There’s a dark side to the flurry of reports and testimony on drones, helpful as they are in many ways. When we read that Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch oppose drone strikes that violate international law, some of us may be inclined to interpret that as a declaration that, in fact, drone strikes violate international law. On the contrary, what these human rights groups mean is that some drone strikes violate the law and some do not, and they want to oppose the ones that do.
It was a busier and bloodier weekend than usual for Islamic extremists linked to the Al Qaeda franchise, with hundreds killed in bomb and gun attacks in Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen and Kenya, as well as the ongoing war in Syria, where the same brand of jihadists form the dominant fighting groups trying to topple the government of President Bashar al-Assad.
The remarkable London-based legal charity, Reprieve(i) which defends lives “from death row to Guantanamo Bay”, providing legal support for prisoners unable to pay for themselves, have released a letter to President Obama, and Yemen’s President Hadi from Faisal bin Ali Jaber, a Yemeni engineer who lost his nephew and brother-in-law in a US drone strike on Hadhramout Governorate, in August 2012.
Sixty-eight years ago this week, the United States wiped out more than 200,000 people when it dropped two atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Tens of thousands more victims were to die over the ensuing years due to slow, painful deaths from cancers and birth defects.
Yet the US – the only state to have ever used atomic weapons – has never apologized or made any atonement for this singularly horrific crime. Continue reading
“One man’s collateral damage is another man’s son.” (Political cartoonist, Jeff Danziger, August 2nd 2006)
The words of Nasser al-Aulaqi, have a measured, dignified determination, shadowed by bewilderment and the betrayal by a country for which he had had respect, happy memories and which had provided aspects of the basis for his considerable achievements.
Nasser al-Aulaqi is the father of Anwar al-Aulaqi and the grandfather of sixteen year old Abdulrahman al-Aulaqi, both killed in American drone strikes in the Yemen, within two weeks of each other, in September and October 2011, respectively. Both were American citizens.
I wrote the following article for the “Close Guantánamo” website, which I established in January 2012 with US attorney Tom Wilner. Please join us — just an email address is required to be counted amongst those opposed to the ongoing existence of Guantánamo, and to receive updates of our activities by email.
On Monday, President Obama fulfilled the first of three promises he made a month ago to resume releasing prisoners from Guantánamo, by appointing an envoy at the State Department to deal with prisoner transfers.
About the time Barack Obama ordered the drone strike that killed Abdul-Rahman al-Awlaki, the 16-year-old American kid Facebooked his second-rate choice of hip-hop favorites. I say “second-rate,” because Abdul was my son’s age almost exactly, so I know the kind of crap they listen to.
Every Tuesday, President Obama personally checks off the names of people he wants killed. George Bush, a bit more squeamish than Obama, never did that; but Mr. Obama felt those decisions were the president’s responsibility: he want[s] to keep his own finger on the trigger,” according to one report. Continue reading
A little wrap-up on the status of permanent war.
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
June 14, 2013
Dear Mr. Speaker: (Dear Mr. President:)
I am providing this supplemental consolidated report, prepared by my Administration and consistent with the War Powers Resolution (Public Law 93-148), as part of my efforts to keep the Congress informed about deployments of U.S. Armed Forces equipped for combat.
democracynow on May 17, 2013
http://www.democracynow.org – A Pentagon official predicted Thursday the war against al-Qaeda and its affiliates could last up to 20 more years. The comment came during a Senate hearing revisiting the Authorization for Use of Military Force, or AUMF, enacted by Congress days after the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. At the hearing, Pentagon officials claimed the AUMF gives the president power to wage endless war anywhere in the world, including in Syria, Yemen and the Congo.
“This is the most astounding and most astoundingly disturbing hearing that I’ve been to since I’ve been here,” said Independent Sen. Angus King of Maine. “You guys have essentially rewritten the Constitution here today.” We play an excerpts of Thursday’s Senate hearing and our recent interview with Jeremy Scahill, author of the new bestseller, “Dirty Wars: The World is a Battlefield.” Continue reading
Dear Mr. President:
As a former lecturer in constitutional law at the University of Chicago Law School, you know that the federal government, including the Office of the President, does not enjoy limitless powers. As President, your powers are limited to those conferred either by the Constitution or federal statutes. Continue reading
breakingtheset on Apr 29, 2013
On this episode of Breaking the Set, Abby Martin talks to Jeremy Scahill, investigative journalist and author of the new book and upcoming film ‘Dirty Wars’, an exposé on the expansion of American covert wars fought by US intelligence agencies and the Joint Special Operations Command. They talk about covert operations happening in countries like Somalia, Yemen, and Pakistan, where drone strikes and targeted assassinations are creating resentment of the US, and how the decline of journalism has prevented the American public from seeing the full story. Scahill also discusses instances of extra-judicial killings of American citizens, and the importance of understanding the roots of radicalization and the motives behind the concept of blowback against the US’ “Dirty Wars”.
Updated: May 2, 2013
In watching the massive media coverage and the reaction to the brutal bombing at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, the wise poem “To A Louse…” composed in 1785 by the Scottish poet Robert Burns came to me:
“O wad some Pow’r the giftie gie us/ To see oursels as ithers see us!”
“And would some Power the small gift give us/To see ourselves as others see us!”
Desperately seeking a future
Year on year the numbers of men, women and children leaving Ethiopia in search of work and freedom from repression in one of the Gulf States and beyond is increasing. Lured by the often hollow prospect of earning enough money to support their family, United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR)[i] estimate around 85,000 men women and children, desperate and naïve, have this year, no matter the severe risks, made their way to Yemen, the hub of migration out of the Horn of Africa. In the last six years around 250,000 Ethiopians have made the dangerous journey into this very poor, deeply divided country besieged with internal problems, which has limited resources, the second highest rate of chronic child malnutrition in the world and where 45% of the population live in poverty.
Last week, a major article in the New York Times painted a grim portrait of how President Obama has taken over from George W. Bush as the “commander in chief” of a “war on terror” that seems to have no end, and that not only appears to be counter-productive, but also, at heart, illegal.