Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
December 12, 2011

Obama Wants His Toy Back

"We broke your sovereign rights and international law by flying a spy drone deep into your airspace to do surveillance on your scientist and their work and to enable able us to kill them. You fuckers took this drone down. Now could we please have it back!"

That is, according to AP, what the U.S. president just said:

Obama: US Has Asked Iran to Return Downed US Surveillance Drone.

"We were just testing it before giving it to Israel for Hanuka because we didn't wanted them to get a bad drone."

Ahh, "America the beautiful" or whatever plays in the background there.

But isn't illegal to deal with Iran? Ain't there laws and sanctions that do not allow trades with the "terrorist sponsoring" Iran?

Posted by b on December 12, 2011 at 18:14 UTC | Permalink


via Time the original wording (notice their URL for the story:

“With respect to the drone inside of Iran, I'm not going to comment on intelligence matters that are classified. As has already been indicated, we have asked for it back. We'll see how the Iranians respond.”

– President Obama on Monday afternoon. Last Thursday, the Pentagon said it hadn’t asked for it back. Sunday, Iran said it wouldn’t give it back. Wouldn’t be surprised if the former changed; would be stunned if the latter did.

Posted by: b | Dec 12 2011 18:47 utc | 1

Maybe the U.S. can quickly craft and pass a law giving personhood to has been done for Corporations. That way, Iran will now be seen as holding a hostage, and the U.S. can escalate this, accordingly. You have to find loopholes when there are no more Gary Powers. Ah.....the downsides of technology.

Where have you gone, Gary Powers.....our nation turns its lonely eyes to you....woe, hoo, hoo....woo, hoo, hoo...

Posted by: Morocco Bama | Dec 12 2011 18:53 utc | 2

That's pathetic really. It shows a total lack of self respect. Pro neocon commentary have been pushing the "it's just an Iranian mock up" story. Now Obama has denied them even that tiny figleaf. What will they argue now? I guess they will go with the "it's really a super clever trojan horse" story. When the Iranians conveniently place it right next to there most valuable nuclear facility, it will blow up.

He who laughs last, you know.

Posted by: lysander | Dec 12 2011 19:27 utc | 3

hahaha.. Iran Hostage crisis day:???

Was Ptech technology involved here?*

Might U.S. and/or Israeli national secu­rity inter­ests have helped engi­neer this to fore­stall an Israeli attack on Iran, seen by many as a blue­print for wider dev­as­ta­tion and disaster?

Might GOP per­son­nel have been involved in bring­ing down the drone to cause embar­rass­ment and or dis­func­tion­al­ity to the Obama admin­is­tra­tion, not unlike the U-2 inci­dent and its effect on the Eisen­hower sum­mit with Soviet pre­mier Khr­uschev or the Octo­ber Sur­prise and its effect on the re-election cam­paign of Jimmy Carter?

But it was only fantasy.
The wall was too high,
As you can see.
No matter how he tried,
He could not break free.
And the worms ate into his brain.

Hey You (Waters, Pink Floyd)

*backdoor technology

Posted by: Uncle | Dec 12 2011 19:41 utc | 4


Posted by: Khalid Shah | Dec 12 2011 20:19 utc | 5

The Sentinel is not only the Beast of Kandahar it is also the Beast of Osan. Beginning in 2010, the RQ-170 Sentinel began replacing U-2s operating from Osan Air Base, South Korea which is only a stone's throw from China, which is why the u.S. has bases in Korea. Back in the mid-sixties China published photos of nine Ryan Model 147 surveillance drones that had been shot down and displayed in the Chinese capital. Are the Osan Sentinel drones only used over North Korea, or also over China?

On at least two recent occasions, hackers have taken over U.S. satellites and targeted their command-and-control systems. U.S. officials cannot clearly trace the incidents to China, but the report released by the by a U.S. commission noted that Chinese military writings made reference to attacks on ground-based space communications facilities.

China has close ties with Iran. China built a missile manufacturing plant in Iran last year and Chine buys billions of dollars of oil from Iran. China has sworn to protect Iran militarily. If the Chinese can take full control of American space satellites, and if a virus was found recently in the US military drone fleet computers, then isn’t it possible that the Chinese landed the RQ-170 stealth drone in Iran? Did the Iranians send out for Chinese?

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 12 2011 20:28 utc | 6

Drones drones Everywhere...

Russian protesters film UFO over Moscow

Video footage shows an unidentified flying object hovering above protesters in Bolotnaya Square in Moscow.
Video at link

3:01PM GMT 12 Dec 2011
Witnessed by hundreds of pro-democracy protestors in the Russian capital's Bolotnaya Square on Saturday, the unidentified craft drew confused stares.

Clearly not a helicopter, the silent UFO pulsated coloured lights and had five extended tendrils or pylons emanating from the body of the vehicle.

Onlookers, protesting against election results, climbed trees to grab a closer look at the mysterious craft which seemed to be observing the 25,000 people who had made their way down to Bolotnaya Square to protest.

Russia has been rocked by mass protests against elections in early December which pro-democracy organisers say were rigged in favour of Vladimir Putin and his party.

Where this stops nobody knows... or do we?

Posted by: Uncle | Dec 12 2011 20:36 utc | 7

I gather the Iranians threatened to reengineer it, improve it and mass produce it in a cheap version.
That is blackmail on a level with threatening to close the strait of Hormuz.
Though probably they are not serious as they have already been beaten to it by the Chinese
I like the one that does not need a runway, sending my personal drone off from my balcony to spy on my cat would be great ...

Posted by: somebody | Dec 12 2011 22:08 utc | 8

@Uncle: And because they are "[o]nlookers, protesting against election results", they are shouting Putin-Putin-Putin?

Posted by: k_w | Dec 12 2011 22:13 utc | 9

funny, i wouldn't be surprised if they said sure, after we produced our own replica.

or perhaps they will turn it into a tourist attraction.

Posted by: annie | Dec 12 2011 23:09 utc | 10

i think this is the shortest news article i have ever seen.

"Obama: US Has Asked Iran to Return Downed US Surveillance Drone"

is that all or is there some video that's not appearing for me?

Posted by: annie | Dec 12 2011 23:26 utc | 11

Some times ya just gotta not give a flying fu*k...

Posted by: Uncle | Dec 13 2011 0:07 utc | 12

Try again...

Sometimes you just gotta not give a flying fu*k...

Get one today!

Posted by: Uncle | Dec 13 2011 0:12 utc | 13

Iran media: The aircraft was detected over the eastern town of Kashmar, about 140 miles from the border with Afghanistan. According to these officials believe that the flight originated at Shindand Air Base, Afghanistan which is located in the western part of Afghanistan in Herat province bordering on northeastern Iran. A senior U.S. official said the drone was on a mission for the CIA.

There has been major construction at Shindand this year. By expanding to nearly three times its original size, Shindand Air Base recently became the second largest airfield in Afghanistan. The project is part of a $500 million military construction effort to support Regional Command West.

The new expansion is slated to become the new living and working area for more than 3,000 coalition forces and government contractors, officials said. The relocation of these members will make room for a new a 1.3-mile NATO training runway, with construction scheduled to begin in early 2012.

So while the US departs Iraq it reinforces its presence on the other side of Iran, on its eastern border. And perhaps the CIA is not only looking for nukes, but also at conventional force deployments.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 13 2011 0:23 utc | 14

My bet is that Obama, in a Reaganesque gesture, will hire Eliot Abrams, Ollie North, and Richard Perle to work through the Honduran junta to engage in secret negotiations with Iran to buy the plane. Since it will all be covertly funded by Israel, there will be no violations of international sanctions (because international law doesn't apply to Israel.)

Posted by: JohnH | Dec 13 2011 0:32 utc | 15

I bet if you look under the fuselage of that captured Drone, you'll find the Made in China sticker.

Posted by: Morocco Bama | Dec 13 2011 0:39 utc | 16

@ Don Bacon no. 6

Do you have a handy link about the Chinese hacking of the two US satellites? Thanks.

Posted by: sleepy | Dec 13 2011 2:37 utc | 17

@ Sleepy no 17

The two satellites being hacked were included in a congressional report in October by the "US-China Economic and Security Review Commission". Story on that report below.


Posted by: Colm O' Toole | Dec 13 2011 2:49 utc | 18

A wonderful video of a drone used by Warsaw protestors to spy on Polish cops--

Posted by: sleepy | Dec 13 2011 2:51 utc | 19

What are the Iranians, chopped liver? No, salami.

TEHRAN, Iran - Iran will not return a U.S. surveillance drone captured by its armed forces, a senior commander of the country's elite Revolutionary Guard said Sunday.

Gen. Hossein Salami, deputy head of the Guard, said in remarks broadcast on state television that the violation of Iran's airspace by the U.S. drone was a "hostile act" and warned of a "bigger" response. He did not elaborate on what Tehran might do.

"No one returns the symbol of aggression to the party that sought secret and vital intelligence related to the national security of a country," Salami said.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 13 2011 2:57 utc | 20

Well, perhaps if Obama offered the same deal he has given Netanyahu. I mean he might get a little sore, but I'm sure, if he asked nicely, the Iranians might agree to use a lubricant.

Posted by: PissedOffAmerican | Dec 13 2011 3:19 utc | 21

When asked to comment on possible closure of Pakistan airspace for US planes, US Ambassador in Pakistan Cameron Munter said 'let's not forget that Pakistan and US are on the same side' and that there should be more talk between the two allies rather than less. "Let's get beyond the anger."

Hosepucky. (Auf Deutsch - Paard-Scheiße) Actually, Pakistan and US are not on the same side. This is a lie promoted by the US to put Pakistan on the defensive. Pakistan knows what its interests are, and they don't coincide with US interests. In fact, they conflict.

--US dislikes Taliban Pashtuns, Pakistan prefers Taliban to Northern Alliance and Tajiks.
--US likes India and has promoted Indian interests in Afghanistan, but India is Pakistan's enemy and doesn't want India in Afghanistan..
--US requires Pakistan to support professed US security interests, but Pakistan prefers to defend its own interests.
--US sides with its new friend India, but Pakistan sides with its dependable friend and neighbor China.
--US says it will transfer responsibility in 2014, Pakistan has to endure beyond 2014.

One thing the two countries have in common is mutual enmity. Americans don't like Pakistanis, and Pakistanis hate Americans.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 13 2011 3:27 utc | 22

ooooops -- wrong thread. sorry.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 13 2011 3:29 utc | 23

two answers..."i want don't get" and "piss off"

Posted by: lotsofnoise | Dec 13 2011 5:13 utc | 24

Iran should ask for Iran Air's Airbus A300 flight 655 in return.

Posted by: Biklett | Dec 13 2011 6:33 utc | 25

according to Debka, Iranian engineers and technicians were "in the final stages of "cracking" the drone's secret technology

Posted by: nikon | Dec 13 2011 6:33 utc | 26

Nikon, of course Debka says that, they are run by the mossad and their sayanim...

Posted by: Uncle | Dec 13 2011 7:18 utc | 27

There are very many cases of defectors bringing MIGs or helicoptors into USA hands. These were mostly transferred to USA and studied. Eg Afgan to Pakistan in 1980s,
China to Taiwan, USSR to Iran, Poland to Denmark/Sweden, Syria to Iraq, etc. Why should Iran not do the same?.
Why should Iran not have nuclear weapons when the US, UK, France, Israel, China, Russia, India, Pakistan,etc......have them.
The strong take because they can and the weak give in because they have to.
Negotiations are for equals. Power beats arguments. If you are not strong you must be useful to a strong ally.

Posted by: boindub | Dec 13 2011 12:52 utc | 28

Rare Photographs Show Ground Zero of the Drone War

The epicenter of global terrorism, and the CIA's highly classified drone war against extremist groups, is a black hole on the map -- a region of Pakistan off limits to outsiders, and especially Westerners. It’s an area so dangerous that even the Pakistani military avoids it. The CIA may have launched 70 drone strikes in tribal Pakistan in 2011 alone. But Americans, like the rest of the world, have no idea what the area looks like, or who lives there.

One resident of North Waziristan wants to expose the conflict. Noor Behram has spent years photographing the aftermath of drone strikes, often at personal risk. Working with Islamabad lawyer Shahzad Akbar and London-based human rights activist Clive Stafford Smith, who are helping get his photos to the outside world, Behram provided Danger Room with dozens of his images, none of which have ever been published in the United States.

What follows is a sample of some of the most arresting photos. Be advised: Many of these pictures are disturbing. Some of them show dead children.

Also be aware that our sources came to us with an agenda: discrediting the drone war. "I want to show taxpayers in the Western world what their tax money is doing to people in another part of the world: killing civilians, innocent victims, children," Behram says. Stafford Smith is threatening the U.S. embassy in Pakistan with a lawsuit over its complicity in civilian deaths from drone strikes. And anonymous U.S. officials have claimed that Akbar, whose clients are suing the CIA for wrongful deaths in the drone war, is acting at the behest of Pakistani intelligence -- something he denies.

Nevertheless, after careful consideration, we chose to publish some of these images because of the inherent journalistic value in depicting a largely unseen battlefield.

Posted by: Uncle | Dec 13 2011 13:30 utc | 29

Uncle, this would be appropriate music for that photo montage.

Posted by: Morocco Bama | Dec 13 2011 13:34 utc | 30

Drones are unethical, immoral, and without honor. In using them we lower ourselves to the moral equivalent of the suicide bomber who deliberately targets innocents.

If a military lacks the courage of its convictions and cannot successfully engage the enemy in the field, it has no business making wars.

War is distasteful, to be sure - but who do you have more respect for: the Afghan who fights to defend his home and family, often armed only with a rifle and a few grenades - or the drone pilot who sips coffee in between discussions about what to fire upon, and who drives home after his shift in the the air-conditioned control room a half a world way from the battlefield?


Posted by: Cynthia | Dec 13 2011 14:49 utc | 31

Obama makes it abundantly clear in this clip that one of his goals is to go down in history as the predator-drone president:

But we can only hope that this will result in him, whether he is still alive or not, being stripped of the Nobel Peace Prize.

Posted by: Cynthia | Dec 13 2011 14:52 utc | 32

I hear you, Cynthia. It is cowardly as all get out.....essentially, it's a drive-by shooting, except it can inflict much greater death and destruction.

War should be this. All those who like to fight and want to fight, meet on an Island somewhere and strangle each other and leave the rest of us the fuck alone. But see, they won't do that, because those who like to fight and make war are inherently cowardly bullies. They don't want a match, they want easy targets because they're sadistic, cowardly psychopaths.

Posted by: Morocco Bama | Dec 13 2011 15:17 utc | 33

MQ-9 Reaper drone down in Seychelles. The news account says Seychelles is "off the coast" of Somalia but it's 825 miles from Victoria (Seychelles) to Mogadishu. Quite a range!

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 13 2011 15:23 utc | 34

I see Dick Cheney thought it would have been a good idea to send in a plane to destroy the drone. I doubt if the Iranians would have been expecting that.

Posted by: dh | Dec 13 2011 17:04 utc | 35

Did anyone think the Iranians would put the real drone on display and risk it being retrieved / destroyed /give away info.? A copy makes the same point. The real one is already securly with their best friends. What would you do?.
When you are threathened by a big power you must be useful, fast, to another big power.

Posted by: boindub | Dec 13 2011 17:11 utc | 36

(CNN) -- Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Tuesday that his country has "been able to control" the U.S. drone that Iran claims it recently brought down, Venezuelan state TV reported.

"There are people here who have been able to control this spy plane," Ahmadinejad told VTV. "Those who have been in control of this spy plane surely will analyze the plane's system. Furthermore, the systems of Iran are so advanced also, like the system of this plane."

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 13 2011 17:51 utc | 37

@35, I believe they are contemplating naming the mission Operation Eagle Claw II. It's a nice Bipartisan touch, you must admit. Why not send in a Drone to take out the Drone....or hell, just Nuke the damn thing and everything around it.

Posted by: Morocco Bama | Dec 13 2011 18:16 utc | 38

I am pretty sure the U.S. does not know where the drone is. It will have been moved out of that gym shortly after the video was made and before it was made public.

Posted by: b | Dec 13 2011 18:45 utc | 39

MQ-9 Reaper is the drone that was just used domestically within the U.S.: Predator Drones Used by Local Police & Domestic Law Enforcement For Spying:

Well it looks like the cat is out of the bag, or at least the Predator Drones are in domestic law enforcement. Police in North Dakota called in the troops and an Air Force Predator Drone MQ-9 Reaper to assist in survelliance of a farm that six cows had strayed onto.

The farm was owned by Rodney Brossart and Susan Brossart. The family had eight adult children living on their farm. It was reported by the Nelson County Sheriff department that the family was known for being armed, dangerous and apparently anti-government. This time for the Brossart family their crime was not reporting stray cattle wandering onto their farm.

The Nelson County Sheriff Kelly Janke went onto the Brossart farm with a search warrant in hand to confiscate the cattle. Three of Rodney Brossart’s sons approached the Sheriff and were armed with guns. The sheriff left the farm and called in the big guns after that run in.

A $154 million dollar MQ-9 Predator B drone was brought in from Grand Forks Air Force Base where its primary duty was to patrol the US-Canada border. The operation is run the US Department Homeland Security and it has been said that these types of operations have become more common in sharing drones with local law enforcement.

Posted by: lysias | Dec 13 2011 19:12 utc | 40

Jesus, Joseph and this rate, Wikileaks and Anonymous will have their own fleet of Drones in no time if they're this easy to hack.

Posted by: Morocco Bama | Dec 13 2011 19:33 utc | 41

Following Iran's inevitable refusal to accede to Obama's "request" to hand over the captured drone, we can next expect the US to scream that Iran has stolen US property. Another notch up on the rolling Iran war drums.

Posted by: JohnE | Dec 13 2011 19:44 utc | 42

Lawmaker: 'Technical' problem brought down US spy drone in Iran:

The head of the House Intelligence Committee on Tuesday said a "technical" problem — and not an Iranian electronic attack — felled a highly classified American spy drone captured earlier this month by Tehran.

Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) said several times during an appearance at a Foreign Policy Initiative-sponsored forum in Washington that Iranian claims that one of its electronic warfare units brought down a U.S. RQ-170 Sentinel unmanned aircraft are false.

How could he know that?

Posted by: lysias | Dec 13 2011 20:15 utc | 43

@lysias -- Drones have been used near the US border for many years, probably starting with the Israeli Hermes in 2004, used in Arizona.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 13 2011 20:44 utc | 44

Iran has rejected a U.S. request to return a drone that Tehran says it brought down near the Afghan border earlier this month. Iranian Defense Minister, Brigadier General Ahmad Vahidi, said Tuesday that the aircraft is Iran's property. To which Obama said: "Is not" to which Iran replied "Is too." (Okay, I made that last part up.)

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 13 2011 21:15 utc | 45

No no, you guys don't get it. Iran DOES NOT HAVE a US drone. Really! The guy at the Pentagon say so:

And notice CNN says that Iran only "claims" to have this drone

Posted by: hass | Dec 13 2011 22:01 utc | 46

In all fairness these drones do crash a lot. This was August 17

A crash between a drone and a cargo plane in Afghanistan is raising concern over the safety of unmanned aircraft.


Our Drone Crash Database has been updated with the details of another thirteen drone crashes that have taken place over the past ten months, including the crash (or ‘hijacking’ according to the Iranians) of the US stealth drone in Iran last week. According to our database 25 large drones have crashed so far this year. Altogether our database records some details of 90 drone crashes since January 2007.

well, drone mass production is definitively in the cards, so I might be able to spy on my cat soon
The main international agreement controlling the proliferation of drones, the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), is coming under increasing pressure from drone manufacturers who see it as out-dated and ‘a drag’ on the development of their industry.

so I guess, drones will replace the AK 47 ...

Posted by: somebody | Dec 13 2011 22:47 utc | 47

One has to wonder, whether the policy of using state of the art war technology in superfluous engagements like Afghanistan, Iraq, or Iran (where they are not remotely necessary) doesn't itself beg defeat. As a matter of hastening the funding of yet more pentagon money to stay ahead of the curve.

Posted by: anna missed | Dec 14 2011 9:32 utc | 48

Read what Cheney advocates, and one realizes how this piece of shit Barack Obama has placed us all at grave risk......

“The right response would have been to go in immediately after it had gone down,”

Misrepresented, falsely advertised, and slickly marketed, Obama delivered NOTHING as promised. There will be a remarkably low voter turnout from the left, as those who supported with worthless enmpty suit are disillusioned, disappointed, and disenfranchised.

Obama, through cowardice, deception, and ineptitude, has paved a path for these fuckin' maniacs like Cheney to once again embark us on the devil's road to disaster. If the far right gets back in, and its looks like they will, the neo-con agenda will be fully energized, with all these satanic monstrous criminals (THAT OBAMA REFUSED TO INVESTIGATE, INDICT, AND PROSECUTE), will be back in the driver's seat. Obama's legacy, will be his cowardly political appeasments, his equivications, and his refusal to hold the criminals of the prior administration accountable to the letter of the law. He demonstrated, to some VERY EVIL PEOPLE, that they can do ANYTHING, and get away with it. The damage that Obama has done through political cowardice equals the damage the Bush Administration did through political chutzpah. These elitist and lawless sacks of shit, on BOTH sides of the aisle, have taken us to the brink of the abyss. If Cheney and his band of satanists gets back into power, we're going over the edge

Posted by: PissedOffAmerican | Dec 14 2011 14:54 utc | 49

Get your video jollies here.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 14 2011 17:43 utc | 50

Saw an interesting account on the drone capture on the Christian Science Monitor site. It says that the Iranians recoded the drone's GPS coordinates so that it's home site was precisely relocated to where the Iranians wanted it.

Posted by: JohnE | Dec 15 2011 22:26 utc | 51

And, if the Iranians can do that to a drone, does that mean they can do it to all our missiles too?

Posted by: lysias | Dec 16 2011 20:20 utc | 52

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