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Posts Tagged ‘United States’

Soldiers face charges over secret ‘kill team’ which allegedly murdered at random and collected fingers as trophies of war

Chris McGreal in Washington, The Guardian/UK,  Sep 9, 2010

Stryker soldiers who allegedly plotted to kill Afghan civilians.
Andrew Holmes, Michael Wagnon, Jeremy Morlock and Adam Winfield are four of the five Stryker soldiers who face murder charges. Photograph: Public Domain
Twelve American soldiers face charges over a secret “kill team” that allegedly blew up and shot Afghan civilians at random and collected their fingers as trophies.

Five of the soldiers are charged with murdering three Afghan men who were allegedly killed for sport in separate attacks this year. Seven others are accused of covering up the killings and assaulting a recruit who exposed the murders when he reported other abuses, including members of the unit smoking hashish stolen from civilians.

In one of the most serious accusations of war crimes to emerge from the Afghan conflict, the killings are alleged to have been carried out by members of a Stryker infantry brigade based in Kandahar province in southern Afghanistan.

According to investigators and legal documents, discussion of killing Afghan civilians began after the arrival of Staff Sergeant Calvin Gibbs at forward operating base Ramrod last November. Other soldiers told the army’s criminal investigation command that Gibbs boasted of the things he got away with while serving in Iraq and said how easy it would be to “toss a grenade at someone and kill them”.

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Twenty-one American troops have been killed in Afghanistan since Friday in one of the bloodiest periods of the summer.

By Ben Farmer, in Kabul, Telegraph co.uk, August 31, 2010

Afghanistan bomb attacks kill twenty-one US soldiers in 48 hours

A U.S. army medic runs to the scene of a road side bomb explosion in Kandahar province Photo: REUTERS

A series of bomb attacks have badly hit US troops in eastern and southern Afghanistan in the past 48 hours.

The death toll among in the Nato-led coalition has reached 484 this year and is predicted to far surpass 2009’s total of 521.

Deaths have risen consistently each year since 2001. Afghan police and civilians have suffered far higher casualties.

The coalition blames the rise in troop deaths partly on the influx of reinforcements, which is allowing commanders to target previously untouched insurgent safe havens where rebels are mounting stiff resistance.

Gen David Petraeus, senior US and Nato commander in the country, warned last week fighting would “get harder before it gets easier”.

In two of the most deadly recent incidents, three Americans died in eastern Afghanistan on one bomb attack on Tuesday. Five died in a single bomb attack in the south on Monday.

Military spokesmen would not say if the bombs hit vehicles or foot patrols.

Homemade bombs using old shells or homemade explosives and hidden in roads, tracks, walls, streams and buildings have become the Taliban’s favoured weapon.

Their use has sparked an arms race with foreign troops evolving tactics, or relying on more heavily armed vehicles and mine detectors to try and avoid them.

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Several Civilians Among 20 Killed in US Drone Attack

by Jason Ditz, Antiwar.com, August 23, 2010


The Obama Administration’s policy of escalating drone strikes took another hit today, after the explosion from a drone attack against the house of “suspected militants” in North Waziristan also destroyed a neighboring house full of women and children.

The combined toll from the blast was 20 people killed, with at least four women and three children among the slain. At least 13 other civilians were also reported wounded, including a number of other children.

Pakistani intelligence officials say most of the “suspects” killed in the attacks were Afghans, but it is unclear how much evidence they had of wrongdoing. Large numbers of Afghan civilians have been living as refugees in the tribal areas since the 2001 US invasion.

The large numbers of civilians (700 in 2009 alone) killed in the US drone strikes has fueled considerable anti-American sentiment in Pakistan. When pressed during a previous visit Secretary of State Hillary Clinton shrugged off concerns about the civilians, saying only “there’s a war going on.”

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An Open Letter to President Barack Obama

By Arno J. Mayer, Counterpunch, August 9, 2010


Dear Mr. President:

As Commander-in-Chief you have ordered the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier U.S.S. George Washington to carry out major naval exercises off the coast of Japan and the Korean Peninsula before proceeding, most likely, to other exercises in the Yellow Sea, an inlet of the Pacific Ocean between mainland China and the Korean Peninsula to the east. One of the world’s largest warships, the George Washington is accompanied by some 20 armed vessels and submarines, scores of aircraft and helicopters along with thousands of naval, ground, and air personnel.

You have also ordered the deployment of the nuclear-powered U.S.S. Dwight Eisenhower and U.S.S. Harry Truman to cruise or patrol in an open-ended theater of naval operations in the Indian Ocean, the Red Sea, and the Persian Gulf. Both these carriers likewise are hubs of large strike forces consisting of numerous warships, military aircraft, units of the armed services, including special commandos and amphibious landing craft.

Given the scale and reach of this projection of raw military power—reminiscent of the comparatively paltry gunboat diplomacy of a not-so-distant past—I was wondering, Mr. President, whether it wouldn’t be wise for you to give the American people, the United Nations, and the rest of the world a reasoned statement of the need for such an oceanic display of America’s naval, air, soldierly, and electronic might at a time when the United States seems bent on continuing to act as a global policeman in the four corners of the world.

Should you clarify the objectives of American policy it might also be helpful if you could indicate how your policies are in harmony with the letter and spirit of the Nobel Peace Prize, awarded for your “extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples,” which you humbly accepted. Such a reflection would stave off the question as to when and on which of America’s 12 nuclear-powered super-carriers you expect to declare “Mission Accomplished.”

Respectfully yours,
Arno J. Mayer

Arno J Mayer is emeritus professor of history at Princeton University. He is the author of The Furies: Violence and Terror in the French and Russian Revolutions.and Plowshares Into Swords: From Zionism to Israel (Verso).

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Obama says withdrawal is on schedule, but renaming or outsourcing combat troops won’t give Iraqis back their country

Seumas Milne, The Guardian/UK, August 5, 2010

For most people in Britain and the US, Iraq is already history. Afghanistan has long since taken the lion’s share of media attention, as the death toll of Nato troops rises inexorably. Controversy about Iraq is now almost entirely focused on the original decision to invade: what’s happening there in 2010 barely registers.

That will have been reinforced by Barack Obama’s declaration this week that US combat troops are to be withdrawn from Iraq at the end of the month “as promised and on schedule”. For much of the British and American press, this was the real thing: headlines hailed the “end” of the war and reported “US troops to leave Iraq”.

Nothing could be further from the truth. The US isn’t withdrawing from Iraq at all – it’s rebranding the occupation. Just as George Bush’s war on terror was retitled “overseas contingency operations” when Obama became president, US “combat operations” will be rebadged from next month as “stability operations”.

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down to the last trillion in red ink

By Paul Craig Roberts, VDARE.com, July 26, 2010

The White House is screaming like a stuck pig. WikiLeaks’ release of the Afghan War Documents “puts the lives of our soldiers and our coalition partners at risk.”

What nonsense. Obama’s war puts the lives of American soldiers at risk, and the craven puppet state behavior of “our partners” in serving as US mercenaries is what puts their troops at risk.

Keep in mind that it was someone in the US military that leaked the documents to WikiLeaks.  This means that there is a spark of rebellion within the Empire itself.

And rightly so.  The leaked documents show that the US has committed numerous war crimes and that the US government and military have lied through their teeth in order to cover up the failure of their policies. These are the revelations that Washington wants to keep secret.

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Hundreds of civilians killed by coalition troops
• Covert unit hunts leaders for ‘kill or capture’
• Steep rise in Taliban bomb attacks on Nato

• Read the Guardian’s full war logs investigation

US soldier in Afghanistan The war logs reveal civilian killings by coalition forces, secret efforts to eliminate Taliban and al-Qaida leaders, and discuss the involvement of Iran and Pakistan in supporting insurgents. Photograph: Max Whittaker/CorbisA huge cache of secret US military files today provides a devastating portrait of the failing war in Afghanistan, revealing how coalition forces have killed hundreds of civilians in unreported incidents, Taliban attacks have soared and Nato commanders fear neighbouring Pakistan and Iran are fuelling the insurgency.

The disclosures come from more than 90,000 records of incidents and intelligence reports about the conflict obtained by the whistleblowers’ website Wikileaks in one of the biggest leaks in US military history. The files, which were made available to the Guardian, the New York Times and the German weekly Der Spiegel, give a blow-by-blow account of the fighting over the last six years, which has so far cost the lives of more than 320 British and more than 1,000 US troops.

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