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View Diary: Droning Americans on US Soil: Why Holder's "No" is Not Reassuring (156 comments)

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  •  It's not the drones, it's due process. (12+ / 0-)

    When the Administration claims they have the right to execute somebody on sight, we have a big problem.

    •  Here's the other side of the argument: they do. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      zenox, kefauver, fou

      Hell, even your local sheriff's deputy has that right under exigent conditions.

      Plaintiffs' Employment Law Attorney (harassment, discrimination, retaliation, whistleblowing, wage & hour, &c.) in North Orange County, CA.

      "I love this goddamn country, and we're going to take it back."
      -- Saul Alinsky

      by Seneca Doane on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 08:40:57 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  if you are resisting arrest by using lethal force (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        aliasalias

        the sheriff's deputy has the right to use lethal force against you in self-defense--but only in self-defense.

        In other words, it's the fact that the suspect presents an immediate threat to the deputy's life that justifies his use of lethal force--not any other crimes the suspect may be suspected of committing.

        If the suspect surrenders peacefully or does not use lethal force against law enforcement, there is no justification for the government to use lethal force.

        In the case of drones, or snipers, or smart bombs, etc., there can be no threat to law enforcement, because those technologies allow a suspect to be killed from a safe distance, without ever having been confronted by law enforcement officials.

        The suspect is not given an opportunity to know what he is charged with or to surrender himself to the custody of law enforcement. He's simply killed outright. It's a use of lethal force on the part of the government that is not justified by an imminent threat to law enforcement officials, and therefore a huge violation of due process.

        "In America, the law is king." --Thomas Paine

        by limpidglass on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 09:06:05 AM PST

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        •  No, it's not only accepted in self-defense (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          fou

          if you're dealing with a fleeing felon.  Where do you get that idea?  They can't shoot a fleeing misdemeanant.  But if someone accused of a felony (at least a violent on) is fleeing, then yes, an officer can use deadly force.  This is, I expect, under the principle of "defense of others," which has equal status to self-defense.

          Plaintiffs' Employment Law Attorney (harassment, discrimination, retaliation, whistleblowing, wage & hour, &c.) in North Orange County, CA.

          "I love this goddamn country, and we're going to take it back."
          -- Saul Alinsky

          by Seneca Doane on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 09:19:37 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  really? (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            aliasalias, corvo

            So a police officer can shoot you in the back if he thinks you're a felon? Merely running from the cops is punishable by death?

            People might run from the police for all sorts of reasons. They might not speak English and misunderstand. They might be mentally handicapped or under the influence of drugs or alcohol. They might just be confused or not that bright.

            So those things are enough to get you killed?

            How broad is this power? Do they have to have a warrant for your arrest before they can do this? Or is it enough that the police think you look suspicious, even if they didn't actually see you do anything?

            I am aware of cases where police fatally shot people who were reaching for cell phones, claiming they thought the suspect was reaching for a gun. The LAPD shot up an entire truck and nearly killed two women trying to get Christopher Dorner. Were they "fleeing felons," too?

            I am just trying to understand the scope of the police power here.

            "In America, the law is king." --Thomas Paine

            by limpidglass on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 10:04:41 AM PST

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            •  How long have you been in our country? (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Brown Thrasher, kefauver

              You may want to read more local newspapers.

              Sorry to be snarky, but you should have researched this before making your assertion.  Yeah, you bet, fleeing felons do get shot.  Everything you say in your second paragraph is true -- and nevertheless, it does happen.

              Plaintiffs' Employment Law Attorney (harassment, discrimination, retaliation, whistleblowing, wage & hour, &c.) in North Orange County, CA.

              "I love this goddamn country, and we're going to take it back."
              -- Saul Alinsky

              by Seneca Doane on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 10:24:30 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  unlike yourself, I'm not a lawyer (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Seneca Doane, aliasalias, corvo

                so I don't know all the ins and outs of the use of force.

                It does not reassure me, however, to learn that if I happen to be jogging past a murder scene with my iPod on full volume, I could be killed by a policeman who thinks I'm a fleeing felon, and he could claim, in the eyes of the law, to be fully justified on so doing.

                To me what you're saying is not an argument that the administration's killing program is merely a logical extension of already existing police authorities. It's an argument that we need to seriously review the scope of police authority to use lethal force and introduce much more oversight into the process.

                And it's much easier to control police abuses than it is to control presidential abuses.

                Police officers can be removed for abuse of their authority. There is no method to remove a sitting president short of impeachment. That automatically makes it much more difficult to rein in a rogue president. Impeachment has only happened twice in American history and it failed both times. Clearly it is not a satisfactory method of ensuring the president does not abuse his power.

                "In America, the law is king." --Thomas Paine

                by limpidglass on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 10:59:31 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  I was was just reading about Ruby Ridge incident (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                corvo
                The Ruby Ridge Rules of Engagement (ROE) had been drawn up on the basis of reports from USMS and FBI headquarters, bolstered by unconfirmed news media accounts accepted by HQ, that exaggerated the threat posed by the Weavers.

                1.    If any adult male is observed with a weapon prior to the announcement, deadly force can and should be employed, if the shot can be taken without endangering any children.
                2.    If any adult in the compound is observed with a weapon after the surrender announcement is made, and is not attempting to surrender, deadly force can and should be employed to neutralize the individual.
                3.    If compromised by any animal, particularly the dogs, that animal should be eliminated.
                4.   Any subjects other than Randall Weaver, Vicki Weaver, Kevin Harris, presenting threats of death or grievous bodily harm, the FBI rules of deadly force are in effect. Deadly force can be utilized to prevent the death or grievous bodily injury to oneself or that of another.

                Running away was not considered a "threat to others".

                But I have three other concerns that trouble me more:
                1.  Drone strikes are conducted in secrecy, by the CIA.  You will never hear from a defense lawyer following a CIA assassination (drone strike or other).  Unlike Ruby Ridge, there likely will be no Senate investigations -- or if there are, they will go nowhere because of CIA secrecy.
                2.  Relying on CIA threat assessments: The CIA let itself be used to justify a multi-trillion dollar war.  The stakes couldn't have been higher.  Does anyone trust the CIA to not make mistakes, to not let itself be used?
                3.  There is no fundamental difference between a drone, .50 caliber rifle or poison tipped cane.  Eric Holder has claimed the Administration may use the CIA to kill any American citizen anywhere as long as they are an "imminent threat".  And I guarantee you do not think "imminent threat" means what the Administration thinks it means.

                Even Democrats can be asses. Look at Rahm Emanuel.

                by Helpless on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 05:19:49 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  just happened here in the northern california area (0+ / 0-)

                several times in the last week - including the passenger of a car driven into a patrol car by someone who fled.  the passenger ended up dead - the driver was caught, i think...

                the police are a bit edgy here after two santa cruz officers were ambushed and killed going to interview someone regarding a misdemeanor charge of sexual battery - the guy killed both officers without warning - then had a running gun battle with the police until he killed himself.

                the stolen car driver who was shot and killed in san jose? was on his third strike - he rammed multiple police cars before crashing into a pole? and was shot trying to flee.

                we live in crazy times - but we are not in an "official" war on domestic turf - where the drones are being used, we are at war (like it or not, and i don't like it one bit, just for the record...)

                EdriesShop Is it kind? is it true? is it necessary?

                by edrie on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 08:14:45 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

            •  This surprises you (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              corvo

              ...in a country where people are still thrown in jail for "driving while black"?

              Time once again to fight cyber-spying! Defeat CISPA!

              by Brown Thrasher on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 11:15:46 AM PST

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          •  You've got it backwards. (0+ / 0-)

            The police never shoot fleeing misdemeanants.  If they shoot, the recipient of the gunfire is retroactively determined to be a fleeing felon.

            Or we just bury the incident and trust nobody with any real power or voice will be upset.

            Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

            by corvo on Sat Mar 09, 2013 at 10:09:55 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Sorry, the days to argue with such abject cynicism (0+ / 0-)

              are Monday through Thursday only.  You must have missed the memo.

              Plaintiffs' Employment Law Attorney (harassment, discrimination, retaliation, whistleblowing, wage & hour, &c.) in North Orange County, CA.

              "I love this goddamn country, and we're going to take it back."
              -- Saul Alinsky

              by Seneca Doane on Sat Mar 09, 2013 at 12:17:26 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  The truth is the truth every day. n/t (0+ / 0-)

                I grew up in a city where the police "defended" themselves by shooting felons in the back routinely each Christmas tradition.  It was their present to the African American community, so to speak.  Nobody was ever investigated, let alone punished.

                Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

                by corvo on Sat Mar 09, 2013 at 01:03:33 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

        •  Not an imminent threat? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          kefauver

          The suspects targeted by the drones so far are imminent threats.

          "Corruptio Optimi Pessima" (Corruption of the best is the worst)

          by zenox on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 10:33:40 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Imminent threat? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            corvo

            The Administration's definition of "imminent threat"  reminds me of Bill Clinton's definition of "sexual relations".

            The terms don't mean to them what you think they mean.

            Even Democrats can be asses. Look at Rahm Emanuel.

            by Helpless on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 05:23:02 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        gooderservice

        but there is a review process if my local sheriff uses deadly force.

        Obviously in this case that cannot be done publicly, but it would be awfully nice to feel like I'm confident that there is one, and that it is conducted very seriously.

        •  I think that the review in these cases (0+ / 0-)

          is done ahead of time, wouldn't you think?

          Plaintiffs' Employment Law Attorney (harassment, discrimination, retaliation, whistleblowing, wage & hour, &c.) in North Orange County, CA.

          "I love this goddamn country, and we're going to take it back."
          -- Saul Alinsky

          by Seneca Doane on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 09:20:58 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I would hope so. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            aliasalias

            We don't really know a thing about it, so how can we feel confident that it's happening in a solid and relatively independent way?

            Review after the fact is still important to me, by the by, because if we do make decisions there poorly, we need that to be in some record and be carefully considered, even if that can't be public anytime soon.

            But the larger point is that we don't really have much to go on to feel confident that these decisions are being made with care, that there is a clear process of some kind that defines at least some bounds of when or where these are used.

            The internal review process used by the Sheriff etc isn't perfect, either, but at least there is one, and we know that it exists.

            •  Pursuing those questions is fine (0+ / 0-)

              I am confident that there is review ahead of time -- as has been asserted.

              Plaintiffs' Employment Law Attorney (harassment, discrimination, retaliation, whistleblowing, wage & hour, &c.) in North Orange County, CA.

              "I love this goddamn country, and we're going to take it back."
              -- Saul Alinsky

              by Seneca Doane on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 09:36:06 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Fair enough (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Seneca Doane

                Fundamentally, how would we know? We don't even know much about the lines of authority involved.

                It's not an easy problem, for multiple reasons. But it's one that I find really important to address on some level.

                This administration won't be in charge indefinitely, and there's precedent involved here. If "yep, we review it, we swear" were coming out of, say, a Romney admin, would an assertion be enough for that confidence? Reviewed by whom?

                It's very much less that I don't trust those currently deciding things -- I don't actually have a strong opinion one way or the other -- than that a system has to be solid enough to be able to draw those lines no matter who is in charge. They may step over them anyway, but at least then it's clearly not just fine.

                But thank you for reasonable discussion around it.

            •  Read about the Ruby Ridge siege (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              corvo

              A Senate Judiciary Committee held a 14 day hearing following Ruby Ridge.  Results?  In part

              The Subcommittee is […] concerned that, as Marshals investigating the Weaver case learned facts that contradicted information they previously had been provided, they did not adequately integrate their updated knowledge into their overall assessment of who Randy Weaver was or what threat he might pose. If the Marshals made any attempt to assess the credibility of the various people who gave them information about Weaver, they never recorded their assessments. Thus, rather than maintaining the Threat Source Profile as a living document, the Marshals added new reports to an ever-expanding file, and their overall assessment never really changed. These problems rendered it difficult for other law enforcement officials to assess the Weaver case accurately without the benefit of first-hand briefings from persons who had continuing involvement with him.
              Once Randy Weaver was identified as a threat, the Feds ignored contradictory information to build a case that he was a dangerous threat.  The CIA let itself be used to justify the Iraq war.  Does anyone think the CIA would be better at threat assessment than the FBI?

              Even Democrats can be asses. Look at Rahm Emanuel.

              by Helpless on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 05:37:00 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

    •  Hmmm...police can shoot you (0+ / 0-)

      ...if you are holding hostages and a weapon threatening to kill. Yep. They can execute you on sight. Fair and square.

      "Corruptio Optimi Pessima" (Corruption of the best is the worst)

      by zenox on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 10:14:36 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

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