Obama’s Kill List
by Stephen Lendman
Obama heads an administration Murder, Inc. agenda. He appointed himself judge, jury and executioner.
He targets anyone, anywhere for any reason or none at all. US citizens are vulnerable like foreign nationals.
Murdering them in cold blood is one Obama signature away. Drones are his weapon of choice. They’re instruments of state terror. They target alleged enemies half a world away or nearby.
Rule of law principles don’t matter. Obama makes his own rules. Despots govern this way. He operates like the worst of them. He does so with technological ease.
The Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) says Obama’s kill list mocks due process and habeas rights.
It circumvents judicial review. It gives presidents diktat power. It permits cold-blooded murder on their say. CCR executive director Vince Warren said earlier:
“The law prohibits the government from killing without trial or conviction other than in the face of an imminent threat that leaves no time for deliberation or due process.”
“That the government adds people to kill lists after a bureaucratic process and leaves them on the lists for months at a time flies in the face of the Constitution and international law.”
ACLU executive director Anthony Romero said earlier:
“A program that authorizes killing US citizens, without judicial oversight, due process or disclosed standards is unconstitutional, unlawful and un-American.”
We don’t sentence people to prison on the basis of secret criteria, and we certainly shouldn’t sentence them to death that way.”
“It is not enough for the executive branch to say ‘trust us’ – we have seen that backfire in the past and we should learn from those mistakes.”
On February 10, AP headlined “Obama Officials Weigh Drone Attack on US Suspect.”
At issue is an unnamed US citizen/suspected Al Qaeda member. US officials allege he plans attacking US targets.
Under so-called stricter drone killing guidelines, Obama weighs how to kill him. Judicial fairness isn’t a problem. It’s making murder look legitimate by sanitizing it.
Justice Department officials haven’t yet “buil(t) a case against him,” said AP. “Four US officials said (he’s) in a country that refuses US military action on its soil and has proved unable to go after him.”
So-called new policy guidelines created a “conundrum for the White House,” said AP. Allegedly they permit Pentagon murder only. CIA hit men are restricted to foreign nationals.
Two US officials called the suspect an Al Qaeda “facilitator.” They allege he’s “directly responsible for deadly attacks against US citizens overseas…”
They claim he plans more attacks with improvised explosive devices. They said he’s well guarded in a “fairly remote location.”
Unilateral attempts by US forces to capture him allegedly would be risky. Politically more-so than by predator drone attacks.
White House press secretary Jay Carney refused to comment. He cited Obama’s May 2013 counterterrorism speech, saying:
“When a US citizen goes abroad to wage war against America and is actively plotting to kill US citizens, and when neither the United States, nor our partners are in a position to capture him before he carries out a plot, his citizenship should no more serve as a shield than a sniper shooting down on an innocent crowd should be protected from a SWAT team.”
Lethal force is allegedly restricted to “to prevent(ing) or stop(ping) attacks against US persons, and even then, only when capture is not feasible and no other reasonable alternatives exist to address the threat effectively,” he added.
Targeted suspects must pose “a continuing, imminent threat to US persons.” AP said it constitutes “the legal definition of catching someone in the act of plotting a lethal attack.”
US guidelines aren’t worth the paper they’re written on. Catching someone in the act of plotting murder is what US officials claim.
The chasm between administration allegations and truth is big enough to fire multiple/side-by-side Hellfire missiles through.
What Obama says and does is world’s apart. He subverts international, constitutional and US statute law provisions.
Bill of Rights protections prohibits “depriv(ing) (anyone) of life, liberty, or property without due process of law.”
UN Charter provisions permit lethal force only in Security Council-authorized self defense. Nothing less is permissible.
Magna Carta principles date from 1215. They’ve stood the test of time. They affirm people rights.
They included due process, habeas, and others free societies take for granted. They mandate limited government power.
Obama operates by his own rules. He invents them to fit policy. He uses them unjustifiably. He does so to justify murder.
AP didn’t reveal the country’s name allegedly hosting the so-called American Al Qaeda.
Major media reports suggest it’s Pakistan. Why is hard to imagine. Drone warfare targets suspects Washington wants eliminated there regularly.
US officials said naming the country would compromise ongoing counterterrorism operations. They spoke on condition of anonymity.
They’re not authorized to discuss murder by drone policy publicly, they said. They don’t want Obama embarrassed more than already.
Justice Department, Pentagon and CIA officials declined to comment. Amnesty International said “little changed since last year, when it comes to government secrecy over killings.”
“The policy is still the stuff of official secrecy and speculation, when it should be a matter of open debate and explicit constraints.”
Since 2009, Obama killed four Americans abroad. Murder by drones eliminated them. They include Anwar al-Awlaki, Samir Khan, Jude Kenan Mohammed, and al-Awlaki’s teenage son, Abdulrahman. Allegedly only al-Awlaki senior was intentional.
Hina Shamsi heads the ACLU’s national Security Project. “The government’s killing program has gone far beyond what the law permits, and it is based on secret evidence and legal interpretations,” she said.
“The targeted killing of an American being considered right now shows the inherent danger of a killing program based on vague and shifting legal standards, which has made it disturbingly easy for the government to operate outside the law.”
Targeted administration killing operates with virtually no oversight. Rule of law principles remain inviolable. According to Shamsi:
“Outside of armed conflict zones, the Constitution and international law prohibit the use of lethal force unless it is used as a last resort against a concrete, specific, and imminent threat of grave harm.”
“Even in the context of an armed conflict against an armed group, the government may use lethal force only against individuals who are directly participating in hostilities against the United States.”
Relying “heavily on limited and apparently unreliable intelligence only heightens our concerns about a disastrous program in which people have been wrongly killed and injured.”
Drones kill indiscriminately. Mostly noncombatant civilians are affected. People living in targeted areas are terrorized.
Few high-value targets are eliminated. Drones are instruments of state terror. Killing is extrajudicial.
Obama decides who dies, where and when. Human lives don’t matter. Or fundamental rule of law principles.
Francis Boyle calls drone attacks “murders, assassinations, and extrajudicial executions.”
They constitute “a grave violation of international human rights law, the laws of countries where attacks take place, and US domestic law.”
They raise “serious problems of discriminating between civilians and insurgents engaged in armed conflict.”
Killing noncombatants “raises the issue of war crimes accountability.” Drones murder nameless, faceless people.
US citizens are as vulnerable as foreign nationals. US-style democracy subverts its own principles. Imagine a nation calling itself civilized operating extrajudicially.
Imagine calling it the right thing to do. Imagine getting away with murder with impunity. Imagine authorizing it as official US policy.
Imagine a swastika replacing the stars and stripes. Imagine it already there.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book is titled “Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity.”
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
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