The Open Dimension

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Location: Laguna Hills, California, United States

I am a semi-retired psychotherapist/psychiatric social worker and certified hypnotherapist. Originally a practicing attorney, I changed careers during the 1980's. My interests include history, constitutional law, Hindustani classical music, yoga, meditation and spirituality.

Thursday, October 24, 2013


Glenn Greenwald to the Yemen Times: “Even if Hadi wants to stop using American drones, I don’t think he has the power to do that”

Published on 24 October 2013 in Interview
Sadeq Al-Wesabi(author), Sadeq Al-Wesabi(photographer)
Greenwald says U.S. counter-terrorism policy undermines U.S. national security. “[As long as] the U.S. government continues what it has been doing, which is using violence through drones in Yemen, Al-Qaeda’s strength is guaranteed.”
Greenwald says U.S. counter-terrorism policy undermines U.S. national security. “[As long as] the U.S. government continues what it has been doing, which is using violence through drones in Yemen, Al-Qaeda’s strength is guaranteed.”
Glenn Greenwald is an American journalist who reported bombshell NSA leaks for the Guardian and has received international acclaim for his writings on U.S. national security. The former Guardian columnist left his post last week and currently resides in Brazil. As part of his focus on national security, he has commented extensively on America’s counter-terrorism policy in Yemen, including the use of armed drones to battle Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).

Yemen Times interviewed Greenwald in Rio de Janeiro about the nature of relations between Yemen and the U.S. as it relates to security issues and counter-terrorism tactics.

“Obviously, the Yemeni government has been dependent on the United States government for many years,” Greenwald said. “The ability of the Yemeni government to restrict the U.S. government in terms of what it does inside Yemen is almost nothing.”

Greenwald has made it no secret in his writings that he objects to the current use of U.S. drones in both Yemen and Pakistan, two nations the U.S. has targeted with the war technology.

The American government has increasingly drawn scrutiny from the international community for its drone policy.

This week, four separate reports were issued by the United Nations, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and AlKarama calling on the U.S. to disclose more information about its covert operations and to offer more transparency about its drone program.

“The American government doesn't want Americans to ask them the question, ‘Why are there so many people who want to harm the United States?’ because that would make them question [their own] policies,” Greenwald said.

Greenwald says questioning the policies of the U.S. that contribute to anti-Americanism is non-existent in America’s political culture.

“If you start asking this question then you start to realize that one of the main answers is because the U.S. government has brought so much violence to [these targeted] parts of the world for so long.”

Over the last decade, many areas of Yemen believed to be AQAP strongholds have been targeted by American drones. Civilians, including children and women, have been killed in the bombings.

Despite criticism from human rights groups and growing anger from Yemeni and American citizens, the strikes have continued. The Yemeni government has been criticized for supporting of the American strikes. Greenwald is also critical of Yemen’s transitional president, Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi, who has been vocal about his support of U.S. drone strikes.

“The Yemeni government needs to show the population that it’s willing to defend the sovereignty of Yemen,” said Greenwald, who said that the Yemeni government has adopted many tactics from the U.S. that hinder transparency.

Last August, President Hadi justified his decision to allow the use of drones in Yemen, defending the accuracy of the technology used. Greenwald is critical of the president’s stance.

“It’s not true that drones are precise weapons that kill only the wanted,” he said. “There is evidence that drones have killed civilians over the years in multiple countries, including Yemen.”

In a report released by Human Rights Watch Tuesday, the human rights group reveals that nearly 70 percent of those killed in a selected six drone strikes between 2009 and 2013 were civilians.

For Greenwald, the issues surrounding counter-terrorism policy are not black and white. Officials need to spend more time examining the root causes of terrorism and why extremism thrives in a country like Yemen, Greenwald said.

“In a country where there is extreme corruption, people feel as though they cannot solve problems through political processes so they turn to violence.

“When [people] are very poor and have no hope, they turn to religious extremism,” Greenwald said. “When they are being assaulted by a foreign power and watching people [being] blown up into pieces, they turn to anger, revenge and violence.”

Greenwald believes that drones create more sympathy for AQAP and groups associated with the organization.

“The ability of Al-Qaeda to capitalize on anger towards the U.S. is probably the most powerful weapon they use to strengthen themselves,” he said.

Although President Hadi recently asked the U.S. to provide Yemen with its own drones and training for Yemeni forces, Greenwald says this does not legitimize the use of the technology. He argues the issue is about “using violence itself, not who is doing it.”

When asked about his thoughts on the government holding dialogue sessions with AQAP, Greenwald responded, “I believe in improving people’s situations economically and giving them democracy [so that they can] elect their own government and have control over their own fates. But I also believe in trying to have dialogue with extremist groups.”

Greenwald says that as long as “the U.S. government continues what it has been doing, which is using violence through drones in Yemen, Al-Qaeda’s strength is guaranteed.”

“You cannot assault a population for so long without [getting] them extremely angry—this is just basic human nature,” he said.