Socialism Art Nature

LAST NIGHT, President Obama stated that he is “heartbroken” about the shooting on Fort Hood Army base in Killeen, Texas. We, too, are heartbroken, because this shooting could have been prevented.

The United States military is an institution that teaches us to devalue the lives of others and to devalue ourselves. When combat stress and other injuries are added to that environment, the result is volatile.


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[Photo: A “drone shadow” created for the Istanbul Design Biennial. (STML/ Creative Commons/ Flickr)]

UN Official: States Must Not Hide Civilian Drone Deaths

Phyllis Bennis: “This report is the beginning of chipping away at US impunity.”
Increasing drone strikes are causing “disproportionate civilian casualties,” and the U.S. and other states must not be permitted to continue hiding this trail of death from the public, charged a UN official in a recently released report.
In a damning 21-page report, UN special rapporteur on human rights Ben Emmerson identifies 30 drone strikes in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, and Gaza in which civilians were killed, injured, or threatened by drone strikes.
This includes a December 2013 U.S. drone strike on a recent wedding procession in Yemen near the city of Rad’a that left 12 people dead and at least 15 wounded — an attack that the U.S. and Yemeni governments initially claimed had killed “militants.”
While the U.S. is leading the covert drone wars in all of these countries except for Gaza, and is backing that effort, the Obama administration has refused to acknowledge the full extent of the attacks, refused to publicly identify the people killed in drone attacks, and repeated the unverified claim that civilian deaths have been minimal.
Yet, data for 2013 shows that drone strikes in Afghanistan accounted for 40 percent of civilian deaths by pro-government forces, marking a three-fold increase since 2012, the report notes.

[Photo: A “drone shadow” created for the Istanbul Design Biennial. (STML/ Creative Commons/ Flickr)]

Phyllis Bennis: “This report is the beginning of chipping away at US impunity.”

Increasing drone strikes are causing “disproportionate civilian casualties,” and the U.S. and other states must not be permitted to continue hiding this trail of death from the public, charged a UN official in a recently released report.

In a damning 21-page report, UN special rapporteur on human rights Ben Emmerson identifies 30 drone strikes in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, and Gaza in which civilians were killed, injured, or threatened by drone strikes.

This includes a December 2013 U.S. drone strike on a recent wedding procession in Yemen near the city of Rad’a that left 12 people dead and at least 15 wounded — an attack that the U.S. and Yemeni governments initially claimed had killed “militants.”

While the U.S. is leading the covert drone wars in all of these countries except for Gaza, and is backing that effort, the Obama administration has refused to acknowledge the full extent of the attacks, refused to publicly identify the people killed in drone attacks, and repeated the unverified claim that civilian deaths have been minimal.

Yet, data for 2013 shows that drone strikes in Afghanistan accounted for 40 percent of civilian deaths by pro-government forces, marking a three-fold increase since 2012, the report notes.


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And who is holding the US accountable for these war crimes and crimes against humanity?

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The number of civilians killed and wounded in Afghanistan’s war rose 14 percent last year, with nearly 3,000 people dead as violence escalates and the US prepares to withdraw the bulk of its forces.

The United Nation’s annual protection of civilians in armed conflict report, published on Tuesday, documented 2,959 civilian deaths and 5,656 wounded in 2013.

The UN said the figures are the highest since 2009, the worst year since the US invasion of 2001.


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Also see http://socialistworker.org/2013/12/04/operation-enduring-occupation:

"The proposed accord would allow the U.S. to keep up to nine military bases in Afghanistan—and mandate that it fund the Afghan government’s security forces through at least 2024.

"It also allows for the presence of an indefinite number of foreign troops, though Karzai claims the number will be some 15,000 soldiers, the majority of them from the U.S. U.S. troops and contractors working with the Defense Department would be allowed to enter the country without having to obtain passports or visas.

"U.S. troops will be able to engage in combat operations in "mutually agreed" circumstances, including giving support to Afghan forces. Under the agreement, U.S. soldiers are exempt from civil or criminal complaints under Afghan law—jurisdiction will lie solely with the U.S., which has never allowed its own soldiers to face charges in Afghanistan for the killing of Afghan civilians."


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Damn. New study puts clinical depression as the second-leading cause of disability around the world.

Also, and honestly, unsurprisingly, two of the most depressed countries in the world today are Afghanistan and Palestine, with more than one in five people suffering from this mental disease.

Clearly, it takes a tremendous toll on the physical as well as psychological health of a nation’s people when they are subjected to continuous military occupation, carpet-bombings, terrorism from the sky by unmanned drones, impoverishment, infrastructural destruction, mass imprisonment and torture, and racial inequality and indignity. And what’s more, these people are then blamed as the ones responsible for this utter barbarism being visited upon them by the US and Israel.

Truly, truly disgusting. The people of Palestine and Afghanistan are suffering from a mass form of mental sickness, owing almost entirely to the very social sickness which rests at the heart of our present US/Western-dominated military-economic world order.


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Malalai Joya, “Woman Among Warlords”
Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan

Malalai Joya, “Woman Among Warlords”

Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan


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Two Generals engage in a “security breach” that leads to the actual immediate deaths of US soldiers and they are only forced to retire early.

Meanwhile, alleged Wikileaks whistle-blower Chelsea Manning (who exposed US war crimes in Iraq) was accused of a “security breach” that even the government admits did not lead to any deaths of Americans, yet she faces spending the rest of her life in prison.

There are two different sets of “justice systems” in the US — one for the rich, elite, and powerful … and another for the rest of us.

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America’s Afghan Victims 



Even among staunchly antiwar politicians and pundits, few bother to mention the cost of the war to civilians.
Interactive database at http://www.thenation.com/afghanistan-database#axzz2fRYKS9lx

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New comprehensive study reveals that up to 6,800 civilians [i.e., not counting “military combatants”] have died in Afghanistan as a result of war-related actions by the United States, its allies and Afghan government forces, from the invasion in October of 2001 through the end of 2012. That’s the equivalent of over three 9/11-size catastrophes that the US government has wrought upon innocent civilians who just happen to live in a part of the world that the US has decided to bomb mercilessly and continuously for over a decade straight.

America’s Afghan Victims

New comprehensive study reveals that up to 6,800 civilians [i.e., not counting “military combatants”] have died in Afghanistan as a result of war-related actions by the United States, its allies and Afghan government forces, from the invasion in October of 2001 through the end of 2012.

That’s the equivalent of over three 9/11-size catastrophes that the US government has wrought upon innocent civilians who just happen to live in a part of the world that the US has decided to bomb mercilessly and continuously for over a decade straight.


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This would be like accusing those opposed to the establishment of concentration labor camps of suffering from “Holocaust syndrome.”

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Quick round up of US imperial situation as read in today’s news:

"Lingering doubts over Syria gas attack evidence"
http://news.yahoo.com/
lingering-doubts-over-syria-gas-attack-evidence-072755287.html
BEIRUT (AP) — The U.S. government insists it has the intelligence to prove it, but the American public has yet to see a single piece of concrete evidence — no satellite imagery, no transcripts of Syrian military communications — connecting the government of President Bashar Assad to the alleged chemical weapons attack last month that killed hundreds of people.
"Afghanistan says NATO strike killed civilians"
http://www.aljazeera.com/news/
asia/2013/09/20139865515969391.html
Afghan officials accuse NATO of killing 15 people, nine of them civilians, in an airstrike in the Kunar province.
"US urges EU to postpone Israel settlement ban"
http://www.aljazeera.com/news/
europe/2013/09/20139881229728695.html
US Secretary of State John Kerry has urged the European Union to postpone a planned ban on EU financial assistance to Israeli organisations in the occupied Palestinian territories, a US official said.
The EU imposed restrictions in July, citing its frustration over the continued expansion of illegal Jewish settlements in territory captured by Israeli forces in the 1967 Middle East War.
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In other words, the US is pushing for airstrikes on Syria based on controversial evidence, in order to “protect human rights.”

Meanwhile, in Afghanistan, the kinds of airstrikes the US wants to target against Syria have just killed around a dozen civilians, which constitutes a war crime and a major human rights violation; and in Israel, where the expansion of illegal Israeli settlements into Palestinian territories has been universally condemned as a gross human rights violation and war crime, the US is begging the international community to refrain from pursuing any punishment whatsoever against Israeli crimes.

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Obama giving a speech on the legacy of MLK even as he prepares for war with Syria might actually be more galling than when he accepted the Nobel Peace Prize just days before he announced a massive expansion of the war on Afghanistan.

This is almost surreally disgusting.


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On June 10, 2013, 30-year-old Iraq War veteran Daniel Somers killed himself after writing a powerful letter to his family explaining his reasons for doing so.

During my first deployment, I was made to participate in things, the enormity of which is hard to describe. War crimes, crimes against humanity. Though I did not participate willingly, and made what I thought was my best effort to stop these events, there are some things that a person simply can not come back from. I take some pride in that, actually, as to move on in life after being part of such a thing would be the mark of a sociopath in my mind. These things go far beyond what most are even aware of.

 … Is it any wonder then that the latest figures show 22 veterans killing themselves each day? That is more veterans than children killed at Sandy Hook, every single day. Where are the huge policy initiatives? Why isn’t the president standing with those families at the state of the union? Perhaps because we were not killed by a single lunatic, but rather by his own system of dehumanization, neglect, and indifference.

It leaves us to where all we have to look forward to is constant pain, misery, poverty, and dishonor. I assure you that, when the numbers do finally drop, it will merely be because those who were pushed the farthest are all already dead.

And for what? Bush’s religious lunacy? Cheney’s ever growing fortune and that of his corporate friends? Is this what we destroy lives for


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