Why Is It Legal to Kill Anwar al-Awlaki?

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Wednesday, April 07, 2010 at 8:46 am

In February, the director of national intelligence, Dennis Blair, told a congressional panel that there were certain counterterrorism cases that could involve killing an American citizen. That, he cautioned, required a special process through the National Security Council — for safeguards.

Anwar al-Awlaki is an American citizen, born in New Mexico, and now residing in Yemen, where he repeatedly issues exhortations to murder his fellow Americans. Any court would find him guilty of incitement. He has nebulous connections to al-Qaeda. What a court would say about those connections is uncertain, but courts have tended to give the government the benefit of the doubt in terrorism cases since at least 9/11. But al-Awlaki’s American citizenship entitles him to due process of law should the government seek to deprive him of life, liberty or property. When I asked Karen Greenberg of NYU’s Center on Law and Security whether al-Awlaki could be lawfully assassinated last month, she scoffed, “They can’t do this with al-Awlaki. He is an American citizen, born in New Mexico. They can’t take away his citizenship.”

The Obama administration begs to differ, according to Reuters, The Washington Post and The New York Times. Anonymous administration officials cite secret evidence to say that al-Awlaki’s connections to al-Qaeda affiliates have passed from the incitement phase into the operations phase, and so the CIA has marked him for death. Nowhere in those pieces does the Obama administration explain the legal basis for revoking al-Awlaki’s most basic constitutional right. As I wrote in my piece last month, not even John Yoo made a claim that radical while serving under the Bush administration:

In June 2002, John Yoo, then a lawyer for the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, assessed that U.S. citizenship was no obstacle to the government detaining a suspected terrorist and providing him with a trial before a military commission. “[T]he President’s authority to detain an enemy combatant is not diminished by a claim, or even a showing, of American citizenship,” Yoo wrote. But even Yoo did not consider the more radical claim of stripping American citizenship from a suspected terrorist for the purpose of legally killing him; and President Obama formally annulled Yoo’s memorandum in an executive order within days of taking office.

The administration may very well be making the correct evaluation of the threat al-Awlaki poses. But if citizenship means anything, it means that a citizen can’t be killed because the government uses secret evidence to say he or she is an intolerable threat. Al-Awlaki is certainly exploiting his American citizenship. But CIA spokesman Paul Gimigliano told the Post’s Greg Miller, “This agency conducts its counterterrorism operations in strict accord with the law.” We at least have the right to know the legal basis the Obama administration reached to order the extra-judicial killing of an American citizen, and so I’ll be spending my morning filling out FOIAs.

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strangely_enough
Comment posted April 7, 2010 @ 3:31 pm

But even Yoo did not consider the more radical claim of stripping American citizenship from a suspected terrorist for the purpose of legally killing him…

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Henry
Comment posted April 7, 2010 @ 5:11 pm

The Fifth Amendment provides that no “person” (not citizen) shall “be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” It doesn't seem that Obama can order the murder (as opposed to battlefield killing) of non-citizens either.


unclesmedley
Comment posted April 7, 2010 @ 5:57 pm

“So, I’ll be spending my morning filling out FOIAs.”

Yeah, well, good luck with that.

In the meantime, as a virulent anti-Bushite, and a staunch pro-Obaman, I see this case as the difference between the braggadocious bent of the Yoo-Addinton-et al mentality, which informed Bush policy, and the charier process that informs the current administration.

When a person “needs killing” (as they like to say in Texas) the matter is typically pressing, and an unlikely subject for debate.The laws on this point are demonstrably abstruse–but not for the purpose of indefinitely postponing a good-faith execution until everybody signs off on it.

This isn't an exercise in theology; it's a national security thing–and as such, it's the province of the executive. Comparatively speaking, there's nothing sneaky about how it's being done. The old adage: It's easier to beg forgiveness that to ask permission does not apply here. This is where the buck stops and the chips fall where they may.


par4
Comment posted April 7, 2010 @ 6:08 pm

There is NO legal basis. Not under the constitution.


swank_x
Comment posted April 7, 2010 @ 6:08 pm

Thank you for writing about this. This alarms no one else in the media? Or few, at least. And where are are the anti-big govt folks now? Probably supporting this cuz its against ter'rists. Uggh.


DeanP
Comment posted April 7, 2010 @ 6:35 pm

Yes, because we can always trust that the Executive is totally right whenever they tell us that someone is the Most Dangerous Terrorist Ever. Oh, wait:

http://www.cbc.ca/world/story/2009/03/19/guanta…

There's a reason we have trials–so that Imperial Fiat/Star Chamber can't just toss someone into a dungeon without giving that person to defend themselves.


Dave
Comment posted April 7, 2010 @ 6:53 pm

Except that the US Constitution does not apply to non-Citizens…Don't get me wrong; I agree with you about what we SHOULD do, but the Constitution isn't the reason.


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Henry
Comment posted April 7, 2010 @ 8:19 pm

A journalist should ask Attorney General Eric Holder when he plans to indict Obama for conspiracy to murder.


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benjoya
Comment posted April 7, 2010 @ 8:58 pm

read Henry's comment again (or for the first time, more likely):

The Fifth Amendment provides that no “person” (not 'citizen') shall “be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.”

you want i should draw you a picture?


Henry
Comment posted April 7, 2010 @ 9:05 pm

Just two years ago the Supreme Court held that the Guantanamo prisoners, who are non-citizens, have a constitutional right to habeas corpus. Non-citizens do not have all the constitutional rights that citizens have (voting, for example), but they have most of them.


GeorgeR
Comment posted April 7, 2010 @ 9:07 pm

* OK, the strict constitutionalists have a valid point! Here is the deal: You guys go to Yemen, capture him, extradite him, bring him stateside, I guarantee a fair trial.

* The constitution is an amazing document meant for a better world than we have. I often wonder what the Founding Fathers would put together if they were starting from scratch today.

* I think when someone actively works, in fact makes it his life's work to destroy his country, I believe he has (de facto if not de jure) forfeited his citizenship and all rights thereof.


Henry
Comment posted April 7, 2010 @ 9:17 pm

GeorgeR, the point is that no one but Obama has decided that al-Awlaki is trying to destroy this country. That's what trials are for. I assume that if the government arrested you, you would want a trial before you were sentenced.


VOA83
Comment posted April 7, 2010 @ 9:30 pm

Man I wish I had more time to extrapolate on the follies of logic expressed here. Things being as they are, I'll do my best to summarize:

- “He has nebulous connections to al-Qaeda”.
Nebulous? Probably not as nebulous as you think. While I'm sure your FOIA requests will amount to nothing, what you would probably find out is that this “secret evidence” establishes coherent links to AQ finance, recruitment, planning and/or operations.

Secret information is secret for a reason. And though you're probably thinking right now that it's to prevent government accountability, I assure you it's not. The information used to link anyone to AQ is collected through extremely sensitive methods. The revelation of which would likely get Yemenis, Americans or our allies killed. This revelation, while it might stop your whining, is not worth the cost.

“That, he cautioned, required a special process through the National Security Council”. This leads me to believe that the process allowing for the killing of al-Alawi was a thorough undertaking. The targeted killing of anyone should be taken seriously, most certainly in this case.

“If citizenship means anything…” it means that you don't promote the downfall of the country granting said citizenship and you don't seek out the death of your countrymen.

12 Americans are dead, another 31 injured, after a radical (incited by al-Awlaki) took up arms against them at Fort Hood late last year. Is he the most dangerous “turr'ist” in the world? Probably not. Would we all be safer without him in it? Yes.

What would your reaction be if one year from now another extremist, ideologically driven by al-Alawi, killed another dozen Americans? Would that be more constitutional? The Framers would be enraged at the idea.

Launch the hellfire. Find Adam Pearlman and Omar Hammami so we can kill them too.


Swami_Binkinanda
Comment posted April 7, 2010 @ 9:47 pm

So much for the Teabaggers, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Rupert Murdoch, Roger Ailes, and no doubt a huge list of people whose political opinions are no doubt odious to the president, who has the power to have them assassinated, apparently. I don't think a founding parent of today would do any differently, only a founding tyrant would.


unclesmedley
Comment posted April 7, 2010 @ 10:30 pm

Perhaps I was unclear.

1. I'm anti-Star chamber, and the administration has announced it's intention. Ain't nothin' secret 'bout that.

2. Just because Bush abused his office doesn't mean everybody does it. Be cynical if you like, but it doesn't make you smart–or right.

3. Lotsa folks get killed or imprisoned unfairly. To remedy this truth with an obvious bad-guy as the prime subject is kinda dumb. Why not just go into Death-Penalty Appeal law?


DeanP
Comment posted April 7, 2010 @ 10:32 pm

Because he's not “obviously” guilty, and the minute we translate “you are in our opinion obviously guilty” of terrorism into “we can shoot you without trial or presenting evidence to a judge” then there is zero intellectual difference between that and throwing any citizen accused of any crime in jail or executing them without trial.


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unclesmedley
Comment posted April 7, 2010 @ 11:04 pm

I think there comes a point at which absolute proof is simply unattainable. Indeed, nothing is impossible, anything's possible. Therer are platitudes galore to justify leaving this guy alone. But to equate him with just citizen is fatuous. To assert that there's a chance we might be wrong is to impose Xeno's paradox on the notions of both law enforcement and national security. It's not as though we're talking about a random character–or even Osama's driver. He's not even as doubtable as Saddam.

I don't mean to seem Cheneyesque here, but there comes a point at which the government needs a little latitude. I was queasy at the outset of the incursion into Iraq, but I went with it long enough to be satisfied that our gov't was being disingenuous.

I've yet to see any such evidence in the administration, and I am satisfied that al-Awaki is a bone fide bad guy–and waiting for absolute proof to the contrary is more of a moral hazard than wrongly killing a person who has been manifestly menacing.


DeanP
Comment posted April 7, 2010 @ 11:05 pm

If you accept that the Government can just decide that it has enough evidence against a citizen to warrant their arrest or execution without trial, then you open that power up to the government generally, for all citizens, for all crimes.

That is the textbook definition of tyranny.


unclesmedley
Comment posted April 7, 2010 @ 11:18 pm

I am not advocating whimsical murder, and I suspect that you know this. You are deliberately refusing to apply qualifying information to the issue.

Anwar al-Alwaki is an American Muslim believed to be a regional commander “for al-Qaeda and all of its franchises,” who has been described as the “bin Laden of the internet.”

His sermons have been attended by three of the 9/11 hijackers and the accused Fort Hood shooter, Nidal Malik Hasan, whose actions he praised after said shootings.

He has been connected to the thwarted Northwest Airlines attack of Christmas 2009, the prime suspect of which has identified al-Awlaki was his recruiter, and one of his trainers.

This isn't open season on dissidents, this is a specific action against a bad guy who happened to have been born in New Mexico.


DeanP
Comment posted April 7, 2010 @ 11:20 pm

All you've said is that he's “believed to be” and that some other suspect fingered him, and some people are believed to have attended his sermon. Flimsy evidence indeed (and, of course, it's only the government's ipse dixit–they haven't put proof before a judge or jury).


unclesmedley
Comment posted April 7, 2010 @ 11:23 pm

So, what's your solution? What should be done about this alleged guy (who, after all, might not even exist–right?)


DeanP
Comment posted April 7, 2010 @ 11:24 pm

My solution is to apply the rule of law.


unclesmedley
Comment posted April 7, 2010 @ 11:25 pm

So, as long as this guy is at large, we are duty bound by the rule of law to just let him go about his business–regardless what intelligence we may gather in this regard?


DeanP
Comment posted April 7, 2010 @ 11:28 pm

Capture him, or have him arrested, bring him to the US for trial in civilian courts, and if he is acquitted, let him go.

Failing that, nothing beyond attempting to do the same. The US can't try every single person it suspects of wanting to do harm to it. We can't capture every criminal at home. The fact that we can't shouldn't mean that the rule of law goes away. I'm a lawyer and I know our criminal courts are overwhelmed, and we can't try every criminal, and we can't even charge every suspect. That doesn't mean the solution is to abolish trials and due process and toss everyone suspected of crimes into jail without due process.

I'd rather live knowing there was a citizen out there trying to harm me that our laws prevented us from summarily assassinating than give the government the power to assassinate me if it decided it suspected me of wrongdoing, or if it just wanted to assassinate me and could cloak it post-facto with “oh we thought he was a bad dude, trust us.”


DeanP
Comment posted April 7, 2010 @ 11:31 pm

You must believe that terrorist SUSPECTS are superbeings. It's like the hysteria that we can't house/try SUSPECTS on domestic soil, like they can leap over walls and shoot lasers from their eyes and send lightning bolts down on their enemies.

What cowards we've become, that the fact that we think some dude has bad intentions leads us to give the government the power to execute anyone it wants, without trial.

I lived in the UK during the Troubles, when bombs were going off ALL THE TIME in the UK, and Brits didn't react like the wimps Americans have become in the last 9 years. You just have to say “terrorist SUSPECT” and everyone runs around shrieking, ready to suspend the constitution and declare martial law.


toptwome
Comment posted April 7, 2010 @ 11:46 pm

This man who will not be considered an American by anyone when he has joined the hateful people working to attack America. He has committed treason and that is probably a good reason to put him in the kill or capture category. Just my opinion though.


toptwome
Comment posted April 7, 2010 @ 11:52 pm

This man is obviously guilty because they have him on tape calling upon all Muslims to stop living among Americans so passively. He was doing his best to rile them up to hate and attack America because of any actions that have been taken in the Middle East. He was saying it as clear as day that he wanted to attack America and kill Americans. How much more proof do you need? The man is an enemy of America.


unclesmedley
Comment posted April 8, 2010 @ 12:09 am

See… Now we're on common ground. No, I do not believe that terrorists or SUSPECTS are inherently superhuman. Nor do I think that the government seeks the authority to execute ANYONE without a trial. (See? I can use ALL-CAPS, too…!) I also think the laws are like rules, and in extraordinary circumstances, there can be exceptions to these rules.

I also think that in terms of values, you and I are a lot more alike than you'd like to believe. We differ in terms of practicality. You are absolutist and doctrinaire, which is fine in theory, but problematic in practice–especially when the “enemy” can be confident that we are bound to standards by which they are protected.

This is a single case, not a precedent. And if it does come to pass that Obama gives the green light to take this guy out, you may feel free to vote for a republican in '12.


VOA83
Comment posted April 8, 2010 @ 12:51 am

How would you suggest getting him to show up for a trial so he can defend himself? You gonna go over there? Ask him nicely three times and then forcibly extract him? Or maybe send US SOF to do it? That sounds about right… let's risk the lives of America's bravest young men to give this dirtbag the trial that he's entitled to under a document that he would spit on if given half a chance… sounds great Dean. Well thought out.


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strangely_enough
Comment posted April 8, 2010 @ 11:29 pm

Actually, it sounds more like he/she is an advocate of the rule of law, and you are an authoritarian. And, if you believe a “single case” does not a precedent make, I've got a bridge I'd love to show you…


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unclesmedley
Comment posted April 9, 2010 @ 3:20 am

First–you're right. A precedent is a precedent, and a first time is not necessarily a one-off. Now, as for the rest… I'm just as keen on the rule of law as anybody. I'm no anarchist.

The fact is that laws are open to interpretation. Some Supreme once noted that the Constitution is not a suicide pact. Sometimes contrary can be simultaneously concluded. Sometimes laws indicate opposing priorities. Sometimes, the rule of law is reduced to an arbitrary choice between two evils: The letter of the law, which allows in this case for a manifest menace to be left to his own devices, or the spirit of the law, which might, under the circumstances, prescribe a radical departure from the norm, in deference to special circumstances and imminent peril.

I happen to favor the latter in this instance–just so long as we're up front about it.


James Bayle
Comment posted April 9, 2010 @ 7:00 am

There are two essential issues here, evidence and legal process, and I think your logic is faulty on both of them. You state that “secret evidence is secret for a reason.” All too often the reason is that the evidence is slight or non-existent.
Independent review of evidence, the Grand Jury process, has been one of the fundamental principles of law for several centuries. It insures that the accused is not subjected to prosecution that is unfounded, capricious, vindictive, or other- wise unjustified. Government agencies or more specifically those who run them have many times proven themselves capable of precisely these failures.

Although the disclosure of evidence might compromise ongoing operations or the security of operatives in the field, it does not always or even frequently do this.Particularly sensitive evidence can always be redacted or entirely withheld.
Government agencies tend to overdo it by a wide margin when it comes to secrecy. Anyone remember the Nixon administration classifying newspaper clippings? The fact that the government, in this case the National Security Council, refuses to release any of the evidence, not a shred, makes me very suspicious that if there is anything at all, it does not justify assassination. No more glaring example of government/military security overkill to the point of absurdity exists than Camp Guantanamo. Of the nearly 800 detainees that have been brought there since October, 2001 almost 600 have been released without any charge at all and only 3 have been convicted. And just look at what these 3 were convicted of:
David Hicks convicted ex post facto under legislation passed in 2006 of
providing “support” to terrorists in 2001.
Salim Hamdan convicted of having once been Osama bin Laden's chauffeur.
Ali al-Bahlul convicted of having made a video celebrating the attack on the
USS Cole.
I'm sure relieved that these 3 mad bombthrowers are off the streets! What a miserable joke. I wonder just how many tax dollars were spent per conviction.
The latest I hear is that they may have sufficient evidence to put only 10 or so of the remaining detainees on trial.


QuaziWimp
Comment posted April 9, 2010 @ 10:55 am

Let's assume I am a non-citizen who stayed in the U.S. for a while. So far I know that latter parts are irrelevant; if you are a foreigner, you will be treated as a foreigner. Now my question is the meaning of “direct involvement to attack” rather than preaching about it.

Leave the hackers out of the equation; there are laws for that specificly address this. Now, do all cyber activities especially language count? if so, is there a distinct line you are not to cross? I mean, community line vs. legal line.

I heard one of this guy's recording, and he sounded like a student/activist type from the left. My personal experience talking to this type (including me when I was “young”) is that they(we?) always including language like peace, rational diagogues, and conflict resolution. It is hard for me to fathom the chance of being raticalized, but my activist years is pre-911; I don't know how psyche affects collective conscious.

Anyway, I just want to be cautious now, since I wasn't until several days ago. I was pissed off and twitted something out anger and the community got pissed. No personal attack; just showed their teeth. Now what I wrote was not threatening by any means. I am sure of it. However I did run my mouth a little when I felt I was being attacked. Nothing was said about clear threats or degrading remarks. To rethink, no, nothing crossed the line of direct threats.

The fact that people were that pissed they highjacked other's account to send messages of diapproval makes me worry that I crossed the line somehow, and might be deemed “irreconcilable”?

Sorry. I might have missed things already written by people on the same subject, and I have learnt my lesson (SN newbie). I hope someone know the extend of such action include “direct partcipation”?


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VOA83
Comment posted April 10, 2010 @ 3:40 am

“All too often the reason is that the evidence is slight or non-existent.”
What are you referencing here?? Based solely on the facts as they are presented by various news outlets (and I wish I had a better reference here, but I don't), a reasonable person could conclude that this guy is exactly what the NSC makes him out to be: the move to Yemen, the public/online denunciations of the US and its foreign policy, various sources reporting his contact with individuals who sought to carry out violence on Americans… in a situation where a trial is not a viable first course of action, the threat needs to be neutralized in another way.

To your Gitmo reference I would counter with Mullah Abdul Qayyum Zakir (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/25/world/asia/25…), and follow it by saying that estimated recidivism of Gitmo detainees is around 20% (http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/201…) by even the most conservative estimates, with those not returning to “the fight” going to places like… Yemen.


rubenescano
Comment posted April 10, 2010 @ 8:22 am

Karen Greenberg is batshit insane. You can in fact lose your citizenship.

8 U.S.C. 1481 states:
“A person who is a national of the United States whether by birth or naturalization, shall lose his nationality by voluntarily performing any of the following acts with the intention of relinquishing United States nationality…committing any act of treason against, or attempting by force to overthrow, or bearing arms against, the United States, violating or conspiring to violate any of the provisions of section 2383 of title 18, or willfully performing any act in violation of section 2385 of title 18, or violating section 2384 of title 18 by engaging in a conspiracy to overthrow, put down, or to destroy by force the Government of the United States, or to levy war against them, if and when he is convicted thereof by a court martial or by a court of competent jurisdiction.”

All of this information is right in your passport.
http://travel.state.gov/law/citizenship/citizen…

There is, however, one caveat: the person in question must show the “intention of relinquishing United States nationality.” It's up for debate if al-Awlaki has indeed done this.

And back in 2002, when John Yoo wrote that legal opinion, UAV's didn't have such an integral strike capability as they do now. That's why he never brought up the issue. (If the “citizen” was being scooped up by Spec Ops in a raid, they could kill him, if the kill complied with ROE – ie. the “citizen” was shooting at the guys or some similar scenario.)


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pete b
Comment posted April 11, 2010 @ 9:08 pm

You overlooked a rather obvious second “caveat”: a citizen, having performed the prohibited act(s), loses citizenship “if and when he is convicted thereof by a court martial or by a court of competent jurisdiction”.

It's not up for debate – the government has not convicted al-Awlaki.


pete b
Comment posted April 11, 2010 @ 9:18 pm

Your zealous desire to ” extrapolate on the follies of logic ” has been realized:

“While I'm sure your FOIA requests will amount to nothing, what you would probably find out is that this “secret evidence” establishes coherent links to AQ finance, recruitment, planning and/or operations.”

So you don't know, you are just guessing, and you somehow imagine yourself correcting the author's logic. Stunningly wrong and arrogant, truly a winning combination.


pete b
Comment posted April 11, 2010 @ 9:27 pm

Well said, DeanP. Thank you.


cameron
Comment posted April 12, 2010 @ 12:50 pm

Spencer, please keep up the reporting on this extremely disturbing disregard of our Constitution by the current administration. More Americans need to know, and be outraged.


rewinn
Comment posted April 12, 2010 @ 10:40 pm

As to your “recidivism rate” a few points:

* Yemeni citizens going home to Yemen is not evidence of terrorist intent. Where do you want them to go … Houston?
* That a person who has been locked up, anally probed “for medical purposes”, tortured in other ways and generally treated shabbily should come to hate the nation that did it to him may be evidence of a lack of Christian forgiveness, but it is not evidence that the ex-prisoner was a terrorist pre-torture. I'm a little surprised that the “recidividism” rate is only 1-in-5.
* The DoD's estimate of 20% includes persons whose acts of “returning to the fight” include telling reporters that they were mistreated. In the War On A Word In The Dictionary, simply complaining about being tortured is propaganda and therefore an act of war.

The people running our “War On Terror” are Al Qaeda's best recruiters. Maybe we should consider a strategy for victory instead of for keeping it going.


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Pingback posted April 13, 2010 @ 2:22 pm

[...] Why Is It Legal to Kill Anwar al-Awlaki? « The Washington Independent [...]


License to Kill « APMnews
Pingback posted April 15, 2010 @ 4:44 pm

[...] But what we don’t know yet are the answers to all those other questions above, about how this process works and what the constraints on it are. And most importantly, we don’t know the answer to the question raised yesterday by Spencer Ackerman of The Washington Independent: “Why Is It Legal to Kill Anwar al-Awlaki?” [...]


License to Kill « apm35
Pingback posted April 15, 2010 @ 4:45 pm

[...] But what we don’t know yet are the answers to all those other questions above, about how this process works and what the constraints on it are. And most importantly, we don’t know the answer to the question raised yesterday by Spencer Ackerman of The Washington Independent: “Why Is It Legal to Kill Anwar al-Awlaki?” [...]


Anwar al-Awlaki « Nanobots Will Enslave Us All
Pingback posted April 24, 2010 @ 9:36 pm

[...] guilty of the crimes he’s accused of. Although Spencer Ackerman at the Washington Independent says “Any court would find him guilty of incitement” just due to his videos, other charges [...]


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Pingback posted May 9, 2010 @ 8:53 am

[...] Wh&#1091 I&#1109 It Legal t&#959 K&#1110&#406&#406 Anwar al-Awlaki? « Th&#1077 Washington Inde… [...]


Elena Kagan = Barack Obama « The Bhatany Report
Pingback posted May 9, 2010 @ 12:04 pm

[...] against government tyranny.  Last month, Barack Obama’s White House asserted the right to assassinate American citizens by putting New Mexican Anwar al-Awlaki on a government hit list for his preaching in Yemen.  Not [...]


5 Amendment | Bring The Drama
Pingback posted May 25, 2010 @ 4:58 pm

[...] The Washington Independent [...]


REAL
Comment posted July 1, 2010 @ 5:29 pm

You're comparing political opposition to treasonous acts of terrorism?
What?
Here's the difference: free speech is legal in the U.S., treason is not.

On topic,
does Awlaki have to be present at his trial? Can the court look at the evidence against him and whatever evidence someone can muster up for him and THEN they can take his citizenship? Of course, send the guy an invitation to his trial, but everyone knows he wouldn't show.

Maybe he'll be “collateral damage” in a shoot out.


REAL
Comment posted July 1, 2010 @ 5:37 pm

Henry, that's because they are prisoners of war, and under the Geneva Code all POWs are guaranteed the same rights as the soldiers of the captor nation. However, if Awlaki were to have his citizenship revoked, he could be killed on the battle field like anyone else (using UAVs or rifles, etc).


Mgexpress
Comment posted July 12, 2010 @ 4:36 pm

THE ANSWER TO THE QUESTION OF WHY OBAMA WANTS THIS MAN KILLED IS CLEAR BUT EVEN THE CIA AND OTHER INTELLIGENCE AGENCIES REFUSE TO DELIVER THE TRUTH! THIS MAN CAN IDENIFY OBAMA HAS A CIA RESOURCE AND WILL BE THE REASON HIGH CRIMES AND MISADEMEANORS COULD BE BROUGHT AGAINST OBAMA! OBAMA WILL BE LABLED A MUSLIM INTERACTUALARY AND GUILTY OF TREASON!


Mgexpress
Comment posted July 12, 2010 @ 4:39 pm

all other speciculation is complete bs and the world will soon find the evidence it has been searching for on the 12th emam, the mahammad of america!


Driversup
Comment posted July 12, 2010 @ 4:46 pm

if we use 8u.s.c.1481 then by that same reference we should remove the sitting usurper to the presidency and he should be given the same justice he now proclaims on this man in question! the reason why america has lasted this long but is now dying is that americans have been asleep at the switch on enforcement of the constitution and using precedence of law cases to make decisions of life or death unconstitutionally!


Driversup
Comment posted July 12, 2010 @ 4:49 pm

all the bs spouted by our existing government on anyone even who is sitting in another country making threats against america we would be killing the whole world by default


udc web » Legal Precedent
Pingback posted October 13, 2010 @ 1:58 pm

[...] 11.Why Is It Legal to Kill Anwar al-Awlaki? « The Washington In June 2002, John Yoo, then a lawyer for the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, assessed that U.S. citizenship was no obstacle to the government detaining a suspected terrorist and providing him with a trial before a military commission. … This is a single case, not a precedent. And if it does come to pass… http://washingtonindependent.com/81550/why-is-it-legal-to-kill-anwar-al-awlaki [...]


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