Obama’s Secret Assassination Program
Thursday, December 29, 2011
Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, killed by a U.S. drone
Having succeeded a president who relied on secrecy to thwart terrorism, Barack Obama has himself established a clandestine and “extensive apparatus” to hunt down and assassinate terror suspects across the globe.
Whereas George W. Bush’s war-on-terror relied on secret prisons, Obama has focused on drones to selectively “remove” alleged threats to the United States.
According to information compiled by the New America Foundation, during the Bush administration the use of U.S. drones was limited to Pakistan. Since Obama took office, the drone campaigns have continued in Pakistan and spread to Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, Libya and Iran.
The details of the use of drones by the U.S. military in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Libya have been relatively public knowledge, but the CIA operations have been kept secret.
“Other commanders in chief have presided over wars with far higher casualty counts,” wrote Greg Miller of The Washington Post. “But no president has ever relied so extensively on the secret killing of individuals to advance the nation’s security goals.”
In the process of utilizing unmanned aircraft, the Obama administration has nearly joined the Central Intelligence Agency and the military together as the two have worked closely together to carry out air strikes. This partnership has been evident in Yemen, where the spy agency and the military’s Joint Special Operations Command went after “the same adversary with nearly identical aircraft.”
The result was the assassination of three U.S. citizens, two of whom, Anwar al-Awlaki, the U.S.-born cleric, and Samir Khan, an al-Qaeda propagandist from North Carolina, were suspected al-Qaeda operatives. The third, Awlaki’s 16-year-old son, Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, had been visiting his father.
President Bill Clinton lifted the ban on CIA assassinations in 1998, but limited their use to specific targets, such as Osama bin Laden, and only if capture was not “feasible.” George W. Bush dropped the “feasible” limitation and eliminated the need for a specified list of targets. The first CIA drone killing took place in Yemen on November 5, 2002, and included the death of an American citizen, Buffalo-born Kamal Derwish.
-David Wallechinsky, Noel Brinkerhoff
Under Obama, an Emerging Global Apparatus for Drone Killing (by Greg Miller, Washington Post)
Secrecy Defines Obama’s Drone War (by Karen DeYoung, Washington Post)
Third U.S. Citizen Killed by Obama’s Yemen Drone Strikes was a 16-Year-Old Boy (by Noel Brinkerhoff and David Wallechinsky, AllGov)
Obama Assassinates Two Americans…and Due Process is Transformed into No More than an Historical Concept (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)
Obama Creates Secret Panel to Choose Americans to be Killed (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)
The Year of the Drone (New America Foundation)
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