By now some of you have heard about or read the recent Washington Post story by Greg Miller about the Obama administrations efforts to make permanent its powers to kill anyone on the planet in the name of the war on terror. Glenn Greenwald, talking about the Post story and citing work by the ACLU of Massachusetts on the government's continuing attempts to increase their surveillance of us all, paints this chilling picture:
What has been created here – permanently institutionalized – is a highly secretive executive branch agency that simultaneously engages in two functions: (1) it collects and analyzes massive amounts of surveillance data about all Americans without any judicial review let alone search warrants, and (2) creates and implements a "matrix" that determines the "disposition" of suspects, up to and including execution, without a whiff of due process or oversight. It is simultaneously a surveillance state and a secretive, unaccountable judicial body that analyzes who you are and then decrees what should be done with you, how you should be "disposed" of, beyond the reach of any minimal accountability or transparency.
As if this were not bad enough, we know we have entered new territory in the destruction of our rights when a government official likens drone strikes to swatting flies as in this quote from Micah Zenko's Council on Foreign Relations post, Institutionalizing America’s Targeted Killing Program:
“It really is like swatting flies. We can do it forever easily and you feel nothing. But how often do you really think about killing a fly?”
Will you are I be a fly to some future administration? If we are, as Spencer Ackerman at Wired noted, we can thank Obama for that.