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Court Releases DOJ Memo Justifying Drone Strike On US Citizen

samzenpus posted about 2 months ago | from the new-rules dept.

United States 371

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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Yeah sure (4, Insightful)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 2 months ago | (#47301133)

"Alleged" operational leader. No trial. Bam! You're dead.

Welcome to Soviet USA.

Comrade (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47301203)

Don't insult the CCCP so!
We at least had some rights and expectations!

Maybe not many at all but some!

Re:Comrade (0)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 2 months ago | (#47301237)

My apologies, comrade. I meant to say "Welcome to former-Soviet-style USA".

Re:Comrade (2)

Opportunist (166417) | about 2 months ago | (#47301719)

Nope. Sorry. The USA may be a lot, but they ain't no USSR.

The rent's WAY too high, the food way too expensive, and you're actually expected to be at work during work hours and work. That's not the worker's paradise!

But aside of that, you're getting close.

Re:Yeah sure (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47301241)

Is that unpatriotic dissidence Yeah sure? We don't take kindly to that here in 'Merica, so just keep on with your tweeting and slashdottin all the way to guantanamo...tell you what.

Re:Yeah sure (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47301337)

The poor, rednecks, country folk, bible thumpers, etc that you try to make fun of using the derisive term "'Merica" are the very ones who are quickest to shed their own blood so that you can live in a nation where you are free to be an ass.

Re:Yeah sure (4, Insightful)

mirix (1649853) | about 2 months ago | (#47301395)

Yeah, because destroying backwaters half way around the world is a surefire way to make the US 'free'.

Re:Yeah sure (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47301739)

How about all the other things they have done you effeminate pansy? Saving lives, rescuing people, preventing conflict, humanitarian aide.

Regardless, it is only because of the american fighting man that you are free to complain that your nappy hasn't been changed in the last 5 minutes since you pooped yourself.

Re:Yeah sure (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47301469)

For a given value of "Free" of course.

Free to worship their God. Free to deny science. Free to raise your baby by yourself, but NOT free to prevent the problem in the first place. All sorts of "free" that these rednecks support.

Re:Yeah sure (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47301707)

For a given value of "Free" of course.

Free to worship their God. Free to deny science. Free to raise your baby by yourself, but NOT free to prevent the problem in the first place. All sorts of "free" that these rednecks support.

Where is the redneck doctrine of you must have sex? Oh you are saying pregnancy is a problem, only ever heard of a few people who got to be pregnant spontaneously, but kids are going to have sex so if a child happens from that action we should just kill it.

What science is getting denied? You mean that whole scientific method thing that came out of the church encouraging scientific thought and preserving it for centuries when the liberals went full retard in rome and western civilization could no longer support itself on slavery?

Free to worship any or no god, Heck let me quote from the 2000, 1963 and 1925 baptist faith and message for you: "The state has no right to impose taxes for the support of any form of religion. A free church in a free state is the Christian ideal, and this implies the right of free and unhindered access to God on the part of all men, and the right to form and propagate opinions in the sphere of religion without interference by the civil power."

Sp yeah those same thumpers are the ones who are willing to die so you can keep being an entitled leftist tower residing moron.

Re:Yeah sure (4, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | about 2 months ago | (#47301725)

Free? You call yourself free?

The only reason you may still speak what you feel like is 'cause your leaders learned that it doesn't matter jack what you say. Should you for some odd reason actually become important enough that people listen to you, you'll be silenced soon enough, don't worry.

Re:Yeah sure (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47301743)

The poor, rednecks, country folk, bible thumpers, etc that you try to make fun of using the derisive term "'Merica" are the very ones who are quickest to shed their own blood

They are willing to do this because they are stupid.

Their willingness to go to a country which HAS NOT ATTACKED THE UNITED STATES
and kill people in that country is not a noble thing, all it proves is that these people are
willing chumps for the swine who run the military industrial complex.

Your bullshit about how these people who sign up to die useless deaths are "keeping
the US free" is a lie only an idiot would believe or try to pass off as true.

I watched dozens of my buddies die in a little place called Viet Nam, and none of those deaths
made America free. The same goes for all those who died in Iraq, Afghanistan, or anywhere else
the US has had military adventures in the past 40 years.

You are an idiot and you are full of shit. Do us all a favor and go hang yourself.

Re:Yeah sure (-1, Troll)

sumdumass (711423) | about 2 months ago | (#47302055)

They are keeping you free. We already know the politicians will go to war when they see fit regardless of what you think. When this happens and there aren't enough people serving their country, they enacts this thing called a draft in which you are forced to join the army and if you do poorly, you end up being fodder for the people more likely to survive to find cover behind while they kick ass.

Most ever other country, at least until reletively recently, has had a compulsory military service requirement for all males and some even women. Those people who volunteer, for whatever reason it may be, because we have an all volunteer military in the US, you are free to do as you please.

So get over yourself. If it wasn't for them, it would be like the Vietnam war and your number would eventually come up or you would live in fear of that happening. You are free, alive and safe because someone else stepped and you weren't forced to. Stop being an idiot.

Re:Yeah sure (5, Insightful)

mariox19 (632969) | about 2 months ago | (#47301991)

I want to be sympathetic to your sentiment, but there is no one outside of the United States threatening our freedom. That's a fact. There is no one in the military fighting for our freedom. Granted, they may stand ready to defend our freedom, should a foreign threat materialize, but that's a different story.

Sadly, the real threat to our freedom is from within. It's from people in government who fancy themselves on the side of the angels and who think it's okay to bend or break the rules—a.k.a. the Constitution—to defend the "homeland." They're setting up the legal framework and law enforcement infrastructure that will completely obliterate the United States of America for good. What will be left is lines on a map claiming a heritage it has no right to.

Re:Yeah sure (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47302189)

That's because they are STUPID.

Re:Yeah sure (0)

s.petry (762400) | about 2 months ago | (#47301457)

It's "Mericuh" you insensitive clod...

Re:Yeah sure (4, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 2 months ago | (#47301387)

It's just goodies all around: according to unspecified intelligence, as examined to an unknown standard of proof, by unidentified parties, in secret, he was the alleged operational leader "taking on a continuous command function", which means he isn't entitled to the protections of a civilian under the Geneva convention, even though he is unaffiliated with any national armed force, and not directly engaged in any hostility at the time and place of his death.

Apparently, this is because the global war on terror is a 'non-international armed conflict', albeit one where the Congressional Authorization for the Use of Military Force is geographically (and temporally, enjoy kids!) unbounded.

What is not clear (at least from my reading) is where the boundary is between 'an armed and dangerous criminal justice problem' and a 'non-international armed conflict' between the United States and a non-state group. Al Qaeda is apparently in (aided by; but not strictly because of, the AUMF), so killing or imprisoning people we believe to be members, on or off a battlefield, in countries with any level of active conflict, is A-OK. Who else would qualify for this rather unenviable status?

Could we be at war with the Sinola Cartel if we wanted to? The Crips?

Re:Yeah sure (1)

s.petry (762400) | about 2 months ago | (#47301521)

The US Government has given weapons, training, and funding to Al Qada in Libya and Syria. Of course we killed a few in Iraq and Afghanistan, because you know. "Terrorists". So the real problem with these groups is whether or not they are playing ball with the US, or have duped the US into believing they are playing ball. Nothing more, nothing less. If they don't play ball, obviously they are terrorists that are going to build canoes and paddle to the US and nuke us with all of the materials they can fit in their canoes.

If certain people had their way, there would be numerous OWS casualties as well. Instead we just see them illegally imprisoned on an abandoned pier in NYC, beat by cops everywhere else.

Re:Yeah sure (0)

guises (2423402) | about 2 months ago | (#47301443)

Of course there was no trial. How often does our military try people before they're killed? Seriously, among the dumb criticisms of Obama's presidency this is possibly the dumbest... Well, it's not dumber than Bengahzi. And it's not dumber than Solyndra... and it's not dumber than that stupid IRS controversy... fourth dumbest. This is the fourth dumbest criticism of Obama's presidency.

We kill people without trial all the time and no one says a thing. How many hundreds of thousands of people in Iraq and Afghanistan are dead? How many of those got trials? Oh, wait, they're not Americans so they don't count? Non-Americans don't have rights, "All [American] are men created equal" yada yada. Fine. How about Christopher Dorner? He was unequivocally American and had no trial. What made killing him okay?

The answer there is the same as here: 'continued' and 'imminent' threat. It's the same justification used for every single lethal action by law enforcement - if a person poses an immediate threat (perhaps because they're pointing a gun at a police officer) and can't be captured without either making good on that threat or some other, then killing is appropriate and justified.

Now, it's possible that you don't think that Anwar al-Awlaki posed such a threat. That's fine. An examination (a real examination, not a partisan smear) of the events surrounding his death is certainly appropriate and I believe is mandatory whenever law enforcement kills someone. No doubt this particular incident has, and will, be examined far more than it actually needs to be. Ranting about a lack of trial is meaningless though, just another partisan talking point.

Re:Yeah sure (5, Insightful)

joe_frisch (1366229) | about 2 months ago | (#47301905)

If you are in a state of war with a country, within some limits it is expected that you can kill people in that country. Where things get complicated is when you are in an ill defined state of hostility against a non-state organization like Al Qaeda. What are the rules on declaring someone to be part of that organization and there for a military target? While this question applies to any possible targets, it is especially troublesome when the target is an american citizen. The government cannot execute an american citizen without a trial. Can it declare an american citizen to be a member of a foreign military and then execute them? This would seem to completely bypass the constitutional right to a fair trial.

In a standard state-war it is fairly simple: If they are in an enemy country it is OK to kill them in the same way that it was OK to kill anyone else in that country. An american arrested for treason in the US on the other hand would get a trial. In a conventional state war you don't bomb countries that are not enemy states.

The level of activity to be considered a target for execution is also a tricky question. It is clearly OK to return fire if fired upon. When his actions are less direct it becomes more difficult.

At the root of all this is that the concept of "war" has changed and laws have not kept up with 21st century wars.

Re:Yeah sure (1)

Ralph Wiggam (22354) | about 2 months ago | (#47301481)

Anwar al-Awlaki posted videos urging all Muslims to commit violence against American civilians. Regardless of his specific role within al Qaeda, he certainly declared himself an "enemy combatant".

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2011/sep/30/anwar-al-awlaki-video-blogs

Re:Yeah sure (1)

vux984 (928602) | about 2 months ago | (#47301907)

Anwar al-Awlaki posted videos urging all Muslims to commit violence against American civilians.

Posting videos is sufficient? So not only is "freedom of speech" suspended but posting videos merits extra-judicial capital punishment anywhere in the world.

That's no better than Iranian fatwas urging the assasination of people who offend them. On the other hand Iran didn't actually dispatch the military to execute on those fatwas... we did.

But we're better because we're a "Christian nation" and don't call them fatwas right? Calling our murder justifications a "Classified Legal Memo" makes it ok, right?

(Bonus points look up the word fatwa, the irony is worth it.)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F... [wikipedia.org]

Re:Yeah sure (1)

currently_awake (1248758) | about 2 months ago | (#47302059)

Enemy Combatant is a legal fiction by the government of the USA, whereby people are declared to not be people, and therefore don't get their inalienable human rights. In reality there are only two groups of people: Military and Civilian. All Civilians get legal due process (for that country), and the Military are "Marked" (uniforms and ID) so you know who they are.

Yeah sure (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47301593)

Not taking sides and I'm not an American nor do i live in the USA. Isn't your comment the same as what critics of the administration wanted to do to the recently repatriated soldier that was held hostage after allegedly walking away from his unit? Leave the guy there cause he took off. Assumption of guilt, death pretty much guaranteed etc.. I'm aware that the detainee trade is another aspect that angers people and I'm not trying to comment on that in anyway. Not trying to poison the debate, just an observation and maybe an oversimplification of the issue.

Cheers,

Re: Yeah sure (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47301723)

If you call yourself Al- and you first name isn't Alan you are probably on a list somewhere. Now, how stupid do you have to be not to call yourself by an americanized name and avoid all detection and retribution for your terrorist actions? American citizen my ass. All this has done is to allow the fascists in this country to kill real americans. The terrorists win again. The trans-kerry party has done it to you again.

Re: Yeah sure (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 2 months ago | (#47301903)

I pity everyone living in Alabama and Alaska.

Wow (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47301161)

So it's actually possible to get a redacted memo on the reasoning behind killing a citizen in your country? Well, isn't that great?

Re:Wow (1)

daemonhunter (968210) | about 2 months ago | (#47301193)

Yes. Please make sure to add this to your trust or living will now, so that when you are killed by your government, the FOIA paperwork is already completed for your loved ones. It's the sensible thing to do.

Re:Wow (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47301217)

Which is good, because that is more than Bush would have done. Our leader has proved again that he is keeping his transparency promise.

Re:Wow (1)

greenwow (3635575) | about 2 months ago | (#47301255)

Exactly. This is the most transparent administration in the history of mankind.

Re: Wow (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47301471)

Is the Obama fan club still going to be playing the Bush card in Hilary's sixth year in the White House?

Re:Wow (1)

I'm New Around Here (1154723) | about 2 months ago | (#47301523)

Bush didn't authorize killing American citizens with drone strikes. He would not have needed to release such a memo.

Re:Wow (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47302091)

{DftT - Diversion from the Topic: exploit partisan views}

This will be my new hobby, I'm gonna tag posts with the tactic employed to manipulate the discussion.

Re:Wow (1)

meerling (1487879) | about 2 months ago | (#47301851)

It's probably a screw up.
I'm betting they intended to black out everything except a couple of random articles, both definite and indefinite (like the, an, a), but the magic marker ran dry and while that person was looking for a new one in the office supply cabinet, the messenger came by and picked it up with the other requested, but already censored to uselessness documents.

Re:Wow (1)

sumdumass (711423) | about 2 months ago | (#47302197)

Nah, it was a court that released the memo. They have no legitimate reason to hide the truth for the administration. Especially, when it appears the administration tried to negate their importance.

There was a FOIA request and it was refused. Someone took them to court and won but the administration appealed. The appeals court released the thing- presumable redacting it themselves.

"US Citizen" or "US passport holder" (-1, Flamebait)

Jorge666 (3709467) | about 2 months ago | (#47301195)

Same for other countries like UK. How many times you see on TV news and they say "British nationals" You look and "What!? "
There are passport holders and there are citizens who lived on that land for generations.
It should be properly recognized.

Vote UKIP

Re:"US Citizen" or "US passport holder" (2)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47301269)

Racist idiot.

Re:"US Citizen" or "US passport holder" (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47301355)

Stupid idiot. You're the only one who mentioned race.

Re:"US Citizen" or "US passport holder" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47301297)

You mean he had brown skin so he was not a real citizen? If you support the killing of this man I happily support putting you in a cage for the rest of your life.

Re:"US Citizen" or "US passport holder" (5, Insightful)

I'm New Around Here (1154723) | about 2 months ago | (#47301541)

If you support the killing of this man I happily support putting you in a cage for the rest of your life.

Are you in the streets demanding the same consequences for President Obama? For any of his staff?

How does this not violate the 5th and/or 14th... (3, Interesting)

Assmasher (456699) | about 2 months ago | (#47301199)

...amendments to the Constitution?

Obama is turning out to be just as bad as the Neo-Cons when it comes to "protecting us from ourselves."

Re:How does this not violate the 5th and/or 14th.. (3, Insightful)

Bartles (1198017) | about 2 months ago | (#47301215)

Worse, actually. They never did this.

Re:How does this not violate the 5th and/or 14th.. (3, Insightful)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 2 months ago | (#47301257)

Or you just never heard about it.

Re:How does this not violate the 5th and/or 14th.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47301361)

Or you just never heard about it.

So Bill Clinton had people waterboarded? Hey, I never heard about it.

Congratulations. You just manufactured the lamest "Blame BOOOSH!" strawman ever.

Re:How does this not violate the 5th and/or 14th.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47301757)

So you're saying we've reached a point where the government is no longer ashamed/scared enough to bother trying to hide or coverup their murder of US citizens?
I'm not sure that's a good thing.

Re:How does this not violate the 5th and/or 14th.. (2)

joe_frisch (1366229) | about 2 months ago | (#47301947)

That IS a major turning point. There is a huge difference between occasionally killing people in secret and declaring that the government has the right to kill citizens without a trial. Secret killings need to be limited in number or they can't be kept secret. Once execution without trials is in the open, what limits the numbers?

Re:How does this not violate the 5th and/or 14th.. (1)

reanjr (588767) | about 2 months ago | (#47301815)

Which means GOP never tried to legitimize their illegal actions, making it more difficult to follow suit in the future. Obama meanwhile wants to throw open the oppression floodgates.

Re:How does this not violate the 5th and/or 14th.. (1)

currently_awake (1248758) | about 2 months ago | (#47302141)

The government hides their dirty laundry when they are afraid you might find out. People hold back when they are afraid of getting caught. Now they are not afraid of you, so it doesn't matter if they get caught.

Re:How does this not violate the 5th and/or 14th.. (1)

Assmasher (456699) | about 2 months ago | (#47301303)

They did, actually.

The CIA killed a 'terrorist' despite knowing that a U.S. citizen, Kamal Derwish, was in the vehicle at the time.

Apparently before 2002 there was a 'secret finding' that you could assassinate U.S. citizens who the government believed were aiding Al Qaeda.

That f***ing a**hole Bin Laden won the minute we started destroying our own constitution.

Re:How does this not violate the 5th and/or 14th.. (1)

QuasiSteve (2042606) | about 2 months ago | (#47301451)

the minute we started destroying our own constitution

Are those parts, perhaps, untenable in some situations?

Example: If you're some sort of murdering loon with a predisposition to blow up schools in not-Americania where you have been living for several years, then...

If you're a "U.S. citizen", you should be captured alive and tried properly - in the U.S., of course - enjoy all the protections provided by the law, and if you're very lucky you get to be relatively comfortable while waiting to hear if you get to escape death row or - better yet - somebody messes up on a procedural element and you can be on your merry way entirely, with the general population hailing the virtues of the amendments that make this possible.

If you're not, then please enjoy these last few moments of Slashdot while we drop a bomb on you, no questions asked, with the general population shrugging or applauding once announced.

I find the whole "he was a U.S. citizen on paper, so he was more specialer" angle rather fascinating.

Re:How does this not violate the 5th and/or 14th.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47302193)

>If you're some sort of murdering loon with a predisposition to blow up schools in not-Americania where you have been living for several years, then... ...then you should be dealt with swiftly and harshly, but in accordance with whatever the laws of "not-Americania" happen to be.

The founding documents of the United States guarantee certain rights--even to rapists, terrorists, and pedophiles--to its citizens. In my opinion, it's probably best that this man no longer walks the earth. But that doesn't make it right for him to have been summarily executed. Much less his son who was also an American citizen, and a minor at that, when he was killed in a drone strike as well.

Re:How does this not violate the 5th and/or 14th.. (1)

RoknrolZombie (2504888) | about 2 months ago | (#47301505)

That f***ing a**hole Bin Laden won the minute we started destroying our own constitution.

So he won around 200 years ago? Our Rights have been eroding since day one :-/

Re:How does this not violate the 5th and/or 14th.. (1)

Bartles (1198017) | about 2 months ago | (#47301791)

Kamal Derwish was not the target. Did the CIA know he was in the car? Is George Tenet a neo-con?

Re:How does this not violate the 5th and/or 14th.. (1)

Assmasher (456699) | about 2 months ago | (#47301845)

According to the Washington Post the CIA knew he was in the car. Several news outlets report this (although that could be parroting the Washington Post); however, several early reports about the attack appear to show the CIA proud that they killed Derwish as well (although that quickly changed after people got wind that he was an American.)

Apparently there was a 'secret finding' making this ok back in 2001/2002.

George Tenet is a yes man.

Re:How does this not violate the 5th and/or 14th.. (1)

Bartles (1198017) | about 2 months ago | (#47301879)

Nice job, skirting around the relevant points. If that's the best you can offer, then you failed to back up your original statement.

Military justification (1)

Firethorn (177587) | about 2 months ago | (#47301335)

This is an interesting case.
First: "Attorney General Eric Holder last year outlined a three-pronged justification for targeted killings of a U.S. citizen who is a leader of al Qaeda: The suspect must pose an imminent threat, capture must be infeasible, and the strike needs to adhere to applicable war principles."

Hmm...
Imminent threat: IE People are going to be killed if we don't take him out. Same justification for killing a US Citizen(or anybody else) within the USA without trial.
Capture Infeasible: See the first sentence.
Adhere to applicable war principles: We would have already bombed his ass if he wasn't a US Citizen.

Now, avoiding the legality and ethics of drone strikes in the first place, I do not consider this to be an unreasonable standard. Delving INTO the ethics of drone strikes, I'd hope that all three criteria are applied to every considered strike, no matter what citizenship the potential targets(and collateral damage) hold. In addition, 'adhere to applicable war principles' probably leads to fewer bomb drops in my mind than what the administration might like.

Roughly speaking, it means that I don't consider 'US Citizen' some special category requiring extra-ordinary measures to NOT target for killing in war if said citizen is waging war against the USA. Instead I demand that such extra-ordinary measures be standard, no matter the nationality of the target. Of course, I recognize that politics will always be a concern. Hitting a British or German national in the Middle East for working with AQ will probably always involve at least a 'heads-up' call to the leaders of said nation.

Re:Military justification (2)

s.petry (762400) | about 2 months ago | (#47301575)

This is unconstitutional, period. No person shall be punished for any crime without a trial, read your Bill of Rights. There is no exception clause for US Citizen, it's all people. Them claiming "We think he's going to do something" does not even meet their own criteria. Should we all post on Facebook that Angelina Merkel is going to bomb a post office so that she can be killed by a drone? Yes, that is exactly why they killed the person in question. No proof of any plans, just that they believed it was eminent (I'm sure that they believe in the Easter Bunny too, as long as it's a convenient excuse to do something they want).

Re:Military justification (2)

mythosaz (572040) | about 2 months ago | (#47301857)

al-Aulaqi declared himself an enemy combatant and a member of a group which we are at war with, which Congress has authorized "necessary and appropriate" force against.

So, now that we have AUMF, we make sure that the DOD played by the rules of war -- check.

And finally, since it's illegal (generally speaking) to kill people, we make one last check to see if it's "murder" to kill a US citizen when they switch sides in a war. ...turns out it's not.

Boom.

Re:Military justification (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47301957)

What about all the gangstas on the enemy side of the war on drugs? We're gonna need more AC-130 gunships

Re:Military justification (1)

joe_frisch (1366229) | about 2 months ago | (#47301965)

"al-Aulaqi declared himself an enemy combatant and a member of a group which we are at war with"

Did he? How do you know?

Re:Military justification (1)

mythosaz (572040) | about 2 months ago | (#47302159)

How do you know?

Maybe the whole going to Yemen, hanging out with Fahd al-Quso and taking up a leadership role in the AQAP thing?

Re:Military justification (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47301941)

So should law enforcement be prohibited from killing an active shooter even if more people will die in the process of capturing the shooter so he can stand trial? I think most people would say that if someone is an imminent threat and capture is not feasible you can use deadly force.

Re:How does this not violate the 5th and/or 14th.. (2)

Scutter (18425) | about 2 months ago | (#47301371)

Well, if you live within 100 miles inside the boarder, you have no Rights anyway. Stands to reason it would be even more so outside the border.

Re:How does this not violate the 5th and/or 14th.. (1)

Assmasher (456699) | about 2 months ago | (#47301711)

Stop cheering me up...

Re:How does this not violate the 5th and/or 14th.. (2)

radtea (464814) | about 2 months ago | (#47301487)

The memo cites case law to justify the suppression of 4th and 5th amendment rights. For example:

at least where high-level government officials have determined that a capture operation overseas is infeasible and that the targeted person is part of a dangerous enemy force and is engaged in activities that pose a continued and imminent threat to U.S. persons or interests the use of lethal force would not violate the Fourth Amendment. and thus that the intrusion on any Fourth Amendment interests would be outweighed by "the importance of the governmental interests [that] justify the intrusion," Garner, 4 71 U.S. at 8, based on the facts that have been represented to us.

and:

In Hamdi, a plurality of the Supreme Court used the Mathews v. Eldridge balancing test to analyze the Fifth Amendment due process rights of a U.S. citizen captured on the battlefield in Afghanistan and detained in the United States who wished to challenge the government's assertion that he was a part of enemy forces, explaining rbat "the process due in any given instance is determined by weighing 'the private interest that will be affected by the official action' against the Government's asserted interest, 'including the function involved' and the burdens the Government would face in providing greater process." 542 U.S. at 529 (plurality opinion) (quoting Mathews v. Eldridge, 424 U.S. 319, 335 (1976)).

So if I'm reading this correctly, 4th amendment rights don't apply if the government deems that its interests outweigh yours, and 5th amendment rights don't apply if the the government deems that its interests outweigh yours or the government asserts that it would be excessively burdensome to give you due process.

The only reasonable interpretation of this is that the government of the United States has become exactly what the Framers feared: an utterly autocratic organization that asserts its own interests over and above the interests of citizens who may come into conflict with it.

Re:How does this not violate the 5th and/or 14th.. (1)

eatvegetables (914186) | about 2 months ago | (#47302039)

Seems unlikely that the legal arguments presented will stand up to public legal scrutiny. I'm certainly not a lawyer. However, as I read the cited comments about weighing private vs government interests, the cited commentary doesn't appear to suggest that due process can be denied altogether. Rather, the commentary appears to discuss practical issues of war that might have the effect of delaying due process. Conveniently, the Obama administration lawyers failed to comment on the legal motivation behind the Bush era Guantanamo prisoner military trials. Namely, federal courts ruled that these prisoners had due process rights even though they were enemy combatants and despite the fact that they were not U.S. Citizens. Both the dates of the legal opinions and news reports describing the Obama administration legal review process clearly show that the Obama administration had ample time and opportunity to engage in judiciary. They just chose not to do so, apparently. Given this, the al Qaida dirtbag's constitutional right to due process was trampled. Personally, I have 0 sympathy for al awlaki, but clearly Obama signed off on an executive branch doctrine of extra judicial execution of American citizens that could be used to kill just about any American overseas. Asserting that a person is a member of a terrorist group and using that assertion as justification for that person's execution without providing external review and due process is nothing short of tyranny. Granted, if Obama had to violate some American's rights, he probably picked the right person.

Re:How does this not violate the 5th and/or 14th.. (1)

s.petry (762400) | about 2 months ago | (#47301529)

What on Earth made you think he was not on that same team? The first term of "Hope and Change" was not enough to prove he is nothing more than a liar?

Re:How does this not violate the 5th and/or 14th.. (1)

Assmasher (456699) | about 2 months ago | (#47301745)

The first term of "Hope and Change" was not enough to prove he is nothing more than a liar?

Sorry, Republicans handed him the perfect excuse so that objective parties will really never be able to know given they basically said f*** you to anything the guy even thought about irrespective of whether or not it was good for America...

Re:How does this not violate the 5th and/or 14th.. (1)

pla (258480) | about 2 months ago | (#47301533)

How does this not violate the 5th and/or 14th amendments to the Constitution?

Short answer: They have stopped even caring about the pretense of observing constitutional limitations on government abuses of power.

I wouldn't blame Bush or Obama, however - The process started before the ink even dried on the constitution, though it didn't get really bad until Lincoln - that great cultural icon - took us on the first big downward slide with his suspension of habeas corpus. More recently, Johnson takes the credit for really pushing us over the edge of the "slippery slope", with Nixon merely enjoying the ride down... And don't think Bush the elder resembled your kindly old grandad back when he ran the CIA - Ford brought him in as an axe-man in the midst of a wiretapping scandal (which paled in comparison to the recent NSA revelations), and he successfully pushed all that nasty illegal business back underground so the CIA could go on to run the world narcotics trade in the 80s without any pesky oversight.

I wouldn't say "broken by design", except insofar as the founding fathers left one critical point out - Betrayal of the public trust while "serving" in any official government capacity needs to unwaveringly convey a death sentence.

And it will come to that in the next few decades, no doubt - I'd really rather prefer it not happen in my lifetime, but we can all see the dust-clouds on the horizon.

Re:How does this not violate the 5th and/or 14th.. (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 2 months ago | (#47301753)

What's worse about him is that he also lied about it.

You can say about Bush whatever you want, but he was always honest about it. He was an asshole and he never hid it. Ok, one may argue that he was too stupid to hide it, but ... hell, is that all you may choose from? Is that all the US of A can get, either a dumb asshole or a sly one?

Re:How does this not violate the 5th and/or 14th.. (1)

Assmasher (456699) | about 2 months ago | (#47301787)

You can say about Bush whatever you want, but he was always honest about it

Honest about what? Why we should invade Iraq? That we aren't torturing anyone? That the CIA didn't mean to kill that American citizen?

Obama is a worse disappointment in this regard simply because everyone with half a brain should have known that as a Neo-conservative Bush would behave that way. Obama was supposed to be a return to constitutional principles. Now he might as well be making security policy with Cheney (there's a scary thought, lol...)

Re:How does this not violate the 5th and/or 14th.. (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 2 months ago | (#47301813)

OK, "honest" would be asking a bit much from a politician. Let's rather say he was "upfront" with what he had in mind.

Or rather, with what his advisers had in mind. I doubt there was much on his mind, actually.

Re:How does this not violate the 5th and/or 14th.. (1)

Assmasher (456699) | about 2 months ago | (#47301877)

Perhaps we could settle for "incapable of subtlety"... ;)

Re:How does this not violate the 5th and/or 14th.. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47301821)

Because it didn't happen in US jurisdiction. The constitution guarantees certain rights to people in the USA. Citizenship is irrelevant - it's just as unconstitutional to intern, say, a Japanese or a Saudi as an American citizen.

And conversely, if you kill someone in Yemen, you're not breaking American law, no matter who it is - anyone from the president down. You're breaking Yemeni law, which is a completely different kettle of enforcement.

Finally, this isn't nearly as unprecedented or radical as you're making out. Abe Lincoln authorised the killing (without trial) of tens of thousands of American citizens, on American soil no less. Does history condemn him for that?

Apparently someone is forgetting WW2. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47302203)

We interned Multi-generational Japanese Americans and German Americans and worse yet in many cases forced the camps to be on Native American reservations rather than Federal Land (some were, but the Rez's were considered more difficult to escape out of than any close-by federal land.)

It's not anything NEW, but it is something we've been told 'was long ago, and we're too civilized now to do again.'

But don't blame Obama right?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47301229)

He is just one guy right? He is only the president right? And he is the good guy right? I realize Bush Jr. may have preceded Obama's circumventions of the constitution but isn't it time yet for the left to start calling Obama out for it too???

Lovely Latin (4, Informative)

IonOtter (629215) | about 2 months ago | (#47301235)

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 (4, Interesting)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 2 months ago | (#47301267)

The history of warfare is subdivided into three phases: retribution, anticipation, and diplomacy. Thus, retribution: “I’m going to kill you because you killed my brother.” Anticipation: “I’m going to kill you because I killed your brother.” And diplomacy: “I’m going to kill my brother and then kill you on the pretext that your brother did it.”

Re:Lovely Latin (3, Informative)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 2 months ago | (#47301275)

With credit to Douglas Adams, sorry for the omission.

Lovely Latin (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47301731)

They didn't come up with the justification later. They came up with it first. That's what this memo is. The justification.

Murder (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47301319)

Why doesn't anyone use the correct term.

Re:Murder (0)

Overzeetop (214511) | about 2 months ago | (#47301423)

People murder. Governments execute.

I'm fascinated by the distinction that place of birth warrants for someone who is a terrorists, living and operating in a foreign country against the interests of the united states. Especially since they were trying to strip him of those magical papers a year before they finally killed him.

Where is the traditional "Wanted: Dead or Alive" mentality that always rises up in 2nd Amendment supporters when there's a chance to stop a crime that might have only been a robbery of a fast food store or a corner convenience mart? Or is it just that Obama ordered the hit in this sub-human and you don't want to admit that he was right?

Re:Murder (1)

sribe (304414) | about 2 months ago | (#47301483)

Where is the traditional "Wanted: Dead or Alive" mentality that always rises up in 2nd Amendment supporters when there's a chance to stop a crime that might have only been a robbery of a fast food store or a corner convenience mart?

When you shoot someone who is in the process of committing an armed crime, there is no question as to whether or not they are actually the guilty party.

Also, usually, you are responding to an actual current, possibly deadly, threat--as opposed to the courts who only consider crimes after the fact, when the accused is detained safely.

Re:Murder (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47302081)

I am a 2A supporter and yes, I do not trust the government with my guns, and I trust the government even less with the lives of my fellow citizens. I do not believe our government should be given the right to execute any one of its citizens when that citizen is not an imminent threat to the lives of others.

Preaching hate and intolerance is not an imminent threat, otherwise we would be bombing NewsCorp.

Re:Murder (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47302167)

So you agree with the governments reasoning, but disagree on whether he was an imminent threat?

Re:Murder (2)

Virtucon (127420) | about 2 months ago | (#47301795)

Premeditated Murder, a Capital crime punishable by death in some states.

Re:Murder (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 2 months ago | (#47301797)

It would probably not be politically correct.

what is so special (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47301407)

about striking an us citizen as opposed to say an Iraqi, an Albanian, a German, or a Mexican? They do not seem to have problems with most Arab countries. Not people? Not deserving a trial?

Re:what is so special (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47301467)

US laws protect US citizens, it s the job of those other countries to protect their citizens from aggressors.

Re:what is so special (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47302139)

Bullshit. The US constitution and other laws make a very clear distinction between "person" and "citizen" and use them where appropriate. Generally, citizenship only matters when traveling and voting. The rest of the laws talk about persons in general and apply exactly the same to non-citizens.

Re:what is so special (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#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:what is so special (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47302209)

This is just plain not true.

US law protects people in the USA. That's how "laws" work - they apply to a geographical area, not to a diaspora of people spread across the world. If you go to, say, Thailand, you don't carry a little bubble of "US law" with you that allows you to, e.g., carry a gun and badmouth the king while you're there.

Likewise, if a Thai comes to America, they can do those things. There are other things they can't legally do that they could back home, like visiting a prostitute (past the age of consent).

Citizenship has nothing to do with it. Not a thing. If you're in America and you kill a Thai, you're just as guilty of murder - by US law - as if you'd killed an American. And if you're in Yemen when someone murders you, they're not breaking US law - they're breaking Yemeni law.

Re: what is so special (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47301507)

Because our Constitution says our government is expressly forbidden from using our military against us.

Re: what is so special (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47301799)

Really? Where does it say that?

Since this IS a Democracy, right... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47301461)

Do we at least get to vote on who we blow up with hellfire?

Condensed Version of the PDF. (2)

mythosaz (572040) | about 2 months ago | (#47301709)

The PDF is interesting, but essentially boils down to:

Americans killing Americans is sometimes justified.

Since when does as assistant atty general (1, Flamebait)

Virtucon (127420) | about 2 months ago | (#47301781)

Since when does a fucking bureaucrat, an acting assistant attorney general put some shit like this together and allows a capricious administration to decide who lives and dies, especially if they're a citizen of this country. Yes it was for our esteemed retard Eric Holder who ignores laws he doesn't agree with but that's beside the point. The US Military killed a US Citizen here without due process under the guises that it was "justified." Shit, If any of us tried that the judge would laugh at us and lock us up and throw away the key if we committed premeditated murder. True Anwar al-Awlaki could have been considered a terrorist but he still was a citizen of this country and by the governments labeling him a terrorist that now suddenly makes him a valid target? This sounds like Ruby Ridge all over again and I'm sorry I thought we were a nation of laws where the rights of the accused were protected. This administration has obviously gone way the fuck over the line here in this.

Go capture him, put him on trial but what gave this administration the right to start bypassing constitutional and civil rights afforded to all citizens? This is abhorrent.

Free Drone Strikes (1)

Prien715 (251944) | about 2 months ago | (#47302053)

Good new everyone!

All you have to do to claim your FREE drone strike is to simply mention the word "Allah" and criticize US policy in a comment below! It's that easy! Here at the Homeland Department, we've reduced the amount of government red tape you need to get a drone strike on your house. Annoying procedures like "trials" and "juries" have been removed -- saving you time and money!

But wait, there's more! Reply in the next 10 minutes, and we'll even throw in a 2nd drone strike for your family! That's right, two drones strikes for one comment.*

* Offer can only be redeemed in the Middle East. Offer void in Saudi Arabia. Some terms and restrictions apply. Must be 18 or older unless your parents signs up for the "family plan".

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