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Daily News Analysis

Obama insists drone attacks will continue

Crescent International

The Obama regime will continue practicing assassinations.

Washington DC,

May 24, 2013, 09:35 EDT

In what was billed as a major policy speech about US ‘war on terror’, President Barack Obama disappointed many when he asserted the drone attacks would continue. Speaking at the US military-funded National Defense University in Washington on May 23, Obama said militants will be targeted if they pose an “imminent” threat to America and if they could not be captured. He insisted drone attacks were “legal” and would continue because America is still at war.

The endless war doctrine and the killing of innocents, however, did not go unchallenged even if Obama was addressing a friendly crown of war hawks. American anti-war activist and co-founder of Code Pink, Medea Benjamin interrupted Obama’s speech demanding that he apologize for all Muslims killed in assassination drone attacks and compensate families of innocent victims.

“Will you apologize for the thousands of Muslims that you have killed? Benjamin shouted, addressing Obama, as she was being dragged out of the auditorium in the finest ‘display of American democracy’ at work. “Will you compensate the families of innocent victims?”

Ms. Benjamin posed a series of questions to Obama while being dragged from the place: “Can you tell the Muslims that their lives are as precious as our lives? Can you take the drones out of the hands of the CIA? Can you stop the signature [terror drone] strikes that are killing people on the basis of suspicious activity?”

Medea Benjamin also demanded Obama shut down the notorious US military torture camp at Guantanamo Bay and release the captives held in indefinite detention there for 11 years without charge or trial. “You are commander in chief! You can close Guantanamo today! You can release those 86 prisoners,” she said, referring to the detainees that have already been cleared for release but still held captive at the gulag.

“It’s been 11 years,” Benjamin added. “Abide by the rule of law. You’re a constitutional lawyer!”

In response, Obama acknowledged that the points raised by Benjamin were “tough issues” that need attention but insisted, “obviously I do not agree with much of what she said.” He did not elaborate what he disagreed with but US secret service agents had in their own mind already dubbed Ms Benjamin a supporter of enemy combatants and dragged her out of the hall for intense interrogation.

Last October, Medea Benjamin and about 30 other members of the US anti-war movement had gone to Pakistan to join Imran Khan’s anti-drone peace march from Islamabad to North Waziristan. Army personnel blocked the huge convoy at Tank, a town bordering the tribal region. The American contingent went with the marchers all the way in a show of solidarity despite repeated warnings from American embassy personnel not to do so. The group was warned that the Pakistan Taliban had threatened to attack the marchers and that Americans were particularly vulnerable.

Medea Benjamin launched Code Pink as an anti-war women’s group in 2002. She has focused on assassination drone warfare in recent years, authoring a 2012 book titled “Drone Warfare: Killing by Remote Control.”


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