Rand Paul name drops bloggers in old-school filibuster

In a rather media savvy statement against White House drone policies, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul is ticking off a who's who of civil libertarian bloggers, in an old-fashioned filibuster on the Senate floor today. Bloggers mentioned so far include the Guardian's Glenn Greenwald, FireDogLake's Kevin Gosztola and the Atlantic's Conor Friedersdorf, who've each written critically of "signature" drone strikes and their legal justification.

The theatrics, which you can watch on C-SPAN this very moment, are lighting up Twitter as journalists go about humble-bragging that they've just been mentioned on the Senate floor, which in turn bring's more attention to Paul's principled diatribe. While comparisons to Jimmy Stewart in the classic film Mr. Smith Goes to Washington are already circulating, another more current pop culture reference comes to mind in the West Wing's "Stackhouse Filibuster" episode, where a cantankerous congressman attempts to grind the Senate to a halt by reading extensively from a cookbook. But who needs to waste time with recipes of deep fried fantail shrimp when you've got pages and pages of blogs posts, which will set the Twittersphere on fire? Watch the speech in progress here

 

Passport

Anwar Awlaki recruits jihadists from beyond the grave

A new video published yesterday by al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula features previously unseen footage of American-born Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki recruiting jihadists to attack the United States, Great Britain, and other members of the Western "crusade campaign." Awlaki, who was killed in a 2011 drone strike in Yemen, is shown emphasizing the lasting importance of suicide attacks against the West.

"This is an honor and favor from Allah and it's not a loss. It's never a loss. That's why people should learn the culture of seeking martyrdom," says Awlaki. "The Almighty has honored the mujahideen in this land when He chose among them martyrs.... Tribes should never count those killed as a loss." The video was provided to Foreign Policy by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).

Though Awlaki was killed nearly a year and a half ago by U.S. hellfire missiles, his name remains in headlines given the legal questions surrounding his death and his lasting influence among jihadists. (Awlaki was reportedly the first American citizen to be targeted in advance and killed via drone strike during the U.S.-led war on terrorism.) Last year, a 21-year-old Bangladeshi man, who was charged with attempting to blow up a Federal Reserve Bank in New York, attributed his jihadist views to sermons he listened to by Awlaki. Awlaki also met so-called "underwear bomber" Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab before his failed attempt to blow up an airplane in December 2009. Prior to the deadly 2009 shooting spree at Fort Hood,  Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan exchanged e-mails with Awlaki.

In other segments of the 30-minute-long video, two other AQAP clerics, Harith Al-Nadhari and Ibrahim Al-Rubaish, are shown eulogizing 'Adel Al-'Abbab, AQAP's top sharia official, who was killed by a drone strike near the end of last year. According to MEMRI, "The video reveals images and footage of Al-'Abbab for the first time."