Tag Archives | War On Terror
Uh oh. The New York Times reports:
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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.
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:
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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.
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:
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“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.”
Beth Brogan writes at Common Dreams:
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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.
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
For its own good, the world can’t know what the CIA has or hasn’t done. Via the Christian Science Monitor:
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In a significant victory for government prosecutors, the military judge presiding over the trial of accused 911 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed has granted a government request to treat as classified any testimony or discussion about the alleged torture of Mr. Mohammed and others during CIA interrogations.
Off limits at the military commission trial at the US Naval Base at Guantánamo Bay are any details surrounding the defendants’ capture, detention, and alleged torture by the CIA. It includes “the enhanced interrogation techniques that were applied to an accused … including descriptions of the techniques as applied, the duration, frequency, sequencing, and limitations of those techniques.”
Defense lawyers had challenged the government’s expansive assertion of authority to designate certain subjects as protected secrets in the case, saying it was improper for prosecutors to attempt to censor Mohammed and his four co-defendants from discussing their own personal observations of things they involuntarily endured during years of CIA detention and interrogations.
Businessweek points out a staggering study suggesting that the delays and hassle caused by post-9/11 TSA airport screening procedures encouraged travelers to go by car rather than the far safer choice of flying – resulting in thousands of extra road fatalities which would not have otherwise occurred, a death toll dwarfing that of the attacks on the Twin Towers:
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Created in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the Transportation Security Administration has largely outlived its usefulness. These days, the TSA’s major role appears to be to make plane trips more unpleasant.
The inconvenience of air travel is pushing more people onto the roads. Compare the dangers of air travel to those of driving. To make flying as dangerous as using a car, a four-plane disaster on the scale of 9/11 would have to occur every month, according to analysis published in the American Scientist. Researchers at Cornell University suggest that people switching from air to road transportation in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks led to an increase of 242 driving fatalities per month—which means that a lot more people died on the roads as an indirect result of 9/11 than died from being on the planes that terrible day.
Wondering what exists at the center of the War on Drugs vs. War on Terror Venn diagram? Wired reports that well into the foreseeable future, our military will be pumping billions of dollars into the pockets of Blackwater-esque private contractors in a battle against Afghanistan’s drug economy:
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The U.S. war in Afghanistan is supposed to be winding down. Its contractor-led drug war? Not so much. Inside a compound in Kabul called Camp Integrity, the Pentagon stations a small group of officers to oversee the U.S. military’s various operations to curb the spread of Afghanistan’s cash crops of heroin and marijuana, which help line the Taliban’s pockets. Only Camp Integrity isn’t a U.S. military base at all. It’s the 10-acre Afghanistan headquarters of the private security company formerly known as Blackwater.
Those officers work for an obscure Pentagon agency called the Counter Narco-Terrorism Program Office, or CNTPO. Quietly, it’s grown into one of the biggest dispensers of cash for private security contractors in the entire U.S.