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Saturday, July 21, 2012

Drones by executive order incinerate people “half a world away”

Drone attack
Violent nation’s week of domestic/international violence
Re-reporting, editing, comment by
Carolyn Bennett

Culture of violence: Sherwood Ross

“I cannot speak for gun manufacturers and I don’t know what goes on inside their minds but I do believe there is a culture of violence in the United States,” Ross said this week in an interview with Press TV.

“We have a culture of violence that is drummed into our children and expresses itself in American exceptionalism in our foreign policy.”

Run by the military industrial complex, he said, “the country is slipping into dictatorship. The people of the world have got to be made aware that it is dangerous. It is armed and dangerous. The United States is spending $700 billion for war and, by contrast, half a billion dollars for the Peace Corps.”

These figures must be turned around, he said.

There has been no end to violence and there must be an end to it. “The question is: when will the American people do something about the violence?”

U.S. drone
Press TV photo
Favored weapon in U.S. international violence 
Coward’s way: Conn Hallinan

“The issue is not the morality of drones. Drones have no morality; nor do they have politics or philosophy. They are soulless killing machines.

“The morality at play is with those who define the targets and push the buttons that incinerate people we do not know half a world away.”


In a lawsuit filed on Wednesday, the relatives of three U.S. citizens have named senior U.S. Defense Department and CIA officials in the killing of U.S.-born Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, his 16-year-old son Abdulrahman al-Awlaki and naturalized U.S. citizen Samir Khan. The dead lost their lives in non-UN sanctioned U.S. assassination drone strikes in Yemen.

Yemeni suffering
The drone assassination program is an absolute breach of the U.S. Constitution especially when it is carried out against U.S. citizens and especially against nations, such as Yemen, where there has been no U.S. declaration of war. Under the U.S. Constitution, this warfare stands in violation of “the separation of powers” that exists between legislative and executive branches of the U.S. government.

Though the U.S. president, Barack Obama, confirmed in January of this year that his government uses unmanned drones in Pakistan and other countries, the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency refuses to release the official memoranda [reminiscent of “a fraudulent documentation used by Alberto Gonzalez, George W. Bush, Richard Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld in the cases of U.S. torture in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay”] which grant the president legal authority to approve drone strikes.

Shadowed and illegal
In an interview late last month with Press TV, columnist for Foreign Policy in Focus Conn Hallinan said, 
People really do not know anything about it so it is a kind of a shadow war. It allows the United States to take part in series of wars. There are at least three to four drone wars going on right now without ever referring to the Congress or bringing the issue before the American people. 
It is a stealth way of engaging in warfare.

Drone attack
North Waziristan

That day in Pakistan’s northwestern tribal region of North Waziristan, at least five people reportedly died and three others were injured in an airstrike carried out by a U.S. assassination drone.

These U.S. strikes on the tribal regions persist disregarding the Pakistani government’s repeated calls on Washington to end the drone attacks.

A news report yesterday said, the Pakistani people had to postpone a polio immunization campaign in parts of its tribal belt after there were threats to the polio program workers from pro-Taliban militants in the region.

Pakistani tribesman protest
War, conflict, retribution, invasion, occupation, provocation have far-reaching consequences.

In the tribal regions, at least 160,000 children in North Waziristan and 80,000 in South Waziristan and more than 111,000 children in Khyber tribal agency, according to health officials, “are likely to be affected if Pakistan fails to administer anti-polio vaccine in the region.”

Vaccination problems in 2011 “led to Pakistan’s highest number of polio cases in a decade, 198 compared to 144 in 2010” — Pakistan is listed among the three countries where polio remains endemic — and given current polio vaccination problems, “health experts fear that the world will consider Pakistan an exporter of polio” if it fails to get control of the situation.

This year’s postponement of immunization followed a pro-Taliban militant group’s reported ban on polio vaccinations in the Waziristan region along the Afghan border to “protest the U.S. assassination drone attacks.”

U.S. assassination drones on Pakistan and the U.S. war on Afghanistan persist as do protests rising from the Pakistani people

Pakistani protesters in the city of Peshawar reportedly said this week that they will stop NATO supplies “by any means, even by force, if the [Pakistan] government fails to reverse its decision” to reopen supply routes to foreigners aggressors. “They have also vowed to continue their protests until the termination of the assassination drone strikes.”

Protesters maintain that the decision of the Pakistan government to reopen supply routes for U.S.-led NATO forces in Afghanistan offended the whole nation and bypassed the unanimous resolution of the parliament, which had demanded that the United States stop drone attacks.

In Monday’s demonstrations rallying for a reversal of the government decision and chanting anti-U.S. and anti-government slogans, protesters remembered thousands of innocent civilians killed by U.S. assassination drone attacks in Pakistan.


Without legitimate reporters on the ground, news is but rumor, propaganda contrived for this or that faction or force.

On the high level killings (killer(s) unknown) this week in Syria, media hysteria reached fever pitch. Reported assassinated were Syrian Defense Minister Rajha (the top Christian in the government), crisis management chief Turkmani, and Deputy Defense Minister Shawkat; and the later death of the Syrian intelligence chief. Further unconfirmed reports from non-NATO channels said Russian consultants also died in the attack.

Non-Western news reports said NATO’s goal was unambiguous: “nothing less than the destruction of the modern Syrian nation, followed by chaos, partition, subdivision, warlords, Balkanization, and a failed state …”; and the “media apparatus coordinated by White House advisor Ben Rhodes went into high gear, attempting to spread panic, hysteria, and reports of the immediate collapse of the Syrian state.”

However, Dr. Webster Griffin Tarpley noted at Press TV, “the nature of this attack remains unclear” and it is “unwise to draw conclusions about an infiltrated suicide bomber or other hypotheses emanating from the NATO brainwash apparatus.

“In the abstract, the capabilities shown in this attack could range anywhere from a cruise missile or drone to the capabilities deployed in the assassination of Rafiq Hariri of Lebanon.”
U.S. drone arrives in


The Turkish Hurriyet Daily cites a Defense Industry Executive Committee (SSIK) report assigning the Turkish Aerospace Industries Inc. (TAI) the task of conducting studies for the production of Turkey’s first armed drones. “The new ‘Anka Plus A’ drones” are said to be of the “high-altitude long-endurance class” with capabilities “similar to the ‘U.S. Reaper’ and ‘Israeli Heron.’” Last fall, Turkey reportedly tested a domestically-made medium-altitude long-endurance Anka drone.

This latest report comes a few days after Turkish officials reported receiving “one of five surveillance planes sold to Turkey by the United States.”

Kenya pitted against Somalia

Somalia's famine
Citing a Wall Street Journal article Reuters reported today, “The Pentagon is seeking to send hand-launched drones to Kenya as part of a $40 million-plus military aid package designed to help four African countries fight al Qaeda and al Shabaab militants, notably in Somalia. Kenya would get eight ‘Raven’ unmanned aerial systems — an unarmed drone that can be used to identify targets for strikes by ground forces or other aircraft.

Last year the United States provided Ravens to Uganda.

Posted at Global Research Ca., Chris Cole writes this week that people of the United States might increase their opposition to the use of drones when the reality sets in that “‘non-approved’ nations can also use drones.” 

Rumors persist, Cole writes, “that the Syrian regime [is] using a drone to target artillery strikes in Homs.” Slaughtering innocents in Syria and Waziristan connect—all are “justified in the name of ‘security.’”

Somalis are some of the poorest people in the world and the United States is sending assassination drones against them.  The United Nations News Service reported yesterday that a year after the declaration of famine in parts of southern Somalia, an estimated 3.8 million people are suffering desperately: “2.51 million are in urgent need of aid and a further 1.29 million are at risk of sliding back into crisis.”

But no amount humanitarian assistance (real or militarily armed), no amount of “charity” can help a people under attack by the most heavily militarized, arms-selling power in the world. People remain in poverty and want because inordinate power and force imposed by cruel and corrupt people make it so.

Those supporting “targeted killing by drone strikes seem to do so in the mistaken belief that by ‘taking out the bad guys’ we can increase security for all,” Chris Cole writes.  However, “stark reality is the opposite of this — and the sooner the latter wins the argument, the sooner support for targeted killing and drone strikes will disappear altogether.”

Well then …

Why are Americans “shocked” when violence not only erupts now and then but is a state of being: continuous and unabated, aided and abetted as a “birthright” perpetrated on U.S. cities, towns, schools and villages? Given this character, Americans should not be “shocked” and I expect they are not really shocked.

“I’m SHOCKED” is no more than empty utterance, mantra mouthed every time news of horrendous domestic violence reaches international airwaves (“goes viral” as savvy contemporaries say) so much so that the reality of it can be neither denied nor ignored.  In their “I’m SHOCKED” response, Americans are saying, “This isn’t really us,” this isn’t who we are; they are denying their character, their penchant for violence — which is precisely who we are: a violent people.

In the face of U.S. violence against Afghanistan and Pakistan, Syria and Somalia, Iraq and Iran, Bahrain and Yemen, Americans take the luxury of sticking their heads in the sand or in drugs or the television. Americans do not want to hear about this violence. They pretend this violence is not only thousands of miles away, but in some other universe of “aliens.” The carnage is being committed by some distant person, place or thing: some militant, militia or terrorist, al Shabaab or Taliban or al Qaeda, some “evil” with or without axis. 

What is true is that we are that person, place and thing. We are the violence we say we deplore, that which does but does not “shock” us. We are a violent people and only we can and must change us.

Sources and notes

“‘U.S. has a culture of violence’” (Press TV conducted an interview with Sherwood Ross, a reporter for OPED News, from Miami), July 21, 2012, http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2012/07/21/251983/us-has-a-culture-of-violence/


“The morality of pushing buttons that incinerate people we do not know half a world away— Are drones the most ‘moral’ means of warfare because they kill fewer civilians? Or are they simply soulless killing machines that remove all risk from those who are doing the killing?”
(Conn Hallinan Counterpunch, July 16, 2012, USA and the War on Terror) July 18, 2012,

“Obama drone strikes as illegal as Bush torture practices: Analyst,” July 19, 2012, Press TV, http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2012/07/19/251683/obama-drones-strikes-illegal-bush-torture-practices/

See also: “U.S. terrorizing north Pakistan with assassination drones: Analyst,” May 1, 2012, http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2012/05/01/238979/us-terrorizing-north-pakistan-assassination-drones/

“U.S. drone strikes form of shadow war,” June 27, 2012, http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2012/06/27/248295/us-drone-strikes-form-of-shadow-war/

Pakistan postpones polio campaign due to threats, July 20, 2012, http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2012/07/20/251945/pakistan-postpones-polio-campaign/

“Fresh protest slams NATO supplies reflow,” July 17, 2012, http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2012/07/17/251313/fresh-protest-slams-nato-supplies-reflow/

“NATO kill teams attempt assault on Syria,” July 21, 2012, http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2012/07/21/251968/nato-kill-teams-attempt-assault-on-syria/

“Turkey to begin studies on production of its first armed drones,” July 19, 2012, http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2012/07/19/251656/turkey-to-produce-its-first-armed-drones/

Drone search link: http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2012/07/21/251983/us-has-a-culture-of-violence/

“Pentagon eyes drones for Kenya to fight militants nearby,” July 21, 2012,

“‘Unmanned Warfare’ in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia: Drone strikes poll shows mass disapproval” (Chris Cole), July 21, 2012, http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=31453

“Marking one year since Somalia famine declared, UN flags plight of needy millions,” July 20, 2012, http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=42525&Cr=somalia&Cr1=

Somalia: Coping with the famine in Somalia. UNHCR/Riccardo Gangale


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