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The Drone that Killed my Grandson (nytimes.com)
708 points by dr_ on July 18, 2013 | hide | past | web | favorite | 357 comments

The American citizenry tends to be OK with this kind of thing as long as it happens far away from us. But imagine the reaction if the cafe where this occurred were in the US, and the drone was controlled by a foreign government. That singular event would ignite a US invasion or possibly nuclear assault against the country responsible.

People in other countries are also people. They have the same reactions and emotions that we would when a foreign entity blows up their businesses, families, and friends. We have so far been lucky that none of our victims have had the military power and political will to retaliate in the vicious and violent manner that we would. That will not always be the case, and I do not look forward to the day when our own brutality is visited upon us.

I respect your views and comments and the above is correct and mournful and valid.

But it suffers from something too common around here - dispassion. Looking at the wider, geopolitical implications, a step back from the facts and keeping things on the level of "people" - not that person.

I read your comment first, then dived into the article. I expected to agree with you, but I just felt mounting horror, outrage and a realisation that things are beyond a line I never knew existed. So here is my comment

Jesus H Fucking Christ on a Stick! We are blowing up American Citizens sitting in cafes and legally it's "untouchable". Are we that fucking removed from reality that its ok to murder people with no trial or comeback. It seems its ok to blow away the son and grandson of other country's government ministers and not expect a war, a prison sentence, or even a mention on CNN

Are we that fragile as a civilisation that the tiny amount of damage terrorism presents is actually a threat? What did I miss - I thought we had industry, welfare, science and ingenuity. Stop murdering people.

I am writing to my MP but mostly I would like some figures - there was a twitter thing that reported gun murders. Can we do the same for drone murders?

Seems to me like the horrendous part is the bit where you take a citizen, accuse them of terrorism, stick them on a "kill list" (wtf!), then execute them without further due process of law. Bear in mind that "terrorism" now covers people like an 82-year old catholic nun demonstrating at a nuclear plant.

If that's not anti-constitutional, your constitution ain't worth shit.

If it is anti-constitutional, your system of "checks and balances" ain't worth shit.

Either way something fundamental is very broken there.

I would also like to point out that merely taking a video of animals is now--according to utah--an act that transforms you into a terrorist. The abuses have only just begun.


[Edit: Utah's house, not the US congress]

I would like to point out that that was the Utah House, not the United States Congress.

(EDIT: In case this looks like an argument it isn't, parent's comment originally referred to "our congress".)

The first para here (http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/feb/05/obama-ki...)

  The most extremist power any political leader can assert 
  is the power to target his own citizens for execution 
  without any charges or due process, far from any 
  battlefield. The Obama administration has not only 
  asserted exactly that power in theory, but has exercised 
  it in practice.
Even as a UK citizen I shall recite the following:

  Dear Mr Franklin, Sorry its taken me a while to catch 
  up.  I promise to stay on the ball from now on.

Dear Mr Franklin, Sorry its taken me a while to catch up. I promise to stay on the ball from now on.

What is this referring to? Google brings up nothing at all on this paragraph.

I think it's a reference to his quote about those who will give up liberty for security

It is an imaginary speech to Ben F. apologising to all the Founding Fathers for forgetting to keep watch.

It is not something, Government of USA is running lots of programs without any checks and balances necessary for a functional democracy. And surprisingly, this very govt is interested in bringing democracy to other countries.

There's a running joke about that.

I feel weird linking to an image macro on HN, but it is sadly relevant.


Yea, we liberate the SHIT out of other countries.

> Seems to me like the horrendous part is the bit where you take a citizen, accuse them of terrorism, stick them on a "kill list" (wtf!), then execute them without further due process of law.

That's not what was done with Al Awalki. He was on a kill list because it wasn't possible to bring him in alive, because he was hiding in Yemen. The Constitution has never protected fugitives who hide out in order to evade capture and a trial (the old west "wanted: dead or alive").

The Constitution just guarantees you "due process." This almost always means a trial, but it does not mean that the government has to give you a trial regardless of the circumstances.

> That's not what was done with Al Awalki. He was on a kill list because it wasn't possible to bring him in alive, because he was hiding in Yemen.

Do we have rules about foreign assassinations and their legality?

I seem to recall in the Clinton years it was considered a big deal to snuff someone in another nation.

Often, we've relied on foreign intelligence services -- like Mossad -- to do it for us.

I have no idea what I think about droning, except that in my experience, technological ability always takes precedence over legal and moral fictions.

In other words, if we can do it, other guys can do it, and so we use it to keep up.

It actually sounds like state-sanctionend terrorism to me - hits people unexpectedly and for reasons they might have little control over, and fear is a major factor.

> Jesus H Fucking Christ on a Stick! We are blowing up American Citizens sitting in cafes and legally it's "untouchable". And I find appalling and outraging that in one sentence you managed to blaspheme against my God, imply that the lives of 6.8 billion of non-American human beings are worthless, and then add insult to injury by whining about the fact that sometimes you end up on the receiving end of own lack of collective moral compass.

There are no words that can express how I feel about this, and at the same time are suitable for this fine audience.

Yes, the different reaction of the general US audience depending on the nationality of the targets is quite saddening. It reminds me of TV interviews in Spain after some ETA killing, when a local would cry and scream because the victim was also a Basque, not an outsider, in which case all is cool. Nationalism is akin to racism.

The reason given is that these people are designated 'enemy combatants' or 'terrorists' so a different set of rules apply to them†. Effectively since this is a War on Terror and because terror can come from anywhere and strike anywhere the entire planet is a battlefield because the reach of the US military and paramilitary apparatus is global. Glenn Greenwald has written[1] many excellent articles about this long before Mr. Snowden came along.

Once the whole world is a battlefield then everyone is on the field of battle. Interestingly enough it takes congress to declare war so in effect what we've had here is a very blatant power grab[2], an invocation of emergency procedures in the name of National Security. How aptly the National Security Agency seems named now, don't you think.

Obviously there is the TIDE[3] list that gets people restricts their right of travel (no-fly lists - (I wonder does this cover getting on a boat or is it just that specific mode of international travel - (thank you for reading this far))). But there must also be a shorter "these people are really bad and must be taken out list" and that's what these people are on. Modulo the odd innocent bystander, and error be it human operator or machine or intelligence.

So it's not murder, it's 21st century warfare and these are the enemy.

That doesn't mean it doesn't stink to high hell. And if they was any justice in the world the people who set up and enable these unjust extra-judicial killings with there oh so pat cover story and layers and layers of secrecy upon secrecy would get their just desserts in turn.

[1] http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/feb/05/obama-ki...

[2] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/naomi-wolf/ten-steps-to-close-...

[3] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terrorist_Identities_Datamart_E...

† it's not 'murder' when they do it

"nterestingly enough it takes congress to declare war so in effect what we've had here is a very blatant power grab[2], an invocation of emergency procedures in the name of National Security."

The United States has declare a very few wars and fought many more, of varying degrees of length and intensity.

Agreed. But this war is open-ended - thus there is no natural time-limit on when things revert back to normal.


they have an amazing datastore of all of the known drone strikes


if you click into a specific country, they give detailed accounts of the events, like location, and how many dead, down to the number of civilians versus presumed militants, and also a detailed description of what occurred

i remember reading of one where the drone bombed a shelter with presumed militants inside, one person survived, crawled out of the wreckage and began to run into the desert, the drone circled around and tracked and followed the man for twenty minutes as he ran away and finally shot him dead

there are so many that I had to go into their archive to find the one spoken about in this article, and it is a very detailed account:

YEM034 October 14 2011 ♦ 7-9 people killed, including 16-year and 17 year old boy ♦ 2 teenage children reported killed A second drone attack then struck either a vehicle or a restaurant area. PBS Frontline later filmed at the scene of the attack, the footage showing the ruined foundations of a small building along with a nearby crater. Abdel- Rahman Anwar al Awlaki, the 16-year old son of al-Awlaki, died... the article is written by NASSER al-AWLAKI... Also initially reported killed was militant Ibrahim al-Bana. Doubts have since been raised about al-Bana’s death. A statement from Abdel-Rahman’s family read, ‘he left with some friends for dinner under the moonlight when an American missile landed, killing Abdel-Rahman and his friends‘. In a separate statement, the family said: ’On October 14th, 2011 Abdulrahman, along with some of his tribe’s youth have gone barbecuing under the moonlight. A drone missile hit their congregation killing Abdulrahman and several other teenagers’. A second teenager and family member, Ahmed Abdel-Rahman al-Awlaki, 17, is known to have died. Five to seven others were also killed, including Sarhan al-Qusa (aka Farhan al Quso) brother of AQAP leader Fahd al-Qusa or Quso, according to a member of Awlaki’s tribe. Reuters later claimed that the dead men were planning to renounce al Qaeda before they were killed. Elders claimed that four other Awlaki tribal members died in the strike.

Two weeks after the strike, AQAP released leaflets stating that Ibrahim al-Bana had not been killed. Ansar al-Sharia also reported in its second October newsletter that Bana’s death was ‘a lie’. In a statement, Yemen security officials said the air strike was among five that targeted al Qaeda positions in Shabwa, adding that al-Bana was wanted internationally for planning attacks both inside and outside Yemen. ‘He was one of the group’s most dangerous operatives,’ it said. The Washington Post reported that it was JSOC rather than the CIA which carried out the attack:

When pressed on why the CIA had not pulled the trigger, US officials said it was because the main target…an Egyptian named Ibrahim al-Banna, was not on the agency’s kill list. The Awaki teenager, a US citizen with no history of involvement with al Qaeda, was an unintended casualty. In interviews, senior US officials acknowledged that the two kill lists don’t match, but offered conflicting explanations as to why. In April 2012 the Toronto Star featured an interview with Nasser al-Awalaki, grandfather of Abdel-Rahman and former Yemen government minister. In it he said that former Yemen President Saleh had sent him a message insisting that he had had no role in his grandson’s death: ‘Tell Dr. Nasser I swear to God that I have nothing to do with the killing of his son.’Nasser al-Awlaki also said he would be taking legal action: ‘I am only a university professor and I’m not the kind of guy who would enlist tribal people. My only chance now is to go to court and I hope as far as Abdulrahman at least, they will be fair to us. They cannot claim he’s collateral damage.’

In April 2013 Jeremy Scahill added further controversy to the attack, reporting:

A former senior official in the Obama administration told me that after Abdulrahman’s killing, the president was “surprised and upset and wanted an explanation.” The former official, who worked on the targeted killing program, said that according to intelligence and Special Operations officials, the target of the strike was al-Banna, the AQAP propagandist. “We had no idea the kid was there. We were told al-Banna was alone,” the former official told me. Once it became clear that the teenager had been killed, he added, military and intelligence officials asserted, “It was a mistake, a bad mistake.” However, John Brennan, at the time President Obama’s senior adviser on counterterrorism and homeland security, “suspected that the kid had been killed intentionally and ordered a review. I don’t know what happened with the review.”‘ And in May 2013 US Attorney-General Eric Holder told US lawmakers Abdulrahman was ‘not specifically targeted by the United States’. In a letter, Holder explained Anwar al Awlaki was a legitimate target and that ‘[US] citizenship alone does not make such individuals immune from being targeted’. He said three other US citizens, including Abdulrahman, had been killed by US drones during Obama’s presidency.

Abdulrahman’s grandfather discusses his death in a July 2012 interview for ACLU and CCR

Type of action: Air assault, drone strike Location: Azan, Shabwa References: CNN, GlobalPost, Business Insider, Yemen Post, ABC, AFP (via Taiwan News), Reuters,Press TV, AP, Washington Post, Long War Journal, LA Times, Reuters, Yemen Post, Time Magazine, Antiwar.com, Empty Wheel, Salon, Al-Awlaki family statement, EmptyWheel, Toronto Star, PBS Frontline, CNN, The Nation (US), Department of Justice

i was first turned onto this site[1] from an app that attempted to text you every time a new drone strike was posted to this site, the APPL app store refused its submission a number of times citing "The features and/or content of your app were not useful or entertaining enough"

.[1]. http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2012/08/drone-app/

[i was first turned onto this site[1] from an app that attempted to text you every time a new drone strike was posted to this site, the APPL app store refused its submission a number of times citing "The features and/or content of your app were not useful or entertaining enough"]

This is one of the big reasons I went with Android - I don't want to be blocked from doing what I define as "useful or entertaining" on my own hardware. [To be clear - I'm not saying Android is perfect, secure, private or anything else.]

If Forecast.io can show you real time weather radar through an HTML5 app installed to your home screen (the type of 100% open app Jobs originally said the iPhone was made for), surely drone strikes wouldn't be so hard.

The individual country pages are listed on the right under causality estimates, click a time frame for a list of all of the accounts,

Somalia: http://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/2012/02/22/get-the-data...

Pakistan: http://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/2013/01/03/obama-2013-p...

Yemen: http://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/2013/01/03/yemen-report...

https://twitter.com/dronestream is a Twitter account that's reporting through the history of all US drone strikes.

Here is an interview with Josh Begley, the man behind that account: http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2013/01/josh-begley-int...

> We are blowing up American Citizens sitting in cafes and legally it's "untouchable".

The crux of the debate is how much an "american citizen" can claim the protection of that citizenship while waging war against the U.S. and evading attempts to bring him to justice for a decade.

Being an American citizen entitles you to due process. Not "a court trial no matter what the circumstances," but some level of process appropriate to the circumstances.

> Stop murdering people.

It's only murder when people who are part of the same social compact and subject to the same law kill each other. When one group of people organized into a state kills people in another group, that's not "murder" it's exercise of the sovereign right of nations.

> The crux of the debate is how much an "american citizen" can claim the protection of that citizenship while waging war against the U.S. and evading attempts to bring him to justice for a decade.

This applies to Anwar Al-Awlaki himself, and even then the constitutionality of the killing seems highly suspect to me. But his son (the author's granson), Abdulrahman Al-Awlaki, was also killed by a drone strike in Yemen. Nobody has publicly stated a justification for Abdulrahman's death. He was simply an American citizen traveling in the country his family came from, as far as we know.

Al-Awlaki's son was killed in a different drone strike a month later targeting different Al Qaeda officials. I don't think he was the intended target. But when you're traveling with Al Qaeda that kind of shit happens, you know?

It's a tough situation to parse. On the one hand, if you stipulate that the US is going to engage "Al Qaeda" militarily, drone strikes probably save many lives; every alternative, from manned airstrikes through cruise missiles through (God forbid) boots on the ground --- every alternative is empirically worse.

On the other hand, the drone program in essence demands that the US conduct a long-running campaign of assassination. I might not have a moral problem with that in the specific case of actual, bona fide Al Qaeda personnel, but surely this can't be how we deal with all our adversaries moving forward?

They said he wasn't the target. I doubt they even knew who he was.

> can claim the protection of that citizenship while waging war against the U.S.

I want to make sure we're on the same page here. A child who is not on any kill lists, a boy who according to the laws of our land does not have the capacity to make rational decisions when it comes to having sex, looking at people have sex, drink alcohol, vote, smoke tobacco, rent a car, drive a car, I can go on but it's getting boring? A child who isn't able to do any of those things ... can nevertheless wage war against the US and be executed for treason without due process or even a sham trial? You even get those in Russia, of all places.

Oh wait. They didn't accuse him of treason. Collateral damage then? I guess that's OK.

I would say something offensive that might be construed as treasonous at this point, but the NSA is reading.

I was referring to Al Awalki, not his son. The article makes a soup out of the situation, but his son was killed in a different drone strike a month later that took out an Al Qaeda official: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/16/world/middleeast/yemeni-se.... There was no indication that Al Awalki's son was the target.

> There was no indication that Al Awalki's son was the target.

No, there was no indication. There was also no acknowledgement, apology, or explanation either. That's what the article is about.

What's done is done. The child is dead. What the government owes every citizen at this point is an explanation of what happened and a clear process to make sure it never happens again.

Instead, there's just silence.

Apparently you can just be killed by the US government for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, even though you're a citizen and deserve proper due process?

That's my take at this point. I wonder at what point the US government will start targeting individuals on US soil? We already have drones flying above our heads here at home. How soon until you're the collateral damage?

> Apparently you can just be killed by the US government for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, even though you're a citizen and deserve proper due process?

You can't blame the government for not giving due process to someone killed in a military strike where the government didn't even know he was going to be there.

> I wonder at what point the US government will start targeting individuals on US soil?

The slippery slope argument here just doesn't hold up. It's not the first time in history an American has been killed collaterally in a military strike targeted at a foreign enemy. Thousands of American citizens, including POW's, were killed in Hiroshima: http://www.people.com/people/archive/article/0,,20118397,00..... It's regrettable and unfortunate, but not a sign of some slippery slope leading to drone strikes on U.S. soil.

The fact is that the rules are different for engagements abroad versus engagements at home and always has been. Not just for the U.S., but for every country in the history of the world.

This is a good visualization of drone strikes in Pakistan: http://drones.pitchinteractive.com/

Edit: I don't completely love focusing on the technology behind killing innocent people in war. Whether the planes are piloted or not, people sitting in cafes, elementary schools, orphanages... get killed because we no longer arrest bad guys. We try to blow them up.

Sometimes I wish Americans felt what real blowback was. Americans kill so many people abroad, and then they're shocked that there's a "terrorist attack" every 10 years or so, against them. That's nothing. Imagine having these wars with a country that can really fight back. Imagine having that war close to home. I think, then, Americans would be a lot more cautious about sending over attacks to other countries without caring what happens.

That's the problem. Americans are very sheltered from the wars they start for the most part, so they let their government do whatever. Americans aren't still thinking 9/11 happened because they hated them for their freedoms, do they?

You won't get very far figuring in general terms about "Americans." I'm an American, and I wasn't in favor of a retaliatory invasion, even in 2003.

That said, where the public stands has relatively little to do with the US's actions. the Iraq and Afghanistan invasions were knee-jerk actions made supported by people who were acting under information that later turned out to be totally false. The current drone strikes weren't ever a serious ballet issue. In fact, I daresay most conflicts in which the US has been engaged in the last 40 years were initiated with very little regard as to public consent beyond "will they riot if we do this?"

I always hear this from amercians. If you are going to boast about being 'free' and 'democratic' then you 'support' whoever is running the administration (that's how democracy works, the majority "Wins" the support of the people).

Have some personal accountability.

Or else, you are not free, nor a democracy.

I know this gets brought up often, but you understand America is not a true democracy. We elect our leaders, but we don't vote on their decisions. Inherent in our system of government is a very long and arduous feedback loop between leadership decisions and citizen support and approval. For instance, the Obama administration is on its second term right now. There can be no reelection for our current president. He has four years to act without concerning himself with voter approval. To protect against our executive branch going rouge there are other checks we have in place such as judges and legislatures. What is happening right now in America is a struggle between our three branches of government.

I think he touches on the propaganda machine america has. You can't claim to be the best in the world if you don't lead the world in any categories; you can't claim to be the superior developing country, if you're infant mortality rate competes with the 3rd world countries; you can't claim that what makes america special is freedom, because 180 countries in the world have that, and freedom isn't even up to a very high standard here as of late.(especially relative to some socially liberal regions such as scandinavia).

Drone strikes, and assassinations were occurring before his reelection... So I'm not sure how anyone can argue "We didn't get a chance to vote him out"... as you actually did.

While I agree with you, it is more complex than I simplified it. It is that general apathy of americans that lets administrations get so out of control.

Was the alternative likely to be any better on this front though?

I always find this a bit weird, you only get to choose between two parties. The difference with China doesn't seem that big, they only get to vote on one party less.

But you have more than two parties don't you? Not that it matters, more parties don't have significant advantages. It's just that there is a bigger pool of crooks.

I think it does matter. In the Netherlands you are able to vote right wing without the religion, or even vote on a religious left wing party. There are party differences between how we should handle a lot of different issues. It is easier to find a party you agree with.

Party sizes vary greatly after elections which means politicians feel the consequences of their actions. It is not perfect of course, but it is better.

The weird thing is that it is possible to have multiple parties in the US, but they never get enough votes. This makes it seem like their has to be a lot of corruption.

It matters, similarly to haow it matters that you have more choice in Internet providers than a binary choice of either 1) cable or 2) telco-provided DSL.

Countries where multiple parties feasibly compete have the possibility, at least, of a disruptive new party taking share.

The American system, like the American ISP market in most of the country, is so rigged for the two corrupt incumbents that you basically always have a choice of light dark gray or dark light gray.

I live in Japan where we have a wide range of competing ISPs and political parties. Both Internet service and political representation are vastly better than in my native USA.

(Admittedly, the former more so than the latter...)

There are institutional and legal barriers to third party candidates. It is disguised pretty well but is obvious when you know what you're looking for.

Not at all.

    he did indicate he would continue President Obama’s controversial drone strike program against alleged terrorist suspects.

I'd love to see some country in the world where voters are wise and altruistic and empathetic about people on the other side of the world, rather than self-interested and easily manipulated.

What, so if we voted them into office that means we automatically support & approve everything they might do?

It's completely legitimate to say Americans for acts done by your government, because you have a democracy. You don't get to have it both ways. If too many people are apathetic and don't care enough what the US military does to thousands of people all over the world rather than stop it, then be ready to accept the responsibility.

The United States is a Democratic Republic, not a Democracy.

You're confirming his/her point exactly - Americans don't care. But I (and probably the whole rest of the world) bet that they/you would if the wars were closer to home.

You're right, America is still #1!

In human rights abuses, illegal wars, prison population, and all of those other great things that you're all so damn proud of.

"Imagine having these wars with a country that can really fight back. Imagine having that war close to home."

My friend, have you considered the horrors of an America faced with a credible threat and given the opportunity to justify real, total war against an opponent capable of the same?

I do not wish to live in that world.

Unfortunately, it's becoming more and more apparent we _do_ live in that world - it's just not happened yet.

I don't buy that for a second. Having firsthand knowledge of how terrible our border security is, how much theater goes into our domestic security, and how half-assed all these show layers are, there's only one reasonable conclusion:

The number of humans on Earth that want to kill large numbers of other humans is exceedingly, vanishingly small.

Most people just don't want to blow people up, no matter how angry they are.

If this were false, we'd see bombings, shootings, and poisonings constantly all over the country. We don't.

I grew up in Detroit. Trust me when I say that this country has no shortage of machine guns.

If these sorts of things were being stopped by the NSA's dragnet, they wouldn't have claimed to have stopped "dozens" of attacks with their surveillance. They'd have claimed "hundreds" or "thousands". They didn't.

There just aren't that many people who wish civillian populations harm, even if their government did blow up their loved ones.

> Sometimes I wish Americans felt what real blowback was.

The typical reaction of a nation is not "Oh well, we better stop doing that then".

Exactly, so why does the USG think it will work in the opposite direction?

Europe is very pacifistic by the US standards precisely because of the wars and totalitarian states experienced in the past. Remember, the "historical memory" doesn't vanish with a generation that experienced Nazism or Communism. It is passed on to the next generations. My guess is that what USG is claiming is that given the US had the same sad and tragic historical experiences as the Europeans did, they would have thought twice before engaging in all the wars.

Just to give you some perspective: I live in Poland. 20% of the population - 6 million (not 10,000) civilians - was killed in WW2 by Germans and Russians. Our neighbors. We lived through it. We have quite good relations with both countries. Now - forgive me the language - but how many Poles look at your 9/11 - it's a non-event. And you go like crazy on a 1000-year war with billion Muslims because some idiots blew up a couple of buildings. I'm sorry but that's how I and I'm sure many in Europe perceive it. Completely and totally overreacted. Just bring the responsible before the Court give them the due process and hand them or something.

You are totally inexperienced as a nation with just 200 years of history with the phenomenon called "shit happens" and totally, totally overreact to the point it just looks comical. You are like this big fat guy with a machine guy at a bar doing shooting-frenzy trying to kill a fly.

As a scandinavian I totally agree. The US should learn from Norway and the Breivik mass shooting to see how one deals with madmen. Capture them, put them before a judge just like every other criminal and then unceremoniously lock them up.

The obvious problem with Breivik is lack of the capital punishment in Norway. Not Norway following the law and due process.

To use an analogy, it looks like in the US they would have tortured Breivik for years before letting him to go to face a Trial but without a defense attorney. It's another extreme. Taking into account that the US is the world superpower, much more concerning one.

EDIT: Now thinking about it, Breivik spent a lot of time in France. It's a stretch, but if the Norway had the US attitude, it would just invade France now, lol. My point is that they are really, really over the top with that "terrorism" thing.

I think that this line of thinking is part of the problem in the US. The lack of capital punishment in Norway is a feature not a bug, and if you look at the results it's a good feature. Norway has very low crimerates compared to the US, far fewer homicides and almost no problems with guns and violence.

The Unites States has a mentality of punishing the perpetrators, often very hard, in order to gain revenge and maybe act as a deterrent to others. This is why the US is one of the onlycountries in the world that use capital punishment, and the country in the world where most people are in prison.

Unfortunately research shows that this doesn't work, as evidenced by crimerates and homicides in the US. Norway takes a different approach, and instead of looking for revenge they ask "how do we prevent this from happening again". This is why there is no capital punishment, why you see drug offenders in nice rehabilitation homes, and why Breivik was convicted like any other murderer within the Norweigan system.

The Norweigan system works, and the American doesn't. Just look at the numbers.

To act as the devils advocate I do have to note that Norway has less social problems than the US in general which also affects the level of crime, e.g. you have no minorities recently out of slavery and not much immigration (Sweden and Denmark have way more immigration though but still have quite little crime).

I am a firm believer in the Norwegian style of punishment and rehabilitation. The goal of a justice system is not to punish or get revenge but to create a safe society with little crime, and if rehabilitation does that (which is what I believe) then we should have more rehabilitation.

> Just bring the responsible before the Court give them the due process

That might not work with suicide bombers. Just a thought.

What are you then suggesting? Killing the suicide bombers family? Well, the US is already doing that and this behaviour is just barbaric.

I just tried to be funny and point out that bringing suicide bombers before the court after the fact does not work.

> I think, then, Americans would be a lot more cautious about sending over attacks to other countries without caring what happens.

The problem here that the "Fight for what's mine" mentality is a core of American society. If there was a credible threat to America, the 310 million of them would band together stronger than ever before to unleash a horrible, all consuming war.

Well said. I think that eventually a real blow will happen and of no terrorist origin, but a nation. A lot of people are aggravated by the militant attitude of the US. Even the most patient of us have their threshold.

As a side note on the Middle East. I think that the US deliberately destabilize the situation in the region, preparing the ground for the Iran takeover.

And probably, to some degree, because it's happening to people who aren't traditionally regarded as Americans. For example, despite having earned citizenship, a lot of people would still regard me as Chinese instead of American. And even people in China would claim I'm still Chinese, not American, because they see an American as a white male of european descent.

Well, nobody should be considered "American" in the first place since it's a country made by immigration (apart from native indians). And the principle behind America is that you can be born "American" without being born in the country. But I know what you mean, there's the principles on one hand and the reality on the other.

"Nationalism is the biggest disease on the planet. Nations have the wrong granularity. They’re too small to be global and too big to be local, and all they can think about is competing." - Nicholas Negroponte

Yea but nation states have done wonders for the advancement of humanity. The conundrum...

So did the steam engine, but its pretty much redundant now.

Steam engines were replaced only after the invention of a much more efficient engine (internal combustion).

What is the much more efficient boundary of government that is not a nationstate ?

The polis; an autonomous, self-governing form of city state, invented around 800 BC.

Which wasn't shy about competition or large-scale conflict (like the Peloponnesian War).

The equations of power have changed. Two contradictory things are happening inequality grows while information asymmetry reduces.

Something is going to break. And we generally wake up and fix thing only after things break.

I say another 5-10 manning/snowden type events before we transition from the united states of america to the the united states of earth.

well, I think if we are talking strictly about efficiency, the intuitive answer would be: either a single government, or at least a government whose boundaries are set based on more practical and real rather than artificial foundations.

National identities, as complex as they are and as huge an improvement over religions as they are to serve for the above purpose, are still artificial constructs that in many ways create arbitrary boundaries, introduce and perpetuate differences that are not necessary to exist between people and in some cases have even been manipulated and used by governments for political reasons.

"American" is the religion immigrants have signed up to since the Mayflower.

(apart from native indians)

Last I checked they immigrated too.

A person born in the USA (or elsewhere) to US Citizen parents is "American in the first place". That's how US citizenship at birth works.

Americans are also the people above and below the map of USA.

If you want to be pedantic about it, yes, the continent of North America is made up of three countries.

But if a person says the phrase "I'm American", what's your first guess - that he is referring to the USA, to Canada or to Mexico?

Speaking as a Canadian, I do not call myself an 'American', even though my country is certainly part of North America.

America is the term to the whole continent. Central and south too (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Americas).

I understand that "Americans" is a shorthand for "USA Habitant", in the minds of a lot of people, mainly because USA is the dominant culture in this side.

But is like ask: "I'm Asian" and asume is about a chinese.

To play devil's advocate: (and this isn't to excuse the US's actions, but to illustrate a major difference between what happened and what you're talking about)

The big difference in this case is that we have tacit (or maybe even explicit) consent from the Yemeni government to hunt Al Qaeda. So the representatives of the people of that country are allowing us to kill these people basically on their behalf. (which doesn't make it OK, but is a major differnce)

It's not just that we are bullying Yemen into allowing us to bomb people in their country - it's that the Yemini authorities (and probably most of the population) don't want these people operating in their country but they lack the resources and infrastructure to stop them themselves; and that's where we come in.

Bare in min that we also give Yemen a lot of military aid so that we DON'T HAVE TO come in and do their law enforcement for them. In this case that wasn't sufficient and we intervene on their behalf

To make your example comparable you would need to have a person that is evading US authorities, operating in the US, and that we are completely incapable of stopping (and only some other country could do it for us?)


Here is why: Yemeni government != Yemeni people. The authorities, probably, don't mind letting US drones kill people, simply because it won't be them getting killed.

Imagine the US military firing tear gas and water cannons on protesters in Turkey and saying "It's OK, your government gave us permission". The major problem in the Middle East is that, the governments can get away with not giving a fuck about the people.

"Imagine the US military firing tear gas and water cannons on protesters in Turkey and saying "It's OK, your government gave us permission". "

I think you're having reading comprehension issues. It's not just that the gov't are requesting help. The reason we are involved in Yemen is because the Yemini gov't is incapable of exerting it's own will b/c they are weak and poor. Their interests are also strongly tied to our interests - so that's why we intervene.

Your example has is not at all analogous. The Turkish gov't is not incapable of tear gassing and water cannoning protesters, so they fail the first criteria of being incapable of carrying out their will. The example also fails the second criteria for intervention - that it's strongly in the US's interest.

"Yemeni government != Yemeni people"

Who else can you appeal to in Yemen to get permission to operate drones?

And are you seriously suggesting that the Yemeni people are supporting Al Qaeda? If they are, then they become the "enemy".

The way it works for other nations is we tell them: 1 - You will fight Al Qaeda in our country 2 - If you are incapable, we will help you do it by providing military aid. 3 - If you are still incapable we will us our own armed forces to make sure you are able to. 4 - If you are not willing to fight Al Qaeda or are actively defending them they we will intervene anyways.

The last point either leads to the case of the Taliban where we destroy them because they are defending Al Qaeda, or to Pakistan where they are forced to accept our help.

Ok. What about Pakistan? Oh shit, did I just blow your argument to hell? So sorry!

Aw, downvoted, for pointing out that the US carries out drone assaults in sovereign territories without consent.

Well, bury your head in the sand all you like.

Come on. The PK government is perfectly happy to say one thing to its population, another to the US and a third to the Talibans. It's just like European governments acting incensed at the notion of extraordinary renditions (like they didn't know about before) or at NSA spying (like they don't do the same thing). It's called "hypocrisy" and it's a common policy tool.

Downvoted for being wrong. Pakistan works with the US -- they don't want to appear to be working with the US.

I am not aware about now, but there was a while when Pakistan authorities denied US land crossing its territory in its way to supply Afghanistan. That divergence seemed pretty real.

> I do not look forward to the day when our own brutality is visited upon us.

Many people around the world would say that one of those days was September 11, 2001.

9/11 was a single horrific event carried out by a small number of radicals. I don't think it holds a candle by any metric to the lives lost and damage done in an actual government-run war scenario. We don't yet have foreign bombers blowing up cafes on a regular basis because somebody on their hit list was inside, but because of our actions, we someday might.

And on that afternoon, there will be rage upon the twitters, and that evening, the news.

And on the following day, we'll bomb the everliving christ out of the people we think are responsible, and on some day hence, we will be bombed in response.

The wheel turns--might as well get into the drone and bomb business. :(

Actually I think you'll bomb a bunch of other random people (Iraq, Afghanistan), and continue to treat the responsible "country" (Saudi Arabia) as an ally and friend.

Just before people rewrite history, afganistan and iraq governments had nothing to do with 9/11.

Unless you're a kook, the people responsible for 9/11 were a group whose interests include overthrowing the Saudi government. The erstwhile Afghan "government", the Taliban, harbored them.

Yes, fine, but: Saddam Hussein couldn't stand Al-Quaeda. So... what's up with that? I don't even care who did 9/11 and why, but I know how it was used. That alone is shameful enough -- with those kind of "friends" who the fuck needs enemies, right?

Iraq wasn't directly related to al-Qaeda, no. From a geopolitical standpoint, replacing one of the most hostile governments in the region with a more favorable one had some interesting long term potential. Eliminating the root causes of terrorism requires significant geopolitical and socioeconomic change in the Muslim world. Installing a new government right in the middle of the region could go a long way to helping with that over the next few decades.

Yes, but don't be forgetting that the Taliban are a rebranded mujahideen. This crowd were US allies (or were they pawns?). Armed and trained.

And Italy was one of the Allies during WW1 before allying itself with Germany in WW2. During the fight against Germany, Austria-Hungary, and the Ottoman Empire, other nations provided assistance to Italy. Individuals jumped into the fray too. Hemingway, for example, was a volunteer ambulance driver in Italy in WW1.

Beating the USA over the head post-911 with the club of having assisted anti-Soviet fighters in the 1970s and 1980s makes as much sense as castigating Italy's WW1-era allies and people like Hemingway in the late 1930s for having come to Italy's aid twenty years earlier.

The US leaders who started these wars had no issue making comparisons to WW2 and claiming Bush compared to Churchill. Words such as 'Crusade' were used. Good versus Evil. Crappy comparisons have been a hallmark of the campaigns. What I said was, to my knowledge, fact. I was attempting to point out that friends can become enemies, so a bit of tact and care is obviously a good idea. And of course, claiming you're on a crusade and fighting evil is just plain BS. The US deserves castigation for its role in these conflicts, it has acted appallingly, as have others. My own country, New Zealand, has troops in Afghanistan and have been involved in some controversy. The only reason I can think of for this deployment is to brown nose a few so-called allies. Making the world safer one botch job, torture and killing at a time.




The Taliban are native Afghanis, mostly Pashtun. The mujahideen were Muslims from around the world who went to Afghanistan to defend it from the godless communists. Bin Laden was one of them, but not necessarily one that we armed and supported back then. (While the irony would be delicious, I don't know of any evidence that he ever had US support.)

So is an invasion of russia imminent? (RE: Snowden)

Harbouring criminals is a reason to declare war?

You seem to be one of those people who make bad arguments, and as soon as those bad arguments are debunked, you immediately switch to a completely separate bad argument without ever acknowledging that you were mistaken in the first place. Most likely, you're unwilling to listen to other viewpoints and just want to hear yourself talk on the internet. Have fun with that. I'm not inclined to play along.

I think you are projecting here. And attempting a moral high ground. Where was I wrong exactly? Please point it out, then you can return to your high ground.

The argument remains the same, I drew a parallel with a current situation to highlight how ridiculous it was to blame the Taliban for 9/11 (as they had NOTHING to do with it). Just as Russia had nothing to do with Snowden (except that he's there).

Radical conservatives?

Tin-foil hat aside, it strikes me as oddly coincidental that the folks who use drones these days to kill around the planet with impunity are the same folks who had several allegedly drone controlled airliners carry out an attack, garnering public support for several illegal wars.

Just saying, it's all mightily convenient. As ever.

As to foreign bombers... So? Most Americans agree drone strikes are a good thing, so surely they'd still be a good thing when they start happening on US soil?

I like how you say "tin-foil hat aside", then go on to state with what seems to be complete seriousness that 9/11 was carried out by the U.S. against the U.S. using drone-controlled passenger airplanes.

So do you believe the official fable about 9/11? If you do, what do you find compelling about the narrative?

If you don't, then I applaud your critical thinking.

And? You thought the 9/11 commission report was good and conclusive? WTC7 just "imploded" due to "natural causes"? And of course destroying all the evidence pronto was the best way to investigate the crime?

I don't think a single word that comes out of the US (and UK) gov't is truthful. Why would they be truthful about 9/11?

No, but it was convenient in the same way the Reichstag fire was convenient.

No no, it was filthy commies that started the reichstag fire, right?

making it even more convenient. The Nurimberg Laws could be passed thanks to this event. Almost as convenient as 9/11 so that the Patrot Act could be passed.

Hm. Interestingly, I was taught at school that it was a false flag op by Karl Ernst's SA thugs, who framed Van der Lubbe. This appears to no longer be believed. Good old revisionism to suit the current political clime, I suppose. Don't want anyone drawing any parallels!

i know. i just tried being sarcastic. im sorry it didnt work out

9/11 wasn't carried out by foreigners. There's no motive.

Means, motive, and opportunity: Who'd consider 3000 dead Americans a reasonable price to pay for carte blanche to make a pushbutton military coup possible in this country?

The US already controls, coerces, or mutually cooperates with a large number of other sovereign states (as we've seen with this whole Snowden airspace thing, or the global surveillance networks, et c).

Such an action would place a person or group that was able to exert leverage over the majority of US persons high in the running for "able to control the majority of humans on Earth".

Not a bad prize, that.

> 9/11 wasn't carried out by foreigners. There's no motive.

What an utterly ridiculous statement.

The entire premise of this article is one of the oldest motives for violence in the history of the human race.

Or did you somehow think this was the first middle eastern child killed by America?

You don't have to engage with the kooks. Downvote and ignore them.

No, there is no motive. Use your brain instead of your TV for once.

Analogy: a wasps best appears on your porch. Occasionally, you get stung.

Do you a) put up with being stung once in a while or b) whack the ever living shit out of the nest with a stick, knowing retaliation is the likely outcome, and wait to see what happens?

In spite of what the US media liked to portray, OBL was an intelligent man, well versed in both war and politics.

So no, there is no motive, unless you're suggesting that OBL's goal was to get Afghanistan and Iraq invaded, and millions of Arabs killed?

I'm not really sure what you're trying to say. Regardless, read your primary sources:

"[It is] easy for us to provoke and bait this administration. All that we have to do is to send two mujahidin to the furthest point east to raise a piece of cloth on which is written al-Qaeda, in order to make the generals race there and cause America to suffer human, economic, and political losses ... This is in addition to our having experience in using guerrilla warfare and the war of attrition to fight tyrannical superpowers, as we, alongside the mujahidin, bled Russia for 10 years, until it went bankrupt and was forced to withdraw in defeat." - OBL, 2004

So yes, it's very fair to suggest that his goal was to get Afganistan and Iraq invaded given that his formative years were spent, in his mind, bringing down the Soviet Union by provoking them into a protracted and costly battle in Afganistan. Al Queda is responsible for killing thousands of Arabs directly. It's no stretch to think that he didn't mind seeing a few million killed, like all sorts of utopian-totalitarian ideologues who preceded him, in the cause of bringing about 1000 years of utopia on earth through the establishment of a new Caliphate.

OBL was an intelligent man, like Hitler or Stalin were intelligent men. Ruthless, but almost impossibly warped in his views on why the present he lived in didn't fit his own fantasy.

"It is enough to know that the economy of all Arab countries is weaker than the economy of one country that had once been part of our world when we used to truly adhere to Islam. That country is the lost Al Andalus... No Muslim territory should ever become non-Muslim...Let the whole world know that we shall never accept the tragedy of Andalusia." - OBL, 2004

There's your motive if you're looking for one. Spain defeated the Muslim invaders who had conquered part of it 500 years ago and since it's now richer than the whole Muslim world put together it proves that... wait... what?

It proves that the CIA orchestrated '53 Iranian coup was a massive boon for the US, and that the US has successfully subjugated and held back an entire corner of the planet for a half-century.

Again, why break the habit of a lifetime?

Re: the wasps, you put on (or pay somebody to do so) a protective suit, wrap the nest in a plastic bag and put poisonous gas in it. Or, you smoke out the whole nest and kill all stray wasps with chemicals. I don't think this analogy is leading you to where you want to go...

If you take pleasure in killing your fellow creatures, sure. I for one just let them do their thing, and I do mine.

"Live and let live" is a concept which no longer seems to be part of popular cognition.

And the analogy still holds.

9/11 was definitely planned by KSM and indirectly by his nephew Ramzi Yousef. But it's also true that we accidentally let it happen.

It's remarkable that this interview with Richard Clarke only has 53,000 hits- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bl6w1YaZdf8

It's sad that people just ignored the chief of counter terrorism on 9/11 stating that CIA knew terrorists were in the US planning an attack and purposely withheld it from the White House in an effort to develop sources. Not to mention ignoring the involvement of Saudi Arabia.

Let's see, what we have conclusively is:

- Lots of CIA agents who have testified that they knew about the hijackers but were prevented from stopping them, e.g.


- High level FBI agents who have testified they would have stopped the attacks, but were purposely kept in the dark.

- The fact that on the morning of 9/11 the guy who wired 100k to Muhammed Atta to pay for the hijackings was having breakfast with the two guys who ran the official investigation into the attacks.

All this stuff about whether it was or wasn't a controlled demolition is just a red herring.

I would REALLY love a source on that one.

> 9/11 was definitely planned by KSM and indirectly by his nephew Ramzi Yousef.

Then why wasn't he placed on trial for this crime?

He's still sitting in Guantánamo, supposedly "awaiting trial".

Please go somewhere else and take your tinfoil hat with you.

Explain WTC7.

(I don't even speculate "who did what, exactly" -- but that this thing is fishy as fuck, and has been from day one, is undeniable. You can cover your ears and scream tinfoil all you want, but that doesn't answer the gaping questions. Apply Occam's razor, how about that? The possibility that the laws of physics were suspended that day is very slim, even more slim than aliens using lizards to convince mice to hypnotize humans to do it. Logic!)

What's to explain about a controlled demolition?


> What's to explain about a controlled demolition?

The physics of a controlled demolition is fairly simple.

Take out or weaken one a few pillars and the weight of the building will do the rest.

Why would it not possible for a fire and/or an explosion to do exactly the same thing?


Lets assume it was a controlled demolition.

Now answer these obvious questions that this would raise.

Did all the people in the building not see the dynamite strapped to the pillars?

Did they not see the 100s of meters of wires?

When did the guys that wired the build do the wiring?

Was it during working hours or after hours?

How come no camera, person or security guard managed to see them?

Why would it not possible for a fire and/or an explosion to do exactly the same thing?

Because it would very likely tip over, or at least veer to one direction, instead of folding neatly into itself.

Did all the people in the building not see the dynamite strapped to the pillars?

What makes you assume dynamite?

Did they not see the 100s of meters of wires?

What makes you assume wires?

When did the guys that wired the build do the wiring?

Who knows? When did the dude who sucked at flying sports planes learn to fly a boeing so well? How did a passport of one of the attackers allegedly get found on the scene? If you want a conspiracy theory, try a bunch of guys taking down THREE high rises with TWO airplanes and a bunch of box cutters. Hah.

Was it during working hours or after hours?

How is that relevant?

How come no camera, person or security guard managed to see them?

Are you say it's not possible to deposit bags of C4 (etc.) with remote triggers in the right spots even just 10 minutes before impact, and safely get out? Or, to be alone in a room just enough to hide it in the ceiling or walls or wherever? I'm not saying it's easy, but it seems easier than even just flying a boeing so well without practical experience, or such a tall skyscraper folding neatly just by pure luck, and both of that happening twice on one day.

Listen to yourself. The last paragraph is utter nonsense. I actually agree that we aren't being told the full story on 9/11 but you make these accusations with zero grasp on the reality of how much work it takes to down a building like that. Demolitions like what you describe take months of prep, a gutted building, and precise explosives wrapped around multiple central supports. A few bricks of C4 on remote detonators stashed above a drop ceiling is never going to take out an entire building, let alone in the controlled way you claim occurred here... just synchronizing wireless detonators to explode simultaneously is a non-trivial technical feat. (Independent synchronised clocks and all the calculations for the travel time of the signal through various materials to different locations) I'm not saying it's not possible, but extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence

I'm adamant that we're being lied to about things related to these attacks, but making things up to fill the vacuum of information is behavior that belongs back in the middle ages.

Hehe. Listen to yourself. So a plane crashing somewhere in the building, with a little help from gravity, can do the same as a prepared detonation that takes one month to plan, with carefully synchronized explosives around multiple central supports... Twice in a day.

Yes, exactly. Millions of tonnes of build, gravity and some weaken beams will do exactly that.

I'm glad you're starting to get a handle on this thing called Physics.

If, as you claim, one or more of the buildings contained explosives which were detonated then why fly planes into them? I mean you could just blow up the buildings and blame it on whoever you wanted without needing to supposedly hijack planes and have to convince people that some dude who sucked at flying planes could now fly a plane.

Parts of the official story are perhaps hard to believe or lack credibility. But it was not an ordinary event, it was an extraordinary one meaning that we'll have a lot of unanswered questions and very little precedent. In the absence of certainty we fall back on our default positions. Some people could never imagine a bunch of foreigners hate the US enough and have the skills and ingenuity to pull something like this off. Only we have agency, others do not. Some people blame everything bad that happens on their government. In fact for some it's more palatable in a way to think that your government did it.

Anyway, we know you know the truth - but can you please keep your opinions to yourself, it only serves to derail the actual discussion at hand; but who knows, maybe that's your intention.

How were we supposed to get pissed off at 19 theology students from Saudi Arabia unless they flew planes into buildings so we could invade Afghanistan and Iraq?

It's not up to me to explain the events around 9/11. It's enough to know that the government and the media lied their asses off about it and are continuing to do so in order to prosecute a bullshit "war".

The official story is an obvious lie.

> in order to prosecute a bullshit "war".

Two wars in fact.

> It's enough to know that the government and the media lied their asses off

Life doesn't offer up points for being thoughtful and wise after the event.

The USA invaded IRAQ looking for WMD and trying to blaming Saddam Hussein for 9/11.

Even before the war started it was a well-known fact there were no WMDs and Saddam Hussein had no links to 9/11 and anyone who thought about this rationally knew an invasion was not a good idea.

But as you said the government and the media lied their asses off and the unwashed masses where taken in hook line and sinker.

The majority of the citizens of USA, UK, Australia and Spain all supported the plan to invade IRAQ.

Move on a decade and those same citizens now think it was a big mistake.

Well it too late. You can't put the genie back into the bottle.

Through their collective stupidity, the citizens of the USA, UK, Australia and Spain will be paying for that big mistake for years to come.

What's unfortunate the ripple effect of that big mistake affects us all.

or: http://wtc7.net/

  Fires have never before or since destroyed a steel skyscraper. 

  The team that investigated the collapse were kept away from the crime scene.

  By the time they published their inconclusive report in May, 2002, the evidence had been destroyed. 
Is any of the above untrue?

  Why did the government rapidly recycle the steel from the largest and most mysterious engineering failure in world histor? [..] ?
Why indeed? That's just scraping the surface, and attacking the ones who ask the questions you kinda should ask yourself, is just being silly. It's been nearly 12 years now, there is no excuse anymore, the shock wore off; "you" accepted Gitmo, so you can deal with this. Wo/man up.

> Fires have never before or since destroyed a steel skyscraper.

Unless you replicate all the aspects of the event that statement is meaningless.

What other steel building has been hit by a 300 tonne aircraft, fully loaded with jet fuel and flying at full speed?

It is actually pretty easy to understand why these steel buildings fell.

All it takes is stock standard structural engineering modelling:


Now this modelling involves a high level of maths, but we do know the modelling is correct.


Because that exact structural engineering modelling is used to put up these massive sky scrappers.

I take it you do you not accept the maths?

What other steel building has been hit by a 300 tonne aircraft, fully loaded with jet fuel and flying at full speed?

This is about WTC 7.

You’re correct.

To replicate the event you're describing, we need to have a multi-million tonne building, close to our steel building and we need to make that first building collapse.

Naturally flying a plane into the first building won't make if fall, so we'll need a few hundred kilos of strategically placed C4 in that building to bring it down.

To hide that C4 explosion we'll use the plane flying into the building as a diversion but at least we're guaranteed to bring down that first building.

Now we have a collapsing multi-million tonne building close to the steel building we are trying to bring down and that event will be creating millions of tons of flying debris.

Naturally, that amount of flying debris won't be enough to collapse the target building, but luckily we also places some C4 in a second building that is also close by.

Once again we are going to need a second plane to hide the C4 explosion in that second building, but that should be easy enough to arrange.

Now we've managed to bring down two massive multi-million tonne buildings and created flying debris with the equivalent energy of thousands of tons of C4 but we always knew that wouldn't be enough energy to bring down our target building.

Luckily, while laying the C4 charges on the other two buildings, we also manage to plant a few hundred kilos of C4 in the third building.

Now to finish the job, all we have to do is detonate those last few kilos of C4 and no one will be the wiser.

What a simple plan. It's fool proof and using the planes to cover up the C4 explosions is a stroke of genius.

The only problem we face is this last explosion makes the building collapse like a demolition.

We should have thought about that!!!

Notice that the nutters never have any explanation for why conspirators would

1) bother with the 3rd building (are not the first two enough? The third didn't even get much publicity, it surely did little to rally public support)

2) wait so long after the collapse of the first to blow the 3rd (why wait? Surely one of the conspirators should have pointed out that a wait would only serve to make people suspicious. take it down seconds after one next to it falls and everything will look much more "natural")

3) bother with C4 at all (aren't planes slamming into buildings horrific enough? Controlled detonation of them afterwards adds very little but VASTLY increases the chances of something going wrong or the conspiracy being uncovered).

Conspiracy theorists almost never put themselves in the minds of the alleged conspirators. They latch onto things that are odd or unusual but the explanations they offer never actually reduce the oddness. WTC7 falling a few hours later is odd... it being blown up deliberately a few hours later is even more odd.

I couldn't agree more. When it comes to conspiracy theories, the logical thought process seems go missing.

I particularly like the one about how the Pentagon was hit by a cruise missile.

Once again assuming this is true, any minimal amount of analysis raises a whole bunch of questions.

For example:

1) Flight 77 took off, so if it didn't hit the Pentagon where did it go? How did it just disappear?

2) The control tower voice and radar details match with the Flight 77 flight data recorder and they show the plane hitting the Pentagon.

Does that mean the control tower was in on the plot? Did the Pentagon also fudge the radar recordings?

3) Wouldn't the cruise missile also have shown up on the radar recording? Did the Pentagon remove it from the radar recordings?

4) Where was that missile launched from? Didn't anyone notice that launch? How did they keep the launch quite?

5) Wouldn’t someone, somewhere in the US Armed Forces be missing one cruise missile from their armaments inventory? Has no bean counter noticed that unaccounted missile?

And as always the conspiracy theorists answer to these types of question is the government did it but cover it up.

The link you provide is not relevant to your point. Is a simulation of the impact, but says nothing about the collapse of the buildings.

Are you serious?

A video showing how the structural integrity of a building is severely compromised and it doesn't explain why the building collapsed?

Seems like a fairly myopic view to me.

I look at that video and to me it highlights the amazingly good structural engineering used in the design of the building.

For it to have taken such a massive hit and still manage to stay standing for as long as it did is a credit to the designers.

If only they had done a better job spacing the emergency exits many lives would have been saved.

This seems like a pretty decent explanation http://www.debunking911.com/pull.htm

Thanks, a lot of that is very interesting indeed, but is there a version without the constant (and sometimes rather low) personal attacks against a vague group of people? I'm old enough to read past them, but still, bleh. "The conspiracy theorists" are not some monolithic group, for example: http://www.ae911truth.org/

> This is an orange

Well... ok, let's assume it is.

> If you were told it's something different you wouldn't believe it.

Sure I would. It could be an apple wrapped in an orange shell. It could be a hologram. It could be a picture of an orange with a small kitten hidden behind it. It could, indeed, even be a chroma-shifted live-view of earth from space.

> What does it look like to you?

Looks like all the supports gave out at pretty much the same time. Like if there was a large fire and badly maintained fireproofing on them. Or maybe a gang of small kittens chewed them off. You have to admit it looks precisely like it would if you had a thousand kittens scratching at the supports simultaneously (assuming robot kittens, of course).

Yeah, when you have nothing, attack the messenger with standard insult, tell people they are mad conspiracy theorists.

Trouble is, too many of these conspiracy theories turn out to be true. Just cast your mind back to the reactions of politicians when the rendition allegations first surfaced. Oh how they laughed and patronised. How they insulted and mocked. And then these same shameless filthy cowardly politicians came back to then justify their lies.

As for 9/11, I'm not sure any one knows the whole truth yet. Maybe we do, maybe those same politicians are telling the truth, but equally they themselves give us enough reason to doubt their word.

The US government and the NSA have just been outed in the largest conspiracy in US history. All the tinfoil has melted and that mindless rejoinder with it.

The NSA gets caught intercepting communications with the express purpose of spying on people[1], therefore all conspiracy theories are now true? What next, reptilian freemasons?

[1] You may notice that "intercepting communications with the express purpose of spying on people" is the charter of the NSA and of analogous agencies everywhere in the world.

No, but it does destroy the credibility of the US government and its agencies.

You're more than welcome to take the word of a known dishonest agent. I prefer using my own common sense to discern events.

Diminishing the credibility of the US government does not enhance the credibility of the tinfoil hat crowd one bit.

Longtime dissenters and critics of the government have been vindicated as of late. Please recall that the "tinfoil" has melted because of the recent USG/NSA conspiracy. You need to drop the term "tinfoil hat" as it no longer has legitimacy.

I'd suggest Dissident, but that's just me.

There's a distinction between criticism and conspiracy theories. People who seriously maintain that the US government was behind 9/11 are kooks, same as creationists and people who think reptilian Jewish Freemasons control the world, and they gain zero credibility from the revelation that the NSA has the ability to tap Skype, Gmail, and Facebook.

> People who seriously maintain that the US government was behind 9/11 are kooks, same as creationists and people who think reptilian Jewish Freemasons control the world

You forgot to mention the Arizona farm where Jim Morrison and JFK are living together.

Your debating skills suck. If you wish to be taken seriously, don't engage in namecalling and don't conflate issues by adding Bigfoot poison to the mix. It wrecks your cred.

> Your debating skills suck.

"Debating" 9/11 truthers is a form of reasoning with people who have none.

My point is that diminishing the credibility of the US government doesn't enhance the credibility of 9/11 truthers. Have you made a point yet?

I've made my point. That's why all you appear have left is ad hominem and conflation.

You're more than welcome to believe the Official Fables of the 9/11 Myth Cycle. Knock yourself out.

> People who seriously maintain that the US government was behind 9/11

Who is maintaining that?

You like your reductio ad absurdum, eh? Why not move onto ad hominems?

Or, y'know, perhaps shock horror scandal probe your government has lied to you! Nooooo.

the age-old question of "cui bono?" remains the single best way to nose out what actually happened, and this often flies in the face of what most people regard and record as "history".

NOTE: i'm supressing a serious rant along your vector.

> "The American citizenry tends to be OK with this kind of thing as long as it happens far away from us."

The LAPD destroyed a home and burned a suspect alive, while having no good reason to suspect he was even alone. And not only was there very little outrage, but many were actually cheering this on.

And this, after the LAPD had multiply-revealed their snap-judgment to be dangerously-poor and restraint to be non-existent, having opened fire on innocent citizens in two separate instances, unprovoked, despite none of the citizens nor vehicles remotely matching the suspects description.

Do you really expect the reaction to have been much different, if that cabin was destroyed by hellfire missile, rather than the reckless-to-intentional over-application of tear-gas?

The citizenry is, to an appalling degree, OK with this sort of thing so long as the government can convince them that only "very bad people" are being targeted. (cf Ruby Ridge, Waco)

Sadly, I don't see them having too much additional trouble doing that, should they start using armed drones instead of SWAT teams.

The Dorner example is actually very apropos. Many people were cheering on the LAPD in that case. Some people were appalled by the cowboy run-and-gun methods of the police. I think very few people, however, would call their actions unconstitutional.

Can someone (with better writing skill than I) please write about this story with the names and places changed to an American restaurant with american people inside then at the end mention "The names and places of this real event have been changed to illustrate a point. This is what is happening in other countries every day, I want to bring light to the terrible things American drones are doing on foreign soil" etc.

So few Americans seem to care because to them it's just "some brown people on the other side of the world", showing it in the context of their own homes will make them realize how terrible these drone strikes really are.

> The American citizenry tends to be OK with this kind of thing as long as it happens far away from us.

It's not that it's far away from us, it's that it happens to others. In this case, to the family of a terrorist that, while born in the U.S., spent a decade waging war against the U.S. on behalf of Al Qaeda while eluding every attempt to bring him to justice.

The U.S. reserves the right to have different rules for us versus others like every other people in the history of the world.

Do you have a good test for 'us' vs 'others' other than citizenship? What should it be based on? What should we call 'us', and what should we call the 'others'? 'Citizens' & 'Foreigners' seems to be pretty good already.

I think citizenship is a good general rule, but like every rule it has corner cases. But citizenship guarantees you due process, not a trial regardless of the circumstances. At some point, it becomes impractical to provide a trial (e.g. consider a police man killing a suspect because he presents an imminent deadly threat).

We did give civilian trials to terrorists like John Walker Lindh and Jose Padilla who were American citizens in our custody. But Al Awalki evaded our attempts to give him judicial process for a decade. Does citizenship mean that you can't be touched as long as authorities can't bring you in alive?

I think it's a false dichotomy to either use kid gloves for citizens or secret hit lists. To compare with the recent Snowden extradition attempt, charges were filed and authorities were notified. Why should Snowden & Anwar be apprehended any differently? To quote Wikipedia,

> Yemeni authorities offered guarantees they would not turn al-Awlaki over to the U.S. or let him be questioned.

This demands explanation from the State Dept why they didn't pressure Yemen like they recently did to countries offering relief to Snowden. US-Yemen relations cannot be evinced in an Internet comment, but it appears to me the US was quick to pull the trigger when other options were not fully exercised. The least they could have done was charge him, right?

Because unlike the places where Snowden was, Yemen is a barely functioning nation state? He was on the Yemeni government's most wanted list but was hiding in regions the government had little control over.

The places where we're conducting drone strikes are beyond the wild west. My dad was in Yemen when the Yemeni civil war broke out, and his hotel in the capital was shelled when fighting reached the city (he was ultimately evacuated with the other U.S. citizens by the U.S. military). The civil war is long over but the government has never been anything other than precarious, and the tribes have tremendous political power. One of the things Al Awlaki did was offer the protection of his powerful tribe to Al Qaeda officials against the Yemeni government.

So the rule is, the president can kill the family members of whomever he considers a terrorist? As in, not the terrorist himself, but his son? Where does that power end? Three degrees of separation, like NSA spying?

Sorry, but this is the sign of a seriously f*ed up nation.

As far as I can tell, the attack that killed his son a month later was aimed at killing other members of Al Qaeda: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/16/world/middleeast/yemeni-se... ("Airstrikes, believed to have been carried out by American drones, killed at least nine people in southern Yemen on Friday, including a senior official of the regional branch of Al Qaeda and an American, the 17-year-old son of a Qaeda official killed by the United States last month, according to the government and local reports on Saturday.").

from the article: "The government repeatedly made accusations of terrorism against Anwar — who was also an American citizen — but never charged him with a crime. No court ever reviewed the government’s claims nor was any evidence of criminal wrongdoing ever presented to a court. "

No court ever reviewed the government’s claims nor was any evidence of criminal wrongdoing ever presented to a court.

The Yemeni government began trying him in absentia in November 2010, for plotting to kill foreigners and being a member of al-Qaeda. A Yemeni judge ordered that he be captured "dead or alive.

This is a very well-written piece, but the (clearly intelligent and well-spoken) author's characterization of his son makes me suspicious of the rest of the content.

I wrote out something long and convoluted for this but I'll simplify it: Either wiping the 16 year old off the face of the earth without due process was justified or it wasn't.

Justification could be (for the sake of argument): serious threat to national security / several lives at stake / not feasible to apprehend physically (jurisdiction, unfriendly government etc etc.)

If upon scrutiny the reasoning behind his demise were not justified:

proper adjustments must be made and compensation and punishment doled out.



addendum: People seemed ok with this when it was Osama, but not this guy. Seems like the method was less of an issue and it mattered much more about who it was. I agree with that sentiment.

You're ignoring the obvious justification: the strike was targeted at different Al Qaeda officials that he was traveling with: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/16/world/middleeast/yemeni-se... ("Airstrikes, believed to have been carried out by American drones, killed at least nine people in southern Yemen on Friday, including a senior official of the regional branch of Al Qaeda and an American, the 17-year-old son of a Qaeda official killed by the United States last month, according to the government and local reports on Saturday.").

How much of such "collateral damage" is acceptable in your opinion?

As a practical matter, the collateral damage is a lot lower with drone strikes than they were in Clinton's day when we lobbed cruise missiles at countries, or before that when we'd do targeted bombings.

"People seemed ok with this when it was Osama, but not this guy. Seems like the method was less of an issue and it mattered much more about who it was."

In the case of Osama bin Laden a team was deployed and as far as I know they have not annihilated the entire family. In this case a drone was used to wipe out a group of people. The method is therefore very different and if that boy "was not specifically targeted" (which leaves him as collateral damage) then the method is also a very poor choice.

Legit concern for a nuclear bomb on an American soil? Plug that into the decision matrix. It's the only possble justification I can come up with for kill lists and domestic spying. Not even the 9/11 attack justifies current scope of anti-terror programs, and the precedent for a 'new normal.'

It should be noted that some people believe that governments should also be held accountable for killing innocents that are foreign citizens. I realise that "but he was a citizen" holds some cachet with the American national story, but really it shouldn't. An innocent is an innocent, and the concept of 'collateral damage' has no place outside total war.

That is sort of an interesting issue. "Oh but he is a Citizen!, you see. Constitution something, something...".

If he wasn't a citizen and just a local goat herder. Meh, who cares. Ok, kill him. That is kind of the thought process. Quite perverse. Constitutional or not, it just serves to limit the debate and to constrain opinions. Now even as far as Constitution goes, this is wrong. But what if the piece of paper signed couple of hundred years ago, allowed it. Would that make it ok? What about all the other people in those countries, murdered by US pilots from Langley by a push of the button.

"Oh but we don't deliberate target civilians, we are an exception, not like those other terrorists, these are all accidents" everyone would chime in. But are they? How can we be sure? If the contracts to build drones and the jobs involved in killing terrorists are paid related to how many terrorists are killed. Pretty sure soon enough the'd find way to target as many civilians as necessary in order to keep busy. An added benefit is that each person killed probably spawns a couple dozen future terrorists. Can't imagine a parent, sister, child of a victim not wanting to inflict likewise damage to the country that did this to them.

The point of 'he is a citizen' here isn't 'who cares about goat herders', I think, but more 'see, this government will kill anyone, not just foreigners or terrorists'. If the government claims some foreigner was a terrorist and trots out some constructed evidence, how can you know any different? But when they murder someone who literally could have lived down the street from you without due process, maybe that brings it a little closer to home, and you start thinking about how questionable the whole process is. It becomes clearer given that context that they could do this to literally anyone, and clearer just how difficult it would be to stop it.

At least, that's what I think is supposed to go on here.

That is kind of the thought process. Quite perverse. Constitutional or not, it just serves to limit the debate and to constrain opinions.

It also damages the reputation of the US throughout the world. That has effects on US business, and US citizens when they travel.

>If he wasn't a citizen and just a local goat herder. Meh, who cares. Ok, kill him. That is kind of the thought process. Quite perverse.

Well then, I'm guessing you're happy to know that isn't the thought process. Otherwise al Alwaki would be alive today.

There is a human reason for it. People identify with their tribe. Everyone is guilty of it. It is easier to think of foreigners as silhouettes, mere background material for your own play. The Israelis doing it with the Palestinians. The Germans did it with the Jews. In both situations, the citizens of those countries are complicit in whatever happens. Hell, all the rage that I hear on this site right now about civil liberties being violated by TSA is unsurprising to anyone who travels to this country from a third world nation. The funny thing? That has been happening for decades.

The Israelis generally decry crimes against the Palestinian people, but they are constantly targeted and take desperate measures every now and then. But it's far from ignored or celebrated by the average Israeli.

In this sense America is more of a terrorist State than Israel. Any heavy handed action from the Israeli government faces serious resistance and upheaval from its own populace. Americans largely don't care and you'll find more people justifying it than opposing it.

"generally decry"? I am curious. We are talking about a country which calls itself a democracy, yes? If there is a majority that has a problem with what the government does, it is not clear to me why said majority doesn't take the matter into their own hands and vote a government that, you know does not indulge in "heavy handed action".

Of course, if we are talking about anecdotal evidence that the people around you are opposed to crimes against the Palestinian people, carry on.

Heavy handed action does lose you elections in Israel, which is by many measures more of a democracy than the US or the UK. There is no two-party gridlock. Parties appear and disappear. Compromises are made, settlements have been given up.

However they need to draw a line when their very existence is not respected.

I honestly don't think anyone could realistically do any better than they are doing, in their position. Lots of people would not accept anything other than Israeli self-destruction.

> the concept of 'collateral damage' has no place outside total war

So damn true. People forget that we really haven't been truly "at war" in the traditional, collateral-damage-is-to-be-expected sense for almost a decade! The Iraq War was over in weeks. Same with Afghanistan. Since then it has been an occupation. Big difference.

I think that the whole War on Terror thing has largely been spun as a "war" because in war you accept things like collateral damage. Never mind that "War on Vague Concept" is utterly absurd! Imagine if we used drone strikes to take out cartel bosses in the asinine "War on Drugs." Ridiculous. Makes me mad.

Maybe it shouldn't, but there are reasons it holds more weight. For example, there is some debate about whether the Constitution applies only to U.S. citizens, or all people. Point being, there is no question whatsoever whether it applies to U.S. citizens.

The sad and dangerous thing that has happened is that a new category of criminals has been made: Terrorists. Once someone is put in that category all his rights cease to exist. It's sort of like the outlaws of medieval Europe.

The only right thing to do is to start treating terrorist suspects exactly like those suspected of any other crimes, be it murder, theft, rape etc.

This is a good analysis but I think it misses the mark a bit.

The problem is very much one of terrorism. The basic idea of terrorism is to erase the boundaries of the battlefield. The worst possible reaction to that is to do the same, but that's increasingly what we've been doing. In order to be capable of fighting a war effectively (even while acting purely defensively) the rules of the battlefield must necessarily be very much different from the rules of civilized society.

Increasingly the ideas that police should act like soldiers, that soldiers should be used for policing, and that the protections inherent in the criminal justice system are now outmoded and no longer useful in fighting terrorism have taken hold. But this has occurred concomitant with the expansion of the "battlefield" in the "war on terror" to encompass no less than the entirety of human civilization.

The result is that while the terrorists may have knocked a few holes in the walls we have put up between civilized society under the rule of law and the near-anarchy of the battlefield the governments of the world have gleefully participated in shooting vastly more holes in those walls.

It's interesting to read those comments while thinking of the "other war" the US (and the militarized police force) is fighting. What are the battlefield boundaries of "the war on drugs"? How can the "rules of that battlefield" and "the rules of civilized society" be any different?

The governments of the world aren't the only ones responsible; much of this has been cheered on and done with the gleeful support of their citizenry.

I don't recall a pro-expansion-of-governmental-power stance becoming the majority in any country after late 2005. I could be forgetting something, but my impression has been that (at least in the US) the public response to the war on terror was, for a short while, overwhelmingly positive and then, for a much longer period, in favor of more governmental restraint.

The war on terror was never controversial. Iraq was controversial because it was seen to be totally irrelevant to the war on terror and because it cost American money and lives. Aside from a liberal fringe who quickly decided gay marriage and the symbolism of having a black president was more important than extraordinary rendition and torture, no one cared about anything else.

While the definition of the term 'war crime' is fairly recent, the murder of civilians (only one of many types of war crime) during times of conflict is hardly a new phenomenon. The only thing that's new to us who have not lived though World War 2 is that a few times, civilians from the West were killed within their own borders. Islamist terrorism, while inexcusable, immoral and criminal, has not erased the boundaries of the battlefield. History shows that even if there were ever any borders on the battlefield, they were erased long ago.

Historically battlefields have occasionally been quite expansive, but generally one knew whether or not one's country was "at war" with another. This allowed people to plan and take actions accordingly, including political action.

Today the idea of war is increasingly omnipresent. It is never ending and all encompassing.

>The basic idea of terrorism is to erase the boundaries of the battlefield. The worst possible reaction to that is to do the same, but that's increasingly what we've been doing.

I disagree. That's the only effective response. bin Laden said as much in communications to his underlings. I agree we should have them arrested where it's possible, but if it isn't a drone strike is the right thing to do.

A response which includes fighting conventional wars is, I think, justified, but tossing our freedoms out the window is not and never will be "the only effective response" to terrorism.

Going to a foreign land to plot against your home country isn't one of your freedoms.

Due process is

You can't apply due process on foreign soil when the local government isn't willing or able to arrest the person in question.

Did Confederate soldiers get due process on the battlefield?

Thats the thing about democracies. Sometime they sacrifice efficiency in their operations for their values. At least thats how its supposed to work.

>Thats the thing about democracies. Sometime they sacrifice efficiency in their operations for their values.

But not to the point of stupidity. As justice Jackson said, the constitution isn't a suicide pact.

If you think not killing a 16 year old would have materially harmed U.S security, I don't think you're qualified to judge where the stupidity starts.

The government says the boy in question wasn't the target. We don't know who was, so it's impossible to know just how much of a threat he posed.

I think that's exactly the point. The initial aim of any totalitarian Government is to find a "total enemy". An enemy who -using your own words - "encompasses no less than the entirety of human civilization."

Nazists have found this enemy in Jews and Communists. They are a threat and they are everywhere. That was their logic behind the machine of terror, behind the camps, behind starting the WW2. They had to stop Jews and Communism from "destroying the Western Civilization". The Communists had their "total" enemy too. Namely the rich, the burgoise, hence the never stopping struggle of the "class war". Which must be won by the internatinal proletaryat. Hence the gulag system, hence the terror, hence the police state. You say it's uniqe to to sa called "terrorists" and I say this is unique in history to any government that's want to have a total control and total war. The Totalitarian Government.

I think it's a mistake to imagine that it is a requirement that individuals in power with a megalomaniacal or fascist inclination is a necessary precondition for the creation of the sort of government which is functionally identical to a police state and which runs roughshod over any concept of individual liberty.

Indeed, I think such an idea is not only limiting but actively harmful, because in reality the destruction of our freedoms can quite easily take place at the hands of people operating on good intentions, with no great desire for power, and indeed with the personal perception of a great love of freedom.

Edit: I'll reply here instead of carrying the thread further. The important point I'm trying to make here is the idea that comparing the movements today which are eroding individual liberties with Nazism or Stalinist Communism is unhelpful, because they are not such. And it just gives their supporters the opportunity to go "oh, well, this isn't Nazism or Stalinism, so I can dismiss these complaints" and then have those objections bounce off without affecting them whatsoever.

>I think it's a mistake to imagine that it is a requirement that individuals in power with a megalomaniacal or fascist inclination is a necessary precondition for the creation of the sort of government which is functionally identical to a police state and which runs roughshod over any concept of individual liberty.

I have never claimed that.

>Indeed, I think such an idea is not only limiting but actively harmful, because in reality the destruction of our freedoms can quite easily take place at the hands of people operating on good intentions, with no great desire for power, and indeed with the personal perception of a great love of freedom.

Exactly, I agree 100%. Remember, each communistic state had "Democratic" in its name. The USSR Constitution was so liberal that it granted more freedoms than the US Constitution. You had freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of religion.

So, again, this reminds of this what the US Government does today. It is pursuing the total state fighting "war on terror" and this draws all the other laws irrelevant. Exactly, exactly again, like Nazi Germany or Soviet Russia where the point the Governments were making was: as soon as we get rid of this "threat of Jewery/Communism/burgoise", all the Constitutional laws will be put back in effect.

The Communists for sure thought of themselves of "good people" who had to do all these barbarian things to be able to live in a better world and society. The same goes to Nazis.

EDIT: reply to your EDIT reply so to speak:

No, no, no. I don't care about the label on the box. I care about the contents of the box. Namely: kill lists, torture, raping the Bill of Rights, human rights, like imprisonment without trail, killing citizens without trial, spying on all communications, wars, censorship, lies, etc. I could care less what -ism you put on the box.

Another thing is - how do you know really if Obama isn't a mass murderer? My God! Journalists are not allowed into war zones nowadays. The Government learned from Vietnam. Remember, most of the people governed by Stalin and Hitler thought of them as great leaders too who would never let any wrongdoings to happen. They were all shocked to learn about gulags or the camps. Some, still don't believe. Would you sign off drone attack on 16-year old child of a suspected terrorist. Obama did! Without a trial. Now, imagine the personality type.

Surely drone strikes are terrorism, by both your above assertions, and any reasonable definition of the term?

I propose everybody mentally replace the word "terrorist" with "infidel" everytime they encounter it - if that turns the sentence containing the word into "batshit insane ranting", that's almost certainly because it was "batshit insane ranting" to start with.

Seriously - start examining the rhetoric sued by your representatives, your law enforcement, and your media. Are they _really_ speaking any sense?

Well, the US had a "prohibition on assassination" until 9/11[1]. The Clinton administration felt it was prudent to indict Bin Laden of a crime before taking any action on him[2]. We have come a long way. The tone of the article is a little off to me. Truthful portrayal of the grandfathers emotion, but...



Thanks for this. I recall years ago Clinton getting some heat from saying on national news that they are going after OBL to "kill him". He had to be explaining himself from using word "kill" and that it wasnt what he was trying to say. Damn, when I come to think about how much of a frog in boiling water the USA become, to be okay with some unmanned aircrafts flying over foreign soil and dropping bombs in an attempt to kill people, it gives me goose bombs!

At the end of the day, the true reason why I can still sleep well is that fact that like Rome Empire, the USA Empire will fall too. Observing closely for last 8 years from within the system, there is no other way to go. Its too late to wake up the masses. Let's only hope that when it collapse, those in majority will have good intentions, hopefully setting up Government 2.0.

Criminals have rights because criminals are still people.

Terrorists are the 20th and 21st century equivalent of pirates.

Terrorist are people too. But let's not go down that road,

The problem (one of them at least) is that they're not only killing pirates, but people who they think might be pirates.

Or people who happen to be in the same cafe as people who they think might be pirates.

Incredibly apt analogy, even down to the privateers part - Americans were perfectly happy to fund terrorists in Northern Ireland.

This is just not true. John Walker Lindh and Jose Padilla were "terrorists" yet they were given civilian trials. The Supreme Court has strongly opposed every attempt to make "terrorist" a label that changes peoples' rights.

Al Awalki was not killed because he was a terrorist. He was killed for the same reason Dorner was killed: it was impossible for authorities to bring him in alive and give him a trial.

> The only right thing to do is to start treating terrorist suspects exactly like those suspected of any other crimes, be it murder, theft, rape etc.

Well, the US can't do that. Terrorists is the replacement for the perished Soviets. It's of an ideological matter. They're evil and must be destroyed.

My first reaction was "What the fuck?" (Sorry for the profanity)

Imagine an alternative scenario wherein the grandfather had created his own drone that killed some random government agency dude (by mistake). He'd been labelled a terrorist. But, now the government officials that killed his grandson aren't terrorists because they work for the government.

What a skewed definition we (and the media) have set for terrorism! Sigh!!

This guy's son was a bad enough dude that he got put on a terrorist kill list. I think we should at least consider that we might have an unreliable narrator.

Edit: what I said was that folks should, like with any article, do some investigating before they jump to conclusions. I merely stated that the close ties to known terrorists provides more motivation for this.

But yall are obviously just looking for any opportunity to get all righteous, so keep down voting and not even reading what I said.

This woman's son was a bad enough dude that he got put on a terrorist kill list.

Who checks who goes on this list? Which public court checked the facts and pronounced him and his family guilty? What of the right of the accused to a fair trial, no matter which country they come from? If you're going to flagrantly violate international law and assassinate suspects and their families without trial, what confidence can we have that other laws won't be broken? What confidence can we have that this list was created and maintained in good faith and with due process when it is maintained in secret and the execution is so careless?

The missile killed him, his teenage cousin and at least five other civilians on Oct. 14, 2011, while the boys were eating dinner at an open-air restaurant in southern Yemen....The attorney general, Eric H. Holder Jr., said only that Abdulrahman was not “specifically targeted,” raising more questions than he answered.

This drone strike was apparently on a restaurant - I find it mind-boggling that you'd try to defend such actions by saying he was on a secret list. What about the other people in the restaurant at the time, and the innocent members of his family? Does the Obama administration consider the family of people on a kill-list fair game now? And the people who eat close to them in a restaurant too?

Regardless of whether this narrator is reliable or the victim a 'bad dude', I don't find it acceptable that the government can kill whoever they want without trial, and without public evidence. If they do this in restaurants in Yemen, why not restaurants inside the states too?

You're assuming he was a "bad enough dude" with no evidence to support that assertion. The burden of proof is always on the accuser. If he was accused of being worthy of death, let's see some documentation to support that.

At present there are no answers, no explanations, no reasons given besides his death and the fact he and his father were on a hit list.

No explanations given by the author. Here is some general background on the father: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anwar_al-Awlaki

Edit: Note I am not defending the killing of the grandson by any means. However, I did notice that the father was tried in a court in Yemen, and the judge ordered him to be apprehended "dead or alive." http://www.upi.com/Top_News/World-News/2010/11/08/Cleric-say... I was just surprised that people are so suspicious of any claim that the father was anything other than an ordinary citizen minding his own business, yet accept the narrative presented in the original article at face value.

eksith asked for evidence that the father was a "bad dude." I provided some. It is perfectly fine to argue that this isn't justification for death, but that wasn't briancaw's point. This merely seems to indicate that the narrator might not be providing the most balanced perspective.

Let me ask again... what evidence do you have that he specifically deserved to be killed without explanation?

Let me put it in another way, since the question doesn't seem to be making sense to you: If your father happened to be Timothy McVeigh, should the government target you for death?

Edit: I just read your edit and I apologize for the tone of my post. It wasn't called for. I could blame the lack of coffee or that I was tired, but the fact is, these types of stories really bother me and I didn't think it through before posting.

I'm sorry.

Edit2: My request for evidence was for the son; not the father. The primary subject of the article was described as a typical 16-year old with the misfortune of simply being the son of an alleged terrorist. Where was the evidence that he deserved death?

Thanks. There seems to be no public evidence that the grandson deserved death. The white house's official stance is that someone else was being targeted and he was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Gibb's quote "he should have a more responsible father," is pretty horrible. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/24/robert-gibbs-anwar-...

The author of the article makes it sound like the whole family were innocent american tourists, that the father was targeted without cause, and the grandson was specifically targeted. While the killing of the father may not have been legal, and the killing of the grandson appears to have been a horrible tragedy, the author's account of the situation is wildly misleading.

If Timothy McVeigh's son left to go hang out with his dad who was actively a terrorist and then ended up dead I would dig a little deeper before acting like our entire intelligence community is evil.

If a sixteen year old kid wanted to see his father, whom he hadn't seen in years, you'd have to dig a little deeper?


Like.. Ignoring everything else wrong with this story, that's still pretty fucked up for you to even imply.

Yeah, a real dangerous dude. All his alleged crimes basically involve talking to people; no wonder we sent some drones over there to wipe him and all his relatives out.

Note that there's not even any concrete factual accusations of him being involved with planning actual attacks, just 'he spoke to', 'was associated with', 'allegedly involved in'. You really think something that flimsy is worth murdering dozens of people with a drone?

I would certainly hope that if a few disgruntled people alleged that you were involved in crimes, you'd actually get a fair trial instead of a remote control execution. But maybe that's just not the world we live in.

Yes, well, he did seem to be an al-Qaeda recruiter and propagandist. Does it justify his extrajudicial execution? Depends on who you ask, obviously, but he wasn't an innocent bystander. He certainly knew the risks.

> he wasn't an innocent bystander

any proof of that?

He preached holy war. Getting blown up by an unmanned killing machine is precisely the sort of thing he encouraged young people to do.

Where, exactly, lies the line that you cross with speech that justifies being murdered in cold blood? Let's figure this out, then.

Westboro Baptist? Are they extreme enough? How about skinheads or white supremacists? They certainly advocate for violence against innocents, they probably even call it holy war.

If the United States seriously starts advancing the idea that speech alone can justify an execution, then it's all over. There's no point in pretending there's anything resembling freedom in this country anymore if that's the case.

You simply cannot justify executing someone based solely off speech. It doesn't matter what the speech is. You have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt actual, active involvement in a crime to justify murdering anyone, let alone a US citizen. The fact that the US government gets away with murdering people all the time doesn't change anything.

You can certainly respond to 'undesirable' speech in appropriate ways based on the law. There are lots of examples of countries where undesirable speech - whether it criticizes tyrants or promotes violence against minorities - can be punished with fines or jail time. That's certainly a lot better than an execution.

I'm not justifying it, he should have been charged before a court of law. What I'm saying is that he certainly knew what he was getting into.

then bring him to a court of law and proove it. Could have been and was done with nazis who had bloid of millions on their hands but can't be done here? why? because in the process there wouldnt be excuse for suspending constitution?

"The burden of proof is always on the accuser."

Can you please give me an official reference for that? I know it is kind of off-topic and it should be obvious as a common sense, but I am not joking here. When I asked a USA touristic visa I was told we are all considered by default guilty of illegal immigration until proven otherwise.

I'm sorry but that's just wrong. Nothing fucking justifies killing a 16-year-old American citizen, accused of no crime, without due process. NOTHING.

Does anything justify killing a 16-year-old non-american citizen without due process?

Just saying. This post is largely about how people in the war-driven countries are perceived by Americans as just abstract figures, instead of real people, thus, making it easy for them to be pro-war.


To the comment below: You know exactly what I meant when I said it - the us vs. them mentality.

Case in point: Latvian hacker about to be extradited to the US for allegedly committing computer crimes. Guess what? U.S. has not supplied a single item of evidence about anything - they just know that he did it.

This, as we can see, spills over to other departments of the u.s. government - fighting terrorism, national security, etc.

Seems like they just come up with random crap to do for the fun of it.

Yes. For example, a 16 year old Nazi soldier pointing a gun at you.

That's a horrible analogy. In that case there's an imminent danger.

There's no analogy. You asked "Does anything justify killing a 16-year-old non-american citizen without due process?" I'm giving a case of when yes, something would justify that.

The point here is that there are cases when bad people have intent to do harm and need to be stopped in ways faster than a court of law can individually approve. Whether this is one of those cases is the real question.

>killing a 16-year-old American citizen, accused of no crime, without due process.

step 1. killing non-Americans outside, accused of no crime, without due process - ok

step 2. killing Americans outside, accused of no crime, without due process - so-so, the public seems to be getting used to it

step 3. ... (hint : not a profit)

I wouldn't call Edward Snowden a "bad enough dude", but I wouldn't be surprised to learn that he is on the US governments "kill list" either.

You are confused; assuming that being put on a list has any reason or due process.

Regardless if he's a bad guy or not, give me the budget those drones work with, and i can devise something that does not kill a dozen innocent, decent, civilians for every bad guy you terminate.

this is criminal. period.

Guilt by association.

Sometimes, you know, people adopt very different ideologies and personal goals than other members of their family.

Criminals and terrorists should be punished. Not their (innocent) parents or children.


Guilt by association.

The six degrees of Kevin Bacon.

The NSA archiving and cross-indexing all email metadata that traverses internet backbone unencrypted or lands in a PRISM partner's mail system.

How many social graph edges do you suppose you need to be away from Anwar al-Awlaki to be able to safely eat at open air restaurants in Yemen?

(Bonus question: How connected is "the global social graph", and does there exists a number of edges that connects everybody on the internet?)

Questioning the validity of an OpEd by association. I'm ok with that.

Right. Because as we know American admininstration is a infalible agency that only puts horrible, horrible terrorist on its hit list. Like Snowden. Or Santa Claus.

All I'm saying is that some guy who's son was a bad guy (look at his wiki page, I won't enumerate offenses) writes an Op-Ed in NyTimes and everyone starts taking his word as scripture. I'm not saying killing his grandson was right or wrong, I'm just saying a skimming of the facts he presents followed by a scathing anti-American rant is uncalled for.

The important facts do not need independence on the part of the author:

1. His grandson was American, so the US military establishment assassinated an American outside the courts

2. The attack was performed in a third country, which is an act of war. Not fuzzy war-on-terror or other nonsense. War, classic version. Just reverse sides and imagine US' reaction on drone attacks on its soil affecting civilians.

I'm not disputing that guy was shady, but I see they don't have much evidence against him but he got on a kill list/killed. Do all people on kill list have so little evidence against them?

Cool, can I get a link to the public court ruling that decided that he was a terrorist and to give him the death sentence?

Who holds authority over this list? Isnt this a complete failure of the "Separation of powers" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Separation_of_powers

Thats a horrible argument, and a circular one at that. If we had a brutal police beating leading to the death of a 16 year old child, do we argue that the grandparent must be unreliable because a other family member to the child was also killed by the police? after all, that family member must have done something to anger the police...

I'm not willing to go so far to say that parents should be held accountable for their children's actions. I am very confident that it's ok to question the validity of statements made by the parent of a well known, high ranking terrorist.

So if I decide to put someone on a kill list, there is no burden of proof on me to explain why, by killing that someone my action is righteous, legal and moral?

I'm pretty sure the US constitution disagrees with that premise, and should protect any US citizen from such a situation.

You're familiar with Senator Edward Kennedy's inclusion on the no-fly list?


Personally - I'd like to see _much_ more transparency and accountability in the compilation and justification for most sorts of "government lists", and I fear the people in charge of "the kill list" which manages to kill people who are '… not “specifically targeted,”' have proven to be inadequately discriminating at the task…

Agree completely.

Though I'd probably prefer not to have a "kill list". Killing should be limited to military personell in wars, during 'battle'. I realise the US has framed the war on terror in order to blur those lines... but seriously firing missiles into cafes!?

Do me the favor of putting my statement and yours side by side. Show the claim I made (that we should scrutinize the validity of the OpEd) vs what you refuted.

> This guy's son was a bad enough dude that he got put on a terrorist kill list.

That's exactly what I responded to. I ignored your conclusion, because of your invalid premise.

I think we're nitpicking here. I think that the probability of someone not being impartial given their son was on a kill list is greater than someone who's son wasn't...etc.

Anyway, I 100% agree that "there is a burden of proof on me to explain why, by killing that someone my action is righteous, legal and moral"

Wait a second. The whole article is not about the son, it is about his grandson. No where in the article it is said that his grandson was a terrorist or has been associated with terrorism (even then, it would not have been right), quite the opposite.

Summary: stop with the red herring of talking about the known associations of his son with terrorism - we are talking about his innocent grandson.

> This guy's son was a bad enough dude that he got put on a terrorist kill list.

There is no oversight in this process, and even if there were that provides no justice for the innocent people at the cafe where the grandson was killed. This whole story disgusts me.

Hey guys, Briancaw2 is a terrorist! Lynch him!!!

See how that works? Just because your government said it does not make it automatically true.

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