By Frank Whalen
Around the world, 2011 was a banner year of upheaval for established governmental authority. To some, this explains why the U.S. government is increasingly seeking tools to suppress dissent among the populace, lest that dissent lead to revolution.
It’s a worrisome trend that runs parallel to new detention powers mandated under the recently enacted National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Washington elites claim they have the power to order assassinations of Americans without ever putting them on trial.
As far as the procedure is concerned, Reuters reports that, according to officials, targeted individuals “are placed on a kill or capture list by a secretive panel of senior government officials, which then informs the president of its decisions.”
Reuters states that the official justification for this is that “the actions were permitted by Congress when it authorized the use of military force against militants in the wake of the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.”
Under these broad rules, then, even the most tenuous connection to a person or ideology deemed dangerous by the U.S. government could make someone a target for murder by the government.
In fact, the story goes on to say that the Obama administration “has not made public an accounting of the classified evidence” that Anwar al-Awlaki, the Muslim cleric and U.S. citizen assassinated via unmanned drone by order of the U.S. government, was “operationally involved in planning terrorist attacks,” and that officials acknowledged that some of the intelligence purporting to show Awlaki’s hands-on role in plotting attacks “was patchy.”
The use of unmanned aircraft to carry out such assassinations is on the rise internationally, and an expansion of surveillance on Americans is occurring as well from the land and, now, the air.
Online news and commentary site “Talking Points Memo” reported last month that police in Arlington, Texas have a surveillance drone and that the mayor of Ogden, Utah was working to get an unmanned blimp that would “fly over the city and serve as a deterrent to crime.” Also, in North Dakota, the report said, one family was arrested with the help of a Predator B drone. The article also revealed that the Houston police chief is considering using drones for issuing traffic tickets.
Frank Whalen has been a radio talk show host for the past 17 years and worked as a consultant for Maxim magazine. For more news and views from Frank, see www.frankwhalenlive.com.