U.S. to offer legal backing for "targeted killing": source

Discussion in 'Americas' started by Oracle, Mar 5, 2012.

  1. Oracle

    Oracle New Member

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    (Reuters) - The Obama administration on Monday plans to outline how U.S. laws empower the government to kill Americans overseas who engage in terrorism against their home country, a source familiar with the matter said, months after a drone strike killed a U.S.-born cleric who plotted attacks from Yemen.

    Civil liberties groups have been pressuring the administration to offer justification for what has been described as a top-secret "targeted kill" program in which Americans who have joined al Qaeda or other militants are deemed legitimate targets to be killed overseas.

    U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder plans to address the issue and the underpinning legal principles for using lethal force during remarks at Northwestern University School of Law on Monday afternoon in Chicago, the source said Sunday on condition of anonymity.

    The Obama administration has stepped up using unmanned aerial drones against terrorism suspects including the September killing of Anwar al-Awlaki, the U.S.-born cleric who went into hiding in Yemen who had been directing al Qaeda militants to launch several attacks against the United States.

    U.S. officials have refused to talk much publicly about the program but some officials said last year that Americans like Awlaki could be placed on a kill or capture list by a secretive panel of senior U.S. government officials which then informs the president of its decisions.

    Holder will likely couple the justification with another argument that the administration has repeatedly made about terrorism: both traditional criminal courts and military tribunals work to prosecute terrorism suspects, the source said.

    The speech will be the latest attempt by the administration to address the issue, an unusual break from past precedent of eschewing virtually any discussion about the top-secret program.

    Defense Department lawyer Jeh Johnson last month referred to the so-called "targeted kill" program, saying that it pursued legitimate military targets overseas and rejected suggestions that the United States was engaged in assassination.

    "Under well-settled legal principles, lethal force against a valid military objective, in an armed conflict, is consistent with the law of war and does not, by definition, constitute an 'assassination,'" Johnson said at Yale Law School.

    The American Civil Liberties Union on February 1 sued the Obama administration in federal court, demanding that Holder's Justice Department release what it believes are legal memoranda justifying targeting Americans overseas using lethal force.

    The ACLU called such power a "breathtaking assertion" and warned that it would be available to future presidents as well.

    "At bottom, the administration is asserting the unreviewable authority to kill any American whom the president declares to be an enemy of the state," Jameel Jaffer, the ACLU's deputy legal director, said in a statement.

    U.S. officials have linked Awlaki to several plots against the United States, including the 2009 Christmas Day attempt by a Nigerian man to blow up a U.S. commercial airliner as it arrived in Detroit from Amsterdam with a bomb hidden in his underwear.

    When the bomber, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, was sentenced to spend the rest of his life in a U.S. prison, authorities said that Awlaki himself approved and directed the plot from Yemen.

    Civil liberties groups have complained that such militants should be captured and prosecuted in a U.S. courtroom where practical. They also fiercely oppose using military courts for terrorism cases.

    The Obama administration has run into difficulties trying prosecute terrorism suspects in the U.S. court system, facing criticism over giving terrorism suspects full legal rights and whether they addressed security for the trials sufficiently.

    Republicans in Congress and even some of Obama's fellow Democrats have demanded that they be tried in military tribunals and blocked moving terrorism suspects from the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to the federal prison system.

    Administration officials have insisted that terrorism suspects can be successfully prosecuted and incarcerated in both legal systems and said that the Abdulmutallab case was an example of the traditional courts working effectively.

    (Reporting By Jeremy Pelofsky; Editing by Howard Goller and Doina Chiacu)

    Reuters
     
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  3. W.G.Ewald

    W.G.Ewald Defence Professionals/ DFI member of 2 Defence Professionals

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    I believe none of them are native-born Americans, but immigrants from Islamic countries who attained citizenship by swearing an oath of loyalty to the United States. Personally, I see no wrong in their being targeted for killing.
     
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  4. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Terrorists are terrorists.

    Eliminate them!

    Even if they are native born or related to the Pilgrims!
     
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  5. methos

    methos Regular Member

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    This will cause trouble. Even if the alleged terrorists have American citizenship they lie under the law of the country they are in -> U.S. wants to play the world police again and this way will come to conflicts with the governments of the countries. Instead of searching a proper way to interact on a global basis against terrorists, they rather choose to piss of a number of countries, which sometimes even have democratically elected governments and to interfere in the judicial areas of sovereign states.

    The native population of America is less than 1%. If you mean that they are not long enough living in the U.S. to have absorbed some ideas of the "America way" - who knows if they have or not.
     
  6. W.G.Ewald

    W.G.Ewald Defence Professionals/ DFI member of 2 Defence Professionals

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    Just to be clear, let us differentiate between native-born, a term which I would equate with the term natural-born in the US Constitution, and native-American, which refers to peoples living here before Europeans arrived.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural-born-citizen_clause_of_the_U.S._Constitution

    As for absorbing the American way, that is subjective. An oath of allegiance, required for citizenship, is not.
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2012
  7. methos

    methos Regular Member

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    Does every American need to pledge this oath or do you suppose that all radical muslims who have U.S. citizenship gained them not by birth?
     
  8. W.G.Ewald

    W.G.Ewald Defence Professionals/ DFI member of 2 Defence Professionals

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    Most American students recite the pledge of allegiance in the classroom where a flag is displayed at the beginning of the school day.

    Enlistees into the Armed Forces take an oath to defend the constitution.

    Civil servants and elected public officials take a similar oath.
     
  9. asianobserve

    asianobserve Elite Member Elite Member

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    That's a lot of oath... Anyway, I think targeted killings should be the weapon of choice against terrorists (those who have publicly acknowledged themselves as such and have actually carried out killings). Traditional policing methods and the usual resort to courts will not work against them, as they will only use the opportunity to do more publicity stunts.
     
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  10. asianobserve

    asianobserve Elite Member Elite Member

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    That's a lot of oaths... Anyway, I think targeted killings should be the weapon of choice against terrorists (those who have publicly acknowledged themselves as such and have actually carried out killings). Traditional policing methods and the usual resort to courts will not work against them, as they will only use the opportunity to do more publicity stunts.
     
  11. sesha_maruthi27

    sesha_maruthi27 Senior Member Senior Member

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    If INDIA could do the same then it will be good for our country. If the same law gets passed in INDIA, then the first person on the list would be none other than the DON dawood ibrahim and second will be Maulana Masood Azhar......
     

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