Drone Murder 222

I had a half-formed post in mind to work on this morning, but then I read Glenn Greewald’s latest and concluded that if you are going to devote ten minutes of your day, nothing I could write would be as profitable as your reading him.

I would only add the obvious fact that Blair had already done to New Labour precisely what Obama has done to the Democrats; and that western “democracy” has lost its meaning because the institutionally entrenched parties offer no actual policy choice to voters, but are all neo-conservative.

222 thoughts on “Drone Murder

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  • Mary

    ‘Some friends of mine have gotten arrested more times than I can count now for the offense of protesting drone use outside Hancock Air Field near Syracuse, N.Y. Sometimes they’ve blocked the gates to the base. Often they’ve been aware of the risk of being arrested. But they’ve gone into court and argued that the larger crime is being committed inside the base by drone pilots. The protesters have gone into court and said things like this:

    I am proud to accept the consequences of my acts and any jail time. I do not want any suspended sentence. If you give me one, also please let me know how I can violate it before I leave the courtroom. — Elliott Adams

    If you’re among the tens of millions who have assiduously avoided becoming aware of major news stories, what my friends are protesting will come as a shock: President Obama has developed a program of murder, with drones as the primary weapon, that is unprecedented in size, extent, claims of legality, and almost-protest-free acceptability. On Obama’s list of people to kill are men, women, and children, Americans, and non-Americans. He has targeted and killed people in all of those categories. He has targeted and killed people whose names he did not know but who showed a pattern of behavior that suggested they might be resisting the U.S. occupation of a foreign nation. And the vast majority, almost all in fact, of the people our president has killed have simply been men, women, and children who were in the wrong place at the wrong time and not on the list at all. All of this is done in secret, without Congress, without courts, and without the public. It’s done at a scale that can only properly be termed “drone wars.” It’s done in nations where the United States was not previously engaged in any ground war but now is sending in troops as a result of the inevitable blowback from the drone wars. And the news stories are generated by the White House, which wants to brag about this effort.’


  • Mary

    The disposition matrix…. How evil.

    Over the past two years, the Obama administration has been secretly developing a new blueprint for pursuing terrorists, a next-generation targeting list called the “disposition matrix.”

    The matrix contains the names of terrorism suspects arrayed against an accounting of the resources being marshaled to track them down, including sealed indictments and clandestine operations. U.S. officials said the database is designed to go beyond existing kill lists, mapping plans for the “disposition” of suspects beyond the reach of American drones.’

    Plan for hunting terrorists signals U.S. intends to keep adding names to kill lists


  • Snap


    On the unannounced change to filter spambots with the math quiz (erroneously called a Captcha by some), you asked on the IK thread (28 Oct, 8:40 pm):

    “Snap, post that on an older thread please, so we keep this thread on-topic; I’ll get back to you when I can. Also, try to remember I’m a volunteer.”

    Is this thread suitable?

    Sorry for the off-topic post, I was just for once going with the trend of other comments by Mary and Ben about the “Captcha” you implemented (and many others followed, so it could hardly be unexpected) and the general free for all to post anything even if Craig is taking a break to watch the Golf or mark his birthday.

    There were some related discussions here on page 1 above here – mine are at (25 Oct, 7:49 pm) and (25 Oct, 9:58 pm), so consequently at the time of the unannounced change I was quite disgruntled and uncertain even that my post would work without javascript and cookies.

    However, discussing this in the context of drones is most unappealing, so perhaps you would suggest a more suitable place.

  • Jon

    Snap, this place is fine; it’s not been commented upon in a few days. (We don’t mind little off-topics in a new thread, but it sounded like you wanted several exchanges, which might have been more disruptive).

    I don’t believe the Captcha requires JavaScript, it seemed to work for me without. Shouldn’t think it would need cookies either, though I tend to argue (as a programmer with a long history of supporting privacy-based issues) that session cookies are usually harmless. So long as you restart your browser often (say daily) you’ll be fine – just turn off third-party cookies – they’re the bad ones 🙂

    As for an off-topic thread, that’d be a decision for Craig. Personally I quite like little (political) off-topic detours – most of them are on-topic anyway, in the broader sense!

    One or two people have posted in support of commenter registration, but I believe Craig was against it, because it might prevent people who would otherwise make very occasional comments. I agree with that assessment, and yep there’s a privacy angle as well. Anyway, the maths thing seems to be doing a great job – I now delete 4-5 items a week. Yay!

  • Snap

    Hello Jon,

    ok. I’ll try to put on my blinkers to shut out the drones and write here.

    The main point I was asking you to acknowledge is the nervous uncertainty this precedent has made that now any time suddenly one may be faced by another change without prior notice given visibly, let alone some consultation.

    As various others have pointed out, the comments are being used more like a forum, so one builds up a complex network of social interactions with other commenters. In other words, the site is providing a digital commons for a community. Some of us are engaged in long-running topics with a deep investment in time and mental energy, which has been based on the implied principles it apparently upheld by this site. So it is about expectatons and trust and having joined a community, the very real personal human consequences of being locked out because of changes in technology policies.

    I’m glad there is some partial awareness and that this time it works ok and is not a real Captcha. I guess I was and still am asking for a clearer statement of intent to rebuild some trust or sadly cut my losses and stop posting all my information until in another year or two another suitable site turns up.

    I was quite alarmed at the mention of Captchas or the talk of registrations with emails, so had asked for some advance notice, so at least I could try to point out the concerns or to say my goodbyes after completing some material. Did you not see my request at the time? Are you certain this has not created some acessability problem for anyone already here? (i.e. is there some expert consensus?) (I’m not trivialising the problems of spam either).
    Your assumptions on what is fine for my browser use miss the mark and leave me with lingering uncertanties as to what changes you will in future assume to be fine for all.

    friendly regards …

  • Snap


    are you still around?
    Your post (25 Oct, 8:45 pm) really warranted more from me if you were actually inquiring as to my concerns. Anyway, when you wrote:
    “It’s trivially easy to start an email account if you don’t have one”, I was wondering if you have yourself any favourite providers you care to share, and if they tick all the boxes for privacy, reliability, ad-free, no catches to extort a fee, based in a ‘good’ place, POP/sendmail etc.

  • Mary

    Obomber has been a’screamin and a’shoutin so much that his voice is going. Promising all those things that he could have delivered over the last four years instead of committing to a massive military expenditure in killing and maiming peoples 7,000 miles distant, he told his adoring audience last night that he loved them and asked God to bless them and to bless America which is a frequent mantra. Satire is not in it.

    Read this wonderfully powerful and moving poem by someone who lives in the US and there being no choice for him in the election for the lesser of two evils, tells us what he yearns for in an ideal world. We are in the wilderness.

    I Voted
    Gary Corseri

    I voted today. …
    I voted for peace and justice and sanity
    In an insane world of violence and injustice.
    I voted.


    The poem brought tears to my eyes.

  • Jon

    Hi Snap

    I tend to make changes as and when I can. I take prior comments from the community into account (JS dependency and email registration have both been derided) and I sometimes roll stuff back (one or two anti-spam systems weren’t very good). However, since I am a volunteer, placing extra requirements on me – such as minimum notice periods and formal consultations – may be a bit much. I barely have time for my own to-do lists 🙂

    If a change goes in and you’re not happy about it, do let me know in the comments. I try to balance out everyone’s honestly-held views as much as I can, within reasonable time limits. And if I accidentally add a JavaScript requirement, I’d expect anyone unhappy with it to temporarily turn on JS, add a comment, and turn it off again. JS is not the evil it is sometimes painted as (even screen-readers and search bots can run some JavaScript now).

    That all said, I don’t have many more changes to get through these days, and the spam thing seems to be okay. I might try to make the maths problems a tiny bit harder, since a few items are getting through (are the spam bots evaluating the problem, or are they just guessing what goes in the box? Not sure!).

    Hope that assuages your concerns.

  • Snap

    In case anyone comes across this, my non-reply is due to other more serious matters that have arisen on another thread with the lack of regard for basic principles of moderation, which to date remain unresolved.

    Presently that does not leave me with the patience to explain basic usability and privacy/security principles and spell out all the assumptions that are being made which may not hold for the wider audience I raised these concerns on behalf of (not simply myself) in another post elsewhere, as I also did in a question regarding back-channel IP address “leakage” from the site that was not rebutted, so leaves that as a likely scenario.

    In other words, this is merely to explain my silence, so it is not taken as complete endorsement or acceptance.

  • Q

    When the al-Hilli thread crashed again, I decided this is relevant here, too:


    Linked from: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/19/natalie-khawam-clifford-krowne_n_2161685.html

    It is interesting that Indy Audio of Indianapolis has its offices in the Purdue Research Center, which also houses a small UAV (drone) manufacturer. Indianapolis also hosted a drone conference, sponsored by an organization based in the same building as Dion Longworth’s previous company, Stray Light Optical Technologies Inc.

    Now go back to the first link. Donald Rumsfeld is mentioned.


    Former Rumsfeld staffer Kevin Kellems is now working at Stray Light Technologies Inc. in Indianapolis.


    Dion Longworth was killed on November 10, 2012 at 11:10 pm in a mysterious house explosion.

    Oh, what a tangled web.

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