by Stephen Lendman
A previous article discussed Obama's kill list. Another explained his "disposition matrix." Both constitute elevating Murder, Inc. to a higher level.
Obama now wants more. He wants murder legalized. On November 24, The New York Times headlined "Election Spurred a Move to Codify US Drone Policy," saying:
Pre-election, Obama "accelerated work….to develop explicit rules for the targeted killing of terrorists by unmanned droned." He wants standards and procedures established.
In other words, he wants murder legalized. Washington designates anti-war/imperial opponents "terrorists." He wants new rules giving him clear authority to murder them.
Israel designates Palestinians wanting to live free from occupation and state terror the same way. Rogue states operate that way.
Obama wants new standards in place. He wants cover for governing illegally. He wants fundamental US and international laws overridden. He wants tyrannical authority.
He wants final say. He wants diktat power to be the last word. He wants to be judge, jury and executioner. He wants it codified and made legal.
Times writer Scott Shane earlier called drone killings an effective "war on terror" policy. He's comfortable about permitting what US and international laws prohibit.
His view differs marginally from Times editorial policy. Last May, The Times headlined "Too Much Power for a President," saying:
Obama thinks "the shadow war on terrorism gives (him) the power to choose targets for assassination, including Americans, without any oversight." That policy "is very troubling."
Times editors don't oppose drone killings. They're wary about one person having diktat power to order them. They're mainly concerned about Americans. Other people matter less. US citizens deserve due process, they said.
Apparently they believe Americans are more equal than others. At the same time, they're concerned about a "perpetual war on terror (permitting) lethal force against anyone" for any reason.
Times policy stopped short of drawing inviolable red lines. Murder is illegal. US and international laws are inviolable. They're clear and unequivocal. Times editors tried having it both ways.
On the one hand, they said:
"A unilateral campaign of death in untenable."
On the other, they added:
Obama "should publish clear guidelines for targeting to be carried out by nonpoliticians, making assassination truly a last resort, and allow an outside court to review the evidence before placing Americans on a kill list."
Legitimate courts don't pronounce death sentences without trials, proper legal representation, due process, habeas rights, and overall judicial fairness.
Maybe Times editors forgot.
Internal discussions continue, said Shane, about whether remote-control killing should be freely exercised or used as a last resort against designated enemies. He also ignored fundamental rule of law principles.
Spurning them constitutes tyrannical governance. Failure to explain what's too fundamental to disregard makes editors and journalists complicit.
Media scoundrels support America's worst crimes of war and against humanity. Aggressive wars are cheerled. Enormous numbers are slaughtered. Retail killing does it selectively. Murder is still murder.
Extrajudicial killing by any means is lawless. Leaders governing this way are tyrants. They should be outed, condemned, and punished.
Remote-control drone killings are especially troublesome. A report jointly prepared by Stanford University's International Human Rights and Conflict Resolution Clinic (SU) and New York University School of Law's Global Justice Clinic (NYU) titled "Living Under Drones" explained.
Drone killings are indiscriminate. Nameless, faceless victims are murdered. Most are noncombatants. They threaten no one. Many are women and children.
Legal experts say drone killings outside war theaters set a dangerous precedent. Claims about making America safer are false.
Evidence shows only 2% of victims are high-level combatants. Collateral killings facilitate anti-American recruitment.
SU/NYU's report said Washington must conduct "a fundamental re-evaluation of current targeted killing practices, taking into account all available evidence, the concerns of various stakeholders, and the short and long-term costs and benefits."
A "significant rethinking (is) long overdue." Policy makers can't ignore civilian harm and counterproductive impacts much longer.
Perhaps what's happening abroad is planned for America. On February 3, the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 (HR 658) cleared both houses of Congress after differences between Senate and House versions were resolved. On February 14, Obama signed it into law.
It authorizes domestic drone spying under provisions to test and license commercial drones by 2015. Estimates of up to 30,000 UAVs could overfly America by 2020.
Privacy issues are at stake. Much greater ones could follow. Targeted killing could be universally ordered. US communities could become as unsafe as foreign ones.
Once policies head down a slippery slope, anything can follow. Despots solidify power this way. Post-9/11 police state laws threaten Americans.
In 2010, "unlawful enemy combatants" became "unprivileged enemy belligerents." Language changed but not intent or lawlessness.
In 2011, by executive order, Obama authorized indefinite detentions and military commission trials for anyone he designated for any reason or none at all. Americans are as vulnerable as aliens.
Provisions of the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) hardened executive power. They authorize military arrests and imprisonment with or without charges. Everyone, including US citizens, is vulnerable.
The Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) called NDAA authorization "one of the greatest expansions of executive power in our nation's history, allowing the government to lock up citizens and non-citizens without the right to fair trials."
Presidents now have unchecked authority to arrest, interrogate and indefinitely detain law-abiding citizens if accused of potentially posing a threat.
US military personnel are authorized to arrest and indefinitely detain anyone globally, including US citizens. No one's safe anywhere.
Due process, civil protections, and judicial fairness are null and void. Presidents may order anyone arrested and imprisoned for life without charge or trial.
Special Forces Death squads and CIA-operated drones kill designated aliens and US citizens abroad. They're targeted and murdered for any reason or none at all.
Summary judgment means no arrests. No Miranda rights. No due process. No habeas protection. No trial. Just death by presidential diktat. Obama decides who lives or dies.
Anyone called Al Qaeda or accused of terrorist connections gets marked for death. Kill lists compile names. Obama's "disposition matrix" includes terror suspects, covert plans to kill them, and in some cases sealed indictments and/or extradition requests.
Obama has final say. Suspects are guilty by accusation.
Counterterrorism adviser John Brennan functions as his maestro of murder. He collaborates on who lives or dies. Innocence is no defense. Inviolable laws don't protect.
Advancing America's imperium alone matters. Human lives, democratic values, and fundamental fairness don't count. Anything goes is policy. Obama wants it codified and made legal. Imagine what's ahead in term two.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book is titled "How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War"
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.