President Barack Obama's address yesterday on U.S. terror strategies got a lot of attention for supposedly charting a new course in America's longest war. But some of the facts were mangled along the way.
In a moment when media are fixated on terrorism and the possibility that some people might be motivated to carry out acts of violence against the United States in part because of the effects of U.S. wars, a Yemeni writer's account of the effects of drone strikes on his village would be well worth covering.
The Washington Post reported some news that it's known for years, but had decided not tell us until now: The CIA has a drone base in Saudi Arabia. Their rationale for withholding this information was simple: The government didn't want them to. And from what the Post is telling us today, they weren't the only ones.
The use of cluster bombs against civilians is newsworthy depending on who is using them. If it's an enemy state, like Syria or Qaddafi's Libya, you can expect to read about it, and in clear language on the front page. And an article like this will mention, almost in passing, that our own government does the same.
Jeremy Scahill's piece at the Nation website ("Why Is President Obama Keeping a Journalist in Prison in Yemen?," 3/13/12) about imprisoned Yemeni journalist Abdulelah Haider Shaye is riveting and deeply reported. But to Mother Jones blogger Kevin Drum, the story doesn't quite add up…because Barack Obama seems like a decent guy. As Scahill reports, Shaye has "risked his life to travel to areas controlled by Al-Qaeda and to interview its leaders." He argues that this reporting has not exactly won him friends in the U.S. or Yemeni governments: His collision course with the U.S. government appears to have been set [...]
In a piece today, the Washington Post's Greg Miller reports on a CIA base that will be used to conduct drone strikes in Yemen: The agency is building a desert airstrip so that it can begin flying armed drones over Yemen. The facility, which is scheduled to be completed in September, is designed to shield the CIA's aircraft, and their sophisticated surveillance equipment, from observers at busier regional military hubs such as Djibouti, where the JSOC drones are based. The Washington Post is withholding the specific location of the CIA facility at the administration's request. The existence of the base [...]
"CIA Sees Increased Threat in Yemen" is the Washington Post's headline today (8/25/10) over astory thattells of a"sober new assessment" of Al Qaeda-related activities that has "helped prompt senior Obama administration officials to call for an escalation of U.S. operations there–including a proposal to add armed CIA drones to a clandestine campaign of U.S. military strikes." At present, U.S. airstrikes in Yemen are not carried out by drones,but "have involved cruise missiles and other weapon that are less precise." The Post adds: Proponents of expanding the CIA's role argue that years of flying armed drones over Pakistan have given the [...]