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Tue Feb 5, 2013, 11:31 PM

"Chilling Legal Memo From Obama DOJ Justifies Assassination of US Citizens" - Glenn Greenwald [View all]

Chilling Legal Memo From Obama DOJ Justifies Assassination of US Citizens
The president's partisan lawyers purport to vest him with the most extreme power a political leader can seize

by Glenn Greenwald


The most extremist power any political leader can assert is the power to target his own citizens for execution without any charges or due process, far from any battlefield. The Obama administration has not only asserted exactly that power in theory, but has exercised it in practice. In September 2011, it killed US citizen Anwar Awlaki in a drone strike in Yemen, along with US citizen Samir Khan, and then, in circumstances that are still unexplained, two weeks later killed Awlaki's 16-year-old American son Abdulrahman with a separate drone strike in Yemen.

Since then, senior Obama officials including Attorney General Eric Holder and John Brennan, Obama's top terrorism adviser and his current nominee to lead the CIA, have explicitly argued that the president is and should be vested with this power. Meanwhile, a Washington Post article from October reported that the administration is formally institutionalizing this president's power to decide who dies under the Orwellian title "disposition matrix".

...

What has made these actions all the more radical is the absolute secrecy with which Obama has draped all of this. Not only is the entire process carried out solely within the Executive branch - with no checks or oversight of any kind - but there is zero transparency and zero accountability. The president's underlings compile their proposed lists of who should be executed, and the president - at a charming weekly event dubbed by White House aides as "Terror Tuesday" - then chooses from "baseball cards" and decrees in total secrecy who should die. The power of accuser, prosecutor, judge, jury, and executioner are all consolidated in this one man, and those powers are exercised in the dark.

In fact, The Most Transparent Administration Everô has been so fixated on secrecy that they have refused even to disclose the legal memoranda prepared by Obama lawyers setting forth their legal rationale for why the president has this power. During the Bush years, when Bush refused to disclose the memoranda from his Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) that legally authorized torture, rendition, warrantless eavesdropping and the like, leading Democratic lawyers such as Dawn Johnsen (Obama's first choice to lead the OLC) vehemently denounced this practice as a grave threat, warning that "the Bush Administration's excessive reliance on 'secret law' threatens the effective functioning of American democracy" and "the withholding from Congress and the public of legal interpretations by the (OLC) upsets the system of checks and balances between the executive and legislative branches of government."

But when it comes to Obama's assassination power, this is exactly what his administration has done. It has repeatedly refused to disclose the principal legal memoranda prepared by Obama OLC lawyers that justified his kill list. It is, right now, vigorously resisting lawsuits from the New York Times and the ACLU to obtain that OLC memorandum. In sum, Obama not only claims he has the power to order US citizens killed with no transparency, but that even the documents explaining the legal rationale for this power are to be concealed. He's maintaining secret law on the most extremist power he can assert.

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Much much more at link: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/feb/05/obama-kill-list-doj-memo

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Reply "Chilling Legal Memo From Obama DOJ Justifies Assassination of US Citizens" - Glenn Greenwald [View all]
Catherina Feb 2013 OP
mwrguy Feb 2013 #1
DonCoquixote Feb 2013 #2
R. Daneel Olivaw Feb 2013 #3
joelz Feb 2013 #4
jsr Feb 2013 #5
Demo_Chris Feb 2013 #6
struggle4progress Feb 2013 #7
struggle4progress Feb 2013 #8
Macoy51 Feb 2013 #9
Jesus Malverde Feb 2014 #10