Tag Archives | War On Terror

Will The United States Never Again Have A Peacetime President?

Have Bush and Obama ushered in the age of vague, unpublicized, poorly-defined war that never ends? Via Foreign Policy, Micah Zenko writes:

Since September 11, 2001, the president has been able to threaten or use military force to achieve a range of foreign policy objectives with few checks and balances or sustained media coverage — to an extent unprecedented in U.S. history. It is unlikely that the United States will ever have a peacetime president again.

The primary reason for this stems from how policymakers in Washington perceive the world — a perception that bridges partisan divisions. According to most officials, the international security environment is best characterized by limitless, complex, and imminent threats facing the United States. Those threats require the military to be perpetually on a wartime footing and the president to frequently authorize the use of lethal force. As a Pentagon strategy document first noted in 2010, the United States has entered “a period of persistent conflict.”

In response to this world of grave uncertainty and looming threats, the United States has invested heavily in offensive military capabilities [including drones, special operations forces, and cyberattacks] that the president leverages with speed, secrecy, and minimal oversight.

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More Than 80 Public Entities In U.S. Requested Drone Authorizations In 2012

Aaron Cynic writes at Diatribe Media:

As White House officials spent the week defending targeted assassinations via drone strikes, the FAA released a new drone authorization list which highlights law enforcement agencies and other entities nationwide who have applied to use drones in domestic airspace for surveillance. Thanks to a Freedom Of Information Act lawsuit from the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the release shows several sherrif’s departments, The State Department and several community colleges requested drone authorizations in 2012. Coupled with the FAA’s original list, 81 entities through October of 2012 have requested drone authorization.

Together with the website MuckRack, the EFF is building a database of drones authorized to fly in domestic airspace. So far, MuckRack has filed 275 public records requests to federal, state, and local agencies nationwide.

Read the full post at Diatribe Media.

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The CIA Has A Secret Drone Base In Saudi Arabia

I wonder, what other news is hidden from the public under an “informal arrangement”? The BBC reports:

The CIA has been operating a secret airbase for unmanned drones in Saudi Arabia for the past two years. US media have known of its existence since then, but have not reported it. The New York Times published its report on Tuesday night, ending an “informal arrangement” among several news organizations not to disclose the location of the base.

The facility was established to hunt for members of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, which is based in Yemen. A drone flown from there was used in September 2011 to kill Anwar al-Awlaki, a US-born cleric who was alleged to be AQAP’s external operations chief.

Construction was ordered after a December 2009 cruise missile strike in Yemen. It was the first strike ordered by the Obama administration, and ended in disaster, with dozens of civilians, including women and children, killed.

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The All-Seeing Eye Of DARPA’s Drones Revealed

Surreal dystopian science fiction come to life: from the PBS Rise of the Drones series, the Pentagon's ARGUS 1.8-billion-pixel surveillance sensor allows airborne drones to capture unending, minutely-detailed video streams of everything occurring far down below on Earth. The idea is to avoid "mistakes" like the killing of 23 Afghan civilians because a drone detected that one was holding an indeterminate object shaped somewhat like a rifle:
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U.S. War On Terror Shifts Towards Africa With Plans For Drone Base

Uh oh. The New York Times reports:

The U.S. military is preparing to establish a drone base in northwest Africa so that it can increase surveillance missions on Islamist extremist groups that American and other Western officials say pose a growing menace to the region.

The move is an indication of the priority Africa has become in American antiterrorism efforts. The United States military has a limited presence in Africa, with only one permanent base, in the country of Djibouti. If the base is approved, the most likely location for it would be in Niger.

A handful of unarmed Predator drones would carry out surveillance missions in the region and fill a desperate need for more detailed information on a range of regional threats, including militants in Mali and the unabated flow of fighters and weapons from Libya. The plan could face resistance from some [officials] who are wary of committing any additional American forces to a fight against a poorly understood web of extremist groups in North Africa.

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Senator To Question Obama’s CIA Pick On America’s Drone Killings Policy

We may finally get specifics on Obama’s special “matrix” which tells when to assassinate U.S. citizens by drone without due process. Via Wired:

The man in charge of America’s drone wars will face Senate questioning about perhaps their most controversial aspect: when the president can target American citizens for death.

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) sent a letter on Monday to John Brennan, the White House’s counterterrorism adviser and nominee to be head of the CIA, asking for an outline of the legal and practical rules that underpin the U.S. government’s targeted killing of American citizens suspected of working with al-Qaida. The Obama administration has repeatedly resisted disclosing any such information about its so-called “disposition matrix” targeting terrorists, especially where it concerns possible American targets. Brennan reportedly oversees that matrix from his White House perch, and would be responsible for its execution at CIA director.

“How much evidence does the President need to determine that a particular American can be lawfully killed?” Wyden, a member of the Senate intelligence committee, asks in the letter.

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Presenting Amazon’s Predator Drone Toy For Kids

Looking to instill your children with some patriotic values? That’s where the Maisto Fresh Metal Tailwinds U.S. Military Aircraft – Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) RQ-1 Predator comes in, for sale now via Amazon:

The RQ-1 Predator can serve in a reconnaissance role and fire two AGM-114 Hellfire missiles. The aircraft, in use since 1995, has seen combat over Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bosnia, Serbia, Iraq, and Yemen.

The customer reviews explain:

“Educationally, this toy can’t be beat – inculcating a predilection for indiscriminate, imperialist violence against non-combatants from oppressed and marginalized communities is precisely in accordance with truly “American values!”

“I’m purchasing one of these drones for my nephew as a visual aid. I’m training him that if he can use these drones to kill enough innocent people he’ll be named Time Magazine’s Person of the Year twice and win the Nobel Peace Prize someday.”

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Former Adviser: Obama as ‘Ruthless and Indifferent to Rule of Law’ as Bush

Beth Brogan writes at Common Dreams:

A former security adviser for Barack Obama now says the Pentagon’s targeted drone program is counter-productive, is “encouraging a new arms race,” and has killed far more civilians than has been acknowledged.

In an article for the January 2013 issue of the journal International Affairs, Michael Boyle, a La Salle University expert on counterterrorism who served as an adviser on the Obama campaign’s counterterrorism expert group from July 2007-November 2008, writes that the Obama administration’s increasing reliance on drone attacks is having “adverse strategic effects that have not been properly weighed against the tactical gains associated with killing terrorists,” the Guardian reports.

Although Obama pledged to end the so-called ‘War on Terror,’ Boyle continues:

“Instead, he has been just as ruthless and indifferent to the rule of law as his predecessor … while President Bush issued a call to arms to defend ‘civilisation’ against the threat of terrorism, President Obama has waged his war on terror in the shadows, using drone strikes, special operations and sophisticated surveillance to fight a brutal covert war against al-Qaida and other Islamist networks.”

Boyle argues that the administration has been “successful in spinning the number of civilian casualties” because it has reportedly begun counting all military-age men in the strike zone as militants unless the administration has clear evidence to the contrary, the Guardian reports.

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Perpetual War Without End

Perpetual War Without End by Breshvic Penicillin

As we enter another year of drone strikes, cyber-warfare, espionage, pre-emptive strikes, funding of coups, instigation, and still those combat boots on the ground, many Americans are shaking the daze of election-year, fiscal debt lies, and popular culture distractions from their minds. Just how long are we going to be embedded in the Middle East? Why does it seem we are moving on to parasitically do the same in Africa? Are these theatres of war par for the course? Have we been witnessing a new Vietnam? Fed up citizens everywhere are sick of the deaths of civilians, the war crimes, the cover-ups, the secrecy, the lies.

Glenn Greenwald, one of the few tirelessly crusading journalists left, rounds up the talking head hypocrisies and obstinate thinking of our leaders and policies associated with the War on Terror. Like the War on Drugs, this ideological jihad has no specific end date; it can’t possibly by definition.… Read the rest

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