How Many People Has the U.S. Killed in its Post-9/11 Wars? Part 2: Afghanistan and Pakistan

The numbers of casualties of U.S. wars since Sept. 11, 2001 have largely gone uncounted, but coming to terms with the true scale of the crimes committed remains an urgent moral, political and legal imperative, argues Nicolas J.S. Davies, in part two of his series.

By Nicolas J.S. Davies

In the first part of this series, I estimated that about 2.4 million Iraqis have been killed as a result of the illegal invasion of their country by the United States and the United Kingdom in 2003. I turn now to Afghan and Pakistani deaths in the ongoing 2001 U.S. intervention in Afghanistan. In part three, I will examine U.S.-caused war deaths in Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen.  According to Ret. U.S. General Tommy Franks, who led the war against the Taliban in Afghanistan in reaction to 9/11, the U.S. government does not keep track of civilian casualties that it causes. “You know, we don’t do body counts,” Franks once said. Whether that’s true or a count is covered up is difficult to know.

As I explained in part one, the U.S. has attempted to justify its invasions of Afghanistan and several other countries as a legitimate response to the terrorist crimes of 9/11. But the U.S. was not attacked by another country on that day, and no crime, however horrific, can justify 16 years of war – and counting – against a series of countries that did not attack the U.S.

As former Nuremberg prosecutor Benjamin Ferencz told NPR a week after the terrorist attacks, they were crimes against humanity, but not “war crimes,” because the U.S. was not at war. “It is never a legitimate response to punish people who are not responsible for the wrong done.” Ferencz explained. “We must make a distinction between punishing the guilty and punishing others. If you simply retaliate en masse by bombing Afghanistan, let us say, or the Taliban, you will kill many people who don’t believe in what has happened, who don’t approve of what has happened.”

As Ferencz predicted, we have killed “many people” who had nothing to do with the crimes of September 11. How many people? That is the subject of this report.

Afghanistan

In 2011, award-winning investigative journalist Gareth Porter was researching night raids by U.S. special operations forces in Afghanistan for his article, “How McChrystal and Petraeus Built an Indiscriminate Killing Machine.”  The expansion of night raids from 2009 to 2011 was a central element in Barack Obama’s escalation of the U.S. War in Afghanistan.  Porter documented a gradual 50-fold ramping up from 20 raids per month in May 2009 to over 1,000 raids per month by April 2011.

But strangely, the UN Assistance Mission to Afghanistan (UNAMA) reported a decrease in the numbers of civilians killed by U.S. forces in Afghanistan in 2010, including a decrease in the numbers of civilians killed in night raids from 135 in 2009 to only 80 in 2010.

U.S. Marines patrol street in Shah Karez in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, on Feb. 10. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Staff Sgt. Robert Storm)

UNAMA’s reports of civilian deaths are based on investigations by the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC), so Noori Shah Noori, an Afghan journalist working with Porter on the article, interviewed Nader Nadery, a Commissioner of the AIHRC, to find out what was going on.

Nadery explained to Noori, “…that that figure represented only the number of civilian deaths from 13 incidents that had been fully investigated.  It excluded the deaths from 60 other incidents in which complaints had been received, but had not yet been thoroughly investigated.”

“Nadery has since estimated that the total civilian deaths for all 73 night raids about which it had complaints was 420,” Porter continued. “But the AIHRC admits that it does not have access to most of the districts dominated by the Taliban and that people in those districts are not aware of the possibility of complaining to the Commission about night raids.  So, neither the AIHRC nor the United Nations learns about a significant proportion – and very likely the majority – of night raids that end in civilian deaths.”

UNAMA has since updated its count of civilians killed in U.S. night raids in 2010 from 80 to 103, still nowhere close to Nadery’s estimate of 420.  But as Nadery explained, even that estimate must have been a small fraction of the number of civilian deaths in about 5,000 night raids that year, most of which were probably conducted in areas where people have no contact with UNAMA or the AIHRC.

As senior U.S. military officers admitted to Dana Priest and William Arkin of The Washington Post, more than half the raids conducted by U.S. special operations forces target the wrong person or house, so a large increase in civilian deaths was a predictable and expected result of such a massive expansion of these deadly “kill or capture” raids.

The massive escalation of U.S. night raids in 2010 probably made it an exceptional year, so it is unlikely that UNAMA’s reports regularly exclude as many uninvestigated reports of civilian deaths as in 2010.  But on the other hand, UNAMA’s annual reports never mention that their figures for civilian deaths are based only on investigations completed by the AIHRC, so it is unclear how unusual it was to omit 82 percent of reported incidents of civilian deaths in U.S. night raids from that year’s report.

We can only guess how many reported incidents have been omitted from UNAMA’s other annual reports since 2007, and, in any case, that would still tell us nothing about civilians killed in areas that have no contact with UNAMA or the AIHRC.

In fact, for the AIHRC, counting the dead is only a by-product of its main function, which is to investigate reports of human rights violations in Afghanistan.  But Porter and Noori’s research revealed that UNAMA’s reliance on investigations completed by the AIHRC as the basis for definitive statements about the number of civilians killed in Afghanistan in its reports has the effect of sweeping an unknown number of incomplete investigations and unreported civilian deaths down a kind of “memory hole,” writing them out of virtually all published accounts of the human cost of the war in Afghanistan.

UNAMA’s annual reports even include colorful pie-charts to bolster the false impression that these are realistic estimates of the number of civilians killed in a given year, and that pro-government forces and foreign occupation forces are only responsible for a small portion of them.

UNAMA’s systematic undercounts and meaningless pie-charts become the basis for headlines and news stories all over the world.  But they are all based on numbers that UNAMA and the AIHRC know very well to be a small fraction of civilian deaths in Afghanistan.  It is only a rare story like Porter’s in 2011 that gives any hint of this shocking reality.

In fact, UNAMA’s reports reflect only how many deaths the AIHRC staff have investigated in a given year, and may bear little or no relation to how many people have actually been killed. Seen in this light, the relatively small fluctuations in UNAMA’s reports of civilian deaths from year to year in Afghanistan seem just as likely to represent fluctuations in resources and staffing at the AIHRC as actual increases or decreases in the numbers of people killed.

If only one thing is clear about UNAMA’s reports of civilian deaths, it is that nobody should ever cite them as estimates of total numbers of civilians killed in Afghanistan – least of all UN and government officials and mainstream journalists who, knowingly or not, mislead millions of people when they repeat them.

Estimating Afghan Deaths Through the Fog of Official Deception

So the most widely cited figures for civilian deaths in Afghanistan are based, not just on “passive reporting,” but on misleading reports that knowingly ignore many or most of the deaths reported by bereaved families and local officials, while many or most civilian deaths are never reported to UNAMA or the AIHCR in the first place. So how can we come up with an intelligent or remotely accurate estimate of how many civilians have really been killed in Afghanistan?

Body Count: Casualty Figures After 10 Years of the “War On Terror”, published in 2015 by Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR), a co-winner of the 1985 Nobel Peace Prize, estimated deaths of combatants and civilians in Afghanistan based on UNAMA’s reports and other sources.  Body Count’s figures for numbers of Afghan combatants killed seem more reliable than UNAMA’s undercounts of civilian deaths.

The Afghan government reported that 15,000 of its soldiers and police were killed through 2013.  The authors of Body Count took estimates of Taliban and other anti-government forces killed in 2001, 2007 and 2010 from other sources and extrapolated to years for which no estimates were available, based on other measures of the intensity of the conflict (numbers of air strikes, night raids etc,).  They estimated that 55,000 “insurgents” were killed by the end of 2013.

In Afghanistan, U.S. Army Pfc. Sean Serritelli provides security outside Combat Outpost Charkh on Aug. 23, 2012. (Photo credit: Spc. Alexandra Campo)

The years since 2013 have been increasingly violent for the people of Afghanistan.  With reductions in U.S. and NATO occupation forces, Afghan pro-government forces now bear the brunt of combat against their fiercely independent countrymen, and another 25,000 soldiers and police have been killed since 2013, according to my own calculations from news reports and this study by the Watson Institute at Brown University.

If the same number of anti-government fighters have been killed, that would mean that at least 120,000 Afghan combatants have been killed since 2001.  But, since pro-government forces are armed with heavier weapons and are still backed by U.S. air support, anti-government losses are likely to be greater than those of government troops.  So a more realistic estimate would be that between 130,000 and 150,000 Afghan combatants have been killed.

The more difficult task is to estimate how many civilians have been killed in Afghanistan through the fog of UNAMA’s misinformation.  UNAMA’s passive reporting has been deeply flawed, based on completed investigations of as few as 18 percent of reported incidents, as in the case of night raid deaths in 2010, with no reports at all from large parts of the country where the Taliban are most active and most U.S. air strikes and night raids take place. The Taliban appear to have never published any numbers of civilian deaths in areas under its control, but it has challenged UNAMA’s figures.

There has been no attempt to conduct a serious mortality study in Afghanistan like the 2006 Lancet study in Iraq.  The world owes the people of Afghanistan that kind of serious accounting for the human cost of the war it has allowed to engulf them.  But it seems unlikely that that will happen before the world fulfills the more urgent task of ending the now 16-year-old war.

Body Count took estimates by Neta Crawford and the Costs of War project at Boston University for 2001-6, plus the UN’s flawed count since 2007, and multiplied them by a minimum of 5 and a maximum of 8, to produce a range of 106,000 to 170,000 civilians killed from 2001 to 2013.  The authors seem to have been unaware of the flaws in UNAMA’s reports revealed to Porter and Noori by Nadery in 2011.

But Body Count did acknowledge the very conservative nature of its estimate, noting that, “compared to Iraq, where urbanization is more pronounced, and monitoring by local and foreign press is more pronounced than in Afghanistan, the registration of civilian deaths has been much more fragmentary.”

In my 2016 article, “Playing Games With War Deaths,” I suggested that the ratio of passive reporting to actual civilian deaths in Afghanistan was therefore more likely to fall between the ratios found in Iraq in 2006 (12:1) and Guatemala at the end of its Civil War in 1996 (20:1).

Mortality in Guatemala and Afghanistan

In fact, the geographical and military situation in Afghanistan is more analogous to Guatemala, with many years of war in remote, mountainous areas against an indigenous civilian population who have taken up arms against a corrupt, foreign-backed central government.

The Guatemalan Civil War lasted from 1960 to 1996.  The deadliest phase of the war was unleashed when the Reagan administration restored U.S. military aid to Guatemala in 1981,after a meeting between former Deputy CIA Director Vernon Walters and President Romeo Lucas García, in Guatemala.

U.S. military adviser Lieutenant Colonel George Maynes and President Lucas’s brother, General Benedicto Lucas, planned a campaign called Operation Ash, in which 15,000 Guatemalan troops swept through the Ixil region massacring indigenous communities and burning hundreds of villages.

President Ronald Reagan meeting with Guatemalan dictator Efrain Rios Montt.

CIA documents that Robert Parry unearthed at the Reagan library and in other U.S. archives specifically defined the targets of this campaign to include “the civilian support mechanism” of the guerrillas, in effect the entire rural indigenous population.  A CIA report from February 1982 described how this worked in practice in Ixil:

“The commanding officers of the units involved have been instructed to destroy all towns and villages which are cooperating with the Guerrilla Army of the Poor [the EGP] and eliminate all sources of resistance,” the report said. “Since the operation began, several villages have been burned to the ground, and a large number of guerrillas and collaborators have been killed.”

Guatemalan President Rios Montt, who died on Sunday, seized power in a coup in 1983 and continued the campaign in Ixil. He was prosecuted for genocide, but neither Walters, Mayne nor any other American official have been charged for helping to plan and support the mass killings in Guatemala.

At the time, many villages in Ixil were not even marked on official maps and there were no paved roads in this remote region (there are still very few today).  As in Afghanistan, the outside world had no idea of the scale and brutality of the killing and destruction.

One of the demands of the Guerrilla Army of the Poor (EGP), the Revolutionary Organization of Armed People (ORPA) and other revolutionary groups in the negotiations that led to the 1996 peace agreement in Guatemala was for a genuine accounting of the reality of the war, including how many people were killed and who killed them.

The UN-sponsored Historical Clarification Commission documented 626 massacres, and found that about 200,000 people had been killed in Guatemala’s civil war.  At least 93 percent were killed by U.S.-backed military forces and death squads and only 3 percent by the guerrillas, with 4 percent unknown.  The total number of people killed was 20 times previous estimates based on passive reporting.

Mortality studies in other countries (like Angola, Bosnia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Iraq, Kosovo, Rwanda, Sudan and Uganda) have never found a larger discrepancy between passive reporting and mortality studies than in Guatemala.

Based on the discrepancy between passive reporting in Guatemala and what the U.N. ultimately found there, UNAMA appears to have reported less than 5 percent of actual civilian deaths in Afghanistan, which would be unprecedented.

Costs of War and UNAMA have counted 36,754 civilian deaths up to the end of 2017.  If these (extremely) passive reports represent 5 percent of total civilian deaths, as in Guatemala, the actual death toll would be about 735,000.  If UNAMA has in fact eclipsed Guatemala’s previously unsurpassed record of undercounting civilian deaths and only counted 3 or 4 percent of actual deaths, then the real total could be as high as 1.23 million.  If the ratio were only the same as originally found in Iraq in 2006 (14:1 – before Iraq Body Count revised its figures), it would be only 515,000.

Adding these figures to my estimate of Afghan combatants killed on both sides, we can make a rough estimate that about 875,000 Afghans have been killed since 2001, with a minimum of 640,000 and a maximum of 1.4 million.

Pakistan

The U.S. expanded its war in Afghanistan into Pakistan in 2004.  The CIA began launching drone strikes, and the Pakistani military, under U.S. pressure, launched a military campaign against militants in South Waziristan suspected of links to Al Qaeda and the Afghan Taliban.  Since then, the U.S. has conducted at least 430 drone strikes in Pakistan, according to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, and the Pakistani military has conducted several operations in areas bordering Afghanistan.

Map of Pakistan and Afghanistan (Wikipedia)

The beautiful Swat valley (once called “the Switzerland of the East” by the visiting Queen Elizabeth of the U.K.) and three neighboring districts were taken over by the Pakistani Taliban between 2007 and 2009.  They were retaken by the Pakistani Army in 2009 in a devastating military campaign that left 3.4 million people as refugees.

The Bureau of Investigative Journalism reports that 2,515 to 4,026 people have been killed in U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan, but that is a small fraction of total war deaths in Pakistan.  Crawford and the Costs of War program at Boston University estimated the number of Pakistanis killed at about 61,300 through August 2016, based mainly on reports by the Pak Institute for Peace Studies (PIPS) in Islamabad and the South Asia Terrorism Portal (SATP) in New Delhi.  That included 8,200 soldiers and police, 31,000 rebel fighters and 22,100 civilians.

Costs of War’s estimate for rebel fighters killed was an average of 29,000 reported by PIPS and 33,000 reported by SATP, which SATP has since updated to 33,950.  SATP has updated its count of civilian deaths to 22,230.

If we accept the higher of these passively reported figures for the numbers of combatants killed on both sides and use historically typical 5:1 to 20:1 ratios to passive reports to generate a minimum and maximum number of civilian deaths, that would mean that between 150,000 and 500,000 Pakistanis have been killed.

A reasonable mid-point estimate would be that about 325,000 people have been killed in Pakistan as a result of the U.S. War in Afghanistan spilling across its borders.

Combining my estimates for Afghanistan and Pakistan, I estimate that about 1.2 million Afghans and Pakistanis have been killed as a result of the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in 2001.

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

 

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63 comments for “How Many People Has the U.S. Killed in its Post-9/11 Wars? Part 2: Afghanistan and Pakistan

  1. mike k
    April 4, 2018 at 8:48 pm

    One death is too many in an illegal attack. Governments have no right to commit murder on any scale.

  2. Ron Watson
    April 4, 2018 at 6:37 pm

    The US people would not be involved in a war in Afghanistan were it not for the False Flag operation of September 11, 2001. The people of the USA would not have been involved in the first war against Iraq but for yet another False Flag operation declaring to the American people via the US Kuwait Ambassador’s daughter standing and telling the American people of Iraq’s soldiers removing babies from incubators … since been proven to be a lie. The US people would not be involved in a follow up war to remove Saddam Hussein supposedly on the lie that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction. In fact in all probability the US would not be involved in any so called ” War on Terrorism ” if it were not for fighting proxy wars on behalf of the Israelis whom in all probability also had a hand in the September 11, 2001 tragedy. Your country the USA … Mr. Davies along with Israel are probably the two most hated terrorist countries in the world.

  3. Clooney's Gerbil
    April 4, 2018 at 2:46 pm

    And it’s all voluntary. No one’s forcing people to enlist or to vote Dem or Rep. Maybe we subconsciously like killing.

  4. Cheryl Sanchez
    April 4, 2018 at 7:59 am

    A clean Break;A new strategy for securing the Realm 2000 and the International War on Terror Conference 1979 and it’s links to 9/11 USA/Israhell project which murdered 2,700 americans.

  5. Joe L.
    April 4, 2018 at 5:00 am

    Sadly, I don’t believe the US will stop its’ warmongering on its’ own. I believe that the world largely funds American misadventures by the use of the Petrodollar system and Petrodollar recycling – this has to stop. I am hopeful that the introduction of the Petroyuan (which I believe is backed by gold) will lessen the world’s reliance on the dollar, lessen the impact of sanctions, and make America’s misadventures much more costly – only when these wars really hit America in the pocket book and Americans really start feeling inflation – will the warmongering end. Sadly, I believe that is what it is going to break America’s addiction to war (the US being at war 93% of its’ history). I also really hope that China will not go onto the same military trajectory that the US has been on for so long. Though the adoption of the Petroyuan will still take awhile.

    • Cheryl Sanchez
      April 4, 2018 at 8:04 am

      Read the International War on Terror Conference 1979 which was attended by a handful of american Neo Cons and reps from 2 other countries. It was attended by most of the world.This was at the same time that, Ehud baruch Israhelli Military man was training/arming terrorists in Pakistan after which they entered Afghanistan. See also Christopher Bollyn’s videos. See Also the Clean Break; A strategy for securing the realm. 2000. The War on Terror was created in Israhell and is actually a WAR on people using TERRORISTS!!!

      • Joe L.
        April 4, 2018 at 8:26 pm

        Cheryl… While I do believe that Israel plays a part to destabilize the Middle East, the US has been at war long before Israel existed. I believe, going back to 1776, the US has been at war 93% of its’ history.

  6. godenich
    April 3, 2018 at 11:32 pm

    To: Independent Comment

    That was informative.

  7. April 3, 2018 at 5:19 pm

    While so far unfathomable for too many Americans as they cannot or will not think and feel about this as if real humans are the victims. Some do not defend the Iraq assault but will suggest that “everyone was wrong on this one!” Oops, let’s try again on another s**t hole country!

    The MSM is useless in this regard. My own paper offers headlines about some dogs that an airline shipped to the wrong destination etc etc.

    Any chance for a follow-up article that tries to asses how many people have been badly injured, how may no longer have a home or a job, how many have otherwise have had their lives destroyed — while one of the arch-war criminals now luxuriates in his bathtub making paintings of his feet, and another was just appointed national security advisor.

    Have we no shame?!

  8. Donald
    April 3, 2018 at 3:18 pm

    I complained about the earlier post and I will make the same complaint here, though in a milder way.

    It is, I think, extremely useful and important to show how the press uses numbers that are almost certainly understated about the death tolls in our wars. They usually use the most dramatic estimates they can find when the deaths can be blamed on some enemy. I for one have always suspected the civilian numbers in Afghanistan were amazingly low, but had no basis other than my suspicions. So it is interesting to find out that the UN numbers are based on a wildly incomplete set of investigations that no sane person could possibly expect would cover the country.

    That said, I have the same complaint I had before–don’t try to fill a vacuum with speculation unless you clearly state it is speculation. The death toll in Afghanistan might be vastly higher than what we are told, perhaps in the many hundreds of thousands. But it’s a guess.

    Davies responded to my previous complaint by citing Les Roberts and the fact that in several wars the ratio of the true deaths to passively counted deaths was from 5 to 20, but then admitted that this rule didn’t apply to Gaza. It presumably also doesn’t apply in Lebanon. It probably doesn’t apply to Syria (I am interested in what he will write about that, as he agreed it probably doesn’t apply in Syria). I suspect that in Syria the West is willing and eager to accept every reported death and count it as Assad’s fault, whereas in Iraq it was not. Given the refugee flows, it seems likely that Syria is somewhat worse off than Iraq, but the death tolls should be in the same ballpark. Hundreds of thousands, just at the PLOS estimate had it for the period from 2003-2011.

    I do think this series is interesting and worthwhile and that the mainstream sources (like the Cost of War project) almost certainly understate the deaths caused by our wars, probably by a wide margin, but I would never cite the estimates given here as anything more than wild guesses.

    • Sam F
      April 3, 2018 at 3:50 pm

      There is truth in that, essentially stated by Mr. Davies. But unless the estimates are made in the high end of plausible range, there is no motive for more accurate data. We need not believe the worst, but a reasonable high estimate made by the best means available can be cited as the best estimate available, until then.

      Mr. Davies could improve the credibility by mentioning the exact basis for ratios used to increase estimates of each kind. He does this to some extent but there were some jumps that raised eyebrows. It would help to have an explicit basis for the multipliers, more like a scientific paper. Just needs a bit more work.

    • Nicolas J S Davies
      April 3, 2018 at 9:35 pm

      Thank you, Donald, this is the kind of conversation people should be having and that I hope my report will stimulate. I hope the two parts published so far make it clear that I am making estimates based on the best data I can find and what I have learned from the experience of public health experts who have conducted mortality studies in many war zones. I will reiterate that in the last part too.

      In Part 1 of the report, on Iraq, I explained why I think the PLOS study was a low undercount of deaths in Iraq, primarily because it failed to account for deaths in large numbers of homes that were, by then, either destroyed or empty.

      • Joe Tedesky
        April 4, 2018 at 12:23 am

        Donald does raise a good point, but you would be crucified if you adlibbed your way through this article. In other words you are damned if you do, and damned if you don’t, Mr Davies. I enjoy your honesty with your comment though, and say good on you for starting this conversation. Another cliche may be this one; ‘Somebody had to say it’. Thanks to you Mr Davies, and let’s thank Donald too. Joe

    • Abbybwood
      April 3, 2018 at 10:01 pm

      As soon as the human race stops considering those innocents murdered in our wars of aggression as NUMBERS and instead as our fellow human beings with the very same wants, needs and desires as all of us, humans with feelings, emotions, love for their families the same as all of us, until we can stop our “psychic numbing” (Dr. Helen Caldecott), then these wars will continue.

      A good start would be if we could possibly elect a President and Congress who have HAD IT with The State of Israel!

      I hope and pray I live to see the day.

      • Joe Tedesky
        April 4, 2018 at 12:24 am

        So do I, and great comment. Joe

      • April 4, 2018 at 12:41 pm

        At the point when humanity reaches a critical mass where enough people understand deep in their hearts that all people, all life and all things are truly sacred war becomes impossible.

  9. April 3, 2018 at 2:55 pm

    Thank you for including the words of the legendary and highly-respected legal expert Mr. Benjamin Ferencz – who at 98-years old is the sole surviving prosecutor from the Nuremberg Trials. Mr. Ferencz has engaged in decades-long efforts to establish “Law Not War” through international legal institutions, focused on effectively ending impunity for war crimes. One finds it absolutely astonishing his simple yet profound proposals, expressed by him time and time and time again across more than 50 years, have to date not become the law of the land … the law of the Earth. A huge step forward in the quest for true peace on Earth is possible. Mr. Benjamin Ferencz and men and women who share his easily understood, clearly articulated ideas know peace is possible.

    Please share Mr. Ferencz’ enormous body of work freely, far and wide, and especially if you are in the field of international law and/or active in the arena of war and peace. He has repeatedly stressed on many occasions that all of his posted writings, videos, etc. (see link below) are free to share with his sincere encouragement. Peace now. Thank you.

    http://www.benferencz.org

    • Nicolas J S Davies
      April 3, 2018 at 9:26 pm

      “Law Not War!” Ben wrote a preface for Blood On Our Hands, and I dedicated the book to him.

  10. April 3, 2018 at 2:52 pm

    That is interesting, Brad, the old “Company” morphs into the new “Company” (CIA). And thank you, Bob, for the reminder of MLK exactly 50 years to the day of his assassination by forces of this gangster-led company. Why there is even a need to count the deaths of these innocents in the hellish intentions for Western domination? Makes me also sick, especially because so many Americans just don’t get it, that their country is the top aggressor of the world. As Martin Luther King said, 51 years to the day and one year exactly before his assassination: “A nation that, year after year, continues to spend more on military programs than for programs of social uplift, is approaching spiritual death.” The misleaders of the US, i venture to say, are spiritually dead, truly. The Bush-Cheney administration turned this nation to the “Dark Side”. What they have sown, they will reap; i do believe the karma created here in the US by the misleaders, and with NATO’s aid, will boomerang bigtime. The Death Star is waiting.

    • Bob Van Noy
      April 3, 2018 at 3:39 pm

      Thank you Jessica. The link I provided contains detailed information about JFK’s actual intentions regarding Vietnam. The documentation, now available, makes the case that he signed into law the withdrawal. Especially see John Judge’s Mother’s statement about reducing the troop draft needs, altered the week after his assassination. Incredible.

    • Abbybwood
      April 3, 2018 at 9:49 pm

      How I wish MLK, Jr. was still with us. History might have been different, for the better of mankind.

  11. MLS
    April 3, 2018 at 1:34 pm

    Even in such excellent posts as this one, the connection between our long-term spree of state-sponsored violence in Mesoamerica and the supposedly hot-button contemporary domestic issues of immigration and anti-Latino xenophobia are rarely explored in depth.

  12. stan
    April 3, 2018 at 10:54 am

    Once you realize our leaders are gangsters running a business syndicate, it all makes sense.

    • Nancy
      April 3, 2018 at 11:55 am

      It does. And we can’t naively hope that these criminals will ever change their ways–it’s the only way they can keep the profits rolling in. They must be swept out and face justice for their crimes. It won’t be pretty. The U.S. will likely experience a world of hurt–of the type we have been inflicting on the rest of the world for many decades.
      I feel physically ill after reading this piece.

    • Brad Owen
      April 3, 2018 at 12:14 pm

      Once you realize that all Western Empires since the Dutch East India Company of the early 1600s, (tutored by Venice and Genoa who created “Empire-as-a-business operation” approach) and the British East India Company of the later 1600s (having amalgamated with the Dutch operations) ALL these Empires have been lead by gangsters running a business syndicate. It really is no different from the Mafia (except the old-school mafioso may have had a little more honor…”nothing personal, just business”). There were all kinds of joint-stock Trading Company Empires. Canada was Hudson’s Bay Company territory. America was British East India Company territory, as was India. We both, ironically, rebelled against the same overlord. There was a Royal Africa Company. I think it was the case that each of the thirteen colonies were set up as trading company operations. The Patriots (primarily the descendants of Puritan RoundHead Parliamentarians), as English citizens denied access to Parliament, objected to to this slavish relationship to “The Company” (while the well-heeled American Tories rather enjoyed it and sought its continuance, despite having lost the war on the battlefield…they just took it back covertly, via trading & counting houses). It is no accident that “The Company” is also the nick-name of the CIA…they came out of those same Tory trading and counting houses of Wall Street, who has always maintained close relations with “Mother” (City-of-London, NOT Parliament, which is easily enough made a tool of City-of-London trading & counting houses). It is also the case that, in this Venetian Model of Empire, it is the Intelligence Services that are its most valuable asset, NOT armed Legions (Roman Empire), NOT religious manipulations (East Roman/Byzantine Empire, Empires of Spain and Portugal).

      • Guest
        April 3, 2018 at 1:31 pm

        Any good books on this Brad?

        • Brad Owen
          April 3, 2018 at 2:00 pm

          I just peruse the archives of Executive Intelligence Review, via their search box. There is literally years worth of eye-opening reading therein. After awhile (a few years) you can begin to connect the dots on your own. Some commentator on common dreams, years ago, mentioned a book on the history of Trading Companies. I’ve long since forgotten it, though. Never bought it. I found sufficient on EIR.

      • Joe Tedesky
        April 4, 2018 at 12:14 am

        Brad it’s always a pleasure to read your comments, because I learn something when you do. Joe

    • Guest
      April 3, 2018 at 1:28 pm

      At least the mafia provided goods and services that people wanted (drugs, booze, sex, gambling). Just didn’t attend Harvard and wears Brooks Brothers suits.

    • jose
      April 3, 2018 at 7:42 pm

      I reckon so.

    • Abbybwood
      April 3, 2018 at 9:47 pm

      True that.

  13. Joe Tedesky
    April 3, 2018 at 9:31 am

    All this death to be covered up under the fog war, and for what? To cover up an even bigger lie with a massively staged investigation that gave us no answers. We say, we are a nation of law only while committing war crimes on a day to day basis. Our daily news is filled with insanely personality laced gossip of anything but what our wars have rot, and with this omission we call ourselves liberators. Wake me when our conquering nation replaces bullets with bread, and bombs with butter, and then let’s celebrate our liberating souls.

  14. Ol' Hippy
    April 3, 2018 at 8:23 am

    No one can say why US forces are still over there. Their actions create more terrorists and animosity toward the US. It’s a black hole drain on resources and money. The(Our) citizens have no say in the matter at all and if they did the US would have been long gone years ago. Thousands of deaths here and there justifies nothing at all. Why can’t US citizens get choices of candidates that care about people not corporate bottom lines? Somethings really wrong here and drastic changes are indeed called for.

    • Sam F
      April 3, 2018 at 9:17 am

      Well said. Something is really wrong and drastic changes are called for.

      The US is in AfPak largely to threaten Russia/Iran/Pakistan so as to get zionist/KSA bribes to politicians, and to a lesser extent to get Brzezinskyite bribes for disrupting the central Asia transport corridor, and MIC bribes for promoting weapon sales and MIC budgets. The US has no national interests there. The choices of candidates come directly from those campaign bribes.

      The only way out is Constitutional amendments to restrict funding of elections and mass media to limited individual contributions, but of course those cannot be even discussed by the 99% because the mass media are already owned by the oligarchy. Many more such reforms are needed to restore democracy.

    • Abbybwood
      April 3, 2018 at 9:41 pm

      From what I have read we are there for the banks and $$$$$.

      Lots of goodies buried in Afghanistan we’d like to get our hands on and control.

      Pipelines planned in the region and on and on.

      The United States wants global hegemony, thus the reason for taking out Quaddafi. He was planning on a new currency for all of Africa and Libya had the highest standard of living in the region. No terrorist encampments there because he ruled with an iron fist.

      Now Libya is a terrorist stronghold.

      And as to 9/11 it was a CRIME. Yet all the evidence was hauled off pronto to China and elsewhere. There was NEVER a full criminal investigation of the crime of 9/11. Had there been ALL the video recordings around The Pentagon would have been released publicly and not seized immediately and hidden (or destroyed). My understanding is that 3 of the 4 black boxes were found yet not one second or their contents was ever released. Recordings of testimony by the air traffic controllers was shredded. 43 drills that day by the US military!!!! “Is this real world or exercise??!l” one befuddled air traffic controller kept repeating over and over. Oh, yeah. Great idea! Create total confusion while the crime is being committed!

      I don’t believe for a nano-second that OBL directed this entire operation from a cave in Afghanistan!

      Evidence of all three buildings in New York City, WTC 1,2 and 7 being EXPLODED with controlled demolition has been introduced by scientists all over the world!

      It takes WEEKS to wire buildings like those for controlled demolition but nary one mention of this in the 9/11 Commission’s report.

      I could go on and on with this.

      The TRUTH is that unless some VERY brave whistleblower comes through in the future with HOW 9/11 happened, WHY and BY WHOM it was led, we will NEVER know the true perps of the crime of this century.

      And I am pretty sure everyone on this site knows I am speaking the truth.

      • geeyp
        April 4, 2018 at 12:00 am

        A: I am with you 1000% on what you wrote. Thank you.

        • geeyp
          April 4, 2018 at 1:24 am

          Once again, on this read “Another Nineteen” – Kevin Ryan. And I would like to add the following quotation: “If you’re not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are …oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing”. — Malcolm X

      • Joe Tedesky
        April 4, 2018 at 12:07 am

        You got it right Abbybwood. The proof of the cover up is to be found by the omissions of facts left out my our infamous MSM.

    • MA
      April 8, 2018 at 10:27 am

      Please keep in mind since NATO’s occupation of Afghanistan, plantation of poppy seeds has increased from 7600 hectares in 2001 to 224000 hectares in 2016.

  15. Bob Van Noy
    April 3, 2018 at 7:24 am

    Nearly Fifty years ago to the day, America’s heart was broken when it became obvious that She was not Liberty but something else, something much more deeply flawed. A time of reckoning was called for, crimes on both an international and national scale were apparent. Those crimes, suppressed, grew like a malignancy until the shear criminality has become apparent for all to see.

    America as a Democratic Concept, has destroyed herself from within, by official corruption and military incompetence. Now, only a massive extra-governmental trial can illuminate the depth of degradation and deal with it. Her People are now compelled try to again to seek Justice, if that exists…

    • Bob Van Noy
      April 3, 2018 at 8:46 am

      “Martin Luther King steadfastly exhorted all to confront and grapple with the triple prong sickness—lurking within the U.S. body politic from its inception—of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism.
      These evils require us to respond with life-giving intelligence, to change course away from the nightmare path we are pursuing, and towards, in Coretta King’s words, ‘a more excellent way, a more effective way, a creative rather than a destructive way.’ ” William Pepper’s essay on Vietnam 1967

      https://www.globalresearch.ca/the-scourge-of-war-and-the-children-of-vietnam/5634409

      • Gregory Herr
        April 3, 2018 at 7:08 pm

        Pepper’s “Children of Vietnam” and the meaning it had for MLK is a remarkable “truth force”. A paralyzed mother (shrapnel through back) feeding her infant before dying brings us truth of war.

        James Galbraith’s thoughts on Kennedy and Vietnam are right on.

      • Joe Tedesky
        April 3, 2018 at 11:43 pm

        I wish our country would honor MLK for what he said, but instead the MSM portrays King for how he used the media to advance his equal rights cause. If Martin Luther King isn’t portrayed for his manipulation of the media of his day, he is remembered for his peaceful advocacy. I mean yes talk about King’s Gandhi Jesus like peace marches, but please tell us in full what he said. I know he had a Dream, but what else did he say? How many U.S. citizens even know about MLK’s ‘Beyond Vietnam Speech’?

        http://kingencyclopedia.stanford.edu/encyclopedia/documentsentry/doc_beyond_vietnam/

        I consider Martin Luther King to be if not the single most greatest, well then at least he is one of the greatest Americans who has ever walked the face of this embattled earth. We need a King.

        • Curious
          April 4, 2018 at 3:14 am

          Joe, you are absolutely correct. If I may add to your thought and your link, I am also reminded of MLK in his ‘Letter from Birmingham Jail’ where he tried to explain the concept that “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”. The letter is a fine work from a very thoughtful man.
          It is amazing how our media can just pick out a phrase or a sentence and leave its antecedent, or context, out of the material printed. It’s deliberate of course.
          I do wish people would read more of his words and emotionally, and intellectually, connect to his fight for justice.
          An aside: your Vietnam reference also reminds me of the time Mohammed Ali was sent to prison and the words he said, about there is no reason kill brown people just because the government wants us to. How many people have seen the whole statement Ali made before he went to prison? Very few is my guess. And fewer still the actual words of MLK.
          Thanks for the reminder link Joe, and yes, MLK was a force at that time, for justice, so he had to be ‘taken out’. His words should be what the US is supposedly all about. We not only need another “King” but an entire reevaluation of the lofty ‘values’ the US pretends to have.

          • Joe Tedesky
            April 4, 2018 at 11:30 am

            Thanks Curious, and you are not only right, but for me it’s nice to have someone agree with me. Joe

  16. Bill
    April 3, 2018 at 6:39 am

    It is little wonder that young Americans i.e
    backpackers etc, young people with there life ahead of them when traveling overseas often carry the Canadian flag on their backpack . Individually America,s are wonderful people BUT as a nation your obsession to give the world your
    vision of democracy SUCKS .Leave other nations and ethnic group alone. America has military presence in over 140 countries imagine if that terrible foe Russia had the same?. Your politicians are corrupt they do not represent the nation but vested lobby groups .With the disparity in wages and living standards combined with the number of guns available you have the problem of a potential civil war. America is not GREAT you are a debtor nation your currency is backed by debt you are nation no different to other global powers of the past your time has COME. .Spend a fraction of that military expenditure on your people stop trying to rule the world .to repeat individualy you are great BUT||

    • Anon
      April 3, 2018 at 9:00 am

      Very true. Let us hope that the US desperation and revelation of its moral bankruptcy reflect the impending fiscal bankruptcy that could help restore democracy from the dictatorship of the rich. It would be good to see the young in the US learning of the abject corruption of its institutions and culture, and determined to correct that. They will not do so until they see themselves as potential US casualties. Neither will the rich dictators of the US. The war must be at home or it does not exist for Americans.

    • Joe Tedesky
      April 3, 2018 at 11:34 pm

      Bill well said, and if you were running for office in America I would vote for you.

    • Al Pinto
      April 4, 2018 at 4:00 pm

      @Bill…

      “Leave other nations and ethnic group alone. America has military presence in over 140 countries imagine if that terrible foe Russia had the same?.”

      I’d love to see Russia having military presence in 140 countries, at times, right next to the US base. And act like the former Soviet Union, be the antidote to the US. But no…

      Yet another thing that can be contributed to the Russians… :)

  17. April 3, 2018 at 6:26 am

    It is unfair to say peoples attitudes are determined by intelligence and that those who “believe” as they do are stupid but they are indifferent to the pain caused by the United States. Too many really don’t want to know and those in power with evil intentions are making sure they don’t know and go even farther, by making sure what the general populace “knows” and believes is really based on lies and distortion.

  18. Jose
    April 3, 2018 at 6:00 am

    US leaders cannot do anything for those already killed due to its brutality toward those two countries: Nonetheless, it could change its murderous foreign policy at once and stop the carnage and blood letting. As long as the US keeps this full spectrum dominance as it’s objective, counting the dead won’t help much, unfortunately.

  19. john wilson
    April 3, 2018 at 4:49 am

    I don’t think we need a history lesson on how many innocent souls the US has murdered, what we need is a super computer to keep a tally on these massacres. The top layer of the American population is full of the most horrible people on the planet and the 80% of the population underneath, is full of the most stupid people on the planet.

    • Jose
      April 3, 2018 at 6:04 am

      Dear John: human stupidity never ceases to amaze me. Good post.

    • CitizenOne
      April 3, 2018 at 8:11 pm

      It does not matter how horrible the top tier is or how uninformed the bottom tier is but how the bottom tier is propagandized to support the efforts of the horrible upper tier.

      The “stupidest” people which are the “Walmart Republicans” watch Fox news, get angry about pizzagate style BS stories and propaganda and totally lose their way fed a diet of propaganda which tells them that democrats paid the Florida Shooter to shoot up the school and they are paying the “mourners” when these kids should be learning how to reanimate corpses with magic CPR spells prescribed by our high priests of republican piety and anti vice.

      They believe the victims are in fact the perpetrators of the crime. When these idiots are that far down the crazy hole there is probably no coming back.

      The problem is propaganda works. We see its effect and its poisoning of the public commons and the death of minds of vast swaths of the population many of whom their loved ones no longer can identify with.

      The lunacy of the propagandists is only matched by the shamelessness of the media corporations to present it as actual “news”.

      The scary part is there is no morality or ethics involved in the decisions to support propaganda. Only the ability for sensational stories to spike the web – 0 – meter and lure advertising dollars.

      The central problem of the internet and social platforms like Facebook is they have been concerned with profit any way they could possibly find it and the ultimately found that selling other companies the data they needed to successfully manipulate you was a great business model.

      Screw all the BS about Russian Hacks. That is just a giant smoke screen for the giant tech corporations who are probably building a robotic replacement of you right now based on all the profile information they have collected. Siri and Alexa can perfectly imitate you in every detail including all 7 million words they have recordings of.

      Hi honey, I’m home!!!! And I know what you have been up to!!!

      Who’s fault is all of this? Ask a republican. Al Gore!!!!!

      • Al Pinto
        April 4, 2018 at 3:53 pm

        C1…

        “It does not matter how horrible the top tier is or how uninformed the bottom tier is but how the bottom tier is propagandized to support the efforts of the horrible upper tier.”

        You have to admit that the “horrible upper tier” is doing an excellent job at propaganda, strictly from performance and quality perspective. In my view, the education system is part of their propaganda machine, but you may disagree…

    • Tom F
      April 4, 2018 at 5:19 am

      I think most people do need an honest history lesson. Why would that not be the case?

  20. thestarl
    April 3, 2018 at 1:34 am

    Now we have that lunatic Bolten as NSA moar war seems inevitable.

    • Jose
      April 3, 2018 at 6:03 am

      You’re totally correct. People in those countries should braze for the worse. It’s a complete disgrace that the US could put and end to the killings but chooses not to.

      • Anon
        April 3, 2018 at 8:46 am

        That is really the question, Jose: how do the people of the US eliminate oligarchy and restore democracy, which requires the tools of a free press and fair elections that are now controlled by dictatorship of the rich. The rich not only choose the policies but choose what the people know and think and therefore choose, and the political candidates whom they might choose.

        It is unfortunate that the many revolutionary movements caused or opposed by the US, causing such vast numbers of wrongful deaths elsewhere, have not set up terrorist groups in the US itself, which would be the first hopeful sign for the people here. We would have a choice of revolutionaries to support, from around the world, and could conduct a new American Revolution by proxy from armchairs. Then the passive US could simply watch the rich being dragged from their gated communities, the CEOs and PR flacks from their offices, the corrupt politicians from their corrupt assemblies, and sent to the venues of their victims for the justice they deserve.

        • jose
          April 3, 2018 at 7:40 pm

          Dear Mr. Anon: you do raise good points. There is no easy answer. I remember watching years ago a star trek movie in which Mr. Spock is asked the following: Why do you keep this painting titled “The expulsion of paradise” in your room? To which Spock replays: “A reminder that all things come to an end” I may not see the demise of this present social order but I have no doubt it will come to an end. It is simply unsustainable.

        • Al Pinto
          April 4, 2018 at 3:38 pm

          @Anon…

          “That is really the question, Jose: how do the people of the US eliminate oligarchy and restore democracy, which requires the tools of a free press and fair elections that are now controlled by dictatorship of the rich. ”

          I think you have pretty much answered your question. There’s no way that the oligarch will give up ownership of the press, politicians and by proxy the Congress and the White House. It’s a catch-22 that cannot be resolved with the run of the mill elections or movement. Not even if the duopoly stranglehold of the democRATS and republi-CANS of the Congress is broken by a remote chance.

          “It is unfortunate that the many revolutionary movements caused or opposed by the US, causing such vast numbers of wrongful deaths elsewhere, have not set up terrorist groups in the US itself, which would be the first hopeful sign for the people here. We would have a choice of revolutionaries to support, from around the world, and could conduct a new American Revolution by proxy from armchairs. Then the passive US could simply watch the rich being dragged from their gated communities, the CEOs and PR flacks from their offices, the corrupt politicians from their corrupt assemblies, and sent to the venues of their victims for the justice they deserve.”

          That’s one sign that you will not see in the US. There’s way too much eavesdropping/monitoring people’s activities for movement like this to take off. It would be crushed in its budding stage and most people wouldn’t disagree with the government’s action….

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