It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
Twenty-six members of Congress have called on President Barack Obama to provide a legal justification for so-called “signature” drone strikes against suspected terrorists.
The Washington Post reported in April that the CIA and Joint Special Operations Command have been authorized to strike targets based solely on patterns of suspicious behavior that are detected through various means of intelligence — the actually identity of the target does not need to be known.
“We are concerned that the use of such ‘signature’ strikes could raise the risk of killing innocent civilians or individuals who may have no relationship to attacks on the United States,” the members of Congress, lead by Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), wrote Wednesday in a letter to Obama. “Our drone campaigns already have virtually no transparency, accountability or oversight. We are further concerned about the legal grounds for such strikes under the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force.”
Though the United States has been using drone strikes for years, the Obama administration did not publicly acknowledged that it was using drones in Yemen and Pakistan until May of this year. The New York Times later revealed the President was intimately involved in who was on the so-called kill or capture list. The Obama administration has also controversially defined “militants” as all military-age males in a given strike zone.
CIA and Joint Special Operations Command have been authorized to strike targets based solely on patterns of suspicious behavior that are detected through various means of intelligence — the actually identity of the target does not need to be known.
“Why should the public believe what the Obama administration says about the people being assassinated by drones? Especially since, as we learn in the New York Times, the administration came up with a semantic solution to keep the civilian death toll to a minimum: simply count all military-age males in a strike zone as combatants. The rationale, reminiscent of George Zimmerman’s justification for shooting Trayvon Martin, is that “people in an area of known terrorist activity, or found with a top Qaeda operative, are probably up to no good.” Talk about profiling! At least when George Bush threw suspected militants into Guantanamo their lives were spared.” — Medea Benjamin, CodePINK
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told Senators the administration would seek UN or NATO approval for the deployment of U.S. forces overseas while deciding whether or not it would seek approval from Congress.
The statement shocked Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), who asked Panetta if he could "initiate a no-fly zone in Syria" without Congressional approval.
"Again, our goal would be to seek international permission and we would ...come to the Congress and inform you and determine how best to approach this, whether or not we would want to get permission from the Congress - I think those are issues we would have to discuss as we decide what to do here," Panetta said.
Originally posted by six67seven
"Drone strikes create peace." Obama shall say. "Let's not forget I won the Nobel Peace Prize, therefore, I hereby call all past and future drone strikes justified. You are all welcome!"
Chillingly, it was recently reported that according to the US definitions, ‘all military-age males in a strike zone’ are regarded as militants, and will only be counted as civilians where ‘explicit evidence proves them innocent’ – a lethal inversion of the fundamental legal principle of ‘innocent until proven guilty’.
For many years, these attacks were carried out with the complicity of the Pakistani authorities, who protested the strikes in public while secretly condoning them. In a startlingly frank interview, former president Pervez Musharraf tells Jemima Khan the strikes are ‘a breach of sovereignty’ but says the Pakistani government is ‘double-crossing the people of Pakistan’ with its contradictory public and private attitudes