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  1. #21
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    US Air strikes on Isis-held Mosul 'leave 230 civilians dead', reports local media

    US Central Command says it is researching reports of extensive loss of civilian life in third such alleged incident in recent weeks

    by Bethan McKernan - 23 March 2017

    Approximately [Over] 230 people are reported to have been killed in what is thought to have been a US-led coalition air strike
    on an Isis-held neighborhood in Mosul.

    A correspondent for Rudaw, a Kurdish news agency operating in northern Iraq, said that 137 people - most believed to be civilians - died when a bomb hit a single building in al-Jadida, in the western side of the city on Thursday. Another 100 were killed nearby.

    "Some of the dead were taking shelter inside the homes," Hevidar Ahmed said from the scene.

    A spokesperson for Central Command, which coordinates US military action in Iraq, told The Independent they were aware of the loss of civilian life as reported by Rudaw and the information had been passed on to the civilian casualty team for "further investigation".

    "[The US-led coalition] takes all reports of civilian casualties very seriously and assesses all incidents as thoroughly as possible. Coalition forces work diligently to be precise in our air strikes and ensure that all strikes comply with the [internationally agreed] Law of Armed Conflict," Captain Timothy Irish said.

    A daily assessment report from Central Command stated that five strikes near Mosul on Thursday had destroyed five Isis units and a sniper team, as well as 11 fighting positions, vehicles and artillery equipment.

    No other fighting force in the country has the capability to launch an aerial attack of the scale reported.

    Iraqi coalition ground forces, backed by a US-led coalition bombing campaign, began the gruelling Operation Inherent Resolve to remove Isis from Mosul in October 2016.

    The jihadi ISIS fighters now hold onto approximately a quarter of the city on the western bank of the River Tigris that cuts through Mosul from north to south.

    An estimated 400,000 Iraqis are trapped in the remaining Isis-held areas, the UN's refugee agency said on Thursday. Those caught up in the fighting face growing food shortages or being hit by crossfire if they try to leave.

    Isis has used civilian homes to shelter fighters and weapons throughout the battle for the city, rigging buildings and streets with explosives to impede Iraqi troops' progress.

    The fighting has come at a heavy price for both Mosul's residents and Iraqi soldiers: thousands of Iraqi civilians have died in the fighting, and a cumulative total of more than 200,000 displaced from their homes.

    At least 6,878 civilians were killed
    in violence mainly inflicted by Isis around the country last year, the United Nations Assistance Mission to Iraq (UNAMI) has said.

    Many Mosul residents report their loved ones have died as a result of "friendly fire" rather than Isis's warfare tactics.

    AirWars, a UK-based non-profit monitoring the effect of anti-Isis air strikes on civilians, said last week that they believed 370 civilians died in US-led coalition bombing in the first week of March alone.

    Over the border in Syria in the last week, the US has been accused of killing civilians in two separate bombing incidents: 33 died in a strike near Raqqa which was supposed to target Isis positions, and more than 50 after a strike hit a mosque in Aleppo province rather than an al-Qaeda meeting point.

    Removing Isis from Mosul, which is Iraq's second largest city, will effectively spell the end of Isis as a land-holding force in the country, driving the remnants of the group back to their de facto capital of Raqqa.

    While losing the city will be a decisive blow, the jihadi ISIS organization is expected to pose a renewed threat in the form of an insurgency war against Iraqi forces.



    These are the real terrorists who are killing hundreds of Muslims in their War of Terror. Their western media cries about the few killed in their countries yet hide these murders.

  2. #22
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    US war of terror out of control

    Airstrike monitoring group overwhelmed by U.S.-caused civilian casualties

    A non-profit organization that tracks civilian casualties caused by airstrikes in the Middle East said it has shifted nearly all of its resources to track a surge of claims regarding U.S.-led strikes in Syria and Iraq.

    The group, called Airwars.org, had been tracking deaths caused by both Russian and U.S. airstrikes but said in a statement Friday that it was scaling back its work on “alleged Russian actions in Syria — so as best to focus our limited resources on continuing to properly monitor and assess reported casualties from the U.S. and its allies.

    Airwars director Chris Woods said the organization will “continue to track Russian civilian casualty allegations on a daily basis,” but will suspend its detailed case-by-case assessments for the near future.

    “Almost 1,000 civilian non-combatant deaths have already been alleged from coalition actions across Iraq and Syria in March — a record claim,” Airwars said in a statement. “These reported casualty levels are comparable with some of the worst periods of Russian activity in Syria.”

    In the last week, three mass casualty incidents have been attributed to U.S.-led forces in Iraq and Syria, making March one of the most lethal months for civilians in the the two-year-old war against the Islamic State.

    Last week, U.S. drones targeted what locals deemed a mosque in Aleppo province in a bid to target al-Qaeda leaders. U.S. officials said dozens of terrorists were killed, but those on the ground said at least 47 civilians also died in the strikes. The Pentagon denied that there were any civilian casualties but has launched a formal investigation into the incident.

    On Monday, a conflict monitoring group, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said a strike near Raqqa targeted a school that was serving as a home for multiple families displaced by fighting in the area, killing at least 33. The Pentagon admitted U.S. aircraft were operating in the vicinity but, according to Pentagon spokesman Eric Pahon, the military is having a hard time rectifying the location of the building that was targeted with what was shown as destroyed on social media.

    On Thursday, Iraqi media reported that an airstrike in Mosul killed more than 200 people. The Pentagon is investigating the claims.

    After the fall of Aleppo to Syrian and Russian forces in December and the recent escalation of the U.S.-led campaigns against the Islamic State in Mosul and Raqqa, claims of civilian casualties caused by American-led forces have outstripped those caused by Damascus and the Kremlin, according to Airwars.

    As Syrian forces advance into opposition-held Hama in central Syria, Airwars has recorded roughly 50 civilian casualty events caused by the joint Russian and Syrian air campaign in March.

    Airwars uses varying methods to investigate and confirm civilian casualties, relying on a medley of local news outlets, NGOs, civilian volunteers and social media to determine if casualty reports are fair, weak, contested or disproved. For March, nearly half the alleged strikes are contested, according to Airwars data.

    According to Airwars, more than 2,500 civilians have been killed by the U.S.-led coalition, which has admitted to killing only roughly 220 civilians. In recent months, the Pentagon said it has taken strides to investigate a backlog of claims while starting to release monthly civilian casualty assessments.

    “The decision to temporarily suspend our Russia strike assessments has been a very difficult one to take,” Woods said. “Moscow is still reportedly killing hundreds of civilians in Syria every month. But with Coalition casualty claims escalating so steeply – and with very limited Airwars resources – we believe our key focus at present needs to be on the U.S.-led alliance.”


  3. #23
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    Trump's War on Terror Has Quickly Become as Barbaric and Savage as He Promised

    by Glenn Greenwald - March 26 2017

    From the start of his presidency, Donald Trump's "war on terror" has entailed the seemingly indiscriminate slaughter of innocent people in the name of killing terrorists. In other words, Trump has escalated the 16-year-old core premise of America's foreign policy - that it has the right to bomb any country in the world where people it regards as terrorists are found - and in doing so, has fulfilled the warped campaign pledges he repeatedly expressed.

    The most recent atrocity was the killing of as many as 200 Iraqi civilians from U.S. airstrikes this week in Mosul. That was preceded a few days earlier by the killing of dozens of Syrian civilians in Raqqa province when the U.S. targeted a school where people had taken refuge, which itself was preceded a week earlier by the U.S. destruction of a mosque near Aleppo that also killed dozens. And one of Trump's first military actions was what can only be described as a massacre carried out by Navy SEALs, in which 30 Yemenis were killed; among the children killed was an 8-year-old American girl (whose 16-year-old American brother was killed by a drone under Obama).

    In sum: Although precise numbers are difficult to obtain, there seems little question that the number of civilians being killed by the U.S. in Iraq and Syria - already quite high under Obama - has increased precipitously during the first two months of the Trump administration. Data compiled by the site Airwars tells the story: The number of civilians killed in Syria and Iraq began increasing in October under Obama but has now skyrocketed in March under Trump.

    What's particularly notable is that the number of airstrikes actually decreased in March (with a week left), even as civilian deaths rose - strongly suggesting that the U.S. military has become even more reckless about civilian deaths under Trump than it was under Obama:

    This escalation of bombing and civilian deaths, combined with the deployment by Trump of 500 ground troops into Syria beyond the troops Obama already deployed there, has received remarkably little media attention. This is in part due to the standard indifference in U.S. discourse to U.S. killing of civilians compared to the language used when its enemies kill people (compare the very muted and euphemistic tones used to report on Trump's escalations in Iraq and Syria to the frequent invocation of genocide and war crimes to denounce Russian killing of Syrian civilians). And part of this lack of media attention is due to the Democrats' ongoing hunt for Russian infiltration of Washington, which leaves little room for other matters.

    But what is becoming clear is that Trump is attempting to liberate the U.S. military from the minimal constraints it observed in order to avoid massive civilian casualties. And this should surprise nobody: Trump explicitly and repeatedly vowed to do exactly this during the campaign.

    He constantly criticized Obama - who bombed seven predominantly Muslim countries - for being "weak" in battling ISIS and al Qaeda. Trump regularly boasted that he would free the U.S. military from rules of engagement that he regarded as unduly hobbling them. He vowed to bring back torture and even to murder the family members of suspected terrorists - prompting patriotic commentators to naïvely insist that the U.S. military would refuse to follow his orders. Trump's war frenzy reached its rhetorical peak of derangement in December 2015, when he roared at a campaign rally that he would "bomb the **** out of ISIS" and then let its oil fields be taken by Exxon, whose CEO is now his secretary of state.

    video: https://safeshare.tv/x/aWejiXvd-P8

    Trump can be criticized for many things, but lack of clarity about his intended war on terror approach is not one of them. All along, Trump's "solution" to terrorism was as clear as it was simple; as I described it in September 2016:


    Trump's reckless killing of civilians in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen is many things: barbaric, amoral, and criminal. It is also, ironically, likely to strengthen support for the very groups - ISIS and al Qaeda - that he claims he wants to defeat, given that nothing drives support for those groups like U.S. slaughter of civilians (perhaps the only competitor in helping these groups is another Trump specialty: driving a wedge between Muslims and the West).

    But what Trump's actions are not is a departure from what he said he would do, nor are they inconsistent with the predictions of those who described his foreign policy approach as non-interventionist. To the contrary, the dark savagery guiding U.S. military conduct in that region is precisely what Trump expressly promised his supporters he would usher in.


  4. #24
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    Joint Statement: Muslim Leaders Condemn US Airstrikes

    The below is a non-partisan open statement signed by Muslim Imams, scholars and activists from various schools of thought and organisations in predominantly English-speaking countries to condemn the killing of hundreds of innocent men, women and children in Iraq due to US coalition-led airstrikes in March.

    The statement is as follows:
    March 2017 / Jumada Al-Akhirah 1438
    On behalf of the Muslim community in Canada, UK, USA and elsewhere, we, the undersigned, want to extend our deepest condolences to the families and friends involved in the U.S. airstrikes on Iraqi civilians which resulted in the massacre of hundreds of innocent men, women, and children in Iraq.

    We unequivocally say that such acts of state terror only worsen the situation and fuel tensions. As Muslims, we believe that all human beings have the right to safety and security and that each and every human life is inviolable.

    We encourage all people to learn more about Islam, specifically the Qur’an and the way and life of the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.), as education is a vital part of developing peace, guidance, and understanding in our world today.

    • AbdulAziz Rasoul, i3 institute, Canada
    • Abdullah Andalusi, Muslim Debate Initiative, UK
    • Abdullah Ayaz Mullanee, Mathabah Institute, Canada
    • Abdullah Hatia, Halton Islamic Association, Canada
    • AbdulMalik Mohammad, Ilmster Seminars, Canada
    • Abdul Wahid, Hizb ut-Tahrir Britain, UK
    • Abu Eesa Niamatullah, 1st Ethnical, UK
    • Adnan Rashid, Hittin Institute, UK
    • Alaa ElSayed, ISNA, Canada
    • Aly Hindy, Salaheddin Centre, Canada
    • Asim Khan, Sabeel Institute, UK
    • Azad Ali, MEND, UK
    • Basil Amjad Khan, Akhirah Cirles, Canada
    • Bassam Zawadi, Call To Monotheism, Canada
    • Bilal Ismail, Imam Developent Project, South Africa
    • Dilly Hussain, 5 Pillars, UK
    • Ehsaan Ansari, Khadija Centre, Canada
    • Farina Siddiqui, Muslim Moms Network, Canada
    • Farooq Khan, North American Muslim Foundation, Canada
    • Feras Marish, Dar Foundation, Canada
    • Hacene Chebbani, Islamic Information Society of Calgary, Canada
    • Haitham Al-Haddad, Islamic Council of Europe, UK
    • Ibrahim Fayaz, Masjid Usman, Canada
    • Ibrahim Hindy, Dar Al-Tawheed, Canada
    • Jalil Popalzai, Subhan Masjid, Canada
    • Kamil Ahmad, IOU, Canada
    • Malik Datardina, AwareMuslim, Canada
    • Mamoun Hassan, Islamic Centre of Clarington, Canada
    • Mazin AbdulAdhim, Hizbut Tahrir, Canada
    • Moazzam Begg, Cage, UK
    • Mohamad Osta, i3 institute, Canada
    • Mohammad Auwal, CSU Communication Studies, USA
    • Mohammed Mu’azzam Khan, i-Charity, Australia
    • Musleh Khan, Islamic Institute of Toronto, Canada
    • Nouman Ali Khan, QuranWeekly, USA
    • Omar Hajaj, Yaseen Youth
    • Omar Subedar, Mathabah Institute, Canada
    • Omar Suleiman, Yaqeen Institute, USA
    • Raza Nadim, MPAC, UK
    • Sadat Anwar, Muslim Debate Initiative, Canada
    • Salman Butt, Islam21C, UK
    • Sarfraaz Ahmed, Standard Bearers, India
    • Shakeel Begg, Lewisham Islamic Centre, UK
    • Suliman Gani, Al Khaleel Institute, UK
    • Syed Iqbal, NYM INK, Canada
    • Tabasum Hussain, Muslim Debate Initiative, Canada
    • Taji Mustafa, Hizbut Tahrir, UK
    • Uthman Lateef, Hittin Institute, UK
    • Yasir Qadhi, MuslimMatters, USA
    • Yawar Baig, Standard Bearers, India
    • Younus Kathrada, Muslim Youth of Victoria, Canada
    • Yusuf Badat, Mathabah Institute, Canada
    • Zahid Akhtar, Documenting Oppression Against Muslims (DOAM), UK
    • Zahir Mahmood, As-Suffa Institute, UK


    This statement is independent of any one organisation, Islam21c has published it for information purposes. All are free to replicate it faithfully and disseminate elsewhere.

    The statement purposely mirrors the language of a joint statement condemning the Orlando shooting which got widespread coverage last year, giving Muslim leaders and representatives an opportunity to speak out against bad decisions made by their own governments in an open and non-controversial way.

    The names are listed in alphabetical order with the otherwise deserved titles and prefixes (Shaikh, Imam, Dr, and so on) of many of the esteemed scholars omitted so as to maintain independence and non-partisanship as much as possible.

    If you are an Imam, scholar or activist and would like to sign the petition, please email muslimsprotecting@gmail.com with your name or kunya you would like displayed.

    References to airstrikes in mainstream media:

    Coalition says it hit Mosul site where civilians died


    U.S. military confirms airstrike on Mosul area ‘corresponding’ to reports of civilian casualties


    US military investigating if airstrikes caused nearly 300 civilian deaths:



  5. #25
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    US military wiping out civilians, seizing natural resources of countries: Analyst


    The US military has long pursued the goal of “wiping out” civilians around the world and seizing other country’s resources, while damaging the economy and environment inside the US, an American anti-war activist and journalist in Maine says.

    “The Pentagon has become nothing more than the military arm of corporate globalization; their job is to secure the oil fields and other precious resources around the world and the killing of thousands and thousands of innocent civilians by the military doesn’t matter,” said Bruce Gagnon, the coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space.

    “One of the goals of the military is to completely wipe out people; make it easier for the oil corporations and other resource extraction corporations to go in and take the resources without having the people in the way,” Gagnon told Press TV on Sunday.

    “The US taxpayers are funding these operations but they get nothing in return except a collapsing economy and a neglected infrastructure that’s falling apart,” he added.

    “These wars only waste our money and they make climate change even worse because the military is the largest polluter on the planet,” the activist stated.

    The US Defense Department, under President Donald Trump, is gaining more freedom to run wars without seeking approval from the White House, the AFP reported this week.

    Critics say the Pentagon’s increased autonomy could increase the rate of civilian deaths, put the lives of American soldiers at greater risk and lead to a lack of oversight of US wars, according to the report.

    The shift has been more visible in the Pentagon’s purported fight against the Daesh (ISIL) terrorist group in Syria and Iraq, where under former President Barack Obama, even minor changes to US military plans underwent exhaustive scrutiny by the White House.

    Since Trump entered office, the Marine Corps has deployed an artillery battery into Syria, and the US Army has moved in hundreds of Rangers, nearly doubling the total number of US forces there from 503 to about 1,000.


  6. #26
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    Dozens die in US-led air attacks in Syria and Iraq: Report


    Women and children killed in suspected US-led coalition attacks, says Syrian Observatory for Human Rights

    The US military said in May that coalition strikes in Syria and Iraq had 'unintentionally' killed 352 civilians since 2014 (AA)

    Dozens of civilians, including scores of women and children, have been reported killed by suspected US-led coalition air attacks in Syria and Iraq targeting the Islamic State group.

    The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said a suspected coalition air attack killed 23 civilians on Monday in Abu Kamal, a Syrian town held by IS on the border with Iraq.

    Many of those killed were civilians from other areas controlled by IS, including Deir Ezzor, Raqqa and neighbouring Iraq, according to the monitor.

    "They hit a residential area at 3am while people were sleeping, causing the high toll," said the monitor's director, Rami Abdel Rahman.

    He added that IS was using some builidngs in the target area as local headquarters.

    The deaths came after another attack by the US-led coalition in Raqqa province on Sunday that killed 12 women, the monitor said.

    It said the afternoon attack hit vehicles carrying farmworkers coming home from fields in the east of the province.

    The monitor said it believed this strike had also been carried out by the US-led coalition.

    US Central Command said it had conducted strikes against IS militants in Raqqa and Abu Kamal on 14 May.

    In its statement, Centcom confirmed that it had "destroyed an ISIS pump jack and an ISIS well head" near Abu Kamal and that it had fired nine strikes near Raqqa.

    The statement, however, did not mention the number of militants and civilians killed by the coalition air strikes.

    IS has lost swathes of the territory it once held in Raqqa province, though it still holds Raqqa city and some areas to the east.

    A US-backed alliance of Kurdish and Arab fighters known as the Syrian Democratic Forces is battling towards Raqqa, IS's most important remaining Syrian bastion.

    Turkey had protested against plans by the US to arm Kurdish groups in northern Syria, describing the move as a relic of the Obama era.

    The US military said in May that coalition strikes in Syria and Iraq had "unintentionally" killed 352 civilians since it launched operations against IS in 2014.

    Human rights groups, however, say that the death toll may be much higher than reported as operations remain ongoing.

    Since the US-led coalition began to take back territory from the Islamic State group, more than 200,000 people have been reportedly displaced from the Iraqi city of Mosul.

    The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) said in March that 45,000 people have fled west Mosul since the push to seize it from IS began in February.

    Meanwhile, two car bombs killed at least six people and wounded several others in Syria's sprawling Rukban refugee camp near the border with Jordan late on Monday, a rebel official and a resident said.

    One explosion was near a restaurant and the second targeted the camp's market nearby, they said.

    "There are at least six civilians dead and the number is expected to rise," said Mohammad Adnan, a rebel official from Jaish Ahrar al-Ashair who runs the policing of the camp.

    There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

    In January, a car bomb killed a number of people in the camp, and Islamic State militants have since launched attacks on Syrian rebels in the area.

    Rukban, near the joint Syria-Iraq-Jordan border, is home to refugees and also to rebel groups, including the Jaish Ahrar al-Ashair, which fight both President Bashar al-Assad and the Islamic State movement. It was also hit by bomb attacks last year.


  7. #27
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    Child Soldiers Reloaded: The Privatisation of War

    How private companies recruit former child soldiers for military operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.

    Filmmaker: Mads Ellesoe

    From opportunistic guns for hire on the fringe of domestic conflicts to a global force operating within a multibillion-dollar industry - the private military sector seems to be flourishing.

    As armies and war increasingly become 'outsourced', private military companies have taken on a wider increasing range of responsibilities, from security and intelligence analysis to training and combat roles.

    "The private military industry is a part of how the countries fight wars today ... The US government doesn't track the number of contractors used in places like Iraq or Afghanistan. We know it's a lot, we don't know exactly how many," says Sean McFate, a professor at Georgetown University who used to work for a private military company.

    The employees of these contractors can come from anywhere, and sometimes those leading the missions don't know exactly who is working for them.

    "They [the companies] hire and they sometimes create what they call 'subs', subcontractors. There's been commanders in Afghanistan who just simply say, 'We don't know who the subs of the subs of the subs are.' So you've all these, like, layers of a contract.

    "It's the complete opposite of the private military world. You look at the budget first," says McFate. "Company self-interest is different than national self-interest. Companies are profit-maximisers, that's what they do, that's natural."

    As the military trade grows and private military companies try to find the cheapest available soldiers around the world, who are the mercenaries? And what are the consequences of the privatisation of war?

    Child Soldiers Reloaded looks at the changing nature of war, the business of warfare and the issues behind it.

    The business of warfare: Aegis Defence Services

    In 2004, the US Department of Defense signed a deal estimated at $293m with the private military company Aegis to execute operations in Iraq and Afghanistan

    Aegis Defence Services is a British private military company founded in 2002 by former British Army officer Tim Spicer. Spicer was involved in the 1998 "arms to Africa" scandal, in which his previous company, Sandline International, was found to be breaching UN sanctions by importing weapons to Sierra Leone.

    But according to journalist and author Stephen Armstrong, "He's a dashing and charming, public school-educated guards' officer. And that really wasn't massively a feature of the industry before then. It changed the global agenda of what a private military company was."

    During the US invasion of Iraq, Aegis was contracted to oversee the communication and coordination for all the private security companies on the ground providing guards to protect US military bases.

    "In effect, it meant that they were the general in charge of all of the private contractors. Now, at that point, the US military was the largest military presence in Iraq. But if you added together all of the private military contractors, Spicer was effectively in charge of the second-largest armed force in Iraq," says Armstrong.

    However, when the US decided to end its military mission in Iraq, budgets decreased and the private military industry had to start offering different types of deals. As a result, they started to hire cheaper soldiers, many of them from the developing world.

    Aegis employed many mercenaries from Sierra Leone and Uganda to work in Iraq because they were cheaper than other options.

    "The Sierra Leonean war has been fought mainly by young combatants. If you're looking for young men to perform military jobs, the chances are quite good that they have also been child soldiers," says Maya Mynster Christensen, anthropologist, Royal Danish Defence College.

    She explains that "from a Sierra Leone government perspective, the Iraq recruitment was considered a quite good deal, in the sense that they could actually take local troublemakers, sending them away to Iraq for a couple of years, and then returning them after two years with money earned from their overseas deployment. This could serve to stabilise security in Sierra Leone."

    In 2010, the US Congress appointed a commission to investigate outsourcing to private military companies, but the recruitment of former child soldiers was not part of the investigation.

    The commission concluded that the US government has been too dependent on private military companies in Iraq and Afghanistan, and that between $30bn and $60bn disappeared to waste and fraud.

    The number of former child soldiers recruited by private companies to take part in active combat is unknown, as is the total number of employees from the developing world is also unknown.

    "On the one hand, Western countries have pumped large sums of money into the reintegration of former child soldiers, but now we have governments like the US supporting these so-called security companies that recruit people and continue their exposure to violence and cement their identities as perpetrators of violence as soldiers, that make it impossible to ever reintegrate into civilian life," says Michael Wessels, a psychologist and adviser to the UN and NGOs.

    "We pride ourselves on being a moral people, trying to do the right thing. What we're doing is, we're exploiting people, using young people who've been child soldiers, deliberately sinking them into the jaws of combat and further violence. Nothing could be worse for these young people, nothing could be worse for security."


  8. #28
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    US Military Burn Woman, Children Alive In Homes Same Week As Manchester Bombing

    Keeping the civilian casualties abstract during war is one tool the government uses to temper down public perceptions of the damage done by the western military.

    Western exceptionalism has caused unprecedented misery, trauma and bloodshed. Not accepting the US and other western nations’ roles that have played out in provoking war in the Middle East, and terrorism, only leads to more devastation and zero accountability.

    Without knowing the back story of a civilian slaughtered in war, the public opinion is forced into neutrality or worse, apathy. In sharp contrast, any terrorist attack on Western soil leads the media to report in vast detail each civilian death, their name, their dreams, their future lost.

    The leveling of the media playing field – where the Fourth Estate’s primary responsibility to the public rests – would place the dead Iraqi or Syrian child found bloodied under rubble, post US military or Saudi airstrike, equal to the dead child in Manchester.

    And this is what the US government wants to avoid. For if we suddenly sympathize with the family mourning the loss of their loved ones in a Middle Eastern nation, the war is suddenly reduced to more questions than answers. The public will find it difficult to justify any war.

    Just recently, one Iraqi journalist reported that US bombings had “caused the deaths of more than twenty civilians who were burned in their homes, mostly women and children.”

    Rephrased: Innocent women and children were burned alive in their homes because of the US military bombing campaign.

    As The Intercept’s founders’ Glenn Greenwald and Jeremy Scahill discuss with Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez on Democracy Now! “What if all victims of war received the [same] media attention of the Manchester victims?” Yes, the Manchester victims were gut wrenching. So are the burning of children alive in their homes – no matter where they are. Where is the compassion?

    Again, the government doesn’t want us feeling anything. Their job is to keep the western civilian numb.

    The Syrian Observatory for Rights, Airwars and the human rights group Reprieve have reported that US air raids alone have killed over 265 civilians, a quarter of them being children in just the last 2 months. The bulk of these deaths happened in the same fortnight as the Manchester bombing.

    We don’t know the names of children dying in these provinces in the Middle East. Imagine if the discrepancy between reporting in detail on the civilian in Manchester or any of the victims of violence perpetrated by the western governments and US coalitions stopped, Greenwald argues. Our perception would change. Casualties of war are continually kept “abstract” and “distant.”

    “If there was just some attention paid to telling the stories of the victims of our own governments violence I think there’d be a radical shift in how we perceive it ourselves, the role we play in the world, and who bears blame in this conflict,” Greenwald explains.

    Putting it into context, Trump’s new arms deal with the Saudis (valued at an immediate $110 billion) will see the poorest Middle Eastern nation razed to the ground by proxy. The largest humanitarian crisis isn’t the refugees flooding Europe, it’s those in Yemen caused by a US-backed Saudi coalition.

    But where’s the Fourth Estate’s voice when documenting that? Where’s the balance?


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    US air strike in Mosul killed at least 105 civilians, Pentagon confirms

    The strike is one of the largest incidents of civilian deaths since the US air campaign against Isis began in 2014

    A Pentagon investigation has found more than 100 civilians were killed in a US bombing in Mosul, Iraq, in March, making it one of the largest incidents of civilian death since the US air campaign against Isis began in 2014.

    The military reports 101 civilians in the building were killed, and another four died in a nearby building. Thirty-six civilians remain unaccounted for.

    The deaths represent about a quarter of all civilian deaths since the US air campaign began.

    “Our condolences go out to all those that were affected,” said Maj Gen Joe Martin, commanding general of the Combined Joint Forces Land Component Command – Operation Inherent Resolve (CJFLCC-OIR).

    “The coalition takes every feasible measure to protect civilians from harm,” he added. “The best way to protect civilians is to defeat Isis."

    The CJFLCC-OIR’s investigation was triggered by international outcry over reports of large-scale civilian deaths following the 17 March bombing.

    Critics claim the US has been too aggressive in bombing congested areas like Mosul. The major Iraqi city – and last Isis city stronghold – has a population of more than 660,000.

    The incident generated backlash strong enough to halt the Iraqi government forces' six-month advance into Mosul.

    “It’s a time for weighing new offensive plans and tactics. No combat operations are to go on," a federal police spokesman said at the time. A new plan for defeating Isis, commissioned by President Donald Trump in January, has not been detailed to the public.

    The newly released Pentagon report, however, casts blame for the casualties on Isis.

    According to the report, the US bomb was intended to destroy only the top floor of the building. But the bomb triggered secondary explosions from devices planted in the building by Isis fighters, causing the concrete building to collapse.

    The military cites an analysis of the building’s debris, which found materials common to Isis-made bombs, but not found in the GBU-38.

    Air Force Brig Gen Matthew Isler says American-led forces dropped the bomb under request from Iraqi Counter-terrorism Services. The counter-terrorism forces were reportedly facing gunfire from two Isis snipers.

    Coalition aircraft responded to the calls for assistance with a 500-pound, GBU-38 precision-guided bomb.

    “The weapon appropriately balanced the military necessity of neutralising the snipers with the potential for collateral damage,” Brig Gen Isler said.

    The US has increasingly turned to air strikes to access snipers in the densely populated area. According to the Airwars.org, US-led air strikes in Iraq and Syria have killed a record number of civilians under Mr Trump.

    The site, which tracks civilian casualties from air strikes in the Middle East, claims the CJFLCC-OIR has carried out 12,755 air strikes in Iraq to date.

    International humanitarian law bars combatants from imperiling civilian lives through “indiscriminate use of firepower,” according to Lise Grande, the UN humanitarian coordinator for Iraq.

    A spokesperson for the US-led Operation Inherent Resolve defended the US’s tactics in March.

    “Our goal has always been for zero civilian casualties, but the coalition will not abandon our commitment to our Iraqi partners because of Isis’s inhuman tactics terrorising civilians, using human shields, and fighting from protected sites such as schools, hospitals, religious sites and civilian neighbourhoods," he said.


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    US-Led Coalition Admits Killing At Least 484 Civilians In Air Strikes Against Isis In Syria And Iraq

    Vast majority of incidents in Mosul, as UN raises alarm about potential war crimes

    by Lizzie Dearden - 6/4/2017

    The US-led coalition has admitted killing at least 484 civilians in air strikes in Syria and Iraq amid concern over potential war crimes in the battle to drive Isis out of Mosul.

    US Central Command (CentCom) insisted it “takes extraordinary efforts to strike military targets in a manner that minimises the risk of civilian casualties” but claimed: “In some incidents casualties are unavoidable.”

    The number of men, women and children killed in the campaign has rocketed since the start of the Mosul offensive, seeing densely populated residential districts pummeled by air strikes and artillery.

    Independent monitors say the death toll since the bombing campaign against Isis started in 2014 runs into the thousands, with transparency project Airwars claiming at least 3,800 civilians have been killed.

    In a monthly report, CentCom said investigations finished into 16 incidents that resulted in 132 “unintentional civilian deaths”, bringing the total to 484.

    The deadliest single strike was the attack on Mosul’s al-Jadida district on 17 March, where at at least 101 men, women and children were killed.

    Officials said commanders were unaware families were in a building with Isis snipers on the roof, claiming a single bomb struck the militants and ignited explosives previously planted inside.

    “Catastrophic” rates of civilian casualties caused the Mosul offensive to be temporarily paused following the bombing, which has been contested by local residents who claim there were no additional explosives inside the building.

    All but four of the confirmed incidents took place inside Mosul, seeing civilians killed in air strikes targeting Isis car bombs, mortar positions, command posts, headquarters, vehicles and fighters through March and April.

    In many of the incidents, CentCom said civilians “entered the target area after the munition was released”.

    Elsewhere in Iraq, one civilian died and another was injured in a strike on a lorry filled with explosives near al-Qaim in February, and three civilians were killed in bombing that hit an Isis car bomb factory near Tal Afar in April.

    In Syria, a civilian was killed near the city of Deir Ezzor during a strike on Isis construction equipment in January, while another died during an attack on Isis oil tankers near Raqqa, “after warning shots were fired to dislodge drivers from the vehicles” in February.

    “In each of the incidents, the investigation assessed that all feasible precautions were taken and the decision to strike complied with the law of armed conflict,” a spokesperson for CentCom said, adding that civilian casualties had occurred in less than 1 per cent of more than 21,000 strikes over the past three years.

    With the vast majority of strikes hitting territory under Isis control, the true number of casualties and the victims’ identities are difficult to verify.

    CentCom admitted it was unable to “fully investigate all reports of possible civilian casualties using traditional investigative methods, such as interviewing witnesses and examining the site”, saying it instead interviews pilots, reviews strike footage and analyses information from partner forces, governments, humanitarian groups, traditional and social media.

    CentCom’s figure could rise as 38 incidents remain under investigation
    , mainly around Mosul and Isis’ Syrian stronghold of Raqqa – where a major offensive will soon begin – while 31 reports were found to be non-credible in April.

    Its civilian casualties report covers air and ground artillery strikes conducted as part of the Coalition Air Tasking Order, but campaigners have accused foreign members of the US-led coalition of seeking to conceal civilian deaths by excluding them from Pentagon statistics.

    Britain is among the countries claiming it has killed no civilians, despite carrying out hundreds of air strikes
    in Syria and Iraq as part of Operation Inherent Resolve, the name given to the military intervention against Isis.

    The United Nations
    warned that civilians are “increasingly paying the price” as bombing escalates and terrorists seek bloody retribution.

    In one incident, militants slit the throats of eight men accused of giving coordinates to the US-led coalition at the site of bombardment in their town in Syria, where there have been retaliatory attacks on government-held villages.

    The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, condemned Isis for using civilians as human shields but cautioned: “It is far from clear that the fundamental principles of international law are being properly adhered to by all the various air forces engaged in the fight against Isis.

    “The same civilians who are suffering indiscriminate shelling and summary executions by Isis are also falling victim to the escalating air strikes.”

    He urged all states operating air forces in the Syrian civil war, including the US, UK, Russia and Syria, to distinguish between legitimate military targets and civilians as required under international law.

    “Just because Isis holds an area does not mean less care can be taken,” Mr Hussein added.

    “Civilians should always be protected, whether they are in areas controlled by Isis or by any other party.”



    Enemies of Islam have always attacked or intensified their attacks on Muslims in the month of Ramadan. Last 1400+ years of history has proven it.

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    43 Muslims Murdered After US Airstrikes Hit Apartment Building in Syria

    by Jason Ditz - June 4, 2017

    The civilian death toll of the US air war against ISIS continues to soar today, with the latest US strikes against the ISIS capital city of Raqqa leveled a large apartment building in the residential area of the city, killing at least 43 civilians and wounding many others.

    US airstrikes killing dozens of civilians in Iraq or Syria have been nearly daily occurrences
    at this point, as officials continue to escalate the rate of strikes to try to "pressure" ISIS, and end up killing a soaring number of innocent bystanders.

    As usual, the US has not publicly commented on today strike, nor indeed have they yet commented on destroying a hospital yesterday in the same part of Raqqa. Such incidents rarely make it into the official Pentagon list of civilian casualties in the two nations, which is usually around 10% of the actual death toll as calculated by private NGOs.

    The US has made much of supporting the Kurdish YPG in a military offensive against Raqqa, but in recent weeks the strikes have rarely coincided with Kurdish offensives, and the large death toll raises growing concerns about US targeting policy in the war.


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    More than 30 dead after US-led coalition air strike hits school sheltering families near Raqqa

    By Josie Ensor - 22 March 2017

    A suspected US air strike on a school being used as a shelter by families displaced from the ISIS-held Syrian city of Raqqa killed at least 33 people on Tuesday, in the latest high civilian casualty raid by the coalition.

    A school being used by some 50 families in Mansoura, 15 miles from the capital of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS)'s so-called caliphate, was levelled by airstrikes on Tuesday morning.

    The death toll is expected to rise, according to local activists, who said bodies were still being pulled from the rubble and many families were unaccounted for.

    The nearest ISIS installation to the site of the air strike was a religious school two miles away, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

    "All remaining hospitals in the countryside have been rendered inoperable," said one activist from the anti-ISIS group Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently.

    "The international coalition indiscriminately bombs the city, civilians expect their death coming down from the sky."

    A coalition raid on a mosque outside the city of Aleppo last Thursday evening left as many as 46 dead, making it the deadliest for civilians alleged against the coalition since it began its campaign against ISIS two years ago.

    They said the mosque had not been their target, saying they had intended to hit a building nearby which was being used as a meeting place for al-Qaeda-linked rebel fighters.

    Earlier this month, the coalition said its raids in Syria and Iraq and unintentionally killed at least 220 civilians. But other monitors say the number is far higher.

    Airwars, a UK-based organisation which monitors international air strikes against ISIS, suggested as many as 370 civilian deaths could be attributed to coalition raids in the first week of March alone.

    The White House is considering lifting rules of engagement enacted by the Obama administration that sought to avoid civilian deaths.

    The coalition has stepped up its air campaign in recent months as it prepares for a ground assault to retake the strategic Syrian city from the jihadists [rebels].

    Top officials from the 68-nation alliance fighting ISIS are set to meet in Washington later today to hear more about US President Donald Trump's plan to destroy the jihadists [rebels’] remaining strongholds in Iraq and Syria.

    Since taking office, Mr Trump has increased the number of US advisers on the ground in Syria as part of his promise to eradicate Islamist terror in the war-torn country.


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    U.S.-led forces appear to be using white phosphorus in populated areas in Iraq and Syria

    The U.S.-led coalition in Iraq and Syria appears to have used white phosphorus-loaded munitions on at least two occasions in densely populated areas of Mosul and in the Islamic State’s de facto capital of Raqqa, according to videos posted online and human rights groups.

    The often-controversial munitions are common in western militaries and are used primarily to create smoke screens, though they can also be dropped as an incendiary weapon. When a white phosphorus shell explodes, the chemical inside reacts with the air, creating a thick white cloud. When it comes in contact with flesh, it can maim and kill by burning to the bone.

    While international humanitarian law stipulates that civilians must be protected from all military operations, it also says that countries must take even more care when using white phosphorus. Additionally, because of the weapon’s ability to cause grievous and inhumane injuries, rights groups caution against using white phosphorus to kill enemy troops if other weapons are available.

    On Thursday, footage posted by the activist group Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently showedthe signature spread of airburst white phosphorus munitions — probably M825 series 155mm artillery rounds — exploding over eastern Raqqa, the same area where U.S.-backed Syrian fighters made advances earlier this week.

    U.S. Army Col. Ryan Dillon, a spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition fighting in Iraq and Syria, would not confirm the use of the munition but said in an email that the U.S. military uses it in “accordance with the law of armed conflict” and that white phosphorus rounds are “used for screening, obscuring, and marking in a way that fully considers the possible incidental effects on civilians and civilian structures.”

    “The coalition takes all reasonable precautions to minimize the risk of incidental injury to non-combatants and damage to civilian structures,” he said.
    The Pentagon posted photographs of Marine M777 howitzers in Syria — deployed to support the Raqqa operation — with a pallet of white phosphorus munitions in May. The image was taken in March, and while the unit in the photograph probably has returned to the United States, its replacement is likely using similar munitions.

    Mary Wareham, the advocacy director at Human Rights Watch’s arms division, said in email that the group is still trying to determine the veracity of the videos, but the munitions look similar to the ones used Saturday in the Iraqi city of Mosul. Wareham said that in Mosul it appeared that the rounds exploded close to the ground, in “an attempt to minimize the footprint of the effects.”

    When M825 rounds explode, they jettison roughly 115 felt wedges that are impregnated with white phosphorus. If exploded high above the ground, the wedges can spread over a greater distance, starting fires over a wide area. In Mosul, smoke munitions were used, according to a statement by Iraqi forces, to provide cover for civilians targeted by Islamic State snipers.

    While the Islamic State controls only a few remaining neighborhoods in the western part of Mosul, the small area is packed with tens of thousands of civilians, raising concerns among rights groups that the heavy fighting will kill hundreds of civilians before the fighting ends.

    “White phosphorus should not be air burst over populated areas due to its indiscriminate effect but it’s not clear from available information that civilians are in the area,” Wareham said. “The [Iraqi Security Forces] is claiming that it used white phosphorus to protect civilians. As such, more information is needed to determine whether the white phosphorus use here is lawful.”

    In Raqqa, however, the footage shows the munitions bursting relatively high off the ground over a cluster of buildings. It is unclear if Islamic State fighters are in the area, but thousands of civilians are known to be still in the city. In the days leading up to the battle in the city, U.S.-backed Syrian fighters called on civilians to evacuate prior to the offensive, but after commencing their attack, they’ve now told those inside to shelter in their homes and avoid Islamic State positions.

    A report from the casualty-monitoring group Airwars.Org indicates that this mixed messaging has created some confusion among the civilian population in the city and that despite the fighting, some are still evacuating.

    The Pentagon has admitted to killing roughly 500 civilians in the nearly three-year-old war against the Islamic State. Monitoring groups, such as Airwars, say that number is extremely conservative. The U.K.-based organization claims that roughly 3,800 civilians have been killed by the U.S.-led coalition.


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    It's Not Terrorism When We Do It-Syrians Report US Use of Chemical Weapons on Town of 200K

    The same entities that condemned the Syrian government's alleged use of chemical weapons have become eerily silent in the face of reports that suggest a US-backed coalition committed the same crime.

    By Rachel Blevins - June 9, 2017

    The outrage and empathy on behalf of the civilians in Syria that was expressed by politicians and media personalities alike when they found an opportunity to blame a chemical attack on Assad's government was a distant memory this week. Instead, reports that a US-backed coalition dropped a cluster of airstrikes containing illegal chemicals on a city housing 200,000 people was almost completely ignored by western media.

    The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) broke into the Islamic State-held city of Raqqa for the first time on Tuesday. While popular outlets such as Reuters reported that "as artillery and coalition aircraft pounded targets in the city, SDF fighters moved in small groups into the district," there were some key aspects they appeared to leave out.

    International outlets and witnesses on Twitter noted that some of the airstrikes resembled cluster bombs or white phosphorus, both of which are internationally banned on residential areas.

    Xinhua News, China's state press agency, reported that"Tens of civilians were killed on Thursday when the U.S.-led airstrikes targeted Syria's northern city of Raqqa with white phosphorus," citing a report from Syria's Sham FM radio.

    Russia's Riafan.ru reported that "Coalition forces led by the United States of America shell Raqqa and suburbs of white phosphorus munitions," citing reports on Twitter, which said the U.S.-backed coalition conducted 20 air raids.

    Although the total number of civilian deaths has not been confirmed, early reports suggest that nearly 50 people were killed. The U.S. has yet to acknowledge whether white phosphorus was used during the raids.

    White phosphorus is described as an "incendiary and toxic chemical substance used as a filler in a number of different munitions that can be employed for a variety of military purposes."

    The chemical was banned internationally after the 1980 Protocol on Incendiary Weapons restricted the "use of incendiary weapons as a means or method of warfare during armed conflict."

    The use of chemical weapons is clearly prohibited in international armed conflicts. The International Committee of the Red Cross noted that "employing asphyxiating, poisonous or other gases, and all analogous liquids, materials or devices is listed in the Statute of the International Criminal Court as a war crime."

    If the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces are successful in regaining control of Raqqa from ISIS, then the question remains of who will control the city moving forward. The SDF announced plans in April to run the city using a civilian council-with the help of more than 3,000 U.S. ground troops-which would further a divided Syria, and would keep the U.S. is at odds with Assad's government.

    The same president who claimed to be heartbroken over the "innocent babies" who were reportedly killed in April in a chemical attack that was immediately blamed on Assad's government-despite evidence that suggested otherwise-has said nothing about the reports that suggest his country could be guilty of the same crime he condemned.

    While it is not likely that the United States will fully address the reports, it should be noted that by remaining silent, the mainstream media is also reminding the public of its hypocritical nature.

    The same MSM that provides obsessive coverage of everything President Trump posts on Twitter, has seemingly ignored the flurry of Tweets from various users suggesting the use of chemical weapons by a U.S.-backed coalition.


    US Coalition Admits Using Chemical Weapons Against Civilians in Iraq - Media Silent


    Earlier this month, multiple reports surfaced of US-led coalition forces in Mosul, Iraq and Raqqa, Syria, using the incendiary chemical weapon, white phosphorus, on civilians. For over a week, the US government and the coalition at large have remained silent on the issue - until now.

    In an error that will likely get him much backlash, in an interview with NPR, New Zealand Brig. Gen. Hugh McAslan, and member of the US-coalition has admitted - for the first time - to using white phosphorus during operations in the Iraqi city of Mosul.

    "We have utilized white phosphorous to screen areas within West Mosul to get civilians out safely," McAslan told NPR on Tuesday.

    Instead of questioning the horrid nature of the chemical weapons use on civilians, NPR echoed the general's sentiment and noted that 28,000 civilians have managed to escape. While that may be true, countless others were injured or suffered horrifying deaths.

    While deploying incendiary weapons against residential areas is banned under Protocol III of the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW), the two other uses - smoke screens and signals - are not, which allows the hypocritical US, to keep such munitions in their arsenal and use them. It is through this loophole that the US claims the right to deploy these deadly weapons on towns.

    On November 30, 2005, General Peter Pace stated that white phosphorus munitions were a "legitimate tool of the military" used to illuminate targets and create smokescreens, saying "It is not a chemical weapon. It is an incendiary." However, the general is wrong. As soon as white phosphorus is deployed against people, it becomes a chemical weapon.

    A chemical weapon can be "any chemical which through its chemical action on life processes can cause death, temporary incapacitation or permanent harm."

    White phosphorus remains very dangerous even when not deliberately used to start fires or attack humans. Submunitions can ignite days after deployment and remain a hazard for a city. Injuries caused by the chemical can burn to the bone and are prone to reigniting if a piece of the phosphorus remaining in the wound is exposed to air when a dressing is changed.

    "No matter how white phosphorus is used, it poses a high risk of horrific and long-lasting harm in crowded cities like Raqqa and Mosul and any other areas with concentrations of civilians," said Steve Goose, arms director at Human Rights Watch.

    The US claims of using white phosphorus as a smoke screen or signal ring hollow when assessing the damage reported on the ground in Syria and Iraq.

    Just as the rights groups warned, civilian casualties were, in fact, a reality from the coalition's deployment of white phosphorus.

    "Horrific civilian harm from previous use of white phosphorus has generated public outrage and this latest use of white phosphorus underscores the urgent need for states to strengthen international law relating to incendiary weapons," HRW's Goose said.

    Although NPR happened to have the general admit to them US forces are using white phosphorus, no other mainstream outlet in America has picked up this bombshell story.

    Their silence shows their complicit nature in covering up the alleged war crimes of the West.

    "US-led forces should take all feasible precautions to minimize civilian harm when using white phosphorus in Iraq and Syria," Goose said of the situation. However, from the reports on the ground, that appears not to be the case.

    In the video below, the US-led coalition is dropping white phosphorus bombs on Western Mosul. Watch for yourself and decide whether or not it was being used as a 'tool' to allow civilians to escape.



    video 1: https://safeshare.tv/x/dnMdAlwyUtM
    video 2: https://safeshare.tv/x/qJT2-PhPf9k
    video 3: https://safeshare.tv/x/NKxW-YVgSQg
    video 4: https://www.facebook.com/aljazeera/v...5645958278690/

    How White Phosphorus Kills

    White phosphorus can cause injuries and death in three ways: by burning deep into tissue, by being inhaled as a smoke, and by being ingested. Extensive exposure by burning and ingestion may result in death.

    Incandescent particles of WP cast off by a WP weapon's initial explosion can produce extensive, deep second and third degree burns. One reason why this occurs is the tendency of the element to stick to the skin. Phosphorus burns carry a greater risk of mortality than other forms of burns due to the absorption of phosphorus into the body through the burned area, resulting in liver, heart and kidney damage, and in some cases multiple organ failure.[80] These weapons are particularly dangerous to exposed people because white phosphorus continues to burn unless deprived of oxygen or until it is completely consumed. In some cases, burns are limited to areas of exposed skin because the smaller WP particles do not burn completely through personal clothing before being consumed.

    Oral Ingestion

    The accepted lethal dose when white phosphorus is ingested orally is 1 mg per kg of body weight, although the ingestion of as little as 15 mg has resulted in death. It may also cause liver, heart or kidney damage. There are reports of individuals with a history of oral ingestion who have passed phosphorus-laden stool ("smoking stool syndrome"). Its extreme toxicity is due to the generation of free radicals, especially in the liver, where they accumulate and are not easily metabolized.

    Fume Inhalation

    Long term inhalation of derivative fumes causes a condition called phossy jaw or osteonecrosis of the jaw, which is a painful, debilitating and ultimately lethal condition that afflicted factory workers involved with the manufacture of matches that contained white phosphorus. The mechanism for necrosis is clot formation leading to bone ischaemia or infarction, leading to the putrid rotting of the bone of the lower jaw. For this reason, the Berne Convention (1906) was enacted to forbid the manufacture, sale or purchase of matches containing white phosphorus. This condition may also be caused by high doses of lead, cadmium and bisphosphonate based cancer drugs.

    Source: Wikipedia

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    US Admits It Conducted Mosul Air Strike 'At Location' Where '200' Civilians Died

    Iraqi Vice President called the air strike a 'humanitarian disaster' [how about a war crime? ]

    By Rachael Revesz - 27 March 2017

    Amid the aftermath of a terrorist attack on the UK's Parliament, which killed four people including a police officer, another mass casualty further afield has been buried in the headlines.

    Over the weekend the US Pentagon has admitted to another air strike in Mosul, which is believed to have killed more than 200 civilians including women and children.

    It has been described as a "humanitarian disaster" by Iraqi Vice President Osama Nujaifi, and United Nations officials said they were "profoundly concerned" by the attack.

    The Pentagon released a statement, saying it had targeted Isis fighters and equipment "at the location corresponding to allegations of civilian casualties".

    "The coalition respects human life, which is why we are assisting our Iraqi partner forces in their effort to liberate their lands from ISIS brutality."

    If the US is found to be responsible, it will be the deadliest such attack in three years.

    The Pentagon has admitted to killing 220 civilians
    in Iraq and Syria since mid-2014, yet independent monitoring groups such as Airwars.org in London say the number could be closer to 3,000.

    Airwars claimed there had been around 1,000 civilian deaths in Iraq and Syria in March alone due to coalition air strikes.

    "We realise the huge responsibility the liberating forces shoulder," Iraqi parliament speaker Salim Jabouri tweeted, calling on them to "spare no effort to save the civilians."

    An investigation, using classified and public information, is underway to determine whether it was US forces, Isis militant bombs or both that caused the civilian buildings to fall.

    The Civilian Casualty Credibility Assessment investigation will take several weeks.

    In the meantime, the air strike on Baghdad Street in western Mosul on 17 March has left families torn apart and grieving, with emergency workers working long hours to pull corpses from the rubble. Iraqi police chiefs have also denied reports that the US-Iraqi operation to fight Isis has been put on pause.

    US President Donald Trump has remained silent on the calamity.

    In late January he came under fire for criticising the US military for not taking Iraq oil when they withdrew in 2011. "You wouldn't have Isis if we took the oil," he said.

    The President is unlikely to take responsibility in the latest mass casualty. He was criticised for blaming the military for a botched operation in Yemen in early February, which killed Navy SEAL Chief Petty Officer William Owens. This was a mission that was started before I got here. This was something they wanted to do," Mr Trump said.

    "They came to me, they explained what they wanted to do ― the generals ― who are very respected, my generals are the most respected that we've had in many decades, I believe. And they lost Ryan."


    US Admits Mosul Airstrikes Killed Over 100 Civilians During Battle With Isis

    The Pentagon says airstrikes it carried out on a house were the deadliest in Iraq since 2003, and the final death toll could be as high as 141 people

    May 25, 2017

    The Pentagon has admitted that airstrikes it carried out on a house in western Mosul killed at least 105 civilians in one of the deadliest attacks anywhere in Iraq since the 2003 invasion to oust Saddam Hussein.

    The final toll could be as high as 141, an investigation into the 17 March attack has found, with 36 people still unaccounted for. Nearly all those killed had taken shelter in a house as a battle raged between Islamic State (ISIS) forces who were in the area and Iraqi military special force units.

    Searing images of bodies being dug from the pancaked ruins of the house were broadcast around the world amid allegations that the fight for Mosul's densely packed neighborhoods was too often being ceded to high-flying jets to avoid ground clashes with Isis.

    A Pentagon investigation released on Thursday found that Isis fighters had planted explosives in the house, causing secondary explosions that caused the house to collapse.

    The report said that a US jet dropped a 500lb bomb shortly after 8am, targeting two Isis fighters who had taken up positions on the roof of the the house in the Jadidah neighborhood.

    It says the bomb should have killed the pair, but instead caused a blast that leveled the house, which was made of reinforced concrete and considered by locals to be the sturdiest structure in the area.

    Four more civilians sheltering in another home were killed by debris from the blast. US Central Command said it did not know civilians had taken shelter in the home.

    US officials say they went through close to 700 hours of footage taken from jets during, before and after the attack and sent investigators to the scene in the aftermath. The investigation compared explosive residue from the type of bomb dropped by the fighter jet with residue found at the scene.

    "Post-blast analysis detected residues common to explosives used by Isis, but not consistent with the explosive content of a GBU-38 munition," US Central Command said in a statement.

    The Guardian visited the scene five days after the attack and witnessed rescuers digging through heaped piles of wreckage where the house once stood. Witnesses said close to 150 people had been in the home when it was bombed. Most locals interviewed said that people had willingly taken shelter. However, several also claimed that Isis had urged fighters to use the home as a refuge.

    Witnesses made no mention of secondary explosions and instead pointed to houses all around that had endured similar destruction. Airstrikes caused immense damage on the day of the battle, with bombs regularly targeting homes from 8am until late afternoon. Iraqi ground forces called in the airstrikes.

    Damage to the house had been so catastrophic that only a handful of people - as few as six - survived. Many more survived the explosion itself, but died before rescuers could free them from the rubble. A full rescue effort was not launched until four days after the attack, because Iraqi ground forces said the area was too dangerous to send in search and rescue teams.

    One woman, Lina Shaab Ahmad, who dug herself out of the front of the house, said she was taken to a nearby clinic by Iraqi forces who showed little concern for her or those still buried.

    Other survivors said they suspected they were an embarrassment to Iraqi forces who worried that exposure of the atrocity may lead to the ground campaign being halted.

    Airstrikes were indeed stopped over western Mosul for more than two weeks. And, ever since, the going has been tough through maze like streets still filled with trapped civilians.

    Iraqi and US forces say that more than 90% of the city has now been freed from Isis, with only a pocket in the northwest remaining under the terror group's control.

    The Jadidah attack accounted for about one-quarter of civilian casualties in the war against Isis, the US said. "Our condolences go out to all those that were affected," Major General Joe Martin said. "The coalition takes every feasible measure to protect civilians from harm."



    Despite the huge loss of life, the war criminal Pentagon stated that it meets their standard for proportionality of terrorism.

    : https://www.facebook.com/RTAmerica/v...4456950526366/

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    20 Companies Profiting the Most from War of Terror


    National security and warfare are big business. The U.S. government spent $598.5 billion, over half of its discretionary budget, on military and weapons technology in 2015. The 100 largest arms-producing and military services companies across the globe sold an estimated $370.7 billion worth of arms that year.

    In its latest annual report, Top 100 Arms-Producing and Military Services Companies, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) estimated arms sales for companies around the world using financial documents and reports of sales to national ministries and departments of defense. 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the 20 companies with the largest arms sales in 2015.

    U.S.-based companies continue to dominate the defense market
    , a trend that is unlikely to change meaningfully any time soon. Virginia-based Lockheed Martin's arms sales totaled $36.44 billion in 2015, by far the most of any company. Booz Allen Hamilton rounds out the list of 20, with $3.9 billion in military-related sales that year. U.S.- and Western Europe-based companies account for 82.4% of arms sales by the 100 largest military procurement companies.

    Aude Fleurant is programme director of the Arms and Military Expenditure Program at SIPRI. In an interview with 24/7 Wall St., she explained that because U.S.-based arms manufacturers are so numerous and account for such a large share of global defense spending, “what is happening in the U.S. will influence the [military procurement] trends as a whole, as a general rule.”

    Because these companies -- in many cases even foreign arms makers -- sell primarily to the U.S. Department of Defense, sales patterns are closely linked to budgetary decisions in the U.S. The 2011 Budget Control Act, for example, resulted in a dip in global military spending.

    According to Fleurant, shifting budget priorities, which often change dramatically after an election or economic event, add a level of uncertainty that is especially challenging for the defense industry. Not only are fighter jets, submarines, and highly destructive weapons available only to governments and armed forces, but also these defense products often require decades to design, assemble, and test.

    The great length of procurement cycles, scale of product capabilities, limited access to defense markets, as well as the risk of sudden budgetary changes mean defense companies are under enormous pressure to find deals among the already very limited pool of customers. According to Fleurant, the level of uncertainty and these pressures are currently higher than usual. She highlighted relatively small export markets as major targets of companies looking to make up lower revenues.

    According to a recent report by the Congressional Research Service, developing nations continue to be the main focus of arms sales. Countries without large arms industries rely heavily on exports from powerful nations, primarily the United States and Russia. From 2011 to 2014, the United States and Russia dominated the arms market in the developing world. Over that period, the United States made nearly $115 billion in such agreements, nearly half of the total value of military deals. Agreements with Russia totalled $41.7 billion.

    To identify the companies profiting the most from war
    , 24/7 Wall St. reviewed data provided by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute in its annual SIPRI Top 100, a review of the the largest arms-producing and military services companies by arms sales. Due to a lack of sufficient data, SIPRI excluded Chinese companies from the report. Employment data, profit figures, and arms sales as a percentage of total sales also came from the SIPRI report and are for the 2015 calendar year. Other company-specific data were obtained from annual financial reports.

    20. Booz Allen Hamilton

    > Arms sales: $3.90 billion
    > Total sales: $5.40 billion
    > Profit: $294 million
    > Employees: 22,600

    Management, technology, consulting, and engineering
    company Booz Allen Hamilton has worked closely with U.S. defense agencies since WWII. It is one of the top military equipment contractors in the world. According to the company, $2.6 billion of its fiscal 2016 revenue came from defense clients, roughly half of total revenue. SIPRI pegs total arms sales from Booz Allen at $3.9 billion in 2015.

    A significant portion of Booz Allen Hamilton’s military-related procurements is related to cybersecurity. Based on analysis from the company, cybersecurity threats will continue to increase in the United States and around the world.

    19. United Shipbuilding

    > Arms sales: $4.51 billion
    > Total sales: $5.20 billion
    > Profit: $230 million
    > Employees: 80,000+

    United Shipbuilding Corp. is one of three Russian companies to report more than $4 billion in revenue from arms deals alone in 2015. Total weapons sales at the company, Russia’s largest shipbuilder, were up $159 million from 2014. The company manufactures more than two dozen different military submarines and warships for the Russian Navy and customers abroad, in addition to several vessels for commercial use.

    The company was established in early 2007 in accordance with a decree issued by President Vladimir Putin.

    18. Bechtel

    > Arms sales: $4.60 billion
    > Total sales: $32.30 billion
    > Profit: N/A
    > Employees: 53,000

    Bechtel is a private engineering firm that builds critical infrastructure, provides environmental cleanup and management services, operates dozens of mining operations, and serves as defense contractor in 160 countries. Defense contracts accounted for 14% of the company’s 2015 sales, a relatively low share compared with other major defense companies.

    The company has contracts with both the U.S. Navy and Department of Defense, developing nuclear propulsion systems for submarines and aircraft carriers and disassembling retired chemical weapons.

    17. United Aircraft

    > Arms sales: $4.61 billion
    > Total sales: $5.77 billion
    > Profit: -$1.79 billion
    > Employees: N/A

    United Aircraft Corp. is one of three Russian companies to report at least $4 billion in annual weapons sales. Despite lucrative military contracts, the company is in the red, posing a $1.79 billion loss in 2015. United Aircraft has lost money in each of the four prior years as well. The company attributed its losses to its emphasis on long-term investment and growth, and anticipates profitability by 2025.

    United Aircraft manufactures a range of civil and transport aircraft. However, weapons and military aircraft, including the iconic MiG fighter jet, account for some 80% of the company’s sales.

    16. Rolls-Royce

    > Arms sales: $4.79 billion
    > Total sales: $20.40 billion
    > Profit: $1.65 billion
    > Employees: 50,500

    The Rolls-Royce brand is typically associated with luxury automobile manufacturing. However, a significant portion of the company’s business is power systems development, ranging from nuclear propulsion for naval vessels to jet engines.

    Rolls-Royce manufactures a dozen engines that power military helicopters and fighter jets, as well as the U.S. Air Force’s C-130 Hercules military transport aircraft. Defense contracts accounted for over one-fifth of the company’s total 2015 revenue. The London-based company is the second largest defense contractor in the U.K.

    15. Harris

    > Arms sales: $4.92 billion
    > Total sales: $7.47 billion
    > Profit: $324 million
    > Employees: 21,000

    Harris Corp. reported $4.92 billion in defense contracts in 2015, up from $3.11 billion the previous year. Responsible for the electronic components equipped in the F-22 and F-18 fighter jets, the company has several lucrative deals with the U.S. DoD. Harris has also worked in the increasingly relevant areas of electronic warfare and cyber security for decades.

    Harris Corp. deals primarily with the U.S. government and no single foreign government accounted for more than 5% of the company’s total revenue last year. All told, defense contracts accounted for roughly a third of the company’s total sales in 2015.

    14. Safran

    > Arms sales: $5.02 billion
    > Total sales: $19.31 billion
    > Profit: $1.64 billion
    > Employees: 70,090

    In the latest move towards industry consolidation, French aerospace manufacturer Safran agreed in January to buy fellow French arms maker Zodiac Aerospace. The merged companies form one of the world’s largest aerospace suppliers by revenue.

    Safran makes one of the best selling jet engines, the CFM56, used mainly in Boeing and Airbus planes. The United States -- the U.S. government and U.S. based companies -- is by far the largest player in the global arms market. As it is therefore true for most military contractors, the U.S. is a major customer of Safran. Safran helicopter engines and other parts such as wheels and brakes are used by the Coast Guard and other branches of the military.

    13. Almaz-Antey

    > Arms sales: $6.62 billion
    > Total sales: $6.97 billion
    > Profit: N/A
    > Employees: N/A

    Russia’s national military expenditure dropped from third to fourth place in 2015, as Saudi Arabia moved up to third largest arms spender. More recently, despite tightening budgets from falling oil prices, Russia announced increased military spending in its 2017-2019 budget.

    Despite the budget fluctuations, state-owned Almaz-Antey is one of several Russian defense companies to rank among the top global arms producers in recent years. Like most large defense contractors, the missile maker’s operations are heavily dependent on both government budgets and demand from governments in the region. India, which increased its military spending by 46% between 2006 and 2015, is one Almaz-Antey’s largest customers.

    12. Huntington Ingalls Industries

    > Arms sales: $6.74 billion
    > Total sales: $7.02 billion
    > Profit: $404 million
    > Employees: 35,500

    Though it is a private company, Huntington Ingalls Industries plays a crucial role in the U.S. defense and military strategy. The company is the sole manufacturer of aircraft carriers for the U.S. Navy and one of only two companies contracted to build nuclear-powered submarines. In addition to its headquarters, the company has manufacturing facilities in Newport News, Virginia. Huntington is one of the largest employers in Virginia and the largest shipbuilding company in the United States.

    The company has a number of subsidiaries, including UniversalPegasus International, an oil and gas infrastructure project management company. Still, military contracts accounted for some 96% of the company’s 2015 sales.

    11. Thales

    > Arms sales: $8.10 billion
    > Total sales: $15.60 billion
    > Profit: $897 million
    > Employees: 62,190

    Involved in ground transportation and communications, avionics, naval systems, and cybersecurity, Thales’ business encompasses nearly every aspect of military technology. The French company signed major defense contracts with Australia, Egypt, and Qatar in 2015, driving sales to $8.10 billion, up over $900 million from the year before.

    Still, defense only accounts for about half of the Paris-based company’s business. Thales also designs and manufactures satellites and electronic aeronautic equipment for commercial and scientific use.

    10. L3 Communications

    > Arms sales: $8.77 billion
    > Total sales: $10.47 billion
    > Profit: $282 million
    > Employees: 38,000

    L3 Communication divides its business into three segments: electronic systems, aerospace systems, and communication systems. Though the company has private and commercial clients, including airports worldwide that use L3’s screening technology at security checkpoints, it is primarily a defense contractor.

    Defense contracts accounted for some 84% of the company’s $10.47 billion in 2015 sales. Recently, the company won a contract with the U.S. Navy to manufacture power distribution and switchgear components for Virginia Class Submarines.

    9. Finmeccanica

    > Arms sales: $9.30 billion
    > Total sales: $14.41 billion
    > Profit: $584 million
    > Employees: 47,160

    Italian aerospace company Finmeccanica, after a wave of restructuring, mergers, and consolidation, was renamed Leonardo in the middle of last year. The change somewhat reflects the financial struggles of companies that depend on government spending in European countries, many of which have implemented severe austerity measures in recent years. Finmeccanica posted in 2011 a net loss of $3.0 billion, which the company attributed to ongoing corruption probes in Italy but also partially to market fluctuations across the continent. At the end of last year, the Canadian government selected Airbus Group over Leonardo for a contract to replace the country’s 19 search-and-rescue planes.

    The company remains one of the largest military procurement companies in the world, and as of its latest fiscal year had returned to profitability.

    8. United Technologies

    > Arms sales: $9.50 billion
    > Total sales: $61.05 billion
    > Profit: $4.36 billion
    > Employees: 197,200

    A major conglomerate with interests in a range of industries, United Technologies reported over $61 billion in sales in 2015, only 16% of which came from defense contracts. Still, the company ranks as the eighth largest defense contractor in the world. The company’s aerospace division develops and manufactures a range of military technology, from submarine stealth composites to fighter jet ejection seats. Pratt & Whitney, a United Technologies subsidiary company, manufactures engines used in military aircraft worldwide, including the F-22 Raptor and F-16 fighter jets. Pratt & Whitney accounted for $4.23 billion of the company’s total 2015 sales.

    United Technologies’s commercial subsidiaries include air conditioning unit manufacturer Carrier and Otis, the world’s largest elevator installer and maintainer.

    7. Airbus Group

    > Arms sales: $12.86 billion
    > Total sales: $71.48 billion
    > Profit: $3.0 billion
    > Employees: 136,570

    Europe’s largest aircraft manufacturer
    , Airbus Group, has three divisions: commercial, defense and space, and helicopters. The company is the largest helicopter manufacturer in the world, with a 47% market share. Most of helicopters the company sells are for military purposes. Other military related products include cybersecurity technology development as well as fighter jet and unmanned drone manufacturing.

    Despite ranking among the world’s largest defense contractors, less than a fifth of Airbus’s 2015 revenue were weapons related. The company also manufactures a range of non-military satellites, and it delivered 635 commercial aircraft in 2015.

    6. General Dynamics

    > Arms sales: $19.24 billion
    > Total sales: $31.47 billion
    > Profit: $2.97 billion
    > Employees: 99,900

    General Dynamics manufactures and sells a range of military equipment, including ammunition, amphibious vehicles, armoured vehicles, and combat tanks. In addition, General Dynamics owns Bath Iron Works, a naval shipyard that is currently under contract to build the U.S. Navy’s new Zumwalt Class DDG-100 destroyer. The ship costs approximately $4 billion.

    Well over half of General Dynamics’ revenue comes from arms sales, the vast majority of which are through contracts with the U.S. DoD. Only 13% of the company’s 2015 revenue came from contracts with foreign governments.

    5. Northrop Grumman

    > Arms sales: $20.06 billion
    > Total sales: $23.26 billion
    > Profit: $2.0 billion
    > Employees: 65,000

    Northrop Grumman was awarded in October 2015 the highly coveted $80 billion contract to supply the U.S. military with 100 long-range strike bombers. The deal is the biggest from the Pentagon in more than a decade. The B-2 Spirit stealth bomber is the predecessor of the newly named B-21 Raider.

    The company's 2015 arms sales, valued at $23.26 billion, included $1.8 billion for the F-35 fighter jet program, $1.1 billion for the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye early warning aircraft program, and $947 million for the Saudi Arabian Ministry of National Guard Training Support program.

    4. Raytheon

    > Arms sales: $21.78 billion
    > Total sales: $23.25 billion
    > Profit: $2.07 billion
    > Employees: 61,000

    Waltham, Massachusetts-based Raytheon is known for its missiles and missile defense systems. According to the company, 13 countries use primarily Raytheon air and missile defense. This January, the U.S. Navy awarded Raytheon a $235 million contract to supply missiles for Aegis cruisers and destroyers.

    Raytheon purchased cybersecurity provider Websense in 2015 for $1.9 billion. The deal was an indication of the growing threat of cyberattacks, as well as Raytheon’s effort to diversify and move into commercial markets and away from dependence on defense contracts.

    3. BAE Systems

    > Arms sales: $25.51 billion
    > Total sales: $27.36 billion
    > Profit: $1.46 billion
    > Employees: 82,500

    Some 93% of BAE Systems’ $27.36 billion in 2015 revenue came from defense contracts. The company manufactures a range of military equipment, including war ships, munitions, amphibious combat vehicles, and fighter jets. BAE is the company behind the Harrier jet, capable of take-off with a short runway, as well as vertical landings. Cyber security and intelligence services also comprise a small share of the company’s business.

    Though BAE Systems is headquartered in the U.K., deals with the British government comprise less than a quarter of the company’s annual revenue. BAE’s biggest clients are in the United States, with corporate and government contracts comprising over a third of the company’s total 2015 revenue. BAE’s other major markets include Australia and Saudi Arabia.

    2. Boeing

    > Arms sales: $27.96 billion
    > Total sales: $96.11 billion
    > Profit: $5.18 billion
    > Employees: 161,400

    Chicago-based Boeing is not nearly as dependent on federal spending as other major U.S. contractors. Less than one-third of Boeing’s 2015 revenue of $96.11 billion came from its defense, space, and security operations. The remainder was attributable to Boeing’s commercial airplane business. Of the revenue generated from defense contracts, 62% came from sales to the U.S. DoD.

    Like many large U.S. manufacturing companies, including top government contractors, widely expected higher military spending under President Trump will certainly help Boeing. Favorable outcomes under Trump are not guaranteed, however. While the Air Force signed deals with Boeing last year to design parts of Air Force One, for example, Trump, citing concerns over cost, called for the deal to be cancelled.

    1. Lockheed Martin

    > Arms sales: $36.44 billion
    > Total sales: $46.13 billion
    > Profit: $3.61 billion
    > Employees: 126,000

    Maintaining its position as the world’s largest defense contractor, Lockheed Martin's revenue from arms sales totaled $36.44 billion in 2015. The company’s reach into military and defense technology is difficult to overstate. Lockheed and its subsidiaries manufacture many of the U.S. military’s workhorses, including the F-16 and F-22 fighter jets, the Black Hawk helicopter, and the Vector Hawk unmanned drone. The company also designs and manufactures air-to-air missiles and missile defense systems.

    Like many other major defense contractors, Lockheed’s biggest customer is the U.S. government -- accounting for 78% of the company’s 2015 net sales, the vast majority of which came from the DoD.


  17. #37
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    The US Gov’t War of Terror Massacred More Civilians This Month Than All Terrorist Attacks in Europe Over the Last 12 Years

    In the last 12 years, terrorist attacks in Europe have killed 459 civilians. The U.S. killed at least 472 civilians in Syria, just in the last month.

    By Rachel Blevins


    Every time a terrorist attack occurs in Europe, it is met with an abundance of media coverage, and each victim is mourned by the public on a grand scale. However, the concern for the loss of innocent life appears to be almost nonexistent when the United States kills more civilians in one month than terrorist attacks in Europe have killed in the last 12 years.

    A group monitoring the Syrian conflict reported on Friday that airstrikes launched by the United States-led coalition in Syria have killed 472 civilians from May 23 to June 23.

    In the last 30 days, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that the provinces with the largest death tolls were Deir Ezzor with 222 civilian deaths, including 84 children, and Raqqa with 250 civilian deaths, including 53 children. The Observatory also noted that the latest figure is more than double the previous month, which was around 225 civilian deaths.

    As The Free Thought Project has reported, the U.S.-led coalition entered the city of Raqqa for the first time on June 6, in the name of driving out the Islamic State. However, the first few days of the offensive resulted in reports of the coalition using a cluster of airstrikes including illegal chemicals such as white phosphorus on a city with a population of around 200,000 people.
    While the U.S. claims its purpose is to defeat ISIS, its actions have been questionable. As Americans celebrated Father’s Day on Sunday, the U.S. shot down a Syrian warplane that was targeting the militants. In response, Russia announced that it is halting cooperation with the U.S. and its allies.

    Just before the dramatic increase in airstrikes, a terrorist attack killed 22 people in Manchester, England, on May 22. Not surprisingly, the Islamic State was eager to take responsibility for the attack.

    Secretary of Defense James Mattis used the attack to justify the increase on May 28, claiming that the U.S. had “accelerated” the tactics it was using in Iraq and Syria and is now using a policy of “annihilation.”

    “Manchester’s tragic loss underscores the purpose of your years of study and training at this elite school. We must never permit murderers to define our time or warp our sense of normal. This is not normal … Our strategy right now is to accelerate the campaign against Isis. It is a threat to all civilized nations. And the bottom line is we are going to move in an accelerated and reinforced manner, throw them on their back foot. We have already shifted from attrition tactics, where we shove them from one position to another in Iraq and Syria, to annihilation tactics where we surround them. Our intention is that the foreign fighters do not survive the fight to return home to North Africa, to Europe, to America, to Asia, to Africa. We’re not going to allow them to do so. We’re going to stop them there and take apart the caliphate.”

    The Manchester Attack is just one example of a loss of innocent life that has been exploited by western media and used for political gain. The loss of 22 innocent lives in England was used by the U.S. to justify going on to take nearly 500 innocent lives that have been blatantly ignored by the media.
    Following the Manchester Attack, an attack near London Bridge in June killed eight civilians, bringing the total up to 30 deaths so far in 2017.

    In 2016, terrorist attacks in Germany, France and Belgium killed 130 civilians.
    In 2015, terrorist attacks in France and Macedonia killed 155 civilians.
    In 2011, terrorist attacks in Norway and Belarus killed 92 civilians.
    In 2005, a terrorist attack in England killed 52 civilians.

    When looking at the last 12 years in Europe, terrorist attacks have taken the lives of 459 civilians. That is still less than the at least 472 civilians that were killed by the U.S. in Syria, just in the last month.

    Despite the fact that Americans’ tax dollars are funding the war that has created the sharp increase in civilian deaths, the overwhelming concern that exists among the media and U.S. politicians when it comes to the loss of innocent life in Europe, has been virtually nonexistent when it comes to the loss of innocent life in Syria.


  18. #38
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    War Crimes:

    US attack on a mosque in Syria was ‘legal’, concludes an internal investigation. Really?

    June 30, 2017

    The United States has concluded its internal investigation into the bombing of the Omar Ibn Al-Khattab Mosque in Syria and declared that it was “legal”. According to the official version of events, “two dozen” Al-Qaeda fighters were killed with possibly one civilian casualty, described as a “small-in-stature person”. On the ground reports, including human rights investigations, local testimonies and Syria-based journalists, contest the official US position.

    The attack took place on 16 March at approximately 6:55pm. The US Special Operations Task Force attacked the mosque near Al-Jinah, a village in Aleppo province in northern Syria. A US F-15 Strike Eagle aircraft and an MQ-9 unmanned drone bombed the mosque where around 300 people had gathered for the evening prayer and a religious lecture. The attack destroyed a section of the mosque, killing 49 civilians according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. The White Helmets civil defence group recovered 38 bodies from the rubble. The US originally denied targeting a mosque, but in-depth investigations by Bellingcat, Forensic Architecture and Human Rights Watch concluded that the Omar Ibn Al-Khattab Mosque was indeed hit and at least 38 people had been killed.

    A number of reporters were invited by General Paul Bontrager, deputy director of operations at US Central Command (CENTCOM), to be briefed on the investigation; full details of the official version of events have not been made public. However, Airwars, an organisation mapping coalition air strikes in Syria and Iraq, published the media briefing transcript.

    General Paul Bontrager, CENTCOM.

    General Bontrager confirmed that on 14 March, intelligence suggested that “Al-Qaeda and Syrian militants would be attending a meeting with Al-Qaida leaders” in Al-Jinah. On 15 March, US forces received intelligence that “reinforced the likelihood” of the meeting involving Al-Qaeda. On 16 March, intelligence and reconnaissance drones confirmed that a gathering was happening on the ground; thus began the strike procedure.

    The US Strike Cell, which was responsible for conducting the operation, was in communication with the Targeting Engagement Authority (TEA) to obtain authorisation in accordance with the “laws and regulations”. Facts and information for the targeting process were being acquired.

    The F-15 dropped “10 bombs” and the drone fired “two missiles” according to the details shared in the media transcript. The investigation estimated that “two dozen men attending an Al-Qaeda meeting were killed in the strike with several injured.” The US maintains that only one civilian is likely to have been killed, possibly a child.

    The US failed to understand the local pattern of life

    Bilal Abdul Kareem, a US journalist with On the Ground News, told MEMO: “If [the Americans] were gathering intelligence for [just] three days that would explain the error in the intelligence because that was a weekly meeting with the Jamaat Tabligh [a non-political religious missionary] group. They meet every Thursday evening and this is known worldwide — not just locally, worldwide — that they meet on Thursdays. They have been meeting at this very mosque for the past four years according to locals.”

    Bontrager said that the intelligence was not acquired on the ground which may have led to the massacre of civilians gathered in the mosque for the purposes of worship.

    “If this was taking place in Chicago or Los Angeles, no one would have launched a strike like that,” insisted Abdul Kareem. “They themselves [the US military] have closed the investigation; they had no one on the ground, they talked to no one.”

    Abdul Kareem explains how the US government claimed that its air strike was aimed away from the mosque, yet video evidence shows the building which was hit was part of the mosque.

    The US investigation’s considerations

    Although military and civilian specialists took part in the US investigation, Gen. Bontrager made it clear that “none of us were involved in the strike or the decisions leading up to the strike.” This would surely have placed some serious limitations on the ability of the investigating panel to assess the details of the attack on the Omar Ibn Al-Khattab Mosque, even after reviewing all accessible materials, including videos and operational and intelligence reports.

    A review of sources “second-hand”, without real-time understanding of how legal or operational assessments were made is unlikely to be able to provide an accurate account of how and why events unfolded. Videos and reports do not provide the deeper context of what happened. A closer investigation of communications between the Strike Cell and Targeting Engagement Authority officers is needed to see what was said in real time by way of a transcript analysis. The ethnomethodology of the pilot-commander-legal adviser discussions and what they perceived in the run up to and during the attack needs to be published for the sake of transparency, along with video evidence that may assist in the triangulation of information. This has to be in the public interest and will enable people to understand why the US military attacked a mosque and mistook a religious gathering for a meeting of Al-Qaeda militants based on just three days of intelligence gathering.
    Four operational errors

    Gen. Bontrager confirmed four operational errors during the attack on the Omar Ibn Al-Khattab Mosque. For a start, there was an incomplete information flow to the Targeting Engagement Authority, then officers changed shifts without an adequate hand-over of information. There was also a failure by the US military to register religious sites on a category 1 “no strike” list. Finally, those officers who suspected that this was a religious compound did not flag them up to the Targeting Engagement Authority.

    Although these four issues were admitted during the media briefing about the investigation, Bontrager still asserted that “this is not a place where we found any negligence on any individual or group of individuals.”
    War crimes law

    According to the US position, there was only one “small-in-stature” civilian killed in the attack, which was deemed to be a proportional and legal strike. Even after the Targeting Engagement Authority knew about the civilian in question being present at the intended target site, the go-ahead was given for the air strike to take place.

    The fact that the religious buildings were not mapped on the ground is a matter of serious concern. This suggests negligence on the part of the US officers within the Special Operations Task Force.

    An attack on a religious building is a clear violation of the laws of war and can equate to a war crime. The US targeted civilians in Al-Jinah and used indiscriminate and disproportionate force.


    According to the laws of war, a party to the conflict can only target a civilian if the person in question is directly participating in hostilities.

    Under the US definition
    of “combatants”, all “military aged males” killed in the locality of a conflict zone, whether by drone strike or air strike, are regarded as fair targets. This policy has been put into practice in countries such as Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen, which have witnessed a significant number of civilian casualties from US attacks on “militants”.

    What we know from the internal investigation into the Omar Ibn Al-Khattab Mosque tells us a lot about America’s “targeted killing” policy. Last year, the US published its own civilian casualty figures for Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen. The numbers are a fraction of those collated by independent monitoring of US air and drone strikes.

    The US Defence Department needs to take the knock-on effect of air strikes like that in Al-Jinah very seriously, as they have the ability to escalate conflict dynamics. A reasonable assessment of the bombing of the Omar Ibn Al-Khattab Mosque must conclude that it targeted a gathering of Jamaat Tabligh, a non-political missionary group. Indiscriminate attacks on such gatherings are likely to engender even more hatred of the US and its policies which, in their extreme nature, will only produce more extremism amongst those who oppose America’s military interventions around the world. Violence begets violence; it is a vicious, and very deadly, cycle.


  19. #39
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    Australian special forces veteran breaks silence on ‘insidious, infectious’ culture

    The following was supplied to the ABC by an Australian special forces veteran who believes the public should be fully informed of the actions of some special forces soldiers in Afghanistan.

    The veteran, with more than a decade of experience as an elite soldier, says he can no longer remain silent.

    My background

    I have deployed on multiple occasions to the Middle East and other regions and have witnessed the diversity of the daily operations of the majority of the individual units that make up Special Operations Command (SOCOMD). I have what is best described as a middle management role, but have remained operational - or “on the tools” - during this entire time.
    What the problem is

    During the past six to eight years of heightened operational tempo in special operations I have witnessed the emergence of an insidious, infectious and influential minority that indulges in self-glorification at the expense of the greater reputation of special operations.

    This behaviour of the few is threatening the very values for which special operations command stands and is potentially contributing to an increasingly dangerous battle space for our troops.

    These individuals have participated in questionable combat behaviour which often involves the “flexible” application of Rules of Engagement (ROE), where what was being reported was not consistent with what was actually occurring on the battlefield, which led to the killing of non-combatants.
    In war there are generally four levels of death:

    * A good kill. This is the removal, by whatever means deemed appropriate, of an individual from the battle space who has knowingly engaged or prepared to engage in hostilities against friendly targets.
    * Collateral damage. This is the consequence of an unforeseeable or unavoidable circumstances that has led to the death of a civilian. At a higher level these deaths may be foreseeable but considered acceptable given the strategic objective.
    * The third level of death is what can only be described as the killing of innocent civilians due to the reckless behaviour of soldiers who are acting in a manner that has no regard for the value of human life.
    * The last level is murder. The malicious intent to seek out and kill another human being in a circumstance that is not self-defence or defence of another. I have never personally witnessed this within the ADF or special operations command.

    Unfortunately I did witness the development of a culture within a minority of operators within special forces who have operated with an apparent “weapons free” mentality, seeking to “get kills up” in some attempt to glorify themselves amongst their peers. This is the third of the categories above.

    Without doubt this behaviour has led to the death of large numbers of innocent civilians during the course of special operations in Afghanistan. Deaths which are unjustifiable and serve no strategic or tactical value.

    Deaths that only ensure a greater level of hate and mistrust towards the Australian military by the local population of the areas in which we operate.

    How this culture started

    In 2009 there was a widely-publicised incident in which reservist commandos killed a number of Afghan civilians, including children, with grenades.

    It is the treatment that they received post-incident, culminating in being charged criminally with various degrees of manslaughter, that initiated a culture of “protectionism” amongst some elements of special operations command.

    Commanders at all levels would not permit their soldiers to be dragged through the courts for unavoidable yet tragic incidents. The charging of those men was one of the darkest days in our military’s history, and I firmly believe a contributing factor to the shift in the culture that has emerged.

    This protectionism, or non-reporting of CIVCAS (civilian casualties) incidents, led to a development of the ability to act with impunity, where some members capitalised on this “freedom of action” and the lack of accountability.

    Concurrently the measure of success within special operations shifted towards enemy body count. This was never made official, but was widely accepted.

    There also grew up a culture of emulation, whereby units would mimic the actions of others who appeared to be racking up the highest body counts.

    The use of weapon and helmet-mounted cameras also grew over the years and this allowed the operator to capture the moment they were in combat.

    These images and videos would be compiled into a movie at the end of the rotation
    for that patrol, team or element.

    There would no doubt be hours and hours of video imagery, some of it needlessly angled directly towards the person wearing the camera in what can only be described as self-glorification.

    How to fix it

    To achieve cultural change we must admit there is a problem and seek resolution within. Additional oversight is not the answer. More restrictive control of the freedom of action of special forces would lead to a compromising position on the effectiveness of special forces in Australia which potentially has a strategic implication for the security of this nation.

    Measures that seek to punish the many for the actions of a few are not warranted nor effective.

    This is a period in which special forces needs leadership. We need to make it known that this behaviour is not acceptable, not welcome and risks the reputation of the majority of members who have sacrificed so much and worked so hard to get where they are.

    I have the privilege of working with some of the most professional and experienced soldiers that this nation has ever known. It is these men and women whose reputation is at risk from this emerging culture.

    We need to address the attitude of the minority that seeks self-glorification. Video recording equipment has limited place on the battlefield and should be utilised only by commanders to record specific incidents.

    Operators should not be allowed to run around freely with cameras strapped onto the helmets and weapons.

    Steroids or other performance enhancing drugs have no place in special forces or the ADF except as prescribed for medical conditions or injuries. People who use steroids are trying to get bigger, to look tougher, but what purpose does that serve if not only vanity?

    If this inquiry (into the conduct of Australian special forces in Afghanistan) does identify beyond all doubt a few key players responsible for this culture development then without a doubt they should be removed immediately from special operations but we cannot allow it to end there.

    There needs to be a shift in the mindset of what being in special forces is about. It’s not about being the cool kids on the back seat of the school bus, it’s about hard work, commitment, teamwork and respect – respect of one’s self, respect of those you work with and respect for the men that have fallen before and beside us.

    Why I am speaking out

    I, like many others, have sat back and watched this culture emerge and develop for too long now. The IGADF inquiry has merit, but it’s not the best method to implement change. This must come from within.

    Ethics lessons or oversight are not the solution. I don’t want to see special operations command develop further into a unit I am not proud of.

    Special operations command or the ADF as a whole is not the most receptive organisation to reflective constructive criticism. There is no avenue internally to express these views that would not lead me to being forced to point fingers, name names.

    I could sit back and remain silent and allow this to go on, but at what cost? I seek only the best for special operations command and we need to be mature enough and honest enough to admit things haven’t gone as well as they could.

    But let’s have enough fortitude to change and stop the infectious spread of this damning culture before it claims the reputation that precedes special operations command within the ADF and within militaries around the world.


  20. #40
    Member Array
    Join Date
    Jan 2007


    "Collateral Damage" of the Innocent Civilians

    The footage was leaked by Chelsea Manning and is from the Iraq war.

    Video: https://www.facebook.com/CageUK/vide...3628383983995/

    The Afghan Files

    Hundreds of pages of secret Defence Force documents leaked to the ABC give an unprecedented insight into the clandestine operations of Australia's elite special forces in Afghanistan:

    Video: https://www.facebook.com/abcnews.au/...c_ref=NEWSFEED


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