Feb 11

The NSA’s Secret Role in the U.S. Assassination Program (The Intercept, Feb 10, 2014):

By Jeremy Scahill and Glenn Greenwald

The National Security Agency is using complex analysis of electronic surveillance, rather than human intelligence, as the primary method to locate targets for lethal drone strikes – an unreliable tactic that results in the deaths of innocent or unidentified people.

According to a former drone operator for the military’s Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) who also worked with the NSA, the agency often identifies targets based on controversial metadata analysis and cell-phone tracking technologies. Rather than confirming a target’s identity with operatives or informants on the ground, the CIA or the U.S. military then orders a strike based on the activity and location of the mobile phone a person is believed to be using.

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Dec 08

Clips from Oscar Short-listed Documentary Dirty Wars (Bill Moyers, Dec 6, 2013):

Dirty Wars has been selected as one of 15 finalists for best documentary by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The film follows investigative reporter Jeremy Scahill as he uncovers America’s covert wars on battlefields in countries including Afghanistan, Yemen and Somalia. Scahill, author of Dirty Wars: The World Is a Battlefield (read an excerpt), spoke with Bill Moyers in 2009 about what he described as the “dangerous US foreign policies” President Obama adopted from the Bush administration — themes explored in the film. See the trailer for Dirty Wars as well as two clips Scahill and his team made available to billmoyers.com.

Dirty Wars: Jeremy Scahill in Yemen. Scahill reports on a Tomahawk cruise missile strike in the rural Bedouin village of Al-Majalah in Shabwa Province, Yemen. In all, more than 40 people were killed, including 14 women and 21 children (clip courtesy of Dirty Wars). Warning: Some images may be disturbing to some viewers.

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Nov 26


‘Undeclared wars have been launched in countries across the globe’ … Jeremy Scahill (centre, in black) in a scene from Dirty Wars. Photograph: Sportsphoto Ltd/Allstar

Jeremy Scahill: the man exposing the US Dirty War (Guardian, Nov 24, 2013):

While making the documentary Dirty Wars, Scahill met the survivors of secret US hit squads in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia – and promised to tell their stories

Jeremy Scahill, whose provocative documentary Dirty Wars is released in the UK this week, has been described as a “progressive journalist” and an activist in the same mould as Glenn Greenwald. Is “progressive” a word he is comfortable with? “It’s not a term I would reject in terms of my personal politics,” he says, “but I see myself as an independent journalist and my mission is to try to tell stories about real people.”

Scahill’s critics write him off as an activist or an advocate, but he argues that all journalists have a point of view. “Oftentimes the ones who are activists on behalf of the state don’t get labelled as activists. People who accept the state’s version of events are considered objective journalists. People who question the state’s version of events, particularly in the face of overwhelming evidence that the state is either lying or involved in extra-legal activity, are tarred with the brush of being activists. There is a systematic smearing of anyone who questions the state, while people who are slavishly devoted to advocacy for the state somehow wear the crown of objectivity.”

The real people in the film – and the book, Dirty Wars: The World is a Battlefield, which accompanies it – are the victims of what are, in effect, US hit squads operating in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and other places where the American government is waging its “war on terror”. Starting with one murderous attack on an Afghan police chief and his family in eastern Afghanistan, Scahill widens the focus to portray an out-of-control US military, operating through a shadowy organisation called the Joint Special Operations Command, stalking an ever increasing number of targets in an apparently endless war. It is a compelling picture that tries to make sense of the spiralling number of drone strikes and targeted assassinations; tries, too, to prise a reaction from viewers who have been desensitised by a decade of such killings.

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Sep 30


US journalists Jeremy Scahill (L) and Glenn Greenwald

Greenwald, Scahill vow to unmask NSA’s ‘US assassination program’ (RT, Sep 30, 2013):

American investigative journalists Jeremy Scahill and Glenn Greenwald say they have teamed up to prepare a report on the National Security Agency’s role in what one of them described as the “US assassination program.”

“The connections between war and surveillance are clear. I don’t want to give too much away but Glenn and I are working on a project right now that has at its center how the National Security Agency plays a significant, central role in the US assassination program,” Scahill said in Rio de Janeiro, as cited by Associated Press.

Speaking to moviegoers at the Rio Film Festival, where an award-winning documentary based on his book was shown, Scahill said he will be working on the project with another journalist – Glenn Greenwald, who broke the story on the NSA leaker Edward Snowden in June.

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