Ten Human Rights Groups Unified in Opposition to Drone and/or Targeted Killing Court

A group of 10 human rights groups have written President Obama a letter calling for him to fulfill his State of the Union promise of more openness about drone and/or targeted killing.

The letter calls for obvious sorts of transparency (including the public release of all CIA, DOD, and DOJ documents pertaining to drone and/or targeted killing, as well as sharing of information Congress needs to conduct oversight) and warns that several of the interpretations adopted by the US (for example, its overly broad definition of imminence) don’t abide by international law.

But I’m most interested in this passage:

Judicial review is a central pillar of checks and balances. It is essential for accountability and transparency. Yet, the administration’s position is that judicial review is “not appropriate” in targeted killings cases and it has invoked broad interpretations of the political question and immunity doctrines, Bivens special factors, and the state secrets privilege to obstruct litigation.

We do not believe that accountability and transparency will be improved by recent proposals to establish a FISA-like court to sanction lethal targeting operations. On the contrary, a special targeted killing court would give a veneer of judicial review to decisions to launch lethal strikes without offering a meaningful check on executive power. Instead, we urge the administration to cease making broad claims of non-justiciability or political question, to prevent cases alleging human rights or constitutional violations from being heard on their merits. [my emphasis; footnotes removed]

That all 10 groups — including ACLU, Amnesty International, Center for Constitutional Rights, Human Rights First, Human Rights Watch, and Open Society Foundations, as well as some smaller institutions — would agree on this point makes a powerful statement. It denies the Administration of whatever sanction it hoped a drone and/or targeted killing court might give to their extrajudicial killing program.

The Administration is still more likely to be influenced by increased reporting on the lies they’ve been telling about the program than even these human rights groups. But it is important to see this unified statement undercutting the Administration’s (and Dianne Feinstein’s) efforts to make this program look better by burying it in a secret court.

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2 Responses to Ten Human Rights Groups Unified in Opposition to Drone and/or Targeted Killing Court

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emptywheel @ShemuelMeir I think you mean the thousands of CIA rebels, per public comments in Congress. @LemonSlayerUS @nytimes
JimWhiteGNV We will know that the GOP has chosen a new Speaker of the House when the tears flowing out of the cloakroom turn to blood.
JimWhiteGNV Disappointed that Zarif and Kerry didn't get Nobel Peace Prize.
emptywheel @eliasisquith same reason Mobil used to publish one of most functional US ones?
JimWhiteGNV RT @repblumenauer: Music blaring in House gym "Another one bites the dust" as some of my GOP colleagues exercise. I suggested they conside…
bmaz @conor64 The Reposado Old Carbine is actually decent tequila! Not great, but pretty decent.
bmaz Then let the good Ms. Kerman do something to support public defenders. Otherwise, she is just a gadabout. https://t.co/G0IhMrWbcT
bmaz @steve_vladeck @just_security This is just stupid. Why doesn't Burke have the inherent supervisory authority to release? Why is he punting?
emptywheel @charlie_simpson You're sure they don't just make rash last minute decisions?
emptywheel Then Enron crashed and I briefly believed I was an investing genius. https://t.co/RI6RE38oSj
emptywheel @hannahgais In 2000, I envisioned starting an investment fund inversely tied to political donations on theory big donors were cheating.
emptywheel @hannahgais The rich people are paying to make sure they aren't inconveniently governed.
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