Leaked Documents Show US Drone Killings Racking Up Collateral Damage, Damaging Future Intelligence Efforts

from the death-from-above dept

The Intercept has just published an incredible article (in five parts) on the United States' drone-strike programs. Based on documents handed over by yet another leaker, the article contains some very disturbing information about the CIA's targeted killing activities -- including the fact that targeted killings are rarely well-targeted.

To begin with, there's the problem of distance. The drone strikes in Yemen and Somalia attack targets much further away than those targeted in the Iraq and Afghanistan. Because strikes routinely occur on the outer limits of the Predator drones' range (up to ~1000km), surveillance is abandoned in favor of attacks. When a drone strike does occur, it usually utilizes multiple drones to ensure the target has been killed (the "Find, Fix and Finish" or "F3" cited in the documents). Because of this, lots of "blinking" occurs (gaps in surveillance coverage) that snowballs into future intel gaps that make other "targeted" strikes even less targeted.

Added to this is the fact that blowing someone up doesn't leave much for analysts to sort through.

Deadly strikes thus truncate the find, fix, finish cycle without exploitation and analysis — precisely the components that were lacking in the drone campaign waged in East Africa and Yemen. That shortfall points to one of the contradictions at the heart of the drone program in general: Assassinations are intelligence dead ends.

The ISR study shows that after a “kill operation” there is typically nobody on the ground to collect written material or laptops in the target’s house, or the phone on his body, or capture suspects and ask questions. Yet collection of on-the-ground intelligence of that sort — referred to as DOMEX, for “document and media exploitation,” and TIR, for “tactical interrogation report” — is invaluable for identifying future targets.

Stating that 75 percent of operations in the region were strikes, and noting that “kill operations significantly reduce the intelligence available from detainees and captured material,” the study recommended an expansion of “capture finishes via host-nation partners for more ‘finish-derived’ intelligence.”
The "host-nation partners" are also part of the problem. They have their own needs and desires and aren't above having the CIA do their dirty work for them.
In 2011, for example, U.S. officials told the Wall Street Journal that they had killed a local governor because Yemeni officials didn’t tell them he was present at a gathering of al Qaeda figures. “We think we got played,” one official said.
Even in Afghanistan, where surveillance coverage was better and signals intelligence stronger, drone strikes still resulted in the deaths of several non-targets.
[D]ocuments detailing a special operations campaign in northeastern Afghanistan, Operation Haymaker, show that between January 2012 and February 2013, U.S. special operations airstrikes killed more than 200 people. Of those, only 35 were the intended targets. During one five-month period of the operation, according to the documents, nearly 90 percent of the people killed in airstrikes were not the intended targets.
The US government marginalizes this collateral damage by referring to nearly everyone it kills -- targeted or not -- as "combatants," "military-aged males," or simply "enemies killed in action." Very rarely has it been forced to confront the reality of its inaccurate attacks.

But the CIA is sold on the program and it has been for years. Drone strikes may cause a lot of collateral damage and are prone to manipulation by local governments, but the US considers this program to be the most "efficient" way to "eliminate" terrorist threats. It has almost completely eradicated an essential component of its counterterrorism efforts, though. Dead men provide no HUMINT. At one time, capturing suspected terrorists used to be part of the equation. That's no longer the case.
“The drone campaign right now really is only about killing. When you hear the phrase ‘capture/kill,’ capture is actually a misnomer. In the drone strategy that we have, ‘capture’ is a lower case ‘c.’ We don’t capture people anymore,” Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, told The Intercept. “Our entire Middle East policy seems to be based on firing drones. That’s what this administration decided to do in its counterterrorism campaign. They’re enamored by the ability of special operations and the CIA to find a guy in the middle of the desert in some shitty little village and drop a bomb on his head and kill him.”
Surveillance now appears to be used mainly for targeting, rather than intelligence. Data and communications acquired by the NSA feeds into drone strike operations -- not to provide information on potential attacks -- but to locate targets. Money and man-hours are poured into surveillance, only to have a possible source of future intel killed off, rather than made use of.

Take the case of Bilal er-Berjawi, known to the US government as "Objective Peckham." British and US intelligence surveilled Berjawi for six years, without ever making a serious move to "capture" him. Once it was decided he was supplying terrorists with weapons and money, the UK government stripped him of his citizenship and a CIA drone strike in Somalia took his life.

The entire Intercept piece is more than "worth reading." It's an essential, damning look at a program the US government has long touted as a success. The leaked documents suggest otherwise. Instead, they point towards an "extrajudicial killing" regime that sanitizes the carnage and deprives collateral damage of its humanity. While the program may have eliminated a few terrorism suspects, the program is predicated on the notion that only those who present an "immediate threat" will be killed. As we can see from the case of Berjawi, this "immediate" threat lasted more than six years and included multiple, unchallenged reentries to the UK.

This is part of who we are as a country: judge, jury and executioner, divorced from the humanity at the other end of the drone strikes by lines of code and thousands of miles.

Filed Under: drone strikes, drones, extrajudicial killing, intelligence, killing, leak, targeted assassination


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Oct 2015 @ 3:45am

    Who cares about international and basic human rights...
    As for hitting the same target again a little later, its more than likely to kill anyone who would help any survivors, which again is a serious violation of rights.
    But they did bomb a hospital which the Free Media doesnt give two fucks about, unlike the made-up stories of Russian collateral.

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

    • icon
      steell (profile), 16 Oct 2015 @ 5:47am

      Re:

      What hospital was bombed? I'm only aware of one shot up by an AC-130 Gunship.

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

      • icon
        Roger Strong (profile), 16 Oct 2015 @ 8:01am

        Re: Re:

        The single shell from a Bofors 40 mm gun - arriving at high speed through a cement wall or ceiling - is going to be indistinguishable from a bomb.

        And that's before you consider that it's a high-explosive shell. It is indeed a bomb.

        And that it's not just one shell, but 330 rounds/minute.

        And then there's the 105 mm M102 cannon. A lower firing rate, but much bigger bombs.

        And let's not forget the AGM-176 Griffin missiles, and GBU-39 Small Diameter Bombs that the Spectre also carries.

        Yes, the hospital was bombed. Unless you're going to argue that they stop being bombs when they arrive in quantity with a high delivery speed.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 16 Oct 2015 @ 3:47pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Last I heard they changed from Griffin to Hellfire missiles. Not that it made any difference but if you buy in bulk it reduces cost.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 16 Oct 2015 @ 8:09am

        Re: Re:

        I guess the dead children don't care if the missiles were launched from a drone or an AC-130.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Oct 2015 @ 4:06am

    Thanks Tim. Good article.

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

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 16 Oct 2015 @ 4:08am

    We have become worse than those we pursue.
    To get a sticky gold star for stopping some "terrorist"* we murder innocents near them. Given our absolute failure to identify real terrorists time and time again, one has to wonder what is the point, other than to use the program as advertising to sign us up to buy more drones.
    Don't worry, if we kill them at the outer edge of your range, we won't see the children blown apart, so we don't need to worry about our pilots having nightmares.

    * - This term is a great catchall that makes everyone react without thinking, and so what if we take out our allies political targets as well. Us meddling in those kinds of affairs have a great history in the Middle East. /s

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

    • icon
      Ninja (profile), 16 Oct 2015 @ 4:28am

      Re:

      That. The TPP negotiations that simply overlooked modern slavery along with these drone strikes and other issues show that it is not about justice or stopping terrorism. It's a Police State out of control, drunk with money.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 Oct 2015 @ 8:47am

      Re:

      So to get a terrorist who might attack the US someday, the US is terrorizing people in a foreign country. Hmmm so the US is a terrorist nation then ?

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 16 Oct 2015 @ 3:50pm

        Re: Re:

        Depends on where you live really. But it's rather easy to find out what your point of view is and if you live in such a region:
        Do you fear the blue sky and sunshine?
        People who answer that question with yes they might also answer your question with yes.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Oct 2015 @ 2:12am

      Re:

      one has to wonder what is the point, other than to use the program as advertising to sign us up to buy more drones.

      Yes to continue the cycle. Breed more hatred and contempt for the usa and have that create a real terrorist.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Oct 2015 @ 4:31am

    Retarded

    Killing Bilal er-Berjawi was retarded. They could have acquired ongoing intelligence simply by arresting him on his return to the UK. I'm sure they could have got the guy to eventually talk. As it is now, most of his terrorist contacts (we couldn't have known of them all) are in the wind.

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

  • icon
    JarHead (profile), 16 Oct 2015 @ 4:52am

    Why do they hate us

    Yeah, and then the American PEOPLE asks "Why do they hate us so much". While I don't agree nor condone it, I can understand why many outside the US see the US as a whole is justified target, be it civilian or military, and prone to war mongering persuasion. US foreign policies seemed hell bent to creating more enemies than friends, and in the eyes of those who live where their survival depends on how closely they watch the skies for yet another US attacks, US civilian is as guilty as those who actually pulled the trigger, if not more. At least the military didn't ask "why do they/you hate us so much".

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

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 16 Oct 2015 @ 5:17am

    A grim upside

    “The drone campaign right now really is only about killing. When you hear the phrase ‘capture/kill,’ capture is actually a misnomer. In the drone strategy that we have, ‘capture’ is a lower case ‘c.’ We don’t capture people anymore,” Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, told The Intercept.

    To be perfectly blunt, I'd say those targets killed by drones got off lucky. Anyone paying attention knows that the alternative, captured by the US military, and in particular put under the oh so gentle 'mercies' of the CIA or their buddies, is likely to lead to a very unpleasant future. At least death by drone is quick.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Oct 2015 @ 5:40am

    The death of any innocent in a theater of war is tragic, but inevitable, and no amount of hand wringing and wishful thinking is going to change the fact that in violent environments horrible things can and will happen to completely innocent people. I really have to wonder if anyone of the utopian, anarchist, non-military types who seem to be the base for commentary here have even a clue just what transpires in war theaters.

    It is sad to say, but in virtually every major conflict in which the US has engaged since its inception the loss of innocent civilian life has far outstripped the loss of those engaged in actual combat.

    This is not to excuse or seek to minimize the tragic nature of innocent deaths (BTW...I despise the term collateral damage, which should actually be the untimely deaths of non-combatants), but people delude themselves into thinkin that war can be conducted in a precision manner. Look at WW2 for example. It has been estimated that approximately 60M persons were killed during that war, with about two civilian deaths for every combatant death.

    Of course, it does not help in the least that reliable HUMANINT resources being supplanted by an undue reliance on SIGNINT because "boots on the ground" is not politically palatable to those who want to act tough and be perceived as such without dirtying their hands in what war actually entails...overwhelming violence, the likes of which I deeply wish was something none of us ever had to see and experience.

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

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 16 Oct 2015 @ 6:02am

      Re:

      Out of curiosity, do you apply that stance to both 'sides' of the war that isn't? If one of the groups being bombed decides to return the favor, and due to being completely indifferent to civilian casualties ends up killing a bunch of them along with their target, would you say the same thing, that it's unfortunate but inevitable? Sure they killed a bunch of civilians with their indifference to the deaths of bystanders, but this is war, that sort of stuff happens, right?

      'Collateral damage' as the US military seems to like to phrase it may happen, and may in fact be inevitable, but that doesn't mean they shouldn't be striving to minimize it as much as humanly possible. Dropping bombs on targets on the basis of flimsy intel, knowing that doing so will lead to civilian casualties, is not 'minimizing collateral damage', it's showing a complete disregard for it.

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

    • icon
      Roger Strong (profile), 16 Oct 2015 @ 6:41am

      Re:

      The death of any innocent in a theater of war is tragic, but inevitable...
      [...]
      Look at WW2 for example. It has been estimated that approximately 60M persons were killed during that war, with about two civilian deaths for every combatant death.

      A joint study by Stanford and New York Universities of drone strikes in Pakistan found that US drone strikes have been killing 49 people for every known terrorist.

      Not just because of innocent bystanders being killed. It's because of the US's use of "double-taps" - something the US itself calls terrorism - where after the first strike they'll send in more missiles to target rescuers.

      Note that this is in Pakistan, not Afghanistan. Civilian rescuers, aiding almost entirely (49:1) civilian bystanders.

      Yes, the WWII Allies were bombing and strafing non-military targets in an attempt to shut down the German economy. Combine that with your "you have to kill a lot of civilians to get the job done and anyone who disagrees is a clueless utopian" attitude, and your willingness to do it outside the declared war zone. You can apply the same justification to the World Trade Center attacks. Something I would very much disagree with.

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

    • icon
      Mike Masnick (profile), 16 Oct 2015 @ 6:57am

      Re:

      The death of any innocent in a theater of war is tragic, but inevitable

      You conveniently ignore the fact that much of this is happening *outside* "a theater of war." Or, hell, the fact that Congress never actually declared war. But, details.

      This is not to excuse or seek to minimize the tragic nature of innocent deaths (BTW...I despise the term collateral damage, which should actually be the untimely deaths of non-combatants), but people delude themselves into thinkin that war can be conducted in a precision manner. Look at WW2 for example. It has been estimated that approximately 60M persons were killed during that war, with about two civilian deaths for every combatant death.

      You do realize that the situations are wholly different, right? And you're being incredibly misleading in pretending they are the same. This isn't about casualties that happen due to specific battles or bombing runs. These are the US government deciding to assassinate someone... and then missing.

      Of course, it does not help in the least that reliable HUMANINT resources being supplanted by an undue reliance on SIGNINT because "boots on the ground" is not politically palatable to those who want to act tough and be perceived as such without dirtying their hands in what war actually entails...overwhelming violence, the likes of which I deeply wish was something none of us ever had to see and experience.

      And yet, all of the evidence suggests that these kinds of drone assassinations are only increasing the likelihood of overwhelming violence.

      Look, I know you're a military loyalist through and through, but your desire to defend a campaign of botched assassinations is just ridiculous.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 16 Oct 2015 @ 10:18am

        Re: Re:

        I defend nothing. I merely point out the obvious to the obviously oblivious...that in areas being ravaged by armed conflict the loss of innocent life is unfortunately inevitable.

        Your fans here give me the impression they believe that the loss of innocent life could be largely avoided if only military strikes were done with much more surgical precision. What they do not seem to realize is that there is rarely any such thing as surgical precision, and as a consequence innocents in the vicinity are always going to be at grave risk of injury or death, and especially in areas where enemy soldiers go out of their way to physically insinuate themselves within or proximate to the general population.

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

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

          Re: Re: Re:

          I disagree, I think we get it. We just realize that these deaths are the counter productive cherry on top of a shitty, shitty, foreign policy.

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

        • icon
          That One Guy (profile), 16 Oct 2015 @ 7:10pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Tell me, what is generally seen as one of the worst traits of terrorist groups? What do they do that more civilized people point to as evidence that they are so bad?

          The answer:
          Willingness to kill non-combatants to attain their goals.

          Terrorist groups are considered so bad in large part because of their actions in targeting civilians, and/or their indifference to civilian casualties, just like the US military is demonstrating here.

          If deliberately inflicting civilian deaths is such a terrible thing when those other than the US military does it, then the same standard applies when it's done by the US military.

          Unless you're going to argue that terrorist groups may be bad for other reasons, but 'intentionally killing civilians' isn't one of them, then the blatant disregard for civilian deaths, and the actions specifically designed to cause them, are absolutely out of line, and makes the US military no better than those they are fighting.

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 16 Oct 2015 @ 8:29pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            The US military does not go out of its way to deliberately inflict carnage on civilians having nothing to do with combat. Of course, there have been some notable exceptions over the years, such as, for example, My Lai in Vietnam, some of the indian wars in the 1800's, etc. Ours is not a perfect society, but we are quite sensitive to the loss of innocent life...something that as a general rule cannot be said of those who engage in what we normally associate with terrorist activity (hijacking aircraft and crashing them into office buildings, suicide bombers taking out completely innocent wedding parties, etc.)

            If you believe there is some sort of an equivalency between what extremist organizations do and what our military does, then you have a very unusual view of the world.

            The loss of innocent life is tragic, but it is a fact that in areas where hostilities are underway such losses are inevitable for a myriad of reasons, i.e., equipment failure, inaccurate intelligence, enemy soldiers using innocent civilians as human shields, etc. Frankly, I have never met anyone within the US military in any of our armed services who have expressed anything but profound sadness upon learning that something went wrong and innocent lives were lost. Cannot say I have ever heard any remorse coming from the lips of the fundamentalist extremists who willingly and with enthusiasm target civilians.

            Obviously you have never been in the US military because your views/opinions bear virtually no resemblance to reality.

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

            • icon
              That One Guy (profile), 16 Oct 2015 @ 9:15pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              I'm guessing you missed the link in Roger Strong's post above, talking about how the US military is deliberately 'staggering' drone strikes to kill those that try and help those caught in the first strike. This is not a 'well we've made some mistakes in the past', it's something being done by the military now.

              From the article:
              A 2007 report from the US department of homeland security christened the term "double tap" to refer to what it said was "a favorite tactic of Hamas: a device is set off, and when police and other first responders arrive, a second, larger device is set off to inflict more casualties and spread panic." Similarly, the US justice department has highlighted this tactic in its prosecutions of some of the nation's most notorious domestic terrorists. Eric Rudolph, convicted of bombing gay nightclubs and abortion clinics, was said to have "targeted federal agents by placing second bombs nearby set to detonate after police arrived to investigate the first explosion".

              ...

              Since that first bureau report, there have been numerous other documented cases of the use by the US of this tactic: "On [4 June], US drones attacked rescuers in Waziristan in western Pakistan minutes after an initial strike, killing 16 people in total according to the BBC. On 28 May, drones were also reported to have returned to the attack in Khassokhel near Mir Ali." Moreover, "between May 2009 and June 2011, at least 15 attacks on rescuers were reported by credible news media, including the New York Times, CNN, ABC News and Al Jazeera."


              That's not 'sensitive to the loss of innocent life', that's intentionally ending it.

              Frankly, I have never met anyone within the US military in any of our armed services who have expressed anything but profound sadness upon learning that something went wrong and innocent lives were lost.

              Once more from the article:
              "A van draws up next to the wounded man and Iraqis climb out. They are unarmed and start to carry the victim to the vehicle in what would appear to be an attempt to get him to hospital. One of the helicopters opens fire with armour-piercing shells. 'Look at that. Right through the windshield,' says one of the crew. Another responds with a laugh.

              "Sitting behind the windscreen were two children who were wounded.


              "After ground forces arrive and the children are discovered, the American air crew blame the Iraqis. 'Well it's their fault for bringing kids in to a battle,' says one. 'That's right,' says another.

              "Initially the US military said that all the dead were insurgents."


              Yup, some real remorse there, first claiming that it was the resuers' fault for trying to help someone and not expecting a follow-up attack for their audacity in doing so, and then trying to claim that 'nope, no kids here, only people affected were all enemy combatants'.

              Cannot say I have ever heard any remorse coming from the lips of the fundamentalist extremists who willingly and with enthusiasm target civilians.

              Remorse is irrelevant, what matters is that upon learning that the tactic used will result in the deaths of non-combatants, will they use it again? If the terrorist groups truly regretted that their goals required the deaths of non-combatants, would that magically make those tactics acceptable? Or would intentionally and/or indifferently using tactics that resulted in civilian deaths still be unacceptable, remorse or not?

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

    • identicon
      Ambrellite, 16 Oct 2015 @ 8:51am

      Response to: Anonymous Coward on Oct 16th, 2015 @ 5:40am

      Critics of these bombings are saying exactly what you are: that the concept of precision bombings is a cruel joke. It's *proponents* who make fantastical claims of "surgical strikes," and then label innocent victims as enemies to cover their asses.

      I grok that you feel these bombings are a necessary evil, but there's no factual basis for that position, and you're ignoring the deception which has been used to justify them.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 16 Oct 2015 @ 7:16pm

        Re: Response to: Anonymous Coward on Oct 16th, 2015 @ 5:40am

        The factual basis is history. History tells us that innocent people will have to die for the greater good. That is the case now and it has always been the case.
        I doubt everyone killed by the only two nukes ever to be detonated in cities were so called "bad people". But as the history written by those who launched the nukes tells us it was good and necessary to kill those people.

        If you doubt that the murder of innocent children will be called an heroic act in the history books then take a look at the military spending and think again.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 Oct 2015 @ 12:02pm

      Re:

      There is a difference between accidental civilian deaths and deliberate civilian deaths. War crimes would be made over the latter.

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

  • identicon
    Michael, 16 Oct 2015 @ 6:21am

    "We don’t capture people anymore," Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, told The Intercept

    Why bother? I mean it's not like they are allowed to torture them anymore. Dead men don't have rights...

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

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 16 Oct 2015 @ 6:50am

      Re:

      Pretty sure the kind of people who thinks that torturing someone is an acceptable thing to do isn't likely to be the kind of person who gives a damn whether or not their actions are actually legal or not.

      And given that not one person involved in the USG's torture program(with the notable exception of the person who exposed it) has faced any sort of punishment for their actions, even those that cared about the law would almost certainly see that while the USG may not officially condone torture, unofficially they don't have any problem with it at all, meaning that they'd have nothing to worry about, legal or not.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Oct 2015 @ 6:28am

    We aren't even at war with them

    War in the United States is a specific legal entity. Not surprisingly we never bothered to get it declared an actual war so rules and accountability go out the window.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 Oct 2015 @ 8:57am

      Re: We aren't even at war with them

      The United States government loves it's wars. It has been at war with someone for almost as long as it has existed. I don't see that changing anytime soon.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Oct 2015 @ 6:55am

    Warmongering Republicans!

    Oh wait!?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward, 16 Oct 2015 @ 10:30am

    Rampant Disingenuousness

    One of the things I find most disgusting about this very disgusting situation is the level of excuse making by various government entities. I do not find verbal spinning, prevarication, hand waving, or sinking to a lower level of ethical standard by anyone in a leadership position to be endearing. The big issue is now that we have dug this hole, how do we go about getting out of it without actually burying ourselves, especially when nothing a politician says can be trusted and the corporations that make the tools of war have a greater say than the electorate.

    The same question may be asked of the Muslim community where the majority understand that forcing everybody else to their ways is not mandated by their religion, as some in the minority insist.

    Like the warmongers in the US, just labeling others as 'terrorists' or 'infidels' does not make them so. And what about those reactionaries created by the actions of the minorities? How long should we allow the minorities on either side continue to control the conversation and therefore manipulate the behavior of the majority? I, for one, do not buy that they know better, and will not buy into their premise until they can justify their positions from an ethical standpoint without verbal spinning, prevarication, hand waving, or accepting a lower moral standard (an ethical person knows they should not cheat, a moral person actually won't). Once that moral justification is expressed, and accepted by the majority, there will need to be an extended period of actual behavior (decades) before any trust is derived.

    /end rant

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

  • identicon
    Personanongrata, 16 Oct 2015 @ 11:02am

    Murder

    Leaked Documents Show US Drone Killings Racking Up Collateral Damage, Damaging Future Intelligence Efforts

    Assassination drone killings outside an active theater of war are murder. (eg Somalia, Yemen, Pakistan, Syria)

    Assassination drone killings carried out under the US governments "Targeted killings" rules of engagement doctrine (eg dubious intelligence) are murder.

    Assassination drone killings carried out under the US governments "Signature Strike" rules of engagement doctrine are murder.

    Some of the same war criminals that were never held accountable (some were promoted) for the US governments use of indefinite/incommunicado/incognito detention, kidnapping, torture and the total surveillance planet (etal) are also responsible for it's use of drones for murder.

    In a just world the war criminals responsible for this lunacy would be placed before a jury of their peers and confronted with the reams of public evidence available.

    Instead the war criminals are celebrated and politic for national elective office.

    Exceptional!

    https://satyagraha.wordpress.com/2012/05/23/the-four-kinds-of-drone-strikes/

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Oct 2015 @ 11:59am

    nothing like double tap strikes where they send a second drone to target emergency first responders to the first missile attack.

    How does it feel to know your country's military is deliberately targeting civilians and non combatants with drone strikes? Getting a sense of worry that other countries might start using their own drone strikes on American soil to target "terrorists" they don't like. Maybe you will end up as an undeclared militant rather than a civilian casualty.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 Oct 2015 @ 12:07pm

      Re:

      Wanted to add.

      For anyone that says America would declare war on any country that dares to send drone attacks on American soil. Think about that.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Oct 2015 @ 1:26pm

    "Find, Fix and Finish" or "F3" cited in the documents"

    The fact that they have "pet names" for a violent killing act, is, one of, the fundemental things i find disturbing......like their, disjointed or something, to their own actions, as if they dont think about what it is their actually doing

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 Oct 2015 @ 1:38pm

      Re:

      And just to add

      No empathy

      If they were on the recieving end to their own actions, they would probably feel as angry as the ones their ACTUALLY inflicting this upon.

      Hypocrates, murderess hypocrates

      They act dumb to their own actions, or are infact very very dumb

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

  • identicon
    GEMont, 17 Oct 2015 @ 11:45pm

    The American Way.

    "While the program may have eliminated a few terrorism suspects..."

    Its a sad day indeed in American History, when "suspects" are simply exterminated.

    ---

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

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 18 Oct 2015 @ 1:17am

      Re: The American Way.

      Well trials are just so bothersome, and really, if the government thinks they might be guilty, that should be more than enough to justify killing them, shouldn't it? Besides, clearly innocent people wouldn't live in the same country as guilty people, so it's their own fault if they get killed. /poe

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

      • icon
        GEMont (profile), 18 Oct 2015 @ 1:48pm

        Re: Re: The American Way.

        Yeah, I guess "innocent until proven guilty" is just another in a long line of lost and obsolete ideals, like "due process", "civil rights".... the list just keeps getting longer.... that have gone the way of the Dodo due to the War on Druggie Cyber Infringer Terrorists.

        When The United States of America no longer practices any of the ideals of American democracy at home, that it claims to be protecting abroad by stationing troops in every other country on earth and invading any nation that has no nukes, you just know there is something not kosher going on.

        Now if only we could put our finger on what that thing is...

        ---

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

  • icon
    GEMont (profile), 19 Oct 2015 @ 2:07pm

    Eenie Meenie Minie Moe!

    "...Damaging Future Intelligence Efforts"

    What "intelligence" efforts??

    It looks to me like the US federal government is using all their fancy spy gear, specifically to find targets of opportunity to drone bomb - anyone, anywhere, anytime.

    With a 90% collateral damage rate, they could replace their multi-billion dollar a year "intelligence efforts" with a coin toss, and bring the murder rate of innocent civilian bystanders down to a 50/50 chance.

    ---

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


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Close

Add A Reply

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Techdirt Gear
Show Now: Takedown
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.