Drones, cont’d

No courts are necessary.

If the government doesn’t like what (it thinks) you say or do, it can, apparently, just kill you. No evidence or judicial process necessary. All the state has to do is first relabel you: not a criminal but a “terrorist.” Then you are fodder for the cannon, according to the new age of fiat assassination coming out of the State Department.

The US has already assassinated four of its own citizens. Here is how the White House Press Secretary justified it:

“I would suggest that you should have a far more responsible father if they are truly concerned about the well being of their children.”

Now the government appears to be trying to mainstream the process, by moving it into the Pentagon (from the CIA) and edging it slowly into public view via strategic leaks.

From Friday (New York Times):

Mr. Shami, a militant who American officials say is living in the barren mountains of northwestern Pakistan, is at the center of a debate inside the government over whether President Obama should once again take the extraordinary step of authorizing the killing of an American citizen overseas.

It is a debate that encapsulates some of the thorniest questions raised by the targeted killing program that Mr. Obama has embraced as president: under what circumstances the government may kill American citizens without a trial…. 

As it was in Mr. Awlaki’s case, the Justice Department has been enlisted to evaluate whether a lethal operation against Mr. Shami is legally justified, but it appears that the Obama administration remains divided on the issue. Several officials said that the C.I.A. has long advocated killing Mr. Shami, and that the Pentagon, while initially reluctant to put him on a target list, has more recently come to the C.I.A.’s position. … American officials said that as part of the new rules ordered by Mr. Obama, the Pentagon, rather than the C.I.A., is supposed to carry out any lethal strike against an American overseas

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