Jason Ditz / AntiWar.com & Reuters & The World Can’t Wait – 2014-11-09 01:41:08
Four Children Killed in Latest Round of US Airstrikes in Syria
Jason Ditz / AntiWar.com
(November 7, 2014) — US airstrikes against the town of Harem, in the Idlib Province of Syria, killed a number of civilians, including at least four children, locals have confirmed. Images of slain children were released via social media.
The Pentagon confirmed the strikes in the area, insisting they were targeting “Khorasan,” which is to say Syria’s Jabhat al-Nusra faction, as Khorasan is a term the US invented to create a distinction other rebels say doesn’t exist.
The number of civilians killed in US airstrikes, particularly in Syria, have grown disturbingly high in recent weeks, though officials continue to refuse to confirm or deny any of the deaths, and would only say that the war is “extremely complex” and that there are risks of civilian deaths.
Early in the air war, the Pentagon announced that its existing rules against targeting areas populated by civilians do not apply in Iraq and Syria, though they have insisted they are taking unspecified measures to limit the number of civilians they killed. Clearly, these measures are not working.
Click here to see the social media image. WARNING: this image is extremely graphic.
Syrian Activists Share Photo of Children
Said Killed in US Strike
BEIRUT (November 7, 2014) — Syrian activists shared a photo on social media on Friday of two children they said were killed in US air strikes on Wednesday night which Washington said targeted an al Qaeda-linked militant faction.
US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki had no comment on the authenticity of the images or whether they might have been caused by US bombing.
“We of course strive to avoid civilian casualties even in this extremely complex operating environment and we recognize the inherent risk in strikes…When any accusations are made or information is brought forward, we would certainly look into that and take it seriously.”
The photo, sent to Reuters by an activist in Idlib province, showed two young children covered in blood and dust. The activist, who asked to remain anonymous, said a total of four children were killed in a strike which hit the town of Harem.
Reuters could not independently confirm the authenticity of the image.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group, which tracks the violence in the civil war, also reported that two children were killed by a US strike in Harem.
The United Nations says that more than 190,000 people have been killed in Syria’s three-year-long civil war. More than 2,000 children under nine are among those killed, it says.
In a statement on Thursday, US Central Command said strikes were carried out against five Khorasan targets near Sarmada in Idlib province, 20 km (12 miles) east of Harem and close to the Turkish border.
“We took decisive action to protect our interests and remove their capability to act,” it said, adding that al Qaeda militants “are taking advantage of the Syrian conflict to advance attacks against Western interests.”
Khorasan is the Islamic term for an area including parts of Pakistan and Afghanistan, where al Qaeda’s council is believed to be in hiding. Khorasan is believed to be a foreign fighter cell in the Nusra Front, al Qaeda’s official Syria wing.
But the US differentiates between Khorasan and the Nusra Front. General Lloyd Austin, the head of the US military’s Central Command, said on Thursday that there were “no strikes conducted against al Nusra”.
A separate Syrian Islamist rebel group, Ahrar al-Sham, said in a statement on Thursday that the air strikes had leveled one of its bases in Idlib province near the Turkish border and also killed civilians including women and children.
The United States has been carrying out strikes in Iraq against Islamic State since July and in Syria since September with the help of allies. Washington did not say it had targeted Ahrar al-Sham.
(Reporting by Mariam Karouny and Oliver Holmes in Beirut; editing by Ralph Boulton)
Stop the Crimes of Your Government: Ground Killer Drones
The World Can’t Wait
(November 7, 2014) — We live in a country whose government murders thousands with drones. The Bush administration detained and tortured suspected terrorists; the Obama administration assassinates them — including US citizens. Professor and Former President of the National Lawyers Guild, Marjorie Cohn will discuss legal, moral, and geopolitical aspects of drone warfare, tonight:
Friday, November 7, 7:30 pm
First Baptist Church, 305 N. California Ave, Palo Alto
sponsored by the Peninsula Peace and Justice Center
With a book-signing, “Drones and Targeted Killing.”
Saturday, November 8, 7:00 pm
Modern Times Books, 2919 24th Street, San Francisco
hosted by National Lawyers Guild San Francisco Bay Area Chapter
Marjorie will also participate in a panel discussion titled
“Whistleblowers and the Independent Media: A Check on Government Power,”
Sunday, November 9, 7:30 pm
St. Johnâ€™s Church, 2727 College Avenue, Berkeley
co-sponsored by NLGSF and Bay Area CODEPINK, hosted by the Coalition for Grassroots Progress
The distinguished panel will include Daniel Ellsberg, Norman Solomon, Trevor Timm and Ahmed Ghappour.
As our nation continues to bomb heavily in Iraq and Syria and as drone strikes around the world continue to kill innocent people, it’s imperative that we refuse to be complacent. We must keep up the pressure on the war profiteers like Honeywell that are driving these policies. â€” Mathias Quackenbush
A regular participant of the weekly CODEPINK-sponsored PEACE Vigil, Mathias initiates Boycott/Divest Honeywell International actions locally.
The “Apple, Sever Your Ties with Honeywell International!” campaign returns
Wednesday, November 12, 12:00 noon
Apple Store, One Stockton Street, San Francisco
We canâ€™t stand to be silent while Apple, a company whose products pervade our life, cooperates with and contributes to the profits of Honeywell International, manufacturer of the engine and certain navigational, guidance and targeting equipment for the MQ-9 Reaper drone. World Canâ€™t Wait joins with BadHoneywell.org to say NO to US military actions that support a global system of corporate exploitation of nonrenewable resources, especially fossil fuels. This plundering is bringing environmental destruction and massively contributing to climate change.
Humanity and the Planet come first. Stop the Crimes of Our Government!
World Can’t Wait – National: http://www.worldcantwait.net 866.973.4463
SF Bay Area Chapter: firstname.lastname@example.org 415.864.5153 http://www.sfbaycantwait.net
Intelligence Gaps in US Air War
As Targeting Rules Loosened
Jason Ditz AntiWar.com
(October 1, 2014) — Though the Obama Administration is continuing to escalate its air war against ISIS in both Iraq and Syria, officials concede that there are significant intelligence gaps on exactly what they’re targeting or who they’re hitting.
The US hasn’t got spotters on the ground at all in Syria, and officials say they’re using surveillance drones and satellite images to try to figure out what’s on the ground, and where.
That’s not a great way to conduct and air war, clearly and has led the US to incidents like Monday’s attacks on grain silos in Syria which they assumed were “jihadist bases.”
It also makes the Pentagon’s claims that no civilians were slain even less credible, since they clearly have no way of confirming who they’re killing. In that respect, the administration has simply loosened the targeting rules, so the Pentagon doesn’t have to worry about it.
President Obama’s high profile May 2013 pledge that no airstrikes would be authorized without “near-certainty that no civilians will be killed or injured” simply doesn’t apply to the new war, according to the White House.
Officials are arguing that the ISIS war is “active hostilities” and that the standard of not killing civilians is not applicable in these cases.
The reality, though, is that the Pentagon simply has no way to have near-certainty without any clue what they’re bombing, and if they abide by that, they couldn’t conduct the air war. When the choice is between not having a war and killing civilians, the administration is going to choose killing the civilians every single time.
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