Battleland

Minority Report Has Finally Arrived

  • Share
  • Read Later
20th Century-Fox / Getty Images

Read it and weep:  “Memo Cites Legal Basis for Killing U.S. Citizen in Al Qaeda.”

As a U.S. citizen, the government can now kill you in advance of your actually committing a crime – simply by knowing that you are likely to act in a dangerous manner.

For now, the only club whose membership can earn you such a “pre-crime-sentence” is al-Qaeda, but how many dangerous organizations (you tell me where to put the sarcastic quotation marks on that phrase) will be added to this list in the years and decades ahead?

Ask yourself that, Mr. Obama.

Naturally we are assured such killings will only happen outside of these United States, but you just know that rule will be broken eventually.

The coolest part? Just like in the movie, we’ve already got the drones to hunt you down and kill you remotely. Actually, even Spielberg’s movie didn’t go that far, so here we’d need to switch over to The Matrix.

This is an extremely dangerous rule-set for America to be exporting around the world: threaten or scare of just plain piss off the wrong great-power government, and it reserves the right to assassinate you at will.  The quid pro quos are easy to imagine:  you, China, turn your back when we need to kill ours and . . . America can probably do the same when you take out those “protestors” (I mean, terrorists!).

I just have to ask: how does Obama lecture Netanyahu about anything at this point?

The further we go with this President’s two terms, the more quaint and 20th century his predecessor seems. George W. Bush’s approach, as ham-handed as it was, at least came with some built-in limitations (e.g., you can only invade so many countries before the U.S. public has had enough, and those Gitmo prisoners do see a lawyer prior to sentencing).

Obama’s approach, in contrast, is about as open-ended as it comes. Yes, he’s right-sized Bush’s pre-emptive war in the form of pre-emptive assassinations, and now he’s extended that pre-crime-sentencing capacity to American citizens — wherever they dare to roam.

Guess which presidential doctrine poses the greatest long-term threat to our democracy?

The timing on this memo is priceless, coming as it does right on the heels of announced plans for comprehensive gun control. The NRA ads write themselves:  “Obama reserves the right to assassinate American citizens at will . . . but he’d really rather seize your scariest guns first!”

Spielberg’s movie has now officially passed Blade Runner as the best dystopian capture of the future: Blade Runner‘s future Los Angeles is just around the bend (2019!), and we’re nowhere close to having robots pass as humans or flying cars. Meanwhile, The Minority Report‘s combination of mid-21st-century affluence, buttressed by the love and care of a pre-emptive war-waging police state, is already here.

8 comments
beever63
beever63

What makes anyone believe that the federal government would choose to preemptively eliminate anyone that highly placed gatekeepers deem a threat by using drones or uavs rather than by employing directed energy weapons? Drones leave craters but acoustic devices leave no marks on the body whatsoever and can silently pass through walls. Just ask anyone unfortunate enough to have ended up on the ''program" as a targeted individual. Google gangstalking....the most vulgar example of preemptive criminality of our time. Obama's next undisclosed scandal

str8vision
str8vision

Actually the memo didn't limit the geographic location where American's could be targeted and killed, it could happen anywhere not just overseas. Also, the memo didn't restrict assassinations to American's suspected of being affiliated with Al Qaeda but instead broadens the scope to include involvement with any perceived/labeled terrorist group that "someone in the government" determines will harm U.S. interests. This shouldn't surprise anyone after the NDAA eliminated Habeas Corpus and in effect all of your rights should "someone in the government" determine you are a threat. I'm not worried as I believe that the "someone in the government" will be every bit as competent as those who assured us 110% that Iraq was chocked full of WMD's....

wetruong
wetruong

Way to use the slippery slope fallacy AND imply that it's been signed into law when it's really just a memo that doesn't actually involve President Obama himself! A+ op-ed! (do I need quotation marks for my sarcasm?)

RoccoBamba
RoccoBamba

Way to deny reality. Congress hasn't signed off on it and Mr. Obama may not actually be pulling the trigger himself, but that doesn't change the fact that the US has blown up alleged enemies of the state with drone strikes and plans to keep on doing it. If we're very lucky, no other country's leaders will claim the right to execute citizens they deem to be an imminent threat (by which is meant "not a threat per se, but trust us"), but if one does happen to emulate Mr. Obama's policy, any objection the US government might raise would be laughable.

PawełKasperek
PawełKasperek

would you rather:

a) risk US troops in extracting the people in question from Yemen interior?

b) leave the people in question unharmed, plotting their campaign to bring down not only US but whole Western Civilization?

BTW, did Lincoln deliver arrest warrants to every Southern soldier?

I rest my case.

Don_Bacon
Don_Bacon like.author.displayName 1 Like

It's not only a threat to our democracy, it's a threat to the world. Imagine if other governments acted this way! From the Justice Department (Justice in quotes?) White Paper: "Targeting a member of an enemy force who poses an imminent threat of violent attack to the United States is not unlawful. It is a lawful act of national self defense." Israel and the US have threatened Iran; there are warships off Iran's coast.. Does that mean it's okay for Iran to target the Israel Prime Minister and the US president?  No.

Assassination is now a form of "justice." Recently top administration officials, Clinton etc., have been bragging that they "have brought bin Laden to justice." Various folks in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Yemen are being "brought to justice," and this includes at least two Americans, Awlaki and son in Yemen.

This is "justice" without the due process which is guaranteed by the US Constitution, Amendment V: "No person. . .nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law." Notice that it says "no person" not "no citizen." Pakistanis and Yemenis are "persons" too.

The National Security Strategy of the United States treats terrorism as a crime. "Legal Aspects of Countering Terrorism: The increased risk of terrorism necessitates a capacity to detain and interrogate suspected violent extremists, but that framework must align with our laws to be effective and sustainable. When we are able, we will prosecute terrorists in Federal courts or in reformed military commissions that are fair, legitimate, and effective."

And in Obama's foreword: "In all that we do, we will advocate for and advance the basic rights upon which our Nation was founded, and which peoples of every race and region have made their own."

One of Obama's first acts four years ago was to prohibit the CIA from detaining and torturing "suspected terrorists." In return the CIA was allowed to assassinate "suspected terrorists" including Americans. This DOJ white paper is a part of that new policy. The government lawyers are now authorizing assassination in a similar way to their past authorization of torture.

Government lawyers do what they're told to do, or they don't remain government lawyers. It has nothing to do with law or the Constitution.

Fla4Me
Fla4Me like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

So maybe the question  (which I don't know the answer to) is, how easy is it to revoke someone's citizenship right before they become mince meat?  Is there a memo for that?

mrbomb13
mrbomb13

@Fla4Me 

Good prediction...it will probably come to fruition sooner rather than later...


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,105 other followers