Monday, January 21, 2013

The CIA Gets a Pass

The Washington Post published an article today that  goes to show how numb we American citizens have become to our .gov breaking the rules.  Major violations of the Constitution are just an interesting paragraph in an article about the CIA and drones.  Just the title of the article should catch everyone's eye and make us take note. CIA drone strikes will get pass in counterterrorism  ‘playbook,’ officials sayThe title pretty much covers the story.  The Administration has developed a 'playbook' that is supposed to govern when and how we use drones to assassinate people, and the CIA doesn't have to play by the book. 

Yes, you did read that correctly.  Now if you have been keeping up with the drone news, you pretty much already knew this.  What surprises me is just how blatantly open they are about it now, and that they have no fear of reprisal of any kind.  If you are in Afghanistan or Pakistan, and someone puts your name on a CIA list, drone operators are instructed to kill you and anyone around you.  American citizen?  No matter, just as dead as the next name on the list.

The CIA is exempted from following the rules outlined in the playbook:
U.S. officials said the effort to draft the playbook was nearly derailed late last year by disagreements among the State Department, the CIA and the Pentagon on the criteria for lethal strikes and other issues. Granting the CIA a temporary exemption for its Pakistan operations was described as a compromise that allowed officials to move forward with other parts of the playbook.

Right now the CIA does not even have to know who they are killing, just that whatever is happening looks suspicious.
The discussions surrounding the development of the playbook were centered on practical considerations, officials said. One of the main points of contention, they said, was the issue of “signature strikes.”

The term refers to the CIA’s practice of approving strikes in Pakistan based on patterns of suspicious behavior — moving stockpiles of weapons, for example — even when the agency does not have clear intelligence about the identities of the targets.
Here is where it gets scary.

Among the subjects covered in the playbook are the process for adding names to kill lists, the legal principles that govern when U.S. citizens can be targeted overseas and the sequence of approvals required when the CIA or U.S. military conducts drone strikes outside war zones.

They have already killed American citizens with drone strikes, and they will continue to do so.  Why do they assassinate American citizens without the due process afforded by the Constitution?  Well, because they are Terrorists. Yep, Terrorists.  Since they are Terrorists who just happen to be American citizens, killing them with a drone strike instead of giving them a court trial saves the American tax payer a dollar or two.

No big deal, except for the fact that there are a few in our War Colleges and the Administration who use the term Terrorist when referring to folks like us, folks who take an active part in supporting the ideals of the US Constitution.  The most recent study labeling Patriots as Terrorists comes from West Point's Combating Terrorism Center.  This study is called "Challengers From the Sidelines - Understanding America's Violent Far Right". Who makes up the "Violent Far Right"? The author lists three groups.  "...a racist/white supremacy movement, an anti-federalist movement and a fundamentalist movement." It looks like they cast a pretty large net here, but not really.  In defining the three groups, the author lumps the fundamentalists in with the white supremest. "Lastly, the fundamentalist stream, which includes mainly Christian Identity groups such as the Aryan Nations, fuse religious fundamentalism with traditional white supremacy and racial tendencies" So we have the anti-federalists sandwiched in between two white supremacy categories.  Who are these anti-federalists?
They also espouse strong convictions regarding the federal government, believing it to be corrupt and tyrannical, with a natural tendency to intrude on individuals’ civil and constitutional rights. Finally, they support civil activism, individual freedoms, and self government.
 Yep, you did read that correctly.  Catch a chill yet?

This was not the first article of its type to come out of a war collage, just the most recent.  Heck, the Department of Homeland Security commissioned a study that indicated that the political Right was more of a threat to the United States than Islamic Extremism.

So, it is ok to assassinate American citizens just because someone in political power states that they are terrorists?  One has to wonder when the first drone strike is launched within US borders?  Maybe they won't use drones, just an FBI hit team with a kill list.  Can't happen here?  Who would have thought we would assassinate Americans over there?

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