US To Sell Saudis 355 Missiles To Be Used In The War On Yemen

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(PressTV)The US Defense Department has awarded major weapons maker Raytheon to provide the Persian Gulf Kingdom of Saudi Arabia with 355 air-to-ground missiles amid its persisting campaign of aerial strikes against civilian and economic targets in neighboring Yemen.

According to a Pentagon announcement cited Saturday by the Russia-based Sputnik News, in a $180-million contract assigned to the arms manufacturer, Raytheon is to deliver the AGM-154 series missiles to the Saudi regime in a move clearly regarded as a bid to support the aerial strikes against Yemen.

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Shocking Revelation: Medical Sources Say Saudi King’s Aid Cargo to Yemen Was HIV-Infected

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Medical sources disclosed that test results have shown large numbers of people in Yemen have been infected with HIV and hepatitis viruses after they took the drug cargo sent by Saudi King Salman to the war-stricken nation.

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How Does the U.S. Mark Unidentified Men in Pakistan and Yemen as Drone Targets?

 

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(ProPublica) -Earlier this week, we wrote about [1] a significant but often overlooked aspect of the drone wars in Pakistan and Yemen: so-called signature strikes, in which the U.S. kills people whose identities aren’t confirmed. While President Obama and administration officials have framed [2] the drone program as targeting particular members of Al Qaeda, attacks against unknown militants reportedly may account [3] for the majority of strikes.

The government apparently calls such attacks signature strikes because the targets are identified based on intelligence “signatures” that suggest involvement in terror plots or militant activity.

 

 

So what signatures does the U.S. look for and how much evidence is needed to justify a strike?

The Obama administration has never spoken publicly about signature strikes. Instead, generally anonymous officials have offered often vague examples of signatures. The resulting fragmentary picture leaves many questions unanswered.

In Pakistan, a signature might include:

Training camps…

  • Convoys of vehicles that bear the characteristics of Qaeda or Taliban leaders on the run. – Senior American and Pakistani officials, New York Times [4], February 2008.
  • “Terrorist training camps.” – U.S. Diplomatic Cable [5] released by Wikileaks, October 2009.
  • Gatherings of militant groups or training complexes. – Current and former officials, Los Angeles Times [6], January 2010.
  • Bomb-making or fighters training for possible operations in Afghanistan…. a compound where unknown individuals were seen assembling a car bomb. – Officials, Los Angeles Times [7], May 2010.
  • Travel in or out of a known al-Qaeda compound or possession of explosives. – U.S. officials, Washington Post [8], February 2011.
  • Operating a training camp… consorting with known militants. – High-level American official, The New Yorker [9], September 2011.

A group of guys…

  • Large groups of armed men. – Senior U.S. intelligence official, Associated Press [10], March 2012.
  • Groups of armed militants traveling by truck toward the war in Afghanistan. – Administration officials, Washington Post [11], April 2012.
  • The joke was that when the C.I.A. sees “three guys doing jumping jacks,” the agency thinks it is a terrorist training camp. – Senior official, May 2012.
  • “The definition is a male between the ages of 20 and 40.” – Former Ambassador to Pakistan Cameron Munter, Daily Beast [12], November 2012.
  • “Armed men who we see getting into pickup trucks and heading towards the Afghanistan border or who are in a training exercise.” – Former Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair, Council on Foreign Relations [13], January 2013.

Officials have characterized the intelligence that goes into these strikes as thorough, based on “days [14]” of drone surveillance and other sources — and said that [15] apparently low-level people may still be key to an organization’s functioning. In 2010, an official told the Los Angeles Times [7] that the CIA makes sure “these are people whose actions over time have made it obvious that they are a threat.”

In Yemen, signature strikes are reportedly bound by stricter rules [11]. Officials have often cited the necessity of a plot against Americans:

  • Clear indication of the presence of an al-Qaeda leader or of plotting against targets in the United States or Americans overseas. — Administration officials, Washington Post [11], April 2012.
  • “Individuals who are personally involved in trying to kill Americans… or intelligence that…[for example] a truck has been configured in order to go after our embassy in Sanaa.” — Senior administration official, Washington Post [16], January 2013

These strikes are not supposed to target “lower-level foot soldiers battling the Yemeni government,” U.S. officials told [17] the Wall Street Journal. A White House spokesman said last summer [18] that the U.S. “[has] not and will not get involved in a broader counterinsurgency effort” in Yemen.

But experts say some strikes [19] in Yemen do appear to have been aimed at local militants [20]. In Pakistan, in addition to low-level militants who might be involved in the war in Afghanistan, the U.S. has sometimes hit [21] those who posed a threat to the Pakistani government.

As we detailed [1], signature strikes have also been criticized by human rights groups and some legal observers because of the lack of transparency surrounding them, including on the number of civilians killed.

U.S. #1 By Far In Gun Ownership – But, Only 28th In Gun Murder Rate

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(CNSNews) -One of the most obnoxious liberal talking points on guns involves the idea that guns, in and of themselves, cause gun violence. Apparently, as this argument goes, guns or “gun culture” cause law-abiding citizens to transform into murderous nuts. In other words, more guns must mean more gun violence.

The argument was famously made by sports writer Jason Whitlock and forwarded by Bob Costas on Sunday Night Football after a player reportedly murdered his girlfriend and killed himself. According to Costas and Whitlock, guns “exacerbate our flaws, tempt us to escalate arguments, and bait us into embracing confrontation rather than avoiding it.” In other words, guns make us violent.

Obviously, this argument is as flawed as saying that refrigerators exacerbate our flaws, tempt us to escalate our eating, and bait us into embracing gluttony rather than avoiding it. However, it’s also an argument that doesn’t remotely match up with what the numbers tell us. In fact, the numbers tell quite a different story.

According to the latest Small Arms Survey conducted by the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, the U.S. tops the world in civilian gun ownership. We have 89 guns for ever 100 residents. That’s well above Yemen’s second place rate of 55 guns per 100 and nearly twice the rate of Switzerland which comes in third at 46 guns per 100 residents.

To put it bluntly, we have a lot of guns.

If Whitlock, Costas, and their allies are correct, that must mean that our gun murder rate is by far the highest in the world, right? We must be first in gun murders.

But, according to information provided by the UN’s Office on Drugs and Crime and compiled by the Guardian, the answer is an emphatic “No.”

The U.S. is not the world leader in the homicide-by-firearm rate. It does not even crack the top 25 in that category.

Instead, the U.S. has the 28th highest homicide by firearm rate of the countries in the report.

This phenomenon isn’t uniquely American, either. Switzerland, which ranks third in civilian gun ownership rate at 46 guns per 100 residents, has only the 46th highest homicide rate. Finland, which has the fourth most civilian owned guns at 45 guns per 100 residents, is 63rd on the list.

So, despite the blustering of Bob Costas and the like, guns do not appear to turn ordinary people into monsters. More guns do not, in fact, mean more gun violence. Guns can be, and commonly are, used in a responsible manor by people all over the world and, especially, here in the United States.

U.N. Drone Investigator: If Facts Lead to U.S. War Crimes, So Be It

 Ben Emmerson wants to be clear: He’s not out to ban flying killer robots used by the CIA or the U.S. military. But the 49-year-old British lawyer is about to become the bane of the drones’ existence, thanks to the United Nations inquiry he launched last week into their deadly operations.

(Wired.com) Emerson, the United Nations’ special rapporteur for human rights and counterterrorism, will spend the next five months doing something the Obama administration has thoroughly resisted: unearthing the dirty secrets of a global counterterrorism campaign that largely relies on rapidly proliferating drone technology. Announced on Thursday in London, it’s the first international inquiry into the drone program, and one that carries the imprimatur of the world body. By the next session of the United Nations in the fall, Emmerson hopes to provide the General Assembly with an report on 25 drone strikes in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and Palestine where civilian deaths are credibly alleged.

That carries the possibility of a reckoning with the human damage left by drones, the first such witnessing by the international community. Accountability, Emmerson tells Danger Room in a Monday phone interview, “is the central purpose of the report.” He’s not shying away from the possibility of digging up evidence of “war crimes,” should the facts point in that direction. But despite the Obama administration’s secrecy about the drone strikes to date, he’s optimistic that the world’s foremost users of lethal drone tech will cooperate with him.

In conversation, Emmerson, who’s served as special rapporteur since 2011, doesn’t sound like a drone opponent or a drone skeptic. He sounds more like a drone realist. “Let’s face it, they’re here to stay,” he says, shortly after pausing to charge his cellphone during a trip to New York to prep for his inquiry. “This technology, as I say, is a reality. It is cheap, both in economic terms and in the risk to the lives of the service personnel who are from the sending state.

“And for that reason there are real concerns that because it is so cheap, it can be used with a degree of frequency that other, more risk-based forms of engagement like fixed-wing manned aircraft or helicopters are not,” Emmerson says. “And the result is there’s a perception of the frequency and intensity with which this technology is used is exponentially different, and as a result, there is necessarily a correspondingly greater risk of civilian casualties.”

Despite curbs on target killings, CIA to get free hand in Pakistan

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WASHINGTON: The Obama administration is finalising a rule book for target killings but these restrictions will not apply to Pakistan where the CIA will be free to direct drone strikes in Fata.

The classified manual, called a counter-terrorism “playbook”, sets out stringent rules for targeted killings and details the process of adding names to the so-called “kill list”.

But it “leaves open a major exemption for the CIA’s campaign of drone strikes in Pakistan”, The Washington Post reported on Sunday.

The CIA would have this freedom for “less than two years but more than one” because its drone strategy had been very effective in weakening pro-Taliban militants, the Post reported.

The CIA is expected to give the US ambassador to Pakistan advance notice on strikes. But in practice, the agency exercises near complete control over the names on its target list and decisions on strikes.

But once the CIA achieved its targets in Fata, the rule book would also be applied to Pakistan, the Post reported.

The document will be submitted to President Barack Obama within weeks for final approval once some minor issues are resolved.

The rule book marks the culmination of a year-long effort by the administration to codify its counter-terrorism policies and create a guide for lethal operations through President Obama’s second term.

The Post noted that the ‘institutionalisation’ of such a practice “would have seemed anathema to many before the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.”

The book covers the process for adding names to the kill list, legal principles for targeting US citizens and the sequence of approvals required when the CIA or US military conduct drone strikes outside war zones.

The Post reported that disagreements among the State Department, the CIA and the Pentagon on the criteria for lethal strikes nearly derailed the new strategy late last year.

“Granting the CIA a temporary exemption for its Pakistan operations was described as a compromise that allowed officials to move forward with other parts of the playbook,” the Post noted.

The decision to allow the CIA strikes to continue was driven by concern that the window for weakening Al Qaeda and the Taliban in Pakistan was beginning to close, as the US prepares to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan.

President Obama’s national security team agreed to the CIA compromise in late December during a meeting of top national security officials that was led by White House counter-terrorism adviser John Brennan, who has since been nominated to serve
as CIA director.

“Critics see the manual as a symbol of the extent to which the targeted killing programme has become institutionalised, part of
an apparatus being assembled by the Obama administration to sustain a seemingly permanent war,” the Post noted.

Hina Shamsi, director of the American Civil Liberty Union’s national security project, told the Post that the ‘playbook’ was “a step in exactly the wrong direction, a further bureaucratisation of the CIA’s paramilitary killing programme.”

Some administration officials have also voiced concern about the duration of the drone campaign, which has spread from Pakistan to Yemen and Somalia where it involves both CIA and military strikes.

In a recent speech before he stepped down as Pentagon general counsel, Jeh Johnson warned that “we must not accept the current conflict … and all that it entails, as the ‘new normal.”

German company demonstrates laser weapon capable of shooting down drones from over a mile away

 

(Image credit: Rheinmetall logo and laser by Rheinmetall Defense/End the Lie compilation)

(Image credit: Rheinmetall logo and HEL weapon by Rheinmetall Defense/End the Lie compilation)

(EndTheLie) -With the rise of drones it seems counter-drone technology is a logical next step for countries who would like to continue to pour endless amounts of money into so-called defense technologies. A German company has demonstrated a product which very well might interest many countries: a laser weapon capable of shooting down drones from over a mile away.

The rapid development of drone technology, including the realistic possibility of perpetual flight along with increasingly common use of drones here in the United States (also confirmed by numerous documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act), has pushed the drone issue into the spotlight.

While privacy concerns and the legal implications the use of drones for assassinations of Americans are commonly dealt with, the future of international drone war isn’t quite as frequently brought up.

Thanks to Germany’s Rheinmetall Defense and their 50 kW high energy laser (HEL) weapon, it seems that countries may have at least some way to defend themselves against drone attacks.

The HEL was recently successfully tested in Switzerland and proved capable of cutting a large 15mm-thick steel girder from 1,000 meters away and “the HEL shot down several nose-diving target drones at a range of two kilometers,” according to Homeland Security News Wire.

Keep in mind, 50kW is just the beginning since, according to Rheinmetall, “from the technical stand-point, nothing stands in the way of a future HEL weapon system with a 100kW output.”

The system utilized both optical and radar systems to detect and track the two drones each flying at 50 meters per second, or 111.8 miles per hour.

The system also demonstrated the ability to “shoot out of the air a steel ball designed to mimic a mortar round,” according to the BBC.

The ball designed to mimic a mortar round measured only 82 mm in diameter and was traveling at around 50 meters per second, according to Rheinmetall.

Rheinmetall, based out of Düsseldorf, says that the system can “neutralize targets even under the most difficult weather conditions, including snow, dazzling sunlight, ice and rain.”

However, the company isn’t stopping there. They plan to build a 60kW technology demonstrator this year with an even more powerful laser.

In addition they plan to integrate “35mm Ahead Revolver Guns into the system,” according to the company.

“This will enable Rheinmetall engineers to identify and study possible synergies between laser weapons and automatic cannon,” they said in a press release.

Perhaps most staggering of all, Rheinmetall said they are pursuing a mobile HEL weapon, the concept for which “was successfully implemented with 1kW functional model mounted on a special TM170 vehicle.”

The TM170 is Rheinmetall Landsysteme’s armored personnel carrier used by Austria, Germany, Indonesia, Kuwait, Luxembourg, Macedonia, South Korea and Spain.

The sheer amount of progress Rheinmetall has made over the past year with this technology is astounding.

“A five-fold increase in laser power [over last year’s model] was thus available for the individual scenarios, which included Air Defense, Counter Rocket, Artillery, Mortar/C-RAM, and Asymmetric Warfare operations,” according to Homeland Security News Wire.

Companies around the world are developing laser-based weapons including Raytheon, which is developing an anti-aircraft laser (which you can see being tested here), and the U.S. military (of course), which is developing the “Laser-Induced Plasma Channel (LIPC) cannon” capable of using a laser to create and target a lightning bolt.

All of this technology makes one wonder how exactly it will be used and what the future of an increasingly drone-based battlefield will really look like. Throw fully automated weapons systems, or “killer robots,” into the mix and the picture gets even harder to imagine.

General Stanley McChrystal questions US drone warfare

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(Digital Journal) -Retired US Army General Stanley McChrystal, who once commanded all American forces in Afghanistan, has questioned the widespread use of unmanned aerial drones in the War on Terror.
 
McChrystal, 58, acknowledged that drones cause seething hatred of the United States and cautioned that their overuse could threaten US strategic objectives in the ongoing terror war.

 

“What scares me about drone strikes is how they’re perceived around the world,” McChrystal told Reuters. “The resentment created by American use of unmanned strikes… is much greater than the average American appreciates. They are hated on a visceral level, even by people who’ve never seen one or seen the effects of one.”

 

McChrystal, the architect of America’s counterinsurgency strategy in Afghanistan, added that drones fuel a “perception of American arrogance that says, ‘We can fly where we want, we can shoot where we want, because we can.'”

 

Drones are a tool that should be used as part of a wider strategy, the former general said, and if their use creates more problems than it solves, Washington should reevaluate the situation.

 

Drone strikes, which terrorize populations subjected to them, have indeed stoked widespread anti-Americanism in the countries where they occur– Yemen, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Somalia– as well as around the world. Three-quarters of Pakistanis, for example, consider the United States an “enemy.” Drones, which Pakistanis rightfully claim are a violation of their sovereignty, are a big part of the reason why.

 

Perceived American disregard for the hundreds of innocent civilians killed by drone strikes also infuriates many people in affected countries. According to Pakistan’s Interior Minister, up to 80 percent of those killed by drones are civilians, and the London-based Bureau for Investigative Journalism says that as many as 1,117 civilians, including up to 214 children, have been killed by strikes in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia since 2004.

 

Last October, the United Nations announced that it would investigate US drone strikes that killed Pakistani civilians as possible war crimes.

 

Still, the Obama administration has dramatically ramped up its drone program since taking over from Bush in 2009. Recently, the use of drones has increased significantly in Yemen, where there were more drone attacks in 2012 than there were in Pakistan.

 

Obama’s newly-chosen CIA director, John Brennan, is particularly controversial, both because he is the architect of the US drone war and because he has repeatedly lied about civilian drone deaths and the anti-Americanism they breed.

Yemen: A Year of Assassinations, Explosions and Drones

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(GlobalVoicesOnline) -After a long year of revolution in Yemen, former President Ali Abdullah Saleh was “toppled” and replaced by President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi on February 27, 2012, through a one-man-election. Nevertheless, Yemen witnessed a year of instability and violence. The year 2012 was a year of unprecedented numbers of suicide bombs, explosive cars, targeted killings, explosions of gas pipelines and electricity cables, besides the constant and frequent US drone attacks. Below is a month by month account of the major events that shook Yemen.

January:

* Five killed as Yemen police, protesters clash in south. The protesters were calling for secession and rejecting a Gulf-brokered plan granting President Ali Abdullah Saleh immunity from prosecution when he steps down. Three protesters were killed and 18 others were wounded, in addition two policemen were killed and five others were wounded.

* Overnight drone strike in Yemen kills 15, including ‘at least four Al Qaeda leaders’. Up to 15 militants, including four Al Qaeda leaders, were killed in an overnight airstrike in the city of Loder in Abyan province, southern Yemen.

February:

* Yemen army kills two anti-election protest. Yemeni troops killed two people when they opened fire on a rally in the southern province of Dalea calling for boycotting the election to replace outgoing President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

* Yemen’s One Man Election

Many Yemenis believe that taking part in this election is pointless since the election results are pre-determined, as was the imposed GCC [Gulf Cooperation Council] deal and the immunity it granted Saleh. They doubt that it will bring about any real change in Yemen in the foreseeable future with Hadi, another military man replacing Saleh, and thus that there is no prospect of the civil state which the revolution demanded, especially with Saleh’s family still controlling the military apparatus and his regime still intact.

March:

* Suicide bomber kills four Yemeni soldiers. At least four Yemeni soldiers were killed when a suicide bomber detonated a vehicle full of explosives near a checkpoint in the southern city of al-Bayda.

April:

* Gunmen attack Yemen’s major airport. Gunmen loyal to Yemen’s ousted president blasted buildings at the country’s main airport with anti-aircraft guns, forcing authorities to shut it down. A day after Yemen’s new President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi fired key security officials appointed by ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh, including his half brother, the air force commander Mohammed Saleh al-Ahmar, and his nephew, Tariq, who headed the presidential guard.

*Yemen electricity supply hit in power plant attack Tribesmen attacked a main power plant in Marib causing the capital Sanaa and cities Taiz, Hudaida and Ibb to suffer reduced electricity due to the attack.

May:

*Suicide blast on eve of Unification Anniversary, nearly 100 people were killed and at least 200 were injured.

*Anger at expansion of US drone war

The use of drones on Yemeni soil to kill “suspected” al Qaeda leaders, the unjustified killing of a teenager and many other innocent civilians commonly referred to as “collateral damage” and the illegal detention of a journalist, has fostered more animosity towards the US. […] The US clearly needs to re-evaluate its counter-terrorism policy in Yemen by addressing the socio-economic underlying causes that produce terror, rather than focusing its aid solely in the fight against al “Qaeda” and continuing with the drone attacks which kills innocent people, alienates, angers and aggravates the general Yemeni public, giving extremists a motive to join militant groups.

*Yemeni al-Qaeda leader ‘killed in drone strike’. Fahd al-Quso was hit by missiles fired from an unmanned drone. His death and another man’s was confirmed by al-Qaeda and Yemen’s embassy in the US. At least 20 soldiers had been killed by militants in revenge for the attack.

June:
*Attacks on Southern Yemen jeopardize National Dialogue

While a National Dialogue is under way to discuss many of Yemen’s issues, central security forces attacked Mansoura’s square, where separatist activists staged sit-in protests for over a year, destroying their tents and using live ammunition to disperse them, killing and injuring some.

*Electricity Woes in Yemen

Electricity, food and water are basic human needs and have been the main demands of the majority of Yemenis long before the revolution started and still continue to be so. Nothing seems to have changed with the overthrow of former president Ali Abdullah Saleh and living conditions only seem to get worse under the new National Consensus Government. Most Yemenis are living in dire conditions due to the daily and long hours of electricity cuts that have been affecting most areas of Yemen, from the north to the south.

July:
*Another suicide blast rocks Sanaa. A suicide bomber detonated himself at the southern gate of the Ministry of Interior killing nine and injuring 15.

August:
*Yemen Republican Guard in deadly clashes in Sanaa. Five people were killed and at least nine were wounded, near the defence ministry.

September:

*Yemen minister survives assassination attempt. Maj Gen Muhammad Nasir Ahmad, Yemen’s defense minister survived an assassination attempt, which killed seven bodyguards and five civilians in the heart of the capital, Sanaa.

*Anger as 13 civilians killed by US drone strikes A US drone missile missed it’s target and according to local reports 13 civilians, including three women, were killed as a result.

*29 Dead in 8 Days as U.S. Puts Yemen Drone War in Overdrive. Not even the killing of 10 civilians over the weekend seems to have slowed the pace in the United States’ secretive, undeclared war.

*Yemenis march demanding prosecution of ex-leader.
Tens of thousands of Yemenis took to the streets of the capital Sanaa demanding the prosecution of Saleh, who stepped down in February after a year-long uprising, demonstrators marched also in other Yemeni cities.

October:

*Deadly blast rocks Yemen military base. Militants drove a vehicle loaded with explosives into the base in Abyan province. At least 15 Yemeni troops were killed and more than a dozen injured.

*Yemen security officer at U.S. Embassy killed in Sanaa The attackers, on a motorcycle, opened fire on Qassem Aqlannear his house in the center of Yemen’s capital, Sanaa.

*Yemeni counter-terrorism official shot dead. Ali al-Yamani was shot by two gunmen on a motorcycle in Damar province where he was leading counter-terrorism efforts.

*Yemen to Investigate Explosions at Weapons Store Bombings at the headquarter of the first armored division were a result of a fire inside a weapons store that included missiles and tank rockets, no casualties were reported.

*Yemen LNG gas pipeline blown up again. The 320-km (100-mile) pipeline supplying the $4.5-billion plant has been attacked several times this year.

November:

*US drones hit Yemen a day after Obama won the elections. The strike was less than 40km from the capital Sanaa and in the hometown of former president Ali Abdullah Saleh. Adnan al Qadhi, a former AQAP member, and two of his bodyguards, Rabiee Lahib and Radwan al Hashidi, were confirmed to have been killed in the strike.

*A Ashoura celebration was attacked in Sanaa Four people were killed and more than a dozen were wounded in an explosion that targeted a Shiite Ashoura Celebration in the capital Sanaa.

December:

*New attacks on electricity lines, Air Force foils pipeline bombing Unknown elements attacked electricity transmission lines again, in Wadi Abeeda district of Mareb Province.

*Intelligence Officer Shot Dead in Eastern Yemen Colonel Ahmed Baramada, deputy intelligence office in Hadramout, was shot dead, by gunmen on a motorbike near his home in Mukalla.

*Airstrikes in Yemen kill 6 Al-Qaida suspects. Yemeni security officials say six al-Qaida suspects have been killed and 12 others wounded in army attacks on militant positions around the country.

*
Yemen LNG gas pipeline blown up again
. The pipeline was last blown up about 295km north of gas liquefaction plant on Oct. 30. It was repaired in November and loaded a few cargoes of super cooled gas in early December.

*Yemen Says Artillery Rockets Behind Explosion at Gas Pipeline Yet another explosion hit the natural gas pipeline in southeastern Shabwa province. The pipeline was bombed by two artillery rockets as an act of sabotage.

*Assassination campaign continues against intelligence officers
Yemeni intelligence chief escapes assassination Col. Mohammed Hajeb, the military intelligence chief in the areas of al-Wadi and Sahara escaped an assassination attempt.

The assassinations and violent attacks have often been attributed to the usual suspect “Al-Qaeda, although no investigations have proven their involvement, others accuse Saleh and his loyalist for the volatile security condition that Yemen has been experiencing since his handover of power.

*Yemen’s Long Awaited Army Restructure A number of long awaited decrees were issued, including restructuring the armed forces into four major units – land forces, navy, air force and border forces, and abolishing the Republican Guard and the First Armored Division and with them the dismissal of Saleh’s relatives and Ali Muhsen from the military leadership.
Yet even that didn’t seem to grant their final dismissal from the military as news surfaced of their possible appointment in the new restructure.

*Two US Drone Strikes in Yemen for Christmas five suspected militants were killed in both attacks.

*17 killed as Yemen army, tribesmen clash: tribal sources Yemen’s army launched an offensive against tribesmen suspected of repeatedly sabotaging an oil pipeline in Marib, 10 tribesmen and seven soldiers were killed in the clashes.

*Three Westerners kidnapped in Yemen’s capital, Sanaa In an unprecedented and further deterioration of the security situation in Yemen, masked gunmen seized three foreigners at a shop in Sanaa’s city centre.

*Gunmen kill two high-ranking officers in Yemen Colonel Salem Gorbani and Brigadier-General Fidel al-Zahari were killed by gunmen on motorcycles within a 30 minute interval.

So for Christmas in Yemen, 2 US drone strikes killed 5, heavy clashes in Marib killed 17 and a brigadier an officer were assassinated in Sanaa.

*Protesters March for 270km in Yemen’s Second Life March Yemen’s youth commemorated the martyrs of the 2011 Life March by walking in their footsteps all 270km from Taiz to Sanaa and staged a sit-in at the presidential palace, demanding the dismissal of Saleh’s relatives from leading positions in the army and intelligence.

*Gunmen attack Yemen oil pipeline after repairs according to official sources lost production because of attacks on pipelines in the east cost the government more than $1 billion dollars in 2012, while oil exports fell by 4.5 per cent.

*Two suspected al Qaeda-linked insurgents were killed in a drone strike in Yemen Two menriding a motorcycle west of the coastal town of al-Sheher, in the eastern region of Hadramout, were fired at by the pilotless aircraft.
Gunmen in Yemen kill intelligence officer Officer Mutea Baqutian, was heading to work Saturday in Hadramawt province when he was stopped by gunmen stopped his car shot him and then fled.

Meanwhile, Yemen is preparing for a six-month National Dialogue Conference, which has been challenging to organize, resulting in it’s postponement several times. The shares of political parties and other groups participating was finally reached and the conference is due to start sometime early next year. Many Yemenis hope that a fair constitution addressing the needs and aspirations of Yemenis will be drafted and voted on in a referendum before the upcoming presidential election in 2014. Yet to the dismay of many, ousted president Saleh plans to head the GPC (General People’s Congress Party) delegation at the National Dialogue shaping Yemen’s future!

The year 2012 in Yemen has been a year full of assassinations, explosions, kidnappings and US drones. Yemenis hope that the coming year will bring the long and much awaited stability and security the country needs.

U.S. Gov’t Asks Federal Judge to Dismiss Cases of Americans Killed by Drones

 

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(Activist Post) – As Americans mourn the deaths of 20 children and 6 adults in the Newtown, CT tragedy – and the gun control debate has reached a fever pitch – autonomous killing systems are being funded by American taxpayers, and drone strikes continue to kill an increasing number of civilians abroad.

Barack Obama and the U.S. government policy makers have shown an incredible level of hypocrisy before; on the one hand lamenting such senseless deaths as have occurred in “mass shootings” while conducting their own mass killing, torture, and terror campaigns in foreign lands.

A culture of violence can’t have it both ways, though, and the welcoming of drones into American skies by Congress is sure to unleash physical havoc shortly after concerns over surveillance and privacy are dismissed.

As a clear sign of what can be expected, the U.S. government has asked a federal judge to throw out a lawsuit brought by the families of three Americans killed by drone strikes in Yemen. If federal courts rule that these cases are without merit, it will set a dangerous precedent that only the executive branch of government can decide which Americans have a constitutional right to due process, while further enhancing a framework where the government will decide who is fit to be mourned and who should be forgotten