Covering Up the Massacre of Mosul

Exclusive: When Russia and Syria killed civilians in driving Al Qaeda forces out of Aleppo, U.S. officials and media shouted “war crimes.” But the U.S.-led bombardment of Iraq’s Mosul got a different response, notes Nicolas J S Davies.

By Nicolas J S Davies

Iraqi Kurdish military intelligence reports have estimated that the nine-month-long U.S.-Iraqi siege and bombardment of Mosul to oust Islamic State forces killed 40,000 civilians. This is the most realistic estimate so far of the civilian death toll in Mosul.

U.S. soldiers fire an M109A6 Paladin from a tactical assembly area at Hamam al-Alil to support the start of the Iraqi security forces’ offensive in West Mosul, Iraq, Feb. 19, 2017. (Army photo by Staff Sgt. Jason Hull)

But even this is likely to be an underestimate of the true number of civilians killed. No serious, objective study has been conducted to count the dead in Mosul, and studies in other war zones have invariably found numbers of dead that exceeded previous estimates by as much as 20 to one, as a United Nations-backed Truth Commission did in Guatemala after the end of its civil war. In Iraq, epidemiological studies in 2004 and 2006 revealed a post-invasion death toll that was about 12 times higher than previous estimates.

The bombardment of Mosul included tens of thousands of bombs and missiles dropped by U.S. and “coalition” warplanes, thousands of 220-pound HiMARS rockets fired by U.S. Marines from their “Rocket City” base at Quayara, and tens or hundreds of thousands of 155-mm and 122-mm howitzer shells fired by U.S., French and Iraqi artillery.

This nine-month bombardment left much of Mosul in ruins (as seen here), so the scale of slaughter among the civilian population should not be a surprise to anybody. But the revelation of the Kurdish intelligence reports by former Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari in an interview with Patrick Cockburn of the U.K.’s Independent newspaper makes it clear that allied intelligence agencies were well aware of the scale of civilian casualties throughout this brutal campaign.

The Kurdish intelligence reports raise serious questions about the U.S. military’s own statements regarding civilian deaths in its bombing of Iraq and Syria since 2014. As recently as April 30, 2017, the U.S. military publicly estimated the total number of civilian deaths caused by all of the 79,992 bombs and missiles it had dropped on Iraq and Syria since 2014 only as “at least 352.” On June 2, it only slightly revised its absurd estimate to “at least 484.”

The “discrepancy” – multiply by almost 100 – in the civilian death toll between the Kurdish military intelligence reports and the U.S. military’s public statements can hardly be a question of interpretation or good-faith disagreement among allies. The numbers confirm that, as independent analysts have suspected, the U.S. military has conducted a deliberate campaign to publicly underestimate the number of civilians it has killed in its bombing campaign in Iraq and Syria.

Propaganda Campaign 

The only rational purpose for such an extensive propaganda campaign by U.S. military authorities is to minimize the public reaction inside the United States and Europe to the killing of tens of thousands of civilians so that U.S. and allied forces can keep bombing and killing without political hindrance or accountability.

Nikki Haley, United States Permanent Representative to the UN, denounces alleged Syrian war crimes before the Security Council on
April 27, 2017 (UN Photo)

It would be naive to believe that the corrupt institutions of government in the United States or the subservient U.S. corporate media will take serious steps to investigate the true number of civilians killed in Mosul. But it is important that global civil society come to terms with the reality of the destruction of Mosul and the slaughter of its people. The U.N. and governments around the world should hold the United States accountable for its actions and take firm action to stop the slaughter of civilians in Raqqa, Tal Afar, Hawija and wherever the U.S-led bombing campaign continues unabated.

The U.S. propaganda campaign to pretend that its aggressive military operations are not killing hundreds of thousands of civilians began well before the assault on Mosul. In fact, while the U.S. military has failed to decisively defeat resistance forces in any of the countries it has attacked or invaded since 2001, its failures on the battlefield have been offset by remarkable success in a domestic propaganda campaign that has left the American public in near-total ignorance of the death and destruction U.S. armed forces have wreaked in at least seven countries (Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Somalia and Libya).

In 2015, Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) co-published a report titled, “Body Count: Casualty Figures After 10 Years of the ‘War On Terror’.” This 97-page report examined publicly available efforts to count the dead in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, and concluded that about 1.3 million people had been killed in those three countries alone.

I will examine the PSR study in more detail in a moment, but its figure of 1.3 million dead in just three countries stands in striking contrast to what U.S. officials and corporate media have told the American public about the ever-expanding global war being fought in our name.

After examining the various estimates of war deaths in Iraq, the authors of Body Count concluded that the epidemiological study headed by Gilbert Burnham of Johns Hopkins School of Public Health in 2006 was the most thorough and reliable. But just a few months after that study found that about 600,000 Iraqis had probably been killed in the three years since the U.S.-led invasion, an AP-Ipsos poll that asked a thousand Americans to estimate how many Iraqis had been killed yielded a median response of only 9,890.

So, once again, we find a vast discrepancy – multiply by about 60 – between what the public was led to believe and a serious estimate of the numbers of people killed. While the U.S. military has meticulously counted and identified its own casualties in these wars, it has worked hard to keep the U.S. public in the dark about how many people have been killed in the countries it has attacked or invaded.

This enables U.S. political and military leaders to maintain the fiction that we are fighting these wars in other countries for the benefit of their people, as opposed to killing millions of them, bombing their cities to rubble, and plunging country after country into intractable violence and chaos for which our morally bankrupt leaders have no solution, military or otherwise.

(After the Burnham study was released in 2006, the Western mainstream media spent more time and space tearing the study down than was ever spent trying to ascertain a realistic number of Iraqis who had died because of the invasion.)

Misguided Weapons

As the U.S. unleashed its “shock and awe” bombardment of Iraq in 2003, one intrepid AP reporter spoke to Rob Hewson, the editor of Jane’s Air-Launched Weapons, an international arms trade journal, who actually understood what “air-launched weapons” are designed to do. Hewson estimated that 20-25 percent of the latest U.S. “precision” weapons were missing their targets, killing random people and destroying random buildings across Iraq.

At the start of the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, President George W. Bush ordered the U.S. military to conduct a devastating aerial assault on Baghdad, known as “shock and awe.”

The Pentagon eventually divulged that a third of the bombs dropped on Iraq were not “precision weapons” in the first place, so altogether about half of the bombs exploding in Iraq were either just good old-fashioned carpet bombing or “precision” weapons often missing their targets.

As Rob Hewson told the AP, “In a war that’s being fought for the benefit of the Iraqi people, you can’t afford to kill any of them. But you can’t drop bombs and not kill people. There’s a real dichotomy in all of this.”

Fourteen years later, this dichotomy persists throughout U.S. military operations around the world. Behind euphemistic terms like “regime change” and “humanitarian intervention,” the aggressive U.S.-led use of force has destroyed whatever order existed in at least six countries and large parts of several more, leaving them mired in intractable violence and chaos.

In each of these countries, the U.S. military is now fighting irregular forces that operate among civilian populations, making it impossible to target these militants or militiamen without killing large numbers of civilians. But of course, killing civilians only drives more of the survivors to join the fight against Western outsiders, ensuring that this now global asymmetric war keeps spreading and escalating.

Body Count’s estimate of 1.3 million dead, which put the total death toll in Iraq at about 1 million, was based on several epidemiological studies conducted there. But the authors emphasized that no such studies had been conducted in Afghanistan or Pakistan, and so its estimates for those countries were based on fragmentary, less reliable reports compiled by human rights groups, the Afghan and Pakistani governments and the U.N. Assistance Mission to Afghanistan. So Body Count‘s conservative estimate of 300,000 people killed in Afghanistan and Pakistan could well be only a fraction of the real number of people killed in those countries since 2001.

Hundreds of thousands more people have been killed in Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Libya, Palestine, the Philippines, Ukraine, Mali and other countries swept up in this ever-expanding asymmetric war, along with Western victims of terrorist crimes from San Bernardino to Barcelona and Turku. Thus, it is probably no exaggeration to say that the wars the U.S. has waged since 2001 have killed at least two million people, and that the bloodshed is neither contained nor diminishing.

How will we, the American people, in whose name all these wars are being fought, hold both ourselves and our political and military leaders accountable for this mass destruction of mostly innocent human life? And how will we hold our military leaders and corporate media accountable for the insidious propaganda campaign that permits rivers of human blood to keep flowing unreported and unchecked through the shadows of our vaunted but illusory “information society”?

Nicolas J S Davies is the author of Blood On Our Hands: the American Invasion and Destruction of Iraq.  He also wrote the chapters on “Obama at War” in Grading the 44th President: a Report Card on Barack Obama’s First Term as a Progressive Leader.

86 comments for “Covering Up the Massacre of Mosul

  1. occupy on
    August 31, 2017 at 22:34

    “Fourteen years later, this dichotomy persists throughout U.S. military operations around the world. Behind euphemistic terms like “regime change” and “humanitarian intervention,” the aggressive U.S.-led use of force has destroyed whatever order existed in at least six countries and large parts of several more, leaving them mired in intractable violence and chaos.”

    This, of course, was exactly what the Oded Yinon Plan coming out Israel in 1982 called for. Create chaos in the Middle East by toppling anti-Israel, Arab heads of state in the Middle East. Nothing would be left but extreme Muslim sects fighting among themselves. A ‘greater Israel’ would inevitably emerge and probably be appreciated to bring ‘order’ to the area. SUCH narcissistic sociopaths lead Zionism!

  2. August 25, 2017 at 15:30

    It seems we’re approaching Nurenburg numbers but its echoes have long since been silenced, other than in memorials by people, too many of whom don’t understand that every life is sacred.

    • Susan Sunflower
      August 27, 2017 at 16:27

      According to testimonies gathered by Amnesty International from former abductees, witnesses and relatives of those forcibly disappeared, thousands of men, women and children fleeing from the area of Saqlawiya on the morning of 3June 2016 were met by armed individuals carrying machine guns and assault rifles. Witnesses identified the armed men as members of the PMU, based on emblems on their uniforms and flags.

      The armed men separated women and younger children from an estimated 1,300 men and older boys considered to be of fighting age. They took these men and boys to buildings, garages and abandoned shops in the nearby area, confiscating their identity documents, phones, rings and other valuables. Later, armed men bound their hands behind their backs, in most cases using plastic cuffs.

      At sunset, several buses arrived and, together with a large truck already stationed there, transported a portion of the detainees. The fate of the men and boys who boarded these vehicles remains unknown.

      (according to last night’s news on RT, the Iraq Army mercifully allowed several hundred men, women, and children to flee into the desert at Tal Afar — “highly irregular” — beats instituting another “highway of death” for retreating ISIS families — we really act as if the average ISIS family were somehow superhuman in threat compared to their neighbers).

      More ISIS children found in the orphanages in Iraq have been reunited with the Russian families of their (presumed deceased) Jihadi parents.

      • Susan Sunflower
        August 27, 2017 at 16:38

        We kicked off the GWOT with a massacre … actually two.

        he Dasht-i-Leili massacre occurred in December 2001 during the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan when, depending on the sources, between several hundred to several thousand Taliban prisoners were shot and/or suffocated to death in metal shipping containers while being transferred by Junbish-i Milli soldiers under the supervision of forces loyal to General Rashid Dostum[1][2][3] from Kunduz to Sheberghan prison in Afghanistan. The site of the graves is believed to be in the Dasht-e Leili desert just west of Sheberghan, in the Jowzjan Province.[4][5]

        Some of the prisoners were survivors of the Battle of Qala-i-Jangi in Mazar-i-Sharif. In 2009 Dostum denied the accusations.[6][7][8] According to all sources, many of the prisoners died from suffocation inside the containers, and some witnesses claimed that those who survived were shot. The dead were buried in a mass grave under the authority of Commander Kamal. Those who participated in the burial included Commander Taher Charkhi, who voices no regret for their deaths. “Thousands should have died, not hundreds,” he has said.[9] Some witnesses later alleged that U.S. troops were present.

        Wikipedia: Dasht-i-Leili_massacre

        Although this massacre occurred consqcutive to the massacre 75 or more prisoners at the fort of Mazar Al Sharif (Walker-Lindh was captured in that attack on prisoners confined to the fort’s outdoor courtyard by snipers on the castle walls … mention of the masscre that followed is not linked or mentioned in 3 related wikipedia entries. unsurprising. There were Americans, CIA on the ground …

  3. August 22, 2017 at 13:09

    If only Americans cared … it could be a thousand times the death toll reported and they would not care. They are happy to focus on the civillian deaths caused by their enemies. They do care about one death in a protest and will march and focus on it incessantly. But the millions of brown people who are fodder for US bombs… that’s not racism.

    • Sam F
      August 23, 2017 at 06:52

      Yes, the boundaries of sympathy are controlled by mass media oligarchy, which has no sympathy, and draws the line at the US border. The people actually feel safer when those beyond the border are dying, even without a fictitious foreign monster to punish.

      A novel on efforts to educate by expanding the boundaries of sympathy, which became the “them” of an even smaller “us”:

  4. August 22, 2017 at 06:42

    “the laws of war” really?
    The Maniacs of Militarism
    “War is madness” – Pope Francis

    The maniacs of militarism are creating wars
    Countries are bombed by warmongering whores
    Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen and other countries too
    Are hell holes of the earth, “The work,” of this insane crew

    Enabled by politicians in positions of power
    These well dressed war criminals hide and cower
    The generals salute their political masters
    Then the brainwashed obey these bemedaled disasters

    Cities are destroyed and reduced to rubble
    Where are the perpetrators that created all this trouble?
    They are residing in luxury and given fancy titles
    War crimes trials are needed, and are so vital

    But this is not happening: the system is corrupted
    And these evil beings, by some are worshiped
    Blood-soaked villains that never do the fighting
    They are the “experts” that do the inciting

    They are the producers of death and destruction
    Others are profiteers of all the bloody actions
    Missiles, bombs and horrendous weapons
    There is no end to the endless aggression

    Millions are dead, and millions are homeless
    Millions are refugees, and all this is atrocious
    Once they had jobs, families, and homes as well
    Then their countries were bombed by the agents from hell

    Setting the world on fire is what these war arsonists do
    The money for their depredations comes from me and you
    They have made us all accessories to their criminal acts
    Our Taxes are the blood money and that is a fact

    Will the people ever say: “We have had enough”?
    And put all these villains in secure handcuffs
    Then lock them up in maximum security prisons
    Then, we can say “goodbye” to the maniacs of militarism…

    [more info at link below]

  5. August 22, 2017 at 06:34

    Inventing our own destruction? See link below:
    Killer robots: Experts warn of ‘third revolution in warfare’
    21 August 2017

    Those in favour of killer robots believe the current laws of war may be sufficient to address any problems that might emerge if they are ever deployed, arguing that a moratorium, not an outright ban, should be called if this is not the case.

    However, those who oppose their use believe they are a threat to humanity and any autonomous “kill functions” should be banned….

    [read more at link below]

  6. Vishwas
    August 22, 2017 at 00:58

    Civilians death collateral damage to uproot global ISIS threat. Besides, USA dropping thousands of bombs and missiles must be all old stock and used Syria war as ‘stock clearance’ to make place for the new advanced weapons.

  7. fudmier
    August 21, 2017 at 23:42

    Gary unless you have been elected to, and currently hold, one of the 527 elected, salaried positions in the USA, you are not among the we. Just as the pharaohs separated their slaves into two groups: the members of one group, the slave drivers, were elected by the entire collective body of slaves: so the pharaohs successfully applied divide and conquer strategy to mange their slaves; after division it was easy to pit one group against the other group: elected slave drivers vs ordinary slaves SDvOS This divide and conquer strategy allowed a very few pharaohs to control a large mass of slaves.
    Americans have been separated by a constitution into [527 paid slave drivers, with all of the downward power and authority of the Pharaoh] and [340,000,000 ordinary slaves, with no power at all from either the top or the bottom]. Additionally, the constitution further divided both groups [SDers and OS] into 50 (states) separate groups, resulting in sufficient confusion to assure propaganda and culture can switch between organizational chaos and when needed, unity to meet emergencies. The carrot directed, goat led wagon so to speak.

    Pharaohs expect their slaves to engage in war and atrocities such as you refer to, for many reasons. mostly to enhance the security or increase the wealthy of pharaoh. Pharaohs use propaganda mediated crowd control (force, separation and license) technologies as well as thought manipulation (information sanction and expression suppression (ISES)) strategies to accomplish their purposes.
    Use a Tor Browser and as your search engine.

  8. August 21, 2017 at 22:00

    One can only conclude that we are a nation of war criminals. We cut the German people no quarter for “allowing” the Nazis to conduct their warfare and atrocities, yet Americans of all political persuasions seem to claim we are simply helpless to stop the ongoing carnage that is our nation’s foreign policy. The amount of blood on my hands and on your hands for simply paying our Federal income taxes year after year is likely almost incalculable. Their is no moral equation I’m aware of that allows one to rationalize the fact that you and I pay for this carnage, while having the option of refusing to do so. Of course we would face consequences for refusing to pay taxes. We could lose our home, our belongings, we could even end up in prison. However, refusing to face these consequences, while continuing to fund our empire’s mayhem, offers no moral shelter for any of us. None of us should be sleeping soundly at night, and all of us should be planning our response.

    • Sam F
      August 23, 2017 at 06:43

      While citizen responsibility for the acts of a corrupt government is difficult to determine, especially where the government neutralizes and destroys dissenters so that mere dissent is ineffective, you are right to use it to motivate action to depose oligarchy and restore democracy.

  9. mike k
    August 21, 2017 at 21:42

    I hope all of Trump’s fans are enjoying his teleprompter dictated speech tonight on how his beloved military handlers are going (one more time) to “win” the war in Afghanistan, the “graveyard of empires.” The drama in Trump’s otherwise boring Presidency, is provided by the uncertainty as to what stupid and dangerous move he and his idiot crew will perpetrate next. Sit back folks and enjoy the show, and learn how an empire destroys itself, with the help of it’s increasingly insane “leaders.” Among other things in this scripted speech, he has picked a fight with Pakistan, whose nuclear capabilities make North Korea’s look like a child’s erector set.

    • Susan Sunflower
      August 22, 2017 at 09:11

      They still haven’t told us what “victory” means …. will there be a star in the eastern night sky?

      • mike k
        August 22, 2017 at 16:25

        Lets hope that star is not a hydrogen bomb.

        • mike k
          August 22, 2017 at 16:29

            And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
              Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

  10. Susan Sunflower
    August 21, 2017 at 21:12

    Oh, and here’s Cockburn’s grim assessment of what this victory will mean for Iraq and ISIS. (from last spring)

    “Iraqi government ‘made a mistake’ by attacking Mosul before capturing Isis sanctuaries
    Endgames: inside Iraq In his second dispatch, Patrick Cockburn speaks with the Governor of Kirkuk, who says Isis will survive fall of Iraqi city because it can still find support among displaced Sunni Arabs””

    I can’t find the article I was looking for from last fall (possibly even Summer) by Cockburn in which he explained that “liberating Mosul” was an American fixation … not an Iraqi one, particularly with both Fallujah and Ramadhi still to be de-mined and re-inhabited and their long-standing dissident Sunni populations to be “managed” … There’s very very little news about what became of the displaced of Fallujah and missing thousands of men …

    As some point — imho — these massacres and the ongoing exiting refugees will “add up” to a significant depopulation of Sunni Iraq … If it’s not “war” when we target and massacre civilian, what do you think we should call it?

  11. fudmier
    August 21, 2017 at 20:28

    @gmc .. the data below allows to track by location the wars. ask Tillerson, Sec. of State.
    data explains where USA uses the money it extracts from Americans to defend the turf of
    Wall Street, USA, Saudi Arabia, Israel, British oil and gas corporations and investors.
    explains why no matter earth-scorching fracking; the production of American oil and gas for sale in over seas markets, is here to stay.

    notice Japan think trade war and possible real war with China and Russia
    notice S Korea think north Korea sanctions and blast-em off the Earth policy..
    notice Saudi Arabia, UAB, and Israel and think sanctions on Qatar and Iran

    the evidence is clear.. the elected, salaried at the USA are enabling and exploiting the natural resource wealth of America, are using brutal force to market it, and are taxing the remaining wealth net worth of Americans to finance and subsidize private for profit oil and gas related businesses.
    Its a rich man’s game, played through proxy corporations..

    where is Qatar world’s largest producer in the above list, look below?

    These numbers explain so much.. about white house activities.
    all oil and gas costs financed at the expense of hard working Americans all valuable natural resources in America being sold by the USA abroad, even when we Americans need what is being sold.
    The USA is working to keep the prices in America artificially high. No benefit to Americans?
    Little incoming foreign money arrives to the pockets of average Americans, most goes to wealthy monopoly imposing corporations. I do not believe Americans are not willing to stand up for what is right; I think they cannot get the information they need to understand the wrongs.
    The USA maintains, expands, and defends global hegemonic oil and gas monopolies, and the military, Intelligence communities (14 of them), and the MIC are spending money taken from the pockets of Americans to provide benefits, mostly employed outside of America, to make even more wealthy, a few very wealthy corporations; the whole of America has been subordinated to support the profits of the few who own the monopolies.. Corporations have become so wealthy and so powerful they now have the status of super nations. USE TOR browser and search engine. don’t let the popular media determine what you are allowed to see or deny you access to that which they do not want you to see. Its not big brother, its big corporation.

    • backwardsevolution
      August 22, 2017 at 00:09

      fudmier – excellent post. Thank you. “I do not believe Americans are not willing to stand up for what is right; I think they cannot get the information they need to understand the wrongs.” I know you’re right, fudmier. They just don’t know what’s going on. No one is telling them.

      “USA uses the money it extracts from Americans to defend the turf of Wall Street, USA, Saudi Arabia, Israel, British oil and gas corporations and investors. […] The whole of America has been subordinated to support the profits of the few who own the monopolies. Corporations have become so wealthy and so powerful they now have the status of super nations.”

      You are most definitely right, multinational corporations are dominating and dictating policy and wars throughout the whole world. People don’t see this, but you do, fudmier. Thanks for your post.

  12. fudmier
    August 21, 2017 at 19:42

    I think you might find Google’ facing competition from the white house take a look at the link..
    get tor browser.. use

  13. Andrew Nichols
    August 21, 2017 at 17:51

    And then we hear our media wittering on about terrorists as if the came from nowhere…

  14. Vollin
    August 21, 2017 at 17:00

    US military seems to always greatly inflate the number of enemy soldiers killed while greatly deflating the number of civilian casualties. and sometimes its own losses.

  15. Sr. Gibbonk
    August 21, 2017 at 16:16

    The author writes of the “remarkable success” of “a domestic propaganda campaign that has left the American public in near-total ignorance of the death and destruction U.S. armed forces have wreaked in at least seven countries (Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Somalia and Libya)” and later states that “killing civilians only drives more of the survivors to join the fight against Western outsiders”.

    Now consider these lines from Auden’s poem September 1, 1939:

    “I and the public know
    What all schoolchildren learn,
    Those to whom evil is done
    Do evil in return.”

    But without an independent main stream press how can the greater “public know”? To quote the great bloviator, “so sad”.

  16. August 21, 2017 at 15:42

    Thanks Bob Van Noy. You will notice Three of the you tube videos now appear to be censored? There are articles available where it is reported that you tube, facebook, google and others are now censoring alternative media.
    cheers Stephen

    • backwardsevolution
      August 21, 2017 at 16:53

      Stephen J. – the only TV I watch is Tucker Carlson because he has on good guests, and his monologue is also quite good. Last week, beginning Tuesday, I believe, he did several segments on Google especially, but talked about Twitter and Facebook as well.

      I’m going to get the information together for myself. When I do, I’ll post the links. Google has a monopoly. They should not be allowed to censor.

      • August 21, 2017 at 19:10

        Hi backwardsevolution here is a link to an article on Google:
        GOOGLE: Conceived, Funded and Directed By The CIA
        How the CIA made Google
        By Nafeez Ahmed
        Medium Insurge-Intelligence
        August 14, 2017

        • backwardsevolution
          August 21, 2017 at 23:58

          Stephen J. – thanks, Stephen. Man, that’s a whole other world, isn’t it?

          “SAIC stands for the US defense firm, Science Applications International Corporation, which changed its name to Leidos in 2013, operating SAIC as a subsidiary. SAIC/Leidos is among the top 10 largest defense contractors in the US, and works closely with the US intelligence community, especially the NSA. According to investigative journalist Tim Shorrock, the first to disclose the vast extent of the privatization of US intelligence with his seminal book Spies for Hire, SAIC has a ‘symbiotic relationship with the NSA: the agency is the company’s largest single customer and SAIC is the NSA’s largest contractor.’”

          When I read it, even though I only understood half of what was being said, what stuck out in my mind were dollar signs. These guys are probably getting filthy rich off the taxpayers, and nobody has ever heard of them and their club (or forums). A licence to print money, with bribes and kick-backs, no doubt.

          Stephen, if we knew the half of it, we’d…..

  17. August 21, 2017 at 14:19

    It is well known that the Iraq war was a lie. As were other illegal wars. Much more info at link below:
    “The Evidence of the Planning of Wars against Countries by Powerful War Criminals…”

    • Bob Van Noy
      August 21, 2017 at 14:45

      Many thanks Stephan J. especially for the Wesley Clark piece…

  18. GMC
    August 21, 2017 at 11:52

    SE Asia was a good ten+ years/tears and we killed at least 3 million – these wars have been longer and in more countries so 1.3 million is doubtful. It’s probably more like 2 to 3 million but it doesn’t matter if the Americans see 1.3 or 3 million, it’s not if there backyard. Afghanistan is a gold mine of minerals and a billion dollar drug business for the US – they won’t be leaving anytime soon.Between the US and its axis and the planet catastrophe – it doesn’t look good for the Peasants – because they don’t have any underground bases and camps to go hide in – when the time comes.

    • Susan Sunflower
      August 21, 2017 at 11:59

      Americans don’t care about our backyard of Mexico either — notice how the suffering of those people (and everything non-Trump) has fallen out of the news coverage … because Venezuela apparently uses up our “quota” of attention to matters of this hemisphere.

      • BobS
        August 21, 2017 at 17:35

        “Americans don’t care about our backyard of Mexico either”
        As long as it doesn’t effect them, they simply don’t care about anyone, anywhere.
        Disenfranchisement, civil asset forfeiture, worker rights, reproductive freedom, access to health care…

      • GMC
        August 22, 2017 at 04:23

        Thanks Susan for your informative writings. I live much much closer to the Mid east than most so your info on Sunni/ Shia is a help. Spacibo

  19. Susan Sunflower
    August 21, 2017 at 11:45

    A guest columnist over at Informed Comment the other day asked if it was still “war” when civilians were the target …. It was (is) and underdeveloped essay, mostly about Yemen, but it applies to Syria and Mosul as well.

    I read yesterday that there is such a massive amount of unexploded ordinance that the U.S. Military was dithering over releasing the coordinates of their known “unexploded ordinance” in order to save lives — apparently such detailed military information remains secret for 25 years (why the hell?) … haven’t heard if they’ve decided give the Iraqis a leg-up on making Mosul habitable … Unexploded IEDs and other mines being of a different scale of threat than unexploded aerial bombs …

    Such a pathetic clusterfuck … having been roundly criticised for inadequately protecting civilians in Ramadhi and Fallujah (and Kobane), Mosul having a population of ??? (my memory is that it was around 2 million) they (Iraqis theoretically) built massive refugee camps that remained largely empty for a very long time because being caught attempting to leave Mosul (without “authorization” from ISIS) was a death sentence. … oops. I’ve seen zero coverage of the camps and/or other more organic settlements of the displaced. As with Fallujah, Mosul’s civilian sunnis didn’t really trust government camps manned and guarded by Shiia militias ….

    They can say that they “tried” to protect civilians, but it was very very poorly executed and may have actually delivered many civilians into Isis’ hands, those not executed were enslaved and transported away from the area. The futility of those massive preparations (and they were massive) for mosul refugees was not immediately apparent, but the “failure” of civilians to “take advantage” of them was clear in the months prior to the heavy bombardments… they knew they were bombarding a city with, iirc, close to 1 million civilians still “sheltering in place” although, like Fallujah, (and Iraq itself) via the magic of google, the estimated population numbers keep falling … (having followed Syrian refugees, imagine my surprise to find that the 3 million Iraqis in exile in Syria, Turkey and Lebanon — poof — had fallen off the books of most inquiries … don’t know when that happened, but I sincerely doubt they were repatriated)

    • Susan Sunflower
      August 21, 2017 at 11:55

      It really is fascinating how these numbers morph … when we invaded Iraq, the Shiia/Sunni gap was ‘around’ 60/40 … a few years later the Sunni were routinely characterized as 20% (or less) … making them much more of a usurper minority dominating the “more democratically worthy” Shiia majority … (when in fact they had boasted of little shia/Sunni conflict and insisted that sectarian conflict was unthinkable in 2003-4 — simply “not an issue” in Iraqi society).

      A bit of googling found a PDF (yeah PDF) that put Mosuls population at 1,558,000 in 2016 (chrome-extension://mhjfbmdgcfjbbpaeojofohoefgiehjai/index.html) … the google hits I had found had it as low as 600,000 pre-battle (which began in fall 2016)

      Yes, we’re being lied to, even about such basic facts as demographics and population counts.

    • Susan Sunflower
      August 21, 2017 at 11:56

      It really is fascinating how these numbers morph … when we invaded Iraq, the Shiia/Sunni gap was ‘around’ 60/40 … a few years later the Sunni were routinely characterized as 20% (or less) … making them much more of a usurper minority dominating the “more democratically worthy” Shiia majority … (when in fact they had boasted of little shia/Sunni conflict and insisted that sectarian conflict was unthinkable in 2003-4 — simply “not an issue” in Iraqi society).

      A bit of googling found a PDF (yeah PDF) that put Mosuls population at 1,558,000 in 2016 **… the google hits I had found had it as low as 600,000 pre-battle (which began in fall 2016)

      Yes, we’re being lied to, even about such basic facts as demographics and population counts.

      ** link to UN Habitat pdf won’t post.

      • August 21, 2017 at 14:11

        DUH, just when have we NOT been lied to ?!?!?!

      • Dave P.
        August 21, 2017 at 15:11

        Susan, Google is in the business of rewriting history for some time now. I find lots of facts completely altered about Ukraine, as well other events.

        It is time that some other neutral platform be built to get some accurate account of History.

      • Larco Marco
        August 21, 2017 at 21:10

        It is my recollection that the demographics of Iraq were initially described as 60% Shia Arab, 20% Sunni Arab, 20% Sunni Kurd,

        • Susan Sunflower
          August 22, 2017 at 00:25

          Isn’t it funny how the Kurdish being Sunni is often overlooked ….
          Yes, but if you add the Kurds to the Sunni it’s 60/40 …
          Wiki say
          “” The population is estimated to be 36,585,692 as of July 2014, with most of the population being Arab (80-85%), followed by Kurds (10-15%) and others (5%). Iraqis are 6% Christian, 3% Yazidis, 2% Shabaks with numerous other faiths Shia Muslims make up 65% and form the majority and the rest belong to other religious minorities.””

          but it also says quoting the CIA world fact book
          “”Shia 45%
          Sunni 41%
          Christian 6%
          Yazidis 3%
          Shabaks 2%
          Zoroastrianism 0.6%
          Mandeans 0.1%
          Hindu 0.1%
          Buddhist 0.1%
          Jewish 0.1%
          Folk religion 0.1
          Unaffiliated 0.1
          Other 0.1″”

          It’s relevant to this article because there was a (perhaps unintentional but I doubt it) skewing of American perception that the Sunnis “oppressed” the Shiia … and thus deserved retribution or that such retribution was “natural” …
          and that the Sunnis (dead-enders) were the terrorists (because we don’t (or didn’t) talk about Shia (Government) Death Squads … so the Evil Sunnis detonated car bombs and suicide bomber against the Shiia civilian population … without recognition of the violence and harassment (and devastating effects of debaathification) that the Sunni population was enduring.

          I remember realizing this when the Blogger Riverbend revealed herself to be Sunni and expressed anger at the Shiia government — and some of her audience were quite taken aback, because they assumed she was Shiia … it was probably 2005-6.

          Not entirely similarly, but related, it was impossible to find out “who” made up the surging refugee tide back in 2007-8 … I eventually “deduced” most were probably Sunni … Fallujah was full-up with Sunni who had fled Baghdad and who ever they were, they were fleeing to Syria, Lebanon, Turkey — and not to Iran — and most had some money … so, possibly versus probably Sunnis with dwindling resources, making a run for the border while they still had funds to travel, having by then been through years of no-income …

          It’s been quite a juggling act between the evil Sunni Iraqi terrorists andour good friends the Saudis and then there’s Isis and the Taliban … but of course Shia Iran is the pivot of the axis of evil … or something …

          The American history of broken promises of undying support of the Kurds keeps entering new chapters … Syria kurds tweeted that the USA’s involvement in Syria would be ongoing, in support of Kurdish autonomy … Assad and Turkey might disagree.

          I have long attributed the lack of concern about civilian casualties on a sort of casual racism towards Muslims and “brown people” who speak unintelligible languages…. possibly even some prejudice towards post-colonial societies, I’m not sure … It’s not articulated but our inability to emphathize has become stark and stunning … even to the most horrendous natural disaster … “our purse is empty” ….

          Over at Slate, Fred Kaplan has a disturbing article on how Americans are finding the prospect of using nuclear weapons in a first strike more and more “thinkable” — some of the most disturbing conversations I’ve had in recent years have been with people who justify drones because they “save American lives” — when of course in most cases “american lives” were never endangered.

          it’s becoming more and obvious, we’re going to hell in a handbasket … there are so few dissenters and too many people claiming innocence based on ignorance (real or feigned) disguising a malignant lack of humanity.

  20. Bill
    August 21, 2017 at 11:18

    Meanwhile the Democrats are worried that statues will offend people.

    • BobS
      August 21, 2017 at 13:32

      You seem to have some familiarity with the internet…you should be able to find instructions on walking while chewing gum.

      • August 21, 2017 at 14:20

        BOB S, the REALITY is that the “Democrats” CANNOT walk and chew gum
        without SCREAMING ABOUT RUSSIANS AND STATUES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        • BobS
          August 21, 2017 at 15:05

          Your “Caps Lock” key seems to be malfunctioning.

    • August 22, 2017 at 19:28

      That’s not true. It is not worry that some statue will offend someone. It’s the realization that those statues are promoting racism and were erected for the purpose of promoting racism during the Jim Crow era after Plessy v Ferguson in the 1890s through the entire revived Klan period and then again during the 1950s and 1960s during the segragationists’ battle to stop civil rights. That realization then leads groups to decide to remove those statues from public property as public monuments.

      Then who actually gets offended? Offended enough to march in order to incite violence and beat up people? The alt-right, the Neo-Nazis, and the KKK, that’s who.

      Now if you critique was that Democrats are rightly concerned about domestic violence due to racism and white supremacy but don’t seem to care about any violence oversea due to the American Imperial Project which is much bigger and worse, then I agree 100%. But that’s not what you wrote, is it?

  21. historicvs
    August 21, 2017 at 11:09

    For those interested in some historical background I suggest Matthew Carr’s book “Sherman’s Ghosts.” It’s an engrossing study on how the Civil War general’s attacks on the infrastructure supplying the southern insurgents evolved into a policy of deliberate mass killing of enemy noncombatants.

    Interestingly Carr cites an article in a 1989 Marine Corps Gazette in which it is predicted “The distinction between ‘civilian’ and ‘military’ may disappear” and total control of “television news may become a more powerful operational weapon than armored divisions.”

    • Gregory Herr
      August 22, 2017 at 17:33

      Interesting that an article in a 1989 Marine Corp Gazette would see a coming total control of television news.

  22. Michael Kenny
    August 21, 2017 at 10:46

    Does Mr Davies seriously believe that any country is going to denounce its own conduct as a war crime? Can he give an example of any such instance? Is he aware of any Russian author publicly denouncing the attack on Aleppo as a war crime? He has simply fallen into the classic “America bad, not-America good” trap: because everything the US says is lies, everything a designated “enemy” says must be the unvarnished truth. That’s anything but logical! As I said in regard to Ray McGovern’s article, I would take Mr Davis seriously if he denounced America’s designated “enemies” as vigorously as he denounces the US.

    • August 21, 2017 at 11:36

      Hey: We’re the “good guys”

      December 7, 2015
      The “Good Guys”

      We kill innocent children with drones
      We destroy their families and their homes
      We bomb other countries that never invaded us
      We murder and kill, so why all the fuss?
      We’re the “good guys”

      We ally with dictators who chop off heads
      We are their partners, in making people dead
      We consort with evil and spread it around
      We are its allies and mass bombings abounds
      But hey, we’re the “good guys”

      We finance and train terrorists, we say, “we oppose”
      We play this deadly game while helping our foes
      We are “respectable” hypocrites, and have the power
      We really are gangsters but an “honourable” shower
      Still, we’re “the good guys”

      We are the “leaders” who rule the masses
      We peddle bullsh-t and are dangerous asses
      We are the “warriors” that never fight in battle
      We send the serfs, who obey like dumb cattle
      But, we’re the “good guys”

      We perform and parade on the world stage
      We really should be in handcuffs and locked in a cage
      We are dictators and despots and “statesmen” too
      We all would look “impressive” in an animal zoo
      Because we’re the “good guys”

      We “bring democracy” and have a “responsibility to protect”
      We bomb and blitz countries with hellish effect
      We form coalitions with other war criminals
      We devilishly succeed in making many countries unliveable
      But, hey we’re the “good guys”

      We spout words like “rule of law” and “democracy”
      We are creative liars, and market and sell hypocrisy
      We speak about “freedom” and “human rights”
      We are bloody hypocrites whose forte is to incite
      Hey, we’re the “good guys”

      We are running amok and nothing will stop us
      We are a deadly disease and we are filled with pus
      We are Satan’s helpers and fiends from hell
      We will eventually contribute to the Earth’s farewell
      So goodbye: We are the “good guys”…

      [more info at link below]

    • Joe Tedesky
      August 21, 2017 at 12:21

      I agree Michael, reporting of all war crimes, or collateral damage results, should be reported. All war is bad, and should be avoided at possible means. I think the reason authors tend to report more heavily on America’s many transgressions, is due in part done to alert the reporters American readship. Although, as you said, reporting of the atrocities committed by all sides should be most paramount, to what we readers should know about.

    • August 21, 2017 at 14:03

      Michael Kenny, none of “America’s enemies” come close to the HORROR
      AND DEVASTATION “AMERICA” has unleashed around the world for many many many years. STUDY HISTORY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Dave P.
      August 21, 2017 at 14:57

      Michael Kenny: Reading your comments for some time now, with due respect I want to remind you that you seem to be full of hatred for Russia, and rather very disturbed by it. Nobody is saying Russia or Russians are saints. This recent book on Russian History gives a very impartial account of Russian imperialism:

      Russia, Once and the Future Empire by Philip Longworth. published 2005

      Philip Longworth is British Historian, who taught at McGill University in Montreal for many years. In the book, Longworth presents a very fair comparison of the Imperial Nations; British, French, Russian, German, Swedish, and recently American – over the last six or seven centuries.

      And you constantly hark on Ukraine. You fail to take into consideration that the History, and the people of Russia and Ukraine, as well their religion, culture, and language, are tied together for more than a millennium now. There is exception of Western Ukraine, which has Polish and Lithuanian past. To tear them apart from Russia as the West has been trying to do since 1991 is as much a crime, if not more, as it was erecting the Berlin Wall.

      At least the Berlin Wall was a direct result of World War II. Now after the fall of communism, what justification is there to erect a wall between those two peoples who unfortunately found themselves divided on the two sides of which used to be mere administrative boundary when Soviet Union broke up, and people whose lives were intertwined for centuries. But we who had the taste of British Empire can easily understand this total hypocrisy on the part of The West.

      Regarding liberation of Aleppo, The Syrian Arab Army – with the Russian air support – tried to minimize the damage from the simple fact that it is their country, it is their people. They do want to kill innocent civilians, they don’t want to destroy their homes as they have to rebuild it. The West has no such compunction – as was shown by the “Shock and Awe” treatment they gave to the Iraqis. And it is going on since then. When, we in the West will learn some Wisdom!

      • Dave P.
        August 21, 2017 at 17:11

        A Correction to above: – Should read : ” . . . They do not want to kill innocent civilians, they do not want to destroy their homes as they have to rebuild it . . .”

      • Patrick Lucius
        August 21, 2017 at 20:45

        Good response Dave. Mike K’s response seemed unfair, glad you answered him.

        • Nancy
          August 23, 2017 at 11:26

          I think he was responding to the ridiculous comment of Michael Kenny, not mike k. Two different people.

    • Realist
      August 21, 2017 at 15:37

      Project much? So, if you think a little harder, you should understand what motivates your own “America can do no wrong and Russia can do no good” attitude. Or, do you not see the three fingers pointing back at yourself when you point the finger at others?

    • BobS
      August 21, 2017 at 17:30

      “America’s designated “enemies”‘ are denounced more-than-enough in the MSM.
      You don’t think there’s value in other points of view?

    • Patrick Lucius
      August 21, 2017 at 20:48

      I did not notice Davies relying on Russian authors, Russia is not the point of the article at all.

    • August 22, 2017 at 19:19

      Look, denouncing the ‘enemy’ is giving power to this government, which is made legit by our votes (even if we vote against who wins) and financed by our taxes, to make war on that enemy.

      We are not responsible for what Russia or China or Iran or Syria or Libya do. We are responsible for what the United States (or the U.K. if you’re British) does in fighting Russia or China or Iran or Syria or Libya.

      So our job as resisters of violence is to speak out against our government.

      There is too much speaking out against the ‘enemy’ already in this nation- it’s all the mainstream media do and their focus on it floods social media. Someone needs to do the opposite.

  23. Joe Tedesky
    August 21, 2017 at 10:42

    Spreading freedom is not a pretty thing. If only the U.S. had not decided to enforce the Yinon Plan. Here we are 16 years into imposing our revenge for 911, and the death and destruction as a result, has certainly surpassed the quota needed to relieve us of our avenging of that terrible September day in 2001. Yet, our military presses on. How do we citizens bring this to an end, is an ongoing mystery to how to do anything. These wars are so everyday common, that I do believe most Americans don’t have these wars foremost on their minds. Somehow all this war must come to an end, but I just don’t know how this goal, if it is a goal, will be achieved. Oh my, what to do, what to do.

    • August 21, 2017 at 14:00

      “I do believe that most Americans don’t have these wars foremost on their minds.”

      • Joe Tedesky
        August 21, 2017 at 18:19

        Our angst over the lack of showed disgust by our citizenry is our common thread of unity, but your description is far more emotional than mine, and I agree rightfully so.

    • mike k
      August 21, 2017 at 16:34

      Me too Joe. This is one of a lot of critical issues that I don’t see us solving. Sad but true. Living in a failed culture is a bitch, but we have to find a way to make our lives count in spite of the ignorance and madness all around us.

      • Joe Tedesky
        August 21, 2017 at 18:21

        Never give up. Yes mike, although you and I are not the majority, we should still feel obligated to educate the misinformed masses.

  24. August 21, 2017 at 09:57

    The Ghouls Rule from The House of Blood:
    July 15, 2017
    The Ghouls of the Earth

    The ghouls of the earth are in control
    To the devil they have sold their souls
    Creators of chaos, filth and war
    Expensively dressed and rotten to their core

    The world stage is their platform
    Where they shake hands and embrace
    You can watch these villains perform
    As they murder the human race

    Their head office is: “The House of Blood”
    The House is white, but conceals the crud
    A place where murders are planned
    A place that plans war in many lands

    The carnage creators feed off the atrocities
    Massive profits are made off bloody ferocities
    Corporate cannibals are vampires in suits
    And all the ghouls are counting their loot

    Criminals and gangsters are in control
    The evil they perpetuate has taken a toll
    Countries destroyed, millions are dead
    Millions are refugees, and millions have bled

    Who will bring justice and truth as well?
    Who will arrest these demons from hell?
    Who will punish them for their satanic role?
    The Ghouls of the Earth are in control…

    [more info at link below]

    • mike k
      August 21, 2017 at 16:29

      Great poem Stephen.

    • August 22, 2017 at 13:57

      love it
      i have written a few

      Kept in the dark Fed on bullshit and lies
      The illusion of choice Is something everybody buys
      Cookie cutter candidates
      Actors in a show
      All of this is just a ploy
      To maintain the status quo
      They demonize a ghost
      They fabricate a need
      To strip you of your rights
      So you’ll willingly concede
      Deep inside you know it’s true
      Open your eyes
      Don’t you recognize the lies
      You’ve become the instrument
      To hasten the demise
      They raise the flag
      And wave the sword
      Then blindly march you off to war
      Hallelujha Praise the Lord
      Where have we heard this before

      • August 22, 2017 at 13:59

        Exiled to Earth
        Witness to the absence of souls or sanity
        to a withering world
        To live in sacred places
        while the smell of death lingers in the air

        Innocent of malice
        The Unbeheld
        they see the Assassin’s heart
        His message of corruption
        Rage burns
        invoking praises to the Harbinger of Death

        The divine engineers
        made up a lie we can believe in
        Admire their handiwork
        murdered hope
        The Executioner approaches
        The Earthborne fall beneath his blade

        still innocent
        The garden has been planted
        Seeded with love and hope and unity
        and words of inspiration
        carry our breath into the light

        We linger
        taking refuge behind their sacred wing
        Touching memories awake
        into our reflection
        we are born

  25. mike k
    August 21, 2017 at 09:42

    The obliteration of North Korea was our greatest aerial bombing
    “accomplishment”. Every city and village destroyed and over three million men, women, and children murdered.

    • Sam F
      August 21, 2017 at 16:23

      Fairly similar to the carpet bombing of Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos that killed over two million innocents.
      And of course the US-supported genocide of alleged communists in Indonesia that killed over one million.
      And at least ten times that number starved, killed by disease, wounded, raped, or plunged into poverty.
      Yes, a wonderful American Century of achievement, brought to you by your MIC/zionist/WallSt oligarchy.
      With friends like that, who needs enemies?
      The Global War on Error starts in DC, which is Public Enemy Number One of civilization..

      • mike k
        August 21, 2017 at 16:28

        Ditto Sam. Right on.

      • Steve X
        August 22, 2017 at 16:50

        Sam F- very well said and it is all in our name. These shameless politicians cause so much death and destruction without any conscience. Truly evil.

  26. Tom Welsh
    August 21, 2017 at 09:03

    ‘At the start of the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, President George W. Bush ordered the U.S. military to conduct a devastating aerial assault on Baghdad, known as “shock and awe.”’

    In fact, the extremely violent bombing of Baghdad was Blitzkrieg. But for some reason the Americans chose not to use its proper name.

    • Antonia
      August 21, 2017 at 09:09

      The same happened to Serbia. That disgusting War Criminal Tony Blair was very pleased with blitzing the Serbs, who were allies unlike the fascist Croatians!

    • mike k
      August 21, 2017 at 09:37

      We learned a lot from the Germans in WWII didn’t we?

  27. evelync
    August 21, 2017 at 08:56

    This is horrific.

    The only thing that will stop this indiscriminate killing because military solutions are always being used as a first, first, first resort instead of (as General Clark used to say regarding his opposition to the iraq war – “as a last, last, last resort”)
    the only thing that will stop it is for the deciders in washington dc to order that “since they believe that national security is at stake when they use military force to solve every ‘problem’ by bombing towns into oblivion that from now on, the weapons will be provided free; the bombs free; – let’s see how quickly the MIC, quietly persuades their elected officials in government that “no” maybe this isn’t national security after all. It’s too expensive for them to produce this shit for “free”. We should find another way.
    They have way too much tax payer money and credit from the treasury to pay for this money machine of destruction.
    And does it ever solve anything? NO!!!!!!
    It makes things worse as our dedicated historian, retired colonel, Boston University professor, Andrew Bacevich keeps telling us.
    Bacevich who lost his own son to this machinery of destruction, even as he was warning how we have been heading down this wrong-headed path for decades, and wrote about this folly that is making us less safe in:
    “America’s War Against The Greater Middle East: A Military History”

    • mike k
      August 21, 2017 at 09:35

      Good points evelync. I like the free bombs suggestion. The power of the weapons makers is behind the MIC.

    • Sam F
      August 21, 2017 at 19:21

      Very amusing suggestion; I’m sure that the weapons makers’ patriotism will shine that day.

  28. BobS
    August 21, 2017 at 08:25

    “Why do they hate us?”

Comments are closed.