United States Navy attacks Yemen, helping Saudis killing civilians

This video, by the (Conservative) Daily Telegraph in Britain, says about itself:

Video shows moment ‘double tap’ air strike hits Yemen funeral

9 October 2016

Warning: contains footage some may find distressing.

Footage shown by Al-Masirah TV in Yemen shows the moment a Saudi-led coalition air strike bombed a funeral hall in Sanaa on Saturday. More than 140 people were killed and at least 525 others were wounded in the “double tap” air strikes. Double tap refers to a practice where one strike is launched and as people rush to help the wounded at the scene, a second strike hits.

From Reuters news agency today:

By Phil Stewart | WASHINGTON

The U.S. military launched cruise missile strikes on Thursday to knock out three coastal radar sites in areas of Yemen controlled by … Houthi forces, retaliating after failed missile attacks this week on a U.S. Navy destroyer, U.S. officials said. …

U.S. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said U.S. Navy destroyer USS Nitze launched the Tomahawk cruise missiles around 4 a.m. local (0100 GMT). …

The official identified the areas in Yemen where the radar were located as: near Ras Isa, north of Mukha and near Khoka.

The failed missile attacks on the USS Mason – the latest of which took place on Wednesday – appeared to be part of the reaction to a suspected Saudi-led strike on mourners gathered in Yemen’s Houthi-held capital Sanaa. …

The Houthis … denied any involvement in Sunday’s attempt to strike the USS Mason.

This is a dangerous escalation by the Pentagon of the bloody war in Yemen, which kills mainly civilians and has caused a humanitarian catastrophe. This escalation makes the US government even more of an ally of the Saudi absolute monarchy‘s cruel aggression against the poorest Arab country than it already was.

Washington threatens military intervention in Yemen following reported missile attacks on US warship: here.

Pentagon Vietnam war bombs still killing thousands of Laos people

This video says about itself:

US Cluster Bomb Legacy Costing Lives In Laos

4 August 2014

The Legacy: The Vietnam war‘s dark legacy is still costing lives in Laos. Meet the brave women trying to clear the bomb fields.

Laos is the most heavily bombed country in the world. In the Vietnam War the US dropped 2 million tonnes of explosives there. Now, a brave band of women are finding and destroying the ‘bombies’ left behind.

The women walk slowly through the undergrowth, scanning the ground with metal detectors. Given there are up to 80 million unexploded munitions in Laos the women are doing a job that will take more than a lifetime to complete. “I was excited as well as frightened”, says 46-year-old Phou Vong, recalling the first time she found a ‘bombie’. “I hesitated a bit, but thought I should be glad to see it, because in a sense I was helping my people.”

Phou joined the team 3 years ago, after her husband was killed in a road accident. “There was no-one to help me but myself, and I had no money to support my children’s education.” She now earns $250 a month, that’s better than the average wage in Laos. It’s a special empowerment programme to give much-needed opportunities to local women. But the de-miners are worried their funding will run out. “We won’t be able to clear them all, there are just so many of them.” More than four decades after the American campaign ended, undetonated explosives still contaminate forests and fields. And it’s Lao civilians who are risking their lives to clean them up.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

In the Asian country Laos millions of balls are scattered throughout the country. They look a bit like tennis balls. So, children pick them up to play with, until the balls explode suddenly.

The balls are remnants of cluster bombs which the US American air force has thrown over the country during the Vietnam War. Between 1964 and 1973, the US threw two billion kilos of bombs – more than half of the total number of bombs dropped during World War II. …

Some 80 million of these US bombs have not exploded and are still somewhere in the country. The Laotians have been working for forty years to make them harmless, but only 1 percent of the bombs have been cleared so far.

The unexploded cluster bombs have so far claimed about 20,000 lives. Most victims are children, who mistook the bombs for toys.

Take a look at a map of the millions of bombs still left to be cleared. [Reuters]

Pentagon tested poison gas on veterans, denied them health care

This video from the USA says about itself:

Government Tested Mustard Gas On Vets, Denied Health Care

4 June 2016

The US government tested mustard gas on American troops during World War 2. Decades later they’re denying those vets health care. Ana Kasparian and Hasan Piker (Pop Trigger) of The Young Turks discuss.

“The Department of Veterans Affairs has rejected the vast majority of claims filed by veterans who were exposed to mustard gas as part of secret experiments during World War II, according to a report released Tuesday by Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri.

About 60,000 military service members were used as human guinea pigs in a military research program to test protective equipment. Roughly 4,000 of them received high levels of full-body exposure to mustard gas or Lewisite, another toxic agent.

But the VA has rejected the claims of 85 percent of the veterans who applied for benefits related to the secret testing, according to the report.

From 2005 to 2015, the VA identified 1,213 disability claims related to mustard agent exposure from 792 World War II veterans. Of those claims, 1,028 were denied, the report found.”

Read more here.

United States soldiers used as lab rats

This video says about itself:

U.S. Government Using Its Soldiers as Lab Rats

30 May 2016

As we commemorate soldiers on Memorial Day, we should also remember the soldiers that were sacrificed by the U.S. government for psychological experiments and chemical and nuclear weapons testing. Nuclear weapons testing in the 1950s affected 100,000s of soldiers and civilians.

Kunduz, Afghanistan hospital bombing impunity update

Kunduz hospital after the bombing, AFP photo

From Doctors Without Borders/MSF:

Kunduz: Initial reaction to public release of U.S. military investigative report on the attack on MSF trauma hospital

29 April 2016

NEW YORK, APRIL 29, 2016 — The United States military today released its investigative report on the attack on the Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) trauma hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan on 3 October 2015. The attack killed 42 people, including 14 MSF staff members, and wounded dozens more. …

MSF acknowledges the U.S. military’s efforts to conduct an investigation into the incident. Today, MSF and other medical care providers on the front lines of armed conflicts continually experience attacks on health facilities that go un-investigated by parties to the conflict. However, MSF has said consistently that it cannot be satisfied solely with a military investigation into the Kunduz attack. MSF’s request for an independent and impartial investigation by the International Humanitarian Fact Finding Commission has so far gone unanswered.

“Today’s briefing amounts to an admission of an uncontrolled military operation in a densely populated urban area, during which U.S. forces failed to follow the basic laws of war,” said Meinie Nicolai, MSF President. “It is incomprehensible that, under the circumstances described by the U.S., the attack was not called off.”

The hospital was fully functioning at the time of the airstrikes. The U.S. investigation acknowledges that there were no armed combatants within – and no fire from – the hospital compound.

“The threshold that must be crossed for this deadly incident to amount to a grave breach of international humanitarian law is not whether it was intentional or not,” said Nicolai. “With multinational coalitions fighting with different rules of engagement across a wide spectrum of wars today, whether in Afghanistan, Syria, or Yemen, armed groups cannot escape their responsibilities on the battlefield simply by ruling out the intent to attack a protected structure such as a hospital.”

The nature of the deadly bombing of the MSF Kunduz Trauma Centre, and the recurring attacks on medical facilities in Afghanistan, demand from all parties to the conflict a clear reaffirmation of the protected status of medical care in the country. MSF must obtain these necessary assurances in Afghanistan before making any decision on if it is safe to re-start medical activities in Kunduz.

“We can’t put our teams – including our colleagues who survived the traumatic attack – back to work in Kunduz without first having strong and unambiguous assurances from all parties to the conflict in Afghanistan that this will not happen again,” said Nicolai. “We need explicit agreement from all parties to the conflict, including the Afghan authorities and the U.S. military, that there will be no military interference or use of force against MSF medical facilities, personnel, patients and ambulances. Equally, we must be assured that MSF staff can safely provide medical care based solely on medical needs, without discrimination, and regardless of their religious, political or military affiliations. Every day that passes without securing these assurances adds to the death toll from the attack, given the loss of lifesaving medical services to people in the region.”

The administrative punishments announced by the U.S. today are out of proportion to the destruction of a protected medical facility, the deaths of 42 people, the wounding of dozens of others, and the total loss of vital medical services to hundreds of thousands of people. The lack of meaningful accountability sends a worrying signal to warring parties, and is unlikely to act as a deterrent against future violations of the rules of war.

At the same time, it has become clear that the victims and their families have neither the option to pursue legal action against the U.S. military, either in Afghanistan or in the US, nor to claim compensation for loss of life and livelihood. This has only compounded the devastation of the attack.

U.S. Military Investigates And Finds Itself Not Guilty Of War Crimes In Afghan Hospital Bombing: here.

NYT INVESTIGATES WHETHER AFGHAN FORCES TARGETED DOCTORS WITHOUT BORDERS HOSPITAL “There is evidence — both buried in the report and from interviews conducted on the front lines in Kunduz — that suggests that Afghan troops may have deliberately provided the hospital as a target.” [NYT]

OBAMA BROADENS TROOPS’ ROLE IN AFGHANISTAN “President Barack Obama has approved giving the U.S. military greater ability to accompany and enable Afghan forces battling a resilient Taliban insurgency, in a move to assist them more proactively on the battlefield, a U.S. official told Reuters.” [Reuters]

US Still Can’t Escape Calls for War Crimes Investigation into Its Bombing of MSF Hospital: here.