08 Aug

United States Wars, News and Casualties

United States Wars, News and Casualties


Damn The War Criminals

The war criminals, Bush,Cheney,Rice,Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Powell and Blair from England.

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.

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

ALJ: Opinion Remembering May Scaff, the icon of the Syrian revolution

For Syrian artist May Scaff, the struggle against the Assad regime and Israel were the same struggle

A photograph Lina Muhamed took of May Scaff and Budour Hassan during their meeting in April 2018 [Courtesy of Budour Hassan]

A photograph Lina Muhamed took of May Scaff and Budour Hassan during their meeting in April 2018 [Courtesy of Budour Hassan]

“When the Syrian revolution started, I became like a newborn making her first steps, rediscovering herself and rediscovering her country,” Syrian actress May Scaff told me when we met in Paris on April 28 this year. “Like all Syrians who took to the street, I found my voice for the first time.”

May never contemplated the idea that she would breathe her last in a country other than Syria or in a city other than her native Damascus. Few things scared her more than the thought of dying outside the country with which she had fallen in love all over again after the uprising.

Though she had been living in the French capital for three years, Paris, for her, was a temporary exile. “Don’t say if we return to Syria or if the regime falls,” she implored her friends. “Say when – when we return to Syria and when the regime falls for this moment will come. It has to.”

If this moment does come, though, May will not be there to witness it. May, an actress, a revolutionary, and a single mother, was pronounced dead on July 23 at the age of 49. Paris, not Damascus, will be her final resting place. Detention, death threats, separation from her mother and sister, and permanent exile and alienation were the price she paid for speaking truth to power.

At a time when most of her colleagues sided with the Syrian regime to maintain their privileges or remained silent to avoid state reprisal, May chose not to make a compromise with her beliefs………….After her arrest during a protest in the Damascene neighbourhood of Midan in July 2011, her name was chanted by demonstrators in Homs and Eastern Ghouta. Her activism, involvement in humanitarian work, and her outspoken opposition to tyranny in a country long governed by the dictates of fear and intimidation, turned her into a target for constant persecution.

Her second arrest in 2012 forced her to think seriously, for the first time, about leaving Syria. “I am a coward,” she said in a short documentary filmed before she bade Damascus a final goodbye. May was not afraid of death, but she feared another arrest. She was deeply concerned that her position would ultimately put her mother and only son, Joud, in danger.

Defying a travel ban by the Syrian security forces, May fled Damascus to the Jordanian capital Amman in 2013 where she and her son stayed until 2015.

The transformation from a full-time artist into an activist completely dedicated to one cause was not easy for May, but she would often stress that her sacrifices paled in comparisons with other Syrians.

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AP: Amnesty urges US coalition to probe Syrian civilian deaths

BEIRUT (AP) — An international rights group on Tuesday urged the U.S.-led coalition battling Islamic State militants in Syria to further investigate civilian deaths in the 2017 campaign to liberate the Syrian city of Raqqa.

According to a statement by Amnesty International, the coalition’s admission last month that it killed 78 more civilians than previously reported is just the “tip of the iceberg.”

An investigation is needed to understand why civilians were killed and who was responsible, the watchdog said, adding that Raqqa residents deserved justice and compensation.

Amnesty also said it believed hundreds of civilians were killed and that the coalition had underreported the casualties. There was no immediate comment from the coalition.

The statement quoted Amnesty’s adviser Donatella Rovera as saying the coalition needs to release “meaningful and verifiable information” about how targets in Raqqa were selected and how strikes were carried out.

“How can the coalition avoid inflicting high civilian death tolls in the future without accounting for what went wrong in Raqqa,” she said.

The coalition had initially put the civilian death toll at 32 in the campaign in Raqqa, the de-facto capital of the Islamic State group’s so-called “caliphate.”

But an Amnesty investigation published in June and based on testimony collected from Raqqa residents prompted the coalition last month to add 78 civilians to the death toll, 49 of whom Amnesty said were women and children.

Amnesty has also criticized the coalition’s monthly reports, which offer only generalities about the strikes.

“Such short-hand explanations are woefully inadequate,” it said.

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BBC: Ricardo Vilanova: Face to face with ‘IS captors’Video

Spanish photojournalist Ricardo Vilanova was held captive by Islamic State militants in Syria for eight months before he was freed in 2014.

He says that his tormentors were a group of four British jihadists, dubbed “The Beatles” by their captives.

Now he has returned to the country and met two of the men accused of holding him hostage.

NYT: Allies Slowly Taking Back Some Detainees From Syria Fighting

WASHINGTON — Succumbing to months of pressure from the United States, several allied nations have taken custody of a few dozen foreign fighters detained in Syria and brought them home to face justice.

Macedonia became the latest country to repatriate detainees captured on the battlefield by U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, taking seven Islamic State fighters on Monday. The numbers are just a fraction of the roughly 600 foreign fighters currently being detained by the SDF.

The U.S. hasn’t publicly discussed many of the previous transfers, saying it is up to the home country to reveal any repatriation of detainees from Syria. But Navy Cdr. Sean Robertson, a Pentagon spokesman, said the total so far this year is “a couple dozen.”

According to Pentagon spokesman, Eric Pahon, Macedonia’s move to accept the seven fighters “marks a significant milestone in the much-needed cooperative effort to combat the global threat of terrorism,” and sets an important example for other coalition members to follow.

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REU: Israel sees Syrian army growing beyond pre-civil war size

MEROM GOLAN, Golan Heights (Reuters) – Israel’s defence minister said on Tuesday that Syria was building up its ground forces beyond their pre-civil war size, an assessment that suggests President Bashar al-Assad’s army has recovered from a critical manpower shortage earlier in the war.

The Syrian military was hit by major defections in the first years of the conflict, which began in 2011, and by 2015 Assad acknowledged that “a shortfall in human capacity” meant the army could not fight everywhere for fear of losing vital ground.

Russia intervened militarily soon afterwards to turn the tide of war and has been helping arm and train the Syrian army. Iran has also backed Assad, sending military advisers and allied Shi’ite militia from across the region to support his troops……………Israel closely monitors the military capacity of Syria, an adversary against which it has fought three wars. It captured part of the Golan Heights from Syria in 1967 and has occupied it since.

With Assad now regaining control, Israel has voiced worry that he might defy a 44-year-old Golan demilitarisation deal that had stabilised their standoff.

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NYT: U.S. Airstrike Kills Afghan Forces Amid Battle With Taliban

KABUL, Afghanistan — An American airstrike killed at least a dozen Afghan security forces during intense fighting with the Taliban near the Afghan capital, officials said Tuesday.

Hundreds of armed Taliban militants made a run for the Azra district center in Logar Province, about 50 miles south of Kabul, late on Monday, and the fighting continued overnight, officials said. Shamshad Larawi, a spokesman for the governor, said that American airstrikes had been called in for support, but that because of a misunderstanding, the planes mistakenly targeted an Afghan police outpost.

Mr. Larawi played down the number of casualties, which remained unclear. Members of the provincial council said the strike had killed 12 security personnel, a mix of Afghan police officers and pro-government militia members. Haji Abdul Satar, a tribal elder from Azra, said he counted 19 dead, among them 17 Afghan police officers and pro-government militia members and two civilians.

Lt. Col. Martin O’Donnell, a spokesman for United States forces in Afghanistan, confirmed that the strike had been carried out and said reports that it had killed Afghan forces were being investigated…………….In the first six months of this year, United States forces dropped nearly 3,000 bombs across Afghanistan, nearly double the number for the same period last year and more than five times the number for the first half of 2016.

Civilian casualties from aerial bombardments have increased considerably as a result, the United Nations says.

The United Nations mission in Afghanistan has documented 149 civilians killed and 204 injured by airstrikes in the first six months of this year, a 52 percent increase from the same period last year.

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NYT: Taliban Attacks Kill 12 in Afghanistan

KABUL, Afghanistan — A string of Taliban attacks in Afghanistan have killed 12 people, including four women who died in the crossfire during a shootout between insurgents and soldiers, while an errant NATO airstrike killed nine Afghan police, Afghan officials said Tuesday.

The Taliban attacked a military checkpoint in the western Farah province, killing four troops and wounding six, according to Mohammad Naser Mehri, the provincial governor’s spokesman. The attack in Bala Buluk district started late Monday night and lasted for several hours. Mehri said Afghan airstrikes killed 19 Taliban fighters and wounded 30. “The Taliban were pushed back and the situation is under control now,” he said.

In the eastern Logar province, the four women were killed and four children were wounded in the crossfire during a shootout near Puli Alim, the provincial capital, said Hasibullah Stanikzai, a provincial council member. He said an investigation is underway to determine which side caused the civilian casualties.

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ALJ: Afghan migrants in Iran deported amid weakening economy Video

Three million Afghans live in Iran but as the economy weakens, many of them are losing their jobs and being deported

The renewed sanctions on Iran have led to almost 400,000 Afghan migrant workers and refugees returning home.

Three million Afghans live in Iran but as the economy weakens, many of them are losing jobs and being deported.

Ceasefire, peace talks, Qaisari’s case topped the agenda of Ghani-Dostum meeting

Ceasefire with the Taliban, ongoing efforts for peace process, and the case of Commander Nizamuddin Qaisari topped the agenda of the meeting between President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani and the First Vice President General Abdul Rashid Dostum.

The Office of the First Vice President in a statement said Gen. Dostum met with President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani in ARG Palace today and exchanged views regarding the ongoing political and security situation in Afghanistan.

The statement further added that the two sides also focused on recent developments regarding the Afghan-led peace process.

They also emphasized on the importance peace and stability in Afghanistan and called it as the main demands of the people of Afghanistan and said the existing efforts for peace process should be expedited.

According to the Office of the First Vice President, the two sides also held talks regarding the ceasefire between the anti-government armed militant groups and the Afghan forces and organizing a free, fair and transparent election.

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