Obama Assassinates Two Americans…and Due Process is Transformed into No More than an Historical Concept

Tuesday, October 11, 2011
(graphic: aporkinthedrawer.blogspot.com)
In one swift, controversial attack, the U.S. government assassinated two Americans last month, raising legal concerns about what the killings mean for the constitutional guarantee of due process for citizens.
The September 30 drone strike in Yemen killed Anwar al-Awlaki, the U.S.-born Muslim cleric accused of helping al-Qaeda in the Middle East with his incendiary anti-U.S. rhetoric. While many news outlets carried the story of al-Awlaki’s death, some overlooked another victim in the attack: Samir Khan, the American-born editor of the al-Qaeda online English language magazine, Inspire, who, like al-Awlaki, had relocated to Yemen.
Administration officials claim they were unaware of Khan’s presence at the location where the attack took place. His name was not on the so-called assassination list maintained by the White House, on which al-Awlaki’s name did appear.
In any event, the killing of al-Awlaki “suggests that due process might be going the way of all good things,” wrote Andy Worthington, a longtime critic of the Bush administration’s war on terror and the imprisoning of detainees at Guantánamo. “If we strip away the inflated rhetoric comparing al-Awlaki to Osama bin Laden, the facts are troubling: a U.S. citizen suspected of involvement in a failed terror attack was targeted for killing without ever being charged with a crime.”
As for Khan, Worthington added: “The life of a citizen can be disregarded because he is involved in publishing an offensive magazine? There may be more evidence against al-Awlaki and Khan, but we’re not likely to see it: the government has claimed the right to keep it all a secret, citing security and executive privilege.”
The Obama administration justified al-Awlaki’s death with a secret legal opinion crafted by the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel that said it would be lawful to kill him if it was not feasible to take him alive.
Also, the government claims that the memo was “narrowly drawn to the specifics of Mr. Awlaki’s case and did not establish a broad new legal doctrine to permit the targeted killing of any Americans believed to pose a terrorist threat,” according to The New York Times, which noted the administration felt its legal rationale trumped “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….”
-Noel Brinkerhoff
Secret U.S. Memo Made Legal Case to Kill a Citizen (by Charlie Savage, New York Times)


Nbro 10 years ago
Signing orders to kill U.S. citizens is not 'personally' killing them, its ok if you sign an order for people to die as long your not actually pointing the weapon at them and pushing the trigger with your own finger.
Mo'Kelly 11 years ago
"obama assassinates two americans"...that's the headline for this story? going further, the story is listed in the "news" section? the headline alone suggests an editorial, which shouldn't be confused with "news." "due process is transformed into no more than an historical concept" that would be an opinion, not a headline to a news story. neither did the president personally kill two people nor can we objectively arrive at the conclusion that "due process" is a thing of the past. at the very minimum, at least marry the meaning of the headline to the merits of the story. salacious headlines for the sake higher viewership is not a good look.

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