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Posted by wmmbb in Terrorism Issues, US Politics.

Political murders are the defining characteristics of tyrants and tyrannies, with the exception of a state of war or imminent danger.

The grounds in this case are legally contested. As was true for Osama bin Laden, the killing of the US-born cleric, Anwar al-Awlaki was executed with the collateral deaths of others, a fact that does not seem to enter into the minds of those acting without any form of accountability, judicial or other

At Anti-War.com, Jason Ditz reports on the latest killings in the war against terrorists:

This was the latest in a long series of attempted assassinations of Awlaki, who the National Intelligence Director confirmed in April 2010 was the first American citizen ever added to President Obama’s official list of assassination targets for the CIA.

The confirmation sparked immediate concern because despite repeatedly railing at Awlaki for his anti-US sermons and implying he had some sort of tie with al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) was not charged with any crimes at all, let alone a capital offense.

It also spawned an attempted lawsuit by Awlaki’s father and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), who argued that it was inappropriate for the president to order the execution of American citizens without formal charges and a trial. The Justice Department demanded the case be thrown out on the grounds that the courts have no oversight over who the president can assassinate on the grounds of national security. Eventually the court dismissed the lawsuit, saying it was up to “elected branches of government” to decide if people were to be assassinated.

The Obama Administration had been working with Yemen’s Saleh regime to track down Awlaki, but the New Mexico-born cleric’s tribe is vast and powerful in Yemen’s interior, and the government had long been unsuccessful in moving against him.

His killing was immediately praised by President Obama, saying it was “further proof” of America’s global reach and that there was “no safe haven anywhere in the world” from potential assassination once marked by a president. Most of the domestic coverage in the US centered around praise for the killings and reiterating the half-formed allegations against Awlaki, while glossing over the fact that the administration’s primary objection to Awlaki, and the one which actually put him in US sights in the first place, was his collection of religious sermons critical of America’s imperial ambitions.

The following is a video of comments made by Anwar al=Awlaki in October 2001:

At the news of the murder of Awlaki, the Council on American-Islamic Relations issued a press release:

A prominent national Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization today reiterated that the calls to violence made by Anwar al-Awlaki, who has reportedly been killed in a U.S. drone strike in Yemen, have been firmly rejected by American Muslims.

In a statement reacting to al-Awlaki’s death, the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said:

“As we have stated repeatedly in the past, the American Muslim community firmly repudiated Anwar al-Awlaki’s incitement to violence, which occurred after he left the United States. While a voice of hate has been eliminated, we urge our nation’s leaders to address the constitutional issues raised by the assassination of American citizens without due process of law.” [MEDIA NOTE: Because of the sensitivity of the issue, please use the statement in full.]

In a past statement following a call by al-Awlaki for Muslims to attack the United States, CAIR noted: “We repudiate Anwar al-Awlaki’s call for attacks on our nation and urge anyone who may be swayed by his extremist views to instead seek out scholars and community leaders who can offer a mainstream perspective on the positive role Muslims are obligated to play in every society. American Muslims seek to promote justice and the general welfare through civic engagement and community service.”

CAIR also repudiated hate-filled statements by al-Awlaki praising the 2009 killings at Fort Hood in Texas.

CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

Paul Woodward, poses the question at War in Context, Can the President kill his way to re-election? It seems that American voters are more concerned with matters closer to home. MSNBC notes:

No president since George H.W. Bush has had more foreign-policy successes happen under his watch than President Obama. The death of bin Laden. The dismantling of al Qaeda. The ouster of Khaddafy. And the end of combat operations in Iraq. Yet when you look at polls and Obama’s approval rating, he’s getting almost no credit from the American public, a la Bush 41.

Michael Ratner argues the killing has “dire implications”. He observes:

There are – or were – laws about the circumstances in which deadly force can be used, including against those who are bent on causing harm to the United States. Outside of a war zone, as Awlaki was, lethal force can only be employed in the narrowest and most extraordinary circumstances: when there is a concrete, specific and imminent threat of an attack; and even then, deadly force must be a last resort.

The claim, after the fact, by President Obama that Awlaki “operationally directed efforts” to attack the United States was never presented to a court before he was placed on the “kill” list and is untested. Even if President Obama’s claim has some validity, unless Awlaki’s alleged terrorists actions were imminent and unless deadly force employed as a last resort, this killing constitutes murder.


The Sydney Morning Herald reports that a secret memo written in the Department of Justice resolved the internal debate over the murder of Awlaki – so that is alright then. Tyrannies and dictatorships rage wars against terrorists as a standard operating process, and in accordance with law, but secret memos are not written. However, regardless of the exigencies of the moment, as real as they may be, the process is contrary to the purpose of the Constitution and democratic practice as it has been understood from the 17th Century, and perhaps earlier.

Scott Horton interviews Glenn Greenwald on KPFK, Los Angeles/Anti-War Radio.

Michael Doyle at McClatchy Newspapers explores the arcane dialectics of murder, and concludes, without defining terms, that American citizenship and the constitutional protections implied of due process, habeas corpus and so forth, does not extend to an enemy belligerent. The worrying conclusion is that these are the discretion of the executive and not an accountable and public process of an independent judiciary based on law.


Veterans for Peace makes the case, via AntiWar.Com.



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