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The drone strike killing of a Kiwi

Written By: - Date published: 8:41 am, April 21st, 2014 - 280 comments
Categories: greens, john key, same old national, uncategorized, us politics, war - Tags:

Pakistan drone killing picture of child

Last November a New Zealander known as Muslim Bin John was killed by a US Drone strike. At the time he was apparently travelling in a colony of cars with Al Quaeda operatives in Yemen.

You would expect that the extra judicial killing of a New Zealander by a foreign state would attract some sort of response from the Government. One of their jobs is to try and help New Zealanders overseas.

Mr bin John’s death was met with disdain from our elected representatives. John Key basically said that Mr bin John was associating with terrorists and deserved it. In Parliament questions put to the Government by Kennedy Graham was met with cackling and heckling by the tory backbenchers. Stephen Joyce seemed completely disinterested that a New Zealander had been killed. The inhumanity of some of our elected representatives makes you wonder. You can watch the performance in this video.

Graham asked Joyce if any agency of the New Zealand Government provided information to the United States or its allies that could have assisted in the killing of the New Zealand citizen. Joyce answered a different question and said “there was no New Zealand involvement in, or prior awareness of, this operation at all.” This makes you wonder how the US found out about Mr bin John’s travel arrangements and location.

The grandmother of another man killed at the same time as Mr bin John was told by Australian Police that the attack occurred while the men were in a mosque. If so this makes the attack that much worse.

The use of drones do not cause the precision killing of bad guys only. The repeated murder of children in Pakistan caused artists to create the picture shown above to tell the drone operators that the next drone kill bug splat may be a child. The killing of people in a wedding party in Yemen a few months ago is an example of what happens. As Kennedy Graham mentioned opinion polls taken in Europe suggest most people there oppose the use of drones to kill.

Instead of obsequiously accepting these killings as being legitimate the Government should be asking the Americans to explain and stop. The random killing of innocent people is by definition a terrorist attack.

280 comments on “The drone strike killing of a Kiwi”

  1. Franklin w 1

    Yeah “……..nah

  2. Te Reo Putake 2

    Some interesting points raised there, however confusing the deaths of innocents and the death of a terrorist is shallow thinking. Muslim Bin John was the nom de Guerre of an unnamed Kiwi who chose to be a soldier for the most repressive army the world currently faces. I’m pleased he’s dead, because the world is a bit safer as a result.

    The attack was on a convoy of vehicles and he wasn’t the target. There was no mosque, that lie appears to be a bit of black propaganda from al Qaeda sympathisers. If I’m wrong, I’m sure somebody will provide the evidence.

    As for drones, they are not inherently wrong. They are proving to be a wonderfully useful piece of kit in a lot of ways. The use by the military is slightly more problematic, but if the cowards in al Qaeda and their various franchises didn’t hide behind women and children, there would be fewer civilian deaths. In fact, if al Queda simply gave up the fight to take the world’s men back to the middle ages, and the world’s women into domestic slavery, then there would be no use for drones attacks in the middle east at all.

    Drones aren’t the problem. Intolerant religious fanatics are the problem.

    • Descendant Of Sssmith 2.1

      While I agree with much of what you say there’s plenty of targets that fit your description or justification other than al Queda across the world.

      We’re (in the ally sense) not drone striking them.

      I think you muddy the waters by delving into the wider issue.

      Even assuming that he was a terrorist (which seems likely) it’s still a sad day when one of our citizens is killed in this way. I take no joy or pleasure from the knowledge that this man is dead any more than I would from using the death penalty to kill a murderer.

      I would hope that our government also had some remorse that this had occurred – terrorist or not, killed by an ally or not.

      If al Qaeda had blown up a NZ fighting for the US I’m sure a different response would have ensued.

    • freedom 2.2

      ” I’m sure somebody will provide the evidence.”

      TRP , What evidence do you have that he was a terrorist?
      Nothing, absolutely none, apart from some statements from the people who killed him!
      I know nothing about the person killed, neither do you.
      Though now, we all certainly know a lot more about you.

      Your frothing hate is almost as insulting to the human spirit as the indiscriminate slaughter that it supports. What is so brave about pressing a button from half a world away? Yes Drones are an interesting piece of kit and when you add hi-tech weapons they become effective and lethal instruments of death with the bonus of not risking the lives of the soldiers doing the slaughtering.
      Although the growing number of reports of Drone pilots who are seeking help/leaving the service/ having breakdowns etc certainly shows that the Drones’ implementation in the theatre of war is not without its casualties back home.

      But have you, even for a second, considered the source of the data? The USA is hardly the bastion of accurate intel. A country which has been repeatedly shown to use faked intel to start wars cannot and should not be trusted to tell its allies the truth about anything. What your comments make me wonder, is just how naive you really are?

      Putting aside the unknown details of this particular murder for a moment. You do realise that by merely being a male over the age of twelve you are officially a designated target in the ‘war zone’?

      What is so just and brave about that?

      • Te Reo Putake 2.2.1

        Um, I think the dead man’s name and occupation kinda give it away, freedom.

        • freedom 2.2.1.1

          If his occupation was ‘Terrorist’ then I am sure all rules of law were applied before the strike leading to his his death was signed off.

          Even you can’t believe that TRP.. ..
          though as mentioned above, to be a target you only have to be a male adult. If you are comfortable with a world like that then I pity you for your lack of respect for life, and for history.

          That aside, what really pisses me off about the blithe glibness in your little comment above is your use of “the dead man’s name”. What you are blatantly saying is being Muslim is reason enough to label a person a Terrorist. The bigotry behind that belief structure must be deeply engrained and I hope you do something about it. Hatred like that can really poison your outlook on life TRP.

          Put beside each other though I am not sure which is worse, the lack of intelligence expressed in your conviction that a name is a crime, or the complete disregard for your own right to life.

          • Te Reo Putake 2.2.1.1.1

            Wibble, wibble. The man chose to join a terrorist group and he got himself killed. Big whoop. Has it occurred to you that his family haven’t raised a fuss about his death? Could that be because they know him and his circumstances way better than you do? You can cavil all you want, but he knew what he was doing, what the risks were and what the outcome was likely to be.

            That he chose to malign the Islamic faith by going against its central premise of peace and respect isn’t my problem. Your constant straw man logical leaps are your problem.

            • Pascal's bookie 2.2.1.1.1.1

              Cheney couldn’t have said it better, well done.

            • Rika 2.2.1.1.1.2

              It’s not the fact he is a terrorisr that is the issue, it’s the indiscriminent killing that is perpetrated in the name of justice. There is no due process to assess the validity of striking and taking lives. On foreign, sovereign soil no less.

              Just think about it for a minute. A foreign country is in a sovereign nation and using missile strikes to kill supposed terrorists. They then put out propaganda to justify it. It is just wrong on all levels. Think how you would feel if it was happening in New Zealand.

          • Populuxe1 2.2.1.1.2

            Why yes, I do believe the rules of law were applied – it is, after all, a theatre of war. Bye bye nasty man. As for trying to paint TRP as an Islamaphobe, that just makes you sound like a dick. I have a lot of respect for Muslims, but the fact he’s hiding out with a bunch of Al-Qaeda in the Yemeni desert screams terrorist and I care not if he was a Kiwi or not.

    • Once was Pete 2.3

      Well said. Any one who puts themselves in harms way by aiding/assisting or fighting for terrorists who use women, children and adolescents as their front line assets deserves no sympathy.
      Was he a Kiwi or an Aussie? One would think that by fighting for Al Qaeda he had in a practical sense renounced his citizenship. I would hope that a Labour Govt would also show a lack of interest in this case. I for one don’t want to know his name.

      • Descendant Of Sssmith 2.3.1

        But he hadn’t renounced his citizenship as far as we know and Key’s comments would reinforce that probability.

        Interestingly when Amrey was executed at the end of WWII the rule of law and citizenship were very much in play to determine the legality of any execution.

        http://sabotagetimes.com/life/the-brits-who-fought-for-hitler/#_

        • Descendant Of Sssmith 2.3.1.1

          Here’s the article I was originally looking for.

          http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1259632/Hitlers-British-SS-Chilling-pictures-traitors-joined-Fuhrers-evil-unit–Union-Flag-sleeve.html

          When you fight to not have people treated with dignity by their governments and the rule of law to be followed you should always be wary of those who would espouse otherwise.

          “So what became of Courlander and his fellow BFC members? After capture, they were brought back to Britain for trial. Surprisingly, even though the men were convicted of assisting the enemy, most of their sentences were not as severe as might be expected.

          Though John Amery was hanged as the ringleader, Courlander received only a 15-year jail sentence, which was later cut in half.”

          Courlander by the way was a New Zealand soldier.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 2.3.2

        Who said anything about sympathy?

        These killings are strategically and ethically dubious, and that’s putting it mildly. If you think the New Zealand government has no role in that decision making process, do you think the UN should have anything to say about it? Or should the ethical and tactical decisions be left solely to the US?

        If your owner is busy sometime I wonder if he’d let me take you for a walk.

        • Once was Pete 2.3.2.1

          Abuse is the last refuge of the desperate. As for who said anything about ‘sympathy’ – I did! I stated that I could not feel sympathy for the plight (or words to that effect) of someone who aided terrorists.
          Can I take it from your response that you are ok with the Madrid and London train bombings or the 9/11 atrocity?
          I made no comment on the NZ govt or the UN so this doesn’t require a response.

          • One Anonymous Bloke 2.3.2.1.1

            “I would hope that a Labour Govt would also show a lack of interest in this case.”

            What you can take from my response is that I think your approach is shallow, naive and dangerous. The best thing to do with a known threat is not to ignore it, and certainly not to leave it up the the USA to decide what to do about it.

            • Once was Pete 2.3.2.1.1.1

              Can’t resist the name calling can you?
              How did asking the Afghan govt to turn over Osama Bin Laden work out? Rule of law is to be pursued if possible but what do you do when one party totally abandons ‘civil remedies’ such as in the 9/11 instance and is then shielded by sympathetic foreign govts? Look no further than Lockerbie for an example.
              You don’t say what course you would pursue, or is name calling and rhetoric the best you can muster?

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                Poor little sweety-flower, describing your approach as shallow naive and dangerous says nothing whatsoever about you, so where you get the “name calling” from I’m not sure.

                English incomprehension, perhaps?

                What is to be done? About Lockerbie? Well, for a kick off, the Iranian, Syrian, British and US perpetrators of the false accusations leveled at Abdelbaset al-Megrahi could be apprehended and put on trial.

                As for the “approach” I’d pursue, they’re approaches plural, poppet, up to and including military ones, but where I draw the line is our government washing its hands like Pontius Pilate and pretending they had nothing to do with it, or alternatively, abdicating their responsibility to the Pentagon.

                Now, are you going to engage on those points or are you going to carry on spewing out red herrings like a demented fishmonger?

                • Populuxe1

                  Do you have any evidence of false accusations leveled at Abdelbaset al-Megrahi?

                • Once was Pete

                  You forgot too mention that Elvis is in the building and that the moon landing took place on a movie set! These claims are at the same level as your protestations of innocence for the misbegotten barstard who provided his pregnant girlfriend with a bomb in a radio to blow up the flight over Lockerbie. This was probably one of the greatest forensic investigations in history, but never mind you just continue on with your nasty little fantasies.
                  My daughter worked as a lawyer for one of the firms destroyed in the 9/11 attack. The absolute carnage of that event was well understood by most people but what was not so visible was the mass destruction wrought on thousands of families. The echoes of that attack are still being heard today. This is what led us all to Afghanistan and later to drone attacks. So lets not give these nasty hate filled crazies more sympathy than they deserve. And lets not trivialise these tragic events such as Lockerbie with such brain farts.
                  So a NZ terrorist was collateral damage in a drone attack. He put himself there. No one else is responsible for his fate or his safety under those circumstances but him. If he is killed by a drone attack on a convoy he was supporting it is regrettable for his family but nothing else. One less misguided hate filled terrorist to deal with!
                  Drones may conjure up nasty futuristic images of oppressive intergalactic forces and all that, but a few well placed drone strikes is far preferable to on the ground military incursions.

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    My nasty little fantasies are simply what is being reported in the British media.

                    The Telegraph, for example, reports that

                    “Evidence gathered for the aborted appeal against Abdelbaset al-Megrahi’s conviction points finger at Iran and Syrian-based terrorist group”

                    10th March 2014.

                    US and British authorities knew this.

                    So my advice to you is get down off your high horse and go fuck yourself.

              • Murray Olsen

                “How did asking the Afghan govt to turn over Osama Bin Laden work out?”

                The Taleban offered to turn bin Laden over to a third nation for investigation and trial. Their offer was not considered. Afghanistan was invaded instead. Today, followers of bin Laden are active in Egypt, Syria, Libya, and Chechnya. That’s how that is turning out, and I’d say it’s not over yet.

                • Once was Pete

                  Thats not how I recollect events, but even if you are correct it is a good bet that the offer would have been to turn them over to a nation that would be unacceptable (eg Libya, Iran).

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    Murray is right: the Taleban made repeated offers to hand over ObL – before and after 9/11.

                    Sure I can cite the source – which is impeccable – but after the way you reacted to my last heads up I’m inclined to let you discover it on your own.

                  • Paul

                    It sounds like, whatever the evidence presented, you cannot get over your inbuilt prejudices.
                    By the way, I think most Libyans would love to the return to the country as it was under Gaddafi rather than the anarchic mess it is now after a western backed coup.
                    Watch out Ukraine.

    • Pascal's bookie 2.4

      TRP,

      The threat from AQ to the west is real, but small. There is zero chance that they will win world domination. their chance of winning even their stated aims of a reestablished caliphate are remote. Going to war against people based on their intent, but ignoring their capabilities, is pretty stupid, no? especially when the type of war you launch directly and clearly goes against the values you are trying to defend, No?

      The effect of drones is very much an open question. Does it help more than it hinders? That’s not a question you can push aside by going on about nasty AQ are. If the strategy doesn’t actually work on a strategic level, ie, if the net effect is to increase hatred for the west, then isn’t doing it stupid? (leaving aside for the moment the values we are supposed to be fighting for).

      If religious fanatics are such a threat that we should ignore all of that, and just kill them where we find them irrespective of the morality and strategic logic, then what of the dominionist and other such fanatical christian groups in the US. Those people support and carry out attacks on abortion clinics, they have deep propaganda links into the right of the GOP. Who do we send the killer robots after next?

      • Te Reo Putake 2.4.1

        Good points, P’s B. Though I don’t limit myself to just ‘the west’. I’m an internationalist; the damage AQ and acolytes do anywhere in the world is abhorrent to me. The christian fundies you refer to don’t need drone strikes; the US legal system usually does the job (with some reluctance in the more conservative states, I imagine). Drones still kill civilians, but not in the way that B52 carpet bombing does, and that was the norm just a generation ago.

    • Pascal's bookie 2.5

      “but if the cowards in al Qaeda and their various franchises didn’t hide behind women and children, there would be fewer civilian deaths.”

      I mean really TRP, this is beneath you.

      Most of the civilian deaths from drones are in attacks when they hit things like weddings, or funerals, or just the wrong thing completely. You don’t have to be an AQ sympathiser to acknowledge that guerrilla soldiers have families who they will see quite often.

      It’s not that they hide behind their families, but that they are the easiest to hit when they are with them. Grow up and own your shit. the family events are targeted because it’s known they will be there. Claiming they are hiding at weddings etc is just fucking cowardice. Either own the tactic, or disown it, but this pretending it’s not what happens is just pathetic.

      • Te Reo Putake 2.5.1

        Not factually correct, Bookie. There have been hundreds, maybe thousands of drone strikes, and the vast majority are of the kind that killed the kiwi terrorist. Primarily, the attacks focus on either rest or movement. That is, when the targets are out in the open, as was this case, or when they are holed up. The latter is where the civilian casualties happen for the most part, but that could be avoided if AQ leaders (who are well aware that they are targets) didn’t choose to hide behind women and children.

        • Descendant Of Sssmith 2.5.1.1

          “Not factually correct, Bookie. There have been hundreds, maybe thousands of drone strikes, and the vast majority are of the kind that killed the kiwi terrorist.”

          Seriously you wrote “factually correct” immediately before saying you don’t know how many drone strikes there have been (somewhere in the range of 200 to 900,000) and then saying although you don’t know how many the majority have been thus.

          • Te Reo Putake 2.5.1.1.1

            Yep. And I’m still correct despite your exaggerations. A quick google search suggests around 400 strikes, so I’m a tad more accurate than you. If you take the time to look up the deployment protocols, you’ll find that most are targeted at movement, rather than rest, hence I am likely to be correct in saying that the majority are of the kind that the post refers to. Strikes on moving targets (small groups walking, individual cars, or larger convoys) are far less likely to involve civilians, unless they are in urban areas at the time.

            • Descendant Of Sssmith 2.5.1.1.1.1

              I made no claims. T’was you that said maybe thousands.

              I simply pointed out that “factually correct” did not fit with a wide sprinkle of hundreds and thousands.

              I would also suggest “likely to be correct” is a pretty strong qualifier that takes it away from being a fact to a probability or an opinion.

            • freedom 2.5.1.1.1.2

              10 years. 475+ reported drone strikes. 3,100-4,700 people.

              http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/12/11/josh-begley-tweets-entire-history-of-u-s-drone-attacks.html

              And every one a Terrorist eh TRP? You know that is not true, so, what excuses will you fabricate for the ongoing murder of the growing numbers of innocents ?

              Or is it not your place to defend the actions of those whose methods you support?

              • Te Reo Putake

                “And every one a Terrorist eh TRP? You know that is not true, so, what excuses will you fabricate for the ongoing murder of the growing numbers of innocents ?”

                Um, you’re the one making the straw based, man shaped false claim, so it ain’t me who needs excuses, freedom.

                • freedom

                  below i said i won’t engage further but then saw “so it ain’t me who needs excuses, freedom.”
                  what am I in need of excuses for?
                  I am not the one defending the drone strikes.

                  You are the one who said Muslim Bin John was a muslim and deserves to die.
                  ” I think the dead man’s name and occupation kinda give it away”

                  Now if including the bit about his name was a big mistake and you are not as bigoted as that statement sounds then clarify, retract, fix it. But don’t go all Pete George on us and make out it is not your own words that created the situation.

                  Apart from that point I am unsure what else qualifies under the straw man accusation. I am a bit dim obviously, so perhaps you could explain it in small words

                  • freedom

                    I have to go TRP, be back much later. But I look forward to reading about whatever it is I supposedly need excuses for.

                    • Te Reo Putake

                      Lying that I believe that “everyone a terrorist” is true. Straw man.

                    • freedom

                      That is your big strawman? The context of my comment (2.5.1.1.1.2) clearly refers to the links I posted recording the drone strikes. I was obviously asking you if you believe that “every one”of the victims was a terrorist?

                      Note: “every one ” is what I wrote, not the “everyone” you have quoted.

                      Accurate transcription, and paying attention to context, is so important in comprehension, do you not agree TRP?

                      and i will repeat: ” if including the bit about his name was a big mistake and you are not as bigoted as that statement sounds then clarify, retract, fix it.”

                    • Te Reo Putake

                      “You are the one who said Muslim Bin John was a muslim and deserves to die.”

                      You lie.

                    • freedom

                      I did not lie. I simply extrapolated from what you said. You said that his name is enough criteria for a death action. ” I think the dead man’s name and occupation kinda give it away” I assume no one forced you to write it.

                      As that name can only be held by a Muslim, then you believe his being Muslim is reason enough for being targeted by a Drone. I know you don’t really believe that, so why did you write it?

                      All I am saying TRP is if you simply retract your statement about his name, this circuitous banality goes away. It is not pedantry it is right and wrong. When discussing justification for the assassination of a human being, suspected involvement in terrorism is a reasonable platform. A person’s name is not.

                    • Te Reo Putake

                      “You said that his name is enough criteria for a death action.”

                      No, I didn’t. You lie.

        • Pascal's bookie 2.5.1.2

          Not factually correct, Bookie.

          Feel free to disagree, obviously, but if you’re going to make claims like that, a link would be nice. The US admin has been real shy about talking about the number of civilian casualties, but you can google various attempts to find out. They vary widely. We know, however, that the pentagon isn’t a particularly reliable source, so please don;t bother citing them. I have a real good story to share about a piece of pentagon bullshit if that’s where we want to take it.

          Primarily, the attacks focus on either rest or movement.

          Secondarily I guess they focus on some quantum state that isn’t movement or rest?

          That is, when the targets are out in the open, as was this case, or when they are holed up. The latter is where the civilian casualties happen for the most part, but that could be avoided if AQ leaders (who are well aware that they are targets) didn’t choose to hide behind women and children.

          Ah, and here we get to the nut of it. “Holed up” that implies something not in evidence, so let’s work it through and take a crack at what seems more likely.

          Is it:
          i) That AQ operatives on the run are under a heap of pressure with the US hot on their tail, and they think, ‘the best place to “hide” and “hole up” is with my family’ and the US manages to find them, somehow, and bombs them not knowing about the family they are ‘hiding behind’, or

          ii) the US have very few clues where these experienced guerrillas are, but they do know where their families are, so they watch the families and monitor the comms of their tribes etc, and hit them when they eventually show up.

          Occams razor T, how does that work?

          • Te Reo Putake 2.5.1.2.1

            Occam works fine, and supports my position. Good to see you understand the fundamentals of movement and rest. In a military sense, movement is the likeliest engagement scenario (same in hunting, too). Initially, drone strikes on stationary (rest) targets led to significant civilian casualties and Obama appears to have ordered a shift to movement based engagement which, as I mentioned earlier, is far more combatant specific.

            • Pascal's bookie 2.5.1.2.1.1

              That’s completely non-responsive TRP, but if it makes any sense at all in relation to the specifics of this sub-thread, I’m assuming you are backing away from your claims that civilians only get killed because ‘terrorists hide behind them’.

              If not, feel free to elaborate by saying which of i or ii you think seems more likely.

              If you approve of the tactic, own it. Don’t pretend it is what it isn’t. I know you’re not an idiot, and the propaganda is completely ineffective on those in drone areas. The propaganda is aimed at us.

              • Te Reo Putake

                I never claimed that “civilians only get killed because ‘terrorists hide behind them’” That’s just just your minor comprehension fail.

                • Pascal's bookie

                  T’was a minor fail. So minor I’m surprised it distracted you from saying which of i or ii you think seems more likely.

                  But I can rephrase if you insist, using the words ‘significant numbers of civilians’.

                  • Te Reo Putake

                    iii. None of the above.

                    • Pascal's bookie

                      hehe, I deleted a snide sentence from that comment to the effect that maybe you’d prefer to wriggle around being non-responsive. Shouldn’t have, clearly.

      • Once was Pete 2.5.2

        Actually they do conceal themselves in civilian populations. To claim otherwise is just absurd.

    • andrew murray 2.6

      To Te Reo Putake. comment 1.

      I find your views completely infuriating,

      In the specific sense that it relates to this individual while in a mosque you are just wrong.
      Drones are the problem, and what can you offer to substantiate that this man was an intolerant religious fanatic.

      It seems to me that you are the intolerant fanatic who attempts to justify the murder of a man about whom you no nothing.

      • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) 2.6.1

        +1 Andrew Murray

      • Te Reo Putake 2.6.2

        Wasn’t in a mosque, Andrew. On a road. He was in al Qaeda. That’s yer intolerant religious fanaticism right there. Any other stuff you want cleared up?

        • Ad 2.6.2.1

          I’ve always wondered what the military alternative to drones would be when facing terrorist units. Anyone?

          • Colonial Viper 2.6.2.1.1

            Seriously?

            The strategy for taking terrorists groups apart has been known for 2000-3000 years.

            You isolate them from their support and their communities. You turn the people and the societies that they rely upon against them. You win the hearts and minds of the locals so that the terrorists have no where to turn to.

            What the US/UK has done over the last 10 years is the complete opposite of that.

            It’s a fucking joke. The “war against terror” has done nothing but drive backwards the interests of ordinary people in the west in utterly counter-productive ways, and recruit more and more Islamic support and sympathy for these “terrorist groups” than ever before.

    • Colonial Viper 2.7

      Muslim Bin John was the nom de Guerre of an unnamed Kiwi who chose to be a soldier for the most repressive army the world currently faces. I’m pleased he’s dead, because the world is a bit safer as a result.

      Where’s your evidence that this was the case?

      How do you know that this man has ever killed anyone or ever planned to kill anyone?

      Why was this NZer so dangerous that he wasn’t simply apprehended as a criminal and tried before a court of law, with a lawyer and all the legal protections and rights due to a NZ citizen?

      What is it which makes you jump to the defence of a military empire which frequently “reaches out” and kills citizens of other countries in a completely unaccountable and unquestionable manner?

      How is it you are such a fascist authoritarian fuckwit who happily sanctions the extra-judicial killing of NZ citizens who are posing no immediate demonstrable threat to anyone?

      Drones aren’t the problem. Intolerant religious fanatics are the problem.

      No, fuck wits like you willing to abrogate your own good judgement and our system of democratic and legal protections to sanction the illegal and unjustifiable extra-judicial killing of NZ citizens is the problem.

      You are the one who is the jackbooted fanatic, albeit a secular one. To you, the concept of civil rights and limitations to the power of military empire appears to only apply to the kind of people you approve of.

      I expect you believe that the ends justifies the means, no matter what those means are. Fuck off.

      • Populuxe1 2.7.1

        Where’s your evidence that this was the case?

        He was hanging out with a bunch of Al Qaeda in a vehichle convoy out in the middle of the Jordanian desert.

        How do you know that this man has ever killed anyone or ever planned to kill anyone?

        See above. Al Qaeda isn’t a social club. You don’t just turn up and hang out.

        Why was this NZer so dangerous that he wasn’t simply apprehended as a criminal and tried before a court of law, with a lawyer and all the legal protections and rights due to a NZ citizen?

        Last time I checked New Zealand jurisdiction didn’t extend to the middle of the Jordanian desert, and once someone joins a terrorist organisation I’m not sure why any decent human being should care what happens to them. In any case, do you really check the papers of every wasp when you destroy a wasp nest?

        What is it which makes you jump to the defence of a military empire which frequently “reaches out” and kills citizens of other countries in a completely unaccountable and unquestionable manner?

        Firstly it’s incredibly arrogant to assume that anyone just “jumped” to anything without considerable thought – but I suppose that’s your style – and what makes you jump to the defence of an organisation that exists only to inflict death and mutilation on innocent civilians?

        How is it you are such a fascist authoritarian fuckwit who happily sanctions the extra-judicial killing of NZ citizens who are posing no immediate demonstrable threat to anyone?

        Wow, you really love Al Qaeda, don’t you?

        Drones aren’t the problem. Intolerant religious fanatics are the problem.

        True. And Al Qaeda are intolerant religious fanatics.

        No, fuck wits like you willing to abrogate your own good judgement and our system of democratic and legal protections to sanction the illegal and unjustifiable extra-judicial killing of NZ citizens is the problem.

        Again most New Zealand citizens, including the Muslim ones, regard Al Qaeda with horror and disdain, and any New Zealand citizen who runs off to join that organisation has pretty much abrogated any rights to citizenship he or she had.

        You are the one who is the jackbooted fanatic, albeit a secular one. To you, the concept of civil rights and limitations to the power of military empire appears to only apply to the kind of people you approve of.

        Godwin. Godwin. ‘Murika is the Great White Satan. Blah blah blah. Yep, and no sane person approves of Al Qaeda, who by the way don’t give a flying fuck about civil rights or limitations of power.

        I expect you believe that the ends justifies the means, no matter what those means are. Fuck off.

        No, why don’t you fuck off for a change.

        • Te Reo Putake 2.7.1.1

          LOL! Cheers, Pop.

          • Colonial Viper 2.7.1.1.1

            Pop1 had nothing to offer apart from this guy was hanging out with a bunch of Al Qaeda so he deserved what he got.

            And I see you approve of the concept of guilt by association leading to summary execution in cold blood with zero recourse to the rule of law.

            • Populuxe1 2.7.1.1.1.2

              I suppose he won an all expenses paid holiday to hang out with al Qaedia in Yemen then? Guilt by association actually works rather well when you consider the background and context. Someone not of darstardly intent, unless maybe he’s a journalist (which this guy is not, and journalists have always known the score and are usually given short shrift by such groups anyway) does not generally seek out the company of known terrorist organisations. Occam’s razor, bitch, Occam’s razor. Suck it.

              • Colonial Viper

                There’s a bright new idea, let’s start doing the death penalty by “Occam’s Razor” and military execution through guilt by association.

                And while we’re at it let’s make up a new capital crime of “dastardly intent” (punishable by Hell Fire missile).

                • Populuxe1

                  People don’t end up on death row by choice, but they do end up in an al Qaeda camp by choice – your serve.

        • Colonial Viper 2.7.1.2

          Firstly it’s incredibly arrogant to assume that anyone just “jumped” to anything without considerable thought – but I suppose that’s your style – and what makes you jump to the defence of an organisation that exists only to inflict death and mutilation on innocent civilians?

          Only a dickhead like you would say something as stupid as that.

          I’m not jumping to the “defence” of Al Qaeda you twerp, I’m jumping to the defence of civil rights and the right not to be summarily militarily terminated at the whim of people a long way away who have been shown to frequently get it wrong and kill innocent civilians and children.

          • Populuxe1 2.7.1.2.1

            Evidence that they got it wrong in this case? As a question of ethics, why should individuals who achieve their goals by exclusively terrorising civilians be granted civil rights – it’s a bit hard to apply it to transnational terror organisations. You at least have some recourse with the US military, so yes it does actually sound like you are defending al-Qaeda.
            Maybe I’m just a little defensive because a schoolmate was killed in the Bali bombing – that tends to make me jaundiced about granting these animals any sort of human dignity.

            • Colonial Viper 2.7.1.2.1.1

              Maybe I’m just a little defensive because a schoolmate was killed in the Bali bombing – that tends to make me jaundiced about granting these animals any sort of human dignity.

              I’m sorry to hear about your schoolmate. ‘An eye for an eye’ – leads nowhere but to the land of the blind.

              As a question of ethics, why should individuals who achieve their goals by exclusively terrorising civilians be granted civil rights

              Civil rights are an absolute applying to every person. There is no other choice. Because when government feels enabled to withdraw from observing civil rights whenever it wants, then that government has taken a big step back towards the practice of absolutism.

      • Chooky 2.7.2

        +100 CV

  3. Descendant Of Sssmith 3

    I was appalled at the support this government showed for the summary killing of New Zealander in this way.

    That we have sunk so low that our own government is satisfied when a friendly ally kills a NZ citizen without any of the rights one would expect a citizen of this country to be awarded.

    The poor, the sick, the misguided, the criminal, the ……

    We’re all just cannon fodder to these pricks.

    I can’t find them indifferent in any way shape or form.

    It’s totally consistent with their corporatist, fascist interests.

    I’m off to watch “Sleeping Dogs” now.

    • Chooky 3.1

      +100…drone attacks are a crime against humanity….drone attacks should be brought before the World Court …at the moment it is murder with impunity…just imagine if these attacks were on American citizens in the USA

      • blue leopard 3.1.1

        +1000 Descendant of Sssmith and Chooky

      • Once was Pete 3.1.2

        Well some ‘drones’ flew into the World Trade Centre!

        • Chooky 3.1.2.1

          who flew the planes in?….and why?…did they really take down whole buildings, or were other ‘explosives’ used? ….who was behind this ?…..there is a lot of uncertainty and controversy about this, certainly it was used to justify wars in Afghanistan and Iraq

          ….it does not justify drone strikes against people in the Middle East, Pakistan and North Africa…accusations of terrorism must be decided in open international courts of law

          • Populuxe1 3.1.2.1.1

            Oh look, a Truther

            • vto 3.1.2.1.1.1

              Oh look, a Jewish American extremist

            • Paul 3.1.2.1.1.2

              Michael Ruppert
              R.I.P.
              Fearless investigator.
              Name callers might say he was a truther.
              His book Crossing the Rubicon should be read by many of the knockers here.

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                Nah, life’s too short to waste time reading Truthers. If the rest of Ruppert’s body of work stands up I’m sure someone credible will repeat it.

                • Chooky

                  @ One Anonymous Bloke ….What is a “Truther”?….Do you prefer Liars.???? …..or Cynics?

                  Give me a “Fearless investigator” any day..someone who fearlessly searches for the truth ….they may come to conclusions with which one would disagree but truth seeking is something to be respected ….and a part of what it means to be a moral human….it makes the dialectic meaningful

                  http://wordvandals.files.wordpress.com/2011/12/key-terms-from-paulo-freire.pdf

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    Truthers come in varying shapes and sizes. There are Moon Landing Truthers, 9/11 Truthers, Climate Truthers, HAARP Truthers, Vaccine truthers, Chemtrail Truthers, early New Zealand settlement truthers, and for all I know there are still some Elvis Truthers out there.

                    Is Erik von Daniken still alive?

                    What they have in common is no clear narrative, which is to say that individual members of any group of truthers make wildly divergent claims on the same subject while insisting that they seek “the Truth”. They also have a tendency to cherry pick and/or manufacture evidence, and insist that contradictory evidence is invalid.

                    For further study I recommend Umberto Eco’s Foucault’s Pendulum.

                    • Chooky

                      You still havent told me what a Truther is ..1).do they hold their view of Truth dogmatically ie it is the Truth and nothing but the Truth?…or 2)is a Truther a pejorative term for someone who has views different to your own?

                      ….if 1) this could be that anyone who holds any view whatsoever can be a Truther eg the Pope, Catholicism, Zionism, Sexism, homophobia , those who believe in Climate Change , Darwins Theory of Evolution, Marxism, Scientism ( science above all else), those who believe in a diet of carrots…. so it is not the belief but how one holds it that is important

                      …if 2) it is you who think you have the handle on the Truth and therefore anyone else who you dont agree with or has views that you consider outrageous or wrong is a Truther in your view …however in this case it is you who becomes the Truther

                      …..so really I think the term Truther is meaningless

                      ….it is an open mind that counts ( a la Popper)

        • One Anonymous Bloke 3.1.2.2

          Once was Pete, your argument amounts to “he did it first” – a dubious claim at best, to say nothing of the ethical void.

          • Once was Pete 3.1.2.2.1

            You have taken too many angry pills! Can’t you recognise black humour!

    • Populuxe1 3.2

      If he goes off as a mercenary for an enemy army he ceases to be our problem.

      • Colonial Viper 3.2.1

        Prove that he was a mercernary. Prove that Al Qaeda is an “enemy army.”

        Or more to the point, do you just like seeing people you don’t like get fragged with no recourse to the rule of law or civil rights?

        • Not Petey 3.2.1.1

          Well the Yemeni government is fairly convinced that it was a bad mob that was dealt to.

          http://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/news/article.cfm?c_id=2&objectid=11242302

          • Colonial Viper 3.2.1.1.1

            The Yemeni govt just got the US to reach out with it’s advanced capabilities and destroy some political and military enemies on it’s own soil. How nice and convenient for it.

            BTW the line in the piece which is absolutely bogus is how Saudi Arabia assisted in taking apart Al Qaeda in Yemen. For starters, Saudi support has been absolutely crucial for the funding and growth of extremist militant islam around the ME.

            • Not Petey 3.2.1.1.1.1

              Even the Guardian and al Jazeera are reporting similar tales.

              http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/apr/16/australian-new-zealander-killed-drone-yemen

              http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/apr/21/al-qaida-militants-yemen-us-drones

              http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/spotlight/yemen/

              And before you point out that the current Yemeni government are no angels – absolutely agree with you but I do believe they are probably better than an Al Qaeda backed type Taliban.

              I not sure what all the angst is over muslim bin john, I’m sure he must have been aware of the dangers in his course of action in southern Yemen.

              • Colonial Viper

                It’s not “angst” – it’s a clear statement that the arbitrary extra-judicial military execution of NZers by a foreign power is utterly unacceptable.

                • Not Petey

                  Oh I don’t think he considered himself a NZer.

                  And I hardly think it was arbitrary when their appears to be very strong suggestion he was setting himself up with some less than pleasant types in Yemen.

              • Paul

                Human Rights Watch report on Yemen

                US carried out at least 22 drone strikes on alleged AQAP members as of mid-September, according to the New America Foundation and the United Kingdom-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism. The strikes killed between 72 and 139 people, most of them alleged militants, but lack of access to most targeted areas and the unwillingness of the United States to provide information on attacks, prevented full inquiries, including regarding civilian casualties.

                A Human Rights Watch investigation of six US targeted killing operations in Yemen—one in 2009 and the rest in 2012-13—found two attacks were unlawfully indiscriminate and four others raised serious laws-of-war concerns.

    • Ad 3.3

      It was an excellent signal to any other NZ tryhard fucknuckle who wants to lock and load with AQ Arabia.

  4. One Anonymous Bloke 4

    As Idiot Savant said, the most disturbing thing about this is the way Joyce deflected responsibility, saying the decision on legality was a matter for the killers.

  5. jh 5

    He wasn’t a “New Zealander”.
    As for the rule of law that is only one option. Killing of innocents is the only (valid) objection. A lot of the noise is anti-western.

    • Descendant Of Sssmith 5.1

      The Prime Minister thinks he was.

      “Key said it took some time to positively identify the New Zealander using DNA samples. He said officials wouldn’t be naming the man, but that he was known as “Muslim bin John.” Key said he understands that bin John, who was also an Australian national, was buried in Yemen.

      He said bin John had been the subject of a New Zealand intelligence warrant, a document that authorizes agencies to spy on an individual.

      “I think all that shows is the things that I have been saying for quite some time — that we need our intelligence agencies to track our people, that there are New Zealanders who go and put themselves in harm’s way — have all been proven to be correct,” Key said.”

      As for the rule of law that is only one option.

      Are you suggesting the drone strike was illegal? I can’t see anyone else suggesting that.

      I would suggest that expressing remorse for a NZ’er killed, regardless of the circumstances, is decidedly pro-Western.

      • jh 5.1.1

        What I meant was that while he was(?) technically a NZr his behaviour means a voluntary expulsion.

        “Are you suggesting the drone strike was illegal?”
        Elsewhere the rule of law was brought up. Which raises the question “whose law?”

        “I would suggest that expressing remorse for a NZ’er killed, regardless of the circumstances, is decidedly pro-Western.”

        I would suggest it is bleeding heart and likely anti-western, the sort of sentiment that Valerie Morse types would hold.

    • Pascal's bookie 5.2

      The rule of law is the ‘western’ option though.

      • Descendant Of Sssmith 5.2.1

        My point exactly.

      • Populuxe1 5.2.2

        Well no, it’s the UN option. Is everyone in the UN western? No. Is everyone in the Security Council western? No. Is everyone on the Permanent Security Council even western – it would come as a shock to China and Russia that you thought so.

        • Pascal's bookie 5.2.2.1

          Never said that Pop, I was replying to a comment that said the rule of law is but one of many options we have, and that those insisting on it are possibly anti-western.

          You could have seen this by scrolling up and not being a dick.

          • Populuxe1 5.2.2.1.1

            Sorry, I’m a bit thick – when someone says “The rule of law is the ‘western’ option though.” without some indicator of sarcasm, I take them at their face value.

            • Pascal's bookie 5.2.2.1.1.1

              I wasn’t being sarcastic Pop. I was pointing out that the rule of law is the option the west uses, or does when it lives up to its traditional virtues. It is in this sense, ‘the western way’. That doesn’t mean the UN, or other people, don’t use it.

              • Populuxe1

                Surely if other countries agree to it it becomes less “western” and more “international consensus”?

                • Pascal's bookie

                  Jesus wept Pops. Look at the comment I was replying to. The fact that the rule of law is an “international consensus” doesn’t mean it isn’t what the West claims to follow.

                  ffs. Christianity says “don’t murder people”. That makes it the Christian position on murder. It is also plenty of other people’s position on murder. Those statements are not inconsistent.

                  If someone says however, that ‘not murdering is only one of the options’, and that ‘people quibbling about murder are possibly just motivated by anti-christian bias’, then it’s them that has issues with logic and stuff; not the person who says that “not murdering is the christian position”.

                  A third party who jumped into that conversation saying, ‘Buddhists would be shocked to hear you say that ‘not murdering’ is a christian position!’, would be completely missing the point and being massive bell-end to boot.

  6. Pascal's bookie 6

    ACT candidate for the rotten borough of Epsom reveals his views on dues process, here:

    https://t.co/LwPl7lqFks

    his principle is that those who do not observe due process, do not deserve it in return. I don’t know if he applies this consistently, or if it’s just a convenient excuse for not giving a shit.

    • felix 6.1

      I wonder if ACT see any irony in adopting the old-testament “eye for an eye” doctrine to deal with fundamentalist extremists.

      • Pascal's bookie 6.1.1

        Eye for a suspected eye.

        • Descendant Of Sssmith 6.1.1.1

          Bearing in mind of course that an “eye for an eye” was never about revenge but about restricting overly severe punishment and also about false witness.

          If you accused someone of a crime and your allegation was found to be false then you could receive the punishment that the accused would have received. This prevented people for instance of simply accusing people of adultery or blasphemy because the accuser themselves – if it was false and malicious – could then be stoned to death.

          It was about stopping the victim increasing conflict with the perpetrators family by seeking retribution and having things escalate and letting the decision be made by a third party eg the court.

          • greywarbler 6.1.1.1.1

            DoSS
            Thanks for elucidating this commonly quoted term with the context that needs to be understood when used.

            I think that Israelis should make this their prime control on activity with the Palestinians. So if the Palestinians kill or injure someone in Israel, the Israelis retaliate in the same way. Not good, it extends the conflict but makes the statement that Israelis want. And stops whole families, settlements, vineyards, being wiped out in asymetrical attacks.

            • Descendant Of Sssmith 6.1.1.1.1.1

              No what would happen would be that a third party would determine the punishment having weighed it all up.

              Neither would retaliate in the way you are suggesting when the other killed or injured someone.

  7. Pascal's bookie 7

    AQ has largely moved on to what they call ‘the near enemy’. They are fighting insurgencies against various governments, most of them also horrid.

    The whole ‘terrorist’ thing is useless as a descriptor in any but a propaganda sense. If you think drone attacks don’t fit the definition of terrorism, you should read the various studies about the effects they are having in the areas they are being used.

    eg the quote from a child, one of whose parents was killed by accident, that they fear blue skies now, because clouds stop the drones from operating.

    If you think that the US doesn’t factor the psychological effects, on the population, of drones into the rationale for using them, then you have a really low expectation of their thinking, and you probably shouldn’t be ok with that.

    Hands up if you think AQ can’t replace the operatives we kill, at let’s say a million bucks a pop, pretty damn quick. It’s a policy designed to show results for domestic consumption. “look we are killing AQ”. The damage to Q of these kills is surely negligible.

  8. Draco T Bastard 8

    The random killing of innocent people is by definition a terrorist attack.

    The US is the biggest Rogue State in the world but you won’t get any politician saying that.

    • Paul 8.1

      Apart from a few politicians of principle like Tony Benn, George Galloway and Keith Locke.

  9. Bill 9

    But the extra judicial killing of innocent adults and children is by definition a terrorist act.

    Extra judicial killings of anyone, guilty or innocent isn’t, or shouldn’t, be acceptable. end

    • Te Reo Putake 9.1

      ‘Cept these are not extra judicial killings. Death in war is intra judicial (ie there are rules around it, such as the Geneva conventions).

      • Paul 9.1.1

        Don’t believe war has been officially declared?

        • Te Reo Putake 9.1.1.1

          It certainly was declared by OBL, in two fatwas 15 years ago. And there doesn’t seem to be any significant opposition at a international government or judicial level to treating the response to AQ as a military exercise and the US and allies have consistently used the rules of military engagement, including military prisons and courts.

          • freedom 9.1.1.1.1

            “the US and allies have consistently used the rules of military engagement, including military prisons and courts” all true, except for when they haven’t!

            I don’t see any point engaging further with a mind so lost in the labyrinth of war and propaganda. One thing I do see however, are some very long odds on you ever facing the reality that on so many levels but especially in regards to the US war machine, you are being lied to every single day.

            • Te Reo Putake 9.1.1.1.1.1

              “you are being lied to every single day.”

              I didn’t call you a liar, freedom. But if dem cap fit …

              • freedom

                Are you taking the act on tour?

                awesome material really.

                I hear the Rainbow Mat Theatre is quite a venue.

          • Paul 9.1.1.1.2

            “the US and allies have consistently used the rules of military engagement, including military prisons and courts”
            You are kidding, right?
            Heard of these?

            Guantanamo Bay
            Extraordinary Rendition
            Abu Ghraib prison
            Bagram torture and prisoner abuse

            • Te Reo Putake 9.1.1.1.2.1

              Yep, heard of them all. All run under the military, as I said. And, in the case of the Abu Ghraib abuses, prosecuted under military law. What did you think your point was again?

              • Pascal's bookie

                Heard of James Steele TRP?

                http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/video/2013/mar/06/james-steele-america-iraq-video

                You fine with all that? or when you said the US operates under rules of military engagement, were you being a bit sneaky and saying that if they had a ROE that says death squads and torture are fine, then that’s plying by the rules?

                And where are the torture prosecutions TRP? Clear cut cases under various conventions ratified by the US, and yet Cheney, Bush, and various juniors still walking around free as birds.

                • Te Reo Putake

                  Yes, they are walking around free. And that’s because they committed no crime. They were authorised under the laws of the USA to do what they did. OK, it’s reprehensible, amoral behaviour, but, apparently, it ain’t illegal. If you don’t like it, move to the States, get citizenship, start a campaign and change the law. Good luck to you, Sir, good luck!

                  Obama is also covered by the same laws. He’s allowed to use drones. Hell, I’d say that he probably has to use them, give them cost/benefit ratio. To not use a weapon that has no likelihood of death or injury to those in control of it would probably be seen as treasonous. It’s funny, but all through the comments some people have repeatedly said that the use of drones is a war crime. But nobody is able to say why. They’re smart bombs, but in terms of morality, they’re as dumb as bullets. The ‘criminality’ doesn’t attach itself to the weapon, but those firing the weapon.

                  Also, to think in historical terms, I’m picking that the first use of aerial bombing in WWI was also met with distaste buy some who would have considered it too remote, too mechanical. Not quite cricket if you can’t see the whites of their eyes.

                  • Pascal's bookie

                    but, apparently, it ain’t illegal.

                    What do you base that on?

                    Here’s my agument that tortire is illegal in the US, it’s real simple:

                    “USA is signatory to UN conventions and treaties on torture. They are ratified by congress. That makes them, under the US constitution, supreme law.”

                    And the cost benefit ratio of drones? What is the value of these hundreds of targets? What is it doing with regard to the US’s image in countries where AQ is recruiting? What about blowback from using drones in places like yemen, where AQ is fighting an insurgency against the government, rather than against anything that conceivably be considered ‘the west’.

                    Here’s a piece on one of the legal issues (there are loads more, particularly look in Europe where the EU has had votes on the legality or otherwise of drone attacks in various theatres) This piece is specifically about Yemen, and relates to the reasons the US maintains that it is not a party in the war there, even though it’s there on the ground supporting yemeni troops in counter insurgency ops:

                    http://www.businessinsider.com.au/the-legality-of-us-drone-strikes-hinges-on-one-key-distinction-2013-10

                    You know what? Sometimes, we get a bit carried away, and keep on doing things beyond the point where it makes any sense, simply because we don’t know how to stop. At what point do we start to worry about blowback, for example. At what point do we ask ‘does what we are doing make sense?’ nd “what are we becoming’

                  • Ad

                    That’s the good point to argue: is greater precision and lower social impact worth the moral distancing of drones’ operation?

                    The big broad alternatives are:
                    – trial by international law
                    – boots on the ground
                    – on the ground squads
                    – let the cell networks alone
                    – drones and other unmanned vehicles

                    For any but that last one, anyone?

              • Paul

                One you chose to ignore.
                Why do you come on this site if you are not prepared to debate?

          • Ad 9.1.1.1.3

            Just grinding myself through Salman Rushdie’s memoirs and the impact on his life of the fatwa. He was a canary in the coalmine for attacks from radical Islam.

      • Disraeli Gladstone 9.1.2

        I would be interested in how people would react if this person had died during a ground raid by American special forces that were stopping an envoy of Al-Qaeda. Or the Yemen military.

        Is it the drone that is causing the outrage? Or is it the blurring of lines between war and conflict?

        • One Anonymous Bloke 9.1.2.1

          In this specific case, for me, it’s the apparent NZ governmental indifference, and the distinct whiff of deceit.

          They pull in two directions. I think the NZ government, directly or indirectly supplied information to the USA about Muslim bin John, which makes Joyce – or the PM – a liar.

          That is hardly an indifferent stance, knowing the risks MbJ exposed himself to.

          The alternative, as presented by Joyce, is that we leave the decision up to the USA – or whoever.

          Which is worse?

          • Disraeli Gladstone 9.1.2.1.1

            From my understanding, this wasn’t a strike on Muslim Bin John. This was a strike on a convoy of Al-Qaeda that Bin John was in.

            I’d be more troubled if it turns out that this was a hit on an individual. At the moment, it just looks like an act of conflict/war between the US and Al-Qaeda, which Muslim Bin John is a part of.

            Which means that until there’s some evidence to the contrary, the whole discussion is a lot broader than the National Government (in fact, they’re almost irrelevant to the discussion). It becomes an issue of Geneva/Hague Conventions/International Law around warfare and the use of drones.

            • Descendant Of Sssmith 9.1.2.1.1.1

              My interest is not the justification of the war/conflict but the lack of concern from our government that a New Zealander was killed as collateral damage – regardless of what side he was on, whether he was a combatant or not.

              With Anzac Day coming up we should be regretting that any NZ’er is tied up in fighting on a front-line.

              • I never regret the death of a fascist.

              • Disraeli Gladstone

                Maybe if there was a trend of New Zealanders going off to die for Islamic extremists then the government should rightly be concerned at the societal reasons.

                But one man deciding to join Al-Qaeda and flying off to Yemen to fight for them and then dying?

                I don’t really think the government should necessarily be having a good long look at themselves in the mirror, quite frankly.

                • Descendant Of Sssmith

                  But they did respond – the problem was that they think it’s OK.

                  • Disraeli Gladstone

                    If what happened is that:

                    There was an Al-Qaeda convoy;
                    The US decided to take it out with the consent of the Yemen government;
                    The attack did not kill civilians; and
                    It just so happens one of the Al-Qaeda operatives was a New Zealand national.

                    I think that is actually acceptable. Now if:

                    This was an illegal drone attack; or
                    It killed civilians.

                    I would like the government to be critical of the US. But not because it killed a New Zealand national but because it’s killed innocent civilians or undermined another nation’s sovereignty.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Unless there are exceptional circumstances, the NZ government has a duty to inform foreign governments of any credible threat posed by one of its citizens.

                      I don’t think we’ve quite reached the point where we regard acts of war against the USA as being a good thing, therefore we have a duty to inform the USA of any credible threats our citizens pose.

                      What sticks in my craw is Joyce standing there denying it. Nothing to do with us, he says, and instead of clapping him in irons the “Speaker” calls for the next question.

                • Pascal's bookie

                  But one man deciding to join Al-Qaeda and flying off to Yemen to fight for them and then dying?

                  Few suppositions there, and that’s where I think people are concerned. we have been given no information about this at all, other than not to worry about it, everything is in order.

                  We are told that the NZ Int. agencies have been on this guy for a while, we are not told what they know, why they looked at him in the first place, what they don’t know, why he hasn’t had any charges laid against him regarding ‘joining AQ’ which would be breach of our terrorism laws.

                  If we aren’t going to use those laws, and instead just reckon that people are AQ so sweet as kill ’em and close the file, then mebbe our law should reflect that.

                  Yemen is in a civil war, it’s where the ‘arab spring’ kicked off. How do we know he joined AQ and went to fight for AQ, rather than went to fight in Yemen and found himself fighting alongside AQ? And should we care about the difference? If not, why not?

                  The questions being posed of the NZ government are about ‘what happened?’ and ‘show your work’, could you explain why those questions are unreasonable, given what we know about the not so stellar performance of Int Agencies?

                • Populuxe1

                  Indeed it’s slightly unusual that US foreign policy has done us any kind of favour at all.

              • Populuxe1

                If he was in Al-Qaeda he was hardly “collateral”

              • Once was Pete

                With all due respect why should we be concerned with any terrorist that is killed as collateral damage? It is a big stretch to say that terrorists fight on the front line. There are strict rules about how to engage the enemy in conventional warfare. These rules do not include acts of terror on civilian populations or hiding amongst such populations. No respect is due and by the way Anzac Day has gone. Did you mean the ANZACS Gallipoli commemorations?

                • Pascal's bookie

                  With all due respect why should we be concerned with any terrorist that is killed as collateral damage?

                  Because if you accept “trust us he was a bad guy, and no we don’t have any questions to answer, nor answers to give” as the government’s position in such case, then how can you know when they fuck it up?

                  • Once was Pete

                    I don’t necessarily accept that, but it is a big leap to get outraged over a NZ’er who has deliberately put himself in harms way. At the moment there is no evidence of anything ‘untoward’ so why get so agitated?

                    • Pascal's bookie

                      Because there is no evidence given in support. Should it be up to citizens to prove the Intel Agencies have got it wrong when someone is killed, or for them to demonstrate they got it right. with something more than:

                      “He’s AQ, look where he is! Must be AQ. His family aren;t saying anything, what more do you want?”

                      That’s all they’ve given us as far as I have seen. Don;t get me wrong, AQ suck, but they aren’t a huge threat to our civilisation. They really aren’t. The soviet union, that was a threat. These fucking guys? pffft. We’ll manage.

                      Given that we’ll manage, I think we, as citizens, ought to pay a bit of attention to the sorts of shit our governments are up to.

                    • Populuxe1

                      Because ‘Murika is the Great White Satan, or somesuch generalised cliche stereotype. Are you new?

                    • Pascal's bookie

                      Yeah sure Pop. Honest as ever.

                    • Populuxe1

                      I’ll change my mind the next time someone bothers to complain about the human rights records of an Asian, African or Middle Eastern country.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      How about people who cite the Law Society reporting on human rights issues in New Zealand?

                  • Populuxe1

                    Because good guys like to hang out in the desert with terrorists for the good of their health?

                    • Pascal's bookie

                      More than happy to discuss things with you pop, but if you can’t follow simple conversations and lines of thought, it makes things awkward.

                      Feel free to explain what you mean, or do your trademark flounce, as you see fit.

                    • Populuxe1

                      Even without Occam’s razor I cannot see any reason for this man to seek out the company of al Qaeda operatives without nefarious intent, unless:

                      (1) he was a journalist, however journalists know the risks they take, usually notify officials of their intent, and have a habit of killing journalists as American spies.

                      (2) he was a hostage, which he doesn’t appear to have been.

                      (3) he was a nutter trying to exact revenge on al Qaeda – in which case you take your life in your hands anyway

                      (4) he was working for our military or the US military – which isn’t the case.

                      Is this not so?

                    • Pascal's bookie

                      I agree that none of those things are likely*, and that this guy probably was in Yemen to fight some sort of jihad.

                      But the point I’ve been making, in a few places, is that we are entitled to ask for, and see, some evidence.

                      That’s important even if the guy is the worst of the worst, because the next guy might not be.

                      Accidents happen right? Intel agencies get things wrong. More often than we’d like to think.

                      So, when we have a policy of extra judicial killing for certain classes of people, it’s important that we see evidence that a person killed was in that class, even when it seems highly likely that he was.

                      Because when they stuff up, and kill the wrong person, (maybe they misinterpret some evidence about an individual, maybe they get a name wrong, or some other stuff up that happens too often), we need a precedent in place that evidence is produced. Because otherwise they will cover it up, and say, “He was AQ, take it to the bank”

                      It’s one reason we have the rule of law, accountability. It;s why we have trials, even for people who are stone cold obviously guilty. The presentation of evidence is important, even in cases where it’s totes obvious, as a safeguard, as a matter of principle.

                      What we’ve got here is a secret determination made that he was AQ, (no arrest warrant issued to limit his movement though, why is that? was there not enough evidence? Who knows, they are not saying anything), an assurance that he was AQ with no supporting evidence given, and statements that the NZ govt is fine with the US determinations and execution.

                      How will that fly in a case where they kill the wrong guy?

                      There is a 5 though;

                      (5) He went to Yemen to fight jihad against the Yemeni government, a fight which AQAP is involved in.

                      We don’t know the likelihood of that, because we aren’t being told anything.

                    • Not Petey

                      It would be interesting to hear from his family as they will likely know more background, but saying that they are more than likely utterly devastated and grieving at the moment.

                      Until that time we probably won’t have anything else to go on but the assurances of the respective governments.

            • One Anonymous Bloke 9.1.2.1.1.2

              DG, so on what planet does Steven Joyce get to declare that we should leave it up to the USA? This is a question of international law, not presidential whim.

              Further, if only one eye gets to have an opinion, where’s the value in being one of the other four?

              • Disraeli Gladstone

                Again, this is the assumption that they knew Muslim Bin John was there. I don’t have the facts so please correct me, but it sounds like the US had intelligence of an Al-Qaeda convoy and not necessarily of all the individuals there.

                They were attacking the convoy, not Bin John personally.

                So I’m not sure why New Zealand would have been consulted personally. Yemen should have, definitely. I’m not sure if they were, they have cooperated with the US in the past on drone strikes. If Yemen didn’t give permission, that’s where I start having very grave concerns.

                If Yemen gave permission and the US went after a convoy of Al-Qaeda militants, the fact that one of them turned out to be a New Zealand national, well, I don’t quite see the big fuss. He went to Yemen and joined Al-Qaeda.

                The fuss should be over whether civilians were killed or whether Yemen was consulted since it was in their borders.

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  OK I take your point about MbJ, but I’m not talking about whether NZ was consulted about this particular operation. I would expect them to have been involved at some point, however, considering what we know of GCSB capabilities.

                  I would not expect them to abdicate all decision making on the overall legality of US conduct to the US, especially considering the fifth Labour government’s commitment to the UN.

                  • Disraeli Gladstone

                    Well, if they knew Muslim Bin John was in that convoy, then yes, I think the government should have been involved in the process.

                    I’m not sure if that knowledge was there or not, though. The government knew he was in Yemen. They might not have known he was in that specific convoy. If they didn’t, well, it’s not like we could expect New Zealand to be asked to sanction every single drone attack.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Which isn’t my concern. Please read my last paragraph again.

                    • Disraeli Gladstone

                      Well, I don’t quite see what New Zealand can do.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Really? So you believe Joyce when he said we had no involvement?

                    • Populuxe1

                      I seriously doubt the US saw John bin Liner or whatever his name was as a high priority target. Methnks you are letting Kiwi parochialism get the better of you.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Methinks you are letting a lack of English comprehension completely distort your understanding of this discussion, and in particular, my argument. Not for the first time.

                    • Populuxe1

                      I understand just fine. Just because a kiwi of radical leanings has gone off to Yemen is not a justification for us to ask the US to keep an eye out for him while they’re wasting bad guys.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      “…ask the US to keep an eye out for him…”

                      🙄

                    • Colonial Viper

                      not a justification for us to ask the US to keep an eye out for him while they’re wasting bad guys.

                      Sure, that’s exactly what is going on here, the US is out there “wasting bad guys” who hate freedom and democracy and everything decent.

  10. …the attack occurred while the men were in a mosque. If so this makes the attack that much worse.

    It’s not so, but if were, how would it make the attack that much worse? Dead people don’t care where they were killed. The significant bit is the “killed” part.

    Stephen Joyce seemed completely disinterested that a New Zealander had been killed.

    Uninterested. And I expect he was, with good reason. Mr bin John went off to war, and got killed; there’s no reason it should be of interest to anyone apart from his friends and relatives. The NZ government didn’t require his participation in said war and bears no responsibility. In legal terms there’s nothing there either – the bloke joined irregular forces waging war against the US, and irregulars aren’t protected by the Geneva conventions. You’re allowed to kill them. For anyone other than his friends and relatives, his death can be filed either under “Good riddance” or “Who cares,” depending on how strongly you feel about Al Qaida.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 10.1

      So, no role for the NZ government in any of that? There’s a strong likelihood that MbJ was one of the eighty-eight illegally spied upon individuals. No room for any kind of local judicial oversight?

      No recognition of the fact that a government that commits crimes undermines its own legitimacy, thereby justifying resistance, and that resistance can so easily be recast as terrorism?

      We let the US make the decisions?

      • Populuxe1 10.1.1

        The fact that he turned out to be Al Qaeda rather suggests observing him might well have been legitimate, does it not? Or do you live in a world where unicorns shit rainbows. I wonder if your heart would be bleeding all over the carpet if Prieur and Mafart had died during apprehension?

        • felix 10.1.1.1

          The spying was illegitimate because it was outside of what our laws allowed. That some of the people illegally spied on may have committed crimes may well make you feel better about your government committing others, but it’s immaterial to the issue of the legality of the spying.

          I would have been utterly disgusted if Prieur and Mafart had been murdered by our government. That goes for anyone.

          • Populuxe1 10.1.1.1.1

            I didn’t say “murdered” and one doesn’t “murder” enemy combatants in a theatre of war any more then they would consider blowing you up “murder”.

            • felix 10.1.1.1.1.1

              Don’t remember Prier and Mafart being apprehended in a theatre of war.

              Mind you it’s a few hours since you typed that, so probably no longer relevant to the discussion.

              • Populuxe1

                They were, however, engaged in a terrorist act. Run away and play with someone who can be bothered fighting you.

                • felix

                  So you’re taking back the “theatre of war” bollocks then. Good lad.

                  Now seeing as we’re talking about peacetime again, let’s get the rest of your story straight too. When you said “died during apprehension” did you mean killed by some NZ govt agency or did you mean something else?

                • Populuxe1

                  Why? Did Al Qaeda sign a peace treaty with the US and promise never to be naughty again?

                  • felix

                    Keep up Pop. Marfar and Prieur were arrested in peacetime.

                    When you said “died during apprehension” did you mean killed by a NZ govt agency or did you mean something else?

                    • Populuxe1

                      Sigh. Whatever. You win. Have the last word. Yawn.

                    • felix

                      You could easily have it yourself by answering the question.

                    • not Petey

                      ha ha good old felix can’t resist.

                    • felix

                      haha not petey can’t follow a thread.

                      Pop has all the time and energy in the world to fling his bullshit around but as soon as he’s asked to back any of it up it’s all a bore and a chore and a bit beneath him.

                      🙄

                    • not Petey

                      haha still can’t resist having the last word, you really are priceless

                    • felix

                      Um petey, it’s not a competition to see who can stop typing first.

                      Pop is still here too, commenting on other threads. He could Pop in to this one and answer the question whenever he likes, but he doesn’t seem to want to.

                      He does it all the time and I’m happy to keep pointing that out. Obviously I’d prefer if he just answered the questions honestly but history shows that there’s approximately fuck all chance of that.

                    • Not Petey

                      ha ha you’re a riot.

                    • felix

                      That’s right. And you’re an authoritarian suck-up, and Pop is a coward.

                    • Not Petey

                      ha ha what a chap.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 10.1.1.2

          Populuxe1, who said anything about bleeding hearts? Is there any chance you want to discuss the implications of New Zealand government involvement in the killing of one of its own citizens?

          Mr. Joyce says we had nothing to do with it and it’s up to the USA to determine the legality of the matter. I think he might have misled the House. The art of war is deception, but I’m not aware that the House is a combat area.

          • Populuxe1 10.1.1.2.1

            Remind me how the New Zealand government is involved in US military decisions in the Middle East again?

            • One Anonymous Bloke 10.1.1.2.1.1

              To the extent that they share information, for example.

              • Populuxe1

                Remind me of why we are a fount of information on the Middle East again?

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  Yes, they’d have no information on MbJ whatsoever, him being a New Zealand citizen an’ all. What was I thinking?

                  Please note that this does not mean I think they would necessarily have shared information during this particular operation. Please also note that the only possible way you could have taken me to mean that is if you haven’t read any of the other discussions in this thread.

                  • Populuxe1

                    There is a reason why I wince when news reports talk about natural disasters and terrorist attacks overseas and NZ news always has to bring up the status of the one kiwi who was there – because it’s largely irrelevant. A thousand dead, and this kiwi half a mile away tells his story. If you seriously think getting Kiwi bin Liner was a priority for the Americans, you are derranged. They don’t especially care about nationality of Al Qaeda unless they are high ranking.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      So therefore the New Zealand government shared no information about him?

                      There’s a reason I wince when I read your reply, and it’s that your comprehension of English seems completely munted.

                    • Populuxe1

                      Like what? “Oh, by the way, there’s a slightly dodgy kiwi roaming around in the Jordan somewhere – keep an eye out for him, theres a chap”?

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Who said anything about keeping an eye out for him?

                    • Populuxe1

                      Then what would be the point of giving the US that information?

      • Psycho Milt 10.1.2

        We let the US make the decisions about killing people at war with it, yes. On what basis could it be otherwise?

        A government that commits crimes does undermine its legitimacy, but which government has committed a crime here?

        • One Anonymous Bloke 10.1.2.1

          I gave the specific example of illegal surveillance.

          As for the basis for NZ involvement, I’d be a little surprised if learning about his activities hadn’t resulted in at least some correspondence between NZ and the USA.

          If so, we are involved, and I’d prefer that it be on somewhat firmer ground than deflection and outright abdication.

          • Psycho Milt 10.1.2.1.1

            Having the GCSB spy on NZ citizens rather than have the SIS do it was illegal, yes. However:

            It’s hard to reconcile that crime with the claim that government crimes justify armed resistance. Seriously, it’s OK to start killing people because Clark and Key misused the GCSB?
            The NZ government would have been derelict in its duty if it wasn’t keeping an eye on this fascist nutcase.

            Re correspondence with the US government about him, I expect there was. He was an adherent of a murderous totalitarian ideology and joined a group at war with one of our allies (and us, when it comes down to it). No doubt we gave that ally as much information as we could about the creep.

            • One Anonymous Bloke 10.1.2.1.1.1

              Requiring the government to account for its actions in this matter is not the same as expressing support for fascist nutcases.

            • Sanctuary 10.1.2.1.1.2

              “… He was an adherent of a murderous totalitarian ideology and joined a group at war with one of our allies (and us, when it comes down to it). No doubt we gave that ally as much information as we could about the creep…”

              We at war? Who with? Are you elevating Osama Bin-Laden to lofty equality with the leaders of nation states? Someone has been drinking the Fox News koolaid. But it is exactly this fiction that we and our allies are engaged in a global Asymmetric war against an identifiable foe that leads to people concluding extra-judicial assassinations of our citizens by a foreign government in a third country is entirely reasonable and justifiable. But really, by repeating this canard you are just a modern day wild eyed captain Nolan screeching “There is your enemy! There are your guns!” inciting us to go down the wrong path to disaster.

              Osama Bin-Laden and his followers got lucky once. The response should have always been a legal and policing one, backed up by military power when judicial processes are exhausted. Bin-Laden was a common criminal, not the leader of a warmaking nation. By throwing out the rule of law, we are condoning regularised murder and the mainstreaming of torture.

              It is worth quoting Sir William Holdsworth (A History of English Law, vol 5, 3rd ed (1945), pp 194-195 in full:

              “We have seen that the use of torture, though illegal by the common law, was justified by virtue of the extraordinary power of the crown which could, in times of emergency, override the common law. We shall see that Coke in the earlier part of his career admitted the existence of this extraordinary power. He therefore saw no objection to the use of torture thus authorized. But we shall see that his views as to the existence of this extraordinary power changed, when the constitutional controversies of the seventeenth century had made it clear that the existence of any extraordinary power in the crown was incompatible with the liberty of the subject. It is not surprising therefore, that, in his later works, he states broadly that all torture is illegal. It always had been illegal by the common law, and the authority under which it had been supposed to be legalized he now denied. When we consider the revolting brutality of the continental criminal procedure, when we remember that this brutality was sometimes practised in England by the authority of the extraordinary power of the crown, we cannot but agree that this single result of the rejection of any authority other than that of the common law is almost the most valuable of the many consequences of that rejection. Torture was not indeed practised so systematically in England as on the continent; but the fact that it was possible to have recourse to it, the fact that the most powerful court in the land sanctioned it, was bound sooner or later to have a demoralising effect upon all those who had prisoners in their power. Once torture has become acclimatized in a legal system it spreads like an infectious disease. It saves the labour of investigation. It hardens and brutalizes those who have become accustomed to use it.”

              Holdsworth is speaking of torture, but only because he never imagined a government may seek to extra-judicially murder it’s citizens. THe primciple he so eloquently makes – “…that the existence of any extraordinary power in the crown (is) incompatible with the liberty of the subject…” holds true for extra-judicial murder by drone. After all, having established the precedent, how long before drone strikes take out the cars of known drug dealers and gangsters on the streets of Bogota or Miami, without bothering with a court process?

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                Thanks Sanctuary.

              • We at war? Who with?

                The fact that we haven’t declared war on anyone doesn’t mean no-one’s declared war on us. As far as Al Qaida’s concerned, they are fighting a war against western civilisation – we can pretend they’re not if we like, but they’re quite certain about it in their own minds.

                Are you elevating Osama Bin-Laden to lofty equality with the leaders of nation states?

                Irregular forces don’t involve the leaders of nation states – that doesn’t make their military activities any less of a war.

                The response should have always been a legal and policing one, backed up by military power when judicial processes are exhausted.

                I agree. The US government went straight to treating these guys as engaging in partisan warfare, which jumped a bunch of steps in my opinion. But if it came down to arguing it in court, they’d definitely be able to make a case for how they’ve handled things – good luck to Al Qaida trying to make a case for anything they’ve done.

                Holdsworth is speaking of torture, but only because he never imagined a government may seek to extra-judicially murder it’s citizens.

                Really? Throughout history, if you take up arms against the government you find it will cheerfully have its minions shoot you dead. That hasn’t changed.

                …having established the precedent, how long before drone strikes take out the cars of known drug dealers and gangsters on the streets of Bogota or Miami, without bothering with a court process?

                That’s the slippery-slope fallacy, eg: having established the precedent of forming an Armed Offenders Squad, how long before cops are gunning down litterers and jaywalkers?

      • Once was Pete 10.1.3

        Well I would expect any NZ govt to ‘spy’ on such a person. There is judicial oversight. You have to get a warrant from a judge.
        There is no crime committed here by the NZ government; no threat to the governments legitimacy and no basis for any resistance. Nonsense really!

        • One Anonymous Bloke 10.1.3.1

          So would I. I’d also “expect” them to be diligent in their involvement and to obey the law, international and domestic, knowing the potential consequences for the citizen in question.

          And when asked about it in Parliament I’d expect them to tell the truth about it.

          I note you’ve gone from saying you’d expect a Labour govt to ignore the issue to saying that you’d expect them to keep a close eye. Thankyou for coming around to my point of view.

          • Once was Pete 10.1.3.1.1

            Logic isn’t your strong suit is it! I said that I would hope that any Labour Govt also refrained from public statements (or words to that effect). That is a completely separate issue from NZ’s security and intelligence services keeping tabs on Jon Bin.

            • One Anonymous Bloke 10.1.3.1.1.1

              You said “I would hope that a Labour Govt would also show a lack of interest in this case.”

              Nothing whatsoever about refraining from public statements.

              I note that the current government has made public statements.

              I further note that this issue has been raised by the Greens, not Labour.

              Speaking of logic…

  11. Chooky 11

    how do you define a terrorist?…who has the authority to define a terrorist?

    ….was Nelson Mandela a terrorist?

    ….was Mahatma Gandhi a terrorist?

    ….both defied the authorities of their times…some called them terrorists …..some said they were freedom fighters…lately they have been called saints

    ….the only way to judge whether a person is a terrorist or not is before a world court ….drone strikes defy natural justice and are a crime against humanity…countries which met out these executions without a fair trial should be called before the World Court.

    …at the moment drone strikes are carried out against people in the Middle East and Pakistan….who will be next?…which countries will be next? …will New Zealanders in New Zealand be attacked by drones?

    Labour needs to make its voice heard on this issue …particularly when New Zealanders are being killed

    • Disraeli Gladstone 11.1

      Drones strikes are not inherently against the law and it is silly and hyperbolic to say that they are. It’s the use of drones that can become illegal. International law has grounds for drone strikes to be used. The issue is whether the United States is overstepping these laws, not whether drone strikes are crimes against humanity.

      • Chooky 11.1.1

        drone strikes are cowardly, they are perpetrated by anonymous cowards , they are perpetrated by larger more powerful nations against smaller nations, they create a climate of fear and terrorism ..they are summary executions without trial ….they kill innocent civilians

        imo …they are crimes against humanity

        • Disraeli Gladstone 11.1.1.1

          Yes, but laws aren’t judged by the opinions of lay people. Crimes against humanity are real things, not just a term we throw about when upset.

          I actually partially agree with you that some US drones strikes are probably arguably “war crimes”. But I’m not sure they amount to the very high threshold that international law has created for crimes against humanity.

          Furthermore, again, it is specific use of drones by the US rather than the concept of drone warfare. For instance, in an area of just war (legal term rather than moral), where civilians are not harmed, drone strikes would be completely acceptable under international law.

          • Chooky 11.1.1.1.1

            “Yes, but laws aren’t judged by the opinions of lay people. Crimes against humanity are real things, not just a term we throw about when upset.”

            ‘Crimes against humanity’ are decided by lay people…if enough people around the world find attack and kill drone strikes on people without trial abhorrent ….then it is a crime against humanity…international law will have to change…or it will be regarded as ass

            • Disraeli Gladstone 11.1.1.1.1.1

              Fine.

              It is likely not a crime against humanity -at the moment under current international law-. And considering one of the basic principles of rule of law is that against retrospective law changes…

              • Descendant Of Sssmith

                So when the US makes it’s own rules up where does international law fit in?

                http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disposition_Matrix

                “Glenn Greenwald has written that “the central role played by the NCTC in determining who should be killed [is] rather odious… the NCTC operates a gigantic data-mining operation, in which all sorts of information about innocent Americans is systematically monitored, stored, and analyzed”.

                Greenwald concludes that the Disposition Matrix has established “simultaneously a surveillance state and a secretive, unaccountable judicial body that analyzes who you are and then decrees what should be done with you, how you should be “disposed” of, beyond the reach of any minimal accountability or transparency”.

                Former counter-terrorism specialist and military intelligence officer Philip Giraldi has criticized the disposition matrix’s “everyday” killing of targets with what he calls “little or no evidence,” leaving the White house “completely unaccountable.”

                • Disraeli Gladstone

                  But that’s not going against what I said. I recognise that there there are flaws with the US drone programme and it probably has committed war crimes. I said that in my post above. The issue is that international law itself has always been somewhat toothless. It’s the nature of the beast.

                  My point to Chooky is that drone attacks themselves are not inherently illegal. There are situations where they are legal under international law.

    • Once was Pete 11.2

      Mandela and Ghandi did not engage in widespread acts of violence against civilian populations, and even if they participated in organisations that were suspect by their own acts and words they could not be compared to the sort of people under discussion here. That comparison is just outrageous and does you no credit.
      The whole point about drone attacks is that these terrorists flee to supporting rogue states and therefore will never come before a court.
      Just to be clear, I do not favour indiscriminate drone attacks, but where there is good intelligence about a known terrorist and that person is not in the midst of a civilian population then I have no problem with a surgical strike.
      If labour makes it’s voice heard on this as you are urging it will be a very large mistake. Leave that to the loonies like Keith Locke.

      • Paul 11.2.1

        Mandela was involved in a violent actions against the apartheid regime.
        Fact.
        Do you know what you’re talking about?

      • Chooky 11.2.2

        maybe there needs to be a movement around the world to oppose drone strikes ( like the anti-nuclear movement)

        …led by the humanitarian and peace principles of Mahatma Ghandi and Nelson Mandela

        ….i think there are enough people around the world who find drone assassinations vile….both cowardly and crimes against humanity… a violation of natural justice ….an evil perpetrated by the strong on the weak which does no service to World Peace

        ….anyone or any nation that is suspected of terrorism should be tried in an international public World court of Justice

        …the Labour Party and all people of good conscience should support this …otherwise we have authoritarian fascism

        • Populuxe1 11.2.2.1

          Would that be Mahatma Ghandi when he was relying on the inability of the British to kill all of the Indians to make his plan work and the Nelson Mandela who blew up petrol stations and headed an organisation known for such charming innovations as “necklacing”? Arguably it all came to a gretaer good in the end, but can we not pretend they were angels?
          It’s a bit hard to “suspect” someone of terrorism until after they have already maimed and murdered civilians, so bless, but no. Meanwhile while you are running around trying to build a case against them, they are running around blowing up more school busses.

          • Chooky 11.2.2.1.1

            @ Pop…and I thought you were edumicated ….i am a bad speller but really “busses” is spelt buses

            ….and I see you are trying desperately hard to make a case for both Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela as being terrorists and not committed to Peace at all

            …the rest of what you say has got me completely lost…so maybe you are also drunk like the Pete or Not Pete or Once Was Pete?…you know , the one who is having a Pete identity crisis

            • Populuxe1 11.2.2.1.1.1

              Mocking typos is not addressing the argument and an ignorance of history is no excuse.

    • Not Petey 11.3

      Are you for real ?

      Your demented rantings seem to run the gamut from ant vaccination lunacy through 911 truther through the bizarre diatribe above.

      Edit…… what Pete said above

      • Chooky 11.3.1

        ‘Not Petey’… ‘Once was Pete’…..?!….what the fuck?….Pete for Pete’s sake!

        …are you having and identity crisis?…are you Pete or not a Pete?

  12. jh 12

    What was Valerie doing with that bottle?
    How many people arguing against drone strikes are on Valerie’s side? If they weren’t in the discussion it would be more objective.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 12.1

      Yes, because the best way to resolve differences is to deny people the right to speak.

  13. woodpecker 13

    There is an excellent interview with Jeremy Scahill on youtube called “a conversation with Jeremy Scahill”. Sorry have no idea on how to link. Its fifty minutes long, but very worth it if you have the g’s

  14. Molly 14

    For anyone interested in watching just how accurate the identification of targets are, and the “collateral damage” – (or number of civilians killed) are counted watch Jemima Khan’s documentary that was release for free public viewing online last year. Unmanned: America’s Drone Wars .

    Of particular interest is the inclusion of a former drone pilot. And the realisation that many people are living their lives IN THEIR OWN COUNTRIES, and have the constant fear that they or their loved ones will be targeted. If terrorism was to be clearly defined, surely the constant fear of random attacks from the sky would be one definition.

  15. BEATINGTHEBOKS 15

    A couple of points. Bin whatever was unlikely to have been a regular kiwi who was tramping around in sandals with a back pack on doing his OE, and just stumbling into a nest of Al Qaeda terrorists in Yemen sharing a hookah at the same time a hellfire missile found its way to their neck of the woods. He probably isn’t the first or last, these people exist in our communities.

    At the root of most terrorism in the middle east is resentment of the local peoples to American support of the State of Israel. They are too small and weak to even contemplate conventional war, so they have adopted asymmetrical warfare, which includes terrorist acts to weaken the political resolve of the US. A conventional war response was made initially to 911. The financial cost to the US was massive, which also suited bin laden et al. The drone strike is a weapon born out of this current situation where by targets can be taken out relatively cheaply. Drone attacks need to be viewed in this context. Sickening, deadly, cost effective. War in the modern era, both sides are terrorists. The winner gets to be called a freedom fighter.

    Having said all that Key could have said something like … we regret the situation where a New Zealander lost their life in Yemen recently, hopefully more details will emerge with time etc.

    • Socialist Paddy 15.1

      Do you think that the fact their kids and their wedding parties and their people attending funerals are getting killed by drones may be even a minor reason for them to hate the United States? And do you think that if the US spent its money on alleviating poverty and educating kids it may achieve all of its goals?

      • Populuxe1 15.1.1

        Pretty sure none of that was happening prior to 9/11, well except when Johnny Taliban was doing it.

        • Paul 15.1.1.1

          Doing what?
          Bombing wedding parties or alleviating poverty?

          • Populuxe1 15.1.1.1.1

            Both actually.

            • felix 15.1.1.1.1.1

              That’s funny, I seem to recall the U.S. doing quite a bit of bombing in the middle east through the 90s.

              Could be wrong though, my memory isn’t what it used to be. Probably only bombed bad people anyway.

              • Populuxe1

                Nope, just Iraq, not the whole Middle East, mainly because that prankster Saddam had invade Kuwait.

                • felix

                  Sorry Pop, I didn’t realise Iraq wasn’t “in the middle east”. Silly me.

                  Also didn’t realise that we had agreed not to mention bombings that had some-reason-or-other for happening. I really am a silly goose.

                  Still, at least you’ve taken back the whole ‘no-one done got bombed before 9/11’ bollocks.

                  • Populuxe1

                    You may have missed the rather important use of the word “whole” in that sentence. Whatever. I don’t care. You are just an obstreperous attention seeker anyway.

                    • felix

                      Err Pop, you inserted the word “whole” to change the meaning of something I had said.

                      Put the goalposts back, there’s a good chap.

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  ObL cited the bombing of Lebanon as a reason for the 9/11 attacks.

                  …we saw the injustice of the US-Israeli alliance against our people in Palestine and Lebanon…While I was looking at those destroyed towers in Lebanon, it occurred to me to punish the unjust one in a similar manner by destroying towers in the United States so that it would feel some of what we felt and to be deterred from killing our children and women…

                  • Populuxe1

                    Israel is a mad dog – because of the Holocaust the west cannot easily extricate itself from an alliance with Israel, or at least must be very cautious about criticising Israel, but I don’t see that makes the US a legitimate target over Lebanon.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Tell that to the people who can clearly see the US manufacturer’s address on a fragment of the bomb that just killed their family.

      • BEATINGTHEBOKS 15.1.2

        They might hate the US fair enough. But the people responsible for bringing the US to their country by perpetrating 911 are responsible for starting the strikes. 3000 civilian deaths at the world trade center were always going to be avenged. Drone strikes will continue. We have about as much chance of stopping them as Obama does of stopping Putin, who I am sure is dropping a load of cash into the Ukraine to improve Russian literacy.

        • felix 15.1.2.1

          Oh ok.

          So we just need to kill 3000 people and we’re all sweet?

          How many are we up to?

          • Hopelessly deluded muso 15.1.2.1.1

            We should stop any actions against thes groups in the Middle East and they will likely stop their activities as well.

        • Molly 15.1.2.2

          Your convoluted reasoning seems to be “Doesn’t matter WHO caused 9/11, just drone strike people who live in the same country of those who MAY sympathise with those who did. Oh yes, – and keep doing it until the US feels better”.

          Do you see the huge flaw in this?

  16. vto 16

    No sympathy for any kiwis killed in this “war on terror”, be they civilians, innocents, enrolled in the muslim army or the queen of englands army.

    None.

    The NZ “soldiers” who have been killed so far in this sham deserved it. Suck it up. They don’t even fucking fight for us, the fight for the crown, the british crown, who has consistently shat on my people for generations now. Scum.

    Ha fucking ha.

    • Tinfoilhat 16.1

      Bit early in the day to be so filled with hate isn’t it?

      • vto 16.1.1

        A mirror can be hard on the eyes sometimes can’t it

        • tinfoilhat 16.1.1.1

          I suspect you’re trying to come across as a hard and edgy commenter, I suspect you need some more practice.

    • Molly 16.2

      vto – from memory the NZ Army was made up of approx 40% Māori, and that is possibly one of the reasons they are better at managing diversity than in the civilian population.

      I would also prefer to have them rather than the trigger happy armed defenders squad in any domestic incident. And until the National Government committed them to active combat, a lot of their efforts domestically and internationally was rebuilding and helping recover from natural disasters. Northland used to have an annual grommets operation run by the army, to practise field hospital work and provide a community service, dental work similar.

      For an example of how sidelined this govt views the army, for the Chch earthquake they were set up to protect buildings – and not help residents.

      Your justified anger should be directed to our government and those who make the decisions, and not to the soldiers who, most likely joined with the best of intentions. (And often, with no other pathway to get trained or educated in terms of trades.)

      • Chooky 16.2.1

        +100 Molly…..and drones are undermining the integrity of peace keeping soldiers, many of whom are/ were idealistic young men

        ….it is the warmongering politicians that are shiite….many of whom were never idealistic youth , but have always operated on cynicism, craven greed and self aggrandisement

        • Not Petey 16.2.1.1

          “….it is the warmongering politicians that are shiite….many of whom were never idealistic youth , but have always operated on cynicism, craven greed and self aggrandisement”

          Some of them may be Sunni

  17. McGrath 17

    I cannot see what the fuss is about? He was hanging around with the most infamous terror group in modern history and ended up eating a drone strike. A fitting end really.

    • Colonial Viper 17.1

      You cannot see a problem with the world’s most powerful military empire reaching out and killing whomever it see fits, whenever it see fits, wherever it sees fit, with zero judicial oversight, zero rule of law, zero right of appeal?

      That my friend is a world with no civil rights and hence a return to totalitarian absolutism. Unprincipled might is right.

      But you have no problem with that? Be a good lad and help spit and polish your masters’ jackboots.

      • Not Petey 17.1.1

        This auto spell check sure is a hoot eh ?

        As for your comment – sure the USA is a bit weird at times, all the more reason not to cosy up to Al Q in Yemen, probably about as advisable as making jokes about bombs and guns when travelling through the states.

        Just as a question would you have a problem with Muslim bin John being shot if it was yemeni soldiers on the ground or their strike aircraft that did it or is it the drones that you object to ?

        • felix 17.1.1.1

          So I take it your answer is no, you don’t have any moral or ethical objection to the world’s most powerful military empire reaching out and killing whomever it see fits, whenever it see fits, wherever it sees fit, with zero judicial oversight, zero rule of law, zero right of appeal.

      • Chooky 17.1.2

        +100 CV

  18. Paul 18

    Were more New Zealanders killed?
    Did NZ pass on information to US for drone attack?
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/9966593/More-Kiwi-deaths-in-Yemen-not-ruled-out

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