CIA Said To Target Rescuers Responding to Initial Drone Strikes

Reason 24/7ReasonTerrorists have been known to plant two bombs at a time — one intended not only to do damage, but to attract police and emergency personnel, and the other targeted at those first responders. Such a double attack was attempted at a shopping area in Stockholm, Sweden, in 2010. It was also a favorite tactic of Eric Rudolph, who planted two bombs at an Atlanta gay bar as well as at a clinic that provided abortions. You know who uses a similar tactic? If reports are true, the United States government's own Central Intelligence Agency finds this approach irresistable.

From the Bureau of Investigative Journalism:

A field investigation by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism in Pakistan’s tribal areas appears to confirm that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) last year briefly revived the controversial tactic of deliberately targeting rescuers at the scene of a previous drone strike. The tactic has previously been labelled a possible war crime by two UN investigators.

The Bureau’s new study focused mainly on strikes around a single village in North Waziristan – attacks that were aimed at one of al Qaeda’s few remaining senior figures, Yahya al-Libi. He was finally killed by a CIA drone strike on June 4 2012.

Congressional aides have previously been reported as describing to the Los Angeles Times reviewing a CIA video showing Yahya al-Libi alone being killed. But the Bureau’s field research appears to confirm what others reported at the time – that al-Libi’s death was part of a sequence of strikes on the same location that killed up to 16 people.

If correct, that would indicate that Congressional aides were not shown crucial additional video material.

The CIA denies all. It knows nothing of such perfidious activities. But other news outlets have reported similar double drone strikes. Last July, CNN reported on an attack in North Waziristan.:

In the incident, which occurred shortly after 10 p.m., two missiles struck the compound in the residential area followed by another four missiles that were fired 10 minutes later, the officer said. The death toll rose from nine to 20 as people who had gathered at the site after the first strike were hit in the second, the officer said.

It should go without saying that even the best-targeted initial strike can draw unknown and perfectly innocent people to offer assistance. Justifying an attack on those people requires stretching moral flexibility to the breaking point.

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  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Thank goodness drone technology has taken weaponizing our intelligence agency to a whole new level.

  • Dweebston||

    It should go without saying that even the best-targeted initial strike can draw unknown and perfectly innocent people to offer assistance. Justifying an attack on those people requires stretching moral flexibility to the breaking point.

    I've yet to see the initial strike convincingly defended. Just hand-waving around the idea that innocents might cohabit with evul terr'ists, or that we're even properly targeting the latter in the first place.

  • Cytotoxic||

    You've seen it and you're the one doing the hand-waving.

  • bmp1701||

    Justifying an attack on those people requires stretching moral flexibility to the breaking point.

    So just eliminate moral considerations all together. Hey presto, no more flexibility needed!

  • Smilin' Joe Fission||

    I start from the position that, for the most part, the government has no morality. Then I work from there.

  • Cytotoxic||

    The CIA should be lauded. No you don't get to rescue or aid America's enemies. If you do, die. The CIA should also strike whoever re-designed the submit/preview buttons.

  • John||

    And so we won't to create a world where it is encouraged to shoot and kill medical personnel? I don't think so.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    If the medical personnel are trying to save the people you are trying to kill, then yeah, definitely.

  • crazyfingers||

    You must be a real man to feel so threatened by dirt-poor subsistence farmers 10,000 miles away.

  • Smilin' Joe Fission||

    It really is amazing, when you think about it, how much time and money has been spent to kill people who amount to dirt farmers on the other side of the globe.

  • John||

    Except they are not thAt. They are evil assholes who are armed and will if they ever get the chance kill everyone in Afghanistan who so much as took a dollar from the us. Calling them dirt farmers is like calling the Khmer Rouge that. It is amazing how many people on this board refuse to admit there is any evil in the world besides the us government.

  • Don Mynack||

    If they are all evil assholes...then why not just lay waste to the entire populace?

    I would support walling off the entirety of it, just to be sure.

  • John||

    Except they are not thAt. They are evil assholes who are armed and will if they ever get the chance kill everyone in Afghanistan who so much as took a dollar from the us. Calling them dirt farmers is like calling the Khmer Rouge that. It is amazing how many people on this board refuse to admit there is any evil in the world besides the us government.

  • John||

    Except they are not thAt. They are evil assholes who are armed and will if they ever get the chance kill everyone in Afghanistan who so much as took a dollar from the us. Calling them dirt farmers is like calling the Khmer Rouge that. It is amazing how many people on this board refuse to admit there is any evil in the world besides the us government.

  • Smilin' Joe Fission||

    I will be the first to admit that there are some evil POS's over there, I never said that they are all sitting around a fire singing Kumbaya. Some of the worst evil is perpetrated in that part of the world. But compared to our army, they are essentially dirt farmers technologically. The fact that we spend so much time over there to kill these guys like it is making a difference is absurd.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    Maybe you could do a better job of relating what you just wrote to anything I wrote.

    I'll help you get started by pointing out that I made a general statement and didn't reference fighting any particular group of people and didn't support any particular military action.

    Hell, I'll go one step further, since you might need the help: I didn't voice support for the US's current fighting anywhere in the Middle East.

  • John||

    But a wounded person is out of the fight. And you want your medical people to not be shot at either. It is pointless and stupid to kill medical people.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    Out of the fight for now. Which is not necessarily the same as out of the fight.

  • sloopyinca||

    It is pointless and stupid to kill medical people anybody 10,000 miles away living in a hut that lacks the means to carry out attacks on America.

    FIFY!

  • Smilin' Joe Fission||

    ^This

  • Agammamon||

    So, you're saying - Corpsmen are now legitimate targets? That its ok for the enemy to attack hospitals where our wounded soldiers are recuperating?

    You guys with this huge warboner always think this shit is great while *we* have the advantage, its not so great when an opponent with technological parity is doing that shit back to us.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    My position would be that if a war is worth fighting/necessary then killing anyone who helps the enemy -- doctors, nurses, factory workers, farmers, construction workers, potential replacements, whatever -- should be subject to being killed. It might be that the decision is made, for whatever reason, not to do so but to take it off the table seems like pie in the sky idealism.

  • Agammamon||

    Uh, we used to do that - WWII ring a bell.

    Turns out that killing all those ancillaries didn't have a significant effect on the enemies ability to wage war *and* pissed off the homebase enough to maintain civilian support for that war.

  • Dweebston||

    This. Not to mention the innanity of targeting civilians to goad insurgents who themselves tyrannize their own civilians.

  • In Time Of War||

    Hitler floated the idea that merchant mariners who survived being torpedoed should be shot in the water since, if rescued, they would doubtless go back to work shipping supplies to Britain.

    Admiral Doenitz told him no, because such an act was against naval tradition and would destroy the morale of his sailors.

    Just saying.

  • Robert||

    Mmmm...Admiral Donuts.

  • Les||

    Don't forget schools. Especially high schools, where graduates will be eligible to join the military.

    Hell, why not just target all schools? Taking them off the table is just pie in the sky idealism.

  • In Time Of War||

    And women can bear children, who might grow up to be fighters. Bayoneting them in the abdomen should not be taken off the table...

  • Robert||

    Look, if you're going to fight, be as fearsome as possible, so people will be afraid to make an enemy of you. Would you want your country at war with an enemy who makes a practice of killing or better yet maiming or torturing every last person in that country? I'd rather pick on someone else, thank you.

  • R C Dean||

    If the medical personnel are trying to save the people you are trying to kill, then yeah, definitely.

    So, the Red Cross should be used more as an aiming point, then?

  • Robert||

    You know my policy: Kill civilians first. They're usually less defended, and see above about being as fearsome as possible.

    Why would you attack someone's bodyguard (unless of course you had something against him for some reason)? You want to slip past the bodyguard and kill whoever he's guarding. Even in football, you want to get past whoever's blocking you to make the tackle. Why would it be different on a large scale? It's practically never the bodyguards who you have it in for.

    The whole purpose of having armed forces isn't to fight with other armed forces, it's to kill unarmed forces if you can get to them. I say the best way to get to them is to avoid armed forces entirely, to the extent you can.

  • Robert||

    That's something that bothered me in med school. It occurred to me that I might rescue from death or injury someone who was deliberately beat on. That means that in effect I'd be taking sides in their fight. Someone wanted you dead or hurt; who am I to thwart their will, when I don't know a thing about you other than medically? Maybe I'd've been on their side rather than yours.

    It also bothered me to hear about domestic violence. (Women pouring boiling liquid on a sleeping husband was said to be a common payback for infidelity.) You people are supposed to love each other. Why do you want to hurt each other instead of just going away?

  • wareagle||

    so emergency folks should be killed for responding to an emergency, or should they just know independently that the explosion was aimed at terrorists?

  • Agammamon||

    God, you are disgusting.

  • Les||

    After all, the government has told you that the targets are "AMERICA'S ENEMIES!"

    And a good statist always believes what his government tells him.

  • John||

    This is a no shit war crime. If thins is true, all those involved should be prosecuted. There is no defending this. It is totally appalling.

  • sloopyinca||

    John, I'm going to put aside our disagreements of the drone attacks for a minute here.

    The admin's defense of this, and I believe Bush's as well, is that these are not "official" rescue personnel and are thus not subject to the protections afforded an ambulance service or trained medical professionals.

    So, credentialism and shit is now getting poor Yemeni dirt farmers killed when they instinctively run out to assist someone bleeding like a stuck pig and screaming for help.

    Obama and his entire Admin need to be imprisoned for war crimes, as does anybody defending/participating in this position or manning the drones.

  • db||

    Is your target a medic? It all depends on what the meaning of the word "is" "medic" is.

  • Agammamon||

    In this case I'm not certain why it should matter - as a matter of policy, we (at least the *military*) don't target civilians who ain't shooting at us.

    The Navy, MC, Army, and Air Force (but not the CG - those guys are crazy) wouldn't target civilian rescuers but the CIA apparently has no problem with it.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    For all my issues with our military it at least can be said that there is a culture or ethos of honor promulgated in them which apparently those directing the drone strikes do not care for.

  • Steve G||

    I think that's an important distinction. Although, not a UAV driver, I know several and have seen the official positions about targeting and authorization (however flawed it might be) and don't think any military unit would deliberately use this tactic. CIA, however: who the hell knows...

  • db||

    My point was more snarky.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Huh. This sort of thing, coupled with the recent news about the CIA's possible cover-up of activities relating to Benghazi, well, why isn't there a select committee on this already?

  • CampingInYourPark||

    why isn't there a select committee on this already?

    Because a majority of people think it's a good thing, because terrorism is bad, mkay?

  • Pro Libertate||

    I don't know. I think we're very close to getting the numbers in Congress (at least in the House) to get one up and running. Congressmen are now publicly calling for one.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    I misunderstood you to be speaking on the drones. I agree, Benghazi isn't going to just fizzle out that quickly.

  • In Time Of War||

    911!!! Go talk about select committees to the widows and orphans in NY!

  • Pro Libertate||

    Yeah, I'm sure we'll hear plenty of nonsense.

  • Dweebston||

    Because this sort of thing gives warhawks on the opposition trembling warchubbies, and the penchant for realpolitik post-hoc rationalizing is reason enough for the nominally anti-war left to set aside their principles in defense of their man in the White House.

  • R C Dean||

    why isn't there a select committee on this already

    Two reasons:

    (1) Congress is largely cowed by its fear of being called racists for saying mean things about Obama.

    (2) The major media outlets have completely converted to DemOp apparatchiks.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Again, I think the fact that CNN is breaking majorly embarrassing news on Benghazi is showing that the media wall isn't quite as strong as it was. I mean, CNN, dude.

  • db||

    Their ratings have beenin the toilet. Properly incentivized, even shills may criticize.

  • crazyfingers||

    This has been known / reported on for years. The USG is evil. Period.

  • Aloysious||

    What we need is yet another strongly worded speech delivered forcefully before wildly cheering throngs of true believers.

    /sarc

  • Smilin' Joe Fission||

    Kim Jong-Un?

  • bmp1701||

    You know who else delivered strongly worded speeches before wildly cheering throngs?

  • sloopyinca||

    Bluto Blutarsky?

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    I would also accept "Robert Hoover."

  • Pro Libertate||

    Wait, what about Otter?

  • db||

  • Swiss Servator - past LTC(ret)||

    Mike Ditka?

  • ||

    TRUST US

  • CatoTheElder||

    In his recent Foreign Affairs article "Why Drones Work", Prof. Daniel Byman praises "extrajudicial and extraterritorial killings" by drone. Not only do they eliminate experienced leaders, "they eliminate operatives who are lower down on the food chain".

    The second strike tactic is particularly effective at drawing out those "lower on the food chain". Prof. Daniel Byman admits that, "The US has recently taken to launching 'signature strikes' which target not specific individuals but instead groups engaged in suspicious activities." Coming to the rescue of terrorists hit in the first strike qualifies as "suspicious".

    Despite public criticism, Prof. Byman says these strikes have the secret backing of foreign governments, particularly Pakistan and Yemen. We can all take comfort that Pakistani and Yemeni politicians approve of President Obama's drone program. They want the unruly tribesmen in their territories suppressed and terrorized just as much as Obama does.

  • RBS||

    They should do their own terrorizing then.

  • sloopyinca||

    That's what I don't get about John and other people defending the program. The "well, their government's are asking us to do this to help them" defense of our drone program is just plain idiotic. We are not there to do the bidding of quasi-despotic warlords like Musharraf and the guy that followed him. Those are internal problems, and their military, which is huge, could easily fight the alleged AQ actors in Pakistan.

    It's almost as if they're keeping their uppity citizens in line with our military...and the dumbasses in Washington are happy to do their bidding because it gives them a chance to kill a bunch of people that routinely talk shit about us, whether they have the means to harm us or not.

  • kinnath||

    By publicly calling for the extrajudicial killings of presumably innocent people, I believe that Prof Byman has committed the same crime that earned Al-Alwaki a remote wake-up call from the US government.

  • CatoTheElder||

    All non-genocidal war involves terrorizing the other side, including its civilians. For example, that was the strategy behind strategic bombing of cities in WW II and Viet Nam. Only children and historical illiterates think otherwise. In the Iraq war, the military was quite direct about this: What did "shock and awe" mean other than terrorizing enemy civilians?

    However, Prof. Byman doesn't call for killing innocent people. Part of his argument is that drone killing is that it has fewer innocent deaths, and he does note that "signature strikes raise legitimate concerns".

  • kinnath||

    Prof. Daniel Byman admits that, "The US has recently taken to launching 'signature strikes' which target not specific individuals but instead groups engaged in suspicious activities." Coming to the rescue of terrorists hit in the first strike qualifies as "suspicious".

    Too many fucking errors to list them all, but let's go with the following to start with:

    1) So we don't target individuals that a vetting process has determined are actually terrorists, we now target groups of suspicious people. There are many, many news reports proving that we are killing innocent people who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

    2) Coming to the aid of a group of people that have just been bombed by a drone is not "suspicious", BECAUSE WE ALREADY FUCKING KNOW THAT WE ARE BOMBING INNOCENT PEOPLE.

    3) So calling for secondary strikes on rescuers that are helping innocent people caught up in the first strike is by fucking definition calling for the slaughter of innocent people.

  • Agammamon||

    Uh, the "Shock and Awe" doctrine was explicitly about striking and destroying the enemies Command and Control nodes in such a quick and devastating matter that they couldn't recover. The point was to turn the Iraqi Army into a loose collection of companies instead of a unified fighting force. Then it would be rolled up piecemeal.

    It had absolutely nothing to do with civilians (outside of, maybe, the civilian government).

  • In Time Of War||

    Uhm, since Al Qaeda declared war on the US in 1998, doesn't that make 9/11 a perfectly legitimate military attack?

  • The Late P Brooks||

    why isn't there a select committee on this already?

    Rethuglitard obstructionism!

    Also, if the two dopes in Boston had successfully split the timing on their devices to inflict intentional damage to the people who rushed in to aid the victims, would our resident death cultists be shrugging their shoulders and saying, "War is Hell"?

  • Geoff Nathan||

    ^^^ THIS!

  • Fluffy||

    My position would be that if a war is worth fighting/necessary then killing anyone who helps the enemy -- doctors, nurses, factory workers, farmers, construction workers, potential replacements, whatever -- should be subject to being killed. It might be that the decision is made, for whatever reason, not to do so but to take it off the table seems like pie in the sky idealism.

    That's fine.

    But as soon as you do that, I do not want to hear you claim ever again that it's terrorism or a war crime for someone else to blow up a hospital, if that hospital has ever serviced any member of the military or any employee of the government.

    To call that hospital an illegitimate target is pie in the sky idealism at that point.

  • R C Dean||

    I like the "potential replacements", which covers every single person under the age of, oh, I dunno, 60?

    Nuclear extermination FTW!

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