London – This week a US judge dismissed the case of Bilal Abdul Kareem, a US citizen and journalist based in Syria, who launched legal action to determine if he had been placed on a kill list, after he survived five drone strikes against him.
The case was dismissed on the basis that confirming or denying Abdul Kareem’s claim would lead to revealing “the existence and operational details of alleged military and intelligence activities directed at combating the terrorist threat to the United States.”
But the prosecution went even further than this, claiming that revealing such information could permit him to evade capture or further US action.
To compile its “kill list” the United States relies on ‘secret evidence’, which means it can extra-judicially assassinate one of its own citizens without them ever being given the right to challenge on what basis they are being targeted.
Secret evidence is increasingly being used in domestic law beyond extra-judicial killings, especially in the UK. This means that twisted ‘War on Terror’ values that violate due process and ethics are firmly entrenched in domestic laws.
Abdul Kareem’s legal effort to uncover if his own government had placed him of a kill list began in 2017.
Speaking to CAGE then, Bilal Abdul Kareem told us:
“What does the US government have to fear from me? They fear the truths that we have been revealing about their “war on terror” in Syria. They fear that the American people are starting to hear that the drone program that has killed so many innocent people creates more enemies than the government could ever fight. They are afraid that people are going to see the reality that not every Islamic fighter is planning an attack on Americans. This is why they want me dead.”
Moazzam Begg, Outreach Director for CAGE said:
“The US has been using secret evidence to pass judgment on the rest of the world, including its own citizens, since the outset of the War on Terror. In that regard, Donald Trump administration is no different to Bush or Obama.”
“I cannot reasonably understand why the US would feel the need to target Bilal Abdul Kareem but then, reason rarely comes in to it. He’s Muslim, he’s black, he’s a journalist and he’s close to the opposition in Syria. In today’s world, that’s enough to seal your fate.”
(NOTE: CAGE represents cases of individuals based on the remit of our work. Supporting a case does not mean we agree with the views or actions of the individual. Content published on CAGE may not reflect the official position of our organisation.)