Posts filed under “Legal”

Who Are We Killing with Drones?

West Uses Anti-Terror Laws to Murder Farmers, Small-Time Drug Dealers and Low-Level Taliban Members – Poppy Farmers, Drug Couriers and Drug Dealers

Spiegel reported yesterday that drug dealers and low-level Taliban members were targeted for death by drone:

NATO didn’t just target the Taliban leadership, but also eliminated mid- and lower-level members of the group on a large scale. Some Afghans were only on the list because, as drug dealers, they were allegedly supporting the insurgents.

***

The operations were based on the lists maintained by the CIA and NATO — Obama’s lists. The White House dubbed the strategy “escalate and exit.”

McChrystal’s successor, General David Petraeus, documented the strategy in “Field Manual 3-24″ on fighting insurgencies, which remains a standard work today. Petraeus outlined three stages in fighting guerilla organizations like the Taliban. The first was a cleansing phase …. Behind closed doors, Petraeus and his staff explained exactly what was meant by “cleansing.” German politicians recall something that Michael T. Flynn, the head of ISAF intelligence in Afghanistan, once said during a briefing: “The only good Talib is a dead Talib.”

Under Petraeus, a merciless campaign began to hunt down the so-called shadow governors and local supporters aligned with the Islamists.

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According to the NSA document, in October 2008 the NATO defense ministers made the momentous decision that drug networks would now be “legitimate targets” for ISAF troops. “Narcotics traffickers were added to the Joint Prioritized Effects List (JPEL) list for the first time,” the report reads.

In the opinion of American commanders like Bantz John Craddock, there was no need to prove that drug money was being funneled to the Taliban to declare farmers, couriers and dealers as legitimate targets of NATO strikes.

In early 2009, Craddock, NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander for Europe at the time, issued an order to expand the targeted killings of Taliban officials to drug producers.

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The documents, [attorney Jennifer Gibson] notes, also show that the “war on terror” was virtually conflated with the “war on drugs.”

We’ve previously noted that even the architect of America’s drone assassination program says it’s gone too far … creating terrorists rather than eliminating them.

And that drone attacks are a  war crime (more here and here).

And that there is widespread murder of innocent civilians as “collateral damage”.  For example, American University Professor Jeff Bachman reports:

Strikes focused on the Kill List “killed on average 28 other people before they actually succeeded in killing their target.”

Indeed, even the process for deciding who to put on the “kill list” is flawed.     People are often targeted by the metadata on their phones, a process which a former top NSA official called the drone assassination program “undisciplined slaughter.”

And people are targeted for insanely loose reasons.  As the New York Times reported in 2012:

Mr. Obama had approved not only “personality” strikes aimed at named, high-value terrorists, but “signature” strikes that targeted training camps and suspicious compounds in areas controlled by militants.

But some State Department officials have complained to the White House that the criteria used by the C.I.A. for identifying a terrorist “signature” were too lax. The joke was that when the C.I.A. sees “three guys doing jumping jacks,” the agency thinks it is a terrorist training camp, said one senior official. Men loading a truck with fertilizer could be bombmakers — but they might also be farmers, skeptics argued.

And then there are “double taps” … where the family members, friends or neighbors who try to rescue someone hit by a drone missile are themselves targeted for assassination.

The bigger picture is that anti-terror laws are being used for all sorts of purposes besides stopping terrorists:

Category: Legal, Really, really bad calls, Technology, War/Defense

Officer Involved Fatalities: 1999-2014

Learn About Tableau Source: NY Daily News

Category: Data Analysis, Legal

How Has the Bankruptcy Act Affected Bankruptcy Filings?

How Has the Bankruptcy Act Affected Bankruptcy Filings? By Juan M. Sánchez, Senior Economist     ©Thinkstock/bobbushphoto   It is well known that the number of non-business bankruptcy filings increased dramatically during the ‘80s and ‘90s. This period has been referred to as the “revolution in consumer credit and consumer bankruptcy,”1 as the number of Chapter…Read More

Category: Legal, Think Tank

The Russian Laundromat

Source: OCCRP From OCCRP: Call it the Laundromat. It’s a complex system for laundering more than $20 billion in Russian money stolen from the government by corrupt politicians or earned through organized crime activity. It was designed to not only move money from Russian shell companies into EU banks through Latvia, it had the added…Read More

Category: Crony Capitalists, Currency, Digital Media, Finance, Legal, Politics

Tracking Inside Info in ‘Fight Club’ Ring

From Bloomberg Graphics: Nine people were convicted for trading on inside tips about Dell and two other tech firms, including five who were part of a group dubbed the “Fight Club.”* Three of those convictions are on appeal. A Dell insider named in those trials, Rob Ray, wasn’t charged and denies wrongdoing. Source: Bloomberg Graphics

Category: Digital Media, Legal, Really, really bad calls, Trading

Big Banks Manipulate Physical MarketsPrices

Giant Banks Take Over Real Economy As Well As Financial System … Enabling Manipulation On a Vast Scale Top economists, financial experts and bankers say that the big banks are too large … and their very size is threatening the economy.  They say we need to break up the big banks to stabilize the economy. …Read More

Category: Bailouts, Legal, Think Tank

Currency Markets Are Rigged

Big Banks Busted Massively Manipulating Foreign Exchange, Precious Metals … And Every Other Market Currency markets are massively rigged. And see this and this. Reuters notes today: Regulators fined six major banks including Citigroup (C.N) and UBS (UBSN.VX) a total of $4.3 billion for failing to stop traders from trying to manipulate the foreign exchange…Read More

Category: Currency, Gold & Precious Metals, Legal, Think Tank

TDS: Money is the Big Winner of 2014 Midterms


Jon Stewart election 110414 by lookatmyshirt

Category: Finance, Legal, Really, really bad calls, Video

John Oliver: State Legislatures and ALEC

While midterm coverage is largely focused on the parts of Congress that do very little, vital (and bizarre) midterm elections are going unexamined. State legislators pass a lot of bills, and some of that efficiency is thanks to a group called ALEC that writes legislation for them. It’s as shady as it sounds!

 


 

via John Oliver, HBO

 

 

Category: Legal, Politics, Really, really bad calls, Video

Find a financial adviser who will put your interests first

Find a financial adviser who will put your interests first Barry Ritholtz Washington Post, October 26 2014       Today’s column is going to be on the wonky side, but stay with me — it is very important stuff. For investors seeking some help, it can be crucial. If you want financial advice, there…Read More

Category: Apprenticed Investor, Investing, Legal