April 19th, 2014
April 19th, 2014
The Pentagon is considering sending U.S. troops back to the Middle East to help train Iraqi forces, defense officials said Friday.
An investigation by El Universal has found that between the years 2000 and 2012, the U.S. government had an arrangement with Mexico’s Sinaloa drug cartel that allowed the organization to smuggle billions of dollars of drugs in exchange for information on rival cartels.
Sinaloa, led by Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, supplies 80% of the drugs entering the Chicago area and has a presence in cities across the U.S.
There have long been allegations that Guzman, considered to be “the world’s most powerful drug trafficker,” coordinates with American authorities.
But the El Universal investigation is the first to publish court documents that include corroborating testimony from a DEA agent and a Justice Department official. [holy shit…continue]
January 8th, 2013
In a move that was nearly a month too late, the Obama Administration has finally gotten around to announcing an “investigation” into the December 12 drone strike against a Yemeni wedding party, which killed a large number of civilians.
The strike fueled massive opposition from locals, and also a rare rebuke from the Yemeni parliament, which has long looked the other way over civilian deaths. The Obama Administration hasn’t learned any lesson however.
That’s because even as the probe was getting underway, the US launched yet another drone strike against the Hadrawmut Province, killing two unidentified people.
Officially, both of the slain have been declared “suspected al-Qaeda militants,” but that explanation would be a lot more credible if the US hadn’t labeled the wedding party the exact same way after that hit.
Though the US has long insisted virtually no civilians are slain in their strikes, they likewise have never identified a large number of their victims, shrugging them off as suspects unless someone says otherwise.
If a target person, agency or company orders a new computer or related accessories, for example, [NSA’s ‘Tailored Access Operations’ (TAO)] can divert the shipping delivery to its own secret workshops. The NSA calls this method interdiction. At these so-called ‘load stations,’ agents carefully open the package in order to load malware onto the electronics, or even install hardware components that can provide backdoor access for the intelligence agencies. All subsequent steps can then be conducted from the comfort of a remote computer. … These minor disruptions in the parcel shipping business rank among the ‘most productive operations’ conducted by the NSA hackers, one top secret document relates in enthusiastic terms. This method, the presentation continues, allows TAO to obtain access to networks ‘around the world.’
Inside TAO: Documents Reveal Top NSA Hacking Unit
According to a report in the New York Times, Iraq has requested ten relatively low-tech ScanEagle drones along with forty-eight Raven drones in order to track al Qaeda fighters who have been operating with impunity in the vast expanses of Anbar providence and in Western Iraq, which shares a border with Syria.
All of the drones will be delivered in 2014.
Seventy-five Hellfire missiles were also delivered to Iraq last week …
… In July, the US announced over $4 billion in Foreign Military Sales to Iraq that included everything from infantry carriers to ground-to-air rockets.
The Pentagon’s request to Congress included $2.4 billion for 681 Stinger anti-aircraft missiles and 40 truck-mounted launchers, Sentinel radars, and three Hawk anti-aircraft batteries with 216 Hawk missiles.
… The United States is also planning to begin delivering F-16 fighters to Iraq late next year.
U.S. intelligence, GPS bomb kits help Latin American nation cripple rebel forces
By Dana Priest
The 50-year-old Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), once considered the best-funded insurgency in the world, is at its smallest and most vulnerable state in decades, due in part to a CIA covert action program that has helped Colombian forces kill at least two dozen rebel leaders, according to interviews with more than 30 former and current U.S. and Colombian officials.
The secret assistance, which also includes substantial eavesdropping help from the National Security Agency, is funded through a multibillion-dollar black budget. It is not a part of the public $9 billion package of mostly U.S. military aid called Plan Colombia, which began in 2000.
The previously undisclosed CIA program was authorized by President George W. Bush in the early 2000s and has continued under President Obama, according to U.S. military, intelligence and diplomatic officials. Most of those interviewed spoke on the condition of anonymity because the program is classified and ongoing.
The covert program in Colombia provides two essential services to the nation’s battle against the FARC and a smaller insurgent group, the National Liberation Army (ELN): Real-time intelligence that allows Colombian forces to hunt down individual FARC leaders and, beginning in 2006, one particularly effective tool with which to kill them.
That weapon is a $30,000 GPS guidance kit that transforms a less-than-accurate 500-pound gravity bomb into a highly accurate smart bomb. Smart bombs, also called precision-guided munitions or PGMs, are capable of killing an individual in triple-canopy jungle if his exact location can be determined and geo-coordinates are programmed into the bomb’s small computer brain.
In March 2008, according to nine U.S. and Colombian officials, the Colombian Air Force, with tacit U.S. approval, launched U.S.-made smart bombs across the border into Ecuador to kill a senior FARC leader, Raul Reyes. The indirect U.S. role in that attack has not been previously disclosed.
The covert action program in Colombia is one of a handful of enhanced intelligence initiatives that has escaped public notice since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. …
… White House lawyers, along with their colleagues from the CIA and the departments of Justice, Defense and State, had their own questions to work through. It was one thing to use a PGM to defeat an enemy on the battlefield — the U.S. Air Force had been doing that for years. It was another to use it to target an individual FARC leader. Would that constitute an assassination, which is prohibited by U.S. law? And, “could we be accused of engaging in an assassination, even if it is not ourselves doing it?” said one lawyer involved.
The White House’s Office of Legal Counsel and others finally decided that the same legal analysis they had applied to al-Qaeda could be applied to the FARC. [continue]
The Obama administration moved late Friday to prevent a federal judge in California from ruling on the constitutionality of warrantless surveillance programs authorized during the Bush administration, telling a court that recent disclosures about National Security Agency spying were not enough to undermine its claim that litigating the case would jeopardize state secrets.
Plaintiffs have a substantial likelihood of showing that their privacy interests outweigh the government’s interest in collecting and analysing bulk telephony metadata and therefore the NSA’s bulk collection program is indeed an unreasonable search under the fourth amendment.
Judge Richard Leon, NSA phone surveillance program likely unconstitutional, federal judge rules
December 14th, 2014
At least six people were killed in a drone strike in Mach Magai area of Loe Shalman near Khyber Agency on Saturday.
According to political administration, two missiles were fired while a boat in River Kabul was targeted in the strike.
Six people were killed while two others injured in the drone attack, the administration added.
The injured identified as Hamid and Shabir were taken to Landikotal Hospital.
This is the first US drone strike in Loe Shalman area.
The last drone strike was carried out in Hangu district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa that killed six people.
December 12th, 2013
When a US drone strike tears through some vehicle, building, or picnic in Yemen, the Yemeni government is quick to label all of the victims “suspected al-Qaeda fighters,” and today was no different.
That claim was stretched beyond all credibility, however, when witnesses came forward saying today’s strike, on the outskirts of Qaifa, actually hit a wedding party. The procession of vehicles was traveling together when missiles slammed into one of the middle cars, causing chaos and killing 10 civilians instantly, while wounding 12 others. Five of the wounded have since died, bringing the toll to 15.
The early indications are that this was yet another “signature” attack, where US drones target totally unidentified people doing something they thing seems terrorist-like. In this case, it was driving cars in a convoy, which is bad news for weddings and funeral processions.
The Hadi government has yet to issue an official statement, but is unlikely to be too critical of the US, having openly endorsed drone strikes repeatedly.
December 9th, 2013
Another US drone strike hit the Hadramawt Province in southeastern Yemen today, destroying a truck and killing four unidentified people within.
Yemeni officials dubbed the slain “al-Qaeda suspects,” and in some accounts “gunmen,” though they conceded that they have no idea who the four victims of the attack actually are since the bodies were burned beyond recognition in the strike. That is nothing new, as the overwhelming majority of US drone strikes kill so-called “signature” targets, people even the attackers don’t know but who simply look like they might be up to something.
Of thousands of victims of US drone strikes across the world, only a few dozen have ever been named officially, with the rest forever labeled “suspects.”
[For] all their enthusiasm — so many C.I.A., F.B.I. and Pentagon spies were hunting around in Second Life, the document noted, that a ‘deconfliction’ group was needed to avoid collisions — the intelligence agencies may have inflated the threat.