Political Pistachio

Blog Home of the Writer and AM and FM Radio Host, Douglas V. Gibbs.
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Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Drones Target Americans. . . Death Without Due Process

As you read this, remember that it came from NBC.  The real question is should the government be able to put a hit on Americans, without due process, without evidence, because of a suspicion that they are terrorists?  Also, remember how broad they can make that definition.

American drone deaths highlight controversy

Of the scores of people dubbed terrorists and taken out by American military drone strikes, three men -- all killed in the fall of 2011 -- were U.S. citizens.

And their lives illustrate the complexity of the issue, recently brought to light amid a newly discovered government memo that provides the legal reasoning behind drone strikes on Americans.

Anwar al-Awlaki and Samir Khan were killed by a missile strike in Yemen on Sept. 30, 2011, while al-Awlaki’s son, Abdulrahman, was killed in the country just weeks later.

Since the attacks, family members have called the deaths unjust and sued the U.S. government, calling the killings unconstitutional.

Anwar al-Awlaki, born in New Mexico, became well known for his fiery anti-American sermons posted throughout the Internet.

Samir Khan, who'd lived in both New York and Charlotte, N.C., produced a magazine called “Inspire” that became known for its extreme jihadist views.

But the most controversial drone strike took place on Oct. 14, 2011, when 16-year-old Abdulrahman was killed by U.S. forces.

Family of the Denver-born teenager say he had no ties to terrorist organizations and was unjustly targeted because of his father.


Because, remember, they believe they can go after Americans with drones for just being suspected. . . 

EXCLUSIVE: Justice Department memo reveals legal case for drone strikes on Americans

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.

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and of course, the statists that believe government can pretty much do whatever the hell it wants is defending their tyranny. . .

White House, Justice officials defend drone program after release of memo

The White House and Justice Department on Tuesday adamantly defended the administration's authority to use unmanned drones to kill terror operatives -- even if those operatives are U.S. citizens -- following the release of a controversial memo on the program.

President Obama's advisers are also trying to tamp down concerns about the targeted killings ahead of the confirmation hearing Thursday for CIA director nominee John Brennan -- the counterterrorism adviser and drone-program supporter who has come under criticism from Democrats.

Pressed repeatedly about the complicated constitutional and legal questions raised by the targeted killing of Americans, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Tuesday that the president takes those issues "very seriously."

But he noted that Al Qaeda is in a "state of war against us," and defended what he described as "targeted strikes against specific Al Qaeda terrorists."

"We conduct those strikes because they are necessary to mitigate ongoing actual threats, to stop plots, to prevent future attacks and to save American lives," Carney said. "These strikes are legal, they are ethical and they are wise."

Carney would not describe the legal criteria for ordering those drone strikes.

A Justice Department official, though, told Fox News there are at least three conditions that have to be met in order for a strike to be ordered -- there has to be an "imminent" threat, the target has to have engaged in terrorist activities, and the target has to be unable to be captured.

Separately, Attorney General Eric Holder said Tuesday that the government is "confident that we're doing so in a way that is consistent with federal and international law."

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Does this all set in motion the possibility that the federal government may use drones to go after their political opposition, considering anyone they consider to be "anti-government" to be domestic terrorists, and therefore a viable target?

Just askin'.

-- Political Pistachio Conservative News and Commentary

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