President Donald Trump addresses armed forces members at Joint Base Andrews, Md., Sept. 15, 2017. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Delano Scott)
Progressives, human rights advocates, and journalists responded with outrage on Saturday to a New York Times report that President Donald Trump “has requested the immediate preparation of paperwork needed to pardon several American military members accused or convicted of war crimes.”
Unnamed U.S. government officials told the Times that on or around Memorial Day, Trump may pardon multiple servicemembers involved with “high-profile cases of murder, attempted murder, and desecration of a corpse.” Continue reading →
U.S. Secretary of State appearing on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday morning. “Attacking [Venezuela] for any reason,” warned international law scholar Mary Ellen O’Connell earlier this year, “would violate the most fundamental of all international law — the prohibition on the use of force. International law permits force in response to an armed attack in self-defense, but not for regime change, to secure oil or even to distribute food.” (Photo: ABC/This Week)
After U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Sunday morning that President Donald Trump has a “full range of options” when it comes to possible next moves against Venezuela, anti-war critics are wondering what the Democrats in Congress are prepared to do in order to curtail the administration’s ongoing threat of using military force to overthrow the government of President Nicolas Maduro – an effort international legal experts say would be a violation of international law.
“We have a full range of options that we’re preparing for,” Pompeo said on ABC’s “This Week.” Continue reading →
“Coalition forces razed Raqqa, but they cannot erase the truth,” said Amnesty’s Donatella Rovera. The group’s behind the report called upon the Coalition forces to “end their denial about the shocking scale of civilian deaths and destruction caused by their offensive” in 2017. (Photo: Amnesty International)
An “unprecedented” new study released on Thursday revealed that the U.S.-led bombing campaign on Raqqa, Syria in 2017—which one military commander at the time claimed was the “most precise air campaign in history”—killed an estimated 1,600 innocent civilians while leveling the city on a scale unparalleled in recent decades.
The research collated almost two years of investigations into the assault on Raqqa, the groups said in a statement, and “gives a brutally vivid account” of the enormous number of civilian lives lost as “a direct result” of thousands of coalition air strikes and tens of thousands of US artillery strikes in Raqqa from June to October 2017. Continue reading →
Staff Sgt. Lorenzo Hernandez, right, practices attaching and removing a second stage regulator on his mask during practical application exercises as part of a hazardous waste operations and emergency response course at Camp Foster, Okinawa. Photo: Stephen D. Himes/USMC
Producing more hazardous waste than the five largest U.S. chemical companies combined, the U.S. Department of Defense has left its toxic legacy throughout the world in the form of depleted uranium, oil, jet fuel, pesticides, defoliants like Agent Orange and lead, among others. Continue reading →
The Trump administration revoked a visa this week for International Criminal Court Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda. (Photo: ICC)
In a move human rights defenders decried as “shameful,” the Trump administration revoked the visa of the International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor this week for trying to investigate alleged war crimes committed by American forces in Afghanistan.
“What we can confirm is that the U.S. authorities have revoked the prosecutor’s visa for entry into the U.S.” Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda’s office said in a statement. The decision, per her office, shouldn’t interfere with her travel to the United Nations headquarters in New York City. Continue reading →
Already seven of the 10 countries in the world with the highest military budgets are in the Middle East. The development of nuclear weapons in Saudi Arabia has many speculating that it could mark the beginning of an even more dangerous era for the war-torn region.
U.S. President Donald Trump’s energy secretary, Rick Perry, has secretly approved the sale of nuclear power technology and assistance to Saudi Arabia, Reutersrevealed this week. Saudi Arabia is reportedly attempting to construct at least two nuclear power plants as part of its effort to diversify its energy sector and its economy as a whole. As part of this plan it has accepted bids from Russia, South Korea and the U.S. for the lucrative contract. Perry’s approval is known as a Part 810 authorization, which allows energy companies to begin the process of planning and starting preliminary work in anticipation of the closing of a formal deal in the future.
While the Saudi proposals are presented as civilian and do not mention nuclear weaponry, U.S. approval and sale of nuclear technology has been seen by many as a prelude to the development of a Saudi nuclear weapon, which could potentially spark a nuclear arms race in the region. Riyadh has long coveted atomic weaponry and has considered developing its own in its quest to maintain military dominance in the region. “If Iran develops a nuclear weapon, that will be unacceptable to us and we will have to follow suit” Prince Turki al-Faisal, former Saudi ambassador to the United States, told the Guardian in 2011, noting that the kingdom may feel “compelled” to pursue the option in the future, if tensions with Iran remain high. Continue reading →
According to the Cambridge Dictionary, a concentration camp is defined as “a place where large numbers of people are kept as prisoners in extremely bad conditions, especially for political reasons.” It is undeniable that the Rukban camp fits this definition to the letter.
The residents of al-Rukban camp suffer from severe humanitarian conditions especially during the winter. There are no heating elements, which forces the children of the camp to build mud houses rather than tents to alleviate the cold weather and storms that hit the area. Photo: Syria Live Map
The United States military has rejected offers to resolve the growing humanitarian crisis in the Rukban refugee camp in Syria, which sits inside a 55 km zone occupied by the U.S. along the Syria-Jordan border. The U.S. has also refused to let any of the estimated 40,000 refugees — the majority of which are women and children — leave the camp voluntarily, even though children are dying in droves from lack of food, adequate shelter and medical care. The U.S. has also not provided humanitarian aid to the camp even though a U.S. military base is located just 20 km (12.4 miles) away.
The growing desperation inside the Rukban camp has received sparse media coverage, likely because of the U.S.’ control over the area in which the camp is located. The U.S. has been accused of refusing to let civilians leave the area — even though nearly all have expressed a desire to either return to Syrian government-held territory or seek refuge in neighboring countries such as Turkey — because the camp’s presence helps to justify the U.S.’ illegal occupation of the area. Continue reading →
An Israeli soldier in the Golan Heights, 2006. (Photo: David Poe, Flickr)
Critics on Thursday swiftly condemned an announcement by President Donald Trump that he believes the U.S. should recognize Israel’s claim over the Golan Heights, the Syrian territory Israel has illegally occupied for over half a century.
“After 52 years it is time for the United States to fully recognize Israel’s Sovereignty over the Golan Heights,” the president said on Twitter, “which is of critical strategic and security importance to the State of Israel and Regional Stability!” Continue reading →
Local residents and analysts alike fear the Saudi-led Coalition is using the relative calm derived from the new agreement as cover to fulfill its military objectives and not as a stepping stone towards peace.
Air strike in Sana’a – 2015. Photo: Ibrahem Qasim [CC BY-SA 4.0]
HODEIDA, YEMEN — Hundreds of residents from across Yemen’s Red Sea port city of Hodeida took to the streets for the third straight day, calling on the United Nations to take action to implement a troop withdrawal deal between the Houthis and the Saudi-led Coalition that was reached on February 19th. Residents waved Yemeni flags, Kalashnikovs, and banners emblazoned with slogans accusing Saudi Arabia and its coalition allies of undermining the agreement and prolonging the suffering of Yemeni children.
Last week, representatives from Yemen’s Houthis and the Coalition agreed to redeploy their militaries to areas outside of Hodeida under a UN-sponsored deal. However, “Phase 1” of the withdrawal plan has yet to progress, as the implementation of the troop withdrawal has yet to take effect. The Houthis accuse the United Arab Emirates (UAE) of obstructing the implementation of the agreement, as indications arise that a return to violence in the flashpoint port city is imminent. Continue reading →
The Hololens is demonstrated at the Penn Museum. (Photo: Penn Libraries-TRL/flickr/cc)
Declaring to chief executives that they refuse “to become war profiteers,” a group of Microsoft workers on Friday demanded the company cancel a contract with the U.S. Army that they say would “help people kill” and turn warfare into a “video game.”
Their open letter is addressed to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and president and chief legal officer Brad Smith, and, according to the “Microsoft Workers 4 Good” Twitter handle, which posted the document, it got over employee 100 signatures in its first day. Continue reading →