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BTL:U.N. and Human Rights Groups Challenge U.S. Use of Drones in Targeted Assassinations
by Distributed by Squeaky Wheel Productions http Saturday, Jun. 12, 2010 at 12:48 PM
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BETWEEN THE LINES Syndicated Radio Newsmagazine
U.N. and Human Rights Groups Challenge U.S. Use of Drones in Targeted Assassinations
Interview with Jonathan Manes, legal fellow with the ACLU National Security Project, conducted by Scott Harris
During his first 18 months in office, President Obama has increased the use of unmanned drone attacks on suspected terrorists in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and other nations. The increase in the use of predator drones is a strategy reportedly advocated by Vice President Joe Biden, but which has caused friction between Washington and both the Afghan and Pakistani governments. Supporters of the use of drones boast that that these weapons have enabled the U.S. military and CIA to kill 34 out of the top 42 al Qaeda operatives in Iraq. U.S. officials have also recently claimed that a drone attack killed Mustafa Abu al-Yazid, Al-Qaeda's third-ranking operative in Pakistan.
But in a report made to the United Nation's Human Rights Council on June 3, Philip Alston, the U.N. special representative on extrajudicial executions, called on the U.S. to use greater restraint in using unmanned drones to commit targeted assassinations of terrorism suspects beyond the war zones in Afghanistan. There is growing concern among international human rights activists and military officials that Washington's use of drones, based on a questionable legal foundation, could lead to a chaotic situation where dozens of nations carry out their own drone attacks across borders against individuals they label as terrorists.
Between The Lines' Scott Harris spoke with Jonathan Manes, legal fellow with the American Civil Liberties Union's National Security Project. He explains why his group filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit in March to obtain the government's legal basis for drone attacks, the number of civilians killed, and the process of oversight and accountability for such attacks. Contact the ACLU by calling (202) 457-0800 or visit their website at http://www.aclu.org
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