The United Nations Security Council recently passed a resolution reminding members that intentional attacks on medical facilities are war crimes.
U.S. forces bombed a Doctors Without Borders-run hospital in Afghanistan last year, destroying it and killing and injuring scores of medical personnel and patients. But the air strike didn't amount to a war crime because it was caused by "unintentional human errors, process errors, and equipment failures," and “other factors,” U.S. military authorities said today.
Doctors Without Borders received an apology from President Barack Obama today for the deadly U.S. bombing of its hospital in northern Afghanistan.
The international medical aid organization released a statement today:
"We reiterate our ask that the U.S. government consent to an independent investigation led by the International Humanitarian Fact-Finding Commission to establish what happened in Kunduz, how it happened, and why it happened," said Dr. Joanne Liu, international president of the group, also known as Doctors Without Borders.
The aid group, also known also as Medecins Sans Frontieres, or MSF, said the proposed commission would gather evidence from the United States, NATO and Afghanistan. After that, the charity would decide whether to seek criminal charges for loss of life and damage.
“If we let this go, we are basically giving a blank check to any countries at war,” MSF International President Joanne Liu told reporters in Geneva. But she noted there was no commitment yet on official cooperation with an independent investigation.
The U.S. air attack Saturday killed 22 patients and medical staffers, including three children, in the northern Afghanistan city of Kunduz, which had been overrun by Taliban militants. Thirty-seven people were injured, including 19 staff members, the charity said.
"ALLY Term for a battlefield fashionista - desirables include having a beard, using a different rifle, carrying vast amounts of ammunition, being dusty and having obscene amounts of tattoos and hair. Special forces are automatically Ally." Read the rest
"In an apparent expansion of the government’s secrecy powers, the top official in charge of the classification system has decided that it was legitimate for the Marines to classify photographs that showed American forces posing with corpses of Taliban fighters in Afghanistan," reports the NYT's Charlie Savage. Read the rest
A Daily Beast story about Taliban’s ruling council meeting for peace talks in Pakistan “violates the basic principles of journalism” and is "nonsense," according to the Afghan Taliban. That's not as bad as having your news organization banned on Reddit, but it's still gotta hurt.
The Taliban's critique, below, in full:
US spy agencies fed "metadata" about a New Zealand journalist's communications to New Zealand's military spies, who were upset that he had reported on human rights abuses against Afghani prisoners of war. Jon Stephenson was writing for McClatchy and "various New Zealand news organisations." The NZ Defense Force later attempted to discredit Stephenson, saying he had invented a visit to to an Afghan base, a claim it retracted after Stephenson brought a defamation suit against it. NZ government is presently pushing legislation to allow its military spies conduct domestic surveillance of NZ citizens, even a leaked NZDF manual discloses that the media are classed with foreign spies and extremist organisations as threats to the state. Read the rest
A Taliban spokesperson sent out a press-release and used CC instead of BCC, exposing a long list of Taliban press-contacts, as well as several parties friendly to Taliban communiques.
The list, made up of more than 400 recipients, consists mostly of journalists, but also includes an address appearing to belong to a provincial governor, an Afghan legislator, several academics and activists, an l Afghan consultative committee, and a representative of Gulbuddein Hekmatar, an Afghan warlord whose outlawed group Hezb-i-Islami is believed to be behind several attacks against coalition troops.
Noah sez, "I thought you would appreciate these giant insects made from repurposed materials (including vehicle parts and bits of a blown up toolbox) by metalworker Ben Marcacci, who is currently at Camp Dwyer in Afghanistan."
Noah is correct.
I started making these types of piece's when I relocated to Camp dwyer (Aug 2011), I had the equipment and scrape material to do so, prior to Dwyer I traveled from base to base. Not being able to work with my first love (metal work) I found myself drawing more and more , but I like 3D, I like building things...so my skills for creating sculpture morphed into collecting "found objects" (soda tab, lock washers, o-rings, AFG coins) and I would build jewelry (mainly earrings) I gave a pair to my girlfriend and sisters, and the they wanted MORE... I continued to make them and I started cannibalizing items I would find in Local afghan bazaars. I'm currently working on a 3rd generation earring.
The Los Angeles Times this week published photographs of US soldiers in Afghanistan posing with the mangled bodies of Afghan men believed to be suicide bombers.
Government officials were quick to condemn the behavior. But today, news that the Pentagon sought to prevent the publication of these images, in a dispute that stretched on for weeks with LA Times editors.
US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta today said, “The reason for that is those kinds of photos are used by the enemy to incite violence, and lives have been lost as the result of the publication of similar photos.”
Only 2 of of the images were published. 16 more were received by the war correspondent who wrote the piece; the paper will not release them.
“They are just awful,” he said, calling the two that were published “the least gruesome.”
Photo: A soldier from the Army’s 82nd Airborne with a dead insurgent’s hand on his shoulder. (Los Angeles Times / April 18, 2012) Read the rest
An elderly Afghan man sits next to the covered bodies of civilians killed by an American soldier in Kandahar province, March 11, 2012. REUTERS/ Ahmad Nadeem
An American soldier is reported to have "stalked from home to home" before dawn, then methodically killed at least 16 civilians including 9 children, and 3 women. One of the dead appears to be a girl of toddler age.
The incident took place in a rural community in southern Afghanistan on Sunday morning. Eleven of the victims were members of one family. Photographs of the bodies circulating online show bullet wounds to the head, execution-style. Five or more additional civilians are reported to have been seriously injured.
"It is not the first time US soldiers have intentionally killed Afghan civilians but the death toll is unprecedented for a single soldier."
Read the rest
A tiny girl in a red and green dress, is she 2 or 3 years old? There's a single gunshot in the middle of her temple. She almost looks asleep.
The killer in Kandahar is described as a "conventional US soldier" by ISAF sources, i.e., not Special Forces. Reuters and locals saying more than one solider involved, but ISAF insisting that this was an "individual acting alone".
From ex-US diplomat,"If you're an Afghan, you've seen a Florida pastor try to burn a Koran, then Marines urinate on dead Taliban soldiers, then burning of the Koran, and now this...
At a cost of nearly $2 billion for two years’ worth of building the Afghan Air Force, the U.S. inadvertently purchased a more convenient mechanism for trafficking opium and weapons than Afghanistan’s drug lords were previously using. But it actually gets worse than that. The aerial trade in guns and drugs through the Afghan Air Force appears to be financing the rearmament of private militias hedging against the country’s implosion after the U.S. leaves.