America’s killing fields – Part 3
Jack Cranston
Sovereign X

America’s killing fields – Part 3

Key Points

  • A 2021 Atlantic exposé shows the U.S. maintains a kill list of people it condemns to die in secret and by drones, including U.S. citizens never charged, tried, or convicted.
  • SX first wrote about this in 2012 and, unfortunately, during the past decade, U.S. actions have only escalated, accelerating under President Trump.
  • Sovereign X believes “we the people” have revisionist memories and, for those, we’ve penned a quick trip down memory lane of a few cases of abuse of power.

Jack Cranston, writing from Geneva

Editor’s Note: According to an exposé in The Atlantic earlier this year, the U.S. government “maintains a kill list of people whom it condemns to die in secret and kills with drones.” Yet drone killings, which include American citizens, mete out death to individuals who have never been charged, tried, or convicted.

Sound familiar?

This is part 3 of a three-part series from Jack Cranston’s archives which illuminated this practice in 2012.

Unfortunately, the United States’ actions have only escalated during the past decade. These killings began under President George W. Bush, exploded under President Barack Obama, and accelerated under President Trump.

According to Rolling Stone, reports estimate that Trump upped the pace of drone attacks by about four to five times the Obama rate, which itself was 10 times the rate of Bush. I am deeply saddened and disturbed watching mainstream America collectively sleepwalk while a nightmare unfolds in front of their very eyes.

In part 2 of this series, we examined the key points of a recently leaked U.S. Department of Justice memo detailing the protocol for dispatching drones to kill U.S. citizens.  Part 2 addressed the stunningly broad definition of an “associated force” that the U.S. Government established to justify drone-strike killings.

The Obama administration ignores the U.S. legal prohibition against assassinations and pursues extra-judicial and unconstitutional killings as long as they are conducted according to their interpretation of “law of war principles.” Citizens are sleepwalking because they blindly trust government officials to kill America’s enemies in a way that keeps American casualties at a minimum. 

What could be better than our infallible and completely honorable government leaders identifying enemies and efficiently dispatching drones to kill them?  It’s the new form of warfare without risk. After all, the U.S. Government has never been known to abuse its power, or so we would like to believe. “We the People” have revisionist memories. So, for a quick trip down memory lane, I’ve included a number of abuses of power that headlined several past administrations, including:

  • President Roosevelt engaging FBI Director Hoover to turn the FBI into a secret police force, including “national security wiretaps,” intercepting mail and telegrams, and building countless files on suspected security risks
  • President Johnson’s use of the FBI for domestic political spying
  • Nixon and Kissinger bypassed the State Department and Congress by making a secret deal with China
  • Nixon’s long list of abuses, including the White House Plumbers; directing the IRS to conduct punitive investigations of political enemies; the Watergate cover-up; and criminal conspiracy to obstruct justice.  As Nixon said to David Frost: “When the president does it, that means that it’s not illegal.”
  • The CIA and its illegal covert domestic operation against anti-war protesters and other dissidents during the Nixon years
  • The Carter Administration’s secret support of Osama bin Laden and the Taliban during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan
  • Reagan’s secret and illegal arms sales to Iran
  • The George W. Bush Administration’s legacy of unconstitutional NSA interception and data mining of domestic communications; suspension of due process for “enemy combatants”; “extraordinary rendition”; and torture and indefinite detention of suspects without formal charges or due process

And that’s just the shortlist.

The U.S. has a constitution to prevent such abuses and is supposed to have impartial and independent judicial oversight.  The Constitution and the judiciary were designed to function as a check on unwarranted power.  And the Obama administration has the gall to claim that acting as judge, jury, and executioner is legal and constitutional.

The Administration’s actions ignore fundamental principles of a free society: the right to face one’s accuser, the right to a legal defense, and the right to avoid punishment unless proven guilty in a court of law. The U.S. Government is willfully ignoring due process, one of the crucial underpinnings of American liberty, and expects us to blindly trust government officials with life and death decisions: decisions involving the killing of U.S. citizens.

The simple accusation of being a “terrorist” is enough to warrant a death sentence.  No crucial step from accusation to the requirement to be proved guilty in a public court. A secret accusation of being a terrorist = proof of guilt = execution.  That’s a deceitful formula undermining the very core of what supposedly makes America “great.”

Well, that doesn’t sound so great to me.


Jack Cranston is a partner of Sovereign X and resides in San Miguel de Allende.

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