Holder says secret executive branch reviews of evidence for ‘targeted killings’ count as due process
By End the Lie
Attorney General Eric Holder has become such a farcical character with the Fast and Furious scandal (which he has been busted lying to Congress about), his attempt at debating the definition of lying with Representative James Sensenbrenner, and now his claim that the executive branch’s secret review process of the evidence against alleged terrorists counts as due process.
In his speech Monday at Northwestern University Law School in Chicago, Illinois, Holder actually argued that the process surrounding the approval of so-called “targeted killings” (which are, in fact, assassinations) meets the constitutional requirement for “due process” and that American citizenship does not protect anyone from being murdered by the government of the United States.
“Due process and judicial process are not one and the same, particularly when it comes to national security,” Holder argued. “The Constitution guarantees due process, not judicial process.”
I seriously doubt that the founding fathers thought that a future government would actually exploit the language so as to have a wholly unaccountable, unlegislated entity giving the green light on the murder of American citizens and call such a ludicrous practice “due process.”
Holder’s speech attempted to broadly outline the Obama administration’s supposed guidelines for their assassination program, even though the government has avoided all real legal challenges since they know such a laughable argument is unlikely to hold up in a court of law.
He stated that the American government could legally murder an alleged senior operational al Qaeda leader who is taking an active role in planning to kill Americans if they meet three basic requirements; they pose an imminent threat of violence, they could not feasibly be captured and the operation is conducted in line with war principles.
Of course, the Department of Justice hasn’t used such a supposed legal justification in court, instead opting to claim it is so secret they cannot even address it, thus avoiding the issue entirely.
Holder just continued to get more absurd; claiming that such operations do not violate the executive order which supposed bans assassinations or any other criminal statutes because the murder is committed in self defense.
He even went on to dispute the label of “assassinations,” claiming that the “use of that loaded term is misplaced” since an assassination is illegal while these targeted killings are supposedly legal in the eyes of the increasingly demented American federal government.
The fact that the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Council (OLC) continues to block the release of a legal memorandum supposedly justifying the murder of Anwar al-Awlaki, the U.S. born individual who dined at the Pentagon and has allegedly inspired attacks and attempted attacks, including the nonsensical “Underwear Bomber” case (which was even torn apart live on CSPAN by callers).
This is why it is insane for Holder to make these kinds of arguments in public during a speech while still saying he “cannot discuss or confirm any particular program or operation.”
However, he clearly was referencing the Awlaki killing by using the example of a U.S. born alleged al Qaeda leader in his speech.
Holder claimed that the Constitution’s guarantee of due process does not mean that judges have to review executive branch decisions to kill anyone they accuse of being a terrorist.
This, of course, means that they never have to present evidence to anyone or justify their actions, which is quite similar to how the indefinite detention provisions in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 (NDAA) work.
“The Supreme Court has made clear that the Due Process Clause does not impose one-size-fits-all requirements, but instead mandates procedural safeguards that depend on specific circumstances,” Holder said.
What procedural safeguards are there when there is absolutely no oversight and zero accountability?
“In cases arising under the Due Process Clause – including in a case involving a U.S. citizen captured in the conflict against al Qaeda – the Court has applied a balancing approach, weighing the private interest that will be affected against the interest the government is trying to protect, and the burdens the government would face in providing additional process,” Holder said. “Where national security operations are at stake, due process takes into account the realities of combat.”
Holder is correct in saying “due process takes into account the realities of combat” but that would mean that someone like Awlaki could be tried in absentia as Adam Gadahn was in 2006 for treason, which obviously never happened with Awlaki.
Holder claimed that the government’s evaluation of an alleged “imminent threat” had to consider what would happen if the military missed the window of opportunity to assassinate the alleged terrorist.
Of course this leaves out the consideration that there is no proof that the individual poses an imminent threat, nor is there proof that they are even a terrorist since no trial is to be held.
Holder said that the Constitution did not force the President to “delay action until some theoretical end-stage of planning.”
He said that due to the “nature of how terrorists act and where they tend to hide” capturing them alive isn’t always possible while also once again raising the “time-sensitive” aspect of these decisions.
Once again this ignores that fact that there is no burden of proof required to show that they are even planning anything since the review happens behind closed doors with no public scrutiny to speak of.
In an attempt to counter this obvious fact, Holder claimed that the Obama administration tells members of Congress about their counterterrorism activities and the supposed legal justification for their assassinations all of which he claims is part of “robust oversight” over the program.
“The Constitution’s guarantee of due process is ironclad, and it is essential – but, as a recent court decision makes clear, it does not require judicial approval before the President may use force abroad against a senior operational leader of a foreign terrorist organization with which the United States is at war – even if that individual happens to be a U.S. citizen,” Holder said.
According to Talking Points Memo, Hina Shamsi of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said before Holders speech that the big question was if Holder would offer meaningful transparency both about the legal standards that the Obama administration uses to determine who can be killed as well as basic facts about who can be targeted,” none of which he followed through with.
To be brutally honest, I find Holder’s speech to be morally reprehensible, ethically disgusting and outright absurd. This is nothing short of the criminal activity of a wildly out of control federal government which is so drunk with power that they actually think they can kill American citizens without a proper trial.
They then claim that they do not even have to justify it in court because it is so secret they cannot even confirm that it exists.
This kind of behavior is wrong no matter how you spin it and I sincerely hope that the American people will take action and hold these murderers and those who enable their crimes accountable for their actions.
It might not happen for a while, but once it does the whole, “I was just following orders,” excuse will not hold up, that much is certain.
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