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Israel AG indicts Netanyahu on corruption charges, including bribery & fraud

21 Nov, 2019 16:31

FILE PHOTO. ©  Reuters / Ronen Zvulun

Israel’s Attorney General has indicted PM Benjamin Netanyahu on corruption charges after months of uncertainty over whether Netanyahu would be able to retain his leadership of the country. He is charged with bribery and fraud.

Netanyahu faces charges of breach of trust and fraud stemming from three cases in which he allegedly made illicit deals – either with supporters or with local businesses – in exchange for gifts or cash.

AG Avichai Mandelblit announced the indictment, which has been hanging over Netanyahu for months, in a statement on Thursday.

The most severe case involves charges of altering telecom regulations in favor of telecom company Bezeq, whose owner, Shaul Elovitch, also ran news site Walla News. Flush with a $500 million windfall, Elovitch would allegedly press his editors to make coverage more favorable to the Netanyahus. That case involves a bribery charge on top of breach of trust and fraud, and Elovitch and his wife are also facing bribery charges.

Another case involves the PM receiving lavish gifts from billionaires Arnon Milchan and James Packer, and family members also piling on to demand gifts while Netanyahu allegedly did unspecified favors in return. The third case accuses Netanyahu of volunteering to help the owner of Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper to help suppress rival paper Israel Hayom’s circulation.

Mandelblit has been threatening to indict Netanyahu since February, when the police recommended the step after a year-long investigation. The probe was announced in December 2016 – nearly three years ago.

Israeli elections are still up in the air as neither Netanyahu nor his opponent Benny Gantz has been successful in forming a government, and a second election did not improve Netanyahu’s fortunes.

Netanyahu has declared the charges to be part of a “witch hunt” orchestrated by left-wing politicians, the media, and prosecutors. He is expected to ask the Knesset for parliamentary immunity, and the official indictment could still take months.

Even then, he is not obligated to resign. However, his trouble forming a coalition government is likely to become more severe.
The World Below / US-Supported Junta Massacring Protesters ‘To Prevent Democraccy'
« Last post by Rudi Jan on November 20, 2019, 04:41:26 PM »
‘License to Kill’: US-Supported Junta Massacring Protesters ‘To Prevent Democracy’ in Bolivia

03:37 21.11.2019

© AP Photo/ Natacha Pisarenko

Violence and political chaos in Bolivia continued Tuesday, when six people were killed after the Bolivian military opened fire on unarmed civilians who were blocking a gasoline plant in the city of El Alto. Meanwhile, supporters of former Bolivian President Evo Morales demand the resignation of self-proclaimed interim President Jeanine Añez.

The violence inflicted on civilians by the Bolivian armed forces is the expected aftermath of a military coup, Ben Norton, a journalist with The Grayzone and co-host of the Moderate Rebels podcast, told Radio Sputnik’s Loud and Clear hosts John Kiriakou and Brian Becker.

“Well, first of all we should make it clear that there was a military coup. This is what happens when you have a military coup in the country, and this is why we should be opposed to military coups, because the issue is that this junta cannot govern the country without this kind of violence,” Norton told Sputnik.

“Because simply, it is a junta that is holding up the elite rule of a small percentage of the population of these rich, right-wing elites and trying to repress the vast majority of the population, which is the poor, working-class indigenous majority who now knows what life can be like if they actually have a government that represents them and acts in their interest and uses the plentiful natural resources of Bolivia to fund social programs, to combat poverty, to fund education and health care,” Norton said. “So, people are in the streets to fight to defend that, and the response has been absolutely brutal.”

“We need to keep in mind that not only is it this specific massacre - there have been other massacres - but this a policy being directed from the top intentionally by the so-called interim president,” Norton explained.

Last Friday, five supporters of Morales were massacred in bloody clashes with local police in the central Bolivian department of Cochabamba, AFP reported.
“And specifically, Añez a few days ago signed a directive, an executive order exempting all soldiers and police forces from the legal repercussions of whatever crimes they commit in order to so-called ‘restore order,’ is the language of the executive order. So, essentially, this is a license to kill. This is carte blanche for the security forces to essentially kill whoever they want, to massacre protesters without any fear of legal punishment by the so-called government, which at this point is simply the military junta,” Norton said.

“This is such an extreme move that even many of the supporters of the coup have actually now been criticizing the military junta, which yet again is another example of why you should be opposed to military coups,” he continued.

“A lot of these figures, including some liberal democrats who supported the coup at first, are now rightfully criticizing it. But it's too late, because they helped actually support the coup in the first place. What we’re seeing is not new in Latin America. There is a long history of these kinds of US-backed, elite, right-wing military juntas,” Norton explained.

Morales is currently in Mexico, where he has been granted asylum due to concerns for his safety. He has accused opposition leaders Carlos Mesa and Luis Fernando Camacho of orchestrating a coup against his leadership after they claimed there were irregularities in the October 20 presidential election, which Morales won by more than the margin that requires a runoff. The Organization of American States (OAS) contributed to the military coup by calling for a transparent vote count and a second round of presidential elections following the Movement for Socialism leader’s win.

According to Norton, the election irregularity storyline has gained traction in the corporate media, despite being based on falsities.

“There are vague and ambiguous accusations of irregularities, and then eventually, those unverified accusations spiral, and they become, over time - much as if you play the telephone game as a kid - they become much larger accusations and much more serious accusations of rigging. And this goes back to the Organization of American States (OAS), which throughout process totally discredited itself. And I will say the OAS is not an organization that is looked upon highly in Latin America,” he noted.

“The US funds 60% of its budget; the US helped create the OAS during the Cold War as the coalition of anti-communist countries, but in this coup in Bolivia, the OAS has just destroyed its credibility beyond recognition, specifically by helping to play a leading role in the coup by spreading these acusations without any evidence that supposedly the government of Evo Morales stole the election in fraud,” Norton explained.

However, despite Latin America’s history of military juntas taking power, Norton believes that “dictatorial regimes” like the one currently controlling Bolivia won’t last long, as people continue to rise against such authoritarianism.

“The US role in Latin America for many decades has been to prevent democracy, because they know that when the majority of working class and poor indigenous people can vote, they are going to vote for someone who is going to take away the undeserved wealth of rich elites and use it to benefit the full population. Right now the biggest obstacle is absolutely the US government and the Trump administration and these right-wing elites and the right-wing elites of Colombia and Brazil, who are all extremely authoritarian and not fully committed to democracy,” he continued.

“We are seeing the people rising up. I think that eventually these kinds of elite, military junta, dictatorial regimes are going to fall, because simply the math of the population shows that they don’t have the popular support they need to sustain themselves.”
The World Below / Thugs Paid $60 for Each Arson Attack
« Last post by Rudi Jan on November 19, 2019, 06:55:30 AM »
Thugs Paid $60 for Each Arson Attack

Tue Nov 19, 2019

TEHRAN (FNA)- Thugs arrested during the recent riots have confessed that they receive $60 for each place set on fire, a senior Iranian security official said.

"One such instance pertains to a number of thugs arrested in one of the provinces who were given an advance payment of 300,000 tomans (nearly $30) to stage an arson attack and another 300,000 tomans once they did the mission," Commander of Hamedan province's Law Enforcement Police Brigadier General Bakhsh Ali Kamrani Saleh said on Tuesday.

He underlined the necessity for increasing vigilance so that people's righteous demands will not be misused by the rioters.

Iran's Judiciary Spokesman Gholam Hossein Esmayeeli announced on Tuesday that calm had been restored to the country after the recent riots that started following the government's gas price hike plan.

"Thanks to the Leader's remarks, efforts by the security and Law Enforcement Police forces and people's vigilance who separated their way from the ill-wishers and violence-seekers, calm has been restored in the country," Esmayeeli told reporters in Tehran.

"A large number of saboteurs and rioters and those who set fire at public properties and played a role in the destructions have been identified," he added.

Riots by a small number who had taken advantage of legitimate public protests against the government's gas price hike plan in Iran were directed at sowing chaos through targeted attacks on public and private properties, forcing law enforcement to step in to stop saboteurs.

Early estimates of an intelligence body showed that a sum of nearly 87,000 protesters and rioters had taken part in protest rallies and gatherings since Friday night, mostly (over 93%) men. A large number of protesters had only been present in the gathering centers and avoided joining the rioters in sabotage attacks on public and private properties.

"The identical methods of the main core of violent rioters discloses that they are fully trained individuals who have been prepared and looking forward for the situation to rise, unlike most people who have been taken off guard by the sudden hike in gas price," the report said.

The report showed that gatherings have been comprised of 50 to 1,500 people held in 100 regions of the country out of a number of 1,080 major towns and cities. The report says violent raids and damage inflicted on properties has been larger than what happened in February 2018 unrests.

Most cases of damage to properties had happened in Khuzestan, Tehran, Fars and Kerman provinces. The report says most casualties have resulted from armed outlaws' attacks on oil storage and military centers, adding that a number of police and popular forces have been martyred in these attacks.

Nearly 1,000 people were arrested across the country while over 100 banks and 57 big stores were set on fire or plundered in just one province.

The Iranian intelligence ministry announced in a statement on Sunday that it had identified several rioters who misused the recent protest rallies against the gasoline price hikes to destroy public and private properties.

"The main culprits behind the riots in the past two days have been identified and proper measures are being adopted and the honorable nation will be informed about its result later," the statement said.
The World Below / Syrian, Israeli forces traded missile fire along the border
« Last post by Rudi Jan on November 19, 2019, 06:51:43 AM »
Syrian, Israeli forces traded missile fire along the border

By News Desk -2019-11-19

BEIRUT, LEBANON (7:00 A.M.) – At approximately 5:00 A.M. (Damascus Time), explosions were reported by the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) near the Damascus International Airport.

However, approximately one hour ago, ground reporters in Damascus denied any attack took place near the airport, adding that the explosions took place closer to the border of the occupied Golan Heights.

The confirmed attacks took place along the border of the occupied Golan Heights, where both the Israeli and Syrian forces claimed to have intercepted each others rockets.

The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) said their Iron Dome system intercepted four rockets fired from Syria, while the Syrian Army said they intercepted missiles fired from the occupied Golan Heights region near Mount Hermon (Jabal Sheikh).

Neither side reported casualties and it is still not clear what promoted this exchange this morning.
Houthi forces seize three ships off the coast of Yemen, including Saudi vessel

By News Desk -2019-11-19

A statement from the Yemen Houthi movement claimed that on Monday evening an element of their “Coast Guard” had seized three vessels, one of which was described as the Saudi-flagged vessel Rabigh 3, as they had entered Yemeni territorial waters without prior notice, according to Houthi media broadcaster Al Masirah TV.

The Houthi “Coast Guard” reportedly stated that the crews of the captured vessels at first did not respond to their call on International Channel 16.

“The lack of response from crews of the captured ships was a clear challenge to all international maritime laws and a violation of Yemeni sovereignty,” the Houthi-aligned Yemeni “Coast Guard” said, quoted by Al Masirah TV.

The seized ships were taken to the port of As-Saleef and legal procedures have been undertaken regarding violations of maritime law, the media broadcaster reported.

Except for the Rabigh 3, the identities of the other seized vessels have not yet been released, according to reports, although Saudi Arabia is thought to be the owner. Saudi Arabia has yet to comment on the Houthis’ claims.

Riyadh has led a small Arab coalition in fighting the Houthis in Yemen since March 2015. The conflict has seen over 10,000 civilians killed and many millions displaced by destruction, disease and famine.
Bolivian Parliament Elects New Head, Refuses to Acknowledge Self-Proclaimed President Jeanine Anez


“The New Bolivian Democracy”. Click to see full-size image

UPDATE: A spokesperson for Russia’s Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova, clarified the position of Russia towards the crisis:

It is true that Sergey Ryabkov said when answering questions from journalists that Russia will treat Jeanine Anez as “Bolivia’s leader,” but he went on to add that this will last “until the election takes place.” There has to be clarity on this point in terms of the words we use. We are not talking about recognising what happened in Bolivia as a legitimate process. This is not something we are dealing with here.

We have already shared our perspective with the international community. Let me remind you that Russia expressed its concern with what had happened in Bolivia. In the course of a domestic political crisis in the country the government’s determination to find constructive dialogue-based solutions was wiped out by developments typical of a well-orchestrated government coup. We have not changed our perspective since.

We also took note of the subsequent developments when, unfortunately, senior government officials were removed from office and left the country. You are also aware of the fact that Russia called on all political forces in Bolivia to use their best judgement and show responsibility in order to find a constitutional way out of this situation in the interests of peace and calm, putting government institutions back in control, ensuring the rights of all citizens and promoting the country’s socioeconomic development.

It is against this backdrop that the statement by Sergey Ryabkov must be interpreted.


On November 14th, protests and clashes in Bolivia continued, both in support of self-proclaimed interim president Jeanine Anez and in support of former President Evo Morales.

Continuing from the previous days, the indigenous people, as Evo Morales was also one, didn’t stop their protests.

To further exacerbate the situation, the Bolivian Parliament, by a majority vote, and with a quorum, elected the new head of the lower house, Sergio Choke. Like Morales, Choke is a representative of the indigenous peoples of Bolivia, who make up the majority of the population.

Bolivian Parliament Elects New Head, Refuses to Acknowledge Self-Proclaimed President Jeanine Anez

He said that Evo Morales is the constitutional president of the country, after which he issued a decree requiring the army to leave the streets of Bolivian cities and return to the barracks.

De jure a dual power was formed – a parliament that supported Morales and the coup organizers led by Anez. In the coming days, the parties will obviously consolidate their forces for the subsequent struggle for power.

There are videos circulating on Twitter showing Evo Morales supporters gathering to fight against the opposition that seized power. It is notable that these videos were published by the official Twitter account of the Donetsk People’s Republic.

The first tweet translates to:

“Supporters of Evo Morales seized the highway leading from La Paz to the city of Alto Beni and appealed to the citizens of Bolivia with the appeal: “Comrades! The sleeping lion has woken up! The battle has come! Long live Evo Morales! Long live Bethal!””

And the second one translates to:

“Several thousand supporters of Evo Morales arrived in the city of El Alto, where they will unite with local self-defense forces to “stop the racist coup d’etat carried out by the United States and the oligarchs with the complicity of the army and police …”

At the same time, the opposition, following the coup is struggling with consolidating power.

Following the appointment of Sergio Choke, parliament also refused to acknowledge Anez as the legitimate president of Bolivia, since she assumed the interim-president post against the constitution without a vote from the parliament.

Against the backdrop of large-scale protests of the indigenous population and peasants, as well as some trade unions, which stated that they did not recognize the coup’s seizure of power, the Chamber of Deputies of the Bolivian Parliament announced that the deputies did not recognize the coup and considered Evo Morales the legitimate president of the country.

At the same time, only Morales’ party has a quorum to take decisions, but the coup-organizers are clearly not interesting in taking such decisions and are attempting to make unilaterally.

In the context of the complete collapse of the highest executive power, the supreme legislative body of Bolivia, in fact, declared its non-recognition of the coup. Morales supporters have a majority there and have virtually blocked attempts to pass a resolution that would legitimize Morales’s resignation.

Essentially, the coup-plotters can now only resign to force to impose their rule and push Morales’ resignation through.

Evo Morales also announced that he considers himself the president of Bolivia, until Parliament resigns. And since the resignation was not accepted, then Morales is still the president legally, and the coup-plotters could not legally legitimize the seizure of power.

Meanwhile, more than 1000 supporters of Morales were arrested per day, the scope of repression against opponents of the coup is progressively escalating. A civil war nears dangerously close.

At the same time, Venezuelan President Maduro called on the armed forces to fulfill their duty to the people and restore Morales back to his position.

The Parliament of Argentina condemned the military coup in Bolivia and the attack on Bolivian democracy.

Cuba, Mexico, and Nicaragua also described the events in Bolivia, accompanied by violent rallies, attacks on officials, arson incidents, and occupation of buildings, as a coup.

At the same time, both the US and Russia recognized Jeanine Anez’ coup government.

The US’ support was expressed by Acting Assistant Secretary for US Department of State’s Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs Michael Kozak.

“Acting Senate President Anez has assumed responsibilities of Interim Constitutional President of Bolivia. We look forward to working with her [Anez] and Bolivia’s other civilian authorities as they arrange free and fair elections as soon as possible, in accordance with Bolivia’s Constitution”, Kozak wrote.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said that Moscow recognizes the acting president of Bolivia, Senator Janine Agnes as head of state, but only until an election is organized.

This decision was made due to the fact that it was she who was to take the place of the interim head of the republic in accordance with the law after the resignation of the leadership. At the same time, the events preceding the change of power in the country, the Russian side regards as a coup.

The new authorities in Bolivia recognized the opposition politician Juan Guaido as the president of Venezuela, while Russia continues to consider the legitimate president of Nicolas Maduro.

Russia’s attempts to be neutral in its international relations is somewhat commendable, since it would like to show that it is prepared to partner with any side in order to avoid any escalations. This is obvious even in its international policy towards the US and its agressive proxies – diplomatic channels are always the go-to response, prior to any other actions.

The decision to recognize Bolivia’s coup government, even in such a “conditional” manner is questionable and it may lead to Russia losing an ally in Latin America.

Events in Venezuela were a very obvious example that the US’ competitors in the face of China, Russia and Cuba could foil regime change attempts, at the detriment of some diplomatic relations.

It is questionable whether losing the country with the biggest lithium reserves as an ally is the wisest move in hindsight.

Bolivian Parliament Elects New Head, Refuses to Acknowledge Self-Proclaimed President Jeanine Anez

The World Below / Re: Hundreds of Jewish Settlers Raid Al-Aqsa Mosque
« Last post by mallard on November 15, 2019, 07:41:42 AM »
Re: Palestine Chronicle [Middle East Monitor, PC, Social Media] 11/14/19
Hundreds of Jewish Settlers Raid Al-Aqsa Mosque

Protected by the Israeli police, 244 Israelis today raided Al-Aqsa Mosque, the Palestinian Ministry of Religious Endowment said.

According to a statement issued by the ministry, 99 settlers, 97 students from religious schools, 40 government employees and eight intelligence officers raided the holy site.

The statement also said that the settlers performed Talmudic rituals and carried out provocative actions before leaving the mosque from Chain Gate.

Israeli settlers raid Al-Aqsa Mosque on a daily bases and perform Talmudic rituals inside its Yards, while occupation forces limit access to Muslim worshippers during these times.


Open, threatening and offensive disrespect for the local people at the highest level ... not even covered in the Jew-controlled world press ... including Al-Jazeera ... is tantamount to an Israeli declaration of war on the entire Muslim World.  The bold move represents another violation of the original terms of allowing refuge for Jews from around the world in the former Palestine as contracted in the Balfour Declaration.  The response is slowed by as much damage as has been visited upon the entire region ... primarily waged as artificial proxy wars against Arab populations at Israel's behest ... but the outcome should certainly entail grim losses for the fearless violators who hopelessly pretend to believe God is on their side, as if it's never backfired on them before.

The World Below / Syrian Army Starts Operations in Southeastern Idlib
« Last post by Rudi Jan on November 14, 2019, 11:01:54 AM »
Syrian Army Starts Operations in Southeastern Idlib

Thu Nov 14, 2019

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian army started fresh operations in Southeastern Idlib, local sources said, adding that they have already regained control over a town in the region.
The Arabic-language service of Sputnik news agency reported on Thursday that the operations started with artillery fire and airstrikes and the Syrian army units could retake control of the town of Lawibedeh in the Northern parts of Abu Dali in Southeastern Idlib.

Meantime, the Syrian and Russian fighter jets launched attacks against the terrorists' logistic and supply lines, field sources said, adding that the operation was aimed at preventing the terrorists from launching offensives on the freed territories.

People in Idlib have staged several protest rallies against terrorists, specially Tahrir al-Sham al-Hay'at (the Levant Liberation Board or the Al-Nusra Front), in the past few months, calling for the withdrawal of terrorists from the occupied territories.

Earlier this month, a security commander of Tahrir al-Sham in Idlib in Northern Syria threatened to kill anyone in the province who participates in protest rallies against the terrorist group.

Abu al-Yaman al-Homsi was quoted by the Arabic-language Orient news website as saying that the protestors should respect Tahrir al-Sham's leader Abu Mohammed al-Jolani, calling them as dogs of Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian president.

"I swear to God that shedding the blood of anyone who protests against Tahrir al-Sham is halal (religiously allowed) and I will take responsibility for that," he added.

Al-Homsi also threatened the media activists with death, noting that Tahrir al-Sham has no problem with the death or immigration of all Syrian people, except for the members of Tahrir al-Sham, from Syria.

Russian military deploys air defense system to airport in northeast Syria: report

By News Desk -2019-11-14

BEIRUT, LEBANON (3:10 P.M.) – The Russian military has deployed its Pantsir air defense system to the Qamishli Airport in northeastern Syria, the Russian television channel Star reported on Thursday, as quoted by Riafan.

“Russian troops deployed Pantsir air defense systems at the airport in the Syrian city of Qamishli to protect transport helicopters deployed to northern Syria from the Khmeimim base. This was reported on Thursday by the television channel “Star,” Riafan reported.

“According to the channel, the first group of Russian aerospace helicopters was relocated from the base in Khmeimim to the airport in Qamishli. It is also reported that this is the first group of combat helicopters of the Russian aerospace forces in northern Syria,” they continued.

Last week, it was reported that the Russian military was interested in leasing the Qamishli Airport from the Syrian government. This led many to speculate that Russia was in fact interested in having a third military base inside the Syrian Arab Republic.

“This is a historic moment – from this day on, our air group will constantly operate at the airport of Qamishli,” the channel reports.

The Russian Ministry of Defense has yet to comment on this latest claim; however, if true, the Russian military will now have a base near the U.S. forces inside Syria.
General / US Has Spent $6.4 Trillion on Wars That Killed 800,000 Since 9/11 Attacks
« Last post by Rudi Jan on November 14, 2019, 10:50:41 AM »
US Has Spent $6.4 Trillion on Wars That Killed 800,000 Since 9/11 Attacks - Report

22:12 14.11.2019(updated 22:13 14.11.2019)

© AP Photo / Andreea Alexandru

New figures from a US military watchdog group have tallied the incredible costs of the US war on terror since September 11, 2001, finding that well over $6 trillion have been dropped on dozens of conflicts in which some 800,000 people have died.

“Since late 2001, the United States has appropriated and is obligated to spend an estimated $6.4 trillion through Fiscal Year 2020 in budgetary costs related to and caused by the post-9/11 wars,” the Costs of War Project reported in a November 13 paper. The Brown University-based project went on to note that the cost figure comprises “an estimated $5.4 trillion in appropriations in current dollars and an additional minimum of $1 trillion for US obligations to care for the veterans of these wars through the next several decades.”

A separate study published the same day by Costs of War reported the human cost of those wars had reached between 770,000 and 801,000. The wars included in the total include Afghanistan and Pakistan, Iraq, Syria and Yemen, as well as an “Other” category that lumped together a host of smaller conflicts, including Operation Enduring Freedom in Guantanamo Bay (Cuba), Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Jordan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Philippines, Seychelles, Sudan, Tajikistan, Turkey and Uzbekistan.
Last year’s reports recorded a $5.9 trillion price tag and an estimated 500,000 deaths.

Estimate of Global War on Terror Spending through FY2020 in Billions of Current Dollars and Percentages

The tallied bill includes not just raw Pentagon spending, but also the extensive measures taken by the Department of Homeland Security ($1.05 trillion), additional tack-ons to the defense budget like supplemental spending bills ($803 billion), the new “Overseas Contingency Operations” category ($100 billion), interest paid on borrowing for said spending ($925 billion), US State Department expenses such as USAID ($131 billion) and medical and disability care for post 9/11 veterans ($437 billion at present, but with more than $1 trillion projected through 2059).

Brown political science professor and author of the study Neta Crawford told the total was “a very rough estimate,” noting, "I think it's low balling, honestly."
The Pentagon’s estimate last year was a mere $1.5 trillion, Sputnik reported.

Unsurprisingly, the vast majority of deaths in wars waged by the US have been in the countries subjected to attack. The largest numbers come from Iraq, where the US has had a continuous military presence since early 2003 and in which it waged a brutal occupation war against an insurgent movement. Costs of War estimates that between 184,382 and 207,156 Iraqi civilians have died as a result of the US war there, constituting the vast majority of the 312,971 to 335,745 estimated civilians killed in all US wars since 2001.

Human Cost of Post-9/11 Wars

In all, only 7,014 US soldiers have died, plus another 7,950 US contractors, which includes groups like Blackwater, now rebranded as Academi, which have served as private armies, mostly in Iraq. The report estimates between 254,708 and 259,783 enemy combatants have been killed in those wars; however, citations indicate much of the evidence comes from Pentagon reports, including the leaked Iraq War Logs, in which the line between a civilian and an enemy combatant is likely to be blurred.

For example, US Africa Command previously attempted to maintain the facade that no civilians had been killed by airstrikes in Somalia in years. But in the face of damning evidence to the contrary unearthed by Amnesty International, AFRICOM admitted in April 2019 that some civilians had died. However, as Sputnik reported, airstrike restrictions loosened by the Trump administration in 2017 effectively stopped keeping track of civilian casualties altogether by not requiring commanders to calculate any potential civilian deaths resulting from a strike, thus reporting all deaths from airstrikes as enemy combatants.

“The number of people killed directly in the violence of the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan are approximated here,” Costs of War noted Wednesday. “Several times as many have been killed indirectly as a result of the wars - because, for example, of water loss, sewage and other infrastructural issues, and war-related disease.”
To give just one example, a 2015 estimate by Costs of War found that as many as 360,000 Afghans might have died due to ancillary effects of the US war.

“Even if the United States withdraws completely from the major war zones by the end of FY2020 and halts its other Global War on Terror operations, in the Philippines and Africa for example, the total budgetary burden of the post-9/11 wars will continue to rise as the US pays the on-going costs of veterans’ care and for interest on borrowing to pay for the wars,” Wednesday’s cost estimates report says. The same is likely true of deaths caused by those wars.
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