Glenn Greenwald on Presidential Assassinations

Glenn Greenwald:

“To say that the President has the right to kill citizens without due process is really to take the constitution and to tear it up into as many little pieces as you can and then burn it and step on it.”

From Greenwald’s blog at Salon:

What amazes me most whenever I write about this topic is recalling how terribly upset so many Democrats pretended to be when Bush claimed the power merely to detain or even just eavesdrop on American citizens without due process. Remember all that? Yet now, here’s Obama claiming the power not to detain or eavesdrop on citizens without due process, but to kill them; marvel at how the hardest-core White House loyalists now celebrate this and uncritically accept the same justifying rationale used by Bush/Cheney (this is war! the President says he was a Terrorist!) without even a moment of acknowledgment of the profound inconsistency or the deeply troubling implications of having a President — even Barack Obama — vested with the power to target U.S. citizens for murder with no due process.

As Dakinikat posted in the comments to Minx’s evening post, a second U.S. citizen who was not on Obama’s assassination list was also murdered along with al-Awlaki. From bmaz at Emptywheel:

Awlaki was killed by a drone delivered Hellfire missile, via a joint CIA and JSOC operation, in the town of Kashef, in Yemen’s Jawf province, approximately 140 kilometres east of Sanaa, Yemen’s capital. But not only Awlaki was killed, at least three others, including yet another American citizen, Samir Khan, were killed in the strike.

That’s right, not just one, but two, Americans were summarily and extrajudicially executed by their own government today, at the direct order of the President of the United States. No trial, no verdict, just off with their heads. Heck, there were not even charges filed against either Awlaki or Khan. And it is not that the government did not try either, there was a grand jury convened on Khan, but no charges. Awlaki too was investigated for charges at least twice by the DOJ, but non were found.

But at least Awlaki was on Barrack Obama’s “Americans That Are Cool to Kill List”. Not so with Samir Khan. Not only is there no evidence whatsoever Khan is on the classified list for killing (actually two different lists) my survey of people knowledgeable in the field today revealed not one who believed khan was on any such list, either by DOD or CIA.

So, the US has been tracking scrupulously Awlaki for an extended period and knew with certainty where he was and when, and knew with certainty immediately they had killed Awlaki and Khan. This means the US also knew, with certainty, they were going to execute Samir Khan.

I can’t even begin to describe how sickened I am by these murders of American citizens. President Obama is a murderer and a tyrant who is destroying the last vestiges of the Constitution of the United States. At least I don’t have to live with the horror of having voted for this evil man.

29 Comments on “Glenn Greenwald on Presidential Assassinations”

  1. Minkoff Minx says:

    Then there is this:

    Awlaki’s killing could make Saleh stronger – and Yemen more dangerous than ever – Middle East, World – The Independent

    Awlaki spent his teens, and his final and most influential years, in Yemen. And that’s where the aftershocks will be felt most strongly, just one week after President Ali Abdullah Saleh returned from medical treatment in Saudi Arabia. In life, as it may prove in death, Awlaki was probably more important to Saleh’s political fate than he was to the global jihadi movement.

    The rise of al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) presented a strange opportunity for the Yemeni government. The group’s ability to threaten the US – as with the underpants bomber of 2009, and last year’s cartridge bomb plot – meant that the US saw AQAP rather differently. Yemen was seen almost exclusively through the lens of the war on terror. Although Saleh sought to avoid looking like a Western puppet, he quickly realised that this was an opportunity to siphon off millions in US aid.
    That’s why the death of Yemen’s bête noire, the so-called “bin Laden of the internet”, has such curious timing. Pakistan, if you recall, has perfected a technique whereby Taliban and al-Qa’ida leaders are arrested or killed days before a US senator is due to visit.

    Has Saleh lifted this trick? Yemen is disintegrating because the President, through his family, is refusing to give up power. There’s every chance the intelligence leading to Awlaki’s death was supplied as an attempt at political survival.
    If Awlaki was a victim of Yemen’s faltering revolution, has Saleh therefore killed the goose that laid the golden eggs? Last year, the President famously told a US diplomat that the Americans were “hot-blooded and hasty when you need us”, but “cold-blooded and British when we need you”. Even exploiting Awlaki’s death may not save Saleh – he is trying the patience of even allies like Saudi Arabia. But his successors needn’t worry about being abandoned. The US has been rapidly escalating (frequently counterproductive) drone strikes in Yemen over past months, partly out of concern that AQAP is building links to Somalia’s main insurgent group, al-Shabaab.

    Perhaps the greatest danger now is that Saleh persuads his outside backers that he is indeed their man in Sanaa but, by clinging on, tears Yemen apart. The resulting opportunities for al-Qa’ida could make Awlaki pale into insignificance.

    Has Hillary Clinton made a statement about the assassination?

      • Minkoff Minx says:

        I can’t help but think that this has to put a strain on Foreign Policy. If the US does this kind of thing to it’s citizens…what message does it send?

      • madamab says:

        Minkoff, that message was sent in 2004 with Abu Ghraib. Obama is just reinforcing it and taking it to its logical conclusion – no one is safe, not on American soil, not anywhere. The Patriot Act has always given the President these kind of powers.

        This is where Hillary being SOS is a major problem. She has to back up Obama on foreign policy, and who knows, she might even agree with him. (I certainly hope not.)

        We live in terrible times.

        • Minkoff Minx says:

          I think Obama has taken it further. It is just another Bush action from a man who commercialized change and hope.

          Who Can’t America Kill? – Micah Zenko – International – The Atlantic

          After 9/11, President George W. Bush made the policy of targeted killing more explicit. Just six days after the attacks, Bush signed a Memorandum of Notification that authorized the CIA to kill, without further presidential approval, some two dozen al-Qaeda leaders who appeared on an inital “high-value target list.”

          Included on this list was Abu Ali al-Harithi, an operational planner in the al-Qaeda cell that attacked the U.S.S. Cole. On November 3, 2002, a Predator drone killed al-Hariti, four Yemenis, and Ahmed Hijazi, a naturalized U.S. citizen and the ringleader of an alleged terrorist sleeper cell in Lackawanna, New York. This was the first targeted killing outside of Iraq and Afghanistan, and the first such killing of a naturalized U.S. citizen.

  2. Minkoff Minx says:

    I am glad that I didn’t vote for him either.

  3. dakinikat says:

    I just hardly know what to say about this it’s so shocking. Remember this guy’s won a Noble peace prize and supposedly taught constitutional law. It’s beyond surreal.

  4. dakinikat says:

    I hope some one challenges in this. The president shouldn’t be just suspending the constitution like this.

  5. bostonboomer says:

    Someone already did challenge this: the ACLU and al-Awalaki’s father. From the NYT:

    …a range of civil libertarians and Muslim-American advocates questioned how the government could take an American citizen’s life based on secret intelligence and without a trial. They said that killing him amounted to summary execution without the due process of law guaranteed by the Constitution.

    That argument was pressed unsuccessfully in federal court last year by the American Civil Liberties Union and Mr. Awlaki’s father, Nasser al-Awlaki, a former agriculture minister and university chancellor in Yemen. A federal judge threw out their lawsuit, noting that the younger Mr. Awlaki had shown no interest in pursuing a claim in an American justice system he despised.

    On Friday, Jameel Jaffer, the A.C.L.U.’s deputy legal director, said that the drone strike, which killed Mr. Awlaki and another American, Samir Khan, violated United States and international law. “As we’ve seen today, this is a program under which American citizens far from any battlefield can be executed by their own government without judicial process, and on the basis of standards and evidence that are kept secret not just from the public, but from the courts,” Mr. Jaffer said.

  6. Fannie says:

    Hillary has no choice but to follow orders………..she is part of Obama’s murdering machine………we are made LESS safe, and the world knows it. Obama needs to stop deceiving us into thinking he is or has solved the problem……….nationally we are more hated.

    We need to demand that no President should have this kind power over human rights.

    • Minkoff Minx says:

      Fannie, here is a post from the state department blog: Renewing America’s Global Leadership | U.S. Department of State Blog

      I know she has to support the admin, but I cringe when I read something like this:

      …There are some — and I hear their voices — who argue that the United States can no longer afford to be a global leader, that we should pull back from the world and lower our ambitions. But I am here today to tell you that nothing could be further from the truth.

      “The fact is…number one, we have no choice; the world is on our doorsteps whether we invite it or not. And number two, we cannot afford not to be engaging. Whether it’s opening new markets for American businesses or breaking up terrorist plots and bringing the wars of the last decade to a successful close, our work around the world holds the key to our prosperity and security right here at home.

      “Now, there are many examples of this, and some of them are controversial. But take, for example, the pending free trade agreement with South Korea. It is expected to create 70,000 American jobs if Congress approves it, including thousands right here in Arkansas because tariffs on most agricultural exports are phased out. That will make a real difference in people’s lives.”

      The Secretary then said, “From the first days of the Obama Administration, we have worked to renew America’s global leadership because we want it to deliver more for the American people. And for the last decade our foreign policy has been focused on places where we faced the greatest dangers. And responding to threats will always be central to our foreign policy; but it cannot be our foreign policy. If all we do is focus on the threats and the dangers, we will miss the opportunities. And in the decade ahead we need to focus just as intensely on the places where we have the greatest opportunities as on those places where we have faced the greatest dangers.

      • paper doll says:

        That is cringe making…. sigh..Hill’s is a hawk when it comes to foreign affairs and it’s interesting we find her working where her views are closer to the top one percent…so they let her work there….However she and they have vastly different views about the domestic front…and we see she was blocked from that compleatly

        • Minkoff Minx says:

          I just read this on my reader from Madrak: Suburban Guerrilla » Blog Archive » Letter from Trumka

          We need jobs. Not unfair trade agreements.

          Millions of people who are ready, willing and able to work are unemployed or underemployed. But instead of focusing on job creation, Congress is getting ready to take up unfair, job-offshoring trade deals.

          With more than 25 million people desperately searching for full-time jobs, the last thing our leaders should focus on is these unfair trade deals. It’s the wrong thing to do, and it’s a huge distraction from our jobs crisis.

          Tell Congress: Get moving on jobs, and drop these unfair trade deals. Then, be ready to join our national call-in day this Tuesday. With your help, we’ll make our voices heard by flooding Congress with calls and messages.

          Here’s why the three pending trade agreements are a bad deal for working families:

          The Korea agreement is the biggest trade deal since NAFTA. It would displace an estimated 159,000 net U.S. jobs, mostly in manufacturing.

          What? I thought it would bring 70,000 jobs to the US. /snark

    • paper doll says:

      I agree about Hillary having no choice…if she was fully on board with this stuff , she would be in the White House right now. She’s not. The most one can say is she stands by as it happens…but it’s not like she can stop it and there is much else she can do by being there.

      She’s not into ruining herself in order to make a soon forgotten “statement” and then lose effectiveness else where. One of the reasons Obot Nation hates her…they are all about such pointless performance art

  7. propertius says:

    This is murder, pure and simple – and worse yet, it’s murder committed as a political stunt. Obama should be impeached for this.

  8. kitchenmudge says:

    Surprise, surprise! Both Dems and Reps are hypocrites.