The Paw Print
Exposing an issue which has been continually marginalized by corporate media, the ACLU is suing the Obama administration under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), seeking to force disclosure of the guidelines used by Obama officials to select which human beings (both U.S. citizens and foreign nationals) will have their lives ended by the CIA’s clandestine drone attacks.
Specifically, the FOIA request “seeks to find out when, where and against whom drone strikes can be authorized, and how the United States ensures compliance with international laws relating to extrajudicial killing.” Not surprisingly, the Obama administration has refused to provide any of that information. To make things worse, the CIA claims that these draconian drone attacks aren’t able to be confirmed or denied due to national security issues.
What makes these unauthorized attacks so shameful is not merely the fact that the Obama administration demands complete control over who it will kill and when without having to answer to anyone for its actions, choices or claimed legal authority, though that’s obviously bad enough; what really is disgusting about this situation is the need for the ACLU to even have to sue the government in order to force it to disclose its claimed legal and factual bases for assassinating U.S. citizens without charges, trial or due process of any kind. Additionally, the blatantly false claim by the CIA that it cannot confirm or deny the CIA drone program without damaging national security, speaks to the usual backdoor and tyrannical tactics of the national defense agencies which for all intents and purposes have converted into groups that work for certain political and economic goals, not “national defense.”
Several Obama officials — including the President himself and the CIA Director — have repeatedly bragged in public about this very program. Obama even went further to hail the drone attacks and the CIA operation of those attacks, saying that it is “a targeted, focused effort at people who are on a list of active terrorists, who are trying to go in and harm Americans, hit American facilities, American bases and so on.” Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has also faithfully jumped on the bandwagon and proclaims that the drone program has “been very effective at undermining al Qaeda and their ability to plan those kinds of attacks.” Just two weeks ago, Attorney General Eric Holder gave a speech purporting to legally justify these same drone attacks.
Obviously, the Obama administration is openly supporting these illegal drone attacks in an effort to posture Obama has a tough, all-American warrior type who is willing to roll up his sleeves and get dirty single handedly eradicating Al-Qaeda. Everyone in the world knows that the Obama administration has a drone program. Those Muslim countries in which the bombs have landed, continually creating piles of civilian bodies certainly can attests to the Obama administrations display of brutality and complete disregard for the consequences of blowback.
But when it comes time to answer to the people of this sham democracy, Obama and friends treat us like the dopes many of us have become. Claiming that these not so secret drone attacks are too sensitive to be compromised when it comes time to ask courts to adjudicate its legality, it seems the Obama administration is only interested in keeping the courts out of investigating these attacks so they can continue to perch our highest elected official well above the rule of law.
This is why the U.S. Government’s fixation on secrecy — worse than ever under the Obama administration, as evidenced by its unprecedented war on whistleblowers — is so pernicious. It not only enables government officials to operate in the dark, which inevitably ensures vast (though undiscovered) abuses of power. Worse, it enables the government to aggressively propagandize the citizenry without challenge: Officials in the Obama administration are able to make all kinds of unsubstantiated claims about the drone program and how it keeps us safe, while suppressing any real official information on the drone program that would contradict their propagandized claims.
This is yet another example of the forced conformity American politics instills in its participants, before Obama was in office he explicitly denounced the secrecy powers invoked by the Bush administration, which included warrantless eavesdropping, rendition, and torture. Now the Obama administration is taking these warped secrecy games one step further. They boast publicly about the programs to lavish themselves with commendation, only to turn around once they’re sued in court and insist that the programs are too secret even to acknowledge.
This would be laughable if it weren’t so destructive. With each bomb dropped from those drones, Obama is continuing to cement the worst aspects of the Bush administration in place, the very same ones that he so inspirationally vowed to end.