US Drone Wars – Murder, Inc.
By Stephen Lendman
01, 2012 "Information
one day they'll arrive over a neighborhood near you. Drones are
becoming America's weapon of choice. Domestically so far,
they're used only for eyes in the sky spying.
Big Brother wants to watch everyone all the time. Don't bet
against eyes not being weaponized one day to punish as well as
spy. That's how rogue states operate.
America is by far the worst and most dangerous. Waging war on
humanity is policy. Imagine living in a country run by officials
who think war is good.
The more the better. Permanent ones. Wage them while pretending
it's done for peace. Few question why America is always at war
somewhere. Scant attention is paid to the trillions of dollars
spent at the expense of vital domestic needs gone begging.
Militarism is prioritized. Budgets are virtually open-ended.
America's duopoly assures it. Imagine policy makers deciding on
which country they'll ravage next.
It makes no difference whether Obama or Romney takes charge.
Both major parties are in lockstep on all issues mattering most.
Corporate empowerment, serving America's 1%, cracking down on
resisters, and imperial dominance top their list. Hell hath no
fury like an out-of-control hegemon. If analyzed on a couch, it
would be called sociopathic or worse.
A Washington Post Special Report discussed America's permanent
war agenda. A previous article discussed Obama's Disposition
Matrix. It called it elevating Murder, Inc. to a higher level.
Anyone can be targeted anywhere in the world for any reason or
none at all. Obama has final kill list authority. John Brennan
is his counterterrorism maestro of murder. His "playbook" makes
up rules as he writes them.
He designates kill targets. He calls it a strategy to persist
'till the end of time. Last August he said:
"What we’re trying to do right now is to have a set of
standards, a set of criteria, and have a decision-making process
that will govern our counterterrorism actions - we’re talking
about direct action, lethal action - so that irrespective of the
venue where they’re taking place, we have a high confidence that
they’re being done for the right reasons in the right way."
In other words, kill because we say so. No further explanation.
No mention of rule of law principles. Right, of course, is
might, whether or not legal, moral and ethical.
In his journey into the "Heart of Darkness," Joseph Conrad
"one comes to hate those savages....hate them to the
death....Exterminate all the brutes!" Kill orders target anyone
challenging US hegemony. Targeted killing more than ever is US
Washington Post writer Craig Whitlock explained more. On October
25, he headlined "Remote US base at core of secret operations,"
"Around the clock, about 16 times a day, drones take off or land
at" America's Djibouti-based Camp Lemonnier. It's "the combat
hub for the Obama administration’s counterterrorism wars in the
Horn of Africa and the Middle East."
France's Foreign Legion established Lemonnier. Post-9/11 it
became a US Naval Expeditionary Base. It's located at Djibouti's
It's home to the Pentagon's Africa Command (USAFRICOM) Combined
Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa (CJTF/HOA).
"Over the past two years, the U.S. military has clandestinely
transformed it into the busiest Predator drone base outside the
Afghan war zone…."
Extraordinary efforts are made to conceal its lawless mission.
Decisions on who lives or dies are made secretly. Lemonnier's
commander knows. His job is execute kill orders.
"Virtually the entire 500-acre camp is dedicated to
counterterrorism" killing. It's the Pentagon's first "permanent
drone war base." It won't be the last. Perhaps many more are
Drones, of course, operate out of many other US facilities.
Regional ones include Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, and
Lemonnier so far is the only Pentagon installation of its kind.
Secrecy shrouds its operations. Post journalists were denied
permission to visit. After one showed up unannounced, commanding
General Ralph Baker agreed to an off-base interview.
He wouldn't comment on drone missions or other issues mattering
most. The Post, however, obtained numerous unclassified military
documents. They cover construction blueprints, drone accident
reports, and internal planning memos.
They show how Djibouti-based drone wars escalated exponentially
since early 2011. They also reveal ambitious future plans.
The Pentagon's Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) plays a
central role. It's used for top-secret counterterrorism
missions. Navy SEALs, Army Delta Force commandos, and other
Special Ops forces are involved.
Operations known about include counterterrorism missions,
surveillance, intelligence gathering, and hostage rescues.
About 300 Special Ops personnel plan, coordinate, and execute
these and other missions. Others on base aren't told what they
In September 2011, a Lemonnier-based drone killed Muslim
cleric/US citizen Anwar Al Awlaki. He lived in Yemen. He
committed no crime. He was assassinated for opposing US
His murder and others put all anti-imperial opponents at risk.
US citizenship protects no one. If outspoken enough, anyone may
be next. Perhaps writers, authors, and media hosts will be
targeted. Warrior states don't tolerate truth-tellers.
Lemonnier is home to around 3,200 military, civilian and private
contractor personnel. Most know little about highly classified
counterterrorism work. The select 300 handle it. Their mandate
also includes intelligence gathering. Killing, however, is
Obama, Brennan, and other high-level officials decide on
"disposition matrix" targets. They function as judge, jury and
executioner. They hold the power of life and death in their
Plans call for large-scale Lemonnier expansion. Operational
forces will more than triple to around 1,100. Pentagon officials
only say "a wide variety of regional security missions" are
involved. "(S)ecurity considerations prevent us from commenting
Lemonnier is America's "centerpiece of an expanding
constellation of half a dozen" African-based US drone and
surveillance facilities. They're also home to conventional
attack aircraft. F-15E Strike Eagles fly regional combat
Djibouti's location is key. It's situated between East Africa
and the Arabian Peninsula. Somalia and Yemen can be reached in
minutes. Djibouti's port offers easy access to the Indian Ocean
and Red Sea.
Deputy Assistant Secretary for Africa, Amanda Dory, said
Lemonnier isn't "an outpost in the middle of nowhere of marginal
interest. This is a very important location in terms of US
interest, in terms of navigation, when it comes to power
Three classified military operations include Copper Dune (CD),
Jupiter Garret (JG) and Octave Shield (OS). CD conducts
counterterrorism operations in Yemen. Africa command officials
refused comment on JG and OS. Only their unclassified code names
Air Force safety records provide information on aircraft
accidents. In February, a Special Ops U-28 spy plane crashed.
Four crew members died.
Since January 2011, information on five drone crashes is known.
One involved a JSOC major identified only as "Frog." He
coordinated Predator missions. Nothing more is known.
Missions are so secret even ground crews aren't told about
destinations or targets. All they know is that drones depart.
Most return hours later. Problems beset others. They likely
crashed, split apart, or burned.
Lemonnier missions are controlled remotely from Creech and
Cannon Air Force Bases in Nevada and New Mexico respectively.
Operators use multiple keyboards and monitors.
Enemies are faceless and nameless. Killing can be controlled
nearby or from half a world away. Each drone system includes
multiple UAVs, a ground station, satellite link, and launch site
Rotating ones are on standby 24-hours a day for missions on a
moment's notice. Predator drones sanitize killing on the cheap.
Disturbing questions are unanswered. Secrecy, unaccountability,
and lawlessness matter most.
So is the huge number of civilian casualties. Investigative work
determined that only 2% of victims are high-level combatants.
Ordinary people suffer most.
Official reports lie. Hard truths reveal what policy makers want
suppressed. Murder, Inc. is ugly business anywhere for any
reason. More than ever it's official US policy.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and
can be reached at
email@example.com . His new book is titled
"How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government
Collusion and Class War"
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to
cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the
Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network
Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at
noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.
We must ban use of drone weapons:
Op-Ed Thou shalt not kill is a pretty fundamental rule in most
societies. But murder and maiming of innocent bystanders
frequently occurs as a result of the use of stealth bombers or
drone missiles in Afghanistan.
Living on death:
San Diego's drone industry doubles in
size: The industry, which is
centered in North County, generated at least $1.3 billion
locally in 2011 and directly and indirectly supported 7,135
jobs. The report says the true impact could be far higher due to
classified programs that are not included in public records.
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