Real Politics Must be in the Streets: The Constitutional Crimes of Barack Obama

As we slog towards another vapid, largely meaningless exercise in pretend democracy with the selection of a new president and Congress this November, it is time to make it clear that the current president, elected four years ago by so many people with such inflated expectations four years ago (myself included, as I had hoped, vainly it turned out, that those who elected him would then press him to act in progressive ways), is not only a betrayer of those hopes, but is a serial violator of his oath of office. He is, in truth, a war criminal easily the equal of his predecessor, George W. Bush, and perhaps even of Bush’s regent, former Vice President Dick Cheney.

By Dave Lindorff, This Can’t Be Happening

Let me count the ways:

* For starters, in vowing to “preserve, protect and defend the US Constitution of the United States,” President Obama, upon taking office, had a sacred obligation to prosecute the people who had gravely wounded that document prior to his assuming office. It was clear, as I wrote in my book The Case for Impeachment: The Legal Argument for Removing President George W. Bush from Office(St. Martin’s Press, 2006), that Bush and Cheney had ordered and condoned and covered up torture of captives in their so-called “War” on Terror, as well as in the very real wars against Iraq and Afghanistan, committing grievous war crimes that are not only violations of international law, but of the US Criminal Code, given that the US is a leading author and signatory of the Geneva Accords). They also were war criminals of the first degree for orchestrating, through lies to both the UN Security Council and the US Congress and the American people, about the alleged threat and imminence of any threat by Iraq to the US or its allies. President Obama, under the UN Charter and under US law, as the president, commander in chief and top law officer in the nation, was bound to investigate and prosecute those crimes. Instead, he ordered that there would be no prosecutions.

* A federal court also ruled that President Bush had committed a felony in using the National Security Agency and several complicit telecommunications companies to spy on massive numbers of Americans with no warrants. Again, instead of prosecuting the president once he replaced him, President Obama said there would be no prosecution, and he went on to expand that spying program exponentially, effectively shredding beyond recognition the Fourth Amendment against unreasonable searches and seizures, which had been a leading rallying issue for the revolutionists of 1776.

 

Obama and Bush, two war criminals and committers of High Crimes and Misdemeanors against the Constitution

* President Obama, on his own initiative, has moved beyond the illegal wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, launching illegal wars against Libya, Yemen and Pakistan, largely through the use of American military aircraft, cruise missiles and especially pilotless drones. In addition to being illegal acts of war against nations that pose no imminent threat to the US, these clear acts of war have caused vastly disproportionate civilian deaths — reportedly as many as 40 civilians, including many children, are being killed by drone strikes inside Pakistan for each of the supposed targeted “terrorists.” Jist the disproportionality of such “collateral damage” is a heinous war crime, even leaving aside the illegality of such strikes being conducted by the US within the border of a sovereign nation not at war with the US.

* The president and his surrogates, including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, have committed one of the gravest of crimes in the world, a Crime Against Peace under the UN Charter (which as a signed and Senate-ratified treaty is the law of the land under our Constitution), by threatening a war of aggression against the nation of Iran. Under the Charter’s terms, it is the number one war crime to attack a nation that does not pose an imminent threat to the attacker, and a nearly equally grievous crime to threaten such a crime, as the president and his secretary of state have done on multiple occasions, warning Iran that “all options are on the table” should Iran not halt its (totally legal) nuclear fuel enrichment program. Beyond just words, the President as Commander in Chief has moved several fully armed, Tomahawk Cruise-missile-equipped aircraft battle groups to positions off the coast of Iran, sent squadrons of new F22 stealth fighter bombers to airfields directly across the Persian Gulf from Iran, and positioned troops and missile-equipped submarines in invasion-ready locations, as well as providing specialized bombs and refueling aerial tankers to Israel, which itself is preparing for an attack on Iran. Yet even the most hawkish Israeli and US military and intelligence experts concede that Iran is years away from having an operational nuclear weapon even if it were to begin a bomb-development program, which there is no evidence of at present. Obama has already ordered an ongoing campaign of terrorist attacks and bombings inside of Iran, which has led to the deaths of many Iranians, including civilians.

* President George W. Bush committed an impeachable crime when he had Jose Padilla, an American citizen born in New York, arrested, held without charge on a military base in South Carolina a for years and tortured mercilessly to the point of madness, before he was finally ordered released to a civilian prison where he faced trial in a civilian court. But President Obama has moved well beyond that travesty by issuing, in April 2010, and then acting on an Executive Order that he claims allows him, on his sole authority, to declare American citizens to be “terrorists” and to have them killed anywhere in the world. Under this clearly unconstitutional order, there is no trial, no judicial ruling. Just an execution order. At least two citizens have been killed in this way, including the wholly innocent young son of an American-born target, Anwar al-Awlaki, killed by a Predator drone in Yemen. President Obama has also, short of killing them, signed an order authorizing the arrest and secret detention indefinitely of American citizens, again on his own authority, without trial or legal recourse.

* He has also continued to claim the right to rendition and to torture captives that he on his own authority declares to be terrorists.

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‘Impeach Obama’ Bill Goes Mainstream on RT for Now : Use of military without Congress approval ‘high crime’

RT

An American military attack on Syria could effectively lead to the impeachment of President Barack Obama. Congressmen say that any war without congressional authorization would be “unconstitutional”.

Republican Representative Walter B. Jones Jr. has come up with the resolution demanding Obama’s impeachment in case his administration starts another military action without the approval of Congress. This came as a reaction to the American Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announcing that in order to carry out the offensive, the US military needs permission from the UN and NATO alone.

Jones’s resolution states that the prime authority to rule on the attack is the US Congress, but not international bodies be it NATO or UN. 

“Expressing the sense of congress that the use of offensive military force by a president without prior and clear authorization of an Act of Congress constitutes an impeachable high crime and misdemeanor under Article II, Section 4 of the constitution,” Jones’s resolution said.

In an exchange which occurred at the session of the Senate Armed Services Committee, US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said that in case Obama administration decides to strike Syria, it would merely “inform” Congress after the decision has been made.

“Our goal would be to seek international permission and we would come to the Congress and inform you and determine how best to approach this,” Panetta said. “Whether or not we would want to get permission from the Congress, I think those are issues I think we would have to discuss as we decide what to do here.”

Responding to Panetta, Republican Senator Jeff Sessions said he was “breathless” to hear the statement.

“I am all for having international support, but I am really baffled by the idea that somehow an international assembly provides a legal basis for the United States military to be deployed in combat,” Sessions said. “They can provide no legal authority. The only legal authority that is required to deploy the United States military is of the Congress and the president and the law and the constitution.”

The Obama administration has allegedly started a fresh discussion on a possible military strike on Syria with its allies, the Washington Post reports. American officials have yet to confirm the report, saying that at this point they rule out military involvement in Syria’s internal conflict. There are reports that British and Qatari troops, as well as the CIA and Mossad, are already covertly involved with the Syrian conflict.

Will A Sitting President Finally Be Held Accountable For High Crimes and Misdemeanors?

Impeachment proceedings begin in the House and the Senate over Obama’s brazen use of aggressive military force without congressional authority.

By Eric Blair at Infowars

Since 2005, Veterans for Peace and others have been calling for the impeachment of the sitting president for war crimes. After their demands to lawmakers to uphold the rule of law against Bush were largely ignored, they renewed their effort to impeach Obama once he continued to bomb sovereign nations without congressional approval. Now, lawmakers seem to have finally decided to take the rule of law and Separation of Powers seriously.

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Obama will face impeachment over his failure to seek congressional authorization before launching offensive military action in Libya last year. Official impeachment proceedings have now been filed in both the House and Senate.

Last week, North Carolina Representative Walter Jones filed an Impeachment Resolution in the House H.CON.RES.107.IH stating “Expressing the sense of Congress that the use of offensive military force by a President without prior and clear authorization of an Act of Congress constitutes an impeachable high crime and misdemeanor under article II, section 4 of the Constitution.”

“Whereas the cornerstone of the Republic is honoring Congress’s exclusive power to declare war under article I, section 8, clause 11 of the Constitution:

Now, therefore, be it Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), That it is the sense of Congress that, except in response to an actual or imminent attack against the territory of the United States, the use of offensive military force by a President without prior and clear authorization of an Act of Congress violates Congress’s exclusive power to declare war under article I, section 8, clause 11 of the Constitution and therefore constitutes an impeachable high crime and misdemeanor under article II, section 4 of the Constitution.”

President Barack Obama becomes only the third sitting president to face impeachment following Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton. Johnson was impeached for illegally dismissing an office holder without the Senate’s approval, and Clinton for perjury and obstruction of justice. Both were acquitted by the Senate.

Significantly, President Obama faces much more serious charges than his impeached predecessors and it’s still unclear what legal defense he will use to diffuse the charges as the legal basis for his unilateral action has been inconsistent and vague from the beginning of the Libya assault.

Prior to military operations in Libya, the Justice Department advised the Administration on the legality of using unauthorized force in Libya in a 14-page memo titled Authority to Use Military Force in Libya, which states vaguely:

We conclude…that the use of military force in Libya was supported by sufficiently important national interests to fall within the President’s constitutional power. At the same time, turning to the second element of the analysis, we do not believe that anticipated United States operations in Libya amounted to “war” in the constitutional sense necessitating congressional approval under the Declaration of War clause.

The memo goes on explain why the alleged situation on the ground in Libya was in U.S.’s national interest, cites previous times when the U.S. military was deployed without congressional approval and claims the mission was an international support mission with no deployed ground troops to justify their conclusion.

However, in no way were national interests under an “imminent” threat by hostilities in Libya as required by the War Powers Act, and supporting an international mission is irrelevant to the Act. Furthermore, Obama has maintained the legal defense that American involvement fell short of full-blown hostilities even after hostilities exceeded the 90-day limit of unauthorized use of force afforded under the War Powers Act.

The New York Times quotes directly from the 38-page report Obama sent to concerned lawmakers after the 90-day deadline “U.S. operations do not involve sustained fighting or active exchanges of fire with hostile forces, nor do they involve U.S. ground troops.”

Therefore, the Administration claims it wasn’t a real military conflict that Congress should concern itself with. However, at the same time, the White House acknowledged that the cost to U.S. taxpayers was well over $1 billion for these non-hostile military activities.
Coincidentally, on the same day the impeachment resolution was filed, Obama’s Defense Secretary Leon Panetta acknowledged that the Libya War did indeed constituted military combat, but claimed the legal basis for spending U.S. tax dollars on war rested in “international permission”:

This impeachment comes on the heals of other Administration officials giving equally flimsy legal justifications for assassinating U.S. citizens without due process. Where, also last week, Attorney General Holder sought to clarify this tyrannical authority in a speech at Northwestern University by claiming “judicial process” was not the same as “due process” under the Constitution.

Yet, the Fifth Amendment clearly states “No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury”

And as Wikipedia defines due process:

Due process is the legal requirement that the state must respect all of the legal rights that are owed to a person. Due process balances the power of law of the land and protects individual persons from it. When a government harms a person without following the exact course of the law, this constitutes a due-process violation, which offends against the rule of law.

The Obama Administration has clearly “offended against the rule of law”, and it appears his only defense lies in somehow changing the definition of words. It’s not a strong legal position to be in and it seems for the first time in history a sitting president may be held accountable for high crimes and misdemeanors.

This article first appeared at Activist Post