Pentagon admits killing Iraqi civilians


This video says about itself:

23 March 2017

Over 130 people trying to take shelter from the fighting in Mosul have been buried under the rubble of a building hit by a coalition airstrike, witnesses say in a video released by Associated Press.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Iraq: US admits to deadly civilian air strike

Monday 27th March 2017

THE US-led bombing coalition admitted on Saturday that it had carried out an air strike on the Iraqi city of Mosul that witnesses said killed hundreds. …

It said it had opened an investigation to determine whether reports of more than 200 casualties caused by the raid earlier this month were true. …

Rescue workers said the raid hit two houses where more than 200 people were sheltering from fierce fighting and artillery fire …

Monitoring website Airwars.org said more than 1,000 Iraqi civilians had been killed by the US-led coalition this month.

US mass murder in western Mosul is aiding, abetting and strengthening ISIS – and not defeating it: here.

The US-led “coalition” has admitted that its forces carried out the March 17 air strike in Mosul—ostensibly against Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) fighters—that slaughtered as many as 200 civilians, including numerous children. The admission was only made in the face of evidence provided by survivors to Iraqi journalists, whose accounts were reported by sections of the Western press: here.

Cambodian elephants saved from Pentagon bomb crater


The Cambodian elephants in the bomb crater, AFP photo

Translated from Dutch NOS TV:

Herd of elephants rescued from Cambodian bomb crater

Today, 16:18

A rescue team has saved a herd of elephants after four days in an old bomb crater. The endangered animals would have been killed by hunger if villagers would not have discovered them.

The eleven animals, including a youngster, got stuck when they tried to drink from the 3 meter deep crater. The pit was made many years ago [during the Vietnam war] by a United States bombing in the country.

The elephants were freed by digging a path from the pit. Meanwhile, water was also sprayed into the hole to dilute the mud. After their rescue, the animals walked back into the woods.

The rescue of 11 Asian Elephants (Elephas maximus) from a mud hole inside the Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary, Mondulkiri Province, Cambodia, on 24th March 2017 avoided a tragedy for wildlife conservation in Cambodia: here.

Trump’s air force kills Syrian civilians


This video says about itself:

27 October 2016

Around 300 civilians were killed in eleven airstrikes conducted by the US-led coalition in Syria, which Amnesty International investigated for its latest report. Amnesty says the US must come clean about the civilian toll of its fight in Syria.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV:

More than thirty civilian deaths in air strike on Syria

Today, 10:02

In an airstrike on Monday at least 33 refugees were killed in northern Syria, who were housed in a school building. This reports the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights …

The Syrian state news agency Sana also reports the massacre was in Mansur, an area in ISIS hands. According to the Observatory, the coalition led by the US against ISIS is responsible for the attack.

Usually, the Observatory is pro-NATO countries’ military intervention in Syria, against the Damascus government.

In the school are said to be housed forty families fleeing the war. Among the victims are women and children. …

And in Afrin [in Syria] ten Kurdish civilians were wounded after Turkish troops had fired at several villages in the region. Turkey considers the Syrian Kurdish fighters to be terrorists, although they – like Turkey – fight extremist organizations like ISIS.

Turkish Erdogan regime opposition to ISIS and similar jihadists is very recent, as the regime used to be allies with them. Unfortunately, not only the Erdogan regime considers Syrian (and Turkish) Kurds to be ‘terrorists’. Turkey being a NATO member state, NATO supports Turkish armed forces violence in Syria, and other NATO governments consider Kurds to be ‘terrorists’ as well.

German air force provides target coordinates for massacre of civilians in Syria: here.

The Trump administration has seized on allegations Tuesday that the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad carried out a gas attack on the town of Khan Sheikhoun in the rebel-controlled province of Idlib to push for a further escalation of military conflict in the Middle East: here.

Donald Trump’s ‘mad dog’ Secretary of War


This video says about itself:

US General says “It’s good fun to shoot people”

The Pentagon has picked General James Mattis as the new head of Central Command.

If confirmed, Mattis will replace General David Petraeus in overseeing the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq along with US military operations across the Middle East.

Mattis oversaw US troops at the bloody battle of Fallujah in Iraq, and led the first conventional forces in the invasion of Afghanistan.

The Centcom chief role is more statesman than warrior though, and the general was reprimanded in 2005 for publicly saying “it’s fun to shoot people”.

Al Jazeera’s Patty Culhane reports. (July 09, 2010)

The disclosure of the statements by a US General who had said its fun to kill Afghans has turned into a problem for the US army.

The US military, still recovering from the shock of the sacking of General Stanley McChrystal, its top commander in Afghanistan — is facing fresh problems over revelations that another top commander declared that it was “fun to shoot people” in Afghanistan.

Mattis has been named as head of US central Command.

He has said at a seminar in 2005: “Actually, it’s a lot of fun to fight. Apparently no humanity has remained in Afghanistan. So it’s a hell of a lot of fun to shoot them.”

By Tom Eley in the USA:

With bipartisan support, Trump defense nominee outlines plans for global war

13 January 2017

General James “Mad Dog” Mattis, President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Defense, used his confirmation hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday to outline an aggressive war policy, designate Russia and China as enemies and call for a dramatic expansion of military spending, including the “modernization” of nuclear weapons and expansion of cyberwarfare.

All of those present—Democrats and Republicans alike—heaped praise on Mattis during the three-and-one-half hour hearing. Not a single senator asked the nominee how he might scale down US wars, which are currently raging in several countries. Instead, senators vied with each other in appealing to Mattis to identify threats to “national security” that will be immediately confronted by the Trump administration.

No senator, including the supposedly “left” Democrat Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, asked the retired Marine General about his record in the occupation of Iraq, where he was implicated in war crimes. Mattis led the savage Marine counteroffensive that retook the Iraqi city of Fallujah in December 2004, and he ordered an air strike that year against a wedding party in which over 40 civilians were killed. Nor was he challenged about a public speech he made in which he stated it was “fun” to kill some people.

Until Thursday, Mattis was not legally eligible to be defense secretary. Federal law prevents selecting any individual who has been out of the military for less than seven years, a rule designed to protect the democratic principle of military subordination to the elected civilian government. Immediately after the hearing, the Armed Services Committee voted 24-3 to waive the law for Mattis, who retired from active command only three years ago, after which he assumed a seat on the corporate board of defense contracting giant General Dynamics. The US Senate quickly followed, voting 81-17 in favor of the waiver.

In a particularly ominous exchange during the hearing, Mattis was asked by the committee chairman, the Republican warmonger John McCain, whether or not he thought the “world order” was under its greatest strain in 70 years. Mattis responded, “I think it’s under the biggest attacks since World War II. And that’s from Russia, from terrorist groups and with what China is doing in the South China Sea.” Later in the hearing, Mattis said, “America has global responsibilities, and it is not to our advantage to leave any of those areas to the world absent from our efforts.”

There will be no end to these global wars, the senators’ questions and Mattis’ answers made clear. The US will “be engaged in global conflict for the foreseeable future,” McCain declared. “Believing otherwise is wishful thinking… Hard power matters, having it, threatening it, leveraging for diplomacy and at times using it.”

Though he was at pains to stress the importance of US alliances, especially NATO, Mattis, like McCain, embraced military unilateralism. The nominee said that the US has only “two fundamental powers,” one of which he called “the power of intimidation.” Necessary for this “intimidation” of other nations is for the US military to be “the top in its game in a competition where second place is last place.”

Starting with McCain, senators repeatedly invited Mattis to denounce Russia and to separate himself from Trump over the president-elect’s less publicly bellicose stance toward Moscow and his open conflict with US intelligence agencies over unsubstantiated allegations of Russian “hacking” of the US election.

Mattis labeled Russia a “strategic competitor” and said that Russian President Vladimir Putin was trying to “break” the NATO alliance, which he hailed as the greatest military alliance in history. “[T]here’s a decreasing number of areas where we can cooperate actively and increasing number of areas where we’re going to have to confront Russia,” Mattis said. He also signaled his deference to US intelligence agencies, saying he has a “very, very high degree of confidence in our intelligence community.”

When asked by Democratic Senator Martin Heinrich of New Mexico to identify “key threats” to the US, Mattis began with Russia, but from there developed a list that could include any nation in the world.

“I would consider the principal threat to start with Russia,” Mattis responded, “and then it would certainly include any nations that are looking to intimidate nations around the periphery or nations nearby them whether it is with weapons of mass destruction or—I would call it unusual, unorthodox means of intimidating them.”

This theme was taken up by Warren, who, alongside Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, is promoted as the “left” face of the Democratic Party.

“Russia wants to promote its security through instability…trying to create a sphere of unstable states along the periphery,” Warren said. “As defense secretary, when it comes to the threats posed by Russia, will you advocate for your views frankly and forcefully to the president to speak about these threats and the need to take them seriously?” Mattis affirmed that he would. “We are counting on you,” pleaded the liberal senator.

Sometimes taking a more militaristic tone than the nominee, the senators also encouraged Mattis to make bellicose statements against China, Iran and North Korea, and solicited declarations that the US military—which spends more each year militarizing than the next eight biggest economies in the world combined—is underfunded. Committee members, Warren and Missouri Democrat Claire McCaskill included, used their questioning to call for major new spending on the nuclear arsenal, the National Guard and cyberwarfare.

Mattis did not retreat from statements made by Rex Tillerson, the former Exxon CEO nominated by Trump for secretary of state, that the US should block China from access to the South China Sea—itself an act of war. Mattis supported the conclusion that China, in its land reclamation projects, is “militarizing” the South China Sea.

Mattis stated his support for increased US aggression in the Middle East, telling the committee that the war on the Islamic State [ISIS] in Iraq and Syria needed to be placed on “a more aggressive timeline.”

In a document submitted to the committee prior to the hearing, Mattis identified Iran as the “biggest destabilizing force in the Middle East” and said that the Trump administration should “checkmate Iran’s goal for regional hegemony.” In previous statements, he has insisted that ISIS was nothing more than a stalking horse for Tehran to project its influence. However, invited by senators to disavow the treaty with Iran concluded by the Obama administration, which removed the immediate threat of war, Mattis said he would uphold it.

Also Thursday, the Senate Intelligence Committee held hearings for Trump’s nominee to head the Central Intelligence Agency, Mike Pompeo, a former Tea Party Caucus Congressman from Kansas with close ties to the multibillionaire Koch brothers. It is also expected that the Pompeo nomination will be ratified with little resistance from Democrats.

Pompeo’s testimony was notable for its belligerent posture toward Russia. He upheld the US spy agencies’ report of hacking, though that report contained not a shred of evidence and was previously questioned by Trump.

“With respect to this report in particular, it’s pretty clear about what took place here, about Russian involvement in efforts to hack information and to have an impact on American democracy,” Pompeo said. “This was an aggressive action taken by senior leadership inside of Russia.” Pompeo also accused Russia of “invading and occupying Ukraine, threatening Europe, and doing nothing to aid in the destruction and defeat of ISIS.”

The bitter fight over the allegations of Russian “interference” in the US elections boils down to a dispute over foreign policy—whether or not to settle scores first with Russia, or to focus on a showdown with China. The media hysteria and the intervention of the intelligence apparatus and leading Republicans such as McCain to support these allegations amounts to an attempt to ensure that the Trump administration will intensify the Obama administration’s anti-Russia policy, which would have been the first order of business in a Hillary Clinton White House.

The confirmation hearings for Donald Trump’s cabinet nominees confirm that his administration intends to vastly intensify US demands for massive economic and strategic concessions from the Chinese regime. In pursuit of the predatory ambitions of a tiny layer of corporate oligarchs, policies are being put forward that could result in a military clash and trigger a nuclear exchange: here.

The US Senate voted Monday night to confirm Representative Mike Pompeo as the next CIA director. The 66-32 vote is likely to be replicated in many other confirmation votes over the next two weeks, as all 52 Republicans were joined by 14 Democrats, including Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer: here.

Looking For Anti-Trump Protests? Here Are Dozens To Choose From: here.

We killed Afghan civilians, Pentagon admits


This video says about itself:

3 November 2016

At least 30 civilians have been killed in a NATO air strike in Afghanistan‘s volatile northern province of Kunduz.

Women and children are among those killed in the operation …

Al Jazeera’s Richard Martin reports.

Warning: you may find some of the images in report disturbing.

From the New York Times in the USA:

Kunduz Attack in November Killed 33 Civilians, U.S. Military Says

By MUJIB MASHAL

JAN. 12, 2017

KABUL, Afghanistan — A United States military investigation into claims of civilian casualties during a joint operation by Afghan and American forces found that 33 civilians were killed and 27 others were wounded during a firefight and airstrikes in Kunduz Province last year, American military officials said on Thursday. …

After the battle in Kunduz, a New York Times reporter counted 22 bodies being brought into the city on the way to the hospital there. Among them were 14 children, four women, two older men and two men of fighting age. They were accompanied by a large group of protesters from Boz Qandahari, the village that was hit.

Kunduz is also where a United States military gunship mistakenly

Mistakenly? Doctors Without Borders don’t believe that.

targeted a hospital run by Doctors Without Borders in October 2015, killing at least 42 people and destroying much of the hospital.