So That’s Why They Kept the Drone Kill Memo Secret

Now that the U.S. government has released parts of its We-Can-Kill-People-With-Drones memo, it’s hard to miss why it was kept secret until now.

Liberal professors and human rights groups and the United Nations were claiming an inability to know whether drone murders were legal or not because they hadn’t seen the memo that the White House said legalized them. Some may continue to claim that the redactions in the memo make judgment impossible.

I expect most, however, will now be willing to drop the pretense that ANY memo could possibly legalize murder.

Oh, and yall can stop telling me not to use the impolite term “murder” to describe the, you know, murders — since “murder” is precisely the term used by the no-longer secret memo.

The memo considers a section of the U.S. code dealing with the murder of a U.S. citizen by another U.S. citizen abroad, drawing on another section that defines murder as “the unlawful killing of a human being with malice aforethought.”

David Barron, the memo’s author, needed a loophole to make murder-by-missile a lawful killing rather than an unlawful killing, so he pulls out the “public authority justification” under which the government gets to use force to enforce a law.  It’s a novel twist, though, for the government to get to use force to violate the law, claiming the violation is legal on the Nixonian basis that it is the government doing it.

Alternatively, Barron suggests, a government gets to use force if doing so is part of a war. This, of course, ignores the U.N. Charter and the Kellogg Briand Pact and the illegality of wars, as well as the novelty of claiming that a war exists everywhere on earth forever and ever. (None of Barron’s arguments justify governmental murder on U.S. soil any less than off U.S. soil.)

In essence, Barron seems to argue, the people who wrote the laws were thinking about private citizens and terrorists, not the government (which, somehow, cannot be a terrorist), and therefore it’s OK for the government to violate the laws.

Then there’s the problem of Congressional authorization of war, or lack thereof, which Barron gets around by pretending that the Authorization for the Use of Military Force was as broad as the White House pretends rather than worded to allow targeting only those responsible for the 911 attacks.

Then there are the facts of the matter in the case of Anwar al Awlaki, who was targeted for murder prior in time to the actions that President Obama has claimed justified that targeting.

Then there are the facts in the other cases of U.S. killings of U.S. citizens, which aren’t even redacted, as they’re never considered.

Then there are the vastly more numerous killings of non-U.S. citizens, which the memo does not even attempt to excuse.

In the end, the memo admits that calling something a war isn’t good enough; the targeted victim has to have been an imminent threat to the United States.  But who gets to decide whether he or she was that?  Why, whoever does the killing of course.  And what happens if nobody ever even makes an unsupported assertion to that effect? Nothing, of course.

This is not the rule of law.  This is savage brute force in minimal disguise.  I don’t want to see any more of these memos.  I want to see the video footage of the drone murders on a television.  I want to see law professors and revolving-door State Department / human rights group hacks argue that dead children fall under the public authority justification.

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  • Guest

    this is what they won’t put on television:

  • What a great “law” for the 1% to murder anyone they want that’s a threat to them.

  • King Jesus

    It’s time to clean house!

  • Carl_Herman

    Nice, David; thank you. This is one of ~100 powerful issues that demands arrests. The public has these issues as tests of intellectual integrity and moral courage: what will we think, say, and do in light of these war-murders with Orwellian cover stories from lie-lawyers?

  • Arizona

    THE LORD told his followers,AMERICAS GOVERNMENT IS ROTTEN TO THE CORE,top to bottom,inside and out,and there ain’t nothing going to stop them,THE POLICE GANGS are their mussel and the mighty men of america are as WOMEN,their all cowards………your going into captivity,and no one will lift a finger to stop it….ALL your ALPHA MALES are in prison……………..

  • not authorized

    Due process is a fundamental human right. That is just the way it is. Anything less, is violating the law, per Article 6 United States Constitution, Amendment 5 Bill of Rights, Magna Carta Clause 39, UN Charter Article 38 paragraph 1, ICJ Statute, etc.

    Not recognizing the right of due process is lawlessness. Lawlessness is Conduct Unbecoming an Officer and a Gentleman. Uniform Code of Military Justice.

  • sharon oliveria

    When Not If When He Declares M-Law we Will Be what drones will be hunting down, thank You for Report, there are Many Sefie-Law’s OB has written, you would be shocked He has written He can Declare M-Law for any reason be Pres for Life & Fema Camps 800 & counting Ready 1 Camp can house up to 2,000 PLP, God Help Us Is our Only Hope In Jesus Name

  • artguerrilla

    heh, don’t you rubes know we are *still* in a ‘state of emergency’ ? ! ? ! ?
    ’emergency’ means laws and stuff don’t matter, ’cause its an EMERGENCY, duh…

    geez, stupid people are stupid, talking about ‘rights’ and ‘constitution’ when we are in the middle of an EMERGENCY, sheesh…

  • barbarakelly

    You know what he is doing. He is heading us in to the One world order, and the Agenda 21. The latest that I read is to do with the Banks. All on a international scale. Then with the border, Oh YES get us all sick and die. Depopulation is their goal. You all know what we have to DEMAND from our congress and Senate. Start calling!!!! The NWO reminds me of the tower of Babel that was destroyed because they want to reach God and be as important as him. We have the Rockerfellers B. Gates and the Bilderbergers that we have to fight. Don’t forget the head of England. They are all in it. They want another war to help with the Depopulation. They are so disgustingly dirty.