[News] The War on Terror is genocide - between 2006 and 2013 at least 1.2 million and up to 2 million people are killed
news at freedomarchives.org
Thu May 28 12:20:58 EDT 2015
The War on Terror is genocide
Wednesday 06 May 2015
*Written By:* Karen Jayes <http://cageuk.org/author/Karen%20Jayes>
*A recent report <http://www.psr.org/assets/pdfs/body-count.pdf>by the
Physicians for Social Responsibility puts the number of civilians killed
in the War on Terror between 2006 and 2013 at 1.2 million, or at least
as much as 2 million. The UN declared the massacre of 200,000 civilians
in Sudan ‘genocide’, Karen Jayes of CAGE Africa explores the truth of
such figures and questions why the UN won’t recognise the West’s ‘war’
in the Middle East as precisely the same thing? Reiterating CAGE's
stance, calling for full accountability for all perpetrators and for
full disclosure of the true toll of the War on Terror on humanity.*
CAGE would like to call attention to the first active attempt to count
the number of civilian casualties from US-led counter-terrorism
interventions in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan: a 97-page report
<http://www.psr.org/assets/pdfs/body-count.pdf>released by the Nobel
Prize-winning group Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR).
The PSR report calculates that the ‘War on Terror’ has ‘directly or
indirectly, killed 1 million people in Iraq (5% of the population), 220
000 in Afghanistan, and 80 000 in Pakistan’.
CAGE has repeatedly called for, and continues to call for, full
accountability for the perpetrators of such violence, despite attempts
by the media and other interest groups to shroud the full weight of
numbers killed as part of the War on Terror.
‘The figure is approximately 10 times greater than that of which the
public, experts and decision makers are aware of and propagated by the
media and major NGOs,’ states the report. ‘And this is only a
conservative estimate. The total number of deaths in the three countries
could be in excess of 2 million, while a figure less than 1 million is
More recent war zones such as Yemen and Somalia have not been included.
Nor have the years of economic war on Iraq, when the UN sanctions regime
killed 1.7 million Iraqis.
This means that the number of civilians killed as a result of US-led
action in the Middle East is much higher, and could in fact be as high
as 4 million people according to a report by Nafeez Ahmed
Most striking about these figures are their magnitude, and in the face
of their sheer human catastrophe, the West’s continued procrastination
in bringing perpetrators to justice.
Much of the PSR report closely examines various death count reports.
Broadly, it lends support to the 2006 Lancet study, while calling into
question the Iraq Body Count (IBC) study, most cited by the mainstream
The power of numbers
Time and again, the authors remind us of the disparity between the
public perception of the number of dead in Iraq and reality. In an era
where War on Terror propaganda lines the airwaves of all the world’s
media, numbers hold power.
‘A poll carried out by Associated Press two years ago, found that on
average, US citizens believe that only 9900 Iraqis were killed during
the occupation,’ writes report author Joachim Guilliard. ‘With such
distorted figures, outrage about the war is hardly to be expected.’
‘Underreporting of the human toll attributable to ongoing Western
interventions, whether deliberate, or through self-censorship, has been
key to removing the “fingerprints” of responsibility,’ writes Dr. Robert
Gould, director of health professional outreach and education at the
University of California San Francisco Medical Center.
It is essential that the world understands the true toll of the US-led
War on Terror on humanity.
Problems with the Iraq Body Count (IBC)
The IBC report most often cited by mainstream mediaconcludes that
112,000 Iraqis have died before September 2011. However, IBC figuresare
based ondeath tolls reported by English media outlets. Journalists tally
figures registered in morgues, hospitals and by other authorities, and
are themselves under pressure to under report US atrocities. This method
of data collection is known as a passive method and, according to the
PSR report, ‘can only serve as a minimum’.
IBC figures do not take into account the fact that local authorities
often underestimate deaths due to pressure from occupying forces. Many
deaths also go unregistered, as families, in complying with sharia,
often bury their dead at home.
The IBC also has a bias towards the major cities – the city of al-Qaim,
the site of a major US operation is cited as an example. A physician in
the town reported that over 12000 people had fled and ‘some observers
compared the situation to Fallujah in 2004’. ‘For the entire period,
however, there is not a single death in al-Qaim recorded in the IBC
There are also cases where whole families flee areas where journalists
are posted – most often the major cities like Baghdad – and also cases
where entire families are wiped out: these factors affect all death
count studies, with the result that all estimates of deaths, including
those of the PSR, are more than likely to be underestimates, rather than
The Lancet 2006 study
In comparison to the IBC, the 2006 Lancet study, held up by numerous
experts as being the most reliable to date, estimated some 655 000 Iraqi
dead up to 2006, and extrapolated over a million dead due to conflict
The Lancet study was based on active methods of number-gathering. The
survey consisted of interviewees going out to households and actively
counting the dead per family. It selected 1850 Iraqi households across
the country, included 13,000 people, and in over 90% of cases, deaths
were backed up by a death certificate.
Even so, the Lancet study has been whitewashed by the mainstream media,
and those who co-ordinated it, increasingly personally attacked. This,
despite the fact that ‘the method applied here is standard. It was also
applied in the DRC, Angola and Bosnia and was widely accepted’.
The PSR report also comments on the fact that since 2006 – when most
recent studies ended - the situation in Iraq has worsened, with deaths
to do unexploded ordinances and the residue of chemical weapons
(depleted uranium) exacting a critical toll on the population. It is
therefore more likely that the death toll in Iraq due to conflict is
closer to 2 million people.
Afghanistan and Pakistan
For Afghanistan and Pakistan, only the more under-representative passive
methods of counting the dead are available – and in the case of
Pakistan, regional conflicts and in some cases gang-related deaths blur
the line between ‘War on Terror’ deaths and regional deaths. The numbers
also do not focus on indirect deaths as a result of occupation, which
include deaths due to malnutrition and other health issues.
In both regions, the PSR report focusses on drone attacks, and the
difficulty in attaining the correct numbers of dead in the wake of a
drone attack – this is due to US forces not declaring deaths. ‘The US
Special Operations Forces operate so secretly that even the US military
has no information about the operations, never mind about the number of
civilian deaths,’ reads the report.
Urbanisation is also more pronounced in Iraq, while conflict areas in
Afghanistan and Pakistan are remote. The indiscriminate nature of drone
attacks, says the PSR report, ‘suggests that the lion’s share of attacks
have been totally random’ and are often directed at crowds such as
wedding parties and funerals – this goes against the US coined term
‘targeted killings’ which the report suggests is a lie.
The estimates, therefore, for direct civilian deaths, for both
Afghanistan and Pakistan are conservative, even by the report’s own
The Dirty War on Terror
The findings of the PSR into Afghanistan and Pakistan are cause for
alarm. As Americans tire of military deployments to Iraq and
Afghanistan, so the Obama administration has responded in kind and
heralded in the second phase of the War on Terror, characterised by
increasingly expanded drone strikes, a broad and judicially grey
definition of‘imminent threat’, males who qualify as ‘militants’ by
simply being of military age, and ‘kill lists’ compiled and edited far
from judicial scrutiny.
The Obama administration is riding on what Jeremy Scahill in his book
‘Dirty Wars: The World is a Battlefield’ (excerpted here
calls ‘the fantasy of a clean war’ perpetrated by drones and drone
operators positioned thousands of kilometres away, sanitised from their
‘A 2012 poll found that 83 percent of Americans supported Obama’s drone
program, with 77 percent of self-identified liberal Democrats supporting
such strikes,’ he writes. ‘The Washington Post/ABC News poll determined
that support for drone strikes declined “only somewhat” in cases where a
citizen was the target.’
A pliant public together with a war-bent administration, has only to
turn to an arms industry that is profit-driven and expedient in order to
make a lethal combination – not only for the Middle East, but for the
In 2013, Scahill writes, Michael Boyle, a former adviser in the Obama
campaign’s counterterrorism experts group and a professor at LaSalle
University, said the United States drone program was “encouraging a new
arms race for drones that will empower current and future rivals and lay
the foundations for an international system that is increasingly violent”.
The deaths in the hinterlands of Afghanistan are a warning light to us all.
Statements made in April
Andrew Warden, a Justice Department attorney, in response to a legal
challenge by Guantanamo detainee Mukhtar YahiNaji al-Warafi, suggest
that the war in Afghanistan has moved into another phase. In what
appears to be a contradictive sentence, Warden wrote: "Although the
United States has ended its combat mission in Afghanistan, the fighting
there certainly has not stopped.”
A sworn declaration from Navy Rear Adm. Sinclair M. Harris, vice
director for operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said while
Operation Enduring Freedom had ended, Operation Freedom's Sentinel had
begun, which would be “executed under specified rules of engagement that
delineate the circumstances and conditions under which the U.S. forces
may engage …”.
One only has to look at the military laboratory of Palestine to know
that nothing encourages terrorism more than sustained occupation. “Many
senior coalition and Afghan officials are now concluding that after
nearly 12 years of war, the view of foreigners held by many Afghans has
come to mirror that of the Taliban,” wrote Matthew Rosenberg two years
ago in a New York Times article
the journey of young Afghani from American ally to Taliban recruit.
The dynamics in Afghanistan are repeated in various guises in different
war ‘theatres’ around the world. Indeed, it is precisely the
relationship between torture and terror that fuels the US-led War on
Terror and makes it self-sustaining. Torture and illegal detention,
combined with sustained military action, whether by drones or air
strikes, work together to fuel terrorism, with the common casualties of
both being unarmed civilians.
The casualty numbers in the PSR report will seem paltry to our children
if this cycle of violence is not stopped now, through a return to due
process and the boundaries of international law.
The figures for civilian deaths in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, even
though likely underestimates, point to a scale of human catastrophe that
demands all the world’s attention and action. Such scale of death only
makes the path to extremism more inviting for those who feel
marginalised within a system that seeks to sustain it.
CAGE calls for full disclosure and accountability
‘Decisive for the publishers of this paper is not the exact number of
victims, but their order of magnitude,’ write the authors of the PSR
report. ‘They believe it critical from the humanitarian aspect, as well
as in the interests of peace, that the public will become aware of this
magnitude and that those responsible in governments and parliaments are
The facts are clear: two million in Iraq and up to four million in the
region combined, is genocide. The War on Terror is the greatest threat
to our humanity on earth. It is crucial that the vast amount of
resources required to keep it alive, is rather diverted to truly build
nations and combat climate change.
When 1 million people were displaced and 200,000 killed in violence in
Sudan, the UN was quick to demand sanctions against the perpetrators –
in this case the government of Omar al-Bashir – even though at the same
time, the 2006 Lancet study revealed already 655,000 dead in Iraq, more
than double that of Sudan.
Now, the UN hesitates to hold the perpetrators in the War on Terror to
justice because it cannot, by its very functioning, stand up to the
United States and its allies. As the War on Terror ticks lethally over
into its second phase – that of a perpetual and far-reaching drone-led
global war – the international bodies that are meant to keep peace are
impotent against it.
CAGE stands for full disclosure of the true toll of the War on Terror on
humanity, and full accountability for all perpetrators. We call for
action on the part of leaders and civilians to stand united against the
cycles of violence that keep it alive. This is the only way to a more
just and equal world where borders are respected and nations may engage
equally, and in peace.
Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415
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