Monday, February 10, 2014

NSA AND Drones...Oh My!

Anyone who has been watching Glenn Greenwald for as long as I have can probably get inside his head and figure out his strategies. So with the launch of the first stage of his new media platform, it doesn't surprise me that he went with a story that could maximize the fear-mongering by combining talk of drones AND the NSA.

The gist of the "revelations" is that the Obama administration uses signal intelligence collected by NSA to target the SIM cards of suspected terrorists for drone strikes. First of all...DUH!!! Their big leap is to suggest that since this is not coupled with affirmation from human intelligence, mistakes are likely. Yet they provide not one single piece of actual evidence to back up that claim.

In addition to the fact that their sources for this story seem to rely almost exclusively on the use of intelligence and drone strikes in Afghanistan (where we are clearly still engaged in a war with the Taliban), their assumption is that these mistakes inevitably lead to civilian casualties.

All of this might have been somewhat useful information back in 2010 when the U.S. implemented at least 127 drone strikes outside of Afghanistan. But as I've reported previously, we are talking about a total of 39 strikes in all of 2013. In addition, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism (which has been especially critical of the Obama administration over drone strikes) reports that:
There were no confirmed reports of civilian deaths in the six months after [President Obama's counterterrosim] speech...Total civilian casualties have been falling since 2009, and the average number of civilian deaths in each strike has also been declining over the past four years.
I'll say this...Greenwald knows his audience. He's very aware of the fact that linking the topic of drone strikes to stories about NSA as the opening bid on this new media platform is a guaranteed way to prompt maximum outrage and generate clicks. His appeal is mostly to people who haven't noticed that President Obama is fulfilling his promise to end this perpetual war. And gawd knows Greenwald isn't about to inform them about that.


  1. I am still trying to figure out why drones, with their VASTLY lower death rates, are the big burning issue when there was incredible silence over mass bombings and shellings of places such as, oh, bazaars under Bush. If someone hates wartime deaths, then the issue is war itself, whether we should be in it, when, why, and under what circumstances it might be necessary. But suddenly with the reduction in casualties in this administration, we are furious about drones. Well, it seems to me the issue should be about WAR, not about hardware.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. I don't know why I deleted my comment....but suffice to say that opening for Team Greenwald's new project is, well, weak. Two thought pieces on Drones and an instagram of Fort Meade isn't a good sign. But, the faithful will eat it up like dogs on Kibble.


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