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Legislating MURDER: targeted assassinations of AMERICANS is now legal!
by David Swanson via teale - Alternet Friday, Feb 12 2010, 7:15pm
international / injustice/law / other press

The director of U.S. national intelligence, Dennis Blair, informed the House Intelligence Committee that the government now has the right to murder Americans!

JFK in Dallas
JFK in Dallas

However, we should NEVER forget that everything Adolf Hitler did in Germany was LEGAL! In the criminal context of corrupt State Institutions the following FACTS demand a response to the brazen criminals that have hijacked our nation:

1. Acts that are crimes under national and international law don't cease to be crimes because you cross a border.

2. Acts that are crimes under national and international law don't cease to be crimes because you engage in them frequently. Assassinating non-Americans is just as illegal as assassinating Americans. The leap here is not to victims of a different citizenship but to the legalization of murder.

3. Killing people has nothing whatsoever to do with gathering so-called intelligence.

4. Even in this age in which senators and house members petition and write public letters to the president imploring him to obey laws, rather than introducing legislation, issuing subpoenas, holding impeachment hearings, or defunding agencies, the fact remains that Congress, above all, IS the government, and it is just not the place of the director of national thuggery to come in and dictate what the law will or will not be.

5. Having made the globe a battlefield and sanctioned crimes including lawless imprisonment, torture, warrantless spying, indiscriminant bombings, and the use of white phosphorous, depleted uranium, and other sickening weapons, on the grounds that all is fair and legal in war, preventing Americans from becoming the innocent victims of the war is becoming harder and harder. If active military can be on duty here, if we can be spied on, kidnapped, and imprisoned here. If our most prominent foreign death camp can be relocated here, by what logic -- and for how long -- can government assassinations of Americans (without trial) be confined to elsewhere?

6. Typically when we assassinate people abroad, a lot of other innocent people are killed in the process. Those are all murders. That too will come home if there is not resistance soon, major resistance to this madness.

7. We are being asked to trust extrajudicial decisions on whether or not to murder, not just to allegedly wise judges who are in too big a hurry or find it logistically unfeasible to hold a trial, but to the very people who lied us into the wars that are motivating most of the international hostility toward our country and draining most of the resources Americans need at home.

8. No republic has ever survived putting this kind of power in the hands of a single ruler, with no independent legislature, no independent press, and no independent popular resistance. And we're almost there.

9. These people usually only admit to believing they have the barbaric "right" to do things that they have already done.

10. What are the chances the Director of Intelligence will never consider a president a threat to national security?
Furthermore, the (Phoenix) assassination program failed in Vietnam -- it only fuelled massive resistance. Targeted assassinations will fail in Pakistan, Afghanistan and other regions for the same reason.

As stated previously, American military intervention is not about winning, its about PROFITS, feeding the Military Industrial Complex and dying for your 'corporation!'

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CIA Drone
CIA Drone


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According to existing Laws and Conventions, America's CIA Drone attacks constitute War Crimes!
by Paul McGeough via reed - SMH Saturday, Feb 13 2010, 6:18am

The kohl-eyed Hakimullah Mehsud 'probably' is dead. He was the target for a missile fired last month from an unmanned aircraft hovering over the Afghan-Pakistani border - but launched by an operator in the US.

Mehsud was the ruthless mastermind of multiple suicide bomb attacks in Pakistan. He was part of a suicide mission on December 30 at Khost, just across the border in Afghanistan, which killed seven CIA agents who were working on the covert operation that now appears to have ended Mehsud's brief and brutal leadership of the Taliban in Pakistan.

In the artistry of war, the insertion of a Jordanian double-agent who detonated his explosive vest inside this super-sensitive CIA bunker was flawless. But, in their payback, the enraged Americans confirmed the breadth of a new horizon in modern warfare - launching 15 clinical drone attacks in which more than 100 people died along the border, as Washington's electronic eyes and guns sought out Mehsud and his Taliban and al-Qaeda allies.

War does not get more radical than this - technically, politically and, perhaps, ethically.

Consider: for the first time ever, a civilian intelligence agency is manipulating robots from halfway around the world in a program of extrajudicial executions in a country with which Washington is not at war.

Consider, too: the drone wars were initiated under the presidency of George Bush. But it is the Democrat Barack Obama who has given them flight and stumped up sufficient funding to spark serious debate on the end of the ''Top Gun'' era of the fighter-pilot.

And there is this: despite decades of American disquiet about assassinations abroad and a shrill Republican critique of him as a security wuss, the professorial Obama is the new killer on the block, authorising more drone attacks in the first year of his term in office than Bush did in his entire presidency.

At the White House these days they hold their breath, praying for a turnaround in the war in Afghanistan to vindicate Obama's gamble in dispatching 50,000 more young Americans to a conflict some deem unwinnable.

But confidence in the use of state-sanctioned lethal force in the undeclared American war in neighbouring and nuclear-armed Pakistan borders on the giddy. "The only game in town" was how CIA director Leon Panetta described it last year.

As a covert operation, insufficient data is released to judge its efficacy. It took publication by the Pakistani media of Google Earth images of Predator aircraft on the ground at a base in Pakistan to elicit oblique CIA confirmation that the program actually operated there. Last month a CIA spokesman, Paul Gimigliano, only said the agency's ''counter-terrorism operations - lawful, aggressive, precise and effective - continue without pause".

Mehsud's is an impressive scalp of war - for Washington and Islamabad. He had been in the leadership post for just five months after his predecessor of two years, Baitullah Mehsud, suffered a similar fate in August.

The first drone strikes of the new presidency took place on Obama's third day in office - four Arabs, presumed to be al-Qaeda associates, died in a strike in the border region. But as many as 16 members of the extended family of a respected pro-government tribal elder died when the second drone strike that day went terribly awry.

A study by the New America Foundation last year found that just six of 41 CIA-launched drone attacks in the border region had targeted al-Qaeda members. Eighteen of the targets were Taliban and 16 of them alone were efforts to kill Baitullah Mehsud - which, depending on who did the counting, racked up more than 300 additional civilian deaths.

Body-counting is a fraught business. Called Revenge of the Drones, the NAF study concluded that, since January 2008, the American kill has included ''about 20 leaders of al-Qaeda, the Taliban and allied groups … in addition to hundreds of lower-level militants and civilians. Under President Obama, the strikes have taken out at most [a] half-dozen militant leaders while also killing as many as 530 others - of those, around 250 to 400 are reported to have been lower-level militants, about three-quarters; and about a quarter appear to have been civilians."

The number of civilian deaths and their implication are hotly debated - because of the extent to which they inflame anti-American sentiment in Pakistan and because the vaporised death of a target denies any opportunity to capture and interrogate him.

Writing in The New York Times, the counter-insurgency experts David Kilcullen and Andrew Exum decried the toll. Citing a civilian figure of 700, they extrapolated a civilian loss of 98 per cent of deaths or 50 civilians for each militant eliminated.

Bill Roggio, the managing editor of the respected American blog The Long War Journal, goes to the other extreme, claiming only 10 per cent of those killed could be described as civilians.

After a detailed study of media and other reports from the border region, Revenge of the Drones takes a middle course, opting for a civilian toll of about one-third of those killed.

Just like their political and military leaders, Pakistanis give conflicting signals on the drone wars. Last summer a Gallup poll found only 10 per cent support for the attacks, but about half in a study of 550 professional people living in the border region described the strikes as accurate, and a little more than half estimated that the strikes damaged the militants without increasing anti-US sentiment.

The changed ground rules making extrajudicial killing more acceptable are a product of post-September 11 thinking. In 2001 Bush overturned President Gerald Ford's 1976 prohibition on assassinations by US intelligence agencies - but there's something else in the works, too.

Despite its loyalty to Israel, the Bush administration condemned Israel's campaign of targeted assassinations in the Palestinian Occupied Territories in the weeks before the September 11 attacks on New York and Washington. But, as critics of the drone wars struggle to get traction in public debate, it is curious that in the absence of any negative reaction to Obama's expansion of his remote killing program last year, the former Bush administration was under attack for revelations that it had considered dispatching more traditional hit-squads abroad to take out al-Qaeda operatives.

Forty-four countries now use unmanned aircraft for surveillance - only the US and Israel deploy them as killers.

In the first weeks of his presidency Obama reportedly wrestled with the moral and strategic implications of the program. But, as reported in The New York Times, he pointedly declared to one of his earliest Situation Room gatherings: "The CIA gets what it needs."

The American Civil Liberties Union explained in a Freedom of Information application last month: "It appears … that lethal force is being exercised by individuals who are not in the military chain of command, are not subject to military rules and discipline; and do not operate under any other public system of accountability or oversight."

A Democrat's targeted killings, it seems, are not quite the same as those of a Republican.

The first drones flew before the September 11 attacks - searching for Osama bin Laden. Now the US Air Force estimates that about 15 per cent of its $US230 billion ($260 billion) arms-procurement program will be spent on robot equipment within five years.

Predators can fly 700 kilometres, then hover for 30 hours at a stretch, feeding real-time video and other data through 10 simultaneous streams to controllers in 10 locations. Priced at $US4.5 million, Predators carry sensors that intercept electronic signals and listen in on phone conversations - and they carry missiles. The newer Reapers cost $US17 million and can fly nearly 6000 kilometres.

The US Air Force now has more drone operators in training than fighter and bomber pilots.

2010 Fairfax Digital

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