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

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

    I remember the clamour on the left and the calls for prosecutions and jail time for John Yoo, the Deputy Assistant Attorney General of the US under Bush who authored the legal rationale and justification for enhanced torture techniques. It will be interesting to see if those on the left are equally as vociferous about bringing to justice the author(s) of these legal opinions.

    Bush was accused by many on the left, and their sympathizers in socialist Europe, of war crimes for the treatment and torture of detainees from Afghanistan/Iraq. I haven't heard any similar cries from these parties, nor the ACLU, but perhaps they aren't as loud and it's hard to hear them over the adulation for the chosen one.

    The most troubling use of a US drone for an assassination is the one in Yemen that also murdered a young American child who just happened to be the son of an American terrorist. When a great country like America can justify the assassination of close family members when bringing criminals/terrorists to justice, you've lost the moral high ground, in my view.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by tessaesque View Post
    I read the memo...not just the article.....apparently your interpretation of the requirements for authorization is different than mine. Care to show me the text in the memo that you believe says they have to have intelligence of them planning an attack?
    Page 8, paragraph 2.

    "With this understanding, a high-level official could conclude, for example, that an individual poses an 'imminent threat' of violent attack against the United States where he is an operational leader of al-Qa'ida or an associated force and is personally and continually involved in planning terrorist attacks against the United States."

    Care to show me in the text anything that supports the idea that the government can kill somebody for speaking out against its actions?
    (avatar by Thomas Nast)

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Krhazy View Post
    Page 8, paragraph 2.

    "With this understanding, a high-level official could conclude, for example, that an individual poses an 'imminent threat' of violent attack against the United States where he is an operational leader of al-Qa'ida or an associated force and is personally and continually involved in planning terrorist attacks against the United States."

    Care to show me in the text anything that supports the idea that the government can kill somebody for speaking out against its actions?
    Immediately following that:

    "Thus a decision maker determining whether an al-Qa'ida operational leader presents an imminent threat of violent attack against the United States must take into account that....[they] are continually plotting attacks..., that al-Qa'ida would engage in such attacks regularly...; that the U.S government may not be aware of all...plots...and thus cannot be confident that none will occur...

    With this understanding, a high-level official could conclude...that an individual poses an "imminent threat"...[based upon] that member's current involvement....."

    In essence, by nature of being named a member of al-Qa'ida or "associated group" (which is left undefined), you can automatically be assumed to pose an "imminent threat", and no intelligence of a specific threat is necessary.

    As to your question:

    DHS has already sent out several memos defining what can be classified as a "terrorist" group, or who may, in the future, be identified as such. Those lists have included several organizations in no way linked to Al-Qa'ida, that are known primarily for speaking out against the government. The 10th and 11th pages go extensively into how and why it would be justified to kill an American citizen without due process, and makes absolutely no mention therein of that citizen's actions being taken as part of their membership or loyalty to al-Qa'ida or "it's associates".

    It is therefore entirely plausible that anybody qualified or quantified and classified as a terrorist or member of a terrorist group as defined by the government is therefore at risk of being targeted by drone strikes. And since the qualification of a specific imminent threat is not required, the conclusion that that are an inherent threat is enough...and that conclusion is beget by their classification.
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    Re: EXCLUSIVE: Justice Department memo reveals legal case for drone strikes on Americ

    Quote Originally Posted by tessaesque View Post
    Immediately following that:

    "Thus a decision maker determining whether an al-Qa'ida operational leader presents an imminent threat of violent attack against the United States must take into account that....[they] are continually plotting attacks..., that al-Qa'ida would engage in such attacks regularly...; that the U.S government may not be aware of all...plots...and thus cannot be confident that none will occur...

    With this understanding, a high-level official could conclude...that an individual poses an "imminent threat"...[based upon] that member's current involvement....."

    In essence, by nature of being named a member of al-Qa'ida or "associated group" (which is left undefined), you can automatically be assumed to pose an "imminent threat", and no intelligence of a specific threat is necessary.
    That is not what is says, but if you read in the way you post excerpts (skipping 3/4ths of the writing) I'm not surprised you have come to that conclusion.

    The last paragraph on page 7 (which becomes the first on page 8) describes the reasoning why a broader concept of "imminence" is required (e.g. because requiring specific evidence of an imminent attack would dramatically reduce the window in which the government can act, increase the likelihood of civilian casualties, and decrease the likelihood that we would be able to head off an attack).

    The next paragraph, the second on page 8 and the one quoted in my previous post, is the only situation in the entire memo in which the writer counsels that the "imminence" requirement would be met. There is nothing in the memo that says anyone who has ever been involved in al-Qa'ida, or anyone speaking out about the government, can be killed. Nor is there anything that could in any way rationally be extended to permit such a thing. That appears to be your fear and distrust talking.

    DHS has already sent out several memos defining what can be classified as a "terrorist" group, or who may, in the future, be identified as such. Those lists have included several organizations in no way linked to Al-Qa'ida, that are known primarily for speaking out against the government.
    Source? To my knowledge, DHS defines "terrorism" as:

    "Any activity that involves an act that is dangerous to human life or potentially destructive to critical infrastructure or key resources, and is a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any state or other subdivision of the United States and appears to be intended to intimidate or coerce a civilian population to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion, or to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping."

    Talking bad about the government doesn't fall into that category. Moreover, this memo doesn't say it adopts the DHS definition, nor does it authorize drone strikes on "terrorists" generally -- only on al-Qa'ida and "associated groups." The latter term could be fleshed out some more, I agree. But again, this is not a law. It does not have to be precise to withstand constitutional scrutiny. It's not even subject to constitutional scrutiny -- only executive actions are. And you can bet Obama is not going to order a drone strike on any American not belonging to al-Qa'ida or the most closely associated of groups. Especially in this partisan climate.

    The 10th and 11th pages go extensively into how and why it would be justified to kill an American citizen without due process, and makes absolutely no mention therein of that citizen's actions being taken as part of their membership or loyalty to al-Qa'ida or "it's associates".
    Pages 10 and 11, at least in my copy, talk about Section 1119(b), not due process.

    It is therefore entirely plausible that anybody qualified or quantified and classified as a terrorist or member of a terrorist group as defined by the government is therefore at risk of being targeted by drone strikes.
    I can't really say whether that is true, but it is certainly not authorized or recommended by this memo.
    (avatar by Thomas Nast)

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

    Quote Originally Posted by CanadaJohn View Post
    I remember the clamour on the left and the calls for prosecutions and jail time for John Yoo, the Deputy Assistant Attorney General of the US under Bush who authored the legal rationale and justification for enhanced torture techniques. It will be interesting to see if those on the left are equally as vociferous about bringing to justice the author(s) of these legal opinions.

    Bush was accused by many on the left, and their sympathizers in socialist Europe, of war crimes for the treatment and torture of detainees from Afghanistan/Iraq. I haven't heard any similar cries from these parties, nor the ACLU, but perhaps they aren't as loud and it's hard to hear them over the adulation for the chosen one.

    The most troubling use of a US drone for an assassination is the one in Yemen that also murdered a young American child who just happened to be the son of an American terrorist. When a great country like America can justify the assassination of close family members when bringing criminals/terrorists to justice, you've lost the moral high ground, in my view.
    I remember the support from the right that Bush had in dealing with terrorists. Some of the words by conservatives were along the lines of "collateral damage happens in war" and "War is hell, civilians die". Where is that same support from the right with Obama continuing the policies that many on the right supported Bush on?

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

    Quote Originally Posted by jonny5 View Post
    If anything is worthy of impeachment, this might be. Murder is a high crime.
    Yes it is, so is conspiracy to murder US citizens under the ruse of labeling them "terrorists" - a word that has no clear definition. I suppose the government could label me and those who share my views a "terrorist" (and have) because I question their alleged authority.

    This drone crap does nothing more than set precedence for the government to kill US citizens anywhere - even on US soil.

    Our present government is out of control in every way shape and form.

    If I ever saw a drone I would do my best to shoot it down and if I succeeded in doing so I would recover it and hold it hostage.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by cpwill View Post
    Vote Obama 2008! He Will End George W Bush's Abuse Of Power!
    Where was the [electable] alternative?

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

    Quote Originally Posted by TheNextEra View Post
    I remember the support from the right that Bush had in dealing with terrorists. Some of the words by conservatives were along the lines of "collateral damage happens in war" and "War is hell, civilians die". Where is that same support from the right with Obama continuing the policies that many on the right supported Bush on?
    Because Obama wants to set precedent to murder patriots on US soil by labeling them terrorists.... That's a big leap from killing a bunch of barbaric Islamic extremists who get their jollies off kidnapping people, holding them hostage while making outrageous demands then cutting their hostages heads off because the US didn't do what they demanded.

    Let's not forget progressives and the fascist progressives that run our government believe the Tea Party is a bunch of terrorists - language which they use regularly to describe patriots.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr.Nick View Post
    Yes it is, so is conspiracy to murder US citizens under the ruse of labeling them "terrorists" - a word that has no clear definition. I suppose the government could label me and those who share my views a "terrorist" (and have) because I question their alleged authority.

    This drone crap does nothing more than set precedence for the government to kill US citizens anywhere - even on US soil.

    Our present government is out of control in every way shape and form.

    If I ever saw a drone I would do my best to shoot it down and if I succeeded in doing so I would recover it and hold it hostage.
    Obama is just continuing a policy that Bush started and the right supported when Bush was in office. Now that a Dem is in charge, people seem to think differently.

    Don't get me wrong, I don't support it, but I didn't support it under Bush either while many on the right did.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr.Nick View Post
    Because Obama wants to set precedent to murder patriots on US soil by labeling them terrorists....
    You think the American Taliban was a patriot that the drone killed? Wow, you really are messed up.

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