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The U.S. commander in Afghanistan has altered the U.S. account of the bombing of a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, for the fourth time in as many days, acknowledging U.S. Special Operations Forces, not Afghan allies, called in the attack. The bombing killed 10 patients and 12 medical staff members. General John Campbell said while Afghans requested air cover, enabling an airstrike requires “a rigorous U.S. procedure.”
Gen. John Campbell: “To be clear, the decision to provide aerial fires was a U.S. decision made within the U.S. chain of command. A hospital was mistakenly struck. We would never intentionally target a protected medical facility.”
The New York Times reports General Campbell has privately said U.S. troops likely violated their own rules when they called in the airstrike.
Ahead of Tuesday’s Senate hearing, Dr. Margaret Flowers was arrested for denouncing the bombing, holding a sign which read “Bombing Hospitals=War Crime.” She joined other members of CodePink who wore doctor’s garbs covered in fake blood.
Doctors Without Borders has said U.S. forces knew the coordinates of the hospital and continued the attack for half an hour after being informed a hospital had been hit. Doctors Without Borders President Meinie Nicolai said the hospital’s location was well known.
Meinie Nicolai: “The location of this hospital was well known, was well communicated to all parties, like we do in a conflict—the opposition forces, including in the coalition forces and the Afghan forces. We’ve given the coordinates. This hospital exists for four years. It’s a relatively big hospital that is clearly visible and known to everybody. So a precise attack on this big hospital, if not proven differently, leads us to a war crime.”
Doctors Without Borders has called for an independent investigation under the Geneva Conventions. This comes as the Taliban reportedly remains in control of at least half of Kunduz, despite General John Campbell’s statements to the Senate Tuesday that Afghan security forces had retaken the city.
Iraqi politicians are calling on Russia to launch airstrikes against ISIL in Iraq. This comes following the announcement Russia had reached a new intelligence-sharing pact with Iraq, Iran and Syria two weeks ago.
Meanwhile, in Syria, activists are reporting Russia and the Syrian government have launched coordinated strikes against opposition forces. Tensions are rising between Russia and the United States over the two countries’ divergent strategies in the region. The United States is demanding the departure of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, while Russia is backing Assad, arguing his departure would create a power vacuum that could strengthen ISIL.
Israeli soldiers fired live ammunition, stun grenades and tear gas at Palestinians in Bethlehem Tuesday following the funeral for a 13-year-old Palestinian boy shot dead by Israeli soldiers a day before.
Meanwhile, in New York, dozens of people rallied outside the Israeli Consulate to protest the recent killings of Palestinian teenagers by Israeli forces.
Lamis Deek: “My name is Lamis Deek. I am an attorney and an activist with Al-Awda, the Palestine Right to Return Coalition. And I’m one of the organizers of today’s rally. We’re here today to stand in solidarity with our people in Palestine, who have called for a Day of Rage and international support and street actions in support of their struggle, and to publicize to the people across the world, but specifically here in New York, the conditions under which Palestinians are suffering.”
Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders’ campaign has apologized to a group of Students for Justice in Palestine activists who were asked to leave a Sanders rally in Boston unless they took down their sign. The sign read “Will Ya Feel the Bern for Palestine?” Sanders’ campaign manager Jeff Weaver told Boston.com the decision was made by a “low-level volunteer” and “100 percent” should not have happened.
The Justice Department is reportedly poised to release about 6,000 prisoners beginning at the end of the month, marking the largest-ever one-time release of federal prisoners. The move comes as part of the Obama administration’s bid to reduce prison overcrowding and ease harsh sentences for people convicted of drug crimes.
Newly disclosed online postings show the mother of the gunman who killed nine people at Umpqua Community College in Oregon last week kept multiple guns in her home and shared her son’s passion for firearms. In the posts, Laurel Harper criticizes “lame states” which restrict loaded guns in the home, and boasts her son has “much knowledge in this field.” In one three-year-old posting, Harper writes about having “two full [magazines] in my Glock case. And the ARs & AKs all have loaded mags.”
Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson has become the latest Republican presidential candidate to draw criticism for his comments on guns in the wake of the Oregon massacre. Speaking Tuesday on Fox News, Carson said he would have fought the shooter off.
Ben Carson: “Not only would I probably not cooperate with him, I would not just stand there and let him shoot me. I would say, 'Hey, guys, everybody attack him. He may shoot me, but he can't get us all.’”
A day earlier, Carson wrote in a Facebook Q&A, “I never saw a body with bullet holes that was more devastating than taking the right to arm ourselves away.” Carson is rising in the polls, challenging front-runner Donald Trump.
In other news on gun violence, an 11-year-old boy in Tennessee has been charged with first-degree murder after allegedly shooting and killing his eight-year-old neighbor. Authorities say the boy shot MaKayla Dyer with his father’s shogun after she refused to show him her puppy.
An African-American transgender woman has been beaten and shot to death in Philadelphia, marking at least the 20th murder of a transgender woman in the United States this year. The death of Kiesha Jenkins is part of what advocates have described as an “epidemic” of violence against trans people.
In Montana, a judge has blocked the use of the execution drug pentobarbital, saying it does not comply with a state law requiring an “ultra-fast acting barbiturate” before a prisoner receives a second, lethal drug. The move effectively halts executions in Montana unless the state changes the law or finds a substitute drug. Meanwhile, Texas executed Juan Martin Garcia Tuesday using the same drug; Garcia was pronounced dead 12 minutes after the dose of pentobarbital began.
And one of the more than 50 women who say they were sexually assaulted by comedian Bill Cosby has filed a lawsuit against him in California. Chloe Goins says Cosby drugged and attacked her at the Playboy Mansion in 2008. Cosby is accused of drugging and raping women over a period of decades. In many cases, the statute of limitations has expired. Goins addressed Cosby’s other victims.
Chloe Goins: “I recognize that I have taken legal action that many of the other victims of Bill Cosby will never be able to take. For that reason, I offer this message to those brave women: Your experience was just like mine, and mine just like yours. We are not alone. We did not ask for these attacks, and these attacks are not our fault. This has gone on long enough. It’s time Bill Cosby was held accountable for his crimes.”
In addition to the lawsuit, Cosby could potentially face criminal charges in Chloe Goins’ case.
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