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Church State Issues

White House justifies killing Americans if they pose ‘imminent threat'

Feb 10, 2013

Washington Post

While this doesn't have anything to do with "freedom of religion" or "mixing government and religion" if the White House can say they don't have to obey the Constitution and can murder any person they think is a criminal, they can also do the same thing with the First Amendment and declare it null and void and allow the government to suppress freedom of religion in America!!!

"Justice Dept justifies killing Americans if they pose ‘imminent threat'

President Obama says he can murder any American citizen he feels like if he claims the citizen is a threat to the American Empire

Here is a link to the 16 page document is titled “Lawfulness of a Lethal Operation Directed Against a U.S. Citizen Who Is a Senior Operational Leader of al-Qaeda or An Associated Force.” which was released by NBC. [ http://msnbcmedia.msn.com/i/msnbc/sections/news/020413_DOJ_White_Paper.pdf ]

Source

Justice Dept. document justifies killing Americans overseas if they pose ‘imminent threat’

By Karen DeYoung, Published: February 4

The United States can lawfully kill a U.S. citizen overseas if it determines the target is a “senior, operational leader” of al-Qaeda or an associated group and poses an imminent threat to the United States, according to a Justice Department document published late Monday by NBC News. [http://msnbcmedia.msn.com/i/msnbc/sections/news/020413_DOJ_White_Paper.pdf ]

The document defines “imminent threat” expansively, saying it does not have to be based on intelligence about a specific attack since such actions are being “continually” planned by al-Qaeda. “In this context,” it says, “imminence must incorporate considerations of the relevant window of opportunity” as well as possible collateral damage to civilians.

Guiding the evolving U.S. counterterrorism policies: White House counterterrorism adviser John O. Brennan is compiling a “playbook” that will lay out the administration’s evolving procedures for the targeted killings that have come to define its fight against al-Qaeda and its affiliates.

The memos outline the case for the targeted killing of U.S. citizens in counterterror operations overseas.

It says that such determinations can be made by an “informed, high-level official of the U.S. government.”

NBC said the document was provided by the Obama administration last summer to members of the Senate Intelligence and Judiciary committees as a summary of a classified memo on targeted killings of U.S. citizens prepared by the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel.

The memo was written months prior to a September 2011 drone strike in Yemen that killed Anwar al-Awlaki, a U.S.-born Muslim cleric accused of helping al-Qaeda’s Yemeni affiliate plan attacks against the United States. Three other Americans, including Awlaki’s 16-year-old son, have also been killed in U.S. strikes in Yemen.

The Obama administration, in decisions upheld in federal court rulings, has repeatedly denied demands by lawmakers, civil rights groups and the media to release the memo and other information on targeted killings — or even to acknowledge their existence. Senators are expected to closely question John O. Brennan, President Obama’s chief counterterrorism adviser, on drone strikes, the memo and the Awlaki killing during Brennan’s confirmation hearing Thursday on his nomination to become Obama’s new CIA director.

Justice officials could not be reached for comment on the document, which NBC posted on its Web site. The 16-page document is titled “Lawfulness of a Lethal Operation Directed Against a U.S. Citizen Who Is a Senior Operational Leader of al-Qaeda or An Associated Force.”

In announcing Awlaki’s death, Obama described him as the leader of “external affairs” of Yemen-based al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

The American Civil Liberties Union on Monday night called the document a “profoundly disturbing” summary of “a stunning overreach of executive authority — the claimed power to declare Americans a threat and kill them far from a recognized battlefield and without any judicial involvement before or after the fact.”

The ACLU sought the original Justice Department memo as part of a case dismissed last month by a federal judge in New York. Last Friday, the ACLU filed a notice of appeal in that case.

“Needless to say, the white paper is not a substitute for the legal memo. But it’s a pretty remarkable document,” ACLU Deputy Legal Director Jameel Jaffer said. [http://msnbcmedia.msn.com/i/msnbc/sections/news/020413_DOJ_White_Paper.pdf ]


Source

Justice Department memo: Drone strikes on U.S. citizens can be legal

By Cheryl K. Chumley

The Washington Times

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The U.S. Justice Department finds it legal to target American citizens with drone strikes under certain circumstances, according to a memo that just surfaced.

The undated memo, titled “Lawfulness of a Lethal Operation Directed Against a U.S. Citizen who is a Senior Operation Leader of al Qaeda or An Associated Force,” was obtained by NBC News. The memo defines as legal drone attacks on U.S. citizens who were involved in violent attacks, according to United Press International. [ The memo can be viewed here http://msnbcmedia.msn.com/i/msnbc/sections/news/020413_DOJ_White_Paper.pdf ]

Specifically, the memo states: “The condition that an operational leader present an ‘imminent’ threat of violent attack against the United States does not require the United States to have clear evidence that a specific attack on U.S. persons and interests will take place in the immediate future,” according to UPI. Citizens who present such “imminent threats” were defined as those who participated in violent acts — and maintained the views that led to their violent acts, according to UPI.

In those instances, a fatal drone attack would be considered a “legitimate act of national self-defense that would not violate the assassination ban,” according to the memo.

The memo was distributed to various members of Senate and House intelligence committees.


Source

Drone strikes on Americans on U.S. soil are LEGAL, says confidential Justice Department memo

By Damian Ghigliotty

PUBLISHED: 23:58 EST, 4 February 2013

The U.S. government can order the killing of American citizens if they are believed to be ‘senior operational leaders’ of the Islamic terrorist organization Al Qaeda or ‘an associated force,’ according to a confidential Justice Department memo leaked on Monday.

The U.S. government can do so even if there is no clear evidence that the American targeted is engaged in an active plot to attack the U.S.

The news was first reported by NBC’s Open Channel, which obtained a copy of the 16-page document and released it to the public.

The undated memo, which is not an official legal document, sheds new light on the reasoning behind a reported increase in the number of drone strikes used against Al Qaeda suspects in recent years -- including those aimed at American citizens -- under the Obama administration.

The memo, ‘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,’ was reportedly provided to members of the Senate Intelligence and Judiciary committees in June by unnamed administration officials.

It was provided on the condition that authorities keep the memo confidential and not discuss its contents publicly, according to NBC.

‘The condition that an operational leader present an “imminent” threat of violent attack against the United States does not require the United States to have clear evidence that a specific attack on U.S. persons and interests will take place in the immediate future,’ the memo states.

Insight: The document sheds new light on the legal reasoning behind a reported increase in the number of drone strikes used against al-Qaida suspects in recent years, including those aimed at American citizens

Insight: The document sheds new light on the legal reasoning behind a reported increase in the number of drone strikes used against al-Qaida suspects in recent years, including those aimed at American citizens

The Justice Department told MailOnline that it would not comment on the news.

The Obama administration has remained relatively hush about reports of increased drone strikes carried out since 2008.

The Long War Journal reports that the U.S. has been conducting a covert program to target and kill Al Qaeda and Taliban commanders in Pakistan's northwest region.

‘The US ramped up the number of strikes in July 2008, and has continued to regularly hit at Taliban and Al Qaeda targets inside Pakistan,’ the non-profit news outlet writes.

‘There have been 332 strikes total since the program began in 2004; 322 of those strikes have taken place since January 2008.’

The New York Times reported in November that the Obama administration had been mapping out a strategy weeks before the presidential election to develop definitive rules for the targeted killing of terrorists by drones, so that a new president would ‘inherit clear standards and procedures’ if Obama was not re-elected.

The secrecy surrounding such strikes may soon be unraveled, as indicated by the release of the 16-page Justice Department memo.

Proponent: John Brennan, Obama's pick for CIA director, has called drone strikes 'consistent with our inherent right of national self-defense'

John Brennan, a White House counter-terrorism adviser, one of the leading architects behind the government’s drone policy and Obama’s pick to become the country’s new CIA director, is expected to face tough questions about his involvement in Obama’s drone program during his Senate confirmation hearing on Thursday.

Brennan was the first administration official to formally acknowledge drone strikes in a speech he gave at the Woodrow Wilson Center in April 2012, calling drone strikes ‘consistent with our inherent right of national self-defense.’

A bipartisan group of 11 senators wrote a letter to Obama on Monday asking his administration to provide its legal justification for its use of drone strikes over the past four years.

‘We ask that you direct the Justice Department to provide Congress, specifically the Judiciary and Intelligence Committees, with any and all legal opinions that lay out the executive branch's official understanding of the President's authority to deliberately kill American citizens,’ the senators lead by Democrat Ron Wyden of Oregon wrote in their letter.

Political blogger Marcy Wheeler, who says she has closely tracked the group’s repeated requests, writes that it was at least the 12th time Congress had asked for those documents.

Among the overseas attacks that have killed U.S. citizens with terrorist ties on Obama's watch, a September 2011 missile strike in Yemen took out alleged Al Qaeda members Anwar al-Awlaki and Samir Khan.

Both men were U.S. citizens who had never been indicted by the U.S. government or charged with any specific crimes.

Read the full Justice Department white paper released on Monday night here. [http://msnbcmedia.msn.com/i/msnbc/sections/news/020413_DOJ_White_Paper.pdf ]