The Damage Abdulrahman Al-Awlaki Was Collateral To? Not Dead.

I’m not sure which details from Michelle Shephard’s story on 16-year old Adbulrahman Al-Awlaki’s death in a US drone strike are most compelling. I find the description of the carnival rides Abdulrahman snuck past as he ran away from home to go look for his father haunting.

Abdulrahman al Awlaki crossed the front yard past potted plants and a carnival ride graveyard — Dumbo, Donald Duck, an arched seal balancing a beach ball — debris from his uncle Omar’s failed business venture to install rides in local shopping malls.

I’m intrigued by the report that Ali Abdullah Saleh denied to Nasser al-Awlaki, Adbulrahman’s grandfather and Anwar’s father, that he had any role in Anwar’s death.

“(Deposed Yemeni president) Saleh sent me a message through the former prime minister that said, ‘Tell Dr. Nasser I swear to God that I have nothing to do with the killing of his son,’ ” Nasser said.

By far the most infuriating, however, is the juxtaposition of Leon Panetta’s boasts of how accurate the targeting on these drone strikes are with Shephard’s reminder of the previously reported news that the claimed target of the strike that killed Abdulrahman, Ibrahim al Bana, was not killed in the attack.

It later emerged, but was not widely reported, that the strike did not kill its purported target, AQAP’s media chief, Egyptian Ibrahim al Bana.


Defence Secretary Leon Panetta responded to questions about drone use during a 2009 public appearance when he was the head of the CIA.

“I think it does suffice to say that these operations have been very effective because they have been very precise in terms of the targeting and it involved a minimum of collateral damage,” he said.

That’s what we call American teenagers now: a minimum of collateral damage. To a target that our purportedly precise targeting somehow missed.

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7 Responses to The Damage Abdulrahman Al-Awlaki Was Collateral To? Not Dead.

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Emptywheel Twitterverse
emptywheel And remember 702 collection is far more troublesome at FBI, bc it is (AFAWK) searched far more indiscriminately than at NSA.
emptywheel If that's true, it means NSA lied blatantly to @RonWyden about how often NSA does back door searches into USPs.
emptywheel .@Snowden describing how every single piece of intel is tagged. Suggests majority of US-collected comes from 702.
emptywheel @MicahZenko Fact check! How do you prove that? Don't necessarily disagree, but ...
emptywheel Mike German: Unless we know how various programs work together, we can't reform intelligence. #CFP2015 Notes DEA dragnet, DirtBoxes.
emptywheel RT @onekade: In the US many people accept the obviously true narrative that people fleeing Arab countries for Europe are refugees escaping …
emptywheel .@Snowden talks abt spying on US lawyers repping Indonesia. Note precisely that kind of spying is what we've indicted Chinese hackers for.
emptywheel .@Snowden talks abt giving up least intrusive approach. requirement to do so still on the books on FBI guidelines, but ignored.
emptywheel @dangillmor Yes. But the people in charge of counterintelligence have dodged responsibility. @Snowden
emptywheel Mike German raises Webster report on Ft Hood shooting as ex of FBI drowning in data. True, but think he also rec'ed more backdoor searches
emptywheel .@Snowden notes that no one has been held to account for OPM hack. Yep.
emptywheel Cyrpto, Drink! #CFP2015 @Snowden: Comey denouncing encryption like it's end of world.
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