ACLU Sues CIA Over Drone Killings
Drone killings constitute murder.
by Stephen Lendman
Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) have been around since the Vietnam era. They were used as reconnaissance platforms. In the 1980s, Harpy air defense suppression system radar killer drones were employed. In the Gulf War, unmanned combat air systems (UCAS) and X-45 air vehicles were used.
Others were deployed in Bosnia in 1995 and against Serbia in 1999. America's new weapon of choice is now commonplace in Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Libya, Somalia, Yemen, elsewhere abroad, and domestically for law enforcement and surveillance. Escalated domestic and foreign use is planned.
A previous article called drone warfare remote control killing like sport. From distant or nearby command centers, operators wage virtual war.
They dismissively ignore human carnage. It shows up as computer screen blips. They look no different from video game images. The difference, of course, is people die.
They're mostly noncombatants. Studies show militants are successfully hit about 2% of the time. Others are wrongly targeted or happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
On January 13, 2010, the ACLU petitioned Washington under the Freedom of Information ACT (FOIA). It requested legal justification claimed for conducting predator drone targeted killings abroad.
In March 2010, the ACLU filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit. As part of its challenge, it collected about 200 on-and-off the record public statements. Former and current US officials made them.
It "demand(ed) that the government disclose the legal basis for its use of unmanned drones to conduct targeted killings overseas."
"In particular, the lawsuit asks for information on when, where and against whom drone strikes can be authorized, the number and rate of civilian casualties and the other basis information essential for assessing the wisdom and legality of using armed drones to conduct targeted killings."
In court briefs, Justice Department lawyers claimed revealing sensitive documents would compromise national security. How many times before have we heard that? It doesn't wash.
The same excuse is given in political prosecution cases. Secret evidence is used to convict. Defense attorneys and defendants can't contest it. Who knows if it exists?
On September 13, ProPublica.org headlined "How the Gov't Talks About a Drone Program it Won't Acknowledge Exists," saying: