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Stories by Cora Currier

Here's what we still don't know about drones

Nearly six months ago, President Obama promised more transparency and tighter policies around targeted killings. In a speech, Obama vowed that the U.S. would only use force against a “continuing and imminent threat to the American people.” It would fire only when there was “near-certainty” civilians would not be killed or injured, and when capture was not feasible.... Read more»0

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Drone makers gather to defend their much-maligned machines

“I have some d-word difficulty,” said Michael Toscano, president and CEO of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, a trade group for makers and enthusiasts of robots of air, land and sea. The d-word, of course, is drones.... Read more»0

In big win for defense industry, Obama rolls back export limits

The United States is loosening controls over military exports, in a shift that former U.S. officials and human rights advocates say could increase the flow of American-made military parts to the world’s conflicts and make it harder to enforce arms sanctions.... Read more»0

Obama administration helped kill transparency push on military aid

The U.S. spent roughly $25 billion last year on what’s loosely known as security assistance—a term that can cover everything from training Afghan security forces to sending Egypt F-16 fighter jets to equipping Mexican port police with radiation scanners. The spending, which has soared in the past decade, can be hard to trace.... Read more»0

Gitmo soldiers get 9/11 history lessons

Young soldiers at Guantanamo Bay would have been in grade school when the 9/11 attacks occurred. But the government is making sure the terrorist attacks are fresh in their minds.... Read more»0

The sweeping presidential power to help prisoners that Holder didn’t mention

President Obama has given just one person early release from prison. Obama has overall granted clemency at a lower rate than any modern president, which includes both commutations – early release – and pardons. The Justice Department rarely gives positive clemency recommendations to the president. Experts have been calling for reform of the entire clemency process.... Read more»0

Does the U.S. pay families when drones kill innocent Yemenis?

There have been nine drone strikes reported in Yemen in the past two weeks – an uptick apparently connected to the Al Qaeda threat that shut down U.S. embassies across the Middle East and Africa. As many as six civilian deaths have also been reported.... Read more»0

Who are we at war with? That’s classified

In a major national security speech this spring, President Obama said again and again that the U.S. is at war with “Al Qaeda, the Taliban, and their associated forces.” So who exactly are those associated forces? It’s a secret. ... Read more»0

Boy’s death in drone strike tests Obama’s transparency pledge

It’s the first prominent allegation of a civilian death since President Obama pledged in a major speech in May “to facilitate transparency and debate” about the U.S. war on al Qaida-linked militants beyond Afghanistan. He also said “there must be near-certainty that no civilians will be killed or injured” in a strike.... Read more»0

Now on trial at Guantanamo Bay: Spiral notebooks

On October 12, 2000, a skiff pulled up alongside the U.S.S. Cole, docked in Aden, Yemen, and blew up. The attack killed 17 sailors and nearly sank the Cole. It was one of Al Qaeda’s most lethal operations before 9/11. Nearly 13 years on, prosecutors and defense lawyers are still in pre-trial hearings. Welcome to the courts at Guantanamo Bay.... Read more»0

Hearts, minds and dollars: condolence payments in the drone strike age

In February, during his confirmation process, CIA director John Brennan offered an unusually straightforward explanation: “Where possible, we also work with local governments to gather facts, and, if appropriate, provide condolence payments to families of those killed.”... Read more»0

Despite new pardons, Obama's clemency rate lowest in recent history

Despite new pardons announced earlier this month, the Obama administration has still granted clemency more rarely than any president in recent history. Indeed, the day before the pardons were announced, a Department of Justice spokesman said, Obama had denied 314 other applicants. ... Read more»0

U.S. marking unidentified men in Pakistan & Yemen as drone targets

What little we know about the evidence needed to justify a drone strike on unidentified people. While President Obama and administration officials have framed the drone program as targeting particular members of al-Qaeda, attacks against unknown militants reportedly may account for the majority of strikes.... Read more»0

'Signature strikes'

The drone war doctrine we still know nothing about

The focus on the targeting of American citizens overlooks many other strikes in which the U.S. doesn’t know who it’s killing. In these attacks, known as “signature strikes,” drone operators fire on people whose identities they do not know based on evidence of suspicious behavior or other “signatures.”... Read more»0

Drone strikes test legal grounds for war on terror

The Obama administration has justified its counter-terror strategy on a law Congress passed just days after 9/11. But more than a decade later, does it fit the facts on the ground? ... Read more»0

Everything we know so far about drone strikes

The U.S. is conducting drone strikes in in at least three countries beyond Iraq and Afghanistan. Here’s a reading guide to understanding the U.S.’ shadow wars. ... Read more»0

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