Arizona Republicans Are Trying to Pass a Bill to Decrease Police Brutality Transparency

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What starts as a routine traffic stop turns into an argument. Tempers flare, handcuffs come out and soon, the suspect is dead — but the media can’t report which officer fired the shot that ended the driver’s life.

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New Poll Finds 57 Percent of Americans Think Obama’s Assassination Program Is Unconstitutional

 

Defence Images / photo on flickr

 

(Reason) -When asked if they thought it was “constitutional or unconstitutional for the president of the United States to order the killing of American citizens who are suspected of being terrorists,” 57 percent of respondents said they thought it was unconstitutional, including 65 percent of Republicans, 64 percent of independents, and 44 percent of Democrats.

Thirty-one percent of respondents said it was constitutional for the president to kill Americans suspected of being terrorists, including 40 percent of Democrats, 27 percent of Republicans, and 28 percent of independents.

As evidenced by several different questions, Americans have strong negative feelings about drones. One question asked, When it comes to the use of drones, how concerned are you that the government may abuse its power…a lot, some, not too much, or not at all? In response, 32 percent of respondents said “a lot,” 27 percent said “some,” 19 percent said “not too much,” and only 17 percent said “not at all.”

Forty percent of respondents, including 34 percent of Democrats, 36 percent of Republicans, and 47 percent of independents, said they were very worried that local police would use drones to invade their privacy; fully 60 percet said they were worried to some degree or another. Only 21 percent of respondents said they were “not at all” worried about police using drones to invade their privacy.

Respondents were evenly divided over this question: If a drone flew over your house and was recording you and your property without your permission, do you think should have the right to destroy it, or not? Forty-seven percent said yes, 47 percent said no, 4 percent didn’t answer, and one percent said, “It depends.”

What Reason-Rupe found about Americans’ sentiments towards targeted killing contradicts a recent WSJ/NBC poll, which found that “[a] solid majority, 64%, favored the U.S. policy of targeted assassinations of suspected terrorists by the use of drones in countries such as Yemen and Pakistan.”

There’s a pretty simple explanation for the conflicting responses, and you can find it in the questions. Reason-Rupe asked:

Do you think it is constitutional or unconstitutional for the president of the United States to order the killing of American citizens who are suspected of being terrorists?

While NBC/WSJ asked:

As you know, the United States has been targeting and killing suspected members of Al Qaeda and other terrorists in countries such as Pakistan, Yemen, and other countries. Many of these killings have been conducted using unmanned aircraft that are controlled remotely, also known as drones. Do you favor or oppose the use of unmanned aircraft, also known as drones, to kill suspected members of Al Qaeda and other terrorists? If you don’t know enough to have an opinion on this issue please just say so.

The NBC/WSJ poll question doesn’t distinguish between foreign-born terrorists and Americans suspected of being terrorists. That distinction, as Reason-Rupe found, matters.

NBC’s Richard Engel: ‘I Was Prepared To Die Many Times’

NBC’s Richard Engel: 'I Was Prepared To Die Many Times'

(Ibitimes) – NBC News reports that the network’s chief foreign correspondent and his colleagues are healthy and unharmed. The 39-year-old veteran journalist went missing on Thursday after crossing the border from Turkey to Syria. Speaking live on the “Today” show from Antakya, Turkey, on Tuesday morning, Engel recounted the traumatic experience, during which said he was prepared to die “many times.”

“We were driving in Syria about five days ago in what we thought was a rebel-controlled area,” he said on the show. “We were with some of the rebels, and as we were moving down the road, a group of gunmen just literally jumped out of the trees and bushes on the side of the road. There were probably 15 gunmen wearing ski masks. They were heavily armed.”

 

 Engel added that he and his colleagues were dragged out of the car and forced into a truck waiting on the side of the road. “We were with some gunmen, some rebels who were escorting us,” he continued. “[Our captors] executed one of them on the spot. Then they took us to a series of safe houses and interrogation places. They kept us blindfolded and bound. We weren’t physically beaten or tortured. It was a lot of psychological torture.”

That psychological torture included mock shootings, in which the captors pretended to kill one of his colleagues, Engel reported.

Engel said that he and his colleagues escaped from a truck on Monday night after the kidnappers unexpectedly came across a Syrian rebel checkpoint. A gunfight ensued, during which two of the kidnappers were killed. Engel and crew escaped during the commotion.

Engel said he believed his captors were part of a “Shabiha” militia group loyal to President Bashar al-Assad. That account countered an earlier statement released by NBC, which said that the kidnappers “were not believed to be loyal to the Assad regime.”

With violence escalating, Syria has become one of the world’s most dangerous countries for foreign reporters. Journalist deaths spiked in the country in 2012, according to a recent report by the nonprofit Committee to Protect Journalists. According to Engel, many journalists reporting from Syria have not been as lucky as he and his crew were.

“There are many people who are still not at liberty to do this kind of thing,” he said on the “Today” show. “There are still hostages … we wish them well.”