US claims its killed double the number of ISIS fighters they once claimed exist

Mosul Dec 8 2016 (REUTERS:Ahmed Jadallah.) Dec 9 2016

September 2014: the CIA reported the number of ISIS fighters in Syria & Iraq to be between 20,000 & 31,500.

February 2016: a US Defense Department official reported the number of ISIS fighters in Iraq & Syria to be between 20,000 & 25,000. It’s not clear if that included the 5,000 ISIS fighters they estimated were in Libya.

December 8, 2016: a senior US Pentagon official claimed that about 50,000 ISIS fighters had been killed since the US went after them militarily just over two years ago. He called that a “conservative estimate” of ISIS fatalities.

According to official US estimates, that means they’ve killed double the number of existing ISIS fighters. Do you think “fake news” may be involved? Like the “fake news” in 2003 that Saddam Hussain harbored weapons of mass destruction?

The US Defense Department reported in January 2016 that fighting ISIS with ground troops & airpower costs US taxpayers about $11 million per day. The air war alone cost about $5.5 billion total since it began in August 2014 until January 2016. With that kind of expenditure–which is also probably a ‘conservative estimate’–US taxpayers deserve an honest accounting–which will not be forthcoming since the first casualty of war is truth.

Photo is a scene yesterday from the siege against 5,000 to 8,000 ISIS fighters in Mosul, Iraq by US & Iraqi forces. Iraqis are waiting to receive aid from a UN agency.

(Photo by Ahmed Jadallah/Reuters)


Filipino drug prisons: a hellhole of judicial injustice

Filipino drug priosners (DANIEL BEREHULAK ) Dec 9 2016

What looks like an 18th century debtor’s prison is a police station in modern day Manila, Philippines where those arrested for alleged drug use are packed like sardines in squalid conditions & take turns sleeping in any space they can find.

Since July 1st, over 35,600 people have been arrested in anti-drug operations or just picked up off the streets. Those are the ones who survived vigilante squads & weren’t shot outright like nearly 5,000 others. Officials claim over 727,600 drug users & 56,500 drug peddlers have surrendered rather than risk being gunned down.

The problem is not just insufficient detention centers to hold them but the complete denial of due process. How long will they be held in these prisons & warehoused like animals? Do they face the possibility of forced disappearance or summary execution? Whether they surrendered or were arrested, they have a right to an attorney & to defend themselves in court. More importantly, they have a right to demand rehab treatment & facilities if they are addicted to drugs rather than incarceration. Mass addiction is a health & social issue, not a criminal matter.

Duterte’s war on drugs is modeled on the US version–neither of which address mass drug addiction. Nor are they intended to. In the Philippines, it is a war on poor youth; in the US, it has the added dimension of racism. The intention behind both is to terrorize young people to forestall any organized resistance to oppression & inequality, to homelessness & unemployment.

Those who stand for justice stand with these young inmates. They are ours. Duterte is the criminal & should be prosecuted for human rights crimes on a massive scale.

(Photo by Daniel Berehulak/NY Times)

Trump approves of Duterte’s vigilante approach to drug addiction

Filipino victims of drug squads (DANIEL BEREHULAK ) Dec 9 2016

Last week Philippine president Duterte phoned Trump to congratulate him on winning. He reported that Trump wished him success in the war on poor drug addicts & said Duterte is doing it just the right way: shooting down suspected addicts & street peddlers & skipping that whole nuisance of due process thing.

In just over five months, nearly 5,000 suspected users have been shot down in cold blood by death squads incited & organized by Duterte. “They are slaughtering us like animals, one witness told a NY Times reporter.

Since they’re so in sync politically, there’ll probably be a rapprochement now between the two loudmouthed presidents & all that grandstanding & talking trash about kicking out the US military & aligning with China & Russia will soon be forgotten. Especially after Duterte takes up Trump’s invitation to meet with him at the White House next year.

Not all Americans are barbarians who share Trump’s enthusiasm for vigilante death squads. Our deepest condolences to the families of those shot down like animals. They are ours. May they Rest In Peace.
These are two victims murdered by Duterte death squads to the applause of right-wingers around the world.

(Photo by Daniel Berehukal/NY Times)

People get so caught up in their judgements about the veil they forget it’s being used to deny asylum to refugees, discriminate against & threaten Muslim women, & justify bombing & occupation.

It’s a women’s & human rights matter when governments impose it. But that substantive issue isn’t addressed with such fervor as the theology, comfort, & judgmental stuff about the veil.

When all is said & done, women who wear veils don’t give a rat’s ass what the rest of us think. We should pay more attention to their indifference than we do to their attire.