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Everyone Has Their Secrets

And Obama’s “State Secrets” are a real doozie. Glenn Greenwald covered Obama’s assasination program against Anwar Awlaki. Apparently Obama is sentencing him to death without a trial, without due process and without even convicting him of any crimes, invoking “State Secrets” as a reason, which means

not only does the President have the right to sentence Americans to death with no due process or charges of any kind, but his decisions as to who will be killed and why he wants them dead are “state secrets,” and thus no court may adjudicate its legality.

This is so radical that even Bush supporter David Rivkin, one of the most far right, executive power loving lawyers in the country is disturbed.

The government’s increasing use of the state secrets doctrine to shield its actions from judicial review has been contentious. Some officials have argued that invoking it in the Awlaki matter, about which so much is already public, would risk a backlash. David Rivkin, a lawyer in the White House of President George H. W. Bush, echoed that concern.

“I’m a huge fan of executive power, but if someone came up to you and said the government wants to target you and you can’t even talk about it in court to try to stop it, that’s too harsh even for me,” he said.

And we thought Bush was scary?

96 Responses

  1. And we thought Bush was scary?

    not this scary!

  2. I looked at the apologists reactions on this.
    They now sound just like the freepers “It wouldn’t happen to me as I am no terrorist”
    To which someone posted that other charming story of the day

  3. Ironically, a Republican Congress and their investigative powers, might actually go after Obama over this.

  4. The America we once knew is gone. We live in the equivalent of the USSR. I’m not joking or exaggerating.

    • Yesterday, the FBI raided the homes of peace activists in five states. I’m working on a post about it at the moment.

      We literally live in a police state. Some people still feel a little free, because it hasn’t affected them yet. But we’re there.

      • I saw the article about that and posted it on twitter? WTF? How did this happen?

      • Fox was comparing the poverty rate today vs the 60s. Then they pointed out that the poor now could afford stuff like TVs and air conditioning which were out of reach in those days.

        Bread and circuses

        • The ’60s? The ’60s were prosperous compared to now.

        • that’s a stupid thing to say … Every new technology is way too expensive when it’s first introduced. Once it’s mass produced, the prices become extremely cheap.

          • Also, most people buy this stuff at yard sales, when wealthier people upgrade and sell their old stuff much more cheaply on the secondhand market.

          • I don’t. I wish I knew how to find yard sales like that!

          • You don’t have good yard sales? My TV was wrecked by lightning and they don’t even sell analog TVs in stores anymore. Flatscreens are WAY more expensive, you used to be able to get an analog for $40 or $50. I’ve seen cheaper small flatscreens at yard sales and cheap analogs at junk shops, but I’m holding out for an old school console from a used appliance store. 🙂

          • But what I meant was, most people who can’t afford to buy retail don’t generally buy retail. People may say, “They’re on food stamps, but they have a DS,” or whatever, but if you look closely, it’s probably not a DS but a much older model that was bought secondhand, and even if it’s newer, it probably wasn’t bought new in the store last week but was acquired elsewhere, usually through a secondhand source.

          • I know. I had to buy a new TV a couple of years ago. I ended up buying a 20 inch flatscreen. That was the cheapest thing I could find. I’d like to know how to find good yard sales though. Do people advertise them on Craigslist or anything?

          • Look in your local papers, especially local papers of the burbs and further out.

          • Also the Pennysaver type papers they give away in the supermarket. I think craigslist has listings and try this too


            Also, if you live in a walkable area and you need an appliance or something check on the day the city lets them go out without a permit. I used to have relatives in the Cambridge/Arlington area, and just walking around their neighborhoods where the developers were condoizing multi-families, they were putting out working and often practically new appliances like dishwashers. If I had any way of getting stuff home, I would’ve been set. 🙂

      • The Texas-Mexico border as been there for years–walls, areas along the Rio Grande off limits to civilians, ranchers having their dogs shot because some Border Patrol idiot thinks a an animal 40 feet away across a 20-foot-deep dry creekbed is an imminent danger to his delicate self, civilians shot at or narrowly missed by Border Patrol agents shooting at half-naked fleeing women. . .. And no redress for any of it, in court or out.

        And no, I am not making any of that up.

        • The FBI has been hassling peace organizations for years, but this is the first time they’ve been completely out front about it, with the media covering it fully. This is a deliberate strategy to get us used to this kind of thing–to prepare us to accept more and more of it until we’re all under the boot.

        • And I know you’re not making it up. None of this is new. The Bush administration did all this stuff, but it was more covert. Obama is going full throttle and up front with the authoritarianism.

    • The USSR no longer exists. Literally. Do you think America will go the way of the USSR? literally? just askin…

      • Yes, I think we’re on the way. When the President claims the power to assassinate American citizens–secretly–with no due process, no charges, no opportunity for redress, what do you call it?

        When the FBI is permitted to break down people’s doors, go through all their belongings, take their photos, computers, cell phones, seize their e-mail and facebook accounts, passports–all of this without probable cause or even saying what they are looking for? What do you call it?

        The President has the power to break into any of our homes, take us away in the night and send us to countries where we will be tortured until we confess to whatever they want us to confess to. What do you call that?

    • We’ve talked about this before, but I see shades of the Nixon years, only Nixon’s Republicans were much more liberal.

      • In the Nixon years, the Supreme Court didn’t decide that you can be called a terrorist if you send old clothes to Palesinians or some other group the government deems to be “terrorists.” We still had freedom of speech, and habeas corpus. We had a press that wasn’t completely consolidated and owned by 3 or 4 major corporations.

        Sending old clothes is all one of the couples did who were raided in Chicago.

  5. in a related post, here’s marcy at emptywheel.

    Obama Doesn’t Know Why the Fuck He’s Entitled to Kill Al-Awlaki, He Just Is, Damnit

    The most striking aspect of the government’s motion to dismiss the ACLU/CCR lawsuit challenging the use of targeted killing is that the government does not commit to the basis for its authority to kill an American citizen like Anwar al-Awlaki with no review.

    This starts as soon as the filing tries to lay the ground work for unchecked authority under the AUMF. It doesn’t commit to whether Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula is part of al Qaeda itself, or is instead just closely enough associated to count under the AUMF.

  6. Ha ha ha. Digby:

    Back when everyone naively thought that electing a Democrat would end these obscene royalist decrees, it was argued by a few of us that once given, these powers are rarely given back. But I don’t think anyone expected the Democratic constitutional scholar would actually double down on the dictatorial powers. I confess, I’m fairly gobsmacked.

    I expected it.

  7. OT–

    Brown is ahead of Whitman in latest poll.


  8. yea no matter how you look at it its not good

  9. didn’t say something like he was going to give power back to the people. in08 oh wait i guess that was before he had the power . how things change

  10. Very scary. And depressing. I’m wondering if the Supreme Court will rule on it. Will the ACLU continue to pursue the matter?

    • If it gets to supreme court, the Roberts judges and the Obama judges…..

      (not encouraging to think about)

    • The Supreme Court ruling on it is what makes me really scared. I seriously doubt if Kagan will vote against what Obama wants.

      • From what I remember, Kagan likes executive power a lot. I did a post about it way back when she was nominated. Everyone was too busy arguing about whether she was a lesbian to notice her alarming stances on executive power and gay rights.

        • This is probably the entire reason she was chosen, he needed someone who’d be willing to rubberstamp his right to assassinate anyone he wants without having to give any reason, and someone who’d slide right through with no scrutiny. What a world.

  11. Obama put the “arc of the moral universe” quote on a rug in the Oval Office…it’s perfect for him, since he walks all over that quote and what it means as if it were a doormat.

  12. What if they just round up all the people involved with the ACLU? And what if the media reported it as if they really were terrorists?

    • I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Congress decides to start holding secret votes on the grounds that if Obama doesn’t know how anyone specific voted, he’ll be less likely to target them with hit squads. We all know how pissy he gets when he’s crossed.

  13. Pentagon destroys thousands of copies of Army officer’s memoir
    Washington (CNN) — The Department of Defense recently purchased and destroyed thousands of copies of an Army Reserve officer’s memoir in an effort to safeguard state secrets, a spokeswoman said Saturday.
    “DoD decided to purchase copies of the first printing because they contained information which could cause damage to national security,” Pentagon spokeswoman Lt. Col. April Cunningham said.

    Does anyone know about LT. Col Anthony Shaffer’s memoir Able Danger and why the internet busy chit chatting about it. What was in it?

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