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TOPIC: A President who justifies secret drone killings of Americans can justify anything

A President who justifies secret drone killings of Americans can justify anything 07 Feb 2013 01:50 #1

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www.naturalnews.com/038969_drone_strikes_President_rule_of_law.html

Beware: A President who justifies secret drone killings of Americans can justify anything

The U.S. Justice Department has just released a 16-page memo outlining its justification for why President Obama can order drone killings of American citizens. The paper is a wild tour of bizarro-land justifications from a government that no longer abides by any Constitutional limits or even principles of human rights.

As NBC News frighteningly reports:

A confidential Justice Department memo concludes that the U.S. government can order the killing of American citizens if they are believed to be "senior operational leaders" of al-Qaida or "an associated force" -- even if there is no intelligence indicating they are engaged in an active plot to attack the U.S.

White House press secretary Jay Carney, the mouthpiece of tyranny and lawlessness in America today, added that "These strikes are legal, they are ethical and they are wise." (FreeBeacon.com)

Thus, the idea that an American citizen receives a trial by jury, a defense attorney, due process of law and an ability to face his accusers is utterly thrown out the window. What this memo essentially "legalizes" is the ability of the U.S. President to simply order the murder of anyone he names. No law needs to be followed. No arguments offered. There does not even need to be a single shred of evidence that this person has violated any law whatsoever. The decision process takes place in total secrecy and is not subject to judicial review of any kind.

The President has become a dictator

There's no other way to say it: This is tyranny. A President who has the power to kill anyone he wishes, completely outside of law and the Constitution, is a dictatorial tyrant. He is a "king." This is precisely the kind of thing our Founding Fathers fought against in breaking away from the King of England. Our ancestors were fed up with secret trials, secret executions, secret court proceedings and suffering under the whims of one man whose power was completely unchecked.

"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," writes constitutional lawyer Glenn Greenwald. He goes on to explain:

The memo isn't justifying the due-process-free execution of senior al-Qaida leaders who pose an imminent threat to the US. It is justifying the due-process-free execution of people secretly accused by the president and his underlings, with no due process, of being that. The distinction between (a) government accusations and (b) proof of guilt is central to every free society, by definition, yet this memo - and those who defend Obama's assassination power - willfully ignore it.

This isn't even an Obama issue, by the way: it's an issue of the next President who comes to power, and the one after that. With this Justice Department memo, the office of the President is being granted permanent power to order the killing of any person added to a list. This power is wildly unconstitutional and illegal, yet if it remains unopposed, it is a power that will be retained by the office of the President and used by future Presidents.

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A President who justifies secret drone killings of Americans can justify anything 12 Feb 2013 01:35 #2

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kind of on the same subject... :umm:
Dianne Feinstein's Outrageous Underestimate of Civilian Drone Deaths
www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2013/02/calling-out-dianne-feinsteins-dubious-claim-on-drone-deaths/273035/

The powerful Democratic senator says that fewer than 10 civilians per year are typically killed by America's targeted killing program -- despite extensive evidence to the contrary.

As chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Dianne Feinstein bears more responsibility than anyone in America for ensuring that Congress conducts vigilant oversight of President Obama's targeted killing program. Last week, during remarks at the beginning of John Brennan's confirmation hearings, the California Democrat spoke about her desire for more transparency from the executive branch, and then made a striking claim about the number of civilians the U.S. is killing:
I've been calling for increased transparency on the use of targeted force for over a year, including the circumstances in which such force is directed against U.S. citizens and non-citizens alike. I've also been attempting to speak publicly about the very low number of civilian casualties that result from such strikes. I've been limited in my ability to do so. But for the past several years, this committee has done significant oversight of the government's conduct of targeted strikes, and the figures we have obtained from the executive branch, which we have done our utmost to verify, confirm that the number of civilian casualties that have resulted from such strikes each year has typically been in the single digits.

Feinstein is explicitly trying to assure Americans privy to less information than she is that, if they could just see the truth, they'd be relieved that so few innocent people are killed in their name. It scarcely needs to be said that it would be despicable to lie about something like that; and that spreading false information out of ignorance or lack of due diligence would be deeply irresponsible for someone in her position, as it would mislead her fellow citizens, damage public discourse, and undermine the credibility of the committee she is charged with stewarding.

Well, prepare to think less of Feinstein.

Her claim that civilian casualties have "typically been in the single digits" for "several years" was imprecise. To evaluate it charitably, let's look at the years 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012, the same span she has served as chairman. In that four-year period, do civilian casualties average no more than nine per year, or about 36 total? Are they anywhere close to that estimated figure?

Or are the civilian deaths actually much higher than that number?

Independent researchers believe that Feinstein is wrong. The Bureau of Investigative Journalism is one of several organizations that estimate deaths by drone. By their reckoning, the minimum number of civilians killed in drone strikes within Pakistan alone are 119 in 2009, 97 in 2010, 68 in 2011, and seven in 2012. That's a total of 291 civilians killed, 64 of them children. Remember, that doesn't include civilians killed by drones in Yemen or Somalia. We're just talking about strikes in Pakistan since Obama took office.

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A President who justifies secret drone killings of Americans can justify anything 12 Feb 2013 03:07 #3

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Obama plans to use military drones against American journalists, freedom activists and critics of government

President Obama plans to use military drones in the skies over the United States to assassinate journalists, patriots and critics of his administration. That's the inescapable conclusion from the emerging pattern of evidence now publicly available -- keep reading for details.

Front and center in this pattern of evidence is the 16-page memo that was just released by Obama's lawyers in the Department of Justice. This memo puts forth a "legal justification" for the President to order the drone assassination of any American citizen he names -- anytime, anywhere, for any reason. This new power claimed by the President has no basis in federal law or the Constitution. It is an invented power of absolute tyranny that puts the power to decide who lives and who dies in the hands of one man. This document essentially legalizes the President acting as a serial murderer.

It is claimed that the purpose of this new power to simply name any American the President doesn't like and immediately have them struck by a Hellfire missile launched from a drone is designed to "protect America." Yet the 16-page memo that claims to justify all this was intentionally written to include Americans on U.S. soil as potential targets.

As Judge Andrew Napolitano explained just a few days ago on Fox News:

"This 16-page white paper is written so vaguely that the logic from it could... permit the President to kill Americans here in the United States."

That's the whole point, actually. If Americans on U.S. soil were to be excluded from such drone assassinations, such language would have been made readily apparent in the memo. But no such language is found in the memo. In fact, the tone of the document quite clearly states that the President has the authority to order drone killings of U.S. citizens anywhere in the world, under any circumstances.

This legal manipulation even has U.S. Senators worried. Democrat Senator Patrick J Leahy and Senator Charles Grassley sent a letter to Obama on Friday, stating, "The deliberate killing of a United States citizen pursuant to a targeted operation authorized or aided by our government raises significant constitutional and legal concerns."

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Report: Fugitive alleged killer is target of police drone

Christopher Dorner, the homicidal former cop currently on the run from the LAPD, is a target of airborne drones on U.S. soil, an anonymous source told London's Express. A senior police source told the Express, “The thermal imaging cameras the drones use may be our only hope of finding him. On the ground, it’s like looking for a needle in a haystack.” The fugitive has already killed three people, according to police, and has a $1 million bounty on his head. Dorner, who has military training, is believed to be hiding in the wilderness of California's San Bernardino Mountains, where locating him without air support may be all but impossible.

Editor's note: This story originally included a report that customs officials had confirmed the use of drones. The LAPD has offered no confirmation (or denial) of drones in the hunt for Dorner. The Atlantic also refutes The Express' claim that Dorner is the first person on U.S. soil to be hunted by a drone. In 2011, a North Dakota county sheriff used a drone to stalk three alleged cow thieves.

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A President who justifies secret drone killings of Americans can justify anything 13 Feb 2013 01:26 #4

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To protect citizens, Texas may pass toughest anti-drone laws in America

Texas lawmakers are considering what would become the toughest anti-drone law in the nation, following revelations the Obama administration has legally justified targeting American citizens only suspected of engaging in terrorist activities with drones.

Under a measure filed by state Rep. Lance Gooden, a Republican, the bill would essentially outlaw the use of drones over Texas by individuals or by state and federal law enforcement agencies.

In an interview with San Antonio radio station WOAI, Gooden said his bill would contain exceptions but that those would be limited. For instance, it would allow drones within 25 miles of the Rio Grande river for use in interdicting drug smugglers and illegal immigrants. It would also allow use by law enforcement with a valid search or arrest warrant, with "probable cause to believe that a person has committed a felony."

"Do we want our local police departments laying off officers and simply parking drones over our homes to keep an eye on all of us?" Gooden asked.

Don't mess with Texas skies

The lawmaker's bill would also make it illegal to use any image captured with a drone in civil or criminal court proceedings.

"These drones are going to get so cheap that soon you'll be able to buy your own drone at (electronics retail chain) Best Buy," Gooden told the station. "You could park it a foot above the ground in your neighbor's back yard and film into their house. If someone wanted to film your children out playing by the pool and put that video on the Internet, as creepy as that sounds," they would be able to do so, he added.

Gooden said he is introducing his measure now, rather than five or 10 years from now when drone usage will be much more ubiquitous, because now is the time to implement laws defining and/or restricting their usage before a so-called "drone lobby" forms to protect the drone industry.

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A President who justifies secret drone killings of Americans can justify anything 25 Feb 2013 23:00 #5

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