The Obama Admin’s Targeted Killing Trump Card

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I had a long post written on this Human Rights Watch letter to Obama administration, but MoJo’s blog software ate it, so I’m just going to link and excerpt:

We write to ask that your administration provide greater clarity about its legal rationale for targeted killings, including the use of Unmanned Combat Aircraft Systems (drones), and the procedural safeguards it is taking to minimize harm to civilians.

You should read the whole thing, but basically the key takeaway here is that even (long-anticipated) legal defeats on civil liberties issues, like the dismissal of the ACLU/CCR targeted killing case on Tuesday, don’t preclude continued pressure on decision-makers. In fact, the main point of the lawsuits themselves (which almost always fail) is to draw attention to these issues and increase the political costs of maintaining the status quo. As Benjamin Wittes points out, the ACLU and CCR are too politically sophisticated to think they have a good chance of winning these sorts of cases. They know how the state secrets privilege works. The ACLU’s appeal of the Jeppesen DataPlan detainee abuse case to the Supreme Court, announced Wednesday, will be a really hard sell. But the battle will draw more attention to the state secrets privilege, which is central to the Jeppesen case, and further increase the costs to the Obama administration of using its trump card.

These guys are playing the long game. I won’t be at all surprised if we eventually see the ACLU and CCR efforts pay off in the form of the Obama administration releasing more information about the legal rationale behind the targeted killing program.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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