Tuesday, October 4, 2011

al-Awlaki Assassination Dramatically Steepened the Slippery Slope Leading to the Loss of Everyone's Constitutional Rights

[Edited & Ron Paul comment link added, 10/5-6/11]

When I mentioned the alleged assassination of American citizen al-Awlaki to a friend today, he responded, with reference to my, and other's comments about the "American Spring," with the question: "is it really the American Fall?" I responded with "Good point--hopefully the Fall before the Spring. When they deny due process to one, they can find ways to deny it to all."

"Hopefully?" Hope? Always the fallback position of those who feel they are powerless I guess.

When Jesse Jackson gave his "Keep Hope Alive" speech at the 1988 Democratic Convention, tears welled up in my eyes. When the elites offered up Clinton, "The man from Hope" in '92, I went for it the first time around. The Supreme Court changed the theme and gave us a murderous thug, with no promise of hope, in 2000, but in 2008 it was back to hope, with change tossed in for good measure. Obama, the corporate/militarist/Imperial Trojan Horse who emerged so prematurely within the Democratic party, shattered our hopes by breaking his promises and expanding the opposite of the change we expected. It was the kind of "change" that had been initiated by G.W. Bush in the wake of 9/11, a primary feature of which was the erosion of of our Constitutional rights.

Hope? Hopefully? Nice words, good thoughts, but without effective individual and group action towards what one hopes for, the words will not provide for change. That is the lesson, and also what is encouraging (hopeful? ;-)) about the Occupy Wall Street protests as well as the coming October 6, 2011 protest against the imperial wars and the corporate machine at Freedom Plaza in Washington, D.C. They are getting up off their bottoms to publicly assemble and demand relief for their grievances. If people will act to effect the change they desire, the resistance will grow and finally impress upon the elites, and their Wall Street financiers, that we are not going to take it any more, that we are going to reign them in, demand equity and true democracy, and that we are going to actively insist upon our rights as U.S. citizens as enumerated in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Only through action, not hope alone, will true change stand a chance in America.

[See also Liberty Tree Foundation: "We also understand that freedom to govern requires freedom from want. The rights to housing, to an education, to health care, to child care, to a livable income, are all democratic rights. People who don’t have these necessities of life are not free to participate in power. The impoverishment of Americans is the impoverishment of America."]

Obama's lawyers and other thugs in the US "Justice" Department, the CIA (Petraeus), and Congress, who justify the assassination a US citizen without formal charge and trial, without any evidence being scrutinized in a court of law, dramatically upped the ante and increased the stakes for US citizens everywhere when the administration decided to ignore our long-held right of Habeas Corpus and due process, including the protections afforded by the Fifth Amendment. A trial held secretly in the offices of the executive branch, the same offices that lied us into the Iraq War, with the help of a complicit corporate media, is no trial at all, and has no place in the "land of the free." Any citizen abroad, and, if the trend is not reversed, perhaps some day even at home, who opposes US policies or supports the rights of those deemed as our enemies or "terrorists," could be subject to similar actions, without recourse to a trial where they could defend themselves.

Here are a few videos and articles that better explain the situation we find ourselves in:

Al-QAEDA DEATH: Barack Obama welcomes Anwar al-Awlaki killing


Who Knew--A Real Reporter Exists!
Obama Admin Refuses To Offer ANY Proof Anwar Al Awlaki Was Involved In Terrorist Activity


Wondering just what you can say about US foreign policy without being arrested or assassinated under current law? Wondering that if you speak your mind whether the government can call you a terrorist and put you on their hit list? Wondering what the traditional legal arguments are against assassinating US citizens abroad? Wondering if you and your expressions against the government's policies, as opposed to Obama and his extrajudicial killing of American citizens, are criminal under current law? Well (deep subject), given Obama's and Petraeus' actions, even the Constitution might not protect you when they ignore it. If, however, the government minds the constraints of the Constitution, the following audio commentary by former civil litigator and Constitutional lawyer Glenn Greenwald, is the most comprehensive I can find with regard to free speech rights and the cases of of US citizens Anwar al-Awlaki and Samir Khan, who were summarily executed by Obama and CIA director Petraeus.

If you are truly interested in these issues, please listen to this informative 30 minute audio with Glenn Greenwald and Scott Horton from Antiwar Radio and KPFK 90.7 FM in Los Angeles:

Scott Horton Interviews Glenn Greenwald
Scott Horton, October 01, 2011

For download: http://antiwar.com/radio/2011/10/01/glenn-greenwald-34/

See Also:

With Death of Anwar al-Awlaki, Has U.S. Launched New Era of Killing U.S. Citizens Without Charge?

Anwar al-Awlaki's extrajudicial murder
The law on the use of lethal force by executive order is specific. This assassination broke it – that creates a terrifying precedent

By Michael Ratner
October 01, 20911 "The Guardian"

". . . . Yes, Anwar al-Awlaki was a radical Muslim cleric. Yes, his language and speeches were incendiary. He may even have engaged in plots against the United States – but we do not know that because he was never indicted for a crime.

This profile should not have made him a target for a killing without due process and without any effort to capture, arrest and try him. The US government knew his location for purposes of a drone strike, so why was no effort made to arrest him in Yemen, a country that apparently was allied in the US efforts to track him down?

There are – or were – laws about the circumstances in which deadly force can be used, including against those who are bent on causing harm to the United States. Outside of a war zone, as Awlaki was, lethal force can only be employed in the
narrowest and most extraordinary circumstances: when there is a concrete, specific and imminent threat of an attack; and even then, deadly force must be a last resort.

The claim, after the fact, by President Obama that Awlaki "operationally directed efforts" to attack the United States was never presented to a court before he was placed on the "kill" list and is untested. Even if President Obama's claim has some validity, unless Awlaki's alleged terrorists actions were imminent and unless deadly force employed as a last resort, this killing constitutes murder. . . . ."


An Unconstitutional Killing: Obama's Killing of Awlaki Violates American Law

By Ron Paul

October 03, 2011 "NY Daily News"

". . . . We have to take the fight against terrorism very seriously. In 2001, I supported the authority to capture and kill the thugs responsible for 9/11. In our efforts we must, however, work hard to preserve and respect our great American constitutional principles.

Awlaki was a U.S. citizen. Under our Constitution, American citizens, even those living abroad, must be charged with a crime before being sentenced. As President, I would have arrested Awlaki, brought him to the U.S., tried him and pushed for the stiffest punishment allowed by law. Treason has historically been judged to be the worst of crimes, deserving of the harshest sentencing. But what I would not do as President is what Obama has done and continues to do in spectacular fashion: circumvent the rule of law. . . . ."

See also: Obama impeachment a possibility, says Ron Paul

The Day America Died

By Paul Craig Roberts

October 03, 2011 "Information Clearing House"

". . . . September 30, 2011 was the day America was assassinated.

Some of us have watched this day approach and have warned of its coming, only to be greeted with boos and hisses from “patriots” who have come to regard the US Constitution as a device that coddles criminals and terrorists and gets in the way of the President who needs to act to keep us safe.

In our book, The Tyranny of Good Intentions, Lawrence Stratton and I showed that long before 9/11 US law had ceased to be a shield of the people and had been turned into a weapon in the hands of the government. The event known as 9/11 was used to raise the executive branch above the law. As long as the President sanctions an illegal act, executive branch employees are no longer accountable to the law that prohibits the illegal act. On the president’s authority, the executive branch can violate US laws against spying on Americans without warrants, indefinite detention, and torture and suffer no consequences.

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.
. . . .
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.

Over the last 20 years, the United States has had its own Mein Kampf transformation.
. . . .
Readers ask me what they can do. Americans not only feel powerless, they are powerless. They cannot do anything. The highly concentrated, corporate-owned, government-subservient print and TV media are useless and no longer capable of performing the historic role of protecting our rights and holding government accountable. Even many antiwar Internet sites shield the government from 9/11 skepticism, and most defend the government’s “righteous intent” in its war on terror. Acceptable criticism has to be couched in words such as “it doesn’t serve our interests.”

Voting has no effect. President “Change” is worse than Bush/Cheney. As Jonathan Turley suggests, Obama is “the most disastrous president in our history.” Ron Paul is the only presidential candidate who stands up for the Constitution, but the majority of Americans are too unconcerned with the Constitution to appreciate him.

To expect salvation from an election is delusional. All you can do, if you are young enough, is to leave the country. The only future for Americans is a nightmare."

Dr. Paul Craig Roberts was appointed by President Reagan Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury and confirmed by the US Senate. He was Associate Editor and columnist with the Wall Street Journal, and he served on the personal staffs of Representative Jack Kemp and Senator Orrin Hatch. He was staff associate of the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, staff associate of the Joint Economic Committee of Congress, and Chief Economist, Republican Staff, House Budget Committee. He wrote the Kemp-Roth tax rate reduction bill, and was a leader in the supply-side revolution. He was professor of economics in six universities, and is the author of numerous books and scholarly contributions. He has testified before committees of Congress on 30 occasions.

Ralph Nader’s Grand Alliance
Progressives find hope—in Ron Paul.

By Michael Tracey | September 28, 2011

". . . .Not that he was ever particularly optimistic about the Obama administration, especially its potential to make headway on curtailing corporate welfare, now Nader’s signature policy objective. But in that, as with so many aspects of Obama’s presidency, the adjectives “disappointing” or “inadequate” don’t even begin to capture the depths of progressive disillusionment. Looking ahead to the 2012 presidential race, one might assume that Nader has little to be cheerful about.

Yet he says there is one candidate who sticks out—who even gives him hope: Rep. Ron Paul of Texas.

That might sound counterintuitive. Nader, of course, is known as a stalwart of the independent left, having first gained notoriety for his 1960s campaign to impose greater regulatory requirements on automakers—a policy act that would seem to contravene the libertarian understanding of justified governmental power. So I had to ask: how could he profess hope in Ron Paul, who almost certainly would have opposed the very regulations on which Nader built his career?

“Look at the latitude,” Nader says, referring to the potential for cooperation between libertarians and the left. “Military budget, foreign wars, empire, Patriot Act, corporate welfare—for starters. When you add those all up, that’s a foundational convergence. Progressives should do so good.”

I thought I’d bring up the subject of Ron Paul with Nader after seeing the two jointly interviewed on Fox Business Channel in January. Nader had caught me off guard when he identified an emergent left-libertarian alliance as “today’s most exciting new political dynamic.” It was easy to foresee objections that the left might raise: if progressives are in favor of expanding the welfare state, how well can they really get along with folks who go around quoting the likes of Hayek and Rothbard?

“That’s strategic sabotage,” Nader responds, sharply. “It’s an intellectual indulgence. … If they’re on your side, and you don’t compromise your positions, what do you care who they quote? Franklin Delano Roosevelt sided with Stalin against Hitler. Not to draw that analogy, I’m just saying—why did he side with Stalin? Because Stalin went along with everything FDR wanted.”

There may be an insurmountable impasse between the camps on social-safety-net spending. “But,” Nader says, “you could get together on corporate entitlements, subsidies, handouts, giveaways, bailouts. Ron Paul is dead set against all that. So are a lot of libertarian-conservatives. In fact, it’s almost a mark of being a libertarian-conservative—in contrast to being a corporatist-conservative.”

“Do you read all these right-wing theoreticians?” he goes on. “Almost every one of them warned about excessive corporate concentration. Hayek did, [Frank] Meyer did, even Adam Smith did in his own way.” He leaves the mechanics of a left-libertarian political coalition to be sussed out later.

If the issues around which progressives and libertarians can coalesce, I ask Nader, are the most intractable, deeply entrenched problems, is he proposing that such a coalition would be more tenable than the one currently cobbling together the Democratic Party, with its many Blue Dogs and neoliberals?

“Exactly,” Nader says. “Libertarians like Ron Paul are on our side on civil liberties. They’re on our side against the military-industrial complex. They’re on our side against Wall Street. They’re on our side for investor rights. That’s a foundational convergence,” he exhorts. “It’s not just itty-bitty stuff.”

Nader cites opposition to “the self-defeating, boomeranging drug war” as another source of common ground, in the face of both parties’ indifference—with the scant exceptions of a few House Democrats who favor decriminalizing marijuana—to drug prohibition’s many ills. Ron Paul’s rejection of the very notion that personal drug use should be a criminal offense is something that has resonated with younger supporters, often catalyzing their first moment of political consciousness. . . . ."


Information Clearing House, and Tom Feeley, provided me with many of these and other articles. ICH also provides their readers with many excellent quotes.

Here's the latest:

"Those who stand for nothing fall for anything." Alexander Hamilton -  Secretary of the Treasury of the United States (1789-95), 1757-1804

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