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Saturday, Dec 20th

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Welcome to Penny Lane: CIA secret Gitmo camp for recruiting double agents

penny lane - ciaIn the early stages of the ‘War on Terror,’ CIA agents at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility turned detainees into double agents, helping the US to track and kill terrorists, according to US officials.

For some Gitmo detainees, held prisoner on a US military base in the middle of shark-infested waters, the promise of freedom in return for helping the CIA root out terrorists back home may have proven too much of a temptation.

In addition to winning their freedom, co-conspirators were granted safety guarantees for their families, and millions of dollars from the agency's secret war chest, sources told AP.

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In Afghanistan, 'Security Deal' Means Endless US Occupation

Afghan forevern warDays before the so-called bi-lateral security agreement heads to an Afghan council of elders and political leaders for a final decision, the U.S. is attempting to force through a stipulation that would allow U.S. troops to continue raiding Afghan homes, in addition to measures giving U.S. troops and contractors immunity from Afghan law and extending U.S. military presence far beyond Obama's 2014 pullout date.

Critics charge that the U.S. is giving itself the green light for open-ended occupation at the expense of the Afghan people. "Occupation is not defined by how many occupiers are policing someplace," said Kimber Heinz of the War Resisters League in an interview with Common Dreams. "If you reduce the amount of occupation forces but keep them there forever, then the occupation continues and the war on people's everyday lives is not actually over — no matter what the US government or mainstream media tells us."

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U.S.-led troop pullout may be behind Afghanistan record opium poppy crop

opum poppiesThe 2014 pullout of U.S.-led combat troops from Afghanistan appears to be having a major impact on the country's narcotics trade, with opium poppy cultivation growing to a record high this year, according to a U.N. report released Wednesday.

The boom underscores the failure of U.S.-led international efforts to fight opium poppy cultivation that have cost U.S. taxpayers some $4.42 billion since 2002. Afghanistan remains the world's largest producer of opium, which contains morphine, the alkaloid from which heroin is produced.

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New study puts Iraq war death toll at 500,000

Iraq war deaths The number of deaths in the war in Iraq is nearing a half-million people, a collaborative study by U.S. Canadian and Iraqi researchers found.

Using data from two surveys, the researchers estimated 405,000 people were killed and projected 55,800 more deaths from migration into and emigration from Iraq because of the war, al-Jazeera America reported Wednesday.

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4 US soldiers killed in south Afghanistan

NATO troopsThe US-led international military coalition says four of its service members have been killed in southern Afghanistan and a military official confirms all were Americans killed by an improvised explosive device.

Nato said in a statement that the four were killed on Sunday during a partnered operation in the south, but did not provide any further details or their nationalities.

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US auditor finds taxpayer money flowing to Taliban, Al Qaeda - but Army refuses to act

Tax money going to TalibanThe US military has been ignoring warnings that its spending in Afghanistan is funding Al Qaeda and the Taliban. And John F. Sopko, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), appears to have had enough.

He issued a blistering cover letter with SIGAR's quarterly report to Congress today that called into question what "appears to be a growing gap between the policy objectives of Washington and the reality of achieving them in Afghanistan."

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4 decades after war ended, Agent Orange still ravaging Vietnamese

Agent OrangeIn many ways, Nguyen Thi Ly is just like any other 12-year-old girl. She has a lovely smile and is quick to laugh. She wants to be a teacher when she grows up. She enjoys skipping rope when she plays.

But Ly is also very different from other children. Her head is severely misshapen. Her eyes are unnaturally far apart and permanently askew. She’s been hospitalized with numerous ailments since her birth.

Her mother, 43-year-old Le Thi Thu, has similar deformities and health disorders. Neither of them has ever set foot on a battlefield, but they’re both casualties of war.

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