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Growing Petition Urges Obama to Create 'Do Not Kill' List

Common Dreams staff

In the wake of a New York Times report earlier this week which reported that President Obama 'personally oversees' a highly secretive 'kill list' and amid growing concern over the Obama administration's targeted assassination program, a creative petition drive has taken hold on the White House's own website, which calls for the creation a “Do Not Kill” list so that American citizens can sign up and "avoid being executed without indictment, judge, jury, trial or due process of law."

As of 3 pm EST on Thursday, 2,321 people had signed the petition. [An earlier version of this article had a typo on the number who had signed]  If the petition receives  25,000 signatures or more, according to White House policy, a formal response will be offered by the administration.

The petition was started by progressive talk show host David Sirota, who has promoted it through a series of tweets:



Yesterday, constitutional lawyer and blogger, wrote that the Obama administration's claim "that the Fifth Amendment’s guarantee that the State cannot deprive you of your life without 'due process of law' is fulfilled by completely secret, oversight-free “internal deliberations by the executive branch” was -- "without hyperbole" Greenwald added -- "the most extremist government interpretation of the Bill of Rights I’ve heard in my lifetime."

And Ralph Nader, writing today at Common Dreams, argued that Obama was acting as "secret prosecutor, judge, jury and executioner" and that his actions "trample proper constitutional authority, separation of powers, checks and balances and constitute repeated impeachable offenses."

The text of David Sirota's petition on the White House website reads in full:

The New York Times reports that President Obama has created an official “kill list” that he uses to personally order the assassination of American citizens. Considering that the government already has a “Do Not Call” list and a “No Fly” list, we hereby request that the White House create a “Do Not Kill” list in which American citizens can sign up to avoid being put on the president’s “kill list” and therefore avoid being executed without indictment, judge, jury, trial or due process of law.

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The Telegraph/UK reports:

New Phase of Secret, Unaccountable and Illegal Warfare is Harming US Reputation Far and Wide

The theory and practice of warfare has evolved with amazing speed since al-Qaeda’s attack on mainland America in September, 2001.[...]

Even 10 years ago, drones – remotely operated killing machines – were unthinkable because they seemed to spring direct from the imagination of a deranged science-fiction movie director. But today they dominate. Already, more US armed forces personnel are being trained as drone operators (computer geeks who sit in front of a computer screen somewhere in the mid-west of America doling out real-life death and destruction) than air force pilots. [...]

There is no surprise, then – as the New York Times revealed in an important article on Tuesday – that Mr Obama “has placed himself at the helm of a top secret 'nominations’ process to designate terrorists for kill or capture, of which the capture part has become largely theoretical”. [...]

We need a serious public debate on drones. They are still in their infancy, but have already changed the nature of warfare. The new technology points the way, within just a few decades, to a battlefield where soldiers never die or even risk their lives, and only alleged enemies of the state, their family members, and civilians die in combat – a world straight out of the mouse’s tale in Alice in Wonderland: “ 'I’ll be judge, I’ll be jury’, said cunning old Fury. 'I’ll try the whole cause and condemn you to death.’ ” Justice as dealt out by drones cannot be reconciled with the rule of law which we say we wish to defend.

Supporters of drones – and they make up practically the entire respectable political establishment in Britain and the US – argue that they are indispensable in the fight against al-Qaeda. But plenty of very experienced voices have expressed profound qualms. The former army officer David Kilcullen, one of the architects of the 2007 Iraqi surge, has warned that drone attacks create more extremists than they eliminate. Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles, Britain’s former special representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan, is equally adamant that drone attacks are horribly counter-productive because of the hatred they have started to generate: according to a recent poll, more than two thirds of Pakistanis regard the United States as an enemy. Britain used to be popular and respected in this part of the world for our wisdom and decency. Now, thanks to our refusal to challenge American military doctrine, we are hated, too.

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