from Politics, Power, and Preventive Action and Center for Preventive Action

You Might Have Missed: Drones, Counterterrorism Policies, and Tobacco Mortality

The lobby of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) headquarters in McLean, Virginia (Courtesy Reuters/Larry Downing).

March 23, 2012

The lobby of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) headquarters in McLean, Virginia (Courtesy Reuters/Larry Downing).
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The government needs to ensure that the principles of an independent foreign policy must be grounded in strict adherence to the Principles of Policy as stated in Article 40 of the Constitution of Pakistan, the UN Charter, and observance of international law. The US must review its footprints in Pakistan. This means (i) the cessation of drone attacks inside the territorial borders of Pakistan, (ii) No hot pursuit or boots on Pakistani territory… It needs to be realized that drone attacks are counter productive, cause loss of valuable lives and property, radicalize the local population, create support for terrorists, and fuel anti-American sentiments.

No overt or covert operations inside Pakistan shall be tolerated.

(3PA: This report follows the assertions by several Pakistani officials that Pakistan never allowed or gave permission for drone strikes, including Prime Minister Gilani and Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar, who said earlier this month: “There is nobody in Pakistan who has ever been supportive of [the drone program].”)

Many government officials, including the President and the then-CIA Director, have discussed specifics about the program with the press and public. They have taken credit for its putative successes, defended its legality, and dismissed concerns about civilian casualties. The government’s disclosures about the program, however, have been limited and selective.

The request sought records concerning, among other things, the putative legal basis for carrying out targeted killings; any restrictions on those who may be targeted; any civilian casualties; any geographic limits on the program; the number of targeted killings that the agency has carried out; and the training, supervision, oversight, or discipline of drone operators.

The Obama administration has approved guidelines that allow counterterrorism officials to lengthen the period of time they retain information about U.S. residents, even if they have no known connection to terrorism.

The changes allow the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC), the intelligence community’s clearinghouse for terrorism data, to keep information for up to five years. Previously, the center was required to promptly destroy — generally within 180 days — any information about U.S. citizens or residents unless a connection to terrorism was evident.

(3PA: If you purchase a gun, however, the government must destroy the record of your cleared gun sale that same day.)

"This happening... around Iran are forcing a lot of Third World countries to pause and realise that if you have a nuclear bomb, no one will really bother you.

"You might get some light sanctions, but people will always coddle you, they will court you and try to convince you of things," Lavrov said.

The Air Force considers drone crews "deployed’’ in combat, even though most of them fly planes from U.S. bases. "The most dangerous part of their day is their commute,’’ said Peter W. Singer, a Brookings Institution scholar who studies robotics in warfare.

Crews must shift repeatedly between home and combat. "A Predator pilot told me: ’I’m spending 12 hours fighting enemy combatants, and 20 minutes later I’m talking to my kids about homework,’" Singer said.

Tobacco is the only legal drug that kills many of its users when used exactly as intended by manufacturers. Direct tobacco smoking is currently responsible for the death of about 5 million people across the world each year with many of these deaths occurring prematurely. An additional 600,000 people are also estimated to die from the effects of secondhand smoke. Tobacco kills more than tuberculosis, human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS), and malaria combined.

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