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To avoid counting civilian deaths, Obama re-defined "militant" to mean "all military-age males in a strike zone"

Posted by Mulva 
Cascade Wrote:
> I sure am glad that you aren't the president.

It's your loss. I was going to name Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich to important cabinet positions, but if that's your attitude, forget it! I don't even feel like running for president because of what you said. I am pro-bakery. Also, I'm pro-wedding reception, unless I wasn't invited.
In Yemen, U.S. airstrikes breed anger, and sympathy for al-Qaeda []


Aden, Yemen — Across the vast, rugged terrain of southern Yemen, an escalating campaign of U.S. drone strikes is stirring increasing sympathy for al-Qaeda-linked militants and driving tribesmen to join a network linked to terrorist plots against the United States.

After recent U.S. missile strikes, mostly from unmanned aircraft, the Yemeni government and the United States have reported that the attacks killed only suspected al-Qaeda members. But civilians have also died in the attacks, said tribal leaders, victims’ relatives and human rights activists.

“These attacks are making people say, ‘We believe now that al-Qaeda is on the right side,’ ” said businessman Salim al-Barakani, adding that his two brothers — one a teacher, the other a cellphone repairman — were killed in a U.S. strike in March.

Since January, as many as 21 missile attacks have targeted suspected al-Qaeda operatives in southern Yemen, reflecting a sharp shift in a secret war carried out by the CIA and the Joint Special Operations Command that had focused on Pakistan.

But as in the tribal areas of Pakistan, where U.S. drone strikes have significantly weakened al-Qaeda’s capabilities, an unintended consequence of the attacks has been a marked radicalization of the local population.

The evidence of radicalization emerged in more than 20 interviews with tribal leaders, victims’ relatives, human rights activists and officials from four provinces in southern Yemen where U.S. strikes have targeted suspected militants. They described a strong shift in sentiment toward militants affiliated with the transnational network’s most active wing, al-Qaeda in the ­Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP.

“The drone strikes have not helped either the United States or Yemen,” said Sultan al-Barakani, who was a top adviser to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh. “Yemen is paying a heavy price, losing its sons. But the Americans are not paying the same price.”

In 2009, when President Obama was first known to have authorized a missile strike on Yemen, U.S. officials said there were no more than 300 core AQAP members. That number has grown in recent years to 700 or more, Yemeni officials and tribal leaders say. In addition, hundreds of tribesmen have joined AQAP in the fight against the U.S.-backed Yemeni government. [...]

“Every time the American attacks increase, they increase the rage of the Yemeni people, especially in al-Qaeda-controlled areas,” said Mohammed al-Ahmadi, legal coordinator for Karama, a local human rights group. “The drones are killing al-Qaeda leaders, but they are also turning them into heroes.” [...]

“He was torn to pieces,” said Salim’s uncle, Abu Baker Aidaroos, 30, a Yemeni soldier. “He was not part of al-Qaeda. But by America’s standards, just because he knew Fahd al-Quso, he deserved to die with him.”

Out of anger, Aidaroos said, he left his unit in Abyan province, the nexus of the fight against the militants. Today, instead of fighting al-Qaeda, he sympathizes with the group — not out of support for its ideology, he insists, but out of hatred for the United States. [...]

“There is more hostility against America because the attacks have not stopped al-Qaeda, but rather they have expanded, and the tribes feel this is a violation of the country’s sovereignty,” said Anssaf Ali Mayo, Aden head of al-Islah, Yemen’s most influential Islamist party, which is now part of the coalition government. “There is a psychological acceptance of al-Qaeda because of the U.S. strikes.” [...]

“The Americans are targeting the sons of the Awlak,” Aidaroos said. “I would fight even the devil to exact revenge for my nephew.” [...]

Villagers were too afraid to go to the area. Al-Qaeda militants took advantage and offered to bury the villagers’ relatives. “That made people even more grateful and appreciative of al-Qaeda,” said Barakani, the businessman. “Afterwards, al-Qaeda told the people, ‘We will take revenge on your behalf.’ ” [...]

In some cases, U.S. strikes have forced civilians to flee their homes and have destroyed homes and farmland. Balweed Muhammed Nasser Awad, 57, said he and his family fled the city of Jaar last summer after his son, a fisherman, was killed in a U.S. strike targeting suspected al-Qaeda militants. Today, they live in a classroom in an Aden school, along with hundreds of other refugees from the conflict.

“Ansar al-Sharia had nothing to do with my son’s death. He was killed by the Americans,” Awad said. “He had nothing to do with terrorism. Why him?”

No Yemeni has forgotten the U.S. cruise missile strike in the remote tribal region of al-Majala on Dec. 17, 2009 — the Obama administration’s first known missile strike inside Yemen. The attack killed dozens, including 14 women and 21 children, and whipped up rage at the United States.

Today, the area is a haven for militants, said Abdelaziz Muhammed Hamza, head of the Revolutionary Council in Abyan province, a group that is fighting AQAP. “All the residents of the area have joined al-Qaeda,” he said.

Article at []

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/07/2012 05:25AM by Mulva.

That's what short-sighted insane foreign policy gets you.

And Obama is directly responsible for those deaths. Directly.
Because of the drone strikes, al-Queda recruiters are able to (truthfully) tell their potential recruits:
"America CLAIMS to believe in 'the rule of law', but their ACTIONS belie their WORDS."
Every drone strike creates more new al-Queda members than it kills.

Out of sight out of mind.


"Build yourselves a wall of ships!" said the Oracle!
What is the ratio of terrorists killed to terrorists created?

What kind of genius loses a billion dollars in a year?
Depends if the actual number of terrorists killed supercedes the amount of civilians killed (probably not likely).


"Build yourselves a wall of ships!" said the Oracle!
No, you are quite mistaken. The formula is terrorists killed to terrorists created as stated above.

What kind of genius loses a billion dollars in a year?
Not so simple, if you kill a terrorist but wipe out 20 civilians near them you are just perpetuating more terrorism. In Palestine I witnessed a place where a whole city block had been taken out by an F16 because there was thought to be a political opponent in a house in it. He wasnt there at the time of the attack, but all the civilians living in that city block who were there at the time were killed.


"Build yourselves a wall of ships!" said the Oracle!
Curt no I dont trust Pakistan, and I've always said to use special forces against Bin Laden which worked in Pakistan. (It was not a drone that killed bin laden).


"Build yourselves a wall of ships!" said the Oracle!
HHH, imagine someone dropped a robot bomb on your brother. How many people in your family would want vengeance or would support those who were fighting those who dropped the bomb on your brother...

There's your ratio.
"How many people in your family would want vengeance or would support those who were fighting those who dropped the bomb on your brother... There's your ratio. "

The number of people who want vengeance AND take effective action is the ratio.
Add to that the people who are willing to help, who are willing to sabotage the system that drops the bombs and those who would spread the word. Not all resistance is direct action.
"Add to that the people who are willing to help, who are willing to sabotage the system that drops the bombs ..."

Those things are "effective action."

" ... those who would spread the word."

These folks I would count to a much lesser extent. I don't think people put any real effort toward taking vengeance for the wrongful death of people that are outside of their family and very closest friends.
Oh okay, then "effective action" covers pretty much all bases.

Even if you don't take vengeance but recognize the injustice, you're going to be sympathetic. Maybe you're not an immediate family member but a neighbor or friend. You see innocent people killed, you're not just going to think that the people doing the killing are the "good guys".

But HHH seems to think that it can never happen here. He thinks this because he hasn't been paying attention.
Sorry, Cascade. Could you describe the various drone missile attacks on terrorists residing in the United States? I did somehow miss that.

What kind of genius loses a billion dollars in a year?
HHH, wait for it.

THey said that people wouldn't be jailed in the US without trial and yet Stephen Slevin spent two years in solitary confinement without trail, charges or conviction.

The creeping nature of this War on Terror has resulted in loss of freedoms, some very draconian and totalitarian judicial decision, and a departure for traditional American values that were once taken for granted.

If you don't see how armed drones could become a common sight in the US you really haven't been paying attention.
Early this morning, the U.S. fired a missile from a drone in northwest Pakistan — its first since the NYT story – and killed two people. Here’s how The Washington Post is now touting the article about this attack on its online front page:

Readers who click on that story are greeted by an Associated Press story bearing this headline:

There is, as usual, no indication that these media outlets have any idea whatsoever about who was killed in these strikes. All they know is that “officials” (whether American or Pakistani) told them that they were “militants,” so they blindly repeat that as fact. They “report” this not only without having the slightest idea whether it’s true, but worse, with the full knowledge that the word “militant” is being aggressively distorted by deceitful U.S. government propaganda that defines the term to mean: any “military-age males” whom we kill (the use of the phrase “suspected militants” in the body of the article suffers the same infirmity).

How is it possible to have any informed democratic debate over a policy about which the U.S. media relentlessly propagandizes this way? If drone strikes kill nobody other than “militants,” then very few people will even think about opposing them (and that’s independent of the fact that the word “militant” is a wildly ambiguous term — militant about what? — though it is clearly designed (when combined with “Pakistan”) to evoke images of those who attacked the World Trade Center). Debate-suppression is not just the effect but the intent of this propaganda: like all propaganda, it is designed to deceive the citizenry in order to compel acquiescence to government conduct.

Rest at []
Many of the drone strikes in Yemen were at targets (people) identified as the "enemy" by the current rulers of Yemen.
They may have been THEIR enemies, but were they also OUR enemies?
(They are now; well their families are now anyway.)
Have we taken sides in a civil war (AGAIN)?

I wonder who we will start killing if we ever run out of al-Queda?

U.S. again bombs mourners []

The Obama policy of attacking rescuers and grieving rituals continues this weekend in Pakistan

In February, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism documented that after the U.S. kills people with drones in Pakistan, it then targets for death those who show up at the scene to rescue the survivors and retrieve the bodies, as well as those who gather to mourn the dead at funerals: “the CIA’s drone campaign in Pakistan has killed dozens of civilians who had gone to help rescue victims or were attending funerals.” As The New York Times summarized those findings: “at least 50 civilians had been killed in follow-up strikes after they rushed to help those hit by a drone-fired missile” while “the bureau counted more than 20 other civilians killed in strikes on funerals.”

This repellent practice continues. Over the last three days, the U.S. has launched three separate drone strikes in Pakistan: one on each day. As The Guardian reports, the U.S. has killed between 20 and 30 people in these strikes, the last of which, early this morning, killed between 8 and 15. It was the second strike, on Sunday, that targeted mourners gathered to grieve those killed in the first strike:

At the time of the attack, suspected militants had gathered to offer condolences to the brother of a militant commander killed during another US unmanned drone attack on Saturday. The brother was one of those who died in the Sunday morning attack. The Pakistani officials said two of the dead were foreigners and the rest were Pakistani.

Note that there is no suggestion, even from the “officials” on which these media reports (as usual) rely, that the dead man was a Terrorist or even a “militant.” He was simply receiving condolences for his dead brother. But pursuant to the standards embraced by President Obama, the brother — without knowing anything about him — is inherently deemed a “combatant” and therefore a legitimate target for death solely by virtue of being a “military-age male in a strike zone.” Of course, killing family members of bombing targets is nothing new for this President: let’s recall the still-unresolved question of why Anwar Awlaki’s 16-year-old American son, Abdulrahman, was killed by a U.S. drone attack in Yemen two weeks after his father was killed.

I ask this sincerely: what kind of country targets rescuers, funeral attendees, and people gathered to mourn? If a Hollywood film featured a villainous King ordering lethal attacks on rescuers, funerals and mourners — those medically attending to or grieving his initial victims — any decent audience member would, by design, seethe with contempt for such an inhumane tyrant. But this is the standard policy and practice under President Obama and it continues through today. Recall the outrage that was sparked when WikiLeaks released its Collateral Murder video showing a U.S. Apache helicopter during the Bush era firing on unarmed rescuers, who had arrived to retrieve the initial victims who had been shot and were laying wounded on the ground. That tactic continues under President Obama, although it is now expanded to include the targeting of grieving rituals.

This explains why Obama now finds support for his conduct among the most radical right-wing factions in the U.S. Consider the debate that took place this weekend on MSNBC’s Up With Chris Hayes regarding President Obama’s kill list. In opposition to Obama’s drone policy — and harshly critical of him — were the ACLU’s Director of National Security Project, Hina Shamsi (who said: “There is no national security policy that poses a graver threat to human rights law and civil liberties than” Obama’s kill lists"), and The Nation‘s Jeremy Scahill (who caused substantial controversy by denouncing Obama’s drone strikes as “murder). So it was the ACLU and The Nation as Obama’s harsh critics.

Rest of commentary at link.
So IOW the US is now targeting civilians.
Save that one for the International Criminal Court.


"Build yourselves a wall of ships!" said the Oracle!

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/05/2012 12:49AM by Kairos.
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.

It is notoriously difficult for the media to operate safely in Pakistan’s tribal areas. Both militants and the military routinely threaten journalists. Yet for three months a team of local researchers has been seeking independent confirmation of these strikes.

Eyewitness accounts

The researchers have found credible, independently sourced evidence of civilians killed in ten of the reported attacks on rescuers. In five other reported attacks, the researchers found no evidence of any rescuers – civilians or otherwise – killed.

The researchers were told by villagers that strikes on rescuers began as early as March 2008, although no media carried reports at the time. The Bureau is seeking testimony relating to nine additional incidents.

Often when the US attacks militants in Pakistan, the Taliban seals off the site and retrieves the dead. But an examination of thousands of credible reports relating to CIA drone strikes also shows frequent references to civilian rescuers. Mosques often exhort villagers to come forward and help, for example – particularly following attacks that mistakenly kill civilians.

Other tactics are also raising concerns. On June 23 2009 the CIA killed Khwaz Wali Mehsud, a mid-ranking Pakistan Taliban commander. They planned to use his body as bait to hook a larger fish – Baitullah Mehsud, then the notorious leader of the Pakistan Taliban.

‘A plan was quickly hatched to strike Baitullah Mehsud when he attended the man’s funeral,’ according to Washington Post national security correspondent Joby Warrick, in his recent book The Triple Agent. ‘True, the commander… happened to be very much alive as the plan took shape. But he would not be for long.’

The CIA duly killed Khwaz Wali Mehsud in a drone strike that killed at least five others. Speaking with the Bureau, Pulitzer Prize-winner Warrick confirmed what his US intelligence sources had told him: ‘The initial target was no doubt a target anyway, as it was described to me, as someone that they were interested in. And as they were planning this attack, a possible windfall from that is that it would shake Mehsud himself out of his hiding place.’

Up to 5,000 people attended Khwaz Wali Mehsud’s funeral that afternoon, including not only Taliban fighters but many civilians. US drones struck again, killing up to 83 people. As many as 45 were civilians, among them reportedly ten children and four tribal leaders. Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud escaped unharmed, dying six weeks later along with his wife in a fresh CIA attack.

Clive Stafford-Smith, the lawyer who heads the Anglo-US legal charity Reprieve, believes that such strikes ‘are like attacking the Red Cross on the battlefield. It’s not legitimate to attack anyone who is not a combatant.’

Christof Heyns, a South African law professor who is United Nations Special Rapporteur on Extra- judicial Executions, agrees. ‘Allegations of repeat strikes coming back after half an hour when medical personnel are on the ground are very worrying’, he said. ‘To target civilians would be crimes of war.’ Heyns is calling for an investigation into the Bureau’s findings.

[] :

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.

[] :

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.

[] :

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.

"We never know whether they are militants or civilians because if you look at the number of strikes and the number of casualties on the ground the militants do not figure very prominently," he said.

"Today ... there was the first strike by the drone in which six people were killed. Immediately after that people went to the rescue and as the rescue efforts were still underway the second strike took place, causing the death toll to rise to at least 15 people.

"This is likely to cause considerable anger because that rescue effort was an effort to save lives and as it came under attack it is likely to raise tensions between Pakistan and the US."

[] :

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — An airstrike believed to have been carried out by a United States drone killed at least 60 people at a funeral for a Taliban fighter in South Waziristan on Tuesday, residents of the area and local news reports said.

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 06/08/2012 01:03AM by Mulva.
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