The U.S.-led coalition has repeatedly demonstrated destructive consequences of its actions. The coalition Air Force regularly strikes residential areas of Mosul, resulting in dozens and even hundreds of civilians casualties. Besides, it was proved that the coalition forces used depleted uranium munitions.
In this regard, on Thursday, the UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Stephen O’Brien, stressed that that the Syrian armed groups and the US-led international coalition should ensure the safety of the population during the upcoming counter-terrorist operation in Raqqa.
He also expressed concern about the fate of 400,000 civilians, who may suffer because of the operation. According to Under-Secretary O’Brien, the UN continues to receive reports that “fighting and air strikes result in deaths and injuries of scores of civilians and damage to civilian infrastructure, including schools, bakeries, markets and water infrastructure”.
In particular, O’Brien drew attention to the air strike that had targeted a school near Raqqa on March 21, as well as the strikes at a bakery and a market in Tabqa on March 22. In addition, on March 27, as a result of the coalition air strike in the same area, several volunteer engineers who visited the Tabqa Dam to evaluate damage were killed.
The majority of the Syrian experts consider that the coalition’s efforts to capture the main ISIS stronghold in Syria is unlikely to lead to any positive results. Considering that the US-led coalition command doesn’t intend to coordinate its plans and actions with the Syrian government, experts predict that the so-called “counter-terrorist” operation will be delayed indefinitely and will lead massive casualties among civilians.
It should be mentioned that during the recent negotiations in Geneva, Syria’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Bashar Ja’afari, said that any U.S. involvement in Raqqa would be illegitimate. He also stressed that the operation would be a direct violation of the sovereignty of Syria.
His opinion was also shared by Stephen O’Brien. He described the current situation in Syria as “one of the largest man-made humanitarian crisis”, that had left hundreds of thousands of people killed and millions injured, while over 5 million people became refugees.
Meanwhile, the Pentagon has recently stated that the coalition command doesn’t intend to change its combat tactics. This is another proof that the coalition ignores and will continue to ignore civilian casualties caused by its air strikes.
Anna Jaunger is a freelance journalist from Inside Syria Media Center.
Human Rights Watch Blasts the FBI’s ‘Terror Informant’ Industry
21st Century Wire says…
After over a decade of the War on Terror, the facade is beginning to crumble for US federal agencies who have been pretending they’ve saved us from countless ‘terror plots’ at home (read the full report by Human Rights Watch below)…
Here is one prime example of the FBI’s Informant Industry – ever since the two Tsarnaev brothers were announced by the FBI as their “prime suspects” in the Boston Bombing which occurred on Monday April 15th, 2013, every major US media network and government agency had assumed (along with President Obama) that these suspects were guilty – based solely a single photograph claiming to place them as fleeing the scene of the alleged bombing. The FBI claimed to not know the names and identities of the brothers when they released their pictures to the world press, pleading, ‘please send us any information relating to these two new faces’. Yes, the FBI lied to the public, and what’s more shocking is that no one pulled them up on it.
21WIRE quickly discovered that not only did the FBI know who BOTH brothers were, but elder brother Tamerlan Tsarnaev had already been recruited by the agency as an informant (his file is likely classified, meaning the public are not allowed to know the real story), and was most likely working for either the FBI or another agency in that capacity. This explains why Tamerlan traveled overseas to Russia to attend the “American Committee for Peace in the Caucasus”, in the summer of 2012, an event that was organised by the Jamestown Foundation – another known CIA front, which is part of a vast network “controlled by Freedom House (George Soros) and linked to the CIA” according to Voltaire Network.
Unfortunately, someone working within law enforcement made sure that Tamerlan could not testify or get this story into a public arena, as reports show clearly that he was apprehended alive, only to be found mutilated and pronounced dead shortly after.
Both US politicians and US media have avoided inquiring into any of these facts surrounding the Tsarnaev case. Worse yet, the DOJ has completely ignored this important aspect the story – as if it never happened at all, as it seeks to indict Tamerlan’s younger brother, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, on terrorist charges.
IMAGE: FBI Informant and alleged bomber, Tamerlan Tsarnaev (Photo: NPR)
The Boston Bombing is only one example. There are countless other examples of how the FBI manufactures its terror plots inside the US, and of how they recruit their new ‘informants’, and even more shamefully, how US politicians and media always provides PR support for these contrived situations.
Below is a damning report released this week by Human Rights Watch. Looks like the FBI have a lot to answer for…
US: Terrorism Prosecutions Often An Illusion
(Washington, DC) –The US Justice Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) have targeted American Muslims in abusive counter terrorism “sting operations” based on religious and ethnic identity, Human Rights Watch and Columbia Law School’s Human Rights Institute said in a report released today.
Many of the more than 500 terrorism-related cases prosecuted in US federal courts since September 11, 2001, have alienated the very communities that can help prevent terrorist crimes.
The 214-page report, “Illusion of Justice: Human Rights Abuses in US Terrorism Prosecutions,”examines 27 federal terrorism cases from initiation of the investigations to sentencing and post-conviction conditions of confinement. It documents the significant human cost of certain counter-terrorism practices, such as overly aggressive sting operations and unnecessarily restrictive conditions of confinement.
“Americans have been told that their government is keeping them safe by preventing and prosecuting terrorism inside the US,” said Andrea Prasow, deputy Washington director at Human Rights Watch and one of the authors of the report. “But take a closer look and you realize that many of these people would never have committed a crime if not for law enforcement encouraging, pressuring, and sometimes paying them to commit terrorist acts.”
Many prosecutions have properly targeted individuals engaged in planning or financing terror attacks, the groups found. But many others have targeted people who do not appear to have been involved in terrorist plotting or financing at the time the government began to investigate them. And many of the cases involve due process violations and abusive conditions of confinement that have resulted in excessively long prison sentences.
The report is based on more than 215 interviews with people charged with or convicted of terrorism-related crimes, members of their families and their communities, criminal defense attorneys, judges, current and former federal prosecutors, government officials, academics, and other experts.
In some cases the FBI may have created terrorists out of law-abiding individuals by suggesting the idea of taking terrorist action or encouraging the target to act. Multiple studies have found that nearly 50 percent of the federal counterterrorism convictions since September 11, 2001, resulted from informant-based cases. Almost 30 percent were sting operations in which the informant played an active role in the underlying plot.
In the case of the “Newburgh Four,” for example, who were accused of planning to blow up synagogues and attack a US military base, a judge said the government “came up with the crime, provided the means, and removed all relevant obstacles,” and had, in the process, made a terrorist out of a man “whose buffoonery is positively Shakespearean in scope.”
The FBI often targeted particularly vulnerable people, including those with intellectual and mental disabilities and the indigent. The government, often acting through informants, then actively developed the plot, persuading and sometimes pressuring the targets to participate, and provided the resources to carry it out.
“The US government should stop treating American Muslims as terrorists-in-waiting,” Prasow said. “The bar on entrapment in US law is so high that it’s almost impossible for a terrorism suspect to prove. Add that to law enforcement preying on the particularly vulnerable, such as those with mental or intellectual disabilities, and the very poor, and you have a recipe for rampant human rights abuses.”
Rezwan Ferdaus, for example, pled guilty to attempting to blow up a federal building and was sentenced to 17 years in prison. Although an FBI agent even told Ferdaus’ father that his son “obviously” had mental health problems, the FBI targeted him for a sting operation, sending an informant into Ferdaus’ mosque. Together, the FBI informant and Ferdaus devised a plan to attack the Pentagon and US Capitol, with the FBI providing fake weaponry and funding Ferdaus’ travel. Yet Ferdaus was mentally and physically deteriorating as the fake plot unfolded, suffering depression and seizures so bad his father quit his job to care for him.
The US has also made overly broad use of material support charges, punishing behavior that did not demonstrate an intent to support terrorism. The courts have accepted prosecutorial tactics that may violate fair trial rights, such as introducing evidence obtained by coercion, classified evidence that cannot be fairly contested, and inflammatory evidence about terrorism in which defendants played no part – and asserting government secrecy claims to limit challenges to surveillance warrants.
Ahmed Omar Abu Ali is a US citizen who alleged that he was whipped and threatened with amputation while detained without charge in Saudi Arabia – after a roundup following the 2003 bombings of Western compounds in the Saudi capital of Riyadh – until he provided a confession to Saudi interrogators that he says was false. Later, when Ali went to trial in Virginia, the judge rejected Ali’s claims of torture and admitted his confession into evidence. He was convicted of conspiracy, providing material support to terrorists, and conspiracy to assassinate the president. He received a life sentence, which he is serving in solitary confinement at the federal supermax prison in Florence, Colorado.
The US has in terrorism cases used harsh and at times abusive conditions of confinement, which often appear excessive in relation to the security risk posed. This includes prolonged solitary confinement and severe restrictions on communicating in pretrial detention, possibly impeding defendants’ ability to assist in their own defense and contributing to their decisions to plead guilty. Judges have imposed excessively lengthy sentences, and some prisoners suffer draconian conditions post-conviction, including prolonged solitary confinement and severe restrictions on contact with families or others, sometimes without explanation or recourse.
Nine months after his arrest on charges of material support for terrorism and while he was refusing a plea deal, Uzair Paracha was moved to a harsh regime of solitary confinement. Special Administrative Measures (SAMs) – national security restrictions on his contact with others – permitted Paracha to speak only to prison guards.
“You could spend days to weeks without uttering anything significant beyond ‘Please cut my lights,’ ‘Can I get a legal call/toilet paper/a razor,’ etc., or just thanking them for shutting our light,” he wrote to the report’s researchers. After he was convicted, the SAMs were modified to permit him to communicate with other inmates. “I faced the harshest part of the SAMs while I was innocent in the eyes of American law,” he wrote.
These abuses have had an adverse impact on American Muslim communities. The government’s tactics to seek out terrorism suspects, at times before the target has demonstrated any intention to use violence, has undercut parallel efforts to build relationships with American Muslim community leaders and groups that may be critical sources of information to prevent terrorist attacks.
In some communities, these practices have deterred interaction with law enforcement. Some Muslim community members said that fears of government surveillance and informant infiltration have meant they must watch what they say, to whom, and how often they attend services.
“Far from protecting Americans, including American Muslims, from the threat of terrorism, the policies documented in this report have diverted law enforcement from pursuing real threats,” Prasow said. “It is possible to protect people’s rights and also prosecute terrorists, which increases the chances of catching genuine criminals.”
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