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Obama’s speech on drones and Gitmo is a repackaging of permanent war


MQ-9 Reaper flies above Creech AFB during a local training mission.  (Photo by Paul Ridgeway; attained from Wikipedia)

MQ-9 Reaper flies above Creech AFB during a local training mission. (Photo by Paul Ridgeway; attained from Wikipedia)

Recently, President Barack Obama gave a speech about his counterterrorism strategy at National Defense University. In it, he justified his targeted killing policy and drone strikes of suspected terrorists around the world. He also announced his plan to finally shut down Guantanamo Bay prison.

The speech is lauded by many as a signal that President Obama wants to end the War on Terror. But the speech was full of clever sophistry and Orwellian doublespeak that made it seem like the perpetual war was ending just as it’s being institutionalized and normalized. In essence, it was a repackaging of America’s targeted killing program and system of permanent war. Read the rest of this entry »

 

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In Era of Unconventional Warfare, Popular Video Games Get the Military Touch


Call of Duty: Black Ops II. Soldier in Yemen. (Photo Credit: Call of Duty: Black Ops II Wikia)

“Call of Duty: Black Ops II” image. Soldier in Yemen. (Photo Credit: “Call of Duty: Black Ops II” Wikia)

David Petraeus may be out of the military and Central Intelligence Agency but he’s found a new role elsewhere — in the game “Call of Duty: Black Ops II.” Well, his likeness, that is. Set in the year 2025, the first-person shooter features Petraeus as the Secretary of Defense serving under a female President resembling Hillary Clinton. Gamers first see Petraeus on board an aircraft carrier named the “USS Barack Obama” greeting an apprehended terrorist in an orange jumpsuit. While Petraeus was uninvolved in the game’s production, his “Call of Duty” cameo reveals the symbiotic relationship between video games and U.S. militarism.

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Secret “white paper” justifies assassinating American citizens — entrenching permanent war


Predator drone fires a Hellfire missile (Source: Wikipedia)

Predator drone fires a Hellfire missile (Source: Wikipedia)

On Monday, NBC News reported on a leaked Department of Justice “white paper” summarizing memos that make the Obama administration’s legal case for targeted killing of U.S. citizens suspected of links to al-Qaeda or “associated forces”. In September of 2011, the Obama administration launched a drone strike against alleged al-Qaeda leaders Anwar al-Awlaki and Samir Khan in Yemen, both of whom were U.S. citizens. Neither was charged or convicted of any crime. In fact, Yemen experts raised doubts about how operational al-Awlaki was in al-Qaeda.

Two weeks later, al-Awlaki’s 16-year-old son, Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, was killed in another drone strike, even though he was not charged or convicted of any crime. It is very likely that he wasn’t the intended target. In fact, one Obama administration official called the strike that killed Abdulrahman “an outrageous mistake…. They were going after the guy sitting next to him.” Read the rest of this entry »

 

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It’s a new year and Obama’s civil liberties violations continue


Camp X-Ray (Gitmo) detainees, 1/11/2002, Source: Wikipedia

Camp X-Ray (Gitmo) detainees, 1/11/2002, Source: Wikipedia

A few days before the new year rang in, I made three predictions for Turnstyle News about what’s in store for the year 2013. The first was a “drawdown but not a complete end to the war in Afghanistan”, the second was “continuation of drone strikes and targeted killing”, and the third was “indefinite detention of U.S. citizens will remain”. It’s a few days into 2013 but a few recent events show that the dismal state of peace and civil liberties will not cease any time soon.  Read the rest of this entry »

 

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Obama’s first-term record of militarism


Photo Credit (source): No Lies Radio

The long and drawn out 2012 presidential election is finally over and President Barack Obama was reelected. Shortly after he was reelected, Obama launched another drone strike in Yemen — a harbinger of what’s to come in his second term. It is worth going through Obama’s foreign policy during the past four years in order to assess what he’s done and understand what the future holds.

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U.S. Drone Strikes: Secrecy and Suffering Highlighted in Reports by Stanford, Columbia


I wrote a piece in Turnstyle News about the Stanford/NYU and Columbia reports on the U.S. drone program. Please note that this was written before the November 6, 2012 presidential election.

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In Afghanistan, photographer says “In the background you can see a Predator drone”. Photo Credit: Todd Huffman, posted on his Flickr & Wikimedia Commons: http://www.flickr.com/photos/99287245@N00/3841195871

The expansion of drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia, is rarely discussed in mainstream forums, but breaking this silence are two important reports from reputable universities that shed light on the underreported human suffering and dangerous implications of the drone program.

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The $1 trillion national security budget


The Pentagon, January 2008

The Pentagon, January 2008 (Photo Credit: Wikipedia)

With high unemployment, massive poverty, inequality, and a weak economic recovery, the economy is obviously the number-one issue in public consciousness. President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney continue to trade barbs on the presidential campaign trail. Romney accuses Obama of being “anti-business”, while Obama criticizes Romney’s record with Bain Capital, Romney’s private equity firm that was involved in outsourcing American jobs overseas. Amidst this cacophony of superficial babble and quacking from two politicians backed by multinational corporations and Wall Street, one fact is conveniently left out of the discussion — the $1 trillion national security budget.

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