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And, yes, I DO take it personally: Targeted killing
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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Targeted killing

there's a lot of very disturbing stuff going on out there but i think targeted killing and extrajudicial assassinations are right at the top of the list...
This video from the American Civil Liberties Union condemns the U.S. government practice of issuing death sentences without due process as part of its targeted killing policy. "Targeted Killing" is being released to coincide with the filing today of an unprecedented lawsuit by the ACLU and the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) challenging the government's asserted authority to use lethal force against U.S. citizens located far from any battlefield without judicial process, and without disclosing the standards it uses to target individuals for death.

needless to say, glenn also has a few thoughts to ponder...

What I've found most disturbing about this controversy from the start is how many Americans are willing to blindly believe the Government's accusations of Terrorism against their fellow citizens -- provided they're Muslims with foreign-sounding names -- without needing to see any evidence at all. All government officials have to do is anonymously leak to the media extremely vague accusations against someone without any evidence presented (Awlaki is involved in multiple plots!!), and a substantial number of people will then immediately run around yelling: Kill that Terrorist!!

It's an authoritarian scene out of some near-future dystopian novel, yet it's exactly what is happening. This is precisely the reaction of a substantial portion of the population which has been trained to believe every unproven government accusation of Terrorism. The mere utterance of the accusation -- Terrorist -- sends them into mindless, fear-driven submission, so extreme that they're willing even to endorse a Presidential-imposed death penalty on American citizens with no due process: about the most tyrannical power that can be imagined, literally. The fact that this very same Government is continuously and repeatedly wrong when it makes those accusations does not seem to be even a cause for hesitation among this faction. They just keep dutifully reciting the ultimate authoritarian anthem: if my Government says it, it must be true, and I don't need to see any evidence or indulge any of this bothersome process stuff -- trials and courts or whatever -- before punishment is meted out, including the death penalty.

So now Barack Obama is being sued by an American citizen who is forced to plead with a court to protect him from due-process-free, state-sanctioned murder. There are multiple reasons why this lawsuit may not succeed, beginning with the demonstrated reluctance of federal judges to "interfere with" war-related decisions of the President, particularly when the specter of Terrorism is raised. The power-revering factions on the Right have joined with some Democratic loyalists who are comfortable with any power now that their Party controls the White House. But if the Obama administration succeeds in vesting itself with the power to order American citizens killed far from any battlefield, with no evidence of violent resistance to arrest and no due process whatsoever to contest the accusations, that is a power that will endure with future Presidents as well.

as usually happens when i'm engaged with non-u.s. citizens during my many travels, i get the opportunity to hear what they think about current events and i'm particularly interested in hearing what they think about my country from their respective vantage points... it isn't in the least bit comforting to hear them worrying about what kind of message the u.s. is sending to the budding despots in their own countries who justify increasingly harsh measures by saying, "well, the u.s. does it, why shouldn't we...?"

the u.s. dearly loves to paint itself as the positive role model for the rest of the world but seems to be very nearly blind, either through ignorance or by choice, to just how true that is as well as to the fact that, throughout the history of humankind, actions ALWAYS speak louder than words...

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