Obama Decides to Send Drones to Kill Americans

Obamas-drone-shotgun

Human rights advocates were floored on Monday night when NBC News published the details of an alarming Justice Department memo detailing the protocol for sending drones after United States citizens.

It’s not as if they hadn’t suspected that the Obama administration’s top secret drone attack protocol contained some unsavory details. They just didn’t expect them to be so frightfully broad.

Put simply, the government believes that a lethal drone attack against an American citizen is justified if the targets are a) “senior operational leaders” of al-Qaeda or b) “an associated force.” If an American happens to be caught up with al Qaeda, someone like Anwar al-Awlaki, then well… they shouldn’t be surprised if they’re getting chased by drones.But what does “an associated force” mean? It seems like the guy who sells the terrorists bomb supplies would probably qualify, but what about the unknowing neighbor or the hired hand? Can we just kill them too in good conscience? Quite unfortunately, the government isn’t exactly sure.

“This is a chilling document,” said Jameel Jaffer, deputy legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union. ”Basically, it argues that the government has the right to carry out the extrajudicial killing of an American citizen. …

It recognizes some limits on the authority it sets out, but the limits are elastic and vaguely defined, and it’s easy to see how they could be manipulated.”

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Senate Approves Warrantless Electronic Spy Powers

The Senate on Friday reauthorized for five years broad electronic eavesdropping powers that legalized and expanded the President George W. Bush administration’s warrantless wiretapping program.

The FISA Amendments Act, (.pdf) which was expiring Monday at midnight, allows the government to electronically eavesdrop on Americans’ phone calls and e-mails without a probable-cause warrant so long as one of the parties to the communication is believed outside the United States. The communications may be intercepted “to acquire foreign intelligence information.”

The American Civil Liberties Union immediately blasted the vote.

“The Bush administration’s program of warrantless wiretapping, once considered a radical threat to the Fourth Amendment, has become institutionalized for another five years,” said Michelle Richardson, the ACLU’s legislative counsel.

The legislation does not require the government to identify the target or facility to be monitored. It can begin surveillance a week before making the request, and the surveillance can continue during the appeals process if, in a rare case, the secret FISA court rejects the surveillance application. The court’s rulings are not public.

Original Article Here