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On March Fifth, President Obama's Attorney General Eric Holder presented a speech at Northwestern University to explain President Obama's approach to targeted assassinations and legal justification for them, including a retroactive justification of the assassination of US citizen Anwar Al-Awlaki.

In the speech, Holder articulated a new standard of due process that President Obama is relying on as a basis for his actions:

Some have argued that the President is required to get permission from a federal court before taking action against a United States citizen who is a senior operational leader of al Qaeda or associated forces.   This is simply not accurate.   “Due process” and “judicial process” are not one and the same, particularly when it comes to national security.   The Constitution guarantees due process, not judicial process.
Unfortunately, Mr. Holder did not present any evidence that the process that the administration is providing meets any particular standard other than the "trust us on this" standard.

What does "due process" mean to you?  For me it brings to mind things like proper notice of a legal action to be taken against you and the grounds for the action, the right to challenge that action before an unbiased judge and/or jury of your peers, the right to present evidence, the right to know what evidence is being used against you, the right to face and cross-examine adverse witnesses, the opportunity to be represented by counsel, the opportunity to appeal an adverse ruling... American citizens generally have some ideas about what due process is and these sorts of basic ideas about what due process is do not appear to have much in common with Mr. Obama's new "due process."

According to a Reuters report by Mark Hosenball, this is how Mr. Obama's new "due process" works:

American militants like Anwar al-Awlaki are placed on a kill or capture list by a secretive panel of senior government officials, which then informs the president of its decisions, according to officials.

There is no public record of the operations or decisions of the panel, which is a subset of the White House's National Security Council, several current and former officials said. Neither is there any law establishing its existence or setting out the rules by which it is supposed to operate. ...

Several officials said that when Awlaki became the first American put on the target list, Obama was not required personally to approve the targeting of a person. But one official said Obama would be notified of the principals' decision. If he objected, the decision would be nullified, the official said.

A former official said one of the reasons for making senior officials principally responsible for nominating Americans for the target list was to "protect" the president.

Holder asserts that because the administration notifies "the appropriate members of Congress" (doubtless retrospectively) about the administration's actions in order to fill their oversight function, that is a key part of creating a substitute for a full proper process that includes the rightful role of the judicial branch:
That is not to say that the Executive Branch has – or should ever have – the ability to target any such individuals without robust oversight.   Which is why, in keeping with the law and our constitutional system of checks and balances, the Executive Branch regularly informs the appropriate members of Congress about our counterterrorism activities, including the legal framework, and would of course follow the same practice where lethal force is used against United States citizens.

In attempting to retrospectively justify the administration's assassination of Anwar Al-Awlaki, Holder (sounding an awful lot like John Yoo) asserts (without providing evidence) that Al-Awlaki was a "senior operational leader of a foreign terrorist organization" which allegedly justifies the assassination:

The conduct and management of national security operations are core functions of the Executive Branch, as courts have recognized throughout our history.   Military and civilian officials must often make real-time decisions that balance the need to act, the existence of alternative options, the possibility of collateral damage, and other judgments – all of which depend on expertise and immediate access to information that only the Executive Branch may possess in real time.   The Constitution’s guarantee of due process is ironclad, and it is essential – but, as a recent court decision makes clear, it does not require judicial approval before the President may use force abroad against a senior operational leader of a foreign terrorist organization with which the United States is at war – even if that individual happens to be a U.S. citizen.
Emptywheel presents an excellent analysis demonstrating that the statements that Holder provides to support his claim that Al-Awlaki was a senior operational leader of al-Qaeda are insubstantial, embroidered and conflict with other evidence that DOJ provided last month. It's worth a read.

I never thought that I'd miss the days when George W. Bush was president and Democrats had more firm ideas of what due process meant.  I seem to remember a lot of hoopla among Democrats about the victory in Hamdi v. Rumsfeld.  Democrats thought that it was a good thing that the Supreme Court smacked down Mr. Bush's abuse of executive power in detaining administration designated "enemy combatants" without appropriate due process.

If you have forgotten what Hamdi vs Rumsfeld was all about click the link, but here's the important part:

The Bush administration claimed that because Hamdi was caught in arms against the U.S., he could be properly detained as an enemy combatant, without any oversight of presidential decision making, or without access to an attorney or the court system. The administration argued that this power was constitutional and necessary to effectively fight the War on Terror, declared by the Congress of the United States in the Authorization for Use of Military Force Act passed after the September 11th terrorist attacks.
The Supreme Court overwhelmingly confirmed the rights of US citizens to proper due process rights and corrected the Bush administration's ridiculous assertion that its war powers and the pressing needs of national security meant that the executive branch processes could replace the role of the judicial branch.  

Here are some of Justice O'Connors greatest hits in the Hamdi v. Rumsfeld opinion:

We therefore hold that a citizen-detainee seeking to challenge his classification as an enemy combatant must receive notice of the factual basis for his classification, and a fair opportunity to rebut the Government’s factual assertions before a neutral decisionmaker. See Cleveland Bd. of Ed. v. Loudermill, 470 U.S. 532, 542 (1985) (“An essential principle of due process is that a deprivation of life, liberty, or property ‘be preceded by notice and opportunity for hearing appropriate to the nature of the case’ ” (quoting Mullane v. Central Hanover Bank & Trust Co., 339 U.S. 306, 313 (1950)); Concrete Pipe & Products of Cal., Inc. v. Construction Laborers Pension Trust for Southern Cal., 508 U.S. 602, 617 (1993) (“due process requires a ‘neutral and detached judge in the first instance’ ” (quoting Ward v. Monroeville, 409 U.S. 57, 61—62 (1972)). “For more than a century the central meaning of procedural due process has been clear: ‘Parties whose rights are to be affected are entitled to be heard; and in order that they may enjoy that right they must first be notified.’ It is equally fundamental that the right to notice and an opportunity to be heard ‘must be granted at a meaningful time and in a meaningful manner.’ ” Fuentes v. Shevin, 407 U.S. 67, 80 (1972) (quoting Baldwin v. Hale, 1 Wall. 223, 233 (1864); Armstrong v. Manzo, 380 U.S. 545, 552 (1965) (other citations omitted)). These essential constitutional promises may not be eroded.

...

    In so holding, we necessarily reject the Government’s assertion that separation of powers principles mandate a heavily circumscribed role for the courts in such circumstances. Indeed, the position that the courts must forgo any examination of the individual case and focus exclusively on the legality of the broader detention scheme cannot be mandated by any reasonable view of separation of powers, as this approach serves only to condense power into a single branch of government. We have long since made clear that a state of war is not a blank check for the President when it comes to the rights of the Nation’s citizens. Youngstown Sheet & Tube, 343 U.S., at 587. Whatever power the United States Constitution envisions for the Executive in its exchanges with other nations or with enemy organizations in times of conflict, it most assuredly envisions a role for all three branches when individual liberties are at stake. Mistretta v. United States, 488 U.S. 361, 380 (1989) (it was “the central judgment of the Framers of the Constitution that, within our political scheme, the separation of governmental powers into three coordinate Branches is essential to the preservation of liberty”); Home Building & Loan Assn. v. Blaisdell, 290 U.S. 398, 426 (1934) (The war power “is a power to wage war successfully, and thus it permits the harnessing of the entire energies of the people in a supreme cooperative effort to preserve the nation. But even the war power does not remove constitutional limitations safeguarding essential liberties”).

2004 was a great time when Democrats rallied around the principle of due process for US citizens when an overreaching executive branch tried to cut the other branches out of their role while screaming about national security and the imminence of further attacks. How Democrats will react now when another overreaching executive branch is using the same tactics not just to detain US citizens without proper process but to assassinate citizens without proper process remains to be seen.  Will Democrats fail to rise to the occasion because the overreaching executive branch baying about national security and the imminence of further attacks is a Democratic administration?  One would hope that progressives would stand by their principles and call on this administration to respect the law.

A final note... a couple of days ago I posted a diary that detailed one of the Obama administration's creative interpretations of laws to quell speech and speculated as to whether a bill awaiting Obama's signature might be used similarly.  In the comments several lawyers, including the Daily Kos site's official lawyer Adam B went to some effort to explain that the statutory interpretations that were presented by a couple of other lawyers in the diary were indeed incorrect.  (Thanks for your efforts at education, Adam B.)  Unfortunately, they missed a key point of the diary.  Lawyers frequently disagree over statutory interpretation (heck, they get paid to disagree) but what is of great importance is not whether one group of lawyers is correct about an interpretation or not.  Often what is important is how close to executive power a lawyer or group of lawyers is and how much damage is done by incorrect statutory interpretations while the executive branch works the levers of power to enforce poor interpretations of law and uses whatever legal trickery they can arrange to avoid review by the judicial branch.  We all knew that John Yoo and several of his legal colleagues in the Bush administration were promoting preposterous legal interpretations, but it took a considerable amount of time for the actions of the Bush administration based upon them to come to light and even longer for them to work their way through the system to be challenged and repudiated.

We cannot allow any administration to promote bad policy based upon twisted interpretations of law.  If they are allowed to twist the meaning of something as basic as "due process" to support assassinating American citizens, who knows what might come next, if not by this administration, by a successor administration?

Originally posted to joe shikspack on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 05:37 AM PST.

Also republished by The Rebel Alliance and ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement.

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Comment Preferences

  •  quote of the day... (31+ / 0-)
    Because if we're going to win our never ending war on terror, there are bound to be casualties and one of them just happens to be ...our Constitution.
    ~Stephen Colbert

    I shave my legs with Occam's razor.

    by triv33 on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 05:47:50 AM PST

  •  The solution is for Congress to step (5+ / 0-)

    up to the plate and pass laws governing this.  

    They gave the President a blank check in 2001.  Time to claw that back, or at least put down some guidelines.

    Overseas military target selection is not something courts will ever touch with a ten-meter pole.

    "[R]ather high-minded, if not a bit self-referential"--The Washington Post.

    by Geekesque on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 06:01:53 AM PST

    •  when the target is a us citizen... (16+ / 0-)

      to whom the executive is applying what is very arguably a cruel and unusual punishment also without significant due process, i think they might rouse themselves.

      of course, problems of standing to get the case before the courts might arise since those directly affected by the action would have been fried by hellfire missiles.

      i'm part of the 99% - america's largest minority

      by joe shikspack on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 06:11:04 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  oh and in light of support for ndaa... (16+ / 0-)

        i have little faith that congress is going to do anything other than roll over and beg for more drone attacks unless the composition of congress is drastically changed.

        i'm part of the 99% - america's largest minority

        by joe shikspack on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 06:12:35 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  We saw with Al Awlaki that the courts refused (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Frank Knarf

        to get involved.   Courts aren't going to intervene into military target selection on behalf of someone who hasn't even submitted himself to their jurisdiction.  

        Also, the legal justification was not punishment, but rather prevention.  

        "[R]ather high-minded, if not a bit self-referential"--The Washington Post.

        by Geekesque on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 06:24:28 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  if i remember correctly... (6+ / 0-)

          one of bush's "hanging judges," bates dismissed the case brought by awlaki's father for lack of standing and also based on the (somewhat meaningless in executive privilege assertions in light of the scotus' decision on nixon's privilege) "political question doctrine."

          i think that given a different judge, the outcome might have been significantly different, the obama administration lucked out in their assignment of judges.

          i'm part of the 99% - america's largest minority

          by joe shikspack on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 06:30:45 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  No, the judge's ruling was completely accurate. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Frank Knarf, GoGoGoEverton

            He expressed significant discomfort with this scenario, but his hands were tied.

            Al Awlaki's father did lack legal standing.  And overseas military operations have always been committed to the political branches, not the judicial.

            It wasn't a close call, on the law.

            The ACLU and CCR didn't even bother to appeal.

            "[R]ather high-minded, if not a bit self-referential"--The Washington Post.

            by Geekesque on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 06:54:50 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  the ACLU couldn't appeal, State Secrets ya know (6+ / 0-)

              and joking aside ,they did try to establish that a father did have skin in the game when it's his son getting executed.
               I also think the administration should not just parade trophy scalps but take responsibilty for all the other collateral murders,...like al-Awaki's son who was bombed two weeks later when looking for his father. Otherwise it's a bomb em all and take credit for anyone found in the rubble deemed a terrorist, but ignore the other bodies.

              without the ants the rainforest dies

              by aliasalias on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 10:56:47 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

      •  You just showed how weak your argument is: (6+ / 0-)

        The only distinction you can come up with between killing Osama without a trial and Holder's announcied policy is, one was born in American and one wasn't, so one's a citizen and one isn't.

        It's not juat that there's not consitutional distinction: both citizens and non citizens have the exact same right to trial under the constitution.   I woudln't have it any other way, would you?

        It's that it's morally the same: there's nothing about american citizenship that is a "you get to shoot at us and we get to try to arrest you" get out of jail free card.  Don't ask me, as a miilion Confederate soldiers.  Or your run of the mill street criminal who turns a gun on cops.

        The bottom line, you feel safe enough from one or two americans working overseas, to kill americans overseas, that you can make a special rule protecting them.   Good for you, but someone else is going to pay the price for your going out of your way to make an exception for them.  Just so you know.

        Romney is campaigning to be President SuperBain; his cure is to cut wages, end pensions, let companies go bankrupt, and let the assets of production go dark or be sold to China. He really thinks thats the best of all possible Americas.

        by Inland on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 06:47:02 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  assassinations are illegal regardless of... (9+ / 0-)

          citizenship.  there would be a weakness in my argument if holder had provided evidence that awlaki was akin to a traditional general/admiral/commander and he was imminently launching an armed attack on the united states.  fortunately for my argument there is no such weakness in evidence.

          i'm part of the 99% - america's largest minority

          by joe shikspack on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 06:59:33 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  You're proving my point again. (0+ / 0-)
            my argument if holder had provided evidence that awlaki was akin to a traditional general/admiral/commander and he was imminently launching an armed attack on the united states.
            There you go again.  "Immediatly launching an armed attack on the United States" is basically what I said: as long as the terrorist  isn't about to kill YOU, you fell safe enough to make an exception for him.

            By the bye, it's not an "assassination".   Not under the law, not under the common sense.  But you're so invested in making this a fair fight where we find these guys on a battlefield and shoot the gun our of their hand and take them prisoner just like the movies, you've got to find some term that makes it seem sneaky and illegal.

            Romney is campaigning to be President SuperBain; his cure is to cut wages, end pensions, let companies go bankrupt, and let the assets of production go dark or be sold to China. He really thinks thats the best of all possible Americas.

            by Inland on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 07:09:27 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  no evidence for awlaki's operational role... (6+ / 0-)

              awlaki has never been shown to have taken up arms, nor is there any evidence that he was anything other than a cleric with a big mouth.

              i'm part of the 99% - america's largest minority

              by joe shikspack on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 07:35:40 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  That you know of. nt (0+ / 0-)

                Today, strive to be the person you want to be.

                by GoGoGoEverton on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 08:09:44 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  that anybody knows of... (7+ / 0-)

                  a decent respect for the opinions of mankind requires that they should produce evidence to support their contention that awlaki needed to be assassinated.

                  i'm part of the 99% - america's largest minority

                  by joe shikspack on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 08:18:30 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  The notion that the State has secret knowledge (4+ / 0-)

                  that justifies a priori anything its representatives choose to argue or to do is no more than an especially pernicious sort of CT.

                  When you triangulate everything, you can't even roll downhill...

                  by PhilJD on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 08:25:30 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I have no idea how to practically balance this (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    PhilJD

                    situation, do you?

                    We can all say "this is bad" and "we should never do this" or make other absolutist arguments, but do absolutist policies actually work in the real world?

                    Let's take the case of a heroin dealer, US citizen.

                    Heroin dealer is legally surveilled, and arrested when detectives gather enough evidence to prove that he was trafficking heroin.

                    At the trial, evidence against the dealer is presented. The evidence includes cell phone conversations that were recorded via a new device that the police recently purchased, that can pick the signals out of the air and listen.

                    4 other heroin dealers attended the trial. When this evidence came out, they stopped using cell phones to communicate.

                    So let's compare that to Yemen, where huge parts do not get cell phone service or ANY phone service, and not all areas even have electrical service. Intelligence is gathered by spies/moles/agents, exclusively. If evidence is presented publicly PRIOR to an arrest or killing, then those we are targeting with the indictment will surely know how they were found out, and eliminate that problem. If the indictment is sealed until after the arrest or elimination, perhaps that source is not found out, but can never be used again, nor can his/her methods.

                    So basically we're faced with secret evidence that we have to trust is there (which poses problems for sure), or the expense/time/danger of our intelligence operations is increased exponentially.

                    It's not nearly as black & white when you have to make real-world decisions.  

                    Today, strive to be the person you want to be.

                    by GoGoGoEverton on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 10:31:01 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

          •  They may be illegal under international law (9+ / 0-)

            but the Constitution doesn't require due process for non-US residents not in the US, i.e. people over whom the US has no jurisdiction.

            A US citizen outside the US is still under the US' jurisdiction. Bin Laden outside the US would not have been.

            This is why citizenship matters.

            Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath

            by Robobagpiper on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 07:10:00 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Wrong on two points. (0+ / 0-)

              Non citizens outside of the US have constitutional rights.  That's why Gitmo detainees got rights under the Supreme Court decisions.

              And while theoretically, a US citizen has a constitutional right to a trial, a US citizen that is purposefully avoiding US jurisdiction is a fugitive, and a US citizen who takes up arms against the US gets the same rights as any one of our confederate brothers.

              Romney is campaigning to be President SuperBain; his cure is to cut wages, end pensions, let companies go bankrupt, and let the assets of production go dark or be sold to China. He really thinks thats the best of all possible Americas.

              by Inland on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 07:21:52 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Gitmo detainees had rights because the court (7+ / 0-)

                ruled that by being held in US custody, they were under US jurisdiction. That's why I used that word. Pay closer attention. A foreign person not under US jurisdiction, outside its borders and not in its custody, has no Constitutional rights whatsoever; as the Constitution is moot as regards such persons, except insofar as the US has treaties with their own governments.

                Secondly, you once again repeat the administration-friendly-pundit lie of "take up arms". Had Al-Awlaki taken up arms, there would be no dispute. That he did so is not in evidence anywhere. The administration didn't even begin to leak insinuations of an "operational role" for him to its media lapdogs until the death warrant had long been sealed and the issue was being actively opposed by pro-civil liberties pundits and the ACLU.

                And while "my President's people said he took up arms!" may be good enough for you, it's not good enough for Constitutional muster. Indeed, due process was implemented precisely to avoid this sort of executive overreach.

                Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath

                by Robobagpiper on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 07:30:07 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  "Jurisdiction" is a legal conclusion. (0+ / 0-)

                  All it means is that the US has legal power over that person.  "A foreign person not under US jurisdiction, outside its borders and not in its custody, has no Constitutional rights whatsoever" is a circular statement.

                  What you've done is set up the perfectly amoral argument that it would be constitutional to kill Osama in his house, with his wives and bodyguards...unless he was an american, in whcih case we'd have to leave him be.    

                  It's another stretch to find something, SOMETHING that makes American citizens different, so that if Osama had been an American, we couldn't have popped him in the house.  

                  Had Al-Awlaki taken up arms, there would be no dispute
                  I think that's belied by your statement that it's "not in evidence".   The idea that the US can ever prove to people who aren't interested in what the US has to say that "he's taken up arms" shows its just a roadblock to prevent war.   And it's a movie matinee concept of justice and morality, where the bad guy gets one shot off that misses so that the good guy is justified in blowing him away.   Funny thing, in real life, bad guys don't always miss and don't always get shot and don't always pull the trigger themselves.  And Americans die.

                  Romney is campaigning to be President SuperBain; his cure is to cut wages, end pensions, let companies go bankrupt, and let the assets of production go dark or be sold to China. He really thinks thats the best of all possible Americas.

                  by Inland on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 07:46:21 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

              •  Where is the evidence that Awlaki took up (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                aliasalias, joe shikspack

                arms?

                The influence of the [executive] has increased, is increasing, and ought to be diminished.

                by lysias on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 12:51:17 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

          •  So offing Yamamoto was OK but if Roosevelt (0+ / 0-)

            had ordered the killing of a propaganda official it would have been a crime?  How about attacks on industrial infrastructure with inevitable civilian casualties?

            Where are we, now that we need us most?

            by Frank Knarf on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 07:17:27 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  I agree that the constitution makes (10+ / 0-)

          no distinction between American citizens and non-citizens, but the argument cuts both ways. Holder says al-Alwaki is entitled to due process, so that has to mean that bin Laden was too.

          The 2001 AUMF could've been written to distinguish between the people responsible for 9-11 and those who weren't -- like al-Alwaki -- but it refers to the groups, so that we have a situation where, for example, Al Shabab -- which has 40 American members -- has now qualified under the 2001 AUMF for targeted killing w/o trial by merging with AQ. They're also entitled to Obama's meaningless version of due process.

          Obama's interpretation of the AUMF is not an unreasonable one, but the law itself makes a mockery of international law, and its implications are horrific, as the dead children piling up in Pakistan aptly demonstrate.

          Someone somewhere better start drawing some fucking distinctions and setting some limits.

          •  They got due process. (0+ / 0-)

            Holder's point about due process was absolutely correct and always has been: ask a million confederate soldiers or your common perp who points a gun at a cop.

            Al Shabab -- which has 40 American members -- has now qualified under the 2001 AUMF for targeted killing w/o trial by merging with AQ.
            I guess you're in favor of a grandfather clause, as in "if you joined Al Shabab before the merger, you're safe?"

            Here's a better idea: don't participate in these terror groups.

            Romney is campaigning to be President SuperBain; his cure is to cut wages, end pensions, let companies go bankrupt, and let the assets of production go dark or be sold to China. He really thinks thats the best of all possible Americas.

            by Inland on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 07:13:47 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  Who exactly did Al Awlaki "shoot" at? (5+ / 0-)

          The battlefield is one thing. If John Walker Lindh, say, had been killed in a firefight in Afghanistan, I doubt anyone would have described it as an "assassination." That's why the analogies between Al Awlaki and the handful of Americans killed by US troops while fighting as part of the German army in WWII are so specious... yet even that argument is sometimes advanced here.

          Would you have been entirely comfortable with a targeted assassination of Bernadine Dohrn? The Weather People were avowed enemies of American imperialism, after all... and some of them were building bombs.

          When you triangulate everything, you can't even roll downhill...

          by PhilJD on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 07:18:25 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  That's the "fair fight" theory of the law. (0+ / 0-)

            As long as we give him a chance to personally shoot a gun, then he's safe.

            That's the sort of morality and legality that you see in cheap movies: the bad guy shoots first, misses, so the good guy is justified in blowing him away to the cheers of the audience.

            The Weather People were avowed enemies of American imperialism, after all... and some of them were building bombs.
            Oh, my god again.   Yes, that's what's relevant...that they had a POLITICAL reason for what they did.  Because that's all this stuff is about: one set of people are against imperialism, and that's what qualifies them for assassination.

            Here's the story: we arrest or capture people when we reasonably can.   When the person who is a combatent or a criminal endangering life makes it unreasonably dangerous to arrest or capture them, then force is justified.  

            That's why Osama, as one example, could have turned himself in for trial in New York anytime he wanted.  But as it turns out, some people don't want a trial.  They want to get away and keep doing what they are doing.

            Romney is campaigning to be President SuperBain; his cure is to cut wages, end pensions, let companies go bankrupt, and let the assets of production go dark or be sold to China. He really thinks thats the best of all possible Americas.

            by Inland on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 07:36:36 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  That's going to take a long time (18+ / 0-)

      I was just thinking of the Cointelpro hearings the other day, and wondering what happened to the country where that could have happened.  It seems almost inconceivable that we could have a Congressional hearing that far-reaching and confrontational to executive power overreach these days.  In order to do so, we need a lot more good Democrats in the House and Senate, and we'll probably need to endure another Republican president who will engage in even more dictatorial acts to set them in motion.  I can't see even "good" Democrats holding such hearings to put a Democratic president on the spot.

      Not a pretty thought, I'm afraid.

      When Free Speech is outlawed, only outlaws will have Free Speech.

      by Dallasdoc on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 06:20:53 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  yes, i was thinking about the church commission (8+ / 0-)

        as i wrote this.  i don't think in the climate of manufactured hysteria about terrorists behind every woodpile and under every bed, that such a rational assessment of policy can occur in congress.  that's why i was hoping that the courts might lend a hand to defending the constitution.

        i'm part of the 99% - america's largest minority

        by joe shikspack on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 06:24:53 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Under the separation of powers and (0+ / 0-)

          standing doctrine, courts are guaranteed to stay on the sidelines.

          To begin with, Al Awlaki is an oddball case--literally unprecedented in terms of the facts.  Their may not be another American targetted like this in our lifetimes.

          Standing makes it a Catch-22--in order to file suit, he would have to submit himself to the courts' jurisdiction, therefore mooting the targeted kill option in the first place.

          "[R]ather high-minded, if not a bit self-referential"--The Washington Post.

          by Geekesque on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 06:46:29 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  The best case scenario is for the (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Dallasdoc, Cedwyn, tytalus

        US to get al Zawahiri, and then withdraw from Afghanistan.

        Once that happens, the argument that we're at war gets weaker.  

        And, needless to say, we need to get the Republican majorities out of Congress.  They are consistent in that they want to give whoever is President almost unlimited authority, and want no part in any kind of oversight.

        The trap is that no President is going to declare victory over AQ and that the 'war' is over, only to have a bomb explode on a commuter train the next day.

        "[R]ather high-minded, if not a bit self-referential"--The Washington Post.

        by Geekesque on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 06:28:34 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  terror will never surrender... (9+ / 0-)

          it's good to see that you recognize that this is an endless war driven by the political considerations of the executive.

          i seem to remember madison making some mention of this circumstance...

          i'm part of the 99% - america's largest minority

          by joe shikspack on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 06:35:56 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  It's driven by a lot of things. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            PhilJD

            Let's not pretend that this action by Obama was unpopular.   Until the average American starts objecting to this, no chance the political branches do.

            "[R]ather high-minded, if not a bit self-referential"--The Washington Post.

            by Geekesque on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 06:50:12 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  it didn't popularize itself... (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              SpecialKinFlag, gooderservice, lysias

              there is a vicious cycle that is created as politicians pander to the public that they and the chattering classes have spent so much effort to frighten.  it can't have escaped politician's notice that they can manufacture a problem that they can be seen as providing a solution to and thus curry the favor of the public at election time.  

              i'm part of the 99% - america's largest minority

              by joe shikspack on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 07:17:26 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Manufacture? (0+ / 0-)

                Al Awlaki was tied to multiple terrorist or otherwise armed attacks against the United States and others.

                Nidal Hassan
                Underwear Bomber
                Cargo Planes plot

                Not to mention people in Yemen killed on his instructions, as well as people in the United States who've had to go into hiding because he issued a fatwa against them.

                "[R]ather high-minded, if not a bit self-referential"--The Washington Post.

                by Geekesque on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 07:23:31 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  perhaps you have evidence that holder doesn't (5+ / 0-)

                  to support these allegations of awlaki's operational role?

                  say, aren't courts "finders of fact?"  has a court found these facts to be true?

                  i'm part of the 99% - america's largest minority

                  by joe shikspack on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 07:39:55 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  They do for criminal trials where (0+ / 0-)

                    the defendant is in custody and no longer a threat to keep on killing people.

                    Courts simply don't get involved in threat prevention actions overseas.

                    "[R]ather high-minded, if not a bit self-referential"--The Washington Post.

                    by Geekesque on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 07:40:57 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  surely if citizenship as a concept has any meaning (5+ / 0-)

                      ... then it means that you can't have your name brought up in a "star chamber" wherein you are charged with secret evidence and marked for murder.

                      it is well to note that, as david mizner points out, holder states in his speech that due process is a right that awlaki retained.

                      i'm part of the 99% - america's largest minority

                      by joe shikspack on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 08:06:58 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Sure, but the emphasis is on 'due' (0+ / 0-)

                        Citizenship means many things, but it does not mean one has a right to join an enemy of the United States and participate in that enemy's attacks without being treated like an enemy.

                        Enemies and criminal defendants get treated much differently.

                        The line is pretty clear:  if you're a citizen, and the US is in armed conflict with an entity or foreign state, don't sign up with that entity or state and try to help it attack the United States.  

                        "[R]ather high-minded, if not a bit self-referential"--The Washington Post.

                        by Geekesque on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 08:10:46 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  sounds like a bush administration frame there... (3+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          gooderservice, lysias, Dallasdoc

                          and there are different forms of "participation" that have different ramifications as to the sort of action that is proportional and correct to take.

                          i'm part of the 99% - america's largest minority

                          by joe shikspack on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 08:20:45 AM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Planning and directing puts a person (0+ / 0-)

                            directly in the line of return fire.

                            Same reason it was okay to kill bin Laden.

                            "[R]ather high-minded, if not a bit self-referential"--The Washington Post.

                            by Geekesque on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 08:33:06 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  The intelligence officer in me was disgusted by (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            joe shikspack

                            the failure to take bin Laden alive.  Think of the information he could have provided to interrogators!

                            The influence of the [executive] has increased, is increasing, and ought to be diminished.

                            by lysias on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 01:00:45 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  After being Mirandized and (0+ / 0-)

                            having a lawyer there to tell him not to talk to anyone?

                            "[R]ather high-minded, if not a bit self-referential"--The Washington Post.

                            by Geekesque on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 01:50:40 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  There was no need to Mirandize him (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            joe shikspack

                            if we weren't going to put him on trial.  He could have been held indefinitely like the other people in Guantanamo.  Which would have had the further benefit of keeping him around as a potential source of information.

                            Which was more important, getting the information skilled interrogators could have gotten out of him, or the political plus of killing him?

                            The influence of the [executive] has increased, is increasing, and ought to be diminished.

                            by lysias on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 02:32:16 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

            •  The polls of (5+ / 0-)

              mass deception say otherwise. Ordinary people are sick of this bogus war. I know no one except a 92 year old woman who is scared of 'terrist's killing yer family'. As for AQ it's like Occupy horizontal and nebulous. Over the years we've been treated to the absurdity of  numerous announcements of  we got #3 or #4 on the lists of the hierarchy of this handy dandy shadow organization but there is always going to be a #3 or #4 to replace the ones we 'take out'. Who makes these lists? The spooks, our secret police like the KGB or Stasi,who are covert and are so secret that even congress isn't privy to their over site. Intelligence my ass. Ask me the CIA and HLC is way more dangerous to US citizens and the world then this Orwellian enemy, 'terrorism' that as Jon steward said is a 'feeling'.    

              •  With due respect, the numbers are pretty clear: (0+ / 0-)

                http://motherjones.com/...

                Here are the poll results: Overall 83 percent of Americans approve of the use of "unmanned, 'drone' aircraft against terrorist suspects overseas," 59 percent strongly and 26 percent "somewhat." Of those who approve, 79 percent think the use of targeted killing against American citizens abroad who are suspected of terrorism is justified. The Washington Post's Greg Sargent, who takes a closer look at the internal numbers, finds that "Democrats approve of the drone strikes on American citizens by 58-33, and even liberals approve of them, 55-35." Whether as a result of partisan identification with the president or an artifact of the United States shifting to the right on counterterrorism policy in general, it doesn't seem likely that Obama will pay a high political price with his base for either the escalation of drone strikes since taking office or the use of drones to kill Americans abroad suspected of terrorism.
                This is the political reality that those seeking to restrain this kind of policy have to deal with.  The courts are not going to be a solution.  

                "[R]ather high-minded, if not a bit self-referential"--The Washington Post.

                by Geekesque on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 10:19:44 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  So politically loaded polls (7+ / 0-)

                  trump the law? We make a living off polls and stats, and the numbers don't lie but the tea leaf readers, the analysts, and the questionnaires sure as hell jerk around and slice and dice the respondent's replies. They end up getting what they are going after. Regardless of the validity of political polling it has no bearing on the truth or the Great Writ. Garbage in and your going to get garbage out. They only measure how effective the con is.  President Bush great president or greatest president?      

            •  Seems to me the members of the political branches (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              aliasalias, joe shikspack

              swore an oath to the Constitution.  That ought to come ahead of what's politically popular.

              The influence of the [executive] has increased, is increasing, and ought to be diminished.

              by lysias on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 12:58:39 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  We need a sane Republican party (9+ / 0-)

          I'm afraid that as long as the Republicans are in their fever-dream phase of uncontrolled extremism, Democratic courage on these issues will be impossible to come by.  The hypothetical of another attack on the US will prevent any ambitious politician from becoming a defender of civil liberties against intrusion by government snooping.

          The only real out I see is if the freedom-loving Republicans start moderating themselves, and actually take the lead on defending freedom.  That could break the spell cowardice has put on the Democrats, and maybe we could finally begin having a sane national political dialogue again.  Perhaps a real drubbing in this election might start that process, but first the reactionary extremism will have to play out on their side.

          When Free Speech is outlawed, only outlaws will have Free Speech.

          by Dallasdoc on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 06:36:11 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  We'd actually need an internal conflict (12+ / 0-)

        between different factions in the political clas, such as characterized the era of the impeachment proceedings against President Richard Nixon.  Nixon was a sacrificial lamb in the transition between populist Keynesianism as it marked policy before 1971 and neoliberalism as it shaped policy after 1973.  There were people who needed to be kicked to the curb in this transition, and Nixon was one of them.  Of course Nixon committed enough out-in-the-open crimes to be worthy of the role.

        There is no such conflict evident in the political class today.  They are all united behind neoliberalism, austerity planning, and endless war -- each and every one of them.

        "Take me to a circus tent/ Where I can easily pay my rent" -- Marty Balin

        by Cassiodorus on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 06:36:12 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  It's amusing how you (12+ / 0-)

      "Congress" and "step up" in the same sentence. Congress has, with a few notable exceptions, hid in the cloak room while the past two president have gobbled up power.

      If Congress was of a mind to step up, the best thing they could do on this front would be to revoke the 2001 AUMF immediately, or to have its end coincide with the end of combat operations in Afghanistan. Declare victory if you must.

      That's the root problem here, that horrible law that only one Congress person (not Ron Paul, not Russ Feingold) opposed even though many people were screaming about its ridiculousy broad, international-law devouring mandate, whereby the executive can use "necessary force" to go after AQ and the Taliban forever, without geographical limits.

      So now we have a situation where the FBI director isn't sure whether, under the Obama doctrine, the government can kill without a trial Americans on American soil. Because of of course by the logic, such as it is, of the Obama policy, the government does indeed have that power.

      A war that cannot be won and cannot be lost, with the entire world as a battlefield. How ya doin?

      •  Bad facts make for bad law. (0+ / 0-)

        The way our system is set up leaves the courts out of this decision.  

        There should be some kind of formal process for this.

        But, absence of Congressional action or responsibility cedes the entire field to the executive.

        "[R]ather high-minded, if not a bit self-referential"--The Washington Post.

        by Geekesque on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 06:48:19 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  That's ONE solution, certainly... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      joe shikspack

      It would be an eminently reasonable suggestion in an alternate universe, one in which American politics was not almost exclusively the domain of terrorized "warriors" ardently fighting yesterday's threats and today's shadows.

      In the world we actually live in though, politicians of either party are no more likely to step up to the plate on this than the courts are.

      We need another solution.

      The Executive will never willingly cede power; neither Congress nor the courts are inclined to take it. Where does that leave us? Who still remains with the ability to act? You do the math Geek.

      Us.

      When you triangulate everything, you can't even roll downhill...

      by PhilJD on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 08:41:48 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not sure what 'we' are supposed to do. (0+ / 0-)

        There are three branches of government, and for anything to change citizens must leverage at least one of the three.  Certainly when it comes to the overseas use of armed force.

        It could very well be that Al Awlaki's fact pattern does not get repeated in our lifetimes.

        Al Awlaki was a problem that was left to the executive to ad hoc.  The only way to avoid an executive ad hoc is to have prior restraint via legislation.

        The big fight is when this transitions from AQ centric to a more global, permanent policy.  That's the time of greatest danger, and greatest opportunity.  

        "[R]ather high-minded, if not a bit self-referential"--The Washington Post.

        by Geekesque on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 09:40:05 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'm not sure either... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          joe shikspack, aliasalias

          Not when the country is so deeply unconcerned about the erosion of the Bill of Rights... regardless of which party is in power. I despair for the American Republic. I really do.

          If there is anything we can do, it can't even start until we convince people that this shit matters.

          When you triangulate everything, you can't even roll downhill...

          by PhilJD on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 09:53:25 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  The action will have to be in the (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            PhilJD

            political branches.

            And it will have to be in the form of setting ground rules affirmatively, not depending on interpretations of the constitution that no court is going to enforce or even have jurisdiction to enforce.

            Which means advocates for the civil liberties side of the debate are going to have to come to the table and grapple with the tough questions, e.g. what is the standard that should govern the use of force to prevent attacks on the United States from transglobal terrorist networks?  Not enough to oppose, but will be necessary to propose as well.

            "[R]ather high-minded, if not a bit self-referential"--The Washington Post.

            by Geekesque on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 10:08:03 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  Al Awlaki's son was killed two weeks (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          joe shikspack, aliasalias

          after he was.  Doesn't make it look as if the killing of Al Awlaki was a one-off.

          The influence of the [executive] has increased, is increasing, and ought to be diminished.

          by lysias on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 01:05:34 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Yep. (7+ / 0-)

    As you yourself pointed out in a previous diary:

    "Take me to a circus tent/ Where I can easily pay my rent" -- Marty Balin

    by Cassiodorus on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 06:10:58 AM PST

  •  There will be more Addingtons and Yus (15+ / 0-)

    and there will be other Executives. The precedent being set here, the twisting of legal interpretation, is very disturbing to me and appears to take us down a very dark road to a dystopian future.

    Thank you for gathering the information and for your clear presentation. An ill wind is blowing these days, Joe.

    'Cause the fire in the street, Ain't like the fire in the heart/ And in the eyes of all these people, Don't you know that this could start, On any street in any town ~ FZ

    by cosmic debris on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 06:14:36 AM PST

  •  It's not clear how this would be accomplished: (4+ / 0-)
    ...“For more than a century the central meaning of procedural due process has been clear: ‘Parties whose rights are to be affected are entitled to be heard; and in order that they may enjoy that right they must first be notified.’ ...
    Making it even more necessary that Congress take action.
  •  i wish you had another option on your poll, namely (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HamdenRice

    "I appreciated the ag's well reasoned defense of the admiinistration's policy and agree with him that the killing of anwar al Awlaki was a legal and justified use of force pursuant to the constitution, the aumf and the international laws of war."

    `You needn't go on making remarks like that, ... they're not sensible, and they put me out.'

    by seanwright on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 06:22:31 AM PST

  •  The Constitution provides the only mechanism (4+ / 0-)

    for "robust oversight" to the Executive branch, should it decide to deprive a person over whom it has jurisdiction of life, liberty, or property. That is the Judicial branch.

    An Executive that sidesteps this is acting unconstitutionally and tyrannically.

    Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath

    by Robobagpiper on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 06:45:23 AM PST

    •  I agree he should've been indicted. (0+ / 0-)

      I somehow doubt most of the participants in this diary would've been placated by that (assuming Al-Awlaki wasn't taken out immediately afterward). I don't think it's the same as the Hamdi case because it wasn't as if Awlaki was in custody and we just weren't letting him into a court.

      The 14th is a double-edged sword...being born in a country with no racial/cultural unity does not guarantee your allegiance, to be sure.

      Today, strive to be the person you want to be.

      by GoGoGoEverton on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 07:00:27 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The problem with an indictment would have (5+ / 0-)

        been "on what".

        The best the administration could come up with was "inspired people to take up arms against the US"; which is protected speech under Brandenburg. They arranged for cowardly anonymous leaks to friendly stenographic media that implied (but never stated) more "operational" roles, but there's a gulf between accusation and proof that is precisely why we have due process in the first place.

        Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath

        by Robobagpiper on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 07:08:02 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Let's assume for the moment that the present (9+ / 0-)

    administration WILL use this authority wisely and sparingly.

    Sooner or later, there is going to be another Republican president. Is anyone willing to trust the Thugs to be equally cautious?

    Those are the stakes. Recent history has shown all-too-clearly that executive powers, once assumed, are never given up.

    Not by either party.

    When you triangulate everything, you can't even roll downhill...

    by PhilJD on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 06:52:21 AM PST

  •  The real twisted interpretation of the law is the (4+ / 0-)

    authorization for all this.  Holder made that point and that the authorization was not just for Afghanistan but anywhere they deem it necessary for their GWOT.   The AUMF must be rescinded. We can't go along playing their game about the details of this bullsht excuse for imperialism.

  •  I understood that the AUMF would expire when (0+ / 0-)

    we exit Afghanistan, which ends the GWOT, right?

    President Obama has been clear from primary days about ending AQ and similarly dangerous affiliates.  Killing an enemy combatant isn't government-sanctioned assassination AFAIK.  

    It would be best if we'd acknowledged our vulnerability to terrorism and laid some groundwork 20 years ago, but we didn't and now we're fucked.

    I don't understand the arguments about protecting al-Awaki because he's a citizen.  Should Timothy McVeigh have been allowed to hole up in Yemen and avoid prosecution?  He's a citizen who wasn't being protected by a foreign government.  He could be located, arrested, and tried.  I'm pretty damn sure Obama and Holder would have preferred that scenario for al-Awaki.  It would be a coup for the administration to capture and try a "citizen" terrorist, pointedly highlighting the ineptness of Bush et al once again.  

    I'm not freaking out yet.  For some reason these arguments remind me of the civil liberties battles about traffic cameras.  If you don't want the ticket, don't run the damn light.  If you want to live a peaceful life don't lead a terrorist group.  

    I'm not looking for a love that will lift me up and carry me away. A love that will stroll alongside and make a few amusing comments will suffice.

    by I love OCD on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 07:39:35 AM PST

    •  Holder said the AUMF clearly extends beyond (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      joe shikspack, SpecialKinFlag

      Afghanistan.  It's a worldwide authorization and doesn't matter whether we (say) we're getting out or not.

    •  i think you misunderstand the aumf... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SpecialKinFlag, aliasalias

      it is not tied to afghanistan as far as either administration that has operated using its authority is concerned.

      i don't assume that obama and holder would have preferred to capture and try awlaki.  i may be cynical in saying this, but it seems to me that bush in particular, but also obama revel in the way that dramatic acts such as assassinations make them look "tough on terror."

      i'm part of the 99% - america's largest minority

      by joe shikspack on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 08:12:49 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well whatever floats your boat. (0+ / 0-)

        I prefer to believe that President Obama and AG Holder have some higher goals than that, and I've not yet been led to believe I'm wrong about that.  Time will tell, as it told for passing a health care reform law, and punishing BP, and ending DADT and not defending DOMA and leaving Iraq and blocking Keystone and restoring strength to the EPA and protecting workers and bailing out and reanimating the auto industry and higher mileage standards and actual growth in the manufacturing sector and getting repaid for much of the TARP bailout and sending fraudulent banksters to jail and passing a much better than expected financial reform law, and forming a CPFB with teeth and an attitude about how to do the job for consumers and untying foreign aid from sex education and contraception and working with other countries to prevent genocide and killing the architect of 9/11 and....

        Well that's the short list of what he's done in 3 years with a Congress full of morons, Dems who are scared to act like Dems, and a press that spends 90% of it's energy telling the lies the Republicans want repeated.

        But feel free to try to scare me, because I'm too silly to have any of those pesky annoying facts that support my belief in this man.

        I'm not looking for a love that will lift me up and carry me away. A love that will stroll alongside and make a few amusing comments will suffice.

        by I love OCD on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 11:18:53 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Maybe naive, but (0+ / 0-)

    it seems to me it could be considered self-defense to kill an American who has become a traitor.  You can kill in self-defense without due process.

  •  Holder, show us teh memo nt (5+ / 0-)

    “In the beginning there was nothing, which exploded.” Terry Pratchett

    by 420 forever on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 07:47:16 AM PST

  •  "The only thing missing from this picture is a (6+ / 0-)

    grassroots political movement organized specifically to demand an end to the Permanent War State.  Such a movement could establish firm legal restraints on the institutions that threaten American Democratic institutions through a massive educational and lobbying effort."

    http://www.commondreams.org/...

     

  •  Remember when Democrats were all up in arms (6+ / 0-)

    about Bush illegal wiretapping and torture of so called terrorists.   Now it's hard to get a rise out of illegal assassinations.  

    •  sad ain't it... (3+ / 0-)

      i guess there are some principles that depend on who is in power.

      i'm part of the 99% - america's largest minority

      by joe shikspack on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 08:22:44 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  And it's not going to get a rise. (0+ / 0-)

      Americans don't really care about the constitution or the rule of law. Many claim they do, but they don't. Many don't even understand the constitution. They care about results. They view the death of a man who encouraged the murder of innocent Americans as justified. It's hard to lose any sleep over the death of a guy like al-Awlaki.

      •  Results? Ya, they care about the results they're (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        joe shikspack

        told to care about.  A classic "can't see the forest thru the trees" scenario.  

      •  nobody that i know of thinks awlaki was a swell... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        BigAlinWashSt, aliasalias, lysias

        fellow.  they aren't losing sleep over the fact of his demise.

        the demise of constitutional rights is something to be concerned with.  perhaps that makes us nerds or geeks or whatever, but these things matter to some of us.

        i'm part of the 99% - america's largest minority

        by joe shikspack on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 08:51:10 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Well, the results we're seeing are an increasingly (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        joe shikspack

        powerful and intrusive government that is more and more taking on the trappings of a police state.

        In exchange for that, I would gladly accept a certain risk of terrorist attacks.

        Only a fool thinks he can be perfectly safe.  Someone who is willing to make government all-powerful because he's scared of terrorists is misjudging where the biggest threat is coming from.

        The influence of the [executive] has increased, is increasing, and ought to be diminished.

        by lysias on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 01:10:29 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Really depressing (3+ / 0-)

      'two legs better' immorality and totally upside down cart before the horse politics. Certainly makes the fear factor of the bat shit crazy Republicans pale. Thing is this nasty is not going to stay in foreign places where people here can get a big hate on for 'others' who they are told are going 'to kill yer family'. The world is the new battlefield and Homeland Security is internal.

      Taking away the laws that protect us and reinterpreting  basic old law, like due process, habeaus corpus or posse comitatus. only makes us all potential enemies of the state. Under this logic they ought to assassinate Rush he certainly incites violence. I cannot understand why those who fought the bushies turn around and now use the same unbelievable fictions and bogus fears to argue for the destruction of our laws, and rights.

      The law is king not these neocon NWO anti-democratic, criminals. The bush doctrine and then some, is alive and creating a fiercer urgency day by day. why argue for the destruction of what our selected government official swore to uphold. Lawyers can dick around the law in anyway they want but that doesn't make it the law. It only codifies the lawlessness.      

  •  Well isn't that special (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    joe shikspack, aliasalias, lysias
    A former official said one of the reasons for making senior officials principally responsible for nominating Americans for the target list was to "protect" the president.
    Sounds a lot, an AWFUL lot like what went on in Bush's White House. It didn't help Bush avoid accountability, and I don't think it'll help Obama either. And...

    What? You say Bush DID avoid accountability? How could THAT happen? I mean, with Obama in there, and looking into Bush's crimes...

    ... oh... right. I get it now.

    "Any dictator would admire the uniformity and obedience of the U.S. media." -- Noam Chomsky

    by ratmach on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 11:04:06 AM PST

  •  a great post by emptywheel with an Al Jazeera (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    joe shikspack

    broadcast discussing the CIA killing al-Awlaki . http://www.emptywheel.net/...

      I find Crowley’s citation of it notable because, while as State Department spokesperson, he strongly argued for the humane treatment of Bradley Manning (and got fired for it), he also routinely criticized the WikiLeaks leaks of State Department cables.
    Yet even he now finds himself relying on them to try to understand what the government did when it targeted an American citizen. And Crowley does so while calling for more transparency from the Administration.

    Details about Yemen’s role is, of course, one of the things the Administration invoked state secrets to hide back in 2010. But it is also now widely known and crucial to discussions of whether the attack on Awlaki was legal or not.

    I can think of few better examples of how the Administration’s own secrecy encourages not just the leaking of classified information, but the validation of those leaks. In a democracy, the Administration has an obligation to share a reasonable explanation about its claims that it can kill American citizens with no court review.

    without the ants the rainforest dies

    by aliasalias on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 12:27:47 PM PST

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