Our Designated Killers, 'Where Is the Outrage?'
This print version has been auto-generated from http://www.globalissues.org/article/412/our-designated-killers-where-is-the-outrage
The following article from The Village Voice looks at the concerns about targetted assassinations perhaps without full proof or knowledge of guilt. The article can be found on - line at http://villagevoice.com/issues/0308/hentoff.php1.
Our Designated Killers: 'Where Is the Outrage?'
By Nat Hentoff
February 14th, 2003
The People are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty. - Thomas Jefferson
We have a choice. We can fight and win a just war against terrorism. . . . Or, we can win while running roughshod over the principles of fairness and due process that we claim to cherish, thus shaming ourselves in the eyes of the world and - eventually, when the smoke of fear and anger finally clears - in our own eyes as well. - Bob Herbert, The New York Times, December 3, 2001
The disciplined Bush administration strives continually to keep out of the news those of its security operations that are creating what The Washington Post accurately and ominously describes as an "alternative legal system." Or, as I call it, "a shadow Constitution."
Too often, the media are complicit in this secrecy because of their shallowness on constitutional issues, but sometimes they put sudden light on government orders and subsequent actions that were meant to remain deep in the shadows. This happened to the Rumsfeld - Poindexter Total Information Awareness system that, because of press exposure, has now been blocked, for a time, in the Senate, by both Democratic and Republican legislators. They may have become aware that this all - seeing eye, out of 1984, could be looking into their own personal information.
But there has been little follow - up to this front - page story in the December 15 New York Times: "The Bush administration has prepared a list of terrorist leaders the Central Intelligence Agency [under George Tenet] is authorized to kill, if capture is impractical and civilian casualties can be minimized, senior military and intelligence officers said."
Acting on that presidential authorization, "a pilotless Predator aircraft operated [by the CIA] fired a Hellfire antitank missile" at a car in a remote region of Yemen, killing six, including an Al Qaeda leader, Salim Sinan al - Harethi, and "one suspected al - Qaeda operative with United States citizenship."
That dead American passenger was Kamal Derwish, who, according to the Bush administration, was the leader of an alleged cell of Al Qaeda sleepers in Lackawanna, a Buffalo, New York, suburb. As syndicated columnist Charles Levendosky - a constant and accurate chronicler of the Bush shadow Constitution - wrote:
"[Derwish was labeled] an enemy combatant, but only after his death. . . . Derwish was never accused of any crime in a court of law. Essentially, he was killed because of the company he kept" - and it was too late for him to tell his side of the story.
Further, as Seymour Hersh - who brought glaring sunlight to the My Lai massacre by American troops during the Vietnam War - reportedin the December 23 & 30 New Yorker, "There is no indication that American or Yemeni officers knew in advance who was in the car with al-Harethi. . . .
"The Yemeni official told me that there was no thought of blocking the highway and attempting to capture al - Harethi and his passengers, because he had evaded earlier attempts. . . . The official said, 'From past experience, this was the most effective way.' "
Remote - controlled assassination sure does the job.
David Wise, a veteran expert on espionage and covert action, asked a question (Time, February 3) about the termination of Mr. Derwish that should have been on editorial pages around the nation:
"An American citizen not charged [with] or convicted of any crime was killed by a CIA Predator, targeted with the cooperation of the Pentagon [Donald Rumsfeld, CEO], and there was hardly a peep of protest in this country. Where is the outrage? . . . It seems unlikely that being zapped by the CIA is exactly the sort of due process that the Framers had in mind when they wrote the Constitution."
But aside from the New York Times story, which was not followed up in that paper, and the brief mentions by Levendosky, Hersh, and Wise, most Americans had almost no information about this sudden, summary execution of an American citizen and the others in the car. Nor have there been any wide - scale media investigations of the CIA's designated killers and how their hit lists are compiled. Also largely unreported is that it is not only the CIA that has official vigilantes.
In his New Yorker article "Manhunt: The Bush Administration's New Strategy in the War Against Terrorism," Seymour Hersh reveals another lethal Bush administration directive that involves Donald Rumsfeld's Defense Department. How many of you have heard of a July 22 secret directive by the defense secretary, as Hersh notes, "ordering Air Force General Charles Holland, the four - star commander of Special Operations [Green Berets, Delta Force, the Navy Seals, the 75th Ranger Regiment, et al.] to develop a plan . . . to capture terrorists for interrogation, or if necessary, to kill them, not simply to arrest them in a law - enforcement exercise"?
Hersh quotes a Pentagon consultant: "We've created a culture in the Special Forces - 20- and 21- year-olds who need adult leadership. They're assuming [the military has] legal authority, and they'll do it - eagerly eliminate any target assigned to them. Eventually, the intelligence will be bad, and innocent people will be killed."
But since the Hersh article appeared, there's been little of depth in the media about these manhunters, except for Doyle McManus's masterful "A U.S. License to Kill" in the January 11 Los Angeles Times (more of which next week).
There have been no full - scale investigations of the CIA's torturing of prisoners in secret interrogation centers on our military bases.
Dana Priest was one of the reporters who broke the torture story in the December 26 Washington Post. Recently, I asked her why there's been so little follow - up in the rest of the media. "It's hard," she said, "to keep a story going when there's no outrage, as in Congress" - where there have been no calls for hearings. Moreover, as Daniel Ellsberg told Editor & Publisher (January 27), "People in newspapers are reluctant to build on or give credit to someone else's scoop."
The ungenerous free press - handmaidens to the Bush administration's alternative legal system and shadow Constitution!
General Fair Use Notice
This reposted page may contain copyrighted material whose use has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. Globalissues.org is making this article available in efforts to advance the understanding of the workings, impact and direction of various global issues. I believe that this constitutes a “fair use” of the copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the U.S. Copyright Law. If you wish to use this copyrighted material for purposes of your own that go beyond “fair use,” you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.
This article is part of the following collection:
- War on Terror: Crackdown on Civil Rights; War on Freedom
- Amnesty International: Human Rights Backlash
- U.S. Intensifies the War of Words
- America’s hyperreal war on terrorism
- Post-September 11 Corporate Stance
- Goodbye to Patriotism
- The Silence on Terrorism
- The New McCarthyism
- American Caesar
- Farewell Liberty
- Bush’s Aggressive Accounting
- Race War
- The War on Dissent Widens
- The USA PATRIOT Act Was Planned Before 9/11
- FBI digs deeper into the Web
- Seven Points
- The War on Freedom and Democracy in the EU
- Overview of Changes to Legal Rights
- How I became a target for America’s zealots
- Washington’s Eye on the Internet
- High treason in the U.S. government
- US Librarians See 'Big Brother' Monitoring
- Muted Response to Ashcroft’s Sneak Attack on Liberties
- Our Designated Killers, 'Where Is the Outrage?'
- Our voices are lost in the tide of intolerance sweeping America
- Broad Domestic Role Asked for C.I.A. and the Pentagon
- Amnesty International: No Shortcut to Genuine Security
- Asian Security Talks Risk Giving Green Light to Repression
- South African Anti-Terror Bill Draconian
- Rage. Mistrust. Hatred. Fear. Uncle Sam’s Enemies Within
- US Anti-war Activists Hit by Secret Airport Ban
- On the Record
- Army Admits Using JetBlue Data
- Congress Defunds Controversial 'Total Information' Program
- Federal Judge Rules Part of Patriot Act Unconstitutional
- Executive Power after 9-11 in the United States
- War on Terror or War on Liberties?
- War on Global Values
- India’s 'No' to 9-11 Legacy
- Homeland Security: The price of safety
- Republicans See Signs That Pentagon Is Evading Oversight
- Is the Pentagon spying on Americans?
- Judge Rules NSA Warrantless Spy Program Unconstitutional
- Pentagon is keeping secret tabs on peaceful protest activities
- Is Princeton Professor and Retired Marine on Government No-Fly List for Criticizing the White House?
- Corporate Takeover of US Intelligence
- US and Europe Near Agreement on Private Data
(Note that listed here are only those hyperlinks to other articles from other web sites or elsewhere on this web site. Other sources such as journal, books and magazines, are mentioned above in the original text. Please also note that links to external sites are beyond my control. They might become unavailable temporarily or permanently since you read this, depending on the policies of those sites, which I cannot unfortunately do anything about.)
Back to top