US Government's Refusal to Confirm or Deny It Put American Journalist on Drone Kill List Called 'Chilling'
"The government seeks to shield itself from all inquiry into the process by which it acts as prosecutor, judge, jury, and executioner."
Lawyers for an American journalist who believes he was placed on the government's infamous "kill list" warned Tuesday that the rights of all U.S. citizens are at stake if the country's drone assassination program is allowed to continue....
As Common Dreams reported
at the time of the filing, Kareem believes the Obama administration placed him on the kill list and wants President Donald Trump to remove his name, asserting that his inclusion "is the result of arbitrary and capricious agency action, accomplished without due process, and in violation of the United States Constitution and U.S. and international law."
... The government responded that if those included on the U.S. kill list were to be informed and given a trial, national security could be jeopardized during the court case.
Such a claim suggests that the right of the U.S. to operate its drone program trumps Kareem's—and all Americans'—Fifth and 14th Amendment rights, Reprieve said.
"By invoking the state secrets privilege in the context of designating a U.S. citizen for lethal action, the government seeks to shield itself from all inquiry into the process by which it acts as prosecutor, judge, jury, and executioner of plaintiff Bilal Abdul Kareem," said Reprieve and the law firm Lewis Baach Kaufmann Middlemiss, which is also representing Kareem, in a statement Tuesday.
The government, in its motion to dismiss, said that Kareem's due process rights would be satisfied simply by allowing him to present evidence that he has been wrongly placed on the kill list, and that the government was under no obligation to repond.
Reprieve rejected that argument, saying it was akin to "limiting the accused to unilaterally contending that he is innocent of unknown charges in the hopes of persuading a silent, opaque coterie of government officials not to kill him."
"The government's assertion that it has the right to mark its own citizens for death, based on secret information, without affording them the legal protections offered by the Constitution, is chilling," said Jennifer Gibson, co-counsel for Kareem.
"The consequences of this action are too severe," Reprieve added, "and the right [to due process] too foundational to a constitutional democracy, to allow the government to secretly condemn an American citizen to death."