The empire staggers on. Obama sends more senseless troops to Iraq, revisionist history proclaims the “courage” of the authors of its tragedy, and George W, accomplishing at least his declared mission of “replenishing the ol’ coffers,” is raking in millions ...Read More »
At the Left Forum, Fight Imperialism Stand Together (FIST) took part in a debate with other socialist organizations on the character anti-imperialist struggle must take in this period. This debate is central to the overall struggle for liberation in a period where imperialism’s ...Read More »
Almost nine months after President Obama admitted that “we don’t have a strategy yet” to challenge the Islamic State – and just days after he said he still has “no complete Iraq strategy” – the non-strategy suddenly has a name: ...Read More »
Donald Rumsfeld is this generation’s Robert McNamara. Over 12 years after overseeing and helping to design the 2003 invasion of Iraq – the former secretary of defense is now re-writing his own role in the invasion. In an interview with ...Read More »
Presidential elections should be limited to as short a time period as possible and are generally the biggest drain and distraction going. I have two excuses for looking into Jeb Bush. One is that I’ve been collecting the evidence that ...Read More »
Mohamedou Ould Slahi’s 13th year of captivity in Guantánamo has been remarkable in many ways. “Guantánamo Diary,” his story of torture and unlawful detention by the United States, was finally published and has become a best-seller, earning rave reviews around ...Read More »
The United States seems set for an increase in the number of American boots on the ground in Iraq where Takfiri militancy yet rages on despite airstrikes by a US-led coalition. On Tuesday, General Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the ...Read More »
When it comes to his administration’s foreign policy, Barack Obama must feel a little like Michael Corleone in The Godfather Part III: “Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in.” Upon entering office, the president promised ...Read More »
US President Barack Obama has been sued by families of two Yemeni men, Salem bin Ali Jaber and Waleed bin Ali Jaber, who were killed in a drone strike in 2012. The families have lodged a wrongful death lawsuit against the ...Read More »
When it comes to war, deja vu can be a depressing thing. With the U.S. military in Iraq once again, this time to battle Islamic State fighters, it is tempting to see the cycle of war as endless. Over two ...Read More »
‘If the U.S. was willing to pay off my family in secret cash, why can’t they simply make a public acknowledgement that my relatives were wrongly killed?’ asks Faisal bin Ali Jaber (Common Dreams) – A Yemeni man, whose nephew and ...Read More »
The Pentagon has announced that the US and its European allies are conducting military drills in the Baltic region “to ensure regional security.” Pentagon spokesman Army Col. Steve Warren said on Monday 2,000 American troops and 3,600 troops from other ...Read More »
Zionists want the United States to stop negotiating with Iran over its nuclear energy program and launch a deadly war against Iran, an American political activist and writer says. Ralph Schoenman, former personal secretary of British philosopher Bertrand Russell, made the remarks ...Read More »
In 2009, a U.S. State Department diplomatic cable gave one of the first glimpses of what is becoming a burgeoning alliance between Israel and the Arab states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). The cable quoted Israeli Foreign Ministry official Yacov ...Read More »
The United States and its allies have encouraged the spread of the ISIL terrorist group in the Middle East to create a “perpetual war” in the region and advance the American military-industrial complex, a geopolitical commentator in Missouri says. “This ...Read More »
Tony Blair’s not entirely unexpected resignation from his job as Middle East peace envoy last month – and the ensuing Twitter jokes about it – coincide with the UK release of a documentary film that firmly puts him and George ...Read More »
Hundreds of US forces are reportedly located near Russia’s borders with Ukraine to train the country’s troops amid growing tensions between Washington and Moscow. NBC News reported on Sunday that 300 American paratroopers are involved in the direct training that ...Read More »
Former US senator Mike Gravel says Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would not be able to hinder a comprehensive nuclear deal between Iran and the six world powers. In a phone interview with Press TV on Monday, Gravel said Netanyahu “won’t ...Read More »
US drone strikes carried out in Muslim countries are a “crime against humanity” and a violation of international law, a peace activist and analyst in Washington says. “Drone strikes are, by their nature, an illegal weapon [because] there is no ...Read More »
The United Sates will launch new wars around the world regardless of who is voted as president and which political party takes control of the White House in 2016, a political commentator in New York says. There will be “more ...Read More »
A new survey just released by the Pew Research Center found that respondents have become much more likely to voice their disapproval over the U.S. drone assassination program. In a phone survey conducted from May 12-18, 2015, Pew found that ...Read More »
Majid Khan, kidnapped by U.S. officials in 2003, said abuse was more brutal than anything which appeared in Senate’s investigative report last year Nadia Prupis (Common Dreams) – A Guantanamo Bay detainee turned government witness has accused the U.S. Central Intelligence ...Read More »
International lawyer Barry Grossman says US neoconservatives are seeking a military attack against Iran over the country’s nuclear program because it is “profitable” for them. “For a number of the years, the usual suspects, which include basically neoconservatives around the ...Read More »
US President Barack Obama says Israel is losing “credibility” among the international community over Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s stance on the creation of a Palestinian state. Obama also warned that his administration is reevaluating the long-standing US diplomatic support of ...Read More »
Since before the heinous ravaging of Africa as a source of human beings denied their humanity, lives and freedom as chattel in the slave trade, the continent has been brutally exploited by European colonial (and later US) powers. Now, the ...Read More »
(Common Dreams) – Tensions between China and United States continue to rise over the South China Sea as a Chinese government newspaper warns that war may be ‘inevitable’ if the U.S. and its allies do not back off from the heavily ...Read More »
(Common Dreams) – When President Barack Obama apologized on April 23 to the families of Warren Weinstein and Giovanni Lo Porto, an American and an Italian, both hostages killed in a drone attack in Pakistan in January, he blamed their tragic ...Read More »
Since being seized in a raid in Pakistan in 2002, Abu Zubaydah has had his life controlled by American officials, first at secret sites, where he was tortured, and since 2006 in a small cell in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. And, ...Read More »
By Ed Hightower (WSWS) – A US District Court judge has thrown out a lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) that sought the release of the full Senate Select Committee on Intelligence report on torture by the Central ...Read More »
While notable for admitting the possibility it killed two young children, admission called “too little, too late” by expert who says deathtoll of innocent people far exceeds Pentagon statement (Common Dreams) – In what one journalist described as the “first near-confirmation” ...Read More »
The Pentagon says the United States is ready to deploy surveillance aircraft and naval ships to test China’s territorial claims over man-made islands in the South China Sea. “That would be the next step,” Pentagon spokesman Colonel Steven Warren told ...Read More »
(Common Dreams) – For almost two weeks, the political buzz in the US has focused on those who have already declared their candidacy for the 2016 presidential run, Republicans and Democrats, and their reaction to “knowing what we now, would you ...Read More »
The United States is manufacturing weapons which are considered by the American military officials as “plausible” for a possible war on China, says an analyst. The United States, has been for many years, in the “long process of militarizing Asia ...Read More »
The US Defense Department’s watchdog knowingly turned a blind eye to financial irregularities, leading to the Pentagon signing off on an audit. This has led to questions regarding just how transparent the government auditing process actually is. A special investigation ...Read More »
With the rise of the Global South and BRICS countries, it seems the United States sees war as the only option in order to keep its global domination, an American journalist and political commentator says. Don DeBar, an anti-war activist ...Read More »
When Hollywood Sold America on Evil: Stunning PBS Frontline Doc Reveals the Depths of CIA Propaganda
“Secrets, Politics and Torture” tells the deeply disturbing story of an intelligence community’s craven lies In recent days, there’s been quite a bit of discussion about the 2011 raid in Abottabad, Pakistan, that killed Osama bin laden, based upon reporting by ...Read More »
Presumed US Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush, brother of former US President George W. Bush, has criticized President Barack Obama’s Iraq policy. The former Florida governor was at a business meeting in the state of New Hampshire on Wednesday to ...Read More »
Rights Groups Send An Open Letter to President Obama and Ashton Carter: Free the 57 Guantánamo Prisoners Approved for Transfer
LONDON – Together the undersigned organizations call for the prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, to be closed, and we ask President Obama and Defense Secretary Ashton Carter to swiftly transfer the 57 prisoners at Guantánamo who have already been cleared ...Read More »
In the last days of his life, Osama bin Laden realized that the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States were an inside job, and were not carried out by al-Qaeda militants, according to newly released US intelligence documents. ...Read More »
The US Congress has given President Barack Obama a “blank check” to wage wars in the Middle East and other parts of the world, says a veterans advocate and social justice organizer in Denver. “There has to be some sort ...Read More »
‘It is time for President Obama, and Defense Secretary Carter, to take action to transfer the 57 men still held who have already been approved to leave Guantánamo, and to release or charge in federal court those who remain’ (Common ...Read More »
During a friendly interview on Fox News, a Republican presidential hopeful from Florida was asked a simple question: Was it a mistake to go to war in Iraq? “No, I don’t believe it was. The world is a better place ...Read More »
The New York Times ran two very different stories recently related to Israel. An analysis of the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement titled “Campus Debates on Israel Drive a Wedge Between Jews and Minorities,” portrays the nonviolent campaign to hold ...Read More »
The recent capture of the Iraqi city of Ramadi by the ISIL terrorist group is a consequence of the US war against Iraq and Washington’s “divide and rule” policy in the Arab country, an American political scholar says. “The fall ...Read More »
‘It’s unbelievable, frankly. I now know what it’s like to have lived through Vietnam, I guess.’ (Common Dreams) – Statements from the Pentagon and the Obama administration attempting to downplay the significance of the defeat of Iraqi forces by Islamic State ...Read More »
Nick Mottern interviews well-known peace activist Kathy Kelly on drone warfare and related topics. This interview took place at the “Stop the Wars at Home and Abroad” National Conference, sponsored by the United National AntiWar Coalition (UNAC), and held in ...Read More »
US Secretary of State John Kerry says the international community should put further pressure on the North Korean government over the country’s nuclear program. North Korea “continues to pursue nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles, it continues to break promises and ...Read More »
History of World War II: America Was Providing Military Aid to the USSR, While Also Supporting Nazi Germany
Besides weapons, other supplies were also provided under lend-lease. And those figures are absolutely indisputable indeed. Specifically, the USSR received 2,586,000 tons of aviation fuel, an amount equal to 37% of what was produced in the Soviet Union during the war, plus almost ...Read More »
A senior adviser to Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, the Leader of Iran’s Islamic Revolution, says ending Saudi Arabia’s extremely “savage bombardments” should be a precondition for any talks on Yemen’s situation. Ali Akbar Velayati said Monday that any discussion on the Arab ...Read More »
Tsarnaev Sentenced to Death: The Boston Bombing and the Tsarnaev Trial – Lies, Anomalies and Inconsistencies
Today, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has been sentenced to death on some counts, including “the use of a weapon of mass destruction (pressure cooker bomb #2) resulting in death” and “destruction of property by means of an explosive (pressure cooker bomb #2), ...Read More »
Szymany airport in Poland, allegedly used for covert prisoner transportation by the CIA in 2003 Poland.(AFP Photo / Piotr Placzkowski )
Warsaw has paid €230,000 to two former inmates of CIA "black site" prisons, which used to be on Poland's territory - a move that has raised questions in the country.
"Poland has fulfilled the ruling of the European Court of Human Rights," Deputy Foreign Minister Rafał Trzaskowski said on Thursday, RIA Novosti reports. He said that money had been sent to one victim's bank account. The other's share had been transferred to his court deposit, as he is under international sanctions.
The European Court of Human Rights ruled in July 2014 that Poland must pay compensation to the two terror suspects: Palestinian Abu Zubaydah and Saudi Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, who were held and tortured in CIA-run detention centers in Poland between 2002 and 2003. The court set this Saturday as the deadline for the payments.
The two men are now being held in America's Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba. They are to receive €100,000 each for psychological damage, plus Zubaydah is due an additional €30,000 in court expenses.
Warsaw's decision to pay up raised questions in Poland. Opposition lawmaker Witold Waszczykowski, cited by AP, said: “I think we shouldn’t pay, we shouldn’t respect this judgment. This is a case not between us and them – it’s between them and the United States government.”
However, no US officials have been held accountable to date. The only other related ruling handed down by the European Court of Human Rights was to Macedonia. In 2012, it was ordered to pay €60,000 for the detention of a Lebanese-German, who was subjected to abuse by the CIA on trumped up terror suspicions.
Poland has been investigating allegations of secret CIA detention centers or "black sites" on its territory since 2008. In December 2014, Poland's former President Aleksander Kwaśniewski officially admitted that a secret CIA prison had existed at an airbase, where terror suspects were brought for torture and interrogation. He insisted, though, that Warsaw had no idea about the abuse happening at the site.
Kwaśniewski's statement came on the heels of a US Senate committee report on CIA activities. In August the same year, Barack Obama admitted for the first time that torture had indeed taken place in American custody after the 9/11 attacks.
The authorities should have expected to be held accountable sooner or later, criminology professor Ben Davis told RT. "The only people who have been betrayed in all of this are the ordinary people in all of these countries," he said. "The ordinary citizens who count on their governments not to torture people, to comply with their obligations in international law or domestic law."Read More »
John Kiriakou (Otherwords) – After I blew the whistle on the CIA’s torture program in 2007, the fallout for me was brutal. To make a long story short, I served nearly two years in federal prison and then endured a ...Read More »
Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, was quick to congratulate Israeli soldiers on their relief efforts in Nepal, where an earthquake late last month claimed many thousands of lives. “These are the true faces of Israel,” he said of a 260-strong ...Read More »
Noam Chomsky answers questions from people living under bombardment in Fallujah, Iraq. The interviewer, Ross Caput, is a veteran of the 2nd US-led siege of Fallujah.Read More »
The military-industrial complex in the United States would not be able to survive without military conflicts as the US steps up military tensions with China, says a US analyst.
Military tensions across the world are what the the US wants because “the military-industrial complex cannot survive without conflict,” said Dean Henderson.
Henderson made the comments in an interview with Press TV on Sunday when asked to give his take on a report by the Pentagon that shows its concern over China’s growing military capabilities.
The report specifically cited China’s growing drone arsenal which is set to surpass 40,000 unmanned units in the next years.
“I don’t think it should be any big surprise that the Chinese have drones,” Henderson said, “The US obviously has been using these for a long time to target so-called terrorists in Afghanistan and Yemen and Iraq and different places, killing mostly civilians in the process.”
Thousands of people have been victims in an ongoing drone war waged by the US government overseas for decades now.
“It’s another case of weapon developed by the US military-industrial complex and unleashed on the world,” Henderson said.
He slammed Washington and said that “a lot of countries have their own [drones] and if the US doesn’t want China to have drones maybe the US shouldn’t have drones.”
“It’s just like the US doesn’t want anyone to have nukes, so maybe the US shouldn’t have nukes, but they just can’t seem to get their brains around the logic of that, even though its highly logical,” he added.
HDS/AGBRead More »
Reuters / Ronen Zvulun
The EU has criticized Israel for recently approving the construction of 900 new settler homes in East Jerusalem, joining the US and Palestinian condemnation of Tel-Aviv’s settlement policies.
“Israel’s determination to continue its settlement policy despite the urging of the international community not only threatens the viability of the two state solution but also seriously calls into question its commitment to a negotiated agreement with the Palestinians,” the EU said in a statement on Saturday.
“Settlements are illegal under international law,” the statement stressed.
Jerusalem’s district planning committee issued a fresh batch of construction approvals on Wednesday, according to settlement watchdog Peace Now.
The new homes are to be built in Ramat Shlomo, an ultra-Orthodox settlement neighborhood nestled in mostly Arab East Jerusalem, Hagit Ofran, a spokesman for Settlement watchdog Peace Now, told AFP.
The move came shortly after re-elected Israeli PM, Benjamin Netanyahu, struck a deal with Jewish Home (Bayit Yehudi), a Zionist pro-settlement party, to form a new rightwing-religious coalition government.
The Palestinian authorities condemned the new government, with senior Palestinian official, Nabil Shaath, calling it a “colonial settler cabinet.”
Israeli settlement plans were slammed by Washington on Thursday, with US State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke calling them “a disappointing development.”
“We’re concerned about it just as a new Israeli government has been announced. Moving forward with construction of housing units in East Jerusalem is damaging,” Rathke stressed.
“We continue to engage with the highest levels of the Israeli Government, and we continue to make our position clear that we view this as illegitimate,” he added.
The Israeli interior ministry first voiced plans to build 1,600 settler homes in Ramat Shlomo back in March 2010.
That announcement was made during US Vice President Joe Biden’s visit to Israeli, and led to a cool down in relations between Tel-Aviv and Washington, which lasted for months.
Israel captured East Jerusalem back in 1967 and later annexed it, but the international community has never recognized the move.
Stepping up the pace of settlement construction was one of the key points in Netanyahu’s re-election campaign last March.
The Palestinians say no peace deal is possible until Israel withdraws from occupied Palestinian territories and recognizes East Jerusalem as the Palestinian capital.
Israel, however, considers the whole of Jerusalem to be its spiritual capital, and thus an indivisible part of the Jewish state.Read More »
The Long March 3B rocket carrying the Chang'e-3 lunar probe is seen docked at the launch pad at the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Liangshan, Sichuan province December 1, 2013. (Reuters)
Part of China’s rapidly developing space program consists of testing new anti-space technologies, even though the country publicly pledges not to militarize space, the Pentagon said in a report to Congress.
“By the end of October 2014, China had launched 16 spacecraft, either domestically or via a commercial space launch provider. These spacecraft mostly expanded China’s SATCOM and ISR capabilities, while a few others tested new space technologies,” said the report detailing potential threats from China, which the US DoD released Friday.
Among the latest achievements by China the report mentions the first-ever launch of a satellite capable of sub-meter resolution imaging, the Chang’e-5 lunar mission and the completion of a new space launch facility on Hainan Island.
While acquiring new space assets of its own, China is developing “a variety of capabilities designed to limit or prevent the use of space-based assets by adversaries during a crisis or conflict, including the development of directed-energy weapons and satellite jammers,” the report said.
Of particular interest for the US military was the July 23, 2014 launch, which the Pentagon says was a follow-up of the 2007 destruction of an in-orbit defunct weather satellite.
Another Chinese space mission in May 2013 sent an object on a ballistic trajectory peaking above 30,000 km. The trajectory was nearly high enough to reach geosynchronous orbit, in which many nations place communication and earth-sensing satellites.
The report says the mission did not place anything into the orbit and was inconsistent with “with traditional space-launch vehicles, ballistic missiles or sounding rocket launches used for scientific research” pointing to a possible test of an anti-satellite weapon.
Countering orbit access and taking out enemy satellites would be a big advantage in a conflict against an enemy armed with advanced precision weapons, like the US. China however denies developing counter-satellite technologies and pledges to keep weapons out of space. The US generals don’t seem to be convinced.
“China’s continued development of destructive space technologies represented a threat to all peaceful space-faring nations,” the report said.
Another emergent threat the report focuses on is China’s closer defense cooperation with Russia, particularly on the acquisition of advanced weapon technologies.
“As Russia has come under pressure from sanctions imposed by the West over its actions in Ukraine, Russia is turning to China for investment to avert a recession and is now granting China access to advanced weapon systems that it once restricted,” the document said.
“Russia’s concerns about intellectual property protections affect the types and quantities of advanced arms or associated production technologies it is willing to transfer to China, but resistance is waning as Russia looks to China to relieve the effects of Western sanctions,” it said.
China is expected to become the first foreign country to buy S-400 surface-to-air missiles from Russia and is planning to purchase advanced Su-35 fighter jets. There were reports of an arms deal for an unnamed Russian anti-ship cruise missile on the table.
The two countries are also expanding their joint military exercise program, with a first-ever naval drill in the Mediterranean coming this month.Read More »
French President Francois Hollande speaks with veterans during a ceremony to mark 70 years since the victory over Nazi Germany in WWII. Paris, France, May 8, 2015 (Reuters / Philippe Wojazer)
Europe marked the 70th anniversary of the defeat of Nazi Germany in World War II on May 8th with commemorative events across the continent.
The ceremonies kicked off in the Polish port city of Gdansk, known as Danzig in German, where the first shots of the deadliest conflict in history were fired on September 1, 1939.
The sky over the Baltic Sea was lit up by a salute fired from 21 guns at the Westerplatte peninsula in Gdansk late on Thursday night.
Poland initially organized the event as an alternative for Western European leaders, who decided to boycott Moscow's Victory Day Parade due to the dispute with Russia over the conflict in Ukraine.
However, most of European leaders opted to attend WWII commemoration events in their home countries.
The Gdansk ceremony was attended by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, European Council president Donald Tusk, Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko and heads of several Eastern European nations, including Lithuania, Bulgaria, Estonia and Romania.
The UN leader praised the “collective effort” and bravery that led to the “ultimate triumph” over the Nazi threat.
“The terrible long years of World War II were a time of unspeakable atrocities, of lost faith and lost humanity. The war took a heavy toll on many countries, including all those represented here, and particularly on their youth,” Ban is cited by the UN website.
In Paris, French President Francois Hollande and US Secretary of State John Kerry laid wreaths on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier under the Arc de Triomphe.
According to Hollande, the victory in World War II 70 years ago
represented the “victory of an ideal over a totalitarian
“We didn't experience the war, we see it as a far-off reality, sometimes abstract, even though it is not so far from us, in Ukraine, further still in the Middle East… There is also terrorism which can strike us, racism, anti-Semitism. There are still causes which should spur us on,” the French president said.
200 beacons were lit across the UK to remember the 55 million lives that were lost during the war.
Earlier in the day, a two-minute moment of silence was observed and wreaths were laid at the Cenotaph in London’s Whitehall by re-elected British Prime Minister, David Cameron, and Duke of York, Prince Andrew.
In Germany May 8 isn’t considered a holiday, but the country’s MPs from Bundestag and Bundesrat still met on Friday for joint observances.
Bundestag President Norbert Lammert said that the end of the WWII in Europe “was a day of liberation" for Germany.
“On May 8, a war was ended that a German regime had begun with criminal intent,” Lammet is cited by Deutsche Welle.
During the session, the speakers paid tribute to the Soviet Army and the Allied forces which defeated Adolf Hitler’s regime.
German president, Joachim Gauck, laid a wreath at a military cemetery in Lebus dedicated to Soviet soldiers killed fighting Nazis.
A Mass was held at the infamous Dachau concentration camp, where 32,000 people died according to official documents, but where thousands more were killed unofficially.
For the first time in 70 years, Ukraine celebrated the end of World War II on May 8, the same day as Europe, but one day ahead of Russia.
The new holiday, entitled the Day of Remembrance and Reconciliation, is seen by the country’s leadership as a symbolic change marking Ukraine’s break with its Soviet past.
"On May 8, for the first time, the people of Ukraine will join the European tradition to commemorate the victims of World War II. The very next day in Moscow, under the pretext of the Great Victory, the aggressor's army will brandish its lethal might in front of the world,” Petro Poroshenko, Ukrainian president, said.
The country has also adopted the red poppy as a symbol in memory of war victims, as many countries in Europe have.
The St. George Ribbon, which used to be a traditional symbol of Victory in the USSR, was dropped due to its use by eastern Ukrainian militias, which have been fighting the Kiev government for over a year.
Russia has repeatedly denied unsubstantiated claims by Kiev and the West blaming Moscow for supporting the rebels with arms and manpower.
On May 8, 1945 Nazi Germany signed an unconditional surrender, marking the end of the war in Europe. The document was signed at 22:43 CET – or 00:43, May 9 Moscow time.
The global conflict continued for another three months, however, until the surrender of Japan in September 1945.Read More »
Al Jazeera Islamabad bureau chief Ahmad Muaffaq Zaidan put on watch list after years of reporting on terror groups The U.S. government labeled Al Jazeera journalist Ahmad Muaffaq Zaidan a member of al Qaeda and put him on a watch ...Read More »
San Francisco attorney Inder Comar didn’t initially strike me as a human rights crusader working to bring accountability to arguably the most powerful political office in the world. Maybe it was the setting. Comar works out of a small, glass-walled ...Read More »
Paul de Rooij Amnesty International has issued three reports on the Massacre in Gaza in 2014 – and given the scale of the destruction and the number of fatalities, any attempt to document the crimes committed should be welcomed. But ...Read More »
U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan have stolen tens of millions through bribery, theft, and rigged contracts. U.S. Army Specialist Stephanie Charboneau sat at the center of a complex trucking network in Forward Operating Base Fenty near the Afghanistan-Pakistan border ...Read More »
Israeli soldiers walk in a field after returning to Israel from Gaza August 5, 2014. (Reuters/Baz Ratner)
Israeli soldiers were ordered to ‘fire at every person you see’ during the Gaza war, while civilian areas were deliberately targeted with inaccurate weapons, a report by the Israeli group Breaking the Silence NGO asserts.
Breaking the Silence, an NGO run by former Israeli soldiers, spent eight months after Operation Protective Edge ended interviewing more than 60 Israeli servicemen from the army, navy and air force up to the rank of major. The result is 237-page report.
The report tells a different story to the official Israeli narrative that great care was taken to avoid civilian causalities. Critics of Israeli tactics during the Gaza war say the army and the IDF responded disproportionately to Hamas’ rocket attacks.
The testimonies gathered by Breaking the Silence include the acts of individual soldiers who shot civilians dead and of lethal decisions being made at the top of the Israeli military, where other courses of action could have been taken.
“The guiding military principle of ‘minimum risk to our forces, even at the cost of harming innocent civilians,’ alongside efforts to deter and intimidate the Palestinians, led to massive and unprecedented harm to the population and the civilian infrastructure in the Gaza Strip. Policymakers could have predicted these results prior to the operation and were surely aware of them throughout,” the report reads.
The report found that soldiers were briefed that any person in the combat zone should be considered an enemy.
The soldiers were told by their commanders to fire at every person they identified in a combat zone, since the working assumption was that “every person in the field was an enemy,” Breaking the Silence claims.
One soldier said the only rules of engagement they were given was not to fire at IDF forces.
“From the very start they told us, ‘Shoot to kill.’ As far as the IDF was concerned, there wasn’t supposed to be any civilian population there,” he said.
Another soldier said they assumed that once leaflets had been dropped on Gaza warning of the imminent attack, the only people left would be militants.
“If it looks like a man, shoot. It was simple: You’re in a motherf***ing combat zone. A few hours before you went in the whole area was bombed, if there’s anyone there who doesn’t clearly look innocent, you apparently need to shoot that person,” the soldier said.
The Gaza Strip is one of the most densely populated areas on earth. It measures just 40 kilometers by 10 kilometers yet has a population of 1.8 million. During the Gaza war, which began July 8, 2014 and lasted for 7 weeks, the crossings from Gaza into Israel and Egypt were closed.
Another claim by the Israelis that buildings targeted by its bombers received a warning shot before being destroyed was also challenged by the report. Known as a “knock on the door”, this was a small missile that caused only marginal damage allowing civilians to leave before the building was flattened. The Israelis said this policy was proof that civilian causalities were kept to a minimum, but in practice this was not always so.
“I do remember there was this one house of five or six stories in Khirbet Khuza’a. I remember there was ‘hot’ intel [sic] data on a meeting between militants there,” said one of the soldiers quoted in the report. The head of the cell was there for sure, and a decision was made to ’knock on the building’s roof,’ … and then immediately after that drop a bomb on it,” said one soldier.
When asked what he meant by “immediately” he replied, “Not enough time for everyone to leave. Somewhere between 30 seconds and one minute.”
Breaking the Silence also condemned the IDF for using inaccurate weapons such as shells or mortars that are almost impossible to aim properly and therefore collateral damage is inevitable.
“In practice, during the preliminary shelling, the army pounded populated areas throughout the Strip with artillery shells in order to scare off enemy combatants who were in the area, and at times also to urge the civilian population to flee,” the report says.
Some 2,220 Palestinians were killed, most of whom were civilians, during last year’s conflict in Gaza. On the Israeli side, 66 military personnel were killed and seven Israeli civilians lost their lives from rockets fired by Hamas and other militant groups inside the Strip.
Breaking the Silence believes its findings warrant an independent investigation into the war.
For its part the Israeli Defense Forces have released a statement saying it “is committed to properly investigating all credible claims” but that “Breaking the Silence has refused to provide the IDF with any proof of their claims.” Several internal investigations into the war have been launched by the IDF.
The chief of Israel’s armed forces during Operation Protective Edge, Benny Gantz, declined to comment on the Breaking the Silence Report, but defended his soldiers’ actions as legal and warned that any future conflict would likely be bloodier because of the difficulty in distinguishing between Palestinian fighters and civilians.Read More »
(RT) – Three sets of military exercises kicked off in Europe on Monday, involving thousands of servicemen from a variety of NATO nations and their allies, amid a wave of similar action across the area. Estonia is holding its largest-ever ...Read More »
by Deirdre Fulton (Common Dreams) – Despite President Barack Obama’s recent admission that drones had inadvertently killed two innocent hostages during strikes on suspected militants in Pakistan, a new poll released Friday reveals that nearly 75 percent of Americans say ...Read More »
Sarah Lazare A new report from human rights investigators and medical professionals reveals that the prestigious American Psychological Association secretly helped the administration of former President George W. Bush legally and medically justify its post-9/11 torture program. The findings are ...Read More »
As crowds gathered in Ho Chi Minh City on Thursday to mark the 40th anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung reminded the crowd of the role the United States had played in that war. “They committed countless ...Read More »
Paul R. Pillar The role that the U.S. Congress has assumed for itself as a player in foreign policy exhibits an odd and indefensible pattern these days. Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Connecticut, calls it a “double standard,” although that might be too mild ...Read More »
This is an American Torture Story. Noam Chomsky Majid Khan was at the mercy of CIA interrogators for 1,200 days — at least. During that time, he was stripped. He was forced into ice water baths. He was “hung up” ...Read More »
It was 40 years ago today that the last troops from America’s criminal war against the people of Vietnam scurried ignominiously onto a helicopter on the roof of the US Embassy in Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh City) and fled ...Read More »
Pakistani police say they have dropped charges of murder, conspiracy, waging war and terrorism against a former CIA station chief and a former agency lawyer over a 2009 drone strike that killed two people. Police officer Mohammad Nawaz said the ...Read More »
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) reportedly helped facilitate a ransom payment to al-Qaeda in 2012 by the family of dead American hostage Warren Weinstein in an unsuccessful attempt to free him. The FBI examined a Pakistani middleman used by ...Read More »
Despite more than a year of claiming otherwise, the US-backed government of Ukraine is now openly acknowledging their close association with NATO. Although the rhetoric is carefully guarded so as not to admit that Ukraine has become a de facto ...Read More »
The Pentagon is unveiling a new document outlining the United States military’s strategy regarding its ability to launch offensive cyber-attacks against foreign targets. Ashton Carter, the recently confirmed US secretary of defense, is expected to speak of the report during ...Read More »
Australia has again declared war on Indigenous people, reminiscent of the brutality that brought global condemnation on apartheid South Africa. Aboriginal people are to be driven from homelands where their communities have lived for thousands of years. In Western Australia, ...Read More »
Despite a decline in military spending since 2010, U.S. defense expenditures are still 45 percent higher than they were before the 9/11 terror attacks put the country on a seemingly permanent war footing. And despite massive regional buildups spurred by ...Read More »
Syrian President Bashar Assad has slammed France for alleged “terrorist” support in his country, saying Paris is not independent and has “no weight and no credibility” in the face of Washington. France has turned into “a kind of satellite for ...Read More »
It has been confirmed that TV journalist Richard Engel’s kidnapping/rescue in norther Syria in late 2012 was a hoax. NBC management knew the story was probably false but proceeded to broadcast it anyway. There are at least two good things ...Read More »
Should we invite her in, Wisdom proves a most dutiful senior partner. Are you shocked at academics who’ve just discovered descendants of slave owners and the enslaved are still waging war, or that corporate owned media has suddenly cast itself ...Read More »
A new investigation into the United States’ killer drone campaign in Yemen, published Tuesday, finds that not only does that program fail to conform to protocols established by U.S. President Barack Obama, but that the strikes have in fact led ...Read More »
The US task force in charge of the detention camps at Guantanamo Bay will soon have a new commander. The Pentagon announced on Friday that Rear Admiral Fernandez L. “Frank” Ponds will take over command of the Joint Task Force ...Read More »
The sky clotted gray and the winds gusted cold as the men crowded into an old roadside gas station. It was daybreak in Band-i-Timor, early December 2001, and hundreds of turbaned farmers sat pensively, weighing the choice before them. They ...Read More »
On April 1st, 2015, Princeton Theological Seminary and Princeton University students hosted a panel discussion featuring author and journalist Max Blumenthal, former New York Times Middle East correspondent Chris Hedges, and Israeli activist Ronnie Barkan. Princeton Theological Seminary professor, Dr. ...Read More »
Israel’s military occupation and control of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza has gone on almost half a century, since it conquered those territories during the 1967 Six Day War. While many fear Israel will become an apartheid state ...Read More »
‘I’m not going to apologize for our government having done the right thing by having removed Saddam Hussein from power,’ Rove insists Deirdre Fulton Karl Rove may be a lot of things, but being sorry for the 2003 invasion of ...Read More »
Following the nuclear deal reached in Switzerland, The New York Times editorial board said the “preliminary agreement between Iran and the major powers is a significant achievement that makes it more likely Iran will never be a nuclear threat.” The ...Read More »
More than three years after first submitting a Freedom of Information request, the UK Ministry of Defence has finally told us in which Afghan provinces UK drones strikes took place. Although there is no detail on the number of strikes within ...Read More »
As internationally acclaimed Canadian academic Michel Chossudovsky has pointed out, NATO’s aggressive expansion into Eurasia and the Middle East has brought about the possibility of a “World War Three scenario.” Since the Second World War, the USA and UK have deployed ...Read More »
FBI’s brazen terrorism lie: What the Boston Marathon bombing trial reveals about America’s deluded terror narrative
Close to the end of the March 25 testimony in the Dzhokhar Tsarnaev trial for his role in the April 25, 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, the government submitted a series of exhibits with chats from the defendant. One described wanting President Obama to win the ...Read More »
Call it an irony, if you will, but as the Obama administration struggles to slow down or halt its scheduled withdrawal from Afghanistan, newly elected Afghan President Ashraf Ghani is performing a withdrawal operation of his own. He seems to be in ...Read More »
A human rights group in Ramallah has dubbed Israel’s seizure of nearly $400m of funds belonging to Palestinians – for acceding to the International Criminal Court – a “war crime” prosecutable by the Geneva-based tribunal. A new report by al-Haq, the ...Read More »
‘It is becoming increasingly apparent that the Saudi Arabian-led coalition is turning a blind eye to civilian deaths and suffering,’ says Amnesty International by Lauren McCauley International aid organizations as well as the United Nations are sounding the alarm over ...Read More »
If two major newspapers in, say, Russia published major articles openly advocating the unprovoked bombing of a country, say, Israel, the U.S. government and news media would be aflame with denunciations about “aggression,” “criminality,” “madness,” and “behavior not fitting the ...Read More »
When questioned by Democracy Now! host and executive producer Amy Goodman, former CIA Director Peter Goss said the bipartisan Senate Committee Report on the CIA’s Use of Torture was “not the full truth” and criticized Sen. John McCain for defending ...Read More »
Human toll included high levels of displacement, driven by Israel’s 50-day military assault on Gaza last summer Sarah Lazare Palestinians suffered a dramatic increase in fatalities last year, with more killed by Israel in 2014 than any other annual period ...Read More »
The US Government has revealed that the number of detainees it expects to be given a trial at Guantanamo has fallen to a new low, with a maximum of just seven more of the remaining 122 people being held at ...Read More »
Fast-moving developments in recent days reveal that Yemen appears closer to collapsing into a total failed state. Meanwhile the headlines have started to lump the conflict in Yemen—a country that President Obama only last September portrayed as an anti-terrorism success ...Read More »
What price would you pay not to kill another human being? At what point would you commit the offenses allegedly perpetrated by Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who was charged Wednesday with desertion and “misbehavior before an enemy?” Bowe Bergdahl was a ...Read More »
Alon Ben-Meir Those of us who regularly observe and try to make sense of the madness sweeping the Middle East often find ourselves, perhaps out of desperation, engaging in wishful thinking, hoping that in the end, reason will prevail over ...Read More »