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A Child Faces Up To Drone Operators in Pakistan

In military slang, Predator drone operators often refer to kills as ‘bug splats’, since viewing the body through a grainy video image gives the sense of an insect being crushed.
To challenge this insensitivity as well as raise awareness of civilian casualties, an artist collective installed a massive portrait facing up in the heavily bombed Khyber Pukhtoonkhwa region of Pakistan, where drone attacks regularly occur. Now, when viewed by a drone camera, what an operator sees on his screen is not an anonymous dot on the landscape, but an innocent child victim’s face.
The child featured in the poster is nameless, but according to [Reprieve/Foundation for Fundamental Rights], lost both her parents and two young siblings in a drone attack.

A Child Faces Up To Drone Operators in Pakistan

In military slang, Predator drone operators often refer to kills as ‘bug splats’, since viewing the body through a grainy video image gives the sense of an insect being crushed.

To challenge this insensitivity as well as raise awareness of civilian casualties, an artist collective installed a massive portrait facing up in the heavily bombed Khyber Pukhtoonkhwa region of Pakistan, where drone attacks regularly occur. Now, when viewed by a drone camera, what an operator sees on his screen is not an anonymous dot on the landscape, but an innocent child victim’s face.

The child featured in the poster is nameless, but according to [Reprieve/Foundation for Fundamental Rights], lost both her parents and two young siblings in a drone attack.

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theupperpeninsulaisnotoptional:

I clicked on this prepared to be upset about our country’s disappearing virgin forest. Imagine my dismay when I learned that according to these people, not only do we not have any virgin forest left in the UP, but since 1926 it’s become full of Lake Superior and the Yoopers have apparently decamped to the lake bottom to join Minnesota. (I know Minnesota’s north shore is supposed to be amazing, but this is ridiculous).
Usa Animated GIF - Giphy


Not sure about the source of this. But anecdotally, I only know of one virgin hardwood forest near me, and it’s not open to the public.

theupperpeninsulaisnotoptional:

I clicked on this prepared to be upset about our country’s disappearing virgin forest. Imagine my dismay when I learned that according to these people, not only do we not have any virgin forest left in the UP, but since 1926 it’s become full of Lake Superior and the Yoopers have apparently decamped to the lake bottom to join Minnesota. (I know Minnesota’s north shore is supposed to be amazing, but this is ridiculous).

Usa Animated GIF - Giphy

Not sure about the source of this. But anecdotally, I only know of one virgin hardwood forest near me, and it’s not open to the public.

(Source: giphy.com, via teemingturtles)

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"In Washington D.C., Sarah Palin delivered the keynote address to the Conservative Political Action Conference on Saturday. She literally read a children’s book to adults to raucous applause. It was a modified Dr. Seuss book that she got from an email chain letter."

— Ben Collins, referencing the small-minded political climate in the US, in contrast to Edward Snowden’s tangible leadership.

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mattbors:

Iraq To The Future
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theatlantic:

Obama Is Complicit in Suppressing the Truth About Torture

President Obama is complicit in suppressing the truth about CIA torture of prisoners. That’s clear from the fact that the Senate intelligence committee’s $40 million, 6,000-page torture report is still being suppressed 15 months after being adopted. It is made clearer still by a scathing letter that one member of the committee, Senator Mark Udall, sent the White House on Tuesday. Its claims are jaw-dropping. 
Senator Udall wants the torture report released to the public as fully and quickly as possible. He is also interested in a separate CIA report about torture of prisoners.
Read more. [Image: Reuters]


One of the claims in Udall’s letter is that “The CIA is erecting ‘impediments and obstacles’ to its overseers.” Apparently, The CIA were caught spying on the committee’s investigation:

The Central Intelligence Agency’s attempt to keep secret the details of a defunct detention and interrogation program has escalated a battle between the agency and members of Congress and led to an investigation by the C.I.A.’s internal watchdog into the conduct of agency employees.
The agency’s inspector general began the inquiry partly as a response to complaints from members of Congress that C.I.A. employees were improperly monitoring the work of staff members of the Senate Intelligence Committee, according to government officials with knowledge of the investigation.
The committee has spent several years working on a voluminous report about the detention and interrogation program, and according to one official interviewed in recent days, C.I.A. officers went as far as gaining access to computer networks used by the committee to carry out its investigation.
[…]
In a letter to President Obama on Tuesday, Mr. Udall made a vague reference to the dispute over the C.I.A.’s internal report.
“As you are aware, the C.I.A. has recently taken unprecedented action against the committee in relation to the internal C.I.A. review, and I find these actions to be incredibly troubling for the committee’s oversight responsibilities and for our democracy,” he wrote.

theatlantic:

Obama Is Complicit in Suppressing the Truth About Torture

President Obama is complicit in suppressing the truth about CIA torture of prisoners. That’s clear from the fact that the Senate intelligence committee’s $40 million, 6,000-page torture report is still being suppressed 15 months after being adopted. It is made clearer still by a scathing letter that one member of the committee, Senator Mark Udall, sent the White House on Tuesday. Its claims are jaw-dropping. 

Senator Udall wants the torture report released to the public as fully and quickly as possible. He is also interested in a separate CIA report about torture of prisoners.

Read more. [Image: Reuters]

One of the claims in Udall’s letter is that “The CIA is erecting ‘impediments and obstacles’ to its overseers.” Apparently, The CIA were caught spying on the committee’s investigation:

The Central Intelligence Agency’s attempt to keep secret the details of a defunct detention and interrogation program has escalated a battle between the agency and members of Congress and led to an investigation by the C.I.A.’s internal watchdog into the conduct of agency employees.

The agency’s inspector general began the inquiry partly as a response to complaints from members of Congress that C.I.A. employees were improperly monitoring the work of staff members of the Senate Intelligence Committee, according to government officials with knowledge of the investigation.

The committee has spent several years working on a voluminous report about the detention and interrogation program, and according to one official interviewed in recent days, C.I.A. officers went as far as gaining access to computer networks used by the committee to carry out its investigation.

[…]

In a letter to President Obama on Tuesday, Mr. Udall made a vague reference to the dispute over the C.I.A.’s internal report.

“As you are aware, the C.I.A. has recently taken unprecedented action against the committee in relation to the internal C.I.A. review, and I find these actions to be incredibly troubling for the committee’s oversight responsibilities and for our democracy,” he wrote.

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theatlantic:

In Ukraine, We’re Witnessing What Comes After the War on Terror

Maybe this is how the “war on terror” ends.
Since entering his second term, President Obama has signaled his desire to close out a foreign-policy era that he believes has drained America’s economic resources and undermined its democratic ideals. But it hasn’t been easy. Partly, Obama remains wedded to some of the war on terror’s legally dubious tools—especially drone strikes and mass surveillance. And just as importantly, Obama hasn’t had anything to replace the war on terror with. It’s hard to end one foreign-policy era without defining a new one. The post-Cold War age, for instance, dragged on and on until 9/11 suddenly rearranged Americans’ mental map of the world.
Now Russia may have solved Obama’s problem. Vladimir Putin’s military intervention in Ukraine doesn’t represent as sharp a historical break as 9/11 did, but it does offer the clearest glimpse yet of what the post-war on terror era may look like. To quote Secretary of State John Kerry, what comes after the war on terror is the “19th century.”
Read more. [Image: Reuters/Ina Fassbender]

theatlantic:

In Ukraine, We’re Witnessing What Comes After the War on Terror

Maybe this is how the “war on terror” ends.

Since entering his second term, President Obama has signaled his desire to close out a foreign-policy era that he believes has drained America’s economic resources and undermined its democratic ideals. But it hasn’t been easy. Partly, Obama remains wedded to some of the war on terror’s legally dubious tools—especially drone strikes and mass surveillance. And just as importantly, Obama hasn’t had anything to replace the war on terror with. It’s hard to end one foreign-policy era without defining a new one. The post-Cold War age, for instance, dragged on and on until 9/11 suddenly rearranged Americans’ mental map of the world.

Now Russia may have solved Obama’s problem. Vladimir Putin’s military intervention in Ukraine doesn’t represent as sharp a historical break as 9/11 did, but it does offer the clearest glimpse yet of what the post-war on terror era may look like. To quote Secretary of State John Kerry, what comes after the war on terror is the “19th century.”

Read more. [Image: Reuters/Ina Fassbender]

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theatlantic:

Supreme Court Case May Stop States That Still Execute the Mentally Disabled

The justices banned execution of mentally disabled people in 2002. Now they are poised to tell death penalty states that they really meant it.
Read more. [Image: Serge Melki/Flickr]


Here’s an idea: how about we stop executions, period? It’s fucking barbaric. It’s the 21st century, c’mon. And, while we’re at it, figure out a better system than solitary confinement, which is tantamount to torture and, in extremely prolonged or indefinite cases, must be worse than death itself.

theatlantic:

Supreme Court Case May Stop States That Still Execute the Mentally Disabled

The justices banned execution of mentally disabled people in 2002. Now they are poised to tell death penalty states that they really meant it.

Read more. [Image: Serge Melki/Flickr]

Here’s an idea: how about we stop executions, period? It’s fucking barbaric. It’s the 21st century, c’mon. And, while we’re at it, figure out a better system than solitary confinement, which is tantamount to torture and, in extremely prolonged or indefinite cases, must be worse than death itself.

Quote
"My own concern is primarily the terror and violence carried out by my own state, for two reasons. For one thing, because it happens to be the larger component of international violence. But also for a much more important reason than that; namely, I can do something about it. So even if the U.S. was responsible for 2 percent of the violence in the world instead of the majority of it, it would be that 2 percent I would be primarily responsible for. And that is a simple ethical judgment. That is, the ethical value of one’s actions depends on their anticipated and predictable consequences. It is very easy to denounce the atrocities of someone else. That has about as much ethical value as denouncing atrocities that took place in the 18th century."

— Noam Chomsky (via noam-chomsky)

Link

According to a new report from Reporters Without Borders, there was a profound erosion of press freedom in the United States in 2013.

After a year of attacks on whistleblowers and digital journalists and revelations about mass surveillance, the United States plunged 13 spots in the group’s global press freedom rankings to number 46.

Reporters Without Borders writes that the U.S. faced “one of the most significant declines” in the world last year. Even the United Kingdom, whose sustained campaign to criminalize the Guardian’s reporters and intimidate journalists has made headlines around the world, dropped only three spots, to number 33. The U.S. fell as many spots as Paraguay, where “the pressure on journalists to censor themselves keeps on mounting.”

Citing the Justice Department’s aggressive prosecution of whistleblowers, including its secret seizure of Associated Press phone records, the authors write that “freedom of information is too often sacrificed to an overly broad and abusive interpretation of national security needs, marking a disturbing retreat from democratic practices. Investigative journalism often suffers as a result.”

The threats facing newsgathering in the U.S. are felt by both longstanding journalists like New York Times national security reporter James Risen, who may serve jail time for refusing to reveal a source, and non-traditional digital journalists like Barrett Brown.

Brown is a freelance journalist who has reported extensively on private intelligence firms and government contractors. He now faces more than 100 years in jail for linking to stolen documents as part of his reporting, even though he had no involvement in the actual theft.

The United States’ new press freedom ranking comes on the heels of a new and dangerous campaign against Glenn Greenwald and other journalists who have reported on the documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

In recent weeks, high-ranking members of the intelligence community and members of Congress have called NSA journalists “accomplices” to Snowden’s leaks, and accused them of trafficking in stolen goods. And as Trevor Timm pointed out here, these comments are only the most recent in a long line of attacks.

[Continue Reading]

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The NSA’s secret role in the U.S. assassination program

The National Security Agency is using complex analysis of electronic surveillance, rather than human intelligence, as the primary method to locate targets for lethal drone strikes – an unreliable tactic that results in the deaths of innocent or unidentified people.
According to a former drone operator for the military’s Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) who also worked with the NSA, the agency often identifies targets based on controversial metadata analysis and cell-phone tracking technologies. Rather than confirming a target’s identity with operatives or informants on the ground, the CIA or the U.S. military then orders a strike based on the activity and location of the mobile phone a person is believed to be using.
The drone operator, who agreed to discuss the top-secret programs on the condition of anonymity, was a member of JSOC’s High Value Targeting task force, which is charged with identifying, capturing or killing terrorist suspects in Yemen, Somalia, Afghanistan and elsewhere.
[Photo credit: Kirsty Wigglesworth/Associated Press]

The NSA’s secret role in the U.S. assassination program

The National Security Agency is using complex analysis of electronic surveillance, rather than human intelligence, as the primary method to locate targets for lethal drone strikes – an unreliable tactic that results in the deaths of innocent or unidentified people.

According to a former drone operator for the military’s Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) who also worked with the NSA, the agency often identifies targets based on controversial metadata analysis and cell-phone tracking technologies. Rather than confirming a target’s identity with operatives or informants on the ground, the CIA or the U.S. military then orders a strike based on the activity and location of the mobile phone a person is believed to be using.

The drone operator, who agreed to discuss the top-secret programs on the condition of anonymity, was a member of JSOC’s High Value Targeting task force, which is charged with identifying, capturing or killing terrorist suspects in Yemen, Somalia, Afghanistan and elsewhere.

[Photo credit: Kirsty Wigglesworth/Associated Press]

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Link

i-l-lusive:

Definition:
“A euphemism is a substitution of a delicate or inoffensive term or phrase for one that has coarse, sordid, or otherwise unpleasant associations”

Euphemisms are novocaine for the conscience, they shade the truth, obscuring the meaning rather than enhancing it. Euphemisms have been effectly utlizied by our government to put comforting distance between ourselves and the violence in Iraq by making something brutal and ugly sound lofty and poetic (i.e., “Shock and Awe”).

From the horrors of Abu-Ghraib to the never-ending violence on the streets of Baghdad, euphemisms have reduced “torture” to “abuse” and the slaughter of untold numbers of Iraqi civilians are now simply “collateral damage.” Funny—we don’t hear over the national media, “A mine collapsed in Virginia, today, and of course there was some collateral damage.”

Abuse
Torture

Air Campaign
Bombing

Assertive disarmament
War (ironic)

Assets
Weapons

Asymmetric warfare
Describes the imbalance between U.S. bombs and missiles and Iraqi soldiers who hide among civilians, wear suicide bombs, and shoot P.O.W.’s.

Blue on blue
An expression used to describe the accidental killing of allied forces by their own side. Another well-established term for the same concept is friendly fire.

Clean bombing
Bombing with pinpoint accuracy

Cleansed
Cleared (of enemy troops)

Coercive interrogation
Torture

Coercive potential
Military power

Collateral damage
When we accidentally kill the wrong people—civilians killed during wartime; civilian casualties and damage incidental to the bombing of military targets; any incidental, undesirable consequence  (as with most war euphemisms, it disguises the horror of the reality it refers to—death and injury to innocent non-combatant)

Dead checking
 U.S. military colloquial term for killing all wounded men in any suspected insurgent house they enter.

Decapitating the regime
Overthrowing the government or assassinating the head of the government (i.e., killing Saddam Hussein).

Discriminate deterrence
Pinpoint bombing

Enemy combatant
What’s in a name? If you call it an “enemy combatant,” however, it has no legal rights as a criminal or rights under the Geneva Convention afforded to enemy soldiers.

Enhanced interrogation
Torture is illegal unless you call it “enhanced interrogation.”

Escalating sectarian violence
Bloody civil war

Expectant
Military term for “expected to die,” applied to an Iraqi who was shot in the head and lived, though most of his skull had come apart.

Extraordinary rendition
Sending terrorism suspects to countries that practice torture for interrogation

A U.S. “extra-judicial” process by which untried suspects are exported to other countries for imprisonment and interrogation. Individuals suspected of criminal activity, terrorism or association with terrorist groups can be subjected to extraordinary rendition. One CIA agent explained to a reporter how it worked in the 1990s. “We’d arrest them and send them to Jordan or Egypt, and they’d disappear,” he said. They were not charged in the US, he said, because the evidence would not hold up in court.

Extreme prejudice
To kill without mercy

Friendly Fire
Death caused to one’s own troops

Ghost prisoners (also ghost detainees)
Suspected terrorists held by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency as unregistered prisoners in secret detention centers at an unrecorded host. Their detention denied, hidden from the Red Cross, legal or family access barred, their fate in the hands of unaccountable and unnamed U.S. personnel.

Greenbacking
Hiring mercenaries

Kill box
A zone in which pilots are free to search for and attack targets at will.

Liberation
Occupation

Neutralize
Kill

Operation Iraqi Freedom
Official name for the war on Iraq. Bush says his goal is to free Iraqis, not to occupy their country and seize their oil resources.

Protective Custody
Imprisonment without charge or trial (due process of law)

Regime change
A polite term for the overthrow of a government or sanctified assassination

Surgical strike
Military jargon that makes a precision bombing sound like a beneficial medical procedure.

Unlawful combatant
A U.S. alternative for the term prisoner of war, used to describe suspected militants held at
Guantanamo Bay.

"The frightening thing about the use of euphemisms is their power to efface the memory of actual cruelties. Behind the façade of a history falsified by language, the painful particulars of war are lost."
-David Bromwich

(via i-l-lusive-deactivated20140330)

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In their annual End of Year survey, Win/Gallup International found that the United States is considered the number one “greatest threat to peace in the world today” by people across the globe.  The poll of 67,806 respondents from 65 countries found that the U.S. won this dubious distinction by a landslide, as revealed in the chart above. (x)

In their annual End of Year survey, Win/Gallup International found that the United States is considered the number one “greatest threat to peace in the world today” by people across the globe.  The poll of 67,806 respondents from 65 countries found that the U.S. won this dubious distinction by a landslide, as revealed in the chart above. (x)

(Source: thefreelioness, via i-l-lusive-deactivated20140330)

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(Source: nomolesten, via ed-balls)

Photoset

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