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Thread: War of Terror

  1. #41
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    Amnesty International accuses Australia of ‘war crimes’ in fight against Islamic State

    Jul 12

    Australia has committed war crimes in Iraq as the second-largest contributor to the US-led coalition fighting Islamic State, according to an Amnesty International report.

    While Iraq and the United States have claimed victory over IS in Mosul, thousands of bodies still lie in the pulverised ruins.

    Almost one million people have fled. The Iraqi Army has lost up to 40 per cent of its attack force. Estimates of the number of civilians killed range over 13,000. The exact number will never be known.

    Amnesty International spokesperson Diana Sayed told The New Daily the 225kg bombs dropped into the crowded streets of Mosul had a shock radius of 230 metres and resulted in needless casualties.

    “Pro-government forces, including Australia, failed to take feasible precautions to protect civilians during the battle for west Mosul – through launching barrages of indiscriminate, disproportionate and otherwise unlawful attacks, and failing to provide adequate warnings prior to bombardments. The realities of living under the Islamic State often meant people were trapped and unable to leave their homes,” she said.

    “Australia and its allies in Iraq should publicly acknowledge the massive loss of lives during the Mosul operation.”

    The report, titled ‘At Any Cost: The Civilian Catastrophe in West Mosul, Iraq’, said Iraqi and US forces did not meet humanitarian law requirements.

    “Iraqi government and US-led coalition forces failed to adequately adapt their tactics to these challenges – as required by international humanitarian law – with disastrous consequences for civilians. Pro-government forces relied heavily upon explosive weapons with wide area effects. These weapons wreaked havoc in densely populated west Mosul, where large groups of civilians were trapped.”

    If military planners were unaware of the likely civilian toll, it quickly became evident.

    “It was pro-government soldiers who assisted in countless front-line rescues, digging bodies out of collapsed buildings, separating the injured from the dead and arranging the transport of thousands to medical facilities,” the report said.

    High Commissioner for the United Nations Human Rights Office, Zeid Al Hussein, said he urged the coalition to comply with humanitarian laws.

    “I repeatedly called on coalition partners to ensure that military operations complied with international humanitarian law,” he said in a statement this week.

    “Airstrikes were a significant factor in causing civilian casualties.”

    The Amnesty International report came in the days after Human Rights Watch argued there had been major breaches of international law in its ‘Civilian Casualties Mount in West Mosul: Coalition’ report.

    The group has also reported on mass graves in government-controlled areas, indicating war crimes.

    A spokeswoman for the group Belkis Wille told The New Daily: “All of the families I speak to have a story about neighbours, loved ones or friends being killed in airstrikes. The people coming out of west Mosul are the most traumatised I have ever interviewed.”

    Experts warn that Islamic State, far from being defeated, have created a major jihad spectacle which will drive recruitment.

    Security expert Professor Clinton Fernandes told The New Daily: “While the public is generally unaware of most US military operations, since the media has largely been scrubbed clean of this kind of coverage, radical groups rely on satellite TV and the internet to get a different message out.”

    Terror expert Dr Clarke Jones told The New Daily the deaths of so many civilians could drive extremism.

    “Here is another case where the West has stepped in and caused the death of innocents. There are a lot of angry people. They see this injustice and want to take action,” he said.

    Defence Minister Marise Payne was unavailable for comment.


  2. #42
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    Rogue SAS unit accused of executing civilians in Afghanistan

    July 2, 2017

    The Sunday Times alleges rogue SAS soldiers conducted what amounts to assassinations in Helmand Province. I’m not in the least surprised.

    One of their reporters, George Arbuthnott has informed me that an incident I wrote about in SPIN ZHIRA corroborates some of their own findings with regards to one such alleged assassination in 2012. This took place in Rahim Kalay, a small, poppy dependent rural community east of Gereshk where the British had established a patrol base.

    At the time the village was on the front line of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) counter-insurgency, making it a very dangerous and violent place to live. Abandoned by the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan shortly after the British withdrawal from Helmand in 2014, it now falls under Taliban shadow governance. Ironically, this makes it a much safer and less violent place to live.

    The Sunday Times investigation has revealed that the Ministry of Defence are using the closure of the bogus Iraq Historic Allegations Team (IHAT) ​as an opportunity to​ shut down a completely separate Royal Military Police (RMP) investigation into ​the conduct of SAS kill/capture missions.

    The IHAT enquiry squandered taxpayers’ money and amounted to a betrayal of British servicemen and women by the ministry responsible for safeguarding them. Based on my own experiences in Rahim, I believe the RMP investigation is warranted and should be allowed to proceed. Former Army Captain and MP for Plymouth Moor View, Johnny Mercer, agrees “We must be very clear that unlawful behaviour is not acceptable. I hope that my efforts to protect our servicemen and women from spurious claims have not been used as cover to legitimise unprofessional behaviour on operations.”

    Even in war, soldiers are not above the law and it seemed to me that, all too often in Afghanistan, Special Forces were not subject to the oversight of the military chain of command or the law of armed conflict.

    My account of the incident is reproduced below:

    “It was an extraordinary tale but not an improbable one. Night raids were commonplace in Afghanistan and Haji was not the first person, nor would he be the last, to receive a visitation from Special Operations Forces in the middle of the night. As with everything in the secretive world of SOF it was difficult to know precise details. But a US military source told researchers for the Open Society Foundation in April 2011 that as many as 40 raids were being carried out every night. Jon Nagel, a former member of Petreus’ staff described them as “an industrial strength counter-terrorism killing machine”.

    This sounded most impressive but Mr Nagel appeared to be fighting the wrong war. We were supposed to be conducting a counter-insurgency, not a counter-terrorism campaign. Perhaps I was splitting hairs but Mr Nagel really should have known the difference because his own boss had re-written the counter-insurgency manual to great acclaim and fanfare.

    In it Petreus had mandated: “Legitimacy is the Main Objective.” Impressed, no doubt, by British military doctrine writers’ ability to use a dozen words where half that number would have sufficed he went on to state:

    “The best counter‑insurgency campaigns integrate and synchronise political, security, economic, and informational components that reinforce governmental legitimacy and effectiveness while reducing insurgent influence over the population. COIN strategies should be designed to simultaneously protect the population from insurgent violence; strengthen the legitimacy and capacity of government institutions to govern responsibly and marginalise insurgents politically, socially, and economically.”
    There was no mention of an industrial strength killing machine in any of the manual’s 242 pages.

    Unsurprisingly night raids singularly failed to reduce insurgent influence over the population or to demonstrate the legitimacy of our cause. In fact there was plenty to suggest that they were having the directly opposite effect.

    Towards the end of our tour a night raid in Rahim, conducted by a joint TF196 and Afghan Special Forces team, resulted in three brothers being gunned down in their compound in front of their wives and children.

    Again I found myself in conflict with British Tier One Special Forces. TF196 insisted the men were insurgents, but this claim seemed highly improbable to me. The brothers’ compound was just a short distance from one of our patrol bases and any suspicious activity would almost certainly have come to our attention. Our own J2 Shop had nothing on the men. The general consensus from our analysts was that the SAS, while ruthlessly efficient as always, had directed their special talents against the wrong targets.

    When I challenged a TF196 spokesman on their version of events he played their top secret joker once more. Speaking to me by phone from an undisclosed location he said the information was classified. As a known Taliban‑loving apologist and mere part‑time soldier I could not be trusted and had no authority to contradict elite tier one special forces. A short while later I received another telephone call from the charming colonel in Task Force Helmand ordering me to drop my line of enquiry. Although he remained amiable I detected a hardening in his tone.

    The TFH top brass had silenced me, but the Rahim spin zhiras remained determinedly voluble on the subject. They steadfastly maintained the brothers’ innocence and were outraged at the brutal executions in front of the victims’ families. Emissaries were despatched to the patrol base threatening retaliation and demanding an apology and blood money for the relatives. The PB Commander was bitterly angry that the raid had gone ahead without his knowledge, destroying the work his own men had done over the previous six months to marginalise the Taliban and protect the population from insurgent violence.

    Shortly after we completed our tour the Rahim patrol base was abandoned and Afghan National Security Forces ceded control of the area to the Taliban. Perhaps these events were not linked to the slaying of the supposed insurgents but, given the long memories of our Afghan hosts, this seemed unlikely to me. Our actions had done nothing to strengthen the legitimacy of the GIRoA government as the Petreus COIN Field Manual had directed.’


  3. #43
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    All terror laws must go: Government’s Independent Reviewer of Terrorism legislation recognises incompatibility of terror laws with the rule of law

    Posted by CAGE on

    Max Hill QC stated in the Independent yesterday that terror laws should be scrapped and there should not be any prosecutions for ‘thought crimes’.
    Dr Adnan Siddiqui, CAGE Director said:

    “Max Hill is right to call for the end to all terror laws in this country. The Independent Reviewers comments come as a welcome break from a norm that has allowed this politicised corpus of law to continue to expand. The criminal justice system is adequate without entrenching Emergency laws that were intended only to be a temporary measure. A ‘state of exception’ has instead led to the normalisation of emergency powers over 17 years through 14 separate pieces of legislation.”

    “CAGE reiterates its June announcement: We call for an abolition of the extensive web of laws that have ensnared our fundamental freedoms and rights. We call upon all right minded people to join our struggle to establish once again the Rule of Law and apply it to all irrespective of their background, race or religion.”



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