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05 February 2013


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The answer is a partial yes, in that it is politically expedient and also satisfies his "life illusion" with regard to his "destiny." Walrus will explain.

On a "lighter" note we have regressed today to doing to people world wide what you all were doing to us before Independence. Actually you never stopped doing it to the Irish and various "brownies" or "beigies" (for Babak) pl

Charles I

And who will you vote in?

Shrub started this head of unitary illegality when he diverted $700M legislated by Congress for Afghanistan Iraq.

No impeachment then has brought you to this, via SCOTUS, Dick Cheyney and astounding public ignorance and apathy.

As far as I can tell, the elephantine half of your unitary Money Party loves the GWOT, just wants it new and improved- and theirs. Isn't fixing the Electoral College system and preventing voter fraud much more important than the lives of "continuously planning imminent threats"?

Charles I

Because your government loves the GWOT more than it respects the law and due process, and now has a global record of hundreds of thousands dead at a cost of trillions to defend in its name.

You're up to about 45 or so standards by now. 450 by the time the lawyers get through, dealing with your latter problem of "nominal Americans". Sorta like a much more finely calibrated measure of Octoroonness, with the cutoff point as gerrymandered as electoral districts, er,the situation, dictates.


In this case, it seems to me it was Anwar al-Awlaki who decided he was not one of us, and acted accordingly.

But if you are uncomfortable with a future in which we would be evaluating and making judgments about other Americans like this, I think you'd be right.

However, it may be possible we headed towards a day when that will happen.

I have a lot of concerns about America. I see how unable we are to make decisions and unwilling to base many of the decisions we do make on what is good for the American people as a whole.

There's a lot of interference and pressure on our institutions and our democracy. Some are obvious and long-term problems, such as the power and influence of special interest groups to get what they want.

I also see some new things that we don't have experience with handling. We have a lot more people in America than we did just 50 years ago, and are due to add another 100 million to our population by around 2050. "Mainstream America" seems to be disappearing. What will we do when so many of the things that bound us together no longer do? How responsive can government be in a country of 400 million? Don't issues of freedom, consensus and control change when there are so many people?

We have all kinds of people, businesses and groups that are only American when they want something -- otherwise, they want to be free of any obligations or restrictions.

Can a functioning democracy exist that only has voices of dissent and demands? I don't think so.

That's one of the reasons I worry a lot about America.

Charles I

Somebody needs to explain that the nation could survive a one off nuclear strike of unknown probability, but the legal state that runs it as constituted cannot survive "continuous planning for an imminent threat."

Charles I

Somebody asked in this thread or the American kill list where the MSM is.

Last sentence is the answer.

"Secret U.S. drone base in Saudi Arabia revealed ahead of CIA director’s hearing

The only strike intentionally targeting a U.S. citizen, a 2011 attack that killed Al Qaeda operative Anwar al-Awlaki, was carried out in part by CIA drones flown from a secret base in Saudi Arabia.

The base was established two years ago to intensify the hunt against Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, as the affiliate in Yemen is known. Brennan, who previously served as the CIA’s station chief in Saudi Arabia, played a key role in negotiations with Riyadh over locating an agency drone base inside the kingdom.

The Washington Post had refrained from disclosing the location at the request of the administration, which cited concern that exposing the facility would undermine operations against an Al Qaeda affiliate regarded as the network’s most potent threat to the United States, as well as potentially damage counterterrorism collaboration with Saudi Arabia.

The Post learned Tuesday night that another news organization was planning to reveal the location of the base, effectively ending an informal arrangement among several news organizations that had been aware of the location for more than a year."

Secret U.S. drone base in Saudi Arabia revealed ahead of CIA director’s hearing.

They have been assiduously keeping the admin's illegal secrets.

Charles I

think I forgot to paste the cite


Medicine Man

One could easily turn that observation around on you. It seems the public very easily accepted the deterioration of the rule of law and, by consequence, their own rights once they were convinced it was for their own safety.

Abu Sinan

A great write up on the memo by Juan Cole.



So how much longer before red staters become 'nominal' citizens?

Charles I

Here's an accurate cited assessment of how words and laws get to mean what the killers want them to mean - even as the words and law are unchanged. See especially part 2 to see where you/we may be going.

Why not a one ton bomb downtown mainstreet USA if a continuously planning imminent threat is, er, deemed.

"For the Glory of What?
Drones, Israel, and the Eclipse of Democracy


The lengthy stomach churning article
addresses the transmogrification of international law by Israel’s military lawyers. We might call this damage control, were it not more serious. . . . Since 2000, “the Israel Defense Forces, guided by its military lawyers, have attempted to remake the laws of war by consciously violating them and then creating new legal concepts to provide juridical cover for their misdeeds.” (Italics, mine) In other words, habituate the law to the existence of atrocities; in the US‘s case, targeted assassination, repeated often enough, seems permissible, indeed clever and wise, as pressure is steadily applied to the laws of war. Even then, “collateral damage” is seen as unintentional, regrettable, but hardly prosecutable, and in the current atmosphere of complicity and desensitization, never a war crime. (Obama is hardly a novice at this game of stretching the law to suit the convenience of, shall we say, the national interest? In order to ensure the distortion in counting civilian casualties, which would bring the number down, as Brennan with a straight face claimed, was “zero,” the Big Lie if ever there was one, placing him in distinguished European company, Obama redefined the meaning of “combatant” status to be any male of military age throughout the area (which we) declared a combat zone, which noticeably led to a higher incidence of sadism, because it allowed for “second strikes” on funerals—the assumption that anyone attending must be a terrorist—and first responders, those who went to the aid of the wounded and dying, themselves also certainly terrorists because of their rescue attempts.) These guys play hardball, perhaps no more than in using—by report—the proverbial baseball cards to designate who would be next on the kill list. But funerals and first responders—verified by accredited witnesses–seems overly much, and not a murmur from an adoring public. . . .

How does war guilt vanish into the thin air of Israeli legal trumpery, the corruption of the laws of war? Here is Daniel Reisner, former head of the Israeli military’s international law division, to explain (quoted by Bisharat): “International law progresses through violations. We invented the targeted assassination thesis and we had to push it. At first there were protrusions [i.e., something sticking out, noticeable, causing waves] that made it hard to insert easily into the legal molds. Eight years later it is in the center of the bounds of legitimacy.” (Italics, mine) We must remind ourselves, he is talking about assassination, openly boasting therefore about the legitimation of war crimes. The frank admission is commendable, save that it shows utmost contempt for the rule of law, a cynicism, it seems to me, deeply ingrained in the Israeli war machine—as in the way atrocities and cases of mistreatment are routinely dismissed or accorded a pro forma hearing, then dismissed. Reisner and Brennan become interchangeable cogs in that machine. For Obama, who needs Clausewitz, when he has these two?"

robt willmann

It is starting to look more and more as if the leaking of the disgraceful "white paper" to NBC "reporter" Michael Isikoff was to inoculate the public about the issue of the executive branch of the U.S. being judge, jury, and executioner of U.S. citizens on foreign lands before it can be raised, if it is, during the confirmation hearing of John Brennan to be CIA director, and was also to distract the public and media from demanding the release of the legal memoranda that actually authorized the killing of U.S. citizens Anwar al-Awlaki and, separately, his teenage son, and any others.

The shameless senator Dianne Feinstein, unfortunately chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, put out a statement yesterday which obviously uses the worthless white paper as a dodge, saying that the "analysis is now public and the American people can review and judge the legality of these operations."


Demonstrating that a PhD obtained these days in literature can still stand for careful reading and writing, Marcy Wheeler describes the mess in more detail--


Although not pointed out very much, the often-quoted Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), Public Law 107-40, which is unconstitutional for more than one reason, is actually limited in scope and is tied tightly to only those "nations, organizations, or persons [who the president] determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001," so that they do not do it again.

If the executive branch cannot tie a person specifically to the events of September 11, 2001, over 11 years ago, it cannot use the AUMF to justify using force against him or her, which means that the AUMF could not authorize the killing of al-Awlaki and his son, and who knows how many others, perhaps hundreds, who have been assassinated by drone strikes and otherwise, whether they were U.S. citizens or not.

This morning (6 February), Speaker of the U.S. House and Congressman John Boehner held a press conference. A reporter asked a pretty good question about killing citizens without due process, and Boehner replied only that Chairman Rogers put out a statement yesterday and that he agreed with that statement. I could not find any such statement on the web site of Representative Mike Rogers of Michigan, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, but a news article from Bloomberg news quoted Rogers as saying in a statement that: "I agree with the Justice Department's conclusion that targeting a senior leader of al-Qaeda is a lawful act of national self-defense in these circumstances".

We can now see how this is going to be played. The promoters of assassinating U.S. citizens without due process are going to ignore the limiting language in the Authorization for Use of Military Force, and will stay away from the phony and fraudulent new definition of "imminent" they cooked up that is so far from the reality of imminence that it shows clinical insanity. Rather, they will probably stick with talking about "al-
Qaeda" and how that so-called organization is more potent than the German Army of World War II, the North Koreans, and the Chinese, all rolled into one.

Like Clifford Kiracofe, I -- and I think the general public -- would like to know who wrote that reprehensible and undated Department of Justice White Paper.

Mark Logan

FB Ali,

Here's his wiki page.

The undie-bomber apparently stated he assisted in his training...among other people.

My recollection of this matches the page fairly closely. In 2010, his name was on a "kill list" that was made public, and there was some discussion about the killing of US Citizens. When he was killed in late 2011, there was some more as well, and then it died out.

It's an interesting conundrum for a President. What do you do with the exceptional situation of a US citizen involved with strapping bombs on teenagers and sending them off with a slap on the butt and a "Go get em' Tiger!" in our direction, from a place like Yemen was at that time? I felt he handled it the same way I would have. Make the intention public, don't hide what you are going to do, or what you did.

Here's where they screwed up IMO: They were hounded for a legal justification to "kill US Citizens abroad" as a result of this exceptional incident...and a year and a half later, they foolishly and stupidly did exactly that.

I will hazard a guess they didn't expect this entirely predictable reaction to such a thing as well.


I think that ANY president after "W" would do what Pres. Obama is doing, the 'American People" kind of demand it, just as the perception at the end of WW2 forced Gen. Eisenhower and all american generals to allow Soviets to take Berlin.

Clifford Kiracofe

The Senator from Oregon seems to have the most drive on the legal issues.

From yesterday's hearing it seems to me that there are a number of still classified legal "briefs" which are the basis of the shorter condensed White Paper. Some report 8 such briefs.

As I understand it, yesterday the White House made available one of these only to Senators who are members of the Intell Committee with the understanding that staff not see them. Also, these are not to be made available to other Senators who are not on this committee. Rather outrageous and this should provoke the Senate as a body.

Aside from the Intell Committee, the Judiciary Committee would have jurisdiction as the memos were developed in the Justice Department and as there are Constitutional issues here.

I can understand memos involving intelligence sources and methods are sensitive and should be restricted. However, we are told that these are legal memos or briefs which deal with strictly legal issues. How can a legal memo dealing with legal/Constitutional issues of this magnitude be kept from Senators and the public?

It would appear that the White House does not want the legal briefs made public as that would open them to analysis by legal scholars. Constitutional issues could be raised and some may even go so far as to consider whether or not "high crimes" etc. have been committed.

Looking at the press so far, I do not see stories which interview qualified legal scholars on all this.

William R. Cumming

Did I mention that in my 34 years as a federal lawyer I often had information indicating that the DoJ was the least likely organization to understand that documents could not be classified solely to encourage or protect waste, fraud, and abuse.

The DoJ OIG and Office of Professional Responsibility should be investigating who classifed these various briefs, and their authority to do so as a start.

And did I mention that no legal discussion should ever be classified in the USA because there is NO secret law. If necessary a separable classifed factual annex could be included. But discussion of the law should never be classified only the facts MAME!

Charles I

Not to worry, in this climate, they briefs will be leaked, and then the big debate will whether they are the real thing, rather than the contents.


Obama seems to have his own Star Chamber. That's a 'high crime' all by itself.

Clifford Kiracofe

Well yes.

Many of the early colonists came here to escape just such aspects of tyranny. Particularly and specifically the Stuart tyranny of that day.

From a technical legal point of view, I have had the suspicion that various legal counsels in the Federal Government here---DOJ, White House, DOD, CIA whatever -- have applied old British theories of "prerogative" to justify policies. British theories of prerogative being assimilated, for example, into the concept of "Executive Privilege".

We separated from the British Empire some time ago and developed our own Constitution and laws, so how is it that British theories of royal prerogative can be appled here in the US which has a separate legal tradition. Build the Imperial Presidency by assimilating foreign legal concepts to include British and as I have also noted German during the Nazi period.

Charles I

How do we know there is no secret law?
What exactly is at work now?

Charles I

How can a legal memo dealing with legal/Constitutional issues of this magnitude be kept from Senators and the public?

Because publication of the issues, themselves only arising part of the secret GWOT, would tend to reveal "technical methods" and "national reconnaissance technology" and "human sources" an prejudice Sovereign Foreign Relations so secret, sensitive and imperative as to fall under the rubric of "National Security", trump card of many a well-connected murderous coke dealer.


Charles I

"How can a legal memo dealing with legal/Constitutional issues of this magnitude be kept from Senators..." We do not have a parliamentary form of government as you do. The president is a co-equal member of the federal "troika" of power and has an arguable right to his privacy in office.

I know of no secret LAW in the history of the United States. Perhaps some lawyer here can enlighten me.

You all are far too pessemistic and willing to see things in apocalyptic terms. JR rather than a review within the Executive Branch must have the ability to halt "deliberate" operations. "Voir dire" has nothing to do with this. A panel of judges rather than a jury must decide. Operations conducted on an "imminent" basis should be subject to the review of this court post facto with accountability inflicted for killings judged to be unjustified.

I heard Michael O'Hanlon say today that such a review body should be "independent" and within the Executive Branch. This would be a mistake. No Executive Branch body is outside the authority of the president.

Many of you are merely argumentative and do not want to find solutions.

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