US Global Assassination Campaign Kills Numerous Unreported Civilians, Says Whistleblower


A former National Security Agency executive and whistleblower says the US assassination campaign has killed far more civilians than has been reported.

Thomas Drake told the Sputnik news agency on Thursday that America’s mass assassination program - that has mostly stayed in the dark over the years - has led to an untold number of civilian casualties.

“We [the United States] have mass surveillance and we have a mass assassination program,” Drake said. “It is two sides of the same coin.”

On Wednesday, a new series of secret documents related to the US military’s “kill-capture” program were revealed by The Intercept.

Continue reading

Perpetual War – and Obama’s Perpetual Con Game


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.

Three People Killed By U.S. Strike On Afghan School

This incident has the same number of deaths as those who were killed in the Boston Marathon Bombings. Where are the outcries of “Terrorism”? Why haven’t the pilots and the officers who ordered the attack been “brought to justice”? Why are the social media networks not being flooded with people offering their “thoughts and prayers” en mass?

West Texas Explosion Might Have Been Triggered by Militarized Blast, Eyewitness Says ‘It Was a Plane’

Independent video of the tragic explosion that devastated the small town of West shows that the plant was likely detonated from an outside source, and/or a possible bomb or missile.

Town of West: An explosion from a fertilizer plant rocked the area sending shockwaves 50 miles away.

Town of West: An explosion from a fertilizer plant rocked the area sending shockwaves 50 miles away.

by Shepard Ambellas

April 20, 2013

WEST — A massive blast that measured 2.1 on the Richter scale hit the small Texas town on Wednesday leveling buildings and other structures, killing and injuring a number of civilians in what most local witnesses could only describe as a “bomb blast”. In fact, some witnesses have even stated on video when asked that, “It was a plane”.

Although it has been reported as a fertilizer plant fire explosion by the entire mainstream media and government sources, there could be more to the story as local reports suggest otherwise. While it is important to note that the factory did have a history of safety problems, audio and video analysis from the explosion suggests the possibility of something else.

Good people in the area are questioning the events that took place on that grim day, and for good reason. reporter Matthew Short’s investigation concludes with video evidence that emergency response vehicles were in the area before the explosion at the fertilizer plant in West and drills were being ran as stated by the hospital’s CEO in an interview.

This is the same fingerprint we have seen during events such as the attacks on September 11, 2001, the London bombings in July of 2005, the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, and even the Patriot’s Day bombing in Boston most recently.

These examples show the classic layout of an advanced governmental sponsored false flag event, which in turn is used to further subject the populace to surveillance and the removal of our god given rights and freedoms by a government which now seems to be overran by a tyrannical force.

Information also exists the suggest nuclear preparedness mass casualty drills were being ran in the area. According to the North Central Texas Trama Regional Advisory Council’s official website the regional full scale exercise took place on the dates of April 17th and 18th, 2013;

Regional Full Scale EMTF Exercise – Black Rain
Start Date/Time: Wednesday, April 17, 2013 9:00 AM
End Date/Time: Thursday, April 18, 2013 5:00 PM
Recurring Event: One time event
Importance: Normal Priority
Location: NCTTRAC Offices

Regional Full Scale EMTF Exercise – Black Rain

The North Central Texas region is impacted by a radiological catastrophe at Comanche Peak Nuclear Power Plant. The blast and residual fallout results in many injuries and fatalities within the immediate hazard area and the densely populated DFW Metroplex area is affected by blackouts and rolling brownouts due to loss of power generation. Blast and fallout damage results in a critical taxing of the medical community and generates a potential need for medical evacuation and vast number of worried well within the metropolitan population. Region 2 of the Texas Emergency Medical Task Force (EMTF) must activate and deploy its Ambulance, AMBUS and MMU Strike Teams to assist with the first response and contamination monitoring efforts of the medical community.

The NCTTRA also released this announcement after the explosion;

NCTTRAC Statement – West, TX

The North Central Texas Trauma Regional Advisory Council (NCTTRAC) wants to extend its heartfelt condolences and prayers to the victims and their families, the first responders, and the community of West, Texas for their unspeakable loss. West, Texas is a community familiar and dear to many of us in the emergency medical management and response community, and we’re only beginning this morning to assess the devastation of that community.


Because of the sensitivity to the ongoing event, the response from many north central Texas assets including components of Emergency Medical Task Force (EMTF) -2 , and the potential for additional asset requests today, NCTTRAC is scaling back the remainder of the exercise we have in progress today to support activity onsite of the mobile medical units and the clinical teams in a more limited role. However, we will not have any of today’s planned EMS activities using the ambulance strike teams or the ambulance buses (AMBUSes).
The VIP tours scheduled this afternoon from noon until 3:00 pm will still take place as scheduled during this time for the mobile medical units; however we will not have any of the AMBUSes or ambulance strike teams available for touring.

NCTTRAC appreciates the support received in this event, which has provided an opportunity to highlight the excellent work accomplished in north central Texas in emergency medical planning and response. The tragedies this week are exactly why this community prepares, supports, and responds and will continue to do so.

And if that information is chilling to you, you might want to sit down to read the rest of this article.

Information has been brought to light that the explosion was triggered by another source rather from the fertilizer plant fire itself. The videos display the lack of chemical reaction, ignition from an internal point in the plant, but rather from an outside point, possibly from the sky.

At (06:49) into the next video an eyewitness states, “It was a plane”.

You can also see by the damage to the building in the video that it was a massive blast, reminiscent of some militarized technology.

According to Matthew Short, reporter for (as stated during aradio interview) people in the area are now coming to him for answers, demonstrating the need for information as locals are not buying the official story either.

Another key piece of evidence is an actual emergency transmission from that day. In the audio to disbatch the firefighter states“We need every ambulance we can get this way. A bomb just went off inside here, it’s pretty bad. We got allot of firemen down.” (See video below).

America`s Drone Wars: Unmanned Predators to be Used for Domestic Law Enforcement?

Idaho took the lead in protecting people from drone surveillance last week when Gov. Butch Otter became the first state leader to sign legislation.  Known as the “Preserving Freedom from Unwanted Surveillance Act,” the law restricts the use of drones by government or law enforcement, particularly when it involves gathering of evidence and surveillance on private property.

In Florida, the state senate has passed a similar bill, The Freedom from Unwanted Surveillance Act, which prevents police from using drones for routine surveillance. However, it would allow unmanned aircraft if there’s a threat of terrorist attack.

Massachusetts and Rhode Island are considering legislation that would prevent police from identifying anyone or anything not related to a warrant.

According to the ACLU, at least 35 states have considered drone bills so far this year, and 30 states have legislation pending. Most bills require a “probable-cause” warrant for drone use by law enforcement, while a handful seek to ban weaponized drones.


Mosquito MAV

They come in all sizes, from the Predator drones used in Pakistan and other countries to tiny mosquito drones that can be used covertly in urban neighborhoods and indoors. In the next few years police will increasingly turn to them for surveillance. But groups like People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals also see their potential for tracking poachers, while farmers want aerial vehicles to measure crop growth.

The ACLU is urging state lawmakers to require that police obtain a warrant before using any drone to conduct a search. But the Virginia-based Rutherford Institute argues that governments should go further and ban any information obtained by drones from use in court. In January, Rutherford submitted model legislation to lawmakers in all 50 states.

In Maine, a Joint Judiciary Committee had a work session last week on LD 236, officially known as “An Act to Protect the Privacy of Citizens from Domestic Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Use.” After a debate between the Attorney General and an ACLU spokesperson, committee members voted unanimously to postpone a decision for two weeks.

In a nearby hearing room, where a debate on gun control was underway, one gun-rights supporter displayed a bumper sticker with a drone on it – and the words “Protect our 2nd amendment rights to shoot down drones.”

Maine’s Attorney General has proposed a temporary moratorium until July 1, 2014. The official rationale is to allow time for law enforcement agencies to come up with “minimum standards,” including prior authorization by “some official” before drones could be used for surveillance. But the AG also argues that the drone bill should not impede the possibility of a drone test center in northern Maine.

At least 37 states are competing for six drone testing centers that are expected eventually to launch 30,000 drones into the skies. For Maine, one lure could be the promise that the state won’t require operators to get a warrant before launching a spy-bot.

Democrats, who control Maine’s legislature but not the governorship, hope to win back the top spot again.  Thus, they want backing from the police, aerospace industry interests, new drone manufacturing firms, and citizens living near the closed Loring AFB who believe a drone test center and missile defense base would bring back jobs.

A variety of activist groups are staging protests in an attempt to stop the use of domestic drones in US airspace.  Events are expected in at least 18 states at research facilities, drone command centers, manufacturing plants, universities that have drone programs and the White House, according to Nick Mottern, founder of Known Drones, a website that tracks unmanned aircraft activity in the US and abroad.

The protests are being organized by more than 15 anti-drone groups, including Codepink, Veterans for Peace, No Drones Network, and the American Friends Service Committee. The groups oppose both domestic drone use and targeted drone killings overseas.

On February 7, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) released an updated list of communities, states, law enforcement agencies, and universities that have requested and received licenses to deploy drones. The Electronic Freedom Foundation obtained the list via a Freedom of Information Act disclosure and learned that more than 81 public entities have so far applied to the FAA for permission to launch drones.

Lethal Ornithopter

Why the rapid push for domestic deployment ?

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, drone makers hope to speed their entry into a domestic market valued in the billions.  The US House actually has a 60-member “drone caucus” — officially known as the House Unmanned Systems Caucus. In the last four years, it members received nearly $8 million in drone-related campaign contributions. Drone Caucus members from California, Texas, Virginia, and New York received the lion’s share, channeled from firms in the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International.

In a recent study, the Teal Group estimates that spending on unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) will increase over the next decade from current worldwide expenditures of $6.6 billion annually to $11.4 billion. That’s more than $89 billion in the next 10 years. “The UAV market will continue to be strong despite cuts in defense spending,” claims Philip Finnegan, Teal’s director of corporate analysis. “UAVs have proved their value in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan,” he said, “and will continue to be a high priority for militaries in the United States and worldwide.”

On  April 23, the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Human Rights will hold a hearing Drone Wars: The Constitutional and Counterterrorism Implications of Targeted Killing. If you can’t attend, you can submit a statement for the record. Chairman Durbin has invited advocates and stakeholders to offer their perspectives and experiences by submitting written testimony.

Submissions are limited to 10 pages, submitted in PDF or Word Document form to Stephanie Trifone at [email protected]  no later than Monday, April 22, 2013 at 5:00 p.m. Statements can be addressed to Chairman Durbin, Ranking Member Cruz, and Members of the Subcommittee. For some reason they can’t accept previously published information as a statement.

The FAA is currently writing regulations for domestic drone use. According to Defending Dissent, the federal agency’s jurisdiction is limited. But it could provide safeguards such as compliance with Fair Information Practices for all licensees, creation of a public database of drone operators – with information about the surveillance equipment used and the operator’s data minimization procedure. Operation of drones could also be restricted to only licensees, ruling out wildcat rental operators. Otherwise, it’s going to be crazy up there.

Leaked report: Nearly half of US drone strikes in Pakistan not against al-Qaeda

AFP Photo / John Moore


A trove of leaked classified reports has confirmed what many had suspected – US drone kills in Pakistan are not the precision strikes against top-level al-Qaeda terrorists they are portrayed as by the Obama administration.

Instead, many of the attacks are aimed at suspected low-level tribal militants, who may pose no direct danger to the United States – and for many there appears to be little evidence to justify the assassinations.

Top secret documents obtained by McClatchy newspapers in the US show the locations, identities and numbers of those attacked and killed in Pakistan in 2006-8 and 2010-11, as well as explanations for why the targets were picked.

The statistics illustrate the breadth of the US ‘drone doctrine’ – which has never been defined by consecutive US administrations. Between 1,990 and 3,308 people are reported to have been killed in the drone strikes in Pakistan since 2004, the vast majority of them during the Obama terms.

In the 12-month period up to 2011, 43 out of 95 drone strikes in the reports (which give an account of the vast majority of US operations in the country) were not aimed at al-Qaeda at all. And 265 out of 482 people killed in those assassinations, were defined internally as “extremists”.

Indeed, only six of the men killed – less than two percent – were senior al-Qaeda leaders.

Some of the groups include the Haqqani network and the Taliban Movement of Pakistan, both militant organizations, but ones the US did not designate as terrorists until 2012 and 2010 respectively. Neither one has ever conducted an attack on US soil.

It also confirms that attacks during the George W. Bush era, were conducted on targets picked by ISI, Pakistan’s security agency, which has no obligations to comply with US legal criteria.

Furthermore, in some cases it is difficult to confirm that the targets were militants at all.

In the strikes above, the internal reports showed that only one civilian had been killed. But the modus operandi revealed behind the strikes, shows that some of the attacks seem to have been based on the certain people or visitors being present as certain locations, or merely associating with those the US believes were terrorists. This chimes with the accusation that the US is carrying out a policy of“signature strikes” – attacks based on behavior, or “signature” that would be expected of a terrorist, rather than any specific illegal activity.

These “signatures” apparently include such suspicious behavior as taking part in a funeral procession orfirst responding to an initial drone strike. Last year, the United Nation’s special rapporteur on human rights and counter-terrorism, Ben Emmerson, said it’s believed that, “since President Obama took office, at least 50 civilians were killed in follow-up strikes when they had gone to help victims and more than 20 civilians have also been attacked in deliberate strikes on funerals and mourners.”

The US has previously refused to admit that it operates such a policy.

Pakistani tribesmen carry the coffin of a person allegedly killed in a US drone attack, claiming that innocent civilians were killed during a June 15 strike in the North Waziristan village of Tapi, 10 kilometers away from Miranshah.(AFP Photo / Thir Khan)

Pakistani tribesmen carry the coffin of a person allegedly killed in a US drone attack, claiming that innocent civilians were killed during a June 15 strike in the North Waziristan village of Tapi, 10 kilometers away from Miranshah.(AFP Photo / Thir Khan)

Some of the assassinations, such as that of, Mohammad, the younger brother of the leader of the Haqqani network, Badruddin, appear to have been simply errors, with the victims branded as terrorists only after the fact.

All this seems to go against the assurance of John Brennan, the former White House counterterrorism chief, and new CIA head, who is the mastermind behind the drone policy

“We only authorize a particular operation against a specific individual if we have a high degree of confidence that the individual being targeted is indeed the terrorist we are pursuing,” Brennan explained a year ago.

Obama’s administration has also said all targets are on a “list of active terrorists,” compiled with “extraordinary care and thoughtfulness”. Obama has also explicitly stated that drones should not carry out “speculative” killings.

But other than when ordering assassinations of US citizens, the President does not have to give full information to the Senate about the basis for any drone attack, much less give it a legal justification.

The latest revelations have unleashed a torrent of protest from experts who believe that the program is extra-judicial, violates Pakistan’s sovereignty, and is counter-productive in the long term.

“I have never seen nor am I aware of any rules of engagement that have been made public that govern the conduct of drone operations in Pakistan, or the identification of individuals and groups other than al Qaida and the Afghan Taliban,” Christopher Swift, a national security law expert from Georgetown University told McClatchy.

“We are doing this on a case-by-case, ad hoc basis, rather than a systematic or strategic basis.”

Micah Zenko, from the Council on Foreign Relations, a foreign policy think tank, went further, and accused the government of“misleading the public about the scope of who can legitimately be targeted.”

He added: “When there is such a disconnect between who the administration says it kills and who it actually kills, that hypocrisy itself is a very dangerous precedent that other countries will emulate.”

Last month Ben Emmerson, after a secret research trip to the country announced that drone strikesviolate Pakistan’s sovereignty.

Emmerson added that the Pakistani government conveyed to him that it does not consent to the attacks, something that is often challenged in Washington and fuels mass protests in Pakistan.


AFP Photo / Aamir Qureshi

AFP Photo / Aamir Qureshi


Drone strikes were first used after the 9/11 attacks from bases in Pakistan and Uzbekistan, in combat missions inside Afghanistan. More than a decade later, Washington has expanded the use of the remotely controlled aircraft into Yemen, Somalia and most of all Pakistan.

The US has carried out countless attacks on targets in northwest Pakistan since 2004 through the CIA’s Special Activities Division.  Begun by President George W. Bush, the intensity of the missions has increased under the presidency of Barack Obama.

Islamabad publicly condemns these attacks but is known to have shared intelligence with the US and allowed drones to operate from its territory until April 2011, when NATO forces killed 24 Pakistani soldiers in the Salala incident. WikiLeaks cables also revealed that Pakistan’s Army Chief Ashfaq Parvez Kayani sanctioned the flights and in 2008 even asked the CIA for more “Predator coverage.” 

Ordinary Pakistanis have also repeatedly protested against these attacks as a violation of its sovereignty and because of immense civilian collateral damage, including the death dozens of women and children.

Drone strikes kill, maim and traumatize too many civilians, U.S. study says

A Pakistani man burns an American flag during a protest against U.S. drone attacks in Multan on February 9, 2012.


(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.”

Communists Stand in Defiance of Bill of Rights

( The communist insurgents within the United States continue their push to disarm we American nationals, even to the point of presenting poll numbers which have been proven to be false via their own previous admissions.  Captain Mark Kelly, the husband of ex-Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, was making the rounds over the weekend, spouting his sedition while trying to present himself as some kind of American hero.

Let’s look at this logically and ask the question. Does the government grant the people their rights?  Was the Bill of Rights written by the government to outline the privileges they were to bestow upon us, said privileges of course to be revoked, altered, or regulated at the government’s whim?

This is the position the government would like to establish.  It is however absolutely a fiction.  This government did not grant us our rights, as all power within this nation resides in the people.  We granted the government limited power, which they have distorted.  Our rights are inalienable, they cannot be removed as we are born with them and they stay with us until our deaths.

The 2nd Article to the Bill of Rights states in part: “The right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”  This is an absolute statement and there is no way it can be misconstrued.

Infringe is defined as: “Act so as to limit or undermine; encroach on”, therefore any government action that alters, in the smallest degree, any American nationals right to arm, as he or she sees fit, is by definition an infringement and is not law, but rather an act of sedition.

The infringements that have been levied upon our Bill of Rights are too numerous to count.  These infringements have in fact brought us to the precipice of slavery.  The only thing standing in the way of a complete takeover of the people by the government is our possession of our firearms which have not yet been made a part of the infringements.

This is not just about our 2nd Article right.  This is about our freedom and liberty,  A person who is governed by another person is not free.  This is why our Republic emphasizes self governess of, by, and for the individual.

Mark Kelly spouted the lie that 92% of the American people support universalbackground checks, which can only be accomplished through universal registration.  Again, this is a lie, but even if it were not, it would not matter.  If 99.999% supported it, no one of us can alter the rights of another.

Our employees in the government are forbidden by law to advocate in any way to alter our Bill of Rights. The 1934 Gun Control Act was and is an infringement, and tell me how bold would these actors within this police state be in attacking our homes, if we still had our machine guns and hand grenades?  The 1968 Gun Control Act was and is an infringement, as the 2nd Article to the Bill of Rights does not say “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed except for those who are felons. “

These communists are parasites of the lowest degree and have sleazed their way into our lives in taking our kindness for weakness, said kindness fostered in reality via stupidity as the most feared threat to our safety is an armed government wielding tyranny over an unarmed population.

These present infringements have been put forth for no other reason than to segment another portion of our population to be without their inalienable rights.  And with the new mental health aspect, hell you do not even have to be accused of harming anyone.  Now, instead of being dispossessed of our rights via conviction, which again is unconstitutional, we are to be disarmed for what could happen: an ‘if’ or a ‘maybe’.

We must stand firm in our defiance of universal background check registration and let these communists know that not only are they going to cease and desist in their attempt at further infringement, but we demand that all past infringements be removed as a precursor to their trials for sedition.

God bless the Republic, death to the international corporate mafia, we shall prevail.

The Anger Phase Of Humanity Is Coming

Majority of U.S. Senators back President Obama’s ability to Kill American Citizens.

( In case you missed what happened yesterday, because it was not covered by the Mainstream Media, Senator Rand Paul led a 12 hour filibuster of CIA Nominee John Brennan, after the White House refused to say they don’t have the authority to kill American Citizens on American Soil.

In what should have had 100% support by every member of the Senate, only managed to garner the support of a handful of senators. In fact this morning, the Senate, led by Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham, took to the Senate floor to denounce Rand Paul’s demands. Senator McCain said he was doing a “disservice” to the country.

A disservice to the country?

Since when is standing up for our right to live a disservice to the country? Every last one of these people needs to be voted the hell out of office. The fact that we couldn’t even get a majority of the U.S. Senate to agree that the President does not have the authority to Kill American Citizens on American Soil (without a trial), is an absolute travesty of justice. What a sad day it is for America when it’s even up for debate.

What the hell happened to America? The sad reality of what happened yesterday, on the Floor of the Senate, should send chills through the spines of every red blooded American. Can you believe we have come to a place where it’s now being debated whether or not the federal government can ignore the Constitution and kill Americans without a trail?

For the last couple of years we’ve highlighted the drone programs, the effort to disarm America, and how the Department of Homeland Security is stockpiling massive amounts of Ammunition. What some called wild conspiracy theories, don’t seem so wild anymore do they?

Senate Refuses to Pass Non-Binding Bill Saying President doesn’t have the right to Kill Americans

To bring the Filibuster to a close, Senator Rand Paul offered a non-binding resolution opposing the President’s ability to kill Americans in drone strikes on US soil. Something that should have received 100% support in the Senate, couldn’t even get enough votes to pass. We are living in a country where only a handful of our elected representatives seem to have a problem with our government conducting the targeted killing of American Citizens.

Democrat Senator Dick Durbin, speaking for the majority, was designated to say he objects to Paul’s non-binding resolution. The fact that a majority of the U.S. Senate could not even stand together in opposition to something as simple as opposing (in a non-binding resolution) the President’s ability to assassinate citizens in drone attacks on US soil is simply inexcusable.

This is not a Partisan Issue: Both Sides are to Blame

For those that want to claim this as a partisan issue, I want to remind people that both political parties, Democrats and Republicans, overwhelmingly supported President Obama’s ability to kill American Citizens without a trial. In fact, at the same time Rand Paul made his stand to say that, “No President has the right to say that he is judge, jury, and executioner”,  a huge number of Republican Senators decided to ignore what was going on in the Senate, and instead attended a swanky dinner with President Obama.

The Following Republicans decided it was more important to be seen eating dinner with the President than it was to Stand with Rand Paul and Support the Constitution and your right to live.

When asked this morning whether the president has the power to kill Americans here at home, Senator Lindsey Graham said “I find the question offensive, I do not believe that question deserves an answer.” Senator John McCain then went to the Senate floor and defended President Obama’s ability to kill American Citizens on American Soil, by arguing that America is part of the worldwide battlefield. He publicly stated that the President has the right to kill Americans (without a trial) who are deemed to be “enemies” of the country.

Meet the Contractors Turning America’s Police Into a Paramilitary Force


(AlterNet) -The national security state has an annual budget of around $1 trillion. Of that huge pile of money, large amounts go to private companies the federal government awards contracts to. Some, like Lockheed Martin or Boeing, are household names, but many of the contractors fly just under the public’s radar. What follows are three companies you should know about (because some of them can learn a lot about you with their spy technologies).

L3 Communications

L3 is everywhere. Those night-vision goggles the JSOC team in Zero Dark Thirty uses? That’s L3. The new machines that are replacing the naked scanners at the airport? That’s L3. Torture at Abu Ghraib? A former subsidiary of L3 was recently ordered to pay $5.28 million to 71 Iraqis who had been held in the awful prison.

Oh, and drones? L3 is on it. Reprieve, a UK-based human rights organization, earlier this month wrote on its Web site:

“L-3 Communications is one of the main subcontractors involved with production of the US’s lethal Predator since the inception of the programme. Predators are used by the CIA to kill ‘suspected militants’ and terrorise entire populations in Pakistan and Yemen. Drone strikes have escalated under the Obama administration and 2013 has already seen six strikes in the two countries.”

Unsurprisingly, L3 Communications is well connected beyond the national security community. Its chief financial officer recently spoke at Goldman Sachs, at what the financial titan hilariously refers to as a “fireside chat.”

L3 also supplies local law enforcement with its night-vision products and makes a license-plate recognition (LPR) device, a machine with disturbing implications. LPR can be mounted on cop cruisers or statically positioned at busy intersections and can run potentially thousands of license plates through law enforcement databases in a matter of hours. In some parts of the country LPR readers can track your location for miles. As the Wall Street Journal noted, surveillance of even “mundane” activities of people not accused of any crime is now “the default rather than the exception.”

L3 Communications embodies the totality of the national security and surveillance state. There is only minimal distinction between its military products and police products. Its night-vision line is sold to both military and law enforcement. Its participation in the drone program is now, as far as we know, limited to countries in the Middle East and North Africa. But in the words of the New York Times editorial board, “[i]t is not a question of whether drones will appear in the skies above the United States but how soon.” The NYT estimates the domestic drone market at $5 billion, likely a conservative estimate, and contractors will vie for that money in the public and private sphere. L3’s venture into airports, the border of where domestic policy meets foreign policy in the name of national security, is therefore significant both symbolically and materially.

In many ways, that is the most important story of the post-9/11 United States: the complete evaporation of the separation of foreign and domestic polices. Whether we’re talking about paramilitarized police, warrantless wiretapping, inhumane prison conditions, or drone surveillance, there exist few differences between a United States perpetually at war and a United States determined to police and imprison its people in unacceptable ways and at unacceptable rates.

Harris Corporation: Stingray “IMSI catcher”

Harris Corp. is a huge provider of national security and communications technology to federal and local law enforcement agencies. Though many people have never heard of it, Harris is a major player in the beltway National Security community. President and CEO William M. Brown was recently appointed to the National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee, and in 2009 the Secret Service offered Harris a contract to train its agents in the use of Harris’ Stingray line. The Secret Service awarded the company additional contracts in 2012.

If you’ve heard of Harris at all, it’s likely been because its controversial Stingray product has been getting attention as an information-gathering tool with major privacy implications. The Stingray allows law enforcement to cast a kilometers’ wide digital net over an area to determine the location of a single cell phone signal – and in the process collect cell data on potentially hundreds of people who aren’t suspected of any crimes. EFF claims the device is a modern version of British soldiers canvassing the pre-Revolutionary colonies, searching people’s homes without probable cause – exactly what the Fourth Amendment was created to prevent. EFF describes the process this way:

“A Stingray works by masquerading as a cell phone tower—to which your mobile phone sends signals to every 7 to 15 seconds whether you are on a call or not— and tricks your phone into connecting to it. As a result, the government can figure out who, when and to where you are calling, the precise location of every device within the range, and with some devices, even capture the content of your conversations.”

According to the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC),the FBI has been using similar technology since 1995. But a recent federal case, United States v. Rigmaiden, has raised Fourth Amendment questions regarding whether law enforcement officials need to obtain a warrant before employing a Stingray. The judge in that case determined that the government hadn’t provided enough information about how the devices work, and ordered that the information collected in Rigmaiden couldn’t be used in court.

What’s especially troubling about Stingrays is that the government either won’t say, or doesn’t understand, how the technology works. The WSJ reported that the US Attorney making the requests “seemed to have trouble explaining the technology.”

And it’s not just the federal government that uses Stingrays. As Slate notes,referencing FOIA documents recently obtained by EPIC, “the feds have procedures in place for loaning electronic surveillance devices (like the Stingray) to state police. This suggests the technology may have been used in cases across the United States, in line with a stellar investigation by LA Weekly last year, which reported that state cops in California, Florida, Texas, and Arizona had obtained Stingrays.”

Harris has been tightlipped about the Rigmaiden case, but expect to be hearing a lot about Stingrays in the future.

BI2 Technologies

BI2 makes a fine pitch. Its iris-scanning technology can be made to sound very appealing. Iris scans are relatively non-invasive, there’s no touching involved so the likelihood of spreading disease is reduced, and as B12 states on its Web site, “there are no lasers, strong lights or any kind of harmful beams.” It also claims that iris scanning is “strictly opt-in,” and that a “user” (who in most cases would be better described as an “arrestee”) “must consciously elect to participate” in the scanning. (When I was arrested by the NYPD while covering a protest, the scan was voluntary — though the NYPD didn’t tell me that, a protester did. But if I refused to submit to it I could have been punished with an extra night in jail.)

Reuters reported that BI2’s iPhone-based iris scanner — called MORIS — is capable of taking an accurate scan from four feet away, “potentially without the person being aware of it.” MORIS has drawn harsh condemnation from the ACLU. The primary concern from privacy advocates is that law enforcement will deploy this technology in an overly broad way. ACLU senior policy analyst Jay Stanley told Reuters that he didn’t want the police “using them routinely on the general public, collecting biometric information on innocent people.”

MORIS isn’t just for irises; it also scans faces. In 2011, the Wall Street Journalreportedthat the sheriff’s office in Pinellas County, Florida, “uses digital cameras to take pictures of people, download the pictures to laptops, then use facial-recognition technologies to search for matching faces.” New database technology like Trapwire, a data mining system that analyzes “suspicious behavior” in purported attempts to predict terrorist behavior, makes face scanning potentially more worrisome. Trapwire uses at least “CCTV, license-plate readers, and open-source databases” as input sources, and although it doesn’t employ facial-recognition software, the incentives to combine these types of technology is clear.

Beginning in 2014, BI2 will manage a national iris-scan database for the FBI, called Next-Generation Identification (NGI).Lockheed Martin is also involved in building the database.Much of BI2’s iris data comes from inmates in 47 states, and despite BI2’s claims that iris scanning can’t be gamed, that is not the case. Experts showed last summer that the iris can be “reverse-engineered” to fool the scanners, which are generally thought to be more accurate than fingerprinting.

The usual suspects lamented in 2011 that iris scanning isn’t used at airports or borders, but security creep is difficult to combat, especially once “national security” is invoked. Just days ago it was reported that the FBI is teaming with the Department of Homeland Security to ramp up iris scanning at US borders. AlterNet has previously reported that the Department of Defense scans the irises of people arriving at and departing from Afghanistan.

The story of BI2 is important because the initial technology is superficially appealing. The company’s first projects were called the Child Project, designed to help locate missing children; and Senior Safety Net, developed to identify missing seniors suffering from Alzheimer’s. According to B12’s Web site, sheriffs’ departments in 47 states use the BI2 iris-scanning device and database, which makes it easy to mobilize support to facilitate the safe return of children and seniors.

While the desire to find missing children and seniors is perfectly legitimate, the collection of biometric data is a pandora’s box. Once it’s opened, it’s proven difficult if not impossible to limit.

U.N. Drone Investigator: If Facts Lead to U.S. War Crimes, So Be It

 Ben Emmerson wants to be clear: He’s not out to ban flying killer robots used by the CIA or the U.S. military. But the 49-year-old British lawyer is about to become the bane of the drones’ existence, thanks to the United Nations inquiry he launched last week into their deadly operations.

( Emerson, the United Nations’ special rapporteur for human rights and counterterrorism, will spend the next five months doing something the Obama administration has thoroughly resisted: unearthing the dirty secrets of a global counterterrorism campaign that largely relies on rapidly proliferating drone technology. Announced on Thursday in London, it’s the first international inquiry into the drone program, and one that carries the imprimatur of the world body. By the next session of the United Nations in the fall, Emmerson hopes to provide the General Assembly with an report on 25 drone strikes in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and Palestine where civilian deaths are credibly alleged.

That carries the possibility of a reckoning with the human damage left by drones, the first such witnessing by the international community. Accountability, Emmerson tells Danger Room in a Monday phone interview, “is the central purpose of the report.” He’s not shying away from the possibility of digging up evidence of “war crimes,” should the facts point in that direction. But despite the Obama administration’s secrecy about the drone strikes to date, he’s optimistic that the world’s foremost users of lethal drone tech will cooperate with him.

In conversation, Emmerson, who’s served as special rapporteur since 2011, doesn’t sound like a drone opponent or a drone skeptic. He sounds more like a drone realist. “Let’s face it, they’re here to stay,” he says, shortly after pausing to charge his cellphone during a trip to New York to prep for his inquiry. “This technology, as I say, is a reality. It is cheap, both in economic terms and in the risk to the lives of the service personnel who are from the sending state.

“And for that reason there are real concerns that because it is so cheap, it can be used with a degree of frequency that other, more risk-based forms of engagement like fixed-wing manned aircraft or helicopters are not,” Emmerson says. “And the result is there’s a perception of the frequency and intensity with which this technology is used is exponentially different, and as a result, there is necessarily a correspondingly greater risk of civilian casualties.”

Drones: 13 things you need to know from Congress’s new report

A new Congressional report lays out in vivid detail  the danger drones could pose for personal privacy. Here’s everything you need to  know.


(Digital Trends) -Starting in 2015, the skies above the United States will become infiltrated  by a rare creature: drones. Also known as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs),  drones are currently forbidden from flying in U.S. airspace above 400 feet,  unless the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) provides a license. But thanks  to a bill  passed by Congress early this year to make these licenses easier to get,  drones will likely become a part of everyday life for Americans.

While fun and futuristic, this coming reality unearths serious questions  about privacy and personal liberty in the 21st century. A report published last  week by the Congressional Research  Service (CRS) shows that our laws are currently unprepared to deal with the  privacy implications posed by the use of drones. The report (pdf)  is an excellent read — at least if you’re a wonk like me. But if you don’t have  time to peruse a 20-page CRS report, here are the 13 things you must know about  the looming drone privacy apocalypse.

1. There will be 30,000 drones in the sky in less than 20 years

The FAA estimates (pdf)  that within the next 15 years, more than 20,000 drones will take to the skies in  the U.S., including drones operated by police, military, public health and  safety agencies, corporations, and the public in general. That number is  expected to jump to 30,000 within 20 years from today — a number the FAA refers  to as “relatively small.” Currently, the FAA has only given out about 300  licenses to fly drones capable of cruising at more than 400 feet in the air.

2. Matters of privacy are all about “reasonableness”

The Fourth  Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees our right against “unreasonable searches and seizures.” The key word here is “unreasonable” — and  thanks to our rapidly changing technologies, its definition is in near-constant  flux.

CRS researcher and legislative attorney Richard M. Thompson II, who authored  the report on drones, explains in the report that “the reasonableness of drone  surveillance [as considered by the courts] would likely be informed by location  of the search, the sophistication of the technology used, and society’s  conception of privacy in an age of rapid technological advancement.”

It’s this last part — “society’s conception of privacy” — that you should  worry about on a daily basis, as it applies to the use of information gathered  by everything from drones flying over our back yards to GPS capabilities in our  smartphones to our Facebook profiles. Once society becomes generally “OK” with  certain information becoming public, or becoming public in a certain way — once  we think of these things as “reasonable — the Fourth Amendment protects us  less.

3. The Fourth Amendment: It depends what the definition of “search” is

As with what can be considered “reasonable,” the definition of what  constitutes a “search” under the Fourth Amendment is a slippery beast. The  Fourth Amendment provides for little wiggle room when it comes to activities  performed in your home, behind closed doors and curtained windows. (No searches  without a warrant there — most of the time, anyway.) But as soon as you leave  the confines of your house, things start getting more complicated — and things  get even worse when you consider surveillance that uses planes and helicopters.  Throw drones in the mix and, well, the fine line across which surveillance by  the state becomes “search” gets downright knotty.

Thompson’s CRS report explains that a court reviewing the use of drones under  the Fourth Amendment will have to consider past cases that involved “privacy in  the home, privacy in public spaces, location tracking, manned aerial  surveillance, those involving the national border,” and instances when warrants  aren’t needed to perform a “routine” search (like searching a car at a U.S.  border), to determine the definition of a “search.”

4. Drones will have the ability to see through walls and ceilings

Thanks to technology like the Xaver  800 from Camero, which uses electromagnetic radar to construct 3D images of  hidden objects, law enforcement and military personnel can now “see” through  walls. Combine this with laser radar and thermal imaging techniques, and our  homes practically have glass walls, as far as the police are concerned. Thompson  estimates that similar technology will eventually be outfitted on drones,  allowing them to see through ceilings and walls. The question before  the courts will be: Without a warrant, is that reasonable?

5. Drones could be outfitted with face recognition technology

In addition to seeing through our walls, Thompson writes that law enforcement  organizations “might seek to outfit drones with facial recognition or soft  biometric recognition, which can recognize and track individuals based on  attributes such as height, age, gender, and skin color.”

Considering that the FBI is currently undertaking a  $1 billion project to build out its face recognition capabilities, this one  seems all but inevitable. However, as Thompson explains, the sophisticated  nature of such technology may determine whether the use of face recognition  technology on drones “is lawful under the Fourth Amendment.”

6. Aerial searches in manned aircraft are not against the Fourth Amendment — but drone surveillance may be different

While the Fourth Amendment provides strict protections for privacy inside the  home, anywhere outside the home falls into other categories of protection. The  first is “curtilage,” which is defined as the area surrounding a home (like a  front or back yard). Areas outside of that are referred to as “open fields.” The  Fourth Amendment protections apply differently for each of these categories;  curtilage is often nearly as highly protected as inside the home, while open  fields may not be protected at all.

That said, existing case law (precedent) determines that police may use  airplanes and helicopters that fly within federal aviation guidelines to look in  on citizens’ curtilage — even if it’s fenced in or otherwise hidden from public  view — without a warrant. It is not yet clear whether drones would fall into the  same category as planes and ‘copters, according to Thompson.

7. Long-term tracking is different from short-term tracking

In the recent Supreme Court case United States vs Jones, the Court  ruled that the tracking of an individual using GPS for a long period of time  (say, a month) constitutes a “search” under the Fourth Amendment due to how much  information can be gathered about a person over an extended period, thus  requiring a warrant to perform the tracking. But previous case law upheld law  enforcement’s ability to track users outside their homes for a shorter period of  time without the need for a warrant.

Now, because drones can stay in the sky for long periods of time — and, in  the case of Lockheed Martin’s Stalker drone, possibly forever — they could be used to track people’s movements for  extremely long periods of time. Because of this, the courts will have to decide  whether the use of long-duration flight drones for surveillance purposes  constitutes a search under the Fourth Amendment.

8. U.S. borders are a search free-for-all

As you may have gathered, reasonable expectations of privacy have a lot to do  with where a person is. But the one place you should have zero expectation of privacy is near a U.S. border. Border agents  already have the ability to search things like your car, without a warrant,  within 25 miles of a U.S. border.

Because of the looser restrictions near U.S. borders, the use of drones is,  and will be, extremely prevalent. And since the surveillance using drones “may  be considered more passive” than surveillance agents on the ground, or in planes  and helicopters, by the courts, explains Thompson, drones “may be even less  likely to run afoul of Fourth Amendment requirements.” (Emphasis mine.)

9. Technology sophistication matters

Under the Fourth Amendment, all technology is not created equal. The use of  gadgets that anyone can get their hands on (like binoculars) for surveillance  purposes are more permissible by the courts than technology that is extremely  sophisticated (like radar that can see through walls).

With this in mind, the courts will likely have to decide what types of  technology can be attached to drones for surveillance use. Is a low-powered  camera allowed while a high-powered camera isn’t? Should drones be outfitted  with face recognition systems? It’s not yet clear — and it’s something that the  courts (or Congress) must establish.

10. The more common drones become, the less privacy protections you may  have

As with the public definition of “reasonable” under the Fourth Amendment, the  public’s expectations of privacy with regards to certain technology changes with  time. The more a technology is used, the more acceptable (read: reasonable) it  is. Thompson points out that as drones become increasingly commonplace, the more  the public will accept the use of drones for surveillance purposes, potentially  changing which types of surveillance practices are and are not protected under  the Fourth Amendment.

11. Americans are worried about drones

According to a study released in June by Monmouth University (pdf),  80 percent of Americans approve of using drones for search and rescue missions,  while 67 percent believe drones should be used to “track down runaway  criminals.”

And yet, 42 percent of respondents said they would be “very concerned” about  their own privacy if drones were used by law enforcement. Twenty two percent  would be “somewhat concerned,” and 16 percent would be “just a little  concerned.” A full 15 percent said they would not be concerned at all.

Oh, and only 23 percent said they would feel comfortable with using drones to  catch speeding motorists.

12. There are ways to fight back against drone privacy invasion now

The courts are not the only government body that can decide what is and is  not allowed by drones. Congress can also take action, and it’s already begun to  do that. Rep Austin Scott (R-GA) and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) recently introduced  the Preserving Freedom from Unwarranted Surveillance Act of 2012 (H.R.  5925, S.  3287), which would require the federal government to gain a warrant based on  probable cause before drones could be used for surveillance purposes. And Rep.  Ted Poe’s (R-TX) Preserving American Privacy Act of 2012 (H.R.  6199) would also require law enforcement to obtain a warrant for drone  surveillance, among other restrictions.

Thompson suggests that “Congress could also limit the admissibility of  evidence in a criminal prosecution to situations where its acquisition was the  purpose of the drone search.”

If you’re afraid of waiting to let the courts decide how drones can be used  for surveillance — a decision that will come after the drones are  already being used for that purpose — I suggest you look into vocally supporting  some of these bills.

13. We’re just making this up as we go along

Valuable tidbits about the Fourth Amendment aside, the key takeaway from all  this is that laws are nothing more than a man-made creation. In other words,  they are made up. And as technology advances faster than our government can  respond, those in charge of crafting the rules are forced to figure out all the  implications on the fly — not just for drones, but for all emerging  technologies. More important, our view of drone surveillance (or GPS tracking or  Facebook data scraping) plays a major role in how the government will decide  these issues for us. We would do well for ourselves to pay close  attention.


Miami Martial Law Drill: Machine Gun Fire & Black Hawk Helicopters Invade Miami Skyline

(Before it’s News) Has America been invaded by hostile forces? If not, then what are ‘they’ preparing for? The streets and skies of Miami turned into what sounded like an Iraqi war zone or the streets of Chicago as the eternal, global war on terror gave Miami residents a sense of what it might sound like to live in Afghanistan as machine gun fire (blanks) filled the air and black hawk helicopters filled the midnight skies.

Are there THAT MANY terrorists now in America that they’re preparing for? A recent police, emergency management and National Guard drill in Ohio targeted ‘disgruntled 2nd Amendment advocates’ upset about the governments ‘new interpretation’ of the 2nd Amendment as ‘terrorists’. Does this Miami ‘martial law’ drill have the same targets in mind or are they ‘just’ preparing for economic collapse?

From Cybertribe News Network:

This is only a drill.

Black Hawk choppers soared into the skies in downtown Miami, Wednesday night. The joint military training exercise also involved local police.

In the shadow of the Adrienne Arsht Center, several police cruisers crossed Biscayne Boulevard, presumably as part of the drill. Police have blocked off traffic on Biscayne Boulevard, although this measure might be related to the Miami Heat game about to finish at the American Airlines Arena.

The exercises, which began Tuesday night, are being executed to meet requirements, which include upcoming overseas missions and ensuring their equipment is in good working order.

Miami residents up on the balconies overlooking downtown Miami have been making amateur videos and posting them on YouTube. Tuesday night one of these videos showed the military helicopters flying over 395, right by the Miami Herald Building.


Senator Asks CIA Nominee When Drones Can Kill Americans



(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, acquired by Danger Room. “Does the President have to provide individual Americans with the opportunity to surrender before killing them?”

Wyden’s questions about the targeted-killing effort get specific. He wants to know how the administration determines when it is “not feasible” to capture American citizens suspected of terrorism; if the administration considers its authority to order such killings inherent in its Constitutional war powers or embedded in the 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force; and if the intelligence agencies can “carry out lethal operations inside the United States.” Wyden also expresses “surprise and dismay” that the intelligence agencies haven’t provided him with a complete list of countries in which they’ve killed people in the war on terrorism, which he says “reflects poorly on the Obama administration’s commitment to cooperation with congressional oversight.”

Thus far, senators on the intelligence panel have been more concerned about Brennan’s possible role in national-security information leaks and the CIA’s post-9/11 torture program than in using Brennan’s nomination to peer into the decision-making surrounding Obama’s counterterrorism strikes. Wyden writes that it is “critically important” for Congress to understand “how the executive branch understands the limits and boundaries of this authority.”


In September 2011, a U.S. missile strike in Yemen killed Anwar al-Awlaki, al-Qaida’s most prominent English-language propagandist and an American citizen. Weeks later, another strike fired by a U.S. drone killed Awlaki’s 16-year old son, Abdulrahman.

The Obama administration has never disclosed the evidence behind its claims that the elder Awlaki posed such an imminent danger to Americans that prompted killing him without due process of law, prompting a major debate about the legality of the killing. (Administration officials have said even less about the justification for killing the 16-year old Abdulrahman al-Awlaki.) Members of the Awlaki family, the New York Times and the American Civil Liberties Union have variously sued the government for additional information about the strikes, all unsuccessfully. Earlier this month, a federal judge in New York ruled that the government was not required to disclose the legal analysis undergirding the Awlaki targeting decisions, even as the judge herself blasted the administration for embracing “certain actions that seem on their face incompatible with our Constitution and laws, while keeping the reasons for their conclusion a secret.”

Wyden doesn’t specifically ask for information about the killing of Awlaki and his son. He’s after the more general rules embraced by the administration about when killing a U.S. citizen is permissible in the U.S. shadow wars. Those rules, apparently written in 2010 by Justice Department lawyers David Barron and Marty Lederman, were described in a New York Times piece but remain secret. Wyden doesn’t ask for their disclosure, just for the administration to permit members of the intelligence panel to read them.

“For the executive branch to claim that intelligence agencies have the authority to knowingly kill American citizens but refuse to provide Congress with any and all legal opinions that explain the executive branch’s understanding of this authority represents an alarming and indefensible assertion of executive prerogative,” Wyden writes.

As the Senate intelligence panel’s leading civil libertarian, Wyden frequently calls on the administration to explain the classified reasoning behind its most controversial national security practices. He’s accused the administration of adopting a private interpretation of the Patriot Act so expansive, for instance, that it amounts to “secret law” authorizing surveillance. Most often the administration stiffs Wyden. The National Security Agency has yet to disclose how many Americans are caught up in its dragnet for terrorist communications, one of Wyden’s major preoccupations, telling the Senator that even disclosing that number would violate Americans’ privacy.

Brennan remains likely to receive Senate approval for his CIA nomination. But until now, senators on the panel that will handle his confirmation had seemed less than interested in exploring the more discomforting aspects of the counterterrorism strategy colloquially referred to as the “drone war.”

Wyden doesn’t endorse or reject Brennan for the top CIA job. Wyden spokesman Tom Caiazza tells Danger Room that ”the senator is looking forward to a frank and substantive conversation on these issues and of course the results will be considered in his decision making.”

Orlando Florida Patrolled By Surveillance Drones As Early As This Summer


Law Enforcement Drone


(Business Insider) -When Congress passed a bill last February allowing unmanned  drones to fly American skies it became only a matter of time before UAVs  patrolled U.S. cities for local law enforcement.


While most drones in the U.S. are flown along the Mexican border, the Orange County  Sheriff’s Office wants to put them over metro Orlando within the next few  months. The Greater Orlando metropolitan area is home to more than  2 million residents and is Florida’s third largest city.

Dan  Tracy at the Orlando Sentinel reports the local sheriff wants a pair of  unarmed UAVs able to record the activities of everyday citizens and criminals  alike.

From the Sentinel:

Sheriff’s spokesman Jeff Williamson  … would not say exactly how the drones would be used, he wrote in an  email that they might be deployed when looking for explosives, barricaded  suspects and to inspect “hostile/inaccessible terrain” or at train  accidents.

As for civil-rights concerns, Williamson wrote,  “The OCSO has the privacy of its citizenry as a foremost concern. The device  will only be put into operations on the command of the high risk incident  commander.”



Thermal drone image of a house showing rafters in the roof  and the heat lamps in the bathroom (click to expand)

The sheriff still  needs the County Commission to sign off on the request before it goes to the FAA  for approval. The federal agency should have no problem accommodating as it  was ordered by Congress to get as many drones as possible into the air by  November, and be able to handle 30,000  UAVs by 2020.


Though Orange County refused to specify which type of drone it would be  flying, the Los Angeles  County Sheriff’s Department fought to fly Octatron’s  SkySeer surveillance drone over its jurisdiction in 2006 after a long battle  with the city. The manufacturer has since been working  closely with law enforcement agencies to coordinate networks and platforms,  making it a reasonable choice for the Orlando Sheriff.

Octatron’s SkySeer  description:

SkySeer™ is a lightweight, portable,  autonomous-flight UAV designed for single-person operation. It weighs less than  five pounds, flies quietly, can be assembled in minutes, and is hand-launched.  It has a flight time of 70 minutes and is recoverable through a normal landing  or parachute-based vertical landing (optional). GPS coordinates  (latitude/longitude) can be programmed into the Ground Control Station so the  SkySeer™ can fly to a specific point of interest. The flight path can also be  set by pointing and clicking GPS waypoints on the ground controller, giving the  operator full control over the UAV’s air-borne activities as well as the  operation of its equipment, such as cameras. The video can be recorded to a DVD  or Flash media at the  ground station. The night version SkySeer™ includes a thermal camera that allows  filming in total darkness. A stealth surveillance mission at night at 250’ has  been demonstrated. The two-mile range of coverage can be extended using  NetWeaver™. Training is required to fly a SkySeer™

Octatron now offers the SkySeer to any law enforcement office  with the proper FAA paperwork. If Orlando does go with that model it should be  convenient, as the  company’s sales office is listed down the road in St. Petersburg,  Florida.


U.S. Drone Pilot: ‘Did We Just Kill A Kid?’


After Barack Obama joined the rest of us in mourning the slaughter of innocent children in Newtown, Conn., Sanford Berman, a Minnesota civil liberties activist, wrote me: “Obama’s tears for the dead Connecticut kids made me sick. What about weeping over the 400 or more children he killed with drone strikes?”

Indeed, our president has shown no palpable concern over those deaths, but a number of U.S. personnel — not only the CIA agents engaged in drone killings — are deeply troubled.

Peggy Noonan reports that David E. Sanger, in his book “Confront and Conceal: Obama’s Secret Wars and Surprising Use of American Power,” discovered that “some of those who operate the unmanned bombers are getting upset. They track victims for days. They watch them play with their children.” Then what happens: “‘It freaks you out’” (“Who Benefits From the ‘Avalanche of Leaks’?” Wall Street Journal, June 15).

For another example, I introduce you to Conor Friedersdorf and his account of “The Guilty Conscience of a Drone Pilot Who Killed a Child” (, Dec. 19).

The subtitle: “May his story remind us that U.S. strikes have reportedly killed many times more kids than died in Newtown — and that we can do better.”

The story Friedersdorf highlights in the Atlantic first appeared in Germany’s Der Spiegel about an Air Force officer (not CIA) who “lamented the fact that he sometimes had to kill ‘good daddies’” … (and) “even attended their funerals” from far away.

And dig this, President Obama: “as a consequence of the job, he collapsed with stress-induced exhaustion and developed PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder).” Yet these drones, “Hellfire missiles,” are President Obama’s favorite extra-judicial weapons against suspected terrorists.

Getting back to the Air Force officer, Brandon Bryant, with the guilty conscience. Friedersdorf’s story quotes extensively from Der Spiegel’s article, which recalls that, when Bryant got the order to fire, “he pressed a button with his left hand and marked the roof (of a shed) with a laser. The pilot sitting next to him pressed the trigger on a joystick, causing the drone to launch a Hellfire missile. There were 16 seconds left until impact …

“With seven seconds left to go, there was no one to be seen on the ground. Bryant could still have diverted the missile at that point. Then it was down to three seconds …

“Suddenly a child walked around the corner, he says. Second zero was the moment in which Bryant’s digital world collided with the real one in a village between Baghlan and Mazar-e-Sharif. Bryant saw a flash on the screen: the explosion. Parts of the building collapsed. The child had disappeared.

“Bryant had a sick feeling in his stomach.

“‘Did we just kill a kid?’ he asked the man sitting next to him.

“‘Yeah. I guess that was a kid,’ the pilot replied.

“‘Was that a kid?’ they wrote into a chat window on the monitor.

“Then someone they didn’t know answered, someone sitting in a military command center somewhere in the world who had observed their attack. ‘No. That was a dog,’ the person wrote.

“They reviewed the scene on video. A dog on two legs?”

Friedersdorf adds: “The United States kills a lot of ‘dogs on two legs.’ The Bureau of Investigative Journalism reported last August that in Pakistan’s tribal areas alone, there are at least 168 credible reports of children being killed in drone strikes.” As for those in other countries, he adds, that’s “officially secret.”

He writes: “Presidents Bush and Obama have actively prevented human-rights observers from accessing full casualty data from programs that remain officially secret, so there is no way to know the total number of children American strikes have killed in the numerous countries in which they’ve been conducted, but if we arbitrarily presume that ‘just’ 84 children have died — half the bureau’s estimate from one country — the death toll would still be more than quadruple the number of children killed in Newtown, Conn.”

Are you proud, as an American, to know this?

After reading about Obama’s silence in “The Guilty Conscience of a Drone Pilot Who Killed a Child,” does the conscience of those of us who re-elected Obama ache?

As Friedersdorf writes, Obama has never spoken of these deaths as he did about the ones in Newtown, when he said: “If there’s even one step we can take to save another child or another parent … then surely we have an obligation to try. … Are we really prepared to say that dead children are the price of our freedom?”

Do you mean, Mr. President, only the dead children of Newtown?

These targeted killings continue in our name, under the ultimate authority of our president — as the huge majority of We The People stays mute.

Nat Hentoff is a nationally renowned authority on the First Amendment and the Bill of Rights. He is a member of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, and the Cato Institute, where he is a senior fellow.

Illusion of Choice By George Carlin, Ron Paul, and Judge Napolitano

German company demonstrates laser weapon capable of shooting down drones from over a mile away


(Image credit: Rheinmetall logo and laser by Rheinmetall Defense/End the Lie compilation)

(Image credit: Rheinmetall logo and HEL weapon by Rheinmetall Defense/End the Lie compilation)

(EndTheLie) -With the rise of drones it seems counter-drone technology is a logical next step for countries who would like to continue to pour endless amounts of money into so-called defense technologies. A German company has demonstrated a product which very well might interest many countries: a laser weapon capable of shooting down drones from over a mile away.

The rapid development of drone technology, including the realistic possibility of perpetual flight along with increasingly common use of drones here in the United States (also confirmed by numerous documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act), has pushed the drone issue into the spotlight.

While privacy concerns and the legal implications the use of drones for assassinations of Americans are commonly dealt with, the future of international drone war isn’t quite as frequently brought up.

Thanks to Germany’s Rheinmetall Defense and their 50 kW high energy laser (HEL) weapon, it seems that countries may have at least some way to defend themselves against drone attacks.

The HEL was recently successfully tested in Switzerland and proved capable of cutting a large 15mm-thick steel girder from 1,000 meters away and “the HEL shot down several nose-diving target drones at a range of two kilometers,” according to Homeland Security News Wire.

Keep in mind, 50kW is just the beginning since, according to Rheinmetall, “from the technical stand-point, nothing stands in the way of a future HEL weapon system with a 100kW output.”

The system utilized both optical and radar systems to detect and track the two drones each flying at 50 meters per second, or 111.8 miles per hour.

The system also demonstrated the ability to “shoot out of the air a steel ball designed to mimic a mortar round,” according to the BBC.

The ball designed to mimic a mortar round measured only 82 mm in diameter and was traveling at around 50 meters per second, according to Rheinmetall.

Rheinmetall, based out of Düsseldorf, says that the system can “neutralize targets even under the most difficult weather conditions, including snow, dazzling sunlight, ice and rain.”

However, the company isn’t stopping there. They plan to build a 60kW technology demonstrator this year with an even more powerful laser.

In addition they plan to integrate “35mm Ahead Revolver Guns into the system,” according to the company.

“This will enable Rheinmetall engineers to identify and study possible synergies between laser weapons and automatic cannon,” they said in a press release.

Perhaps most staggering of all, Rheinmetall said they are pursuing a mobile HEL weapon, the concept for which “was successfully implemented with 1kW functional model mounted on a special TM170 vehicle.”

The TM170 is Rheinmetall Landsysteme’s armored personnel carrier used by Austria, Germany, Indonesia, Kuwait, Luxembourg, Macedonia, South Korea and Spain.

The sheer amount of progress Rheinmetall has made over the past year with this technology is astounding.

“A five-fold increase in laser power [over last year’s model] was thus available for the individual scenarios, which included Air Defense, Counter Rocket, Artillery, Mortar/C-RAM, and Asymmetric Warfare operations,” according to Homeland Security News Wire.

Companies around the world are developing laser-based weapons including Raytheon, which is developing an anti-aircraft laser (which you can see being tested here), and the U.S. military (of course), which is developing the “Laser-Induced Plasma Channel (LIPC) cannon” capable of using a laser to create and target a lightning bolt.

All of this technology makes one wonder how exactly it will be used and what the future of an increasingly drone-based battlefield will really look like. Throw fully automated weapons systems, or “killer robots,” into the mix and the picture gets even harder to imagine.

General Stanley McChrystal questions US drone warfare

(Digital Journal) -Retired US Army General Stanley McChrystal, who once commanded all American forces in Afghanistan, has questioned the widespread use of unmanned aerial drones in the War on Terror.
McChrystal, 58, acknowledged that drones cause seething hatred of the United States and cautioned that their overuse could threaten US strategic objectives in the ongoing terror war.


“What scares me about drone strikes is how they’re perceived around the world,” McChrystal told Reuters. “The resentment created by American use of unmanned strikes… is much greater than the average American appreciates. They are hated on a visceral level, even by people who’ve never seen one or seen the effects of one.”


McChrystal, the architect of America’s counterinsurgency strategy in Afghanistan, added that drones fuel a “perception of American arrogance that says, ‘We can fly where we want, we can shoot where we want, because we can.'”


Drones are a tool that should be used as part of a wider strategy, the former general said, and if their use creates more problems than it solves, Washington should reevaluate the situation.


Drone strikes, which terrorize populations subjected to them, have indeed stoked widespread anti-Americanism in the countries where they occur- Yemen, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Somalia- as well as around the world. Three-quarters of Pakistanis, for example, consider the United States an “enemy.” Drones, which Pakistanis rightfully claim are a violation of their sovereignty, are a big part of the reason why.


Perceived American disregard for the hundreds of innocent civilians killed by drone strikes also infuriates many people in affected countries. According to Pakistan’s Interior Minister, up to 80 percent of those killed by drones are civilians, and the London-based Bureau for Investigative Journalism says that as many as 1,117 civilians, including up to 214 children, have been killed by strikes in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia since 2004.


Last October, the United Nations announced that it would investigate US drone strikes that killed Pakistani civilians as possible war crimes.


Still, the Obama administration has dramatically ramped up its drone program since taking over from Bush in 2009. Recently, the use of drones has increased significantly in Yemen, where there were more drone attacks in 2012 than there were in Pakistan.


Obama’s newly-chosen CIA director, John Brennan, is particularly controversial, both because he is the architect of the US drone war and because he has repeatedly lied about civilian drone deaths and the anti-Americanism they breed.

New director John Brennan must kill the CIA’s drone assassination policy

House in eastern Yemen destroyed by US drone strike, 2 September 2012

A US drone strike in eastern Yemen in September 2012 was claimed to have killed six suspected Islamist militants. The Yemeni government responded that the intended target was ‘completely missed’, and 13 civilians were killed instead. Photograph: Reuters

(Guardian) - Monday, President Obama nominated John Brennan – the architect of his secretive, deadly drone program – to head the CIA. Before he is confirmed, Brennan should publicly commit to getting the CIA out of the killing business.

With drone strikes in Pakistan accelerating since 2008, the CIA has transformed into a quasi-military force. But as a spy agency, the CIA’s instincts are to wage war the way it runs covert actions – in secret, and by its own rules. As it goes about its mission, the agency’s habit is to check the boxes, doing the minimum work necessary to achieve legal cover and political buy-in. The CIA selectively leaks details of its drone strikes to the press, so the public only ever learns of its successes, never its failures.

This sounds plausible and even palatable if the CIA is just a spy agency secretly running down terrorists once in a while, as in fictional television shows like Homeland. It is untenable, though, as the model of warfare it is fast becoming. More than 300 drone strikes in Pakistan and Yemen have killed about 3,000 people, according to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism. If the CIA’s hunter-killer role becomes permanent, the US government will have no grounds for protest when other countries inevitably follow the CIA’s example of carrying out drone strike campaigns in any place, at any time, and without any official acknowledgement or need to publicly and legally justify its actions.

Knowing the dangerous precedent the CIA is setting, Obama has alluded to a “due process” for death decision-making. Details are few, but we know the process does not involve the courts or the public, and vests full discretion within the executive branch. Even if it met concerns about the legality of drone strikes, though, this kind of decision-making would be wrong for the CIA, which has a history of grabbing for all the power it can get while failing to rein in abusive agents.

Though it ill fits the CIA’s targeted killing program, the internal due process Obama described would somewhat match what military commands traditionally do on the battlefield. The difference is that in democracies, the public entrusts the military to wield lethal force only because it is subject to laws and the enforcing machinery of political oversight. The military has the responsibility of earning public approval for its actions overall, or it risks losing its mandate for war. Public disapproval of the war in Iraq, and dismay at continuing involvement in Afghanistan, led to the US troop drawdowns of the last few years.

This system of public approval and disapproval for military action is imperfect and sometimes fails, but it markedly contrasts with the oversight of the CIA’s secretive war-making. Although the Obama administration touts the drone campaign as a success, it is officially a state secret – giving the CIA a free pass on disclosing civilian casualties to courts or to Congress, except in closed sessions with a few members.

In this climate, polls show the American public broadly approves of a drone campaign of which it knows alarmingly little. In American media, the slick and sanitized image of a Predator drone suspended mid-air accompanies news stories on drone strikes that report “militants” killed. Precisely who these men were and how they were selected for execution are rarely mentioned.

The bodies of civilian dead are never pictured, even when these deaths are reported. Reports that drone strikes have killed more than 100 children have sullied the international reputation of the United States, and have led to UN calls for an investigation. Within the US, however, there is little if any public interest in debating the cost of drones on civilian lives.

In Monday’s nomination announcement, Obama complimented Brennan on recognizing the responsibility to be as “open and transparent as possible” about counterterrorism policies. Brennan himself pledged “full and open discourse” – though only with “appropriate elective representatives”. Despite these nods, it would be naive to expect the CIA, under Brennan, to engage fully with the American public about the drone program. The CIA is too accustomed to secrecy ever to let it go.

If Brennan and Obama were serious about transparency over killing, they would extract the CIA from the drone program altogether. America’s premier spy agency should no longer also be its chief assassin.

U.S. Drone Found Floating Off Philippines Coast


Us Drone Philippines

In this Sunday, Jan. 6, 2013 photo released by the Office of the Deputy Commander Naval Forces, Southern Luzon, a suspected American drone, is brought ashore off Masbate Island in Central Philippines. (AP Photo/Philippine Navy Southern Luzon)

(HuffingtonPost) - — Philippine navy officials said Monday a suspected American drone has been found floating in the ocean off a central province, prompting them to deploy a ship with ordnance experts after fishermen reported the object may have been a bomb.

The 3-meter (10-foot) orange BQM-74e drone marked “Navy” was found by a Filipino diver and fishermen off Masbate Island on Sunday and has been turned over to local navy authorities, Philippine navy officer Capt. Jason Rommel Galang said, adding it was not clear why the unmanned aerial vehicle ended up off Masbate.

U.S. Embassy spokeswoman Bettina Malone said efforts were under way to determine if the drone was one of those used in American military air target training exercises and why it was in the waters off Masbate, about 380 kilometers (235 miles) southeast of Manila. The type of drone found was not armed and not used for surveillance, she said.

Masbate is in a region where communist guerrillas have a presence. U.S. counterterrorism troops, who are barred from local combat, have used surveillance drones to help Filipino soldiers track down al-Qaida-linked extremists in the country’s south. At least two U.S. drones have been reported to have crashed and were recovered by villagers in the past on southern Mindanao island.

Yemen: A Year of Assassinations, Explosions and Drones

(GlobalVoicesOnline) -After a long year of revolution in Yemen, former President Ali Abdullah Saleh was “toppled” and replaced by President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi on February 27, 2012, through a one-man-election. Nevertheless, Yemen witnessed a year of instability and violence. The year 2012 was a year of unprecedented numbers of suicide bombs, explosive cars, targeted killings, explosions of gas pipelines and electricity cables, besides the constant and frequent US drone attacks. Below is a month by month account of the major events that shook Yemen.


* Five killed as Yemen police, protesters clash in south. The protesters were calling for secession and rejecting a Gulf-brokered plan granting President Ali Abdullah Saleh immunity from prosecution when he steps down. Three protesters were killed and 18 others were wounded, in addition two policemen were killed and five others were wounded.

* Overnight drone strike in Yemen kills 15, including ‘at least four Al Qaeda leaders’. Up to 15 militants, including four Al Qaeda leaders, were killed in an overnight airstrike in the city of Loder in Abyan province, southern Yemen.


* Yemen army kills two anti-election protest. Yemeni troops killed two people when they opened fire on a rally in the southern province of Dalea calling for boycotting the election to replace outgoing President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

* Yemen’s One Man Election

Many Yemenis believe that taking part in this election is pointless since the election results are pre-determined, as was the imposed GCC [Gulf Cooperation Council] deal and the immunity it granted Saleh. They doubt that it will bring about any real change in Yemen in the foreseeable future with Hadi, another military man replacing Saleh, and thus that there is no prospect of the civil state which the revolution demanded, especially with Saleh’s family still controlling the military apparatus and his regime still intact.


* Suicide bomber kills four Yemeni soldiers. At least four Yemeni soldiers were killed when a suicide bomber detonated a vehicle full of explosives near a checkpoint in the southern city of al-Bayda.


* Gunmen attack Yemen’s major airport. Gunmen loyal to Yemen’s ousted president blasted buildings at the country’s main airport with anti-aircraft guns, forcing authorities to shut it down. A day after Yemen’s new President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi fired key security officials appointed by ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh, including his half brother, the air force commander Mohammed Saleh al-Ahmar, and his nephew, Tariq, who headed the presidential guard.

*Yemen electricity supply hit in power plant attack Tribesmen attacked a main power plant in Marib causing the capital Sanaa and cities Taiz, Hudaida and Ibb to suffer reduced electricity due to the attack.


*Suicide blast on eve of Unification Anniversary, nearly 100 people were killed and at least 200 were injured.

*Anger at expansion of US drone war

The use of drones on Yemeni soil to kill “suspected” al Qaeda leaders, the unjustified killing of a teenager and many other innocent civilians commonly referred to as “collateral damage” and the illegal detention of a journalist, has fostered more animosity towards the US. […] The US clearly needs to re-evaluate its counter-terrorism policy in Yemen by addressing the socio-economic underlying causes that produce terror, rather than focusing its aid solely in the fight against al “Qaeda” and continuing with the drone attacks which kills innocent people, alienates, angers and aggravates the general Yemeni public, giving extremists a motive to join militant groups.

*Yemeni al-Qaeda leader ‘killed in drone strike’. Fahd al-Quso was hit by missiles fired from an unmanned drone. His death and another man’s was confirmed by al-Qaeda and Yemen’s embassy in the US. At least 20 soldiers had been killed by militants in revenge for the attack.

*Attacks on Southern Yemen jeopardize National Dialogue

While a National Dialogue is under way to discuss many of Yemen’s issues, central security forces attacked Mansoura’s square, where separatist activists staged sit-in protests for over a year, destroying their tents and using live ammunition to disperse them, killing and injuring some.

*Electricity Woes in Yemen

Electricity, food and water are basic human needs and have been the main demands of the majority of Yemenis long before the revolution started and still continue to be so. Nothing seems to have changed with the overthrow of former president Ali Abdullah Saleh and living conditions only seem to get worse under the new National Consensus Government. Most Yemenis are living in dire conditions due to the daily and long hours of electricity cuts that have been affecting most areas of Yemen, from the north to the south.

*Another suicide blast rocks Sanaa. A suicide bomber detonated himself at the southern gate of the Ministry of Interior killing nine and injuring 15.

*Yemen Republican Guard in deadly clashes in Sanaa. Five people were killed and at least nine were wounded, near the defence ministry.


*Yemen minister survives assassination attempt. Maj Gen Muhammad Nasir Ahmad, Yemen’s defense minister survived an assassination attempt, which killed seven bodyguards and five civilians in the heart of the capital, Sanaa.

*Anger as 13 civilians killed by US drone strikes A US drone missile missed it’s target and according to local reports 13 civilians, including three women, were killed as a result.

*29 Dead in 8 Days as U.S. Puts Yemen Drone War in Overdrive. Not even the killing of 10 civilians over the weekend seems to have slowed the pace in the United States’ secretive, undeclared war.

*Yemenis march demanding prosecution of ex-leader.
Tens of thousands of Yemenis took to the streets of the capital Sanaa demanding the prosecution of Saleh, who stepped down in February after a year-long uprising, demonstrators marched also in other Yemeni cities.


*Deadly blast rocks Yemen military base. Militants drove a vehicle loaded with explosives into the base in Abyan province. At least 15 Yemeni troops were killed and more than a dozen injured.

*Yemen security officer at U.S. Embassy killed in Sanaa The attackers, on a motorcycle, opened fire on Qassem Aqlannear his house in the center of Yemen’s capital, Sanaa.

*Yemeni counter-terrorism official shot dead. Ali al-Yamani was shot by two gunmen on a motorcycle in Damar province where he was leading counter-terrorism efforts.

*Yemen to Investigate Explosions at Weapons Store Bombings at the headquarter of the first armored division were a result of a fire inside a weapons store that included missiles and tank rockets, no casualties were reported.

*Yemen LNG gas pipeline blown up again. The 320-km (100-mile) pipeline supplying the $4.5-billion plant has been attacked several times this year.


*US drones hit Yemen a day after Obama won the elections. The strike was less than 40km from the capital Sanaa and in the hometown of former president Ali Abdullah Saleh. Adnan al Qadhi, a former AQAP member, and two of his bodyguards, Rabiee Lahib and Radwan al Hashidi, were confirmed to have been killed in the strike.

*A Ashoura celebration was attacked in Sanaa Four people were killed and more than a dozen were wounded in an explosion that targeted a Shiite Ashoura Celebration in the capital Sanaa.


*New attacks on electricity lines, Air Force foils pipeline bombing Unknown elements attacked electricity transmission lines again, in Wadi Abeeda district of Mareb Province.

*Intelligence Officer Shot Dead in Eastern Yemen Colonel Ahmed Baramada, deputy intelligence office in Hadramout, was shot dead, by gunmen on a motorbike near his home in Mukalla.

*Airstrikes in Yemen kill 6 Al-Qaida suspects. Yemeni security officials say six al-Qaida suspects have been killed and 12 others wounded in army attacks on militant positions around the country.

Yemen LNG gas pipeline blown up again
. The pipeline was last blown up about 295km north of gas liquefaction plant on Oct. 30. It was repaired in November and loaded a few cargoes of super cooled gas in early December.

*Yemen Says Artillery Rockets Behind Explosion at Gas Pipeline Yet another explosion hit the natural gas pipeline in southeastern Shabwa province. The pipeline was bombed by two artillery rockets as an act of sabotage.

*Assassination campaign continues against intelligence officers
Yemeni intelligence chief escapes assassination Col. Mohammed Hajeb, the military intelligence chief in the areas of al-Wadi and Sahara escaped an assassination attempt.

The assassinations and violent attacks have often been attributed to the usual suspect “Al-Qaeda, although no investigations have proven their involvement, others accuse Saleh and his loyalist for the volatile security condition that Yemen has been experiencing since his handover of power.

*Yemen’s Long Awaited Army Restructure A number of long awaited decrees were issued, including restructuring the armed forces into four major units - land forces, navy, air force and border forces, and abolishing the Republican Guard and the First Armored Division and with them the dismissal of Saleh’s relatives and Ali Muhsen from the military leadership.
Yet even that didn’t seem to grant their final dismissal from the military as news surfaced of their possible appointment in the new restructure.

*Two US Drone Strikes in Yemen for Christmas five suspected militants were killed in both attacks.

*17 killed as Yemen army, tribesmen clash: tribal sources Yemen’s army launched an offensive against tribesmen suspected of repeatedly sabotaging an oil pipeline in Marib, 10 tribesmen and seven soldiers were killed in the clashes.

*Three Westerners kidnapped in Yemen’s capital, Sanaa In an unprecedented and further deterioration of the security situation in Yemen, masked gunmen seized three foreigners at a shop in Sanaa’s city centre.

*Gunmen kill two high-ranking officers in Yemen Colonel Salem Gorbani and Brigadier-General Fidel al-Zahari were killed by gunmen on motorcycles within a 30 minute interval.

So for Christmas in Yemen, 2 US drone strikes killed 5, heavy clashes in Marib killed 17 and a brigadier an officer were assassinated in Sanaa.

*Protesters March for 270km in Yemen’s Second Life March Yemen’s youth commemorated the martyrs of the 2011 Life March by walking in their footsteps all 270km from Taiz to Sanaa and staged a sit-in at the presidential palace, demanding the dismissal of Saleh’s relatives from leading positions in the army and intelligence.

*Gunmen attack Yemen oil pipeline after repairs according to official sources lost production because of attacks on pipelines in the east cost the government more than $1 billion dollars in 2012, while oil exports fell by 4.5 per cent.

*Two suspected al Qaeda-linked insurgents were killed in a drone strike in Yemen Two menriding a motorcycle west of the coastal town of al-Sheher, in the eastern region of Hadramout, were fired at by the pilotless aircraft.
Gunmen in Yemen kill intelligence officer Officer Mutea Baqutian, was heading to work Saturday in Hadramawt province when he was stopped by gunmen stopped his car shot him and then fled.

Meanwhile, Yemen is preparing for a six-month National Dialogue Conference, which has been challenging to organize, resulting in it’s postponement several times. The shares of political parties and other groups participating was finally reached and the conference is due to start sometime early next year. Many Yemenis hope that a fair constitution addressing the needs and aspirations of Yemenis will be drafted and voted on in a referendum before the upcoming presidential election in 2014. Yet to the dismay of many, ousted president Saleh plans to head the GPC (General People’s Congress Party) delegation at the National Dialogue shaping Yemen’s future!

The year 2012 in Yemen has been a year full of assassinations, explosions, kidnappings and US drones. Yemenis hope that the coming year will bring the long and much awaited stability and security the country needs.

U.S. Gov’t Asks Federal Judge to Dismiss Cases of Americans Killed by Drones


(Activist Post) - As Americans mourn the deaths of 20 children and 6 adults in the Newtown, CT tragedy – and the gun control debate has reached a fever pitch – autonomous killing systems are being funded by American taxpayers, and drone strikes continue to kill an increasing number of civilians abroad.

Barack Obama and the U.S. government policy makers have shown an incredible level of hypocrisy before; on the one hand lamenting such senseless deaths as have occurred in “mass shootings” while conducting their own mass killing, torture, and terror campaigns in foreign lands.

A culture of violence can’t have it both ways, though, and the welcoming of drones into American skies by Congress is sure to unleash physical havoc shortly after concerns over surveillance and privacy are dismissed.

As a clear sign of what can be expected, the U.S. government has asked a federal judge to throw out a lawsuit brought by the families of three Americans killed by drone strikes in Yemen. If federal courts rule that these cases are without merit, it will set a dangerous precedent that only the executive branch of government can decide which Americans have a constitutional right to due process, while further enhancing a framework where the government will decide who is fit to be mourned and who should be forgotten

U.S. to Iran: We captured your game-show host

(Dirk Would?) In what appears to be the latest phase in the “I’m better than you” saga, Dirk Would? of Citizens Awareness Vanguard has learned from whispers around the bend, that the U.S is claiming to have captured popular Iranian game-show host, Vinjeh Osi-Linivu Smith.

Smith is famously known and beloved for hosting Iran’s most popular game show, “Wheel of Misfortune.”

Leon Panetta and several military specialists confirmed that they indeed have captured Smith earlier this week. CAV has learned that Panetta and his droners are pissed about Iran taking down their predator drone. Although the United States denies that this has happened.

Iran counter-punched those denials by telling them go check your shit then and see if the count is the same as it was when it left the drone garage.

Sources confirmed that the United States won’t release Smith until Iran simply cries uncle and recants their statements about shooting down their drone. According to those familiar with the situation, Panetta is also demanding that Iran buy Israel a vowel and scale back their syllables.

Chief of Television Game Show Operations, Sharif Aran Jones, has not returned any of CAV’s phone calls to either deny or confirm these reports. However, someone close to the person nearest to this saga told CAV that they could care less about the game show host and that the show was doing terrible in ratings.

More on this situation as it developes.

Learn more at: Another tall tale told by Derek

Rand Paul Votes in Favor of $631 Billion U.S. Defense Legislation

(EPJ) Rand Paul’s To Do List before officially running for president:

Visit is Israel (scheduled for January)
Make sure Military-Industrial Compex is funded (Check)

The Senate, by a 98-0 vote, authorized $525.3 billion in baseline military spending, trimming only a small chunk from the administration’s $525.4 billion request. Thebill also authorizes $88.5 billion more for ongoing wars.

The bill supports the Pentagon’s plans for the Air Force to spend $3.7 billion on the F-35 fighter program and the Navy to spend $3.2 billion, on what is the biggest weapon program in history.

The Military Corp Times reports:

The legislation also largely endorses the Army’s vehicle and helicopter programs. plans. It authorizes the Army to enter into a five-year procurement contract for CH-47 Chinook helicopters made by Boeing.

The upper chamber’s bill also endorses the Army’s plans to spend $639.9 million in 2013 to develop its envisioned Ground Combat Vehicle. (GCV). The legislation also fully supports the ground service’s $373.9 million Paladin Integrated Management effort and its $318 million plan to buy 58 Stryker vehicles.

The Army request for ed $1.3 billion to buy UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters also was approved. Sure, said the Senate.

Attack of the Drones

by Scott Creighton

You gotta watch this. Drone pilots in New Mexico training by locking on civilian cars driving down the road in New Mexico. They wear flight suits in their trailers while “flying” the drones so they “feel” more like pilots. They black out their names during the press call so people can’t look them up and send them hate mail I guess. And we now train more of these guys than we do actual pilots cus its cheaper and the drones can fly around in the air over occupied areas much longer than fighter jets, thus constantly terrifying the indigenous people of the area.

Global Governance Begins on December 14

( The International Telecommunications Union (ITU), an imprint of the UN, is holding its World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT) from December 3-14, 2012. The stated purpose of the WCIT is to update the UN’s “global treaty” on telecommunications to deal more directly and comprehensively with the internet. Knowing who controls the UN, it is not hard to see that a primary aim of the updated “treaty” will be to give credence to the regulation and monitoring of online activity in ways that are desirable to the (authoritarian) majority of member states.

Here is a portion of the ITU’s official explanation of the need for a new regulatory regime, in its Resolution 146:

[T]he International Telecommunication Regulations (ITRs) were last amended in Melbourne in 1988.

[T]he international telecommunications environment has significantly evolved, both from the technical and policy perspectives, and… it continues to evolve rapidly.

[A]dvances in technology have resulted in an increased use of IP-enabled infrastructure and relevant applications presenting both opportunities and challenges for ITU Member States and Sector Members.

[I]n order for ITU to maintain its pre-eminent role in global telecommunications, it must continue to demonstrate its capacity to respond adequately to the rapidly changing telecommunication environment.

[I]t is important to ensure that the ITRs [International Telecommunications Regulations] are reviewed and, if deemed appropriate, revised and updated in a timely manner in order to facilitate cooperation and coordination among Member States and to reflect accurately the relations between Member States, Sector Members, administrations and recognized operating agencies.

In case you missed a few classes of Regulatory Bureaucracy Speak 101, please allow me to translate:

Since we last updated our global telecommunications regulations, the internet, operating in a relatively unregulated environment, has grown by leaps and bounds, as human productive endeavors when left unregulated have an annoying tendency to do. Therefore, in order to keep this wildly successful communications network from getting any farther ahead of our regulatory apparatus, it is time to develop a strong, binding framework to limit internet growth, use, and activity in ways deemed necessary by those UN member states, such as China, Russia, and Iran, that are opposed on principle to unrestricted international communication, on the grounds that it tends to foster an informed and rebellious population.

In sum, authoritarian regimes with a vested interest in limiting public access to the outside world, or monitoring and censoring communications for “sensitive” content, are beginning to question whether the ITU is a sufficient guarantor of their control over their inmates with regard to global communication. If we do not act now to “demonstrate our capacity to respond adequately,” our “pre-eminent role in global telecommunications” — i.e., our role as facilitator of the statist status quo — will be challenged. In other words, if Vladimir thinks we are not serving his interests anymore, he will get angry, and no one wants to see Vladimir angry.

Is this translation of mine all just a lot of conservative fear-mongering about an innocent UN agency going about its daily business of fostering “supportive, transparent, pro-competitive, and predictable policies,” as Resolution 146 says?

Well, one easy way to check on that would be to read through the WCIT meeting’s official agenda. Unfortunately, that agenda, though linked on the ITU website, is password-protected to restrict access to members of the global bureaucracy. Specifically, the agenda may officially be read only by those government administrators, relevant apparatchiks, and contributing academics who are members of the Telecommunication Information Exchange Service. Yes, that is TIES — you could not invent a more suitable acronym for the “information service” of a global regulatory agency.

Internet users and providers, including even some, such as Google, that have a spotty history of resisting government encroachments into their industry, are expressing grave concerns about the ITU’s intentions. However, the ITU’s secretary-general, Hamadoun I. Touré, seeks to reassure us that this meeting of the UN’s telecommunications regulatory agency has nothing to do with regulating communication. Asked on Al-Jazeera why, given the extraordinary success of the internet as an unregulated domain, the ITU is choosing to write regulations now, he said:

The ITRs that is going to take place in Dubai is not about that. The ITRs is not about internet regulation. I’m very much surprised that all the debate is about this. The ITRs is revising the 1988 treaty that set the stage for the information society we are in today. But at the time, in 1988, it was only telephone communications, mainly, and back then, the settlement between operators was based on time, distance, and location. Today, we have a very significant growth of voice, video, and data, and therefore there is a need to fine tune the business model so that there is more investment in the infrastructure, to cope with the exponential growth in voice, video, and data traffic…. It’s not about internet freedom. Nobody today would dare to go against the freedom of the internet.

Lesson One on how to recognize a liar: if absolutely everything a man says is provably untrue, he is probably lying. (Merely ignorant people speak the truth occasionally, just by accident.)

“The ITRs” — that is, the International Communications Regulations — are “not about regulation.” So when we read, as in Resolution 146 above, that the International Telecommunications Regulations must be “revised and updated in a timely manner,” this revision and updating (of “Regulations”) is somehow unrelated to regulation. Well, that’s comforting.

The purpose of this conference — which the chief regulator, cutting to the chase, does not refer to by its actual name (WCIT), but by its primary objective, the ITRs that will be produced there — is to revise “the 1988 treaty that set the stage for the information society we are in today.” What a perfect self-revelation of the power-mad soul of a globalist regulator. The UN treaty on telecommunications, Touré claims, “set the stage” for the internet revolution in mass communications. Brilliant researchers, technological whiz kids, and adventurous entrepreneurs did not make it happen; UN bureaucrats did.

And we must put this absurd self-aggrandizement in the context of Touré’s very next sentence: “But at the time, in 1988, it was only telephone communications, mainly.” So the 1988 UN regulations “set the stage” for the internet boom, even though they had nothing to do with the internet. To be fair, this statement is undoubtedly true, though not in a way that Touré would ever concede: it was indeed the lack of UN regulations regarding the internet that made its exponential growth possible.

And this unfettered growth, of course — the sense that the internet is expanding “out of control” — is precisely the “challenge” that the new ITRs will be designed to address. Note, as well, how reminiscent Touré’s words are of another famous anti-freedom globalist, who, in his well-known “You didn’t build that” remarks, offered the following:

The internet didn’t get created on its own; government research created the internet, so that all the companies could make money off the internet.

By “on its own,” in that sentence, President Obama means “by individuals.” His point, like the ITU secretary-general’s, is that coercive regulatory authorities are ultimately responsible for the existence and success of the internet, as they are responsible for the existence and success of everything. This makes government the ultimate proprietor of all things, thus authorizing government to insert itself into these things at its own discretion.

Another Obamaesque point from Touré: the development of new communications technology creates “a need to fine tune the business model so that there is more investment in the infrastructure.” Market forces, you see, could never develop “infrastructure” to meet the needs of business expansion — rather, government, observing current conditions, must determine what people need, and make or arrange the appropriate “investments” to provide it. Again, this reinforces the notion of government as sole proprietor of the underlying conditions of commerce — that is, of the market itself. Government creates the terms and conditions, and then “allows” people to carry out their business on its well-regulated turf. The “free market,” the roads, the internet — all of these are, in the authoritarian’s view, “infrastructure,” and we all know that “infrastructure” is in the public domain. The need for “infrastructure” is now the left’s euphemistic argument for government regulation of everything.

The best part of Touré’s lying clinic, however, is saved for last: “Nobody today would dare to go against the freedom of the internet.” If a sixth grade naïf said such a thing, a responsible adult would smile kindly, and then gently explain that there are, sadly, many people in the world who do not believe men should be free. If the chief regulator of the UN’s telecommunications agency says it, you should feel like the humans in the movie Mars Attacks as the aliens recite their memorized English sentence — “Don’t run, we are your friends” — while zapping everyone in sight.

The UN agenda is dominated by national governments that certainly would, and do, dare to “go against the freedom of the internet.” (Ask a Chinese exchange student if she has a Facebook account, and see what response you get. Actually, don’t ask — those kids don’t need any added fear in their lives.) Of course Touré knows this. His explicit denial of the obvious proves him a (bad) liar. “Freedom of the internet,” as defined by the UN, has precisely the same validity and purpose as the word “Democratic” in the name Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

So what is this all about? It is often said that the first task in a modern military occupation is to take control of the means of mass communication, thereby to control the dissemination of information. The internet, by virtue of its having spread throughout the world so quickly, and of its being largely immune to national boundaries, creates a special problem for authoritarian governments which are, in effect, occupying forces in their own nations.

Certain governments have taken many steps to curtail internet activity within their own borders, of course. The problem is that the very free nature of the internet itself tends to shine a bright spotlight on the oppressiveness of such national policies. Far preferable for such suppressors of speech, then, would be an “international treaty” reached by “global consensus” that creates a system of loopholes for the suppression of speech on grounds of “national security” and the “prevention of foreign interference in a sovereign nation’s political process.”

In short, suppression of undesirable political speech, both within and between nations, would be much easier and less subject to scrutiny if it could be undertaken with the imprimatur of a UN treaty full of deliberately vague language about “protecting the integrity of a nation’s self-determination,” for example. Furthermore, once such a treaty — i.e., set of regulations — becomes the agreed upon standard for all or most nations, its euphemisms will begin to sound more palatable and reasonable to an inattentive public. (“After all, it isn’t right that foreigners should be stirring up civil discord and anti-government sentiment, is it?”) Before you know it, today’s critics of the ITU’s agenda will be echoing John Boehner’s post-election capitulations on ObamaCare — “it’s the law of the land.”

No surprise, then, that the main impetus behind the implementation of new regulations, and the granting of greater authority to the ITU itself, comes from Russia and China. (See Declan McCullagh’s observations on this threat here, and L. Gordon Crovitz’ Wall Street Journal piece here.) Online fraud, spam, and issues of protecting public morals will all be used as convenient cover for creating international authority for national authoritarianism.

It seems likely that the new ITRs — ushered in under the guise of modernizing “infrastructure” — will have as their main purpose and effect the whitewashing of despotic suppression of free speech, monitoring of users, and restriction of users’ access to information not approved for dissemination by the state. These methods are already used by some governments without (official) UN approval. The formal go-ahead from UN headquarters, however, will make the job of crushing internet age resistance movements (think of Iran’s Green Revolution) much easier, by allowing the oppressive regime to file formal grievances against groups or governments that it deems to be violating its national sovereignty or undermining its political system.

This quiet UN takeover of the internet is the important first step in a new kind of occupation. The globalists, with the help of the re-elected Obama administration, are going to move forward quickly with their plans for what Al Gore and Herman van Rompuy call “global governance.” A key part of this process is the reduction of the world’s last defense against authoritarianism — the United States of America — to the status of just another mild-mannered vote at the UN. Enter Barack Obama, with his hyper-conciliation to the Muslim Brotherhood, his promise to Vladimir Putin to finish dismantling America’s defenses after his re-election, and his remaking of a prosperous constitutional republic as an economically doomed leftist regulatory state.

Just as hyper-regulation within a nation subverts representative government, by creating a panoply of bureaucratic directives that supervene upon changing electoral tides, so international hyper-regulation will have the effect of nullifying any transnational voice of unified dissent — specifically, any voice speaking on behalf of the free exchange of ideas.

The range of speech, both with regard to content and dissemination, will be curtailed by the ITU’s proposed regulations. That will be the point of these regulations. They will help authoritarians preserve their power, prevent the oppressed from organizing from a distance, and restrict the much needed influx of moral support from abroad.

Now, Mr. Obama, if you will just sign one more executive order, Agenda 21 in its entirety will become “the law of the land,” and the forced migration may proceed — gently at first, as we don’t want to startle anyone. But don’t worry, if the objections get too boisterous, we can always assert the national security provisions of the International Telecommunications Regulations to tamp things down a little. Those ITRs are proving very effective for normalizing conditions in China, Russia, and Iran. And your Department of Homeland Security has already anticipated this eventuality by introducing into its guidelines on domestic terrorism language identifying people who revere liberty as potential security threats.

In any case, as November 6 proved, at least 140 million American adults can be effectively subdued by repeatedly chanting, “Don’t run, we are your friends.”

U.S. drone kills 3 Afghanistan teens

(Press TV) The operation took place in the Baraki Barak district of Logar province on Monday. Local officials confirmed the airstrike, saying three teenagers, all under the age of 16, were killed in the attack.

The teenagers were working in the fields when they were targeted, according to local sources.

In mid-October, a similar US-led airstrike killed four children in Helmand province in southwestern Afghanistan.

Washington launches airstrikes in the war-ravaged country under the pretext of targeting militants. Local sources, however, say civilians are the main victims of the attacks.

The issue of civilian casualties in Afghanistan is highly sensitive and has been a major source of friction between Afghan President Hamid Karzai and the US government.

The US and its allies invaded Afghanistan in 2001 as part of the so-called war on terror. The offensive removed the Taliban from power, but insecurity rages on across the country.