26 Apr

United States Wars, News and Casualties

United States Wars, News and Casualties

The War Criminals

Rage Against The Dying

“Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night” by Dylan Thomas

How many Iraqis have died as a result of the invasion 15 years ago? Some credible estimates put the number at more than one million. You can read that sentence again.

The invasion of Iraq is often spoken of in our country as a “blunder,” or even a “colossal mistake.” It was a crime.

Those who perpetrated it are still at large. Some of them have even been rehabilitated thanks to the horrors of a mostly amnesiac citizenry. (A year ago Mr. Bush was on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” dancing and talking about his paintings.)

The war criminals, Bush,Cheney,Rice,Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, and Powell who sold us the war still go on doing what they do.

We condemned children to death, some after many days of writhing in pain on bloodstained mats, without pain relievers. Some died quickly, wasted by missing arms and legs, crushed heads. As the fluids ran out of their bodies, they appeared like withered, spoiled fruits. They could have lived, certainly should have lived – and laughed and danced, and run and played- but instead they were brutally murdered. Yes, murdered!

The war ended for those children, but it has never ended for survivors who carry memories of them. Likewise, the effects of the U.S. bombings continue, immeasurably and indefensibly.

The McGlynn

War News

NYT: International Conference to Combat Terror Financing in Paris

PARIS — Ministers from more than 70 countries — including bitter rivals — are working on ways to combat financing for the Islamic State group and Al-Qaida at an international conference in Paris, which still bears scars of deadly terrorist attacks in recent years.

Participants scheduled to take part in Thursday’s international conference include countries that have accused each other of funding terrorism, notably in the Persian Gulf.

It was launched by French President Emmanuel Macron to coordinate efforts to reduce the terror threat in the long term. A string of attacks have killed 245 people in France since January 2015 and dozens of others have been thwarted.

France is pushing for international coordination and more transparency in financial transactions. But it recognizes how sensitive the issue is, and sees the conference as a first step to encourage political mobilization.

The French organizers noted that IS military defeats on the ground don’t prevent the group from pursuing its terrorist activities, along with al-Qaida —especially in unstable regions of Afghanistan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Yemen, Egypt and sub-Saharan Africa.

Terror groups don’t only rely on the cash economy — they’re using increasingly using hard-to-track tools like prepaid cards, online wallets and crowdfunding operations. A French top official said “we are still facing groups that are financially very strong and that use a lot the most anonymous kind of techniques to transfer money.”

The IS group also has invested in businesses and real estate to ensure its financing. Islamic State revenues alone were estimated at $2.5 billion between 2014 and 2016, according to the French president’s office.

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REU: Chemical weapons agency: Inspectors took samples at second site in Douma

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – Inspectors with the global chemical weapons agency on Wednesday visited a second site in Syria’s Douma and took samples to help them determine whether banned toxic munitions were used there.

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons is investigating the deaths of dozens of people in the enclave outside of the Syrian capital on April 7.

The attack led to air strikes by the United States, France and Britain against sites in Syria. They accused the government of President Bashar al-Assad of using chemical weapons, possibly a nerve agent. Syria and its ally Russia have denied the accusation and said rebel forces staged the attacks.

The fact-finding mission (FFM) arrived in Damascus on April 14, but was delayed by a week before it could get to sites it deemed of interest.

Western powers accused Russia and Syria of stalling tactics to delay the process and of tampering with evidence that may have pointed to government involvement.

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REU: Iran’s Khamenei urges Muslim nations to unite against U.S.: state TV

ANKARA (Reuters) – Iran’s supreme leader called on Muslim nations to unite against the United States, saying Tehran would never yield to “bullying,” state television reported on Thursday.

“The Iranian nation has successfully resisted bullying attempts by America and other arrogant powers and we will continue to resist… All Muslim nations should stand united against America and other enemies,” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said.

Iran’s top authority criticized Trump for saying on Tuesday some countries in the Middle East “wouldn’t last a week” without U.S. protection.

“Such remarks are humiliation for Muslims … Unfortunately there is war in our region between Muslim countries. The backward governments of some Muslim countries are fighting with other countries,” Khamenei said.

Iran and Saudi Arabia have long been locked in a proxy war, competing for regional supremacy from Iraq to Syria and Lebanon to Yemen.

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REU: Syria donors fall short without U.S. aid, warn of cruel end-game

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – International donors raised $4.4 billion in emergency aid for Syria and its neighbors this year on Wednesday, but the total fell well short of the U.N. target for 2018 after the United States failed to submit a pledge.

Humanitarian agencies also pleaded for peace before the Syrian military and its Russian and Iranian backers turn their firepower on the rebel-controlled Syrian city of Idlib, warning of civilian suffering on a greater scale than during the siege of Aleppo last year.

“What I fear is a very cruel battle engulfing Idlib. We cannot accept the war moves towards what is essentially a gigantic refugee camp,” Jan Egeland, a senior U.N. adviser on Syria, said of the northwestern region.

“There have to be talks to spare the civilians from the fighting,” he said, adding that 2.5 million people were at risk.

Britain, Germany and France were among those offering new money for refugees at the conference, which brought together 86 governments, aid groups and financial and regional institutions.

Pledges of $3.4 billion also came in for 2019-2020 and the EU’s humanitarian chief, Christos Stylianides, said the bloc and its member states offered the lion’s share of the sum.

But the figure was less than the $6 billion gathered for 2017 as U.S. President Donald Trump cuts foreign aid.

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AP: Red Cross says it’s flooded by missing requests for Syrians

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The International Committee of the Red Cross has been “flooded” with about 13,000 requests in the last six months from Syrians looking for missing family members, its president said Wednesday.

Before then, Peter Maurer told a small group of journalists, the organization had gotten only “requests in the hundreds.” In the first three or four years of the conflict, it received between 30 and 50 tracing requests a month, he said.

Maurer said inquiries on the missing have come from all areas of Syria, neighboring countries, Europe, the United States and the rest of the world.

With the conflict now in its eighth year, the Red Cross chief said the surge in requests is probably related to Syrians returning to “precariously stable” places in the country where there is no active combat and worrying about family members. He said the organization has also been “slightly more pro-active” on the issue of missing Syrians.

Maurer said the Red Cross has had very limited success so far in reuniting family members, with numbers “in the tens to fifties rather than in the thousands.”

“So we recognize and we want to beef up our capacities to look in much more details to these requests,” he said.

Maurer said some of the missing may have died, some may be in prison and some may have fled.

The Red Cross has access to prisons, but in Syria it can only go into official detention facilities — state-run prisons, he said.

“We don’t have access to security detention facilities of the army and the secret services,” Maurer said. “Neither do we have access at the present moment to detention facilities of the opposition.”

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GUARD: The Deminer review – heartstopping tale of heroic bomb disposal expert

Hair-raising moments punctuate this home-movie-like documentary about a Kurdish officer disarming booby-trap devices set by jihadis in Iraq

There are moments of great tension in this film about the work of an extraordinarily brave mine-disposal expert, or “deminer”, in Iraq. It is of real value in the raw archive material it presents, though often frustrating in that its footage is mostly presented without editorial perspective, almost like a rough assemblage of videotape.

Col Fakhir Berwari was a Kurdish army officer who was a US military liaison in Iraq between 2003 and 2008, disarming booby-trap devices set by jihadi insurgents using little more than a pair of pliers to snip the wires. With no small sense of his own heroism, Fakhir got a subordinate to film him with a videocamera (though this documentary never comments on the secondary heroism of this camera operator) and it gives us some hair-raising moments from this video cache that his son Abdulla later discovered.

Later, when Fakhir has been badly and inevitably injured in his work, we see him resume the anti-mine battle in Mosul and elsewhere, disabling devices set by Islamic State, which are triggered by cellphone calls. At this point, the footage is being more professionally shot by the film’s co-director Shinwar Kamal. When you see the indefatigable Fakhir picking his way around a mined building and you suddenly hear a mobile phone ring out, it is heartstopping.

I would have liked a closer look at this remarkable, but rather opaque figure. It is almost like a home movie. But what a home movie.

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AP: Attorneys urge appeals court to block Iraqi deportations

CINCINNATI (AP) — Civil rights attorneys contended Wednesday that the Trump administration tried to rush deportations of Iraqis who faced torture, sexual slavery and even beheadings in their home country.

A 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals three-judge panel in Cincinnati heard arguments on the federal government’s request to lift a judge’s order blocking the deportations.

American Civil Liberties Union attorney Lee Gelernt told the panel that U.S. District Judge Mark Goldsmith in Detroit last year was “faced with the nightmare scenario of signing people’s death warrants.” Many of the 1,400 Iraqis nationwide slated for deportation for immigration violations are Christians or members of other minority groups that ACLU attorneys say would be persecuted if returned.

Iraqis have fled persecution under Saddam Hussein, during the Iraq War and the subsequent rise of the Islamic State group. Although Iraqi forces finally routed the Islamic State group last year, minorities remain vulnerable to persecution and discrimination. Unlike other groups such as Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds, many minorities do not have militias to protect them.

There are roughly 220,000 Iraqi-born people in the United States, according to federal estimates.

The case before the three-judge panel grew out of the June 2017 roundup of dozens of Detroit-area Iraqis amid more aggressive, broader immigration policies since Republican Donald Trump became president.

Federal attorneys say Goldsmith overstepped his jurisdiction and that the Iraqis could have challenged removal in immigration courts, and then to the federal appeals court.

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BBC: Iraqi women election candidates targeted for abuse gain UN support

The UN has condemned “defamation and violence” against women candidates in Iraq’s elections, after one candidate resigned over an alleged sex tape.

Dr Intidhar Ahmed Jassim withdrew from the race after the video – which she says is a fake – was released online.

Other women candidates have also reportedly faced online harassment.

The UN statement said the targeting of women not only “brings anguish” to the candidates, but “is a threat to the integrity of the electoral process”.

In Iraq, one quarter of the seats in parliament must be occupied by women.

But women running for office in the May polls are being subjected to “vulgar acts” on their election posters, as well as “attacks against [their] reputation and honour”, the special representative of the UN secretary general for Iraq, Jan Kubis, said.

Mr Kubis said he had met with some of the women candidates over the “alarming situation”.

“Those behind defamation, cyber bullying and harassment are trying to scare you off, afraid of educated, dynamic, qualified, courageous and open-minded women candidates that rightfully claim their space and meaningful role in political life of Iraq,” he said.

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Taliban and Al-Qaeda militants suffer heavy casualties in Nangarhar

By Khaama Press – Thu Apr 26 2018,

The anti-government armed militants including a member of the Al-Qaeda terrorist network and some other foreign insurgents suffered heavy casualties during separate operations and clashes in Nangarhar province.

The provincial government media office in a statement said the Afghan intelligence Special Forces conducted a night operation on a compound of the militants in Shirzad district on Wednesday night, leaving at least six militants dead, including a member of the Al-Qaeda terrorist network.

The statement further added that another militant was wounded and four others including two Taliban militant were arrested and two motorcycles along with some weapons and ammunition were destroyed.

In the meantime, separate clashes broke out in Lalpur and Ghani Khel districts late on Wednesday night which left at least 11 local and foreign insurgents dead or wounded.

According to the local officials, at least four militants were killed and five others were wounded during the clash in Ghani Khel district.

At least two foreign insurgents identified as Jahanzeeb and Daud Shah were killed during the clash in Lalpur district, the officials added.

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Color Denotes Today’s Confirmation

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Inherent Resolve.

Master Sgt. Jonathan J. Dunbar, 36, of Austin, Texas, died March 30 in Manbij, Syria as a result of injuries when an improvised explosive device (IED) detonated near his patrol. The incident is under investigation. Dunbar was assigned to Headquarters, U.S. Army Special Operations Command, Ft Bragg, North Carolina.

The Department of Defense announced today the deaths of seven airmen who were supporting Operation Inherent Resolve. They died March 15 when an HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter crashed in western Iraq. The cause of the crash is under investigation.

Captain Mark K. Weber, 29, of Colorado Springs, Colorado. He was assigned to the 38th Rescue Squadron at Moody Air Force Base, Georgia.

Captain Andreas B. O’Keeffe, 37, of Center Moriches, New York.
Captain Christopher T. Zanetis, 37, of Long Island City, New York.
Master Sergeant Christopher J. Raguso, 39, of Commack, New York.
Staff Sergeant Dashan J. Briggs, 30, of Port Jefferson Station, New York.

Master Sergeant William R. Posch, 36, of Indialantic, Florida.
Staff Sergeant Carl P. Enis, 31, of Tallahassee, Florida.
Both were assigned to the 308th Rescue Squadron, Air Force Reserve, at Patrick Air Force Base, Florida. For more information, media may contact the 920th Rescue Wing public affairs office at 321-615-0329.

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Inherent Resolve.Sgt. 1st Class Maitland Deweever Wilson, 38, of Brooklyn, New York, died March 7 in Landstuhl, Germany from a non-combat related incident. The incident is under investigation.Wilson was assigned to the 831st Transportation Battalion, 595th Transportation Brigade, Manama, Bahrain.

Care for Veterans:

PTSD: National Center for PTSDPTSD Care for Veterans, Military, and FamiliesSee Help for Veterans with PTSD to learn how to enroll for VA health care and get an assessment.

All VA Medical Centers provide PTSD care, as well as many VA clinics.Some VA’s have programs specializing in PTSD treatment. Use the VA PTSD ProgramLocator to find a PTSD program.If you are a war Veteran, find a Vet Center to help with the transition from military to civilian life.

Call the 24/7 Veteran Combat Call Center1-877-WAR-VETS (1-877-927-8387) to talk to another combat Veteran.DoD’s Defense Centers of Excellence (DCoE) 24/7 Outreach Center for Psychological Health & Traumatic Brain Injury provides information and helps locate resources.

Call 1-866-966-1020 or email resources@dcoeoutreach.orgMilitary OneSourceCall 24/7 for counseling and many resources 1-800-342-9647.Need further assistance? Get Help with VA PTSD Care

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