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United States Government Security The Courts The Military Politics

Court Releases DOJ Memo Justifying Drone Strike On US Citizen 371

Posted by samzenpus
from the new-rules dept.
An anonymous reader writes in with news that the memo presenting a case for killing Anwar al-Awlaki has been released thanks to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit on Monday released a secret 2010 Justice Department memo justifying the killing of Anwar al-Awlaki, a U.S citizen killed in a drone strike in 2011. The court released the document as part of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by The New York Times and the American Civil Liberties Union to make the document public. Then-acting Assistant Attorney General David Barron, in the partially redacted 41-page memo, outlines the justification of the drone strike in Yemen to take out al-Awlaki, an alleged operational leader of al Qaeda.
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Court Releases DOJ Memo Justifying Drone Strike On US Citizen

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  • Lovely Latin (Score:5, Informative)

    by IonOtter (629215) on Monday June 23, 2014 @05:47PM (#47301235) Homepage

    Ex post facto ex parte: We think you're guilty of a crime, so we're going to kill you and come up with the justification later.

  • Re:Lovely Latin (Score:4, Informative)

    by ArcadeMan (2766669) on Monday June 23, 2014 @05:52PM (#47301275)

    With credit to Douglas Adams, sorry for the omission.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 23, 2014 @07:40PM (#47302199)

    Actually the US constitution recognizes the rights of all people, and additional rights of citizens. But for once stop thinking about what is legal and start thinking about what is morally correct.

  • Re:Yeah sure (Score:2, Informative)

    by s.petry (762400) on Monday June 23, 2014 @11:43PM (#47303479)

    If the person died in a firefight against soldiers we would not be having the discussion would we? Nope, but that is not the reality. An assassination based on hearsay which repeatedly uses the word "imagine" is not the same thing. "I think" is not a crime, "I do" is a crime.

    Read the Bill of Rights, and it will become clear. The law is spelled out very well in the 5th and 6th amendments.

  • Re:Yeah sure (Score:4, Informative)

    by sjames (1099) on Monday June 23, 2014 @11:48PM (#47303497) Homepage

    We are supposed to make the presumption that even when the burden is high, all suspected criminals are entitled to a fair trial before they are punished by the government for their alleged crimes. But there have always been two exceptions to that presumption that most people find reasonable. The first is that law enforcement may use force, including lethal force, to interrupt a crime in process. We assume the burden of proof is relaxed in that environment, because its literally impossible to adjudicate a fair trial in the middle of a crime. And the second are acts of war, where the government can act against declared enemies of the country. We can't hold a trial for each individual enemy soldier we come across before shooting at them. The question is whether al-Qaeda is a criminal organization or a political one that can be legitimately considered a national enemy.

    Not quite. No police shooting is a punishment for an alleged crime, it is a right to self defense (and by extension, the defense of innocents) being exercised. As such, it is only legal if there is a current credible threat (for example, the suspect draws a gun and moves to take aim at someone) If the suspect survives, they will still face a trial for the original charges (because the shooting was not punishment for the alleged crime).

    Incitement of future violence or even planning future violence don't meet the immediacy necessary to use lethal force in self defense. In those cases, arrest is permitted with a speedy public trial to follow.

    If we want to claim that the activities constitute joining a foreign military (and they might), due process still requires an appropriate hearing to determine that he has surrendered his citizenship.

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