Guerrilla Blog Dispatches – February 27, 2013

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Senate Approves Hagel as New Secretary of Defense

After Unprecedented Fight Hagel Confirmed

Data-Entry Error Led Military to Falsely Claim Taliban Attacks Are Down

US Military May Take Over Part of CIA Drone War

F-35 Grounding Timeline Unknown

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US Drug War Overflows Latin America

The war on drugs is expanding: in Latin America, the US military is kicking up combat in the most expensive initiative in the region since the Cold War. Victor Silverman of Pomona College joins us to break it down.

Iraq War Drumbeat: Ten Years Later Blair Concedes

Blair and BushAfter a decade, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair seems to be finally coming to terms with the decision to follow the United States and President George W. Bush into what would become arguably the worst foreign policy decision made by any president:

He said he had made the best of an “ugly” choice between taking action against the Iraqi dictator in 2003 or running the risk that Hussein would launch chemical and biological attacks against his own people or the outside world.

“There are actually significant improvements in many parts of the country for the people, but I agree with you, it’s not nearly what it should be,” the former Labour leader told the BBC in an interview marking ten years since the invasion.

Around 162,000 people, almost 80 percent of them civilians, were killed in Iraq between the start of the US-led invasion and the withdrawal of US forces in December 2011, according to British NGO Iraq Body Count.

Attacks continue, with 1,500 people killed in violence in Iraq last year according to an AFP toll.

Blair, who stepped down in 2007 after ten years as prime minister, said he thought constantly about the people who lost their lives in the conflict.

“But in the end you’re elected as prime minister to take these decisions. The question is, supposing I had taken the opposite decision?” he said.

Read more here.

Big Brother Looks For Ways to Exploit Big Data

BigdataDefense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, recently held a meeting with representatives from government agencies and universities with one goal in mind: developing ways to collect and analyze the digital data that is created on a daily basis:

DARPA held a multi-program performer meeting for researchers to hear presentations on the latest innovations and promising approaches in the area of Big Data and data analytics.

Speakers during the day-long event included representatives from the White House, FBI, universities from across the country and leading companies from the private sector who are focused on the potential efficiencies and advantages that can be gained in Big Data.

“Big Data” refers to a technology phenomenon that has arisen over the past 30 years. As computers have improved, growing storage and processing capacities have provided new and powerful ways to gain insight into the world by sifting through the infinite quantities of data available.

But this insight, discoverable in previously unseen patterns and trends within these phenomenally large data sets, can be hard to detect without new analytic tools that can comb through the information and highlight points of interest.

Read more here.

Guerrilla Blog Dispatches – February 26, 2013

Army Soldier

The Country Formerly Known as Syria

Supreme Court Thwarts Challenge to Warrantless Surveillance

Supreme Court to Hear Arguments On Warrantless DNA Collection

Even Worse Scandal Hidden In Obama’s Secret Drone Memo

Pentagon Says F-35 Flights Should Resume Soon