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Trial by Fire - Did Texas execute an innocent man?

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The fire moved quickly through the house, a one-story wood-frame structure in a working-class neighborhood of Corsicana, in northeast Texas. Flames spread along the walls, bursting through doorways, blistering paint and tiles and furniture. Smoke pressed against the ceiling, then banked downward, seeping into each room and through crevices in the windows, staining the morning sky.
Buffie Barbee, who was eleven years old and lived two houses down, was playing in her back yard when she smelled the smoke. She ran inside and told her mother, Diane, and they hurried up the street; that’s when they saw the smoldering house and Cameron Todd Willingham standing on the front porch, wearing only a pair of jeans, his chest blackened with soot, his hair and eyelids singed. He was screaming, “My babies are burning up!” His children—Karmon and Kameron, who were one-year-old twin girls, and two-year-old Amber—were trapped inside.
Willingham told the Barbees to call the Fire Department, and while Dia…

ISIS Has Killed Hundreds of Civilians in Mosul, U.N. Says

ISIS killed hundreds of civilians in the Iraqi city of Mosul in the past two weeks
ISIS killed hundreds of civilians in the Iraqi city of Mosul in the past two weeks.
GENEVA — Islamic State fighters shot and killed hundreds of residents in the Iraqi city of Mosul in the past two weeks, the United Nations said on Thursday, describing an increasingly desperate drive by the jihadists to prevent civilians from fleeing.

Iraqi forces, backed by airstrikes from a United States-led coalition, have made advances into the city, and the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, has responded in brutal fashion to halt the flight of civilians they want to use as human shields, the United Nations said.

The deadliest attack came last Thursday, when at least 163 civilians, including women and children, were killed near a Pepsi factory as they headed out of the Shifa neighborhood of Mosul, the United Nations’ human rights office in Geneva said.

“They were gunned down as they were fleeing,” said Ravina Shamdasani, a spokeswoman for the human rights office, which reported that, as of two days ago, the bodies of the victims were still lying in the streets.

An estimated 200,000 civilians were still trapped in desperate conditions in the old city of Mosul, targeted by jihadists and suffering heavy casualties from coalition bombing and artillery fire.

Iraqi forces had been advising Mosul residents to stay in their houses because of the street-by-street fighting and aerial bombing, but government aircraft have dropped leaflets in recent days urging residents of the old city to flee.

The United Nations reported that the Islamic State had shot and killed at least 231 civilians in the past two weeks, but Ms. Shamdasani said that many other people were missing and that the actual death toll was almost certainly higher.

Fighters killed 27 civilians in the Shifa area last month. On Saturday, they shot 41 more in the same neighborhood as they attempted to reach positions held by advancing Iraqi forces, Ms. Shamdasani said.

Since Iraqi forces opened their campaign to retake western Mosul more than three months ago, the Islamic State has herded thousands of civilians into locations near the fighters’ positions to form a human shield.

The militants have also positioned snipers on rooftops to shoot residents who attempt to flee, along with other steps to prevent their escape.

➤ Click here to read the full article

Source: The New York Times, Nick Cumming-Bruce, June 8, 2017

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