No Court. No Trial. No Justice. You're Dead.

NBC News has obtained an official White House memo, which lays out the legal justification behind using drones for the targeted killing of American citizens abroad. Three Americans have been killed via a drone strike under the Obama Administration, including Anwar al-Awlaki, his son, and Samir Khan.

According to the document, President Obama, and other high-level administration officials, can order the killing of an American overseas if the individual is an imminent threat, incapable of being captured, and the operation is compatible with the rules of war. As far as what constitutes an “imminent threat,” the document provides an overly broad definition, arguing that even if the individual is not actively engaged in an imminent attack against America, he or she can still be considered an “imminent threat”, if they have in the past plotted to attack Americans, and remain a member of a hostile organization.

It’s doubtful this sort of legal justification could hold up to judicial scrutiny, and civil liberties groups are up in arms after the leak. Hina Shamsi, the director of the ACLU’s National Security Project, said the White House’s justification for targeted killings, “Summarizes in cold legal terms a stunning overreach of executive authority –- the claimed power to declare Americans a threat and kill them far from a recognized battlefield, and without any judicial involvement before or after the fact…hard to believe it was produced in a democracy built on a system of checks and balances.”

The man who crafted the White House’s drone policy is top adviser John Brennan. And he’s also President Obama’s nominee to head up the CIA, meaning it’s unlikely the President is having second thoughts about the drone warfare program, which has been ramped up during his presidency.

This will be the greatest national security challenge facing our nation in the coming years. We must stop the senseless robotic killings abroad, and bring back the rule of law in America.


radster63's picture
radster63 10 years 17 weeks ago

It appears that Thom needs to get his glasses checked so he can see clearly on this issue and the usage of Drones. First of all these are bad guys. The crying about killing of innocent civilians isn't the problem, the Taliban surrounds themselves by civilians instead of doing their fighting in a matter that is above a coward. So when we see white flags being waved, then we'll quit using the drones. See, isn't that easy to understand and see.

MMmmNACHOS's picture
MMmmNACHOS 10 years 17 weeks ago

"Kinky Sex"
by the; Dead Kennedy's
[Phone Rings]
Prime Ministers Office; Prime Minister speaking.
Greetings: This is the Secretary of War at the State Department of the United States.
We have a problem...
The companies want something done about this sluggish world economic situation. Profits have been running a little thin lately and we need to stimulate some growth. Now we know there's an alarmming number of young people roaming around in your country with nothing better to do but stir up trouble for the police and damage private property. It doesn't look like they will ever get a job. It's about time we did something constructive with these people. We've got thousands of them here too...They're crawling all over.
the companies think it's time we all sit down and have a serious get-together and start another war.
The President? He loves the idea! All those missles streaming over head to and fro, Napalm...People running down theroad with their skin on fire.
The soviets seem up for it: The Kremlin's been itching for the real thing for years.
Hell Afghanastans no fun...So whadaya say?
We don't even have to win this war; we just want to cut down on some of this excess population. Just start up a draft; draft as many of those people as you can. We'll call up every last youngster as we can get our hands on, hand 'em some speed, give 'em an hour or two to learn how to use an automatic rifle and send'em on their way. Libya? El Salvador? How about Northern Ireland? Or a moderatly repressive regime in South America? We'll just cook up a good Soviet threat story in the Middle East - we need that oil!
We had libya all ready to go and Colonel Khadafy's hit squad didn't even show up. I tell ya that man is unreliable.
The Kremlin had their finger on the button for that one just like we did.
Now just think for a moment- We can make this war so bit - So BIG...The more people we kill in this war, the more the economy will prosper. We can get rid of everybody on your dole queue if we plan this right. Take every loafer on wellfare right off your computer rolls. Now don't worry about demonstrations...Just pump up your drug supply. So many people have hooked themselves on heroin and amphetamines since we took over.
It's just like Vietman, we had everybody so busy with LSD they never got to strong. Kept the war functioning just fine. It's easy!!!
We've got our college kids so interested in beer they don't even care if we manufacture germ bombs again.

Put a nuclear stock pile in their back yard they wouldn't even kow what it looks like.
So how 'bout it? Look war is money. The arms manufactures tell me that unless we get our bomb factories up to full production the economy is going to collaps; the Soviets are in the same boat.
We all agree that the time has come for the big one...So whada ya say?!?
[heavy breathing over the phone]
[P.M.]; Sounds marvolous!

That's excellent. We knew you'd agree. The companies will be very pleased.

MMmmNACHOS's picture
MMmmNACHOS 10 years 17 weeks ago

Moron, Idiot, Boob, Tool, Fool, Waste Case, Jack ass, Nazi...Your mentality is a major part of the problem. You probablely trust Wall St, have a magnetic ribbon that reads Support Our Troops, a Romney 2012 sticker, and shop at Wal-Mart.
But please correct me if I am wrong.

Outback 10 years 17 weeks ago

In response to 2950-10K's comment on the use of drones being counter-productive, Palindromedary wrote "I believe that the whole purpose was not to 'win hearts and minds' but to create enemies so that they would serve as an excuse for massive military spending". This goes right to the heart of the matter. We need enemies, this time in the form of fresh red Muslim meat, to keep that war machine stoked. When it comes to filling the coffers of the oligarchs, nothing does it like a long grinding war (on someone else's turf).

AIW, in post #44 you expressed it beautifully when you said "....this is what FACISM looks like". In fact, today's US policy reflects the very definition of the word. But as one who voted for Obama in '08 but couldn't gag him down last November (voted independent as a protest), I didn't consider Obama (as opposed to Romney) to be the lesser evil. In fact, his sinister expansion of his executive powers makes him far more dangerous than GWB ever was. As someone else pointed out, he knows better. With his smooth demeanor and persuasive oratory skills he's serving the puppet masters far more effectively than a klutz like Romney ever could have, and that's why he won. If Hillary runs in 2016 and wins, it'll be more of the same. Please, folks, don't vote for these people again....

Outback 10 years 17 weeks ago

2950: I think you missed the irony. You might want to go back and read my comment again in context. I'll forgive your calling me a redneck because I like much of what you write.

MMmmNACHOS's picture
MMmmNACHOS 10 years 17 weeks ago

2950-10k...How about building windmills and solar panels???
How about writing an Energy Policy similar to that of Germany, and China? Both of those countries are a good 20+ years ahead of us in this arena.
My wife and I live in Fl. where it is sunny something like 96% of the year. Germany is sunny about 38% of the year, yet they have managed to position themselves as leaders in the Solar Technology field...Gotta love those krauts!
My wife works for a Solar Installation company. They do Solar hot water and PV for domestic and commercial. There are 6 Solar companies in the West Central Fl. area...All are busy but slow at the same time. The main reason is the lack of funding on both a Federal and State level. Last year there was only 5 million dollars for the ENTIRE STATE of Fl. Yet there is a growing demand for solar energy. However the market over the past 15 years has been trendy at best when it comes to "green" solutions; driving the price of solar up. On average it cost $45k to go off the grid; which here in Fl. F.P.L. (Florida Plunder and Loot) still charges you a small fee.
Simple solution...The government needs to write a Solar (and wind) energy policy. Apply it to excisting homes and buildings along with new construction. This will increase jobs, boost the market (if we manufacture materials ourselves) and get us up to where we need to be with Solar and Wind Energy Alternatives.
The only place on earth where solar and wind energy isn't effective is where the sun don't shine and the air is still...Not too many places like that here on planet Earth.

MMmmNACHOS's picture
MMmmNACHOS 10 years 17 weeks ago

YES!!! People stop being fools and wasting your vote on corrupt Corporate puppets. Especially when they have already proven themselves to be Corporate servants, with no concern and concideration for poor and middle class People...the 99%

Vote for what you value. Vote for Justice. Vote to dismantle the War Machine. Vote to improve our Education System. Vote for a a more Diplomatic Foreign Policy. Vote for Solar and Wind Energy policy. Vote for Universal Health Care. Vote for an increase in Minimum wage. And if there is no one who share your intrest in these areas...Then vote for yourself

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 10 years 17 weeks ago

MMmmNACHOS says "...until the American people, organize, unite, and revolt; taking a stand collectively against a corupt and murderous government...It won't matter who the puppet is, and Your vote won't mean a damn thing."

No argument there. But the problem is, they haven't. Otherwise I would have voted for Anderson or Stein.

Nachos, had you bothered to read my entries of the past two or three months, you would know that I'm fully aware who the "Puppet Masters of USA, Inc." are. Don't be so sanctimonious. - Alice I.W.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 10 years 17 weeks ago

Outback says: "If Hillary runs in 2016 and wins, it'll be more of the same. Please, folks, don't vote for these people again...."

And I agree. NO WAY am I voting for Hillary. Her support of the war in Iraq was a huge turn-off for me; ditto her performance at last year's climate summit. Next election, in all likelihood, I'll vote third party again. I'm just tired of people browbeating me over the way I voted this past election, because it is counterproductive and divisive. The irony is, we are on the same page when it comes to the issues; the disagreement is more about strategy. I don't know how or if this could be proven, but I've a hunch the majority of progressives who voted for Obama did it for strategic reasons. That aside, I really resent it when Nacho (or anyone) tells me what I'm "okay" with. No one has the right to tell another person what's inside their head; that raises boundary issues I'm not "okay" with. - Aliceinwonderland

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 10 years 17 weeks ago
Quote radster63:First of all these are bad guys. The crying about killing of innocent civilians isn't the problem, the Taliban surrounds themselves by civilians instead of doing their fighting in a matter that is above a coward.

How would you assess the scenario: extraterrestrial aliens invade the United States because the US has something the aliens believe they need. This obviously far more superior force, with death rays and cluster automaton buzz saw bees rip through the population killing hundreds of civilians at a time (they used to use Napalm and White Phosphorus bombs many thousands of years ago).

Groups of brave Americans, using whatever means they have at their disposal, attempt to fight back. They realize that to stand right out in the open with their puny weapons would be futile and they would have absolutely zero chance of fighting the invaders. They'd just be mowed down. So they adopt guerrilla tactics, that even their forefathers used in successfully fighting the superior forces at the time, the British.

"The war" is covered by the "Alien Fox News channel" back on their planet Sleaze but the alien military has long learned their lesson that they had to keep their really despicable atrocities from their alien civilian's consciences. Alien Fox News channel's star news anchor and commentator Glenn Feckless constantly rattles on, sobbing tears of patriotic tripe, constantly beckoning his audience to "support the troops" for their worthy heroic and sacrifices to Zod and Planet and for their bravery in fighting "the enemy" on planet Earth. It is perfectly ok to wipe these scum off the face of the Earth because they are all superstitious worshipers of some strange god and have really strange morals and lifestyles (ancient 21st century stuff...despicable!).

As stories of the continuous atrocities of massive civilian deaths in the United States, the focus of the attack, leak back to planet Sleaze (planet Sleaze's upstart, Julian Estranged, intercepted and unencrypted some secret messages coming in from the "war zone" on planet Earth documenting the atrocities). Some Sleazians, privy to these atrocities, are beginning to feel, well, kind of 'sleazy' and begin to speak out against their jingoist war mongers. But, other Sleazians start saying things like: "First of all these are bad guys. The crying about killing of innocent civilians isn't the problem, the 'Americans' surround themselves by civilians instead of doing their fighting in a matter that is above a coward."

Yeah! Damn them cowards!...fighting the same kind of guerrilla war like America's forefathers fought against the British. Why don't they all just stand out in the open while "brave" Alien soldiers mow them down with their far superior killing machines?
You want "bad guys", Radster63? You need to start looking at the ones closer to home...the ones that have managed to take away our liberties and freedoms, taken away our homes, and driven many of us to our death beds through poverty and lack of decent wages and healthcare.

The "bad guys" are the ones propagandizing dummies out of their humanity while the 'bad guys' rake in the wealth and power from slaughtering innocent human beings around the world. The "bad guys" are manufacturing enemies everywhere so that they can keep us all very afraid and subservient.

And as Naomi Klein has said in her book "The Shock Doctrine"..(but in my words)...if these 'slime-ball opportunists' don't have a natural disaster that they can move into and take advantage of ...they'll create disasters...wars. They need 'enemies' as an excuse to keep us all very afraid and reliant upon them for our 'protection' that they can continue to drain us all of every last dollar we have. Our real enemies are not the manufactured enemies in the Middle East...they are in positions of wealth and power right here in the United States. Just by occupying their land and murdering their civilians the US is creating millions of enemies. The blowback could be overwhelming...and I hope like hell they manage to get the top gangsters that are mostly responsible for creating these war crimes and not the dumbed down idiot civilians who are too stupid to know any better.

Outback 10 years 17 weeks ago

Aliceinwonderland: Just to add to your point, the problem is that people feel trapped between "the lesser of evils". When some "critical mass" of voters starts to realize that both major parties represent the same evil and start voting for a Green or Justice Party candidate, the revolution will be on. To those who voted for Obama as a lesser evil or didn't vote at all, I would say you have just extended the status quo and made our hole harder to climb out of. In my very red state of Idaho the Green and Justice Parties got just over 1% of the popular vote in November, Obama 32% and Romney 64%. Yet in a January straw poll Romney and Obama combined got less than 9% and Ron Paul got a whopping 74%. This amazed me and tells me that even in a state as conservatively inbred as Idaho the time is right for an overthrow of the two party system. (I guess some would argue that the Libertarians and the Republicans are wings of the same party, but at least Ron Paul was against continuing these insane wars.) We progressives need to keep hammering on the alternative and if necessary drag someone like Bernie Sanders (kicking and screaming) into the next presidential race. I also believe that each of us can have an impact by voicing our views on these blogs and in places like the readers' comments sections of the media, local and national. It's an awareness issue. In the words of the old Fleetwood Mac song, "don't stop talking about tomorrow .... yesterday's gone".

Outback 10 years 17 weeks ago

Palindromedary - That was awesome! I'll second your "...and I hope like hell they manage to get the top gangsters that are mostly responsible for creating these war crimes". People like Darth Cheney have no business burning any of this planet's remaining oxygen.

MMmmNACHOS's picture
MMmmNACHOS 10 years 17 weeks ago

Aliceinwonderland, I have read your past post, along with many others by those who are on her regularly. As you are tired of people "brow beating you" over who you voted for; I am tired of those who caste fear votes...Fear votes are completely counter productive. And I don't really care for the excuseses people give for a lack of courage to vote forthright. We (you, me, everyone) are in this economic crisis and social divide for several reasons; From greed, to fear, to false securities, to diminishing expectations of certain social standards. This whole "political correct generation" belies itself and is afraid of its own shadow ...We have lost our courage to stand our ground as a government; Of, For, and By the People...Not the Corporations. Fear and Ignorance are our demise.

Yes many of the past post you wrote hold water...I agree with you on almost all your opinions and ideas...But unless you and other fear voters wise up and stand your ground...Well, your a smart cookie, I think you know what I am getting at.

To all those who caste fear votes...This past election should have sent a loud and clear message to Washington regardless if Mitt or Obama won. No I am not delusional...I don't for a minute think Stein or Anderson could have won even if all those fear voters voted for a 3rd party candidate, merely for the reason you pointed out; They were not alowed to debate nationally. But the opportunity for the message by the People's vote is what matters. Simmilar is Ron Paul, every time he has campainged his message spread and his supporters grew, and last year we heard every candidate speak about "blow back"; they may not have agreed with the good Dr. but they were forced to address the issue because it was a concern of the Public.

You have said several times that Rocky Anderson was your first choice...What is that you like about him?

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 10 years 17 weeks ago
Quote Outback:People like Darth Cheney have no business burning any of this planet's remaining oxygen.

Unless, of course, it is Darth Cheney that is being burned! I'd sacrifice a little oxygen for that purpose. And we may as well throw bloodsucking Dracula Bush, the cowboy's cowboy, onto the pyre as well. But there are so, so many more... we should have a bonfire. A great cleansing of the Earth of these shameful parasites.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 10 years 17 weeks ago

MMmmNACHOS says: "You have said several times that Rocky Anderson was your first choice... What is [it] that you like about him?"

I saw Mr. Anderson on Democracy Now and was very impressed. He talked about many issues and everything he said resonated with me. And there is something about his personality that I find very appealing. Not sure how to describe what it is about his personality that clicked with me; maybe just a chemistry thing. But he came across like someone who has it on the ball, who knows what we're up against in this country and is ready to fight the good fight.

I also liked Jill Stein. Either of them would have been an excellent choice. (SIGH) - Aliceinwonderland

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 10 years 17 weeks ago

Outback says "Just to add to your point, the problem is that people feel trapped between 'the lesser of evils'".

"Trapped" is the word for it, my friend. But just for the record, I would NEVER vote for Ron Paul either. He's great on foreign policy but sucks on everything else. I checked out his website and... no thanks! But I'd vote for Bernie Sanders in a heartbeat. I wish with all my heart for a candidate like that in the national debates. Ditto Anderson and Stein. - Alice I.W.

Outback 10 years 17 weeks ago

AIW - I voted for Rocky Anderson as well. I checked out the platform of both the Green and Justice parties and found them very similar, but there was something more direct and addressed to my specific concerns in the Justice platform. I watched the 'Third Party Debates' and thought that Anderson came across a little more forcefully than Jill Stein on those issues, like foreign policy. Yes, the absence of a Stein, an Anderson, a Sanders in the presidential debates speaks volumes about the corruption within our political system. Can you imagine the impact one of those three might have had on public perception had they been allowed to participate in the main events? Obama alone might have been able to go toe to toe with any of the three, but his record would have been his undoing. The issues discussed were so tightly controlled that the debates were a farce - just another kabuki dance.

Mark Saulys's picture
Mark Saulys 10 years 17 weeks ago

What people forget is that the reason for constitutional rights to due proccess of law is to protect the INNOCENT from wrongful conviction and wrongful punishment. They are not to shield people who are guilty of terrorism and other crimes from the consequences of their actions.

For this reason it doesn't matter if someone is a citizen or not; the entitlement to those rights is inalienable anywhere the U.S. government has jurisdiction. It is not less important that foreigners or non citizens not be wrongly convicted or punished than that U.S.citizens are not.

The recent differentiation in this entitlement to these basic human rights introduced into our lexicon - and subsequently our law - by the Right is a successful attempt to induce the American public to adopt an imperialist, colonial mentality, a racism and nationalistic chauvinism that demarcates different relative values of human beings and their lives contingent upon their citizenship of the United States.

This mentality is necessary for the public to accept imperial militarism for which the war on terror is a pretext - just as the cold war - on communism - was and the war on drugs was - when we wanted to invade Panama and dispense with constitutional rights as we did in the McCarthy Era and as we are now - so we can be outraged about human rights abuses of foreign dictators as long as they are atop of large oil reserves.

Outback 10 years 17 weeks ago

Mark Saulys - I'm not sure if you'll be revisiting this thread now that the new one is out but I'll write this anyway, just in case.

In your first paragraph you wrote: "What people forget is that the reason for constitutional rights to due proccess of law is to protect the INNOCENT from wrongful conviction and wrongful punishment." What you've overlooked though is the fundamental principle that "a person is innocent until proven guilty" and that a person is entitled to "due process" to establish that proof. I believe the entire question here revolves around whether a person is extended rights to the full extent guaranteed by the Constitution via due process. To brand a person a "terrorist" thereby short circuiting those constitutional rights is tantamount to presuming guilt. It's a huge leap.

As to the question of whether "due process" extends to all people anywhere, all people within our borders regardless of citizenship, all US citizens anywhere or just all US citizens within our borders, I can only state my opinion, which is that the Preamble to the Constitution starts "We the People of the United States....". I guess my take is that, literally, the constitution was intended to cover US citizens, and I would argue "anywhere" since no geographic stipulation is made. If not, then our history is certainly littered with examples of egregious constitutional violations to non-US Citizens all over the world.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 10 years 17 weeks ago

"Jplieurance" says "The current 'War on/of Terror' has changed the way war is conducted - at least in the middle east where we're fighting an ideology not a country."

Our "War on Terror" is a friggin' joke, because the U.S. government is the greatest terrorist organization on the planet. Blackwater thugs are terrorists. Drone operators are terrorists. The Military Industrial Complex loves terrorism because it keeps them thriving on blood money. So please spare us the tired old sermons about "enemy combatants". Long as our government continues waging these ridiculous bullshit wars on the rest of the world, there will be people plotting revenge against us. It's all about cause & effect. Very simple.

I don't know if Al-Awalaki was planning retaliation against our war crimes. But his sixteen-year-old son was just an innocent kid and that kid was murdered by our government. His blood is on OUR hands. And as Thom would say, that is very, very ugly.

We are living under fascism! Sieg HEIL! - Aliceinwonderland

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