Pentagon lies about killing Iraqi civilians

This video from the USA says about itself:

Report: US Kills 31x More Iraqi Civilians Than Pentagon Claims

18 November 2017

Whenever the Pentagon gives its official estimate of civilians they’ve killed, go ahead and multiply that by about THIRTY-ONE. John Iadarola, Ben Mankiewicz, and Michael Shure, hosts of The Young Turks, discuss.

“The Pentagon claims that its air war against ISIS is one of the most accurate in history and that it is so careful in who it targets that the 14,000 US airstrikes in Iraq have killed just 89 civilians.

It turns out that the military’s assertion is a stunning underestimation of the true human cost of Washington’s three-year-old war against ISIS. An 18-month-long investigation by the New York Times has found that the US-led military coalition is killing civilians in Iraq at a rate 31 times higher than it’s admitting.

“It is at such a distance from official claims that, in terms of civilian deaths, this may be the least transparent war in recent American history,” Azmat Khan and Anand Gopal report.

From April 2016 to June 2017, Khan and Gopal traveled to nearly 150 sites in three ISIS-controlled areas in Northern Iraq. These were sites where the coalition conducted airstrikes against targets ostensibly linked to the militant group. In the places they visited, they found that the coalition vastly underreported how many civilians had died in the bombing.

The US-led coalition claims that one civilian has been killed in every 157 airstrikes. But Khan and Gopal report that, actually, the rate is one civilian death for every five airstrikes — a rate 31 times as high as what the military claims.”*

Read more here.


Pentagon escalates war in Syria

This video from the USA says about itself:

“Mistake” US Air Strike Kills Nearly 60 Civilians In Syria

20 July 2016

During the bombing campaign against ISIS, the US military “mistook” a large group of civilians for enemy combatants and bombed them. Almost sixty civilians were killed in the attack. Cenk Uygur, Ben Mankiewicz (What The Flick?), John Iadarola (ThinkTank), and Michael Shure, hosts of The Young Turks, break it down.

“US air strike killed nearly 60 civilians, including children, in Syria on Tuesday after the coalition mistook them for Islamic State [ISIS] fighters.

Some eight families were hit as they tried to flee fighting in their area, in one of the single deadliest strikes on civilians by the alliance since the start of its operations in the war-torn country.

Pictures of the aftermath of the dawn strikes on the Isil-controlled village of Tokhar near Manbij in northern Syria showed the bodies of children as young as three under piles of rubble.

It is thought Tuesday’s bombing was among the first by jets taking off from Incirlik air base in Turkey since it reopened after the failed coup.”

Read more here.

By Bill Van Auken in the USA:

General lets slip US escalation in Syria

2 November 2017

Asked at televised briefing Tuesday for the number of US troops presently deployed in Syria, US Army Maj. Gen. James Jarrard, the commander of the Special Operations Joint Task Force deployed in both Syria and Iraq, told Pentagon reporters that the number was “a little over 4,000.”

The figure took the assembled members of the media aback. It had recently been reported that over 1,000 troops were on the ground in the illegal US intervention in the Middle Eastern nation, twice the official ceiling set by the Obama administration and ostensibly maintained under President Donald Trump.

In April, however, the Trump administration announced that it was turning over to the military brass the authority to set troop limits as it sees fit, allowing for rapid and unannounced escalations of the US interventions in the Middle East. Similar authority has been given to the generals in relation to the 16-year-old war in Afghanistan.

When the reporter repeated the general’s figure of 4,000 US troops in Syria and pointed out that previous reports had indicated closer to 1,000, the general stumbled briefly and, apparently receiving a rapid correction over his earpiece, said, “I’m sorry, I misspoke there; there are approximately 500 troops in Syria.”

What remains unanswered is whether the general “just made a mistake,” as the Pentagon later claimed, or inadvertently revealed that the actual number of US soldiers and Marines intervening in Syria has quadrupled in recent months. Previously there were credible estimates by military analysts that the number of troops had grown to 2,000.

The additions to the official ceiling of 503 troops have been hard to conceal. US Marine artillery units have been deployed in Syria to aid in the decimation of Raqqa and other population centers. Army Rangers have been photographed storming across the north of the country in Stryker combat vehicles, while attack helicopters and their crews have been heavily involved in combat.

Earlier this year, the Pentagon revealed that the real number of US troops in Afghanistan exceeded 11,000, rather than the 8,400 previously reported to the public in a deliberate undercount maintained with the complicity of the US media. The revelation came as the Trump administration gave the military brass free rein to escalate Washington’s longest war. While another 4,000 US troops are reportedly being sent, Trump and his defense secretary, former Marine Gen. James Mattis, have insisted that the exact number be kept secret so as not to “tip off the enemy.”

The wall of secrecy surrounding the Afghanistan intervention grew higher this week, with the US military’s censoring of a quarterly report issued for the last nine years by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) to monitor the efficacy of the hundreds of billions of dollars spent in the subjugation of the South Asian nation. This has coincided with the report that the CIA has been authorized for the first time to carry out drone strikes and organize “hunt and kill” militias, a shift of what had been military functions to the US intelligence agency.

Frequently, the CIA carries out such operations using not only its own covert forces, but also military personnel. The sole motive for placing them under CIA control is to throw a mantle of secrecy over some of the most murderous actions being carried out against the Afghan people.

Then there is Niger, where the deaths of four Green Berets in a fire fight early last month cast a bright light on what had previously been a war fought in the shadows, with some 1,000 US troops deployed in the central West African country and on its borders, an intervention that leading members of the US Senate claimed to have known nothing about. Whatever the sincerity of these claims, the politicians clearly understood that the war in Niger and the spreading tentacles of AFRICOM, the US military’s continental command, overseeing some 6,000 US troops spread across 24 African nations, were well-kept secrets as far as the American people are concerned.

The Pentagon has made it clear that the military intervention in Africa’s Sahel region will only intensify. This was underscored by the statement of Niger’s prime minister, Brigi Rafini, that his government is prepared to allow US drones to carry out armed attacks on the country’s territory.

Behind the lies and secrecy about troop deployments from West Africa, through the Middle East and into South Asia there is the bigger lie as to the purpose of these interventions, all of which are justified in the name of a never-ending “war on terror”.

The Syrian intervention exposes the utter duplicity of this claim. The fact is that Washington has been a chief sponsor of terrorism against the Syrian people, funneling over $1 billion in arms and money to Islamist militias linked to Al Qaeda in a bloody war for regime change. Its key regional allies, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey, poured in billions more to ignite a war that has killed hundreds of thousands and turned millions into refugees.

The expansion of US deployments in Syria is directed not against ISIS, which has collapsed, but at seizing territory, particularly the oil fields of eastern Deir Ezzor province, in order to undermine the Assad government and combat the regional influence of its main allies, Iran and Russia.

Similar considerations underlie the US intervention in Afghanistan, where American imperialism seeks to maintain its military hold over a strategic region bordering the oil-rich Caspian Basin, as well as the US presence in Niger. The latter is part of a broader attempt to counter China’s rise as the African continent’s chief trading partner through the use of US military force.

All of these regional conflicts have the potential of metastasizing into a full-blown world war pitting US imperialism against nuclear-armed Russia and China.

Despite the feigned shock of American senators over American military operations in Niger, there is no appetite within Congress to assert that body’s constitutional power to declare war, something it long ago surrendered to the White House and the Pentagon.

At a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing Monday, the US defense secretary, Gen. “Mad Dog” Mattis, and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson made it clear that while Congress is welcome to pass a new Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) to provide a legal fig leaf for Washington’s global wars and interventions, they have no problem continuing the fiction that the 2001 AUMF passed in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks justifies all of these actions as well as any future acts of aggression.

In the midst of a growing war danger, with the power to order military escalation placed firmly in the hands of a cabal of right-wing former and current generals, the Democratic Party has mounted no opposition to the Trump administration on the question of war. On the contrary, it has worked in tandem with the Pentagon and the CIA to wage a campaign of anti-Russia hysteria aimed at paving the way for a new and far more terrible conflagration.

There exists within the US ruling establishment no constituency whatsoever for either reining in the US military or upholding fundamental democratic rights. The struggle against war and the threat of dictatorship requires the building of a new mass antiwar movement based on a socialist program to mobilize the working class internationally against the capitalist system.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson vowed yesterday that American imperialism will not relent from its neo-colonial ambition to overthrow the Russian- and Iranian-backed Syrian regime of President Bashar al-Assad. In a display of imperialist arrogance, Tillerson declared that the US will maintain military forces inside Syria indefinitely and not accept any government in Damascus that does not function as an American client state: here.

Washington has reiterated unsubstantiated allegations that the Syrian government carried out multiple gas attacks against a “rebel” stronghold in the Damascus suburb of Eastern Ghouta, raising the prospect of a new US attack on forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad: here.

Neonazis in United States armed forces

This 2016 video from the USA is called Exposing Racism in the Army Part 1.

After Donald Trump was elected president of the USA, there were reports on racists joining American police forces (which had happened before Trump’s election as well).

Now, there is similar news on United States armed forces (similar to reports from earlier years as well).

From the Army Times in the USA, 24 October 2017:

One in four troops sees white nationalism in the ranks

By Leo Shane III

Nearly one in four troops polled say they have seen examples of white nationalism among their fellow service members, and troops rate it as a larger national security threat than Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, according to a new Military Times poll.

The troops were surveyed about one month after white supremacist groups and counter-protesters clashed in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Critics of Trump have accused him of emboldening groups who wish to discriminate against minorities, through both his public comments and policies.

In the wake of the Charlottesville riot, senior military leaders repeatedly emphasized that threats or discrimination against minorities is against service values. The Military Times poll findings show that the armed forces aren’t exempt from the debate.

Concerns about white nationalist groups were more pronounced among minorities in the ranks. Nearly 42 percent of non-white troops who responded to the survey said they have personally experienced examples of white nationalism in the military, versus about 18 percent of white service members.

When asked whether white nationalists pose a threat to national security, 30 percent of respondents labeled it a significant danger, more than many international hot spots, like Syria (27 percent), Pakistan (25 percent), Afghanistan (22 percent) and Iraq (17 percent).

But a notable number of poll participants also bristled at the assertion that white power ideology is a real problem.

Nearly five percent of those polled left comments complaining that groups like Black Lives Matter — whose stated goal is to raise awareness of violence and discrimination towards black people — weren’t included among the options for threats to national security.

The poll did include unspecified “U.S. protest movements” and “civil disobedience” among the potential threats to America. But respondents’ concerns about those issues fell well short of the perceived white nationalist threat.

Singling out white supremacist groups irritated some of the troops surveyed.

“White nationalism is not a terrorist organization,” wrote one Navy commander, who declined to give his name.

“You do realize white nationalists and racists are two totally different types of people?” wrote another anonymous Air Force staff sergeant. …

Our methodology

Between Sept. 7 and 25, Military Times conducted a voluntary, confidential online survey of U.S. service members. The questions focused on President Trump’s time in the White House and national security issues facing American leaders.

The survey received 1,131 responses from active-duty troops. A standard methodology was used to estimate the weights for each individual observation of the survey sample. The margin of error for the questions was roughly 3 percent.

The survey audience was 86 percent male and 14 percent female, and had a mean age of 30 years old. The respondents identified themselves as 76 percent white, 8 percent Hispanic, 9 percent African American, 2 percent Asian and 5 percent other ethnicities. Respondents were able to select more than one race.

CIA, Pentagon attacks on democracy

This video says about itself:

The CIA in Central America: Guatemala. The Shocking Truth about U.S. Foreign Policy

29 February 2016

An eye-opening documentary about the Central American wars and U.S. policy in Central America, this three volume series, which took six years to make, was researched and filmed by Allan Francovich, best known for his award winning film about the CIA, On Company Business.

Episode 1: Guatemala

By Shane Quinn in Britain:

US atrocities have been airbrushed from history

Thursday 3rd August 2017

SHANE QUINN reminds us of five bloody, Western-led attacks on democracy

SOME anniversaries are widely observed in the West: Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbour, armistice day, the September 11 atrocities, and so on. Yet there are other undesirable anniversaries that have been largely disappeared.

1954: CIA terminate the 10-year Guatemalan Revolution

Guatemala, a small Central American nation, remains a failed state to this day. The causes for its suffering can be traced to president US president Dwight D Eisenhower implementing a CIA-run coup that installed successive military dictatorships. Guatemala had been enjoying a 10-year revolution (1944-54): firstly, under Juan Jose Arevalo, who introduced a minimum wage and increased funding to education.

Arevalo’s democratically elected successor in 1951, Jacobo Arbenz, instituted land reforms to grant property to landless peasants.

Such inclusive measures were deemed an unacceptable threat to US hegemony over the Western hemisphere.

Arbenz’s policies threatened the United Fruit Company (UFC), a powerful corporation exploiting Guatemalan workers which had direct ties to Eisenhower’s administration (the Dulles brothers).

The UFC aggressively lobbied Eisenhower, who authorised the CIA to aid a force led by the impending right-wing dictator Carlos Castillo Armas. With further threat of invasion by US forces, the Guatemalan army eventually refused to fight on — an error of historic proportions.

Almost four decades of civil war followed, as successive US-backed dictators committed atrocities such as genocide against the Maya peoples.

1963 Juan Bosch toppled in the Dominican Republic

US interference in the Dominican Republic traces back to the early 20th century of the William Howard Taft and Woodrow Wilson administrations.

Wilson, for example, ordered the invasion of the country by US marines in 1916, their presence lasting over six years — an occupation reviled by the Dominican population.

The democratic election of socialist reformer Juan Bosch in February 1963, replacing a military junta, caused undue concern in elite US circles.

Their fears were quickly realised as Bosch undertook progressive steps the Dominican population had never known before (or since), initiating plans to reduce poverty, declaring labour rights, strengthening unions, rights for farmers, and so on.

Bosch was declared “a communist” by pro-US business magnates and members of the army. On September 25, 1963, a group of commanders led by Elias Wessin y Wessin, with crucial US support, expelled Bosch from the country.

1964: US-backed forces overthrow president Joao Goulart in Brazil

Left-wing nationalist Joao Goulart became the democratically elected president of Brazil in September 1961, setting alarm bells clattering in the liberal John F Kennedy administration.

Goulart began implementing structural reforms in the massive resource-rich South American country that would help integrate the general population into society.

The United States was loath to sit helplessly by as this movement came within “our hemisphere,” as Kennedy described it. Goulart, also known as “Jango,” was hostile toward US capitalist democracy that seeks to primarily serve elite powers.

Shortly before his death, Kennedy had been preparing the groundwork to oust Goulart, with the coup (March 31 to April 1) occurring less than five months into his successor, Lyndon B Johnson’s, reign.

“We just can’t take this one [social movement],” warned Johnson. Goulart’s toppling received crucial CIA funding and arms, while Brazil was placed under a brutal military dictatorship that tortured its people for over 20 years.

1967: Isabel Peron overthrown by US-backed forces

The 1976 Argentine coup was the sixth and final forced government change that took place in the country during the 20th century.

The US-backed Argentine Armed Forces installed the most vicious Latin American military dictatorship of all, responsible for tens of thousands of murdered and “disappeared” people under convicted war criminals such as Jorge Rafael Videla and Reynaldo Bignone. Revealingly, the fascistic regime was a favourite of US president Ronald Reagan.

The coup toppled Isabel Peron, the wife and successor of deceased ex-president Juan Peron.

Henry Kissinger, the then US secretary of state, met with several Argentine military commanders suggesting they crush their enemies before human rights issues become known to the US public.

“We read about human rights problems, but not the context.

“The quicker you succeed the better,” he said, and not for the first time Kissinger, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, was implicated in war crimes.

1983 US invasion of Grenada

The invasion of the minuscule Caribbean island of Grenada under US Reagan drew a scathing international response from the UN general assembly.

It deeply deplored the intervention, which it said “constitutes a flagrant violation of international law,” further condemning “the deaths of innocent civilians… the killing of the prime minister [Maurice Bishop].”

The intervention was even opposed by most Nato countries and US allies such as France, Portugal, Australia, Spain and the Netherlands.

All irrelevant criticism for elite Western figures that believe the US should be a law unto itself.

The usual pretexts for the invasion of Grenada were put forward by the US government and obediently relayed by the press: Grenada was a “Marxist dictatorship” and the US army was on a “rescue mission” to defeat a Cuban military presence defending “this outpost of Soviet imperialism.”

The true reason for the attack? To expel a government not amenable to US hegemonic demands, and that may act as a further example of defiance — the abysmal after effects for Grenadans was quickly airbrushed from history.

Trump’s ‘mad dog’ war secretary keeps transgender people out

This 3 June 2017 video from the USA is called ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis Rolls Back Obama Era Decision To Let Transgender Individuals Serve in Military.

Translated from Dutch daily De Volkskrant today:

US Defense Secretary postpones admitting transgender recruits

A decision to allow transgender recruits to join the armed forces has been delayed by the US government for six months. …

In 2016, the then [Obama administration] Secretary of Defense Ash Carter announced that the ban on transgender persons in the army would be lifted. … Carter’s deadline for lifting the ban was 1 July [2017].

Last week, the defense department received a request from the commanders of the army, air force and navy to postpone the final decision on the admission of transgender people. … [Donald Trump‘s Secretary of War ‘Mad Dog’] Mattis has listened to this call with his delay of six months. Many Republicans in the US Congress are opposed to allowing transgender recruits. …

The American Military Partner Organization, a group dedicated to LGBTQ rights in the US army, is disappointed by Mattis‘s decision. It’s an unnecessary delay that causes transgender people to wait longer before they can be honest about their identity when they join. Human Rights Watch agrees.

Trump’s policy is clear: Civilian casualties don’t matter in the War on Terror. Multiple air strikes on cities and the use of white phosphorus – a probable war crime – guarantee a growing death toll. The Nation, June 21, 2017, by Phyllis Bennis.