Aug 04 2010

More Violations of Rights by Obama Administration: Up Date

(10 am. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

When Barack Obama gave the OK to assassinate an American citizen, Imam Anwar al-Awlaki, who was deemed a terrorist without due process, his father, Nasser al-Awlaki, retained the ACLU and the Center for Constitutional Rights to to seek a federal court order restraining the Obama administration from killing his son without due process of law. But guess what, the Treasury Department has a regulation that prohibits any American from “engaging in transactions” with individuals labeled by the Government as a “Specially Designated Global Terrorist”, including lawyers. The lawyer would have to seek a special “license” to represent such a client.

Up Date: Rep. Dennis Kucinich has announced that he will introduce a bill in the House to prevent anyone, including the President, from targeting American citizens for assassination.

The bill states that “No one, including the President, may instruct a person acting within the scope of employment with the United States Government or an agent acting on behalf of the United States Government to engage in, or conspire to engage in, the extrajudicial killing of a United States citizen.” It adds: “the authority granted to the President in the Authorization for Use of Military Force… following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, is not limitless.”

The bill would require the president to submit to the Intelligence Committees a report “on the identity of each United States citizen that is on the list of the Joint Special Operations Command or the Central Intelligence Agency as `high value individuals’ or `high value targets’.”

h/t to Jeremy Scahill at The Nation for his excellent article

The rest from  Glen Greenwald:

On July 16 — roughly two weeks after Awlaki’s father retained the ACLU and CCR to file suit — the Treasury Department slapped that label on Awlaki.  That action would have made it a criminal offense  for those organizations to file suit on behalf of Awlaki or otherwise provide legal representation to him without express permission from the U.S. Government.  On July 23, the two groups submitted a request for such a license with the Treasury Department, and when doing so, conveyed the extreme time-urgency involved:  namely, that there is an ongoing governmental effort to kill Awlaki and any delay in granting this “license” could cause him to be killed without these claims being heard by a court.  Despite that, the Treasury Department failed even to respond to the request.

Left with no choice, the ACLU and CCR this morning filed a lawsuit on their own behalf against Timothy Geithner and the Treasury Department.  The suit argues that Treasury has no statutory authority under the law it invokes — The International Emergency Economic Powers Act  — to bar American lawyers from representing American citizens on an uncompensated basis.  It further argues what ought to be a completely uncontroversial point:  that even if Congress had vested Treasury with this authority, it is blatantly unconstitutional to deny American citizens the right to have a lawyer, and to deny American lawyers the right to represent clients, without first obtaining a permission slip from Executive Branch officials (the Complaint is here).  As the ACLU/CCR Brief puts it:  

“The notion that the government can compel a citizen to seek its permission before challenging the constitutionality of its actions in court is wholly foreign to our constitutional system” and “[a]s non-profit organizations dedicated to protecting civil liberties and human rights, Plaintiffs have a First Amendment right to represent clients in litigation consistent with their organizational missions.”  The Brief also argues that it is a violation of Separation of Powers to allow the Executive Branch to determine in its sole discretion who can and cannot appear in and have access to a federal court.

As of just a few minutes ago from Glen’s Tweets

Treasury just granted the license to ACLU/CCR to represent Awlaki. They’ll still try to challenge the legality of the licensing requirement

If I wanted more off Bush’s policies that trashed the Constitution and he Rule of Law, I would have voted McCain and Palin. Disgusting

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