John Karls' Original Proposal - 9/3/2010 - 223 Views

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We will focus on two lawsuits filed last August challenging the U.S. Government's right to assassinate U.S. citizens far from any battlefield, so long as the U.S. Executive Branch deems them to be terrorists who are a threat to the U.S.

The suits were brought by the ACLU and the Center for Constitutional Rights in the name of Dr. Nasser Al-Aulaqi on behalf of his son, Anwar Al-Aulaqi. The father has spent his entire career as a Yemeni Government Minister or as President of two different Yemeni Universities. His son is a U.S. citizen because he was born in the U.S. in 1966 when the father was here during his student days on a Fulbright scholarship. The U.S. government believes the son is a member of Al Qaeda in Yemen. The father disputes that.

The key legal issues from reading quite a few of the materials (including court papers) are whether the entire world is a battleground against terrorism or, alternatively, whether the target is an imminent threat to the U.S. -- in either of which cases our Commander In Chief has the right to impose capital punishment by drone upon U.S. citizens without a trial.

An interesting question in the event that the courts hold that the entire world is a battleground against terrorism = what is the difference between sending drones over Yemen and sending drones over, say, Britain, France or Germany???

And would we want other countries to begin flying their drones over the U.S. in order to implement assassinations here, including assassinations of U.S. citizens deemed by the other countries to be a threat to them??? After all, our drones have assassinated in the Tribal Areas of Pakistan at least 3 German citizens and more than a dozen citizens of other Western European allies.

Are these questions really governed by "might makes right" tempered only by discretion in the case of friends and allies??? In other words, since Russia for example is not normally considered a friend or ally, would we consider flying drones into their air space in order to conduct assassinations within their borders since our drones, if provided stealth technology, might be difficult to bring down (and how much does a drone cost anyway???)???

The practical problems, as we have discussed in the past, are (1) Osama bin Laden issued long ago a Fatwa to nuke 10 million Americans (the number of Arabs he calculated had been killed by the U.S. or its allies), (2) the Founding Dean of Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government wrote a book on how to deal with Osama's Fatwa by controlling nuclear material, (3) it has often been pointed out that this approach is wishful thinking because, for example, the old Soviet Union's missing 178 suitcase-size nuclear weapons contained a considerable amount of recycle-able nuclear material and have long since been universally agreed by experts to be in the hands of terrorists, and (4) this issue has been the subject of intense concern for every recent Chair of the Sen Fgn Rel or Sen Armed Services Committees with, indeed, Sen Fgn Rel Chair Joe Biden writing an Op Ed piece for the Wall St. Journal during the 2008 Presidential campaign arguing that all nuclear material has "DNA" indicating where it was produced and the U.S. should announce to the world that if it is ever subject to a nuclear attack from terrorists, the U.S. will annihilate with nuclear weapons the country of origin of the nuclear material used against the U.S. (causing some wags to point out that if the U.S. itself is the country of origin, the Biden Doctrine would obligate us to commit nuclear suicide!!!).

A companion problem, as we have also discussed in the past, is that if there is a nuclear attack by terrorists on the United States and President Obama is not seen to have done everything in his power to protect America, that will probably be the end of the Democratic Party.
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johnkarls
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John Karls' Original Proposal - 9/3/2010 - 223 Views

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John Karls' Original Proposal - posted 9/3/2010 - 223 views before being transplanted here.

The US Gov's "Kill List" To Assassinate US Citizens In Yemen
by johnkarls » Fri Sep 03, 2010 9:49 pm

I recommend that we focus on two lawsuits filed last month challenging the U.S. Government’s right to assassinate U.S. citizens far from any battlefield, so long as the U.S. Executive Branch deems them to be terrorists who are a threat to the U.S.

Suggested reading materials will be the news articles, press releases by the plaintiffs (the ACLU and the Center for Constitutional Rights) and court papers. All three categories contain voluminous materials already in existence and many more will be created as time progresses.

By way of background, the key issue from reading quite a few of the materials (including legal papers) is whether the entire world is a battleground against terrorism or, alternatively, whether the target is an imminent threat to the U.S.

An interesting question in the event that the courts hold that the entire world is a battleground against terrorism = what is the difference between sending drones over Yemen and sending drones over, say, Britain, France or Germany???

And would we want other countries to begin flying their drones over the U.S. in order to implement assassinations here, including assassinations of U.S. citizens deemed by the other country to be a threat to them???

Are these questions really governed by “might makes right” tempered only by discretion in the case of friends and allies. (In other words, since Russia for example is not normally considered a friend or ally, would we consider flying drones into their air space in order to conduct assassinations within their borders since our drones, if provided stealth technology, might be difficult to bring down (and how much does a drone cost anyway???)???)

The practical problem, as we have discussed in the past, is that Osama bin Laden has issued a fatwa to nuke 10 million Americans (which was the subject of a book by the Founding Dean of Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and which has been the subject of intense concern in interviews on Meet the Press, for example, on the part of such luminaries as (1) Joe Biden, (2) his Republican predecessor as Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chair, Richard Lugar, and (3) Sam Nunn, Democratic Chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee 1987-1995, who retired from the Senate in 1997 after two years in the minority to become CEO for the last 13 years of the Nuclear Threat Initiative, a non-profit organization working to reduce the threat of nuclear terrorism).

A companion problem, as we have also discussed in the past, is that if there is a nuclear attack by terrorists on the United States and President Obama is not seen to have done everything in his power to protect America, that will probably be the end of the Democratic Party.

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Al-Aulaqi’s Father

The following synopsis of the two lawsuits gives no information about the target’s father in whose name the lawsuits are brought.

Dr. Nasser Al-Aulaqi is a Yemen citizen who came to the U.S. in 1966 to study on a Fulbright scholarship. He remained in the U.S. for 12 years, during which he married an American. Their son Anwar Al-Aulaqi (the target) was born in the U.S. during this period and is, therefore, a U.S. citizen.

Since 1978, Dr. Nasser Al-Aulaqi has resided in Yemen with his American wife and their family. Since returning to Yemen in 1978, Dr. Al-Aulaqi has served as a governmental minister and as president of two different Yemeni universities.

His son, Anwar, returned to the U.S. in 1991 to attend college and then graduate school. He married and had three children while studying in the U.S. In 2003, he moved to the U.K. and, in 2004, he moved back to Yemen where he has since resided. He has been in hiding since January 2010 when his name was added to the “kill lists” and there have been several unsuccessful drone attacks aimed at his assassination. His father has not had any contact or communication with Anwar, nor known of anyone else to have had any contact or communication with him, since he went into hiding.


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From http://ccrjustice.org/targetedkillings --


Al-Aulaqi v. Obama
ACLU v. US Treasurey Sec'y Geithner

Synopsis

On August 3, 2010, the Center for Constitutional Rights and the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Treasury Department and the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) to challenge the legality and constitutionality of the licensing scheme that requires them to obtain a license in order to file a lawsuit concerning the government’s asserted authority to carry out targeted killings of individuals, including U.S. citizens, far from any battlefield.

On August 30, 2010, CCR and the ACLU filed suit on behalf of Dr. Nasser Al-Aulaqi against President Obama, CIA Director Panetta, and Defense Secretary Gates, challenging their decision to authorize the targeted killing of his son, U.S. citizen Anwar Al-Aulaqi, in violation of the Constitution and international law.

Status

CCR and the ACLU filed suit against the Department of Treasury and OFAC on August 3, 2010 and filed suit on behalf of Nasser Al-Aulaqi against President Obama, CIA Director Panetta, and Defense Secretary Gates, on August 30, 2010. Both cases are pending in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

Description

In early July 2010, CCR and the ACLU were retained by Nasser al-Aulaqi, the father of U.S. citizen Anwar Al-Aulaqi, to bring a lawsuit in connection with the government’s decision to authorize the death of his son, who was placed on kill lists maintained by the CIA and the U.S. military’s Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) earlier this year. On July 16, 2010, however, the Secretary of the Treasury labeled Anwar al-Aulaqi a “specially designated global terrorist,” which makes it a crime for lawyers to provide representation for his benefit without first seeking a license from OFAC. CCR and the ACLU sought a license, but after the government’s failure to grant one despite the urgency created by an outstanding authorization for Al-Aulaqi’s death, CCR and ACLU brought suit challenging the legality and constitutionality of the licensing scheme as applied to the representation they seek to provide. CCR and the ACLU have not had contact with Anwar Al-Aulaqi.

The OFAC requirements generally make it illegal to provide any service, including legal representation, to or for the benefit of a designated individual. A lawyer who provides legal representation for the benefit of a designated person without getting special permission is subject to criminal and civil penalties. In their lawsuit, CCR and the ACLU charge that OFAC has exceeded its authority by subjecting uncompensated legal services to a licensing requirement, and that OFAC’s regulations violate the First Amendment, the Fifth Amendment, and the principle of separation of powers. The lawsuit asks the court to invalidate the regulations and to make clear that lawyers can provide representation for the benefit of designated individuals without first seeking the government’s consent.

The underlying representation that CCR and the ACLU seek to provide Nasser Al-Aulaqi would challenge the government’s decision authorizing the CIA and JSOC to target and kill his son, who is currently hiding in Yemen, without charge, trial or any form of due process.

While the government can legitimately use lethal force against civilians in certain circumstances outside of a judicial process, the authority contemplated by senior Obama administration officials is far broader than what the Constitution and international law allow. Under international human rights law, lethal force may be used in peacetime only when there is an imminent threat of deadly attack and when lethal force is a last resort. A program in which names are added to a list though a secret bureaucratic process and remain there for months at a timeplainly goes beyond the use of lethal force as a last resort to address imminent threats, and accordingly goes beyond what the Constitution and international law permit.

Moreover, targeting individuals for killing who are suspected of crimes but have not been convicted – without oversight, due process or disclosed standards for being placed on the kill list – also poses the risk that the government will erroneously target the wrong people. Since 9/11, the U.S. government has detained thousands men as terrorists, only for courts or the government itself to discover later that the evidence was wrong or unreliable and release them.

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