Tag Archives: Arms

Second Amendment group claims Connecticut ‘does not have the balls’ to enforce gun law

Second Amendment group claims Connecticut ‘does not have the balls’ to enforce gun law Second Amendment group claims Connecticut ‘does not have the balls’ to enforce gun law

In Connecticut, tens of thousands of gun owners are believed to be committing felonies by not registering their weapons in compliance with a new state law. Second Amendment advocates, however, say authorities “don’t have the balls” to enforce it.
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Legislation enacted after the December 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT requires that gun owners registered military-style rifles and high-capacity magazines with state officials by the end of last year. But only a few weeks after that deadline came and went, journalist Dan Haar of The Hartford Courant newspaper wrote that as many as 350,000 assault weapons remained unregistered and that “Connecticut has very likely created tens of thousands of newly minted criminals.”

Connecticut Carry, a non-profit organization devoted to protecting the United States Constitution’s right to bear arms, is now daring law enforcement officials to act. The group has previously tried to spread their pro-gun message by selling yard signs with slogans such as “Repeal the 2013 Gun Ban” and through a campaign that resolved around the mantra of “No Guns = No Money.” This week, the organization published a statement denouncing the new-fangled registration rules, while at the same time encouraging authorities to “shit or get off the pot.”

“The anti-gun legislators and officials are scared to implement their tyranny because they know that they did not have any sort of‘consent of the governed,’” reads part of the release.

“Now, State officials look down the barrel of the laws that they created, and it is very probably that they now tremble as they rethink the extremity of their folly. Connecticut Carry calls on every State official, every Senator, and every Representative, to make the singular decision: Either enforce the laws as they are written and let us fight it out in court, or else repeal the 2013 Gun Ban in its entirety.”

infant with gun Second Amendment group claims Connecticut ‘does not have the balls’ to enforce gun law

When Harr wrote about the upwards of hundreds of thousands of newly-created criminals for the Courant last month, he reached out to State Sen. Tony Guglielmo (R-Stafford), who acknowledged at the time that, “If you pass laws that people have no respect for and they don’t follow them, then you have a real problem.”

If Connecticut Carry’s dare can carry any clout, state officials are indeed in for a challenge. Prosecuting upwards of even a few thousand residents who may have been fully law-abiding up until last year is likely to take time and effort, and the maximum sentence of five years that could be imposed against anyone found in violation of the new registration rule would without a doubt leave no room for other criminals inside state prisons should every guilty party end up behind bars.

But more than a year after a lone gunman opened fire at Sandy Hook and killed over two dozen people, not everyone across the state seems to favor a return to more lax firearm laws. Just last week, a local gun dealer in Woodbridge, CT made headlines after the shop’s Facebook page posted an image of an infant child with her hands on a rifle double her own size. After the image began to go viral, the social media administrator for Woodbridge Firearms Trading Post removed the image.

“The fact is, the state does not have the balls to enforce these laws. The laws would not survive the public outcry and resistance that would occur,” Connecticut Carry Director Ed Peruta said in a statement this week.

Should the state chose to act, however, then the gun rights group says they’ve got no more than a few weeks. Connecticut Carry’s statement includes an ultimatum of source demanding that the state legislature “completely repeal these immoral edicts and let the residents of Connecticut return to their rightfully owned property and former exercise of constitutional rights and practices without any threat of State violence” by May 7.

If the laws are enforced, the statement ended, “Connecticut Carry stands ready to do whatever it takes and whatever it can do to represent and defend anyone impacted by the State’s violence.”

“As citizens of Connecticut, we have a right to bear arms. With that right comes responsibility,” added Rich Burgess, the president of the group. “The responsibility to stand in defense of ourselves and our fellow citizens is paramount.”

Source: RT

Navy cuts F-35 order nearly in half

Navy cuts F 35 order nearly in half Navy cuts F 35 order nearly in half

As the United States prepares plans to downsize its military, the Navy is set to order fewer Lockheed Martin Corp F-35 fighter jets than previously expected over the next five years.
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Citing an unnamed defense official, Reuters reported that beginning in the 2015 fiscal year, the Navy will request the purchase of 36 F-35C fighter jets, which are designed to land on aircraft carriers. That’s nearly half as many as the 69 originally projected.

The Air Force, meanwhile, is postponing its own request for four F-35A jets for one year. Beginning in 2016, however, it remains on track to move forward with its purchases as planned, an arrangement that will see the Air Force purchase about 238 jets total.

The Marine Corps stands out as the sole player committed to its original plan, still expected to request 69 F-35B jets over five years. These are scheduled to be combat ready and in use by mid-2015.

According to Pentagon Comptroller Robert Hale, the move to purchase fewer jets does not indicate that the military is underwhelmed with the jet’s performance capability, but rather it was based primarily on budgetary considerations. Defense officials told Reuters that the plan is still to purchase a total of 2,443 F-35s over the next few years.

As RT has reported in the past, however, the F-35 project has suffered from some significant obstacles, notably price. The fleet of 2,443 fighter jets is expected to cost $392 billion, a 68 percent increase over original projections from back in 2001. According to the Washington Post, this has led the military to cut back on the number of planes it first expected to purchase by more than 400. Additionally, the Post noted statements by the Pentagon’s chief tester, who in January said the jet “wasn’t sufficiently reliable in training flights last year.”

Other performance and manufacturing setbacks have also hobbled the program as it unfolded. Last year, a Pentagon report found issues with the jet’s internal software, while leaked budget review documents suggested some within the government would consider cancelling the project.

Still, the military has continued to reiterate its confidence in the program’s ultimate success.

“The basic design of the F-35 is sound, and test results underscore our confidence in the ultimate performance that the United States and its international partners and allies value so highly,” Air Force Lieutenant General Chris Bogdan, who heads the F-35 project, said last year. “Of course, we recognize risks still exist in the program, but they are understood and manageable.”

The decision to purchase fewer jets also comes amid reports that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is planning an overhaul of the US armed forces in order to fulfill President Obama’s goals of scaling back overseas military operations while remaining capable of waging war when necessary. Under Hagel’s proposal, US troop levels would fall somewhere between 440,000 and 450,000, the lowest level scene since World War II.

According to Reuters, the sequester could also come back to affect the F-35 project. Just last week, Hagel said that if Congress does not revoke or somehow deal with the automatic cuts scheduled for the 2016 fiscal year even fewer jets may be bought.

Source: RT

Michigan man kills himself while demonstrating gun safety

Michigan man kills himself while demonstrating gun safety Michigan man kills himself while demonstrating gun safety

A Michigan man from Independence Township accidentally killed himself after reportedly firing a gun into his head while attempting to demonstrate how safe the weapon was.
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The 36-year-old man’s girlfriend told law enforcement that he’d been drinking throughout the day when the incident occurred Sunday evening. Police told the Oakland Press that when they arrived at the home, the girlfriend was performing CPR on the man. He was declared dead at the scene.

Authorities have declined to release the names of those involved until the family has been notified. The girlfriend had been living with the man at the time with her three children, aged seven, 10, and 12.

According to the Oakland Press, the man was explaining to his girlfriend that his three guns were safe when not loaded. Police said he put two guns to his head and pulled the trigger, but when he did the same with the third gun, it discharged and a bullet went into his head.

“(The situation) is pretty unique, as I have never heard of anyone testing out the safety of a gun by pointing at their head and pulling the trigger,” Undersheriff Michael McCabe told the newspaper.

The man’s death has been ruled a suicide by the Oakland County Medical Examiner.

There have been numerous incidents related to accidental gun discharges over the last few years. Last week, a Florida man accidentally shot himself in the leg after leaving a gun safety class and manipulating his weapon in the parking lot. He was taken to a hospital and treated.

Just two months ago in Michigan, the vice president of the United Automobile Workers union, General Holiefield, mistakenly shot his wife in the stomach while cleaning a loaded gun. Fortunately, she survived the incident, and Holiefield pleaded no contest to misdemeanor charges.

In August 2013, meanwhile, the instructor of a gun safety class in Ohio accidentally shot one of his students while he was demonstrating the firearm to the class. He apparently did not realize the gun was loaded, and the boy survived after being struck in his arm.

Source: RT

Gun production in US sets new record with 30 percent increase

Gun production in US sets new record with 30 percent increase Gun production in US sets new record with 30 percent increase

Gun makers in the United States produced a record number of weapons in 2012, as new government data suggests Democratic presidents may actually be a boon to firearms manufacturers.
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According to numbers released by US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, more than 8.5 million guns were produced in 2012, compared to about 6.5 million in 2011. That’s a 31 percent increase, and the highest number recorded since the agency began tracking gun production in 1986.

Interestingly, a 2013 study by the National Opinion Research Center found that gun ownership per household has actually declined to its lowest level in more than 30 years, so what accounts for the high sales? According to one gun advocate, it’s President Barack Obama.

“Barack Obama is the stimulus package for the firearms industry,” Dave Workman, senior editor of Gun Mag, a print and online publication of the 2nd Amendment Foundation, told Bloomberg News. “The greatest irony of the Obama administration is that the one industry that he may not have really liked to see healthy has become the healthiest industry in the United States.”

As noted by Bloomberg, more than 26 million were produced during Obama’s first term alone. Former President George W. Bush, a Republican, was in office for eight years before 28 million guns were manufactured.

Bill Clinton’s Democratic presidency, which saw the government mandate background checks for gun purchases, also boosted firearms makers, who produced 33 million firearms over eight years. During George H.W. Bush’s one term, 16 million guns were made.

Even gun control advocates find some truth to the idea that Democratic presidents help cause a surge in gun sales. According to Brian Malte of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, gun advocates have “demonized” Obama in order to sell more firearms to a smaller consumer base.

“We see the percentage of households owning guns declining,” he said to Bloomberg, “and that indicates that those who already own guns are buying more of them.”

Obama generally avoided the gun control debate during his first term, but he came out in favor of reforms after the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre that saw 20 children killed by a gunman.

Although Congress has failed to pass legislation on the federal level, some states have forged ahead with their own gun control initiatives. California, for example, recently signaled its intention to implement its “microstamping” gun law, which requires manufacturers to imprint gun data on bullet casings when they’re fired. This has caused some gun makers to pull various models from the market.

Regardless, the latest government data seems to dovetail with the financial results of gun makers like Smith & Wesson, which experienced record sales during its 2013 fiscal year. As RT reported last year, the manufacturer said its sales of $588 million were a 43 percent increase over the previous fiscal year.

Whether or not such high-level sales can continue remains to be seen, but background check data seems to suggest 2013 it’s possible. The FBI conducted more than 21 million background checks related to gun sales in 2013, a seven percent increase over 2012.

Source: RT

Deadly US drone strike violated civilian protections promised by Obama

deadly us drone strike yemen Deadly US drone strike violated civilian protections promised by Obama

The United States may have killed up to 12 civilians during a drone strike in Yemen last year, possibly violating both international law and the Obama administration’s own targeted killing policy, according to a report by Human Rights Watch.
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While US officials have claimed the December 2013 strike only killed members of Al-Qaeda, witnesses of the incident told HRW that the US actually ended up targeting a wedding procession. The witnesses said everyone killed and injured was a civilian.

For its part, the report found that the group targeted was indeed a wedding convoy, though it also allowed for the possibility that militants – whose identities are still unknown – were part of the group. Regardless, the report suggests that at least some civilian casualties were involved.

At least 12 men were killed as a result of the four Hellfire missiles launched at 11 vehicles, while another 15 were injured. Both US and Yemeni officials have also stated that the primary target of the strike, an Al-Qaeda leader named Shawqi Ali Ahmad al-Badani, was not killed and managed to escape.

“We asked both the Yemeni and the U.S. authorities to tell us which of the dead and wounded were members of militant groups and which if any were civilians,” report author Letta Tayler, a senior terrorism and counterterrorism researcher at HRW, said to the Associated Press. “They did not reply to this question.”

“While we do not rule out the possibility that [Al-Qaeda] fighters were killed and wounded in this strike, we also do not rule out the possibility that all of those killed and wounded were civilians.”

Either way, the report stated that if the United States failed to differentiate between noncombatants and militants before carrying out the strike, it may have violated international law “by causing civilian loss disproportionate to the expected military advantage.”

Additionally, the attack may have violated the targeted killing policy detailed by President Barack Obama in May 2013, in which he stated the need for “near certainty” that civilians would not be harmed by a strike. The US “has also failed to demonstrate that the alleged target was present, could not feasibly have been arrested, or posed a ‘continuing and imminent threat’—three other US policy requirements,” the report stated.

Three unnamed US officials told the AP the government has conducted two investigations of its own into the incident, both of which confirmed its initial claim: that only militants were killed in the strike. These reports have not been released to the public.

“When we believe that civilians may have been killed, we investigate thoroughly,” Caitlin Hayden, a National Security Council spokeswoman, told the AP. “In situations where we have concluded that civilians have been killed, the U.S. has made condolence payments where appropriate and possible.”

Still, Hayden wouldn’t confirm or deny whether any of those affected by this particular strike have received compensation.

In its report, HRW urges the US to conduct a transparent investigation into the incident, hold individuals accountable for any wrongdoing, and properly compensate the affected parties.

“The US refusal to explain a deadly attack on a marriage procession raises critical questions about the administration’s compliance with its own targeted killing policy,” Tayler said in a statement. “All Yemenis, especially the families of the dead and wounded, deserve to know why this wedding procession became a funeral.”

Meanwhile, updated figures by the New America Foundation have also shed light on American drone activity in Yemen. Since 2002, drone strikes in the country have killed between 78 and 84 civilians, with another 30-50 deaths that cannot be classified. With more than 900 total strikes carried out, somewhere between 600 and 800 enemy combatants have been killed. With the singular exception of one 2002 strike, all have been carried out by the Obama administration.

Source: RT

Tens of thousands of Connecticut residents refuse to register guns under new law

tens of thousands of connecticut residents refuse to register guns according to new laws Tens of thousands of Connecticut residents refuse to register guns under new law

Tens of thousands of Connecticut residents could soon be considered felons by the state if they continue to ignore restrictive new gun control laws passed last year shortly after an armed rampage at an area elementary school left more than two dozen dead.
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Last April, Governor Dannel Malloy signed into law a slew of new firearm restrictions that require, among other items, residents to register powerful assault weapons and high-capacity magazine with the state. Connecticutians had until the end of last year — almost one year to the day after the Sandy Hook elementary school massacre — to license their arsenals. Only a fraction has followed the new law, however, and they could all soon face serious consequences if the state decides to take action.

On Thursday this week, journalist Dan Haar of Connecticut’s The Courant newspaper wrote that state police had received only 47,916 completed registration forms by the end of last year. According to his reporting, that statistic is just a sliver of what it should be.

If the state has received 50,000 registrations by now, Haar wrote, then that could represent as little as 15 percent of the assault weapons now classified by the state as warranting new paperwork under last April’s law.

“No one has anything close to definitive figures, but the most conservative estimates place the number of unregistered assault weapons well above 50,000, and perhaps as high as 350,000,” Haar wrote.

“And that means as of Jan. 1, Connecticut has very likely created tens of thousands of newly minted criminals — perhaps 100,000 people, almost certainly at least 20,000 — who have broken no other laws By owning unregistered guns defined as assault weapons, all of them are committing Class D felonies,” he added.

Other reports out of New England this week suggested that lawmakers there are wrestling with how to handle registration forms that weren’t sent in ahead of the end-of-year deadline and therefore now considered illegal unless officials find a loophole.

“We’re trying to figure a way to accommodate the small number of people. Do we do it legislatively? Can we do it administratively?” Rep. Stephen Dargan, co-chairman of the Public Safety Committee, told the CT News junkie website this week. “Whatever our focus is, it has to be narrow in scope because it might open it up to other people’s concerns.”

As Harr reports, however, officials may have a much larger problem: while an estimated few hundred residents may have sent their registration forms in a day or two past deadline, a group of people estimated to be several times that size reportedly show no interest in submitting applications at all.

“I honestly thought from my own standpoint that the vast majority would register,” said State Sen. Tony Guglielmo (R-Stafford) of the legislature’s public safety committee said to Harr. “If you pass laws that people have no respect for and they don’t follow them, then you have a real problem.”

But even if some Connecticutians find the gun law improper, federal courts have so far said that’s not the case. Late last month United States District Judge Alfred Covello issued a 47-page ruling calling Gov. Malloy’s legislation constitutional, even though it imposed some restrictions on firearm owners.

“While the act burdens the plaintiffs’ Second Amendment rights, it is substantially related to the important governmental interest of public safety and crime control,” Covello ruled.

 Source: RT

Real-life Iron Man armor to be ready by June – US admiral

real life iron man armor Real life Iron Man armor to be ready by June – US admiral
 
In an attempt by fact to imitate fiction, the US military’s “Iron Man” armor will take an important step towards reality in June, when multiple prototypes will be revealed and tested.
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According to a report by Defense Tech, Navy Admiral William McRaven said three prototypes of the TALOS – Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit – are currently being put together in the hopes that they’ll be ready for testing this summer.

If everything goes according to schedule, McRaven said the TALOS could become operational by 2018.

“That suit, if done correctly, will yield a revolutionary improvement in survivability and capability for special operators,” McRaven said Tuesday at a military conference in Washington, DC.

Although the prototypes scheduled for June will be unpowered, the military’s wish list of TALOS features is ambitious to say the least. As RT reported last year, the suit is being designed primarily with defense in mind and will likely include liquid armor, a synthetic substance being developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. This material has the capability to shift from a liquid state to a solid within milliseconds, making the suit’s wearer essentially impervious to gunfire.

ironman 2 Real life Iron Man armor to be ready by June – US admiral

 

Should an operator suffer an injury anyway, the suit will be capable of monitoring the individual’s health vitals and other information using a built-in system that rests against the skin and provides its own supply of heat, air, and oxygen. There are additional plans to incorporate a “wound stasis” program that could stop bleeding by spraying some kind of medical foam onto an injury.

In addition to boasting new technology that would enhance the operator’s awareness on the battlefield, TALOS could also be equipped with offensive capabilities, such as the “full-body ballistic projections” noted by the military last year.

According to Defense Tech, these Iron Man suits are currently being developed by a wide range of organizations: about 56 different corporations, 16 government agencies, 13 universities, and 10 national laboratories.

0 Real life Iron Man armor to be ready by June – US admiral

If successful, McRaven believes TALOS could potentially give the United States a “huge comparative advantage over our enemies and give our warriors the protection they need.”

This isn’t the only futuristic suit being developed by defense companies, though. Lockheed Martin has also been hard at work on an exoskeleton dubbed HULC (Human Universal Load Carrier), which grants increased mobility and the ability to transfer up to 200 pounds of weight off the user’s body.

Source: RT

Pentagon wants additional $4.5 bln to fix failed missile defense interceptors

Pentagon Pentagon wants additional $4.5 bln to fix failed missile defense interceptors

In a bid to beef up its missile defense systems, the United States Department of Defense intends to request $4.5 billion in additional spending over the next five years, according to a report by Reuters.
Continue reading «Pentagon wants additional Continue reading.5 bln to fix failed missile defense interceptors»

The move – disclosed by Riki Ellison of the Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance and two unnamed congressional sources – comes partly in response to failed tests that have shown the interceptors built by Raytheon Co. to be less than reliable.

About $560 million of the requested funds would be put towards building a brand new interceptor, a process that could take up to five years. Until that is ready, the Pentagon would use other parts of the incoming cash to fix its current crop of “kill vehicles” – or the interceptors used in the ground-based missile defense system to strike and destroy enemy missiles in midair.

Nearly $1 billion, meanwhile, would be used to purchase and install a new homeland defense radar in Alaska.

Although some lawmakers have called for cuts to the massive Pentagon budget, Reuters reported this missile defense request is expected to draw support from both Democrats and Republicans concerned over missile development programs in North Korea and Iran.

Since the White House plans to purchase another 14 ground-based interceptors, however, Ellision said some congressional members may hesitate to green-light the funding request considering they would be authorizing the purchase of currently faulty kill vehicles, and a replacement would not be available for at least five years.

All 30 of the United States’ ground-based interceptors carry either one or the other of Raytheon’s two kill vehicles – 20 house the CE-1, while the other 10 carry the CE-2. Both interceptors have suffered test failures. While fixes are in the works, Raytheon, Boeing, and Lockheed Martin continue to push forward with a brand new interceptor that’s more effective and cheaper to operate.

The Pentagon’s request for additional funding comes after China successfully tested a hypersonic missile delivery vehicle last month. This new high-speed vehicle is capable of penetrating the current US defense shield and deliver a nuclear warhead.

Earlier this week, the United States also continued to bolster its anti-missile system in Europe when it deployed a ballistic missile defense destroyer to Spain. As RT reported, another three are expected to arrive in Europe over the next two years, a presence that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said is intended to protect allies from possible Iranian missile strikes.

The move sparked condemnation from Russia, whose top disarmament official said continued action by the US to expand its missile defense program in Europe could force it to withdraw from the new START nuclear treaty.

“We are concerned that the US is continuing to build up missile defense capability without considering the interests and concerns of Russia,” said Mikhail Ulyanov of the Russian Foreign Ministry. “Such a policy can undermine strategic stability and lead to a situation where Russia will be forced to exercise [its] right of withdrawal from the [START] treaty.”

Source: RT

Over 300 US drone strikes in Pakistan since 2006 – leaked official data

drone 11 Over 300 US drone strikes in Pakistan since 2006 – leaked official data

Top-secret documentation collected by Pakistani field officers gives detailed information on 330 US drone strikes that have occurred in Pakistan since 2006. The CIA-run program is estimated to have killed 2,371 people.

From solitary individuals riding on horseback to mountain hideouts crammed with people, the CIA drone program has had no shortage of targets in the Islamic Republic, according to newly released information obtained by The Bureau of Investigative Journalism (TBIJ).
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The most complete official record of American drone activity in Pakistan yet published provides an account as to the time and place of each strike, even including in some cases the identity of the homeowners.

The document is unique in that it provides a “strike-by-strike account,” opening the window on Pakistan’s view of each incident with that of other authorities.

Strangely, the retrieved data stops recording civilian casualties after 2008, while even failing to mention details of civilian deaths that have been widely acknowledged by the Pakistani authorities. It also inexplicably excludes information from the year 2007.

The news watchdog said the leaked documents are based on information filed to the FATA (Federally Administered Tribal Areas) Secretariat each evening by local Political Agents in the field. However, TBIJ noted that the leaked documents are just one of several sources of information the Pakistani government has on US drone activity in the country.

paki 1 Over 300 US drone strikes in Pakistan since 2006 – leaked official data

 

‘Naming the dead’

Last July, TBIJ published the first part of the document, which detailed US drone strikes in the northwest tribal areas of Pakistan between 2006 and late 2009.The information showed that Islamabad was aware of hundreds of civilian casualties – even in incidences where it had officially refused to acknowledge such deaths had occurred.

In the first part of the report, 746 people are listed as killed in the drone strikes, at least 147 of the victims are said to be civilians, 94 of which are thought to be children. From 2009 to Sept. 2013, it is estimated that 1, 625 people were killed by drone strikes, a figure that closely matches those of the TBIJ.

The London-based journalism watchdog emphasized that some entries in the report included ambiguous language, hinting that possible civilian deaths are being deliberately concealed.

On March 17 2011, for instance, a meeting of tribal elders fell victim to a US drone strike that left 41 people killed. The attack was condemned by Pakistani officials. The report, however, only states that ‘it is feared that all the killed were local tribesmen’.

TBIJ says it has repeatedly found evidence of civilian deaths in strikes where local media have used ambiguous terms, such as ‘villagers,’ ‘people’ and ‘local tribesmen’.

Another entry in the documents suggests problems with identifying exactly who is considered a ‘militant’. For a strike on April 12 2010, it shows 14 deaths and three wounded, noting: ‘The killed militants also include a 12 years [sic] old child.’

‘Whatever is happening, if this document is anything to go by, it’s clear the Pakistan government’s investigations are not adequate,’ Mustafa Qadri, a researcher for Amnesty International Amnesty, told the journalism watchdog. ‘First, this table does not appear to be telling us the whole truth about casualties.

‘Secondly, what steps have Pakistan authorities taken to assist civilians caught up in these strikes like access to medical services or provide them with remedies such as access to justice or compensation? … It doesn’t seem to be the case that this record keeping is carried out so that the Pakistan state can better assist people caught up in these strikes.’

The data also gives little information on other details, such as which organisation the killed are said to have belonged to, or even the names of those killed. Even in instances when senior militants are reportedly killed, they are rarely identified by name.

As TBIJ discovered with its Naming the Dead report, the overwhelming majority of those killed in drone strikes remain unidentified: only about one in five victims have so far been identified by name.

paki2 Over 300 US drone strikes in Pakistan since 2006 – leaked official data

 

Drone backlash

Amid growing evidence showing that US drone strikes are not as ‘surgical’ as the Pentagon believes them to be, US officials continue to downplay the collateral damage connected with its drone campaign.

In a report dated August 11, 2011, the New York Times quoted US officials, who spoke on the condition anonymity, that the US Drone program “has killed more than 2,000 militants and about 50 noncombatants since 2001,” a hit-miss ratio that the paper described as a “stunningly low collateral death rate by the standards of traditional airstrikes.”

The findings of the document are at odds with CIA Director John O. Brennan’s claim in June 2011 that that for almost a year, “there hasn’t been a single collateral death because of the exceptional proficiency, precision of the capabilities we’ve been able to develop.”

The enduring belief in the flawless execution of aerial drone technology, which allows military personnel to take out enemy combatants, often many miles away from the action, is not without its critics. Indeed, some of them are members of the US military itself.

“What scares me about drone strikes is how they are perceived around the world,” retired General Stanley McChrystal said in an interview earlier this month. “The resentment created by American use of unmanned strikes … is much greater than the average American appreciates. They are hated on a visceral level, even by people who’ve never seen one or seen the effects of one.”

McChrystal said the use of drones creates a “perception of American arrogance that says, ‘Well we can fly where we want, we can shoot where we want, because we can.’”

Meanwhile, Islamabad has so far refused to confirm the authenticity of the latest leaked information obtained by TBIJ, but it is not refuting the document’s claims of high civilian deaths.

‘I am not in a position to authenticate the veracity of this report, but the facts that are being revealed are something which is not new,’ Foreign Ministry spokesman Aizaz Ahmed Choudhry told Voice of America. ‘We have always said that drone strikes cause civilian casualties.’

Source: RT

Gunmakers Smith & Wesson, Sturm Ruger refuse to sell their products in California

rtr1uqt2.si Gunmakers Smith & Wesson, Sturm Ruger refuse to sell their products in California

Rather than comply with California’s new “microstamping” gun law, some companies have decided their best course of action is to simply stop selling their firearms in the state.

Both Smith & Wesson and Sturm Ruger have announced that they will halt the sales of numerous gun models in California that would be subject to a law which opponents believe is intended to infringe on gun rights.

Last year, California chose to enact Assembly Bill 1471, which mandates that manufacturers of semi-automatic weapons implement technology that engraves a gun’s serial number, along with other information, onto a bullet’s casing when it’s fired. This “stamp” would potentially allow law enforcement agencies to trace guns more easily in the event of a crime.
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As the Los Angeles Times reported, the law was originally passed in 2007, but delayed until the stamping technology required became easily available. Multiple police chiefs, public officials, and anti-violence groups came out in favor of the legislation, but gun makers and their advocates – such as the National Rifle Association – were strongly opposed.

“Smith & Wesson does not and will not include microstamping in its firearms,” the manufacturer said in a press release. “A number of studies have indicated that microstamping is unreliable, serves no safety purpose, is cost prohibitive and, most importantly, is not proven to aid in preventing or solving crimes.”

“The microstamping mandate and the company’s unwillingness to adopt this so-called technology will result in a diminishing number of Smith & Wesson semi-automatic pistols available for purchase by California residents.”

In a statement made on the website for the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), Sturm Ruger also announced that its semi-automatic pistols would be pulled out of California due to the microstamping law.

“We are working hard to serve our customers in California and will do all we can to fight this draconian law,” the statement reads.

According to Fox News, many critics of the law argue that microstamping’s ability to aid criminal investigations is limited, since most cases typically involve stolen handguns. Supporters, meanwhile, believe that even if a gun is stolen, tracing it back to its original owner could lead to information that would help further an investigation.

In an attempt to prevent the law from remaining on the books, however, the NSSF and the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute have filed a lawsuit against California, arguing that the legislation is unconstitutional.

In addition to California, other states such as Connecticut, New York, and Massachusetts are also contemplating enacting microstamping requirements.

While Smith & Wesson and Sturm Ruger will stop providing new semi-automatic pistols in California, the two companies will continue to sell other handguns, such as revolvers and bolt action rifles.

Source: RT