News from North America, Wednesday 6th March 2013

Huffington Post: “The number of anti-government “patriot” groups, including paramilitary hate organizations, reached an all-time high in 2012, fanned by President Barack Obama’s reelection and talk of gun control following the Newtown, Conn., elementary school massacre, according to a report issued Tuesday by the Southern Poverty Law Center.”

Mother Jones: “The president does have the authority to use military force against American citizens on US soil—but only in “an extraordinary circumstance,” Attorney General Eric Holder said in a letter to Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) on Tuesday. “The US Attorney General’s refusal to rule out the possibility of drone strikes on American citizens and on American soil is more than frightening,” Paul said Tuesday. “It is an affront the constitutional due process rights of all Americans.””

Reuters: “U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Tuesday Washington was increasingly confident that weapons being sent to the Syrian opposition by other countries were going to moderate forces. Kerry, on his first overseas tour since taking office, told a news conference in Doha he had held talks with nations in the region about the kinds of arms being sent to the different Syrian opposition forces.”

Pro Publica: “The nomination of John Brennan to be CIA director has prompted intense debate on Capitol Hill and in the media about U.S. drone killings abroad. But the focus has been on the targeting of American citizens – a narrow issue that accounts for a miniscule proportion of the hundreds of drone strikes in Pakistan and Yemen in recent years.”

Reuters: “A top U.S. military commander said on Tuesday he has recommended keeping 13,600 American troops in Afghanistan after 2014, when the NATO combat mission ends and most Western troops withdraw. General James Mattis told the Senate Armed Services Committee he believed that properly designing the residual force would be “critical” for a good outcome to America’s longest war.”

Salon: “Anti-Muslim activist Pam Geller has been turned away from the upcoming Conservative Political Action Conference, despite speaking at the event for the past four years, she says. ‘This year, I applied to speak and was ignored,’ she wrote on her blog. ‘So, for the first time in five years, I won’t be at CPAC.'”

National Post: “A founding member of a white supremacist group in Calgary has been sentenced to life in prison for the random killing of an ailing man. Tyler Sturrup, 28, pleaded guilty Monday to second-degree murder in the beating death of Mark Mariani.”

Audio: CSIS: ‘Al-Qaeda in the United States Podcast’. “Listen to the author of a new report from the Henry Jackson Society discuss their analysis of those individuals who have attempted to attack the United States on behalf of al-Qaeda.”

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