We Won—For Now

Chris Hedges, the man who sued Obama over the NDAA and won, writes an article about it.  Obama has already filed an appeal

“We Won—For Now

Showdown between the president and the judiciary

By Chris Hedges

September 17, 2012 “Information Clearing House” –  In January I sued President Barack Obama over Section 1021(b)(2) of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which authorized the military to detain U.S. citizens indefinitely, strip them of due process and hold them in military facilities, including offshore penal colonies. Last week, round one in the battle to strike down the onerous provision, one that saw me joined by six other plaintiffs including Noam Chomsky and Daniel Ellsberg, ended in an unqualified victory for the public. U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest, who accepted every one of our challenges to the law, made her temporary injunction of the section permanent. In short, she declared the law unconstitutional.

Almost immediately after Judge Forrest ruled, the Obama administration challenged the decision. Government prosecutors called the opinion “unprecedented” and said that “the government has compelling arguments that it should be reversed.” The government added that it was an “extraordinary injunction of worldwide scope.” Government lawyers asked late Friday for an immediate stay of Forrest’s ban on the use of the military in domestic policing and on the empowering of the government to strip U.S. citizens of due process. The request for a stay was an attempt by the government to get the judge, pending appeal to a higher court, to grant it the right to continue to use the law. Forrest swiftly rejected the stay, setting in motion a fast-paced appeal to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and possibly, if her ruling is upheld there, to the Supreme Court of the United States. The Justice Department sent a letter to Forrest and the 2nd Circuit late Friday night informing them that at 9 a.m. Monday the Obama administration would ask the 2nd Circuit for an emergency stay that would lift Forrest’s injunction. This would allow Obama to continue to operate with indefinite detention authority until a formal appeal was heard. The government’s decision has triggered a constitutional showdown between the president and the judiciary. 

“This may be the most significant constitutional standoff since the Pentagon Papers case,” said Carl Mayer, co-lead counsel for the plaintiffs.

“The administration of President Obama within the last 48 hours has decided to engage in an all-out campaign to block and overturn an order of a federal judge,” said co-lead counsel Bruce Afran. “As Judge Forrest noted in her opinion, nothing is more fundamental in American law than the possibility that journalists, activists and citizens could lose their liberty, potentially forever, and the Obama administration has now lined up squarely with the most conservative elements of the Republican Party to undermine Americans’ civil liberties.”

The request by the government to keep the law on the books during the appeal process raises a disturbing question. If the administration is this anxious to restore this section of the NDAA, is it because the Obama government has already used it? Or does it have plans to use the section in the immediate future?

“A Department of Homeland Security bulletin was issued Friday claiming that the riots [in the Middle East] are likely to come to the U.S. and saying that DHS is looking for the Islamic leaders of these likely riots,” Afran said. “It is my view that this is why the government wants to reopen the NDAA—so it has a tool to round up would-be Islamic protesters before they can launch any protest, violent or otherwise. Right now there are no legal tools to arrest would-be protesters. The NDAA would give the government such power. Since the request to vacate the injunction only comes about on the day of the riots, and following the DHS bulletin, it seems to me that the two are connected. The government wants to reopen the NDAA injunction so that they can use it to block protests.”

The decision to vigorously fight Forrest’s ruling is a further example of the Obama White House’s steady and relentless assault against civil liberties, an assault that is more severe than that carried out by George W. Bush. Obama has refused to restore habeas corpus. He supports the FISA Amendment Act, which retroactively makes legal what under our Constitution has traditionally been illegal—warrantless wire tapping, eavesdropping and monitoring directed against U.S. citizens. He has used the Espionage Act six times against whistle-blowers who have exposed government crimes, including war crimes, to the public. He interprets the 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force Act as giving him the authority to assassinate U.S. citizens, as he did the cleric Anwar al-Awlaki. And now he wants the right to use the armed forces to throw U.S. citizens into military prisons, where they will have no right to a trial and no defined length of detention.

Liberal apologists for Barack Obama should read Judge Forrest’s 112-page ruling. It is a chilling explication and denunciation of the massive erosion of the separation of powers. It courageously challenges the overreach of Congress and the executive branch in stripping Americans of some of our most cherished constitutional rights.

In the last 220 years there have been only about 135 judicial rulings that have struck down an act of Congress. Most of the cases involved abortion or pornography. Very few dealt with wartime powers and the separation of powers, or what Forrest in her opinion called “a question of defining an individual’s core liberties.”

Section 1021(b)(2) authorizes the military to detain any U.S. citizen who “substantially supported” al-Qaida, the Taliban or “associated forces” and then hold them in military compounds until “the end of hostilities.” The vagueness of the language, and the refusal to exempt journalists, means that those of us who as part of our reporting have direct contact with individuals or groups deemed to be part of a terrorist network can find ourselves seized and detained under the provision.

“The Government was unable to offer definitions for the phrases ‘substantially support’ or ‘directly support,’ ” the judge wrote. “In particular, when the Court asked for one example of what ‘substantially support’ means, the Government stated, ‘I’m not in a position to give one specific example.’ When asked about the phrase ‘directly support,’ the Government stated, ‘I have not thought through exactly and we have not come to a position on ‘direct support’ and what that means.’ In its pre-trial memoranda, the Government also did not provide any definitional examples for those terms.”

The judge’s ruling asked whether a news article deemed by authorities as favorable to the Taliban could be interpreted as having “substantially supported” the Taliban.

“How about a YouTube video?” she went on. “Where is the line between what the government would consider ‘journalistic reporting’ and ‘propaganda?’ Who will make such determinations? Will there be an office established to read articles, watch videos, and evaluate speeches in order to make judgments along a spectrum of where the support is ‘modest’ or ‘substantial?’ ”

Forrest concurred with the plaintiffs that the statute violated our free speech rights and due-process guarantees. She noted that “the Court repeatedly asked the Government whether those particular past activities could subject plaintiffs to indefinite detention; the Government refused to answer.” The judge went on to criticize the nebulous language of the law, chastising the government because it “did not provide particular definitions.” She wrote that “the statute’s vagueness falls far short of what due process requires.” 

Although government lawyers argued during the trial that the law represented no change from prior legislation, they now assert that blocking it imperils the nation’s security. It is one of numerous contradictions in the government’s case, many of which were illuminated in Forrest’s opinion. The government, she wrote, “argues that no future administration could interpret § 1021(b)(2) or the AUMF differently because the two are so clearly the same. That frankly makes no sense, particularly in light of the Government’s inability at the March and August hearings to define certain terms in—or the scope of—§ 1021(b)(2).” The judge said that “Section 1021 appears to be a legislative attempt at an ex post facto ‘fix’: to provide the President (in 2012) with broader detention authority than was provided in the AUMF [Authorization to Use Military Force Act] in 2001 and to try and ratify past detentions which may have occurred under an overly-broad interpretation of the AUMF.”

The government, in effect, is attempting to push though a law similar to the legislation that permitted the government to intern 110,000 Japanese-Americans during World War II. This law, if it comes back into force, would facilitate the mass internment of Muslim Americans as well as those deemed to “support” groups or activities defined as terrorist by the state. Calling the 1944 ruling “an embarrassment,” Forrest referred to Korematsu v. United States, which upheld the government’s internment of Japanese-Americans. 

The judge said in her opinion that the government “did not submit any evidence in support of its positions. It did not call a single witness, submit a single declaration, or offer a single document at any point during these proceedings.” She went on to write that she found “the testimony of each plaintiff credible.”

“At the March hearing, the Court asked whether Hedges’ activities could subject him to detention under § 1021; the Government stated that it was not prepared to address that question. When asked a similar question at the August hearing, five months later, the Government remained unwilling to state whether any of plaintiffs’ (including Hedges’s) protected First Amendment future activities could subject him or her to detention under § 1021. This Court finds that Hedges has a reasonable fear of detention pursuant to § 1021(b)(2).”

The government has now lost four times in a litigation that has gone on almost nine months. It lost the preliminary injunction in May. It lost a motion for reconsideration shortly thereafter. It lost the permanent injunction. It lost its request last week for a stay. We won’t stop fighting this, but it is deeply disturbing that the Obama administration, rather than protecting our civil liberties and democracy, insists on further eroding them by expanding the power of the military to seize U.S. citizens and control our streets.

Chris Hedges, whose column is published Mondays on Truthdig, spent nearly two decades as a foreign correspondent in Central America, the Middle East, Africa and the Balkans. He has reported from more than 50 countries and has worked for The Christian Science Monitor, National Public Radio, The Dallas Morning News and The New York Times, for which he was a foreign correspondent for 15 years

This this article was first published at Truth Dig

© 2012 TruthDig.com”
Advertisements

Notes From a Guantanamo Survivor

Lord help me if writing in support of a person who was previously accused of terrorism is deemed to be sufficient enough for myself to be accused of “supporting terrorism” by my government.  We know that Obama and the recently signed NDAA 2012 claims the right to indefinitely detain the innocent-but-accused-of-supporting-terrorism, holding the accused without the right to a defense.  Does this mean we will see The New York Times Editorial Board being water-boarded sometime in the near future?

January 7, 2012

Notes From a Guantánamo Survivor

By MURAT KURNAZ

Bremen, Germany

I LEFT Guantánamo Bay much as I had arrived almost five years earlier — shackled hand-to-waist, waist-to-ankles, and ankles to a bolt on the airplane floor. My ears and eyes were goggled, my head hooded, and even though I was the only detainee on the flight this time, I was drugged and guarded by at least 10 soldiers. This time though, my jumpsuit was American denim rather than Guantánamo orange. I later learned that my C-17 military flight from Guantánamo to Ramstein Air Base in my home country, Germany, cost more than $1 million.

When we landed, the American officers unshackled me before they handed me over to a delegation of German officials. The American officer offered to re-shackle my wrists with a fresh, plastic pair. But the commanding German officer strongly refused: “He has committed no crime; here, he is a free man.”

I was not a strong secondary school student in Bremen, but I remember learning that after World War II, the Americans insisted on a trial for war criminals at Nuremberg, and that event helped turn Germany into a democratic country. Strange, I thought, as I stood on the tarmac watching the Germans teach the Americans a basic lesson about the rule of law.

How did I arrive at this point? This Wednesday is the 10th anniversary of the opening of the detention camp at the American naval base at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. I am not a terrorist. I have never been a member of Al Qaeda or supported them. I don’t even understand their ideas. I am the son of Turkish immigrants who came to Germany in search of work. My father has worked for years in a Mercedes factory. In 2001, when I was 18, I married a devout Turkish woman and wanted to learn more about Islam and to lead a better life. I did not have much money. Some of the elders in my town suggested I travel to Pakistan to learn to study the Koran with a religious group there.

I made my plans just before 9/11. I was 19 then and was naïve and did not think war in Afghanistan would have anything to do with Pakistan or my trip there. So I went ahead with my trip.

I was in Pakistan, on a public bus on my way to the airport to return to Germany when the police stopped the bus I was riding in. I was the only non-Pakistani on the bus — some people joke that my reddish hair makes me look Irish — so the police asked me to step off to look at my papers and ask some questions. German journalists told me the same thing happened to them. I was not a journalist, but a tourist, I explained. The police detained me but promised they would soon let me go to the airport. After a few days, the Pakistanis turned me over to American officials. At this point, I was relieved to be in American hands; Americans, I thought, would treat me fairly.

I later learned the United States paid a $3,000 bounty for me. I didn’t know it at the time, but apparently the United States distributed thousands of fliers all over Afghanistan, promising that people who turned over Taliban or Qaeda suspects would, in the words of one flier, get “enough money to take care of your family, your village, your tribe for the rest of your life.” A great number of men wound up in Guantánamo as a result.

I was taken to Kandahar, in Afghanistan, where American interrogators asked me the same questions for several weeks: Where is Osama bin Laden? Was I with Al Qaeda? No, I told them, I was not with Al Qaeda. No, I had no idea where bin Laden was. I begged the interrogators to please call Germany and find out who I was. During their interrogations, they dunked my head under water and punched me in the stomach; they don’t call this waterboarding but it amounts to the same thing. I was sure I would drown.

At one point, I was chained to the ceiling of a building and hung by my hands for days. A doctor sometimes checked if I was O.K.; then I would be strung up again. The pain was unbearable.

After about two months in Kandahar, I was transferred to Guantánamo. There were more beatings, endless solitary confinement, freezing temperatures and extreme heat, days of forced sleeplessness. The interrogations continued always with the same questions. I told my story over and over — my name, my family, why I was in Pakistan. Nothing I said satisfied them. I realized my interrogators were not interested in the truth.

Despite all this, I looked for ways to feel human. I have always loved animals. I started hiding a piece of bread from my meals and feeding the iguanas that came to the fence. When officials discovered this, I was punished with 30 days in isolation and darkness.

I remained confused on basic questions: why was I here? With all its money and intelligence, the United States could not honestly believe I was Al Qaeda, could they?

After two and a half years at Guantánamo, in 2004, I was brought before what officials called a Combatant Status Review Tribunal, at which a military officer said I was an “enemy combatant” because a German friend had engaged in a suicide bombing in 2003 — after I was already at Guantánamo. I couldn’t believe my friend had done anything so crazy but, if he had, I didn’t know anything about it.

A couple of weeks later, I was told I had a visit from a lawyer. They took me to a special cell and in walked an American law professor, Baher Azmy. I didn’t believe he was a real lawyer at first; interrogators often lied to us and tried to trick us. But Mr. Azmy had a note written in Turkish which he had gotten from my mother, and that made me trust him. (My mother found a lawyer in my hometown in Germany who heard that lawyers at the Center for Constitutional Rights represented Guantánamo detainees; the center assigned Mr. Azmy my case.) He did not believe the evidence against me and quickly discovered that my “suicide bomber” friend was, in fact, alive and well in Germany.

Mr. Azmy, my mother and my German lawyer helped pressure the German government to secure my release. Recently, Mr. Azmy made public a number of American and German intelligence documents from 2002 to 2004 that showed both countries suspected I was innocent. One of the documents said American military guards thought I was dangerous because I had prayed during the American national anthem.

Now, five years after my release, I am trying to put my terrible memories behind me. I have remarried and have a beautiful baby daughter. Still, it is hard not to think about my time at Guantánamo and to wonder how it is possible that a democratic government can detain people in intolerable conditions and without a fair trial.

Murat Kurnaz, the author of “Five Years of My Life: An Innocent Man in Guantánamo,” was detained from 2001 to 2006.

Have we Crossed The Rubicon?

Eric Peters says yes.
Article below, After reading I recommend visiting the site and reading the comments, which are equally good.

http://epautos.com/2011/12/14/we-have-crossed-the-rubicon/

“We Have Crossed the Rubicon

December 14, 2011

By

Do you suppose cows have any idea what’s coming as they’re marched down the chute? Or do they stare with bovine indifference at the tail and hind quarters in front of them, until they’re suddenly – and very briefly – startled by the man with the nail gun?

Perhaps Americans will – likewise too late – ask themselves What Happened in the very near future. Perhaps just after the midnight knock comes and they are taken away into the night.

It is not an exaggeration.

America is now on the cusp of becoming a state that does exactly such things; things exactly like the things done by 20th century horror shows such as NS Germany or Stalin’s USSR. Literally. Not “this is where it might lead” or “the tendency is similar.” Exactly, literally, the same thing. The only difference is that it awaits being done on a mass scale. But the power to do it openly – brazenly – has been asserted.

And is about to be sanctified by law.

The National Defense Authorization Act will make it official. It will confer upon the executive branch and the military (increasingly, the same things) the permanent authority to snatch and grab any person, U.S. citizens included, whom it decrees to be a “terrorist” – as defined or not by the executive or the military –  and imprison them, indefinitely, without formal charge, presentation of evidence or judicial proceeding of any kind. These “detainees” will have neither civilian rights in the civil court system, nor – crucially – even the minimal rights to due process and decent treatment conferred upon prisoners of war. (And we are allegedly “at war,” are we not?)

The language of the bill specifically includes American citizens “caught” within the borders of the United States – aka, the “battlefield.” It is claimed by sponsors that only those awful them – you know, the enemies of freedom The Chimp and his successors like to reference as they systematically gut our freedoms – need worry. But read the actual document, and be afraid. The wording is such that any shyster lawyer for the government will be able to draw up a memorandum at some point in the near future equating, say, criticism of the federal government’s policies in the Middle East with “substantially supporting” the enemies of the United States. As defined by the United States.

That is, as defined by the government.

At its whim. At the personal discretion of whomever happens to be the Maximum Leader, or even one of the ML’s duly appointed minions.

As the always excellent Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone recently observed, what happens when some nutjob who attended a few Tea Party meetings tries to bomb a federal building? Will the Tea Party itself – and anyone who “substantially supports” it be thus transformed into an “enemy combatant”? How about the OWS protestors? How about this web site – and this author – which have on several occasions called bullshit on the federal government’s usurpations and follies? How hard will it be, really, to describe such actions – such thoughts expressed in an article or an interview – as “substantially supporting” whatever the government decides amounts to “terrorism” or the threat thereof against itself?

Surely, the door is now wide open for such an interpretation by some John Woo or Dick Cheney waiting in the wings. Prospective jefe Newtie is practically turgid at the prospect of getting his hands on such power. And there is no longer (or soon won’t be) any legal means available to contest a one-way trip to Treblinka in Topeka – or wherever it is they will send you.

Taibbi writes:

“The really galling thing is that this act specifically envisions American citizens falling under the authority of the bill. One of its supporters, the dependably-unlikeable Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, bragged that the law ‘basically says … for the first time that the homeland is part of the battlefield’ and that people can be jailed without trial, be they ‘American citizen or not.’ New Hampshire Republican Kelly Ayotte reiterated that ‘America is part of the battlefield.’ ”

Graham further stated:

“It is not unfair to make an American citizen account for the fact that they decided to help Al Qaeda to kill us all and hold them as long as it takes to find intelligence about what may be coming next. And when they say, ‘I want my lawyer,’ you tell them, ‘Shut up. You don’t get a lawyer.’ ”

The key thing being, it is entirely up to the government to decide what constitutes “helping” al Qaeda. It can be nothing more than a vague assertion. Indeed, no evidence of any kind whatsoever is necessary to “hold them as long as it takes” in order to “find intelligence” (not defined, either) by any means it wishes to employ.

As Taibbi notes:

“If these laws are passed, we would be forced to rely upon the discretion of a demonstrably corrupt and consistently idiotic government to not use these awful powers to strike back at legitimate domestic unrest.”

The Fuhrer (oops, President Obama) is about to sign this latter-day Enabling act and when he does, it will mark the moment that America’s coffin is nailed shut. The corpse has been on view since 9/11. But there was always some hope that, perhaps, it might be jolted back into life. Now we know the awful truth. Death is permanent.

And it’s coming for us.

Throw it in the Woods?

This entry was posted on December 14, 2011 at 11:50 am and is filed under Features, Politics, Slide Show. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.”

Can You Hear It?

No?  Put your ear to the ground…you hear it now don’t you?  That faint rhythmic sound, like an army marching in the distance.  Yep, that is the sound of another march to war (That endless thing our elected dictators like to do every other day).  Looks like today’s drumbeat is for the Iranians.  How lucky for them.  Is it just me or is Obama’s administration getting increasingly fear mongerish?  It seems like the Propaganda Machine gets a turn more dialed up daily. Might we see a resurgence of the color coded terror alert scale?

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/12/us/us-accuses-iranians-of-plotting-to-kill-saudi-envoy.html?_r=1&emc=na

U.S. Accuses Iranians of Plotting to Kill Saudi Envoy

By 
Published: October 11, 2011

Federal authorities foiled a plot by men linked to the Iranian government to kill the Saudi ambassador to the United States and to bomb the embassy of Saudi Arabia in Washington, Attorney GeneralEric H. Holder Jr. said in a news conference on Tuesday.

The men accused of plotting the attacks were Manssor Arbab Arbabsiar and Gholam Shakuri, according to court documents filed in federal court in the Southern District of New York. The Justice Department said men are originally from Iran.

There is “no basis to believe that any other co-conspirators are present in the U.S.,” Mr. Holder said.

He said the men were connected to the secretive Quds Force, a division of Iran’s elite Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps that has carried out operations in other countries. He said that money in support of the plot had been transferred through a bank in New York, but that the men had not yet obtained any explosives.

The Justice Department said in a statement that Mr. Shakuri, a member of the Quds force, remained at large. Mr. Arbabsiar, a naturalized American citizen, was arrested on Sept. 29.

Mr. Holder said the Mexican government had been instrumental in the investigation.

Iran reacted immediately to the news, calling the accusations a fabrication.

Details offered by the Justice Department painted a picture of a dizzying international plot involving Mexican drug cartels, murder for hire and huge sums of money being transferred from unknown locations.

The department said in its criminal complaint that from the spring of this year, Mr. Arbabsiar conspired with Mr. Shakuri to plot the assassination of the Saudi ambassador to the United States, Adel A. Al-Jubeir. According to the complaint, conspirators based in Iran were aware of and approved the plan, which involved hiring men connected to a Mexican drug cartel to carry out the killing.

The complaint alleges that those hired by the two men were in fact confidential sources of the Drug Enforcement Agency. They were later asked if they were knowledgeable in bomb-making, the complaint said, Mr. Arbabsiar “was interested in, among other things, attacking an embassy of Saudi Arabia.”

The criminal complaint filed on Tuesday accuses the men of conspiracy to murder a foreign official; conspiracy to engage in foreign travel and use interstate and foreign commerce facilities in the commission of murder-for-hire; conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction. specifically explosives; and conspiracy to commit an act of international terrorism.

ABC News, citing an unnamed official, reported that the plot also included plans to bomb the Israeli Embassy in Washington, as well as those belonging to Saudi Arabia and Israelin Buenos Aires, Argentina.

A spokesman for the National Security Council said that the plot had first been brought toPresident Obama’s attention earlier this year.

“The President was first briefed on this issue in June and directed his Administration to provide all necessary support to this investigation,” he said in a statement. “The disruption of this plot is a significant achievement by our intelligence and law enforcement agencies, and the president is enormously grateful for their exceptional work in this instance and countless others.”

Abdullah Alshamri, a Saudi official in Riyadh, predicted the disclosure would send Iranian-Saudi relations to “their lowest point yet.” Though no government steps had been taken, he suggested that a diplomatic row was inevitable.

“We’re expecting from our government a serious and tough reaction to give a message to the Iranians that enough is enough,” he said by telephone. “If we keep our diplomatic ties with the Iranians, they will think we are weak and they will keep trying to attack us.”

He said this was only the latest Iranian attempt to attack Saudi diplomats.

“This is their hobby,” he said. “Iran has no respect for international law.”

Anthony Shadid contributed reporting from Beirut and Mark Landler from Washington.

The Day America Died

The Day America Died

By Paul Craig Roberts

September 30, 2011 was the day America was assassinated.

Many expected President Obama to re-establish the accountability of government to law. Instead, he went further than Bush/Cheney and asserted the unconstitutional power not only to hold American citizens indefinitely in prison without bringing charges, but also to take their lives without convicting them in a court of law. Obama asserts that the US Constitution notwithstanding, he has the authority to assassinate US citizens, who he deems to be a “threat,” without due process of law.

In other words, any American citizen who is moved into the threat category has no rights and can be executed without trial or evidence.

On September 30 Obama used this asserted new power of the president and had two American citizens, Anwar Awlaki and Samir Khan murdered. Khan was a wacky character associated with Inspire Magazine and does not readily come to mind as a serious threat.

Awlaki was a moderate American Muslim cleric who served as an advisor to the US government after 9/11 on ways to counter Muslim extremism. Awlaki was gradually radicalized by Washington’s use of lies to justify military attacks on Muslim countries. He became a critic of the US government and told Muslims that they did not have to passively accept American aggression and had the right to resist and to fight back. As a result Awlaki was demonized and became a threat.

All we know that Awlaki did was to give sermons critical of Washington’s indiscriminate assaults on Muslim peoples. Washington’s argument is that his sermons might have had an influence on some who are accused of attempting terrorist acts, thus making Awlaki responsible for the attempts.

Obama’s assertion that Awlaki was some kind of high-level Al Qaeda operative is merely an assertion. Jason Ditz concluded that the reason Awlaki was murdered rather than brought to trial is that the US government had no real evidence that Awlaki was an Al Qaeda operative.

Having murdered its critic, the Obama Regime is working hard to posthumously promote Awlaki to a leadership position in Al Qaeda. The presstitutes and the worshippers of America’s First Black President have fallen in line and regurgitated the assertions that Awlaki was a high-level dangerous Al Qaeda terrorist. If Al Qaeda sees value in Awlaki as a martyr, the organization will give credence to these claims. However, so far no one has provided any evidence. Keep in mind that all we know about Awlaki is what Washington claims and that the US has been at war for a decade based on false claims.

But what Awlaki did or might have done is beside the point. The US Constitution requires that even the worst murderer cannot be punished until he is convicted in a court of law. When the American Civil Liberties Union challenged in federal court Obama’s assertion that he had the power to order assassinations of American citizens, the Obama Justice (sic) Department argued that Obama’s decision to have Americans murdered was an executive power beyond the reach of the judiciary.

In a decision that sealed America’s fate, federal district court judge John Bates ignored the Constitution’s requirement that no person shall be deprived of life without due process of law and dismissed the case, saying that it was up to Congress to decide. Obama acted before an appeal could be heard, thus using Judge Bates’ acquiescence to establish the power and advance the transformation of the president into a Caesar that began under George W. Bush.

Attorneys Glenn Greenwald and Jonathan Turley point out that Awlaki’s assassination terminated the Constitution’s restraint on the power of government. Now the US government not only can seize a US citizen and confine him in prison for the rest of his life without ever presenting evidence and obtaining a conviction, but also can have him shot down in the street or blown up by a drone.

Before some readers write to declare that Awlaki’s murder is no big deal because the US government has always had people murdered, keep in mind that CIA assassinations were of foreign opponents and were not publicly proclaimed events, much less a claim by the president to be above the law. Indeed, such assassinations were denied, not claimed as legitimate actions of the President of the United States.

The Ohio National Guardsmen who shot Kent State students as they protested the US invasion of Cambodia in 1970 made no claim to be carrying out an executive branch decision. Eight of the guardsmen were indicted by a grand jury. The guardsmen entered a self-defense plea. Most Americans were angry at war protestors and blamed the students. The judiciary got the message, and the criminal case was eventually dismissed. The civil case (wrongful death and injury) was settled for $675,000 and a statement of regret by the defendants.

The point isn’t that the government killed people. The point is that never prior to President Obama has a President asserted the power to murder citizens.

Regards,

Paul Craig Roberts

——————————————————-

Impeach Obama (and not for blowjobs)

(Update:
There is a serious impeach Obama Campaign underway here.  From what I can tell it is a serious movement, not about blowjobs at all.)
Obama is a terrible president.  I voted for him.  I am ashamed of that fact.  At that time I sincerely believed there was a difference between republicans and democrats.  The only good thing Obama has done on this earth as President is to open my eyes to the charade of the American two party political system.  He has not kept his oath to the constitution, and he was a constitutional law professor!  If we are going to impeach him (and we should), we should do it because he has broken his oath to the constitution by ordering the death of a fellow citizen (which is illegal and it won’t be too much longer before the president can assassinate non-terror suspect citizens.  Also, just calling someone a terrorist does not make him one, and the president does not have that power!) and skipping over the checks and balances system to start a war on his own, among other terrible things he has done.  We should not impeach him because of conspiracies or the blowjobs he did or did not receive.  The last time a president was impeached the process was turned into a national jerry springer show circus.  I believe this was done on purpose to make a mockery of the process.  However, if we can and have impeached presidents for silly things like blowjobs (what a precedent), then how can it be any harder to do it for breaking his oath to the constituton?!
 
I say we start the “Impeach Obama Campaign” right here on RevolutioNation.  Though we are not a large organization with any following at this point, someone needs to spread this message.  If we allow a president the precedent to assassinate his own people without calls for his removal of office, we are not doing our duty to our country or our constitution.  There are organizations who foolishly want to impeach him for silly reasons such as he is not a citizen and other such bullocks.  These people are just part of the distraction.  So ignore them.