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News and Opinion
Armed Drones Could Target President: Former U.S. Intelligence Chief
WASHINGTON -- As the technology for arming drones spreads around the world, terrorists could use the unmanned, missile-firing aircraft to attack and kill the president and other U.S. leaders, the former chief of U.S. intelligence said Tuesday.
Retired Adm. Dennis Blair, who served as President Obama's first director of national intelligence, told reporters he was concerned that the proliferation of armed drones -- a potential outgrowth of the U.S. reliance on drones to attack and kill terrorists -- could well backfire.
"I do fear that if al Qaeda can develop a drone, its first thought will be to use it to kill our president, and senior officials and senior officers," Blair said during a conference call with reporters. "It is possible without a great deal of intelligence to do something with a drone you cannot do with a high-powered rifle or driving a car full of explosives and other ways terrorists now use to try killing senior officials," he said.
Mali: The Fastest Blowback Yet in This Disastrous War on Terror
French intervention in Mali will fuel terrorism, but the west's buildup in Africa is also driven by the struggle for resources
To listen to David Cameron's rhetoric this week, it could be 2001 all over again. Eleven years into the war on terror, it might have been Tony Blair speaking after 9/11. As the bloody siege of the part BP-operated In Amenas gas plant in Algeria came to an end, the British prime minister claimed, like George Bush and Blair before him, that the country faced an "existential" and "global threat" to "our interests and way of life".
While British RAF aircraft backed French military intervention against Islamist rebels in Mali, and troops were reported to be on alert for deployment to the west African state, Cameron promised that a "generational struggle" would be pursued with "iron resolve". The fight over the new front in the terror war in North Africa and the Sahel region, he warned, could go on for decades.
So in austerity-blighted Britain, just as thousands of soldiers are being made redundant, while Barack Obama has declared that "a decade of war is now ending", armed intervention is being ratcheted up in yet another part of the Muslim world. Of course, it's French troops in action this time. But even in Britain the talk is of escalating drone attacks and special forces, and Cameron has refused to rule out troops on the ground.
You'd think the war on terror had been a huge success, the way the western powers keep at it, Groundhog Day-style. In reality, it has been a disastrous failure, even in its own terms – which is why the Obama administration felt it had to change its name to "overseas contingency operations", until US defence secretary Leon Panetta revived the old title this week.
On Jobs and Economic Justice, Will We Lead or Be Lulled By the Speech?
We must never forget that in a democracy it’s the people, not their elected officials, who lead. This speech leaves progressive Americans, and that great American majority that agrees with them on economic issues, with a choice:
Will we be pacified with rhetoric, or will we demand – and take – action? Will we lead?
The Untouchables: How the Obama administration protected Wall Street from prosecutions
A new PBS Frontline report examines a profound failure of justice that should be causing serious social unrest
PBS' Frontline program on Tuesday night broadcast a new one-hour report on one of the greatest and most shameful failings of the Obama administration: the lack of even a single arrest or prosecution of any senior Wall Street banker for the systemic fraud that precipitated the 2008 financial crisis: a crisis from which millions of people around the world are still suffering. What this program particularly demonstrated was that the Obama justice department, in particular the Chief of its Criminal Division, Lanny Breuer, never even tried to hold the high-level criminals accountable
What Obama justice offials did instead is exactly what they did in the face of high-level Bush era crimes of torture and warrantless eavesdropping: namely, acted to protect the most powerful factions in the society in the face of overwhelming evidence of serious criminality. Indeed, financial elites were not only vested with impunity for their fraud, but thrived as a result of it, even as ordinary Americans continue to suffer the effects of that crisis.
Worst of all, Obama justice officials both shielded and feted these Wall Street oligarchs (who, just by the way, overwhelmingly supported Obama's 2008 presidential campaign) as they simultaneously prosecuted and imprisoned powerless Americans for far more trivial transgressions. As Harvard law professor Larry Lessig put it two weeks ago when expressing anger over the DOJ's persecution of Aaron Swartz: "we live in a world where the architects of the financial crisis regularly dine at the White House." (Indeed, as "The Untouchables" put it: while no senior Wall Street executives have been prosecuted, "many small mortgage brokers, loan appraisers and even home buyers" have been).
Blog Posts and Tweets of Interest
That Air Force posting appropriating MLK's image isn't a one-time aberration: it's a coordinated campaign - see update: is.gd/6oYga1— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) January 23, 2013
Lanny Breuer is worried about financial systemic risk?!?This is stunning.He won't prosecute you if he is worried about the econ effect— Simon Johnson (@baselinescene) January 23, 2013
#frontline: the real story -- DoJ didn't try to bring criminal investigation; look at the resources they put into it, very small— Simon Johnson (@baselinescene) January 23, 2013
@occupywallstnyc just watched the doc on Frontline. Whoa!— danielle notaro (@dreamheart) January 23, 2013
We are the ones we've been waiting for. #OccupyWallStreet— Occupy Wall Street (@OccupyWallStNYC) January 23, 2013
Those of you infuriated by Aaron Swartz' persecution, please turn to Frontline to understand who runs DOJ's Criminal Division, Lanny Breuer.— emptywheel (@emptywheel) January 23, 2013
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