The Grey Lady’s Charlie Savage just gives us the (redacted) memo itself of the Justice Department’s stated justification for the state-sanctioned murder of U.S. citizen Anwar al-Awlaki by the United States government in a targeted drone strike. The memo was released as part of a court decision by the U.S. Second CIrcuit Court of Appeals in New York. Wapo has a bit more (including a citation to the wrong amendment). And for the usual spot-on analysis we get from Marcy and the gang, try this and related posts from empty wheel.
Amusingly, the author of the memo was former DOJ official David Barron, who is now serving (with life tenure) as a federal Circuit Court of Appeals Judge in Boston, joining such other luminaries as “torture memo” signer Jay Bybee in the capacity of federal appellate judge.
Well, well. I don’t know whether I am more offended by the targeted killing of specific human beings by their own government (which I suspect is nothing really new), or by the attempt to argue it is legally justified (which I suspect is quite new, with its antecedents in the Bush White House and John Yoo’s famous “torture memos.”)
This new attempt at legal whitewashing of the unspoken and unjustifiable brutality associated with war, as usual, misses the point (presumably that being “change we can believe in” by “constitutional scholar” Barack Hussein Obama). So I’ll make the point: the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution provides, simply,
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
[emphasis the dog’s].
How hard is that? Due process of law. No, that does not mean a determination of political expedience by politicians acting in secret, which is presumably what happened with Mr. al-Awlaki, seeing as those “proceedings” remain secret. Not to mention that due process is probably offended by the treatment of al-Awlaki’s teenage son, also summarily murdered by a drone strike.
Alrightie then. Entering wars on completely false pretenses, duly whitewashed by politically cowardly toadies-to-lobbyists? Check. Torturing the prisoners sold to us during the course of said wars? Check. Detaining anyone we feel like, citizen, legal resident or alien alike, on any terms we like, “constitution” be damned? Check. And now… liquidate enemies of the state, citizen or otherwise, anytime we want, on whatever (secret) grounds we want? Checkaroony.
Seems that 9-11 changed quite a bit– if not “de facto”, certainly “de jure”… And we have to learn about it through the teeth-pulling of a lengthy freedom of information litigation, resulting in a highly-redacted release (among the redacted subjects being the specific determination associated with al-Awlaki himself, and why his actions warranted summary execution).
Ah…. so much going on with this story… so none of it boding anything good…