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  1. Standard member sasquatch672
    Don't Like It Leave
    05 Feb '13 23:15
    The Justice Department’s chilling ‘targeted killings’ memo

    By James Downie , Updated: February 5, 2013





    On Monday night, NBC News’s Michael Isikoff published a Justice Department memo justifying the “targeted killings” — without due process — of U.S. citizens who are leaders in al-Qaeda or “associated forces” but are “outside the area of hostile activities,” such as Afghanistan. The document is based on a still-classified memo on targeted killings of U.S. citizens prepared by the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel.

    The summary memo is a chilling document, full of twisted definitions, gaping loopholes and hints that the White House still isn’t sharing its full justification for killing citizens without due process. Given the extraordinary power the executive branch is claiming, legislators in both parties must ask tough questions of Obama and his national security team, including threatening to hold up key appointments, if necessary.

    At its heart, the memo contends that killing a U.S. citizen who is a “senior operational leader in al-Qaeda or an associated force” is lawful under three conditions:


    (1) [A]n informed, high-level official of the U.S. government has determined that the targeted individual poses an imminent threat of violent attack against the United States; (2) capture is infeasible and the United States continues to monitor whether capture becomes feasible; and (3) the operation would be conducted in a manner consistent with applicable law of war principles.

    These conditions track with White House officials’ past public defenses of the drone program, and at first glance they seem reasonably strict rules. But as the memo continues, it quickly becomes clear that these criteria are weak guidelines subject to the government’s interpretations.

    For example, while Webster’s defines “imminent” as “ready to take place,” the Justice Department has a different take: “The condition that an operational leader present an ‘imminent’ threat of violent attack against the United States 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.”

    The memo, rather brilliantly, calls this definition a “broader concept of imminence.” Most people, however, would call this “not imminent.” Instead, it appears that the Justice Department’s version of “imminent” is whatever they say it is.

    The definitions of feasibility and “applicable laws of war” are similarly elastic: “Feasibility” includes whether there is “undue risk to U.S. personnel” (what constitutes “undue risk” is never explained), while, as Kevin Jon Brenner has pointed out, the “laws of war” justification effectively ignores half of the judicial test it cites.

    In addition, the memo does not give the authority to kill an American citizen without due process to the president but to “informed, high-level government official[s].” Which officials? The memo does not specify. As with the criteria mentioned earlier, the executive branch effectively argues that it can set its own standards.

    Further, as Marcy Wheeler has pointed out, public statements from senators who have had the Justice Department memo since last summer, as well as a number of references within the memo to the president’s commander-in-chief authority, suggest that the White House believes Obama could kill a U.S. citizen “solely on his inherent Article II powers. But that’s not the argument laid out in the white paper.” And the memo explicitly states it is not listing the “minimum requirements” for the White House to execute an American citizen. For example, as Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) has noted, it is still unknown whether this authority extends within the United States. To put it bluntly, we cannot be certain there is a legal limit that can stop the White House from declaring you a terrorist — according to its “intelligence” — and targeting you.

    President Obama once promised that “whenever we cannot release certain information to the public for valid national security reasons, I will insist that there is oversight of my actions — by Congress or by the courts.” But on this crucial issue, where his White House has claimed the power to summarily execute U.S. citizens without any outside oversight, Obama has refused to release the rationale.

    The courts cannot be counted on to force Obama’s hand: As one judge wrote in a recent ruling denying a FOIA request for the White House’s rationale for targeted killings: “I can find no way around the thicket of laws and precedents that effectively allow the Executive Branch of our Government to proclaim as perfectly lawful certain actions that seem on their face incompatible with our Constitution and laws, while keeping the reasons for their conclusion a secret.” (For its part, the Justice Department says in the memo that “there exists no appropriate judicial forum to evaluate these constitutional considerations.&rdquo

    The burden of oversight then must fall, as the president clearly knows, on Congress. Fortunately, the president’s nomination of John Brennan to head the CIA gives the Senate an ideal opportunity to demand that the White House be more forthcoming. On Monday, 11 senators asked the White House to hand over the secret legal justifications. “The executive branch’s cooperation on this matter,” they wrote the administration, “will help avoid an unnecessary confrontation that could affect the Senate’s consideration of nominees for national security positions.”

    Given Brennan’s central role in the expansion of the drone program, these senators and their colleagues would be right to question him thoroughly on the legal justification for targeted killing. If the White House doesn’t hand over the memos, then the Senate should strongly consider delaying Brennan’s confirmation. For too long, the president has been allowed to claim the power to execute U.S. citizens without due process and with few, if any, other restrictions. It is past time to hold him to account.
  2. 06 Feb '13 01:13
    Originally posted by sasquatch672
    The Justice Department’s chilling ‘targeted killings’ memo

    By James Downie , Updated: February 5, 2013





    On Monday night, NBC News’s Michael Isikoff published a Justice Department memo justifying the “targeted killings” — without due process — of U.S. citizens who are leaders in al-Qaeda or “associated forces” but are “outside the area of h ...[text shortened]... ut due process and with few, if any, other restrictions. It is past time to hold him to account.
    Seems as if due process is a thing of the past. Damm waterboarding and torture are evil, but summary execution doesn't raise any hackles. Makes me want to go back and delete all the posts I've made critical of Obama. Not.
  3. Standard member sasquatch672
    Don't Like It Leave
    06 Feb '13 01:24
    Originally posted by normbenign
    Seems as if due process is a thing of the past. Damm waterboarding and torture are evil, but summary execution doesn't raise any hackles. Makes me want to go back and delete all the posts I've made critical of Obama. Not.
    Obama is an absolute scumbag. Dictator- and Tyrant-In-Chief.
  4. 06 Feb '13 01:42
    Originally posted by sasquatch672
    The Justice Department’s chilling ‘targeted killings’ memo

    By James Downie , Updated: February 5, 2013





    On Monday night, NBC News’s Michael Isikoff published a Justice Department memo justifying the “targeted killings” — without due process — of U.S. citizens who are leaders in al-Qaeda or “associated forces” but are “outside the area of h ...[text shortened]... ut due process and with few, if any, other restrictions. It is past time to hold him to account.
    I always have thought that Barack Obama's Nobel Peace Prize was on account
    of an ignorant liberal European fantasy about what he symbolized (surely, the
    first African American US President must be humane and progressive at heart)
    rather than the substance of what his policies represented, too much of a warlike
    continuity from his predecessor, George W Bush.
  5. 06 Feb '13 13:18
    Originally posted by Duchess64
    I always have thought that Barack Obama's Nobel Peace Prize was on account
    of an ignorant liberal European fantasy about what he symbolized (surely, the
    first African American US President must be humane and progressive at heart)
    rather than the substance of what his policies represented, too much of a warlike
    continuity from his predecessor, George W Bush.
    You have to be right as he was given the prize before he did anything in office. I hope people are waking up to what is going on now. Did you know that the US actually runs Al qaeda? Then they say they will kill any American associated with them. Looks like an excuse to take over the country to me. We better get used to the idea that the drones authorized over here will be taking people out. Possibly those not going along with the takeover scheme.
  6. 06 Feb '13 13:49
    Originally posted by Duchess64
    I always have thought that Barack Obama's Nobel Peace Prize was on account
    of an ignorant liberal European fantasy about what he symbolized (surely, the
    first African American US President must be humane and progressive at heart)
    rather than the substance of what his policies represented, too much of a warlike
    continuity from his predecessor, George W Bush.
    So just becaues he is black he should be more humane? Have you studied the politics in Africa? They have a genocide about ever week.
  7. 06 Feb '13 13:51
    Originally posted by sasquatch672
    Obama is an absolute scumbag. Dictator- and Tyrant-In-Chief.
    Typical GOP hate mongering. You are looking at this all wrong. Just think of it as a post birth abortion or a way to help curb human carbon emissions.
  8. Standard member sasquatch672
    Don't Like It Leave
    06 Feb '13 16:24
    Originally posted by whodey
    So just becaues he is black he should be more humane? Have you studied the politics in Africa? They have a genocide about ever week.
  9. 06 Feb '13 22:31 / 3 edits
    Originally posted by whodey
    So just becaues he is black he should be more humane?
    Have you studied the politics in Africa? They have a genocide about ever week.
    How could my criticism of Barack Obama be misconstrued as a compliment of him?
    Given his extremely poor reading comprehension, Whodey has completely
    misunderstood what I wrote. I did *not* assert that I myself believed that,
    simply on account of being an African American, US President Barack Obama
    must be more humane in his conduct of international relations. I was asserting
    (sarcastically) that his supposed natural humaneness seemed to be an 'ignorant
    liberal European fantasy' of what Obama symbolized as an African American.

    By the way, notwithstanding his black Kenyan father (who's irrelevant), I know
    of no evidence that US President Barack Obama has been significantly more
    interested than most other US Presidents in providing aid to black Africa.

    Given that, in another thread, I already have cited the long brutal war in the
    Democratic Republic of Congo, I should not be accused of ignorance about the
    many troubles in Africa. I think that I understand their historical contexts better
    than Whodey, who apparently prefers to believe largely racist stereotypes.
    Of course, largely racist stereotypes of non-Western peoples seem common
    and widely accepted among the apparently white Western writers in this forum.
  10. Standard member Bosse de Nage
    Zellulärer Automat
    06 Feb '13 23:34 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by sasquatch672
    Obama is an absolute scumbag. Dictator- and Tyrant-In-Chief.
    Total agreement Or rather, perhaps: never has a cold blooded killer been more popular. American Psycho in the Oval Office.
  11. Standard member Bosse de Nage
    Zellulärer Automat
    06 Feb '13 23:38
    Originally posted by whodey
    So just becaues he is black he should be more humane? Have you studied the politics in Africa? They have a genocide about ever week.
    Well no not really. Setting aside the slack-jawed idiocy of your 'they', zones of extreme turbulence tend to be interconnected with extra African interests. And the same is true for many non African conflict zones. Syria, for example, would be less 'fruity' if it weren't for the vested interests of several non Syrian regimes in Syria's fate.
  12. Standard member sasquatch672
    Don't Like It Leave
    07 Feb '13 01:15 / 6 edits
    Originally posted by Bosse de Nage
    Total agreement Or rather, perhaps: never has a cold blooded killer been more popular. American Psycho in the Oval Office.
    I'm not kidding. If Obama can unilaterally declare - or even more Orwellian, delegate the responsibility of declaring - the life of a citizen of his own country to be forfeit, without a trial, without a shred of pretense of a lawful proceeding - then there is no protection left.

    He doesn't need men in black helicopters; drones are far more efficient.

    This is the scariest thing I've ever read. God help us.

    EDIT: let's put this is perspective. The "Reverend" Jeremiah Wright, whose "church", like too many black "churches" in America whose only true purpose is to foment racism, anger, and hate against whites, is on tape saying, "God Bless America? No! God damn America!"

    I don't know what the two Muslim adults said that got them on Obama's death list, but by how many degrees worse was it? Why were they on it, and Jeremiah Wright was not? These guys did not, according to public knowledge, execute or plan a terrorist attack on the US. Bill Ayers, on the other hand, whom Obama for many years claimed as a friend, is an admitted, unrepentant, and serial domestic terrorist, and he's never been punished. But then, a 16-year-old is executed extrajudicially?

    Why the arbitrary standards? Why the hypocrisy?

    Because Obama is a dictator. Maybe he takes care not to look like one in the main, but where he can get away with it - in the shadows and in the secret world - laws and even the Constitution have ceased to exist. It's a matter of time.

    2ND EDIT: And people wonder why we care about the Second Amendment? Are you being serious? People want to know why "gun nuts" regard the 2nd Amendment as sacred? Because we hold our lives, and the lives of our families, as sacred.
  13. 07 Feb '13 01:28
    Originally posted by sasquatch672 to Bosse de Nage
    I'm not kidding. If Obama can unilaterally declare - or even more Orwellian, delegate the responsibility of declaring - the life of a citizen of his own country to be forfeit, without a trial, without a shred of pretense of a lawful proceeding - then there is no protection left.

    He doesn't need men in black helicopters; drones are far more efficient.

    This is the scariest thing I've ever read. God help us.
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/feb/05/obama-kill-list-doj-memo

    "Chilling legal memo from Obama DOJ justifies assassination of US citizens"
    by Glenn Greenwald (5 February 2013)

    "If you believe the president has the power to order US 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."
    --Glenn Greenwald

    If drone technology had existed in the 1940 USSR, would it have been all right
    for Stalin to send a drone (rather than an assassin) to kill Trotsky in Mexico City?
  14. 07 Feb '13 02:29
    Obama is bullet proof. What are they gonna do, throw him out and put Biden in?
  15. 07 Feb '13 02:44
    Originally posted by sasquatch672
    ...
    2ND EDIT: And people wonder why we care about the Second Amendment? Are you being serious? People want to know why "gun nuts" regard the 2nd Amendment as sacred? Because we hold our lives, and the lives of our families, as sacred.
    Let's suppose that your nightmare becomes true: the US President, acting in secret
    without due process, authorizes drone strikes to kill US citizens within the USA.

    How could keeping some guns (whatever's allowed by the Second Amendment)
    at home help protect you from being killed by a drone strike?