The punishment, considered unprecedented in modern Marine Corps history, came after an insurgent attack in Afghanistan in 2012 killed two Marines and destroyed six fighter jets.
In other words, the US is practicing indiscriminate killing in Pakistan. Either the US simply does not even actually know the identities of the people it is killing, or it knows but is just withholding them from the public, including oversight, watchdog, and human rights groups. Regardless, this whole thing represents an enormous series of war crimes.
Just before noon on October 30 2011, a CIA drone attacked a vehicle near Datta Khel in Pakistan’s tribal northwest. At least four people were reported to have been killed and two injured. Pakistani intelligence officials said the dead men were militants. But local villagers disagreed. They said the dead men were ‘peaceful tribesmen’. They even named one of them: Saeedur Rahman, described as a local chromite dealer.
Five months later, in March 2012, journalists from the New York Times spoke with a 64-year-old farmer called Noor Magul. He said three of the men killed in the strike were relatives of his. He named them as Khastar Gul, Mamrud Khan and Noorzal Khan, and all three, he claimed, were not militants but worked in a local chromite mine.
This is just one of more than 370 drone strikes to hit Pakistan’s Afghan border region in the past nine years. More than 2,500 people have reportedly died in these strikes, including at least 400 civilians.
What makes Saeedur Rahman and his fellow passengers unusual is that they have been identified by name.
Although the US government claims drones are highly precise and target ‘high-value’ terrorists, including members of al Qaeda and affiliated organisations, it is only in exceptional circumstances that the administration will acknowledge responsibility for a particular strike – let alone admit to killing a specific person.
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.
[19 Sept. 2013] Six students were arrested Tuesday evening in an unprovoked police attack against a peaceful protest lead by City University of New York (CUNY) students and faculty decrying the University’s appointment of former CIA chief and ex-General, David Petraeus as an adjunct professor to the Honors College. Students were punched, pushed against parked vehicles and thrown to the pavement by police captains and officers after the NYPD forced them off the sidewalk and into the street. Tuesday’s demonstration was called for by the Ad Hoc Committee Against the Militarization of CUNY.
The arrested students were arraigned Wednesday evening, September 18, at the Manhattan Criminal Court located at 100 Centre Street. The courtroom was flooded with supporters ranging from activists, to fellow students, to CUNY faculty outraged at the NYPD’s response to their student’s attempts to peaceably assemble.
“As students were chanting ‘War Criminal Petraeus Out of CUNY Now,’ I was shocked to see several police officers grab and brutalize one of the demonstrators,” said City College student Yexenia Vanegas. “This was completely unprovoked, as demonstrators made [it] clear that they were there to defend our university in a peaceful protest.”
The attack occurred in front of CUNY’s Macaulay Honors College, where Petraeus has been appointed to teach a class on public policy. “Protestors were marching in a circle on the sidewalk and chanting, but the police forced them into the street and then charged. One of the most brutal things I saw was that five police officers slammed a Queens College student face down to the pavement across the street from Macaulay, put their knees on his back and he was then repeatedly kneed in the back,” said Hunter student Michael Brian. “The student was one of those pointed out by ‘white shirt’ officers, then seized and brutalized. A Latina student was heaved through the air and slammed to the ground.”
Heroes, criminalized by the system for protesting a war criminal, who the system treats like a hero.
Six student activists were violently arrested yesterday outside of a City University of New York (CUNY) Macaulay Honors College fundraiser featuring former CIA Director and Honors College adjunct professor David Petraeus.
The activists have yet to receive charges, currently detained at the New York Police Department’s 20th Precinct.
They await an arraignment hearing scheduled for “between 9:00 a.m. and the afternoon at the Arraignment Court in the Manhattan Criminal Court,” according to a press release issued by the Ad Hoc Committee Against the Militarization of CUNY.
“Students were punched, slammed against vehicles and against the pavement by police captains and officers, after the NYPD forced them off the pavement and into the street,” the press release further explains.
One student quoted in the Ad Hoc Committee’s press release explains the violent nature of the arrests juxtaposed with what they say was peaceful, non-violent protest.
“As students were chanting ‘War Criminal Petraeus Out of CUNY Now,’ I was shocked to see several police officers grab and brutalize one of the demonstrators,” one male student details in the release. “This was completely unprovoked, as demonstrators made clear that they were there to defend our university in a peaceful protest.”
The single greatest act of terrorism in the history of the world — in terms of the scale of death and destruction wrought — occurred on August 6th and 9th of 1945, when the U.S. Army dropped two nuclear bombs on the densely-populated cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, instantaneously killing over 250,000 non-military civilians, with hundreds of thousands more dying in the months and years following from radiation poisoning.
Not only has the U.S. government or Army NEVER been punished for this crime against humanity, but “official” historical accounts within the Western world even today justify this monstrous act of barbarism as a necessary, rational, and even “civilized” instance of mass violence.
Israel is using home demolitions and other measures to drive 40,000 Bedouins from their homelands in the Naqab desert.
ON THE eve of August 31, roughly 600 protesters gathered in downtown Tel Aviv to protest the Prawer Plan, a law that would mandate the forced relocation of centuries-old Bedouin tribes in order to impose “order” in Israel’s Naqab (Negev in Hebrew) desert.
If passed, the plan will allow the Jewish National Fund (JNF) to take over the lands and begin “forestation” and Judaization. Though the law has yet to pass its final two readings, the Israeli Land Administration (ILA) and the state police forces have already begun implementing forced evictions and demolishing villages.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was for Syria giving up control of its chemical weapons before he was against it.
Jumping on comments made by Kerry earlier in the day (see below), Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov backed the idea of having the Syrian government hand over control of its chemical weapons stock piles to a team of international monitors.
"We do not know whether Syria will agree to this, but if the establishment of international control over chemical weapons in that country will avoid strikes, we will immediately begin working with Damascus,” Lavrov said. “We call on the Syrian leadership not only to agree on a statement of storage of chemical weapons under international supervision, but also to their subsequent destruction.”
Following Russia’s offer, however, the U.S. State Department immediately backtracked, with spokeswomen Jennifer Psaki saying that Kerry’s earlier comments were only meant to make a “rhetorical” point about the unlikelihood of Assad ever bending to international pressure.
But, as Agence France-Presse and Reuters both tweeted shortly after Lavrov’s proposal went public, the Syrians seem very keen to the idea of a negotiated settlement over their chemical weapons.
It remains to be seen how these latest developments will play out as official statements from all parties have yet to surface.
In the immediate term, however, what is striking so far is the speed with which the U.S. seems to have tried to close the door on the possibility of a coordinated resolution despite the fact a) it was their idea in the first b) it would ostensibly end the need for a war the American people clearly don’t want and c) it would represent the kind of “political solution” that nearly everyone agrees is the only way to end the violence and bloodshed in Syria.
Overwhelming public opposition to bombing Syria has been repeatedly attributed to the Iraq war by various media outlets. They’ve even come up with clever terms, like “Iraq fatigue” and “Iraq syndrome”, to describe the supposed illness that afflicts an overwhelming majority of the American public—because, it turns out, not wanting to drop bombs on people is a horrific affliction that must be eradicated.
William Galston of the Brookings Institute took to the Wall Street Journal to scold the illness for getting in the way of saving the Syrian people. ”Little more than a decade after the Vietnam syndrome was laid to rest, an Iraq syndrome has replaced it,” writes Galston. “The question is whether this new sentiment will dominate policy—whether acting for the wrong reasons in Iraq will prevent us from acting for the right reasons in Syria.”
A Conversation with Yasser Munif: Inside the Syrian Revolution and What the Left Must Do I was fortunate enough to have Dr. Yasser Munif, professor at Emerson College, call into The Declaration rad…