It has been confirmed that President Barack Obama believes that he has the authority to not only assassinate American citizens by way of drone strike, but to do so within the United States. Attorney General Eric Holder confirmed this in a letter earlier this week to Sen. Rand Paul (R. Ky.), which caused the Senator to filibuster for more than 12 hours the nomination of John Brennan as head of the CIA.
This is a dangerous position that violates the U.S. Constitution and human rights. Nowhere in the Constitution is the power to kill Americans without any kind of due process granted to the Executive Branch, or any other branch. What is guaranteed is the right to a fair and speedy trial for someone accused of a crime.
But this administration believes that none of this applies to them. A document from the Justice Department that seeks to justify drone strikes outside of the United States maintains that no evidence is needed for a target to be assassinated, even if the target is an American citizen. And Americans have been assassinated by drones.
Anwar al-Awlaki, his 16-year-old son Abdulrahman al-Awlaki and Samir Khan were all assassinated in Yemen in 2011, and all three were born in the United States. Many Americans maintain that their assassinations are acceptable because they were “terrorists” and “we’re at war.” But none of that matters. Nowhere in the Constitution do the words “unless we’re at war” appear. And the fact one doesn’t even have to be suspected of anything – as was the case with Abdulrahman, who was in Yemen searching for his father, and no reason for his assassination has been given by the White House – sets an incredibly dangerous precedent. And now, it is confirmed that these strikes can occur within American borders? How much more do the American people need before they realize just how dangerous the U.S. government has become?
And Americans do need to worry about drones, as nearly 30,000 are going to be released over American skies over the next few years. They will be used to spy on everyday Americans, the Fourth Amendment need not apply. These drones are also designed to be able to detect if someone is carrying a firearm, making it more difficult for Americans to resist government oppression. It also reflects Obama’s recent efforts to demonize firearm ownership and strip Americans of their right to own firearms.
A dangerous precedent is set here. While it may seem farfetched, theoretically, the president, whether Obama or the next person to occupy the White House, can declare a political opponent a terrorist and have him assassinated without presenting any evidence.
The fact that the National Defense Authorization Act defines the entire planet, including the United States, as a battlefield, makes the “we’re at war” excuse even more dangerous. Also, under the NDAA, Americans can be detained and held without trial indefinitely if accused of supporting terrorism (even though the federal government has been doing just this in Libya and Syria), and no evidence needs to be presented for this.
Even though Obama said he would not enforce this provision of the NDAA, he was the one who pushed for this power to be authorized by the act.
Fortunately, Sen. Paul’s filibuster on Wednesday seems to have drawn attention to the issue and has potential to awaken Americans to the problem at hand.
There are other reasons to worry besides drones. The Department of Homeland Security and other federal agencies have been saying for years that the real threat to the United States is not al Qaida but Americans who oppose big government, support gun ownership, oppose federal taxes, oppose abortion and illegal immigration, oppose the Federal Reserve, and returning U.S. military veterans. Indeed, veterans are currently having their right to own firearms stripped from them. And the DHS has been gearing up for civil war, purchasing 2 billion rounds of hollow point ammunition, $2 million worth of paper targets of Americans, nearly 3,000 MRAP vehicles capable of withstanding mine explosions, 7,000 fully automatic assault rifles, along with bullet proof checkpoints and riot gear for civil unrest.
What should be done? Congress is not ceremonial, despite how the president feels. Readers should contact their Senators and Representatives and demand that they rein in the drone program and oppose the president in any effort to turn himself into judge, jury and executioner, and, if need be, demand impeachment. Also important are state Congress members. Demand they support banning drones in their states, much like Virginia and Washington have attempted.
Hundreds of innocent people have already been killed in Pakistan, Yemen and elsewhere due to drone strikes. This must not be allowed to happen here.