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      Targeted Extra-Judicial Attacks are a New 'License to Kill'

      A new United Nations report warns that targeted killings by the United States, Israel and Russia are based on a "vaguely defined license to kill, and the creation of an accountability vacuum."  ("Report of the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions," Philip Alston, May 28, 2010)

      The report, which is sure to add pressure for greater disclosure on the Obama administration, notes the "risk of developing a 'Playstation' mentality to killing" arising from the remote targeting of attacks on Pakistan, Afghanistan, Somalia, Palestine and elsewhere. "A lack of disclosure," which is required by humanitarian and human rights law, "gives States a virtual and impermissible license to kill," the report concludes.

      The UN document is critical of the assumption that drone attacks and other targeted killings decrease the threat of violence against US troops. While body counts may drop on the battlefield, the risk of retaliatory terrorist attacks may increase, as in the December 25 Detroit airport bombing attempt and the failed Times Square car bomb attack on April 30. Either attack would have caused hundreds of civilian deaths. The drones actually bring the wars home to America. 

      For example, the Santa Monica RAND corporation could be accused of complicity in war crimes for its drone or become an actual terrorist target by elements seeking revenge for its involvement in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. RAND has Air Force contracts for "The Future Role of Unmanned Aerial Systems for the U. S. Air Force" directed by Sherrill Lingel and Jim Chow, and another on drone basing locations, headed by Lingel and William Stanley.

      Bob Woodward's The War Within (2008, p. 380) describes a top secret project of extra-judicial killings in Iraq led by then-Lt. Gen. Stanley McChrystal, commander of the Joint Special Operations Command. Woodward cooperated with the Bush White House in not published the details of "these groundbreaking programs" beginning in May 2006, which targeted various "extremist groups." A top Defense Intelligence Agency adviser to Gen. David Petraeus said the operations gave him "orgasms." The Woodward revelations have never been followed up by the mainstream media, and McChrystal has expanded all secret operations in both Afghanistan and Pakistan.

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