• US Executes an American Citizen without Trial

    October 1, 2011

    Tags: , , ,
    Posted in: * Most Popular, Democracy, Embassy/State, Military, Other Ideas

    al Awlaki Q: If a foreign organization kills an American overseas for political reasons, it is called…

    A: Terrorism.

    Q: If the United States kills an American overseas for political reasons, it is called…

    A: Justice?

    The Government of the United States, currently under the management of a former professor of Constitutional law, executed one of its own citizens abroad without any form of due process. This is generally seen as a no-no as far as the Bill of Rights, the Magna Carta and playground rules goes. The silly old Fifth Amendment to the Constitution guarantees “no person shall be deprived of life without due process of law” and include no exceptions for war, terrorism, or being a really shitty human being.

    Anwar al-Awlaki, an American Citizen, was killed in Yemen on or about September 30. While no one has claimed actual responsibility, the choices for trigger puller are either the inept Yemen military or the United States, with its Skynet-like web of drones, satellites and intelligence tools.

    America has been trying to kill al-Awlaki for some time. On or about May 7 a US military drone fired a missile in Yemen (which is another country that is not our country) aimed at American Citizen Anwar al Awlaki, then a real-live al Qaeda guy. The missile instead blew up a car with two other people in it, quickly dubbed “al Qaeda operatives” since we killed them. The US has shot at al Awlaki even before that, including under the Bush administration.

    In justifying the assassination attempts previously, Obama’s counterterrorism chief Michael Leiter said al Awlaki posed a bigger threat to the U.S. homeland than bin Laden did, albeit without a whole lot of explanation as to why this was. But, let’s be charitable and agree al Awaki is a bad guy; indeed, Yemen sentenced him to ten years in jail (which is not execution, fyi) for “inciting to kill foreigners” and “forming an armed gang.”

    The key factor in thinking this through is that no one has accused al-Awlaki of actual killing anyone. He is accused of talking to people, albeit about jihad and killing, and exchanging emails with evil people like the shoe bomber or the underwear bomber, I forget which, and the Fort Hood killer. None of these are nice people and I doubt any of the conversations were about nice things. Still, the true is uglier: the US executed an American Citizen because of what he said and what he thought.

    Attorneys for al Awlaki’s father previously tried to persuade a US District Court to issue an injunction last year preventing the government from the targeted killing of al Awlaki in Yemen, though a judge dismissed the case, ruling the father did not have standing to sue. My research has so far been unable to disclose whether or not this is the first time a father has sought to sue the US government to prevent the government from killing his son but I’ll keep looking. The judge did call the suit “unique and extraordinary” so I am going to go for now with the idea that no one has previously sued the USG to prevent them from murdering a citizen without trial or due process. The judge wimped out and wrote that it was up to the elected branches of government, not the courts, to determine whether the United States has the authority to murder its own citizens abroad.

    Just to get ahead of the curve, and even though my own kids are non-terrorists and still in school, I have written to the president asking in advance that he not order them killed. Who knows what they might do? One kid has violated curfew a couple of times, and another stays up late some nights on Facebook, and we all know where that can lead.

    The reason I bring up this worrisome turn from regular person to wanted terrorist is because al Awlaki used to be on better terms with the US government himself. In fact, after 9/11, the Pentagon invited him to a luncheon as part of the military’s outreach to the Muslim community. Al Awlaki “was considered to be an ‘up and coming’ member of the Islamic community” by the Army. He attended a luncheon at the Pentagon in the Secretary of the Army’s Office of Government Counsel. Al Awlaki was living in the DC area at that same, the SAME AREA MY KIDS LIVE, serving as Muslim chaplain at George Washington University, the SAME UNIVERSITY MY KIDS might walk past one day.

    Even though Constitutional law professor Obama appears to have skipped reading about the Fifth Amendment (release the transcripts! Maybe he skipped class that day!), courts in Canada have not.

    A Toronto judge was justified in freeing an alleged al Qaeda collaborator given the gravity of human rights abuses committed by the United States in connection with his capture in Pakistan, the Ontario Court of Appeal ruled. Judges are not expected to remain passive when countries such as the US violate the rights of alleged terrorists, the court said.

    “We must adhere to our democratic and legal values, even if that adherence serves in the short term to benefit those who oppose and seek to destroy those values,” said the Canadian court.

    Golly, this means that because the US gave up its own principles in detaining and torturing this guy, the Canadians are not going to extradite him to the US. That means that the US actions were… counterproductive… to our fight against terrorism. The Bill of Rights was put in place for the tough cases, not the easy ones. Sticking with it as the guiding principle has worked well for the US for about 230 years, so why abandon all that now?

    Meanwhile, I’ll encourage my kids to stay inside when they hear drones overhead.



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  • Recent Comments

    • Meloveconsullongtime said...

      1

      China’s Propaganda Department is very grateful to America for this, for how it gives China a carte blanche to assassinate anyone it arbitrarily designates as an imminent threat to national security.

      One of the American de facto “Propganda Department’s” rationalisations for this murder, has been to point out that as Awlaki was a native-born American who was perfectly bilingual in English and Arabic, he was a “bridge” between Americans and Arabic-speakers…

      …so now Communist China can say the same thing about any natively bilingual ethnic Chinese. For example, a native-born Canadian of Chinese parents, a native bilingual who learned both Chinese and English from the cradle, can be designated by China’s government as a “bridge” between native-born Chinese “enemies of China” and foreign-born ethnic-Chinese in Canada, America, Malaysia, etc. And then China’s Ministry of State Security can order the assassinations of such native-bilingual, ethnically-Chinese, native born citizens of Canada or USA…

      …and if America’s government publicly protests against China assassinating such overseas ethnic Chinese persons, now China can just point to America’s assassination of Awlaki, and say, “America, you’re just the pot calling the kettle black. So just shut up about the Rule of Law.”

      By committing this assassination, America has OUTDONE what Lenin predicted about “handing a rope to (the enemies of Communism) to hang themsleves with.” Because in this instance, no one handed America the rope; America used its own rope, to hang and to kill its own moral stature in the world.

      10/1/11 5:03 PM | Comment Link

    • Meloveconsullongtime said...

      2

      PS, in the first of the above two clips of “The East is Red”, at 7:45 the TIBETANS begin to sing and dance to thank the Communists for liberating them.

      How different is this, really, from the circa 2003-2011 American fantasises about Iraq?

      10/1/11 5:39 PM | Comment Link

    • Meloveconsullongtime said...

      3

      PS re my above comment:

      I feel obliged to clarify, that as a Catholic Christian (the majority Christian church in the world today, around 18 percent of Mankind, and the only Church that can prove any uninterrupted historical links with Jesus’ Apostles, althoug our Orthodox Christian brothers are very close to us in that way)…

      …I just want to make it clear to Mr Van Buren’s readers, that we Catholics (the majority of Christians) do NOT regard the present state of Israel as today’s representative of the Biblical Israel.

      For Catholics (and for Eastern Orthodox), and for Coptic and Assyrian Christians – in other words for the vast majority of Christians in the World – the present state of Israel does NOT represent the Biblical Israel! Rather, we believe Christ’s Church is in fact the new Israel! And therefore, we believe today’s State of Israel does NOT represent God!

      Heh, now let’s see how Peter’s putatively “secular” readers might reply to THAT! Do the American “Christian-Zionists” want to fantasise about the (founded in 1948) State of Israel representing God’s Biblical plan? If so, then first they’ll have to dispute the historical authority of the Roman Catholic AND Orthodox AND Coptic AND Assyrian (et al) Churches, who go back a lot longer than any bloody American preachers.

      Oh and then, vis a vis Palestine, around ten percent of Palestinians are Christians. Not to mention the legions of Iraqi Christians who, after the American-led invasion of 2003, were “liberated” to go into exile, because under American rule they had less religious freedom than they had under Saddam Hussein.

      10/1/11 6:56 PM | Comment Link

    • Peter Van Buren: The Manning trial began on 9/11 — War in Context said...

      4

      [...] egregious case of pre-Manning post-Constitutional justice was the execution of American citizen Anwar al-Awlaki by drone in Yemen, without due process or trial, for being an al-Qaeda propagandist. In this, [...]

      08/4/13 9:58 PM | Comment Link

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      5

      [...] egregious case of pre-Manning post-Constitutional justice was the execution of American citizen Anwar al-Awlaki by drone in Yemen, without due process or trial, for being an al-Qaeda propagandist. In this, [...]

      08/5/13 4:40 AM | Comment Link

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      [...] egregious case of pre-Manning post-Constitutional justice was the execution of American citizen Anwar al-Awlaki by drone in Yemen, without due process or trial, for being an al-Qaeda propagandist. In this, [...]

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      [...] egregious case of pre-Manning post-Constitutional justice was the execution of American citizen Anwar al-Awlaki by drone in Yemen, without due process or trial, for being an al-Qaeda propagandist. In this, [...]

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      08/5/13 2:41 PM | Comment Link

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      [...] egregious case of pre-Manning post-Constitutional justice was the execution of American citizen Anwar al-Awlaki by drone in Yemen, without due process or trial, for being an al-Qaeda propagandist. In this, [...]

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      [...] egregious case of pre-Manning post-Constitutional justice was the execution of American citizen Anwar al-Awlaki by drone in Yemen, without due process or trial, for being an al-Qaeda propagandist. In this, [...]

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      [...] egregious case of pre-Manning post-Constitutional justice was the execution of American citizen Anwar al-Awlaki by drone in Yemen, without due process or trial, for being an al-Qaeda propagandist. In this, [...]

      08/6/13 2:07 AM | Comment Link

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      12

      [...] egregious case of pre-Manning post-Constitutional justice was the execution of American citizen Anwar al-Awlaki by drone in Yemen, without due process or trial, for being an al-Qaeda propagandist. In this, [...]

      08/11/13 2:53 AM | Comment Link

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      [...] the personal command of the president alone, crisscrossed the world assassinating people, including American citizens, within previously sovereign national boundaries. As a new president came into office and expanded [...]

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      [...] the personal command of the president alone, crisscrossed the world assassinating people, including American citizens, within previously sovereign national boundaries. As a new president came into office and expanded [...]

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      [...] the personal command of the president alone, crisscrossed the world assassinating people, including American citizens, within previously sovereign national boundaries. As a new president came into office and expanded [...]

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