Constitutional Expert: “President Obama … Says That He Can Kill You On His Own Discretion" Without Charge or Trial

George Washington's picture


I've previously noted that Obama says that he can assassinate American citizens living on U.S. soil.

This may sound over-the-top.

But nationally-recognized constitutional law expert Jonathan Turley (the second most cited law professor in the country, one of the top 10 lawyers handling military cases, who has served as a consultant on homeland security and constitutional issues and is a frequent witness before the House and Senate on constitutional and statutory issues, who ranked 38th in the top 100 most cited ‘public intellectuals’ in a recent study by a well-known judge) said yesterday on C-Span (starting at 15:50):

It's even worse than coming into your house. President Obama has just stated a policy that he can have any American citizen killed without any charge, without any review, except his own. If he's satisfied that you are a terrorist, he says that he can kill you anywhere in the world including in the United States.


Two of his aides just were just at a panel two weeks ago and they reaffirmed they believe that American citizens can be killed on the order of the President anywhere including the United States.


You've now got a president who says that he can kill you on his own discretion. He can jail you indefinitely on his own discretion




I don't think the the Framers ever anticipated that. They assumed that people would hold their liberties close, and that they wouldn't relax those fingers ...


While one might assume that the government has given a valid justification for his claim that he can assassinate anyone anywhere, the Washington Post noted yesterday regarding assassination by drone:

In outlining its legal reasoning, the administration has cited broad congressional authorizations and presidential approvals, the international laws of war and the right to self-defense. But it has not offered the American public, uneasy allies or international authorities any specifics that would make it possible to judge how it is applying those laws.




“They’ve based it on the personal legitimacy of [President] Obama — the ‘trust me’ concept,” [American University law professor Kenneth Anderson] said. “That’s not a viable concept for a president going forward.”




Under domestic law, the administration considers [assassinations] to be covered by the Authorization for Use of Military Force that Congress passed days after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. In two key sentences that have no expiration date, the AUMF gives the president sole power to use “all necessary and appropriate force” against nations, groups or persons who committed or aided the attacks, and to prevent future attacks. [But the government just broadened the authorization for use of military force from those who attacked us on 9/11 to include the Taliban and the vague category of "associated forces".]




The authorization did not address targets’ nationality or set geographical boundaries, and there was “nothing about the permission of the government” of any country where a terrorist might be found, the former official said.


As I've previously noted, this is especially concerning when almost any American could be labeled a "terrorist" if the government doesn't happen to like them:

It is dangerous in a climate where you can be labeled as or suspected of being a terrorist simply for questioning war, protesting anything, asking questions about pollution or about Wall Street shenanigans, supporting Ron Paul, being a libertarian, holding gold, or stocking up on more than 7 days of food. [And the FBI says that activists who investigate factory farms can be prosecuted as terrorists.] And see this.


And it is problematic in a period in which FBI agents and CIA intelligence officials, constitutional law expert professor Jonathan Turley, Time Magazine, Keith Olbermann and the Washington Post have all said that U.S. government officials “were trying to create an atmosphere of fear in which the American people would give them more power”, and even former Secretary of Homeland Security – Tom Ridge – admitst hat he was pressured to raise terror alerts to help Bush win reelection.


And it is counter-productive in an age when the government – instead of doing the things which could actually make us safer – are doing things which increase the risk of terrorism.


And it is insane in a time of perpetual war. See this, this, this and this.


And when the “War on Terror” in the Middle East and North Africa which is being used to justify the attack on Americans was planned long before 9/11.


And when Jimmy Carter’s National Security Adviser told the Senate in 2007 that the war on terror is “a mythical historical narrative”. And 9/11 was entirely foreseeable, but wasn’t stopped. Indeed, no one in Washington even wants to hear how 9/11 happened, even though that is necessary to stop future terrorist attacks. And the military has bombed a bunch of oil-rich countries when it could have instead taken out Bin Laden years ago.




And – given that U.S. soldiers admit that if they accidentally kill innocent Iraqis and Afghanis, they then “drop” automatic weapons near their body so they can pretend they were militants – it is unlikely that the government would ever admit that an American citizen it assassinated was an innocent civilian who has nothing at all to do with terrorism.

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Urban Roman's picture


Test Question:
What's the difference between a "unitary executive" and a "king"?

blindman's picture

god knows and god is in the people, and
god will judge and extract justice; it has
been said. then the truth will be known,

greggh99's picture

"The irony is that the only guy talking about civil liberties today is Ron Paul. It's bizarre." 11:04


Ron Paul has consistently expressed and voted his libertarian views for decades. Why does Jonathan Turley find it ironic and bizarre that he continues to do so? Oh, I get it, in Mr. Turley's world only liberal Democrats can be for civil liberties.

sabra1's picture

curious, does oBLAHma, and his cohorts honestly think, that ther kids, grandkids would be able to walk the public streets?

NotApplicable's picture

Anybody and everybody have always had the ability to "kill someone at their own discretion." The only difference here is that it is condoned by voters (whether they specifically agree with the policy or not), who support the idea that some people can be given super powers over the rest.

Until voters stop supporting the mechanisms of their own destruction (politics of ANY fashion), they doom us all to Hell on Earth, all in an incoherent effort to save us from it. While one can pretend that this evil is necessary to ensure a civil society, it can never make it so. All it can do is to empower evil while enslaving love.

That supposedly mature adults would participate in such an open fraud is the real problem here, George. You have absolutely no moral or ethical claim over my life, nor do I of you. That you believe otherwise, well, it just makes me sick to think about, as I can see the day when one of your agents shows up at my door, and demands at gunpoint that my children serve in their wars.

As I say over and over, you have no right, not personally, nor through your fictitious delegates. Why is it so hard for you to be peaceful, rather than so violent? Can you not exist without promoting aggression against others for your own piece of mind? Are you really that frightened of the unwashed masses, that you'd imprison us all?

The only valid form of government, is that of self-government. All the rest are a deranged persons with guns to enforce their will. If you align with them, then you are an enemy to mankind, and all that is good in life.

I did not spend six years in the USMC so that fools like you can murder us all. My aim then, and now, is the defense of liberty against tyranny. Especially the tyranny of the minority who pass themselves off as concerned political activists. If you really cared about others, you'd be forced by your own conscious to stop playing this game.

Or do you have no children to care about?

Bartanist's picture

What ever happened to the process to AMEND the constitution.

Apparently that is too cumbersome for fascist oligarchs. They just create whatever administrative laws they wants and dare anyone to challenge them at the point of a gun.

... and the weak willed in Congress just roll over and take their millions of fiats. After all, that's why they got into government, to get rich, right?

NotApplicable's picture

You mean that "Goddamned piece of paper?"

I've yet to ever figure out why people believe that a document, interpreted, upheld and enforced by evil people can protect them from those same evil people.

The problem here? Belief systems are based upon beliefs, not the underlying reality.

There are plenty of laws, for instance, that were violated by MFG, yet there is not a single warrant out for the arrest of anyone.

So, where's the value in this system? That's right, it's all in gaming it, fleecing the rubes who demand it be played.

Other than an inability to envision an alternative, why anyone thinks this can be considered a beneficial social system is beyond me.


tony bonn's picture

obama is a murdering butcher to say nothing of a liar....

i guarantee many will be murdered by this butcher who works for the rockefeller-mic-yale-cia cabal....

americans do not hold their liberties dear - they hold dancing with the stars and iphones dear - nothing else....

the occupy movement is way too lame and tame to deal with the conquorers who have destroyed america....even armed uprising would be insufficient yet that is precisely what it would take to destroy the usurpers from wall street....

sgt_doom's picture

"The bank(st)ers broke no laws."

I am Obama of Wall Street, and I approve this message.

AmCockerSpaniel's picture

I guess you know that Joe Biden could kill Obama. Then; being president have all those who don't like it killed. Yes? No?

AmCockerSpaniel's picture

I just thought that this post could cost me my life.

sgt_doom's picture

I am tracking you now (just kidding, but the next guy may not be!).

non_anon's picture

it's not only Dems but also Repubs, we get played upon by the puppet masters

sick fucks!

courtesy Drudge

marcusfenix's picture

and here we go, the military police state begins to wind up and go into over drive-

Lawmaker wants military patrols after child's murder -

a five year old girl was tragically murdered on the streets of New Orleans after the intended target of a drive by shooting ran into a crowd of people and the girl was hit.

the lawmaker Austin Badon, called the governors office requesting the National Guard be dispatched to patrol the streets and confront the cities growing criminal activities, but offered not concrete evidence as to why the NOPD, the civilian police force, needed to be usurped and essentially replaced by the military.

if you watch the video all the psy op buzz words and catch phrases are there, he even states "we are at war, and when you are at war you need soldiers"

is this man insane? these are criminals, not terrorists or enemy combatants, they should be pursued and prosecuted as such, according to the law by civilian, not military authorities. If the NOPD is so overwhelmed get assistance from county and state agencies, then if necessary request further aid from federal agencies such as the FBI, ATF,DEA or the US Marshall's. The military, by law, can only be deployed when there is massive civil unrest, or to repel an invasion. This situation qualifies as neither  

he further went on to assert repeatedly that guns on the streets were a major factor in the need to bring in the military patrols, but I noted when the interviewer asked him for hard facts and stats to back up his claims that things had gotten so bad that military patrols and martial law were necessary he couldn't do that. he just launched into some kind of nonsensical Orwellian doublespeak rant that was utterly pointless and came off as a just another disingenuous campaign speech full of political talking points .

not to mention the lack of sincerity in his words was very evident, very much teleprompterish.

this might not seem like a big deal now, but with the NDAA to soon become law and America to be turned into a battlefield, any crime could be considered an "act of war" by an enemy belligerent or get you labeled a terrorist, thus completely usurping the very ideas of civilian law, order and justice, replacing it with the hammer of a full on military police state.

we have already taken the first steps in that direction, and people like Austin Badon seem eager to do there part to assure that we complete our journey down this very wrong road.

I would like to ask Mr. Badon the same question that was asked of Ben Bernanke during the hearings on the bailouts in congress...

" I have no doubt you are working hard Mr. Badon, the question is who are you working for?"

besnook's picture

the really scary thing is there is not a critical mass of people who understand what used to make the usa exceptional compared to every other form of .gov that ever ruled that a law like this would be passed by an overwhelming majority of congress and willingly signed by potus without objection. discussion used to be part of the usa character and now it can be arbitrarily constued as a dangerous threat to .gov subject to murder by the state without recourse.  yet not enough people understand the ramifications of this singular law to raise more than a murmur of fuss, zh and the other alt blogs notwithstanding.


this law makes smoky 1 an uber patriot.  only him and his kind have the protection of the state.

sgt_doom's picture

Good comments, and outstanding blog post, of course!

Obviously to many of us here, the confluence of the passage of this and many recent congressional laws (the NDAA granting the right of the gov and military to arrest any American, any where, without due process or legal recourse, all those laws now criminalizing anything and everything posted on the Web and 'net, along with the sending of "too many emails" can now be construed to be a "terrorist act") amply demonstrates that the present neocon sock puppet in the Oval Office, President Obama, is simply a continuation of the political theater of the absurd, dating back to Richard Nixon.

How few Americans are cognizant of all those phony democrats masquerading as liberals, when they are true neocons: Jimmy Carter, who ended anti-usury laws, deregulated trucking and airlines industries, and began the destabliziation of Afghanistan.

Clinton's NAFTA, GATT, support for China into the WTO, and the WTO Financial Services Agreement, the Telecommuniations Act, the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act and the Commodity Futures Modernization Act, along with appointing #1 PE LBO thief, Peter G. Peterson to "end welfare as we know it" -- the guy whose lifelong obsession (Peterson, that is, the protege of David Rockefeller) has been to offshore all American jobs, end or privatize Social Security and Medicare, etc.

And now, the 100% neocon administration of the latest poseur, Obama of Wall Street.  And whether we are presented with Romney of Wall Street (or some other r-con jackal) or Obama of Wall Street, we all know who the winner and what the end result will be.,0,3213641.story

Cynthia's picture

Having a functioning democracy is no guarantee that its law-abiding citizens won't ever be shot down by a predator drone or locked up in a military dungeon for life without so much as a single charge being brought against them. Here in America, for instance, President Obama, from this day forward, has given himself and all future presidents the power to arrest, detain and even kill American citizens without trial or any due process whatsoever! So until the Bill of Rights is restored to its former glory, and the president is stripped of his power to act as judge, jury and executioner, the US is no longer deserving of the title "Sweet Land of Liberty," and Lady Liberty must be shipped back to France before she becomes the next victim of Obama's love affair with drone justice.  
How Nero Obama can get away with calling himself a constitutional scholar is beyond me. If anything, he should be teleported back in time to Imperial Rome where he is can get a taste of his own poison, suffering under the injustice of a tyrannical dictatorship!

sgt_doom's picture

"Having a functioning democracy is no guarantee...."

Functioning democracy???????

Sorry, dood, but one wonders what planet you exist on?

In America, one constantly hears these bizarro stories on NPR, people in the mid-fifties, or thereabouts, who are stupified as to why they can't find any jobs over the past few years?????

I mean, where the bloody creation have these jackholes been? 

A laid-off bank president in South Carolina who is bewildered about the job market???

I can see why they laid the dood off, when he's so clueless (although he was laid-off because the bank was logically dissolved).

Women in the mid-50s or older, an accountant and an admin. assistant, who are flummuxoed because they can't find work.

Evidently these stooges either really believed the US Chamber of Commerce and McKinsey, when they claimed that for every American job offshored --- two new ones would be magically created (sort of like those Keebler Cookie Elves, dontcha know???), or else they spent ALL THEIR FREE TIME watching TV, brainless movies, or sports?

Debt-Is-Not-Money's picture

Democracy = mob rule!

We are being ruled by men "behind the curtain" and we probably wouldn't recognize their names.

We are an OLIGARCHY!.

The public personnas we see are second rate people who would quickly starve to death if they had to become productive members of what we call "society".

They may get their chance at starvation "real soon now".

YBNguy's picture

An Oligarchy, thats a laugh. We live under straightup Totalitarianism. Many of the percieved 'oligarchs' are just puppets playing on a grander stage. The real control is held by a very select few...

Money 4 Nothing's picture

Constitutional scholar = know thy enemy.

The 2nd Amendment was not drafted for deer hunting or home protection BTW. Look it up.


Were not a Democracy, whe are (were) a Republic.

 Democracy is 2 wolves and a lamb voting on what's for lunch, don't get it twisted.

Xkwisetly Paneful's picture

and do not forget Janet Napalitano's report about the rising threat of right wing extremists within the US as Homeland Security now is being deployed on federal highways.

Ayn Rand's picture

This is the change the stupid people voted for.

In a related story, your local police are armed better than an invading marine so watch out folks.

aerial view's picture

This is fantastic news for gun and amunition sales and a once in a lifetime opportunity for the next president to run on "all mega bankers will now be reclassified as financial terrorists; please report to our new holding facilities in Detroit".

RSDallas's picture

Scary, absolutely scary.

InconvenientCounterParty's picture

Civil police forces in the U.S. routinely do that and worse.

To blame the current POTUS for the current U.S. fascist state developed in the last 120 years is at best superficial and distracting.

Instead, why don't you help explain to the young how this latest chapter was allowed to happen on your watch. Imagine how someone fresh from primary and secondary school and indoctrinated with the dogma of U.S. exceptionalism is going to feel when they are faced with the truth?

Will they be drawn into the tide of ignorant populism or might they transcend that? Who will be the role models?

sgt_doom's picture

Most certainly the lastest POTUS bears the blame, just as the previous perpetrators bear the blame --- it's a team effort, dood.

How dare you or any other cretin seek to excuse the 100% neocon administration of Obama of Wall Street.

When he continues and expands upon the neocon policies of George Weasel Bush --- who, officially, made it through USAF enlisted basic training, then was made an officer by his daddy pinning officer's bars on him?????, while he actually only made it halfway through basic -- 4 weeks -- and there has yet to be conclusive proof that he really attended, let along graudated from flight school (he originally failed the military pilot's exam) --- the present president proves himself another guilty party --- so no free passes for anyone, dood.

If a real meda existed in the USA, every time John Boehner's name is mentioned (present speaker of the house), they would mention that Boeher the malingerer and slacker, never completed Navy basic training, and then falsely and fraudulently claimed military service during Vietnam.

This oligarchic plutocracy, and its willing participants, has plenty of guilty parties -- but they want the rest of us, who have been living austerely most of our lives, to continue to live austerely forever, to support their sociopathic greed habits!

alfred b.'s picture


  Well, of course Obama can have you picked up, jailed and killed...that is unless you're a bankster:  then he wants to be yr friend!!!

Cynthia's picture

What I find particularly troubling about the indefinite detention bill being signed into law is the fact the mainstream news has been totally tight-lipped about it. I imagine that this is because the news industry has joined itself at the hip with the federal government. So when more and more anti-war and anti-Wall Street protesters start demanding that our war and financial criminals be put behind bars (and I'm sure that this is being anticipated by Congress and the White House), there won't be any news reporters around to report that the president has ordered militarized police forces around the country to round up these protesters and put them behind bars, indefinitely.

sgt_doom's picture

ATTENTION Cynthia !!!!!!!!!!

" the fact the mainstream news has been totally tight-lipped about it.."

Seriously, and no offense intended if you are for real, but are you FOR REAL?????

I mean, when only several corporations, highly financially interlocked, control the majority of the US media (and ONLY five control the majority of the global media), haven't you yet figured out there is no frigging media????


(1) First, read the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission report --- you should have read it by this time.

(2) Next, read Ferdinand Lundberg's Treason of the People (published in the 1950s) and also his The Rich and the Super-Rich (any educated or literate American citizen should be familiar with these two epochal works, as Lundberg was one of the premier journalists and sociologists of our time, which is why so very few Americans have heard of him. (If these aren't at your local library, request an interlibrary transfer.)

(3) Next, go back and research the Walsh Commission, circa 1913, 1914, and try to understand what that commission was about.

And as a caveat to others, what many may have overlooked in that excellent FCIC report was the following paragraph, p. 48 in the printed report, p. 76 in the .pdf online version (76/662).

"The CFMA effectively shielded OTC derivatives from virtually all regulation or oversight. Subsequently, other laws enabled the expansion of the market. For example, under a 2005 amendment to the bankruptcy laws, derivatives counterparties were given the advantage over other creditors of being able to immediately terminate their contracts and seize collateral at the time of bankruptcy."

So for anyone who hasn't yet figured it out, the bankruptcy act -- all along -- was part of the overall design to do a massive wealth transfer fraud on the people, both American and foreign, by making sure they couldn't avoid those predatory loans, and the banksters could recover all that money they made by peddling hundreds of trillions of dollars of debt (as in securitized debt).


whstlblwr's picture

We have numbers, take your phone, take pictures. Now we have social media, internet, we don't need mainstream news.

Normalcy Bias's picture

I knew this MF'r was going to turn into Mussolini...

CH1's picture

Wait till the second term... we ain't seen nothin' yet.

Seriously... all they need are a couple of scary events and nasty photos on the news 24/7 for a week.

America - as we dreamed of it - is ALREADY GONE. The longer we stay in denial, the more we'll enable the new Boss.

cognus's picture

thanks for bringing this to our attention GW.  There are even more disturbing clips here and there in the video.

Others, including Dr. Paul, who say what he says so calmly, are immediately pounced-upon by shills from Left/RIght who decry the person as a "nutjob" and a "Kook" - same as Germany in the 1930's.  meanwhile pretty much all the groundwork is laid for a complete takeover by whoever is the "Leader" at the right moment in time.  None of us here can say "we didn't see it coming".  We do see it coming.  the only glimmers of hope I have for our once great nation come from some facts linked to Ron Paul's Quixotic campaign:  that his candidacy has greater support among college-age young people than any other candidate from any party, and ditto for military personnel [that is a very significant factoid considering what the new role of the military is].  and then the recent polling that shows a growing majority of americans who fear central government more than they do other "boogeymen".

Government is Terror.  But still too many americans are being 'groomed' to just go along with whatever "they" tell them, including very soon the ratting-out of your neighbors, friends, associates who may have "anti-government tendencies".  all such persons will be deemed, to use the recent NDAA amendment language, "affiliated with potential links to organized terror activities perhaps including links to al queda and similar terror organizations".  that's just how vague the moving definition is.

my puppy for prez's picture

A truly superlative piece on who is behind the attacks on RP (it is also a great summary of the neocon/globalist drive for world hegemony)....a MUST READ:

fathero123's picture

propaganda against Obama. 


willien1derland's picture

Well, it is unfortunately a great contradiction - the same president who supposed felt that Health Care was the most important social agenda which needed to be addressed NOW can kill you just as easily - A total, comprehensive solution!

CH1's picture

"Healthcare" is actually about killing too. The vast majority of expense is at the very end of life.

The new system is designed so that old people die fast.

All else is distraction for the suckers.

sudzee's picture

Insight into planned depulation bullet:

Antidotes for 1% only.  

lakecity55's picture

The Perfect Storm: Elites retreat to their bunkers, unleash economic chaos, start WW3 w/Iran and use a super-pathogen to clean out the rest. And like Hitler's Mein Kampfh, they inscribed it on the Georgia Guidestones for everyone to read.

Kissinger and Brzenski will have Nice all to themselves next year.

I would think they will start with the disappearance of talk-radio icons, bloggers, and protestors, if they survive the nuclear exchange.

chunga's picture

Ready to throw up?

Father Nathan Monk tells the City Council, "We have the right to redress our government without fear of being arrested," and is nearly arrested. (Pensacola, FL 12/16/2011)

Father Nathan Monk at Pensacola City Council

Bravo to the few on the council who walked out in disgrace.

Taint Boil's picture

WOW! Everyone should watch that video linked by chunga - unfuckingbeliveable.

chunga's picture

Contact numbers for Pensacola Council:

Sam Hall - Cell (850) 346-5990 Home (850) 444-478

Maren DeWeese - District 3 - Home (850) 436-5796

Office of the Mayor? - Ashton J. Hayward - (850) 435-1626

Light 'em up Zero Hedge.

It might not be their first night at Fight Club...but NOW they have to fight.

[edit] I talked to Hall on his cell and he explained it was "taken out of context". I was respectful, I want to be respectful. I told him every day I see things happen in America; that I never thought would happen in America.

youLilQuantFuker's picture

Try that in Broward where the real hebs are and you'll be jailed and promptly foreclosed upon.

I want to make it clear that I am not complaining or wish and ill will upon our masters.

God bless the israelis running our government.

Smokey1's picture

Go back to Russia, you fucking communist.

You are too fucking stupid to write about economics or finance, so you trot out your anti-American propaganda in every one of your ignorant misguided rants.

Try posting an original article for a change, instead of the same rehashed America bashing diatribes, you stupid shit.

besnook's picture

i hope you have your jackboots on. your rantings aren't as theatrical  without them.

WTFx10's picture

So, blaming is easy for u asshole. Name calling is easy asshole. Where are your insights into economics or finance? please explain how this anti-American propaganda? Dumb fucking troll.

CH1's picture

Don't waste your energy on him, friend,.

That's what his employers are after.