Nothing Can Stop Drone Strikes On U.S. Citizens
The first thing that makes this so uncomfortable is the fact that two men and a teenage boy were killed by their government, most likely without warning. Regardless of whether or not they had actually committed a crime, their extrajudicial killing was, at best, vigilante justice and, at worst, outright murder.
The second scary thought is that this could also happen to you. It starts with the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which was just renewed for 2013. In this act, the government reserves that right of “indefinite detention of American citizens without due process at the discretion of the President.” This sentence, in Section 1021, effectively discredits the Fifth Amendment’s right of due process and a fair trial. So, if the government suspects you of being a terrorist, associating with terrorists, or supporting an organization with links to terrorism, you could be arrested and held without trial, or, worse yet, executed without warning.
Thus far, the 2011 killings have been the only time drone strikes were used to murder Americans – that we know of. This is because in addition to engaging in unconstitutional murder of American citizens, the government refuses to release documents that could explain the rationale for killing Americans with targeted drone strikes.
Both the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and The New York Times used the Freedom of Information Act to request documents about the 2011 drone strikes and both organizations were refused access to the documents because of “security concerns.” A recent ruling by a federal judge sides with the government and denies access to these documents. But the wording of the ruling belies its decision. The judge seems to be unsure of her conclusion:
“I can find no way around the thicket of laws and precedents that effectively allow the Executive Branch of our Government to proclaim as perfectly lawful certain actions that seem on their face incompatible with our Constitution and laws, while keeping the reason for their conclusion a secret.”
The judge also writes that the ACLU and the Times argue “eloquently … why in a democracy the government should be addressing those questions [about drone strikes] openly and fully.”
Why then, did she rule against them? For now, all we know that it is legal for the government to kill American citizens traveling abroad who are suspected of having links to terrorist organizations. Apparently, in the War on Terror, the Constitution no longer has any meaning.
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