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Secret drone strike ‘targeted killing’ memo which justified the killing of US citizen Anwar al A

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posted on Jun, 24 2014 @ 07:21 AM
Hi ATS'ers, ive asked this question in so many posts before for different topics on the US kill machine... when is enough enough? and who will stop this madness?

the bomb has been dropped... please excuse the pun.

IT’S the memo the US government didn’t want released: The justification for killing one of its own citizens in a drone strike.

The 2011 “targeted killing” sparked a storm of controversy — with fears it discarded key US legal concepts such as the right to trial and the rules of war.

A US Federal court last night overruled White House objections and ordered the release of the previously secret legal note which details the Presidency’s justification for assassinating US citizen and key terror suspect Anwar al Awlaki.

“We do not believe that al-Aulaqi’s (sic) US citizenship imposes constitutional limitations that would preclude the contemplated lethal action,” the 41-page memo asserts.

Al Awlaki — accused of being an al Qaeda operative — was the first of three US citizens to be killed in controversial counterterrorism strikes in Yemen by drones operated by the CIA.

The newly released document, however, remains heavily censored.


Significant sections have been removed or blanked out, including the element which attempts to justify how killing Awlaki would not violate the US Constitution’s Fourth Amendment which guarantees due process — the right to a fair trial — to all US citizens accused of crimes.

The Obama administration has fought for the past three years to keep the memo secret, as well as other elements of the controversial “targeted killing” program.

The document reveals the White House also regarded laws covering the rights of US nationals who conduct murder overseas as having “nothing to do with the conduct of an authorised military operation”.

But the memo does reveal the Obama administration believed al Awlaki’s association with al-Qaeda made him subject to a 2001 Congressional Act, passed after the September 11 2001 terror attacks, which authorised military force against terrorist leaders.

The document accuses al-Awlaki of being involved in an abortive attack against the United States and alleges he was planning other attacks from his base in Yemen.

The memo reveals the US government did not consider national boundaries in any way to be an impediment to pursuing its war on terror. War may have been officially declared in Afghanistan, but Yemen’s non-combatant status was irrelevant — it argued — insisting the targeted killing in no way infringed upon the laws of war.


US civil liberties groups have welcomed the court’s decision.

The 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan ordered the release of the memo after the American Civil Liberties Union and The New York Times filed a lawsuit seeking any documents in which Justice Department lawyers had discussed the highly classified ``targeted-killing’’ program.

The appeals court ordered the memo disclosed after noting that President Barack Obama and other senior government officials had commented publicly on the subject.

“The release of this memo represents an overdue but nonetheless crucial step towards transparency,” said Jameel Jaffer, the deputy legal director of the ACLU. “The public still knows scandalously little about who the government is killing and why … There are few questions more important than the question of when the government has the authority to kill its own citizens.’’


White House spokesman Josh Earnest, responding to criticism from groups that complained that it took a court order to get the memo released, said the administration worked through the legal system “to produce a redacted document that protected national security interests while at the same time trying to live up to our commitment to transparency.’’

“In this case I think even the groups that sharply criticised us would call this a win,’’ Earnest said.

Lawyers in the case argue that although the United States, England and Israel are the only countries that have so far used drones in “targeted killings”, other countries soon will have their own armed drones.

“The United States loosening and redefining international rules governing the use of force and war is ultimately not going to make anyone any safer,’’ a lawyer said.


Anwar al Awlaki was a Muslim cleric who was born in New Mexico and preached at a Virgina mosque. He had been accused of associating with an al Qaeda operative in Yemen who was believed responsible for attempting a bombing on a Detroit airliner in 2009.

When word leaked out that his name was on a US government “kill or capture’’ list, his family rushed to court to try to stop the government from killing him, saying he had to be afforded the constitutional right to due process.

Targeted drone strikes also killed Abdulrahman al Awlaki, al Awlaki’s teenage son, who was also a US citizen. Another US citizen, the editor of an al Qaeda magazine, was also targeted.

posted on Jun, 24 2014 @ 07:37 AM
a reply to: freee

The newly released document, however, remains heavily censored.

As blacked out as the cries of the victims.

But the lawyers are like, "Hey everyone's doing it".

Lawyers in the case argue that although the United States, England and Israel are the only countries that have so far used drones in “targeted killings”, other countries soon will have their own armed drones.

Its okay then, anything goes? Until some other country uses drones on them.

posted on Jun, 24 2014 @ 07:38 AM
...Wasn't Osama Bin Laden a U.S. citizen??? I wonder if the Towers would still be standing and lives still living if we droned him back then? Would you consider that acceptable? Of course you say....well, of course-after the fact that we know what he did what and had done, but to be preemptive is wrong?...and we must wait for tragic event to make it acceptable to kill?

Due posses is bogus, now-a-days anyone deemed not fit or mentally unstable stays alive and kept in prison with OUR tax dollars.(well he must be insane to go against America, lets keep in prison for life and let USA pay for it) Don't forget any possible "deep pocket" friends he may have. I don't know too much about this guy from what is said, and even that is taken with a grain of salt.
But the government does what its best at, killing people and hiding the truth. I do support a decision with killing a citizen who is affiliated with big terrorist. What's the worst thing that can happen? Another dead body?or thousands?

Drones Strikes will take out the Gitmo prisoners that we exchange for a possible deserter. Now we have him back and our Ethos is still intact. The government will interrogate him and info will be attained. Win Win.

edit on th39Tue, 24 Jun 2014 07:39:24 -0500K201462430am6 by SirKonstantin because: spelling errors corrected

posted on Jun, 24 2014 @ 08:36 AM
a reply to: SirKonstantin

You appear to hold the position, that these drone strikes are perfectly legitimate and that there are no moral implications to them, or at least, that the implications are not as important as the potential benefits of using drones to target people, US citizens no less, without any due process being applied to those people.

Let me tell you, there are some pretty significant moral implications of outright killing people with drones. First of all, if persons suspected of causing terror attacks are fair game for just wiping them out, without any judicial process to establish their guilt beyond doubt and in a transparent manner, then for all you know, the target was innocent of the crime in question and was framed, leaving the actual culprit to galavant all over the place causing mayhem.

The other problem with these drone strikes, is that they are collateral heavy, that is they almost invariably kill hundreds of percent more people, than the objective requires of them. That means that as an extra judicial measure, meant to reduce the threat to the people of the United States from terror, they are ineffective in the extreme. Every innocent civilian casualty, every non combatant who dies, has a family, and they will not care, nor should they, WHY the drone fired the missile. They will only care what nation launched the strike, and for every non combatant who perishes, you can bet that one person will be radicalised, or more.

It is a self defeating system.

Furthermore, whether the government of the US agree that drone strikes are immoral or not, they must realise that if they wish to be seen as defenders of democracy, and arbiters of justice, they must be seen to act in an entirely just manner, and droning people rather than capturing and prosecuting them is not the way to do that. It is a very morally questionable position to take.

posted on Jun, 24 2014 @ 09:06 AM
a reply to: TrueBrit

Let me first say that I enjoy reading your opinions on the threads. You have a great mind and argue well. So with that, lets dive into this matter.

If we process them through the judicial court, we bring them to the public light and they become famous (not necessarily for good reasons). We waste the attentions of the minds of people that can be put to better use, to concentrate on more pressing issues. This create sympathizers because the media/ or individual(s) will always find a way and this hinders a fair and balanced trial.- A Guilty verdict will still keep him alive for life(my opinion), creating radicals in his favor.

Then latter down the line after interrogations, a another trade deal is made to let him free and then we hate the President or anyone for that matter. (So i believe radicals will come about either way).

Yes, i agree that there needs to be a cleaner way of eliminating the "target(s)" than with explosions that cause far more damage/money/deaths. This does not mean you have stated that killing is acceptable, I am agreeing to a point, that drone strikes are to "big".

Hate and Anger Breeds Hate and Anger.

There should be a better way to solves problems of international and internal issues. But, i think for now, if we cannot just butt-out of other countries affairs and stop being a world police, then we go ham. So hard, to where the People have enough and see the light and start a Revolution for a better, fair government, laws, and tolerance.
Unfortunately to re-build an utopia - the old has to be demolished, otherwise you are still building on a broken foundation that will crumble in time.

My morality to this issue seems harsh, i understand. My intentions are hopefully seen as for the good.

posted on Jun, 24 2014 @ 10:49 AM
a reply to: SirKonstantin

I appreciate your manner and evident intellect, and the well rounded and solid nature of your opinions. It's good to discuss these issues seriously. With that in mind....

I think you are right to an extent, that his arrest and incarceration would lead to some radicalisation. But I believe that the use of drones, in assaults which cannot help but kill entire families, women, children, sisters and brothers, grandfathers and grand mothers, friends, expands the potential number of people radicalised by a great number.

What you have to understand, is that while incarcerating one man will almost certainly radicalise a certain number of people, killing fifty people just to destroy one target, will create far more. Each of those fifty people will have had relatives, many many relatives. Brothers, fathers, cousins, sisters, mothers, nieces and nephews and lots and lots of them.

The more non combatants that die, the greater the chance that new radical elements will come into existence. Jailing one man will not cause enough grief, that it's effects outweigh that of the deaths of many people. You ask people out in the Afghanistan/Pakistan border areas what makes them angry, and they will tell you that it is drone strikes killing innocent people.

When ever the nett effect of an assault is more non combatant casualties than actual valid targets, it always creates more fertile ground for radicalisation, than a surgical, precise blow which only effects the targeted individual.

It is simple mathematics. If you cause fifty deaths where one would suffice, you make problems for yourself which would not, could not exist to the same level if not for those deaths.

posted on Jun, 24 2014 @ 11:33 AM
a reply to: TrueBrit

As always, a very valid and well deliberated argument.

As i have noticed, your point is well standing and the only last tidbit i can use for points in this debate is this;
When we do kill more non-combatants than we actually target, we create radicals. Yet, and this is harsh, if we kill relatives, friends, etc. more to the point-that the risk of an uprising or non military people will be next to nil because of the decreased numbers. This is also a fear tactic in turn making Us look like the terrorist. But, this creates more hate-but i believe, could cause the people there to take a bigger stand against the insurgents hiding behind them and taking action into there own hands. When we see this turn around, there will be far fewer drones strikes and innocent deaths. They will see this turnaround and feel dumb they didn't do this sooner.

TrueBrit, other than this last few points, I believe you hold a stronger case in this topic. I hope to have more debates, or shared opinions in future threads.


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