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Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Two Percent of Drone Strikes Hit Senior al Qaida Members

Since 2002, thousands have been killed by U.S. Predator and Reaper drones, but a recent report by McClatchy Newspapers has suggested less than two percent of those killed were senior members of al Qaida. From September 2010 through September 2011, 95 drone attacks were executed, resulting in 482 deaths. 265 of the individuals killed were al Qaida members, but only six were known top level al Qaida operatives. The others were identified by intelligence reports as members of the Haqqani network, the Pakistani Taliban, or “foreign fighters” and “other militants.” The intelligence reports also suggest that, in the same region during other time frames, the CIA has killed people who “were suspected, associated with, or who probably belonged to militant groups”. Since President George W. Bush repealed the 25-year ban on assassination in 2002, four Americans have been killed by U.S. drone strikes in Yemen but only one of those Americans was specially targeted.

Egypt’s Army Engaged in Torture and Murder During the Revolution

According to a leaked Egyptian government report the Egyptian army engaged in murder, torture, and kidnaping during the 2011 uprising. Hossam Bahgat, director of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights said the report cast light on previously unknown and “extremely disturbing incidents that implicate the military in serious human rights violations.” One such incident describes two protestors who were held captive and beaten in the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities. One of the men captured later died in custody from injuries sustained from this beating. Protestors have frequently demanded that officials investigate the army’s role in multiple accounts of torture and murder during the revolt and the 16 months of military rule that followed, but so far Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi has demurred.

Japanese Nuclear Cooling Systems Continue to Fail

At least three of the seven underground storage pools for radioactive runoff water are seeping radioactive material at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in the Futaba District of the Fukushima Prefecture, Japan. The Fukushima plant was damaged two years ago by an earthquake and resulting tsunami that caused the plant’s cooling systems to fail, which then caused the fuel at three of Fukushima’s reactors to melt. More than 150,000 people were evacuated. Since that catastrophe, the Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) has been flooding the reactors with water to cool the fuel but has been unable to effectively dispose of the radioactive waste. At least 32,000 gallons of water have seeped into the soil surrounding the underground pools. Last year, Tepco released radioactive water into the Pacific ocean, prompting significant outcry from the environmental community. Animals have shown evidence of radiation poisoning as far away as California.

Thousands Rally for Immigration Reform

Thousands of supporters rallied today all over the Capitol, while congressman debated legislation offering a path to citizenship for people who have immigrated to the U.S. illegally. Demonstrators at the National Rally for Citizenship held signs reading “Citizenship for 11 million” and “Basta ya! La deportacion,” while waving U.S. flags. An estimated 11 million people reside in the U.S. without permission, and legalization of their presence has been one of U.S. President Barack Obama’s primary goals since his re-election in November. The Democrat-controlled Senate hopes to have a bill introduced by the end of the week, while the Republican-dominated House of Representatives continues to debate. Assuming both bodies pass legislation, the two bills would need to be reconciled before being sent to Obama for final approval.

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