Posts Tagged ‘drones’
Conservative Rand Paul Rebuts Senators McCain and Graham: “They Think the Whole World’s A Battlefield”
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) blasted fellow GOP Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on Thursday, saying the two “think the whole world is a battlefield.”
Paul criticized the hawkish senators for thinking the laws of war should take precedence over the Bill of Rights. The two had criticized Paul’s statements about drone policy during the Kentucky Republican’s nearly 13-hour filibuster on Thursday.
“They think the whole world is a battlefield, including America, and that the laws of war should apply,” Paul said in an interview on Fox News about McCain and Graham, who had described Paul’s comments about drones as “ridiculous.”
“The laws of war don’t involve due process, so when they ask you for an attorney you tell them to shut up. That’s not my understanding of the way America works,” Paul told Fox. “I don’t think the laws of war apply to America, I think the Bill of Rights do and I think it’s a disservice to our soldiers that our senators up there arguing that the Bill of Rights aren’t important.”
Paul said whether drones can be used against U.S. citizens on U.S. soil is a “very serious question” and was at the root of Wednesday’s filibuster, which delayed a final confirmation vote on John Brennan, President Obama’s nominee to lead the CIA.
“This was a very serious question. It was a question that took a month and a half to get an answer to and so I would argue — and I think a lot of the public would agree with me, both on the right and the left — that what we ask was a very serious question and it’s a question that we finally got an answer to,” Paul said.
Attorney General Eric Holder on Thursday responded to Paul in a letter that said the U.S. does not have the authority to conduct a drone attack against a U.S. citizen on American soil.
“Hooray, for 13 hours yesterday we asked them that question. And so there is a result and a victory,” Paul said after the letter was read to him during the Fox interview. “Under duress and under public humiliation the White House will respond and do the right thing.”
The answer just took a filibuster that lasted almost half a day, Paul added.
“So now, after 13 hours of filibuster, we’re proud to announce that the president is not going to kill unarmed Americans on American soil,” Paul continued. “My next question is why did it take so long, why is it so hard and why would a president so jealously guard power that they were afraid to say this, but I am glad and I think that the answer does answer my question.”
A TV grab shows the unarmed Venezuelan aerial drone on June 13, 2012 during a meeting …
President Hugo Chavez has revealed that Venezuela has made its first drone in partnership with Iran, Russia and China, and said Caracas plans to start exporting it soon.
“It is one of the three planes that we have manufactured here, and we are continuing to make them… not just for military use, (as) much of its equipment is for civilian use,” Chavez said Wednesday during a meeting with top military and defense officials.
The drones were developed in cooperation with “Russia, China, Iran and other allied countries,” he said in remarks broadcast on radio and television.
Designed as a surveillance tool, the machine “does not carry arms” and has a 100-kilometer (60 mile) sweep. It can fly solo for some 90 minutes and reach an altitude of 3,000 meters (9,000 feet),” said General Julio Morales, president of the state-run Venezuelan Military Industrial Company Cavim.
Chavez is a left-wing firebrand who often criticizes the United States, which has closely monitored for any signs of Iranian influence in Venezuela.
The United States — which has controversially waged drone strikes remotely against suspected militants in Pakistan and Yemen — expressed caution about Chavez’s announcement.
“The Venezuelans make lots of extravagant claims. So do the Iranians,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters Thursday in Washington.
“Our concern, obviously, would be with any breaking of international sanctions on Iran. And we will be most vigilant in watching how this goes forward,” she said.
Another official in Venezuela said that the drone was assembled from parts made locally and built by engineers trained in Iran.
Measuring four meters (13 feet) long by three meters (10 feet) wide, the drone can transmit real time photographs and video, officials said. It is currently being modified so it can also carry out night flights.
Cavim is also developing guns such as the AK103 in partnership with Russia, grenades and munitions, as well as more pilotless planes.
“Of course we are developing a powder factory… a drone factory, of course we are doing it. We have the right, we wouldn’t have it if we were a colony, but we are a free and independent nation,” Chavez said.
A former military man, Chavez has been developing cooperation with several countries to boost the Venezuelan army.
Immigration: House Passes Border Bill for More Federal Agents, Drones
Call it a rare bipartisan moment if you like, but the U.S. House easily approved a $600 million bill Tuesday authorizing more than 1,000 additional border agents and surveillance drones to patrol the border with Mexico.
With the House back from a break for a one day session, the legislation was passed quickly under suspension of usual rules — meaning Republicans could have blocked the fast-paced action. But they chose not to, and the measure sailed through on a voice vote. Although it is identical to a version approved by the Senate last week, the two bills must still technically be reconciled, meaning the plan can’t go to President Obama for his signature until next month since the Senate is on summer recess.
, money will be freed for more border guards, a bolstering of Drug Enforcement Agency, ATF, U.S. Marshals and FBI units, and also for additional unmanned drones to monitor movements along the southern border. The Senate decided to pay for the plan by raising fees on foreign-based personnel companies that bring workers to the United States, often from India.
The scaled down bill is a far cry from the comprehensive immigration reform that Obama has repeatedly sought from the Congress. But it is a reaction to demands that the federal government take stronger steps to deal with illegal immigrants crossing into the U.S. from Mexico.