The Intercept: Report Finds Much Higher Civilian Death Toll in Raqqa, Syria

There is a myth that our airstrikes are so surgical do to laser targeting, advanced intelligence abilities, and other technologies that civilian deaths (or, “collateral damage”) are rare.

But these reports from Amnesty International and Airwars report differently due to better investigation techniques and a lack of U.S. PR concerns.

Also notice how quoted military leaders say these reports are aiding ISIS. Unreal…

Amnesty International and Airwars offer the most methodical estimate to date of the death toll from the U.S.-led battle to retake the city from ISIS.
— Read on theintercept.com/2019/04/25/coalition-airstrikes-in-raqqa-killed-at-least-1600-civilians-more-than-10-times-u-s-tally-report-finds/

Links to “The Battle of Algiers”

If you have not seen Pontecorvo’s 1966 masterpiece, The Battle of Algiers, I both admonish you and, yet, envy you.

I admonish you in that you have not done enough research into revolutionary art to have found this film. Yet, I envy you because you have yet to get that first breath of excitement when viewing the film the first time you only have once.

TBA is an intentionally grainy, black and white film shot in documentary style with a revolutionary heart. It is directed by Gillo Pontecorvo dramatizing the Algerian urban guerilla fighters during the fight for independence against the French colonialists. It concerns the guerilla tactics used by the NLF (FLN) and French paratroopers sent to quash the violent uprising which lasted for those three years.

Independence would finally be won by the Algerians in 1962, but this film centers around three years of bombings, assassinations, and torture allowing the French forces to end the most violent phase of the fighting.

Below are two links you can use to view the film. Watch Now!:

https://youtu.be/f_N2wyq7fCE

https://www.kanopy.com/product/battle-algiers-0

5 Quick Political Facts for Today (2/11/15)

  • The situation in the Sudan is still really terrible and children are being raped.  Despite the splintering of the country into two pieces, things are still horrific as stated in a new report by Human Rights Watch:

Sudanese army troops raped at least 221 women and girls in a Darfur village in a series of organized, house-to-house attacks last year…the new report, based on more than 130 telephone interviews with survivors, witnesses and army defectors, says girls as young as 10 were raped by Sudanese forces, and that some women and girls were assaulted multiple times and in front of their families.

  • “We are punishing people for their poverty.”  Part of the cycle of poverty in the U.S. has to do with the fact the poor are put in jail and can’t pay the fines they accrue so they sit in jail longer which means they cannot go to work or take care of their children.  And these are not because they are committing violent crimes, as noted:

Although violent crime has declined almost 50 percent in the past two decades, annual admissions to jails have almost doubled to 11.7 million…75 percent of the population of people in jail are awaiting trail and are there for nonviolent offenses.

  • Yemen continues to provide proof the U.S. can’t kill its way to victory in the War on Terror.  The U.S. and other Western allies will be shredding their documents and leaving their embassies in Yemen this week.  It’s been noted heavily since the coup (or allegedly not-a-coup, as pointed out in the article) that Yemen was held up as a “model” for how to conduct the War on Terror through a persistent and heavy amount of drone strikes.  That worked out well…
  • A U.S. drone burned a 13-year old Yemeni boy to death.  Just another incident in that “model” country that goes unnoticed by most Americans.  But hey, according to sadistic U.S. law, he was “military age” and a male so he’s an enemy combatant and not just a child.  Some of his family won’t have to mourn his death since his father and brother were already killed by drones.  I’m sure an attack like that will offend absolutely no one that will want to seek revenge against the West sometime in the future.  Because that’s how an-eye-for-not-an-eye works.
  • Wisconsin Governor and potential Republican 2016 candidate Scott Walker dodges a question on whether he believes in evolution.  Which is fantastic if you are cheering for the Democrats to hold the White House in the next election.  The hilarious aspect of questions like this and the recent spat on vaccinations is there are clear majorities of Americans that are on one side of these issues and these potential presidential candidates are sometimes choosing the side of the minority.  They aren’t issues that will win you too many voters but they are issues that will turn voters off when you take seemingly crazy positions.  So, for Walker to dodge the question and make himself look a little wacky when there’s an obviously easier path, I say go right ahead buddy!

Please Leak CIA Torture Report!

1446d9b7-3c4d-45e0-8c88-f29afad5ccc6-460x276A good op-ed in The Guardian by Trevor Timm pleading that some official in the government release a full copy of the report on the torture of prisoners captured under the guise of the war on terror.

Though voted to be released by the Senate Intelligence Committee, a leak of the full report will be the only way to see all of the important info we as citizens need to know before the CIA takes a black marker to it.

The problem is that, as Timm lays out, is that the CIA itself will be redacting sections of the report themselves (along with other agencies) when the investigation was centered on the CIA itself.

Unbelievable.

Read Here.

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Doctors/Medics and Guantanamo Abuse

Guantanamo-Bay_KG4EMAre not doctors and medics required by oath only to aid and comfort their patients at Guantanamo Bay and elsewhere?

Read Here.

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NSA, CIA, and Targeted Killings

nsa072way-6ff6dccc27700cd7f0508fce24bafecbf46865da-s6-c30A must-read in The Post on how, “…a collection of records in the Snowden trove that make clear that the drone campaign — often depicted as the CIA’s exclusive domain — relies heavily on the NSA’s ability to vacuum up enormous quantities of e-mail, phone calls and other fragments of signals intelligence, or SIGINT.”

Where does it end???

Read Here.

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“The chickens have come home to roost”

AP_kenya_mall_attack_jt_130922_16x9_992I was watching CNN today and was lucky enough to catch an interview with a couple, with the wife carrying their baby daughter, who were trapped in a mall store in Nairobi, Kenya, when the Al Shabaab terrorist forces broke in. They stated that the gunmen were shooting indiscriminately. But after both of the interviewed couple were injured (the woman was shot and the husband had shards of glass in his left eye) they tried to reason with the gunman who had shot them, standing outside of the mall store entrance.

The husband/father began to relate to the terrorist through the teachings of the Koran, for he was a Muslim also, through it’s preachings of peace and love for one another, Muslim or not. But it was a failed attempt. What the gunman replied to the husband/father was, “We don’t usually try to kill women in children, but they kill our women and children.” The talk then broke off. The couple was then able to escape with both their daughter and a good lesson for the citizens of the United States.

The lesson for the U.S. is that, and I hate vaunting cliches but, violence breeds violence. For years now the “drone war” has been operating in the Horn of Africa. And when you send a Hellfire missile into the town square of a small village at a just “suspected” terrorists, there are going to be many civilian deaths. That was what the Al Shabaab gunman was trying to explain to the injured couple.

It was true in Vietnam, Chechnya, and now in all corners of the Middle East: The “collateral damage” of the War on Terror just creates so bitterly consumed people that they see terrorism as the only way to express their anger and feelings of injustice.

Now I do not support violence in this fashion, which is so random and pointless, but I think I understand a little bit more after hearing from that couple on CNN.

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Blatant Hypocrisy in Manning Sentencing Phase by Prosecution

As the sentencing of Nobel Peace Prize nominee Bradley Manning continues, a bit of sad hypocrisy from the military crept out today.  As reported by Reuters:

Testifying for the prosecution, (Navy Commander Youssef) Aboul-Enein said al Qaeda used a video Manning had provided to WikiLeaks of a U.S. helicopter gunship in 2007 firing at suspected insurgents in Baghdad. A dozen people were killed, including two Reuters news staff.

The helicopter also fired at a truck in which a child was seated, seriously wounding him.

Al Qaeda used the video to demonstrate to Muslims that “this could be your child,” Aboul-Enein said.

On the surface, a cynical person might point out the military is not saying the shooting of the child or the civilians was bad, just the releasing of the video showing the act.  And since I’m cynical, I’m pointing that out.

But if a wounded or dead child is a recruiting tool for Al Qaeda, then we must ask what has been more useful for the organization.  Is the one video of a child being shot more effective than the children killed by drone strikes?  We recently learned 94 children were confirmed to be killed by drones in Pakistan between 2006 and 2009 and the total number is likely close to 200 at this point.

And this is completely ignoring the larger number of civilians killed during the same time period.

If the military is going to convict and sentence one of its own based on the notion that the revealing of harm done to a child is a good recruiting tool for the enemy, then maybe it’s time the military reexamines how it is fighting the War on Terror.  If that is not done, then this is simply hypocrisy at its worst and a long sentence (or any prison time at all) given to Manning will only exemplify that.

Ft. Hood Shooter’s Admission Further Confirms ‘War on Terror’ is Endless

The Fort Hood shooter, Nidal Hasan, has now confirmed he carried out his attack as an act of defense of the Taliban leaving no doubt he was reacting to the United States conducting attacks on foreign soil.  This follows other recent attacks that were conducted for similar reasons, such as the Boston Marathon bombing and the brutal and very public killing of a British soldier in the streets of the United Kingdom.  In all three cases, the persons responsible for the killings have made it clear they were revenge attacks for what they perceive as the West viciously and needlessly killing Muslims around the world.

Ft. Hood shooter, Nidal Hasan.

Which brings us to the reality the recent estimation by the Pentagon that the War on Terror would last another 15 to 20 years is probably a gross underestimation of how long it will truly last.  Even the youngest and simplest of minds can see the obvious connection and relationship of one side’s attacks versus the other and can also see there is no end in sight to this war barring a drastic change in tactics by the United States.  People may unreasonably argue the West didn’t “attack first” in the case of the War on Terror but one thing is undoubtedly clear now: recent terror attacks have been reactions to the West attacking Muslims overseas, which will prompt more attacks by the West continuing the endless cycle of violence.

The worst and most dangerous part of this is the normalizing of the War on Terror in the minds of the public and the passive acceptance of what it brings.  Part of making this war perpetual is simply making the situation and its atrocities, whether conducted by or against the United States, seem a normal part of everyday life.  Glen Greenwald summarizes this as well as anyone:

And then there’s the most intangible yet most significant cost: each year of endless war that passes further normalizes the endless rights erosions justified in its name. The second term of the Bush administration and first five years of the Obama presidency have been devoted to codifying and institutionalizing the vast and unchecked powers that are typically vested in leaders in the name of war. Those powers of secrecy, indefinite detention, mass surveillance, and due-process-free assassination are not going anywhere. They are now permanent fixtures not only in the US political system but, worse, in American political culture.