The Washington Post on Wednesday published an extraordinary interactive report that names hundreds of civilians killed by coalition airstrikes during the U.S.-led war against the so-called Islamic State.
The report, which contains harrowing survivor testimonies, draws upon data from the U.S. military and the U.K.-based journalistic monitor group Airwars to name each victim, as well as when and where they were killed. The paper mentions “thousands” of civilian casualties since President Barack Obama launched the war against ISIS militants in Iraq and Syria in 2014, but focuses only on the approximately 1,400 deaths acknowledged by both the Pentagon and Airwars. Continue reading →
The United States on Monday faced criticism over its human rights record from allies and adversaries alike at the United Nations as the country submitted to its first Universal Periodic Review of the Trump administration.
All 193 U.N. member states must undergo UPRs, which are held at the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC)—from which the U.S. withdrew in 2018 over alleged anti-Israel bias—in Geneva, Switzerland every five years. Continue reading →
In the run-up to November’s US election, a sub-plot of the Trump campaign will be his claimed success at “bringing our boys back”. And indeed there will have been substantial troop withdrawals from Afghanistan as well as a more modest drawdown in Iraq, although that will still involve a reduction from 5,200 to 3,500.
Some of the Iraqi changes are redeployments to neighbouring states but there has certainly been an overall decrease in Afghanistan, even if few figures are available about the thousands of private security personnel operating under various government contracts. Continue reading →
Kyle Rittenhouse walks past police in Kenosha after allegedly shooting three people, killing two of them. Photo: Rod Breslau/Twitter
As law enforcement agencies and lawmakers respond to nationwide outrage over countless police shootings of Black Americans with pledges to address racial profiling and “implicit bias,” the Brennan Center for Justice released a report Thursday on what it called “an especially harmful form of bias, which remains entrenched within law enforcement: explicit racism.”
The presence of virulent racism within police ranks across the country has grown over the past two decades, Brennan Center fellow and former FBI special agent Michael German wrote in the report, as white supremacist and far-right militant groups have infiltrated law enforcement agencies. Continue reading →
Activists, the UN, and even mainstream news outlets expressed dismay at the Trump administration’s decision to appoint regime-change champion Elliot Abrahams to the role of Special Representative for Iran.
Elliott Abrams speaking at the 2012 CPAC in Washington, D.C. Photo:Gage Skidmore/flickr/CC
The Trump administration has appointed disgraced neoconservative hawk Elliott Abrams to the new position of chief advisor on Iran after former insider Brian Hook handed in his resignation earlier this week. “Special Representative Hook has been my point person on Iran for over two years and he has achieved historic results countering the Iranian regime,” said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo yesterday, “Following a transition period with Brian Hook, Elliott Abrams will assume the position of Special Representative for Iran, in addition to his responsibilities as Special Representative for Venezuela.” Continue reading →
Border Patrol agents raiding a humanitarian aid camp in Airzona Friday. (Photo: No More Deaths/Twitter)
Border Patrol agents on Friday night raided a humanitarian aid station run by immigrant rights advocacy group No More Deaths, detaining 30 people in what activists described as a “massive show of force” aimed at intimidating the group.
“Once again, Border Patrol is concentrating their resources on interfering with humanitarian aid during the most deadly time of year for people crossing the border,” No More Deaths volunteer Paige Corich-Kleim told the Tuscon Sentinel. Continue reading →
Goodbye Afghanistan | US Air Force photo by Clay Lancaster. Public domain.
One of Donald Trump’s main election pledges back in 2016 was to ‘bring our boys home’. Alongside this came criticism of Germany and other NATO states for not paying their way on military spending. He has followed up on both themes this week, by starting to reduce the US presence in Germany, albeit shifting some to Poland and leaving all the mechanisms of a rapid return in place, so that the extent of the ‘back home’ is far from what it appears.
Extricating US forces from Middle East is another matter. Many army units are consolidating in fewer bases in Iraq or moving to nearby Kuwait. The US Navy is holding on, too, mainly because of the confrontation with Iran. It currently has two carrier battle groups within reach of the region. Continue reading →
The Trump administration attempted to employ a never-before-used provision of the USA PATRIOT Act to indefinitely detain Adham Hassoun, who has been released to an undisclosed country. (Photo: mlliu/flickr/cc)
The ACLU announced on Wednesday that the legal group’s client Adham Hassoun was released to an undisclosed country under a confidential court agreement after being detained by the Trump administration for over 17 months without charge or trial under a never-before-used provision of the USA PATRIOT Act.
“Mr. Hassoun was the first person to be unlawfully detained under the PATRIOT Act. This court victory makes clear he should be the last,” ACLU senior staff attorney Jonathan Hafetz said in a statement. Continue reading →
My family sat down to watch the first episode of HBO’s “Watchmen” last October. Stephen Williams, the director, included quick cuts of gunshots, explosions, citizens fleeing roaming mobs, and even a plane dropping bombs. We’ve come to anticipate these elements in superhero films.
As the sepia-toned footage spooled across the screen, the words “Tulsa 1921” were superimposed over the mayhem. My throat tightened. Continue reading →
The U.S. blocked a U.N. global ceasefire resolution amid the global pandemic on Friday, objecting to language that even indirectly praised the World Health Organization. (Photo: via EuroYankee)
International diplomats were stunned and frustrated Friday night after the U.S. again blocked a United Nations resolution to call for a global ceasefire during the coronavirus pandemic.
The U.S. objected to any mention of the World Health Organization (WHO) in the resolution. President Donald Trump has claimed WHO withheld information from world governments about the coronavirus, and that the global health agency was privy to information about the virus originating in a lab in China. Continue reading →