Saudi royal air force kills Yemenis again


This video from the USA says about itself:

100+ Yemeni Civilians Killed At Wedding By Saudi Airstrike

29 September 2015

The death toll from an air strike on a wedding party in Yemen has jumped to 131, medics said on Tuesday, in one of the deadliest attacks on civilians in Yemen’s war that drew strong condemnation from the U.N. secretary-general.

As the United States air force kills Syrian civilians, apparently their Saudi allies and colleagues think they should not be idle.

From albawaba news:

Saudi airstrike kills 21 civilians in Yemen

Published July 19th, 2016 – 15:00 GMT

Nearly two dozen civilians have lost their lives and several others sustained injuries in a string of Saudi aerial attacks against several areas across conflict-stricken Yemen.

At least one civilian was killed and another injured on Tuesday, when Saudi warplanes struck two oil tankers parked at a crossing in the al-Salif district of the western Yemeni province of Hudaydah, al-Masirah television network reported. …

The developments came only a day after 20 people were killed and 16 others injured in a Saudi airstrike against the Jabal al-Naar mountainous area in Mukha district.

Yemen has been under airstrikes by Saudi Arabia since March 26, 2015.

United States ‘anti-ISIS’ bombs kill 56 Syrian civilians


This photo shows civilians who fled Manbij settling in areas of Syrian Kurdistan (Rojava), June 19, 2016. (Photos: Reuters/Rodi Said)

From Associated Press today:

Airstrikes on ISIS-Held Villages in Syria Kill 56 Civilians

Bassem Mroue

(BEIRUT) — Airstrikes on ISIS-held villages in northern Syria killed at least 56 civilians on Tuesday as intense fighting was underway between the militants and U.S-backed fighters, Syrian opposition activists and the extremist group said.

Residents in the area blamed the U.S.-led coalition for the strikes that targeted two villages, Tokhar and Hoshariyeh, … activists said. …

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least 56 civilians, including 11 children, were killed in the strikes on the villages, which also wounded dozens. Another activist group, the Local Coordination Committees, said dozens of civilians, mostly families, were killed.

The ISIS-linked Aamaq news agency claimed 160 civilians — mostly women and children — were killed in Tokhar alone, in a series of purportedly American airstrikes around dawn Tuesday.

The reports and the disparate casualty tolls could not be independently confirmed because the area is inaccessible to independent media. There was no immediate comment from Washington.

Postings on a Facebook page show images of people, including children, as they were being put in collective grave, purportedly in the village of Tokhar. One photograph shows a man carrying the lifeless body of a child covered with dust while another shows a child, partly covered by a blanket, lying in a grave.

The photographs appeared genuine and corresponded to other AP reporting of the events depicted. Tuesday’s casualties come on the heels of similar airstrikes on the ISIS-held town of Manbij on Monday, when at least 15 civilians were reportedly killed.

See also here.

At least 56 civilians, including 11 children, killed by US-led coalition air strikes: here.

Turkish military coup fails, repression follows


This video says about itself:

Turkey: Aftermath of a Failed Coup

18 July 2016

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has vowed to purge state bodies of the “virus” that had caused the revolt, after the failed military coup on Friday.

TURKEY’S President Erdogan has called the just concluded coup attempt that saw parliament bombed and 250 people killed ‘a gift from God… because this will be a reason to cleanse our army’. This is what is now happening with 6,000 people detained including 3,000 soldiers arrested (among them 50 senior officers). The whole of the state apparatus is now being purged with 2,700 judges sacked in the last 24 hours: here.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

People power is what’s needed now

Monday 18th July 2016

WE CAN be glad that the attempted coup in Turkey at the weekend failed as quickly as it did. The toll of 265 dead, while barbaric for a military clique’s Friday-night adventure, could also have been much higher.

There are many complaints to be made of Turkey’s conservative-Islamist AKP government but an armed takeover would have plunged the country further into darkness.

It is laudable that all opposition parties condemned the coup, but particularly strong is the statement made by the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) that it was “opposed to any kind of coup under any circumstances and as a principle.”

It is indeed a principled statement, given the renewed oppression and bloody assaults perpetrated by the government against the country’s Kurdish minority, for which the HDP stands up.

The party’s prescription in response to the coup is clear-sighted: deepening Turkey’s democracy and ending the division of society that the AKP has both nurtured and fed off.

Regrettably, the AKP is unlikely to take this path. Instead there are signs that it will use the takeover bid to further its existing goals.

The government’s response so far has been to blame the followers of Islamic preacher Fethullah Gulen, who had a falling out with AKP chiefs some years ago.

There appear to be a fair few Gulen supporters in the Turkish Establishment who’ve chosen to make life difficult for the AKP.

Turkish commentators seem sceptical that the Gulenists are behind the putsch, as the wording of a statement read out on television by the plotters appealed to Kemalist principles — those of the country’s first president Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.

That those principles include secularism, as opposed to the Islamism of the AKP, should not derail the thinking of progressives.

The horrors that resulted from the 1980 takeover, when leftwingers in particular were crushed under the boot of the state while the pro-IMF military government pushed through reforms to aid big business, should disabuse people of any support for a coup.

Let’s not forget, either, that bloody attacks on Turkey’s Kurdish population are hardly the preserve of the AKP.

Government forces have periodically massacred the Kurds for a century while trying to wipe out their social and cultural existence.

And while Turkish support for Syrian Islamists is well documented, the country for long before was one of the US’s “cops on the beat” in the region. (It’s also worth recalling the US suggestion that the Turkish military overthrow the government after it refused to back the Iraq war in 2003.)

The words of Turkey’s Communist Party should be borne in mind by any interested in peace and justice: “It is a lie that any of the sides in this conflict represent the interests of the people.

“The only power that can overthrow the AKP is the people’s power, there is no alternative to it.”

While the AKP will likely use the coup attempt as an excuse to strengthen its grip on power, blaming whomever it finds convenient, friends of all peoples in Turkey should show solidarity with those demanding a deepening of democracy and urging the unity of all working people in opposition to sectarian strife.

Turkey’s coup may have failed – but history shows it won’t be long before another one succeeds. Too late did Erdogan realise the cost of the role he had chosen for his country – when you can no longer trust your army, there are serious issues that need to be addressed: here.

Iraq war comes home to the USA as murders of Louisiana policemen


This video from the USA says about itself:

NFL Cheerleader Arrested for Domestic Violence

5 August 2013

Scottsdale, Ariz. — Megan Welter, 29, an Iraq War veteran turned NFL cheerleader was arrested for aggravated assault, destroying property and disorderly conduct after she allegedly attacked her boyfriend, who captured the incident on his cell phone. Welter, 29, of Scottsdale, Ariz., is seen on the cell phone video obtained by media sources angrily questioning her boyfriend about text messages between him and a female friend. “Who is she!” Welter is heard screaming in the footage as her boyfriend, who has not been identified, tries to calm her down.

After many other cases of veterans of British wars, or United States wars returning with PTSD or other mental illnesses, and then sometimes reacting to those illnesses with domestic violence or other violence, now this.

From the Daily Beast in the USA today:

Gavin Long ID’d as Alleged Baton Rouge Cop-Killer; Deployed to Iraq

CBS News and NBC News report Gavin Long, 29, of Kansas City, Missouri has been identified by law enforcement as the man who killed three officers and wounded three others in Baton Rouge, Louisiana on Sunday. CBS News notes today was Long’s birthday. Authorities say Long is the only suspected gunman. …

President Obama said the killer’s motive is unknown.

Military records obtained by The Daily Beast show that Long served in the United States Marine Corps from 2005 to 2010 as a data network specialist. He deployed to Japan and spent seven months in Iraq. He attened the Marine Corps’ school of infantry at Camp Pendleton, California. Which means he was trained in small-arms combat—particularly, how to shoot.

Missouri court records show that he got divorced after he left the military.

By Patrick Martin in the USA:

Ex-Marine guns down three police in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

18 July 2016

For the second time in 10 days, a gunman has opened fire on police in an American city, causing mass casualties. Sunday’s attack took place in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with three police officers shot to death and three wounded, one severely.

The gunman, 29-year-old Gavin Long from Kansas City, Missouri was an African-American ex-Marine. He was shot to death at the scene of the attack. …

Two of the murdered policemen were Baton Rouge city officers, while the third was a sheriff’s deputy from East Baton Rouge Parish (county). As of this writing, only one of the three officers had been identified: 32-year-old Montrell Jackson, himself an African-American, a 10-year veteran of the Baton Rouge police and the new father of a two-month-old boy. …

Very little information has yet been released by police about the circumstances of the shooting, which followed a 911 call at 8:45 a.m. reporting a gunman outside the convenience store. It is not clear who placed that call, whether it was part of a deliberate ambush, or what happened when the first police officers arrived and encountered Long. …

As in the case of the July 7 killing of five police officers in Dallas, Texas, the Baton Rouge gunman was a former soldier and veteran of US wars in the Middle East. Long, who turned 29 on the day of the shootings, was in the Marines from 2005 to 2010 and served a tour of duty in Iraq. He reportedly engaged in counterterrorist operations, for which he was awarded a medal and rose to the rank of sergeant.

There were numerous conflicting and largely unverified reports about Long’s political views and motivation. NBC News reported that he had ties to an ultra-right group known as the Sovereign Citizens, who reject most government authority. The Wall Street Journal reported a connection to an otherwise unheard-of “New Freedom Group,” which it described as “anti-government.” …

Whatever the specific motivation of the attack, political or otherwise, the murderous assault on individual policemen is completely reactionary. It does not “avenge” the killing of Alton Sterling. Such acts politically disorient the working class and youth, and serve to strengthen the forces of police violence and repression directed against working people of all races.

This is demonstrated by the political reaction that followed, as Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards, President Obama and the two main candidates to succeed him, Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton, all issued statements calling for even more resources to strengthen the police. …

Trump sought to connect the killing to Islamic terrorism, although the killer was a Marine veteran of the US military intervention in Iraq. “We are trying to fight ISIS, and now our own people are killing our police,” he said. “Our country is divided and out of control. The world is watching.” He added, “We demand law and order.” …

The immediate political impact of the Baton Rouge shootings will be to intensify the police-state atmosphere surrounding the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, which opens Monday morning. There were widespread reports of stepped-up police patrols, new restrictions on anti-Trump demonstrators, and increased FBI visits to the homes of protest organizers.

Truck massacre in Nice, France


Imad Dafaaoui, pictured here in Nice, France, on July 13, 2016. He says he missed being struck by a truck that plowed through crowds at Bastille Day

From ABC news from the USA, about France:

By David Caplan

July 15, 2016, 12:00 AM ET

A Moroccan university student vacationing in Nice is grateful to be alive after the truck driven by a terrorist that plowed into a large crowd during Bastille Day celebrations Thursday night missed crushing the 20-year-old by less than eight inches.

Everyone’s solidarity should be with the survivors and loved ones of the victims of this crime.

The truck driver responsible for this atrocity was definitely a ‘terrorist’ in the sense that he aimed at striking terror into people and killed and injured many human beings. According to French police, the perpetrator was a local man with a record of non-political, non-religious violent crime. So, as far as we know now, not fitting into the media image of ‘terrorists’ as Islamic fanatics traveling from far away.

What was the motive for this unspeakable crime? We may never know, as police shot the perpetrator dead.

So far, I did not read a few questions in corporate media: Was the murderer drunk? On drugs? Did he have a conflict at work? Did he have a conflict with his family, making him hate ‘the whole world’ irrationally? Some possible motives, different from the usual cliché ‘The Muslims are at it again’ explanation.

Imad Dafaaoui’s evening started on a festive note, but turned near-deadly: “I was at my friend’s apartment, and we heard fireworks coming from the beach, so we decided to put on our clothes and go see the fireworks,” Daffaoui told ABC News early Friday morning from Nice. “We went there, we took photos.”

After the fireworks finished, Dafaaoui and his friend headed back to their car to grab a cell phone battery pack — and that’s when the pair’s night out turned into a nightmare.

“We were next to the Hotel Negresco, and we were taking pictures, and then we heard people screaming from the back,” he says. “We were like what’s going on? There were people running towards me, and people were screaming.”

Then, Dafaaoui spotted the truck on its deadly path. “I saw a huge truck, crushing over people,” he says. “It was running over people. Some people were trying to get out the way. Some people were in shock. I started to run away. I was in shock. I couldn’t even think. I was running. There was a bench in front of me, so I had to jump over it, so I jumped over it and fell over on a woman.”

He continues to recall his near-death experience, “That’s when the truck was coming toward me. I just closed my eyes. It was so close. I was just waiting to die. The truck was really close to me. The truck crashed the bench. It was 20 centimeters away from me. I was in shock.”

By Oscar Grenfell today:

According to initial reports, at least 84 people have been murdered and up to 130 more injured, after a lorry was deliberately ploughed at high speeds into crowds at a Bastille Day celebration in the city of Nice, in southern France, late Thursday night. The death toll from the horrific attack has continued to rise throughout the day. Some children are among the victims.

French President Francois Hollande travelled from the south of France to Paris for crisis talks, while the streets of Nice were flooded with heavily-armed police. Hollande immediately asserted that the atrocity was of a “terrorist nature.” …

As yet, no organisation has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Witnesses said they saw a large white truck speed into crowds that had gathered on the beachside Promenade des Anglais to watch fireworks celebrating the country’s national holiday, at around 10:30 pm. Nice, located on the French Riviera, is a popular destination for tourists and holidaying French nationals. …

Images on social media showed the nearby Hotel Negresco being used as a makeshift hospital for the wounded. Families with missing relatives published photos on social media, in the hope of news from their loved ones. …

If the perpetrators’ motives are confirmed, the incident in Nice will be the third mass casualty terrorist attack in France in the past 18 months.

In the two previous attacks, the terrorists were well-known to French intelligence agencies. They were part of a broader jihadist milieu with intimate connections to the Islamist groups that have operated as the chief proxy force of the US-led and French-backed regime-change operations in Libya and Syria.

On January 7, 2015, Saïd and Chérif Kouachi launched an attack on the offices of the Charlie Hebdo magazine, killing 11 and wounding 11 more. Their associate, Amedy Coulibaly, was killed in a hostage siege at a Jewish supermarket.

The Kouachi brothers had been under surveillance by security agencies between 2010 and 2015, because of their direct ties to leaders of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). French intelligence inexplicably stopped monitoring the brothers just months before they carried out the attack. It was also revealed that Coulibaly had received weapons from Claude Hermant, a police informant tied to the fascistic and anti-Muslim National Front. …

Each atrocity has been used to expand police and intelligence powers. Following the Paris attacks, the Hollande government instituted an unprecedented “state of emergency,” providing authorities with the power to ban demonstrations and detain suspects without charge. Over recent months, millions of French workers and students have defied the laws, engaging in mass demonstrations and strikes against the Socialist Party’s regressive El Khomri labour legislation.

The latest attack comes amid mounting social tensions and escalating French participation in US-led military operations in the Middle East, leading to warnings by security agencies of likely terrorist responses. …

In his Bastille Day speech earlier yesterday, Hollande announced that France would step-up its operations against Islamic State [ISIS], particularly targeting the city of Mosul. …

Like the US, the French government has actively backed Islamist groups in a bid to topple the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad. However, Washington viewed Islamic State [ISIS]’s advance into Iraq during 2014 as a threat to the US-backed government and its dominance of Iraqi oil and resources. The US and its allies, including France, have waged an air war on the Islamic State [ISIS], while continuing to back other Islamist forces within Syria.

In his speech, Hollande also pointed to the growth of social tensions within France and a mounting political crisis, declaring: “I must protect France, it’s fragile, it can crack at any moment.” He said his government would end the “state of emergency” after July 26, and reduce expanded police numbers put in place after the Paris attacks.

“We can’t prolong the state of emergency forever,” Hollande stated. “That would make no sense. It would mean that we were no longer a republic with laws which can apply in all circumstances.”

Hours later, he invoked the Nice atrocity to extend the extraordinary powers for another three months. He invited military volunteers to assist the police, and declared that there would be no reduction in police or military numbers.