The Audacity Of Drones: Keeping Americans Uninformed (Part 4)

Drone SC The Audacity Of Drones: Keeping Americans Uninformed (Part 4)

After four years of the Obama administration’s increasing use of remote-controlled, unmanned drones to kill our enemies, there are suddenly a few more in the media feeling obligated to report on the policy.

A new set of ethical issues is being discussed. The FAA is looking into how to regulate what some call ‘the drone age.’ When liberals say things like ‘Bush would have been impeached if he did what Obama is doing,” rest assured it’s newsworthy and conservatives should jump on the story.

Tina Brown, editor for the Daily Beast/Newsweek basically admitted to media hypocrisy saying:

“He’d be impeached by now for drones if he was George W. Bush… a Republican president; the outcry about drones would be far greater.”

Recently, memos on the president’s drone-use policy were released, perhaps to make Obama look stronger in fighting terror. Ironically, when first elected, Obama used the word “terror” only once in his 2009 inaugural address. Times have changed. The Obama administration has openly carried out more than six times the drone attacks approved by the Bush White House; and the main reason most Americans are unaware is the media looks the other way.

Obama made closing the Guantanamo Bay prison a campaign issue and has been unable to follow up on his promise. Instead, he now seems to favor a policy of killing to avoid prisoner detention. With few exceptions, the media has apparently been fine with openly using drones – that have killed many innocent bystanders – when they feverishly protested the use of enhanced interrogation techniques under Bush. They and Obama considered waterboarding prisoners to be ‘torture’; but they justify this policy of bombing suspects with no judicial review or trial.

The drone controversy has been brewing for months now. Judge Andrew Napolitano recently emphasized that the government’s legal memos on Obama’s policy to kill people overseas includes American citizens. Memos were released after a year of stonewalling federal judges who were seeking legal justification on drone use. What is this administration’s legal basis for claiming the right to kill without due process, thus suspending guaranteed constitutional protections?

The undated and unsigned 16-page document leaked to NBC refers to itself as a Department of Justice white paper. Its logic is flawed, its premises are bereft of any appreciation for the values of the Declaration of Independence and the supremacy of the Constitution, and its rationale could be used to justify any breaking of any law by any “informed, high-level official of the U.S. government.”

Under the Constitution, the president can only order killing using the military when the United States has been attacked, or when an attack is imminent. Obama and his advisers have used the word “surgical” to defend the use of drones as humane and necessary; but the fact is that out of the 2,300 drone-caused deaths, approximately 14 percent have been innocent civilians.

Such gravitas caused PBS’s Bill Moyers to question those who gave Obama the Nobel Peace Prize, implying it has become tarnished. Moyers now feels the president is indifferent to collateral damage and even called Obama’s drone use “cold-blooded.”

Ultra-liberal Columbia University professor Marc Lamont Hill even admitted the media refuses to hold Obama accountable, saying “I think the problem is we [Democrats] have convinced ourselves that Obama’s drones are somehow softer and kinder and gentler than Bush’s drones.”

Eric Holder’s Justice Department provided justification for killing the radical Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, born in New Mexico, in an American drone strike in September 2011. Note that Obama and Holder had the audacity to denounce the legal method of interrogating terrorists by waterboarding, decrying former VP Dick Cheney’s defense of the policy. The double standards are astounding.

For once, I give the ACLU credit for calling the new memo a disturbing document, saying it’s a “stunning overreach of executive authority.” In his confirmation hearing for the CIA, John Brennan defended Obama’s counterterrorism program; and despite evidence, he stated that drone attacks are carried out “as a last resort, to save lives when there is no other alternative.”

Where is the line drawn? It should alarm us that our government also has the authority to use drones against its own people. During the Obama administration, conservatives, Tea Party participants, and even our veterans can be scrutinized by as dangerous or suspicious.

Referring to a 2012 DHS report, retired Army lieutenant colonel Robert Maginnis writes:

Is this a slippery slope whereby the government might turn drone technology on Americans at home it labels “terrorists”? That’s an alarming thought, but so are past statements made by this government…  [The 2012 report advocates] warning police to be suspicious of anyone that feels their way of life is endangered, anyone that is religious, and anyone that might be interested in “personal liberty” and/or firearms.

The domestic drone market is now expected to grow quickly. Congress must debate this controversial policy and set clear boundaries before it gets out of hand. I’m all for defending America, but not at the expense of increased government power and authority over the very citizens they’ve pledged to protect and serve.

Evangelist Ray Comfort produced a documentary (180 movie) in which he gets people thinking about ethical dilemmas involving life. Comfort asks: “It’s 1939, you have a high-powered rifle, and you have Hitler in your sights. Would you pull the trigger?” After most respond “yes,” he then asks: “If it was 30 years earlier, would you have killed Hitler’s pregnant mother knowing what you know now?”

If drone killing isn’t controversial enough for the media to report on, either they don’t value all life – including life in the womb – or they prioritize protecting the president they voted for over telling American citizens the truth. Maybe it’s both.

 

*To catch up on the first three articles in this media malpractice series, click here.

Photo credit: axeman3d (Creative Commons)

Impeachment Works? Obama Backs Off Fascist Debt Ceiling Threat

Ben Johnson, The White House Watch

Conservatives who say they believe in “peace through strength” might take a lesson from the Obama administration this week. Its officials walked back discussion of an end-run around Congress on the debt ceiling after Republicans stepped up their talk of impeaching Barack Obama.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner had raised the possibility the president might unilaterally raise the debt ceiling under the pretext of the 14th Amendment. On Tuesday, Rep. Tim Scott of South Carolina told the Tea Party group LowCountry 9.12, “that is an impeachable act…This jeopardizes the credibility of our nation, if one man can usurp the entire system set up by our Founding Fathers.”

The next day, Texas Republican Pete Olson told the left-wing website ThinkProgress.org that Scott is “not a lonely voice” on impeachment.

Even Obama supporters distanced themselves from such a blatant violation of the separation of powers. Harvard Law professor Laurence Tribe, who was a judicial adviser to Obama’s 2008 campaign, wrote a New York Times op-ed entitled, We Cannot Pretend the Debt Ceiling is Unconstitutional.” He noted the dramatic implications of the proposed usurpation of powers: “In theory, Congress could pay debts not only by borrowing more money, but also by exercising its powers to impose taxes, to coin money or to sell federal property. If the president could usurp the congressional power to borrow, what would stop him from taking over all these other powers, as well?”

This growing resistance may explain why the Obama administration is distancing itself from this dictatorial action wrapped in the Constitution.

On Friday, Geithner….

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Time to Fire Eric Holder

Susan Stamper Brown, FloydReports.com

During a recent speech at the American Constitution Society (ACS), United States Attorney General Eric Holder lauded our American civilian court system as “our most effective terror-fighting weapon.” Holder’s address, along with his whole attorney general career, reflects a flawed ideology that believes wrapping enemy combatants in the American flag will somehow steer them towards full disclosure.

We are fooling ourselves to believe our enemies aren’t smart enough to use habeas corpus against us — which the Constitution does not extend to non-citizens held outside U.S. boundaries. While the good cop routine might work on some of the more impressionable, the determined fanatics will take advantage of the situation. Sometimes you need a “Jack Bauer” to intervene to make these people sweat.

Holder’s implied moral high ground originates from the assumption that captured enemy combatants will be mistreated – unless they are blanketed by the security of our Constitution. Holder fails to recognize that our military is bound by the same Constitution, as well as the Geneva Convention.

The last time I checked, those who strayed away from their obligations to constitutional rule of law were duly convicted of crimes. Their actions, along with those of Attorney General Holder, do nothing but undermine the efforts of so many charged with keeping the rest of us safe from the criminals they imprison.

A lack of confidence in the military tribunal system seems to pervade the Justice Department under Holder as service members assigned to Guantanamo Bay do their duty honorably and faithfully, every day.

Case in point is the recent indictment of….

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Flashback: Obama Wanted a Nuremberg Trial for Osama

Ben Johnson, FloydReports.com

When the most finely trained military/intelligence team in America finally killed Osama bin Laden, MSNBC’s Norah O’Donnell sent an embarrassingly misspelled tweet that informed the world, “Obama shot and killed.” However, MSNBC inadvertently allowed some truth to slip through its reporting of the assassination. The left-wing network quoted “a senior official in the Obama administration” admitting the chain of events that culminated with Osama bobbing on the waves of the North Arabian Sea began under President George W. Bush, came about because of interrogation techniques Barack Obama opposed, at a facility (Guantanamo Bay) he continually threatens to close, and would likely have never occurred if Obama had enacted policies he continued to advance even while announcing Osama’s death.

During a briefing about how agents finally found the world’s most wanted man, MSNBC reveals the official said:

After the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, “detainees gave us information on couriers. One courier in particular had our constant attention. Detainees gave us his nom de guerre, his pseudonym, and also identified this man as one of the few couriers trusted by bin Laden.”

In 2007, the U.S. learned the man’s name.

Two years later, they tracked this courier down to a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, valued at $1 million – a cavernous, windowless structure that is eight times larger than other structures in the area, surrounded by a 15-feet-high security walls – which he shared with another courier, Osama bin Laden, and the terror mastermind’s youngest wife.

Al-Jazeera reported, “US spies have been monitoring many of those couriers for years, the CIA said on Sunday.”

The Washington Post quotes “senior U.S. officials who detailed the operation under the condition of anonymity,” one of whom told them intelligence agents had “been working this target for years, years, years. They finally found the guy who led to the guy who led to the guy who led to the guy, and this is it.”

Insiders told Fox News the courier’s pseudonym was disclosed by….

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Obama Discovers New “Rights” for Terrorists

Susan Stamper Brown, FloydReports.com

Americans may be less safe today because the Obama administration made the decision to circumvent the Constitutional treaty ratification process by mandating that his administration would begin compliance with Article 75 of Additional Protocol I (API) to the 1949 Geneva Conventions “out of a sense of moral obligation.”

API, an unsanctioned addition to the Geneva Convention that was unequivocally rejected by previous administrations, outlines fundamental rights or guarantees for captives taken in an international armed conflict. This addition sounds nice in Dreamland, where it’s okay to interchange the words “international” and “national” without consequence. But, where the rest of us live, the word “international” is quintessential. The Supreme Court determined (Hamdan vs. Rumsfeld) that America is involved in a non-international armed conflict with al-Qaeda and the Taliban, making Article 75 moot.

We were led to believe we were having an intelligent Guantanamo Bay (Gitmo) detainee discussion when the administration threw in some non sequitur about Article 75. Introducing Article 75 into the conversation was misleading to those who take words at face-value, confusing to those who dare to delve below the surface and alarming to those who understand our safety is in the hands of some who dangerously dance outside the confines of common sense.

In a March 7, 2011, White House fact sheet titled “New Actions on Guantanamo and Detainee Policy,” the administration suggests, “Our adherence to these principles is also an important safeguard against the mistreatment of captured U.S. military personnel.” Let me get this right. America is involved in a non-international armed conflict with an indefinable enemy that use woman and children as “human shields,” blow themselves up on a regular basis, behead their enemy using dull swords – and we should believe our military will be safer? Secretary of State Clinton said it’s “not about who our enemies are, but about who we are.” We are a lot of things, but Americans aren’t stupid….

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