Tag Archives: War crimes

Australian War Crimes Report Means Get The Fuck Out Of Afghanistan, by Caitlin Johnstone

Americans should be asking the same question as Australians: is Afghanistan really worth the price of our souls? From Caitlin Johnstone at caitlinjohnstone.com:

The much-anticipated report on potential war crimes by the Australian Defence Force (ADF) in Afghanistan has been released, recommending 19 current or former soldiers be investigated for up to 39 murders.

Not combat kills. Not accidental kills. Not non-combatants killed by disputable decisions made in the heat of battle. Not civilians killed due to recklessness or carelessness on the part of Australian forces. Murders. Of non-combatants who died for no other reason than happening to live in a region the US power alliance has seen geostrategic value in keeping militarily occupied for 19 years.

The information about atrocities perpetrated by Australian forces in Afghanistan has taken many years to emerge, was fought tooth and claw with attacks on whistleblowers and journalists, and surely only touches on a tiny fraction of the war crimes which have been perpetrated and covered up with the investigation finding that “the criminal behaviour of a few was commenced, committed, continued and concealed at the patrol commander level”.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, ADF Chief Angus Campbell describes a “self-centred warrior culture” in Australia’s Special Air Service which “was embraced and amplified by some experienced, charismatic and influential non-commissioned officers and their proteges, who sought to fuse military excellence with ego, elitism and entitlement,” leading to acts of horrific brutality.

“In this context it is alleged that some patrols took the law into their own hands: rules were broken, stories concocted, lies told and prisoners killed,” says Campbell.

“The Brereton report also found evidence that junior soldiers were required by their patrol commanders to shoot a prisoner to achieve their first kill, in a practice known as ‘blooding’,” SMH reports.

Troops “carried ‘throwdowns’ – foreign weapons and equipment such as pistols, small hand-held radios and grenades to be placed with the bodies of enemies killed in action for the purpose of taking photos,” reports SMH. “This practice eventually was used for the purpose of concealing deliberate unlawful killings.”

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Those Who Destroyed Yemen Must Be Prosecuted for War Crimes, by Doug Bandow

Helping one of the most corrupt governments on the planet wage a war on one of the poorest countries on the planet is a war crime for which US officials must be called to account. From Doug Bandow at theamericanconservative.com:

That includes prominent American officials. Punishing the perpetrators is the only way to restore our credibility.

Workers search through debris at a warehouse, after it was reportedly hit in an airstrike by the Saudi-led coalition, in the Yemeni capital Sanaa on July, 2, 2020. (Photo by MOHAMMED HUWAIS/AFP via Getty Images)
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia recently announced that it was providing $204 million in aid for the impoverished and war-ravaged country of Yemen. That sounds generous, but it’s the Saudi royals themselves who are responsible for most of the death, destruction, starvation, and disease in Yemen, in which 80 percent of the population, some 24 million, need outside assistance.

Riyadh has spent more than five years conducting a brutal air campaign intended to restore a pliant regime to power. The claim that the Kingdom is generously helping the needy is a bit like a man murdering his parents only to throw himself on the court’s mercy since he is an orphan. If Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman wanted to help the Yemeni people, he would simply end the war.

But he won’t, at least in part because the Trump administration is underwriting the Saudi government’s murderous campaign. Why is the president forcing Americans to assist the Saudi royals, who respect no political or religious liberty and kidnap, imprison, and murder their critics? President Donald Trump appears to be almost bewitched by the licentious and corrupt Saudis.

Washington sold Saudi Arabia planes and munitions used to kill thousands of Yemeni civilians. American personnel serviced and refueled the same planes, as well as providing intelligence to assist in targeting Saudi strikes. That makes U.S. officials complicit in war crimes committed day in and day out for more than five years.

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War Crimes and War Criminals: Who Will Be Held Accountable? by Philip Giraldi

Let’s see, if the US invades your country, perhaps to change the regime, and you fight the invading force, you’re a terrorist. It makes perfect sense. From Philip Giraldi at strategicculture.com:

There is something unique about how the United States manipulates the “terrorism” label to avoid being accused of carrying out war crimes. When an indigenous militia or an armed insurgency like the Taliban in a country like Iraq or Afghanistan attacks American soldiers subsequent to a U.S. invasion which overthrew the country’s government, it is considered by Washington to be an act of “terrorism.” Terror attacks de facto permit a carte blanche response, allowing virtually anything as retaliation against the parties involved or countries that support them, including the assassination of foreign government officials. But for the attacker, whose perspective is quite different, the incident often could reasonably be described as legitimate resistance to a foreign occupier and much of the world might agree with that assessment.

So, it all comes down to definitions. The United States covers its version of reality through liberal use of the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) which more-or-less gives a blanket approval to attack and kill “terrorists” anywhere at any time. And how does one become a terrorist? By being included on the U.S. government’s heavily politicized annual list of terrorist groups and material supporters of terrorism. That was the argument that was used by the United States when it killed Iranian General Qassem Soleimani in January, that his organization, the Qods Force, was on the “terrorist” lists maintained by State and the Treasury Department and he was therefore held to be guilty of any and all attacks on U.S. military carried out by Qods or by presumed Iranian surrogate militias.

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America Will Never Live Down Trump’s War Crime Pardons, by Danny Sjursen

A substantial portion of the American public, including the president, believes that anything goes when it comes to war. They shouldn’t be surprised at the blowback, notably terrorism. From Danny Sjursen at antiwar.com:

Donald Trump loves him some bluster, worships machismo, and always has. Spectacle over substance has long been the name of his game. Decades before his successful presidential run, back when he was still a cartoon billionaire playboy, Trump took out a full-page newspaper advertisement that argued that New York state should bring back the death penalty for five adolescents arrested in 1989 for allegedly beating and raping a jogger – even though the boys hadn’t yet been convicted. Turns out that the infamous Central Park Five were later exonerated by DNA evidence. To this day, Trump refuses to apologize, even though his suggestion would have resulted in the execution of five innocent kids. But regret isn’t part of The Donald’s playbook.

Neither is adherence to facts, or recognition of history. Trump illustrated this point on the 2016 campaign trail, when he repeated a demonstrably false story about how then-Capt. John J. Pershing (future commanding general for all U.S. forces in World War I) – “a rough, rough guy” – had, during the brutal American counterinsurgency in the Philippines (1899-1913), once captured 50 Muslim “terrorists,” dipped 50 bullets in pig’s blood, shot 49, and set the sole survivor loose to spread the tale to his rebel comrades. The outcome, or moral of the story, according to Trump, was that “for 25 years, there wasn’t a problem, OK?” Well, no, actually, the Philippine insurgency dragged on for another decade, and a Muslim-separatist rebellion continues in the islands to this day.

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Putting the Warriors on Terror on Trial, by Danny Sjursen

Soldiers in the US are seldom prosecuted for war crimes, and when they are, they are seldom convicted. From Danny Sjursen at antiwar.com:

It is natural for mankind to set a higher value on courage then timidity, on activity than prudence, on strength than counsel.” ~ Montesquieu, “The Spirit of the Laws”

They are undoubtedly America’s favorite, most lauded shock troops. More, even, than the Marines or the Army’s Green Berets and Rangers, Navy SEALs have captured America’s (and, certainly, Hollywood’s) attention. Despite their small ranks, they are nothing less than the face of the post-9/11 U.S. “war on terror.” It was the Seals, after all, who killed Osama bin Laden, prompting spontaneous, nationwide chants of “USA! USA!” Sure, the Army and Marines do most of the fighting and dying, but there is something romantic in the collective American mind about those Seals

Yet currently, in the wake of a couple of major scandals and seemingly credible allegations of serious war crimes, it’s as though the entire organization is on trial. Maybe that’s for the best.

What unfolded in the increasingly absurd and always disturbing trial of Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher was nothing less than a war for the soul of the whole special operations community. Still, the minutiae and singularity of the individual case masked the larger questions and conclusions worth drawing from the entire spectacle: Why is the US fighting abroad? Who, exactly, is doing that fighting? What happens when aggressive, highly trained commandos are repeatedly shipped abroad and given immense leeway and power over foreign lives and deaths?

These, to name only a few, are key queries to consider regarding the Gallagher case and a separate scandal in which another SEAL recently pleaded guilty to a 2017 hazing attack in Mali that resulted in the strangulation death of an Army Green Beret. In the second case, why were these special operators in remote West Africa in the first place? The answer is relevant to the tragic incident itself.

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A Soldier’s Defense of Chelsea Manning and Julian Assange, by Danny Sjursen

A former soldier applauds Chelsea Manning and Julian Assange’s exposure of US  war crimes. From Danny Sjursen at antiwar.com:

It’s a matter of principles over personalities. Whether one loves or hates Chelsea Manning and Julian Assange is besides the point. The First Amendment freedom of the press is at stake now. In this case the government’s tool for oppression is the Espionage Act, an archaic relic from America’s repressive World War I-era legislation. Chelsea Manning already served seven years of a 35-year sentence, one of the longest ever meted out to a whistleblower, and was recently jailed again after she refused to testify about WikiLeaks.

That was harsh and disturbing enough for those of us who value transparency regarding our national security state. Now the Trump administration has gone a step further and threatens, for the first time ever, to imprison an actual publisher – in this case Julian Assange. Charged on 17 counts of violating the Espionage Act, Assange – currently jailed in Britain – faces extradition and a lengthy sentence in the United States.

I’ve been called a whistleblower, myself, for my decision to write a book and articles critical of the American warfare state and the military to which I dedicated my entire adult life from the age of seventeen. But the truth is I’ve got nothing on Chelsea Manning and Julian Assange. Manning broke the law, risked it all, went to prison for her principles. Assange is headed for the same fate. And as a soldier I’m glad they did what they did!

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Whitewashing War Crimes Has Become the American Way, by Danny Sjursen

Americans don’t want to face up to the crimes its military commits. From Danny Sjursen at antiwar.cam:

Just after dawn on March 16, 1968, a company of U.S. Army infantrymen, led by Capt. Ernest Medina and spearheaded by Lt. William Calley, entered the small hamlet of My Lai in Quang Ngai province, South Vietnam. The villagers, mostly women and children, had no idea what was coming that day. If they had, they’d have fled.

Despite facing zero resistance and finding only a few weapons, Calley ordered his men to execute the entire population. In all, some 500 Vietnamese civilians were executed, including more than 350 women, children and babies. Other senior leaders in the chain of command had advised the soldiers of Charlie Company that all people in the village should be considered either Viet Cong or VC supporters. Medina and Calley were ordered to destroy the village. They did so with brutal precision and savagery.

The Army covered up the massacre for more than a year, until journalist Seymour Hersh broke the story in November 1969. Now obliged to conduct a public investigation into what was no doubt a major war crime, the Army’s investigating officer recommended that no fewer than 28 officers be charged in the killings and subsequent cover-up. Medina, Calley and most other participants in the slaughter chose to plead—just as Nazi soldiers had—that they were only following orders.

That may well have been true. Still, military regulations—then and now—oblige a soldier or officer not to follow illegal or immoral orders. Nonetheless, in subsequent trials, all but one of the defendants were acquitted by sympathetic juries. Only Calley, the ringleader, received a life sentence. On appeal, that sentence was reduced to 20 years; later, President Richard Nixon ordered Calley transferred to house arrest at his quarters in Fort Benning, Ga., until finally, the lieutenant was paroled in 1974.

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‘Potential War Crimes’: Lawmakers Demand Answers About US Role in Saudi Slaughter of Yemeni Civilians, by Jake Johnson

It’s okay when the US or its allies do it. From Jake Johnson at lewrockwell.com:

In the wake of the U.S.-backed Saudi-led coalition’s horrific bombing of a school buslast week that killed 40 Yemeni children and amid reports on Tuesday of dozens more civilian deaths after a new wave of Saudi bombings, Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) has sent a detailed letter (pdf) to the Department of Defense Inspector General demanding an investigation into whether Trump administration officials violated U.S. or international law by assisting the Saudis in their assault on Yemen.

The Saudi-led coalition, which receives essential military support and intelligence from the U.S., “has repeatedly hit civilian targets—including schools, hospitals, funerals, and weddings—nowhere near military targets,” Lieu writes, pointing to an analysis by the Yemen Data Project showing that a third of Saudi bombings in Yemen have hit civilian targets. “I previously served on active duty as a JAG [Judge Advocate General] and a number of the coalition’s airstrikes look like war crimes.”

“If the coalition’s targeting of farms, food storage sites, and water sites was deliberate, these airstrikes would constitute a violation of Article 14 of Additional Protocol II and customary international law in non-international armed conflict,” Lieu adds. “I am deeply concerned that continued U.S. refueling, operational support functions, and weapons transfers could qualify as aiding and abetting these potential war crimes.”

The California congressman goes on to note that the U.S.-backed Saudi attacks on civilian targets cannot be attributed to mere faulty intelligence or incompetence.

“The coalition, which has air superiority, has in a number of cases very precisely struck civilian targets,” Lieu notes. “For example, coalition jets precisely struck a funeral attended by a large number of people and then came around and struck the same civilian target again. It is indisputable that the DoD-supported coalition has killed large numbers of children, women, and men who are civilians.”

In a letter (pdf) of her own on Tuesday, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) called on Gen. Joseph Votel—the top commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East—to explain the U.S. military’s role in the Saudi-led coalition’s bombings of Yemeni civilians.

To continue reading: ‘Potential War Crimes’: Lawmakers Demand Answers About US Role in Saudi Slaughter of Yemeni Civilians

The US-Saudi Starvation Blockade, by Patrick J. Buchanan

The present situation in Yemen is a grotesque obscenity and the US is in league with the devil. From Patrick J. Buchanan at buchanan.org:

Our aim is to “starve the whole population — men, women, and children, old and young, wounded and sound — into submission,” said First Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill.

He was speaking of Germany at the outset of the Great War of 1914-1918. Americans denounced as inhumane this starvation blockade that would eventually take the lives of a million German civilians.

Yet when we went to war in 1917, a U.S. admiral told British Prime Minister Lloyd George, “You will find that it will take us only two months to become as great criminals as you are.”

After the Armistice of Nov. 11, 1918, however, the starvation blockade was not lifted until Germany capitulated to all Allied demands in the Treaty of Versailles.

As late as March 1919, four months after the Germans laid down their arms, Churchill arose in Parliament to exult, “We are enforcing the blockade with rigor, and Germany is very near starvation.”

So grave were conditions in Germany that Gen. Sir Herbert Plumer protested to Lloyd George in Paris that morale among his troops on the Rhine was sinking from seeing “hordes of skinny and bloated children pawing over the offal from British cantonments.”

The starvation blockade was a war crime and a crime against humanity. But the horrors of the Second World War made people forget this milestone on the Western road to barbarism.

A comparable crime is being committed today against the poorest people in the Arab world — and with the complicity of the United States.

Saudi Arabia, which attacked and invaded Yemen in 2015 after Houthi rebels dumped over a pro-Saudi regime in Sanaa and overran much of the country, has imposed a land, sea and air blockade, after the Houthis fired a missile at Riyadh this month that was shot down.

To continue reading: The US-Saudi Starvation Blockade

A Government of Morons, by Paul Craig Roberts

No arguing with the title, and here is a particularly atrabilious rant from Paul Craig Roberts at paulcraigroberts.com:

It has become embarrassing to be an American. Our country has had four war criminal presidents in succession. Clinton twice launched military attacks on Serbia, ordering NATO to bomb the former Yugoslavia twice, both in 1995 and in 1999, so that gives Bill two war crimes. George W. Bush invaded Afghanistan and Iraq and attacked provinces of Pakistan and Yemen from the air. That comes to four war crimes for Bush. Obama used NATO to destroy Libya and sent mercenaries to destroy Syria, thereby commiting two war crimes. Trump attacked Syria with US forces, thereby becoming a war criminal early in his regime.

To the extent that the UN participated in these war crimes along with Washington’s European, Canadian and Australian vassals, all are guilty of war crimes. Perhaps the UN itself should be arraigned before the War Crimes Tribunal along with the EU, US, Australia and Canada.

Quite a record. Western Civilization, if civilization it is, is the greatest committer of war crimes in human history.

And there are other crimes—Somalia, and Obama’s coups against Honduras and Ukraine and Washington’s ongoing attempts to overthrow the governments of Venezuela, Ecuador, and Bolivia. Washington wants to overthrow Ecuador in order to grab and torture Julian Assange, the world’s leading democrat.

These war crimes committed by four US presidents caused millions of civilian deaths and injuries and dispossessed and dislocated millions of peoples, who have now arrived as refugees in Europe, UK, US, Canada, and Australia, bringing their problems with them, some of which become problerms for Europeans, such as gang rapes.

What is the reason for all the death and destruction and the flooding of the West with refugees from the West’s naked violence? We don’t know. We are told lies: Saddam Hussein’s “weapons of mass destruction,” which the US government knew for an absolute fact did not exist. “Assad’s use of chemical weapons,” an obvious, blatant lie. “Iranian nukes,” another blatant lie. The lies about Gaddafi in Libya are so absurd that it is pointless to repeat them.

To continue reading: A Government of Morons