IN A RECENT INTERVIEW with USA Today, Phil Knight, the co-founder and chair of Nike, expressed puzzlement over Americans’ anger about trade agreements like NAFTA, and concern that this anger is having an effect on the presidential race.
“Everybody’s railing on NAFTA now,” said Knight, currently the 16th-richest person in the U.S., “but since 1996, when we signed NAFTA, the gross national product of the United States has risen three times. Do we really think it would have gone up more than that if we didn’t have trade agreements?”
Knight’s frustration might be understandable if it had some connection to reality. It does not.
The U.S. economy has not tripled in size — or to put it another way, grown by 200 percent — since the signing of NAFTA.
According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the U.S. real gross domestic product has actually grown by just 69 percent, or a third of what Knight believes, since the beginning of 1994. (NAFTA was signed in 1993, not 1996, and took effect on January 1, 1994.)
Moreover, if Knight knew the most basic facts about the U.S. economy he would have realized he was wrong without checking. For the GDP to triple in size in 22 years would require an average annual growth rate of over 5 percent — but the U.S. economy didn’t grow that fast, year over year, even once from 1994 to 2016.
So how has Knight latched onto this blatantly wrong factoid? Possibly because there is something that’s tripled in size in the past 20 years: Knight’s own net worth. According to Forbes, Knight’s net worth in 1996 was, adjusted for inflation, about $8 billion; today it’s $25 billion. You can understand why he’d be convinced the economy is in great shape.
And it’s not just Knight: a belief in blatantly wrong numbers is a tradition among U.S. elites anxious about elections and trade. In December 2007, the Washington Post editorial page was similarly concerned that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton were listening to voters’ concerns about trade deals. Why didn’t anyone care about NAFTA’s benefits for Mexico, the Post wondered, since its GDP had “more than quadrupled since 1987″?
In fact, Mexico’s economy had grown by just 84 percent from 1987 to 2007, not 300 percent. The Post failed to correct its made-up statistic even after the paper’s own fact checker called it “misleading,” and it’s still sitting there on the Post website nine years later.
This is why being an American feels sort of like being a passenger on a plane approaching the Rockies when the flight crew announces there’s a big tunnel in Mt. Elbert and they’re going to fly through it to the other side. You’d like to think they’re lying and will pull up at the last second. But in fact they honestly believe that, and are going to plow the plane right into the side of the mountain.
Sign up for The Intercept Newsletter here.
The post Billionaire Nike Co-Founder Confuses His Net Worth with U.S. Economic Growth appeared first on The Intercept.
(The English version of this article can be read here.)
UM JUIZ ESTADUAL determinou que as operadoras de telefonia bloqueassem o WhatsApp, serviço de mensagens online extremamente popular em todo o país, por 72 horas. A decisão, emitida em 26 de abril, tornou-se pública hoje quando foi notificada às operadoras de telefonia. Ela entrou em vigor às 14h; a partir deste horário, as pessoas que tentaram usar o serviço no Brasil não podiam se conectar, nem enviar ou receber qualquer mensagem. O não cumprimento da decisão sujeitará as prestadoras a uma multa de 500 mil reais por dia.
O WhatsApp é o aplicativo mais utilizado no Brasil, um país de 200 milhões de pessoas (ele é agora propriedade do Facebook, o segundo aplicativo mais usado no país). Estimativas apontam que 91 porcento dos brasileiros usuários de telefonia móvel – mais de 100 milhões de indivíduos – usam o WhatsApp para se comunicar gratuitamente (o app tem 900 milhões de usuários ativos diariamente ao redor do mundo). Os brasileiros passaram a manhã, durante as horas anteriores ao bloqueio, enviando mensagens no WhatsApp avisando que o serviço seria interrompido por três dias.
A determinação foi feita pelo mesmo juiz, Marcel Maia Montalvão, de uma pequena cidade no estado de Sergipe, que dois meses atrás ordenou a detenção do Vice Presidente do Facebook na América Latina, Diego Dzodan, por conta da indisposição do WhatsApp em cooperar com uma intimação feita como parte de uma investigação criminal. O juiz disse que a detenção foi justificada pelo “reiterado descumprimento de ordens judiciais” pelo Facebook em uma investigação de tráfico de drogas. Em conformidade com a determinação, Dzodan foi preso pela polícia federal e mantido sob custódia por um dia inteiro, até que um tribunal de apelação anulou a ordem.
Depois, o executivo do Facebook insistiu que “da maneira como a informação está criptografada de um telefone para o outro, não há nenhuma informação armazenada que possa ser entregue às autoridades”. O WhatsApp também disse: “O WhatsApp não pode fornecer informações que não tem”. Segundo a Folha de S. Paulo, maior jornal do Brasil, a ordem para a suspensão do WhatsApp de hoje decorre daquele mesmo caso.
A determinação extraordinária reflete o que está se tornando uma controvérsia global na luta das companhias de tecnologia para oferecer criptografia “end-to-end” aos seus usuários. Esse serviço, que tem cada vez mais demanda na sequência das reportagens sobre os arquivos fornecidos por Edward Snowden, demonstram que apenas os usuários – mas não as companhias – podem acessar os conteúdos que estão compartilhando. A fixação pós-Snowden das companhias para demonstrar um legítimo comprometimento com a proteção da privacidade de seus usuários (motivado pelo próprio interesse nos negócios) gerou uma cisão entre o Silicon Valley e o governo dos EUA, parceiros outrora totalmente colaborativos em relação à vigilância, criando uma guerra amarga e prolongada de relações públicas que culminou, no mês passado, com a batalha Apple/FBI sobre o acesso a iPhones.
Como resultado das proteções de criptografia, a posição do WhatsApp em resposta às intimações diz que eles são incapazes de fornecer as comunicações dos usuários porque a criptografia não mantém apenas governos e atores não governamentais longe dos dados, mas também a própria companhia. Ao longo dos últimos anos, muitos países começaram a criar leis para evitar que as empresas usem qualquer criptografia que não possa ser contornada, e a administração Obama tem debatido se apóia uma legislação que permitiria apenas o uso de criptografia para a qual as agências governamentais tenham acesso “backdoor” (nos anos 90, o governo Clinton usou o caso do atentando em Oklahoma City para promover uma lei similar, mas ela foi bloqueada por uma coalizão de defensores da privacidade de ambos os partidos no congresso).
ESTA NÃO É a primeira vez que o serviço do WhatsApp foi interrompido no Brasil. Em dezembro, em um caso separado, um juiz de primeira instância de São Paulo determinou que as operadoras bloqueassem o aplicativo por 48 horas em represália a sua indisposição em cooperar com uma investigação criminal. Um tribunal de segunda instância anulou a decisão horas depois da suspensão do serviço, invocando “princípios constitucionais” para dizer que “não se mostra razoável que milhões de usuários sejam afetados em decorrência da inércia da empresa”.
De muitas maneiras, o Brasil – com um enorme número de usuários de internet e uma crescente população online de pessoas jovens – é um campo de batalha chave na luta global pela liberdade na internet. O Wall Street Journal chamou o Brasil de “a capital universal das mídias sociais”. Em janeiro, depois da última suspensão do WhatsApp, dois analistas do Instituto Igarapé radicado no Brasil, Robert Muggah e Nathan Thompson, escreveram no The New York Times que “o país tem uma das populações de usuários de internet que mais crescem no mundo. Ferramentas online como o Facebook, Twitter e WhatsApp não são usadas apenas para expressão opiniões; são uma alternativa acessível aos serviços de telecomunicação extremamente caros”.
Em um país com sérios conflitos políticos e uma população online engajada, o debate sobre a liberdade de internet se tornou muito proeminente no Brasil. Junto com a Alemanha, o governo brasileiro, depois das revelações de Snowden, foi o mais eloqüente em denunciar os EUA por sua excessiva vigilância com a NSA (o Brasil era um alvo chave na espionagem). Em 2014, o governo criou o que chamou de uma lei para proteger a liberdade da internet, o “Marco Civil da Internet”, que forneceu alguma proteção à privacidade mas também cedeu novos poderes de vigilância ao governo. No mês passado, o governo exigiu, e recebeu, uma nova e draconiana lei anti-terrorismo que concede a ele novos poderes legais extremos (fazendo com que o ex-presidente Lula da Silva discordasse de seu partido, que controla o governo, dizendo ao The Intercept, em entrevista, que era contra a lei).
Agora, como reportou o The Intercept na semana passada, novas propostas prestes a serem aprovadas (a CPI de crimes cibernéticos) poderão codificar poderes de desligamento da internet do tipo que o juiz estadual impôs hoje. Em uma postagem no Facebook, Ronaldo Lemos, fundador-diretor do Instituto de Tecnologia e Sociedade do Rio de Janeiro e um doso arquitetos da legislação do Marco Civil da Internet, de 2014, disse: “Amanhã a CPI dos Cibercrimes vota proposta para tornar esse tipo de bloqueio amparado por lei. Se a proposta da CPI for em frente, esse será o novo normal do país. Todas as semanas teremos notícias de sites e serviços bloqueados. Tal como na Arábia Saudita ou na Coreia do Norte”.
É impressionante assistir a um único juiz instantaneamente desligar um meio de comunicação online essencial para o quinto maior país do mundo. Os dois especialistas em segurança escreveram no NYT sobre a primeira suspensão do WhatsAPP: “a ação do juiz foi imprudente e representa uma ameaça potencial e de longo prazo a liberdade dos brasileiros”. Mas não há dúvidas de que é só um sinal do que está por vir para outros países que não o Brasil: haverá, sem dúvida, batalhas similares em inúmeros países ao redor do mundo sobre os direitos que as empresas têm de oferecer proteção à privacidade de seus usuários.
Traduzido por: Erick Dau
Sign up for The Intercept Newsletter here.
The post 100 milhões de brasileiros estão sem WhatsApp graças a um juiz estadual appeared first on The Intercept.
A BRAZILIAN STATE JUDGE ordered mobile phone operators to block nationwide the extremely popular WhatsApp chat service for 72 hours, a move that will have widespread international reverberations for the increasingly contentious debate over encryption and online privacy. The ruling, issued on April 26, became public today when it was served on mobile service providers. It took effect at 2 P.M. local time (1 pm ET); as of that time, people in Brazil who tried to use the service could not connect, nor could they send or receive any messages. Failure to comply will subject the service providers to a fine of R$ 500,000/day (US$ 142,000/day).
WhatsApp is the most-used app in Brazil, a country of 200 million people (it is now owned by Facebook, the country’s second-most used app). An estimated 91 percent of Brazilian mobile users nationwide — more than 100 million individuals — use WhatsApp to communicate with one another for free (it has 900 million active daily users around the world). Brazilians spent this morning, in the hours before the block took effect, frantically sending each other messages on WhatsApp warning that the service was going down for three days.
This ruling comes from the same judge, Marcel Maia Montalvão, of a small town in Sergipé state, who two months ago ordered Facebook’s Vice President for Latin America, Diego Dzodan, to be detained over WhatsApp’s failure to cooperate with a subpoena issued as part of a criminal investigation. The judge said the arrest was justified by Facebook’s “repeatedly failing to comply with judicial orders” in a drug trafficking case. Pursuant to that order, Dzodan was arrested by federal police and held in custody for a full day, until an appellate court overturned the order.
Afterward, the Facebook executive insisted that “the way that information is encrypted from one cell phone to another, there is no information stored that could be handed over to authorities.” WhatsApp similarly said: “WhatsApp cannot provide information we do not have.” According to Folha de São Paulo, Brazil’s largest newspaper, today’s ruling ordering the shutdown of WhatsApp stems from the same case.
The extraordinary orders reflects what is becoming a global controversy over the fight of technology companies to offer their users “end-to-end” encryption. That service, which has become quite in demand in the wake of reporting from the archive provided by Edward Snowden, ensures that only the users – but not the company itself – can access the content they are sharing. The post-Snowden fixation of tech companies to demonstrate a genuine commitment to protect the privacy of their users(motivated by business self-interest) has driven a wedge between the once-fully-collaborative Silicon Valley and U.S. government surveillance state partners, creating a protracted and bitter public P.R. war that culminated last month in the Apple/FBI fight over access to iPhones.
As a result of their encryption protections, the position of WhatsApp in response to subpoenas has been that they are incapable of turning over users’ communications because the encryption not only keeps governments and non-state actors out but also the company itself. Over the past several years, numerous countries have begun enacting laws to bar companies from using any encryption which they cannot circumvent, and the Obama administration has been debating whether to support legislation that would allow only the use encryption to which government agencies have backdoor access (in the 1990s, the Clinton administration used the Oklahoma City bombing to argue for a similar law, but it was blocked by a coalition of privacy advocates from both parties in Congress).
This is not the first time WhatsApp service has been interrupted in Brazil. Last December, in a separate case, a lower court judge in São Paulo state ordered service providers to block the app for 48 hours as retribution for its failure to cooperate in a criminal investigation. An appeals court overturned the ruling but only after hours of service outrage, invoking “constitutional principles” to say that “it does not seem reasonable that millions of users are affected because of the inertia of a company.”
In many ways, Brazil – with huge numbers of internet users and a growing online population of young people – is a key battleground for for the global struggle for internet freedom. The Wall Street Journal called Brazil “the social media capital of the universe.” In January, after the last WhatsApp shutdown, two Brazilian think tank fellows, Robert Muggah and Nathan Thompson from the Igarapé Institute, wrote in The New York Times that “the country has one of the fastest growing populations of Internet users in the world. Online tools like Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp are used not only to express opinions; they are an affordable alternative to exorbitantly priced Brazilian telecom providers.”
In a country with turbulent political conflicts and a highly engaged online population, the debate over internet freedom has become very prominent in Brazil. Along with Germany, the Brazilian government, in the wake of Snowden revelations, was the most vocal in denouncing the U.S. for excessive NSA surveillance (Brazil was a key target for such spying). In 2014, the government enacted what it claimed was a law to protect internet freedom, “Marco Civil da Internet,” that did provide some privacy protections but also granted new surveillance powers to the government. Just last month, the government demanded, and received, a new draconian anti-terrorism law that provided it with extreme new law enforcement powers (causing ex-President Lula da Silva to break with his party, which controls the government, by telling The Intercept in an interview that he opposes the new law).
And now, as The Intercept reported last week, a new cyber-crime bill on the verge of being enacted could codify internet-shutdown powers of the type the state judge today imposed. In a Facebook post, Ronaldo Lemos, founding-director of the Institute of Technology and Society of Rio de Janeiro and an architect of Brazil’s landmark 2014 Marco Civil internet legislation, wrote: “Tomorrow, the Cybercrime CPI will vote on a proposal to make this type of block lawful. If the CPI proposal goes forward, this will be the new normal in the country. Every week we would have news of sites and services that are blocked, as it is in Saudi Arabia and North Korea.”
It is stunning to watch a single judge instantly shut down a primary means of online communication for the world’s fifth-largest country. The two Brazilian communication experts in the NYT wrote of the first WhatsApp shutdown: “the judge’s action was reckless and represents a potentially longer-term threat to the freedoms of Brazilians.” But there is no question that is just a sign of what is to come for countries far from Brazil: there will undoubtedly be similar battles in numerous countries around the world over what rights companies have to offer privacy protections to their users.
Sign up for The Intercept Newsletter here.
The post WhatsApp, Used by 100 Million Brazilians, Was Shut Down Nationwide Today by a Single Judge appeared first on The Intercept.
Republican lawmakers in the House of Representatives have lined up to quietly kill a cost estimate of the Pentagon’s three-decade nuclear modernization program, which experts predict will exceed $1 trillion. The vote was mentioned briefly in Politico’s morning briefing list last week but otherwise received no media coverage.
The Pentagon is already moving to refurbish its 1,900 deployed nuclear warheads and replace each leg of its nuclear triad – its land, sea, and air-based delivery systems. In October, the DOD signed a contract with Northrop Grumman to produce a new long range strike bomber, and its proposed budget plan sets aside hundreds of billions of dollars to buy a new generation of ICBMs, nuclear submarines, and cruise missiles.
In the mid-2020s, those expenses are scheduled to overlap with major purchases of aircraft carriers and of the F-35 joint strike fighter, leading to a surge in spending that experts have called “unsustainable,” “unaffordable,” and “a fantasy.”
Brian McKeon, principal deputy under secretary of defense for policy, told reporters in October the Pentagon was “wondering how the heck we’re going to pay for it,” and that current leadership is “thanking [their] stars we won’t be here to have to answer the question.” In November, the Pentagon Comptroller called the cost of nuclear modernization “the biggest problem we don’t know how to solve yet.”
On Wednesday, four hours into a marathon hearing of the House Armed Services Committee, Congressman Steve Aguilar (D-Calif.) proposed a measure that would require the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to predict the cost of modernization over thirty years. The CBO is currently required to estimate the costs only ten years out, which would overlook the longer-term surge.
Congressman John Garamendi (D–Calif.) spoke in support of the amendment.
“We’re going to spend an incredible amount of money on what amounts to a new nuclear arms race. It will take money from other programs… we ought to be aware of it, but we will be blind to the total cost,” Garamendi said.
Republican Michael Rogers (R–Ala.) rallied his colleagues against the amendment, claiming that a 30-year cost estimate may not provide reliable data.
“In all candor, a multi-decade cost estimate wouldn’t we worth the paper it was written on,” said Rogers. “This amendment would result in false, unreliable data in the public debate.”
But Aguilar fired back, pointing to a 30-year cost estimate of ship building programs the committee’s Republicans had approved. “If we’re not going to do long-term planning,” Aguilar said, “then let’s be honest about it.”
The measure was defeated 26-36, with all Republicans voting in opposition.
In the last election cycle, Rogers received more than $65,000 in campaign contributions from defense contractors, including $5,000 from Northrop Grumman, the company producing the new long-range strike bomber.
Nuclear policy experts were quick to condemn Rogers’ dismissal of a long-term study.
“Rep. Rogers continues to believe that ignorance is bliss when it comes to increasing transparency about the long-term cost of U.S. nuclear weapons,” said Kingston Reif, Director of Threat Reduction Policy at the Arms Control Association. “Yes, it’s true that 30 year costs are speculative. But Congress should want all the information it can get about the cost of these plans, especially in the 2020s and 2030s.”
It is unclear whether the Senate Armed Services Committee will consider a similar measure in coming months.
Sign up for The Intercept Newsletter here.
The post Republicans Don’t Want to Know Costs of U.S. Nuclear Arsenal appeared first on The Intercept.
/* Style Definitions */
mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt;
Aktion autonomer Aktivist_innen vor dem Innenministerium gegen die österreichische Grenzschließungspolitik – Grenzen töten, OPEN ALL Borders!
Wir protestieren heute mit Stacheldraht vor dem österreichischen Innenministerium, weil der österreichische Staat eine Schlüsselfunktion in der europäischen Grenzschließungspolitik einnimmt.
Kooperation oder Verbot: Legale Proteste nur in abgelegenen Stadtteilen möglich –
Von SYLVIO HOFFMANN und ANDREAS SCHMIDT, 2. Mai 2016 –
Nachdem die türkische Regierung auch in diesem Jahr alle Demonstrationen zum 1. Mai auf und um den symbolträchtigen Taksim-Platz in Istanbul verboten hat, verlagerte sich der Großteil der Proteste auf die umliegenden Stadtteile. Das Überraschende an dem diesjährigen 1. Mai war die Bereitschaft der großen Gewerkschaften, sich im Vorhinein mit den verantwortlichen Behörden auf eine Verlegung des Protestes zu einigen. Sie riefen daher zu einem Sternmarsch im abgelegenen Stadtteil Bakirköy auf. Diese meistbesuchte Demonstration in Istanbul wurde organisiert
The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s refusal to discuss even the broad strokes of some of its secret investigative methods, such as implanting malware and tracking cellphones with Stingrays, is backfiring — if the goal is to actually enforce the law.
In the most recent example, the FBI may be forced to drop its case against a Washington State school administrator charged with possessing child porn because it doesn’t want to tell the court or the defense how it got its evidence—even in the judge’s chambers.
The FBI reportedly used a bug in an older version of the free anonymity software Tor to insert malware on the computers of people who accessed a child-porn website it had seized. The malware gave agents the ability to see visitors’ real Internet addresses and track them down.
Defense lawyers for Jay Michaud of Vancouver, Wash., argued they had the right to review the malware in order to pursue their argument that the government compromised the security of Michaud’s computer, leading to the illicit material ending up there unintentionally.
U.S. District Court Judge Robert Bryan in Tacoma agreed.
“The consequences are straightforward: the prosecution must now choose between complying with the Court’s discovery order and dismissing the case,” Michaud’s defense attorneys wrote in a brief filed last week.
The FBI’s lawyers took what they described as the “unusual step” in late March of asking the judge to reconsider his order, repeating earlier arguments that revealing the full details of the technique would be “harmful to the public interest.” The information might damage future investigations by allowing potential targets to learn about the FBI’s tactics, its attorneys argued, and might “discourage cooperation from third parties and other governmental agencies who rely on these techniques in critical situations.” The bureau sometimes pays third parties for exploitable security flaws, which lose their market value when they are made public and get fixed.
FBI officials declined to comment to The Intercept about their legal strategy.
In their frequent public arguments against unbreakable encryption, FBI officials have been arguing that public safety takes precedence over personal privacy.
But if this case gets dropped, the “defendant walks because the Government has decided that its secrecy trumps someone else’s becoming a victim of Crime Everyone Hates,” Scott Greenfield, criminal defense lawyer, wrote in his blog Simple Justice.
“The FBI would rather let a criminal go free than actually follow a court order designed to ensure a fair defense” even though revealing the bug “would almost certainly not help the defense,” tweeted Nicholas Weaver, a computer security researcher at the International Computer Science Institute in Berkeley, California.
And this isn’t the first time FBI has expressed “its preference for secrecy over public safety,” tweeted Amie Stepanovich, U.S. policy manager for digital rights group Access Now.
Indeed, the FBI’s insistence on keeping certain surveillance tools secret —particularly the Stingray, or IMSI catcher, which imitates a cellphone tower to secretly grab up data about nearby phones – is letting criminals go free.
In Baltimore, 2,000 convictions may be overturned because of evidence that the police and the FBI purposefully withheld and then lied about the capabilities of the technology.
And last week, a city judge in Baltimore reluctantly tossed out key murder evidence gathered after the use of a cell site simulator because the police, who had been concealing use of the device as part of a nondisclosure agreement with the FBI, used it without getting a search warrant. She called it an “unconstitutional search.”
Journalists have also reported on cases in New York and Florida where the FBI instructed prosecutors to offer a deal or drop the case entirely to hide details about the technology. In Milwaukee, the FBI simply tried to hide its use entirely from the record.
At least 20 local agencies have signed non-disclosure agreements when they purchase Stingrays, according to privacy advocate Mike Katz-Lacabe who keeps track. The American Civil Liberties Union and other groups have chronicled federal and local law enforcement use of Stingrays in at least 23 states.
“We still don’t know all of the law enforcement agencies that actually have StingRay/HailStorm/DRTbox devices,” Katz-Lacabe wrote in an email to The Intercept. “With a few exceptions, we don’t know how they are used by each agency or how frequently. We don’t know their full range of impact on nearby phones as we don’t know the technical capabilities of the amplifiers and antennas that are used with the devices. We don’t know which agencies are using equipment that can actually intercept calls instead of just track them. I think that more cases will be thrown out as defense attorneys, judges, and the public learn about the technology that law enforcement has tried to keep secret,” he wrote.
Nathan Wessler, an attorney with the ACLU’s Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project, says the FBI’s openness about Stingrays seems to have gotten a little better since the DOJ updated its Stingray policy in September 2015 to increase privacy protections and legal requirements. “It looks like the DOJ policy has had an effect at least on what the FBI is telling judges when it seeks judicial authorization. The FBI should have exercised at least this level of candor with judges starting years ago, but at least there’s evidence that they’re doing so now,” he wrote in an email to The Intercept.
And yet, he wrote: “The biggest continuing problem involving FBI secrecy about Stingrays is at the state and local level, where the FBI’s non-disclosure agreement has kept judges, defense attorneys, and the public in the dark.”
When it comes to hacking tools, the FBI’s secrecy is “still intense,” Wessler concluded.
Sign up for The Intercept Newsletter here.
Last night at the annual White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner, Nightly Show host Larry Wilmore compared President Barack Obama to Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry because they both “like raining down bombs on people from long distances.”
The audience of Washington, D.C. journalists, politicians and celebrities reacted with pained “oooooooh’s,” as did Obama himself (before grinning widely).
By contrast, the audience laughed with delight at the same dinner in 2010 when Obama warned the Jonas Brothers to stay away from his daughters or he would kill them with a predator drone:
Of course, all the D.C. elites who laughed with Obama would be (rightfully) horrified if Vladimir Putin casually joked about killing anyone he wanted with the same weapons Russia uses to bomb Syria.
Nevertheless, Obama’s witticism remains beloved by the Washington Post, which called it one of “the president’s sharpest quips” the next day and this week named it one of his “10 most hilarious lines” of his whole presidency at the correspondents’ dinner.
By the time Obama made his Jonas Brothers joke, the United States had, according to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, killed a minimum of 679 people in drone strikes in Pakistan alone. This included at least 138 civilians, of whom at least 42 were children. By now victims of U.S. drones number in the thousands worldwide.
What makes Obama’s drone joke particularly non-funny is that on the same night in 2010 — just a few hours before Obama spoke — a Bridgeport, Conn., man, Faisal Shahzad attempted to detonate a car bomb in New York City’s Times Square. After Shahzad was captured, he stated that one of his main motivations to kill Americans was “the drone strikes in Somalia and Yemen and in Pakistan.”
Sign up for The Intercept Newsletter here.
The post D.C. Elite Hated Larry Wilmore’s Drone Joke Last Night, But Loved Obama’s in 2010 appeared first on The Intercept.