted to reporters what Afghan women have told her.

“‘We’re really afraid, we think this our chance right now and if we don’t get this chance, and if Afghanistan backslides back into the Taliban then we’ll never get it,'” she said she was told. “And it’s more important than ever for the international community to support Afghanistan, certainly for the United States to support Afghanistan … because we don’t want it to be the way it was when the Buddhas were destroyed.”

It is the first lady’s third visit to Afghanistan. The last time the first lady visited the country was March 2006 with President Bush.
On Thursday, the first lady is scheduled to address a donors conference in Paris. The host country, France, has set a goal of raising between $12 billion and $15 billion to help Afghanistan’s reconstruction efforts.

Originally found @ CNN.com

iNPLACENEWS


BBC Journalist Found Shot in Afghanistan

June 8, 2008


A day after being abducted in southern Afghanistan, an Afghan journalist working for the British Broadcasting Corp. was found shot dead Sunday, according to a BBC representatives.

Abdul Samad Rohani had been abducted by gunmen in Helmand province on Saturday.

“Rohani’s courage and dedication have been a key part of the BBC’s reporting from Afghanistan in recent years,” said a BBC statement.
“His death is a terrible loss, our thoughts are with his friends and family. We are working closely with his family to support them at this difficult time,” the statement from BBC said.

iNPLACENEWS