Archive for the ‘war on terror’ Tag

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On his Friday show, Bill Moyers had Vincent Warren, the executive director for the Center for Constitutional Rights, and Vicki Divoll, who used to serve as a legal advisor to the CIA’s Counterterrorist Center, to discuss torture, drone strikes, and President Obama.

Divoll also authored an op-ed for the New York Times last month, titled, “Who Says You Can Kill Americans, Mr. President?”

Vicki Divoll, who worked at the CIA until 2000, said that during her time at the intelligence organization, “harsh interrogation, detention, and certainly killing were not on the table. You would have been laughed out of a conference room if you brought up any tactics such as those, at that time.”

Warren said that he was deeply troubled by the secrecy of the Obama administration in regards to torture. “Clearly the Senate Intelligence Committee wants to and needs to keep some of this stuff classified. But we run into this problem where if you look historically, the only way that a country and certainly a country like the United States can torture is if they do it in secret, right? There was a connection between the secrecy and the torture.”

When Moyers asked if Obama was “fighting the war on terror within the rule of law,” Warren replied, “I do not. In fact, I know that he is not.”

Divoll was somewhat more lenient, saying, “I am concerned that he may not be. But I’m not going to go quite so far as to say that he is not following the rule of law. I think his lawyers have told him he is and he believes them.”

Warren asserted that “There’s no judicial oversight for how they determine who they’re going to kill and who they don’t want to kill.”

In regards to Anwar al-Awlaki, a U.S. citizen killed overseas by the government, Divoll said that there is “plenty of evidence that lots of people are suspected of doing lots of things. And that doesn’t mean we shoot them from the sky.”

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/02/01/moyers-guest-on-drone-strikes-governments-interpretation-of-the-law-is-akin-to-a-state-secret/

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Fareed Zakaria “But, first, here’s my take. As we debate whether the two parties can ever come together and get things done, here is something President Obama could do, probably by himself, that would be a signal accomplishment of his presidency: End the war on terror.

For the first time since 9/11, an administration official has sketched a possible endpoint. Jeh Johnson, the outgoing general counsel for the Pentagon, said in a speech to the Oxford Union last week that, “As the battle against al-Qaeda continues, there will come a tipping point at which so many of the leaders and operatives of al- Qaeda and its affiliates have been killed or captured, such that al- Qaeda as we know it, has been effectively destroyed.”

At that point, he said, “our efforts should no longer be considered an armed conflict.” You might not realize it, but we’re still living in a state of war. This is the longest period that the United States has lived in such a situation, longer than the Civil War, World War I, World War II.

It grants the president and the federal government extraordinary authorities effectively suspends civil liberties for anyone the government deems an enemy and it also keeps us at a permanent war footing in all kinds of ways. Ending this situation should be something that would appeal to both left and right.

James Madison, the author of the Constitution, was clear on this topic. “Of all the enemies to public liberty,” he wrote, “war is perhaps the most to be dreaded because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies. From there proceed debts and taxes. No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.”

If you want to know why we’re in such a deep budgetary hole, keep in mind that we have spent about $2 trillion on foreign wars in the last decade. In addition, we have had the largest expansion of the federal government since World War II.

Dana Priest and William Arkin have documented that the U.S. government has built 33 new building complexes for the intelligence bureaucracies alone occupying 17 million square feet, the equivalent of 22 U.S. capitols or three Pentagons. The Department of Homeland Security itself employs almost one-quarter of a million people.

Of course there are real threats out there, including from new branches of al-Qaeda and other such groups. And of course they will have to be battled, and those terrorists should be captured or killed.

But we have done this before, and we can do it again in the future under more normal, legal circumstances. It will mean that the administration will have to be more careful and perhaps have more congressional involvement for certain actions, like drone strikes.

It might mean it will have to charge some of the people in Guantanamo and try them in military or civilian courts. But is all this bad? So have we reached the point where we might consider shifting from emergency wartime powers?

Well, a new report is out this week, a new Global Terrorism Index. It goes from 2002 to 2011. It shows that terrorism went up from ’02 to ’07, largely because of the conflicts in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq, but has been declining ever since.

And surveying the situation by region, the report finds that the part of the world with the fewest incidents of terrorism has been North America.”

http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/1212/09/fzgps.01.html

Posted December 10, 2012 by tmusicfan in Politics, Quote of the Day

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