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US Drone Attack Kills Three in Pakistan

© AFP/General Atomics
US drones have been frequently used on targets in the Pakistani tribal belt
A US drone fired two missiles into a vehicle in Pakistan's tribal district of North Waziristan on Friday, killing at least three militants in a Taliban and Al-Qaeda stronghold, officials said.

The attack took place in the Kharkamar area, 40 kilometres (25 miles) west of Miranshah, a stronghold of the Taliban and militants linked to Al-Qaeda, whose leader Osama bin Laden was killed by US forces in Pakistan on May 2.

"A US drone fired two missiles targeting a militant vehicle, killing at least three militants," a senior security official told AFP.

It was the fourth such attack reported in Pakistan's tribal badlands on the Afghan border, which Washington has dubbed the global headquarters of Al-Qaeda, since US Navy SEALs killed bin Laden in the Pakistani city of Abbottabad.

The new attack coincided with a joint sitting of parliament in Islamabad, where Pakistan's intelligence chief Ahmad Shuja Pasha and army chief of staff Ashfaq Kayani were briefing lawmakers on the bin Laden operation.


Bush Praised Obama After Call on bin Laden

© AFP/Getty Images/Tom Pennington
Former president George W. Bush, pictured in Dallas, Texas on April 12, praised the mission to eliminate Osama bin Laden as a "good call" but said he was "not overjoyed" by the news.
Former US president George W. Bush praised the mission to eliminate Osama bin Laden as a "good call" but was "not overjoyed" by the news, ABC News reported Friday.

ABC said Bush told an audience this week that he received word that his successor President Barack Obama wanted to talk to him while dining at a restaurant.

"I was eating souffle at Rise Restaurant with Laura and two buddies," Bush said according to an ABC News contributor. "I excused myself and went home to take the call," he added.

"Obama simply said 'Osama Bin Laden is dead.'"


Propaganda Alert: Scores killed as Pakistani Taliban claims it avenges Osama bin Laden killing

'I heard someone shouting 'Allahu Akbar' ['God is great'] and then I heard a huge blast'

Shabqadar, Pakistan - A pair of suicide bombers attacked recruits leaving a paramilitary training center in Pakistan on Friday, killing 80 people in a strike that the Pakistani Taliban claimed it carried out to avenge the killing of Osama bin Laden.

The blasts in the northwest were a reminder of the savagery of al-Qaida-linked militants in Pakistan. They occurred even as the country faces international suspicion that elements within its security forces may have been harboring bin Laden, who was killed in a raid in Abbottabad, about a three hours' drive from the scene of the bombing.

"We have done this to avenge the Abbottabad incident," Ahsanullah Ahsan, a spokesman for the Pakistani Taliban, told The Associated Press in a phone call.


Connecting the Dots Video Series: Still You Believe

Connecting the Dots is a new series of short videos about...well, about everything.

This installment is about the death of Bin Laden and other lies. It's everything you need to know about U.S. politics in a song you can sing along to!


European Union Moves to End Passport-Free Schengen Travel

© Corbis
Unfettered travel across Europe, not including Britain or Ireland, was established by the 1995 Schengen Treaty
The European Union has moved toward reversing passport free travel across the continent amid fears of a wave of migrants fleeing unrest in north Africa.

At a special meeting of EU interior ministers in Brussels, a majority of member states backed changes that would allow individual nations to restore controls at their borders.

Unfettered travel across Europe, not including Britain or Ireland, was established by the Schengen agreement and has been a signature accomplishment of the EU for 16 years.

But at the closed meeting of ministers on Thursday, 15 states voted for the temporary return, as a last resort and under strict conditions, of border guards to deal with any sudden surge in migration.

They also supported reintroduction of guards if an EU state fails to control its frontier with non-EU nations. Only four nations were against, according to diplomats.

French Interior Minister Claude Gueant said: "A very wide consensus, if not near unanimity, was reached on the commission proposals."


'US Bill to Expand Presidents' War Powers'

© unknown
The US Congress
The US Congress has introduced a resolution that would give the US president wide latitude of powers to wage war on other countries as part of the "war on terror."

The fiscal 2012 Defense Authorization bill, sponsored by Howard P. "Buck" McKeon, the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee will expand the legal basis for the war on terror and is moving through Congress amid harsh criticism from civil liberties groups, The Washington Times reported on Wednesday.

The proposed legislation clearly states that "the president has the authority to use all necessary and appropriate force during the current armed conflict with al Qaeda, the Taliban, and associated forces pursuant to the authorization for use of military force."

The resolution, known as the Authorization for the Use of Military Force, comes less than two weeks after the US Navy SEAL commandos reportedly killed al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden in his compound in the city of Abbottabad in Pakistan.


Explosions Kill 70 in North West Pakistan

© unknown
Pakistani police officials examine the wreckage of a police vehicle after a bomb attack site in Peshawar on January 31.
At least 70 people have been killed and 80 others injured in twin blasts at a military training center in Pakistan's northwestern city of Charsadda.

The explosions took place at about 6:10 a.m. local time Friday morning at the Frontier Constabulary training site, AFP reported.

"Seventy people have been killed," said the police chief of the northwestern Charsadda district, Nisar Khan Marwat.

"Sixty-five of them are from the paramilitary police. Five dead bodies of civilians were taken to Shabqadar hospital," the police chief added.

The death toll is still expected to rise since the injured are reported to be in critical condition and medical items at the city's hospital are in short supply.

Marwat said the attacks occurred when newly-trained cadets, wearing civilian clothes, were getting into buses to go on a 10-day leave after the end of their training course.


How Perpetual War Became U.S. Ideology

Obama, hillary clinton
© Kevin Lamarque/Reuters
Since the last realist president, George H.W. Bush, left office, two groups - neoconservatives and liberal interventionists - have overtaken American foreign policy

The United States has found itself in a seemingly endless series of wars over the past two decades. Despite frequent opposition by the party not controlling the presidency and often that of the American public, the foreign policy elite operates on a consensus that routinely leads to the use of military power to solve international crises.

Ideological Domination

Neoconservatives of both parties urge war to spread American ideals, seeing it as the duty of a great nation. Liberal interventionists see individuals, not states, as the key global actor and have deemed a Responsibility to Protect those in danger from their own governments, particularly when an international consensus to intervene can be forged. Traditional Realists, meanwhile, initially reject most interventions but are frequently drawn in by arguments that the national interest will be put at risk if the situation spirals out of control.

In a widely discussed March essay, Harvard international relations professor Stephen Walt wrote of a "neocon-liberal alliance" in support of war, contending, "The only important intellectual difference between neoconservatives and liberal interventionists is that the former have disdain for international institutions (which they see as constraints on U.S. power), and the latter see them as a useful way to legitimate American dominance."

The Progressive Policy Institute's Jim Arkedis, who describes himself as a "progressive internationalist," calls this notion of a neocon-liberal alliance "bunk." Neocons, according to Arkedis, "disdain multilateral diplomacy and overestimate the efficacy of military force" in a way that "saps the economic, political, and moral sources of American influence." He adds, "Though our ends are similar, our thresholds for intervention, our military methodology, and our justifications for action could not be more different."

But are neoconservatives and liberal interventionists really so different? Neoconservative bastions like the Weekly Standard, Commentary, and the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies are passionate advocates of spreading American values. In Iraq, the toppling of Saddam Hussein and discovery that there was no WMD program to speak of were both accomplished in the first weeks of the war and with a relative handful of American casualties. If these had been our chief concerns we would have left immediately; the apparent U.S. goals in staying on so many years were democracy promotion and nation-building, both ideals the neoconservative White House leadership shared with liberal interventionists.


Iran can prove Bin Laden was dead long before US raid - Iranian minister

© RT.com
Iranian Intelligence Minister Heydar Moslehi claims that Osama Bin Laden died from an illness before the US raid on his compound in Abbottabad. Iran has documents to prove it, he said.

­"We have credible information that Bin Laden died some time ago of a disease," Moslehi said on the sidelines of a cabinet meeting on Sunday, as quoted by ISNA news agency.

"If the US military and intelligence apparatus have really arrested or killed Bin Laden, why don't they show him [his body]? Why have they thrown his corpse into the sea?" Moslehi asked rhetorically, FARS news agency reports.

Moslehi labeled the US raid in Abbottabad as a "PR campaign", created to divert the attention of its citizens from domestic problems, such as the "fragile" state of the US economy.


US: Widow of Pentagon's Wheeler craves answers on his mysterious death

If former Pentagon official Jack Wheeler was killed in a robbery, why didn't the murderer take his vintage Rolex watch and gold West Point ring? And if Wheeler was targeted by an assassin trying to make it look like a robbery, why would the killer leave behind items a thief would be likely to take?

Those questions, involving previously undisclosed details of the unsolved slaying, tug hard at Wheeler's widow and grown son. No one outside of the official investigation knows more about the case, and no one is more frustrated by what remains unknown.

"There are a lot of unsolved questions," says Katherine Klyce, 67, Wheeler's wife of the past 13 years.

Jack Wheeler, well-known in defense circles and a driving force in creating the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, served in jobs that gave him access to plenty of government secrets, including a stint from 2005 through 2008 as a top assistant to the secretary of the Air Force. And Klyce, like many, can't help but wonder whether his death could have had some connection to his work. "You want to know what happened," she says.