I wrote yesterday about Obama administration assassination czar John O. Brennan's "disposition matrix," the targeting list allowing President Obama - and presumably all future presidents - to be prosecutor, judge, jury and executor.
Also yesterday, reports emerged about a New York City police officer arrested in connection with plots to abduct and cook innocent women:
A city police officer dreamed up plots to kidnap, torture, cook and eat at least 100 women whose photos, names and addresses he pulled from a confidential law enforcement databaseEveryone agrees the police officer's is a deeply twisted individual, whose conduct is a repugnant abuse of authority. The creep factor is off the charts, and law enforcement authorities deserve credit for capturing him before he was able to act on any of his sick and diabolical plots. It's particularly unsettling that the police officer used his position of power to help execute his plot. But, the police officer was a rogue agent, acting outside the law without endorsement from government.
On a global scale, and from a legal precedent perspective, a President serving as prosecutor, judge, jury and executioner, unilaterally and in secret, to obliterate anyone on the planet--based on admittedly "evolving" standards and imperfect information--is just as disturbing a plot. Worse, the assassination program is operated under the color of law and with the authority from the U.S. government.
Giving any President the power to execute people without any judicial process undermines basic constitutional principles - "Life, Liberty & Due Process."
While the Obama administration has made hay out of its "terror Tuesday" meetings, the ultimate power to decide who lives and who dies lies with one person - the President - who receives recommendations from one person - Brennan, who no one even elected.
. . . Brennan wields enormous power in shaping decisions on “kill” lists and the allocation of armed drones, the war’s signature weapon.The "final sign-off" means death for unsuspecting "targets" abroad - including American citizens - who have not been even been charged with a crime, much less tried and convicted in a judicial process as required by the Constitution. It also means death for anyone sitting near the targets, as an Obama administration official revealed is what got Anwar al-Awlaki's teenage American son killed:
When operations are proposed in Yemen, Somalia or elsewhere, it is Brennan alone who takes the recommendations to Obama for a final sign-off.
Two administration officials said that CIA drones were responsible for two of the most controversial attacks in Yemen in 2011 — one that killed American-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, a prominent figure in al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, and a second a few days later that killed his 16-year-old son, also an American citizen. One of the officials called the second attack “an outrageous mistake. . . . They were going after the guy sitting next to him.”We can easily see the sick and twisted nature of the NY Police Officer who uses his position of power to stalk and plan to murder innocent women in New York. We should not be so blinded to disturbing precedent of allowing the President to unilaterally make the decision in secret to wipe people from the face of the earth.
The sad irony is that the New York "abduct and cook" police officer will receive more due process than drone victims like al-Awlaki's 16-year old son, who was not suspected of any crime.