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Archive for December 26th, 2013|Daily archive page

Video Message from US Gov’t Contractor Warren Weinstein, Kidnapped by Al-Qaeda in Pakistan/2011; Urges Obama to Negotiate Release

In Al-Qaeda, Archive on December 26, 2013 at 5:42 PM

12/25/2013

WashingtonPost:

A U.S. government contractor kidnapped by al-Qaeda militants in Pakistan in 2011 has recorded a video message calling on the Obama administration to negotiate with his captors, saying he feels “totally abandoned and forgotten.”

Weinstein was the Pakistan director of J.E. Austin Associates, a USAID contractor, when he was taken hostage in Lahore, Pakistan, on Aug. 13, 2011.

Warren Weinstein looked ashen and sounded lethargic, and said that he is suffering from a heart condition and acute asthma. He pleaded for renewed interest in his case and asked the U.S. government to consider releasing al-Qaeda militants in its custody. The 72-year-old development expert from Rockville, Md., began his address by urging President Obama to step up efforts to get him released.

“You are now in your second term as president of the United States and that means that you can take hard decisions without worrying about reelection,” said Weinstein, who was recorded sitting against a white wall wearing a gray tracksuit top and a black woolen hat. No one else appeared in the video.

The Obama administration has said it will not negotiate with al-Qaeda for Weinstein’s release. The United States as a matter of policy generally does not negotiate with kidnappers, but the government devotes resources to finding Americans kidnapped overseas.

The video, which included the yellow logo of As-Sahab, al-Qaeda’s media production outlet, was sent in an anonymous e-mail to several journalists who have reported from Afghanistan. Included were links to a handwritten note that purports to be from Weinstein, saying “Letter to Media” at the top. The note is dated Oct. 3. It is not clear when the video was made.

Weinstein appeared troubled that the media have not covered his case more extensively.The handwritten note pleaded with journalists to keep his case in the news, to ensure “that I am not forgotten and just become another statistic.”

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The new video appeared to be the captive’s first proof of life since a video statement released in September 2012. In that statement, Weinstein appealed to Israel’s prime minister “as one Jew to another,” asking him to help build support to meet al-Qaeda’s demands for his release.

Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri said in a statement issued in December 2011 that Weinstein would be freed if Washington stopped launching air strikes in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Somalia and Yemen. He also demanded the release of all those held by the United States at the Guantanamo detention center and all others imprisoned for ties to al Qaeda or the Taliban.

U.S. Marshals Prisoner Operations

In Archive, FOIA, USMS on December 26, 2013 at 4:23 PM

via Shawn Musgrave/MuckRock

Our Drone Future (VIDEO)

In Archive, Drones, Surveillance, Technology on December 26, 2013 at 1:24 PM

12/09/2013

Alex Cornell:

Our Drone Future explores the technology, capability, and purpose of drones, as their presence becomes an increasingly pervasive reality in the skies of tomorrow.

In the near future, cities use semi-autonomous drones for urban security. Human officers monitor drone feeds remotely, and data reports are displayed with a detailed HUD and communicated via a simulated human voice (designed to mitigate discomfort with sentient drone technology). While the drones operate independently, they are “guided” by the human monitors, who can suggest alternate mission plans and ask questions.

Specializing in predictive analysis, the security drones can retask themselves to investigate potential threats. As shown in this video, an urban security drone surveys San Francisco’s landmarks and encounters fierce civilian resistance.

Related Links:

Domestic Drones and Their Unique Dangers

Department of Transportation Report Estimates 250,000 Drones in US Airspace by 2035

Drone Survival Guide

DoD Unmanned Systems Integrated Roadmap FY2013-2038

In Archive, DoD, Drones, Military, Surveillance, Technology on December 26, 2013 at 1:09 PM

Source: Defense.gov (PDF/4.4MB)

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