US Unease over Legal Basis for Drone Strikes
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The Obama Administration says "an informed, high-level official" can ignore the right to due process and kill American citizens if they constitute an "imminent threat" to the United States. We hear about a leaked "white paper" that's created an uproar over constitutional rights, international rules of war and the role of the CIA. Also, Iran refuses to negotiate with the US after increased sanctions, and powerful excerpts from an Oscar-nominated documentary on sexual assault in America's military.
Banner image: US-born radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki was killed in an air strike on September 30, 2011. Photo by Magharebia
Iran Refuses to Negotiate with the US after Increased Sanctions ()
Vice President Biden hinted last week that the US and Iran might engage in bilateral talks. Iran's President Ahmadinejad and his Foreign Minister had kind words for the Obama Administration. But today the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called those the ideas of "simple minded people." Thomas Erdbrink is Tehran Bureau Chief for the New York Times.
The Targeted Killing of US Citizens ()
The Obama Administration used drones to kill three American citizens located in Yemen, including a 16-year-old boy. No trial. Not even judicial review. The Obama Justice Department has given intelligence committee members in the House and Senate access to a long-classified legal justification for killing Anwar al-Awlaki, an American citizen identified with al-Qaeda in Yemen. The move this week followed a white paper being leaked to a reporter that says civil rights can be ignored if there's an "imminent threat" of terrorism against the US. But Constitutional scholars and others see twisted logic, the redefinition of language—and a stunning overreach of the President's powers. What constitutes an "imminent threat?" Who makes the decision? What does the CIA have to do with it?
- Michael Isikoff: NBC News, @IsikoffNBC
- Greg Miller: Washington Post, @gregpmiller
- Hina Shamsi: American Civil Liberties Union, @hinashamsi
- Michael Leiter: NBC News
- Ben Emmerson: UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
The Military's Culture of Sexual Assault ()
The Pentagon's decision to lift the ban on women in combat has been met with some strident objections. But in today's military, a woman's more likely to be raped by a fellow soldier than killed by enemy fire. The Department of Defense says more than 19,000 American service members were sexually assaulted in 2010. Last month, two Air Force Generals appeared before Congress to explain what's being called "a culture of sexual assault." The Invisible War, a new documentary that explores one of America's most shameful secrets, has been nominated for an Oscar. KCRW producer Matt Holzman has a report.
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