Obama: I Can Kill Americans If I Want To

Discussion in 'Politics & Religion' started by pspr, Feb 5, 2013.

  1. pspr

    pspr

    By Erin McClam, Staff Writer, NBC News

    Legal experts expressed grave reservations Tuesday about an Obama administration memo concluding that the United States can order the killing of American citizens believed to be affiliated with al-Qaida — with one saying the White House was acting as “judge, jury and executioner.”

    The experts said that the memo, first obtained by NBC News, threatened constitutional rights and dangerously expanded the definition of national self-defense and of what constitutes an imminent attack.

    “Anyone should be concerned when the president and his lawyers make up their own interpretation of the law or their own rules,” said Mary Ellen O’Connell, a law professor at the University of Notre Dame and an authority on international law and the use of force.

    “This is a very, very dangerous thing that the president has done,” she added.

    The memo, made public Monday, provides detail about the administration’s controversial expansion of drone strikes against al-Qaida suspects abroad, including those aimed at American citizens.

    Among them were Anwar al-Awlaki and Samir Khan, who were killed by an American strike in September 2011 in Yemen. Both men were U.S. citizens who had not been charged with a crime.

    Attorney General Eric Holder, in a talk at Northwestern University Law School in March, endorsed the constitutionality of targeted killings of Americans provided that the government determines such an individual poses “an imminent threat of violent attack.”

    But the memo obtained by NBC News refers to a broader definition of imminence and specifically says the government is not required to have “clear evidence that a specific attack on U.S. persons and interests will take place in the immediate future.”

    Glenn Greenwald, a constitutional lawyer who writes about security and liberty for the British newspaper The Guardian, described the memo as “fundamentally misleading,” with a clinical tone that disguises “the radical and dangerous power it purports to authorize.”

    “If you believe the president has the power to order U.S. citizens executed far from any battlefield with no charges or trial, then it’s truly hard to conceive of any asserted power you would find objectionable,” he wrote.

    The attorney general told reporters Tuesday that the administration’s primary concern is to keep Americans safe, and to do it in a way consistent with American values. He said the administration was confident it was following federal and international law.

    “We will have to look at this and see what it is we want to do with these memos,” he said. “But you have to understand that we are talking about things that are, that go into how we conduct our offensive operations against a clear and present danger.”

    White House press secretary Jay Carney said that while the government must take the Constitution into account, U.S. citizenship does not make a leader of an enemy force immune from being targeted.

    (But the most controversial drone strike took place on Oct. 14, 2011, when 16-year-old Abdulrahman was killed by U.S. forces. Family of the Denver-born teenager say he had no ties to terrorist organizations and was unjustly targeted because of his father.)

    The drone strikes, and now the Justice Department memo, are expected to figure prominently Thursday when the Senate takes up the nomination of John Brennan, the White House counterterrorism adviser and architect of the drone campaign, to lead the CIA.

    Sen. Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat, and 10 other senators wrote to President Barack Obama on Monday asking him to release all Justice Department memos on the subject.

    The senators said that Congress and the public need a full understanding of how the White House views its authority so they can decide “whether the president’s power to deliberately kill American citizens is subject to appropriate limitations and safeguards.”

    Jameel Jaffer, deputy legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union, described the memo as reckless. He wrote that assuming that the target of a strike is an al-Qaida leader, without court oversight, was like assuming a defendant is guilty and then asking whether a trial would be useful.

    But John O. McGinnis, a professor of constitutional law at Northwestern University who worked for the White House’s Office of Legal Counsel during the Reagan and H.W. Bush administrations, said he was persuaded by the arguments in the memo, which he described as “very cautious.”

    “If this is someone who has taken up affiliation with an organization attacking the United States, I don’t think it matters whether they’re a citizen — they seem to me an enemy combatant whom the president can respond to,” he said. “I think this is not a hard case.”

    Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, a Democrat and chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, issued a statement Tuesday saying that her committee received the memo last year and wants to see other administration memos further explaining the legal framework for carrying out strikes.

    At the same time, she appeared to defend the killing of al-Awlaki. She said that al-Awlaki was external operations leader of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula and directed the failed attempt to blow up an airliner on Christmas Day 2009.

    The memo lays out a three-part test for making targeted killings of Americans lawful. The suspect must be deemed an imminent threat, capturing the target must not be feasible, and the strike must be conducted according to “law of war principles.”

    Naureen Shah, a lecturer at Columbia Law School and associate director of the Counterterrorism and Human Rights Project at the school’s Human Rights Institute, said that she was deeply troubled by the contents of the memo.

    “We should be concerned when the White House is acting as judge, jury and executioner,” she said. “And there’s no one outside of the White House who has real oversight over that process. What’s put forward here is there’s no role for the courts, not even after the fact.”


    http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/201...r-implications-of-white-house-drone-memo?lite
     
  2. This is truly unbelievable news. How the Liberals can accept this is beyond me.

    When Bush poured some water up the noses of a couple of captured combatants the liberals panties got all bunched up.
     
  3. pspr

    pspr

    Yeah, Obama doesn't want to be accused of torture. So, he blows them up with a drone missile so there can be no accusation of torture.

    We're next. :(
     
  4. VVV1234

    VVV1234

    A ruling handed down on September 13th by the D.C. District Federal Court has finally made clear what many have known for years–that the Obama Administration’s Iran policy was initiated and advanced by a group with illicit, hidden ties to the Iranian Regime and financed by the U.S./Israel- hating George Soros.
    In 2009, Barack Obama turned over virtually all responsibility and authority for foreign policy negotiations with Iran to Trita Parsi and his National Iranian American Council (NIAC). Founded by Parsi in 2003, the Washington-based NIAC is a powerful lobbying group that is “…widely considered the de facto lobby for the Iranian Regime in America.”
    Like too many organizations that claim to represent the best interests of the nation of Iran and Iranian-Americans, the NIAC is tightly connected with and known to be funded at least in part by the George Soros empire. Small wonder NIAC advice on dealing with Iran was replete with claims that Israeli propaganda was responsible for the negative image imposed on otherwise peace-loving, misunderstood Iranian mullahs. Not exactly a friend of Israel is George Soros.

    And how did the reputedly “non-partisan” NIAC suggest the Obama Administration proceed with negotiations? Simple. The Council “…opposes sanctions on Iran, soft-pedals any controversial events in Iran, and counsels “patience” regarding Iran’s stance towards its nuclear program.”
    What better way for NIAC representatives to serve their hidden masters in Tehran than by promoting a policy of “peaceful coexistence” between the US and Iran. And to the NIAC, peaceful coexistence meant “…acceptance of [the] Iranian government, accepting Iranian hegemony in the Gulf and its place in other parts of the Middle East, removal of sanctions and pressure against Iran, abandon of assistance to the Iranian people’s resistance against the regime and etc.”
    For the U.S., the consequences of this game of intrigue played by the Administration’s hand-picked, Iranian representatives are summed up in this statement by Barack Obama: “I’ve made it clear that the United States respects the sovereignty of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and is not interfering with Iran’s affairs.” And indeed, this is the path Barack Obama has followed. Not exactly reassuring words from a president charged with keeping the American public safe from a nuclear-bound administration of religious fanatics dedicated to our demise.
    And it is thanks to an ill-advised lawsuit that proof of the NIAC’s wrongdoing has finally been placed before the American public. In 2008, Trita Parsi and his organization filed a defamation suit against perpetual critic Seid Dai. Dai had publicly accused Parsi of secretly working with the ruling Iranian Regime against the interests of the United States and the Iranian people. But when Parsi filed suit hoping to silence-through-intimidation such potentially lethal criticism, it opened the floodgates of legal discovery allowing Dai to demand internal NIAC documents and emails that eventually “… confirmed [Parsi’s] ties to the [Iranian] mullahs…”
    Not only did recovered emails reveal that Parsi had held “…numerous secret meetings with top level IRI [Islamic Republic of Iran] officials,” “Court documents show the NIAC was guilty of: lying to members of Congress, fraudulent membership numbers, tax law violations and evasions, Lobbying Disclosure Act violation, the Foreign Agents Registration Act violations, foreign bank accounts, defrauding of federal funds, bribing of eye witnesses, etc…”
    And so egregious were NIAC attempts to duck its legal responsibilities of discovery that Judge John Bates dismissed the Parsi defamation suit, ordered sanctions against Parsi for his failure to comply with discovery, and ordered Parsi to pay significant percentages of Dai’s costs and fees.
    This is an immensely important story, not surprisingly “missed” in its entirety by the mainstream media.
    But why has the Romney campaign not demanded Obama’s rationale for handing the foreign policy decisions of the United States and the security of the American people over to representatives of the Iranian government itself? Could voters be pleased upon finding the president had placed America’s safety from possible nuclear attack in the hands of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad?
     
  5. exGOPer

    exGOPer

    Umm... Bush killed a US citizen in Yemen called Kamal Derwish and nobody blinked. Infact, nobody has even heard of it. Obama kills Awlaki and leaks a white paper on the guidelines and suddenly the Cons are all upset about it. Obama is getting more heat on the issue compared to Bush who killed a US citizen and neither the liberals or the current libertarian brigade noticed.
     
  6. Americans being summarily tried and jailed or killed without legal process that is independent of the executive branch is wrong and against the constitution. It must be stopped.
     
  7. Lucrum

    Lucrum

    Maybe some are upset because Obama is doing exactly what he blasted Bush for doing during his first campaign. All the while promising to do things differently which his sheeple supporters believed. Of course now his sheeple are defending him for being just like Bush.
     
  8. I hear this pathetic argument all the time from the left.

    You all believe Bush was the worst president ever. Then you try to prove Obama good by saying that Bush did the same thing as Obama.
     
  9. Exactly. They are the flip side to the same coin.
     
  10. Obama kills more, spends more, does more of everything the left hated about Bush, and they love him for it. The messiah works in mysterious ways not to be understood by mere mortals. Obama is not their president, he is their God.
     
    #10     Feb 6, 2013