( – promoted by buhdydharma )
Is President Obama sanctioning the assassinations of American citizens without due process just as George W, Bush did? It would appear that is exactly what he is doing.
President Obama has now extended Bush’s “War on Terror” to Yemen. In today’s Washington Post there is an article by Dana Priest where she writes:
U.S. military teams and intelligence agencies are deeply involved in secret joint operations with Yemeni troops who in the past six weeks have killed scores of people, among them six of 15 top leaders of a regional al-Qaeda affiliate, according to senior administration officials.
As part of the operations, Obama approved a Dec. 24 strike against a compound where a U.S. citizen, Anwar al-Aulaqi, was thought to be meeting with other regional al-Qaeda leaders. Although he was not the focus of the strike and was not killed, he has since been added to a shortlist of U.S. citizens specifically targeted for killing or capture by the JSOC, military officials said. The officials, like others interviewed for this article, spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the operations.
The Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) is the military’s clandestine whose main mission is tracking and killing suspected terrorists. They do not directly participate in the operations in Yemen but they are providing material support, planning and sensitive information, like who to look for and where to find them.
Further in the article is this eye popping gem.
After the Sept. 11 attacks, Bush gave the CIA, and later the military, authority to kill U.S. citizens abroad if strong evidence existed that an American was involved in organizing or carrying out terrorist actions against the United States or U.S. interests, military and intelligence officials said. The evidence has to meet a certain, defined threshold. The person, for instance, has to pose “a continuing and imminent threat to U.S. persons and interests,” said one former intelligence official.
The Obama administration has adopted the same stance. If a U.S. citizen joins al-Qaeda, “it doesn’t really change anything from the standpoint of whether we can target them,” a senior administration official said. “They are then part of the enemy.”
Both the CIA and the JSOC maintain lists of individuals, called “High Value Targets” and “High Value Individuals,” whom they seek to kill or capture. The JSOC list includes three Americans, including Aulaqi, whose name was added late last year. As of several months ago, the CIA list included three U.S. citizens, and an intelligence official said that Aulaqi’s name has now been added.
Never mind due process. As emtywheel states at FDL
Of course, they said Jose Padilla had close ties to al Qaeda, but those turned out to be more tenuous than originally claimed. Likewise the case against John Walker Lindh. And there are any number of “aspirational” terrorists whom officials have claimed had joined al Qaeda.
But I guess the tenuousness of those ties don’t really matter, when the President can dial up the assassination of an American citizen.
Who gave Obama, or for that matter Bush, the authority to so this? It certainly wasn’t two former Republican Presidents.
General Order 100, section IX, “Assassinations” signed by Pres. Abraham Lincoln in April, 1863.
The law of war does not allow proclaiming either an individual belonging to the hostile army, or a citizen, or a subject of the hostile government, an outlaw, who may be slain without trial by any captor, any more than the modern law of peace allows such intentional outlawry; on the contrary, it abhors such outrage. The sternest retaliation should follow the murder committed in consequence of such proclamation, made by whatever authority. Civilized nations look with horror upon offers of rewards for the assassination of enemies as relapses into barbarism.
Executive Order 12333 signed by Pres. Ronald Reagan in Dec 4, 1981
No person employed by or acting on behalf of the United States Government shall engage in, or conspire to engage in, assassination
Glen Greenwald rightly asks
Can anyone remotely reconcile that righteous proclamation with what the Obama administration is doing? And more generally, what legal basis exists for the President to unilaterally compile hit lists of American citizens he wants to be killed?
Even the Afghan government is more civilized and law abiding that the US government
Gen. Mohammad Daud Daud, Afghanistan’s deputy interior minister for counternarcotics efforts, praised U.S. and British special forces for their help recently in destroying drug labs and stashes of opium. But he said he worried that foreign troops would now act on their own to kill suspected drug lords, based on secret evidence, instead of handing them over for trial.
“They should respect our law, our constitution and our legal codes,” Daud said. “We have a commitment to arrest these people on our own” . . . .
Ali Ahmad Jalali, a former Afghan interior minister, said that he had long urged the Pentagon and its NATO allies to crack down on drug smugglers and suppliers, and that he was glad that the military alliance had finally agreed to provide operational support for Afghan counternarcotics agents. But he said foreign troops needed to avoid the temptation to hunt down and kill traffickers on their own.
“There is a constitutional problem here. A person is innocent unless proven guilty,” he said. “If you go off to kill or capture them, how do you prove that they are really guilty in terms of legal process?” . . .
So now President Obama has decided that nothing has changed from 9/11 and the abhorrent Bush policy sanctioning murder, not just of foreigners but American citizens as well, will be continued. Nothing has changed except the players. Obama is as much a war criminal as are Cheney and Bush.