ACTION ALERT: Stop the Drones and Challenge Obama's Illegal 'Kill List'
November 21, 2010 Brave New Films/Rethink Afghanistan & The Center for Constitutional Rights
Drone strikes and other extrajudicial killings outside of war zones are skyrocketing under the Obama Administration -- and US citizens are on the kill list. Some estimates indicate that more than 90 percent of those killed in secret US drone attacks are civilians, a fact that increases hatred for America and puts our nation at risk. Meanwhile, the White House also insists it has the right to kill US citizens.
Stop the Drones Brave New Films / Rethink Afghanistan
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(November 20, 2010) -- Drone strikes and other extrajudicial killings outside of war zones are skyrocketing under the Obama Administration -- and US citizens are on the kill list.
That may sound too shocking to believe, but it's true. It's also completely unacceptable.
Sign our petition urging President Obama to stop targeted killings beyond war zones and to demand transparency for how people end up on the "kill lists."
These strikes are a real threat to your safety. Every time a civilian dies, we give al-Qaida a huge recruiting opportunity and validate their propaganda, and some estimates indicate that more than 90 percent of those killed are civilians. Because these strikes are carried out in secret, those who execute them do so with little or no accountability for the harm they cause to civilians and to our security.
Our new video shows the terrible impact of drone strikes and other extrajudicial killings, often taking place in support of the brutal, flailing war policy in Afghanistan. It shows that these strikes stoke popular anger against the US, and that extrajudicial killings without accountability are a basic threat to our democracy.
We've got to stop them.
Sign our petition and help us raise the alarm about the danger to US citizens, at home and abroad, from unaccountable drone strikes and other extrajudicial killings.
Derrick Crowe, Robert Greenwald and the Brave New Foundation team
I strongly urge you to stop targeted killings (including drone strikes and other killings) beyond war zones unless there's an imminent threat, and I insist that your administration disclose the criteria used to determine how US citizens end up on kill lists.
Rights Groups File Challenge To Targeted Killing By US CCR And ACLU Charge That Practice Violates The Constitution And International Law
NEW YORK – The American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) today filed a lawsuit challenging the government's asserted authority to carry out "targeted killings" of US citizens located far from any armed conflict zone.
The authority contemplated by the Obama administration is far broader than what the Constitution and international law allow, the groups charge. Outside of armed conflict, both the Constitution and international law prohibit targeted killing except as a last resort to protect against concrete, specific, and imminent threats of death or serious physical injury. An extrajudicial killing policy under which names are added to CIA and military "kill lists" through a secret executive process and stay there for months at a time is plainly not limited to imminent threats.
"The United States cannot simply execute people, including its own citizens, anywhere in the world based on its own say-so," said Vince Warren, Executive Director of CCR. "The law prohibits the government from killing without trial or conviction other than in the face of an imminent threat that leaves no time for deliberation or due process. That the government adds people to kill lists after a bureaucratic process and leaves them on the lists for months at a time flies in the face of the Constitution and international law."
The groups charge that targeting individuals for execution who are suspected of terrorism but have not been convicted or even charged -- without oversight, judicial process or disclosed standards for placement on kill lists -- also poses the risk that the government will erroneously target the wrong people.
In recent years, the US government has detained many men as terrorists, only for courts or the government itself to discover later that the evidence was wrong or unreliable.
According to today's legal complaint, the government has not disclosed the standards it uses for authorizing the premeditated and deliberate killing of US citizens located far from any battlefield. The groups argue that the American people are entitled to know the standards being used for these life and death decisions.
"A program that authorizes killing US citizens, without judicial oversight, due process or disclosed standards is unconstitutional, unlawful and un-American," said Anthony D. Romero, Executive Director of the ACLU. "We don't sentence people to prison on the basis of secret criteria, and we certainly shouldn’t sentence them to death that way. It is not enough for the executive branch to say 'trust us' -- we have seen that backfire in the past and we should learn from those mistakes."
CCR and the ACLU were retained by Nasser Al-Aulaqi to bring a lawsuit in connection with the government's decision to authorize the targeted killing of his son, US citizen Anwar Al-Aulaqi, whom the CIA and Defense Department have targeted for death.
The complaint asks a court to rule that using lethal force far from any battlefield and without judicial process is illegal in all but the narrowest circumstances and to prohibit the government from carrying out targeted killings except in compliance with these standards. It also asks the court to order the government to disclose the standards it uses to place US citizens on government kill lists.
Today’s lawsuit was filed against the CIA, Defense Department and the president in the US District Court for the District of Columbia. Attorneys on the case are Jameel Jaffer, Ben Wizner and Jonathan Manes of the ACLU; Pardiss Kebriaei, Maria LaHood and Bill Quigley of CCR; and Arthur B. Spitzer of the ACLU of the Nation's Capital. Co-counsel in Yemen is Mohammed Allawo of the Allawo Law Firm and the National Organization for Defending Human Rights (HOOD).
For more information on the case, including factsheets and legal papers, visit: www.aclu.org/targetedkillings and ccrjustice.org/targetedkillings.
The ACLU is our nation's guardian of liberty, working daily in courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties that the Constitution and laws of the United States guarantee everyone in this country. Visit www.aclu.org. Obama Administration Claims Unchecked Authority To Kill Americans Outside Combat Zones Center for Constitutional Rights
Federal Court Hears Arguments Today In ACLU And CCR Case Challenging Administration's Claimed Authority To Assassinate Americans It Designates Threats
WASHINGTON (November 8, 2010) -- The Obama administration today argued before a federal court that it should have unreviewable authority to kill Americans the executive branch has unilaterally determined to pose a threat.
Government lawyers made that claim in response to a lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) charging that the administration's asserted targeted killing authority violates the Constitution and international law. The US District Court for the District of Columbia heard arguments from both sides today.
"Not only does the administration claim to have sweeping power to target and kill US citizens anywhere in the world, but it makes the extraordinary claim that the court has no role in reviewing that power or the legal standards that apply," said CCR Staff Attorney Pardiss Kebriaei, who presented arguments in the case.
"The Supreme Court has repeatedly rejected the government's claim to an unchecked system of global detention, and the district court should similarly reject the administration's claim here to an unchecked system of global targeted killing."
The ACLU and CCR were retained by Nasser Al-Aulaqi to bring a lawsuit in connection with the government's decision to authorize the targeted killing of his son, US citizen Anwar Al-Aulaqi.
The lawsuit asks the court to rule that, outside the context of armed conflict, the government can carry out the targeted killing of an American citizen only as a last resort to address an imminent threat to life or physical safety. The lawsuit also asks the court to order the government to disclose the legal standard it uses to place US citizens on government kill lists.
"If the Constitution means anything, it surely means that the president does not have unreviewable authority to summarily execute any American whom he concludes is an enemy of the state," said Jameel Jaffer, Deputy Legal Director of the ACLU, who presented arguments in the case.
"It's the government's responsibility to protect the nation from terrorist attacks, but the courts have a crucial role to play in ensuring that counterterrorism policies are consistent with the Constitution."
The government filed a brief in the case in September, claiming that the executive's targeted killing authority is a "political question" that should not be subject to judicial review. The government also asserted the "state secrets" privilege, contending that the case should be dismissed to avoid the disclosure of sensitive information.
The lawsuit was filed against CIA Director Leon Panetta, Defense Secretary Robert Gates and President Barrack Obama in the US District Court for the District of Columbia.
Attorneys on the case are Jaffer, Ben Wizner, Jonathan Manes and Jennifer Turner of the ACLU; Kebriaei, Maria LaHood and Bill Quigley of CCR; and Arthur B. Spitzer of the ACLU of the Nation's Capital. Co-counsel in Yemen is Mohammed Allawo of the Allawo Law Firm and the National Organization for Defending Human Rights (HOOD).
For more information on the case, including fact sheets and legal papers, visit www.ccrjustice.org/targetedkillings
The Center for Constitutional Rights is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Founded in 1966 by attorneys who represented civil rights movements in the South, CCR is a non-profit legal and educational organization committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change.