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Monday, June 23, 2014

The Constitutional Disconnect Over Anwar al-Awlaki (part II)

Under the Freedom of Information Act, although the all-important reasoning behind the decision is still redacted, most of the memo associated with president Obama's order of the drone strike that killed Anwar al-Awlaki, an American-born Muslim extremist and U.S. citizen, has been released.

We now know that it was a person named David Baron, then the acting head of the Justice Department's Office of Legal Council. HE is the one who concluded that killing al-Awlaki would be legal for the U.S. government to carry out based on the conclusion that al-Awlaki's citizenship did not protect him from the use of force abroad. Mr. Barron was assisted by another lawyer for the Justice Department, a Mr. Martin Lederman. We only hear their names now because they are just a small part of the vast unelected nameless-faceless hive of bureaucracy that is writing law over the citizens of this country.

Now they are passing death sentences and we didn't even know it until now.

Neither of these people were judges. They were lawyers, lawyers attempting to justify the lawlessness of the actions of their President and their government.

Both the 5th and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution address the right of a U.S. Citizen to the Due Process of law. In a nutshell: If an individual is facing the lose of his life, liberty or property, the law of the land requires that individual receive notice, representation, a hearing and most importantly, to be judged.

So there we have it. Mr. Baron, Mr. Lederman and Mr. Obama: Judge, Jury and Executioner. All done with the sweep of a pen. No hearing, no jury and no lawful judge.

Killing Anwar al-Awlaki going on three years ago was an unlawful act and has set a dangerous precedent for U.S. citizens tomorrow.

It is now PROVEN that our leaders had abandoned the founding principles of their Country, their Constitution and their Faith in a desperate attempt to reverse the the rise of opposition to and the impending collapse of our despotic and destabilizing interventions into the affairs of sovereign nations in the Middle East.

It has all proven to be false and useless in the long run.

(original text below - originally published March 5th, 2013)

"I will speak as long as it takes, until the alarm is sounded from coast to coast that our Constitution is important, that your rights to trial by jury are precious, that no American should be killed by a drone on American soil without first being charged with a crime, without first being found to be guilty by a court.” - Rand Paul

My copy of the U.S. Constitution makes no distinction where an American citizen may be whether it be on American soil or in Yemen, they are still entitled to the same protection under the law.

Everybody applauded when a drone strike killed Anwar al-Awlaki, an American Citizen, in Yemen without any due process of law. Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, Mitt Romney and Texas Governor Rick Perry, all expressed praise for Obama’s drone strike on what actually turned out to be the U.S. Bill of Rights.

President Obama signed an order in 2010 that put al-Awlaki on the governments “Kill or Capture” list but the President had no Constitutional authority or legal precedent to sign such an order. He just ordered it and almost everybody in Congress, went along with it.

It was also said many times by the so called right wing television and radio wags that al-Awlaki had forfeited his rights under the Constitution by taking up arms against the United States. No he didn't, he couldn't. But the comfortably established, well paid and certainly well fed public face of American Conservative thought had NO PROBLEM with the killing of al-Awlaki and openly said so.

And here we are.

So with the announcement by The Government that these very same drones are going to be deployed right here in the good old US of A and whoa, NOW it’s a problem!

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, that figurehead for the Department of Justice, has sent a letter to U.S. Senator Rand Paul stating that he can see a legal justification where these drones could be brought to bear upon other American Citizens right here on U.S. soil. Well what did you expect?

But how can they do such a thing? We are American Citizens, what gives them the right? Gee, let’s think about that one, shall we?

You can't pick and choose which part of the Bill of Rights you wish to believe in and when you wish to believe in it. You take them as a whole or you take none of them. It's a document for all U.S. Citizens and not just a few. And good deeds, like nice speech, needs no Constitutional protection.

But that didn’t give pause to the people who are now suddenly outraged about the deployment of drones on the North American continent. They see no connection between the death of al-Awlaki and the possible use of drones in the U.S. for the very same reason.

It's this kind of Wrong Thinking that has fostered the erosion of our civil rights and emboldened Government to reach for more power. What if the government now declares a certain person or group of people to be in "Revolt"? Who shall be the next to forfeit their rights by opposing Government?

But don't worry; it can't happen here, right?

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