Justice Department White Paper: Government Can Kill Americans without Clear Evidence
End the Lie
February 5th, 2013
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According to an unclassified Department of Justice white paper released by NBC News, the U.S. government canÂ kill Americans without charge or trialÂ or even âclear evidence that a specific attack on U.S. persons and interests will take place in the immediate futureâ as part of theÂ highly controversial drone assassination program.
TheÂ 16-page paperÂ (mirroredÂ here) released late February 4, 2013 is not, however, the Office of Legal Counsel memo which was at issue in the case in which a judgeÂ ruled the federal government can claim the right to legally kill Americans without ever revealing that legal justification.
The undated paper is not an official legal memo, although according toÂ NBC, âthe white paper was represented by administration officials as a policy document that closely mirrors the arguments of classified memos on targeted killings by the Justice Departmentâs Office of Legal Counsel, which provides authoritative legal advice to the president and all executive branch agencies.â
This document is apparently separate fromÂ the Obama administrationâs yet-to-be-completed drone killing rulebook, whichÂ the CIA would reportedly not have to follow.
The white paper outlines some quite disturbing facts behind the governmentâs justification of their so-calledÂ targeted killing program.
Indeed, the document refers to a âbroader concept of imminenceâ than any actual intelligence about an ongoing plot against the United States or any U.S. interest.
âThe condition that an operationalÂ leader present an âimminentâ threat of violent attack against the United States does not require the United States to have clear evidence that a specific attack on U.S. persons and interests will take place in the immediate future,â states the unsigned and undated white paper.
While the document claims that it is focused on a hypothetical U.S. citizen âwho is a senior, operational leader of al-Qaâida or an associated force of al-Qaâida,â it reveals that the individual might not actually have to be âa senior, operational leaderâ as such.
The white paper says an âinformed, high-levelâ U.S. government official can determine that the American being targeted has been ârecentlyâ involved in âactivitiesâ that pose a threat of violent attack and âthere is no evidence suggesting that he has renounced or abandoned such activities.â
Another disturbing aspect of the white paper is the complete lack of specificity and clarity throughout the document, even when it comes to the most critical terms.
The words ârecentlyâ and âactivities,â used in the incredibly important context above, are never defined by the paper, which is entitled âLawfulness of a Lethal Operation Directed Against a U.S. Citizen who is a Senior Operational Leader of Al Qaâida or An Associated Force.â
The paper, which NBC calls âconfidentialâ yet not classified, was reportedly given to members of the Senate Intelligence and Judiciary committees in June of last year by officials in the Obama administration âon the condition that it be kept confidential andÂ not discussed publicly.â
It outlines an incredibly ambiguous three-part test that supposedly makes the execution of Americans without charge or trial:
- The targeted American must be an âimminentâ threat (imminent is redefined in the memo in order to completely strip it of its usual meaning)
- The capture of the target must be infeasible and âU.S. officialsÂ mayÂ consider whether an attempted capture of a suspectÂ would pose an âundue riskâ to U.S. personnel involved in such an operation,â as NBC puts it (emphasis mine)
- The strike must be conducted according to what the document calls âlaw of war principlesâ (keep in mind thatÂ a 16-year-old AmericanÂ was killed under this program)
âThis is a chilling document,â said Jameel Jaffer, deputy legal director of the ACLU involved with the case which attempted to uncover the classified memo in court.
âBasically, it argues that the government has the right to carry out the extrajudicial killing of an American citizen,â Jaffer said. âIt recognizes some limits on the authority it sets out, but the limits are elastic and vaguely defined, and itâs easy to see how they could be manipulated.â
Jaffer notes that the memo âredefines the word imminence in a way that deprives the word of its ordinary meaning.â
On Monday, 11 senators led by Oregon Democrat Ron Wyden united across party lines to write a letter to Obama calling for the release of all Justice Department memos on the drone assassination program.
While the senators said that âthere will clearly be circumstances in which the president has the authority to use lethal forceâ against Americans who take up arms against the U.S. as part of an opposing fighting force, they highlighted the need for clarity.
âIt is vitally important, however, for Congress and the American public to have a full understanding of how the executive branch interprets the limits and boundaries of this authority, so that Congress and the public can decide whether this authority has been properly defined, and whether the Presidentâs power to deliberately kill American citizens is subject to appropriate limitations and safeguards,â said the letter, according toÂ Hindustan Times.
This comes asÂ U.S. colleges and universities have begun offering more drone piloting programsÂ to keep up withÂ the domestic drone boom, theÂ U.S. military is operating drones domestically and sharing data with law enforcementÂ and Leon Panetta saidÂ the drone war must continue abroad indefinitely.
Delivered by The Daily Sheeple
Contributed by Madison Ruppert of End the Lie.
Madison Ruppert is the Editor and Owner-Operator of the alternative news and analysis database End The LieÂ and has no affiliation with any NGO, political party, economic school, or other organization/cause. He is available for podcast and radio interviews. Madison also now has his own radio show on UCY.TV from 7 pm — 10 pm Pacific, which you can findÂ HERE.Â If you have questions, comments, or corrections feel free to contact him atÂ admin@EndtheLie.com
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