Trump Regime to Drop Some Constraints on Drone Strikes and Raids

Unfortunately, this will mean an increase in the U.S. military’s war crimes abroad. The revealed plans of loosening drone restrictions are also noted to be around when Human Rights Watch reported that 84 civilians were killed in a U.S. air strike on a school and market in March.

The Trump administration is preparing to dismantle key Obama-era limits on drone strikes and commando raids outside conventional battlefields, according to officials familiar with internal deliberations. The changes would lay the groundwork for possible counterterrorism missions in countries where Islamic militants are active but the United States has not previously tried to kill or capture them.

President Trump’s top national security advisers have proposed relaxing two rules, the officials said. First, the targets of kill missions by the military and the C.I.A., now generally limited to high-level militants deemed to pose a “continuing and imminent threat” to Americans, would be expanded to include foot-soldier jihadists with no special skills or leadership roles. And second, proposed drone attacks and raids would no longer undergo high-level vetting.

But administration officials have also agreed that they should keep in place one important constraint for such attacks: a requirement of “near certainty” that no civilian bystanders will be killed.

The proposal to overhaul the rules has quietly taken shape over months of debate among administration officials and awaits Mr. Trump’s expected signature. Despite the preservation of the protections for civilians, the other changes seemed likely to draw criticism from human rights groups.

“Near certainty” contrasted with actual reporting:

A new report by Human Rights Watch says the U.S. military killed at least 84 civilians in Syria in March, when it bombed a school and a marketplace in two towns outside Raqqa. On March 20, U.S. airstrikes hit a school where displaced people were taking shelter in the village of Mansoura. Two days later, U.S. airstrikes hit a crowded market and bakery in the city of Tabqa. Local residents told Human Rights Watch the death toll from the two attacks is likely far higher than 84 civilians, because bodies were still buried underneath the rubble.

U.S. Department of Homeland Security to Begin Collecting Social Media Info on All Immigrants October 18th

This widespread government collection of social media information — without individual warrants — is a measure of authoritarianism, and it may cause other countries to increase their unjust collection policies too. Once this data is collected, it could be used against vulnerable members of society to bring considerable harm to them. Other more privileged citizens are also at some risk, however, as their communications with immigrants through social media will also be collected.

The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is expanding the kinds of information that it collects on immigrants to include social media information and search results. The new policy, which covers immigrants who have obtained a green card and even naturalized citizens, will take effect on October 18th.

First spotted by Buzzfeed News, the announcement from the Trump regime was published in the Federal Register. The new policy will not only allow DHS to collect information about an immigrant’s Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook accounts, but it also mentions all “search results.” It’s not immediately clear if that means the agency will have access to things such as Google search histories nor is it clear how that would be obtained.

The new policy includes 12 points of expansion on what DHS is allowed to collect, but numbers 5 and 11 seem to be the most alarming in their ability to reach inside the digital lives of immigrants to the US and anyone who interacts with those immigrants.

[…]

(11) update record source categories to include publicly available information obtained from the internet, public records, public institutions, interviewees, commercial data providers, and information obtained and disclosed pursuant to information sharing agreements;

The term “information sharing agreements” isn’t defined in the policy, but it could conceivably cover both the types of surveillance agreements that the US has with countries like the UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand under Five Eyes, as well as the agreements that DHS has with companies like Google and internet service providers.

Trump Regime Cruelly Rescinds DACA Program

Immigrants are a scapegoat that’s frequently used as a distraction from the real problems facing societies. Rescinding DACA will harm a lot of communities and result in more unnecessary suffering.

In a major attack on immigrant communities across the United States, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has announced the Trump administration is rescinding DACA—that’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals—which gives nearly 800,000 young immigrants permission to live and work in the United States.

[…]

President Obama implemented DACA in 2012, after nearly a decade of massive grassroots organizing and direct action protests by undocumented youth across the country. President Obama called Trump’s decision to rescind the program “cruel.” The Trump administration now says it will begin phasing out the protections in six months, meaning that some DACArecipients will be eligible for deportation as early as March 2018.

Between now and then, Congress has the opportunity to pass legislation that could protect DACA recipients, as well as millions of other immigrants currently in the country without legal authorization. Sessions’s announcement Tuesday morning sparked immediate protests across the country, with crowds taking to the streets in Minneapolis, Chicago, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Washington, D.C., and Houston, where thousands of DACA recipients and their families are currently helping the city rebuild after Hurricane Harvey.

A potentially useful image that I’ve found is below in this post.

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