Assassinating Americans is ‘legal’, ‘wise’ and ‘ethical’

By LUIS MIRANDA | THE REAL AGENDA | FEBRUARY 6, 2013

The Law Office of the White House has established that it is legal to kill a U.S. citizen overseas “if a senior government member” ensures that the target to kill is someone who poses an “imminent threat to the country” and his capture is not possible. The White House has made that decision clear through spokesman, Jay Carney. “The president is very careful when conducting the war against terrorism in accordance to Constitution and the laws, ” Carney said.

The license to kill which has given the Obama administration permission to end the lives of Americans abroad was exposed after a 16 page document issued by the American Justice Department was made public. The document alleges that murdering Americans does not violate the U.S. Constitution or the rights of citizens.

The memorandum extends the concept of “imminent attack” and grants the U.S. Government the authority, should it have ‘concrete evidence’ of a conspiracy to seek, target and kill Americans which the administration considers dangerous for American interests. Although the document describes potential suspects as members of Al Qaeda, or people who are in charge of terrorist operations, the truth is that other documents such as military manuals portray Constitutionalists, Libertarians, Ron Paul supporters, gun owners and veterans as domestic threats who can also be targeted for assassination. In fact, in 2012, the Obama administration and the U.S. Congress approved the National Defense Authorization Act, which also allows the president to target and murder Americans on U.S. soil.

The paper obtained by NBC news is part of a legal memorandum from 2011 that was passed to some members of the Justice and Intelligence committees of the Senate. This report was written months before drone attacks were launched in Yemen, in a supposed attempt to prevent imminent terror attacks on the U.S. or its interests in the region. One of those attacks was used to murder a U.S. born citizen — Anwar Al Awlaki — who allegedly was a member of Al-Qaeda, but who also dined at the Pentagon with top members of the Department of Defense. In addition to al-Awlaki, three other Americans were killed in the attack, including the 16-year-old son of the cleric.

According to human rights organizations in the U.S., Awlaki suffered an extrajudicial killing and therefore they presented grievances against the government demanding to know what had been the legal basis for this action. Awlaki was an American citizen even if he liked to preach jihad and took refuge in Yemen, which made him subject of detention and a fair legal process that included a trial and chance of appeal.

The Obama Administration, supported by various court rulings – rejected repeatedly any request from lawmakers, civil rights groups and various media organizations to publicize the memorandum and other information on extrajudicial events. The administration also refused to recognize or acknowledged its existence.

“These drone attacks are legal, are ethical and intelligent”, replied the White House spokesman. Now that the memorandum has been made public, Washington will have its hands full over a scandal that it did not expect to deal with until NBC made the memo public.

The administration “is very careful” when deciding who and when to attack, Carney noted.

After answering questions from the White House press, Carney was questioned about whether the 16 year-old boy who was killed by the drone attack that killed Awlaki, also posed a threat to the United States. “For a president who opposes torture and who considers waterboarding as such, is it not a violation of human rights to kill an American citizen without trial?

Tomorrow, the first hearing will be held to confirm the man chosen by President Obama to head the CIA. John Brennan, one of the promoters of the strategy of drone attacks and current counter terrorism adviser to Obama will face questions regarding government policy before his confirmation is completed. In fact, 11 senators have already asked Obama to reveal the assumptions used to approve drone attacks when it comes to U.S. citizens.

The letter implied the toughest warning made to date against that strategy and senators agreed to oppose to any nominations for the Pentagon and the CIA unless the memos were made public. Therefore, Brennan’s confirmation will not be easy.

A document issued by the advocacy group Open Society Justice Initiative (OSJI) claimed that at least 54 countries collaborated “actively” with the secret program of illegal detention of suspected terrorists developed by the CIA after the attacks of September 11, 2001. Today, we have officially learned that this list includes infamous U.S. ally Saudi Arabia.

The report is over 200 pages and states that the administration of George W. Bush embraced the “dark side” to combat international terrorism. According to the study, the Republican administration authorized numerous violations of human rights without regard for U.S. or international laws.

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About Luis Miranda
The Real Agenda is an independent publication. It does not take money from Corporations, Foundations or Non-Governmental Organizations. It provides news reports in three languages: English, Spanish and Portuguese to reach a larger group of readers. Our news are not guided by any ideological, political or religious interest, which allows us to keep our integrity towards the readers.

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