USA declares Predator drone attacks in Pakistan and Somalia as „self defense“

After months of waiting that ultimately triggered an American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit under Freedom of Information Act, the United States government has for the first time offered a legal justification for its’ Predator drone program.

The principle upon which unmanned weapons are deployed, according to a state department legal adviser, is “self defense” under international law.

The CIA attacks by unmanned aircraft in Pakistan, Somalia and elsewhere have sharply increased under President Barack Obama’s administration but have remained shrouded in secrecy, with some human rights groups charging the bombing raids amount to illegal assassinations.

Broaching a subject that has been off-limits for official comment, State Department legal advisor Harold Koh laid out the legal argument for the strikes in a speech late Thursday, referring to “targeting” of Al-Qaeda and Taliban figures without mentioning Pakistan or where the raids are carried out. Read more.