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I want to give testimony on what are called the “highways of death.”

These are the two Kuwaiti roadways, littered with remains of 2,000 mangled Iraqi military vehicles, and the charred and dismembered bodies of tens of thousands of Iraqi soldiers, who were withdrawing from Kuwait on February 26th and 27th 1991 in compliance with UN resolutions.

US planes trapped the long convoys by disabling vehicles in the front, and at the rear, and then pounded the resulting traffic jams for hours. “It was like shooting fish in a barrel,” said one US pilot. The horror is still there to see.

On the inland highway to Basra is mile after mile of burned, smashed, shattered vehicles of every description – tanks, armored cars, trucks, autos, fire trucks, according to the March 18, 1991, Time magazine. On the sixty miles of coastal highway, Iraqi military units sit in gruesome repose, scorched skeletons of vehicles and men alike, black and awful under the sun, says the Los Angeles Times of March 11, 1991. While 450 people survived the inland road bombing to surrender, this was not the case with the 60 miles of the coastal road. There for 60 miles every vehicle was strafed or bombed, every windshield is shattered, every tank is burned, every truck is riddled with shell fragments. No survivors are known or likely. The cabs of trucks were bombed so much that they were pushed into the ground, and it’s impossible to see if they contain drivers or not. Windshields were melted away, and huge tanks were reduced to shrapnel.

“Even in Vietnam I didn’t see anything like this. It’s pathetic,” said Major Bob Nugent, an Army intelligence officer. This one-sided carnage, this racist mass murder of Arab people, occurred while White House spokesman Marlin Fitzwater promised that the US and its coalition partners would not attack Iraqi forces leaving Kuwait. This is surely one of the most heinous war crimes in contemporary history.


The Iraqi troops were not being driven out of Kuwait by US troops as the Bush administration maintains. They were not retreating in order to regroup and fight again. In fact, they were withdrawing, they were going home, responding to orders issued by Baghdad, announcing that it was complying with Resolution 660 and leaving Kuwait. At 5:35 p.m. (Eastern standard Time) Baghdad radio announced that Iraq’s Foreign Minister had accepted the Soviet cease-fire proposal and had issued the order for all Iraqi troops to withdraw to postions held before August 2, 1990 in compliance with UN Resolution 660. President Bush responded immediately from the White House saying (through spokesman Marlin Fitzwater) that “there was no evidence to suggest the Iraqi army is withdrawing. In fact, Iraqi units are continuing to fight. . . We continue to prosecute the war.” On the next day, February 26, 1991, Saddam Hussein announced on Baghdad radio that Iraqi troops had, indeed, begun to withdraw from Kuwait and that the withdrawal would be complete that day. Again, Bush reacted, calling Hussein’s announcement “an outrage” and “a cruel hoax.”

Eyewitness Kuwaitis attest that the withdrawal began the afternoon of February 26, 1991 and Baghdad radio announced at 2:00 AM (local time) that morning that the government had ordered all troops to withdraw.


The massacre of withdrawing Iraqi soldiers violates the Geneva Conventions of 1949, Common Article III, which outlaws the killing of soldiers who are out of combat. The point of contention involves the Bush administration’s claim that the Iraqi troops were retreating to regroup and fight again. Such a claim is the only way that the massacre which occurred could be considered legal under international law. But in fact the claim is false and obviously so. The troops were withdrawing and removing themselves from combat under direct orders from Baghdad that the war was over and that Iraq had quit and would fully comply with UN resolutions. To attack the soldiers returning home under these circumstances is a war crime.

Iraq accepted UN Resolution 660 and offered to withdraw from Kuwait through Soviet mediation on February 21, 1991. A statement made by George Bush on February 27, 1991, that no quarter would be given to remaining Iraqi soldiers violates even the US Field Manual of 1956. The 1907 Hague Convention governing land warfare also makes it illegal to declare that no quarter will be given to withdrawing soldiers. On February 26,199 I, the following dispatch was filed from the deck of the USS. Ranger, under the byline of Randall Richard of the Providence Journal:

“Air strikes against Iraqi troops retreating from Kuwait were being launched so feverishly from this carrier today that pilots said they took whatever bombs happened to be closest to the flight deck. The crews, working to the strains of the Lone Ranger theme, often passed up the projectile of choice . . . because it took too long to load.”

New York Times reporter Maureen Dowd wrote, “With the Iraqi leader facing military defeat, Mr. Bush decided that he would rather gamble on a violent and potentially unpopular ground war than risk the alternative: an imperfect settlement hammered out by the Soviets and Iraqis that world opinion might accept as tolerable.”

In short, rather than accept the offer of Iraq to surrender and leave the field of battle, Bush and the US military strategists decided simply to kill as many Iraqis as they possibly could while the chance lasted…

Continue this story at ROAR Magazine
US Bombed Aleppo

Aleppo is the center piece of a new propaganda war, and Russia is tired of it.

On Wednesday US aircraft hit nine facilities in the Syrian city of Aleppo, then on the same day accused Russia of bombing two hospitals in city.

Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said,

“Yesterday, at 13:55 Moscow time (10:55 GMT), two American A-10 assault aircraft entered Syrian airspace from Turkey, flew right to the city of Aleppo and bombed targets there,”

Konashenkov referenced Pentagon spokesman Steve Warren who had claimed that, “with the destruction of the two main hospitals in Aleppo by Russian and regime attacks, over 50,000 Syrians are now without any access to live-saving assistance.”
Yet, Warren did not provide the hospitals’ coordinates, the time of the airstrikes, or the source of the information. Konashenkov said he provided “absolutely nothing.”
And, continuing he presented the central problem for the US claim:

“No Russian warplanes carried out airstrikes in Aleppo city area yesterday. The nearest target engaged was over 20km away from the city.”

Moreover, he said the Russians “did not have enough time to clarify what exactly those nine objects bombed out by US planes in Aleppo yesterday were,” meaning that it very well could have been the US planes that destroyed the hospitals.
The Russians are apparently tired of US propaganda and Konashenko bluntly stated the following:

“What they do first is make unfounded accusations against us – to deflect blame away from themselves. If it goes on like this, we’re going to make two media briefings: one for ourselves, another for those coalition guys,”
 
“Now they criticize us, saying we fly wrong way and bomb wrong places. Should we send them more maps?”

“If you look at how Western media presents information, it looks like the cities not controlled by the Syrian government are full of peaceful opposition and human rights activists,”
 
“They know for sure that neither the Russian Air Force nor the Syrian government troops ever deliver strikes on non-combatants.”

Aleppo has become the center piece of a new propaganda war against both the legal Syrian government and Russians operating in Syria legally. As Konashenkov insinuates, Aleppo is absolutely not filled with ‘peace opposition and human rights activists’, but armed groups of what can only be classified as terrorists.

Indeed, the Syrian army and the Russians are not attacking Aleppo, but defending it from foreign invaders.

On February 11th in Munich, Germany, prior to the traditional security summit, will hold international talks on Syria. In particular, there will be meeting of the international support of Syria group with the participation of representatives of the United States, China, the United Nations and Russia. In addition, bilateral meetings will have place. The Minister for Foreign Affairs of Russia, Sergey Lavrov, will meet with the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini and US Secretary of State John Kerry.

On the eve of the summit, Russia said it was ready to provide a ceasefire parties to the conflict on March US insists on an immediate cessation of Russian operations in Siria,  fearing that this time the official Damascus troops backed by Moscow will complete elimination of a large group of militants in northern part of the country and block the border with Turkey

The stalemate of the peace process

Inter-Syrian negotiations, where serious efforts were made to start them on January 30, are at an impasse at the level of prior consultation. The opposition could not unite. Syrian Kurds were not allowed to participate in the negotiations, but Turkey and Saudi Arabia tried to legitimize a group of Islamic extremists.

"Peaceful" US goals

The United States, in contributing to the negotiations, intended to stop the Russian military campaign in Syria, which threatened the existence of militias under their control and the "Islamic State." The main objective was to achieve a political victory over Russia and Iran at the negotiating table. After inter-Syrian negotiations have failed Americans continued pressure on Russia, demanding to immediately stop the offensive against the rebels, threatening to start direct military invasion.
Hide Preparing for an invasion

In case of failure, the US prepared a backup plan, which has intensified since the middle of last week. In essence it is a direct military intervention in Syria, with the US' allies being supported by the US itself. The leadership of Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain said there is a possibility of such a plan. The armed forces of Turkey are also preparing for a military invasion, and there is possibility of the British involvement too.

Kurdish card

By negotiating with Turkey on military operations in Syria, the US is attempting to strengthen its influence among the Kurds. The visit of Obama‘s envoy to Rojava caused a negative reaction from Ankara. At the same time, Russia decided to play the Kurdish card too. On 9th February, an embassy of Syrian Kurdistan opened in Moscow. The region of Kurdish resettlement plays an ever-increasing importance in the geopolitics of the Middle East. The reasons for this: the geographical position (output to several key areas - Levant, South Caucasus, Iraq), high potential of very active Kurdish ethnic group who created the influential military-political structure and the ability to use the Kurds in the internal geopolitics of Iran, Iraq, Turkey and Syria.

Although both Russia and the United States are trying to enlist the support of the Kurds and the Kurdish factor in the use of its geopolitical interests, in a conflict with Russia, Turkey will have to continue to move in the wake of the US if they do not want to remain in isolation. Agents of the US' influence continue to prevent the rapprochement of both countries.

The probability of an invasion increases

A successful offensive of the Syrian army, with the support of Russia and Iran, in the region of Aleppo in northern Syria increases the probability of an invasion by the Turks and allied Gulf states, which could end in a military confrontation with Russia and Iran. US commandos are already in northern Syria, which increases the risks of a major war involving Russia and the United States.

 

Forecast

The US and its allies will continue to put pressure on Russia with demands to stop the military campaign. The British Foreign Office is actively working in this direction. Russia is trying to gain time and to delay the invasion, using "peaceful" democratic rhetoric, but it will not stop the hostilities. The outcome of such a decision will only appear when a direct threat to the US' entry into the war emerges, but it will not necessarily be realized.

Compromise with the Americans and peacemaking with the terrorists will greatly complicate the situation in Syria, the rebels will be allowed to rest, regroup, and get reinforcements. As a result, all the successes, made by Russian military in Syria, will come to naught.

Whenever the US condemns anything, and everything, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) is doing, it’s not hard to see through the real motives of the US. The US is having the UN condemn and impose sanctions on the DPRK as they claim that the DPRK is violating human rights, without any actual evidence. The US’s own human rights records are very poor and it’s surprising to see how the US have threated some of its allies who have been proved to violate human rights. For example, the US was always a good ally and trade partner of the racist apartheid regime in South Africa. The US together with its allies France and Britain vetoed a UN resolution passed by the UN General Assembly to eject South Africa from the UN due to it’s proven human rights violations. When the Sharpeville Massacre took place on 21 March 1960, when the South African racist police opened fire on a crowd of black protestors who protested against new segration laws and worsened conditions for the black majority, that was imposed on them by the white minority dictatorship. 180 people where wounded and 69 where murdered when the racist police opened fire on the crowd and many where shot in the back while they were running away from the shooting. As the US, France and Britain were allies of the apartheid regime and they were all key trade associates of South Africa, the Axis powers vetoed the resolution that had a majority of the UN General Assembly behind it. If the DPRK would open up its market to the imperialists and let US multinational companies exploit the natural resources of the DPRK, the US imperialists would stop talking about human rights, as they are not interested in it at all.

The DPRK supported and trained different liberation movements of the oppressed people in Africa, while the US always stood by the side of the oppressors in order to exploit Africa. The motive of the DPRK is based on independence for the masses, while the main motive of the US is to spread imperialism and to make profit, no matter how many that will have to suffer due to the foreign policies of the US. That is why the US is a genocidal state by nature and that is why the US have allies such as Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Israel, just to mention a few, who are also genocidal violators of human rights.
North Korea jointly developed rocket boosters with Iran – and the technology could be deployed in a long-range ballistic missile launch, an analyst said. Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI

SEOUL, Feb. 2 (UPI) -- North Korea jointly developed rocket boosters with Iran – and the technology could be deployed in a long-range ballistic missile launch.

Jeffrey Lewis, a North Korea analyst at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies in Monterey, Calif., said that the movement of vehicles near North Korea's launch site indicates a ballistic missile launch is highly possible, Jiji Press reported.

Lewis told Japan press North Korea could launch a rocket similar in size to the Unha-3, which was fired in December 2012, but added the possibility Pyongyang could launch another rocket, equipped with a 80-ton rocket booster developed in cooperation with Iran, cannot be ruled out.

On Monday North Korea notified a United Nations agency of its plan to launch a satellite in February, but the plan could be a cover for a test of Pyongyang's ballistic missile technology.

Other reports indicate North Korea has not stopped developing its nuclear weapons program.
The Institute for Science and International Security in Washington, D.C., said in a report issued Monday recent satellite imagery of North Korea's Yongbyon nuclear complex showed the construction of a new nuclear facility on the premises, Yonhap reported.
"The precise purpose of this site remains unknown. However, it is of interest because the signatures visible through a historical analysis of satellite imagery are consistent with an isotope separation facility, including tritium separation," the report read, referring to satellite images from Jan. 25.

In a previous report, the institute stated Pyongyang has enough nuclear material to build 22 nuclear weapons, and is in possession of 66-88 pounds of separated plutonium.

The United States Forces Korea (USFK) will deploy U.S. Army Gray Eagle combat drones in the event of a war on the Korean Peninsula, officials said Wednesday.

"In wartime, the USFK 2nd Infantry Division will operate the Gray Eagle," an official at the ROK-U.S. Combined Division told reporters on condition of anonymity.

The move is part of countermeasures against North Korea's latest nuclear test conducted on Jan. 6.

The USFK is operating two types of reconnaissance drone here, the Raven at the battalion level and the Shadow at the brigade level. Combat drones are not currently deployed.

The Gray Eagle Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) is capable of high-definition surveillance. It can carry four Hellfire air-to-ground anti-armor missiles, allowing it to hit key facilities in North Korea.

"It would take about a day for Gray Eagles to arrive on the peninsula from the U.S. mainland, if transported by a C-17 transport plane," another military official noted.

Measuring eight meters in length with a 17 meter wingspan, the MQ-1C Gray Eagle has an endurance of up to 25 hours, an operating altitude of up to 25,000 feet and payload capacity of over 1,000 pounds, according to manufacturer General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI).

The combat drone was used in exercises in August 2015 at Gunsan Air Base in North Jeolla Province.

At the time, the Gray Eagle UAS streamed video and metadata via a line-of-sight data link directly to a U.S. Army AH-64 Apache helicopter from extended distances. The Apache subsequently was able to re-transmit the imagery to a One System Remote Video Terminal (OSRVT), allowing ground forces to view the video, according to GA-ASI.

Then, field commanders were able to receive both live Gray Eagle streaming video and the re-transmitted video sent by the Apache. Once the Gray Eagle was airborne, U.S. ground forces passed contact reports and target coordinates to operators in the aircraft's One System Ground Control Station (OSGCS). The operators were then able to direct the Gray Eagle's sensors to positively identify and track targets, GA-ASI added.

Following the exercise, some observers raised the possibility that the USFK was planning to deploy the Gray Eagle permanently on the peninsula.

A USFK official refused to elaborate on details, only saying "We don't comment on the USFK's operational capabilities."

In the wake of the North's fourth nuclear test, Seoul and Washington have continued to discuss the additional dispatch of U.S. strategic assets, according to Defense Ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok.

On Jan. 10, the U.S. flew a B-52 Stratofortress strategic bomber over South Korea in a show of force aimed at deterring the repressive state from further military provocations.

Observers say the next move from the U.S. forces would be to send the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan, F-22 Raptor stealth fighters or B-2 stealth bombers.


By Jun Ji-hye

“If the corporate media in the United States are truly interested in the plight of Syrians perhaps they ought to do the real work of journalism instead of acting as courtiers for the Obama administration.”
In preparation for talks on Syria this month, the U.S. corporate media is pretending to be concerned about the Syrians of Madaya, caught between the lines of a war deliberately begun by the United States and its allies. “Every time a president says that Saddam must go or Gaddafi must go or Assad must go a new terror is created for unfortunate people in a far away place.” Madaya is one of those many, many places plunged into misery by the U.S.

The degree to which the American corporate media will cover up for American foreign policy atrocities knows no bounds. The country’s leading newspapers and broadcasters have supported every official lie from Lyndon Johnson’s Gulf of Tonkin resolution in Vietnam to George W. Bush’s claim of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. News reports concerning areas suffering from American interventions should be taken with a great deal of skepticism. In light of the past history of propaganda, the context of recent stories about the people of Madaya, Syria should be closely scrutinized.

The American plan for regime change in Syria has killed 250,000 people and displaced 9 million more. There would be no bullets, bombs or sieges absent the United States and the rest of NATO, Saudi Arabia and Turkey attempting to overthrow the Bashar al-Assad government. All of the people who drowned in the Mediterranean as they tried to flee bloodshed were killed by the United States. The towns and cities that have been destroyed by warring armies were in fact destroyed by the United States. Absent American action, none of the other parties would have taken on this project

It is important to keep these facts in mind when seeing footage of starving people in Madaya. The corporate media lay all of the blame at Assad’s feet and claim that the Syrian army is holding people hostage. There are in fact many Madayas in Syria with starving populations but if the narrative doesn’t make the case for western aggression the story disappears. According to the United Nations some 400,000 Syrians are trapped by combatants in hard to reach areas and are in desperate need of humanitarian aid.

“The towns and cities that have been destroyed by warring armies were in fact destroyed by the United States.”

The cities of Fou’aa and Karaya were also cut off from aid but the people there were victims of the U.S. backed “moderate rebels.” The inhabitants of these cities were also reduced to eating leaves. They too fainted from hunger. But their suffering didn’t make Assad look bad or America look good so the story went straight down the memory hole.

Madaya is surrounded by the Syrian army and also by Ahrar Al-Sham, an al-Qaeda linked group [Edit: Madaya is occupied by Ahrar-Al-Sham not surrounded] and among those so-called “moderates” supported by the United States in its regime change effort. If the corporate media in the United States are truly interested in the plight of Syrians perhaps they ought to do the real work of journalism instead of acting as courtiers for the Obama administration.

While images of hungry children are the story du jour from Syria, the White House continues in its relentless effort to get an elected president out of power no matter what the consequences. A State Department memo leaked to the Associated Press proves that the Obama administration continues pressing for Assad’s ouster and has even come up with a date, March 2017, when they plan for him to be gone. This optimistic scenario assumes that the Syrian army will collapse, a prediction that has been wrong ever since 2011. It also assumes that Russia and Iran will do an about face and leave Assad at America’s mercy. Both predictions are dubious. When the memo became public the State Department was caught red faced and red handed. They called it a “staff level think piece,” an unofficial document and an exercise of no consequence.

The timing of news about Madaya is especially convenient. United Nations talks in Geneva will begin at the end of this month and anything that promotes the administration theme of Assad being evil and having to leave is helpful. It is true that people are starving in Madaya. They are hungry all over Syria and that is why they risk their lives in unseaworthy boats to get to Europe.

“The Obama administration continues pressing for Assad’s ouster and has even come up with a date, March 2017, when they plan for him to be gone.”

War is all hell and before Americans go along when Obama or his successor call for bloodshed they need to keep these images in mind. Every time a president says that Saddam must go or Gaddafi must go or Assad must go a new terror is created for unfortunate people in a far away place.

It is important to keep in mind that the United States does not have clean hands as a humanitarian nation. The Obama administration deliberately kept food aid from reaching Somalians in an effort to break the al-Shabaab resistance. That is a war crime by any definition. Yet we never saw footage of starving Somalians on television or in the newspapers.

The folly of trying to overthrow Assad is so obvious that the Joint Chiefs of Staff shared intelligence with his government through intermediaries in Russia, Israel and Germany. This information comes from Seymour Hersh who has proven once again that true journalism still lives. Few of his colleagues dare to ask what will become of Syria if Assad should fall. Apparently one Libya isn’t enough for the Obama administration. Chaos is the order of the day for the United States.

Anyone with even a small degree of empathy wants to help people in Syria. The best way to do that is to demand that the United States leave that country alone. Syrians can return home and rebuild their lives if there are no foreign powers interfering with their country. The United Nations and the Syrian government have pledged aid to Madaya and other communities. In the meantime concerned Americans can demand that their country stay out. Non-intervention is exactly what all Syrians need.

Margaret Kimberley’s Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR, and is widely reprinted elsewhere. She maintains a frequently updated blog as well as athttp://freedomrider.blogspot.com. Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)BlackAgendaReport.com.