Skip to comments.Secret U.S. Memo Made Legal Case to Kill a Citizen
Posted on 10/08/2011 7:51:07 PM PDT by lbryce
The Obama administrations secret legal memorandum that opened the door to the killing of Anwar al-Awlaki, the American-born radical Muslim cleric hiding in Yemen, found that it would be lawful only if it were not feasible to take him alive, according to people who have read the document.
The memo, written last year, followed months of extensive interagency deliberations and offers a glimpse into the legal debate that led to one of the most significant decisions made by President Obama to move ahead with the killing of an American citizen without a trial.
The secret document provided the justification for acting despite an executive order banning assassinations, a federal law against murder, protections in the Bill of Rights and various strictures of the international laws of war, according to people familiar with the analysis. The memo, however, was narrowly drawn to the specifics of Mr. Awlakis case and did not establish a broad new legal doctrine to permit the targeted killing of any Americans believed to pose a terrorist threat.
The Obama administration has refused to acknowledge or discuss its role in the drone strike that killed Mr. Awlaki last month and that technically remains a covert operation. The government has also resisted growing calls that it provide a detailed public explanation of why officials deemed it lawful to kill an American citizen, setting a precedent that scholars, rights activists and others say has raised concerns about the rule of law and civil liberties.
But the document that laid out the administrations justification a roughly 50-page memorandum by the Justice Departments Office of Legal Counsel, completed around June 2010 was described on the condition of anonymity by people who have read it.
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...
I'm sure the terrorists feel much better now that they know the death of al-Awlaki was legally sanctioned. Bammy doesn't wants his Muslim family to have any hard feelings.
Bush has a guy write a memo to waterboard a terrorist and Bush is a war criminal.
Obama has a guy write a memo to kill an American citizen without a trial and the left yawns.
It has nothing to do with right and wrong only (r) or (d).
And this differs from the decisions to waterboard.... how?
Except for the part about Democrats screaming for Bush, Cheney, and the advising attorneys heads on pikes outside the Rayburn Building, that is.
I heard the drone dropped leaflets with his Miranda rights on them before sending a Hellfire up his butt.
It makes you wonder. Because I remember Barry’s regime bending over backwards to have FBI people talk to the Somali pirates to try and negotiate before finally getting the SEAL’s to do what they do best! Odd that all of the sudden it’s perfectly legal to kill an American Citizen Obama’s regime decides is a threat....Hmmmm (Still glad the Dirtbag is dead though...Hopefully he is enjoying his 72 Helen Thomas lookalike virgins in HELL!)
So the way the Slimes describes the “secret memo”:
Awlaki could be legally killed, if
(1) it was not feasible to capture him,
(2) because intelligence agencies said he was taking part in the war between the United States and Al Qaeda and posed a significant threat to Americans, and
(3) because Yemeni authorities were unable or unwilling to stop him.
The reasoning SHOULD have been even simpler:
(1) Was Awlaki part of a terrorist army that has explicitly declared and is conducting a war against the US? YES
(2) Was he attacked by a military strike in the field, meaning somewhere we and our military allies do not have effective dominion over? YES
End of story. It doesn’t matter whether he is a US citizen or not.
If you join a foreign army conducting a war against the US, you are subject to attack in the field just like any other member of that army.
But why not make the legal reasoning public? I can understand why the enhanced interrogation memo was secret, because we don’t want the bad guys to know what will be used against them.
But there is no reason for Zero and Holder to keep secret their legal analysis in this case.
Death by missile = good.
Getting information by non-lethal waterboard = bad.
To anyone who believes this is a violation of his civil rights as an American, including you Ron Paul:
THIS IS TREASON!!! LOOK IT UP! ARTICLE III, SECTION III states:
Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.
The Congress shall have Power to declare the Punishment of Treason, but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attainted.
Even though people say that this is the one thing Obama has done right, I’m not convinced he made the decision.
Treason still requires being charged with treason. This little phrase right here: “No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court”, implies, no not implies, says that to be CONVICTED (conviction requires a jury and you have to be charged first) with treason requires a confession in OPEN court or TESTIMONY, which again takes place in court or through some type of legal hearing, of 2 witnesses. I’m just flabbergasted...a “secret” memo, which none of have or can read and a “secret” panel to place someone on the list are ok. Aren’t you the least bit worried about the civil rights of the rest of us??
And the word “shall” is a requirement, not a choice made by a secret panel or because of secret memos.
Pretty much except I’d substitute (r) and (d) with Conservatives and Communists respectively.
In who's opinion? Holder??? Obama???? The field commander??? This is dictatorial Barbra Striesand.
It doesn’t matter how serious the crime is that someone is accused of. What matters is what process is used to determine someone is guilty of that crime.
Military tribunal, fine.
Court of law, fine.
Media accounts, not fine.
Political appointment of President Obama, not fine.
Nameless civil servant, not fine.
We should be asking the government what process will be used to determine if a U.S. citizen is subject to assassination. That they are not willing to tell us should give us all pause.
Under the Constitution, the Commander-in-Chief is responsible for identifying enemy targets in the field. There is no role for the courts in that activity.
The key point here is "in the field". The Constitution does not allow the Commander-in-Chief to order a military strike on a US citizen in Brooklyn, NY or Manchester, England who is part of al-Qaeda. That person must be detained and tried for treason.
I wish these people wold go SHOVE IT. Obama does ONE thing right and he gets criticized.
Every time they kill one of these bastards I’m happy. The amount of “information” they can provide is NOTHING compared to the amount of GRIEF we would have to undergo deciding what kind of circus trial to have for him.
This guy was a MUSLIM. Their citizenship in any country takes a back seat to being MUSLIM.
Further he was an enemy combatant in arms against America and his fellow citizens. Too bad they can’t kill him a thousand times over.
Maybe the U.S. Government should target the editors of the NY Times too. There are little better than Alwalaki,
>> The hypocrisy is staggering.
>> That they are not willing to tell us should give us all pause.
Don’t Marines say “God, Country, Corps”? Pretty much the same thing you say Muslims do. Isn’t the Marine Corps quote arguably saying a Marine’s Christianity or belief in God, takes a backseat to country????
If you want to forego what the Constitution says, then fine have at it, but I plan to follow in my husband’s footsteps since his injuries he sustained put him out of the service, to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States of America in any way I can. I am criticizing the process. I see the executive branch taking power without a check on its power at all.
If you think for one moment it is ok to forego the Constitution for the sake of national security, then I remind you of the quote, “Those who trade liberty for security, deserve neither”. Even Megyn Kelly admitted on O’Reilly the other night, that this was murky. John Walker Lindh took up arms against this country. Was he killed? No, he was given a trial.
If secret panels and memos are all you need for it to be ok for an American citizen to be placed on a kill list, then what are you willing to accept next? You and everyone here on FR has already been labeled a terrorist by the leftists there in DC by virtue of our support for the Tea Party or Constitutionalism. This action sets a precedent that could have far-reaching implications.
There’s already articles here on FR about DHS looking into criminal thoughts and using that to predict crime. There’s so many things this admin is doing or has done that is against every fiber of freedom as we know it. This admin has repeatedly ignored the rule of law or has chosen which laws it will or will not enforce; DOMA, drilling in the Gulf, Fast and Furious, etc, etc, etc, but at the same time it is exerting power, like through the individual mandate in ObamaCare or discussions of a national ID on the internet, or the EPA’s power grab. And how does this action work with Obama’s desire to shut down Gitmo? It doesn’t. Again, I ask, what are you willing to accept next???
I would have been fine if he were tried in absentia. Then the case could be laid out in a military court. At least he would have gotten a fair trial before hanging. (so to speak).
No, this is a violation of all our constitutional principles. Hell, I am beginning to wonder if the whole war on terror is contrived to begin with. Look, it got us out of the slipping economy after the Dot com burst...how convenient. I am not saying BUSH did it, but maybe my tin foil wonders if TPTB let things happen to shape a certain course. Things fell into place all too easy--the Patriot Bill, et al.
Follow the dang constitution and the law. Hell, even a Kangaroo Court would have been better than this...
The fact that the executive branch "put a hit" on a US citizen who had not been convicted of a crime bothers me A LOT. If he was killed on a field of battle, I'd have no problem with it at all. But to the best of my knowledge, he never actually fired a shot at American troops. And while those who instigate criminal acts can be charged with crimes, up to and including murder and getting the death penalty, like Charles Manson, at least Manson got a trial. I don't like politicians being able to "take out a citizen." I don't trust them enough, especially not Obama.
No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.
There was no court or conviction. He should have been tried in absentia for treason before being assassinated.
I guess that's what they decided about David Koresh too.
Even though he went jogging down a public road on a regular basis.
I disagree with bambi on everything,except this. He was right for once
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While I agree with you that this needs to be made public, the constitution was worded carefully. Let’s look at the wording of this sentence:
“No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.”
There are some keywords there: “or” and “In open court”
If the framers wanted the first part of the sentence to state the same thing as the second part of the sentence wouldn’t they have stated it differently.
Such as: “unless on the Testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act IN COURT, or on confession in open court.”
The key words of the second part “in open court” do not appear in the first condition of the sentence.
I have had to pick apart my state constitution too many
times for our “non” gun laws here in Illinois. Many times in their wording it seems like they use many words over and over again, but that is to be very clear and concise about what they mean.
The reason this wasn’t a big deal was because it was a terrorist. Had it been a Jon Doe there would be pitchforks and torches marching on the White House calling for Obama to come out. What this man has done is known to all, if an innocent citizen was killed the same way, I’m sure Obama would be vacationing at Ft. Leavenworth soon thereafter.
If it was Bush, they would be screaming for impeachment.
As far as I am concerned, when you leave the US and JOIN the enemy, you become a legal target.
Well it should be a big deal, especially among people who believe in the original intent of the Constitution, because it can have implications for all American citizens. This sets a precedent. What if it becomes a Jon Doe? I don’t trust this admin at all. This admin has a pattern of ignoring the rule of law.
The placement of “or” in that clause doesn’t matter. Looking at each phrase separately still requires some kind of legal proceeding. There is a testimony requirement, and testimony is taken in court or the confession must be made in open court. Either way, there is a requirement for some kind of legal proceeding.
‘Convicted’ is an important word too with specific meaning. Just sayin’.
If memory serves, U.S. law says that accepting a position of authority in a foreign military or government is an expatriating act and means you’ve given up your citizenship. A case can be made that through his position in al Qaida, al-Awlaki did both and wasn’t a U.S. citizen anymore to begin with.
Only if it can be proven that there was intent to relinquish citizenship. There are no statutes that automatically revoke citizenship.
"...despite an executive order banning assassinations, a federal law against murder, protections in the Bill of Rights and various strictures of the international laws of war"
Putting "death selection" in the hands of powerful men acting in secret and unconstrained by the rule of law, is tyranny. It doesn't matter whether the selection and execution is done by a Democrat or Republican administration, by the medicoes or the military: an Obamacare death panel, a secret White House NSC committee, a board of medical ethicists with PhD's after their names and ice-water in their veins, or the Reichsführer-SS. The outcome is the same. It's murder.
People are cravenly going along with this for now, because Obama has, by calculation, begun by snuffing a guy that not many people will wring their hands and boo-hoo about. Don't we realize that that's how precedents are made?
This is the exercise of raw despotic power in a style V.I.Lenin would have relished. It is grounds for impeachment in itself: yes, moreso, I would say, that even Fast and Furious.
If we wink and nod at this, you and I, we are deeply corrupt and we will deseve everything we get. Including the final shiv between our own shoulder blades.
I’m thinking this is similar to asking a judge for a warrant.
They call him in the middle of the night... hey, judge we have many witnesses that say this guy is a enemy of the state and if you agree this is Treason, we would like to have him taken out. Judge signs off on it and the duty is executed.
That doesn’t fit the definition of ‘conviction’ in this country.
Convicted is a result of the two conditions in the sentence. It is NOT a condition. Read the sentence again carefully.
Your husband’s patriotism is to be commended but your logis is totally flawed. Using logic like that would have lost us the Revolution, the Civil War, and WW2.
He’s a MUSLIM first and foremost and MUSLIM who was ACTIVELY instead of tacitly, conspiring to kill Americans.
They acted appropriately.
Hell, I am beginning to wonder if the whole war on terror is contrived to begin with
No QUESTION the Obama bunch has used it for their own benefit. But CONTRIVED????
Pick up a history book. These Muslim bastards have been at war with the rest of the world since their hallucinating, lying, pedophilic slave-driving robber of a “Prophet” rode out of the desert. This is just the first time they reached us here, thanks to changes in our immigration laws.
“No person shall be convicted” is the absolute statement. The word ‘convicted’ doesn’t stand alone in the sentence.
“Unless” is the qualifier for how the conviction must be obtained.
Don’t you see that you are contradicting yourself by saying it is an absolute statement and then saying that those are the requirements to reach that statement.
The person SHALL NOT be convicted, UNLESS...
An absolute statement has no requirements or exceptions according to the definition of absolute.
End of Story.
Not at all. The absolute statement is that a conviction is required. The conditions are as to how the conviction is obtained. There is no contradiction there.
Yes, a conviction of Treason will happen, but there are conditions to convict that person of treason. It is not an absolute. An absolute has no requirements or exceptions.
The absolute that I am speaking of is that there must be a conviction, as opposed to no conviction, in order to punish someone for treason.
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