Tag Archive: Barak Obama

Sep 25 2010

Obama Invoking “State Secrets” to Assassinate an American: Up Date x 2

Covering Up War Crimes

Late last night under cover of Friday darkness, the Obama DOJ filed a brief requesting that U.S. District Judge Robert Bates dismiss a law suit over its targeting of an American citizen for assassination in another country. The government claims that the case would reveal “states secrets”.

Government lawyers called the state-secrets argument a last resort to toss out the case, and it seems likely to revive a debate over the reach of a president’s powers in the global war against al-Qaeda.

Civil liberties groups sued the U.S. government on behalf of Aulaqi’s father, arguing that the CIA and the Joint Special Operations Command’s placement of Aulaqi on a capture-or-kill list of suspected terrorists – outside a war zone and absent an imminent threat – amounted to an extrajudicial execution order against a U.S. citizen. They asked a U.S. district court in Washington to block the targeting.

In response, Justice Department spokesman Matthew Miller said that the groups are asking “a court to take the unprecedented step of intervening in an ongoing military action to direct the President how to manage that action – all on behalf of a leader of a foreign terrorist organization.”

Miller added, “If al-Aulaqi wishes to access our legal system, he should surrender to American authorities and return to the United States, where he will be held accountable for his actions.”

Now if that isn’t a “Catch 22”. . .

“The idea that courts should have no role whatsoever in determining the criteria by which the executive branch can kill its own citizens is unacceptable in a democracy,” the American Civil Liberties Union and Center for Constitutional Rights said.

“In matters of life and death, no executive should have a blank check,” they said.

Is this is the higher bar for keeping “state secrets” that that President Obama had Attorney General Eric Holder set just last year?

Bush and Cheney must be proud of Obama.

Up Date: Marcy Wheeler now has an article on the briefing itself at emptywheel:

Obama Doesn’t Know Why the Fuck He’s Entitled to Kill Al-Awlaki, He Just Is, Damnit

The most striking aspect of the government’s motion to dismiss  the ACLU/CCR lawsuit challenging the use of targeted killing is that the government does not commit to the basis for its authority to kill an American citizen like Anwar al-Awlaki with no review.

(my emphasis)

Up Date 2: Glenn Greenwald from Salon chimes in:

But what’s most notable here is that one of the arguments the Obama DOJ raises to demand dismissal of this lawsuit is “state secrets”:  in other words, not only does the President have the right to sentence Americans to death with no due process or charges of any kind, but his decisions as to who will be killed and why he wants them dead are “state secrets,” and thus no court may adjudicate its legality. . . .

But he’s not been charged with any crimes, let alone indicted for any.  The President has been trying to kill him for the entire year without any of that due process.  And now the President refuses even to account to an American court for those efforts to kill this American citizen on the ground that the President’s unilateral imposition of the death penalty is a “state secret.”  And, indeed, American courts — at Obama’s urging — have been upholding that sort of a “state secrecy” claim even when it comes to war crimes such as torture and rendition.  Does that sound like a political system to which any sane, rational person would “surrender”?

h/t lambert @ Corrente

See also Stopping Obama’s Targeted Assassinations

Now Cross posted @ FDL‘s The Seminal

Sep 08 2010

Does the Obama Administration take Sexism and Women’s Votes Seriously?

That has been brought into question by the White House decision to accept Alan Simpson’s “apology” for his offensive ans sexist letter to Ashley Carson of the Older Women’s League. Donna L. Wagner, President of the Older Women’s League, sent a letter to President Barack Obama calling for Mr. Simpson to be “canned” and questioning the Obama Administration’s stand on sexism and sexual discrimination.

OWL’s members believe that choosing to keep Mr. Simpson as your co-chair sends a message that your Administration does not take sexism seriously and also that you are not concerned about Mr. Simpson’s views regarding Social Security. There are a number of occasions where racial discrimination appeared both within government and elsewhere, and where your Administration acted swiftly and appropriately to correct wrongdoing. Why is one form of discrimination any different from another?

As Jane Hamsher says, “Ouch”.

This is looking like a pattern of sexism in this White House. While the President has several women in his cabinet, only Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, can really be considered a close advisor with daily contact and immediate access. Yes, he has successfully appointed two women to the Supreme Court neither is really a liberal nor will be counsel to Mr. Obama.

Dawn Johnsen’s nomination, a more than qualified lawyer to head the Office of Legal Council, was left to languish for 14 months before she withdrew her name in frustration. The administration opined that her appointment was held up by holds from Republican and Blue Dog Senators but when Mr. Obama proceeded to make several recess appointments, Ms. Johnsen was not among them. Why?

Then there is that little matter of the President’s Economic Advisor, Larry Summers and his Treasury Secretary, Timothy Geithner and that now has the appearance of an “Old Boys Club”. Summers’ history of sexism is well known and the primary reason he was forced to resign as President of Harvard. The resignation of Christina Romer from the Council after her sage advice about the stimulus package size was completely eliminated from the report to the President, her access to the Oval office limited, as well as, testy clashes with Summers, is consistent with Mr. Summers’ past behavior towards women. Mr. Geithner doesn’t fare much better. His condescending exchanges with Elizabeth Warren during hearings by the Congressional Oversight Panel on TARP, are revealing in his contemptuous tone.

As has been pointed out by others this was not Timothy Geithner’s “first clash with women in power”.

One of his first acts in the role of Treasury Secretary was to attempt to push out FDIC Chairwoman Shelia Bair. As Rep. Barney Frank observed: “I think part of the problem now, to be honest, is Sheila Bair has annoyed the ‘old boys’ club…we have several regulators up in the tree house with a ‘no girls allowed’ sign…”

Aug 31 2010

Stopping Obama’s Targeted Assassinations

I will fight targeted assassinations even if a Democratic is President. I am a purity troll.

Glenn Greenwald: Lawsuit challenges Obama’s power to kill citizens without due process

Three weeks ago, I wrote about a lawsuit filed by the ACLU and the Center for Constitutional Rights, based on the Treasury Department’s failure to grant a “license” to those groups to represent U.S. citizen Anwar Awlaki in his efforts to obtain a court order barring the U.S. Government from assassinating him without due process.  In response, Treasury officials issued the license (those groups are nonetheless proceeding with that lawsuit in an attempt to have the entire licensing scheme declared unconstitutional on the ground that the Federal Government has no authority to require its permission before American lawyers can represent American citizens, even if the citizen in question has been accused of being a Terrorist).

With the license now issued, the ACLU and CCR this afternoon filed a lawsuit on behalf of Anwar Awlaki, with Awlaki’s father as the named plaintiff, to prevent the Obama administration from proceeding with Awlaki’s due-process-free assassination.  Awlaki is unable to file the lawsuit on his own because the U.S. government’s threats to kill him, as well as its prior unsuccessful attempts, cause him to be in hiding and thus make it infeasible for him to assert his legal rights directly.

Aug 27 2010

Can the Cat Food Commission

Jane Hamsher and the FDLakers are calling on President Obama to Can the Cat Food Commission. She very clearly presents the case

The Catfood commission is not legitimate. It was stacked with people who knew their job was to fulfill Pete Peterson’s dream  of rolling back the New Deal and waging war on the social safety net. It is a committee of oligarchs designed to circumvent electoral repercussions for those who oppose the will of the vast majority of the American people, both Republicans and Democrats, who don’t want to see the federal budget balanced on the backs of the nation’s senior citizens.

President Obama, it is not just Alan Simpson who needs to go. It’s time to shut down the entire commission.

She invites everyone

Sign the petition: Tell President Obama to Can the Catfood Commission

Aug 26 2010

Opting For Farce

I had a great chuckle at this from Jon Walker at FDL

In These Sorry Times, Boehner Owes Geithner and Summers a Big Apology

Trying to get the two individuals whose actions played a major role in assuring that Boehner will be promoted (to the position of Speaker of the House after Republicans win big this November) fired is just bad manners in my book. If it weren’t for Summers’ terrible economic projections and horrible advice, combined with Geithner’s equally bad counsel, consistently putting the prosperity of Wall Street over main street while horribly mismanaging the HAMP program, Boehner would not be close to measuring the drapes for the Speaker’s office..

And Paul Krugman was 100% correct in calling for Simpson firing, especially this

   

At this point, though, Obama is on the spot: he has to fire Simpson, or turn the whole thing into a combination of farce and tragedy – the farce being the nature of the co-chair, the tragedy being that Democrats are so afraid of Republicans that nothing, absolutely nothing, will get them sanctioned.

One of the best is from Dean Baker, also a recipient of Simpson’s derisive e-mails, who calls Simpson not just offensive but ignorant

   

Former Wyoming Senator Alan Simpson, the co-chairman of President Obama’s deficit commission, has sparked calls for his resignation after sending an offensive and sexist note to Ashley Carson, the executive director of the Older Women’s League. While such calls are reasonable — Simpson’s comments were certainly more offensive than remarks that led to the resignation of other people from the Obama administration — the Senator’s determined ignorance about the basic facts on Social Security is an even more important reason for him to leave his position.

   snip

   The key facts on Social Security are not hard to understand. The shortfall is relatively minor and distant. Most retirees have little income other than their Social Security, and most workers would find it quite difficult to stay at their jobs in their late 60s or even 70. We might have hoped that Senator Simpson understood these facts at the time when he was appointed to the commission, but we should at least expect that he would learn them on the job.

   His determined ignorance in the face of the facts is the most important reason why he is not qualified to serve on President Obama’s commission. Someone who is co-chairman of such an important group should be able to critically evaluate information, not just insult and demean his critics.

It looks like the President has opted for farce and tragedy with the acceptance of Mr. Simpson’s non-apology and refusal to fire him.

Aug 12 2010

The Travesty of Omar Khadr

Carolyn Rosenberg of the Miami Herald, reporting from Guantanamo on the trial of Oamar Kadr the “child soldier” captured in Afghanistan Tweets

Omar Khadr’s military judge just ruled that ALL of his confessions from Afghanistan to #Guantanamo will go to trial. None suppressed.

.

If you haven’t heard of Omar Kadr, he is a Canadian citizen and the youngest prisoner held in the Guantanamo Bay detention camp by the United States, has been frequently referred to as a child soldier and the only Western citizen remaining in Guantanamo. The Canadian Government has refused to seek extradition or repatriation despite the urgings of Amnesty International, UNICEF, the Canadian Bar Association and other prominent organizations. In 2009, it was revealed that the Canadian government had spent over $1.3 million to ensure Khadr remained in Guantanamo. Canada failed Kadr by refusing to admit that he was a juvenile and his repeated claims that he was abused. n April 2009, the Federal Court of Canada ruled that the Charter of Rights and Freedoms made it obligatory for the government to immediately demand Khadr’s return. After a hearing before the Court of Appeals produced the same result, the government announced they would argue their case before the Supreme Court of Canada. In January 2010, the Supreme Court ruled that Khadr’s constitutional rights had clearly been violated, but it stopped short of ordering the government to seek his return to Canada.

Khadr was the only person charged under the 2006 Military Commissions Act who did not boycott the Guantanamo proceedings. Canadian authorities also determined that Khadr had little knowledge of his father’s alleged activities, since “he was out playing or simply not interested”.

Jeralyn E. Merritt at TalkLeft has been following Omar’s tragic incarceration most extensively since 2006.

Up Date: Adam Serwer at The American Prospect commented on the The Weirdness Of The Charges Against Omar Khadr:

side from the obvious moral issues with trying someone for an alleged crime committed on a battlefield when they weren’t old enough to drive, vote, drink alcohol, or consent to sex in the United States, there’s the additional weirdness of trying the killing as a “war crime.” Human-rights groups say  no one has ever before been tried for a war crime merely for the act of killing the other side’s soldiers in combat, but the government maintains that Khadr is an “unprivileged enemy belligerent,” so the charge is appropriate.

It’s a really weird argument. By trying Khadr in a military commission, they’re essentially making him a soldier, but they’re saying the reason his alleged killing of Speer was a war crime is because he’s not a soldier. If Khadr killed Speer, that’s certainly a crime. But a war crime?

(emphasis mine)

Jul 29 2010

Karl Rove Gives Obama His Approval

Just what every Democratic President wants the approval of Karl Rove, aka Turdblossom, for the Afghanistan War

Turdblossom Tweets:

Victory in Afghanistan requires two things: the right strategy and the resolve to see it through. http://bit.ly/da0JrQ

The link is to his op-ed in the Wall Street Journal and what he thinks is missing from Obama’s strategy in Afghanistan, “Victory” . LOL

Mr. Obama has acted impressively so far on Afghanistan. He changed strategy based on facts on the ground, increased our troops by tens of thousands, and picked exactly the right man to lead our military into battle.

The president has the right pieces in place. Now he needs to signal to the world that he believes in the cause with all his heart. Let’s hope he does.

As Glen Greenwald points out Karl  had 7 years to get achieve “victory” and is now “claiming with a straight face that he knows the key to “Victory in Afghanistan””.

Obama is so far down the rabbit hole that even Karl Rove is saying he’s doing a good job.