Posts Tagged ‘Obama Kill List’

Obama’s legacy to Trump

November 30, 2016

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Malik Jalal tries to get off Obama’s Kill List

April 15, 2016

Malik Jalal has traveled from Pakistan’s Waziristan border region to Britain so as to plead with President Obama to stop trying to kill him.

Malik Jalal

Malik Jalal

Malik is an honorary title that means “village leader”.  He is a member of the North Waziristan Peace Committee, whose mission is to negotiate with the Pakistan Taliban to reduce violence in the region.  The committee’s work is sanctioned by the government of Pakistan.

He has survived four attacks by Hellfire missiles and now sleeps out in the woods with his six-year-old son.  He wrote in The Independent that he has information that the U.S. military wants to stop the work of the Peace Committee because they think peace would give the Taliban a secure sanctuary.

Jalal wrote that the first attack came in 2010, when his nephew took his vehicle to a service  station  to get an oil change and to have the tires checked.   A Hellfire missile hit Jalal’s vehicle and another vehicle parked just beside it.  The nephew was injured and four innocent bystanders were killed.

The next time he was driving to a peace conference, with another vehicle on the road behind, which happened to be the same shade of red as Jalal’s.  A Hellfire missile destroyed the trailing vehicle and all four occupants, all innocent bystanders, were killed.

Jalal became sure that he was the target after the next attack.  He accepted a dinner invitation by cell phone and, while he was on the way, a Hellfire missile struck, killing three innocent people, including a father of three and a mentally retarded man.

The fourth attack came early in 2011, when the Hellfire missile struck a meeting of community leaders, killing 40 people, none of whom, according to Jalal were engaged in acts of violence.

Since then he has taken to sleeping out of doors on a mountainside far from his house and always parking his vehicle a long distance from any destination.  Recently, he said, his six-year-old son has joined him on the mountainside.  The little boy said it was unrealistic to think that the U.S. military would refrain from killing Jalal’s family just because he wasn’t at home.

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Obama’s rationale to sign death warrants

February 6, 2013

Michael Isikoff of NBC News revealed a secret Justice Department memo giving the legal rationale for targeted killings.   Here are the highlights of his report.

“The condition that an operational leader present an ‘imminent’ threat of violent attack against the United States does not require the United States to have clear evidence that a specific attack on U.S. persons and interests will take place in the immediate future,” the memo states.

kill-listInstead, it says, an “informed, high-level” official of the U.S. government may determine that the targeted American has been “recently” involved in “activities” posing a threat of a violent attack and “there is no evidence suggesting that he has renounced or abandoned such activities.” The memo does not define “recently” or “activities.”

… … The confidential memo lays out a three-part test that would make targeted killings of American lawful: In addition to the suspect being an imminent threat, capture of the target must be “infeasible, and the strike must be conducted according to “law of war principles.” … The memo … … states that U.S. officials may consider whether an attempted capture of a suspect would pose an “undue risk” to U.S. personnel involved in such an operation. If so, U.S. officials could determine that the capture operation of the targeted American would not be feasible, making it lawful for the U.S. government to order a killing instead, the memo concludes.

… … “A lawful killing in self-defense is not an assassination,” the white paper reads. “In the Department’s view, a lethal operation conducted against a U.S. citizen whose conduct poses an imminent threat of violent attack against the United States would be a legitimate act of national self-defense that would not violate the assassination ban. Similarly, the use of lethal force, consistent with the laws of war, against an individual who is a legitimate military target would be lawful and would not violate the assassination ban.”

This on the surface sounds plausible.  If some al Qaeda operative was plotting another attack on the United States, Americans would want him stopped.  But if you read the document like a lawyer, you see the powers claimed for President Obama go far beyond that.  The memo said that the government is entitled to kill anyone that a senior government official determines is a terrorist, without having to reveal before or after the fact the basis for deciding the person is a terrorist.

When Barack Obama ran for President in 2008, and John F. Kerry ran for President in 2004, they denounced President George W. Bush’s administration for claiming the power to arrest and torture people at their sole discretion.  What greater power could a dictator have than that?  Now the Obama administration is claiming the same authority to kill.   This is a greater danger to American freedom and democracy than al Qaeda.

Click on Justice Department memo reveals legal case for drone strikes on Americans for the full NBC News report.

Click on Justice Department White Paper PDF to read the text of the 16-page memo.

Glenn Greenwald and Conor Friedersdorf both cut through the legal obfuscation to explain what the memo really said.

Click on Chilling Legal Memo from Obama DOJ for Glenn Greenwald’s analysis

Click on Obama’s Memo on Killing Americans for Conor Friedersdorf’s analysis.

Click on This Isn’t the Memo You’re Looking For for what we the public still don’t know about the Obama administration’s death warrant policy.

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Obama wouldn’t trust Romney with his kill list

November 29, 2012

Barack Obama draws up secret kill lists of people he deems enemies of the United States, on his own discretion based on secret criteria.  Even the legal rationale for the kill lists is a secret.  But the New York Times reported that in the weeks leading up to the election, the Obama administration began work on a “legal architecture” for deciding who to kill.  The reason: Mitt Romney could not be trusted with this power.

I suppose it is natural that somebody who feels confident he should be trusted to exercise life-and-death power without accountability might not think that anybody else could be trusted with the same power.  But how is it that it only occurred to Obama in the months running up to the election that someday a Republican would occupy the White House and exercise the powers that Obama created?

“Legal architecture” is an Orwellian phrase.  It means the opposite of “code of laws.”  It simply means that the Obama administration will codify its own procedures.  It is hard to see why President Obama thinks a future administration would be bound by those procedures when he himself is not bound by the Constitution.

This would be a great opportunity for the Republican leaders to show themselves to be what they claim to be—defenders of the Constitution against all-powerful government.  Instead of asking Susan Rice why she shouldn’t get her story straight about who was behind the Benghazi attacks, they should ask her whether she recognizes any limit on the power of the government to issue death warrants.

Click on Obama Administration Was Not Willing To Trust Romney with a Secret Kill List for more by Kevin Gosztola on Firedoglake’s The Dissenter.

Click on Obama: a GOP president should have rules limiting the kill list for Glenn Greenwald’s analysis.