The rule of law is essential to a civilized society. But depending on the rule of law in today’s world is a fatal attraction and predicts a fatal ending.
A fair and impartial trial or even a trial at all is not the real world, as many have found out too late.
President Barack Obama has admitted to and crowed about having CIA agents target and kill three American citizens, two adults and the teenage son of one of the men, with a killer drone. The trio was slain in separate attacks in the fall of 2011. The elder al-Awlaki, Anwar, and Samir Khan died in Yemen from a missile strike by one of Obama’s Predator drones on Sept. 30, 2011. The younger al-Awlaki, 16-year-old Abdulrahman, was killed a couple of weeks later while eating at an outdoor restaurant. (A fourth American-born citizen, Kamal Derwish, was killed by a Predator drone in Yemen while riding in a car with an al-Qaida leader in 2002.)
Here we have two men and one boy executed without trial. This extrajudicial killing has been lauded by those on both the right and left as just. They say this with no evidence presented in court of crimes having been committed by the three. The only “evidence” is the word of the government and its propaganda machine the mainstream media.
As Judge Andrew Napolitano points out, the President may kill only after due process, in self-defense or under a declaration of war. None of the three had ever been convicted of a crime in the United States. None had taken up arms against the United States. None was near a battlefield.
According to documents obtained from the U.S. State Department following a Freedom of Information Act request by the watchdog agency Judicial Watch, by Sept. 27, 2001, the FBI had evidence that Anwar al-Awlaki purchased airplane tickets used by three of the 9/11 hijackers: Mohammed Atta, S. Suqami and W. al-Sheri. After Judicial Watch released these findings, the FBI denied to the media that al-Awlaki was connected to the hijackers. The documents also show that al-Awlaki was uncooperative with the FBI agents investigating the attacks.
On Feb. 5, 2002, four months after the FBI discovered his connection to 9/11, al-Awlaki was invited to the Pentagon for a dinner as part of the military’s outreach to the Muslim community. In other words, less than six months after 9/11, the FBI had a 9/11 conspirator in its grasp and let him walk away. But that would not be last time.
The documents obtained by Judicial Watch show that al-Awlaki was detained and questioned at JFK airport on Oct. 10, 2002, under a warrant for passport fraud, a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison. When informed of al-Awlaki’s arrest, the FBI ordered his release. He then flew to Washington, D.C., and eventually to Yemen.
In May 2010, mainstream media outlets began reporting that al-Awlaki had been targeted for a drone strike by the Obama Administration. But almost one year later, on March 24, 2011, the U.S. government’s keystone cops division attempted to trick al-Awlaki into going to the U.S. Embassy in Yemen to pick up an important letter. The letter al-Awlaki was to pick up was a passport revocation. No one from the U.S. State Department elaborated on whether it was reasonable to believe that al-Awlaki, who had to know by then there was a price on his head, would go anywhere near the U.S. Embassy.
Six months later, a missile fell out of the sky on al-Awlaki’s head. No apparent further effort was made by the keystone cops to arrest or detain him after the failed “important letter ploy” even though CIA agents kept him under continuous surveillance prior to his assassination, including continuous observation for the 48 hours leading up to his killing. As for Abdulrahman, he apparently was targeted, to paraphrase Presidential spokesmonkey Jay Carney, because he chose the wrong father.
As Napolitano points out, not only is the murder of al-Awlaki for encouraging others to make war on America a violation of natural law, it’s a violation of his 1st Amendment rights, his 4th Amendment rights and several Federal statutes. “No law or legal principal justifies the U.S. government killing him then and there; in fact, numerous laws prohibit it,” he writes. The use of the CIA for offensive killing also violates Federal law, as intelligence agents may lawfully kill only in self-defense.
Some have said that al-Awlaki was guilty of treason for encouraging attacks on America. But the process for proving and punishing treason is defined in Article III, Section 3 of the Constitution.
In an effort to join in the killing spree and perhaps give Obama some political cover, Congress has proposed creating a secret court that can authorize the President and his designees to kill Americans. Obviously, chickenhawk Lindsey Graham wants in on it. He recently proposed a resolution commending Obama’s drone policy and murder of al-Awlaki.
“Every member of Congress needs to get on board,” Graham said. “It’s not fair to the president to let him, leave him out there alone quite frankly. He’s getting hit from libertarians and the left.
“I think the middle of America understands why you would want a drone program to go after a person like Anwar al-Awlaki,” Graham added.
In other words, Graham believes that a secret and unaccountable group of people meeting behind closed doors should have the power to determine whether Americans should live or die. And a person can be targeted simply for writing or speaking words that make the 1 percent uncomfortable.
Such a mindset was apparently what fueled the wild shootouts in Los Angeles last week as officers sought rogue former police officer Chris Dorner.
It’s obvious by their responses that the Los Angeles Police Department had a standing shoot-to-kill order on Dorner. And when he was finally cornered in a cabin near Big Bear Lake, Calif., law enforcement officers intentionally burned the building down around him, apparently without giving him an opportunity to surrender.
Like Obama, the LAPD became judge, jury and executioner. When individuals or groups of individuals hold the power of life over death, the rule of law no longer applies. Lack of the rule of law indicates a loss of civilization and a descent into anarchy. America is a lawless society from the head down.