Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Lawfully Killing Americans Without Due Process: Just Trust Us?

A newly leaked Department of Justice (DOJ) 16-page memo says the government has the right to kill American citizens who are al-Qaida operatives and/or members of other terrorist organizations whether or not they're working on a specific plot against America. This white paper says the U.S. doesn't need clear evidence of a specific attack to strike, so, in other words, without due process. Moreover, keep in mind that this memo is not a legal document. It only lets us take a peek at the authority that the government is claiming, but the actual legal memos are still secret. The ACLU has litigated for those memos for two years, but the administration has refused to release them.

Early on in the memo, the document states the government will only target people who present an "imminent threat," however, Jameel Jaffer, deputy legal director of the ACLU, said that it “redefines the word imminence in a way that deprives the word of its ordinary meaning.”

"... it’s a very significant document, and it’s a remarkable document, and it’s something that everybody really ought to read, in the same way that everybody ought to read the torture memos from the last administration. It sets out, or professes to set out, the power that the government has to carry out the targeted killing of American citizens who are located far away from any battlefield, even when they have not been charged with a crime, even when they do not present any imminent threat in any ordinary meaning of that word. So it’s a pretty sweeping power that’s been set out. And the memo purports to provide a legal justification for that power and explain why the limits on that power can’t be enforced in any court.
[...]
If you look at the memo ... there’s no geographic line. "The Obama administration is making, in some ways, a greater claim of authority [than President Bush]. They’re arguing that the authority to kill American citizens has no geographic limit." --Jameel Jaffer
Prior to this leak, a group of 11 senators wrote a letter to President Barack Obama, asking him to release all Justice Department memos on the practice of targeting US citizens suspected of being terrorist leaders with lethal force, particularly drone airstrikes. The request comes as the administration seeks Senate approval for John Brennan, Obama's nomination for CIA chief.

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), one of eleven senators who are demanding more details about the administration's drone program says the bottom line here is that the Obama administration is telling Congress and the American people to, "just trust us."

 Is "just trust us" an appropriate standard for oversight? I don't think so. But even if you implicitly trust President Obama and his administration, this document, which potentially can be used to justify the assassination of U.S. citizens worldwide without a shred of due process or judicial oversight should still scare you to death.  Why? Because you may not trust the next guy in office who now has justification to act accordingly.

Links:

Obama Administration Claims Power To Authorize Pre-emptive Cyberwar Strikes -- A Pentagon document on the US cyber war doctrine will be put on President Barack Obama’s table in the next few weeks. Part of the US military doctrine, the cyber warfare doctrine stipulates launching pre-emptive cyber-attacks against potential enemies.

5 comments:

Anonymous,  21:29  

The problem is that the only people who can properly raise a song-and-dance about this in Congress, i.e the opposition, AKA the Republicans, are pretty much silent on this issue.
That's because the President is doing something they approve of and don't want him to stop.

This is their problem. Right-wing politicos, radio shock-jocks, columnists and talking heads can talk about the oppressive 'tyranny' of the Obama administration all they want, but until they apply it to the actual area where this presidency is now bordering on insanely unconstitutional, borderline tyrannical acts, instead of coming up with conspiracy theories about gun control and communist healthcare, they simply won't be taken seriously outside their base.

But as I said, they won't. Because they secretly approve of it and can't bear to let it be known that they like anything he does.

Roth's stepchild 21:37  

I agree 100%. They would rather distract people with the racist birth certificate nonsense than to deal with the issues they not only support, but is at the core of their ideology.

Anonymous,  21:45  

It's beyond chilling. It is disgusting. Americans justify the war on terror as noble in that they are spreading democracy while the government uses feeble legal arguments to kill Americans (who deserve equal treatment under the law) with impunity.

When an American is deemed an enemy of the state without due process and with no judicial review, clearly the abuse of power and illegal executions, assassinations, and murder can, have, and will continue to occur.

At the very least, such lazy applications of constitutional protections will allow for the military to make "innocent mistakes" and apply the excuse "the dead person was in the wrong place at the wrong time" or "he was a family member of such and such", etc.

Americans abroad deserve more protections not less- especially if the American military continues to be so brazenly imperialist.

How can Americans condone such behavior on one hand and then expect anyone to swallow their empty propaganda shoved down the throat with the other hand?

Killing anyone without due process should be illegal. Death should be made as inconvenient, unfeasible, and expensive as possible.

Our best export is not soft drinks, coffee, or burgers; it is the rule of law and due process is the most relevant rule of law there is.

No law, political ambition, policy, or national goal is more important than a single human life. Not even if that life is deemed unwanted by a select few- none of whom being a member of the judiciary.

It should be challenged and struck down immediately. The higher courts are too concerned with property rights and affirmative action when human life and the right to due process for all Americans should take a front seat especially as the slaughter of innocents continue.

Yes, that guy in Yemen was innocent until proven guilty.
Why? Because he was an American.
If you can't connect those dots you are as un-American as it gets.
Shame on you.

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