Obama’s War on Truth 187

The four USAF military drone operators who recently blew the whistle and exposed the callousness and complete lack of concern for civilian casualties of the US drone assassination programme, (and received very little mainstream media exposure), yesterday found their bank accounts and credit cards all blocked by the US government. The effects of that on daily life are devastating. My source is their lawyer, Jesselyn Radack, through the Sam Adams Associates (of which we are both members).

No criminal charges have been brought against any of the men, despite numerous written threats of prosecution. Their finances appear to have been frozen by executive action under anti-terrorist legislation. This is yet a further glaring example of the use of “anti-terror” powers against people who are not remotely terrorist.

More whistleblowers have been jailed under Obama than under all previous US Presidents combined. Even so, the US authorities seem wary of the publicity that might surround prosecution of these servicemen, who only spoke of the effect upon their own health of having repeatedly to carry out heartless and often untargeted killings.

So their lives are being destroyed in other ways. You will forgive me for recalling that I know how they feel because I have been through just the same thing myself.

When I blew the whistle on UK complicity in torture and extraordinary rendition, I received numerous written threats from the FCO under the Official Secrets Act, and for a while I lived in daily expectation of arrest. Still more hurtful were the constant denials from Jack Straw and his repeated assertion that the UK was never complicit in torture, that there was no such thing as extraordinary rendition, together with the frequent imputations to journalists and politicians that I was in poor mental health and an alcoholic. I never had my bank account suspended, but there were interventions with prospective employers that prevented my getting another job.

Still, I had it easy. Chelsea Manning will celebrate her birthday in jail on 17 December.

It is worth recalling what these drone operators told us:

Bryant said the killing of civilians by drone is exacerbating the problem of terrorism. “We kill four and create 10 [militants],” Bryant said. “If you kill someone’s father, uncle or brother who had nothing to do with anything, their families are going to want revenge.”

The Obama administration has gone to great lengths to keep details of the drone program secret, but in their statements today the former operators opened up about the culture that has developed among those responsible for carrying it out. Haas said operators become acculturated to denying the humanity of the people on their targeting screens. “There was a much more detached outlook about who these people were we were monitoring,” he said. “Shooting was something to be lauded and something we should strive for.”

The deaths of children and other non-combatants in strikes was rationalized by many drone operators, Haas said. As a flight instructor, Haas claimed to have been non-judicially reprimanded by his superiors for failing a student who had expressed “bloodlust,” an overwhelming eagerness to kill.

Haas also described widespread alcohol and drug abuse among drone pilots. Drone operators, he said, would frequently get intoxicated using bath salts and synthetic marijuana to avoid possible drug testing and in an effort to “bend that reality and try to picture yourself not being there.” Haas said that he knew at least a half-dozen people in his unit who were using bath salts and that drug use had “impaired” them during missions.

187 thoughts on “Obama’s War on Truth

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    I don’t know if I heard right but Paul Flynn is joining in with the Labour traitors. I almost prefer the Tories here. At least you know what you’re going to get when they open their gobs.


    Another statistic. Number of deaths of military personnel in road accidents in the UK since 2002 exceed the number killed in the whole of the Afghanistan ‘campaign’ ie 454.

    ‘Military road deaths: Distorted perception of danger’

    They have been brainwashed.

  • Pan

    27 Nov, 2015 – 2:24 pm

    “I probably won’t be thanked for posting a link to the Daily Mail…”

    No, not in and of itself, you won’t!

    “…but of course the point is that a huge number of people believe the rubbish that the likes of the Mail publish.”

    Yes, that IS the point, and one well made.

  • Tony_0pmoc

    I remember things getting rather hairy re close to Nuclear confrontation in the early 80’s with the likes of crazy Russian Presidents such as Brezhnev, Andropov & Chernenko before Gorbachev got the job in 85 and calmed things down.

    At the time it was US Presidents such as Carter and Reagan who were the moderating influence. I remember distinctly being bloody frightened of the Russians nuking us.

    Now things have completely reversed. It’s the Americans who scare the hell out of me. Not Obama so much, but the neocons and the likes of McCain, Nuland and Clinton who have massive influence in the US Govt, supported by The Pentagon and the CIA. Sure you can blame Obama for having appointed them – but did he really have any choice, and has he really much influence to stop them going rogue, and pulling off major events such as the coup in Ukraine, and the funding and feeding of ISIS without Presidential authority?

    I think Obama has very limited powers as to what he can actually do, and that there are constant internal battles at the highest level of the visible US Government as well as The Deep State – The Shadow US Government – which has been extremely well documented by the likes of Peter Dale Scott – a former Canadian Diplomat.

    Re the events in Turkey and the shootdown of the Russian jet…Joe Quinn who I have enormous respect for as an Independent journalist (though I don’t always agree with him)…has a very interesting theory – as to who was actually flying the F-16 and shot the Russian jet down.

    Yes, The Americans are now “That Crazy”.

    Would Turkey risk it – having such an enormous amount to lose (massive Trade with Russia for a start) – or did they just take the blame – or else. Think about it…what politician admits responsibility for an action like this – unless being forced to do – by those really in control…They share the same Incirlik airbase. This must have been pre-planned and pre-authorised…Photographing that – a jet being shot down – is no easy task – unless you know when and where it is going to happen.

    “Always the last to know: Did Turkish government find out about shoot-down of Russian jet after the fact?”


    Does The British Government and the RAF really want to share the same airspace with these lunatics to bomb the people and the legitimate Government of Syria and in reality be at war with Russia too – to defend Islamic crazy headchoppers? If they were really intending to defeat ISIS – then the Syrian Government would have invited them – as they invited the Russians.

    We have seen the lies before….Iraq and Libya.


  • Pan

    Mark Golding
    27 Nov, 2015 – 3:10 pm

    “The sentient frailty of so many mortals preoccupied with wealth and power is identified here by Craig and others and is the reason why millions of page views are recorded on this on-line journal and record; given and gifted for now and future generations.”

    That’s pretty cool.


    McTaggart is on the ISC committee and is a PC ffs. Posh and rich*. Should have joined the Tories.

    Intelligence and Security Committee

    Gisela Stuart Lab is also on it. She is also a member of the HJS political council.

    Their home page opens with an image of the Israel flag.


    *’Her father, the late Sir Ian Mactaggart, Bt, was a multimillionaire Glasgow property developer, Conservative candidate and Eurosceptic. Her mother’s father, Sir Herbert Williams, Bt, was a Conservative Member of Parliament for 27 years. Her great-grandfather was Sir John Mactaggart, the first treasurer of the first branch of Keir Hardie’s Labour Party. Her father left her a fifth of his £6.5m estate, and it is thought she is the second richest Labour MP. Critics often make an issue of MacTaggart’s huge wealth, with journalist Benedict Brogan describing her as “a Scottish laird who is as wealthy as she is humourless”.[22]

    Mactaggart owns three homes, one in London, one on the Isle of Islay and a flat in Slough.’

  • KingOfWelshNoir


    ‘Drone pilots train on real aircraft just like any other pilot.’

    Yes, indeed, but only in basic training. After that they are entirely desk bound and do not take further training on combat aircraft. The basic training is thus pretty pointless, much like joining the navy and learning to tie knots, or fire a cannon. They would probably be better off playing Xbox.

    But the point was this: most people would regard pilots who fly combat missions as brave, but far fewer would think that of drone pilots who kill people in far off lands without incurring any risk to themselves.

    What about you? Do you think drone operators are brave?

  • K Crosby

    ~~~~~Haas also described widespread alcohol and drug abuse among drone pilots. Drone operators, he said, would frequently get intoxicated using bath salts and synthetic marijuana to avoid possible drug testing and in an effort to “bend that reality and try to picture yourself not being there.”~~~~~

    Ordinary Men: Reserve Drone Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in the Middle East

  • Pan

    27 Nov, 2015 – 3:22 pm

    “This really can no longer be a coincidence.”

    If it happens a third time under similar circumstances (and does NOT happen under different circumstances, if you follow me) then you could be onto something.

    But you should be quite sure there’s a repeated recognisable pattern before you jump to conclusions.

  • Bob Smith

    King of welsh noir
    The majority of pilots in the RAF do not fly fighters or bombers. There are far more transport aircraft and the like and anyone who passes flight training to a certain standard receives their wings. If drone operators have earned their wings they will then be assessed for their best role. To doubt their bravery is fatuous and based on no evidence.
    I don’t usually comment on Craig’s site as the debate gets lost in off topic comments by a clique. However, I think it is entirely proper to oppose the bombing planned for Syria without disrespectful comments about service personnel. I think we should save our ire for the armchair warriors of Westminster.

  • Pan

    Bob Smith –

    “I think we should save our ire for the armchair warriors of Westminster.”

    Hmmm… “armchair warriors” … interesting expression…

  • BrianFujisan


    Can you re post Dr Hans Gilbert in Glasgow,,am all over the Joint trying to find that.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Bath salts? Good Lord. Drones – the whole thing is sick.

    And all the while, Riyadh continues to be feted, never mentioned by anyone in Government. No mention, ever, of sanctions.

    The reek of hypocrisy – hence, perhaps, the bath salts. Is the entire Government on bath salts?

    Yet as with Lady Macbeth, bloodstains do not wash away so easily.

  • Tony_0pmoc

    Mark Golding @24 Nov, 2015 – 10:54 am,

    Give my regards to Jimmy too….I just thought your/Jimmy’s words were very important and worth repeating…because they actually say so much…and need to be understood by any MP who might read them. Maybe Democracy isn’t dead yet. Our MP’s prevented the UK Government and subsequently (indirectly?) the US Government from bombing Syria in 2013. Maybe they can do it again – despite the enormous propaganda for war (and no doubt arm twisting) they are currently being subjected to.

    I hope our MP’s individually work out the implications, before making their decision and casting their personal vote. Its more than just The Syria. Its the future of the human race.


    Mark – Thanks for posting this.

    “The downing of the Russian plane is “a very serious incident,” said Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov. He added, however, that it is too early to draw conclusions until the whole situation is clear.

    We now have a clear insight understanding of a briefing to RAF Tornado GR4 pilots at RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus to ‘rattle the cages’ of Russian fighters in any confrontation.

    Are we supposed to be fighting Daesh/ISIS?

    My thanks to ‘Jimmy’ for trusting me.”

  • Laguerre

    Ruth 27 Nov, 2015 – 3:22 pm

    “Over the last few weeks I’ve noticed whenever I log in and start to make a comment on such an article, the whole comment section disappears except for the title.”

    I thought it’s a bug in the Indie comment system. Log in and the comment thread disappears. Log out, and the comments reappear. After all, they probably put in a cheap system. They must be losing money hand over fist. The whole new presentation is a disaster. The authors’ names are not given and it’s almost impossible to find my favourite writers. I guess that if you’re a Russian oligarch and your paper is losing large amounts of cash, you won’t want to throw good money after bad.

  • fedup

    most people would regard pilots who fly combat missions as brave, but far fewer would think that of drone pilots who kill people in far off lands without incurring any risk to themselves.

    What about you? Do you think drone operators are brave?

    KWN you have the knack of hitting the right nerve, it is a galvanic gift evidently. Thereafter comes the response from yet another character (new one) that is trying to stem the probable direction that you have thrown the course of the debate!!!

    The drone pilots sitting in their comfortable ground stations and killing their victims from far far away are a particularly vicious and pernicious breed whom lack any kind of empathy! Therefore any debate about these is verboten dammit!!! Now fall into line and get behind our heroes and get on with worshipping them what is wrong with you dammit?!!!!

  • Suhayl Saadi

    “I would not wish anyone to rot in hell. Not even Tony Blair. Now a nice cell at the Hague…” Craig Murray

    Craig is a good man, with considerable restraint.

    Tony Blair, on the other hand…

    Grinning face, chatterbox lies
    The world
    A Glasgow kiss

  • Bob Smith

    Fedup, your comments seem directed at me mainly for daring to post on a site generally reserved for a clique who spend most of their time, irrespective of topic, debating Israel, Palestine and conspiracy theories.
    I have a tremendous respect for Craig and every time I read his posts I learn more about our world and so many other useful things. I seem to learn little from many of the comments but am often surprised by the thoughtful content of some. I have commented on previous posts on rare occasions.
    I would never try and stifle comment. I was merely trying to correct a misconception about how wings are awarded in the RAF. I know nothing of the bravery of drone operators or indeed their lack of it. But then I suspect neither do you.
    By raising such questions based on no evidence or experience you and others simply deflect the debate from those that should be the real target, the politicians of all parties who commit us to unjustified war.
    Personally I have no problem with the idea of drone attack if they were as surgical and legal, but as they as often as not neither, I do have concerns, but my concerns always lead to questioning the integrity of those in Westminster, not those who serve in the forces.

  • Laguerre

    On the drone pilots, I read somewhere that these days they commonly don’t have full pilot’s licences, but rather lesser training. Crashes are much higher than revealed. Take-off and landing are handled at the local airfield. So Nevada only handles flight and attack. Is it surprising that large numbers of mistakes are made?

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Well, I’m from Glasgow. And no, ‘a Glasgow kiss’ is not a racist term. But frankly, I don’t give a damn. Now I wonder what might bring you to ask that question of me, Brian? Are you a fan of Tony Blair?

  • Anon1


    “Is Not A Glaskow Kiss ..a Racist term”

    No. Stop pretending and jumping on bandwagons that are reserved for the true oppressed.

  • Republicofscotland

    I see old saddle bag face HRH money bags (a pardon me mam) is onto a bumper rise next year.

    Details buried in the Chancer of the Exchequers Autumn war chest (I mean) statement confirms old queen Lizzie will get a rise from £40.1 million to £42.9 million quid.

    No austerity or recession for luxury Liz, when all, around are struggling the royals are thriving.

    Next year queen Lizzie will be ninety, and a mega mega party is to thrown to mark the occasion, I wonder who’ll be paying for the extravaganza?

    Get your tickets now price?



  • lysias

    The Russians were undoubtedly listening in on the air-to-ground communications of the F-14. If the voice that appeared on air was that of an American, I think Russian voice intercept operators would have been able to recognize the fact. And the communications are undoubtedly still available to the Russians in recorded form.

  • Anon1


    You’re doing well lately. The Muslim joke that everyone except the Muslim was offended by.

    Followed by the Scots joke laughed at by the Scot but the Scotch Nat found offensive.

    All that remains is for our resident non-Scot Scot nat, RoS, to be outraged by your comment.

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