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David Rohde at The Atlantic writes Our Fear of Al-Qaeda Hurts Us More Than Al-Qaeda Does

Three disclosures this week show that the United States is losing its way in the struggle against terrorism. Sweeping government efforts to stop attacks are backfiring abroad and infringing on basic rights at home.

CIA drone strikes are killing scores of civilians in Pakistan and Yemen.  The National Security Agency is eavesdropping on tens of millions of phone calls worldwide — including those of 35 foreign leaders — in the name of U.S. security.

And the Department of Homeland Security is using algorithms to “prescreen” travelers before they board domestic flights, reviewing government and private databases that include Americans’ tax identification numbers, car registrations and property records.
Will we create a Minority Report-style Department of Precrime next?

Obama administration officials have a duty to protect Americans from terrorism. But out-of-control NSA surveillance, an ever-expanding culture of secrecy and still-classified rules for how and when foreigners and even Americans can be killed by drone strikes are excessive, unnecessary and destructive.

Twelve years after September 11, 2001, the United States’ obsession with al Qaeda is doing more damage to the nation than the terrorist group itself.

Two new reports issued this week by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch detailed dozens of civilian deaths caused by drone strikes in Pakistan and Yemen. Classified documents obtained by the Washington Post suggest that CIA officials who carry out the strikes make little effort to track civilian deaths.

“There is a lot more pressure building” on President Barack Obama, Sarah Holewinski, head of the Center for Civilians in Conflict, a group pushing for greater transparency in drone strikes, told me this week. “He’s going to have to look at these legal questions.” […]


Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2007Bush's Appalachian War: Bombing Ancient Mountains:

Bush cites his "global war on terror" and the need for energy independence as reasons to legalize the killing of mountains from a range that has lived for millions of years.  There is no way to bring back the over 450 mountaintops that have been razed solely to permit profitable coal mining for his buddies.  Instead of pursuing a clean energy policy, Bush has declared war on Appalachia.  Many Americans are not aware that our self-proclaimed patriotic warrior who loves to preach adherence to religious doctrine is killing our "purple mountain majesties" that God has "shed His grace on" for the benefit of all. This is a war, complete with Bush authorizing mining companies to occupy Appalachia, literally bomb away the mountain summits and kill not just mountains and streams, but people, culture, environmental habitat and species. During 1985-2001, "approximately 800 square miles of mountains were leveled."  What would this look like in your state? Well, some perspective is provided by looking at the 10,000 acre Hobet MTR Complex in West Virginia which was superimposed over 38 US cities to show how much land would be destroyed.

Tweet of the Day:

Repeat after me: There's no such thing as energy independence http://t.co/...
@grist



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