“Militants”: Media Propaganda & Obama’s God Complex
May 30, 2012 “Information Clearing House” — Virtually every time the U.S. fires a missile from a drone and ends the lives of Muslims, American media outlets dutifully trumpet in headlines that the dead were ”militants” – even though those media outlets literally do not have the slightest idea of who was actually killed. They simply cite always-unnamed “officials” claiming that the dead were “militants.” It’s the most obvious and inexcusable form of rank propaganda: media outlets continuously propagating a vital claim without having the slightest idea if it’s true.
This practice continues even though key Obama officials have been caught lying, a term used advisedly, about how many civilians they’re killing. I’ve written and said many times before that in American media discourse, the definition of “militant” is any human being whose life is extinguished when an American missile or bomb detonates (that term was even used when Anwar Awlaki’s 16-year-old American son, Abdulrahman, was killed by a U.S. drone in Yemen two weeks after a drone killed his father, even though nobody claims the teenager was anything but completely innocent: “Another U.S. Drone Strike Kills Militants in Yemen”).
This morning, the New York Times has a very lengthy and detailed article about President Obama’s counter-Terrorism policies based on interviews with “three dozen of his current and former advisers.” I’m writing separately about the numerous revelations contained in that article, but want specifically to highlight this one vital passage about how the Obama administration determines who is a “militant.” The article explains that Obama’s rhetorical emphasis on avoiding civilian deaths “did not significantly change” the drone program, because Obama himself simply expanded the definition of a “militant” to ensure that it includes virtually everyone killed by his drone strikes. Just read this remarkable passage:
Mr. Obama embraced a disputed method for counting civilian casualties that did little to box him in. It in effect counts all military-age males in a strike zone as combatants, according to several administration officials, unless there is explicit intelligence posthumously proving them innocent.
Counterterrorism officials insist this approach is one of simple logic: people in an area of known terrorist activity, or found with a top Qaeda operative, are probably up to no good. “Al Qaeda is an insular, paranoid organization — innocent neighbors don’t hitchhike rides in the back of trucks headed for the border with guns and bombs,” said one official, who requested anonymity to speak about what is still a classified program.
This counting method may partly explain the official claims of extraordinarily low collateral deaths. In a speech last year Mr. Brennan, Mr. Obama’s trusted adviser, said that not a single noncombatant had been killed in a year of strikes. And in a recent interview, a senior administration official said that the number of civilians killed in drone strikes in Pakistan under Mr. Obama was in the “single digits” — and that independent counts of scores or hundreds of civilian deaths unwittingly draw on false propaganda claims by militants.
But in interviews, three former senior intelligence officials expressed disbelief that the number could be so low. The C.I.A. accounting has so troubled some administration officials outside the agency that they have brought their concerns to the White House. One called it “guilt by association” that has led to “deceptive” estimates of civilian casualties.
“It bothers me when they say there were seven guys, so they must all be militants,” the official said. “They count the corpses and they’re not really sure who they are.”
For the moment, leave the ethical issues to the side that arise from viewing “all military-age males in a strike zone as combatants”; that’s nothing less than sociopathic, a term I use advisedly, but I discuss that in the separate, longer piece I’ve written. For now, consider what this means for American media outlets. Any of them which use the term “militants” to describe those killed by U.S. strikes are knowingly disseminating a false and misleading term of propaganda. By “militant,” the Obama administration literally means nothing more than: any military-age male whom we kill, even when we know nothing else about them. They have no idea whether the person killed is really a militant: if they’re male and of a certain age they just call them one in order to whitewash their behavior and propagandize the citizenry (unless conclusive evidence somehow later emerges proving their innocence).
What kind of self-respecting media outlet would be party to this practice? Here’s the New York Times documenting that this is what the term “militant” means when used by government officials. Any media outlet that continues using it while knowing this is explicitly choosing to be an instrument for state propaganda — not that that’s anything new, but this makes this clearer than it’s ever been.
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Obama’s God Complex
By Yvonne Ridley
May 30, 2012 “Information Clearing House” — The fatal shooting of black teenager Trayvon Martin shocked a nation, inspired tens of thousands to march for justice and even prompted the US President to declare, “If I had a son, he would look like Trayvon”.
It took nearly six weeks for George Zimmerman, the Florida man accused of killing the teenager, to be arrested and charged with second-degree murder after enormous pressure from the public.
Zimmerman – the captain of a Neighbourhood Watch group – pursued Trayvon because he said that he thought he was acting “suspicious” and “up to no good”. And that is exactly the same excuse used by President Barack Obama as he justifies ticking off names on a “kill list” for drone attacks.
While Obama called on federal, state and local authorities to work together as part of the investigation into the killing of Trayvon, just who is going to investigate the President for his extra-judicial killings? He is a man out of control, and while his predecessor justified his actions with a catch-all “God told me to do it”, this president thinks he is God, making decisions about who should live and who should die.
If he was the head of a banana republic the UN Security Council would be meeting as I write to bring about regime change, with the International Criminal Court on standby with a writ to charge Obama with war crimes.
But the USA is not a banana republic – not yet, anyway – and Obama is the head of a superpower and supposed to be the most powerful man in the world; the man who in 2009 went to Cairo and convinced us all that he was going to engage positively with the Muslim world from the Middle East to Asia.
Looking back at that historic day all I can visualise is a fox being heralded and saluted by his victims as he walks up the ramp into the chicken coop.
We don’t know how many people Barack Obama has ordered to be killed, but according to the New York Times he has “placed himself at the helm of a top secret ‘nominations’ process to designate terrorists for kill or capture, of which the capture part has become largely theoretical”.
There is huge hypocrisy in the media and from the so-called liberal left when it comes to this particular White House incumbent. The tame journalists who make up the Washington press pack ignore the fact that several times a month around 100 members of the government’s sprawling national security apparatus gather, by secure video teleconference, to discuss who should live and who should die.
This murderous secret nomination process was the invention of the Democrat Obama Administration, just as the Democrat Bill Clinton Administration brought kidnap and extraordinary rendition flights to the world. Republicans must look on enviously at how the Democrats get away with breaking international laws and conventions without being challenged.
It is almost beyond belief that this kill list has been sanctioned by a man who won the Nobel Peace Prize and ran his US Presidential campaign on a human rights platform. Remember Obama’s declaration that he wanted to close down Guantanamo, end torture, stop secret renditions and raise the bar in fairness and justice? He clearly doesn’t.
In Yemen, Somalia and Pakistan, Obama’s killing machines are not even clinical or always on target; thousands of innocent men, women and children have been taken out by his drone attacks. Their blood is on the US President’s hands, and even his own people are sickened by the hypocrisy and double standards coming out of the White House.
America’s outgoing Ambassador to Pakistan, Cameron Munter, a man with more backbone and guts than his predecessor, has revealed that he regards the drone strike-driven policy of his government unacceptable. Rather tellingly, he has complained to colleagues that “he didn’t realise his main job was to kill people”.
This was revealed in another article published this week in the New York Times, one of the few US media titles finally to adopt a critical stance over Obama’s foreign policies.
I can only assume that Obama’s killing spree has gone largely unchecked by ordinary Americans because they haven’t a clue what this president is doing in their name. This is sad, because Americans do care about justice and fair play; they showed this when they rallied and demonstrated after the killing of black teenager Trayvon Martin by a man who thought he was “up to no good”.
Trayvon’s killer will now stand trial for his actions and his fate will be decided by a judge and jury looking at openly presented evidence. That is real justice, not the shoot and kill version which is coming to define Obama’s presidency.
Many of us who cheered when the first non-white president moved into the White House were hoping for a new era of peace and justice, but we have been conned. The true Barack Obama is an out of control psychopathic killer with a loaded God complex, and he’s running America. This makes him the most dangerous man in the world as well as the most powerful. And that should make every right-minded person in America and beyond shudder with disbelief.
Yvonne Ridley is a patron of the London-based human rights NGO, Cageprisoners