Ben Johnson

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Pro-lifers should be concerned about Obama assassination list: Judge Napolitano

Ben Johnson
Ben Johnson
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WASHINGTON, D.C., February 6, 2013, (LifeSiteNews.com) – One of the country’s leading legal experts and political commentators says that pro-life activists may have a personal reason to be concerned about a new Justice Department white paper outlining some of the criteria the Obama administration uses to select Americans it can assassinate without a trial -- because the administration has repeatedly labeled the pro-life movement as one of the primary sources of domestic terrorism. Some are asking specifically whether the policy could one day apply to the pro-life movement, gun enthusiasts, preppers, or small government conservatives.

"There are other memos out there -- you’ve seen them, I’ve seen them -- that suggest extreme religious views, people who are pro-life, some of those people could be considered to be domestic terrorists. Their names could be on watch lists. They could be monitored by the government," said Fox News journalist Shannon Bream Tuesday in the wake of the document's release. She asked Judge Andrew Napolitano, "How far can this be taken?" 

“This is all very dangerous stuff,” said Judge Napolitano, a constitutional scholar and author who taught at Seton Hall Law School for years before becoming FNC's legal expert.

Since 2011, when a drone strike in Yemen killed two U.S. citizens active with al-Qaeda, Congressional leaders and concerned citizens have asked what conditions the president believes justifies killing Americans without trial, by a drone or any other method. 

Under guidelines in a new document obtained by NBC News, theoretically any individual who holds beliefs a “high-level” government official deems threatening could be added to a hypothetical kill list.

Reporter Michael Isikoff obtained a 16-page white paper from the Justice Department outlining some, though not all, of the Obama administration's conditions. 

The DOJ white paper sets three criteria before the president could have an American assassinated: “(1) an informed, high-level official of the U.S. government has determined that the targeted individual poses an imminent threat of violent attack against the United States; (2) capture is infeasible, and the United States continues to monitor whether capture becomes feasible; and (3) the operation is conducted in a manner consistent with the four fundamental principles of the laws of war governing the use of force"—i.e., "necessity, distinction, proportionality, and humanity."

However, these criteria are not as rigorous as they sound. For instance, the government's definition of “imminent” threat “does not require the United States to have clear evidence that a specific attack on U.S. persons and interests will take place in the immediate future.”

Capture would be deemed “infeasible” if it could not be “physically effectuated during the relevant window of opportunity” or if it posed “undue risk to U.S. personnel.”

To be deemed an “imminent threat,” a citizen must only have "recently been involved in activities posing an imminent threat of violent attack against the United States, and there is no evidence suggesting that he has renounced or abandoned such activities.” 

Numerous government studies released during the Obama administration list the pro-life viewpoint, as well as other conservative views, as indications of potential domestic terrorists.

A recent government report, authored by Dr. Arie Perliger of West Point's Center for Combating Terrorism, claimed, “The Christian fundamentalist violent far right emerged from...the anti-abortion/pro-life paradigm.”

An April 2009 DHS report entitled Rightwing [sic.] Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment,” identified “groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration” and opposition to same-sex “marriage,” as “the most dangerous domestic terrorism threat in the United States.”

"The memorandum said people who are pro-life, people who believe in the right to keep and bear arms, returning veterans, people who think the government is too big and the IRS is too powerful, could be characterized as domestic terrorists," Judge Napolitano said, offering an assessment that could be applied to many similar government reports. "Well, that group of people could characterize two-thirds of our country.”

“This one is carrying things to an extreme most Americans wouldn't recognize,” he said. “A fair interpretation of this 16-page document...is that the president of 'a high-ranking U.S. government official'...can kill anyone he wants – no matter what the laws say, no matter what the Constitution says, no matter what this president himself has said.”

The U.S. Constitution endows U.S. citizens with greater legal protections. “Unless you are actually pulling a trigger or are in moments of pulling that trigger or dropping a bomb, the government has an obligation to do its best to arrest you and charge you with a crime and prosecute you before it can indiscriminately kill you,” he added.

Napolitano is not the only one concerned. A bipartisan group of 11 U.S. Senators sent President Obama a letter demanding that he reveal “any and all legal opinions that lay out the executive branch's official understanding of the president's authority to deliberately kill American citizens” – something the president is bound by law to do. 

If he stonewalls, they threaten a “confrontation that could affect the Senate's consideration of nominees for national security positions.”

The first casualty would be John Brennan, the president's nominee for CIA director and one of the men who crafted the policy. Brennan refused to answer similar questions contained in a letter he received three weeks ago. 

Officials say the DOJ white paper contains some, but not all, of the administration's legal opinions about when it could kill an American citizen, or how an American is designated an imminent threat.

“Americans should definitely be concerned about these developments,” Patrick Krey, president of Catholic Attorneys for Life and Liberty (CALL), told LifeSiteNews.com. “Public officials in France recently discussed investigating citizens who hold views contrary to liberal social policy as exhibiting a dangerous 'religious pathology.' It will only be a matter of time before similar investigations get underway in this nation.”

“As each day passes,” Krey told LifeSiteNews, “it becomes more and more likely that those who express traditional Christian values will become targets of an emerging police state.”

The pro-life movement had a similar debate about whether the government could permanently detain pro-life "terrorists" under the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 (NDAA). “The law is only as good as those who are sworn to uphold it,” wrote Dana Cody of Life Legal Defense Foundation, one of those who believed at present NDAA was not a concern. "And we will keep watching."

The Obama administration insists it has done nothing wrong in detaining, or killing, those who threaten the United States, regardless of citizenship.

Click "like" if you are PRO-LIFE!

On Tuesday, Attorney General Eric Holder said the Obama administration's use of drone attacks against Americans "is consistent with federal and international law."

At a press conference Tuesday afternoon, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said, "These strikes are legal, they are ethical, and they are wise." 

Some on the other side of the aisle agree.

Bush administration UN Ambassador John Bolton, who is associated with the neoconservative wing of the Republican Party, said the “Constitution I think is very clear” that the president's powers “are not judicially reviewable” and should be deployed by the executive branch alone, “as the Framers [of the Constitution] intended.”

But others disagree strongly with Holder and Bolton – and the leadership of both political parties.

“The problem is that to accept this position, you have to put complete trust in the competence, wisdom, and ethics of the president, his underlings, and their successors,” wrote Jacob Sullum of Reason magazine. “You have to believe they are properly defining and inerrantly identifying people who pose an imminent (or quasi-imminent) threat to national security and eliminating that threat through the only feasible means, which involves blowing people up from a distance.”

“If mere mortals deserved that kind of faith, we would not need a Fifth Amendment, or the rest of the Constitution,” he concluded.


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Quebec groups launch court challenge to euthanasia bill

LifeSiteNews staff
By LifeSiteNews staff

As announced when the Quebec legislature adopted Bill 52, An Act respecting end-of-life care, the citizen movement Living with Dignity and the Physicians’ Alliance against Euthanasia, representing together over 650 physicians and 17,000 citizens, filed a lawsuit before the Superior Court of Quebec in the District of Montreal on Thursday.

The lawsuit requests that the Court declare invalid all the provisions of the Act that deal with “medical aid in dying”, a term the groups say is a euphemism for euthanasia. This Act not only allows certain patients to demand that a physician provoke their death, but also grants physicians the right to cause the death of these patients by the administration of a lethal substance.

The two organizations are challenging the constitutionality of those provisions in the Act which are aimed at decriminalizing euthanasia under the euphemism “medical aid in dying”. Euthanasia constitutes a culpable homicide under Canada’s Criminal Code, and the organizations maintain that it is at the core of the exclusive federal legislative power in relation to criminal law and Quebec therefore does not have the power to adopt these provisions.

The organizations also say the impugned provisions unjustifiably infringe the rights to life and to security of patients guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms. They further infringe the right to the safeguard of the dignity of the person, which is also protected by the Quebec Charter.

In view of the gravity of the situation and the urgent need to protect all vulnerable persons in Quebec, they are requesting an accelerated management of the case in order to obtain a judgment before the Act is expected to come into force on December 10, 2015.


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Colorado baker appeals gvmt ‘re-education’ order

LifeSiteNews staff
By LifeSiteNews staff

A Colorado cake artist who declined to use his creative talents to promote and endorse a same-sex ceremony appealed a May 30 order from the Colorado Civil Rights Commission to the Colorado Court of Appeals Wednesday.

The commission’s order requires cake artist Jack Phillips and his staff at Masterpiece Cakeshop to create cakes for same-sex celebrations, forces him to re-educate his staff that Colorado’s Anti-Discrimination Act means that artists must endorse all views, compels him to implement new policies to comply with the commission’s order, and requires him to file quarterly “compliance” reports for two years. The reports must include the number of patrons declined a wedding cake or any other product and state the reason for doing so to ensure he has fully eliminated his religious beliefs from his business.

“Americans should not be forced by the government – or by another citizen – to endorse or promote ideas with which they disagree,” said the cake artist’s lead counsel Nicolle Martin, an attorney allied with Alliance Defending Freedom. “This is not about the people who asked for a cake; it’s about the message the cake communicates. Just as Jack doesn’t create baked works of art for other events with which he disagrees, he doesn’t create cake art for same-sex ceremonies regardless of who walks in the door to place the order.”

“In America, we don’t force artists to create expression that is contrary to their convictions,” added Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Legal Counsel Jeremy Tedesco. “A paint artist who identifies as homosexual shouldn’t be intimidated into creating a painting that celebrates one-man, one-woman marriage. A pro-life photographer shouldn’t be forced to work a pro-abortion rally. And Christian cake artists shouldn’t be punished for declining to participate in a same-sex ceremony or promote its message.”

Click "like" if you want to defend true marriage.

In July 2012, Charlie Craig and David Mullins asked Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, to make a wedding cake to celebrate their same-sex ceremony. In an exchange lasting about 30 seconds, Phillips politely declined, explaining that he would gladly make them any other type of baked item they wanted but that he could not make a cake promoting a same-sex ceremony because of his faith. Craig and Mullins, now represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, immediately left the shop and later filed a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Division. The case now goes to the Colorado Court of Appeals as Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Craig.

“Jack, and other cake artists like him – such as those seen on TV shows like ‘Ace of Cakes’ and ‘Cake Boss’ – prepare unique creations that are inherently expressive,” Tedesco explained. “Jack invests many hours in the wedding cake creative process, which includes meeting the clients, designing and sketching the cake, and then baking, sculpting, and decorating it. The ACLU calls Jack a mere ‘retail service provider,’ but, in fact, he is an artist who uses his talents and abilities to create expression that the First Amendment fully protects."

Celebrity cake artists have written publicly about their art and the significant expressive work that goes into the artistic design process for wedding cakes.


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Prisoner of conscience Mary Wagner appeals her conviction

Tony Gosgnach
By Tony Gosgnach

TORONTO -- As promised, Mary Wagner has, through her counsel Dr. Charles Lugosi, filed a formal notice of appeal on numerous points regarding her recent, almost two-year-long court case that ended on June 12.

Justice Fergus O’Donnell of the Ontario Court of Justice rejected every application made by the defence – including for access to abortion center records, public funding, standing for a constitutional challenge and for expert witnesses to be heard – before he found Wagner guilty and sentenced her to five months in jail on a charge of mischief and four months on four counts of failing to comply with probation orders.

He further levied two years of probation, with terms that she stay at least 100 metres away from any abortion site. However, because Wagner had spent a greater time in jail than the sentence, she was freed immediately. She had been arrested at the “Women’s Care Clinic” abortion site on Lawrence Avenue West in Toronto on August 15, 2012 after attempting to speak to abortion-bound women there. She then spent the duration of the trial in prison for refusing to sign bail conditions requiring her to stay away from abortion sites.

Wagner is using the matter as a test case to challenge the current definition of a human being in Canadian law – that is, that a human being is legally recognized as such only after he or she has fully emerged from the birth canal in a breathing state.

Wagner’s notice states the appeal is regarding:

  • Her conviction and sentence on a single count of mischief (interference with property),
  • Her conviction and sentence on four counts of breach of probation,
  • The order denying public funding,
  • The order denying the disclosure of third-party records,
  • The order denying the admission of evidence from experts on the applicant’s constitutional challenge concerning the constitutional validity of Section 223 of the Criminal Code,
  • The order denying the admission of evidence from experts concerning the construction of Section 37 of the Criminal Code,
  • The probation order denying Wagner her constitutional rights to freedom of speech, freedom of expression, freedom of conscience and freedom of religion on all public sidewalks and public areas within 100 metres of places where abortions are committed,
  • And each conviction and sentence and all orders and rulings made by O’Donnell.

In the notice of appeal, Lugosi cites numerous points on which O’Donnell erred:

  • He denied Wagner her constitutional right to make full answer and defence.
  • He denied Wagner her right to rely on Section 37 of the Criminal Code, which permits “everyone” to come to the third-party defence and rescue of any human being (in this case, the preborn) facing imminent assault.
  • He decided the factual basis of Wagner’s constitutional arguments was a waste of the court’s time and that no purpose would have been served by having an evidentiary hearing on her Charter application because, in the current state of Canadian law, it had no possibility of success.
  • He misapplied case law and prejudged the case, “giving rise to a reasonable apprehension of bias and impeding the legal evolution of the law to adapt to new circumstances, knowledge and changed societal values and morals.”
  • He accepted the Crown’s submission that it is beyond the jurisdiction of the courts to question the jurisdiction of Parliament legally to define “human being” in any manner Parliament sees fit.
  • He ruled Section 223 of the Criminal Code is not beyond the powers of Section 52 of the Constitution Act, 1982.
  • He ruled Section 223 of the Criminal Code does not violate the Preamble to, as well as Sections 7, 11(d), 15 and 26, of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
  • He denied Wagner standing to raise a constitutional challenge to the validity of Section 223 of the Criminal Code.
  • He ruled that Section 223 of the Criminal Code applied generally throughout the entire Criminal Code and used it to deny unborn human beings the benefit of equal protection as born human beings under Section 37 of the Criminal Code.
  • He denied the production and disclosure of third-party records in the possession of the “Women’s Care Clinic” abortion site, although the records were required to prove Wagner was justified in using reasonable force in the form of oral and written words to try to persuade pregnant mothers from killing their unborn children by abortion.
  • He denied Wagner the defence of Section 37 of the Criminal Code by ruling unborn children did not come within the scope of human beings eligible to be protected by a third party.
  • He ruled Wagner did not come within the scope of Section 37 because she was found to be non-violent (in that she did not use physical force).
  • He ruled the unborn children Wagner was trying to rescue were not under her protection.
  • He denied Wagner the common-law defences of necessity and the rescue of third parties in need of protection.
  • He denied Wagner public funding to make full answer and defence for a constitutional test case of great public importance and national significance.
  • He imposed an unconstitutional sentence upon Wagner by, in effect, imposing an injunction as a condition of probation, contrary to her constitutional rights of free speech, freedom of expression, freedom of conscience and freedom of religion.

Click "like" if you are PRO-LIFE!

Among the orders Lugosi is seeking are:

  • That an appeal be allowed against conviction on all counts and that a verdict of acquittal be entered on all counts,
  • That Section 223 of the Criminal Code be found unconstitutional  and contrary to Section 52 of the Constitution Act, 1982, as well as the unwritten constitution of Canada,
  • That the sentence be declared unconstitutional and contrary to Section 52 of the Constitution Act, 1982, and the unwritten constitution of Canada or that a new trial be conducted, with Wagner permitted to make full answer and defence, be given standing to make a constitutional attack on Section 223 of the Criminal Code, with the admission of expert witnesses,
  • That the Women’s Care Clinic abortion site be made to produce third-party records pertaining to patients seen on August 15, 2012 (when Wagner entered the site),
  • And that there be public funding for two defence counsels at any retrial and for any appeal related to the case.

No date has yet been established for a decision on the appeal or hearings.

A defence fund for Wagner’s case is still raising money. Details on how to contribute to it can be found here.


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