14 thoughts on “Al-Awlaki: Obama’s Murder – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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    1. Interesting question, especially in light of the fact that most of the opinion pieces, pro and con, seem to focus on his being American, as if a non-American requires less, if any, moral consideration.

    2. But he was. It becomes murkier when dealing with drone strikes against non-American citizens. I still oppose them as well. But constitutionally, there’s less (almost no) protection offered to non-citizens in an action like this.

      1. And what if Al Awlaki was not an american citizen? . . . But constitutionally, there’s less (almost no) protection offered to non-citizens in an action like this.

        I don’t believe that citizenship makes any difference, since both the US government and the UN Security Council have stated that the principles of international law contained in common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions of 1949 are part of the customary Law of Nations that are binding on non-signatories in both international and non-international armed conflicts.

        Let’s look at how the three bodies of US law apply to the subject, i.e. the Constitution, federal statutes, and international treaties like the Geneva Conventions. According to the Supremacy clause contained in Article VI, Clause 2 of the United States Constitution:

        This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land;

        Article 1 Section 8(10) of the Constitution grants Congress the power to define and punish offenses against the Law of Nations.

        The Congress did that by specifically citing violations of Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions in Title 18 § 2441. “War crimes”. It states that whoever, whether inside or outside the United States, commits a grave breach of any of the international conventions signed at Geneva on 12 August 1949 commits a crime punishable fine under this title or imprisoned for life or any term of years, or both, and if death results to the victim, shall also be subject to the penalty of death.

        Murder is one of the acts that are specifically prohibited under the heading “(d) Common Article 3 Violations.”

        The Detainee Treatment Act of 2005 (DTA) permitted the imposition of the death penalty or imprisonment, but the Supreme Court ruled that:

        The military commission at issue lacks the power to proceed because its structure and procedures violate both the UCMJ [Title 10 Chapter 47] and the four Geneva Conventions signed in 1949.

        The commission’s procedures, set forth, . . .among other things, that an accused and his civilian counsel may be excluded from, and precluded from ever learning what evidence was presented during, any part of the proceeding

        there is a basis to presume that the procedures employed during Hamdan’s trial will violate the law: He will be, and indeed already has been, excluded from his own trial.

        The Court ruled that whenever armed force is used against the territory of a High Contracting Party, the prohibitions in common Article 3 apply. It also ruled that the President does not have the authority to use classified information to make a determination that designates a person as an enemy combatant and denies them the due process right to challenge that determination.

        In the case of the Guantanamo detainees, that required the establishment of a Combatant Status Review Tribunal (CSRT). It conducted 581 tribunals between July 30, 2004 and February 10, 2009. The tribunals made a preliminary determination that 539 detainees were properly classified as enemy combatants and 39 detainees were “found to no longer be classified as enemy combatants. (oops!). In many cases the only evidence against the “combatants” were rather dubious confessions obtained by torture.

        Whatever procedure the President used in the case of Al Awlaki, it suffers from the same insurmountable difficulties as the procedures used by the original Bush era military commissions. It allows the use of classified information that is not subject to challenge by the accused and his counsel; it permits the passing of a sentence and its execution in violation of common Article 3 without first obtaining a judgment from a regularly constituted court that provides all of the necessary protections recognized by civilized peoples.

        Killing civilians located far from a battlefield in this manner is a flagrant violation of the Law of Nations. It is ludicrous to suggest that the President can overcome his lack of authority to detain and prosecute an individual using procedures that violate the law by murdering them in violation of the same law.

    3. It doesn’t matter whether al Awlaki was a citizen or not. The restrictions in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights apply to the government. They are not privileges granted to citizens. Most people either forget this or deliberately choose to ignore it. All extrajudicial killings in this undeclared “Global War on Terror” are murders, plain and simple.

  1. What ever happened to Due Process? In the 70’s college students like myself involved in Amnesty Chapters railed against extra-judicial killings in third-world dictatorships. Now we have become them.

    1. Yep. Credit rating down. Big debt. Protests in the streets (Wall Street) and now killing citizens by order of the Great Cahuna. This is a familiar story.

      I do hope Obama is gathering votes by appealing to conservative voters because he is losing them on the left in groves I am sure.

      And what about the other guy, the editor, who’s crime was his expression of opinion? Was he just collateral damage or a real target as well? If a real target, Obama has to be nuts to dismiss the protections granted US citizens.

  2. The legality of the issue, in my opinion, takes a strong back seat to another, more pressing issue: who was afraid of bring Al-Awlaki in for due process, a fair and public trial, where he could be cross-examined, provide testimony and more? After all, it is not hidden that he attended a Pentagon dinner after 9/11: http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/Blotter/al-qaeda-cleric-awlaki-invited-pentagon-911/story?id=11935006

    What was Al-Awlaki’s purpose? Well, we can believe what we read in the New York Times and pretend Operation Mockingbird* is not yet another reality, or we can try some real news 🙂 Other sources provide a preponderance of the evidence that he was not influential whatsoever in Yemen, but more so, pandered to Western audiences in English. Curiously, the only “Western Jihadists” who even gave him any clout were found on forums run by the SITE institute, which we know is run by 3-4 Likudophile, likely Mossad-connected, individuals. More realistically, he was a CNN headline for American audiences.

    So, what made this guy jump the ranks to the top of Al-Qaeda, leapfrogging others in line, without killing anyone? What ties did he have to the Nigerian crotch bomber who helped make Michael Chertoff, former Homeland Security Director, millions of dollars selling cancerous security devices to airports? The “fertilizer bomb” neophyte who tried to blow up Times Square with Big League Chew and Gatorade?

    Why did he preach at a Mosque near Langley? Why are the CIA and Pentagon playing musical chairs? Who flew the drone planes that killed Al-Awlaki?

    Did they kill Al-Awlaki?

    Hard to trust these stories when they know well you won’t step foot over there to find out. What we do know is that Yemen is falling to populism like the other countries in the region, and the US/Saudi Arabia/Israel are desperately trying to help keep their puppet in Yemen alive.

      1. Yes, because when all of the facts from A->Z are spelled out for you succinctly, when there is no defense to make and no reply to be had, you will still be standing there, pretending that it’s all a theory… while the world moves on past the charade yet again.

        Welcome to the age of populism. You’re either on the ride or you’re going to get run over by it.

  3. Mudder asked above “What ever happened to Due Process?”

    Well, after being extraordinarily rendered, it seems to be languishing in Guantanamo.

    Sorry for my banality, but after being long ignored regarding foreigners, it’s now ignored regarding American known terrorists and will likely proceed to be ignored regarding suspected terrorists, then suspected terrorists’ sympathisers, then suspected sympathisers’ associates, then their families, then their neighbours, then you, Mr and Ms AllAmerican … — that’s the nature of “Wars on Terror”.

    1. Exactly! Remember this….

      “First they came for the communists,
      and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.

      Then they came for the trade unionists,
      and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

      Then they came for the Jews,
      and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.

      Then they came for me
      and there was no one left to speak out for me.”

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