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The Whistleblower and Drone Assassinations

by Oui Fri May 10th, 2019 at 08:16:37 AM EST

Jeremy Scahill of The Intercept published an eight-part series titled "The Drone Papers" in 2015. Scahill is a hero investigative journalist whom I admire over the years.

Jeremy Scahill on Obama's Orwellian War in Iraq by Oui @BooMan on Oct. 9, 2014

US charges intelligence analyst for leaking information on drone program | DW |

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) charged Daniel Everette Hale, a former intelligence analyst, with the theft and disclosure of sensitive government information in Alexandria, Virginia on Thursday.

Hale, who was arrested in Nashville, Tennessee, on Thursday morning, faces up to 50 years in prison if convicted of leaking classified information on the targeted assassination of individuals in Yemen, Somalia, and Afghanistan.

More below the fold ...


The indictment did not name the publication or journalist, but the description appeared to match that of Jeremy Scahill of The Intercept. The information was published in an eight-part series titled "The Drone Papers" by the online news organization The Intercept in 2015.

"Secret, unaccountable process for targeting and killing"

The Intercept's editor-in-chief Betsy Reed stated the organization does not comment on anonymous sources, but she said, "These documents detailed a secret, unaccountable process for targeting and killing people around the world, including US citizens, through drone strikes. They are of vital public importance. "

Reed also criticized US President Donald Trump's administration for following in the footstep of former President Barack Obama's administration in prosecuting leaks by using "the Espionage Act to prosecute whistleblowers who enable journalists to uncover disgraceful, immoral, and unconstitutional acts committed in secret by the US government."

Hale, 31, worked as an intelligence analyst for the US Air Force in Afghanistan, where he was assigned to the National Security Agency (NSA) from 2009 to 2013. During that time he was involved in numerous drone strikes.

Drones and diplomacy: US Ramstein air base stirs controversy in Germany | DW |

Command, click, kill? Weaponized drones are highly controversial in Germany. Two cases involving fatal drone attacks carried out by the United States are being brought before Germany's Higher Administrative Court in Münster.

Three Yemenis have taken legal action against the German government, as has one Somali. The plaintiffs claim to have relatives who lost their lives as a direct result of the deployment of US drones in their home countries.

The attacks are said to have been carried out via the Ramstein US military base in the state of Rhineland-Palentine, which is why the injured parties are suing the German government for being partially responsible. The military site is shrouded in secrecy. Little information is made public about what goes on at the facility, which is extremely controversial in Germany.

Forwarding signals to deadly drones

Ramstein is mainly used as a hub for US military transportation. But apart from those carrying out activities at and through the air base, there is little public information available about what else takes place there. Even the few details about the suspected coordination of drone missions from the base took some time to surface.

In 2016, Germany's deputy minister for Europe, Michael Roth, reported in the German parliament that the US had informed the Foreign Ministry the base would be used as a telecommunications relay station for data traffic with unmanned aircraft. This means that radio signals are automatically received and forwarded on.

'No knowledge'

Until Roth gave his report, the government always insisted that it had "no knowledge" of US operations that take place at Ramstein. Both Roth and later government spokespersons repeatedly emphasized that unmanned aircraft neither took off nor were controlled from Ramstein. When DW contacted the Foreign Ministry, this again was the official information provided. In addition, government spokespersons have repeatedly referred in recent years to the assurance from the US that the activities in its military properties in Germany "will be carried out in accordance with applicable law."

Read more: Should 'killer robots' be banned?

The Foreign Ministry reiterated this: "We are in regular exchange with our US partners on political, military and legal issues of the US armed forces in Germany. This includes an understanding that the US abides by German law both in its activities at Ramstein as well as in the whole of Germany." This adherence is also laid out in Article 2 of the NATO Status of Forces Agreement.

 

Drones and the International Rule of Law | Scholarship Georgetown University |

Exploring a Link Between Drone Strikes and Retaliation

Most of the debate surrounding the United States drone program has focused on its legality and morality, while its effectiveness as a counterterrorism strategy has gone largely unquestioned. Although groups like the Taliban and Al Qaeda continue to operate in countries targeted by U.S. drone strikes, such as Pakistan, Yemen, and Afghanistan, the notion that the strikes have been effective is seldom challenged, largely due to the difficulty of empirical testing. My analysis questions this assumption and highlights the need for further research, showing a positive correlation between U.S. drone strikes and terrorist attacks in Pakistan.

There is plenty of discussion concerning the ethics of the drone program, but the public consensus seems to have concluded that targeted killing is an unpleasant necessity in U.S. counterterrorism, particularly in areas of the world where the American public is not willing to send its soldiers. Daniel Byman of the Brookings Institution makes the case that drones have had a substantial impact on Al Qaeda. More often than not, such defenses argue that drone strikes have supposedly been successful in taking out their intended, high-level targets (the public is rarely presented with evidence to support this claim, so we can't assess its truthfulness). Former NSA director Michael Hayden used this reasoning in his defense of the program last year, and members of Congress gave similarly vague attestations of its effectiveness.

Further reading from the diaries ...

Trump White House Weighing Plans for Private Spies to Counter "Deep State" Enemies
Pierre Omidyar: A Dangerous Billionaire-Backer of the "Resistance"
EU/NATO Propaganda It's About Daesh and Russia

Social Engineering in the Digital Cyber Age

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Where is Pierre Omidyar? Last that I read, The Intercept funded in part or in whole by Pierre Omidyar.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Sun May 12th, 2019 at 08:29:02 PM EST


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