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The [Wednesday] Papers

"When the leaders of the global aerospace industry met late last month at the 50th anniversary staging of the Paris Air Show, one word predominated: exports. With military budgets leveling off or declining in the United States and Europe, arms companies are looking to deals in the Middle East and Asia to bolster their bottom lines," William Hartung writes for Foreign Policy.

"Nowhere has this strategy been more successful than in the United States, where an export-friendly Obama administration has presided over the largest arms-export boom in history. In 2011, the most recent year for which full statistics are available, the United States entered into arms sales agreements worth over $66 billion - an astounding 78 percent of the world market.

"The current U.S. dominance of the trade will not go unchallenged. For example, as purchasing nations clamor for their own drones, China and other suppliers are seeking to develop cheaper alternatives to U.S. models. Last month, three European arms firms urged their governments to invest in a 'Euro-drone' that would supplant systems currently being imported from the United States.

"But the Obama administration will not yield market share without a fight. At a congressional hearing in April, Tom Kelly of the State Department's Bureau of Political-Military Affairs noted that the Obama administration was doing everything in its power to promote U.S. arms exports:

"It is an issue that has the attention of every top-level official who is working on foreign policy throughout the government including the top officials at the State Department . . . in advocating on behalf of our companies and doing everything we can to make these sales go through . . and that is something we're doing every day, basically [on] every continent in the world."

So, yeah, Dennis Rodman isn't so crazy considering some of the past winners.

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See also: The Growing Campaign To Revoke Obama's Nobel Peace Prize.

Hello, Newman
"Leslie James Pickering noticed something odd in his mail last September: A handwritten card, apparently delivered by mistake, with instructions for postal workers to pay special attention to the letters and packages sent to his home," the New York Times reports.

"Show all mail to supv" - supervisor - "for copying prior to going out on the street," read the card. It included Mr. Pickering's name, address and the type of mail that needed to be monitored. The word "confidential" was highlighted in green.

"It was a bit of a shock to see it," said Mr. Pickering, who owns a small bookstore in Buffalo. More than a decade ago, he was a spokesman for the Earth Liberation Front, a radical environmental group labeled eco-terrorists by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Postal officials subsequently confirmed they were indeed tracking Mr. Pickering's mail but told him nothing else.

"As the world focuses on the high-tech spying of the National Security Agency, the misplaced card offers a rare glimpse inside the seemingly low-tech but prevalent snooping of the United States Postal Service.

"Mr. Pickering was targeted by a longtime surveillance system called mail covers, but that is only a forerunner of a vastly more expansive effort, the Mail Isolation Control and Tracking program, in which Postal Service computers photograph the exterior of every piece of paper mail that is processed in the United States - about 160 billion pieces last year. It is not known how long the government saves the images.

"Together, the two programs show that snail mail is subject to the same kind of scrutiny that the National Security Agency has given to telephone calls and e-mail."

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See also: U.S. Intelligence Community Is Out Of Control.

Obama's War
"Drone strikes - billed by President Barack Obama as tactically surgical and less deadly to civilians than conventional air power - are 10 times more likely to cause innocent casualties than bombs or missiles unleashed from U.S. jets, according to a new study based on classified military documents," NBC News reports.

"The report's author, Lawrence Lewis, a researcher at the federally funded Center for Naval Analyses who possesses a top-security clearance, dissected secret data on U.S. air attacks in Afghanistan from mid-2010 to mid-2011 - the peak of unmanned drone use during the war, executed under the command of former Gen. David Petraeus."

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See also: David Petraeus To Teach Seminar For $150,000 At Three Hours A Week.

Border Drones
"A Customs & Border Protection (CPB) report, released in response to EFF's Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the agency, shows CBP has considered adding weapons to its domestic Predator drones.

"The report, titled Concept of Operations for CBP's Predator B Unmanned Aircraft System and submitted to Congress on June 29, 2010 shows that, not only is the agency planning to sharply increase the number of Predator drones it flies and the amount of surveillance it conducts by 2016 (detailed further in a separate blog post tomorrow), but it has considered equipping its Predators with 'non-lethal weapons designed to immobilize' targets of interest. (p. 63)."

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See also: FBI Director Acknowledges Domestic Drone Use.

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Song of Freedom

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Redemption.



Permalink

Posted on July 3, 2013


MUSIC - The Week In Chicago Rock.
TV - Trump's Disastrous FCC Chair.
POLITICS - Filing: Walmart CEO Made $22.4 Million Last Year.
SPORTS - Canada Cuts Youth Hockey Injuries In Half.

BOOKS - America, We Need To Talk.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Beachwood Photo Booth: Wyoming, Michigan.


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