The Associated Press (AP), quoting Yemeni security officials, reports that a drone believed to be American fired missiles at two cars late Thursday morning, October 4, in Yemen. The officials quoted in the AP story report that “at least five” people were killed, all of whom were traveling in one of the two cars targeted by the drone.
Other accounts of the attack say four people were killed. Apparently, no tally of the casualties from the other vehicle was taken.
Shabwa province, the site of the attack, is described by the AP as “one of several Yemeni provinces were al-Qaida has concentrated.”
Agence France-Press (AFP), quoting local tribal chief Abdulmajid al-Awlaqi, reports that the five men killed by the missile strike were “militants,” members of a group called Ansar Al-Sharia (Partisans of Islamic Law).
This pretext for the killings brings up the question: When did militancy become a crime? If it is a crime, moreover, where is it defined? How can anyone know if he is guilty of militancy if such a crime is not defined? Could one hypothetically be a militant without knowing it, given that the crime is nowhere defined?
Furthermore, is the suspicion that one is associated with a group believed to be capable of planning attacks on American allies sufficient justification for the immediate execution of that person?
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Photo of Predator drone: AP Images