This week, President Barack Obama announced executive actions related to guns. Here are 10 common myths about firearms. Continue reading
This week, President Barack Obama announced executive actions related to guns. Here are 10 common myths about firearms. Continue reading
The hypersensitive bureaucracy that is modern-day America shows its ugly face of tyranny once again.
In July Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez opened fire at two military installations killing five service members before he was himself gunned down by responding officers.
Amid the chaos Lt. Cmdr. Timothy White, armed with a personal firearm, also discharged his weapon in an attempt to stop the mass shooting. It is not clear whether White struck Abdulazeez, but it can be argued that his actions certainly helped to deter further carnage because rather than walking through a military installation randomly killing unarmed victims, Abdulazeez was forced to engage armed defenders.
Many think our government is for sale. However, by taking a look at the facts below provided by the Open Secrets, it is easy to understand where they are coming from. Looking back at Friday the 12th, the House voted on Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), the controversial bill that gives power to the executive branch to negotiate treaties. TPA limit’s Congress’ ability to better a trade deal by subjecting members of Congress to 90 days of reviewing the trade agreement, prohibiting any amendments on the implementing legislation, and giving them an up or down vote. TPA passed with a mere 219-211 vote with only 218 needed to pass. The real shocker comes from the amount of money each Representative received for a yes vote. In total, $197,869,145 was given to Representatives for a yes vote where as $23,065,231 was given in opposition.
Barack Obama and the First Lady, Michelle Obama, have kept a tight lid on photos of their precious daughters being released by the press. Still, we have seen a startling lack of pictures from the early years of Malia and Sasha.
Now we have evidence that this may not be due to the fact that Michelle has ordered the press not to release them, but that they do not exist.
(Independent Sentinel) – The White House has plans to legalize 13 to 15 million illegal immigrants who will then establish a “country within a country.”
The following Mark Levin interview with Susan Payne is shocking but it also puts all the pieces into place.
Susan Payne is a contributor to WCBM, Baltimore and Co-Host of the Pat McDonough Radio Show,
Unbeknownst to the Obama officials, Ms. Payne was invited to listen in on conference calls at an immigration rally. Cecilia Munoz, director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, and 16 members of the White House cabinet were on the first call. White House officials were on all three calls. What Ms. Payne learned needs to be immediately shared with Congress and the public. Continue reading
US President Barack Obama yesterday raised the stakes in the confrontation with North Korea over unsubstantiated allegations that it hacked into Sony Pictures Entertainment, authorizing a new round of economic sanctions affecting 10 government officials and three state entities. Continue reading
Record-breaking numbers of Americans have lost support for Congress, according to a survey. Eighty-three per cent of respondents said they disapprove of the job its doing, while 57 per cent said they would replace every member of Congress if they could. Continue reading
President Obama’s perpetual scam machine is in high gear – which signals another expansion of war and war-powers accumulation. The president played the reluctant warrior who doesn’t really want the limitless powers he has arrogated to himself. But, what he’s seeking is formal authorization to escalate the U.S. offensive against world order and civil liberties.
Perpetual War – and Obama’s Perpetual Con Game
by BAR executive editor Glen Ford
“He admits to having done no wrong.”
Barack Obama is a master trickster, a shape-shifter, and a methodical liar. The man who has arrogated to himself the right to kill at will, anywhere on the globe, accountable only to himself, based on secret information and classified legal rationales, now says he is determined that Washington’s “perpetual war” must one day end – sometime in the misty future after he is long gone from office. He informed his global audience of potential victims that he had signed a secret agreement (with himself?) that would limit drone strikes to targets that pose “a continuing, imminent threat to Americans” and cannot be captured – a policy that his White House has always claimed (falsely) to be operative. He promises to be more merciful than before, “haunted” as he is by all the nameless deaths, although he admits to having done no wrong.
He is a man of boundless introspection, inviting us to ride with him on his wildly spinning moral compass. But, most of all, he is not George Bush – of that we can be certain, if only because he is younger and oratorically gifted and Black. “Beyond Afghanistan,” he said, “we must define our effort not as a boundless ‘global war on terror,’ but rather as a series of persistent, targeted efforts to dismantle specific networks of violent extremists that threaten America.” Thus, magically, he redefined the U.S. war on terror out of existence (in perpetuity) by breaking the conflict down to its daily, constituent parts, while simultaneously affirming that America will soon travel “beyond Afghanistan” despite the fact that many thousands of Special Operations troops will continue their round the clock raids in the countryside while drones rain death from the skies for the foreseeable future.
Such conflicts, we must understand, are necessitated by the “imminence” of threats posed to U.S. security, as weighed and measured by secret means. His Eminence is the sole judge of imminence. He is also the arbiter of who is to be detained in perpetuity, without trial or (public) charge, for “association” with “terrorists” as defined by himself. He has no apologies for that.
“His Eminence is the sole judge of imminence.”
America must turn the page on the previous era, because “the threat has shifted and evolved from the one that came to our shores on 9/11.” A reevaluation is in order, since “we have to recognize that the scale of this threat closely resembles the types of attacks we faced before 9/11.” In that case, why not call for repeal of the layers of war on terror legislation that have accumulated over the last 12 years, including Obama’s own NDAA preventive detention bill? Or, he could simply renounce these measures and refuse to employ them as a matter of policy. Instead, the president defended his own maximalist interpretation of the law, and claimed that the legal basis for his kill-at-will authority is firmly rooted in the Congress’s 2001 Authorization of Military Force (AMUF). Although he made vague reference to changes that Congress might make in the AMUF, there was no substantive indication that he sought to impose restrictions on his own or any other president’s authority to wage war precisely as he has for the last four years.
Obama’s blanket interpretation of AMUF – the legal logic – had previously been considered a state secret. It was news to much of the U.S. Senate, too, until assistant secretary of defense Michael Sheehan, in charge of special operations (death squads) at the Pentagon, told lawmakers earlier this month that the AMUF allows Obama to put “boots on the ground” anywhere he chooses, including “Yemen or the Congo,” if his classified logic compelled him to do so.
The senators were stunned – although it is no secret that Obama has already put U.S. Special Forces boots on the ground in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, the Central African Republic, and South Sudan, and has sent a combat brigade on permanent posting on the continent. Central Africa is one part of the world in which al Qaida has found little traction. The purported “bad guy” hiding in the bush, Joseph Kony, is the Christian leader of the remnants of the Lord’s Resistance Army. Obama authorized the deployment under the doctrine of Humanitarian Military Intervention, or Responsibility to Protect (R2P), a war-making notion that is, at best, ill-defined under international law and non-existent in U.S. statutes. However, if Obama is sincere (!) in wanting to phase out AMUF, as he averred last week, he’s always got R2P as a backup.
“Why not call for repeal of the layers of war on terror legislation that have accumulated over the last 12 years?”
Death squad honcho Sheehan is a believer in the perpetual lifespan of AMUF, which he considers operative until al Qaida has been consigned to the “ash heap of history” – an eventuality that is “at least 10 to 20 years” away. Since this is the guy who carries out Obama’s kill orders (the identity of his counterpart in the CIA is, of course, a secret), one would think that Sheehan and Obama would be on the same page when it comes to al Qaida and AMUF. But then, we are told that page has turned.
Obama is very good at flipping pages, changing subjects, hiding the pea in his hand while we try to figure out which bowl it’s under. His call for Congress to come up with a substitute for AMUF – without yet offering his own version – is a ploy to more explicitly codify those powers assumed by Bush and expanded upon by the Obama administration. Or, the Congress can do nothing – a very likely outcome – and Obama can pretend to be the reluctant, self-restrained global assassin, preventive detainer and regime changer for the rest of his term.
Not a damn thing has changed.
Treasury Secretary Jack Lew requested – and has accepted – the resignation of the acting commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service in the wake of its handling of requests by conservative groups for tax-exempt status,President Barack Obama said Wednesday.
The “misconduct” detailed in a report about the IRS response to those requests is “inexcusable,” he said.
“Americans have a right to be angry about it, and I am angry about it,” he said.
He added his administration is working to enact “new safeguards to make sure that this kind of behavior cannot happen again.”
May 15, 2013
The internal message to IRS Employees from Acting IRS Commissioner Steven T. Miller
It is with regret that I will be departing from the IRS as my acting assignment ends in early June. This has been an incredibly difficult time for the IRSgiven the events of the past few days, and there is a strong and immediate need to restore public trust in the nation’s tax agency. I believe the Service will benefit from having a new Acting Commissioner in place during this challenging period. As I wrap up my time at the IRS, I will be focused on an orderly transition.
While I recognize that much work needs to be done to restore faith in theIRS, I don’t want anyone to lose sight of the fact that the IRS is comprised of incredibly dedicated and hard-working public servants. During my 25-year IRS career, I am profoundly proud to have worked alongside you and to be part of an institution that has worked hard to support the nation. I have strong confidence in the IRS leadership team to continue the important work of our agency.
I want to thank everyone for all of their support and friendship during mycareer in government service. And I especially want to thank each and every one of you for your continued commitment to the nation’s taxpayers.
Ironically, while accusing others of lying, President Obama resorted to false claims and statistics about current laws, including the repeatedly debunked argument that 40% of gun sales are private, and that guns can be bought over the Internet without background checks. It was partly the dishonesty of those very arguments that had led potential supporters of new bipartisan legislation to doubt the administration’s motives in supporting the bill.
The administration’s defeat came earlier Wednesday, when the Senate failed to pass a cloture motion to end debate on a bipartisan proposal introduced by Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Pat Toomey (R-PA). Only 54 votes of the necessary 60 votes could be found to support an expanded federal background check system (among other changes), partly because of fears that extending such checks would require the creation of a federal gun registry that could lead to confiscation.
The failure brought an end to four months of fervent campaigning by the president during which he used the Newtown disaster–or, in the eyes of many critics, exploited it–to make an argument about the urgent need for new laws, even if such laws would not have prevented the Newtown atrocity itself. Many Democrats rallied behind him, hoping at first to pass a new assault weapons ban, then abandoning that effort for more modest regulations.
Along the way, the administration lost the support of Democratic Senators in conservative states, many of whom will face re-election in 2014. President Obama made clear his intention to use Wednesday’s defeat to rally supporters against Republicans, whom he blamed directly and angrily, suggesting that they had defied the will of the American people and attempted to silence the families of Newtown victims who had a “right” to be heard in the debate.
Forced to cover a rare political defeat for the president, the mainstream media largely echoed his emotions. Virtually all of CNN’s correspondents agreed that the Manchin-Toomey bill had been defeated because of the power of the National Rifle Association and the fear of politicians afraid to take on Second Amendment activists. None considered that support for gun control has been declining, or that the legislation itself was deeply flawed.
Again and again, President Obama noted that 90% of Americans, and a majority of National Rifle Association members, supported expanded background checks. The former constitutional law lecturer seemed to expect that that majority’s will should be self-executing, ignoring the fact that constitutional rights like the Second Amendment exist precisely to protect minorities against majoritarian passions and presidential demagoguery.
Indeed, while the president described the failure of the legislation as a failure of “Washington,” it was also–and primarily–a failure of his administration. A White House operation and Obama campaign apparatus that is regarded as brutally effective ought to have been able to sell a proposal allegedly supported by 90% of the voting public. Yet persistent troubles in execution and failures of policy raise questions about whether Obama secretly preferred failure to success.
His opponents, the president insisted, refused to make it more difficult for “dangerous criminals” to buy weapons–ignoring one of the core arguments of the other side, namely that dangerous criminals frequently ignore the law to obtain weapons, while law-abiding citizens bear the burden of new rules and restrictions. He reduced his opponents’ motives to pure politics, accusing them of being afraid of being punished by an organized, determined minority.
Rarely have Americans ever seen a president attack his opponents so viciously, expressing and evoking such visceral emotions–especially at a time of mourning. President Obama’s tirade contrasted with his reserved, measured response to the Boston Marathon bombings, in which he urged Americans to speak and act with restraint. If this has been, as he claimed, “a pretty shameful day in Washington,” the president’s tantrum was the most shameful moment of all.
While Congress might be stuck in a deadlock on just about every issue imaginable, there’s one piece of legislation that both Democrats and Republicans hate unanimously: the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act, a law passed last year designed to prevent insider trading among lawmakers and government officials by requiring them to post disclosures of their financial transactions online.
Both parties and both houses of Congress hated the disclosure portion of the law so much that it was repealed on Friday without debate—the measure was sent to the president by unanimous consent. The ordeal took about 10 seconds in the Senate and 14 seconds in the House, according to official records.
The STOCK Act would have required members of Congress, their aides, and other federal employees making more than $119,554 a year to disclose their financial dealings in an online database. It was supposed to prevent government officials from using insider knowledge about policy-making to profit from stock trades and other investments.
Upon the signing of the bill into law last year (pictured above), President Barack Obama said, “The idea that everybody plays by the same rules is one of our most cherished American values. It’s the notion that the powerful shouldn’t get to create one set of rules for themselves and another set of rules for everybody else, and if we expect that to apply to our biggest corporations and to our most successful citizens, it certainly should apply to our elected officials—especially at a time when there is a deficit of trust between this city and the rest of the country.” The White House has not said whether the president will sign the repeal.
Despite the repeal, government officials will still have to file disclosures of securities trades over $1,000 within 45 days, but they no longer have to file them in a searchable database that was to be easily accessible to the public.
Congress and the President had delayed the online posting portion of the act from going into effect 3 times already, but the ultimate repeal came after the National Academy of Public Administration, a nonprofit group, found that publishing the information would create an “unwarranted risk to national security and law enforcement, as well as threaten agency missions, individual safety and privacy,” in a report delivered last month. The group suggested that the online posting requirements should be suspended indefinitely.
Lisa Rosenberg of the Sunlight Foundation, a nonprofit group advocating for government transparency, said that the repeal “sets an extraordinarily dangerous precedent suggesting that any risks stem not from information being public but from public information being online.”
Rosenberg raises an interesting point: Since these financial disclosures are still considered public information, how does not posting them on the Internet mitigate their potential risks to national security? How does obfuscating information about the financial activities of government officials help anyone, other than those officials? Does the potential danger come from foreign terrorists knowing this information or from those citizens who just to know if their government officials are behaving responsibly?
UPDATE: White House spokesperson Jay Carney announced that Obama has signed the repeal of the internet disclosure portion of the STOCK Act.
The investigation into Monday’s deadly bombing at the Boston Marathon has officially gone international: law enforcement officials from Israel have been sent to the United States to assist in the probe.
Israel Police Chief Yohanan Danino says he has dispatched officials to Boston, Massachusetts, where they will meet with Federal Bureau of Investigation agents and other authorities, the Times of Israel Reports.
Citing an earlier report published by the newspaper Maariv, Times of Israel writes that Danino has dispatched police officers to participate in discussions that “will center on the Boston Marathon bombings and deepening professional cooperation between the law enforcement agencies of both countries.”
The paper reports that Israeli law enforcement planned the trip before the deadly pair of bombings on Monday that has so far claimed three lives, but the discussions will now shift focus in order to see how help from abroad can expand the investigation.
In an address made Tuesday, Israel President Shimon Peres said that tragedies such as this week’s incident in Boston, sadly, bring people together from across the world.
“When it comes to events like this, all of us are one family. We feel a part of the people who paid such a high price. God bless them,” Peres said. “Today the real problem is terror, and terror is not an extension of policy: Their policy is terror, their policy is to threaten. Terrorists divide people, they kill innocent people.”
“This was a heinous and cowardly act,” said Obama from the White House, “and given what we now know the FBI is investigating it as an act of terrorism.”
But even as officials come to assist from as far away as Israel, authorities are still in the dark as far as finding any leads in the case. Pres. Obama has directed the FBI and US Department of Homeland Security to assist in the investigation, but no agencies have identified suspects or motives at this time.
Pres. Obama has also said that his administration has been directed to implement “appropriate security measures to protect the American people,” but details as to what that could mean remain scarce. Meanwhile, at least one leading lawmaker is asking for the US to respond to the terrorist attack by increasing the scope of the ever-expanding surveillance program already growing across the United States.
“I do think we need more cameras,” Rep. Peter King (R-New York) told MSNBC after Monday’s attacks.“We have to stay ahead of the terrorists and I do know in New York, the Manhattan Security Initiative, which is based on cameras, the outstanding work that results from that. So yes, I do favor more cameras. They’re a great law enforcement device. And again, it keeps us ahead of the terrorists, who are constantly trying to kill us.”
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has also confirmed that he has dispatched law enforcement officers from the Big Apple to assist in the investigation by meeting with agents at a Boston fusion center, one of the DHS-funded data facilities that collects surveillance camera footage and other evidence in order to analyze events like Monday’s attack.
“We are certainly engaged in the information flow with the FBI through our Joint Terrorism Task Force. We have two New York City police officers, police sergeants, who are in the Boston Regional Intelligence Center,” Bloomberg said on Tuesday. “They’re up there, they’ve been up there since last evening.”
But in a study conducted last year by the Senate’s bipartisan Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, lawmakers found that those fusion centers have been more or less unhelpful in assisting with terrorism probes.
The Department of Homeland Security’s work with state and local fusion centers, the subcommittee wrote, “has not produced useful intelligence to support federal counterterrorism efforts.” Instead, they added, so-called “intelligence” shared between facilities consisted of tidbits of shoddy quality that was often outdated and “sometimes endangering [to] citizen‘s civil liberties and Privacy Act protections.”
“More often than not,” the panel added, information collected and shared at DHS fusion centers was“unrelated to terrorism.”
(israelnationalnews.com) President Shimon Peres said that he believes that U.S. President Barack Obama will attack Iran’s nuclear facilities if diplomatic efforts fail.
“I have no doubt that if diplomatic talks fail with Iran and Tehran doesn’t stop accelerating its nuclear development – U.S. President Barack Obama will conduct a military attack against Iran,” Peres told the Israel Hayomnewspaper this week, in an interviewahead of Israel’s 65th Independence Day next week.
“Preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon isn’t only an Israeli interest, but a global and an American interest. As long as the U.S. is in the lead — why shouldn’t we use its assistance?” Peres said.
“It could be that the Iranians are trying to buy time, but they are also losing. The situation in Iran is greatly deteriorating, the economy is collapsing, and the people understand this very well,” said Peres. The full interview with Peres will be published in Israel Hayom on Monday.
The latest round of international discussions with Iran over its nuclear program ended in Kazakhstan this past week without any breakthroughs and the sides even failed to set a new date and time for a resumption of talks.
In fact, Iran insisted this week it will not suspend its enrichment of uranium to 20 percent nor will it ship out its existing stockpile, two keys demands of world powers in failed nuclear talks with Tehran.
On Monday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told Peres in a meeting that “President Barack Obama is not bluffing when he says he will stop Iran’s nuclear program.”
“We understand the nature of the threat of Iran. And as the President has said many times — he doesn’t bluff. He is serious. We will stand with Israel against this threat and with the rest of the world, who have underscored that all we are looking for is Iran to live up to its international obligations. No option is off the table. No option will be taken off the table,” Kerry said.
Iran this week marked its National Nuclear Technology Day by announcing theopening of two new uranium mines and a new plant capable of producing 60 tons of raw uranium (also known as “yellow cake”) per year.
Western nations have “tried their utmost to prevent Iran from going nuclear, but Iran has gone nuclear,” Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said in a speech on Tuesday.
“They caused restrictions and issued threats, thinking that the Iranian nation cannot achieve nuclear energy … The best way for you is to cooperate with Iran,” he said.
On Friday, Russia responded to Iran’s unveiling of the new uranium production facility, warning the move could hurt progress in negotiations with world powers over Tehran’s nuclear program.
An unnamed source in the Russian foreign ministry told Interfax that Iran’s announcement does not actually breach its obligations under various international nuclear agreements.
During Barack Obama’s presidency there have been 32 background checks for gun purchases every minute.
Since February of 2009, the first full month of Obama’s presidency, there have been 70,291,049 background checks for gun purchases, according to data released by the FBI.
Using February 1, 2009 as our starting date, and March 31, 2013 as our end date, (the latest data from the FBI) Obama has been president for 1,520 days.
That equates to 36,480 hours, or 2,188,800 minutes.
Divide the 70,291,049 background checks by 2,188,800 minutes and you get approximately 32 checks for gun purchases every minute!
(CNN) — U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan have killed far more people than the United States has acknowledged, have traumatized innocent residents and largely been ineffective, according to a new study released Tuesday.
The study by Stanford Law School and New York University’s School of Law calls for a re-evaluation of the practice, saying the number of “high-level” targets killed as a percentage of total casualties is extremely low — about 2%.
The report accuses Washington of misrepresenting drone strikes as “a surgically precise and effective tool that makes the U.S. safer,” saying that in reality, “there is significant evidence that U.S. drone strikes have injured and killed civilians.”
It also casts doubts on Washington’s claims that drone strikes produce zero to few civilian casualties and alleges that the United States makes “efforts to shield the drone program from democratic accountability.”
The drone strike program has long been controversial, with conflicting reports on its impact from U.S. and Pakistani officials and independent organizations.
President Barack Obama told CNN last month that a target must meet “very tight and very strict standards,” and John Brennan, the president’s top counter-terrorism adviser, said in April that in “exceedingly rare” cases, civilians have been “accidentally injured, or worse, killed in these strikes.”
In contrast to more conservative U.S. statements, the Stanford/NYU report — titled “Living Under Drones” — offers starker figures published by The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, an independent organization based at City University in London.
“TBIJ reports that from June 2004 through mid-September 2012, available data indicate that drone strikes killed 2,562 – 3,325 people in Pakistan, of whom 474 – 881 were civilians, including 176 children. TBIJ reports that these strikes also injured an additional 1,228 – 1,362 individuals,” according to the Stanford/NYU study.
Based on interviews with witnesses, victims and experts, the report accuses the CIA of “double-striking” a target, moments after the initial hit, thereby killing first responders.
It also highlights harm “beyond death and physical injury,” publishing accounts of psychological trauma experienced by people living in Pakistan’s tribal northwest region, who it says hear drones hover 24 hours a day.
“Before this we were all very happy,” the report quotes an anonymous resident as saying. “But after these drones attacks a lot of people are victims and have lost members of their family. A lot of them, they have mental illnesses.”
People have to live with the fear that a strike could come down on them at any moment of the day or night, leaving behind dead whose “bodies are shattered to pieces,” and survivors who must be desperately sped to a hospital.
The report concedes that “real threats to U.S. security and to Pakistani civilians exist in the Pakistani border areas now targeted by drones.” And it acknowledges that drone strikes have “killed alleged combatants and disrupted armed actor networks.”
But it concludes that drone strikes, which are conducted by the CIA in a country not at war with the United States, are too harmful to civilians, too sloppy, legally questionable and do more harm to U.S. interests than good.
“A significant rethinking of current U.S. targeted killing and drone strike policies is long overdue,” it says. “U.S. policy-makers, and the American public, cannot continue to ignore evidence of the civilian harm and counter-productive impacts of U.S. targeted killings and drone strikes in Pakistan.”
The study recommends that Washington undertake measures to rectify collateral damage — including making public detailed legal justification for strikes, implementing mechanisms transparently to account for civilian casualties, ensuring independent investigations into drone strike deaths, prosecuting cases of civilian casualties and compensating civilians harmed by U.S. strikes in Pakistan.
Nine months of research went into the report, according to its authors, which included “two investigations in Pakistan, more than 130 interviews with victims, witnesses, and experts, and review of thousands of pages of documentation and media reporting.”
U.S. authorities have largely kept quiet on the subject of drone strikes in Pakistan.
However, the use of armed drones to target and kill suspected terrorists has increased dramatically during the Obama administration, according to Peter Bergen, CNN’s national security analyst and a director at the New America Foundation, a Washington-based think tank that monitors drone strikes.
Obama has already authorized 283 strikes in Pakistan, six times more than the number during President George W. Bush’s eight years in office, Bergen wrote earlier this month. As a result, the number of estimated deaths from the Obama administration’s drone strikes is more than four times what it was during the Bush administration — somewhere between 1,494 and 2,618.
However, an analysis by the New America Foundation says that the civilian casualty rate from drone strikes has been dropping sharply since 2008 despite the rising death toll.
“The number of civilians plus those individuals whose precise status could not be determined from media reports — labeled ‘unknowns’ by NAF — reported killed by drones in Pakistan during Obama’s tenure in office were 11% of fatalities,” said Bergen. “So far in 2012 it is close to 2%. Under President Bush it was 33%.”
The foundation’s analysis relies on credible media outlets in Pakistan, which in turn rely on Pakistani officials and local villagers’ accounts, Bergen said, rather than on U.S. figures.
The drone program is deeply unpopular in Pakistan, where the national parliament voted in April to end any authorization for it. This, however, was “a vote that the United States government has simply ignored,” according to Bergen.
Obama told CNN’s Jessica Yellin this month that the use of armed drones was “something that you have to struggle with.”
“If you don’t, then it’s very easy to slip into a situation in which you end up bending rules thinking that the ends always justify the means,” he continued. “That’s not been our tradition. That’s not who we are as a country.”
Obama also addressed his criteria for lethal action in the interview, although he repeatedly declined to acknowledge any direct involvement in selecting targets.
“It has to be a target that is authorized by our laws. It has to be a threat that is serious and not speculative. It has to be a situation in which we can’t capture the individual before they move forward on some sort of operational plot against the United States,” Obama said.
His security adviser, Brennan, gave the Obama administration’s first public justification for drone strikes in his April speech at the Woodrow Wilson Center, a Washington think-tank.
Such strikes are used when capture is not a feasible option and are conducted “in full accordance with the law,” Brennan said.
“We only authorize a strike if we have a high degree of confidence that innocent civilians will not be injured or killed, except in the rarest of circumstances,” he said.
Despite the “extraordinary precautions” taken by the United States, Brennan said, civilians “have been accidentally injured, or worse, killed in these strikes. It is exceedingly rare, but it has happened. When it does, it pains us, and we regret it deeply, as we do any time innocents are killed in war.”
Brennan also cited the “the seriousness, the extraordinary care” taken by Obama and his national security team in deciding whether to use lethal force.
The London-based rights organization Reprieve, which with the help of a partner organization in Pakistan facilitated access to some of the people interviewed for the Stanford/NYU study, backed its finding that the drone program causes wider damage than is acknowledged by the U.S. government.
“This shows that drone strikes go much further than simply killing innocent civilians. An entire region is being terrorized by the constant threat of death from the skies,” said Reprieve’s director, Clive Stafford Smith.
“Their way of life is collapsing: kids are too terrified to go to school, adults are afraid to attend weddings, funerals, business meetings, or anything that involves gathering in groups. Yet there is no end in sight, and nowhere the ordinary men, women and children of North West Pakistan can go to feel safe.”
(eutimes.net) A grim Federal Security Forces (FSB) “urgent action” memorandum prepared for President Putin is warning that United States President Barack Obama has ordered at least 800 highly trained “death squad” units to disperse throughout his country in preparation for what Russian intelligence analysts are predicting to be a series of high-profile killings of dissident Americans set to begin as soon as February 22nd.
According to this memo, Obama was emboldened to implement this murderous plan against his own citizens after this past weeks US Federal Court ruling granted his regime the right to kill, without trial or charges, any American he so chooses, and keep the reason(s) for doing so secret.
Important to note about this shredding of the US Constitutional protections the American people once lived under was the disgusted wording used by United States District Court Judge Colleen McMahon who in handing down this frightening ruling, in part, said:
“The Alice-in-Wonderland nature of this pronouncement is not lost on me; but after careful consideration, I find myself stuck in a paradoxical situation in which I cannot solve a problem because of contradictory constraints and rules — a veritable Catch-22. I can find no way around the thicket of laws and precedents that effectively allow the Executive Branch of our Government to proclaim as perfectly lawful certain actions that seem on their face incompatible with our Constitution and laws, while keeping the reason for their conclusion a secret.”
Equally important to note about the Obama regimes murderous plan, this memo continues, was a likewise chilling ruling issued last month by United States Appeals Court Judge Raymond Lohier that allows the American President to detain indefinitely any citizen he so chooses without trial or charges, a move so grave and draconian it led to the Academy Award-winning director Oliver Stone saying about Obama:
“I think under the disguise of sheep’s clothing he has been a wolf. That because of the nightmare of the Bush presidency that preceded him, people forgave him a lot. He was a great hope for change. The color of his skin, the upbringing, the internationalism, the globalism, seemed all evident. And he is an intelligent man. He has taken all the Bush changes he basically put them into the establishment, he has codified them.
That is what is sad. So we are going into the second administration that is living outside the law and does not respect the law and foundations of our system and he is a constitutional lawyer, you know. Without the law, it is the law of the jungle. Nuremburg existed for a reason and there was a reason to have trials, there is a reason for due process – ‘habeas corpus’ as they call it in the United States.”
The excuse to be used by the Obama regime in order to begin their targeted killings of American dissidents, FSB analysts say, is that these otherwise lawful citizens were not complying with the new gun control laws Vice President Joseph Biden “guaranteed” Boston Mayor Thomas Menino would be enacted by the end of January.
Critical to note is that Obama permanently solidified the enmity of the American gun-rights supporters when, during the 2008 Presidential primary, he was recorded at a political fundraiser saying of rural, working-class Americans: “So it’s not surprising, then, that they get bitter and they cling to guns or religion, or antipathy toward people who aren’t like them, or anti-immigrant sentiment, or, you know, anti-trade sentiment [as] a way to explain their frustrations.”
Most interesting to note in this memo is its saying that the “master plan” Obama intends to use in disarming his citizens has already been openly discussed and published by the highly influential progressive American political blogDaily Kos, that is said does not repeat Democratic “talking points,” it generates political talking points that later are found in mainstream publications and from Democratic politicians themselves, and is now opening advocating indiscriminate armed raids to be used as an “example” to frighten other citizens into obeying their Washington D.C. masters who will order them all to disarm.
The “death squads” being deployed throughout the United States under Obama’s orders, this memo continues, are frighteningly called VIPER teams, which is the acronym for Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response Team, a programme run by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and whose agents terrify millions of Americans with Nazi-like Gestapo tactics on a daily basis at airports and who report to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
So frightening have these TSA agents become that London’s Guardian News Service, this past April, in their article titled “The TSA’s Mission Creep is Making the US a Police State”, warned that these Obama regime henchmen are spreading out across the entire United States in order to control every aspect of American citizens life: “never in response to actual threats, but apparently more in an attempt to live up to the inspirational motto displayed at the TSA’s air marshal training center since the agency’s inception: “Dominate. Intimidate. Control.”
And to how these TSA VIPER Team “death squads” will “dominate, intimidate and control” dissident Americans, this memo says, was made even more chillingly clear this past week when the DHS ordered another 200,000 rounds of hollow point ammunition on top of the 1.6 billion rounds of this internationally banned ammunitionalready secured by them over the last 9 months alone. These nearly 2 billion rounds of ammunition stand in sharp contrast to US military forces who use only 70 million rounds of ammunition per year in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Russian military analysts contributing to this memo further note that the Obama regimes saying that these massive DHS ammunition purchases are for “practice and training purposes” is “preposterous” as all firearms training done by military and/or police forces “always” use less expensive rounds. Retired US Army Major General Jerry Curry, likewise, agreed with his Russian counterparts when he stated that the Obama regimes “explanation about the bullets fails to pass the smell test”.
Most ominous, perhaps, in this memo is its stating that the “exact” plan for the Obama regimes disarming of its citizens appears to have been predicted by the famous martyred American dissident William Cooper (1943-2001), who in his 1991 book “Behold A Pale Horse” wrote:
“The government encouraged the manufacture and importation of firearms for the criminals to use. This is intended to foster a feeling of insecurity, which would lead the American people to voluntarily disarm themselves by passing laws against firearms. Using drugs and hypnosis on mental patients in a process called Orion, the CIA inculcated the desire in these people to open fire on schoolyards and thus inflame the anti-gun lobby. This plan is well under way, and so far is working perfectly. The middle class is begging the government to do away with the 2nd Amendment.”
Cooper, who former President Bill Clinton once called “the most dangerous man in America”, was gunned down by US authorities shortly after the 11 September 2001 attacks which, in a radio broadcast on 28 June 2001, hepredicted an attack on America and stated that Osama Bin Laden would be named as the primary scapegoat.
With the tragic events of the Sandy Hook Elementary School Massacre still fresh in the American peoples mind, combined with Obama’s new unlimited power to kill and detain any American citizen he so desires, this memo concludes, the conditions for “wholesale rebellion” in the United States is just “one spark” away from becoming a reality, and which these heavily armed TSA VIPER Team “death squads” are sure to provide.
(Wired) -The Senate on Friday reauthorized for five years broad electronic eavesdropping powers that legalized and expanded the President George W. Bush administration’s warrantless wiretapping program.
The FISA Amendments Act, (.pdf) which was expiring Friday at midnight, allows the government to electronically eavesdrop on Americans’ phone calls and e-mails without a probable-cause warrant so long as one of the parties to the communication is believed outside the United States. The communications may be intercepted “to acquire foreign intelligence information.”
The House approved the measure in September. President Barack Obama, who said the spy powers were a national security priority, is expected to quickly sign the package before the law Congress codified in 2008 expires in the coming hours. Over the past two days, the Senate debated and voted down a handful of amendments in what was seen as largely political theater to get Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) to lift a procedural hold on the FISA Amendments Act legislation that barred lawmakers from voting on the package.
In the end, the identical package the House passed 301-118 swept through the Senate on a 73-23 vote.
Amendments senators refused to enact included extending the measure for just three years, another one requiring the government to account for how many times Americans’ communications have been intercepted, and one by Wyden prohibiting U.S. spy agencies from reviewing the communications of Americans ensnared in the program.
“The amendment I fought to include would have helped bring the constitutional principles of security and liberty back into balance and intend to work with my colleagues to see that the liberties of individual Americans are maintained,” Wyden said immediately after the vote.
The legislation does not require the government to identify the target or facility to be monitored. It can begin surveillance a week before making the request, and the surveillance can continue during the appeals process if, in a rare case, the secret FISA court rejects the surveillance application. The court’s rulings are not public.
The government has also interpreted the law to mean that as long as the real target is al-Qaeda, the government can wiretap purely domestic e-mails and phone calls without getting a warrant from a judge. That’s according to David Kris, a former top anti-terrorism attorney at the Justice Department.
In short, Kris said the FISA Amendments Act gives the government nearly carte blanche spying powers.
Kris, who headed the Justice Department’s National Security Division between 2009 and 20011, writes in the revised 2012 edition of National Security Investigations and Prosecutions:
For example, an authorization targeting ‘al Qaeda’ — which is a non-U.S. person located abroad—could allow the government to wiretap any telephone that it believes will yield information from or about al Qaeda, either because the telephone is registered to a person whom the government believes is affiliated with al Qaeda, or because the government believes that the person communicates with others who are affiliated with al Qaeda, regardless of the location of the telephone.
The National Security Agency told lawmakers that it would be a violation of Americans’ privacy to disclose how the measure is being used in practice.
After Obama signs the legislation Friday, the spy powers won’t expire until December 31, 2017.
The law is the subject of a Supreme Court challenge. The Obama administration argues that the American Civil Liberties Union and a host of other groups suing don’t have the legal standing to even bring a challenge.
A federal judge agreed, ruling the ACLU, Amnesty International, Global Fund for Women, Global Rights, Human Rights Watch, International Criminal Defence Attorneys Association, The Nation magazine, PEN American Center, Service Employees International Union and other plaintiffs did not have standing to bring the case because they could not demonstrate that they were subject to the warrantless eavesdropping.
The groups appealed to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, arguing that they often work with overseas dissidents who might be targets of the National Security Agency program. Instead of speaking with those people on the phone or through e-mails, the groups asserted that they have had to make expensive overseas trips in a bid to maintain attorney-client confidentiality. The plaintiffs, some of them journalists, also claim the 2008 legislation chills their speech, and violates their Fourth Amendment privacy rights.
Without ruling on the merits of the case, the appeals court agreed with the plaintiffs last year that they have ample reason to fear the surveillance program, and thus have legal standing to pursue their claim.
The case, argued last month, is pending an opinion from the Supreme Court.
(Business Insider) -In the wake of last Friday’s massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., that killed 20 children and seven others, President Barack Obama is expected to announce today the formation of a gun violence task force led by Vice President Joe Biden.
The White House announced earlier this morning that Obama “will deliver a statement in the Brady Press Briefing Room about the policy process the administration will pursue in the wake of the Newtown tragedy. The Vice President will also attend.”
According to multiple reports, Obama is not expected to lay out any specific policy plans in the wake of the Newtown tragedy. He will introduce the task force and give an idea of how the administration plans to proceed.
Obama’s decision to tap Biden as the task force’s leader makes sense, considering the Vice President’s experience in the Senate and relationship with members of Congress.
On Tuesday, the White House got a bit more specific with some of the policy plans it would support moving forward. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Obama is supportive of Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s plan to reintroduce the assault weapons ban.
“He supports, and would support, legislation that addresses the problem of the so-called gun show loophole,” Carney said. “And there are other elements of gun legislation that he could support. People have talked about high-capacity gun ammunition clips, for example, and that is something certainly that he would be interested in looking at.”