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United States Wars, News and Casualties

United States Wars, News and Casualties

The dead & suffering children of Iraq.

Iraq Children by The McGlynn

Published 11 years ago

War News

AP: Ex-Blackwater contractor sentenced to life in Iraq shootings

WASHINGTON (AP) — A former Blackwater security contractor was sentenced Wednesday to life in prison for his role in the 2007 shooting of unarmed civilians in Iraq that left 14 people dead.

Federal judge Royce Lamberth issued the sentence after a succession of friends and relatives requested leniency for Nicholas Slatten, who was found guilty of first-degree murder by a jury in December.

Prosecutors charged that Slatten, 35, was the first to fire shots in the September 2007 massacre of Iraqi civilians at a crowded traffic circle in Baghdad. In all, 10 men, two women and two boys, ages 9 and 11, were killed.

The defense had argued that Slatten and other Blackwater contractors opened fire only after they saw what they mistakenly thought was a potential suicide car bomber moving quickly toward their convoy.

Defense attorney Dane Butswinkas described Slatten as “a person of high integrity” whose family members had served in the U.S. military for four generations.

Several of Slatten’s supporters openly accused prosecutors of scapegoating an innocent man in order to placate Iraqi public opinion. The shootings strained U.S.-Iraqi relations and focused intense international scrutiny on the extensive use of private military contractors in Iraq.

In 2014, a jury convicted Slatten and three other contractors — Paul Alvin Slough, Evan Shawn Liberty and Dustin Laurent Heard— who were part of a four-vehicle convoy that was protecting State Department personnel in the area. An appeals court overturned that conviction, saying Slatten should have been tried separately from the three other men.

Slatten, of Sparta, Tennessee, was retried last summer, but a mistrial was declared after the jury couldn’t reach a unanimous verdict. A subsequent jury convicted him of murder in December 2018.

Slatten’s father, Darrell, paused in addressing the judge to speak directly to his son, who sat largely impassive in a beige prison jumpsuit.

“Nick, please accept my apology for what your country has done to you,” he said. “We will fight until hell freezes over to correct this travesty of justice.”

Slatten himself told the judge that he was a victim of an “unjust prosecution” and that government lawyers cared more about producing a conviction than uncovering the truth of what happened in Baghdad 12 years ago.

“This is a miscarriage of justice and it will not stand,” he said.

But Judge Lamberth, in issuing the life sentence, dismissed much of the family’s claims that Slatten was a scapegoat for international political considerations.

“The jury got it exactly right,” he said. “This was murder.”

NYT: 63 Killed as Explosion Turns Kabul Wedding Into Carnage

KABUL, Afghanistan — An explosion ripped through a packed wedding hall in Kabul late on Saturday evening, killing 63 people and wounding 182, a spokesman for Afghanistan’s Interior Ministry said.

The spokesman, Nasrat Rahimi, said the blast, which local news media reports said was probably caused by a suicide bomber, had occurred near the stage in the wedding hall.

Photos from inside the hall showed wrecked tables and bodies strewn all over. Videos by witnesses showed panic outside as wailing family members looked for their loved ones.

“It was a sudden explosion inside; all my brothers, I can’t find any of them,” one young man, covered in blood, says in a video circulating on social media.

“The explosion was huge,” said Muhibullah Zeer, a Health Ministry official who was at the nearby Istiqlal hospital. “We are busy with collecting the data and shifting the wounded to hospitals. We don’t know how many were killed and how many were wounded.”

The Dubai City Wedding Hall is in the west of the Afghan capital, a neighborhood inhabited by ethnic Hazaras, who are largely Shiite.

The neighborhood has seen repeated suicide bombings in the past couple of years targeting so-called soft targets with minimal security, like mosques and education centers. Most of those previous attacks targeting Shiites have been claimed by the Islamic State, a Sunni extremist group that has kept a small but stubborn foothold in the country over the past few years.

The attack comes despite high security across Kabul, with preparations underway for the country’s celebration of the 100th anniversary of repelling an invasion by the British.

The attack also comes as the United States is nearing a deal with the Taliban, still responsible for the bulk of the insurgent violence, that could represent the beginning of an end to the 18-year American presence in the country.

Many Afghans have been skeptical of that imminent deal, negotiated between Taliban and United States officials over nine rounds of talks behind closed doors in the Persian Gulf state of Qatar. Despite American assurances, many Afghans fear that the fragile country could see further deterioration if the troop withdrawal is not gradual enough to test the Taliban’s genuine interest in reconciliation.

NYT: Major Players Shaping Troubled Afghanistan’s Future

KABUL, Afghanistan — Saturday night’s devastating attack on a wedding in Afghanistan’s capital comes amid huge uncertainty about the country’s future. The United States and the Taliban say they are nearing a deal to end America’s longest conflict, one that has lasted a generation and left tens of thousands dead. The U.S.-Taliban talks have sidelined the government in Kabul, which is increasingly frustrated.

Meanwhile, the growing prominence of the local Islamic State group’s affiliate, which claimed responsibility for the wedding attack, has raised fears that whatever peace the U.S. and Taliban might broker will not stop the killings of Afghan civilians.

Here is a look at the major players in the country:

UNITED STATES

It has been nearly 18 years since the U.S. invaded Afghanistan in the wake of the 9/11 attacks to topple the Taliban-led government that harbored al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, and now President Donald Trump is eager to bring the troops home. More than 2,400 U.S. service personnel have died. The military says some 14,000 troops remain in the country after a presence that spiked to roughly 100,000 under President Barack Obama. Their combat mission formally ended in 2014 but they continue to train the Afghan military and conduct strikes on the Islamic State group and the Taliban.

For nearly a year, U.S. envoy Zalmay Khalilzad has been negotiating with the Taliban on issues including a U.S. troop withdrawal and Taliban guarantees that would keep Afghanistan from again becoming a launch pad for global terror attacks.

THE TALIBAN

The extremist group ruled Afghanistan for five years, imposing their harsh interpretation of Islamic law before the U.S.-led invasion, and many worry it might return in some form under an agreement with the U.S. The Taliban now control roughly half of Afghanistan and are at their strongest since their 2001 defeat. Their attacks have become so frequent and deadly that the Afghan and U.S. governments now keep military casualty figures confidential. The Taliban refuse to negotiate with the Afghan government, calling it a puppet of the U.S. While the group’s political leaders have spoken of allowing limited women’s rights and protecting civilians in talks with a range of Afghan representatives earlier this year, no one knows how many of the group’s tens of thousands of fighters will follow them. Some fear that fighters unhappy with a deal with the U.S. could join other extremist groups such as IS instead.

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GUARD: UK receives report documenting Saudi cover-up of unlawful Yemen airstrikes

Comprehensive independent analysis will add pressure after June ruling that UK arms sales to Saudi Arabia are unlawful

The aftermath of a Saudi-led airstrike on Houthi positions in Yemen in November 2017.

The aftermath of a Saudi-led airstrike on Houthi positions in Yemen in November 2017. Photograph: Yahya Arhab/EPA

An international law group has submitted new evidence to the UK government alleging that the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen has covered up evidence of its unlawful airstrikes on civilian targets.

The allegations will put pressure on the UK government as it prepares its response to a court order directing it to reconsider all existing British government licences to export arms to Saudi Arabia for use in Yemen.

In June the UK court of appeal said the previous method of granting new licences, largely depending on assurances from the Saudi government, was inadequate. The government is expected to provide its response next month in a move with big ramifications for future UK-Saudi relations.

A 288-page report submitted to the international trade secretary, Liz Truss, by the Global Legal Action Network (GLAN) and UK law firm Bindmans contains witness testimony as well as crater and bomb-fragment analysis from scores of strikes carried out by the coalition. It is the most comprehensive independent analysis of the Saudi bombing campaign compiled so far.

The report says the attacks appear to violate international humanitarian law by “targeting civilians and civilian infrastructure”.

The evidence was largely compiled by Mwatana, an independent Yemeni human rights group. In many cases, its evidence, gathered very soon after Saudi bomb strikes, directly contradicts the post-strike investigations conducted by the Saudi-led coalition.

Mwatana, seen as impartial by the UN, has field researchers operating in 21 out of Yemen’s 22 governorates.

Saudi-led airstrikes on Houthi positions in Sana’a in September 2016.

Saudi-led airstrikes on Houthi positions in Sana’a in September 2016. Photograph: Yahya Arhab/EPA

The evidence collated in the report was obtained by Arron Merat, a journalist and Commons researcher. It is also being submitted to the Commons committee on arms export controls.

“This evidence shows not only that Riyadh is targeting Yemeni civilians but that it is covering them up with whitewash ‘investigations’,” Merat said.

“What’s worse is that the British government says that it bases its decisions on whether or not to approve arms sales to Saudi Arabia on information provided to it by Saudi Arabia.”

Bush’s Five Big Lies That Led to the Iraq Quagmire

These are the five lies Bush told that Ralph Nader documented to impeach him.

  • Weapons of Mass Destruction. The weapons have still not been found. Nader emphasized, “Until the 1991 Gulf War, Saddam Hussein was our government’s anti-communist ally in the Middle East. We also used him to keep Iran at bay. In so doing, in the 1980s under Reagan and the first Bush, corporations were licensed by the Department of Commerce to export the materials for chemical and biological weapons that President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney later accused him of having.” Those weapons were destroyed after the Gulf War. George W. Bush’s favorite chief weapons inspector, David Kay, after returning from Iraq and leading a large team of inspectors and spending nearly half a billion dollars told the president We were wrong. See: David Kay testimony before Senate Armed Services Committee, 2004-01-28.Tyler Drumheller, the former chief of the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) ’s Europe division, revealed that in the fall of 2002, George W. Bush, Vice President Cheney, then-National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice and others were told by CIA Director George Tenet that Iraq’s foreign minister — who agreed to act as a spy for the United States — had reported that Iraq had no active weapons of mass destruction program.

  • Iraq Ties to Al Qaeda. The White House made this claim even though the CIA and FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) repeatedly told the Administration that there was no tie between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda. They were mortal enemies — one secular, the other fundamentalist.

  • Saddam Hussein was a Threat to the United States. In fact, Saddam was a tottering dictator, with an antiquated, fractured army of low morale and with Kurdish enemies in Northern Iraq and Shiite adversaries in the South of Iraq. He did not even control the air space over most of Iraq.

  • Saddam Hussein was a Threat to his Neighbors. In fact, Iraq was surrounded by countries with far superior military forces. Turkey, Iran and Israel were all capable of obliterating any aggressive move by the Iraqi dictator.

  • The Liberation of the Iraqi People. There are brutal dictators throughout the world, many supported over the years by Washington, whose people need liberation from their leaders. This is not a persuasive argument since for Iraq, it’s about oil. In fact, the occupation of Iraq by the United States is a magnet for increasing violence, anarchy and insurrection

Leading To War – The Complete Film

Damn The War Criminals,

Bush,Cheney,Rice,Rumsfeld,Wolfowitz, Powell and Blair from England

Recent Casualties:

Color Denotes Today’s Confirmation

DOD Identifies Marine Casualty

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a Marine who was supporting Operation Inherent Resolve.

Gunnery Sergeant Scott A. Koppenhafer, 35, of Mancos, Colorado, died August 10, 2019, after being engaged by enemy small arms fire while conducting combat operations. This incident is under investigation.

Koppenhafer was assigned to the 2nd Marine Raider Battalion, Marine Forces Special Operations Command, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.

DOD Identifies Army Casualties

The Department of Defense announced today the deaths of two soldiers who were supporting Operation Freedom’s Sentinel.

Both soldiers died July 29, 2019, in Tarin Kowt, Uruzgan Province, Afghanistan, as a result of wounds sustained in a combat related incident. The incident is under investigation.

The deceased are:
Pfc. Brandon Jay Kreischer, 20, of Stryker, Ohio.
Spc. Michael Isaiah Nance, 24, of Chicago, Illinois.

Both soldiers were assigned to 1st Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Inherent Resolve.

Sgt. William Edward Friese, 30, from Rockport, West Virginia, died July 18, 2019 in Camp Buehring, Kuwait, from a non-combat related incident. The incident is under investigation.

Friese was assigned to 821st Engineer Company, 1092nd, Engineer Battalion, 111th Engineer Brigade, Summersville, West Virginia.

War Casualties By Name

Save The Children Organization

Save the Children is the world’s leading independent organisation for children and has been working with families, communities and local authorities in Iraq since 1991, leading NGOs in general relief and development programs.Save the Children is currently responding to the needs of internally displaced persons (IDP) and the Syrian refugees in Iraq, in camps and non-camp settings. Our goal is for children in Iraq to be supported in raising their voices and attaining their rights, especially the right to participate in decisions affecting their lives. They should have access to quality education, health and protection services. We are increasing access to community based services that protect, educate and improve quality of life for children. We are ensuring that there is an increased participation of boys and girls in age appropriate activities and services. We are ensuring that children benefit from government actions that create an environment of awareness and accountability to uphold child rights. We are also developing new resources and innovative practices that support our work for children and youth.In Iraq, Save the Children’s interventions include Child Protection, Education, Food Security and Livelihoods, Shelter and Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), reaching vulnerble children and families in northern and central Iraq. Save the Children’s programs are implemented through field offices in Erbil, Dohuk, Sulaymaniyah, Kirkuk and Kalar, with a country office located in Erbil.

Visit Save The Children Organization>>

Syria War Child

Please Never Forget

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