Whistleblower Chelsea Manning getting solitary confinement for toothpaste?

This video is about the United States military killing Iraqi civilians, exposed by Chelsea Manning and WikiLeaks.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Toothpaste puts Manning at risk of solitary confinement

Saturday 15th August 2015

US MILITARY whistleblower Chelsea Manning could be placed in solitary confinement for having a magazine and toothpaste in her cell.

Lawyer Nancy Hollander says her client faces a hearing on Tuesday for allegedly having the edition of Vanity Fair featuring transgender sports star Caitlyn Jenner on the cover and a date-expired tube of toothpaste.

Charges include possession of prohibited property in the form of books and magazines while under administrative segregation, medicine misuse over the toothpaste, disorderly conduct for sweeping food onto the floor and disrespect.

The maximum penalty is indefinite solitary confinement.

Ms Manning, a trans woman formerly known as Bradley Manning, is serving a 35-year sentence after being convicted of espionage for passing classified documents on US war crimes in Iraq to WikiLeaks.

See also here.

Update: here.

CHELSEA MANNING: MILITARY HAIRCUTS “You see, that evening I found out that the military was going to force me to keep my hair cut very short, to the “male” hair standard. I didn’t take the news well. I felt sick. I felt sad. I felt gross — like Frankenstein’s monster wandering around the countryside avoiding angry mobs with torches and pitch forks.” [HuffPost]

Families of British soldiers killed in Iraq demand end of covering up Blair’s guilt

This video from the USA says about itself:

SPRING RISING DC/ END ENDLESS WARS/ Military Families & Iraq Vets Against the War

Friday March 20 2015

Organized by World Can’t Wait

UDC David A. Clarke School of Law
4340 Connecticut Ave., NW # 454
Washington, DC 20008

“What are the connections and challenges for those working to stop targeted killing by the U.S. and those working to stop killing with impunity by U.S. police?”

A discussion by Veterans for Peace and Military Families Speak Out.

Jeff Merrick, Military Families for Peace

Kevin Lucey, Son Jeffrey committed suicide after returning from Iraq in 2004.

By Paddy McGuffin in Britain:

Iraq inquiry faces court for delay

Friday 14th August 2015

Families of dead soldiers threaten legal action against Chilcot probe

FAMILIES of soldiers killed in the Iraq war said yesterday they will take legal action against the Chilcot inquiry if it doesn’t publish its report by the end of the year.

Reg Keys, whose 20-year-old son Tom was killed in Iraq in 2003, said Sir John Chilcot did not grasp the families’ feelings.

Twenty-nine families have threatened Mr Chilcot with legal action, believing that the inquiry may have broken a law requiring it to wrap up in good time.

Giving people criticised in the report time to reply — known as “Maxwellisation,” after pensions thief Robert Maxwell — has fuelled serious anger.

Mr Chilcot claimed last month that the inquiry was making “significant progress” but couldn’t say when it would be finished.

Set up in 2009, it has now dragged on for six years.

Mr Keys said that bereaved families need closure and demanded Mr Chilcot publish the report by the end of the year or face court.

He also argued that there is no legal requirement to give those criticised a chance to respond.

“I think what Sir John doesn’t understand is the strength of feeling amongst the bereaved,” Mr Keys said.

“I think what Sir John has to bear in mind now is that we want closure on this, it has to be done fair, it has to be done right.

“But he’s had time enough now and he’s not imposing deadlines on this and that’s where our argument is, we want to give a deadline now, by the end of the year or legal action will be following.”

Former foreign secretary Jack Straw — who alongside Tony Blair is expected to be criticised — claimed that it wasn’t letting witnesses respond that had caused delays.

But Stop the War Coalition spokesman Chris Nineham condemned the “special privileges and in effect protection” Mr Blair and others had received.

“It is an outrage that the report has been so many years in the making and particularly despicable because the delays are clearly due to pressure from those who stand accused of crimes against humanity.

“It is disgraceful that those who face potential criticism are given special dispensation almost to appeal the verdict before it is even published.”

He said the peace group “obviously understands and totally supports” the families’ legal strategy.

Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament general secretary Kate Hudson also backed the families’ bid, saying: “Most people want this inquiry to identify culpability for war crimes and to lay bare the process by which the UK ended up in a catastrophic and bloody war of aggression.

CND still believes that Tony Blair should stand trial for his actions. The hundreds of thousands killed in an illegal invasion, and the continuing bloodshed, is what Blair will be remembered for. He must not be allowed to avoid responsibility.”

Speaking recently, Labour leadership frontrunner Jeremy Corbyn said that if Mr Blair is judged to have committed a war crime by carrying out the illegal war he should be tried for it — as with anyone else.

“I want to see all those who committed war crimes tried for it, and those who made the decisions that went with it,” the leftwinger told BBC Newsnight.

Turkish air force kills Iraqi civilians, update

Iraqi village destroyed by Turkish bombs, photo by Chloe Cornish

From IRIN News:

By Chloe Cornish

The village of Zargali nestles in northern Iraq’s Qandil Mountains, close to the Iranian border. More than an hour’s drive from the nearest town, the road hairpins beneath stark cliff faces and through orchards.

Despite harsh summer temperatures, it is green and pleasant, split by a river edged with walnut trees.

But on 1 August, the peace was shattered as Turkish warplanes bombed the area as part of their assault on the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) …

In a visit undertaken by few foreign journalists, IRIN travelled to the village to see the damage caused. While Turkey says the strikes are focused purely on hitting the militants, the PKK say they had no fighters in the area.

Whatever the truth of these claims and counter-claims, ordinary people appear to have borne the brunt of this particular air assault. Mohammad Hassan, co-president of the local municipality, said eight civilians died and 16 more were wounded. No fighters were killed, he said.

“I told him not to go to the village,” 26-year-old Rebwar said, describing the last time he saw his friend Karokh. “But he said, no, I have to.” Karokh was visiting a neighbouring village when the first airstrike hit his family home in Zargali, killing his mother. He rushed back to the house to try to help his father.

“Actually I wanted to go with him,” admitted Rebwar. “But my family said no.”

Twenty minutes later, as the rescuers rushed to free the wounded from under the debris, a second airstrike hit the same spot.

“It was a catastrophe. There were lots of dead bodies. The human flesh was burning and smelled horrible. I saw Karokh’s leg sticking out from under the rubble,” said Rebwar. “He was a very good man.”

Two fronts or one?

Karokh’s death highlights the stark differences between the US-led coalition and Turkish policies in the region – he was a member of the Peshmerga, the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region’s fighting force, often singled out as a key Western ally in fighting ISIS.

Late last month, Turkey announced it would begin bombing the so-called Islamic State in northern Syria after agreeing a deal with the American government. …

Since the campaign began, however, there have been dozens of attacks on PKK targets in Iraqi Kurdistan’s northern region, but just a handful on Islamic State in Syria … raising concerns that Ankara has used the threat of the Islamists as an excuse to target old foes.

For the rural community of Zargali, the impact of this campaign has been dire. Ava Shin, a doctor at the village’s small medical clinic, was attending to the victims of a bomb attack on a different village when Zargali was hit. She confirmed the double-strike.

“I saw one of [the dead]. His intestines were spilling out,” Shin said, miming the injury. “He was still alive but in shock and losing lots of blood. He died in front of my eyes.”

“[Another] is in a coma now. I saw someone with a head injury, one person who lost an ear. Another lady lost four family members.”

A PKK spokesperson, who calls himself Zagros, gave IRIN access to the bomb site. The PKK mans checkpoints along the valley and journalists cannot gain access without their consent. He said there were five houses there that had been flattened.

There was no trace of the structures except smashed concrete. Heavy pieces of shrapnel from the bombs were visible amongst the rubble. Zagros pointed to the spot where the victim of the initial strike had been found. He said she was an elderly lady, consistent with Rebwar’s account that this was Karokh’s mother.

“No. Not at all. Of course PKK fighters came to help the injured at that time. I myself came and helped,” insisted Zagros. “But I don’t live in this village.”

“We don’t have bases nearby. Our bases are in the mountains. We don’t use villages as bases. Where is the nearest one? I cannot tell you!” he laughed.

Zagros said that the PKK did not expect the airstrike in Zargali. “Everybody knows this is a village. We are not fighting Turkey here. People here are living their lives. They are not the ones to pay for the fighting.” …

For many of the residents, this attack was the last straw. This is the second time in two years that these villages have suffered a Turkish air offensive. …

Since the attack, approximately 900 people have fled Zargali to Warta, a sub-district further west, according to the International Organization for Migration.

Um Bahram is among those planning to quit her village next to Zargali, saying she lives in constant fear. “We are really scared even being here now, just waiting for the drone sound,” she said, pointing out the cracks in their house that she says were caused by the blast from the airstrike. “But we came today because we have work to do on our farmland.”

“We will have dinner and leave before sunset.”

“My nephew was killed,” she said. “They are all our people, our tribe.”

Ten-year old Zahra stood close to her mother. “For several days my daughter couldn’t eat anything, she was so scared and shocked,” said Um Bahram. “My husband went to Diana (a town nearby) to find us some place to live in… It will be very difficult. But what can you do? It is to save our lives.”

Sabah Ibrahim is a teacher at Zargali’s primary school. “We evacuated the first night of Turkish airstrikes, around 4am. They came twice after that. We saw lots of airstrikes before, but it was never like this.”

After windows smashed over his sleeping family, Sabah rushed outside to see if his car was on fire. It wasn’t his car. The entire hillside was burning, and the trees around his car were alight. Racing to recover the vehicle, he found a girl lying unconscious in the road, thrown by the force of the blast. The bomb had landed some 250 metres from Sabah’s house. Among his walnut trees, a charred trunk remains.

“They even bombed the river channel,” he said, disbelievingly.

“I have a seven-year-old daughter; her mentality, her psychological health has been distorted by this fighting,” said Sabah, rattling his prayer beads. “During the night she wakes up and starts to cry. We do our best to calm her by saying that nothing’s happened and it will never be repeated. But we can’t be sure – we just want to help her.”

Fifty local children attend his school, but “if the war continues, it’s impossible to have a school.”

Sabah’s family has moved further up the valley, living in a house with three other displaced families. An NGO came to deliver blankets and mattresses to them. “We need a shelter to live in. We don’t need mattresses and blankets”. Sabah refused to take the aid he didn’t need.

Although they won’t stay long in case the drones and planes return, Sabah showed IRIN his damaged property in Zargali. The ground is littered with shards of glass where the bomb blast shattered the windows. Two of Sabah’s female cousins were seriously injured by shrapnel and are being treated in Erbil. One is now blind.

“I just started to create my nice garden and clean the environment. Look how beautiful it is here. I would cry for myself.” There are small rose plants and rows of tender purple basil. …

IRIN left the village amidst the crackle of walkie-talkies reporting that a helicopter was in the air nearby.

‘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.