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“Militants”: Media Propaganda. To Avoid Counting Civilian Deaths, Obama Re-Defined "militant"


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#1 Satan's Evil Twin

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Posted 30 May 2012 - 08:16 AM

MONDAY, MAY 28, 2012 09:32 PM PDT


“Militants”: media propaganda

To avoid counting civilian deaths, Obama re-defined "militant" to mean "all military-age males in a strike zone"

BY GLENN GREENWALD


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Virtually every time the U.S. fires a missile from a drone and ends the lives of Muslims, American media outlets dutifully trumpet in

headlines that the dead were ”militants” – even though those media outlets literally do not have the slightest idea of who was actually killed. They simply cite always-unnamed “officials” claiming that the dead were “militants.” It’s the most obvious and inexcusable form of rank propaganda: media outlets continuously propagating a vital claim without having the slightest idea if it’s true.

This practice continues even though key Obama officials have been caught lying, a term used advisedly, about how many civilians they’re killing. I’ve written and said many times before that in American media discourse, the definition of “militant” is any human being whose life is extinguished when an American missile or bomb detonates (that term was even used when Anwar Awlaki’s 16-year-old American son, Abdulrahman, was killed by a U.S. drone in Yemen two weeks after a drone killed his father, even though nobody claims the teenager was anything but completely innocent: “Another U.S. Drone Strike Kills Militants in Yemen”).

This morning, the New York Times has a very lengthy and detailed article about President Obama’s counter-Terrorism policies based on interviews with “three dozen of his current and former advisers.” I’mwriting separately about the numerous revelations contained in that article, but want specifically to highlight this one vital passage about how the Obama administration determines who is a “militant.” The article explains that Obama’s rhetorical emphasis on avoiding civilian deaths “did not significantly change” the drone program, because Obama himself simply expanded the definition of a “militant” to ensure that it includes virtually everyone killed by his drone strikes. Just read this remarkable passage:


Mr. Obama embraced a disputed method for counting civilian casualties that did little to box him in. It in effect counts all military-age males in a strike zone as combatants, according to several administration officials, unless there is explicit intelligence posthumously proving them innocent.

Counterterrorism officials insist this approach is one of simple logic: people in an area of known terrorist activity, or found with a top Qaeda operative, are probably up to no good. “Al Qaeda is an insular, paranoid organization — innocent neighbors don’t hitchhike rides in the back of trucks headed for the border with guns and bombs,” said one official, who requested anonymity to speak about what is still a classified program.

This counting method may partly explain the official claims of extraordinarily low collateral deaths. In a speech last year Mr. Brennan, Mr. Obama’s trusted adviser, said that not a single noncombatant had been killed in a year of strikes. And in a recent interview, a senior administration official said that the number of civilians killed in drone strikes in Pakistan under Mr. Obama was in the “single digits” — and that independent counts of scores or hundreds of civilian deaths unwittingly draw on false propaganda claims by militants.

But in interviews, three former senior intelligence officials expressed disbelief that the number could be so low. The C.I.A. accounting has so troubled some administration officials outside the agency that they have brought their concerns to the White House. One called it “guilt by association” that has led to “deceptive” estimates of civilian casualties.

“It bothers me when they say there were seven guys, so they must all be militants,” the official said. “They count the corpses and they’re not really sure who they are.”


For the moment, leave the ethical issues to the side that arise from viewing “all military-age males in a strike zone as combatants”; that’s nothing less than sociopathic, a term I use advisedly, but I discuss that in the separate, longer piece I’ve written. For now, consider what this means for American media outlets. Any of them which use the term “militants” to describe those killed by U.S. strikes are knowingly disseminating a false and misleading term of propaganda. By “militant,” the Obama administration literally means nothing more than: any military-age male whom we kill, even when we know nothing else about them. They have no idea whether the person killed is really a militant: if they’re male and of a certain age they just call them one in order to whitewash their behavior and propagandize the citizenry (unless conclusive evidence somehow later emerges proving their innocence).

What kind of self-respecting media outlet would be party to this practice? Here’s the New York Times documenting that this is what the term “militant” means when used by government officials. Any media outlet that continues using it while knowing this is explicitly choosing to be an instrument for state propaganda — not that that’s anything new, but this makes this clearer than it’s ever been.

http://www.salon.com...anda/singleton/

This fall, Americans will choose between the party that respects women's rights and one that doesn't. Between a party that wants everyone to be equal in the eyes of the law and a party that wants gays to be equal but different. Between a party that would tax the billionaires and a party that would tax the poor while giving billionaires a tax cut. The problem is, both parties stand on the world's throat. Both parties vote for the PATRIOT Act. Both parties are a part of a bigger theatrical play put on for the common folk.

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Father (Peace be upon You) Satan (Peace be upon You), I call to you (Peace be upon You) from the deepest parts of my heart, I praise your (Peace be upon You) name with every breath of my body, I worship you (Peace be upon You) with every fiber of my being. You (Peace be upon You) shown me what true strength is. You (Peace be upon You) have shown me what true love is. Out of the darkness you (Peace be upon You) came to show me the true light.


My master (Peace be upon You), my father (Peace be upon You) and my friend (Peace be upon You) what a great gift that is.


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#2 D-Money

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Posted 30 May 2012 - 08:48 AM

Just another brick in the wall of media propaganda.

If anyone hasn't seen Control Room, I highly recommend it. It's a documentary that reveals how heavily regulated the media coverage of Iraq has been, from even before the war even started.

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#3 Buddhas Hand

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Posted 30 May 2012 - 04:57 PM

MONDAY, MAY 28, 2012 09:32 PM PDT


“Militants”: media propaganda

To avoid counting civilian deaths, Obama re-defined "militant" to mean "all military-age males in a strike zone"


BY GLENN GREENWALD


Posted Image

Virtually every time the U.S. fires a missile from a drone and ends the lives of Muslims, American media outlets dutifully trumpet in
headlines that the dead were ”militants” – even though those media outlets literally do not have the slightest idea of who was actually killed. They simply cite always-unnamed “officials” claiming that the dead were “militants.” It’s the most obvious and inexcusable form of rank propaganda: media outlets continuously propagating a vital claim without having the slightest idea if it’s true.
This practice continues even though key Obama officials have been caught lying, a term used advisedly, about how many civilians they’re killing. I’ve written and said many times before that in American media discourse, the definition of “militant” is any human being whose life is extinguished when an American missile or bomb detonates (that term was even used when Anwar Awlaki’s 16-year-old American son, Abdulrahman, was killed by a U.S. drone in Yemen two weeks after a drone killed his father, even though nobody claims the teenager was anything but completely innocent: “Another U.S. Drone Strike Kills Militants in Yemen”).
This morning, the New York Times has a very lengthy and detailed article about President Obama’s counter-Terrorism policies based on interviews with “three dozen of his current and former advisers.” I’mwriting separately about the numerous revelations contained in that article, but want specifically to highlight this one vital passage about how the Obama administration determines who is a “militant.” The article explains that Obama’s rhetorical emphasis on avoiding civilian deaths “did not significantly change” the drone program, because Obama himself simply expanded the definition of a “militant” to ensure that it includes virtually everyone killed by his drone strikes. Just read this remarkable passage:


Mr. Obama embraced a disputed method for counting civilian casualties that did little to box him in. It in effect counts all military-age males in a strike zone as combatants, according to several administration officials, unless there is explicit intelligence posthumously proving them innocent.
Counterterrorism officials insist this approach is one of simple logic: people in an area of known terrorist activity, or found with a top Qaeda operative, are probably up to no good. “Al Qaeda is an insular, paranoid organization — innocent neighbors don’t hitchhike rides in the back of trucks headed for the border with guns and bombs,” said one official, who requested anonymity to speak about what is still a classified program.
This counting method may partly explain the official claims of extraordinarily low collateral deaths. In a speech last year Mr. Brennan, Mr. Obama’s trusted adviser, said that not a single noncombatant had been killed in a year of strikes. And in a recent interview, a senior administration official said that the number of civilians killed in drone strikes in Pakistan under Mr. Obama was in the “single digits” — and that independent counts of scores or hundreds of civilian deaths unwittingly draw on false propaganda claims by militants.
But in interviews, three former senior intelligence officials expressed disbelief that the number could be so low. The C.I.A. accounting has so troubled some administration officials outside the agency that they have brought their concerns to the White House. One called it “guilt by association” that has led to “deceptive” estimates of civilian casualties.
“It bothers me when they say there were seven guys, so they must all be militants,” the official said. “They count the corpses and they’re not really sure who they are.”


For the moment, leave the ethical issues to the side that arise from viewing “all military-age males in a strike zone as combatants”; that’s nothing less than sociopathic, a term I use advisedly, but I discuss that in the separate, longer piece I’ve written. For now, consider what this means for American media outlets. Any of them which use the term “militants” to describe those killed by U.S. strikes are knowingly disseminating a false and misleading term of propaganda. By “militant,” the Obama administration literally means nothing more than: any military-age male whom we kill, even when we know nothing else about them. They have no idea whether the person killed is really a militant: if they’re male and of a certain age they just call them one in order to whitewash their behavior and propagandize the citizenry (unless conclusive evidence somehow later emerges proving their innocence).
What kind of self-respecting media outlet would be party to this practice? Here’s the New York Times documenting that this is what the term “militant” means when used by government officials. Any media outlet that continues using it while knowing this is explicitly choosing to be an instrument for state propaganda — not that that’s anything new, but this makes this clearer than it’s ever been.

http://www.salon.com...anda/singleton/

This fall, Americans will choose between the party that respects women's rights and one that doesn't. Between a party that wants everyone to be equal in the eyes of the law and a party that wants gays to be equal but different. Between a party that would tax the billionaires and a party that would tax the poor while giving billionaires a tax cut. The problem is, both parties stand on the world's throat. Both parties vote for the PATRIOT Act. Both parties are a part of a bigger theatrical play put on for the common folk.


in regards to your last paragraph scorp


The Real war is not between the east and the west. The real war is between intelligent and stupid people.

Marjane Satrapi

tony-abbott-and-stephen-harper-custom-da

That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons that history has to teach.

Aldous Huxley.


#4 dank.

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Posted 30 May 2012 - 07:36 PM

I personally like Aaron Russo's take on democracy



The whole interview is great, highly recommend it.

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#5 Buggernut

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Posted 31 May 2012 - 11:21 AM

Can we have more independent investigative journalists reporting from the trenches instead of towing the White House's official word?

#6 Satan's Evil Twin

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Posted 04 June 2012 - 09:07 PM

MONDAY, JUN 4, 2012 02:39 AM PDT


U.S. again bombs mourners

The Obama policy of attacking rescuers and grieving rituals continues this weekend in Pakistan

BY GLENN GREENWALD



(updated below)

In February, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism documented that after the U.S. kills people with drones in Pakistan, it then targets for death those who show up at the scene to rescue the survivors and retrieve the bodies, as well as those who gather to mourn the dead at funerals: “the CIA’s drone campaign in Pakistan has killed dozens of civilians who had gone to help rescue victims or were attending funerals.” As The New York Times summarized those findings: “at least 50 civilians had been killed in follow-up strikes after they rushed to help those hit by a drone-fired missile” while “the bureau counted more than 20 other civilians killed in strikes on funerals.”

This repellent practice continues. Over the last three days, the U.S. has launched three separate drone strikes in Pakistan: one on each day. As The Guardian reports, the U.S. has killed between 20 and 30 people in these strikes, the last of which, early this morning, killed between 8 and 15. It was the second strike, on Sunday, that targeted mourners gathered to grieve those killed in the first strike:


At the time of the attack, suspected militants had gathered to offer condolences to the brother of a militant commander killed during another US unmanned drone attack on Saturday. The brother was one of those who died in the Sunday morning attack. The Pakistani officials said two of the dead were foreigners and the rest were Pakistani.


Note that there is no suggestion, even from the “officials” on which these media reports (as usual) rely, that the dead man was a Terrorist or even a “militant.” He was simply receiving condolences for his dead brother. But pursuant to the standards embraced by President Obama, the brother — without knowing anything about him — is inherently deemed a “combatant” and therefore a legitimate target for death solely by virtue of being a “military-age male in a strike zone.” Of course, killing family members of bombing targets is nothing new for this President: let’s recall the still-unresolved question of why Anwar Awlaki’s 16-year-old American son, Abdulrahman, was killed by a U.S. drone attack in Yemen two weeks after his father was killed.

I ask this sincerely: what kind of country targets rescuers, funeral attendees, and people gathered to mourn? If a Hollywood film featured a villainous King ordering lethal attacks on rescuers, funerals and mourners — those medically attending to or grieving his initial victims — any decent audience member would, by design, seethe with contempt for such an inhumane tyrant. But this is the standard policy and practice under President Obama and it continues through today. Recall the outrage that was sparked when WikiLeaks released its Collateral Murder video showing a U.S. Apache helicopter during the Bush era firing on unarmed rescuers, who had arrived to retrieve the initial victims who had been shot and were laying wounded on the ground. That tactic continues under President Obama, although it is now expanded to include the targeting of grieving rituals.

This explains why Obama now finds support for his conduct among the most radical right-wing factions in the U.S. Consider the debatethat took place this weekend on MSNBC’s Up With Chris Hayesregarding President Obama’s kill list. In opposition to Obama’s drone policy — and harshly critical of him — were the ACLU’s Director of National Security Project, Hina Shamsi (who said: “There is no national security policy that poses a graver threat to human rights law and civil liberties than” Obama’s kill lists), and The Nation‘s Jeremy Scahill (who caused substantial controversy by denouncing Obama’s drone strikes as “murder). So it was the ACLU and The Nation as Obama’s harsh critics.

But the task of defending Obama fell to one of the most extremist right-wing militants in America: former George W. Bush speechwriter and co-founder of the far right RedState.com blog Josh Treviño, whose ideology and character are evidenced by past comments such as this and this. That is who MSNBC has to turn to in order to find a defense of Obama’s militarism. Joining the RedState.com founder in defending Obama was Col. Jack Jacobs, one of the key military officials in the Bush-era Pentagon propaganda program exposed by David Barstow.

Also defending Obama’s militarism this week was another former Bush speechwriter who wrote an entire falsehood-filled bookadvocating torture: The Washington Post‘s Marc Thiessen. Hecelebrated what he accurately called “the Obama-Bush doctrine” and wrote: “the two men’s counterterrorism policies are virtually indistinguishable — except in the liberal reaction to them” (though Thiessen, as is his wont, distorts reality when he claims that venues such as The New York Times Editorial Page and Amnesty International have failed to harshly condemn Obama: both have). Meanwhile, cited as a vocal Obama defender in The New York Times ”kill list” article this week was Gen. Michael Hayden, the implementer of Bush’s illegal eavesdropping program while NSA chief who was then named CIA Director by Bush: “Mr. Hayden, the former C.I.A. director and now an adviser to Mr. Obama’s Republican challenger, Mr. Romney, commended the president’s aggressive counterterrorism record, which he said had a ‘Nixon to China’ quality.” This is not new: while the ACLU and others have harshly denounced Obama time and again, thehardest-core factions of the American Right have spent a couple of years now heaping praise on him for his behavior in this realm.

When it comes to his militarism, secrecy obsessions, and ongoing killing, that’s the company President Obama keeps. Many progressives like to fantasize that conservatives refuse to give President Obama credit no matter what he does, but that is absolutely false. While the ACLU and human rights groups have repeatedly sued the administration and denounced Obama himself in the harshest possible terms, while U.N. investigators formally condemn him, thethe neocons and warmongers who were once so despised in progressives circles have watched as he has vindicated their record, and have, in return, become his most enthusiastic defenders. There’s an obvious reason this revealing, counterintuitive split is so acute, even if it’s one many progressives would prefer to ignore.

* * * * *

For those who now embrace the Cheney-Rove tactic of chanting the “Terrorist!” mantra to justify everything the President does: even The Washington Post now recognizes that many of Obama’s drone targets are not actually plotting against the U.S., because “the Obama administration has embraced a broader definition of what constitutes a terrorism threat that warrants a lethal response” (that includes two more relatives of Anwar Awlaki, related to him by marriage, whom the U.S. is now targeting in Yemen for death). The U.S. has been continuously killing people in the Muslim world for close to a full decade now. The amount of gullibility it takes to believe that the U.S. is merely killing “Terrorists” — over and over and over and over — is just staggering (and for those who do believe that there are so many Terrorists trying to attack the U.S. even after a decade of supposedly killing them over and over, you might ask yourself: why are there so many people so eager to attack the U.S.?). Along those lines, The Guardian‘s correspondent Paul Harris this weekend detailed the ways in which Obama has replicated, and in many instances exceeded, many of Bush’s once-controversial abuses.

Finally, after his condemnation this weekend on MSNBC of President Obama’s “kill list,” Jeremy Scahill noted: “I’ve been called a terrorist, a neo-Nazi, a traitor and a racist. I also want Romney to be president.” He adds: “Re-read some hate mail I got during Bush administration. Amazing how partisan lemmings sound so much alike, regardless of party.” Indeed, many of Obama’s hardest-core followers have not only embraced the core Bush/Cheney policies, but also the Rovian rhetoric used to justify them. As much as I was called an America-hating Terrorist-defender during the Bush years — and it was frequent — that’s the accusation hurled at me with far greater frequency now by the current President’s defenders. As Digby wrote this weekend: “there can be little doubt that this president, for whatever reason, has managed to persuade many liberals to support security policies they were adamantly opposed to just a few years ago.” That’s undoubtedly true, though it’s not just the policies finding ample support among Obama’s most enthusiastic followers but also the rotted mindset that accompanies them. Ask Jeremy Scahill about that.


UPDATE: Whenever this Obama policy is raised, it cannot be emphasized enough that “secondary explosions” — attacking those who rescue victims of an inital explosion — has, according to to official U.S. Government dogma, long been a hallmark of The Terrorists:
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This is not the first time Americans have used this technique; it was used here:


The widow of a Birmingham, Alabama, police officer denounced confessed bomber Eric Rudolph as a “monster” Monday after a federal judge sentenced him to life in prison for the 1998 blast that killed her husband.

U.S. District Judge Lynwood Smith in Birmingham sentenced Rudolph to two consecutive life terms without parole in connection with the January 1998 bombing of the New Woman All Women clinic, which performs abortions. . . .

In the later Atlanta area blasts, Rudolph targeted federal agents by placing second bombs nearby set to detonate after police arrived to investigate the first explosion.

In January 1997, a bomb exploded at the Northside Family Planning Services clinic in the Atlanta suburb of Sandy Springs. A second bomb went off an hour later, injuring seven people.

A month later, four people were wounded in an explosion at Atlanta’s Otherside Lounge. Police found a second bomb and defused it before it went off.


And then we have this, from a 2007 Homeland Security report on Terrorism, explaining that this is a hallmark of Hamas terror attacks:

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When describing Hamas, Homeland Security even christened such attacks with a name: “the double tap.” Whatever else is true, this conduct is something the FBI, DHS, the DOJ and federal courts have all formally denounced as Terrorism.

http://www.salon.com...ingleton/?miaou

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Father (Peace be upon You) Satan (Peace be upon You), I call to you (Peace be upon You) from the deepest parts of my heart, I praise your (Peace be upon You) name with every breath of my body, I worship you (Peace be upon You) with every fiber of my being. You (Peace be upon You) shown me what true strength is. You (Peace be upon You) have shown me what true love is. Out of the darkness you (Peace be upon You) came to show me the true light.


My master (Peace be upon You), my father (Peace be upon You) and my friend (Peace be upon You) what a great gift that is.


Posted Image Hail to the King (PBUH)! Posted Image


#7 Navyblue

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Posted 04 June 2012 - 09:36 PM

I would point out that Ron Paul has been campaigning against stepping on the world's throat all year.
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