Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Drone War and State Secrecy - How Barack Obama Becomes a Hard Line

Once he was a law professor who campaigned against the Iraq war. But now according to a report last week, the US President personally oversaw the "murder list" of drone attacks in Yemen and Pakistan. Then there is the submission of prisoners (renditions) by the CIA, increased supervision and crackdown on whistleblowers. So don't be surprised if insiders in Washington equate Obama with 'George W Bush who uses steroids'

By Paul Harris
Amos Guiora know about all planned murder, both in terms of legal proceedings and the risk of wrongful killing or causing civilian casualties. The law professor at the University of Utah spent years in the Israeli Ministry of Defense, including as legal counsel in the Gaza Strip where such assassination attacks were common. He knows how it feels when someone weighs decisions on life and death.
But Guiora claimed "deeply concerned" over President Barack Obama who had his own "kill list" of terrorists and how they were eliminated by missiles fired from drones around the world. He believes US policy is not closely related to how someone is on the list, leaving legal and moral problems when the list is on Obama's desk. "He made most of the decisions without an external review," Guiroa told the Observer, saying that the methodology used by the US to decide who was a terrorist was "looseygoosey(careless and inappropriate) ".
As the newspaper revealed last week, the Obama administration's list of killings defines militants as any military-aged man in the zone of attack when a drone strike takes place. Some people see Obama as president who sees more sophisticated terrorism issues than his predecessor, George W Bush. However, Guiora looked at him the same as Bush, only he was much more enthusiastic about the problem of fighting with drones.
But the "murder list" and the fast-developing aircraft drone program are just two of the many aspects of Obama's national security policy that seem to contradict the expectations of many supporters in 2008. After giving a strong message to separate themselves from Bush, Obama actually built his predecessor's national tactics in terms of security.
Obama has led a massive expansion of secret oversight of Americans by the National Security Agency. He has carried out violent and violent actions and has never been carried out before on the whistleblowers. He has classified more government documents than the previous president did. He has broken his promise to close the controversial and persistent Guantanamo Bay prison with prosecution through a secret military court, and not a civil court. He has maintained the rendition (surrender of prisoners) by the CIA. He has tried to gain more new power in what is defined as a terrorist or terrorist supporter and what can be done about them, which is often done without legal process.
The scope and breadth of Obama's national security policy has surprised even the strong supporters of Bush and members of the Washington DC institution. In newspaper articlesNew York Timeslast week detailing the "murder list", former Bush-era CIA Director Michael Hayden, said that Obama must open the process for more open supervision. "Democracy does not carry out wars on the basis of memos locked securely within the [Ministry of Justice]," he told the newspaper.
Even Aaron David Miller, a long-term Eastern policy adviser to Republican and Democratic governments, expressed his objections to the latest issue of Foreign Policy magazine. He wrote clearly, "Barack Obama has become George W Bush on steroids."
Many disappointed supporters will agree. Jesselyn Radack is an ethical adviser to the legal department under the Bush administration who is a whistleblower for cases of violations of the legal rights of the "American Taliban" John Walker Lindh. Now Radack works for the Government Accountability Project, which defends fellow whistleblowers. He campaigned for Obama, donated money and chose him. Now he has witnessed his government - which promises transparency and protection for the whistleblowers - instead cracking down on whistleblowers on the grounds of national security.
For this reason, the espionage law has been used - a spy law in the first world war that was not clear - six times. That is the use of such laws more in three years than all previous presidents were merged into one. Among these cases included the case of John Kiriakou, a CIA agent who leaked details of the torture of detainees withwaterboardingand Thomas Drake, who revealed the high cost of a contracted NSA data collection project. "We have never seen this happen before. Obama has led the most brutal crackdown on whistleblowers," Radack said.
But the development of this matched the increasing secrecy in the government under Obama. Last week a report by the Information Security Monitoring Office revealed that in 2011 US officials had made more than 92 million classified documents: the most ever made were 16 million classified documents. Officials insisted that the growth was caused by simple administrative procedures, but anti-confidentiality activists were not sure of that. Some estimates state that the number of documents that are classified as confidential is 90%.
"We see a reversal of the right flow of information between the government and the governed. This is probably a fundamental problem with civil liberties in our time," said Elizabeth Goitein, a national security expert at the Brennan Center. "National security institutions are getting bigger from time to time."
One amazing example of this is on the mountain in the Utah desert. The place was called the Utah Data Center which was being built for the NSA near a small town called Bluffdale. When finished next year, the heavily guarded $ 2 billion building, which has its own power plant, will be five times larger than the size of the US Capitol in Washington DC. This will be a giant server house that will store large amounts of data on American civilians who will be investigated and processed as intelligence. All of this will cover all phone calls, emails received to credit cards.
But UDC is only the clearest sign of how the NSA's operations and scope have grown since the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Under the Bush administration, an important part was the secret program "tapping without a warrant" which was canceled when this was revealed. However, in 2008 Congress passed a bill that effectively allowed the program to proceed only by legalizing key components. Under Obama, the work was carried out intensively earlier this year. The Senate intelligence committee extends this Act until 2017, which will make it last until the end of the second term of the Obama administration.
"Obama did not cancel what Bush did, Obama went beyond what Bush did. Obama just wrapped it in a package that looks better. He is more liberal, more eloquent. He does not look like a cowboy," said James Bamford, journalist and writer a book about the NSA published in 2008, The Shadow Factory.
That might explain the lack of media coverage of Obama's planned changes to a military funding law called the National Defense Authorization Law (NDAA). A clause was added to the NDAA which had a vague definition of terrorism advocates that were prosecuted by journalists and political activists and claimed it could threaten them by carrying out indefinite detention for matters such as interviewing Hamas members or WikiLeaks. A small percentage hoped the group would win, but when Obama's lawyers refused to definitively deny their claims, a New Yorker decided to support them. However, instead of looking for ways to adjust the words in the NDAA, the White House is now appealing against the decision.
That hard attitude might surprise only naive people. "He broadens the regime of secrecy in general," Radack said. But it is a drone program and a "murder list" that appears as the most important part of Obama's hardline national security policy. In January 2009, when Obama came to power, the drone program was only carried out for Pakistan and carried out 44 attacks in five years. When Obama came to power it was extended to Afghanistan, Yemen and Somalia with more than 250 attacks. Since April, there have been 14 attacks in Yemen.
Civil casualties are common. Obama's first attack on Yemen killed two families next to the target. One target was hit in Pakistan and detonated a respected tribal leader and a peace delegation. He has deliberately killed Americans, including radical American cleric Anwar al-Awlaki in September last year, and others who were deliberately killed, such as Awlaki's son, Abdul-Rahman, 16 years old.
Unmanned aircraft operations currently operate from two main bases in the US, dozens of smaller military installations and at least six foreign countries. There was a "Terror Day" meeting to discuss targets where Obama's campaign manager David Axelrod sometimes attended, giving confidence to those who were clearly seen involved in political calculations.
But for some people, politics seems debatable. Obama has shown himself as a cruel projector on the strength of national and foreign security, but the alternative in the upcoming elections is from the Republican Party, Mitt Romney.
"Whoever will be elected, whether it's Obama or Romney, they will continue this very dangerous path," Radack said. "This creates a constitutional crisis for our country. The crisis for all of us, as Americans. You cannot be a free citizen when all these things happen in secret."
Death from the sky
• Better known as a drone, the flying robot used by Obama is called an unmanned aerial vehicle by the defense industry that made it. However, the Air Force, calling it an RPA, or a remote controlled remote plane, such as those flown by human pilots, at a great distance from where they operate.
• The US Air Force alone has up to 70,000 people who process spy information collected from drone aircraft. This includes examining records of people and vehicles on the ground in the target countries and trying to observe their movement patterns.
• Drones are not only used by the military and the intelligence community. The US Customs and Border Agency has land and sea border patrol aircraft. They are used in eradicating drugs and preventing illegal border crossing traffic.
• It is assumed that the Pentagon alone has 7,000 or more planes. Ten years ago there were only less than 50. The origin of the plane originated in the Vietnam War and in the past it was the use of balloon reconnaissance on the battlefield.


IWD/The Truth Seeker Media

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