Quotes of the day

posted at 10:01 pm on February 5, 2013 by Erika Johnsen

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.

The 16-page memo, a copy of which was obtained by NBC News, provides new details about the legal reasoning behind one of the Obama administration’s most secretive and controversial polices: its dramatically increased use of drone strikes against al-Qaida suspects abroad, including those aimed at American citizens, such as the  September 2011 strike in Yemen that killed alleged al-Qaida operatives Anwar al-Awlaki and Samir Khan. Both were U.S. citizens who had never been indicted by the U.S. government nor charged with any crimes.

The secrecy surrounding such strikes is fast emerging as a central issue in this week’s hearing of White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan, a key architect of the drone campaign, to be CIA director.  Brennan was the first administration official to publicly acknowledge drone strikes in a speech last year, calling them “consistent with the inherent right of self-defense.” In a separate talk at the Northwestern University Law School in March, Attorney General Eric Holder specifically endorsed the constitutionality of targeted killings of Americans, saying they could be justified if government officials determine the target poses  “an imminent threat of violent attack.”

***

White House press secretary Jay Carney said that the Obama administration’s drone program was “legal,” “ethical” and “wise” during the daily press briefing today.

“The U.S. government takes great care in deciding to pursue an al-Qaida terrorist, to ensure precision, and to avoid loss of innocent life,” Carney said.

***

Anyway, here is what the lawyers to the president’s lawyer say about the legality of killing Americans who are constituted as al Qaeda or al Qaeda-linked threats. (The memo makes it clear that its language does not apply to other instances where American citizens might be killed by their government.)

1. “An informed, high-level official” must determine that the person represents “an imminent threat” of “violent attack against the United States.”

2. Capturing the dude is “infeasible,” and the government will continue to assess whether capturing him is feasible.

3. The killing, or “lethal operation,” must be conducted according to the laws of war. …

So here’s what that means: Even if the person is not actively planning terrorist attacks against the U.S., because of the nature of terrorist attacks in general, merely his membership in an organization that is planning those attacks meets the requisite definition of imminence.

***

What threshold of evidence, if any, must a high-ranking official meet to determine that someone is Al Qaeda? The burden is apparently less onerous than two witnesses testifying in open court, which the Constitution requires for a treason conviction. But the memo specifies neither an evidential threshold nor a protocol for meeting it. That is troubling.

But the part of the memo worth dwelling on most, at least until legal experts offer deeper analysis than I confidently can, is the portion that deals with “an imminent threat of violent attack.”

On reading the document, that clause is sort of reassuring. After all, there aren’t that many circumstances when an attack is imminent. It would seem to severely constrain extrajudicial assassinations.

As it turns out, however, the memo reassures the reader with the rhetorically powerful word “imminent,” only to define imminence down in a way that makes it largely meaningless — so much so that it’s actually reminiscent of George W. Bush’s misuse of imminent to characterize the threat posed by Iraq. It’s difficult to adequately emphasize how absurd this part of the document becomes. What does it mean, for you personally, when you hear that someone poses “an imminent threat of violent attack against the United States”? Do you have an answer in your head?

***

What about their Fourth and Fifth Amendment Rights? Since the U.S. citizen in question is considered to have joined a force that is actively seeking to kill Americans, the Justice Department argues that it can kill that person and forgo his or her constitutional rights. Even though the government weighs the individual’s rights against the broader rights of a government to protect its citizens from attack, the paper concludes that “the realities of war” allows the government to use “necessary and appropriate” force to protect its citizens—even from one of their own.

Why can Obama order these attacks? As the commander in chief, U.S. officials argue that the president has the constitutional right to protect the country against an “imminent threat” from militant groups. Additionally, Congress passed the Authorization for Use of Military Force bill after the 9/11 attacks, and gave the president authority to use force against al-Qaida and other militant groups that target Americans. The white paper does not define “imminent,” however. …

Is there room for judicial review of these attacks? Not really. The Justice Department says “there exists no appropriate judicial forum to evaluate these constitutional considerations” with regard to intimate foreign policy matters. If the courts were to get involved with these matters, it could hinder the president’s ability to carry out military operations, the paper argues.

***

“If you assess the threat of international terrorism to be the equivalent of war, then you’re in the ‘law of war’ paradigm. This is not like robbing the local 7-Eleven, where you resort to the law enforcement paradigm,” said Bolton, who added that Article II of the Constitution gives this power to the president in a time of war.

***

What else is in the news today regarding the most transparent administration in history? A report documenting that 54 countries around the globe have played along with the CIA when it comes to torturing suspects in such a way that the U.S. can pretend it doesn’t do that sort of thing anymore.

There is a darkly comic aspect to this, I suppose: Here’s a president who once taught classes in constitutional law and swore up and down that America doesn’t torture, that he was against “dumb wars” waged by his predecessors, that he was more transparent than a glass of triple-filtered water, and who won a goddamned Nobel Peace Prize! And he turns out to be not just a little iffy when it comes to being constrained in his willingness to break all sorts of rules but downright godawful.

And his main mouthpiece is a former MSM drone whose babyface is quickly turning into a map of wrinkles brought on by working for an administration which has manifestly failed to live up to even the mediocre standards of the previous occupant of the White House.

***

On the advice of the Horde, I took up George Orwell’s “Politics and the English Language.” This passage seems especially appropriate today:

“In our time, political speech and writing are largely the defense of the indefensible. Things like the continuance of British rule in India, the Russian purges and deportations, the dropping of the atom bombs on Japan, can indeed be defended, but only by arguments which are too brutal for most people to face, and which do not square with the professed aims of the political parties. Thus political language has to consist largely of euphemism, question-begging and sheer cloudy vagueness. Defenseless villages are bombarded from the air, the inhabitants driven out into the countryside, the cattle machine-gunned, the huts set on fire with incendiary bullets: this is called pacification. Millions of peasants are robbed of their farms and sent trudging along the roads with no more than they can carry: this is called transfer of population or rectification of frontiers. …”

I highly advise you to read the memo. The powers it claims are broad and, as Isikoff pointed out on Rachel Maddow’s show, actually contradict some of the administration’s public statements and enter into Orwell’s world of false language rendered to conceal an arguments “too brutal for most people to take.”

***

“That is nowhere justifiable under the Constitution, nowhere justifiable under federal law,” Judge Andrew Napolitano argued on FOX News today. “In fact, federal law and the Constitution are to the opposite. Unless you are actually pulling a trigger or are in moments of pulling that trigger or dropping a bomb, the government has an obligation to do its best to arrest you and charge you with a crime and prosecute you before it can indiscriminately kill you.”

“This power used today against an unpopular target might be used in the future by another president against a person the president doesn’t like but as to whom there’s no moral justification for pursuing whatsoever,” Napolitano also said.

“This frivolous use of language by this administration and then claiming they have the right to use force to stop dead in their tracks the people who fit into these categories violates the principles of the Declaration of Independence and violates the supremacy of the Constitution which they’ve taken an oath to uphold,” he said.

***


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Comment pages: 1 4 5 6

On Topic: Somebody’s Watching Me

Axe on February 6, 2013 at 4:00 AM

Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love

4Grace on February 6, 2013 at 4:04 AM

Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love

4Grace on February 6, 2013 at 4:04 AM

. . . need my 400W back. :)

Axe on February 6, 2013 at 4:07 AM

. . . need my 400W back. :)

Axe on February 6, 2013 at 4:07 AM

:)

4Grace on February 6, 2013 at 4:09 AM

Past time for me to sleep…and dream.

Goodnight, Axe!
Goodnight, Dire!

4Grace on February 6, 2013 at 4:11 AM

The most on-topic song I’ve ever posted. :)

Red Rider – Lunatic Fringe

Lunatic fringe
I know you’re out there
You’re in hiding
And you hold your meetings

I can hear you coming
We know what you’re after
We’re wise to you this time
We won’t let you kill the laughter

Lunatic fringe
In the twilight’s last gleaming
This is open season
But you won’t get too far

‘Cause you gotta blame someone
For your own confusion
But I’m on guard this time
Against your final solution

We can hear you coming
No you’re not going to win this time
We can hear the footsteps
Out along the walkway

Lunatic fringe
We all know you’re out there
Can you feel the resistance?
Can you feel the thunder?

http://www.elyrics.net/read/r/red-rider-lyrics/lunatic-fringe-lyrics.html

Axe on February 6, 2013 at 4:25 AM

Past time for me to sleep…and dream.

Goodnight, Axe!
Goodnight, Dire!

4Grace on February 6, 2013 at 4:11 AM

Night Grace! Thanks for the date! It was a blast. O yes — it was a date. And you danced in a cornfield. :)

You danced with Dire, too. Well, and Dave. I guess. Wait — Where’s Dave?

Axe on February 6, 2013 at 4:29 AM

Night Dire, Spark, everyone. :)

(Morning, morning crew!)

*cracks knuckles*

*poof*

Axe on February 6, 2013 at 4:36 AM

unstingkingbelievable…the hypocrisy coming from the lib talking heads on msdnc….the pure outrage on all things done by W and they are NOW defending dear leader on this memo….its all good…

holy cow, its absolutely nauseating the way they are treating this…msdnc talking heads…dear leader is awesome

cmsinaz on February 6, 2013 at 5:43 AM

lol, now some admin officials are calling the white paper just a ‘draft’

right…..

cmsinaz on February 6, 2013 at 5:54 AM

cmsinaz on February 6, 2013 at 5:43 AM

I hate hypocrisy..
A huge irritant of mine.

Mornin’ cms

bazil9 on February 6, 2013 at 6:03 AM

bazil9 on February 6, 2013 at 6:03 AM

morning b9…yup as soon as we have another gop in office, it will be pure 24/7 outrage once again…they’ll forget this little ooopsie

cmsinaz on February 6, 2013 at 6:05 AM

they’ll forget this little ooopsie

cmsinaz on February 6, 2013 at 6:05 AM

Ha! More then this “ooopsie”.
They have a long list of oooooopsies.

bazil9 on February 6, 2013 at 6:08 AM

mark mckinnon agrees with dear leader’s policy…

idiot

cmsinaz on February 6, 2013 at 6:10 AM

bazil9 on February 6, 2013 at 6:08 AM

tru dat

cmsinaz on February 6, 2013 at 6:11 AM

CMS, I could sit here
all day and point out a long list of hypocritical
behavior by the left sheep. They truly lack any principles.

bazil9 on February 6, 2013 at 6:14 AM

mika now defending dear leader…wow

cmsinaz on February 6, 2013 at 6:14 AM

bazil9 on February 6, 2013 at 6:14 AM

indeed, days worth

if you were outraged on waterboarding, you should be outraged on this issue
-willie g

cmsinaz on February 6, 2013 at 6:16 AM

If I were the republicans in the House, I’d be a little worried.

trigon on February 6, 2013 at 6:18 AM

cmsinaz on February 6, 2013 at 6:16 AM

Yep!
And what happened to the outrage over gitmo?
And dead troops? We have more dead under BO then Bush.
Neither a prob anymore…for starters.

bazil9 on February 6, 2013 at 6:20 AM

While Spark Plug was cheating on me with all the chicks in the balloon and they passed out from the moon wine, I burnt down the glade.
I captured Sparky and have him in a secret location. His job each day is to make me laugh and serve me. Hee Hee Hee…
Shhhhh…
They will wake up soon and find out.

bazil9 on February 6, 2013 at 6:28 AM

All knowable and predictable in 2008. Baby Raila likes the taste of blood, after all.

bobcalco on February 6, 2013 at 6:39 AM

With extreme prejudice…My take.

kingsjester on February 6, 2013 at 6:39 AM

YET-this POS- no problemo- 3+ years. Posted Dec 18-12
http://austin.ynn.com/content/top_stories/289689/maj–hasan-appears-before-new-judge-for-first-time

“Maj. Nidal Hasan, the Army psychiatrist charged in the 2009 Fort Hood shooting rampage, was back in court Tuesday for his first pretrial hearing in more than three months.

His trial was scheduled to begin back in March, but a series of appeals regarding military grooming policy pushed it back nearly ten months.

A major factor in the delay is the defendant’s beard. Hasan’s team argues the beard is a part of his religious freedom, but the previous judge ruled that it is in clear violation of Army grooming code.

That judge, Col. Gregory Gross, eventually ordered his beard be removed. Hasan’s defense team appealed that decision and at the beginning of December, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces removed Judge Gross from the case.

On Tuesday, the new presiding judge over the case, Col. Tara Osborn, asked Hasan outright if he understood that his beard violated military policy to which he replied, “Yes.”

bazil9 on February 6, 2013 at 6:44 AM

So are they still reading Miranda rights to captured enemy combatants?

Naturally Curly on February 6, 2013 at 6:53 AM

bazil9 on February 6, 2013 at 6:20 AM

yepper, that’ll all change when the next gop prez comes to town

cmsinaz on February 6, 2013 at 6:58 AM

bazil9 on February 6, 2013 at 6:28 AM

Help. B9 captured me cause she thought i was trying to get some action during the power outage. Its all a mistake. Now i am grounded and put on Flan probation. I will send you secret messages by moving my eye brows when she isn’t looking.

(|<}{

That means come get me when she goes surfing.

SparkPlug on February 6, 2013 at 7:00 AM

kingsjester on February 6, 2013 at 6:39 AM

good one KJ…spot on with real genius
coming to fruition

cmsinaz on February 6, 2013 at 7:01 AM

The morning crew knows their stuff.

SparkPlug on February 6, 2013 at 7:03 AM

cmsinaz on February 6, 2013 at 7:01 AM

Thank you, ma’am!

We live in dangerous times…and that’s just the threat from our leadership.

kingsjester on February 6, 2013 at 7:04 AM

GoodMorning Everyone—————:)

Assassination of Tunisian opposition leader
*******************************************

http://www.breakingnews.com/topic/assassination-of-tunisian-opposition-leader

canopfor on February 6, 2013 at 7:06 AM

kingsjester on February 6, 2013 at 7:04 AM

*shudder*

cmsinaz on February 6, 2013 at 7:06 AM

SparkPlug on February 6, 2013 at 7:03 AM

can send some twinkies for sustenance

cmsinaz on February 6, 2013 at 7:08 AM

morning canopfor :)

cmsinaz on February 6, 2013 at 7:08 AM

Latest on the Santa Cruz Island/Tsunami 8.0 EarthQuake last night!

Earthquake off Solomon Islands, February 2013

Slight tsunamis recorded in several Japanese coastal regions; no reported damage – JMA

52 mins ago from http://www.jma.go.jp by editor

Update: Tsunami leaves at least 5 dead in the Solomon Islands following magnitude 8.0 earthquake – @Reuters

2 hours ago from http://www.trust.org by editor
===========================================

http://www.breakingnews.com/topic/earthquake-off-solomon-islands-february-2013

canopfor on February 6, 2013 at 7:09 AM

Oh yes..This POS- who we knew had al-Qaeda ties was let into the US-got a trial and life imprisonment.(Not death?!) Not an American citizen…treated far better.
Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab Mr. Underwear Christmas bombing terrorist.
He had more rights then a US citizen will.
But..its all good in the Obama hood.

U.S. State Department officials said in Congressional testimony that the State Department had wanted to revoke Abdulmutallab’s visa, but U.S. intelligence officials requested that his visa not be revoked. The intelligence officials’ said that revoking Abdulmutallab’s visa could have foiled a larger investigation into al-Qaeda.[

bazil9 on February 6, 2013 at 7:11 AM

It really sucks..MJ is now legal and Twinkies terminated at the same time. A conspiracy me thinks..by Frito Lay.
Cheeto stock rising.

bazil9 on February 6, 2013 at 7:14 AM

morning canopfor :)

cmsinaz on February 6, 2013 at 7:08 AM

cmsinaz:

GoodMorning CMS,good gawd,check out the EarthQuake page,
a 6.3 five hours ago,and a 5.9 aftershock,within this hour!

The whole page is Santa Cruz Islands!

http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/recenteqsww/Quakes/quakes_all.php

canopfor on February 6, 2013 at 7:16 AM

Yeah KJ.
We have turned a corner…
fearing our own Govt.
Sounds like many other countries that come to mind.
(my words..not yours)

bazil9 on February 6, 2013 at 7:19 AM

Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm…….,I read where the Sun blew off two flares
during the Japanese EarthQuake,from Space weather….Coincidental..
…Koinky-Dinky???

ARTH-DIRECTED ERUPTION: The magnetic canopy of decaying sunspot AR1667 erupted this morning (Feb. 6th @ 00:21 UT), producing a long duration C9-class solar flare and hurling a coronal mass ejection (CME) into space. According to first-look images from NASA’s STEREO-B spacecraft, the CME appears to be heading in the general direction of Earth. If so, the likely time of arrival would be Feb. 8-9. Stay tuned for updated forecasts. Solar flare alerts: text, voice.

The eruption was both energetic and photogenic. Click to view a full-disk movie from NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory:

http://www.spaceweather.com/

canopfor on February 6, 2013 at 7:20 AM

SparkPlug on February 6, 2013 at 7:00 AM

Bahhhhhha…your all mine now..you cannot escape!
;) I have covered you with flan that has a special chemical that blocks any eyebrow messages.
When I go surfing..you come with and I strap the board leash on you. :)

bazil9 on February 6, 2013 at 7:22 AM

B9…. mmmmmmm cheetos

:)

cmsinaz on February 6, 2013 at 7:25 AM

Yikes Canopfor

cmsinaz on February 6, 2013 at 7:26 AM

Zero won the Nobel Peace Prize

LMFAO

Where are the trolls?

bazil9 on February 6, 2013 at 7:31 AM

CMS- I like the “poofs”

My baby nephew and I had a half a bag the other night…
my sister was mad with the cheesy powder flying on her furniture and all over his face. :) Was fun.

You hungry cms? ;)
Hope you packed some yummies for work.
I have a company meeting today with a Rep buying.
I plan and having a really good lunch on their dime. ;)

bazil9 on February 6, 2013 at 7:35 AM

Yikes Canopfor

cmsinaz on February 6, 2013 at 7:26 AM

cmsinaz:Yuppers:)

canopfor on February 6, 2013 at 7:39 AM

Hell, this is just a natural outcrop of their Gitmo dilemma. They can’t figure out what to do with Gitmo detainees…how will they figure out what to do to a US Citizen? A US citizen in Gitmo would be harder to defend than this memo.

Imprisoning a terrorist indefinitely without trial is evil.

Killing a terrorist without trial is “legal, ethical, and wise.”

sgmstv on February 6, 2013 at 7:44 AM

Of course this will expand to include “threats” here inside the former United States.

Are you drone worthy?

justltl on February 6, 2013 at 7:47 AM

Poofs are the bomb B9

Lucky duck on lunch….. egg salad sandwich for me

cmsinaz on February 6, 2013 at 8:01 AM

Are you drone worthy?

justltl on February 6, 2013 at 7:47 AM

It depends on how you define imminent.
Glad PETA doesn’t have the joystick.
I am effeminately an imminent threat to cows,chickens,pigs,crab,clams,and lobsters.

bazil9 on February 6, 2013 at 8:04 AM

Definitely*

bazil9 on February 6, 2013 at 8:05 AM

Poofs are the bomb B9

Lucky duck on lunch….. egg salad sandwich for me

cmsinaz on February 6, 2013 at 8:01 AM

One perk of my insane career… :)

I tried the new jalapeno cheetos..eh.. wasn’t ecstatic.
I have a new addictions..Lays dill pickle chips.
With a tuna sub…yummmm. Try if you haven’t.
Whoops…Mooch would not approve.

bazil9 on February 6, 2013 at 8:09 AM

Adios people-

bazil9 on February 6, 2013 at 8:11 AM

I tried to watch the 8am rerun of Morning Joe’s first segment, but these people are just too stupid to listen to.

Fools and hypocrites all.

Naturally Curly on February 6, 2013 at 8:12 AM

PS- Bye Sparky.
I love u, so I set you free.

bazil9 on February 6, 2013 at 8:12 AM

Have fun B9

cmsinaz on February 6, 2013 at 8:13 AM

HOLDER=JAIL

TX-96 on February 6, 2013 at 8:27 AM

U.S. government can order the killing of American citizens if they are believed to be “senior operational leaders” of al-Qaida

Bwahahahahahahahahahaha

http://www.globalresearch.ca/syria-clinton-admits-us-on-same-side-as-al-qaeda-to-destabilise-assad-government/29524

BTW….Al Qaeda owes its very creation to American busybodies and bureaucrats……..

roflmmfao

donabernathy on February 6, 2013 at 11:17 AM

No ses, no lost, Hmmm….

Bmore on February 6, 2013 at 5:38 PM

Comment pages: 1 4 5 6