Trump Team Better Keep on Eye on Hillary, She is Plotting

Hillary Clinton Says the Women’s Marches Were ‘Awe-Inspiring’

Clinton, 69, who was the first-ever female presidential nominee for a major political party and won the popular vote, tweeted about the peaceful rallies on Saturday, January 21. “Thanks for standing, speaking & marching for our values @womensmarch. Important as ever. I truly believe we’re always Stronger Together,” she wrote to her more than 12 million followers. “Scrolling through images of the #womensmarch is awe-inspiring. Hope it brought joy to others as it did to me.”

Protesters walk during the Women's March on Washington, with the U.S. Capitol in the background, on Jan. 21, 2017.Protesters walk during the Women’s March on Washington, with the U.S. Capitol in the background, on Jan. 21, 2017. Mario Tama/Getty Images

Hillary ClintonVerified account @HillaryClinton 18h18 hours ago 

Scrolling through images of the is awe-inspiring. Hope it brought joy to others as it did to me.

**** Some of her closets political allies also echoed the same sentiments. Read more here.

Related reading: Opposing Trump Admin, When Documents Matter

Hillary Clinton plots her next move

The Democrat has been studying election presentations, including reports on where she underperformed.

Politico: LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — In a series of private meetings and phone calls at their home in Chappaqua, in New York City and in Washington, Bill and Hillary Clinton are slowly starting to puzzle through their political future, according to over a dozen people who have spoken directly with them, and nearly two dozen other Democrats who have been briefed on their thinking.

The recently vanquished candidate has told some associates she’s looking at a spring timeline for mapping out some of her next political steps. Still recovering from her stunning loss, a political return is far from the top of Clinton’s mind, with much of her planning focused around the kinds of projects she wants to take on outside the partisan arena, like writing or pushing specific policy initiatives.

Just as the Democratic Party feels its way through a landscape without either Clinton looming over its future for the first time in nearly a quarter century, Clinton herself is working through the uncertainty surrounding how to best return to the fold.

There have been no conversations about starting her own political group but Clinton has spoken with leaders of emerging Democratic-leaning organizations about their work, and has discussed possible opportunities to work with Organizing For Action, former President Barack Obama’s initiative. Among the potential political priorities she has mentioned to associates are building pipelines for young party leaders to rise and ensuring that a reconstructed Democratic National Committee functions as an effective hub that works seamlessly with other party campaign wings.

The one-time secretary of state has been in contact with a range of ex-aides, studying presentations as she tries to better understand the forces behind her shocking November defeat.

Included among those presentations has been a series of reports pulled together by her former campaign manager Robby Mook and members of his team, who have updated her not just on data and polling errors, but also on results among segments of the electorate where she underperformed, according to Democrats familiar with the project.

“She understands that a forensic exam of the campaign is necessary, not only for her, but for the party and other electeds, and for the investors in the campaign,” said a close Hillary Clinton friend in Washington who, like several others, declined to speak on the record because their conversations with one or both Clintons were private. “People want to know that their investment was treated with respect, but that their mistakes wouldn’t be repeated.”

For his part, Bill Clinton has spent considerable time poring over precinct-level results from the 2016 race while meeting with and calling longtime friends to rail against FBI Director James Comey’s late campaign intervention and Russia’s involvement, say a handful of Democrats who have spoken with him.

“Many Democratic politicians have been personally influenced or share direct ties to President Clinton, Secretary Clinton, or both. That history goes back decades,” said Mack McLarty, Bill Clinton’s first White House chief of staff and a lifelong friend, predicting their eventual return to the scene. “And, despite the grave disappointment, resilience is in the Clintons’ DNA. So, while I certainly don’t expect to see them trying to assert their authority, I think there will be natural and welcome opportunities for them to engage.”

Wary of the complex political moment as Donald Trump assumes the presidency and supporters of Bernie Sanders assert themselves more forcefully within the Democratic Party, however, the Clintons have been letting the political discussions come to them, rarely bringing it up unprompted in their conversations, and for the moment focusing more on other projects.

Bill Clinton, for example, has dived back into his work with the Clinton Foundation, while Hillary Clinton — spotted recently resuming her social life on Broadway and at trendy dinners in New York and Washington — is considering doing some writing.

For weeks leading up to Trump’s swearing in, the constant refrain among friends and former aides who are struggling with the question of their next political step has been, “Let’s get through the inauguration first.” The Clintons have been careful not to step into the party-shaping territory now occupied by Obama as the most recent Democratic president. And that posture is unlikely to change until at least late February, as the couple studiously stays away from a race for the DNC chairmanship that is widely seen as a Clinton-Sanders proxy fight.

Still, party leaders and friends alike expect them to jump back into the political fundraising and campaigning circuit in some form by the 2018 midterms — and perhaps in time for 2017’s two gubernatorial elections in New Jersey and Virginia. A number of Hillary Clinton’s most prominent 2016 supporters are likely to need the help soon, including Florida Sen. Bill Nelson, Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine and Orlando attorney John Morgan — both likely gubernatorial candidates in 2018 — as well as Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown, Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey, and New Jersey governor hopeful Phil Murphy.

“I would be surprised [to see Bill Clinton step away from politics] only because he has so many friends who are still involved, who he’s worked with for so many years,” said Skip Rutherford, the dean of the University of Arkansas’ Clinton School of Public Service and the founding president of the Clinton Foundation. “Many of the people who are involved in the political world got their starts in the Clinton world, so there’s a whole base of people who are connected to both Clintons.”

“If someone they knew was running for the Senate or the Statehouse or City Hall, it would be out of character for them not to be supportive,” added McLarty.

But before that lies a set of more immediate concerns that includes determining the fate of Hillary Clinton’s campaign email list and figuring out which new Democratic efforts — if any — to support.

“On a personal level, I lost a race in 2014 and it was on a much, much smaller scale than what she lost. But I know there’s a time of healing that has to happen. So on a personal level I know she just needs to get away for a while,” said former Democratic Arkansas Senator Mark Pryor.

There’s no obvious model for the pair to follow in the months and years ahead: Bill Clinton has been uniquely involved in electoral politics in his post-presidency, and recent losing nominees have either returned to their Senate day jobs — like John Kerry and John McCain — or continued to flirt with another presidential run — like Mitt Romney.

But neither Clinton is likely to run for office again, never mind the New York City mayoral rumors that Hillary Clinton’s friends routinely laugh off.

“The Democratic Party does need new blood, new faces, and I don’t think Bill or Hillary Clinton would ever want to get back and run for anything — I don’t think a team of mules could drag them to do that,” said Pryor.

Their current political standing within the party is somewhat precarious, defined by a mixture of admiration for the family balanced with frustration, and in some cases, anger. Many supporters of Sanders, for instance, are still licking their wounds from the bruising primary, and have seized the post-election moment to gain power in local Democratic party committees across the country — often by dismissing the more establishment-oriented Clintonian way of doing business.

And some Clinton supporters in the states are irritated by the lack of a formal, public-facing autopsy from her campaign since the absence of even a preliminary acknowledgment of fault has made it harder for the party to raise money on a local level — donors feel burned.

“There’s huge annoyance in the states,” said one swing-state party leader. “People assume they’re done, and they’re more powerful if they take that back seat. [For now] there’s short-term fatigue, but it will settle into respect.”

Clinton allies have been careful not to engage in direct fights with detractors that could turn into referenda on the family’s legacy, but national leaders acknowledge some lingering post-election tension.

“The problem with circular firing squads is everyone gets hit. I don’t think there’s any room in the party right now for a circular firing squad. The party has a long way to go in order to regain its proverbial political footing across the country,” said interim DNC chair Donna Brazile — a Bill Clinton campaign advisor in 1992 and 1996 — adding that Hillary Clinton’s victory over Trump in the popular vote underscores the potential use of promoting her as a surrogate for the next crop of candidates.

Not relying on Clinton, she said, would be “like taking your running back and placing them on the sideline just because you lost the season. As Democrats, we need to keep everyone on the roster — to recruit, raise funds, and more — even if they are no longer part of the starting lineup.”

The ongoing competition to lead the DNC makes the situation all the more delicate as the couple monitors the situation from New York: the candidates for chair rarely mention either Clinton, sensing a level of impatience with them among voting members of the committee and elected officials who want to see a younger generation of Democrats take power.

“New ideas and new approaches and new direction, that’s really needed right now,” said Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan, a prominent Clinton supporter during the campaign who challenged Nancy Pelosi’s House leadership position after the election. Ryan said the Clintons would remain useful to the party moving forward, but “it’s just the natural cycle of political parties, and I think Republicans have done a better job than we have in trying to engage young voices to get into the mix.”

For the moment, the Clintons’ closest political allies are counseling a “wait-and-see” approach when it comes to the nature of their public-facing role. Well acquainted with fluctuating public perceptions after three decades of sine curve-style approval ratings, they are watching Trump’s numbers closely, aware that their own popularity could rebound — especially when the Trump administration runs up against popular pieces of Bill Clinton’s White House and Hillary Clinton’s State Department legacies.

Whatever role they choose, however, their shadow will continue to loom over the party’s infrastructure. A number of the major left-leaning organizations that are relaunching in opposition to Trump are run by operatives who are closely associated with the Clintons, including the Priorities USA super PAC run by Guy Cecil, the Center for American Progress under Neera Tanden, and the network of liberal groups steered by David Brock.

Outside Washington, meanwhile, Democrats are considering ways Clinton could emerge as a prominent potential ally for local-level officials. For example, a major problem faced by Democratic state parties in red states is the reluctance of national party leaders to travel and help them raise money, due to those state’s lack of relevance in national races. But such a fundraising role would be natural for Clinton, said multiple Democrats who are piecing together the party’s map ahead.

“They believe in the party and they want to leave this party in a better position than where they found it, and I think [they and the Obamas] have an obligation to the party, because the party has given them so much,” said South Carolina Chairman Jaime Harrison, a candidate to lead the national committee. “If I’m DNC chair, that’s one of the first calls I’m going to make, to ask them to play that ambassador role.”

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, who was considered for Clinton’s running-mate position last summer, said Hillary Clinton — like her husband — will have much to offer as a party elder, a sentiment repeated by up-and-coming liberals and veteran moderates alike. “Thirty-four states have both their House and Senate in Republican hands, so there’s a larger discussion [to be had]. It involves not just policy, but it involves funding, and she’s going to be a respected voice who’s been in just about every situation imaginable.”

So while the Clintons’ short-term priorities remain apolitical, their allies and the people surrounding them are skeptical that can last too long.

Predicted former Pennsylvania governor and DNC chair Ed Rendell, a longtime family friend: “I’m certain Trump will screw up enough that by the fall of ’18, Hillary’s numbers will be way up again.”

Opposing Trump Admin, When Documents Matter

Well we have quite an army of Marxists and progressives to watch in the next two years and it will be a full time job.

There are names such as:

Tom Steyer, David Brock, Obama, George Soros, Keith Ellison, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Van Jones, Gara LaMarche, CAIR, John Podesta, Valerie Jarrett, Elizabeth Warren, Donald Sussman and Bernie Sanders. There are of course more as one name leads to others and thousands of associated progressive organizations. Don’t be fooled that your job as a ‘Constitutional Originalist’ and conservative is over, that is hardly the case. We have already seen their mission in action.


So, why all this as a warning system?


For the full document as crafted for meeting in November of 2016: Progressive Orgs vs Trump

For what David Brock has planned, it is called impeachment and the documents are here. Confidential David Brock.


As reported by the Huffington Post, the progressives are re-tooling and are in it for the long game.

Here are five key elements of the concerted effort we must undertake to stop President-elect Trump from wreaking havoc on our communities, while building the alternative economic vision and power we need to win in the future.

First, we must wage sustained collective action. Within 24 hours of Trump’s victory, thousands of protestors had taken to the streets. Their statement was powerful and immediate. And it should be clear to every progressive that the next four years will require sustained collective action—and, often, action that means putting our bodies on the line to defend ourselves and others. Social movements from the abolitionists to the suffragettes to the civil rights movement to the immigrant rights movement have time and again changed the course of American history. Now we are called to come together again to demonstrate the moral dimension of the imminent attacks on immigrants, Muslims, women, LGBTQ people, indigenous people, and more.

This collective action will, and should, be led primarily by those who are directly affected by the dangerous rhetoric and proposals of Donald Trump, Paul Ryan, and Mitch McConnell. But it will also require solidarity and engagement from all progressives—when called upon to stand with, and sometimes get arrested with, our brothers and sisters, those with privileges like whiteness, US citizenship, maleness, and economic security must be willing to put ourselves on the line. Hashtag solidarity will not suffice—nor will simply coming to a protest every few months after a particularly horrific event. Progressives need to show up—in person, and with regularity.

Those with financial resources will also need to open their wallets to help support grassroots efforts—whether it be philanthropists writing checks or middle- and working-class people giving monthly contributions to organizations that are building strong memberships to wage strategic campaigns.

Mass action should also be channeled out of, and into, existing social movement organizations as much as possible. Spontaneous “movement moments” like this week are inspiring and important. But to be effective in the medium and long term, they must build engagement and membership in grassroots organizations that can sustain mass action.

Second, we will need expert legislative maneuvering. The scariest ideas of Donald Trump and his alt-right idea factory will quickly become legislative proposals. Progressives will need to ensure that their champions, as well as courageous moderates, are prepared to use every tool at their disposal to prevent these reckless bills from becoming law. Many are rightly pointing to the tool of the filibuster in the Senate, which will be a critical tool for blocking legislation that will put communities in danger. And surely, there is no Democratic figure more critical than Charles Schumer, the leader of the Senate Democrats, right now. But there are myriad other parliamentary procedures at legislators’ disposal to slow down the legislative process—both to provide more time for public scrutiny and debate and to simply block dangerous ideas.

And progressive legislators and progressive organizations must use whatever openings they have to invite our communities into the process. This will, no doubt, include efforts to have constituents make phone calls and send emails to their legislators. But it needs to go further. Resistance on Capitol Hill must be rooted in the lived experiences of the people who Mr. Trump and his acolytes will attack. Progressive organizations and legislators must invite these people to be at the forefront of hearings and targeted actions.

And, where Republicans try to prevent these fora from emerging within the halls of Congress, progressives must create alternative fora outside formal committee hearings to elevate people’s stories. To re-frame the debate on issues like immigration from the toxic terms that Mr. Trump will seek to deploy, progressives must elevate the moving stories of our communities—and let our resistance emanate from there. Similarly, in response to the anti-worker agenda that is surely coming, progressives must put working-class and low-income people’s faces and experiences at the forefront of legislative resistance.
Third, progressives will need to flex our legal muscles and undertake aggressive litigation. The next four years will bring a torrent of attacks on civil liberties and basic rights that progressives hold dear. While mass action will be critical for changing the public conversation on policy debates and confronting lawmakers with the consequences of their votes, and legislative maneuvers (particularly in the Senate) will be critical for blocking the worst of Trump’s agenda, it will not be sufficient to prevent all of his bad ideas from becoming law.
Here, legal tools will be critical. Progressives must use all the tools at our disposal to challenge the legality of clearly unconstitutional proposals that will emerge from President-elect Trump’s White House, including the expansion of the surveillance and national security state that he will seek to deploy. Already, Anthony Romero of the American Civil Liberties Union has made this strategy clear, posting a statement titled, “If Donald Trump Implements His Proposed Policies, We’ll See Him in Court.” Other prominent progressive legal organizations are similarly girding themselves up for the fights ahead.
The legal path will, of course, be made more difficult by a Supreme Court that will almost certainly tilt conservative next year. But that does not make litigation less important. In recent years, progressives fought back successfully against the worst attempts by legislatures across the country to attack immigrants, women, and labor unions. Our side has some of the best legal minds in the country, and we need them now more than ever.
Fourth, progressives must play offense at the state and local level. We must avoid being on permanent defense. Particularly in states, cities, and counties controlled by Democrats, progressives must assert ourselves and show the promise of our ideals and the policies that stem from them. Part one of this strategy must be to protect those who are most vulnerable to the effects of Trump’s domestic policy agenda—immigrants, Muslims, women, and the poor. The litmus test of a truly progressive city, county, or state will be whether it develops a comprehensive strategy for protecting its people from an out-of-control immigration and law enforcement infrastructure and attacks on the social safety net that keeps millions of Americans alive.

But, to win the next decade, progressives must also articulate an alternative vision for our country. While we hold the line against an agenda framed as economic populism. This cannot be a Clintonian pitch to the “middle class,” which embraced much of neoliberal ideology and trusted technocrats to solve our economic problems. Instead, it must be rooted in a radical critique of power, a commitment to working-class and low-income people, and the dedication to use government as a vehicle for grassroots democracy.

In practice, that means policies that, for instance, rein in corporate power and the stranglehold of large corporations and the wealthy on our politics while empowering workers to assert their rights and police and criminal justice reform that protects the constitutional rights of all people while dismantling the school-to-prison pipeline. And it also means bold policy experimentation that deepens democracy by inviting residents into new participatory spaces with real decision-making that incentivize engagement. In the next four years, our municipalities and states must be vibrant laboratories for democracy and spaces from which we can begin to imagine a more inclusive economy—one that prioritizes the rights and needs of working-class people and offers a strengthened safety net that protects us all.

Fifth, we must build grassroots political power. As we take to the streets and organize, progressives must also plot a path forward to channel all of the incredible grassroots spirit of resistance into actual political power building. Part of that will be achieved through the work of building larger bases of membership in grassroots organizations across the country—particularly those with political arms that can endorse and support candidates who share our values. But it must also include a concerted effort to build the ranks of truly progressive candidates and elected officials—and more progressive party institutions.

Some have reflected in recent days about the need for the Democratic Party to reinvent itself. Surely, the Democrats must learn that part of the enthusiasm gap that plagued the Clinton candidacy stemmed from the failure to articulate a vision that highlighted how our system has failed working people, how we must take on the role of big money, how we must invite people back to democracy at every level instead of relying on a neoliberal technocracy, and how black lives must be at the center of our politics.

Others are reflecting on the need to challenge the two-party system in this country. On this front, the best source of hope is the Working Families Party (WFP), which now operates across ten states and the District of Columbia and lent considerable grassroots muscle to the remarkable candidacy of Bernie Sanders. In states like New York, the WFP has identified, cultivated, and bolstered progressive stars running for office at every level of government—from town councilmembers to county legislators to the Mayor of our nation’s largest city. Growth in the geographic reach, membership, and resources of the WFP will be critical for continuing to build this leadership pipeline and holding Democrats accountable to the truly progressive vision that we need to win the next decade.

One key battleground for this political fight will be the issue of voting rights. On the national level and in red states, we will see concerted efforts to restrict access to the ballot for communities of color, immigrants, and low-income people. We must defend against this wherever it occurs—through all of the tactics mentioned above. But progressives must also go on offense where we can to expand suffrage and make registering to vote and casting a ballot as easy as possible. This is intrinsically the right thing to do. It will also prove instrumentally valuable, as we seek to build progressive political power.

Finally, it bears mention that some of these tactics may bear a resemblance to those that conservatives have deployed over the past decade—after all, litigation and legislative obstructionism have been the hallmark of efforts to block President Obama’s agenda since 2009. But there is a key difference: our way forward will, and must, be rooted in radical empathy—that is, a commitment to try to put ourselves in the shoes of others who are under attack. Put differently, radical empathy in this context means that we understand attacks on the lives and livelihoods of others as attacks on ourselves. It means that we will put our bodies and our professional lives on the line to protect our neighbors and their families.

Such empathy also means listening to and understanding the pain and alienation in communities across the country that tilted towards Donald Trump—especially white working-class people who voted for him because they have seen their livelihoods crumble and come to conclude that the system is rigged against them. Progressives must, of course, forcefully call out hatred and the attacks on our communities that will become a fixture of the next four years, and there is a moral imperative to prioritize the safety and well-being of those communities under imminent threat of attack. But we must also seek to understand those whose votes have endangered us—and, where possible, both listen actively to, and articulate a vision that can build bridges to them.

There are no shortcuts to diffusing the worst of what a Trump presidency could become. The next four years will undoubtedly bring intense fear and pain for people around this country. Many progressives feel right now like they are in the wilderness, and that we may be there for some time. But if we can respond strategically to this moment—and harness our capacity for collective action, legislative maneuvering, and aggressive litigation to block as much of the Trump agenda possible, while identifying opportunities to make local and state progress and building our political muscle—then we can still win the next decade.

Hey Trump Meet America Under Siege 2017

Add outgoing Secretary of State John Kerry who will not be attending and not providing a reason. Further, in Barack Obama’s last White House press briefing, he refused to comment on his thoughts as to those in his party that will not be attending.


In his final press conference as president on Wednesday, Barack Obama declined to comment on the growing list of Democrats who are refusing to attend President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration on Friday

FOX News’ Kevin Corke asked the 44th president if he supports the dozens of Democratic lawmakers who have vowed to boycott Trump’s inauguration.

“With respect to the inauguration, I’m not going to comment on those issues,” Obama responded. “All I know is I’m going to be there, so is Michelle.”

First lady Michelle Obama seemed to indicate her support for Rep. John Lewis, who is one of the most prominent lawmakers boycotting the inauguration, when she sent a tweet calling him a “great leader” on Monday. More here.

Related reading: A.N.S.W.E.R. Sued over Free Speech Space on Inauguration

Related reading: Here Are All the Members of Congress Who Are Boycotting Trump’s Inauguration — and Why


Protesters host ‘Queer Dance Party’ in front of Mike Pence’s DC home

Looking Back at Obama’s Covert Drone War

Obama had a targeted kill list of which the nominated names listed came from unknown sources. The most famed drone strike authorized by Barack Obama was that of Anwar al Awlaki. He was an American citizen that preached terror but he himself never killed anyone. Obama became his judge jury and executioner.

Meanwhile, under the Obama administration, the definition and conditions by which a person was classified a terrorist has been amended and the term ‘enemy combatant’ was never used by anyone during the Obama years.

It is accurate to say the genesis of using armed drones began under GW Bush, yet Obama made a fine art of the killing drone operations. The excuse was always, the first choice is to capture and interrogate, when that is not possible then a killing strike by drone is authorized. Exactly who did if any were captured and interrogated other than just one known as Ahmed Abu Khatallah, of Benghazi fame? None.

Meanwhile, Obama’s armed drone operation has killed innocents in high numbers, a scandal largely ignored by the White House and the media.


Obama’s covert drone war in numbers: ten times more strikes than Bush

The Bureau of Investigative Journalism: There were ten times more air strikes in the covert war on terror during President Barack Obama’s presidency than under his predecessor, George W. Bush.

Obama embraced the US drone programme, overseeing more strikes in his first year than Bush carried out during his entire presidency. A total of 563 strikes, largely by drones, targeted Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen during Obama’s two terms, compared to 57 strikes under Bush. At least 384 civilians were killed.

The use of drones aligned with Obama’s ambition to keep up the war against al Qaeda while extricating the US military from intractable, costly ground wars in the Middle East and Asia. But the targeted killing programme has drawn much criticism.

The Obama administration has insisted that drone strikes are so “exceptionally surgical and precise” that they pluck off terror suspects while not putting “innocent men, women and children in danger”. This claim has been contested by numerous human rights group. The Bureau’s figures on civilian casualties also demonstrates that this is often not the case.

The White House released long-awaited figures in July on the number of people killed in drone strikes between January 2009 and the end of 2015, which insiders said was a direct response to pressure from the Bureau and other organisations that collect data. However the US’s estimate of the number of civilians killed – between 64 and 116 – contrasted strongly with the number recorded by the Bureau, which at 380 to 801 was six times higher.

That figure does not include deaths in active battlefields including Afghanistan – where US air attacks have shot up since Obama withdrew the majority of his troops at the end of 2014. The country has since come under frequent US bombardment, in an unreported war that saw 1,337 weapons dropped last year alone – a 40% rise on 2015.

Afghan civilian casualties have been high, with the United Nations (UN) reporting at least 85 deaths in 2016. The Bureau recorded 65 to 105 civilian deaths during this period.

Pakistan was the hub of drone operations during Obama’s first term. The pace of attacks had accelerated in the second half of 2008 at the end of Bush’s term, after four years pocked by occasional strikes. However in the year after taking office, Obama ordered more drone strikes than Bush did during his entire presidency. The 54 strikes in 2009 all took place in Pakistan.

Strikes in the country peaked in 2010, with 128 CIA drone attacks and at least 89 civilians killed, at the same time US troop numbers surged in Afghanistan. Pakistan strikes have since fallen with just three conducted in the country last year.

Obama also began an air campaign targeting Yemen. His first strike was a catastrophe: commanders thought they were targeting al Qaeda but instead hit a tribe with cluster munitions, killing 55 people. Twenty-one were children – 10 of them under five. Twelve were women, five of them pregnant

Through 2010 and the first half of 2011 US strikes in Yemen continued sporadically. The air campaign then began in earnest, with the US using its drones and jets to help Yemeni ground forces oust al Qaeda forces who had taken advantage of the country’s Arab Spring to seize a swath of territory in the south of the country.

In Somalia, US Special Operations Forces and gunships had been fighting al Qaeda and its al Shabaab allies since January 2007. The US sent drones to Djibouti in 2010 to support American operations in Yemen, but did not start striking in Somalia in 2011.

The number of civilian casualties increased alongside the rise in strikes. However reported civilian casualties began to fall as Obama’s first term progressed, both in real terms and as a rate of civilians reported killed per strike.

In Yemen, where there has been a minimum of 65 civilian deaths since 2002, the Bureau recorded no instances of civilian casualties last year.  There were three non-combatants reportedly killed in 2016 in Somalia, where the US Air Force has been given broader authority to target al Shabaab – in previous years there were no confirmed civilian deaths.

Strikes in Yemen, Pakistan and Somalia have always been dwarfed by the frequency of air attacks on battlefields such as Afghanistan.

December 2014 saw the end of Nato combat operations there, and the frequency of air attacks plummeted in 2015. Strikes are now increasing again, with a 40% rise in 2016, though numbers remain below the 2011 peak.

The number of countries being simultaneously bombed by the US increased to seven last year as a new front opened up in the fight against Islamic State (IS). The US has been leading a coalition of countries in the fight against IS in Iraq and Syria since August 2014, conducting a total of 13,501 strikes across both countries, according to monitoring group Airwars.

In August US warplanes started hitting the group hard in Libya. The US declared 495 strikes in the country between August 1 and December 5 as part of efforts to stop IS gaining more ground, Airwars data shows.

In the final days of Obama’s time in the White House, the Bureau has broken down his covert war on terror in numbers. Our annual 2016 report provides figures on the number of US strikes and related casualties last year, as well as collating the total across Obama’s eight years in power:


Total US drone and air strikes in 2016
Pakistan Yemen Somalia Afghanistan
Strikes 3 38 14 1071
Total people reported killed 11-12 147-203 204-292 1389-1597
Civilians reported killed 1 0 3-5 65-105


Notes on the data: The Bureau is not logging strikes in active battlefields except Afghanistan; strikes in Syria, Iraq and Libya are not included in this data. To see data for those countries, visit


Somalia: confirmed US strikes
December 2016 2016 2009 to 2016
US strikes 0 14 32-39
Total people reported killed 0 204-292 242-454
Civilians reported killed 0 3-5 3-12
Children reported killed 0 0 0-2
Total people reported injured 0 3-16 5-26


Notes on the data: in the final column, strikes carried out between Jan 1 and Jan 19 2009 are not included. The figure refers to the number of strikes that took place from Jan 20, 2009, onwards – the data Obama’s presidency began. This applies to all the tables in this report.

The US officially designated Somali militant group al Shabaab as an al Qaeda affiliate at the end of November amid a rising number of US strikes in the country last year.

One week after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, Congress passed the Authorisation for Use of Military Force law allowing the president to go after those responsible and “associated forces”.

The US has used this law, which predates the formation of al Shabaab, to target individual members of the group deemed to have al Qaeda links. The military has also hit the group in defence of partner forces. The group is now deemed an “associated force”, meaning all members are legitimate terrorist targets.

The US has been aggressively pursuing al Shabaab. At least 204 people were killed in US strikes in Somalia last year – ten times higher than the number recorded for any other year. The vast majority of those killed were reported as belonging to al Shabaab.

An attack on an al Shabaab training camp in the Hiran region on March 5 accounts for 150 of these deaths. This is the highest death toll from a single US strike ever recorded by the Bureau, overtaking the previous highest of 81 people killed in Pakistan in 2006.

One of the more controversial of last year’s strikes occurred on September 28. Somali forces were disrupting a bomb-making network when they came under attack from a group of al Shabaab fighters. The US launched an air strike to “neutralize the threat”.

Local officials said 22 local soldiers and civilians were killed. In the city of Galkayo, where the strike took place, citizens protested in the streets.


US Africa Command told the Bureau the reports of non-combatant deaths were wrong. However the US Secretary of Defense Ash Carter announced the next day that the Pentagon would investigate the strike. The investigation found the strike had not killed members of al Shabaab. It instead killed ten members of a local militia reportedly allied with the Americans, US Africa Command concluded.


Afghanistan: Bureau data on US drone strikes and other airstrikes
December 2016 2016 2015 to 2016
US strikes 8 1071 1306-1307
Total people reported killed 24-26 1389-1597 2371-3031
Civilians reported killed 0 65-105 125-182
Children reported killed 0 3-7 6-23
Total people reported injured 12 196-243 338-390


Notes on the data: The US Air Force has a variety of aircraft carrying out missions over Afghanistan, including jets, drones and AC-130 gunships. The UN reported in August 2015 that most US strikes were by unmanned aerial vehicles. This matches the Bureau’s records that show most US air attacks since January were by drones. However in the absence of US authorities revealing which type of aircraft carried out which attack, it remains unclear which of the attacks recorded were by manned or unmanned aircraft.

The Bureau’s data on strikes in Afghanistan is not exhaustive. The ongoing war creates barriers to reporting and the Bureau’s data is an accumulation of what publicly available information exists on specific strikes and casualties. The US government publishes monthly aggregates of air operations in Afghanistan, minus information on casualties.

US Air Force data: Afghanistan in 2016
Total Close Air Support (CAS) sorties with at least one weapon release 615
Total CAS sorties 5162
Total weapons released 1337


US warplanes dropped 1,337 weapons over the country last year, a 40% rise on 2015, according to data released by the US Air Force.

The increase follows President Barack Obama’s decision in June to give US commanders more leeway to target the Taliban, amid the Afghan army’s struggle to keep strategic cities from falling into the insurgents’ hands.

Strikes conducted under this authority, referred to by the military as “strategic effects” strikes, have increased in frequency since the new rules came into force.


The continuing rise in attacks against the Taliban demonstrates the battle against the insurgents is far from over, despite combat operations targeting the group officially ending almost two years ago. Since then, Taliban violence has increased and Afghanistan’s branch of Islamic State has been trying to carve out territory in the east of the country.

IS emerged in Afghanistan in late 2014, growing as a force through 2015. The US responded by allowing the military to specifically target the group in a bid to stop it gaining strength.

As strikes have risen, so have reports of civilian casualties, with some significant incidents taking place in the second half of 2016.

The UN’s biannual report on civilian casualties released in July detailed the deaths of 38 civilians in US strikes. Since then, the UN has highlighted two US strikes that took the lives of a further 47 civilians.

One of the more controversial strikes hit a house in Nangarhar province on September 28. While the US has maintained that members of Islamic State were killed in the attack, the UN, with uncharacteristic speed, released a report saying the victims were civilians. In subsequent reporting, the Bureau was able to confirm this and identify the victims.


This particular strike caused a rift between the UN and US. In an unusual step, the US commander in charge of the Afghanistan operations General Nicholson reportedly considered banning or restricting UN access to a military base in Kabul as a result of its assertion.

There could be more civilian casualties than the two incidents highlighted. These may be documented in the UN’s annual report due for release in February. The Bureau recorded the deaths of up to 105 civilians in Afghanistan as a result of US strikes in 2016.

Not included in these figures were instances of “friendly fire” attacks. The Bureau published an investigation into one of the three such incidents in 2016 when a US strike on a Taliban prison killed Afghan police officers being held captive.


Yemen: confirmed US strikes
December 2016 2016 2009 to 2016
US strikes 1 38 158-178
Total people reported killed 2 147-203 777-1075
Civilians reported killed 0 0 124-161
Children reported killed 0 0 32-34
Total people reported injured 0 34-41 143-287


Last year American air operations in Yemen reached their second highest level since 2002, when the US conducted its first ever lethal drone strike in the country.

At least 38 US strikes hit the country in 2016, targeting operatives belonging to terrorist group al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) amid Yemen’s civil war.

The conflict ignited when the Houthi militant group stormed the capital of Sanaa in September 2014. Allied to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, the rebels pushed the internationally-recognised government of Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi into exile.

On October 12, the military launched cruise missile strikes at three rebel targets in Houthi-controlled territory following failed missile attacks on a US Navy ship. This is the first and only time the US has directly targeted Houthi rebels in Yemen.

Last year, a Saudi-led coalition began airstrikes against the rebels, which has led to widescale destruction. One of these strikes hit a funeral ceremony, killing 140 people. The munition used was identified by Human Rights Watch as a US-manufactured air-dropped GBU-12 Paveway II laser-guided bomb.

The Obama administration faced pressure to put an end to arms sales to Saudi Arabia following the strike, leading to a December decision to block the transfer of precision munitions.

The UK is facing pressure to do the same – in June the High Court granted a judicial review of the government’s arms exports to Saudi Arabia following a case brought by London-based organisation Campaign Against Arms Trade.


Pakistan: confirmed US strikes
December 2016 2016 2009 to 2016
US strikes 0 3 373
Total people reported killed 0 11 2089-3406
Civilians reported killed 0 1 257-634
Children reported killed 0 0 66-78
Total people reported injured 0 3-6 986-1467


Drone strikes in Pakistan last year fell to their lowest level in a decade, with only three strikes conducted in the country.

The most recent attack targeted Mullah Akhtar Mansour, the leader of the Afghan Taliban. Mansour was killed on May 21 while being driven through Balochistan, a restive region home to a separatist movement as well as the Afghan Taliban’s leadership. His civilian taxi driver, Mohammed Azam, was also killed in the strike.

It was the first ever US strike to hit Balochistan and only the sixth to hit a location outside Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas. It was also the first to be carried out by the US military in Pakistan. The CIA has carried out strikes since the drone program began in Pakistan in 2004.

The Pakistan government summoned the US ambassador in protest following the strike. Sartaj Aziz, foreign affairs special adviser to Pakistani Prime Minister, also claimed that killing Mansour had dented efforts to bring the Taliban to the negotiating table.

US drone strikes in Pakistan peaked in 2010, during which at least 755 people were killed. It is unclear what has led to the steep drop in strikes since then. The Pakistani military conducted an 18-month ground offensive in the tribal regions flushing out many militants and pushing them into Afghanistan. It is possible that the US ran out of targets.

This does not mean that the drone programme in Pakistan has come to end. Strikes paused for a six-month period at the end of December 2013 while the Pakistani government unsuccessfully tried to negotiate a peace accord with the Taliban. It is possible attacks will resume with the change in presidency in January.

Orbis, From the FIFA Scandal to the Trump Intel Dossier

It was not John McCain. It was not the FBI.

Christopher Steele, a former Moscow based MI6 spy has an investigative outside company called Orbis Business Intelligence of which still collaborates with Western leaders and political operatives. Orbis was hired by FusionGPS which in turned is hired by U.S. based political operatives for intelligence which is often packaged into opposition research, an extremely common tactic in DC. Orbis Business Intelligence does have a good history as it broke the corruption scandal on FIFA which was later turned over to the Department of Justice where Loretta Lynch in fact did prosecute those involved.

Gathering intelligence on people, playbooks, legislation is then often repackaged for causes and media is always included. The Trump dossier was crafted last summer and traveled many circles for several months. The dossier was appended to the intelligence briefing(s) given to both Obama and Donald Trump on the matter of Russian penetration into the election cycle.

It could be suggested that the White House had/has media operatives that released the dossier to late comers in media that included other CNN contacts and BuzzFeed.

Christopher Steele dispatched an emissary carrying the report to John McCain. McCain could not validate or substantiate the material contained in the report and turned it over to the FBI for further action. The FBI already had the report.

We cant know all the dates and details leading up to the Trump dossier release, yet there are other suggestions that should be injected including the fact that media had possession of the dossier for many months and some chose not to release it as others did.

Enter two other possible political operatives, Van Jones and David Brock. There is a Trump war room and it is fully functional already.

Hillary Clinton’s allies aren’t done campaigning against Donald Trump. 

Liberal PAC American Bridge, launched by Clinton ally David Brock, on Wednesday announced the leadership team for a new anti-Trump project called the “Trump War Room.” The group tapped Shripal Shah, a former Clinton campaign staffer and alumnus of the Democratic National Committee, to run the outfit. 

“The Trump War Room is set to be the research and communications powerhouse that will fight Trump at every turn,” American Bridge said in a statement. 

“The Trump War Room will continue to put a spotlight on all the different ways that Trump’s decisions are driven not by the national interests of the American people, but by Trump’s own personal self-interests that could put our national security in jeopardy.” More here from FNC.

Last summer too, Van Jones launched yet another political operation called ‘Megaphone Strategies’. He is not bashful by any measure mobilizing anti Trump soldiers for search and destroy objectives of the new Trump administration.

AdWeek’s Fishbowl DC blog reports, quoting Jones:

Everywhere we look, we discover courageous people finding ways to break down barriers and solve tough problems. We need to hear their voices, and we need to elevate their work,” said Van Jones of the reason behind the firm’s creation, which will offer strategy, publicity, media training and event/social justice campaign planning services.

Megaphone’s clients include, the ACORN-affiliated Working Families Party, and Demand Progress.

Van Jones was behind much of the mission to challenge the electoral college process. He remains connected to the Obama team even though he resigned as the green czar. One must keep a close eye on progressive/Marxist officials as the Obama administration looks for post presidency jobs.

Obama delivered his farewell speech in Chicago on Tuesday night. He clearly stated he would remain involved in his coded message to his followers. Obama is continuing his climate change agenda, social justice and refugee operations. (selected parts are below)

If I had told you eight years ago that America would reverse a great recession, reboot our auto industry, and unleash the longest stretch of job creation in our history — (applause) — if I had told you that we would open up a new chapter with the Cuban people, shut down Iran’s nuclear weapons program without firing a shot, take out the mastermind of 9/11 — (applause) — if I had told you that we would win marriage equality, and secure the right to health insurance for another 20 million of our fellow citizens –- (applause) — if I had told you all that, you might have said our sights were set a little too high. But that’s what we did. (Applause.) That’s what you did.

You were the change. You answered people’s hopes, and because of you, by almost every measure, America is a better, stronger place than it was when we started.

But for all the real progress that we’ve made, we know it’s not enough. But we’re not where we need to be. And all of us have more work to do. (Applause.) If every economic issue is framed as a struggle between a hardworking white middle class and an undeserving minority, then workers of all shades are going to be left fighting for scraps while the wealthy withdraw further into their private enclaves. (Applause.) If we’re unwilling to invest in the children of immigrants, just because they don’t look like us, we will diminish the prospects of our own children — because those brown kids will represent a larger and larger share of America’s workforce. (Applause.) And we have shown that our economy doesn’t have to be a zero-sum game. Last year, incomes rose for all races, all age groups, for men and for women.

This is going to be a wild ride for the next 4 years. Ensure you can remain securely fastened in your seat belt.