More than half a million Oregonians have been forced to flee their homes, as wildfires continue to ravage the West Coast of the United States. Amid record-breaking temperatures, the wildfires, which have charred one million acres of land, have caused the sky to turn a terrifying shade of red, with many comparing it to Mars, hell, or the apocalypse. Air quality in Portland, the state’s largest city, is currently the lowest in the world, below even that of infamously polluted cities like Delhi and Beijing.
Raghed, 7, stands among rubbish at an informal refugee settlement in Qab Elias in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley. Photo: Sam Tarling/CRS
The ongoing U.S. “war on terror” has forcibly displaced as many as 59 million people from just eight countries in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia since 2001, according to a new report published Tuesday by Brown University’s Costs of War Project.
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 →
The Trump administration on Wednesday announced sanctions targeting International Criminal Court Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda and Phakiso Mochochoko, the court’s prosecution jurisdiction division director. (Photo: ICC)
Human rights advocates the world over condemned the Trump administration on Wednesday for imposing sanctions on two top officials at the International Criminal Court—just the latest act of retaliation for the Hague-based ICC’s ongoing investigation into war crimes allegedly committed by U.S. forces and others in Afghanistan during the so-called War on Terror.
“The Trump administration’s perverse use of sanctions, devised for alleged terrorists and drug kingpins, against prosecutors seeking justice for grave international crimes, magnifies the failure of the U.S. to prosecute torture,” said Richard Dicker, international justice director at Human Rights Watch. “The administration’s conjuring up a ‘national emergency’ to punish war crimes prosecutors shows utter disregard for the victims.” 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 American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has filed a lawsuit in an attempt to stop the city of Baltimore from rolling out a disturbing aerial surveillance program.
The ACLU filed the suit on behalf of a group of Baltimore community activists who have raised concerns about the introduction of a controversial technology known as wide-area aerial surveillance which involves stationing an aircraft equipped with ultra-high-resolution cameras over a city to track all visible pedestrians and vehicles within that city. Continue reading →
A former drone operator has claimed that the U.S. military is worse than the Nazis in a recent interview during which he revealed that his superiors told him “it’s just a dog” when he killed a child in Afghanistan.
The drone operator turned whistleblower, Staff Sergeant Brandon Bryant, gave an exclusive interview with the Daily Mail detailing the horrors of his job deciding who lives or dies from the comfort of bases in Nevada, New Mexico, and Iraq. Bryant described how he spent six years in the U.S. Air Force operating Predator drones where he controlled multiple camera systems and was responsible for using the targeting system while a co-pilot navigated the drone. Continue reading →
“A shameful use of presidential powers,” said the ACLU. “It sends a clear message of disrespect for the law, morality, the military justice system, and those in the military who abide by the laws of war.”
President Donald J. Trump alongside First Lady Melania Trump and members of the U.S. military in this file image posted to a government website to commemorate Veterans Day. (Photo: WhiteHouse.gov)
Continuing what critics of U.S. imperialism have long said is a pattern of refusing accountability for violations of international law and a litany of war crimes over recent decades, President Donald Trump on Friday night issued full pardons for three U.S. soldiers either accused or convicted of serious criminal abuses related to their military service.
Outrage among peace activists and opponents of the U.S. war machine was immediate.
A U.S. Army soldier fires an M4 carbine rifle during partnered live fire range training at Tactical Base Gamberi, Afghanistan on May 29, 2015. (Photo: Capt. Charlie Emmons/U.S. Army/Flickr/cc)
The so-called War on Terror launched by the United States government in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks has cost at least 801,000 lives and $6.4 trillion according to a pair of reports published Wednesday by the Costs of War Project at Brown University’s Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs.
“The numbers continue to accelerate, not only because many wars continue to be waged, but also because wars don’t end when soldiers come home,” said Costs of War co-director and Brown professor Catherine Lutz, who co-authored the project’s report on deaths. Continue reading →