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"Sig Heil", Barack Obama

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For those Americans still wondering whether the president has the "legal" authority to target and assassinate American citizens, should wonder no more.

To many of us, this is certainly not a new revelation.

Ever since Muslim cleric Anwar al Awlaki, an American born in New Mexico, was targeted for assassination in September, 2011 by President Obama and killed in a drone attack in Yemen (a nation we're supposedly not at war), it became evident the U.S. president can ignore due process as he sees fit and kill anyone he wants.

When Awlaki's 16 year old son was traveling with a companion two weeks after his father had been assassinated, he too was killed in a drone strike, also in Yemen.

The rationale given by the administration for targeting and killing the senior Awlaki was he was affiliated with al Qaeda. To date, as far as I can tell, there has been no official explanation for the targeted killing of Awlaki's son.

In any event, yesterday Obama administration lawyers made public to NBC NEWS a 16 page document asserting the "lawful" killing of an American citizen if "an informed, high level official" of the government decided the target was a high ranking figure in al Qaeda and posed an "imminent virulent attack to the U.S. and his capture was not feasible".

This "white paper" released yesterday is not the classified Justice Department "memo" that was leaked and became known as the "legal" cover justifying the killing of Awlaki but apparently follows the rationale of that "memo".  

As to yesterday's "imminent" rationale it isn't necessary for a specific attack to be in progress as long as the one targeted is "generally engaged" in terrorist activities directed at the U.S.

And incredibly, it asserts the courts should play no role in reviewing or restraining the decision made by "an informed, high level official". In other words, "trust us, we alone can and will make the decision to target and kill anyone we decide and it can't be challenged."

Hina Shamsi, the director of the ACLU's National Security Project called it "a profoundly disturbing document" and further went on to say, "It's hard to believe that it was produced in a democracy built on a system of checks and balances. It summarizes in cold legal terms a stunning overreach of executive authority - the claimed power to declare American's as a threat and kill them far from a recognized battlefield and without judicial restraint".

That's an articulate way of stating the president is now a dictator. The rule of law is what he says it is and the notion of due process, the Constitution and its protections no longer apply and his actions can't be challenged by the courts.

That's pretty much definitive in the mind of this American citizen. If there are those in the U.S. still believing we are a democracy yesterday's "white paper" should dispel that fantasy.

That "unitary executive" theory created by George W. Bush has now become formalized by "der fuehrer" Barack Obama. The only thing missing is "Sig Heil Obama".

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