Obama targets an American terror suspect by drone

Is the US president about to sanction the death of another US citizen without a trial?

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Untitled (Reaper Drone)
Trevor Paglen's distant drone shot Trevor Paglen - Untitled (Reaper Drone)

Abdullah al-Shami, an Al-Qaeda affiliated terror suspect thought to be hiding somewhere in Pakistan, is believed to be the focus of a "death by drone" attack sanctioned by the Obama administration.

Shami would be the second US citizen killed overseas without trial after Anwar-al-Awlaki, an Al-Qaeda leader, was vaporised by a drone attack in Yemen in 2011. According to an unnamed official who spoke to the New York Times, the US government has "clear and convincing evidence" that al-Shami is involved in the production and distribution of I.E.D.’s (improvised explosive devices), which are the number one killer of American troops in Afghanistan. 

Abdullah al-Shami, an Arabic name which translates as "Abdullah the Syrian", is a nom de guerre. US officials are refusing to release Shami's real name, declaring the information classified. 

It throws the drone programme into the spotlight a decade on from its implementation. Many have argued that the US government has created little transparency around the programme over the ten years it's been in place.

Does this contradict the Fifth Amendment, which states that no American should be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law? Some, like political writer and editor Peter Van Buren, think it does.

What do you think? Should the government be allowed to skip the courts?

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