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Tuesday, Jul 07th

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Afghan war civilian casualties reached record-high 10,000 in 2014

Afghan civilian casualtiesA new record of 10,548 civilians died or were wounded in the war in Afghanistan in 2014 – alongside a number of other new, deadly records.

Civilian casualties were up 22 percent from the previous record in 2013. The number of women and children either killed or wounded reached record highs, according to the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan. Casualties from suicide attacks, roadside bombs and explosive devices also broke records.

The United Nations has been recording the war in Afghanistan since 2009.

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$14 Million an Hour: The War on 'Terror' Has Cost $1.6 Trillion

war on terror costIn the 13 years since 9/11, the United States’ “War on Terror” could be considered a failure. ISIS swept aside the US-backed Iraqi army earlier this year, the Taliban still launches deadly attacks, including an assault on a school last month that killed 145 people, and American interventions only seem to worsen sectarian bloodshed in the region.

The geopolitical disaster has come at a tremendous cost to American taxpayers, according to a recently released report by the Congressional Research Service, a non-partisan government organization. The report estimated that since 9/11 American taxpayers have shelled out close to $1.6 trillion on war spending (that’s $14 million an hour), with almost 95 percent of that money going projects related to Iraq and Afghanistan.

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US-led strikes hit IS-held oil sites in Syria

US atrikes syria oil fieldU.S.-led airstrikes targeted Syrian oil installations held by the militant Islamic State group overnight and early Thursday, killing nearly 20 people as the militants released dozens of detainees in their de facto capital, fearing further raids, activists said.

The latest strikes came on the third day of a U.S.-led air campaign aimed at rolling back the Islamic State group in Syria, and appeared to be aimed at one of the militants' main revenue streams. The U.S. has been conducting air raids against the group in neighboring Iraq for more than a month.

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Blackwater on trial over killing of 14 Iraqi civilians in 2007

Blackwater trialAfter years of delays, four former guards from the security firm Blackwater Worldwide are facing trial in the killings of 14 Iraqi civilians and the wounding of 18 others in bloodshed that inflamed anti-American sentiment around the globe.

Whether the shootings were self-defense or an unprovoked attack, the carnage of 16 September 2007 was seen by critics of the George W Bush administration as an illustration of a war gone horribly wrong.

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The Toll Of 5 Years Of Drone Strikes: 2,400 Dead

Drone deathsThe U.S. drone program under President Barack Obama reached its fifth anniversary on Thursday having tallied up an estimated death toll of at least 2,400 people.

As the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, a U.K.-based non-profit, details on its website, five years ago the CIA conducted the first drone strikes of the Obama presidency. Although there were reports of suspected "militants" killed, at least 14 civilians also died that day.

After those initial mistakes, TBIJ notes, Obama rapidly ramped up the drone program in Pakistan and increased its use in Yemen and Somalia, two countries where al Qaeda affiliates expanded their presence during Obama's presidency.

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Welcome to Penny Lane: CIA secret Gitmo camp for recruiting double agents

penny lane - ciaIn the early stages of the ‘War on Terror,’ CIA agents at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility turned detainees into double agents, helping the US to track and kill terrorists, according to US officials.

For some Gitmo detainees, held prisoner on a US military base in the middle of shark-infested waters, the promise of freedom in return for helping the CIA root out terrorists back home may have proven too much of a temptation.

In addition to winning their freedom, co-conspirators were granted safety guarantees for their families, and millions of dollars from the agency's secret war chest, sources told AP.

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In Afghanistan, 'Security Deal' Means Endless US Occupation

Afghan forevern warDays before the so-called bi-lateral security agreement heads to an Afghan council of elders and political leaders for a final decision, the U.S. is attempting to force through a stipulation that would allow U.S. troops to continue raiding Afghan homes, in addition to measures giving U.S. troops and contractors immunity from Afghan law and extending U.S. military presence far beyond Obama's 2014 pullout date.

Critics charge that the U.S. is giving itself the green light for open-ended occupation at the expense of the Afghan people. "Occupation is not defined by how many occupiers are policing someplace," said Kimber Heinz of the War Resisters League in an interview with Common Dreams. "If you reduce the amount of occupation forces but keep them there forever, then the occupation continues and the war on people's everyday lives is not actually over — no matter what the US government or mainstream media tells us."

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