Judge rules federal government can continue using drones to secretly kill Americans

Tuesday, February 19, 2013 by: Ethan A. Huff, staff writer
Tags: drones, federal government, killing Americans

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(NaturalNews) More than a year after the Obama administration quietly murdered three American nationalists abroad using unmanned aerial drones, a federal judge has finally ruled that keeping the details of the killings a secret, as well as the motivation behind them, is not necessarily illegal. In her 75-page ruling, U.S. District Court Judge Colleen McMahon explained that while the government's actions in the matter appear on the surface to be "incompatible with our Constitution," they are also somehow permissible at the exact same time.

In case you missed it, back on September 30, 2011, American military drones were sent to kill Anwar al-Awlaki and Samir Khan, two American nationalists living in Yemen who were alleged to have had connections with al-Qaeda. Just a few days later, al-Awlaki's teenage son Abdulrahman al-Awlaki was also murdered, bringing the total number of Americans killed without due process to a shocking three. The incident, of course, generated all sorts of questions from those paying attention as to why, and for what purpose, these three men were killed in this manner.

In the immediate aftermath, few concrete details were released from the Obama White House about the incident, which prompted The New York Times (NYT) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) to launch their own investigation into the matter. According to reports, the Obama White House was not long after served by the NYT and ACLU with Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests seeking further details about the incident, including the supposed justification behind using drones to kill American citizens.

But the Obama White House ultimately refused these requests, and continued to stonewall all efforts to uncover what was really going on behind the scenes. Though a few key White House talking heads have made appearances here and there to discuss the matter, none have been willing to discuss or provide any evidence whatsoever as to the legal justification behind the killings. Like the Bush administration before it, the Obama administration insists that disclosing such details will breach "national security."

Federal government routinely pulls 'terrorism,' 'national security' cards to justify trashing Constitution

We have heard it all before, of course. What, you want to know more about the information we secretly gather about American citizens in violation of the Fourth Amendment? We cannot share that information as it is part of a covert anti-terrorism initiative designed to protect national security. This was a hallmark tactic of the Bush administration, and it has been taken to the next level under the Obama administration, which has made it abundantly clear that the U.S. Constitution is of no concern when pursuing an alternate agenda.

But rather than putting a stop to all this political sidestepping, Judge McMahon decided that she was unable to find a way around "the thicket of laws and precedents that effectively allow the executive branch of our government to proclaim as perfectly lawful certain actions that seem on their face incompatible with our Constitution and laws." She added that she is also unable to declare invalid the administration's keeping of this information a secret.

"This ruling denies the public access to crucial information about the government's extrajudicial killing of U.S. citizens and also effectively green-lights its practice of making selective and self-serving disclosures," said ACLU lawyer Jameel Jaffer in response to the decision. His group plans to file an appeal to Judge McMahon's egregious ruling.

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