Monday, May 14, 2012

The definition of "militant"

America’s Third War is escalating quickly in the skies over Yemen. Despite previous rebuffs from the White House, last month the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) and the CIA—which both run parallel drone campaigns in Yemen—were granted broad authority to conduct “signature strikes” against anonymous suspected militants, who are determined to support al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) based on the observed “patterns of suspicious behavior” from multiple intelligence sources.
A senior Obama administration official described the enlarged scope of targets as “broadening the aperture” for JSOC and CIA drones. By one estimate, there have been more drone strikes in the past month (seventeen, including two on Saturday) than in the preceding nine years, since the first strike on November 3, 2002. Meanwhile, there have been between ten and fifty other U.S. attacks on militants in Yemen using manned aircraft or naval platforms.
from Escalating America’s Third War in Yemen 
The CIA is seeking authority to expand its covert drone campaign in Yemen by launching strikes against terrorism suspects even when it does not know the identities of those who could be killed, U.S. officials said.
Securing permission to use these “signature strikes” would allow the agency to hit targets based solely on intelligence indicating patterns of suspicious behavior, such as imagery showing militants gathering at known al-Qaeda compounds or unloading explosives.
Violence in Yemen has repeatedly erupted between government and opposition forces, as well as between the government and al-Qaeda.
The practice has been a core element of the CIA’s drone program in Pakistan for several years. CIA Director David H. Petraeus has requested permission to use the tactic against the al-Qaeda affiliate in Yemen, which has emerged as the most pressing terrorism threat to the United States, officials said.
from CIA seeks new authority to expand Yemen drone campaign

In other words, when we hear that a certain number of "militants" were killed in a drone strike, we really don't know anything about it. The US government has killed and imprisoned those who reported or were preparing to report the truth about these strikes, as mentioned in my previous entry.  What little accurate reporting has been made available supports my contention that these strikes are intended as terrorism.