NO ADVERTISING, GOVERNMENT OR CORPORATE FUNDING

  • Latest News
  • Pitch a Story
  • Work with a Journalist
  • Join the Blog Squad
  • Afghanistan
  • Africa
  • Asia
  • Baltimore
  • Canada
  • Egypt
  • Europe
  • Latin America
  • Middle East
  • Russia
  • Economy
  • Environment
  • Health Care
  • Military
  • Occupy
  • Organize This
  • Reality Asserts Itself
  • US Politics
  • Holder's Letter Does not Rule Out Targeting US Citizens Outside of Country (Non-citizens Can Be Killed Anywhere)


    Michael Ratner: Rand Paul's filibuster forces Attorney General to acknowledge US president can not order the killing of US citizens on American soil but does not rule out the global campaign of targeted assassinations -   March 8, 2013
    Members don't see ads. If you are a member, and you're seeing this appeal, click here


    Share to Facebook Share to Twitter


    I support The Real News Network because it is not entertainment...it is real news. - David Pear
    Log in and tell us why you support TRNN

    Bio

    Michael Ratner is President Emeritus of the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) in New York and Chair of the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights in Berlin. He is currently a legal adviser to Wikileaks and Julian Assange. He and CCR brought the first case challenging the Guantanamo detentions and continue in their efforts to close Guantanamo. He taught at Yale Law School, and Columbia Law School, and was President of the National Lawyers Guild. His current books include "Hell No: Your Right to Dissent in the Twenty-First Century America," and “ Who Killed Che? How the CIA Got Away With Murder.” NOTE: Mr. Ratner speaks on his own behalf and not for any organization with which he is affiliated.

    Transcript

    Holder's Letter Does not Rule Out Targeting US Citizens Outside of Country 
(Non-citizens Can Be Killed Anywhere)JESSICA DESVARIEUX, PRODUCER, TRNN: Welcome to The Real News Network. I'm Jessica Desvarieux in Baltimore.

    On Thursday, the Senate confirmed now CIA director John Brennan. That was after a day of filibustering from Senator Rand Paul. And here to discuss all this is Michael Ratner.

    Michael is the president emeritus of the Center for Constitutional Rights in New York and the chair of the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights in Berlin. He's also a board member for The Real News Network.

    Thank you for joining us, Michael.

    MICHAEL RATNER, PRESIDENT EMERITUS, CENTER FOR CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS: Good to be with you, Jessica.

    DESVARIEUX: So, Michael, tell us, what was this filibuster all about?

    RATNER: No, well, we can go to the filibuster, but first I think the big news for the day is that Brennan was confirmed by a vote of 63 to 34, getting almost every Democratic vote but two, not getting Bernie Sanders' vote. And you first have to say it's just a complete outrage. And if it illustrates anything, it's that the two parties are essentially on the same page when it comes to national security issues, drones, Guantanamo, etc. Yeah, the Republicans, a bunch of them voted, you know, against Brennan, but in the end this was a foregone conclusion.

    And what's shocking about it, of course, is that Brennan couldn't--not have been CIA director when Obama took office four years ago. Four years ago he was considered to have his hand too deeply in the so-called enhanced interrogation techniques--torture--and he couldn't get the job. Then he took over the drone policy. And now that he's running the drone policy, apparently that's just hunky dory with everybody. Let him shoot drones all over the world and kill people. And now he gets to be confirmed as CIA. But it wasn't without some scrappiness about it, and I think that's what you're referring to, which was the Rand Paul filibuster.

    Now, Rand Paul did something that I would have liked to see some liberal Democrats do, which is to filibuster and say, give us more information about what you're doing, give us some guarantees. Now, what Rand Paul asked for was really very narrow, and I think way too narrow. He wanted to guarantee that U.S. citizens residing in the United States, doing everything in the United States, would not be killed by drones while they're in the United States, but would be subjected essentially to the criminal law and arrested, etc.

    Eric Holder wrote a letter a few days ago to Senator Paul saying in what circumstances he would use arrests and when he could possibly use military force. It left open a big question. It did leave open the question of let's say there's an alleged terrorist in the United States who's an American citizen. He's not a current combatant. He's somebody they believe [incompr.] alleged terrorist, much like the people they kill overseas, even American citizens overseas, like Anwar al-Aulaqi, who they killed in Yemen, someone like that in the United States. Could that person be killed by a drone, or would they have to be arrested and taken to prison and tried, etc.?

    Holder gave a line in his letter that one could read ambiguously. I mean, it was pretty clear he said, we don't plan to use this, but it seemed to be a question of policy and that they could change their minds. And I think that was going to be a problem.

    So Rand Paul went on the floor on Tuesday and Wednesday--I guess Wednesday, almost all day, 13 hours, basically filibustered about this issue, what are the circumstances they can kill an American living in America if that person is an alleged terrorist. And finally, today, probably a few hours ago, this letter, which your viewers can get online, is a terse letter from the attorney general that says, dear Senator Paul, it has come to my attention that you have now asked an additional question ([incompr.] it was hardly an additional question), but, quote, does the president have the authority to use a weaponized drone to kill an American not engaged in combat on American soil. Eric Holder answers: the answer to that question is no.

    And that's interesting. So Paul actually did achieve something, because up until that letter it would have been the case that an American president felt that he had the authority and Obama felt that he had the authority and he may--Obama would have felt he had the authority, and he would have never know when he would have exercised it. This Rand Paul filibuster did get the president to say, if there's an alleged--really what he's saying: if there's an alleged terrorist on U.S. soil who's a U.S. citizen, we're not going to kill him with a drone. It doesn't necessarily say what else they're going to do, but it certainly does seem that they're not going to kill him with a drone. So that is an important admission. It is what got the votes for Brennan to get through in the end.

    But it's also much too narrow for me, as both a human rights lawyer, as someone who believes in the morality of our foreign policy and use of force, because it leaves open what the U.S. is actually doing today, which is with targeted assassinations, one means of which being drones. The U.S. is killing alleged terrorists or people they suspect might be terrorists with drones all over the world as if--as if Bush's global war on terror is continuing, and not just in Afghanistan, not in the edges around Pakistan, but in Somalia, in Yemen, could be in the United Kingdom, could be anywhere in the world. And that's really important, because what this administration, Obama administration has said: we can kill both U.S. citizens and foreigners outside the United States--foreigners they probably think they can murder inside the United States--but outside the United States we can kill American citizens, even if we don't think they're imminently about to attack the United States.

    And the case we have at the Center for Constitutional Rights is representing the grandfather and the father--the grandfather of Anwar al-Aulaqi, who was killed in Yemen by drone, and al-Aulaqi's son, Abdulrahman al-Aulaqi, who was killed two weeks later by a drone. And we're suing on behalf of his grandfather living in Yemen.

    They never had any idea that these two people--obviously, the 16-year-old, they had no idea that he was anything. That was either a wrong target or--I don't know what it was. With Anwar al-Aulaqi, they said, well, he's, you know, making propaganda, he's doing this, he's doing that. They said he's alleged to be involved in terror. But there was not the idea that he was pushing a finger on a button, that the guy had to be stopped imminently, that he had a specific threat, a concrete threat. And yet they took out this American citizen and his son, an American citizen.

    So what is not answered by Eric Holder in this letter to Rand Paul--and it did not seem to be a major concern of Rand Paul's or anybody else--is the killing of American alleged terrorists outside the United States, and certainly the killing of foreigners outside the United States. As of this time, it's something like 4,000 people have been killed by drones. Probably a quarter of those, maybe 800, 1,000, are civilians. And there's actually--it's completely, in my view, illegal.

    What we've seen here, and I think it's important for viewers to understand: there's two paradigms of law. There's one, what you can do in a war when people are actively combatants, when they're soldiers, when they're involved in a war directly. That's Afghanistan.

    When you take it outside of a war zone, then you have to use the paradigm of criminal law. You say, that person has to be arrested and extradicted. Or if they're about to push a button, yes, there's a very narrow circumstance. But it's under the criminal law that you can actually try and get rid of it in some way or another. It's very rare. That's the criminal law paradigm.

    But what Obama has done is take the war paradigm, just like Bush did, and using the, quote, authority of a law passed in 2001, after 9/11, the authorization to use military force, to expand, like Bush did, the global war on terror everywhere in the world.

    So do I feel safer as an American that Obama says he's not going to drone me sitting in my apartment in New York City? I may. I don't think I was about to be droned, but to the extent that means anything, sure. But should you feel safer if you're an American overseas or if you're a foreigner overseas or if you're living in Yemen or Somalia or Afghanistan or Pakistan or a dozen other countries in the world where we use drones or half a dozen? You should not feel any safer by what's happened. In fact, you should feel less safe, because the very person who's been directing the drones all over this world is now the head of the CIA, and he will continue to be in charge of death, killing, drones.

    DESVARIEUX: Well, we'll certainly continue to follow this story, and we'll have another weekly update with Michael Ratner next week.

    Thank you for joining us, Michael.

    RATNER: Thank you for being with me, Jessica.

    DESVARIEUX: Thank you for joining us on The Real News Network.

    End

    DISCLAIMER: Please note that transcripts for The Real News Network are typed from a recording of the program. TRNN cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.


    Comments

    Our automatic spam filter blocks comments with multiple links and multiple users using the same IP address. Please make thoughtful comments with minimal links using only one user name. If you think your comment has been mistakenly removed please email us at contact@therealnews.com

    Comments


    Latest Stories


    Ukraine Transitional Gov't Moves Militarily To Reclaim Seized Buildings
    IPCC Report Flawed By Narrow Focus on Carbon Emissions
    The Modern History of Venezuela: The Bolivarian Revolution - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (5/9)
    Obama Signs Directives to Reduce the Gender Wage Gap
    Eastern Ukraine Lacks Political Representation in Kiev
    Demystifying the Role of Mitigation in the Most Recent IPCC Report
    Hypersurveillance State Won't Prevent Another Boston Marathon Bombing
    The Modern History of Venezuela from 1973 to the Caracazo Massacre - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (3/9)
    Univ. of Maine Faculty Reinstated After Students Protest Against Cuts
    The Modern History of Venezuela from 1908 to 1973 - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (2/9)
    IMF Will Address Global Inequality, Says Managing Director Christine Lagarde
    Raising Big Banks' Leverage Ratio Good, But Not Nearly Enough
    TRNN Replay: Austerity Road to 19th Century
    Has Palestinian Maneuvering Revived Peace Talks?
    Late Jackson Mayor Lumumba's Son Wins Primary to Replace His Father, Runoff Election Ahead
    Quebecers Reject PQ and Elect a Liberal Government Representing Big Business
    TRNN Debate: Decriminalization vs. Legalization
    The Beginning of the Chavez Era - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (4/9)
    "Off With His Head": Court Upholds Obama's Power to Kill
    Workers at Nation's Top Hospital Strike For Fair Wages
    From Exile to Radicalization in Venezuela - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (1/9)
    Rwanda 20 Years Later: Genocide, Western Plunder of Congo, and President Kagame
    Ukrainian Protesters in the East Demand More Autonomy From Kiev Government
    Hunger Strikers Demand President Obama Halt His Record 2 Million Deportations
    Indian Parliamentary Elections - A Primer With Vijay Prashad
    West Looks to Carve Up Ukraine & Privatize Industries Held by Kleptocrats
    Where Are Israeli-Palestinian Peace Negotiations Headed?
    The Multiple Kingdoms of Saudi Arabia (5/5)
    Do the Afghan Presidential Elections Signify Progress?
    Republican Presidential Hopefuls Pay Homage to Billionaire Casino Tycoon Sheldon Adelson
    Will Extremist Lieberman Become Israel's Next Prime Minister?
    Why do the Saudis Want the US to Attack Iran? (4/5)
    Immigrant Advocates and Families Tell President Obama 'Not One More'
    Elections, Pipelines, and Protests - The Canada Panel
    Chris Hedges on "Israel's War on American Universities"
    Baltimore Residents Decry Lack of Affordable Housing
    Yellen Talks the Talk But Will She Walk the Walk?
    Hopkins Hospital Workers Speak Out against "Poverty Wages"
    Will Venezuela's New Floating Exchange Rate Curb Inflation?
    The European Central Bank's War on Wages is Pushing Europe's Economy to the Brink
    Supreme Court Decision Opens Floodgates for More Campaign Cash
    Charles Keating, the Financier Behind the Savings and Loan Scandal, Dies at 90
    Saudi Arabia and the al-Qaeda Monster (3/5)
    Maryland Residents Voice Opposition to Natural Gas Fracking Export Facility
    Supreme Court Ruling Gives Wealthy Individuals More Influence Over Elections
    What are the Saudis Afraid Of? - Madawi Al-Rasheed (2/5)
    Baltimore's MICA Adjunct Professors Set to Vote on Unionization
    Boycott of Israel Moving to Next Level?
    Hypocrisy Dressed Up as "Realism" Justifies American Alliance with Saudi Dictatorship
    Immigration Reform in the Shadows of Cesar Chavez's Legacy
    Leaked Senate Report Shows Use of Torture As "Ineffective"
    UN Report Says Climate Change Will Threaten Food Production Worldwide
    The Hypocrisy of US Calling for Enforcement of International Law
    How the Ecuadorian Economy Grew in a Global Recession
    'Shadows of Liberty' Trailer
    Kristina Borjesson on Why CBS Shut Down Her investigation into Flight 800 (2/8)
    Glen Ford on Racism in the American Media (3/8)
    Paul Jay on What Drives Corporate Media and What Drive The Real News (4/8)
    Creating a New Media Paradigm After Citizens United (5/8)
    Should The Left Engage with the Mainstream Media? (6/8)
    What Is the Financial Backing For The Real News? (7/8)
    Standing up to Character Assassination (8/8)
    Oligarchs, Fascists and the People's Protest in Ukraine
    TRNN Debate: Is Obamacare In the Interest of Workers?
    Too-Big-To-Fail Advantage Remains Intact For Big Banks
    Obama and the Saudi Agenda
    TRNN Replay: Investigating the Saudi Government's 9/11 Connection and the Path to Disilliusionment - Sen. Graham on Reality Asserts Itself pt 1
    The Iraq War's Real Legacy
    Petitions with 100,000+ Signatures Call for Snowden's Passport to be Reinstated
    We Need to Harness People Power - Andy Shallal on Reality Asserts Itself (4/4)
    BC Pipeline Fight and Quebec Elections - The Canada Panel
    Jonathan Schell - 1943-2014: Board Member of TRNN on Why We Need The Real News
    Teachers on Strike from the UK to Argentina
    Connecticut Poised to Become First State with $10.10 Minimum Wage
    Oil Spill Threatens Wildlife and Local Economy
    DC School Test Scores Up, But Poor Black Kids Are Doing Worse - Andy Shallal on RAI (3/4)
    Obama's Proposal To End NSA Bulk Data Collection Won't Protect Privacy
    How Google, Apple & The Biggest Tech Companies Colluded to Fix Workers' Wages
    An American Should be One that Questions Their Government - Andy Shallal on RAI (2/4)
    What's Driving Putin & Obama's Posturing on Ukraine?
    Hundreds of Students & Faculty Occupy College Campus to Fight Cuts to Public Higher Ed
    Due Process 'Impossible' In Harsh Death Sentencing Of Over 500 Muslim Brotherhood Members
    Has Anglo-American Capitalism Run Out of Steam?
    Being the "Other" in America - Andy Shallal on Reality Asserts Itself (1/4)
    TRNN Debate: Should Baltimore 'Ban The Box'?
    How Fallujah Became the Iraqi Government's New Battleground
    Why I Decided to Blow the Whistle on the NSA
    NASA Climate Predictions Show Serious Threat To Humanity
    Professor Who Teaches Israel-Palestine Conflict Accuses College of Violating His Academic Freedom
    CIA and NSA Wrongdoing Requires Independent Investigation, Says Former Church Committee Staff
    Are Tuition Breaks Enough To Combat High Student Debt And Low Graduation Rates?
    Industries Across the U.S. Are Stealing Wages From Their Lowest Paid Workers
    Who In Ukraine Will Benefit From An IMF Bailout?
    NSA Recording All International Calls From U.S.
    Israel "Making Lives Miserable" for Africans, Hoping They 'Self-Deport' (2/2)
    BP Gets Green Light to Drill in Gulf, But Has Safety Improved?
    Residents Still Not Drinking Tap Water Two Months After West Virginia Spill (1/2)
    Libya's Descent Into Turmoil Three Years After NATO Intervention
    From Pipelines to Peladeau - Canadian Report
    Israel "Making Lives Miserable" for Africans, Hoping They 'Self-Deport' (1/2)
    Congressional Progressive Caucus Budget Strikes Back Against Austerity
    Libya Three Years Later - Chaos and Partition
    Why Was Gaddafi Overthrown?
    Should Ukraine and West Accept De Facto Crimea Joining Russia? (2/2)
    Tony Benn Saw Socialism as the Culmination of Democratization
    Why Didn't Bush/Cheney Attack Iran and Can Obama Make and Sell a Deal? - Gareth Porter on Reality Asserts Itself (3/3)
    After Late Mayor Lumumba is Laid to Rest, What's Next for Jackson, Mississippi? (2/2)
    Crimea Referendum: Self Determination or Big Power Manipulation? (1/2)
    Sen. Graham: President Must Side with Openness About CIA and 9/11
    Manufacturing a Narrative for War - Gareth Porter on Reality Asserts Itself (2/3)
    Protesters Hit the Streets of Brooklyn to Demand $15 Minimum Wage
    Hammer: 'Moral Bankruptcy' Behind Massive GM Recall
    White House Withholds Thousands of Documents from Senate CIA Probe
    I Grew Up Believing in Time Magazine's Version of America - Gareth Porter on RAI (1/3)
    Western European Banks Vulnerable to Ukrainian Sovereign Debt Crisis
    TRNN Debate: What's Driving Inflation in Venezuela? (2/2)
    CIA vs. Senate: Who Is Obama Protecting?
    Will Tipped Workers Get Excluded Again From Minimum Wage Hike?
    TRNN Debate: What's Driving Inflation in Venezuela? (1/2)
    After Late Mayor Lumumba is Laid to Rest, What's Next for Jackson, Mississippi?(1/2)
    TRNN Replay: A Look at Who's Poised to Become No.2 at the Fed
    How Right-Wing Nationalism Rose to Influence in Ukraine (2/2)
    Netanyahu Attacks Boycott As Campaign Enters New Phase
    Moving Towards a Police State - Michael Ratner on Reality Asserts Itself (7/7)
    Fighting Reagan's Secret, Illegal Wars - Michael Ratner on Reality Asserts Itself (6/7)
    Puerto Rican Independence Movement and Cuba Further Radicalized Me - Michael Ratner on RAI (5/7)
    The Butcher of Attica - Michael Ratner on Reality Asserts Itself (4/7)
    MLK and a Radicalizing Moment in American History - Michael Ratner on Reality Asserts Itself (3/7)

    RealNewsNetwork.com, Real News Network, Real News, Real News For Real People, IWT are trademarks and service marks of IWT.TV inc. "The Real News" is the flagship show of IWT and Real News Network.

    All original content on this site is copyright of The Real News Network.  Click here for more

    Problems with this site? Please let us know

    Linux VPS Hosting by Star Dot Hosting