#The War That Never Ends
Obama Bombs Yemen Hours After Winning Reelection
Not even a full day had passed before newly reelected President Obama ordered another drone strike in Yemen. Huffington Post:
On Wednesday morning, as many Americans sifted through the voter data and exit poll numbers of President Barack Obama’s reelection the night before, the Twitter feeds of close watchers of Yemen lit up with reports of another sort of presidential event: an apparent U.S. drone strike had killed several individuals in that country.
There was no way of being certain if the strike was indeed American, or for that matter if it was a drone strike at all, although it had all the markings of one.
“All signs (after dark, suspicions of locals, target) point to Sanhan strike being a US drone,” Yemen-based freelance journalist Adam Baron wrote on Twitter.
Several other analysts concurred.
A White House spokesman did not respond to a request for comment. If it were a American strike, of course, it would have to have been authorized by Obama.
The drone war violates both domestic and international law, and the Obama administration’s vehement disdain for transparency in government is the only thing keeping it from public and legal scrutiny. Beyond the law, it’s terrorism.
(Source: jayaprada, via topmetesla)
"We did not know that America existed. We did not know what its geographical location was, how its government operated, what its government was like, until America invaded Iraq and Afghanistan. … We have become victims of Americans. We don’t know how they treat their citizens or anything about them. All we know is that they used to support us, and now they don’t. … We know that the consequences of drone strikes are extremely harsh. Our children, our wives now that our breadwinners — when they go out to earn a livelihood, they might not come back, and life may become very miserable for them in the years to come. … Now we are always awaiting a drone attack and we know it’s certain and it’s eventual and it will strike us, and we’re just waiting to hear whose house it will strike — our relatives’, our neighbors’, or us. We do not know. We’re just always in fear."
New Stanford/NYU study documents the civilian terror from Obama's drones →
A vitally important and thoroughly documented new report on the impact of Obama’s drone campaign has just been released by researchers at NYU School of Law and Stanford University Law School. Entitled “Living Under Drones: Death, Injury and Trauma to Civilians From US Drone Practices in Pakistan”, the report details the terrorizing effects of Obama’s drone assaults as well as the numerous, highly misleading public statements from administration officials about that campaign. The study’s purpose was to conduct an “independent investigations into whether, and to what extent, drone strikes in Pakistan conformed to international law and caused harm and/or injury to civilians”.
The report is “based on over 130 detailed interviews with victims and witnesses of drone activity, their family members, current and former Pakistani government officials, representatives from five major Pakistani political parties, subject matter experts, lawyers, medical professionals, development and humanitarian workers, members of civil society, academics, and journalists.” Witnesses “provided first-hand accounts of drone strikes, and provided testimony about a range of issues, including the missile strikes themselves, the strike sites, the victims’ bodies, or a family member or members killed or injured in the strike”.
Here is the powerful first three paragraphs of the report, summarizing its main findings:
Whilte noting that it is difficult to obtain precise information on the number of civilian deaths “because of US efforts to shield the drone program from democratic accountability”, the report nonetheless concludes: “while civilian casualties are rarely acknowledged by the US government, there is significant evidence that US drone strikes have injured and killed civilians.”
But beyond body counts, there’s the fact that “US drone strike policies cause considerable and under-accounted for harm to the daily lives of ordinary civilians, beyond death and physical injury”:
In other words, the people in the areas targeted by Obama’s drone campaign are being systematically terrorized. There’s just no other word for it. It is a campaign of terror - highly effective terror - regardless of what noble progressive sentiments one wishes to believe reside in the heart of the leader ordering it. And that’s precisely why the report, to its great credit, uses that term to describe the Obama policy: the drone campaign “terrorizes men, women, and children”.
"Herein lies the real function of the American justice system, clearly revealed time and again. It is to protect high-level actors from accountability even for the most egregious of crimes, while severely punishing those who reveal or take a stand against those crimes, thus deterring and intimidating any future opposition."
#The War That Never Ends
It is this same mentality that has led the US federal judiciary to produce the most disgraceful political fact of the last decade. Not a single victim of America’s “war on terror” abuses – even those now acknowledged by the US government to have been completely innocent – have been allowed even to have their cases heard in an American court on the merits. They’ve all had the courthouse doors slammed shut in their faces by courts that have accepted the US government’s claims that its own secrecy powers and immunity rights bar any such justice. Crimes committed by the state or in advancement of its agenda are simply immune from the rule of law in the US.
The same exploitation of the justice system is glaringly evident in the Rachel Corrie travesty. As the Guardian’s former Israel (and now Washington) correspondent Chris McGreal writes, the dismissal of this suit is simply a by-product of the “virtual impunity for Israeli troops no matter who they killed or in what circumstances”. That’s because Israeli courts, like American courts, have submissively accepted the supreme fiction of both governments: anyone impeding government actions is a terrorist or terrorist-enabler who gets what they deserve, while the actions of the state, no matter how savage, can never be anything other than legitimate.
NYPD official: Muslim spying by secret Demographics Unit generated no leads, terrorism cases →
In more than six years of spying on Muslim neighborhoods, eavesdropping on conversations and cataloguing mosques, the New York Police Department’s secret Demographics Unit never generated a lead or triggered a terrorism investigation, the department acknowledged in court testimony unsealed late Monday.
The Demographics Unit is at the heart of a police spying program, built with help from the CIA, which assembled databases on where Muslims lived, shopped, worked and prayed. Police infiltrated Muslim student groups, put informants in mosques, monitored sermons and catalogued every Muslim in New York who adopted new, Americanized surnames.
Police hoped the Demographics Unit would serve as an early warning system for terrorism. And if police ever got a tip about, say, an Afghan terrorist in the city, they’d know where he was likely to rent a room, buy groceries and watch sports.
But in a June 28 deposition as part of a longstanding federal civil rights case, Assistant Chief Thomas Galati said none of the conversations the officers overheard ever led to a case.
“Related to Demographics,” Galati testified that information that has come in “has not commenced an investigation.”
The NYPD is the largest police department in the nation and Mayor Michael Bloomberg has held up its counterterrorism tactics as a model for the rest of the country. After The Associated Press began reporting on those tactics last year, supporters argued that the Demographics Unit was central to keeping the city safe. Galati testified that it was an important tool, but conceded it had not generated any leads.
"Yet no politician is calling for federal hearings on the threat of white supremacists in the U.S. — the type of neo-Mccarthyist agit-prop staged by New York congressman Pete King earlier this year when he held a hearing on the dangers of “Islamic radicalization” within Muslim-American communities. In 2009, when the Department of Homeland Security issued a nine-page report on “Right-Wing Extremism”, the U.S.’s right-wing punditocracy went into overdrive, lambasting the report as an attempt to smear Republicans as a whole. The analyst who wrote it would leave the DHS a year later; his small team of domestic terrorism analysts was effectively shut down. One of the report’s findings warned of growing numbers of disaffected Army vets turning to neo-Nazi hate groups."
"Last year over 14,000 Americans were murdered on US soil. Zero by Islamic terrorists. I hope Rep Peter King and his type will start focusing more on who is truly killing our fellow Americans in an effort to save American lives and less on demonizing Muslims for political gain."