Note: You might want to start at the Barack
Obama Index Page, especially
if you arrived here by using a search engine.
Related topics on nearby pages:
Obama shows great potential — as a Marxist dictator!
Obama operates on the outskirts of the law.
The Clamor for Obama's impeachment.
secret kill list — the disposition matrix. When contemplating the euphemisms that have slipped into the
lexicon since 9/11, the adjective Orwellian is difficult to avoid. But while such terms as extraordinary rendition, targeted
killing and enhanced interrogation are universally known, and their true meanings — kidnap, assassination,
torture — widely understood, the disposition matrix has not yet gained such traction. Since the Obama
administration largely shut down the CIA's rendition programme, choosing instead to dispose of its enemies in drone attacks,
those individuals who are being nominated for killing have been discussed at a weekly counter-terrorism meeting at the White
House situation room that has become known as Terror Tuesday. Barack Obama, in the chair and wishing to be seen as
a restraining influence, agrees the final schedule of names. Once details of these meetings began to emerge it was
not long before the media began talking of "kill lists". More double-speak was required, it seemed, and before long
the term disposition matrix was born.
The Unstoppable Spread
of Armed Drones. The presence of armed drones is a reality of the modern battlefield, but only a limited group
of countries has the technological ability to produce them or the military capacity to operate them. The United States
once held the edge in drone development and use, but as more countries gain access to the technology, armed drones have
entered a new stage of proliferation. From the perspective of the United States and others, this proliferation is
dangerous. Attempts to curb the spread of armed drones are becoming more difficult now that the United States is no
longer their sole developer. China, in particular, has grown as a global exporter of unmanned combat systems, and other
countries are planning to follow suit.
DARPA's 'Aerial Dragnet' will monitor
drones in cities. While air traffic control systems track, guide and monitor thousands of planes and helicopters every day, one group
of sky flyers remains unmonitored: drones. In recent years, small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), such as commercial quadcopters and
hobby drones, have become less expensive and easier to fly — adding traffic to airspace that's already congested. Drones are also more adaptable
for terrorist or military purposes, and because they are currently flying unmonitored, U.S. forces want to be able to quickly detect and identify UAVs,
especially in urban areas.
Drone or Not to Drone. Reactions to the revelation that Hillary Clinton, as secretary of state, may have seriously considered
launching a drone strike against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange have predictably been divided along partisan lines. [...] Meanwhile, devotees
of this real-life Madame Defarge, who has publicly admitted that there were no hard and fast rules in her State Department governing how the
targets of drone strikes were chosen, have tried to dismiss the multiple sources of this story because they have chosen to remain anonymous,
ignoring the fact that all were present at this very sensitive State Department meeting, which would mean that they were part of Secretary
Clinton's inner circle and would be among the limited staff of the State Department with the highest security clearances.
Is Building a $100 Million Drone Base in Africa. Agadez, Niger, almost blends into the cocoa-colored wasteland
that surrounds it. Only when you descend farther can you make out a city that curves around an airfield before fading
into the desert. U.S. military documents reveal new information about an American drone base under construction on the
outskirts of the city.
US drone strike kills 9 militants in Yemen. Yemeni security officials say a suspected U.S. drone has bombed a
home in the central province of Marib, killing nine alleged al-Qaida fighters.
The Editor says...
Mr. Obama can use drones to blow up enemy soldiers all day long, as far as I care. The problems arise when his drones are used against U.S. citizens.
declassified document sheds light on how president approves drone strikes. President Obama must approve
operational plans to target overseas terrorist suspects with drones or other weapons outside war zones but in some cases does
not sign off on specific strikes, according to newly declassified administration guidelines. In addition to setting out
the role of the president, the guidelines emphasize the importance of "verifying" the identity of high-value targets, even as
they outline the criteria and legality of striking unidentified others when "necessary to achieve U.S. policy objectives." The
guidelines provide rules for targeting U.S. citizens abroad and include lengthy guidance on what to do with captured terrorist
suspects. "In no event," the document says, "will additional detainees be brought to the detention facilities at the
Guantanamo Bay Naval Base."
playbook' shows key role played by White House staff in deadly strikes. The White House staff for national security, exempt
from review by Congress, plays a substantial role in the process for killing suspected terrorists, according to a newly released document
on drone strikes. The 2013 document, known informally as the "playbook" for Barack Obama's signature counterterrorism operations,
was released on Saturday by the justice department as the result of court requests by the American Civil Liberties Union.
claims US drones strikes have killed up to 116 civilians. Barack Obama has claimed that drone and other
airstrikes, his favored tactics of war, have killed between 64 and 116 civilians during his administration, a tally which was
criticized as undercounted even before Friday's [7/1/2016] announcement. The long-promised assessment acknowledged that
the government itself does not always know how many civilians it kills and that it may revise its death tolls over time.
Between 2009 and 31 December 2015, the administration claimed that it launched 473 strikes, mostly with drones, that
killed between what it said were 2,372 and 2,581 terrorist "combatants".
Obama to reveal civilian deaths from drones. President Barack Obama is expected to disclose as early as Friday [7/1/2016]
the number of civilians killed in U.S. military and CIA drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen and Africa since he took office and will issue
an executive order that makes protecting civilians a more integral part of planning U.S. military operations, according to activists and
other individuals familiar with the report.
Obama's a 'Special Kind of Stupid' to Push Gun Control Over 'Terrorist Control'. Sarah Palin today [6/17/2016]
joined the chorus of Republicans outraged at President Obama's focus on gun control after the Orlando massacre. In a
Facebook post today, she shared a meme trolling liberals by referring to guns as "a woman's right to choose" and declared,
"Obama is a special kind of stupid." She accused Obama of "exploiting a sick, evil, ideological-driven attack on
Americans to further your twisted anti-Second Amendment mission." The president has talked about both terrorism and gun
control in the wake of Orlando, reemphasizing his long-held belief that something should be done about the latter after so
many mass shootings. But Palin wanted to know why the president supposedly thinks the Orlando terrorist is
representative of gun owners but not representative of Muslims.
border agency can't find drone records. Homeland Security can't find a single record of a request to fly drones
to help the Coast Guard, the agency said this week in a letter to a top member of Congress — an admission that's
likely to add fuel to the guard's request for its own fleet of unmanned aerial vehicles. R. Gil Kerlikowske,
commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, said his agency's Air and Marine office records all requests, but for some
reason it "could not locate any prior requests from the USCG" for unmanned aerial surveillance flights. For Rep.
Duncan Hunter, California Republican and chairman of a subcommittee that oversees the Coast Guard, the admission was the
latest signal that the border agency isn't treating its colleagues in the guard fairly.
cements drone-centric counterterrorism strategy with Central Command pick. President Obama's pick to head a critical
Pentagon post is sending a clear signal the president wants to ensure his controversial drone-centered counterterrorism strategy
stays in place long after he leaves office in January, but that may not stave off pressures on the Pentagon to deploy more troops
rather than drones to defeat Islamic State and other jihadi groups. Armed drones and clandestine ground operations have been
the centerpiece of Mr. Obama's strategy to eliminate al Qaeda and now Islamic State. Defense experts say the decision
to promote Army Gen. Joseph Votel to the top spot at Central Command is proof that strategy is unlikely to change during the
waning months of Obama's presidency and possibly beyond.
ways to disable a drone. Civilian drone activity has increased exponentially as drones become more easily
accessible and affordable. With more drones in the sky every day, there have been some creative and sometimes dangerous
attempts to disable drones. The reasons for disabling a drone can vary from boredom and curiosity to privacy and safety
concerns. To be clear, the Center for Technology Innovation does not condone or promote the act of harming drones.
admits operating military drone flights over U.S.. The Pentagon has deployed spy drones to fly over U.S.
territory for non-military missions over the past decade, but the flights were few and lawful, according to a new report.
The domestic drone flights have occurred less than 20 times between 2006 and 2015 and were always conducted in compliance
with existing laws, according to the report by the Pentagon Inspector General which was made public under a Freedom of
Information Act request, according to USA [T]oday. The Pentagon did not provide details of the domestic spy missions,
but said it takes the issue of military drone flights over America soil "very seriously."
admits it has deployed military spy drones over the U.S.. The Pentagon has deployed drones to spy over U.S.
territory for non-military missions over the past decade, but the flights have been rare and lawful, according to a new
report. The report by a Pentagon inspector general, made public under a Freedom of Information Act request, said spy
drones on non-military missions have occurred fewer than 20 times between 2006 and 2015 and always in compliance with
existing law. The report, which did not provide details on any of the domestic spying missions, said the Pentagon
takes the issue of military drones used on American soil "very seriously."
NSA's SKYNET program may be killing thousands of innocent people. Somewhere between 2,500 and 4,000 people have been killed by drone
strikes in Pakistan since 2004, and most of them were classified by the US government as "extremists," the Bureau of Investigative Journalism reported.
Based on the classification date of "20070108" on one of the SKYNET slide decks (which themselves appear to date from 2011 and 2012), the machine learning
program may have been in development as early as 2007. In the years that have followed, thousands of innocent people in Pakistan may have been
mislabelled as terrorists by that "scientifically unsound" algorithm, possibly resulting in their untimely demise.
to cut aerial surveillance on the border by 50%. Texas governor Greg Abbott and Democratic congressman Henry Cuellar have
sent a letter to the Department of Homeland Security demanding an explanation why the agency is planning to cut back aerial monitoring
of the southern border by 50%.
Appeals Court Rules
Targeted Killing Memos Can Stay Secret. A federal appeals court ruled in a decision unsealed on Monday [11/23/2015] that the
Justice Department could continue to conceal internal documents related to targeted killings in the fight against Al Qaeda.
picture to sum up Obama's idiotic ISIS policy. Recently the Obama administration was crowing loudly about its
success in vaporizing a single, notoriously vicious jihadist with a well-placed Hellfire missile. Mohammed Emwazi was a
British citizen who not only joined the jihadist movement, but became one of its leading public executioners, quickly dubbed
by the media Jihadi John. [Photo] Note that the location of the drone strike on Jihadi John appears to be but a few
city blocks from a large building marked "ISIS Main HQ." Does the question not immediately arise in your mind why we would
target a specific human enemy and yet leave perhaps hundreds of them alive and well to continue to conduct their war against us?
90% of Drone Assassinations in 5-Month Spree Weren't Targeted. CIA and Pentagon bosses are investigating after the publication of
'The Drone Papers' which includes Top Secret slides on how President Obama authorizes a kill. The disclosure raises the prospect of a
second Snowden-like figure, especially as the leak was published by the same journalists who worked with him before.
drone strikes killing many more than intended, report says. The U.S. is killing far more people than intended
in some drone strikes, according to a report likely to raise new questions about the Obama administration's reliance on
drones in its battle against Islamic terrorists. The Intercept, in a wide-ranging set of articles on the U.S. drone
program, reported that in one five month-period, nearly 90 percent of people killed by strikes in an operation in
northeastern Afghanistan were not the intended targets. The news outlet reports documents detailing Operation Haymaker
show that the campaign, that lasted between January 2012 and February 2013, killed more than 200 people, but only 35
were the intended targets.
Assange stays indoors, fears CIA drone attack. WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange fears he will be sent to the
United States, where he could face the death penalty, and even worries that he will be targeted by a CIA drone. Assange,
who faces extradition to Sweden on rape charges and has been holed up at the Ecuadorean Embassy in London since 2012, said in
an interview with The Times Magazine that things have become so dangerous that he cannot even poke his head out of the embassy's
Spends $360 Million On Border Drones With No Positive Results. Drones used by the Department
of Homeland Security (DHS) to "guard" the U.S. border for nearly a decade are ineffective even though the
agency has blown hundreds of millions of dollars on the failed program and wants Congress to keep funding
it. It's yet another example of what government does best; waste money. In this case the
frontline DHS agency — U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) — that operates the
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAC) is actually requesting more money from Congress to keep the futile drone
experiment going. Imagine a private business that for years blew huge sums on a failed enterprise
asking investors to pour more cash into the same useless project.
US military personnel urge drone pilots to walk away from controls. Forty-five former US military personnel,
including a retired army colonel, have issued a joint appeal to the pilots of aerial drones operating in Afghanistan, Iraq,
Pakistan, Syria and elsewhere, calling on them to refuse to carry out the deadly missions. In a joint letter, the
retired and former military members call on air force pilots based at Creech air force base in Nevada and Beale air force
base in California to refuse to carry out their duties. They say the missions, which have become an increasingly
dominant feature of US military strategy in recent years, "profoundly violate domestic and international laws".
You're Doing Something Wrong: Front Companies. CIA setting up front companies to hide
covert operations abroad? Business as usual, no objections, that's what spooks do, and one hopes
(alas...) that, given the splendid budgets and resources with which we provide them, they'd do it
well enough to avoid detection by a couple of AP reporters. (Seriously: Nice work, AP!)
That's fine for spies. Domestic law enforcement doing the same thing at home? That is deeply
worrisome. Any time a law-enforcement agency engages in a campaign of mass public deception, it's
almost certainly doing something wrong.
Behind Mysterious Surveillance Aircraft Over US Cities. The FBI is operating a small
air force with scores of low-flying planes across the country carrying video and, at times,
cellphone surveillance technology — all hidden behind fictitious companies that are
fronts for the government, The Associated Press has learned.
The Editor says...
The two articles immediately above pertain to manned and (presumably) unarmed aircraft on domestic surveillance missions
over US cities. It's not entirely off-topic, but it's not the same as the use of remotely-controlled drones to
kill U.S. citizens.
President Obama, President Clinton (or any president) kill Americans? Can the
president kill you? The short answer is: Yes, but not legally. Yet, President
Obama has established a secret process that involves officials from the Departments of Justice and
Defense, the CIA, and the White House senior staff whereby candidates are proposed for execution,
and the collective wisdom of the officials then recommends execution to the president, who then
accepts or rejects the recommendation.
faces up to the grim reality of drone strikes. President Obama's spare appearance at
the White House on Thursday [4/23/2015] to announce the accidental killing of two hostages in a CIA
drone strike in Pakistan included no talk of a higher cause or larger struggle. The president
didn't even mention, as he often does when discussing counter-terrorism operations, his responsibility
to defend the nation. Instead, his statement mixed a deeply personal sense of regret with the
often sterile, legal justifications that have guided his administration's long-running drone war.
Obama spoke for just over seven minutes, glancing down frequently at his printed text. There was
no effort to elevate the tragedy to something noble, or wrap it in inspiring words. Instead,
his remarks underscored the growing ambivalence about his administration's heavy use of drones to
kill America's enemies on remote battlefields.
Fighting Terrorists Due To Non-Interrogation. Drones are a very useful military tool and will become even more so
in the years ahead. Their "pilots" sit safely at consoles half a world away from the kill. Their computerization and
robotics permit a level of accuracy and patience impossible for flesh-and-blood pilots. But it's like the too-common illusion
that visual and audio technology has rendered on-the-ground intelligence gathering, conducted by actual human agents, obsolete.
In fact, oversubstituting drones for soldiers, Marines or special forces can spell trouble.
Obama's drone panopticon: a secret machine with no accountability. Of all the
reactions to the deaths of two hostages from a missile fired from a US drone, Congressman Adam
Schiff provided the deepest insight into the logic underpinning the endless, secret US campaign of
global killing. "To demand a higher standard of proof than they had here could be the end of
these types of counter-terrorism operations," said Schiff, a California Democrat and one of the most
senior legislators overseeing those operations.
Evidence of a Blunder in Drone Strike: 2 Extra Bodies. The first sign that something
had gone terribly wrong was when officers from the C.I.A. saw that six bodies had been pulled from
the rubble instead of four.
reportedly exempted Pakistan missions from tougher drone strike rule in 2013.
President Obama secretly granted the Central Intelligence Agency more flexibility to conduct drone
strikes targeting terror suspects in Pakistan than anywhere else in the world after approving more
restrictive rules in 2013. The Wall Street Journal, citing current and former U.S. officials,
first reported that Obama approved a waiver exempting the CIA from proving that militants targeted
in Pakistan posed an imminent threat to the U.S. According to the paper, under that standard, the
agency might have been prevented from carrying out a Jan. 15 strike that killed an American
and an Italian who were held hostage by Al Qaeda-linked militants.
Italian al Qaeda hostages killed in drone strike. An American and an Italian being held hostage by
al Qaeda in a remote region of Pakistan near the Afghan border were killed in a CIA drone strike in January —
an accident President Obama on Thursday [4/23/2015] blamed on "the fog of war."
the moaning about the 'morality' of US drone strikes. Hundreds of drone strikes so far
this year, from Syria to Pakistan. Hundreds of dead terrorists, many of high rank. Thousands of
lives saved. And what makes headlines? Two Western hostages killed in an otherwise successful
drone attack. Sorry, folks. That's war. And warfare will never be dainty or fully precise.
Obama: 'I Take Full
Responsibility' For US Operation That Killed Innocent Hostages Held By Al Qaeda. President Obama said
today [4/23/2015] that he takes "full responsibility" for a U.S. government counterterrorism operation that killed two
innocent hostages held by al Qaeda. Dr. Warren Weinstein, an American held by the terror group since 2011, and
Giovanni Lo Porto, an Italian national who had been an al Qaeda hostage since 2012, were "accidentally" killed in a
U.S. operation in January, the president acknowledged.
The Editor says...
The hostages were killed in January. This announcement was made on April 23.
to Earnest on al Qaeda Strike: "Would It Have Been Illegal For You To Intentionally Target Those Two Men". ABC News
reporter Jon Karl asks White House press secretary Josh Earnest about the killing of an American citizen said to be a member of
al-Qaeda. [Video clip]
Service To Fly Drones Over Washington, D.C.. Tourists may soon have a new attraction
to look at when they visit the nation's capital. The U.S. Secret Service says it will begin flying
drones over Washington, D.C., in the near future. The decision comes just weeks after a small
unmanned — and unarmed — drone landed on White House property. In late
January, as we've reported, a government employee lost control of the "quad copter," crashing it in
the early morning hours.
When drones are outlawed, only outlaws will have drones.
the Drone Economy. Interest in drones has been growing faster than government rules
about how they can be used. That's what makes the Obama administration's proposed rules for unmanned
aircraft by businesses and federal agencies so important. The measures include many good ideas but
do not do enough to protect the privacy of Americans.
At least some of our enemies live in constant fear, as they all should.
dream about drones, said 13-year-old Yemeni before his death in a CIA strike. A
13-year-old boy killed in Yemen last month by a CIA drone strike had told the Guardian just months
earlier that he lived in constant fear of the "death machines" in the sky that had already killed
his father and brother. "I see them every day and we are scared of them," said Mohammed Tuaiman,
speaking from al-Zur village in Marib province, where he died two weeks ago.
Waits For Former Gitmo Detainee To Get Home, Drones Him. Former Guantanamo detainee,
Taliban commander and recent ISIS militant Mullah Abdul Rauf has been declared dead on Monday by
Afghanistan authorities. He was killed along with five others by a drone strike, Associated Press
reports. Rauf was reportedly driving a car loaded with ammunition and transporting five other
militants when the missile hit. After being captured in 2001 because of his alleged status as a
high-ranking Taliban leader, Rauf remained locked away in Guantanamo until 2007.
Drones Have Killed More Than the Spanish Inquisition. Controversy still swirls around
Obama's comments during the National Prayer Breakfast this week, where he chastised Christians for
getting on their "high horse" over the ongoing global jihad, invoking medieval abuses that occurred
hundreds of years ago during the Crusades and Inquisition. But perhaps it is Obama who should
avoid getting on his high horse, since according to recently published statistics, Obama's drone
campaign has killed more people during the six years of his presidency than were killed the 350 years
of the Spanish Inquisition.
denied request from Jordan for Predator drones in Islamic State fight. The Obama
administration this year turned down a request from Jordan for Predator spy drones that would help
it locate targets in the war against the Islamic State. The refusal, disclosed by a House Armed
Services Committee member, has gained attention since Jordan has emerged as a critical player in a
U.S.-led coalition to destroy the Islamist terrorist group in the days after it released a video of
its execution by fire of a captured Jordanian military pilot.
need for drones will prompt changes in Air Force. The Air Force units that run the
service's fleet of drone aircraft are "under significant stress," with long hours and a potential
brain drain coming that will prompt a variety of changes, Air Force Secretary Deborah James said
Thursday [1/15/2015]. James, speaking to reporters at the Pentagon, said that the "unrelenting
pace" of remotely piloted aircraft requirements means that those who operate them work six days in a
row on average, typically for 13 or 14 hours each. An average pilot flying a manned
aircraft flies about 200 or 300 hours per year, but drone pilots fly 900 to 1,100, she said.
killed editor of Al-Qaeda propaganda magazine 'Inspire' with drone in 2011. [Scroll
down] A quick search turned up a wealth of information on the topic, and nobody would have
made the connection because the big story about the drone strike that wiped Samir Khan off the
battlefield was the same strike that killed Anwar Awlaki and touched off an intense debate over the
right of presidents to unilaterally authorize drone killings of US Citizens with no visible due
process. Awlaki and Khan were both American citizens at the time, and neither had the opportunity
of a trial.
find border drones don't actually make border more secure. The Department of Homeland
Security's (DHS) own watchdog says that drones deployed at the United States-Mexico border do not
achieve their objective of protecting the country. In a 37-page report issued on December 24,
2014 but published for the first time on Tuesday, DHS' Office of the Inspector General (OIG) concluded
that "after 8 years, [Customs and Border Protection, or CBP] cannot prove that the program is
effective because it has not developed performance measures." In a statement, the agency had a
damning conclusion for the CBP drone program, which anticipates spending an additional $443 million
to acquire and operate 14 more drones.
DHS Drone Program Ineffective at Border Security. Custom and Border Protection's (CBP)
drone program is ineffective and surveys less than 200 miles of the southwest border, according to
an audit by the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) Office of Inspector General. The program
operates 10 Predator B drones at a cost of more than $12,000 for every hour a drone spends in the
air, funding which could be put to better use elsewhere, according to the OIG. The program costs
$10,000 more per flight hour than what DHS claims, according to the OIG. "We estimate that, in
fiscal year 2013, it cost at least $62.5 million to operate the program, or about $12,255 per
[flight] hour," the audit said. "The Office of Air and Marine's calculation of $2,468 per flight
hour does not include operating costs, such as the costs of pilots, equipment, and overhead."
Security's Drone Program a Waste of Money, Audit Finds. Homeland Security's drone
program has been a waste of money so far, according to the department's inspector general, who on
Tuesday told the department to cancel plans to spend nearly half a billion dollars on more of the
aircraft. The department paid more than $12,000 an hour to fly its drones, kept them in the air
far less than it had promised and chiefly used them over just 170 miles of the 1,993-mile border.
Defense Department Launches Surveillance
Blimps. On Friday, December 19, 2014, the US army will deploy drone surveillance
blimps just north of the nation's capital. The surveillance blimp system, known as "JLENS," is
comprised of two 250' blimps. As deployed in Iraq, one blimp contains aerial and ground surveillance
technology that covers a 340-mile range, while the other has targeting capability including HELLFIRE
missiles. The surveillance blimps fly as high as 10,000 feet and can remain operational for
up to 30 days straight. The JLENS system is manufactured by defense contractor Raytheon.
Raytheon has tested the JLENS system with the company's MTS-B Multi-Spectral Targeting System. The
MTS-B offers long-range video surveillance that allows the real-time tracking of moving targets, including
vehicles and persons, on the ground.
Speaking of JLENS...
Army's runaway blimp flew for hours due to missing batteries. An Army blimp that broke loose in Maryland in October stayed airborne for hours
because someone failed to put batteries in its automatic-deflation device, The Los Angeles Times reported Sunday [2/14/2016]. The blimp escaped from
Aberdeen Proving Ground and its dangling tether caused power outages in Pennsylvania. The mishap led to widespread ridicule of the Pentagon's blimp
surveillance program, known as JLENS for Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor System, which has cost taxpayers $2.7 billion
Missing batteries among
issues that caused Army's runaway blimp. The blimp that broke loose from an Army facility in Maryland last fall, wreaking havoc
with its milelong tether, flew uncontrolled for hours because someone neglected to put batteries in its automatic-deflation device, Pentagon
investigators have found. The pilotless, radar-carrying blimp was part of the troubled JLENS missile-defense system, which has failed to
perform as promised while costing taxpayers more than $2.7 billion since 1998.
Drone Strikes More Defensible than Torture? There are lots of hypocrisies surrounding
the recently released executive summary of the Senate Intelligence Committee report on the CIA's
detention and interrogation program. But they pale in comparison to the current Democratic silence
about President Barack Obama's policy of targeted drone assassinations. Since 2004, drones have
killed an estimated 2,400 to 3,888 individuals in Pakistan alone, according to the Bureau of Investigative
Journalism in London.
Senate Is Done Investigating Torture. Will Drone Killings Be Next? President Obama's targeted killing
program has been one of the more confounding strategical decisions of his presidency. For liberal supporters who
voted to elect a constitutional-law professor in 2008 and a candidate who had campaigned against harsh interrogation
practices like waterboarding, it would have been hard to imagine that just years later they'd see a president who
keeps a "kill list" of suspected terrorists.
Again Asked to Square Drone Killings With Harsh Interrogation. The Obama White House was asked for a
second day on Thursday [12/11/2014] why killing terrorists (and innocent civilians) with drones is acceptable to the
Obama administration, but "slapping Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is bad." "[T]his is a worthy discussion, and so I
appreciate your raising it once again," spokesman Josh Earnest replied. Here's his full answer, although he
really didn't answer at all, and the reporter, Ed Henry, did not press him: [...]
I can't wait for the report on Obama's drone strikes. Morning Joe host Joe
Scarborough diverted a discussion about the CIA torture report with drones on Tuesday, took a day
off, then reprised his act Thursday, simultaneously dismissing the Senate Intelligence Report on the
CIA's terror funplex enhanced interrogation techniques while salivating for the details of some
future report on President Barack Obama's drone program. "Let's just go ahead and just kill them
all, and if we kill 5-year-old girls and 85-year-old grandmas, so be it; we feel better about ourselves
because that seems cleaner," was the host's description of the drone program. "That's what liberals
are saying today. That's what Joe Biden's been saying, that's what Barack Obama's been saying."
Interrogated Terrorists to Get Information; Obama Kills Them With Drones. What's the difference between harsh CIA
interrogation techniques and drones that kill civilians, a reporter asked White House spokesman Josh Earnest on Monday [12/8/2014].
The reporter noted that the lethal use of drones has "actually increased under this administration." Earnest did not explain the
difference, except to say that the U.S. works in "close consultation and cooperation with local governments and making sure that it's
local forces that are taking the fight on the ground to these extremist elements."
Endless Lies and His Media Accomplices. Obama's flimsy justification for drone strikes
is a self-serving memo generated by his own administration. It purports to explain why killing
Americans does not violate the due process clause of the U.S. Constitution for U.S. citizens accused
of crimes. The memo refers to U.S. drone aircraft as "contemplated lethal operations."
Apparently, however, wiping out terrorists and their families, friends, and relatives, is not
something that compromises our basic values. The fact that Obama gets away with this deception
says something about the gullibility of the American media.
DHS Flew Drones for 1,726 Hours Over Interior of U.S.. The Department of Homeland
Security flew drones equipped with video cameras over the United States — away from border and
coastal areas — for 1,726 hours from fiscal 2011 through this April, according to the Government
Accountability Office. At times, the drones — or Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) —
were being used for purposes other than border or immigration enforcement. But the GAO does not have a full
accounting of when and where the drones were flown, or what they were used for during the flight hours spent in
John Brennan Know Too Much for Obama to Fire Him? It's difficult to cross man with
details on every secret drone strike you've authorized — especially the legally dubious ones.
warfare: A legal way to kill? When President Obama decided sometime during his first term that he
wanted to be able to use unmanned aerial drones in foreign lands to kill people — including Americans — he
instructed Attorney General Eric Holder to find a way to make it legal, despite the absolute prohibition on governmental
extra-judicial killing in federal and state laws and in the Constitution itself. [...] He must have hoped his killing
would never come to light, because the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution could not be more direct: "No
person shall be ... deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law."
failed to stop the Islamic State when he had the chance. From Europe to the Middle
East, we have seen how disaster follows U.S. retreat and disengagement from the world. But the one
area where President Obama seemed to be leaning forward was drone strikes. He personally approved
terrorist "kill lists" and has taken out many hundreds of terrorists with drones in Pakistan, Yemen
and East Africa. So why, when Iraqi officials began pleading with him one year ago to strike
Islamic State terrorists with drones, did Obama repeatedly refuse — standing by while
terrorists overran the country?
refused 'repeated requests' since August 2013 for drone strikes against ISIS. Breaking
on Capitol Hill is the news that Iraqi officials began requesting almost a year ago for the US to
carry out drone strikes against ISIS — but the requests were shot down by the White House.
That stunning revelation came during a hearing on the situation in Iraq this morning [7/23/2014].
gone from an inherited tyrant to an elected one. Last week, the administration released the memo. It consists of
40 highly blacked-out pages, the conclusion of which is that the president can order the CIA to kill Americans who are present in
foreign countries and who, in the opinion of high-level government officials, pose a threat to Americans and may be difficult to
arrest. The memorandum acknowledges that it is unprecedented in its scope and novel in its conclusion, and requires predicting
what courts will do if they review it. Lawyers often predict for their clients what courts will do, and thus from their
predictions, extrapolate advice for their clients. But history has recorded no memo before this one that has advised a
president in writing that he is free to kill an American who is not engaging in violence. The logic of the memorandum states
that Americans overseas who join organizations that promote acts of terror are the equivalent of enemy soldiers in uniform in wartime.
flying armed drones over Baghdad, Pentagon says. The U.S. has armed drones flying
over Baghdad to protect U.S. troops that recently arrived to assess Iraq's deteriorating security,
the Pentagon said Friday [6/27/2014]. The military for more than a week has been flying manned
and unmanned aircraft over Iraq, averaging a few dozen sorties daily for reconnaissance. The
decision to arm some of the drones follows the deployment to Baghdad of troops who will advise and
assist Iraqi counterterrorism forces.
Drone Kill Memo: Obama's Murderous 'Logic'. The Second Circuit has just compelled the
release of a memo, prepared by then Acting Assistant Attorney General David J. Barron (who now sits
on the First Circuit Court of Appeals) that purports to outline the legal rationale for President
Obama's summary execution of American citizens on foreign soil. Unfortunately, the transparent
legal and logical absurdity of the memo is the only form of transparency we are likely to obtain
from the Administration.
killing memo released after NY court fight. The secret U.S. government memo
outlining the justification for the use of drones to kill American terror suspects abroad was
released by court order Monday [6/23/2014], yielding the most detailed, inside look yet at the legal
underpinnings of the Obama administration's program of "targeted killings."
justifying drone killing of American Al Qaeda leader is released. Neither the U.S.
Constitution nor laws governing prosecution of people who commit murder abroad prohibited killing
American citizen Anwar Awlaki in Yemen, according to a previously secret Justice Department memo
released by a federal court Monday [6/23/2014]. Although the existence of the memo, written in
2010 to justify Awlaki's 2011 death by U.S. drone strike, has long been known, its precise legal
reasoning had been shrouded in secrecy. The ACLU and the New York Times sued for its release.
More than 400 US military drones
crashed in past 13 years, report says. The [Washington] Post obtained documents detailing accidents including
collisions with homes, farms, runways, roads, waterways and even an air force transport plane in midair. Several drones
vanished while at cruising altitude and were lost. In April, an army drone crashed next to an elementary-school playground in
Pennsylvania; in 2012 an unmanned navy surveillance aircraft nose-dived and ignited a wildfire in Maryland.
Dad: Drone Killed Captor's Kid. In June 2010, Robert Bergdahl, the father of released
American POW Bowe Bergdahl, gave a speech at an Idaho Republican Party fundraiser. In one of his
first public appearances during his son's five-year captivity, he asked the conservative audience
to show compassion for his son's captors — and, in a twist that foretold the plot of
Homeland — he alleged that the United States had killed one of those captor's
children with a drone strike.
about The Bergdahl Prisoner Exchange.
Show Us the Drone Memos.
I believe that killing an American citizen without a trial is an extraordinary concept and deserves serious debate.
I can't imagine appointing someone to the federal bench, one level below the Supreme Court, without fully understanding
that person's views concerning the extrajudicial killing of American citizens. But President Obama is seeking to
do just that. He has nominated David J. Barron, a Harvard law professor and a former acting assistant attorney
general, to a seat on the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit.
court nominee wrote memos justifying drone strikes on U.S. citizens. Harvard Law School scholar David Barron
is an Obama administration nominee for a federal appeals court. He is also the author of government memos that make
legal justifications for killing U.S. citizens overseas with drone strikes, which is why his selection to the U.S. First
Circuit Court of Appeals has been delayed. The White House has agreed to allow lawmakers to review at least one of
the drone memos after U.S. senators and the the American Civil Liberties Union expressed concerns, technology website Ars
Technica reported Wednesday [5/7/2014].
White House to provide lawmakers access to drone memo
authorizing killing of American. The White House pledged Tuesday to give lawmakers
expanded access to memos on the legality of killing American citizens in drone strikes, a concession
aimed at heading off Senate opposition to a judicial nominee involved in drafting those secret
documents. The move was designed to salvage the nomination of David Barron to the U.S. Court of
Appeals for the 1st District and address growing frustration among lawmakers over the secrecy that
continues to surround the administration's counterterrorism operations a year after President Obama
vowed greater transparency.
The Editor says...
One White House memo does not obviate due process.
The age of the
'terminator'. Are we just around the corner from terminators, silons or other sci-fi robots
turning against humanity, transforming their human "masters" into hunted prey? From Tuesday this week,
the UN is set to hold a conference that will debate whether to ban the use of lethal autonomous weapon systems,
or as they are more affectionately known, killer robots. What makes killer robots different from any
other weapon system is that there is no human telling the machine whether or not to pull the trigger.
'Stigma Means Less Skilled Pilots at Controls of Deadly Robots. The Air Force recently acknowledged
that due to a "stigma" surrounding its drone program, many pilots at the controls of the deadly weapons are "less
skilled" and officers overseeing them are "less competent" than their manned aircraft brethren, as alleged by the
Government Accountability Office. "Lets be honest, when people dream about flying... People in this generation
didn[']t grow up and say, I want to fly an RPA [remotely piloted aircraft]," Air Force spokesperson
Jennifer Cassidy told ABC News last week.
The Editor says...
A fighter pilot automatically gets a job with a major airline upon his or her departure from the military.
Drone operators don't.
Drop Demand for Drone Death Tallies. Senators have dropped a demand for a public declaration
of how many civilians the United States kills in CIA drone strikes each year after the U.S. intelligence
chief expressed concerns, congressional aides said.
Drone Operation in Yemen Kills Up to 65 Al Qaeda Militants. A U.S.-backed offensive with Yemeni
forces killed up to 65 al Qaeda militants during a three-day airstrike that targeted an al Qaeda training camp
and senior operatives, the Wall Street Journal reports.
rules Obama administration must justify targeted killings. The decision in a case brought by
The New York Times, two of its reporters and the American Civil Liberties Union likely will shed new light
on the administration's use of drones to target terrorists abroad. That program has resulted in the
deaths of American citizens, such as leading al Qaeda figure Anwar al-Awlaki, killed by a drone strike in
Yemen in 2011. Administration officials had sought to keep internal memorandums regarding the killings
secret, but the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the federal government waived its claim to privacy by
handpicking some documents to release and by speaking about the program publicly.
Holder: ATF Planning to Use Drones. Attorney General Eric Holder admitted Tuesday [4/8/2014] that the Bureau
of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives was in the process of looking at the use of domestic drones.
Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas, questioned Holder during a House Judiciary Committee hearing, asking the Attorney General
if he believed if the Federal Aviation Administration or Congress should regulate of drone use.
Russia Captures US Drone over Crimea.
Russia claims it caught a US intelligence drone in Crimea, an autonomous republic of Ukraine. Rostec, a Russian state-owned corporation,
brought it down electronically. "The drone was flying at about 4,000 metres (12,000 feet) and was virtually invisible from the ground.
It was possible to break the link with US operators with complex radio-electronic" technology, said Rostec in a statement.
Meet CUPID: The Drone That Will Shoot You With
an 80,000 Volt Taser. Are drones not scary enough for you yet? How about this? A drone helicopter that spots you and
identifies you as an intruder. It tells you to stop and put your hands behind your head. Instead, you keep coming. The drone then
shoots you with barbed Taser darts that pump 80,000 volts into you. If you try to get up, it will continue pumping voltage into you
until you submit and the authorities arrive. This isn't some dystopian theory. It's very real already, and I just saw it in action.
Yes, it is terrifying.
Obama Will Never End the War on
Terror. Joint Special Operations Command launched four Hellfire missiles into a convoy in central Yemen in December,
killing 12 people. U.S. officials initially claimed they were targeting Shawqi Ali Ahmad al-Badani, an alleged Qaida
operative, and even Human Rights Watch acknowledged that some terrorists may have been present. But last week, an official
report by the New York-based advocacy group concluded the missiles actually hit a Yemeni wedding procession bringing the bride and
family members to the groom's hometown, and that very likely "some if not all those killed and wounded were civilians." In
truth, no one really knows what happened that day in Yemen, or who the enemy really was.
Ralph Nader: Obama the 'executioner'. In his new book,
Ralph Nader calls for the end of "unconstitutional wars and unchecked militarism" — and lays blame on President Barack Obama for going beyond
even George W. Bush. Nader writes in "Unstoppable" that Obama "has extended the Bush doctrine by declaring his unilateral right, as secret
prosecutor, judge, jury, and executioner, to destroy anybody, anywhere in the world, including American citizens, suspected to be engaged in alleged
terrorist activities, all this vaguely and loosely defined as anti-U.S. security."
Another American on the
government's kill list. Reports that the United States may target another U.S. citizen for death because of his alleged involvement in
terrorism are troubling, especially in light of unanswered questions about the drone attack in Yemen in 2011 that killed the U.S.-born Anwar Awlaki.
This time, the potential target is said to be in Pakistan. If the United States is again to deliberately take the life of one of its citizens without
due process of law, leaders from the president on down must, at the very least, offer specific and credible proof that such action was absolutely necessary
to prevent imminent attacks on Americans and that capturing the suspected terrorist was impossible.
weighs lethal strike against American citizen. The Obama administration is weighing whether to approve a lethal strike against
a U.S. citizen who is accused of being part of the al-Qaeda terrorist network overseas and involved in ongoing plotting against American targets,
U.S. officials said. The officials said that no decision has been reached on whether to add the alleged operative to the administration's
kill list, a step that would require Justice Department approval under new counterterrorism guidelines adopted by President Obama last year.
Suspect Possibly Targeted For Drone Attack. An American citizen who is a member of al-Qaida is actively planning attacks against
Americans overseas, U.S. officials say, and the Obama administration is wrestling with whether to kill him with a drone strike and how to do so
legally under its new stricter targeting policy issued last year.
Lawmakers seek to stymie plan to shift control of drone campaign from CIA to
Pentagon. Congress has moved to block President Obama's plan to shift control of the U.S. drone campaign from
the CIA to the Defense Department, inserting a secret provision in the massive government spending bill introduced this week
that would preserve the spy agency's role in lethal counterterrorism operations, U.S. officials said. The measure,
included in a classified annex to the $1.1 trillion federal budget plan, would restrict the use of any funding to
transfer unmanned aircraft or the authority to carry out drone strikes from the CIA to the Pentagon, officials said.
Group Run by al Qaeda Terrorist Invited to Brief
Dems on Drone Policy. The representative of a human rights group headed by a designated al Qaeda terrorist was denied a visa by the State
Department after being invited by congressional Democrats to discuss drone strikes. Mohammad Al Ahmady, the Yemen director for Geneva-based NGO
Al Karama, was expected to brief Reps. Alan Grayson (D., Fla.), Barbara Lee (D., Calif.), and Jan Schakowsky (D., Ill.) the morning of the Nov. 19,
according to press release from Grayson's office.
Time to Use Drones in Mexico? The Mexican drug
cartels are a threat to America's national security, yet last month the president endorsed the Senate immigration bill that does not sufficiently
secure the border. Ranchers living in the Southwest have repeatedly reported incidents of violence that come from drug mules. American
Thinker interviewed people affected by and knowledgeable about the cartels, asking them how they can be curtailed.
You Were Debating Obama's 'Selfie,' U.S. Drones Killed 13+ Yemen Wedding Guests. As with most reports of these military
strikes in Yemen, there are conflicting reports: The Associated Press reports 13 deaths and cites an unnamed Yemeni official
who said there were suspected al Qaeda militants among the convoy; but Reuters, on the other hand, says 15 dead and cites other
officials claiming the drone mistakenly thought the wedding convoy was a terrorist one. Either way, we'll likely never
know the truth since U.S. officials never comment on individual drone strikes.
Report: Top Secret Drone Under
Development. A secret surveillance drone is under development by Northrop Grumman, reports Aviation Week. The
unmanned aircraft is still classified and is being tested at the notorious Area 51 in the Nevada desert.
Rules of engagement
limit the actions of U.S. troops and drones in Afghanistan. The new U.S.-Afghanistan security agreement adds restrictions
on already bureaucratic rules of engagement for American troops by making Afghan dwellings virtual safe havens for the enemy, combat
veterans say. The rules of engagement place the burden on U.S. air and ground troops to confirm with certainty that a Taliban
fighter is armed before they can fire -- even if they are 100 percent sure the target is the enemy. In some cases, aerial
gunships have been denied permission to fire even though they reported that targets on the move were armed.
The Editor says...
So now we're staying forever in an unwinnable war while the generals are hamstrung by White House micromanagement.
Sounds like Viet Nam. And all the anti-war (quagmire!) protests from the George W. Bush days are
drone crashes into Navy ship off California and injures two sailors. The Navy says an aerial target drone malfunctioned and struck a guided
missile cruiser during training off Southern California, causing two minor injuries. Lt. Lenaya Rotklein of the U.S. Third Fleet said the accident
on the USS Chancellorsville happened on Saturday afternoon [11/16/2013] while the ship was testing its combat weapons system off Point Mugu. She
said two sailors were treated for minor burns after the ship was struck.
New book claims
President Obama bragged to aides about using drone strikes. President Barack Obama bragged to his aides that he's 'really good at killing people,'
according to explosive claims in a new book about the 2012 presidential campaign. The revelation comes at a time when Obama, who won the Nobel Peace
Prize in 2009, has faced increasing criticism for his use of drones to target insurgents and terrorist suspects, particularly in Pakistan and Yemen.
'Pretty Good at Killing'. It has been disclosed
in a recently published book about the 2012 campaign, Double Down by Mark Halperin and John Heilemann, that the president told aides that he is
"really good at killing people" with drones. I think the president is being far too modest. Drones aren't the half of it. He's really
good at killing lots of things.
Officials: US drone kills Pakistani Taliban leader.
A U.S. drone strike killed the leader of the Pakistani Taliban Friday [11/1/2013], U.S. and Pakistani officials said, in a report that if
confirmed would be a major blow to the group that comes just a day after the government said it started peace talks with the militants.
President Obama operates the U.S. military like a giant video game, telling his generals to take out specific enemy targets with unmanned drones. This keeps
American soldiers out of the picture, and defeats America's enemies a few at a time, so I'm all for it. Unfortunately it's Barack Obama sitting at the
controls, so there is a great deal of secrecy and dishonesty involved. For one thing, there is apparently a secret list of most-wanted "terrorists" that
Mr. Obama sifts through to find this week's targets. These attacks might be timed to occur when the news media needs
to be distracted from some other scandal —
many. The second problem is that some of Mr. Obama's targets are known to be American citizens.
There's no great tragedy if a traitorous American loses his life, except when the execution takes place in lieu of an indictment and a trial.
The third issue is that Mr. Obama, having seen how well all this works, may expand the program to execute American citizens anywhere in the world.
That wouldn't be a concern except that Mr. Obama has already exhibited many of the traits of a
Personally, I have no objections to the use of armed unmanned aircraft for our national defense. I doubt if the United States
is in any danger of an attack from Afghanistan, so I don't understand what we're doing there, and I don't think we should fight multiple,
undeclared, perpetual wars against abstract enemies like "terror" — whatever that means. But in any event, if the military
uses armed aircraft to blow up enemy soldiers (and their families if necessary), at least that keeps U.S. soldiers from having to go
in to the battlefield and fight. The only improvement I could suggest would be that the drones should be set to explode if one of
them is shot down (or spoofed into landing at an enemy air strip), and any attempt is made to open it up.
If the so-called terrorists killed by remotely-piloted aircraft turn out to be traitorous U.S. citizens, they have brought destruction
upon themselves. My objection is to the potential use of drones to kill American citizens on U.S. territory — which the
current president refuses to rule out. The president is thus establishing himself as a mobster who can order a hit on anybody he
wants to silence. For that, and a dozen other things, he should be impeached.
If the president can order your execution through the use of a drone, obviously the president will not be flying the drone
himself -- he will issue an order to someone else who will carry out the hit. The same hit could be carried out by a sniper, or
the president could just have someone toss a grenade in your car as you stop at a traffic light. When the United States gets to
the point where the president can order an American citizen to be rubbed out, without due process and with or without a good reason,
then the U.S. will be diminished to the level of North Korea or Cuba or Zimbabwe. In other words, a country no better than any
other. And that may very well be Mr. Obama's goal.
Army Chief Chafes at New Reliance on
Technology. America's appetite for war has shifted significantly in the last decade, prompting the Obama administration to lean heavily
on the use of unmanned drone strikes and hawkish politicians of any stripe to stress that a proposed military action would not include "boots on the
ground." [...] In an age of using technology to substitute for human warriors, one of the nation's highest-ranking officers cautions against relying too
much on the 21st-century tools that have defined warfare over the last decade.
Wars Without Soldiers. [T]he use of unmanned flying platforms with
both reconnaissance and destructive explosive capabilities, i.e., drones, has the potential for far more accurate modes of individual attack than the heavy
artillery and bombers of earlier periods; to say nothing of long range and high altitude maneuverability. In terms of tactical use, the drone has been
found to be an effective weapon against high value human targets that otherwise would have required a special operations team slogging many miles toward the
target area in order to destroy the target.
has killed thousands with drones, so can the Nobel committee have their Peace Prize back? George W Bush conducted 45 drone strikes as President,
killing 477. Barack Obama conducted 316 drone strikes, killing 2,363. These figures are from the New America Foundation — and the
total dead is probably an underestimate. The Foundation says that the number killed could be as high as 3,404 including 307 civilian men women and children.
One leaked document suggested that drones had killed 94 kids in 3 years.
Ignoring the Constitution. [Scroll down] The president
also has stepped up the use of airborne drones to spy on Americans in apparent violation of the Fourth Amendment prohibition of unreasonable and unwarranted searches.
Previously owning up to only two instances of domestic unmanned aerial surveillance, officials of the Customs and Border Protection service released a list last week
of 500 occasions over three years in which the agency flew Predator drone missions on behalf of other federal agencies.
Suspected U.S. drone strike kills seven militants in
Pakistan. A suspected U.S. drone aircraft killed at least seven militants in Pakistan's ethnic Pashtun tribal region on the Afghan border
on Friday [9/6/2013], Pakistani security officials and residents said.
Drone Strike Reportedly Wounds Al Qaeda Master Bomb Maker.
A Saudi national known to be a key al Qaeda bomb maker was wounded during a U.S.-led drone strike in Yemen, according to a Yemeni news report.
Ibrahim al Asiri, the bomb maker, was targeted during a missile strike launched from a U.S.-operated armed drone in southern Yemen that killed two other
al Qaeda terrorists, the online Yemeni news outlet Al Watan reported Sunday [8/11/2013]. A U.S. official had no public comment but urged
caution regarding claims that al Asiri was dead.
Yemen official: US drones kill 12 in 3 airstrikes.
The U.S. has sharply escalated its drone war in Yemen, with military officials in the Arab country reporting 34 suspected al-Qaida militants killed in less than two weeks,
including three strikes on Thursday alone in which a dozen died.
Kerry: Drone 'Program Will End as We
Have Eliminated Most of the Threat'. Secretary of State John Kerry gave several TV interviews while in Islamabad, Pakistan on Thursday [8/1/2013],
including one to Mariam Chaudhry of Pakistan TV. One question related to the drone policy of the United States, which is extremely unpopular in Pakistan.
FBI says it doesn't need
warrant to use drones. The FBI has told Congress it does not need to get a warrant to conduct surveillance with drones,
in a letter laying out some of the top federal law enforcement agency's policies for how it uses unmanned aerial vehicles. In a
July 19 letter to Sen. Rand Paul, Stephen D. Kelly, assistant director for the FBI's congressional liaison office, said the agency
has used drones in 10 instances, including twice for "national security" cases and eight times for criminal cases. The FBI
authorized the use of drones in three other criminal cases but didn't deploy them.
Judge Weighs Rights of U.S. Citizens in Drone
Strikes. A federal judge fired difficult questions at the Obama administration and at civil liberties lawyers on Friday [7/19/2013]
in a court case about whether U.S. citizens abroad targeted in drone strikes can seek compensation from the government.
A few words in defense of drones:
Drones are 21st Century Superweapons.
The sense that there is something amiss with the deployment of drones in combat permeates popular media. Indeed, thinking off the top of
my head, I can't think of a single example in recent popular culture where the deployment of a drone has been positively portrayed.
I believe that this is madness — the sort of reflexive prejudice that revolutionary weapons often face from people who lack the
knowledge necessary to have informed opinions about such matters.
Navy Drone Completes First-Ever Carrier Landing.
On Wednesday [7/10/2013], the X-47B Navy drone exercised the first unmanned carrier landing in history, landing aboard the USS George H.W.
Bush (CVN 77) off the Virginia coast.
Drones in Niger Reflect New
U.S. Tack on Terrorism. Nearly every day, and sometimes twice daily, an unarmed American drone soars skyward from a secluded military
airfield here, starting a surveillance mission of 10 hours or more to track fighters affiliated with Al Qaeda and other militants in neighboring
Drone attack kills 17 in
Pakistan's Waziristan region. A U.S. drone strike killed at least 17 people in Pakistan's restive border
region early on Wednesday [7/3/2013], Pakistani security officials said, in the biggest such attack this year, and the second
since Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif took office.
Study: Drones killed
more civilians than jet fighters. U.S. drone strikes in Afghanistan killed 10 times as many civilians as manned jet fighters, a study
by an adviser to the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff said.
FBI Chief Admits Use of Drones in Skies Over U.S..
Federal Aviation Administration officials claim that within the next five years there will be close to 10,000 civilian drones in use once the FAA grants
them greater access to U.S. skies. Congress had directed the FAA to provide drones with widespread access to domestic airspace by 2015, but the
agency is behind in its development of safety regulations and isn't expected to meet that deadline even though the FAA has granted more than two hundred
permits to state and local governments, police departments, universities and others to experiment with using small drones.
Noam Chomsky: Obama Is
'Running Biggest Terrorist Operation That Exists'. Continuing his streak of fiercely criticizing President Obama's foreign
policy and civil liberties record, pre-eminent left-wing scholar Noam Chomsky told GRITtv that this administration is "dedicated to
increasing terrorism" throughout the world via its own "terrorist" drone strikes in foreign lands.
under pressure to explain drone use, as Obama names new director. As President Obama nominates a new FBI director, the
bureau is coming under rising pressure from lawmakers to explain the limits of its recently disclosed drone fleet. Civil
liberties-minded senators on both sides of the aisle have fired off sharply worded letters and statements in recent days criticizing
the FBI for deploying surveillance drones without clear guidance on how to protect privacy rights.
FBI director admits domestic use of drones for surveillance.
The FBI uses drones for domestic surveillance purposes, the head of the agency told Congress early Wednesday [6/19/2013]. Robert Mueller,
the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, confirmed to lawmakers that the FBI owns several unmanned aerial vehicles, but has not
adopted any strict policies or guidelines yet to govern the use of the controversial aircraft.
Mueller: FBI deploys
drones in US for 'limited' surveillance. The FBI uses drones to watch specific targets within the United States, the bureau's chief said
Wednesday [6/19/2013]. FBI Director Robert Mueller told senators the agency uses drones infrequently for surveillance in the U.S., and only in
regards to specific investigations. "Our footprint is very small," Mueller said in testimony. "We have very few and have limited use."
On. Last week President Obama announced restrictions on U.S. drone strikes. He touted the rules — "written policy standards
and procedures that formalize and strengthen the Administration's rigorous process" for authorizing targeted killings — in a policy statement,
a speech, and a background briefing by senior administration officials. This week Obama went right back to business. He killed a Taliban leader
with a drone strike in Pakistan, and White House press secretary Jay Carney won't even admit that's what happened.
Senior Taliban militants killed by US drone strike
in Pakistan. Just days after Barack Obama announced new restrictions on the use of drones, one of the CIA's unmanned aircraft is
reported to have killed the deputy leader of the Pakistani Taliban — one of the most significant strikes for the controversial programme
in months. It was the first drone strike since Pakistanis voted overwhelmingly on 11 May for political parties strongly opposed to the
US use of drones.
drone rules leave unanswered questions. President Barack Obama left plenty of ambiguity in new policy guidelines that he says will
restrict how and when the U.S. can launch targeted drone strikes, leaving himself significant power over how and when the weapons can be deployed.
acknowledges killing of four U.S. citizens in counterterrorism operations. The Obama administration acknowledged Wednesday [5/22/2013]
that it has killed four Americans in overseas counterterrorism operations since 2009, the first time it has publicly taken responsibility for the deaths.
Although the acknowledgment, contained in a letter from Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. to Congress, does not say how the four were killed,
three are known to have died in CIA drone strikes in Yemen in 2011: Anwar al-Awlaki, his 16-year-old son and Samir Khan.
Obama's Drone War. The drones
themselves — the MQ-1 Predator and the MQ-9 Reaper being the weapons of choice — are propeller-driven unmanned
aircraft that fly relatively slowly (the Predator cruises at about 80 mph, the Reaper at about 230 mph) and are capable
of long endurance. The Predator can fly for 24 hours without refueling, and the Reaper — heavier and
faster — for about 14 hours. The Predator carries two 100-pound "Hellfire" missiles, precision-guided
munitions with small warheads. The Reaper can carry a combination of Hellfires and larger, 500-pound smart
bombs that are sufficient to destroy a house.
As far as I know, this is the first appearance of "drone" as a transitive verb:
Yes, America Says: America Drones the
American People. The U.S. government admitted for the first time Wednesday that it intentionally droned American citizen
Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen in 2011, and that it unintentionally droned three other Americans, including al-Awlaki's 16-year-old son.
Attorney General Eric Holder admitted it in a letter to Congress, The New York Times' Charlie Savage reports.
U.S. acknowledges killing of four U.S. citizens in counterterrorism operations.
The Obama administration acknowledged Wednesday [5/21/2013] that it has killed four Americans in overseas counterterrorism operations since
2009, the first time it has publicly taken responsibility for the deaths. Although the acknowledgment, contained in a letter
from Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. to Congress, does not say how the four were killed, three are known to have died in
CIA drone strikes in Yemen in 2011: Anwar al-Awlaki, his 16-year-old son and Samir Khan.
Barack Obama, speech isn't free when it criticizes him. [Scroll down] Finally, the administration secretly tracked
the phone calls of the Associated Press to root out who leaked the report of a drone strike. Then the CIA told AP to hold off on
the story so that Obama could announce it first. This has a chilling affect on journalists. But it's also the latest salvo
in the Obama administration's war on whistleblowers.
Barack Obama's America.
Barack Obama's America is one where foreign terrorists captured abroad should be tried in American courts, with full American procedural
rights, but where American citizens who aren't an immediate threat can be killed by remote control without benefit of charges, trials
Congress Seeks to Head Off UN Interference in
Internet Governance. The bill was not considered in a vacuum. Congress wants to put the U.S. firmly on record opposing a plan by a little-known
UN agency, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), to vastly expand the ability of individual countries to censor the internet, and have a much greater
say in naming domains, assigning numbers, and directing internet traffic in their own countries. It's not quite the "UN takeover of the internet" conspiracy
theory that some have been pushing. But neither is it as benign and non-controversial as the conspiracy debunkers claim.
Red Cross chief criticises US drone use in
Pakistan. Red Cross chief Peter Maurer on Tuesday condemned US drone strikes outside areas officially engulfed in armed conflict,
warning against a creeping expansion of the definition of what constitutes a battlefield. Washington's secretive and controversial use of
drones was not a problem in itself, said Maurer, as in the context of an armed conflict drones are considered legitimate weapons. "But if
a drone is used in a country where there is no armed conflict... there is a problem," the head of the International Committee of the Red Cross
told reporters in Geneva, urging the "very restrained use" of the weapon.
Obama's drone war kills 'others,' not just al Qaida
leaders. Contrary to assurances it has deployed U.S. drones only against known senior leaders of al Qaida and allied groups, the Obama
administration has targeted and killed hundreds of suspected lower-level Afghan, Pakistani and unidentified "other" militants in scores of strikes in
Pakistan's rugged tribal area, classified U.S. intelligence reports show.
Murder for Hire. [Scroll down] This
leads to a very real conundrum on the battlefield: If a bad guy is captured all the protections afforded by international treaty kick in.
If, however, the bad guy is killed, he is ... dead. No protections obtain. If, as we have been told, torture doesn't work —
that actionable intelligence is unlikely to be gained — then killing a foe rather than taking him (or her) into custody is a cost-effective
method of operating. If it can be done by remote control, then that's even better. [...] It smells like Murder for Hire and I wish —
fervently wish — there were some better way to prosecute this war.
The Editor says...
No, it's not a mafia hit, it's a remote-controlled lynching. I'm not an anti-war activist by any means, but Iraq and Afghanistan should be
abandoned and left to rot. Neither of those countries has attacked the United States. This war (or these wars) serve no purpose.
Afghanistan supposedly is rich in lithium. What's that good for? The batteries
in electric cars! We don't need electric cars, especially when the cost of
the war is applied to them.
When the Whole World Has
Drones. The precedents the U.S. has set for robotic warfare may have fearsome consequences as other countries catch up.
Hundreds of Drones Go Homeless. As the war in Afghanistan winds
down, many commanders are asking what is going to happen to the large fleet of drones that have patrolled the skies, according to the Air Force
The Editor says...
See if you can predict the fate of surplus military UAVs. What's going to become of them?
(A) They will be dismantled and sent to a recycling company.
(B) They will be sold at Army Surplus stores.
(C) The weapons will be removed (if we're lucky) and they will be given to big-city police departments.
Defense Industry Pushes For 'Drone Zone'
Over Southern California. Despite Americans' concerns about the domestic use of drones, California local agencies are
reportedly moving forward with an application to declare a broad swath of Southern California a "drone zone" — an area to
be used to test pilotless aircraft. The purpose: government stimulus.
Game of Drones. China's military is expanding its unmanned aerial
vehicle forces with a new Predator-like armed drone and a new unmanned combat aircraft amid growing tensions with neighbors in Asia,
according to U.S. intelligence officials. New unarmed drone deployments include the recent stationing of reconnaissance and ocean
surveillance drones in Northeast Asia near Japan and the Senkaku islands and along China's southern coast.
The Drone Ranger. When Obama campaigned for his
present job in 2008, he promised to stop the torture of prisoners as well as the unsanctioned murders. He also promised to close
Guantanamo. He roundly chastised the criminality of the Bush administration for participating in the aforementioned crimes.
A little over four years later, the torturing of prisoners continues, Guantanamo is still open and murders of nonmilitary targets have
exponentially increased through the use of drones.
hard to win the hearts and minds of people when you're killing them. A former Obama admninistration official gets right
down to it on drone warfare overseas. It's not just that it's extralegal, unconstitutional, et cetera. It's that
dropping so many weapons on the local people — even so-called precision ones — is dumb and counter-productive.
Drones in Wonderland. [Scroll down]
Although Sen. Paul's filibuster focused on drones, he earlier had voiced similar concerns regarding the 2012 National Defense Authorization
Act ("NDAA"), calling it an "abomination" for its vague provisions that would allow the US government to indefinitely detain citizens
suspected of aiding terrorist activities. Paul had backed an amendment to the bill that limited the authority to override due process,
but then a committee led by Sen. John McCain revised the language in the amendment — a wording that Paul found "insufficient."
Drone Question: Is Obama Building A Federal Police Force? [Scroll down] Put it all together, and it sure looks like
Obama is building the backbone for that national police force he wanted the first time he ran for office. Worse yet, both Democrats
and Republicans are now openly discussing a plan to put all the drones flown in America's skies, including those owned and operated by
local police departments, under the ultimate supervision of the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice,
consolidating the country's surveillance and law enforcement powers under one powerful federal police jurisdiction.
Rand Paul: My filibuster was just the beginning. I wanted to sound an alarm bell from coast to coast. I wanted
everybody to know that our Constitution is precious and that no American should be killed by a drone without first being charged with
a crime. As Americans, we have fought long and hard for the Bill of Rights. The idea that no person shall be held
without due process, and that no person shall be held for a capital offense without being indicted, is a founding American
principle and a basic right.
Reasons To Ban Domestic Drone Strikes. [#2] The president could easily kill innocent citizens while taking out a
"terrorist" whom he, acting as judge, jury and executioner, has decreed guilty. While precision-guided, Hellfire missiles are not
surgical, civilian casualties are all-too common.
Oregon Company to
Sell Drone Defense Technology to Public. Do you want to keep drones out of your backyard? An Oregon company says
that it has developed and will soon start selling technology that disables unmanned aircraft. The company, called Domestic
Drone Countermeasures, was founded in late February because some of its engineers see unmanned aerial vehicles — which
are already being flown by law enforcement in some areas and could see wider commercial integration into American airspace by
2015 — as unwanted eyes in the sky.
Court deals blow to CIA drone
secrecy. For now, the Central Intelligence Agency can still maintain its official silence on whether it uses armed
drones. But a new court decision Friday [3/15/2013] could force the agency to provide some information about what kind of
records they have on the subject and spell out why it's not required to say more about them.
the drone war. In choice of both topic and foil, Rand Paul's now legendary Senate filibuster was a stroke of political
genius. The topic was, ostensibly, very narrow: Does the president have the constitutional authority to put a drone-launched
Hellfire missile through your kitchen — you, a good citizen of Topeka to whom POTUS might have taken a dislike —
while you're cooking up a pot roast? The constituency of those who could not give this question a straight answer is exceedingly
small. Unfortunately, among them is Attorney General Eric Holder.
Podesta Channels Rand Paul to Undercut Obama on Drone Warfare. When you're President Obama and you're lambasted by
Clinton-era White House Chief of Staff John Podesta, it's far past time to give Congress the rules and justification for killing
U.S. citizens without due process. "Give them up, Mr. President," Podesta wrote in a scathing op-ed on drone warfare published
in The Washington Post today [3/15/2013]. Podesta is no Rand Paul, the libertarian GOP senator from Kentucky whose
13-hour marathon forced the secretive Obama administration to concede, grudgingly, that a U.S. president can't target American
citizens on U.S. soil for drone attacks.
A Tea Partier Gets Some Unusual
Defenders. [T]here are Democrats outside of government starting to pipe up on the issue of drones and secrecy, and it
suggests Paul's filibuster was even more successful from a publicity standpoint than it seemed at the time.
Thinking the unthinkable.
In my New York Times best-selling novel "Heroes Proved," the president of the United States orders the execution of an American
citizen in the United States by using precision munitions fired from a remotely piloted aircraft, or RPA — incorrectly
referred to by our media as a drone. When the book came out last year, some critics derided the idea of a U.S. president
issuing an executive order to kill Americans in our homeland as "over the top" and "unthinkable." One even said the idea was
"unfathomable." Thanks to Sen. Rand Paul, Kentucky Republican, we now know the Obama administration already has contemplated
such action. That ought to be troubling to every one of us.
Slams Obama On Transparency. Some in the media have reported on the Obama administration reneging on its promise to be
transparent and open. The president's drone policy is a testament to its commitment to secrecy. The creation of a secret
kill list is also another instance where Obama has betrayed a campaign promise to his liberal base. So, why aren't watchdog
groups vociferously protesting the president's 180-degree flip on this position?
President Obama: I'm no
Dick Cheney on drones. President Barack Obama's defense to Democratic senators complaining about how
little his administration has told Congress about the legal justifications for his drone policy: Dick Cheney
President Obama criticizes Dick Cheney over secrecy. President Obama issued a quick criticism about former Dick Cheney
earlier this week, telling Democratic senators worried about administration secrecy over drone usage not to worry — he's not
like the former vice president. "This is not Dick Cheney we're talking about here," Mr. Obama was quoted as saying by two
Democratic senators who requested anonymity and who attended the private meeting, Politico reported.
administration official: Holder's letter to Rand Paul implies no change to our drone policy. [Eric] Holder's
letter was carefully phrased to make it look like he was conceding to Paul when in fact he was conceding nothing. Which,
actually, was obvious as soon as it was published; that's why I was surprised when Paul celebrated it as a victory rather than
dismissing it as yet another dodge.
Good riddance to a medal.
This administration certainly loves drones, but even that ardent passion has limits. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Tuesday [3/12/2013]
put a stop to production of a medal that was to be awarded to drone operators, and not a moment too soon.
orders halt to production of drone pilot, cyberwarrior medal. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has ordered the military to stop
production of a controversial new medal pending a 30-day study of whether the award for drone pilots and cyberwarriors should outrank
medals given for battlefield bravery.
Obama Doctrine — kill American terrorists overseas, try foreign terrorists in New York City. Here's our
question for the Obama administration: are we at war or not? On the one hand, the administration has steadfastly defended
its drone war — which rains sudden death on enemy combatants, American and non-American alike — as a necessary
instrument in an ongoing military conflict against Al Qaeda. [...] But then the administration captured Abu Ghaith, a Kuwaiti member
of Al Qaeda — a member of Usama bin Laden's family, no less — and brought him to the United States for a civilian
trial in a Manhattan courtroom one mile from Ground Zero.
The Drone Question Obama Hasn't
Answered. Mr. Holder's letter raises more questions than it answers — and, indeed, more important and more
serious questions than the senator posed. What, exactly, does the Obama administration mean by "engaged in combat"? The
extraordinary secrecy of this White House makes the answer difficult to know. We have some clues, and they are troubling.
If you put together the pieces of publicly available information, it seems that the Obama administration, like the Bush administration
before it, has acted with an overly broad definition of what it means to be engaged in combat.
Power vs. liberty:
A lovers' quarrel. [Senator Rand] Paul used the nomination of John Brennan as CIA director as the putative cause of his
filibuster, because Brennan had previously supported drone strikes overseas. But Paul wasn't aiming at Brennan so much as the
entire national security infrastructure which under the last two presidents has chiseled away at various constitutional protections
in order to prop up its own power base.
Why Is the Air Force
Suddenly Removing Drone Strike Data? As the debate over the federal government's drone strike program is climaxing in
Washington, the Air Force has quietly erased previously published drone strike data from its website. [...] Air Force Central Command
(AFCENT) had been publishing monthly updates on drone strikes, or "weapons releases from remotely piloted aircraft (RPA)," since
October. However, data published in February suddenly "contained empty space where the box of RPA statistics had previously
been," the Air Force Times reports.
Force erases drone strike data in Afghanistan war report. As the debate on drone use heats up in the heartland, the Air
Force report released on March 7 failed to list airstrikes from drones and many believe it's no coincidence given the Obama
administration's embarrassment after Sen. Paul took the president to task for the U.S. government's use of drones in U.S. airspace.
Obama's Drone Debacle.
You know it's not a good day for the Obama administration when a paragon of the Tea Party right is roasting the president and liberal
twitter feeds are lighting up in support. But that's exactly what happened this past week when Kentucky Senator Rand Paul mounted
his "talking filibuster" to block the confirmation of CIA nominee John Brennan. Paul kept up the parliamentary maneuver for
13 hours in an effort to extract answers from the administration about its covert drone program, and particularly the question
of whether it is legal to target American citizens on U.S. soil.
Conspiracy, Rumors And A Lack of Transparency. It came to light that the president has a "kill list" of terrorists
who could be eliminated by drones. A terrorist in Yemen who was killed turned out to be an American citizen. His
young son who was an American citizen was also killed. Lots of questions were raised. Does the president have the
authority to kill an American citizen, even if he is a suspected, or known, terrorist? Are there rules? And what are they?
Carville likens Rand
Paul's drone concerns to birthers, evolution and global warming deniers. On MSNBC's "The ED Show" on Thursday [3/7/2013],
former Clinton adviser James Carville explained why he was not on board with Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul's protestations of the
Obama administration's drone policy. According to Carville, Paul's concerns that a drone could strike an American citizen on U.S.
soil were similar to those who believe in birtherism and deny evolution and global warming.
Weaponized drones. Drone manufacturers may offer
police remote controlled drones with weapons like rubber bullets, Tasers, and tear gas. Congress has required the Federal Aviation
Administration to loosen their regulations on drones and allow more drones in domestic airspace by 2015.
Devastating 26-Word Challenge to President Obama's Leadership. When Sen. Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat, stopped by the
Senate floor Wednesday [3/6/2013] to help out Rand Paul with his filibuster, he spoke for several minutes in the guise of asking a
question. But his remarks can really be boiled down to one powerful sentence that I've transcribed: ["]Mr. President,
what it comes down to is every American has the right to know when their government believes that it is allowed to kill them.["]
Ponder the modesty of that claim. He is merely asking that American citizens be given the most basic information about their legal
system: when they're lawfully subject to capital punishment. What would possibly justify withholding it?
drones be used to spy on Americans?. A small group of police and fire departments around the country are
using new high-tech drones for emergency response situations stoking fears about misuse of the unmanned aircraft.
Some are using sophisticated fixed-wing drones that can remain in the air for hours as well as online digital mapping
software to create virtual crimes scenes.
Security Drones Designed to Identify Civilians Carrying Guns. Recently uncovered government documents reveal
that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) unmanned Predator B drone fleet has been custom designed to identify
civilians carrying guns and track cell phone signals. "I am very concerned that this technology will be used against
law-abiding American firearms owners," said founder and executive vice president of the Second Amendment Foundation, Alan
Gottlieb. "This could violate Fourth Amendment rights as well as Second Amendment rights."
US Drones Intercept Electronic Communications and Identify
Human Targets. New records obtained by EPIC under the Freedom of Information Act indicate that the Bureau of Customs and
Border Protection is operating drones in the United States capable of intercepting electronic communications. The records also
suggest that the ten Predator B drones operated by the agency have the capacity to recognize and identify a person on the ground.
Approximately, 2/3 of the US population is subject to surveillance by the CBP drones.
Committees Get Additional Targeted Killing Memos, But Not the Public. In a win for congressional oversight over the
government's vast killing program, the Obama administration has shown an additional but undisclosed number of Justice Department
Office of Legal Counsel memos justifying the program to the Senate and House Intelligence Committees, but has continued to withhold
some of its legal opinions from the intelligence committees and has not provided any of the legal opinions to the rest of Congress
or to the American public.
Predator drones to spy on Americans. The documents provide more details about the surveillance capabilities of the
department's unmanned Predator B drones, which are primarily used to patrol the United States' northern and southern borders but
have been pressed into service on behalf of a growing number of law enforcement agencies including the FBI, the Secret Service, the
Texas Rangers, and local police.
domestic surveillance tech into Predator drones. Homeland Security's specifications say drones must be able to detect
whether a civilian is armed. Also specified: "signals interception" and "direction finding" for electronic surveillance.
Is on the Wrong Side of History — and Rand Paul — on Drone Warfare. As I've written before, there has
been a shameful lack of outrage — particularly among Democrats and liberal commentators — over Obama's stance that a
U.S. president can kill American citizens with no due process, no transparency, and no accountability. If President George W.
Bush had taken this stance in 2008, is there any doubt that candidate Obama would have opposed it? But this isn't just about
Obama. Even if you trust his judgment and fidelity to the Constitution, Obama is setting a precedent for future
leaders — perhaps a president you wouldn't empower as judge, jury and executioner.
A Government to be Feared.
In Obama's first term, his administration proudly touted its terrorist kill list as a means of keeping the country safe.
And while many were angered about the use of drones to kill enemies abroad, no one considered the possibility that such tactics
would be used here at home. The Washington Examiner recently reported, however the drone program might now be on
steroids. [...] So yes, I am nervous when the federal government under the leadership of Barack Obama begins to arm itself for
no apparent reason. One cannot convince me that we need these measures in order to protect us from terrorist attack.
Is a Civil War Coming? This is something we
discovered is not out of a dystopian novel but hatched by our own government, with a fleet of 30,000 drones expected by the end of
Obama's "third term." And what if there was a secret memo that gave the Obama administration the authority to kill any U.S.
citizen at any time, anywhere, without proof, without due process, accountable to no one? Investigative journalist Michael Isikoff
uncovered this last month. So what if, unlike the Communists in Russia, the Obama administration wasn't able to disarm
its enemy — conservatives — but were able to easily outgun them, with hundreds of thousands of "personal defense
weapons," billions of rounds, tanks, and "public safety" drones? Is a civil war coming between a totalitarian Obama administration
Deputy Mayor Trashes Rand Paul's Anti-Drone Crusade. [Scroll down] According to a recent Reason-Rupe
national survey (conducted of adults from February 21 - 25, with a margin of error of +/- 3.8 percent), 57 percent
respondents nationwide said that they believe it is unconstitutional for an American president to authorize the execution of an American
citizen overseas without due process of law. 59 percent of respondents said they think the federal government
exceeds its authority when it comes to targeted strikes against citizens.
Why Rand Paul's Case
Against the White House Matters. Why was that so hard? Only after Republican Rand Paul of Kentucky rallied public
support against President Obama did the White House answer a simple and constitutionally critical question: "Does the president
have the authority to use a weaponized drone to kill an American not engaged in combat on an American soil?" Attorney General Eric
Holder wrote a two-sentence letter to Paul on Thursday [3/7/2013], saying the answer is no.
Holder, drones, and due
process. In his latest misstep, Attorney General Eric Holder is refusing to rule out the possibility of using armed drones
against American citizens within the United States. [...] Holder may have the right idea, but because of his misunderstanding of the law
and his political tin ear, he is only frightening the American people — though this seems to be the administration's preferred
approach to politics these days.
Cruz Goads Eric Holder Into Admitting That Killing Americans With Drones On U.S. Soil Is Unconstitutional. On
Tuesday [3/5/2013], the Department of Justice sent shockwaves through the nation when Attorney General Eric Holder informed Sen.
Rand Paul (R-KY) in writing that the White House would be within its legal authority to execute an American citizen via drone
on U.S. soil if that person was determined to pose a threat to national security. On Wednesday [3/6/2013], testifying
before a Senate panel, Holder was prodded repeatedly about this assertion by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX). Holder eventually
admitted that it would not be constitutional to execute an American citizen without due process.
filibusters Brennan nomination for CIA director. The Kentucky Republican said he will hold up the nomination
until he gets more information about the U.S. drone execution program, which has become a major sore point for many lawmakers
on Capitol Hill.
According to Eric Holder...
Drone strikes against Americans on U.S. soil are legal.
Attorney General Eric Holder can imagine a scenario in which it would be constitutional to carry out a drone strike against an
American on American soil, he wrote in a letter to Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky. "It is possible, I suppose, to imagine an
extraordinary circumstance in which it would be necessary and appropriate under the Constitution and applicable laws of
the United States for the President to authorize the military to use lethal force within the territory of the United States,"
Holder replied in a letter yesterday [3/4/2013] to Paul's question about whether Obama "has the power to authorize lethal force, such as
a drone strike, against a U.S. citizen on U.S. soil, and without trial." Paul condemned the idea. "The U.S. Attorney
General's refusal to rule out the possibility of drone strikes on American citizens and on American soil is more than
frightening — it is an affront the Constitutional due process rights of all Americans," he said in a statement.
John Brennan and the Drone
Consensus. Everyone was waiting for an epic clash between Congress and the White House over the morality of drones
this week. Instead, we got pragmatic compromise.
Drones and the Fugitive Conscience.
The tortured logic used by President Obama to justify drone assassinations of Americans, even 16-year-old Americans, has been met by
surprise and consternation. For example, McClatchy reported that the Administration "jumbles international and U.S. law," and
National Review described the Administration's white paper as "dangerously misguided... guilty of exactly the error the Left accused
President Bush of... an executive imperialism...."
Why Obama won't show the rest of his drone memos to Congress. The Senate Intel Committee's seen four memos.
Turns out, per Dianne Feinstein, that the White House has many more in its files and is very, very reluctant to share the
rest — to the point that it's willing to make a deal with the hated GOP to keep them covered up.
What's in the Secret
Drone Memos. Despite President Obama's pledge in his State of the Union address to make the drone program "even
more transparent to the American people and to the world," his administration continues to resist efforts by Congress, even from
fellow Democrats, to obtain the full range of classified legal memos justifying "targeted killing." A key reason for that
reticence, according to two sources who have read the memos or are aware of their contents, is that the documents contain secret
protocols with foreign governments, including Pakistan and Yemen, as well as "case-specific" details of strikes.
in Niger to Set up Drone Base. President Barack Obama said Friday [2/22/2013] that about 100 American
troops have been deployed to the African nation of Niger.
President and his new Best Friend: The Drone. So now that the president has realized what an effective practice using
drones is, he has stepped it up and is now building a drone base in Niger. The new base will be used for surveillance missions
in the latest efforts by the president to help the French in their efforts to battle Islamic militants in neighboring Mali.
The U.S. has now deployed 100 troops to the West African nation of Niger.
Graham: America Has Killed 4,700 People With Drones. Strange things happen when a country kills people but refuses
to give even a rough estimate of how many.
Drones and the American Future.
Drones are a tool of the modern age. They have benefits. They have faults. They have become the equivalents of
the secret agents of the past whose role was to observe and thwart as needed. They are a modern technology with which no
governmental leader has a real, life-long experience. They are new. Indeed, their scope of use is evolving as the
Obama: 100 US Military Personnel
Deployed to Niger. President Barack Obama says about 100 U.S. military personnel have been deployed to the African nation
of Niger. In a letter to Congress, Obama says the forces will focus on "intelligence sharing" with French troops fighting Islamist
militants in neighboring Mali. He says the American forces have been deployed with weapons, quote, "for the purpose of providing
their own force protection and security."
Gibbs: As press secretary, I was ordered not to acknowledge the existence of the drone program. During a discussion
about President Obama's lack of transparency about the drone program, former White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs explained on
MSNBC this morning that he was ordered to never acknowledge the existence of the drone program.
What if One Day We Get a Bad President?
For instance, take this power to kill Americans with drones. No one worries that Obama will abuse such a power — I
mean, we're talking about a man who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize just for existing. It's not like he's ever going to use
that power to blow us up (though, according to his lawyers, he legally could... and if he did, we'd just have to assume he had really,
really good reasons). But just imagine if that power wound up in the hands of a president like George W. Bush.
"You do not examine legislation in the light of the benefits it
will convey if properly administered, but in the light of the wrongs
it would do and the harms it would cause if improperly administered."