The government has killed a 16-year-old American boy. Shouldn’t it at least have to explain why?
by Jim White, emptywheel
While the nation grieves over the senseless death of Trayvon Martin and the missed opportunity to hold his killer responsible for that death, there is another senseless death of an American teenager of color where an attempt is continuing, after previous failures, to hold accountable those responsible for the lawless way in which this life was arbitrarily ended.
Exactly one year ago today, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Constitutional Rights filed a lawsuit (pdf) on behalf of Nasser al-Awlaki (father of Anwar al-Awlaki and grandfather of Abdulrahman al-Awlaki) and Sarah Khan (wife of Samir Khan). The defendants in the case are former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, Commander of Special Operations Command William McRaven, Commander of Joint Special Operations Command Joseph Votel and former CIA Head David Petraeus. The complaint cites violation of the Fourth and Fifth Amendments as well as violation of the Bill of Attainder Clause in the targeted killings of Anwar al-Awlaki, Abdulrahaman al-Awlaki and Samir Khan. [..]
Given what is known about the role of Barack Obama in these killings and his personal authorization of the “kill list” in his Terror Tuesday meetings, I find it perplexing that he is not also a defendant in this case.
The complaint seeks damages in an amount to be determined at the trial and any other relief the court deems just and proper.
Coincident with the filing of the complaint in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia a year ago, the video above was released.
Sadly, we can state with confidence that even before the proceedings open the government will argue that it does not have to explain why it killed Abdulrahman. Because terror. Even more sadly, it is quite likely that the court will side with this senseless and lawless argument. Because terror.
What has our country become?
by David Sirota, Salon
A new lawsuit challenges whether counterterrorist officials should be allowed to operate without fear of litigation
Court cases are often cures for insomnia, but every so often a lawsuit is an eye-opening journey through the looking glass. One of those is suddenly upon us – and we should be thankful because it finally provides an unfiltered look at our government.
You may not know about this case, but you should. Called Al-Aulaqi v. Panetta, it illustrates the extremism driving the policies being made in the public’s name. [..]
But perhaps the most important thing to know about this case is what the government is arguing about the law itself. In defending the administration, Hauck asserted that such suits should not be permitted because they “don’t want these counterterrorism officials distracted by the threat of litigation.”
The radical message is obvious: Yes, the government now claims that America should not want public officials to have to consider the constraints of the law.
If this harrowing doctrine sounds familiar, that’s because the sentiment behind it has been creeping into our political dialogue for years. [..]
Consider, though, what’s more dangerous: a government that has to momentarily think about following the law when using violence or a government that gets to use such violence without having to think at all?
Government officials pretend they have the only answer to that question. But Nasser Al-Aulaqi’s dead grandson suggests there is a far more accurate answer than the one those officials are offering.