Tag Archives: War Crimes

As Civilian Deaths in Yemen Mount, Trump Moves to Sell Saudi Arabia Billions More in Bombs

“Trump wants to sell Saudi and the UAE a bunch more bombs to keep killing civilians in Yemen. Congress must stop this sale.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-12-2018

Human rights campaigners protest against arms sales to Saudi Arabia outside the Defence and Security Organisation (DSO), the Government department responsible for arms export promotions. (Photo: Campaign Against Arms Trade/Flickr/cc)

Further demonstrating the willingness of the U.S. to reward and perpetuate the war crimes of its allies, the Trump administration is reportedly moving ahead with a multi-billion-dollar sale of so-called “smart bombs” to Saudi Arabia just weeks after the U.S.-backed Saudi-led coalition bombed a wedding in Yemen, killing more than 20 people.

First reported by The Intercept‘s Alex Emmons on Friday, the precise details of the deal—which also includes weapons sales to the United Arab Emirates—are not entirely unclear as it is in the preliminary stages, “but it is said to include tens of thousands of precision-guided munitions from Raytheon,” the company that helped produce weaponry used in the deadly wedding airstrike last month. Continue reading

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Most Unwelcome: Prominent US Human Rights Campaigners Denied Entry to Israel

“The abusive treatment,” said Columbia University law professor barred from entering, “ironically illustrates how the state of Israel refuses to respect the political and civil rights of its own citizens, of Palestinians, and of human rights defenders globally.”

By Jon Queally, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-1-2018

Though they arrived with a plan to witness and document the human rights situation in both Israel and Occupied Palestine, both Vincent Warren, executive director of the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), and Katherine Franke, chair of group’s board and a law professor at Columbia University, were detained upon their arrival on Sunday at Ben Gurion International Airport. (Photo: BookingIsrael)

The executive director and board chair of a prominent U.S. human rights group were denied entry by the Israeli government on Monday—detained at the international airport in Tel Aviv for hours of questioning and delay before being put back on a plane out of the country.

Though they arrived with a plan to witness and document the human rights situation in both Israel and Occupied Palestine, both Vincent Warren, executive director of the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), and Katherine Franke, chair of group’s board and a law professor at Columbia University, were detained upon their arrival on Sunday at Ben Gurion International Airport. Continue reading

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Proving Eager to ‘Get the War Started,’ Pompeo Ramps Up Anti-Iran Rhetoric in Israel and Saudi Arabia

“Less than three years after Iran signed the Iran Deal and began dramatically cutting back its nuclear program, Israel, Saudi, and the U.S. are fast coordinating a military attack on Iran.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 4-30-2018

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Tel Aviv, April 29, 2018. Photo: US State Department

Wasting no time confirming fears that he would would bring his disdain for diplomacy and zeal for war to the world stage if confirmed as Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo used his first official visits to Saudi Arabia and Israel this weekend to escalate the Trump administration’s anti-Iran rhetoric while ignoring the horrific atrocities currently being committed by America’s key Middle East allies.

Speaking alongside Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir in Riyadh on Sunday, Pompeo claimed Iran is “the greatest sponsor of terrorism in the world” and said the Trump administration is “determined to make sure it never possesses a nuclear weapon.” Continue reading

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CIA Operative Gina Haspel Who Tortured, Ordered CIA Torture Tapes Destroyed, and Now Wants To Lead CIA Did Nothing Wrong, Says CIA

“Torture was illegal and immoral after 9/11, and it still is now,” warn critics. And Gina Haspel “should never be allowed to work for the American people again.”

By Jon Queally, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 4-21-2018

Gina Haspel, who was in charge of a black site in Thailand where torture occurred and ordered the destruction of CIA tapes of the human rights violations, has been nominated to become director of the spy agency. (Photo: CIA / with overlay)

In what critics are calling a bald attempt to help Trump’s controversial pick to lead the CIA get through a very difficult confirmation process, the CIA on Friday released a previously classifed memo in which Gina Haspel was “cleared” of any wrongdoing when she destroyed more than 90 videotapes of agency operatives torturing human beings.

According to the Associated Press, which first reported the story, the CIA on Friday “gave lawmakers a declassified memo Friday showing [Haspel] was cleared years ago of wrongdoing in the destruction of videotapes showing terror suspects being waterboarded after 9/11.” Continue reading

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Drones Will Soon Use Artificial Intelligence to Decide Who to Kill

Once complete, these drones will represent the ultimate militarisation of AI and trigger vast legal and ethical implications for wider society

By Peter Lee. Published 4-11-2018 by The Conversation

An Air Force RPA reconnaissance drone is retrofitted for use in attack squadron. (Photo: U.S. Air Force)

The US Army recently announced that it is developing the first drones that can spot and target vehicles and people using artificial intelligence (AI). This is a big step forward. Whereas current military drones are still controlled by people, this new technology will decide who to kill with almost no human involvement.

Once complete, these drones will represent the ultimate militarisation of AI and trigger vast legal and ethical implications for wider society. There is a chance that warfare will move from fighting to extermination, losing any semblance of humanity in the process. At the same time, it could widen the sphere of warfare so that the companies, engineers and scientists building AI become valid military targets. Continue reading

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New AUMF? Critics Warn Against Giving Trump—or Any President—Power to Wage War ‘Virtually Anywhere on the Planet’

The proposal follows Trump’s illegal weekend attack on Syria

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for CommonDreams. Published 4-16-2018

Protesters marched in New York City to oppose military action against Syria in 2013. (Photo: The All-Nite Images/Flickr/cc)

As the 17-year-old War on Terror rages on—and with the international community still reeling from the illegal missile strikes that the U.S., U.K., and France launched on Syria over the weekend—Congress is considering a measure that critics warn will expand the executive branch’s authority to wage war.

Some lawmakers have tried for years to replace the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) that has been used (pdf) by three administrations to justify military actions across the globe. Now that President Donald Trump has repeatedly ignored reminders that only Congress can approve attacks not covered by the authorization, Sens. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and Tim Kaine (D-Va.) plan to introduce a new AUMF that could give even more war powers to the president.

Christopher Anders, deputy director of the ACLU’s Washington legislative office, explained that under the proposed AUMF described in reports on Monday, Trump would essentially “get a blank check from Congress to go to war virtually anywhere on the planet.”

Outlining his concerns with various aspects of the proposal, Anders concludes it “would cause colossal harm to the Constitution’s checks and balances, would jeopardize civil liberties and human rights at home and abroad, and would lead to a breathtakingly broad expansion of war without meaningful oversight.”

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) told NBC News that he worries “about an AUMF that is more permissive than what the president currently interprets his authority to be,” adding: “It’s gonna be hard for me to support something that has no sunset and no geographic limitation.”

Columbia Law School professor Matthew Waxman, a former national security official in the George W. Bush administration, said that an AUMF without an expiration date will bolster concerns among those who fear that greenlighting a new measure “entrenches an indefinite war.”

“The political reality, though, is that a much more restrictive AUMF won’t be possible anytime soon,” Waxman said, “and we’ll be engaged in an indefinite war either way.”

Reports about the new AUMF—which could be introduced as early as Monday—follow Kaine’s controversial comments to “CBS This Morning” earlier in the day.

While Kaine sharply criticized the attack on Syria as an “illegal military act,” the senator also said he would have “likely” supported it if Trump had asked for permission from Congress first.

Some lawmakers, such as Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.)—a long-time critic of the 2001 AUMF and the only member of Congress to vote against it—swiftly condemned Trump’s weekend attack, but many more were criticized for their apparent indifference or tempered responses to Trump’s unconstitutional act.

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Israeli Sniper Targets, Kills Journalist in “PRESS” Vest

Corbyn: “The silence from international powers with the responsibility of bringing a just settlement of the Israel-Palestine conflict must end.”

By CommonDreams. Published 4-7-2018

Sources in Gaza have confirmed that journalist Yaser Murtaja has died after being shot in the abdomen by an Israeli sniper while covering the protests. He was clearly wearing a vest that identified him as press.

Yaser Murtaja, a cameraman for Palestinian Ain Media, was wearing a “PRESS” flak jacket as he was shot by an Israeli sniper Friday. He died of his injuries in a hospital on Saturday.

The 30-year-old journalist was one of nine people killed and more than 1,000 injured by Israeli troops Friday on the Gaza border.

Thousands of Palestinians continued “The Great March of Return,” the week-long protest on Friday, demanding the right of return of Palestinian refugees to towns and villages from which their families were driven out when Israel was created. Continue reading

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Trump’s ‘Middle School Project-Level’ Posters Reveal Much About America’s Blood-Soaked Backing of Saudi Regime

“We make the best equipment in the world, there’s nobody even close, and Saudi Arabia’s buying a lot of this equipment,” the president said.

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for CommonDreams. Published 3-20-2018

Photo: Kenneth Roth/Twitter

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Trump Picks ‘Actual Torturer’ Gina Haspel as Next CIA Director

“If Obama had allowed prosecutions over CIA torture, ‘people like Haspel, quite plausibly, could have gone to prison.’ Instead, she’s going to run the CIA.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for CommonDreams. Published 3-13-2018

On Tuesday, President Donald Trump nominated Gina Haspel, deputy director the of Central Intelligence Agency, to take over for Mike Pompeo, who will now serve as Secretary of State. (Photo: Speak Freely/ACLU)

Human rights advocates are expressing outrage on Tuesday after President Donald Trump nominated deputy director Gina Haspel—”an actual torturer“—to be the next CIA director despite her leading role in running an agency black site where detainees were systematically and gruesomely abused.

Haspel is slated to replace current CIA director Mike Pompeo, who Trump has tapped to be the next Secretary of State now that Rex Tillerson has been fired. Continue reading

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Genocide? As Gaza Dries Out, Israel Turns Off Fresh Water Spigot

Rather than heeding the warnings from the UN to open up Gaza’s blockade and allow vital aid, what we have witnessed over the course of the last decade is a periodic all-out Israeli assault on Gaza’s vital infrastructure.

By Darius Shahtahmasebi. Published 2-15-2018 by MintPress News

Palestinian children fill their bottles with water from a UNICEF tap in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip. Photo: UNICEF

Near the end of last month, Haaretz reported that, according to an expert hydrologist, 97 percent of Gaza’s drinking water has been contaminated by sewage and salt. The UN also confirmed that this was the case early last year, and clearly, the situation has remained unchanged even up until 2018. Robert Piper, the UN’s local coordinator for humanitarian and development activities, has called the situation “really very serious” and stated that “[w]e are falling far behind the demand for clean drinking water for Gazans.”

This kind of mistreatment is part and parcel of an overall package of deprivation that continues to plague the Palestinian people. There are some 2 million residents in Gaza affected by this egregious policy, famously one of the most densely populated areas on the planet. Gaza’s water resources are fully controlled by Israel and the division of groundwater is something that was provided for in the Oslo II Accord. However, despite the fact that under the Accord Israel is allocated four times the Palestinian portion of water resources, it has been revealed that Israel has been extracting 80 percent more water from the West Bank than it agreed to. Continue reading

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