Support grows for U.S. 'Drone Tribunal'
Support grows for U.S. 'drone tribunal' to review CIA kill lists 08 Feb 2013 Some lawmakers have proposed a special federal "drone court" that would approve suspected militants for targeting. While the idea of a judicial review of such operations may be gaining political currency, multiple U.S. officials said on Friday that imminent action by the U.S. Congress or the White House to create one is unlikely. The idea is being actively considered, however, according to a White House official. At Thursday's confirmation hearing for CIA director nominee John Brennan, senators discussed establishing a secret court or tribunal to rule on the validity of cases that U.S. intelligence agencies draw up for killing suspected militants using drones.
Christopher Dorner Is First Drone Target on US Soil --Police plan to use spy drones in the hunt for a Rambo-style ex-soldier and policeman 10 Feb 2013 Police believe burly, heavily-armed Christopher Dorner is holed-up in the wilderness of California’s snow-capped San Bernardino mountains 80 miles east of Los Angeles. Yesterday, it was revealed that Dorner has become the first human target for remotely-controlled airborne drones on US soil. Asked directly if drones have already been deployed, Riverside Police Chief Sergio Diaz, who is jointly leading the task force, said: "We are using all the tools at our disposal." The use of drones was later confirmed by Customs and Border Patrol spokesman Ralph DeSio, who revealed agents have been prepared for Dorner to make a dash for the Mexican border since his rampage began. He said: "This agency has been at the forefront of domestic use of drones by law enforcement. That's all I can say at the moment."
Drone Spotted Hovering Above Neighborhood in West Oakland 09 Feb 2013 On February 8th, 2013 at 3:50 pm a drone was sighted hovering above a neighborhood in West Oakland. There didn’t seem to be a focus, it just maintained its position above properties near a highway. It is not known at this point what agency or individual was operating the craft.
Doctors to review Guantanamo prisoner's CIA detention records 08 Feb 2013 CIA records documenting the waterboarding and interrogation of an alleged al Qaeda [al-CIAduh] chieftain must be shown to the doctors who will decide whether he is mentally competent for trial on charges of conspiring to bomb a U.S. warship, a judge ordered. The order, dated Thursday, ensures that the mental competency board will consider allegations that Saudi defendant Abd al Rahim al Nashiri was tortured during the four years he spent in secret CIA prisons, among other criteria. Nashiri, 48, faces murder and attempted murder charges in the war crimes tribunal at the Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base in Cuba and could be executed if convicted.
Afghanistan confirms UN report on child killings by US-led troops 09 Feb 2013 Afghanistan has confirmed a United Nations report that accuses US-led forces of killing hundreds of Afghan children over the last four years. "We agree with the UN report and confirm that innocent kids have been killed during coalition forces operations specifically US troops operations during the past ten years," Aimal Faizi, a spokesman for the Afghan government, said Saturday. On February 5, the Geneva-based UN Committee on the Rights of the Child said in a report that the "attacks by US military forces in Afghanistan, including air strikes, have reportedly killed hundreds of children over the last four years." [Oops! MSNBC 'forgot' to cover this one.]
US military leader plays down 'zero option' for troop levels in Afghanistan 09 Feb 2013 The top US military officer said on Saturday he was confident that enough American troops would remain in Afghanistan after 2014 to accomplish the three-part 'mission' agreed to by allies at last year's Nato summit in Chicago. Army General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, said he did not know whether President Barack Obama would announce the size of the post-2014 US force for Afghanistan during his upcoming State of the Union address. But he said an announcement on the management of forces in 2013 "has to come fairly soon, simply because we're two months in" the year.
US-led helicopter crashes in Afghanistan 07 Feb 2013 A helicopter belonging to the US-led forces in Afghanistan has crashed in the east of the Asian country, the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) says. An ISAF spokesman said on Thursday that the NATO helicopter crashed in the eastern province of Kapisa. "I can confirm an International Security Assistance Force helicopter crashed in eastern Afghanistan today," the ISAF spokesman stated.
Cost of War Includes at Least 253,330 Brain Injuries and 1,700 Amputations 08 Feb 2013 Here are indications of the lingering costs of 11 years of warfare. Nearly 130,000 U.S. troops have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, and vastly more have experienced brain injuries. Over 1,700 have undergone life-changing limb amputations. Over 50,000 have been wounded in action. As of Wednesday, 6,656 U.S. troops and Defense Department civilians have died. That updated data comes from a new Congressional Research Service report into military casualty statistics that can sometimes be difficult to find -- and even more difficult for American society to fully appreciate.
Flaws found in US missile shield - AP 09 Feb 2013 Secret Defense Department studies cast doubt on whether a multibillion-dollar missile defense system planned for Europe can ever protect the U.S. from 'Iranian missiles' as intended, congressional investigators say. One possibility has been ruled out as technically unfeasible. A second, relocating missile interceptors planned for Poland and possibly Romania to ships on the North Sea, could be diplomatically troublesome. The studies are the latest to highlight serious problems for a plan that has been criticized on several fronts.
U.S. trains for mass migration in Caribbean security drill 10 Feb 2013 A simulated wave of Caribbean migrants sailed to the Guantanamo naval base this week for a training drill designed to prepare U.S. troops and security agencies who might someday have to handle the real thing. The exercise is held every two years to prepare for a potential mass migration brought on by US-engendered political upheaval or HAARP-engendered natural disaster in the region. More than 500 U.S. troops and government workers flew to the Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base in eastern Cuba for the drill, which started on Saturday and runs through Friday. The drill is taking place on the sparsely populated Leeward side of the base, which is bisected by Guantanamo Bay.
Nuclear watchdog execs held 30 illicit meetings with power firms 10 Feb 2013 A former senior official of the Nuclear Regulation Authority held at least 30 meetings with power company executives in violation of the new watchdog's internal rules, it was learned Saturday. Tetsuo Nayuki, who served as director general of the NRA secretariat, met with representatives of regional utilities and power firms on his own even though the organization's regulations prohibit its officials from participating in such meetings alone. The finding arose through interviews with the nine utilities that operate nuclear power plants, as well as Japan Atomic Power Co., Electric Power Development Co. (J-Power), the Japan Atomic Energy Agency and Japan Nuclear Fuel Ltd.
Snowstorm shuts down Massachusetts nuclear plant 09 Feb 2013 A nuclear power plant in Massachusetts lost power and automatically shut down late on Friday during a massive blizzard across the northeastern United States, the nuclear regulator said. The reactor at the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant in Plymouth closed down with no problems and there was no threat to public safety, an official at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said.
Mega barf alert: FDA approves new flu vaccines made with dog kidney cells, insects 09 Feb 2013 Some researchers are focusing on the as-yet-unattainable ideal: a vaccine that would protect against all forms of the virus, with just one immunization every 10 years or so... In November, the Food and Drug Administration approved Flucelvax, manufactured by Novartis, the first U.S.-licensed flu vaccine that uses cell culture technology. The virus is grown in dog kidney cells, instead of eggs. The cells can be frozen, ready to go quickly into vaccine production if a new virus is discovered created. In January, the FDA approved Flublok, by Protein Sciences. It is made in insect cells using a protein from the virus -- hemagglutinin, instead of a live virus.
Philadelphia Courts Begin Using Computer Forecasts to Predict Future Criminal Behavior 07 Feb 2013 Judges in the Philadelphia court system are now taking advantage of powerful new computer models to help determine how much jail time an offender should get. Computers have been forecasting weather and economic trends for years, but applying algorithms to human behavior is relatively new. His [University of Pennsylvania professor Richard Berk] forecasts, which use an algorithm to predict whether someone will offend again, have been used by city probation and parole officers for about three years, to decide how much supervision a defendant 'needs.'
Los Angeles Police to Reopen Case Against Officer 10 Feb 2013 The Los Angeles Police Department will reopen its investigation into the 2007 episode that led to the firing of Christopher J. Dorner, the former Los Angeles police officer who is wanted in three killings, department officials said Saturday night. Mr. Dorner pledged revenge against Los Angeles police officers in a manifesto he posted online, in which he also claimed that racism in the department had led to his dismissal. The killings and Mr. Dorner’s his online manifesto have reopened old wounds for some black residents here, even as they condemned the violence.
Teacher Shot at Sandy Hook Elementary to Attend State of the Union 08 Feb 2013 Natalie Hammond, the lead teacher at Sandy Hook Elementary School who survived being shot on Dec. 14, will listen to the President Obama's State of the Union address Tuesday from the gallery of the House of the Representatives. U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty, D-5th District, invited Hammond to be her guest. Hammond was [allegedly] shot by Adam Lanza, who killed 20 students and six adults at the school.
BP hit by new $34bn Deepwater Horizon claim 05 Feb 2013 BP has been hit by a new $34bn (21.7bn pounds) claim for alleged economic losses and punitive damages resulting from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The latest demand comes from local and southern state governments, including Louisiana and Mississippi, hit hard by the pollution that followed the blowout on the BP-operated Macondo well in April 2010. The oil company has settled criminal charges with the US department of justice, but will suffer further financial hits as it prepares for a final civil trial scheduled to start on 26 February.
Libor Accords Leave Banks Facing 'Massive' State Claims 06 Feb 2013 A multistate probe of alleged manipulation of interest rates threatens to leave banks liable for billions of dollars in estimated state and local losses from the scandal, even as they settle with national regulators. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is helping lead a probe into claims that banks rigged global benchmarks for borrowing, adding to investigations by other authorities, including the U.S. Justice Department. Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc agreed yesterday to pay about *612 million to U.S. and U.K. regulators to resolve their claims. States have joined forces as banks reach settlements to resolve liability tied to Libor, or the London interbank offered rate. Barclays Plc in June agreed to pay 290 million pounds (*454 million), and in December, UBS AG agreed to pay 1.4 billion Swiss francs (*1.5 billion).
Rand Paul to Deliver 'Tea Party Response' to State of the Union 08 Feb 2013 President Obama will once again face two rebuttals, after his State of the Union address on Tuesday. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., will deliver the "tea party response" to Obama from the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., Tuesday night. Paul’s speech will be staged by the [corporate-run] national tea-party election group Tea Party Express, the same group that sponsored the 2011 and 2012 rebuttals. Sen. Marco Rubio will deliver the official Republican Party response.
USM campus in state of emergency after tornado tears through Hattiesburg area 10 Feb 2013 A tornado is confirmed to have touched down in Hattiesburg, and damage is being reported on the western side of the University of Southern Mississippi, according to Joanne Culin, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. The university has declared a state of emergency on campus. According to the USM website, if people are not already on campus, they are advised not to return until further notice.
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