Dear Leader has his eyes on you

Discussion in 'Politics' started by CaptainObvious, Feb 5, 2013.

  1. They were "floored"? Evidently coming out of their coma is scaring them.

    Human rights advocates were floored on Monday night when NBC News published the details of an alarming Justice Department memo detailing the protocol for sending drones after United States citizens. It's not as if they hadn't suspected that the Obama administration's top secret drone attack protocol contained some unsavory details. They just didn't expect them to be so frightfully broad. The scoop by Michael Isikoff is actually startling not for the details but rather for the lack of details. It's very vague about a decision-making process that puts American lives on the line. Put simply, the government believes that a lethal drone attack against an American citizen is justified if the targets are a) "senior operational leaders" of al-Qaeda or b) "an associated force."

    RELATED: Pakistani Complaints Led to New Rules for U.S. Drone Strikes

    One of those two qualifiers is infinitely more worrisome than the other. Going after leaders of al Qaeda makes sense. That's what the War on Terror is all about, right? Breaking down networks of violent terrorists and keeping Americans safe. If an American happens to be caught up with al Qaeda, someone like Anwar al-Awlaki, then well… they shouldn't be surprised if they're getting chased by drones. At least that's what we've been told so far. How and why these attacks are carried out by drones is also detailed in the memo, but we'll get back to that in a second.

    RELATED: How Many Times Does Al Qaeda's Number Two Need to Die?

    But what does "an associated force" mean? It seems like the guy who sells the terrorists bomb supplies would probably qualify, but what about the unknowing neighbor or the hired hand? Can we just kill them too in good conscience? Quite unfortunately, the government isn't exactly sure. The memo suggests that anyone who "present an 'imminent' threat of violent attack against the United States" qualifies for assassination "a lawful killing in self defense," but that "does not require the United States to have clear evidence that a specific attack on U.S. persons and interests will take place in the immediate future." In other words, an "informed, high-level" official can order the killing of any American citizen that was "recently" involved in threatening "activities." As Isikoff points out, the memo fails to define both of those terms.

    RELATED: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Drones

    "This is a chilling document," said Jameel Jaffer, deputy legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union. "Basically, it argues that the government has the right to carry out the extrajudicial killing of an American citizen. … It recognizes some limits on the authority it sets out, but the limits are elastic and vaguely defined, and it's easy to see how they could be manipulated." We've already seen some of this vague authority in action. A couple of years ago, The New York Times provided some insight into how subjective the process of deciding when to kill and when not to kill American citizens based on a top secret memo that justified the killing of al-Awlaki. That document as well as this latest leak from the Justice Department essentially says that a lethal attack, likely by a drone, is the method of choice whenever a capture mission would put other American lives on the line. Again, the documents are very vague about where to draw the line.

    RELATED: Obama to Nominate John Brennan to Run the CIA

    Inevitably, this latest revelation into how the Obama administration runs the War on Terror behind closed doors leads to more questions than answers. How, for instance, do they decided when to kill non-U.S. citizens? Previous reporting on the issue says that the government considers any military-aged male to be an insurgent, so it seems like pretty much anybody in the general region of Afghanistan or Pakistan could expect to find themselves in America's crosshairs. But again, we don't know because the Obama administration is keeping it completely secret, despite years worth of calls to disclose its decision-making process.

    RELATED: The C.I.A.'s Silence on Drone Strikes Is Getting Awkward

    This could be the beginning of an enlightening time for those who demand answers about the government's shady drone program. On Thursday, John Brannan has his confirmation hearing where the Senate will decide whether or not he's fit to run the Central Intelligence Agency. Since he's more or less the architect of America's drone war, we're sure the Senators will have a question or two about this memo and, we hope, some memos that we haven't seen before.
  2. exGOPer


    I wonder where the human right activists were when Bush killed a US citizen in Yemen...oh, nobody has heard of Kamal Derwish. Or when Bush indefinitely detained TWO US citizens.

    Wait, suddenly right-wingers are worried about human rights and quoting human right activists! Next they will be donating to the ACLU and marching with Code Pink when the dear leader is doing exactly what they wanted him to do - to kill Al Qaeda in droves.

    But whine more, I bet Obama knows that Americans in general don't give a shit about civil liberties as long as Muslim terrorists are being killed. Fuck, last poll I saw had Obama's counter-terrorism policies having a rating of 75+.
  3. Lucrum


    You're right, never heard of him.
  4. exGOPer


    He was a US citizen that Bush killed in Yemen, a real piece of shit like Awlaki whom Obama killed.
  5. Lucrum


    If Kamal Derwish was a "piece of shit", then what's the problem?
  6. exGOPer


    I don't have any problem, just pointing out how some hypocrites have suddenly found their outrage boners because Obama is doing what Dubya used to do.
  7. This is a real dilemma for conservatives. We object to obama reverting to treating terrorism as a criminal matter, as they did with the Libyan attack.

    At the same time, we can't just give the president a license to kill Americans, 007 style. Shouldn't the court that signs off on foreign intelligence wiretaps for example have to approve these killings?