His article on Salon.com rails against drone strikes and targeted strikes against terrorist leaders - which, by the way, by all expert accounts have worked exceptionally well under Barack Obama to tame and destroy the strength of Al Queda. But I digress. Greenwald's point is that government claims of expanded - in his language, "extreme" - executive power becomes "normalized" simply through a process of repeating such claims. He focuses on the specific claim by the Administration and Attorney General Holder that the Constitutional protection of due process does not apply in the same way to foreign terrorist leaders engaged in war against the United States who happen to be US citizens (like al-Awlaki) and people engaged in rank-and-file criminal activities. He is irate that the President dares use internal executive decision making as "due process" against an active terrorist target and threat against the United States.
Except, of course, the Constitution itself provides for different applications of the Constitutional rights to those - making no distinction between citizens and non-citizens - who are engaged in armed insurrection against the United States, as well as those who aide and comfort its enemies (the Constitution literally defines treason this way, Article III Section 3, and the Constitution exempts from Habeus corpus rebellion and invasion - i.e. also giving the Commander in chief the power to go after people who are engaged in war against the United States). Not that self-proclaimed "Constitutional scholar" Greenwald would know anything about that.
Not only that, Greenwald always conveniently avoids the fact that al-Awlaki was granted judicial process in the form of a trial in Yemen, which he refused to show up for.
But then, Greenwald has a special affinity for criminals who refuse to show up for their day in court. See, today, the British high court handed down a ruling, dismissing Julian Assange's challenge to extradition to Sweden, to face charges of sexual abuse. The extradition was sought by a Swedish prosecutor, whom the British high court held was a proper judicial authority under the terms of the European extradition treaty. So that's good right? This is a British court of law, dealing with a request from an officer of another court (yes, prosecutors are officers of the court), and making a decision. Judicial review granted, judicial process followed. Glenn Greenwald must be ecstatic that at least the Europeans are following the judicial process that our country so lacks in his view.
Not so fast. The decision from the British court went against Greenwald's soulmate, of course, and Glenn is not happy about that. The court is horrible! They're just enabling the executive snatching of power to rule over the ordinary people ("ordinary" people, like, you know, the WikiLeaks leaker in chief). On Democracy Now, Greenwald spoke out with gusto:
GLENN GREENWALD: I think it’s difficult to have expected any other outcome. Remember Julian Assange is one of the people most hated by Western governments because of the transparency that he brought, and typically, unfortunately, judicial branches in the United States and in the United Kingdom do the opposite of what they’re intended to do, which is they protect institutional power and help to punish and deprive the rights of those who are most scorned.Yes, we get it, Glenn. Judicial review is good and required when it isn't granted to active terrorists who are fleeing from the law, but it just plain sucks and is rigged when it condemns one of Glenn's best buds. I think I'm trying to understand Greenwald's argument: I want judicial review, and said judicial review must agree with me at all times.
This seeming conflict in Glenn's positions in the al-Awlaki case vs. the Assange case may baffle some who believe that Greenwald has a set of core principles that he is arguing from, and that judicial process before condemning someone of life or liberty is one of those core principles. Don't confuse Glenn with the ACLU. It's essentially the ACLU position that judicial process must be guaranteed no matter what to an enemy who is not physically in a place of declared war. It's the civil libertarian position - and though it isn't necessarily the best balance, it is principled to its core.
Glenn Greenwald is not a civil libertarian. He's an anarchist. He's an anti-state, and specifically, anti-American (I do use that term carefully, but in this case it applies) and anti-western state advocate. His professed belief in judicial review is nothing more than a thin veil - a veil easily lifted when this judicial process he claims so badly to want actually results in one of his anarchist friends having to face the music under the law. He has no true interest in whether judicial due process is served - he has an interest in using it inflate his anarchist propaganda. If using its absence will serve his agenda to rail against American and western foreign policy, he will use that absence. If, on the other hand, the use of the process results in an outcome against his liking, then he will brand the same system the absence of which he decries a tool of western empire.
The only moral consistency in Greenwald's position is that he seeks to undermine President Obama, the United States, and its allies. His loyalty is in being against American foreign policy, no matter what it might be. His seeming "concern" for civil liberties is borne out of his hatred against American foreign policy; his opposition to American foreign policy is not built on his civil libertarianism.