White House invokes state secrets privilege to block targeted killings suit

White House invokes state secrets privilege to block targeted killings suit

The White House on Saturday invoked the state secrets privilege to toss a lawsuit brought by civil liberties groups against an assassination plan against terrorists that would also target a U.S. citizen.

Anwar al-Awlaki, an alleged al-Qaeda regional commander born in New Mexico and reportedly hiding in Yemen, has been linked to the Fort Hood shootings and the attempt by a Nigerian man to blow up an airliner over Detroit on Christmas Day. The cleric, author of “44 Ways to Support Jihad,” also reportedly inspired the Times Square car bombing attempt in May, and placed a fatwa on Seattle Weekly cartoonist Molly Norris for suggesting a controversial “Everybody Draw Muhammad Day”.

He’s said to be on a U.S. list that approves death or capture of key terrorist suspects. The 39-year-old’s placement on the list in April made him the first U.S. citizen to land on the CIA targeted kill list.

Al-Awlaki’s father enlisted the American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Constitutional Rights to challenge the program in court and declare the targeted killings unconstitutional.

The lawsuit also aimed to block the assassination green light against al-Awlaki, and compel the U.S. government to disclose the guidelines for putting a U.S. citizen on such a list.

According to the Associated Press, the administration invoked the rule that asserts court proceedings and evidence revealed in such would endanger national security. Defense Secretary Robert Gates, in the declaration filed in federal court, said he was invoking the military and state secrets privilege because of information that could be disclosed on possible military operations in Yemen.

“I am invoking the privilege over any information, if it exists, that would tend to confirm or deny any allegations in the complaint pertaining to the CIA,” CIA Director Leon Panetta’s court statement said.

“The idea that courts should have no role whatsoever in determining the criteria by which the executive branch can kill its own citizens is unacceptable in a democracy,” the American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Constitutional Rights said in a statement, according to AP. “In matters of life and death, no executive should have a blank check.”

Nasser al-Awlaki previously told the Times of London that U.S. authorities should pursue charges against his son in court if they thought him to to be guilty of a crime.

“What the U.S. government is doing is against the American constitution,” he said from Yemen. “If Anwar has done anything wrong he should be prosecuted, not targeted by a drone.”

In a January interview with CNN, the senior al-Awlaki said his son was not a member of al-Qaeda and not hiding out with the terror group in Yemen.

“What do you expect my son to do? There are missiles raining down on the village,” he said. “He has to hide. But he is not hiding with al-Qaeda; our tribe is protecting him right now. My son is (a) wanted man, he’s cornered, that’s the problem I am facing.”

The father added, “He’s not Osama bin Laden.”

The White House maintains that al-Awlaki is a direct and serious threat to national security. In July, the Treasury Department froze his assets.

In April, Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Pa.) introduced a resolution urging that al-Awlaki be stripped of his citizenship. It has 17 co-sponors and remains in a House subcommittee.

Palin Says She Will Run in 2012 If Nobody Else “Steps Up”

Palin Says She Will Run in 2012 If Nobody Else “Steps Up”

Details at Hot Air.

Remember: you don’t get to vote for the “idea” of Sarah Palin. If she runs, Americans will have to cast a vote for her.

In fact, supporting the “idea” of a candidate, as certain bloggers have suggested they are doing with Christine O’Donnell (while pointedly disclaiming that they are fully invested in the notion of the candidate herself as a “hill to die on”) is the type of thinking that got us Barack Obama. People voted for the “idea” of Hope and Change, and got something quite different in reality.

It is blind idealism, and it is dangerous on the left and on the right.

Will we follow that path with Sarah Palin — that is, if nobody else “steps” up?

Or will we confront the candidate as she exists in real life — with whatever faults and flaws she has — and decide whether that candidate is worth staking our hopes on?

Time will tell.

Education Shock Decision: University of Illinois Denies William Ayers Emeritus Status

Education Shock Decision: University of Illinois Denies William Ayers Emeritus Status

URBANA, Ill. (AP) — The University of Illinois on Thursday denied 1960s radical William Ayers emeritus faculty status after trustees Chairman Christopher Kennedy noted Ayers dedicated a book to, among others, the man who killed Kennedy’s father, Robert F. Kennedy.

All nine voting trustees either opposed granting Ayers, a recently retired University of Illinois-Chicago professor, the largely honorary status or abstained from the vote. Universities often grant emeritus status to distinguished retired faculty members. At Illinois it doesn’t come with any monetary benefits, spokesman Tom Hardy said.

Ayers co-founded the Weather Underground, an anti-war group held responsible for a series of bombings during the Vietnam War era, including nonfatal explosions at the Pentagon and U.S. Capitol.

Trustees voted after a speech by Kennedy in which he noted the 1974 book “Prairie Fire: The Politics of Revolutionary Anti-Imperialism,” by Ayers and other members of the Weather Underground. The book includes a dedication to a lengthy list of revolutionary figures, musicians and others, including Sirhan Sirhan, who shot Robert Kennedy to death in 1968 after the New York senator declared victory in the California Democratic presidential primary.

“There is nothing more antithetical to the hopes for a university that is lively and yet civil, or to the hopes of our founding fathers for their great experiment of a self-governing people, than to permanently seal off debate with one’s opponents by killing them,” Kennedy said. “There can be no place in a democracy to celebrate political assassinations or to honor those who do so.”

Ayers did not return an e-mail from The Associated Press seeking comment.

Trustees approved emeritus status for a number of other retirees Thursday, and Hardy said it was unusual for anyone to be turned down.

“Nobody could remember a similar circumstance in the last several decades,” he said after asking other university officials.

Retired faculty ask for emeritus status, and it’s then signed off on by several levels of university administration before heading to trustees, Hardy said.

Ayers announced his retirement in August after more than 20 years as an education professor at the University of Illinois-Chicago.

Ayers was a fugitive for years for his role with the Weather Underground until surrendering in 1980. Charges against him were dropped because of government misconduct.

His past became a campaign issue during the 2008 presidential race because he once served with now-President Barack Obama on a Chicago charity’s board.

Ayers has since been invited to speak at U.S. universities, though some of those invitations — such as one from the University of Wyoming this year — have been withdrawn over protests about his history.

Key Obama Ally Working with Socialists for Global Tax video

Key Obama Ally Working with Socialists for Global Tax


God or Government? Obama and the GOP Disagree

God or Government? Obama and the GOP Disagree

September 24th, 2010

Floyd and Mary Beth Brown, Floyd Reports

“America is more than a country,” is the first line of the new Republican “Pledge to America.” It is a curious phrase which tells much about the Founding of our nation, and captures the reason government has been such a failure at solving problems in the late 20th and early 21st centuries.

The document continues, “America is an idea – an idea that free people can govern themselves.” In the 18th century ideas were everywhere. The great philosophers of Europe such as Locke, Rousseau and Hegel were writing and debating about how men should be governed. The monarchies and their governing partners, the aristocracy, were losing control as new ideas flourished.

A competition was unleashed as to what would replace the old order.

In America, the governing ideas which are articulated in the Declaration of Independence are echoed in this “Pledge to America,” which continues: “government’s powers are derived from the consent of the governed, that each of us is endowed by their Creator with the unalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

In this sentence, we read the genius of America’s particular and unique idea of rights. In the American view, rights are not earned, neither are they the subject of the king, or the state. Rights for Americans are separate and apart from the governing politics. Rights are a gift from a Divine Being.

The great difficulty we have suffered in the past three decades is directly the result of the underlying thesis of the Founders being challenged by the new aristocracy, the intellectual elites. They refuse to accept the limits to government that are inherent in a system governed by a Divine Being. In fact, they challenge His very existence. They reject limits on the scope and size of government.

Barack Obama expressed it himself when he recently misquoted the Declaration of Independence….

Read more.