Posts Tagged ‘Leon Panetta’

New study finds drone strikes more deadly to civilians than manned aircraft

Monday, July 8, 2013 at 8:23 am by

FE_DA_0205_Pakistan_Drone_Protest425x283In the past few years, the United States military has crossed a major threshold and entered a new kind of war. This new war is more covert than wars past, characterized by attacks occurring in many countries, away from front-lines and far from the reach of accountability.

Earlier this year, Former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta submitted a budget to Congress that illustrated this new kind of war, constituted by a large increase in special clandestine operations. These clandestine operations will largely depend on unmanned attacks, through the use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), more commonly known as drones. The use of drones has been validated by President Obama, who has argued that they are “notable for their precision.” Senator Dianne Feinstein (CA-D) “forcefully insisted” that drone strikes only killed “single digits” of civilians annually. However, a new report released by Larry Lewis, a principal research scientist at the Center for Naval Analyses, and Sarah Holewinski of the non-governmental organization Center for Civilians in Conflict, presents findings that stand in direct opposition to President Obama and Senator Feinstein’s statements. (more…)

News Digest 2/4/13

Monday, February 4, 2013 at 5:00 pm by

News Digest 2/1/12

Wednesday, February 1, 2012 at 5:00 pm by

Unlawful detention suit dismissed in name of national security

Tuesday, January 31, 2012 at 10:40 am by

José Padilla, convicted terrorist and United States citizen, alleged in a lawsuit that he was detained unconstitutionally and without due process.  The Fourth Circuit Court dismissed the suit, which named former and current Secretaries of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and Leon Panetta as defendants, thus protecting executive decisions from judicial scrutiny. Padilla claims that he was unlawfully detained and tortured in a South Carolina military jail for over three years. The American Civil Liberties Union issued a statement criticizing the ruling:

“Today is a sad day for the rule of law and for those who believe that the courts should protect American citizens from torture by their own government,” said ACLU National Security Project Litigation Director Ben Wizner, who argued the appeal in court. “By dismissing this lawsuit, the appeals court handed the government a blank check to commit any abuse in the name of national security, even the brutal torture of a U.S. citizen on U.S. soil. This impunity is not only anathema to a democracy governed by laws, but contrary to history’s lesson that in times of fear our values are a strength, not a hindrance.”

This case is about establishing the limits on the indefinite detention of US citizens under military custody—an especially critical question in light of the recent passage of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).  Section 1301(d) of the NDAA suggests that executive powers are not to be expanded beyond their current reach, but the Fourth Circuit’s ruling suggests, or at least does not deny, that those powers include authorizing the detention of American citizens without due process.  See Shahid Buttar’s analysis of this and other concerns related to the passage of the NDAA:

But presidents have already asserted the authority to detain US civilians in military custody. Just ask Jose Padilla. Another red herring emerges in section 1032(b)(1): “The requirement to detain a person in military custody under this section does not extend to citizens of the United States.” That’s a welcome change from earlier versions of the NDAA, but it doesn’t constrain the discretionary authority to detain US citizens created separately (by section 1031).