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After stonewalling for more than a year… the Obama administration sent a summary of its legal memos to an NBC newsroom. This is the “secret legal research” justifying the presidential use of drones to kill persons overseas — even Americans. The administration claimed the research was so sensitive and secret it could not be revealed without serious consequences, So here it is…
The undated and unsigned 16-page document leaked to NBC refers to itself as a Department of Justice white paper. …
Its rationale could be used to justify any breaking of any law by any “informed, high-level official of the U.S. government.”
The memo claims that any unnamed “high-level official,” not necessarily the president, has the lawful power to decide when to suspend constitutional protections guaranteed to all persons and kill them without any due process whatsoever. This is the power claimed by kings and tyrants... Now, under Obama, this has become U. S. policy. So much for democracy.
This came to a boiling point when Obama dispatched CIA drones to kill New Mexico-born and Al Qaeda-affiliated Anwar al-Awlaki while he was riding in a car in a desert in Yemen in September 2011. A follow-up drone, also dispatched by Obama, killed Awlaki’s 16-year-old Colorado-born son and his American friend.
Awlaki’s American father sued the president in federal court in Washington, D.C., trying to prevent the killing. Justice Department lawyers persuaded a judge that the president always follows the law, and besides, without any evidence of presidential law breaking, the elder Awlaki had no case against the president. Within three months of that ruling, the president dispatched his drones and the Awlakis were dead.
This is when the white paper appeared claiming that if an American is likely to trigger the use of force 10,000 miles from here, and he can’t easily be arrested, he can be murdered with impunity. This notwithstanding state and federal laws that expressly prohibit non-judicial killing, an executive order signed by every president from Gerald Ford to Obama prohibiting American officials from participating in assassinations, the absence of a declaration of war against Yemen, treaties expressly prohibiting this type of killing, and the language of the Declaration, which guarantees the right to life, and the Constitution, which requires a jury trial before the government can deny that right.
The president cannot lawfully order the killing of anyone, except by using the military when the U.S. has been attacked or when an attack is so imminent that delay would cost innocent lives. He can also order killing using the military in pursuit of a declaration of war enacted by Congress.
Federal laws against murder apply to the president and to all federal agents and personnel in their official capacities, wherever they go on the planet.
Obama has argued that he can kill Americans whose deaths he believes will keep us all safer, without any due process whatsoever. No law authorizes that.
His attorney general has argued that the president’s careful consideration of each target and the narrow use of deadly force are an adequate and constitutional substitute for due process. No court has ever approved that. And his national security adviser has argued that the use of drones is humane since they are “surgical” and only kill their targets. We know that is incorrect, as the folks who monitor all this say that 11 percent to 17 percent of the 2,300 drone-caused deaths have been those of innocent bystanders. This means each drone strike has been documented to kill an average of 50 innocents.
Andrew P. Napolitano, a former judge of the Superior Court of New Jersey, is the senior judicial analyst at Fox News Channel. He joined FNC in January 1998. Judge Napolitano has written nine books on the U.S. Constitution. The most recent is “Suicide Pact: The radical expansion of presidential powers and the lethal threat to American Liberty.” To find out more about Judge Napolitano and to read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit www.creators.com.
the rest of the story: http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2013/02/07/obama-gives-himself-permission-to-kill/
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