Tag Archives: Obama

Pentagon investigates itself, finds no war crimes committed in MSF bombing

msf-protest-kunduz-apOver six months after a trauma hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, operated by Doctors Without Borders (MSF), “was hit by a series of aerial bombing raids at approximately 15 minute intervals” the US Central Command (CENTCOM) issued a 120 page report and a 5 page summary of its investigation.

The summary states, “The investigation concluded that the personnel involved did not know that they were striking a medical facility. The intended target was an insurgent-controlled site which was approximately 400 meters away from the MSF Trauma Center.” see more…

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SCOTUS hears immigration case

Members of CASA de Maryland participate in a immigration rally outside the Supreme Court in Washington, Friday, Jan. 15, 2016. The Supreme Court has agreed to an election-year review of President Barack Obama’s plan to allow up to 5 million immigrants to “come out of the shadows” and work legally in the U.S. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Members of CASA de Maryland participate in a immigration rally outside the Supreme Court in Washington, Friday, Jan. 15, 2016. The Supreme Court has agreed to an election-year review of President Barack Obama’s plan to allow up to 5 million immigrants to “come out of the shadows” and work legally in the U.S. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

In November 2014 President Obama issued an executive order deferring or preventing deportation for roughly 4 million people. According to Reuters, “those who have lived illegally in the United States at least since 2010, have no criminal record and have children who are US citizens or lawful permanent residents” will be allowed to get into a program that shields them from deportation and supplies work permits. see more…

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Cuba: The final front in the Cold War

The petition will appear on the March 14 editorial cover of Publishers Weekly, which is one of the signatories.

The petition will appear on the March 14 editorial cover of Publishers Weekly, which is one of the signatories.

Despite the renewal of diplomatic relations between the governments of the US and Cuba, there remains an embargo on, among other things, books and educational materials. There is now a call to lift those specific aspects of the embargo. Nearly 50 CEOs and top executives from the publishing industry submitted a petition on behalf of the publishing industry urging President Obama to “lift the economic embargo against Cuba as it pertains to books and educational materials.” After submitting the industry petition, a second public petition was posted on the White House website. see more…

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Snowden, Ulbricht and the myth of a fair trial

12734092_10208984413271784_2823709359653599643_nIt was the first official event hosted by the Free State Project after the February 3 announcement that the group had reached it’s goal of 20,000 signers on the statement of intent to move to New Hampshire to “exert the fullest practical effort toward the creation of a society in which the maximum role of government is the protection of individuals’ rights to life, liberty, and property.” Liberty Forum 2016 was part celebration of all that has been accomplished over the past 15 years by the nearly 2,000 early movers, i.e. people who made the move to New Hampshire for the Free State Project prior to the move being triggered, and part conference on how to move forward. see more…

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Top 5 stories of 2015: a year in review

2015-YIR-coverAs 2015 comes to a close, it’s time to look back at some of the biggest stories of the year.

#5 Asset forfeiture halted!?
At the beginning of the year, Eric Holder made headlines when he announced a new policy prohibiting state and local governments from using federal civil asset forfeiture laws for most cases. The DOJ’s Equitable Sharing program has allowed thousands of local and state police agencies to have seized nearly $3 billion in cash and property since 2008. Using Equitable Sharing, a state or local police department or drug task force would seize property and then have that property adopted by a federal agency. The agency making the seizure would then be allowed to keep up to 80 percent of the value of the items confiscated. see more…

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Omnibus spending bill violates your privacy

web15-blog-cisa-1160x768Many headlines recently proclaimed that Congress averted another government shutdown. Fewer headlines proclaimed that the $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill included several “useless provisions” and provisions that are not directly related to spending. see more…

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The state of Bill of Rights

billofrights-redacted-2013I recall being told as a child that the Bill of Rights was added to the US Constitution to ensure that people retained certain rights. The Bill of Rights Institute writes, the Bill of Rights were written “by James Madison in response to calls from several states for greater constitutional protection for individual liberties,” adding, “Federalists argued that the Constitution did not need a bill of rights, because the people and the states kept any powers not given to the federal government. Anti-Federalists held that a bill of rights was necessary to safeguard individual liberty.” see more…

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Doctors Without Borders (MSF) is the most recent victim of war crimes

MSF bombingEarly Saturday morning, a trauma hospital run by Doctors without Borders (MSF) in Kunduz, Afghanistan “was hit by a series of aerial bombing raids at approximately 15 minute intervals.” MSF reports, “The main central hospital building, housing the intensive care unit, emergency rooms, and physiotherapy ward, was repeatedly hit very precisely during each aerial raid, while surrounding buildings were left mostly untouched.” see more…

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US military has international assistance in “kill decisions”

Catholics protesting drone warsThe New York Times reports “When President Obama declared that the American combat mission in Afghanistan would end on Dec. 31, 2014, becoming a training mission instead, exceptions were made for two situations: counterterrorism and force protection. The counterterrorism mission was intended to continue hunting militants with Al Qaeda hiding in Afghanistan, and force protection would allow for attacks on Taliban insurgents if they posed a threat to American or NATO forces.” see more…

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DC Court of Appeals refuses to rule on NSA spying; may be forced to

nsa logo - ILLEGALThe US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia dealt a blow to a lawsuit challenging the NSA’s use of warrantless surveillance, claiming the plaintiff did not prove standing. The Washington Post reports, the court “ruled that public-interest lawyer Larry Klayman, the founder of Freedom Watch, has not proved that his own phone records were collected by the NSA — and so has not met a condition of bringing the lawsuit.” The ruling sent the case back to a lower court for further deliberation on the issue, and did not address the constitutionality or legality of the program. see more…

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“Drugs minus two” is not good enough

2015-07-26-115708_1366x768_scrotPresident Obama recently made headlines for commuting the sentences of 46 federal drug offenders. That represents less than one half of one percent of the total number of drug offenders in federal prison. During the ceremony Obama said, “in some cases, the punishment required by law far exceeded the offense.” see more…

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NSA spying ruled illegal; what’s next?

nsa logo - ILLEGALIn some ways, 2013 seems like it was yesterday, and in other ways it seems like 2013 was an eternity ago. On March 12 of that year, the US Supreme Court issued a 5-4 ruling in the case of Clapper v. Amnesty International USA that the plaintiffs lacked legal standing to sue the NSA. Justice Samuel Alito wrote in his opinion, the plaintiffs’ argument that they have the standing to challenge the program was based on a “highly speculative fear.” He also wrote they “have no actual knowledge of the Government’s … targeting practices,” and “can only speculate as to how the Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence will exercise their discretion in determining which communications to target.” see more…

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Who in the world is the US killing with drones?

Predator_and_HellfireFor the last several years US government has not only attempted to cover-up the death toll of drone strikes, but often has no idea who is being killed. This may not come as a surprise to some, given that NBC News reported in 2013 that, “[a]bout one of every four of those killed by drones in Pakistan between Sept. 3, 2010, and Oct. 30, 2011, were classified as ‘other militants’… The ‘other militants’ label was used when the CIA could not determine the affiliation of those killed.” That figure does not include those killed in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia, or any other country in which the US military, or CIA might feel the urge to kill people with unmanned aircraft. see more…

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A pardon for Edward Snowden

snowden-pardonFor the second consecutive year, Edward Snowden appeared at South by South West in Austin, Texas, and once again, he was not able to attend in person.

Snowden, again, appeared via internet stream, this time to a select group of people from the technology and policy world.

The Verge reports, “Sunday Yokubaitis, president of online privacy company Golden Frog, described as a ‘call to arms’ for tech companies to foil spying with better privacy tools.”

Adding that “Snowden said that as policy reform lagged, companies should adopt more secure technology that could block surveillance altogether or make it too difficult to pursue en masse. A big focus was end-to-end encryption, which would mean no one (including companies) could see the contents of communications except the sender and recipient.”

One topic not discussed was in regards to the former NSA contractor: the possibility of a fair trial. see more…

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GOP digs in heels on DHS and immigration funding

GOP amnestyMany Republican lawmakers are digging in their heels in the fight to defund implementation of what they see as an executive overreach by President Obama. They’re so entrenched in their position that they’re acting as though they’ll allow the Department of Homeland Security budget to not be adopted. Which in reality wouldn’t have much impact on DHS activities, as approximately 200,000 of the 230,000 DHS employees are considered essential. The Chicago Tribune reports, “Most training, hiring, research and purchasing would be suspended. Border security, disaster relief and cybersecurity programs would continue uninterrupted.” In other words, nothing will really change, except that “essential” DHS employees will work without a paycheck until a budget is adopted. see more…

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