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What To Do When You're Stopped By Police - The ACLU & Elon James White

What To Do When You're Stopped By Police - The ACLU & Elon James White

Know Anyone Who Thinks Racial Profiling Is Exaggerated? Watch This, And Tell Me When Your Jaw Drops.


This video clearly demonstrates how racist America is as a country and how far we have to go to become a country that is civilized and actually values equal justice. We must not rest until this goal is achieved. I do not want my great grandchildren to live in a country like we have today. I wish for them to live in a country where differences of race and culture are not ignored but valued as a part of what makes America great.

Monday, September 20, 2021

How This “Untouchable” From India’s Lowest Caste Ended Up At Harvard [FU...

Trump, Republicans and white evangelicals are forming a powerful trifecta Evangelicalism is not only about a cultural whiteness; it’s also about a political whiteness.

Trump, Republicans and white evangelicals are forming a powerful trifecta

Evangelicalism is not only about a cultural whiteness; it’s also about a political whiteness.

According to new analysis from Pew Research center, "evangelical" doesn’t mean born-again anymore; it means Republican. Of course, evangelicals have embraced the Republican party since the late 1970s, but, per the analysis, more white Americans adopted the evangelical label between 2016 and 2020, years that include former President Donald Trump’s presidential campaigns and his time in the White House.

When it comes down to it, evangelical is more a political label than a religious one.

When it comes down to it, evangelical is more a political label than a religious one. People who embrace the label use it to signal that they’re against immigration, science and abortion and to signal a belief that discussions of racism in America are antithetical to their idea of America.

The Pew survey shows that Trump garnered even more support in 2020 from evangelicals than he did in 2016. Between 2016 and 2020, 16 percent of people who had not self identified as evangelical in 2016 identified that way by 2020. Interestingly enough, this 16 percent did not vote for Trump in 2016. In 2020, out of the 78 percent of white evangelical voters who voted for Trump, 18 percent of these were Trump converts — evangelicals who didn’t support him in 2016.

The Pew Survey isn’t the only evidence pointing to this hardening of American evangelicalism. A PRRI survey finds that while the majority of Americans place the blame of the insurrection on white supremacist groups, Trump, and conservative media platforms, conservatives like evangelicals do not believe those were the culprits. To the contrary, 57 percent of white evangelical Protestants believe liberal left-wing groups such as antifa were responsible for the Jan 6. riots, and 68 percent of white evangelicals surveyed believe Trump is a “true patriot.”

All of this points to the fact that evangelicalism is not a religious group exclusively, but a majority white religious group linked strongly to Trump, the Republican party and particular ideas about racegender, morality and America.

In my book “White Evangelical Racism, the Politics of Morality in America,” I argue that evangelicalism is not only about a cultural whiteness, but it’s also about a political whiteness. White evangelicals support candidates who espouse both political and moral views that coalesce with theirs. Recent books by Robert P JonesKristin Kobes Du Mez, and Andrew Whitehead and Samuel L. Perry also note the roles of whiteness in religion, masculinity and nationalism for evangelicals.

While this may surprise evangelicals (including Baptist theologian Russell Moore) who have been defending their religious movement against Trumpism, the fact is, Trumpism and evangelicalism are complementary to one another.

Evangelicals are engaged in a political revival.

There are a lot of reasons one might attribute for more people calling themselves evangelical, but it certainly isn’t because of a great religious revival. Evangelicals are engaged in a political revival, steeped in racism, anti-immigrant sentiment, sexual morality and misplaced nostalgia.

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Consider the things in 2021 that have contributed to this politicization: the Jan. 6 insurrection, the abortion ruling in Texas, the anti-vaccine movement, the anti-critical race theory movement, and anti-immigration sentiment arising around Afghan nationals and other groups. Any one of these would have driven evangelicals to political action, but now it is a virtual feeding frenzy for eager politicians and evangelical leaders hoping for money, power and status by embracing these sentiments and fears among their followers.

These surveys tell us the trajectory Republican politicians will use to stoke their evangelical base in 2022 and 2024 election cycles. Now that those who don’t know the theological beliefs of evangelicalism are identifying themselves as such, there should be no confusion about what evangelicalism really is in America: a full-fledged religious political movement whose allegiance is to the Republican party’s issues and to whiteness.”

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Opinion: If Republicans can’t get behind an issue as fundamental as voting, Democrats must push through their bill

Opinion: If Republicans can’t get behind an issue as fundamental as voting, Democrats must push through their bill

Tabletop voting booths are stored at the Allegheny County Election Division's warehouse in Pittsburgh in June 2020. (Gene J. Puskar/AP)

A group of Democrats has released the Freedom to Vote Act, a substantially pared-down version of the major voting legislation that Republicans successfully filibustered over the summer. Stripped of controversial provisions such as nationwide public campaign financing, the act would ensure access to the ballot box, promote impartial vote-counting and limit partisan gerrymandering. This bill is an outstretched hand to Republicans — indeed, to anyone who claims to care about democracy. But Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) immediately trashed it. Not a single Senate Republican appears interested in seriously engaging with Democrats in their effort to write compromise federal voting legislation.

The new bill would allow all voters — not just the sick and the elderly — to request absentee ballots. No-excuse mail-in voting has worked well in most states, but now that more Democrats are using the voting method, state-level Republicans have begun to crack down on it. Similarly, the act would require secure ballot drop boxes, another voter convenience Republicans have tried to limit or eliminate. The bill would make Election Day a holiday, require a minimum early voting period, institute automatic registration (when people get or renew their driver’s licenses), and mandate same-day registration for those who remain unregistered but who want to vote on Election Day.

The legislation would force “dark money” groups to disclose their donors, help states buy better voting equipment and require voter-verifiable paper ballots. It would establish federal safeguards against partisan politicians removing or pressuring local election officials. As state legislatures gear up to draw new legislative lines in the decennial redistricting process, the bill would also restrict gerrymandering and empower courts to strike down maps skewed by partisanship. States would have the option of establishing redistricting commissions; alternatively, state lawmakers could still draw legislative lines, but they could no longer draw districts with the primary aim of maximizing the representation of their own party in Washington.

There is no creditable argument against these provisions, at least not for anyone committed to majority rule. Mr. McConnell objects that states should set election rules. In fact, the Constitution explicitly grants Congress control over establishing federal election standards. Mr. McConnell’s argument is convenient for the GOP: Republicans control more state legislatures than Democrats. They have used their state-level power to impose waves of new voting restrictions and to make alarming moves toward interfering in vote counting. Federal legislation would preempt the more restrictive state rules Republicans believe will benefit them.

Situational ethics are not new in politics, except in this case the question is not whether to, say, expand the debt, but whether U.S. democracy will function fairly. Members of Congress should place loyalty to the nation’s system of government above their short-term partisan interests. But that would require the GOP to embrace better candidates and more popular policies, when Republicans would rather skew voting rules in their favor.

Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) has promised a procedural vote on the compromise bill “very soon,” even as early as next week. If, as expected, Republicans unite against it, Democrats must stop negotiating with themselves on an issue as fundamental as voting. They should reform the Senate filibuster rule, which has shifted from an extraordinary procedure to a routine blocking maneuver, and try again.

Haiti Protests Mass U.S. Deportation of Migrants to Country in Crisis Haiti migration officials have asked the United States for a “humanitarian moratorium” even as they receive the first returnees from Texas. “Will we have enough to feed these people?”

Haiti Protests Mass U.S. Deportation of Migrants to Country in Crisis

“Haiti migration officials have asked the United States for a “humanitarian moratorium” even as they receive the first returnees from Texas. “Will we have enough to feed these people?”

Haitian migrants who were flown back to Haiti at the airport in Port-au-Prince on Sunday.
Ralph Tedy Erol/Reuters

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — The first Haitians deported from a makeshift camp in Texas landed in their home country Sunday amid sweltering heat, anger and confusion, as Haitian officials beseeched the United States to stop the flights because the country is in crisis and cannot handle thousands of homeless deportees.

“We are here to say welcome, they can come back and stay in Haiti — but they are very agitated,” said the head of Haiti’s national migration office, Jean Negot Bonheur Delva. “They don’t accept the forced return.”

Mr. Bonheur Delva said the authorities expected that about 14,000 Haitians will be expelled from the United States over the coming three weeks.

An encampment of about that size has formed in the Texas border town of Del Rio in recent days as Haitian and other migrants crossed over the Rio Grande from Mexico. The Biden administration has said it is moving swiftly to deport them under a Trump-era pandemic order.

On Sunday alone, officials in Haiti were preparing for three flights of migrants to arrive in Port-au-Prince, the capital. After that, they expect six flights a day for three weeks, split between Port-au-Prince and the coastal city of Cap Haitien.

Beyond that, little was certain.

“The Haitian state is not really able to receive these deportees,” Mr. Bonheur Delva said.

The Haitian appeal for a suspension of deportations appeared likely to increase the pressure on the Biden administration, which is grappling with the highest level of border crossings in decades.

Federico Rios Escobar for The New York Times

President Biden, who pledged a more humanitarian approach to immigration than his predecessor, has been taking tough measures to stop the influx, and the administration said this weekend that the Haitian deportations are consistent with that enforcement policy.

But the migrants are being sent back to a country still reeling from a series of overlapping crises, including the assassination of its president in July and an earthquake in August. Only once since 2014 has the United States deported more than 1,000 people to the country.

As the sun beat down Sunday in Port-au-Prince, more than 300 of the newly returned migrants milled close together around a white tent, looking dazed and exhausted as they waited to be processed — and despondent at finding themselves back at Square 1. Some held babies as toddlers ran around playing. Some of the children were crying.

Many said their only hope was to once again follow the long, arduous road of migration.

“I’m not going to stay in Haiti,” said Elène Jean-Baptiste, 28, who traveled with her 3-year-old son, Steshanley Sylvain, who was born in Chile and has a Chilean passport, and her husband, Stevenson Sylvain.

Like Ms. Jean-Baptiste, many had fled Haiti years ago, in the years after the country was devastated by an earlier earthquake, in 2010. Most had headed to South America, hoping to find jobs and rebuild a life in countries like Chile and Brazil.

Federico Rios Escobar for The New York Times

Recently, facing economic turmoil and discrimination in South America and hearing that it might be easier to cross into the United States under the Biden administration, they decided to make the trek north.

From Mexico, they crossed the Rio Grande into the United States — only to find themselves detained and returned to a country that is mired in a deep political and humanitarian crisis.

In July, the Haitian president, Jovenel Moïse, was assassinated, setting off a battle for power. A month later, the impoverished southern peninsula was devastated by a 7.2 magnitude earthquake, and the Caribbean nation’s shaky government was ill-equipped to handle the aftermath.

According to a United Nations report released last week, 800,000 people have been affected by the quake. A month after it struck, 650,000 still need emergency humanitarian assistance.

Many of the migrants who stepped off the plane Sunday have little to return to.

Claire Bazille left home in 2015, and had a job cleaning office buildings in Chile’s capital, Santiago. It wasn’t the dream life she had left Haiti to find, but she got by, even sending money home to her mother each month.

When Ms. Bazille heard that it was possible to enter the United States under the Biden administration, she left everything behind and headed north, joining other Haitians along the way.

On Sunday, she was put on a plane and returned to where it had all begun for her.

Only now, Ms. Bazille’s family’s home in Les Cayes had been destroyed in the earthquake. Her mother and six siblings are living in the streets, she said, and she is alone with a small child, a backpack with all their belongings, and no prospect of a job.

Federico Rios Escobar for The New York Times

“I don’t know how I will survive,” said Ms. Bazille, 35. “It was the worst decision I could have taken. This is where I ended up. This is not where I was going.”

At least a dozen of the migrants said they felt tricked by the United States. They said they had been told by uniformed officials that the flight they were getting on was bound for Florida. When they learned otherwise, some protested but were placed on board in handcuffs, they said.

“I didn’t want to come back,” said Kendy Louis, 34, who had been living in Chile but decided to head to the United States when construction work dried up. He was traveling with his wife and 2-year-old son, and was among those who were handcuffed during the flight, he said.

The director of migration and integration at the Haitian office of migration, Amelie Dormévil, said several of the returnees told her they had been cuffed by the wrists, ankles and waist during the flight.

After the first plane carrying the deportees landed, the first to climb out were parents with babies in their arms and toddlers by the hand. Other men and women followed with little luggage, save perhaps for a little food or some personal belongings.

Amid confusion and shouting, the Haitians were led for processing at the makeshift tent, which had been set up by the International Organization for Migration.

Some expressed dismay at finding themselves back in a place they had worked so hard to escape — and with so few resources to receive them.

“Do we have a country?” asked one woman. “They’ve killed the president. We don’t have a country. Look at the state of this country!”

Federico Rios Escobar for The New York Times

Haitian officials gave them little cause to think otherwise.

Mr. Bonheur Delva said “ongoing security issues” made the prospect of resettling thousands of new arrivals hard to imagine. Haiti, he said, cannot provide adequate security or food for the returnees.

And then there is the Covid-19 pandemic.

“I am asking for a humanitarian moratorium,” Mr. Bonheur Delva said. “The situation is very difficult.”

After the earthquake in August, which killed more than 2,000 people, the Biden administration paused its deportations to Haiti. But it changed course last week when the rush of Haitian migrants crossed into Texas from the border state of Coahuila, Mexico, huddling under a bridge in Del Rio and further straining the United States’ overwhelmed migration system. 

The deportations have left Haiti’s new government scrambling.

“Will we have all those logistics?” Mr. Bonheur Delva said. “Will we have enough to feed these people?”

On Sunday, after being processed, the migrants were given Styrofoam containers with a meal of rice and beans. The government planned to give them the equivalent of $100.

After that, said Mr. Bonheur Delva, it will be up to them to find their own way.

Natalie Kitroeff contributed reporting from Mexico City.”

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Randall Kennedy — Say It Loud!: On Race, Law, History, and Culture - with Representitive Raskin. Maybe Randall Kennedy is finally starting to wake up a little from his long willfully naive slumber,

In Flint, Michigan, effects from the clean water crisis remain - Washington Post

All-amateur astronaut crew splashes down in Atlantic, another successful SpaceX mission


The quartet of amateur astronauts onboard the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft splashed down in the Atlantic Ocean Saturday evening, completing the first all-civilian mission to orbit the Earth and setting the stage for more privately funded missions to come.

The splashdown came at 7:07 p.m. Eastern time in calm waters, a SpaceX live stream of the event showed. The astronauts emerged from the capsule, which had been hoisted aboard a recovery ship, less than 50 minutes after the splashdown.

That brought a successful end to a historic flight funded by the mission commander, Jared Isaacman, a 38-year-old billionaire entrepreneur and aviation enthusiast. Never before had a group of amateurs flown to orbit before. While NASA had overseen the development of the Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft that flew them to space, the agency was not directly involved in the mission.

“That was a heck of a ride for us, and we’re just getting started,” Isaacman said.

In a post-flight news conference Todd “Leif” Ericson, an Inspiration4 mission director, said: “Welcome to the second Space Age. … This is opening up a whole new chapter in spaceflight.”

Before the flight, Elon Musk’s SpaceX had flown three sets of professional, government-trained astronauts to the International Space Station, and the company has another mission for NASA scheduled for next month. But Musk founded SpaceX with the goal of opening space to the public and eventually building bases on the moon and Mars, and the Inspiration4 mission fit that goal. The company already has booked more private astronaut flights, including one tentatively scheduled for 2023 that would take a Japanese billionaire on a trip around the moon in the company’s still-under development Starship spacecraft.

During its three days in orbit, the Inspiration4 crew — which included the mission pilot, Sian Proctor, 51, a college professor from Arizona; Chris Sembroski, a 42-year-old father of two from Everett, Wash.; and Hayley Arceneaux, a 29-year-old from Memphis who works as a physician assistant — virtually rang the bell of the New York Stock Exchange (virtually), and spoke to patients at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, one of whom asked if there any cows on the “moooooon.” They also spoke with actor Tom Cruise, who has been in talks to fly on a later SpaceX flight to the International Space Station, as well as U2’s Bono.

In an interview with CBS News, Scott “Kidd” Poteet, SpaceX’s Inspiration4 mission director, said there was a “minor waste management issue that the crew and mission control were required to troubleshoot. But honestly, this did not impact the mission.”

In the post-flight news conference, Ericson said there was a problem with a fan. “As in most exploratory adventures like spaceflight there’s always been one or two little hiccups along the way,” he said. “But this was dealt with amazingly by the SpaceX team.”

Benji Reed, SpaceX’s senior director of human spaceflight, said, “We couldn’t have asked for a more successful mission.”

When planning the flight, Isaacman asked SpaceX about the feasibility of flying at an altitude even higher than the International Space Station, which orbits the Earth at about 240 miles above the planet’s surface.

After SpaceX engineers deemed it safe, the Inspiration4 crew hit an altitude of about 367 miles, which is also higher than the Hubble Space Telescope and most space shuttle flights, and it set a record for SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft. Views of Earth from that height reportedly were amazing, especially since SpaceX added a curved window at the top of the spacecraft so the travelers could spend time gazing at the stars and earth below, almost as if they were outside the craft.

At a press briefing before the flight, Isaacman said that he wanted the mission to push the envelope. “If we’re going to go to the moon again, and we’re going to go to Mars and beyond, we’ve got to get a little outside our comfort zone and take the next step in that direction,” he said.

For the first day or so, there was limited information about what the crew was up to or how they were doing. Images and video were not made public.

On Friday, though, the mission’s Twitter account posted a photo of the astronauts, all smiling and looking healthy. “The crew of #Inspiration4 had an incredible first day in space! They’ve completed more than 15 orbits around planet Earth since liftoff and made full use of the Dragon upola.”

Then it posted the video of the crew speaking with patients at of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. And on Friday afternoon, the crew hosted a live broadcast showing viewers around the capsule and giving them a sense of how they had been spending their time.

The lack of information was not a surprise, especially given that the crew is made up entirely of amateurs whom had never been to space before, said Brian Weeden, the director of program planning at the Secure World Foundation, a think tank.

“I would not be surprised to find out that they had some ‘adjustment’ challenges with orbital spaceflight. Something like half of all people who have been in space have experienced initial bouts of nausea and space sickness as their body adjusts,” he said.

“Also, keep in mind that these people are spending three days in very proximity to each other and are probably having to figure out everything from sleeping and eating to using the toilet with very little privacy. I’m not surprised they’re a bit reluctant to broadcast that to the world.”

The crew spent a fair amount of time conducting experiments to measure the effect of weightlessness on the human body. Hayley Arceneaux, the crew’s medical officer, took ultrasound readings on her fellow astronauts to measure how their bodies were reacting. Chris Sembroski, a father of two and an engineer at Lockheed Martin, played his ukulele. And Sian Proctor, a professor at a community college, brought art supplies and drew a picture of their Dragon spacecraft.

Isaacman placed the first bet from space, a $4,000 wager that the Philadelphia Eagles would win the Super Bowl. MGM, which announced the bet, said it was contributing $25,000 to St. Jude.

The menu for the Inspiration4 crew was varied — pasta and meatballs, salami, bacon and cheddar, pasta Bolognese. For snacks, there were granola bars, peanut butter cups, apricots and M & Ms, which are good for shooting around in the weightless environment of space.

Proctor reportedly was especially fond of pizza. SpaceX founder Elon Musk apologized on Twitter that the Dragon capsule hadn’t come equipped with a way to heat it up.

“Sorry it was cold!” he wrote. “Dragon will have a food warmer & free wifi next time.”


In Flint, Michigan, effects from the clean water crisis remain - Washington Post

What to know about the FDA's decision on Pfizer booster shots

 

Saturday, September 18, 2021

Afghans Somber but Not Surprised as U.S. Calls Drone Strike a ‘Tragic Mistake’ - The New York Times

Afghans Somber but Not Surprised as U.S. Calls Drone Strike a ‘Tragic Mistake’

"Afghans expressed a familiar anger at the Pentagon’s admission that an attack killing 10 civilians was a mistake, one of many such errors during the 20-year war.

transcript

Pentagon Admits It Made a ‘Tragic Mistake’ in Kabul Drone Strike

Following a New York Times investigation, the Pentagon acknowledged that a U.S. drone strike in Kabul on Aug. 29 was a “tragic mistake” that killed 10 civilians, including an aid worker and seven children.

A comprehensive review of all the available footage and reporting on the matter led us to a final conclusion that as many as 10 civilians were killed in the strike, including up to seven children. At the time of the strike, based upon all the intelligence and what was being reported, I was confident that the strike had averted an imminent threat to our forces at the airport. Based upon that assessment, I and other leaders in the department repeatedly asserted the validity of this strike. I’m here today to set the record straight, and acknowledge our mistakes. I will end my remarks with the same note of sincere and profound condolences to the family and friends of those who died in this tragic strike. We are exploring the possibility of ex-gratia payments. And I’ll finish by saying that while the team conducted the strike did so in the honest belief that they were preventing an imminent attack on our forces and civilian evacuees, we now understand that to be incorrect.

Following a New York Times investigation, the Pentagon acknowledged that a U.S. drone strike in Kabul on Aug. 29 was a “tragic mistake” that killed 10 civilians, including an aid worker and seven children.Jim Huylebroek for The New York Times

The Pentagon’s public apology and admission of having made a “tragic mistake” in killing an Afghan aid worker and seven children from his extended family in a drone strike was broadcast Saturday on Afghan television, but appeared to bring little solace to the family members left behind.

Images on Afghan television and social media showed some relatives holding up photos of the lost children to reporters, including of a child as young as 2 who died in the blast. Another image showed several of the somber-faced relatives seated on the dusty, rocky hillside where the family members were buried. In total, 10 civilians were killed in the strike.

On social media, Afghans expressed anger and frustration, but little surprise, at the Pentagon’s mistake, although they demanded compensation for the family. Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr., the head of U.S. Central Command, said the military was discussing the possibility of payments.

For more than two weeks, the United States military had insisted the attack on Aug. 29 was warranted and that the aid worker, Zemari Ahmadi, who helped provide basic food items to impoverished Afghans, was connected to the Islamic State. One general called the attack “righteous” and insisted there had been secondary explosions, implying that explosives had been in the vehicle.

After a deeper review by the Pentagon, which followed a New York Times investigation casting doubt on Mr. Ahmadi’s connection to ISIS and on any explosives being in his vehicle, the military concluded that there had been a series of mistakes.

“We now know that there was no connection between Mr. Ahmadi and ISIS-Khorasan, that his activities on that day were completely harmless and not at all related to the imminent threat we believed we faced, and that Mr. Ahmadi was just as innocent a victim as were the others tragically killed,” said Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III in a statement.

Far from being an enemy of the United States, Mr. Ahmadi was hoping to emigrate there.

The aid organization he worked for over the past 15 years, Nutrition and Education International, or NEI, was based in Pasadena, Calif. It was founded by a nutrition scientist who had observed firsthand the malnutrition in Afghanistan’s Balkh Province while lecturing there in 2003, according to the organization’s website, and he started the nonprofit to encourage Afghan farmers to grow soybeans.

A relative of Zemari Ahmadi near the car that was destroyed in the U.S. air strike last month.
Jim Huylebroek for The New York Times

The organization helped establish processing facilities — Mr. Ahmadi worked on setting up 11 of them — so that the beans could be made ready for cooking. Staff members then distributed the harvest to needy families.

On its website, the organization has a tribute to Mr. Ahmadi noting that “Zemari was well respected by his colleagues and compassionate towards the poor and needy.”

Updates on Afghanistan  Sign up for a daily email with the latest news on the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan.

NEI had begun the process of filing refugee forms so that Mr. Ahmadi could emigrate with his family to the United States.

Understand the Taliban Takeover in Afghanistan


Who are the Taliban? The Taliban arose in 1994 amid the turmoil that came after the withdrawal of Soviet forces from Afghanistan in 1989. They used brutal public punishments, including floggings, amputations and mass executions, to enforce their rules. Here’s more on their origin story and their record as rulers.

While the drone strike has received considerable attention, in part because it came in the last 48 hours the United States was in Afghanistan, it was a familiar sequence for Afghans and those who track civilian casualties.

Over much of the last 20 years, the United States has repeatedly targeted the wrong people in its effort to go after terrorists. While it has killed many who were connected in one way or another to organizations that threatened the United States, there is a well-documented record of strikes that killed innocent people from almost the very first months of its presence in Afghanistan, starting in December 2001 and ending with the death of Mr. Ahmadi and members of his family.

In the years in between, the United States killed dozens of civilians at a weddingand more than 100 civilians, many of them children, in Farah Province in 2009. In 2016, the military mistakenly bombed a Médecins Sans Frontières hospital in Kunduz Province that killed 42 doctors, patients and medical staff.

“The U.S. military has admitted to hundreds and hundreds of ‘mistaken’ killings over nearly 20 years of airstrikes, typically only after initially denying problems and then only investigating after public exposure by media or other independent observers,” John Sifton, the Asia advocacy director at Human Rights Watch, wrote in a Twitter post on Friday, shortly after the military took responsibility for the mistake.

“The U.S. has a terrible record in this regard, and after decades of failed accountability, in the context of the end of the war in Afghanistan, the U.S. should acknowledge that their processes have failed, and that vital reforms and more independent outside scrutiny is vital,” he said.

Sami Sahak, Wali Arian and Eric Schmitt contributed reporting."

Afghans Somber but Not Surprised as U.S. Calls Drone Strike a ‘Tragic Mistake’ - The New York Times

Pentagon acknowledges Aug. 29 drone strike in Afghanistan was a tragic mistake that killed 10 civilians.

Pentagon acknowledges Aug. 29 drone strike in Afghanistan was a tragic mistake that killed 10 civilians.


The US Pentagon finally admits it has been lying for a week about the fatal drone strike in Afghanistan which murdered 10 people including 7 children.  The government lied for a week calling it a legitimate attack.


transcript

“How a U.S. Drone Strike Killed the Wrong Person

A week after a New York Times visual investigation, the U.S. military admitted to a “tragic mistake” in a drone strike in Kabul last month that killed 10 civilians, including an aid worker and seven children.

[explosion] In one of the final acts of its 20-year war in Afghanistan, the United States fired a missile from a drone at a car in Kabul. It was parked in the courtyard of a home, and the explosion killed 10 people, including 43-year-old Zemari Ahmadi and seven children, according to his family. The Pentagon claimed that Ahmadi was a facilitator for the Islamic State, and that his car was packed with explosives, posing an imminent threat to U.S. troops guarding the evacuation at the Kabul airport. “The procedures were correctly followed, and it was a righteous strike.” What the military apparently didn’t know was that Ahmadi was a longtime aid worker, who colleagues and family members said spent the hours before he died running office errands, and ended his day by pulling up to his house. Soon after, his Toyota was hit with a 20-pound Hellfire missile. What was interpreted as the suspicious moves of a terrorist may have just been an average day in his life. And it’s possible that what the military saw Ahmadi loading into his car were water canisters he was bringing home to his family — not explosives. Using never-before seen security camera footage of Ahmadi, interviews with his family, co-workers and witnesses, we will piece together for the first time his movements in the hours before he was killed. Zemari Ahmadi was an electrical engineer by training. For 14 years, he had worked for the Kabul office of Nutrition and Education International. “NEI established a total of 11 soybean processing plants in Afghanistan.” It’s a California based NGO that fights malnutrition. On most days, he drove one of the company’s white Toyota corollas, taking his colleagues to and from work and distributing the NGO’s food to Afghans displaced by the war. Only three days before Ahmadi was killed, 13 U.S. troops and more than 170 Afghan civilians died in an Islamic State suicide attack at the airport. The military had given lower-level commanders the authority to order airstrikes earlier in the evacuation, and they were bracing for what they feared was another imminent attack. To reconstruct Ahmadi’s movements on Aug. 29, in the hours before he was killed, The Times pieced together the security camera footage from his office, with interviews with more than a dozen of Ahmadi’s colleagues and family members. Ahmadi appears to have left his home around 9 a.m. He then picked up a colleague and his boss’s laptop near his house. It’s around this time that the U.S. military claimed it observed a white sedan leaving an alleged Islamic State safehouse, around five kilometers northwest of the airport. That’s why the U.S. military said they tracked Ahmadi’s Corolla that day. They also said they intercepted communications from the safehouse, instructing the car to make several stops. But every colleague who rode with Ahmadi that day said what the military interpreted as a series of suspicious moves was just a typical day in his life. After Ahmadi picked up another colleague, the three stopped to get breakfast, and at 9:35 a.m., they arrived at the N.G.O.’s office. Later that morning, Ahmadi drove some of his co-workers to a Taliban-occupied police station to get permission for future food distribution at a new displacement camp. At around 2 p.m., Ahmadi and his colleagues returned to the office. The security camera footage we obtained from the office is crucial to understanding what happens next. The camera’s timestamp is off, but we went to the office and verified the time. We also matched an exact scene from the footage with a timestamp satellite image to confirm it was accurate. A 2:35 p.m., Ahmadi pulls out a hose, and then he and a co-worker fill empty containers with water. Earlier that morning, we saw Ahmadi bring these same empty plastic containers to the office. There was a water shortage in his neighborhood, his family said, so he regularly brought water home from the office. At around 3:38 p.m., a colleague moves Ahmadi’s car further into the driveway. A senior U.S. official told us that at roughly the same time, the military saw Ahmadi’s car pull into an unknown compound 8 to 12 kilometers southwest of the airport. That overlaps with the location of the NGO’s office, which we believe is what the military called an unknown compound. With the workday ending, an employee switched off the office generator and the feed from the camera ends. We don’t have footage of the moments that followed. But it’s at this time, the military said that its drone feed showed four men gingerly loading wrapped packages into the car. Officials said they couldn’t tell what was inside them. This footage from earlier in the day shows what the men said they were carrying — their laptops one in a plastic shopping bag. And the only things in the trunk, Ahmadi’s co-workers said, were the water containers. Ahmadi dropped each one of them off, then drove to his home in a dense neighborhood near the airport. He backed into the home’s small courtyard. Children surrounded the car, according to his brother. A U.S. official said the military feared the car would leave again, and go into an even more crowded street or to the airport itself. The drone operators, who hadn’t been watching Ahmadi’s home at all that day, quickly scanned the courtyard and said they saw only one adult male talking to the driver and no children. They decided this was the moment to strike. A U.S. official told us that the strike on Ahmadi’s car was conducted by an MQ-9 Reaper drone that fired a single Hellfire missile with a 20-pound warhead. We found remnants of the missile, which experts said matched a Hellfire at the scene of the attack. In the days after the attack, the Pentagon repeatedly claimed that the missile strike set off other explosions, and that these likely killed the civilians in the courtyard. “Significant secondary explosions from the targeted vehicle indicated the presence of a substantial amount of explosive material.” “Because there were secondary explosions, there’s a reasonable conclusion to be made that there was explosives in that vehicle.” But a senior military official later told us that it was only possible to probable that explosives in the car caused another blast. We gathered photos and videos of the scene taken by journalists and visited the courtyard multiple times. We shared the evidence with three weapons experts who said the damage was consistent with the impact of a Hellfire missile. They pointed to the small crater beneath Ahmadi’s car and the damage from the metal fragments of the warhead. This plastic melted as a result of a car fire triggered by the missile strike. All three experts also pointed out what was missing: any evidence of the large secondary explosions described by the Pentagon. No collapsed or blown-out walls, including next to the trunk with the alleged explosives. No sign that a second car parked in the courtyard was overturned by a large blast. No destroyed vegetation. All of this matches what eyewitnesses told us, that a single missile exploded and triggered a large fire. There is one final detail visible in the wreckage: containers identical to the ones that Ahmadi and his colleague filled with water and loaded into his trunk before heading home. Even though the military said the drone team watched the car for eight hours that day, a senior official also said they weren’t aware of any water containers. The Pentagon has not provided The Times with evidence of explosives in Ahmadi’s vehicle or shared what they say is the intelligence that linked him to the Islamic State. But the morning after the U.S. killed Ahmadi, the Islamic State did launch rockets at the airport from a residential area Ahmadi had driven through the previous day. And the vehicle they used … … was a white Toyota. The U.S. military has so far acknowledged only three civilian deaths from its strike, and says there is an investigation underway. They have also admitted to knowing nothing about Ahmadi before killing him, leading them to interpret the work of an engineer at a U.S. NGO as that of an Islamic State terrorist. Four days before Ahmadi was killed, his employer had applied for his family to receive refugee resettlement in the United States. At the time of the strike, they were still awaiting approval. Looking to the U.S. for protection, they instead became some of the last victims in America’s longest war. “Hi, I’m Evan, one of the producers on this story. Our latest visual investigation began with word on social media of an explosion near Kabul airport. It turned out that this was a U.S. drone strike, one of the final acts in the 20-year war in Afghanistan. Our goal was to fill in the gaps in the Pentagon’s version of events. We analyzed exclusive security camera footage, and combined it with eyewitness accounts and expert analysis of the strike aftermath. You can see more of our investigations by signing up for our newsletter.”

A week after a New York Times visual investigation, the U.S. military admitted to a “tragic mistake” in a drone strike in Kabul last month that killed 10 civilians, including an aid worker and seven children.By The New York Times. Video frame: Nutrition & Education International.

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon acknowledged on Friday that the last U.S. drone strike before American troops withdrew from Afghanistan was a tragic mistake that killed 10 civilians, including seven children, after initially saying it had been necessary to prevent an attack on troops.

The extraordinary admission provided a horrific punctuation to the chaotic ending of the 20-year war in Afghanistan and will put President Biden and the Pentagon at the center of a growing number of investigations into how the administration and the military carried out Mr. Biden’s order to withdraw from the country. 

Almost everything senior defense officials asserted in the hours, and then days, and then weeks after the Aug. 29 drone strike turned out to be false. The explosives the military claimed were loaded in the trunk of a white Toyota sedan struck by the drone’s Hellfire missile were probably water bottles, and a secondary explosion in the courtyard in a densely populated Kabul neighborhood where the attack took place was probably a propane or gas tank, officials said. 

In short, the car posed no threat at all, investigators concluded.

transcript

Pentagon Admits It Made a ‘Tragic Mistake’ in Kabul Drone Strike

Following a New York Times investigation, the Pentagon acknowledged that a U.S. drone strike in Kabul on Aug. 29 was a “tragic mistake” that killed 10 civilians, including an aid worker and seven children.

A comprehensive review of all the available footage and reporting on the matter led us to a final conclusion that as many as 10 civilians were killed in the strike, including up to seven children. At the time of the strike, based upon all the intelligence and what was being reported, I was confident that the strike had averted an imminent threat to our forces at the airport. Based upon that assessment, I and other leaders in the department repeatedly asserted the validity of this strike. I’m here today to set the record straight, and acknowledge our mistakes. I will end my remarks with the same note of sincere and profound condolences to the family and friends of those who died in this tragic strike. We are exploring the possibility of ex-gratia payments. And I’ll finish by saying that while the team conducted the strike did so in the honest belief that they were preventing an imminent attack on our forces and civilian evacuees, we now understand that to be incorrect.

Following a New York Times investigation, the Pentagon acknowledged that a U.S. drone strike in Kabul on Aug. 29 was a “tragic mistake” that killed 10 civilians, including an aid worker and seven children.Jim Huylebroek for The New York Times

The acknowledgment of the mistake came a week after a New York Times investigation of video evidence challenged assertions by the military that it had struck a vehicle carrying explosives meant for Hamid Karzai International Airport. 

Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III ordered a review of the military’s inquiry into the drone strike to determine, among other issues, who should be held accountable and “the degree to which strike authorities, procedures and processes need to be altered in the future.”

Congressional lawmakers, meanwhile, said they wanted their own accounting from the Pentagon. 

Senior Defense Department leaders conceded that the driver of the car, Zemari Ahmadi, a longtime worker for a U.S. aid group, had nothing to do with the Islamic State, contrary to what military officials had previously asserted. Mr. Ahmadi’s only connection to the terrorist group appeared to be a fleeting and innocuous interaction with people in what the military believed was an ISIS safe house in Kabul, an initial link that led military analysts to make one mistaken judgment after another while tracking Mr. Ahmadi’s movements in the sedan for the next eight hours.

“I offer my profound condolences to the family and friends of those who were killed,” Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr., the head of U.S. Central Command, told reporters at a Pentagon news conference on Friday.

The general said the strike was carried out “in the profound belief” that ISIS was about to attack Kabul’s airport, as the organization had done three days earlier, killing more than 140 people, including 13 American service members.

Seven children, including this boy’s sister, were killed in the drone attack.
Jim Huylebroek for The New York Times

The general said the Times investigation helped investigators determine that they had struck a wrong target. “As we in fact worked on our investigation, we used all available information,” General McKenzie told reporters. “Certainly that included some of the stuff The New York Times did.”

The findings of the inquiry by the military’s Central Command mirrored the Times investigation, which also included interviews with more than a dozen of the driver’s co-workers and family members in Kabul. The Times inquiry raised doubts about the U.S. version of events, including whether explosives were present in the vehicle. It also identified the driver and obtained security camera footage from Mr. Ahmadi’s employers that documented crucial moments during his day that challenged the military’s account. 

Mr.  Austin and Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, had said the missile was launched because the military had intelligence suggesting a credible, imminent threat to the airport, where U.S. and allied troops were frantically trying to evacuate people. General Milley later called the strike “righteous.”

On Friday, General Milley suggested that he spoke too soon. 

“In a dynamic high-threat environment, the commanders on the ground had appropriate authority and had reasonable certainty that the target was valid, but after deeper post-strike analysis, our conclusion is that innocent civilians were killed,” General Milley said in a statement. “This is a horrible tragedy of war and it’s heart-wrenching and we are committed to being fully transparent about this incident.”

General McKenzie said the conditions on the ground before the strike contributed to the errant strike. “We did not have the luxury to develop pattern of life,” he said. 

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The Pentagon will work with the families and other government officials on reparation payments, General McKenzie said. Without any American troops in Afghanistan, he said that the task may be difficult, but that “we recognize the obligation.” 

Military officials said they did not know the identity of the car’s driver when the drone fired, but they had deemed him suspicious because of his activities that day: He had visited a suspected Islamic State safe house in a white Toyota Corolla, the same model that other intelligence that day indicated was involved in an imminent plot, and at one point he loaded the vehicle with what they thought could be explosives.

Military officials on Friday defended their assessment that the safe house was a hub of ISIS planning, based on a combination of intercepted communications, information from informants and aerial imagery.  Rockets were fired at the airport 24 hours after the U.S. drone strike, General McKenzie said. 

But after reviewing additional aerial video and photographs, military investigators concluded that their initial judgment about the driver and his car were wrong, an error that prejudiced their views of every subsequent stop he made that day while driving around Kabul.

Times reporting had identified the driver as Mr. Ahmadi. The evidence suggests that his travels that day actually involved transporting colleagues to and from work. And an analysis of video feeds showed that what the military may have seen was Mr. Ahmadi and a colleague loading canisters of water into his trunk to bring home to his family.

“We now know that there was no connection between Mr. Ahmadi and ISIS-Khorasan, that his activities on that day were completely harmless and not at all related to the imminent threat we believed we faced, and that Mr. Ahmadi was just as innocent a victim as were the others tragically killed,” Mr. Austin said in a statement,  referring to an affiliate of the Islamic State.

Understand the Taliban Takeover in Afghanistan


Who are the Taliban? The Taliban arose in 1994 amid the turmoil that came after the withdrawal of Soviet forces from Afghanistan in 1989. They used brutal public punishments, including floggings, amputations and mass executions, to enforce their rules. Here’s more on their origin story and their record as rulers.

The officials said on Friday that a subsequent review concluded, as did the Times investigation, that the suspicious packages were nothing more than water, and possibly a package the size of a laptop computer.

Senior Pentagon leaders, who were already preparing to brief lawmakers on the chaotic end to the war in Afghanistan, will probably face tough questioning on the last drone strike of that engagement. 

“I’m devastated by the acknowledgment from the Department of Defense that the strike conducted on Aug. 29 was an utter failure that resulted in the deaths of at least 10 civilians,” Representative Ruben Gallego, Democrat of Arizona, said in a statement.  “I expect the department to brief us immediately on the operation, focusing on a full accounting of the targeting processes and procedures which led to the determination to carry out such a strike.”

Civilian deaths from drone strikes have been a recurring problem in more than two decades of fighting in places like Afghanistan and Iraq and are unlikely to go away as the Biden administration moves toward what officials call “over the horizon” operations in Afghanistan — strikes launched against terrorist targets in the country from great distances away. 

Since the Aug. 29 strike, U.S. military officials justified their actions by citing an even larger blast that took place afterward in the courtyard where Mr. Ahmadi, who worked as an electrical engineer for Nutrition and Education International, a California-based aid group, made his final stop.

But an examination of the scene of the strike, conducted by the Times visual investigations team and a Times reporter the morning afterward, and followed up with a second visit four days later, found no evidence of a second, more powerful explosion.

Experts who examined photos and videos pointed out that, although there was clear evidence of a missile strike and a subsequent vehicle fire, there were no collapsed or blown-out walls, no destroyed vegetation, and only one dent in the entrance gate, indicating a single shock wave.

Military officials said investigators now believed the second explosion was a flare-up from a propane tank in the courtyard, or possibly the gas tank of a second vehicle in the courtyard.

While the U.S. military initially said the drone strike might have killed three civilians, officials now say that 10 people, including seven children, were killed. The military reached that conclusion after watching aerial imagery that shows three children coming out to greet the sedan, one of them taking the wheel of the car after Mr. Ahmadi got out.

When Mr. Ahmadi pulled into the courtyard of his home, the tactical commander made the decision to strike his vehicle, launching a single Hellfire missile at 4:53 p.m.

Military officials defended the procedures the drone strike commander made in deciding to carry out the strike, with “reasonable certainty” there would be no civilian casualties, even as they described the badly flawed chain of events that led to that decision.

The commander overseeing the drone strike, an experienced operator whom the Pentagon did not identify, faced a difficult decision in his mind: Take the shot while the sedan was parked in a relatively isolated courtyard, or wait until the sedan drove even closer to the airport — and denser crowds — increasing the risk to civilians.

In the end, however, officials said on Friday, tragically, it was the wrong call.“