Category Archives: War Crimes

‘Anti-Democratic and Cowardly’: US Building New Secret Courtroom at Guantánamo

“The entire enterprise,” said one critic of the tribunal process, “makes a mockery out of what the U.S. pretends to stand for.”

By Brett Wilkins.  Published 12-30-2021 by Common Dreams

Witness Against Torture demonstrates for the closure of the Guantánamo Bay offshore prison. (Photo: Justin Norman/flickr/cc)

Human rights advocates and attorneys representing Guantánamo Bay detainees on Thursday decried a secret new courtroom reportedly being built by the Pentagon at the notorious offshore U.S. prison.

The New York Times reports Gitmo’s new second courtroom—which will cost $4 million—will not allow members of the public to witness proceedings against detainees to be tried for alleged terrorism-related offenses. People wishing to view those trials will have the option of watching delayed video footage in a separate building. Continue reading

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UN fails to agree on ‘killer robot’ ban as nations pour billions into autonomous weapons research

Humanitarian groups have been calling for a ban on autonomous weapons.
Wolfgang Kumm/picture alliance via Getty Images

James Dawes, Macalester College

Autonomous weapon systems – commonly known as killer robots – may have killed human beings for the first time ever last year, according to a recent United Nations Security Council report on the Libyan civil war. History could well identify this as the starting point of the next major arms race, one that has the potential to be humanity’s final one.

The United Nations Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons debated the question of banning autonomous weapons at its once-every-five-years review meeting in Geneva Dec. 13-17, 2021, but didn’t reach consensus on a ban. Established in 1983, the convention has been updated regularly to restrict some of the world’s cruelest conventional weapons, including land mines, booby traps and incendiary weapons. Continue reading

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New Analysis Reveals Why Repealing 2001 AUMF ‘Will Not Be Enough to Kill the War on Terror’

As the executive branch’s power to authorize military activities has metastasized under four administrations since 9/11, oversight of “counterterrorism operations” across the globe has crumbled.

By Kenny Stancil.  Published 12-14-2021 by Common Dreams

new-analysis-reveals-why-repealing-2001-aumf-will-not-be-enough-kill-war-terror

A new analysis published Tuesday by the Costs of War Project details how the power of U.S. presidents to greenlight military activities has grown since the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force was first enacted, demonstrating why simply repealing the measure now won’t be enough to end so-called “counterterrorism operations” across the globe.

Drawing on Congressional Research Service data updated through August 6, the report documents where and how the 2001 AUMF has been used—and also highlights how counterterrorism operations have taken place in dozens of additional nations without the aid of the law that launched the so-called “War on Terror” just one week after the September 11, 2001 attacks. Continue reading

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‘Stomach-Wrenching’ Report Reveals Secret US Strike Command’s High Civilian Death Toll

The unit, called Talon Anvil, is said to have killed Syrian civilians at 10 times the rate of similar airstrikes elsewhere in the so-called War on Terror.

By Brett Wilkins.  Published 12-13-2021 by Common Dreams

In a 2019 U.S. airstrike in Syria killed dozens of civilians, including women and children. Screenshot: CBS News

Peace advocates on Monday responded to a report about a U.S. military unit that killed Syrian civilians at 10 times the rate of similar operations in other theaters of the so-called War on Terror by accusing the United States of hypocritically sanctioning countries while committing atrocities of its own, and by reminding people that there is no such thing as a “humane” war.

On Sunday, The New York Times reported the existence of Talon Anvil, a “shadowy force” that “sidestepped safeguards and repeatedly killed civilians” in aerial bombardments targeting militants in Syria. The unit “worked in three shifts around the clock between 2014 and 2019, pinpointing targets for the United States’ formidable air power to hit: convoys, car bombs, command centers, and squads of enemy fighters.” Continue reading

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Kurdish group claims Turkey is using chemical weapons. Why is nobody investigating?

The international community is failing in its duty to investigate allegations that Kurdish forces are being killed in Turkish attacks

By Sarah Glynn  Published 11-5-2021 by openDemocracy

Kurdish protesters attend a demonstration against Turkey’s military action in 2019. Photo: The Left/flickr/CC

The Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) has called on international organisations to investigate its claims that Turkey has used chemical weapons against Kurdish forces in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq more than 300 times. The party invited international delegations to visit the region and inspect the mountain tunnels where it alleges chemicals still linger and examine the bodies of PKK guerrillas whom it says were killed in the attacks.

The PKK has published videos of gases welling from tunnel entrances, as well as details of those who have allegedly been killed and accounts of survivors. Continue reading

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Warnings of ‘More Death and Suffering’ in Yemen as US Moves to Sell Saudis Missiles

The Biden administration called the proposed sale of $650 million in air-to-air missiles “fully consistent” with its efforts to end the war that’s killed, wounded, displaced, and starved millions of Yemenis.

By Brett Wilkins.  Oublished 11-4-2021 by Common Dreams

A United States Air Force F-16 fighter jet test-fires a Raytheon AIM-120 air-to-air missile over the Gulf of Mexico near Eglin Air Force Base in Okaloosa County, Florida. (Photo: Capt. Justin Marsh/USAF)

Anti-war activists on Thursday accused the Biden administration of throwing fuel on the flames of the Saudi-led war in Yemen after the U.S. State Department notified Congress it approved a new $650 million missile sale to the repressive Middle Eastern monarchy.

Defense News reports the Pentagon said the Saudi government requested to purchase 280 AIM-120C-7/C-8 advanced medium-range air-to-air missiles and 596 LAU-128 missile rail launchers in a deal that would also include spare parts, support, and logistical services. The missiles would be fitted to Saudi warplanes including Eurofighter Typhoons and McDonnell-Douglas F-15s. Continue reading

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An autonomous robot may have already killed people – here’s how the weapons could be more destabilizing than nukes

The term ‘killer robot’ often conjures images of Terminator-like humanoid robots. Militaries around the world are working on autonomous machines that are less scary looking but no less lethal.
John F. Williams/U.S. Navy

James Dawes, Macalester College

Autonomous weapon systems – commonly known as killer robots – may have killed human beings for the first time ever last year, according to a recent United Nations Security Council report on the Libyan civil war. History could well identify this as the starting point of the next major arms race, one that has the potential to be humanity’s final one.

Autonomous weapon systems are robots with lethal weapons that can operate independently, selecting and attacking targets without a human weighing in on those decisions. Militaries around the world are investing heavily in autonomous weapons research and development. The U.S. alone budgeted US$18 billion for autonomous weapons between 2016 and 2020. Continue reading

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Critics Fume as ICC Excludes US From Probe Into Afghan War Crimes

“Allowing powerful states to get away with multi-year, multi-continent torture against so many feeds impunity for all.”

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams.  Published 9-27-2021

Photo: pixabay

A Monday announcement from the International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor saying his office is seeking approval to resume its investigation into potential war crimes in Afghanistan committed by the Taliban and the Islamic State—but excluding alleged atrocities committed by U.S. forces—sparked a flurry of outrage from human rights defenders.

“It seems there is no end to the betrayal of Afghans—now so many victims of torture and other abuses by U.S. and former Afghan government forces have been told there is no justice for you,” Patricia Gossman, associate Asia director for Human Rights Watch, tweeted Monday in response to the announcement. Continue reading

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‘This Is Big’: House Passes Amendment to Cut US Complicity in Saudi Bombing of Yemen

The vote, said Rep. Ro Khanna, “sent a clear message to the Saudis: end the bombing in Yemen and lift the blockade.”

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams.  Published 9-23-2021

Ro Khanna at a symposium at the Brookings Institute in 2019. Photo: Paul Morigi/flickr/CC

Anti-war groups on Thursday welcomed the U.S. House’s passage of an amendment to the annual defense bill that would cut off the flow to Saudi Arabia of U.S. logistical support and weapons “that are bombing civilians” in Yemen.

“This is BIG,” tweeted the Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) following the afternoon 219-207 vote, which fell largely along party lines, with just 11 Democrats voting “no.” Continue reading

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Investigations of US Drone Attack That Killed 10 Afghans Find No Evidence of Explosives in Vehicle

“The Pentagon has some serious explaining to do,” said one reporter. “Now consider how many strikes go unexamined by Western media.”

By Kenny Stancil, staff writer for Common Dreams.  {oblished 9-11-2021

Photo: Dr. Keith Rose/Twitter

The last known missile launched by the U.S. during its 20-year war in Afghanistan—the August 29 drone attack in a Kabul neighborhood that killed 10 civilians—was described by Gen. Mark Milley as a “righteous strike” that targeted a parked vehicle suspected of holding explosives, along with the driver and another man suspected of having militant ties.

A pair of investigations published Friday, however, revealed that—contrary to the Pentagon’s claims—there were no bombs in the car, the men accused of “suspicious” behavior were engaged in peaceful activities related to the driver’s job, and there were eight additional defenseless victims in the vicinity of the sedan destroyed by a missile fired after several hours of surveillance. Continue reading

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