former UK commander has recounted his mission in Afghanistan, saying that US-led British troops ‘pointlessly’ massacred hundreds of Afghan villagers.
In a new book, Major Richard Streatfeild, who served in the town of Sangin in Afghanistan’s southern province of Helmand in 2009-2010, censured the UK soldiers for using “turkey shoot tactics,” which resulted in the “repetitive slaughter” of Afghan villagers, the Daily Mail reported on Saturday.
According to the ex-commander, the UK forces operating in Helmand from 2006 to 2009 had been authorized to open fire on anyone approaching their bases while carrying a weapon.

“These men, who lived in the villages surrounding our bases, did not want to fight us,” said Streatfeild, adding, “Sadly, there were many occasions when these men approached our bases and, as they were carrying a weapon, they were shot dead.”
The former commander further stated that the Afghan people who were targeted were, in fact, supposed to be protected by the British troops operating in the country.
The United States and its allies invaded Afghanistan in 2001 as part of Washington’s so-called war on terror. The offensive removed the Taliban from power, but the country is still gripped by insecurity.
Anger has been rising among the Afghan people and officials over the civilian deaths at the hands of US-led troops.
Political figures in Afghanistan have also heaped scorn on US-led forces for committing unforgivable crimes against Afghan women and children since 2001.
On March 15, Afghan President Hamid Karzai said more than twelve years of US-led war has been “imposed” on the Afghan nation !

Freshly disclosed top-secret files show the UK and U.S. spying agencies have had access to personal data, online transactions and emails of hundreds of millions of people, who had been given assurances about their privacy, according to a newspaper report.

The documents revealed by former CIA contractor Edward Snowden and reported by the British daily The Guardian expose the fact that the guarantees given to customers by Internet companies to maintain their privacy were readily and easily compromised, which means the UK and U.S. spying apparatuses, GCHQ and the National Security Agency (NSA), respectively, had cracked the data’s online encryption.

Therefore, it is understood that the people’s communications, medical records and online banking were easily decipherable by governments and criminals as well.

According to the documents, the big spies have been using sophisticated methods systematically and in collaboration with internet service providers (ISPs) and technology firms themselves – to use supercomputers to break encryption with “brute force”, as well as employing covert measures to allow them have control over setting of international encryption standards.

Through these covert partnerships, the spies managed to insert secret vulnerabilities – known as backdoors or trapdoors – into commercial encryption software.

The files include information suggesting that hundreds of millions of dollars are spent annually by the U.S. and British governments to “covertly influence” technology companies’ product designs.

Senior British spies have also been working to find ways to crack encrypted traffic in Yahoo, Google, Facebook and Hotmail as the big four ISPs, according to the documents.

Defeating encryption has been described by spying agencies as vital to develop spying as a means of fighting terror.

But security experts believe this will undermine privacy of all internet users and can be regarded as an attack on the internet itself.

“Cryptography forms the basis for trust online,” said Bruce Schneier, an encryption specialist and fellow at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society. “By deliberately undermining online security in a short-sighted effort to eavesdrop, the NSA is undermining the very fabric of the internet.”

British government agents have forced The Guardian, which was at the center of revelations based on US whistleblower Edward Snowden’s leaks, to destroy an unspecified number of the newspaper’s hard drives to get rid of the information.
The paper’s editor Alan Rusbridger said they were threatened of court action by the British government is they failed to destroy the files, containing US security secrets, or hand them to authorities.
The paper, which has revealed part of the information it apparently obtained from Snowden, was in the middle of publishing embarrassing material on mass surveillance programs led by the US National Security Agency (NSA) and its British counterpart the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ).
Rusbridger said they were contacted by “a very senior government official claiming to represent the views of the prime minister” adding that the official “demanded the return or destruction of all the material we were working on.”
“You’ve had your fun. Now we want the stuff back. There followed further meetings with shadowy Whitehall figures,” he said.
“The demand was the same: ‘hand the Snowden material back or destroy it…You’ve had your debate. There’s no need to write any more’,” he added.
Later in his article on the paper’s website, Rusbridger
Said that despite the destruction of the computers in London, they can continue reporting on the matter from outside Britain, thanks to “international collaborations” among journalists.
The incident came as the British government triggered outrage after they detained and questioned the partner of a journalist affiliated with the paper for nine hours because he worked with Snowden.

The British Ministry of Defence (MoD) has deliberately totally disregarded troopers and ex-troopers diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) taking their own lives due to the lack of required care, it has been revealed.

A Freedom of Information (FoI) request to the MoD established that the number of troopers and veterans who have committed suicide during 2012 has surpassed the number of those who have been killed in action over the same period.

According to the figures obtained 21 serving troopers had killed themselves last year, of whom 7 cases have been affirmed and the remaining 14 are pending inquests.

Other figures showed that in addition to serving troopers, at least 29 veterans also took their own life in 2012. This brings the total of number of active or retired service people who killed themselves last year to 50.

This is while that the death toll of the British military in Afghanistan over the same period topped 44, of whom 40 died in combat.

It shows that home the UK government and its army, in particular, are obscuring the true scale of military suicides.

Clinical psychologist Claudia Herbert, one of the UK’s leading PTSD experts, says PTSD is the body’s “natural response to extreme and overwhelmingly distressing events.”

Herbert described that how PTSD might cause someone suffering from the disease try to commit suicide.

“PTSD in itself should not lead to suicide. PTSD is some ways is a warning that the system needs help and needs to regulate again. And the longer that PTSD is left untreated the more complex the condition then becomes.

UK Uncut protests tax dodging by HSBC

UK Uncut campaigners have forced shut several branches of HSBC bank across Britain, protesting against large corporations’ tax-dodging, media reports said.

Campaigners targeted the bank in 13 locations on Saturday, including Glasgow, Sheffield, Brixton and Regent’s Street in London, British media reported.

Demonstrators complained that large corporations such as HSBC had made matters worse by “dodging tax”.

They also protested against the government’s spending cuts or delays in benefits payments which have transformed people into relying on food banks.

The campaigners highlighted research showing that 500,000 people regularly rely on food banks, with almost half saying it was because of cuts or delays in benefits payments.

The protesters set up a food bank on the street in front of the branch and put tape across the front door which had the message “Closed by UK Uncut” written across it.

A HSBC spokesman said the branch “shut temporarily at 11.30am as a precaution”, adding: “It may open later.”

Earlier, the spokesman said: “Our branches will be open as usual this Saturday; however our clear priority is the safety of our customers and staff. We are aware that our branches are a focus of UK Uncut for the day and we will take any precautions necessary.”

Murray Worthy, a spokesman for UK Uncut taking part in the protest on Regent Street, said: “We came here to shut it down and it’s shut down. We can’t go on with business as usual with the big banks dodging tax, while hundreds of thousands of people go hungry. That’s what we came here to do and that’s what we’ve done.”

He added: “We’re here today because we think it’s an outrage that half a million people now rely on food banks in the UK.”

Worthy accused HSBC of using tax havens more than any other bank.

UK involved in Afghanistan “kill list”

A UK court case has accused the British police of providing information for a secret military “kill list” in Afghanistan.

Documents with evidence of Britain’s Serious Organized Crime Agency’s (SOCA) involvement in a targeted killing in the war-torn country were brought to the court on Wednesday, The Guardian reported.

“The UK’s involvement in the list is not limited to military or intelligence officials but includes civilians working for SOCA,” the papers said.

The documents pertain to the case of Habib Rahman, who lost five members of his family in a Western-led missile strike in 2010.

British lawyers representing the Afghan man has begun legal proceedings against the agency earlier in September last year, saying its contributions to NATO’s Joint Prioritized Effects List (JPEL), which contains names of people which military forces operating in Afghanistan consider to be targets, violates the organization’s mandate and are not legal.

According to the United Nation’s 2012 report, at least 14,728 civilians have died since Britain and its western allies invaded Afghanistan in 2001 to allegedly take democracy and stability to the country.

Facts on the ground, however, show exactly the opposite with foreign forces whitewashing their continued massacre of civilians with terms such as “collateral damage” in the fight against terrorists.

UK mustn’t lecture Kazakhstan on HR’

Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev has warned British Prime Minister David Cameron that nobody has the right to lecture his country on human rights.

Nazarbayev’s comments came at a press conference with Cameron after their meeting in the Kazakh capital of Astana.

Cameron had apparently used the meeting to discuss human rights allegations against Kazakhstan with Nazarbayev “at length”.

“I discussed for instance the letter written by Human Rights Watch, and the concerns in that letter. It’s very important we have a frank dialogue,” Cameron told the new conference in Kazakhstan’s presidential palace.

The letter sent on Friday, contained the New York-based organizations’ concerns about allegations of government repression in Kazakhstan and alleged limitations on freedom of speech and media.

“Thank you very much for the recommendations, for the advice, but nobody has a right to instruct us how to live,” Nazarbayev said in response to Cameron.

“People from your island see the post-Soviet space as being in the middle ages whose residents ride camels and horses,” he added.

The exchange came as Cameron clinched business deals worth £700 million in the Central Asian country during his visit on Monday.

Founder of New Wine Church Dr Tayo Adeyemi dies at 49

Pastor Tayo Adeyemi, the founder and senior minister of UK based New Wine Church has passed on. The bible scholar and motivational speaker died yesterday afternoon Sunday June 30th in a hospital in the UK. He’s survived by a wife and three sons. May his soul rest in peace. Leave a tribute

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