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CIA using Saudi base for drone assassinations in Yemen!
CIA using Saudi base for drone assassinations in Yemen

Disclosure comes as architect of programme, John Brennan, prepares for Senate confirmation hearing to become CIA director, Wednesday 6 February 2013 13.17 GMT

Saudi Arabia has not responded to reports that the drone that killed US-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki in September 2011 was launched from the unnamed base. Photograph: Reuters

The CIA is secretly using an airbase in Saudi Arabia to conduct its controversial drone assassination campaign in neighbouring Yemen, according to reports in the US media.

Neither the Saudi government nor the country's media have responded to the reports revealing that the drones that killed the US-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki and his son in September 2011 and Said al-Shehri, a senior al-Qaida commander who died from his injuries last month, were launched from the unnamed base.

Iranian state media highlighted the story, which is also likely to be seized upon by jihadi groups. Saudi Arabia has previously publicly denied co-operating with the US to target al-Qaida in Yemen. Evidence of Saudi involvement risks complicating its relationship with the government in Sana'a and with Yemeni tribal leaders who control large parts of the country.

John Brennan. Photograph: Getty Images

Disclosure of the Saudi co-operation comes the day before the architect of the drone programme, John Brennan, appears before the US Senate for a confirmation hearing to become the CIA director.

The drone issue is sensitive in Saudi Arabia because of the unpopularity of US military bases, which were thought to have been largely removed after the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Saudi Arabia is home to the Muslim holy cities of Mecca and Medina and the continued presence of US troops after the 1991 Gulf war was one of the stated motivations behind al-Qaida's 9/11 terrorist attacks and the Khobar Towers bombing five years earlier.

The date of the 1998 US embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania was eight years to the day after US troops were first sent to the kingdom. Osama bin Laden interpreted the prophet Muhammad as banning the "permanent presence of infidels in Arabia".

The last significant US military presence was at the King Sultan airbase in Khobar in the eastern province. The forces there were relocated to Qatar.

The revelation is unlikely to make significant waves inside the kingdom. Saudi Arabia has no independent media but there is no sympathy for the jihadis of al-Qaida targeted in Yemen. Saudi Arabia conducted its own successful campaign against al-Qaida, in effect destroying it by 2004. Its remnants moved to Yemen and formed al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), perhaps the most active of the group's "franchises".

"These planes are unmanned so there will not be the same impact as when American planes were flying from the Prince Sultan base," Mustafa Alani of the Gulf Research Centre in Dubai told the Guardian. "No one will say that the Americans are occupying the country.

"I don't think people care about this any more. Generally it is accepted in the region that the planes operated by the Americans are not doing a bad job taking out al-Qaida leaders. There is no sympathy with al-Qaida except a very small minority. Even in Yemen apart from the collateral damage where civilians lose their life there is no objection to this type of operation.

"It has been rumoured for years that drones were taking off from the Arabian peninsula so this is not shocking news except for the Iranians and jihadis. Otherwise it is not going register in public opinion."

US government requests to American media to refrain from disclosing the location of the CIA base were made in part because it could potentially damage counter-terrorism collaboration with Saudi Arabia.

Shehri, deputy leader of AQAP, died last month of injuries sustained during a US drone strike in 2012.
"Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
"Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn
"If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and never will" - Frederick Douglass

Are we shocked to see Saudi-American forces solidifying the regime(s) there and here

Our friend the colonel (who was ordered to provide safe passage for a drug convoy in Vietnam) was asked by his military friends at the close of U.S. participation in that theater whether he would join them in "going to Saudi"

This recent and ongoing Arab Spring is the CIA using Saudi funds to arm and man the wave of replacements of secular regimes with Islamist ones

The key is the ultimate game--we can't speak of ultimate loyalty

Brennan who is a waterboarding droner also sides with Hagel-Kerry in the alignment with the 2004 CFR Brzezinski-Gates Iran: Time for a New Approach big-tent atomic club view

Droners are cowboys shooting wolves--and the people we hired to wear wolf costumes

Managing the revolutions has been the role of the sword and the shield

The role of U.S. ally is as dangerous as that of U.S. friend

But the Saudis own us

Lock stock and barrel
His program " Hardball " has just come on MSNBC and he, once again, is showing his true strips, by defending drone assassinations. In the build up to the U.S invasion of Iraq he, on MSNBC, was an outspoken supporter of the war, btw he & Phil Donahue had a very spirited debate on the channel way back when. Since the first few years of the war he has been for a long while selling himself as an outspoken critic of the Afgan & Iraq wars, in a couple of years from now he will be stating that he opposed the drone policy.

In 2004 old Chris stated that " Americans want someone that they can have a beer with ", meaning Bush. Chris is some " liberal ". Btw I voted for Nader in 2000. Way back when Matthews disliked the Clintons, now he drools over them, especially Hillary. IMO the Clintons, Gore, and Obama have done more than any other individuals to take " economic liberalism " out of the Democratic Party and has put the party in firmer hold of Wall Street and " The Military-Industrial Complex. Matthew thinks Obama is " center- left ". " Newspeak & Doublethink " is here.
The Secret' Saudi Drone Base Revealed By TheTimes Today Was Actually Reported Months Ago

ADRIAN CHEN2/06/13 6:00pmWhat is a secret drone base that's not actually a secret? The Washington Post and the New York Times revealed today that they were among a number of news organizations that participated in a blackout regarding the location of a "secret" CIA drone base in Saudia Arabia at the behest of the Obama Administration. But it turns out that base had already been reported months earlierincluding by Fox News. In the case of the Saudi drone base, the Times and thePost weren't protecting a state secret: They were helping the CIA bury an inconvenient story.
Reading the Times and Post stories on the Saudia Arabia drone base used by the CIA to assassinate American cleric Anwar al-awlaki in Yemen, one is left with the impression that its existence had become known for the first time today. In fact, the Times of London reported 18 months ago that the CIA was "launching daily missions with unmanned Predator aircraft from bases in Saudi Arabia, Oman, Djibouti and the United Arab Emirates." And a September 2011 story from reported similar news: A "senior U.S. military official" "confirmed the construction of a new airstrip in Saudi Arabia," which the U.S. was using to expand to its drone program. (It seems that all mention of Saudi Arabi was scrubbed from the storysometime after publication and replaced with the less-specific "Arabian Peninsula," though the original still viewable on the mobile version.)
The fact that the drone base was already reported renders the rationale behind the months-long blackout a farce. According to New York Times public editor Margaret Sullivan, New York Times managing editor Dean Baquet was swayed by the CIA's argument for witholding the story. Sullivan writes:
The government's rationale for asking that the location be withheld was this: Revealing it might jeopardize the existence of the base and harm counterterrorism efforts. "The Saudis might shut it down because the citizenry would be very upset," Baquet said.
Mr. Baquet added, "We have to balance that concern with reporting the news." The need to tell this particular story accurately trumped the government's concerns.
Mr. Baquet said he had a conversation with a C.I.A. official about a month ago and, at that time, agreed to continue withholding the location, as it had done for many months.
By Sullivan's account, the Times' revelation of the base's location today was almost an act of bravery, exposing a secret in the face of CIA pressure after much careful back-and-forth.
The AP offered a more dire rationale for withholding their story, saying in a statement that "U.S. officials contended that revealing the location would make the base a target of extremists, endangering people directly, and would badly endanger counterterror efforts."
But this wasn't about the security of Americans. Any terrorist who was serious about attacking American targets in Saudi Arabia could have used Google to learn of the new drone base months ago. The fact that the Times made no mention of a security concern in their rationale makes the security argument seem suspect. In cooperating with the blackout, news organizations weren't protecting a state secret: They were making the CIA's life easier by suppressing a story that was already out there. One which may have embarrassed their Saudi hosts, whose citizens might rightly be concerned that their soil was the launching pad for attacks in Yemen like the one reported by the Times today:
In one recent case, on Jan. 23, a drone strike in a village east of Sana killed a 21-year-old university student named Saleem Hussein Jamal and his cousin, a 33-year-old teacher named Ali Ali Nasser Jamal, who happened to have been traveling with him. According to relatives and neighbors of the two men, they were driving home from a nearby town called Jahana when five strangers offered to pay them for a ride. The drone-fired missile hit the vehicle, a twin-cab Toyota Hilux, just outside the village of Masnaa at about 9 p.m. The strangers were later identified in Yemeni news reports as members of Al Qaeda, though apparently not high-ranking ones.
After the strike, villagers were left to identify their two dead relatives from identity cards, scraps of clothing and the license plate of Mr. Jamal's Toyota; the seven bodies were shredded beyond recognition, as cellphone photos taken at the scene attest. "We found eyes, but there were no faces left," said Abdullah Faqih, a student who knew both of the dead cousins.

Quote:The Washington Post, New York Times and a Bunch of Other News Organizations Helped Keep a CIA Drone Base Secret

ADRIAN CHEN2/06/13 12:08pm
We would all like to know as much as we can about the Obama Administration's top-secret program of assassinating U.S. citizens with drones, so we can figure out how best not to get assassinated. But don't look to the pages of U.S. newspapers like the Washington Post, which cooperated with the Administration to cover-up the location of a key drone base.
In advance of CIA chief nominee John Brennan's big Senate confirmation hearing tomorrow, the New York Times reported today the existence of a CIA drone base in Saudi Arabia, from which was launched the drone strike that killed American radical Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki and his 16-year-old son in 2011. This prompted the Washington Post to follow up with its own story, which revealed the paper has been co-operating with "several news organizations" and the Obama Administration to keep the base secret for over year:
The Washington Post had refrained from disclosing the location at the request of the administration, which cited concern that exposing the facility would undermine operations against an al-Qaeda affiliate regarded as the network's most potent threat to the United States, as well as potentially damage counterterrorism collaboration with Saudi Arabia.
The Post learned Tuesday night that another news organization was planning to reveal the location of the base, effectively ending an informal arrangement among several news organizations that had been aware of the location for more than a year.
So the dearth of information about the U.S.'s scariest policy has been in part perpetrated by thePost and these other organization. The concern about undermining the hunt for terrorists might be legitimate, if the Obama Administration hadn't determined that even officially acknowledging the extrajudicial drone assassinations of U.S. citizens would "undermine" it. Bottom line: If you have any information about the drone program, it's best to give it to Gawker.

Update: The New York Times also withheld the location of the base for "many months," according to a blog post by the Times' Public Editor.
"The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it." Karl Marx

"He would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies. When asked in court whether she knew that Lord Astor had denied having sex with her.

“I think it would be a good idea” Ghandi, when asked about Western Civilisation.

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