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Mistakes Are Not War Crimes – Col. Michael W. Pietrucha, USAF

by Bunk X ( 81 Comments › )
Filed under Afghanistan, Military, Taliban, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy at November 30th, 2015 - 10:13 pm

In this photograph released by Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) on October 3, 2015, fires burn in part of the MSF hospital in the Afghan city of Kunduz after it was hit by an air strike. AFP PHOTO/MSF

The accidental bombing by U.S. forces of a Médecins Sans Frontières hospital in Afganistan last October was a horrible tragedy, a mistake that shouldn’t have happened. The unmarked facility was mis-identified as a Taliban stronghold, apparently due to false “vetting” reports from the ground. Those held responsible have been put on leave pending results of an ongoing investigation.

On 17 November, The United States Naval Institute (USNI) posted an essay entitled “Mistakes Are Not War Crimes” by Col. Michael W. Pietrucha, USAF. Col. Pietrucha brings up some interesting points on the legal definition of the term “war crime,” its intent and history, and how it relates to the destruction of the hospital. Here’s an excerpt:

The facts, as we know them now, are fairly limited. On 28 September, insurgent forces claiming to be Taliban forces overran the Afghan provincial capital of Kunduz. Fighting continued and within days, government forces with U.S. support were attempting to regain control of the city. MSF operates a hospital in Kunduz that includes a trauma center, established in October 2011 in a building long used as a hospital.

On Saturday, Oct. 3, a U.S. Air Force AC-130 gunship struck an MSF medical facility in the Kunduz with a currently undetermined number and type of rounds of ammunition. The airstrike lasted for a substantial amount of time, perhaps exceeding an hour. MSF claims that 30 staff and patients were killed and at least 37 others suffered wounds of varying severity. The main hospital building was subsequently destroyed by fire.

Overhead imagery provided by Terraserver, dated April 2015, reveals that at that time the hospital building was not marked with internationally recognized symbols as a medical facility. The involvement, if any, by the International Committee of the Red Cross in facilitating recognition of the hospital is undetermined. Similarly, there is no widely disseminated video evidence in the public domain that shows any indications that the hospital was marked as such, from any viewpoint, such that its nature might be determined by any combatants.

That’s it. We do not know who precisely requested the fire or for what reason. We do not know the precise rules of engagement or to what degree they were followed. We do not know the number and type of ordnance used or the duration of the attack. The presence of Taliban fighters using the building as a fighting position has been alleged but not confirmed. MSF claims that the hospital location was provided to U.S. government authorities, but has not revealed specifically to whom that data was allegedly provided, nor if a confirmation was received. We have not seen copies of hospital certificates required by the Geneva Conventions. MSF call logs reveal that attempts were made during the attack to contact military authorities, but the logs do not reveal contact, direct or indirect, with any actual unit with command or control of air forces of any kind. We do not know if the aircrew was aware of the presence or location of a hospital. Post-attack video of the hospital, provided by the Associated Press, provides no evidence to contradict evidence suggesting a lack of marking, but the hospital roof was destroyed by fire and its remnants cannot be viewed via ground-level video.

Col. Pietrucha’s analysis is an informative read for anyone who wants to get up to speed before the mainstream media spins it into something it probably wasn’t. (Oh, wait…)

[Image, caption and excerpt from here.]

Pure #evil: Booby-trapped dolls seized in Baghdad; Isis planned bomb blasts during Arbaeen

by 1389AD ( 15 Comments › )
Filed under Iraq, Islamic Terrorism at November 23rd, 2015 - 6:53 pm

Click here, here, and here for a closer view of the above photos.

Click here for a closer view of the above photo.

International Business Times has the story:

The Iraqi police have foiled a major bombing plot in Baghdad, where 18 dolls stuffed with bombs were seized by the security forces, which were meant to be scattered on the roads leading to Karbala during Arbaeen – a Shia Muslim religious observance.

Arbaeen, which this year will be held on December 3, is a Shia religious observance that occurs forty days after the Day of Ashura to commemorate the martyrdom of Husayn ibn Ali, the grandson of Prophet Muhammad.

During Arbaeen at least 20 million people walk to the city of Karbala in Iraq, making it one of the largest pilgrimage gatherings on Earth.

The booby-trapped bombs were discovered by the security forces in al-Husseiniya – a predominantly Shiite suburb in northeastern Baghdad, Kuwait News agency (KUNA) reported.

According to Press TV, Isis was planning to plant the bomb on a roads towards Karbala from Baghdad.
Continue reading…

France and Russia United By A Common Enemy

by coldwarrior ( 213 Comments › )
Filed under Chechnya, Europe, France, immigration, ISIS, Islam, Open thread, Russia, Terrorism at November 18th, 2015 - 6:50 am

I must say, it is nice to see the Euros try to handle a Middle East problem without relying on us.

Russia, France Put Aside Syria Disputes to Strike Islamic State

  • Putin ordered Russian navy to work with French vessels
  • French leader to meet Putin, Obama to discuss Paris response

Russia and France, long at loggerheads over their approach to the war in Syria, took steps toward a united military front against Islamic State in response to the massacre in Paris and the downed plane in Egypt.

President Vladimir Putin instructed the Russian Navy to work with French vessels “as allies” on the same day he vowed revenge for the Oct. 31 downing of a Russian airliner over Egypt that killed 224 people. For the first time, he acknowledged the tragedy was a terrorist attack.

In the aftermath of Europe’s worst bloodshed in a decade, rapprochement with Russia has become a central strand of the Western response to the escalating violence and widening reach of Islamic State. French President Francois Hollande will meet with U.S. President Barack Obama in Washington and Putin in Moscow next week after calling upon both leaders to set aside their differences over Syria and Ukraine and work together.

Obama said on Wednesday while in Manila for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit that the Sinai attack may change Russia’s approach to Islamic State. The U.S. would wait to see whether Russia devoted more airstrikes to the militant group, he said.

“It may be premature to talk about an alliance, we should probably speak of coordination,” said Thomas Gomart, director of the French Institute for Foreign Relations and a Russia expert. “It’s clear the Paris attacks have caused a diplomatic shift in President Hollande’s reading of Russia.”

No Horsetrading

France wants a joint game plan by the end of the week on how to hit Islamic State in Syria harder and more efficiently. French officials said that Hollande has no plans to raise Ukraine with Putin or cut a deal involving any form of trade-off with Syria. The Russians understood that, the officials said on condition of anonymity in line with government policy.

Russia and Western countries have been conducting separate bombing campaigns against militant groups in the ravaged nation.

The U.S. and allies have complained that Russia’s focus has been protecting the regime of President Bashar Al-Assad rather than stopping the advance of Islamic State, which has declared a “caliphate” in parts of Syria and Iraq. Russia says the West’s aversion to Assad has limited the effectiveness of its campaign against extremists.

Putin Shift?

Russia is softening its insistence on protecting Assad after realizing that Assad’s army is unable to hold areas which the Russian air force has swept clear, French officials said.

In Paris, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry held out the prospect that a Syrian ceasefire could come within weeks, allowing a renewed focus on Islamic State. Getting the U.S. and Russia to set aside their mutual mistrust will be a challenge. On Wednesday, Obama described Russia as a “constructive partner” during Syria talks in recent weeks.

The U.S. isn’t actively cooperating with Russia because its military efforts in Syria are intended largely to support Assad, though there are signs of a shift, Defense Department spokesman Peter Cook told reporters Tuesday at the Pentagon. “Recent airstrikes have appeared to have targeted ISIL-controlled areas,” he said. “That’s a good thing.”

MAP: Metrojet Crash
MAP: Metrojet Crash



Islamic State’s assaults on Ankara and Beirut, as well as in Paris and Egypt, happened in swift succession and shaken the leaders into action in spite of lingering differences on goals.

Intensifying Strikes

Russia’s military on Tuesday doubled the number of airstrikes in Syria, sending long-range bombers to strike Islamic State positions, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said. As France carried out new attacks on the Islamic State stronghold of Raqqa on Tuesday, French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told TF1 television the group must be fought to “annihilation.”

Signs of convergence between Putin and the West comes as Russia’s economy stagnates under sanctions imposed in response to his annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea region. After a 90-minute meeting with Obama at the Group of 20 summit in Turkey, heannounced Monday he’s willing to help restructure Ukrainian debt, settling a dispute that has dogged the country’s efforts to rebuild its fragile finances.

Russia’s benchmark Micex stock-market index rose 2.7 percent on Tuesday to its highest level since February as investors bet the country’s economic isolation may ease.

Franco-Russian Relations

Franco-Russian naval cooperation highlights how relations with France have improved since hitting a nadir in the aftermath of Russia’s annexation of Crimea last year. Just three months ago, Hollande’s government canceled the sale of Mistral-class amphibious assault ships to Putin’s navy in protest at Russian actions in Ukraine.

Back in Paris, investigators are far from getting the full picture, including the total number total number of individuals involved in the carnage. A manhunt continues for at least one suspect, Belgian-born Abdeslam Salah, 26.

Police in France conducted 128 raids overnight, continuing a crackdown on suspected extremists throughout the country that began on Sunday. In Belgium, home to the suspected planner of the attacks, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, authorities raised the national terror-alert level and canceled a Belgium-Spain soccer match, citing security concerns.

And officers in the German town of Alsdorf arrested five people on suspicion of involvement in the Paris attacks. Multiple squads of police are conducting searches in the town, which is near the city of Aachen, according to local media.

In Hanover, a soccer game that Chancellor Angela Merkel had been scheduled to attend was canceled, with police saying they had received a bomb threat. The game had been intended to send a signal of solidarity after the Paris attacks.

Meanwhile, the German interior minister, Thomas de Maiziere, said a Syrian passport found next to a suicide bomber in the Paris attacks may have been planted. Reports that the identity in the passport may have been registered in several countries along the so-called Balkan route raise suspicions that it could be an attempt to implicate refugees and “make people feel unsafe,” de Maiziere said.

Offensive and Defensive Lawfare: Fighting Civilization Jihad in America’s Courts

by 1389AD ( 45 Comments › )
Filed under Censorship, Hamas, Jihad, Muslim Brotherhood, Sharia (Islamic Law) at October 29th, 2015 - 7:00 am

On YouTube:

Published on Oct 28, 2015 by securefreedom

FORE MORE INFORMATION SEE: https://www.centerforsecuritypolicy.org/2015/10/26/book-release-offensive-and-defensive-lawfare-fighting-civilization-jihad-in-americas-courts/

Lawfare – the use of litigation and other judicial instruments to achieve policy outcomes – has long been employed by the U.S. progressive movement. In recent years, it has become a favored weapon of the Left’s allies in the Muslim Brotherhood and other parts of the global jihad movement in America.

In particular, organizations in this country that front for the Brotherhood and its Palestinian franchise, Hamas, such as the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), have wielded lawfare both strategically and tactically. Their focus typically involves efforts to create and promote victimization narratives for Islam. They seek to silence their critics and put the American public and policy-makers on the defensive in the face of the global and domestic threat from a jihad or holy war) driven by the dictates of the Islamic supremacist doctrine known as shariah.

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