Justice Department Memo Reveals ‘Legal Case’ for Drone Strikes on Americans
Good morning. It’s another Terror Tuesday, and today we finally have the memo that Obomba’s DoJ says claims outlines their legal justification for assassinating Americans…or anyone else they want to murder. (my bolds throughout)
A confidential Justice Department memo concludes that the U.S. government can order the killing of American citizens if they are believed to be “senior operational leaders” of al-Qaida or “an associated force” — even if there is no intelligence indicating they are engaged in an active plot to attack the U.S.
The 16-page memo, a copy of which was obtained by NBC News, provides new details about the legal reasoning behind one of the Obama administration’s most secretive and controversial polices: its dramatically increased use of drone strikes against al-Qaida suspects, including those aimed at American citizens, such as the September 2011 strike in Yemen that killed alleged al-Qaida operatives Anwar al-Awlaki and Samir Khan. Both were U.S. citizens who had never been indicted by the U.S. government nor charged with any crimes.
NBC says such strikes are emerging as a central issue just before John Brennan’s confirmation hearings to head the CIA; Brennan, of course, being a ‘key architect’ of the program, and acknowledging them in a speech last year claiming drone assassinations were “consistent with the inherent right of self-defense.” AG Eric Holder endorsed the constitutionality of the targeted murders of Americans in a speech last year when “government officials determine the target poses “an imminent threat of violent attack.”
But the white paper brings an even more expansive parsing of ‘self-defense’ and ‘imminent attack’ than either had described earlier.
It refers, for example, to what it calls a “broader concept of imminence” than actual intelligence about any ongoing plot against the U.S. homeland.
Instead, it says, an “informed, high-level” official of the U.S. government may determine that the targeted American has been “recently” involved in “activities” posing a threat of a violent attack *and* “there is no evidence suggesting that he has renounced or abandoned such activities.” The memo does not define “recently” or “activities.”
The paper lays out a three-part test for making the targeted assassinations of American lawful. The capture of the suspect must be ‘infeasible’, *and* the strike must be conducted ‘according to the law of war principles’.
If, for example, ‘US officials’ determine that a capture operation might pose ‘undue risk’ to US personnel, then assassinating them is okey-dokey. No muss, no fuss; no risk to our Special Forces or contract mercenaries, etc. Remember also that any male of ‘military age’ anywhere near other putative ‘bad guys’ can assassinated, but he can prove posthumously that he was ‘innocent’, his family might receive blood money from the military’s coffers.
The undated memo is entitled “Lawfulness of a Lethal Operation Directed Against a U.S. Citizen who is a Senior Operational Leader of Al Qa’ida or An Associated Force.” It was provided to members of the Senate Intelligence and Judiciary committees in June by administration officials on the condition that it be kept confidential and not discussed publicly.
The white paper also includes a more extensive discussion of why targeted strikes against Americans does not violate constitutional protections afforded American citizens as well as a U.S. law that criminalizes the killing of U.S. nationals overseas. It also discusses why such targeted killings would not be a war crime or violate a U.S. executive order banning assassinations.
Read this heinous White Paper here and weep for our nation’s soul. Then get pissed and tell everyone you know about this. Organize, resist, and take care of one another.
Rise like Lions after slumber
In unvanquishable number ~
Shake your chains to earth like dew
Which in sleep had fallen on you ~
Ye are many ~ they are few.
~ Percy Bysshe Shelley
You can also read at this morning’s Guardian: ‘CIA rendition: more than a quarter of countries ‘offered covert support’. Report finds at least 54 countries co-operated with global kidnap detention and torture operation mounted after 9/11 attacks.’ (by the Open Society Justice Initiative (OSJI), a New York-based human rights organization)