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Obama’s Killings Challenged Again

Discussion in 'BBS Hangout: Debate & Discussion' started by Hightop, Jul 20, 2012.

  1. Hightop

    Hightop Member

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    This murderer needs to be stopped.

    [​IMG]

    <p>The ACLU and the Center for Constitutional Rights this morning <a href="http://www.aclu.org/files/assets/tk_complaint_to_file.pdf">filed a lawsuit</a> in federal court against several Obama officials, including Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and CIA Director David Petraeus. The suit is brought on behalf of the survivors of three American citizens killed in Yemen by the U.S. Government — killed specifically by the CIA and the Pentagon’s Joint Special Operations Command — with no due process and far from any battlefield: Anwar Awlaki and Samir Khan (killed together in a drone strike) and Awlaki’s teenaged son Abdulrahman (killed two weeks later).</p><p>The suit alleges that the killing of these Americans violates their Constitutional rights (including their Fifth Amendment right to due process) because “the United States was not engaged in an armed conflict with or within Yemen” and “these killings rely on vague legal standards, a closed executive process, and evidence never presented to the courts.” While there is substantial dispute over the role, if any, that the senior Awlaki played in Al Qaeda plots (the Complaint alleges that he “was not then directly participating in hostilities within the meaning of the law of war”), <strong>nobody — not even the U.S. Government — claims</strong> that Khan or the American teenager were combatants of any kind. None of the three had ever been indicted, let alone convicted, by the U.S. Government.</p><p>Just to provide a sense of the magnitude and radicalism of the powers at stake here, consider this paragraph from the Complaint:</p><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;" href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-oDEXcs_vgfE/UAbCmTnSUtI/AAAAAAAABPs/ZIk41-ldUHw/s1600/aclu.png"><img src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-oDEXcs_vgfE/UAbCmTnSUtI/AAAAAAAABPs/ZIk41-ldUHw/s640/aclu.png" alt="" width="640" height="225" border="0" /></a></div><p>To see how extreme these powers manifest in a specific assassination, consider the circumstances that led to the death of the American teenager:</p><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;" href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-yR9QZyyEZTc/UAbBXmEsLEI/AAAAAAAABPU/tKPAyEdy5ZM/s1600/aclu2.png"><img src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-yR9QZyyEZTc/UAbBXmEsLEI/AAAAAAAABPU/tKPAyEdy5ZM/s640/aclu2.png" alt="" width="640" height="88" border="0" /></a></div><div class="toggle-group target hideOnInit" data-toggle-group="story-12959654"><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;" href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-lC7UKfefnko/UAbBbLuqKSI/AAAAAAAABPg/fAW_C-tcVus/s1600/aclu3.png"><img src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-lC7UKfefnko/UAbBbLuqKSI/AAAAAAAABPg/fAW_C-tcVus/s640/aclu3.png" alt="" width="640" height="252" border="0" /></a></div><p>I’ve written <a href="http://www.salon.com/2012/03/06/attorney_general_holder_defends_execution_without_charges/">countless times</a> about the <a href="http://www.salon.com/2012/07/12/excuses_for_assassination_secrecy/">reasons</a> these seized powers are so extremist, menacing, unconstitutional and wrong, so I won’t recount them here. Instead, I want to focus on what should be an area of agreement raised by this lawsuit among those who oppose Obama’s assassination program and those who support it.</p><p>Even many supporters of the Awlaki assassination are bothered by the way in which President Obama has arrogated unto himself the right to order the execution of citizens without a shred of judicial review or transparency. For instance, one of the American media’s most vocal defenders of both Barack Obama generally and his assassination powers specifically, Andrew Sullivan, in responding to criticisms from <a href="http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2012/07/obamas-execution-of-the-drone-war-should-terrify-even-drone-defenders/259704/">Conor Friedersdorf</a> and <a href="http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/drones-vs-torture-10621413?click=news">Tom Junod</a>, just <a href="http://andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com/2012/07/the-lethal-presidency-ctd.html">yesterday wrote</a>:</p><blockquote><p> But [Junod] goes on to make a vital point:</p>
    <p><em>[W]hen Sullivan asks what I consider an alternative to lethal operations, my answer is not any of the ones he provides: it’s not war or surrender. <strong>It’s anything that will provide a check and a balance to a power that no president before President Obama has wielded so confidently, and with such a busy hand. It’s the reintroduction of some semblance of democratic norms to a program that has left them far behind.</strong></em></p>
    <p>And that’s where I am more than happy to join Tom – and <a href="http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2012/07/obamas-execution-of-the-drone-war-should-terrify-even-drone-defenders/259704/" target="_self">Conor</a> - in believing that while the <a href="http://news.yahoo.com/ap-impact-light-drone-wars-death-toll-150321926.html" target="_self">evidence</a>, I believe, <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/15/sunday-review/the-moral-case-for-drones.html" target="_self">supports the morality</a> of drone warfare compared with the workable alternatives, <strong>vesting all this judgment in the executive branch is not due process. And it is indeed dangerous as a precedent</strong>, especially given what Cheney did with expansive interpretations of executive power. Conor is <a href="http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2012/07/obamas-execution-of-the-drone-war-should-terrify-even-drone-defenders/259704/" target="_self">dead-on about this</a>:</p>
    <p><em>If we’re presuming a world where a widespread campaign of drone assassinations is a given, I’d have him build various safeguards into the program that limit the unchecked power he now recklessly claims as the executive’s right. I’d have him anticipate the sorts of abuses that he worried about as a senator, demonstrating that he damn well understands them. <strong>I’d ask him to stop using the secrecy he has created to elevate defenders of his procedures and silence critics who express important misgivings.</strong></em></p>
    <p>Congressional and judicial scrutiny and buy-in makes sense to me. Urgent sense, actually.</p></blockquote><p>So, for the moment, let’s put aside the question of whether Obama’s drone assassinations are justified. Shouldn’t we all be able to agree that the power to order people executed (including U.S. citizens) is far too extreme and dangerous to vest in one person without any checks, review, oversight or transparency? After all, it was a consensus among Democrats that George Bush should be forced to obtain judicial review before merely spying on or detaining people, let alone ordering them executed by the CIA. If Andrew and other Obama defenders agree that “judicial scrutiny” is necessary, then they should cheer this lawsuit, which seeks judicial review, and more importantly, should condemn efforts by the Obama DOJ to argue that courts have no role to play here, either in assessing the legality of these actions or in compelling basic disclosure.</p><p>But the problem is that each time lawsuits have been brought against the Obama administration seeking either a <a href="http://ccrjustice.org/newsroom/news/aclu,-ccr-seek-have-obama-enjoined-killing-awlaki-without-due-process">judicial adjudication</a> of the legality and constitutionality of assassinations, or even <a href="http://www.salon.com/2012/02/02/aclu_sues_obama_administration_over_assassination_secrecy/">seeking basic transparency</a>, the Obama administration has <a href="http://www.salon.com/2010/09/25/secrecy_7/">invoked</a> secrecy, immunity and other procedural claims to bar courts from having any role to play. They have <a href="http://www.salon.com/2011/10/03/awlaki_7/">insisted repeatedly</a> that they have <a href="http://www.salon.com/2012/01/30/leon_panettas_explicitly_authoritarian_decree/">no obligation</a> to show evidence that the people they’re targeting for death are guilty of anything. In other words, Obama officials have insisted — following John Yoo’s vision of executive omnipotence — that these are decisions for the President, and him alone, to make. Back in 2010, <em>The New York Times</em>‘ Charlie Savage <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/16/world/16awlaki.html">wrote about the application of the state secrets privilege even in the context of its presidential assassinations</a>, and quoted the far-right, Bush-supporting, executive-power-revering lawyer David Rivkin as follows:</p><div data-toggle-group="story-2036770">
    <blockquote><p>The government’s increasing use of the state secrets doctrine to shield its actions from judicial review has been contentious. Some officials have argued that invoking it in the Awlaki matter, about which so much is already public, would risk a backlash. David Rivkin, a lawyer in the White House of President George H. W. Bush, echoed that concern.</p>
    <p><strong>“I’m a huge fan of executive power, but if someone came up to you and said the government wants to target you and you can’t even talk about it in court to try to stop it, that’s too harsh even for me,” he said.</strong></p></blockquote>
    </div><p>So if — or, rather, when — the Obama DOJ comes into court in response to this new lawsuit and demands that it be instantly dismissed (rather than defending the legality of its acts on the merits), shouldn’t critics and supporters of the Obama assassination program alike jointly and strongly condemn that? After all, shouldn’t proponents of this assassination power — those, such as Andrew Sullivan, who believe it is legal and Constitutional for Obama to do this — want more than anyone else for courts to adjudicate its legality?</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>UPDATE</strong></span>: At <em>Esquire</em>, Tom Junod has <a href="http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/aclu-drone-lawsuit-10785942">more thoughts</a> on the implications of this new lawsuit.</p>

    http://www.salon.com/2012/07/18/obamas_killings_challenged_again/
     
  2. Hightop

    Hightop Member

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    ACLU to Obama: You Can't Just Vaporize Americans Without Judicial Process (Obama to ACLU: Yes We Can!)

    The American Civil Liberties Union is suing the Obama administration over the deaths of three American citizens who were killed by US drone strikes in Yemen last year. Anwar al-Awlaki and Samir Khan were killed in the same attack in early September; Awlaki's 16 year-old son, Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, was killed in a separate strike later that month.

    "This suit is an effort to enforce the Constitution's most fundamental guarantee, the guarantee of due process," said Jamil Jaffer, deputy legal director of the ACLU, on a conference call with reporters. "Ten years ago extrajudicial killing by the United States was exceptional. Now it's routine."

    The ACLU's lawsuit isn't about drones, even though drones were used in all three killings in question. Instead, it's about targeted killings more broadly, including those carried out by drone strikes and those performed by elite American military units. The lawsuit contends that the United States government violated the constitutional rights of the three men by killing them without court review outside of an active war zone.

    The Obama administration has contended that it has the authority to target suspected members of Al Qaeda outside the conflict in Afghanistan and Pakistan, particularly if a given individual poses what it calls an "imminent threat." Although the US government had tagged Anwar al-Awlaki as a terrorist through controlled disclosures to the public and the media, Khan was merely suspected of being a propagandist, and the government has never alleged that Awlaki's teenage son was involved in terrorism. Moreover, the ACLU argues, the US government has "defined the term 'imminent' so broadly as to negate its meaning."

    The ACLU is suing on behalf of two relatives of the men killed in the attacks: Nasser al-Awlaki, who is Anwar al-Awlaki's father and Abdulrahman al-Awlaki's grandfather; and Sarah Khan, who is Samir Khan's mother. This isn't the first time the ACLU has sued on Nasser al-Awlaki's behalf. In 2010, the ACLU sued to prevent Anwar al-Awlaki from being killed. The lawsuit was dismissed by United States District Court Judge John Bates, partially on the grounds that the targeting of suspected terrorists was a "political question" that was inappropriate for a court to evaluate. (Bates also said that Awlaki had chosen not to avail himself of the US justice system, and so his father had no standing to sue on his behalf). The Obama administration has another option to block the ACLU's lawsuit: It could invoke the state secrets doctrine, a sort of "get out of court free" card Obama has used in numerous national security cases despite previously promising to use that power sparingly. Despite numerous public acknowledgments of the targeted killing program, it could once again claim the program is too secret to be discussed in court.

    But the ACLU's lawyers believe their chances for getting a hearing are better this time, both because their clients, in losing their loved ones, suffered a concrete injury that can't be denied, and because of the more frank public acknowledgements by administration officials of the targeted killing program's existence. The latter, the ACLU argues, will make it more difficult for the government to contend the matter is a state secret.

    "What they would be saying is, that they have the authority not just to kill American citizens who are deemed to be enemies of the state, and not just that they have the authority to kill citizens without explaining why they've done it, but even that they have the authority to kill citizens without even acknowledging their role in it," Jaffer said. "If the previous administration had proposed a policy of that kind, it's inconceivable that we would have accepted it."

    There have also been revelations since Awlaki's death that could bolster the government's assessment of him as a terrorist. Chief among them are the recently released documents from Osama bin Laden's compound, showing communication between Al Qaeda and its Yemeni affiliate over Awlaki's role. But Jaffer says the ACLU takes those accusations seriously—it just wants the government to prove them in court.

    "We want the government to introduce whatever evidence relied on to a court, and a court can decide whether that evidence was sufficient to justify the government's actions," Jaffer said. "That's all really our clients are asking for. They're asking for what they see as accountability."

    http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2012/07/aclu-sues-awlaki-khan-death
     
  3. Northside Storm

    Northside Storm Contributing Member

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    It's a culture of law-violation that a "war on anything" gives you. It's a slippery slope from saying I can do anything, because I want to stamp out X.

    Of course, if America had reigned in its' war expeditions, and reined in the excesses of its' private companies, perhaps the X in question (attempted attacks on America) would not be so prevelant.
     
  4. Classic

    Classic Member

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    Best of luck to the ACLU.
     
  5. Mathloom

    Mathloom Contributing Member

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    Obama killed a little girl today. I guess she was Taliban.
     
  6. Depressio

    Depressio Contributing Member

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    I thought he was visiting the victims in Colorado?

    Busy man.

    (yes, yes, I know... his policies/decisions are what caused it.)
     
  7. RedRedemption

    RedRedemption Contributing Member

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    Terrorists kill people too. Just a heads up.
     
  8. ROXRAN

    ROXRAN Contributing Member

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    I really like Obama, he has some Truman in him. If I could get reassurances he'll be at least gun neutral -2nd admendment rights favorable that he has actually shown, I'd vote for him . ...
     
  9. Depressio

    Depressio Contributing Member

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    Shouldn't there be a difference between our government and terrorists, though?
     
  10. Mathloom

    Mathloom Contributing Member

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    Glad you see the similarities.
     
  11. RedRedemption

    RedRedemption Contributing Member

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    Difference in collateral damage.
    Difference in agenda.

    Targeted killings to eliminate high value targets are a lot milder than trying to kill as many people as possible. Spin the story whichever way you want Mathloom but there is an inherent difference that you fail to see.
     
  12. Hightop

    Hightop Member

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    Killing 12 people in a movie theater is a lot milder than blowing up a skyscraper.

    "What they would be saying is, that they have the authority not just to kill American citizens who are deemed to be enemies of the state, and not just that they have the authority to kill citizens without explaining why they've done it, but even that they have the authority to kill citizens without even acknowledging their role in it."

    Obama 2012
     
  13. Classic

    Classic Member

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    What if you lived in Afghanistan in a small village. What would your perspective be then on the issue and justification of collateral damage & 'agenda' ?
     
  14. Mathloom

    Mathloom Contributing Member

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    As if collateral damage and agenda are the only other two factors. I can throw weapons technology into the discussion and that would weaken your argument. The reality is that there are 100's of factors, but you choose to focus on 2. When you're ready to have the big picture discussion let me know.

    I'm not interested in discussing whether terrorists should be targeted because I don't disagree with you on that. It's an uncontroversial discussion which the majority of the world agrees with. You are being a child to even insinuate that I don't think terrorists kill people too, or whether we need to get those terrorists. This behavior is no different than the ones made by the fascists on this board which you berate yourself.
     
  15. RedRedemption

    RedRedemption Contributing Member

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    Name at least 50 more factors then.
    Go ahead. You said there are "hundreds" this shouldn't be too hard.

    Just to clarify, I'm not in favor of Obama's drone strikes or conflict in the Middle East in general; but like many Americans in the United States of America economic and domestic issues > foreign policy. I support Obama mainly for his domestic pursuits. His foreign policy sucks.
    However posters like Hightop and yourself are willfully burying stories of terrorists doing heinous things and loudly prancing around the board whenever Obama's drone strikes maybe kill one or two civilians from collateral damage.
     
    #15 RedRedemption, Jul 23, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2012
  16. mfastx

    mfastx Member

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    Did Hightop really just spend all of this time writing that garbage up?

    LOL, this is hilarious.
     
  17. Depressio

    Depressio Contributing Member

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    No, it's all copied from the Salon article.

    Hightop's only contribution/thoughts were: "This murderer needs to be stopped." Also, he supplied the lovely picture.
     
  18. moestavern19

    moestavern19 Member

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    According to the bills he has signed, Obama has been more gun friendly than W.
     
  19. RocketMan Tex

    RocketMan Tex Contributing Member

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    I challenge Obama's killings!

    Sincerely,

    [​IMG]
     
  20. mc mark

    mc mark Contributing Member

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    He didn't murder anyone.

    Our highly trained military did.

    right texxx?
     
    1 person likes this.

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