Aletho News


Reflections on MH17

RT Documentary | January 16, 2015

The tragedy of MH17 in which 298 people lost their lives, made the conflict in Ukraine real for many other countries. While the international community awaits the outcome of the crash investigation, speculation in the media continues to fuel the blame game. RTD travels far and wide to interview international experts on what has hindered the investigation, what procedures were needed to collect vital evidence and what might have brought down the ill-fated Boeing 777.


OCSE monitor mentions bullet holes in MH17

Original source… – OCSE monitor Michael Bociurkiw mentions bullet holes in #MH17, not able to find any missile so far.

January 17, 2015 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Video | , , , | Leave a comment

Pseudoscience in the service of policy

By Tom Fuller | Lukewarmer’s Way | January 15, 2015

This week has been an education–reviewing the work of Naomi Oreskes, Anderegg, Prall et al, John Cook et al and Stephan Lewandowsky.

Short version–some people who were (mostly) not scientists and certainly don’t know how to do research properly conducted a series of studies that had foregone conclusions supporting their position on climate policy. For Prall, Cook and Lewandowsky the foregone nature of the conclusions was explicit–they wrote on various websites that they were conducting the studies with a predetermined end. For Oreskes it was implicit, but easy to see, as she structured her research carefully, not to show the breadth of opinion on climate change, but rather to conceal it.

I guess I should address Stephan’s potential concerns first–no, I don’t see a conspiracy in the work I’ve reviewed, even though there is a web of mutual citations in the work involved and collaboration between some of the principals.

Oreskes, the ‘purest’ scientist in the bunch, wrote the original paper (Beyond the Ivory Tower) and it served as a template (and was cited as such) for those who came after.

Her ‘original sin’ was one that has destroyed a lot of research studies unintentionally–sample bias. The literature search on which her work was based omitted relevant studies from skeptics. I say that was intentional, but that’s just my opinion. It was a trivial exercise to find numerous studies by skeptics that would have drastically changed her results. My opinion is she knew those studies were there and carefully crafted a keyword search string that would exclude them.

Anderegg, Prall et al were much sloppier and in addition to sample bias made numerous errors in data collection, analysis and other methodological choices. Their study is garbage. The same is true for Cook et al–their 97% consensus claim is utter nonsense. And when Lewandowsky tried to do in primary research what the others did with secondary research, he only introduced a new class of childish mistakes. I have worked in market research for more than 20 years and I’ve made my share of mistakes. I recognize their mistakes. The difference between these amateurs and professionals is that when professionals make mistakes they admit them and work to correct them. This crew just doubled down on their claims and hoped that nobody would dig very deeply. But when I use words like garbage and nonsense, I am not exaggerating. The quality of work that went into these studies is so bad that if anything I’m understating things.

After Climategate, the actions of those supporting the consensus have been increasingly frantic and in most cases, inept. When the marketing departments of NGOs create flawed iconography of polar bears under threat, videos of people blowing up skeptics and trash treasured archeological sites, it’s easy to dismiss these as the mistaken work of people who have adopted a religion, rather than scientific findings.

But when trash is put before the scientific community as the alleged results of research conducted within the norms of science, it is something else, something much worse. It not only damages the effort to understand how our climate is changing and what we should do about it. It damages science.

Numerous studies have shown a very real tendency for studies to be irreplicable and unreproducible. Fraud has been found as well as mistakes.

Climate change is important and will affect the lives of our children. But science is more important and trashing science to win a policy fight over climate change has the potential to do more damage to the human race than any changes we cause to the climate.

January 17, 2015 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Science and Pseudo-Science | 2 Comments

Lieberman Threatens To “Dismantle” ICC

IMEMC & Agencies | January 17, 2015

Following the decision of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to launch a preliminary investigation to determine “whether war crimes have been committed” during Israel’s last war Gaza in the summer of 2014, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman threatened that Israel “would act on dissolving the ICC,” and considered the decision “provocative.”

Lieberman alleged that the ICC decision “only aims at attempting to impact Israel’s ability to defend itself.”

He added that Israel will not cooperate with any investigation, and will act on the international level to dissolve the ICC after describing the decision as hypocritical, and supportive of what he called “terrorism.”

Lieberman also alleged that the decision is an outcome of what he called anti-Israel moves that only aim at “harming Israel and its right to defend itself.”

The Foreign Minister went on to talk about Syria and how the court “failed to intervene,” adding that there is no comparison between the Israeli army, which he called the most moral army in the world, with what he labeled as “terror groups” in Gaza.

He called on his government to officially reject the decision, and refrain from any cooperation with it.

On Friday evening, Lieberman told Israel’s Channel 2 TV that Tel Aviv should act on removing Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas from his post, and engage in talks with some Arab countries to reach what he called “a peaceful resolution that does not harm Israel’s ability to defend itself.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was also angered by the decision, and said that the ICC cannot conduct the investigation because “Palestine is not a sovereign state.”

The latest developments came after the ICC prosecutor Fatou Densouda declared she has opened a preliminary investigation of “possible” war crimes committed during the most recent Israeli war on Gaza.

She also vowed an independent and impartial preliminary investigation, adding that the move comes after the Palestinian Authority signed the founding treaty of the ICC in July of last year, and officially recognized its jurisdiction.

During the summer Israeli escalation on the Gaza Strip, the army bombarded dozens of thousands of Palestinian homes and residential towers, hospitals and clinics, UNRWA schools and facilities, media offices and dozens of other civilian facilities, in addition to destroying the infrastructure in the besieged coastal region.

The Ministry of Housing in Gaza recently said the number of homes that have been destroyed, and partially damaged, during the Israeli aggression on the coastal region is close to 124,000.

The Israeli bombardment and shelling killed at around 2,137 Palestinians, including 578 children, 264 women, and 103 elderly, while[ wounding] more than 11,100, including 3,374 children, 2,088 women and 410 elderly.

January 17, 2015 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, War Crimes | , , , , | 3 Comments

Losses continue to pile up for Abu Haikel family on Tel Rumeida

CPT | January 17, 2015

The family’s cherished almond and cherry orchards are a thing of the past; only a few straggling trees survived the bulldozers of the Israeli Antiquities Authorities (IAA) in the last year. On 31 December 2014, the Abu Haikel family had their case protesting Israel’s takeover of the land on which they held a protected tenancy contract for more than sixty years heard in the Israeli High Court, only to find that the State of Israel, in a secret deal, had given the land to Hebron settlers in 2012. And this week, a section of the family’s retaining walls collapsed yet again because of the digging beneath them; the footpath to one of their front doors is also danger of collapse.

In the High Court hearing, the three judges glossed over why Israel took over the tenancy from the Abu Haikels in the first place and said they had done nothing to establish tenancy despite the fact they have faithfully paid rent on it for decades (See link to timeline below). However one judge still expressed her shock over the behavior of the State. She asked what criteria Israel had used for giving the land to the Jewish settlers of Hebron instead of putting the land on the market.

Nevertheless, the attitude of the court does not seem likely to produce an outcome favorable to the Abu Haikels. On their side is one lawyer supplied by the Hebron municipality; against them are three lawyers representing the State of Israel, the Jewish settlers of Hebron and the Israeli Antiquities Authority.

And in the meantime, despite the fact that no reputable archeological enterprise accomplishes its work with bulldozers, the family watches as the IAA continues to destroy its property and the property of its neighbors.

A member of the family visited Christian Peacemaker Teams on 14 January to update them on the family’s legal situation and next steps. He said a meeting was in the process of coming together with the Hebron Rehabilitation Committee, the PA Ministry of Tourism and some Israeli solidarity groups, but the prospects for improvement in the family’s fortunes look bleak.

“It’s very depressing to be in a situation where you never really win,” he said. “When the walls come down, you know they’re never going to be replaced…People ask us now, ‘Why are you bothering to put up a fight to save the land?’ What’s the point?’”

When asked why the family continues to resist, he replied, “Well if you don’t stop them at every point, the whole thing keeps on shrinking. The family has a huge fear that they will lose not just their land but their houses as well. Emmanuel Eisenburg, the so called ‘archaeologist’ in charge of the excavation has said he wants to dig under their houses because that’s where the Canaanite city was.”

A timeline of settlement expansion on the Abu Haikel’s land through 2014 is available here.



A Palestinian story of resistance: The Abu Haikal family

January 17, 2015 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , | Leave a comment

US Condemns ICC Preliminary Probe into Israeli War Crimes

Al-Akhbar | January 17, 2015

The United States joined Israel in condemning the International Criminal Court decision to open a preliminary probe Friday into possible war crimes committed against Palestinians, blasting it as a “tragic irony.”

ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said her office would conduct an “analysis in full independence and impartiality” into alleged war crimes by Israel, including those committed during its latest Gaza offensive.

Her decision comes after the Palestinian Authority formally joined the ICC earlier this month, allowing it to lodge war crimes and crimes against humanity complaints against Israel as of April.

At least 2,300 Palestinians, an estimated 70 percent of them civilians, and 72 Israelis, 66 of them soldiers, were killed during last summer’s war in Gaza.

The US criticized the decision late Friday, saying it opposed actions against Israel at the ICC as “counterproductive to the cause of peace.”

“It is a tragic irony that Israel, which has withstood thousands of terrorist rockets fired at its civilians and its neighborhoods, is now being scrutinized by the ICC,” US State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke said in a statement.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had earlier reacted angrily to the prosecutor’s decision, calling it “scandalous” and “absurd” since “the Palestinian Authority cooperates with Hamas, a terror group that commits war crimes, in contrast to Israel that fights terror while maintaining international law, and has an independent justice system.”

Gambian-born Bensouda had earlier stressed that “a preliminary examination is not an investigation but a process of examining the information available… on whether there is a reasonable basis to proceed with an investigation.”

Bensouda will decide at a later stage whether to launch a full investigation.

Israel began a massive crackdown in June, using the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teenagers to launch sweeping arrests and violent repression of Palestinians in the West Bank, triggering a series of events that led to the seven-week Gaza war.

Palestine’s move to join the ICC is also seen as part of a shift in strategy to internationalize its campaign for statehood and move away from the stalled US-led peace process.

The Palestinians were upgraded from observer status to UN “observer state” in 2012, opening the doors for them to join the ICC and a host of other international organizations.

Israel reacted swiftly on Friday, slamming the announcement.

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said the sole purpose of the preliminary examination was to “try to harm Israel’s right to defend itself from terror” and he said the decision was “solely motivated by political anti-Israel considerations.”

Lieberman accused the court of double standards for not examining the mass killings in Syria or other conflict zones, investigating instead what he called “the most moral army in the world.”

Israel earlier this month delayed transferring some $127 million in taxes it collects on behalf of the Palestinian Authority in retaliation for the attempts to press war crimes charges against the Zionist state.

Palestinian foreign minister Riyad al-Malki welcomed the ICC’s move.

“Everything is going according to plan, no state and nobody can now stop this action we requested,” he told AFP.

“In the end, a full investigation will follow the preliminary one.”

‘Justice for victims’

Rights group Amnesty International welcomed the ICC’s announcement saying it “could pave the way for thousands of victims of crimes under international law to gain access to justice.”

But the initial probe could lead to an investigation into crimes “committed by all sides,” Amnesty stressed in a statement.

Friday’s announcement is the second such initial probe by the ICC’s prosecutor into the situation in Palestine.

The Palestinian Authority in 2009 lodged a complaint against Israel, but the ICC prosecutor said in 2012 after “carefully considering legal arguments” it could not investigate because of the Palestinians’ status at the UN.

At the time Palestine’s “observer” status blocked them from signing up to the ICC’s founding Rome Statute.

The ICC, which sits in The Hague in the Netherlands, is the world’s first independent court set up in 2002 to investigate genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.

But it can only probe alleged crimes in countries that have ratified the Rome Statute, or accepts the Hague-based court’s jurisdiction for a certain time period, or through a referral by the UN Security Council.

Currently, chief prosecutor Bensouda is also running preliminary investigations in Afghanistan, Colombia, Georgia, Guinea, Honduras, Iraq and Ukraine.

While 123 countries have now ratified the Rome Statute, Israel and the United States have not.

The roots of the Israel-Palestine conflict date back to 1917, when the British government, in the now-infamous Balfour Declaration, called for “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.”

In 1948, with the end of the British mandate, a new state — Israel — was declared inside historical Palestine.

As a result, some 700,000 Palestinians fled their homes, or were forcibly expelled, while hundreds of Palestinian villages and cities were razed to the ground by invading Zionist forces.

The Palestinian diaspora has since become one of the largest in the world. Palestinian refugees are currently spread across the region and in other countries, while many have settled in refugee camps in the Palestinian West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Israel then occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank during the 1967 Middle East War. It later annexed the holy city in 1980, claiming it as the capital of the self-proclaimed Zionist state — a move never recognized by the international community.

(AFP, Al-Akhbar)

January 17, 2015 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Progressive Hypocrite, War Crimes | , , , , | 5 Comments

This Won’t End Well: Military Police From the Torturous Gitmo Prison, Being Recruited as Cops

By John Vibes | The Free Thought Project | January 16, 2015

This week, as millions of Americans demand that Guantanamo Bay guards be prosecuted for war crimes, it seems that some of them may be getting jobs as cops instead.

It was recently reported that large numbers of military police officers who were formerly stationed at the infamous torture prisons, are now getting jobs as local cops, and could be coming to a town near you. The Worcester Police department in Massachusetts is testing a pilot program, in which former Guantanamo prison guards will be given jobs as police.

Although it is common practice for police departments to hire from the military, Worcester police sergeant Richard Cipro said that this is the first program in the country to specifically recruit from military prisons. He called the effort a “life-changing opportunity” when speaking to new recruits during a recent training class.

New recruits from Guantanamo Bay receive a full-time, paid 35 week training course which is apparently designed to help them make the transition from military police to neighborhood cop. Each class is filled with dozens of potential recruits, many of whom have worked in Guantanamo Bay. There are many hundreds and even thousands more who worked at lesser known military prison camps that are run in very much the same way, being accepted to police departments nationwide.

Cipro has said that people transitioning from the military require less physical training, which saves the department money in the long-run. However, many have pointed out that this is another example of the blurring lines between the military and the police in America.

Critics of former military personnel working in law enforcement, have argued that departments are contributing to the war-time mentality among police by hiring soldiers that are accustomed to operating in combat conditions. Hiring guards from Guantanamo Bay would be taking this a step further, as the prison has become notorious for widespread torture and abuse.

Guantanamo Bay was in the news again this week, as it was revealed that detainees were regularly killed in the prisons, and their murders covered up and made to look like suicides. By all reports it was the CIA that was involved in carrying out these murders, but it has been well documented for years that guards were required to beat and torture detainees on a regular basis. Even being exposed to such a brutal culture day in and day out should be enough to disqualify a person from working in law enforcement.

Direct insubordination and refusal to carry out acts of assault and torture is extremely rare in the US military, especially at sites like Guantanamo Bay. At Guantanamo Bay specifically, there was just one major case reported where a member of the staff refused to participate in torture. As detainees were being force-fed during a hunger strike, one Navy Nurse stood alone and refused to feed the prisoners against their will. The nurse was swiftly sent home and placed under court martial status with the US military.

Sadly, when it comes time to pick new recruits to transition from the military to a police department, the type of people who get the jobs are not the type of people who refuse orders.

A decade ago, Democracy Now spoke with a former army sergeant, Erik Saar who served as an Arabic translator at Guantanamo Bay for six months. Among the abuses he says he witnessed was sexual abuse, mock interrogations, the use of dogs and a female interrogator smearing what looked like menstrual blood on a Muslim prisoner. He also says children were imprisoned at Guantanamo and that the military ordered them not to speak to the Red Cross.

January 17, 2015 Posted by | Subjugation - Torture | , , , | Leave a comment

Major Cities Across The US Becoming Equipped With “Full-Time” SWAT Teams

By John Vibes | The Free Thought Project | January 16, 2015

routine-swat-deploymentsIndianapolis, Indiana – For at least six months now, the SWAT team for the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department has been deployed full-time, responding to routine calls and conducting investigations.

It was reported by WishTV that in the past six months, the Indianapolis SWAT division has been on nearly 300 calls, and conducted over 700 interviews with people on the street. The police department has boasted that the implementation of the SWAT team has taken 36 guns off the streets, but there has been no mention as to how much this is all going to cost for taxpayers.

“We’re letting the bad guys know we’re out here. We’ve put added pressure, so do the right thing or you’re going to jail,” SWAT team member Klinton Streeter told reporters in a macho voice.

What is even more alarming is that Indianapolis is not alone. Until recently Indianapolis was one of the only major US cities without a full-time SWAT team, according to Major Ted Fries with IMPD Homeland Security.

“I think we’re the only city in the top 15 biggest cities that didn’t have a full-time team,” Fries said just before Indianapolis got a routine SWAT team.

However, that quickly changed when the city’s police chief requested a change in policy.

“Chief Hite came to me a few months ago and said he thought it was time for Indianapolis to have a full-time swat team to deal with some of the high crime areas that we have. It’s up and running. And they’re using them quite frequently throughout the week,” Troy Riggs, Indianapolis Director of Public Safety, said.

With most major cities across the US equipped with full-time SWAT teams, millions of dollars worth of military gear, and former military employees, at which point is it fair to say that the United States is effectively under martial law?

As we reported late last year, many police departments are now openly referring to themselves as “paramilitary organizations”.

The California Highway Patrol for example, lists as its #1 question on its employment application paperwork, “Are you willing to work in a paramilitary organization, operating under a structured chain of-command?”

On their website, they have an entire section dedicated to recruiting former soldiers and people with “paramilitary” experience.

January 17, 2015 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Subjugation - Torture | | Leave a comment

‘Financial Meteorologists’ And Their Political Predictions About The Russian Economic Storm

By Andrew KORYBKO | Oriental Review | January 16, 2015

Credit rating agencies are predicting quite a storm for the Russian economy, and they are therefore threatening to lower the country’s status to ‘junk’ level. Just as a weatherman may be incorrect about their storm predictions, so too may a ‘financial meteorologist’, except the latter has ulterior motives in doing so.

S&P has joined Moody’s in launching an attack on the Russian economy, hoping that the threat of lowing Moscow’s credit status will somehow translate into political changes in Eastern Europe. Although such an idea may seem plausible in theory, in practice it’s absolutely disjointed from reality and merely symbolizes the third wave of the economic war on Russia. This coming economic storm, cooked up in the West, is going to come up against the multipolar storm breaker of Russia and China’s own Universal Credit Rating Group (UCRG), expected to become active later this year. When the waves inevitably crash, the West may find that it has unwittingly and irreversibly damaged its own unipolar economic defenses and opened up a flood of multipolarity.

The Third Wave

There have thus far been two major waves of economic warfare waged against Russia, with the third one well on its way. They are as follows:

The US and the EU enacted selective and then generalized sanctions against the Russian economy and certain individuals, apparently under the false belief that Russia is Zimbabwe and can somehow be bullied via these means. They weren’t successful in this attempt and thus decided to escalate the conflict to the next level.

This wave brought about the oil and currency war against Russia, opening up a Pandora’s Box of repercussions that may unintentionally spell the end of fracking in the US (or at least its suspension), among other things. Nonetheless, the main objective here was to destroy what is inaccurately viewed as the lynchpin of Russia’s economy (oil and gas) and create the conditions necessary for a Color Revolution. As with the first wave, the second one also failed to achieve its goals.

Enter the third wave, which is what Russia is on the cusp of experiencing. The strategy here is to use institutional ratings agencies to damage Russia’s international economic reputation in the hopes that this can help ‘isolate’ it from the non-Western markets that it has recently (and quite eagerly) engaged. This plan is dead in its tracks, since Russia’s rating was worse in 2005 but it was consistently growing at around a 7% average during the period 2000-2008, showing the inherently political (and economically ineffective) nature of Western ratings.

The Multipolar Storm Breaker

Shielding Russia and the multipolar world from the West’s politically minded economic ‘ratings’ is the formation of an alternative agency constructed in cooperation with China, the Universal Credit Rating Group (UCRG). This forthcoming buffer, if it can build the necessary trust and objectivity, could realistically help the non-West weather the oncoming ‘financial storm’ that the Western agencies are all hyped up about.

The underlying idea behind this initiative is that the West has a unipolar monopoly on all manners of international ‘ratings’, be it economic, political stability/fragility, or terrorism. Given that there is a realistic and clearly discernable trend towards geopolitical multipolarity, it’s natural that this would eventually transition over into the economic sphere. The BRICS Bank and China’s Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank are examples of this, with the UCRG being the next institutional progression. If the non-West can free itself from the subjective ‘ratings’ and dictates of Western institutions, then it will be at liberty to pursue multipolarity as it sees fit.

When The Waves Finally Crash

The ‘financial meteorologists’ may be in for a surprise when their politically constructed storm hits the multipolar breakers, as the resultant back-splash may reverberate with unintended consequences. Although it is still a relatively far time away in the future, especially considering the rapid and somewhat surprising transformations that have been taking place in all spheres over the past couple years, an increasingly possible scenario is beginning to take shape, and that’s the macro-structural division of the world into entities (not necessarily states) supporting the retention of the unipolar world and those advocating the construction of the multipolar one.

This is seen in all spheres (as was earlier touched upon), and the creation of the UCRG, especially given the current ‘New Cold War’ context, must be understood as being the next logical extension of this. As the world divides itself into either the pro- or anti-multipolar camp, the emerging dichotomy will come to define international relations for the entire century or until one side capitulates. Given this dynamic, it is a very realistic possibility that certain states will ‘switch sides’, just as occurred during the ‘Old Cold War’, either by force (whether covert or overt) or by choice.

Something that may sway various states towards multipolarity could be the creation of regional agencies and institutions to complement inter-regional (‘Greater Multipolarity’) ones, for example, a credit ratings institution specifically for Latin America. Likewise, if the unipolar world continues its political designations of supposedly impartial topics such as the economy and does so in favor of geostrategic on-the-fence states, it could find itself gaining new allies. No matter how things play out, though, it’s evident that a global competition is definitely taking place between the unipolar and multipolar worlds, and that this is being fought on all levels, including the financial institutional one described within this article.

Concluding Thoughts

The West is poised to launch the third wave of its asymmetrical economic war against Russia, but it’s predictably bound to fail in inflicting the damage it has in mind. Russia and China, the two anchors of the multipolar world via the Russian-Chinese Strategic Partnership, are taking the initiative in creating an alternative institution to counter the West’s politically motivated economic ratings. This creates more openings for the actualization of full-spectrum multipolarity, whereby this concept makes the leap from the geopolitical to the institutional, with the long-term potential of rivaling (and perhaps unseating) the West’s ‘supremacy’ in the targeted fields. Importantly, however, this entire episode portends the division of the world into two camps, with the unipolar and multipolar worlds slated for their inevitable face-off sometime later this century.

January 17, 2015 Posted by | Economics | , , | 1 Comment

Assassination Nation

Drones and Targeted Killing

By Ron Jacobs | CounterPunch | January 16, 2015

Imagine living in a town or neighborhood where a serial killer is on the loose. The killer’s primary weapon is a pipe bomb filled with small metal projectiles like BBs and nails. The bombs are designed to kill and maim those in the vicinity of the explosion. The killer’s weapons are usually aimed at male targets, but quite often several others in the vicinity are also killed, including women and children. Oftentimes, a note is sent to the media after the attacks warning of future attacks unless the people being targeted give in to the killer or killers’ demands. The fact of the attacks’ unpredictability has created a perennial fear in the region, leaving every resident uncertain of their future and their family’s safety.

Now imagine the killer is the United States military and CIA. The pipe bombs are armed drones packing explosives powerful enough to kill everyone within a few hundred meters. Although the drones are not randomly aimed, the appearance to those targeted on the ground is that they are. In other words, nobody in the targeted vicinity knows when or exactly where the drone will hit and who it is intended to kill. In response, the local residents of the targeted area stay inside, not sending their children to school or going to work all the while hoping their families will not be murdered in the next attack. Then the drone strikes, killing at first a man and his fellow tea drinkers. The screams of the wounded and dying attract his neighbors, who go to retrieve the wounded. Some approach quickly while others much more tentatively, knowing of the likelihood of a second drone strike designed to kill the rescuers. Then, the silence.Layout 1

Since the use of killer drones by the United States began, more than 3500 people have been killed. Many of those killed were civilians. The number of civilians killed depends on how one counts civilians. The US government tends to consider every male in a targeted area over the age of fourteen to be a militant (itself a rather ambiguous term) and does not count their deaths as civilian deaths even when it is clear they were not involved in hostilities. If we were to apply this metric to the deaths that occurred when the planes flew into the WTC on September 11, 2001, then it seems safe to assume that the number of civilian deaths in that event would drop quite a bit. I am not suggesting that we do this, merely pointing out that the statistics regarding deaths by drone published by the US government (and related corporations) are self-serving and, at best, only somewhat truthful when it comes to the numbers of civilian dead.

Marjorie Cohn is an attorney who teaches both international human rights law and criminal law. She is a former head of the National Lawyers Guild and the editor of the recently released book Drones and Targeted Killing: Legal, Moral and Geopolitical Issues. This text includes entries written by attorneys, religious leaders, antiwar activists and others. The writers, while predominantly from the United States, also include (among others) Bishop Desmond Tutu from South Africa and human rights activist Ishai Menuchin from Israel. As the title indicates, the essays cover the topic of assassination by drone and Special Forces hit squads through a variety of prisms. However, the primary prism is the prism of international law. The unanimous consensus of every writer is that these killings are illegal by virtually every measure and precedent that exists in the field of international law. […]

In short, this book is a rapid-fire attack on the US policy of targeted assassination by drone or other means. It is also a look at the origins of this policy in Tel Aviv’s onslaught against the Palestinians and its assassination of Palestinian leaders by missile strike and commando. Most importantly it is a reasoned and legalistic addition to the demand that this policy end now and forever. After reading this book, the best words I could come up with to describe the nature of the US policy of targeted killing and assassination by drone or other means are the same words spoken by Barack Obama in the wake of the recent murders of twelve journalists in Paris by men quickly labeled terrorists. To quote the US president, these killings are “cowardly, evil attacks.”

January 17, 2015 Posted by | Book Review, Subjugation - Torture, War Crimes | , , , , , | 2 Comments