On Monday, US Attorney General Eric Holder gave a speech at Northwestern University outlining the supposed ‘legality’ of the Obama administration’s secret program to target US citizens for execution without notifying them of the accusations against them, officially charging them with a crime or offering them the opportunity to respond.
Since the whole world is a battlefield in the vague ‘war on terror,’ the only due process afforded to someone who has been targeted for extrajudicial execution is a secret ‘review’ by the panel of senior officials in the executive branch.
Just as the public demanded the release of the Bush Administration’s Torture Memos to expose the ludicrous rationale behind their secret torture program, we too must demand to know the legal rationale for a program that allows our president to unilaterally choose to deprive someone of life and liberty – without any oversight or recourse available to the victim.
Holder’s speech was a cheap attempt to feign transparency without actually releasing the legal memos that define the administration’s execution program. We need your help to demand the Obama administration release these memos immediately so there can be an open public debate about Executive power and the execution of American citizens without any due process or outside accountability.
The administration’s refusal to even outline this non-judicial ‘due process’ that allows US citizens to be secretly put on a kill list is beyond troubling to say the least.
If left unchallenged, this secretive program could continue to expand under Obama and future presidents, and further erode America’s most basic principles of justice. Without the memos we do not know exactly how far the Obama administration believes this unprecedented power extends. We need your help to build a groundswell of pressure to force the release of any and all legal justification for the targeted killings program so there can be an open debate in this country about our president’s unilateral authority to kill.
As Glenn Greenwald put it (emphasis mine):
…the ‘process’ which Eric Holder yesterday argued constitutes “due process” as required by the Fifth Amendment before the government can deprive of someone of their life: the President and his underlings are your accuser, your judge, your jury and your executioner all wrapped up in one, acting in total secrecy and without your even knowing that he’s accused you and sentenced you to death, and you have no opportunity even to know about, let alone confront and address, his accusations; is that not enough due process for you?
The ACLU, New York Times and others have been suing the Obama administration for months in hopes of securing the release of the Citizen Execution Memos, but as one of the least-transparent administrations in recent history, they have repeatedly blocked their release. We want to join the growing chorus of voices calling for the release of the memos and a full public reckoning for this atrocious policy of secretly murdering US citizens at the whim of the executive.
This is a serious and dangerous precedent, and anyone who took issue with the Bush Torture Memos should be even more concerned about this latest expansion of Executive power. I hope you’ll join us in fighting to release these memos.