Posted by Steve Markowitz on February 5, 2013
NBC News’s investigative correspondent, Michael Isikoff, reported on a chilling story of governmental overreach. Isikoff reported on a confidential Justice Department memo that authorizes the US government to assassinate American citizens located outside of the United States. Should the government conclude that such individuals are “senior operational leaders” of known terrorist organizations, they have the legal authority to assassinate such individuals even without evidence of imminent threat to the United States.
The shocking Justice Department memo is likely created to be cover for future legal actions that may be taken against Americans who authorize this ultimate of sanctions. In September 2011 a US drone strike in Yemen killed American citizens Anwar al-Awlaki and Samir Khan who were supposedly involved with Al Qaeda.
Deputy legal director of the ACLU, Jameel Jaffer, rightfully said of the Administration’s plan:
“This is a chilling document. 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.”
It is remarkable how far we have come in four years. Shortly after his first election Barack Obama and his Atty. Gen. Eric Holder threaten criminal action against government employees involved in waterboarding suspected terrorists during the Bush administration. Since then the President has used assassinations without due process on the same type of individuals and creates a legal memo for justification. Where is the moral outrage from the Left?
President Obama is indeed a uniter. Who else could have gotten this Blogger and the ACLU on the same page on an important issue!
Posted in ACLU, Civil Liberties | Tagged: ACLU, al Qaeda, assassination, Citizen, Department, Drone, Justice, Terrorists, US | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Steve Markowitz on November 25, 2012
It the early days of the Obama presidency, the Administration attacked President George W. Bush’s war on terror policies. This included Obama’s promise to close the Guantánamo Bay terrorist detention center, which still remains open. There were also announcements of prosecuting some involved in the war on terror including CIA employees who used enhanced interrogation techniques including waterboarding. While the Administration did not follow through on this politically motivated war against its predecessor, it caused embarrassment for the Country and fear within the intelligence community. The Leftist mainstream media was an eager assistant in the Administration’s effort.
Nearly four years later it is instructive to review the Obama Administration’s related policies against suspected terrorists. No longer is there talk about enhanced interrogation techniques, but that is not a guarantee that such techniques are not being used. However, the Obama Administration’s increased use of targeted assassinations through drone strikes has conveniently eliminated the possibility of such interrogation in many cases.
The mainstream media does not seem to a problem with Obama’s use of assassinations. In fact, when it does report on this issue it does so with a callous attitude towards the killings. Today’s New York Times published an article titled Election Spurred a Move to Codify U.S. Drone Policy, which demonstrates this remarkable metamorphosis by the press.
The Times reported that during the Obama presidency, there have been over 300 drone strikes by the CIA killing approximately 2.500 people including suspected terrorists and innocent bystanders. These attacks have occurred in various countries without permission including Pakistan and Yemen that have created ill will towards America.
The Times also reported that prior to the recent presidential election, there was concern in the Administration that Romney might be elected and therefore began creating legal papers to define and add constraints on the drone assassination program. The President raised a related issue in mid- October on The Daily Show saying: “One of the things we’ve got to do is put a legal architecture in place, and we need Congressional help in order to do that, to make sure that not only am I reined in but any president’s reined in terms of some of the decisions that we’re making.” However, after his reelection the Administration has placed this effort on the back burner.
The United Nations has announced plans to investigate America’s drone strikes. It is likely they will find the program in breach of international law. This raises the interesting question as to whether the President could be subject to prosecution by an international court. Given that the United Nations is run by Progressives with similar views to those Leftists currently occupying White House should give Obama concern. Hopefully his successor will act with more dignity concerning this issue than Obama did concerning the Bush Administration’s use of waterboarding.
Posted in President Obama, Terrorism | Tagged: assassination, Drones, George W. Bush, Pakistan, United Nations, Waterboarding, Yemen | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Steve Markowitz on July 18, 2012
The violence in Syria has been ongoing for more than a year and a half. As part of the “Arab Spring”, the Syrian people have been revolting against the dictatorship of Bashir al-Assad. The violence has been steadily increasing with over 10,000 Syrians killed by government forces. More recently the violence has reached its capital, Damascus. That and the significant events of today indicate Syria is reaching a tipping point.
The Telegraph today reported that two high officials of the Syrian government have been assassinated in Damascus by rebels. The two killed were Syria’s Defence Minister General Daoud Rajha and President Bashar al-Assad’s brother-in-law General Assef Shawkat. Significantly, the bombing occurred in the highly secured National Security building.
The rapidly increasing Syrian, as well as its movement from smaller towns to Damascus, is a clear indication that the Assad regime’s days are numbered. This will have significant ramifications for the Middle East. First, Syria has been a strong ally of Iran and important in part of its strategy to form a “Shiite crescent” in the region. In addition, Syria has been run for decades with force and violence by the minority Alawites, an offshoot of the Shiites. When the Assad regime falls, it is likely that the majority Sunni population will seek revenge and Syria will descend into civil war.
The tumultuous changes now occurring in the Arab Middle East indicate how badly the international community and United States have responded to this region over the decades. Along with the United Nations, they focused almost solely the Arab/Palestinian conflict. These diplomats continually proffered the view that solving the Palestinian issue would lead to peace in the Middle East. That view has been proven dead wrong. However, it allowed diplomats to ignore the graver issues in the region including the rise of radical Islam and the rising anger of the Arab masses towards their dictators. Now the pressure cooker is exploding with the ultimate outcome unknown.
The United States currently has little influence in the Middle East relating to the outcome of the Arab Spring. Given this, America should come down on the side of democracy, even if that ultimately leads to governments unfriendly towards us in the short run. Change is coming to Syria. It is unlikely that America’s lack of support for those trying to overthrow the dictator Assad, what President Obama calls “leading from behind”, will be viewed positively by those who come the power.
Posted in Syria | Tagged: Alawites, Assad, assassination, Assef Shawkat, Damascus, Daoud Rajha, General, Shiite, Sunni, Syria | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Steve Markowitz on March 7, 2012
Eric Holder recently gave a speech at the Northwestern University Law School that again shows Progressives do not mind using deadly force to enforce national interests as they perceive them. It has become clear that their problems with George W. Bush’s use of such force was based on the man dishing out the punishment, not on moral grounds.
The New York Times reported that Holder’s speech offered a justification for the Obama Administration’s killing of American citizen, Anwar al-Awlaki, in Yemen via a Predator drone strike. Holder called al-Awlaki a terrorist that the United States could not capture and therefore had “the clear authority to defend the U.S. from lethal force.” He also added a few caveats for future assassinations including that targeted individuals would need to be located in a foreign country and be a leader of a terrorist organization planning to kill Americans. Then, in an attempt in to sanitize deadly force, Holder indicated that the killings must be done in compliance with the Geneva Convention. Yikes, that caveat certainly does not make the victims any less dead.
The negative response from the American Civil Liberties Union to the Obama Administration’s position was immediate. One director, Hina Shamsi, correctly said: “Few things are as dangerous to American liberty as the proposition that the government should be able to kill citizens anywhere in the world on the basis of legal standards and evidence that are never submitted to a court, either before or after the fact.” A positive outcome of President Obama’s election has been to bring together to diverse groups: Libertarian Conservatives that include this Blog, and the heavily left-leaning ACLU.
It is ironic that radical Leftist Barack Obama, who ran for the presidency on a peace platform and against Bush’s anti-terror policies, not only ratcheted up the war in Afghanistan, but is using international assassinations as a central tool of his foreign policy. This same Administration that would take criminal action against CIA employees who used waterboarding prior to Obama’s election has no problem justifying the use of assassination against similar targets. This perverted logic is allowed to continue by a press that remains silent and the radical Left that treats Obama more like an emperor than a servant of the people.
Posted in Eric Holder, Terrorism | Tagged: ACLU, al-Awlaki, assassination, Bush, Drone, Holder, Obama, Predator, Yemen | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Steve Markowitz on September 30, 2011
The Obama Administration announced the successful assassination of Anwar al-Awlaki, the radical American-born cleric who was residing in Yemen. Al-Awlaki, leader of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, and some of his bodyguards were taken out by a missile fired from a Predator drone.
Al-Awlaki has been preaching terrorism and anti-American vitriol for years. He was linked to various terrorist investigations in the United States and other countries including the Fort Hood, Texas massacre in 2009, the attempted Times Square bombing in 2010, and a planned to attack on Fort Dix, New Jersey.
The New York Times reported that a senior American military spokesman said al- Awlaki’s death sends a message to other terrorists that they can’t hide, stating: “It sets a sense of doom for the rest of them. Getting Awlaki, given his tight operational security, increases the sense of fear. It’s hard for them to attack when they’re trying to protect their own back side.”
The Obama Administration has been successful in putting the hit on some very bad people. Most Americans, except those on the far Left, applaud such efforts. However, this use of assassinations in sovereign countries raises interesting questions for the Administration. For example, the Obama Justice Department since early in their Administration has been investigating for possible criminal prosecution operatives from the Bush days for using advanced interrogation means (water-boarding). Using their logic, roughing up a suspect in the U.S. is a breach of American law, but putting a hit on them before being captured is not. Yikes! That’s
Posted in Terrorism | Tagged: al Qaeda, Anwar al-Awlaki, assassination, Drone, Justice Department, Missle, Obama, Predator, Water-boarding | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Steve Markowitz on September 19, 2010
Newsbusters.org reported the American mainstream media’s latest decent into political correctness and biased journalism. This week the British government arrested five people who they claim were plotting to assassinate the Pope during his visit to the UK. Here are two headlines from the UK press:
- “Muslim Plot to Kill Pope” – Daily Express
- “Pope Visit: Five Islamic terrorist arrested over assassination plot” – Telegraph
Compare these UK headlines to two from those of the American AP:
- “Pope calm after 6 nabbed in suspected terror plot” – by D. Stringer & V. Simpson Then read the articles by clicking the links supplied above. Evidently the AP is slanting the story to avoid mention that the plot is yet another planned act of terrorism by Muslim extremists.
Earlier the week ABC reporter George Stephanopoulos suggested to Supreme Court Justice Breyer that curtailing American’s Constitutional right of free speech might be appropriate since speech that offends Muslims may lead to violence. Now, the AP is slanting the Pope story using similar politically correct logic. This is a dangerous and slippery slope that smacks of Fascism.
Attempting to sweep the problems of Islamic extremism under the rug will not lead to less violence. In fact it increases its likelihood by rewarding terrorists with more deference and not demanding more positive actions from the overall Islamic communities.
Posted in Islam, Mainstream Media, Political Correctness, Terrorism | Tagged: assassination, England, Islam, Kill, Plot, Political Correctness, Pope, Terrorists, UK | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Steve Markowitz on April 4, 2010
On January 20, top Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Mabhouh was found murdered in Dubai. Since then the evidence points to the Israelis being behind the assassination. Al-Mabhouh had been wanted in Israel for planning the kidnapping and deaths of two Israeli solders in 1989 and more recently for smuggling arms between Iran and Hamas. Since Dubai and other Arab/Muslim countries allow terrorists freedom to travel, there is only one choice available to the Israelis.
Some western countries have expressed outrage over the possibility that the Israelis were behind the assassination of the Hamas leader. However, this morality is only applied when convenient. Let’s see: Barack Obama sends Predators’ missiles into Pakistan daily, assassinating suspected Taliban leaders and whoever is traveling with them and for that he gets awarded the Noble Prize for Peace. The Israelis take out one Jihadist leader in a surgical strike and for that they are castigated. Such is the perverted logic of Progressives.
Peace longer defines a state of affairs, but whatever or not the events further the strategic goals of Progressives, which is that the world be ruled by an international government. According to Progressives, the United Nations has been such a roaring failure since its inception; why not give it even more authority. More perverted logic.
Posted in Islam, Israel, Justice, Progressives, United Nations | Tagged: Arab, assassination, Dubai, Hamas, Israelis, Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, Missles, Muslim, Noble Prize, Pakistan, Predator, President Obama, Progressives, Taliban | Leave a Comment »