*HOLDER SAID TO RECUSE HIMSELF FROM AP PHONE RECORDS CASE
*HOLDER SAID TO RECUSE HIMSELF BECAUSE HE WAS QUESTIONED IN CASE
Yesterday, the Associated Press revealed the Department of Justice had been secretly monitoring both the personal and work phones of numerous AP editors and reporters. So just what did Holder know? For now, it is not known if Holder authorized or even knew about the investigation.
A U.S. Air Force MQ-1 Predator unmanned aerial vehicle. The U.S. is conducting drone strikes in in at least three countries beyond Iraq and Afghanistan. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Stanley Thompson)
You might have heard about the “kill list.” You’ve certainly heard about drones. But the details of the U.S. campaign against militants in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia — a centerpiece of the Obama administration’s national security approach – remain shrouded in secrecy. Here’s our guide to what we know—and what we don’t know.
Where is the drone war? Who carries it out?
Drones have been the Obama administration’s tool of choice for taking out militants outside of Iraq and Afghanistan. Drones aren’t the exclusive weapon – traditional airstrikes and other attacks have also been reported. But by one estimate, 95 percent of targeted killings since 9/11 have been conducted by drones. Among the benefits of drones: they don’t put American troops in harm’s way.
With drones from the beginning there has been a kind of technological determinism associated with the idea that since the United States possesses this relatively new technology it should use it. Facing the uncertainty of reelection, President Obama became so concerned about the lawlessness of his drone killings he sought hastily to codify the rules governing their use. What began in the Bush era as a means for targeting al Qaeda leaders hiding in remote areas has become a vast “amorphous” death machine targeting suspected “militants” in Yemen, Somalia, and Pakistan. Now we’ve learned that, in addition to “personality strikes” aimed at individuals deemed enemies of the United States, there are now what’s called “signature strikes” where any congregation of suspicious looking military-age men is open game.
The Obama administration apparently views drones as the cheapest and easiest way to kill “militants” while keeping American casualties low to non-existent. This seeming techno-supremacy has the added political benefit of getting around a war-weary electorate. But future presidents might not quibble about using drones as judiciously as our current president claims to be, hence his rush to clarify the rules of engagement.
Ben Swann takes a look at the statement last week by President Obama that “No country would tolerate missiles being fired from outside their borders”. We compare the numbers on U.S drone strikes in Yemen and Pakistan.
It seemed like a simple enough idea for an iPhone app: Send users a pop-up notice whenever a flying robots kills someone in one of America’s many undeclared wars. But Apple keeps blocking the Drones+ program from its App Store — and therefore, from iPhones everywhere. The Cupertino company says the content is “objectionable and crude,” according to Apple’s latest rejection letter.
It’s the third time in a month that Apple has turned Drones+ away, says Josh Begley, the program’s New York-based developer. The company’s reasons for keeping the program out of the App Store keep shifting. First, Apple called the bare-bones application that aggregates news of U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia “not useful.” Then there was an issue with hiding a corporate logo. And now, there’s this crude content problem.
The Pentagon’s secretive drone and commando base in the Horn of Africa is getting a lot bigger and a lot busier as the U.S. doubles down on its shadowy campaign of air strikes, robot surveillance and Special Operation Forces raids in the terror havens of Yemen and Somalia.
Camp Lemonnier, originally a French colonial outpost in Djibouti, a tiny, impoverished nation just north of Somalia, has been the epicenter of America’s Indian Ocean shadow war since just after 9/11. What was once little more than a run-down compound adjacent to Djibouti city’s single-runway international airport is now a sprawling complex of hangars and air-conditioned buildings housing eight Predator drones and eight F-15E fighter-bombers plus other warplanes, as well as around 300 Special Operations Forces and more than 2,000 other U.S. troops and civilians.
According to an investigation by The Washington Post, the Pentagon is spending $1.4 billion to expand the base’s airplane parking and living facilities. The extra housing could accommodate another 800 commandos, the Post reports. The military is also adding new lighting to a emergency landing strip a few miles from Camp Lemonnier — an urgent precaution as more and more planes and drones pack onto the main base’s sole runway. Continue reading »
From the Arabian Spring of hope (although technically protesting soaring food prices, something which is about to happen all over again) to the Arabian Fall of anti-American revulsion in under two years: has to be a blowback record. The latest casualty: the German embassy in Sudan:
Protestors now inside German Embassy in Khartoum, Sudan – RTRS
Protesters pull down emblem at German embassy in Sudan, raise Islamic flag, Reuters witness says – RTRS
Protesters set KFC restaurant on fire in Lebanon over pope’s visit, anti-Islam film -RTRS