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altezon

....
ACLU Seeks Accounting for Remote-Control Warfare



UAV Ground Control Station Operation, in the US via satellite.


The United States has used drones since at least 2001 to kill high-level terrorist operatives
abroad, particularly in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen. According to various
organizations, policy forums, watchdog groups, and media outlets, the Obama administration has
significantly increased the number of targeted drone killings. In October 2009, Philip Alston, the
UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial killings, formally asked for a legal opinion from the Obama
administration on why its drone program does not violate international law. Specifically, Alston
asserted that the use of drones by the United States, particularly absent appropriate precautions
and accountability mechanisms or when conducted by the CIA, would be considered unlawful under
international law.

On March 26, 2010 U.S. Legal Adviser Harold Koh responded, asserting that drone warfare is lawful self-defense.

Koh first stated that "U.S. targeting practices, including lethal operations conducted with the use
of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), comply with all applicable law, including the laws of war." He
further explained that the United States is in "an armed conflict with al Qaeda, the Taliban, and
the associated forces" and thus has the lawful right to use force "consistent with its inherent
right to self-defense" under international law in response to the 9/11 attacks. Under domestic law,
he stated that targeted killings are authorized by the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force
(AUMF). Although he contended that these international and domestic legal grounds "continue to this
day," he also provided additional justification for current U.S. actions based on continued attacks
and intent by al Qaeda. He concluded that the existence of this "ongoing armed conflict" grants
legal authority to the United States to protect its citizens through the use of force, including
lethal force, as a matter of self-defense.

(Inside Justice - March 26, 2010)
http://www.insidejustice.com/law/index.p...03/26/p254



[Image: 800px-081131-F-7734Q-001.jpg]
MQ-1 Predator with two Hellfire missiles:
... the primary UAV used for attacks in Afghanistan and the Pakistani tribal areas by the CIA since 2001.



[Image: uav4tf3.jpg]
MQ-9 Reaper
... 3X as fast with 15X the ordnance of the MQ-1, used for attacks
in Afghanistan and the Pakistani tribal areas by the USAF since 2007.



[Image: MQ-1-Predator-UAS-76.jpg]
AGM-114 Hellfire missile
... standard UAV ordnance, armor-piercing, designed for anti-tank warfare


The American Civil Liberties Union filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit March 16th
demanding 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 other
basic information essential for assessing the wisdom and legality of using armed drones to conduct
targeted killings.


"The public has a right to know whether the targeted killings being carried out in its name are
consistent with international law and with America's interests and values," said Jonathan Manes, a
legal fellow with the ACLU National Security Project. "The Obama administration should disclose
basic information about the program, including its legal basis and limits, and the civilian
casualty toll thus far."

The CIA and the military have used unmanned drones to target and kill individuals not only in
Afghanistan and Iraq but also in Pakistan and, in at least one case in 2002, Yemen. The technology
allows U.S. personnel to observe targeted individuals in real time and launch missiles intended to
kill them from control centers located thousands of miles away. Recent reports, including public
statements from the director of national intelligence, indicate that U.S. citizens have been placed
on the list of targets who can be hunted and killed with drones
.


The ACLU made an initial FOIA request for information on the drone program in January. Today's
lawsuit against the Defense Department, the State Department and the Justice Department seeks to
enforce that request. None of the three agencies have provided any documents in response to the
request, nor have they given any reason for withholding documents as required by law. The CIA
answered the ACLU's request by refusing to confirm or deny the existence of any relevant documents.
The CIA is not a defendant in today's lawsuit because the ACLU will first appeal the CIA's
non-response to the Agency Release Panel.


"The government's use of drones to conduct targeted killings raises complicated questions – not
only legal questions, but policy and moral questions as well," said Jameel Jaffer, Director of the
ACLU National Security Project. "These kinds of questions ought to be discussed and debated
publicly, not resolved secretly behind closed doors. While the Obama administration may
legitimately withhold intelligence information as well as sensitive information about military
strategy, it should disclose basic information about the scope of the drone program, the legal
basis for the program and the civilian casualties that have resulted from the program."

The ACLU's lawsuit seeks, in addition to information about the legal basis for the drone program,
information about how the program is overseen and data regarding the number of civilians and
non-civilians killed in the strikes. Estimates of civilian casualties provided by anonymous
government officials quoted in the press and by various non-governmental analysts differ
dramatically, from the dozens to the hundreds, giving an incomplete and inconsistent picture of the
human cost of the program. (American Civil Liberties Union - March 16, 2010)

http://www.aclu.org/national-security/ac...ne-program


Statement of Professor Philip Alston, John Norton Pomeroy Professor of Law, NYU School of Law, former U.N. Special
Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions (2004-2010), and author of a report on targeted killings
that he submitted June 2010 to the U.N. Human Rights Council:

Quote:The United States' assertion of an ever-expanding but ill-defined license to commit targeted killings against individuals
around the globe, without accountability, does grave damage to the international legal frameworks designed to protect the
right to life. Targeted killing -- defined as the intentional, premeditated, and deliberate use of lethal force, by a
state or its agents acting under color of law, against a specific individual who is not in the perpetrator’s custody --
is permitted only in exceptional circumstances. Targeted killing is usually legal only in armed conflict situations when
used against combatants or fighters, or civilians who directly engage in combat-like activities, and international law
requires that any state that uses targeted killing must demonstrate that its actions comply with the laws of war.

To comply with its accountability obligations, the United States should disclose when and where it has authorized its
forces, including the Central Intelligence Agency, to kill, the criteria for individuals who may be killed, how the U.S.
Government ensures killings are legal, and what follow-up there is when civilians are illegally killed. Disclosure of
these basic legal determinations is the very essence of accountability, but the United States has so far failed to meet
this requirement. Instead, it has claimed a broad and novel theory that there is a 'law of 9/11' that enables it to
legally use force in the territory of other States as part of its inherent right to self-defence on the basis that it is
in an armed conflict with al-Qaeda, the Taliban and undefined ‘associated forces’. This expansive and open-ended
interpretation of the right to self-defence threatens to destroy the prohibition on the use of armed force contained in
the UN Charter, which is essential to the international rule of law. If other states were to claim the broad-based
authority that the United States does, to kill people anywhere, anytime, the result would be chaos. The serious
challenges posed by terrorism are undeniable, but the fact that enemies do not play by the rules does not mean that the
U.S. Government can unilaterally re-interpret them or cast them aside. The credibility of the U.S. Government's claim
that it has turned the page on previous wrongdoing and seeks to uphold the rule of law in its actions against alleged
'terrorists' is called into question by its targeted killing policy.
(ACLU - August 3, 2010)

http://www.aclu.org/national-security/st...ue-process


so what's your stance?

altezon


The Brookings Institute estimated a year ago that UAV attacks in Pakistan kill ten times as many
civilians as al Qaeda and Taliban targets. The attacks have quadrupled in frequency since Obama
became president, and now our government no longer releases official death counts.

My take on these statistics is that US planners are determined to exterminate anyone capable
of mounting World-Trade-Center-scale attacks, and they're willing to inflict collateral damage
on noncombatants for a high-value target. It isn't a 'terrorist' mentality, because they don't
deliberately target civilians or expect the high civilian death toll to dishearten the enemy.

A secret 'hit list' of individuals marked for death is probably unlawful without a genuine state of war.
I don't think the "war on terrorism" should be considered a real war any more than the "war on drugs".


look at these 2 poor bastards in the video,playing a video game,you can count them with the collateral damage.
the only thing we need now is remote controlled civilians
how sad

altezon

When you think about it, it's not much more of a video game than
what today's high-tech pilots use (the one's who are actually in a cockpit).
The careful check-list reminds me of a NASA launch countdown, not likely entrusted to robot types.

I assume the civilians in the area realize they're harboring wanted men.
I'm not understanding the remote control warfare angle. Are they saying that just because those planes are technically unmanned, then those missions are not obligated to abide by the statutes of warfare (and therefore the collateral damage doesn't officially "count")? Huh

altezon

I don't think so. UAV's are doing all the damage. The same arguments would apply if there were manned aircraft doing the same.
Many people think it's unsporting to kill people from a comfortable chair on the other side of the planet, but that's not at issue.
It isn't a huge number like it was in Iraq -- I think Pakistani civilian deaths are around 1200 over the past nine years.
Having a secret hit list that may include American citizens is a big deal.
the civilians in the area are harboring their family members,the children are not harboring anybody

altezon

They don't know that wanted men are hiding among them? I think even the children know that.

mrmod

A child's perception is a bit different. They might understand that there might be some "bad" people looking for the guest staying at theirs, but children don't understand the depth of the whole situation imo. Then again I've never been a child whose parents were harbouring wanted men, but hey Blush...
i have. it happens all the time. it will happen a lot more on the afghan pakistan border. sometimes through fear sometimes through loyalty. sj is most def right. kids don't harbour anyone. but if a childs parant does then what do they think of their child's safety?

i think drones are excellent weapons of war and often save live (of those using them) i don't agree that they just be fired into civilian arears where innocent families live (or kids)
i do think under such circumstances where terrorists use families their own or someone elses to harbour themselves, the pakistani gov should invite a few elite seek and destroy kill squads over. (definitely not the philippino ones Wink )
\
the question for me boils down to this. is one life worth more than another. (in my case it's worth more than every other life) and the answer has to be no. if killing a terrorist means killing a civilian then no it's not worth it. accidental collateral damage i can accept but ddrone dropping bombs on a house that has kids in the yard. or women washing clothes or anyone else other than a terrorist is wrong. if they were at war with the people of pakistan the fuck it bomb and get it over with but not picking individual targets in sovereign nations borders that aren't known terrorist.

what happened to the real black ops ops where they went in killed who they wanted and got out? i really do miss those chuck norris days Sad
(08-26-2010, 03:11 AM)altezon Wrote: [ -> ]They don't know that wanted men are hiding among them? I think even the children know that.
No, I don't think we want to get into a discussion justifying the killing of children by saying they are complicit. That's just... Confused

US went into this war with a moral ascendancy over the terrorists... it's a bit cheap to turn around and say it's A-OK to kill civilians in the name of their cause.

altezon

(08-26-2010, 10:47 AM)billy Wrote: [ -> ]i think drones are excellent weapons of war and often save live (of those using them) i don't agree that they just be fired into civilian arears where innocent families live (or kids). *** drone dropping bombs on a house that has kids in the yard. or women washing clothes or anyone else other than a terrorist is wrong.

Do you know if that's happened?

(08-26-2010, 10:47 AM)billy Wrote: [ -> ]accidental collateral damage i can accept but if they were at war with the people of pakistan then fuck it bomb and get it over with but not picking individual targets in sovereign nations borders that aren't known terrorist.

The US has the cooperation of the Pakistani government, which is unable to control the area in question.
So it's not a question of poaching on a sovereign nation without declaring war, but more like policing "with extreme prejudice".
Only persons identified as 'terrorists' are targeted. But the list is secret, and some targets may be entitled to due process before being killed.


(08-25-2010, 12:41 PM)srijantje Wrote: [ -> ]look at these 2 poor bastards in the video,playing a video game,you can count them with the collateral damage.
the only thing we need now is remote controlled civilians. how sad

How did you become interested in civilian casualties from UAV attacks? Just a news report that stuck in your mind? [Image: hmm.gif]
Quote:altezon; Do you know if that's happened?
in relation to drones dropping bombs on civilians

yes, the usa army have admitted it numerous times. weddings schools to many to mention, i never saw it but both sides say it's so, so i'll believe them.
i've also seen pics of dead kids and adults in the open. so i'll say yes it does happen. sometimes when droning a civilian area mistakes are bound to happen. it's called collateral damage. do you know if it hasn't happened, do you think it's hasn't happened?

Quote:aletezon; The US has the cooperation of the Pakistani government, which is unable to control the area in question.
So it's not a question of poaching on a sovereign nation without declaring war, but more like policing "with extreme prejudice".
Only persons identified as 'terrorists' are targeted. But the list is secret, and some targets may be entitled to due process before being killed.

if you think the usa has only hit terrorist targets. then you need to inquire as who was driving all the american tanks and armour that were bombed
you also need to send a letter to the pentagon and ask them why they admit to so much collateral damage, you do know what collateral damage is Wink

re your the text in bold; they may only target terrorists (which i doubt) but kids are not terrorists and kids get killed by the bombs.


Quote:altezon to sj;How did you become interested in civilian casualties from UAV attacks? Just a news report that stuck in your mind?

i think it's called called humanity. the having of it, as opposed to being apathetic. if everyone in the world had it we wouldn't have civilian casualties Wink jmo

altezon

It's a lot easier to crow about yer alleged humanity than to do a bit of research, isn't it?

billy Wrote:i don't have to research collateral damage it's thrown at us all every day via the media. could you respond to the other points as well or has the height of the discussion resorted to name calling?

Claim's offered as common knowledge aren't "points" after a request for evidence is declined.
thanks for the source sj

to say there's no collateral damage to these bombings just stuns me.
to actually require source material to show collateral damage in that area or in fact any area where there are bombs dropped stuns me. i always thought something, like collateral damage when bombs are dropped over a long period was a given.

time for me to bow out. thanks for discourse everyone.

altezon

(08-29-2010, 11:08 AM)srijantje Wrote: [ -> ]http://www.hks.harvard.edu/cchrp/Web%20W...Report.pdf

A workshop on "Understanding Collateral Damage" held in 2002 is of doubtful value on its face.
Which of the 51 pages contains the relevant information?
or do you expect me to read the entire document while you probably haven't read any of it? [Image: hmm.gif]


(08-29-2010, 11:08 AM)srijantje Wrote: [ -> ]http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/video/20...fghanistan

"Civilian casualties of coalition bombing in southern Afghanistan" aren't relevant
to the topic of "US targeting individuals with UAV attacks in Pakistan". Nice try, though. [Image: smile.gif]
do you doubt civilian casualties?
ofcourse i didn't read any of it

altezon

(08-29-2010, 11:41 AM)srijantje Wrote: [ -> ]do you doubt civilian casualties?
Generically? of course not.

(08-29-2010, 11:41 AM)srijantje Wrote: [ -> ]ofcourse i didn't read any of it
Then what's the point of offering it? hoping you'll get lucky?

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