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Rroma Informations Centrum

Berliner Rroma-Self-organisation and platform for cultural activities and political intervention.


The Rroma Informations Centrum e.V. was formed in August 2011. Since then it offers a platform for cultural activities and political interventions for self-empowerment and against discrimination and marginalisation of Rroma in Berlin.

Our main projects are the Rroma-Info-Radio, and Gestern mit den Augen von Heute sehen (see yesterday through today’s eyes), in which young people develop and carry out guided tours about the persecution of Roma and Sinti in National Socialism.

Our membership consists of Rroma and non-Rroma and is a Rroma self-organisation. Until today, our concerns are predominantly addressed from the perspective of non-Rroma. Catchwords like “not integrable”, “uneducated” and “unprofessional” predominate, which become self-fulfilling prophesies.

We want to counterpose autonomous work of our group against this machinery and politics, which are decided from outside. For us, self organisation means that organisational positions like the executive board or the management as well as project management positions should be occupied by Rroma experts.

The Rroma members are composed of professions like education, social pedagogy, art and culture who deal with topics affecting Rroma. Our understanding of action includes quality and solidarity as basic values.

We want to tell and shape our stories ourselves. The Rroma Informations Centrum e.V. offers a platform for Rroma activists to make our voices audible and to demonstrate the diversity of Rroma perspectives on subjects like politics, education, art and culture, and to contribute towards macrosocial reflection.

Justice for the Bataan 5

Statement delivered by Sarah Raymundo in the Online Indignation Rally against the Killings of the New Bataan 5 by BAYAN Europe.

A fervent day to all of us. A heartfelt condolences and solidarity in mourning of the entire movement for losing good children of our nation (mabubuting anak ng bayan).

On February 23, 2021 two Lumad (indiginous people) volunteer teachers Chad Booc and Gelejurain Ngujo II, a community health worker Elegyn Balonga, and two accompanying drivers, Robert Aragon and Tirso Añar, were traveling from New Bataan, Davao de Oro in the South of the Philippines, where they were conducting a community visit as part of their research work. They were on their way back to Davao City, the largest city in the region, when they were massacred by state forces.

It would take five days for the victims of the New Bataan Massacre to be released to their families. I knew Chad personally as a former student and for a longer period as a fellow Save Our Schools advocate and Lumad Bakwit School teacher.

Chad had completed his degree in BS Computer Science at the UP Diliman College of Engineering in Manila. Upon graduation, Chad received multiple invitations for interviews and other work opportunities from established businesses. One reason he was one of the most sought-after graduates of UP Diliman College of Engineering was because of a mental health software he developed to help workers in the various industries.

But Chad had loftier ideals than giving capitalism a human face. The reinvigorated struggle of the national minority in the Philippines that takes its root and links up with the national liberation movement in the country, found its way to Chad’s attention and serious consideration. This people’s movement, as evidenced by Chad’s choices and undertakings, continue to attract the bravest and most brilliant young people.

The forces of reaction and counterinsurgency will say that such phenomenon is a product of communist brainwashing in the university. But the history of revolutions worldwide will tell us otherwise. All revolutions were instigated and often won by the youth. The young Marx and Engels were young intellectuals and organizers of workers when they co-wrote the Communist Manifesto. The Communards, the Bolsheviks, the Katipuneros, the Kabataang Makabayan, even the armed revolutionary movements whether in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and other parts of Asia were all founded by young people. No ageism here. It just so happens that young people do not need to be brainswashed to realize that they don’t have high stakes in the maintaining a social order in which their voices they are often dismissed or marginalized. They’ve got nothing to do with the current power structure in the sense that they did not have a hand in building it. They neither hold positions of power nor are expected to make big decisions to manage the crisis of society and make sure nothing ever changes. In other words, there is always something dangerous about being young in an old oppressive system. The question is, will the restless youth find its voice and power in building an alternative?

Chad Booc did and with such willful intensity. In one of his numerous ruminations on his work as a Lumad teacher, Chad made it very clear:

“Marami mang mga pagsubok at sakripisyo sa gawaing ito, ngunit masaya at payapa ang puso ko sa piling nila. Mahal na mahal ko sila, katulad ng pagmamahal nila sa kanilang lupang ninuno.” (There maybe a lot of challenges and sacrifices in this work, but my heart is joyful and serene when I am with them [the Lumads]. I love them so dearly, like how they love their ancestral lands).

That Chad and the rest of the New Bataan 5 were civilians is a fact that should be emphasized, and not because armed revolutionaries deserve to be murdered. The difference between the massacre of unarmed activists and revolutionary combatants must be asserted in this case because the US-Duterte government and the regimes before it embraced US Counterinsurgency in order to stop people from building alternatives to conditions of misery, hunger, poverty and inequality.

The state forces do for the accumulation of wealth. Every inch of land monopolized by landlords, compradors and foreign investors amounts to the continued dispossession of peasants and indigenous peoples. This is why counterinsurgency is not really about “defeating the insurgents” so to speak but about casting the net wider by calling the armed group a network so they can kill Lumad teachers like Chad and Jurain who are building and rebuilding Lumad Schools so that the Lumad may have an education that is responsive not only to their needs but to the needs and aspirations of the Filipino people. And what they need is not different from established human standards. Chad and the rest of the New Bataan 5 were massacred for making sure that Lumad communities will enjoy the right to ancestral domain, education, ecological food production. Chad was the target of severe political vilification and served prison time for being a devoted teacher to the Lumad youth. He was severely punished and ultimately murdered for serving the people.

Chad was a huge social media figure with thousands upon thousands of followers, in fact, over twenty-thousand on Twitter. He left us with a robust body of notes about his life with the Lumad. He was a tireless teacher teaching the world lessons he learned from his chosen people.

I had the honor of knowing Chad as a student in my class and the greater honor of witnessing how a student of mine exceeded his teacher in so many ways. Our exchanges as fellow Lumad teachers when the Lumad Bakwit School came to Diliman were very satisfying, humorous and hopeful.

It is extremely sad to lose a younger comrade. It is also joyful to be with them. Compared to comrades my age and those older than me, it is those who are younger than me who will witness the time that I will not be able to. But through them and all the work as comrades that we are doing now, I will be part of that time. That is why it is so hard to lose someone like Chad and Jurain, for it was like a part of the future is stolen and will never be taken back.

However, in spite of all, our Lumad brothers and sisters and the great struggle that bounded the teachers are still there and are continued by Lumad Schools. That is exactly where Teacher Chad and Teacher Jurain offered their lives. We will never forget you. I will strive to face the days that you will not be able to see with a constant remembrance of your unparalleled goodness and fervent determination. Highest salute! Justice for Chad, Jurain and other comrades in the New Bataan 5!

## End of Statement

The Call for Justice for the Bataan 5 continues!

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Donate for the Memorial Fund of the New Bataan 5

News from Berlin and Germany, 31 March 2022

Weekly news round-up from Berlin and Germany


First step for Berlin cycle expressway completed

The first steps of the initially planned ten cycle paths in Berlin have been completed. The feasibility studies “Reinickendorf Route” and “Mitte-Tegel-Spandau” were published on Thursday, as the mobility administration announced. According to the study, both routes are “legally and traffic-wise feasible” and have a “positive cost-benefit factor”. Planners have classified a total of nine of the ten planned express cycle routes as feasible. The exception is the “Spandauer Damm – Freiheit” route, which could only be implemented in one section. However, these are only proposals so far, the details of the individual routes have not yet been determined. Source: rbb.

New social centre opens at “Kotti”: help for drug-addicted and homeless people in Kreuzberg

Poor and homeless people gather in the public space, drugs are trafficked in the basement of the underground station. Many who stay here during the day experience enormously difficult living situations. “Kotti” hits the headlines as a so-called crime-ridden place. Against this background, Interior Senator Iris Spranger (SPD) wants to set up a police station there, manned around the clock seven days a week. Elif Eralp (“die Linke”) is critical though of such measures once she considers “the conflicts that exist at the ‘Kotti’ cannot be solved with a police station.” Source: nd.



Agreement reached in collective dispute of airport security workers

In the collective bargaining dispute over higher wages for security staff at German airports, an agreement has been reached between the services union ver.di and the Federal Association of Aviation Security Companies (BDLS), according to union sources. There would be different increases in three steps within 24 months for the approximately 25,000 employees in passenger, personnel and cargo control, depending on the pay scale group. It will range between 4.4 and 7.8 per cent in 2022. The collective agreement will run until 31 December 2023 and was unanimously approved by the ver.di bargaining commission. Source: rbb.

Old paragraph, new interpretation

On Monday, Brandenburg’s Interior Minister Michael Stübgen (CDU) confirmed the “Z” symbol of Russian propaganda will be prosecuted in Brandenburg. Previously, the “Tagesspiegel” reported that this was also the case in Berlin, Interior Senator Iris Spranger (SPD) has told the newspaper. “If the Z is used in connection with the Russian war of aggression, that fulfils the initial suspicion of a criminal offence,” says Stübgen, and the authorities would investigate this. Maximum possible punishment in theory: 3 years in prison. The ban has a legal basis, but in practice, there could be many borderline cases. Source: rbb.

What do you think about Russia?

On 27 February 2022, AfD leader Tino Chrupalla says: “We must not forget Russia’s contribution to Germany and Europe, especially in these days.” Chrupalla apparently finds it the right moment to say that as a German one must be grateful to Russia for unification – and for the Russian troop withdrawal from Germany in 1994. And then Chrupalla also opposes an old core demand of the AfD: “We reject a new arms race,” says the politician. Chrupalla’s view on the war and Russia is anything but consensus in the party, deeply divided on the issue as the entire far right. Source: taz.

Germany and its missile defense

With Russian missiles now falling on in Ukraine, German officials consider if it would be time to adopt a similar model and they are expected to get a briefing from Israeli counterparts on their options. The news has received broad support from across party lines. A direct Russian attack on Germany is still seen as unlikely. However, defense officials view an upgrade in military hardware as a necessary deterrent to eventual aggressions. Germany is considering a system like the Arrow 3, from Israel, but this would be operational by 2025. Anyway, the country would need a far more extensive network of radar and batteries than Israel, much smaller. Source: dw.

Warning of slump as in 2020

What damage would local companies, employees, and private households suffer if Russia stopped supplying gas because the West did not want to pay in roubles – or if the German government imposed an import embargo as a sanction after all? The debate takes place at the economic and political levels. If by one side a short time work like in 2020 could be a solution, one must realize natural gas is also a raw material, especially for the chemical, food, and metal industries. Some economists warn therefore of greater disruptions than during the midst of the pandemic. Source: taz.

“We are all resources being exploited by management to make a profit for the company.”

Interview with an organiser and two of the speakers at tomorrow’s DSA Night School on organising in the Warehouse and at the Office


Hello everyone. Thanks for talking to us. Could you start by briefly introducing yourself? Who are you and what is your connection to Thursday’s DSA Night School?

Phoebe: I’m Phoebe, an infrastructure engineer at a tech company in Berlin. I’m connected to this DSA Night School through the Tech Workers Coalition Berlin (TWC). TWC is a grassroots organization that empowers tech workers to build collective power and get involved in campaigns that make a positive impact on our society.

At my company I am part of a small group of employees forming a Works Council (Betriebsrat). Works Councils are democratically elected bodies of employees who participate in company decision making. They are internal complements to trade unions. Much of German labor law is pretty vague, because it assumes works councils exist to fill in the gaps.

Antje: I am Antje, I am a member of „Werkstatt für Bewegungsbildung“, a small Movement School here in Berlin that aims to support activists and organizations in building resilient, rewarding, and politically effective vehicles of social transformation.

I was invited to the Night School to talk about our ideas of organizing because we’ve worked with the Tech Workers Coalition, Lieferando riders, and Gorillas riders in the past and probably because our school also has a podcast on organizing called Spadework.

Rob: I’m Rob, I’m helping put together this event with Berlin DSA.

Is there a particular reason for holding the Night School now?

Rob: There’s been a recent uptick in organizing and militant labor activity both in Berlin and worldwide.

The highest profile cases in Berlin have probably been the wildcat strikes at Gorillas and the Hospital movement, both of which are tied to working conditions under Covid-19. Both movements activated a wider group of supporters looking to further build worker power in Berlin.

There’s been a flurry of activity in tech companies in particular, with works councils being formed amongst office workers, like at N26, and bike couriers, like at Lieferando.

Lastly, the Deutsche Wohnen und co. Enteignen campaign helped train so many new organizers, and has been identifying the other powerful forces which are making Berlin less and less habitable – like big tech.

For us, all of this points to the emergence of a broad, dynamic organizing network. This network already exists among a patchwork of political groups, social networks, and friendships. We’re excited to facilitate these connections however we can.

Phoebe: It’s an interesting time because we see more and more Berlin tech companies forming works councils, similar to how we see more US tech companies unionizing (or trying to) each year.

I’m particularly inspired by the recent activism of employees at HelloFresh. Berlin office workers, (engineering, design, operations, etc) engaged many of their colleagues to show solidarity with HelloFresh warehouse workers in the US prior to votes to unionize two warehouses there. Even more Berlin employees were moved to speak up when they learned about how their employer was surveilling them in slack during this activism.

Unfortunately both union votes failed, but I like this example of office workers standing up for the rights of warehouse workers overseas. Since the union votes, that same group of Berlin employees also published an open salary initiative.

Let’s moved onto the campaigns and workplaces that you are involved in. What are the difficulties of organising precarious workers? How have you overcome them?

Phoebe: I’ve been organizing my colleagues for about a year leading up to the current process of forming the works council. We are all white collar workers, many of us have been remote for that whole time (I have). Organizing in tech, arguably the most privileged workers, has its own unique challenges. The first is convincing my colleagues to see themselves as workers at all. There’s a common feeling among the most in-demand roles that “if I don’t like it here, I can just get a different job.”

But this is not true for all tech workers, even in the office. There is a spectrum of precariousness, from people relying on the work for their visa, to parents, or folks in operations and support roles that just have it worse than those in engineering. I don’t have a good answer for overcoming these challenges. And even for those that can just “get a different job”, the largest problems are likely the same at the next company, because they stem from the balance of power in the workplace between workers and management, not from particular executives or policies.

I’ve found making connections with more precarious colleagues, even if they do not join our organizing effort, pays off down the line. The goal is to build trust so they know your organizing effort intends to address their issues, and they become part of a network of information and assistance. I’m hoping I can recruit some of these folks to the council itself, after several conversations during this process.

Antje: Our position as organizing trainers and facilitators, as well as people with direct experience of precarious labor, has provided us with some insight into the problems that face precarious workers.

It is a field of labour organizing with very specific needs. In fact, we quite often see that organizing models are not addressing workplaces without long term contracts or with few to no shared rooms.

We talked with Jane McAlevey on one of our episodes about this issue, and she agreed that the organizing model she promotes assumes stable relationships between workers, as stable relations over time are what allows influence to even emerge. In other words, the more workers are socially organized together, the better political organization can emerge.

But what happens when labor processes – like Lieferando – have been designed so that such social organization between workers is largely impossible? Or when workers bounce from work place to work place, as many cognitive laborers do? Or when workers, like many delivery riders, simply do not identify with their labor, when they do not think of themselves as riders, but as students who are only temporarily laboring as riders?

Then, the starting point is different. At the moment we are trying to get workers to understand workers’ organization as a vehicle of care that allows workers to better care for themselves, their loved ones, and their community. This means developing relationships of care with your co-workers. Building trust. Building community. Building the sociality from which a political process can develop.

How much are non-Germans involved? Do they have any specific problems?

Antje: In terms of specific problems, there is the unfamiliarity with German law and the German political scene. They don’t necessarily know what the infrastructures are through which they can organize, what the legal goals are that they could be fighting for (like a works council).

At the legal level, well, if you don’t speak German, winning legal recognition of a works council will mean having to interface with a legal system that operates almost exclusively in German – a German that is even for native speakers not always easy to understand.

At the organizational level, you’re dealing with a base defined by difference. People are coming from different parts of the world, and according to the specific historical-political processes they come out of they are going to have differing opinions about all sorts of things. Unions mean different things in the United States, Mexico, Brazil, and Russia. The word comrade means something very different to Latin Americans than it does to people from the former Soviet Union. Political organizational cultures are very different..

Phoebe: Our company is very international and our organizing group is mostly non-Germans. In some cases, that means they rely on the job for their visa, so speaking up or doing any sort of activism (like serving on a works council), feels very risky. In other cases, international folks are hard to organize because the conditions in Germany are already much better than their home country. They don’t see a need to speak up.

Is there a link between the struggles of Tech workers, and those of, say, delivery riders?

Phoebe: The link is that we are all resources being exploited by management to make a profit for the company. It’s easier to see how delivery riders are exploited, especially when they are specifically not employees of the app company.

While the conditions of the work are very different, this is still true for engineers and designers. Organizing in this space is so important specifically to trigger this realization that the office workers in tech are workers too. We need to bust the myth that tech companies are families that have the interests of “their people” above profit. Once we are organized, we can more easily stand in solidarity with the most precarious workers.

Rob: The key link is that both are tech workers, since they’re employed by tech companies. It’s not a coincidence that big tech creates new groups of precarious workers. Start-up reveries of innovation and disruption are nothing more than the gloss over the physical labor needed to make an app work. Just as the word tech brings to mind a programmer behind a computer, we should also think of a bike courier on the street, or a content moderator watching yet another gory video.

Building worker power means living in reality, and bringing together everyone whose wage is subject to the whims of big tech. The power of big tech is growing in Berlin, accelerating gentrification and the corporatization of our city, which affects us all, tech worker or not. Worker power inside tech companies would benefit us all.

What has been your experience of official trade unions?

Antje: Any organization is a structure of agency and relations that always has a balance of forces. There are advantages and disadvantages to all forms of organization. Official unions have the advantage that they already have large resources and large bases. The control over resources and the influence over bases is however contested. Some people in decision-making roles have terrible politics. Others have very good politics.

The experiences of many workers when they interface with structures like Verd.i or IG Metall might be terrible or wonderful – depending on whether they interface with the good or the bad currents within the unions. We do have the chance to influence this. The union is not an actor, but an organization consisting of multiple actors. As a union member you are one of them.

Phoebe: I have been working closely with a secretary from Ver.di while organizing a works council. They act as a subject matter expert, give advice, and help us with some logistics during the process. I’m also a member myself.

What would be your advice to someone who would like to fight for better conditions in their own workplace?

Antje: Learn from mistakes that others have made. The struggle for better working conditions is very long. Many of your problems have been encountered in the past, so develop and participate in spaces of formal and informal learning. Read up on organizing, meet with other organizers in other struggles, or find yourself a movement school can really help you in your struggle.

We sometimes forget that struggling for better working conditions, for our communities, for the ability to care for ourselves and loved ones, doesn’t come naturally. The experience of oppression, of exploitation, of an inability to care as we want – that alone doesn’t enable us to understand what causes the suffering. And it certainly doesn’t enable us to understand how to overcome damaging structures.

We also have to learn how to have an efficient meeting amongst co-workers – without any hierarchies that might set an automatic order. We need very specific knowledges – how to have one-on-ones, how to develop systematic outreach structures, how to resolve conflicts – and that only exists amongst those that are active in different struggles.

A last lesson that I really learned a little too late for some very exciting political projects: don’t forget to practice the care you want to reach amongst each other. Take time to bake or cook together. Listen to a little personal story, make room for your co-workers to be not just an activist but also a parent, a lover, a neighbor.

Phoebe: Find the right people to join you. The most political or vocal are not always the right people. Use structure tests to figure out who has time for you. Attend an organizing training. If you are a tech worker, join TWC to meet other folks doing the same thing.

The event is being organised by DSA Berlin. What is the role of political organisations like the DSA?

Rob: Any of us would be the first to admit how silly the phrase “Democratic Socalists of America – Berlin” sounds. But I think this can actually be a strength. We have no illusions of building a political party here or putting ongoing struggles under our leadership. What we can do is use our unique position as migrants, often with structural advantages, to organize our workplaces.

Many of us at DSA find ourselves and our social/political networks at the intersections of office and warehouse workers, new arrivals who are in their first German class and those well-versed in German law. We can use our position to find common ground in tech worker struggles and tap into our organizing power and resources.

Phoebe: I owe a lot of our organizing success to trainings that I did with UNI Global Union and the Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung. Political organizations like DSA could offer practical education about organizing, as well as connections with other people also doing organizing work. Also getting laws passed that protect workers and support their right to organize.

Antje: I actually think that the DSA can offer a kind of knowledge transfer that I mentioned before. As an organization that doesn’t have one particular cause – such as forming a workers council or expropriating big for profit landlords – it can provide a certain network to keep consistency between different specific struggles.

What are your expectations from the Night School? What happens next?

Phoebe: This is my first night school! I expect to learn from the other presenters about their work organizing in warehouses, and how my work in the office (remotely) can support them. Thanks for having me.

Antje: I am really looking forward to hearing from the different struggles here in Berlin. They all address fields of work that do not fit into the classic German labor struggles of the past decades. I hope that we can learn from each other, stay connected and win together in coming struggles.

Rob: We hope to build connections between organizers, plug people into these networks, and come up with further angles of attack against big tech. There’s much more work to be done!

Finally, if someone wants to attend the Night School, what should they do?

Rob: They should come to the Aequa Community Centre in Wedding on Thursday March 31st. The panel starts at 7:30pm.

NATO Notes – Berlin Bulletin No. 200

A brief look at NATO’s history shows that it is no force for peace


On June 26, 1997 a group of fifty prominent U.S. Americans, none leftists, had written Pres. William Clinton a message including the following words:

“Dear Mr. President,

We, the undersigned, believe that the current U.S. led effort to expand NATO, the focus of the recent Helsinki and Paris Summits, is a policy error of historic proportions. We believe that NATO expansion will decrease allied security and unsettle European stability… for the following reasons:

“In Russia, NATO expansion, which continues to be opposed across the entire political spectrum, will strengthen the nondemocratic opposition, undercut those who favor reform and cooperation with the West, bring the Russians to question the entire post-Cold War settlement, and galvanize resistance in the Duma to the START II and III treaties…

“Russia does not now pose a threat to its western neighbors and the nations of Central and Eastern Europe are not in danger. For this reason, and the others cited above, we believe that NATO expansion is neither necessary nor desirable and that this ill-conceived policy can and should be put on hold.


The list was signed by former Senators Sam Nunn, Bill Bradley, Mark Hatfield, Gary Hart, former CIA Director Adm. Stansfield Turner, former Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara and Navy Secretary Paul H. Nitze, ex-ambassadors, entertainers, business leaders, Prof. Richard Pipes, author Susan Eisenhower…

Perhaps, if Clinton and even one of the presidents who followed him had listened to their advice, Vladimir Putin would not have feared a tightening NATO military noose encircling and threatening Russia – and the current bloody warfare would never have been risked and waged. Who knows?


“NATO is the only way to end the war in the Donbas“ according to Volodymyr Zelenskyy in March 2021, for whom a quick membership for Ukraine in the light of the unrest in eastern Ukraine would be “a genuine signal to Russia”.


I see two necessities in today’s world. Most urgently: opposing war, a source of immeasurable misery. Condemning the use of deadly weapons, all those hitting civilians – indeed, any human beings. And prevent in every way possible the worst menace to life – all life – since that asteroid hit the earth 66 million years ago; the total eradication by nuclear explosions, ignited on purpose or by accident. Thus we need negotiations, agreements – and not ever more new threats, armaments, soldiers, refugees and so forth.

But while I sharply and emotionally oppose the waging of war by Vladimir Putin, I believe that hypocrisy must also be opposed, above all when it creates an atmosphere further increasing those very dangers I have mentioned.

Both mass media and social media are flooding us with heart-breaking depictions of death, sorrow and destruction in Ukraine. When they are truthful I cannot object. But nor can I overcome my inherent leaning toward occasional skepticism and suspicion; last week a video on Germany’s public TV channel ZDF showed a Russian tank lumbering through Ukraine – and carrying a big red Soviet flag with hammer and sickle – so obviously outdated. It’s hard to believe this was a mistake.

And despite the universal wave of condemnation of Putin, Putinism, Putin-Stalinism or terms like Putler, my overly active memory revives recollections from the past, even such which rarely made the front pages, were often ignored and have been almost totally expunged from memory. In recalling them now I may be risking possible losses of readers or even friends.

I do not wish to outnumber current death and destruction, but only to urge that insistent official calls to protect freedom, democracy and humanitarianism tied to demands for war crime trials are too often based on hypocrisy, distortion,  and greed. These moral one-way streets cover up bitter evidence of earlier bloodshed and tears. So here is a random – but lengthy, painful selection from the past, with help from Google. It does not remove any of the guilt for devastation and death in Ukraine, but seeks to find some balance in its reporting and evaluation.


Iraq 1991

On February 13, 1991, two US special bombs from American stealth aircraft hit a civilian bunker in Baghdad. Both targets were perfectly on target. The laser-guided bombs penetrated the meter-thick reinforced concrete ceiling of the bunker. But the “target” around 4.30 a.m. was full of women, children and old men. Approximately 408 of them died in the explosion of almost half a ton of highly explosive explosives – shredded by splinters, slain by debris or crushed by the enormous shock wave.

The US government spokesman said: “It makes us all sad to suspect that innocent people may have died in the course of a military conflict.” The Pentagon stated: “It looks like civilians have been injured here. We will investigate the incident very closely and determine what we can do differently in the future to rule out a recurrence.”



Belgrade, August 16, 2016, AP — US Vice President Joe Biden offered condolences to the families of those who lost their lives during the Balkan wars, including the victims of the NATO air war against Serbia.  As a senator, Biden was a strong advocate of the NATO bombing of Serbia. The US-led bombardment in 1999 stopped Serbia’s crackdown against ethnic Albanian separatists, ending Belgrade’s rule over its former province of Kosovo. “I would like to add my condolences to the families of those whose lives were lost during the wars in the 1990s, including those whose lives were lost as the result of the NATO campaign,” he said. The bloody breakup of former Yugoslavia claimed tens of thousands of lives and left millions homeless in Bosnia, Croatia and Kosovo.


“We knew that it would start in a few hours – the war against NATO. Or rather, NATO against Serbia. I was in a state of expectant disbelief. How will it look if NATO, and once again Germany, bomb Serbia?

In the evening, for the first time, I heard the howling of the air raid alarm. Today I recall how varied the sounds of air warfare are: the deep hum of invisible bombers, the hissing of the cruise missiles seeking their target, the rattling of Serbian anti-aircraft guns, the dull or glaring explosions that followed. And the nocturnal scenery: bright traces of Serbian anti-aircraft missiles on a black sky, orange-reddish flames after the impact of the bombs.

We learned terms like: ‘graphite bombs’, ‘guided missiles’, ‘stealth aircraft’, ‘uranium ammunition’, ‘cluster bombs’. … And ‘collateral damage’. That was my favorite term. It was used when NATO hit a line of Albanian refugees in Kosovo, a civilian train, the farmers’ market in Niš, the neurological clinic or the Chinese embassy in Belgrade.”  — Andrej Ivanji, TAZ

Iraq  2003

Before the 2003 invasion of Iraq, United States armed forces officials described their plan as employing Shock and Awe. Continuous bombing began on March 19, 2003. Attacks continued against a small number of targets until March 21, when the main bombing campaign of the US and their allies began. Its forces launched approximately 1,700 air sorties (504 using cruise missiles).

According to The Guardian correspondent Brian Whitaker: “To some in the Arab and Muslim countries, Shock and Awe is terrorism by another name; to others, a crime that compares unfavourably with September 11”. A dossier released by Iraq Body Count, a project of the UK non-governmental Oxford Research Group, attributed approximately 6,616 civilian deaths to the actions of US-led forces during the ‘invasion phase’, including the Shock and Awe bombing of Baghdad.

Lt-Col Steve Boylan, spokesman for the US military, stated, “I …can’t talk to how they calculate their numbers…we do everything we can to avoid civilian casualties in all of our operations.”


Population-based studies produce estimates of the number of Iraq War casualties ranging from 151,000 violent deaths as of June 2006 to 1,033,000 excess deaths. Roughly 40 percent of Iraq’s middle class is believed to have fled. An estimated 331 school teachers were slain in the first four months of 2006, according to Human Rights Watch, and at least 2,000 Iraqi doctors have been killed and 250 kidnapped since the 2003 U.S. invasion.


On July 6, 2008, a large number of Afghan civilians were walking in an area called Kamala. When the group stopped for a rest it was hit in succession by three bombs from United States military aircraft. The first bomb hit a group of children who were ahead of the main procession, killing them instantly. A few minutes later the aircraft returned and dropped a second bomb in the center of the group, killing a large number of women. The bride and two girls survived the second bomb but were killed by a third bomb while trying to escape from the area. Hajj Khan, one of four elderly men escorting the party, stated that his grandson was killed and that there were body parts everywhere.


The Granai Massacre refers to the airstrike by a US Air Force B-1 Bomber on May 4, 2009. The United States admitted significant errors were made in carrying out the airstrike, stating “the inability to discern the presence of civilians and avoid and/or minimize accompanying collateral damage resulted in the unintended consequence of civilian casualties”. The Afghan government said that around 140 civilians were killed, 22 were adult males and 93 children.


The raid on Narang was in the early morning hours of December 27, 2009. According to an Afghan investigation, at around 1 am American troops with helicopters landed around 2 km away. The raiding party allegedly dragged the victims out of their beds and shot them in the head or chest. Most of the victims were aged between 12 and 18 years and were enrolled in local schools. A local elder, Jan Mohammed, said that three boys were killed in one room and five were handcuffed before they were shot. “I saw their school books covered in blood,” he said. NATO reiterated that the forces conducting the attack were not under NATO command and were of a “non-military” nature. Colonel Gross said US forces were present but did not lead the operation. NATO did, though, concede it authorized the operation and apologized for doing so, admitting the dead were likely civilians and that the intelligence on which the authorization was based was fault. It became known in 2015 that, as part of the US covert Omega Program, SEAL Team Six members carried out the assault in conjunction with CIA paramilitary officers and Afghan troops trained by the CIA.


On February 21 2010 the victims were traveling in three buses in broad daylight on a main road in the village of Zerma when they came under attack from US Special Forces piloting Little Bird helicopters using “airborne weapons”. NATO later stated that they believed at the time that the minibuses were carrying insurgents. 27 civilians including four women and one child were killed in the attack while another 12 were wounded.  Gen. Stanley McChrystal said he was “extremely saddened…I have made it clear to our forces that we are here to protect the Afghan people, and inadvertently killing or injuring civilians undermines their trust and confidence in our mission. We will re-double our efforts to regain that trust.”

Amanullah Hotak, head of Uruzgan’s provincial council said: “We don’t want their apologies or the money they always give after every attack. We want them to kill all of us together instead of doing it to us one by one.” Haji Ghullam Rasoul, whose cousins died in the attack, said, “They came here to bring security but they kill our children, they kill our brothers and they kill our people.”


In August 2011 we, Médecins Sans Frontières, opened a trauma hospital in the northern Afghan city of Kunduz. The hospital provided high-quality, free surgical care to victims of all types of trauma.

Starting with converting shipping containers, our hospital soon moved into a building in the city centre. By the time of the airstrikes in October 2015, the hospital was equipped with 92 beds, an emergency room, two operating theatres, an intensive care unit, an outpatient department, mental health and physiotherapy wards, as well as X-ray and laboratory facilities.

“Our hospital was the only facility of its kind in northeastern Afghanistan; beforehand, severely injured people were forced to make long and dangerous journeys to the capital Kabul or Pakistan to receive the care they needed. Since opening the hospital in 2011, more than 15,000 surgeries were conducted and more than 68,000 emergency patients were treated.

On the night of the attack, there were 105 patients in the hospital and 140 of our international and national staff were present, of whom 80 were on duty.

Starting at 2:08am on 3 October, a United States AC-130 gunship fired 211 shells on the main hospital building where patients were sleeping in their beds or being operated on

At least 42 people were killed, including 24 patients, 14 staff and 4 caretakers. Thirty-seven were injured. Our patients burned in their beds, our medical staff were decapitated or lost limbs. Others were shot from the air while they fled the burning building. The attack lasted for around one hour… Throughout the airstrikes our teams desperately called military authorities to stop them. They took place despite the fact that we had provided the GPS coordinates of the hospital to the US Department of Defense, Afghan Ministry of Interior and Defense and US Army in Kabul as recently as 29 September.

In the days after the attack, the United States military eventually claimed responsibility for the airstrikes, saying that it had been an accident. The US military claimed they had received reports that the hospital building was holding active Taliban militia. Our staff reported no armed combatants or fighting in the compound prior to the airstrike.


December 10, 2014: The US Senate report summary on CIA torture does more than expose serious human rights violations in the US “War on Terror”. Of the sites identified in the report, four are in Afghanistan, where detainees in US custody were subjected to “sleep deprivation, auditory overload, total darkness, isolation, beatings and shackling.” Feeding tubes inserted anally in detainees, resulting in rectal prolapse in at least one case, represented sexual assaults analogous to rape with an object. Many of these abuses occurred as early as 2002, when Afghan detainee Gul Rahman died from hypothermia after being shackled to a freezing concrete floor at the infamous “Salt Pit” detention center. Ultimately, the prison housed nearly half of the 119 detainees identified by the Senate Intelligence Committee report on CIA torture.

The prison was dark at all times, with curtains and painted exterior windows. Loud music was played constantly. The prisoners were kept in total darkness and isolation, with only a bucket for human waste and without sufficient heat in winter months. Nude prisoners were kept in a central area, and walked around as a form of humiliation. The detainees were hosed down with water while shackled naked, and placed in cold cells. They were subject to sleep deprivation, shackled to bars with their hands above their heads. One senior interrogator said that his team found a detainee who had been chained in a standing position for 17 days, “as far as we could determine.” A senior CIA debriefer told the CIA Inspector General that she heard stories of detainees hung for days on end with their toes barely touching the ground, choked, deprived of food, and made the subject of a mock execution.



The Battle of Raqqa lasted from 6 June through 17 October 2017, launched by the Syrian Democratic Forces and supported by massive air strikes and ground troops of a US-led coalition. A relentless bombing campaign resulted not only in the collapse of Islamic State (IS) but also in the total destruction of the city, with up to 6,000 civilian casualties, according to human rights organisations.

“Raqqa is the most destroyed city in modern times,” says Donatella Rovera, a veteran researcher with Amnesty International. “Certainly much more destroyed than Aleppo, in percentage terms”. American soldiers were interviewed, and they said, ‘for us, everybody who was within Raqqa was regarded to be a fighter of Isis.’ The result: whole families who tried to flee the violence were massacred indiscriminately. On top of that, artillery shells used by the US-led coalition were “basically unguided with a margin of error of over 100 metres…”



At about noon on March 15 2016 two aerial bombs hit the market in Mastaba, approximately 45 kilometers from the Saudi border. The first bomb landed directly in front of a complex of shops and a restaurant. The second struck beside a covered area near the entrance to the market, killing and wounding people escaping, as well as others trying to help the wounded. Human Rights Watch interviewed 23 witnesses to the airstrikes, as well as medical workers at two area hospitals that received the wounded. At least 50 people were killed, most of them children and teenagers, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). Another 77 people were injured, said the spokesman for the Ministry of Health, Yussef al-Hadri. The ministry blames the airstrike on the Saudi-led military alliance.

Human Rights Watch conducted on-site investigations on March 28 and found remnants at the market of a GBU-31 satellite-guided bomb, which consists of a US-supplied MK-84 2,000-pound bomb mated with a JDAM satellite guidance kit, also US-supplied. Human Rights Watch has called on the United States, United Kingdom, France, and other countries to suspend all weapon sales to Saudi Arabia until it curtails its unlawful airstrikes in Yemen, credibly investigates alleged violations, and holds those responsible to account. Selling weapons to Saudi Arabia may make these countries complicit in violations, Human Rights Watch said.


Before dawn on September 10, 2016 coalition aircraft struck the site of a water drilling rig near Beit Saadan village 30 km north of Sanaa. The drill rig was in an unpopulated area reachable only by dirt road. The first strike hit near a workers’ shelter, killing six and wounding five others. At about 9 a.m., after several dozen villagers came to remove the bodies of those killed, three planes returned and bombed the vicinity at least 12 more times, about 15 minutes apart. Human Rights Watch confirmed the names and ages of 21 people who died, including three boys ages 12, 14, and 15.

Yehia Abdullah, a 34-year-old teacher, was on his way back when he heard the bombing: “I saw scattered and charred bodies… I saw five bodies including my brother Muhamad. First I found my brother’s severed leg outside the workers’ shelter, his arm on the door … and half his body buried in the ruins… About 300 people were there to remove the bodies. … I saw two warplanes arriving from the south. Between 8 and 9 am, I saw the missile coming down to the ground as I was next to my uncle’s body.”

Several witnesses said that three coalition planes circled overhead, striking the area in widening circles as those gathered attempted to escape. People ran in all directions to escape the bombing,

Human Rights Watch examined and photographed remnants of a US-made GBU-12 Paveway II laser guided 500-pound bomb. A part of the guidance system (wing assembly) was produced by Raytheon in the US in October 2015, according to markings on the remnants.

Residents of Beit Saadan said that they had pooled together 22 million Yemeni Rials (US$88,000) of their personal funds to pay to drill the well to supply drinking water to their village. The bombing occurred on the last day of planned drilling, after the villagers had struck water, a local farmer said.


Immediately following the October 8 funeral hall attack, the US National Security Council announced the US had “initiated an immediate review of our already significantly reduced support” to the coalition and was “prepared to adjust our support.” The US has made no further announcements regarding how it planned to alter support for the war in Yemen nor released any findings from the review. President Obama should ensure that the review examines whether US forces participated in any unlawful coalition attacks in Yemen, and release the review findings before leaving office, Human Rights Watch said.

The United Kingdom also sells arms to Saudi Arabia, despite growing parliamentary pressure over its support for Saudi Arabia’s military campaign in Yemen and evidence of the use of British-made weapons. Human Rights Watch has documented the use of UK-made weapons in three apparently unlawful coalition attacks in Yemen. Since March 2015, the UK has approved £3.3 billion in military sales to Saudi Arabia, according to the London-based Campaign Against Arms Trade.



Sep 22, 2015: Somali Drone Victim Seeks Justice for U.S. Strike in German Courts

A legal challenge alleges that German officials may be liable for murder, in part for allowing the U.S. to relay drone data from an airbase in Ramstein. A man whose father was killed in a U.S. drone strike in Somalia is seeking to hold Germany accountable for allowing the United States to use its territory for military bases that play a key role in overseas airstrikes.

The Somali man, whose name was given only as “C.D.” described his father, “A.B.” as a herdsman who raised goats and camels in southern Somalia, not far from the coast of the Indian Ocean. According to his son’s testimony, A.B. left home on the morning of February 24, 2012, to graze his livestock. But that night several of his camels came home without him. The next day C.D. found his father’s body severed in two, near a burnt-out car and several dead camels.

The strike that killed A.B. was apparently aimed at Mohamed Sakr, a London-born alleged member of the Somali jihadist group al-Shabaab. By some accounts several other unidentified people also died.

C.D.’s lawyers …ask for an investigation by the public prosecutor in the district that hosts Ramstein, the enormous U.S. airbase that serves as a satellite relay station connecting drone pilots in the United States with their aircraft flying over Yemen, Somalia, Pakistan, and Afghanistan.

The complaint … detailing Ramstein’s critical logistical role in the U.S. drone war also points to the fact that U.S. Africa Command, or Africom, headquartered in Stuttgart, oversees operations in Somalia like the one that killed A.B.

In April Obama had admitted the death of innocent civilians in drone strikes. Some criticism of these missions was “legitimate,” he said at the time. There is “no doubt that civilians were killed who should not be killed.” However, the rules of use for the combat drones are “as strict as never before,” said the US President. July 1, 2006 — Die Zeit



On 19 March 2011, a multi-state NATO-led coalition began a military intervention in Libya… imposing a ban on all flights in the country’s airspace — a no-fly zone…

US President Barack Obama said the US was taking “limited military action” as part of a “broad coalition”. “We cannot stand idly by when a tyrant tells his people there will be no mercy,” he said.

The total number of sorties flown by NATO numbered more than 26,000, an average of 120 sorties per day. 42% of the sorties were strike sorties, which damaged or destroyed approximately 6,000 military targets. At its peak, the operation involved 21 NATO ships and more than 250 aircraft… Of these Denmark, Canada, and Norway together were responsible for 31%, the United States was responsible for 16%, Italy 10%, France 33%, Britain 21%, and Belgium, Qatar, and the UAE the remainder…


August 3, 2011: BRUSSELS – An international journalists’ group sharply criticized NATO air strikes against Libyan television, which killed three people and injured 15, saying Wednesday they violated international law and U.N. resolutions.


May 20, 2011 marked the 60th day of US combat in Libya. President Obama notified Congress that no congressional authorization was needed since the US leadership had been transferred to NATO and since US involvement was somewhat “limited”. In fact, as of April 28, 2011, the US had conducted 75 percent of all aerial refueling sorties, supplied 70 percent of the operation’s intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance and contributed 24 percent of the total aircraft used, more resources than any other NATO country. The US deployed a naval force of 11 ships, A-10 ground-attack aircraft, two B-1B bombers, three Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit stealth bombers, AV-8B Harrier II jump-jets, EA-18G Growler electronic warfare aircraft, P-3 Orions, and both McDonnell Douglas F-15E Strike Eagle and F-16 fighters. The Libyan government response to the campaign was totally ineffectual, with Gaddafi’s forces not managing to shoot down a single NATO plane.


BRUSSELS – An international journalists’ group sharply criticized NATO air strikes against Libyan television, which killed three people and injured 15, saying they violated international law and U.N. resolutions.


The National Transitional Council (NTC) forces initially claimed Gaddafi died from injuries sustained in a firefight… although a graphic video of his last moments shows rebel fighters beating him and one of them sodomizing him with a bayonet before he was shot several times.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton shared a laugh with a TV news reporter moments after hearing deposed Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi had been killed. “We came, we saw, he died,” she joked.


An in depth investigation into the Libyan intervention was started in July 2015 by the U.K. Parliament’s House of Commons’ Foreign Affairs Committee, the final conclusions of which on 14 September 2016 were strongly critical of the British government’s role in the intervention. The report concluded that …Gaddafi was not planning to massacre civilians, and that reports to the contrary were propagated by rebels and Western governments. The feared threat of the massacre of civilians was not supported by the available evidence… For example, on 17 March 2011 Gaddafi had given Benghazi rebels the offer of peaceful surrender and when Gaddafi had earlier retaken Ajdabiya from rebel forces … they did not attack civilians, and this had taken place in February 2011, shortly before the NATO intervention. Gaddafi’s approach towards the rebels had been one of “appeasement”, with the release of Islamist prisoners and promises of significant development assistance for Benghazi.