Christmas, Benghazi Document Dump

Editor’s Note – Not surprising the Obama Administration choose to release this information on Christmas Eve. In a Politico article, they report;

Thursday’s document dump, put out by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence in compliance with a Freedom of Information request, includes correspondence sent from American intelligence officials in 2011 and 2012.

benghazi car burning

The emails — edited to conceal what is considered to be sensitive information — provide few new details about the lethal September 2012 terrorist attack on the diplomatic mission in Libya or American-born Al Qaeda recruiter Anwar al-Awlaki.

In the first email, only two of 17 lines of text were not blacked out.

Another email consists of the text “Attached it the final draft; we need comment/coordination by 1000, Friday (tomorrow) 19 October 2012,” followed completely by blacked-out text.

Other emails consist of the text of news clippings from Reuters, the Washington Post and other organizations.

We at SUA must ask, ‘At this point, what difference does it make?’  Answer; it makes a lot of difference, we want to know what is being hidden?

Obama Administration Delivers Benghazi Document Dump for Christmas

By Sandy Fitzgerald – Newsmax 

The Obama administration dumped 16 pages of emails related to Benghazi on Christmas Eve, but the documents are heavily edited to conceal what was considered as sensitive information, so few new details have been revealed about the Benghazi attacks or al-Qaida recruiter Anwar al-Awlaki.

Anwar al-Awlaki
Anwar al-Awlaki

The documents were released by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence in response to a Freedom of Information Act request, reports Politico, and include intelligence officials’ communications from 2011 and 2012.

But only a few lines are visible in some of the emails. In one, just two of 17 lines of text were not redacted and in another, just the text “Attached it the final draft; we need comment/coordination by 1000, Friday (tomorrow) 19 October 2012,” is visible.

Further emails share news clippings, one February email in 2011 was sent to respond to a State Department in regard to al-Awlaki’s passport being revoked.

Al-Awlaki was killed later that year, in September, during a drone strike in Yemen.

It wasn’t until the next year that it was reported that the State Department reported revoking his passport. There were also memos in Thursday’s dump that include details about using existing protocol to protect intelligence.

The Obama administration has also released such information during the holidays including in May, when it released a trove of 296 emails sent from Hillary Clinton’s private server.

Jihad in America – Cells Already Here, Training Camps

By Denise Simon and Scott W. Winchell

With the surge of terror across the globe and here at home, especially after the Paris “Charlie Hebdos” attack and the kosher market massacre, everyone keeps asking, are they coming or are they already here?

They are here!

In fact, just today an Ohio man, Christopher Lee Cornell (Raheel Mahrus Ubaydah) was arrested by the FBI and was reportedly influenced by the same man who influenced the Kouachi brothers, Anwar al Awlaki and that Cornell also may have known the brothers from online networks:

The FBI has arrested an Ohio man for allegedly plotting an ISIS-inspired attack on the U.S. Capitol, where he hoped to set off a series of bombs aimed at lawmakers, whom he allegedly considered enemies.

Christopher Lee Cornell -– also known as Raheel Mahrus Ubaydah -– was arrested earlier today on charges of attempting to kill a U.S. government official.

Arrest caught on a screen shot - courtesy Heavy.com
Arrest caught on a screen shot – courtesy Heavy.com

Further investigation revealed his intent to attack the U.S. Capitol, and he planned to detonate pipe bombs there and open fire on any employees and officials after the bombs went off, according to government documents.

The FBI and Department of Homeland security issued a bulletin to law enforcement agencies across the country, notifying them of the case.

“The alleged activities of Cornell highlight the continued interest of US-based violent extremists to support designated foreign terrorist organizations overseas, such as ISIL, by committing terrorist acts in the United States,” the bulletin read. “Terrorist group members and supporters will almost certainly continue to use social media platforms to disseminate English language violent extremist messages.”

See the release at Heavy.com and other documents.

Just this past week, even Diane Feinstein, D-CA, the former Chairwoman, and now the Ranking Member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence said they are. She should know, and and so should the White House. Here is what she said:

“I think there are sleeper cells not only in France but certainly in other countries and, yes, in our own,” she told CNN. “This calls for vigilance. … Hopefully, we can be more active in terms of doing those things which enable us to find terrorists, see who they’re communicating with and to track that.”

With the Caliphate now formed in the Levant, better known as the Islamic State (Also ISIS, ISIL, Daesh) the spread of the threat has expanded and it appears the cell in Paris had roots to Yemen and Syria. In fact, AQAP release a new video today claiming responsibility and that it was years in the making the same day the newest edition of “Charlie Hebdos” hit the news stands. (Sheikh Nasr Ben Ali al-Aanesi spoke on the video.)

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The lure appears to be working well for the master marketing team of al Qaeda and Daesh and the latest word of warning has been sent by officials that more cells may have been activated. We may not immediately because patience has been one of their calling cards but it appears likely that it will be sooner than later here.

Sheikh Nasr Ben Ali al-Aanesi
Sheikh Nasr Ben Ali al-Aanesi

With the Fort Hood Massacre, the Oklahoma Beheading, the Attacks in Canada, the Hatchet Attack in New York, and now the convert in Ohio, we are in a new era and we all had better keep alert.

But we ask, what has been done to secure us to date, especially since we have known about them for years and years right here at home besides this Ohio Muslim convert?

Many cases and studies have been done by those who were aware long ago of the rise of sleeper cells and training camps.

The FBI introduction to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) file on Clarence Smith—aka Clarence 13X—reads only, “Smith was the leader of the ‘Five Percenters,’ a notorious Harlem street gang. He was shot to death in 1969” [1].

Yet, as a lyrical sample from Lord Jamar (a prominent Five Percenter and hip-hop artist) reads in his Greatest Story Never Told, “Allah [Clarence Smith] was assassinated in 1969, that case was never solved. His movement survived him, today it’s known as the Nation of Gods and Earths” [2].

The Five Percenters are just one facet of indigenous Muslim evolution in the United States; others, like Jama`at al-Fuqara’, retain ties to Pakistan and are ideological affiliates of militant Salafist groups such as al-Qa`ida.

This article will examine trends among three predominantly African-American Islamic movements, at least one of which should be considered a domestic terrorism concern for the United States. It also serves to provide counter-terrorism professionals with knowledge enabling them to differentiate terrorist threats from more benign religious groups.

Heffelfinger  illustrates further where some of these groups are and the threat they have “today,” as in 2008, so imagine how much worse it is today:

Critical for intelligence and law enforcement officials is the ability to distinguish non-violent, pietistic or spiritualist movements from Salafist-inspired ones that advocate or practice militancy. Today, the Five Percent Nation is largely leaderless, with various teachers propagating the beliefs of Clarence 13X and poses no serious terrorist threat, although gang activity and criminality is a concern.Islamberg-NY-sign

The Seas of David will, in all likelihood, dissipate and pose no further threat. Such movements, however, may serve at times as a gateway to more conservative—sometimes militant—Salafist groups, such as Jama`at al-Fuqara’.

The Jama`at al-Fuqara’/Muslims of America deserves a more comprehensive treatment, as the group is clearly one of the most glaring domestic terrorism concerns for the United States.(Read more here, it is extensive and worth the read. Our emphasis added.)

Heffelfinger was not the only one by a long shot. As late as 2012 an article in Law Enforcement Today entitled “Informant: Islamic Compounds in America are Training for Jihad” was posted by Martin Mawyer. His introduction speaks volumes:

In Hancock, NY an Islamic community that sits on 80 acres of land has decided to form its own government.  They call their community: The Town of Islamberg.  They have their own mayor, deputy mayor and five town council members.  None of them are elected, of course.

They even boast that their “town” provides departments of education, medical, finance and land development services.

This Islamic compound has truly become a city-state.  Though not recognized as a legitimate township by the City of Hancock, this Islamic community nevertheless enforces its own laws on the “citizens” within its borders.  They do so by using the iron fist of Sharia law.

I interviewed a member of this camp, which sits deep in the Catskills Mountains of upstate New York.  The Islamic group that has established this camp is part a network known as Muslims of the Americas (MOA), which has documented links to Al Qaeda.

MOA has established similar villages in nearly three-dozen locations nationwide, with other prominent camps found in Texas, Virginia, South Carolina, Georgia, California and Tennessee. (Read more here.)

Anwar al-Awlaki
Anwar al-Awlaki

Remember, that interview took place in 2012, where are we today in 2015? Even further back in 2007, another article came out entitled “Red House, Va has radical Islamic terrorist training camp” and you can read the commentary with charges and denials by many including Muslims in Virginia. Read more from Eric Stackleback from 2012 on this case and view his interview.

Many of these reports have been published many times, where is the FBI and the White House? In 2012, World Net Daily posted an article entitled “35 Training Camps Now Operating Inside U.S. – Government does nothing to impede expansion of ‘Soldiers of Allah’ network.”

This is not new, but fortunately of late, many more people are discovering the work done over the years.

In the period between 2006 and now, Stand Up America staff has been part of some of these investigations and financing some of the work investigators performed on others like Adnan al Shukrijumah who was operating in Hamilton, Ontario, and who was just recently killed by Pakistani officials.

Ryan Mauro at the Clarion Project and Brigitte Gabriel’s group Act For America have also done extensive work on exposing the many enclaves, training camps and sights of older crimes that may be related to terror.

A Clarion Project investigation has discovered a jihadist enclave in Texas where a deadly shooting took place in 2002. Declassified FBI documents obtained by Clarion confirm the find and show the U.S. government’s concern about its links to terrorism. The investigation was completed with help from ACT! For America Houston.

The enclave belongs to the network of Muslims of the Americas, a radical group linked to a Pakistani militant group called Jamaat ul-Fuqra. Its members are devoted followers of Sheikh Mubarak Ali Gilani, an extremist cleric in Pakistan.

Be alert America, “see something, say something” applies at all times.

TerroristCells

 


This article was expanded from a cross-post at the Founders Code

 

DOJ Produces Legal Rationale of CIA Killing al-Awlaki

Editor’s Note – The killing of Anwar al Awlaki  and another US citizen, Samir Kahn by the CIA has raised questions of the legality of our government assassinating one of its citizens because he was a known terrorist operative/leader in 2011. Two questions arose.

The first was the legality of making that order, the second was whether or not it was legal for the CIA to carry out the deed. A third issue arises as well – if it was legal in the United States, was it legal in the land it was carried out in; Yemen?Drone-kills-Awlaki

Naturally, constitutional and international legal and diplomatic questions arose and many asked the Obama Administration for its legal explanation for coming to the conclusions they did and then relied upon when carrying out the assassination.

Congress demanded the rationale from Obama’s Department of Justice and just recently, the second of two documents were released finally. The first was released last year on the legality of the killing itself, and now the second provides the rationale for the CIA carrying out the order. Vice News provides us with the details below and the document can be read from a copy of the original.

You be the judge:

A Justice Department Memo Provides the CIA’s Legal Justification to Kill a US Citizen

By Jason Leopold – Vice News

“This white paper sets forth the legal basis upon which the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) could use lethal force in Yemen against a United States citizen who senior officials reasonably determined was a senior leader of al-Qaida or an associated force of al-Qaida.”

So begins a 22-page, heavily redacted, previously top-secret document titled “Legality of a Lethal Operation by the Central Intelligence Agency Against a US Citizen,” which provides the first detailed look at the legal rationale behind lethal operations conducted by the agency. The white paper [pdf below] was turned over to VICE News in response to a long-running Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Justice Department.

It’s one of two white papers the Justice Department prepared in 2011 after lawmakers demanded to know what the administration’s legal rationale was for targeting for death the radical Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, a US citizen. The first white paper, released last year, addressed why the targeted killing by the US military of an American abroad was lawful. This second white paper addresses why it was lawful for the CIA to do so. Neither white paper identifies Awlaki by name.

Anwar al-Awlaki, left, in a 2010 video, and Samir Khan, shown in North Carolina in 2008.
Anwar al-Awlaki, left, in a 2010 video, and Samir Khan, shown in North Carolina in 2008.

The May 25, 2011 document is based on a 41-page Justice Department memo that lays out the government’s legal basis for targeting Awlaki without affording him his right to due process under the US Constitution. For years, the Obama administration was pressured by lawmakers to share the memo, but officials refused — and wouldn’t even confirm that such a memo existed.

One of the most controversial legal arguments advanced in the white paper is the justification for civilians at the CIA engaging in hostilities abroad. The 1942 Supreme Court decision in Ex Parte Quirin, which is footnoted in the white paper, says that “by universal agreement and practice, the law of war draws a distinction… between those who are lawful and unlawful combatants.

“[A]n enemy combatant who without uniform comes secretly through the lines for the purpose of waging war by destruction of life or property” is an example of a belligerent who is an “offender against the law of war subject to trial and punishment by a military tribunal.”

‘They clearly realize they needed to come up with their independent justification of why [the CIA] has public authority to kill.’

Because CIA personnel are not part of the armed forces when they engage in hostilities, they are deemed to be unlawful combatants. The white paper acknowledges this, but argues that the CIA officers who are unlawful combatants are not war criminals as long as they comply with the laws of war.

The government is “very concerned with the status of the CIA,” said international law expert Kevin Jon Heller, a professor of criminal law at the School of Oriental and Criminal Studies at the University of London. “There’s absolutely no question that if any of these CIA agents involved in Anwar al-Awlaki’s killing ever went on vacation in Yemen or ever went on vacation in a state that has universal jurisdiction over war crimes, they could be arrested and prosecuted for murder. They certainly have committed murder under the laws of other states. Whether they have committed murder under American domestic law is another question.”

The white paper outlines five possible legal authorities that might prohibit the CIA from using lethal force against a US citizen abroad: three statutes (the foreign murder statute, conspiracy to murder an individual outside the US, and the War Crimes Act) and two constitutional provisions (the Fourth Amendment, which prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures, and the Fifth Amendment, which guarantees due process).

It relies on the 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF) and the relatively unknown legal doctrine known as the “public authority justification” to explain why the CIA’s actions are not unlawful, concluding that there is no law prohibiting the CIA from killing a US citizen in Yemen based on the facts of his particular case — redacted from the white paper — described by the CIA to the Justice Department.

Individuals typically use the public authority justification in criminal cases, arguing that the government authorized their actions. For example, a person wearing a wire for the FBI might be violating a state’s eavesdropping law. However, if the defendant successfully uses the public authority justification, he would not be found guilty even though he clearly violated the law. The white paper concedes that the public authority justification has rarely, if ever, been used to justify the government’s own acts.

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Heller says he agrees with the legal analysis of the public authority justification, but only as it pertains to the military’s lethal actions abroad — not the CIA’s.

According to the white paper: “Given the assessment that an analogous operation carried out pursuant to the AUMF would fall within the scope of the public-authority justification, there is no reason to reach a different conclusion for a CIA operation.”

homepage_targeted_assassinations_1Heller told VICE News this is the “sum total” the white paper says about the CIA’s public authority justification, and that the government falls short of making its case. Still, he says, the white paper is significant “as it indicates [the Justice Department] knew they had to talk about the CIA specifically, and knew they couldn’t just lump in the military and the CIA together.

“They clearly realize they needed to come up with their independent justification of why [the CIA] has public authority to kill,” Heller continued. “Unfortunately, the memo doesn’t really tell us anything because of the way it’s been redacted. If the question is, Where does the CIA get their authority to use lethal force abroad?, given that’s the necessary condition for them to avoid this foreign murder statute, this memo doesn’t tell us anything. It could be there. But if it is, it’s behind a redaction.”

Although the white paper says that the CIA expressed to the Justice Department that it preferred to capture “this target,” the agency assessed that a capture operation in Yemen “would not be feasible at this time.”

“The CIA has further represented that this sort of operation would not be undertaken in a perfidious or treacherous manner,” the white paper says.

A footnote states that the white paper “addresses exclusively the use of force abroad, in the circumstances described herein. It does not address legal issues that the use of force in different circumstances or in any nation other than Yemen might present.”

Still, the logic and legal rationale could be applied to the same types of lethal operations against Americans in other countries who the government may determine are part of al Qaeda or an “associated force” of the terrorist organization.

Hillary Clinton, the Skeletons in the Closet are Dancing

By Denise Simon

In the last month, many Clinton administration documents were being released as were required by law. To date, we have seen documents that relate to enemies lists and how to stage and rebuke scandals, all of which lead to the just how they think and their hidden missions.

Just this week included in the most recent round of documents, we find that Bill Clinton wrote a personal note to the Dar al Hijrah mosque in Falls Church, Virginia asking to work together in proposed suggestions from the mosque. After 9/11, the FBI visited this mosque and at least two of the hijackers on that terrible day had worshiped there.

Hillary was fired, then told us "At this point, what difference does it make!"
Hillary was fired from the Watergate Commission for “lying and unethical behavior,” then told us in the Benghazi Hearings: “At this point, what difference does it make!”

Additionally, Mohammed al Hanooti was the Iman at the mosque for four years and he was named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

Of particular note, Anwar al Awlaki was also a former Iman there. Al Awlaki was eventually killed in a drone attack in Yemen. Al Awlaki was a U.S. citizen with whom Major Nidal Hassan of Ft. Hood shooter fame communicated on numerous occasions. Al Awlaki was also a major contributor to Inspire magazine, the al Qaeda publication that advances the jihad doctrine around the world.

After the decision to kill al Awlaki by drone, Barack Obama and his staff had sought to keep the document trail regarding Awlaki classified, but a judge ruled today that those documents are to be released.

The Clinton’s have a long history of being on the wrong side, with particular emphasis placed on campaign money, aborting operations to kill Usama bin Ladin and approving pardons for corrupt placeholders, criminals, bombers, and jihadis.

In case you are seeking additional proof on the Clintons and need something more on Hillary as she seeks to win the Democrat nominee to be president in 2016, we cannot overlook her complicity in Benghazi. Their closets are full of skeletons, dancing in the dark and they need to brought out into the sunshine again, and often.

Then there is the movie entitled ‘Hillary: the Movie’ so you can revisit this lying, corrupt, elite couple produced by the one and only Citizens United. This is not to confused with e CNN documentary/mini-series that is still up in the air.  This movie exposing Hillary Rodhan Clinton was actually prevented from normal theater distribution aided by the likes of Harry Reid and other supporters of Hillary.

The movie can be viewed however here and includes appearances by Newt Gingrich, Frank Gaffney, Bay Buchannan, Dick Morris, Ann Coulter and many others who can help inform you:

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Oh yeah, one more thing, remember Sandy Berger, you know the guy who stole documents from the National Archives? Well those documents turned out to be about the aborted mission to kill Usama bin Ladin under the Clinton administration, along with papers on the Sudan and the Millennium Plot. The FBI file is here.

On a last note, remember that Hillary Rodham Clinton was fired from the Watergate Commission for “Lying, Unethical Behavior.” Let’s also remember that she lied over ‘Travel gate’ and in testimony about ‘Hillary Care.’ Check these out in the article: “Hillary’ book of Lies.”

We don’t want a co-presidency in the White House again, and frankly this pair should have their citizenship revoked.

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Edited by Scott W. Winchell

When is a war not a war? Yemen!

Editor’s Note – When is a war not a war? Nine years of pounding Yemen apparently does not constitute a war. Whether it began as a by-product of the “War On Terror” or the renamed Obama version: “Overseas Contingency Operation”, its still warfare. The armed forces of the USA and our covert CIA have been quite busy under the Obama watch.

How does this jive with the rhetoric prior to Obama taking the helm in 2009? Libya, Yemen, Pakistan, Afghanistan… but NOT Syria…? Assassinations, targeted drone strikes, heavy gunships, naval launches…

Arab spring brings steep rise in US attacks in Yemen

by 

Bureau of Investigative Journalism

Covert US strikes against alleged militants in Yemen have risen steeply during the Arab spring, and are currently at the same level as the CIA’s controversial drone campaign in Pakistan, a new study by the Bureau reveals.

At least 26 US military and CIA strikes involving cruise missiles, aircraft, drones or naval bombardments have taken place in the volatile Gulf nation to date, killing hundreds of alleged militants linked to the regional al Qaeda franchise. But at least 54 civilians have died too, the study found.

In the latest attack, US drones struck three areas of the rebel-held city of Zinjibar on March 22, killing up to 30 al Qaeda-linked militants, according to Yemen intelligence officials. Naval vessels – possibly American – also bombarded the city.

The missile strike ‘targeted vehicles and bases of the al Qaeda group. A lot of people were apparently killed and their vehicles were completely destroyed at the scene’, eyewitnesses told news agency Xinhua.

At least five US attacks – some involving multiple targets – have so far taken place in Yemen this month alone, in support of a government offensive to drive militants from key locations. In comparison, Pakistan’s tribal areas, the epicentre of the CIA’s controversial drone war, have seen just three US drone strikes in March.

The recent surge in attacks appears linked to the appointment of the new president, Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi. In his inauguration speech he called for ‘the continuation of war against al-Qaida as a religious and national duty.’

Despite multiple confirmed reports of American military action in Yemen, the US rarely acknowledges its secret war. A State Department spokesperson, speaking on background terms, would this week say only: ‘I refer you to the Government of Yemen for additional information on its counterterrorism efforts.’

Hundreds killed
A detailed examination of US military activity in Yemen over nine years reveals that most attacks – as many as 35 – have taken place after May 2011, as Arab spring-related protests gripped the country.

Total US attacks 26 – 44 (some multiple) with up to 34 since May 2011
Total killed 275 – 516
Civilians reported killed 54-104

All but one of the strikes have taken place under President Obama, who has taken a personal interest in the Yemen campaign. By the time he came to office al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) had grown to become, in his words, ‘a network of violence and terror’ that had attracted a number of US citizens to its cause, including radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki.

AQAP even began publishing online propaganda magazines in English, and was behind a number of attempted terrorist attacks against the US, the UK and their allies.

With the CIA heavily engaged in Iraq and Pakistan, the job of crushing AQAP was handed to the Pentagon’s elite Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) – the same unit that had captured Saddam Hussein and would later kill Osama bin Laden.

But from the start, JSOC’s operations were mired in controversy.

Acting on intelligence that an AQAP meeting was taking place in the southern Yemen desert on December 17 2009, JSOC launched at least one cruise missile loaded with cluster bombs at the gathering. A Yemen parliamentary commission later found that 14 alleged militants died in the attack. But so too did 44 civilians.

The massacre the United States won’t admit or deny

A copy of the commission report obtained by the Bureau identifies by name all of the civilians killed, which include five pregnant women and 22 children, the youngest just a year old. Eight families were effectively wiped out, the commission found, although it did not attribute blame to either US or Yemen forces.

A secret massacre
Two years on, the US will neither confirm or deny whether any investigation into those deaths has taken place, or if any compensation has been paid to the families of victims. The Pentagon, Centcom, the State Department and US Senate Armed Services Committee all declined to comment on the matter this week.

A spokesman for Sheikh Himir Al-Ahmar, the commission’s chairman and now Yemen’s deputy speaker, told the Bureau: ‘The families of the victims were indeed paid appropriate compensation by the Yemeni Government (according to the standard of compensations given out to victims in Yemen). The American authorities did not get involved in this process in any way.’

In contrast, affected families of a killing spree carried out by a US soldier in Afghanistan recently received $50,000 (£31,500) for each victim.

The US refusal to acknowledge the attack is undermined by a secret diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks revealing that then-Centcom chief General David Petraeus – now director of the CIA – and Yemen’s president and prime minister at the time, Ali Abdullah Saleh had sought to hide the US’s role in the incident.

According to the secret cable, ‘[President] Saleh lamented the use of cruise missiles that are “not very accurate” and welcomed the use of aircraft-deployed precision-guided bombs instead. “We’ll continue saying the bombs are ours, not yours,” Saleh said, prompting Deputy Prime Minister Alimi to joke that he had just “lied” by telling Parliament that the bombs in Arhab, Abyan, and Shebwa were American-made but deployed by the ROYG.’

Amnesty International, which carried out its own investigation into the December 2009 attack, said this week that the US failure to investigate credible reports of civilian deaths was troubling.

‘With an increase in such operations in places like Yemen, unless one gets to the bottom of who was killed, why, and what precautions were taken to protect civilians, then there is a risk such mistakes will be repeated in the future,’ said Philip Luther, director of Amnesty’s Middle East programme.

There have been other Pentagon errors too. When its elite Special Forces hit a supposed militant convoy in May 2010, they instead killed the region’s popular deputy governor, Jaber al-Shabwani. That error led to a year-long pause in US attacks, after local tribes strongly protested.

It took the chaos of the Arab Spring to see the US return to the offensive. As Yemen’s people revolted against President Saleh and his cronies, JSOC and CIA drones took to the skies, supplemented by US naval and air assets. President Obama has been fighting an almost unreported war in Yemen ever since.

Yemen’s ramshackle air force
At least 20 US strikes have taken place in Yemen since May 2011, the Bureau understands. The actual number may be as high as 34. But reports are often confused, with the US and Yemen governments unwilling to clarify events.

There are also claims that the Yemen Air Force carries out some precision strikes. Yet an investigation of its capabilities reveals it to be a ramshackle, low-tech outfit, wracked by the recent political unrest.

‘Barely functional’ – why US is likely to be behind Yemen’s precision strikes

Alan Warnes, chief correspondent at defence publication AirForces Monthly, says Yemen’s air force is incapable of precision or night-time attacks: ‘The only aircraft they have capable of night flying would be quite antiquated fighters. I think it’s the Americans who are doing it rather than the Yemenis.’

Recent close co-operation between the CIA and JSOC does appear to be paying off. Some two dozen named Al Qaeda militants and their associates have died since last spring, with the group under almost constant attack. Civilian deaths are also now reportedly rare – although there have been further errors.

Obama’s greatest success in Yemen came on September 30 last year, when two US citizens were among four high-value militants killed. Anwar al Awlaki, the radical preacher, died with Samir Khan, editor of AQAP’s English-language propaganda magazine Inspire.

Days later a follow-up attack killed other militants – but also Awlaki’s 16-year-old son and 17-year-old nephew. AQAP’s ability to speak to an English-language audience was apparently destroyed, possibly terminally. Yet these deaths of American citizens continue to generate significant controversy in the US.