Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Posts Tagged ‘war crime’

Bucha Massacre: War Crime Or False Flag?

Posted by M. C. on April 6, 2022

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The military keeps finding it did nothing wrong when it investigates itself

Posted by M. C. on November 16, 2021

“The only assessment done immediately after the strike was performed by the same ground unit that ordered the strike,” according to the New York Times.

By Jeff Schogol

In war, things inevitably go wrong and people die as a result. But as events in Syria, Kabul, Niger and elsewhere have shown, the military has a tendency to use its investigations to absolve itself rather than to hold senior leaders accountable for their mistakes.

The New York Times recently revealed that a U.S. airstrike in March 2019 may have killed dozens of civilians at Baghouz, Syria. However when an Air Force lawyer and an evaluator with the Defense Department Inspector General’s Office tried to get military leaders to investigate whether a war crime had occurred, they were reportedly thwarted at every turn.

The circumstances surrounding the incident are complicated. Making things even murkier, a secretive group known as Task Force 9 may have repeatedly bypassed the process for determining if U.S. airstrikes would kill civilians by claiming that American or allied forces were in imminent danger, New York Times reporters Dave Philipps and Eric Schmitt revealed.

On March 18, 2019, the Islamic State group was making its last stand at Baghouz, where tens of thousands of women and children were mixed in with ISIS fighters. That morning, America’s Syrian Kurdish allies reported they were under attack and a U.S. special forces officer ordered an airstrike, according to the New York Times. The officer was relying on video from a drone with a standard definition camera and he was unaware that another drone in the area with a high-definition camera revealed women and children were present.

In the resulting airstrike, an F-15E dropped three bombs that may have killed up to 64 women and children, but military officials repeatedly undermined efforts to determine if the incident rose to the level of a war crime, the New York Times reported.

The military keeps finding it did nothing wrong when it investigates itself
FILE PHOTO: Smoke after the shelling of Islamic State’s last holdout of Baghouz by Kurdish-led forces backed by US warplanes. (Getty Images.)

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Report: US Drone Strike Kills 60 Afghan Civilians, Taliban Commander – Original

Posted by M. C. on January 10, 2020

…at the request of Afghan puppet Security Forces…

Last month, the Washington Post published an in-depth investigation that found US military officials systematically undercounted the number of Afghan civilians killed by US forces.

So do drones create more terrorist than they kill?

An unconfirmed number of Afghan civilians – reportedly more than 60 – were killed along with the regional leader of a splinter Taliban faction and dozens of militants in a US drone attack in Herat province on Wednesday.

Local government officials and members of the Herat provincial council told Tolo News, Afghanistan’s leading 24/7 television news channel, that “at least 60 civilians, including women and children” died in US drone strikes in Shindand, a town in southern Herat. The outlet reported that four armed drones attacked several homes, targeting Mullah Mohammad Nangyalai, the regional leader of an insurgent faction of the Taliban led by Mullah Mohammad Rasoul. Some 30-35 Taliban fighters were also reportedly killed in the attack.

The US military newspaper Stars & Stripes reports Pentagon and Afghan government officials confirmed the strikes occurred. “US Forces-Afghanistan, at the request of Afghan Security Forces, conducted a coordinated defensive air strike in support of Afghan forces in Shindand, Herat on January 8, 2020,” a US statement said. The military did not comment on the alleged civilian casualties. The Canadian private security firm GardaWorld issued an advisory after the strike, stating it was reportedly carried out in retaliation for a recent militant attack on an anti-Taliban militia in which 16 people, including 1 civilian, were killed.

According to Stars & Stripes, the attack began at 4 pm on Wednesday in an area controlled by the Afghan government. The drone strikes were reportedly launched as militants were preparing to attack a government checkpoint. Local resident Abdul Hakim told the paper that US forces carried out a “double tap” strike, in which drones or warplanes return to bomb first responders. Hakim said “a few civilians were killed and injured” in the second strike as they gathered the remains of those killed in the first attack.

Herat Public Health Director Dr. Abdul Hakim Tamana told Stars & Stripes that at least 10 victims were transported from Shindand to the regional hospital in the city of Herat, about 90 miles (145 km) away. Tamana could not say whether the patients were civilians or militants. “We will investigate the reports of civilian casualties,” an Afghan Defense Ministry spokesperson told Tolo News.

Last month, the Washington Post published an in-depth investigation that found US military officials systematically undercounted the number of Afghan civilians killed by US forces. The House of Representatives subsequently included language in the $738 billion military spending bill for 2020, signed by President Donald Trump, that mandates more accurate reporting of civilian casualties. Earlier in 2019, Trump signed an executive order revoking an Obama-era requirement that the director of national intelligence publish an annual report on civilian deaths caused by drone strikes in areas “outside of war zones” that are nevertheless under US attack, including Somalia, Yemen, Pakistan and Libya.

Civilian casualties have soared in nearly all of the seven countries – those mentioned above plus Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria – under US attack in the open-ended war against terrorism. The Trump administration has sought ways to end the US war in Afghanistan, now in its 19th year, by negotiating with the Taliban while simultaneously stepping up bombing and drone attacks against the Islamist militant group. Trump has followed through on his campaign promise to “bomb the shit” out of militant Islamists and “take out their families” – a war crime, while his administration has loosened rules of engagement meant to protect civilians, further increasing civilian casualties.

According to Brown University’s Costs of War project, an estimated 157,000 people have died as a direct result of the US-led war in Afghanistan since it began in October 2001, including more than 43,000 Afghan civilians, over 64,000 Afghan security forces, 42,000 Taliban and other insurgents, more than 7,200 US and allied foreign troops and contractors and over 500 humanitarian aid workers and journalists.

Last September, Trump raised eyebrows and ire when he suggested that a nuclear war against Afghanistan would result in a quick US victory. “If we wanted to do a certain method of war, we would win that very quickly,” the president said in a joint press conference with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison. “But many, many – really, tens of millions of people – would be killed. And we think it’s unnecessary.”

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Iran holds all the cards in coming Middle East conflict with US, unless Trump is ready to drop a tactical NUKE — RT Op-ed

Posted by M. C. on January 7, 2020

Scott Ritter
Scott Ritter
Iran has promised retaliation for the assassination of Qassem Suleimani. Donald Trump said this will lead to a disproportionate response from the US. One side can deliver on its threats, the other can’t, unless it goes nuclear.

Iran means business

“Our reaction,” Iranian general Hossein Dehghan said at the weekend, “will be wise, well considered and, in time, with decisive deterrent effect.”

Dehghan also noted that Iran was not seeking a wider confrontation with the US.

“It was America that has started the war. Therefore, they should accept appropriate reactions to their actions. The only thing that can end this period of war is for the Americans to receive a blow that is equal to the blow they have inflicted.”


Dehghan is no run-of-the-mill former Iranian general officer, but was one of the major decision makers within the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) during the Iran-Iraq War, and later went on to command the IRGC Air Force, before eventually being appointed Iran’s minister of defense. After stepping down from that position, Dehghan became a special advisor to the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic Ali Khamenei.

His words must be viewed as representing those of Khamenei himself.

Iran’s three likely targets

A closer assessment of Dehghan’s statement, when considered in the context of the vote by the Iraqi Parliament this Sunday to remove all foreign troops from Iraq, provides clarity as to what the US and the Middle East can expect from Tehran.

First and foremost, the response will not be carried out by proxy.

The attack will be military in nature. Assaults on the oil and gas infrastructure of America’s Gulf Arab allies, similar in nature to the drone attacks on Saudi oil production facilities last May, are not in the works. The same holds true for shipping transiting the strategic Strait of Hormuz, as well as US diplomatic facilities in the region.

Likewise, Iran must respect the will of the Iraqi Parliament regarding the operation of foreign troops on its soil, which means that the response will most probably not be conducted against US military forces currently stationed in Iraq.

This does not mean US troops and facilities in Iraq will be immune to attack; Khaitab Hezbollah, the Iraqi militia whose leader, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, was killed in the same attack that took Qassem Suleimani’s life, have pledged their own retaliatory attacks separate from those promised by Iran.

There are a host of viable US military targets in the Persian Gulf region that are of high enough stature as to qualify as “an equal blow” in the eyes of Tehran.

Three come to mind; the concentration of US forces based in Kuwait, the headquarters of the 5th Fleet in Bahrain, and the Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar.

Of these three, only one, Al Udeid Air Base, has a direct connection to the Suleimani assassination; the drones that fired the missiles that killed Suleimani were operated from there. Al Udeid is host to critical US command and control facilities, as well as the bulk of the American combat aircraft operating in the region. It is well within the range of Iranian ballistic missiles and armed drones, which could be expected to operate in concert with one another to defeat air defenses and then saturate the base with precision strikes which could destroy hundreds of millions of dollars of aircraft and equipment, and potentially kill and wound hundreds of US service members.

Trump’s all tweets, no capacity

President Trump has promised that the US will not tolerate any attack against its personnel or facilities. “If they do anything,” he told reporters, referring to Iran, “there will be major retaliation.”

Earlier, Trump had tweeted a very explicit warning, telling Iran that he had already designated some 52 sites inside Iran, “some at a very high level & important to Iran & the Iranian culture,” for destruction. “[T]hose targets,” Trump declared, “and Iran itself, WILL BE HIT VERY FAST AND VERY HARD. The USA wants no more threats!”

Trump’s threat, however, rings hollow. First, his tweet constitutes de facto evidence of a war crime (Section 5.16.2 of the US Department of Defense Law of War Manual prohibits threats to destroy cultural objects for the express purpose of deterring enemy operations), and as such would likely not be implemented by US military commanders for whom niceties such as the law of war, which forbids the execution of an unlawful order, are serious business.

Of more relevance, however, is the fact that Trump has been down this road before, when he threatened massive military retaliation against Iran for shooting down an unarmed drone over the Strait of Hormuz last May. At that time, he was informed by his military commanders that the US lacked the military wherewithal to counter what was expected to be a full-spectrum response by Iran if the US were to attack targets inside Iran.

In short, Iran was able to inflict massive harm on US and allied targets in the Middle East region, and there was nothing the US could do to prevent this outcome…

Trump has hinted that any future war with Iran would not be a drawn-out affair. And while the law of war might curtail his commanders from executing any retaliation that includes cultural sites, it does not prohibit the US from using a nuclear weapon against a known nuclear facility deemed to pose a threat to national security.

This is the worst-case scenario of any tit-for-tat retaliation between Iran and the US, and it is not as far-fetched as one might believe.

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After Army Col. Warns of False Flag to Start War with Iran ...



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A Picture (of a War Crime) Is Worth a Thousand Words – Original

Posted by M. C. on October 1, 2019

“I want no prisoners, I wish you to kill and burn, the more you kill and burn the better you will please me.”
General Jacob Smith to subordinates on Samar Island during the Philippine-American War (1902)

As U.S. induced Afghan civilian casualties spiked this month (and year), few Americans noticed these veritable atrocities. This wasn’t always the case. Consider the Philippine War.

US soldiers pose with Filipino Moro dead after the First Battle of Bud Dajo, March 7, 1906, Jolo, Philippines

Not so long ago, in November 2010, I took command of B Troop, 4th Squadron, 4th US Cavalry in a ceremony at Fort Riley, Kansas. It was, for me, a proud day. Army officers are taught to revel in their unit’s history, and the 4th Cavalry Regiment had a long, storied past indeed. On that cool, late fall day, the squadron’s colors – a flag with battle streamers – fluttered. One read: Bud Dajo, Philippine Islands – a reference to one of the regiment’s past battles. The unit crest pictured on the flag and pinned on our uniforms included a volcano and a kris – the traditional wavy-edged sword of the regiment’s Moro opponents in the Philippines – but hardly a trooper in the formation knew a thing about that war, battle, or the 4th Cavalry’s sordid past in the islands.

Bud Dajo was hardly a battle at all. It was a massacre. Some 1,000 Moro separatists, including their families, who opposed the US military occupation of Jolo Island, had fled to the crest of a volcano to avoid American conquest and retribution. Then, from 5-8 March 1906, the 4th Cavalry, along with other army formations, bombarded the overmatched Moros – few had firearms at all – then rushed the summit. The Moro men fought desperately and managed to inflict some 20 deaths on the charging American troopers, but they’d never stood a chance. Reaching the volcanic top, the cavalrymen fired down into the crater until all but six defenders and occupants were dead, a 99% casualty rate. The victorious troopers then proudly posed for a photograph, standing above the dead – which included hundreds of women and children – as though they were naught but big game trophies on a safari hunt…

Back home in the states, many prominent consciences were indeed shocked by the massacre, and, in particular, the trophy photo taken by the victorious troopers. The image flooded the papers, the 1906 version of going viral…

The photograph also galvanized African-American civil rights activists. W.E.B. Du Bois declared the crater image to be “the most illuminating I’ve ever seen,” and considered displaying it on his classroom wall “to impress upon the students what wars and especially wars of conquest really means.”

Nothing even approaching that level of intellectual outrage exists now, as the American Empire spreads its tentacles the world over. Few public intellectuals – to the extent that endangered species even exists these days – even notice the extent of their nation’s ongoing war crimes in the Greater Middle East. Take Afghanistan, for example, the only war longer than the American debacle in the Philippines. After 18 indecisive and bloody years of combat, the US military and its Afghan allies now kill more civilians annually than the vicious Taliban. That ought to be cause for pause, reflection, concern. Only it isn’t, not in Washington, not even in most universities. We’re a long way from Du Bois posting the Bud Dajo picture on his classroom wall…

So consider this modest piece of mine, this brief history lesson and connection to contemporary US empire, a plea of sorts to the teachers of America. Want to be a true patriot, a forceful educator, and decent human being? Well, do your students a favor: post the photos of recent US military airstrikes upon civilians in Afghanistan – the war crimes of the 21st century – on your classroom walls. Du Bois, and Twain, would be proud…and that’s hardly bad intellectual company to keep…

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Men carry the coffin of one of the victims after a drone strike that killed 30 pine nut farmers in Nangarhar province, Afghanistan, 19 September 2019

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The US Desperately Needs a New Secretary of State –

Posted by M. C. on May 7, 2019

Paul Craig Roberts

The ignorant warmonger masquerading as an American Secretary of State should be arrested for his impersonation of an American government official.  Mike Pompeo cannot possibly be the US Secretary of State, because not even Donald Trump would appoint an idiot to this high position who thinks that Article 2 of the Constitution gives the president the authority to declare war and invade other countries.

Here is what the moronic imposter Pompeo said: “The president has his full range of Article 2 authorities and I’m very confident that any action we took in Venezuela would be lawful.” This was Pompeo’s answer when asked if President Trump could intervene in the country’s power struggle without congressional approval.  Of course, it is not “the country’s power struggle.” It is Washington’s effort to overthrow the Bolivarian Revolution and regain control over Venezuela’s resources.

Pompeo is twice idiot.  The US Constitution gives the power to declare war only to Congress. Moreover, under the Nuremburg laws laid down by the US government after World War 2, it is a war crime to commit aggression, which is what US military intervention in Venezuela would be.

I should have said that Pompeo is three times idiot, because he asserts that countries that are diplomatically defending the democratically elected government of Venezuela are “interfering with the Venezuelan people’s right to restore their own democracy.”  Someone should tell the idiot Pompeo that it is the Venezuelan people and the Venezuelan military that have refused Washington’s financial bribes and threats who are supporting Venezuelan democracy, not Washington whose failed coup might be followed up with another Washington war crime invasion…

Putin should send Shoigu to deal with Pompeo. The time for polite, accommodating talk is long past.  A country and its people are at stake.

Let’s hope Russia and China do not permit another Libya…

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Pompeo: Una intervención militar de EE.UU. en Venezuela es ...



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