The War Crimes That Don’t Get Punished

By Ron Paul
Source

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Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) found himself in hot water recently over comments he made in defense of Navy SEAL Edward Gallagher, who faces war crimes charges over his alleged conduct while serving in combat overseas. Gallagher is charged with stabbing a 15 year old ISIS member while in custody, of taking photos posing with the corpse of the teen, and with killing several civilians.

Defending Gallagher recently, Hunter put his own record up next to the SEAL to suggest that he’s an elected Congressman who has done worse things in battle than Gallagher.

That’s where Hunter’s defense earned him some perhaps unwanted attention. While participating in the first “Battle of Fallujah” in early 2007, by Hunter’s own account he and his fellow soldiers killed hundreds of innocent civilians, including women and children. They fired mortars into the city and killed at random.

In the sanitized world of US mainstream media reporting on US wars overseas, we do not hear about non-combatants being killed by Americans. How many times has there been any reporting on the birth defects that Iraqis continue to suffer in the aftermath of US attacks with horrific weapons like depleted uranium and white phosphorus?

Rep. Hunter described his philosophy when fighting in Iraq:

“You go in fast and hard, you kill people, you hit them in the face and then you get out…We’re going to hurt you and then we’re going to leave. And if you want to be nice to America, we’ll be nice to you. If you don’t want to be nice to us, we’re going to slap you again.”

This shows how much Duncan Hunter does not understand about war. When he speaks of hitting people in the face until they are nice to America, he doesn’t seem to realize that the people of Fallujah – and all of Iraq – never did a thing to the US to deserve that hit in the face. The war was launched on the basis of lies and cooked-up intelligence by many of the people who are serving in the current Administration.

And that brings us to the real war criminals. Rep. Duncan Hunter and his fellow soldiers may have killed hundreds of innocent civilians and even felt justified. Their superior officers, after all, established the rules of engagement. Above those superior officers, going up and beyond to the policymakers, the lie was sold to the American people to justify a war of choice against a country that could not have threatened us if it wanted to.

Vice President Dick Cheney knew what he was doing when he kept returning to the CIA headquarters, strong-arming analysts to make the intelligence fit the chosen policy. John Bolton and the other neocons knew what they were doing when they made claims about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction they knew were false. The Pentagon’s Office of Special Plans played its role in selling the lie. So did the media.

Edward Gallagher will face trial and possibly jail for his actions. Rep. Duncan Hunter may even face punishment – though perhaps only at the ballot box – for his admitted crimes. But until those at the top who continue to lie and manipulate us into war for their own gain face justice, the real criminals will continue to go free and we will continue pursuing a suicidal neocon foreign policy.

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No Peace Allowed in Afghanistan — Astute News

Whatever hopes of returning to normal life regular Afghans have had until recently, these days those are all but dissolving like a morning mist. The so-called Afghan reconciliation summit that was to be held in Qatar has been put on the back burner indefinitely. It was envisioned as a separate event, unrelated to the direct talks between the Taliban […]

via No Peace Allowed in Afghanistan — Astute News

Julian Assange Is Being Murdered

By Craig Murray
Source

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We are seriously worried about the condition of Julian Assange. He was too unwell to appear in court yesterday, and his Swedish lawyer, Per Samuelson, found him in a state where he was unable to conduct a conversation and give instructions. There are very definite physical symptoms, particularly rapid weight loss, and we are not satisfied that genuine and sufficient diagnostic efforts are being made to determine the underlying cause.

Julian had been held for the last year in poor, highly confining and increasingly oppressive conditions in the Ecuadorean Embassy and his health was already deteriorating alarmingly before his expulsion and arrest. A number of conditions, including dental abcesses, can have very serious consequences if long term untreated, and the continual refusal by the British government and latterly the Ecuadoreans to permit him access to adequate healthcare while a political asylee was a callous denial of basic human rights.

I confess to feeling an amount of personal relief after his arrest that at least he would now get proper medical treatment. However there now seems to be no intention to provide that and indeed since he has been in Belmarsh his health problems have accelerated. I witnessed enough of the British state’s complicity in torture to know that this may be more than just the consequence of unintended neglect. That the most lucid man I know is now not capable of having a rational conversation is extremely alarming.

There is no rational reason that Assange needs to be kept in a high security facility for terrorists and violent offenders. We are seeing the motive behind his unprecedented lengthy imprisonment for jumping police bail when he entered political asylum. As a convicted prisoner, Assange can be kept in a worse regime than if he were merely on remand for his extradition proceedings. In particular, his access to his lawyers is extremely restricted and for a man facing major legal proceedings in the UK, USA and Sweden it is impossible, even were he healthy, for his lawyers to have sufficient time with him adequately to prepare his cases while he is under the restrictions placed on a convict. Of course we know from the fact that, within three hours of being dragged from the Ecuadorean Embassy, he was already convicted and sentenced to a lengthy prison term, that the state has no intention that his lawyers should be able to prepare.

I have asked before and I ask again. If this were a dissident publisher in Russia, what would the UK political and media class be saying about his being dragged out by armed police, and convicted and sentenced to jail by a judge without a jury, just three hours later, after a farce of a “trial” in which the judge insulted him and called him a “narcissist” before he had said anything in his defence? The Western media would be up in arms if that happened in Russia. Here, they cheer it on.

Below is a photo of Julian in the Embassy in happier times, during the Correa Presidency, with a truly amazing and strong group of people, every one of whose stories we can follow and learn from.

I should add that I am currently trying to see Julian personally with two other close friends, but obviously access is extremely difficult.

Julian’s personal possessions have been seized by the Ecuadoreans to be given to the US government. These include not only computers but his legal and medical papers. This is yet another example of completely illegal state action against him. Furthermore, any transfer must involve the stolen material physically transiting London, and the British government is taking no steps to prevent that, which is yet another of multiple signs of the degree of international governmental coordination behind the flimsy pretence of independent judicial action.

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Julian is imprisoned for at least another five months, even with parole (which they will probably find an excuse not to grant). After that he will be held further on remand. There is therefore no need for rush. The refusal of the Swedish court to delay a hearing on a potential extradition warrant at all, to allow Julian to recover to the extent he can instruct his lawyer, and the very brief postponement of the US extradition hearing in London, with the intimation it may be held inside Belmarsh prison if Julian is too unwell to move, are both examples of an entirely unaccustomed and unnecessary haste with which the case is being rushed forward. The mills of God grind slowly; those of the Devil seem to spin dangerously fast.

Finally, for those who still believe that actions against Julian, particularly but not only in Sweden, are in any way motivated by a concern for justice, particularly justice for violated women, I do urge you to read this excellent account by Jonathan Cook. As a summary of the truly breathtaking series of legal abuses by states against Assange, that the corporate and state media has been deliberately distorting and hiding for a decade, it cannot be bettered.

Washington’s Mighty Warriors: Draft Dodgers and Scoundrels

By Philip Giraldi
Source

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Remember Shakespeare’s line “he jests at scars that never felt a wound?” That epithet could have been written with National Security Advisor John Bolton in mind. Bolton was notoriously a draft dodger during the Vietnam War, like his current boss, not due to any scruples regarding what was occurring, but out of concern for his own sorry ass. He is now credibly believed to be the driving force behind the punishment being meted out to Venezuela and, far more dangerously, of the creeping escalation that is taking place in the Middle East that is seeking to draw Iran into a misstep that would lead to war. Bolton, who has received the “Defender of Israel” award, has long been an outspoken advocate for attacking Iran and now he has the power to do just that.

The psychopaths in the White House have been pretending that the United States “and its allies” are being threatened by Iran, a ridiculous conceit in and of itself as the Persians are hugely outgunned by the local U.S. presence as well as by the weapons in place in the region in the hands of the Saudis and Israelis. Israel is, one might recall, armed to the teeth through the beneficence of the United States and is also the region’s only nuclear armed power by virtue of the theft of U.S. technology and enriched uranium. The Saudis, meanwhile, are about to receive another $8 billion American made weapons due to the “Iranian threat.” That Trump has arranged the arms sale on his own questionable authority as an “emergency response” seems to bother some in Washington and the media, but no one will ultimately do anything about it as everyone inside the Beltway hates Iran due to the assiduous work of the Israel Lobby.

Trump has already sent bombers to the Persian Gulf region as well as an aircraft carrier and he is now adding 1500 more troops because the Iranian threat is reportedly increasing. The alleged threat itself is based on generic Israeli intelligence about what the Iranians might do if they choose to react to U.S. pressure. The intelligence reportedly suggests that there might be attacks on American diplomatic missions in Iraq, which has led to the evacuation of dependents and unnecessary staff from the posts in Baghdad and Irbil. It is also claimed that the Iranians were mounting anti-ship missiles on small coastal vessels to deploy against American warships.

The Pentagon claims that it has photographic evidence of the anti-ship missile threat, but Gareth Porter has demolished the analysis that has been produced by the White House, noting that the truly dangerous missiles are largely shore based and hidden.

The reality is that the Executive Branch of the federal government is essentially contriving a phony war supportive of no conceivable national interest that is based on lies and might even include a “false flag” operation that will condemn Iran for something it did not do. Some have compared it to the lead-up to Iraq, which is a fair judgment, but one has to suspect that the current situation is much worse as a war with Iran is potentially far more damaging to actual American interests than Saddam Hussein ever was. Iran will fight back and has capable defenses, which means Americans, not Israelis or Saudis, will die. So too will many thousands of innocent Iranian civilians. And there will be new trillions of dollars to add to the already crippling war debt being amassed Washington with absolutely nothing to show in return.

If there is any hope on the horizon it might be coming from a number of media reports that President Donald Trump has expressed considerable irritation with the advice he is getting from Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. He reportedly began to see the light when the attempted coup in Venezuela did not develop as planned, resulting in some comments by the president that he had been misled into thinking that the regime change would be “easy.” He has since that time stated that he does not want war with Iran, though his actions would suggest otherwise, and some news reports suggesting that he is unhappy and at odds with Bolton in particular.

Unfortunately the desktop warriors who are currently calling the shots in Washington have no idea what they might be getting into. The only former soldier among them is Pompeo, who is a West Point graduate. He missed Vietnam and has never been involved in actual combat. He is also is a Christian Zionist who welcomes a major war in the Middle East in hopes that it will bring about the second coming of Jesus Christ.

Neither Pompeo nor Bolton has any real understanding that war means death. If Bolton has his way, many thousands will die and the United States will be reviled by nearly the entire world. President Donald Trump for all his self-proclaimed “genius” status does not appear to understand that reality either. For him, megadeaths and national humiliation might mean little more than the numbers on a balance sheet when one is reckoning up the costs of constructing a building.

This impending tragedy must be stopped. Back in 2003, a hundred thousand Americans gathered at the Washington Mall to protest against the drive to invade Iraq. Nothing like that has developed yet, but the people must rise up to demand that the government cease and desist from doing things in their name that do not help a single American but instead only bring death and destruction. Trump promised to do that when he ran for president. It is past time that he fulfill that promise.

Israel Terror-Bombs Syria With Impunity

By Stephen Lendman
Source

Israel partners with all US wars of aggression, notably against Syria, ruling regimes of both countries waging war on the country without declaring it.

What’s been ongoing since March 2011 is all about seeking regime change, wanting Syria colonized and exploited, Iran isolated, the same objective in play against its government — part of the US/NATO/Israeli aim for regional hegemony, the rule of law ignored, the human toll of no consequence.

Russian good faith efforts since 2012 for peace through Geneva, Astana, and Sochi talks failed because the US, Israel, and their imperial partners reject diplomatic conflict resolution. 

It’s why US-led forever wars rage in Syria, Afghanistan, Yemen, and elsewhere, no end of them in prospect.

Israel has been terror-bombing Syrian targets on the phony pretext of countering nonexistent Iranian and Hezbollah threats throughout much of the war.

The only threats the US, NATO, and Israel face are invented ones. Real ones don’t exist so they’re invented to unjustifiably justify naked aggression on nations and groups threatening no one.

Israel admitted launching hundreds of preemptive strikes on Syrian targets. Former IDF chief General Gadi Eisenhkot earlier said “(w)e struck thousands of targets (in Syria) without claiming responsibility or asking for credit.”

In response to two reported rockets from Syria striking illegally occupied Golan, falling harmlessly, Israeli warplanes terror-bombed Syrian targets pre-dawn Sunday.

Throughout the war, no evidence suggests Syrian forces ever targeted Israeli territory. Clearly they’d be nothing to gain and everything to lose.

Attacking Israel would escalate war Damascus is winning and wants ended. Clearly its forces had nothing to do with striking occupied Golan on June 1.

Most likely, US/Israeli supported terrorists were to blame for the incident, giving the Netanyahu regime a pretext for a terror-bombing attack even though it needs none to do whatever it pleases — with full US support and encouragement, with the UN and world community failing to hold it accountable.

According to the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA), on Sunday, “Syrian air defenses have confronted an Israeli attack targeted (on) sites in southwestern Damascus and Quneitra, a military source said,” adding:

“The aggression resulted in the martyrdom of three soldiers and the injury of seven others.” Reportedly most Israeli missiles were downed, some striking intended targets.

An IDF statement said Israeli warplanes and attack helicopters struck Syrian air defense, artillery positions, and “a number of observation and intelligence posts on the Golan Heights front.”

According to Israeli military-connected DEBKAfile, Israeli warplanes “struck Iranian-Hizballah concentrations (sic) near Damascus.

DF admitted that no combat operations were ongoing in the area from which rockets were launched at Golan, suggesting it was false flag attack, perhaps jointly US/Israeli planned to wrongfully blame Syrian forces.

The IDF claim about Syria attacking Israeli military targets is belied by no injuries or damage reported, two reported rockets falling harmlessly, likely in open areas.

If Syrian forces wanted to strike Israeli positions, why were only two rockets involved, why not multiple missiles able to hit targeted sites accurately.

The claim about a Syrian attack is clearly phony. The same goes for falsely blaming Damascus for CW incidents. No evidence throughout the war suggests its forces ever used these banned weapons.

Indisputable evidence proved US supported terrorists used them numerous times, nearly always falsely blamed on Damascus for what it had nothing to do with.

War launched by Obama, escalated by Trump, rages in its ninth year with no near-term prospect for resolution because Washington rejects it.

On May 20, nearly 400 bipartisan House and Senate members called on Trump to “(i)ncrease pressure on Iran and Russia with respect to activities in Syria…to counter Iran’s support for Hezbollah as well as Russia’s support for…Assad…”

They urged tougher (illegal) sanctions and other (hostile) actions on these countries and Hezbollah, claiming nonexistent threats.

They want endless war continued, not ended. So do Trump regime hardliners.

US aggression in Syria follows the same pattern as Afghanistan and Yemen, both wars ongoing since October 2001 — raging endlessly with no prospect for resolution any time soon.

Swedish Sex Pistol Aimed at Assange by Jim Kavanagh + John Pilger: US Charges Against Julian Assange Are Ridiculous! — Dandelion Salad

by Jim Kavanagh Writer, Dandelion Salad The Polemicist May 31, 2019 In my article, Avoiding Assange, a month ago, right after the first US indictment was issued, I addressed two diversionary arguments that I knew would be used by those who want to hide their complicity with American imperialism under leftish cover—that is, those who […]

via Swedish Sex Pistol Aimed at Assange by Jim Kavanagh + John Pilger: US Charges Against Julian Assange Are Ridiculous! — Dandelion Salad

Afghan Children Disabled By War, Victims Twice Over — Rebel Voice

Child victims of war. There can be fewer more abhorrent statements than that. It is terrible to think of any child suffering or dying. But when that pain and death is avoidable, as it is in the case of armed conflict, then surely serious questions must be asked about the overall morality of our species. […]

via Afghan Children Disabled By War, Victims Twice Over — Rebel Voice

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