The CIA’s drone campaign in Pakistan has killed dozens of civilians who had gone to help rescue victims or were attending funerals, an investigation by the Bureau for the Sunday Times has revealed.
The findings are published just days after President Obama claimed that the drone campaign in Pakistan was a “targeted, focused effort” that “has not caused a huge number of civilian casualties”… .
A three month investigation including eye witness reports has found evidence that at least 50 civilians were killed in follow-up strikes when they had gone to help victims. More than 20 civilians have also been attacked in deliberate strikes on funerals and mourners. The tactics have been condemned by leading legal experts.
Although the drone attacks were started under the Bush administration in 2004, they have been stepped up enormously under Obama.
There have been 260 attacks by unmanned Predators or Reapers in Pakistan by Obama’s administration – averaging one every four days.
As I indicated, there have been scattered, mostly buried indications in the American media that drones have been targeting and killing rescuers. As the Bureau put it: “Between May 2009 and June 2011, at least fifteen attacks on rescuers were reported by credible news media, including the New York Times, CNN, Associated Press, ABC News and Al Jazeera.” Killing civilians attending the funerals of drone victims is also well-documented by the Bureau’s new report:
Four cases reveal the administration’s extraordinary crackdown on national-security whistleblowers.
When it became a British colony, the majority of Canada’s population was of French origin — and the French inhabitants hated the British government.
So to keep the colony firmly within the Empire, British policymakers steered toward a government structure that would limit the power of the French-majority while also giving Canada more and more self-government. The eventual result was a highly-centralized federal government which controlled economic policy making and had built-in buffers for banker interests against populist forces, the paper argues.
That anti-populist political system — known in political science as liberal constitutionalism or liberal democracy — is a key ingredient in Canada’s stable banking track record, Mr. Calomiris contends in his paper, which is a summary of a much longer book he’s written with Stephen Haber due out in September. That’s because this kind of political system makes it difficult for political majorities to gain control of the banking system for their own purposes, the authors contend.
Populist democracies like the U.S., on the other hand, tend to create dysfunctional banking systems because a majority of citizens gain control over banking regulation that steers credit to themselves and to their friends at the expense of the citizens that are excluded from the banking system, he said.
Source: Wall Street Journal
Government cannot exist without the tacit consent of the populace. This consent is maintained by keeping people in ignorance of their real power. Voting is not an expression of power, but an admission of powerlessness, since it cannot do otherwise than reaffirm the government’s supposed legitimacy.
Fred Woodworth, publisher of “The Match,” the longest-running American anarchist periodical.
Pretty interesting way to think about it.
It’s a long read, but it’s well worth it, for it reveals that the seemingly recent growth of executive power — namely through the national security apparatus — has been decades in the making. It was especially (though not solely) intensified by none other than Ronald Reagan, widely regarded as a defend of American freedom and values.
In December 1981, Reagan signed the executive order 12333 undoing the previous decades’ reforms with the stroke of a pen. For cover, Reagan’s people planted fake scare stories through Jack Anderson about non-existent Libyan assassination squads infiltrating U.S. borders, waterskiing their way across the Great Plains to spring John Hinckley and wreak havoc on the American Way of Life.
And that is the back story to Reagan’s executive order 12333, the one that allegedly banned assassinations and allegedly made him so much more progressive than Bush or Obama.
Reagan not only gave the CIA carte blanche in the US to spy, but he also massively expanded the powers of the FBI and law enforcement to spy on Americans domestically with another executive order in 1983, paving the way for a repeat of all the awful abuses uncovered by Sen. Church, which only started coming to light at the end of Reagan’s presidency.
In other words, there is arguably a legal precedence for the drone attacks, warrantless wiretapping, legal opaqueness, and other questionable government practices. Indeed, the courts have been either willing to abide by these actions, or forced to begrudgingly accept their legality given the precedence. Excess and unaccountable state power is not only being further entrenched in our system, but it’s been intricately established within it for some time. Needless to say, that’s very troubling.
Since it’s almost upon us, it wouldn’t hurt to know what’s likely to come (assuming we don’t get another 11th hour, kick-the-can-down-the-road “compromise”).
The main lesson to learn from the Nordics is not ideological but practical. The state is popular not because it is big but because it works. A Swede pays tax more willingly than a Californian because he gets decent schools and free health care. The Nordics have pushed far-reaching reforms past unions and business lobbies. The proof is there. You can inject market mechanisms into the welfare state to sharpen its performance. You can put entitlement programmes on sound foundations to avoid beggaring future generations. But you need to be willing to root out corruption and vested interests. And you must be ready to abandon tired orthodoxies of the left and right and forage for good ideas across the political spectrum. The world will be studying the Nordic model for years to come.
A confidential Justice Department memo concludes that the U.S. government can order the killing of American citizens if they are believed to be “senior operational leaders” of al-Qaida or “an associated force” — even if there is no intelligence indicating they are engaged in an active plot to attack the U.S.
Maclean’s found once again when researching this project, whether it was Ottawa, the provinces, municipalities or the organizations they oversee, governments couldn’t help themselves when it came to doling out cash. What follows is but a fraction of the foolish, wasteful and blatantly stupid ways governments found to spend taxpayers’ money. To uncover this year’s 99 items we pored over press releases and auditor generals’ reports, sifted through proactive disclosure statements and delved into media databases across the country, ferreting out examples of spending that occurred in 2012 or came to light last year. There will be those who take issue with some items on this list, arguing, for instance, that funding rock concerts boosts the economy. But the reality is that at every level of government, we’re in far worse fiscal shape than we were even a year ago, despite all the talk of cutbacks and austerity. And as this list makes clear, those who control the public purse have yet to really change their ways.
Mind you, Canadians, your country still ranks pretty high on most metrics of government transparency, economic freedom, civil liberties, and the like. Assuming you believe such studies, you can only imagine how much worse things are elsewhere.
- Chained CPI. Every year, Social Security benefits are increased to account for inflation. Many experts—and not just conservative experts—think conventional measures of CPI overstate actual inflation and suggest we should change to something called “chained CPI.” This would have the effect of very slowly reducing the growth of benefits over time.
- Payroll tax cap. In 1977, Congress set the maximum income subject to payroll tax so that 90 percent of all income would be taxed. Since then, however, growing income inequality has pushed more and more income to top earners. Because of this, the payroll tax cap only captures 86 percent of all income today. We should return to Congress’s original intent and phase in an increase in the payroll cap so that we once again tax 90 percent of all income.
While the government spends around $60 billion on social welfare programs like food stamps and TANF, which are often woefully underfunded and/or poorly administered, about $92 billion, or 50% more, goes to corporations in the form of unnecessary subsidies, tax deductions, and the like.
Corporations want to place all the blame for our economic problems on the government. It is certainly true that the state has not been guiltless in this mess. But neither have business elites. Let us analyze the facts.
Contrary to popular belief, the United States still remains among the top ten countries in the world in terms of economic freedom, business friendliness, and competitiveness (sources posted below; note that many of the countries that surpass us in these areas are what we would otherwise call “socialist” – they have higher wages, universal healthcare, more state intervention, and so on).
Yet companies are firing people, freezing wages, slashing benefits, and refusing to hire, supposedly because the business climate is unpredictable, unfriendly, and oppressive. Really? If that is the case, how have they managed to gather $2 trillion in cash reserves, continue to pay their CEOs millions in bonuses, and consistently make profits throughout the recession (in some cases even breaking records)? Most businesses are clearly doing well.
The government has screwed a lot of things up, but it has little to do with business leaders deciding they want to pocket more money for themselves while pretending, despite all the evidence, that they can’t afford to do their part.