Tag Archive: Due Process

Mar 01 2018

The Russian Connection: It’s Getting Harder To Keep Up.

Yesterday was a busy day for news coming from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. It started with Donald Trump meeting with a bipartisan group at the White House to discuss passing comprehensive gun legislation. While it had Democrats smiling, it didn’t make the Republicans in the room very happy. In 2016, NRA-endorsed Republican candidate Donald Trump won …

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Mar 07 2013

Answer the question, Mr. President

How much has President Obama told us about his ability to kill Americans at home?  

The question is pretty simple. The answer might not be that simple but it is an answer that is deserved by the American people, no matter how laborious it is to explain that answer clearly.

How much has President Obama himself told Americans about his claimed ability to target, detain and assassinate us?  For years, we were given no answers that I know of.

We, the public, have gotten access to a white paper (PDF), not the actual legal memos, and that was leaked by a journalist, Michael Isikoff.

Some senators on the Senate Intelligence Committee (SSCI) have now received several legal memos after they threatened to filibuster some of his nominees.   There are, we believe, eleven in total.  The president released two more memos for the SSCI to review.  They are not allowed to show them to their staff or make any record of them.  The review period is temporary. The public has not been given any access to them, even though, as we now know, the president, through his attorney general, told us that the president does assume the power to kill us, even at home.  But he still dodged the direct question that has been asked of him by both citizens (in a Google+ hangout session), by a formal letter from Senator Rand Paul, and by many others.  Holder gave some information, but left the question still very much up in the air.

Conor Friedersdorf, a staff writer at The Atlantic, says that Holder’s recent response is “non-responsive, evasive, and deliberately manipulative”.  I agree.  Significant pressure needs to be applied by all concerned Americans until we understand clearly what power this president has assumed, what kinds of things might get us killed, or what circumstances might put us in close proximity to someone else they might target for assassination.  Many innocent civilians have been killed overseas by this president because they were somehow associated, intentionally or not intentionally, with the target of a drone or cruise missile strike.

Feb 07 2013

Many questions for John Brennan today and only a few hours to ask them

There are a lot of questions for John Brennan’s confirmation hearing today and only a few hours scheduled to ask them.  

Many questions have been published by various news organizations and blogs.  I very much want answers to their questions but I have one big, obvious question as well.  This is my question:

What has changed since 2008-9 when John Brennan was considered to be too toxic to be confirmed as Director of the CIA?  What is so different now that he is expected to be easily confirmed and that only a few hours are needed to question him?

In my opinion, he is even less confirmable in 2013 than he was in 2009.  So what has changed?  I’ll explain more about why I think he is even less suited for the job today, but first, let’s explore some of the questions posed by the media.  

Nov 05 2012

Drones Don’t Kill People – Presidents Do

There is compelling evidence that last year Nobel Peace Prize winner President Obama murdered an American teenager just two weeks after murdering his father and another American citizen in Yemen.  The same action that resulted in the death of the boy also caused the wanton slaughter of the boy’s Yemeni cousin and an unspecified number of their friends. The boy was just 16 years old when he was killed in Yemen.

He was the son of Anwar al-Awlaki, who was alleged to have joined a foreign military and taken up arms against the United States.  I say alleged because it is our tradition in America not to assign guilt to an individual until they have been proven guilty.  Many things were alleged about Anwar al-Awlaki, but no court or jury – the people who are the “finders of fact” in our system affirmed the President’s allegations as facts before the President executed al-Awlaki.

When [Anwar al-Awlaki] was killed, on September 30, 2011, President Obama made a speech about it; a few months later, when the Obama administraton’s public-relations campaign about its embrace of what has come to be called “targeted killing” reached its climax in a front-page story in the New York Times that presented the President of the United States as the last word in deciding who lives and who dies, he was quoted as saying that the decision to put Anwar al-Awlaki on the kill list – and then to kill him – was “an easy one.”

But Abdulrahman al-Awlaki wasn’t on an American kill list. Nor was he a member of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninusla. Nor was he “an inspiration,” as his father styled himself, for those determined to draw American blood; nor had he gone “operational,” as American authorities said his father had, in drawing up plots against Americans and American interests.

Mar 08 2012

The Day Due Process Died

US Attorney General Eric Holder asserted in a speech at Northwestern University’s law school that it is lawful for the government to kill American citizens if officials deem them to be operational leaders of Al Qaeda who are planning attacks on the United States and if capturing them alive is not feasible. He did this without legal citations or footnotes to the speech. Eric Holder needs to reread the Constitution, in particular the 5th, 6th, and 14th amendments, with an emphasis on the 6th

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.

There are seven rights in just that one amendment that go to the heart of the principles of the judicial process:

   1. The right to a speedy trial

   2. The right to a public trial

   3. The right to be judged by an impartial jury

   4. The right to be notified of the nature and circumstances of the alleged crime

   5. The right to confront witnesses who will testify against the accused

   6. The right to find witnesses who will speak in favor of the accused

   7. The right to have a lawyer

Due process balances the power of law of the land and protects individual persons from it. When a government harms a person without following the exact course of the law, this constitutes a due-process violation, which offends against the rule of law.”

And according to the 5th Amendment‘s brief but very clear language, no person “be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.”

Law professor Jonathan Turley wrote at his blog that Holder has promised to kill citizens with care. That, in effect, is the pledge the Obama administration’s attorney general says has replaced our constitutional protections:

[..]The good news is that Holder promised not to hunt citizens for sport. Holder proclaimed that:

   “The president may use force abroad against a senior operational leader of a foreign terrorist organization with which the United States is at war – even if that individual happens to be a US citizen.”

The use of the word “abroad” is interesting since senior administration officials have asserted that the president may kill an American anywhere and anytime, including in the United States. Holder’s speech does not materially limit that claimed authority. He merely assures citizens that Obama will only kill those of us he finds abroad and a significant threat. Notably, Holder added, “Our legal authority is not limited to the battlefields in Afghanistan.” [..]

Holder became particularly cryptic in his assurance of caution in the use of this power, insisting that they will kill citizens only with “the consent of the nation involved or after a determination that the nation is unable or unwilling to deal effectively with a threat to the United States.” What on earth does that mean? [..]

He was more clear in establishing that due process itself is now defined differently than it has been defined by courts since the start of this Republic. He declared that “a careful and thorough executive branch review of the facts in a case amounts to ‘due process.'” Of course, from any objective standpoint, that statement is absurd and Orwellian. It is basically saying that “we will give the process that we consider due to a target.” His main point was that “due process” will now no longer mean “judicial process.” [..]

This Administration has consistently maintained that courts do not have a say in such matters. Instead, they simply define the matter as covered by the Law Of Armed Conflicts (LOAC), even when the conflict is a war on terror. That war, they have stressed, is to be fought all around the world, including the United States. It is a battlefield without borders as strikes in other countries have vividly demonstrated.

Brian Sonenstein at FDL calls for action:

Since the whole world is a battlefield in the vague ‘war on terror,’ the only due process afforded to someone who has been targeted for extrajudicial execution is a secret ‘review’ by the panel of senior officials in the executive branch.

Just as the public demanded the release of the Bush Administration’s Torture Memos to expose the ludicrous rationale behind their secret torture program, we too must demand to know the legal rationale for a program that allows our president to unilaterally choose to deprive someone of life and liberty – without any oversight or recourse available to the victim.

Holder’s speech was a cheap attempt to feign transparency without actually releasing the legal memos that define the administration’s execution program. We need your help to demand the Obama administration release these memos immediately so there can be an open public debate about Executive power and the execution of American citizens without any due process or outside accountability.

Please sign our petition demanding the Obama administration produce the internal memos and legal justification for their targeted execution program.