Prez Seeks License To Kill U.S. Citizen 'Terror' Suspect

Illustrating the fragility of our constitutional rights, attorneys for the Obama administration argued Nov. 8 for a presidential power to protect national security by ordering the death without trial of a dual-nation U.S. citizen who advocates killing Americans. Obama and his staff seek to kill or capture Anwar al-Aulaqi (sometimes spelled “Awlaki”), 39, a Muslim cleric in Yemen born in New Mexico, because of mostly secret evidence. In response, civil liberties attorneys retained by the target’s father urged U.S. District Judge John Bates, at right below, to enjoin the government’s plan against the former chaplain at George Washington University in the nation's capital.

The three-hour debate that occurred in the huge ceremonial room of the federal courthouse in Washington, DC illustrates how vague our society’s vaunted constitutional protections might become. Virtually all modern societies, whether Nazi Germany, Stalin’s Russia’s or today’s Iran, have laws, courts and citizen rights, at least in theory. But it’s primarily Anglo-American systems that have created and largely preserved for hundreds of years until now a strong tradition protecting free speech and due process in court, even when the central government seeks to inflame the public against the accused with secret evidence of public danger. These traditions are increasingly endangered, as such conservative legal scholars and Reagan Republican political appointees as Bruce Fein and Paul Craig Roberts argue, by the unprecedented concept of worldwide “war” with scant defined targets that requires abandonment of core legal protections.

“If the Constitution means anything, it surely means that the president does not have unreviewable authority to summarily execute any American whom he concludes is an enemy of the state,” similarly argued Jameel Jaffer of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). “It's the government's responsibility to protect the nation from terrorist attacks, but the courts have a crucial role to play in ensuring that counterterrorism policies are consistent with the Constitution.” The ACLU and co-counsel from the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) have further argued that the Obama administration’s request for court-permission to kill without due process sets a precedent that endangers many future citizens in many future situations under his successors.

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What’s Next For Justice After 2010 Elections?

Intrigue, wishful-thinking and silly speculation are flourishing in the nation’s capital, as elsewhere in policy circles, now that the U.S. election results are (mostly) confirmed.

The leadership line-up for key congressional committees is a solid starting point to understand what’s next for our Justice Integrity Project’s core mission. The big change will be at the House Judiciary Committee, where the top-ranking Republican minority member Lamar Smith of Texas, left, will switch places with Chairman John Conyers of Michigan.

Smith is a 1969 Yale College classmate of former President George W. Bush who represents a gerrymandered district that is mostly rural but contains small parts of his state capital of Austin and of San Antonio.

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New Spitzer and Plame Films Prompt Questions About DOJ

Client 9Two movies scheduled released last week dramatize the nefarious motives within official circles that destroyed the careers of New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer and CIA covert agent Valerie Plame ─  thereby curtailing also their ability to help the country.

Such developments prompt our Justice Integrity Project to launch a news round-up, whose first installments began this month. These roundups complement our in-depth case studies, investigative reports and archives. Quite simply, far too much news of prosecutorial and judicial misconduct is occurring. We need to report more of it more promptly, and bring you more news of nationwide reform efforts.

JIP is a non-partisan advocate for justice, not simply a research group. Therefore, your participation is not simply welcome, but vital.

Help us with news leads, ideas for presentations here on our site, and in effective follow-up in the nation’s capital and around the country. We’re improving our two-way communications capabilities but in the meantime welcome ideas through conventional email that reaches me via admin (at)

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DOJ Absolves CIA For Destroying Torture Evidence


The federal deadline for torture-related obstruction of justice charges against certain CIA personnel expired Monday. That probe is controversial because of claims that the DOJ is covering up wrongdoing by a whitewash investigation of misconduct by CIA and DOJ personnel.

Suspicions arise especially because the investigation has been led since 2008 by John Durham, a career Justice Department prosecutor based in Connecticut. Our Justice Integrity Project (JIP) has revealed that courts have found that Durham was implicated in suppressing evidence in at least two other cases.  

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Bold Questions Boost Barnes In ‘Bama Senate Bid

The Bill Barnes for U.S. Senate campaign in Alabama was bolstered pre-election weekend by unprecedented help by Democratic officials following recent news reports about his hard-hitting questions of officials in both parties on sensitive issues.

Democrats unveiled robo-calls over the weekend in the state announcing Saturday’s endorsement by President Obama of the Barnes candidacy. The precise reasons remain unclear for the late show of party support for Barnes, the Democratic primary winner. But the support came after Barnes vigorously questioned the health of four-term Republican incumbent Sen. Dick Shelby in recent weeks, as well as the oversight efforts of White House, Justice Department and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) officials in specific areas of popular concern in Alabama.

Our non-partisan Justice Integrity Project (JIP) played a role in this by hosting Barnes Oct. 22 at a National Press Club news briefing in Washington, DC in cooperation with the Club’s McClendon Group, which present speakers with strong views often overlooked by the traditional news media.

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Alabama Critic of Siegelman Flops at Press Club

Eddie Curran, a former Alabama newspaperman who’s spent years denouncing the state’s former Gov. Don Siegelman, hosted a strange news conference on Oct. 29 at the National Press Club in Washington, DC.

Curran rented the room to promote his self-published book, The Governor of Goat Hill. He spent most of his time venting against the New York Times, CBS, Time and Harper’s for their long-ago coverage of the nearly decade-long investigation of Siegelman. Siegelman, now 64, was Alabama’s governor from 1999 to 2003. A Democrat, he was convicted of corruption charges in 2006, primarily for urging a businessman to contribute to a non-profit group advocating a state lottery to fund more education spending and then reappointing the donor to a state board.

Curran’s biased, disorganized and self-indulgent presentation flopped, however, for reasons worth exploring again even though Alabama journalist Roger Shuler skewered Curran for precisely the same shortcomings nearly three years ago in, “Deconstructing Eddie Curran.”

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