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“Pattern of Life” Drone Strikes

The LAT reports that targeting for most of the drone strikes that have killed more than 500 people in Afghanistan and Pakistan has been based not on information about an individual’s ties to terrorism, but rather on “pattern of life” analysis that targets the actions of a person.

The CIA received secret permission to attack a wider range of targets, including suspected militants whose names are not known, as part of a dramatic expansion of its campaign of drone strikes in Pakistan’s border region, according to current and former counter-terrorism officials.

The expanded authority, approved two years ago by the Bush administration and continued by President Obama, permits the agency to rely on what officials describe as “pattern of life” analysis, using evidence collected by surveillance cameras on the unmanned aircraft and from other sources about individuals and locations.

Think about that: we’re potentially killing people based not on what we know about an individual, but what we have observed solely through the camera of a drone. Or, if we’ve got particularized information from someone on the grounds, it’s as likely to be someone from Blackwater or an even more disreputable contractor posing as PsyOp warriors. And this includes strikes in Pakistan, a country with which we are not at war, supposedly. And among those targeted in such a manner may be associates of Faisal Shahzad.

Remember that old Bush ditty, that we were fighting them over here so we didn’t have to fight them here? Apparently that has now been turned on its head: we are targeting them from here which may make it more likely we’ll be fighting them here.

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