Obama and Co. Make Up the Law as They Kill


A Black Agenda Radio commentary by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

The president's men drib and drab out their rationale for how President Obama decides which Earthlings live or die. A newly leaked “white paper” claims the president can transfer his killing authority to unnamed, unranked “informed, high level” officials. Thus, the people-killing process “is whatever the president or the nearest 'informed, high-level official of the U.S. government' says it is.


Obama and Co. Make Up the Law as They Kill

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

The white paper empowers Obama to delegate the kill-at-will authority.”

Unlike the bombast that characterized the Bush administration’s assaults on U.S. and international law, the Obama regime tends to dribble out its rationales for gutting the Bill of Rights and every notion of global legality. This president prefers to create a fog – let’s call it the fog of his war against human rights – as he arrogates to himself the power to perpetually imprison or to summarily execute anyone, at any time, anywhere in the world. Obama assures us such authority is constitutionally rooted – it’s in there, believe me, he tells us – but he never produces legal chapter and verse to prove that presidential dictatorship is lawful. Instead, we get dribs and drabs of the administration’s position from lawyers defending Obama’s preventive detention law in the courts, or from informal statements by the attorney general, or even little tidbits gleaned from an Obama conversation with comedian Jon Stewart.

The latest hors d'oeuvre to be dished out comes in the form of a leak. I say “dished out” because leaked documents are commonly placed in public view by the administration in power, to test the political waters. This leaked Justice Department “white paper” appears to have been drawn up after the execution-by-drone of U.S. citizen Anwar Awlaki, in Yemen. It justifies the killing of anyone occupying a position of status in al-Qaida, or with the ever-changing universe of groups said to be “associated” with al-Qaida. The document stretches the definition of “imminent threat” to cover anyone engaged in activities directed against the U.S., whether or not an actual operation is planned or in progress. Most interestingly, the white paper empowers Obama to delegate the kill-at-will authority to "an informed, high-level official of the U.S. government." Which has a certain logic, since dictators certainly have the power to delegate the carrying out of their unjust acts to whomever they choose.

It justifies the killing of anyone occupying a position of status in al-Qaida.”Eleven U.S. senators are asking for further clarification of the administration’s legal position. But that is just more fog, since the Congress overwhelmingly passed Obama’s preventive detention law – twice!! – a law based on the same assumption that due process of law does not apply when the president says it’s wartime. Therefore, the commander-in-chief can lock up any American, without charge or trial, forever, or until he declares peace. The U.S. attorney general, Eric Holder, has made the administration’s position clear enough. Due process, he says, does not necessarily mean access to the judicial process – meaning, a trial. The process is whatever the president or the nearest “informed, high-level official of the U.S. government" says it is. Obama had redefined war, itself. The president told the Congress, after bombing Libya for eight months, that by his definition – which is the only one that counts – no state of war exists unless Americans become casualties, even if the U.S. kills tens of thousands, or millions. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was fond of saying that the arc of history bends towards justice. In the long term, that may be true. But Martin’s arc is not bending towards justice under this administration. It bends towards fascism, with a Black presidential face. For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Glen Ford. On the web, go to BlackAgendaReport.com.

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at [email protected].



When I hear the all-news radio stations giving summaries, I fli

flinch.  It's even "beyond Kafka".  This morning, the all-news AM radio stations, doing their "we'll give you the world in 22 minutes" (no, they don't even try, but that's another story), was summarizing this amazing "magic trick" by Obama in coverage of Brennan's testimony to be confirmed as head of the CIA.  (Chilling in itself)  One summary cited, "Obama has authorization to do these drone strikes of Americans anywhere...etc..based on the authorization of the use of force that was used to invade Iraq".  Ponder that.  Slowly, slowly, teeny, tiny opposition seems to be emerging....What there is will get very little corporate (and that includes NPR which is of like-mind) coverage.   This highlights why BAR is so vital.

If I "make it", I'll be 73 or 18 1/4 Leap Year birthdays, on the last day of  February.  I was very young, but  I lived through the McCarthy years, Co-intelpro "in full flower" in the 1960s when the government killed BlackPanthers Party members, all the events since I was born mentioned in Chalmer's Johnson's "Blowback" (a great book, which I'm reading now, copyright 2000)...but this is the scariest.  Why? In part because it's "in your face" outhere, not even covering up killing people anywhere, anytime, ,,, UPDATE: I am  monitoring my public photostream page of art on Flickr to keep it public "anyone can see the art" as well as download it; the settings had been changed once but not by me.  There are 15 pieces of art of dissent: from NO TO DRONES to FREE LYNNE STEWART and more.  Google or other search, the art on Flickr - my birthday gift to all,
  "Sanda Aronson" . 

UPDATE II: Re Flickr: I just got an email from Flickr that they discovered some "virus" had changed my settings re "can be seen by anyone" and "private", which I had already discovered and I corrected it to "can be seen by anyone". 

Dear Obama supporters,

When the US was at war with Japan, even loyal Japanese whose families had been here for generations were interned.

After 9/11, even loyal Muslims whose families had been here for generations came under suspicion.

The US has sent troops to 35 countries in Africa. We destroyed Libya, we're supporting Al Qaeda in Syria, and we have been drone bombing in Mali, Yemen, Sudan and Somalia, not to mention our ongoing proxy wars for resources in the DRCongo.

So now that we're at war with Africa, who do you think will next be regarded as potential enemy sympathizers?

If you have some physical resemblance to the enemy, or happen to have some African decor in your home, no other evidence is needed--you are a danger to national security.

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