Murder Inc. was the nickname of organized crime groups in the 1930s that murdered for the Mafia. Although many of the organization’s killers ended up dead or in prison, their modern-day counterparts are free to come and go as they please, play with their dogs, and vacation with their families. They are even lauded by many Americans as heroes. The difference now, though, is that they work for the CIA and murder for the government. It has now come to light that, like the Commission that governed the American Mafia, the Obama administration has a secret panel of senior government officials that places the names of individuals on a hit list and then notifies Obama the capo di tutti capi. There is no congressional oversight or judicial review. This very real death panel was behind the decision to add American citizen Anwar al-Awlaki to the hit list and take him out by CIA drone strike in Yemen last month. The evidence that al-Awlaki actually killed anyone is nonexistent, unlike the following Americans who actually kidnapped, tortured, raped, and killed other Americans. John Couey, a convicted sex offender, abducted Jessica Lunsford, aged nine, from her home in Florida in 2005, raped her, and buried her alive. He was tried, found guilty, and sentenced to death for kidnapping, rape, and murder. He died in prison before the sentence could be carried out.
Timothy McVeigh detonated a truck bomb in the Oklahoma City Bombing in 1995, killing 168 people. He was tried on eleven federal offenses, convicted, and sentenced to death. He was executed in June of 2001. Charles Manson and his “family” committed the brutal Tate/LaBianca murders in California in 1969. Except for Linda Kasabian, who was given immunity in exchange for her testimony against the “family,” Manson, Patricia Krenwinkel, Charles Watson, Leslie Van Houten, and Susan Atkins were tried for murder, found guilty, and sentenced to death. Their death sentences were commuted to life imprisonment in 1972. Ted Bundy was a serial killer who confessed to murdering thirty people in seven states from 1974-1978. In Florida, he was charged with killing two FSU students and a twelve-year-old girl. He was tried, found guilty and sentenced to death. He was executed in January of 1989. John Wayne Gacy raped, tortured, and killed thirty-three young men in Illinois between 1972 and 1978. He buried twenty-six of his victims in the crawlspace of his house. He was tried, found guilty, and sentenced to death. After spending fourteen years on death row, he was executed in May of 1994. Jeffrey Dahmer killed fifteen young men between 1978 and 1991 after raping many of them. This was followed by dismemberment, necrophilia, and cannibalism. He was tried, and found guilty of fifteen counts of murder, and sentenced to fifteen life terms. He was beaten to death by a fellow prisoner in November of 1994.
None of these Americans – as reprehensible as their actions may have been – were executed without trial even though there was no doubt as to their guilt. When Lee Harvey Oswald was suspected of killing the president of the United States in 1963, he was captured and held for trial before being killed by Jack Ruby, a private citizen. And then there is Jared Loughner, who publicly killed six people and shot Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in the head in a shooting rampage in Tucson, Arizona, earlier this year. He is awaiting trial even though fifty people saw him commit murder. Heck, even in wartime, if an enemy soldier – who may have been trying to kill you for days – comes out of the woods waving a white flag or raising his hands above his head, he is supposed to be taken prisoner, not killed. And then, according to Article 5 of the Third Geneva Convention, POWs are protected from the time of their capture until their final repatriation. And if there is any doubt as to whether an “enemy combatant” is in fact a legitimate POW, he is to be treated as such until his status can be determined. In Article 3 is prohibited “the passing of sentences and the carrying out of executions without previous judgment pronounced by a regularly constituted court, affording all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples.”
Twenty-four Nazis were put on trial in Nuremberg, Germany, from 1945 to 1946, for war crimes and crimes against humanity. Twenty-two of them were found guilty. Twelve defendants were sentenced to death by hanging, which was carried out in October of 1946. Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann, who had escaped to Argentina, was captured by Israeli intelligence in 1960, taken to Israel, tried with defense lawyers and witnesses for both sides, convicted after deliberation, and allowed to appeal before he was hanged in 1962. If the perpetrators of World War II and the Holocaust were tried before their executions, then any American who commits any crime should be tried likewise. Was Anwar al-Awlaki a bad guy who inspired and motivated others to want to commit acts of terrorism against America and Americans? Certainly. Should he have been killed by a CIA drone pilot acting simultaneously as prosecutor, judge, jury, and executioner? Certainly not. The killing of an American citizen without trial sets a terrible precedent. As Congressman Ron Paul has well said: “If the law protecting us against government-sanctioned assassination can be voided when there is a u2018really bad American,’ is there any meaning left to the rule of law in the United States?” Dozens of U.S. citizens are thought to be on the government’s hit list. Will you be next?