Author Topic: "License to Kill? Intelligence Chief Says U.S. Can Take Out American Terrorists"  (Read 22949 times)

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Offline Valerius

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"License to Kill? Intelligence Chief Says U.S. Can Take Out American Terrorists"

By JASON RYAN
Feb. 3, 2010

"The director of national intelligence affirmed rather bluntly today that the U.S. intelligence community has authority to target American citizens for assassination if they present a direct terrorist threat to the United States...."

http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/license-kill-intelligence-chief-us-american-terrorist/story?id=9740491


Holy moley! I think this needs to go to the top of the queue for tomorrows show.
"No man can put a chain about the ankle of his fellow man without at last finding the other end fastened about his own neck."  -Frederick Douglass

Offline Monkeypox

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No arrest, no trial, just murder?

 >:(
War Is Peace - Freedom Is Slavery - Ignorance Is Strength


"Educate and inform the whole mass of the people... They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty."

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Viper

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Chief Says "U.S. Can Take Out American Terrorists"

This two weeks after Paul's "CIA needs to be taken out", is that timing or what?

As for the message itself, it's kinda hard to believe we've arrived at this stage already, seems surreal.

Offline Valerius

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And of course it's a minor news story.
"No man can put a chain about the ankle of his fellow man without at last finding the other end fastened about his own neck."  -Frederick Douglass

Offline Valerius

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I hope Alex covers this today. I just did a news search with just CIA to see how prominently this was covered by mainstream, and I didn't see much.
"No man can put a chain about the ankle of his fellow man without at last finding the other end fastened about his own neck."  -Frederick Douglass

Offline jeremystalked1

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If the US is so powerful, how is it that a terrorist cell can do so much damage that they're considered a serious threat?

Maybe the promise of temporary safety offered us by industrial civilization was never anything more than a promise.

Maybe we need something else.

Offline ekimdrachir

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I AM THE LAW!!!!

Offline IridiumKEPfactor

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I was listening t CNN this morning. They added that they are not targeting America citizens who are expressing the 1st Amenments rights.

http://archives.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/1002/04/ltm.03.html


STARR: You know, Director Blair, who is a retired Navy admiral, went on to say what they are not doing is targeting Americans for free speech, targeting them specifically if they threaten other Americans, if they threaten the United States.



Why would they mention that???? Think that they are because we know that they are lairs.


Offline ekimdrachir

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I was listening t CNN this morning. They added that they are not targeting America citizens who are expressing the 1st Amenments rights.

http://archives.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/1002/04/ltm.03.html


STARR: You know, Director Blair, who is a retired Navy admiral, went on to say what they are not doing is targeting Americans for free speech, targeting them specifically if they threaten other Americans, if they threaten the United States.



Why would they mention that???? Think that they are because we know that they are lairs.


Doublespeak-- that means they are.
If you want to know the truth, read backwards.

Anti_Illuminati

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Why would any patriotic American be against the United States?  The United States no longer exists.  So the correct translation of the title would be:  "Intelligence Chief Says U.S. Can Take Out Defenders of God-given inalienable rights, the Constitution, Bill of Rights, Declaration of Independence, and anyone who exposes false flag terror attacks carried out by the NWO.  The "Intelligence Chief" is speaking as if it is a foregone conclusion that the New World Order's occupation of this land mass is synonymous with what the Founding Fathers created, when in fact the Founding Father's would have assassinated the blatant liars because they did not heed the warning given to them by the Declaration of Independence which warns when government is so corrupt, that it is the inalienable right of free humanity to finally resort to deadly force to put that illegitimate, criminal government down permanently--i.e. DESTROYING THE HIGH TREASON THAT IS CONTINUITY OF GOVERNMENT.

"No one need think that the world can be ruled without blood. The civil sword shall and must be red and bloody.

Nullification means insurrection and war; and the other states have a right to put it down."

Peace, above all things, is to be desired, but blood must sometimes be spilled to obtain it on equable and lasting terms.

The Constitution and the laws are supreme and the Union indissoluble.

The people are the government, administering it by their agents; they are the government, the sovereign power."


-Andrew Jackson

33 "terror attacks" that I 100% guarantee you will never occur, ever.
Want proof that terror is all staged from a completely different angle?  If terrorism was real (and wasn't CARRIED OUT by the following), one or more of the following would have already occurred:  (3 letter agencies left out, why bother with the overly-obvious)

"Al-Qaeda" destroys SAIC headquarters, thousands killed including CEO, CIO

"Al-Qaeda" destroys MITRE corporation headquarters, thousands killed including CEO, CIO

"Al-Qaeda" destroys CSC headquarters, thousands killed including CEO, CIO

"Al-Qaeda" destroys BAE systems headquarters, thousands killed including CEO, CIO

"Al-Qaeda" destroys Lockheed Martin headquarters, thousands killed including CEO, CIO

"Al-Qaeda" destroys Booz Allen Hamilton, thousands killed including CEO, CIO

"Al-Qaeda" destroys System Architectures Laboratory at George Mason University, director and asst. professors killed

"Al-Qaeda" destroys Israeli Mossad run Guardium headquarters, thousands killed including CEO, CIO

"Al-Qaeda" destroys Narus headquarters, thousands killed including CEO, CIO

"Al-Qaeda" destroys Amdocs headquarters, thousands killed including CEO, CIO

"Al-Qaeda" destroys Comverse Infosys headquarters, thousands killed including CEO, CIO

"Al-Qaeda" destroys Verint headquarters, thousands killed including CEO, CIO

"Al-Qaeda" destroys Air Force Research Laboratory headquarters, thousands killed including CEO, CIO

"Al-Qaeda" destroys Anser Institute of Homeland Security, thousands killed including CEO, CIO

"Al-Qaeda" destroys DARPA & DARO headquarters, thousands killed including CEO, CIO

"Al-Qaeda" destroys Defense Threat Reduction Agency headquarters, thousands killed including CEO, CIO
 
"Al-Qaeda" destroys Noblis headquarters, thousands killed including CEO, CIO

"Al-Qaeda" destroys Centers for Disease Control headquarters, thousands killed including CEO, CIO

"Al-Qaeda" destroys Army Institute of Pathology, all killed

"Al-Qaeda" destroys USAMRIID, all killed

"Al-Qaeda" destroys World Health Organization headquarters, all killed

"Al-Qaeda" destroys Monsanto headquarters in St. Louis, MO, all killed

"Al-Qaeda" destroys Object Management Group headquarters, all killed

"Al-Qaeda" destroys Electronic Data Systems headquarters, all killed

"Al-Qaeda" destroys Digital Equipment Corporation headquarters, all killed

"Al-Qaeda" destroys Multinational Information Sharing Project Management Office, Arlington, VA, all killed

"Al-Qaeda" destroys dozens of CIA secret torture prisons worldwide, hundreds of contractors killed

"Al-Qaeda" destroys Rome Laboratory (Rome Air Development Center) Rome, NY

"Al-Qaeda" destroys Gartner thousands killed including CEO, CIO

"Al-Qaeda" destroys Thales headquarters, thousands killed including CEO, CIO

"Al-Qaeda" destroys Raytheon headquarters, thousands killed including CEO, CIO

"Al-Qaeda" destroys Qinetiq, thousands killed including CEO, CIO

"Al-Qaeda" destroys Northrup Grumman, thousands killed including CEO, CIO


Offline Cywar

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We are so ######
"Condemnation without investigation is the height of ignorance."

—Albert Einstein

Offline mehevin

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Surely not, that is scary, really scary.

Offline JesusItrustinYou

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This is scary.  I hope Alex covers this on his show. 

Offline Dig

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The Director of National Intelligence with that statement is making a direct terrorist threat to the United States and I do not think anything should happen to him accept...

FIRE HIM ASAP!

GRAND JURY INVESTIGATE HIS ASS!

PREPARE INDICTMENTS INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO CONSPIRACY TO COMMIT WHOLESALE MURDER!
All eyes are opened, or opening, to the rights of man. The general spread of the light of science has already laid open to every view the palpable truth, that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately

Don Quixote

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Timing, Timing, Timing...    So the next FF, will be homegrown recruits purportedly due to cyber. Throw in some Internet caused this FF in the mix, and voila, martial law and internet 1 down. Kill 2 birds with the same stone.
"The DNI said that Internet and social media sites have become critical to terrorism recruitment efforts. Speaking about the Hasan case and his alleged Internet communications with al Awlaki, Blair said, "The homegrown radicalization of people in the United States…is a relatively new thing."

Blair said U.S. intelligence was rapidly working to counter the emerging problem. "There are some technical things, which are making it more difficult, with the use of social networking as opposed to simply looking at a Web site and responding by e-mail"
 Plus, lest we forget: "colleteral damage"...."In the past, the U.S. has killed Americans overseas but they were viewed as "collateral damage"

Offline Neco

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Well, at least they are admitting it now.  I'm not sure if this is a good thing or bad.

"Words will always retain their power. Words offer the means to meaning and for those who will listen: the enunciation of truth." ~V

"For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst and provide for it." ~Patrick Henry

Neco Illuminati

Offline Dig

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Hey moron assassins who believe this complete piece of shit director of national intelligence...

Watch the movie "Smoking Aces 2"

The Banksters got a plan your you guys too.
All eyes are opened, or opening, to the rights of man. The general spread of the light of science has already laid open to every view the palpable truth, that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately

Offline Neco

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Hey moron assassins who believe this complete piece of shit director of national intelligence...

Watch the movie "Smoking Aces 2"

The Banksters got a plan your you guys too.

Lol, I like how they just put it in the news like it is no big deal....

"Words will always retain their power. Words offer the means to meaning and for those who will listen: the enunciation of truth." ~V

"For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst and provide for it." ~Patrick Henry

Neco Illuminati

Offline Dig

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"Vat do you mean, 'just following orders' is not a valid defense?"
All eyes are opened, or opening, to the rights of man. The general spread of the light of science has already laid open to every view the palpable truth, that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately

Offline Shadow911Zeus

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We have come a long way, now I can't believe they are actually discussing this openly. The people I am trying to wake up, those who I have been drilling this stuff into over and over again are now starting to see, they are now actually agreeing with me and admitting things "don't look good and don't look like they are going to get any better, in fact worse" I think most are scared and are just going through their daily routines (Unproductively and not making a whole lot of money like they use to) because that's all they think they can do, but believe me they are talking but it just seems we are like 3 or 4 years ahead of them, but they are catching up quick and it feels pretty good to get the respect we deserve by all the knowledge we have to pass on to them.

Now stay more precisely on topic, these clowns talking about doing false flags huh? Well I quess all we can do is just try to protect ourselves right? These F***ers, it drives me and pisses me off so F***king bad. I say more later, too pissed to type.

Offline Neco

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We have come a long way, now I can't believe they are actually discussing this openly. The people I am trying to wake up, those who I have been drilling this stuff into over and over again are now starting to see, they are now actually agreeing with me and admitting things "don't look good and don't look like they are going to get any better, in fact worse" I think most are scared and are just going through their daily routines (Unproductively and not making a whole lot of money like they use to) because that's all they think they can do, but believe me they are talking but it just seems we are like 3 or 4 years ahead of them, but they are catching up quick and it feels pretty good to get the respect we deserve by all the knowledge we have to pass on to them.

Now stay more precisely on topic, these clowns talking about doing false flags huh? Well I quess all we can do is just try to protect ourselves right? These F***ers, it drives me and pisses me off so F***king bad. I say more later, too pissed to type.

"Words will always retain their power. Words offer the means to meaning and for those who will listen: the enunciation of truth." ~V

"For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst and provide for it." ~Patrick Henry

Neco Illuminati

Offline Shadow911Zeus

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Sorry about all the typos in the first post couldn't edit quick enough before timed out, but you know what I mean right?

Offline Shadow911Zeus

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I guess that sums it up with that picture, lol. :D

Offline Shadow911Zeus

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"License to Kill? Intelligence Chief Says U.S. Can Take Out American Terrorists"

By JASON RYAN
Feb. 3, 2010

"The director of national intelligence affirmed rather bluntly today that the U.S. intelligence community has authority to target American citizens for assassination if they present a direct terrorist threat to the United States...."

http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/license-kill-intelligence-chief-us-american-terrorist/story?id=9740491


Holy moley! I think this needs to go to the top of the queue for tomorrows show.

Oh, I see "The Terrorist", that would basically mean everyone one on the no fly list regardless, right?
Even if you have the same name, look funny, etc.. Oh, I get it now, all their XRay machines in the airports would scan you, your brain and read your brain waves to determine if you were a terrorist. I heard they were going to use them on the streets too, and that's why Chertoff is so heavily invested in them, they are going to make a killing. No pun.

Offline Neco

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Honestly, this is nothing new.  They have been killing Americans forever but this can be used as another tool to awaken other people out of their stupors at least.
"Words will always retain their power. Words offer the means to meaning and for those who will listen: the enunciation of truth." ~V

"For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst and provide for it." ~Patrick Henry

Neco Illuminati

Offline Dig

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Does everybody realize that the Director of National Intelligence basically admitted:

"We executed JFK, MLK, RFK, X, JFK Jr., Tillman, Wellstone, Webb, DC Madam, Foster, Hunter Thompson, and we are going to do it again, F You!"
All eyes are opened, or opening, to the rights of man. The general spread of the light of science has already laid open to every view the palpable truth, that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately

Offline Cywar

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Does everybody realize that the Director of National Intelligence basically admitted:

"We executed JFK, MLK, RFK, X, JFK Jr., Tillman, Wellstone, Webb, DC Madam, Foster, Hunter Thompson, and we are going to do it again, F You!"

exactly
"Condemnation without investigation is the height of ignorance."

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Offline bigron

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  • RON PAUL FOR PRESIDENT 2012
Top 10 Problems with America Killing Its Own Citizens

Assassinating non-Americans is just as illegal as assassinating Americans. The leap here is not to victims of a different citizenship but to the legalization of murder.


By David Swanson, davidswanson.org
Posted on February 5, 2010, Printed on February 5, 2010
http://www.alternet.org/story/145556/

The director of U.S. national intelligence told the House Intelligence Committee the government has the right to kill Americans abroad.

Here are 10 problems with this:

1. Acts that are crimes under national and international law don't cease to be crimes because you cross a border.

2. Acts that are crimes under national and international law don't cease to be crimes because you engage in them frequently. Assassinating non-Americans is just as illegal as assassinating Americans. The leap here is not to victims of a different citizenship but to the legalization of murder.

3. Killing people has nothing whatsoever to do with gathering so-called intelligence.

4. Even in this age in which senators and house members petition and write public letters to the president imploring him to obey laws, rather than introducing legislation, issuing subpoenas, holding impeachment hearings, or defunding agencies, the fact remains that Congress, above all, IS the government, and it is just not the place of the director of national thuggery to come in and dictate what the law will or will not be.

5. Having made the globe a battlefield and sanctioned crimes including lawless imprisonment, torture, warrantless spying, indiscriminant bombings, and the use of white phosphorous, depleted uranium, and other sickening weapons, on the grounds that all is fair and legal in war, preventing Americans from becoming the innocent victims of the war is becoming harder and harder. If active military can be on duty here, if we can be spied on, kidnapped, and imprisoned here. If our most prominent foreign death camp can be relocated here, by what logic -- and for how long -- can government assassinations of Americans (without trial) be confined to elsewhere?

6. Typically when we assassinate people abroad, a lot of other innocent people are killed in the process. Those are all murders. That too will come home if there is not resistance soon, major resistance to this madness.

7. We are being asked to trust extrajudicial decisions on whether or not to murder, not just to allegedly wise judges who are in too big a hurry or find it logistically unfeasible to hold a trial, but to the very people who lied us into the wars that are motivating most of the international hostility toward our country and draining most of the resources Americans need at home.

8. No republic has ever survived putting this kind of power in the hands of a single ruler, with no independent legislature, no independent press, and no independent popular resistance. And we're almost there.

9. These people usually only admit to believing they have the barbaric "right" to do things that they have already done.

10. What are the chances the Director of Intelligence will never consider a president a threat to national security?


David Swanson is the author of "Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union" by Seven Stories Press (2009) and of the introduction to "The 35 Articles of Impeachment and the Case for Prosecuting George W. Bush," by Dennis Kucinich (2008).



Swanson holds a master's degree in philosophy from the University of Virginia. He has worked as a newspaper reporter and as a communications director, with jobs including press secretary for Dennis Kucinich's 2004 presidential campaign, media coordinator for the International Labor Communications Association, and three years as communications coordinator for ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now.



Swanson is Co-Founder of AfterDowningStreet.org, creator of ProsecuteBushCheney.org and Washington Director of Democrats.com


© 2010 davidswanson.org All rights reserved.
View this story online at: http://www.alternet.org/story/145556/

Offline bigron

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  • RON PAUL FOR PRESIDENT 2012
CIA Has Program to Assassinate U.S. Citizens

By Thomas R. Eddlem

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article24591.htm

February 04, 2010 "The New American" Jan. 30, 2010 -- - -  The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency has maintained an assassination list of U.S. citizens for the last eight year and has actually assassinated Americans, according to January 27 Washington Post story.
The Post reported a story of a predator drone strike in late 2001 in Yemen:

"The target was Abu Ali al-Harithi, organizer of the 2000 attack on the USS Cole. Killed with him was a U.S. citizen, Kamal Derwish, who the CIA knew was in the car.

"Word that the CIA had purposefully killed Derwish drew attention to the unconventional nature of the new conflict and to the secret legal deliberations over whether killing a U.S. citizen was legal and ethical.

"After the Sept. 11 attacks, Bush gave the CIA, and later the military, authority to kill U.S. citizens abroad if strong evidence existed that an American was involved in organizing or carrying out terrorist actions against the United States or U.S. interests, military and intelligence officials said. The evidence has to meet a certain, defined threshold. The person, for instance, has to pose 'a continuing and imminent threat to U.S. persons and interests,' said one former intelligence official."

One may expect the Bush administration to give the military and the CIA the “authority” to assassinate American citizens without trial. The Bush administration had made a point of claiming unlimited power under the lawyerly advice of the Justice Department's John Yoo and had imprisoned American citizens Jose Padilla and Yaser Hamdi for years without trial. Only after taking the Hamdi case all the way to the Supreme Court — and taking the Padilla case to the Supreme Court twice — did the Bush administration concede it couldn't throw an American citizen away in a CIA dungeon forever without a trial. Assassination was only the next logical step to the Bush administration policy of the “unitary executive.”

But the Post explains that “the Obama administration has adopted the same stance.” This might be surprising to casual observers, since the Obama administration has publicly claimed a restoration of law and order. The Post noted that “as of several months ago, the CIA list included three U.S. citizens,” and explained that Obama “has embraced the notion that the most effective way to kill or capture members of al-Qaeda and its affiliates is to work closely with foreign partners, including those that have feeble democracies, shoddy human rights records and weak accountability over the vast sums of money Washington is giving them to win their continued participation in these efforts.”

Don't expect establishment Republicans to raise a hue and cry over this continuation of Bush administation policies similar to their outrage over Obama continuing Bush's outlandish spending policies. Many in the John Yoo wing of the Republican Party — which is today the dominant wing of the party — continue to campaign against “giving” rights to foreign detainees. A recent example of that includes the Republican “response” to Obama's “State of the Union” address January 27 by Bob McDonnell, Virginia's new Governor. McDonnell told the nation:

Americans were shocked on Christmas Day to learn of the attempted bombing of a flight to Detroit. This foreign terror suspect was given the same legal rights as a U.S. citizen, and immediately stopped providing critical intelligence. As Senator-elect Scott Brown says, we should be spending taxpayer dollars to defeat terrorists, not to protect them.

Constitutionalists have long known that rights flow directly from God; they are not "given" by government. The Declaration of Independence acknowledges as “self-evident” that “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Those Founding Fathers fought against the British view that rights could be canceled because they resided far from the mother land. They fought a war to secure rights as “unalienable” — inseparable gifts from God. Then the Founders ratified a Constitution that protected — not “gave” — the rights Americans already possessed from God. The Bill of Rights was added immediately afterward — not to dole out rights, but — to limit the Federal government and prevent it from infringing on rights the people already possessed.

Politicians in both parties running Washington today have flouted this self-evident truth at least since the September 11 attacks under the excuse that we are “at war” (even though Congress explicitly rejected a declaration of war). Their argument is based on the false premise that government “gives” rights to people, leading to the false conclusion that if people clothed with government authority dislike some people with a certain threshold of intensity, then those people probably ought not to be “given” rights. It is an argument as much marked by an openly atheistic worldview as it is one that quickly turns to brutality and an end to all law. The Bush administration's declaration that foreign detainees in this undeclared war (Note: The Constitution requires only Congress can declare war) have no rights led to the assassination of Americans without trial in a matter of months after the September 11 attacks. The lesson of the last few years is that political leaders cannot take away the rights of some people without endangering the rights of everyone.

The fact that only three Americans remain on the CIA assassination list ought not to comfort alert Americans. If the CIA has the right to kill three Americans without trial, then in principle it has the right to assassinate three million Americans without trial. Nor should the fact that these Americans happened to be abroad while targeted provide any sense of security that our rights won't be violated while residing within our own country. Mere geographical location is no protection against a government that refuses to respect rights, as American citizen Jose Padilla discovered when he was taken into custody in Chicago's O'Hare Airport in 2002. Without the principle of the Constitution and its limits on the federal government, Americans and their inalienable rights and freedoms remain in a kind of peril that no terrorist could ever create.

See also: Presidential assassinations of U.S. citizens
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article24516.htm


Offline bigron

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On the claimed "war exception" to the Constitution

by Glenn Greenwald

http://uruknet.com/index.php?p=m62927&hd=&size=1&l=e

February 4, 2010

Last week, I wrote about a revelation buried in a Washington Post article by Dana Priest which described how the Obama administration has adopted the Bush policy of targeting selected American citizens for assassination if they are deemed (by the Executive Branch) to be Terrorists.  As The Washington Times' Eli Lake reports, Adm. Dennis Blair was asked about this program at a Congressional hearing yesterday and he acknowledged its existence:


The U.S. intelligence community policy on killing American citizens who have joined al Qaeda requires first obtaining high-level government approval, a senior official disclosed to Congress on Wednesday.

Director of National Intelligence Dennis C. Blair said in each case a decision to use lethal force against a U.S. citizen must get special permission. . . .

He also said there are criteria that must be met to authorize the killing of a U.S. citizen that include "whether that American is involved in a group that is trying to attack us, whether that American is a threat to other Americans. Those are the factors involved."

Although Blair emphasized that it requires "special permission" before an American citizen can be placed on the assassination list, consider from whom that "permission" is obtained:  the President, or someone else under his authority within the Executive Branch.  There are no outside checks or limits at all on how these "factors" are weighed.  In last week's post, I wrote about all the reasons why it's so dangerous -- as well as both legally and Consitutionally dubious -- to allow the President to kill American citizens not on an active battlefield during combat, but while they are sleeping, sitting with their families in their home, walking on the street, etc.  That's basically giving the President the power to impose death sentences on his own citizens without any charges or trial.  Who could possibly support that?

But even if you're someone who does want the President to have the power to order American citizens killed without a trial by decreeing that they are Terrorists (and it's worth remembering that if you advocate that power, it's going to be vested in all Presidents, not just the ones who are as Nice, Good, Kind-Hearted and Trustworthy as Barack Obama), shouldn't there at least be some judicial approval required?  Do we really want the President to be able to make this decision unilaterally and without outside checks?  Remember when many Democrats were horrified (or at least when they purported to be) at the idea that Bush was merely eavesdropping on American citizens without judicial approval?  Shouldn't we be at least as concerned about the President's being able to assassinate Americans without judicial oversight?  That seems much more Draconian to me.

It would be perverse in the extreme, but wouldn't it be preferable to at least require the President to demonstrate to a court that probable cause exists to warrant the assassination of an American citizen before the President should be allowed to order it?  That would basically mean that courts would issue "assassination warrants" or "murder warrants" -- a repugnant idea given that they're tantamount to imposing the death sentence without a trial -- but isn't that minimal safeguard preferable to allowing the President unchecked authority to do it on his own, the very power he has now claimed for himself?  And if the Fifth Amendment's explicit guarantee -- that one shall not be deprived of life without due process -- does not prohibit the U.S. Government from assassinating you without any process, what exactly does it prohibit?  Noting Scott Brown's campaign to deny accused Terrorists access to lawyers and a real trial, Adam Serwer wrote: 


This is the new normal for Republicans: You can be denied rights not through due process of law but merely based on the nature of the crime you are suspected of committing.

That's absolutely true, but that also perfectly describes this assassination program -- as well as a whole host of other now-Democratic policies, from indefinite detention to denial of civilian trials.

* * * * *

The severe dangers of vesting assassination powers in the President are so glaring that even GOP Rep. Pete Hoekstra is able to see them (at least he is now that there's a Democratic President).  At yesterday's hearing, Hoekstra asked Adm. Blair about the threat that the President might order Americans killed due to their Constitutionally protected political speech rather than because they were actually engaged in Terrorism.  This concern is not an abstract one.  The current controversy has been triggered by the Obama administration's attempt to kill U.S. citizen Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen.  But al-Awlaki has not been accused (let alone convicted) of trying to attack Americans.  Instead, he's accused of being a so-called "radical cleric" who supports Al Qaeda and now provides "encouragement" to others to engage in attacks --  a charge al-Awlaki's family vehemently denies (al-Awlaki himself is in hiding due to fear that his own Government will assassinate him).

The question of where First Amendment-protected radical advocacy ends and criminality begins is exactly the sort of question with which courts have long grappled.  In the 1969 case of Brandenburg v. Ohio, the Supreme Court unanimously reversed a criminal conviction of a Ku Klux Klan leader who -- surrounded by hooded indivduals holding weapons -- gave a speech threatening "revengeance" against any government official who "continues to suppress the white, Caucasian race."  The Court held that the First Amendment protects advocacy of violence and revolution, and that the State is barred from punishing citizens for the expression of such views.  The Brandenburg Court pointed to a long history of precedent protecting the First Amendment rights of Communists to call for revolution -- even violent revolution -- inside the U.S., and explained that the Government can punish someone for violent actions but not for speech that merely advocates or justifies violence (emphasis added):


As we [395 U.S. 444, 448] said in Noto v. United States, 367 U.S. 290, 297 -298 (1961), "the mere abstract teaching . . . of the moral propriety or even moral necessity for a resort to force and violence, is not the same as preparing a group for violent action and steeling it to such action." See also Herndon v. Lowry, 301 U.S. 242, 259 -261 (1937); Bond v. Floyd, 385 U.S. 116, 134 (1966). A statute which fails to draw this distinction impermissibly intrudes upon the freedoms guaranteed by the First and Fourteenth Amendments. It sweeps within its condemnation speech which our Constitution has immunized from governmental control.

From all appearances, al-Awlaki seems to believe that violence by Muslims against the U.S. is justified in retaliation for the violence the U.S. has long brought (and continues to bring) to the Muslim world.  But as an American citizen, he has the absolute Constitutional right to express those views and not be punished for them (let alone killed) no matter where he is in the world; it's far from clear that he has transgressed the advocacy line into violent action.  Obviously, there are those who justify such assassination powers on the ground that radical Islam is a grave threat, but that is what is always said to justify Constitutional abridgements (it was obviously said of Communists and war critics during World War I).  Indeed, in light of episodes like the Timothy McVeigh bombing and the various attacks on abortion clinics, shouldn't those who want the President to be able to assassinate American "radical clerics" without a trial also support the President's targeting of Americans who advocate extremism or violence from a far right or extremist Christian perspective?  What's the principle that allows one but not the other?

In response to these concerns, Admiral Blair said yesterday:  "We don't target people for free speech. We target them for taking action that threatens Americans or has resulted in it."  But the U.S. Government -- like all governments -- has a long history of viewing "free speech" as a violent threat or even Terrorism.  That's why this is exactly the type of question that is typically -- and is intended to be -- resolved by courts, according the citizen due process, not by the President acting alone.  That's especially true if the death penalty is to be imposed. 

But Obama's presidential assassination policy completely short-circuits that process.  It literally makes Barack Obama the judge, jury and executioner even of American citizens. Beyond its specific application, it is yet another step -- a rather major one -- towards abandoning our basic system of checks and balances in the name of Terrorism and War.

* * * * *

That last point is the most important one here.  Atrios wrote the other day that a central prong in the Washington consensus is that "all it takes to nullify the constitution is to call someone a terraist."  That's absolutely true, but a close corollary is that merely uttering the word "war" justifies the same thing.  That's particularly dangerous given that, by all accounts, this is a so-called "war" that will not end for a generation, if ever.  To justify the abridgment or even suspension of the Constitution on the ground of "war" is to advocate serious alterations to our Constitutional framework that are more or less permanent.  Several points about that "war" excuse:

First, there's no "war exception" in the Constitution.  Even with real wars -- i.e., those involving combat between opposing armies -- the Constitution actually continues to constrain what government officials can do, most stringently as it concerns U.S. citizens.  Second, strictly speaking, we're not really "at war," as Congress has merely authorized the use of military force but has not formally or Constitutionally declared war.  Even the Bush administration conceded that this is a vital difference when it comes to legal rights.  In 2006, the Bush DOJ insisted that the wartime provision of FISA -- allowing the Government to eavesdrop for up to 15 days without a warrant -- didn't apply because Congress only enacted an AUMF, not a declaration of war (click image to enlarge):

 http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_MnYI3_FRbbQ/S2q81TQJ5LI/AAAAAAAACS4/ijxW4Jj6NMo/s1600/war1.png

The Bush DOJ went on to explain that declarations of war trigger a whole variety of legal effects (such as terminating diplomatic relations and abrogating or suspending treaty obligations) which AUMFs do not trigger (see p. 27).  To authorize military force is not to declare war.  Finally, the U.S. is fighting numerous undeclared wars, including ones involving military action:  given that our "War on Drugs" continues to rage, should the U.S. Government be able to target accused "drug kingpins" for assassination without a trial, the way we attempted to do in Afghanistan?  After all, Terrorists blow up airplanes but Drug Kingpins kill our kids!!!  The mindset that cheers for unlimited Presidential powers in the name of "war" invariably leads to exactly these sorts of expansions.

Far beyond the specific injustices of assassinating Americans without trials, the real significance, the real danger, is that we continue to be frightened into radically altering our system of government.  In Slate yesterday, Dahlia Lithwick encapsulated this problem perfectly; her whole article should be read, but this excerpt is superb:


America has slid back again into its own special brand of terrorism-derangement syndrome. Each time this condition recurs, it presents with more acute and puzzling symptoms. . . .

Moreover, each time Republicans go to their terrorism crazy-place, they go just a little bit farther than they did the last time, so that things that made us feel safe last year make us feel vulnerable today. . . . In short, what was once tough on terror is now soft on terror. And each time the Republicans move their own crazy-place goal posts, the Obama administration moves right along with them. . . .

We're terrified when a terror attack happens, and we're also terrified when it's thwarted. We're terrified when we give terrorists trials, and we're terrified when we warehouse them at Guantanamo without trials. If a terrorist cooperates without being tortured we complain about how much more he would have cooperated if he hadn't been read his rights. No matter how tough we've been on terror, we will never feel safe enough to ask for fewer safeguards. . . .

But here's the paradox: It's not a terrorist's time bomb that's ticking. It's us. Since 9/11, we have become ever more willing to suspend basic protections and more contemptuous of American traditions and institutions. The failed Christmas bombing and its political aftermath have revealed that the terrorists have changed very little in the eight-plus years since the World Trade Center fell. What's changing -- what's slowly ticking its way down to zero -- is our own certainty that we can never be safe enough and our own confidence in the rule of law.

This descent has certainly not reversed itself -- it has not really even slowed -- with the election of a President who repeatedly vowed to reject this mentality.  Just consider what Al Gore said in his truly excellent 2006 speech decrying the "Constitutional crisis" under the Bush presidency:


Can it be true that any president really has such powers under our Constitution?

If the answer is yes, then under the theory by which these acts are committed, are there any acts that can on their face be prohibited?

If the president has the inherent authority to eavesdrop on American citizens without a warrant, imprison American citizens on his own declaration, kidnap and torture, then what can't he do?


Here we are, almost four years later with a new party in power, and the President's top intelligence official announces -- without any real controversy -- that the President claims the power to assassinate American citizens with no charges, no trials, no judicial oversight of any kind.  The claimed power isn't "inherent" -- it's based on alleged Congressional approval -- but it's safeguard-free and due-process-free just the same.  As Gore asked of less severe policies in 2006, if the President can do that, "then what can't he do?"  As long as we stay petrified of the Terrorists and wholly submissive whenever the word "war" is uttered, the answer will continue to be:  "nothing."  We'll have Presidents now and then who are marginally more restrained than others -- as the current President is marginally more restrained than the prior one -- but what Lithwick calls our "willingness to suspend basic protections and become more contemptuous of American traditions and institutions" will continue unabated.



 

Offline winthorp

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Offline bigron

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Published on Friday, February 5, 2010 by Inter Press Service

Legal Experts Slam "Targeted Killings" of US Citizens

by William Fisher

NEW YORK - Civil liberties advocates and legal authorities struck back Friday at what they describe as the "deliberate targeted killing of U.S. citizens far away from any active hostilities, as long as the executive branch determines unilaterally that they meet a secret definition of who the enemy is."

In an admission that took the intelligence community and its critics by surprise, Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair acknowledged in a congressional hearing Wednesday that the U.S. may, with executive approval, deliberately target and kill U.S. citizens who are suspected of being involved in terrorism.

The American Civil Liberties Union is among those expressing serious concern about the lack of public information about the policy and the potential for abuse of unchecked executive power.

Attorney George Brent Mickum, who has defended a number of Guantanamo Bay detainees, told IPS, "I guess my sense is that it's just more fear mongering. They kill somebody and don't need to offer any justification."

"We have killed thousands of innocent civilians while attempting to target alleged operatives. And let us not forget how frequently our intelligence has been wrong about alleged operatives," Mickum noted.

He added, "My clients Bisher al Rawi, Jamil el-Banna, Martin Mubanga, abu Zubaydah, and Shaker Aamer all are alleged to have been operatives based on intel. In every case that intel was incorrect. I don't have any expectation that our intel with respect to alleged American operatives is likely to be any better."

Another constitutional scholar, Professor Francis A. Boyle of the University of Illinois Law School, told IPS that "this extrajudicial execution of human beings" violates both international human rights law and the fifth amendment of the U.S. constitution.

"The U.S. government has now established a 'death list' for U.S. citizens abroad akin to those established by Latin American dictatorships during their so-called dirty wars," he said.

The human rights advocacy community was equally forceful in its pushback. Daphne Eviatar, an attorney with Human Rights First, told IPS, "The short answer is that combatants can be targeted and civilians cannot under international law. Their citizenship isn't relevant. But just being a 'suspected terrorist' doesn't necessarily mean they're a combatant."

She added, "The key question, and where there may be serious disagreement, is whether the person targeted is 'directly participating in hostilities'. If not, and they're targeted, it's a war crime."

Chip Pitts, president of the Bill of Rights Defence Committee, told IPS, "As with its embrace of the [George W.] Bush approach to indefinite detention, the Obama administration's even greater reliance on targeted extra-judicial killing - including of U.S. citizens - is a tragic legal, moral, and practical mistake."

"Even for those who accept the legitimacy of the death penalty, this further undermines the rule of law that is our best weapon in the fight against true terrorists, while completely subverting due process and constitutional rights of U.S. citizens," he said.

Ben Wizner, staff attorney with the ACLU National Security Project, said, "It is alarming to hear that the Obama administration is asserting that the president can authorise the assassination of Americans abroad, even if they are far from any battlefield and may have never taken up arms against the U.S., but have only been deemed to constitute an unspecified 'threat.'"

Testifying before the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee, Blair said, "We take direct action against terrorists in the intelligence community."

He said U.S. counterterrorism officials may try to kill U.S. citizens embroiled in extremist groups overseas with "specific permission" from higher up.

In response to questions from the panel's top Republican, Rep. Pete Hoekstra of Michigan, Blair said, if "we think that direct action will involve killing an American, we get specific permission to do that."

Blair's remarks followed a Washington Post article reporting that U.S. President Barack Obama had embraced his predecessor's policy of authorising the killing of U.S. citizens involved in terrorist activities overseas.

The Post reported that "After the Sep. 11, 2001, attacks, Bush gave the CIA, and later the military, authority to kill U.S. citizens abroad if strong evidence existed that an American was involved in organizing or carrying out terrorist actions against the United States or U.S. interests, military and intelligence officials said. The evidence has to meet a certain, defined threshold. The person, for example, has to pose 'a continuing and imminent threat' to U.S. persons and interests."

The Obama administration appears to have adopted exactly the same policy as its predecessor.

The Post, citing anonymous U.S. officials, said the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and Joint Special Operations Command have three U.S. citizens on their lists of specific people targeted for killing or capture.

Blair said he was offering such unusually detailed information in public because "I just don't want other Americans who are watching to think that we are careless."

Blair didn't specifically articulate the standards he used, saying only that "We don't target people for free speech. We target them for taking action that threatens Americans."

Hoekstra cited an incident in 2001 in which Peru's air force shot down a plane carrying U.S. missionaries, killing a woman and her seven-month-old daughter, after the aircraft was misidentified as a drug-smuggler.

"We were careless and we were reckless," Blair replied. "I want to make sure that this committee does everything that it can and within its power that it does not allow the community to be reckless and careless again."

The Washington Post story, by Pulitzer Prize-winner Dana Priest, revealed that, "In November 2002, a CIA missile strike killed six al Qaeda operatives driving through the desert. The target was Abu Ali al-Harithi, organiser of the 2000 attack on the USS Cole. Killed with him was a U.S. citizen, Kamal Derwish, who the CIA knew was in the car."

The article says, "Word that the CIA had purposefully killed Derwish drew attention to the unconventional nature of the new conflict and to the secret legal deliberations over whether killing a U.S. citizen was legal and ethical."

© 2010 IPS North America

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Offline bigron

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 5, 2010
4:12 PM
 CONTACT: Congressman Dennis Kucinich [1]
Nathan White [2] (202)225-5871
 

Kucinich Challenges Potential Extrajudicial Killing of Americans


WASHINGTON - February 5 - Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) yesterday wrote to Attorney General Eric Holder following news reports that Americans have been included on targeted assassination lists maintained by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC). The reports indicate that the President has authorized military operations with the express understanding that Americans might be killed under this policy.  In the letter, Kucinich requests the legal basis for revoking the constitutional rights of any American citizens.



“Due process of law is a fundamental principle in our Constitutional structure. Even the most superficial reading of Article XIV makes it clear that extrajudicial killings of U.S. citizens by the U.S. government or its agents are by definition outside the law,” wrote Kucinich.


“The government has the right and the obligation to protect the citizens of this country. However, I reject the notion that we can accomplish this goal only by violating international law and trampling on the Constitution.  Protecting the constitutional rights of some citizens should not require revoking the constitutional rights of other citizens,” said Kucinich in the letter.


Read the full letter here [3].
http://http//kucinich.house.gov/UploadedFiles/Ltr._to_Holder_Targeted_Assassinations_02-04-2010.pdf

 

###


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Offline bigron

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Friday, Feb 5, 2010 04:06 EST
http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2010/02/05/lynch_mobs/index.html

The lynch-mob mentality

By Glenn Greenwald




If I had the power to have one statement of fact be universally recognized in our political discussions, it would be this one:


The fact that the Government labels Person X a "Terrorist" is not proof that Person X is, in fact, a Terrorist.


That proposition should be intrinsically understood by any American who completed sixth grade civics and was thus taught that a central prong of our political system is that government officials often abuse their power and/or err and therefore must prove accusations to be true (with tested evidence) before they're assumed to be true and the person punished accordingly.  In particular, the fact that the U.S. Government, over and over, has falsely accused numerous people of being Terrorists -- only for it to turn out that they did nothing wrong -- by itself should compel a recognition of this truth.  But it doesn't. 

All throughout the Bush years, no matter what one objected to -- illegal eavesdropping, torture, rendition, indefinite detention, denial of civilian trials -- the response from Bush followers was the same:  "But these are Terrorists, and Terrorists have no rights, so who cares what is done to them?"  What they actually meant was:  "the Government has claimed they are Terrorists," but in their minds, that was the same thing as:  "they are Terrorists."  They recognized no distinction between "a government accusation" and "unchallengeable truth"; in the authoritarian's mind, by definition, those are synonymous.  The whole point of the Bush-era controversies was that -- away from an actual battlefield and where the Constitution applies (on U.S. soil and/or towards American citizens wherever they are) -- the Government should have to demonstrate someone's guilt before it's assumed (e.g., they should have to show probable cause to a court and obtain warrants before eavesdropping; they should have to offer evidence that a person engaged in Terrorism before locking them in a cage, etc.).  But to someone who equates unproven government accusations with proof, those processes are entirely unnecessary.  Even in the absence of those processes, they already know that these persons are Terrorists.  How do they know that?  Because the Government said so.  Even when it comes to their fellow citizens, that's all the "proof" that is needed.

That authoritarian mentality is stronger than ever now.  Why?  Because unlike during the Bush years, when it was primarily Republicans willing to blindly trust Government accusations, many Democrats are now willing to do so as well.  Just look at the reaction to the Government's recent attempts to assassinate the U.S.-born American citizen and Islamic cleric Anwar al-Awlaki.  Up until last November, virtually no Americans had ever even heard of al-Awlaki.  But in the past few months, beginning with the Fort Hood shootings, government officials have repeatedly claimed that he's a Terrorist:  usually anonymously, with virtually no evidence, and in the face of al-Awlaki's vehement denials but without any opportunity for him to defend himself (because he's in hiding out of fear of being killed by his own Government).  The Government can literally just flash someone's face on the TV screen with the word Terrorist over it (as was done with al-Awlaki), and provided the face is nefarious and Muslim-looking enough (basically the same thing), nothing else need be offered.

That's enough for many people -- including many Democrats -- to march forward overnight and mindlessly proclaim that al-Awlaki is "a declared enemy of the United States working to kill Americans" (if you can stomach it, read some of these comments -- from Obama defenders at a liberal blog -- with several sounding exactly like Dick Cheney, screeching:  "Of course al-Awlaki should be killed without charges; he's a Terrorist who is trying to kill Americans!!!").  Even now, beyond government assertions about his associations, the public knows virtually nothing about al-Awlaki other than the fact that he's a Muslim cleric with a Muslim name dressed in Muslim garb, sitting in a Bad Arab Country expressing anger towards the actions of the U.S. and Israel.  But no matter.  That's more than enough.  They're willing not only to mindlessly embrace the Government's unproven accusation that their fellow citizen is a TERRORIST ("a declared enemy of the United States working to kill Americans"), but even beyond that, to cheer for his due-process-free execution like drunken fans at a football game.  And the same people declare:  no civilian trials are necessary for Terrorists (meaning:  people accused by the Government of being Terrorists).  Even more amazingly, the identities of the other Americans on the hit list aren't even known, but that's OK:  they're Terrorists, because the Government said so.

A very long time ago, I would be baffled when I'd read about things like the Salem witch hunts.  How could so many people be collectively worked up into that level of irrational frenzy, where they cheered for people's torturous death as "witches" without any real due process or meaningful evidence?  But all one has to do is look at our current Terrorism debates and it's easy to see how things like that happen.  It's just pure mob mentality:  an authority figure appears and affixes a demonizing Other label to someone's forehead, and the adoring crowd -- frothing-at-the-mouth and feeding on each other's hatred, fears and desire to be lead -- demands "justice."  I imagine that if one could travel back in time to the Salem era in order to speak with some of those gathered outside an accused witch's home, screaming for her to be killed, the conversation would go something like this:


Mob Participant:  Hang the Witch!!!  Kill her!!!

Far Left Civil Liberties Extremist-Purist ("FLCLE-P"):  How do you know she's a witch?

Mob Participant:  Didn't you just hear the government official say so?

FLCLE-P:  But don't you want to see real evidence before you assume that's true and call for her death?

Mob Participant:  You just heard the evidence!  The magistrate said she's a witch!

FLCLE-P:  But shouldn't there be a real trial first, with tangible evidence and due process protections, to see if the accusation is actually true?

Mob Participant:  A "real" trial?  She's a witch!  She's trying to curse us and kill us all.  She got more than what she deserved.  Witches don't have rights!!!



Return to Question 1.


That's essentially how I hear our debates over Terrorism, and how I've heard them for quite some time.  And it's how I hear them more loudly now than ever before.  And with those deeply confused premises now locked into place on a bipartisan basis ("no trials are needed to determine if someone is a Terrorist because Terrorists don't have rights"), imagine how much louder that will get if there is another successful terrorist attack in the U.S.  But in fairness to the 17th Century Puritans, at least the Salem witches received pretenses of due process and even trials (albeit with coerced confessions and speculative hearsay).  Even when it comes to our fellow citizens, we don't even bother with those.  For us, the mere accusation by our leaders is sufficient:  Kill that American Terrorist with a drone!

 

UPDATE:  A long-time, regular commenter here, Jestaplero, is a state prosecutor in New York, and he explains -- in this comment -- how the mentality discussed here can and does easily expand beyond the realm of Terrorism.

Interestingly, even Allahpundit at Michelle Malkin's Hot Air recognizes the serious dangers in allowing the Government to decree even U.S. citizens to be "Terrorists" and then treat them accordingly, with no due process.  But note how his right-wing commenters are almost exclusively of the "just-kill-him" school of thought, and how identical they sound to that minority of Daily Kos commenters I linked above who, in their blind loyalty to Obama, also insist that there's nothing wrong with simply snuffing out the lives of their fellow citizens who are "Terrorists" (meaning:  anyone their Leader claims is a Terrorist) with no due process or oversight whatsoever.  Ultimately, authoritarians are authoritarians, regardless of whether they situate themselves on the left or right.

Offline Dig

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I have a question to DNI...

Does the assassination system include coverups of the assassinations and media control of the coverups?

Does the coverup system allow for executing whistleblowers who tell the truth?

So in effect, does the system allow for the extermination of masses of American citizenry who are just telling the truth and the deception of the nature of their exterminations?

HOW THE F*CK IS THAT PIECE OF SHIT NOT FIRED AND BEING TRIED FOR CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY?

WHAT A SICK SICK SICK FREAK PSYCHO FROM HELL!

All eyes are opened, or opening, to the rights of man. The general spread of the light of science has already laid open to every view the palpable truth, that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately

Offline chris jones

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In response to these concerns, Admiral Blair said yesterday:  "We don't target people for free speech. We target them for taking action that threatens Americans or has resulted in it."  But the U.S. Government -- like all governments -- has a long history of viewing "free speech" as a violent threat or even Terrorism.  That's why this is exactly the type of question that is typically -- and is intended to be -- resolved by courts, according the citizen due process, not by the President acting alone.  That's especially true if the death penalty is to be imposed. 

But Obama's presidential assassination policy completely short-circuits that process.  It literally makes Barack Obama the judge, jury and executioner even of American citizens. Beyond its specific application, it is yet another step -- a rather major one -- towards abandoning our basic system of checks and balances in the name of Terrorism and War.

* * * * *

That last point is the most important one here.  Atrios wrote the other day that a central prong in the Washington consensus is that "all it takes to nullify the constitution is to call someone a terraist."  That's absolutely true, but a close corollary is that merely uttering the word "war" justifies the same thing.  That's particularly dangerous given that, by all accounts, this is a so-called "war" that will not end for a generation, if ever.  To justify the abridgment or even suspension of the Constitution on the ground of "war" is to advocate serious alterations to our Constitutional framework that are more or less permanent.  Several points about that "war" excuse:

First, there's no "war exception" in the Constitution.  Even with real wars -- i.e., those involving combat between opposing armies -- the Constitution actually continues to constrain what government officials can do, most stringently as it concerns U.S. citizens.  Second, strictly speaking, we're not really "at war," as Congress has merely authorized the use of military force but has not formally or Constitutionally declared war.  Even the Bush administration conceded that this is a vital difference when it comes to legal rights.  In 2006, the Bush DOJ insisted that the wartime provision of FISA -- allowing the Government to eavesdrop for up to 15 days without a warrant -- didn't apply because Congress only enacted an AUMF, not a declaration of war (click image to enlarge):

 

The Bush DOJ went on to explain that declarations of war trigger a whole variety of legal effects (such as terminating diplomatic relations and abrogating or suspending treaty obligations) which AUMFs do not trigger (see p. 27).  To authorize military force is not to declare war.  Finally, the U.S. is fighting numerous undeclared wars, including ones involving military action:  given that our "War on Drugs" continues to rage, should the U.S. Government be able to target accused "drug kingpins" for assassination without a trial, the way we attempted to do in Afghanistan?  After all, Terrorists blow up airplanes but Drug Kingpins kill our kids!!!  The mindset that cheers for unlimited Presidential powers in the name of "war" invariably leads to exactly these sorts of expansions.

Far beyond the specific injustices of assassinating Americans without trials, the real significance, the real danger, is that we continue to be frightened into radically altering our system of government.  In Slate yesterday, Dahlia Lithwick encapsulated this problem perfectly; her whole article should be read, but this excerpt is superb:
The regime and their elite pals have slipped in every possible bill that will bring the citizenry of this nation to their knees.


Offline trailhound

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We have known this for years but this is an abc coming out party. Sadly it still hasnt sunk in to the average american yet. :( They're still poking around in caves.

NO CHARGES, NO TRIAL, NO JURY OF YOUR PEERS   JUST DOUBLE TAP TO THE BACK OF THE HEAD, AMERIKA

Assassinating non-Americans is just as illegal as assassinating Americans. The leap here is not to victims of a different citizenship but to the legalization of murder.

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Offline Cywar

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We have known this for years but this is an abc coming out party. Sadly it still hasnt sunk in to the average american yet. :( They're still poking around in caves.

NO CHARGES, NO TRIAL, NO JURY OF YOUR PEERS   JUST DOUBLE TAP TO THE BACK OF THE HEAD, AMERIKA

Assassinating non-Americans is just as illegal as assassinating Americans. The leap here is not to victims of a different citizenship but to the legalization of murder.

yep
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Offline fireflyblue711

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NO CHARGES, NO TRIAL, NO JURY OF YOUR PEERS   JUST DOUBLE TAP TO THE BACK OF THE HEAD, AMERIKA

Assassinating non-Americans is just as illegal as assassinating Americans. The leap here is not to victims of a different citizenship but to the legalization of murder.

excellent point! I didn't read into this way - but you are so right - just read it that the author wrote this ..but still the most important idea to grasp about this new "news" ::)

Offline bigron

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Terror 'death lists' target Americans 

12/02/2010 06:00:00 AM GMT
http://aljazeera.com/news/articles/39/Terror-death-lists-target-Americans.html
 
 Raising troubling comparisons to tactics employed by Josef Stalin and right-wing Latin American dictatorships, the U.S. gov't has created a 'hit list' of Americans abroad marked for murder.

The U.S. gov't has created a 'hit list' of Americans abroad marked for murder.

By Sherwood Ross

Raising troubling comparisons to tactics employed by Josef Stalin and right-wing Latin American dictatorships, the U.S. government has created a “hit list” of Americans abroad marked for murder.

Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair told a House Intelligence Committee hearing on Feb. 3 the U.S. may, with executive approval, target and kill American terrorist suspects, Inter Press News Service reported.

”We take direct action against terrorists in the intelligence community,” he said.

Blair added that U.S. counterterrorism officials may try to kill U.S. citizens involved in terrorism overseas with ”specific permission” from higher up.

In response to questions from the panel's top Republican, Rep. Pete Hoekstra of Michigan, Blair said, if ”we think that direct action will involve killing an American, we get specific permission to do that.”

Blair’s statement recalls the policies of Soviet Russia’s secret police, who often murdered those who fled Stalin’s tyranny. Red Army founder Leon Trotsky, for example, was tracked to Mexico by a Soviet agent who killed him with an ice pick.

Blair's remarks followed a Washington Post article reporting that President Barack Obama had embraced President George W. Bush’s policy of authorizing the killing of U.S. citizens involved in terrorist activities overseas.

The Post reported: “After the Sep. 11, 2001, attacks, Bush gave the CIA, and later the military, authority to kill U.S. citizens abroad if strong evidence existed that an American was involved in organizing or carrying out terrorist actions against the United States or U.S. interests, military and intelligence officials said.

“The evidence has to meet a certain, defined threshold. The person, for example, has to pose 'a continuing and imminent threat' to U.S. persons and interests.”

Daphne Eviatar, an attorney with Human Rights First, told Inter Press, “The short answer is that combatants can be targeted and civilians cannot under international law. Their citizenship isn't relevant. But just being a 'suspected terrorist' doesn't necessarily mean they're a combatant.”

She added, “The key question, and where there may be serious disagreement, is whether the person targeted is 'directly participating in hostilities.' If not, and they're targeted, it's a war crime.”

Ben Wizner, staff attorney with the ACLU National Security Project, said, ”It is alarming to hear that the Obama administration is asserting that the president can authorize the assassination of Americans abroad, even if they are far from any battlefield and may have never taken up arms against the U.S. , but have only been deemed to constitute an unspecified 'threat.'”

Attorney George Brent Mickum, an American lawyer who has defended a number of Guantanamo Bay detainees, told Inter Press, “I guess my sense is that it's just more fear mongering. They kill somebody and don't need to offer any justification.”

”We have killed thousands of innocent civilians while attempting to target alleged operatives,” Mickum said. “And let us not forget how frequently our intelligence has been wrong about alleged operatives.”

“My clients Bisher al Rawi, Jamil el-Banna, Martin Mubanga, abu Zubaydah, and Shaker Aamer all are alleged to have been operatives based on intel. In every case that intel was incorrect,” Mickum told Inter Press. “I don't have any expectation that our intel with respect to alleged American operatives is likely to be any better.”

Other experts on international law were outraged, too.

“This extrajudicial execution of human beings constitutes a grave violation of international human rights law and, under certain circumstances, can also constitute a war crime under the Four Geneva Conventions of 1949,” said Francis Boyle, University of Illinois professor of international law at Champaign.

“In addition, the extrajudicial execution of U.S. citizens by the United States government also violates the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution mandating that no person "be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law."

Boyle said, “The U.S. Government has now established a ‘death list’ for U.S. citizens abroad akin to those established by Latin American dictatorships during their so-called ‘dirty wars.’”

He claimed President Bush “reduced the United States of America to a Banana Republic waging a ‘dirty war’ around the world in gross violation of international law, human rights law, and the laws of war. It is only a matter of time before the United States government will establish a similar ‘death list’ targeting U.S. citizens living here at home.”

Boyle added that, “As someone who used to teach Constitutional law, President Obama knows better.”

Boyle, a leading U.S. authority in international law, drafted the Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act of 1989 for the U.S. He is the author of a number of books in his field, including Destroying World Order.

Chip Pitts, president of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee, told Inter Press, “As with its embrace of the [George W.] Bush approach to indefinite detention, the Obama administration's even greater reliance on targeted extrajudicial killing - including of U.S. citizens - is a tragic legal, moral, and practical mistake.”

”Even for those who accept the legitimacy of the death penalty,” Pitts continued, “this further undermines the rule of law that is our best weapon in the fight against true terrorists, while completely subverting due process and constitutional rights of U.S. citizens.”

-- Sherwood Ross is a Miami-based columnist who writes on world events. Ross formerly worked for the Chicago Daily News and wire services. Reach him at [email protected]. Basic reporting for this article came from Inter Press News Service of Rome.




-- Middle East Online