Radical American Cleric Anwar al-Awlaki Killed

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Radical American Cleric Anwar al-Awlaki Killed

Post by Flagg » 2011-09-30 07:45am

MSNBC
US Rep. Peter King praises Obama over death of a man he describes as 'more dangerous even than Osama bin Laden'

NBC News and news services
updated 20 minutes ago

SANAA, Yemen — An American radical cleric linked to al-Qaida who led an organization labeled as one of the most serious threats to U.S. security has been killed in Yemen, the country's defense ministry said on Friday.

"The terrorist Anwar al-Awlaki has been killed along with some of his companions," the defense ministry said in a statement sent by text message to journalists, Reuters reported.

A Yemeni security official told Reuters that al-Awlaki, who is of Yemeni descent, was hit in a Friday morning air raid in the northern al-Jawf province that borders oil giant Saudi Arabia.

He said four others killed with him were suspected al-Qaida members.

While the American government did not immediately officially verify the claim, NBC News' Chuck Todd reported that a senior official had confirmed to him that al-Awlaki had been killed.

NBC News' Richard Engel reported in a message on Twitter that a Yemen source said al-Awlaki was killed by U.S. planes. An American drone aircraft targeted but missed him in May.
Story: Plenty of al-Qaida targets remain after Osama bin Laden's death

U.S. Rep. Peter King, chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, hailed al-Awlaki's death as "a great success in our fight" against al-Qaida and its affiliates, in a statement sent to NBC News.

"For the past several years, al-Awlaki has been more dangerous even than Osama bin Laden had been. The killing of al-Awlaki is a tremendous tribute to President Obama and the men and women of our intelligence community," he added.

'We must remain vigilant'
However King, a Republican, warned that "we must remain as vigilant as ever, knowing that there are more Islamic terrorists who will gladly step forward to backfill this dangerous killer."

New Mexico-born al-Awlaki had been implicated in the botched Christmas Day so-called underwear bombing attempt on a U.S.-bound plane in 2009.

U.S. authorities have branded him a "global terrorist" but Yemen had previously appeared reluctant to act against him.

Al-Awlaki was one of the top officials at Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), which was also thought to have been behind the plot to send printer cartridges packed with explosives to the U.S.

AQAP usually confirms the deaths of its members or affiliates on Internet posts a few days after the attack.

Al-Awlaki was not the leader of AQAP — that is Nasser al-Wuhayshi — but he ranked as its most gifted English-language propagandist.

He preached at mosques in northern Virginia and San Diego attended by three of the Sept. 11 hijackers in the 18 months before the attacks.

In 2010, U.S. officials designated him an individual who had committed or was likely to commit a terrorist act and froze his assets.

U.S. officials believe he built a substantial following in the United States and other Western nations through English-language postings on the Internet.

One of the biggest concerns about al-Awlaki has been his success in attracting and inspiring disaffected young Muslims, some of them converts to Islam.

Major Nidal Malik Hasan, the U.S. Army psychiatrist who is charged with killing 12 people in a shooting spree at the Fort Hood military base in Texas in 2009, was an admirer and emailed the preacher. The extent to which al-Awlaki responded is unclear.

Yemen in turmoil
Yemen has been mired in turmoil after eight months of mass protests demanding an end to President Ali Abdullah Saleh's 33-year rule.

International powers have feared the unrest has emboldened AQAP. Militants with suspected links to the group have seized towns in a southern coastal province near a strategic shipping lane.

One analyst said al-Awlaki's killing would be more of a boon to Saleh than a loss for AQAP.

"For AQAP, these franchises are usually resilient. There are other capable leaders in AQAP who can fill his shoes," said Theodore Karasik, security analyst for the Dubai based INEGMA group. "It's a short step backwards which will likely result in more assertion in the future, for the revenge of his martyrdom."

Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Not sure how I feel on this one. On the one hand, terrorist leader, glad he's dead. On the other, American citizen was killed with no trial or conviction. But I guess if we can go around killing other countries citizens who ally themselves with TEH EBIL DOOERS then it's only fitting we can kill our own who do the same.
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Re: Radical American Cleric Anwar al-Awlaki Killed

Post by Thanas » 2011-09-30 08:40am

It was first reported in January of last year that the Obama administration had compiled a hit list of American citizens whom the President had ordered assassinated without any due process, and one of those Americans was Anwar al-Awlaki. No effort was made to indict him for any crimes (despite a report last October that the Obama administration was "considering" indicting him). Despite substantial doubt among Yemen experts about whether he even has any operational role in Al Qaeda, no evidence (as opposed to unverified government accusations) was presented of his guilt. When Awlaki's father sought a court order barring Obama from killing his son, the DOJ argued, among other things, that such decisions were "state secrets" and thus beyond the scrutiny of the courts. He was simply ordered killed by the President: his judge, jury and executioner. When Awlaki's inclusion on President Obama's hit list was confirmed, The New York Times noted that "it is extremely rare, if not unprecedented, for an American to be approved for targeted killing."

After several unsuccessful efforts to assassinate its own citizen, the U.S. succeeded today (and it was the U.S.). It almost certainly was able to find and kill Awlaki with the help of its long-time close friend President Saleh, who took a little time off from murdering his own citizens to help the U.S. murder its. The U.S. thus transformed someone who was, at best, a marginal figure into a martyr, and again showed its true face to the world. The government and media search for The Next bin Laden has undoubtedly already commenced.

What's most striking about this is not that the U.S. Government has seized and exercised exactly the power the Fifth Amendment was designed to bar ("No person shall be deprived of life without due process of law"), and did so in a way that almost certainly violates core First Amendment protections (questions that will now never be decided in a court of law). What's most amazing is that its citizens will not merely refrain from objecting, but will stand and cheer the U.S. Government's new power to assassinate their fellow citizens, far from any battlefield, literally without a shred of due process from the U.S. Government. Many will celebrate the strong, decisive, Tough President's ability to eradicate the life of Anwar al-Awlaki -- including many who just so righteously condemned those Republican audience members as so terribly barbaric and crass for cheering Governor Perry's execution of scores of serial murderers and rapists -- criminals who were at least given a trial and appeals and the other trappings of due process before being killed.


From an authoritarian perspective, that's the genius of America's political culture. It not only finds way to obliterate the most basic individual liberties designed to safeguard citizens from consummate abuses of power (such as extinguishing the lives of citizens without due process). It actually gets its citizens to stand up and clap and even celebrate the destruction of those safeguards.


Nice country you're living in folks, when citizens can be ordered to be killed by a secret tribunal whose proceedings are "state secret".
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Re: Radical American Cleric Anwar al-Awlaki Killed

Post by MKSheppard » 2011-09-30 09:13am

Great present to wake up to. Certainly wasn't expecting his death.

May I remind everyone that he had become Al Quaeda in the Arabian Penisula (AQAP)'s main english language propagandist; so he was certainly no innocent rose.

He pretty much made this inevitable when he left the legal safe world of London in 2004 for Yemen, which was even back then starting to slide into anarchy in the outskirts of the country.
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Re: Radical American Cleric Anwar al-Awlaki Killed

Post by Surlethe » 2011-09-30 09:32am

MKSheppard wrote:May I remind everyone that he had become Al Quaeda in the Arabian Penisula (AQAP)'s main english language propagandist; so he was certainly no innocent rose.
... and this justifies the suspension of due process HOW? Christ, this is pre-Magna Carta territory!
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Re: Radical American Cleric Anwar al-Awlaki Killed

Post by Gaidin » 2011-09-30 09:43am

Has anyone ever tried an active member of the opposing side of an armed conflict in foreign territory? Not counting exceptions like enemies we'd maybe have caught in the states.

I'm not trying to make a point here, I'm just curious as I can't find any example of such after an hour of searching and was wondering if anyone knew anything.

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Re: Radical American Cleric Anwar al-Awlaki Killed

Post by TheHammer » 2011-09-30 10:04am

I know myself and a few others went round and round over him being put on the targeting list. I'll leave the legal issue aside since that's been done to death. But morally? If you make the decision to leave your country and actively work against it with foreign groups from foreign soil, then you should expect to be treated not as a citizen, but rather as an enemy combatant. Strictly speaking, Awlaki was a "US Citizen" only on a technicallity. His behavior, affiliation, and efforts were all in the name of Al Qaeda.

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Re: Radical American Cleric Anwar al-Awlaki Killed

Post by Dooey Jo » 2011-09-30 11:10am

I didn't realize that "Al Qaeda" was a sovereign nation capable of issuing citizenships; alternatively that being member of any organization voided your current citizenship. Previously there was a crime called "treason", but score one for Americans enthusiastically signing their precious "freedom" away, I guess :lol:
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Re: Radical American Cleric Anwar al-Awlaki Killed

Post by TheHammer » 2011-09-30 11:22am

Dooey Jo wrote:I didn't realize that "Al Qaeda" was a sovereign nation capable of issuing citizenships; alternatively that being member of any organization voided your current citizenship. Previously there was a crime called "treason", but score one for Americans enthusiastically signing their precious "freedom" away, I guess :lol:
Yes killing a guy who had essentially forsaken his own citizenship and was actively working for a major terrorist organization overseas = signing away freedom.

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Re: Radical American Cleric Anwar al-Awlaki Killed

Post by Flagg » 2011-09-30 11:24am

What's your solution then? Just let him continue to aid in killing innocents?
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Re: Radical American Cleric Anwar al-Awlaki Killed

Post by Simon_Jester » 2011-09-30 11:24am

The real question that's on people's minds, Hammer, is who's next? Under US law, there is no difference between putting al-Awlaki on a hit list for assassination by the US military and putting any other American citizen on such a list. The precedent is now established that the state can get away with doing this for no reason other than its own say-so. So... who's next? Will the precedent be used to kill other people who cause trouble for the US government? Will they be members of a hostile foreign organization, or members of a domestic political body that the government wishes didn't exist?
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Re: Radical American Cleric Anwar al-Awlaki Killed

Post by MarshalPurnell » 2011-09-30 11:46am

Al-Awlaki was a self-declared member of an armed terrorist group, actively involved in hostilities on the soil of an American ally. There is no question that the US has the right to use military force against Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and affiliated groups. As a member of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, indeed as a senior officer of that organization, al-Awlaki was by definition a legitimate military target. His status as an American citizen was superseded by his status as an enemy combatant, armed and actively engaging in hostilities against the United States. He was killed on an active battlefield as an enemy combatant, not struck down in the homeland as part of a shadowy hit-list. There have been cases of American citizens raising up arms against their government before and the government did not hold trials for them before killing them in combat- this is ultimately no different.
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Re: Radical American Cleric Anwar al-Awlaki Killed

Post by Shroom Man 777 » 2011-09-30 11:52am

On an active battlefield? He got hit in the middle of nowhere in an airstrike. Was he even engaged in combat operations at all? Who was he shooting at?
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Re: Radical American Cleric Anwar al-Awlaki Killed

Post by TheHammer » 2011-09-30 11:59am

Simon_Jester wrote:The real question that's on people's minds, Hammer, is who's next? Under US law, there is no difference between putting al-Awlaki on a hit list for assassination by the US military and putting any other American citizen on such a list. The precedent is now established that the state can get away with doing this for no reason other than its own say-so. So... who's next? Will the precedent be used to kill other people who cause trouble for the US government? Will they be members of a hostile foreign organization, or members of a domestic political body that the government wishes didn't exist?
We already had a major debate over the legalities of "the list" that I don't care to rehash so I'm going to avoid that and instead look at this from a logical rather than legalistic perspective.

Personally, I don't believe in the slippery slope you are fearing this will go down. It is quite a stretch to think that the list would be expanded from killing members of a hostile foreign organization to killing members of domestic political bodies. Even if that were what I would consider to be a realistic fear, Awlaki makes an extremely poor posterboy for a "ZOMG WHOSE NEXT???" argument. There were some very special circumstances in this case:

1) This was a very high profile guy. I've not seen anyone credibly disputing that he was an important member of Al Qaeda.
2) He was operating from foreign soil as an enemy combatant.
3) He was protected in such a way on this foreign soil that capturing him alive would be nigh impossible.

So, if you can't capture the guy but you take the stance that you can't touch him unless he's stood trial, then he could essentially operate with impunity - recruiting suicide bombers, donors etc. As noted in previous debates on one does not get on this list using the same criteria by which one is detained at guantanamo bay. It was a very lengthy process that the administration went through to put Alwaki on the list. And it seemed clear that he belonged on the list.

When the topic of "the list" came up before, I noted then, as I will note now that Awlaki could have avoided being killed by surrendering to US authorities. He knew they were after him. He chose not to do so. He also knew that if he joined up with Al Qaeda that dieing at the hands of a U.S. airstrike was a very real possibility.

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Re: Radical American Cleric Anwar al-Awlaki Killed

Post by Simon_Jester » 2011-09-30 12:18pm

The cases I can think of usually involved, say, a German-American citizen going to Germany and enlisting in the Wehrmacht during WWII. In cases like that, you can't tell the enemy soldier with American citizenship from any other enemy soldier, so there's a certain pragmatic justice in shooting at him like any other enemy soldier. I don't have a problem with that- and that's the heading that, say, our treatment of John Walker Lindh fell under, Marshall.

Although Lindh was captured, not killed in combat, it wouldn't have been a dangerous legal precedent if he'd died in battle while fighting US troops in my opinion. Lindh's hypothetical death wouldn't be in cold blood, and wouldn't involve the executive branch asserting any special power to pass death sentences.

It's already accepted that if you, an American citizen, start shooting at agents of the US government, you may be killed without trial when they shoot back. And this is not a due process violation, because your right to due process doesn't override a soldier or police officer's right to defend themselves.


What's worrying in this case is that al-Awlaki was picked specifically for assassination, such that if he'd tried to come to the US to stand trial, for all I know the CIA might have shot him before he got there. He was not thus targeted because he was in arms against US forces, and did not engage them in combat; at most he was a propagandist.

I'm not sure this is legally under the same heading. Al-Awlaki refused to stay somewhere we could arrest him, but evading arrest is not the same thing as shooting at police or soldiers. Moreover, I don't know of any outstanding warrants for his arrest in the first place, so there may not have been any arrest attempt for him to evade in Yemen in the first place.

This time, the administration decided they wanted him dead without charging him with anything, without (so far as I know) calling on him to give himself up to the civil justice system, and without any evidence that he was doing anything that would force police or soldiers to kill him in self-defense.

I don't deny that he incited people to commit terrible crimes, but that's not normally a capital offense. It's certainly not normally an offense you can make stick without pressing charges.

None of this would matter, of course, if he'd been found AK in hand actively fighting US forces. But when the decision to kill a man is made in cold blood in an office over a period of years, I want a somewhat higher standard of procedure and evidence than a pollice verso from the imperial presidency. What the man al-Awlaki was is immaterial. What matters is that there is a process; that names cannot be added to this hit list on a lark or without some kind of review. You need that, for rule of law.

And so I do have to ask: what limits are there on the executive branch's capacity to sit in an armchair and declare American citizens to be enemies of the state? We know they claim such power, and have executed it at least once, in every sense of the word.

Who's next?

TheHammer wrote:We already had a major debate over the legalities of "the list" that I don't care to rehash so I'm going to avoid that and instead look at this from a logical rather than legalistic perspective.
If we grant that it's legal to have "the list," do we also grant that anyone can be placed on it? I'd like to think the answer is "no," and that not just anyone would be placed on it- only people who have committed terrible crimes, and aligned themselves with organizations that declare themselves to be our enemy at every turn.

That would be less troubling... but I have no assurance of this beyond the personal honor of Barack Obama and his subordinates. I don't consider that to be a very stable currency to accept payment in.
Personally, I don't believe in the slippery slope you are fearing this will go down. It is quite a stretch to think that the list would be expanded from killing members of a hostile foreign organization to killing members of domestic political bodies. Even if that were what I would consider to be a realistic fear, Awlaki makes an extremely poor posterboy for a "ZOMG WHOSE NEXT???" argument. There were some very special circumstances in this case:

1) This was a very high profile guy. I've not seen anyone credibly disputing that he was an important member of Al Qaeda.
2) He was operating from foreign soil as an enemy combatant.
3) He was protected in such a way on this foreign soil that capturing him alive would be nigh impossible.

So, if you can't capture the guy but you take the stance that you can't touch him unless he's stood trial, then he could essentially operate with impunity - recruiting suicide bombers, donors etc. As noted in previous debates on one does not get on this list using the same criteria by which one is detained at guantanamo bay. It was a very lengthy process that the administration went through to put Alwaki on the list. And it seemed clear that he belonged on the list.
What process? Where is the review of that process? Who is responsible for making this decision? Who guards the guardians?

I'm not even saying that the answers to these questions are "bad." I'm saying they need answers, and aren't getting answered. The fact that the administration doesn't feel a need to lay down the procedures by which it decides an American citizen Must Die without trial is itself a bad sign, one that speaks volumes about their respect for the rule of law.

The fact that you can call al-Awlaki a Very Bad Man does not mean that only Very Bad Men can end up on this list. We have plenty of examples from the past ten years of the government labeling innocent people as Very Bad Men (dangerous terrorists) and putting them on no-fly lists, or shipping them to Guantanamo to be tortured. What assurance do we have that the new "Very Bad Man, shoot on sight" list is any harder to wind up on by accident than the old "Very Bad Man, abduct and torture" list?

Maybe the answer to the question "who's next?" is "no one, it will never happen again because these circumstances are so weird they will never recur." That would be nice... but I want some assurance that my civil liberties are secure, assurances I can take with a smaller grain of salt than I do the personal word of the president's administration.
When the topic of "the list" came up before, I noted then, as I will note now that Awlaki could have avoided being killed by surrendering to US authorities. He knew they were after him. He chose not to do so. He also knew that if he joined up with Al Qaeda that dieing at the hands of a U.S. airstrike was a very real possibility.
As far as I know, there was nothing in the rules* that said he couldn't be shot on sight by any US authority who saw him, whether he was trying to surrender or not. Maybe they'd have taken him in for a trial if he'd showed up to be tried. Maybe they wouldn't How should I know?

Again, this is a very basic question of due process; I want some assurance that due process will be followed other than "this was a case of good men pursuing a bad man, so they did something that they would never do to anyone less bad than the bad man."
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Re: Radical American Cleric Anwar al-Awlaki Killed

Post by Elfdart » 2011-09-30 12:49pm

John Wilkes Obama has been trying to assassinate this guy for at least 18 months. What's almost funny is that Obama has just handed a license to kill to any Teabagger who wants to rub him out. They're convinced he's a "Muslim terrorist" after all.
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Re: Radical American Cleric Anwar al-Awlaki Killed

Post by Shroom Man 777 » 2011-09-30 01:18pm

What's the difference between this and dropping a JDAM on some foreign or American businessman abroad because the CIA or whoever thinks he's something (drug lord, terrorizer, mafiosi, traitor, "enemy collaborator", etc.) without any due process?

What happens when this precedent is used on Americans, and other people, in situations that DON'T involve Al Qaeda?

This is basically just an extension of the USA's blatantly obvious assassination-happy policies that is pretty much unprecedented. I mean, sure, the CIA kills folks all the time historically, but this is just so in your face. Understandably, all sorts of people have proper cause to be worried when any government starts unilaterally killing people anywhere at any time for all sorts of reasons.

Imagine if the intelligence they used to ascertain Anwar's evilness or his terrorizer quotian factor before launching that single JDAM was as reliable as the information they relied on when, say, they were on the verge of committing to a years-long war involving countless thousands of soldiers, and also thousands of casualties?
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Re: Radical American Cleric Anwar al-Awlaki Killed

Post by Elfdart » 2011-09-30 01:20pm

No kidding! You could make just as much a case for using predator drones on Falafel O'Reilly for his role in helping to incite the murder of George Tiller.
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Re: Radical American Cleric Anwar al-Awlaki Killed

Post by Shroom Man 777 » 2011-09-30 01:24pm

Not to mention, American intelligence can be totally shit in, like, lots of times. Then you miss and your assassination JDAM lands into some civilian's house. No big deal, collateral damage, right? It's okay if some random innocent brown person gets killed. Nobody gives a shit about government policies that have, and will continue to cause, callous collateral murder across the world.

But when some car bomb explodes in suburban America and kills the crap out of US citizens, apparently it's some great tragedy. Boo-fucking-hoo.

People value life inequally. It's pretty much impossible to ask people to value a third worlder's life to the same degree as the life of an American person. So, maybe it's much more reasonable if we start valuing the life of the latter the same way as we do the former, ne? Equalize it in the opposite direction. Instead of subscribing worth to the former, why don't we just devaluate the latter into worthlessness. As worthless as any random person, living in a worthless country, who gets eviscerated by the shrapnel of a mis-aimed airstrike. Get off the pedestal and walk in the same shit the rest of the world wades in, the shit you subject other countries and peoples to. I wonder what people would feel about that.

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Re: Radical American Cleric Anwar al-Awlaki Killed

Post by TheHammer » 2011-09-30 01:29pm

TheHammer wrote:Personally, I don't believe in the slippery slope you are fearing this will go down. It is quite a stretch to think that the list would be expanded from killing members of a hostile foreign organization to killing members of domestic political bodies. Even if that were what I would consider to be a realistic fear, Awlaki makes an extremely poor posterboy for a "ZOMG WHOSE NEXT???" argument. There were some very special circumstances in this case:

1) This was a very high profile guy. I've not seen anyone credibly disputing that he was an important member of Al Qaeda.
2) He was operating from foreign soil as an enemy combatant.
3) He was protected in such a way on this foreign soil that capturing him alive would be nigh impossible.

So, if you can't capture the guy but you take the stance that you can't touch him unless he's stood trial, then he could essentially operate with impunity - recruiting suicide bombers, donors etc. As noted in previous debates on one does not get on this list using the same criteria by which one is detained at guantanamo bay. It was a very lengthy process that the administration went through to put Alwaki on the list. And it seemed clear that he belonged on the list.
What process? Where is the review of that process? Who is responsible for making this decision? Who guards the guardians?
The stark reality is we elect the President to make decisions like this. After all, the President has extraordinary power to essentially pardon any crime outside of impeachment. He commands the armed forces of the United States and makes decisions that lead to people being killed all the time. But in the end, he has to justify it to the American people and their representatives. If he fails to do so, then impeachment would be a very real possibility. In this particular case though, I don't see that happening
I'm not even saying that the answers to these questions are "bad." I'm saying they need answers, and aren't getting answered. The fact that the administration doesn't feel a need to lay down the procedures by which it decides an American citizen Must Die without trial is itself a bad sign, one that speaks volumes about their respect for the rule of law.

The fact that you can call al-Awlaki a Very Bad Man does not mean that only Very Bad Men can end up on this list. We have plenty of examples from the past ten years of the government labeling innocent people as Very Bad Men (dangerous terrorists) and putting them on no-fly lists, or shipping them to Guantanamo to be tortured. What assurance do we have that the new "Very Bad Man, shoot on sight" list is any harder to wind up on by accident than the old "Very Bad Man, abduct and torture" list?

Maybe the answer to the question "who's next?" is "no one, it will never happen again because these circumstances are so weird they will never recur." That would be nice... but I want some assurance that my civil liberties are secure, assurances I can take with a smaller grain of salt than I do the personal word of the president's administration.
If you are seeking an assurance that no one will ever mistakenly be killed then there is no way I can assuage you. Mistakes do happen, but as I noted the President will ultimately have to justify his actions to the American people. If an American Citizen were to be targeted and killed and the President could not justify it, the opposing party would be all over him with impeachment charges. It is likely his own party would abandon him as well. The President knows that. So its not simply the President's honor, but also his own self preservation that serve as guides for him to be as judicious as possible with things of this nature.
When the topic of "the list" came up before, I noted then, as I will note now that Awlaki could have avoided being killed by surrendering to US authorities. He knew they were after him. He chose not to do so. He also knew that if he joined up with Al Qaeda that dieing at the hands of a U.S. airstrike was a very real possibility.
As far as I know, there was nothing in the rules* that said he couldn't be shot on sight by any US authority who saw him, whether he was trying to surrender or not. Maybe they'd have taken him in for a trial if he'd showed up to be tried. Maybe they wouldn't How should I know?

Again, this is a very basic question of due process; I want some assurance that due process will be followed other than "this was a case of good men pursuing a bad man, so they did something that they would never do to anyone less bad than the bad man."
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*At least, not the rules the executive branch considered itself bound to follow...
Well, as it would be nearly impossible to justify killing a surrendering terrorist I highly doubt that would have happened. Not to mention that the CIA would have LOVED to get their hands on him for interrogation.

As for due process, yeah just for the sake of legality congress should probably get off their ass and draft legislation creating a method of stripping someone of their citizenship. Then he could be killed the same as any other terrorist without all the hand wringing. However, as that may well require a constitutional amendment even if it were undertaken its not going to happen very quickly. Most likely though it will never happen. And In the mean time we've still got to deal with people like Alwaki. I'm not going to fret when they die with their terrorist buddies over seas. And until one of these hypothetical worst case scenarios people are describing actually happens I'm not going to live in fear of "the list".

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Re: Radical American Cleric Anwar al-Awlaki Killed

Post by Shroom Man 777 » 2011-09-30 01:33pm

If the process used to identify and arbitrarily judge these supposed terrorists as worthy of summary execution is as reliable as the process used to identify and arbitrarily judge whole nations as worthy of half-assed invasion, well, no wonder people will think it's a crock of shit and that those who support these measures are complete shitheads.

Well, I guess remotely killing some people in some far away country won't result in two thousand plus dead American soldiers shipped home in a box, so this IS an improvement over your last patented freedomization method. I guess American intelligence got less-stupider. :lol:
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Re: Radical American Cleric Anwar al-Awlaki Killed

Post by PeZook » 2011-09-30 03:25pm

Shroom Man 777 wrote:If the process used to identify and arbitrarily judge these supposed terrorists as worthy of summary execution is as reliable as the process used to identify and arbitrarily judge whole nations as worthy of half-assed invasion, well, no wonder people will think it's a crock of shit and that those who support these measures are complete shitheads.

Well, I guess remotely killing some people in some far away country won't result in two thousand plus dead American soldiers shipped home in a box, so this IS an improvement over your last patented freedomization method. I guess American intelligence got less-stupider. :lol:
How about America being unable to sort out what to do with prisoners of war unlawful combatants they had in custody for TEN YEARS?

If they can't figure out if you're bad or not after they had you in custody for a decade, why is America surprised people might be concerned the CIA might fuck up when recommending people for the murder list?

If they don't give a shit about their own citizens as long as they put on a turban and vocally support terrorists, they will most certainly not give a shit about other nation's citizens who do the same. Or just something which looks the same to them.
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Re: Radical American Cleric Anwar al-Awlaki Killed

Post by Thanas » 2011-09-30 03:40pm

TheHammer wrote:The stark reality is we elect the President to make decisions like this. After all, the President has extraordinary power to essentially pardon any crime outside of impeachment. He commands the armed forces of the United States and makes decisions that lead to people being killed all the time. But in the end, he has to justify it to the American people and their representatives. If he fails to do so, then impeachment would be a very real possibility. In this particular case though, I don't see that happening
He has not justified it in any way besides saying "that guy is a very bad men for speaking bad words" Words, I say. There is no evidence whatsoever that he was involved in the planning of terror strikes or carried them out. At best, you could label him as AQ Propagandist in chief and even that is stretching it.
If you are seeking an assurance that no one will ever mistakenly be killed then there is no way I can assuage you. Mistakes do happen, but as I noted the President will ultimately have to justify his actions to the American people.
Just like Bush had to justify Iraq?
If an American Citizen were to be targeted and killed and the President could not justify it, the opposing party would be all over him with impeachment charges. It is likely his own party would abandon him as well. The President knows that. So its not simply the President's honor, but also his own self preservation that serve as guides for him to be as judicious as possible with things of this nature.
Just like the President was impeached when he tortured several American citizens without due process? Just like the President was impeached after it came to light he had built a massive listening program on all US citizens? Just like the President was impeached for committing numerous war crimes?

Oh wait. None of these things ever happened.
Well, as it would be nearly impossible to justify killing a surrendering terrorist I highly doubt that would have happened.
Why? All you have to claim is "he fought back" and then you can dispose of the body at will. Nobody in the USA cares about that.
As for due process, yeah just for the sake of legality congress should probably get off their ass and draft legislation creating a method of stripping someone of their citizenship. Then he could be killed the same as any other terrorist without all the hand wringing. However, as that may well require a constitutional amendment even if it were undertaken its not going to happen very quickly. Most likely though it will never happen. And In the mean time we've still got to deal with people like Alwaki. I'm not going to fret when they die with their terrorist buddies over seas. And until one of these hypothetical worst case scenarios people are describing actually happens I'm not going to live in fear of "the list".
You mean....there are not cases of the US mistakenly placing people on dubious lists? Bless your heart, what a sheltered life you must live.
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Re: Radical American Cleric Anwar al-Awlaki Killed

Post by BrooklynRedLeg » 2011-09-30 04:19pm

Elfdart wrote:What's almost funny is that Obama has just handed a license to kill to any Tea Partier who wants to rub him out of office.
Fixed that for you. And yea, the thought had occurred people I know that this sort of dangerous precedent would allow any future President to wipe out rival political groups simply by declaring them enemies of the State. It would also mean that potentially people at a peaceful protest rally could one day go *KABLOOIE* in a blast of high velocity shrapnel and fire simply because they were 'enemies of the State'.

So really, this is NOT something to crow over and cheer over. Its, in fact, something every single American should have deep reservation about.
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Re: Radical American Cleric Anwar al-Awlaki Killed

Post by Omega18 » 2011-09-30 06:56pm

Thanas wrote: He has not justified it in any way besides saying "that guy is a very bad men for speaking bad words" Words, I say. There is no evidence whatsoever that he was involved in the planning of terror strikes or carried them out. At best, you could label him as AQ Propagandist in chief and even that is stretching it.
While I will agree we don't have all the evidence and I would ideally like to see significantly more, (the Obama administration is claiming they have more they are not releasing for security reasons showing he had a key operational and planning role) we do have enough information regarding evidence that goes pretty clearly beyond merely speaking bad words.

He had a bunch of communications with the Fort Hood shooter including ones in which the Fort Hood shooter told him "I can't wait to join you in the afterlife" followed by questions on when Jihad is appropriate and whether it is permissible if innocents are killed in the attack. (While the sources are not as good as I would like online, the answer to the second question was apparently yes, and the rest of the answer clearly implied Jihad against the US was appropriate at that moment.)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anwar_al-A ... od_shooter

This was followed up by a series of communications in which the Fort Hood shooter asked how to transfer money abroad without coming to the attention of authorities. (The issue is specific information being given when the likely criminal intent of the questioner was already rather clear.)

In reality there is clearly a massive legal difference, at least as far as any court that might eventually look at this sort of issue is concerned, from such an assassination occurring in a location such as Yemen compared to US soil. The key is barring an dramatic civil war going on, (which would obviously complicate such a hypothetical legal case) the US should always be in a position to try to capture him if they know his location while he is still residing in the US. They might be unable to get him to surrender and be forced to shoot him, but they should at least make some sort of effort instead of just assassinating the person. The situation is going to remain pretty much the same if the individual was in say Paris or London at the time, since the US government could not make a convincing case that it would be impossible to arrange for his arrest if they had sufficient evidence to present to the foreign government. (As opposed to Yemen where the central government simply is not in control of some areas and simply can't effectively find and arrest people with Al Qaeda connections in certain areas of the country.) A judge would clearly not be likely to be impressed by a CIA and US government trying to justify something like assassinating the individual while he was making a transfer at Yemen's airport with them knowing his next destination was London either.

Now its true that enforcement if the US President breaks the law is problematic, Congress in particular does represent an enforcement mechanism, especially if the President does something like order the assassination of a US citizen on US soil. Suspicion of wrongdoing is enough to start a Congressional investigation and for Congress to potentially issue subpoenas. (Congress could even hold someone in contempt of Congress for refusing to testify, and the US Attorney General may be compelled to take action regardless of the President's wishes and impanel a grand jury under such a circumstance.) The next Presidential administration could also investigate and press charges, with such a situation possibly being created by impeachment under the right circumstances since hypothetically for instance Obama doing something like ordering the assassination of Rush Limbaugh tomorrow would clearly be an impeachable offense. A lawsuit is an imperfect mechanism for such a situation, but would almost certainly be more likely to be successful if al-Awlaki was known to be residing in France for instance at the time the order was issued.

Personally I do think that at a minimum the US Government really should have announced something along the lines that he had 2 weeks to turn himself in, (at which point he would get a fair trail and the chance to clear his name if he did so) or he was going to be placed on the list as a potential assassination target. The key is the time-frame and publicity would have to be sufficient to give him a plausible amount of time to learn he is about to be placed on the list and turn himself in before he is made a target, and might have to be adjusted slightly if necessary. In this case he did though have about 18 frigging months to turn himself in though, so its not like he didn't have an opportunity. If the CIA or part of the US government he tried to turn himself in to shoot him instead of allowing him to surrender, that would be straightforward criminal conduct on their part in my view. (If they can make a convincing case they thought he was about to detonate a suicide vest or something that might be a legit defense, but it would need to be persuasive specific circumstances that they really thought they were in danger in they didn't shoot him.)

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Re: Radical American Cleric Anwar al-Awlaki Killed

Post by MKSheppard » 2011-09-30 07:18pm

PeZook wrote:How about America being unable to sort out what to do with prisoners of war unlawful combatants they had in custody for TEN YEARS?
Um, we keep trying to sort it out -- but it's caught up in endless legal hell with the laws passed to sort out these issues repeatedly being challenged/struck down.

At this point, it's now simply easier to just kill them and loot their corpses for ipods and USB drives than it is to keep them alive and interrogate them in Shepmo.
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