somewhat of a strong reading…

The massacre in Mosul
James Cogan, WSWS, Mar 27 2017

The Pindo-led “coalition” has admitted that its forces carried out the Mar 17 air strike in Mosul, ostensibly against Daesh, that slaughtered as many as 200 civilians, including numerous children. The admission was only made in the face of evidence provided by survivors to Iraqi journalists, whose accounts were reported by sections of the Western press. The massacre is being described as possibly the largest single death toll inflicted by a coalition air strike since the 2003 invasion of Iraq. The grim reality, however, is that very little is known about the impact of the assault on Mosul, which the Iraqi government began last October under pressure from the Obama administration. Coverage of the offensive has been heavily censored and marked by a propaganda-like character. Almost universally, the fighting has been portrayed as a “heroic” battle by Iraqi forces against the “barbaric” Daesh. Little attention has been given to the fate of hundreds of thousands of civilians trapped inside the besieged city. News of the Mar 17 carnage began filtering out as the Trump administration’s Sec State Tillerson and representatives of 62 other countries gloated in Faschingstein over the “success of the campaign for the lasting defeat of Daesh.” A Mar 22 statement cynically declared:

The Global Coalition (stresses) the need for safeguarding civilians (and applauds) the Iraqi government for protecting civilians in conflict zones.

In fact, the Trump administration let it be known in February that it would sharply escalate the onslaught on Mosul in order to end the fighting, regardless of how many innocent lives were claimed. Unnamed officials told the WSJ that plans included “loosening battlefield restrictions” to “ease rules designed to minimize civilian casualties.” Such plans have clearly been put into effect. The intensity of air attacks has risen dramatically in recent weeks as Iraqi forces have pushed into the western suburbs of the city. According to the Pentagon, close to 1,400 separate munitions were unleashed over two weeks. In a detailed account, the LA Times reported on Friday:

Pindosi pilots describe dozens of strike aircraft circling high above west Mosul, waiting their turn to drop a bomb.

On the weekend, the Pentagon announced that hundreds more troops from the 82nd Airborne Division were being sent to “advise and assist” Iraqi government forces in Mosul. One of the primary roles of such “advisors” is calling in air strikes, drone attacks and artillery bombardments. The Iraqi Observatory for Human Rights reported last weekend it has eyewitness accounts of 3,846 civilian deaths since the assault into western Mosul began in February. It has reports of 10,000 residential homes being destroyed. Every day, thousands of terrified and starving civilians risk their lives to flee through the battle lines to escape the city. The number of refugees has soared to well over 200,000, with more than 10,000 new displaced persons arriving most days. Aid agencies are overwhelmed and warn they will not be able to care for the estimated 400,000 people still hiding out in the city’s Daesh-held areas. Every effort is being made to conceal from the Pindosi and world populations the savage consequences of Pindo-led military operations in the Middle East. A feature of Pindo media coverage on the weekend was the paucity of commentary on the air strike and broader humanitarian catastrophe in Mosul, compared with the immense attention paid to the atrocity committed in London by a lone British-born extremist. To the extent Mosul was mentioned, attempts were made to shift responsibility for the carnage to Daesh. Sen Tom Cotton declared on CBS News:

Ultimately, the blame lays with Daesh. They are the savages that are fighting from civilian locations like apartment buildings, homes, mosques, hospitals, schools and so forth. The blame does not lay with coalition pilots or with Iraqi forces.

The hypocrisy of the Pindo ruling elite knows no limits. Barely months ago, every report of civilian casualties caused by the Russian and Syrian government assault on the Pindo-backed rebel forces in the city of Aleppo was declared a war crime and accompanied by demands for an immediate ceasefire. In Mosul, even greater civilian deaths are dismissed as “unfortunate” and no reason to slow, let alone stop, the offensive. The latest assertions by Pindostan and its vassals continue the deceit surrounding the assault on Mosul and other cities that fell under the control of Daesh in 2014.

The supposed “war against Daesh” has been marked by the flagrant collective punishment of the civilian populations where Daesh established influence. In the first months of 2016, most of the western Iraqi cities of Ramadi and Fallujah were reduced to rubble to “liberate” them. The same policy has guided the attack on Mosul. Above all, the political and media establishment attempt to conceal the fact that the very emergence of Daesh is the direct outcome of the Pindo invasion and occupation of Iraq, followed by the destruction of Libya and the proxy war that Pindostan and its vassals sponsored in Syria. From 2003 on, the conscious policy of the Pindo occupation force in Iraq was to divide and weaken resistance by stoking sectarian tensions between Sunni and Shi’ite communities, which ultimately led in 2006–2007 to a murderous civil war and the deaths of tens of thousands. Millions were displaced from their homes as entire suburbs and cities were “cleansed” by death squads from one sect or the other. Daesh, a movement based on the most reactionary interpretation of Sunni Islam, gained a following by claiming it would defend Sunnis from repression by the Shi’ite-dominated and Pindo-backed government in Baghdad. It gained its strength not in Iraq, however, but in Syria. From 2012, it benefited from the support given by Pindostan, Eurostan, the Toads & the Thanis to Sunni militias fighting Assad. Utilising the bases, weapons and personnel it gained in Syria, Daesh crossed into Iraq in 2013, taking the western Anbar region and capturing Mosul in Jun 2014.

The ruthless campaign against Daesh flows from Pindosi imperialism’s determination to retain its tenuous grip over Iraq against any challenge. For 25 years, successive Pindo administrations have used brutal wars and intrigues to assert their dominance over the oil-rich Middle East, at the cost of millions of lives and incalculable human suffering, especially in Iraq. The stark truth, however, is that the assault on Mosul coincides with the escalation of Pindo attempts to assert dominance in other regions of the globe, against far more significant rivals than a poorly-armed Islamist movement. In Asia, the talk of military action against North Korea has dramatically increased over recent weeks. Conflicts with China are simmering, not only over the Korean Peninsula, but the South China Sea, Taiwan and the Trump administration’s threats of trade war. The Russian regime is increasingly alarmed by the hysteria directed against it in Faschingstein and the provocative military build-up by Pindostan and its NATO vassals on its borders. At the same time, underlying tensions are emerging between Pindostan and its historic competitors for global dominance, such as Germany and Japan. Workers around the world must combine the clear and unambiguous defence of the oppressed people of Iraq and other countries targeted by great power interventions, with the most determined and active struggle against the descent of world capitalism toward open conflict between nuclear-armed or potentially nuclear-armed states.

This is the factual first half of GG’s latest; the second half is full of opinions – RB

Trump’s War on Terror Has Quickly Become as Barbaric and Savage as He Promised
Glenn Greenwald, Intercept, Mar 26 2017

From the start of his presidency, Donald Trump’s “war on terror” has entailed the seemingly indiscriminate slaughter of innocent people in the name of killing terrorists. In other words, Trump has escalated the 16-year-old core premise of Pindostan’s foreign policy, that it has the right to bomb any country in the world where people it regards as terrorists are found and in doing so, has fulfilled the warped campaign pledges he repeatedly expressed. The most recent atrocity was the killing of as many as 200 Iraqi civiliansfrom airstrikes this week in Mosul. That was preceded a few days earlier by the killing of dozens of Syrian civilians in Raqqa province when Pindostan targeted a school where people had taken refuge, which itself was preceded a week earlier by the destruction of a mosque near Aleppo that also killed dozens. And one of Trump’s first military actions was what can only be described as a massacre carried out by Navy SEALs, in which 30 Yemenis were killed. Among the children killed was an 8-year-old Pindosi girl whose 16-year-old Pindosi brother was killed by a drone under Obama. Although precise numbers are difficult to obtain, there seems little question that the number of civilians being killed by Pindostan in Iraq and Syria, already quite high under Obama, has increased precipitously during the first two months of the Trump administration. Data compiled by the site Airwars tells the story. The number of civilians killed in Syria and Iraq began increasing in October under Obama, but has now skyrocketed in March under Trump.

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What’s particularly notable is that the number of airstrikes actually decreased in March (with a week left), even as civilian deaths rose, strongly suggesting that the Pentagon has become even more reckless about civilian deaths under Trump than it was under Obama:

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This escalation of bombing and civilian deaths, combined with the deployment by Trump of 500 ground troops into Syria beyond the troops Obama already deployed there, has received remarkably little media attention. This is in part due to the standard indifference in Pindo discourse to Pindo killing of civilians compared to the language used when its enemies kill people. Compare the very muted and euphemistic tones used to report on Trump’s escalations in Iraq and Syria to the frequent invocation of genocide and war crimes to denounce Russian killing of Syrian civilians. And part of this lack of media attention is due to the Demagogs’ ongoing hunt for Russian infiltration of Faschingstein, which leaves little room for other matters. But what is becoming clear is that Trump is attempting to liberate the Pentagon from the minimal constraints it observed in order to avoid massive civilian casualties. And this should surprise nobody. Trump explicitly and repeatedly vowed to do exactly this during the campaign. He constantly criticized Obama, who bombed seven predominantly Muslim countries, for being “weak” in battling Daesh and AQ. Trump regularly boasted that he would free the Pentagon from rules of engagement that he regarded as unduly hobbling them. He vowed to bring back torture and even to murder the family members of suspected terrorists, prompting patriotic commentators to naïvely insist that the military would refuse to follow his orders. Trump’s war frenzy reached its rhetorical peak of derangement in Dec 2015, when he roared at a campaign rally that he would “bomb the shit out of ISIS” and then let its oil fields be taken by Exxon, whose CEO is now his Sec State. Trump can be criticized for many things, but lack of clarity about his intended war on terror approach is not one of them. All along, Trump’s “solution” to terrorism was as clear as it was simple. As I described it in Sep 2016:

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