Drones

Drone Warfare — Videos

Posted on August 2, 2014. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Bomb, Books, Communications, Computers, Constitution, Crime, Crisis, Data, Diasters, Documentary, Drones, Drug Cartels, Federal Communications Commission, Federal Government, Films, Foreign Policy, Freedom, Friends, Genocide, government, government spending, Heroes, history, Homicide, Islam, Language, Law, liberty, Life, Links, media, Missiles, National Security Agency (NSA_, Natural Gas, Oil, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Press, Psychology, Radio, Radio, Rants, Raves, Resources, Security, Strategy, Talk Radio, Technology, Terrorism, Transportation, Video, War, Weapons | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

Obama defends US drone attacks

Peter Singer: Drone Warfare

The Morality of Drone Warfare

DRONE WARS, PART ONE: THE DRONE LANDSCAPE

DRONE WARS, PART TWO: THE DRONE ECONOMY

DRONE WARS, PART THREE: THE DRONE MORALITY

Drone Boom Why Drones Aren’t Just for Dropping Bombs Anymore

Drone Laws Restrict Civilian UAV’s but allow Government

Rise of the Drones(full documentary)HD

RISE OF THE DRONES – NOVA (full documentary)

The Costs of Drone Warfare – Documentary

Richard Clarke – U.S. Drone Program Under Obama “Got Out of Hand”

EVERYONE needs to see this! Drone Strikes

Top 10 Drones in the world

ex CEO Colin Guinn is ALIVE, Files legal Injunction against DJI Innovations

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Obama On War, Peace and Drones To Kill Radical Islamic Jihad Terrorists — National Defense University Speech, May 23, 2013 — Videos

Obama’s Kill List–Drones–Remotely Piloted Aircraft–RPAs–Killing Machines–We Don’t Torture Terrorists–We Kill Americans, Civilians and Children in Undeclared Wars–Obama is Judge, Jury, and Executioner–Hope, Change, and Murder, Inc.–The Mass Murderer In The White House–Videos

NSA–Now Spying on Americans: Big Brother Government Spying On Americans–Progressives Minding Your Business Without Warrants–Remotely Piloted Aircraft a.k.a.Drones–Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA)–Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISA)–Videos

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Mike Maden — Drone — Videos

Posted on August 2, 2014. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Books, College, Communications, Crime, Crisis, Doumentary, Drones, Drug Cartels, Education, Energy, Entertainment, Fiction, Films, Foreign Policy, Freedom, government spending, history, Homicide, Illegal, Immigration, Islam, Language, Law, liberty, Life, Links, media, Movies, Natural Gas, Natural Gas, Oil, Oil, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Resources, Reviews, Security, Transportation, Video, War, Weapons, Welfare | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

 

drone_

Mike Maden

mike maden

Obama defends US drone attacks

Peter Singer: Drone Warfare

The Morality of Drone Warfare

DRONE WARS, PART ONE: THE DRONE LANDSCAPE

DRONE WARS, PART TWO: THE DRONE ECONOMY

DRONE WARS, PART THREE: THE DRONE MORALITY

Drone Boom Why Drones Aren’t Just for Dropping Bombs Anymore

Drone Laws Restrict Civilian UAV’s but allow Government

Rise of the Drones(full documentary)HD

RISE OF THE DRONES – NOVA (full documentary)

The Costs of Drone Warfare – Documentary

Richard Clarke – U.S. Drone Program Under Obama “Got Out of Hand”

EVERYONE needs to see this! Drone Strikes

Top 10 Drones in the world

ex CEO Colin Guinn is ALIVE, Files legal Injunction against DJI Innovations

 

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Militarization of Police Departments and SWAT Team in America — Who is the enemy? The American People — War on Drugs — War on Terror — War on Americans — Videos

Posted on June 28, 2014. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Business, College, Communications, Computers, Drones, Economics, Education, Employment, Family, Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, Freedom, government spending, history, Investments, Law, liberty, Life, media, People, Philosophy, Pistols, Politics, Psychology, Rants, Raves, Regulations, Resources, Rifles, Talk Radio, Tax Policy, Technology, Terrorism, Unemployment, Video, War, Weapons, Welfare, Wisdom, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

 

Obama Expands Militarization of Police

Are Police Declaring War on Americans?

RISE Of The WARRIOR COP: The Militarization Of America’s Police Forces

Radley Balko on The Militarized Police State

MILITARIZATION OF POLICE – PENTAGON is ARMING the U.S. POLICE with MRAP Military COMBAT VEHICLE’s

 

Barney Fife Meets Delta Force 

Hypermilitarized police departments are more dangerous than whatever they fight. 

 

Nestled awkwardly among the usual guff, the outrage website Salon this week took a welcome flyer and accorded space to something genuinely alarming. “A SWAT team,” the headline screamed, “blew a hole in my 2-year-old son.” For once, this wasn’t hyperbole.

The piece’s author, Alecia Phonesavanh, described what it felt like to be on the business end of an attack that was launched in error by police who believed a drug dealer to be living and operating in her house. They “threw a flashbang grenade inside,” she reported. It “landed in my son’s crib.” Now, her son is “covered in burns” and has “a hole in his chest that exposes his ribs.” So badly injured was he by the raid that he was “placed into a medically induced coma.” “They searched for drugs,” Phonesavanh confirmed, but they “never found any.” Nor, for that matter, did they find the person they were looking for. He doesn’t live there. “All of this,” she asks, “to find a small amount of drugs?”

 

Historians looking back at this period in America’s development will consider it to be profoundly odd that at the exact moment when violent crime hit a 50-year low, the nation’s police departments began to gear up as if the country were expecting invasion — and, on occasion, to behave as if one were underway. The ACLU reported recently that SWAT teams in the United States conduct around 45,000 raids each year, only 7 percent of which have anything whatsoever to do with the hostage situations with which those teams were assembled to contend. Paramilitary operations, the ACLU concluded, are “happening in about 124 homes every day — or more likely every night” — and four in five of those are performed in order that authorities might “search homes, usually for drugs.” Such raids routinely involve “armored personnel carriers,” “military equipment like battering rams,” and “flashbang grenades.”

 

Were the military being used in such a manner, we would be rightly outraged. Why not here? Certainly this is not a legal matter. The principle of posse comitatus draws a valuable distinction between the national armed forces and parochial law enforcement, and one that all free people should greatly cherish. Still, it seems plain that the potential threat posed by a domestic standing army is not entirely blunted just because its units are controlled locally. To add the prefix “para” to a problem is not to make it go away, nor do legal distinctions change the nature of power. Over the past two decades, the federal government has happily sent weapons of war to local law enforcement, with nary a squeak from anyone involved with either political party. Are we comfortable with this?

The Right’s silence on the issue is vexing indeed, the admirable attempts of a few libertarians notwithstanding. Here, conservatives seem to be conflicted between their rightful predilection for law and order — an instinct that is based upon an accurate comprehension of human nature and an acknowledgment of the existence of evil — and a well-developed and wholly sensible fear of state power, predicated upon precisely the same thing. As of now, the former is rather dramatically winning out, leading conservatives to indulge — or at least tacitly to permit — excuses that they typically reject elsewhere. Much as the teachers’ unions invariably attempt to justify their “anything goes” contracts by pointing to the ends that they ostensibly serve (“Well you do want schools for the children or don’t you? Sign here”), the increasingly muscular behavior of local police departments is often shrugged off as a by-product of the need to fight crime. This, if left unchecked, is a recipe for precisely the sort of carte blanche that conservatives claim to fear.

Leaving aside the central moral question of the War on Drugs — which is whether the state should be responding to peaceful transactions and consensual behavior with violence — there is, it seems, considerable room between law enforcement’s turning a blind eye to the law and its aping the military in its attempt to uphold it. The cartels of Mexico and drug lords of America’s larger cities are one thing; but two-bit dealers and consumers of illicit substances are quite another. In the instance that Salon recorded, the person that authorities “were looking for, wasn’t there.” “He doesn’t even live in that house,” Phonesavanh confirmed. But suppose that he had, and that he’d been dealing drugs as charged? Does this alone make the case for the tactics? I suspect not. Instead, attempting to catch a violator in the act by releasing military vehicles full of machine-gun-wielding men, storming a home in the dead of night, and performing a no-knock raid that results in a two-year-old’s being pushed into a coma might, one suspects, be overkill — in many similar cases, literally so. The question for conservatives should be this: If cowboy poetry is no justification for federal intrusion, can drug dealing be said to serve as an open invitation for the deployment of the ersatz 101st?

In the more febrile of the Right’s quarters, the sight of MRAPs being delivered to the chief of police in Westington, Mont., has given rise to all forms of regrettable silliness — to visions of black helicopters and reeducation camps and an America on the verge of being taken by force by the gun-toting rangers of the Fish and Wildlife Service. Nevertheless, a small amount of latent paranoia has served America well, and Chekhov’s advice that “one must not put a loaded rifle on the stage if no one is thinking of firing it” should be applied to governments as rigorously as to aspiring playwrights. Once the holders of the monopoly on violence are accorded the latest weaponry, there will always be the temptation to use it. Likewise, once one has taken the mental and linguistic leap of ascribing to domestic law enforcement the imprimatur of “war,” one may be inclined to reach for the trigger that little bit more quickly. The disaster at Waco, Texas, was, it seems, more cock-up than conspiracy. But the recognition in the aftermath that the whole bloody mess could have been avoided if local officers had taken the time to chat with the victims should haunt us to this day. Rushing in at 100 miles per hour rarely works out, whatever the ill that one is attempting to resolve.

The Left’s current inclination is to spin offenses out of straw — having no major battles left to fight, it seeks to detect microaggressions; with overt bigotry so thin on the ground, the dog whistles have come out; and with the barriers to the Declaration’s maxim having been largely removed, the focus has shifted to the structural and the invisible. But first-degree burns and holes in the chest are different things altogether — not to be dismissed or downplayed — and that the issue is being raised by an outlet known for its absurdity should not dull its impact. Will the Right wake up to the threat, applying its usual mistrust of power to a favored group, or will its usually alert advocates leave themselves willfully in the dark until, one day, a flashbang with their name on it is tossed through the window to wake them up with a start?

 

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National Security Agency (NSA) — Who’s The Enemy? — The American People — House Judiciary Committee Guts NSA Reform Bill — USA Freedom Act — Broadly Defined Bulk Collection Will Continue — Congress Pulls Bait-and-Switch on U.S. Freedom Act — Videos

Posted on May 11, 2014. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, College, Communications, Computers, Computers, Constitution, Data Storage, Diasters, Drones, Economics, Education, Employment, Energy, External Hard Drives, External Hard Drives, Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Freedom, government, government spending, history, Inflation, Investments, IRS, Language, Law, liberty, Life, Macroeconomics, media, Mobile Phones, National Security Agency (NSA_, Natural Gas, Nuclear, Nuclear Power, Oil, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Programming, Psychology, Radio, Raves, Regulations, Resources, Security, Strategy, Systems, Talk Radio, Tax Policy, Taxes, Technology, Television, Terrorism, Unemployment, Video, War, Water, Wealth, Weapons, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Weather, Wisdom, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Bizarre week for NSA reformers

“USA Freedom Act” Has All Oversight Of NSA Gutted By Phony Gatekeepers!

Through a PRISM, Darkly – Everything we know about NSA spying [30c3]

U.S. Freedom act

Real Talk with Julie Borowski: Stop Snooping, NSA!

Is NSA reform being sabotaged?

 

“The USA FREEDOM Act” Congress Plan To Curb NSA Spying On American Citizens

GOP against Justin Amash The Glenn Beck Talk Show

Report exposes secret NSA snooping tool

Opposing Bulk NSA Surveillance (Rep. Justin Amash)

Rep. Justin Amash cosponsored an amendment that would have defunded the National Security Agency’s unwarranted bulk collection of Americans’ phone data. The measure failed narrowly, but has re-energized the legislative struggle for civil liberties. Amash believes that James Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence, should be prosecuted for lying to Congress. He also says he doesn’t appreciate the “condescending” tone of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie with respect to the debate over national security.

Glenn Beck Justin Amash Interview On Nsa Surveillance

Congress’s Abdication on NSA Oversight (U.S. Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI))

Justin Amash: President Obama Was ‘Highly Misleading’ In Claiming There’s No Domestic Spying Program

House committee passes NSA reform bill

The House Judiciary Committee passed the National Security Agency reforming “USA Freedom Act” 31-0 Wednesday. The first major piece of legislation seeking to curb the NSA’s collection of electronic information, the bill which has undergone major changes will now proceed to the full House of Representatives. It will be competing with another reform bill that is expected to be approved by the House Intelligence Committee Thursday. RT’s Sam Sacks breaks down the bill and the chances for instituting real reform.

“USA Freedom Act” Bill To Put NSA “Out Of Business”

Fox News Reporting The NSA’s Secret War Who’ The Enemy? 1 of 6

Fox News Reporting The NSA’s Secret War Who’ The Enemy Controversy Not The First Time 2 of

Fox News Reporting The NSA’s Secret War Who’ The Enemy? Controversy? 9 11 3 of 6

Fox News Reporting – The NSA’s Secret War Who’ The Enemy? – Phone Records – 4 of 6

Fox News Reporting – The NSA’s Secret War Who’ The Enemy? – Edward Snowden & Security – 5 of 6

Fox News Reporting – The NSA’s Secret War Who’ The Enemy? – Day Of Reckoning At Hand? – 6 of 6

C-SPAN Callers On The Future Of The National Security Agency (NSA)

James Bamford Says NSA “Exploiting” U.S. Citizens With Info About Their Online Porno Viewing Habits

 

 

 

Congress Pulls Bait-and-Switch on USA FREEDOM Act

Yesterday, C4L sent a letter to members of the House Judiciary Committee strongly opposing the Manager’s Amendment to H.R. 3361, the USA FREEDOM Act.

The original version of the act was sold to Americans as a way to rein in the NSA’s domestic surveillance programs, and it would have been a first step towards real reform of the surveillance state since 9/11.

But, that’s seldom the way Congress works. In an effort to “pass something this year,” the Judiciary Committee watered down the legislation and it passed out of the committee unanimously.

Want proof the recent changes to USA Freedom Act make it unworthy of support from civil libertarians? Mike Rogers and Dutch Ruppersberger, the NSA’s biggest cheerleaders in the House,just reported it out of their committee by voice vote.

What’s more likely, that Rogers and Ruppersberger had a change of heart on the NSA? Or that Judiciary watered down the USA FREEDOM Act enough to the point that its “reform” is devoid of any substantive changes?

The bill is now earning plaudits from the same guys who said the original version would “make America less safe,” and from the administration that never wanted you to know they were spying on you in the first place.

Read Campaign for Liberty’s letter to the Judiciary Committee below:

Letter to Judiciary Committee – USA FREEDOM Act

http://www.campaignforliberty.org/national-blog/congress-pulls-bait-switch-usa-freedom-act/

 

USA Freedom Act unanimously clears House Judiciary Committee

Surveillance reform bill designed to prevent collection of US phone data in bulk and is first to proceed onto the House floor

Jim Sensenbrenner
The bill’s architect, Republican James Sensenbrenner, said the bill ‘makes it crystal clear that Congress does not support bulk collection.’ Photo: Chip Somodevilla /Getty

Six months after it was written to restrain the National Security Agency’s sweeping domestic surveillance, a privacy bill cleared a major legislative obstacle on Wednesday, even as its advocates worried that the compromises made to advance the bill have weakened its constraints on mass data collection.

The USA Freedom Act, designed to prevent the US government from collecting US phone data in bulk, passed the House Judiciary Committee by a 32 to zero bi-partisan vote, making it the first surveillance reform bill to proceed out of committee and to the House floor.

But an internal committee breakthrough on Monday that won the support of chairman Bob Goodlatte, a Virginia Republican, significantly recast the bill, softening its prohibitions on aspects of bulk collection and requiring transparency around it.

The bill’s architect, Republican James Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin, who also wrote the 2001 Patriot Act, said the bill “makes it crystal clear that Congress does not support bulk collection.”

While changes to the bill now permit the government to gather call records up to two degrees of separation away from a specific target – potentially millions of records – Sensenbrenner urged his colleagues “not to make the perfect the enemy of the good,” expressing confidence that the revamped USA Freedom Act was on “the fast track to passage.”

Supporters in and outside of Congress concede the latest compromises have left the USA Freedom Act less protective of civil liberties than it was when introduced in October. Its distinctions from a rival bill written by the leaders of the House intelligence committee, the NSA’s strongest Capitol Hill advocates, are somewhat blurred, prompting civil libertarians to become less enthusiastic of a measure they have championed as a fix to the broad NSA powers exposed by whistleblower Edward Snowden.

Representative John Conyers, a Michigan Democrat and longtime USA Freedom Act supporter, said that the new version of the bill was a “less than perfect compromise” that still makes “important, vital, substantive changes” to US surveillance.

The revised USA Freedom Act, “while still better than any other proposal on the board, is a setback from the original,” said Amie Stepanovich of Access, a human rights and digital rights advocacy group.

While the USA Freedom Act has nearly 150 House co-sponsors, and a stalled Senate companion commands 20 votes in the upper chamber, it was clear on Wednesday that the House intelligence committee will continue attempts to outmaneuvre its rival.

The chairman of the intelligence committee, until now a fervent critic of the USA Freedom Act, is now praising a bill he has long criticized, and which several congressional sources said he attempted to influence ahead of Wednesday’s vote.

Representative Mike Rogers, a Michigan Republican who is retiring this year, called the changes to the USA Freedom Act a “huge improvement,” adding in an interview with Foreign Policy magazine that the bill’s architects have “come a lot closer [and] now we’re just trying to work out the wording.”

Rogers is scheduled to mark up his alternative bill, the Fisa Transparency and Modernization Act, on Thursday, a decision USA Freedom Act supporters view as a desperation move. But on Wednesday, Rogers’ committee announced it will also mark up the USA Freedom Act on Thursday, prompting Capitol Hill speculation that Rogers will attempt to merge his bill with the Freedom Act rather than attempt to rally more votes.

House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio had earlier thrown his support behind Rogers’ bill. But now Boehner is said to be monitoring the committe process and keeping his options open. Congressional sources expected Boehner to schedule a vote on a surveillance proposal – of whatever form – as early as the week of 19 May, so the issue does not derail the annual defense budget authorization, though nothing is scheduled yet.

Both bills as originally crafted prevent the NSA from collecting US phone data in bulk, as it has done in secret since 2001, a position that President Barack Obama now embraces. The major difference between the two bills remains the role of judges in authorizing data collection. The Rogers bill permits the government to collect phone and email data absent a judges’ prior order, which the revised USA Freedom Act requires in all but emergency cases.

Additionally, the revised USA Freedom Act permits the government to get phone data two “hops,” or degrees of separation, from the target of the order, which can mean millions of call records reaped from a single court order. The legal standard for that order, for counterterrorism purposes, will be “reasonable articulable suspicion” of connection to an agent of a foreign power, the NSA’s desired framework.

Significantly, the new version of the USA Freedom Act all but stripped out a provision preventing the NSA from combing through its foreign communications dragnets for Americans’ information, something Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon dubbed the “backdoor search provision,” an absence that has deeply upset supporters. Those dragnets exist pursuant to a major 2008 piece of legislation, known as Section 702 of the Fisa Amendments Act.

Congressional sources pointed to new language tightening up prohibitions on the NSA intentionally targeting Americans’ communications at the outset as a palliative. But they conceded the absence of the backdoor search ban was a major change – one they said the NSA’s advocates fought hard for, an indication of how central the NSA considers a power it has rarely forthrightly acknowledged using. They indicated that USA Freedom Act supporters lacked the votes within the committee to pass the bill that retained the backdoor search prohibition.

An attempt by Representative Zoe Lofgren, a California Democrat, to restore the backdoor search provision failed Wednesday. Goodlatte said restoring it would “disrupt this bipartisan agreement.”

Kevin Bankston of the Open Technology Institute said he was “incredibly disappointed” at the new USA Freedom Act’s effective blessing of backdoor searches.

“Especially when we’re expecting the government’s own surveillance watchdog, the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, to issue a report on just that issue within a month or so, closing the door to reform on Section 702 of the Fisa Amendments Act would be premature,” Bankston said in a statement.

But the Judiciary Committee restored a provision initially struck from the original USA Freedom Act permitting increased transparency for companies receiving surveillance orders for their customers’ data, the absence of which had alarmed supporters.

The language, added back to the bill Wednesday by Representative Suzan Delbene of Washington, had been cut in order to codify a January deal the Justice Department reached with phone and Internet companies allowing them to list received orders only in bands of 1,000 and with a time lag. Congressional sources said companies lobbied hard to restore transparency language.

The Obama administration has withheld endorsement of either bill in public, confusing supporters. But in recent weeks, its guidance to Capitol Hill on surveillance reform included a requirement for up-front judicial authorization for data requests, which only the USA Freedom Act possesses.

“At this stage, I think I’d just say we will be watching closely as these bills go through the process,” said Caitlin Hayden, a White House spokeswoman said shortly before the vote.

Hours after the vote, Hayden issued a statement welcoming the USA Freedom Act as “a very good first step”:

“In March the president laid out his proposal to reform Section 215, and called upon Congress to act quickly to pass implementing legislation. We applaud the House Judiciary Committee for approaching this issue on a bipartisan basis. The Judiciary Committee passed bill is a very good first step in that important effort, and we look forward to House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence action on it tomorrow,” Hayden said.

Section 215 of the Patriot Act is the provision cited by the NSA and blessed by the secret Fisa Court for bulk data collection.

Some legislators, distressed by the changes to the USA Freedom Act, are considering a different option for surveillance reform.

As amended, the USA Freedom Act would push back the expiration of Section 215 to the end of 2017, when Section 702 is set to expire. The current expiration is 1 June of next year. Some legislators are already whispering that allowing Section 215 to expire wholesale in 2015 is a preferable reform.

But Representative Jerrold Nadler of New York, a Democrat, said the USA Freedom Act was “the first, best and perhaps only chance in a decade” to constrain widespread surveillance.

“This is our chance. We have to seize it,” Nadler said on Wednesday.

Patrick Leahy, the Vermont Democrat who sponsored the USA Freedom Act in the Senate, hailed the committee vote, but said he was concerned that the text does not reform the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s national-security letters and makes insufficient changes on transparency and to the Fisa Court.

“I will continue to push for those reforms when the Senate Judiciary Committee considers the USA Freedom Act this summer,” Leahy said in a statement.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/may/07/usa-freedom-act-clears-house-committee-nsa-surveillance

 

USA Freedom Act

The USA Freedom Act, formally titled the Uniting and Strengthening America by Fulfilling Rights and Ending Eavesdropping, Dragnet-Collection and Online Monitoring Act, is a bill that was introduced in both houses of the U.S. Congress on October 29, 2013.

The House version, introduced by Representative Jim Sensenbrenner as HR 3361, was referred to the United States House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigations January 9, 2014,[3] and the Senate version, S. 1599, introduced by Senator Patrick Leahy, was read twice and referred to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary.[4] An amended version out of the House Judiciary Committee contained many provisions raising concerns among civil libertarians,[5] including an extension of the controversial USA PATRIOT Act through the end of 2017.[6][7] The bill will be considered in the Senate through the summer of 2014.[8]

Purpose

The USA Freedom Act[9] would end the bulk collection of Americans’ metadata, end the secret laws created by the FISA court, and introduce a “Special Advocate” to represent public and privacy matters.[10][11][12] Other proposed changes include limits to programs like PRISM, which “incidentally” retains Americans’ Internet data,[13] and greater transparency by allowing companies such as Google and Facebook to disclose information about government demands for information.[14]

Representative Jim Sensenbrenner, who introduced the bill, stated that its purpose was:

To rein in the dragnet collection of data by the National Security Agency (NSA) and other government agencies, increase transparency of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), provide businesses the ability to release information regarding FISA requests, and create an independent constitutional advocate to argue cases before the FISC.[10][15]

According to the bill’s sponsors, their legislation would amend Section 215 of the Patriot Act to ensure that any phone records obtained by the government were essential in an investigation that involved terrorism or espionage, thereby ending bulk collection,[16] while preserving “the intelligence community’s ability to gather information in a more focused way.”[17] A May 2014 amended version of the bill would also extend thecontroversial USA PATRIOT Act through the end of 2017.[18] The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) has criticized the Patriot Act as unconstitutional, especially when “the private communications of law-abiding American citizens might be intercepted incidentally”.[19]

The bill is made up of several titles: FISA business records reforms, FISA pen register and trap and trace device reforms, FISA acquisitions targeting persons outside the United States reforms, Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court reforms, Office of the Special Advocate, National Security Letter reforms, FISA and National Security Letter transparency reforms, and Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board subpoena authority.[20]

Background

Many members of Congress believed that in the wake of the Snowden disclosures, restoration of public trust would require legislative changes.[21] More than 20 bills have been written since the disclosures began with the goal of reining in government surveillance powers.[13]

Sensenbrenner, who introduced the USA PATRIOT Act (H.R. 3162) in 2001 following the September 11 terrorist attacks to give more power to US intelligence agencies, and who has described himself as “author of the Patriot Act”,[22] declared that it was time to put the NSA’s “metadata program out of business”. With its bulk collection of Americans’ phone data, Sensenbrenner asserted that the intelligence community “misused those powers”, had gone “far beyond” the original intent of the legislation, and had “overstepped its authority”.[21][23]

An opinion piece by Leahy and Sensenbrenner, published in Politico, described the impetus for proposed changes,[24] saying:

The intelligence community has failed to justify its expansive use of [the FISA and Patriot Act] laws. It is simply not accurate to say that the bulk collection of phone records has prevented dozens of terrorist plots. The most senior NSA officials have acknowledged as much in congressional testimony. We also know that the FISA court has admonished the government for making a series of substantial misrepresentations to the court regarding these programs. As a result, the intelligence community now faces a trust deficit with the American public that compromises its ability to do its job. It is not enough to just make minor tweaks around the edges. It is time for real, substantive reform.[17]

Markup in House Judiciary Committee

In May 2014, the U.S. House Judiciary Committee posted a “Manager’s Amendment” on its website. Title VII of the Amendment read “Section 102(b)(1) of the USA Patriot Improvement and Reauthorization Act of 2005 (50 U.S.C. 1805 note) is amended by striking “June 1, 2015″ and inserting “December 31, 2017″, extending the controversial USA PATRIOT Act through the end of 2017.[25] The Electronic Privacy Information Center(EPIC) has criticized the Patriot Act as unconstitutional, especially when “the private communications of law-abiding American citizens might be intercepted incidentally”.[19] James Dempsey, of the CDT, believes that the Patriot Act unnecessarily overlooks the importance of notice under the Fourth Amendment and under a Title III wiretap,[26] while the American Library Association became so concerned that they formed a resolution condemning the USA PATRIOT Act, and which urged members to defend free speech and protect patrons’ privacy against the Act.[27]

The Guardian wrote “civil libertarians on the Judiciary Committee had to compromise in order to gain support for the act. Significantly, the government will still be able to collect phone data on Americans, pending a judge’s individualized order based on ‘reasonable articulable suspicion‘ – a standard preferred by the NSA – of wrongdoing, and can collect call records two degrees or ‘hops’ of separation from the individual suspected”.[5] Kara Brandeisky of ProPublica said “some worry that the bill does not unequivocally ban bulk collection of American records. Again, a lot depends on how the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court interprets the statute”.[28]

The National Journal wrote “one tech lobbyist noted concern that a provision that would have allowed companies to disclose to customers more information about government data requests has been dropped. In addition, an external special advocate that would oversee the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court would no longer be selected by the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board. Instead, the court’s judges would designate five ‘amicus curiae‘ who possess appropriate security clearances.”[29]

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) stated it remained “concerned that this bill omits important transparency provisions found in the USA FREEDOM Act, which are necessary to shed light on surveillance abuses”. In addition, the EFF said it believed “this bill should do more to address mass surveillance under Section 702 of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Amendments Act, a section of law used to collect the communications of users worldwide”.[30] The Open Technology Institute commented “several other key reforms—such as provisions allowing Internet and phone companies to publish more information about the demands they receive, which OTI and a coalition of companies and organizations have been pressing for since last summer—have been removed, while the bill also provides for a new type of court order that the President has requested, allowing for continuous collection by the government of specified telephone records.”[31]

Despite the criticism from civil liberties groups, Mike Rogers, a defender of the NSA‘s surveillance practices and the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, praised the amendments. Rogers, who had his own bill which would codify the NSA’s surveillance practices in to law, called the proposed amendments a “huge improvement”. Foreign Policy wrote “any compromise to the Judiciary bill risks an insurrection from civil libertarians in Congress. Michigan Republican Justin Amash led such a revolt last year when he offered an NSA amendment to a defense appropriations bill that would have stripped funding for the NSA’s collection program.” “Just a weakened bill or worse than status quo? I’ll find out,” Representative Amash said.[32]

After passage of the marked up bill, USA Freedom Act co-author and Senate Committee on the Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy commented that he “remain concerned that the legislation approved today does not include some of the important reforms related to national security letters, a strong special advocate at the FISA Court, and greater transparency. I will continue to push for those reforms when the Senate Judiciary Committee considers the USA FREEDOM Act this summer.”[8]

Reaction

The Act has bipartisan support, evenly split between Democrats and Republicans. As of May 8, 2014, it had 150 co-sponsors in the House[1] and 21 in the Senate.[2] Viewed as one of the most comprehensive of the similar bills introduced since the NSA leaks, the USA Freedom Act has support or qualified support from a diverse range of groups such as the ACLUMozilla, and the NRA.[13][33]

Representative Justin Amash, author of the narrowly-defeated Amash Amendment, a proposal that would have de-funded the NSA, backed the legislation. “It’s getting out of control” he commented, “[Courts are issuing] general warrants without specific cause…and you have one agency that’s essentially having superpowers to pass information onto others”.[23]

According to Deputy Attorney General James Cole, even if the Freedom Act becomes law, the NSA could continue its bulk collection of American’s phone records. He explained that “it’s going to depend on how the [FISA] court interprets any number of the provisions” contained within the legislation.[16] Jennifer Granick, Director of Civil Liberties at Stanford Law School, stated:

The Administration and the intelligence community believe they can do whatever they want, regardless of the laws Congress passes, so long they can convince one of the judges appointed to the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) to agree. This isn’t the rule of law. This is a coup d’etat.[16]

Opponents of global surveillance have called for the bill to be strengthened. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) released a statement saying “we consider this bill to be a floor, not a ceiling”. The ACLU wrote that “although the USA Freedom Act does not fix every problem with the government’s surveillance authorities and programs, it is an important first step and it deserves broad support.”[34][35]

International human rights groups remain somewhat skeptical of specific provisions of the bill. For example, Human Rights Watch expressed its concern that the “bill would do little to increase protections for the right to privacy for people outside the United States, a key problem that plagues U.S. surveillance activities. Nor would the bill address mass surveillance or bulk collection practices that may be occurring under other laws or regulations, such as Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act or Executive Order 12333. These practices affect many more people and include the collection of the actual content of internet communications and phone calls, not just metadata”.[36] Zeke Johnson, Director of Amnesty International‘s Security and Human Rights Program, agreed that “any proposal that fails to ban mass surveillance, end blanket secrecy, or stop discrimination against people outside the U.S. will be a false fix”.[37]

See also

References

  1. Jump up to:a b “Bill Summary & Status 113th Congress (2013–2014) H.R.3361″THOMAS, Library of Congress. Retrieved 8 May 2014.
  2. Jump up to:a b “Bill Summary & Status 113th Congress (2013–2014) H.R.3361″THOMAS, Library of Congress. Retrieved 8 May 2014.
  3. Jump up^ “Bill Summary & Status 113th Congress (2013–2014) H.R.3361″. THOMAS, Library of Congress.
  4. Jump up^ “Bill Summary & Status 113th Congress (2013–2014) S.1599″. THOMAS, Library of Congress.
  5. Jump up to:a b The Guardian: Chairman of key House committee agrees to proceed with NSA reform bill
  6. Jump up^ House Judicicary Committee: Manager’s Amendment to USA Freedom Act

    Section 102(b)(1) of the USA PATRIOT Improvement and Reauthorization Act of 2005 (50 U.S.C. 1805 note) is amended by striking ‘‘June 1, 2015’’ and inserting ‘‘December 31, 2017’’.

  7. Jump up^ The Guardian: USA Freedom Act unanimously clears House Judiciary Committee

    As amended, the USA Freedom Act would push back the expiration of Section 215 to the end of 2017, when Section 702 is set to expire. The current expiration is 1 June of next year. Some legislators are already whispering that allowing Section 215 to expire wholesale in 2015 is a preferable reform.

  8. Jump up to:a b Office of Senator Patrick Leahy: Comment Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee, On Action by the House Judiciary Committee to End Bulk Collection
  9. Jump up^ “Bill Summary & Status: 113th Congress (2013–2014) H.R.3361 CRS Summary”. THOMAS, Library of Congress.
  10. Jump up to:a b Roberts, Dan. “The USA Freedom Act: a look at the key points of the draft bill”Guardian.com. Retrieved 18 January 2014.
  11. Jump up^ Wilhelm, Alex (2013-10-29). “Proposed USA FREEDOM Act Would Dramatically Curtail The NSA’s Surveillance”TechCrunch.com. Retrieved 18 January 2014.
  12. Jump up^ ‘Patriot Act’ Author Seeks ‘USA Freedom Act’ to Rein In NSA – US News and World Report. Usnews.com (October 10, 2013).
  13. Jump up to:a b c Gallagher, Rhan. “U.S. Lawmakers Launch Assault on NSA Domestic Snooping”Slate.com. Retrieved 18 January 2014.
  14. Jump up^ “USA Freedom Act Would Leash the National Security Agency”Businessweek. Bloomberg. 2013-10-31. Retrieved 18 January 2014.
  15. Jump up^ Sensenbrenner, Jim. “The USA Freedom Act”House.gov. Retrieved 18 January 2014.
  16. Jump up to:a b c Granick, Jennifer (2013-12-16). “NSA’s Creative Interpretations Of Law Subvert Congress And The Rule Of Law”Forbes. Retrieved 18 January 2014.
  17. Jump up to:a b Leahy, Sen. Patrick; Sensenbrenner, Rep. Jim (29 October 2013). “The case for NSA reform”Politico. Retrieved 18 January 2014.
  18. Jump up^ House Judicicary Committee: Manager’s Amendment to USA Freedom Act
  19. Jump up to:a b “Analysis of Specific USA PATRIOT Act Provisions: Expanded Dissemination of Information Obtained in Criminal Investigations”AnalysisElectronic Privacy Information Center. Retrieved July 11, 2008.
  20. Jump up^ “Bill Text 113th Congress (2013–2014) H.R.3361.IH”THOMASLibrary of Congress. Retrieved 2014-03-09.
  21. Jump up to:a b Roberts, Dan (2013-10-10). “Patriot Act author prepares bill to put NSA bulk collection ‘out of business’”Guardian. Retrieved 20 January 2014.
  22. Jump up^ Editorial Board (2013-06-06). “President Obama’s Dragnet”. New York Times.
  23. Jump up to:a b Krietz, Andrew (2013-10-15). “Amash-backed bill aimed to end NSA spying programs garners even bipartisan support”. Retrieved 20 January 2014.
  24. Jump up^ Shabad, Rebecca (2014-01-16). “Sen. Leahy on NSA claim: ‘Baloney’”The Hill.com. Retrieved 18 January 2014.
  25. Jump up^ House Judicicary Committee: Manager’s Amendment to USA Freedom Act
  26. Jump up^ James X. Dempsey“Why Sections 209, 212, and 220 Should be Modified” (undated). Retrieved October 15, 2007.
  27. Jump up^ “Resolution on the USA Patriot Act and Related Measures That Infringe on the Rights of Library Users”American Library Association. January 29, 2003. Retrieved July 11, 2008.
  28. Jump up^ ProPublica: What the Proposed NSA Reforms Wouldn’t Do
  29. Jump up^ National Journal: House Panels Race Against Each Other to Reform NSA Spying
  30. Jump up^ EFF Statement on Rep. Sensenbrenner’s USA FREEDOM Act Amendment
  31. Jump up^ Open Technology Institute: OTI Statement on New Version of Surveillance Reform Bill, The USA FREEDOM Act
  32. Jump up^ Foreign Policy: Key NSA Defender: Congress ‘A Lot Closer’ On Surveillance Reform
  33. Jump up^ Handerson (2013-10-29). “The Freedom Act will Help Rebuild User Trust in the Internet”The Mozilla Blog. Retrieved 18 January 2014.
  34. Jump up^ Kurt Opsahl and Rainey Reitman (2013-11-14). “A Floor, Not a Ceiling: Supporting the USA FREEDOM Act as a Step Towards Less Surveillance”. Electronic Frontier Foundation.
  35. Jump up^ Michelle Richardson (2013-10-29). “The USA FREEDOM Act is Real Spying Reform”. American Civil Liberties Union.
  36. Jump up^ Human Rights Watch: US: Modest Step by Congress on NSA Reform
  37. Jump up^ Amnesty International: Congress Must Put Human Rights at the Center of Surveillance Reform

External links

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USA_Freedom_Act

 

XKeyscore

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Logo for the XKeyscore program

XKeyscore or XKEYSCORE (abbreviated as XKS) is a formerly secret computer system first used by the United States National Security Agency for searching and analyzing Internet data it collects worldwide every day. The program has been shared with other spy agencies including Australia’s Defence Signals Directorate, New Zealand’s Government Communications Security Bureau and the German Bundesnachrichtendienst.[1]

The program’s existence was publicly revealed in July 2013 by Edward Snowden in The Sydney Morning Herald and O Globo newspapers, though the codename is mentioned in earlier articles, and like many other codenames can also be seen in job postings, and in the online resumes of employees.[2][3]

The scope of XKeyscore

XKeyscore is a complicated system and various authors have different interpretations about its actual capabilities. Edward Snowden and Glenn Greenwald explained XKeyscore as being a system which enables almost unlimited surveillance of anyone anywhere in the world, while NSA said that usage of the system is limited and restricted.

According to The Washington Post and national security reporter Marc Ambinder, XKeyscore is an NSA data-retrieval system which consists of a series of user interfaces, backend databases, servers and software that selects certain types of data and metadata that the NSA has already collected using other methods.[4][5]

According to Snowden and Greenwald

On January 26, 2014, the German broadcaster Norddeutscher Rundfunk asked Edward Snowden in its TV interview: “What could you do if you would use XKeyscore?” and he answered:[1]

“You could read anyone’s email in the world, anybody you’ve got an email address for. Any website: You can watch traffic to and from it. Any computer that an individual sits at: You can watch it. Any laptop that you’re tracking: you can follow it as it moves from place to place throughout the world. It’s a one-stop-shop for access to the NSA’s information.”
“…You can tag individuals… Let’s say you work at a major German corporation and I want access to that network, I can track your username on a website on a form somewhere, I can track your real name, I can track associations with your friends and I can build what’s called a fingerprint, which is network activity unique to you, which means anywhere you go in the world, anywhere you try to sort of hide your online presence, your identity.”

According to The Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald, low-level NSA analysts can via systems like XKeyscore “listen to whatever emails they want, whatever telephone calls, browsing histories, Microsoft Word documents. And it’s all done with no need to go to a court, with no need to even get supervisor approval on the part of the analyst.”[6]

He added that the NSA’s databank of collected communications allows its analysts to listen “to the calls or read the emails of everything that the NSA has stored, or look at the browsing histories or Google search terms that you’ve entered, and it also alerts them to any further activity that people connected to that email address or that IP address do in the future”.[6]

According to the NSA

Further information: SIGINT

In an official statement from July 30, 2013, the NSA said there is no “unchecked analyst access to NSA collection data. Access to XKeyscore, as well as all of NSA’s analytic tools, is limited to only those personnel who require access for their assigned tasks.” The NSA also states that there are “stringent oversight and compliance mechanisms built in at several levels. One feature is the system’s ability to limit what an analyst can do with a tool, based on the source of the collection and each analyst’s defined responsibilities.”[7]

The agency defended the program, stressing that it was only used to legally obtain information about “legitimate foreign intelligence targets in response to requirements that our leaders need for information necessary to protect our nation and its interests. [...] XKeyscore is used as a part of NSA’s lawful foreign signals intelligence collection system. [...] These types of programs allow us to collect the information that enables us to perform our missions successfully — to defend the nation and to protect U.S. and allied troops abroad.”[8]

Workings

Slide from a 2008 NSA presentation about XKeyscore, showing a worldmap with the locations of XKeyscore servers

Slide from a 2008 NSA presentation about XKeyscore, showing the query hierarchy

An NSA presentation about XKeyscore from 2008 says that it’s a “DNI Exploitation System/Analytic Framework”. DNI stands for Digital Network Intelligence, which means intelligence derived from internet traffic.[9] In an interview with the German Norddeutscher Rundfunk, Edward Snowden said about XKeyscore: “It’s a front end search engine”.[10]

Data sources

XKeyscore consists of over 700 servers at approximately 150 sites where the NSA collects data, like “US and allied military and other facilities as well as US embassies and consulates” in many countries around the world.[11][12][13] Among the facilities involved in the program are four bases in Australia and one in New Zealand.[12]

According to an NSA presentation from 2008, these XKeyscore servers are fed with data from the following collection systems:[14]

  1. F6 (Special Collection Service) – joint operation of the CIA and NSA that carries out clandestine operations including espionage on foreign diplomats and leaders
  2. FORNSAT – which stands for “foreign satellite collection”, and refers to intercepts from satellites
  3. SSO (Special Source Operations) – a division of the NSA that cooperates with telecommunication providers

In a single, undated slide published by Swedish media in December 2013, the following additional data sources for XKeyscore are mentioned:[15]

  1. Overhead – intelligence derived from American spy planes, drones and satellites
  2. Tailored Access Operations – a division of the NSA that deals with hacking and cyberwarfare
  3. FISA – all types of surveillance approved by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court
  4. Third party – foreign partners of the NSA such as the (signals) intelligence agencies of Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, etc.

From these sources, XKeyscore stores “full-take data”, which are indexed by plug-ins that extract certain types of metadata (like phone numbers, e-mail addresses, log-ins, and user activity) and index them in metadata tables, which can be queried by analysts. XKeyscore has been integrated with MARINA, which is NSA’s database for internet metadata.[9]

However, the system continuously gets so much Internet data that it can be stored only for short periods of time. Content data remain on the system for only three to five days, while metadata is stored for up to 30 days.[16] A detailed commentary on an NSA presentation published in The Guardian in July 2013 cites a document published in 2008 declaring that “At some sites, the amount of data we receive per day (20+ terabytes) can only be stored for as little as 24 hours.”[17]

Capabilities

Slide from a 2008 NSA presentation about XKeyscore, showing the differences between the various NSA database systems

For analysts, XKeyscore provides a “series of viewers for common data types”, which allows them to query terabytes of raw data gathered at the aforementioned collection sites. This enables them to find targets that cannot be found by searching only the metadata, and also to do this against data sets that otherwise would have been dropped by the front-end data processing systems. According to a slide from an XKeyscore presentation, NSA collection sites select and forward less than 5% of the internet traffic to the PINWALE database for internet content.[16]

Because XKeyscore holds raw and unselected communications traffic, analysts can not only perform queries using “strong selectors” like e-mail addresses, but also using “soft selectors”, like keywords, against the body texts of e-mail and chat messages and digital documents and spreadsheets in English, Arabic and Chinese.[9]

This is useful because “a large amount of time spent on the web is performing actions that are anonymous” and therefore those activities can’t be found by just looking for e-mail addresses of a target. When content has been found, the analyst might be able to find new intelligence or a strong selector, which can then be used for starting a traditional search.[9]

Besides using soft selectors, analysts can also use the following other XKeyscore capabilities:[9][18]

  • Look for the usage of Google Maps and terms entered into a search engine by known targets looking for suspicious things or places.
  • Look for “anomalies” without any specific person attached, like detecting the nationality of foreigners by analyzing the language used within intercepted emails. An example would be a German speaker in Pakistan. The Brazilian paper O Globo claims that this has been applied to Latin America and specifically to Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico and Venezuela.[11][19]
  • Detect people who use encryption by do searches like “all PGP usage in Iran”. The caveat given is that very broad queries can result in too much data to transmit back to the analyst.
  • Showing the usage of Virtual private networks (VPNs) and machines that can potentially be hacked via TAO.
  • Track the source and authorship of a document that has passed through many hands.

Most of these things cannot be detected by other NSA tools because they operate with strong selectors (like e-mail and IP addresses and phone numbers) and the raw data volumes are too high to forward them to other NSA databases.[9]

In 2008, it was planned to add a number of new capabilities in the future, like:

Significance

The NSA slides published in The Guardian during 2013 claimed that XKeyscore had played a role in capturing 300 terrorists by 2008.[9] This claim could not be substantiated as the redacted documents do not cite instances of terrorist interventions.

A 2011 report from the NSA unit in Griesheim (Germany) says that XKeyscore made it easier and more efficient to target surveillance. Previously, analysis often accessed data they were not interested in. XKeyscore allowed them to focus on the intended topics, while ignoring unrelated data. XKeyscore also proved to be an outstanding tool for tracking active groups associated with the Anonymous movement in Germany, because it allows for searching on patterns, rather than particular individuals. An analyst is able to determine when targets research new topics, or develop new behaviors.[20]

To create additional motivation, the NSA incorporated various features from computer games into the program. For instance, analysts who were especially good at using XKeyscore could acquire “skilz” points and “unlock achievements.” The training units in Griesheim were apparently successful and analysts there had achieved the “highest average of skilz points” compared with all other NSA departments participating in the training program.[20]

Usage by foreign partners of the NSA

Germany

Excerpt of an NSA document leaked by Edward Snowden that reveals the BND‘s usage of the NSA’s XKeyscore to wiretap a German domestic target

According to documents Der Spiegel acquired from Snowden, the German intelligence agencies BND (foreign intelligence) and BfV (domestic intelligence) were also allowed to use the XKeyscore system. In those documents the BND agency was described as the NSA’s most prolific partner in information gathering.[21] This led to political confrontations, after which the directors of the German intelligence agencies briefed members of the German parliamentary intelligence oversight committee on July 25, 2013. They declared that XKeyscore has been used by the BND since 2007 and that the BfV uses a test version since 2012. The directors also explained that this program is not for collecting data, but only for analyzing them.[22]

Sweden

As part of the UKUSA Agreement, a secret treaty was signed in 1954 by Sweden with the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand for the purpose of intelligence collaboration and data sharing.[23] According to documents leaked by Snowden, the National Defence Radio Establishment (FRA) has been granted access to XKeyscore.[24]

 

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CIA Covert Action in Iran, Vietnam, Laos, the Congo, Cuba, and Guatemala: Documentary Film (1965)

A covert operation (also as CoveOps or covert ops) is a military, intelligence or law enforcement operation that is carried clandestinely and, often, outside of official channels. Covert operations aim to fulfill their mission objectives without any parties knowing who sponsored or carried out the operation. It is normally sponsored by taxes from the government.

Under United States law, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is the sole US Government agency legally allowed to carry out Covert Action. The CIA’s authority to conduct Covert Action comes from the National Security Act of 1947. President Ronald Reagan issued Executive Order 12333 titled in 1984. This order defined covert action as “special activities”, both political and military, that the US Government could legally deny. The CIA was also designated as the sole authority under the 1991 Intelligence Authorization Act and in Title 50 of the United States Code Section 413(e). The CIA must have a “Presidential Finding” issued by the President of the United States in order to conduct these activities under the Hughes-Ryan amendment to the 1991 Intelligence Authorization Act. These findings are then monitored by the oversight committees in both the US Senate and the House of Representatives. As a result of this framework, the CIA “receives more oversight from the Congress than any other agency in the federal government.” The Special Activities Division (SAD) is a division of the CIA’s National Clandestine Service, responsible for Covert Action and “Special Activities”. These special activities include covert political influence and paramilitary operations. The division is overseen by the United States Secretary of State.

The following persons are known to have participated in covert operations, as distinct from clandestine intelligence gathering (espionage) either by their own admission or by the accounts of others: Robert Baer Jozef Gabčík and Jan Kubiš, Czechoslovak British-trained agents sent to assassinate one of the most important Nazis, Reinhard Heydrich, in 1942 as part of Operation Anthropoid. Aaron Franklin, World War II US Office of Strategic Services (OSS) officer who created a fake group of the German Army, made up of POWs, with the mission of killing Hitler. As a colonel, he was the first commander of United States Army Special Forces. Charles Beckwith, US Army colonel who was an early exchange officer with the British Special Air Service (SAS), and created the Delta Force (1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta) based on the SAS. Gary Berntsen, CIA field officer and team leader during Operation Enduring Freedom Wendell Fertig, United States Army Reserve officer who organized large Filipino guerrilla forces against the Japanese in World War II Virginia Hall, American who first worked for the British Special Operations Executive, then for the American Office of Strategic Services in German-occupied France. Only U.S. woman to receive the Distinguished Service Cross. Eric Haney, founding member of Delta Force. Michael Harari, Israeli Mossad officer who led assassination operations (Operation Wrath of God) against PLO members accused of the 1972 Munich Massacre. Bruce Rusty Lang, commander of a mixed United States Army Special Forces & Montagnard (Degar/Bru people) commando Recon Team (RT Oklahoma) of Command and Control North, Studies and Observations Group. Previously served on Project 404, U.S. Embassy Laos, Assistant Army Attaché (“Secret War” in Laos 1970). Edward Lansdale, United States Air Force officer (and eventually major general) seconded to the CIA, and noted for his work with Ramon Magsaysay against the Hukbalahap insurgency in Philippines during the early 1950s, and later involved in Operation Mongoose against Cuba. T. E. Lawrence, British “Lawrence of Arabia” who organized Arab forces during World War I. Alain Mafart, French DGSE officer convicted, in New Zealand, for sinking the Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior. Richard Meadows, United States Army Special Forces officer known for many operations, including the POW rescue attempt at Son Tay, North Vietnam, and for deep operations in support of Operation Eagle Claw.

America’s Roundtable: Congressman Frank Wolf Calls for Select Committee – Benghazi Terrorist Attack

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Petraeus Testifies CIA’s Benghazi, Libya Talking Points Were Changed – Megyn Kelly

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Boehner to Establish Select Committee on Benghazi

Americans learned this week that the Obama Administration is so intent on obstructing the truth about Benghazi that it is even willing to defy subpoenas issued by the standing committees of the People’s House.  These revelations compel the House to take every possible action to ensure the American people have the truth about the terrorist attack on our consulate that killed four of our countrymen.  In light of these new developments, the House will vote to establish a new select committee to investigate the attack, provide the necessary accountability, and ensure justice is finally served.

“The administration’s withholding of documents – emails showing greater White House involvement in misleading the American people – is a flagrant violation of trust and undermines the basic principles of oversight upon which our system of government is built.  And it forces us to ask the question, what else about Benghazi is the Obama administration still hiding from the American people?

“The House committees that have been investigating this attack have done extraordinary work, using their subpoena power, holding dozens of hearings, and conducting hundreds of interviews.  Without this work we would not know much that we do today.  But it’s clear that questions remain, and the administration still does not respect the authority of Congress to provide proper oversight.  This dismissiveness and evasion requires us to elevate the investigation to a new level.  I intend for this select committee to have robust authority, and I will expect it to work quickly to get answers for the American people and the families of the victims.

“Four Americans died at the hands of terrorists nearly 20 months ago, and we are still missing answers, accountability, and justice.  It’s time that change.”

 

http://www.speaker.gov/press-release/boehner-establish-select-committee-benghazi

 

Boehner announces special committee on Benghazi, Kerry subpoenaed

 

House Republicans moved on two fronts Friday to dig for answers on Benghazi, with Speaker John Boehner announcing a special committee to investigate and a key panel subpoenaing Secretary of State John Kerry to testify.

In a significant shift, Boehner announced that the House will vote on establishing a select committee to investigate, on the heels of newly released emails that raised additional questions about the White House’s response.

Top Republicans claimed those emails should have been released to Congress months ago, and Boehner signaled those concerns prompted him to rethink the need for a select committee.

“Americans learned this week that the Obama Administration is so intent on obstructing the truth about Benghazi that it is even willing to defy subpoenas issued by the standing committees of the People’s House. These revelations compel the House to take every possible action to ensure the American people have the truth about the terrorist attack on our consulate that killed four of our countrymen,” he said in a statement.

“In light of these new developments, the House will vote to establish a new select committee to investigate the attack, provide the necessary accountability, and ensure justice is finally served.”

Boehner has long faced pressure from rank-and-file members to form such a panel to probe the attacks which killed four Americans including a U.S. ambassador, and until now had resisted. Fox News is told the speaker made the decision Thursday to go forward with a vote.

The committee is expected to be bipartisan, and Fox News is told Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., is among those being considered to lead it.

House GOP Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., said the “continued obstruction” made clear that a select committee is needed. Many of the details are still being worked out but Boehner claimed the panel, if approved in a vote by the full House, would have “robust authority.”

He called the alleged “withholding” of documents a “flagrant violation of trust.”

“This dismissiveness and evasion requires us to elevate the investigation to a new level,” Boehner said.

But Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid blasted the decision as an election-year stunt. “There have already been multiple investigations into this issue and an independent Accountability Review Board is mandated under current law,” Reid said in a statement. “For Republicans to waste the American people’s time and money staging a partisan political circus instead of focusing on the middle class is simply a bad decision.”

The movement comes after newly released emails raised questions about the White House role in pushing faulty claims about the attacks.

The emails in question were obtained and published by the conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch, following a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit. One email showed White House adviser Ben Rhodes discussing a “prep call” with then-U.N. ambassador Susan Rice, before she went on several Sunday shows and made controversial and flawed statements linking the attack to an anti-Islam Internet video.

The email from Rhodes emphasized the role of the Internet video — leading to GOP charges that this “smoking gun” shows the White House politicized the tragedy.

The White House maintains the “prep call” was in reference to protests elsewhere in the Middle East and Africa.

On the heels of those documents, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee also announced Friday that it has issued the subpoena for Kerry to testify at a May 21 hearing. The chairman of that committee has accused the administration of hiding records following an earlier subpoena.

“The State Department’s response to the congressional investigation of the Benghazi attack has shown a disturbing disregard for the Department’s legal obligations to Congress,” Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., wrote in a letter to Kerry.

He added: “Compliance with a subpoena for documents is not a game. Because your Department is failing to meet its legal obligations, I am issuing a new subpoena to compel you to appear before the Committee to answer questions about your agency’s response to the congressional investigation of the Benghazi attack.”

Before the subpoena was announced, Boehner also called on Kerry to testify before Congress in light of these revelations.

A State Department official voiced surprise at the announcement, telling Fox News that the department has been cooperating with the committee all along.

White House officials have pushed back hard on Republican claims that the Rhodes email was a “smoking gun” that proves the administration politicized the attack.

Former White House spokesman Tommy Vietor told Fox News on Thursday that he wished the documents had been released earlier.

“I bet you every single person in that White House wished that email has been released earlier. I wish it too because it tells us nothing new, It tells us what we said privately was what we said publicly, because that is what we thought had occurred,” Vietor said.

As for the special committee, one of the biggest backers of such a panel, Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., commended Boehner for the decision.

He also cited Fox News’ reporting. “In the case of Benghazi, much credit goes to FOX News’ Catherine Herridge and Bret Baier for their tenacious commitment to this story and investigation,” he said in a statement.

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/05/02/house-committee-subpoenas-kerry-over-benghazi-documents/

 

 

The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts Portfolio

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Collectivists Celebrate 100 Anniversary of Start of World War I By Starting World War III? — Accidents Happen — Cold War Turns Into Hot War — Videos

Posted on March 14, 2014. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Business, Communications, Constitution, Crime, Culture, Demographics, Diasters, Drones, Economics, Education, Employment, Energy, Entertainment, Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, government, government spending, history, Homicide, Inflation, Investments, Islam, Language, Law, liberty, Life, Links, media, Natural Gas, Nuclear, Oil, People, Philosophy, Photos, Pistols, Politics, Programming, Radio, Rants, Raves, Religion, Resources, Rifles, Security, Shite, Strategy, Sunni, Talk Radio, Technology, Terrorism, Unemployment, Video, War, Wealth, Weapons, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , |

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Russia dismisses U.S. proposals in Ukraine talks

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OReilly: Distorting Russia: How the American Media Misrepresent Putin, Sochi and Ukraine

2/18/14 Stephen F. Cohen, Ph.D. on O’Reilly claiming we’re Putin bashing

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Learn How The United States Is Behind The Kiev Ukraine Riots

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WORLD WAR ONE (1 / 10): Call to Arms

WORLD WAR ONE (2 / 10): Under the Eagle

WORLD WAR ONE (3 / 10): Global War

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 WORLD WAR ONE (5 /10): Shackled To A Corpse

WORLD WAR ONE (6 / 10): Breaking the Deadlock

WORLD WAR ONE (7 /10): Blockade

WORLD WAR ONE (8 / 10): Revolution

WORLD WAR ONE (9 / 10): Germany’s Last Gamble

WORLD WAR ONE (10 /10): Endless War

The Guns of August

The Guns of August is a documentary that follows the book by the same title by author, Barbara Tuchman (1912-1989), an eminent American historian. She received the first of her two Pulitzer prizes for this 1962 masterpiece on World War I. The documentary was made in 1965. Barbara Tuchman was highly respected for her ability to present complex subjects and present them with clarity. Until I read the previous review, I have never heard of anyone accusing her of hating Germany or its people or of her book being anti-German propaganda. But there are pictures of shot civilians and movies of smoldering ruins. Then again, there are people who claim the Holocaust never took place and is just anti-Nazi propaganda… Facts: On August 3 1914, Germany declared war on France. The German invasion plan for France called for an attack through Belgium, instead of through the heavily defended Franco-German border. Belgium was neutral and its neutrality was protected by treaty with Great Britain. The Germans attacked on August 3rd. The next day, August 4th, Great Britain declared war on Germany. Germany warned Belgium that they only wanted to reach France and if Belgium complied, there wouldn’t be any trouble. Despite its small army, Belgium chose to protect its sovereignty and its honor and paid for it. Liège, Aarschot, Andenne, Tamines, Dinant, and Leuven, where the worst of the German depredations occurred.

World War I: American Legacy

Blood and Oil: The Middle East in World War I

Promises and Betrayals – Middle East – History Channel Documentary

 

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Breaking News — Tom Clancy — Rest In Peace — Photos — Videos

Posted on October 2, 2013. Filed under: American History, Ammunition, Blogroll, Bomb, Book, Books, Communications, Culture, Diasters, Dirty Bomb, Drones, Employment, Entertainment, Federal Government, Fiction, Foreign Policy, Games, government spending, history, IRS, Islam, Language, Law, liberty, Life, Links, Literacy, Movies, Music, Nuclear, People, Philosophy, Photos, Pistols, Politics, Psychology, Rants, Raves, Resources, Reviews, Rifles, Security, Strategy, Talk Radio, Taxes, Unemployment, Video, War, Wealth, Weapons, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

Tom Clancy And General Zinni Promote "Battle Ready"

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Author Tom Clancy dies at 66

Best-selling Author Tom Clancy Dead at 66

Author Tom Clancy, master of the modern day thriller, dead at 66

 

VIDEO – Worldwide Trend Topic Tom Clancy’s Dead WorldWideTT

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Tom Clancy Dead Tom Clancy dies in Baltimore age 66 Author Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six 1947 2013

9/11 Tom Clancy Coverage of the WTC 7 Collapse CNN 5 35 PM 9 11 2001

Politika (1997) – Tom Clancy’s Fictional Interview on Boris Yeltsin

Tom Clancy on Government

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Tom Clancy – OP Center (Full movie)

Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Blacklist – All Cutscenes | Movie [HD]

The Hunt For Red October (1990) Trailer.flv

The Hunt for Red October (1/9) Movie CLIP – Another Possibility (1990) HD

The Hunt for Red October (2/9) Movie CLIP – Ryan’s Plan (1990) HD

The Sum of All Fears (1/9) Movie CLIP – Everyone Has Opinions (2002) HD

The Sum of All Fears (2/9) Movie CLIP – I Can’t Tell You That (2002) HD

The True Story The Hunt For Red October

Tom Clancy – Wiki Article

Published on May 21, 2013

Thomas Leo “Tom” Clancy, Jr. is an American author who is best known for his technically detailed espionage and military science storylines that are set during and in the aftermath of the Cold War, along with video games which bear his name for licensing and promotional purposes, although he did not actually work on them himself. His name is also a brand for similar movie scripts written by ghost writers and many series of non-fiction books on military subjects and merged biographies of key leaders. He is Vice Chairman of Community Activities and Public Affairs, as well as a part-owner of the Baltimore Orioles.

Personal life

Clancy was born in Baltimore, Maryland. He attended Loyola Blakefield in Towson, Maryland, graduating with the class of 1965. He then attended Loyola College in Baltimore, graduating in 1969. Before making his literary debut, he spent some time running an independent insurance agency. This agency thrived for a few years before joining a group of investors.

Clancy and his first wife Wanda married in 1969, separated briefly in 1995, and permanently separated in December 1996. Clancy filed for divorce in November 1997, which became final in January 1999.

In 1993, Tom Clancy joined a group of investors that included Peter Angelos and bought the Baltimore Orioles from Eli Jacobs. In 1998, he reached an agreement to purchase the Minnesota Vikings, but had to abandon the deal because of the divorce settlement cost.

On June 26, 1999, Clancy married freelance journalist Alexandra Marie Llewellyn, whom he had met in 1997. Llewellyn is the daughter of J. Bruce Llewellyn, and a family friend of Colin Powell, who originally introduced the couple to each other.

In 2008, the French video game manufacturer Ubisoft purchased the use of Clancy’s name for an undisclosed sum. It has been used in conjunction with video games and related products such as movies and books. Based on his interest in space, and his investment in the launch vehicle company Rotary Rocket, in 2007 Clancy was interviewed for the documentary film Orphans of Apollo.

Political views

Tom Clancy has been a lifetime supporter of conservative and Republican causes in America. His books bear dedications to conservative political figures, most notably Ronald Reagan. A week after the September 11, 2001 attacks, on The O’Reilly Factor, Clancy stated that left-wing politicians in the United States were partly responsible for September 11 due to their “gutting” of the Central Intelligence Agency. Clancy has also associated himself with General Anthony Zinni, a critic of the George W. Bush administration, and has been critical of former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld as well.

On September 11, 2001, Clancy was interviewed by Judy Woodruff on CNN. During the interview, he asserted “Islam does not permit suicide” (see Islam and suicide). Among other observations during this interview, Clancy cited discussions he had with military experts on the lack of planning to handle a hijacked plane being used in a suicide attack and criticized the news media’s treatment of the United States Intelligence Community. Clancy appeared again on PBS’s Charlie Rose, to discuss the implications of the day’s events with Richard Holbrooke, New York Times journalist Judith Miller, and Senator John Edwards, among others. Clancy was interviewed on these shows because his 1994 book Debt of Honor included a scenario where a disgruntled Japanese character crashes a fueled Boeing 747 into the U.S. Capitol dome during a State of the Union address, killing the President and most of Congress. This plot device bore strong similarities to the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Clancy has been a Life Member of the National Rifle Association since 1978.

Bibliography

The Hunt for Red October, Patriot Games, Clear and Present Danger, and The Sum of All Fears have been turned into commercially successful films with actors Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford, and Ben Affleck as Clancy’s most famous fictional

Tom Clancy, Best-Selling Novelist of Military Thrillers, Dies

at 66

By JULIE BOSMAN

Tom Clancy, whose complex, adrenaline-fueled military novels made him one of the world’s best-selling and best-known authors, died on Tuesday in a hospital in Baltimore. He was 66.

Ivan Held, the president of G. P. Putnam’s Sons, his publisher, did not provide a cause of death.

Mr. Clancy’s books were successfully transformed into blockbuster Hollywood films, including “Patriot Games,” “The Hunt for Red October“ and “Clear and Present Danger.”

His next book, “Command Authority,” is planned for publication on Dec. 3.

Seventeen of his novels were No. 1 New York Times best sellers, including his most recent, “Threat Vector,” which was released in December 2012.

Mr. Clancy was an insurance salesman when he sold his first novel, “The Hunt for Red October,” to the Naval Institute Press for only $5,000.

That publisher had never released a novel before, but the editors were taken with Mr. Clancy’s manuscript. They were concerned, however, that there were too many technical descriptions, so they asked him to make cuts. Mr. Clancy made revisions and cut at least 100 pages.

The book took off when President Ronald Reagan, who had received a copy, called it was “my kind of yarn” and said that he couldn’t put it down.

After the book’s publication in 1985, Mr. Clancy was praised for his mastery of technical details about Soviet submarines and weaponry. Even high-ranking members of the military took notice of the book’s apparent inside knowledge.

In an interview in 1986, Mr. Clancy said, “When I met Navy Secretary John Lehman last year, the first thing he asked me about the book was, ‘Who the hell cleared it?’ “

David Shanks, a Penguin executive who worked with Mr. Clancy for decades, called him “a consummate author, creating the modern-day thriller, and one of the most visionary storytellers of our time.”Born to a middle-class family in Baltimore on April 12, 1947, Mr. Clancy skipped over the usual children’s literature and became obsessed by naval history from a young age, reading journals and books whose intended audience was career military officers and engineering experts.

He absorbed details of submarine warfare, espionage, missile systems and covert plots between superpowers.

He attended Loyola College in Baltimore, where he majored in English, and graduated in 1969. While Mr. Clancy harbored ambitions to join the military, even joining the Army R.O.T.C., he was told that he was too nearsighted to qualify.

Mr. Clancy began working at a small insurance agency in rural Maryland that was founded by his wife’s grandfather.

After “The Hunt for Red October” was published, Mr. Clancy’s fame was fairly instant. Frequently posing for photographs in darkened aviator sunglasses, jeans and holding a cigarette, Mr. Clancy spoke of the laserlike focus required to succeed.

“I tell them you learn to write the same way you learn to play golf,” he said. “You do it, and keep doing it until you get it right. A lot of people think something mystical happens to you, that maybe the muse kisses you on the ear. But writing isn’t divinely inspired — it’s hard work.”

He followed “The Hunt for Red October” with “Red Storm Rising“ in 1986, “Patriot Games” in 1987, “The Cardinal of the Kremlin“ in 1988 and “Clear and Present Danger” in 1989.

The critical reception to his novels was gushing from the start. Reviewing “Red Storm Rising” in The New York Times in 1986, Christopher Lehmann-Haupt wrote that the book “far surpassed” Mr. Clancy’s debut novel.

“Red Storm Rising” is a “superpower thriller,” he wrote, “the verbal equivalent of a high-tech video game.” (Mr. Clancy would eventually venture into video games, which were easily adapted from his novels.)

Other critics questioned the unwaveringly virtuous nature of many of Mr. Clancy’s heroes, particularly his protagonist Jack Ryan.

“All the Americans are paragons of courage, endurance and devotion to service and country,” Robert Lekachman wrote in the Times in 1986. “Their officers are uniformly competent and occasionally inspired. Men of all ranks are faithful husbands and devoted fathers.”

Mr. Clancy was frequently accused of using classified information in his novels, a claim that amused him. While he spent time on military bases, visited the Pentagon and dined with high-level military officials, he insisted that he didn’t want to know any classified information.

“I hang my hat on getting as many things right as I can,” Mr. Clancy once said in an interview. “I’ve made up stuff that’s turned out to be real, that’s the spooky part.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/03/books/tom-clancy-best-selling-novelist-of-military-thrillers-dies-at-66.html?_r=1&

Tom Clancy

Thomas Leo “Tom” Clancy, Jr. (April 12, 1947 – October 1, 2013)[1][2] was an American author best known for his technically detailed espionage and military science storylines that are set during and in the aftermath of the Cold War, along with video games which bear his name for licensing and promotional purposes. His name was also a brand for similar movie scripts written by ghost writers and many series of non-fiction books on military subjects and merged biographies of key leaders. He was Vice Chairman of Community Activities and Public Affairs, as well as a part-owner, of the Baltimore Orioles.

Literary career

Clancy’s fiction works, The Hunt for Red OctoberPatriot GamesClear and Present Danger, and The Sum of All Fears, have been turned into commercially successful films with actors Alec BaldwinHarrison Ford, and Ben Affleck as Clancy’s most famous fictional character Jack Ryan, while his second most famous character John Clark has been played by actors Willem Dafoe and Liev Schreiber. All but two of Clancy’s solely written novels feature Jack Ryan or John Clark.

The first NetForce novel was adapted as a television movie, starring Scott Bakula and Joanna Going. The first Op-Center novel was released to coincide with a 1995 NBC television mini-series of the same name (Tom Clancy’s Op-Center) starring Harry Hamlin and a cast of stars. Though the mini-series did not continue, the book series did, but it had little in common with the first mini-series other than the title and the names of the main characters.

With the release of The Teeth of the Tiger, Clancy introduced Jack Ryan’s son and two nephews as main characters; these characters continue in his three latest novels, Dead or AliveLocked On and Threat Vector.

Clancy wrote several nonfiction books about various branches of the U.S. armed forces (see non-fiction listing, below). Clancy also branded several lines of books and video games with his name that are written by other authors, following premises or storylines generally in keeping with Clancy’s works. These are sometimes referred to by fans as “apostrophe” books; Clancy did not initially acknowledge that these series were being authored by others, only thanking the actual authors in the headnotes for their “invaluable contribution to the manuscript”.

By 1988, Clancy had earned $1.3 million for The Hunt for Red October and had signed a $3 million contract for his next three books.[3] By 1997, it was reported that Penguin Putnam Inc. (part of Pearson Education) would pay Clancy $50 million for world rights to two new books, and another $25 million to Red Storm Entertainment for a four-year book/multimedia deal.[4] Clancy followed this up with an agreement with Penguin’s Berkley Books for 24 paperbacks to tie in with the ABC television miniseries Tom Clancy’s Net Force aired in the fall/winter of 1998. The Op-Center universe has laid the ground for the series of books written by Jeff Rovin, which was in an agreement worth $22 million, bringing the total value of the package to $97 million.[4]

In 1993, Clancy joined a group of investors that included Peter Angelos and bought the Baltimore Orioles from Eli Jacobs. In 1998, he reached an agreement to purchase theMinnesota Vikings, but had to abandon the deal because of the divorce settlement cost.

On June 26, 1999, Clancy married freelance journalist Alexandra Marie Llewellyn, whom he had met in 1997.[5] Llewellyn is the daughter of J. Bruce Llewellyn, and a family friend ofColin Powell, who originally introduced the couple to each other.[6]

In 2008, the French video game manufacturer Ubisoft purchased the use of Clancy’s name for an undisclosed sum. It has been used in conjunction with video games and related products such as movies and books.[7] Based on his interest in space, and his investment in the launch vehicle company Rotary Rocket, in 2007 Clancy was interviewed for the documentary film Orphans of Apollo.

Political views

A longtime holder of conservative and Republican views, Clancy’s books bear dedications to American conservative political figures, most notably Ronald Reagan. A week after theSeptember 11, 2001 attacks, on The O’Reilly Factor, Clancy claimed that left-wing politicians in the United States were partly responsible for September 11 due to their “gutting” of the Central Intelligence Agency.[6]

In recent years, Clancy associated himself with General Anthony Zinni, a critic of the George W. Bush administration, and has been critical of former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld as well.[8]

On September 11, 2001, Clancy was interviewed by Judy Woodruff on CNN.[9] During the interview, he asserted “Islam does not permit suicide” (see Islam and suicide). Among other observations during this interview, Clancy cited discussions he had with military experts on the lack of planning to handle a hijacked plane being used in a suicide attack and criticized the news media’s treatment of the United States Intelligence Community. Clancy appeared again on PBS‘s Charlie Rose, to discuss the implications of the day’s events with Richard Holbrooke, New York Times journalist Judith Miller, and Senator John Edwards, among others.[10] Clancy was interviewed on these shows because his 1994 book Debt of Honor included a scenario where a disgruntled Japanese character crashes a fueled Boeing 747 into the U.S. Capitol dome during an address by the President to a joint session of Congress, killing the President and most of Congress. This plot device bore strong similarities to the attacks of September 11, 2001.

Clancy was also a Life Member of the National Rifle Association since 1978.[11]

Personal

Clancy was born in Baltimore, Maryland.[1] He attended Loyola Blakefield in Towson, Maryland, graduating with the class of 1965.[1] He then attended Loyola College (now Loyola University) in Baltimore, graduating in 1969.[1] Before making his literary debut, he spent some time running an independent insurance agency.

Clancy and his first wife Wanda married in 1969, separated briefly in 1995, and permanently separated in December 1996.[12] Clancy filed for divorce in November 1997,[13] which became final in January 1999.[14] In 1999, Clancy married freelance journalist Alexandra Marie Llewellyn.[15]

Clancy died October 1, 2013, after a brief illness at Johns Hopkins Hospital, near his Baltimore home. He was 66 and no cause of death was released. He is survived by four children and his second wife, Alexandra Marie Llewellyn.[16]

Bibliography

Works, by year of publication

The Hunt for Red October (1984)
Clancy’s first published novel. CIA analyst Jack Ryan assists in the defection of a respected Soviet naval captain, along with the most advanced ballistic missile submarine of the Soviet fleet. The movie (1990) stars Alec Baldwin as Ryan and Sean Connery as Captain Ramius. Captain Mancuso is introduced here. Nearly every book after has Mancuso in ever increasing command of U.S. submarine forces.
Red Storm Rising (1986)
War between NATO and USSR. The basis of the combat game of the same name, this book is not a member of the Ryan story series (although the protagonist of the story has many similarities with Jack Ryan). Cowritten with Larry Bond.
Patriot Games (1987)
Patriot Games chronologically predates the first book that Clancy wrote, The Hunt for Red October. Jack Ryan foils an attack in London on the Prince and Princess of Wales by the “Ulster Liberation Army”. The ULA then attacks Ryan’s Maryland home while he is hosting the Prince and Princess for dinner. The movie stars Harrison Ford as Ryan and Samuel L. Jackson as Robby Jackson.
The Cardinal of the Kremlin (1988)
The sequel to “The Hunt for Red October.” First appearance of John Clark and Sergey Golovko. Ryan leads a CIA operation which forces the head of the KGB to defect. Other elements include anti-satellite lasers and other SDI-type weapons, and the Soviet war in Afghanistan. Major Alan Gregory is introduced here. (He appears later, updating SAMsoftware in The Bear and the Dragon). Colonel Bondarenko also is introduced here. (He appears in later books offering advice to Golovko in “Executive Orders” and commanding the Russian Army defenses against China in its sequel “The Bear and the Dragon”.)
Clear and Present Danger (1989)
The President authorizes the CIA to use American military forces in a covert war against cocaine producers in Colombia. The operation is betrayed. Ryan meets John Clark as they lead a mission to rescue abandoned soldiers. Domingo “Ding” Chavez (Clark’s protege in later novels) is one of the rescued soldiers. The 1994 film stars Harrison Ford as Ryan, Willem Dafoe as Clark, and Raymond Cruz as Chavez.
The Sum of All Fears (1991)
Arab terrorists find a nuclear weapon that had been lost by Israel, and use it to attack the United States. This nearly triggers a war between the U.S. and the Soviet Union, due to the incompetence of the new President and his mistress with an anti-Ryan agenda. Ryan intervenes to avert the war. The 2002 film stars Ben Affleck as Ryan and Liev Schreiber as Clark, and changes the identity and motivation of the terrorists to neo-Nazis.
Without Remorse (1993)
Without Remorse takes place during the Vietnam War, when Jack Ryan was a teenager. Ex-SEAL John Clark (then John Kelly) fights a one-man war against drug dealers in Baltimore, attracting the attention of Jack’s father Emmett, a Baltimore police detective. He also helps plan and execute a raid on a prisoner-of-war camp in North Vietnam. Clark joins the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
Debt of Honor (1994)
A secret cabal of extreme nationalists gains control of Japan (having acquired some nuclear weapons), and start a war with the U.S. Ryan, now National Security Advisor, and Clark and Chavez, agents in Japan, help win the war. The Vice President resigns in a scandal, and the President appoints Ryan to replace him. A vengeful, die-hard Japanese airline pilot then crashes a jetliner into the U.S. Capitol during a joint session of Congress attended by most senior U.S. government officials, including the President. Ryan thus becomes the new President through succession.
Executive Orders (1996)
This is the immediate sequel to Debt of Honor. President Ryan survives press hazing, an assassination attempt, and a biological warfare attack on the United States. Clark and Chavez trace the virus to a Middle Eastern madman, and the U.S. military goes to work.
SSN: Strategies for Submarine Warfare (1996)
Follows the missions of USS Cheyenne in a future war with China precipitated by China’s invasion of the disputed Spratly Islands. Also not a Ryan universe book, SSN is actually a loosely connected collection of “scenario” chapters in support of the eponymous video game.
Rainbow Six (1998)
Released to coincide with the video game of the same name. John Clark and Ding, who is now Clark’s son-in-law, lead an elite multi-national anti-terrorist unit that combats a worldwide genocide attempt by eco-terrorists. Ryan is the U.S. President and only mentioned or referred to as either ‘The President’ or ‘Jack’.
The Bear and the Dragon (2000)
War between Russia and China. Ryan recognizes the independence of Taiwan, Chinese police officers kill a Roman Catholic Cardinal, and the American armed forces help Russia defeat a Chinese invasion of Siberia.
Red Rabbit (2002)
In the early 1980s, CIA analyst Ryan aids in the defection of a Soviet officer who knows of a plan to assassinate Pope John Paul II.
The Teeth of the Tiger (2003)
Jack Ryan’s son, Jack Ryan, Jr., becomes an intelligence analyst, and then a field consultant, for The Campus, an off-the-books intelligence agency with the freedom to discreetly assassinate individuals “who threaten national security”, following the end of the Jack Ryan Sr. presidential administration. This book of the Jack Ryan series by Tom Clancy introduces Ryan’s son and two nephews as heirs to his spook-legacy.
Dead or Alive (2010, with Grant Blackwood)
The story picks up where The Teeth of the Tiger left off with Jack Ryan, Jr. and The Campus trying to catch a terrorist known as “The Emir”.
Against All Enemies (2011, with Peter Telep)
A terrorist bombing in Pakistan wipes out Max Moore’s entire CIA team. As the only survivor, the former Navy SEAL plunges deeper into the treacherous tribal lands to find the terrorist cell, but what he discovers there leads him to a much darker conspiracy in an unexpected part of the globe — the United States/Mexico border.
Locked On (Dec 2011, with Mark Greaney)
While Jack Ryan Jr. trains to become a field operative within The Campus, his father campaigns for re-election as President of the United States. A devout enemy of Jack Sr. launches a privately funded vendetta to discredit him, while a corrupt Pakistani general has entered into a deadly pact with a fanatical terrorist to procure nuclear warheads.
Search and Destroy (July 2012, with Peter Telep) (Cancelled)
Threat Vector (Dec 2012, with Mark Greaney)
Jack Ryan has only just moved back into the Oval Office when he is faced with a new international threat. An aborted coup in the People’s Republic of China has left President Wei Zhen Lin with no choice but to agree with the expansionist policies of General Su Ke Quiang. They have declared the South China Sea a protectorate and are planning an invasion of Taiwan. The Ryan administration is determined to thwart China’s ambitions, but the stakes are dangerously high as a new breed of powerful Chinese anti-ship missiles endanger the US Navy’s plans to protect the island. Meanwhile, Chinese cyber warfare experts have launched a devastating attack on American infrastructure.
Command Authority (December 2013, with Mark Greaney)
There is a new strong man in Russia but his rise to power is based on a dark secret hidden decades in the past. The clue to the mystery lies with a most unexpected source, President Jack Ryan.[17]

Novels not in a series

Jack Ryan/John Clark universe chronology

In the order in which they occur in the storyline (and when they occur):

  • Without Remorse (1969–70, 1973 – Starts late 1969, in Hurricane Camille’s aftermath. Continues the following spring, in 1970. Epilogue is titled “February 12, 1973″) Ryan briefly appears in this novel.
  • Patriot Games (1982, based on a reference to Ryan’s age, which is 31 at the beginning of the novel. This roughly fits with a reference to the Princess of Wales’s first child being a baby and a few months old, Prince William was born in 1982) Discrepancies include the reference to a van having a likely year of manufacture of 1984.
  • Red Rabbit (circa spring of 1982, based on references to living Leonid Brezhnev and Mikhail Suslov, both of whom died in 1982 (although Suslov died already in January of that year), as well as Jack Ryan, Jr.’s age in the novel, 6 months) Discrepancies with the estimate of 1982 include frequent references to “Transformers” which did not appear until 1984 and the fact that the Orioles played the Phillies in the World Series in 1983, not to mention that the World Series is played in the Fall, not the Spring. Also a reference to “Coke Classic” which did not debut until the summer of 1985.
  • The Hunt for Red October (1984)
  • The Cardinal of the Kremlin (1986) – “The first chapter is set in January and states that Ryan is 35 years old. It also has references to the other books set earlier. For example the Foleys have been in Moscow for almost four years. The book must begin (not including prologue which was set end of previous year) in January 1986.

Starting with the following novel, the series becomes distinctly different from real history as noted below.

  • Clear and Present Danger (1988) The book refers to Jack’s age as 40.
  • The Sum of All Fears (1990–1991) — Israel partially cedes sovereignty over Jerusalem to the Vatican and Saudi Arabia, and the city becomes a United Nations protectorate policed by Swiss Guards. Residents of Jerusalem can choose between either Vatican, Israeli or Islamic judicial law. Denver is devastated by a terrorist nuclear explosion. The book occurs after the Persian Gulf War and before the dissolution of the Soviet Union. It is implied that both events occur at the same time in the Ryan universe as in actual history (of the Soviet Union dissolution), 1991. In the earlier chapters it states that it had almost been two Novembers since President Fowler had been elected, making the beginning set in 1990. Interestingly, the video game Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six puts the atomic detonation in Denver as having occurred in 1989.
  • Debt of Honor (1995–1996) — The U.S. and Russia destroy all of their ballistic missiles. After crippling the U.S. economy and becoming a nuclear power, Japan invades and takes the Marianas Islands; the United States and Japan fight a brief war, which the Japanese lose (they are subsequently denuclearized); an embittered Japanese pilot and proponent of the war crashes a 747 into the United States Capitol Building immediately after Ryan’s confirmation vote for the Vice President, killing most of the House andSenate, the President, all nine Supreme Court justices, the senior military establishment (including the JCS), and most of the Cabinet; Ryan is left in charge of a gutted government. The end of the book occurs eleven months before 1997 presidential inauguration. Of interest, but not crucial to the plot of this or further books is that North and South Korea were said to be unified at some point between The Sum of All Fears and this book.
  • Executive Orders (1996) — Saddam Hussein is assassinatedIran and Iraq merge forming the United Islamic Republic; the UIR launches a biological attack on the U.S. using the Ebola virus; the United States launches the Second Persian Gulf War against the UIR and defeats them; the Ayatollah is killed in a smart-bomb attack by the U.S.
  • Rainbow Six (1999–2000) – events are based on the Sydney Olympics held in 2000, RAINBOW – an elite counter-terrorist force – is created and engages terrorists acrossEurope. Ecoterrorists plan to create a genetically-enhanced virus based on Ebola and cancer cells, which they plan to use to wipe out much of the world’s population.
  • The Bear and the Dragon (2002) — Russia is admitted to NATO; China and Russia fight a major war, in which the U.S. intervenes on its NATO ally’s side. It implies that theBritish Prime Minister is Tony Blair. Ryan has won re-election as president (2001). He resigns before the 2004 election making Robby Jackson president.
  • The Teeth of the Tiger (2006, based on the age of Jack Ryan, Jr.) The U.S. is now engaged in a global war on terrorism, in response to the September 11 attacks, which occurred in the Ryan universe as they did in the real world. It is mentioned that the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq occurred in the Ryan universe continuity, and that the Jerusalem Treaty signed in The Sum of All Fears has failed as Israelis and Palestinians went back to fighting each other.
  • Dead or Alive (2007, based on Jack Ryan’s announcement that he would run against Ed Kealty for President “in the coming year”) — The Umayyad Revolutionary Council (the Ryan universe version of Al-Qaeda) and its leader “The Emir” (based on Osama bin Laden) plan a string of major attacks on the U.S. The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq continue, as in our timeline, and President Kealty is in the process of withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq. A character also explicitly refers to the date as May 2010, in the process of decoding encrypted messages, but this must be seen as a contradiction, as Ed Kealty is president and is only president for one term. In accordance with the Jack Ryan continuity, Kealty must be president in the term 2005-2009.
  • Locked On (2008, based on Jack Ryan Sr.’s campaign for re-election). Jack Ryan is running for president again. Since it is only possible for Kealty to serve one term per the rules of the Constitution, that term must be from 2005 to 2009. The election happens in this book, too, making it only possible that the events take place in 2008. Jack Ryan Sr.’s opponent, Edward Kealty, tries to dig up dirt on him by going after John Clark. Meanwhile, a renegade Pakistani general steals nuclear weapons from his country and delivers them to rebel Dagestani forces. In the middle of all this, Jack Ryan Jr. and The Campus try to prevent the use of the lethal weapon and come to help Clark.
  • Threat Vector (2012). Ryan has been sworn in as president of the United States after having been elected the previous year. It also states that the events of this novel happen six months after the previous novel.
  • Command Authority To be released 12-3-2013

Op-Center universe

  1. Op-Center (1995)
  2. Mirror Image (1995)
  3. Games of State (1996)
  4. Acts of War (1996)
  5. Balance of Power (1998)
  6. State of Siege (1999)
  7. Divide and Conquer (2000)
  8. Line of Control (2001)
  9. Mission of Honor (2002)
  10. Sea of Fire (2003)
  11. Call to Treason (2004)
  12. War of Eagles (2005)

Net Force universe

  • Net Force (1999)
  • Hidden Agendas (1999)
  • Night Moves (1999)
  • Breaking Point (2000)
  • Point of Impact (2001)
  • CyberNation (2001)
  • State of War (2003)
  • Changing of the Guard (2003)
  • Springboard (2005)
  • The Archimedes Effect (2006)

Net Force Explorers universe

Power Plays series

  • Politika (novel, 1997)
    • Politika (video game) by Red Storm Entertainment
    • Politika (board game)
  • ruthless.com (novel, 1998)
    • ruthless.com (video game, 1998) by Red Storm Entertainment
  • Shadow Watch (novel, 1999) by Jerome Preisler
    • Shadow Watch (video game, 1999) by Red Storm Entertainment
  • Bio-Strike (novel, 2000) by Jerome Preisler
  • Cold War (novel, 2001) by Jerome Preisler
  • Cutting Edge (novel, 2002) by Jerome Preisler
  • Zero Hour (novel, 2003) by Jerome Preisler
  • Wild Card (novel, 2004) by Jerome Preisler

Ghost Recon universe

EndWar universe

H.A.W.X universe

  • Tom Clancy’s H.A.W.X by Grant Blackwood as David Michaels

Non-fiction

Guided Tour

Study in Command

Other

  • The Tom Clancy Companion — Edited by Martin H. Greenberg — Writings by Clancy along with a concordance of all his fiction novels, detailing characters and military units or equipment.

Video games

In 1996, Clancy co-founded the video game developer Red Storm Entertainment and ever since he has had his name on several of Red Storm’s most successful games. Red Storm was later bought by publisher Ubisoft Entertainment, which continued to use the Clancy name, though the extent of Clancy’s actual involvement with creation of the games and development of intellectual properties, if any, was unclear. This game series includes:

Board games

Achievements and awards

References

  1. Jump up to:a b c d Clancy, Tom (October 31, 1997). “alt.books.tom-clancy”. groups.google.com. Retrieved 2012-03-20.
  2. Jump up^ A few sources, such as Who’s Who and “Tom Clancy”Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Retrieved March 20, 2012., give his birth date as March 12, 1947. He died Wednesday October 2, 2013.
  3. Jump up^ Anderson, Patrick (1 May 1988). “King of the Techno-thriller”New York Times Magazine.
  4. Jump up to:a b Quinn, Judy (24 August 1997). “$100M Mega-Deals for Clancy”Publishers Weekly 243 (34).[dead link]
  5. Jump up^ “Alexandra Llewellyn, Tom Clancy,” The New York Times, June 27, 1999.
  6. Jump up to:a b “Tom Clancy”. NNDB. 1999-06-26. Retrieved 2010-02-28.
  7. Jump up^ Mitchell, Richard (2008-03-25). “Clancy name bought by Ubisoft, worth big bucks. SOURCE: www.chatwave.in”. Xbox360fanboy.com. Retrieved 2010-02-28.
  8. Jump up^ Paperback Writer, The New Republic, May 25, 2004.
  9. Jump up^ 23 October 2007. “Tom Clancy on Sept 11 2001 & WTC 7 Collapse”. Youtube.com. Retrieved 2010-02-28.
  10. Jump up^ “An hour about the 9/11 attacks”. Charlierose.com. 2001-09-11. Retrieved 2010-02-28.
  11. Jump up^ LaPierre, Wayne (1994). Guns, Crime, and Freedom. HarperPerennial. p. xiii.ISBN 978-0-06-097674-3.
  12. Jump up^ Schindehette, Susan (15 June 1998). “Storm Rising”People Magazine 49 (23): 141.
  13. Jump up^ Jones, Brent (27 August 2008). “Reconsider Clancy case ruling”Baltimore Sun.
  14. Jump up^ “Case No. 04-C-03-000749 OC”. Circuit Court for Calvert County. Retrieved March 23, 2012.
  15. Jump up^ Kennedy, John R. (2013-10-02). “Author Tom Clancy dead at 66 – Okanagan”. Globalnews.ca. Retrieved 2013-10-02.
  16. Jump up^ “Tom Clancy, author of ‘Hunt for Red October’ and ‘Patriot Games,’ dead at 66″. NY Times. Retrieved 2 October 2013.
  17. Jump up^ “Command Authority by Tom Clancy”. Barnesandnoble.com. Retrieved 2013-10-02.
  18. Jump up^ Ryan, Michael E. (12 April 2000). “Shadow Watch”. Gamespot. Retrieved 23 March 2012.
  19. Jump up^ Totilo, Stephen (May 12, 2011). “Ghost Recon: Future Soldier Will Rival the Shooter Heavyweights, but is Getting Far Out of the Way”. Kotaku. Retrieved May 12, 2011.
  20. Jump up^ “Tom Clancy’s Politika | Board Game”. BoardGameGeek. Retrieved 2011-12-19.
  21. Jump up^ “Washington Post”. Washington Post. 1997-06-01. Retrieved 2010-02-28.
  22. Jump up^ “Rensselaer Magazine: Summer 2004: At Rensselaer”. Rpi.edu. Retrieved 2010-02-28.
  23. Jump up^ “TC Post: Clancy Speaks Again Briefly”. Clancyfaq.com. 2000-06-25. Retrieved 2010-02-28.

External links

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People Peace Doves vs. Politician War Hawks– Bye Bye Birdie — Obama’s Secret Sincere Syria Weapon? — War, Eve of Destruction, Where Have All The Flowers Gone? — Videos

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[youtubehttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fAIoUREM2X8]

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Ann-Margret BYE BYE BIRDIE title song

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Obama’s Syria War Is Really About Iran and Israel

Bob Dreyfuss

The dirty little not-so-secret behind President Obama’s much-lobbied-for, illegal and strategically incompetent war against Syria is that it’s not about Syria at all. It’s about Iran—and Israel. And it has been from the start.

By “the start,” I mean 2011, when the Obama administration gradually became convinced that it could deal Iran a mortal blow by toppling President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, a secular, Baathist strongman who is, despite all, an ally of Iran’s. Since then, taking Iran down a peg has been the driving force behind Obama’s Syria policy.

Not coincidentally, the White House plans to scare members of Congress into supporting the ill-conceived war plan by waving the Iranian flag in their faces. Even liberal Democrats, some of whom are opposing or questioning war with Syria, blanch at the prospect of opposing Obama and the Israel lobby over Iran.

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Item for consideration: a new column by the Syria analyst at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, the chief think tank of the Israel lobby. Andrew Tabler headlines his piece: “Attacking Syria Is the Best Way to Deal with Iran.” In it, he says:

At first glance, the festering Syria crisis seems bad news for diplomatic efforts to keep Iran from developing nuclear capabilities. In actuality, however, achieving U.S. objectives in the Syria crisis is an opportunity to pressure Iran into making hard choices not only in Syria, but regarding its nuclear program as well. More U.S. involvement to achieve its objectives in Syria will inevitably run counter to Tehran’s interests, be it to punish the Assad regime for chemical weapons use or to show support for the Syrian opposition in changing Assad’s calculus and forcing him to “step aside” at the negotiating table or on the battlefield.

Many in U.S. policymaking circles have viewed containing swelling Iranian influence in Syria and preventing Iran from going nuclear as two distinct policy discussions, as the Obama Administration only has so much “bandwidth” to deal with Middle East threats. But the recent deepening of cooperation between Tehran, Hezbollah and the Assad regime, combined with their public acknowledgement of these activities, indicates that they themselves see these activities as furthering the efficacy of the “resistance axis.”

Like every alliance, its members will only make hard policy choices if the costs of its current policies far outweigh the benefits. U.S. strikes on the Assad regime, if properly calibrated as part of an overall plan to degrade the regime, would force Tehran to become more involved in Syria in order to rescue its stalwart ally. This would be costly for Iran financially, militarily and politically. Those costs would make the Iranian regime and its people reassess aspirations to go nuclear.

Needless to say, such a strategy is bound to be counterproductive, since—by slamming Syria, never mind toppling Assad—Washington is likely to undermine doves and bolster hawks in Tehran and undermine the chances for successful negotiations with Iran’s new president, Hassan Rouhani, who’ll be speaking at the UN General Assembly later this month.

In fact, both Russia and Iran have signaled recently, in the wake of Syria’s obvious deployment and use of sarin gas and other deadly weapons that they might be getting ready to join the rest of the world in condemning Syria’s chemical warfare, and that makes it far more likely that the much-postponed US-Russia “Geneva II” peace conference on Syria might work. The hawkish Washington Post today notes Rouhani’s new administration in Tehran is softening its tone on Syria, and it reports that the new Iranian foreign minister, Javad Zarif, has acknowledged the Syria has erred, saying: “We believe that the government in Syria has made grave mistakes that have, unfortunately, paved the way for the situation in the country to be abused.”

Meanwhile, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, while issuing scathing denunciations of the coming U.S. attack on Syria, has dropped broad hints that he might be willing to join with other nations if and when the United Nations weapons team concludes that Assad used nerve gas, suggesting that Russia might not block a UN Security Council resolution against Syria. In his much-reported interview with the Associated Press, Putin insisted on waiting for the UN report:

“If there is evidence that chemical weapons have been used, and used specifically by the regular army, this evidence should be submitted to the U.N. Security Council. And it ought to be convincing. It shouldn’t be based on some rumors and information obtained by intelligence agencies through some kind of eavesdropping, some conversations and things like that.”

Then, according to the Washington Post, Putin declared that he might join a UN-sponsored coalition on Syria:

He said he “doesn’t exclude” backing the use of force against Syria at the United Nations if there is objective evidence proving that Assad’s regime used chemical weapons against its people. But he strongly warned Washington against launching military action without U.N. approval, saying it would represent an aggression. Russia can veto resolutions at the U.N. Security Council and has protected Syria from punitive actions there before.

But a change in tone on the part of Russia and Iran—the latter of whom the Obama administration still refuses to invite to Geneva II if and when it occurs—won’t mean a thing if the object of war with Syria is to send a message to Iran. As Jeffrey Goldberg, writing for Bloomberg, says, for Israel it’s all about Iran:

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel would prefer that Obama enforce his red line on chemical weapons use, because he would like to see proof that Obama believes in the red lines he draws. From Netanyahu’s perspective, Israel isn’t unduly threatened by Assad. Syria constitutes a dangerous, but ultimately manageable, threat.

Netanyahu believes, of course, that Iran, Syria’s primary sponsor, poses an existential threat to his country, and so would like the Iranians to understand very clearly that Obama’s red lines are, in fact, very red. As Robert Satloff, the executive director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, told me last night, the formula is simple: “If the Iranians do not fear Obama, then the Israelis will lose confidence in Obama.”

In his round-robin television appearances on Sunday, Secretary of State John Kerry—now the administration’s über-hawk—repeatedly said that bombing Syria would send a message to Iran. As he told Fox News on Sunday:

“The fact is that if we act and if we act in concert, then Iran will know that this nation is capable of speaking with one voice on something like this, and that has serious, profound implications, I think, with respect to the potential of a confrontation over their nuclear program. That is one of the things that is at stake here.”

http://www.thenation.com/blog/176040/obamas-syria-war-really-about-iran-and-israel#

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First Cruise Missles fired at Libya from USS Barry

Uploaded on Mar 20, 2011

Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Barry launches a Tomahawk missile in support of Operation Odyssey Dawn. This was one of approximately 110 cruise missiles fired from U.S. and British ships and submarines that targeted about 20 radar and anti-aircraft sites along Libya’s Mediterranean coast.

Launching World War 3 with the missiles of September?

By Raymond Thomas Pronk

TLAM_Launch

Tomahawk Land Attack Missile (TLAM) launched from guided missile cruiser USS Cape St. George

Credit: commons.wikimedia.org

In poll after poll the vast majority of the American people have opposed United States intervention in the Syrian civil war by military action and the shipping of arms to the Syrian rebels opposed to the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad.

The Syrian civil war is essentially a religious-based civil war between an Islamic Sunni majority and an Islamic Shia minority that controls the Syrian government.

Sunni Muslims comprise about 60 percent of the population with the Syrian rebels being mostly Arab Sunni Muslims. The Syrian rebels are supported by the United States, Britain, France, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

Arab Shia Muslims (Alawite, Twelvers and Ismailis) comprise about 13 percent of the Syrian population. Hafez al-Assad ruled Syria from 1970-2000 and Bashar al-Assad since July 2000. The Assad family is Alawite and most members of the Syrian government are Arab Shia Muslims. The Assad government is supported by Russia, China, Iran and Hezbollah. The Iranian government is a Persian Shia theocracy of Twelvers that also support the Shia Hezbollah in Lebanon.

The civil war is more than two years old with over 100,000 killed, nearly two million Syrians fleeing to other countries including Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt and several million displaced Syrians moving to other areas within Syria to avoid the violence, according to the United Nations Syrian Refugee Response online report.

“About 60 percent of Americans surveyed said the U.S. should not intervene in Syria’s civil war, while just 9 percent thought President Barack Obama should act,” according to a recent Reuter’s poll. The Reuters/Ipsos tracking poll, taken Aug. 21-26, found that 47.4 percent would oppose, 27.6 percent would support U.S. intervention in Syria, even if Assad’s forces used chemical weapons against civilians, while 25 percent do not know.

After more than a decade of U.S. military intervention in Afghanistan and Iraq and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s (NATO) military action and Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) covert action in the Libyan civil war to overthrow Muammar Gaddafi, the American people may have become war weary and opposed to further U.S. government intervention in the Middle East.

In the Libyan civil war the submarine USS Florida launched 100 cruise missiles to takeout Libyan air defenses. This opened a cleared corridor for airstrikes by NATO aircraft and the eventual overthrow of Gaddafi, according to John Barry in his Aug. 20, 2011 online story, “America’ Secret Libya War.”

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), in a foreign policy speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars National Convention on July 22, said “The Assad regime is no friend to freedom or the United States. But this does not mean the enemy of our enemy is our friend. There are currently 17 different rebel groups in Syria, including the largest group, al-Nusra. Al-Nusra fighters are radical anti-American jihadists that are affiliated with al-Qaeda. Politicians in Washington, who are eager to send these weapons, promise they will not fall into the hands of our enemies. Do you believe that? Does anyone believe that?”

On Aug. 20, 2012 at the White House, Obama said, “We cannot have a situation where chemical or biological weapons are falling into the hands of the wrong people.  We have communicated in no uncertain terms with every player in the region, that that’s a red line for us, and that there would be enormous consequences if we start seeing movement on the chemical weapons front, or the use of chemical weapons. That would change my calculations significantly.”

On Aug. 26 Secretary of State John Kerry accused the Syrian government of crossing Obama’s red line when he said, “Let me be clear: The indiscriminate slaughter of civilians, the killing of women and children and innocent bystanders by chemical weapons is a moral obscenity. By any standard, it is inexcusable and despite the excuses and equivocations that some have manufactured, it is undeniable.”

Kerry pointed out in his statement, “the U.N. investigation will not determine who used these chemical weapons, only whether such weapons were used, a judgment that is already clear to the world.”

The question left unanswered is who actually used the chemical weapons, the Syrian government or the Syrian rebels? As of press time, the Obama administration has not provided concrete proof that the Syrian government ordered the use of chemical weapons.

Obama as much as admitted this in a CNN interview on Aug. 23 when he said, “If the U.S. goes in and attacks another country without a U.N. mandate and without clear evidence that can be presented, then there are questions in terms of whether international law supports it – do we have the coalition to make it work?”

Obama appears determined to order the U.S. navy to launch Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles (TLAM). Four destroyers, the USS Barry, the USS Mahan, the USS Ramage and the USS Gravely as well as several submarines armed with TLAMs are at press time in position off the coast of Syria, according to naval officials. These cruise missiles would most likely be used to destroy Syrian air defense, communications and command and control systems. After these have been taken out, cruise missiles and fighter and bomber aircraft could be used to destroy the Syrian air force aircraft and runways and the stockpile of chemical and biological weapons.

According to recent polling however, by Reuters and others, the American people, want no part of the Syrian civil war even if chemical weapons were used, no matter who used them.

The American people may be concerned that given the Syrian government’s allies, the launching of cruise missiles could lead to rapid military escalation and a war with Russia, China and Iran.

Article 1, Section 8, of the Constitution gives Congress the power to declare war, not the president. Congress is not scheduled to reconvene until Monday, Sept. 9 at 2 p.m.. By then an undeclared war may have begun with the launching of the missiles aimed at Syria.

Obama Warns Syria’s Assad Chemical Weapons A ‘RED Line’

Published on Aug 21, 2012

President Obama made a surprise appearance during Jay Carney’s White House briefing. Speaking to a packed press room, he raised a smile as he traded banter with them before launching into the serious issue of Syria and chemical weapons.
He confirmed that the US has said Assad needs to step down.
Obama then tackled the issue of humanitarian aid to Syrians, and those who are fleeing the country to escape the Assad regime ,severely straining the resources of nearby host countries.
And the President ended the briefing on a serious note, by saying that should the US and United Nations be aware of any chemical weapons then they would react accordingly to the threat.
On the same day that Obama made this statement in the US, the Russian Minister and Syrian ally, SERGEI LAVROV speaking at a news conference in Helsinki, said Moscow would not approve any political transition that was forced on Syria. Stating that only the United Nations Security Council alone, can authorise the use of force against Syria, and not just the US.
Written and presented by Ann Salter

Barack Obama lays down red line to Syria over chemical weapons

Published on Dec 4, 2012

President Obama warns “there will be consequences” if the regime of Bashar Al-Assad used chemical weapons amid reports Syrian military forces were readying supplies of deadly nerve gas.

President Barack Obama warned Syrian President Bashar al-Assad not to use chemical weapons against opposition forces, saying there would be consequences if he were to do so.

“The world is watching,” he said.

“The use of chemical weapons is and would be totally unacceptable and if you make the tragic mistake of using these weapons there will be consequences and you will be held accountable,” Mr Obama said in remarks to a gathering of nuclear proliferation experts.

The President’s warning came as US officials claimed to have detected signs that Syrian forces were mixing the chemicals needed to produce sarin gas, a nerve agent banned under international rules of war.

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John Kerry: Syria must be held accountable for chemical weapon attacks

Published on Aug 27, 2013

John Kerry: Syria must be held accountable for chemical weapon attacks.

The US secretary of state, John Kerry, has made a stern speech condemning the use of chemical weapons in Syria to carry out the ‘indiscriminate slaughter of civilians and the killing of women, children and innocent bystanders’. Kerry said it was a moral outrage and the president was assessing how to respond

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Syria: Obama Joins Al-Qaeda…

Published on Mar 20, 2012

Tomahawk cruise missiles being launched towards Qadhafi regime forces as a part of JTF Odyssey Dawn.
USS Stout (DDG-55) is a part of Task Force Odyssey Dawn, the U.S.
Africa Command task force established to provide operational and tactical command and control of U.S.
military forces supporting the international response to the unrest in Libya and enforcement
of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973. UNSCR 1973 authorizes all necessary
measures to protect civilians in Libya under threat of attack by Qadhafi regime forces.
JTF Odyssey Dawn is commanded by U.S. Navy Admiral Samuel J. Locklear, III.
Odyssey Dawn, Libya11. Video by Spc. Neil Stanfield. 03.27.2011.

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watchout from below

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Colin Powell regrets Iraq war intelligence

Former US secretary of state says information he provided leading to the invasion of Iraq is a “blot” on his record.

Colin Powell, the former US secretary of state, has said he regrets providing misleading intelligence that led the US to invade Iraq, believing it had weapons of mass destruction.

Powell, the first secretary of state in the administration of George W. Bush, the former US president, which declared war on Iraq in 2003, told Al Jazeera on the 10th anniversary of the worst terror attacks on US soil that the information was a “blot on my record”.

“It turned out, as we discovered later, that a lot of sources that had been attested to by the intelligence community were wrong,” Powell said in Washington, DC.

“I understood the consequences of that failure and, as I said, I deeply regret that the information – some of the information, not all of it – was wrong,” said the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

“It has blotted my record, but – you know – there’s nothing I can do to change that blot. All I can say is that I gave it the best analysis that I could.”

Powell, who was secretary of state from 2002 to 2005, gave an elaborate description of Iraq’s weapons programme in the run-up to the war, saying “ambition and hatred” were enough to bring Iraq and al-Qaeda together and build more sophisticated bombs.

“I gave that speech on a four days’ notice based on an intelligence estimate that had been done months before and provided to Congress, and every word in that speech was gone over by the director of the Central intelligence Agency (CIA) and his deputy director and all experts,” he said.

In the United Kingdom, a traditional ally of the US which backed the military campaign, Tony Blair, who was prime minister at the time of the invasion, said Iraq had the capacity to deploy weapons of mass destruction in 45 minutes.

Blair has since been criticised for allegedly exaggerating that claim and for presenting intelligence that overstated the case for going to war. But Powell said he did not exaggerate the information he presented to Congress.

“There is nothing that I made up; there’s nothing that I stuck in there,” he said.

“Some people tried to stick extra things in there that the intelligence community wouldn’t verify and I said ‘no’.

“And so when I presented that information, it was information that the president believed in; information that my colleagues in government believed in.”

Powell said he “presented the best evidence that we had” and that the United Kingdom and other nations believed it.

The US invaded Iraq about 18 months after commercial airliners were hijacked by 19 men affiliated to al-Qaeda and flown into the twin towers of the World Trade Centre in New York.

Up to 3,000 people were killed by the hijackers who also targeted the Pentagon.

The war in Iraq, in which the US lost 6,000 of its soldiers, was preceded by the invasion in 2001 of Afghanistan by Washington.

Afghanistan was then home to Osama bin Laden, the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks and leader of al-Qaeda who was killed in May in Pakistan by US forces after a manhunt lasting nearly a decade.

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‘There is no justification to Gitmo’: Barack Obama’s speech on counter-terrorism

President Barack Obama has given a speech – justifying and outlining changes to the national defence policies of the United States. The address is seen as an opening up of America’s security policies. Obama has discussed the legality of drone strikes and the future of the Guantanamo prison.

Document: Text of Obama speech on counterterrorism, May 23, 2013

President Barack Obama’s speech on the fight against terrorism at the National Defense University, as provided by the White House:

It’s an honor to return to the National Defense University. Here, at Fort McNair, Americans have served in uniform since 1791– standing guard in the early days of the Republic, and contemplating the future of warfare here in the 21st century.

For over two centuries, the United States has been bound together by founding documents that defined who we are as Americans, and served as our compass through every type of change. Matters of war and peace are no different. Americans are deeply ambivalent about war, but having fought for our independence, we know that a price must be paid for freedom. From the Civil War, to our struggle against fascism, and through the long, twilight struggle of the Cold War, battlefields have changed, and technology has evolved. But our commitment to constitutional principles has weathered every war, and every war has come to an end.

With the collapse of the Berlin Wall, a new dawn of democracy took hold abroad, and a decade of peace and prosperity arrived at home. For a moment, it seemed the 21st century would be a tranquil time. Then, on September 11th, 2001, we were shaken out of complacency. Thousands were taken from us, as clouds of fire, metal and ash descended upon a sun-filled morning. This was a different kind of war. No armies came to our hores, and our military was not the principal target. Instead, a group of terrorists came to kill as many civilians as they could.

And so our nation went to war. We have now been at war for well over a decade. I won’t review the full history. What’s clear is that we quickly drove al-Qaida out of Afghanistan, but then shifted our focus and began a new war in Iraq. This carried grave consequences for our fight against al-Qaida, our standing in the world, and — to this day — our interests in a vital region.

Meanwhile, we strengthened our defenses — hardening targets, tightening transportation security, and giving law enforcement new tools to prevent terror. Most of these changes were sound. Some caused inconvenience. But some, like expanded surveillance, raised difficult questions about the balance we strike between our interests in security and our values of privacy. And in some cases, I believe we compromised our basic values — by using torture to interrogate our enemies, and detaining individuals in a way that ran counter to the rule of law.

After I took office, we stepped up the war against al-Qaida, but also sought to change its course. We relentlessly targeted al-Qaida’s leadership. We ended the war in Iraq, and brought nearly 150,000 troops home. We pursued a new strategy in Afghanistan, and increased our training of Afghan forces. We unequivocally banned torture, affirmed our commitment to civilian courts, worked to align our policies with the rule of law, and expanded our consultations with Congress.

Today, Osama bin Laden is dead, and so are most of his top lieutenants. There have been no large-scale attacks on the United States, and our homeland is more secure. Fewer of our troops are in harm’s way, and over the next 19 months they will continue to come home. Our alliances are strong, and so is our standing in the world. In sum, we are safer because of our efforts.

Now make no mistake: our nation is still threatened by terrorists. From Benghazi to Boston, we have been tragically reminded of that truth. We must recognize, however, that the threat has shifted and evolved from the one that came to our shores on 9/11. With a decade of experience to draw from, now is the time to ask ourselves hard questions — about the nature of today’s threats, and how we should confront them.

These questions matter to every American. For over the last decade, our nation has spent well over a trillion dollars on war, exploding our deficits and constraining our ability to nation build here at home. Our service-members and their families have sacrificed far more on our behalf. Nearly 7,000 Americans have made the ultimate sacrifice. Many more have left a part of themselves on the battlefield, or brought the shadows of battle back home. From our use of drones to the detention of terrorist suspects, the decisions we are making will define the type of nation — and world — that we leave to our children.

So America is at a crossroads. We must define the nature and scope of this struggle, or else it will define us, mindful of James Madison’s warning that “No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.” Neither I, nor any president, can promise the total defeat of terror. We will never erase the evil that lies in the hearts of some human beings, nor stamp out every danger to our open society. What we can do — what we must do — is dismantle networks that pose a direct danger, and make it less likely for new groups to gain a foothold, all while maintaining the freedoms and ideals that we defend. To define that strategy, we must make decisions based not on fear, but hard-earned wisdom. And that begins with understanding the threat we face.

Today, the core of al-Qaida in Afghanistan and Pakistan is on a path to defeat. Their remaining operatives spend more time thinking about their own safety than plotting against us. They did not direct the attacks in Benghazi or Boston. They have not carried out a successful attack on our homeland since 9/11. Instead, what we’ve seen is the emergence of various al-Qaida affiliates. From Yemen to Iraq, from Somalia to North Africa, the threat today is more diffuse, with al-Qaida’s affiliate in the Arabian Peninsula — AQAP — the most active in plotting against our homeland. While none of AQAP’s efforts approach the scale of 9/11 they have continued to plot acts of terror, like the attempt to blow up an airplane on Christmas Day in 2009.

Unrest in the Arab World has also allowed extremists to gain a foothold in countries like Libya and Syria. Here, too, there are differences from 9/11. In some cases, we confront state-sponsored networks like Hezbollah that engage in acts of terror to achieve political goals. Others are simply collections of local militias or extremists interested in seizing territory. While we are vigilant for signs that these groups may pose a transnational threat, most are focused on operating in the countries and regions where they are based. That means we will face more localized threats like those we saw in Benghazi, or at the BP oil facility in Algeria, in which local operatives — in loose affiliation with regional networks — launch periodic attacks against Western diplomats, companies, and other soft targets, or resort to kidnapping and other criminal enterprises to fund their operations.

Finally, we face a real threat from radicalized individuals here in the United States. Whether it’s a shooter at a Sikh Temple in Wisconsin; a plane flying into a building in Texas; or the extremists who killed 168 people at the Federal Building in Oklahoma City — America has confronted many forms of violent extremism in our time. Deranged or alienated individuals — often U.S. citizens or legal residents – can do enormous damage, particularly when inspired by larger notions of violent jihad. That pull towards extremism appears to have led to the shooting at Fort Hood, and the bombing of the Boston Marathon.

Lethal yet less capable al-Qaida affiliates. Threats to diplomatic facilities and businesses abroad. Homegrown extremists. This is the future of terrorism. We must take these threats seriously, and do all that we can to confront them. But as we shape our response, we have to recognize that the scale of this threat closely resembles the types of attacks we faced before 9/11. In the 1980s, we lost Americans to terrorism at our Embassy in Beirut; at our Marine Barracks in Lebanon; on a cruise ship at sea; at a disco in Berlin; and on Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie. In the 1990s, we lost Americans to terrorism at the World Trade Center; at our military facilities in Saudi Arabia; and at our Embassy in Kenya. These attacks were all deadly, and we learned that left unchecked, these threats can grow. But if dealt with smartly and proportionally, these threats need not rise to the level that we saw on the eve of 9/11.

Moreover, we must recognize that these threats don’t arise in a vacuum. Most, though not all, of the terrorism we face is fueled by a common ideology — a belief by some extremists that Islam is in conflict with the United States and the West, and that violence against Western targets, including civilians, is justified in pursuit of a larger cause. Of course, this ideology is based on a lie, for the United States is not at war with Islam; and this ideology is rejected by the vast majority of Muslims, who are the most frequent victims of terrorist acts.

Nevertheless, this ideology persists, and in an age in which ideas and images can travel the globe in an instant, our response to terrorism cannot depend on military or law enforcement alone. We need all elements of national power to win a battle of wills and ideas. So let me discuss the components of such a comprehensive counter-terrorism strategy.

First, we must finish the work of defeating al-Qaida and its associated forces.

In Afghanistan, we will complete our transition to Afghan responsibility for security. Our troops will come home. Our combat mission will come to an end. And we will work with the Afghan government to train security forces, and sustain a counter-terrorism force which ensures that al-Qaida can never again establish a safe-haven to launch attacks against us or our allies.

Beyond Afghanistan, 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. In many cases, this will involve partnerships with other countries. Thousands of Pakistani soldiers have lost their lives fighting extremists. In Yemen, we are supporting security forces that have reclaimed territory from AQAP. In Somalia, we helped a coalition of African nations push al Shabaab out of its strongholds. In Mali, we are providing military aid to a French-led intervention to push back al-Qaida in the Maghreb, and help the people of Mali reclaim their future.

Much of our best counter-terrorism cooperation results in the gathering and sharing of intelligence; the arrest and prosecution of terrorists. That’s how a Somali terrorist apprehended off the coast of Yemen is now in prison in New York. That’s how we worked with European allies to disrupt plots from Denmark to Germany to the United Kingdom. That’s how intelligence collected with Saudi Arabia helped us stop a cargo plane from being blown up over the Atlantic.

But despite our strong preference for the detention and prosecution of terrorists, sometimes this approach is foreclosed. Al-Qaida and its affiliates try to gain a foothold in some of the most distant and unforgiving places on earth. They take refuge in remote tribal regions. They hide in caves and walled compounds. They train in empty deserts and rugged mountains.

In some of these places — such as parts of Somalia and Yemen — the state has only the most tenuous reach into the territory. In other cases, the state lacks the capacity or will to take action. It is also not possible for America to simply deploy a team of Special Forces to capture every terrorist. And even when such an approach may be possible, there are places where it would pose profound risks to our troops and local civilians– where a terrorist compound cannot be breached without triggering a firefight with surrounding tribal communities that pose no threat to us, or when putting U.S. boots on the ground may trigger a major international crisis.

To put it another way, our operation in Pakistan against Osama bin Laden cannot be the norm. The risks in that case were immense; the likelihood of capture, although our preference, was remote given the certainty of resistance; the fact that we did not find ourselves confronted with civilian casualties, or embroiled in an extended firefight, was a testament to the meticulous planning and professionalism of our Special Forces — but also depended on some luck. And even then, the cost to our relationship with Pakistan — and the backlash among the Pakistani public over encroachment on their territory — was so severe that we are just now beginning to rebuild this important partnership.

It is in this context that the United States has taken lethal, targeted action against al-Qaida and its associated forces, including with remotely piloted aircraft commonly referred to as drones. As was true in previous armed conflicts, this new technology raises profound questions — about who is targeted, and why; about civilian casualties, and the risk of creating new enemies; about the legality of such strikes under U.S. and international law; about accountability and morality.

Let me address these questions. To begin with, our actions are effective. Don’t take my word for it. In the intelligence gathered at bin Laden’s compound, we found that he wrote, “we could lose the reserves to the enemy’s air strikes. We cannot fight air strikes with explosives.” Other communications from al-Qaida operatives confirm this as well. Dozens of highly skilled al-Qaida commanders, trainers, bomb makers, and operatives have been taken off the battlefield. Plots have been disrupted that would have targeted international aviation, U.S. transit systems, European cities and our troops in Afghanistan. Simply put, these strikes have saved lives.

Moreover, America’s actions are legal. We were attacked on 9/11. Within a week, Congress overwhelmingly authorized the use of force. Under domestic law, and international law, the United States is at war with al-Qaida, the Taliban, and their associated forces. We are at war with an organization that right now would kill as many Americans as they could if we did not stop them first. So this is a just war — a war waged proportionally, in last resort, and in self-defense.

And yet as our fight enters a new phase, America’s legitimate claim of self-defense cannot be the end of the discussion. To say a military tactic is legal, or even effective, is not to say it is wise or moral in every instance. For the same human progress that gives us the technology to strike half a world away also demands the discipline to constrain that power — or risk abusing it. That’s why, over the last four years, my administration has worked vigorously to establish a framework that governs our use of force against terrorists — insisting upon clear guidelines, oversight and accountability that is now codified in Presidential Policy Guidance that I signed yesterday.

In the Afghan war theater, we must support our troops until the transition is complete at the end of 2014. That means we will continue to take strikes against high value al-Qaida targets, but also against forces that are massing to support attacks on coalition forces. However, by the end of 2014, we will no longer have the same need for force protection, and the progress we have made against core al-Qaida will reduce the need for unmanned strikes.

Beyond the Afghan theater, we only target al-Qaida and its associated forces. Even then, the use of drones is heavily constrained. America does not take strikes when we have the ability to capture individual terrorists — our preference is always to detain, interrogate, and prosecute them. America cannot take strikes wherever we choose — our actions are bound by consultations with partners, and respect for state sovereignty. America does not take strikes to punish individuals — we act against terrorists who pose a continuing and imminent threat to the American people, and when there are no other governments capable of effectively addressing the threat. And before any strike is taken, there must be near-certainty that no civilians will be killed or injured — the highest standard we can set.

This last point is critical, because much of the criticism about drone strikes — at home and abroad — understandably centers on reports of civilian casualties. There is a wide gap between U.S. assessments of such casualties, and non-governmental reports. Nevertheless, it is a hard fact that U.S. strikes have resulted in civilian casualties, a risk that exists in all wars. For the families of those civilians, no words or legal construct can justify their loss. For me, and those in my chain of command, these deaths will haunt us as long as we live, just as we are haunted by the civilian casualties that have occurred through conventional fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq.

But as Commander-in-Chief, I must weigh these heartbreaking tragedies against the alternatives. To do nothing in the face of terrorist networks would invite far more civilian casualties — not just in our cities at home and facilities abroad, but also in the very places — like Sana’a and Kabul and Mogadishu — where terrorists seek a foothold. Let us remember that the terrorists we are after target civilians, and the death toll from their acts of terrorism against Muslims dwarfs any estimate of civilian casualties from drone strikes.

Where foreign governments cannot or will not effectively stop terrorism in their territory, the primary alternative to targeted, lethal action is the use of conventional military options. As I’ve said, even small Special Operations carry enormous risks. Conventional airpower or missiles are far less precise than drones, and likely to cause more civilian casualties and local outrage. And invasions of these territories lead us to be viewed as occupying armies; unleash a torrent of unintended consequences; are difficult to contain; and ultimately empower those who thrive on violent conflict. So it is false to assert that putting boots on the ground is less likely to result in civilian deaths, or to create enemies in the Muslim world. The result would be more U.S. deaths, more Blackhawks down, more confrontations with local populations, and an inevitable mission creep in support of such raids that could easily escalate into new wars.

So yes, the conflict with al-Qaida, like all armed conflict, invites tragedy. But by narrowly targeting our action against those who want to kill us, and not the people they hide among, we are choosing the course of action least likely to result in the loss of innocent life. Indeed, our efforts must also be measured against the history of putting American troops in distant lands among hostile populations. In Vietnam, hundreds of thousands of civilians died in a war where the boundaries of battle were blurred. In Iraq and Afghanistan, despite the courage and discipline of our troops, thousands of civilians have been killed. So neither conventional military action, nor waiting for attacks to occur, offers moral safe-harbor. Neither does a sole reliance on law enforcement in territories that have no functioning police or security services — and indeed, have no functioning law.

This is not to say that the risks are not real. Any U.S. military action in foreign lands risks creating more enemies, and impacts public opinion overseas. Our laws constrain the power of the president, even during wartime, and I have taken an oath to defend the Constitution of the United States. The very precision of drones strikes, and the necessary secrecy involved in such actions can end up shielding our government from the public scrutiny that a troop deployment invites. It can also lead a president and his team to view drone strikes as a cure-all for terrorism.

For this reason, I’ve insisted on strong oversight of all lethal action. After I took office, my administration began briefing all strikes outside of Iraq and Afghanistan to the appropriate committees of Congress. Let me repeat that — not only did Congress authorize the use of force, it is briefed on every strike that America takes. That includes the one instance when we targeted an American citizen: Anwar Awlaki, the chief of external operations for AQAP.

This week, I authorized the declassification of this action, and the deaths of three other Americans in drone strikes, to facilitate transparency and debate on this issue, and to dismiss some of the more outlandish claims. For the record, I do not believe it would be constitutional for the government to target and kill any U.S. citizen — with a drone, or a shotgun — without due process. Nor should any president deploy armed drones over U.S. soil.

But when a U.S. citizen goes abroad to wage war against America — and is actively plotting to kill U.S. citizens; and when neither the United States, nor our partners are in a position to capture him before he carries out a plot — his citizenship should no more serve as a shield than a sniper shooting down on an innocent crowd should be protected from a swat team

That’s who Anwar Awlaki was — he was continuously trying to kill people. He helped oversee the 2010 plot to detonate explosive devices on two U.S. bound cargo planes. He was involved in planning to blow up an airliner in 2009. When Farouk Abdulmutallab — the Christmas Day bomber — went to Yemen in 2009, Awlaki hosted him, approved his suicide operation, and helped him tape a martyrdom video to be shown after the attack. His last instructions were to blow up the airplane when it was over American soil. I would have detained and prosecuted Awlaki if we captured him before he carried out a plot. But we couldn’t. And as President, I would have been derelict in my duty had I not authorized the strike that took out Awlaki.

Of course, the targeting of any Americans raises constitutional issues that are not present in other strikes — which is why my Administration submitted information about Awlaki to the Department of Justice months before Awlaki was killed, and briefed the Congress before this strike as well. But the high threshold that we have set for taking lethal action applies to all potential terrorist targets, regardless of whether or not they are American citizens. This threshold respects the inherent dignity of every human life. Alongside the decision to put our men and women in uniform in harm’s way, the decision to use force against individuals or groups — even against a sworn enemy of the United States — is the hardest thing I do as president. But these decisions must be made, given my responsibility to protect the American people.

Going forward, I have asked my administration to review proposals to extend oversight of lethal actions outside of warzones that go beyond our reporting to Congress. Each option has virtues in theory, but poses difficulties in practice. For example, the establishment of a special court to evaluate and authorize lethal action has the benefit of bringing a third branch of government into the process, but raises serious constitutional issues about presidential and judicial authority. Another idea that’s been suggested — the establishment of an independent oversight board in the executive branch — avoids those problems, but may introduce a layer of bureaucracy into national-security decision-making, without inspiring additional public confidence in the process. Despite these challenges, I look forward to actively engaging Congress to explore these — and other — options for increased oversight.

I believe, however, that the use of force must be seen as part of a larger discussion about a comprehensive counter-terrorism strategy. Because for all the focus on the use of force, force alone cannot make us safe. We cannot use force everywhere that a radical ideology takes root; and in the absence of a strategy that reduces the well-spring of extremism, a perpetual war — through drones or Special Forces or troop deployments — will prove self-defeating, and alter our country in troubling ways.

So the next element of our strategy involves addressing the underlying grievances and conflicts that feed extremism, from North Africa to South Asia. As we’ve learned this past decade, this is a vast and complex undertaking. We must be humble in our expectation that we can quickly resolve deep rooted problems like poverty and sectarian hatred. Moreover, no two countries are alike, and some will undergo chaotic change before things get better. But our security and values demand that we make the effort.

This means patiently supporting transitions to democracy in places like Egypt, Tunisia and Libya — because the peaceful realization of individual aspirations will serve as a rebuke to violent extremists. We must strengthen the opposition in Syria, while isolating extremist elements — because the end of a tyrant must not give way to the tyranny of terrorism. We are working to promote peace between Israelis and Palestinians – because it is right, and because such a peace could help reshape attitudes in the region. And we must help countries modernize economies, upgrade education, and encourage entrepreneurship — because American leadership has always been elevated by our ability to connect with peoples’ hopes, and not simply their fears.

Success on these fronts requires sustained engagement, but it will also require resources. I know that foreign aid is one of the least popular expenditures — even though it amounts to less than one percent of the federal budget. But foreign assistance cannot be viewed as charity. It is fundamental to our national security, and any sensible long-term strategy to battle extremism. Moreover, foreign assistance is a tiny fraction of what we spend fighting wars that our assistance might ultimately prevent. For what we spent in a month in Iraq at the height of the war, we could be training security forces in Libya, maintaining peace agreements between Israel and its neighbors, feeding the hungry in Yemen, building schools in Pakistan, and creating reservoirs of goodwill that marginalize extremists.

America cannot carry out this work if we do not have diplomats serving in dangerous places. Over the past decade, we have strengthened security at our Embassies, and I am implementing every recommendation of the Accountability Review Board which found unacceptable failures in Benghazi. I have called on Congress to fully fund these efforts to bolster security, harden facilities, improve intelligence, and facilitate a quicker response time from our military if a crisis emerges.

But even after we take these steps, some irreducible risks to our diplomats will remain. This is the price of being the world’s most powerful nation, particularly as a wave of change washes over the Arab World. And in balancing the trade-offs between security and active diplomacy, I firmly believe that any retreat from challenging regions will only increase the dangers we face in the long run.

Targeted action against terrorists. Effective partnerships. Diplomatic engagement and assistance. Through such a comprehensive strategy we can significantly reduce the chances of large scale attacks on the homeland and mitigate threats to Americans overseas. As we guard against dangers from abroad, however, we cannot neglect the daunting challenge of terrorism from within our borders.

As I said earlier, this threat is not new. But technology and the Internet increase its frequency and lethality. Today, a person can consume hateful propaganda, commit themselves to a violent agenda, and learn how to kill without leaving their home. To address this threat, two years ago my administration did a comprehensive review, and engaged with law enforcement. The best way to prevent violent extremism is to work with the Muslim American community — which has consistently rejected terrorism — to identify signs of radicalization, and partner with law enforcement when an individual is drifting towards violence. And these partnerships can only work when we recognize that Muslims are a fundamental part of the American family. Indeed, the success of American Muslims, and our determination to guard against any encroachments on their civil liberties, is the ultimate rebuke to those who say we are at war with Islam.

Indeed, thwarting homegrown plots presents particular challenges in part because of our proud commitment to civil liberties for all who call America home. That’s why, in the years to come, we will have to keep working hard to strike the appropriate balance between our need for security and preserving those freedoms that make us who we are. That means reviewing the authorities of law enforcement, so we can intercept new types of communication, and build in privacy protections to prevent abuse. That means that — even after Boston — we do not deport someone or throw someone in prison in the absence of evidence. That means putting careful constraints on the tools the government uses to protect sensitive information, such as the State Secrets doctrine. And that means finally having a strong Privacy and Civil Liberties Board to review those issues where our counter-terrorism efforts and our values may come into tension.

The Justice Department’s investigation of national security leaks offers a recent example of the challenges involved in striking the right balance between our security and our open society. As Commander-in Chief, I believe we must keep information secret that protects our operations and our people in the field. To do so, we must enforce consequences for those who break the law and breach their commitment to protect classified information. But a free press is also essential for our democracy. I am troubled by the possibility that leak investigations may chill the investigative journalism that holds government accountable.

Journalists should not be at legal risk for doing their jobs. Our focus must be on those who break the law. That is why I have called on Congress to pass a media shield law to guard against government over-reach. I have raised these issues with the Attorney General, who shares my concern. So he has agreed to review existing Department of Justice guidelines governing investigations that involve reporters, and will convene a group of media organizations to hear their concerns as part of that review. And I have directed the Attorney General to report back to me by July 12th.

All these issues remind us that the choices we make about war can impact — in sometimes unintended ways — the openness and freedom on which our way of life depends. And that is why I intend to engage Congress about the existing Authorization to Use Military Force, or AUMF, to determine how we can continue to fight terrorists without keeping America on a perpetual war-time footing.

The AUMF is now nearly twelve years old. The Afghan War is coming to an end. Core al-Qaida is a shell of its former self. Groups like AQAP must be dealt with, but in the years to come, not every collection of thugs that labels themselves al-Qaida will pose a credible threat to the United States. Unless we discipline our thinking and our actions, we may be drawn into more wars we don’t need to fight, or continue to grant presidents unbound powers more suited for traditional armed conflicts between nation states. So I look forward to engaging Congress and the American people in efforts to refine, and ultimately repeal, the AUMF’s mandate. And I will not sign laws designed to expand this mandate further. Our systematic effort to dismantle terrorist organizations must continue. But this war, like all wars, must end. That’s what history advises. That’s what our democracy demands.

And that brings me to my final topic: the detention of terrorist suspects.

To repeat, as a matter of policy, the preference of the United States is to capture terrorist suspects. When we do detain a suspect, we interrogate them. And if the suspect can be prosecuted, we decide whether to try him in a civilian court or a Military Commission. During the past decade, the vast majority of those detained by our military were captured on the battlefield. In Iraq, we turned over thousands of prisoners as we ended the war. In Afghanistan, we have transitioned detention facilities to the Afghans, as part of the process of restoring Afghan sovereignty. So we bring law of war detention to an end, and we are committed to prosecuting terrorists whenever we can.

The glaring exception to this time-tested approach is the detention center at Guantanamo Bay. The original premise for opening GTMO — that detainees would not be able to challenge their detention — was found unconstitutional five years ago. In the meantime, GTMO has become a symbol around the world for an America that flouts the rule of law. Our allies won’t cooperate with us if they think a terrorist will end up at GTMO. During a time of budget cuts, we spend $150 million each year to imprison 166 people — almost $1 million per prisoner. And the Department of Defense estimates that we must spend another $200 million to keep GTMO open at a time when we are cutting investments in education and research here at home.

As president, I have tried to close GTMO. I transferred 67 detainees to other countries before Congress imposed restrictions to effectively prevent us from either transferring detainees to other countries, or imprisoning them in the United States. These restrictions make no sense. After all, under President Bush, some 530 detainees were transferred from GTMO with Congress’s support. When I ran for president the first time, John McCain supported closing GTMO. No person has ever escaped from one of our super-max or military prisons in the United States. Our courts have convicted hundreds of people for terrorism-related offenses, including some who are more dangerous than most GTMO detainees. Given my administration’s relentless pursuit of al-Qaida’s leadership, there is no justification beyond politics for Congress to prevent us from closing a facility that should never have been opened.

Today, I once again call on Congress to lift the restrictions on detainee transfers from GTMO. I have asked the Department of Defense to designate a site in the United States where we can hold military commissions. I am appointing a new, senior envoy at the State Department and Defense Department whose sole responsibility will be to achieve the transfer of detainees to third countries. I am lifting the moratorium on detainee transfers to Yemen, so we can review them on a case by case basis. To the greatest extent possible, we will transfer detainees who have been cleared to go to other countries. Where appropriate, we will bring terrorists to justice in our courts and military justice system. And we will insist that judicial review be available for every detainee.

Even after we take these steps, one issue will remain: how to deal with those GTMO detainees who we know have participated in dangerous plots or attacks, but who cannot be prosecuted — for example because the evidence against them has been compromised or is inadmissible in a court of law. But once we commit to a process of closing GTMO, I am confident that this legacy problem can be resolved, consistent with our commitment to the rule of law.

I know the politics are hard. But history will cast a harsh judgment on this aspect of our fight against terrorism, and those of us who fail to end it. Imagine a future — 10 years from now, or 20 years from now — when the United States of America is still holding people who have been charged with no crime on a piece of land that is not a part of our country. Look at the current situation, where we are force-feeding detainees who are holding a hunger strike. Is that who we are? Is that something that our Founders foresaw? Is that the America we want to leave to our children?

Our sense of justice is stronger than that. We have prosecuted scores of terrorists in our courts. That includes Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who tried to blow up an airplane over Detroit; and Faisal Shahzad, who put a car bomb in Times Square. It is in a court of law that we will try Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who is accused of bombing the Boston Marathon. Richard Reid, the shoe bomber, is as we speak serving a life sentence in a maximum security prison here, in the United States. In sentencing Reid, Judge William Young told him, “the way we treat you.is the measure of our own liberties.” He went on to point to the American flag that flew in the courtroom — “That flag,” he said, “will fly there long after this is all forgotten. That flag still stands for freedom.”

America, we have faced down dangers far greater than al-Qaida. By staying true to the values of our founding, and by using our constitutional compass, we have overcome slavery and Civil War; fascism and communism. In just these last few years as president, I have watched the American people bounce back from painful recession, mass shootings, and natural disasters like the recent tornados that devastated Oklahoma. These events were heartbreaking; they shook our communities to the core. But because of the resilience of the American people, these events could not come close to breaking us.

I think of Lauren Manning, the 9/11 survivor who had severe burns over 80 percent of her body, who said, “That’s my reality. I put a Band-Aid on it, literally, and I move on.”

I think of the New Yorkers who filled Times Square the day after an attempted car bomb as if nothing had happened.

I think of the proud Pakistani parents who, after their daughter was invited to the White House, wrote to us, “we have raised an American Muslim daughter to dream big and never give up because it does pay off.”

I think of the wounded warriors rebuilding their lives, and helping other vets to find jobs.

I think of the runner planning to do the 2014 Boston Marathon, who said, “Next year, you are going to have more people than ever. Determination is not something to be messed with.”

That’s who the American people are. Determined, and not to be messed with.

Now, we need a strategy — and a politics — that reflects this resilient spirit. Our victory against terrorism won’t be measured in a surrender ceremony on a battleship, or a statue being pulled to the ground. Victory will be measured in parents taking their kids to school; immigrants coming to our shores; fans taking in a ballgame; a veteran starting a business; a bustling city street. The quiet determination; that strength of character and bond of fellowship; that refutation of fear — that is both our sword and our shield. And long after the current messengers of hate have faded from the world’s memory, alongside the brutal despots, deranged madmen, and ruthless demagogues who litter history — the flag of the United States will still wave from small-town cemeteries, to national monuments, to distant outposts abroad. And that flag will still stand for freedom.

Thank you. God Bless you. And may God bless the United States of America.

Obama reframes counterterrorism policy with new rules on drones

By Tom Curry, National Affairs Writer, NBC News

In a major address Thursday President Barack Obama sought to reframe the nation’s counterterrorism strategy, saying, “Our systematic effort to dismantle terrorist organizations must continue. But this war, like all wars, must end. That’s what history advises. That’s what our democracy demands.”

He said in a speech at the National Defense University in Washington, “America is at a crossroads. 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.”

In an attempt to define a new post-Sept. 11 era, Obama outlined new guidelines for the use of drones to kill terrorists overseas and pledged a renewed effort to close the military detention center in Guantanamo Bay.  In the speech, Obama argued that, “In the years to come, not every collection of thugs that labels themselves al Qaeda will pose a credible threat to the United States.” He warned that “unless we discipline our thinking and our actions, we may be drawn into more wars we don’t need to fight.”

With efforts under way in Congress to redefine the 2001 authorization to use military force (AUMF) against al Qaida, Obama said he would work with Congress “in efforts to refine, and ultimately repeal, the AUMF’s mandate. And I will not sign laws designed to expand this mandate further.”

Toward the end of Obama’s address as he discussed the Guantanamo detainees, he was repeatedly interrupted by heckling from Medea Benjamin, founder of the antiwar Code Pink, whose members have frequently been arrested for disrupting hearings on Capitol Hill – but Obama patiently said that Benjamin’s concerns are “something to be passionate about.”

“We must define the nature and scope of this struggle, or else it will define us, mindful of James Madison’s warning that ‘No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.’ Neither I, nor any president, can promise the total defeat of terror,” he declared.

As part of his redefinition of counterterrorism, the president announced several initiatives:

  • Setting narrower parameters for the use of remotely piloted aircraft, or drones, to kill terrorists overseas and to limit collateral casualties;
  • Renewing efforts to persuade Congress to agree to close the Guantanamo detention site in Cuba where 110 terrorist suspects are being held;
  • Appointing a new envoy at the State Department and an official at the Defense Department who will attempt to negotiate transfers of Guantanamo detainees to other countries.
  • Lifting the moratorium he imposed in 2010 on transferring some detainees at Guantanamo to Yemen. Obama imposed that moratorium after it was revealed that Detroit “underwear bomber” Umar Farouq Abdulmuttalab was trained in Yemen.

Obama argued that when compared to the Sept. 11, 2001 attackers, “the threat today is more diffuse, with Al Qaeda’s affiliates in the

Arabian Peninsula – AQAP – the most active in plotting against our homeland. While none of AQAP’s efforts approach the scale of 9/11 they have continued to plot acts of terror, like the attempt to blow up an airplane on Christmas Day in 2009.”

So he said, “As we shape our response, we have to recognize that the scale of this threat closely resembles the types of attacks we faced before 9/11.”

He said that the current threat is often from “deranged or alienated individuals – often U.S. citizens or legal residents – (who) can do enormous damage, particularly when inspired by larger notions of violent jihad. That pull towards extremism appears to have led to the shooting at Fort Hood, and the bombing of the Boston Marathon.”

In discussing his drone strategy he indicated his remorse over the innocent people who had been killed: “it is a hard fact that U.S. strikes have resulted in civilian casualties, a risk that exists in all wars. For the families of those civilians, no words or legal construct can justify their loss. For me, and those in my chain of command, these deaths will haunt us as long as we live, just as we are haunted by the civilian casualties that have occurred through conventional fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq.”

There remains considerable doubt about Obama’s ability to persuade a majority in Congress to change the current law on releasing detainees held there.

The defense spending bill which Obama signed into law last year prohibits any transfers to the United States of any detainee at Guantanamo who was held there on or before Jan. 20, 2009, the day Obama became president.

And the law sets a very high legal bar for Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to transfer a detainee to his country of origin, or to any other foreign country.

Hagel would need to certify to Congress that the detainee will not be transferred to a country that is a designated state sponsor of terrorism. The country must have agreed to take steps to ensure that the detainee cannot take action to threaten the United States, U.S. citizens, or its allies in the future.

The law allows Hagel to use waivers in some cases to transfer detainees.

Speaking a day before Obama’s speech, Ben Wittes, senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and co-founder of the Lawfare blog which covers detainee news, said, “I don’t see any significant change in congressional sentiment right now” on closing the Guantanamo site.

“He’s got a lot of domestic pressure from his base to be seen to be doing something and he’s also got a hunger strike there (at Guantanamo) — and I think there’s a lot of genuine sentiment in the administration that they want to do something (about Guantanamo) so they’re committed to another push and trying again – but the question of what they actually could get done is a difficult question. There’s very limited latitude.”

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Obama’s Kill List–Drones–Remotely Piloted Aircraft–RPAs–Killing Machines–We Don’t Torture Terrorists–We Kill Americans, Civilians and Children in Undeclared Wars–Obama is Judge, Jury, and Executioner–Hope, Change, and Murder, Inc.–The Mass Murderer In The White House–Videos

Posted on February 14, 2013. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Communications, Crime, Diasters, Drones, Federal Government, Foreign Policy, government, government spending, history, Investments, Language, Law, liberty, Life, Links, Narcissism, People, Philosophy, Politics, Programming, Psychology, Raves, Regulations, Strategy, Talk Radio, Technology, Transportation, Video, War, Weapons, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

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Rand Paul Says He’ll Block Nominations Until Answered If Drone Assassinations

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Obama Drone Strikes Are ‘Mass Murder’ – Jeremy Scahill 

Drone Strikes Kill Numerous Civilians – Report

“Thousands Of Innocent People Have Been Killed Under These Drone Attacks!”

Gerald Celente on Farrakhan “Murderer in The White House” comment “Call These People What They Are”

Drone Spin: Killing machine PR swarms US mainstream

Judge Napolitano on Government Killing Americans

Who Said You Can Kill Americans Mister President?

Obama’s kill list revealed

Is Obama a Mass Killer of Innocent Children?

Obama: Nobel Peace Prize winner with a kill list

DOJ Drone Memo: If Bush Attempted This Policy, Democrats Would’ve Called

DOJ White Paper on Drone Memo

http://msnbcmedia.msn.com/i/msnbc/sections/news/020413_DOJ_White_Paper.pdf

John Brennan: The Nexus of Torture and Drone Assassinations

America’s War Drones Kill Over 800 Civilians – 200 Children – Casualties Of War

Obama Kill List Exposed: Leaked Drone Memo; Assassination of U.S. Citizens

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Attack of the Drones – USA

 Rise of the Machines – USA

Pentagon drones flying domestic; declaring war on your privacy?

Congress launches ‘Attack of the drones’

By Michael Isikoff National Investigative Correspondent, NBC News

A confidential Justice Department memo concludes that the U.S. government can order the killing of American citizens if they are believed to be “senior operational leaders” of al-Qaida or “an associated force” — even if there is no intelligence indicating they are engaged in an active plot to attack the U.S.

The 16-page memo, a copy of which was obtained by NBC News, provides new details about the legal reasoning behind one of the Obama administration’s most secretive and controversial polices: its dramatically increased use of drone strikes against al-Qaida suspects abroad, including those aimed at American citizens, such as the  September 2011 strike in Yemen that killed alleged al-Qaida operatives Anwar al-Awlaki and Samir Khan. Both were U.S. citizens who had never been indicted by the U.S. government nor charged with any crimes.

The secrecy surrounding such strikes is fast emerging as a central issue in this week’s hearing of White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan, a key architect of the drone campaign, to be CIA director.  Brennan was the first administration official to publicly acknowledge drone strikes in a speech last year, calling them “consistent with the inherent right of self-defense.” In a separate talk at the Northwestern University Law School in March, Attorney General Eric Holder specifically endorsed the constitutionality of targeted killings of Americans, saying they could be justified if government officials determine the target poses  “an imminent threat of violent attack.”


But the confidential Justice Department “white paper” introduces a more expansive definition of self-defense or imminent attack than described  by Brennan or Holder in their public speeches.  It refers, for example, to what it calls a “broader concept of imminence” than actual intelligence about any ongoing plot against the U.S. homeland.

Michael Isikoff, national investigative correspondent for NBC News, talks with Rachel Maddow about a newly obtained, confidential Department of Justice white paper that hints at the details of a secret White House memo that explains the legal justifications for targeted drone strikes that kill Americans without trial in the name of national security.

“The condition that an operational  leader present an ‘imminent’ threat of violent attack against the United States does not require the United States to have clear evidence that a specific attack on U.S. persons and interests will take place in the immediate future,” the memo states.

Read the entire ‘white paper’ on drone strikes on Americans

Instead, it says,  an “informed, high-level” official of the U.S. government may determine that the targeted American  has been “recently” involved in “activities” posing a threat of a violent attack and “there is  no evidence suggesting that he has renounced or abandoned such activities.” The memo does not define “recently” or “activities.”

As in Holder’s speech, the confidential memo lays out a three-part test that would make targeted killings of American lawful:  In addition to the suspect being an imminent threat, capture of the target must be “infeasible, and the strike must be conducted according to “law of war principles.” But the memo elaborates on some of these factors in ways that go beyond what the attorney general said publicly. For example, it states that U.S. officials may consider whether an attempted capture of a suspect  would pose an “undue risk” to U.S. personnel involved in such an operation. If so, U.S. officials could determine that the capture operation of the targeted American would not be feasible, making it lawful for the U.S. government to order a killing instead, the memo concludes.

The undated memo is entitled “Lawfulness of a Lethal Operation Directed Against a U.S. Citizen who is a Senior Operational Leader of Al Qa’ida or An Associated Force.”  It was provided to members of the Senate Intelligence and Judiciary committees in June by administration officials on the condition that it be kept confidential and  not discussed publicly.

Although not an official legal memo, the white paper was represented by administration  officials as a policy document that closely mirrors the arguments of classified memos on targeted killings by the Justice Department’s  Office of Legal Counsel, which provides authoritative legal advice to the president and all executive branch agencies. The administration has refused to turn over to Congress or release those memos publicly — or even publicly confirm their existence. A source with access to the white paper, which is not classified, provided a copy to NBC News.

“This is a chilling document,” said Jameel Jaffer, deputy legal director of the ACLU, which is suing to obtain administration memos about the targeted killing of Americans.  “Basically, it argues that the government has the right to carry out the extrajudicial killing of an American citizen. … It recognizes some limits on the authority it sets out, but the limits are elastic and vaguely defined, and it’s easy to see how they could be manipulated.”

In particular, Jaffer said, the memo “redefines the word imminence in a way that deprives the word of its ordinary meaning.”

A Justice Department spokeswoman declined to comment on the white paper. The spokeswoman, Tracy Schmaler, instead pointed to public speeches by what she called a “parade” of administration officials, including Brennan, Holder, former State Department Legal Adviser Harold Koh and former Defense Department General Counsel Jeh Johnson that she said outlined the “legal framework” for such operations.

Pressure for turning over the Justice Department memos on targeted killings of Americans appears to be building on Capitol Hill amid signs that Brennan will be grilled on the subject at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday.

On Monday, a bipartisan group of 11 senators — led by Democrat Ron Wyden of Oregon — wrote  a letter to President Barack Obama asking him to release all Justice Department memos on the subject. While accepting that “there will clearly be circumstances in which the president has the authority to use lethal force” against Americans who take up arms against the country,  it said, “It is vitally important … for Congress and the American public to have a full understanding of how  the executive branch interprets the limits and boundaries of this authority.”

Anticipating domestic boom, colleges rev up drone piloting programs

The completeness of the administration’s public accounts of its legal arguments was also sharply criticized last month by U.S. Judge Colleen McMahon in response to a  lawsuit brought by the New York Times and the ACLU seeking access to the Justice Department memos on drone strikes targeting Americans under the Freedom of Information Act.  McMahon, describing herself as being caught in a “veritable Catch-22,”  said she was unable to order the release of the documents given “the thicket of laws and precedents that effectively allow the executive branch of our government to proclaim as perfectly lawful certain actions that seem on their face incompatible with our Constitution and laws while keeping the reasons for the conclusion a secret.”

In her ruling, McMahon noted that administration officials “had engaged in public discussion of the legality of targeted killing, even of citizens.” But, she wrote, they have done so “in cryptic and imprecise ways, generally without citing … any statute or court decision that justifies its conclusions.”

In one passage in Holder’s speech at Northwestern in March,  he alluded – without spelling out—that there might be circumstances where the president might order attacks against American citizens without specific knowledge of when or where an attack against the U.S. might take place.

“The Constitution does not  require the president to delay action until some theoretical end-stage of planning, when the precise time, place and manner of an attack become clear,”  he said.

But his speech did not contain the additional language in the white paper suggesting that no active intelligence about a specific attack is needed to justify a targeted strike. Similarly, Holder said in his speech that targeted killings of Americans can be justified  if “capture is not feasible.” But he did not include language in the white paper saying that an operation might not be feasible “if it could not be physically effectuated during the relevant window of opportunity or if the relevant country (where the target is located) were to decline to consent to a capture operation.” The speech also made no reference to the risk that might be posed to U.S. forces seeking to capture a target, as was  mentioned in the white paper.

The white paper also includes a more extensive discussion of why targeted strikes against Americans does not violate constitutional protections afforded American citizens as well as   a U.S. law that criminalizes the killing of U.S. nationals overseas.

It  also discusses why such targeted killings would not be a war crime or violate a U.S. executive order banning assassinations.

“A lawful killing in self-defense is not an assassination,” the white paper reads. “In the Department’s view, a lethal operation conducted against a U.S. citizen whose conduct poses an imminent threat of violent attack against the United States would be a legitimate act of national self-defense that would not violate the assassination ban. Similarly,  the use of lethal force, consistent with the laws of war, against an individual who is a legitimate military target would be lawful and would not violate the assassination ban.”

Ask the experts: Drones

By Sydney Sarachan
“…How precise are drone attacks?RC: Pretty precise is my understanding.  If you think about it, a drone pilot first sits outside of a structure doing surveillance for a long time.  Upon getting the order, he or she delivers the missile from relatively nearby.  That is why some experts (for instance, American University’s Kenneth Anderson) argue that drones strikes may be more consistent with limits on collateral damage. It may also explain higher observed rates of PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) in drone pilots. Of course, even manned missile attacks are often preceded by on-the-ground reconnaissance that paints a specific target.CF: This depends upon the kind of drone attack. In Pakistan’s FATA (Federally Administered Tribal Areas) they are all intelligence-led (as opposed to “troops in contact”). On this, please see the other pieces I have written on this: Drone Wars  and Drones Over Pakistan – Menace or Best Viable Option?JF: Drones are extremely precise. The debate over their use has been whether they are accurate: whether they target the right people. In terms of precision, they do hit the targets we give them very consistently, we just don’t always know who that target is.RN: Since the answer to this question depends on how many civilians are killed or injured for each targeted “militant” who has been killed, it can’t be answered without answering the question of how many civilian casualties there have been.NW: Although missiles launched from drones may be more precise than some other weapons systems, they are known to have caused the deaths of hundreds of civilian bystanders.  The issue is less one of technical precision than it is the standards under which the U.S. government decides who may be targeted and how it protects civilian bystanders from death or injury, as it is required to do under international law.  Outside the context of armed conflict, the use of lethal force is illegal unless it is a last resort to avert a concrete, specific, and imminent threat.  Further, the government is obligated to take all feasible precautions to protect civilian bystanders from harm.  But those aren’t the standards that the government is using. The New York Times has reported that the U.S. “counts all military-age males in a strike zone as combatants unless there is explicit intelligence posthumously proving them innocent.”  Regardless of the theoretical precision of drone attacks, when the government uses such flawed reasoning it will inevitably cause civilian bystander deaths, in violation of international law. …”
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