Monday, June 26, 2017


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The Feds are pushing drugs . . . again.

The U.S. government’s multi-billion-dollar effort to counter narcotics in Afghanistan is a humiliating failure that’s resulted in a huge increase in poppy cultivation and opium production. Despite the free-flow of American tax dollars to combat the crisis, opium production rose 43% in the Islamic nation, to an estimated 4,800 tons, and approximately 201,000 hectares of land are under poppy cultivation, representing a 10% increase in one year alone.

Uncle Sam’s embarrassing counter narcotics effort is part of a broader and costly failure involving the reconstruction of Afghanistan. More than $100 billion have been dedicated to help rebuild the war-torn country and much of it has been lost to waste, fraud and abuse not to mention corruption. The drug initiative is a recent example, documented by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) in a quarterly report to Congress. The document is painful to read because it goes on for 269 pages, but Judicial Watch created a link for the counter narcotics section, which is around 19 pages and includes informative charts, graphs and the latest available statistics.

As of December 31, 2016, the United States has spent an astounding $8.5 billion for counter narcotics efforts in Afghanistan since 2002, the report reveals, making it clear that the cash will continue flowing. “Nonetheless, Afghanistan remains the world’s leading producer of opium, providing 80% of the global output over the past decade, according to the United Nations,” SIGAR writes. The watchdog includes statistics from the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC) confirming a 10% increase in the amount of Afghan land that was under poppy cultivation between 2015 and 2016. Despite Uncle Sam’s generosity, poppy eradiation results were the lowest this decade, the watchdog states. “No eradication took place in the biggest opium-growing provinces because of the grave security situation,” the report reveals, noting a steady rise in production and cultivation in the past decade. “Eradication efforts have had minimal impact on the rise in illicit opium cultivation.”

This, of course, translates into a large increase in opium production—43% in a year—the watchdog reveals, to an estimated 4,800 tons. “The reported production increase reflected the larger area under cultivation, higher yields, and lower eradication results.” Part of the problem, U.S. authorities say, is that between 2.5 and 3 million Afghans are drug users and the country lacks sufficient treatment centers to address the growing drug-abuse problem, particularly for women and children. American cash hasn’t put a dent on that problem either. A State Department branch known as the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) doled out $12.9 million in 2015 for drug treatment and education programs in Afghanistan and has allocated millions more despite past failures. INL also funds a scandalous, multi-million-dollar program called Governor-Led Eradication (GLE) that pays provinces for the cost of eradicating poppies. Between 2008 and 2016 INL disbursed $4.6 million, according to the SIGAR.

Afghanistan reconstruction has been a huge debacle that continues fleecing American taxpayers. Judicial Watch has reported on the various boondoggles over the years, most of them documented in tremendous detail by the SIGAR. Highlights include the mysterious disappearance of nearly half a billion dollars in oil destined for the Afghan National Army, a $335 million Afghan power plant that’s seldom used and an $18.5 million renovation for a prison that remains unfinished and unused years after the U.S.-funded work began. Among the more outrageous expenditures are U.S. Army contracts with dozens of companies tied to Al Qaeda and the Taliban. The reconstruction watchdog recommended that the Army immediately cut business ties to the terrorists but the deals continued. Another big waste reported by Judicial Watch a few years ago, involves a $65 million initiative to help Afghan women escape repression. The government admits that, because there’s no accountability, record-keeping or follow-up, it has no clue if the program was effective.

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What better way to help the war torn country of Afghanistan than to take $6.1 million and invest that it into Italian goats.

That’s right, our government, in their infinite wisdom, spent $6.1 million buying 40 Italian male goats and shipping them to Afghanistan to mate with female Afghan goats in order to create a growing herd for cashmere to help fund the local town.

The brilliant idea didn’t work though. The Afghan ladies were infected with some goat disease that could have killed the whole herd. Only two goats ended up mating and that wasn’t enough to keep the project running.

Lawmakers on the House Armed Services committee had a hearing with the Department of Justice about waste in Afghanistan.

The goats were at the top of the list and almost hardly believable.

Some other facts came out during the hearing like the DOD spending $43 million building a gas station and thousands and thousands of dollars letting DOD employees stay in luxury villas.

The committee was dumbfounded at the waste, but like usual, nothing will really be done about it.

Well, at least the goats are cute… sort of.

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In an altercation between a Green Beret and a child rapist, the Army sided with the pedophile–and has ordered his “attacker,” a two-time Bronze star recipient, discharged from the Army.

Green Beret Sgt. 1st Class Charles Martland will be discharged by the U.S. Army by November 1st.

Martland, who has been decorated for his bravery in Afghanistan, reportedly heard from multiple sources that Abdul Rahman, an Afghan police commander, was keeping a 12-year-old boy hostage as a sex slave.

When he heard Rahman laughing about his rape of the pre-teen boy and shrugging the whole gruesome situation off, it was too much for Martland to handle–and he physically forced the pedophile police commander out of the military camp.

“I kicked him once in his ribcage after one of the body slams,” Martland explained. “I put my foot on his neck and yelled at him after one body slam, but did not kick or punch him in the face. I continued to body slam him and throw him for 50 meters until he was outside the camp.”

“While I understand that a military lawyer can say I was legally wrong, we felt a moral obligation to act.”

For the past few weeks, there have been multiple reports that the U.S. Army is looking the other way in light of claims that high-ranking Afghan officials are involved in child rape. They’ve claimed it’s a part of Afghan “culture.”

And, unfortunately, in this case the U.S. Army decided to side with pedophiles like Rahman once again–by ordering Martland’s discharge.

Martland had only this to say about his discharge:

“Kicking me out of the Army is morally wrong and the entire country knows it.”

Petitions are currently circulating to save Martland’s Army career.

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The Obama Administration is shrugging off the latest report that police officers in Afghanistan–allied with the United States forces–were sexually abusing little boys.

The bombshell report comes from Lance Cpl. Gregory Buckley, Jr., who told his father of the abuse during a phone call home. Buckley said he could hear the abuse happening from his bunk.

“At night, we can hear them screaming, but we’re not allowed to do anything about it,” said Buckley’s father, Gregory Buckley, Sr. “My son said that his officers told him to look the other way because it’s their culture.”

The younger Buckley himself was killed in 2012, after being shot.

The situation in Afghanistan, however, has long been documented. It’s a practice called “bacha bazi”–literally, “boy play”–and, for years, the U.S. military, with the full backing of higher ups in the Obama Administration, has turned a blind eye. Even when this abuse occurs on U.S. military bases, by U.S. allies in Afghanistan.

Dismissing it as a harmless part of Afghan culture–even though it’s not part of Afghan culture, and is certainly not harmless–has led to a situation where the U.S. military is actively arming and promoting known pedophiles. These pedophiles are often put in charge of large divisions of troops–with many children under their jurisdiction.

So far, Obama has not commented on the rampant sexual abuse–and it’s clear that, despite the growing outcry, he has no plan to change course in Afghanistan.

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Al-Qaeda’s leader, Ayman al-Zawahri, had some big news in a recently-released audio message.

He called on young Muslims to attack the United States with so-called “lone wolf” attacks–and possibly extended an invitation to work together with ISIS.

“I call on all Muslims who can harm the countries of the crusader coalition not to hesitate,” Zawahri said, referring to Western nations like the United States.

“We must now focus on moving the war to the heart of the homes and cities of the crusader West and specifically America.”

Al-Zawahiri also offered an olive branch to ISIS. While calling their “caliphate” illegitimate, he also offered to work together to further their collective mission of damaging the United States and other Western countries.

Al-Qaeda has been in a public battle with ISIS since early 2014, over their differing tactics. ISIS was once part of the Al-Qaeda network, known as “Al-Qaeda in Iraq,” but were publicly disowned by the parent group after they invaded Syria.

Jabhat al Nusra, Al-Qaeda’s existing Syrian wing, is also hostile towards ISIS.

Al-Qaeda, which had been seen as declining since the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as the death of one-time leader Osama bin Laden, has been somewhat resurgent recently–and it’s clear that they’re now ramping up their rhetoric towards the United States.

However, it’s also clear that Al-Qaeda remains a shadow of their former self–but, in teaming up with ISIS, that marriage could change the entire balance of power in the Middle East.

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Taliban insurgents tortured and killed an Afghan interpreter working for the United States military who died while waiting four years for a U.S. visa to escape the war torn country.

In an immediate sense, the killing will make it more difficult for U.S. forces to recruit interpreters in Afghanistan. The longer-term concern is the fate awaiting current translators for helping the U.S. military as American forces in Afghanistan are drawn down over the coming year.

The interpreter, Sakhidad Afghan, worked for the U.S. Marines and Air Force since 2008 and applied for a U.S. visa under a program for at-risk military translators. He was still on the waiting list when Taliban insurgents kidnapped him from an outdoor market this past spring and executed him in the back of a trailer truck.

This problem isn’t new.

Currently, the U.S. military is working with thousands of Afghan interpreters who are living under threat of death at the hands of Islamic militants and remain in a state of bureaucratic limbo while waiting for the visas they were promised.

According to Arif Rahmani, a member of the Afghanistan Parliament who spoke with Afghan’s family, Afghan was between jobs after the U.S. closed his base in Helmand province in late 2014. According to his brother, Afghan left for Herat, a city in western Afghanistan.

The Afghan National Army found his body in March in the Farah river region between Helmand and Herat. News of the murder swept through the Afghan interpreter community increasing concern about retribution attacks from the Taliban.

“Taliban killed Arif by chasing him. I am sure they are tracking me too and they will kill me also one day,” said a translator who worked with Arif and has also been waiting for a U.S. visa since 2011. His name is being withheld.

According to Alana Goodman writing in the Washington Free Beacon, the State Department has recently instituted reforms to the Special Immigrant Visa process to deal with the number of visa applications that have moved significantly higher than prior years.

The Iraqi Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP), a group that advocates for Afghan and Iraqi linguists, said Afghan’s death shows the risk translators face when their applications stall.

“This horrifying incident is unfortunately just one example of how each passing day is another mortal threat to our Iraqi and Afghan allies,” said Katherine Reisner, national policy director at IRAP.

“It shows our veterans’ dedication to their allies overseas, and how much hope they place in the SIV program,” she added. “We fail our veterans when the SIV program fails. And it is a call to action for the Departments of State and Homeland Security to act justly and expeditiously on all SIV applications.”

Washington Free Beacon managing editor Aaron MacLean, who served as a former Marine officer who worked with Afghan when the interpreter was assigned to his rifle company said:

“I just remember him being a good young man who did his job well, was as brave as any Marine, and came under fire as much as any Marine in Marjah”

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Sgt. Bowe R. Bergdahl, who went missing from his Army post in Afghanistan in 2009 and was captured by the Taliban before being released in a prisoner exchange in May 31, 2014 has been charged with desertion and with misbehavior before the enemy according to U.S. Army Col. Daniel King reading from a written statement.

Upon his return, Sergeant Bergdahl was assigned to administrative duties at Fort Sam Houston, Texas in June, 2014 pending the outcome of an Army investigation into the facts surrounding the circumstances of his absence from his post and his subsequent capture by Taliban forces.

Sergeant Bergdahl’s freedom from his captors came in exchange for five high-value Taliban prisoners held at Guantánamo Bay – a move that ignited bipartisan controversy, in part, because President Obama did not alert Congress to the prisoner swap in advance.

Bergdahl’s case has also stirred anger among members of his unit and the American people at large who believe the lives of military members were lost in the search to find and rescue him from his Taliban captors.

According to a report published in the Army Times, Bergdahl, will face an Article 32 preliminary hearing to determine if there is enough evidence to merit a court-martial – a procedure often compared to a civilian grand jury inquiry.

Gen. Mark Milley, commanding general of U.S. Army Forces Command, made the charging decision “after a review of the facts and findings from an extensive Army investigation to determine what, if any, actions should be taken against Bergdahl.”

Bergdahl is charged with:

• One count of desertion with intent to shirk important or hazardous duty.

• One count of misbehavior before the enemy by endangering the safety of a command, unit or place.

Once the Article 32 is completed, the report will be forwarded to Gen. Milley, who is the general court-martial convening authority. In that role, Milley can take one of three actions. He can take no action against Bergdahl, convene special court-martial or a general court-martial.

According to, “a special court-martial is often likened to a civilian misdemeanor court action since confinement is limited to one year”… “while a general-court martial is similar to a felony civilian criminal trial.”

“The desertion charge, which falls under Article 85 of the Uniformed Code of Military Justice, carries a maximum punishment of five years confinement, a dishonorable discharge, reduction to the rank of E-1, forfeiture of all pay and allowances.”

“The misbehavior before the enemy charge, which falls under Article 99 of the UCMJ, carries a maximum punishment of confinement for life as well as a dishonorable discharge, reduction in rank to E-1, and forfeiture of pay and allowances.”

Col. King said the Army’s investigation is now being treated as potential evidence in the upcoming Article 32.

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USAID Afghan Waste

In the latest of many scandals involving U.S. aid for Afghan social issues, tens of millions of American taxpayer dollars have been wasted on programs to supposedly assist women in the Islamic country escape repression yet we have no idea if it’s made a difference because there’s no accountability or follow up.

During a two-year period from 2011 to 2013 the U.S. blew $64.8 million on 652 projects, programs and initiatives to support Afghan women though details of how the money was spent and the effectiveness of the costly experiments aren’t available, according to a federal audit. The cash flowed through three agencies—the departments of Defense and State and the famously corrupt U.S. Agency for international Development (USAID)—and it marked the latest of many allocations for the same cause. In fact, the audit, conducted by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), discloses that the agencies spent an “additional $850.5 million on 17 projects, but couldn’t identify the specific amount of funds within the projects that directly supported Afghan women.”

It’s as if Uncle Sam is conducting massive cash giveaways without having to answer to anyone. The watchdog even spells this out in its report. “This lack of accountability is primarily due to the fact that none of the three agencies has effective mechanisms for tracking the funding associated with these projects,” the SIGAR report says. Additionally, investigators found that agency responsibility for projects and programs to benefit Afghan women was fragmented. “As a result, no single DOD or State office was able to readily identify the full extent of their department’s efforts to support Afghan women,” the report says. This could lead to “inaccurate reporting of the agencies’ efforts,” it further points out.

That’s putting it very diplomatically. If American taxpayers are doling out millions of dollars, they certainly deserve to know how the money is being spent. In this particular case the U.S. government justified allocating huge sums of money to help women and girls recover from Taliban rule that denied them access to education, employment and healthcare and subjected them to extreme violence if they violated the rules. Improving the lives of Afghan women and girls has been a priority for the United States since late 2001 and in fact, Congress passed the Afghan Women and Relief Act authorizing the president to provide educational and healthcare assistance for women and children living in Afghanistan and as refugees in neighboring countries. In 2012 the U.S. Embassy in Kabul created the U.S. Embassy Kabul Gender Strategy to address the needs of Afghan women in mission policies and programming.

It’s a noble cause that’s received an astounding $627 million from Congress, the report reveals, but the fact remains that no one knows how the money is being spent or if it has made a difference. That’s downright insane and, of course, enraging for the hard-working citizens of this country that provide the cash. SIGAR recommends that the government agencies that have gone on a spending spree involving Afghan women’s causes develop and implement mechanisms to track the number and funding of projects, programs and initiatives. This may seem like common sense to most, not something that an audit must suggest.

Fraud and corruption are rampant in the U.S. government’s Afghan reconstruction programs and Judicial Watch has been reporting it for years. Just a few weeks ago JW wrote about another scandal-plagued initiative involving the State Department blowing $18.5 million to renovate a prison in Afghanistan that remains unfinished and unused years after the U.S.-funded work began. It turns out that the State Department officer overseeing the multi-million-dollar boondoggle was convicted for accepting bribes from an agency contractor.

Last fall Judicial Watch reported that, despite multiple warnings of fraud and corruption inside the Afghan Ministry of Public Health, the U.S. keeps sending hundreds of millions of dollars to support the Islamic republic’s scandal-plagued healthcare system. Months earlier JW also reported that the U.S. Army refuses to suspend Afghanistan reconstruction contracts with dozens of companies tied to Al Qaeda and the Taliban out of fear that it would violate their “due process rights.” The deals are part of the United States’ whopping $89.5 billion Afghanistan reconstruction effort.

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While this doesn’t compare to the Benghazi terrorist attacks, here’s yet another State Department scandal that occurred under Hillary Clinton; the agency blew $18.5 million to renovate a prison in Afghanistan that remains unfinished and unused years after the U.S.-funded work began.

It gets better; the State Department officer overseeing the multi-million-dollar boondoggle was corrupt and convicted for accepting bribes from an agency contractor, according to a scathing report issued by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR). With that kind of supervision, is it any wonder that only half the contracted work got done and that it was subsequently determined to be defective by an independent firm. This includes failure to backfill trenches, improper roof flashing, soil settlement issues and the failure to connect six back-up generators to the prison’s power grid.

Meanwhile, the Afghan compound, Pol-i-Charkhi prison, remains empty after American taxpayers doled out all that cash to fix it. Built in 1973, the jail is Afghanistan’s largest correctional facility and is supposed to house about 5,000 prisoners. The Soviet Union funded the original structure, which was built by a contractor from India. In the summer of 2009 the State Department awarded a $20.2 million renovation gig to Afghanistan-based Al-Watan Construction Company (AWCC). The money flowed through the agency’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL), which gets billions annually from congress to combat international crime and illegal drugs. In fiscal year 2013 more than $600 million went to Afghanistan to strengthen its justice and corrections systems and renovate prisons in high-insurgent areas, the INL Budget Guide shows.

In the case of Pol-i-Charkhi, the millions provided by Uncle Sam were supposed to reconfigure prisoner holding areas into smaller cells so that it could house a larger population. Each cell was to have a sink and one or more eastern-style toilet depending on cell size. The renovation contract also called for electrical and plumbing improvements, remodeling several structures including the prison industries building and kitchen facilities, building two septic/leach field systems and procuring and installing six refurbished back-up power diesel generators.

But more than five years and $18.5 million later only half of the work has been completed according to contract requirements, the SIGAR audit states, and the deal has been “terminated for convenience.” Furthermore, the work that has been done is shoddy and fails to meet the standards set by the original agreement. It will cost millions more to right this wrong, according to the State Department, which estimates around $11 million to finish renovations and another $5 million to construct a wastewater treatment plant.

This doesn’t even include three separate “capital improvement projects” at the same Afghan prison that cost American taxpayers an additional $5.3 million. It appears that those deals ran into some trouble as well because the SIGAR report says they’ve been transferred to “Afghan prison authorities.” The projects include a potable water tower, commercial power upgrade and a new staff barracks. Two separate Afghan firms—Omran Consulting and Construction Company and Afghanistan Rehabilitation and Architecture Organization—got the State Department contracts to do the work.

The scandalous prison deals are part of a broader problem involving the free-flow of U.S. dollars to controversial Afghanistan causes. Last fall Judicial Watch reported that, despite multiple warnings of fraud and corruption inside the Afghan Ministry of Public Health, the U.S. keeps sending hundreds of millions of dollars to support the Islamic republic’s scandal-plagued healthcare system. Months earlier JW also reported that the U.S. Army refuses to suspend Afghanistan reconstruction contracts with dozens of companies tied to al Qaeda and the Taliban out of fear that it would violate their “due process rights.” The deals are part of the United States’ whopping $89.5 billion Afghanistan reconstruction effort.


Guarding Republicans

Over the weekend, the New York Times was slammed for running a piece where the news outlet apparently tried to cover up the motives...