(ANTIWAR) According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, US airstrikes against al-Ghandour in northern Syria have killed at least 28 civilians, including seven children. The town is near the city of Manbij, which has been a major target of US strikes over the past two months.
This attack is in addition to the other US attacks in and around Manbij in recent weeks, including one Tuesday of last week which was estimated to have killed around 200 civilians. Overall, the US strikes have killed well over 300 civilians since the offensive began in May.
The US-backed offensive in and around Manbij has been going on for two months, with only a part of the city and surrounding area ever captured. The failing offensive on the ground is being overshadowed however, by the US air campaign.
That’s because US airstrikes in and around Manbij have been killing a lot of civilians, and a Tuesday morning salvo against some nearby villages was the worst of all, killing entire families that the US said they “mistook for ISIS fighters.” 56 were reported killed at the time, but ensuing reports suggest that as many as 212 may have died.
President Barack Obama’s administration claims 64 to 116 “non-combatants” have been killed by CIA or United States military drone strikes. The number is preposterously low, and the best evidence yet of how the government propagandizes the public into believing drones are “precise” and rarely kill anyone but targeted “terrorists.”
The casualty counts, along with an executive order on “pre- and post-strike policies,” were released right before Fourth of July weekend, a clear act aimed at ensuring the least amount of attention was given to the administration’s latest effort to conceal the truth of who is killed by targeted assassinations.
On February 12, 2010, U.S. troops conducted a night raid on a compound in Afghanistan’s Paktia province against suspected Taliban insurgents, killing seven civilians — including two pregnant women. They then not only attempted to cover it up, but concocted a horrific story to feed mainstream media in an apparent attempt to avoid being held accountable.
“It has the earmarks of a traditional honor killing,” an unidentified “senior U.S. military official” told CNN shortly afterward, claiming special operations forces discovered three women “hidden in an adjacent room” of the building, bound, gagged, and shot to death, as they were securing the compound after killing the insurgents. NATO also claimed in a press release at the time that international forces had made the “gruesome discovery.”
As reported Tuesday, an early morning US airstrike against the city of Shadadi killed 15 civilians outside a bakery. This incident was the start of a flurry of US airstrikes in Syria’s northeast which, over the past 48 hours, have left at least 38 civilians dead, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
Three villages near Shadadi were targeted early Thursday morning, killing another 15 civilians, including three children, while eight more civilians were killed in airstrikes elsewhere around the region. A separate strike in the town of al-Houl did manage to kill 35 ISIS fighters, however.
Over the last month or so, there’s been a bit of a flurry of U.S. military members with conscience coming forward to tell the truth about incidents or practices they deem unethical.
For example, just last month, four former drone operators came forward to denounce the program publicly, coupled with a letter addressed to President Obama. As noted in the post, Drone Whistleblower Claim – Pilots Often High on Drugs; Refer to Children as “Fun Size Terrorists”:
– Israeli soldiers ‘deliberately fired’ at civilians during Gaza war – NGO (RT, May 4, 2015):
Israeli soldiers were ordered to ‘fire at every person you see’ during the Gaza war, while civilian areas were deliberately targeted with inaccurate weapons, a report by the Israeli group Breaking the Silence NGO asserts.
Breaking the Silence, an NGO run by former Israeli soldiers, spent eight months after Operation Protective Edge ended interviewing more than 60 Israeli servicemen from the army, navy and air force up to the rank of major. The result is 237-page report.
– President Obama To Explain How A CIA Drone Strike Killed US/EU Hostages In January – Live Feed (ZeroHedge, April 23, 2015):
A U.S. drone strike in January targeting a suspected al Qaeda compound in Pakistan inadvertently killed an American and Italian being held hostage by the group, senior Obama administration officials said. As WSJ reports, the killing of American development expert Warren Weinstein and Italian aid worker Giovanni Lo Porto is the first known instance in which the U.S. has accidentally killed a hostage in a drone strike. We await President Obama’s ‘collateral damage’ explanation.
President Obama is due to speak at 10amET…
The mishap represents a major blow to the Central Intelligence Agency and its covert drone program in Pakistan, which President Barack Obama embraced and expanded after coming to office in 2009.
The incident also underscores the limits of U.S. intelligence and the risk of unintended consequences in executing a targeted killing program which, according to human rights groups, endangers civilians. U.S. officials say the strikes are needed to combat al Qaeda. To mitigate the risks, officials say the CIA won’t launch missiles at a suspected target if they know civilians are present.
– Israeli tank strikes on Gaza hospital kill 4, scores injured – medics (RT, July 21, 2014):
Four Palestinian’s have been killed and dozens wounded after an Israeli tank shell hit the third floor of Al-Aqsa hospital in central Gaza, according to a Health Ministry spokesman.
Ashraf Al-Qidra said that the third floor housed an intensive care unit and operating theaters. Other shells had fallen around the hospital, he added, with officials calling on the Red Cross to help evacuate patients.
A doctor at the hospital, Fayez Zidane, told the station that shells hit the third and fourth floor as well as the reception area.
“There is still shelling against the hospital,” he said speaking to AP. He said he found bits of a rocket, presumably from one of the projectiles.
– ‘Shejaia massacre’ in Gaza prompts urgent UN Security Council meeting (RT, July 20, 2014)
NBC Pulls Veteran Reporter After Witness To Gaza Kids Murder
Democracy Now interview with Glenn Greenwald
– Reporter Exposing War Crimes Gets Pulled From NBC News (Veterans Today, July 19, 2014):
NBC is facing questions over its decision to pull veteran news correspondent Ayman Mohyeldin out of Gaza just after he personally witnessed the Israeli military’s killing of four Palestinian boys on a Gaza beach. Mohyeldin was kicking a soccer ball around with the boys just minutes before they died.
He is a longtime reporter in the region. In his coverage, he reports on the Gaza conflict in the context of the Israeli occupation, sparking criticism from some supporters of the Israeli offensive.
– 250 civilians killed in Ukraine’s Lugansk during last two months – OSCE (RT, July 19, 2014):
At least 250 civilians were killed and over 850 wounded in June and July in the opposition-controlled city of Lugansk, which is besieged by the Ukrainian military, the daily report by the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission said.
According to the report, the observers met with members of Lugansk emergency first aid brigade on Thursday.
“The doctors said that in June and July alone there were 250 killed and 850 wounded in the Lugansk region,” the document published Saturday said.
– Facts All US Citizens Need to Know About Israel and Palestine (Washington’s Blog, July 12, 2014):
- Gaza (along with the West Bank and East Jerusalem) is occupied Palestinian territory under international law, determined by the vast majority of the world, as well as the highest court in the world, the UN’s International Court of Justice. Gaza cannot commit aggression against Israel, since Israel is in constant and continual commission of illegal aggression against Palestine by occupying it (illegally and sadistically blockading it and frequently committing terrorism against its civilians, including by targeting them with chemical weapons provided by US taxpayers – see “Rain of Fire” by Human Rights Watch). As documented by Amnesty Int’l, Human Rights Watch, and many others, Israel intentionally targets and murders civilians, including children, en masse.
- Israel also kidnaps and tortures children, including by keeping them in outdoor cages, over night, in winter.
- But, even ignoring international law and that Gaza is under illegal Israeli occupation, Gaza did not initiate this current round of violence; Israel did:
- Western/US/Israeli propaganda says the violence started with the kidnapping and killing of three Israeli youths on June 12th. That is a lie:
- On May 20th, the Israeli government murdered 2 unarmed Palestinian teens, one on video, and wounded a third.
- The firing of pathetic scrap metal rockets from impoverished Gaza, which have killed no one, were in fact launched in response to earlier Israeli bombings, killings, assassinations, and arrests of Palestinians, including children.
– UN: 356 killed, incl 257 civilians, in E. Ukraine military campaign (RT, June 18, 2014):
At least 356 people, including 257 civilians, have died since the beginning of the “anti-terrorist” operation in Ukraine’s eastern regions of Lugansk and Donetsk, according to UN calculations. There were 14 children among the dead.
The results prepared by the UN special commission in Ukraine have been presented by Gianni Magazzeni, head of European Department of the Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights.
According to Magazzeni, the final body count includes 257 civilians (of them 14 children), 11 more died in Mariupol plus two staff members of Voda Donbassa company . The remaining 86 victims are the servicemen of Ukrainian army, including several dozen paratroopers and nine crew members of Ilyushin-76 who died in the recent plane crash not far from Lugansk airport.
– Meet Directive 3025.18 Granting Obama Authority To Use Military Force Against Civilians (ZeroHedge, May 29, 2014):
While the “use of armed [unmanned aircraft systems] is not authorized,” The Washington Times uncovering of a 2010 Pentagon directive on military support to civilian authorities details what critics say is a troubling policy that envisions the Obama administration’s potential use of military force against Americans. As one defense official proclaimed, “this appears to be the latest step in the administration’s decision to use force within the United States against its citizens.” Meet Directive 3025.18 and all its “quelling civil disturbances” totalitarianism…
– Over 60% of US drone targets in Pakistan are homes – research (RT, May 25, 2014):
The CIA has been bombing Pakistan’s domestic buildings more than any other targets over the past decade of the drone war launched by the US, says the latest research by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism.
Almost two thirds, or over 60 percent, of all US drone strikes in Pakistan targeted domestic buildings, says joint research conducted by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism (BIJ), a London-based non-profit news group, along with Forensic Architecture, a research unit based at Goldsmiths University, London, and Situ Research in New York.
– Blackwater Guards Finally to be Tried for Killing 14 Iraqi Civilians (AllGov, April 13, 2014):
One of the darkest episodes during the U.S. occupation of Iraq last decade is finally resulting in the prosecution of private American security guards who killed more than a dozen Iraqi civilians in a single incident.
The name Blackwater became famous after the 2007 event in which guards from the security firm’s Raven 23 unit opened fire in Baghdad’s Nisour Square on September 16. The shootings, which the Iraqi government said were unprovoked, killed 14 people and wounded 20 others.
The guards claimed they came under attack from insurgents while carrying out their duties for the State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service (DSS), which had hired the firm that has since undergone multiple name changes (Blackwater Worldwide, then Xe Services, now Academi).
– ‘Trigger-happy’ Israeli army and police use reckless force in the West Bank (Amnesty International, Feb 27, 2014):
Israeli forces have displayed a callous disregard for human life by killing dozens of Palestinian civilians, including children, in the occupied West Bank over the past three years with near total impunity, said Amnesty International in a report published today.
The report, Trigger-happy: Israel’s use of excessive force in the West Bank, describes mounting bloodshed and human rights abuses in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) as a result of the Israeli forces’ use of unnecessary, arbitrary and brutal force against Palestinians since January 2011.
In all cases examined by Amnesty International, Palestinians killed by Israeli soldiers did not appear to be posing a direct and immediate threat to life. In some, there is evidence that they were victims of wilful killings, which would amount to war crimes.
– U.S. Military Changes Drone Rules To Make Targeting Of Civilians Easier (Liberty Blitzkrieg, Dec 7, 2013):
The drone issue is just another topic in which President Barrack Obama has proven himself to be a world-class liar and master of deception. Despite his claims that drone strikes do little damage to civilian populations, in July we discovered that “of the 746 people killed in drone strikes in Pakistan from 2006-2009, an incredible 20% were civilians and 94 (13% of the total) were children.”
I suppose that number just isn’t good enough, because The Pentagon has decided to change the rules of engagement when it comes to drone strikes, now making it easier to target civilians.
From The Washington Times:
The Pentagon has loosened its guidelines on avoiding civilian casualties during drone strikes, modifying instructions from requiring military personnel to “ensure” civilians are not targeted to encouraging service members to “avoid targeting” civilians.