One Story Shows Just How Insane U.S. Drone Policy Is

October 18, 2015 by  
Filed under General News

source :washingtons blog

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that U.S. drone policy is insane.

But one story told by the main drone whistleblowing reporter – Jeremy Scahill – shows just how insane it really is.

Specifically, Scahill explained today that Americans target TALL people in Afghanistan and other countries … assuming that tall men must be Arabs or “foreign fighters.”

In one instance, the U.S. targeted for drone assassination a man who they thought was unusually tall.  In reality, he was a normal-size man … who happened to be surrounded by children.

The U.S. killed the man and all of the children (other than perhaps a single survivor):

Hillary Clinton Celebrates Planned Parenthood’s Years of Pursuing Eugenics

October 18, 2015 by  
Filed under General News

source:breitbart

Hillary Clinton celebrated the opening of the first Planned Parenthood clinic in America 99 years ago, when the U.S.’s largest abortion provider began its long career in the open pursuit of eugenics.

The Democrat 2016 candidate tweeted out her congratulations and support of the organization that is currently under several congressional investigations following the release of videos exposing its apparent practices of harvesting the body parts of unborn babies for sale:

 

As pro-life group Live Action notes, Margaret Sanger — Planned Parenthood’s founder – held firmly to eugenics – the philosophy that the human race can be improved by controlled and selective breeding. Sanger promoted the sterilization and use of birth control for those – mainly minorities – with qualities she considered less desirable for the human race.

Sanger’s philosophy has continued to this day. The Guttmacher Institute reported black women are five times more likely to undergo an abortion than white women. Similarly, last year, the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Office released a report that revealed more black babies are aborted than are born in that city. Yet New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio pledged to partner with Planned Parenthood to expand his city’s abortion businesses and to wipe out pro-life pregnancy centers.

Additionally, a study released last year demonstrates the obvious racial disparity where abortion is concerned in the United States. Dr. James Studnicki at the University of North Carolina and his colleagues found that for whites, abortions in 2008 contributed to 59% of total years of potential life lost while, for blacks, abortions contributed 76% of the same. The researchers concluded that “induced abortion is the overwhelmingly predominant contributing cause of preventable potential lives lost in North Carolina,” and blacks are disproportionately affected.

Clinton, however, and feminists of her generation cling to Sanger’s elevation of birth control as somewhat of a “sacrament” of the feminist movement. Sanger wrote:

We now know that there never can be a free humanity until woman is freed from ignorance, and we know, too, that woman can never call herself free until she is mistress of her own body. Just so long as man dictates and controls the standards of sex morality, just so long will man control the world.

Birth control is the first important step woman must take toward the goal of her freedom. It is the first step she must take to be man’s equal. It is the first step they must both take toward human emancipation.

More recently, however, black pro-life leaders and Republican members of Congress have demanded that Sanger’s bust be removed from a “Struggle for Justice” exhibit in the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery where it is displayed.

In a letter sent to the director of the gallery, Ministers Taking a Stand, led by president Bishop E.W. Jackson, stated:

Perhaps the Gallery is unaware that Ms. Sanger supported black eugenics, a racist attitude toward black and other minority babies; an elitist attitude toward those she regarded as “the feeble minded;” speaking at rallies of Ku Klux Klan women; and communications with Hitler sympathizers. Also, the notorious “Negro Project” which sought to limit, if not eliminate, black births, was her brainchild. Despite these well-documented facts of history, her bust sits proudly in your gallery as a hero of justice. The obvious incongruity is staggering!

In an interview with Breitbart News, Jackson said his group received a response from the gallery that referred to Sanger as a person who struggled for justice because she tried to make birth control and reproductive freedom available to poor women.

“We responded back that this was not Sanger’s motivation,” Jackson asserted. “Her motivation was stopping people whom she considered ‘defective’ from having what she would call ‘defective children.’

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Taliban Stronger Than At Any Time Since 2001

October 18, 2015 by  
Filed under General News

source:washingtons blog

May Even Be More Widespread Than BEFORE the War STARTED

The Afghanistan War is by far the longest war in American history. It’s been going on for 14 years … as long as the Civil War (4 years,), WW1 (4 years) and WW2 (6 years) COMBINED.

The Afghanistan and Iraq wars were also the most expensive wars in American history.

And yet – as the New York Times reports – the Taliban are as widespread and strong now as they were before we launched the war:

The Taliban insurgency has spread through more of Afghanistan than at any point since 2001, according to data compiled by the United Nations as well as interviews with numerous local officials in areas under threat.

***

The United Nations data suggests that the tempo of the insurgency has increased in many parts of the country where there had been little Taliban presence in the past, including some areas in the north with scant Pashtun populations.

***

“We have had fighting in 13 provinces of Afghanistan over the past six months, simultaneously,” President Ashraf Ghani said this month in response to criticism after the fall of Kunduz.

***

In all, 27 of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces had some districts where the threat level was rated high or extreme.

Indeed, the strength of the Taliban may conceivably now be even higher than in 2001. Specifically, the Times notes:

The data [was] compiled in early September — even before the latest surge in violence in northern Afghanistan ….

And way back in 2012, Spiegel noted, that the Taliban was “stronger than EVER.”

So why did we launch the Afghanistan war?

After all, the Taliban offered to hand over Bin Laden.

There might have been other reasons

Postscript: It’s not just Afghanistan … recent U.S. wars have not gone well.

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With US Warships En Route To Islands, China Asks: “What On Earth Makes Them Think We Will Tolerate This?”

October 18, 2015 by  
Filed under General News

zerohedge:

The US is in a tough spot militarily.

In Syria, Russia and Iran have taken advantage of the fact that the plan hatched by the West and its regional allies to destabilize the Assad regime took far too long to develop. The idea was to foment discord and provide covert support for the various armed militias fighting to overthrow the government. But the effort is entering its fifth year and Assad is still there. Not only that, there have been a series of unintended (well, at least we hope they’re unintended) consequences. First, one of the rebel groups the West and its allies supported morphed into an insane band of white basketball shoe-wearing, black flag-waving, sword-wielding desert bandits. Second, the fighting created a horrific refugee crisis that now threatens to destabilize the whole of Europe. Sensing a historic geopolitical opportunity, Moscow and Tehran simply stepped in and outmaneuvered Washington. Now, the US basically has to decide whether it wants to go to war with Russia, because paradropping ammo into the middle of the desert isn’t going to be a viable strategy.

Meanwhile, the US faces another superpower confrontation in the South China Sea.

When Beijing began its land reclamation efforts in the Spratlys, we’re reasonably sure the Pentagon didn’t anticipate the extent to which the effort would quickly become a giant headache for Washington.

As a reminder, it’s not so much the dredging that has Washington’s regional allies in the South Pacific upset. Island building has been done before in the area. Rather, it’s the scope of the project that has everyone unnerved as Beijing has so far constructed over 3,000 acres of new sovereign territory atop which China has built everything from cement factories, to greenhouses, to runways. 

Whether or not the US really cares about this is debatable although these shipping lanes are indeed critical for world trade. But with The Philippines and others crying foul, Washington is left with little choice but to put on a brave face lest the world should get the idea that China can just redraw maritime boundaries at will and establish a Sino-Monroe Doctrine in the process. 

So finally, the US decided that it would sail some warships by the islands just to see if it can do so without getting shot at.

No, really. That’s the whole plan. “Let’s see how far we can push them.”

This is of course orchestrated under the guise of a freedom of navigation operation which, in a way, makes little sense because China has never threatened global trade. Then again, it’s fairly obvious that Beijing has some military role for the new islands in mind.

In any event, China hit back on Thursday, saying the PLA would “stand up and use force” if necessary should the US make a “mistake” with the whole warship plan.

So in short, Washington is now in a staring contest with both Moscow and Beijing and both Russia and China seem to have gotten the idea that the US has lost its resolve lately and will probably blink first in both standoffs.

It’s with all of that in mind that we bring you the following rather amusing op-ed from Beijing out Saturday on Xinhua, presented below with no further comment:

*  *  *

Via Xinhua

The United States’ provocative attempts to infringe on China’s South China Sea sovereignty are sabotaging regional peace and stability and militarizing the waters.

 

The U.S. Navy is reportedly preparing to conduct “freedom of navigation” operations, sending warships within 12 nautical miles of Chinese islands in the South China Sea. The U.S. operations may take place within days, according to reports.

 

Last month, in his response to China’s claim of sovereignty over the South China Sea, U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter said the United States “will fly, sail and operate wherever the international law allows, as we do around the world.”

 

White House Spokesman Josh Earnest said on Oct. 8 that U.S. warships patrolling close to artificial islands built by China in the South China Sea “should not provoke significant reaction from the Chinese.”

 

Let us not forget that in October 1962, when the Soviet Union was building missile sites in Cuba — not even on U.S. soil — U.S. President Kennedy made it clear in a televised speech that the United States would not “tolerate the existence of the missile sites currently in place.”

 

What on earth makes the United States think China should and will tolerate it when U.S. surface ships trespass on Chinese territory in the South China Sea?

 

China will never tolerate any military provocation or infringement on sovereignty from the United States or any other country, just as the United States refused to 53 years ago.

 

China’s stand on the South China Sea disputes is firm and clear. China’s sovereignty and claims of rights over Nansha Islands and their adjacent waters in the South China Sea have been formed over the long course of history and upheld by successive Chinese governments, and have adequate and solid historical and legal basis.

 

Just as Article 15 of the United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea stipulates, delimiting the territorial seas of China and other countries in the South China Sea shall be in accordance with China’s “historic title” to the region.

 

China has always been, in a constructive and effective manner, a firm upholder of the freedom of navigation as well as peace and stability in the South China Sea. And China has vowed to continue to do so in the future.

 

China’s construction of civilian and public facilities on the Nansha Islands and reefs, which fall within the scope of China’s sovereignty, serves not only China but also coastal nations in the South China Sea.

 

For instance, two lighthouses recently built on reefs in the region have helped guide passing vessels from around the world and significantly improved navigation safety.

 

Contrary to U.S. claims, it will be the United States, as an outsider, that further provokes tensions in the South China Sea by sending soldiers and warships to Chinese territory in the name of “freedom of navigation.”

 

This is not the first move by the United States to undermine the regional peace and stability that China has worked so hard for.

 

Over the past several years, the United States has held frequent large-scale drills with its allies in the South China Sea, flexing their military muscles.

 

According to the website of the U.S. Department of Defense, the country has deployed thousands of civilian and military officials, as well as a huge number of weapons, to the Pacific region.

 

To destabilize the region and contain China, the United States has deliberately involved non-party nations, such as Japan, in the South China Sea issue and stirred disputes between China and other parties, including the Philippines.

 

By no means will China let the provocateurs make waves in waters that should be characterized by peace, friendship and cooperation.

 

Last year, the bilateral trade volume between China and members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) exceeded 480 billion U.S. dollars.

 

Concerned nations have no alternative but to jointly deal with disputes in the South China Sea that pose a threat to the development and prosperity of parties in the region.

 

On Sept. 18, in response to remarks made by the commander of U.S. forces in the Pacific on patrolling the South China Sea, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman said China, like the United States, upholds freedom of navigation in the waters.

 

However, the spokesman stressed, China opposes any country’s challenge, in the name of freedom of navigation, to China’s sovereignty and security in the South China Sea.

 

During a visit to Europe in March 2014, Chinese president Xi Jinping stressed that his country will “never stir up any trouble, but will resolutely safeguard its legitimate rights” when it comes to sovereignty and territorial integrity.

 

Even though enhancing mutual trust and managing disputes through high-level visits and talks still remains the first option for China, the country will, without any doubt, adopt countermeasures against the United States if it doesn’t stop military provocations that infringe upon China.

Israel expands its borders into Europe

October 18, 2015 by  
Filed under General News

source:aljazeera

On July 11, Israel announced it was not interested in having the United Nations become involved as a mediator in its maritime border issues with Lebanon.

But when it comes to recruiting other countries to assist in the enforcement of its naval blockade of Gaza, or having international airlines deny entry to passengers destined to the occupied territories from flying, Israel is keen to have other countries help.

In 2010, Israel faced the worst kind of media exposure when its military raided the Mavi Marmara, shooting dead nine activists and wounding 40 others, evoking global condemnation and a beginning a tectonic shift in its relations with Turkey.

Rather than risking direct confrontation with activists taking part the recent Freedom Flotilla II, or the ”Flytilla” of activists who attempted to fly into Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion airport, Israel instead chose another strategy that has proven quite effective.

Anchoring the flotilla

In June, ten ships carrying some 200 activists from 20 countries were to take part in what came to be known as “the second Freedom Flotilla”, whose goal was to break through the Israeli naval blockade of Gaza.

Israel began its campaign to keep the vessels from reaching Gaza by warning journalists on June 26 they could be banned from entering the country for ten years if they travelled aboard the aid flotilla.

The Israeli government also said journalists could also have their equipment seized, in addition to other sanctions placed on them.

Jay Bushinsky from the Foreign Press Association in Israel questioned the constitutionality of the Israeli government’s warning, and said it could be overruled by Israeli courts. He told Al Jazeera: ”If the steps are taken, it will reflect an unwise policy and a losing proposition.”

Israel backtracked and retracted the warning.

The next day, June 27, activists aboard the Swedish ship Juliano reported their vessel had been sabotaged by divers. In a statement, they said, ”hostile divers had destroyed the propeller house and cut the propeller shaft”.

At approximately the same time, Israel escalated a media campaign that was geared towards demonising flotilla activists. According to Tel Aviv daily Yedioth Aharonoth, military sources said participants of the flotilla were planning to pour chemicals, such as sulphur, on Israeli soldiers, and senior Israeli officials claimed that ”radical elements” among the flotilla activists had stated an intention to ”spill the blood of Israeli soldiers”.

Then on June 30, three days after the Juliano was sabotaged, the Irish ship Saoirse had to abandon plans to set sail, because of what it called Israeli sabotage. Activist Huwaida Arraf told Israel’s Army Radio that the ship’s engine was damaged while in port and could have led to deaths on board.

“When the engine was started, it completely bent,” Arraf said. “While out at sea, if this would have happened, if it would have bent in this way, the boat would have started taking on water and it could have led to fatalities.”

The alleged sabotage occurred at the Turkish coastal town of Gocek where the Saoirse has been berthed for the previous few weeks, according to organisers.

Israel refused media requests for comment on both allegations.

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October 17, 2015 by  
Filed under General News

source:Mike Maharrey tenth amendment center
BURLINGTON, Vt. – The Burlington police department unilaterally decided to sever ties with a U.S. Department of Defense program that allows law enforcement agencies to procure surplus military equipment, freeing the department from one significant form of federal influence and control.

A Burlington TV station reported on the move, saying the department had obtained two night vision devices through the program before deciding not to participate.

“There are times when military-style equipment is essential for public safety, but they are very rare,” Burlington Police Chief Brandon del Pozo said. “We have the resources to handle all but the most inconceivable public safety scenarios. Amassing a worst-case scenario arsenal of military equipment results in officers seeing everyday policework through a military lens. When I realized what a small role the military played in equipping our police, I concluded it was better to return the items.”

FEDERAL SURPLUS AND GRANT MONEY

Through the federal 1033 Program, local police departments procure military grade weapons, including automatic assault rifles, body armor and mine resistant armored vehicles – essentially unarmed tanks. Police departments can even get their hands on military helicopters and other aircraft.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) runs the “Homeland Security Grant Program,” which in 2013 gave more than $900 million in counterterrorism funds to state and local police. According to a 2012 Senate report, this money has been used to purchase tactical vehicles, drones, and even tanks with little obvious benefit to public safety. And, according to ProPublica, “In 1994, the Justice Department and the Pentagon funded a five-year program to adapt military security and surveillance technology for local police departments that they would otherwise not be able to afford.”

COMMAND AND CONTROL

“Arming ‘peace officers’ like they’re ready to occupy an enemy city is totally contrary to the society envisioned by the Founders,” Michael Boldin of the Tenth Amendment Center said, echoing del Pozo’s thoughts. “They’ve turned ‘protect and serve’ into ‘command and control.’”

In the 1980s, the federal government began arming, funding and training local police forces, turning peace officers into soldiers to fight in its unconstitutional “War on Drugs.” The militarization went into hyper-drive after 9/11 when a second front opened up – the “War on Terror.”

By stripping state and local police of this military-grade gear and requiring them to report on their acquisition and use, it makes them less likely to cooperate with the feds and removes incentives for partnerships.

THE WAY FORWARD

Very few police chiefs have the moral clarity demonstrated by del Pozo. We can’t rely on local police departments to turn their backs on all the free gear dangled in front of them by the feds. The vast majority won’t – not on their own.

But state and local governments can stop militarization of their police departments through laws and ordinances.

Earlier this year, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie signed a bill into law requiring law enforcement agencies to get approval from a local government body before applying for military equipment. This creates a transparent process and gives area residents an avenue to stop militarization altogether through local action.

Montana took things a step further, passing a law prohibiting police agencies from procuring certain types of military equipment at all.

Local governments don’t have to wait for the state to act. They control their local police departments, and they can generally restrict or even ban militarization on their own initiative.

TAKE ACTION

To take action to push back against federal militarization of police in your state, click HERE.

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Rise of the humans: intelligence amplification will make us as smart as the machines

October 17, 2015 by  
Filed under General News

source:The Conversation

In January this year Microsoft announced the HoloLens, a technology based on virtual and augmented reality (AR).

HoloLens supplements what you see with overlaid 3D images. It also uses artificial intelligence (AI) to generate relevant information depending on the situation the wearer is in. The information is then augmented to the your normal vision using virtual reality (VR).


It left a lot of us imagining its potential, from video games to medical sciences. But HoloLens might also give us insight into an idea that goes beyond conventional artificial intelligence: that technology could complement our intelligence, rather than replacing it, as is often the case when people talk about AI.
From AI to IA

Around the same time that AI was first defined, there was another concept that emerged: intelligence amplification (IA), which was also variously known as cognitive augmentation or machine augmented intelligence.

In contrast to AI, which is a standalone system capable of processing information as well as or better than a human, IA is actually designed to complement and amplify human intelligence. IA has one big edge over AI: it builds on human intelligence that has evolved over millions of years, while AI attempts to build intelligence from scratch.

IA has been around from the time humans first began to communicate, at least in a very broad sense. Writing was among the first technologies that might be considered as IA, and it enabled us to enhance our creativity, understanding, efficiency and, ultimately, intelligence.

For instance, our ancestors built tools and structures based on trial and error methods assisted by knowledge passed on verbally and through demonstration by their forebears. But there is only so much information that any one individual can retain in their mind without external assistance.

Today we build complex structures with the help of hi-tech survey tools and highly accurate software. Our knowledge has also much improved thanks to the recorded experiences of countless others who have come before us. More knowledge than any one person could remember is now readily accessible through external devices at the push of a button.

Although IA has been around for many years in principle, it has not been a widely recognised subject. But with systems such as HoloLens, IA can now be explicitly developed to be faster than was possible in the past.
From AR to IA

Augmented reality is just the latest technology to enable IA, supplementing our intelligence and improving it.

The leap that Microsoft has taken with HoloLens is using AI to boost IA. Although this has also been done in various disparate systems before, Microsoft has managed to bring all the smaller components together and present it on a large scale with a rich experience.

Augmented Reality experience on HoloLens Microsoft

For example, law enforcement agencies could use HoloLens to access information on demand. It could rapidly access a suspect’s record to determine whether they’re likely to be dangerous. It could anticipate the routes the suspect is likely to take in a pursuit. This would effectively make the officer more “intelligent” in the field.

Surgeons are already making use of 3D printing technology to pre-model surgery procedures enabling them to conduct some very intricate surgeries that were never before possible. Similar simulations could be done by projecting the model through an AR device, like HoloLens.
Blurred lines

Lately there has been some major speculation about the threat posed by superintelligent AI. Philosophers such as Nick Bostrom have explored many issues in this realm.

AI today is far behind the intelligence possessed by any individual human. However, that might change. Yet the fear of superintelligent AI is predicated on there being a clear distinction between the AI and us. With IA, that distinction is blurred, and so too is the possibility of there being a conflict between us and AI.

Intelligence amplification is an old concept, but is coming to the fore with the development of new augmented reality devices. It may not be long before your own thinking might be enhanced to superhuman levels thanks to a seamless interface with technology.

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Google, the NSA & DHS are creating a global DNA database

October 17, 2015 by  
Filed under General News

source:massprivate

According to the Verge, Ancestry.com, is seeking permission from the FDA to create a national DNA database. Ancestry.com claims they’ll use your DNA to assess your families disease risk.

Would it shock you to know that Google, the NSA and DHS are using “front companies” to create a GLOBAL DNA database?

Is Ancestry.com giving people straight info. about their ancestry? Are they in actuality working for the government?

Ancestry.com recently purchased the Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation. The Sorenson’s Database had more than 100,000 DNA samples and documented multi-generational family histories from “volunteers in more than 100 countries around the world.”

Your DNA is not safe with Ancestry.com:

In March of this year Ancestry.com let police search their DNA database without a warrant!

Without a warrant or court order, police investigators were able to run the crime scene DNA against Sorenson’s private genealogical DNA data. The search turned up 41 potential familial matches to Michael Usry. The cops then asked Ancestry.com, not only for the “protected” name associated with that profile, but also for all “all information including full names, date of births, date and other information pertaining to the original donor to the Sorenson Molecular Genealogy project.”  FYI, Ancestry.com offered to disclose this information in response to a simple subpoena.

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Alaska and Hawaii to pull out from USA

May 14, 2015 by  
Filed under General News, Video

Allow Israel to kill more civilians, says British colonel

May 14, 2015 by  
Filed under General News

source:electronic intifada

Former British army officer Colonel Richard Kemp was described by a leading anti-Palestinian lawyer as “one of the Jewish state’s greatest allies” at a conference in Jerusalem last week.

At that conference, Kemp argued for Israeli impunity from war crimes accusations. He also descried himself as a “thug” who liked to fight and had disobeyed army rules of engagement.

He argued that the laws of wars and the rules of engagement for “democratic armies” should be loosened to allow “maximum possible freedom of action.”

“As a former commander myself, I liked nothing better than to be given no orders, so I could carry out the mission any way I liked,” he said, speaking at a panel on 5 May.

He said that “rules of engagement are for the guidance of wise men and the obedience of fools … on many occasions, I have – I say on many, on some occasions – I have disobeyed the rules of engagement.”

Kemp seemed a star of the show during the two-day “Towards a new law of war” conference. He used his ample platform to advocate for Israel, the US and the UK to be given more freedom to inflict “collateral damage” – a euphemism for killing civilians.

Nitsana Darshan-Leitner – the anti-Palestinian lawyer who introduced Kemp’s keynote speech – leads the Mossad-linked group which organized the conference, Shurat HaDin.

Darshan-Leitner also described Kemp as “an officer, a gentleman.” Kemp responded jokingly that he’d never been called a gentleman before, later explaining: “you join [the British army] because you want to fight … you’re a bit of a thug, such as me. That’s why I joined the army.”

Human shields calumny

Throughout the conference, particularly during Kemp’s contributions, the constant justification for Israel’s long record of killing Palestinian civilians was that they were “human shields” who were in many cases forced by Palestinian resistance factions, such as Hamas, into playing that role.

In fact, despite the constant refrains of “human shields” used by anti-Palestinian propagandists, there has never been any evidence of Palestinian human shields (something The Electronic Intifada has reported on many occasions and with which Amnesty International concurs).

With one exception: Israel uses Palestinians, including children, as human shields to protect their soldiers. This is a war crime, and its practice by Israel has been documented by groups including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.

“Political warfare”

Kemp justified this killing of civilians, saying that “attacks do go ahead … and human shields very often die as a consequence.”

Kemp said there was an increase of “political warfare against western powers” including Israel, and that such “warfare” was often sponsored by Hamas and al-Qaida, “but also by enemies from within our own countries.”

He said that to stop the supposed use of human shields “commanders would need to be more willing to apply military force, even when it risks the lives of the human shields.”

In other words, armies have to kill civilians in order to save civilians.

But he cautioned this would need a legalistic veneer: “a more robust approach to human shields of course needs to be legally permissible. I’m not in any way advocating the unlawful slaughter of civilians on the battlefield.”

He claimed that some “human shields” were volunteers and “therefore liable to be attacked and killed” although “in practice it is really hard, often – sometimes impossible – to distinguish.”

“Civilian casualties will ensue”

He argued for a “more modern definition of proportionality” which would give greater scope “undesirable though it may be – but for inflicting collateral damage, because it [the new definition of proportionality] refers to ‘clearly excessive’ in relation to the concrete and overall military advantage.”

“I don’t advocate the callous butchery of civilians,” he repeated, “but on the real battlefield, often … civilian casualties will ensue.”

But later, during another panel, on the rules of engagement for militaries, Kemp specified some concrete ways ways that soldiers in Afghanistan had decided who they were allowed to shoot and kill.

In 2009, new rules for when NATO forces in Afghanistan could get into a fight and when they had to withdraw were put in place by General Stanley McChrystal. They were summarized as putting the protection of the civilian population above killing the enemy. “Given the choice between killing the enemy or risking civilian lives, they have been willing to let the enemy go,” reported NPR at the time.

Speaking on the panel, Kemp said he disagreed with McChrystal on this policy. He said that troops “tried to overcome the policy … by using themselves as bait for the Taliban, to lure the Taliban to attack them, and then they could fire back.”

Christian Zionist

Colonel Richard Kemp was a British army commander in Afghanistan, based in Kabul, in 2003. He retired from army life in 2006. Since then he has been a UK government adviser, an author and a public speaker.

But his most prolific role in the last few years has been as a leading propagandist for Israeli war crimes.

His web site states that he is a board member of the Friends of Israel Initiative and NGO Monitor, a propaganda group well-known for its anti-Palestinian advocacy.

Kemp’s virulent propagandizing for Israel seems to be motivated in part by religious extremism. In 2013, I reported on a speech he made at the Christians United For Israel annual summit. There, he described the late British occupation army officer Orde Wingate as “the greatest Christian Zionist in Britain.”

Wingate infamously led the Special Night Squad, a sectarian militia used to crush Palestinian rebels who fought against the British occupation in the 1930s.

The Shurat HaDin conference where Kemp spoke was closed by a speech in which Israeli defense minister Moshe Yaalon threatened to kill more Palestinian and Lebanese civilians “in any round of hostilities in the future,” and implied Israel might nuke Iran “in certain cases” when “we feel like we don’t have the answer by surgical operations.”

I captured Kemp’s comments on video via the conference live stream. Shurat HaDin this week begun uploading video from the conference to their YouTube channel, though the Kemp speech is not yet there.

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