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Amnesty Urges U.S. to Pay Reparations to Syrians After Killing 1,600 Civilians in Assault on Raqqa

Syria: Thousands of digital activists to track how US-led air strikes destroyed Raqqa


The previous posts mentioned evidence of war crimes by the Rogue State against the defenseless civilians of Raqqa, Syria.

It is often overlooked or suppressed that it has a horrendous hoary record of mass murder and maiming of defenseless civilians and massive destruction in other countries, going back to the sanctimonious mass slaughter of civilians (almost a million Filipinos dead, including deaths from starvation and disease engendered by the U.S. invasion and conquest) and burning of towns in its invasion and conquest of the Philippines during 1899 – 1902, to mention one among many instances.

Its extermination-devastation program, inclusive of tactics of mass dispossession and starvation, originally inflicted on the Native Americans, was applied against the hapless Filipinos, and later against impoverished peasant populations in Korea, Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia.

The Rogue State’s penchant for this infernal extermination-devastation program is evident in the extensive destruction, including the war criminal bombings of dams accompanied by racist gloating at the sufferings unleashed on Koreans by the resulting widespread destruction of rice crops, the Rogue State caused in North Korea during its invasion of Korea, nuclear terrorism against the civilian populations of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Nixon-Kissinger directives to use “anything that flies against everything that moves” in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos, widespread destruction and mass murder in Afghanistan and Iraq by means of “shock and awe” tactics, “decapitation strikes”, and murderous Special OPS attacks on defenseless and impoverished Muslim villages, Bill Clinton’s infernal sanctions scheme against Iraq which killed thousands of Iraqi children, paving the way, under the aegis of the Obama administration, for the descent of the once-prosperous and stable oil-rich nation of Libya into unprecedented chaos and the “coveted” status of  a “failed state”, providing logistical support and huge arms supplies for the war criminal Saudi-led campaigns of widespread destruction and mass murder of civilians in Yemen which have brought the impoverished country to the brink of starvation, ongoing devastating economic sanctions on Venezuela and Iran, and on and on.

It is a daunting documentation even for the Devil’s accountant!

The Hoary Record: Flashback to the Invasion and Conquest of the Philippines

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A burnt district of Manila, Philippines 1899 Hispano-American war (Library of Congress)


Criminals Because They were Born Ten Years Before We Took the Philippines” (New York Journal cartoon caption, May 5, 1902) This refers to the order given by Gen. Jacob Smith, or “Howling Wilderness Smith”, to execute all Filipino persons over the age of ten involved in any way in the resistance against the invading U.S. army.

Howling Wilderness Smith gave full proof of the nobility of the intentions of the invaders when he directed the commanding officer of U.S. Marines in the beleaguered Philippines island of Samar as follows:

“I want no prisoners. I wish you to kill and burn; the more you kill and burn, the better it will please me… The interior of Samar must be made a howling wilderness…”

There were other exotic forms of treatment meted out to the resisting Filipinos, including the infamous “Water Cure”:

“”Cartoon depicting the application of the “water cure” by United States Army soldiers on a Filipino. In the background soldiers representing various European nations look on smiling. The Europeans say, “Those pious Yankees can’t throw stones at us any more”, meaning that the USA no longer has the moral standing to criticize European colonial practices.” (Cover of Life magazine, Vol. 39, #1021 first published on May 22, 1902)


Thanks to the scholarly work of Alfred McCoy, we now know that the U.S. designed and installed highly repressive modern police and intelligence state units as integral parts of its colonial regime in the Philippines, a precursor to the state surveillance system in the U.S. itself (“what goes around comes around”,  or  a case of “the chickens coming home to roost” as Malcolm X would have quipped), and elsewhere in the world, and a legacy which survives to this day in dictator Duterte’s “government” largely responsible for the ongoing murders and human rights abuses committed in the name of a horrendous “war on drugs“.

As Noam Chomsky points out in his review of McCoy’s book:

This remarkable study provides a meticulous analysis of the novel colonial system developed by the U.S. in the Philippines after the murderous conquest, with startling implications for the shape of the modern world. As McCoy demonstrates, the U.S. occupation developed a major innovation in imperial practice, relying on the ‘information revolution’ of the day to establish intense surveillance and control of the occupied population, along with violence when needed and privileges to obedient elites. This ‘protracted social experiment in the use of police as an instrument of state power’ left a devastating legacy for the Philippines, while also contributing substantially to the modes of suppression of independence and social change elsewhere, and returning home to lay the foundations for a national security and surveillance state.”


‘They Are Slaughtering Us Like Animals’

“Inside President Rodrigo Duterte’s brutal antidrug campaign in the Philippines, our photojournalist documented 57 homicide victims over 35 days.”

Duterte's war on drugs

A Filipino victim of the “protracted social experiment in the use of police as an instrument of state power” in dictator Duterte’s horrendous “war on drugs”


Another Filipino victim of the “protracted social experiment in the use of police as an instrument of state power” in dictator Duterte’s horrendous “war on drugs”


Gen. Charles McCormick Reeve (1847 – 1947)

There were dissenting voices on the U.S. invasion and conquest of the Philippines. To his credit, Gen. Charles McCormick Reeve, who led the first column of U.S. forces engaged in the invasion and conquest of the Philippines into the fallen capital city of Manila, later condemned the U.S. invasion of the Philippines as “deplorable and unjustifiable” and declared that “this bloodshed, this necessity of conquering these poor wretches, might have been avoided“.

Incidentally, he had served as a Relief Commissioner to Russia during its Great Famine of 1891 – 92. He had accompanied shipments of donated grain from private local groups in Minnesota and Nebraska to alleviate starvation in Russia.


(Russian painter) Ivan Aivazovsky: American Food Distribution in Russia during the Great Famine of  1891 – 92

Gen. Reeve pointed out a crucial fact ignored by many news sources at the time, that a day after the start of the U.S. invasion and conquest of Philippines, on February 6, 1899, it was the U.S. commander Gen. Otis who rejected the proposal for truce and negotiations submitted by the Filipino Gen. Torres on behalf of  Emilio Aguinaldo y Famy, the great Filipino revolutionary leader. (Source: The Nation – New York – Thursday, May 4, 1899)


Aguinaldo in 1919
1st President of Philippines (1899–1901)


Typical newspaper coverage of the American invasion and conquest of the Philippines – note the characteristic denigration of the Filipino resisters as “savages” and the cannibalistic celebration of their dismemberment by means of the vastly superior weapons of the U.S. army

It was not always a case of “wild rout” achieved by the real monstrous savagery of the invaders. The youthful Filipino general Gregorio Hilario del Pilar y Sempio (1875 – 1899) of the Philippine Revolutionary Army put up a heroic resistance at Tirad Pass against one of the units of the invading American army and facilitated Aguinaldo’s escape:


Gregorio Hilario del Pilar y Sempio (1875 – 1899)


“It was at the peak of the mountain pass in Northern Luzon that 60 Filipino soldiers carried out a heroic stand against American troops in the morning of Dec. 2, 1899, thus enabling President Emilio Aguinaldo to flee towards the “wilds of Lepanto.” Sadly, however, 52 of them including Del Pilar, then 24, perished in what an American war correspondent dramatically termed as a “battle above the clouds.”

From morning till noon he repelled charge after charge, he tenaciously held on with his handful of men through the heat and agony of battle, till he himself fell dead among his slain soldiers. And well chosen and most fitting was the place where he offered the sacrifice of his life. It was on the mountain summit, overlooking the plains and the shores of his country, a massive and tremendous altar, built as it were for Titans, caressed by the rolling clouds of morning, lighted by the stars of dusk.”


U.S. Gen. Charles Reeve’s reference to “these poor wretches” is vividly illustrated in the following two photographs, leaving no doubt as to the identity of those responsible for the condition of the “poor wretches” they had violently subjugated:



“20th Kansas soldiers being met by the Filipinos, Philippines, late 19th or early 20th Century. Notice the white flags being held by the young girl kneeling by the urn and the adult right of the soldiers.”


1st Reserve Hospital, Filipino Ward, Manila, Philippines, c1899. Philippine American War. Notice the very thin Filipino seated with a bandaged leg wound.”


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And there was the anti-imperialist Mark Twain’s posthumously published caustic comments on the Moro Massacre of 1906 (falsely described as a “battle” in the annals of U.S. military propaganda), the massacre of Filipino Moro Muslims, including women and children, who did not want to fight and had fled, according to the testimony of Major Hugh Scott who was the governor in the Philippines Sulu province where the massacre occurred, to the volcanic crater of  Bud Dajo:

“”In what way was it a battle? It has no resemblance to a battle … We cleaned up our four days’ work and made it complete by butchering these helpless people…

General Wood (Major General Leonard Wood) was present and looking on. His order had been, “Kill or capture those savages.” Apparently our little army considered that the “or” left them authorized to kill or capture according to taste, and that their taste had remained what it had been for eight years in our army out there–the taste of Christian butchers.


U.S. soldiers stand proudly with the corpses of the Moros (Filipino Muslims) they massacred in the Philippines in 1906 – as many as a thousand Moros were butchered

To return to the present instantiation of its indelible pattern: the toll of the Rogue State’s military coalition assaults on Raqqa: the fact that at least 1600 civilians are dead and comparable numbers severely injured or maimed is gut-wrenching:

Drone video shows devastation in Raqqa


Raqqa in ruins: Drone footage reveals devastation in ISIS’ stronghold in Syria


How American neglect imperils the victory over ISIS

Six months after the militants’ capital was liberated, new risks are emerging from Raqqa’s rubble.


The Rogue State had raved that it was the “most precise air campaign in history”. The fact is that more than 80% of the city of Raqqa has been destroyed. Entire families sitting inside or outside their homes were badly burned, or incinerated, or blown apart by white phosphorus munitions, missile attacks, or artillery shells unleashed by the Rogue State and its infernal agents. It’s a clear case of callous mass destruction of the city.

Nothing has been done to rebuild it since the cessation of the military coalition assaults against it led by the U.S. The surviving family members of the incinerated, decapitated, or maimed victims have received no compensation. It is just another gruesome chapter in the horror novel the Rogue State has been writing on the backs of its victims since its inception in slavery and the campaigns of extermination of Native Americans.

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AIUSA Appoints New Executive Director Margaret Huang

Margaret Huang, the current executive director of Amnesty International USA, who recently visited Raqqa, points out in an interview on Democracy Now that only the U.S. military coalition wielded air power (thousands of air strikes) and artillery force (U.S.troops fired more artillery at Raqqa than anywhere since the invasion of Vietnam). There was no other force involved in the assault on Raqqa which had access to such means of destruction. Hence, it bears responsibility for the large number of civilian casualties and injuries and the huge scale of destruction in the city:

“The situation in Raqqa is truly extraordinary. The level of destruction that we’ve seen, that is on the ground today, is unprecedented in many, many ways. More than 80% of the city has been destroyed by the U.S. strikes.

And what’s most compelling about Raqqa is that there was only one party in this conflict that had airstrikes and that used artillery, and that is the U.S. coalition. In many other conflict zones, it can be very difficult and time-consuming to determine which party was responsible for which aspects of destruction. But in Raqqa, it’s pretty straightforward, because only one side of the conflict had access to those munitions.”


Given its track record of callous destruction and mass murder, it is unlikely that the Rogue State will heed Amnesty’s praiseworthy call for reparations, but a strong campaign for reparations to the surviving family members, many of whom are still living in buildings with severe structural damage due to massive U.S. bombings, of the victims of its war criminal assaults on the city of Raqqa must be supported by all concerned groups of decent human beings in the U.S. and other countries.