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Sunday, May 19, 2013

BBC : US drone strikes: Memo reveals case for killing Americans

The legal basis for using drone strikes to kill US citizens has been disclosed in a leaked justice department memo.

US officials can authorise the killing of Americans abroad if they are leaders of al-Qaeda or its allies, according to the document obtained by NBC News.

Lethal force is lawful if they are judged to pose an "imminent threat" and their capture is not feasible, it adds.

US drone strikes against militant suspects in countries such as Yemen and Pakistan are deeply controversial.
MQ-1 Predator unmanned aircraft

Under President Barack Obama the US has expanded its use of drones to kill hundreds of al-Qaeda suspects, arguing that it is acting in self-defence in accordance with international law.

Critics argue the drone strikes amount to execution without trial and cause many civilian casualties.
Legal framework
The undated 16-page Department of Justice white paper published by NBC gives more details of the justification for the use of drones outside recognised war zones.
It says sovereignty is not deemed to have been violated if the host nation gives its consent, or is unwilling or unable to suppress the threat posed by the individual targeted.

It also sets out a "legal framework" for the use of lethal force against US citizens in foreign countries.

It concludes that such killings do not violate the US Constitution as long as:

  • An informed, high-level official of the US government has determined that the targeted individual poses an imminent threat of violent attack against the US
  • Capture is infeasible and the US continues to monitor whether capture becomes feasible
  • The operation would be conducted in a manner consistent with applicable law of war principles

The paper adopts a broad definition of "imminent threat", saying it is not necessary to produce evidence that a specific attack is being planned if the target is generally engaged in plotting against the US.
'Remarkable document'
It also asserts that courts should not play a role in reviewing or controlling such decisions.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said the white paper was a "pretty remarkable document".
Jameel Jaffer, deputy legal director of the ACLU, said in a blog post the paper revealed "both the recklessness of the government's central claim and the deficiencies in the government's defense" of its drone strike policy.

"This sweeping authority is said to exist even if the threat presented isn't imminent in any ordinary sense of that word, even if the target has never been charged with a crime or informed of the allegations against him, and even if the target is not located anywhere near an actual battlefield," Mr Jaffer added.

The ACLU has helped the relatives of three Americans who died in drone strikes sue the Pentagon and CIA. Their lawsuit claims the deaths were unconstitutional.

Anwar al-Awlaki, an al-Qaeda suspect born in the US state of New Mexico, was killed by an unmanned plane in September 2011.

Samir Khan, a naturalised US citizen who produced an online magazine promoting al-Qaeda's ideology, died in the same missile strike.

Awlaki's 16-year-old son, Abdulrahman, who was born in Colorado, was killed a month later.

The Obama administration has been under growing pressure from politicians in Congress to share more details of its drone strike programme, including secret legal documents.

Last month the UN launched an inquiry into the impact of drone strikes on civilians.


  1. It beats the hell out of an invasion which caused the deaths of several thousand American soldiers and well over 100,000 innocent Iraqis who had nothing to do with 9/11 such as that GWBush's borrowed $trillion dollar wars of choice to prosecute.

  2. LoL, you are a tool fella. Too bad you are broke and serve no purpose. Please get yourself a functioning brain and try to get it to work beyond your "conservative" ideals and racist idealism. You people are so fucking sad. In a thousand years after people who think for themselves eclipse the stench you are leaving on the human race at this moment we will openly mourn for people such as yourself that are so unevolved.
    Move on dude, black people are people nonetheless and liberal people are people that don't try to exploit religion to further their political career.

  3. It is people like you the blind sheep with no back bone who believe that this nigger in the office is the best thing. I voted for him because I thought he would up hold the constitution. when he was re-elected we found out that there are 12 thousand people in Illinois with 4 Thousand in Chicago but 6 thousand voted republican and 4 voted Democrat but he won Illinois. Explain how Sandy Hook's address was posted on a federal website for a training exercise and was removed once we disclosed our findings or a little girl that was supposed to be dead is photographed with the president 3 days later. HMMMMMMMMMMMMM ya you are a spineless sheep from the Kennedy era. Obama needs to be charged for treason. The man killed 4 American's in a drone strike, he killed how many on 9-11-12 his A.G. Eric Holder killed 15 more American's then they took stuff from the Media and used the IRS fuck the nigger Impeach Imprison. As to your comment your a sheep pussy

  4. @ Harley J During the presidency of George W. Bush, several American politicians sought to either investigate Bush for allegedly impeachable offenses, or to bring actual impeachment charges on the floor of the United States House of Representatives Judiciary Committee. The most significant of these efforts occurred on June 10, 2008, when Congressman Dennis Kucinich, along with co-sponsor Robert Wexler, introduced 35 articles of impeachment against Bush to the U.S. House of Representatives. The House voted 251 to 166 to refer the impeachment resolution to the Judiciary Committee on July 25, where no further action was taken on it. Bush's presidency ended on January 20, 2009, with the completion of his second term in office, rendering impeachment efforts moot.

  5. Bush kills American's the government starts Impeachment Obama Killed More American's 200,000 U.S. Soldiers, 15 Federal Police, 6 Embassy staff, 4 American's on foreign soil, and falsified Sandy Hook. He also was not born here and Article 2 states that a president needs to be 35 and American born. I know this because I read the constitution like most people read the bible. SO until you can publicly quote 15 Amendments with out looking it up or on paper to help you out I'd say know your facts then speak up