‘Tony Blair maybe on trial for Iraq war crimes’, Corbyn says


This 4 August 2015 video from Britain is called Jeremy Corbyn: Tony Blair ‘must explain illegal Iraq war‘.

From daily The Independent in Britain:

Jeremy Corbyn: Tony Blair could face war crimes trial over ‘illegal Iraq invasion

Labour leadership favourite warns former PM ahead of the impending Chilcot inquiry report

Henry Austin

Wednesday 05 August 2015

Tony Blair could be made to stand trial for war crimes, according to the current Labour leadership contender Jeremy Corbyn.

The veteran left winger said the former prime minister was reaching the point when he was going to have to deal with the consequences of his actions with the coming Chilcot inquiry report.

“I think it was an illegal war,” he said in an interview with BBC2’s Newsnight adding that former UN secretary general [Kofi Annan] had confirmed that. “Therefore he (Blair) has to explain that,” Corbyn said.

“We went into a war that was catastrophic, that was illegal, that cost us a lot of money, that lost a lot of lives,” he added. “The consequences are still played out with migrant deaths in the Mediterranean, refugees all over the region,” he said.

Pressed on whether Mr Blair should be charged with war crimes, he said: “If he’s committed a war crime, yes. Everyone who’s committed a war crime should be.”

However, he admitted he didn’t know whether Blair would be tried, although he said it might be possible.

His remarks are likely to infuriate Mr Blair’s supporters in the party while once again highlighting the deep divisions that remain over the most controversial decision of his premiership.

Blair recently attacked Corbyn’s platform as “old fashioned” and claimed he was the “Tory preference” to lead Labour.

The former Prime Minister also claimed a ”traditional leftist position“ was not the way to win a general election, despite growing support for the Islington North MP.

See also here. And here.

Win or lose, Jeremy Corbyn has already changed the rules of the game, by Seumas Milne. In six weeks, Labour’s outsider has forced anti-austerity on to the agenda and created a national movement: here.

United States ‘anti-ISIS’ bombs kill Syrian, Iraqi civilians


This 2009 video is called Iraq War: War Victims, Civilian Casualties, collateral damage.

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

Hundreds of civilians killed in US-led air strikes on Isis targets – report

Airwars project details ‘credible reports’ of at least 459 non-combatant deaths, including 100 children, in 52 air strikes

Alice Ross

Monday 3 August 2015 12.03 BST

The air campaign against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria has killed more than 450 civilians, according to a new report, even though the US-led coalition has so far acknowledged just two non-combatant deaths.

More than 5,700 air strikes have been launched in the campaign, which nears its first anniversary this Saturday, with its impact on civilians largely unknown.

Now Airwars, a project by a team of independent journalists, is publishing details of 52 strikes with what it believes are credible reports of at least 459 non-combatant deaths, including those of more than 100 children.

It says there is a “worrying gulf between public and coalition positions” on the campaign’s toll on civilians.

To date the US Central Command (Centcom), the lead force in the campaign, has published one official investigation – a report in May that found two children were killed in a November 2014 strike in Syria.

The coalition’s lead commander, Lt Gen John Hesterman, has called the campaign “the most precise and disciplined in the history of aerial warfare”.

But Airwars project leader Chris Woods told the Guardian: “The emphasis on precision in our view hasn’t been borne out by facts on the ground.”

Since May, Centcom has conducted investigations into three further strikes, which found claims of civilian deaths were “unfounded”.

One of the attacks investigated was on Fadhiliya, Iraq, on 4 April. When the Guardian investigated this strike in May, witnesses and local politicians said a family of five had died, including a pregnant woman and an eight-year-old girl.

Centcom told Airwars it would only publish investigations with a “preponderance of evidence” of civilian deaths. It is understood to be examining six further incidents.

Sahr Muhamadally, from the Center for Civilians in Conflict, said: “All allegations of civilian harm, including from open sources, should be investigated by the coalition and processes should be in place to acknowledge and assist those harmed.”

However, over six months, Airwars examined 118 air strikes and identified 52 that Woods said “warrant urgent investigation”. Airwars believes there are strong indications of civilian deaths, according to multiple, reliable sources, from these attacks.

Airwars used international and local news reports in Arabic and English, social media postings including photos and videos, and the findings of monitoring groups on the ground. They cross-referenced these with coalition military reports. …

But in many cases civilian deaths are well-documented. In some attacks, multiple sources suggest that scores of civilians may have been killed.

The bloodiest was a 3 June air strike on a suspected IED [improvised explosive device] factory and storage facility in Hawija, Iraq. Videos and photos posted online after the bombing show a landscape of destroyed buildings and mangled metal. Local people told al-Jazeera and Reuters that over 70 civilians were killed.

In a press briefing shortly after the strike, Hesterman said the coalition used a “fairly small weapon on a known IED building in an industrial area”, but that this had hit a “massive amount of Daesh [Isis] high explosives”.

He added: “If there are unintended injuries, that responsibility rests squarely on Daesh.”

Centcom has since announced a formal investigation after receiving “credible” evidence of civilian deaths.

In Syria, the worst incidents include a 28 December air strike on an Isis facility in Al Bab that was being used as a temporary prison. Reports gathered by Airwars found that at least 58 prisoners – many of whom were being held for petty infractions of Isis’ rules, such as buying cigarettes – were killed. Local activists claimed that the use of the building as a prison was well known.

The coalition did not acknowledge the attack for nearly two weeks, after which it conceded, following repeated questions by news agency McClatchy, that it had conducted the strike. …

The UK is the second-most active participant in the coalition, having launched almost 250 strikes in Iraq.

As Britain’s MPs prepare to vote this autumn on expanding UK air strikes from Iraq to Syria, Labour MP Tom Watson called for thorough official investigations into claims of civilian deaths to allow an “informed debate” about the campaign. He added: “The UK should be leading in the tracking, reporting of and response to allegations of civilian casualties.”

Former international development secretary Andrew Mitchell told the Guardian he was in favour of expanding British strikes into Syria. “But if it’s our common objective to win hearts and minds and split off the terrorist thugs from the related population, then we have to acknowledge that killing innocent civilians acts as a significant recruiting sergeant for the terrorists,” he said.

Woods, from Airwars, said the US-led campaign’s focus on urban areas made civilian deaths unavoidable, despite “significant efforts” to avoid them. “What we are seeing in Iraq and Syria is the coalition is bombing where Isis is, and that’s in the cities … Unsurprisingly, that’s where we are tracking the highest number of civilian casualties.” The Isis stronghold of Mosul, Iraq, alone accounts for 40% of all civilian casualty reports in Airwars’ data.

The sheer pace of the strikes adds to the risk to civilians. Raines said that pre-planned missions made up approximately 10% of strikes.

The vast majority are on “emerging targets”. In these strikes the targeting process takes “anywhere from minutes to hours depending on collateral damage concerns, while maintaining careful consideration for each target to ensure we do our best to minimise civilian casualties and collateral damage,” Raines said. …

But Woods said Airwars’ findings suggest that the coalition’s narrative of virtually no civilian casualties may not be true. “You can’t have an air war of this intensity without civilians getting killed or injured, but they need to be more transparent,” he said.

See also here. And here.

President Barack Obama has authorized US air strikes to defend a small band of Pentagon-trained mercenaries inside Syria, including against any potential attack by Syrian government forces. The blanket permission for employing US air power, ostensibly in support of less than 60 “rebels” who have been trained, armed and paid by the US military supposedly to fight the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), paves the way for a dramatic escalation of the war for regime change against the Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad: here.

‘Turkish air force killing Iraqi civilians’


This video says about itself:

Turkey kills “by mistake” 35 Kurdish civilians

30 December 2011

Tension increases at the border between Turkey and Iraq after Turkish officials confirmed their troops killed by mistake 35 civilians during an airstrike in the Kurdish village of Ortasu.

That was then. And now today, 1 August 2015.

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands today:

‘Turkish fighter jets again cause civilian casualties in northern Iraq

Today, 16:55

New attacks by Turkish warplanes on PKK targets in northern Iraq have killed ten civilians. This report the [Iraqi] Kurdish Rudaw media network, which has a reporter in the area. …

The attacks were on Zargali village, in the district Rawanduz. …

The Kurdish government in northern Iraq … condemned Turkey for “bombing civilians.” …

In The Hague this afternoon some 700 Kurds and Turks protested together against the Turkish bombardment of the PKK. The demonstrators marched from the central station to the Spui, where there were speeches.

Turks and Kurds demonstrate in The Hague, the Netherlands, against Turkish government bombing, 1 August 2015

Erdogan, stop bombing Kurds in Iraq, Iraqi government says


Erdogan and Syrian Kurds

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

Iraq condemns bombing of PKK camps

Today, 14:55

Iraqi Prime Minister Abadi has condemned the Turkish bombardment of PKK camps in northern Iraq. He sees the attacks as a serious violation of the independence of Iraq and fears a “dangerous escalation” of conflicts.

Abadi calls on the Turks in order to avoid further escalation and find a solution to the crisis.

Turkey has intensified the attacks on the armed wing of the PKK after the NATO allies yesterday proclaimed their support to Turkey’s approach to terrorism.

The approach of the Turkish Erdogan government to terrorism is now: a few symbolic actions against ISIS terrorists who had used Turkey as their base for violence in Syria for a long time; and many more attacks on the only effective force fighting these ISIS terrorists: the Kurds in Syria, in Turkey, in Iraq.

In an article on the site of NOS TV from the Netherlands, Kurds in Iraq describe the Turkish armed forces as ‘the air force of ISIS’.

Danish soldiers want to get out of re-started Iraq war


This video says about itself:

Outsourcing Torture – “Denmark knew about the world’s first rendition case”

15 June 2015

Three Muslim Danish citizens reveal how they were asked to cooperate with Danish intelligence services. Their stories point to what could be a hidden role for Denmark and Lebanon in a new form of rendition: the outsourcing of torture.

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

Danish soldiers tired and stressed by fighting ISIS

Today, 15:09

Danish soldiers do not want to participate any longer in the international fight against ISIS. They are tired and stressed by the “extraordinary effort” they have made in recent years in various missions. Military trade unions and trustees write this in a letter, addressed to, among others, Prime Minister Rasmussen.

The Danes since last October participate with seven jet fighters and 280 military personnel in the international fight against ISIS. The Danish parliament will have to decide in October whether the mission will be extended.

The letter writers believe that enough is enough. “People are tired and stressed and do not have time for their families. Absenteeism because of illness has never been so high.” The material has also suffered considerably by the missions abroad.

Denmark ‘violated the rules of war’ in Iraq. Military officials announced on Friday that they will investigate the handling of prisoners of war following “unpleasant” revelations that showed Denmark may have been in breach of the Geneva Convention: here.

What factor is common to Canada, Sweden and Denmark? The snow, perhaps? The cold weather? The social programs? Or maybe smoked salmon? How about rendition to torture? And how about cooperation with the intelligence authorities of countries which practice torture with total impunity? These may be some of the darkest common factors shared by the three countries, ones that not everyone is aware of: here.

This week marks the first anniversary of the initiation of air strikes in Iraq and launching of yet another US war in the Middle East: here.