The first rule of Fight Club?
You don’t talk about Fight Club.
Obama isn’t a member of Fight Club; he’s a member of Drone Club — which targets individuals in foreign lands, including American citizens and their families, for extrajudicial assassination by drone. And the first rule of Drone Club?
You don’t talk about it.
Apple has for the third time this month rejected an iPhone app which alerts the user to a drone attack and to the number of people killed. Drones+ enables those concerned to track the strikes to their handset.
This is no doubt an uncomfortable prospect for the US authorities, whose use of drones extends to Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia, where no war has been declared. Such drone strikes have killed more than 3,300 people in Pakistan alone since 2004, according to reports by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism.
Now we don’t know who made this decision, whether Apple thinks that citizens knowing of drone strikes is a national security risk, or whether Apple were leaned on by the CIA, NSA or Pentagon — though given that Obama has prosecuted more whistleblowers than all other Presidents combined, the latter wouldn’t be entirely unsurprising. Nonetheless, whatever the truth this is a very disturbing development — after all, how can we rightly judge the administration’s foreign and national security policy without having up to date facts?
Obama claims that the drone strikes are conducted on a very rigorous basis:
1 “It has to be a target that is authorised by our laws.”
2 “It has to be a threat that is serious and not speculative.”
3 “It has to be a situation in which we can’t capture the individual before they move forward on some sort of operational plot against the United States.”
4 “We’ve got to make sure that in whatever operations we conduct, we are very careful about avoiding civilian casualties.”
5 “That while there is a legal justification for us to try and stop [American citizens] from carrying out plots … they are subject to the protections of the Constitution and due process.”
At least two of those five points appear to be half-truths at best. In both Yemen and Pakistan, the CIA is allowed to launch a strike based on the target’s “signature” — that is, whether he appears to look and act like a terrorist. As senior U.S. officials have repeatedly confirmed, intelligence analysts don’t even have to know the target’s name, let alone whether he’s planning to attack the U.S. In some cases, merely being a military-aged male at the wrong place at the wrong time is enough to justify your death.
Micah Zenko adds:
What I found most striking was his claim that legitimate targets are a ‘threat that is serious and not speculative,’ and engaged in ‘some operational plot against the United States. The claim that the 3,000+ people killed in roughly 375 nonbattlefield targeted killings were all engaged in actual operational plots against the U.S. defies any understanding of the scope of what America has been doing for the past ten years.
Of course, just as worrying as the actual policy is the fact that the public widely approves of it.
The sharpest edges of President Obama’s counterterrorism policy, including the use of drone aircraft to kill suspected terrorists abroad and keeping open the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, have broad public support, including from the left wing of the Democratic Party.
A new Washington Post-ABC News poll shows that Obama, who campaigned on a pledge to close the brig in Cuba and to change national security policies he criticized as inconsistent with U.S. law and values, has little to fear politically for failing to live up to all of those promises.
The survey shows that 70 percent of respondents approve of Obama’s decision to keep open the prison at Guantanamo Bay. He pledged during his first week in office to close the prison within a year, but he has not done so.
Obama has also relied on armed drones far more than Bush did, and he has expanded their use beyond America’s defined war zones. The Post-ABC News poll found that 83 percent of Americans approve of Obama’s drone policy, which administration officials refuse to discuss, citing security concerns.
83%? It was George Lucas’ Princess Amidala who noted that freedom usually dies to thunderous applause.
Extrajudicial punishments are by their nature unlawful, since they bypass the due process of the legal jurisdiction in which they occur. Extrajudicial killings often target leading political, trade union, dissident, religious, and social figures and may be carried out by the state government or other state authorities like the armed forces and police.
I’d like to see Obama answering as to whether his sanctioning of extrajudicial killing resides within the rule of law.
Ben Swann wanted to know the same thing, but Obama wasn’t answering:
You don’t talk about Drone Club.
Aussie drones beat USA drones.
Don’t mess with our drones!
I have to say I support drones for things like firefighting, haha.
If you execute a successful drone strike, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American drone system that we have, that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in laser guided missiles and war propaganda. If you’ve got a drone — you didn’t drone that. Somebody else made that happen. Drones didn’t get invented on their own. Government research created drones so that all the companies could make money off them.
This makes me quite sad 😦
War is profitable, the millitary industrial complex manufactures wars and conflicts. Without conflicts and war governments and ruling elites find people are less easier to control (bread and circuses). Operation Gladio is in the public domain, and it refers to NATO terror cells who committed terror acts in Western Europe to pin the blame on Communists. Going further back Wall Street helped the Bolsheiviks and Hitler come to power. George Bush’s grandfather traded with Hitler and was ‘punished’. Technology is innovated through War. Welfare/Warfare drives the state. Apple, Microsoft, Cisco etc. even Oakley the makers of sunglasses has links with the millitary Industrial complex and benefits. Laws do not apply to the state, they can be bended, re-interpreted….nothing is out of bounds when you have a money printing factory and monopoly power.
They didn’t just trade with Hitler, they directly funded him.
Of course. It is very hard to start a political party, work in a newspaper for that matter, without “Support”
“Insanity in individuals is something rare – but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule.”
War is the ultimate expression of human social behavior, as almost all human social behavior is about the few taking from the many.
Every part of war is lunacy, drones included.
Drones are exponential lunacy.
Completely bogus arguments here. There would be no America or even Australia if you hadn’t “droned” out its past residents. Residents who lived there probably for a million years. Now you have 15 Trillion dollar economies on top of those.
War is primarily the only way to kill poverty. Imagine India suddenly wakes up and realizes Hey! That piece of land Australia is thrice our size and nine times as much natural resources but no people to actually use them. Slurp! All we have to do is unite with China and Russia and drive the few piddly millions that live there and transport them to New Zealand where they could have an equally good life.
Let’s just divide Australia among ourselves. India, China and Russia.
World poverty will be down 78%. In 20 years.
War is everything.
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@Aziz Extended my war as a replacement for econo-charlatanism argument all the way here 😉 Went too long but I think the idea now seems more interesting than I thought.
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Hello there! I’ve been checking this blog for awhile and I think it’s incredibly well-written.
I’m always looking forward to seeing a fresh post.