A new report from Amnesty International reveals that U.S. air strikes from aircraft and drones have increased in Somalia, resulting in the deaths of at least 14 civilians.
Due to a literal black out of all news related to the ongoing wars waged by the U.S. military, most Americans cannot name the nations in which the military is currently engaged in conflict or dropping bombs. The average American does not realize the U.S. is still involved in conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Syria, Pakistan, Libya, and Somalia. A new report from Amnesty International, a non-governmental organization focused on human rights, attempts to provide a little more clarity regarding what exactly is happening right now in Somalia.
The report, titled “The Hidden US War in Somalia”, details the history of terrorist attacks by Al-Qaeda and Al-Shabaab, the history of U.S. military involvement in Somalia, the current numbers on drone strikes and the impact on Somalis. The report also outlines conclusions about how the U.S. military should approach the situation moving forward.
The report shows the U.S. military has tripled the annual rate of drone strikes in Somalia since April 2017. The number of strikes in 2018 was higher than strikes taking place in Libya and Yemen combined. Despite the increase in strikes, the U.S. military continues to claim that no civilians have died. The Amnesty International report investigates five incidents in Lower Shabelle, Somalia, in which 14 civilians were killed and eight injured. Amnesty International states that the report is the result of interviews, satellite imagery analysis, corroborating the information through a variety of open-source investigation techniques, and speaking to doctors.
The Department of Defense responded to the report, stating that U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) has no aircraft that would have been involved. “We appreciate Amnesty’s efforts to allow us to contribute to the report prior to its publication,” the official said, “but we really do believe the report does not accurately reflect AFRICOM’s record in mitigating civilian casualties.”
Brian Castner, Amnesty International’s senior crisis adviser on arms and military operations, says the Amnesty International team spoke to people in person or through an encrypted app with smartphones to get their side of the story. Amnesty conducted 150 interviews and not a single person said they were interviewed by a government official from the U.S. or Somalia.
“From 2017, the AFRICOM did a report to Congress that they killed zero, as the official number. In 2018, they said that was true for that year, as well—110 strikes, 800 terrorists killed, zero civilians,” Castner said on a recent episode of Democracy Now! “And we would maintain that in war, nothing is perfect, and so going 800 for 800 is just not a reasonable conclusion. It means that investigations, really thorough investigations, are not being done, as opposed to just having a perfect record.”
Castner said he worries that AFRICOM says they are striking at Al-Shabaab affiliates without detailing what type of activity an individual must be involved in to be considered an affiliate. “So, in several of our cases from our report, AFRICOM says they did the strike. We say that four died. They say four people died. But they will call those four al-Shabab or al-Shabab affiliate members.”
What’s important to remember is that the Ruling Class Oligarchy, and their friends in the corporate media, do not want the free minds of the world to wake up and resist the war machine. They know they can prevent the growth of a massive anti-war movement if they just stop talking about it and pretend it doesn’t exist. This is why earlier this month, AFRICOM commander General Thomas Waldhauser, told a Congressional Hearing that he wouldn’t call what the U.S. is doing in Somalia a “war.” Why? Because part of the agenda is to change the very words we use so the public becomes desensitized. This is why wars are conflicts, torture is enhanced interrogation, and killing civilians is just killing militants.
As Castner noted on Democracy Now!, the war in Somalia is not confined to airstrikes from planes and drones. “There’s also advise-and-assist missions going on on the ground. There’s raids going on, where U.S. marines and SEALs and soldiers are advising Somali units and are, you know, participating in those activities, as well,” Castner stated. “It sure looks like a war to us. There is political pressure to not use that word.”
Check out the graphic novel version of the Amnesty International Report: Graphic novel: Zero Civilian Casualties – The hidden US war in Somalia
Jeff Bezos Thanks Amazon Workers And Customers For Paying For His Flight To Space
The billionaire space race chalked up one more ignoble milestone on July 20 when the world’s richest man, Jeff Bezos, boarded a reusable rocket his company Blue Origin built and funded, flew to the edge of space for a moment of weightlessness, and came back down to earth.
You can watch the flight and learn more about the journey here.
The Amazon founder has faced withering criticism for accumulating his massive fortune on the backs of an exploited workforce that is subject to harsh working conditions and low pay in warehouses or Fulfillment Centers where staffers must urinate in water bottles in order to meet their quotas.
In his press conference following the launch, Bezos thanked that same workforce for helping him to shoot himself into space in a move that many critics have described as a simple “joyride.”
“I want to thank every Amazon employee and every Amazon customer because you guys paid for this,” he told the crowd, which responded with laughter. “Seriously, for every Amazon customer out there and every employee thank you from the bottom of my heart very much. It’s very appreciated.”
Critics on Twitter responded with derision, noting that Bezos was able to enjoy the trip at the expense of his hard-working employees.
“Thing is, employers are supposed to pay their employees, not the other way around, but that’s basically how Amazon works,” one user tweeted.
While another tweeter asked: “Maybe they’re searching space for signs of a livable wage or a way to pay their fair share of taxes?”
On Tuesday, Bezos blasted off in the sub-orbital New Shepard rocket from Texas. The date for the launch was chosen to coincide with the 52nd anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing.
Members of the crew, which included his brother mark and 82-year-old female astronaut Wally Funk, brought a number of historic items on the flight, including a piece of canvas from the conceptual plane originally flown by the Wright brothers, the goggles Amelia Earhart used to fly across the Atlantic, and a brass medal made from the first hot air balloon which flew in 1783.
Keanu Reeves Praised As Video of Him Offering Seat to Lady in Subway Resurfaces
Keanu Reeves is an actor who has long been loved by audiences —and not necessarily due to his acting skills, but due to how nice the John Wick star is.
And now, Reeves is once again earning praise as a “true gentleman” after resurfaced video footage shows Reeves giving up his seat on the subway.
The clip was shared by Instagram film fan account Cinemonkeys where it has since earned nearly 45,000 likes.
The video footage dates back to 2011, when it was shared on YouTube by a user of the video-sharing platform.
At the time, Reeves was already a superstar riding on the fame he earned from the Matrix, Speed, and a number of other blockbuster hits.
When Reeves notices a woman carrying a heavy bag, he quickly points to his seat and asks if she would like to sit. The woman accepts and Reeves gets up without hesitating to let her take his seat.
Reeves, ever the model citizen, then stands and holds onto a subway pole while carrying his bag.
The video has since been watched over 27 million times and was even cited in a 2019 Time magazine profile of the actor describing Reeves as the “soul mate” of the internet.
The resurfacing of the clip on Instagram once again impressed users of the platform.
“This human being’s soul honestly shines so bright,” wrote one user.
“OMG I love him in every single way,” another person commented.
“His kindness knows no bounds,” commented someone else.
Keanu is set to reprise his role as Neo in the upcoming fourth Matrix film directed and written by Lana Wachowski, who co-directed the earlier trilogy with her sister Lilly. He will also return to the silver screen in John Wick: Chapter 4, which will be released in 2022.
Drunk Man Rescues Injured Baby Bird By Sending It To Animal Shelter… In An Uber
An injured baby bird received a new lease on life after a young man who was inebriated had the good sense to send the little creature to an animal shelter because he and his friends were too drunk to drive.
In the Summer of 2019, a small lesser goldfinch suddenly appeared by itself at the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Northern Utah. The center’s chairman, Buz Marthaler, was notified by a volunteer who sent him a photo.
“It was a picture of this bird, and it had come by Uber,” Marthaler told FOX13. “It was just crazy.”
As it turns out, the tiny bird – which was only two weeks old – indeed rolled up to the site by its lonesome, the sole passenger in an Uber vehicle called by concerned citizens who found the injured creature.
Among those good Samaritans was Tim Crowley, who had been “day drinking” on that Saturday before he and his buddies witnessed the little bird fall from the sky.
“Impromptu, sitting in some camp chairs, hanging out, having a few drinks when we had a visitor fall out of the sky,” he explained.
Crowley then snapped a photo of the bird and sent it to the WRCNU, which instructed him to immediately bring the bird in. However, the group obviously couldn’t drive since they had been guzzling booze all day.
So Crowley decided he’d hail a cab for the creature.
“At first it was a joke, like, ‘Hey, maybe we should just call Uber!’” he said. “Then we were like, ‘No, really. Why not? We’re paying them.’”
As it turns out, the bird – since named “Petey Uber” by staff at the rescue center – likely would have perished if not for Crowley’s quick thinking.
Marthaler remains impressed by Crowley’s move and shared the news on its Facebook page.
“While we feel we’ve seen it all and can’t be amazed by anything, there is always someone out there to prove us wrong,” the shelter’s post read. “Thank you to the rescuer who helped this little one get the care it needed in a timely manner and thank you for keeping yourself safe and others on the road safe as well.”