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https://www.opednews.com/articles/Nobody-Knows-the-Identitie-by-Glenn-Greenwald-Drone_Ethics_Killed_Militants-160309-965.html
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March 9, 2016

Nobody Knows the Identities of the 150 People Killed by U.S. in Somalia, but Most Are Certain They Deserved It

By Glenn Greenwald

The U.S. used drones and manned aircraft yesterday [Mar 7] to drop bombs and missiles on Somalia, ending the lives of at least 150 people. As it virtually always does, the Obama administration instantly claimed that the people killed were "terrorists" and militants -- members of the Somali group al Shabaab -- but provided no evidence to support that assertion.

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KILLER DRONES
KILLER DRONES
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The U.S. used drones and manned aircraft yesterday [Mar 7] to drop bombs and missiles on Somalia, ending the lives of at least 150 people. As it virtually always does, the Obama administration instantly claimed that the people killed were "terrorists" and militants -- members of the Somali group al Shabaab -- but provided no evidence to support that assertion.

Nonetheless, most U.S. media reports contained nothing more than quotes from U.S. officials about what happened, conveyed uncritically and with no skepticism of their accuracy: The dead "fighters " were assembled for what American officials believe was a graduation ceremony and prelude to an imminent attack against American troops," pronounced theNew York Times. So, the official story goes, The Terrorists were that very moment "graduating" -- receiving their Terrorist degrees -- and about to attack U.S. troops when the U.S. killed them.

With that boilerplate set of claims in place, huge numbers of people today who have absolutely no idea who was killed are certain that they all deserved it. As my colleague Murtaza Hussain said of the 150 dead people: "We don't know who they are, but luckily they were all bad." For mindless authoritarians, the words "terrorist" and "militant" have no meaning other than: anyone who dies when my government drops bombs, or, at best, a "terrorist" is anyone my government tells me is a terrorist. Watch how many people today are defending this strike by claiming "terrorists" and "militants" were killed using those definitions even though they have literally no idea who was killed.

Other than the higher-than-normal death toll, this mass killing is an incredibly common event under the presidency of the 2009 Nobel Peace laureate, who has so far bombed seven predominantly Muslim countries. As Nick Turse has reported in The Intercept, Obama has aggressively expanded the stealth drone program and secret war in Africa.

This particular mass killing is unlikely to get much attention in the U.S. due to (1) the election-season obsession with horse-race analysis and pressing matters such as the size of Donald Trump's hands; (2) widespread Democratic indifference to the killing of foreigners where there's no partisan advantage to be had against the GOP from pretending to care; (3) the invisibility of places like Somalia and the implicit devaluing of lives there; and (4) the complete normalization of the model whereby the U.S. president kills whomever he wants, wherever he wants, without regard for any semblance of law, process, accountability, or evidence.

The lack of attention notwithstanding, there are several important points highlighted by yesterday's bombing and the reaction to it:

1) The U.S. is not at war in Somalia. Congress has never declared war on Somalia, nor has it authorized the use of military force there. Morality and ethics to the side for the moment: What legal authority does Obama even possess to bomb this country? I assume we can all agree that presidents shouldn't be permitted to just go around killing people they suspect are "bad": they need some type of legal authority to do the killing.

Go to The Intercept to read the rest of this article.

Submitters Bio:

[Subscribe to Glenn Greenwald] Glenn Greenwald is a journalist,former constitutional lawyer, and author of four New York Times bestselling books on politics and law. His most recent book, "No Place to Hide," is about the U.S. surveillance state and his experiences reporting on the Snowden documents around the world. His forthcoming book, to be published in April, 2021, is about Brazilian history and current politics, with a focus on his experience in reporting a series of expose's in 2019 and 2020 which exposed high-level corruption by powerful officials in the government of President Jair Bolsonaro, which subsequently attempted to prosecute him for that reporting.


Foreign Policy magazine named Greenwald one of the top 100 Global Thinkers for 2013. He was the debut winner, along with "Democracy Now's" Amy Goodman, of the Park Center I.F. Stone Award for Independent Journalism in 2008, and also received the 2010 Online Journalism Award for his investigative work breaking the story of the abusive detention conditions of Chelsea Manning.


For his 2013 NSA reporting, working with his source Edward Snowden, he received the George Polk Award for National Security Reporting; the Gannett Foundation Award for investigative journalism and the Gannett Foundation Watchdog Journalism Award; the Esso Premio for Excellence in Investigative Reporting in Brazil (he was the first non-Brazilian to win); and the Electronic Frontier Foundation's Pioneer Award. The NSA reporting he led for The Guardian was also awarded the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service. A film about the work Greenwald and filmmaker Laura Poitras did with Snowden to report the NSA archive, "CitizenFour," directed by Poitras, was awarded the 2015 Academy Award for Best Documentary.


In 2019, he received the Special Prize from the Vladimir Herzog Institute for his reporting on the Bolsonaro government and pervasive corruption inside the prosecutorial task force that led to the imprisonment of former Brazilian President Lula da Silva. The award is named after the Jewish immigrant journalist who was murdered during an interrogation by the Brazilian military dictatorship in 1977. Several months after the reporting began, Lula was ordered released by the Brazilian Supreme Court, and the former President credited the expose's for his liberty. In early 2020, Brazilian prosecutors sought to prosecute Greenwald in connection with the reporting, but the charges were dismissed due to a Supreme Court ruling, based on the Constitutional right of a free press, that barred the Bolsonaro government from making good on its threats to retaliate against Greenwald.


After working as a journalist at Salon and The Guardian, Greenwald co-founded The Intercept in 2013 along with Poitras and journalist Jeremy Scahill, and co-founded The Intercept Brasil in 2016. He resigned fromThe Intercept in October, 2020, to return to independent journalism.


Greenwald lives in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil with his husband, Congressman David Miranda, their two children, and 26 rescue dogs. In 2017, Greenwald and Miranda created an animal shelter in Brazil supported in part through public donations designed to employ and help exit the streets homeless people who live on the streets with their pets.


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