“When I first heard that yesterday afternoon, I actually thought they were joking.”
“When I first heard that yesterday afternoon, I actually thought they were joking.”
In March, U.S. counterterrorism czar and Deputy National Security Adviser Lisa Monaco announced that the White House would soon release statistics on drone strikes since 2009:
“In the coming weeks, the administration will publicly release an assessment of combatant and noncombatant casualties resulting from strikes taken outside areas of active hostilities since 2009,” Monaco said during an appearance at the Council on Foreign Relations. “Going forward, these figures will be provided annually. Because we know that not only is greater transparency the right thing to do, it is the best way to maintain the legitimacy of our counterterrorism actions and the broad support of our allies.”
That report could come into the public eye as soon as Friday. Then, it’s supposed to be an annual thing.
While more openness about the deaths of civilians the nation’s armed drones have caused is certainly welcome, we can only hope the report, when it does appear, will not repeat what has been said about these deaths in the past. Because we’ve been lied to previously.
What little the Obama Administration has previously said on the record about the drone program has been shown by the facts on the ground, and even the US Government’s own internal documents, to be false. Any claim of low numbers of civilian casualties will therefore have to be read against the more rigorous work of organisations such as the Bureau of Investigative Journalism (TBIJ), which estimates a low of 492 civilian casualties across Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia, and a high of potentially 1138. Amongst these are somewhere between 180 and 227 children.
Indeed, every independent organisation which tracks drone strikes has estimated civilian casualties to be higher than off-record Administration estimates by a factor of anything from four to twenty. The lowest estimate, provided by the Long War Journal, puts the civilian death toll at a minimum of 263 for Yemen and Pakistan, while New America (NA) suggests a low of 373 for Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia, with a high of 448 (excluding ‘unknowns,’ which could take the total up to 797).
But more importantly, it has to be asked what bare numbers will mean if they omit even basic details such as the names of those killed and the areas, even the countries, they live in. Equally, the numbers without the definitions to back up how the Administration is defining its targets is useless, especially given reports the Obama Administration has shifted the goalposts on what counts as a ‘civilian’ to such an extent that any estimate may be far removed from reality. In US drone operations, reports suggest all “military aged males” and potentially even women and children are considered “enemies killed in action” unless they can “posthumously” and “conclusively” prove their innocence.
TWEET OF THE DAY
Fox expert who called Obama a Ã¢Â€Â˜total p*ssyÃ¢Â€Â™ says transgender soldiers are Ã¢Â€Â˜disgracefulÃ¢Â€Â™ to military: https://t.co/dYlso1cwRr
Ã¢Â€Â” Michael Terry (@mterr337) June 30, 2016
BLAST FROM THE PAST
At Daily Kos on this date in 2002—Other priorities:
In what is shaping up to be an interesting administration leak, anonymous officials say that the pre-9-11 Bush Administration didn’t have terrorism on its radar screen. Despite intense focus on the problem by the Clinton Administration, Bush’s National Security Council discussed terrorism in only two of its first 100 meetings.
So, while the Bushes were interested in restarting the Cold War with North Korea and China, terrorism was barely an afterthought. Missile defense was important. Al Queda was ignored. Restarting nuclear testing was a priority. Securing our airports was not.
Lucky for the administration, the 4th of July weekend is coming up, giving it ample opportunities to sound the terrorism alarm bell.
On today’s Kagro in the Morning show, Greg Dworkin rounds up news and the latest Trump/Brexit takes, including one that posits that culture counts more than class. More fuel for the dumpster fire: the latest in Trump frauds & cons includes the Trump Institute, Trump Network & Trump’s charitable giving.
Hallel Yaffa Ariel was only 13 years old. A teenage Palestinian pile of crap sneaked into the house she lived, into her bedroom, and stabbed her to death. Mohammed Tarayra, 17, was shot and killed by IDF while still in the house. May he never rest in peace. The worst part is, Ariel was a duel national of both Israel and the United States. She was | Read More »
The post Benjamin Netanyahu: “You Don’t Murder A Sleeping Child For Peace” (VIDEO) appeared first on RedState.
Throughout his campaign, Donald Trump has claimed that he is loved by “the blacks”. How accurate is his claim? Well, according to the latest Quinnipiac University poll, not at all. The poll, which puts Hillary Clinton narrowly ahead at 42% to Trump’s 40%, has Trump only receiving 1% of support from black voters. It seems like “his African-American” isn’t the only black voter refusing to support | Read More »
The post New Poll Shows Just How Much The Black Voters Love Trump appeared first on RedState.
“He is the first to admit that he doesn’t know all the ways of Washington.”
The efforts of far-right spitemonsters who fervently pretend to care about Jesus to pretend that Donald Trump also fervently cares about Jesus—despite absolutely no evidence of this, and considerably more evidence that Donald Trump considers himself to be the only savior any of the rest of you peons and losers should need—continue apace. This time it is rabidly anti-gay Focus on the Family critter James Dobson, who previously insisted that Trump was a fine and not-at-all-fake “baby Christian” because, as Dobson put it, “I know the person who led him to Christ.” Now he’s backtracking a little, because apparently we’ve finally found a statement so implausible that even a hate group leader can’t quite say with a straight face.
“Only the Lord knows the condition of a person’s heart. I can only tell you what I’ve heard,” Dobson said. “First, Trump appears to be tender to things of the Spirit. I also hear that Paula White has known Trump for years and that she personally led him to Christ.”
“Do I know that for sure? No,” Dobson added. “Do I know the details of that alleged conversion? I can’t say that I do.”
And a more rousing statement of support has yet to be given. I don’t know much about Trump’s commitment to the man upstairs personally, but I heard from someone that someone else says it’s all good, for what it’s worth, which is maybe nothing.
The only way to truly cap off this hate group leader’s effervescently unconvincing statement? How about hearing that this person vouching for Trump’s Jesusness via proxy’s proxy just happens themselves to be, say, some wealth-focused prosperity gospel preacher from that peculiar Ponziesque send-me-all-your-monies offshoot of televised Christianity that says if you’re rich it’s proof God loves you more than the rest of us so we should all be bowing our heads to whoever’s got the fattest Holy Wallet. You know, Trump’s Base.
White is a Florida-based prosperity preacher whose Without Walls International Church, with which she is no longer associated, and Paula White Ministries were both investigated by the Senate Finance Committee.
Wow, what are the odds, what a small world, can you believe the coincidence here, et cetera, ad nauseam, and so forth.
Look, televangelists and “religious” hate group leaders, you can vote for spectacularly un-Christ-like Trump if you want. You don’t need to torture yourself with excuses as to why. It’s not like any of us will think less of you than we already did—that’s a promise.
Darius Robinson was strangled to death inside the Caddo County jail in the small town of Anadarko, Oklahoma, this past April. According to the autopsy report released last week, the cause of death was manual compression of his neck. A heavily redacted jail incident report says that Robinson, who had been arrested on a child support warrant from 2008, was tearing up his cell and eating paper. Two officers entered the cell to check on him, the report says, and Robinson began speaking incoherently and attempted to “get passed both detention officers and that’s when he was taken to the ground.” A chokehold was used to subdue Robinson, hence the neck compression/strangulation. At the time the chokehold was applied, Robinson had been handcuffed and covered in pepper spray.
The Daily Beast has done a lengthy report on Robinson’s death, noting that a camera was installed in his cell and should have recorded the entire incident. Robinson’s brother, Ancio, met with the undersheriff of the jail in an attempt to get answers. Few were forthcoming:
“[Undersheriff Spencer Davis] leaned back in his chair, pushed his cowboy hat back on his head and just old me ‘Sometimes these things happen here,’” Ancio said. “Just like that. With monotone. It was very unsettling to me.”
No one from the Caddo County Sheriff’s Office responded to a request for comment.
Davis recounted what he knew about Robinson’s death, Ancio said, but admitted there was a “blank spot” in the video that may have shown the fatal chokehold that was used on Ancio’s brother, killing him.
Robinson’s death is being investigated by the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation. Once that investigation is complete, the case may or may not be turned over to a grand jury, and the video of Robinson in his cell at the time of his death may also be released at that time.
The Daily Beast article also notes that Robinson was not the first inmate to die in Caddo County Jail, and highlights a number of inmate lawsuits filed against the institution. Many of those lawsuits were unfortunately dismissed.
What happens inside jails and prisons, even when cameras are present, remains shrouded in secrecy to those of us on the outside. Calls for accountability and transparency, which are becoming the new normal for police shootings, must also ring out inside the country’s penal facilities.