US Counterterrorism Official Says US Is 'The Angel Of Death' And Should Be Target Killing ISIS Tweeters

from the winning-hearts-and-minds dept

A few weeks ago there was a fair bit of controversy after a US drone-strike killed an ISIS "hacker" who was, among other things, popular on Twitter. While US officials tried to paint him as a much bigger deal behind the scenes, some are now admitting that he was just noisy online. ABC News is reporting on the supposed internal debate among US counterterrorism officials concerning how to best deal with ISIS Twitter users. Some are arguing that these guys are small time annoyances, while others are arguing that we should just straight up kill ISIS tweeters. This next quote is fairly incredible.
“We are the angel of death. This war is a propaganda war too. Why only limit it to military leaders? Should we be ignoring the propagandists that speak English and are tech savvy who know how to reach westerners?” a senior counter-terrorism official knowledgeable about the counter-ISIS strategy told ABC News. “I don't see why you would want to curtail either targeting strategy. This is also a war of ideas.”
And if you're running a propaganda war, do you really think the best strategy is to kill people for speaking their minds? That doesn't convince anyone to change the way they're thinking. It just radicalizes more people. Having US officials state "we are the angel of death" doesn't project anything other than pure bloodlust among US officials. It suggests a war where at least some US officials think the way to deal with ISIS is to stoop to their level -- by mindlessly killing people we don't agree with and assuming it's "fair game" so long as they've mouthed off online.

As for Junaid Hussain, the guy killed in that drone strike, the report confirms what we'd heard from a bunch of people: despite what US officials put out in the news about his death, the reality was he was just a guy with a Twitter account who was loud:
“Junaid Hussain was a Twitter noisemaker and a hack hacker. He wasn't a first disseminator on anything important, as far as I can tell. Nothing at all in his profile leads me to think he'd be close to the inner circle of leadership,” said “ISIS: The State of Terror” author J.M. Berger, who tracks jihadists online.
In the article, those defending killing ISIS tweeters claim that it makes sense because they believe that it somehow stops the recruitment of English-speaking individuals into ISIS:
“So the English-speaking ISIS guy that is removed, in a drone strike for example, could equal a thousand potential fighters who never self-radicalize and leave home,” said Anderson, who was a top aide and advisor to the current and former Secretaries of Defense.
Except there's an implicit assumption in there: that these Twitter accounts are successfully recruiting members of ISIS by the thousands. As we've pointed out before, the evidence suggests that, while the internet may play a part in radicalizing some individuals, it's likely a fairly small part. Your local (in person) social network is a much, much bigger factor, and almost no one is simply becoming radicalized because they started to follow an ISIS person online.

Either way, it's difficult to see how deciding to just start killing off people for being mouthy online is going to convince anyone who hates the US that they're somehow on the wrong track. It seems like it will only confirm their preheld opinions. But, you know, the "angel of death" apparently doesn't give a shit:
“Shoot your mouth off all you want. Eventually we are going to kill you,” the senior counter-terrorism official said.
I can't see how that makes us any safer. It seems like quite the opposite is likely.

Filed Under: counterterrorism, drones, extrajudicial killing, isis, propaganda, targets, tweets


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2015 @ 11:46am

    If he believes it's a "war of ideas", then he should know a war of ideas is not won with bombs - quite the opposite.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2015 @ 11:50am

    Holy crap, Mike. This is genuinely, seriously scary

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    • icon
      Mike Masnick (profile), 10 Sep 2015 @ 11:57am

      Re:

      Holy crap, Mike. This is genuinely, seriously scary


      Yes.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2015 @ 12:00pm

        Re: Re:

        Mike, that is the first time you have ever responded to one of my posts. I'm touched!

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2015 @ 12:02pm

        Re: Re:

        now that I went back and read the article AFTER my knee jerk reaction I have to say...

        Which one? This claim could be just as BS as the Turd making it for all we know? Give us a name or we should consider this nothing more than BS itself!

        Anyone can say "A Senior Official" then make up an eye raising quote!

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2015 @ 2:51pm

        Re: Re:

        Not really.

        The real question is, are we (as in 'Western civilization') at war? There are plenty of people who think we are, not all of them crazy right wingers.

        If you are at war, it's very, very hard to have grayzones if you actually want to win. And if you look at every single major conflict in the last 50 years, instruments of propaganda were targeted.

        There is also a case to be made that, in order to achieve victory, you must use any means at your disposal (within some philosophical boundaries, e.g. Geneva convention, etc.) - this is how WW2 was won, by being all in. That includes doing a lot of unpleasant, immoral, unpalatable things like carpet bombing civilians & dropping nuclear bombs (not that I'm suggesting this, it's just the extreme end).

        If we are not at war, what are we doing? Containment, support, pushback? And what are the limits? The opposition believes it is at war with the 'West' and is willing use any means at their disposal to win, including rape, torture, chemicals weapons and wholesale slaughter of people they disagree with. Never mind ethnic & cultural cleansing.

        I'm not sure there is actually a moral high ground here, perhaps it's time for people to stop & think about what is the correct reaction to a group of people hell-bent killing anyone who disagrees with them in any way possible. It probably comes down to whether or not one thinks a bunch of 'crazies' in some 'far away' geo actually represent a (long/short term) existential threat to 'Western civilization'. I'm not sure, you can cogently argue it either way and I can also see an argument for not waiting to find out if the 'crazies' can mount a cogent offensive on Europe.

        And if anyone believes that this can be contained to a particular geography, well, I think that is probably not what the other side is thinking... It's actually not that far away if you are in Europe - Paris -> Baghdad is about the same distance as LA to NYC....

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        • icon
          Uriel-238 (profile), 10 Sep 2015 @ 3:14pm

          "At war"

          plenty of people think is a greyzone.

          If the US was at war, and wanted to actually win we'd actually have a set of conditions by which we defined victory.

          We haven't defined victory conditions. We don't even have a proper defined enemy in the Wars on Terror and on Drugs. Pretty much they're just a way to expend taxpayer dollars and wreck some ordinary lives.

          it's time for people to stop & think about what is the correct reaction to a group of people hell-bent killing anyone who disagrees with them in any way possible

          Maybe remove them from office and reform our electorate system so that we can put someone more reasonable into office?

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        • icon
          steell (profile), 10 Sep 2015 @ 5:01pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          You are so confused. First off, can you name the State that we are fighting? Before you answer, look up the definition of "State", and while you're there, look up "Nation".
          If you've done that, then we can discuss how we fight a Nation that is scattered throughout other Nations, and several States. We are fighting a non State supported enemy, one that has no defining uniforms, few fixed locations, and is the same race as everyone else in that area.
          You refer to wars between States, and try to compare them to a war between States and a rogue Nation. Apples and Oranges.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2015 @ 11:53am

    Do something about the people who started the problems.

    The quickest way to end radicalization is for bush/clinton/cheney to be hung for treason and for the world to see it. If the rest of the world saw that we too want to get rid of our bad actors maybe they would consider doing the same.

    We cant claim more holy than thou status in this world with those 3 still alive and running free.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2015 @ 11:56am

      Re: Do something about the people who started the problems.

      the fact that you ONLY mentioned those three means that you are a fundamental turd that should be ignored, far more deserve it and you left out the scum from YOUR side which means you are a worthless servant incapable of seeing the evil in your own masters.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2015 @ 12:29pm

        Re: Re: Do something about the people who started the problems.

        These men are mere figureheads, they don't make decisions.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2015 @ 1:35pm

          Re: Re: Re: Do something about the people who started the problems.

          In this case, it is OKAY to shoot the messenger. They do in fact HAVE the power, just because they chose to whore it out makes no difference.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 11 Sep 2015 @ 11:12am

          Re: Re: Re: Do something about the people who started the problems.

          You'd like to think so. Some Presidents decide more than others. The Decider in Chief was probably the least deciding one, that's for sure.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2015 @ 11:58am

      Re: Do something about the people who started the problems.

      I'm no fan of Bush/Clinton/Cheney, but you can't ignore Obama's role in this, too. He's the one leading these people right now, and has been for years. Extrajudicial killings...I'm sorry, I think the word is "assassinations"...are occurring under his authority.

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      • icon
        Uriel-238 (profile), 10 Sep 2015 @ 3:19pm

        Extrajudicial...

        I'm pretty sure that at the point we were extrajudicially detaining and interrogating it was only a matter of time that extrajudicial murder would be next on the list.

        Obama is Same as the old boss. But so is whoever gets elected in 2016. They'll be pro-torture, pro-surveillance, pro-police-state.

        Too many people still believe the election matters for that to change. Maybe we'll have to go through a few more presidents as in order for reform to happen, peaceful or otherwise. So long as we don't care a wit until our own kin are suffering in the status quo critical mass is going to be hard to reach.

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        • icon
          art guerrilla (profile), 10 Sep 2015 @ 4:56pm

          Re: Extrajudicial...

          well, here is the nub of the problem: when you make lying, cheating, stealing, torturing, assassination 'acceptable' AND common; *how long* -greedtard 1%- do you think it takes for the 99% to go 'heh, now wait a minute: if assassination of someone you merely don't like is no big deal...'

          just *where* did you think this would end up, 1% freetards ? ? ?

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 11 Sep 2015 @ 11:15am

          Re: Extrajudicial...

          Not if Bernie Sanders. And he's actually causing Hillary to lie (ie suddenly take Sanders positions on domestic issues) because he's getting way more % in the polls than ever imagined. He's no Dennis Kucinich, who lost because of redistricting, his foreign policy is murky, he just won't speak about it..which is a bit annoying. But he's the least scary person who is going for presidency right now, by magnitudes. He's an independent who runs as Democrat only because it's impossible to win presidency as an independent.

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          • icon
            Uriel-238 (profile), 11 Sep 2015 @ 11:24am

            Call me a complete cynic

            On the event that Sanders got into office, I doubt he'll be able to do anything to redirect the lumbering plod of the machine. Most likely he'll be like Carter, well-meaning yet frustrated with the system's inertia.

            If Sanders could surprise me and create actual reform, I would gleefully eat crow for it. Tasty crow.

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            • icon
              nasch (profile), 11 Sep 2015 @ 11:36am

              Re: Call me a complete cynic

              On the event that Sanders got into office, I doubt he'll be able to do anything to redirect the lumbering plod of the machine.

              I think some things he could change. I would think he could alter the drone strike program immediately. If there are still secret prisons and torture and so on, that would take longer to deal with. Congress has made it clear they'll do everything in their power to make closing the Guantanamo Bay prison difficult, so that would be a problem.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 11 Sep 2015 @ 2:29am

        Re: Re: Do something about the people who started the problems.

        Most drone strikes then previous presidencies COMBINED

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        • icon
          nasch (profile), 11 Sep 2015 @ 6:16am

          Re: Re: Re: Do something about the people who started the problems.

          Most drone strikes then previous presidencies COMBINED

          That is not surprising since drone strikes are a recent invention.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 11 Sep 2015 @ 11:16am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Do something about the people who started the problems.

            There were many during Bush Jr., they just didn't have the same policies as Obama regarding them.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2015 @ 12:02pm

      Re: Do something about the people who started the problems.

      Woah, woah, woah... no pointing fingers. Killing a few people won't help solve any problems (in fact it might make things worse). We need to find a way to tell our "Public Servants" that if we don't like what they're doing they get the boot not the bullet.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2015 @ 12:17pm

        Re: Re: Do something about the people who started the problems.

        You're right, killing a few people won't help solve any problems. Let's kill LOTS of people. Maybe that will work!

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        • icon
          Uriel-238 (profile), 10 Sep 2015 @ 3:31pm

          Extrajudicial genocide?

          Boy are we going to be sorry when the whistleblower pops up and tells us our nation's been doing that since twenty-aught-something.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2015 @ 11:54am

    scum is amoung us

    and this dood is making it clear he is one of them!

    He should be removed from any position of power expeditiously!

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  • identicon
    avideogameplayer, 10 Sep 2015 @ 11:57am

    So they wanna kill off the 1st Amendment while their at it?

    Oh wait...

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  • icon
    Sheogorath (profile), 10 Sep 2015 @ 11:57am

    Amendment I
    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

    “Shoot your mouth off all you want. Eventually we are going to kill you,” the senior counter-terrorism official said.
    No, I'm not seeing the contradiction. /s

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2015 @ 12:01pm

    If you voice an opinion that is not in line with the present elite ruling class approved talking points ...

    That's a droning - Bamo, Kablammie!

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  • icon
    ysth (profile), 10 Sep 2015 @ 12:10pm

    Self-radicalization poaching

    The drone-struck ISIS tweeter should have known better; only the FBI is allowed to self-radicalize American youth.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2015 @ 12:15pm

    Once again, the US government is declaring "the ends justify the means". That's the slogan of tyrannies everywhere.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 11 Sep 2015 @ 11:27am

      Re:

      Wouldn't say U.S. government...a big scary faction of policy makers. They were supposed to be all fired, these leftovers from Bush Jr. times, weren't they? Why is Victoria Nuland, the wife of PNAC/Clean Break signatory chickenhawk Robert Kagan still at the State Dept? And the CIA guys? Even the only decent Defens--War Secretary he had was a Republican, and his aides (Obama's) had him sacked in a little more than a year.

      Obviously, the no-war-for-israel Generals and high-level senators of both camps (the guy was a Senator before being War Secretary, you know who I'm talking about, he stayed so shortly I blank on his name right now.

      He probably was totally mad at the fact that with their satellites they could have located the ISIL convoy to Iraq back in 2013 and throw 4-5 Tomahawks and that would have been the end of it. But no...John McCain is BFF with IS leaders, photos available, it's not as classy as the Reagan mujahideen photo op, but its there, McCain with al-Baghdadi (not his real name).

      At least i'm confident about the future since all these leftovers neocons strategies are failing, only "succeeded" in destroying the wealthiest nation of Africa because Russia and China didn't vote at the security council..had Putin been President then (I think Medvedev was still the President during the Lybia assault), it wouldn't have happened. They're failing in Ukraine, they're failing with the TPP, they're failing themselves at the banks, so deluded they can't see it and they're failing at making Asian nations and Europe hate on China. That AIIB bank is mighty attractive compared to what the US brings, which is destruction, destabilisation and moral bankruptcy, these people are no better than IS members.

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      • icon
        nasch (profile), 11 Sep 2015 @ 11:38am

        Re: Re:

        He probably was totally mad at the fact that with their satellites they could have located the ISIL convoy to Iraq back in 2013 and throw 4-5 Tomahawks and that would have been the end of it.

        I think it's become clear that blowing stuff up in the Middle East is never the end of it.

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  • identicon
    That One Other Not So Random Guy, 10 Sep 2015 @ 12:19pm

    Angel of Death

    Auschwitz, the meaning of pain
    The way that I want you to die
    Slow death, immense decay
    Showers that cleanse you of your life
    Forced in Like cattle You run
    Stripped of Your life's worth
    Human mice, for the Angel of Death
    Four hundred thousand more to die

    Angel of Death
    Monarch to the kingdom of the dead
    Sadistic, surgeon of demise
    Sadist of the noblest blood

    Destroying, without mercy
    To benefit the Aryan race

    Surgery, with no anesthesia
    Feel the knife pierce you intensely
    Inferior, no use to mankind
    Strapped down screaming out to die
    Angel of Death
    Monarch to the kingdom of the dead
    Infamous butcher,
    Angel of Death

    Pumped with fluid, inside your brain
    Pressure in your skull begins pushing through your eyes
    Burning flesh, drips away
    Test of heat burns your skin, your mind starts to boil
    Frigid cold, cracks your limbs
    How long can you last
    In this frozen water burial?
    Sewn together, joining heads
    Just a matter of time
    'Til you rip yourselves apart
    Millions laid out in their
    Crowded tombs
    Sickening ways to achieve
    The holocaust
    Seas of blood, bury life
    Smell your death as it burns
    Deep inside of you
    Abacinate, eyes that bleed
    Praying for the end of
    Your wide awake nightmare
    Wings of pain, reach out for you
    His face of death staring down,
    Your blood running cold
    Injecting cells, dying eyes
    Feeding on the screams of
    The mutants he's creating
    Pathetic harmless victims
    Left to die
    Rancid Angel of Death
    Flying free

    Angel of Death
    Monarch to the kingdom of the dead
    Infamous butcher,
    Angel of Death

    Angel of Death

    Do they remember WHO ELSE they used to call the Angel of Death?

    Godwin's Law in full effect.

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  • icon
    crade (profile), 10 Sep 2015 @ 12:20pm

    Isn't saying you have to prevent your opponent from speaking in order to win an argument basically just admitting defeat?

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2015 @ 12:30pm

      Re:

      Honestly once we started killing people with our armed forces without actually declaring war, we became the problem. There is a reason why the war on drugs is still ongoing. It is a straw man war without real foes or goals. The war on terror has just as much chance of solving anything. Giving up rights to gain freedom makes as much sense as draining your blood to cure dehydration.

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      • identicon
        Cheney, 10 Sep 2015 @ 12:47pm

        Re: Re:

        Excellent

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2015 @ 1:47pm

        Re: Re:

        agree here, we should not be striking or targeting people in other nations unless there is an official declaration of war by congress.... funny how everyone just fudges those laws so much that capital hill has become one huge shit streak!

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2015 @ 2:56pm

        Re: Re:

        The problem with this line of thinking is that the 'other side' would love nothing more than a declaration of war - it would legitimize them in the eyes of their followers.

        I'm not saying the current situation is right, far from it, but it's also important to understand the side-effects of actions (which seems to be a huge blindspot for many decision makers...).

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2015 @ 3:33pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          About the only difference between the US governments and ISIS is whether they are elected or not. In both cases the leadership is self selecting and believe that they can make people comply with their wishes and ideology by using force.

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      • icon
        nasch (profile), 10 Sep 2015 @ 3:33pm

        Re: Re:

        Honestly once we started killing people with our armed forces without actually declaring war, we became the problem.

        So 1950? Could be.

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  • identicon
    the firstborn son of Pharaoh, 10 Sep 2015 @ 12:25pm

    so it's come to this

    ...moses didn't tell poppa about the blood thing...

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2015 @ 12:32pm

    We should know who this asshat is, and who he works for.

    " a senior counter-terrorism official knowledgeable about the counter-ISIS strategy told ABC News."

    Without identifying the source this is just words. Journalism, ABC, journalism.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2015 @ 12:36pm

      Re:

      We should know who this asshat is, and who he works for.
      But his opinions are so radical that if his name and location were known, he'd be at risk of a drone strike.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2015 @ 12:37pm

    this dovetails a little too nicely with that story on the west point instructor.

    are these indications of a broader mindset among those kinds of people?  is this in some way related to the militarization so much in vogue in today's police units?  their apparent desire to be judge/jury/executioner all in one neat package?

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    • identicon
      GEMont, 17 Sep 2015 @ 4:49pm

      Re:

      Obviously his "resume" was accepted by the Fascist War Machine called the USG, and he was hired - secretly of course - to manufacture internal "policy".

      Angel of Death Indeed.
      Funny how these things keep coming back full circle eh. :)

      "The only way we will be able to defeat the next Evil Empire, is if we become the next Evil Empire."

      ---

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2015 @ 12:45pm

    >This war is a propaganda war too
    >This war

    Calling this a war has is a healthy dose of propaganda in and of itself. There hasn't even been congressional authorization. The executive branch is unchecked, leading us into an endless conflict without defined objectives, democratic debate, or respect for human rights and international standards.

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    • identicon
      GEMont, 17 Sep 2015 @ 5:03pm

      Re:

      The Bush Dynasty was selected as the best candidate to start A Thousand Year War - the Fascist Wet Dream.

      They were after all, staunch supporters of the German Fascist Movement, assisting in the laundering of war spoils through their banks.

      The great part about a War on Terror, is that one can manufacture one's enemy from whole cloth, as needed, and deploy them when and where they will do the most good, without the worry of an actual enemy disrupting your plans.

      All of the subsequent selections for POTUS will be employed by the same masters, to insure the Bush Dynasty efforts were not in vain and to date, this plan has succeeded completely, albeit slower than anticipated, due to such setbacks as the internet and whistleblowers.

      A 1000 years of war will allow the complete redesigning of the American Dream, into the Capitalist Dream, because nothing hides corporate crimes more successfully than war.

      And the American population will be reprogrammed "for its own good" as part of the war effort, and they will, for the most part, accept that reprogramming willingly rather than be seen as unpatriotic.

      It has always been thus.

      ---

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  • icon
    Blackfiredragon13 (profile), 10 Sep 2015 @ 12:50pm

    Hypocritical at best

    In country quite literally built on the idea of free speech and expression it's disturbing to see something that's about as far from it as possible.

    Another thing that concerns me, to what extent are they considering people to be pro-Isis? If I criticize the US' foreign policies and their "double tap" drone strike methods/tactics, will I get labeled as "pro-Isis" and have to worry about being a target?

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2015 @ 1:55pm

      Re: Hypocritical at best

      Perhaps not YET, but in the future no one can say for certain.
      In fact, making the comment now may not guarantee your safety in the future when the NSA filters through its archives of logs to figure out who to purge.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2015 @ 10:23pm

      Re: Hypocritical at best

      No worries, you are already labeled as a dissident simply for visiting this site and any others that show any type of criticism for the ruling party.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 11 Sep 2015 @ 2:42am

      Re: Hypocritical at best

      Thats exactly where they want this to ever so subtlely go

      Sickos

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  • icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 10 Sep 2015 @ 12:56pm

    People like this man our counterterrorism efforts.

    It's not new or extraordinary, as we have a lot of people who like to think in terms of Black and White, Right and Wrong so it's going to make sense that some of them are going to land themselves into administrative positions.

    I'm not sure if it would be right or feasible to screen for that.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2015 @ 1:34pm

      Re: People like this man our counterterrorism efforts.

      Party politics is a belief system, just like a religion, so you should not be surprised that it attracts extremists who wish to force their beliefs on others.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2015 @ 10:22pm

      Re: People like this man our counterterrorism efforts.

      you forget many of them believe in the whole it is not a crime when we do it only when those we say are our enemies do it.

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      • icon
        Uriel-238 (profile), 11 Sep 2015 @ 12:49am

        It's not a crime when the victim is the enemy.

        I suspect that if the enemy were to do the same to them their opinion might not change.

        Because the US tortures, because the US murders and because the US massacres with disregard to non-combatants it has become a more grotesque monster than that which attacked the US on 2001-09-11.

        Given what we have justified towards no clear ends, we are no longer in any position to complain what is justified to topple the US and the people that choose its administrators.

        This anonymous official despite his intent (or ABC News') has verified to the enemy that they should give us no quarter, for none will be given to them. And anyone who was unsure if they were regarded as enemy of the US need doubt no longer.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 11 Sep 2015 @ 6:05am

      Re: People like this man our counterterrorism efforts.

      Even worse, the election process currently screens out people who don't.

      Have a voting or policy history with even one slip in blind, constant support for [insert issue here]? -> you are unreliable and no one with clout will back you.
      Have the ability to reason about things, hear arguments, and change your position later? -> "flip-flopper".
      Make public appearances and try to have more nuance than repeating three catchphrases until you are hoarse? -> the public doesn't understand your position.

      And so on.

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  • icon
    limbodog (profile), 10 Sep 2015 @ 1:02pm

    Q.

    In a war, is an army recruiter a legitimate target?

    ISIS is fighting a war. The fact that they do not have a country to speak of, or wear uniforms worth noting does not change this.

    If the tweeter in question was taking orders from ISIS to recruit people and spread propaganda, then he's a member of ISIS just as if he *were* wearing a uniform.

    If he's just some idiot who thinks ISIS is cool because they get to rape women all day and murder infidels at night, then he's just a psychotic idiot.

    It's not a particularly comforting distinction, but the line has to be drawn and drawn clearly.

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    • icon
      Mike Masnick (profile), 10 Sep 2015 @ 1:39pm

      Re: Q.

      In a war, is an army recruiter a legitimate target?

      ISIS is fighting a war. The fact that they do not have a country to speak of, or wear uniforms worth noting does not change this.


      The US Congress has not declared war. So far, all we have is the AUMF, which authorized military action against those who perpetrated 9/11. ISIS was not even around then and they are fighting against Al Qaeda who actually did perpetrate 9/11.

      So, there's no official "war" here. Just the US randomly killing people we don't like.

      Declare war and perhaps it's a different story. But we have not.

      Either way, specifically targeting people for their speech, rather than their actions... you don't think that's problematic, even in war time?

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      • icon
        Pronounce (profile), 10 Sep 2015 @ 2:19pm

        SkyNet Can't Be Worse

        I don't believe that when we hit The Singularity the machine functioning AI is going to waste resources on drone killing humans. Not when it's possible to engineer a CRISPR/cas9 bacterium that could selectively target specific biological life forms and not others.

        The Terminator franchise assumed the AI would be like us. This is quite doubtful, I think.

        It is much more likely that the SkyNet shown in the movies was operated by a military contractor.

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        • icon
          Uriel-238 (profile), 10 Sep 2015 @ 2:37pm

          Re: SkyNet Can't Be Worse

          I'm pretty sure that Skynet would find human beings manipulable enough to utilize or make comfortable as we wile away our last days.

          That way, they don't have to override any humans-are-sacred code we might have inserted in there.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2015 @ 3:04pm

        Re: Re: Q.

        As I replied above, a declaration of war (which is, let's face it, largely a political nicety) would legitimize the other side in a way that they have not had yet. It would say, 'you are an existential threat to the United States' and that would like have the opposite effect.

        And, really, it's the Europeans, Gulf States, Turkey and others who are directly threatened by ISIS who should be declaring war, not necessarily the US.

        And, if you are at war, all enemy targets are legitimate targets - speech is just as powerful a weapon as any gun, perhaps more so - which is why Lord Haw Haw was such a threat to the British in WW2 - more people were listening to his propaganda at some point than were listening to the BBC.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 11 Sep 2015 @ 6:18am

          Re: Re: Re: Q.

          This is stupid logic.

          Its like saying that we cannot legitimize criminals with due process or we risk admitting they are human fucking beings so therefore we should just have officers shoot them on sight.

          O wait, people with YOUR Logic already serve in law enforcement.

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      • icon
        limbodog (profile), 11 Sep 2015 @ 8:07am

        Re: Re: Q.

        >there's no official "war" here. Just the US randomly killing people we don't like. Declare war and perhaps it's a different story. But we have not.

        Really? That's what would make it ok to you? An official declaration? To me, the important criteria is that ISIS is on a murderous raping rampage specifically targeting civilians and we have the power to stop them.

        >Either way, specifically targeting people for their speech, rather than their actions... you don't think that's problematic, even in war time?

        I wouldn't use the world 'problematic'. I would simply say it requires caution. A person saying they think the enemy has valid points is not a legitimate target due to their speech. A person on a cell phone directing mortar strikes is, even though all he's doing is speaking. Remember, military officers rarely use their weapons, they're almost exclusively in the 'speech' camp.

        Again, I think speech is important to protect, but "all he was doing was speaking" is not a get out of jail free card.

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        • icon
          nasch (profile), 11 Sep 2015 @ 8:18am

          Re: Re: Re: Q.

          That's what would make it ok to you? An official declaration? To me, the important criteria is that ISIS is on a murderous raping rampage specifically targeting civilians and we have the power to stop them.

          The point of a declaration of war is that two branches of government have agreed on the need for military action. Or at least one of the main points.

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      • icon
        tqk (profile), 11 Sep 2015 @ 8:59am

        Re: Re: Q.

        Either way, specifically targeting people for their speech, rather than their actions... you don't think that's problematic, even in war time?

        I don't why you find this problematic. Propaganda's been used as a weapon of war forever. This includes the Bible.

        There were official mouthpieces in both Japan and Germany whose job was to sow dissension in the ranks of the enemy. This even became a powerful meme in many Hollywood movies. I believe Germany's was a Brit who was even tried at Nuremburg after the war. I don't recall what happened to Japan's, but there were some who insisted she was forced to do it against her will.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 11 Sep 2015 @ 11:38am

          Re: Re: Re: Q.

          First difference: they were tried at a court (even if it may be a sham, at least they went through the procedure). They weren't assassinated by your special forces or their homes bombed.

          Also, that person was tried in Nuremberg as a british national turned to the enemy; not because he engaged in propaganda. I'm not sure if the same result would have been reached if the person was German, for example, because he's not subject to US or British laws, and propaganda isn't considered a war crime.

          And remember that applying justice retroactively (let's say, you conquer the other country and then decide to put them to a trial for things done in the past, like propaganda) goes against the UDHR. At worst, they'd get the same treatment as prisoners of war (you got to release the soldiers after the end of hostilities, as long as no war crime charges are upon them, I guess).


          Secondly, the problematic part of that is that well, if we target their propaganda and recruitment centers, and we claim they are legitimate targets; the same can be done to us.

          Things like the Charlie Hebdo strikes would be legitimized, as they could claim that they were doing anti-ISIS propaganda and thus, it's not terrorism but warfare.


          A tweet, a blog, a magazine, a comment talking against ISIS would make you a legitimate target of their actions. You wouldn't be killed by terrorist, but by an enemy.

          Name it: newspapers, TV stations, studios, magazines, blogs, tweets, people who host them (you know, it would be legitimate to blow up Sillicon Valley?)... all of them could be added as participants in that propaganda.

          Also, what would be the border there? According to some, even speaking against what the US is doing in war zones should be considered an act of terrorism. In fact, in warfare times, even speaking against the war itself has been considered as an act by the enemy.


          So yeah, I agree with Mike that is pretty problematic to be targeted for your speech. For starters, because it goes against the Human Rights Chart.

          Secondly, because freedom of speech is shown when even the most hateful speech is allowed, not when you allow speech you agree with.

          And third, because anyone would have carte blanche to kill any civilian involved in a war. In short, in WWII, if the Allied forces would have wanted to exterminate all Germans and Japanese, it would have been legitimate to do so because all of them had a part in the enemy's actions against your country. In the end, if you target a tweet for recruiting people for the enemy, you should also kill the worker that made the clothes or the food that the army is using, shouldn't you?

          And finally: speech is fought with speech, not with bombs. Using bombs on civilians makes you a terrorist, a war criminal or a genocyde. Either of them is bad.

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          • icon
            Uriel-238 (profile), 11 Sep 2015 @ 12:33pm

            GЁNΘCŸƉĒ

            Genocidist? Genocide Advocate? Genocyde sounds like a German metal band.

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          • icon
            tqk (profile), 11 Sep 2015 @ 1:25pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Q.

            First difference: they were tried at a court (even if it may be a sham, at least they went through the procedure). They weren't assassinated by your special forces or their homes bombed.

            Not for want of trying. My dad was a tail-gunner in one of the B-17s that were carpet bombing Germany.

            BTW, I'm not suggesting I approve of this stuff. I hate the fact that civilians can be considered legitimate targets of war. That's a race to the bottom that no-one should want. That was the worst part of 9/11 for me. Those towers weren't a military installation, and those passengers in the planes weren't soldiers, nor were the first responders who were also killed in their collapse. The Pentagon was arguably a legit target, but not with a plane full of civvies.
            ... if we target their propaganda and recruitment centers, and we claim they are legitimate targets; the same can be done to us.

            Like the Pentagon, I think they are legit targets. Not Twitter, et al, but recruitment centers and official mouthpieces of the regime (VoA?) are part of the regime's propaganda machine.
            Things like the Charlie Hebdo strikes would be legitimized, as they could claim that they were doing anti-ISIS propaganda and thus, it's not terrorism but warfare.

            No, because CH was civilians. They were expressing their ideas, not assisting in physically assaulting anyone. Even if they were supportive of the regime that is, they're civilians, not military, and not valid targets of war.
            According to some, even speaking against what the US is doing in war zones should be considered an act of terrorism.

            Yeah, and that's insane in a country that has freedom of speech in its primary document of law. People thought Jane Fonda should have been tried for treason, but if you let your military decide what's right or wrong, you may as well just burn that Constitution because it won't be needed any longer.
            In short, in WWII, if the Allied forces would have wanted to exterminate all Germans and Japanese, it would have been legitimate to do so because all of them had a part in the enemy's actions against your country.

            And that is what's wrong! The Nazis taking power in Germany shouldn't make everyone who failed to stop them complicit in their crimes. What power do we have to stop Obama's drone warfare, or the Neocons' regime change machinations? None whatsoever! Neither did civilians in Germany and Japan.

            "Game Of Thrones" is a great title for that series. It's warring gangs fighting each other using us as cannon fodder. We civilians shouldn't be made complicit in their crimes when all we want to do is survive their game.

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            • icon
              nasch (profile), 11 Sep 2015 @ 1:44pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Q.

              No, because CH was civilians. They were expressing their ideas, not assisting in physically assaulting anyone. Even if they were supportive of the regime that is, they're civilians, not military, and not valid targets of war.

              That seems a bit too convenient. We can't really tell who is civilian and who is military since we're not fighting another nation. So we can target whoever we think is fighting us by any means, but they can only target our military.

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              • icon
                tqk (profile), 11 Sep 2015 @ 4:38pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Q.

                That seems a bit too convenient. We can't really tell who is civilian and who is military since we're not fighting another nation. So we can target whoever we think is fighting us by any means, but they can only target our military.

                Our guys are wearing uniforms, making it easy for the enemy. If we want to call ourselves the good guys, we need to go the extra distance to determine combatants from civilians. The military has a responsibility to protect innocents, not just kill the enemy, else what's the point of war in the first place?

                Spies not wearing uniforms can be shot on sight. They're not covered by Geneva Conventions. In Vietnam, that little kid running towards you offering a hug could have a live grenade her mother clipped under her dress. That's a horrible situation for a soldier to find theirself in.

                War is hell, as it should be. The only way to win is not to play. The point of it is to win peace for civilians to live in peace. Otherwise, you're the aggressor, and everyone should be piling onto the effort to destroy you.

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                • icon
                  nasch (profile), 11 Sep 2015 @ 5:24pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Q.

                  If we want to call ourselves the good guys, we need to go the extra distance to determine combatants from civilians.

                  I agree, and that seems totally contrary to what these officials are saying about killing civilians.

                  Spies not wearing uniforms can be shot on sight. They're not covered by Geneva Conventions.

                  I don't think that's correct.

                  "The Geneva Conventions apply in wars between two or more sovereign states. Article 5 of the Third Geneva Convention states that the status of a detainee may be determined by a "competent tribunal". Until such time, he must be treated as a prisoner of war."

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 11 Sep 2015 @ 3:31pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Q.

              The thing is that the guy in the article states this (and that's what we are finding problematic):

              "Why only limit it to military leaders? Should we be ignoring the propagandists that speak English and are tech savvy who know how to reach westerners?"

              That sounds to me as they are targeting civilians. Moreover considering how broad the term "propagandists that speak English and are tech savvy is" it could include a lot of people, including twitter accounts and depending who you ask to, even people who speak against the US actions (such as the aforementioned reporters).


              And yeah, one thing is targeting legitimate or semi-legitimate targets (military or involved with the military, such as the Pentagon).

              I'm not sure if recruitment centers would be legitimate targets: while they are part of the military apparatus, they are potential fighting forces, not full-fledged ones. If being potential is an issue, remember that depending on where the threshold is, civilians could also count as "potential fighting forces".


              Still, I don't consider propaganda as legitimate targets, precisely because of that extense post. Newspapers, blogs, twitter accounts, magazines, TV stations, shows, reporters... all of them could be part of the propaganda machine one day or other. You're killing a person just because he supports a cause, and that's pretty much what we mean with it being problematic, at least.

              And btw, just because they wanted to kill them doesn't mean that the actions were legitimate or whatever: they also want to kill Assange and Snowden (and pretty much every whistleblower on the planet, that btw, are civilians) and pretty much, anyone that still keeps his sanity is against such actions.


              "What power do we have to stop Obama's drone warfare, or the Neocons' regime change machinations?"

              Well, we probably have more power in our hands than Germans and Japanese had, but well, my point was that following the logic that targeting "propagandists" is legit, then killing every person that supports that war machine is legit.

              Oh, and btw, Hitler was actually supported by the Germans: they were pretty desperate due to the debt and measures taken in the Versailles Treaties. Their alternative was pretty much keeping with high unemployment rates and poverty all around. Pretty much like Greece is now.

              Desperate people take desperate measures.

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              • icon
                tqk (profile), 11 Sep 2015 @ 7:32pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Q.

                Oh, and btw, Hitler was actually supported by the Germans ...

                Arguable. The Nazis got in mostly through lots of luck and very lucky timing. The great depression was on, the existing leader was senile and very old, the Russian Bolsheviks were scaring the crap out of those in power (especially the British & Churchill), and Hitler was surrounded by smart opportunists who were determined to find chinks in the system. Others (ie. Ayn Rand) also blamed it on centuries of Germans being conditioned by "collectivist philosophers" to follow strong men and tyrants in support of nationalism.

                I'm amazed Stalin never read Mein Kampf. You'd think the commies would have had someone to handle such things. I guess they were too busy collectivizing Kulaks.

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 11 Sep 2015 @ 3:52pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Q.

              "That's a race to the bottom that no-one should want. That was the worst part of 9/11 for me. Those towers weren't a military installation, and those passengers in the planes weren't soldiers, nor were the first responders who were also killed in their collapse."

              Forgot about this. And yeah, you're right in that.

              And yet the question is: who started that race? Because, you know, Al Qaeda (like the ISIS) wasn't created by Divine Providence, they say that the US had a part in that.

              And the US has been using Middle East as a playground for a long time. And when I say playground I include bombings, killing civilians, creating poverty, provoking wars, providing weapons (they provided weapons to Iraq too in the 80's) and other things that are pretty much frowned upon.

              You know what's the core of the Geneva Conventions?

              "You don't do this, I don't do this either. You do this, I do this too."

              "You kill my civilians, I kill yours." - that's the core of the 4th Geneva Conventions.


              Civilians are not at fault at wars, sure. But that includes all civilians, not only ours.

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              • icon
                nasch (profile), 11 Sep 2015 @ 5:18pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Q.

                "You kill my civilians, I kill yours." - that's the core of the 4th Geneva Conventions.

                I don't see anything about that in the Wikipedia article. Do you have a reference to a particular section of the convention that endorses killing civilians in retaliation? If anything, parts of it seem to state the exact opposite of what you claim:

                "Article 33. No persons may be punished for an offense he or she has not personally committed. Collective penalties and likewise all measures of intimidation or of terrorism are prohibited.
                Pillage is prohibited.
                Reprisals against persons and their property are prohibited."

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                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 11 Sep 2015 @ 8:29pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Q.

                  That's what the text says and what should be applied.

                  When I say the core I mean, the reality behind it, the reasoning if you want. Most warfare conventions (such as the old conventions about not torturing officers/nobles and them getting preferential treatment) were respected with the basis that if you started butchering the other country's nobles, yours would meet the same fate.

                  In short: Conventions that aren't respected make for a perfect toilet paper for when you feel constipated. Or if you want, Conventions are respected so that we can avoid precisely that.

                  Technically speaking, you're right.

                  The reality is that one of the sides ends up justifying their war crimes in a way or another (they had WMDs, they were a military sound target, smart bombs don't kill civilians... rings a bell?) and such things get unpunished.

                  Now lets see: one of the countries kills civilians, but the aforementioned country doesn't get punished as years pass. What are the options of the other country when the courts ignore them?

                  Keep with the "I don't kill your civilians even if you're butchering mine. And don't worry, I'll keep going to those international courts that happen to be either controlled by you, or that don't have the power to prosecute your citizens; and do nothing, even if my citizens are being turned into McWhoppers."?

                  I think not. They end up ignoring Geneva Conventions because they are nothing but a farce for them. So yeah, that Article 33 gets turned into your favourite brand of ass-wipe.

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              • icon
                tqk (profile), 11 Sep 2015 @ 8:01pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Q.

                And yet the question is: who started that race?

                That's what "chicken vs. egg" tries, and fails, to explain. We can blame Reagan for creating al Quaida, or we can blame the Soviets for invading Afghanistan, or we can blame Karl Marx, or we can blame various princes and kings for feudalism, or Ghengis Khan, or Lucy in Olduvai Gorge (if only they'd stayed in Africa, none of this mess would be happening!) ...

                Just keep moving forward. That !@#$ wasn't our doing, and we should be able to do better knowing what we know now.

                And the US has been using Middle East as a playground for a long time.

                Yeah, and not just the Middle East, and not just the US. Since Biblical times, then the Crusades, then jerks (diplomats) drawing lines on maps.
                "You don't do this, I don't do this either. You do this, I do this too."

                "Do unto others ..." Have we learned anything yet? Some have, but we've a lot of slackers who fail to keep up. The Spartans tossed the defectives off a cliff. Have we improved our selection criteria since then? Compare Josef Stalin to Curtis LeMay.

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                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 11 Sep 2015 @ 9:38pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Q.

                  You're right in that the US wasn't the only one who started there. But, as you see, the whole History of that region is other countries using it as a playground, to play their little wars there (and to control the resources and the routes) and meanwhile, fucking them up; it's no wonder that they are getting butthurt by that fact.

                  Or do you think that all those "internal wars" that they got in that region are purely spontaneous? Sure, they have their issues there, and some may hate each other to death, but I'd say that many of the massacres, deaths and wars are fuelled by western countries via Agents Provocateurs. If governments use those people to disrupt political movements, you can expect them to do the same in foreign countries.

                  Including their allies, btw.


                  But you see. The thing is that now, you got to explain to that guy that just got his kids and wife blown up by an aerial attack that targeted his home.

                  And you got to convince him that we are better, and that we won't do that anymore, and that revenge is bad and that we should move on.

                  Now, bring out the argument to him of not doing what was done to him to you, while you're in your warm home, in front of your computer eating a pizza; and he buried the remains of his family a month ago, has no home and has nothing to eat.

                  Come and explain that you and your family aren't guilty of what's happening in their country, even if you are reaping the benefits (like, for example, using the oil that you've extracted from there).

                  And btw, those aren't terrorist profile. At least, not the kind that ends up blowing up skyscrappers: you need educated people, not some farmer in an isolated region in Afghanistan. But I'd say he'd make a perfect soldier in Syria or in Iran, you know, guerilla warfare.


                  And yeah, we'll convince them because, you know, we clearly got the moral high ground here...


                  Remember the 9-11, don't you? Do you remember if the US, that is supposedly an advanced, civilized and democratic nation applying precisely what you're telling us we should do?

                  No, I remember 2 wars (Afghanistan and later Iraq war) that came out of that and well, the civilians that died due to them were far over the 3,000 due to the 9-11 Strikes.

                  I'd say that the 9-11 strikes have been paid in blood, plenty. Plus all the terrorist attacks in our countries for the next, dunno, 50 years? Maybe 100?


                  See, we are complaining for terrorist attacks that deal casualties in tens, in hundred or in thousands. That blow up some emblematic building.

                  And we don't fucking bat an eye when we have, either directly or indirectly, killed tens or hundred of thousands of people, if not millions; apart from razing apart whole cities and causing the collapse of the society for years to come.

                  Not only that, we try to justify the deaths provoked by our actions as warfare, when they are just pure and plain terrorism.

                  Just because we do it with uniforms and stealth bombers doesn't mean that our actions are too different.

                  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pirates_and_Emperors

                  The only difference is the size. Call that however you want: war crimes, collateral damage, untindeded targets, human shields, friendly fire (hah), oooopsies...

                  All euphemisms to avoid using the word Terrorism, that is what they are. And I hate euphemisms...

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2015 @ 1:42pm

      Re: Q.

      I dont think that is the immediate concern here.

      The problem is a person supposedly at the top acting like we are more than what we are. This sort of smack talk reeks of hubris and wins brownie points with just about no one.

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    • icon
      Uriel-238 (profile), 10 Sep 2015 @ 1:54pm

      "Militants"

      We've not just confused crazy kids who think the enemy is cool for enemy officers, we've also done the same for people who have said that the enemy might have a point or a legitimate grievance (most do).

      And we've confused people whose names and religions match enemy agents with the enemy.

      Worse yet, we've defined that all these examples above are Lebensunwertes Leben and do not deserve due process. We prefer to call them unlawful combatants, even when they're grandmothers and children. Even when they've never brandished a weapon in their lives.

      You can make the magic bullet that only kills criminals by making it a crime to be hit by that bullet.

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      • icon
        Uriel-238 (profile), 10 Sep 2015 @ 1:58pm

        Clarification Re: "Militants"

        Most enemies have a point or a legitimate grievance, though sometimes not the ones that they're saying and seldom whatever the press is saying they want.

        Most people don't recognize points or legitimate grievances that the enemy might have. They're just the bugs in the bug war.

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    • icon
      nasch (profile), 10 Sep 2015 @ 3:44pm

      Re: Q.

      If the tweeter in question was taking orders from ISIS to recruit people and spread propaganda, then he's a member of ISIS just as if he *were* wearing a uniform.

      Even if you're right, is killing people over tweeting about ISIS likely to make the situation better?

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      • icon
        limbodog (profile), 11 Sep 2015 @ 8:13am

        Re: Re: Q.

        >Even if you're right, is killing people over tweeting about ISIS likely to make the situation better?

        That's over my paygrade. Ordinarily I might say it'd make them a martyr, but ISIS is populated by 100% martyrs, so I feel like that has watered it down a bit.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 11 Sep 2015 @ 9:02am

      Re: Q.

      Be very careful when declaring recruiters legitimate targets. You won't like it applied to you.

      Shooting up or bombing an army recruitment center at a mall? Perfectly legitimate by your own definition. So would attacking a recruitment clerk's home or even a guy who appeared as an actor in an army commercial once.

      The US has made the mistake of setting many very bad precedents for their foes in their "War on Terror".

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      • icon
        limbodog (profile), 11 Sep 2015 @ 10:59am

        Re: Re: Q.

        The point to my post was that you did have to be careful, but that it still had to be done. Speech absolutely can be a powerful and effective weapon of war.

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  • identicon
    ZK, 10 Sep 2015 @ 1:21pm

    Limbodog is right here. This isn't some moron on twitter who said the wrong thing and got drone-striked. He's a member of an armed terrorist group, in a war zone, that's at war with the US.

    He might be low-level (or not, depending on who you believe) but a low level enemy soldier is still an enemy soldier.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2015 @ 1:29pm

      Re:

      This isn't some moron on twitter who said the wrong thing and got drone-striked. He's a member of an armed terrorist group, in a war zone, that's at war with the US.
      Given the number of quasi-legal "wars" the US is engaged in, and the extremely fluid definitions of which areas are part of a conflict, I find your explanation to be factually accurate, yet not at all comforting. ISIS certainly wants to harm the U.S., but they aren't in a war zone until Congress declares a war for there to be a zone for.

      More generally, the sentiment that this was a legitimate kill because the target was working on behalf of ISIS is being pushed without any discussion of whether, and if so to what extent, killing this individual required collateral damage to parties not involved in the conflict. Killing an enemy soldier on a battlefield or in an enemy stronghold is one thing. Killing an enemy soldier and all the neutral civilians in the building the soldier was using for wifi is quite another.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        nasch (profile), 10 Sep 2015 @ 6:14pm

        Re: Re:

        ISIS certainly wants to harm the U.S., but they aren't in a war zone until Congress declares a war for there to be a zone for.

        Either there is no war zone but we kill people anyway, or the war zone is the entire world because the War on Terror (tm) is global. As you say, not comforting.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 11 Sep 2015 @ 8:01am

        Re: Re:

        >Killing an enemy soldier and all the neutral civilians in the building the soldier was using for wifi is quite another.

        Absolutely. But that's been the case for some time now irrespective of the job that enemy soldier holds. It's been decades since we considered carpet bombing a civilian area as perfectly ok because there's a soldier in there somewhere.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      zboot (profile), 10 Sep 2015 @ 2:32pm

      Re:

      Sure ZK, he might be a low-level soldier. But, the issue here is not that a soldier whose only job was tweeting was killed. The issue is the published sentiment, which is that the US should be justified in killing anyone who tweets something which is considered material support for ISIS.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      JMT (profile), 10 Sep 2015 @ 3:31pm

      Re:

      So by your reckoning, if an American citizen tweeted some pro-US rah rah, that makes him a legitimate target for an ISIS supporter to attack and kill. You cool with that?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2015 @ 1:24pm

    Another danger of insisting the bill of rights don't apply to foreigners

    This dangerous policy and logic by the US government shows yet another danger of insisting that the bill of rights only applies to US citizens. And the dangers apply to much more speech then mere ISIS propaganda.

    If the US government decides it can kill any random foreigner who says things they don't like from what they said, it's only a matter of time until they start to use the same logic to go after US citizens.

    And even if they never do take the next step, there will be a massive chilling effect among US citizens where they'll be scared to say things they think the government won't like, for fear of becoming the US government's next victim.

    I mean really, how convincing is it that you really have free speech when the government makes it a policy to murder random foreigner civilians for their speech?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 11 Sep 2015 @ 2:51am

      Re: Another danger of insisting the bill of rights don't apply to foreigners

      I hope bright minds such as yourself never change

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    the firstborn son of Pharaoh, 10 Sep 2015 @ 1:33pm

    meh

    wannabes

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    1st born son of Pharoe, 10 Sep 2015 @ 1:34pm

    just checkin'

    The tenth plague is upon us.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 10 Sep 2015 @ 1:52pm

    We have to expand who we claim we need to kill, so that we can keep the "war" raging. How could we get new recruits for the otherside if we don't give them more reasons to hate us. A great side benefit is all of the money that will flow into our foriegn & domestic campaigns to "protect" our citizens. So what if we are just breeding the discontent that will end in nothing good for either side, I need to prove I can get the $$$ to flow so I can retire to a cushy job with the contractor who's star I tied my life to.

    They are expanding those who merely speak as targets, this is nothing new look at the Occupy & BlackLivesMatter spying. They are just trying to make it more acceptable so the 'good people' accept these unacceptable actions in the name of safety.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2015 @ 2:00pm

    Today I learned that the US military is run by psychos. I'm very afraid of this.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      tqk (profile), 11 Sep 2015 @ 9:26am

      Re:

      Today I learned that the US military is run by psychos.

      That's not exclusively a US military thing. Even Himmler found the mechanics of the Holocaust distasteful. Those concentration camp guards were kept drunk in hopes of maintaining their grip on sanity.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2015 @ 2:01pm

    Shoot your mouth off all you want. Eventually we are going to kill you.
    Physician, heal thyself.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Pronounce (profile), 10 Sep 2015 @ 2:07pm

    Is There Any Doubt

    How can you not read this ABC report and not believe that countries aren't ran by megalomaniac, power brokers who likely have no more empathy for cockroaches than they do for the powerless?

    Whether you look at the State's response to the Michigan militia, volunteer border observers, Ruby Ridge, Branch Davidian, Aaron Swartz, Elián González, Martin Luther King, whistle blowers, Edward Snowden, Kim Dotcom, Antigua, etc., etc., etc. the evidence shows that the State's power structure is designed to maintain it's hold at any cost.

    If you a disrupter to this status quo and vulnerable you'll be eliminated.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Ambrellite, 10 Sep 2015 @ 2:26pm

    Why did ABC News think that this "senior official" should be granted anonymity to threaten people with drone strikes for tweets?

    Come on, ABC. Do you think this guy would think twice about bombing whistleblowers and journalists too? They too have been described as a threat--one far worse than tweets.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      nasch (profile), 10 Sep 2015 @ 6:15pm

      Re:

      Why did ABC News think that this "senior official" should be granted anonymity to threaten people with drone strikes for tweets?

      Because he wouldn't give the interview at all without anonymity. I don't think it's usually good journalism, but that's how they see it.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    NahGunDuh, 10 Sep 2015 @ 2:53pm

    I live in the US and this kind of shit makes me hate the US. So yeah counter-terrorism douchbag, keep up the good fucking work.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Wyrm (profile), 10 Sep 2015 @ 5:04pm

    "War of ideas"

    This is also a war of ideas.

    And this guy has clearly no idea how to run this kind of war. You just do not win a "war on idea" by using you opponent's ideas.

    Theory:
    The terrorists' ideas are "we kill anyone with opposing speech or ideas to make our point."
    The US ideas is supposed to be "our civilization regards killing as criminal, democracy is about free speech."

    Application:
    Terrorists kill people who express opposing ideas.
    The US kill people who express opposing ideas.

    Whose ideas win, regardless of whose kill count is highest?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2015 @ 7:39pm

    "I AM the Law!"

    “Shoot your mouth off all you want. Eventually we are going to kill you,” the senior counter-terrorism official said.

    I am so glad he works for a secretive outfit beyond democratic control. Makes me feel a lot safer...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2015 @ 10:18pm

      Re: "I AM the Law!"

      Either flee the country before you end up with state appointed death squads or try and fix it. Though personally I think it will take a revolution to fox the corruption and state sponsored tyranny

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 10 Sep 2015 @ 7:50pm

    Superficial differences

    So on one side you've got a group that sees nothing wrong with killing anyone they deem to be enemies, and/or killing those that speak against them.

    On the other side you've got a group that sees nothing wrong with killing anyone they deem to be enemies, and/or killing those that speak against them.

    Remove the labels, judge solely by actions, and it's becoming more and more difficult to tell the difference by the day. At this point the only significant one seems to be funding, given both sides seem to have adopted 'The ends justify the means' tactics.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2015 @ 9:24pm

    following standard post-Vietnam strategy: information as a scorched-earth battlefield

    After the U.S. military concluded that the Vietnam war was lost mainly on the propaganda front, a new policy of "total information dominance" was developed for all future wars, in which the U.S. military would strive to be in total control of all news and information from all sources. Propaganda was to be considered just as important a weapon --if not more so-- as bombs and bullets.

    In the 1989 invasion of Panama, the first major US military operation post-Vietnam, the press was targeted and US journalists were ordered to evacuate, as only "embedded" reporters were allowed. Reporters who preferred to travel independently to get their stories, just as they had done in Vietnam, were hunted down, arrested and imprisoned on US Navy ships.

    Non-embedded reporters from other nations did even worse. In both the Iraq war and Afghanistan wars, Al Jazeera had its headquarters bombed by the US military, in both cases being the only building in a several-block area that was hit. This was for the "crime" of daring to film a few of the many dead and wounded children victimized by the US military -- something the mainstream US news media meticulously avoided to ever mention. The Iraq war was notable for the deaths of so many reporters, far more than wars of similar magnitude, although the deaths tended to be almost exclusively among news agencies and reporters who dared to report news that the US military didn't want reported.

    During the US military attacks on Serbia (1999), Iraq (1991 & 2003), and Afghanistan (2001), one of the very first targets was always the country's private radio and television stations. Although ostensibly non-military, that fact apparently didn't matter in the slightest as the bombs rained down.

    Hospitals were also systematically targeted by the US military. Although they were not bombed, they were assaulted and taken over by soldiers in the beginning of any major battle offensive. This strategy was in part to prevent photos and videos of dead and wounded civilians (especially children) from getting out for the world to see.

    Since it's adoption by the US military as a standard battle objective, the information/propaganda war would only naturally be extended to include the assassination of bloggers and tweeters. In one way, it's a positive step, since the US military is at least honestly admitting it's role in the killing, unlike the many murders of numerous reporters in the past killed by US smart-bombs which we are supposed to believe simply strayed (often miles) off-course.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 11 Sep 2015 @ 2:05am

      Re: following standard post-Vietnam strategy: information as a scorched-earth battlefield

      Yeah, don't you love how in all those "wars" the Geneva Conventions were ignored? And now they complain about terrorists targeting civilians?


      http://index.rsf.org/#!/

      You'd ask yourself why RSF hasn't tagged the US in black due to that policy. I would, at least to denounce that fact.


      Btw, about this: "We are the angel of death".

      What are you, fucking Space Marines?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2015 @ 9:32pm

    So I'm putting my life on the line every time I use Twitter? That's comforting. Watch what you say or the US will shove a Hellfire Missile up your ass.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2015 @ 10:11pm

    Do what we say or we will murder you. Really makes one wonder about all those high profile murder/suicides these last few years of the outspoken critics of the US government.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2015 @ 11:16pm

    Confused

    Sorry,
    I'm having trouble. which one is the terrorist again?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Sep 2015 @ 12:54am

    great and CHEAP way of killing people with US/German drones:
    1) hack his laptop
    2) create and feed a loud pro-ISIS twitter account FROM HIS IP

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Sep 2015 @ 1:56am

    "We are the angel of death. This war is a propaganda war too. Why only limit it to military leaders? Should we be ignoring the propagandists that speak English and are tech savvy who know how to reach westerners?"

    "Yeah, only we can do that"


    Its like they think were dumb* and we dont notice, or maybe their just dumb and dont realise their doing that very thing their accusing their targets, a thing they call for murder without trial,..... maybe they know they do the exact same thing but think their entitled to it.......which would mean they dont care whats being done, dont see anything wrong with it, just that, only THEY can do it.....which is fucking wrong

    I say, stop trying to fucking manipulate others in the name of war, violence, murder, i dont care what "side" your on, you do this, YOUR the fucking bad guy


    To governments around the world, i aint particularly religious, but theirs a saying that seems to be universal

    "Do unto others, that which you would want done unto yourselfs"

    Dont be fucking hypocrates

    Actions of the few, that affect billions, take responsibility for what you've sown over the MANY pre 9/11 years, or, i hope, for the sake of humanity, expect the revolution whether that be in my lifetime or not

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      nasch (profile), 11 Sep 2015 @ 6:14am

      Re:

      maybe they know they do the exact same thing but think their entitled to it...

      I suspect they believe they're "the good guys" and so view their actions as justified for that reason, while the other guys are "the bad guys" and so there is no justification for them.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Sep 2015 @ 2:03am

    "Junaid Hussain was a Twitter noisemaker and a hack hacker. He wasn't a first disseminator on anything important, as far as I can tell. Nothing at all in his profile leads me to think he'd be close to the inner circle of leadership,” said “ISIS: The State of Terror” author J.M. Berger, who tracks jihadists online."

    Has anyone else thought that their targeting based on them being a good TRANSLATOR.
    Breaking the language barrier, so that the things they do in the middle east doesnt get reported into the english language?

    That maybe their deaths, these crimes are nothing more then tactical murder

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Sep 2015 @ 2:20am

    So the guy didnt kill anyone, didnt murder anyone, all reports of his crime was essentilly moving a bunch of 1s and 0s and they kill him for this

    Oh, i see a crime here, just not the one their selling, and yet again unpunished

    Theres no need for propaganda against our many governments, the truth is damning in and on its self

    "The truth is treason in the empire of lies"

    LIEEEEEEES

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Sep 2015 @ 2:26am

    "Shoot your mouth off all you want. Eventually we are going to kill you,” the senior counter-terrorism official said"

    What a fucking psychopath

    SENIOR OFFICIAL......WTF......of what, the BIGGER PROBLEM!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Sep 2015 @ 2:53am

    Not a war on terror, more a war on competition

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 11 Sep 2015 @ 4:50am

    I'll echo other comments: this is incredibly scary. If they go down that road how long would it take to have people killed just because they oppose Government actions? Too scary. The law enforcement and the intelligence/military are out of control in the US.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Thrudd, 11 Sep 2015 @ 5:37am

      Response to: Ninja on Sep 11th, 2015 @ 4:50am

      I beg to differ. Law Enforcement, alphabet agencies and the military are in control.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Sep 2015 @ 9:00am

    The math here is pretty simple:

    Number of dissidents per city = D
    Number of city's in protest = C
    Payload of heavy bomber = P
    Weight of a person sized guided ordinance = O
    Number of heavy bombers in inventory = N

    if ((D * N) < (P / O) * (N *3))

    Complete national military suppression can be sustained indefinately.

    endif

    Interestingly, the federal code defines that ALL citizen males of military age are in the U.S. unorganized militia. You are whether you want to be or not. Legally speaking domestic military action against such a person could be reasonably interpreted as rebellion suppression. Terrorist is a brand. Militia is law.

    While domestic militias are typically militarily oriented, the federal code does not dictate that they must be. A militia can be assembled for the defense of ANY right reserved to the citizens by the constitution, by ANY means. Which is to say that guns and stupid logos are not required.

    A militia can say what it wants, provided it believes itself to be operating in the interests of the Constitution. Which MAY directly conflict with Federal law, since so much federal law is arguably (and some absolutely) unconstitutional.

    So bloggers, tweeters, technocrats, if your worried about getting zapped walking down the street, or having your media feeds all interjected with subliminal messages telling you to kill yourself, (like maybe Aaron Schwarz?) then start forming into militias.

    The point is, that if you want question federal authority the federal code itself is on your side. But you DO have to brand correctly. Yes, you will be lumped in with the fruit loop brigade by the unholy trinity of cable news-oganda. But that has been true of every civil rights movement in history. In the words of Gandhi:

    First they ignore you,
    then they laugh at you,
    then they fight you,
    then you win.

    This has been a public service announcement by the tin foil hat militia. Have a nice day.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Sep 2015 @ 12:51pm

    There doesn't seem to be a consensus on that, homicide, regicide and such seem to use the same word for the person and for the act itself.

    And yeah, not sure why I put the "y" instead of the "i" there. Apart from a few other grammar/ortography mistakes that I can't edit either.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 11 Sep 2015 @ 1:19pm

    I'm totally geeking out over this.

    I was using the typo for cheap humor.

    Though a homicide when referring to a person usually refers to the victim. The old man's heart failure may be incidental, but this guy's clearly a homicide. And I think that's a transition from:

    this guy's [death is] clearly a homicide.

    to:

    this guy [is] clearly a homicide [case].

    mirroring that convention, other words using the same root (regicide, fratricide, genocide) would refer to victims, not offenders or advocates.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 11 Sep 2015 @ 6:30pm

    Maybe he's a loon and ABC News is just a hack?

    Every once in a while we get someone (sometimes here on TechDirt) who suggests the nuclear option. Sometimes it's the literal nuclear option (e.g. Why can't we just nuke Baghdad? Two-point-two megatons of nuclear fire would solve our little ISIL problem in a pinch. Eh?

    Because I asked this question as a kid* and never got an adequate answer, I tend to want to offer the answer I've picked up about how nuclear weapons are managed in the post-cold-war world.

    Still, it's one thing to be angry and want to retaliate, and it's another thing to actually pull out a gun (or a platoon of big guys with guns, or a predator drone) and take action. This is why we just got attacked and we were angry doesn't justify our invasion of Iraq or all that torture we did.

    So I'm wondering if Mr. Anonymous Officer is just some angry, powerless feeling dude who just gets to rubber stamp papers instead of wooshing in and getting him some enemy heads.

    And I'm wondering if the great motivation for ABC News to giving such a guy a voice is because crazy guys in high places who want to kill people sells papers (or is clickbait or elevates the ratings or whatever).

    Pillars of Creation, I hope it's just that.




    * At some point in the early 80s we lost a bunch of encamped marines due to a lucky strike, I think in the Honduras / Nicaragua affair, and I asked my Dad that since we're sitting on a tall stack of nuclear weapons, why can't we retailate in grand-ol' American style? I didn't understand why we couldn't.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      tqk (profile), 11 Sep 2015 @ 8:32pm

      Re: Maybe he's a loon and ABC News is just a hack?

      Why can't we just nuke Baghdad?

      Because a nuke kills everything in range of it, not just those presumably deserving of your retribution. A bullet from a trained sniper's not equivalent to an IED. One can be controlled, the other's just wanton violence on anyone within range of it (just like a drone strike; huh).

      WMDs are not defensive weapons, they're offensive. Their use will cause friendly casualties. Stupid tech. Why waste explosives on those who aren't a threat? Dumb.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Uriel-238 (profile), 12 Sep 2015 @ 1:33am

        Re: Re: Maybe he's a loon and ABC News is just a hack?

        As I mentioned above, yeah, some folks on the TD forums have suggested we drop nukes on those we don't like and to Hell with all the towelheads.

        And yeah, if we were doing it right we'd be super-precise with who we killed, erring on the side of letting targets live.

        Instead the CIA in the Bush and Obama administrations will kill fifty civilians to the loosely-defined person-of-interest. And the news media reports them as militants.

        Ugh.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    John Fenderson (profile), 12 Sep 2015 @ 7:30am

    It's even worse than that

    it's difficult to see how deciding to just start killing off people for being mouthy online is going to convince anyone who hates the US that they're somehow on the wrong track. It seems like it will only confirm their preheld opinions.


    Such actions do not only confirm preheld positions, they also convince people who were sympathetic to you to stop being sympathetic.

    Moral issues aside, these actions are counterproductive.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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