February 11, 2013
Not much difference between Obama’s killing of innocents and Modi’s
Modi's regime has seen an extraordinary spate of fake encounters, in which innocents were killed by his pet police officers without any judicial oversight. Many such officers are in jail but Modi has escaped any direct involvement.
Just like Obama.
He has killed MANY MORE innocents than Modi has. No independent check whatsoever on the people killed. I've called (in the past) for judicial investigation of EACH and every drone killing. And I'm repeating it here.
It doesn't matter whether an official thinks someone is a terrorist. He/she must prove it (if an advance opportunity exists). Where advance opportunity does not exist, he/she must justify it retrospectively to an independent judge.
The memo reveals that the decision to assassinate an American citizen abroad is made by an "informed, senior official", but it does not disclose how much evidence or the reliability threshold that must be reached to constitute "informed" or how senior the "senior official" must be.
Washington operates drones over the Horn of Africa, the Arab Peninsula and central Asia. These drones regularly launch extrajudicial missile strikes against any person whom they deem looks sufficiently nasty. In this very young year alone, US drones have killed about 40 people in Pakistan.
Not all these extrajudicial killings are necessarily intrinsically wrong. Indeed, in some instances, they are absolutely necessary. It is the process and conditions under which they occur that must be transparent and institutionalised – first in the US and later held up as the standard for the rest of the world.
Even after the leaked memo, the Americans' decision-making process is cloaked in secrecy. It uses a "disposition matrix", which is a range of undisclosed and classified behaviours and tendencies that individuals can exhibit to raise the suspicion. These undisclosed behaviours then get people on to a "kill list".
Once a strike is carried out, the US classifies all military-aged male victims as combatants. That is, the burden of proof is on the victims to prove they were innocent. The victims, if they survive, have an uphill battle to prove their innocence, as they are never told the charges – remembering that the "disposition matrix" is classified.
In place of the "trust us" approach to drone strikes, it would be prudent for the US to introduce a transparent process that involves both congressional and judicial checks on the executive branch's powers.
Btw, I'm aware that most people seem to be quite happy with extraconstitutional killings. A uniformed officer has just to get up and say that the person killed was an criminal or terrorist, and the conscience of such people is assuaged.
I recall vividly the blindings by police in Bhagalpur in 1980. (These were the topic of many case studies when I joined the civil service in 1982.) The main point I remember was the people of Bhagalpur were VERY HAPPY about these blindings.
I'm assuming Americans – who like to preach to others about liberty and justice – are very happy with killings by Obama. Just like most Gujaratis are pleased with Modi's illegal killings. That is surely part of the reason why these people are re-elected.
But it is important that someone speak out in favour of DUE PROCESS in the system of justice.
Freedom must come with accountability. Else you have no business to preach freedom, America.
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