Monday, December 22, 2014

A march from the EPA to the Pentagon on Mother Earth Day/Leaked Internal CIA Document Admits US Drone Program "Counterproductive"


I sent out a proposal for an action-oriented march from the EPA to the Pentagon in November, and received an enthusiastic response. I was then prepared to present the proposal at a meeting in D.C. on December 20. As I understand, the meeting was to develop a spring action heavily oriented to speak out against the killer-drone program. However, the meeting was re-scheduled for January.

Since I sent out the proposal, I saw this announcement: “ There is a Mother Earth Day/May Day Mobilization/2 Days of Action For People Planet & Peace Over Profit! Building Toward A People’s Climate Strike Next December, 2015. This is from the Global Climate Convergence –” For this group, Mother Earth Day is April 22, and there is a call for “civil disobedience.” As anyone who knows me, I do not use the term civil disobedience, as NCNR actions are acts of civil resistance. The basic definition of civil disobedience means one is breaking a law. As for civil resistance actions, we are challenging lawbreakers—the Pentagon, CIA, NSA and corporations—in order to uphold the law.

It would seem that whatever we decide to do in spring, we should connect with the Global Climate Convergence. One of the demands of the convergence is “Demilitarize budgets and foreign policy.” I look forward to presenting my proposal in January, which will include working with the convergence. Comments are most welcome.

Note below that the CIA agrees with us that the Killer Drone Program doesn’t work. Then why did six of us protesting drone strikes at the CIA on June 29, 2013 get arrested and convicted?


Thursday, December 18, 2014

Leaked Internal CIA Document Admits US Drone Program "Counterproductive"

Document published by Wikileaks reveals agency's own internal review found key counter-terrorism strategy "may increase support" for the groups it targets

Jon Queally, staff writer

Wikileaks has released a 2009 internal CIA review of its clandestine "targeted killing" operations. (Image: Screenshot with overlay)

Wikileaks on Thursday has made public a never-before-seen internal review conducted by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency that looked at the agency's drone and targeted assassination programs in places like Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, and elsewhere.

The agency's own analysis, conducted in 2009, found that its clandestine drone and assassination program was likely to produce counterproductive outcomes, including strengthening the very "extremist groups" it was allegedly designed to destroy.

Here's a link to the document, titled Best Practices in Counterinsurgency: Making High-Value Targeting Operations an Effective Counterinsurgency Toolocument (pdf).

In one of the key findings contained in the CIA report, agency analysts warn of the negative consequences of assassinating so-called High Level Targets (HLT).

"The potential negative effect of HLT operations," the report states, "include increasing the level of insurgent support […], strengthening an armed group's bonds with the population, radicalizing an insurgent group's remaining leaders, creating a vacuum into which more radical groups can enter, and escalating or de-escalating a conflict in ways that favor the insurgents.”

Wikileaks points out that this internal prediction "has been proven right" in the years since the internal review was conducted near the outset of President Obama's first term. And despite those internal warnings—which have been loudly shared by human rights and foreign policy experts critical of the CIA's drone and assassination programs—Wikileaks also notes that after the internal review was prepared, "US drone strike killings rose to an all-time high."

Reached by the Washington Post on Thursday for response, CIA spokesperson Kali J. Caldwell said the agency would not comment “on the authenticity or content of purported stolen intelligence documents.”

According to a statement released by Wikileaks:

The report discusses assassination operations (by various states) against the Taliban, al-Qa'ida, the FARC, Hizbullah, the PLO, HAMAS, Peru's Shining Path, the Tamil's LTTE, the IRA and Algeria's FLN. Case studies are drawn from Chechnya, Libya, Pakistan and Thailand.

The assessment was prepared by the CIA's Office of Transnational Issues (OTI). Its role is to provide “the most senior US policymakers, military planners, and law enforcement with analysis, warning, and crisis support”. The report is dated 7 July 2009, six months into Leon Panetta's term as CIA chief, and not long after CIA analyst John Kiriakou blew the whistle on the torture of CIA detainees. Kiriakou is still in prison for shedding light on the CIA torture programme.

Following the politically embarrassing exposure of the CIA's torture practices and the growing cost of keeping people in detention indefinitely, the Obama administration faced a crucial choice in its counter-insurgency strategy: should it kill, capture, or do something else entirely?
Given exclusive access to the CIA document ahead of its public release, the Sydney Morning Herald's Philip Dorling reported earlier on Thursday:

According to a leaked document by the CIA's Directorate of Intelligence, "high value targeting" (HVT) involving air strikes and special forces operations against insurgent leaders can be effective, but can also have negative effects including increasing violence and greater popular support for extremist groups.
The leaked document is classified secret and "NoForn" (meaning not to be distributed to non-US nationals) and reviews attacks by the United States and other countries engaged in counter-insurgency operations over the past 50 years.

The CIA assessment is the first leaked secret intelligence document published by WikiLeaks since 2011. Led by Australian publisher Julian Assange, the anti-secrecy group says the CIA assessment is the first in what will be a new series of leaked documents relating to the US agency.

The 2009 CIA study lends support to critics of US drone strikes in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen by warning that such operations "may increase support for the insurgents, particularly if these strikes enhance insurgent leaders' lore, if non-combatants are killed in the attacks, if legitimate or semi-legitimate politicians aligned with the insurgents are targeted, or if the government is already seen as overly repressive or violent".

Drone strikes have been a key element of the Obama administration's attacks on Islamic extremist terrorist and insurgent groups in the Middle East and south Asia. Australia has directly supported these strikes through the electronic espionage operations of the US-Australian Joint Defence Facility at Pine Gap near Alice Springs in the Northern Territory.

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"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs

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