US Congressman Dennis Kucinich has said that he plans to hold a Congressional briefing on the drone programme on November 16.
In a press statement, the congressman said that the drone programme has been conducted with no oversight from Congress or any judicial body, and there has been no due process. “Congress has even been denied the right to be informed of and view the legal memos which the administration uses as its basis to justify these killings. Despite increasing calls for transparency and the legal justification from both Members of Congress and a broad range of advocacy organisations, the targeted killing through drone strikes is so routine that the Obama Administration has spent much of the past year codifying and streamlining the processes that sustain much of it, he said.
The drone programme in Pakistan is considered covert and is carried out by the CIA. Pakistan the strikes a violation of its sovereignty.
Congressman Kucinich said that the battlefield has been expanded to nearly anywhere in the world, which has made it easier to justify flouting international law and the laws of war. “But the United States is not at war with Somalia, Yemen and Pakistan. Such killings are only lawful under a very narrow set of circumstances. We cannot claim to be meeting those narrow circumstances when the number of people killed by such strikes, including innocent civilians, is estimated to exceed 3,000. This number alone demonstrates that the administration’s claims that such strikes occur only under ‘imminent threat’ is patently false,” said the press release.
Surveillance drones in the US
The Congressman also expressed his reservations on the use of surveillance drones in the US, citing concerns for the privacy of citizens.
“Congress cannot stand idly by as these actions are being taken in the name of the American people. That is why I am hosting a briefing on Friday, November 16, 2012 to discuss the implications of our drone policy here at home, and abroad,” said the Congressman.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 4th, 2012.
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