President Obama's Drones and the Secret Kill List

Note:  You might want to start at the Barack Obama Index Page, especially if you arrived here by using a search engine.

Related topics on nearby pages:

        Obama shows great potential — as a Marxist dictator!

        Obama operates on the outskirts of the law.

        The Clamor for Obama's impeachment.


Obama's secret kill list — the disposition matrix.  When contemplating the euphemisms that have slipped into the lexicon since 9/11, the adjective Orwellian is difficult to avoid.  But while such terms as extraordinary rendition, targeted killing and enhanced interrogation are universally known, and their true meanings — kidnap, assassination, torture — widely understood, the disposition matrix has not yet gained such traction.  Since the Obama administration largely shut down the CIA's rendition programme, choosing instead to dispose of its enemies in drone attacks, those individuals who are being nominated for killing have been discussed at a weekly counter-terrorism meeting at the White House situation room that has become known as Terror Tuesday.  Barack Obama, in the chair and wishing to be seen as a restraining influence, agrees the final schedule of names.  Once details of these meetings began to emerge it was not long before the media began talking of "kill lists".  More double-speak was required, it seemed, and before long the term disposition matrix was born.

The Unstoppable Spread of Armed Drones.  The presence of armed drones is a reality of the modern battlefield, but only a limited group of countries has the technological ability to produce them or the military capacity to operate them.  The United States once held the edge in drone development and use, but as more countries gain access to the technology, armed drones have entered a new stage of proliferation.  From the perspective of the United States and others, this proliferation is dangerous.  Attempts to curb the spread of armed drones are becoming more difficult now that the United States is no longer their sole developer.  China, in particular, has grown as a global exporter of unmanned combat systems, and other countries are planning to follow suit.

DARPA's 'Aerial Dragnet' will monitor drones in cities.  While air traffic control systems track, guide and monitor thousands of planes and helicopters every day, one group of sky flyers remains unmonitored:  drones.  In recent years, small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), such as commercial quadcopters and hobby drones, have become less expensive and easier to fly — adding traffic to airspace that's already congested.  Drones are also more adaptable for terrorist or military purposes, and because they are currently flying unmonitored, U.S. forces want to be able to quickly detect and identify UAVs, especially in urban areas.

To Drone or Not to Drone.  Reactions to the revelation that Hillary Clinton, as secretary of state, may have seriously considered launching a drone strike against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange have predictably been divided along partisan lines. [...] Meanwhile, devotees of this real-life Madame Defarge, who has publicly admitted that there were no hard and fast rules in her State Department governing how the targets of drone strikes were chosen, have tried to dismiss the multiple sources of this story because they have chosen to remain anonymous, ignoring the fact that all were present at this very sensitive State Department meeting, which would mean that they were part of Secretary Clinton's inner circle and would be among the limited staff of the State Department with the highest security clearances.

U.S. Military Is Building a $100 Million Drone Base in Africa.  Agadez, Niger, almost blends into the cocoa-colored wasteland that surrounds it.  Only when you descend farther can you make out a city that curves around an airfield before fading into the desert.  U.S. military documents reveal new information about an American drone base under construction on the outskirts of the city.

Suspected US drone strike kills 9 militants in Yemen.  Yemeni security officials say a suspected U.S. drone has bombed a home in the central province of Marib, killing nine alleged al-Qaida fighters.

The Editor says...
Mr. Obama can use drones to blow up enemy soldiers all day long, as far as I care.  The problems arise when his drones are used against U.S. citizens.

Newly declassified document sheds light on how president approves drone strikes.  President Obama must approve operational plans to target overseas terrorist suspects with drones or other weapons outside war zones but in some cases does not sign off on specific strikes, according to newly declassified administration guidelines.  In addition to setting out the role of the president, the guidelines emphasize the importance of "verifying" the identity of high-value targets, even as they outline the criteria and legality of striking unidentified others when "necessary to achieve U.S. policy objectives."  The guidelines provide rules for targeting U.S. citizens abroad and include lengthy guidance on what to do with captured terrorist suspects.  "In no event," the document says, "will additional detainees be brought to the detention facilities at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base."

'Drones playbook' shows key role played by White House staff in deadly strikes.  The White House staff for national security, exempt from review by Congress, plays a substantial role in the process for killing suspected terrorists, according to a newly released document on drone strikes.  The 2013 document, known informally as the "playbook" for Barack Obama's signature counterterrorism operations, was released on Saturday by the justice department as the result of court requests by the American Civil Liberties Union.

Obama claims US drones strikes have killed up to 116 civilians.  Barack Obama has claimed that drone and other airstrikes, his favored tactics of war, have killed between 64 and 116 civilians during his administration, a tally which was criticized as undercounted even before Friday's [7/1/2016] announcement.  The long-promised assessment acknowledged that the government itself does not always know how many civilians it kills and that it may revise its death tolls over time.  Between 2009 and 31 December 2015, the administration claimed that it launched 473 strikes, mostly with drones, that killed between what it said were 2,372 and 2,581 terrorist "combatants".

Sources: Obama to reveal civilian deaths from drones.  President Barack Obama is expected to disclose as early as Friday [7/1/2016] the number of civilians killed in U.S. military and CIA drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen and Africa since he took office and will issue an executive order that makes protecting civilians a more integral part of planning U.S. military operations, according to activists and other individuals familiar with the report.

Palin: Obama's a 'Special Kind of Stupid' to Push Gun Control Over 'Terrorist Control'.  Sarah Palin today [6/17/2016] joined the chorus of Republicans outraged at President Obama's focus on gun control after the Orlando massacre.  In a Facebook post today, she shared a meme trolling liberals by referring to guns as "a woman's right to choose" and declared, "Obama is a special kind of stupid."  She accused Obama of "exploiting a sick, evil, ideological-driven attack on Americans to further your twisted anti-Second Amendment mission."  The president has talked about both terrorism and gun control in the wake of Orlando, reemphasizing his long-held belief that something should be done about the latter after so many mass shootings.  But Palin wanted to know why the president supposedly thinks the Orlando terrorist is representative of gun owners but not representative of Muslims.

Bungling border agency can't find drone records.  Homeland Security can't find a single record of a request to fly drones to help the Coast Guard, the agency said this week in a letter to a top member of Congress — an admission that's likely to add fuel to the guard's request for its own fleet of unmanned aerial vehicles.  R. Gil Kerlikowske, commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, said his agency's Air and Marine office records all requests, but for some reason it "could not locate any prior requests from the USCG" for unmanned aerial surveillance flights.  For Rep.  Duncan Hunter, California Republican and chairman of a subcommittee that oversees the Coast Guard, the admission was the latest signal that the border agency isn't treating its colleagues in the guard fairly.

Obama cements drone-centric counterterrorism strategy with Central Command pick.  President Obama's pick to head a critical Pentagon post is sending a clear signal the president wants to ensure his controversial drone-centered counterterrorism strategy stays in place long after he leaves office in January, but that may not stave off pressures on the Pentagon to deploy more troops rather than drones to defeat Islamic State and other jihadi groups.  Armed drones and clandestine ground operations have been the centerpiece of Mr. Obama's strategy to eliminate al Qaeda and now Islamic State.  Defense experts say the decision to promote Army Gen.  Joseph Votel to the top spot at Central Command is proof that strategy is unlikely to change during the waning months of Obama's presidency and possibly beyond.

Six ways to disable a drone.  Civilian drone activity has increased exponentially as drones become more easily accessible and affordable.  With more drones in the sky every day, there have been some creative and sometimes dangerous attempts to disable drones.  The reasons for disabling a drone can vary from boredom and curiosity to privacy and safety concerns.  To be clear, the Center for Technology Innovation does not condone or promote the act of harming drones.

Pentagon admits operating military drone flights over U.S..  The Pentagon has deployed spy drones to fly over U.S. territory for non-military missions over the past decade, but the flights were few and lawful, according to a new report.  The domestic drone flights have occurred less than 20 times between 2006 and 2015 and were always conducted in compliance with existing laws, according to the report by the Pentagon Inspector General which was made public under a Freedom of Information Act request, according to USA [T]oday.  The Pentagon did not provide details of the domestic spy missions, but said it takes the issue of military drone flights over America soil "very seriously."

Pentagon admits it has deployed military spy drones over the U.S..  The Pentagon has deployed drones to spy over U.S. territory for non-military missions over the past decade, but the flights have been rare and lawful, according to a new report.  The report by a Pentagon inspector general, made public under a Freedom of Information Act request, said spy drones on non-military missions have occurred fewer than 20 times between 2006 and 2015 and always in compliance with existing law.  The report, which did not provide details on any of the domestic spying missions, said the Pentagon takes the issue of military drones used on American soil "very seriously."

The NSA's SKYNET program may be killing thousands of innocent people.  Somewhere between 2,500 and 4,000 people have been killed by drone strikes in Pakistan since 2004, and most of them were classified by the US government as "extremists," the Bureau of Investigative Journalism reported.  Based on the classification date of "20070108" on one of the SKYNET slide decks (which themselves appear to date from 2011 and 2012), the machine learning program may have been in development as early as 2007.  In the years that have followed, thousands of innocent people in Pakistan may have been mislabelled as terrorists by that "scientifically unsound" algorithm, possibly resulting in their untimely demise.

Feds to cut aerial surveillance on the border by 50%.  Texas governor Greg Abbott and Democratic congressman Henry Cuellar have sent a letter to the Department of Homeland Security demanding an explanation why the agency is planning to cut back aerial monitoring of the southern border by 50%.

Appeals Court Rules Targeted Killing Memos Can Stay Secret.  A federal appeals court ruled in a decision unsealed on Monday [11/23/2015] that the Justice Department could continue to conceal internal documents related to targeted killings in the fight against Al Qaeda.

Drone strike map
One picture to sum up Obama's idiotic ISIS policy.  Recently the Obama administration was crowing loudly about its success in vaporizing a single, notoriously vicious jihadist with a well-placed Hellfire missile.  Mohammed Emwazi was a British citizen who not only joined the jihadist movement, but became one of its leading public executioners, quickly dubbed by the media Jihadi John.  [Photo]  Note that the location of the drone strike on Jihadi John appears to be but a few city blocks from a large building marked "ISIS Main HQ."  Does the question not immediately arise in your mind why we would target a specific human enemy and yet leave perhaps hundreds of them alive and well to continue to conduct their war against us?


Leaks: 90% of Drone Assassinations in 5-Month Spree Weren't Targeted.  CIA and Pentagon bosses are investigating after the publication of 'The Drone Papers' which includes Top Secret slides on how President Obama authorizes a kill.  The disclosure raises the prospect of a second Snowden-like figure, especially as the leak was published by the same journalists who worked with him before.

US drone strikes killing many more than intended, report says.  The U.S. is killing far more people than intended in some drone strikes, according to a report likely to raise new questions about the Obama administration's reliance on drones in its battle against Islamic terrorists.  The Intercept, in a wide-ranging set of articles on the U.S. drone program, reported that in one five month-period, nearly 90 percent of people killed by strikes in an operation in northeastern Afghanistan were not the intended targets.  The news outlet reports documents detailing Operation Haymaker show that the campaign, that lasted between January 2012 and February 2013, killed more than 200 people, but only 35 were the intended targets.

WikiLeaks' Assange stays indoors, fears CIA drone attack.  WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange fears he will be sent to the United States, where he could face the death penalty, and even worries that he will be targeted by a CIA drone.  Assange, who faces extradition to Sweden on rape charges and has been holed up at the Ecuadorean Embassy in London since 2012, said in an interview with The Times Magazine that things have become so dangerous that he cannot even poke his head out of the embassy's balcony doors.

DHS Spends $360 Million On Border Drones With No Positive Results.  Drones used by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to "guard" the U.S. border for nearly a decade are ineffective even though the agency has blown hundreds of millions of dollars on the failed program and wants Congress to keep funding it.  It's yet another example of what government does best; waste money.  In this case the frontline DHS agency — U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) — that operates the Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAC) is actually requesting more money from Congress to keep the futile drone experiment going.  Imagine a private business that for years blew huge sums on a failed enterprise asking investors to pour more cash into the same useless project.

Former US military personnel urge drone pilots to walk away from controls.  Forty-five former US military personnel, including a retired army colonel, have issued a joint appeal to the pilots of aerial drones operating in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Syria and elsewhere, calling on them to refuse to carry out the deadly missions.  In a joint letter, the retired and former military members call on air force pilots based at Creech air force base in Nevada and Beale air force base in California to refuse to carry out their duties.  They say the missions, which have become an increasingly dominant feature of US military strategy in recent years, "profoundly violate domestic and international laws".

Sign You're Doing Something Wrong: Front Companies.  CIA setting up front companies to hide covert operations abroad?  Business as usual, no objections, that's what spooks do, and one hopes (alas...) that, given the splendid budgets and resources with which we provide them, they'd do it well enough to avoid detection by a couple of AP reporters.  (Seriously:  Nice work, AP!)  That's fine for spies.  Domestic law enforcement doing the same thing at home?  That is deeply worrisome.  Any time a law-enforcement agency engages in a campaign of mass public deception, it's almost certainly doing something wrong.

FBI Behind Mysterious Surveillance Aircraft Over US Cities.  The FBI is operating a small air force with scores of low-flying planes across the country carrying video and, at times, cellphone surveillance technology — all hidden behind fictitious companies that are fronts for the government, The Associated Press has learned.

The Editor says...
The two articles immediately above pertain to manned and (presumably) unarmed aircraft on domestic surveillance missions over US cities.  It's not entirely off-topic, but it's not the same as the use of remotely-controlled drones to kill U.S. citizens.

Can President Obama, President Clinton (or any president) kill Americans?  Can the president kill you?  The short answer is:  Yes, but not legally.  Yet, President Obama has established a secret process that involves officials from the Departments of Justice and Defense, the CIA, and the White House senior staff whereby candidates are proposed for execution, and the collective wisdom of the officials then recommends execution to the president, who then accepts or rejects the recommendation.

Obama faces up to the grim reality of drone strikes.  President Obama's spare appearance at the White House on Thursday [4/23/2015] to announce the accidental killing of two hostages in a CIA drone strike in Pakistan included no talk of a higher cause or larger struggle.  The president didn't even mention, as he often does when discussing counter-terrorism operations, his responsibility to defend the nation.  Instead, his statement mixed a deeply personal sense of regret with the often sterile, legal justifications that have guided his administration's long-running drone war.  Obama spoke for just over seven minutes, glancing down frequently at his printed text.  There was no effort to elevate the tragedy to something noble, or wrap it in inspiring words.  Instead, his remarks underscored the growing ambivalence about his administration's heavy use of drones to kill America's enemies on remote battlefields.

Blunders Fighting Terrorists Due To Non-Interrogation.  Drones are a very useful military tool and will become even more so in the years ahead.  Their "pilots" sit safely at consoles half a world away from the kill.  Their computerization and robotics permit a level of accuracy and patience impossible for flesh-and-blood pilots.  But it's like the too-common illusion that visual and audio technology has rendered on-the-ground intelligence gathering, conducted by actual human agents, obsolete.  In fact, oversubstituting drones for soldiers, Marines or special forces can spell trouble.

Inside Obama's drone panopticon: a secret machine with no accountability.  Of all the reactions to the deaths of two hostages from a missile fired from a US drone, Congressman Adam Schiff provided the deepest insight into the logic underpinning the endless, secret US campaign of global killing.  "To demand a higher standard of proof than they had here could be the end of these types of counter-terrorism operations," said Schiff, a California Democrat and one of the most senior legislators overseeing those operations.

First Evidence of a Blunder in Drone Strike: 2 Extra Bodies.  The first sign that something had gone terribly wrong was when officers from the C.I.A. saw that six bodies had been pulled from the rubble instead of four.

Obama reportedly exempted Pakistan missions from tougher drone strike rule in 2013.  President Obama secretly granted the Central Intelligence Agency more flexibility to conduct drone strikes targeting terror suspects in Pakistan than anywhere else in the world after approving more restrictive rules in 2013.  The Wall Street Journal, citing current and former U.S. officials, first reported that Obama approved a waiver exempting the CIA from proving that militants targeted in Pakistan posed an imminent threat to the U.S. According to the paper, under that standard, the agency might have been prevented from carrying out a Jan. 15 strike that killed an American and an Italian who were held hostage by Al Qaeda-linked militants.

American, Italian al Qaeda hostages killed in drone strike.  An American and an Italian being held hostage by al Qaeda in a remote region of Pakistan near the Afghan border were killed in a CIA drone strike in January — an accident President Obama on Thursday [4/23/2015] blamed on "the fog of war."

End the moaning about the 'morality' of US drone strikes.  Hundreds of drone strikes so far this year, from Syria to Pakistan.  Hundreds of dead terrorists, many of high rank.  Thousands of lives saved.  And what makes headlines?  Two Western hostages killed in an otherwise successful drone attack.  Sorry, folks.  That's war.  And warfare will never be dainty or fully precise.

Obama: 'I Take Full Responsibility' For US Operation That Killed Innocent Hostages Held By Al Qaeda.  President Obama said today [4/23/2015] that he takes "full responsibility" for a U.S. government counterterrorism operation that killed two innocent hostages held by al Qaeda.  Dr. Warren Weinstein, an American held by the terror group since 2011, and Giovanni Lo Porto, an Italian national who had been an al Qaeda hostage since 2012, were "accidentally" killed in a U.S. operation in January, the president acknowledged.

The Editor says...
The hostages were killed in January.  This announcement was made on April 23.

Karl to Earnest on al Qaeda Strike: "Would It Have Been Illegal For You To Intentionally Target Those Two Men".  ABC News reporter Jon Karl asks White House press secretary Josh Earnest about the killing of an American citizen said to be a member of al-Qaeda.  [Video clip]

Secret Service To Fly Drones Over Washington, D.C..  Tourists may soon have a new attraction to look at when they visit the nation's capital.  The U.S. Secret Service says it will begin flying drones over Washington, D.C., in the near future.  The decision comes just weeks after a small unmanned — and unarmed — drone landed on White House property.  In late January, as we've reported, a government employee lost control of the "quad copter," crashing it in the early morning hours.

When drones are outlawed, only outlaws will have drones.
Regulating the Drone Economy.  Interest in drones has been growing faster than government rules about how they can be used.  That's what makes the Obama administration's proposed rules for unmanned aircraft by businesses and federal agencies so important.  The measures include many good ideas but do not do enough to protect the privacy of Americans.

At least some of our enemies live in constant fear, as they all should.
We dream about drones, said 13-year-old Yemeni before his death in a CIA strike.  A 13-year-old boy killed in Yemen last month by a CIA drone strike had told the Guardian just months earlier that he lived in constant fear of the "death machines" in the sky that had already killed his father and brother.  "I see them every day and we are scared of them," said Mohammed Tuaiman, speaking from al-Zur village in Marib province, where he died two weeks ago.

US Waits For Former Gitmo Detainee To Get Home, Drones Him.  Former Guantanamo detainee, Taliban commander and recent ISIS militant Mullah Abdul Rauf has been declared dead on Monday by Afghanistan authorities.  He was killed along with five others by a drone strike, Associated Press reports.  Rauf was reportedly driving a car loaded with ammunition and transporting five other militants when the missile hit.  After being captured in 2001 because of his alleged status as a high-ranking Taliban leader, Rauf remained locked away in Guantanamo until 2007.

Obama's Drones Have Killed More Than the Spanish Inquisition.  Controversy still swirls around Obama's comments during the National Prayer Breakfast this week, where he chastised Christians for getting on their "high horse" over the ongoing global jihad, invoking medieval abuses that occurred hundreds of years ago during the Crusades and Inquisition.  But perhaps it is Obama who should avoid getting on his high horse, since according to recently published statistics, Obama's drone campaign has killed more people during the six years of his presidency than were killed the 350 years of the Spanish Inquisition.

Obama denied request from Jordan for Predator drones in Islamic State fight.  The Obama administration this year turned down a request from Jordan for Predator spy drones that would help it locate targets in the war against the Islamic State.  The refusal, disclosed by a House Armed Services Committee member, has gained attention since Jordan has emerged as a critical player in a U.S.-led coalition to destroy the Islamist terrorist group in the days after it released a video of its execution by fire of a captured Jordanian military pilot.

'Unrelenting' need for drones will prompt changes in Air Force.  The Air Force units that run the service's fleet of drone aircraft are "under significant stress," with long hours and a potential brain drain coming that will prompt a variety of changes, Air Force Secretary Deborah James said Thursday [1/15/2015].  James, speaking to reporters at the Pentagon, said that the "unrelenting pace" of remotely piloted aircraft requirements means that those who operate them work six days in a row on average, typically for 13 or 14 hours each.  An average pilot flying a manned aircraft flies about 200 or 300 hours per year, but drone pilots fly 900 to 1,100, she said.

US killed editor of Al-Qaeda propaganda magazine 'Inspire' with drone in 2011.  [Scroll down]  A quick search turned up a wealth of information on the topic, and nobody would have made the connection because the big story about the drone strike that wiped Samir Khan off the battlefield was the same strike that killed Anwar Awlaki and touched off an intense debate over the right of presidents to unilaterally authorize drone killings of US Citizens with no visible due process.  Awlaki and Khan were both American citizens at the time, and neither had the opportunity of a trial.

Feds find border drones don't actually make border more secure.  The Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) own watchdog says that drones deployed at the United States-Mexico border do not achieve their objective of protecting the country.  In a 37-page report issued on December 24, 2014 but published for the first time on Tuesday, DHS' Office of the Inspector General (OIG) concluded that "after 8 years, [Customs and Border Protection, or CBP] cannot prove that the program is effective because it has not developed performance measures."  In a statement, the agency had a damning conclusion for the CBP drone program, which anticipates spending an additional $443 million to acquire and operate 14 more drones.

Audit: DHS Drone Program Ineffective at Border Security.  Custom and Border Protection's (CBP) drone program is ineffective and surveys less than 200 miles of the southwest border, according to an audit by the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) Office of Inspector General.  The program operates 10 Predator B drones at a cost of more than $12,000 for every hour a drone spends in the air, funding which could be put to better use elsewhere, according to the OIG.  The program costs $10,000 more per flight hour than what DHS claims, according to the OIG.  "We estimate that, in fiscal year 2013, it cost at least $62.5 million to operate the program, or about $12,255 per [flight] hour," the audit said.  "The Office of Air and Marine's calculation of $2,468 per flight hour does not include operating costs, such as the costs of pilots, equipment, and overhead."

Homeland Security's Drone Program a Waste of Money, Audit Finds.  Homeland Security's drone program has been a waste of money so far, according to the department's inspector general, who on Tuesday told the department to cancel plans to spend nearly half a billion dollars on more of the aircraft.  The department paid more than $12,000 an hour to fly its drones, kept them in the air far less than it had promised and chiefly used them over just 170 miles of the 1,993-mile border.

Defense Department Launches Surveillance Blimps.  On Friday, December 19, 2014, the US army will deploy drone surveillance blimps just north of the nation's capital.  The surveillance blimp system, known as "JLENS," is comprised of two 250' blimps.  As deployed in Iraq, one blimp contains aerial and ground surveillance technology that covers a 340-mile range, while the other has targeting capability including HELLFIRE missiles.  The surveillance blimps fly as high as 10,000 feet and can remain operational for up to 30 days straight.  The JLENS system is manufactured by defense contractor Raytheon.  Raytheon has tested the JLENS system with the company's MTS-B Multi-Spectral Targeting System.  The MTS-B offers long-range video surveillance that allows the real-time tracking of moving targets, including vehicles and persons, on the ground.

Speaking of JLENS...
Report: Army's runaway blimp flew for hours due to missing batteries.  An Army blimp that broke loose in Maryland in October stayed airborne for hours because someone failed to put batteries in its automatic-deflation device, The Los Angeles Times reported Sunday [2/14/2016].  The blimp escaped from Aberdeen Proving Ground and its dangling tether caused power outages in Pennsylvania.  The mishap led to widespread ridicule of the Pentagon's blimp surveillance program, known as JLENS for Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor System, which has cost taxpayers $2.7 billion since 1998.

Missing batteries among issues that caused Army's runaway blimp.  The blimp that broke loose from an Army facility in Maryland last fall, wreaking havoc with its milelong tether, flew uncontrolled for hours because someone neglected to put batteries in its automatic-deflation device, Pentagon investigators have found.  The pilotless, radar-carrying blimp was part of the troubled JLENS missile-defense system, which has failed to perform as promised while costing taxpayers more than $2.7 billion since 1998.

Are Drone Strikes More Defensible than Torture?  There are lots of hypocrisies surrounding the recently released executive summary of the Senate Intelligence Committee report on the CIA's detention and interrogation program.  But they pale in comparison to the current Democratic silence about President Barack Obama's policy of targeted drone assassinations.  Since 2004, drones have killed an estimated 2,400 to 3,888 individuals in Pakistan alone, according to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism in London.

The Senate Is Done Investigating Torture. Will Drone Killings Be Next?  President Obama's targeted killing program has been one of the more confounding strategical decisions of his presidency.  For liberal supporters who voted to elect a constitutional-law professor in 2008 and a candidate who had campaigned against harsh interrogation practices like waterboarding, it would have been hard to imagine that just years later they'd see a president who keeps a "kill list" of suspected terrorists.

WH Again Asked to Square Drone Killings With Harsh Interrogation.  The Obama White House was asked for a second day on Thursday [12/11/2014] why killing terrorists (and innocent civilians) with drones is acceptable to the Obama administration, but "slapping Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is bad."  "[T]his is a worthy discussion, and so I appreciate your raising it once again," spokesman Josh Earnest replied.  Here's his full answer, although he really didn't answer at all, and the reporter, Ed Henry, did not press him: [...]

Scarborough: I can't wait for the report on Obama's drone strikesMorning Joe host Joe Scarborough diverted a discussion about the CIA torture report with drones on Tuesday, took a day off, then reprised his act Thursday, simultaneously dismissing the Senate Intelligence Report on the CIA's terror funplex enhanced interrogation techniques while salivating for the details of some future report on President Barack Obama's drone program.  "Let's just go ahead and just kill them all, and if we kill 5-year-old girls and 85-year-old grandmas, so be it; we feel better about ourselves because that seems cleaner," was the host's description of the drone program.  "That's what liberals are saying today.  That's what Joe Biden's been saying, that's what Barack Obama's been saying."

Bush Interrogated Terrorists to Get Information; Obama Kills Them With Drones.  What's the difference between harsh CIA interrogation techniques and drones that kill civilians, a reporter asked White House spokesman Josh Earnest on Monday [12/8/2014].  The reporter noted that the lethal use of drones has "actually increased under this administration."  Earnest did not explain the difference, except to say that the U.S. works in "close consultation and cooperation with local governments and making sure that it's local forces that are taking the fight on the ground to these extremist elements."

Obama's Endless Lies and His Media Accomplices.  Obama's flimsy justification for drone strikes is a self-serving memo generated by his own administration.  It purports to explain why killing Americans does not violate the due process clause of the U.S. Constitution for U.S. citizens accused of crimes.  The memo refers to U.S. drone aircraft as "contemplated lethal operations."  Apparently, however, wiping out terrorists and their families, friends, and relatives, is not something that compromises our basic values.  The fact that Obama gets away with this deception says something about the gullibility of the American media.

GAO: DHS Flew Drones for 1,726 Hours Over Interior of U.S..  The Department of Homeland Security flew drones equipped with video cameras over the United States — away from border and coastal areas — for 1,726 hours from fiscal 2011 through this April, according to the Government Accountability Office.  At times, the drones — or Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) — were being used for purposes other than border or immigration enforcement.  But the GAO does not have a full accounting of when and where the drones were flown, or what they were used for during the flight hours spent in "other airspace."

Does John Brennan Know Too Much for Obama to Fire Him?  It's difficult to cross man with details on every secret drone strike you've authorized — especially the legally dubious ones.

Obama's drone warfare: A legal way to kill?  When President Obama decided sometime during his first term that he wanted to be able to use unmanned aerial drones in foreign lands to kill people — including Americans — he instructed Attorney General Eric Holder to find a way to make it legal, despite the absolute prohibition on governmental extra-judicial killing in federal and state laws and in the Constitution itself. [...] He must have hoped his killing would never come to light, because the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution could not be more direct:  "No person shall be ... deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law."

Obama failed to stop the Islamic State when he had the chance.  From Europe to the Middle East, we have seen how disaster follows U.S. retreat and disengagement from the world.  But the one area where President Obama seemed to be leaning forward was drone strikes.  He personally approved terrorist "kill lists" and has taken out many hundreds of terrorists with drones in Pakistan, Yemen and East Africa.  So why, when Iraqi officials began pleading with him one year ago to strike Islamic State terrorists with drones, did Obama repeatedly refuse — standing by while terrorists overran the country?

Obama refused 'repeated requests' since August 2013 for drone strikes against ISIS.  Breaking on Capitol Hill is the news that Iraqi officials began requesting almost a year ago for the US to carry out drone strikes against ISIS — but the requests were shot down by the White House.  That stunning revelation came during a hearing on the situation in Iraq this morning [7/23/2014].

We've gone from an inherited tyrant to an elected one.  Last week, the administration released the memo.  It consists of 40 highly blacked-out pages, the conclusion of which is that the president can order the CIA to kill Americans who are present in foreign countries and who, in the opinion of high-level government officials, pose a threat to Americans and may be difficult to arrest.  The memorandum acknowledges that it is unprecedented in its scope and novel in its conclusion, and requires predicting what courts will do if they review it.  Lawyers often predict for their clients what courts will do, and thus from their predictions, extrapolate advice for their clients.  But history has recorded no memo before this one that has advised a president in writing that he is free to kill an American who is not engaging in violence.  The logic of the memorandum states that Americans overseas who join organizations that promote acts of terror are the equivalent of enemy soldiers in uniform in wartime.

U.S. flying armed drones over Baghdad, Pentagon says.  The U.S. has armed drones flying over Baghdad to protect U.S. troops that recently arrived to assess Iraq's deteriorating security, the Pentagon said Friday [6/27/2014].  The military for more than a week has been flying manned and unmanned aircraft over Iraq, averaging a few dozen sorties daily for reconnaissance.  The decision to arm some of the drones follows the deployment to Baghdad of troops who will advise and assist Iraqi counterterrorism forces.

The Drone Kill Memo: Obama's Murderous 'Logic'.  The Second Circuit has just compelled the release of a memo, prepared by then Acting Assistant Attorney General David J. Barron (who now sits on the First Circuit Court of Appeals) that purports to outline the legal rationale for President Obama's summary execution of American citizens on foreign soil.  Unfortunately, the transparent legal and logical absurdity of the memo is the only form of transparency we are likely to obtain from the Administration.

Drone killing memo released after NY court fight.  The secret U.S. government memo outlining the justification for the use of drones to kill American terror suspects abroad was released by court order Monday [6/23/2014], yielding the most detailed, inside look yet at the legal underpinnings of the Obama administration's program of "targeted killings."

Memo justifying drone killing of American Al Qaeda leader is released.  Neither the U.S. Constitution nor laws governing prosecution of people who commit murder abroad prohibited killing American citizen Anwar Awlaki in Yemen, according to a previously secret Justice Department memo released by a federal court Monday [6/23/2014].  Although the existence of the memo, written in 2010 to justify Awlaki's 2011 death by U.S. drone strike, has long been known, its precise legal reasoning had been shrouded in secrecy.  The ACLU and the New York Times sued for its release.

More than 400 US military drones crashed in past 13 years, report says.  The [Washington] Post obtained documents detailing accidents including collisions with homes, farms, runways, roads, waterways and even an air force transport plane in midair.  Several drones vanished while at cruising altitude and were lost.  In April, an army drone crashed next to an elementary-school playground in Pennsylvania; in 2012 an unmanned navy surveillance aircraft nose-dived and ignited a wildfire in Maryland.

Bergdahl's Dad: Drone Killed Captor's Kid.  In June 2010, Robert Bergdahl, the father of released American POW Bowe Bergdahl, gave a speech at an Idaho Republican Party fundraiser.  In one of his first public appearances during his son's five-year captivity, he asked the conservative audience to show compassion for his son's captors — and, in a twist that foretold the plot of Homeland — he alleged that the United States had killed one of those captor's children with a drone strike.

More about The Bergdahl Prisoner Exchange.

Show Us the Drone Memos.  I believe that killing an American citizen without a trial is an extraordinary concept and deserves serious debate.  I can't imagine appointing someone to the federal bench, one level below the Supreme Court, without fully understanding that person's views concerning the extrajudicial killing of American citizens.  But President Obama is seeking to do just that.  He has nominated David J. Barron, a Harvard law professor and a former acting assistant attorney general, to a seat on the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit.

Obama court nominee wrote memos justifying drone strikes on U.S. citizens.  Harvard Law School scholar David Barron is an Obama administration nominee for a federal appeals court.  He is also the author of government memos that make legal justifications for killing U.S. citizens overseas with drone strikes, which is why his selection to the U.S. First Circuit Court of Appeals has been delayed.  The White House has agreed to allow lawmakers to review at least one of the drone memos after U.S. senators and the the American Civil Liberties Union expressed concerns, technology website Ars Technica reported Wednesday [5/7/2014].

White House to provide lawmakers access to drone memo authorizing killing of American.  The White House pledged Tuesday to give lawmakers expanded access to memos on the legality of killing American citizens in drone strikes, a concession aimed at heading off Senate opposition to a judicial nominee involved in drafting those secret documents.  The move was designed to salvage the nomination of David Barron to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 1st District and address growing frustration among lawmakers over the secrecy that continues to surround the administration's counterterrorism operations a year after President Obama vowed greater transparency.

The Editor says...
One White House memo does not obviate due process.

The age of the 'terminator'.  Are we just around the corner from terminators, silons or other sci-fi robots turning against humanity, transforming their human "masters" into hunted prey?  From Tuesday this week, the UN is set to hold a conference that will debate whether to ban the use of lethal autonomous weapon systems, or as they are more affectionately known, killer robots.  What makes killer robots different from any other weapon system is that there is no human telling the machine whether or not to pull the trigger.

Drone 'Stigma Means Less Skilled Pilots at Controls of Deadly Robots.  The Air Force recently acknowledged that due to a "stigma" surrounding its drone program, many pilots at the controls of the deadly weapons are "less skilled" and officers overseeing them are "less competent" than their manned aircraft brethren, as alleged by the Government Accountability Office.  "Lets be honest, when people dream about flying... People in this generation didn[']t grow up and say, I want to fly an RPA [remotely piloted aircraft]," Air Force spokesperson Jennifer Cassidy told ABC News last week.

The Editor says...
A fighter pilot automatically gets a job with a major airline upon his or her departure from the military.  Drone operators don't.

Senators Drop Demand for Drone Death Tallies.  Senators have dropped a demand for a public declaration of how many civilians the United States kills in CIA drone strikes each year after the U.S. intelligence chief expressed concerns, congressional aides said.

U.S.-Backed Drone Operation in Yemen Kills Up to 65 Al Qaeda Militants.  A U.S.-backed offensive with Yemeni forces killed up to 65 al Qaeda militants during a three-day airstrike that targeted an al Qaeda training camp and senior operatives, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Court rules Obama administration must justify targeted killings.  The decision in a case brought by The New York Times, two of its reporters and the American Civil Liberties Union likely will shed new light on the administration's use of drones to target terrorists abroad.  That program has resulted in the deaths of American citizens, such as leading al Qaeda figure Anwar al-Awlaki, killed by a drone strike in Yemen in 2011.  Administration officials had sought to keep internal memorandums regarding the killings secret, but the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the federal government waived its claim to privacy by handpicking some documents to release and by speaking about the program publicly.

Eric Holder: ATF Planning to Use Drones.  Attorney General Eric Holder admitted Tuesday [4/8/2014] that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives was in the process of looking at the use of domestic drones.  Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas, questioned Holder during a House Judiciary Committee hearing, asking the Attorney General if he believed if the Federal Aviation Administration or Congress should regulate of drone use.

Russia Captures US Drone over Crimea.  Russia claims it caught a US intelligence drone in Crimea, an autonomous republic of Ukraine. Rostec, a Russian state-owned corporation, brought it down electronically.  "The drone was flying at about 4,000 metres (12,000 feet) and was virtually invisible from the ground.  It was possible to break the link with US operators with complex radio-electronic" technology, said Rostec in a statement.

Meet CUPID: The Drone That Will Shoot You With an 80,000 Volt Taser.  Are drones not scary enough for you yet?  How about this?  A drone helicopter that spots you and identifies you as an intruder.  It tells you to stop and put your hands behind your head.  Instead, you keep coming.  The drone then shoots you with barbed Taser darts that pump 80,000 volts into you.  If you try to get up, it will continue pumping voltage into you until you submit and the authorities arrive.  This isn't some dystopian theory.  It's very real already, and I just saw it in action.  Yes, it is terrifying.

Obama Will Never End the War on Terror.  Joint Special Operations Command launched four Hellfire missiles into a convoy in central Yemen in December, killing 12 people.  U.S. officials initially claimed they were targeting Shawqi Ali Ahmad al-Badani, an alleged Qaida operative, and even Human Rights Watch acknowledged that some terrorists may have been present.  But last week, an official report by the New York-based advocacy group concluded the missiles actually hit a Yemeni wedding procession bringing the bride and family members to the groom's hometown, and that very likely "some if not all those killed and wounded were civilians."  In truth, no one really knows what happened that day in Yemen, or who the enemy really was.

Ralph Nader: Obama the 'executioner'.  In his new book, Ralph Nader calls for the end of "unconstitutional wars and unchecked militarism" — and lays blame on President Barack Obama for going beyond even George W. Bush.  Nader writes in "Unstoppable" that Obama "has extended the Bush doctrine by declaring his unilateral right, as secret prosecutor, judge, jury, and executioner, to destroy anybody, anywhere in the world, including American citizens, suspected to be engaged in alleged terrorist activities, all this vaguely and loosely defined as anti-U.S. security."

Another American on the government's kill list.  Reports that the United States may target another U.S. citizen for death because of his alleged involvement in terrorism are troubling, especially in light of unanswered questions about the drone attack in Yemen in 2011 that killed the U.S.-born Anwar Awlaki.  This time, the potential target is said to be in Pakistan.  If the United States is again to deliberately take the life of one of its citizens without due process of law, leaders from the president on down must, at the very least, offer specific and credible proof that such action was absolutely necessary to prevent imminent attacks on Americans and that capturing the suspected terrorist was impossible.

U.S. weighs lethal strike against American citizen.  The Obama administration is weighing whether to approve a lethal strike against a U.S. citizen who is accused of being part of the al-Qaeda terrorist network overseas and involved in ongoing plotting against American targets, U.S. officials said.  The officials said that no decision has been reached on whether to add the alleged operative to the administration's kill list, a step that would require Justice Department approval under new counterterrorism guidelines adopted by President Obama last year.

US Suspect Possibly Targeted For Drone Attack.  An American citizen who is a member of al-Qaida is actively planning attacks against Americans overseas, U.S. officials say, and the Obama administration is wrestling with whether to kill him with a drone strike and how to do so legally under its new stricter targeting policy issued last year.

Lawmakers seek to stymie plan to shift control of drone campaign from CIA to Pentagon.  Congress has moved to block President Obama's plan to shift control of the U.S. drone campaign from the CIA to the Defense Department, inserting a secret provision in the massive government spending bill introduced this week that would preserve the spy agency's role in lethal counterterrorism operations, U.S. officials said.  The measure, included in a classified annex to the $1.1 trillion federal budget plan, would restrict the use of any funding to transfer unmanned aircraft or the authority to carry out drone strikes from the CIA to the Pentagon, officials said.

Group Run by al Qaeda Terrorist Invited to Brief Dems on Drone Policy.  The representative of a human rights group headed by a designated al Qaeda terrorist was denied a visa by the State Department after being invited by congressional Democrats to discuss drone strikes.  Mohammad Al Ahmady, the Yemen director for Geneva-based NGO Al Karama, was expected to brief Reps. Alan Grayson (D., Fla.), Barbara Lee (D., Calif.), and Jan Schakowsky (D., Ill.) the morning of the Nov. 19, according to press release from Grayson's office.

Time to Use Drones in Mexico?  The Mexican drug cartels are a threat to America's national security, yet last month the president endorsed the Senate immigration bill that does not sufficiently secure the border.  Ranchers living in the Southwest have repeatedly reported incidents of violence that come from drug mules.  American Thinker interviewed people affected by and knowledgeable about the cartels, asking them how they can be curtailed.

While You Were Debating Obama's 'Selfie,' U.S. Drones Killed 13+ Yemen Wedding Guests.  As with most reports of these military strikes in Yemen, there are conflicting reports:  The Associated Press reports 13 deaths and cites an unnamed Yemeni official who said there were suspected al Qaeda militants among the convoy; but Reuters, on the other hand, says 15 dead and cites other officials claiming the drone mistakenly thought the wedding convoy was a terrorist one.  Either way, we'll likely never know the truth since U.S. officials never comment on individual drone strikes.

Report: Top Secret Drone Under Development.  A secret surveillance drone is under development by Northrop Grumman, reports Aviation Week.  The unmanned aircraft is still classified and is being tested at the notorious Area 51 in the Nevada desert.

Rules of engagement limit the actions of U.S. troops and drones in Afghanistan.  The new U.S.-Afghanistan security agreement adds restrictions on already bureaucratic rules of engagement for American troops by making Afghan dwellings virtual safe havens for the enemy, combat veterans say.  The rules of engagement place the burden on U.S. air and ground troops to confirm with certainty that a Taliban fighter is armed before they can fire -- even if they are 100 percent sure the target is the enemy.  In some cases, aerial gunships have been denied permission to fire even though they reported that targets on the move were armed.

The Editor says...
So now we're staying forever in an unwinnable war while the generals are hamstrung by White House micromanagement.  Sounds like Viet Nam.  And all the anti-war (quagmire!) protests from the George W. Bush days are completely silent.

Malfunctioning drone crashes into Navy ship off California and injures two sailors.  The Navy says an aerial target drone malfunctioned and struck a guided missile cruiser during training off Southern California, causing two minor injuries.  Lt. Lenaya Rotklein of the U.S. Third Fleet said the accident on the USS Chancellorsville happened on Saturday afternoon [11/16/2013] while the ship was testing its combat weapons system off Point Mugu.  She said two sailors were treated for minor burns after the ship was struck.

New book claims President Obama bragged to aides about using drone strikes.  President Barack Obama bragged to his aides that he's 'really good at killing people,' according to explosive claims in a new book about the 2012 presidential campaign.  The revelation comes at a time when Obama, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009, has faced increasing criticism for his use of drones to target insurgents and terrorist suspects, particularly in Pakistan and Yemen.

'Pretty Good at Killing'.  It has been disclosed in a recently published book about the 2012 campaign, Double Down by Mark Halperin and John Heilemann, that the president told aides that he is "really good at killing people" with drones.  I think the president is being far too modest.  Drones aren't the half of it.  He's really good at killing lots of things.

Officials: US drone kills Pakistani Taliban leader.  A U.S. drone strike killed the leader of the Pakistani Taliban Friday [11/1/2013], U.S. and Pakistani officials said, in a report that if confirmed would be a major blow to the group that comes just a day after the government said it started peace talks with the militants.

Introduction:
President Obama operates the U.S. military like a giant video game, telling his generals to take out specific enemy targets with unmanned drones.  This keeps American soldiers out of the picture, and defeats America's enemies a few at a time, so I'm all for it.  Unfortunately it's Barack Obama sitting at the controls, so there is a great deal of secrecy and dishonesty involved.  For one thing, there is apparently a secret list of most-wanted "terrorists" that Mr. Obama sifts through to find this week's targets.  These attacks might be timed to occur when the news media needs to be distracted from some other scandal — of which there are so very many.  The second problem is that some of Mr. Obama's targets are known to be American citizens.  There's no great tragedy if a traitorous American loses his life, except when the execution takes place in lieu of an indictment and a trial.  The third issue is that Mr. Obama, having seen how well all this works, may expand the program to execute American citizens anywhere in the world.  That wouldn't be a concern except that Mr. Obama has already exhibited many of the traits of a ruthless dictator.

Personally, I have no objections to the use of armed unmanned aircraft for our national defense.  I doubt if the United States is in any danger of an attack from Afghanistan, so I don't understand what we're doing there, and I don't think we should fight multiple, undeclared, perpetual wars against abstract enemies like "terror" — whatever that means.  But in any event, if the military uses armed aircraft to blow up enemy soldiers (and their families if necessary), at least that keeps U.S. soldiers from having to go in to the battlefield and fight.  The only improvement I could suggest would be that the drones should be set to explode if one of them is shot down (or spoofed into landing at an enemy air strip), and any attempt is made to open it up.

If the so-called terrorists killed by remotely-piloted aircraft turn out to be traitorous U.S. citizens, they have brought destruction upon themselves.  My objection is to the potential use of drones to kill American citizens on U.S. territory — which the current president refuses to rule out.  The president is thus establishing himself as a mobster who can order a hit on anybody he wants to silence.  For that, and a dozen other things, he should be impeached.

If the president can order your execution through the use of a drone, obviously the president will not be flying the drone himself -- he will issue an order to someone else who will carry out the hit.  The same hit could be carried out by a sniper, or the president could just have someone toss a grenade in your car as you stop at a traffic light.  When the United States gets to the point where the president can order an American citizen to be rubbed out, without due process and with or without a good reason, then the U.S. will be diminished to the level of North Korea or Cuba or Zimbabwe.  In other words, a country no better than any other.  And that may very well be Mr. Obama's goal.




Army Chief Chafes at New Reliance on Technology.  America's appetite for war has shifted significantly in the last decade, prompting the Obama administration to lean heavily on the use of unmanned drone strikes and hawkish politicians of any stripe to stress that a proposed military action would not include "boots on the ground." [...] In an age of using technology to substitute for human warriors, one of the nation's highest-ranking officers cautions against relying too much on the 21st-century tools that have defined warfare over the last decade.

Wars Without Soldiers.  [T]he use of unmanned flying platforms with both reconnaissance and destructive explosive capabilities, i.e., drones, has the potential for far more accurate modes of individual attack than the heavy artillery and bombers of earlier periods; to say nothing of long range and high altitude maneuverability.  In terms of tactical use, the drone has been found to be an effective weapon against high value human targets that otherwise would have required a special operations team slogging many miles toward the target area in order to destroy the target.

Obama has killed thousands with drones, so can the Nobel committee have their Peace Prize back?  George W Bush conducted 45 drone strikes as President, killing 477.  Barack Obama conducted 316 drone strikes, killing 2,363.  These figures are from the New America Foundation — and the total dead is probably an underestimate.  The Foundation says that the number killed could be as high as 3,404 including 307 civilian men women and children.  One leaked document suggested that drones had killed 94 kids in 3 years.

Ignoring the Constitution.  [Scroll down]  The president also has stepped up the use of airborne drones to spy on Americans in apparent violation of the Fourth Amendment prohibition of unreasonable and unwarranted searches.  Previously owning up to only two instances of domestic unmanned aerial surveillance, officials of the Customs and Border Protection service released a list last week of 500 occasions over three years in which the agency flew Predator drone missions on behalf of other federal agencies.

Suspected U.S. drone strike kills seven militants in Pakistan.  A suspected U.S. drone aircraft killed at least seven militants in Pakistan's ethnic Pashtun tribal region on the Afghan border on Friday [9/6/2013], Pakistani security officials and residents said.

Drone Strike Reportedly Wounds Al Qaeda Master Bomb Maker.  A Saudi national known to be a key al Qaeda bomb maker was wounded during a U.S.-led drone strike in Yemen, according to a Yemeni news report.  Ibrahim al Asiri, the bomb maker, was targeted during a missile strike launched from a U.S.-operated armed drone in southern Yemen that killed two other al Qaeda terrorists, the online Yemeni news outlet Al Watan reported Sunday [8/11/2013].  A U.S. official had no public comment but urged caution regarding claims that al Asiri was dead.

Yemen official: US drones kill 12 in 3 airstrikes.  The U.S. has sharply escalated its drone war in Yemen, with military officials in the Arab country reporting 34 suspected al-Qaida militants killed in less than two weeks, including three strikes on Thursday alone in which a dozen died.

Kerry: Drone 'Program Will End as We Have Eliminated Most of the Threat'.  Secretary of State John Kerry gave several TV interviews while in Islamabad, Pakistan on Thursday [8/1/2013], including one to Mariam Chaudhry of Pakistan TV.  One question related to the drone policy of the United States, which is extremely unpopular in Pakistan.

FBI says it doesn't need warrant to use drones.  The FBI has told Congress it does not need to get a warrant to conduct surveillance with drones, in a letter laying out some of the top federal law enforcement agency's policies for how it uses unmanned aerial vehicles.  In a July 19 letter to Sen. Rand Paul, Stephen D. Kelly, assistant director for the FBI's congressional liaison office, said the agency has used drones in 10 instances, including twice for "national security" cases and eight times for criminal cases.  The FBI authorized the use of drones in three other criminal cases but didn't deploy them.

Judge Weighs Rights of U.S. Citizens in Drone Strikes.  A federal judge fired difficult questions at the Obama administration and at civil liberties lawyers on Friday [7/19/2013] in a court case about whether U.S. citizens abroad targeted in drone strikes can seek compensation from the government.

A few words in defense of drones:
Drones are 21st Century Superweapons.  The sense that there is something amiss with the deployment of drones in combat permeates popular media.  Indeed, thinking off the top of my head, I can't think of a single example in recent popular culture where the deployment of a drone has been positively portrayed.  I believe that this is madness — the sort of reflexive prejudice that revolutionary weapons often face from people who lack the knowledge necessary to have informed opinions about such matters.

Navy Drone Completes First-Ever Carrier Landing.  On Wednesday [7/10/2013], the X-47B Navy drone exercised the first unmanned carrier landing in history, landing aboard the USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) off the Virginia coast.

Drones in Niger Reflect New U.S. Tack on Terrorism.  Nearly every day, and sometimes twice daily, an unarmed American drone soars skyward from a secluded military airfield here, starting a surveillance mission of 10 hours or more to track fighters affiliated with Al Qaeda and other militants in neighboring Mali.

Drone attack kills 17 in Pakistan's Waziristan region.  A U.S. drone strike killed at least 17 people in Pakistan's restive border region early on Wednesday [7/3/2013], Pakistani security officials said, in the biggest such attack this year, and the second since Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif took office.

Study: Drones killed more civilians than jet fighters.  U.S. drone strikes in Afghanistan killed 10 times as many civilians as manned jet fighters, a study by an adviser to the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff said.

FBI Chief Admits Use of Drones in Skies Over U.S..  Federal Aviation Administration officials claim that within the next five years there will be close to 10,000 civilian drones in use once the FAA grants them greater access to U.S. skies.  Congress had directed the FAA to provide drones with widespread access to domestic airspace by 2015, but the agency is behind in its development of safety regulations and isn't expected to meet that deadline even though the FAA has granted more than two hundred permits to state and local governments, police departments, universities and others to experiment with using small drones.

Noam Chomsky: Obama Is 'Running Biggest Terrorist Operation That Exists'.  Continuing his streak of fiercely criticizing President Obama's foreign policy and civil liberties record, pre-eminent left-wing scholar Noam Chomsky told GRITtv that this administration is "dedicated to increasing terrorism" throughout the world via its own "terrorist" drone strikes in foreign lands.

FBI under pressure to explain drone use, as Obama names new director.  As President Obama nominates a new FBI director, the bureau is coming under rising pressure from lawmakers to explain the limits of its recently disclosed drone fleet.  Civil liberties-minded senators on both sides of the aisle have fired off sharply worded letters and statements in recent days criticizing the FBI for deploying surveillance drones without clear guidance on how to protect privacy rights.

FBI director admits domestic use of drones for surveillance.  The FBI uses drones for domestic surveillance purposes, the head of the agency told Congress early Wednesday [6/19/2013].  Robert Mueller, the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, confirmed to lawmakers that the FBI owns several unmanned aerial vehicles, but has not adopted any strict policies or guidelines yet to govern the use of the controversial aircraft.

Mueller: FBI deploys drones in US for 'limited' surveillance.  The FBI uses drones to watch specific targets within the United States, the bureau's chief said Wednesday [6/19/2013].  FBI Director Robert Mueller told senators the agency uses drones infrequently for surveillance in the U.S., and only in regards to specific investigations.  "Our footprint is very small," Mueller said in testimony.  "We have very few and have limited use."

Drone On.  Last week President Obama announced restrictions on U.S. drone strikes.  He touted the rules — "written policy standards and procedures that formalize and strengthen the Administration's rigorous process" for authorizing targeted killings — in a policy statement, a speech, and a background briefing by senior administration officials.  This week Obama went right back to business.  He killed a Taliban leader with a drone strike in Pakistan, and White House press secretary Jay Carney won't even admit that's what happened.

Senior Taliban militants killed by US drone strike in Pakistan.  Just days after Barack Obama announced new restrictions on the use of drones, one of the CIA's unmanned aircraft is reported to have killed the deputy leader of the Pakistani Taliban  — one of the most significant strikes for the controversial programme in months.  It was the first drone strike since Pakistanis voted overwhelmingly on 11 May for political parties strongly opposed to the US use of drones.

Obama's drone rules leave unanswered questions.  President Barack Obama left plenty of ambiguity in new policy guidelines that he says will restrict how and when the U.S. can launch targeted drone strikes, leaving himself significant power over how and when the weapons can be deployed.

U.S. acknowledges killing of four U.S. citizens in counterterrorism operations.  The Obama administration acknowledged Wednesday [5/22/2013] that it has killed four Americans in overseas counterterrorism operations since 2009, the first time it has publicly taken responsibility for the deaths.  Although the acknowledgment, contained in a letter from Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. to Congress, does not say how the four were killed, three are known to have died in CIA drone strikes in Yemen in 2011:  Anwar al-Awlaki, his 16-year-old son and Samir Khan.

Obama's Drone War.  The drones themselves — the MQ-1 Predator and the MQ-9 Reaper being the weapons of choice — are propeller-driven unmanned aircraft that fly relatively slowly (the Predator cruises at about 80 mph, the Reaper at about 230 mph) and are capable of long endurance.  The Predator can fly for 24 hours without refueling, and the Reaper — heavier and faster — for about 14 hours.  The Predator carries two 100-pound "Hellfire" missiles, precision-guided munitions with small warheads.  The Reaper can carry a combination of Hellfires and larger, 500-pound smart bombs that are sufficient to destroy a house.

As far as I know, this is the first appearance of "drone" as a transitive verb:
Yes, America Says: America Drones the American People.  The U.S. government admitted for the first time Wednesday that it intentionally droned American citizen Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen in 2011, and that it unintentionally droned three other Americans, including al-Awlaki's 16-year-old son.  Attorney General Eric Holder admitted it in a letter to Congress, The New York Times' Charlie Savage reports.

U.S. acknowledges killing of four U.S. citizens in counterterrorism operations.  The Obama administration acknowledged Wednesday [5/21/2013] that it has killed four Americans in overseas counterterrorism operations since 2009, the first time it has publicly taken responsibility for the deaths.  Although the acknowledgment, contained in a letter from Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. to Congress, does not say how the four were killed, three are known to have died in CIA drone strikes in Yemen in 2011: Anwar al-Awlaki, his 16-year-old son and Samir Khan.

For Barack Obama, speech isn't free when it criticizes him.  [Scroll down]  Finally, the administration secretly tracked the phone calls of the Associated Press to root out who leaked the report of a drone strike.  Then the CIA told AP to hold off on the story so that Obama could announce it first.  This has a chilling affect on journalists.  But it's also the latest salvo in the Obama administration's war on whistleblowers.

Barack Obama's America.  Barack Obama's America is one where foreign terrorists captured abroad should be tried in American courts, with full American procedural rights, but where American citizens who aren't an immediate threat can be killed by remote control without benefit of charges, trials or convictions.

Congress Seeks to Head Off UN Interference in Internet Governance.  The bill was not considered in a vacuum.  Congress wants to put the U.S. firmly on record opposing a plan by a little-known UN agency, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), to vastly expand the ability of individual countries to censor the internet, and have a much greater say in naming domains, assigning numbers, and directing internet traffic in their own countries.  It's not quite the "UN takeover of the internet" conspiracy theory that some have been pushing.  But neither is it as benign and non-controversial as the conspiracy debunkers claim.

Red Cross chief criticises US drone use in Pakistan.  Red Cross chief Peter Maurer on Tuesday condemned US drone strikes outside areas officially engulfed in armed conflict, warning against a creeping expansion of the definition of what constitutes a battlefield.  Washington's secretive and controversial use of drones was not a problem in itself, said Maurer, as in the context of an armed conflict drones are considered legitimate weapons.  "But if a drone is used in a country where there is no armed conflict... there is a problem," the head of the International Committee of the Red Cross told reporters in Geneva, urging the "very restrained use" of the weapon.

Obama's drone war kills 'others,' not just al Qaida leaders.  Contrary to assurances it has deployed U.S. drones only against known senior leaders of al Qaida and allied groups, the Obama administration has targeted and killed hundreds of suspected lower-level Afghan, Pakistani and unidentified "other" militants in scores of strikes in Pakistan's rugged tribal area, classified U.S. intelligence reports show.

Murder for Hire.  [Scroll down]  This leads to a very real conundrum on the battlefield:  If a bad guy is captured all the protections afforded by international treaty kick in.  If, however, the bad guy is killed, he is ... dead.  No protections obtain.  If, as we have been told, torture doesn't work — that actionable intelligence is unlikely to be gained — then killing a foe rather than taking him (or her) into custody is a cost-effective method of operating.  If it can be done by remote control, then that's even better. [...] It smells like Murder for Hire and I wish — fervently wish — there were some better way to prosecute this war.

The Editor says...
No, it's not a mafia hit, it's a remote-controlled lynching.  I'm not an anti-war activist by any means, but Iraq and Afghanistan should be abandoned and left to rot.  Neither of those countries has attacked the United States.  This war (or these wars) serve no purpose.  Afghanistan supposedly is rich in lithium.  What's that good for?  The batteries in electric cars!  We don't need electric cars, especially when the cost of the war is applied to them.

When the Whole World Has Drones.  The precedents the U.S. has set for robotic warfare may have fearsome consequences as other countries catch up.

Hundreds of Drones Go Homeless.  As the war in Afghanistan winds down, many commanders are asking what is going to happen to the large fleet of drones that have patrolled the skies, according to the Air Force Times [...]

The Editor says...
See if you can predict the fate of surplus military UAVs.  What's going to become of them?
    (A)  They will be dismantled and sent to a recycling company.
    (B)  They will be sold at Army Surplus stores.
    (C)  The weapons will be removed (if we're lucky) and they will be given to big-city police departments.

Defense Industry Pushes For 'Drone Zone' Over Southern California.  Despite Americans' concerns about the domestic use of drones, California local agencies are reportedly moving forward with an application to declare a broad swath of Southern California a "drone zone" — an area to be used to test pilotless aircraft.  The purpose:  government stimulus.

Game of Drones.  China's military is expanding its unmanned aerial vehicle forces with a new Predator-like armed drone and a new unmanned combat aircraft amid growing tensions with neighbors in Asia, according to U.S. intelligence officials.  New unarmed drone deployments include the recent stationing of reconnaissance and ocean surveillance drones in Northeast Asia near Japan and the Senkaku islands and along China's southern coast.

The Drone Ranger.  When Obama campaigned for his present job in 2008, he promised to stop the torture of prisoners as well as the unsanctioned murders.  He also promised to close Guantanamo.  He roundly chastised the criminality of the Bush administration for participating in the aforementioned crimes.  A little over four years later, the torturing of prisoners continues, Guantanamo is still open and murders of nonmilitary targets have exponentially increased through the use of drones.

It's hard to win the hearts and minds of people when you're killing them.  A former Obama admninistration official gets right down to it on drone warfare overseas.  It's not just that it's extralegal, unconstitutional, et cetera.  It's that dropping so many weapons on the local people — even so-called precision ones — is dumb and counter-productive.

Drones in Wonderland.  [Scroll down]  Although Sen. Paul's filibuster focused on drones, he earlier had voiced similar concerns regarding the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act ("NDAA"), calling it an "abomination" for its vague provisions that would allow the US government to indefinitely detain citizens suspected of aiding terrorist activities.  Paul had backed an amendment to the bill that limited the authority to override due process, but then a committee led by Sen. John McCain revised the language in the amendment — a wording that Paul found "insufficient."

The Other Drone Question: Is Obama Building A Federal Police Force?  [Scroll down]  Put it all together, and it sure looks like Obama is building the backbone for that national police force he wanted the first time he ran for office.  Worse yet, both Democrats and Republicans are now openly discussing a plan to put all the drones flown in America's skies, including those owned and operated by local police departments, under the ultimate supervision of the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice, consolidating the country's surveillance and law enforcement powers under one powerful federal police jurisdiction.

Sen. Rand Paul: My filibuster was just the beginning.  I wanted to sound an alarm bell from coast to coast.  I wanted everybody to know that our Constitution is precious and that no American should be killed by a drone without first being charged with a crime.  As Americans, we have fought long and hard for the Bill of Rights.  The idea that no person shall be held without due process, and that no person shall be held for a capital offense without being indicted, is a founding American principle and a basic right.

Four Reasons To Ban Domestic Drone Strikes.  [#2]  The president could easily kill innocent citizens while taking out a "terrorist" whom he, acting as judge, jury and executioner, has decreed guilty.  While precision-guided, Hellfire missiles are not surgical, civilian casualties are all-too common.

Oregon Company to Sell Drone Defense Technology to Public.  Do you want to keep drones out of your backyard?  An Oregon company says that it has developed and will soon start selling technology that disables unmanned aircraft.  The company, called Domestic Drone Countermeasures, was founded in late February because some of its engineers see unmanned aerial vehicles — which are already being flown by law enforcement in some areas and could see wider commercial integration into American airspace by 2015 — as unwanted eyes in the sky.

Court deals blow to CIA drone secrecy.  For now, the Central Intelligence Agency can still maintain its official silence on whether it uses armed drones.  But a new court decision Friday [3/15/2013] could force the agency to provide some information about what kind of records they have on the subject and spell out why it's not required to say more about them.

Codify the drone war.  In choice of both topic and foil, Rand Paul's now legendary Senate filibuster was a stroke of political genius.  The topic was, ostensibly, very narrow:  Does the president have the constitutional authority to put a drone-launched Hellfire missile through your kitchen — you, a good citizen of Topeka to whom POTUS might have taken a dislike — while you're cooking up a pot roast?  The constituency of those who could not give this question a straight answer is exceedingly small.  Unfortunately, among them is Attorney General Eric Holder.

John Podesta Channels Rand Paul to Undercut Obama on Drone Warfare.  When you're President Obama and you're lambasted by Clinton-era White House Chief of Staff John Podesta, it's far past time to give Congress the rules and justification for killing U.S. citizens without due process.  "Give them up, Mr. President," Podesta wrote in a scathing op-ed on drone warfare published in The Washington Post today [3/15/2013].  Podesta is no Rand Paul, the libertarian GOP senator from Kentucky whose 13-hour marathon forced the secretive Obama administration to concede, grudgingly, that a U.S. president can't target American citizens on U.S. soil for drone attacks.

A Tea Partier Gets Some Unusual Defenders.  [T]here are Democrats outside of government starting to pipe up on the issue of drones and secrecy, and it suggests Paul's filibuster was even more successful from a publicity standpoint than it seemed at the time.

Thinking the unthinkable.  In my New York Times best-selling novel "Heroes Proved," the president of the United States orders the execution of an American citizen in the United States by using precision munitions fired from a remotely piloted aircraft, or RPA — incorrectly referred to by our media as a drone.  When the book came out last year, some critics derided the idea of a U.S. president issuing an executive order to kill Americans in our homeland as "over the top" and "unthinkable."  One even said the idea was "unfathomable."  Thanks to Sen. Rand Paul, Kentucky Republican, we now know the Obama administration already has contemplated such action.  That ought to be troubling to every one of us.

Slate Slams Obama On Transparency.  Some in the media have reported on the Obama administration reneging on its promise to be transparent and open.  The president's drone policy is a testament to its commitment to secrecy.  The creation of a secret kill list is also another instance where Obama has betrayed a campaign promise to his liberal base.  So, why aren't watchdog groups vociferously protesting the president's 180-degree flip on this position?

President Obama: I'm no Dick Cheney on drones.  President Barack Obama's defense to Democratic senators complaining about how little his administration has told Congress about the legal justifications for his drone policy:  Dick Cheney was worse.

Drone discussion: President Obama criticizes Dick Cheney over secrecy.  President Obama issued a quick criticism about former Dick Cheney earlier this week, telling Democratic senators worried about administration secrecy over drone usage not to worry — he's not like the former vice president.  "This is not Dick Cheney we're talking about here," Mr. Obama was quoted as saying by two Democratic senators who requested anonymity and who attended the private meeting, Politico reported.

Senior administration official: Holder's letter to Rand Paul implies no change to our drone policy.  [Eric] Holder's letter was carefully phrased to make it look like he was conceding to Paul when in fact he was conceding nothing.  Which, actually, was obvious as soon as it was published; that's why I was surprised when Paul celebrated it as a victory rather than dismissing it as yet another dodge.

Good riddance to a medal.  This administration certainly loves drones, but even that ardent passion has limits.  Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Tuesday [3/12/2013] put a stop to production of a medal that was to be awarded to drone operators, and not a moment too soon.

Hagel orders halt to production of drone pilot, cyberwarrior medal.  Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has ordered the military to stop production of a controversial new medal pending a 30-day study of whether the award for drone pilots and cyberwarriors should outrank medals given for battlefield bravery.

The Obama Doctrine — kill American terrorists overseas, try foreign terrorists in New York City.  Here's our question for the Obama administration:  are we at war or not?  On the one hand, the administration has steadfastly defended its drone war — which rains sudden death on enemy combatants, American and non-American alike — as a necessary instrument in an ongoing military conflict against Al Qaeda. [...] But then the administration captured Abu Ghaith, a Kuwaiti member of Al Qaeda — a member of Usama bin Laden's family, no less — and brought him to the United States for a civilian trial in a Manhattan courtroom one mile from Ground Zero.

The Drone Question Obama Hasn't Answered.  Mr. Holder's letter raises more questions than it answers — and, indeed, more important and more serious questions than the senator posed.  What, exactly, does the Obama administration mean by "engaged in combat"?  The extraordinary secrecy of this White House makes the answer difficult to know.  We have some clues, and they are troubling.  If you put together the pieces of publicly available information, it seems that the Obama administration, like the Bush administration before it, has acted with an overly broad definition of what it means to be engaged in combat.

Power vs. liberty: A lovers' quarrel.  [Senator Rand] Paul used the nomination of John Brennan as CIA director as the putative cause of his filibuster, because Brennan had previously supported drone strikes overseas.  But Paul wasn't aiming at Brennan so much as the entire national security infrastructure which under the last two presidents has chiseled away at various constitutional protections in order to prop up its own power base.

Why Is the Air Force Suddenly Removing Drone Strike Data?  As the debate over the federal government's drone strike program is climaxing in Washington, the Air Force has quietly erased previously published drone strike data from its website. [...] Air Force Central Command (AFCENT) had been publishing monthly updates on drone strikes, or "weapons releases from remotely piloted aircraft (RPA)," since October.  However, data published in February suddenly "contained empty space where the box of RPA statistics had previously been," the Air Force Times reports.

Air Force erases drone strike data in Afghanistan war report.  As the debate on drone use heats up in the heartland, the Air Force report released on March 7 failed to list airstrikes from drones and many believe it's no coincidence given the Obama administration's embarrassment after Sen. Paul took the president to task for the U.S. government's use of drones in U.S. airspace.

Obama's Drone Debacle.  You know it's not a good day for the Obama administration when a paragon of the Tea Party right is roasting the president and liberal twitter feeds are lighting up in support.  But that's exactly what happened this past week when Kentucky Senator Rand Paul mounted his "talking filibuster" to block the confirmation of CIA nominee John Brennan.  Paul kept up the parliamentary maneuver for 13 hours in an effort to extract answers from the administration about its covert drone program, and particularly the question of whether it is legal to target American citizens on U.S. soil.

Secrets, Conspiracy, Rumors And A Lack of Transparency.  It came to light that the president has a "kill list" of terrorists who could be eliminated by drones.  A terrorist in Yemen who was killed turned out to be an American citizen.  His young son who was an American citizen was also killed.  Lots of questions were raised.  Does the president have the authority to kill an American citizen, even if he is a suspected, or known, terrorist?  Are there rules?  And what are they?

Carville likens Rand Paul's drone concerns to birthers, evolution and global warming deniers.  On MSNBC's "The ED Show" on Thursday [3/7/2013], former Clinton adviser James Carville explained why he was not on board with Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul's protestations of the Obama administration's drone policy.  According to Carville, Paul's concerns that a drone could strike an American citizen on U.S. soil were similar to those who believe in birtherism and deny evolution and global warming.

Weaponized drones.  Drone manufacturers may offer police remote controlled drones with weapons like rubber bullets, Tasers, and tear gas.  Congress has required the Federal Aviation Administration to loosen their regulations on drones and allow more drones in domestic airspace by 2015.

A Devastating 26-Word Challenge to President Obama's Leadership.  When Sen. Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat, stopped by the Senate floor Wednesday [3/6/2013] to help out Rand Paul with his filibuster, he spoke for several minutes in the guise of asking a question.  But his remarks can really be boiled down to one powerful sentence that I've transcribed:  ["]Mr. President, what it comes down to is every American has the right to know when their government believes that it is allowed to kill them.["]  Ponder the modesty of that claim.  He is merely asking that American citizens be given the most basic information about their legal system:  when they're lawfully subject to capital punishment.  What would possibly justify withholding it?

Will drones be used to spy on Americans?.  A small group of police and fire departments around the country are using new high-tech drones for emergency response situations stoking fears about misuse of the unmanned aircraft.  Some are using sophisticated fixed-wing drones that can remain in the air for hours as well as online digital mapping software to create virtual crimes scenes.

Homeland Security Drones Designed to Identify Civilians Carrying Guns.  Recently uncovered government documents reveal that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) unmanned Predator B drone fleet has been custom designed to identify civilians carrying guns and track cell phone signals.  "I am very concerned that this technology will be used against law-abiding American firearms owners," said founder and executive vice president of the Second Amendment Foundation, Alan Gottlieb.  "This could violate Fourth Amendment rights as well as Second Amendment rights."

US Drones Intercept Electronic Communications and Identify Human Targets.  New records obtained by EPIC under the Freedom of Information Act indicate that the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection is operating drones in the United States capable of intercepting electronic communications.  The records also suggest that the ten Predator B drones operated by the agency have the capacity to recognize and identify a person on the ground.  Approximately, 2/3 of the US population is subject to surveillance by the CBP drones.

Intelligence Committees Get Additional Targeted Killing Memos, But Not the Public.  In a win for congressional oversight over the government's vast killing program, the Obama administration has shown an additional but undisclosed number of Justice Department Office of Legal Counsel memos justifying the program to the Senate and House Intelligence Committees, but has continued to withhold some of its legal opinions from the intelligence committees and has not provided any of the legal opinions to the rest of Congress or to the American public.

DHS re-designs Predator drones to spy on Americans.  The documents provide more details about the surveillance capabilities of the department's unmanned Predator B drones, which are primarily used to patrol the United States' northern and southern borders but have been pressed into service on behalf of a growing number of law enforcement agencies including the FBI, the Secret Service, the Texas Rangers, and local police.

DHS built domestic surveillance tech into Predator drones.  Homeland Security's specifications say drones must be able to detect whether a civilian is armed.  Also specified:  "signals interception" and "direction finding" for electronic surveillance.

Obama Is on the Wrong Side of History — and Rand Paul — on Drone Warfare.  As I've written before, there has been a shameful lack of outrage — particularly among Democrats and liberal commentators — over Obama's stance that a U.S. president can kill American citizens with no due process, no transparency, and no accountability.  If President George W. Bush had taken this stance in 2008, is there any doubt that candidate Obama would have opposed it?  But this isn't just about Obama.  Even if you trust his judgment and fidelity to the Constitution, Obama is setting a precedent for future leaders — perhaps a president you wouldn't empower as judge, jury and executioner.

A Government to be Feared.  In Obama's first term, his administration proudly touted its terrorist kill list as a means of keeping the country safe.  And while many were angered about the use of drones to kill enemies abroad, no one considered the possibility that such tactics would be used here at home.  The Washington Examiner recently reported, however the drone program might now be on steroids. [...] So yes, I am nervous when the federal government under the leadership of Barack Obama begins to arm itself for no apparent reason.  One cannot convince me that we need these measures in order to protect us from terrorist attack.

Is a Civil War Coming?  This is something we discovered is not out of a dystopian novel but hatched by our own government, with a fleet of 30,000 drones expected by the end of Obama's "third term."  And what if there was a secret memo that gave the Obama administration the authority to kill any U.S. citizen at any time, anywhere, without proof, without due process, accountable to no one? Investigative journalist Michael Isikoff uncovered this last month.  So what if, unlike the Communists in Russia, the Obama administration wasn't able to disarm its enemy — conservatives — but were able to easily outgun them, with hundreds of thousands of "personal defense weapons," billions of rounds, tanks, and "public safety" drones?  Is a civil war coming between a totalitarian Obama administration and conservatives?

NYC Deputy Mayor Trashes Rand Paul's Anti-Drone Crusade.  [Scroll down]  According to a recent Reason-Rupe national survey (conducted of adults from February 21 - 25, with a margin of error of +/- 3.8 percent), 57 percent respondents nationwide said that they believe it is unconstitutional for an American president to authorize the execution of an American citizen overseas without due process of law.  59 percent of respondents said they think the federal government exceeds its authority when it comes to targeted strikes against citizens.

Why Rand Paul's Case Against the White House Matters.  Why was that so hard?  Only after Republican Rand Paul of Kentucky rallied public support against President Obama did the White House answer a simple and constitutionally critical question:  "Does the president have the authority to use a weaponized drone to kill an American not engaged in combat on an American soil?"  Attorney General Eric Holder wrote a two-sentence letter to Paul on Thursday [3/7/2013], saying the answer is no.

Holder, drones, and due process.  In his latest misstep, Attorney General Eric Holder is refusing to rule out the possibility of using armed drones against American citizens within the United States. [...] Holder may have the right idea, but because of his misunderstanding of the law and his political tin ear, he is only frightening the American people — though this seems to be the administration's preferred approach to politics these days.

Ted Cruz Goads Eric Holder Into Admitting That Killing Americans With Drones On U.S. Soil Is Unconstitutional.  On Tuesday [3/5/2013], the Department of Justice sent shockwaves through the nation when Attorney General Eric Holder informed Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) in writing that the White House would be within its legal authority to execute an American citizen via drone on U.S. soil if that person was determined to pose a threat to national security.  On Wednesday [3/6/2013], testifying before a Senate panel, Holder was prodded repeatedly about this assertion by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX).  Holder eventually admitted that it would not be constitutional to execute an American citizen without due process.

Rand Paul filibusters Brennan nomination for CIA director.  The Kentucky Republican said he will hold up the nomination until he gets more information about the U.S. drone execution program, which has become a major sore point for many lawmakers on Capitol Hill.

According to Eric Holder...
Drone strikes against Americans on U.S. soil are legal.  Attorney General Eric Holder can imagine a scenario in which it would be constitutional to carry out a drone strike against an American on American soil, he wrote in a letter to Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky.  "It is possible, I suppose, to imagine an extraordinary circumstance in which it would be necessary and appropriate under the Constitution and applicable laws of the United States for the President to authorize the military to use lethal force within the territory of the United States," Holder replied in a letter yesterday [3/4/2013] to Paul's question about whether Obama "has the power to authorize lethal force, such as a drone strike, against a U.S. citizen on U.S. soil, and without trial."  Paul condemned the idea.  "The U.S. Attorney General's refusal to rule out the possibility of drone strikes on American citizens and on American soil is more than frightening — it is an affront the Constitutional due process rights of all Americans," he said in a statement.

John Brennan and the Drone Consensus.  Everyone was waiting for an epic clash between Congress and the White House over the morality of drones this week.  Instead, we got pragmatic compromise.

Drones and the Fugitive Conscience.  The tortured logic used by President Obama to justify drone assassinations of Americans, even 16-year-old Americans, has been met by surprise and consternation.  For example, McClatchy reported that the Administration "jumbles international and U.S. law," and National Review described the Administration's white paper as "dangerously misguided... guilty of exactly the error the Left accused President Bush of... an executive imperialism...."

Revealed: Why Obama won't show the rest of his drone memos to Congress.  The Senate Intel Committee's seen four memos.  Turns out, per Dianne Feinstein, that the White House has many more in its files and is very, very reluctant to share the rest — to the point that it's willing to make a deal with the hated GOP to keep them covered up.

What's in the Secret Drone Memos.  Despite President Obama's pledge in his State of the Union address to make the drone program "even more transparent to the American people and to the world," his administration continues to resist efforts by Congress, even from fellow Democrats, to obtain the full range of classified legal memos justifying "targeted killing."  A key reason for that reticence, according to two sources who have read the memos or are aware of their contents, is that the documents contain secret protocols with foreign governments, including Pakistan and Yemen, as well as "case-specific" details of strikes.

US Troops in Niger to Set up Drone Base.  President Barack Obama said Friday [2/22/2013] that about 100 American troops have been deployed to the African nation of Niger.

The President and his new Best Friend: The Drone.  So now that the president has realized what an effective practice using drones is, he has stepped it up and is now building a drone base in Niger.  The new base will be used for surveillance missions in the latest efforts by the president to help the French in their efforts to battle Islamic militants in neighboring Mali.  The U.S. has now deployed 100 troops to the West African nation of Niger.

Senator Graham: America Has Killed 4,700 People With Drones.  Strange things happen when a country kills people but refuses to give even a rough estimate of how many.

Drones and the American Future.  Drones are a tool of the modern age.  They have benefits.  They have faults.  They have become the equivalents of the secret agents of the past whose role was to observe and thwart as needed.  They are a modern technology with which no governmental leader has a real, life-long experience.  They are new.  Indeed, their scope of use is evolving as the minutes tick.

Obama: 100 US Military Personnel Deployed to Niger.  President Barack Obama says about 100 U.S. military personnel have been deployed to the African nation of Niger.  In a letter to Congress, Obama says the forces will focus on "intelligence sharing" with French troops fighting Islamist militants in neighboring Mali.  He says the American forces have been deployed with weapons, quote, "for the purpose of providing their own force protection and security."

Robert Gibbs: As press secretary, I was ordered not to acknowledge the existence of the drone program.  During a discussion about President Obama's lack of transparency about the drone program, former White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs explained on MSNBC this morning that he was ordered to never acknowledge the existence of the drone program.

What if One Day We Get a Bad President?  For instance, take this power to kill Americans with drones.  No one worries that Obama will abuse such a power — I mean, we're talking about a man who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize just for existing.  It's not like he's ever going to use that power to blow us up (though, according to his lawyers, he legally could... and if he did, we'd just have to assume he had really, really good reasons).  But just imagine if that power wound up in the hands of a president like George W. Bush.


"You do not examine legislation in the light of the benefits it will convey if properly administered, but in the light of the wrongs it would do and the harms it would cause if improperly administered."
Lyndon B. Johnson        

This is an original compilation, Copyright © 2013 by Andrew K. Dart

Nancy Pelosi says drone strikes on Americans can stay secret.  House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said the White House doesn't necessarily have to confess to killing American citizens by unarmed drones.  It all depends on the situation, she said in reply to a Huffington Post reporter who asked if President Obama's administration should acknowledge when it targets a U.S. citizen in a drone strike, the Washington Examiner reported.  "Maybe, it just depends," she reportedly said.  "People just want to be protected."  She also said that such disclosure "depends on the timing, because that's right — it's all about the timing."

Barack Obama Openly Hints At Desire To Kill Citizens With Drones Inside America.  In a very oddly worded public response to a question posed to him during an online interview, Barack Obama dances around the topic of using military drones to kill Americans inside of the United States.  Watch the following response and as you do, keeping in mind at no point does President Obama simply say NO we would never do that...

Obama's Drone Obsession Ruffling Feathers.  President Obama's latest executive order allows for the killing by drone strikes of American citizens abroad.  The administration attempts to find its justification for this in American law:  a targeted U.S. citizen has to have recently been involved in terrorist activities and pose "an imminent threat of violent attack against the United States."  Although many national security advisers do not disagree with this tactic, they do have some reservations.

Obama's executive death warrants.  For three years now, thanks to Obama administration leaks, we've known that the president claims the right to summarily execute American citizens far from any battlefield.  He even joked about it at the annual White House Correspondents Association dinner in 2010, telling the Jonas Brothers to stay away from his daughters:  "Two words for you:  'predator drones.'  You will never see it coming."

VFW slams Pentagon's drone medal, complains it would outrank Purple Heart.  America's largest combat veterans group is worried the creation of a new medal for drone strikes and cyber-warfare could bestow higher honor on those using a joystick to kill terrorists than soldiers wounded on the battlefield.

Drone strikes: Who's on the 'kill list'.  Who decides who will be killed by U.S. drone attacks?  Protectors of civil liberties have expressed dissatisfaction with the present system of unreviewed presidential discretion, whether in the hands of George W. Bush or Barack Obama.  Must an individual have attacked America or Americans to make the "kill list"?  Are the standards higher if the target is a U.S. citizen? How much "collateral damage" is acceptable?  And, above all, how comfortable are we with one person, albeit the commander in chief, making these decisions?

Obama's Hypocritic Oath.  When Harold Koh was dean of the Yale Law School, he used to berate the Bush administration for its supposedly criminal anti-terrorism policy.  He went so far as to call President Bush "torturer in chief."  But as State Department legal counsel in the Obama administration, a metamorphosed Koh and others gave President Obama the go-ahead to up the Predator-drone kill tally tenfold over the Bush administration's, and insisted that it was legal to kill American citizens suspected of al-Qaeda affiliations.

Slippery Slope Could Allow Drone Killings Of Americans Inside U.S..  How long does it take to go from killing Americans overseas with drones to killing Americans here in this country with drones?

FAA official: No armed drones in U.S..  An official with the Federal Aviation Administration reassured the public Wednesday [2/13/2013] that no armed drones will be permitted in U.S. airspace, but he acknowledged the agency can do little about privacy fears associated with the unmanned craft.  In an address to the drone-industry's leading trade group, which is meeting this week in Northern Virginia, Jim Williams said existing rules already bar aircraft from using weapons and "we don't have any plans of changing [those rules] for unmanned aircraft."

Droning Out Freedom (CliffsNotes On DOJ White Paper).  I read this white paper and I encourage you to read it too.  But if you simply do not want to read a treatise justifying murder, I will give you the CliffsNotes version.  This paper validates what conservatives and libertarians have been warning the public about for years:  The Obama Administration's international and domestic drone policies are unconstitutional and unethical.  President Obama has used and will continue to use (per this white paper) drones against American citizens unless we speak out and defend our rights.

Justice Department White Paper  regarding the increased use of drone strikes against al-Qaida suspects abroad, including those aimed at American citizens.

The growing case for impeachment of Obama.  Should Barack Hussein Obama, the 44th president of the United States, be impeached for high crimes and misdemeanors?  It's not a question yet being asked or debated in the Big Media.  But it is a question being addressed by some members of Congress, by an increasing number of pundits by activists on the left and the right — and for more than one or two alleged constitutional offenses.

More about the clamor for Obama's impeachment.

Where is the Left's Uproar Over Obama's Secret Warmongering Drone Policy?  Obama is not the pacifist he pretends to be.  The executive branch's escalating drone strike program has been taking place in secret now for over 10 years, all ostensibly justified by a war on terror that began on 9/11.  The problem lies not so much in using drones, which avoids the casualties of using U.S. troops, but the lack of any checks and balances on the executive branch.

Not the Drones They Thought They Knew.  Wrtes [Glenn] Greenwald:  "That many Democratic partisans and fervent Obama admirers are vapid, unprincipled hacks willing to justify anything and everything when embraced by Obama — including exactly that which they pretended to oppose under George W Bush — has ... been clear for many years."

Drone On.  Of course, it's no small irony that the candidate who once railed against the Bush administration's so-called imperial presidency in the war on terror now finds himself under attack by his own base (and a few on the right) for his "secret" program of targeted killings.  However, there is nothing like reality — in this case, the global, nebulous network of al Qaeda and allied terrorists — to bring home to a sitting president his fundamental constitutional responsibility to protect the lives and property of his fellow citizens.

Obama's U.S. citizen 'hit list'.  [Scroll down]  "Some people argue, 'Well, he's only killing terrorists,'" [Bruce] Fein told WND.  "Oh really?  How do you know?  There's no accountability.  Was Mr. al-Alwaki's son, a 16-year-old teenager having dinner, a terrorist?  So whenever the president says someone's a terrorist, are they convicted?  If the president says conservatives are terrorists, is he going to kill them?  Fein argued that the killings were "tantamount to murder."  "We know at a minimum there have been three, but perhaps many more.  We're just guessing.  You can't have democracy and the rule of law if you never get to know what the facts are and you just have to accept what the government says they are.  If you don't have a trial, that's the definition of tyranny."

Worse Than Waterboarding.  On Tuesday, NBC released a confidential Department of Justice paper concluding that our government can authorize the use of drones to kill targeted terrorist leaders, including U.S. citizens abroad. [...] As a candidate, Obama opposed the use of "enhanced interrogation techniques," which he called torture, and described Guantanamo Bay as a recruiting tool for al-Qaida.  In 2009, his attorney general, Eric Holder, reopened criminal investigations of CIA interrogators who had been investigated previously but, for good reason, were not charged.  Yet in the white paper, Holder's Justice Department signed off on Obama's or "an informed high-level" official's ordering the death of Americans who pose an "imminent threat" abroad.  The paper also loosened the definition of "imminent threat."

Pundits: "If Bush Were President, There Would be Impeachment Hearings Over the Drone Strikes".  [Scroll down]  Scarborough's chilling conclusion, this morning:  "That is frightening ... and, of course, the next step is the killing starts taking place on American soil.  We're not far from that."  Yes, that's what I'm afraid of, too.  I don't know about you, but I'm getting "tipped" all sorts of conspiracy theories, these days — and you know what?  I'm not dismissing them all out of hand.

The most transparent administration in history is proud to announce...
White House: No more information about drone killings will be released to public.  White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters Thursday that the Obama administration will not be releasing any more information about the controversial use of drones to kill American citizens.

Would Lincoln have droned Robert E. Lee?  President Obama's use of drones to kill U.S. citizens fighting alongside terrorists is not easily sorted.  It puts two constitutional absolutes into conflict — the guarantee of due process to every American, and the obligation to provide for the common defense.

Bad: Memo Shows Weak Justification for Killing People. Worse: It's Not Even the Classified Version.  As if the memo detailing President Obama's weak framework for killing suspected terrorists (including American citizens) isn't troubling enough on its own, Adam Powell of USC's Center on Public Diplomacy points toward an even more horrifying reality:  It's not even the full story.  Obama is still keeping his "threat matrix" or whatever you want to call his decisionmaking process for offing people a secret from Congress.

As Brennan hearing opens, mounting questions on how Obama chooses whom to kill.  Two years ago President Obama ordered the assassination-by-drone of an American citizen overseas.  The fellow was successfully vaporized.  And according to Wednesday afternoon's headlines, Obama just now "agrees" to share with Congress the memos he relied on for his legal justification to kill that American.  And by extension, others that Obama or his successors might deem expendable for "national security" reasons.  This from the arugula-loving Democrat who professed such profound moral outrage over the non-lethal (Republican) terrorist interrogation process called waterboarding.

Obama Targeted Killing Document: If We Do It, It's Not Illegal.  If a high-ranking administration official does it, it's not illegal.  At least not when we're talking about ordering the death of an American citizen the administration believes to be associated with Al Qaeda.  That's the conclusion of a Department of Justice "white paper" obtained by NBC's Michael Isikoff, who published it Monday night [2/4/2013].

White House OKs Drone Strikes On American Suspects Abroad.  A government memo concludes the U.S. can order the killing of American citizens believed to be tied to al-Qaida, with the White House acting as judge, jury and executioner.  [But] what about due process?

NYT and WaPo Got Pulitzers Disclosing Secrets Under Bush — Those Secrets Are Safe Under Obama.  The media complicity in President Obama's drone strategy gets more and more astonishing with each passing day.  On Wednesday [2/6/2013], Britain's Guardian published a piece with the incredible sub-headline "New York Times and Washington Post knew about secret drone base in Saudi Arabia but agreed not to disclose it to the public."

Dick Cheney's revenge.  Will the author of the Obama administration white paper on killing U.S. citizens please report for his war crimes trial right away?  If he served in the George W. Bush administration, someone would already be agitating for his extraordinary rendition to The Hague.

Obama, drones, and the blissful ignorance of Americans.  A leaked Department of Justice memo outlining the legal rationale for President Obama's aggressive drone policy has sparked a heated debate — much of it centered on President Obama's apparent hypocrisy.  After all, Obama spent much of the 2008 campaign criticizing George W. Bush's policies on Guantanamo Bay and the waterboarding of three terrorists.  And now he's okay with killing al-Qaeda-affiliated U.S. citizens without due process?

"Allow"?  The President will allow the Congress to take a peek at his plan.
Obama will allow lawmakers to see secret memo on targeted killings.  President Obama yielded Wednesday [2/6/2013] to congressional demands that he provide access to a secret legal memo on the targeted killing of American terrorism suspects overseas, avoiding a confrontation that threatened the confirmation of John O. Brennan as his new CIA director.  Obama directed the Justice Department to hand over the document to the two intelligence committees "as part of the president's ongoing commitment to consult with Congress on national security matters," an administration official said.

Meacham On Drone Kills: Obama Acting Like 'American King'.  Wow: who would have thought that perhaps the strongest statement yet in condemnation of President Obama's self-arrogated right to kill Americans abroad would have come from Jon Meacham?  Yet on today's [2/6/2013] Morning Joe, historian Meacham — who knows something about the use and abuse of presidential power — criticized Obama for ignoring the "rule of law" and actually described Obama as acting like "an American king."  Joe Scarborough seconded Meacham's surprising statement, adding that had this come to light under George W. Bush, impeachment would be in the air.

The Obama administration is giving legal advice on how to kill its own citizens.  What are the rules when it comes to a democratic government killing its own citizens?  According to a Department of Justice memo that has fallen in to the lap of NBC, the Obama administration is doing its best to make some up.  The issue at hand is the use of drone strikes and their nasty habit of taking out US citizens sans due legal process — including the al-Qaeda operatives Anwar al-Awlaki and Samir Khan, who were both killed without any charges being brought against them.

Obama Kill List Program Story Going Viral — As It Should.  What yesterday's story outlines is an administration that has given itself the authority to bomb American citizens both at home and abroad, based solely on a belief (and how easily would it be to manufacture such "belief"?) who are linked to a terrorist organization.  The definition of what constitutes a terrorist organization remains vague, as does the evidence linking any individual to said organization.

Do You Agree With White House that Drone Strikes are "Legal," "Ethical," and "Wise"? You Shouldn't.  "These strikes are legal, they are ethical and they are wise," [Jay] Carney said.  The government takes "great care" when deciding where and whom to strike, he added.  How much care does the White House take in assessing who it wants to bomb (often in countries with which the U.S. is not officially at war)?  So much care that it doesn't feel a need to get legal authorization from either the judicial or legislative branches of the federal government.

5 Disturbing Aspects of the DOJ White Paper on the President's License to Kill.  The Justice Department white paper on "The Lawfulness of a Lethal Operation Directed Against a U.S. Citizen Who Is a Senior Operational Leader of Al-Qa'ida or an Associated Force," noted earlier tonight by Mike Riggs, fills in the fine print of the license to kill claimed by President Obama in several ways, none of them reassuring.

Waterboarding Bad, Assassination Good.  So, as NBC News' Michael Isikoff reports, according to an Obama/Holder Justice Department memo, it's okay for the U.S. government to authorize the extrajudicial killing of American citizens who are believed to be senior operational leaders of al-Qaeda, even if there's no intelligence that they're involved in an active plot against the U.S.  According to Jay Carney, such killing is "legal, ethical, and wise."

David Corn: Justification For Obama Drone Program "Almost Orwellian".  ["]I'm sympathetic to the argument that in some instances you've got to use drone strikes when there's no other opportunity, but the definition of imminence is really stretched here.  It's almost Orwellian.  And when you get to a high-level official, the memo seems to suggest that you can do this without anyone vetting the decision of a single person, and whether that's the president or anybody else, it doesn't even state.  I think that's also a gigantic problem.["]

Napolitano On Obama Drone Program: "This Is The Power Claimed By Kings And Tyrants".  Judge Andrew Napolitano rips President Obama's drone policy and the Justice Department for resisting attempts to gain access to the legal opinions that the drone policy is based on.  "Suddenly it shows up in an NBC newsroom earlier this week!  It could only have come from a governmental source.  So they really have made fools of the federal judges who've spent hours and days and weeks struggling over the laws involved here," Napolitano said.

Whom Can the President Kill?  About a third of the way into in a Department of Justice white paper explaining why and when the President can kill American citizens, there is a citation that should give a reader pause.  It comes in a section in which the author of the document, which was given to members of the Senate Intelligence and Judiciary committees last year — and obtained by Michael Isikoff, of NBC, on Monday — says that this power extends into every country in the world other than the United States, well beyond those where we are engaged in hostilities.

"If George Bush had done this, it would have been stopped."
Scarborough Tears Into Drone Program.  On Monday [2/4/2013], Morning Joe examined the report on the Justice Department's memo on drones.  The journalist behind the report, NBC News' Michael Isikoff, joined the crew as Joe Scarborough incredulously criticized the president's program that gives the "right to be killed."

DOJ white paper lays legal basis for drones targeting US citizens.  The Department of Justice has developed a white paper outlining the specific circumstances under which the United States can conduct a lethal drone strike against an American citizen, a copy of which was obtained Monday [2/4/2013] by NBC News.  The paper provides the first detailed look at the criteria the Obama administration uses to judge if it can legally kill American citizens traveling abroad without the benefit of due process.

Justice Department memo reveals legal case drone strikes on Americans.  A confidential Justice Department memo concludes that the U.S. government can order the killing of American citizens if they are believed to be "senior operational leaders" of al-Qaida or "an associated force" — even if there is no intelligence indicating they are engaged in an active plot to attack the U.S.

Obama's Drone Dilemma.  The Wall Street Journal recently reported on debates within the Obama administration about the legality of the drone war in Pakistan.  State Department legal adviser Harold Koh, the former dean of Yale Law School and even more former darling of the left for his criticisms of the Bush administration's aggressive theories of executive power, plays a prominent role in them.  Koh apparently concluded that the drone war "veers near the edge" of illegality but does not quite tumble over it.

Memo: Drone strikes on U.S. citizens legal.  White House press secretary Jay Carney was responding to a U.S. Justice Department memo, made public Tuesday [2/5/2013], that says the United States can target its own citizens with drone strikes if they have recently been involved in violent attacks.

The Editor asks...
Who defines "recent" and "violent"?

Judge Napolitano: DOJ Memo [...] Violates Principles of the Declaration of Independence.  There is new reaction from the White House after the Justice Department released a memo saying the government can kill United States citizens overseas if it believes they are terror suspects and even if they're not involved in an active plot against the U.S.  A bipartisan group of senators is calling on President Obama to release all memos related to this policy.  White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said, "[President Obama] takes his responsibility in conducting the war against Al Qaeda as authorized by Congress in a way that is fully consistent with our Constitution and all the applicable laws."

When Can the U.S. Kill Americans? The White House Won't Say.  Sen. Ron Wyden has spent two years demanding that the Obama administration share its legal opinions justifying the targeted assassinations of suspected American terrorists abroad.  After all, as a member of the Intelligence Committee, the Oregon Democrat is entitled (and cleared) to know.  How can his panel provide oversight if officials won't say what legal authority they have, let alone in which countries it applies?

Judge, Jury, & Executioner: Should Presidents Have a License to Kill?  For two years now, the press has been reporting that the Obama administration has an assassination list of several dozen or more U.S. citizens who are subject to being killed on presidential order, without being charged with a crime or brought to trial.  Anwar al-Awlaki was reportedly on that list.  It's unclear whether his son — a mere 16-year-old boy — was also on that list.  The question Americans must now consider is:  Should the President be trusted with the power to kill American citizens without due process?  Should he be policeman, judge, jury, and executioner all rolled into one?

Obama is just now writing rules to govern the last 4 years of drone killings .  For nearly four years now the Obama administration has been flying unmanned drones all over the world killing upwards of 3,000 known people with no explicit set of written rules.

Questions the Press Doesn't Ask.  During the campaign (we learned after the election), the Obama administration undertook to devise guidelines for the use of unmanned aerial vehicles or drones.  "There was a concern that the levers might no longer be in our hands," an official told The New York Times.  In other words, a Republican president would need guidelines for the use of Hellfire missiles, but with President Obama in the White House, safeguards are unnecessary.  His unerring judgment is all that's required.

My Belated List of Things for Which I Am Thankful.  [Scroll down]  I'm also thankful for President Obama's courage in ordering assassinations of 16-year-old boys, and bravely having American drones launch missiles in order to break up weddings and other such events in Pakistan because everyone knows that the very purpose of the wedding was for the couple to produce offspring that then would engage in "terrorism" against the USA many years down the road.  It is very important that President Obama not be held accountable for these policies because anyone who tries to do that is doing so only because he or she is a racist.

Kill lists for me, but not for thee.  The use of drone strikes has been expanded dramatically under Obama.  The personal involvement of the President in the intimate details of targeting and kill lists is new to this administration.  It's not something Democrats like to talk about.

Welcome to the Age of Hell: Entrenching Murder as the American Way.  The Washington Post has just laid out, in horrifying, soul-slaughtering detail, the Obama Administration's ongoing effort to expand, entrench and "codify" the practice of murder and terrorism by the United States government.  The avowed, deliberate intent of these sinister machinations is to embed the use of death squads and drone terror attacks into the policy apparatus of future administrations, so that the killing of human beings outside all pretense of legal process will go on, year after year after year, even when the Nobel Peace Laureate has left office.

Drone War Creating More Enemies Than it Destroys.  For President Obama and those pulling the triggers on the joysticks guiding the missiles toward their human targets, "suspected militant" means (presumably) "all military-age males in a strike zone."  For those of us more concerned with the Constitution and with the rule of law than the President, "suspected militant" means nothing other than a person not charged with any crime, not afforded even the most perfunctory due process protections, but summarily executed upon order of the president anyway.

The remarkable, unfathomable ignorance of Debbie Wasserman Schultz.  On 29 May 2012, the New York Times published a remarkable 6,000-word story on its front page about what it termed President Obama's "kill list".  It detailed the president's personal role in deciding which individuals will end up being targeted for assassination by the CIA based on Obama's secret, unchecked decree that they are "terrorists" and deserve to die. [...] At a weekly White House meeting dubbed "Terror Tuesdays", Obama then decides who will die without a whiff of due process, transparency or oversight.

"The usurped absolute power of life and death over humans is the essential mark of a true and absolute dictator."
US Media: If you're Totalitarian you can Kill Anyone you Like!  Obama now has a "kill list" that has been devised to allow him to murder anyone he designates as a "terrorist" worldwide — that means domestic murders also — with no oversight or restrictions, whatsoever, from anyone or any US governmental department.  He is using his new favorite toys — the drones — to affect the deaths of those who do not enjoy the favor of the tyrant-in-chief of the [former] USA. [...] It is also, now being reported that Obama plays the "kill flicks" over and over again — as if he cannot get enough of his "brilliantly" commanded assassinations.

Obama, the Hitman: Killing Due Process.  In the United States, no man can be deprived of life without due process — i.e., a trial by a jury of his peers.  However, using shady CIA "hit lists" designed to thwart American-born terrorists, President Obama claims the power to capriciously do away with this most fundamental of American freedoms.  Through a new clandestine assassination program targeting selected citizens, Obama will void due process.  The list of targeted Americans is currently not available to the public.  The New York Times and the Washington Post both report that Obama has approved the assassination of U.S. citizens engaged in terrorist acts overseas.  U.S. citizen Anwar al-Awlaki was killed pursuant to this new program.

Execution by secret WH committee.  [Scroll down]  So a panel operating out of the White House — that meets in total secrecy, with no known law or rules governing what it can do or how it operates — is empowered to place American citizens on a list to be killed by the CIA, which (by some process nobody knows) eventually makes its way to the President, who is the final Decider. ... Seriously:  if you're willing to endorse having White House functionaries meet in secret — with no known guidelines, no oversight, no transparency — and compile lists of American citizens to be killed by the CIA without due process, what aren't you willing to support?

White House Won't Comment on Reuters Story About Secret 'Kill List' Panel.  Reuters' Mark Hosenball today [10/6/2011] reported that:  "American militants like Anwar al-Awlaki are placed on a kill or capture list by a secretive panel of senior government officials, which then informs the president of its decisions, according to officials.  There is no public record of the operations or decisions of the panel, which is a subset of the White House's National Security Council, several current and former officials said.  Neither is there any law establishing its existence or setting out the rules by which it is supposed to operate."

Secret panel can put Americans on "kill list'.  [Scroll down]  In an ironic turn, Obama, who ran for president denouncing predecessor George W. Bush's expansive use of executive power in his "war on terrorism," is being attacked in some quarters for using similar tactics.  They include secret legal justifications and undisclosed intelligence assessments.  Liberals criticized the drone attack on an American citizen as extra-judicial murder.  Conservatives criticized Obama for refusing to release a Justice Department legal opinion that reportedly justified killing Awlaki.  They accuse Obama of hypocrisy, noting his administration insisted on publishing Bush-era administration legal memos justifying the use of interrogation techniques many equate with torture, but refused to make public its rationale for killing a citizen without due process.

Did the U.S. Sanction Murder?  Please consider for a moment the fate of one Anwar al-Awlaki.  I won't disagree that this demented jihadist was one of the bad guys.  I'll even grant that this renegade U.S. citizen did all he could to give "aid and comfort" (the Constitutional definition of treason) to our enemies.  But so what?  As far as I know, he was never accused of a crime by any legal authority in this country or abroad.  Not only did he never get a chance to face his accusers, there was never a trial or even a hearing by any court, military or civilian.  Yet the President of the United States ordered his death.  And an unmanned drone, armed with a Hellfire missile, carried out the execution.

Runaway Missiles.  President Obama's policy regarding people linked to terrorism is clear:  They are to be treated like criminal defendants with constitutional rights, except when they are treated like enemy soldiers in the heat of battle, subject to summary execution from a distance.  Although this flexibility has obvious advantages in waging the never-ending war on terrorism, it threatens to transform the elected executive of a republic into a dictator with the power of life and death over his subjects.

Ron Paul warns journalists: You could be next on Obama's 'kill list'.  At a recent luncheon at the National Press Club, Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul warned journalists that they could be placed on a "kill list" should the government deem them a threat to national security.  The Associated Press reported that the Texas congressman encouraged journalists and citizens alike to condemn the President's actions, lest they find themselves placed on the list for their own views.

Obama's 'kill list' is unchecked presidential power.  A stunning report in the New York Times depicted President Obama poring over the equivalent of terrorist baseball cards, deciding who on a "kill list" would be targeted for elimination by drone attack.  The revelations — as well as those in Daniel Klaidman's recent book — sparked public outrage and calls for congressional inquiry.  Yet bizarrely, the fury is targeted at the messengers, not the message.

The Secret Kill List.  The leader of the government regularly sits down with his senior generals and spies and advisers and reviews a list of the people they want him to authorize their agents to kill.  They do this every Tuesday morning when the leader is in town.  The leader once condemned any practice even close to this, but now relishes the killing because he has convinced himself that it is a sane and sterile way to keep his country safe and himself in power.  The leader, who is running for re-election, even invited his campaign manager to join the group that decides whom to kill.

The White House secret kill list.  [Scroll down]  So, how many people have been or are on this secret kill list — and who are they?  With the vast majority of the mainstream media cowering in abject fear of the federal government, and with both major parties in Washington, D.C., walking in lockstep to the drumbeat of an emerging police state, who is left to even sound an alarm of protest?

Obama Lists His Five Criteria for Death by Drone.  From his interview with Ben Swann, host of Fox 19's Reality Check, to his sit-down with CNN's chief White House correspondent Jessica Yellin, the kill-list compiler-in-chief is gradually exposing details of the principles he purportedly follows before targeting someone for assassination.  The president may assume that there is little reason to try hiding something that is being publicized daily — except in the mainstream media.

Obama's US Assassination Program?  It all started in January [2010], when The Washington Post reported:  "As part of the operations, Obama approved a Dec. 24 strike against a (Yemeni) compound where a U.S. citizen, Anwar al-Aulaqi, was thought to be meeting with other regional al-Qaeda leaders.  Although he was not the focus of the strike and was not killed, he has since been added to a shortlist of U.S. citizens specifically targeted for killing or capture."  "A shortlist of U.S. citizens specifically targeted for killing"?  That's right.  No arrest.  No Miranda rights.  No due process.  No trial.  Just a bullet.

Can Obama order executions of citizens abroad?  Last April, the Obama administration let slip that it had targeted an American citizen living abroad for summary execution.  When the target's father sought legal help, he learned it is now a crime even to file suit on behalf of a federally designated "global terrorist."  Earlier this month, though, the administration relented, letting the challenge proceed.

Obama and dictatorship:  This dust-up is thick with irony, given that the Obama White House has gone out of its way to extend full constitutional protections to terrorists who have never set foot on U.S. soil.  At the same time, President Obama has claimed the right to target Americans with deadly force overseas, though his legal team refuses to explain the basis for this extraordinary and unconstitutional power.

Meet John Brennan, Obama's Assassination Czar.  A relatively unnoticed article by Associated Press reporter Kimberly Dozier two weeks ago outlined new Obama administration policy changes which consolidated power for authorizing drone attacks and assassinations under political appointees within the White House.  The article identifies White House counterterrorism chief John Brennan as the official assuming the role of Obama's de facto assassination czar, raising concerns even within the Obama administration that the White House is increasingly turning into "a pseudo-military headquarters" under the direction of just a few senior Obama administration officials.  Adding to these concerns are serious questions about Brennan's qualifications for this role.



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