‘NATO Kunduz hospital bombing is a war crime’

This video says about itself:

Kunduz attack may amount to war crime – UN Human Rights chief

4 October 2015

The US military said it launched an attack around the time a Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) charity hospital in the Afghan city of Kunduz was hit by an airstrike, killing 19 people: staff, patients and children.

The strike may have led to collateral damage to a nearby medical facility,” according to a statement from US Army Colonel Brian Tribus, Spokesman for US Forces in Afghanistan.

UN Human Rights chief Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein led a chorus of condemnation.

Read more here.

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

MSF/Doctors Without Borders speaks of war crime in Kunduz

Today, 10:28

MSF says that the bombing of a hospital in the Afghan city Kunduz is a war crime. “The Afghan government admits they have okayed this premeditatedly,” says Director Arjen Hehenkamp of MSF in the Netherlands. …

Gates closed

“It is totally unacceptable,” said Hehenkamp. “The Afghan government says there was a deliberate and purposeful bombing of a hospital in the middle of the night because there might maybe have been Taliban fighters.”

According to the organization, the gates of the hospital were all closed, so at the time of the attack only staff and patients were there. “We know for sure that it was not used for combat operations. Because of the heavy fighting, our team spent the past week continually at the compound.”

Hehenkamp recognizes that there may have been wounded Taliban fighters in the hospital, but that should be no reason to attack, he stressed. MSF treats all injuries, whether they are of civilians, Taliban fighters or coalition troops. “It is a violation of the law of war, because people can be sued for this. A hospital is sacred, especially in wartime.”

It was not inaccurate, not accidental or collateral damage, it was very purposeful.
Arjen Hehenkamp

According to Dutch Major General (retired) Frank van Kappen it does not matter whether there were combatants or not. “Even then you should not do it. You can not under international law just throw a bomb on a hospital.” …

Hehenkamp says he has heard other stories from his colleagues. “They attacked very specifically a very specific building in that large area several times, the intensive care unit. That was the only building that was hit. It was not inaccurate, not accidental or collateral damage. It was done quite deliberately.”

MSF demands an independent investigation into the incident, in which 22 people were killed, including twelve Doctors Without Borders workers and three children. …

US silent

MSF has already removed its staff from Kunduz. Thus the only hospital in the city is closed. Patients are brought to hospitals in the region. Because there are thirty seriously wounded people, Hehenkamp expects the death toll will continue to rise.

The United States, which was probably

‘Probably’? Does anyone believe seriously the Taliban have warplanes?

involved in the incident, has said nothing about this, says Hehenkamp. “It is incomprehensible that they do not seek contact in an active way after such a big butchery.”

DOCTORS WITHOUT BORDERS LEAVES KUNDUZ AFTER DEADLY BOMBING The loss of medical services after an alleged U.S. airstrike, which killed 22 patients and staff, will be catastrophic for a region already lacking in medical support. And hear what a nurse who survived the bombing Saturday has to say about the tragedy. [NYT]

A protracted series of precisely targeted US airstrikes ripped through a Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) medical center in Kunduz, Afghanistan on Saturday, killing at least 22 and wounding at least 37. The dead included 10 patients, including three children, and 12 members of the MSF staff: here.

See also here.

Nato’s bombs fall like confetti, not containing conflict but spreading it, by George Monbiot. Syria, Isis, Iraq … there are no easy solutions. But killing innocent civilians in Afghanistan and elsewhere draws more people into insurgencies: here.


The massacre of at least 22 medical personnel and patients, including three children, at the Doctors Without Borders medical center in Kunduz, Afghanistan is a war crime for which the US government and military, including top officials in the Obama administration, are responsible. In the nearly two weeks following the October 3 massacre, details have begun to emerge exploding the campaign of misinformation put out by US military officials: here.

The New York Times peddles excuses for Kunduz hospital slaughter: here.

‘Afghan patients burned in their beds in United States air force attack’, nurse tells

This 3 October 2015 video is called Nineteen dead, dozens missing in air strike on Kunduz hospital.

From daily The Independent in Britain:

Afghanistan Kunduz hospital air strike: MSF nurse describes ‘patients burning in their beds’

MSF nurse Lajos Zoltan Jecs was in the hospital during the series of bombing raids – here’s what he saw

Lajos Zoltan Jecs

Sunday 4 October 2015 13:19 BST

Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) nurse Lajos Zoltan Jecs was in the charity’s Kunduz trauma hospital when the facility was struck by a series of aerial bombing raids in the early hours of Saturday morning. He describes his experience.

It was absolutely terrifying.

I was sleeping in our safe room in the hospital. At around 2am I was woken up by the sound of a big explosion nearby. At first I didn’t know what was going on. Over the past week we’d heard bombings and explosions before, but always further away. This one was different – close and loud.

At first there was confusion, and dust settling. As we were trying to work out what was happening, there was more bombing.

After 20 or 30 minutes, I heard someone calling my name. It was one of the Emergency Room nurses. He staggered in with massive trauma to his arm. He was covered in blood, with wounds all over his body.

At that point my brain just couldn’t understand what was happening. For a second I was just stood still, shocked.

He was calling for help. In the safe room, we have a limited supply of basic medical essentials, but there was no morphine to stop his pain. We did what we could.

I don’t know exactly how long, but it was maybe half an hour afterwards that they stopped bombing. I went out with the project coordinator to see what had happened.

What we saw was the hospital destroyed, burning. I don’t know what I felt – just shock again.

We went to look for survivors. A few had already made it to one of the safe rooms. One by one, people started appearing, wounded, including some of our colleagues and caretakers of patients.

We tried to take a look into one of the burning buildings. I cannot describe what was inside. There are no words for how terrible it was. In the Intensive Care Unit six patients were burning in their beds.

We looked for some staff that were supposed to be in the operating theatre. It was awful. A patient there on the operating table, dead, in the middle of the destruction. We couldn’t find our staff. Thankfully we later found that they had run out from the operating theatre and had found a safe place.

Just nearby, we had a look in the inpatient department. Luckily untouched by the bombing. We quickly checked that everyone was OK. And in a safe bunker next door, also everyone inside was OK.

And then back to the office. Full – patients, wounded, crying out, everywhere.

It was crazy. We had to organise a mass casualty plan in the office, seeing which doctors were alive and available to help. We did an urgent surgery for one of our doctors. Unfortunately he died there on the office table. We did our best, but it wasn’t enough.

The whole situation was very hard. We saw our colleagues dying. Our pharmacist – I was just talking to him last night and planning the stocks, and then he died there in our office.

The first moments were just chaos. Enough staff had survived, so we could help all the wounded with treatable wounds. But there were too many that we couldn’t help. Somehow, everything was very clear. We just treated the people that needed treatment, and didn’t make decisions – how could we make decisions in that sort of fear and chaos?

Some of my colleagues were in too much shock, crying and crying. I tried to encourage some of the staff to help, to give them something to concentrate on, to take their minds off the horror. But some were just too shocked to do anything. Seeing adult men, your friends, crying uncontrollably – that is not easy.

I have been working here since May, and I have seen a lot of heavy medical situations. But it is a totally different story when they are your colleagues, your friends.

These are people who had been working hard for months, non-stop for the past week. They had not gone home, they had not seen their families, they had just been working in the hospital to help people… and now they are dead. These people are friends, close friends. I have no words to express this. It is unspeakable.

The hospital, it has been my workplace and home for several months. Yes, it is just a building. But it is so much more than that. It is healthcare for Kunduz. Now it is gone.

What is in my heart since this morning is that this is completely unacceptable. How can this happen? What is the benefit of this? Destroying a hospital and so many lives, for nothing. I cannot find words for this.”

Afghan conflict: MSF demands Kunduz hospital inquiry: here.

United States deathly attack on Afghan hospital condemned

This video says about itself:

Nineteen people killed after Kunduz hospital allegedly bombed by coalition
3 October 2015

The medical charity Doctors Without Borders says 19 people were killed and dozens more injured or missing when its facility in Kunduz, Afghanistan, was bombed on Saturday by possibly the US-led coalition.

‘Possibly’? Who else could have done it? The Taliban don’t have any warplanes.

From daily The Independent in Britain:

Afghanistan air strikes: US faces global condemnation after attack on hospital kills 19 people

The airstrikes continued for more than 30 minutes even though military officials had again been informed of the hospital’s location after staff became aware of the attacks

Serina Sandhu

Saturday 3 October 2015 21:35 BST

The United States is facing international condemnation after its airstrikes devastated a hospital in Afghanistan. The attack, an effort to eject Taliban Islamists from the city of Kunduz, killed at least 19 people at the hospital run by Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), including 12 staff and three children. It has also emerged that officials in Washington and Kabul had been made aware of the hospital’s location, leading to claims by human rights groups that the strikes could amount to a war crime. A US forces spokesman confirmed the strikes “may have resulted in collateral damage”, although there was no immediate public apology.

More than 100 patients and 80 staff members were at the clinic when it became engulfed in flames in the early hours of 3 October. It was reported that, on top of the fatalities, 40 people were seriously hurt including 19 MSF staff, some of whom were taken to a hospital two hours away in Puli Khumri.

Many people remain unaccounted for and the death toll is expected to rise. The attack was deplored by MSF, which said it had repeatedly told authorities of the hospital’s GPS location.

The airstrikes continued for more than 30 minutes even though military officials in Washington and Nato officials in Kabul had again been informed of the hospital’s location after staff became aware of the attacks.

Colonel Brian Tribus, speaking for the US forces, said: “The strike may have resulted in collateral damage to a nearby medical facility. This incident is under investigation.” Ash Carter, US Defence Secretary, confirmed the “tragic incident” was being investigated with the Afghan government.

Ashraf Ghani, President of Afghanistan, said in a statement the commander of Nato’s Resolute Support mission had “explained and [apologised] for the attack”. The Kabul mission said it was unaware of the apology.

Meinie Nicolai, MSF’s president, called the attack “abhorrent” and a “grave violation of international humanitarian law”. She said: “We demand total transparency from coalition forces. We cannot accept this horrific loss of life will simply be dismissed as ‘collateral damage’.” …

Nicholas Haysom, the UN special representative in Afghanistan, said: “Hospitals accommodating patients and medical personnel may never be the object of attack, and international humanitarian law also prohibits the use of medical facilities for military purposes.”

Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, the UN human rights chief, said the event needed to be independently investigated and the results publicised, adding that a deliberate airstrike on a hospital could be a war crime. The trauma centre was caring for almost 400 people wounded as a result of the violence that followed the insurgent attacks on 28 September.

Speaking to The Independent on Sunday, Horia Mosadiq, Amnesty International’s Afghanistan researcher, said: “Amnesty [believes] the deliberate attack of civilian and civilian targets, hospitals and medical facilities … is in violation of international humanitarian law and [a] deliberate attack may amount to war crimes. Attacking medical facilities, and especially a surgical hospital, could have a grave human cost because this hospital was dealing with a countless number of people, especially in the past few days when the war started in Kunduz.”

Ms Mosadiq added: “We are calling on the Afghan government and others to conduct an independent investigation into this incident and to … bring [those] responsible to justice.”

Jean-Nicolas Marti, head of the International Committee of the Red Cross delegation in Afghanistan, said: “This is an appalling tragedy. Such attacks against health workers and facilities undermine the capacity of humanitarian [organisations] to assist the Afghan people at a time when they most urgently need it.”

United States air force kills five Syrian little girls, other civilians

This grandfather cries at the graves of his five grandchildren killed by international coalition air strikes on Atmeh, Syria

From Middle East Eye:

Five sisters among 8 civilians killed in US-led strike on Syrian village

Turkey denies its airbase was used for strike on an arms depot in the village of Atmeh, killing five sisters between the ages of 4 and 10

Wednesday 12 August 2015 16:34 UTC

At least 18 people, including several children, were reportedly killed by a US-led coalition airstrike in the northern Syrian village of Atmeh on Tuesday.

The target of the strike was a weapons depot belonging to the Jaish al-Sunna group, which is part of a rebel alliance that also includes the al-Nusra Front, al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria, according to the Syrian Observatory of Human Rights.

The Observatory’s Rami Abdul Rahman initially said that the strikes killed 10 members of Jaish al-Sunna, in addition to a child. He later told AFP that a total of 18 people were killed.

“Eight of them were civilians, including five children and two women,” he said.

Atmeh is close to a large refugee camp and Abdul Rahman said residential buildings were near the target.

Aid workers on the ground took to social media to say that in addition to five children killed by the strike, four more were believed to be buried under rubble.

One aid worker wrote on Facebook that he had helped a man pull his wife and daughter alive out of the rubble.

“I was amazed that people could come out of that wreckage alive. After that, the other two children were already dead. Four more are still under the ground,” he said.

Hadi al-Abdullah, a Syrian journalist on the ground, interviewed Abu Bishr, the technical supervisor of the depot that was targeted who said six missiles hit the location after sunset.

The five children killed in the attack – Noor, Asia, Aminah, Haya and Fatima Omari – are sisters, aged between 4 and 10 years. Their mother has been hospitalised for her injuries. …

[Local] Idlibi said most of the local anger was directed at Ankara, which has started to allow US warplanes targeting the Islamic State militant group to use the Incirlik air base in southeast Turkey.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry has denied reports that US military planes took off from Incirlik for the strike on Atmeh.

“No manned and unmanned aircrafts using the Incirlik Air Base participated in yesterday’s [Tuesday] air operation carried out by the coalition forces,” said the ministry.

It rejected as “misleading” and “evil-minded” reports in Turkish media that said aircraft returning from the attack flew towards Turkey.

Ahead of the Atmeh strike, the US had claimed that only two civilians have been killed by US-led coalition airstrikes against IS in Iraq and Syria.

But a report released earlier this month by Airwars, a team of independent journalists, found that more than 450 civilians were killed in the air campaign.

Civilian deaths claimed in 71 US-led airstrikes on Isis. Spokesman for US central command says many of the allegations of fatalities have been dismissed or cannot be verified: here.

Eight months ago, on December 28, a warplane from the US-led coalition fighting the Islamic State, or ISIS, struck a building in the Syrian town of al-Bab that had been identified as a local headquarters for the militant group. It was just one of over a thousand airstrikes the coalition had launched up to that point. However, this building wasn’t simply a gathering place for militants or a storehouse for weapons. It was also being used as a makeshift prison for local civilians whom ISIS had accused of petty offenses like smoking cigarettes and wearing jeans: here.

HUMAN RIGHTS groups pressed Michael Fallon yesterday to come clean over the number of civilians killed by British air strikes in Syria and Iraq over the past year: here.

United States Pentagon manual justifies war crimes and censorship

This video about the USA says about itself:

‘Unprivileged belligerents’: Pentagon reclassifies war zone journalists

23 June 2015

The Pentagon’s ‘The Department of Defense Law of War Manual,’ which is the explicit rules of engagement for the Pentagon, is garnering outrage from the media because it appears that the manual allows journalists to be defined as enemy combatants. Professor Chris Chambers talks to Anya Parampil about what this will mean for journalists in the field.

See also here.

By Patrick Martin in the USA:

Pentagon manual justifies war crimes and press censorship

11 August 2015

The lead editorial Monday in the New York Times has brought to the attention of the general public the Pentagon’s issuance of a major new document defining rules of conduct on the battlefield for US military personnel and their commanders.

The Law of War Manual, a massive 1,165-page document, was published in June, but was initially discussed exclusively in blogs specializing in military law and security policy.

The major US newspapers and television networks, which have full-time Pentagon correspondents and regularly review Pentagon press releases, chose to say nothing about the Law of War Manual, for reasons that become obvious when the content of the document is explored. Nor did they comment initially on the manual’s provisions for journalists until the Committee for the Protection of Journalists (CPJ) issued a statement July 31 under the headline, “In times of war, Pentagon reserves right to treat journalists like spies.”

The CPJ statement noted the rising number of journalists imprisoned or killed while covering the actions of armed groups in Ukraine, the Middle East and Africa. It attacked the Pentagon document for justifying the treatment of journalists as belligerents or outright spies, who may be detained, imprisoned or even killed at the discretion of battlefield commanders, as well as endorsing blanket military censorship of press reporting.

The CPJ declared, “The Obama administration’s Defense Department appears to have taken the ill-defined practices begun under the Bush administration during the War on Terror and codified them to formally govern the way US military forces treat journalists covering conflicts.”

The continuity between administrations is underscored by the identity of the Law of War Manual’s principal author, Pentagon General Counsel Stephen W. Preston. Before moving to the Department of Defense, Preston was general counsel of the CIA from 2009 to 2012, the period when the agency was ferociously resisting a Senate Intelligence Committee investigation into torture at CIA secret “black site” prisons under the Bush administration.

The Times editorial complains about the guidelines for treatment of journalists and pleads with the White House to take action to force their immediate repeal. At the same time, it notes that a spokesman for the National Security Council refused even to say whether the White House had signed off on the manual.

The Times objects to the manual’s claim that “Reporting on military operations can be very similar to collecting intelligence or even spying,” and its insistence that journalists must “act openly and with the permission of relevant authorities,” a provision that would make impossible virtually any kind of war reporting other than the state propaganda provided by the notorious “embedded journalists” of the 2003 Iraq invasion.

But the editors give no explanation why the news pages of the Times have never mentioned the Law of War Manual, or why their concern is limited to the two pages of the manual that apply to journalists and not to the bulk of the document, which amounts to a green light for military atrocities including mass killings.

The World Socialist Web Site will examine the 1,165-page Pentagon document more fully in the coming days, but certain preliminary points can be made. The Law of War Manual:

* Declares legitimate the use of nuclear weapons, stating, “There is no general prohibition in treaty or customary international law on the use of nuclear weapons.” Nor is the use of nuclear weapons considered “inherently disproportionate,” even if the target is a military force that does not possess nuclear weapons.

* Authorizes the use of incendiary weapons such as napalm, herbicides (such as Agent Orange in Vietnam), laser weapons and riot control agents (tear gas, pepper spray, etc.), as well as depleted uranium munitions.

* Authorizes cluster munitions, mines and booby-traps, noting that “the United States is not a Party to the Convention on Cluster Munitions.”

* Authorizes the use of exploding (hollow-point) bullets, stating that the United States government was not a party to the 1868 St. Petersburg declaration banning their use or the 1899 Declaration on Expanding Bullets.

* Justifies drone missile attacks by both the Pentagon and intelligence agencies such as the CIA, declaring flatly, “There is no prohibition in the law of war on the use of remotely piloted aircraft…”

* Declares that when human rights treaties and the laws of war come into conflict, “these apparent conflicts may be resolved by the principle that the law of war… is the controlling body of law with regard to the conduct of hostilities.”

As pointed out in discussions in specialist journals, the new Law of War Manual redefines the principles set out in the most comprehensive previous such document, issued by the Pentagon in 1956, by declaring that “the main purposes of the law of war are: protecting combatants, noncombatants, and civilians from unnecessary suffering.”

The previous document did not include civilians in the concept of “unnecessary suffering,” not because it permitted greater violence against civilians, but because it assumed that any such violence was prohibited, and that any deliberate targeting of civilians was illegal and a war crime.

The new document seeks to distinguish between “legitimate” and “illegitimate” acts of military violence against civilian targets, using the criterion of military necessity. Thus, acts of mass slaughter of civilians could be justified if sufficient military advantages were gained by the operations.

It is no surprise that the New York Times and the entire American media have been silent on the issuance of the Law of War Manual. They are following orders to conceal from the American people, and from the world’s population, the Pentagon’s preparations for new and more massive war crimes, along with the destruction of democratic rights spelled out in the US Constitution.

The Times separates the Pentagon’s rejection of the First Amendment guarantee of press freedom from the eruption of American militarism, which it supports. In fact, the new manual demonstrates the incompatibility of militarism and democracy. The struggle against imperialist war is inseparable from the struggle against dictatorship. They both require the development of an international struggle of the working class against capitalism.

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.

US planes destroy civilian fuel tankers in raid over Syria: here.

United States General Wesley Clark attacks civil liberties

This video is called The Pinochet File: How U.S. Politicians, Banks and Corporations Aided Chilean Coup, Dictatorship.

By Thomas Gaist in the USA:

General Wesley Clark calls for putting “disloyal” Americans in internment camps

21 July 2015

Retired US Army General Wesley Clark called for the internment of persons deemed “disloyal” to the United States government in an interview with MSNBC last Friday.

Warning of the threat posed by “lone wolf” attacks similar to last week’s mass shooting in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Clark advocated stepped-up surveillance of US communities and pre-emptive detention of persons suspected of ideological or political opposition to US government policies.

“We have got to identify the people who are most likely to be radicalized. We’ve got to cut this off at the beginning,” Clark said.

“On a national policy level, we need to look at what self-radicalization means, because we are at war with this group of terrorists,” the former top military commander added. “They do have an ideology. In World War II, if someone supported Nazi Germany at the expense of the United States, we didn’t say that was freedom of speech, we put him in a camp, they were prisoners of war.”

He continued: “If these people are radicalized and they don’t support the United States and they are disloyal to the United States, as a matter of principle, fine. It’s their right, and it’s our right and obligation to segregate them from the normal community for the duration of the conflict.

“And I think we’re going to have to increasingly get tough on this, not only in the United States, but our allied nations like Britain, Germany and France are going to have to look at their domestic law procedures.”

Clark’s recommendations, proclaimed openly on national television, amount to a recipe for mass detention of political opponents of the American state.

His assertion of the “right and obligation” of the US government to conduct round-ups and mass internment operations against political opposition, specifically citing as his model the methods employed against ethnic Germans and Japanese during the Second World War, provides a chilling insight into the thinking of powerful sections of the US ruling establishment.

Clark’s insistence, moreover, that such measures remain in force “for the duration” of Washington’s temporally and geographically limitless “global war on terrorism” amounts to advocacy of the permanent imprisonment of individuals deemed guilty of no actual crime, but merely being “radicalized” and “disloyal.”

These are not the ravings of some television talking head or military crackpot. Coming from a figure of Clark’s pedigree, such comments necessarily reflect views widely discussed within the US state.

As supreme commander of NATO, Clark held one of the most senior and politically influential posts in the US military. While serving as Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR), Clark oversaw the NATO bombing campaign against Yugoslavia, Operation Allied Force, beginning in March 1999.

In both the 2004 and 2008 presidential campaigns, Clark was considered among the Democratic Party’s leading contenders. He would likely have gained a senior position in the Obama administration had he not backed Obama’s Democratic rival Hillary Clinton after dropping out of the 2008 primary campaign.

His role as a high-profile supporter of Hilary Clinton’s latest presidential bid suggests, however, that Clark’s political ambitions have only been placed on hold. Under a Clinton presidency, Clark could well get the chance to implement his proposals for mass “segregation” of dissidents.

Preparations for the sort of measures advocated by General Clark are clearly well advanced.

In recent weeks, as videos shot in locations from Arizona to New York show, US military units have conducted training exercises, practicing military internment and crowd control techniques at mock internment camps, with military personnel posing as detainees.

Clark’s statements, made last Friday on the major cable news outlet MSNBC, have been met with total silence from the corporate-controlled media, failing to receive even a passing reference in the pages of the New York Times, Washington Post, or the Wall Street Journal.

This silence in the face of an open call for internment of domestic political opponents, issued by one of the country’s leading political generals, underscores the fact that the entire political and media establishment has decisively broken with centuries-old bourgeois democratic norms. The media silence will no doubt serve to encourage forces within the US military and intelligence apparatus to intensify the drive toward dictatorship.

For decades, the military and intelligence bureaucracies have developed the administrative, infrastructural and police components of an embryonic totalitarian state. Congressional hearings in 1987 on the Iran-Contra covert operations conducted by the Reagan administration exposed the existence of a plan developed by the Pentagon, codenamed Rex 84, to detain hundreds of thousands of immigrants and political dissidents and imprison them in militarized prison camps.

One Rex 84 sub-component, Operation Cable Splicer, envisioned the replacement of existing bourgeois political institutions by a shadow dictatorship controlled by a select group of some 100 executive branch cadre.

In the immediate aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terror attacks, the Bush administration staged a dry run of updated Continuity of Government (COG) plans for a “shadow government, deploying dozens of pre-selected officials to a network of secret command-and-control bunkers across America,” the Washington Post reported in March of 2002.

The George W. Bush administration made further preparations for new prison camps in 2006, signing a $400 million contract with KBR to build up the Department of Homeland Security’s “detention and processing capabilities.”

The Obama administration has expanded the authoritarian legal and policy framework developed under previous administrations. Since taking office, Obama has issued annual decrees renewing the state of emergency declared by the Bush administration after 9/11 and further entrenching emergency powers granted to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

In a series of annual National Defense Authorization Acts, the Obama administration has codified the anti-democratic measures implemented under Bush, asserting unlimited power to indefinitely detain or kill individuals without trial.

The preparations for mass detention are part of broader efforts to tighten the grip of the ruling elite over society, using the pretext of an unending “national emergency.” Plans for dictatorial rule have found concrete expression in the imposition of de facto martial law in Boston following the Boston Marathon bombings of 2013 and last year in Ferguson, Missouri following the outbreak of protests against the police murder of Michael Brown.

In March of 2012, President Obama issued an executive order, “National Defense Resources Preparedness,” that empowered the DHS to assume dictatorial control over the US economy, including any and all actions considered “necessary to ensure the availability of adequate resources and production capability, including services and critical technology, for national defense requirements.”

Last week, the Senate Intelligence Committee approved legislation granting the US government new powers to demand regular reporting from social media platforms about individuals suspected of ties to “terrorist activity.”

Wesley Clark’s internment proposal: The specter of military dictatorship: here.

Britain: TORY Prime Minister Cameron yesterday stepped up his war against ‘extremism in all its forms’ both ‘violent and non-violent’, announcing measures to shut down organisations, facilities and even entire TV stations that do not share his system of ‘British values’: here.