Civil Rights Groups Challenge Obama’s Assassination List

Civil liberties groups have long objected that President Barack Obama has continued and even expanded on many of George Bush’s abuses in the area of national security, including blocking any investigation into the torture program. Now, civil liberties groups are targeting Obama’s continued use of an assassination list and his assertion that he can simply kill a U.S. citizen without any criminal charge or trial.

The lawsuit focuses on the reported kill order targeting U.S.-born cleric Anwar al-Aulaqi, who is reportedly hiding in Yemen. The American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Constitutional Rights have filed this interesting action, naming the President of the United States, the director of the Central Intelligence Agency and the secretary of the Department of Defense.

This could make for a very interesting case if the groups can establish standing, which is likely to be challenged by Attorney General Eric Holder. As usual, Congress has done little to explore the constitutionality of a president who claims the unilateral power to kill U.S. citizens upon sight.

If a President can unilaterally kill a U.S. citizens on his own authority, our court system (and indeed our constitutional rights) become entirely discretionary. The position of the Administration contains no substantial limitations on such authority other than its own promise to make such decisions with care.

Here is the complaint: Al-Aulaqi v. Obama Complaint

Source: Washington Post

48 thoughts on “Civil Rights Groups Challenge Obama’s Assassination List”

  1. “Our next President, no matter the party, should just go ahead and declare himself Caesar and get rid of the pretense they’ll give up the practice of ever illegally expanding executive power.”

    I believe it is coming and soon to your nearest Executive Mansion. Wait a bit and they will pass “sumptuary laws” again just so we of the populace don’t get uppity.

  2. Swarthmore mom: I hope you are right about the 30 year olds having a different outlook than my burned out generation-we were full of hope in our twenties and watched the “American Dream” fizzle out year by year with stagnant wages, destroyed labor unions, frozen pensions, and then no pensions at all for the generation behind us. I get angry every time I hear the obsolete term “layoffs”. Layoffs used to mean you were called back to work when conditions improved. Today you are fired and never called back. They dump your job onto some “lucky” person who hasn’t been fired yet. When conditions improve, the companies hire new workers who are desparate for a job and will work for lower wages. The fired workers won’t be called back to work at lower wages because they will have a “bad attitude” and be a “subversive element”. If this sounds like Karl Marx, it’s because he saw this happening in his time. Now it’s being repeated in our time. What did he call it- the “surplus army of the unemployed”? As to the draft, the Republicans in Congress will vote for it unanimously, as long as the draftees are Black, Hispanic, and poor Whites. And as long as there are loopholes so that their sons don’t have to go. I don’t think we have seen the last of the draft. The famous Military-Industrial Complex needs it, and what they need, they usually get. They have the money and they have the Congress.

  3. I pretty well quit politics in exhaustion after the 2008 campaign and haven’t kept up as well as I should. But I have not heard of any more officially sanctioned torture or extraordinary renditions since Obama became president. Am I out of the loop here?

    I know Obama has stuck to Bush’s line on habeas corpus, dragged his feet on closing Guantanamo, and hasn’t prosecuted Cheney, Rumsfeld, or others who’ve probably committed indictable offenses. My interpretation was that he chose to fight the health care battle first (and he won that, no matter how much you might have liked a different program better), and that he planned to wade through the mud storm necessary to restore habeas and other basic constitutional protections later. I take it the majority view is that I’m hopelessly naive on this?

  4. Henman There won’t be a draft. Congress won’t vote for it. People under 30 would turn out en masse to vote. This country will change when those under 35 or under 30 take power. Their outlook is so much different than the old white teabaggers. They voted for Obama in 2008,but I don’t think they are coming out in the midterms.

  5. Mike Appleton: I think your analysis on Iraq and Afghanistan is exactly right. The Pentagon Generals are already waffling out loud on the timetable. It occured to me several weeks ago that Obama might give Gen. David Petraeus a fifth star to reward him for pulling the President out of a tight spot by accepting a lesser job (Gen. McCristal’s job as commander in Afghanistan) and to give Obama some “street cred” with the Pentagon. This will ,of course, be done before the 2012 election. I understand the current Atlantic magazine has an article with the same prediction. I also see the possibility after the 2012 election of Obama signing a new Draft Act. We no longer have the ground forces available for an adventure in Iran, or to be sent to Korea if our stupid maneuvers off the coast of North Korea goad it’s madman into crossing the 38th parallel with all of it’s resulting carnage. We can’t do another ground war because of the large number of Soldiers and Marines with PTSD. I heard a figure yesterday of 500,000 Iraq and Afghanistan veterans under treatment with the VA for this problem. I find that hard to believe, but we are headed in that direction. The cost to these men and women is already great. The dollar cost of treatment will be staggering to the budget writers for the next 50 or 60 years. Still, I don’t think this will cause the War Industry C.E.O.’s and their loyal servants in the Pentagon and the Congress to put an end to what Buddha calls the “perpetual war”.

  6. I think just getting benefit checks out will become a challenge with Boehner’s promise of a government shut down. Unemployment will remain high but the republicans will take away the safety net when they can. Some think this will help Obama in 2012 when turnout among groups that support him will be high.

  7. lol

    It’s a painful affliction, Mike. But it does make me get out of bed in the morning too. I live in a state of perpetual hope and disappointment in my fellow beings.

  8. “provided he has the guts to use it.”

    Mike, that’s a proviso that I think history has already shown the answer to and that answer is that Mr. “I’ll restore the rule of law” is completely and utterly gutless . . . unless BP or the GOP tell him it’s okay.

  9. Swarthmore mom,
    Should Republicans regain control of the House, I expect they will regard that as vindication of obstructionism as an acceptable policy. Should Democrats thereupon adopt the same strategy, they will be accused of failing to work in a bi-partisan fashion on the nation’s ills. What remains of the President’s domestic legislative agenda will likely crash and burn. He could well be left to govern solely through frequent use of a veto pen, provided he has the guts to use it.

  10. Mike I think your are right. Obama very well could be will be a one termer unless when the republicans take over next January, the measures they put in place are so so draconian that Obama does not look so bad versus Palin or Huckabee. The white protestant population in this country seems to have taken a drastic turn to the right.

  11. Hi, Jill. I detect a slight note of bitterness in your post. You may recall that I have suggested in the past that Pres. Obama might wind up as a one-term president due to his backtracking since taking office. I still believe that to be the case. I am expecting capitulation before long on extension of the Bush tax cuts. By next year there will be pressure to increase our military presence in Iraq because the current government-in-constant-formation will be in a state of collapse and the President will not want to be labeled as the man who “lost” Iraq. And withdrawal deadlines in Afghanistan will not be met due to the “situation on the ground.”

  12. This is another thing I would have been really upset about had Bush done it, but now that it’s Obama, I’m totally fine with it all. He’s a really great guy. He even ended the war in Iraq and everything! And I thought he couldn’t do anything because of those mean old Republicans standing in his way. Funny how he can “end” wars and kill civilians, but can’t pass national health care or stop the wars in Afghanistan, Yemen, Pakistan, etc.

    Is anything wrong with this picture? No, of course not, Obama is a great guy, just like I said. DO NOT QUESTION, BELIEVE!

  13. If it is OK preemptive assassination is OK for suspected terrorists, why is it not OK for other suspected evil doers such as suspected drug traffickers and suspected sex criminals? Getting rid of all that silly right to a trial nonsense would be so much more efficient and cheaper as well.

    Thailand successfully used extrajudicial killings of drug users and traffickers during the Thanksin Shinawat regime. If it is good for Thailand surely it would be good for the USA.

  14. rape
    1    /reɪp/ Show Spelled [reyp] Show IPA noun, verb, raped, rap·ing.
    the unlawful compelling of a woman through physical force or duress to have sexual intercourse.
    any act of sexual intercourse that is forced upon a person.
    statutory rape.
    an act of plunder, violent seizure, or abuse; despoliation; violation: the rape of the countryside.
    Archaic . the act of seizing and carrying off by force.
    –verb (used with object)
    to force to have sexual intercourse.
    to plunder (a place); despoil.
    to seize, take, or carry off by force.
    –verb (used without object)
    to commit rape.
    When part of a widespread and systematic practice, rape and sexual slavery are recognized as crimes against humanity and war crimes. Rape is also recognized as an element of the crime of genocide when committed with the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a targeted ethnic group.~Wikipedia

  15. Buddha,

    Caesarism is the next logical step. those who fail to learn from history are bound to … you know the rest.

    We received the vital warning from Eisenhower after the war machine from WWII was not dismantled … 50 years later our failure to heed his warning has led to this current state of affairs. There can be little doubt that the trend will continue and each new administration will feel duty bound to take us just that much further.

    Washington, the one man who could have been declared Caesar overnight, must be spinning in his grave.

  16. Mike S. and Blouise,

    But Obama promises he won’t abuse the power! 🙂

    Eh hem, I trust both of you know me well enough to read that with just as much sarcasm as you can muster.

    Because this is the same guy who promised to restore the rule of law and yet habeas corpus is suspended and Cheney walks about a free man instead of wearing prison orange.

    Our next President, no matter the party, should just go ahead and declare himself Caesar and get rid of the pretense they’ll give up the practice of ever illegally expanding executive power.

  17. Blouise,
    you and I share the same thoughts on this and your example added another aspect to the problem.

Comments are closed.