Mueller: I Can’t Say Whether I Now Can Kill Citizens In The United States Under Obama’s Kill Doctrine

This week we have been discussing Attorney General Eric Holder’s recent speech at Northwestern University Law School detailing the claim of President Barack Obama that he has the right to kill American citizens based on his inherent authority and the ongoing war on terror. I previously wrote a blog and a column on the issue. Those pieces noted that Holder limited his remarks by referring to targeted killing “abroad.” However, I noted that the Administration’s past references to this power are not so limited. Indeed, the only limits stated by the Administration have been self-imposed standards and what Holder calls “due process” — expressly excluding “judicial process.” Now, FBI Director Robert Mueller has entered the fray. On Wednesday Mueller was asked in a congressional hearing whether the current policy would allow the killing of citizens in the United States. Mueller said that he simply did not know whether he could order such an assassination. It was the perfect moment to capture the dangerous ambiguity introduced into our system by this claim of inherent authority. I can understand Mueller deferring to the Attorney General on the meaning of his remarks, but the question was whether Mueller understands that the same power exists within the United States. One would hope that the FBI Director would have a handle on a few details guiding his responsibilities, including whether he can kill citizens without a charge or court order.

Mueller was asked whether the same criteria used to kill Americans abroad also would apply in the United States and whether the President retained the “historical” right to order such assassination on U.S. land. When asked this basic question by Rep. Kevin Yoder (R-Kan.), Mueller said that he was simply unsure where the President’s authority would end, if at all, in killing citizens: “I have to go back. Uh, I’m not certain whether that was addressed or not” and added I’m going to defer that to others in the Department of Justice.” He appeared unclear whether he had the power under the Obama Kill Doctrine or, in the very least, was unwilling to discuss that power. For civil libertarians, the answer should be easy: “Of course, I do not have that power under the Constitution.”

After my column ran in Foreign Policy magazine, a reporter at a leading newspaper who I respect emailed me to question whether it is accurate to say that this policy is unlimited and whether officials have truly asserted the right to kill citizens at anytime and anywhere, particularly in the United States. He noted that the Administration insists that it is doing its own “constitutional analysis” for every killing — simply without the involvement of the courts. As I have noted before, this assertion is based on the threshold presumption that the Constitution does not require these determinations to be made by a court or that they be subject to court review. They then redefine the protections of due process as a balancing test within the administration. This Administration has consistently maintained that courts do not have a say in such matters. Instead, they simply define the matter as covered by the Law Of Armed Conflicts (LOAC), even when the conflict is a war on terror. That war, they have stressed, is to be fought all around the world, including the United States. It is a battlefield without borders as strikes in other countries have vividly demonstrated.

The claim that they are following self-imposed “limits” which are meaningless — particularly in a system that is premised on the availability of judicial review. The Administration has never said that the LOAC does not allow the same powers to be used in the United States. It would be an easy thing to state. Holder can affirmatively state that the President’s inherent power to kill citizens exists only outside of the country. He can then explain where those limits are found in the Constitution and why they do not apply equally to a citizen in London or Berlin. Holder was not describing a constitutional process of review. They have dressed up a self-imposed review of a unilateral power as due process. Any authoritarian measure can be dressed up as carefully executed according to balancing tests, but that does not constitute any real constitutional analysis. It is at best a loose analogy to constitutional analysis.

When reporters asked the Justice Department about Mueller’s apparent uncertainty, they responded that the answer is “pretty straightforward.” They then offered an evasive response. They simply said (as we all know) that “[t]he legal framework (Holder) laid out applies to U.S. citizens outside of U.S.” We got that from the use of the word “abroad.” However, the question is how this inherent authority is limited as it has been articulated by Holder and others. What is the limiting principle? If the President cannot order the killing of a citizen in the United States, Holder can simply say so (and inform the FBI Director who would likely be involved in such a killing). In doing so, he can then explain the source of that limitation and why it does not apply with citizens in places like London. What we have is a purely internal review that balances the practicality of arrest and the urgency of the matter in the view of the President. Since the panel is the extension of his authority, he can presumably disregard their recommendations or order a killing without their approval. Since the Administration has emphasized that the “battlefield” in this “war on terror” is not limited to a particular country, the assumption is that the President’s authority is commensurate with that threat or limitless theater of operation. Indeed, the Justice Department has repeatedly stated that the war is being fought in the United States as well as other nations.

Thus, Mueller’s uncertainty is understandable . . . and dangerous. The Framers created a system of objective due process in a system of checks and balances. Obama has introduced an undefined and self-imposed system of review that borders on Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart’s test for pornography in his concurring opinion in Jacobellis v. Ohio, 378 U.S. 184 (1964): “I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description; and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it, and the motion picture involved in this case is not that.” Presumably, when Holder sees it, he will let Mueller know.

Source: Fox

264 thoughts on “Mueller: I Can’t Say Whether I Now Can Kill Citizens In The United States Under Obama’s Kill Doctrine

  1. At least one political appointment has some balls…. May not have been Bushs best one…. But could be playing the whole engineering card…….to get another bush elected…

  2. Koh stated clearly that the limiting factor on where Obama would murder someone was the level of inconvenience and embarrassment it might cause to the leaders of the country where it happened.

    He clearly said that we would be unlikely to hit anyone in Germany because their people would protest the US and it would be in the newspapers . On the other hand, killing people in Pakistan doesn’t get that much attention in the West so drone strikes and assassinations there would continue.

    I often wonder what would happen if a US citizen was openly assassinated in the US by Obama. Would people stand and cheer? I think many would. That is how far backwards we have come as a people. Obama says trust me and people do. That isn’t a democracy. That is a cult of personality where the power of law is ended and the power of a dictator is accepted by many not only as a necessity but as a good.

    Again I will state that we the people must stand for the rule of law. The rule of fiat will tear this society apart. It really doesn’t matter that a guy with a nice family, a wonderful dog and a great organic garden is doing that. It matters that anyone is doing it. What matters more is that people will allow it.

  3. The so-called Patriot Act, the war on terror (a word), and everything that followed is despicable & in total violation of our Constitution, the Bill of Rights and International law.

  4. Unless and until we can amend or rewrite the constitution our country is a path of self-destruction. Since 911, Bush and Obama have put themselves above the law. Bush was guilty as hell for war crimes and Obama and our legislators aided and abbeted him. Like Germany, we the people may not rise up in time to save America.

  5. “Instead, they simply define the matter as covered by the Law Of Armed Conflicts (LOAC), even when the conflict is a war on terror. That war, they have stressed, is to be fought all around the world, including the United States. It is a battlefield without borders as strikes in other countries have vividly demonstrated.”

    *****************************
    This is the problem with overlapping laws which are used to address things that were never intended. There is a a Rule of Reason in all law which limits them to only the logical extensions of those matters the law was designed to deal with. Using the law to further your own ends in contravention of their intended purpose is just another name for tyranny. This is the battle cry of strict constructionists like Scalia, but while I disagree in the main with his application of the principle I do acknowledge there is some merit in the claim at the extremes as we have here.

  6. mespo,

    There is no reality to the “war on terror”. From this lie, all other deceit flows. There are terrorists and there is the criminal justice system for dealing with them. Once we the people acquiesce to the lies of our “leaders” instead of demand they follow our clear law, any illegality by them becomes “acceptable”.

    Torture, invasion, imprisonment of the innocent–none of it matters to people who have forgotten who they are, that ours is a nation of law, not men. “No exceptional circumstances” turns into: “well, if I like the guy it must be O.K.” A society will crumble under this type of thinking, just as ours is doing, right now.

  7. Even the hair-splitting about whether it’s OK to kill U.S. citizens anywhere is an argument that has hoisted itself onto the slippery slope. The U.S. Constitution is supposed to be a universal document; talking about rights that apply to all men, not just those who happen to be U.S. citizens. When Hopey, or any future filthy stinking Republikkkan president, decides that it’s OK to slaughter non-citizens solely on his or her say-so, it’s just as bad as killing Americans.

    I’m so glad that my wife and I were able to emigrate from the U.S. to flee the Cheney Regime. Canada now seems too close to the States. We’re going to move back to Australia (got permanent residency there during the first four years of our voluntary exile.) The way the United States is going inevitably ends in tyranny and widespread death. When the U.S. goes, it will drag Canada down with it.

    Barack Obama — WORSE THAN the third term of George Bush!

  8. You get the feeling these guys don’t mind the ambiguity so as to preserve their, uhm, latitude to kill anyone they want anywhere they want. But apparently they’re still not quite comfortable saying this outright. No surprise. The average citizen probably is an unknown, but might find the idea unwelcome. Libertarians are or should probably strongly be opposed; progressives are opposed; “liberals” might be an unknown; Republican, anti “big government” types ought to find no more horrible example of big government. My wife suggests “Christians” should be shocked, but, well, you know . . .

    A fundamental problem. I think, is the whole “endless war”, “the world is the battlefront” rhetoric that boy Bush started. Until that framing is changed, anything goes. Obama could redeem and awful lot if he would roll back the framing that commits the US to a war footing, everywhere, all the time. I don’t expect that to happen, as it would be a step toward blunting the war industry.

    As far as the threshold question of court involvement in review, it’s pretty clear the administration is intent on keeping the whole business tight to their vest in the WH. I’m sure the folks in the OLC have provided some suitably twisted rationale — in the best tradition of Yoo and Bybee — if it ever sees the light of day. But, beyond the language, for all those who aren’t enamored by a unitary executive, it boils down to “we don’t need no stinkin courts”

  9. Robert Mueller has entered the fray. On Wednesday Mueller was asked in a congressional hearing whether the current policy would allow the killing of citizens in the United States. Mueller said that he simply did not know whether he could order such an assassination. It was the perfect moment to capture the dangerous ambiguity introduced into our system by this claim of inherent authority.

    Well Mueller you better get over that wimpy attitude, the Gestapo & Stasi are here alive and well in the USA. Is Dachau next?

  10. I have outlined the 1933 parallels on this blog before. Reichstag gets burned down in 1933. Twin Towers and Pentagon attacks in America on Sept 11, 2001. The response of Presdient von Hindenberg was the Reichstag Fire Decree. German laws and constitutional protections were suspened so that they could prevent the culprits, the Communists, from a wave of terror. Hitler was Elected shortly thereafter. No coup. In America we got the Patriot Act from Bush and now a recent law denying laws of protection to American citizens anywhere in the world, Herr Holder issues his statements on the absence of judicial due process when he and the President and dog knows who else decide that someone can be killed, tortured, locked up in Buechenwald.

    The opposition will have to come from within the Democrat Party (I cannot bring myself to put the ic on the end of that word in this country any longer) because the RepubliCons are already on board with the von Hindenberg notions of law articulated by Cheney and the Bush crowd. If they get back in the Presidency it will be Deutschland, Deutschland uber alles.

    Yeah, yeah, its just a dog talkin, we dont need no history lesson because we aint dumb enough to repeat it.

    Ich mocter ein frei Reich.

    TalkinDog

  11. These busterds are lucky I could never be POtUS. Gitmo would be full to the breaking point & since it is not “within the US” there would be quite a large number of killings to make room for the new comers.

    The assumption is we could never have an unbalanced Prez, one who favored his or her own power over the good of the country (or somehow conflated the two). There could never be a real mistake or abuse of this power because we are all honest actors and only interested in peace and prosperity.

    Looking at some of the nutbags running for the job this year I do not understand why we would believe this.

  12. If you terminate the AUMF, the rest of this nonsense will come tumbling down. Without a true declaration of war, this AUMF has spawned a new generation of power grabs and extra constitutional “laws”. The rule of law must not be water downed or it is a slippery slope to an even worse situation.

  13. Dog, if you are going to use a foreign language to make your point, you should get it right.

    If you are trying to say that you would like to have an empire/kingdom that is free, then it would be: “Ich möchte ein freies Reich haben.” If you are trying to say you would like to have a country that is free, then it would be: “Ich möchte ein freies Land haben.” If you personally would like to be free, then it would be: “Ich möchte frei sein.” What are you going for here?

  14. “The claim that they are following self-imposed ‘limits’ which are meaningless — particularly in a system that is premised on the availability of judicial review.”

    Yep. A self-imposed limit is about as useful as a suggestion for putting a brake on abusive practices. As for Director Mueller, “Details, schemtails”. You won’t be able to claim you were just following orders when a reckoning is had.

  15. As Mr. Teller (of Penn and Teller) said in another context, “Choice is not freedom.” In a few months, we’ll get to decide whether the country will be led by a man who claims the right to assassinate citizens or one who promises war with Iran.

    That’s not a good choice. That’s not freedom.

  16. On the day of 9/11, once the fatal words “now this changes everything” were uttered by some pundit and echoed ad infinitum, we have been on a downhill slope of terror. The fear of potential terrorism has engulfed the American people and its leaders to the point where they are willing to go to any lengths to deal with perceived potential threats to the nation.

    This is madness and the sign that the perpetrators of 9/11, be they Al Qaeda and/or some sources much closer to home, have succeeded in instilling unwarranted fear into the minds of most Americans. Life has ever be filled with murderous dangers. We are helpless to take the uncertainty of sudden death, by accident or deed out of the human equation. Humans fear their demise, or those of loved ones, with a stark terror that we choke down lest it destroys our ability to carry on. This propensity is easily exploited by our media and by its obsession in those designated to “protect” us.

    While the program “24” used the metaphor of the need to use extra-legal means to save us from the dangers of evil people, the meme created was a highly appealing but logically fallacious. It is a meme that is foisted upon a much larger audience than those who watched the show. Throughout human history the threat of death and destruction from external sources has been used to enslave people. That the threat is sometimes true, is immaterial, given the extraordinary means used to counter the threat.

    This fear of catastrophe is one that operates on both a conscious and a sub-conscious level and that is why it is so effective. While some here are able to look at the potential dangers just living in itself offers and thus contextualize the varied threats and weigh them against the possible harm in “over protecting” ourselves, we still battle our own demons of doom on a daily basis. If this ability to assassinate were put to a national vote, based on the premise that it would save us from terrorism, it would overwhelmingly win the Nation’s approval. Therein lies the danger to any rational politician,
    if there is such a thing, since being seen as not being willing to go all out to stop the imagined threats appears almost treasonous to the public.

    The power to murder, assassinate is too mild a word, anyone deemed a threat to the country should not prevail because of obvious reasons to anyone believing in the rule of law. However, the ability to overcome the irrational extension of the rational human fear of unexpected death, is quite difficult to achieve. The rationale of using extra-legal means to eliminate those who would potentially “threaten” our country is not a new concept. What has changed is that due to the over sensationalism of 9/11, it has been brought out into the open and thus further legitimized.

  17. Another bit of wisdom from Mr. Teller. It is from an article I was considering writing an expanded piece upon for here, but Bette Noir’s comment prompted me to share this directly. The original article is Teller discussing the secrets of magic. It may not seem relevant at first glance, but I encourage everyone interested in our current political situation to read it.

    7. If you are given a choice, you believe you have acted freely. This is one of the darkest of all psychological secrets. I’ll explain it by incorporating it (and the other six secrets you’ve just learned) into a card trick worthy of the most annoying uncle.

    THE EFFECT I cut a deck of cards a couple of times, and you glimpse flashes of several different cards. I turn the cards facedown and invite you to choose one, memorize it and return it. Now I ask you to name your card. You say (for example), “The queen of hearts.” I take the deck in my mouth, bite down and groan and wiggle to suggest that your card is going down my throat, through my intestines, into my bloodstream and finally into my right foot. I lift that foot and invite you to pull off my shoe and look inside. You find the queen of hearts. You’re amazed. If you happen to pick up the deck later, you’ll find it’s missing the queen of hearts.

    THE SECRET(S) First, the preparation: I slip a queen of hearts in my right shoe, an ace of spades in my left and a three of clubs in my wallet. Then I manufacture an entire deck out of duplicates of those three cards. That takes 18 decks, which is costly and tedious (No. 2—More trouble than it’s worth).

    When I cut the cards, I let you glimpse a few different faces. You conclude the deck contains 52 different cards (No. 1—Pattern recognition). You think you’ve made a choice, just as when you choose between two candidates preselected by entrenched political parties (No. 7—Choice is not freedom).” [italics – emphasis added]

    The whole article can be read here.

  18. “Administration has never said that the LOAC does not allow the same powers to be used in the United States. It would be an easy thing to state.” (JT)

    It should be an easy thing to state, and could be an easy thing to state. But it’s appears to be a hard thing, or even a proscribed thing to state.

    Thing is — it’s that framing thing again — as long as whatever unconstitutional or offensive premise being stated is juxtaposed against those EVIL TERRORISTS this constitutes a complete defense, according to current rhetorical practice, to requiring a sensible, precedent-respecting, logical, or even ANY response because — you know — “national security”.

    No one is allowed to expect answers and, I’m afraid all too soon, to even ask certain questions. Fear of tipping off the enemy. There needs to be a groundswell of courageous pushback to this tightening noose around open discussion, much less authoritarian practice. It doesn’t seem optional.

    T. Dog may not have his German right; but the analogy to interwar Germany is getting more complete.

  19. frankly:

    “The assumption is we could never have an unbalanced Prez ….”

    ************************

    Assuming it could never happen and thus failing to plan for it, is a virtual guarantee of its occurrence. You can ask the White Star Line or Yale Professor of Economics, Irving Fisher, who predicted, “Stocks have reached what looks like a permanently high plateau.” He said this in 1929.

  20. “Administration has never said that the LOAC does not allow the same powers to be used in the United States. It would be an easy thing to state.” (JT)

    Unless, of course, it’s already happened, which would explain the Director’s side stepping a path that could easily have led him to perjury and instead, kicked the ball into the Atty Gen’s court.

  21. Blouise,

    Yep. This is why I think everyone should read the Teller article about magic too. At it’s core, it’s not about magic. It’s about manipulating perceptions. The seven principles Teller lays out are a great tool for spotting deception.

    1. Exploit pattern recognition.
    2. Make the secret a lot more trouble than the trick seems worth.
    3. It’s hard to think critically when you’re laughing. (I’d expand this to include angry or despondent and other “extreme” emotional states.)
    4. Keep the trickery outside the frame. (Simpy put, distraction.)
    5. To fool the mind, combine at least two tricks.
    6. Nothing fools you better than the lie you tell yourself. (This is the key to the Jedi Mind Trick and many other types of lie including propaganda.)
    7. If you are given a choice, you believe you have acted freely.

  22. via Emptywheel, Diane Feinstein, also assures us we need have no worries on Constitutional grounds.

    http://www.emptywheel.net/2012/03/07/dianne-feinstein-assures-us-her-review-of-targeted-killing%C2%A0is-adequate/

    Reminds me of Sen. Jay Rockefeller being one, of many, front men for the Iraq invasion based on seeing (incomplete, and contrived) intelligence, and then writing a letter to Mueller (!) expressing his doubts and concerns. But in public, serious questioning concerning the intelligence being fed to Congress, was totally stifled. There never was a serious Congressional investigation. An example of lack of courage in the face of the “national security” boogeyman. Makes you yearn for the good old days — not so far back — when there was some integrity in individuals, e.g., Atty General Richardson resigning in the face of a corrupt administration.

  23. Gene,

    I suspect your earlier post regarding the cards strategically placed is what moved my point of viewing and led to the suggestion I made. I asked myself, “What would be the scenario in which the Director’s response would make sense?”

    I hope you are still planning to present the piece. I think it would be very educational.

  24. ““The claim that they are following self-imposed ‘limits’ which are meaningless — particularly in a system that is premised on the availability of judicial review.”
    —————————————-
    Disagree, on so many levels…..

    self imposed limits are NOT meaningless…they are essential unless you want a Country to be ruled by thugs who allow the limit of thier behaviour to be only what opposing force can dictate. [and trust me, this is an actual STATE of Terror….and exhaustion, for everyone else who has to live within this state of affairs….]

    A system that is based on LAW (judiciary, the agents of law in whatever uniform, Constitution etc…..) is DEPENDANT on self-imposed limits and restraint. Within the confines of a ‘Society’ or ‘World’, these behaviours are born in the KNOWLEDGE of the EXISTING LAW. Falling short of the letter of law on the correct side of that law is not a criminal or endangering act. What good is a law that is neither known or followed????? Recognized or enforced?

    That said….a law in a Country that acts first and drafts a law second….well, that is also meaningless Law… that may be a good definition for ‘anti-law’.
    Everyone is endangered when our elected and governing officials act first and make law second.

    Ex: Committing an act of war against a sovereign Country absence a real and tangible threat.

    This sort of thing leads to much ass covering….and distrust.

  25. Self imposed limits in this case show that we have allowed the law to become meaningless. Under the Constitution a president actions are limited by the law, not by his own ideas about his power.

    Two members of the 9/11 commission recently gave sworn testimony that Saudi’s were linked to that attack and that this information was withheld from the public.

    If we are in a “war on terror” wouldn’t we be obligated to attack Saudi Arabia and start droning those people who were involved in the attacks? Why aren’t we doing that? Where are the drones? Where is our just war?

    Obviously, the “war on terror” is a war on whomever the US governing class would like to go to war with. It is the same with drones. We stop this by insisting as citizens that it stop.

  26. Anonymously Yours 1, March 8, 2012 at 12:51 pm

    Jill,

    You’ll get no argument from me on this one…. I agree totally…..

    As do I. Well said, Jill.

  27. Need I say that a college chum played that very trick on me in his dorm room. He did one more and had me almost convinced that he had psyhic powers. I left with my wallet still in my pocket and my skepsis intact.

  28. I agree with many of the responses here that site an ambiguous “War” as the font of authoritarian lawlessness. I would posit that the “War on Drugs” was the original ambiguous war used excuse excessive policing and power grabs. The War on Drugs has conditioned us to accept that local police departments would all have SWAT teams that raid houses in the middle of the night. We enthusiastically because the nation with the highest incarceration rate in the world. The War on Terror learned much from it’s predecessor and is much more efficient at eroding freedoms and silencing opposition. Every citizen should reread Orwell’s 1984 just to see how un-shocking it is now, and to then understand how far gone we are from being The Land of the Free.

  29. idealist7071, March 8, 2012 at 1:00 pm

    Need I say that a college chum played that very trick on me in his dorm room. He did one more and had me almost convinced that he had psyhic powers. I left with my wallet still in my pocket and my skepsis intact.
    ——————————–
    How ?

    How did you get away?…with all that was yours?

  30. Fox News is part of the magic trick. It’s the distraction. Fox will say something ridiculous about Obama and Democrats will become incensed. They will stop paying attention to what Obama is doing and instead become deeply upset about what some well paid lackey on Fox said. Works like a charm. But we shouldn’t keep falling for it.

  31. Fox News is the source of the Mueller article that the professor posted that we are commenting on.

  32. So, S.M.,

    Are you saying that Mueller did not say what he said? That’s going to be something one can verify independently of Fox. Or, are you saying that yes, he said it, but what he said is fine?

  33. Jill, You said ,” Fox News is part of the magic trick”. Have not seen the report this morning any where else.

  34. I am making a broad point here–that Fox news does exactly what I said it does, offer a distraction so that Obama’s actions are ignored. It is exactly what is happening in this exchange.

    We are talking about Fox News instead of Obama’s idea that he may assassinate whomever he wishes. Because I do not wish to be a part of distracting from the enormity of Obama’s assertion I will stay off Fox news and stay on the topic.

    So, back on topic. Mueller doesn’t know the answer, an answer which is very clear in our law, because we are lawless. We as citizens should not accept such a thing.

  35. Jill,

    Stay focused….. It is about Obama….. It is about any person in power that disregards the constitution…. It’s not about fox news…. Its what he’s doing…. Stay on target…

  36. Actually, Jill, I will say Fox News is a lot more than a distraction. They have done everything possible to push us in this direction with their hysterical coverage of “terrorists” and their anti Muslim rhetoric.

  37. Blouise,

    Do you really not see how the govt. manipulates people? I’m just curious.

    Did you know that Raw Story, for example, which presents itself as progressive, is run by a Ron Paul style libertarian? Have you noticed that most of the media is beating the drums of war against Iran by using the left over copy sent to them about Iraq? Do you think we are getting good journalism in our nation? Real, solid reporting?

    I wondered if you thought the NYTimes, for example, gave us good information on Iraq and is now giving us good information on Iran?

    I’m wondering if you feel the issue of presidential assassination is being well reported and the implications well explored by the MSM. From what I see the govt. has pretty well figured out how to distract first one part of the population, then another so that we argue about really stupid things when we should be thinking very hard about whether we do agree that presidential assassination is 1. legal and 2. a great policy for the US.

  38. “NSA whistle-blower: Obama “worse than Bush””

    “Thomas Drake on life inside the National Security Agency and the price of truth telling”

    By Matthew Harwood. March 7, 2012

    http://www.salon.com/2012/03/07/nsa_whistle_blower_obama_worse_than_bush/singleton/

    Excerpt:

    Jesselyn Radack: Which brings us back to the dark ages. Pay in cash. Meet in person in obscure locations. You adopt drug dealer tactics. You adopt the tactics of high-level criminals.

    But by doing that, guess what you establish: you’re suspicious. And see isn’t that a Catch-22. But there is a defense to this. Forget all the furtiveness. Forget all of this stuff about what criminal enterprises do to hide their criminal activity, which is what the government is doing themselves. They’re hiding their own activity. The answer is openness and transparency, period. Right now with my colleagues, we’re not encrypting with each other when we’re communicating on the civil lawsuit. We’re wide open. We’re in the open. If they’re monitoring us, then so be it.

    In the New Yorker article, Jane Mayer quotes you as saying, “I actually had hopes for Obama.” What’s your opinion on the Obama administration’s stated support for whistle-blowers and, more generally, his counterterrorism record?

    Worse than Bush. I have to say that. I actually voted for Obama. It’s all rhetoric for me now. As Americans we were hoodwinked. He’s expanding the secrecy regime far beyond what the Bush even intended, interestingly enough. I think Bush is probably like, “Whoa.”

  39. Woosty,
    He had charisma, not flashy, but the suggestiveness of a good car salesman.
    So although being a young man looking and needing something to believe in, I got a grip on my scepsis and walked away—-and out of the room the spell broke.
    Some people have it, at least on me—-thank god don’t meet them often
    Two have called themselves gestalt therapist, of more or less malevolent parasitical class—none had any real training.
    Then some years later facing a heart operation, got hold of a real one, and that is another thing entirely.
    What saved me from the other charlatans was seeing in group therapy how they manipulated others most cruely. Awful to see when you recognize it.

    Think Mike S has seen it too.

  40. anon nurse, Saw that last night. Thought someone would post it. I still prefer Obama to Santorum and Romney.

  41. Jill,
    “Fox News is part of the magic trick. It’s the distraction”

    I am in complete accord with that. To paraphrase another guy:
    Politics in this country is like a pigeon. Why?
    Cause it has one head, two wings, and one asshole emitting the same shit which we get in the eye.

    So who’s running this magic show? Who’s directing this circus.
    All we hear is flap-flap, and are distracted trying to follow the latest shit cascade.

    And to say it again——-that’s our politics. You hear me boys inside the pigeon head?

  42. Thank you AN…..

    You have probably provided a very important missing article…. You get stars for that….

  43. SwM.
    what was it we saw earlier? the sketch about the reflexive no-saying of the republicans….. maybe fox is reflexively exposing Obama inc. and not realiizing your point about Mueller has already used the murder power.
    Are you saying Fox has the nations interests in mind?

    And BTW, what were the rest of the MSM covering then? Whew.

  44. SwM,
    this is what the above was commenting on.

    Swarthmore mom1, March 8, 2012 at 1:30 pm

    Fox News is the source of the Mueller article that the professor posted that we are commenting on.”

    Should have read more. Sorry. Apologies from a hairtrigger boy.

  45. Now if there ever was a distraction . . . Hey, a presidential election !!! Looky there. That’s a lot more important than some little semantic quibbling about Constitutional rights and liberties, presidential carte blanche to target American citizens for assassination, in real time.

    Yes sir, no wonder the MSM can’t spare the staff time to adequately cover every little detail of every issue. Much too busy giving little Ricky, or bulbous Newt, or sexy Sarah a bunch of face time.

  46. anon nurse, Appreciate all your good information. You’ve got yourself a fanboy. lol Have to get back to work.

  47. OT, but not wholly related…

    Thomas Drake on the NSA:

    “Once a registered Republican and now a self-described “free-speech absolutist,” Drake describes the NSA as a rogue agency that operates in a black box that the public cannot penetrate.”

  48. Finally!

    Indefinite Detention Targeted In Democratic Bill On Handling Terrorist Suspects
    Michael McAuliff
    03/ 8/2012
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/08/indefinite-detention-terrorism-bill-_n_1332256.html

    Excerpt;
    WASHINGTON — A pair of lawmakers on Thursday offered a bill that would repeal laws that allow the indefinite detention of Americans and others by the military without trial.

    The power of military authorities to arrest and jail people as long as they want stems from Congress’ 2001 joint resolution authorizing the use of military force against terrorists, but was explicitly codified into law last year after President Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act on New Year’s Eve. While allowing military detention of anyone, the act mandated that certain terrorist suspects had to be held by the armed forces.

    Civil libertarians on the left and right were sharply critical of the law, even though the president promised not to grab Americans.

    Obama set out policy rules last month making good on that pledge, specifying that U.S. citizens and numerous other categories of suspected terrorists would not be clapped into the military system, which somewhat mollified critics.

    But many pointed out that those rules are only good as long as Obama is president, prompting Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) and Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) to offer their bill Thursday.

  49. SwM,
    “I am saying that Rupert Murdoch’s media empire is a lot more than a distraction.”
    Agreed, it is much more. But of what value is the realization that the two parties are not independent? Of what value is the suggestion that Obama has made more moves towards imperial presidency?

    Heres something for all of you:
    http://willyloman.wordpress.com/2012/03/08/panetta-and-obama-dont-need-congressional-approval-to-start-wars/#comments
    “Panetta tells Congress he and Obama don’t need them to start a war:

  50. Forget the comments if you will as being biased.
    But do read the direct quotes of Sen Sessions and Panetta.

    Panetta mumbled through the questioning and when Session pinned him down for a reply to his question (where do you seek legal permission to deploy US forces in combat?) he claimed; 1. a coalition of the willing 2. the United Nations and 3. NATO (which is run by the United States military (Panetta himself)).. “We have options here”. He never ONCE admitted that it takes an act of congress to declare war.

    Senator Sessions disagreed with Obama’s CIA man in the Pentagon:

    “I’m really baffled by the idea that somehow an international assembly provides a legal basis for the United States military to be deployed in combat. I don’t believe it’s close to being correct. They provide NO LEGAL AUTHORITY. The ONLY legal authority that is REQUIRED to commit the United States military is the congress and the president. That’s the law and the constitution.” Senator Session

    After that, Obama’s man Panetta comes back and makes it perfectly CLEAR that he will not seek congressional approval for either another Libya type bombing campaign NOR even another AFGHANISTAN!!!

    “Let me for the record be clear again senator so there is no misunderstanding: when it comes to the national defense of this country, the president of the United States has the authority under the constitution to act to defend this country and we will. If it comes to an operation where we are trying to build a coalition to work together to go in and operate as we did in Libya, Bosnia, for that matter Afghanistan, we want to do it either with permissions by NATO or by the international community” Leon Panetta

    Syria is NOT a threat to the nation as was just sited as the ONLY justification for Obama to act in “defense of the nation”… NO ONE has even ATTEMPTED to make that case. Bosnia was also not a threat to our nation. Neither was Libya for that matter. None of them are even connected to the global war on terror except for the fact that Hillary Clinton recently acknowledged that al Qaeda is actually helping our forces destabilize Syria and we put them in charge of the military brigades around Tripoli.

    Leon Panetta has just made it PERFECTLY CLEAR that under the left cover of Obamamania, they have absolutely no interest in seeking congressional approval for ANY of their planned military adventures no matter what the constitution says”

    Anybody believe the oaths made anymore, or in the Constitutions itself???

  51. AN,

    You and Elaine always provide great posts without the partisan slant… And I thank you…. So yes….you do have a fan…

    Jill,

    Today you have in my opinion provided great information that was shared with snarls and attacks…. For that I am appreciative….. Thank you….

  52. Anonymous Nurse
    thanks. read an interview before some months ago. he is exceptional.

    http://www.salon.com/2012/03/07/nsa_whistle_blower_obama_worse_than_bush/singleton/

    Except:
    Remember, the government uses the court of public opinion, just as much if not more so than whistle-blowers. The advantage they had, in my case, remember, I was way behind the 8-ball. In essence they already made like six moves in chess, before I could make a move at all. They already had the upper hand. They had the narrative. They had the charges. They had painted me as a traitor. That I had violated my oath. That I had betrayed my country.

    The only defense you have then is the truth.

    But what if it’s not sufficient? The truth was always on my side. I knew the truth. It’s one of the advantages of the truth; you don’t have to make up a story. You just tell the truth. I never had to think about what to say, I just said it.

    You talk regularly about how a feeding frenzy occurred throughout the U.S. security establishment and its defense contractors after Congress starting writing blank checks in an effort to prevent another 9/11. A decade later, are we at a place now then where they have to manufacture threats to keep the money flowing?

    You have to persist the threat. You have to find another existential reason why this is indefinite. The only way to do that is the boogeyman. You have to paint that.

    Whether that’s Iran or homegrown terrorists or China?

    Doesn’t matter, and especially when you have less understanding about it. Radically different cultures. Radically different environments. We don’t learn very well, except where it’s reflexively us. We have a tendency to project ourselves onto others. So yes, you have to manufacture if you’re making that kind of money. The national security state became a growth industry — huge redistribution of wealth. I had people coming to me: “Tom, you have to get out. The money is unbelievable. You can be a millionaire.”

    Literally the idea is after 9/11, you could retire, exit the door, and then walk back in a week later as a contractor making way more money.

    That’s correct. Some people did. We’re talking lots of money. The revolving door is an understatement. The number of millionaires made at NSA, one of these open dark secrets, is phenomenal. I had very senior defense contractors attempting to compromise me, co-opt me. “Tom, you have all this access now. Sheesh. We could bring you over. You could lead our NSA business office.”

  53. Elaine…..

    That was outstanding information…..not to say the least….it’s time folks in congress do what they are elected to….

  54. Even if the House does the right thing here, I hope everyone here realizes that the Senate will do their absolute obstructionist military-industrial complex fascist bought off corruption swilling best to ruin it?

  55. Gene,

    Yep … it’ll be an uphill battle. I’m trying to find the list of sponsors in the House to see if Kaptur is on it. I guess I’ll have to send her an email.

  56. I wouldn’t say that Fox News is part of the magic trick. It’s a part of the problem we have in this country today. Even many of the people who work for other media outlets focus on a lot of issues that aren’t of the greatest import. We get little news about real issues like the one we are discussing on this thread and lots of propaganda. Where is the outcry from the media after Eric Holder’s recent speech at Northwestern? What kinds of questions did the press ask the President about Holder’s speech at his press conference the other day?

  57. Gene H.
    Having said that what the F do we do? Sit here holding hands?
    I’ve said immovable objects, etc. Any better ideas.
    You help keep up the morale, but do you ever ask: Is it getting anyplace?.
    Does Obama give a damn? Etc.

  58. Elaine,

    Very pertinent questions…..if I recall it started with Nixon….. Then rwr perfected the prescreened questions or you did not get invited back…..

    I think it’s a step in the right direction that someone is finally starting to do the right thing….. Thank you for the links….

  59. id707,

    Gene has had plenty to say on all those matters. If you go through some of the recent archives you will find a wealth of Gene’s opinions and suggestions on how to move forward.

  60. “Any better ideas.”

    Vote out every single incumbent in the Senate for starts. Cut off their graft food chain at the source by disallowing corporate participation in the electoral and legislative processes. Shut the revolving door between Congress and the Lobbying Industry. Set term limits for the Senate (possibly the House too, but it tends to be a much more volatile body as far as membership goes).

    Those are all steps in the right direction.

  61. idealist, Most americans unfortunately don’t care much about this issue, and it could be their undoing as some have said. I will give Ron Paul credit for raising these issues in the election, but he has done very poorly in the republican primaries. Americans pay far more attention to the comings and goings of Lindsay Lohan and the Kardashian sisters.

  62. That’s what they said on here in 2010. Vote out the incumbents. They were replaced by right wing tea party members. We lost Russ Feingold and now we have sonograms with probes. Oh well it is International Woman’s Day so we need to be told to vote out Barbara Boxer.

  63. Unfortunately, Gene is probably correct about the bill’s chances in the Senate. I hope I am wrong, but the foregn policy and military complex owned Senators will balk at this.

  64. Got put in my place. Like most children have little patience.
    Was always a problem as an adult.
    Thanks all. Particularly the info on where to look.
    Can understand Gene’s proper reticence to run the same by time after time..
    Will shut up and look.
    To think after less than two months here I have the hubris to call down the leading figures here. My, oh my, how tolerant you are of fools.
    Peep!

  65. “Cut off their graft food chain at the source by disallowing corporate participation in the electoral and legislative processes. Shut the revolving door between Congress and the Lobbying Industry.” (Gene)

    I’m in 100% agreement with those suggestions and cutting them off would take care of the first idea in that the buggers wouldn’t bother running again.

    I do have a problem with term limits as we have them here in Ohio and the problems they present often out weigh the benefits.

    I have to run to a meeting but would be more than happy to discuss the term limits issue at a later time. (Might even be a good topic for a guest blogger)

  66. Smom,

    You mistake my use of “all” as hyperbolic.

    I mean everyone in the Senate needs to go. In fact, they’ve proven such an obstructionist and obviously corrupted body over time, I would advocate single term limits for the body. They hold too much power for such a small and easily manipulated body to allow anyone to become entrenched. The dynamic nature of the House membership is the one saving grace that keeps the House from becoming as dysfunctional as the Senate. Don’t get me wrong. There is plenty about the House and the way they operate that pisses me off, but the Senate’s track record as a whole verges on being traitorous. They don’t give a tinker’s damn about democracy or our civil and human rights. They just want to make their campaign finance masters happy and retain their power at all costs. Screw ’em. They should all have a short time in that driver’s seat. And then when they are done? If they want to affect public policy, they should do what Russ is doing and speak out publicly to build pressure on the elected from the electorate.

  67. id707,

    Now you’re being disingenuous, you crafty ol’ devil, you. I like you anyway ’cause I dig crafty. ;)

  68. I just all likely….. We are all new someplace, sometime….but some use words and information like it was just last year….. It’s like deja vu all over again….. Thanks yoggi b…..

  69. id707,

    I don’t think you got “put in your place” so much as you got your valid question answered. Questions are never a bad thing. They move a conversation along. :mrgreen:

  70. Gene H.
    seems there are categories and recent lists, but no personal search. any particular category you feel most pertinent to the american dilemma?

    your reply now would really be a tremendous start. The center and drivers of corruption.

  71. Blouise,

    Term limits do present some problems, however, I think the long term benefit of forcing representatives to focus on the people’s business and bet interest rather than focusing on retaining and consolidating their personal power far outweighs the negatives. Plus it would tend to foster coalition building in the short term instead of creating situations where some chinless venal asshat like Mitch McConnell can bulldog the entire agenda of a session.

  72. id707,

    Pick an archive month, then click on any topic that looks political in nature. Gene will be in it somewhere.

  73. Gene,

    I have an answer for that and quite a few examples but I really do have to get to a meeting. I used to be a big fan of term limits until I started dealing with some of the results on the State level. Locally, they work very well but the larger the area, the more numerous the pitfalls.

    It really would be a good topic for a guest blogger.

    later, gator.

  74. Blouise,

    Disingenous. what the f is that. will pull out my dictionary.
    what i wrote aa a selfcommentary was a truth as I saw it.
    Also realize that:
    !) was feeling ignored, no hoorahs lately, particularly from the kind ladies.
    2) felt we had fallen into a well of querulousness without someone lighting a candle in the gloom.
    Will try not to misuse my questioning/challenging tactic now discovered.

    While Gene’s reply involves great efforts etc., it is a defendable defineable goal around which we can assemble and gather support in many states.
    Whether the battle is joined there is not pertinent. but support for it must begin there and not on K street—a place you once mentioned to me.

  75. id707,

    I rarely use the public indexing function for the blog, but on the categories? I’d suggest perhaps Congress, Constitutional Law, Justice, and the Supreme Court as a good place to start. Possibly Politics too, but that’s a lot of material. If you search for “Gene H.” in the general search box, it should pull up every thread I’ve ever commented on and every article I’ve written. If you change that to “Gene Howington”, it should just bring up the articles I’ve written.

  76. There are 23 democrats up this year in the Senate. If they all lose to the anti-contraceptive crowd do you think it will get a lot better for women Gene? I am voting with Planned Parenthood and Emily’s list although in my area in Texas Obama will be the only viable one that gets their endorsement. You might be right about the senate in theory but in practical terms – no.

  77. The only question remains is which dog is running at the time the others in the stable…..

  78. Could we get JT to establish a memorial saying page here.
    Here’s one to be cast in bronze.
    Gene H.
    “….I hope everyone here realizes that the Senate will do their absolute obstructionist military-industrial complex fascist bought off corruption swilling best to ruin it?”

  79. SwM,

    Okay … combed my hair and put on my shoes … have 2 minutes … did you see the news as to how Joe the Plumber did on CNN?

    Honestly … this is going to be a hoot and holler

  80. Smom,

    I think if both parties are faced with a concerted anti-incumbent effort across the board, they’d be more likely to field inter-party alternative challengers to incumbents. For it to work, any anti-incumbent tactic would by default have to be a- or bi-partisan and driven by the electorate. I said it’s a good solution. I never said it would be easy to implement.

  81. thanks for the opportunities
    .
    “idealist, Most americans unfortunately don’t care much about this issue, and it could be their undoing as some have said”

    Anybody taken a fresh look at your typical news site lately.
    Have no backward references, but can see now that three fourths of the screen is covered by ads. Of the so-called news, most are feeds. The articles are by folks either selling themselves, their books, looking for contracts. promoting tenure, grants. their hidden sponsors. etc.

    Even so-called news-heavy (my word lacking the right one) journals (NYTimes) are tending in that direction.

  82. Gene, A year ago we did not know the election of 2012 would be about the GOP war on women although signs of it were starting to show up in the state legislatures. The fact that many republicans want evangelical christian or conservative catholic views to dominate public policy makes bi-partisanship hard to achieve.

  83. Mike Spindell 1, March 8, 2012 at 11:13 am

    On the day of 9/11, once the fatal words “now this changes everything” were uttered by some pundit and echoed ad infinitum, we have been on a downhill slope of terror …

    This is madness …
    ==================================
    Great comment Mike. I read the whole thing with rapt attention.

  84. Now I must make an official humble dementi (as it’s called in swedish)—-uhhhhh. Refutal? denial? yeah.
    1. (adj.) disingenuous
    lacking in frankness, candor, or sincerity; insincere.

    here I was trying to admit my foibles and weaknesses and get accused of lacking in frankness. here i am baring my warts, childish nature still active in an adult, etc.

    And what do I get? Accused not being frank. Don’t know how could be more frank than I am. But in a way can understand the kind of frankness i exhibit is not seen this side of six years of age—-but you all haven’t understood I am in a process of building up a personality, after spending my life playing assumed roles. Are there better places, maybe but this is what I have access to for the moment. So bear with me. And when I say something, then if it seems disingenous, then call me down and I will overwhelm you with more true confessions. Blouise, I love her, said:

    Blouise1, March 8, 2012 at 4:19 pm
    id707,
    Now you’re being disingenuous, you crafty ol’ devil, you. I like you anyway ’cause I dig crafty

    Thanks Blouise, hope you like me as my naive self who tries to drop his know it all front and be the person am discovering more for each day.
    Now if this embarasses somebody watching me, then do say so.

    I can hear AY cackling in the background, but doesn’t matter. He’s crafty, or at least pretends to be.. Apparently appreciated here which is good cred.

    Bye from the importance of being ernest. ernest hemingway? no the other one.

  85. I707, doesn’t need to….they have been here a long while…(AY)

    Glad i can laugh at you now. so. just to humor me, tell me what me is hiding behind idealist707. then maybe could find them in the archive and compare posts. think i might find out what i’ve been doing the last 10 years.
    I thought it was my heart op, my cat dying, my wifes two cancers, and now for two years fighting my own cancer. did i mention this under the other names?
    you’re a laugh..

  86. Gene H.
    General search box?????? hmmm. oh there it is
    you know it would be wise to take a general look at the forest before going in among the trees.
    thanks.

  87. id707,

    I was being snarky with you but not in a mean way. I need to keep in mind that you are reacclimating yourself to your origins and apologize for the confusion.

    Don’t worry about Super Sleuth, he talks to himself all the time.

  88. SwM,

    Hell hath no fury …..

    Did you check out how Joe the Plumber did on his first day of campaigning? He just lost a large portion of one of his new cities. That guy is going to have to get up to speed quickly on Cleveland.

  89. The NSA chap who runs the Dogalog machine for my dog pack here on the reservation is cutting me off access due to my comments on Herr Holder. I am running off. The Dogalog technology has been sent off to several others outside the government triangle. If I make it off the reservation to my next humanoid home I may be back on this dogblog. By the way, this dogalog machine doesnt translate into German or other languages from my simple woof, bark, slurp, howls or whimper. So excuse the Deutsch. Auschfart. (Exit).

  90. come on you pussies – the originators said due but not necessarily legal process. We are at war with somebody, I’m sure there must be a war we have declared against someone, right? due process and judicial process are not the same same? So trial by fire or trial by combat are the same thing? Thank you Boy Blunder and all the gutless bastards in Congress who have done this to us. We are so fucked.

  91. Alla…. If any of that traffic was directed at me…. Thank you….i am honored you think I am Capable of posting and driving in construction traffic….. But, it was not me…… Yes it is true he’ll hath no fury……

  92. Frankly 1, March 8, 2012 at 7:44 pm

    “We are so fucked.”

    ————

    Unless there’s a major development of some sort, we probably are.

  93. Thinking back on William J. Lederer’s timeless book, A Nation of Sheep (1961), and in appreciation for Professor Turley’s critical analyses of the “parchment provisions” formerly understood as the Constitution of the United States, I offer the following verse meditation:

    The Silence of the Lamb Chops

    Let us bow our heads in silence
    Let us close our shuttered eyes
    Let us ask no pointed questions
    Let us rather swallow lies

    Let our ruling class mislead us
    Let them wallow in the waste
    Let us eat the crap they feed us
    Let us grow to like its taste

    Let them praise their stalwart courage
    Let us meekly toe the line
    Let the rich cut all their taxes
    Let the poor ones pay the fine

    Let us do no thing unbidden
    Let us ask permission first
    Let them keep the water hidden
    Let us rather die of thirst

    Let them keep our business secret
    Let us not know what they do
    Let them keep us safe from knowing
    Let us smile while us they screw

    Let the dead come home to quiet
    Let them spare us from the sight
    Let us never start a riot
    Let them send some more to fight

    Let us never raise our voices
    Let them whisper in our ear
    Let them order us to slaughter
    Let us live in abject fear

    Let authority compel us
    Let them prod the panicked herd
    Let them with cheap jargon quell us
    Let us scatter at their word

    Let them mumble mealy mouthfuls
    Let them bumble, lean, and tilt
    Let them tumble, trip, and falter
    Let them crumple all we’ve built

    Let them loan us Chinese money
    Let them keep us all in pawn
    Let them dine on milk and honey
    Let us let them lead us on

    Michael Murry, The Misfortune Teller, Copyright 2006

  94. Yes it was raff…. With just the right amount of adult humor….. But clean enough for family….

  95. The trinity is fast asleep. The adoption prelude has taxed the soul. One must be blind to not realize its a waste of ones mind. The mindlessness of it all, one too many sips will sink the ships with one too many unbridled lips.

  96. As Alexander Hamilton asked in Federalist No. 26: “What then, it may be asked, is the use of a provision, if it cease to operate the moment there is an inclination to disregard it?”

    President Obama and Attorney General Holder obviously feel inclined to disregard the Constitution whenever it restricts their arbitrary exercise of power — the very reason that we have a Constitution in the first place. For his part, FBI Director Mueller simply doesn’t know if he feels inclined to disregard the Constitution or not — at this time — but reserves the right to determine that he may do so in the future. So what use, indeed, does the Constitution now serve if the highest officials in the nation’s government arrogantly dismiss its “suggestions” at their own convenience? For I have heard no argument from them justifying their lawless conduct other than that they find carrying out their sworn duties in accordance with our laws too tedious and too annoying, what with with some of the citizenry demanding to know what they have done with the powers entrusted to them. “At the King’s convenience,” seems the predominant — if not the sole — determinant of national governance in America today. The Congress and the Courts, for their pathetic parts, seem positively disinterested, which goes as well for a largely somnolent public.

    I have no legal background, but I can still feel intellectually insulted by Attorney General Holder’s asinine assertion that “due process” actually doesn’t involve the judiciary; that it in fact means something like “whatever process the President or his minions decide in secret that you have coming — or “due” — to you, from “whatever they like” to “not one damn thing at all.” Their violations of the Fifth Amendment alone ought to disqualify them from any position of responsibility at ANY level of government in our country. What complete and utter disgraces to our laws, history, values, and traditions.

    Even beyond the clumsy and transparent Orwellian Newspeak, however, nothing can top the sheer, unbridled arrogance of asserting universal jurisdiction of American Presidential fiat — which rather neatly disposes of national sovereignty everywhere on earth. I can’t think of another nation on this planet whose people and government accept this ludicrous presumption of American presidential omnipotence coupled with a complete lack of international unaccountability.

    What steaming piles of crap President Obama, Attorney General Holder, and FBI Director Mueller have dished out to an American public whose intelligence, education, and values — especially that of Truth — they clearly hold in deepest contempt.

  97. TO ALL
    I came here because I had been looking for years to find a place where people were concerned by our situation, . Also where subtle or complicated concepts would be easily handled, and ad hominem attacks at a minimum. I found this place and said voilá.

    As for building a personality, that’s literally what it is. One has to learn to trust, to dare open up, to interact on the same level as they are, not as crossed transactions.. Then you discover a little of who you are..
    .
    Someone and I had a discussion recently here which I feel was friendship building. A major step for me. It is a completely uncharted area for me.

    Nuf’ said for now. Thanks for the acceptance. So far it needs repeating.
    Don’t want to be an energy consumer but to contribute my passion for justice here.

    Thank for the info on the spooks and Cryptic Creeks, etc who flit around.

  98. id707,

    I wouldn’t but only because I would feel funny using someone else’s words preferring to communicate with my own words. (His people probably already read this blog everyday due to the high profile of the blog’s owner, JT.)

    Tex and I are leaving in a few minutes for a 3 day weekend (6 hour drive to get there) without any computers. I don’t have one of those fancy cell phones that I can post from … I’ll be back Monday. Have a good weekend.

  99. id707,

    If the sock puppet God Knows You tries to give you grief … ignore him. I have it on good authority that God doesn’t use sock puppets. ;)

  100. Just an additional incredulous thought — from among the seemingly endless series of them that Attorney General Holder’s bullshit speech evoked in me — I know that I clearly heard former President George W. Bush proclaim that “we” — meaning presumably a few military servicemen and women — had to “fight them (the Evil Ones) over there so that we wouldn’t have to fight them here” (meaning, presumably, America). If, as we now learn from Attorney General Holder, the entire world, including the territorial United States, is a “battlefield,” then “fighting them over there did nothing at all to forestall us having to “fight them here.” Therefore, I must inquire of the bungling incompetents who infest our political and military “leadership” why in the hell we had to squander ten years, tens of thousands of casualties (only counting ours) and a trillion dollars only to have the Evil Ones keep appear among us anyway, undeterred from whatever the hell we did “over there,” trying occasionally to set their underwear or shoes or cars on fire (if you can believe the FBI) while hardly an American person going about their daily lives notices anything even slightly out of the ordinary?

    From The Best and the Brightest who brought us debacle in Southeast Asia to The Worst and the Dullest who brought us two debacles in the Middle East — all in a single generation. Between “dumber than dirt” or “too stupid to stipulate,” I just can’t decide which epithet best describes the charlatans and fools we keep “choosing” to mislead and abuse us.

  101. TPMDC
    Kucinich: Targeted Killings ‘An Assault On The Constitution’
    SAHIL KAPUR MARCH 9, 2012

    Excerpt;
    Attorney General Eric Holder this week made the legal case for the targeted killings program that led to the assassination of US citizen Anwar al-Awlaki, who was living in Yemen and deemed by the executive branch to be working with Al-Qaeda. Kucinich did not mention Obama by name but lashed out at the policy championed by the President, whom he dropped out of the 2008 Democratic presidential primary to endorse.

    “It’s dangerous,” the eight-term congressman said. “It’s not just what it stands for in and of itself. It’s the direction it moves to and where it can take us, as a step to something even more destructive. We start to move in a direction of repression. We start to move in a direction of conferring upon the government a life and death power. It’s very dangerous for the country.”

    Asked for comment Thursday, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-CA) both claimed to be unfamiliar with the administration’s legal rationale. Reid, though, said he strongly supported the administration’s decision to kill Awlaki.

    *****

    Pelosi and Reid are “unfamiliar” with the administration’s rationale? Really?

  102. Kucinich gets it: “Targetd killings an assault on the Constitution”

    via TPM

    ““The fact that our government can set itself up as policeman, prosecutor, judge, jury and executioner, all wrapped into one fatal moment, should cause every person who loves this country to be deeply concerned about the direction we’re going.”

    “We start to move in a direction of repression. We start to move in a direction of conferring upon the government a life and death power. It’s very dangerous for the country.”

    Notice the bravery of the leaders:

    “Asked for comment Thursday, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-CA) both claimed to be unfamiliar with the administration’s legal rationale. Reid, though, said he strongly supported the administration’s decision to kill Awlaki. ”

    http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2012/03/kucinich-targeted-killings-an-assault-on-the-constitution.php

    And the administration is still stonewalling on the “legal” memos:

    http://www.emptywheel.net/2012/03/09/the-senate-judiciary-committee-hasnt-seen-the-targeted-killing-memo-either/

  103. Elaine, I see I duplicated some of your post @ 8:42. Seems like we’re both unimpressed with Pelosi and Reid.

  104. Yes, they are unfamiliar with it in the same way they were unfamiliar with Bush’s torture policy! That is, they’ve been thoroughly briefed and have no intention of doing anything except supporting this unlawful grab for power by the executive.

    The branches of govt. are in collusion against our Constitution and the people. There are still some people of conscience still left in Congress and the judiciary but they are being out maneuvered by the executive.

    A writer on Black Agenda Report pointed out that liberals were able to raise their voice against the repulsive things Rush said. He suffered some consequences for that in loss of advertising revenue and public repudiation of his cruelty. That should tell us speaking out can and does work. We could join together to say this is wrong. We really need to do that.

    Margaret Kimberley, a senior editor, wrote the article. It is a true expression of the exasperation many of us feel when so many good people either remain silent or actively support the dismantling of the rule of law.

  105. Too many Americans will now say they don’t care what our president does “as long as it makes us safe”!

  106. Well said, Jill. And thanks for the updates, Elaine M. and DonS.

    “We start to move in a direction of repression. We start to move in a direction of conferring upon the government a life and death power. It’s very dangerous for the country.” -Kucinich (in triplicate, now)

    There’s a covert, domestic program… We’re already on the “the road of repression”… and “it’s very dangerous”, indeed. As Frankly articulately stated last night, “We are so fucked.”

  107. Jill:

    part and parcel of the entitlement mentality. Security is more important than liberty.

    So we have traded security for our freedom. “When government can give us all we want, it can also take all we have.” Or words to that effect.

  108. “I appreciate Woody Allen’s humor because one of my safety valves is an appreciation for life’s absurdities. His message is that life isn’t a funeral march to the grave. It’s a polka.” -Dennis Kucinich

    Dennis Kucinich: Conscience of the Congress

    Posted on Mar 8, 2012
    AP / Charlie Neibergall

    By Robert Scheer

    http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/dennis_kucinich_conscience_of_the_congress_20120308/?ln

    Excerpt:

    …That populist passion caused him to rouse the ire of the banking elite that insisted that the city divest its municipal power plant to benefit a huge private power company.

    When Kucinich refused to play ball with the downtown banking interests they pulled the plug on Cleveland finances and temporarily derailed his career. But 14 years later the Cleveland Plain Dealer, which has savaged him since his mayoral days, ran a headline conceding “Dennis Was Right” as it belatedly acknowledged that his refusal to sell the plant had provided needed competition to private power, resulting in lower energy costs for consumers.

    Dennis early on made a choice to rise politically by faithfully representing his people rather than betraying them, as is the norm in politics. In our Playboy interview he made a joke concerning the criticism of all the idealistic young people who had joined him in administering Cleveland: “The real reason the young people I’ve appointed have been criticized is that they haven’t learned to steal yet. If they learned to take bribes they’d be praised as innovative and bright.”

    So, too, Kucinich, who has been unfailingly resilient in advocating for the vulnerable, whether they were the working poor in his district or the folks our government bombed throughout the world. He was defeated this week by a fellow House member who prides herself on bringing home government bucks, particularly in defense expenditures. Her pitch to the voters was that her role on the House Appropriations Committee would help keep the pork barrel open, big-city Dem style.

    Kucinich never competed in that way. He has been a national symbol of resistance to excessive government power and waste. He also has been a champion of social justice. His has been a rare voice, and one way or another it must continue to be heard. Simply put, when it came to the struggle for peace over war, Dennis was the conscience of the Congress. And he was always at the forefront in defending the rights of unionized workers who once formed the backbone of a solid middle class and who are now threatened with extinction.

    Kucinich will surely be back for another turn in public life. As he put it in our Playboy interview:

    “I appreciate Woody Allen’s humor because one of my safety valves is an appreciation for life’s absurdities. His message is that life isn’t a funeral march to the grave. It’s a polka.”

    Dance on, Dennis.

  109. When the US Government Can Kill You, Explained
    —By Adam Serwer| Mon Mar. 5, 2012
    http://motherjones.com/mojo/2012/03/eric-holder-targeted-killing

    Excerpt:
    “‘Due process’ and ‘judicial process’ are not one and the same, particularly when it comes to national security.” Holder said. “The Constitution guarantees due process, not judicial process.”

    Who decides when an American citizen has had enough due process and the Hellfire missile fairy pays them a visit? Presumably the group of top national security officials—that, according to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, decides who is targetable and forwards its findings to the president, who gives final approval.

    There won’t be any drone strikes in Denver anytime soon. But you might want to be careful when traveling abroad, because Holder made it clear that there are no geographical limits in the fight against Al Qaeda. “Neither Congress nor our federal courts has limited the geographic scope of our ability to use force to the current conflict in Afghanistan,” Holder said. “We are at war with a stateless enemy, prone to shifting operations from country to country.”

    Holder’s speech did outline some concrete limits to when the US government is allowed to target its own citizens. The target has to pose an “imminent threat of violent attack” to the US and be beyond the ability of American authorities to capture, and the strike can’t violate international standards governing the use of force by killing too many civilians or noncombatants.

    But don’t assume that when Holder says “imminent threat of violent attack,” he means that you’re actually part of a specific plot threatening American lives. “The Constitution does not require the president to delay action until some theoretical end stage of planning when the precise time, place, and manner of an attack become clear,” Holder said. That would introduce an “unacceptably high risk of failure.” When he refers to “failure,” Holder presumably means failing to kill the target before the attack or plan for an attack materializes, not the possibility that the government might accidentally kill an innocent person.

    If the standards for when the government can send a deadly flying robot to vaporize you sound a bit subjective, that’s because they are. Holder made clear that decisions about which citizens the government can kill are the exclusive province of the executive branch, because only the executive branch possess the “expertise and immediate access to information” to make these life-and-death judgments.

    Holder argues that “robust oversight” is provided by Congress, but that “oversight” actually amounts to members of the relevant congressional committees being briefed. Press reports suggest this can simply amount to a curt fax to intelligence committees notifying them after the fact that an American has been added to a “kill list.” It also seems like it would be difficult for Congress to provide “robust oversight” of the targeted killing program when intelligence committee members like Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) are still demanding to see the actual legal memo justifying the policy.

  110. Bron,

    I think a sense of entitlement is most likely to be found in the ruling elites. They feel entitled to steal our money and give it to themselves, for example. For example, the TARP money was paid back by taxpayers funds, not the banks (see naked capitalism for that story). Elites feel entitled to destroy our laws and get away with it. That said, fear has been one of the most important emotions that govt. has whipped up to make people do several things which are not in our interest: 1. turn on other ordinary people., Mention the word tea party and you will see many liberals salivate with hate. Mention the word liberal and you will see many conservatives do likewise. Ask yourself, who benefits from this unthinking, automatic hatred? 2. under Bush, Republicans claimed that Bush was a great guy and could not possibly misuse executive power, he could handle it because he would only use it for good. Now, under Obama we have Democrats who claim Obama is the good guy who would NEVER misuse his power. In each case reality is suspended in favor of cultish partisanship . Grabbing unlawful executive power is never working for the good, it is automatically working towards something which is bad, both legally and morally.

    We now find ourselves in the situation where many people, both Republicans and Democrats, have come to accept murder, torture, false imprisonment, etc. as normal powers for a president to wield. I agree with you, this is scary.

  111. Poll: Americans Approve Of Targeted Killing Of American Terror Suspects
    —By Adam Serwer| Wed Feb. 8, 2012
    http://motherjones.com/mojo/2012/02/poll-americans-approve-targeted-killing-terror-suspects-americans

    Excerpt:
    Buried in the recently released Washington Post/ABC poll noting improving numbers for President Barack Obama are numbers showing that Americans are favorably disposed towards the use of targeted killing in counterterrorism operations, even if the targets are Americans.

    Here are the poll results: Overall 83 percent of Americans approve of the use of “unmanned, ‘drone’ aircraft against terrorist suspects overseas,” 59 percent strongly and 26 percent “somewhat.” Of those who approve, 79 percent think the use of targeted killing against American citizens abroad who are suspected of terrorism is justified. The Washington Post’s Greg Sargent, who takes a closer look at the internal numbers, finds that “Democrats approve of the drone strikes on American citizens by 58-33, and even liberals approve of them, 55-35.” Whether as a result of partisan identification with the president or an artifact of the United States shifting to the right on counterterrorism policy in general, it doesn’t seem likely that Obama will pay a high political price with his base for either the escalation of drone strikes since taking office or the use of drones to kill Americans abroad suspected of terrorism.

  112. ACLU Wants Obama To Release Targeted Killing Records
    —By Adam Serwer| Wed Feb. 1, 2012
    http://motherjones.com/mojo/2012/02/aclu-wants-obama-release-targeted-killing-records

    Excerpt;
    The ACLU filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit Wednesday seeking not only the legal justification for America’s targeted killing program, but the process by which US citizens suspected of terrorism are placed on its so-called “kill list.” The ACLU is also seeking the evidence the US government used to determine that radical American preacher Anwar al-Awlaki, who was killed in September, was actually a terrorist.

    Little is known about the process by which the US determines whether killing an American citizen suspected of terrorism abroad is justifed. Just last week, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told CBS’ 60 Minutes that the president himself signs off on targeted killings when aimed at American citizens.

    While the New York Times has also filed a FOIA lawsuit seeking the Office of Legal Counsel memo that lays out the legal justification for targeted killings of American citizens suspected of terrorism, the ACLU lawsuit goes farther in asking for specific evidence both related to Awlaki’s death and details about how the US government decides it can kill one of its own citizens without a trial. While Awlaki was well known for spreading extremist ideas, concrete evidence of his operational involvement with Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula was never made public.

  113. What Awlaki was not so well known for was his involvement as an FBI informant before 9/11. Inquiring minds want to know why he was really killed!

  114. @firefly “Too many Americans will now say they don’t care what our president does “as long as it makes us safe”!

    Perhaps, but I’m tempted to say that’s so 2005. There really is no choice but to push back. So much depends on whether it catches on in a broader way. Controlling the messaging as it were. And since this is a power grab by the executive of whichever major party is in power, with Congressional acquiescence, there is an aspect of 1) big government 2) invasive government 3) dysfunctional government 4) corrupt government that is a huge part of the picture. Leveraging the general discontent with government to focus on this issue is paramount. That force, if properly harnessed, could be more potent than any ‘wedge’ issue that pits the supporters of one major party against the other.

    Of course, if neither party finds the unconstitutional actions “legitimate”, would the so-called “independent” MSM? The gatekeepers of public opinion.

    I, too, have been discouraged by the imbecilic “9/11 changed everything” drone. But there are tides and trends in public policy and, God knows, it’s hard to imagine swing much more to the radical, totalitarian, right wing than has politics in the US.

  115. Sunshine Week 2012 Discussion – Secrecy, Disclosure and the Risks for Security and Accountability

    All too often government openness and national security are thought of as opposing national interests and values. In reality, though, openness and security are not always in contention.

    Join us in person at the Knight Conference Center in the Newseum or via webcast on Friday, March 16 from 1:15 to 3:30 EDT as our panel of experts, including Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author of Top Secret America, Dana Priest, discuss the practice and policy keeping and telling secrets in America.

    Friday, March 16, 2012, 1:15 – 3:30 (EDT)

    http://www.openthegovernment.org/node/3375

    Where?

    The event will be held in the Knight Conference Center at the Newseum (555 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., Washington DC).

    There is no charge to attend, but attendees are encouraged to guarantee seating in advance. To register for the 2012 conference, please contact Ashlie Hampton at ahampton@freedomforum.org, or 202-292-6288. When registering, please provide your name, title, affiliation and contact information for agenda updates and other news.

    When?

    The event will be held on Friday, March 16, 2012 – 1:15- 3:30pm (EDT), in coordination with the Freedom Forum’s National FOI Day conference.

  116. AN, “All too often government openness and national security are thought of as opposing national interests and values.” . . . and targeted assassinations and terrorizing local populations as promoting “security” and “trust”. The supply of “enemies” is endless to a government which insists on their necessity. Simple enough for anyone to grasp yet remain realistic about true threats. But it doesn’t follow the narrative we are fed.

  117. Bron,

    We aren’t going to agree on the ideas written in that article. I think Don S. shows what we can agree on. He writes: “And since this is a power grab by the executive of whichever major party is in power, with Congressional acquiescence, there is an aspect of 1) big government 2) invasive government 3) dysfunctional government 4) corrupt government that is a huge part of the picture. Leveraging the general discontent with government to focus on this issue is paramount. That force, if properly
    harnessed, could be more potent than any ‘wedge’ issue that pits the supporters of one major party against the other.

    Of course, if neither party finds the unconstitutional actions “legitimate”, would the so-called “independent” MSM? The gatekeepers of public opinion.

    I, too, have been discouraged by the imbecilic “9/11 changed everything” drone. But there are tides and trends in public policy and, God knows, it’s hard to imagine swing much more to the radical, totalitarian, right wing than has politics in the US.”

    We can agree this is a totalitarian system which we must oppose. My view is opposition must be peaceful or we will further harm our own society. After that people who think like you and people who think like me will be working towards a different set of ideals, but that’s O.K. ! As JT’s post on free speech shows, we will have competing ideas.

  118. As Thomas More asked (in “A Man for all Seasons”):

    “And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you, where would you hide … the laws all being flat?”

  119. “The power to murder, assassinate is too mild a word, anyone deemed a threat to the country should not prevail because of obvious reasons to anyone believing in the rule of law. However, the ability to overcome the irrational extension of the rational human fear of unexpected death, is quite difficult to achieve. The rationale of using extra-legal means to eliminate those who would potentially “threaten” our country is not a new concept. What has changed is that due to the over sensationalism of 9/11, it has been brought out into the open and thus further legitimized.”

    On March 8 at 11:13am that was the concluding paragraph of my comment on this. However, as this discussion has played out there is more to be said. To fully understand the motivation for these illegal actions and in light of Elaine’s post above:

    “Overall 83 percent of Americans approve of the use of “unmanned, ‘drone’ aircraft against terrorist suspects overseas,” 59 percent strongly and 26 percent “somewhat.” Of those who approve, 79 percent think the use of targeted killing against American citizens abroad who are suspected of terrorism is justified.”

    We desperately need to understand the context, to see why to this is no big deal to the Washington Establishment. While it probably was policy way before the inception of the Cold War in the 1940’s, the ability of Agency’s like the CIA and others in the national security ambit, to perform murders in the name of National security has been accepted by a wide variety of both liberals and conservatives. To name just a few of these egregious acts try googling: Mosadegh, Allende and Lumumba. All of these were legitimate heads of governments deposed and assassinated (the latter two) by CIA intervention and presumably with the President’s approval. In Viet Nam the Phoenix Program was run by the CIA and murdered literally thousands of South Vietnamese suspected of disloyalty. That this history of approved and endorsed murders of foreign citizens occurred time and again is without dispute.

    Where it gets dicier, due to secrecy, is how many US citizens have also been shall we say “disposed of” because they were deemed threats to US security by governmental entities. These murders were carried out to protect the interests of the Military/Industrial Complex, the members of which see their self-interest and that of the United States as one in the same.

    Coming of age in the 60’s I saw JFK, RFK, MLK, and Malcolm X targeted at
    critical moments in their careers where their actions may have had grave consequences for the M/I Complex. There is ample evidence to lead us to suspect that deeply involved in these killings were members of the CIA and FBI. (Google Russ Baker to read about someone who has investigated these allegations) We also have the untimely deaths of Hale Boggs and Paul Wellstone to contemplate. This by the way barely touches the surface of these peculiar occurrences.

    If you remember back to the G.W.Bush administration these actions were shrouded in secrecy and were it not for intrepid reporters like Cy Hersh and Russ Baker, there never would have eve been a public discussion of this. As it was when the allegations of targeted assassinations were disclosed the Bush reaction was to stonewall, or affirm the right. The thread that runs through all of this since the birth of the Cold War is that extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures. In my comment referenced above I attempted to clarify the psychological background that allows our Washington “wise ones” to condone such abrogations of the Rule of Law.

    My point here is that this is nothing new, merely a public announcement of what the majority of Washington insiders deem to be responsible goverment.
    This murder must be opposed, but to do so, the false reasoning behind it that justifies its’ use must be exposed. Do dangers exist from fanatical people to the citizens of this country, they certaily do. However, dangers of sudden death and destruction have always been a part of what it is to be alive. Our Constitution and our need for a Rule of Law, comes from the desire to dampen the murderous aggression that lies in every one of us.

    It is one thing for us here, highly informed and educated in general, to see things as they are behind the curtain of Americana and rail against them. It is quite another proposition to roll back 70 years of Cold War thinking that has permeated this country and disinfect the 79% of American’s who have been led to believe assassination of American citizens is justified.

  120. “It is quite another proposition to roll back 70 years of Cold War thinking that has permeated this country and disinfect the 79% of American’s who have been led to believe assassination of American citizens is justified.” Mike S.

    Well said, Mike S.

    Greenwald today:

    The Authoritarian Mind

    http://www.salon.com/2012/03/09/the_authoritarian_mind/singleton/

    “Hollywood producer and director Davis Guggeinheim just produced a 17-minute “documentary” hailing the greatness of Barack Obama and his many historic and profound accomplishments, and it will be released this week by the Obama campaign. Please just watch this two-minute interview of Guggenheim by CNN’s Piers Morgan in which Guggenheim explains that nothing critical can or should be said of our President other than the fact that he is so Great that his Greatness cannot be sufficiently conveyed in a single film (via VastLeft); other than noting the obvious — how creepy his Leader worship is and how perfect of a guest-host he’d be for several MSNBC shows — all I can say is that this is the pure face of the Authoritarian Mind, but it is as common as it is repellent:: (video follows)

  121. Elaine M. and AN,
    Thank you for your constant work keeping us informed and inspired.

    Mike S.
    Thank you for seeing the root and the start of it all. Eisenhower saw it and warned us explicitly for the usurpation of powers by the MIC.
    You know it must have occured to the MIC that “you know guys, this is a good deal—let’s keep it going” after WW”..
    A little daath threat from nuclear annihilation**, after a war whixh had put so many gold stars in windows and left so many homecoming men scarred for life.
    It was not difficult to scare us, USSR played the threat role so well.
    And we had the drills hiding under the schooldesks, the repeated nuclear cloud to remind us. And the news, so well managed.
    **(Were the two bomb exploded to end the war or to launch the awe and fear era with two horrific bangs.)

    Just as I have lost most of my fear of others by being encouraged to make contact with those I fear, so perhaps we can encourage in the same way ourselves and the 79 percent to meet the unknowns which we fear will kill us.

    I had a talk today with my Afganistan pharmacist. Do I fear him. No.
    Do I understand his countrymen better after that short chat? Yes, I think.
    Is my fear somewhat lessened. Do kids have a trouble with race? No, but some still fear the fruits of racail mixing. etc. Yes. Not easy, and yet so easy. But countering the conscious management from Washington will be difficult.
    Diminishing fear is possible, through NGO action.
    Achieving that, we are left with the problem of wresting control from the MIC and the TIC.

  122. http://www.aclu.org/blog/national-security/court-today-cia-claims-torture-technique-intelligence-method-exempted-foia

    03/09/2012

    In Court Today: CIA Claims That Torture Technique Is an “Intelligence Method” Exempted From FOIA

    Posted by Alex Abdo, National Security Project at 9:29am

    Today I will argue in the federal court of appeals in New York that the CIA must release cables describing its use of waterboarding. The CIA has argued that, even though President Obama has declared waterboarding to be illegal, the cables do not have to be turned over in our Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit because waterboarding is an “intelligence method.” We have argued that the CIA’s interpretation of the law is fundamentally inconsistent with the purpose of FOIA — to expose official misconduct to public scrutiny — and that, therefore, the government may not suppress details relating to an interrogation technique that even it recognizes to be unlawful.

    The CIA’s characterization of torture as an “intelligence method” is shameful, and at bottom it is simply another effort to prevent the public from learning the full scope of the torture program. We know from documents the government has already released that the CIA’s use of waterboarding violated even the minimal guidelines established by its legal memos. The Obama administration should fulfill its commitment to transparency and release these additional documents.

    After the CIA revealed in 2007 that it had violated the district court’s orders in our case by destroying videotapes depicting the torture of two detainees, the court ordered the agency to turn over any documents that would allow the public to reconstruct what was on the tapes. The CIA identified 580 documents that describe what was on the tapes, but it has refused to release them. The agency is also refusing to release a photo of one of the detainees, Abu Zubaydah, apparently taken around the time he was being interrogated.

    The American public has a right to know the full truth about the torture that was committed in its name. (end of posting)

  123. Jill:

    the problem is government outside the bounds set by the Constitution.

    There is nothing in the Constitution for a good deal of what has been done by our government. Killing citizens is way beyond but what gave the government the idea they could get away with killing?

    You erode the Constitution one little drip at a time and pretty soon you are at the mercy of tyrants.

  124. swarthmore mom:

    I dont like him, I think he is a liberal dressed in bankers clothing.

    You all should want him on the ticket, either way the election goes, the left gets their man in office.

  125. AN,

    Since when have they ever been required to keep their promises…… Maybe the guy being prosecuted for lying during a campaign should be convicted….. Then we’d have some degree of accountability…. Only funna ya….on that one as political speech should be protected….

  126. One should vote for one that they feel comfortable voting for. The choices are yours to make. Me, I’m in a conundrum, I want someone to do what they say and say what they do.

  127. Off topic but yet still hot,
    Want to be made happy?
    -“-At least 50 companies, including Netflix, Capitol One, and AOL pulled their advertising from Limbaugh’s radio show, leaving only 2 paid ads during his entire 3 hour broadcast yesterday. He even filled time during the commercial break with dead air!”

    Here’s the list:
    http://thinkprogress.org/media/2012/03/02/436852/rush-limbaugh-advertisers/

    Is he dead, like a cockroach I wish, feet in the air.

  128. “The CIA’s characterization of torture as an “intelligence method” is shameful, and at bottom it is simply another effort to prevent the public from learning the full scope of the torture program.”

    AN,

    Per your comment, this to me is an accurate portrayal of the CIA and other intelligence agencies, with cogent commentary. Forgive my duplication.

  129. Mike S.
    Have to bring it up again.
    Although I have no link, i still claim that I have read that the USA reserved the CIA’s prerogative to use torture in a Geneva convention. Now you use the words. “interrogatin method”. Perhaps that was how the reservation was formulated, which was subsequently ratified. (All I got in response was that we had only signed 4 (?) Geneva conventions and that gave me no help in finding confirmation.)
    At any rate my postulate forms a possible legal basis for their claim.

  130. All,
    This Wikipedia article may provide some light on my question, and more…..
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Torture_and_the_United_States#The_UN_Convention See particularly under paragraph heading “Ratification”.
    Note that there are several other articles pertaining to Bybee, Yoo, etc. and ev. law pertaining to this area.
    NOte also that Google offers many other official sources: US DoS, UN, international, etc.

    Mike S.
    Apologies for using you as an encyclopedic source.

  131. This is an important insight from John Pilger: “Two classified documents recently released by Wikileaks express the CIA’s concern that the populations of European countries, which oppose their governments’ war policies, are not succumbing to the usual propaganda spun through the media. For the rulers of the world, this is a conundrum, because their unaccountable power rests on the false reality that no popular resistance works. And it does.”

  132. AN, Thanks for the reminder. Yeah, promises of politicians are pretty useless but, “transparency and the rule of law” are not only basic but, when uttered, were against the implicit and explicit background of the horrible Bush years. I’d like to believe that Obama was just overwhelmed by the actual situation when he got into office and saw new stuff, not that he played us for suckers.

    But I don’t.

  133. DonS 1, March 9, 2012 at 6:24 pm

    I’d like to believe that Obama was just overwhelmed by the actual situation when he got into office and saw new stuff, not that he played us for suckers.

    But I don’t.

    ————

    Nor do I, DonS. We’ve been “played.” Big time. No matter what he says.

    =========================

    For the rulers of the world, this is a conundrum, because their unaccountable power rests on the false reality that no popular resistance works. And it does.” -Jill

    Thanks for the Pilger “insight”, as well as your own, Jill. One of these days, there will be another Pentagon Papers type of leak and the dominoes will start to fall, just as they did back then, albeit slowly. If the covert program of which I’m aware were to be known to many, I’d like to think that it would be a game-changer for this country. Time will tell. We’ll see…

  134. None Dare Call It Treason! But that is what it is folks and treason is defined and protections against false treason allegations are provided for in the original body of the Constitution. So we dont have to have those original intentors out there chimne in on what the Framers intended when it was spelled out by them so clearly. Forget the Due Process Clause or Sinter Klaus on this topic.

    Here is Article III of the Constitution:

    Article. III. [ Annotations ]
    Section 1.
    The judicial Power of the United States, shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. The Judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behaviour, and shall, at stated Times, receive for their Services, a Compensation, which shall not be diminished during their Continuance in Office.
    Section 2.
    The judicial Power shall extend to all Cases, in Law and Equity, arising under this Constitution, the Laws of the United States, and Treaties made, or which shall be made, under their Authority;–to all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public ministers and Consuls;–to all Cases of admiralty and maritime Jurisdiction;–to Controversies to which the United States shall be a Party;–to Controversies between two or more States;–between a State and Citizens of another State;–between Citizens of different States;–between Citizens of the same State claiming Lands under Grants of different States, and between a State, or the Citizens thereof, and foreign States, Citizens or Subjects.
    In all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, and those in which a State shall be Party, the supreme Court shall have original Jurisdiction. In all the other Cases before mentioned, the supreme Court shall have appellate Jurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact, with such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make.
    The Trial of all Crimes, except in Cases of Impeachment, shall be by Jury; and such Trial shall be held in the State where the said Crimes shall have been committed; but when not committed within any State, the Trial shall be at such Place or Places as the Congress may by Law have directed.
    Section 3.
    Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.
    The Congress shall have Power to declare the Punishment of Treason, but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attainted.

  135. Mike,
    Great video clip of The Man from UNCLE. Leonard Cohen is the best.
    ID,
    I am not aware of any exception for us to torture in the Geneva agreements. If there was an exception, the Zbush interrogation methods would have been legal without the Torture memos.

  136. Can we tell the Secretary of Defense and the FBI Director about the provisions for Treason in our consititution.

  137. Rafflaw,
    Didn’t recognize my own name (ID) in your reply. Tired today.
    Will take a look myself. Did you check tha article, or was that a general reply? This is the article’s parsing of the actual USA document.
    Unfortunately, the actual document linked from ref 73 is a bum link. But perhaps can be found through USA sources, DoS.

    Parsed as:
    The U.S. ratification itself, on 21 October 1994, came some six years after the spring 1988 signature and was subject to numerous (A) reservations, (B) understandings and (C) declarations. These can be read verbatim at the UN treaty website[73] and are parsed here as follows:

    A. Reservations: The U.S. made two reservations in connection with its ratification.
    (1) The U.S. would only be bound to prevent the “cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment” that are addressed by article 16 of the Convention[72][nb 3] to the extent the term “cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment” was synonymous with the “cruel, unusual and inhumane treatment or punishment prohibited by the Fifth, Eighth, and/or Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution of the United States”.[5]

    (2) Pursuant to treaty option, the U.S. is not bound to resolve questions by international arbitration, but it “reserves the right specifically to agree to follow this or any other procedure for arbitration in a particular case.”[75] B.

    Understandings: The U.S. announced certain interpretive understandings, “which shall apply to the obligations of the United States under this Convention:”
    (1) Regarding the definition of certain terms in the Convention, (a) “Torture”[nb 4] must be specifically intended to inflict severe physical or mental pain. Furthermore, “mental pain” refers to prolonged mental harm resulting from either (1) the intentional infliction of severe physical pain; (2) the administration of mind altering drugs; (3) the use of other procedures that are also “calculated to disrupt profoundly the senses or the personality;” C; or (5) the threat that another person (e.g. a spouse or relative) will imminently be subjected to the foregoing.
    (b) “Torture” must be an action against a victim in the torturer’s custody. (c) “Sanction”[nb 5] includes judicially-imposed sanctions and other enforcement actions authorized by United States law or by judicial interpretation of such law.
    (d) “Acquiescence”[nb 6] requires that the public official, prior to the activity constituting torture, be aware that such activity is imminent, thereafter violating his duty to prevent such activity.
    (e) A noncompliance with applicable legal procedural standards[nb 7] does not per se constitute torture.”
    SOURCE Wikipedia

    My concern is with this:
    “”Torture”[nb 4] must be specifically intended to inflict severe physical or mental pain.”
    In wording it as “specifically intended”, does that raise a higher or more exclusive intent than ordinary intent? Ie, wording it as they are doing in the ACLU case as an interrogation method would imply that it was not “specifically intended” for the purposes of torture, and thus fall outside the framework as we defined it in ratification understandings, etc.

    Guess will have to go read the memos myself and see what’s there.

    Do law students routinely have this as part of their studies, or is it some later choice?

  138. You’re answering while I’m writing my latest long quote with a couple of questions. I’ll go on looking, starting with Wikipedia. Curious that the USA ratification document was not available at thé UN site?
    You write:
    “ID,
    I do not think so because the US has prosecuted for the very act of waterboarding that the Bush administration utilized.”

    Who what, when and where???? Who prosecuted whom? By Bush or Obama? Under what law? When? And Where?

    If it’s too much trouble I’ll google it.

  139. idealist, Law students mainly study this in elective courses. My daughter is taking National Security Law from on of the principals at the Lawfare blog. She also coordinated a panel discussion last week at her law school last week on the NDAA. We are having some interesting discussions and I am learning a lot from her.

  140. The first reservation removes “degrading” given in the wording in the UN document out of USA use. I e, degrading is not “torture” as the USA sees it.
    This make the the techniques documented inadvertently in photos taken at Abu Graub out of discussion For ex. forced simulation of homosexual acts, being treated like a dog on a leash, forced to be in degrading situations (naked before non-familial women) or positions, etc, etc.

    I am sure that the repetoire is culturally adapted and more extensive than I am aware of..

    And permit a satirical comment: The removal of degradation is of course consequential to the American way of life and law. (Satiracal but serious)

    The laws and their application seems in many cases to be aimed at DEGRADING humans so as to diminish self-esteem and to minimise resistance to such treatment. Witness TSA procedures, or being brought to trial in an orange prisoner costume. The list is much longer and we being accustomed, become blind to its use.

  141. SwM
    Am sure you are very proud of her. Being coordinator is a strong recognition, I feel. And her choice of spending her elective on this, a what at this point would seem to be a non-white shoe elective, ie less remunerative, says a lot about her (and you too).

  142. Our law on torture is this: “no exceptional circumstances whatsoever”. Why is this important? Because the law stays the law and our values stay our values in a time of emergency. To do otherwise is to be: 1. a summer patriot and 2. to dismantle the rule of law, the real protector of the people.

  143. idealist, She did make the cover of her high school’s newspaper when she started a chapter of the Young Democrat’s there. lol

  144. SwM
    How can she become an honest politician is my question? She obviously has the potential. (Referring to the common belief that they are corrupted all.
    Saw a young Obama speaking to an outdoor gathering at Harvard, introducing a controversial professor. He started developing young, but what you become is the harder part. So many choices, many say “Not yet.” She’s made some already.
    Am glad she is getting a hands-on feeling through the Guantanamo defendatn lawyer. Are summer jobs possible with attorneys like that? How exciting!!!!
    PS The controversial professor was used to illustrate the point of “Guilt by association” being ridiculous or perverse.

  145. http://www.salon.com/2012/03/10/dennis_kucinich_and_wackiness/singleton/

    Dennis Kucinich and “wackiness”
    By Glenn Greenwald, March 10, 2012

    Excerpt:

    Revealingly, two days after the Prospect article crowned Kucinich “among the wackiest members of Congress,” TPM featured this article, the day after Eric Holder advocated the view that the President has the power to target American citizens for execution without charges:

    So let’s recap the state of mental health in establishment Democratic circles: the President who claims (and exercises) the power to target American citizens for execution-by-CIA in total secrecy and with no charges — as well as those who dutifully follow him — are sane, sober and Serious, meriting great respect. By contrast, one of the very few members of Congress who stands up and vehemently objects to this most radical power — “The idea that the United States has the ability to summarily execute a US citizen ought to send chills racing up and down the spines of every person of conscience” — is a total wackjob, meriting patronizing mockery.

    Both the Prospect and Post recite the trite case demonstrating Kucinich’s supposed weirdness. He’s friends with Shirley McLaine, who believes in reincarnation, and he once (according to McLaine) claimed to have an encounter with a UFO. Is any of that really any more strange than the litany of beliefs which the world’s major religions require? Is Barack Obama “wacky” because he claims to believe that Jesus turned water into wine, rose from the dead and will soon welcome him to heaven? Is Chuck Schumer bizarre because he seems to believe that there’s some big fatherly figure sitting in the sky who spewed fire and brimstone at those who broke the laws he sent down on some stones and now hovers over him judging his every move? Is Harry Reid a weirdo because he apparently venerates as divine the “visions” of a man who had dozens of wives, including some already married to other men?

    Neither the Prospect nor the Post would ever dare mock as “wacky” the belief in invisible judgmental father-figures in the sky or that rendition of life-after-death gospel because those belief systems have been deemed acceptable by establishment circles. ”Wacky”, like its close cousin “crazy,” is a term of establishment derision exclusively reserved for those who deviate from such conventions. And that’s the point worth making here: the real reason anyone with D.C. Seriousness, including many establishment liberals, relished mocking Kucinich is because he dissented from the orthodoxies of the two political parties. That, by definition, makes one wacky and weird, even when — as is true for the Obama assassination powers and so many other bipartisan pieties — the actual wacky and crazy beliefs are those orthodoxies themselves (we’ve seen this repeatedly with those who stray from two-party normalcy). In reality, the actual crazies are those who fit comfortably within that two-party mentality and rarely challenge or deviate from it, while those who are sane, by definition, dissent from it (just today, the Super Serious Democratic Sen. Carl Levin, a prime co-sponsor of the indefinite detention bill passed late last year, called for a naval blockade of Iran). (end of excerpt)

    And the beat goes on…

  146. “I don’t think suing over olive pits helped Kucinich’s image much either.” -Swarthmore mom

    I’m sure it didn’t. (Thanks for the link. I’d like to see his dental records. )

    I used to like him a lot but not so much anymore. Guess a lot of democrats in Ohio felt the same way. -Swarthmore mom

    Maybe the Ohio Dems were correct, maybe they weren’t…

  147. The Day ‘Due Process’ Died: Obama, Holder and the End of Rights

    by Peter Van Buren, 03/07/12

    http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/03/07-0

    Excerpt:

    “Sluts All”

    “So while the popular media remembers yesterday as the day Rush apologized for calling someone a slut and Republican candidates ignored the wave of history to carp about birth control, historians will look back on March 5, 2012 as the day America gave up on its experiment with unalienable rights, rights that are natural, not given, rights independent of governments, what our Declaration explained to an unsure forming nation as “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

    And that is the saddest part of a very sad day: the majority of Americans — the consent of the governed — seemingly do not care what Holder said, and are even now bleating on internet forums and likely in comments below to this article about the need to kill more terrorists, adding terrified, empty justifications to Holder’s clever Newspeak. We did not have our freedom taken from us, we gave it away.” (excerpt)

  148. Lot’s of reasons (re Kucinich). Maybe she was better in promising to make a naval base on the shoreline, ie better pork barreler=success.

    thanks for the links.

    Goodbye sweet natural rights. George started it with his Patriot act, and Obama and the Repugs are finishing it off now. I wonder what they’ll find for the next growth industry after National Surveillance and Security?

  149. […] at Northwestern University seemed to leave the door open.Constitutional expert Jonathan Turley writes: One would hope that the FBI Director would have a handle on a few details guiding his […]

  150. No matter what well-intentioned people do, the suffering in Africa will linger for decades. AIDS will not come close to killing everyone there, of course, but it is certain to prove more devastating than any epidemic in history. It’s as mind-boggling as it is heart-wrenching that as the developed world races over the Internet into the third millennium, Africa is falling ever deeper into poverty and death from a pestilence right out of the Old Testament. http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/fortune_archive/2000/11/13/291542/index.htm
    http://pokredyt.pl/

  151. To all Americans: Be aware of Dr. Sanjay Ramrakhiani. He works at Palo Alto Medical Foundation in Camino Medical Center in Mountain View, CA. This Dr. does Endoscopy procedures, and while his patient is under anesthesia he secretly implants microchips in the Target’s body and does other criminal secret procedures according the instructions of FBI agents that appear beside the patient’s bed. This CRIMINAL doctor allows the CRIMINAL FBI agents to do anything they want to his patients. This Doctor injects microchips also in the esophagus while in endoscopy procedure, he is also implanting microchips anytime the FBI wants to implant microchips in anyone they target. If you are targeted by the FBI with electronic radiation and harass by groups that the FBI sends after you, then you sure have many microchips in your body and it is most likely that this criminal, low life scum of the earth doctor Sanjay Ramrakhiani implanted it in your body. I posted this comment many times but the FBI removes my comments from most sites. All targeted people need to be aware that the FBI do its best to remove from the internet any comment that unveil their criminal activity. When targeted people log on they might see their comment without knowing that it appears only on their computer while the FBI removes it from the general public. I invite the FBI to take me to court if what I write here is untrue. Go ahead criminal FBI, I am waiting.
    America does not belong to American citizens. America belongs to the same CIA that killed president Kennedy and to the same FBI that right now tortures American citizens with electronic weapons and send gangs of evil people to stalk, harass, radiate and kill them.

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