The Administration Really Doesn’t Want to Talk About the Drone That Killed an American Citizen
In the latest sign that President Obama's targeted killing program may be forever shrouded in secrecy, U.S. District Judge Colleen McMahon has denied a Freedom of Information Request from the American Civil Liberties Union and The New York Times over the death of Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, the 16-year-old American-born son of former Al-Queda heavy Anwar al-Awlaki who was killed by a drone strike.
The Administration Really Doesn’t Want to Talk About the Drone That Killed an American Citizen Connor Simpson The Atlantic Wire January 3, 2013 In the latest sign that President Obama's targeted killing program may be forever shrouded in secrecy, U.S. District Judge Colleen McMahon has denied a Freedom of Information Request from the American Civil Liberties Union and The New York Times over the death of Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, the 16-year-old American-born son of former Al-Queda heavy Anwar al-Awlaki who was killed by a drone strike. But, in this case, the administration withheld answering any of the ACLU's questions through a series of exemptions that lets the Executive bench protect confidential information. McMahon's decision seems pretty disappointed by the administration's actions: However, this Court is constrained by law, and under the law, I can only conclude that the Government has not violated FOIA by refusing to turn over the documents sought in the FOIA requests, and so cannot be compelled by this court oflaw to explain in detail the reasons why its actions do not violate the Constitution and laws of the United States. The Alice-inWonderland nature of this pronouncement is not lost on me; but after careful and extensive consideration, I find myself stuck in a paradoxical situation in which I cannot solve a problem because of contradictory constraints and rules - a veritable Catch-22. I can find no way around the thicket of laws and precedents that effectively allow the Executive Branch of our Government to proclaim as perfectly lawful certain actions that seem on their face incompatible with our Constitution and laws, while keeping the reasons for their conclusion a secret. The ACLU and The New York Times were asking for the justification of not just this drone strike, but justification of the whole drone strike program: The FOIA requests here in issue implicate serious issues about the limits on the power of the Executive Branch under the Constitution and laws of the United States, and about whether we are indeed a nation oflaws, not of men. The Administration has engaged in public discussion of the legality of targeted killing, even of citizens, but in cryptic and imprecise ways, generally without citing to any statute or court decision that justifies its conclusions. Questions surrounding the killing of the 16-year-old have swirled for a while. Obama's senior adviser Robert Gibbs gave a particularly ugly answer justifying the younger al-Awlaki's death on the campaign trail. The administration is clearly not ready to talk delicately about this. Just last week, the administration asked a federal court to dismiss lawsuits from the estates of three families of American citizens killed by drone strike in Yemen, one of which was the al-Awlaki estate. News came out at the end of November that the administration started to draft a rule book for the drone strike program, propelled by the prospect of having to hand off the program to a potential Romney administration. These are pretty big signs that Obama, his advisors, his lawyers, and the CIA aren't quite ready to jump into the grander debate over the ethics of drones just yet — or, you know, ever. Obama Signs Sweeping U.S. Defense Spending Bill The Telegraph January 3, 2013 Barack Obama has signed into law a $633 billion (£390 billion) US defence spending bill that funds the war in Afghanistan and boosts security at US missions worldwide. "I have approved this annual defence authorisation legislation, as I have in previous years, because it authorises essential support for service members and their families, renews vital national security programs, and helps ensure that the United States will continue to have the strongest military in the world," Mr Obama said in a statement early on Thursday after signing the measure. Mr Obama, who is on holiday in Hawaii, said that he signed the measure despite reservations. "In a time when all public servants recognise the need to eliminate wasteful or duplicative spending, various sections in the Act limit the Defense Department's ability to direct scarce resources towards the highest priorities for our national security," the president said. "Even though I support the vast majority of the provisions contained in this Act ... I do not agree with them all," he said in his statement, adding that he did not have the constitutional authority to approve piecemeal items within the sprawling bill. "I am empowered either to sign the bill, or reject it, as a whole," he said. The measure was hammered out by House and Senate conferees last month after each chamber voted to approve separate versions of the bill. It includes $527.4 billion for the base Pentagon budget; $88.5 billion for overseas contingency operations including the war in Afghanistan; and $17.8 billion for national security programs in the Energy Department and Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board. The bill authorises $9.8 billion for missile defence, including funds for a Pentagon feasibility study on three possible missile defence sites on the US East Coast. It also extends for one year the restriction on use of US funds to transfer Guantánamo inmates to other countries, a limitation critics say marks a setback for Mr Obama's efforts to close the detention centre. Mr Obama also signed a bill that boosts taxes on the wealthiest Americans, while preserving tax cuts for most American households. The bill, which averts a looming fiscal cliff that had threatened to plunge the nation back into recession, also extends expiring jobless benefits, prevents cuts in Medicare reimbursements to doctors and delays for two months billions of dollars in across-the-board spending cuts in defense and domestic programs. The Republican-run House approved the measure by a 257-167 vote late Tuesday, nearly 24 hours after the Democratic-led Senate passed it 89-8. The Total Breakdown of Society Infowars.com Jan 3, 2012 Alex Jones gives this special report on the breakdown of our society and what the future America will look like in the years to come in this 1984 style existence. The Total Breakdown of Society VIDEO BELOW http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=mem4B5TsHAI Bilderberg Elite Angry Over “Constant Exposure” Paul Joseph Watson Infowars.com January 3, 2013 Increased media coverage could force secretive group to avoid Europe According to veteran journalist Jim Tucker, Bilderberg elitists are furious over the “constant exposure” the secretive group is receiving in the European media, forcing members to consider the unprecedented step of holding the organization’s annual meeting in the United States for two years running. The US corporate media routinely ignores what would normally be considered a sensational story – over 100 of the world’s most powerful people – including the likes of Eric Schmidt, Henry Kissinger, David Rockefeller, Herman van Rompuy, and the Queen of the Netherlands – meeting behind closed doors to discuss the future of the world. However, European news outlets have given the event more intense press coverage in recent years, leading Bilderberg members to prefer the relative anonymity they are afforded by the more controlled U.S. media. “A source at the November 30-December 3 meeting in Washington of Bilderberg’s North American Group overheard Richard Armitage, a deputy secretary of state under President George W. Bush, say Bilderberg and the TC (Trilateral Commission) are angry over “their constant exposure,” adding that organizers were contemplating holding the next Bilderberg meeting in the U.S. in order to keep a lower profile,” writes Tucker, who notes that it will be a significant financial burden for Bilderberg to change their venue given that they have to book out an entire luxury hotel two years in advance. So has the Bilderberg Group been hounded out of Europe? Has the glare of the media spotlight in Europe forced the cabal to take the unprecedented step of hosting their conference in America for two years running? 2011 proved to be a bad year for Bilderberg. Despite choosing to host their conference half way up a mountain in the remote Swiss resort of St. Moritz, hundreds of protesters were encamped right outside the Suvretta hotel. Members of both the European and Swiss parliaments attempted to enter the conference, prompting unwelcome press coverage, and Bilderberg attendees themselves were confronted by inquisitive demonstrators during an afternoon stroll down the mountain. Returning to America in 2012, Bilderberg were able to rely on tighter security and a compliant media that virtually blacklisted their presence. It seems unlikely that the 2013 confab won’t be held somewhere in Europe given the fact that every time the event has taken place in the States, the following year it has switched to the other continent. In addition, the annual confab of Bilderberg’s sister organization, the Trilateral Commission, will take place in Berlin, Germany from March 15-17. The last time Bilderberg held their conference in Chantilly Virginia, the following year it was held in Athens, Greece. The theme of Bilderberg members expressing vitriol at the fact that their conferences are being protested by larger and more vocal crowds of people has repeatedly cropped up in recent years. During last year’s confab in Chantilly, a source working inside the Westfields Marriott hotel told London Guardian journalist Charlie Skelton that Bilderberg attendees referred to protesters outside the hotel as “cockroaches”. During the 2010 Bilderberg meeting in Spain, members were overheard complaining about the fact that demonstrators could even afford to travel to different countries in order to make their voices heard and that the fact they still had an income that allowed them to do so was a “permanent threat” to and “very scary” to Bilderberg’s agenda. http://www.infowars.com/