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Friday, July 17, 2009

License to Kill

When the state wants to kill someone, it has to come up with a rationale for describing that killing as something other than assassination. There are effectively three rules the U.S. government must follow in order to be able to argue that a killing is in accordance with both domestic and international law, and is not an "assassination." First, the killing must be a military act, an act of war. Second, the target must be definable as military or a civilian engaging in hostile acts against the United States. Third, if the killing takes place within a state with which the U.S. is not at war, the U.S. must have the permission of that country's government to carry out the hit. The U.S. pursuit of Taliban and al-Qaida targets follows those rules -- for the most part -- and is compliant with domestic and international law -- in theory.

link: Who is the CIA allowed to kill? | Salon News


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