By Marjorie Cohn for Truthout – The Trump administration began to kill civilians over inaugural weekend, with two drone strikes in Yemen that claimed 10 lives. One drone struck three people on a motorcycle. The other hit seven people riding in a car. Neither Trump nor Defense Secretary James Mattis admits to having approved the strikes. It is not clear who authorized them. One week after his inauguration, Trump bemoaned the death of a US Navy Seal in a botched raid he personally ordered in southern Yemen. Trump made no mention of the 30 people, including at least 10 women and children, killed by the US bombers. The attack badly damaged a health facility, a school and a mosque. Over the past month, the US-led coalition has killed an inordinate number of civilians. “Almost 1,000 non-combatant deaths have already been alleged from coalition actions across Iraq and Syria in March — a record claim,” according to Airwars, a non-governmental organization (NGO) that monitors civilian casualties from airstrikes in the Middle East. “These reported casualty levels are comparable with some of the worst periods of Russian activity in Syria.”
By Ralph Lopez for Hub Pages. On Monday, December 12th, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal in San Francisco will hear arguments in a first–of-its-kind lawsuit against former President George W. Bush, alleging that Bush engaged in a war of aggression against Iraq. “War of aggression” is a crime under the international law which evolved out of the Nuremberg Trials after World War II. The hearing will take up an appeal to a previous dismissal of the case based on a judge’s prior determination that the defendants held immunity if they were acting pursuant to the legitimate scope of their employment as government officials. In response, the plaintiffs argue that waging illegal wars cannot be considered as an activity which is within the legitimate scope of holding office. Also named as defendants in the lawsuit are former vice president Dick Cheney, former secretary of defense Donald Rumsfeld, former national security adviser and secretary of state Condoleezza Rice, former secretary of state Colin Powell, and former deputy secretary of defense Paul Wolfowitz.
By Thomas Escritt for Reuters. Prosecutors at the International Criminal Court in The Hague said on Monday there were preliminary grounds to believe U.S. forces committed war crimes in Afghanistan and at secret detention facilities elsewhere in 2003 and 2004. In a report, prosecutors said there was a “reasonable basis to believe” that U.S. forces had tortured prisoners in Afghanistan and at Central Intelligence Agency detention facilities elsewhere in 2003 and 2004. “Members of US armed forces appear to have subjected at least 61 detained persons to torture,” the prosecutors’ office, wrote. It added that CIA officials appeared to have tortured another 27 detainees. The prosecutors’ office, headed by Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, said it would decide imminently whether to pursue a full investigation. The results of a full investigation could potentially lead to charges being brought against individuals and the issuing of an arrest warrant.
By Albert Bender for People’s World – War crimes are being committed against Native Americans by the Morton County Sheriff’s department in North Dakota. President Obama must take action. I am receiving word that demonstrators are being hooded; there are reports of waterboarding; there are reports of young Native females arrested without cause and strip searched. These are human rights violations that are reminiscent of the atrocities committed by U.S. military forces in Iraq at Abu Ghraib prison in 2003.
By David Bosco for FP – The investigation could expose U.S. personnel to international justice inquiry for the first time. The prosecutor’s office of the International Criminal Court (ICC) is ready to initiate a full investigation of a range of possible war crimes and crimes against humanity in Afghanistan, including some by U.S. personnel, according to several knowledgeable sources. The ICC move would mark the first time that a formal ICC investigation has scrutinized U.S. actions and sets up a possible collision with Washington.
By Marjorie Cohn for Truthout. Sundus Saleh, an Iraqi woman, first filed her lawsuit against George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Condoleezza Rice and Paul Wolfowitz in September 2013. Alleging that the Iraq War constituted an illegal crime of aggression, Saleh filed the suit on behalf of herself and other Iraqis in the US District Court for the Northern District of California. The district court dismissed Saleh’s lawsuit in December 2014, saying the defendants acted within the scope of their employment when they planned and carried out the Iraq War. Saleh then appealed to the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. In her appeal, Saleh is arguing that the Bush officials were acting from personally held convictions that the US should invade Iraq, regardless of any legitimate policy reasons, and that theyknowingly lied to the public when they fraudulently tied Saddam Hussein to al-Qaeda and the threat of weapons of mass destruction.
By Joshua Eaton for the Intercept. In February 2004, U.S. troops brought a man named Ibrahim Awad Ibrahim al-Badry to Abu Ghraib in Iraq and assigned him serial number US9IZ-157911CI. The prison was about to become international news, but the prisoner would remain largely unknown for the next decade. At the time the man was brought in, Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba was finalizing his report on allegations of abuse at Abu Ghraib’s Hard Site — a prison building used to house detainees singled out for their alleged violence or their perceived intelligence value. Just weeks later, the first pictures of detainee abuse were published on CBS News and in the New Yorker. Today, detainee US9IZ-157911CI is better known as Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State. His presence at Abu Ghraib, a fact not previously made public, provides yet another possible key to the enigmatic leader’s biography and may shed new light on the role U.S. detention facilities played in the rise of the Islamic State.
By Andy Wilcoxson for Counter Punch – The International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague has determined that the late Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic was not responsible for war crimes committed during the 1992-95 Bosnian war. In a stunning ruling, the trial chamber that convicted former Bosnian-Serb president Radovan Karadzic of war crimes and sentenced him to 40 years in prison, unanimously concluded that Slobodan Milosevic was not part of a “joint criminal enterprise” to victimize Muslims and Croats during the Bosnian war.
By Dennis J Bernstein for Consurtium News – Leading the charge against the U.S. “drone war” — now a key part of the Pentagon’s forward fighting strategy — is an unlikely individual, Colonel Ann Wright, who spent most of her adult life as a diplomat, working in the U.S. State Department. Colonel Wright reopened the U.S. embassy in Kabul in 2001. But in 2003 she took an action that would transform her life. She resigned her position in opposition to the then-impending U.S. invasion of Iraq. Since then, she has become a full time global peace activist.
By Nick Mottern for Truthout – The 2016 Honeywell shareholder’s meeting was held on a bright, sunny morning in a large auditorium in the firm’s new global headquarters, housed in a stark glass and steel structure on a 40-acre plot in Morris Plains, New Jersey. The building opened in November 2015 with the help of a $40 million gift from New Jersey taxpayers, courtesy of Gov. Chris Christie and the New Jersey legislature. At 10:30 am, on April 25, 2016, Honeywell Chairman and CEO David E. Cote appeared at the podium
By Rachelle Marshall for Foreign Policy In Focus – In the current film “Eye in the Sky,” Helen Mirren plays a British colonel who must decide whether not to authorize an air strike on the headquarters of a group of Shebab terrorists in Kenya who are preparing to carry out a suicide attack in a crowded market place. The problem is that a little girl is selling bread from a stand close to where the terrorists are meeting. If the plotters set off their bomb, scores of innocent people will be killed. If the colonel orders an airstrike on their headquarters the little girl will die.
By Peter Kuzinick and Edu Montesanti for Global Research – Peter Kuznick: It is interesting to me that when I speak to people from outside the United States, most think the atomic bombings were unnecessary and unjustifiable, but most Americans still believe that the atomic bombs were actually humane acts because they saved the lives of not only hundreds of thousands of Americans who would have died in an invasion but of millions of Japanese. That is a comforting illusion that is deeply held by many Americans, especially older ones.
By Lawrence Reichard for Counter Punch – A frail, elderly woman, covered from head to toe in bright, colorful clothing approaches the witness chair. Her face is almost entirely covered. She is no more than five feet tall, and under all that clothing she can’t weigh more than 100 pounds. She sits next to her translator. She speaks only Q’eqchi, one of Guatemala’s 24 officially recognized languages – no Spanish. The witness speaks quietly into a microphone, and her testimony is harrowing.