THE HANDSTAND

WINTER 2012

president obama second term

Obama Administration Must Account to Congress for Targeted Assassinations

The White House will not even release the legal advice about its drone kill policy. The American people needs full oversight

By Dennis Kucinich 

November 17, 2012 "
The Guardian" --  According to news reports, President Obama maintains a list of alleged militants to be assassinated. Some are US citizens. None will get to plead his case. The president tells us to trust that this is all perfectly legal and constitutional, even though Congress is not allowed to see any legal justification. The weapon of choice in these assassinations: remote-controlled planes called drones.

The targeted killing of suspects by the United States is slowly and quietly becoming institutionalized as a permanent feature of the US counterterrorism strategy. Unless members of Congress begin to push back, such killings will continue – without any oversight, transparency or accountability. Victims of drone strikes – including US citizens – are secretly stripped of their right to due process and are arbitrarily deprived of their life, in violation of international human rights law.

The attempted characterization of drones as a precise weapon is irrelevant and chilling because it values the alleged high-tech efficiency of the killing above the rule of law. Drones are a weapon that must be subject to the same constraints and laws as every other weapon employed by the US government. As the authors of a recent groundbreaking report by Stanford and New York Universities on drones in Pakistan powerfully stated:

"In the United States, the dominant narrative about the use of drones in Pakistan is of a surgically precise and effective tool that makes the US safer by enabling 'targeted killing' of terrorists, with minimal downsides of collateral impacts. This narrative is false."

Four years into the Obama administration's vast expansion of the program, members of Congress and the public are still being denied access to internal legal memos, which purportedly serve as the basis of the legal justification for such killings. More than a decade after 9/11, even people in support of the program recognize its risks. A former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) analyst and adviser to the administration likened the policy to mowing the lawn:

"You've got to mow the lawn all the time. The minute you stop mowing, the grass is going to grow back."

In other words, the perceived short-term benefits may be obscuring significant long-term costs.

These strikes do not occur in a vacuum. They have very real consequences for our long-term national security. In Pakistan,they have fueled significant anti-American sentiment and serve as a powerful recruitment tool for terrorists. According to some estimates, our drone strikes have resulted in the death and injury of thousands of innocent civilians. Despite repeated claims that such drone strikes are vital to ensuring our safety, the number of "high-level" targets killed as a percentage of total casualties is extremely low – estimated at just 2%.

The world is now our battlefield. Our credibility as a voice for human rights has been undermined. A dangerous precedent has been set for all nations.

All US government officials, including the president, want to ensure the safety of the United States. At the same time, we have a responsibility to the American people to ensure that programs being conducted in our name are done with at least a minimum of transparency and accountability. We have a responsibility to re-evaluate these policies if there is any indication that they could be harmful to us in the long run.

Regardless of where one stands on the efficiency of the United States' use of drone strikes as a cornerstone of its counterterrorism strategy, we can all agree that Congress must fully exercise its oversight powers to ensure that the program is being conducted in accordance with the law. This means examining what civilian protection measures – if any – the CIA and the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) use when conducting drone strikes; requiring the administration to make available its legal justification for such strikes; and evaluating the strategic value of this program in comparison to other available counterterrorism tools.

We must reject the notion that Congress and the American people have to be kept in the dark when it comes to modern warfare. We must begin with a full and robust debate on the ramifications of these policies. We must insist upon full accountability and transparency.

2012 Guardian News and Media Limited

Keep Applying the Pressure - Demand Obama Stop the Extrajudicial Killing of Black People

Date: Thu, 8 Nov 2012 09:35:10 -0500
From: kaliakuno@gmail.com
To: theblacklist@lists.riseup.net


Now that Barack Obama has been reelected President of the United States of America, it is imperative that the racial justice movement hold him and his administration accountable for the extrajudicial killing of Black and oppressed people
throughout the country.

The Obama administration must assert its authority over the various law enforcement entities throughout the country and stop the discriminatory policies and programs that demean and endanger Black life like racial profiling, stop and frisk, the war on drugs, and mandatory minimum sentencing that facilitates mass incarceration. 

Our movements must step up our organizing and action over the course of the next several days, weeks, months and years to ensure that the Obama administration complies with our demands. We call on you to once again join us in raising the basic demands listed below by continuing to call, fax, and email the White House and the Department of Justice and tell them to act now! 

Forward!
The Malcolm X Grassroots Movement 
Thursday, November 8, 2012 

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Every 36 Hours a Black Person is killed by the Police in the United States

Take Action Now!

In the first six months of 2012, one Black person every 36 hours was executed in the United States. Since January 1, 2012, police and a much smaller number of security guards and self-appointed vigilantes have murdered at least 140 Black women, men and children. 

This epidemic constitutes an egregious human rights crisis that the Federal Government has a fundamental obligation to address. As party to the Convention to Eliminate all forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD) the United States government has an obligation to protect the lives of racial minorities. The government is also obligated under various civil rights laws and executive orders to protect the lives of African Americans. 

The Malcolm X Grassroots Movement urges you to demand that the White House and the Department of Justice take the following corrective measures to respect, protect, and fulfill the human rights of African Americans:

1. A Federal investigation into the civil and human rights violations taking place with the impunity of local police forces throughout the country. 
2. A Federal review of the rules of engagement authorizing the use of deadly force being employed by police forces throughout the country. 
3. The creation of a Federal database, in line with the 2008 CERD Committee recommendations, that documents cases of extrajudicial killings and acts of police brutality against racial minorities throughout the United States. 
4. The issuing of Federal injunctions against those police departments where two or more extrajudicial killings of Black people have occurred over the past nine months. 
5. The issuing of Federal consent decree’s authorizing the creation of locally elected Police Control Boards in cities and/or counties that demonstrate patterns of systemic racial profiling, brutality, and extrajudicial killing. 
6. The creation of a National Plan of Action for Racial Justice to eliminate institutional racism and its expressions in racial profiling, police brutality, extrajudicial killing, mass incarceration and discrimination in housing, educational access, health care, employment, banking and credit markets. 

Please call or email the White House and the Department of Justice at the addresses provided below and make your voice heard. 

White House
202.456.1111 Comment Line
202.456.2461 Fax Number
To email the White House use the following linkhttp://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/submit-questions-and-comments
 

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"Perhaps now that President Obama has been elected to a second term,

we will finally receive a response to our letters and petitions concerning Juneteenth and honoring the Americans of African descent who built the

 White House."

 Rev. Ronald V. Myers, Sr., M.D., Founder & Chairman

National Juneteenth Observance Foundation (NJOF) 

 662-392-2016