Lawmakers Suggest Secret “Drone Court” For Assassination Of American Citizens

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drone strike

Special Note: The only purpose in establishing a secret “Drone Court” used in the authorization of executive assassination of American citizens is to placate the public, and give the false impression of social “justice”.  However, there will NEVER be any  justice to be had in classified and obscure tribunals.  This “middle ground” solution to the murder of Americans so far contains no provisions for trial by jury, which, according to Constitutional law, is absolutely required before the government can punish a citizen under the accusation of treason.

The suggestion of a Drone Court combines the treachery of the NDAA and military controlled rendition with the insanity of Obama’s presidential kill list.  To call it a “compromise” is absurd.  There is no compromise.  There is no middle ground.  If we as Americans take this step into the long dark abyss, and cater to this unprecedented power grab, our country, and the principles it was founded on, will no longer exist.  Period.  Such political criminality cannot be tolerated.

Brandon Smith, Founder Of Alt-Market

During a fresh round of debate this week over President Barack Obama’s claim that he can unilaterally order lethal strikes by unmanned aircraft against U.S. citizens, some lawmakers proposed a middle ground: a special federal “drone court” that would approve suspected militants for targeting.

While the idea of a judicial review of such operations may be gaining political currency, multiple U.S. officials said on Friday that imminent action by the U.S. Congress or the White House to create one is unlikely. The idea is being actively considered, however, according to a White House official.

At Thursday’s confirmation hearing for CIA director nominee John Brennan, senators discussed establishing a secret court or tribunal to rule on the validity of cases that U.S. intelligence agencies draw up for killing suspected militants using drones.

The court could be modeled on an existing court which examines applications for electronic eavesdropping on suspected spies or terrorists.

Senator Dianne Feinstein, Democratic chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said Thursday that she planned to “review proposals for … legislation to ensure that drone strikes are carried out in a manner consistent with our values, and the proposal to create an analogue of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to review the conduct of such strikes.”

Senator Angus King, a Maine independent, said during the hearing that he envisioned a scenario in which executive branch officials would go before a drone court “in a confidential and top-secret way, make the case that this American citizen is an enemy combatant, and at least that would be … some check on the activities of the executive.”

King suggested that only drone attacks on U.S. citizens would need court approval; other proposals leave open the possibility that such a court could also rule regarding drone strikes on non-Americans.

On Friday, a White House official indicated the administration was open to the idea. Without specifically mentioning drones, the official said “the White House has been discussing various ways there could be independent review of counterterrorism actions for more than a year.”

Even if a special court were established, however, congressional and administration officials said it would not happen quickly.

Congressional aides said discussions are at a preliminary stage, with officials also reviewing proposals that law professors have floated in academic articles.

On Friday, King sent a letter to Feinstein and Republican Saxby Chambliss, intelligence committee vice-chairman, asking them to work with him on legislation to create a court which could provide judicial review of proposals to target a drone attack against a U.S. citizen alleged to be a “senior operational leader of Al Qaeda.”

In the past, Obama administration officials have expressed a lack of interest when the idea of creating a court to vet drone targets was brought up, one congressional official said. The administration also has fought lawsuits filed by relatives of Anwar al-Awlaki, the American-born al Qaeda operative who was killed in a U.S. drone attack in Yemen in 2011.

On Friday, senior Democrats and Republicans on the Senate and House Judiciary committees sent Obama letters requesting that their committees be given access to Justice Department documents justifying drone strikes. Some members of the congressional intelligence committees had been given such access the night before Brennan’s confirmation hearing in an apparent attempt by the administration to mollify some critics.

Christopher Anders, senior legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union, questioned the need for creating a new court to review drone targeting lists.

“We have courts that are fully capable and experienced” in dealing with sensitive national security matters, he said. Federal courts in Washington, New York City, and Alexandria, Virginia, routinely handle highly classified materials yet operate with more transparency and more independence than the ultra-secretive foreign intelligence court, Anders said.

If the United States did set up a drone target court, human rights advocates would still likely have problems with it.

Geoffrey Robertson, one of Britain’s most prominent human rights lawyers, described the current U.S. drone-strike policy as “execution without trial” and “international killing (which) … violates the right to life.”

Robertson said that in his interpretation of international law, any court set up to review candidates for possible drone attacks would have to publish target lists, so that those listed would have an opportunity either to give themselves up or be able to have friends or relatives petition for their removal from the lists.

“This should be an open process,” Robertson said.


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  • Leon H

    It was argued that if you help our enemies you forfeit your rights, wherever you are. No court needed. I’m waiting till they use it on our soil to see what happens. Hopefully people will wake up and start really looking at what they actually allowed so far by being quiet and make the changes needed peacefully before it winds up in some twisted conflict with our own people. No one should trust government at their word. Apathy is rampant in America. Few understand the Constitution or what toll corporations take on us as a people.

  • JohnDrake07

    How low this mighty country has fallen.

    We once were a nation of laws – we no longer are anything even close to that.

    The brilliance of those who came up with the Greater War on Terror (GWOT) is it’s sublime unspecificity – and now, by secret presidential decree, the unspecific can be used as an excuse to assassinate anyone with vaguely defined and virtually unsupported secret evidence that no one is allowed to see or know about – and they can kill you anytime, anywhere. Now in the Land of the Free. All you have to do is be branded with the Terrorist’s brush. Soon we’ll be turning in family members, once good friends, people we envy, folks who look and act differently, anyone with a foreign accent, a hook nose, dark skin, a nervous tic, a copy of the constitution in their pocket, a libertarian voting record, an opinion we don’t like, an anti-government attitude or rant – the possibilities are endless, open-ended and can now apply to virtually anyone. You don’t even have to be an Arab.

    It’s a fascist’s dream come true. “See something – say something” – just like the good old days of 1933.

    And – the democrats march in Goose-Step behind their Fuhrer – once repelled by the thought of extra-judicial killing by the Bush administration, they now embrace it as their own humane and thoughtfully applied killing tool. So nice to snuff out the life of some “rag head” from 30,000 feet. You don’t even have to see their face or waste a sniper’s bullet to their brain from afar.

    And the republicans chafe at the bit, salivating over the chance when they can take control of the killing fields, and man the joysticks.

    Comforting thought that both parties want to set up “Drone Councils” to be the “Great Deciders” in who gets wasted or not – irregardless of age, sex, race or nationality.

    You’re naive to think they won’t use armed drones in this country if they can get away with it. By 2015, 30,000 drones will be active over the US skys.

    And one may have your name on it.

  • John Henry

    I would like for anyone in government to cite the law or the Constitution of the US where it gives the president the unbound power to execute anyone.

    I do not believe the law or provision exists.

  • I think going after senior al qaeda leaders is a great idea,cause al qaeda has always been run by the state department,every since it was started in the 80’s to fight the russians,just a bunch of saudi rag heads being paid by american tax payers to bomb christian villages and to stupid to put a stop to it,I don’t really think they need drones to do the job,IT would be fun to see them hit the ones running the al qaeda though……..there all in washington DC……HEY maybe they’ll put it on TV………….

  • OH,thats right,THE LORD said the leaders of al qaeda belong to him,I guess he has something special planned for them,a bus trip of some sort,to see their daddy lucifer,as I hear it will be a full bus and they all will be staying there,no return tickets,humm………….