Constitution empowers the president to protect the nation from any imminent threat of attack.
First, these targeted strikes are legal. Attorney General Holder, Harold Koh, and Jeh Johnson have all addressed this question at length. To briefly recap, as a matter of domestic law, the Constitution empowers the president to protect the nation from any imminent threat of attack.
In addition, Jeh Johnson, the general counsel at the Department of Defense, has addressed the legal basis for our military efforts against al-Qaida. Stephen Preston, the general counsel at the CIA, has discussed how the agency operates under U.S. law.
These speeches build on a lecture two years ago by Harold Koh, the State Department legal adviser, who noted that “U.S. targeting practices, including lethal operations conducted with the use of unmanned aerial vehicles, comply with all applicable law, including the laws of war.”
Given these efforts, I venture to say that the United States government has never been so open regarding its counterterrorism policies and their legal justification. Still, there continues to be considerable public and legal debate surrounding these technologies and how they are sometimes used in the fight against al-Qaida.
Now, I want to be very clear. In the course of the war in Afghanistan and the fight against al-Qaida, I think the American people expect us to use advanced technologies, for example, to prevent attacks on U.S. forces and to remove terrorists from the battlefield. We do, and it has saved the lives of our men and women in uniform. What has clearly captured the attention of many, however, is a different practice, beyond hot battlefields like Afghanistan, identifying specific members of al-Qaida and then targeting them with lethal force, often using aircraft remotely operated by pilots who can be hundreds, if not thousands, of miles away. And this is what I want to focus on today.
Jack Goldsmith, a former assistant attorney general in the administration of George W. Bush and now a professor at Harvard Law School, captured the situation well. He wrote:
“The government needs a way to credibly convey to the public that its decisions about who is being targeted, especially when the target is a U.S. citizen, are sound. First, the government can and should tell us more about the process by which it reaches its high-value targeting decisions. The more the government tells us about the eyeballs on the issue and the robustness of the process, the more credible will be its claims about the accuracy of its factual determinations and the soundness of its legal ones. All of this information can be disclosed in some form without endangering critical intelligence.”
Well, President Obama agrees. And that is why I am here today.
I stand here as someone who has been involved with our nation’s security for more than 30 years. I have a profound appreciation for the truly remarkable capabilities of our counterterrorism professionals, and our relationships with other nations, and we must never compromise them. I will not discuss the sensitive details of any specific operation today. I will not, nor will I ever, publicly divulge sensitive intelligence sources and methods. For when that happens, our national security is endangered and lives can be lost. At the same time, we reject the notion that any discussion of these matters is to step onto a slippery slope that inevitably endangers our national security. Too often, that fear can become an excuse for saying nothing at all, which creates a void that is then filled with myths and falsehoods. That, in turn, can erode our credibility with the American people and with foreign partners, and it can undermine the public’s understanding and support for our efforts. In contrast, President Obama believes that done carefully, deliberately and responsibly we can be more transparent and still ensure our nation’s security.
So let me say it as simply as I can. Yes, in full accordance with the law, and in order to prevent terrorist attacks on the United States and to save American lives, the United States Government conducts targeted strikes against specific al-Qaida terrorists, sometimes using remotely piloted aircraft, often referred to publicly as drones. And I’m here today because President Obama has instructed us to be more open with the American people about these efforts.
Broadly speaking, the debate over strikes targeted at individual members of al-Qaida has centered on their legality, their ethics, the wisdom of using them, and the standards by which they are approved. With the remainder of my time today, I would like to address each of these in turn.
First, these targeted strikes are legal. Attorney General Holder, Harold Koh, and Jeh Johnson have all addressed this question at length. To briefly recap, as a matter of domestic law, the Constitution empowers the president to protect the nation from any imminent threat of attack. The Authorization for Use of Military Force, the AUMF, passed by Congress after the September 11th attacks authorized the president “to use all necessary and appropriate forces” against those nations, organizations, and individuals responsible for 9/11. There is nothing in the AUMF that restricts the use of military force against al-Qaida to Afghanistan.
As a matter of international law, the United States is in an armed conflict with al-Qaida, the Taliban, and associated forces, in response to the 9/11 attacks, and we may also use force consistent with our inherent right of national self-defense. There is nothing in international law that bans the use of remotely piloted aircraft for this purpose or that prohibits us from using lethal force against our enemies outside of an active battlefield, at least when the country involved consents or is unable or unwilling to take action against the threat.
Second, targeted strikes are ethical. Without question, the ability to target a specific individual, from hundreds or thousands of miles away, raises profound questions. Here, I think it’s useful to consider such strikes against the basic principles of the law of war that govern the use of force.
Targeted strikes conform to the principle of necessity, the requirement that the target have definite military value. In this armed conflict, individuals who are part of al-Qaida or its associated forces are legitimate military targets. We have the authority to target them with lethal force just as we target enemy leaders in past conflicts, such as Germans and Japanese commanders during World War II.
Targeted strikes conform to the principles of distinction, the idea that only military objectives may be intentionally targeted and that civilians are protected from being intentionally targeted. With the unprecedented ability of remotely piloted aircraft to precisely target a military objective while minimizing collateral damage, one could argue that never before has there been a weapon that allows us to distinguish more effectively between an al-Qaida terrorist and innocent civilians.
Targeted strikes conform to the principle of proportionality, the notion that the anticipated collateral damage of an action cannot be excessive in relation to the anticipated military advantage. By targeting an individual terrorist or small numbers of terrorists with ordnance that can be adapted to avoid harming others in the immediate vicinity, it is hard to imagine a tool that can better minimize the risk to civilians than remotely piloted aircraft.
For the same reason, targeted strikes conform to the principle of humanity which requires us to use weapons that will not inflict unnecessary suffering. For all these reasons, I suggest to you that these targeted strikes against al-Qaida terrorists are indeed ethical and just.
Of course, even if a tool is legal and ethical, that doesn’t necessarily make it appropriate or advisable in a given circumstance. This brings me to my next point.
Targeted strikes are wise. Remotely piloted aircraft in particular can be a wise choice because of geography, with their ability to fly hundreds of miles over the most treacherous terrain, strike their targets with astonishing precision, and then return to base. They can be a wise choice because of time, when windows of opportunity can close quickly and there just may be only minutes to act.
They can be a wise choice because they dramatically reduce the danger to U.S. personnel, even eliminating the danger altogether. Yet they are also a wise choice because they dramatically reduce the danger to innocent civilians, especially considered against massive ordnance that can cause injury and death far beyond their intended target.
In addition, compared against other options, a pilot operating this aircraft remotely, with the benefit of technology and with the safety of distance, might actually have a clearer picture of the target and its surroundings, including the presence of innocent civilians. It’s this surgical precision, the ability, with laser-like focus, to eliminate the cancerous tumor called an al-Qaida terrorist while limiting damage to the tissue around it, that makes this counterterrorism tool so essential.
There’s another reason that targeted strikes can be a wise choice, the strategic consequences that inevitably come with the use of force. As we’ve seen, deploying large armies abroad won’t always be our best offense.
Countries typically don’t want foreign soldiers in their cities and towns. In fact, large, intrusive military deployments risk playing into al-Qaida’s strategy of trying to draw us into long, costly wars that drain us financially, inflame anti-American resentment, and inspire the next generation of terrorists. In comparison, there is the precision of targeted strikes.
I acknowledge that we, as a government, along with our foreign partners, can and must do a better job of addressing the mistaken belief among some foreign publics that we engage in these strikes casually, as if we are simply unwilling to expose U.S forces to the dangers faced every day by people in those regions. For, as I’ll describe today, there is absolutely nothing casual about the extraordinary care we take in making the decision to pursue an al-Qaida terrorist, and the lengths to which we go to ensure precision and avoid the loss of innocent life.
Still, there is no more consequential a decision than deciding whether to use lethal force against another human being, even a terrorist dedicated to killing American citizens. So in order to ensure that our counterterrorism operations involving the use of lethal force are legal, ethical, and wise, President Obama has demanded that we hold ourselves to the highest possible standards and processes.
This reflects his approach to broader questions regarding the use of force. In his speech in Oslo accepting the Nobel Peace Prize, the president said that “all nations, strong and weak alike, must adhere to standards that govern the use of force.” And he added:
“Where force is necessary, we have a moral and strategic interest in binding ourselves to certain rules of conduct. And even as we confront a vicious adversary that abides by no rules, I believe the United States of America must remain a standard bearer in the conduct of war. That is what makes us different from those whom we fight. That is a source of our strength.”
The United States is the first nation to regularly conduct strikes using remotely piloted aircraft in an armed conflict. Other nations also possess this technology, and any more nations are seeking it, and more will succeed in acquiring it. President Obama and those of us on his national security team are very mindful that as our nation uses this technology, we are establishing precedents that other nations may follow, and not all of those nations may — and not all of them will be nations that share our interests or the premium we put on protecting human life, including innocent civilians.
If we want other nations to use these technologies responsibly, we must use them responsibly. If we want other nations to adhere to high and rigorous standards for their use, then we must do so as well. We cannot expect of others what we will not do ourselves. President Obama has therefore demanded that we hold ourselves to the highest possible standards, that, at every step, we be as thorough and as deliberate as possible.
This leads me to the final point I want to discuss today, the rigorous standards and process of review to which we hold ourselves today when considering and authorizing strikes against a specific member of al-Qaida outside the hot battlefield of Afghanistan. What I hope to do is to give you a general sense, in broad terms, of the high bar we require ourselves to meet when making these profound decisions today. That includes not only whether a specific member of al-Qaida can legally be pursued with lethal force, but also whether he should be.
Over time, we’ve worked to refine, clarify, and strengthen this process and our standards, and we continue to do so. If our counterterrorism professionals assess, for example, that a suspected member of al-Qaida poses such a threat to the United States to warrant lethal action, they may raise that individual’s name for consideration. The proposal will go through a careful review and, as appropriate, will be evaluated by the very most senior officials in our government for a decision.
First and foremost, the individual must be a legitimate target under the law. Earlier, I described how the use of force against members of al-Qaida is authorized under both international and U.S. law, including both the inherent right of national self-defense and the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force, which courts have held extends to those who are part of al-Qaida, the Taliban, and associated forces. If, after a legal review, we determine that the individual is not a lawful target, end of discussion. We are a nation of laws, and we will always act within the bounds of the law.
Of course, the law only establishes the outer limits of the authority in which counterterrorism professionals can operate. Even if we determine that it is lawful to pursue the terrorist in question with lethal force, it doesn’t necessarily mean we should. There are, after all, literally thousands of individuals who are part of al-Qaida, the Taliban, or associated forces, thousands upon thousands. Even if it were possible, going after every single one of these individuals with lethal force would neither be wise nor an effective use of our intelligence and counterterrorism resources.
As a result, we have to be strategic. Even if it is lawful to pursue a specific member of al-Qaida, we ask ourselves whether that individual’s activities rise to a certain threshold for action, and whether taking action will, in fact, enhance our security.
For example, when considering lethal force we ask ourselves whether the individual poses a significant threat to U.S. interests. This is absolutely critical, and it goes to the very essence of why we take this kind of exceptional action. We do not engage in legal action — in lethal action in order to eliminate every single member of al-Qaida in the world. Most times, and as we have done for more than a decade, we rely on cooperation with other countries that are also interested in removing these terrorists with their own capabilities and within their own laws. Nor is lethal action about punishing terrorists for past crimes; we are not seeking vengeance. Rather, we conduct targeted strikes because they are necessary to mitigate an actual ongoing threat, to stop plots, prevent future attacks, and to save American lives.
And what do we mean when we say significant threat? I am not referring to some hypothetical threat, the mere possibility that a member of al-Qaida might try to attack us at some point in the future. A significant threat might be posed by an individual who is an operational leader of al-Qaida or one of its associated forces. Or perhaps the individual is himself an operative, in the midst of actually training for or planning to carry out attacks against U.S. persons and interests. Or perhaps the individual possesses unique operational skills that are being leveraged in a planned attack. The purpose of a strike against a particular individual is to stop him before he can carry out his attack and kill innocents. The purpose is to disrupt his plans and his plots before they come to fruition.
In addition, our unqualified preference is to only undertake lethal force when we believe that capturing the individual is not feasible. I have heard it suggested that the Obama Administration somehow prefers killing al-Qaida members rather than capturing them. Nothing could be further from the truth. It is our preference to capture suspected terrorists whenever and wherever feasible.
For one reason, this allows us to gather valuable intelligence that we might not be able to obtain any other way. In fact, the members of al-Qaida that we or other nations have captured have been one of our greatest sources of information about al-Qaida, its plans, and its intentions. And once in U.S. custody, we often can prosecute them in our federal courts or reformed military commissions, both of which are used for gathering intelligence and preventing future terrorist attacks.
You see our preference for capture in the case of Ahmed Warsame, a member of al-Shabaab who had significant ties to al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula. Last year, when we learned that he would be traveling from Yemen to Somalia, U.S. forces captured him in route and we subsequently charged him in federal court.
The reality, however, is that since 2001 such unilateral captures by U.S. forces outside of hot battlefields, like Afghanistan, have been exceedingly rare. This is due in part to the fact that in many parts of the world our counterterrorism partners have been able to capture or kill dangerous individuals themselves.
Moreover, after being subjected to more than a decade of relentless pressure, al-Qaida’s ranks have dwindled and scattered. These terrorists are skilled at seeking remote, inhospitable terrain, places where the United States and our partners simply do not have the ability to arrest or capture them. At other times, our forces might have the ability to attempt capture, but only by putting the lives of our personnel at too great a risk. Oftentimes, attempting capture could subject civilians to unacceptable risks. There are many reasons why capture might not be feasible, in which case lethal force might be the only remaining option to address the threat, prevent an attack, and save lives.
Finally, when considering lethal force we are of course mindful that there are important checks on our ability to act unilaterally in foreign territories. We do not use force whenever we want, wherever we want. International legal principles, including respect for a state’s sovereignty and the laws of war, impose constraints. The United States of America respects national sovereignty and international law.
Those are some of the questions we consider; the high standards we strive to meet. And in the end, we make a decision, we decide whether a particular member of al-Qaida warrants being pursued in this manner. Given the stakes involved and the consequences of our decision, we consider all the information available to us, carefully and responsibly.
We review the most up-to-date intelligence, drawing on the full range of our intelligence capabilities. And we do what sound intelligence demands, we challenge it, we question it, including any assumptions on which it might be based. If we want to know more, we may ask the intelligence community to go back and collect additional intelligence or refine its analysis so that a more informed decision can be made.
We listen to departments and agencies across our national security team. We don’t just hear out differing views, we ask for them and encourage them. We discuss. We debate. We disagree. We consider the advantages and disadvantages of taking action. We also carefully consider the costs of inaction and whether a decision not to carry out a strike could allow a terrorist attack to proceed and potentially kill scores of innocents.
Nor do we limit ourselves narrowly to counterterrorism considerations. We consider the broader strategic implications of any action, including what effect, if any, an action might have on our relationships with other countries. And we don’t simply make a decision and never revisit it again. Quite the opposite. Over time, we refresh the intelligence and continue to consider whether lethal force is still warranted.
In some cases, such as senior al-Qaida leaders who are directing and planning attacks against the United States, the individual clearly meets our standards for taking action. In other cases, individuals have not met our standards. Indeed, there have been numerous occasions where, after careful review, we have, working on a consensus basis, concluded that lethal force was not justified in a given case.
As President Obama’s counterterrorism advisor, I feel that it is important for the American people to know that these efforts are overseen with extraordinary care and thoughtfulness. The president expects us to address all of the tough questions I have discussed today. Is capture really not feasible? Is this individual a significant threat to U.S. interests? Is this really the best option? Have we thought through the consequences, especially any unintended ones? Is this really going to help protect our country from further attacks? Is this going to save lives?
Our commitment to upholding the ethics and efficacy of this counterterrorism tool continues even after we decide to pursue a specific terrorist in this way. For example, we only authorize a particular operation against a specific individual if we have a high degree of confidence that the individual being targeted is indeed the terrorist we are pursuing. This is a very high bar. Of course, how we identify an individual naturally involves intelligence sources and methods, which I will not discuss. Suffice it to say, our intelligence community has multiple ways to determine, with a high degree of confidence, that the individual being targeted is indeed the al-Qaida terrorist we are seeking.
In addition, we only authorize a strike if we have a high degree of confidence that innocent civilians will not be injured or killed, except in the rarest of circumstances. The unprecedented advances we have made in technology provide us greater proximity to target for a longer period of time, and as a result allow us to better understand what is happening in real time on the ground in ways that were previously impossible. We can be much more discriminating and we can make more informed judgments about factors that might contribute to collateral damage.
I can tell you today that there have indeed been occasions when we decided against conducting a strike in order to avoid the injury or death of innocent civilians. This reflects our commitment to doing everything in our power to avoid civilian casualties, even if it means having to come back another day to take out that terrorist, as we have done previously. And I would note that these standards, for identifying a target and avoiding the loss of innocent — the loss of lives of innocent civilians, exceed what is required as a matter of international law on a typical battlefield. That’s another example of the high standards to which we hold ourselves.
Our commitment to ensuring accuracy and effectiveness continues even after a strike. In the wake of a strike, we harness the full range of our intelligence capabilities to assess whether the mission in fact achieved its objective. We try to determine whether there was any collateral damage, including civilian deaths. There is, of course, no such thing as a perfect weapon, and remotely piloted aircraft are no exception.
As the president and others have acknowledged, there have indeed been instances when, despite the extraordinary precautions we take, civilians have been accidently killed or worse — have been accidentally injured, or worse, killed in these strikes. It is exceedingly rare, but it has happened. When it does, it pains us, and we regret it deeply, as we do any time innocents are killed in war. And when it happens we take it very, very seriously. We go back and we review our actions. We examine our practices. And we constantly work to improve and refine our efforts so that we are doing everything in our power to prevent the loss of innocent life. This too is a reflection of our values as Americans.
Ensuring the ethics and efficacy of these strikes also includes regularly informing appropriate members of Congress and the committees who have oversight of our counterterrorism programs. Indeed, our counterterrorism programs, including the use of lethal force, have grown more effective over time because of congressional oversight and our ongoing dialogue with members and staff.
This is the seriousness, the extraordinary care, that President Obama and those of us on his national security team bring to this weightiest of questions: Whether to pursue lethal force against a terrorist who is plotting to attack our country.
When that person is a U.S. citizen, we ask ourselves additional questions. Attorney General Holder has already described the legal authorities that clearly allow us to use lethal force against an American citizen who is a senior operational leader of al-Qaida. He has discussed the thorough and careful review, including all relevant constitutional considerations, that is to be undertaken by the U.S. government when determining whether the individual poses an imminent threat of violent attack against the United States.
To recap, the standards and processes I’ve described today, which we have refined and strengthened over time, reflect our commitment to: ensuring the individual is a legitimate target under the law; determining whether the individual poses a significant threat to U.S. interests; determining that capture is not feasible; being mindful of the important checks on our ability to act unilaterally in foreign territories; having that high degree of confidence, both in the identity of the target and that innocent civilians will not be harmed; and, of course, engaging in additional review if the al-Qaida terrorist is a U.S. citizen.
Going forward, we’ll continue to strengthen and refine these standards and processes. As we do, we’ll look to institutionalize our approach more formally so that the high standards we set for ourselves endure over time, including as an example for other nations that pursue these capabilities. As the president said in Oslo, in the conduct of war, America must be the standard bearer.
This includes our continuing commitment to greater transparency. With that in mind, I have made a sincere effort today to address some of the main questions that citizens and scholars have raised regarding the use of targeted lethal force against al-Qaida. I suspect there are those, perhaps some in this audience, who feel we have not been transparent enough. I suspect there are those, both inside and outside our government, who feel I have been perhaps too open. If both groups feel a little bit unsatisfied, then I probably struck the right balance today.
Again, there are some lines we simply will not and cannot cross because, at times, our national security demands secrecy. But we are a democracy. The people are sovereign. And our counterterrorism tools do not exist in a vacuum. They are stronger and more sustainable when the American people understand and support them. They are weaker and less sustainable when the American people do not. As a result of my remarks today, I hope the American people have a better understanding of this critical tool, why we use it, what we do, how carefully we use it, and why it is absolutely essential to protecting our country and our citizens.
I would just like to close on a personal note. I know that for many people in our government and across the country the issue of targeted strikes raised profound moral questions. It forces us to confront deeply held personal beliefs and our values as a nation. If anyone in government who works in this area tells you they haven’t struggled with this, then they haven’t spent much time thinking about it. I know I have, and I will continue to struggle with it as long as I remain in counterterrorism.
But I am certain about one thing. We are at war. We are at war against a terrorist organization called al-Qaida that has brutally murdered thousands of Americans, men, women and children, as well as thousands of other innocent people around the world. In recent years, with the help of targeted strikes, we have turned al-Qaida into a shadow of what it once was. They are on the road to destruction.
Until that finally happens, however, there are still terrorists in hard-to-reach places who are actively planning attacks against us. If given the chance, they will gladly strike again and kill more of our citizens. And the president has a Constitutional and solemn obligation to do everything in his power to protect the safety and security of the American people.
Yes, war is hell. It is awful. It involves human beings killing other human beings, sometimes innocent civilians. That is why we despise war. That is why we want this war against al-Qaida to be over as soon as possible, and not a moment longer. And over time, as al-Qaida fades into history and as our partners grow stronger, I’d hope that the United States would have to rely less on lethal force to keep our country safe.
Until that happens, as President Obama said here five years ago, if another nation cannot or will not take action, we will. And it is an unfortunate fact that to save many innocent lives we are sometimes obliged to take lives, the lives of terrorists who seek to murder our fellow citizens.
On behalf of President Obama and his administration, I am here to say to the American people that we will continue to work to safeguard this nations — this nation and its citizens responsibly, adhering to the laws of this land and staying true to the values that define us as Americans, and thank you very much.
A “color revolution” is a term used for a movement based on legitimate grievances that is being co-opted into an operation to change and elected government.
Georgia in 2003
Ukraine in 2004
Kyrgyzstan in 2005
US-designated terrorist group PKK was rebranded in Syria as SDF (2017 interview)
The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) International Court of Arbitration, pertaining to a dispute over commission payment in relation to a $3.6 billion arms deal between French state-owned company GIAT Industries SA (now Nexter Systems) and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The agreement was for the sale of 388 Leclerc combat tanks, 46 armoured vehicles, 2 training tanks, spare parts and ammunition. It was signed in 1993 and scheduled to be completed in 2008.
The case brought before the ICC arbitration tribunal was a claim from Abbas Ibrahim Yousef Al Yousef, a UAE businessman, that GIAT had not honoured a contract to pay him a 6,5% commission on the deal or almost $235 million total. GIAT stopped paying after sending Al Yousef over $195 million through his company Kenoza Consulting & Management Inc., which was registered in the British Virgin Islands. Al Yousef demanded the nearly $40 million that remained outstanding.
GIAT’s lawyers maintained that they had to stop payments as they became illegal when the OECD Anti-Corruption Convention was transposed into French law in the year 2000. They claimed “Kenoza intended to commit and indeed committed corruption acts”.
Al Yousef firmly denied that any part of the commission had been used to bribe UAE officials or used in any corrupt acts. As GIAT did not produce any evidence for the claim, the ICC Tribunal did not rule on the issue but noted that “…if the excessive nature of the compensation for the Claimants service must be taken as evidence of a corrupt purpose of the Agency Agreement, this purpose must have been known and intended by both Parties to the agreement”.
The Tribunal did investigate what services Al Yousef provided to justify the excessive commission. Despite claims to the contrary, the Tribunal found that Al Yousef did not play an important role in the development of the Leclerc tank. The tanks were fitted with German engines, which created an obstacle as this would violate laws forbidding German arms sales to the Middle East. Al Yousef claimed he had successfully lobbied German authorities to obtain a waiver from these laws in “…a process which involved decision makers at the highest levels, both in France and Germany”. During a witness statement, Al Yousef could not remember the names of any German officials and told the Tribunal he had used lobbyists instead of meeting with German authorities directly.
Surprisingly, Al Yousef told the Tribunal that had he been on a retainer, he would have asked GIAT to pay him a million dollars a month as a consultant. That would have brought him $51 million to $60 million rather than nearly $235 million. As a result, the Tribunal concluded that “…the contractual commission rates is far above anything that could be justified (…). The remuneration is excessive by the standard which Mr Al Yousef himself set and by any standard which was raised in the arbitration”. His claims were dismissed and Al Yousef was ordered to pay the entire cost of arbitration by the Tribunal ($550 000) plus a portion of GIAT’s legal costs (€115 000).
American countries accepting the self claimed president of Venezuela:
Argentina, Bahamas, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Dominican Republic, and Saint Lucia.
Accepting Maduro as the president:
Mexico , Antigua , Barbuda, Bolivia, Dominica, Grenada, Saint Vincent, the Grenadines, Suriname, Uruguay
Maduro is still recognized by China, Iran, Russia, Turkey and other international powers, Bolivia, Cuba, El Salvador, Mexico, Nicaragua and Uruguay within the region.
Thursday, October 19, 2017
Sam Cooper of Postmedia has the details – go read his entire piece.
Here is the lede and a bit more:
Criminal charges have been laid against Silver International Investment, a money-transfer business that RCMP allege was involved in money laundering, had ties to underground banking and used suspected drug cash to fund Chinese VIP gamblers in B.C. casinos.
During the RCMP’s Project E-Pirate probe, Mounties allege they uncovered more than $500 million from a Richmond money-laundering service they said handled up to $1.5 million a day…
…In late August, at a Vancouver conference attended by law enforcement officials, RCMP Insp. Bruce Ward outlined the details of E-Pirate. The investigation started with surveillance of gambling and cash drops at River Rock Casino, documents say, which led to Silver’s cash house, about a 10-minute drive away.
Ward said RCMP surveillance identified 40 different organizations linked to Asian organized groups dealing cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine. Gangsters were delivering “suitcases laden with cash” to Silver’s cash house.
At Silver, dealers could drop off $100,000 in cash in a suitcase, Ward said, and within minutes a credit for $95,000 would appear in a Chinese bank, after a five per cent fee was taken for the laundering and transfer service…
Describing a typical cash drop, (RCMP Inspector Bruce) Ward said: “They would put $100,000 into a hockey bag, show up at the casino, and give (the VIP gambler) $100,000 …
Criminal charges have been laid against Silver International Investment, a money-transfer business that RCMP allege was involved in money laundering, had ties to underground banking and used suspected drug cash to fund Chinese VIP gamblers in B.C. casinos.
During the RCMP’s Project E-Pirate probe, Mounties allege they uncovered more than $500 million from a Richmond money-laundering service they said handled up to $1.5 million a day.
“The Public Prosecution Service of Canada can confirm that charges have been laid against Caixuan Qin, Jian Jun Zhu, and Silver International Investments Ltd. in relation to Project E-Pirate,” spokeswoman Nathalie Houle stated in an email on Wednesday. “We have no other information to provide at this time.”
RCMP and B.C. government documents obtained through freedom-of-information allege that organized criminals used Silver as an illegal bank to wash drug money. According to the allegations, a network of “private lenders” in Richmond lent cash from Silver to VIP gamblers recruited from China. These high-rollers visited B.C. for gambling junkets, according to these allegations, and received hockey bags full of cash.
Officials allege these loans allowed wealthy gamblers to get money in Canada, bypassing China’s tight-capital export controls, and pay back the loan through underground banks in China. The VIPs were able to buy betting chips with street-cash $20 bills, mostly at Richmond’s River Rock Casino, and later cash out with $100 bills more suitable for investment in B.C., an audit by B.C.’s gaming enforcement policy branch alleges.
According to court records, Qin, born in 1984, and Zhu, born in 1975, face five counts, including laundering proceeds of a crime, possession of property obtained by crime, and failing to ascertain the identity of a client. Silver International faces the same five counts.
The accused are scheduled for a first appearance in Richmond provincial court on Oct. 30. Matthew Nathanson, lawyer for Silver International, did not respond to a request for comment on Wednesday.
The Canada Revenue Agency “is currently involved in this ongoing investigation,” spokeswoman Heidi Hofstad said Wednesday.
“These cases are complex and require months or years to complete,” Hofstad said. “The time it will take will depend on … the number of individuals involved, the availability of information or evidence, cooperation or lack thereof of witnesses or the accused.”
Corporate records indicate that Caixuan Qin is the director of Silver International. Qin’s mailing address for Silver is an apartment unit in Richmond. Qin is not the owner of the apartment, according to title documents. Caixuan Qin is listed as owner of a $2.5 million home in south Vancouver.
Silver, which was incorporated in 2014, operated in a unit of an office complex at 5811 Cooney Rd. in Richmond. Little else can be found about the company in B.C. registry documents.
An October 2014 filing in B.C. small claims court alleges that the owners of Silver International failed to pay a Richmond contractor for installing a glass door with an electric lock at Silver’s office. Silver International counter-claimed for deficient work, alleging: “It was a material term of the contract that the glass must be bullet-resistant.”
In late August, at a Vancouver conference attended by law enforcement officials, RCMP Insp. Bruce Ward outlined the details of E-Pirate. The investigation started with surveillance of gambling and cash drops at River Rock Casino, documents say, which led to Silver’s cash house, about a 10-minute drive away.
Ward said RCMP surveillance identified 40 different organizations linked to Asian organized groups dealing cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine. Gangsters were delivering “suitcases laden with cash” to Silver’s cash house.
At Silver, dealers could drop off $100,000 in cash in a suitcase, Ward said, and within minutes a credit for $95,000 would appear in a Chinese bank, after a five per cent fee was taken for the laundering and transfer service.
“The primary target that led us there, was a person that is involved in generating ‘whales’ … these high-end gamblers,” Ward said. “His expertise is going over and working in Macau, identifying rich Chinese businessmen that would go to Macau, and he was attracting them to Canada, to gamble. He would use Silver International as a bank account.”
Describing a typical cash drop, Ward said: “They would put $100,000 into a hockey bag, show up at the casino, and give (the VIP gambler) $100,000 … the loaning out would go to Chinese offshore gamblers coming into Canada.”
In a raid on Silver International’s office in October, 2015, civil forfeiture documents allege, Mounties seized over $2 million in mostly $20 bills, plus ledgers and daily transaction records. Ledgers suggest that in only one year, Silver laundered $220 million in cash in B.C., and sent over $300 million offshore, according to Ward.
B.C. gaming enforcement branch documents say that information revealed by the RCMP’s investigation into Silver and funding of gamblers at River Rock Casino led them to suspect funds are tied to “transnational drug trafficking … (that) could have a potentially devastating impact on the casino industry.”
A 2016 B.C. gaming enforcement branch audit alleged that River Rock Casino staff knowingly accepted millions in suspicious cash that was provided to VIP gamblers by lenders who were banned from B.C. casinos, Postmedia has reported.
On Wednesday, Chuck Keeling, an executive with River Rock’s operator Great Canadian Gaming Corp., said he was not aware of charges laid in the E-Pirate investigation, and he was not able to comment.
In his August presentation, Ward alleged Silver got so sophisticated that it could wire funds to Mexico and Peru, allowing dealers to buy narcotics without carrying cash outside Canada, and cover up the international money transfers with fake trade invoices from China.
“They facilitated drug trafficking and moved money from it around the world,” Ward said, pointing to records allegedly captured in the E-Pirate raids.
“This is a typical request, a direction from Silver International to move money from their own account to a drug dealer’s account. We saw evidence of over 600 (bank) accounts in China that were controlled or fed by Silver International. Chinese police have followed up, and they have labelled this a massive underground banking system.”
Ward said RCMP had “prepared two major crime reports to Crown counsel,” and “there will be six individuals (as) target of recommended charges.” Police in China were also making arrests, Ward said.
“Part of what we found, is they had two ongoing illegal casinos where the same businessmen who are part of the conspiracy were able to provide non-legal gambling for these offshore gamblers,” Ward said in August. “Now when they build the illegal casinos, there is no cash. You go to another place of business and you sign a loan. They give you credit to go gamble in the casino. So you don’t have any cash on you.”
Britain’s direct complicity in the war in Yemen must end
Millions of people face slaughter or starvation – the UK must stop sending billions in arms exports to Saudi Arabia
The CIA, U.S. Foreign Policy and Secret Wars: Former Director William Colby (1989):
Voice of America Promoting a lecture by the founder of the Iranian communist guerilla group who was involved in the terror of American agents at Shah’s time !!
صدای آمریکا صدای چریک کمونیست
“It is also a fact that America is too democratic at home to be autocratic abroad. This limits the use of America’s power, especially its capacity for military intimidation. Never before has a populist democracy attained international supremacy. But the pursuit of power is not a goal that commands popular passion, except in conditions of a sudden threat or challenge to the public’s sense of domestic well-being. The economic self-denial (that is, defense spending) and the human sacrifice (casualties, even among professional soldiers) required in the effort are uncongenial to democratic instincts. Democracy is inimical to imperial mobilization.” (p.35)
Moreover, as America becomes an increasingly multi-cultural society, it may find it more difficult to fashion a consensus on foreign policy issues, except in the circumstance of a truly massive and widely perceived direct external threat.( p. 211)
The Grand Chessboard (1997)
The Power Principle:
The Century of the Self
Repeatedly choosing the wrong side of history:
Vice President Biden:
“The fact of the matter is, the ability to identify a moderate middle in Syria was—there was no moderate middle, because the moderate middle are made up of shopkeepers, not soldiers; they’re made up of people who, in fact, have—ordinary elements of the middle class of that country.”
“What my constant cry was that our biggest problem is our allies — our allies in the region were our largest problem in Syria. ”
The Turks were great friends. And I have a great relationship with Erdogan [whom] I just spent a lot of time with. The Saudis, the Emiratis, etc. What were they doing? They were so determined to take down Assad and essentially have a proxy Sunni-Shia war.What did they do?
“They poured hundreds and millions of dollars and tens and thousands of tons of weapons into anyone who would fight against Assad. Except that the people who were being supplied were [Jabhat] al-Nusra and al-Qaeda and the extremist elements of jihadis coming from other parts of the world. Now you think I’m exaggerating. Take a look: Where did all of this go? So now what’s happening? All of a sudden, everybody is awakened because … [IS] which was al-Qaeda in Iraq, which when they were essentially thrown out of Iraq, found open space and territory in … eastern Syria, worked with al-Nusra who we declared a terrorist group early on and we could not convince our colleagues to stop supplying them. So what happened? Now, all of a sudden, I don’t want to be too facetious, but they have seen the Lord! Now … the president’s been able to put together a coalition of our Sunni neighbors, because America can’t once again go into a Muslim nation and be the aggressor. It has to be led by Sunnis to go and attack a Sunni organization. So what do we have for the first time?”
Now Saudi Arabia has stopped the funding going in, Saudi Arabia’s allowing training on its soil of American forces under Title 10, open training. The Qataris have cut off their support for the most extreme elements of the terrorist organizations and the Turks,President Erdogan told me — he’s an old friend — said you were right, we let too many people through. Now they’re trying to seal their border.”
“It took Saudi Arabia to figure out ISIL’s objective wasn’t Ramadi, it was Mecca and Medina.”
In February 2012, Israel teamed with MEK terror group to kill Iran’s nuclear scientists.
Tony Blair, when change came to Egypt:
What is inevitable is that there’s going to be change. The question then is: How do you manage this process of change so that we get there with stability, not chaos, and some sense of order?
“What is inevitable is that there’s going to be change and the question is; what change and how do you manage it? “
“The question then is: How do you manage this process of change so that we get there with stability, not chaos, and some sense of order?”
“What is necessary is that we try and manage this and bring about the change that people want to see, rightly, but do it in a way that improves conditions for the people.”
“Then, in a letter to his Secretary of War expressing his full support for Washington’s judgment, Adams added two pointed observations.
Maintaining armies was costly business and could become quite unpopular in the absence of an enemy to fight,.”
The General Wesley Clark Describes how a government memo had proven that a further 7 wars had been planned with the below mentioned countries.
Afghanistan ( already started when he claimed he saw the memo )
Think Tank, real Tank
Patrick Lyell Clawson is an American economist and scholar teaches an intro to war making!!!. He is currently the Director for Research at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and senior editor of Middle East Quarterly.
Without Saudi money and men, the Taliban would not have existed, nor would Pakistan have become a hotbed of fundamentalism it is today.
(Zakaria, 2003, p. 146)
A relatively small number of people — perhaps 1 million or .5 percent of the country– runs most of the major institutions in the united states or has influence in other ways. This state of affairs has dramatic consequences for the nation. (Zakaria, 2003, p. 235)
Zakaria, F. (2003). The Future of Freedom: Illiberal Democracy at Home and Abroad (1st ed.). W. W. Norton & Company.
A participant of the British delegation to the Versailles Peace Conference after WW1 Keynes believed the demands on defeated Germany were too harsh. He resigned his government position and wrote a book explaining his reasons. (Keynes, 1920, p.2)
The effects of U.S. intervention in Latin America have been overwhelming negative. They have had the effect of reinforcing brutal and unjust social systems and crushing people who are fighting for what we would actually call “American values.” In many cases, if you take Chile, Guatemala, or Honduras for examples, we actually overthrew governments that had principles similar to ours and replaced those democratic, quasi-democratic, or nationalist leaders with people who detest everything the United States stands for.
Eisenhower feared war because, as a career soldier, he had lived it. In a 1943 letter to his brother, he scorned intellectuals who opined about war but had never seen “bodies rotting on the ground and smelled the stench of decaying human flesh.” And Eisenhower feared war because although he was one of the greatest generals in history, he knew that he could not control it. “Every war,” he declared, “is going to astonish you.” And “for a man to predict” a war’s course “would I think exhibit his ignorance of war.”
Malaysian Submarine business. Read it instead of fiction books (Diamond, commission, blackmail, mistress):
She was allegedly introduced to Abdul Razak Baginda, a defense analyst from the Malaysian Strategic Research Centre think-tank, at an international diamond convention in Hong Kong by Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister, Najib Tun Razak, and had a relationship with him.She accompanied Abdul Razak to Paris where she worked as a translator during his negotiations to purchase submarines from France for the Malaysian government. The Hong Kong website Asian Sentinel revealed in a series of photographs that Altantuya was in France during which time the two quickly became romantically involved. She reportedly became his mistress in Paris in 2005.
However, it must be noted that Raja Petra Kamaruddin Malaysia Today Editor was the one who connected Najib Razak with the Altantuya murders. Najib Razak denied all allegation as there were no concrete proof about him knowing Altantuya. Raja Petra retracted back his allegation of the involvement of Najib Razak and Rosmah Mansor after the case were brought to court. Afraid of being prosecuted by the Malaysian courts for giving false statement, Raja Petra ran to England leaving his wife and children behind.</ref> , Wikileaks: Prominent Blogger Flees Sedition Trial.</ref>
According to reports by the French newspaper Liberation, Altantuya found out that one of the parties involved in negotiations, a Spanish company Armaris, had paid out commissions of 114 million euros for the deal (reportedly one billion euros or RM4.7 billion for the purchase of three submarines). The commission was credited into the accounts of a company controlled by Razak, Perimekar. A letter written by Altantuya and found after her death admits that she had been blackmailing Mr Baginda, seeking $US500,000 cut to remain silent about her knowledge of the deal. 
On the 25th of Jun 2012, a French police investigation revealed that there were no immigration records of an “Altantuya Shaariibuu” entering France from 1999 to 2006. The conclusion reached by the French police raised doubts of the existence of a photograph of the Mongolian, Najib Tun Razak and Abdul Razak Baginda in Paris, allegedly taken between 2004 and 2006. The same report noted instead the entry of a SHAARIYBUU Bayasgalan, who bore similarites to, but was not conclusively identified as Altantuyaa, as well as pointed out that Najib’s entourage might have entered France through diplomatic channels as there was evidence of his presence but no corresponding immigration record.
Murder of Shaariibuugiin Altantuyaa. (2013, March 13). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 12:15, March 14, 2013, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Murder_of_Shaariibuugiin_Altantuyaa&oldid=543821910
Scorpene Deal scam
The investigation moved very slowly. In 2007, Prashant Bhushan of the Centre for Public Interest Litigation filed a petition with the Delhi High Court to investigate whether there had been kickbacks in the Scorpene submarine deal. The High Court took a strong line with the investigating agency, saying “We feel dissatisfied with that you’ve done so far. If you’ve tried to shield someone, then we will come down very heavily on you”.
In October 2005, defence minister Pranab Mukherjee approved the Rs 19,000 crore submarine deal with French company Thales. Scorpene submarines are now being built in India under a technology transfer agreement that was part of that contract.
Scorpene Deal scam. (2012, November 10). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 12:28, March 14, 2013, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Scorpene_Deal_scam&oldid=522315718
Nicolas Sarkozy, then budget minister and was also Edouard Balladur‘s spokesman. Both have denied any involvement in Karachi Affair. On 3 July 2012, French police raided former FrenchPresidentNicolas Sarkozy residence and office as part of their probe into claims that he was involved in illegal political campaign financing. The allegations are related to the Pakistan Agosta submarine commissions used in political campaigns.
Karachi affair. (2013, February 2). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 12:31, March 14, 2013, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Karachi_affair&oldid=536186175
Given the ubiquity and celebrity of geolocation technologies, an individual has no legitimate expectation of privacy in the prospective location of a cellular telephone where that individual has failed to protect his privacy by taking the simple expedient of powering it off.
Given the notoriety surrounding the disclosure of geolocation data to retailers purveying soap powder and blue jeans to mall shoppers, the police searching for David Pogue’s iPhone and, most alarmingly, the creators and users of the Girls Around You app, cell phone users cannot realistically entertain the notion that such information would (or should) be withheld from federal law enforcement agents searching for a fugitive.
Magistrate judge Gary Brown
How to make your organization legal.
A bad sister in law for Tony: https://youtu.be/jHtQaWjvIbA
It is pretty hard to be wrong all the time 🙂
Watch the whole thing, It will be time well spent.
Ignore Amanpour’s annoyance.
He is really funny.
I was made to participate in things, the enormity of which is hard to describe. War crimes, crimes against humanity. Though I did not participate willingly, and made what I thought was my best effort to stop these events, there are some things that a person simply can not come back from. (Daniel Somers)
Military spending 2013: 22.5
The goal is Justice. The method is transparency.
Looking at the enormous quantity and diversity of these military or intelligence apparatus inside the documents, what I see is a vast, sprawling estate: what we would traditionally call the ‘military-intelligence complex’ or the ‘military industrial complex.’ And that this sprawling industrial estate is growing, becoming more and more secretive, becoming more and more uncontrolled. This is not a sophisticated conspiracy controlled at the top, this is a vast movement of self-interest with thousands and thousands of players all working together and against each other to produce an end result, which is Iraq and Afghanistan, and Columbia, and keeping that going.
So what I see is: we often deal with tax havens, and people hiding assets and transferring money through offshore tax havens. I see some really quite remarkable similarities: Guantanamo is used for laundering people to an offshore haven which doesn’t follow the rule of law that we would normally expect. A tax haven is used for hiding people’s assets, laundering people’s assets through a jurisdiction which doesn’t follow the rule of law that we would expect in our home countries. Similarly, Iraq and Afghanistan — and Columbia — are used to wash money out of the U.S. tax base and back.
Arms companies, yeah. And the generals and so on which, if you like, are non-profit versions. So you can’t just (or you can’t always) pull out two billion bucks from the U.S. tax base and just say, “Hey, let’s give it to an arms company straight away with no expectation of doing any work,” but if you say, “This two billion dollars has got to go into Columbia, but the Columbian government has to buy U.S. arms and those arms have to be of a particular type, a particular specification that only one of these arms companies has,” then that’s just a way of laundering [money] back into the United States.
What you’re saying is that money, and money making, is at the center of modern war, and it’s almost self-perpetuating.
Yes, and it’s becoming worse. The number of private companies that sprung up around Iraq, the number of private companies that are now supporting the National Security Agency, this has increased a hundred times in the past ten years — the number of companies. So now you have a school, a feeding school, that is feeding off the U.S tax base and is a lobby to make sure that those wars go on.
You have two sorts of lobbies: you have offensive lobbies and defensive lobbies. An offensive lobby tries to get new money that it didn’t have before by lobbying the leaders of government, and a defensive lobby makes sure that companies continue to receive the money that they’ve been getting before. So now we’re in a position in the United States where we have both enormous offensive lobbies and enormous defensive lobbies. But defensive lobbies always fight harder. They fight to keep the expectation of the money flow going, and that apparatus has been built up in the past ten years, and I think it’s going to be extremely difficult to dismantle.
The Conservative government of Stephen Harper wanted to replace the CF-18s with 65 Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning IIs, but its sole-source procurement process was so botched that the cost ballooned from $9-billion to $45-billion, and Ottawa had to start over again.