The Obama “Double Tap”

-Submitted by David Drumm (Nal), Guest Blogger

In a 2007 report, entitled Underlying Reasons for Success and Failure of Terrorist Attacks (pdf) and prepared for Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate by Homeland Security Institute (and recently scrubbed from their web site, here) notes: “a favorite tactic of Hamas, the “double tap;” a device is set off, and when police and other first responders arrive, a second, larger device is set off to inflict more casualties and spread panic.”

It has been documented that this terrorist tactic has been embraced by President Obama.

Obama has adopted the “double tap” tactic by using second drone attacks to kill the first responders to the first drone attacks. Funerals for the victims of the first drone attack have also been the target of second drone attacks. These second attacks have  caused the deaths of between 282 and 535 civilians, and at least 60 children.

In a comment that could have come out of the Bush/Cheney/Rove administration, a senior American counterterrorism official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said:

Let’s be under no illusions — there are a number of elements who would like nothing more than to malign these efforts and help Al Qaeda succeed.

This Obama administration official has committed the irrelevant conclusion (ignoratio elenchi) fallacy. The conclusion that there are those who would help Al Qaeda is not relevant to the question of accuracy of the documentation.

Obama’s “double tap” policy is nothing short of despicable. Obama has brought dishonor to America and to our founding principles. When America commits the same actions that we condemn when used by terrorists, we become terrorists. The liberals’ silence on this issue is shameful. If George W. Bush had adopted this tactic, the cries of protest would have been deafening.

We wanted change and we got it, from bad to worse.

H/T: Glenn Greenwald, Tom Engelhardt, Scott Shane, Juan Cole, Chris Bertram, Justin ElliottGlenn Greenwald.

145 thoughts on “The Obama “Double Tap”

  1. P.S. No doubt it is being used by terrorists..but where is the proof that Obama has “embraced” it?

  2. It is very dangerous to ignore what is happening. Equating speaking of the facts with being a traitor is an old technique. I have watched as Bush, then Obama supporters whole heatedly embraced this propaganda. I have seen how it has turned them against their fellow citizens who will speak truth to power. Supporters of an imperial, out of control govt. need to stop and think what they are doing. They are willing supporters of atrocities. They will turn on their fellow citizens who speak the truth. Yet it is the truth which is necessary for any real hope and justice to emerge.

  3. Oh give me a home, where the buffalo roam… Or something like that….. If true, what is the distinction between Obama and Bush?

  4. News releases and opinion pieces are not proof. Do you have enough that you would be comfortable taking this allegation into a court and have it undergo a vigorous Daubert or other evidentiary challenge? I am not saying it is not being done, but as a scientist, I am a professional skeptic. I also know quite a bit about psyops and propaganda, so my skeptical bump is really twitching on this item.

  5. If that is your standard of proof, why were liberals all up in arms about the Bush era abuses? Did you have the same standard of proof then? Maybe you did but liberal;s certainly didn’t, and I would argue for matter of public policy which our leaders deliberately try to keep secret, the standard of proof has to be a bit lower. Other wise they’d just keep things classified and that would be the end of any discussion.

  6. Otteray,

    The Bureau of Investigative Journalism has a series of stories on drone strikes. Here’s a link to its Covert War on Terror page:
    http://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/category/projects/drones/

    *****
    Witnesses speak out
    By Chris Woods
    February 4th, 2012
    http://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/2012/02/04/witnesses-speak-out/

    Excerpt:
    Researchers working for the Bureau in Waziristan spoke to people who had witnessed US drone attacks on both rescuers and funeral-goers. These personal testimonies provide eyewitness accounts of events reported in leading media outlets including the New York Times, CNN, ABC News and Associated Press.

    The Bureau has also included comments from Washington Post national security correspondent Joby Warrick, on the CIA’s decision to attack a funeral in 2009.

    ‘We saw that all the people died’
    On December 17 2009 CIA drones attacked the village of Degan. Al Qaeda commanders Abdullah Said al Libi and Zuhaib al-Zahibi were reported killed. There were some claims that the ultimate, unsuccessful target was Osama bin Laden’s brother-in-law Sheikh Saeed al Saudi.

    But in the aftermath of the attack, as villagers and Taliban tried to retrieve the dead and injured, the drones returned to the attack. According to the Bureau’s Waziristan researchers, two Taliban and six civilian rescuers died – five of the latter named as Bashirullah, Amir Khan, Shairullah, Abidullah and Fazle Rabbi, all of the Dawar tribe.

    That day 30-year old Zahidullah was in Degan visiting his mother’s brother:

    I was in my uncle’s house and there were approximately six drones in the air. As we were looking, one drone fired missiles at a house very near to us. After a short interval another fired further missiles at a second house. As the targeted people belonged to Degan village we rushed out to help. The victims were local Taliban belonged to Hafiz Gul Bahadur’s group. Some other local Taliban also rushed to help. These people were busy in rescue activities when a drone again fired two missiles. I and some other villagers were further afield so we ran away. When the situation became calmer we returned. We saw that everyone had died. Some dead bodies were burnt; most appeared to be OK, but there were [fatal] injuries to their chests and heads. A total of 16 people died in these attacks of which six were civilian rescuers and two Taliban rescuers. We were all very distressed by this incident. Some young people announced loudly that ‘We will continue Jihad against America until we finish the USA or embrace Shahadat [martyrdom].’

    ‘They were good people’
    On September 16, 2010 Samiullah Khan, a Waziristan-based journalist, was in Danda Darpakhel to interview a Taliban commander. As they talked, a deafening explosion blew out all the windows. Drones had just struck a house two doors down.

    According to reports at the time, villagers fled in panic as up to eleven drones attacked two housing compounds linked to the Haqqani Network.

    ‘As the US drones came over the village people started shouting and running here and there shouting ‘run, drones have come,” a local tribesman told AFP. Up to fifteen were killed. Among the dead were eight rescuers, who died when the drones struck again.

    Samiullah Khan – who is also one of the field researchers employed in this project – told the Bureau what he witnessed:

    There was of course a drone up in the air – in that area they seem to be up 24 hours a day. About five minutes into the interview I heard a massive noise from an attack and all the glass in the house broke. I ran out, though the Taliban were urging me not to approach the site. I saw people crying ‘Help us, help us’, there was a huge fire. Since everyone in the [damaged] house was dead or injured, the only people who could help were other villagers or the Taliban I’d been interviewing.
    Many people were badly burned. We put three in my pick-up truck and took them to Miranshah town – doctors there told us they were unlikely to live, each having 90 per cent burns to his body. Back in Danda Darpakhel more people had come to the attack site to help with the rescue, thinking that the danger had now passed after 30 minutes. But the drones returned and fired again. If I had been there I would have been caught in that explosion. People there were killed, including two of my friends. They were good people. One was a student; the other ran a stall at the local bazaar. Neither was involved with the Taliban.

  7. Saad, this is a law blog, or blawg. Rumors are not proof in the legal arena. I cannot speak to whether such proof is a liberal or conservative issue, but I do recall the torture issue was front and center, with actual prosecutions and people went to jail. Unfortunately, the investigations were cut off when they started to go too high. Evidence included photographs and testimony.

  8. arsphd 1, June 9, 2012 at 8:17 am

    Where is your proof of this?
    =========================
    The principle of the burden of proof in such scenarios is on the government, and the degree of proof should be beyond a reasonable doubt when that many news organizations report on the issue:

    Between May 2009 and June 2011, at least fifteen attacks on rescuers were reported by credible news media, including the New York Times, CNN, Associated Press, ABC News and Al Jazeera.

    (TBI). The story is of the type “speak truth to power”, not propaganda slipped in to bolster the fantasies of the warmongers.

  9. My apologies for stumbling onto a law blog as a non-lawyer. I take back everything bad I’ve ever said about Bush enabling torure, because that was never proven in a court of law. Maybe it was just a few bad apples and not a matter of policy.

  10. O.S.,

    The testimony cited by Elaine is enough to get a legal investigation going. You may also remember that Collator Murder has the pictures, sound, and video as well as testimony. The person who most likely gave us that information is a victim of torture by the Obama administration. He has been held unlawfully for over a year.

    There are calls to investigate by international groups. Look into it!

  11. We really have become a rogue nation. Who will stand against us? How far will we be willing to take this? We spend more on the military than the rest of the world combined and appear to have no fear or compunction about using it in any way we see fit. We have lost our way internationally, surrendered the moral high ground and building an oligarchy here at home. There does not seem to be an end to this in sight.

    Me? I’m hoping for a meteor.

  12. The full moon went away. It’s Obama’s fault. Everything is Obama’s fault on this blog. Turley says: Go Williard!

  13. BarkinDog,

    Be specific. What inaccuracies has JT and other people made about what Obama is doing? If we have erred, we will correct those errors.

    Are you willing to address the drone strike information laid out here? What do you think about it? What is the consequence of labelling people terrorists for speaking the truth, especially under the NDAA?

  14. Barkin Dog, You better muzzle yourself. Don’t you know that Willard’s name can’t be mentioned here? I read the other day that he thinks Obama is under using the drones. He and his national security guy, John Bolton, are no peacniks waiting in the wings.

  15. The Drone Summit and Why the Washington Correspondents’ Dinner Wasn’t Funny
    Loren Fogel May 7, 2012
    http://www.thenation.com/article/167759/drone-summit-and-why-washington-correspondents-dinner-wasnt-funny#

    Excerpts:
    As Washington and Hollywood celebrities were busy getting ready for an evening of glamour and amusement at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, across town human rights and peace advocates, along with the family members of individuals who have been killed in US drone attacks, gathered to discuss the Obama Administration’s policies of targeted killing at the first International Drone Summit.

    The event was organized by CODEPINK, the Center for Constitutional Rights, and Reprieve, and facilitated by Medea Benjamin, a co-founder of CODEPINK and the author of a new book, Drone Warfare: Killing by Remote Control.

    Panelists and audience members alike spoke of the need for transparency and official acknowledgement of what the CIA is and has been doing in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia.

    One never sees any images of drone victims in the American mainstream media—but Clive Stafford Smith, the founder of Reprieve, which co-organized the Summit, showed the audience pictures of children who had been killed alongside images of missile parts from the weapons that took their lives. He asked, “How can we get people to pay attention?”

    Chris Woods, a senior reporter with the Bureau of Investigative Journalism (TBIJ) and a leader of the Bureau’s covert war investigation team, offered a PowerPoint presentation challenging the Obama Administration and CIA’s unwillingness to acknowledge that there have been civilian casualties. According to TBIJ’s reporting, between 2004 and 2012, the CIA launched 321 drone strikes in Pakistan, 269 of which were carried out under President Obama’s command. Between 2,429 and 3,097 people have been killed in these drone strikes, including 479 to 811 civilians and 174 children.

    ***
    A key message at the Drone Summit, which was touched upon time and again, was what David Cortwright, the Director of Policy Studies at Notre Dame’s Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, referred to as “the illusion that you can counter terrorism by military force.” Extrajudicial killing has become the central feature of American counter-terrorism activities, and that feature continues to evolve behind a curtain of secrecy and lawlessness.

    Raining terror from the sky upon people of far away lands has becoming a panacea for American insecurity—yet, as several panelists at the Drone Summit warned, the blowback created by repeatedly killing civilians simply creates more danger.

    It’s hard to believe the mainstream American media doesn’t find this dangerous cycle of violence—yet the summit received no coverage. But if you were curious, across town, Rick Santorum took photos of Lindsay Lohan.

  16. The drone mentality
    In sum: I have never heard of 99% of the people my government kills with drones, but I am sure they are Terrorists VIDEO
    BY GLENN GREENWALD
    11/15/2011
    http://www.salon.com/2011/11/05/the_drone_mentality/

    Excerpt:
    In a New York Times Op-Ed yesterday, international human rights lawyer Clive Stafford Smith describes a meeting he had in Pakistan with residents from the Afghan-Pakistani border region that has been relentlessly bombed by American drones; if I had one political wish this week, it would be that everyone who supports (or acquiesces to) President Obama’s wildly accelerated drone attacks would read this:

    The meeting had been organized so that Pashtun tribal elders who lived along the Pakistani-Afghan frontier could meet with Westerners for the first time to offer their perspectives on the shadowy drone war being waged by the Central Intelligence Agency in their region. Twenty men came to air their views; some brought their young sons along to experience this rare interaction with Americans. In all, 60 villagers made the journey. . . .

    On the night before the meeting, we had a dinner, to break the ice. During the meal, I met a boy named Tariq Aziz. He was 16. As we ate, the stern, bearded faces all around me slowly melted into smiles. Tariq smiled much sooner; he was too young to boast much facial hair, and too young to have learned to hate.

    The next day, the jirga lasted several hours. I had a translator, but the gist of each man’s speech was clear. American drones would circle their homes all day before unleashing Hellfire missiles, often in the dark hours between midnight and dawn. Death lurked everywhere around them. . . .

    On Monday, [Tariq] was killed by a C.I.A. drone strike, along with his 12-year-old cousin, Waheed Khan. The two of them had been dispatched, with Tariq driving, to pick up their aunt and bring her home to the village of Norak, when their short lives were ended by a Hellfire missile.

    My mistake had been to see the drone war in Waziristan in terms of abstract legal theory — as a blatantly illegal invasion of Pakistan’s sovereignty, akin to President Richard M. Nixon’s bombing of Cambodia in 1970.

    But now, the issue has suddenly become very real and personal. Tariq was a good kid, and courageous. My warm hand recently touched his in friendship; yet, within three days, his would be cold in death, the rigor mortis inflicted by my government.

    And Tariq’s extended family, so recently hoping to be our allies for peace, has now been ripped apart by an American missile — most likely making any effort we make at reconciliation futile.

    This tragedy repeats itself over and over. After I linked to this Op-Ed yesterday on Twitter — by writing that “every American who cheers for drone strikes should confront the victims of their aggression” — I was predictably deluged with responses justifying Obama’s drone attacks on the ground that they are necessary to kill The Terrorists. Reading the responses, I could clearly discern the mentality driving them: I have never heard of 99% of the people my government kills with drones, nor have I ever seen any evidence about them, but I am sure they are Terrorists. That is the drone mentality in both senses of the word; it’s that combination of pure ignorance and blind faith in government authorities that you will inevitably hear from anyone defending President Obama’s militarism. As Jonathan Schwarz observed after the U.S. unveiled the dastardly Iranian plot to hire a failed used car salesman to kill America’s close friend, the Saudi Ambassador: “I’d bet the Saudi ambassador to the U.S. has closer ‘ties’ to Al Qaeda than 90% of the people we’ve killed with drones.”

    As it turns out, it isn’t only the President’s drone-cheering supporters who have no idea who is being killed by the program they support; neither does the CIA itself. A Wall Street Journal article yesterday described internal dissension in the administration to Obama’s broad standards for when drone strikes are permitted, and noted that the “bulk” of the drone attacks — the bulk of them – “target groups of men believed to be militants associated with terrorist groups, but whose identities aren’t always known.” As Spencer Ackerman put it: “The CIA is now killing people without knowing who they are, on suspicion of association with terrorist groups”; moreover, the administration refuses to describe what it even means by being “associated” with a Terrorist group (indeed, it steadfastly refuses to tell citizens anything about the legal principles governing its covert drone wars).

    Of course, nobody inside the U.S. Government is objecting on the ground that it is wrong to blow people up without having any knowledge of who they are and without any evidence they have done anything wrong. Rather, the internal dissent is grounded in the concern that these drone attacks undermine U.S. objectives by increasing anti-American sentiment in the region (there’s that primitive, inscrutable Muslim culture rearing its head again: they strangely seem to get very angry when foreign governments send sky robots over their countries and blow up their neighbors, teenagers and children). But whatever else is true, huge numbers of Americans — Democrats and Republicans alike — defend Obama’s massive escalation of drone attacks on the ground that he’s killing Terrorists even though they — and, according to the Wall Street Journal, Obama himself — usually don’t even know whose lives they’re snuffing out. Remember, though: we have to kill The Muslim Terrorists because they have no regard for human life.

    This is why it’s so imperative to do everything possible to shine a light on the victims of President Obama’s aggression in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and elsewhere: ignoring the victims, rendering them invisible, is a crucial prerequisite to sustaining propaganda and maintaining support for this militarism (that’s the same reason John Brennan lied — yet again — by assuring Americans that there are no innocent victims of drone attacks). Many people want to hear nothing about these victims — like Tariq — because they don’t want to accept that the leader for whom they cheer and the drone attacks they support are regularly ending the lives of large numbers of innocent people, including children. They believe the fairy tale that the U.S. is only killing Terrorists and “militants” because they want to believe it (at this point, the word “militant” has no real definition other than: he or she who dies when a missile shot by a U.S. drone detonates). It’s a self-serving, self-protective form of self-delusion, and the more we hear about the dead teeangers left in the wake of this violence, the more difficult it is to maintain that delusion. That’s precisely why we hear so little about it.

  17. If the CIA drone strikes are a war that you find illegitimate you should say that. The principal reason for detestation of the Hamas “double tap” – we saw it in Iraq too – is that we saw the attackers as illegitimate because their intended target was non-combatants. The second strike compounded the perfidy.
    But the trap/ambush itself is an ancient war tactic. If the issue is attacking ambulances or other ruptures of the thin fabric that is the law of war that should be stated plainly. But by conventional standards of war reinforcements are targets as lawful as those who were struck first.

  18. Nal:

    I’ve never heard of the “Bureau of Investigative Journalism’? Who are they and why are their writers to be believed?

  19. George,

    In war, an ambush is a tactic used against military combatants. Hitting civilians at a funeral or coming to the rescue in ambulances is not lawful, no matter how much you may say it is.

    Of course I am willing to say that the drone wars on battlefield earth have no legal, practical or ethical basis. If they were legal, why are we not allowed to see the “legal” reasoning which authorizes them? Surely such an open, transparent administration as this, “the most transparent ever” should have any problem showing us their legal justifications. So why aren’t they?

  20. DonS:

    “I’ve got a word: Hobbes. Hobbes. He da man . . . amorally speaking.”

    ****************************

    Certainly you have the gravitas to dismiss the founder of modern political philosophy with a mere sentence. Maybe you could provide us with a list of your published intellectual works for comparison.

  21. Elaine M:

    “A key message at the Drone Summit, which was touched upon time and again, was what David Cortwright, the Director of Policy Studies at Notre Dame’s Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, referred to as “the illusion that you can counter terrorism by military force.”

    *****************************

    That’s an incredible statement if he means that force is not necessary to combat terrorism. If he means it is but one of the arrows in the quiver then I could understand it. By the way, were do employ more than military force to oppose terrorism. Dr. Cortwright needs a little Machiavelli to go with his Jesus of Nazareth. Thinking he can persuade persons deluded by their religion to give up mass destruction of the infidel via martyrdom with appeals to rational thought or by providing job opportunities is pure sentimentality — and dangerous.

  22. Mespo: “I’ve never heard of the “Bureau of Investigative Journalism’? Who are they and why are their writers to be believed?”

    One could say that about any source, say Judith Miller writing at the NYT. In the end we believe what we want.

    Your question, Mespo, seems less an honest inquiry, than a bullying challenge. Since you hijacked the last thread on drones to push your pov, we should not be surprised ;-) Just sayin.

  23. Anyone that supported Computer Aided Automatic Scream Identification (CAASI) is no skeptic, probably not a scientist, most likely a fraud.

  24. DonS:

    Compare the NYT, founded in 1851, to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism” whose been around for a year and a half? I’m prepared to believe what is worthy of belief. Why is this story not otherwise sourced?

    Like you I can dismiss whomever and whatever I please. I’ll dismiss this story without any more corroboration that this.

  25. @Mespo: “Compare the NYT, founded in 1851 . . .”

    Point taken; didn’t prevent Judith Miller from being a government stooge and propagandist. But, I digress . . .

  26. The Bureau of Investigative Journalism’s report was cited in the New York Times article and in The Sunday Times of London. When the Obama administration trots out their anonymous spokesman, and his statement contains a fallacious conclusion, the article by TBIJ obtains even more credibility. If the TBIJ article was false, the Obama administration would say so in no uncertain terms.

  27. There are multiple accounts from various sources, including Jeremy Scahill. There are international calls for investigation. It is not credible to keep ignoring one piece of evidence after another.

  28. Media, drones and rank propaganda
    As usual, the leading spokespeople for government policies are disguised as the nation’s Adversarial Watchdog Press
    BY GLENN GREENWALD
    June 8, 2012
    http://www.salon.com/2012/06/08/media_drones_and_rank_propaganda/singleton/

    Excerpt:
    Several items today relate to the issue of gross U.S. media propaganda and Obama’s national security policies:

    (1) I have an Op-Ed in The Guardian today on how the American media has been repeatedly and willingly coopted in the Obama administration’s propagandistic abuse of its secrecy powers, with a focus on the recent high-profile, Obama-flattering national security scoops from The New York Times.

    (2) In yesterday’s Guardian, the ACLU’s Jameel Jaffer and Nathan Wessler have a superb Op-Ed on how the Obama administration — by simultaneously shielding its conduct from scrutiny through broad secrecy claims and then selectively leaking — is deliberately distorting the public understanding of its drone attacks (“First the ‘targeted killing’ campaign, then the targeted propaganda campaign”).

    (3) This morning, I witnessed one of the most flagrant and repellent examples of rank government propaganda masquerading as objective journalism that I have ever seen, when I saw on Andrew Sullivan’s blog this four-minute, sleek video produced by Newsweek and The Daily Beast, starring Newsweek reporter (and its former Managing Editor) Daniel Klaidman. It’s literally painful to watch, but please do your best to endure the full four minutes, as I have a few points and questions about it afterward:

    VIDEO

    Did I exaggerate, or was that every bit as manipulative and repulsive as I suggested? How is it remotely justifiable — using the standards of “objective journalism” that these media outlets incessantly invoke — for Newsweek to produce a video that has little purpose other than to justify, glorify, and defend Obama’s drone attacks on other countries? Is this not one of the most glaring examples ever demonstrating that “objective journalists” like Newsweek‘s Daniel Klaidman are barred from expressing opinions — unless the opinion expressed is that the actions of the U.S. Government are justified and noble? That’s why Chris Hedges was forced out of The New York Times for opposing the attack on Iraq while John Burns was venerated and made the chief war correspondent after he supported that attack: opinions are perfectly permissible from American journalists only to the extent that they defend official actions. In what conceivable way is it the proper role of Newsweek and its national security “reporters” to produce melodramatic agitprop which vigorously takes the U.S. Government’s side in ongoing, highly divisive political controversies?

    Then there’s the content itself. Klaidman (now in the midst of promoting his new book based on ample access generously provided by Obama officials) pretends to speak on behalf of — or to read the minds of — drone opponents by claiming that what really motivates opposition is the weapon’s unique “pinpoint” precision, its “almost supernatural effectiveness.” Actually, what motivates opposition are totally different and very significant facts that Klaidman completely ignores because it would spoil the creepy and uplifting message of that video — Embrace the drone. Love the drone. Become one with the drone — little things like this (“Obama terror drones: CIA tactics in Pakistan include targeting rescuers and funerals”), and this (“The boy, 16, sitting with me in these photos was protesting against deadly US drone strikes… Three days later he was killed – by a US drone, says Jemima Khan”), and this (“Anwar al-Awlaki’s family speaks out against his [16-year-old American] son’s death in airstrike”), and this (“In Yemen, U.S. airstrikes breed anger, and sympathy for al-Qaeda”), and this (Obama administration “counts all military-age males in a strike zone as combatants”).

  29. How the Obama administration is making the US media its mouthpiece
    Spoonfed national security scoops based on anonymous official leaks – did we learn nothing from Judith Miller’s WMD reporting?
    Glenn Greenwald
    guardian.co.uk, Friday 8 June 2012
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/jun/08/obama-administration-making-us-media-its-mouthpiece

    Excerpt:
    Over the past several weeks in the US, there has been a series of high-profile media scoops exposing numerous details about President Obama’s covert foreign policy and counterterrorism actions, stories appearing primarily in The New York Times. Americans, for the first time, have been told about Obama’s personal role in compiling a secret “kill list”, which determines who will be targeted for death in Pakistan and Yemen; his ordering of sophisticated cyber-attacks on Iran’s nuclear enrichment facilities; and operational details about the raid that killed Osama bin Laden.

    Each of these stories revealed information clearly in the public interest and sparked important debates. But the way in which they were reported – specifically, their overwhelming reliance on Obama’s own usually anonymous aides – raise longstanding and still troubling questions about the relationship between the establishment American media and the government over which it is supposed to serve as adversarial watchdog.

    The Obama White House’s extreme fixation on secrecy is shaped by a bizarre paradox. One the one hand, the current administration has prosecuted double the number of whistleblowers – government employees who leak classified information showing high-level official wrongdoing – than all previous administrations combined. Obama officials have also, as ACLU lawyers documented this week in the Guardian, resisted with unprecedented vigor any attempts to subject their conduct to judicial review or any form of public disclosure, by insisting to courts that these programs are so secretive that the US government cannot even confirm or deny their existence without damaging US national security.

    But at the very same time that they invoke broad secrecy claims to shield their conduct from outside scrutiny, it is Obama officials themselves who have continuously and quite selectively leaked information about these same programs to the US media. Indeed, the high publicity-value New York Times scoops of the past two weeks about covert national security programs have come substantially from Obama aides themselves.

    The Times’ “kill list” article was based on interviews with “three dozen of his current and former advisers [who] described Mr Obama’s” central role in choosing whom the CIA will kill. The paper’s scoop that Obama ordered cyber-attacks on Iran cited, among others, “American officials”, including “a senior administration official” who proudly touted the president’s hands-on role in all measures used to cripple Tehran’s nuclear research.

    Meanwhile, the same White House that insists in court that it cannot confirm the existence of the CIA’s drone program spent this week anonymously boasting to US news outlets of the president’s latest drone kill in Pakistan. And government emails ordered disclosed by a federal court last month revealed that at the same time as they were refusing to disclose information about the Bin Laden raid on the grounds that it is classified, the Obama administration was secretly meeting with, and shuffling sensitive information to, Hollywood filmmakers, who are producing what is certain to be a stirring and reverent film about that raid, originally scheduled to be released just weeks before the November presidential election.

    The tactic driving all of this is as obvious as it is disturbing. Each of these election year leaks depicts Obama as a tough, hands-on, unflinching commander-in-chief: ruthlessly slaying America’s enemies and keeping us all safe. They simultaneously portray him as a deep moral and intellectual leader, profoundly grappling with the “writings on war by Augustine and Thomas Aquinas”, as he decides in secret who will live and die and which countries will be targeted with American aggression.

    In sum, these anonymous leaks are classic political propaganda: devoted to glorifying the leader and his policies for political gain. Because the programs are shrouded in official secrecy, it is impossible for journalists to verify these selective disclosures. By design, the only means the public has to learn anything about what the president is doing is the partial, selective disclosures by Obama’s own aides – those who work for him and are devoted to his political triumph.

    But that process is a recipe for government deceit and propaganda. This was precisely the dynamic that, in the run-up to the attack on Iraq, co-opted America’s largest media outlets as mindless purveyors of false government claims. The defining journalistic sin of Judith Miller, the New York Times’ disgraced WMD reporter, was that she masqueraded the unverified assertions of anonymous Bush officials as reported fact. As the Times’ editors put it in their 2004 mea culpa, assertions from anonymous sources were “insufficiently qualified or allowed to stand unchallenged”.

    These recent Times scoops about Obama’s policies do not sink to the level of the Judy Miller debacle. For one thing, they contain some impressive reporting and even disturbing revelations about the conduct of Obama officials – most notably, that they manipulate casualty figures and hide civilian deaths from their drone attacks by “counting all military-age males in a strike zone as combatants”.

  30. At some point those who are targeted by the drones will get the weaponry they need to bring the drones down. Since the drones are being used in the US to spy on farmers, we may need the weaponry here. The only drone strike/s so far seems to have been the Pentagon, and, in a different configuration, the twin towers. But if an other false flag is needed, they’re here and ready for action.

  31. SM: “Pledge to get tougher on Iran.” See, one of my pet theories is that Obama’s Mr. Tough guy stuff is to avoid being forced into a corner to have to bomb Iran. But that makes Obama into even more of a craven coward than many of his detractors would suggest. I think I’m just flailing around for ways to avoid the most obvious conclusion regarding O.

  32. US FUNDS THE TALIBAN????

    One of the most important issues today is the war in Afghanistan-Pakistan and the fact that US
    Military Aid to Pakistan is being used to fund the Pakistani ISI which is in turn funding Taliban
    and Al Quada fighters. While this has been reported sporadically in the media for whatever
    reason political pundits on the left and right have effectively ignored this issue.

    Joe Klein in an article for Time, August 9, 2010, p. 19, has written an article that every American
    citizen should go to their library and read, he writes,

    “The commanders are unanimous in their belief that the ISI is running the show….And so,
    despite professions of alliance with the US by Pakistan’s then dictator Pervez Musharraf, a
    decision was made to keep the Taliban alive. A spigot of untargeted military aid from the George
    W. Bush Administration helped fund the effort. A commander of the vicious Haqqani Taliban
    network tells Waldman that their funding comes from ‘the Americans–from them to the
    Pakistani military, and then to us.’ Waldman reports that the commander receives from the
    Pakistanis ‘a reward for killing foreign soldiers, usually $4000 to $5000 for each soldier killed'”.

    American tax dollars if not directly, then indirectly are being used to fund the Taliban and put
    a bounty on American boys and girls head… Makes one wonder why the establishment right
    or left is not reporting on this? If the right is covering for
    the mistakes of the Bush administration…why is the establishment left not reporting on this???
    …this is the most important issue of the day…we will never win a war where if not directly then
    indirectly the US is funding the opposition!!!!

    woody voinche

  33. Don S, Who knows? I don’t think Obama will be bombing Iran anytime soon. All I am saying is that getting rid of Obama and replacing him with Romney is not a step toward the reduction of the uses of drones or anything else that promotes peace. Quite the opposite seems to be true.

  34. All I am saying is that getting rid of Obama and replacing him with Romney is not a step toward the reduction of the uses of drones or anything else that promotes peace. Quite the opposite seems to be true.

    All I am saying is that rewarding Obama by voting for him when you oppose his policies and actions because you are afraid of Romney is not a step toward the reduction of the uses of drones or anything else that promotes peace. Quite the opposite seems to be true.

    If you fundamentally disagree with Obama, vote for the most viable third party candidate you can.

    Make Obama have to earn his win, do not give up your power due to fear.

    Make third party runs viable. Break idiot two party systems (that are founders disliked and so should you.)

  35. anon, I oppose Obama on some things But not others. Remember those women’s issues that you love to hate. Women will give Obama a victory if wins.

  36. anon, Womem that are supporters of Planned Parenthood should rightfully be afraid of Rpmney. He has promised to “eliminate” it.

  37. Oh, I’m sorry SM, I momentarily forgot you were a single issue voter. Enjoy your win with Obama, hope that works out for you, and make sure everyone knows how you detest his foreign policy and other civil rights stances.

  38. Gah, good point SM and DonS. The argument over military usage has devolved in the American consciousness to the point of being “Boom good, we kill terror things” vs. “boom bad, but we do anyway so not seem wimpy”.

    Alien :”It’s a two party system, you have to vote for one of us!”

    Homer Simpson: “Maybe I’ll vote for a third party candidate!”

    Alien :”Go ahead fool, throw your vote away! Hahahahahahaha!”

  39. anon, Romney has also made a commitment to keep the Bush tax cuts and further lower taxes on the wealthiest citizens.. Romney is also anti-union. There are a variety of issues. Voter repression is another one that comes to mind.

  40. Ross Perot was the last credible third party candidate, and he was right about many things including the Bush family.

  41. The systemic degeneration of international norms is a topic of the psychology of meme complexes (groups), and finally some professionals of that discipline are beginning to write papers that psychoanalyze groups.

    Any one person such as Obama, or Bush II, ought not to be the sole focus, because when that is done there is a likelihood that the soul of the system will not even be diagnosed, much less be treated properly.

    When You Are Governed By Psychopaths

  42. If you had a choice of

    Obama, good on vaginas, bad on humans
    Paul, bad on vaginas, leave gay marriage to the states
    Romney, bad on vaginas, bad on gays

    You would pick Obama.

    If Obama was not in the picture, you would pick Romney.

  43. I’m sorry, let’s clarify:

    Obama, bad on humans, good on vaginas, leave gay marriage until Joe Biden
    Paul, good on humans, bad on vaginas, leave gay marriage to the states
    Romney, bad on humans, bad on vaginas, bad on gays

  44. “And government emails ordered disclosed by a federal court last month revealed that at the same time as they were refusing to disclose information about the Bin Laden raid on the grounds that it is classified, the Obama administration was secretly meeting with, and shuffling sensitive information to, Hollywood filmmakers, who are producing what is certain to be a stirring and reverent film about that raid, originally scheduled to be released just weeks before the November presidential election.”

    Wow; that’s just shameless.

  45. “Ross Perot was the last credible third party candidate, and he was right about many things including the Bush family.”

    This is in fact, specifically why it is important for you to vote for a third party.

  46. anon, I would not say Paul with his views on Social Security, Medicare and social services in general is “good on humans” as you say.. He is a disciple of Ayn Rand and is hardly a humanitarian. He is out of the picture in any case. Women’s healthcare is not limited to the vagina, well, maybe in your world……….

  47. “Remember those women’s issues that you love to hate.”

    By the way, this is categorically not true.

    I have two daughters, one mother, three aunts, three nieces, two grandmothers, two cousins in my life, all women. Of course I support and love women and care about women’s issues.

    Disagreement with the priority of specific women’s issues, disagreement that certain women’s issues are real, disappointment that some voters vote exclusively on women’s issues, frustration that many women’s issues voters trivialize and ignore very real boys’ and men’s issues does not make me a women’s issues hater. Nor does it make me a misogynist.

    One aspect of feminism apparently, is to lie about and misrepresent people that disagree with you (nb: current Malisha silliness) and other them and dehumanize them and cast them out and portray them as monsters and demand fealty from everyone around you.

  48. The failure of the well funded “Americans Elect” to find a candidate is illustrative of the fact that here will be no strong this party candidate ala Ross Perot this year.

  49. What is proof? Is that subjective?

    Sociopaths are conning, but not cunning. The problem is, they have above average intelligence (supposedly). Do you want to drink a beer with them? There’s plenty of that in Crawford. Unless you’d prefer to handle rattlesnakes. Or cut down a cedar tree that doesn’t need to be cut down.

    How about reading a book to elementary school children in Florida while the Twin Towers are being trashed. What are your priorities? Kiss the Saudi prince. What is oil worth?

  50. No double-tap mentioned but lots of arrogance toward Pakistan – our, US, way or else.

    CIA gets nod to step up Pakistan drone strikes
    Share
    By DAVID S. CLOUD AND ALEX RODRIGUEZ
    Tribune Washington Bureau
    Published: Friday, Jun. 8, 2012 – 1:00 am

    KABUL, Afghanistan — Expressing public and private frustration with Pakistan, the Obama administration has unleashed the CIA to resume an aggressive campaign of drone strikes in Pakistani territory over the last few weeks, approving strikes that might have been vetoed in the past for fear of angering Islamabad.

    Now, said a senior U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity in discussing sensitive issues, the administration’s attitude is, “What do we have to lose?”

    Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta made clear the deteriorating relations with Islamabad on Thursday, saying the United States is “reaching the limits of our patience” because Pakistan has not cracked down on local insurgents who carry out deadly attacks on U.S. troops and others in neighboring Afghanistan.

    “It is difficult to achieve peace in Afghanistan as long as there is safe haven for terrorists in Pakistan,” Panetta told reporters here on the last stop of his nine-day swing through Asia. He made it clear that the drone strikes will continue.

    The CIA has launched eight Predator drone attacks since Pakistan’s president, Asif Ali Zardari, was invited to attend the May 20-21 NATO summit in Chicago but refused to make a deal to reopen crucial routes used to supply U.S. troops in Afghanistan, as the White House had hoped.

    The CIA had logged 14 remotely piloted strikes on targets in Pakistan’s rugged tribal belt in the previous 5 1/2 months, according to the New America Foundation, a U.S. think tank that tracks reported attacks.

    “Obviously, something changed after Chicago,” said a senior congressional aide in Washington, speaking on condition of anonymity in discussing a classified program. “I am only getting the official story, but even within the official story there is an acknowledgment that something has changed.”

    Another congressional official said the surge in drone attacks stemmed in part from success in tracking down militants on the CIA’s target list, although only one has been publicly identified. It’s unclear who else has been targeted.

    Pakistanis view the drone strikes as an attempt to intimidate their civilian and military leaders into giving in to U.S. demands. If that’s the strategy, it won’t work, said experts and analysts in Islamabad, the Pakistani capital.

    “They are trying to send a message: ‘If you don’t come around, we will continue with our plan, the way we want to do it,'” said Javed Ashraf Qazi, a retired Pakistani intelligence chief and former senator. It’s “superpower arrogance being shown to a smaller state…. But this will only increase the feeling among Pakistanis that the Americans are bent on having their way through force and not negotiation.”

    A White House official said no political or foreign policy considerations would have prevented the CIA from taking action when it found Abu Yahya al Libi, al-Qaida’s No. 2 leader, who was killed Monday by a drone-fired missile in Pakistan.

    Each side blames the other for the current dispute.

    Pakistan has blocked truck convoys hauling North Atlantic Treaty Organization war supplies from the port city of Karachi since a clash near the Afghan border in November led to errors and U.S. military helicopters accidentally killed two dozen Pakistani soldiers.

    As part of the fallout, Pakistan ordered the U.S. to leave an air base in the country’s southwest that the CIA had used to launch drones bound for targets in the tribal areas. Since then, the aircraft reportedly have flown from across the border in Afghanistan.

    The U.S. initially halted all drone strikes for two months to ease Pakistani sensitivities, and the attacks resumed only sporadically after mid-January. By May, Pakistani officials were signaling a willingness to reopen the supply route to resurrect relations.

    But talks deadlocked over Pakistan’s demands for sharply higher transit fees just before the NATO conference, and President Barack Obama appeared to give Zardari a cold shoulder in Chicago. Pentagon officials will visit Islamabad this week for a new round of talks.

    After the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan in late 2001, Pakistan allowed NATO supplies to be transported through its territory at no charge. It later levied a token $250 charge per truck. Islamabad now wants more than $5,000 per truck to reopen the road, a toll U.S. officials refuse to pay.

    As an alternative to Pakistan, Washington concluded a deal this week to haul military gear out of landlocked Afghanistan through three Central Asian nations – Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan – as NATO coalition troops withdraw.

    The senior U.S. official said the Obama administration and members of Congress were angered when a Pakistani court sentenced Shakeel Afridi, a doctor who helped the CIA search for Osama bin Laden, to 33 years in prison. Navy SEALs killed Bin Laden in May 2011 in the Pakistani garrison city of Abbottabad.

    But Panetta chiefly emphasized his dissatisfaction with Pakistan’s inability or unwillingness to clamp down on sanctuaries used by the Haqqani network, a militant group that has been blamed for numerous attacks in Afghanistan.

    U.S. officials say Haqqani fighters, including some wearing suicide vests, most recently were involved in an assault last week on Forward Operating Base Salerno, a U.S. base in Afghanistan. U.S. troops killed 14 insurgents and suffered no casualties, officials said.

    Panetta’s complaint isn’t new, but his language was unusually bellicose.

    He told a think tank audience Wednesday in New Delhi that “we are at war” in the federally administered tribal areas in northwestern Pakistan where the Haqqani fighters and other insurgents have concentrated.

    He later confirmed that the U.S. is targeting not just remaining al-Qaida leaders but suspected militants from the Haqqani network and other Taliban-linked groups responsible for cross-border attacks. U.S. officials noted that Panetta leveled his charges in the capital of India, Pakistan’s arch-foe.

    “The tensions with Pakistan are clearly going up, not down,” said the second congressional official. “The fact that Panetta was talking about Pakistan in India tells you how frustrated people are.”

    Zardari’s government is bracing for elections and can ill-afford to appear subservient to Washington. Neither can the country’s powerful military, which wields vast influence over foreign policy but has seen its image dented by recent crises, including the relentless drone attacks on its territory.

    “If the U.S. feels it is doing very well in the war against al-Qaida, OK,” said Riaz Khokhar, a former Pakistani foreign secretary. “But people in Pakistan don’t know who Al Libi is and don’t care who he is. What people care about is that Pakistani sovereignty is being violated repeatedly by drones.”

    Despite the intensity of anti-American sentiment in Pakistan, the U.S. has steadfastly defended the drone strikes as a vital tool against al-Qaida and other militant organizations. Aside from Al Libi, CIA drone strikes have killed five senior al-Qaida leaders in the last year.

    “We have made it very clear that we are going to continue to defend ourselves,” Panetta said in New Delhi. “This is about our sovereignty as well.”

    (Cloud of the Tribune Washington Bureau reported from New Delhi and Kabul, and Rodriguez of the Los Angeles Times from Islamabad. Ken Dilanian of the Tribune Washington Bureau contributed to this report.

    Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2012/06/08/4548182/cia-gets-nod-to-step-up-pakistan.html#storylink=cpy

  51. re: Third parties. More than half of the eligible voters, don’t. If they could be mobilized to vote for the same third party, they would be picking the winner. Not likely, however, if they could all be mobilized to vote for the third party of their choice, it would send a strong message. The Green Party and Libertarians are the two strongest of the “others”.

  52. The second bomb scenario is an old one. It was used in Viet Nam by the VC. Two bicycles or other bomb carrying modes were parked in a crowded area.

    The first bomb went off killing several folks and a few minutes later the second one went off killing the rescuers.

    We Americans loudly cried foul and condemned anyone that would do such a cynical cruel thing.

  53. Pakistanis view the drone strikes as an attempt to intimidate their civilian and military leaders into giving in to U.S. demands. If that’s the strategy, it won’t work, said experts and analysts in Islamabad, the Pakistani capital.

    “They are trying to send a message: ‘If you don’t come around, we will continue with our plan, the way we want to do it,’” said Javed Ashraf Qazi, a retired Pakistani intelligence chief and former senator. It’s “superpower arrogance being shown to a smaller state…. But this will only increase the feeling among Pakistanis that the Americans are bent on having their way through force and not negotiation.”
    ==============================
    If Pakistan doesn’t want to play nice, nuke the fucking assholes. Either that or get out. That’s what war is. If Pakistan thinks they have any leverage, they don’t. They can stick negotiation up their ass. That ship has sailed.

  54. anon,

    “I have two daughters, one mother, three aunts, three nieces, two grandmothers, two cousins in my life, all women. Of course I support and love women and care about women’s issues.”

    And that’s why you refer to women as vaginas? Is vaginas your term of endearment for members of the opposite sex? Pray tell…which women’s issues do you care about?

  55. bettykath, The republicans and their tea party members will be very very happy if everyone on the left votes third party and they get to run up huge majorities.

  56. bettykath,

    I am very glad you publish that info. The article is an example of a war crime. The US is using collective punishment, to include the killing of civilians, to coerce compliance from another nation. This is a govt. completely out of control both internally and externally.

    There are two parts to NAL’s post. The first is the atrocities we visit on others simply because we can. The second is the attempt to punish free thinking analysis here in the the US. Citizens who have a moral and intellectual compass will be branded as terrorists. In both cases such actions are lawless and reprehensible.

  57. “And that’s why you refer to women as vaginas?”

    I thought you were a librarian or someone known for their understanding of english. Perhaps not.

    It’s just synecdouche used to refer to how single issue so called women’s issues voters fuck over the planet as they strive to imagine new ways that man has oppressed women since the primordial space seed.

    As SM demonstrates, everything is seen through the feminist gaze, a view centered a few inches below the navel.

    It’s not so much that I have labeled this a vaginal view. You really might wish to ask why modern feminists demand fealty to this point of view over all others, including and especially views that look to support all human rights.

    “which women’s issues do you care about?”

    Should be pretty obvious to anyone reading here:
    In no particular order…

    women’s health care issues
    freedom of choice and reproductive freedom
    equal opportunities to education, work
    equal pay for equal work
    end to false accusations of domestic violence, rape, or child molestation
    end to domestic violence
    end to rape
    rebuttable presumption of joint shared custody of children

    Any others on your litmus test?

  58. “The republicans and their tea party members will be very very happy if everyone on the left votes third party and they get to run up huge majorities.”

    Yes, let’s imagine that happened in 2012, and again in 2016. What do suppose might start happening in 2016 and become a real thing in 2020 and win in 2024?

  59. Sigh, I can’t find a youtube video of that Simpsons episode when the aliens take over the bodies of the two primary candidates. Such a simple and brilliant comment on the limitations of the two party system. The problem is that everyone is stacked fiscally for one of two parties, leaving very little in the way of choice between different platforms. No one wants to gamble on the third candidate. It’s become a perception war- only one of those two parties will win, and anything else is a waste- which has led to actual collusion between parties, so that the only choice between different candidates is superficial and ultimately pointless, as both sides are hell bent on mitigating civil liberties, because then no matter who is in office, both sides win.

  60. How the Obama Administration is Making the US Media Its Mouthpiece
    Spoonfed national security scoops based on anonymous official leaks – did we learn nothing from Judith Miller’s WMD reporting?

    by Glenn Greenwald

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/jun/08/obama-administration-making-us-media-its-mouthpiece

    From the article:

    “The tactic driving all of this is as obvious as it is disturbing. Each of these election year leaks depicts Obama as a tough, hands-on, unflinching commander-in-chief: ruthlessly slaying America’s enemies and keeping us all safe. They simultaneously portray him as a deep moral and intellectual leader, profoundly grappling with the “writings on war by Augustine and Thomas Aquinas”, as he decides in secret who will live and die and which countries will be targeted with American aggression.

    In sum, these anonymous leaks are classic political propaganda: devoted to glorifying the leader and his policies for political gain. Because the programs are shrouded in official secrecy, it is impossible for journalists to verify these selective disclosures. By design, the only means the public has to learn anything about what the president is doing is the partial, selective disclosures by Obama’s own aides – those who work for him and are devoted to his political triumph.

    But that process is a recipe for government deceit and propaganda. This was precisely the dynamic that, in the run-up to the attack on Iraq, co-opted America’s largest media outlets as mindless purveyors of false government claims. The defining journalistic sin of Judith Miller, the New York Times’ disgraced WMD reporter, was that she masqueraded the unverified assertions of anonymous Bush officials as reported fact. As the Times’ editors put it in their 2004 mea culpa, assertions from anonymous sources were “insufficiently qualified or allowed to stand unchallenged”.

    These recent Times scoops about Obama’s policies do not sink to the level of the Judy Miller debacle. For one thing, they contain some impressive reporting and even disturbing revelations about the conduct of Obama officials – most notably, that they manipulate casualty figures and hide civilian deaths from their drone attacks by “counting all military-age males in a strike zone as combatants”.

    For another, they include some internal criticism of Obama’s practices, such as the indiscriminate nature of his “signature” drone strikes (when they see “three guys doing jumping jacks”, the CIA concludes it’s a terrorist training camp), and the deceit inherent in his radically broad definition of “militant”. (One “official” is quoted as follows: “It bothers me when they say there were seven guys, so they must all be militants. They count the corpses and they’re not really sure who they are.”)

    Moreover, these disclosures have real journalistic import. It’s indisputably valuable for American citizens to know that their government convenes secret “kill list” meetings, and that it is launching cyber-attacks on Iran, attacks which the Pentagon considers (at least, when done to the US) to be an “act of war”.

    But despite those real differences with the Judy Miller travesty, the basic template is the same. These reporters rely overwhelmingly on government sources. Their reporting is shaped almost exclusively by the claims of underlings who are loyal to the president. The journalists have no means of verifying the assertions they are passing on as fact. And worst of all, they grant anonymity to Obama’s aides who are doing little more than doing the president’s bidding and promoting his political interests.

    It is pure “access journalism”: these reporters are given scoops in exchange for their wholly unjustified promise to allow government officials to propagandize the citizenry without accountability (that is, from behind the protective shield of anonymity). By necessity, their journalistic storytelling is shaped by the perspective of these official sources.

    And the journalistic product is predictably one that serves the president’s political agenda. Obama’s 2008 opponent, Republican Senator John McCain, complained, quite reasonably, that the intent of these recent leaks was to “enhance President Obama’s image as a tough guy for the elections”. Worse, as the Columbia Journalism Review and the media watchdog group FAIR both documented, these stories simply omitted any discussion of many of the most controversial aspects of Obama’s policies, including the risks and possible illegality of cyber-attacks on Iran and drone strikes in Yemen, the number of civilian deaths caused by Obama’s drone strikes, and the way those drone attacks have strengthened al-Qaida by increasing anti-American hatred.”

  61. anonymously, thanks for that link.

    The entire column is worth reading, especially the part discussing how the Administration and the NYTimes smeared the Bureau of Investigative Journalism.

    In February, the Times’ Scott Shane controversially granted anonymity to a “senior” Obama official to smear as al-Qaida sympathizers the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, after the BIJ documented the significant under-counting by Obama officials of civilian deaths from drone strikes as well as the Obama administration’s horrifying and possibly criminal practice of targeting rescuers and funerals with drone attacks. It was Shane, along with Jo Becker, who was then provided with the scoop about Obama’s “kill list”.

  62. anon,

    Thanks for posting that paragraph. As I was copying and pasting, I missed it.

    (An excellent article, David Drumm, with many spot on comments, as well.)

  63. Swarthmore mom 1, June 9, 2012 at 2:07 pm

    bettykath, The republicans and their tea party members will be very very happy if everyone on the left votes third party and they get to run up huge majorities.
    ———————

    SM, What you say is true but you’re in a box that you need to move out of.

    I’m talking about those planning to sit out the election, those who won’t be voting for anyone, about 60% of those eligible to vote.

    And it isn’t just those on the left who are unhappy with the choices offered, who are either holding their nose or not voting. My sister and I are opposite ends of the political spectrum but finally hit agreement: our country is f… no matter who is in power.

  64. anon,

    “I thought you were a librarian or someone known for their understanding of english. Perhaps not.’

    I do understand the English language and how people use words in a pejorative way.

    “As SM demonstrates, everything is seen through the feminist gaze, a view centered a few inches below the navel.”

    That’s your perverted perception of women who strive for equal rights for their sex.

    “It’s not so much that I have labeled this a vaginal view. You really might wish to ask why modern feminists demand fealty to this point of view over all others, including and especially views that look to support all human rights.”

    What point of view are you talking about?

    *****
    Definition of feminism taken from The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language:

    “Belief in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes.”

    Maybe you’re a feminist, anon, and you don’t know it!

    ;)

  65. FDL summary/riff on the Greenwald piece posted above @110:08

    “The entire production seems to indicate this is what people who are granted interviews with members of presidential administrations on national security matters must do. They must make any contestable aspects seem unexceptional so the public will not take issue with the administration when previously unknown details become known.”

    http://dissenter.firedoglake.com/2012/06/09/newsweeks-manipulative-propaganda-on-drones/

  66. “Definition of feminism taken from The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language:

    “Belief in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes.”

    Maybe you’re a feminist, anon, and you don’t know it!”

    I am a feminist.

    I identified as a feminist from 1972 to the late 90s in fact.

    It’s a shame few feminists are humanists.

    Why isn’t it called humanism?

    Oh yeah, it’s because of the butt hurt of so many post 90s feminists that make it impossible for them to consider the problems of men or boys without diminishing those problems and ignoring them with statements like “patriarchy hurts men too”, and “if you want equality for men, get more equality for womenz” or “what about the menz”.

    Anyway, yes, I certainly believe in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes, and it’s a human tragedy that feminists do not.

  67. Elaine,

    Head for teh googles and the feminist blogs and discover for yourself what happens when anyone asks the question, why isn’t it called humanism or equalism or something like that and see how many modern feminists demand it be called feminism and how they rationalize that and how all men should be honored to be join a movement called feminism that they demand wants equality even though they diminish the problems of men every way they can.

    They rationalize that because: vagina.

  68. Nal: “Obama’s “double tap” policy is nothing short of despicable. Obama has brought dishonor to America and to our founding principles.”
    **
    Jill: “The US is using collective punishment, to include the killing of civilians, to coerce compliance from another nation. This is a govt. completely out of control both internally and externally. ”

    ———-

    Agree. well said.

  69. You said above that you are a feminist. Then you said you “believe in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes, and it’s a human tragedy that feminists do not.”

  70. “You said above that you are a feminist. Then you said you “believe in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes, and it’s a human tragedy that feminists do not.””

    That’s true, what I meant to say was:

    I believe in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes, and it’s a human tragedy that modern feminists do not.

    There’s some interesting schisms between 2nd wavers and 3rd wavers, and often some very famous 2nd wavers will state that they are appalled with 3rd wave views towards custody issues and the like.

    Sadly when the ERA wasn’t passed, feminism made a huge shift for the bizarre and that’s really when all the panty waving victimization politics took over.

    These days modern feminism stands mostly for nothing since you can get three modern feminists together and have five opinions. But mostly they all seem to agree that some invisible being patriarchy has been oppressing them all for thousands of years and so teh menz are evil.

  71. One would hate to think that all these drone strikes are meant to prop up the Military Industrial Congressional Complex, our very own ‘jobs’ program.

    A never ending war caused by ‘blow back’ in the Middle East would be a boon to weapons manufacturers. And no one else. Our Congress, and any POTUS in office, have been captured by these Multinational industries.

    Too bad we do not have a ‘Peace Department’. I can think of thousands of things we could spend our ‘war’ money on to create goodwill all around the Earth.

    Many of them would create prosperity instead of destruction, would create more jobs here in the US and abroad, would create healthy societies and heal the environmental problems created by depleted uranium, cluster bombs, land mines. etc et al.

  72. The Obama Administration repeatedly tells courts of law that it can neither confirm nor deny the existence of any drone program because any public statements regarding what we cannot discuss would irreparably harm national security.

    On the other hand, when politically opportune, we have things like this:

  73. @shano: “Too bad we do not have a ‘Peace Department’. ”

    Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha. Oh, my gosh, that’s such a good one I can’t stop laughing.

    But, you’re right, it would be infinitely more cost effective, IMO, than our war department. Even if it didn’t accomplish anything , it could hardly be less cost effective than our war department. I don’t know how old you are, but I’m here to tell you there was once upon a time, in my actual adulthood, something like a viable peace movement, with a surging (relatively) importance, including serious curriculum at colleges and universities. Now, it seems, the concept of peace is a sad joke from our esteemed leaders, and those who advocate too loudly for peace are in danger of being called either flakes or traitors, roughly.

    I don’t know why you use the subjunctive “would be” to describe the boon to weapons manufacturers; that is already the case. Actually, I would be curious to know the C/B ratio — all other things being equal — between drone warfare and the old style invasions.

  74. DonS: “and those who advocate too loudly for peace are in danger of being called either flakes or traitors, roughly.”

    That and they lose all that sweet campaign cash, that is then lost to the Muti-media conglomerates who stop sending their campaign cash, and are now BFF with the secret Corporate media buyers for political advertisement, etc etc.

    In a wide circle jerk of campaign cash stoppages, we all know the candidate with the least cash will lose 97% of the time.

    Drone and conventional, now that is a good question. Does morality have any value?
    We should all fight with robots. Lets sell the other side some war robots and fight that way. Think of the jobs that could create!
    Or have leaders of nations go rounds of mud wrestling on PPV instead. Think of the advertising money generated! Boon times all around.

  75. I was browsing this thread because I have a friend who is a Yemeni-American analyst/journalist and I wanted to see what was here for him to comment on (to me, off line) and all of a sudden I see Anon calls me out and I don’t even understand his references. Did the feminists (or perhaps custodial mothers) initiate this drone stuff? Was it a pantie-waving anti-civilian female warmonger? What’s up, can somebody tell me?

    (Anon won’t because he has announced as of 4:56 p.m. today, on another thread, that he is not “responding” to me any more. Now if I weren’t very upset about how difficult it is to get men to “respond,” I would ignore the provocation but…)

    So he said:

    “I have two daughters, one mother, three aunts, three nieces, two grandmothers, two cousins in my life, all women. Of course I support and love women and care about women’s issues. [not stating which ones]

    “Disagreement with the priority of specific women’s issues, disagreement that certain women’s issues are real, disappointment that some voters vote exclusively on women’s issues, frustration that many women’s issues voters trivialize and ignore very real boys’ and men’s issues does not make me a women’s issues hater. Nor does it make me a misogynist. [OK he thinks that feminists should also take on other issues, other than those that they choose to deal with, is that it?]

    “One aspect of feminism apparently, is to lie about and misrepresent people that disagree with you (nb: current Malisha silliness) and other them and dehumanize them and cast them out and portray them as monsters and demand fealty from everyone around you.”

    OK, that was the part that confused me. Feminists have apparently lied about Anon, because he disagreed with them? I don’t know the meaning of the abbreviation “nb” — what particular “current Malisha silliness” are we talking about here?

    So somebody is dehumanized? Is anyone other than Dr. Omar Amin “kicked out” and was he kicked out by the feminists or by Barnes & Noble? Did I portray Anon as a monster or did he present himself as a disdainful, contemptuous, resentful, and crude sexist with a lingerie fetish?

    About demanding fealty, I had to look that one up. I find that “fealty” is the oath of loyalty and submission that is given from a feudal subject to a feudal lord. So the most I could understand from that is that Anon, at least, believes that people with vaginas demand that he basically worships them. Is that correct?

    Well, since he’s not responding to me, I don’t want to address him. He probably won’t give me my well deserved fealty anyway. I’ll have to look elsewhere, boo hoo.

    Now, about the drones…

  76. ” Execute all adult men
    Transport all women to a concentration camp
    Gather the children suitable for Germanisation, then place them in SS families in the Reich and bring the rest of the children up in other ways
    Burn down the village and level it entirely”

    Brad De Long reminds us of an earlier counterproductive tactic. The Germans may have lost the war in any case. But their tactics turned entire populations against them and, one has to believe, hastened their defeat.

    The question has been asked, so yes, the accusation is exactly and precisely that the US is likely attacking non combatant populations when it targets rescuers and mourners. We may not have proof beyond a reasonable doubt. But we certainly have credible evidence to pose the question and demand an investigation.

    Lets be clear about this. Attacking non combatant populations is a war crime.

    We are not talking about mis fire. We are not talking about aiming at a terrorist and missing, or the round falling short.

    We are talking about a policy that intentionally targets groups where it is clear that non combatants would gather.

  77. BigFatMike, that is spot on. I remember before Corey came down with charges against Zimmerman, many people on the blogs were being accused of CONVICTING Zimmerman without a fair trial. We were accused of LYNCHING him, depriving him of DUE PROCESS, etc. etc. What we were saying was: Investigate the situation properly and draw charges for criminal conduct, when the evidence that something was done wrong is obvious, and whether there is proof beyond a reasonable doubt comes LATER in the process. This is exactly what must happen. INVESTIGATE this NOW because if it is happening, it has to be stopped.

    Notice that the anti-Obama politicians are not jumping on it — yet it MUST be jumped on. Personally I believe that Obama has played to the image of the POTUS-EXECUTIONER to make himself more likely to gain votes that won’t vote for him simply to vote AGAINST the Repugnicans. So he has probably even ramped UP his international bloodthirstiness, to enhance that image.

  78. anon: “In February, the Times’ Scott Shane controversially granted anonymity to a “senior” Obama official to smear as al-Qaida sympathizers the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, after the BIJ documented the significant under-counting by Obama officials of civilian deaths from drone strikes as well as the Obama administration’s horrifying and possibly criminal practice of targeting rescuers and funerals with drone attacks. It was Shane, along with Jo Becker, who was then provided with the scoop about Obama’s “kill list”.

    So basically, Obama is guilty of the same crime as Julian Assange & Wikileaks. Except his motive could be political instead of investigative.

    One has been under house arrest for over a year with no charges against him, the other is in the White House.

    .

  79. I agree that if rescuers who are also noncombatants are being targeted the policy is wrong and wrong-headed, but I went through the sources cited by BIJ and I don’t really see that:

    1. Bureau of Investigative Journalism (BIJ): “But as rescuers clambered through the demolished house the drones struck again. Two missiles slammed into the rubble, killing many more. At least 29 people died in total.

    ‘We lost very trained and sincere friends‘, a local Taliban commander told The News, a Pakistani newspaper. ‘Some of them were very senior Taliban commanders and had taken part in successful actions in Afghanistan. Bodies of most of them were beyond recognition.”

    [Senior Taliban commanders seem like a valid targets to me}

    2. New York Times:”According to residents in the area, in an initial strike, two missiles hit the compound, killing one person. When people rushed to the scene to rescue the wounded, two more missiles struck, killing eight, the residents said. The intelligence official, who like the fighter spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that four other people had died. One of the dead, the intelligence official said, was a nephew of Mr. Mohammed.

    A Pakistani government official reached in Wana said that the Taliban had cordoned off the area of the strike and were still recovering bodies from the debris.”

    [It’s not clear but it appears to me that the Taliban were the ones rescuing their fellows from the targeted terrorist base. If not, it may support the argument against the policy]

    3.CNN: “The first strike occurred in North Waziristan, one of seven districts in Pakistan’s volatile tribal region bordering Afghanistan, where unmanned aircraft missiles targeting militants have spiked in recent weeks.

    The drones fired two missiles on a militant hideout in the area of Ghulam Khan, two Pakistani intelligence officials told CNN. Later, a suspected drone circled around the blast site and fired two more missiles. Six suspected militants were killed.The second attack was on an alleged militant vehicle in the same area, killing four more alleged militants.”

    [No mention of rescuers being hit]

    4. AP: “The first attack occurred at about 9 p.m. and targeted a house in Lataka village, killing four militants, said the intelligence officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media.

    Minutes later, a drone attacked a vehicle nearby, killing two foreign militants, said the officials. A second vehicle was attacked about 15 minutes later, killing three militants, including one foreigner, they said.

    The final attack targeted militants collecting bodies from the house destroyed in the first strike, killing two of them, said the officials.”

    [No mention of rescuers being targeted or killed only militants.]

    5. Al Jazeera: “Some officials have claimed that as many as 12 opposition fighters were among those dead.

    The first drone attack hit a mud fort in Datta Khel region of the tribal district, with the second missile striking as people were searching in the rubble more than an hour later.

    Kamal Hyder, Al Jazeera’s correspondent in the capital Islamabad, said it was hard to say whether those who died were opposition fighters or citizens.”

    [Not exactly conclusive on the issue of whether rescuers or opposition fighters were hit]

    6. ABC News: Could not retrieve.

    So based on the articles cited in BIJ we have one episode of arguable wrongful death of civilian rescuers, one undetermined second attack, and three attacks where only militants were targeted and killed.

    Did BIJ overreact or is this conclusive proof of a policy decision to double strike with the express purpose of killing innocent rescuers?

    Are we limited to one drone attack on the militants per area per day? Can we strike them while they are trying to rescue fellow militants from the rubble?

  80. “So basically, Obama is guilty of the same crime as Julian Assange & Wikileaks. Except his motive could be political instead of investigative.” — Shano

    Not exactly. Motive aside, publishing information received from government sources does not constitute a crime under U. S. law, as I understand it. So I don’t see where on earth the U.S. Government thinks that it has a case against a foreign national, Julian Assange or his organization, Wikileaks, for publishing information supplied to them anonymously by someone else.

    On the other hand, government officials like President Obama and his staff — all the way down to the lowly Private Bradley Manning — can run afoul of U. S. laws against disclosing “classified” (i.e., “embarrassing”) information, which means pretty much anything and everything the American people have a need and right to know about the operation of their government. Therefore, although the U. S. Government cannot formally allege a crime against Julian Assange or Wikileaks, it can formally allege a crime against President Obama and/or Private Bradley Manning.

    As I believe Glenn Greenwald and many others have pointed out, President Obama and the U. S. Government cannot legally prosecute freedom of speech and of the press, which the Constitution guarantees, but they can intimidate government employees and American citizens generally from exercising their freedom of speech and of the press when President Obama and his minions do not find the exercise of these freedoms to their liking. The obvious policy: Punishing scapegoats while rewarding sycophants, just to set an example for those who might think that they can criticize U. S. Government policy instead of obsequiously serving its propaganda purposes.

  81. mespo: is this the same Taliban we are trying to negotiate with in Afghanistan/Iraq? If not, how do we know? It seems there may be some good Talibans and bad Talibans. Can the CIA tell the difference from thousands of feet in the air even with high powered scopes? We did see them kill Reuters photographers, school children (oh, so sorry) and innocent allies

    Thanks, Michael Murray for clarification. The intimidation seems to be working on all fronts. Wikileaks backs off of Bank of America. Whistleblowers in government service are prosecuted instead of rewarded.

    I wonder how the program for whistlblower protections (and monetary rewards) involving the Financial Sector in the Dodd Frank bill will go……..hmmmmm

  82. http://thinkprogress.org/security/2011/11/07/363107/drone-attack-victim-suing-cia/

    On Oct. 27, a 16-year-old Pakistani named Tariq Aziz traveled to Islamabad from his home in North Waziristan to attend a “Waziristan Grand Jirga,” an official meeting the following day to discuss the impact of drone strikes on local communities in Pakistan. According to Pratap Chatterjee at the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, Aziz “had come after he received a phone call from a lawyer in Islamabad offering him an opportunity to learn basic photography to help document these strikes.” Three days later, Aziz and his cousin were killed, Chatterjee reports:
    The next day, Tariq and the other Waziris returned to their homes, eight hours drive away.
    On Monday, October 31, Tariq took his cousin Waheed Khan to pick up his newly wed aunt, to take her back to Norak. When the two boys were just 200 yards from the house, two missiles slammed into their car, killing them both instantly.
    ‘I don’t see the logic and reasoning in killing two young boys,’ [Human rights lawyer] Shahzad Akbar told the Bureau. ‘We wanted to work with the youth, to include them in the search for accountability.’

    Akbar is suing the CIA for killing innocent civilians through drone attacks in Pakistan. And Tariq’s father is reportedly in discussions to join the lawsuit. Akbar wondered why the CIA didn’t apprehend Tariq while he was in Islamabad. “If they were terrorists, why weren’t they arrested in Islamabad, interrogated, charged or tried?” he asked. Writing for the Guardian today, Chatterjee, who photographed and videotaped Tariq Aziz at the meeting in Islamabad, had a similar question:

    The question I would pose to the jury is this: would a terrorist suspect come to a public meeting and converse openly with foreign lawyers and reporters, and allow himself to be photographed and interviewed? More importantly, since he was so easily available, why could Tariq not have been detained in Islamabad, when we spent 48 hours together? Neither Tariq Aziz nor the lawyers attending this meeting had a highly trained private security detail that could have put up resistance.

    The CIA’s drone campaign has expanded significantly during the Obama administration. U.S. government officials say 1,500 suspected militants have been killed since President Obama took office while the Bureau of Investigative Journalism has examined every recorded drone attack in Pakistan and said at least 175 civilians have been killed.

  83. From the Glenn Greenwald link:

    By “militant,” the Obama administration literally means nothing more than: any military-age male whom we kill, even when we know nothing else about them.

    In Obama-speak a noncombatant could be a “militant.” If Bush had tried this, he would have been appropriately mocked.

  84. The Americans began by underestimating the Vietnamese Afghan guerrillas, but in the end they made them larger than life.” — Frances Fitzgerald, Fire in the Lake: the Vietnamese and the Americans in Vietnam

    I haven’t had my daily fix of Obama-body-count from the Obama-free-fire- zone yet, but as soon as I do I’ll know which anonymous bearded Muslim to fear today until another one comes along to scare me shit-less tomorrow. Honest, I keep up with the names and hierarchical rank of these devils as they keep whizzing past, just as every other American does. Really.

  85. For the past three months eleven years the world had watched the ludicrous spectacle of the largest power on earth occupying one of the smallest and hopelessly trying to unknot a civil war inside a revolution.” — Frances Fitzgerald, Fire in the Lake: the Vietnamese and the Americans in Vietnam

    But the big brains in the Obama administration know all about this sordid history and wouldn’t dream of stupidly recapitulating it for years on end. .

    Sure, previous American administrations watched the French get their asses handed to them in Vietnam and then stupidly followed the French example themselves. And, sure, previous American administrations watched the Soviets get their asses handed to them in Afghanistan and then stupidly followed the Soviet example themselves. But no way would the Obama administration … uh … wait a minute … this has suddenly gotten all confusing and stuff …

    Really.

  86. shano:

    “mespo: is this the same Taliban we are trying to negotiate with in Afghanistan/Iraq? If not, how do we know?It seems there may be some good Talibans and bad Talibans. Can the CIA tell the difference from thousands of feet in the air even with high powered scopes?”

    ***************

    The answer is I don’t know. I do know that the news sources have listed many of the dead as “militants” and I have no idea if Greenwald definition applied there either. I doubt it.

    I guess I am just not convinced this is US policy unless I see more than what I’ve seen today.

    I have another question: Why does it seem we reflexively assume the worst about us and the best about the folks who harbor, recruit, and train the terrorists?

  87. shano:

    “Akbar is suing the CIA for killing innocent civilians through drone attacks in Pakistan.”

    **************************

    Seems Akbar has no problem outing US spies in Pakistan:

    “The officer, named in Pakistan as Jonathan Banks, left the country yesterday, after a tribesman publicly accused him of being responsible for the death of his brother and son in a CIA drone strike in December 2009. Karim Khan, a journalist from North Waziristan, called for Banks to be charged with murder and executed.

    In a rare move, the CIA called Banks home yesterday, citing “security concerns” and saying he had received death threats, Washington officials told Associated Press. Khan’s lawyer said he was fleeing the possibility of prosecution.

    (…)

    The identity of the CIA station chief is a closely guarded secret in any country. Khan’s lawyer said he had obtained Banks’s name from one Pakistani journalist and confirmed it with a second. “I asked around, then got an answer after three or four days of searching,” he said.”

    (…)

    Akbar, the lawyer, said the unusual legal action had attracted another 14 families of alleged drone victims from the tribal belt. They intend to bring a class action suit against the CIA in early January, he said.”

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/dec/17/cia-chief-pakistan-drone-cover

  88. From the NY Times:

    “The care that Mr. Obama and his counterterrorism chief take in choosing targets, and their reliance on a precision weapon, the drone, reflect his pledge at the outset of his presidency to reject what he called the Bush administration’s “false choice between our safety and our ideals.”

    But he has found that war is a messy business, and his actions show that pursuing an enemy unbound by rules has required moral, legal and practical trade-offs that his speeches did not envision.

    One early test involved Baitullah Mehsud, the leader of the Pakistani Taliban. The case was problematic on two fronts, according to interviews with both administration and Pakistani sources.

    The C.I.A. worried that Mr. Mehsud, whose group then mainly targeted the Pakistan government, did not meet the Obama administration’s criteria for targeted killing: he was not an imminent threat to the United States. But Pakistani officials wanted him dead, and the American drone program rested on their tacit approval. The issue was resolved after the president and his advisers found that he represented a threat, if not to the homeland, to American personnel in Pakistan.

    Then, in August 2009, the C.I.A. director, Leon E. Panetta, told Mr. Brennan that the agency had Mr. Mehsud in its sights. But taking out the Pakistani Taliban leader, Mr. Panetta warned, did not meet Mr. Obama’s standard of “near certainty” of no innocents being killed. In fact, a strike would certainly result in such deaths: he was with his wife at his in-laws’ home.

    “Many times,” General Jones said, in similar circumstances, “at the 11th hour we waved off a mission simply because the target had people around them and we were able to loiter on station until they didn’t.”

    But not this time. Mr. Obama, through Mr. Brennan, told the C.I.A. to take the shot, and Mr. Mehsud was killed, along with his wife and, by some reports, other family members as well, said a senior intelligence official.

    The attempted bombing of an airliner a few months later, on Dec. 25, stiffened the president’s resolve, aides say. It was the culmination of a series of plots, including the killing of 13 people at Fort Hood, Tex. by an Army psychiatrist who had embraced radical Islam.

    Mr. Obama is a good poker player, but he has a tell when he is angry. His questions become rapid-fire, said his attorney general, Mr. Holder. “He’ll inject the phrase, ‘I just want to make sure you understand that.’ “ And it was clear to everyone, Mr. Holder said, that he was simmering about how a 23-year-old bomber had penetrated billions of dollars worth of American security measures.

    When a few officials tentatively offered a defense, noting that the attack had failed because the terrorists were forced to rely on a novice bomber and an untested formula because of stepped-up airport security, Mr. Obama cut them short.

    “Well, he could have gotten it right and we’d all be sitting here with an airplane that blew up and killed over a hundred people,” he said, according to a participant. He asked them to use the close call to imagine in detail the consequences if the bomb had detonated. In characteristic fashion, he went around the room, asking each official to explain what had gone wrong and what needed to be done about it.

    “After that, as president, it seemed like he felt in his gut the threat to the United States,” said Michael E. Leiter, then director of the National Counterterrorism Center. “Even John Brennan, someone who was already a hardened veteran of counterterrorism, tightened the straps on his rucksack after that.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/29/world/obamas-leadership-in-war-on-al-qaeda.html?pagewanted=6&_r=1

    That doesn’t read like a reckless or immoral leader to me.

  89. The whole NYT article smacks of the glorification of the valiant Bush, explaining the ‘dark side’ and why he had to torture and would do it again.

    If the CIA was a better organization, and if innocents were not being killed in their sleep, there would be no reason for locals to want them gone.

    Akbar and friends could have simply murdered Banks.

    As Obama is doing with drones.

  90. An Interview with Chris Hedges
    By David Barsamian, August 2011 issue
    http://progressive.org/chris_hedges_interview.html

    Excerpt:
    Chris Hedges is an award-winning journalist who has covered wars in the Balkans, the Middle East, and Central America. He writes a weekly column for Truthdig.com and is a senior fellow at the Nation Institute. He is the author of War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning, which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction in 2002. His other books include American Fascists, Empire of Illusion, Death of the Liberal Class, and The World As It Is. When he was at The New York Times, he was part of a team of reporters that received the Pulitzer Prize for the paper’s coverage of global terrorism.

    He’s a polymath with a deep love for, and knowledge of, poetry and the classics. His writing and his speaking are crisp and terse.

    In person, Hedges is soft spoken and shy. (It took him some time into our interview before he made eye contact with me.) But in terms of his critique, he bursts from the gate at full speed.

    He speaks in solemn tones almost like a secular preacher. Cassandra-like, he warns of what he calls “America’s slide into totalitarian capitalism.”

    He reserves his most trenchant criticism for the liberal class, which has sold out, in his view. “Liberals have turned their backs on the working class,” he says. And he calls mainstream journalists “courtiers.”

    He doesn’t spare the President, either. “Obama,” he says, “is seduced by power and prestige and is more interested in courting the corporate rich than in saving the disenfranchised.” His election, Hedges says, was “the triumph of illusion” over reality.

    I talked with him in Santa Fe, New Mexico, on a warm afternoon in May.

    Q: How did you make the transition from Harvard Divinity School to The New York Times?

    Chris Hedges: It wasn’t a direct route. I began as a freelance reporter. That’s an important distinction, because people who rise through the ranks of The New York Times become vetted, conditioned, harassed, and shaped by the institution. That never happened to me.

    In my second year of Harvard Divinity School, where I was studying to be a minister like my father, I met a guy named Robert Cox, who had been the editor of the Buenos Aires Herald during the Dirty War in Argentina. Bob used to print the names of those who had been disappeared the day before, above the fold in his newspaper. It was a kind of an awakening to me to see what great journalism can and should do.

    I went off to Latin America at a time when there were horrible regimes. Pinochet was in Chile, the junta was in Argentina, the death squads in El Salvador were killing between 700 and 1,000 people a month, Ríos Montt was in Guatemala. So that was my transition into journalism from a seminarian who grew up in a household that was active in social justice. Those are my roots. And those roots led to a conflict with The New York Times.

    Q: When did you start noticing problems there?

    Hedges: embed. We all were forced to sign documents by the military when we got off the plane saying that we would, in essence, be servants of the military. The paper reduced us to little more than propagandists. The next day, I just threw the paper in the trash and went out on my own and started writing stories.

    It pleased the Times, because they were getting stuff that was outside of the pool and outside the approved stories that were managed and controlled by the military. But it really angered the other reporters who were there, who had been good little boys and girls and done what the military had told them. So they actually wrote a letter to the foreign editor saying that because of my defiance of the rules, I was ruining our relationship with the military. I’m not a careerist; I never really gave a damn about my career, and I thought that was the end. But R. W. Apple, who was running the coverage at the time, interceded on my behalf, and, in fact, when he found out about the letter, called all the reporters in and dressed them down. Apple had covered Vietnam. He said, “You know, we don’t work for the U.S. military.”

    The New York Times is an institution that attracts careerists, who are drawn to power and access. This gave me a kind of a free hand. The kind of work that I wanted to do, most of the other reporters didn’t want to do. I was not doing lunch. I was not sucking up to officials. I was writing from the street. I constantly volunteered to go to Gaza, and the other reporters had no interest in going to Gaza. I volunteered to go to Sarajevo. And when I did, the then-executive editor, Joseph Lelyveld, said, “Well, I guess the line starts and ends with you.”

    My clash with the paper happened when I came back. I had written War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning, so I was on programs like Charlie Rose. And because I had been the Middle East bureau chief for The New York Times, I would be asked about the impending invasion of Iraq, and I denounced it quite strongly.

    Q: You gave the commencement address at a college in Illinois two months after Bush launched the Iraq War. That rubbed the editors in New York the wrong way. Why?

    Hedges:pt of the whole talk with what people shouted in brackets. The Times editors were pressured to respond, and they responded by calling me into the office and giving me a formal written reprimand for impugning the impartiality of The New York Times. We were members of the Newspaper Guild, and the process is that you give the employee a written warning and then, under Guild rules, the next time the employee violates that warning, you can fire them. So once I was handed that written warning, it was terminal, because I wasn’t about to stop speaking out against the Iraq War. I approached Hamilton Fish at the Nation Institute about becoming a senior fellow there and leaving the Times. I did leave the Times; I wasn’t fired. But if I had stayed long enough, I would have been fired. That was inevitable.

  91. First the ‘targeted killing’ campaign, then the targeted propaganda campaign
    Officially, the CIA insists its drone war is a state secret, yet we’re now seeing a concerted PR effort to sanitise its dubious legality
    Jameel Jaffer and Nathan Wessler
    guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 6 June 2012
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/jun/06/targeted-killing-campaign-propaganda

    Excerpt:
    A story in last week’s New York Times painted a remarkably detailed picture of the US government’s so-called “targeted killing” campaign, a campaign that involves the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) to kill suspected insurgents and terrorists and, it turns out, many, many others, as well. The story, written by Jo Becker and Scott Shane, discussed the CIA’s choice of munitions, its efforts to avoid civilian casualties, and its method for calculating the number of civilians killed in any given strike. The story also underscored the extent to which President Obama himself is involved in overseeing the campaign – and even in selecting its targets.

    The story has already received a great deal of coverage, but two aspects of it deserve more attention.

    The first has to do with the targeted killing campaign itself. Long before the New York Times story was published, human rights organizations questioned the campaign’s lawfulness. At the ACLU, we sued (pdf) over elements of the campaign two years ago, contending that the US government’s then-proposed (and now-realized) killing of Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen would violate both international law and the US constitution.

    But the New York Times story suggests the legal foundation of the targeted killing campaign is not simply shaky, but rotten. One problem is that the US government appears to take a very broad view of who can be targeted. At one point, officials at the State Department complained to the White House that the CIA seemed to believe that any group of “three guys doing jumping jacks” was a terrorist training camp.

    Another problem, and perhaps an even deeper one, is in the government’s approach towards individuals who are not targeted – not in the conventional sense of the word, anyway. According to the New York Times, the government “counts all military-age males in a strike zone as combatants … unless there is explicit intelligence posthumously proving them innocent”.

    If this is true, it is astounding. The government has an obligation under international law to distinguish combatants from noncombatants – and, as far as reasonably possible, to avoid causing noncombatants harm. Direct targeting of noncombatants is a war crime; indeed, it is the prototypical one. It surely need not be explained that the government’s obligation is to distinguish combatants from noncombatants while they are still alive, not after they have been killed. A “shoot first, ask questions later” policy is entirely inconsistent with international law, not to mention morally grotesque.
    The other aspect of the New York Times story that warrants more attention has to do with the way the story was assembled. Becker and Shane report that they interviewed “three dozen” of President Obama’s current and former advisors. These advisors supplied them with granular detail about deliberations inside the White House, quoted (or paraphrased) conversations between the president and senior officials, and discussed tensions between various agencies – most notably, the State Department and the CIA.

    That the advisors were so forthcoming would be remarkable in any circumstances, but it is particularly remarkable here because the US government’s official position – a position it has set out in legal briefs and sworn affidavits (pdf) – is that the CIA’s targeted killing campaign is a state secret. Indeed, the CIA’s position in court is that the agency’s mere acknowledgement of the campaign would cause grave and irreparable injury to the nation’s security.

    The truth, of course, is that the CIA has already acknowledged the campaign, and that dozens of government officials have spoken about it to Jo Becker and Scott Shane and many other reporters besides. The CIA’s litigation position is not intended to protect the “secrecy” of the agency’s killing program, but to protect the agency’s ability to disclose only the information that it wants to disclose – information that invariably paints the CIA’s practices as closely supervised, supremely effective, and absolutely necessary.

  92. Interesting articles, Elaine.

    And they play to a discussion I’m having with mespo on the Panetta/Drone strikes thread.

    Not in mespo’s favor I might add. :mrgreen:

  93. Fresh evidence of CIA civilian deaths in Pakistan revealed: Jones
    2/28/12
    http://www.juancole.com/bureau-of-investigative-journalism

    Two major investigations have provided fresh evidence that civilians are continuing to be killed in Pakistan’s tribal areas by CIA drones – despite aggressive Agency denials.

    In a study of ten major drone strikes in Pakistan since 2010, global news agency Associated Press deployed a field reporter to Waziristan and questioned more than 80 local people about ten CIA attacks. The results generally confirm the accuracy of original credible media reports – and in two cases identify previously unrecorded civilian deaths.

    In a further case, in which an anonymous US official had previously attacked the Bureau’s findings of six civilian deaths in a 2011 strike, AP’s report has confirmed the Bureau’s work.

    Anglo-American legal charity Reprieve has also filed a case with the United Nations Human Rights Council, based on sworn affidavits by 18 family members of civilians killed in CIA attacks – many of them children. Reprieve is calling on the UNHRC ‘to condemn the attacks as illegal human rights violations.’

    New casualties

    The Associated Press investigation, authored by the agency’s Islamabad chief Sebastian Abbot, represents one of the largest field studies yet into casualties of CIA drone strikes.

    AP’s field reporter interviewed more than 80 local civilians in Waziristan in connection with 10 major CIA strikes since 2010. It found that of 194 people killed in the strikes, 138 were confirmed as militants:

    The remaining 56 were either civilians or tribal police, and 38 of them were killed in a single attack on March 17, 2011. Excluding that strike, which inflicted one of the worst civilian death tolls since the drone program started in Pakistan, nearly 90 percent of the people killed were militants, villagers said.

    In two of the ten cases AP has turned up previously-unreported civilian casualties.

    On August 14 2010 AP found that seven civilians died – including a ten year old child – alongside seven Pakistan Taliban. The deaths occurred during Ramadan prayers. Until now it had not been known that civilians had died in the attack. US officials told AP that its own assessments indicated all those killed were militants.

    On April 22 2011, AP confirms that three children and two women were among 25 dead in an attack on a guest house where militants were staying. Three named eyewitnesses in the village of Spinwan confirmed that the civilians had died – two had attended their funerals.

    Bureau findings confirmed

    The AP investigation has also independently confirmed that six civilians died alongside ten Taliban in an attack on a roadside restaurant on May 6 2011.

  94. Drone death in Yemen of an American teenager
    By Michelle Shephard
    National Security Reporter
    Published On Sat Apr 14 2012
    http://www.thestar.com/news/world/article/1161432–drone-death-in-yemen-of-an-american-teenager

    Excerpt:

    SANAA, YEMEN— With the house still quiet with slumber, the 15-year-old left a letter for his mother begging forgiveness, then crawled out a second-storey kitchen window and dropped to the garden below.

    Abdulrahman al Awlaki crossed the front yard past potted plants and a carnival ride graveyard — Dumbo, Donald Duck, an arched seal balancing a beach ball — debris from his uncle Omar’s failed business venture to install rides in local shopping malls.

    The family’s guard saw the grade nine student with a mop of curly hair leave the front gate at about 6:30 a.m. that morning on Sept. 4. Abdulrahman then made his way to the gates of Bab al-Yemen to catch a bus to a cousin’s house in Shabwa province in the south.

    As he crossed the desert on his six-hour journey, his family awoke to news of his disappearance.

    “He wrote to his mother, ‘I am sorry for leaving in this kind of way. Forgive me. I miss my father and want to see if I can go and talk to him,’ ” said the boy’s grandfather, Nasser al Awlaki, as he sipped tea in his lavish home. “ ‘I will be coming back in a few days.’ ”

    “He was very obedient to everybody in the house,” said Awlaki, “and that’s why it was a surprise that he would make that kind of decision.”

    Nine days later, Abdulrahman turned 16.

    He never found his father, the radical online preacher Anwar al Awlaki, who a U.S. congresswoman had called “Terrorist Number One.”

    The teen wasn’t even in the right part of the country.

    On Sept. 30, CIA-directed hellfire missiles blasted a target in northern Yemen, killing his father and ending the two-year manhunt for the cleric whose preaching encouraged plots in the United States, United Kingdom and Canada.

    Anwar al Awlaki was born in the United States, having grown up in the West after his father, Nasser, moved his family there to study.

    Few mourned Awlaki’s death, but there was concern about the precedent. How could U.S. President Barack Obama order an American killed without any review?

    There has been considerably less talk about what happened two weeks later.

    On Oct. 14, U.S. drones pounded targets again, this time hundreds of kilometres away in the southeastern region of Azzan.

    Abdulrahman, also born in the U.S., and his 17-year-old cousin were among the seven killed. They were apparently having a barbecue.

    At first, media outlets reported that Abdulrahman was five years older than his actual age, had been militant like his father and, that a high-value Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) target was also among the dead.

    But his grandfather, Nasser al Awlaki, a Fulbright scholar, former agricultural minister and prominent figure in Yemen, said Abdulrahman had nothing to do with his father since he had gone into hiding in 2009.

    Nasser al Awlaki has never apologized for his son’s radical views, but said he had also worked hard to insulate his grandchildren from the controversy. He attempted, he said, to give them a “normal life.”

    Furious at the inaccurate reporting, he released his grandson’s birth certificate. It reads: “Abdulrahman Anwar al-Aulaqi (another English spelling of the last name). Born: Denver, Colorado. Sept. 13, 1995.”

    It later emerged, but was not widely reported, that the strike did not kill its purported target, AQAP’s media chief, Egyptian Ibrahim al Bana.

    The U.S. administration has refused comment.

    It is unclear whether Abdulrahman was the target or if the U.S. had bad information and was going after Bana, or someone else. Either way, Awlaki said he wants answers.

    So do the student demonstrators who forced former president Ali Abdullah Saleh from power, many of whom knew Abdulrahman. They carried posters in Change Square with his picture last year and the words: “The Assassination of Childhood.”

    “We just don’t know why they did that,” Awlaki said of the U.S. strike. “Is it because Abdulrahman was there? It’s very possible, but I cannot claim with certainty what happened. Is it a blunder on their side?

    “They cannot claim he’s collateral damage.”

    DRONES and U.S. directed missions have killed hundreds in Yemen in the past four years, some hitting AQAP targets, many more striking civilians.

    Aside from the moral and legal implications, analysts in Yemen and the U.S. question their effectiveness against terrorism.

    Take, for instance, a strike in Abyan province in December 2009 that killed 55. Among the dead were 14 women and 21 children.

    The U.S. refused to acknowledge the botched mission. Compare this to the reaction last month when 17 Afghan citizens were slaughtered, allegedly by U.S. Staff Sgt. Robert Bales. Obama released a statement promising to “establish the facts as quickly as possible and to hold fully accountable anyone responsible.” The families of the dead were reportedly offered $50,000 each in “condolence payments.”

  95. In ‘just war’ theory, one usually attempts to assess whether the benefits outweigh the risks (i.e. losses) before going to war. The problem is that such an assessment usually excludes those who might become losses: the military or CIA decides what an acceptable risk is (if they even go through such a process). If you asked the civilians on the ground, however, whether they are happy to put their lives on the line for American interests I’m sure you would get a completely different answer. The American government is prepared to jeopardise Afghani/Pakistani civilians for the sake of US citizens, oops I mean US interests, thus indicating the relative value the American government assigns to the lives of civilians in these lands. Truly all men are born equal, but some are born more equal than others. At least NATO might give you an apology, however worthless that is. Nevertheless, onto the next!

  96. Remember, the Obama administration “counts all military-age males in a strike zone as combatants”, so whenever you hear the word militant, think “someone who may or may not be a legitimate target.”

  97. Drone porn articles in the MSM are written to solidify the father/child relationship of Obama and his supporters. Notice that Obama is portrayed as a wise, just, thoughtful man. He even consults his “priest”, Brennan for advice on whom to kill. Every Tuesday the father who cares so much for his children, looks over the evidence to find who might be dangerous to them. Then kindly, masterfully, and well, maybe skirting the law a little, the good father takes out anyone who might endanger his children. Read the articles, they all portray Obama as 1. a father figure and 2. a religious figure. That is propaganda and we need to pay attention to what we are being sold.

    These themes, 1. the wise father and 2. the bodhisattva president are powerful in our society. But these are attributes have no place when evaluating the actions of a president. A president is not a father figure to the people, he is not the religious head of this nation. He is an elected representative of the people.

    As such, every action the president takes is the business of the people. It needs the closest scrutiny and the most well-informed analysis. Why is this the very thing missing from our newz?

    It is not opinion that what Obama is doing violates US and international law. It is not an opinion that killing civilians in the way this govt. is doing is morally reprehensible. These things, like torture before it, became open to “debate” because people ceded their power and their intellect to a leader whom they believed would keep them “safe”. That was disastrous under Bush and it has doubled down as a disaster under Obama.

  98. Elaine,

    Thanks for all the detailed information, but bad people do bad things somewhere on planet Earth every day. Therefore, America must do bad things everywhere, every day, too. Can’t have a handful of impoverished bad people taking unfair advantage of the World’s Only Superpower.

    As well, we must never forget that America invaded Iraq to depose a dictator we did not fear so as to deprive him of weapons he did not possess in retaliation for an attack upon us in which he did not participate. In other words: because we wanted to and could.

    Then, too, we have to fight them over there so that we don’t have to fight them here where our own government takes our freedoms from us so that the bad people over there won’t hate us for having them.

    And in only a few more Friedman Units, the tipping point will turn the corner and begin connecting the dots on the ink-stained, flypaper dominoes in the tunnel at the end of the light.

    And finally, the American Imperial Military Computer Virus in BASIC.

    START: GO TO START

  99. Groundhog Day! Groundhog Day!

    or (in Terza Rima sonnets):

    Déjà-vu, Redux

    The changing of the guard brought no relief
    To those who thought they’d voted out the old.
    Instead, the ones who hoped soon came to grief

    As pointless wars dragged on, with “new” lies told
    That sounded like a replay, word-for-word,
    Except for better syntax smoothly sold,

    But meaning just the same as ever heard:
    The status quo before and after shuns
    The merest hint of change, however slurred.

    The ones who “lost” kept winning while the ones
    Who “won” soon found that they had really not;
    That they had bought no butter – only guns.

    You’d think that they could figure out the plot:
    Not change they wanted, just the same they got.

    He said that if elected, things would change;
    So, once in office, change he did – and fast.
    He pitched his voice just slightly out of range

    So that which he had promised in the past
    He afterwards could claim he didn’t say.
    And, anyway, what virtues ever last

    When power won intoxicates all day
    And through the night, as well, until the dawn?
    The devils, round the clock, come out to play

    While sycophants and jesters kneel and fawn.
    Our new Prince Charming revels in command
    Of armies quartered overseas that spawn,

    Through pointless violence, a deadly sand
    That now blows back, eroding our own land.

    The Law of Karma has a truth to tell:
    That actions taken with a bad intent
    Reap only consequences bad as well

    And he who bombs the poor and won’t relent
    Will find himself defending what he can’t
    With all the lies the clever can invent.

    No matter how well spun the bogus slant,
    The recrudescent, bald resort to threat
    Will always mark reactionary rant;

    And tiresome war waged only on a bet
    Has long since raised the overdue alarm.
    The bankrupt deadbeat nation now must fret,

    That having lost a hand, a leg, an arm,
    It now seems poised to lose the whole damn farm.

    Michael Murry, “The Misfortune Teller,” Copyright © 2009

  100. Jill 1, June 10, 2012 at 10:41 am

    Drone porn articles in the MSM are written to solidify the father/child relationship of Obama and his supporters. Notice that Obama is portrayed as a wise, just, thoughtful man. He even consults his “priest”, Brennan for advice on whom to kill. Every Tuesday the father who cares so much for his children, looks over the evidence to find who might be dangerous to them. Then kindly, masterfully, and well, maybe skirting the law a little, the good father takes out anyone who might endanger his children. Read the articles, they all portray Obama as 1. a father figure and 2. a religious figure. That is propaganda and we need to pay attention to what we are being sold.

    These themes, 1. the wise father and 2. the bodhisattva president are powerful in our society. But these are attributes have no place when evaluating the actions of a president.

    ==============================================
    Very well said.

    There are many papers and treatises that show you are spot on in your analysis.

  101. After reading ‘Legacy of Ashes’ it is appalling to realize that everything the CIA touches turns to sh*t. Past performances of this organization are true indicators of future performance. Is this a feature or a bug?.

  102. Dredd,

    Thank you. I’ve really been trying to understand what is happening in our society. It seems that the govt. has been successful in tearing down a functioning democracy using all of the following (well-worn but still effective) tactics:

    1. make certain to have an external enemy. Having a “war on terrorism” insures we will always be at war with East Asia.

    2. make certain to have internal enemies. These began as “outlier” groups such as Muslims. Now, “outlier” also includes peace activists/OWS social justice groups or anyone who disagrees with the policies of this govt. This tactic is described accurately as, “First the Came”…

    3. control and manipulate the information available to the population–see the “newz media” for that This makes it nearly impossible to understand what is actually happening. Into the vacuum comes the pre manufactured “facts” conveniently provided by the helpful govt.

    4. make certain people do not know their rights or the law or if they do know them, make certain people know that their rights are meaningless–mission accomplished both foreign and domestically!

    5. any authoritarian regime relies on many types of followers/accomplices to keep its power:

    a. paid lackies: (no problem finding those!) These include violent mercenary thugs deployed both foreign and domestically. Paid writers, infiltrators, etc. these people are everywhere, including blogs such as this.

    b. true believers: There must be this set of followers for the regime to truly take hold. These are largely people who want to do good by helping the leader. Often these are people who gain a little bit of or at least feeling of power as a reward for being “helpful”. For example, academics might get a taste of access to power if they write about how great the economy is doing even when they know it is not. Here is where propaganda depicting the leader as a benevolent father figure or religious leader is pivotal.

    There are many other aspects of what is going on that I haven’t mentioned and don’t know about which I’m certain others could fill in. These are just some things I see happening.

  103. http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/listeningpost/2012/06/20126816273761143.html

    Summary: The Listening Post program on Al Jazeera takes an in-depth look at the Obama administration crackdown on intelligence whistleblowers. The first half of the show looks at the six Espionage Act prosecutions of intelligence whistleblowers under Obama –especially the one brought against NSA whistleblower and GAP client Thomas Drake – and the effect it has on American journalism. GAP Executive Director Bea Edwards was also among the interviewed. The second half of the program is showcased by an extensive interview with GAP National Security & Human Rights Director Jesselyn Radack – also a DOJ whistleblower in the case of “American Taliban” John Walker Lindh.

    Key Quote: I think the media really should dig into what is driving Obama’s war on whistleblowers. Is it that he wants to curry favor with the national security and intelligence establishment, which found him to be weak going into office? I think journalists really need to be asking the government the hard questions of whether the intelligence agencies are driving this or whether people at the Justice Department are driving this? And why this president – who was elected on a platform of openness and transparency – is engaged in one of the worst crackdowns of public information that we’ve seen since the McCarthy era.

  104. I think the drones are being overused but at the same time I am not one of the posters on here that thinks the “shoe bomber” is imaginary.

  105. And what is with this: “….deporting undocumented (young) immigrants who arrived in the United”

    It fixes NOTHING and is feeds directly into drug trafficing. Hell, perhaps Wachovia Bank needed more drug money to stay afloat, or perhaps B of A or Chase, whatever.

    That is why John Dean is WRONG. I am not interested in casting a vote for the next Criminal in Chief. We have nobody to vote for at present. So do not let anyone tell you, that you have no say since you didn’t vote.

    There isn’t anyone who is not a thug and criminal to vote for right now. I refuse to be a party to further criminal conduct. To muder, to lies, to massive corruption.

  106. FRIDAY, JUN 15, 2012 08:33 AM EDT

    GOP/Dem rhetorical convergence

    A Democratic columnist channels Bush, Rove and Palin to malign Obama’s critics as Terrorist-lovers

    BY GLENN GREENWALD

    http://www.salon.com/2012/06/15/gopdem_rhetorical_convergence/singleton/

    “Scorning critics of the U.S. Government’s militarism as law-obsessed, Enemy-enabling, Terrorist-coddling weaklings was once the defining rhetorical rot of America’s Right. As Lyons’ column reflects, that is precisely what is now routinely spewed by Democratic loyalists at those who criticize Obama’s militarism and civil liberties assaults. The notion that Terrorists should be treated the way accused Nazi war criminals were — with evidence presented of their guilt in a duly constituted tribunal, with oversight, transparency and in accordance with legal process — was once the standard mainstream Democratic view (the imperative of due process for accused Terrorists was once even Obama’s professed view). That view is now maligned by that same Party’s loyalists with precisely the smears that George Bush, Karl Rove and Sarah Palin so infamously perfected. That revealing shift is as vital a component of Obama’s legacy as anything else.”

    “UPDATE: Twenty-six House members — mostly progressives along with a couple of Republicans — have written letter to President Obama objecting to his newly ordered “signature strikes”: targeting people whose names aren’t known based on “patterns of behavior.” The letter notes that the policy “is in stark contrast to what your Administration has previously claimed regarding its drone program”; complains that the drone programs in general is carried out without “transparency, accountability or oversight”; and notes that these attacks “cause civilian deaths” and “generate powerful and enduring anti-American sentiment.” Isn’t it amazing that so many members of Congress want to give therapy and send flowers to The Terrorists instead?”

  107. Michael Murry,

    Don’t elect Romney. No more vodka for you or anybody else. Unless you’re a Saudi Royal.

  108. Michael Murry, “The Misfortune Teller,” Copyright © 2009

    I like your poem. I really did pass the Navy SEAL fitness test. Then they looked at my medical records and told me my uncorrected vision wasn’t good enough. Sorry son, no waivers.

  109. These themes, 1. the wise father and 2. the bodhisattva president are powerful in our society. But these are attributes have no place when evaluating the actions of a president.
    ===============================
    If somebody is standing in the gutter pounding you on the ass with a stick while you’re standing on the sidewalk, how are you going to deal with that? Are you going to get down in the gutter and kick their ass, or not? What happens if they win because you’re too good to get in the gutter? Got a question?

  110. shano 1, June 10, 2012 at 11:56 am

    After reading ‘Legacy of Ashes’ it is appalling to realize that everything the CIA touches turns to sh*t. Past performances of this organization are true indicators of future performance. Is this a feature or a bug?.
    ===============================================
    It’s the future. Do you have a bug-out bag? Might not do any good.

  111. And why this president – who was elected on a platform of openness and transparency – is engaged in one of the worst crackdowns of public information that we’ve seen since the McCarthy era.
    ==========================================
    Ask General Electric what transparency is. They tried that game and lost. They said they would issue truly transparent financial statements. Do you know how long they kept saying that? Not very long.

  112. treemonkey 1, June 15, 2012 at 11:51 am

    And what is with this: “….deporting undocumented (young) immigrants who arrived in the United”
    =================
    treemonkey, maybe you should drink beer with Bron. Why do you want to deport somebody who went to school and has never been in trouble?

  113. anonymously who?

    That view is now maligned by that same Party’s loyalists with precisely the smears that George Bush, Karl Rove and Sarah Palin so infamously perfected. That revealing shift is as vital a component of Obama’s legacy as anything else.”
    ===============
    Are you saying that Obama is as good at perfecting smears as Bush, Rove, and Palin? Obama needs to go back to school in that regard.

  114. If Bush had? LOL!!!! You cant be serious. Look at the issue for what it is…but to compare to Bush AS IF anything Obama WILL EVER DO can F@#$% us as bad as that hillbilly….well….i guess would just be to fool the people again..

  115. arm,

    Obama doesn’t know what to do. That’s why he’s doing what he does.

    He’s a lot better than you.

  116. MIRAMSHAH, July 6: Twenty people were killed and four others injured when missiles fired by US drones slammed into a residential compound in North Waziristan on Friday night, three days after Pakistan reopened Nato supply routes to Afghanistan.

    According to sources, six missiles hit the fortress-like residence of tribesman Muhammad in Zoi Nari locality of tehsil Dattakhel at around 8:45pm.

    Local people rushed to the site of the attack and started rescue work while drones continued to hover over the area. They retrieved 17 bodies and two injured persons from the rubble of the house.

    At about 10:30pm, the drones fired another two missiles on the compound, some 35km from the agency’s headquarters of Miramshah, when tribesmen were still carrying out rescue work. Three people died and two others were injured in the attack.

    Local tribesmen feared the number of the people killed or injured might go up because they had to stop work due to the hovering drones. They said most of the bodies retrieved were mutilated beyond recognition.

    Other sources said most of the dead were militants.

    They suspected that the house, completely destroyed in the attack, was being used by militants.

    It was the first drone attack since the US and Pakistani authorities reached an agreement to reopen Nato supply routes Pakistan had closed after a US air raid on the Salala checkpost in Mohmand tribal Agency along Afghanistan border killed 24 Pakistani soldiers.

    The government and opposition parties and tribal people wanted the resumption of Nato supply routes linked to suspension of drone attacks. The parliament had also demanded a halt to the raids. The fresh attacks will certainly provide religious groups and opposition parties ammunition to assail the government for deciding to reopen the routes without obtaining such an assurance from the United States.”

    They will not stop doing this. This is the first double tap since they got their supply route opened up again.

  117. twintap,

    each time i used to read smaller articles that also clear their motive, and that
    is also happening with this article which I am reading at
    this time.
    ____________________

    You don’t know how to read. You wish there was a motive. When were you born? July, 1963. Are you still chewing bubble gum.

  118. […] * As Director of the CIA, Petraeus continued and expanded the drone strike program, a militarization of the CIA that has made more than a few observers concerned. It is especially concerning because many believe the program is itself a war crime–International Law scholar Marjorie Cohn makes a compelling argument here. And here. And she isn’t the only one. […]

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