Category: Wars and Rumors of War

 photo FamilySurvivalProtocolColliseumBannergrayscale900x338_zpsb17c85d0.jpg
08.10.2015 Author: Vladimir Odintsov


Less than a week ago US Air Force bombed a hospital in Afghanistan that was run by Doctors Without Borders (MSF). At the time of the bombing there were 105 patients and local employees, along with 80 members of MSF personnel in the hospital located in the town of Kunduz. A number of media sources reported that US military command was well aware of the coordinates of the hospital, however, even when the local staff contacted a NATO representative in Kabul and informed him of the attack, bombs were still hitting the area for more than an hour.

On the same day a NATO spokesman described the incident as “side effect” of the US military operation, that allegedly was not targeting the hospital, hence it was “accidentally hit.” Nevertheless, the official failed to provide journalist with details on what exactly the US aircraft was supposed to destroy. After all, according to MSF personnel, at the time of bombing Taliban militants were nowhere near the hospital

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Prince Zeid Ra’ad Zeid Al-Hussein on October 3 urged the international community to carry out a full investigation of the air strikes in question. And if it is to established that the hospital was struck intentionally, it would be only logical to label this act as a war crime. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said that the hospital and its medical staff are protected by international law, and those responsible should answer for this bombing. There’s still hope that war the war criminals behind this attack won’t be able to escape the prosecution easily.

However, one should be reminded this was not the first case of US military committing crimes in Afghanistan and the neighbouring countries. Yet, all investigations of such “acts” have fallen short of punishing those responsible, which only leads to a sharp increase in the level of recklessness shown by Pentagon and US intelligence servicemen.

Read More Here

Mon Oct 5, 2015 12:2AM
A Palestinian man looks at the damage following an Israeli airstrike on a Hamas police facility in Gaza City on September 30, 2015. (AFP)

A Palestinian man looks at the damage following an Israeli airstrike on a Hamas police facility in Gaza City on September 30, 2015. (AFP)

Israeli fighter jets have launched airstrikes on an area in the central Gaza Strip while another Palestinian is shot to death by Israeli troops.

The early Monday attacks, which hit two sites belonging to the armed wing of the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas, were carried out after rockets were allegedly fired from the enclave towards an uninhabited area in southern Israel.

There has been no word on the possible casualties and damage inflicted by those strikes.

Meanwhile, Israeli troops shot dead a Palestinian youth during clashes in the West Bank city of Tulkarem.


Read More Here

 photo FamilySurvivalProtocolColliseumBannergrayscale900x338_zpsb17c85d0.jpg


‘Criticizing Russia alone is unjustified’ – German MP

A poster showing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad (L), Russian President Vladimir Putin (C) and Lebanese Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah is seen on a micro bus in al-Qardahah town, near Latakia city © Khaled al-Hariri
Leaders of the US and the UK have recently slammed Russian airstrikes against Islamic State in Syria, claiming they only make things worse. These allegations are “totally unacceptable,” MP from the Left Party in Germany Wolfgang Gehrcke told RT.

“Just for once I’d like to hear the US president say: ‘Yes, we’ve made a mistake,’ and expiate enmity. What I get to hear instead is insults and allegations addressed at Russia, and this is totally unacceptable.

I’ve never heard the US criticizing the UK or France in a similar way. This is only done towards Russia from the American side. In my view, only to criticize Russia is unjustified,” Gehrcke said in an interview with RT.

Russia started airstrikes on terrorist targets in Syria on Wednesday at the request of President Bashar Assad’s government. The primary objective is to provide air support for Syrian troops fighting Islamic State. Explaining Moscow’s decision to get involved in Syria, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that radicals from many countries, including Russia, have flocked to Iraq and Syria to join the terrorist group. They must be defeated where they are, so that they do not return home with battle experience and ideology adopted in the war zone, the Russian president pointed out.


Read More Here

 photo FamilySurvivalProtocolColliseumBannergrayscale900x338_zpsb17c85d0.jpg


Turkey says ‘no tension’ after Russian airspace violation mistake, NATO cries foul

SU-34 attack plane taking off from the Hmeimim aerodrome in Syria. © Dmitriy Vinogradov
Russia has admitted making a mistake after its warplanes violated Turkey’s airspace. Ankara has accepted the matter, saying there is no ill feeling between the two countries. But NATO has slammed Moscow for what it deemed “irresponsible behavior.”

The incident, which occurred on Saturday, saw Turkey scramble two F-16 jets after a Russian military aircraft crossed into Turkish airspace near the Syrian border.

Ankara also claimed that a MiG-29 fighter jet, which is used by both Russia and Syria, harassed two of its F-16’s on Sunday by locking radar on to them, as they patrolled the Turkish-Syrian border.

“Our position is very clear, we’ll warn any country that violates our borders in a friendly way. Russia is our friend and neighbor. There is no tension between Turkey and Russia in this sense. The issue of Syria is not a Turkish-Russian crisis,” Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told HaberTurk TV, as cited by the Hurriyet Daily, following diplomatic communications between Ankara and Moscow.

“What we have received from Russia this morning is that this was a mistake and that they respect Turkey’s borders and this will not happen again,” Davutoglu added.

The Russian Defense Ministry has said that bad weather caused the incident when Russian combat aircraft violated Turkish airspace.


Russia’s flight into Turkey ‘no accident’

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

US says Moscow strategy in Syria will ‘guarantee more terrorism’.

The US does not believe Russia’s incursion into Turkey’s airspace was an accident, a senior US official said, adding that urgent talks are underway on what to do about the weekend incident.

The official said the event is the type of conduct that US Defence Secretary Ash Carter spoke with the Russian defence minister about during their recent phone call.

Russia has acknowledged a plane entered Turkish airspace, but has said it was an accident.

Secretary of State John Kerry, in Chile for an ocean environmental conference, said the incident could have led to Turkey shooting down the Russian plane.

“We’re very concerned about it… and it is precisely the kind of thing we warned about,” he told reporters, saying Russia has a responsibility to act within international standards.

Speaking at a press conference in Spain, Carter said the US is conferring with Turkish leaders about the airspace violation and that the issue will come up later this week at the Nato meeting of defence ministers.


Read More Here

 photo FamilySurvivalProtocolColliseumBannergrayscale900x338_zpsb17c85d0.jpg


Red Crescent: Nearly 500 Palestinians injured in 3 days

Oct. 5, 2015 7:42 P.M. (Updated: Oct. 5, 2015 10:19 P.M.)

Israeli soldiers east of the West Bank city of Nablus, on October 3, 2015, during a search for the suspected Palestinian killers of a settler couple. (AFP/Jaafar Ashtiyeh/File)

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — At least 499 Palestinians have been injured in clashes with Israeli soldiers and settlers across the occupied Palestinian Territory since Saturday, the Palestinian Red Crescent said on Monday.Spokesperson Errab Foqoha told Ma’an that at least 41 Palestinians had been shot with live rounds, while 143 were injured by rubber-coated steel bullets.She said that some 297 Palestinians had suffered excessive tear gas inhalation, while another 18 were injured when they were physically assaulted.Israeli forces have also killed two Palestinians, including a 13-year-old boy, in fierce clashes that have swept across the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem since Friday.

  photo FamilySurvivalProtocolColliseumBannergrayscale900x338_zpsb17c85d0.jpg
Netanyahu da Putin su Siria con capo intelligence e esercito

Analysis: Russian military role in Syria has implications for Israel, West

  • Putin: We respect Israel’s interests, but are concerned over its attacks on Syria

  • PM underlined to Russia that Israel will continue to protect interests, says Ya’alon

A gun placed on stage in the first act must be fired by the last one. This axiom is attributed to Russian playwright Anton Chekov – the same one whose work Minister of Culture Miri Regev proudly declared she has never read.

Even though it was clear that the extensive military buildup by the Russia Army in Syria was bound to eventually lead to military intervention in the civil war, the first Russian air strikes yesterday were received with a bit of surprise. Yesterday morning the Russia Duma (parliament) approved the use of military force – as if President Vladimir Putin really needed their approval – and yesterday by noon missions were executed near the towns of Homs, Hama, and Latakiya. According to Western sources, the Russians targeted positions of rebel groups opposing the regime of President Bashar Assad, including factions supported by the US. The Russian Ministry of Defense, on the other hand, said that its air force targeted ISIS.

Nevertheless, one can assume that Russia is trying to create a division of labor that is not to the liking of the US and its Arab and Western coalition partners assembled to fight on two fronts: the Assad regime and Islamic State.

The Russian logic is that the US-led coalition will attack ISIS and Russia will attack the rest of the rebel groups. Regardless of whether such a division will be in place de facto, one conclusion is emerging: the big winner of the new situation is Assad and his failed regime.


Read More Here

 photo FamilySurvivalProtocolColliseumBannergrayscale900x338_zpsb17c85d0.jpg
Published on

As Pentagon Shifts Story (Again), MSF Says No Excuse for ‘War Crime’ Against Hospital

‘We are working on the presumption of a war crime,’ said Dr. Joanne Liu, president of MSF International


Gen. John Campbell testifies before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday, October 6, 2015. (Photo: Carolyn Kaster/AP)

Gen. John Campbell testifies  before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday, October 6, 2015. (Photo: Carolyn Kaster/AP)


While testifying before a Senate panel on Tuesday, the commander of U.S. troops in Afghanistan General John Campbell changed—for the fourth time in as many days—the military’s account of its bombing of a Doctors Without Borders (MSF) hospital in the city of Kunduz on Saturday. The shift means Pentagon officials have now described the deadly attack alternately as “collateral damage,” a mistake, the fault of Afghan soldiers, and finally, the work of U.S. Special Forces.

The aid agency, furious with the military’s shifting narrative of the attack that killed 22 people—including 12 staff members and 10 patients—has stated once again its belief that what occurred is nothing short of a “war crime” and argued only a independent, outside investigation could be trusted to probe the incident.

“This attack cannot be brushed aside as a mere mistake or an inevitable consequence of war,” said Dr. Joanne Liu, president of MSF International, in a statement released Tuesday. “Nothing can excuse violence against patients, medical workers and health facilities.”

“Under International Humanitarian Law hospitals in conflict zones are protected spaces. Until proven otherwise, the events of last Saturday amount to an inexcusable violation of this law,” Liu continued. “We are working on the presumption of a war crime.

However, in the four different version of events provided by the U.S., the term “war crime” did not appear once.

In testimony to the Senate Armed Forces Committee delivered Tuesday, General John Campbell said that U.S. Special Forces called in the ground strike and were in direct communication with the aircraft that launched the attack.

“To be clear, the decision to provide aerial fires was a U.S. decision made within the U.S. chain of command,” he said. “A hospital was mistakenly struck. We would never intentionally target a protected medical facility.”

The statements marked a shift from those issued Monday, when Campbell emphasized the role of Afghan commanders in calling in the strike but ultimately indicated that the bombing was justified due to Taliban proximity. “Unfortunately, the Taliban decided to remain in the city and fight from within, knowingly putting civilians at significant risk of harm,” he said.

On Sunday, the military said that the bombing occurred in the vicinity of the hospital, which had accidentally been struck.

On Saturday, U.S. Army Colonal Brian Tribus, spokesperson for U.S. forces in Afghanistan, said that the airstrike was conducted “against individuals threatening the force. The strike may have resulted in collateral damage to a nearby facility.”

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest also avoided using the term “war crime” in statements made Monday, instead calling the incident a “profound tragedy.”

MSF, which says it informed coalition and Afghan officials of its GPS coordinates before and during the attack—to no avail—raised disturbing questions about the bombing. According to the organization, the bombing targeted the intensive care unit, emergency rooms, and physiotherapy ward—leaving surrounding buildings mostly unharmed.

“Statements from the Afghanistan government have claimed that Taliban forces were using the hospital to fire on Coalition forces,” said Liu. “These statements imply that Afghan and U.S. forces working together decided to raze to the ground a fully functioning hospital, which amounts to an admission of a war crime.”

MSF is not alone in sounding the alarm. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said on Saturday, “The seriousness of the incident is underlined by the fact that, if established as deliberate in a court of law, an airstrike on a hospital may amount to a war crime.”

In an interview with Common Dreams, Suraia Sahar, organizer with Afghans United for Justice, emphasized that Saturday’s bombing—while more visible due to MSF’s status as a foreign organization—was “nothing out of the ordinary.”

“Both the U.S. and Afghan forces have a repeated history of faulty intelligence and criminal cover-ups in their military operations in Afghanistan,” said Sahar. “Thanks to MSF’s relentless campaign for an independent investigation, there is a small window of opportunity for them to be held accountable for their complicity in war crimes.”

Meanwhile, the Obama administration is weighing whether to keep thousands of U.S. troops in Afghanistan beyond 2016, defying its own pledge to reduce the presence to 1,000 military personnel for the purpose of embassy security by the end of next year.

In his statements Tuesday, Campbell sought to use this latest attack to bolster the argument for a prolonged U.S. presence. Responding to a question about whether the troop draw-down should continue according to the Obama administration’s initial plan, Campbell said, “I do believe we have to provide our senior leadership with options different from the current plan.”

Media Are Blamed as US Bombing of Afghan Hospital Is Covered Up

New York Times headline corrected

A US-led NATO military coalition bombed a hospital run by international humanitarian aid organization Doctors Without Borders (known internationally as Medecins Sans Frontières, MSF) in Afghanistan, killing at least 22 people—12 staff members and 10 patients, including three children—and wounding 37 more.

AFP, the first network to report the story, in the early hours of October 3, quoted NATO saying, “US forces conducted an air strike in Kunduz city…. The strike may have resulted in collateral damage to a nearby medical facility.”

MSF promptly issued a statement (10/3/15), revealing that it had been “hit several times during sustained bombing and was very badly damaged.” In an update hours later, MSF said it “condemns in the strongest possible terms the horrific bombing of its hospital in Kunduz, which was full of staff and patients.”

The humanitarian organization also indicated multiple times—and in bold capital letters—that “all parties to the conflict, including in Kabul and Washington, were clearly informed of the precise location (GPS Coordinates) of the MSF facilities in Kunduz, including the hospital, guesthouse, office and an outreach stabilization unit.” MSF says the US “repeatedly and precisely” hit the hospital.

Morever, the aid group explained that the “bombing in Kunduz continued for more than 30 minutes after American and Afghan military officials in Kabul and Washington were first informed by MSF that its hospital was struck.” That is to say, the US persisted in bombing a hospital that it explicitly knew before and during the attack was a hospital.

If you read US corporate media coverage of this incident, however, US culpability would likely not be evident. Instead, readers would learn that a hospital was bombed in Afghanistan, and that people died. Who exactly carried out the bombing would not be clear.

cnn us air attack

“Air Attacks Kill at Least 19 at Afghanistan Hospital; US Investigating,” wrote CNN (9/3/15). Who carried out those attacks? Never asked is who else could possibly have bombed the hospital. What other air forces are attacking Kunduz? Did the bombs magically fall from the sky? CNN provides no answer.

“Aerial bombardments blew apart a Doctors Without Borders hospital in the battleground Afghan city of Kunduz about the time of a US airstrike” CNN said. The blowing apart of the hospital just appears to be a temporal coincidence.

fox us investigate airstrike

Fox News‘ headline (10/3/15) reads “US Officials Investigate Airstrike in Afghanistan That Killed at Least 19 at Doctors Without Borders Hospital.”

The New York Times completely rewrote and changed the title of its report on the bombing seven times. Early on October 3, the Times published an article headlined “Airstrike Hits Hospital in Afghanistan, Killing at Least 9.” Minutes later, it changed the headline to “Airstrike Hits Doctors Without Borders Hospital in Afghanistan.” Two hours after, it became “Afghan Hospital Hit by Airstrike, Pentagon Says.” Then “US Investigates After Bombs Hit Afghan Hospital,” before finalizing as “US Is Blamed After Bombs Hit Afghan Hospital.”

The over 20 versions of the article published in the Times‘ website can be seen at the website NewsDiffs, which monitors edits to pieces published in large new outlets. Because the Times changed the web URL for the article when changing the headlines, there are three separate entries on NewsDiffs.

newsdiffs nyt us bombs afghan hospital

Not one of the five New York Times headlines indicated that the US was responsible for the bombing. The final title, “US Is Blamed After Bombs Hit Afghan Hospital,” which was published in print, fails to acknowledge that it was the US who dropped those bombs, which explains why it is blamed.

The New York Times‘ other story (10/4/15), “Doctors Without Borders Says It Is Leaving Kunduz After Strike on Hospital,” was also substantially edited and rewritten numerous times. It’s likewise full of weasel words and quotes from the US government.

The Washington Post (10/4/15) also changed headlines and URLs for its reporting, making it difficult to track. It did choose a title acknowledging the US role in the attack, but attributed it to MSF, writing, “Doctors Without Borders Says US Airstrike Hit Hospital in Afghanistan; at Least 19 Dead.”

AP headlined an article (10/4/15) updating the death toll, “Doctors Without Borders Leaves Afghan City After Airstrike.” The piece says, “A deadly airstrike destroyed its hospital and killed 22 people, as the US and Afghan governments vowed to get to the bottom of the carnage.” Not mentioned is that the US government is responsible for the carnage.

Ambiguous, misleading and even downright dishonest language abounds throughout the coverage. US media spin the story to reflect positively on the culprit; they report that the US is investigating the atrocity, while failing to acknowledge that the US itself is responsible for the atrocity.

This technique is very reminiscent of the loaded language police departments use to downplay police brutality—language that is often repeated verbatim by journalists who just uncritically quote government press releases.

Not all media were as biased in the interest of the Pentagon, however. Even some US news outlets were clear and honest in their reporting.

slate us airstrike

Slate (10/3/15) was one of the few publications to report without the equivocation. “US Airstrike on Doctors Without Borders Hospital in Afghanistan Kills at Least 19,” it said. The next day, Slate (10/4/15) followed up with the piece “Doctors Without Borders Says US May Have Committed War Crime.”

US: We Accidentally Bombed Hospital to Kill Taliban

After the attack, MSF released a statement saying “All indications currently point to the bombing being carried out by international Coalition forces”—that is to say, NATO.

As details became clearer, the media narrative began to shift from one of obfuscation or even denial of the US bombing to one of apologism and justification. When it was obvious that the US and NATO were responsible for killing and wounding scores of people at a hospital, the US and Afghan governments began to fall back on the “human shields” excuse.

A Washington Post article (10/4/15) first titled “Afghan Official: Hospital in Airstrike Was ‘a Taliban Base,’” and subsequently changed to “Afghan Response to Hospital Bombing Is Muted, Even Sympathetic,” quotes Afghan government officials who claimed the “hospital has a vast garden, and the Taliban were there.” Yet MSF’s aforementioned statement makes it clear that the US “repeatedly and precisely” bombed the hospital, not the surrounding areas, which were “left mostly untouched.”

The aid organization also explicitly denied fighters ever being anywhere inside the hospital compound.

In a statement titled “MSF Response to Spurious Claims That Kunduz Hospital Was ‘A Taliban Base,’” the aid organization wrote:

MSF is disgusted by the recent statements coming from some Afghanistan government authorities justifying the attack on its hospital in Kunduz. These statements imply that Afghan and US forces working together decided to raze to the ground a fully functioning hospital with more than 180 staff and patients inside because they claim that members of the Taliban were present.

This amounts to an admission of a war crime. This utterly contradicts the initial attempts of the US government to minimize the attack as “collateral damage.”

There can be no justification for this abhorrent attack on our hospital that resulted in the deaths of MSF staff as they worked and patients as they lay in their beds. MSF reiterates its demand for a full transparent and independent international investigation.

MSF also made it clear that its hospital “is the only facility of its kind in the whole northeastern region of Afghanistan,” and that its “doctors treat all people according to their medical needs and do not make distinctions based on a patient’s ethnicity, religious beliefs or political affiliation.”

Despite MSF’s explicit denial of the allegations, US media continued to reiterate the claims of US and Afghan government officials.

Anonymous US military officials told Fox News (10/3/15) they “regret the loss” of scores of innocent lives, but “say the incident could have been avoided if the Taliban had not used the hospital as a base, and the civilians there as human shields.”

But wait, which was it? Was the bombing an accidental incident of “collateral damage,” as the government claimed at first, and as the media reverberated? Or was it a deliberate attack on the Taliban, who were supposedly firing from the hospital? It can’t be both; the two explanations contradict each other.

The fact that, when MSF’s points—and not just those of the US and Afghan governments—are considered, the human shields argument does not withstand close scrutiny aside, a blatant contradiction emerges in this narrative. The answer to this critical question remains unknown; the government, and the media that so obediently echoes it, do not clarify.

MSF's Kunduz hospital on fire, after being bombed by the US/NATO Photo: MSF

Striking, too, are the similarities to US reporting on Israeli airstrikes. In order to justify bombing hospitals in Gaza, the US-backed Israeli government often claims Palestinian militants use the medical facilities as bases. Israel’s military—which has itself used human shields many times—then says it is justified to bomb hospitals, UN shelters and other civilians areas.

US ally and NATO member Turkey borrowed Israel’s hasbara (public relations) tactic and claimed the same about leftist Kurdish militants in order to justify its killing of Kurdish civilians.

The Wall Street Journal (10/4/15) boldly steered clear of any posturing and openly justified the US bombing of the hospital. The unsigned editorial justified the mass killing of MSF aid workers by shifting the blame onto the Taliban insurgents. It even brought up the specter of Hamas, writing, “Like Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon, the terrorists hide near civilians. These Taliban tactics put the medical personnel and patients at risk.” The piece waxes poetic, and hagiographic; in a moment of undiluted American exceptionalism on blast, the Journal claimed that “no force in the history of warfare has done more to avoid civilian casualties than the American military.”

Remove references to the US and the Taliban in such media coverage, replace it with blanks, and you have a template media can use any time a US ally bombs civilians—A Guide to Defending War Crimes Committed by US Allies: “[Ally] did not actually want to bomb [civilian area], but [enemy] forced it to.”

Double Standards

When US enemies like Russia carry out airstrikes, all nuance is thrown out the window; US media drop their standards and gleefully accuse the enemies of war crimes. Yet when the US and NATO carry out airstrikes, journalists suddenly have a newfound skepticism. Their language immediately becomes ambiguous, their writing unclear; murky passages written in the passive voice are ubiquitous.

Official international bodies have not minced words about the bombing, nevertheless. The UN says the US attack on the Kunduz hospital was “inexcusable and possibly even criminal” (Australia’s ABC, 10/4/15). UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein remarked, “If established as deliberate in a court of law, an airstrike on a hospital may amount to a war crime.”

Wounded MSF staff after the US/NATO bombing of its Kunduz hospital Photo: MSF

MSF said the attack “constitutes a grave violation of international humanitarian law.” The aid group called the bombing a “war crime” and “a grave violation of International Humanitarian Law.”

The humanitarian organization is demanding an investigation “by an independent international body,” not by the US, noting that “relying only on an internal investigation by a party to the conflict would be wholly insufficient.”

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald (Intercept, 10/3/15) pointed out the hypocrisy of the US warning about civilian casualties of Russian airstrikes while it bombs scores of doctors and patients in Afghanistan, a country it has militarily occupied for close to 15 years.

When Russia denies killing civilians in its airstrikes on Syria, US media are suddenly skeptical and thorough; yet when the US government makes the same claims, journalists just recycle its press releases.

Is the job of the media to just uncritically report what favored governments say? Or is it supposed to examine the truth of official claims? If it is supposed to be the latter, US media have abysmally failed in their duties in reporting on the US bombing of MSF’s Kunduz hospital.

Ben Norton is a freelance journalist and writer. His website can be found at and he tweets at @BenjaminNorton.

 photo FamilySurvivalProtocolColliseumBannergrayscale900x338_zpsb17c85d0.jpg

Global Community Report Banner photo FSPLogoGlobalCommunityFulloldworldmapbckgrnd_zps43d3059c.jpg





Occupy Oakland, November 12, 2011, Howard Zinn quotation



The Outer Limits of Empire: A Tomdispatch Interview with Howard Zinn

He’s tall and thin, with a shock of white hair. A bombardier in the great war against fascism and an antiwar veteran of America’s wars ever since, he’s best known as the author of the pathbreaking A People’s History of the United States, and as an expert on the unexpected voices of resistance that have so regularly made themselves heard throughout our history. At 83 (though he looks a decade younger), he is also a veteran of a rugged century and yet there’s nothing backward looking about him. His voice is quiet and he clearly takes himself with a grain of salt, chuckling wryly on occasion at his own comments. From time to time, when a thought pleases him and his well-used face lights up or breaks out in a bona fide grin, he looks positively boyish.

We sit down on the back porch of the small coffee shop, alone, on a vacation morning. He has a croissant and coffee in front of him. I suggest that perhaps we should start after breakfast, but he assures me that there’s no particular contradiction between eating and talking and so, as a novice interviewer, I awkwardly turn on my two tape recorders — one of which, on pause, will still miss several minutes of our conversation (our equivalent, we joke, of Nixon’s infamous 18-minute gap). In preparation, he pushes aside his half-eaten breakfast, never to touch it again, and we begin.

Tomdispatch: You and Anthony Arnove just came out with a new book, Voices of a People’s History of the United States, featuring American voices of resistance from our earliest moments to late last night. Now, we have a striking new voice of resistance, Cindy Sheehan. I was wondering what you made of her?

Howard Zinn: Often a protest movement that’s already underway — and the present antiwar movement was underway even before the Iraq War began — gets a special impetus, a special spark, from one person’s act of defiance. I think of Rosa Parks and that one act of hers and what it meant.

TD: Can you think of other Cindy Sheehan-like figures in the past who made movements coalesce?

Zinn: In the antiwar movement of the Vietnam years, there wasn’t one person, but when I think back to the abolitionist movement, Frederick Douglass was a special figure in that way. When he came north, out of slavery, and spoke for the first time to a group of antislavery people, the beginnings of a movement existed. [William Lloyd] Garrison had already started [his antislavery newspaper] the Liberator, but Frederick Douglass was able to represent slavery itself in a way that Garrison and the other abolitionists could not. His dramatic appearance, his eloquence, provided a special spark for the abolitionist movement.

TD: I guess Cindy Sheehan also represents something that can’t be represented by anyone else, almost, in fact, can’t be represented — the American dead in the war and, of course, her own dead son.

Zinn: It’s interesting. There have been mothers other than Cindy Sheehan who have spoken out, but she decided on an act that had a special resonance, which was simply to find where Bush was going [he chuckles to himself at the thought] and have a confrontation between the two poles of this war, between its maker and the opposition. She just parked herself near Bush and became the center of national attention, of gravity, around which people gathered, hundreds and hundreds of people.


Read More Here

Consortium News

Seen through a night-vision device, U.S. Marines conduct a combat logistics patrol in Helmand province, Afghanistan, April 21, 2013. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Anthony L. Ortiz)

The apparent U.S. slaughter of at least 22 people at an Afghan hospital, including Doctors Without Borders medical staff, is part of the grim reality of indiscriminate death when U.S. Special Forces undertake their secret raids and often toss aside the rules of warfare, reports Nicolas J S Davies.

By Nicolas J S Davies

On Dec. 26, 2009, a U.S. Special Operations team flew from Kabul to Ghazi Khan village in the Narang district of Kunar province. They attacked three houses, where they killed two adults and eight children. Seven of the children were handcuffed before they were shot. The youngest was 11 or 12, three more were 12, and one was 15. Both the United Nations and the Afghan government conducted investigations and confirmed all the details of the attack.

U.S. officials conducted their own inquiry, but no report was published and no U.S. military or civilian officials were held accountable. Finally, more than five years later, a New York Times report on Joint Special Operations Command’s (JSOC) Seal Team 6 named it as the U.S. force involved. But JSOC operations are officially secret and, to all practical purposes, immune from accountability. As a senior U.S. officer told the Times, “JSOC investigates JSOC, that’s part of the problem.”

Accountability for the U.S. attack on the Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz on Saturday, killing at least 22 people, is likely to be just as elusive. The bilateral security agreement that President Karzai refused to sign, but which President Ghani signed in September 2014, provides total immunity from Afghan law for U.S. forces and officials. So whoever should be held legally responsible for the massacre at the hospital will only be subject to accountability under U.S. military and civilian legal systems, which routinely fail to prosecute anyone for similar war crimes.


Read More Here




Doctors Without Borders pulls out of Kunduz after apparent U.S. airstrike

Humanitarian group calls bombing that killed 22 a war crime

CBC News Posted: Oct 04, 2015 9:29 AM ETLast Updated: Oct 05, 2015 8:50 AM ET

  • A hospital run by Médecins Sans Frontières in the Afghan city of Kunduz is seen in flames, after explosions in the city on Saturday, Oct. 3, 2015.
  • A hospital run by Médecins Sans Frontières in the Afghan city of Kunduz is seen in flames, after explosions in the city on Saturday, Oct. 3, 2015. (Médecins Sans Frontières/AP)

The international humanitarian group Médecins Sans Frontières said Sunday it had withdrawn from the northern Afghan city of Kunduz after a deadly airstrike destroyed its hospital and killed 22 people.

The humanitarian crisis in the city, which briefly fell to the Taliban last week before the government launched a counteroffensive, has grown increasingly dire, with shops shuttered because of ongoing fighting and roads made impassable by mines planted by insurgents.

The medical group, also known by its English name Doctors Without Borders, blames the 22 deaths on a U.S. airstrike. Afghan officials said helicopter gunships were returning fire from Taliban fighters who were hiding in the hospital.

But the organization is calling the bombing a war crime, with the executive director of its Canadian division telling CBC News that staff contacted both the U.S. and Afghan forces throughout, but the airstrike continued for another 35 minutes.

“Such attacks against medical facilities are grave breaches of humanitarian law,” Stephen Cornish told CBC News on Sunday. “At the time of this attack our surgery team were operating on a patient on the operating table who [then] died on that operating table.


Read More Here


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,164 other followers