Yemen, Targeted Killing & the "Rule of Law"

By Debra Sweet 

The Crimes are Crimes - No Matter Who Does Them statement World Can't Wait published last month, signed by 35 well known people, has just gotten an answer of sorts, also in The New York Times today. 


A quarter page ad on the opinion page by the Washington Legal Foundation attacks the ACLU and The Center for Constitutional Rights for opening "an alarming new front in the activist campaign to judicially impose a myopic view of "civil liberties" on U.S. anti'terror decisions."

I transcribed the ad on my blog.  The ad centers on the lawsuit, brought by CCR and the ACLU in US federal court, where attorneys argued last Monday that the Obama administration should be enjoined from putting anyone on the "to - be - killed" list -- and certainly from actually killing them -- without due process.  Unless you argue that international law doesn't apply, as the Obama administration does, this is stand against arbitrary state killing seems basic to defend rights of inpiduals against the force of government. especially a government with the largest military in world history.

The loathesome ad, claims, with no evidence, that "numerous former Guantanamo Bay detainees" are now top leaders of al Qaeda.  The ad argues for NO check on executive authority; that  "the judiciary and agenda-driven lawyers" are dangerous" to U.S. national security.  It warns, with no evidence, "For instance, suits like the one brought on behalf of al-Awlaki could severely curtail the use of unmanned Predator drones, leading to increased U.S. military and civilian casualties once courts force anti-terror operations to rely on more land assaults."

The big picture here is that the U.S. is rapidly -- and without any public discussion -- expanding the "war on terror" into Yemen, an extremely poor country with little infrastructure, and ongoing, outrageous human rights violations by its despotic government.  The Wall Street Journal reports today that US operations may include "elite Special Operations hunter-killer teams in Yemen to the control of the CIA."  The U.S. is working with the feudal kingdom of Saudi Arabia to and pouring money into Yemen, as yet another front in the "overseas contingency operation" re-branded by the Obama administration.

In Obama set to escalate secret war in Yemen Justin Eliott writes in Salon, "The Obama Administration has U.S. military trainers on the ground in Yemen and has already launched an attack and possibly multiple attacks in the country, drawing relatively little public attention and virtually no debate in Congress. Analysts and news reports suggest that the administration is now poised to escalate the secret war in Yemen, possibly by launching drone attacks targeting suspected terrorists."


Listen to Pardiss Kebriaei, CCR Attorney in the al-Aulaqi case, November 15 on WBAI.


Do we accept a country with no check on the arbitrary use of torture, targeted killing, covert operations and drone bombings, due process be damned?  There are voices, like the attorneys at CCR and the ACLU challenging this program and legal writers, like Glenn Greenwald, Democrats and the Rule of Law and Scott Horton The White House, the Pentagon, and Central Asia