Good morning world.
Today is Terror Tuesday, the day of the week the American President and his cronies choose which of their putative enemies to assassinate by Unmanned Flying Death-Dealing ChickenHawk bomb(s). Some will say it is the most honest he has been to date about his death by executive order kill program; I will say that most of his points are either obfuscations or outright lies, and that this interview is another step toward normalizing American barbarity. As in: ‘We establish a dire need, then make sure our drone kills are safe, clean and legal’.
You may not at this point in time be able to watch him (I can’t), but you can always click the video on, choose another place to be…and listen, of course. I kept it small, just in case.
The Bureau of Investigative Journalism in London brings us his self-imposed Five Rules in an easy list:
“Drones are one tool that we use, and our criteria for using them is (sic) very tight and very strict:
~ It has to be a target that is authorised by our laws.
~ It has to be a threat that is serious and not speculative.
~ It has to be a situation in which we can’t capture the individual before they move forward on some sort of operational plot against the United States.
~ We’ve got to make sure that in whatever operations we conduct, we are very careful about avoiding civilian casualties.
~ That while there is a legal justification for us to try and stop [American citizens] from carrying out plots … they are subject to the protections of the Constitution and due process.”
As they sometimes say around here: Good God all-Friday. The ‘subject to the protections of the Constitution and due process’ one can tear your brain apart when you think about it, and the Constitutional legal challenges to that dreck. The ‘serious and not speculative’ phrase is only true in the sense that he and his cronies have decided that ‘signature strikes’ or ‘moving in a tactical fashion’ are in any way justifications for murdering anyone, let alone American citizens abroad, including re-defining the term ‘militant’ for his own sick use.
It turns out, of course, that not only does this job choosing who is to die ‘challenge his principles’ (the poor man), but the CIA and JSOC (Joint Special Operations Forces) operate their own programs, with who knows what directives or limitations, if any. But O! Beware the Slippery Slope!
The ‘justified by laws’, of course, is simply his unitary executive interpretation of the hideous NDAA that few in either the House or Senate had the political huevos to oppose.
OBomba’s counterterrorism advisor, John Brennan also loves to pretend that civilian deaths are extremely rare, or, well…non-existent. But the Bureaus of Investigative Journalism tracks things more carefully, and they report that over the past eight years: the number of civilians reported killed is between 474 and 881, and the number of children reported killed is 176; the total reported killed is between 2,562 and 3,325. Most of these have been OBomba deaths, of course, and there could arguably be more. The site has an interactive drone strike timeline, and shows how Tweets from residents in the target zones have helped to shape the reportage of drone kills and civilian deaths, sometimes not so amusingly called ‘bug splat’ by drone operators.
But let’s look at the notion of ‘counterterrorism’ for just a minute or two. The average Jo might think that the strategies and tactics used would at least be aimed at decreasing the likelihood of terrorist attacks on the US, wouldn’t she? But even the mainstream media are beginning to twig to the fact that drone murders are radicalizing many more citizens than they kill; it’s a bit of an open secret to those who care enough to know. That group apparently doesn’t include those who’ve designed and implemented this ‘program’. Or one might speculate that they do know, and just don’t give a fuck, or that all this ‘war on terror’ stuff is proceeding as hoped.
From the Washington Post, and just concerning just one nation:
“Since January, as many as 21 missile attacks have targeted suspected al-Qaeda operatives in southern Yemen, reflecting a sharp shift in a secret war carried out by the CIA and the Joint Special Operations Command that had focused on Pakistan.
But as in the tribal areas of Pakistan, where U.S. drone strikes have significantly weakened al-Qaeda’s capabilities, an unintended consequence of the attacks has been a marked radicalization of the local population.
The evidence of radicalization emerged in more than 20 interviews with tribal leaders, victims’ relatives, human rights activists and officials from four provinces in southern Yemen where U.S. strikes have targeted suspected militants. They described a strong shift in sentiment toward militants affiliated with the transnational network’s most active wing, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP. (my bold)
“The drone strikes have not helped either the United States or Yemen,” said Sultan al-Barakani, who was a top adviser to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh. “Yemen is paying a heavy price, losing its sons. But the Americans are not paying the same price.”
This #NoDrones tweet is directed to John Brennan, and comes from Noon Arabia; the twitter page is at her link; the #Yemen page is updates and info from the ground:
And Marwan Almurisay asks: “Americans, Will you please tell your government to stop killing civilians by drones in my country”?
From ‘Holding the US Accountable for Civilian Deaths in Yemen’:
“When news flashed of an airstrike on two cars in the city of Radaa on Sunday afternoon, early claims that ‘al Qaeda militants’ had died soon gave way to a more grisly reality. At least 11 civilians had been killed, among them women and three children. It was the worst loss of civilian life in Yemen’s brutal internal war since May 2012. Somebody had messed up badly. But who was responsible – the United States or Yemen?
Local officials and eyewitnesses were clear enough. The Radaa attack was the work of a US drone, a common enough event since the start of the Arab Spring. From May 2011, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism has recorded up to 116 US drone strikes in Yemen, part of a broader covert war aimed at crushing Islamist militants. But of those attacks, only 39 have been confirmed by officials as the work of the United States.
The attribution of dozens of further possible drone attacks – and others reportedly involving US ships and conventional aircraft – remain unclear. Both the CIA and Pentagon are fighting dirty wars in Yemen, each with a separate arsenal and kill list. Little wonder that hundreds of deaths – among them up to 57 civilians – remain in a limbo of accountability.”
There is recent breaking news on domestic drones, but rather than overload this post (sigh), I’ll save it for another day. Not to go all Cassandra, but it’s made me wonder ‘who will be the first person killed by drone on US soil?’
In a tangential bit of good news this week, from the Christian Science Monitor:
“A federal judge in Washington on Thursday rejected a government effort to sharply limit access between private lawyers and security detainees at the US base at Guantánamo Bay, calling the effort “an illegitimate exercise of executive power.” (my bolds)
In a strongly worded 32-page decision, Chief US District Judge Royce Lamberth ruled that access by lawyers to their detainee-clients at Guantánamo must continue under the terms of a long-standing protective order issued by federal judges in Washington.
Government lawyers had sought approval to displace the court’s protective order with a so-called Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that would allow military officials to establish and enforce their own rules about when and how detainees could have access to legal counsel.”
Scotusblog has more, including a link to the decision; experts say the government will appeal, but for now, this is a great smack at the OBomba administration. Well done, Judge Lamberth!
Please, please remember: we’re not powerless if we stand together against the atrocities committed in our names! #S17 is six days away; other actions like the striking teachers in Chicago are heart-warming. Discussing OWS anniversary event plans, Allison Kilkenny says:
“The direct action part of the day includes the “People’s Wall,” which will be centralized on Wall Street, or as near as the activists can get (when I attended a meeting, Occupy activists discussed the possibility that most of Wall Street will be closed off by the police), with other actions “pinwheeling” out from the heart of the protest. The idea is to coordinate a highly organized, peaceful piece of civil disobedience while providing space for independent “affinity groups” to do more creative actions.”
“Rise like Lions after slumber
In unvanquishable number ~
Shake your chains to earth like dew
Which in sleep had fallen on you ~
Ye are many ~ they are few.”
~ Percy Bysshe Shelley
Together we can make the world a better place; some days it seems pretty grim. Love and share with everyone you can; talk with your neighbors and build community with them in common purpose.
(cross-posted at kgblogz.com)