Death Panel: Obama Delegates Hit List To Panel of Unnamed Officials

I recently ran a couple of columns (here and here) and postings criticizing President Obama’s assertion of the right to kill citizens as a presidential prerogative. It now appears that he has delegated the selection of targets for killings to a panel of unnamed officials who determine which people should be killed without a trial or even a charge. When it comes to citizens like Anwar al-Awlaki, the killings raise serious constitutional problems that are being kept from the courts by the Administration.

The identity of the members of the death panel are secret. There is no public record of their decisions or the basis for the kill order. Indeed, neither the target nor the public will necessarily know that it was this panel that ordered the killing.

While civil libertarians are raising voices of concern over such extrajudicial killings of citizens, the Obama Administration has portrayed “the killing of Awlaki as a demonstration of President Barack Obama’s toughness toward militants who threaten the United States.” It has worked. Even conservatives are cheering the killings of the two citizens. Apparently, death panels in health care are enough to rally thousands in opposition but an actual death panel produces nary a yawn if the targets are hated. The fear is that this is how the rule of law dies — to the cheers and thunderous applause of citizens.

The results of the panel are simply submitted to the President, who retains the authority to countermand their decisions.

Obama has the distinction of putting the first citizen on the list. As noted in the earlier postings, Bush killed a citizen who was riding with a target, but Obama outdid his predecessor again in ordering the killing of a citizen.

Source: Reuters

149 thoughts on “Death Panel: Obama Delegates Hit List To Panel of Unnamed Officials

  1. Ladies and Gents-

    The man you are discussing as a candidate for re-election just appointed a panel of anonymous people to prepare a list of Americans and others to be murdered in cold blood without charges or a hearing or a trial. Don’t overlook this or forget this. Barack Obama did this. Not George Bush, not Dick Cheney. Barack Obama a.k.a. the “Lesser of Two Evils”. Former teacher of Constitutional law. Really.

  2. If all that was true…why haven’t we taken Castro out? How about Chavez….They have no intention of taking anyone out high ranking…why…because the message that it sends….The chilling effect….Anyone recall Bin Laden’s body disposal?

  3. Sunday, Oct 9, 2011
    The Awlaki memo and Marty Lederman
    By Glenn Greenwald


    UPDATE: Like Lederman, David Barron — the acting OLC Chief who signed off on the Awlaki memo — was, as I wrote in January, 2009 when praising Obama’s “excellent OLC appointees,” an advocate of the idea (in the Bush years) that “the President’s ‘war powers’ have been wildly overstated” during the War on Terror. In fact, Barron had co-written a Harvard Law Review article with Lederman urging greater restraints on the war powers of the Commander-in-Chief. Citing that article and Lederman’s history of advocacy, I wrote when their appointments were announced:

    It is virtually impossible to imagine that particular group of individuals placing political allegiance to Barack Obama over the principles they have so forcefully advocated over the last several years.

    I cringed multiple times when I saw that statement today, as (at least as it applies to Barron and Lederman) I obviously could have not been more wrong (since leaving the Obama DOJ, Lederman blogs at OpinioJuris, where he defends Obama’s civil liberties record — about which the ACLU Executive Director said this — with greater fervor and absoluteness than Jay Carney does). Whatever else is true, this is why the President’s underlings should not be unilaterally and secretly determining the scope of his powers when acting against American citizens.

    Meanwhile, Marcy Wheeler unsurprisingly raises several other important points about the Awlaki memo. (end of excerpt)

  4. Secret lists, secret court orders, secret government. It will be interesting to see if and where Applelbaum will be detained and tried, in a criminal court, if he has committed criminal acts, or a secret court for people that are just a pain in the ass to the government.

    “US tracked email of Wikileaks volunteer: report
    (AFP) – 2 hours ago
    WASHINGTON — US authorities have obtained a secret court order to force search giant Google and a small Internet provider to hand over information from email accounts of a volunteer for whistleblower website WikiLeaks, a report said…. The revelation of a secret court order raises questions around US authorities’ ability to obtain information on people’s digital correspondence — by email and cellphone — and whether the law, the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, violates constitutional protections over search and seizure”

  5. “Secret lists, secret court orders, secret government.” -lottakatz

    Secrets, as you say, lottakatz, and so many damn lies, as was the case during the Vietnam years. As I keep saying on this blog, there are is something terrible going on domestically… When it’s exposed, it will be a game-changer. We need some good whistleblowers and soon…

    Thanks for the links.

  6. “The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution guarantees “the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures” and that “no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause.” In light of everything the U.S. Government has been able to seize regarding Appelbaum without a single search warrant — laptops, cellphones, cameras, memory sticks, Twitter activity, electronic goods of his friends, interrogation via forcible detention, and now lists of his email correspondents and other information showing his email activity — is there any rational conclusion other than to view that Amendment as an absurd joke?” -Glenn Greenwald

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