Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Drones and civil liberties.

(Senators Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Mark Udall (D-Colo.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Dick Durbin (Ill.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Mark Begich (D-Alaska) and Al Franken (D- Minn.) have sent a letter to President Obama seeking the legal opinions outlining the President’s authority to authorize the killing of American citizens during the course of counterterrorism operations, Senator Wyden’s office reports. These legal opinions issued by the Department of Justice have remained hidden from the general public and have been withheld from members of Congress, inhibiting Congress’ ability to conduct necessary oversight, Wyden’s office says.) ******************* At the DC Correspondents Dinner two years ago, the POTUS had a joke about someone wanting to date his older daughter. He warned the potential suiter that he, as father, had a weapon he could use..a drone. And he added that he wasn’t kidding. The AG Eric Holder has released a department white paper giving the legal justification for using armed drones against suspected foreign terrorists , including American citizens on foreign soil. Drones are the counter-terrorist weapon of choice. They are unmanned, and can travel beneath or above radar. The civil liberty issue is whether using a drone to assassinate an American suspected of planning a terrorist attack violates judicial due process. It does, but our national security apparatus dismisses that concern. Our drones fly over other countries, without permission in many cases, and in violation of the country’s air space. In the 195ies, POTUS Eisenhower liked the spy plane U2 as it could fly above the Soviet radar, and could give pictures of the real military capability of the Soviets. The U2 showed Ike that the Soviets were mostly bluffing in its’ missile capability. And it gave Ike the proof he needed to counter the arguments of our own military-industrial- complex (MIC). But the U2 was manned, and it was a spy plane, not a modern like drone that could assassinate people on the ground. Drones are also alive and well in the US, and will become more visible in the future. Most major city police forces are using them now.

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