Intel Officials: Civilian Deaths in US Coalition in Mosul, 66X Higher Than US Says—40,000 Dead


Searing new information reveals the months-long battle by the U.S.-led coalition to liberate Mosul, Iraq, from the self-described Islamic State left a catastrophic number of people dead — exponentially more than previously claimed in American and other Western mainstream press — in fact, Intelligence officials now say the operation took more than 40,000 civilians lives.

Astonishingly, the coalition insists just 603 civilians have been “unintentionally killed” during months of intense combat for Operation Inherent Resolve — at least 66 times fewer civilian casualties than what the new information claims.

Kurdish Intelligence officials speaking with the Independent note the bombings, airstrikes, artillery rockets, and other firepower — launched variously by the coalition, Iraqi government forces, and Daesh — killed scores more than the several hundred deaths officially attributed the operation by the Pentagon, and trounced even the estimation of 6,000 dead, proffered by military watchdog group, Airwars.

Former Iraq senior minister, Hoshyar Zebari, told the Independent an unknown number of bodies “are still buried under the rubble,” with conditions so bleak in the decimated city, the “level of human suffering is immense.”

“Kurdish intelligence believes that over 40,000 civilians have been killed as a result of massive firepower used against them,” he continued, “especially by the Federal Police, air strikes and Isis itself.”

According to the outlet,

“Mr Zebari, a native of Mosul and top Kurdish official who has served as the Iraqi Finance Minister and prior to that Foreign Minister, emphasised in an exclusive interview that the unrelenting artillery bombardment by units of the Federal Police, in practice a heavily armed military unit, had caused immense destruction and loss of life in west Mosul.”

If Zebari and the Kurdistan Regional Government are indeed correct — and, according to the Independent, the latter boasts a “reputation for being extremely accurate and well-informed” — then the scope and violence of the undertaking have been drastically if unsurprisingly misrepresented to the Western public.

Manipulation of the death count  — particularly that of the same innocents anti-Islamic State forces putatively sought to protect from militants — serves to maintain the vestiges of long-diminished public support for the U.S. agenda in Iraq by downplaying the war’s extensive impact on the families either uninvolved or victim to the conflict.

Having gained insight firsthand from his previous position, Zebari lambasted Baghdad for deliberately ignoring the suffering experienced by those left in Mosul, remarking, “Sometimes you might think the government is indifferent to what has happened.”

Similar to other areas in the Middle East on the receiving end of U.S. foreign policy, Mosul’s centuries-old record of tolerance and cooperation amongst a host of religious and ethnic minorities likely cannot endure governance of the Sunni Arab majority in power, Zebari explained, as Yazidis, Kurds, Christians, and others see them responsible for much of the misery, including rape and murder.

Indeed, the Iraqi city’s Sunni population continues to face a broad backlash for supporting Daesh throughout the terrorist group’s three-year occupation — since the liberation of Mosul, Iraq government forces have inflicted cruel and unforgiving punishments against former ISIL fighters.

Eagerly corrupt government officials facilitated travel through tightly-controlled military checkpoints for Daesh militants who should not have been provided safe, unencumbered passage, the former government official explained. Reports the Independent,

“Reading from Kurdish intelligence reports, Mr Zebari says that a high level of corruption among the Iraqi military forces occupying Mosul is undermining security measures to suppress Isis in the aftermath of its defeat. He says that suspect individuals are able to pass through military checkpoints by paying $1,000 (£770) and can bring a vehicle by paying $1,500. He says corruption of this type is particularly rife in the 16th and 9th Iraqi Army Divisions and the Tribal Volunteers (Hashd al-Ashairi), drawn in part from the Shabak minority in the Nineveh Plain.

“The ability of Isis militants to remain free or be released from detention by paying bribes has led to a change in attitude among people in Mosul whom Mr Zebari says ‘were previously willing to give information about Isis members to the Iraqi security forces.’”

Justifiably terrified fighters would be free to exact revenge against anyone bold enough to name names, Mosul’s war-weary residents instead opt to remain silent — this conundrum tacitly allowing ISIL “sleeper cells” to continue operating in Mosul without much fear of reprisal or punishment, and, as the Independent elaborates,

“A belief that Isis fighters and officials detained in Mosul are later able to bribe their way free explains why soldiers, most of whom are not complicit in bribery networks, have summarily executed Isis prisoners, sometimes by throwing them off high buildings.”

Although the Independent does not share with readers the Intelligence documents the outlet claims to have observed — making verification of figures as impossible as those sums touted by the Pentagon or White House — that Hoshyar Zebari allowed use of his name provides more credence than typically vague propaganda-laced reports emanating from the U.S. government.

Recovery from war, the occupation of Daesh, and yet more war will undoubtedly hinder speedy recovery for the city; but, despite official declarations Mosul has been cleansed of the last terrorist holdouts, militants still lurk surreptitiously and in the skeletons of crumbling structures.

Beyond the torment and squalor in the wake of liberation, Zebari — who grew up in Mosul — opined the self-described caliphate’s annihilation of historic city’s architectural and religious gems, noting wistfully, “the soul of Mosul has gone and its iconic buildings are destroyed.”

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Investigation into Records of Sexually Abused Foster Kids Ensnares Seattle Mayor


Seattle, WA — Over the past several years, multiple victims have come forward and accused Seattle Mayor Ed Murray of sexually abusing them when they were children in the 1980’s. Delvonn Heckard, one of the alleged victims, filed a lawsuit against the mayor in April, setting off an investigation by the Seattle Times. What the Times found was nothing short of bombshell and vindication for his alleged victims.

As the Free Thought Project reported in April, Murray’s attorney publicly denounced the allegations of sexual abuse from the victims. One of those victims was Jeff Simpson, whose case prompted the controversy in 2008.

“The previous accusers were investigated by law enforcement and the press and found to be not credible and their claims meritless,” attorney Robert Sulkin told reporters in April.

However, these claims were easily made because the Oregon Department of Human Services’ (DHS) foster-parent records of his abuse were said to be destroyed. The mayor himself even felt secure enough to say last month that the press not finding the supposed records of his abuse of Simpson demonstrated his innocence — a move he now likely regrets.

Not content with hearing that the records had been destroyed, the Times tried, once again, to obtain them. Using Murray’s statements urging the media to pursue those records and noting the victim’s authorization to release the details of the abuse, DHS finally released the information.

“We used our discretion to determine disclosure was in the public interest to protect other children and prevent anyone else from being put in a similar situation,” said Caroline Burnell, manager of the legal unit for DHS’ public-affairs office. “A person in a position of power and authority could use that authority to coerce or otherwise force people into a vulnerable position.”

As the Seattle Times reports:

The Times emailed a video link of the news conference to DHS two days later, noting those statements.

The agency considered the totality of information provided when deciding to release the records, Burnell said. They included the Child Protective Services assessment finding Simpson’s allegations valid; a detective’s reports citing two additional witnesses; and a letter from the District Attorney’s Office indicating prosecutors had not determined Simpson was lying.

The records, dating back to 1984, explicitly noted that Ed Murray should “never again be utilized as a certified CSD resource for children.” It also showed that a criminal case was brought against Murray by prosecutors but in spite of the multiple accusations, charges were somehow never filed.

Naturally, the Mayor has taken to bashing Simpson and telling the public to consider his troubled past. But none of those things are relevant to what happened when he was under Murray’s care.

Speaking in an interview this week with KPTV, Simpson noted that he would take a lie detector and do whatever it takes to make sure other children don’t suffer the same fate as he did.

“Mayor Murray is a child molester,” Simpson said Tuesday. “The worst things that you can think of were what Ed has done to me.”

As KPTV reports, Simpson said he was told by state agencies over and over that the records in his case had long been destroyed. Learning they not only existed, but were released publicly this week, he said was an answer to his prayers.

“It’s nothing short of a miracle,” he said. “All of a sudden, not only do we get the paperwork but we get all of the records that were supposedly destroyed.”

The records vindicating Simpson’s claims are just the beginning. It now gives the accusations of the other potential victims merit as well.

Sadly, as this alleged abuse happened over 30 years ago, the statute of limitations for criminal charges has since run out. But Simpson just wants closure.

Simpson notes that he is now working with an attorney to help achieve this closure and has started a fundraising page for those efforts.

While Murray and his team of high profile attorneys attempt to demonize those who claim to be victims of the mayor, it is important to note just how common pedophilia is — especially among the elite — who are rarely ever held accountable.

Just this week, former speaker of the house, Dennis Hastert was released from prison after he admitted to raping multiple young boys. His already insultingly low sentence of 15 months was allowed to end 2 months early.


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Defense Officials’ Own Study Proves US Empire is ‘Collapsing’ — War is the Only Option


Washington, D.C. – An enlightening new document has come to light, which clearly elicits exactly how the U.S. Department of Defense is preparing for the collapse of American hegemony, and the subsequent deterioration of the post-WWII international order created by the United States after the Second World War. The defense officials’ plans for how to engage the world in the coming years displays an extremely dystopian vision of the future.

The damning report out of the U.S. Army War College concludes that the current international order, held together by U.S. power, is “fraying” and potentially collapsing in the face of new threats to its current position of “primacy” in international relations.

But perhaps even more dangerous, is the proposed measure to maintain U.S. hegemony in this new “post-primacy” environment, including increased surveillance, widespread propaganda (“strategic manipulation of perceptions”) and increased military adventurism and expansion.

The harrowing document explains that the U.S. has entered into a new transformational phase in which its power is declining, the long-standing western international order is crumbling and governmental authority across the world is degrading.

According to a report by noted academic and geopolitical analyst Nafeez Ahmed, appearing in Medium:

“Having lost its past status of ‘pre-eminence,’ the U.S. now inhabits a dangerous, unpredictable ‘post-primacy’ world, whose defining feature is ‘resistance to authority.’

Danger comes not just from great power rivals like Russia and China, both portrayed as rapidly growing threats to American interests, but also from the increasing risk of “Arab Spring”-style events. These will erupt not just in the Middle East, but all over the world, potentially undermining trust in incumbent governments for the foreseeable future.

The report, based on a year-long intensive research process involving consultation with key agencies across the Department of Defense and U.S. Army, calls for the U.S. government to invest in more surveillance, better propaganda through ‘strategic manipulation’ of public opinion, and a ‘wider and more flexible’ U.S. military.

The report was published in June by the U.S. Army War College’s Strategic Studies Institute to evaluate the DoD’s approach to risk assessment at all levels of Pentagon policy planning. The study was supported and sponsored by the U.S. Army’s Strategic Plans and Policy Directorate; the Joint Staff, J5 (Strategy and Policy Branch); the Office of the Deputy Secretary of Defense for Strategy and Force Develop­ment; and the Army Study Program Management Office.”

The report from U.S. Army War College study pulls no punches, noting:

“While the United States remains a global political, economic, and military giant, it no longer enjoys an unassailable position versus state competitors.”

“In brief, the sta­tus quo that was hatched and nurtured by U.S. strategists after World War II and has for decades been the principal ‘beat’ for DoD is not merely fraying but may, in fact, be collapsing.”

The report succinctly describes the imperial nature of the western international order as as being underpinned by American dominance—with the United States and its allied nations literally “dictating” its terms to the rest of the world in order to further their own interests:

“The order and its constituent parts, first emerged from World War II, were transformed to a unipolar sys­tem with the collapse of the Soviet Union, and have by-and-large been dominated by the United States and its major Western and Asian allies since. Status quo forces collectively are comfortable with their dominant role in dictating the terms of international security outcomes and resist the emergence of rival centers of power and authority.”

It’s important to note that the era of U.S. hegemony is coming to an end. The study notes that U.S. officials “naturally feel an obligation to preserve the U.S. global position within a favorable international order,” concluding that the “rules-based global order that the United States built and sustained for 7 decades is under enormous stress.”

The study gives a succinct and detailed analysis of how, and why, the U.S. Department of Defense perceives the established order to be rapidly breaking down with U.S. defense planners at the Pentagon failing to keep pace with rapidly evolving international events.

The report elicits that “global events will happen faster than DoD is currently equipped to handle,” and concludes that the U.S. “can no longer count on the unassailable position of dominance, supremacy, or pre-eminence it enjoyed for the 20-plus years after the fall of the Soviet Union.”

The report notes that U.S. power projection is so weakened, that it can no longer even “automatically generate consistent and sustained local military superiority at range.”

The study clearly notes that it is not just U.S. power that is fading, as the U.S. Army War College study concludes that:

“[A]ll states and traditional political authority structures are under increasing pressure from endogenous and exogenous forces… The fracturing of the post-Cold War global system is accompanied by the in­ternal fraying in the political, social, and economic fabric of practically all states.”

But, never one to give up on hegemonic ambitions, the DoD explains that this should not be seen as a failure, but simply a “wakeup call.” Should the U.S. fail to adjust to this new “post-primacy” environment, the complexity and speed of world events will “increasingly defy [DoD’s] current strategy, planning, and risk assessment conventions and biases.”

The Medium report notes that:

“Top on the list of forces that have knocked the U.S. off its position of global ‘pre-eminence,’ says the report, are the role of competing powers—major rivals like Russia and China, as well as smaller players like Iran and North Korea.

The document is particularly candid in setting out why the U.S. sees these countries as threats—not so much because of tangible military or security issues, but mainly because their pursuit of their own legitimate national interests is, in itself, seen as undermining American dominance.

Russia and China are described as ‘revisionist forces’ who benefit from the U.S.-dominated international order, but who dare to ‘seek a new distribution of power and authority commensurate with their emergence as legitimate rivals to U.S. dominance.’ Russia and China, the analysts say, ‘are engaged in a deliberate program to demonstrate the limits of U.S. authority, will, reach, influence, and impact.’”

Essentially, the report concludes that a U.S.-backed “status quo” international order is fundamentally “favorable” for the interests of the U.S. and its allies, and any movement toward a more multipolar global order that would act “favorably” for anyone else is a clear and present danger to U.S. power projection and economic interests.

Therefore, China and Russia “seek to reorder their position in the existing status quo in ways that—at a minimum—create more favorable circumstances for pursuit of their core objectives.”

Obviously, that is exactly what any self-respecting nation should be doing, but of course, the study’s authors emphasize that “a more maximalist perspective sees them pursuing advantage at the direct expense of the United States and its principal Western and Asian allies.”

This clearly denotes the extreme zero sum interpretation of power by U.S. analysts, as one nation’s gain automatically is denoted as a reduction in power for rival states—something that does not necessarily hold true, as two states can both gain influence and power without it relatively decreasing that of others.

Even more telling is that there is virtually zero substantive evidence in the document showing how the Chinese and Russians are posing a meaningful threat to the security of the United States.

In the most nebulous of terms, the analysts explain that the major challenge posed by China and Russia is that they “are bent on revising the contemporary status quo” utilizing “gray zone” techniques, involving “means and methods falling far short of unambiguous or open provocation and conflict.”

Both are accused of “murkier, less obvious forms of state-based aggression,” and despite not actually engaging in violence, both are condemned. Then in an ironic turn, the Pentagon report forwards the notion that the U.S. itself must also “go gray or go home” to ensure U.S. dominance.

Giving an insight behind the propaganda often fed to the American public, the study explains the actual reasons behind U.S. hostility to “revolutionary forces” like Iran and North Korea: they pose fundamental obstacles to U.S. imperial influence in those regions.

The Pentagon report notes that:

“… neither the products of, nor are they satisfied with, the contemporary order… At a minimum, they intend to destroy the reach of the U.S.-led order into what they perceive to be their legitimate sphere of influence. They are also resolved to replace that order locally with a new rule set dictated by them.”

Let that sink in for a moment.

Contrary to the public statements by U.S. government officials, that North Korea and Iran pose a nuclear threat to the United States, the study confirms that instead these nations are considered problematic to the imperial desires of the “U.S.-led order.”

This document contains some of the most damning admissions of U.S. imperial intent out of any U.S. Army document ever created:

“While as a rule, U.S. leaders of both political parties have consistently committed to the maintenance of U.S. military superiority over all potential state rivals, the post-primacy reality demands a wider and more flexible military force that can generate ad­vantage and options across the broadest possible range of military demands. To U.S. political leadership, maintenance of military advantage preserves maximum freedom of action… Finally, it allows U.S. decision-makers the opportunity to dictate or hold significant sway over outcomes in international disputes in the shadow of significant U.S. military capability and the implied promise of unac­ceptable consequences in the event that capability is unleashed.”

In other words, as long as everyone in the states remains subservient to the U.S.-led western international order they won’t have regime change forced upon them. But for those that wish to project any type of influence—expect to have the full weight of the U.S. military applied in an effort to maintain primacy.

The U.S. essentially refuses to allow for a multipolar world in which other powerful states have a say in how the global political order manifests and will use force if necessary to maintain their dominant position in the world—consequences be damned.

If you are tired of seeing the U.S. act as the world police and think national defense doesn’t include regime change operations to install puppet governments, then please share this extremely important article to help others see the dangerous, and potentially deadly, writing on the wall!

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Trump complains Republicans ‘never’ tout their health care bill

Hours before meeting with Republican senators at the White House, President Trump appears to be making a last-ditch effort to save their faltering effort to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare.

“I will be having lunch at the White House today with Republican Senators concerning healthcare,” Trump tweeted early Wednesday. “They MUST keep their promise to America!”

“The Republicans never discuss how good their healthcare bill is, & it will get even better at lunchtime,” the president continued. “The Dems scream death as OCare dies!”

Trump’s tweets come a day after he issued conflicting statements about the Republican attempt to repeal and replace former President Barack Obama’s signature health care law.

On Tuesday morning, Trump vowed that he and the GOP would not give up on health care.

“We will return!” Trump tweeted.

On Tuesday afternoon, though, Trump told reporters that he believes it would be “easier” for him and Republican lawmakers to “let Obamacare fail.”

“We’re not going to own it,” Trump said. “I’m not going to own it. I can tell you the Republicans are not going to own it. We’ll let Obamacare fail, and then the Democrats are going to come to us and they are going to say, ‘How do we fix it? How do we fix it?’ Or ‘How do we come up with a new plan?’”

Related slideshow: Protesters across the country oppose GOP’s health care plan >>>

Trump expressed his “disappointment” that the GOP, which is now in control of Congress, failed to deliver a victory.

“For seven years, I’ve been hearing ‘repeal and replace’ from Congress — I’ve been hearing it loud and strong,” he said. “And when we finally get a chance to repeal and replace, they don’t take advantage of it. So that’s disappointing.”

“I’m sitting in the Oval Office, right next door, pen in hand, waiting to sign something, and I’ll be waiting,” Trump continued. “Eventually, we’re going to get something done.”

But the president’s approach — sitting and waiting — has come under fire from critics who say he hasn’t done enough to sell the health care plan to voters.

“Although Trump routinely proclaims his desire for political victories, he has yet to make a full-throated case to the country about legislation that Congress is pursuing,” Abby Phillip and Robert Costa wrote in the Washington Post last week, before the latest health care setback. “Trump — who relished his ability on the campaign trail to capture the public imagination and use his bully pulpit — more frequently plays the role of partisan cheerleader or frustrated onlooker from the White House.”

Over the weekend, Trump returned from a trip to Paris and traveled to his golf club in Bedminster, N.J., where he spent time as a spectator at the U.S. Women’s Open. Many of Trump tweets on Saturday and Sunday were about the event.

And as the Senate’s bill to repeal and replace Obamacare was cratering on Monday, Trump was promoting U.S. products at a “Made In America” showcase at the White House.

On Monday night, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell conceded that the repeal and replace effort was a failure, saying the GOP would try to pass a so-called clean Obamacare repeal bill that Republicans approved in 2015 but Obama vetoed.

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'Loud sound' preceded US police shooting Australian woman

Chicago (AFP) – Police in the US state of Minnesota were startled by a loud sound prior to shooting an Australian woman who had called them to report a possible assault, investigators revealed on Tuesday.

The state agency probing the fatal police shooting of Justine Damond, also known by her maiden name Justine Ruszczyk, interviewed one of the two officers who responded to her emergency call on Saturday night in Minneapolis.

It was the first time since the shooting that authorities offered more information about the circumstances, as community leaders and Damond’s family complained they had received few details.

Officer Matthew Harrity told investigators Tuesday that he had been “startled by a loud sound” near the squad car while responding to the call, the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) said in a statement.

His partner, Officer Mohamed Noor, was in the passenger seat.

“Immediately afterward Ruszczyk approached the driver’s side window of the squad (car). Harrity indicated that Officer Noor discharged his weapon, striking Ruszczyk through the open driver’s side window,” the agency said.

BCA did not identify the sound, but an unidentified officer recorded on a police radio conversation published by Minnesota PoliceClips speculated it may have been fireworks that sounded like gun shots.

The officers’ body-worn cameras were not on during the incident. After the shooting, they provided medical aid until paramedics arrived, the BCA said.

The medical examiner’s office said Damond died of a gunshot wound to the abdomen. She was pronounced dead at the scene, according to the BCA.

Investigators appealed for witnesses to come forward.

– Family speaks out –

Damond, a 40-year-old meditation instructor and life coach, was an Australian national who had moved to the US to marry her fiance Don Damond, and had changed her name ahead of the marriage.

She had called Minneapolis police Saturday around 11:30 pm to report “what she believed was an active sexual assault occurring nearby,” Don Damond said on Monday.

“Sadly, her family and I have been provided with almost no additional information from law enforcement regarding what happened after police arrived.”

Speaking in Australia, her father John Ruszczyk on Tuesday called for justice.

“Justine was a beacon to all of us. We only ask that the light of justice shine down on the circumstances of her death,” he said.

Authorities found no weapons at the scene, though they recovered Damond’s cell phone.

“I understand why so many people have so many questions at this point,” Minneapolis Police Chief Janee Harteau said late Monday.

“I have many of the same questions and it is why we immediately asked for an external and independent investigation.”

– Officer ‘a caring person’ –

Noor, who has been with the Minneapolis police force for 21 months, declined investigators’ requests for an interview, the BCA said. Officers are not required to participate in a BCA investigation.

In a statement, Noor’s attorney Tom Plunkett called the officer “a caring person with a family he loves and he empathizes with the loss others are experiencing.”

Plunkett added that the ongoing investigation prevented the officer from saying any more about the incident.

The shooting was the latest high-profile case in which police fired fatal shots.

Most of those cases involve white police officers and African American victims. In this case, Noor is Somali American, while Damond was white.

Congressman Keith Ellison, who represents Damond’s district in the US House of Representatives, tied her case with others such as that of black motorist Philando Castile, killed last year near Minneapolis during a traffic stop.

“We need to confront the reality of so many unarmed people killed by the same officers who swear an oath to protect us,” Ellison said in a statement.

“Justine’s death shows no one should assume ‘officer-involved shootings’ only happen in a certain part of town or to certain kinds of people.”

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