Archive for the 'Casualties of War' Category

ILLEGAL ACT OF WAR

Friday, April 7th, 2017

Trump has bombed Syria.

“Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), who cast the sole dissenting vote against the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) in 2001, tweeted Thursday, ‘This is an act of war. Congress needs to come back into session [and] hold a debate. Anything less is an abdication of our responsibility.’

“The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) likewise tweeted, ‘Syria chemical attacks were horrendous. Yet our response can’t violate Constitution, which requires Congress’ approval for military force.’

By implication, Trump’s action violated the Constitution.

The quotations above are from an article you can read here and they are indications of the horror many of us in the United States are feeling at the barbarism of Trump’s action.  They also show us that Trump may be acting illegally.

Civil defense team members and others try to rescue those trapped under the debris of a Mosque after an aerial attack on it during prayer in the Cina village of Etarib district of Aleppo, Syria on March 16, 2017

What can we do to stop the monster in the White House?  I have written to my Senators and Congressional Representative (who often oppose Trump’s actions anyway) in order to encourage them to take action.  I am glad to see huge numbers of Americans rising up in protest.  I would love to see impeachment proceedings.

Nuclear Weapons

Sunday, August 9th, 2015

This being the 70th anniversary of the nuclear bombing of Japan, the issue of nuclear weapons is in the news.  Since the bombing was only a few months before I was born, I have lived my life in the shadow of nuclear war.  Below are images of the destruction:

atomic bomb1

Nagasaki

atomic bomb2

Hiroshima

The  Japanese people and their government have had a policy of refusing to wage war since these horrific events.  May they continue in that resolution and continue, as they are doing, to work for the end of nuclear arms.

 

OMAR KHADR SPEAKS ABOUT BEING TORTURED

Thursday, May 28th, 2015

Below is a link to an article with excerpts of a Canadian documentary about Omar Khadr, one of the children who were captured in Afghanistan and tortured before being sent to the torture center at Guantanamo.  He was tortured there as well, of course.

Click here to go to the article.

Omar Khadr, former child prisoner at Guantanamo

Now released and back in Canada, he has told his story.

My tax money paid for these atrocities and others that continue at Guantanamo to this day and in black sites unknown to me around the world.  Let us not deceive ourselves that the torture has stopped.
I will be more confident that the US does not torture when there are arrests of US torturers up to the highest levels of government, trials, and serious prison sentences for those found guilty.

FINALLY, THE TRUTH ABOUT THE INVASION OF IRAQ

Monday, May 18th, 2015

Paul Krugman, never one to mince words, wrote a brilliantly direct editorial in response to the current budding campaign of Jeb Bush to be president in the wake of his father and brother.  Krugman writes:

“The fraudulence of the case for war was actually obvious even at the time: the ever-shifting arguments for an unchanging goal were a dead giveaway. So were the word games — the talk about W.M.D that conflated chemical weapons (which many people did think Saddam had) with nukes, the constant insinuations that Iraq was somehow behind 9/11.

“And at this point we have plenty of evidence to confirm everything the war’s opponents were saying. We now know, for example, that on 9/11 itself — literally before the dust had settled — Donald Rumsfeld, the secretary of defense, was already plotting war against a regime that had nothing to do with the terrorist attack. “Judge whether good enough [to] hit S.H. [Saddam Hussein] …sweep it all up things related and not”; so read notes taken by Mr. Rumsfeld’s aide.”

Troops in Iraq

US troops in Iraq

You can read the entire article here .

Alas, as always, the US media are not willing to tell the truth or challenge authority.  So long as such attitudes prevail, it will continue to be difficult for the people in this country to stand up to its militarization and continual invasions.

Some of us opposed that war at the time, but it should now be clear that we must resist US wars and aggression, limit the military budgets, stop supporting the arms manufacturers and dealers, and become a peaceful, not a warlike nation.  One can only hope and work toward that end.

NO INTERVIEWS WITH PRISONERS WHO WERE TORTURED

Tuesday, December 16th, 2014

As Glenn Greenwald points out, the US media has not published interviews with prisoners whom the US has tortured at Guantanamo and elsewhere and ultimately released.  There are hundreds of them now, and some of them are English speakers, though translators could also facilitate interviews even with those who do not.

Greenwald states:

“If you don’t hear from the human beings who are tortured, it’s easy to pretend nothing truly terrible happened. That’s how the War on Terror generally has been reported for 13 years and counting: by completely silencing those whose lives are destroyed or ended by U.S. crimes.”

prisoners_released to Uruguay

Guantanamo prisoners recently released

You can read  Greennwald’s full account here  of the egregious details of prisoners who, like nearly all the prisoners at Guantanamo (and likely others tortured by US officials elsewhere) are known not to have done any harm to the US or anyone.  The newly released section of the Senate report has information about some of these former prisoners.

Maher Arar, former prisoner and his wife

I have said for years that the remaining prisoners should be released and all the prisoners should be indemnified with a substantial amount of money.  The latter is not enough, but it would help some of these men to start life again on a better footing and to get the help they need after being tortured.  The US war department budget which is astronomical, could be used for this purpose.

Greenwalk gives a link to an article about the case of an innocent man tortured and released, suffering terrible physical and pschological trauma without so much as an apology:

“Masri brought his case, he told his story, and they knew it was true,” Dakwar [director of the Human Rights Program at the American Civil Libeties Union] said. “Yet he never received redress. He never received an apology. He never even received acknowledgment. His case gives you an idea of the level of lawlessness, the magnitude of this atrocity. His life was devastated. And the United States didn’t care.”

You can click here to go to an article from Fox News about prisoners released in November.  Though they never were a threat to the US, the article still says that ” an administration task force determined they no longer posed a threat.”  The US media support the US government in vilifying these men who are the victims of unspeakable abuse, though they are completely innocent.  It is rather the United States that poses the greatest threat to the rest of the world, to say nothing of the threats it poses to many US citizens, especially those who are persons of color.

The United States, the most lawless country on earth, doesn’t care about its atrocities, but I care.  I also fear that the rest of the world is not going to tolerate US crimes against humanity indefinitely and I fear the repercussions of that for all of us here.

I STAND WITH SHAKER AAMER

Saturday, November 22nd, 2014

As you who read this blog will know, Shaker Aamer, from the UK, has been imprisoned in the Guantanamo torture camp for 13 years, though he is innocent of any aggression against anyone.  You can read more about him here and here. Shaker has been cleared for release under both the Bush and Obama regimes, but is the last person from the UK still in the torture camp.

andy

Andy Worthington, whose extensive research and reporting about the Guantanamo prisoners has given us much of the information we have about them, is encouraging people to Stand With Shaker Aamer in an organized effort online and in the streets of London.  There is a website, facebook page, and more for those of us who cannot be there in person.  Andy asks that we send photographs of ourselves showing that we stand with Shaker.

Image2_crop

A sign such as this was suggested, but those who want to help in this effort can create a visual with a more personal message, if they care to.  The photographs with a message can be emailed to:

standwithshaker@gmail.com.

Will you join us?  Enough of US torture and indefinite imprisonment without charge.  Enough. I STAND WITH SHAKER AAMER and with all of the remaining prisoners at the Guantanamo torture camp.

Shaker Aamer with his children before his capture and imprisonment without charge by the US over a decade ago

Below is a link to the video advocating the release from Guantanamo of Shaker Aamer, cleared under both Bush and Obama regimes and still confined at the torture camp.  He is the last Briton there.

We Stand With Shaker

IS THERE ANYTHING TO MEMORIALIZE ABOUT THE UNITED STATES?

Monday, May 26th, 2014

war1

                             WAR IS HIDEOUS

black_back

DESTRUCTION

Anniversary of Death of MLK: Racism in the United States Today

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

Forty-six years ago Martin Luther King was assassinated and in response a rebellion of Black Americans was launched.  Here is a link to an article that puts this in perspective for today.

MLK

Newark was the site of six days of violence in 1967.  I had never been to Newark then, the year I graduated from college, but in recent years I worked there on a television project for the Sesame Workshop.  The condition of Newark’s black population does not appear to have changed and the city reflects the degradation of the entire country at this time.

There is little doubt that some Black Americans have more opportunities than their counter parts before the 1960’s revolts against white racism.  Still, I think of the black population in New Orleans during hurricane Katrina and since, as well as in Newark today.  I know that many of our black sisters and brothers continue to live less well than white ones do.  The economy is bad for many people in this country now, but the black population is always at the bottom.

I am on my way in a few minutes to work with the current Broadway production of the American theater classic Raisin In The Sun.  I rejoice at the opportunities that the young man actor in that production has, but I deplore the continuation of systemic racism in this country and the continuing failure of the US to value all its people.

I also wonder today what the relationship of systemic racism has to the torture currently inflicted on brown people at the torture center at Guantanamo and in other places around the world.  I note the huge number of black and brown people among the astronomical prison population in this country.  I think of the stop and frisk program aimed at young black men here in New York City.

And I say no more.  Let us stop this, let us do all we can to stop systemic racism.

More On Bradley Manning

Monday, June 3rd, 2013

Marjorie Cohn, law professor and former president of the National Lawyers Guild, has this to say about Bradley Manning’s actions:

“Manning is charged with crimes for sending hundreds of thousands of classified files, documents and videos, including the ‘Collateral Murder’ video, the ‘Iraq War Logs,’ the ‘Afghan War Logs’ and State Department cables to Wikileaks. Many of the things he transmitted contain evidence of war crimes.

“The ‘Collateral Murder’ video depicts a US Apache attack helicopter killing 12 civilians and wounding two children on the ground in Baghdad in 2007. The helicopter then fired on and killed the people trying to rescue the wounded. Finally, a US tank drove over one of the bodies, cutting the man in half. These acts constitute three separate war crimes.

“Manning fulfilled his legal duty to report war crimes. He complied with his legal duty to obey lawful orders but also his legal duty to disobey unlawful orders.

“Section 499 of the Army Field Manual states, ‘Every violation of the law of war is a war crime.’ The law of war is contained in the Geneva Conventions.

“Article 85 of the First Protocol to the Geneva Conventions describes making the civilian population or individual civilians the object of attack as a grave breach. The firing on and killing of civilians shown in the ‘Collateral Murder'” video violated this provision of Geneva.

Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions requires that the wounded be collected and cared for. Article 17 of the First Protocol states that the civilian population ‘shall be permitted, even on their own initiative, to collect and care for the wounded.’ That article also says, ‘No one shall be harmed . . . for such humanitarian acts.’ The firing on rescuers portrayed in the ‘Collateral Murder’ video violates these provisions of Geneva.

“Finally, Section 27-10 of the Army Field Manual states that ‘maltreatment of dead bodies’ is a war crime. When the Army jeep drove over the dead body, it violated this provision.

“Enshrined in the US Army Subject Schedule No. 27-1 is ‘the obligation to report all violations of the law of war.’ At his guilty plea hearing, Manning explained that he had gone to his chain of command and asked them to investigate the ‘Collateral Murder’ video and other ‘war porn,’ but his superiors refused. ‘I was disturbed by the response to injured children,’ Manning stated. He was also bothered by the soldiers depicted in the video who ‘seemed to not value human life by referring to [their targets] as “dead bastards.”‘

“The Uniform Code of Military Justice sets forth the duty of a service member to obey lawful orders. But that duty includes the concomitant duty to disobey unlawful orders. An order not to reveal classified information that contains evidence of war crimes would be an unlawful order. Manning had a legal duty to reveal the commission of war crimes.”

The full text of the article can be found here.

Not Till US Drones Stop Killing

Friday, May 3rd, 2013

Below is Jack’s response to a request to sign a petition about background checks for guns:

I would have signed this years ago but that is before I learned my country is murdering innocent people with drones.

Image1

A child killed by drone attack

Given that,  it would be hypocritical to work to stop gun violence here while my country is the source of Drone violence. The commandment, “THOU SHALL NOT KILL” makes no reference to venue. I will sign your petition in the public square and urge all my friends along, as soon as the United States confirms it has discontinued the killer drone project. Until then, I am very sorry about your friend and I also regret the innocent people who have died via US drones. Drones make the entire policy of my country very sad indeed.

Image2

 A mother and child who died when drones struck

Image3

Funerals of persons killed in drone strikes

child_killed

Another  child killed in a drone strike with grieving relatives.