The Drone War Is Illlegal
Even the the European Parliament passed a vote condemning illegal drone strikes *


In October 2012, Wired  informed the American and global public about another step in the drone war waged by the Obama administration. Wired reported that the American military was significantly expanding Camp Lemnnier, a US air base that functions as the Pentagon's “secretive drone and commando base in the Horn of Africa.”(1) 
“What was once little more than a run-down compound adjacent to Djibouti city’s single-runway international airport is now a sprawling complex of hangars and air-conditioned buildings housing eight Predator drones and eight F-15E fighter-bombers plus other warplanes, as well as around 300 Special Operations Forces and more than 2,000 other U.S. troops and civilians,” David Axe wrote(2), drawing also on the Washington Post which gave the cost of the expansion of Camp Lemonnier as 1.4 billion US dollars.(3)

As WIRED did not fail to clarify, this base, though the largest in the area, is just one of several “U.S. drone, commando or intelligence facilities in East Africa. Others are located in Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and the island nation of the Seychelles.”(4)  Why it was needed, was very obvious to investigative reporters like Craig Whitlock of the Washington Post and David Axe of WIRED:  It is needed for American counter-insurgency operations, including those in Somalia and Yemen, and for the Drone War. Axe referred specifically to a DANGER ROOM report which emphasised that “the scale and intensity of covert U.S. operations in Djibouti has increased steadily since 2001.”(5)

In May, 2014, the British civil rights organization Reprieve addressed a complaint to the UK National Contact Point for the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises (for short NCP), a division of the government that is expected to oversee the conduct of multinational corporations (MNCs) in various respect, among them possibly harmful practices that harm or obstruct civil rights or human rights.
The complaint was filed regarding the NCPs reticence or refusal to investigate British Telecom (BT), an enterprise that provides a vital telecommunication link between an RAF airbase in the UK that provides intelligence on “suspects” to the American  Camp Lemonnier air base in Djibouti. “BT’s contract with the US military was awarded on 26 September 2012. At the time illegal drone strikes in Yemen and civilian deaths they cause were well documented. Camp Lemonnier was recognised as a central hub for the operation of targeted killings in Yemen.”(6)
Reprieve's complaint notes that “BT’s services  linking RAF Croughton and Camp Lemonnier  most likely enable or facilitate the continuation of the US targeted killing programme. Drone strikes in Yemen are illegal and a  grave breach of international human rights.”(7)


Reprieve was representing  Mohammed al-Qawli, an educational consultant of the Yemen government's Ministry or Education whose brother and cousin were killed by a US drone strike  despite evidence that they have no connection with anybody considered a “terrorist” by the US government.(8) A similar case made small and thus only faintly noticed headlines in the American mainstream press, when “a Yemeni engineer named Faisal bin Ali Jaber” wrote  “a letter to President Obama, demanding to know why the US murdered his nephew and brother-in-law in a US drone strike […]” (9)

As Reprieve pointed out, “The US targeted killing programme has caused high numbers of casualties. According to The Bureau of Investigative Journalism  since 2002, the programme has killed up to 4,738 individuals and injured up to 1,956. In Yemen alone, the programme has killed up to 987 individuals."(10) 

A considerable number of these victims of drone strikes were civilians, Reprieve wrote, adding that "the Programme is entirely opaque and lacks any structure of accountability" and that it "is [...] highly likely [that] the number of civilians killed and injured by the programme is substantially higher” than acknowledged. (11)

Reprieve argued that the targeted killing program of the Obama administration “ — with particular regard to strikes conducted in Yemen — is illegal under international law."(12) In line with the position taken by other critics, the organization maintained that "the position taken by the US government, namely that it is currently locked in a borderless non-international armed conflict with Al-Qaeda, is untenable. The United States is not currently engaged in armed conflict with Yemen. Nor is the United States officially supporting the Yemeni government in a non-international armed conflict within Yemeni territory. Furthermore, in December 2013 the Yemeni government passed a motion against drones."(13)

Reprieve also noted that in February 2014  "the European Parliament passed a [...] vote condemning illegal drone strikes [...]”(14)

Reprieve concluded that “the targeted killing programme amounts to no more than a campaign of extra-judicial killings, in blatant disregard for international humanitarian law and 
international human rights law.”(15)


Not only has “the US government had gained a reputation for conducting extrajudicial killings in complete contravention of international law” (16) among civil rights advocations like the American Civil Liberty Union (ACLU) and Reprieve. has  also condemn by several nations during a debate in the United Nations (17) and by the European Parliament.(18)

The critique leveled against the illegal targeted killing program was widely ignored by most US politicians. It was, however, echoed by Senator Ron Paul, a Texan and member of the Republican Party well known for his libertarian views. When Faisal bin Ali Jaber directed his letter to President Obama, Senator Ron Paul wrote that “[m]”Most Americans are probably unaware that over the past two weeks the US has launched at least eight drone attacks in Yemen, in which dozens have been killed. It is the largest US escalation of attacks on Yemen in more than a decade."(19) 

Ron Paul was one of the few members of Congress who objected to these illegal targeted killings of so-called suspects.  When Senator Paul condemned the murder of Anwar al-Awlaki,  carried out in the context of the targeted killing program, he was supported by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) which described the extrajudicial killing of this “suspect” as “a violation of both US and International law.”(20) 

As Brian Montopoli  emphasized, Anwar al-Awlaki was  “an American citizen who has never been charged with any crime.”(21) He had even been invited to the Pentagon previously “''as part of the military's outreach to "moderate Muslim leaders,'' according to FBI documents.”(22)

Such murders as the murder of American citizen  Anwar al-Awlaki have the full backing of the administration. 

On February 3,2013,  Michael Isikoff(NBC) reported the existence of a Justice Department Memo that makes a legal case in favor of drone strikes “on Americans.”(23)

In his report, Isikoff referred also to a talk given by U.S. Attorney General Holder and stated that “[i]n one passage in Holder's speech at Northwestern in March [last year], he alluded “ without spelling out” that there might be circumstances where the president might order attacks against American citizens without specific knowledge of when or where an attack against the US might take place.”(24) In other words, it might be in America. 

A day later,  John Glaser wrote that the  “confidential, 16-page Justice Department memo concludes that the US government can order the killing of US citizens even if there is no intelligence indicating they are engaged in an active plot to attack the US. The memo provides details about the reasoning behind one of the Obama administration's most secretive and controversial polices -- using unmanned drones to remotely assassinate targets, including Americans, without trial or due process.”(25)

Glaser concluded, on the basis of the leaked memo, that “[w]ithout submitting the [alleged] evidence to a court, without any oversight from Congress, and without even making it's legal reasoning available to the public, the President can ignore the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution, which says that no person shall "be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law."”(26)  Mr. Jaffer, the deputy legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union, called the secret memo “a chilling document.”(27) According to Mr. Jaffer, the author or authors of the memorandum argue “that the government has the right to carry out the extrajudicial killing of an American citizen...It recognizes some limits on the authority it sets out, but the limits are elastic and vaguely defined, and it's easy to see how they could be manipulated."(28)

Worried about the drone program and leaks which made him aware of plans to use drones for extra-judicial killings at home in the U.S.A., Senator Ron Paul went on the offensive by explicitly asking President Obama whether that was true, or whether he could rule out such a strategy against Americans suspected of being subversives. To make his point, Ron Paul gave a speech lasting 13 hours on the Senate Floor in order “to force the Obama administration to state whether it believes the President has the right to kill American citizens with drones on US soil.”(29) Senator Paul said later on in an article entitled “Congress, Drones, and The Imperial Presidency”: “I find it tragic that there has to be a discussion on an issue that should be so self-evident.”(30)

The mainstream media took little notice of the fact that the Obama administration refused to give clear and unambiguous assurances that this would not occur.  It was only after “feeling the pressure, [that] the administration finally said “no,” but in language so twisted that no one should feel in the slightest bit reassured.”(31)

In his article on “Congress, Drones, and The Imperial Presidency,” Senator Ron Paul commented this as follows: “The administration’s outrageous response to the most serious Constitutional question of all — when a government can kill its own citizens — is clear evidence of an executive branch out of control.”(32)

Referring sarcastically to Barack Obama's election slogan Change – Yes, we can!, Senator Paul wrote, “Ironically, some of the worst offenders are those who campaigned promising to reverse the power grabs of their predecessors. For example, candidate George W. Bush campaigned on a “humble foreign policy,” but as president he attacked Iraq based on his own administration’s lies and claimed the right to indefinitely detain anyone he deemed an “enemy combatant.” Candidate Barack Obama promised he would reverse his predecessor’s constitutional abuses. Yet not only has President Obama not closed Guantanamo Bay, he reportedly holds weekly meetings in the oval office to draw up “kills lists,” uses drones against American citizens, and routinely sends the US military into combat abroad without even consulting Congress! The modern use of “executive orders” also usurps the lawmaking function of Congress. […] Growth of executive power is a threat to liberty. [...]” (33)

Senator Ron Paul's concern about a readiness to carryout extrajudicial killings of American citizens inside the US may be seen in conjunction with his opposition to extra-legal, indefinite arrests of Americans. Passage of a recent act, “the 2013 NDAA means Americans can still be arrested on US soil and detained indefinitely. without trial,” Paul pointed out.(34) 

According to the Texan libertarian politician, this provision of the new law could become dangerous in the hands of an administration that is ready to further limit the scope of democracy, a thought echoed by Naomi Wolf.(35) 

Naomi Wolf wrote, “Incredibly, Congress has passed the National Defense Appropriations Act, with Amendment 1031, which allows for the military detention of American citizens. The amendment is so loosely worded that any American citizen could be held without due process. But they are forgetting something critical: history shows that those who signed this bill will soon be subject to arrest themselves. As Ron Paul has noted, the NDAA represents "a slip toward tyranny."” (36)


The interest of the military-industrial complex in a stepped-up drone war and reliance on drones inside the U.S. (for purposes that need to be scrutinized) was noted by critical journalists.
In an article entitled “Push to Step up Domestic Use of Drones,” The journalist Gary Martin and Viveca Novak who are working for the respected  San Francisco Chronicle, wrote that “it comes as no surprise to learn that eleven "drone caucus" lawmakers from California (where many drone firms are located) have received more than $2.4 million from drone manufacturers hoping to cash in by militarizing our skies.”(37)

The trend was confirmed by an article entitled “Despite Civil Liberty Concerns, Homeland Security Plans to Increase Drone Flights Inside the US.”(38)

Similarly,  Lawrence Mower, a journalists writing for the Las Vegas Review-Journal noted in an article entitled “Air Force Unit Raids Central Valley Gun Store” that “President Obama reportedly issued a secret order allowing US military forces to begin conducting raids inside the US -- a violation of the Posse Comitatus act that forbids the use of military troops inside US borders […].”(39) 

This is in  line with similar attempts or tendencies to break the constitution and permit internal use of the armed forces that have been noticed in the United Kingdom and France (where the government argued in favor of it) and in Germany and Italy (where the first – even though timid – steps to use the army inside the country have been taken already, thus opening the door for more to come. In Germany, Mr. Schaeuble, during his time as minister of war, has vehemently argued in favor of the right of the German air force to shoot down civilian airliners above Germany if there was a vague reason to believe they had been hijacked or posed a danger in another way. Similarly, the German air force recently conducted an exercise that simulated an interception of a civilian plane that might transport, for instance, a certain Mr Snowden through German airspace. Two air force jets tried to force the private medium-sized plane used for the military exercise to obey orders to land. One jetfighter collided with the plane, and both crashed, resulting in at least one casualty. 


The use of drones in the US, the insistence that the administration may legally arrest American citizens based on secret CIA or other secret service files, and detain them indefinitely without trial, and the refusal to unequivocally state that the government will never use drones inside the United States for the purpose of the extrajudicial killing of an American citizen are in line with a clear tendency of politicians and corporations to “widen” the meaning of such concepts as terror and terrorist.

Elisabeth Neville reported in 2011 that there is a strong push to legally consider animal rights activists as “terrorists.”(40)

As Will Potter wrote in the Huffington Post, Big Agribusiness is ready to “criminalize anyone who exposes their wrongdoing. Iowa, Florida and Minnesota are all considering bills that specifically target anyone who documents the mistreatment of animals. In Minnesota, for instance, the bill criminalizes the recording, or mere possession, of an "image or sound" of animal suffering in a sweeping list of "animal facilities" and "crop facilities."”(41)

Potter commented that “distributing video and audio footage of factory farms, animal experimentation labs, and other facilities is protected by the First Amendment. If any investigators have trespassed or destroyed property, there are already laws on the books to charge them. To the proponents of these bills, though, these videos are not free speech, nor are they petty crime. As Florida state senator Jim Norman has said of undercover investigators:  "It's almost like terrorism."”(42)

Potter noted that “[t]he language in the Iowa, Florida, and Minnesota bills” that make investigation of animal abuse by  animal rights activists a crime “is quite similar to provisions in model "eco-terrorism" legislation created by a corporate front group. The American Legislative Exchange Council is a non-profit funded by corporations, who contribute tens of thousands of dollars in exchange for having a say in drafting model bills. The bills are then introduced by state lawmakers across the country. ALEC's model bill is so broad that it includes undercover investigations, photography, videotaping and non-violent civil disobedience as "eco-terrorism."” He concluded that “[c]orporations want to label [...] undercover investigations as "eco-terrorism," and hit investigators with disproportionate criminal charges and sentences, for one simple reason: they are effective.” (43)

Even Sierra Club members have been referred to as terrorists when opposing anti-ecological projects. A Pennsylvanian newspaper, the Pittburgh Tribune, reported “the state Homeland Security agency’s monitoring of protesters, environmentalists and gays […]” while trying to downplay it, suggesting that “[a]n obscure York nonprofit with ties to Philadelphia University and Jerusalem is behind” it.(44)

As Gordon Duff reported in great detail, the obscure non-profit organization was Israel's often highly effective Mossad. The Israeli spy agency Mossad was paid by US authorities to spy on dissidents, on environmentalists, including Sierra Club members, and even on people belonging to the populist right-wing Tea Party movement. Among those considered by Homeland Security as suspicious and watched by Mossad agents were people attending a gay and lesbian festival in Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania branch office of Homeland Security paid Mossad's subdivision, The Institute of Terrorism Research and Response (ITTR),  125,000 US-dollars for a single report on this festival. The “gay and lesbian festival” – plus, presumably, all those identified as organizers and participants – was then “placed  on [the] terror watch lists [kept] for [use by] law enforcement [officers].”(45)

Along with other targets, the “Marcellus shale hearings” attended by citizens concerned about fracking, scientists, town mayors and legislators were subject to Mossad scrutiny, again on orders Homeland Security.(46)

According to Elisabeth Neville, Mossad agents “also spied on […] the Sierra Club” – and presumbably filed a report, with the result that the club or members thereof were put on the list.(47) 

“[T]he disclosure that the state Office of Homeland Security [...] put Marcellus shale hearings  and a gay and lesbian festival on terror watch lists for law enforcement” proved embarrassing, though, and  Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell was compelled to apologize. It is unlikely, however, that the practice will be abandoned.(48) In view of the entire scandal, Duff's conclusion was to the point: “You don't have to join a peace group or protest oil drilling to be considered dangerous.”(49) The powers that be are intent to track all “"dissidents" and "activists."”(50)  In fact, “[r]eports submitted by ITTR showed them spying on nearly every organization they could find, no matter how innocent, patriotic or public minded.”(51)

Perhaps this readiness to place nonconformists and activists quite indiscrimately on the terror watch list explains why the TIDE list by now lists about 1 million suspect persons. About 680,000 of them are listed as “terrorists” [“680 000 personnes recensées dans la 'base de données terroriste' – une liste partagée avec des gouvernements étrangers et des agences de sécurité”].(52) As Mediapart reported, a majority of these supposed “terrorists” are described as belonging to no identifiable terrorist organization. They are categorized as “unaffiliated ["aucune affiliation à un groupe terroriste reconnu"].  They are merely suspect individuals.(53)

Mathieu Dejean, writing for the French version of Slate, says that the documents describe them as “known or presumed terrorists” («terroristes connus ou présumés»).(54) 

Le Monde (Paris) speaks also of 680,000 persons listed in 2013, pointing out that they are on a list drawn up by the “Centre national de l'antiterrorisme.” The newspaper emphasizes that the list is not identical with the TIDE (Terrorist Identities datamart environment) list that preserves data on 1 million suspected “terrorists.”(55)

Reporting on the same topic, the German liberal newspaper, Suddeutsche, emphasized that US security agencies which drew up the TIDE (the Terrorist Identities Datamark Environment] list “apparently  consider about one million people suspect of being terrorists” [offenbar eine Million Menschen unter Terrorverdacht]. The paper notes that “more than 430,000” persons were added to the list since early 2011. The paper added that about 47,000 persons have been put on a No Fly list. They are not allowed to board a plane in the U.S. or to board a plane that flies to the U.S., the paper reported. It commented that the list does not say which charges are leveled against a person, and why they have been put on the list [Aus den Dokumenten geht nicht hervor, was ihnen vorgeworfen wird – und warum sie dann ueberhaupt auf den Listen stehen].(56)

France TV Info also reported, “Un million de personnes soupçonnées de terrorisme” [one million persons suspected of terrorism] and added that, whereas as of 2013, one million people are suspected of being terrorists, in 2009 that number was only 500,000. They added that US authorities issued dementis or rebuttals, claiming that those who say that 40 per cent of the listed 680,000 “terrorists” have no ties to terrorist organizations, “have not read the documents properly.”(57)

Most European media based their reports apparently on a report by Jeremy Scahill  and Ryan Devereaux published on Aug. 5, 2014, on the Intercept website although it is possible that some were able to confirm details thanks to sources in the French and German secret services.(58) 

The Intercept report included an interesting comment. I quote: “If everything is terrorism, then nothing is terrorism,” says David Gomez, a former senior FBI special agent. The watchlisting system, he adds, is “revving out of control.”(59)

Of course this observation is to the point. It seems to imply that those in power are acting in a silly way. It also confirms the sentiment that the obsession of the so-called elites inside and outside governments is driven by a kind of paranoia. But this state of mind must be read in terms of real problems they face. The economic crises are recurring in an ever quicker rhythm and they are getting much more grave than they used to be. Societies are as polarized as they haven't been since the 1930s. The protests in Greece as well as the Democracy Ya protests  that swept across Spain and then, the Occupy movement caused and still cause worries. The American government has started to finance research that aims to predict the “tipping point” when social protest and dissent might become violent, the Guardian has reported.(60) 

In other words, there are many fears at the back of the mind of the self-proclaimed “elites.”  But this is no joke. Fear can make rulers dangerous. Is their concern with the terrorism of Others a projection of what they have in mind, and what they might resort to?

It has often been said that history doesn't repeat itself. And if it does, what was a tragedy might be re-enacted as a farce.

Historical evidence shows, however, that the revolutionary leaders swept to power in France in 1789 were gripped by fear when they faced internal revolts and invading armies of Prussia and Austria (as well as warfare at sea, conducted by the British navy).  Deadly fear let them resort to terror. The terror subsided when a new leadership introduced the draft (so-called levée-en-masse) and when Revolutionary France, based on expanded armies, started to defeat the Holy Alliance of absolutist monarchies.

Similarly, the rise of fascism in Europe (first in Italy and Hungary,  in Poland, etc., and in a key country, Germany, since 1928) made the revolutionary leadership in Soviet Russia aware of a deadly external danger. Since 1931, waves of terror were registered. They subsided when the Nazi German attack on the country solidified popular support for the leadership, as patriotic feelings for the “fatherland” began to grip the masses. 

In Nazi German, terror against the Left and against Jews was practiced since Hitler took over in March, 1933. But numerically, it  was initially almost insignificant. Thousands, tens of thousand were affected, not millions. The terroristic death machinery began to work at full speed after Hitler Germany's army lost a decisive tank battle in Russia, the battle of Kursk. From that moment, the blitzkrieg advance was over; what followed was perpetual retreat. Instinctively, the Nazi leadership must have known that they had lost the war. Gripped by fear, they resorted to stepped-up terror, to millionfold genocide.

The connection between fear and aggression is obvious to psychologists. Political research should analyse waves of terror (in Taiwan in 1947, in South Korea in 1948-1950, in Indonesia in 1965) with regard to the background of well-founded fears of the powerful, be it those in Washington or local deputees (Chiang Kai-shek, Syngman Rhee, Suharto).

In view of this, lists drawn up by the Bush administration and the Obama administration (that add to the lists kept since at least the time of President Truman) are not to be considered harmless.
Lists kept by the bureaucracy enabled the Nazi regime in Germany to arrest trade unionists, members of the Communist Party, of the Social Democratic Party, anarchists and so on immediately after their take-over. Whoever was listed, had no chance any more to join the resistance. An identified adversary of the regime was no serious adversary for the regime anymore, he was practically a dead man walking, on the run, and with hardly a chance to evade the captors. 
Similarly, the fact that the bureaucracy kept lists that said, of an entire population of perhaps 80 million or 90 million people, who was “a Jew,” made bureaucratic arrest and mass deportation to the death camps possible.
Lists are not harmless, no matter how silly they may appear to us today. It should make many citizens think twice that the agreement reached between the U.S. government and the European Union that foresees transfer of “passenger data” of all those who fly to the U.S.,  requires governments in Europe to share with US authorities such information as, Whether the traveler is a member of a trade union.
Similarly, the German government has attempted to push through an act containing the so-called ELENA provision that would have forced employers to report employees who participated in strikes.

Apparently, if animal rights supporters, ecologicists, gays, lesbians, peace activist and so on are targeted as suspects and put on the terror watch list, so are trade unionists and others on the Left. It should make us think twice about the focus and the direction of possible repressive measures by those who were identified in recent research as stalwarts of an oligarchic plutocracy. Interestingly, every Joe Six Pack who falls for populist slogans of the Tea Party demagogues is also in for suspicion. The Tea Party movement is targeted by Homeland Security, not because Mr. Obama is a Democrat, but because its followers are very often blue collar guys and gals, or proprietors of family farms, family store owners and other self-employed people who hardly make ends meet. Regardless of their conservative family values,  they are identified as a possible terrorist threat to the interests of Corporate America and international Capital.

As I said, this threat may not at all be real at the moment. But fears among the elites produce the readiness to exert terror against masses that are perceived as dangerous. Indeed, the elite's fear of “terrorism” may very well be a projection. If they are so focused on terror, they may simply believe of Others that these Others [you, dear reader, and I] feel and are ready to practice what they themselves feel and are ready to practice. Terror may be on their mind, as a last resort. Terror, used in order to stay in power – if they think, perhaps already tomorrow, or if they paranoically believe that it becomes necessary to rely on it. Henry Kissinger and Margaret Thatcher had no qualms when Pinochet resorted to it in Chile, and Videla in Argentina. Reagan supported it in Guatemala.

In the context of the attempt to describe even harmless ecologists and animal rights activists as terrorists, it is noteworthy that investigative journalists are by now targeted as suspicious (and I am not only thinking of  Glenn Greenwald), that protesters such as anti-NATO protesters in Chicago and Occupy protesters in Oakland are filmed and blacklisted, that thousands of American citizens are put on No Fly lists.

Recently, an American lawyer in her seventies and sick with cancer, was accused of aiding an arrested person accused of terrorism and sentenced to a long jail term, even though what she did was what she had always done as a lawyer in her long career – for instance when defending civil rights activists and Afro-American militants in the 1960s and 70s and communicating their points of view to the US press.


All of this is disconcerting. It is the result of an obsession with security and militarization, and of a readiness to accord secret services vast powers that make them in fact a government within the government, unchecked by Congress.  The strategy has the backing of President Obama, regardless of whether he is a champion of it or a prisoner of the system – the new security state that is so intimately linked with the military-industrial complex. What is at least annoying is that the administration, while pursuing this strategy, is engaged in cover-ups and resorting to lies. Debating the drone war, Micah Zenko has recently pointed out that the Obama administration “lied” when talking about the scope and methods of the this secretive war.(61) Zenko stated, for instance, that this administration  “has not been honest about who the CIA has been targeting with drones in Pakistan” – as Jonathan Landay's  “analysis of drone-strike victims that is based upon internal, top-secret US intelligence reports” that what published in the Mc Clatchy Newspaper has shown.(62)

Such items are pieces in a larger puzzle. Ron Paul was more to the point when he sketched the bigger meaning of the drone war, as far as many people in countries targeted by the Obama administration, but also the US population is concerned. The Republican Senator from Texas stated very clearly that “[t]he neo-con ideology promotes endless war, but neo-cons fight their battles with the blood of others. According to a Brown University study, the US invasion of Iraq cost some 190,000 lives, most of them non-combatants. It has cost more than $1.7 trillion, to date and may well cost $6 trillion. Some $212 billion was spent on Iraqi reconstruction with nothing to show for it. Total deaths from US war on Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan have been at least 329, 000.”(63)

In a debate on Democracy Now that featured Noam Chomsky and Aaron Mate, the recklessness of the illegal target program became also a matter of concern. 
The debaters agreed with Ron Paul who had told a gathering of hostile Tea-Party supporters in Texas why the US may be loathed abroad, and why it may become a cible of terrorists. "We're under great threat because we occupy so many countries. We're in 130 countries. We have 900 bases around the world....”, Ron Paul had said. (64)  On Demicracy Now these words were quoted, and also these other words by the Texan Congressman: “This whole idea that the whole Muslim world is responsible for this and they're attacking us because we're free and prosperous, that is just not true."(64) The opposite is true, it was emphasized:  “Radical muslims and other critics oppose the US "not because they hate our freedoms, [but] because they don't like murderous and brutal policies."”(65)  Noam Chomsky added pointedly,  "[T]he huge military spending, the very low taxes for the rich [and corporations]... those are fundamental problems that have to be dealt with."(66)

Libertarians like Ron Paul, the Texan Republican, but also left-wing liberal Democrats like Dennis Kucinich and Ron Wyden (both Democrats) have opposed the drone war, military spending, interventionism and regime change strategies that reveal a reckless neo-imperialist foreign policies,  and the dismanting of civil rights and liberties. They are loathed by the mainstream media and by the establishment in general for such insistence. Both Ron Paul and Kucinich have been slighted by their respective party leadership which saw to it that they would not be reelected. In Europe, similar practices have helped to curb dissent inside major parties and even inside a formerly alternative party, the German Green Party founded by Petra Kelly which has turned from a party of left-leaning, pacifist ecologist into a party with an often right-leaning,  liberal party leadership that has advocated “humanitarian wars” with the full backing of a majority of delegates.  This is another sign how our democracy is appropriated by a classe politique that does not intend to be accountable anymore to millions of voters, as long as it is alimented by big business and enjoys close ties to the economically powerful. For citizens concerned about democracy this is a clear reason that they must stop being passive observers of the political game and that it is high time to get involved in public affairs. As far as the drone war abroad and at home, that is to say, in its present and its planned forms is concerned, it is clear that only resistance by a broad protest movement can put a stop to it.

-John Hollander


*In February 2014  "the European Parliament passed a [...] vote condemning illegal drone strikes (Source: Katherine Craig / Reprieve, “Proposed Judicial Review of decision by the NCP re BT drones involvement” (for short:  REPRIEVE complaint): The complaint filed by REPRIEVE was signed by Katherine Craig, Legal Director, Abuses in Counter-Terrorism Team,Reprieve). See also:

1 David Axe, “U.S. Expands Secretive Drone Base for African Shadow War,” in: Wired, Oct. 26, 2012.

2 David Axe, ibidem.

3 David Axe, ibidem.

4 David Axe, ibidem.

5 David Axe, ibidem.

6 Katherine Craig / Reprieve, “Proposed Judicial Review of decision by the NCP re BT drones involvement” (for short:  REPRIEVE complaint): The complaint filed by REPRIEVE was signed by Katherine Craig, Legal Director, Abuses in Counter-Terrorism Team,Reprieve.

8 Katherine Craig, ibidem.

9 Felicity Arbuthnoth, “A Letter from Yemen,” in:  Global Research   Aug.17, 2013 and

10 Katherine Craig, ibidem.

11 Katherine Craig, ibidem.

12 Katherine Craig, ibidem.

13 Katherine Craig, ibidem.

14 Katherine Craig, ibidem.

15 Katherine Craig, ibidem.

16 Katherine Craig, ibidem.

17  Ed Pilkington / Ryan Devereaux, "US defends drone strikes as 'necessary and just' in face of UN criticism / Brazil, China and Venezuela sharply critical of 'illegal' program but US says it has taken steps to introduce new guidelines," in: The Guardian, Friday 25 October 2013 20.23 BST

18 Katherine Craig, ibidem.

19 Ron Paul, "Why Are We At War in Yemen," in: Congressman Ron Paul, Texas Straight Talk

20 Brian Montopoli, "Ron Paul, ACLU condemn Anwar al-Awlaki killing," in: CBS News, Sept. 30, 2011
Also on Youtube: Uploaded on Sep 30, 2011
[The source of the uploaded video is CBS News.] - See also the report by Sal Gentile ( 

21 Brian Montopoli, “Ron Paul, ACLU Condemn Anwar al-Awlaki Killing,” in: CBS News, Sept. 30, 2011 

22 “Al-Awlaki: A 'Moderate' Muslim Who Dined at the Pentagon and Preached against Terrorism (Fox News & PBS News Hour & Ya Mugallib Al Qulub ),” in: Ecologists Against War,  Oct. 1, 2011; see also 
“Anwar Al-Awlaki Dined At The Pentagon Months After The 9/11 Attacks” Fox News

23 Michael Isikoff, “[EXCLUSIVE:] Justice Department Memo Reveals Legal Case for Drone Strikes on Americans”, NBC News, Feb. 3, 2013 (and again Feb 4, 2013)
(Michael Isikoff is a National Investigative Correspondent for NBC News. )

24 Michael Isikoff, ibidem.; cf,. also: "Le président US a le droit de faire assassiner ses concitoyens, y compris sur le territoire US," in: Réseau Voltaire | 6 mars 2013)

25 John Glaser, “Leaked Justice Department Memo Reveals Legal Case for Targeted Killings of US Citizens,” Feb. 5, 2013,  in: & Rachel Maddow & Michael Isikoff / NBC News

25 John Glaser, ibidem.

26 John Glaser, ibidem.

27 John Glaser, ibidem.

28 John Glaser, ibidem.

29 Ron Paul, “Congress, Drones, and The Imperial Presidency,”  in: Information Clearing House, March 11, 2013

30 Ron Paul, “Congress, Drones, and The Imperial Presidency,”  ibidem.

31 Ron Paul, “Congress, Drones, and The Imperial Presidency,”  ibidem.

32 Ron Paul, “Congress, Drones, and The Imperial Presidency,”  ibidem.

33 Ron Paul, “Congress, Drones, and The Imperial Presidency,”  ibidem.

34 Ron Paul, "On Indefinite Detention: The Tyranny Continues" [Editorial by Ron Paul], in: The Daily Bell, May 22, 2012
also in: Information Clearing House. Posted June 18, 2014
also in:

35 Naomi Wolf, “How Congress is Signing its own Arrest Warrants in the NDAA Citizen Arrest Bill,”  Naomi Wolf website, Dec. 12, 2011
See also: Naomi Wolf, “NDAA: Congress Signed Its Own Arrest Warrants” in: Reader supported news, Jan. 2, 2012
See also: Yahoo Groups, Jan.2, 2012
Also in: Environmentalists against War, Jan. 3, 2012

36, Naomi Wolf, ibidem.

37 Gary Martin / Viveca Novak, “Push to Step Up Domestic Use of Drones ” (Gary Martin and Viveca Novak / San Francisco Chronicle & Center for Responsive Politics) Nov. 27, 2012  [refers to “an investigation by Hearst Newspapers and the Center for Responsive Politics ”]

38 N.N., Despite Civil Liberty Concerns, Homeland Security Plans to Increase Drone Flights Inside the US  in: Environmentalists against war, Nov.24,2012
See also: Trevor Timm / Electronic Frontier Foundation, “Homeland Security Wants to More Than Double Its Predator Drone Fleet Inside the US, Despite Safety and Privacy Concerns,”  in: Electronic Frontiers Foundation , Nov. 20, 2012 http://https//
See also: Richard M. Thompson II (Legislative Attorney / Congressional Research Service), “Drones in Domestic Surveillance Operations: 
Fourth Amendment Implications and Legislative Responses (Summary) ”, in:
Environmentalists Against War
Full report by R.M. Thompson II:

39 Lawrence Mower, “Air Force Unit Raids Central Valley Gun Store,” in:  Las Vegas Review-Journal, Aug. 19, 2011.
See also: Sorcha Faal , “Obama Issues Secret Order For Military Raids On Civilians,” in: What Does It Mean. Aug. 20, 2011 
See also: “Air Force Raid in Las Vegas Violates Posse Comitatus Act,” in: 
 Environmentalists Against War

40 Elisabeth Neville, “Are Animal Activists “Terrorists”? Big Ag Votes Yes,”
in: Global  May 7, 2011

41 Will Potter, “What Is Big Ag Trying to Hide?”  Huffington Post,  04/22/11 03:58 PM ET

42 Will Potter, ibidem.

43 Will Potter, ibidem.

44 N.N., “Gordon Duff:  Taxpayers [Are] Funding Israeli Database on American Citizens /  Caught! Mossad Paid By US to Spy on 'Dissidents,' Tea-Party, Environmentalists”

45 Gordon Duff, “Mossad Paid by US to Spy on 'Dissidents,' Tea Party, Environmentalists,” in: Veterans and Foreign Affairs Journal, Sept 19, 2010; also in: Environmentalists against War [EAW]

46 Gordon Duff, “Mossad Paid by US to Spy on 'Dissidents,' Tea Party, Environmentalists,”  ibidem.

47 Elisabeth Neville, “Are Animal Activists “Terrorists”? Big Ag Votes Yes,”
in: Global  May 7, 2011

48 Gordon Duff, “Mossad Paid by US to Spy on 'Dissidents,' Tea Party, Environmentalists,” ibidem.

49 Gordon Duff, ibidem.

50 Gordon Duff, ibidem.

51 Gordon Duff, ibidem.

52 [Par la rédaction de Mediapart], “Les Etats-Unis traquent en majorité les  « non affiliés à un groupe terroriste »,” in: Mediapart, Aug. 6, 2014,

53 [Par la rédaction de Mediapart], “Les Etats-Unis traquent en majorité les  « non affiliés à un groupe terroriste »,” ibidem.

54 Mathieu Dejean,  “Tous ceux qu'Obama surveille pour «terrorisme présumé»: les nouvelles fuites qui inquiètent l'Administration”, in: Aug. 6, 2014

55 N.N., “Après Snowden, les Etats-Unis craignent une nouvelle taupe dans le renseignement,” in: Le avec AFP | 06.08.2014 à 03h24

56 David Hesse / Frederik Obermaier, “USA: Hunderttausende unter Terrorverdacht,” in: Suddeutsche Zietung, August 7, 2014, p.1) 

57 N.N., “Les Etats-Unis à la recherche d'un nouvel Edward Snowden?”, in: France TV Info, Aug. 6, 2014

58 Jeremy Scahill / Ryan Devereaux, “Barack Obama's Secret Terrorist-Tracking System, by the Numbers,” in: Intercept, Aug. 5, 2014,

59 Jeremy Scahill / Ryan Devereaux, ibidem.

60  Nafeez Ahmed, “Pentagon preparing for mass civil breakdown,” in: The Guardian, 
June 23, 2014,
-breakdown; also in:

61  Micah Zenko, “An Inconvenient Truth:  Finally, proof that the United States has lied in the drone wars,” in: Foreign Policy,  April 10, 2013
also in:  Global Drones Watch

62 Micah Zenko, ibidem.

63 Ron Paul,   “Neo-Con War Addiction Threatens Our Future,” in: Anti War.Org,     March 24, 2013, 
See also: “America's Neo-Con War Addiction Threatens Our Future,” in: Environmentalists Against War, Match 25, 2013

64 “Noam Chomsky on the U.S. Economic Crisis: Joblessness, Excessive Military Spending and Healthcare,”[transcript] in: Democracy Now, Sept.11, 2011,

65 “Noam Chomsky on the U.S. Economic Crisis [...]", ibidem.

66 “Noam Chomsky on the U.S. Economic Crisis [...]", ibidem.

Go back to Art in Society # 14, Contents


"Le président US a le droit de faire assassiner ses concitoyens, y compris sur le territoire US"

"L’attorney général des États-Unis, Eric Holder, a confirmé dans une lettre adressée au sénateur Rand Paul que le président des États-Unis a le pouvoir d’autoriser l’assassinat d’un citoyen états-unien, sur le territoire états-unien, sans jugement, lorsque un motif de sécurité nationale le requiert.
M. Holder écrit : « Il est possible d’imaginer une circonstance extraordinaire dans laquelle il serait nécessaire et approprié au regard de la Constitution et des lois en vigueur aux États-Unis pour le président d’autoriser les militaires à utiliser la force léthale sur le territoire des États-Unis » [...] (Réseau Voltaire | 6 mars 2013)


Dans une autre lettre adressée séparément au même sénateur, John Brennan, nominé nouveau directeur de la CIA et en attente de sa confirmation par le Sénat, a indiqué que l’Agence ne disposait pas du pouvoir de mener de telles opérations sur le territoire états-unien. A contrario, elle peut –et elle a déjà– éliminé des personnes y compris des citoyens états-uniens, sans jugement, mais hors du territoire national.


(Réseau Voltaire | 6 mars 2013)

"The US government has defended its use of drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen and other countries in front of the UN, telling a chamber full of largely critical nations that in President Obama's view the deployment of unmanned aerial attacks against al-Qaida targets was "necessary, legal and just". Representatives from a slew of nations, including Brazil, China and Venezuela, lined up to berate the Obama administration for its intensive use of drone strikes. [...] The UN debate marked the first time that member nations have come together to discuss the rapidly expanding militarised use of remotely piloted aircraft and the fraught international legal issues that it raises. It came at the climax of 10 days in which the question of the legality of drones has caught the headlines, with the release of two UN reports that have sharply condemned aspects of the programmes.
The authors of the two reports addressed Friday's UN debate, beginning with Christof Heyns, the UN's special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions. His study warned of the danger of proliferation of the un-piloted weapons [...]"
Ed Pilkington and Ryan Devereaux in New York. "US defends drone strikes as 'necessary and just' in face of UN criticism / Brazil, China and Venezuela sharply critical of 'illegal' program but US says it has taken steps to introduce new guidelines," in: The Guardian, Friday 25 October 2013 20.23 BST

"[...] All reported that five militants were killed. Only one person was killed – a 67-year-old grandmother of nine.
My three children – 13-year-old Zubair, nine-year-old Nabila and five-year-old Asma – were playing nearby when their grandmother was killed. All of them were injured and rushed to hospitals. Were these children the "militants" the news reports spoke of? Or perhaps, it was my brother's children? They, too, were there. They are aged three, seven, 12, 14, 15 and 17 years old. The eldest four had just returned from a day at school, not long before the missile struck. [...]"
Rafiq ur Rehman, "Please tell me, Mr President, why a US drone assassinated my mother
Momina Bibi was a 67-year-old grandmother and midwife from Waziristan. Yet President Obama tells us drones target terrorists," in: 
The Guardian, Friday 25 October 2013 14.00 BST