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Ex-US President Indicts Obama as Assassin

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Headlined to H2 6/27/12

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Crossposted at wsws.org

A column published Monday in the New York Times by Jimmy Carter, the 39th president of the United States, constitutes an extraordinary indictment of the Obama administration for engaging in assassinations and other criminal violations of international law and the US Constitution.

Titling his column "A Cruel and Unusual Record," Carter writes: "Revelations that top officials are targeting people to be assassinated abroad, including American citizens, are only the most recent, disturbing proof of how far our nation's violation of human rights has extended."

Referring to the infamous provisions of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), signed into law by Obama on December 31 of last year, Carter writes: "Recent legislation has made legal the president's right to detain a person indefinitely on suspicion of affiliation with terrorist organizations or "associated forces,' a broad, vague power that can be abused without meaningful oversight from the courts or Congress." He goes on to refer to "unprecedented violations of our rights" through warrantless wiretapping and electronic data mining.

Elaborating on the US drone strikes, the former president adds, "Despite an arbitrary rule that any man killed by drones is declared an enemy terrorist, the death of nearby innocent women and children is accepted as inevitable" We don't know how many hundreds of innocent civilians have been killed in these attacks, each one approved by the highest authorities in Washington. This would have been unthinkable in previous times."

Carter's column appeared on the same day that Pakistan's ambassador to the United Nations testified before the UN Human Rights Commission, denouncing US drone attacks on his country in which "thousands of innocent people, including women and children, have been murdered." He said that in 2010 alone, 957 Pakistanis were killed.

Carter goes on to indict the administration for the continued operation of the prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where, he notes, out of 169 prisoners "half have been cleared for release, yet have little prospect of ever obtaining their freedom," and others "have no prospect of ever being charged or tried either."

In the few cases where prisoners have been brought before military tribunals, he notes, the defendants "have been tortured by waterboarding more than 100 times or intimidated with semiautomatic weapons, power drills or threats to sexually assault their mothers." He continues: "Astoundingly, these facts cannot be used as a defense by the accused, because the government claims they occurred under the cover of "national security.'"

Aside from moral qualms, and there is no reason to doubt that these play a significant role in Carter's case, the former president expresses profound concerns that the brazen criminality of the actions carried out by the US government is undermining American foreign policy. Not only are these methods fueling popular hostility around the globe, they are depriving Washington of the ability to cloak its policies in the mantle of human rights and the defense of democracy, a method employed to significant effect by US imperialism since its advent at the end of the 19th century.

Carter himself played the "human rights" card prominently during his presidency, even as his administration sought to prop up the torture regime of the Shah in Iran, initiated the CIA-backed Islamist insurgency in Afghanistan, and affirmed--in the Carter Doctrine--America's right to use military force to assure its domination of Persian Gulf oil supplies.

A former senior naval officer and submarine expert, Carter was brought into the White House in 1977 to restore the credibility and stature of the American presidency in the wake of US imperialism's debacle in Vietnam and the criminality surrounding Watergate.

Yet, nearly four decades later, the extra-constitutional methods and criminality in the White House go far beyond anything done under Richard Nixon.

There is no question that Carter chose each word of his column carefully, avoiding hyperbole. Indeed, the name Obama does not appear. In the first word of the piece, however, he inserted a link to the lengthy New York Times article of June 1 documenting how Obama personally directs the preparation of "kill lists," choosing victims and signing off on drone strikes when it is known that innocent civilians will be killed.

In this context, Carter's use of the word "assassination" to describe the drone attacks has an unmistakable meaning. The president of the United States, this former president is saying, is guilty of war crimes and murder.

At the age of 88, Carter is a disinterested observer, concerned more with his legacy than any political gain. His testimony is all the more extraordinary in that he occupied the same office as Obama, is a member of the same party, and supported Obama's election.

What could impel him, with little more than four months until the presidential election, to level such charges at his party's candidate and the sitting president? He must believe that the political setup in America has descended so far into criminality and the threat of a police state is so great that it is imperative for him to speak out.

Carter makes the telling point that these criminal actions have been carried out with "bipartisan executive and legislative" support and virtually "without dissent." Indeed, as if to prove his point, his own statements in the column--which have explosive political significance--have been largely passed over in silence by the mass media.

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Bill Van Auken (born 1950) is a politician and activist for the Socialist Equality Party and was a presidential candidate in the U.S. election of 2004, announcing his candidacy on January 27, 2004. His running mate was Jim Lawrence. He came in 15th (more...)
 
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I agree no American should be assassinated without... by Liberty Bell on Wednesday, Jun 27, 2012 at 11:48:31 AM
How many innocent civilians will it take before yo... by Ginger McClemons on Wednesday, Jun 27, 2012 at 12:59:42 PM
what's to keep the president (or any other high ra... by Ginger McClemons on Wednesday, Jun 27, 2012 at 2:15:07 PM
Because you don't understand it well.... by BFalcon on Friday, Jun 29, 2012 at 2:18:30 PM
Our own homegrown Tim McVeigh worshiping Bible-bas... by Hooker Jay on Wednesday, Jun 27, 2012 at 1:29:52 PM
there is no they and us, we're all terrorists now... by Marcello Cristiani on Thursday, Jun 28, 2012 at 7:17:48 AM
Finally someone with credibility has stated the ob... by David Model on Wednesday, Jun 27, 2012 at 12:08:50 PM
Became "friends" with many dictators and his comme... by BFalcon on Friday, Jun 29, 2012 at 2:16:56 PM
Good for the peanut farmer.  An honest politi... by Keith Pope on Wednesday, Jun 27, 2012 at 12:20:25 PM
I really like an honest american peanut farmerI ab... by Michael Rose on Wednesday, Jun 27, 2012 at 5:15:15 PM
Yes, I agree with President Carter that President ... by Hubert Steed on Wednesday, Jun 27, 2012 at 12:26:58 PM
"Certain interests could have had a contract to a... by Michael Rose on Wednesday, Jun 27, 2012 at 5:18:16 PM
former President Carter.  Pres. Obama has let... by Suzana Megles on Wednesday, Jun 27, 2012 at 12:44:19 PM
You should give some thought to all the animals th... by Ginger McClemons on Wednesday, Jun 27, 2012 at 1:22:11 PM
I feel exactly the same  and I explained it e... by Mark Sashine on Wednesday, Jun 27, 2012 at 8:11:28 PM
Whether one is an admirer of President Carter or n... by michael payne on Wednesday, Jun 27, 2012 at 8:17:09 PM
Many Americans simply to not want to hear the trut... by E. J. N. on Friday, Jun 29, 2012 at 11:11:52 AM
Mr. van Auken, the author of this poorly written&n... by patriotgal on Wednesday, Jun 27, 2012 at 1:05:08 PM
...only FOX thinks that Jimmy Carter's attacks on ... by Paul Sedkowski on Wednesday, Jun 27, 2012 at 1:41:11 PM
If you click the link in Carter's op-ed, he cites ... by Gustav Wynn on Wednesday, Jun 27, 2012 at 9:48:16 PM
I reckon President Carter made mistakes of his own... by James Suggs on Thursday, Jun 28, 2012 at 10:02:16 AM
It is such a privilege to have someone of Jimmy Ca... by Douglas Jack on Wednesday, Jun 27, 2012 at 2:20:00 PM
Thank you for this extremely important article tha... by Marta Steele on Wednesday, Jun 27, 2012 at 3:04:34 PM
but of course the problem is there's no constitue... by Gentry L Rowsey on Wednesday, Jun 27, 2012 at 4:22:08 PM
Barack Obama and George W. Bush in An Age of In... by Lance Ciepiela on Wednesday, Jun 27, 2012 at 4:27:18 PM
is what false flag attacks are designed to impleme... by intotheabyss on Wednesday, Jun 27, 2012 at 4:27:49 PM
  If I was not so convinced President Obama h... by Howard Lewis on Wednesday, Jun 27, 2012 at 5:49:56 PM
Pres. Carter dropped not one bomb, fired nary a ... by steveswimmer on Wednesday, Jun 27, 2012 at 6:27:01 PM
Obama's use of Drones to plow down innocent civili... by Deborah Dills on Wednesday, Jun 27, 2012 at 9:03:51 PM
I haven't read through all the comments but in cas... by Michael David Morrissey on Thursday, Jun 28, 2012 at 3:27:35 AM
This may be an unprecedented indictment by a forme... by Thomas Brunswick on Thursday, Jun 28, 2012 at 3:29:08 PM
Ideal is the beacon. Without ideal , there is no s... by emilylowes emilylowes on Friday, Jun 29, 2012 at 2:01:17 AM
Many Americans, like many Israelis, believe that a... by E. J. N. on Friday, Jun 29, 2012 at 11:29:20 AM
the fear of being silently eliminated by a drone, ... by renjian yang on Friday, Jun 29, 2012 at 7:48:14 PM
...why did you copy part of my comment and then p... by Ginger McClemons on Saturday, Jun 30, 2012 at 3:34:24 PM