October 2, 2011. Zinjibar, Yemen. The last time the United States Federal government went rogue and used its dictatorial powers to order the assassinations of American citizens, the direct result was the death of 168 Americans including 16 small children. The act of premeditated murder of American citizens is something explicitly against international law, US law and the deposed US Constitution. This weekend, the US Federal government admitted it was back in the business.
President Obama carries out nation's first executions without trial of American Citizens. Are you on their list?
History indeed repeats itself. And the last time America found itself in this crisis of identity, morality and liberty, your author was smack dab in the middle of the battle. And that’s the warning today – this battle will not be legal, Constitutional or philosophical. This battle will be literal. Innocent Americans on both sides of the argument will die in large numbers. And if the policy isn’t stopped, America will be on the brink of civil war. That’s not merely an opinion. That’s a fact of history.
In 1992, under the authority of President George HW Bush, the Federal government declared a secret war against Americans it considered “Domestic Terrorists”. Later documents would reveal that the only criteria needed to qualify as a domestic terrorist were, “strong religious beliefs, support for the US Constitution and a contempt for the US Federal government”. At the time, libertarian activists including your author, argued that the description fit almost all Americans. We were right.
Immediately, American citizens began being murdered at the hands of Federal agents. That policy came to the attention of the American people in 1992 in a sleepy corner of Idaho affectionately called, ‘Ruby Ridge’. Agents first killed the family dog. Then, agents murdered 13 year old Sam Weaver as he approached to investigate the gun shot and sudden silence of his beloved pet. Then came the shot heard ‘round the world.
With preauthorization and double verification, agents were ordered to murder Sam’s mom, Vicky Weaver. As she stood in the doorway of her rural home, armed only with her newborn baby in her arms, Vicky Weaver was shot through the head by an FBI sniper. The newborn, and the lifeless body of an American mother of four, crashed to the ground in a pool of blood and brains. The FBI sniper also shot Vicky’s husband and his friend. Every adult in the peaceful home was shot by Federal snipers.
At the time, the American people didn’t care. The news media, MTV and CNN told them not to. “Just one more terrorist off the streets” Americans said. But they weren’t terrorists. The Weaver family had done absolutely nothing wrong. With a green light on assassinating Americans, the Weavers became just the first victims of the government’s policy of assassinating its own citizens without charges, trial or even a good reason.
While US government “Death Squads” roamed America, murdering American citizens without cause, warrant or charge, it was the following year in 1993 that Federal agents found themselves in their next PR nightmare. After a 50 day siege of the Branch Davidian religious facility in Waco, Texas, the FBI once again sent in the ‘death squad’. Authorized by Attorney General Janet Reno, the very same agent who murdered Vicky Weaver at Ruby Ridge the prior year, was now at the wheels of a US Army tank and pumping thousands of gallons of explosive gas into the compound. When Federal agents lit the fuse, the entire compound was incinerated in minutes.
Subsequent investigations found that there may not have been one single adult in the facility at the time of the attack that wasn’t dead or badly wounded. The FBI launched a military assault on 20 children and 2 pregnant women. In the end, 76 parishioners, 24 of them British citizens, and 20 small children, were murdered.
While America’s state-sponsored news media parroted the government explanation that the fire was an accident, even though they personally pumped in thousands of gallons of highly flammable military grade chemical gas, Janet Reno had a different explanation when she was grilled before Congress. Reno claimed that Federal authorities had to take out the religious facility when they did because Federal intelligence reported that hundreds of American Militiamen were en route to Waco, Texas from all over the country to defend the worshipers inside the compound. Take it from your author, she was right.
But Americans were left with a dirty taste in their mouths. Terrorists, bigamists, gun runners – regardless of what the government’s official story was, the victims of their death squads seemed to constantly be innocent American children. In the case of Waco, they put the babies and small children into a small, basement room for protection. Federal agents rammed their tank-mounted hose and nozzle through multiple walls and one floor of the building and directly into that small room where the babies and children were hiding.
There, they gassed to death 20 small children long before the fire even broke out. Imagine being locked in a small room while an industrial military hose pumps massive amounts of poisonous, flammable gas into the room. Choking, vomiting and gagging their last breaths away, the innocent children were murdered at the hands of their own government. Again, America didn’t care. After all, President Clinton and Janet Reno assured everyone they were just more ‘domestic terrorists’.
Two years later in 1995 and on the exact anniversary of the massacre at Waco – April 19, forever to be known and celebrated throughout America’s patriot community as ‘Patriot’s Day’ – America’s Militia movement put an end to government death squads once and for all.
A truck bomb exploded outside the Oklahoma City Federal building blowing up the regional headquarters of the FBI, ATF and other agents who carried out the assault in Waco. As a result, the Federal government and the American people suddenly had a taste of their own policy. The blast caused $652 million in damages, damaged or destroyed 324 buildings, 86 cars, injured 680 people and killed 168 including 19 children under the age of 6.
Most of America’s right wing and even most Militia groups condemned the attack by Tim McVeigh, Terry Nichols and accused accomplices like Michael and Lori Fortier. A large enough segment however, including the hundreds of heavily armed militiamen en route to Waco that fateful day, let the Federal government know what they could continue to expect if they wanted to continue their unconstitutional policy of roaming death squads on American soil assassinating unarmed American men, women and children in cold blood.
This weekend, America’s state-sponsored media once again explains to nervous Americans why it’s a good and necessary thing to assassinate unarmed American men, women and children without warrant, charge or trial. And the vast majority of America will blindly nod in agreement. The news this weekend announced that American military drones killed two American citizens in Yemen as they unsuspectingly drove their cars.
Anwar al-Awlaki was born in New Mexico and is an American citizen. His companion was another American citizen named Samir Khan from North Carolina. Awlaki is the first US citizen to be assassinated by the Federal government since Waco, and the first US citizen to be officially assassinated ever. It is no conspiracy theory or crazy libertarian philosophical argument. US government ‘death squads’ are back. The next question is, just how far will they go?
To libertarians, defenders of America’s Constitution and independent media outlets like us here at Whiteout Press, we don’t need to know the details, fears or accusations. Either there is a US Constitution or there isn’t.
Most Americans, including your author, would have no problem killing American citizens without trial or charge if they are in the process of hurting or killing people or if it occurs in the blur of battle. But to create a list of American citizens that are simply “bad guys” and assassinating them at the whims of nameless, faceless bureaucrats, will not be tolerated by the American people. Policies like these are a slippery slope. And just as we learned the hard way a decade and half ago, it’s absolutely realistic to assume that authorities will soon be murdering innocent American children en masse, just because they can.
Anyone who thinks the idea is crazy need only reread this article again. For that’s exactly what happened the last time the Federal government gave themselves this unheard of authority. Others are quietly questioning the policy of assassinating American citizens as well. The victim’s father was the first.
Reuters quoted the senior al-Awaki. “Why kill him in this brutal, ugly way?" asked Abubakr al-Awlaki, "Killing him will not solve their (the Americans') problem with al Qaeda. It will just increase (AQAP's) strength and sympathy in this region."
Here in the US, Reuters also quoted others questioning the White House. "The fact that (al-Awlaki) was a dual US-Yemeni citizen means that he had extra protections under the US Constitution than he would not have had if he was just a Yemeni citizen" said Mary Ellen O'Connell, an international law professor at the University of Notre Dame's law school, "So the President has done something in my view that is highly questionable under our own Constitution."
The ACLU had a similar opinion. "As we've seen today, it's a program under which US citizens far removed from the battlefield can be executed by their own government without judicial process and on the basis of standards and evidence that are secret." said Jameel Jaffer, deputy legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union.
University of Texas School of Law Professor Robert Chesney posed the question at hand, “The million dollar question is: does the killing of al-Awlaki mean that the government can kill any American at any time if they claim they have intelligence showing the person is a terrorist?"
Even conservative news outlets like Forbes have questioned the policy of assassinating American citizens. They reported, ‘President Barack Obama steered the nation's war machine into uncharted territory Friday.’ The magazine continued, ‘It was believed to be the first instance in which a US citizen was tracked and executed based on secret intelligence and the president's say-so. And it raised major questions about the limitations of presidential power.’
The magazine also quoted the ACLU’s Bob Wizner, “If the Constitution means anything, it surely means that the President does not have unreviewable authority to summarily execute any American whom he concludes is an enemy of the state."
Georgetown University Law Professor David Cole offered another concern, “The use of military force is permitted within the confines of war, not outside it. From my view, it’s critical we have clear lines about when it is appropriate to use these practices and when it is not. And thus far, the policy has operated in secret, without any clear lines that we can see.”
So the take-away this weekend is this – It’s now okay for the US government to murder US citizens anytime they feel like it, anywhere they feel like it, and for whatever reason they feel like. And not only is it okay, but for the first time in American history, it’s actually happening.