It isn’t what we don’t know that gives us trouble, it’s what we know that ain’t so. Will Rogers
The Obama administration is giving the world more reason why no sovereign nation should allow a U.S. citizen inside its borders. A drone attack on that U.S. citizen will be an attack on that country!
Pete Yost of the Associated Press reports that:
An internal Justice Department memo says it is legal for the government to kill U.S. citizens abroad if it believes they are senior al-Qaeda leaders continually engaged in operations aimed at killing Americans.
The document, reported Monday by NBC News, provides a legal rationale behind the Obama administration’s use of drone strikes against al-Qaeda suspects.
The 16-page document says it is lawful to target al-Qaeda linked U.S. citizens if they pose an “imminent” threat of violent attack against Americans, and that delaying action against such people would create an unacceptably high risk. Such circumstances may necessitate expanding the concept of imminent threat, the memo says.
As if FBAR and FATCA weren’t enough. Now the U.S. wants to send drones against certain U.S. citizens abroad. (Query whether “Homelanders” are also subject to execution. – only kidding.)
Who knows what the U.S. government might believe. This is a government that:
– was certain that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction;
– believes that virtually all U.S. citizens abroad are “tax cheats”;
At this point, it seems clear the U.S. government is capable of believing anything. This is why judicial review should be required of any decision to send drones into sovereign airspace to kill U.S. citizens (if it is to be allowed at all). This issue is a natural for the American Civil Liberties Union. And yes, right on cue, the article notes that:
The American Civil Liberties Union said the document is “profoundly disturbing.”
“It’s hard to believe that it was produced in a democracy built on a system of checks and balances,” the ACLU said.
The document says that the use of lethal force would not violate the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution when a targeted person is an operational leader of an enemy force and an informed, high-level government official has determined that he poses an imminent threat of violent attack against the U.S.
The document said the courts have no role to play in the matter.
“Under the circumstances described in this paper, there exists no appropriate judicial forum to evaluate these constitutional considerations. It is well established that ’matters intimately related to foreign policy, and national security are rarely proper subjects for judicial intervention,”’ the white paper said.
“The condition that an operational leader present an ‘imminent’ threat of violent attack against the United States does not require the United States to have clear evidence that a specific attack on U.S. persons and interests will take place in the immediate future,” NBC reported the memo as saying.
So, what this means is:
The Obama administration wants to kill U.S. citizens based on its belief that they are a threat to the United States. The administration does NOT want their decision to be reviewable in the courts.
How is the issue of “threat to the United States” to be determined?
It is obviously arbitrary.
Perhaps the Obama administration can get the IRS to devise a new information return, designed to help determine whether a U.S. citizen abroad is a threat to national security. They can design the appropriate questions. It can be called:
KillBar – The Information Return Designed To Determine Whether U.S. citizens Should Be Killed – Non-Willful fine for failure to complete – $10,000.00
What about the issue of sending drones into the sovereign airspace of other countries?
The U.S. does not seem to be considering this aspect of the problem. Would the Government of Canada allow the U.S. to send a drone into Canadian airspace to kill a U.S. citizen in Montreal? Sound far fetched?
The general issue of drones in a democracy was recently considered as part of a Legal Theory Workshop at the University of Toronto law school. The use of drones has also been studied by both the law schools at Stanford University and NYU. Not that it matters, but the Stanford/NYU study – “Living Under Drones” – noted that U.S. drones kill civilians and provoke hatred (as Ron Paul notes the cost of hatred is very high) and stated that:
As the report notes in its executive summary: ‘In the United States, the dominant narrative about the use of drones in Pakistan is of a surgically precise and effective tool that makes the US safer by enabling “targeted killing” of terrorists, with minimal downsides or collateral impacts. This narrative is false.’
Here is a video based on the NYU/Stanford study:
The drone program is one more reason why no country should allow U.S. citizens inside its borders. Why invite the “Drone attack”?
Conclusion: The Obama administration has gone completely out of its mind! This should be a “wake up call” for the rest of the world!