First known attempt to kill Anwar al Awlaki was Dec. 2009. Legal memo justifying US plot to kill him is dated July 2010.
US Forced to Release Memo on Extrajudicial Drone Killing of US Citizen June 23, 2014Posted by rogerhollander in Barack Obama, Constitution, Criminal Justice, Democracy, War on Terror.
Tags: aumf, david barron, doj, drone memo, drone wars, eric holder, kill list, olc, presidential assassination, roger hollander, sarah lazare
Roger’s note: As I have noted more than once on this Blog, the major crimes in history, including the death of Socrates, Jesus, and the Holocaust, were carried out and justified by the existing “legal’ system, that is under the color of law. Again, history repeats itself, and David Barron of the OLC joins the disgraced criminal ranks of John Yoo, Bruce Bybee and the other torture memo conspirators.
Court-ordered release of DOJ ‘drone memo’ reveals legal arguments for targeting of US citizen Anwar al-Aulaqi in Yemen
The U.S. government on Monday partially released the formerly-classified Department of Justice “drone memo,” dated 2010, in which Obama administration lawyers argue they have the right to extra-judicially kill U.S. citizen Anwar al-Aulaqi in Yemen.
Anwar Al Aulaqi, who had been placed on a “kill list,” died by U.S. drone strikes in September 2011, along with Samir Khan, as well as three other people. Just weeks later, another U.S. drone attack on a restaurant in Yemen killed Anwar Al-Aulaqi’s son Abdulrahman, also a U.S. citizen, and six other civilians.
In the memo, which is addressed to attorney general Eric Holder, David Barron—then head of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel—argues that the targeted killing is legal “where, as here, the target’s activities pose a ‘continued and imminent threat of violence or death’ to U.S. persons, ‘the highest officers in the Intelligence Community have reviewed the factual basis’ for the lethal operation, and a capture operation would be infeasible.”
Yet the drone memo was redacted before release, leading to the omission of key information, including alleged factual evidence for the government’s claim that al-Aulaqi posed a threat to the United States.
Barron claims the killing is justified by the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force—a highly controversial and expansive congressional act that has been expansively interpreted by the Bush and Obama administrations to authorize ongoing war and occupation in Afghanistan, covert drone wars in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia, military intervention in countries from Ethiopia to Iraq, indefinite detentions at Guantanamo Bay and Bagram prison, and more.
“We believe that the AUMF’s authority to use lethal force abroad also may apply in appropriate circumstances to a United States citizen who is part of the forces of an enemy authorization within the scope of the force authorization,” states the memo.
Center for Constitutional Rights Senior Attorney Pardiss Kebriaei, who was CCR’s lead counsel on two lawsuits with the ACLU challenging the killing of Al-Aulaqi, declared in a statement, “The DOJ memo confirms that the government’s drone killing program is built on gross distortions of law. This forced transparency comes years late, long after the memo was drafted and used to justify the premeditated killing of a U.S. citizen without trial and far from any battlefield.”
She adds, “The United States loosening and redefining international rules governing the use of force and war is ultimately not going to make anyone any safer.”
The memo notes that the CIA had an “operational role” in the targeted killing of al-Aulaqi. According to Brett Max Kaufman, Legal Fellow of the ACLU National Security Project, “[T]he official unveiling of this fact should open the door to further disclosures about the CIA’s role in the program and about factual information, like numbers of civilian casualties caused by the program, that the government continues to maintain cannot be disclosed to the public.”
The Obama administration has for years fought the release of the document but was forced to make it public in response to Freedom of Information Act lawsuits by the American Civil Liberties Union and The New York Times.
“The US drone wars have now been going on for over a decade, have killed thousands of individuals,—including a handful of American citizens, and serves as the cornerstone of President Obama’s ‘light footprint’ national security policy,” said Stephen Miles of Win Without War in an interview with Common Dreams. “The American people—in whose name these strikes occur—have a right to know far, far more about this program than they currently do.”
“We will continue to press for the release of other documents relating to the targeted-killing program, including other legal memos and documents relating to civilian casualties,” said ACLU Deputy Legal Director Jameel Jaffer.
Journalist Jeremy Scahill noted on Twitter that the memo leaves key questions unanswered:
If Vladimir Putin’s Justice Department produced a memo worded exactly the same as Obama’s every media outlet in the U.S. would be labeling him a psychopathic murderous tyrant and demanding that he be dragged to the Hague.
You forgot to add, “but not one US or major western nation correspondent or pundit will call for war crimes tribunals.”
Jeremy Scahill won’t call for them, and he more than most people knows their illegality. Hedges won’t; Chomsky won’t; Bill Moyers won’t; Amy Goodman won’t.
And why? Because they serve as the “loyal opposition,” with the emphasis on “loyal.”
Even if they have some twisted legal justification for the extrajudicial killing of Anwar al-Awlaki (and lest we forget, ordinarily dictatorships do offer some kind of legal rationale for their actions), they still have not provided a shred of evidence or even a public explanation for the cold-blooded murder of his 16-year-old son Abdulrahman two weeks later. Why do they get a free pass on that? Why is all the focus on the elder al-Awlaki?
As bad as the assassination of Anwar was, the murder of Abdulrahman — a minor — was a hundred times worse. By all accounts, that boy never harmed a fly. The ghoulish logic of the US government seemed to be that they had better take him out before he had the opportunity to avenge his father’s death. In other words, they murdered him in cold blood.
OK, so bring out the war crimes tribunals….oh wait, we are a fascist nation, where THE PEOPLE have absolutely no say, no justice, and definitely no rule of law.
To the paranoid mind, the killing of another is at bottom an act of self-defense, though what the specific threats were from Anwar al-Awlaki and his son, the paranoid Obama has felt no need to justify, then or now.
Apparently the executive branch does not have to answer to the legislative and judicial branches, comply with the Constitution, or even answer to the American people via evidence made transparent. Not even explain exactly why capture was ruled out.
This is contempt of Congress, contempt for the law, contempt for any notion of the people as sovereign much less as serious and thoughtful citizens owed a legal and moral explanation for such arrogant impunity.
The Obama administration is governing without constitutional authority and entirely without the consent, much less the awareness, of the governed.
When all three branches of government are unaccountable to the electorate, they’ve lost all legitimacy to govern, even the right to collect taxes.
Oh, I think the courts and congress could put and end to it in short order. Deal is? Congress could pass a law making all sorts of oversight necessary, no problema. the SCOTUS could rule it unconstitutional tomorrow. Don’t hold your breath. Congress and the SCOTUS only want to make it look like their hands are tied. But stop it? You kidding me? They like it just like it is, so’s everyone can enjoy the large$$ of permanent war. Bon apitit all you DC Shivas!
Oh yeah, and there’s not a thing you can do about it, either. The TV has the dumbed-down public suckered into this two party charade and moronic blame game so deep that all the backwater Internet blogging in the world wont make a scratch in it. We got nothing. No amount of petitions (no one reads them) or votes (you vote for who they let you vote for) will do anything to change it.
Massive civil disobedience is the only thing that will change anything in DC and the masses have to get out and put some skin in the game and that ain’t gonna happen any time soon. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see if the dollar collapses or WWIII pops up (can you say Ukraine, Iraq and Syria?) and takes some skin off our asses right where they sit.Obama needs to stand trial in front of the Senate for violating the 5th and 14th Amendments in the killing of Anwar al-Aulaqi. If murder is not a “high crime,” then what is?
EXPOSED: GOV’T CLAIMS RIGHT TO
EXTRAJUDICIAL KILLING OF US CITIZEN
I can only assume that this screaming headline was crafted for readers who just awakened today from a 15-year coma. I’m not sure that’s wise, since it might be better to slowly educate the newly-revived about Amerika’s appalling post-Constitutional authoritarian rule.
I appreciate that this latest disclosure contains damning details that puts it even more beyond question that Amerika’s despotic, imperial authoritarian government fixes its legal opinions around the high crimes it wishes to commit, and will continue to commit, with impunity.
Remember the screaming headlines about the government claiming a right to legally torture detainees?
The claimants have all been rewarded with lucrative and prestigious jobs, and are still welcomed and well-regarded by their abominable peers and upscale social circle.
And despite the present regime’s hollow promises and empty assurances, there’s no reason to believe that torture has been abandoned– even if it’s not being practiced today, it’s still an option when dictated by circumstances.
A minority who follow civil-liberties issues may be encouraged by this latest “exposure”, but even if this makes the corporate mass-media news it’ll only be of passing insignificance to the general Amerikan population.
Cygnus is correct. That is why we have renamed Obama as O’Bummer, O’Bomber “Not Change You Can Believe In.” Democrats are, for the most part, Fascists like the Republicans as they are now basically run by the same industrial moneyed powers who make out by craziness and war in the world without any conception or consideration of what they are doing.
We are making the terrorists by our policies and procedures internationally and right here in our own backyard. Instead of promoting peace and showing that is what we want to do we are saying we are “EXCEPTIONAL” to all others. Is that any different from “HITLER’S MASTER RACE?” No, it is the same game. We are Kool and you are trash and we will make sure you know it. Now we are bringing home our war toys and giving them to local police to wage war on who? Why us, of course, if we do not do what they want us to.
I do not like Putin in general, but, he is much smarter than O’Bummer and his O’Bomber crew for sure. They lost 20,000,000 to fascists in WWII, we only lost 496,000 or 5%. Who had their country taken by fascists, they did. Wonder why they do not want them or us on their border when we said we would not do that and then Bill Clinton, again, messed up the long term game for his personal wealth after leaving office. What do you think O’Bummer, Obomber is up to and their wives. This is why NO HILLARY. Find another REAL FEMALE PREZ.
This is one of the many reasons that I find Obomber and his cronies so offensive! I just keep wondering how he justifies his actions to his daughters. I know what info they are given is propagandized, but wouldn’t Obomber still live in fear, that they will eventually come to see him as the tyrant he is? As a product of the sixties, I have never been so saddened as I now am, by the actions of the us government. The country is so much worse than it was, even in the times of JFK,MLK, RFK, Viet Nam-I had to “tune-out” from being informed about current events. Now, I’m thinking I’d rather take my life myself, than let the government take it by some sinister method!
No surprise. We have killed so many people in the name of corporate power that today killing has become a moot point in the press. Vietnam, Columbia, Chile, Nicaragua and so many others have felt the stench of US power. It’s time the people should know the truth. But I’d bet they’d think it was a work of fiction…..it is so terrible.
We must support Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren….neither of them would stand for these wars of aggression. We should have impeached Bush, it would have sent a message to these Imperial Presidents for decades to come.
Obama is Bush, Bush is Cheney! there is really NO difference at all between these two corporate owed parties on foreign policy. No wonder Obama didn’t want to look back, but forward as he continues the Project for a New American Century by the neo cons. If you think Hilary Clinton, or Jeb Bush or Mutt Robme, or any of these neo cons will change foreign policy…forget it…we are living under the Empire.
Ok so I read this legal opinion as saying USA should kill POTUS as he has too many guards (like JFK a justified kill) he has no chance of being captured and is a clear and present danger who will kill USA Citizens with drone orders any time he desires to do so.
Well that their interpretation here kill anyone who “attorney general …argues that the targeted killing is legal “where, as here, the target’s activities pose a ‘continued and imminent threat of violence or death’ to U.S. persons, ‘the highest officers in the Intelligence Community have reviewed the factual basis’ for the lethal operation, and a capture operation would be infeasible.”
Is that correct? They were correct to kill JFK for that reason, in fact being able to send USA citizens to certain death in a war is the same, and POTUS’s are certainly uncapturable?