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Predators and the “Neutralization” of 69 People in Iraq and Syria
On October 7th, at an “undisclosed location” somewhere in “Southwest Asia,” men wearing different types of camouflage and dun-colored boots gathered before a black backdrop adorned with Arabic script. They were attending a ceremony that mixed solemnity with celebration, the commemoration of a year of combat that left scores of their enemies slain. One of... Read More
How Israeli High-Tech Firms Will Up-Armor the U.S.-Mexican Border
It was October 2012. Roei Elkabetz, a brigadier general for the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), was explaining his country’s border policing strategies. In his PowerPoint presentation, a photo of the enclosure wall that isolates the Gaza Strip from Israel clicked onscreen. “We have learned lots from Gaza,” he told the audience. “It’s a great laboratory.”... Read More
Predator drones, tested out in this country’s distant war zones, have played an increasingly prominent role in the up-armoring of the U.S.-Mexican border. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) launched its first Predator in 2004, but only really ramped up drone use in March 2013. There have been approximately 10,000 Predator flights along that border since.... Read More
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Drone-Killing the Fifth Amendment
You can't get more serious about protecting the people from their government than the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution, specifically in its most critical clause: "No person shall be... deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law." In 2011, the White House ordered the drone-killing of American citizen Anwar al-Awlaki without trial.... Read More
What a world we’re in. Thanks to smartphones, iPads, and the like, everyone is now a photographer, but it turns out that, in the public landscape, there’s ever less to photograph. So here are a few tips for living more comfortably in a photographically redacted version of our post-9/11 world. Even if you’re a professional... Read More
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Speaking Truth From the Robotic Heavens
Enemies, innocent victims, and soldiers have always made up the three faces of war. With war growing more distant, with drones capable of performing on the battlefield while their “pilots” remain thousands of miles away, two of those faces have, however, faded into the background in recent years. Today, we are left with just the... Read More
Earlier this month, CIA-operated drones killed as many as 55 people in Yemen in several separate strikes. Although it was claimed that those killed were “militants,” according to press reports at least three civilians were killed and at least five others wounded. That makes at least 92 US drone attacks against Yemen during the Obama... Read More
The collapse of available bases could push the U.S. to revamp its failed counterterrorism strategy
The Obama administration is facing complete collapse of its counterterrorism strategy in South Asia as it fails to ratify a new status of forces agreement with Afghanistan. Yet many intelligence insiders consider the failure to be a good thing. The administration erred in constructing its capability to counter the terrorist threat largely around the use... Read More
Imagine this: a president and his top officials as self-professed assassins -- and proud of it, even attempting to gain political capital from it. It’s not that American presidents have never been associated with assassination attempts before. At a National Security Council meeting, Dwight D. Eisenhower personally ordered the CIA to “eliminate” Congolese Prime Minister... Read More
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How to Build a Post-Constitutional America One Death at a Time
Terrorism (ter-ror-ism; see also terror) n. 1. When a foreign organization kills an American for political reasons. Justice (jus-tice) n. 1. When the United States Government uses a drone to kill an American for political reasons. How's that morning coffee treating you? Nice and warming? Mmmm. While you're savoring your cup o' joe, imagine the... Read More
How Does the Global War on Terror Ever End?
[This epilogue to Scahill’s bestselling book, Dirty Wars: The World Is a Battlefield, is posted with the kind permission of its publisher, Nation Books.] On January 21, 2013, Barack Obama was inaugurated for his second term as president of the United States. Just as he had promised when he began his first campaign for president... Read More
The CIA's insurance plan for Karzai and Maliki---and what it means for Syria
Media reports of CIA preparations to use drones to target al-Qaeda-linked rebels in Syria, should the post-Assad situation warrant such an intervention, are only party correct. The plan to use drones under certain circumstances is in reality part of the much larger CIA program in Iraq that parallels the program being set up in Afghanistan.... Read More
Last week, Senators threatened to put a “hold” on the nomination of John Brennan to be CIA director over his refusal to answer questions about the use of drones to kill Americans on US soil. That the president’s nominee to head the agency that has used drones to kill perhaps thousands overseas could not deny... Read More
A report on the post-Petraeus CIA and jihadist "refugees" in Turkey.
There was considerable pushback at the Central Intelligence Agency following the resignation of David Petraeus. Former military officers are generally disliked at CIA, but Petraeus made all the right moves by arriving at Langley without a staff and with a professed willingness to learn. Then he went ahead and pulled together a team that favored... Read More
Dance of the Drones
Drones or their equivalent have long attracted political and military leaders dreaming of the surgical removal of their enemies. In 1812, the governor of Moscow, Count Rostopchin, devised a plan to get a hot-air balloon to hover over the French lines at Borodino and drop an explosive device on Napoleon. The source for this is... Read More
Kelley’s article on counting the collateral damage arising from the drone wars starting me thinking about the latest “success” being reported in Washington, the killing of alleged al-Qaeda number two Abu Yahya al-Libi. A series of drone strikes took place on Saturday through Monday, June 2nd through the 4th, part and parcel of eight strikes... Read More
Assassination Campaigns Do Not Win Wars, and They Create as Many Enemies as They Destroy
As the US and its allies ponder what to do about Syria, one suggestion advanced by the protagonists of armed intervention is to use unmanned drones to attack Syrian government targets. The proposal is a measure of the extraordinary success of the White House, CIA and Defense Department in selling the drone as a wonder... Read More
There is a new normal in warfare developing as drone technology becomes more widespread. The downing of a CIA drone is the most recent episode in the secret war against Iran and it is to be presumed that American drones are also flying out of Turkish bases to monitor developments in Syria. In the past,... Read More
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PastClassics
The unspoken statistical reality of urban crime over the last quarter century.
The “war hero” candidate buried information about POWs left behind in Vietnam.
The major media overlooked Communist spies and Madoff’s fraud. What are they missing today?
What Was John McCain's True Wartime Record in Vietnam?