Fifteen Years After 9/11, Neverending War

Fifteen Years After 9/11, Neverending War:

Today, U.S. military engagement in the Middle East looks increasingly permanent. Despite the White House having formally ended the wars Iraq and Afghanistan, thousands of U.S. troops and contractors remain in both countries. The U.S. is dropping bombs on Iraq and Syria faster than it can make them, and according to the Pentagon, its bombing campaign in Libya has “no end point at this particular moment.” The U.S. is also helping Saudi Arabia wage war in Yemen, in addition to conducting occasional airstrikes in Yemen and Somalia….

Despite the lack of progress, the last 15 years of war have come at a horrific cost.

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US Drone Strike Kills Six Suspects in Central Yemen

US Drone Strike Kills Six Suspects in Central Yemen:

A US drone strike has attacked and killed six people in central Yemen, in the Wadi Abidah region of Maarib Province. The six were claimed by officials as “armed al-Qaeda suspects,” though none have been identified by name so far.

Officials said that the attack took place “while they were at a meeting in a farm in the area,” suggesting this is the latest of the US “signature strikes” against al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), a type of attack which has killed large numbers of suspects, but most of dubious credibility as threats.

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Obama Extends “State of Emergency” That Was Enacted After 9/11 Attacks

Obama Extends “State of Emergency” That Was Enacted After 9/11 Attacks:

Given that the emergency is defined vaguely as constituting something like “terrorists might attack the country,” it seems like we should consider dropping the charade of annual renewals and just admit that “emergency” 9/11 powers are now a permanent part of the landscape.

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US Drone Strikes Kill Seven “Suspects” in Yemen

US Drone Strikes Kill Seven “Suspects” in Yemen:

Officials are saying that they believe US drone strikes killed seven members of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) today, though who they were is totally unclear, and security officials are just labeling them all “suspects.”

The attacks took place in the Shabwa and Maarib Provinces, destroying a pair of cars and killing everyone within.

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Obama’s Drone Warfare Makes More Terrorists Than It Kills

Obama’s Drone Warfare Makes More Terrorists Than It Kills:

Of course, drone strikes were always more about convenience than effectiveness… Because this is a question of counterterrorism, maintaining Obama’s drone war becomes outright dangerous to U.S. security. To be sure, the president is unlikely to admit the failure of his signature tactic before he leaves office in January, but for the next president, a reexamination of our drone war’s effectiveness should be at the top of the to-do list.

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Obama’s Drone-Missile Machinery of Murder

Obama’s Drone-Missile Machinery of Murder:

Late Friday evening, the Obama administration released a previously secret policy document that gives general instructions to those engaged in preparing, approving and carrying out the drone-missile assassinations that have become the hallmark of Obama’s eight years in the White House….

The 18-page document makes clear that what has taken place since Obama entered the White House is the routinization and bureaucratization of state killings. Literally any individual on the planet could be targeted for assassination by a Hellfire missile fired from a US Reaper drone.

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Undercover FBI Agent Egged on ‘Draw Muhammad’ Shooter, Was at Scene of Shooting

Undercover FBI Agent Egged on ‘Draw Muhammad’ Shooter, Was at Scene of Shooting:

Days before an ISIS sympathizer attacked a cartoon contest in Garland, Texas, he received a text from an undercover FBI agent.

“Tear up Texas,” the agent messaged Elton Simpson days before he opened fire at the Draw Muhammad event, according to an affidavit filed in federal court Thursday….

The texts were included in the indictment, released Thursday, of Erick Jamal Hendricks of Charlotte, North Carolina….

According to the court papers, [Hendricks] asked the undercover officer about the Draw Muhammad event’s security, size, and police presence, during the event…

Hendricks’s arrest means that every major U.S. attack was linked to FBI investigation before it happened…

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FBI Spent 3 Years Meeting with Developmentally Delayed Teen, Then Arrested Him on Terrorism Charges

FBI Spent 3 Years Meeting with Developmentally Delayed Teen, Then Arrested Him on Terrorism Charges:

An 18-year-old recently arrested on terrorism charges in Arizona has the mental capacity of a child and had been in regular contact with the FBI for years before his arrest, according to family members, former teachers, and medical documents reviewed by The Intercept….

According to medical records and statements from family members, he was first referred to the FBI after sending a threatening email to one of his teachers at the age of 15. After an initial meeting with the FBI, he spent 45 days at an inpatient psychiatric facility for evaluation. His family says this stay at the facility was coordinated with FBI officials. Agents reportedly continued to meet with Khan regularly after he returned home and continued to do so up until the time of his arrest….

During these visits, which occurred every few months, no lawyer was present, as Khan’s family assumed the FBI had been meeting to “help him.”…

“Mahin is 18, but mentally he is like a child,” his father, Atif Khan, said. “He doesn’t even have a driver’s license because he can’t pass his test, he can’t even tie his shoes or take care of himself in the most basic ways. We didn’t let him have a phone because we didn’t trust him with one, but now we have found out that he had been using a phone given to him by the FBI.”…

On June 18, Khan turned 18 and was arrested shortly afterward….

Shortly after he was taken into custody, Khan was assaulted by other inmates in the local jail.

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Judge Frees Couple Convicted of Terror Plot That Was Planned, Funded and Led By Canadian Government

Judge Frees Couple Convicted of Terror Plot That Was Planned, Funded and Led By Canadian Government:

A Canadian couple found guilty of planting homemade bombs outside a government building will walk free after a court in British Columbia ruled the pair was entrapped by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) into carrying out a “police-manufactured crime”….

“This was a clear case of police-manufactured crime,” [BC supreme court justice Catherine] Bruce wrote in her ruling. “The world has enough terrorists. We do not need the police to create more out of marginalized people.”

The judge pointed to the couple’s mental capacity to back the assertion that the crime had been instigated by police….

The judge sided with defence’s argument that the couple had been entrapped during a five-month undercover police operation involving some 240 police officers.

“Without the police it would have been impossible for the defendants to carry out the pressure-cooker plan…” said Bruce. “The defendants were the foot soldiers but the undercover officer was the leader of the group.”

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How Extrajudicial Executions Became Policy in Washington

How Extrajudicial Executions Became Policy in Washington:

However it is achieved… the United States has now embraced extrajudicial executions on foreign soil. Successive administrations have implemented this momentous change with little public discussion….

The Bush administration launched the assassination program in October 2001 in Afghanistan, expanded it in 2002 to Yemen and went from there. Under Obama, with an actual White House “kill list,” the use of drones has again expanded, this time nine-fold, with growing numbers of attacks in Pakistan, Yemen, Libya and Somalia, as well as in the Afghan, Iraqi and Syrian war zones….

Such killings – at least when they take place outside a declared war zone – are almost certainly illegal. That is, they are murders, plain and simple.

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