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Old 04-07-2010, 07:41 AM
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Question Obama OK's Targeted Assassination of Awlaki, a U.S. Citizen

Obama OK's Targeted Assassination of Awlaki, a U.S. Citizen [Andy McCarthy]

Reuters has the short story (via the Washington Post) here.

This is obviously the right call. We are at war against al Qaeda under an authorization from Congress. Anwar al-Awlaki, a purportedly American-born Islamic cleric, who is now operating in Yemen, ministered to the 9/11 hijackers, inspired the Ft. Hood assassin, probably directed the would-be Christmas bomber, and is believed to be orchestrating and recruiting for violent jihad operations against the United States. The president is the commander-in-chief with primacy on questions regarding the conduct of war. Even if we were to accept for argument's sake that at issue is a legal rather than a political judgment, Supreme Court precedent (the World War II era Quirin case and the 2004 Hamdi decision) hold that American citizens who fight for the enemy in wartime may be treated as enemy combatants, just like aliens.

The only reason for calling attention to Obama's targeting of Awlaki is its demonstration of the illogic of the Left's position on treatment of the enemy. According to the report, a U.S. official told Reuters that "Awlaki is a proven threat," and therefore someone who could properly be targeted for killing. But by leftist standards — including those urged by Attorney General Holder when he was in private practice filing briefs in support of American-born "dirty bomber" Jose Padilla — Awlaki is most certainly not a proven threat. He has not been convicted in a court of law.

So here is the Obama Left's position. If an alien enemy combatant, such as Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, mass-murders 3000 Americans and is then captured outside the U.S. in wartime, we need to bring him to the United States and give him a civilian trial with all attendant due process rights. If an alien enemy combatant is sending emails from outside the U.S. to an al Qaeda cell inside the U.S., the commander-in-chief needs a judge's permission (on a showing of probable cause) to intercept those communications. If an American citizen terrorist outside the United States — say, Awlaki in Yemen — is calling or emailing the United States (or anyplace else), the commander-in-chief needs a judge's permission to intercept those communications. If we capture an alien enemy combatant conducting war operations against the U.S. overseas, we should give him Miranda warnings, a judicial right to challenge his detention as a war prisoner, and (quite likely) a civilian trial. But, if the commander-in-chief decides to short-circuit the whole menu of civil rights by killing an American citizen, that's fine — no due process, no interference by a judge, no Miranda, no nothing. He is a proven threat because ... the president says so.

That's OK with me — I think the flaws in the equation are the various lawfare devices by which we now tie the commander-in-chief's hands with legal processes. War is not supposed to be litigation. It's not about rights for the enemy but rather victory for the American people. But why do I think the Left will suddenly be OK with (or, at least, muted in its criticism of) targeted assassination because the president's name is now Obama rather than Bush?

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Old 04-07-2010, 07:46 AM
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U.S. targets American-born cleric in Yemen: officials

By Adam Entous

Tuesday, April 6, 2010; 2:34 PM

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Obama administration has authorized operations to capture or kill a U.S.-born Muslim cleric based in Yemen, who is described by a key lawmaker as Americas's top terrorist threat, officials said on Tuesday.

The decision to add Anwar al-Awlaki, of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, to the target list followed a National Security Council review prompted by his status as a U.S. citizen.

Officials said Awlaki directly threatened the United States. "Awlaki is a proven threat," said a U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity.
"He's being targeted."

Rep. Jane Harman, chairwoman of the House of Representatives Homeland Security Subcommittee on Intelligence, described Awlaki as "probably the person, the terrorist, who would be terrorist No. 1 in terms of threat against us."

"He is very much in the sights of the Yemenis, with us helping them," said Harman, who recently visited Yemen to meet with U.S. and Yemeni officials.

She told Reuters that Awlaki's U.S. citizenship made going after him "certainly complicated."

But Harman said President Barack Obama and his administration "made very clear that people, including Americans who are trying to attack our country, are people we will definitely pursue... are targets of the United States."

The U.S. target list is secret and it was not immediately clear whether Awlaki was the first American added, as some experts had suggested he would be.

Yemen has carried out air strikes with U.S. assistance to target al Qaeda leaders, but there have been conflicting reports about whether Awlaki was present during any of those attacks. U.S. officials believe he remains in hiding in Yemen.


U.S. intelligence agencies had viewed Awlaki as chiefly an al Qaeda sympathizer and recruiter for Islamist causes with possible ties to some of the September 11, 2001, hijackers.

That assessment changed late last year with revelations about his contacts with a Nigerian suspect in the attempted bombing of a transatlantic passenger jet as it approached Detroit on December 25 and with a U.S. Army psychiatrist accused of shooting dead 13 people at a military base in Texas on November 5.

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) claimed responsibility for the attempted Christmas Day bombing of the flight from Amsterdam to Detroit.

The suspected bomber, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, has been cooperating with U.S. authorities, providing intelligence about the group, which allegedly supplied him with explosives that were sewn into his underwear, officials said.

U.S. counterterrorism officials described Awlaki as the main force behind AQAP's decision to transform itself from a regional threat into what U.S. spy agencies see as al Qaeda's most active affiliate outside Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Born in New Mexico, Awlaki was an imam at mosques in Denver, San Diego and Falls Church, Virginia, just outside Washington. He returned to Yemen in 2004 where he taught at a university before he was arrested and imprisoned in 2006 for suspected links to al Qaeda and involvement in attacks.

Awlaki, part of a prominent Yemeni family, was released in December 2007 because he said he had repented, according to a Yemeni security official. But he was later charged again on similar counts and went into hiding.

After Major Nidal Malik Hasan, a U.S. Army psychiatrist, went on a shooting rampage at Fort Hood, Texas, U.S. authorities said he had frequently been in email contact with Awlaki.

And after the Christmas Day plot, U.S. and Yemeni officials said they learned that Awlaki had met with Abdulmutallab in Yemen.

In a recent interview with a Yemeni freelance journalist, posted on Al Jazeera television's website, Awlaki described Abdulmutallab as "one of my students" but said he did not encourage the attack.

(Reporting by Adam Entous; Editing by David Alexander and David Storey)

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Old 04-12-2010, 09:33 PM
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A Blind Eye to Jihad: What the Media Doesn’t Want You to Know about Anwar al-Awlaki

By Rusty Weiss (Bio | Archive)
Mon, 04/12/2010 - 16:24 ET

The progression of Anwar al-Awlaki – if not the most influential force in terror operations, certainly one of the more popular faces – from simple cleric to proud member of the ‘kill or capture’ list, has sparked little interest in the MSM from a threat aspect. Instead, it has prompted yet another interview from CNN with his father, begging the United States to call off the military.

Imagine Osama bin Laden being treated with kid gloves shortly after serving as the influential and inspirational leader of the 9/11 attacks. In contrast, presenting bin Laden’s side of the story was an overwhelming goal of the liberal media shortly after 9/11, with CNN leading the charge – so much so that it prompted Brent Bozell of the Media Research Center to write a column concerning the network’s willingness to ogle the Al-Qaeda leader.

According to Bozell, CNN’s desire to interview bin Laden (through Al Jazeera) clearly demonstrated that “it does not matter to them if their offer ends up harming the American war effort on terrorism by giving this terrorist an international forum to promote his propaganda.”

Curiously, that exact scenario is being played out in the current media as well – in reverse...

The main stream media have spent months diverting attention from the influence of radical preachers such as one Anwar al-Awlaki. But the Awlaki tentacles to terrorism are far too numerous. His blood-stained fingerprints have been identified with 9/11, Fort Hood, the Christmas Day terrorist, nearly a dozen other events, and more recently, the New Jersey terror suspect, Sharif Mobley.

Despite these numerous cases involving Awlaki, they are only the ones that our federal law enforcement officials are aware of at this point. Rest assured, there are more people out there being influenced by Awlaki, ready to attack innocent Americans, his inspirational words ringing in their ears.

Yet the media will only identify him as a cleric. A cleric.

Mohammed Albasha, a spokesman for the Yemeni embassy in Washington, recently stated that Anwar al-Awlaki is “a fixture in jihad 101.”

Being a fixture in jihad reaps little interest from the networks. However, when it comes to creating sympathy, or overtly humanizing this terrorist with syrupy family interviews, the networks have little problem finding a story. A case study of the media reaction can be witnessed in coverage provided by CNN.

When Fort Hood was besieged by a terrorist rampage in November, the gunman, Nidal Malik Hasan, was quickly cast as a loner, an outcast. This portrait was initially painted by the Obama Administration, but the media quickly caught on and ran with it. CNN jumped to the forefront of the loner argument, offering up ‘criminologist’ Pat Brown, who defined Hasan as ‘a lone guy’ who ‘had no luck finding a wife’.

The credentials of CNN's profiler of choice are dubious to say the least - she is self-taught in her profession, has no formal police training, and has been dubbed ‘reckless' by at least one instructor at the FBI Academy's Profiling Unit.

When confronted by the association between Hasan and his mentor Awlaki, Brown refused to acknowledge any link between the men, or any link to terrorism in general. She pulls no punches, stating point blank that the Fort Hood attack was not terrorism. Given evidence to the contrary, this statement is stunning. More stunning is Brown's interpretation of the law code definitions of terrorism, as can be seen in a previous NewsBusters post. Essentially, Brown had based her assessment on definitions of terrorism that simply do not apply. And so, CNN had successfully played up this lone wolf defense, and simultaneously downplayed the role of any outsiders in the Fort Hood massacre, most notably Awlaki.

In February, as evidence mounted of yet another link, this time between Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab and Awlaki, CNN chose to focus not on Awlaki as a potential terrorist organizer, but instead interviewed the cleric's father, relaying his pleas with the U.S. government to spare his son's life - something the network had already covered a month earlier. In this new piece, Awlaki is further portrayed as a simple preacher, being wrongfully accused by the U.S. government. It is briefly reported that Awlaki and the Christmas Day bomber have met, but that there was no transfer of knowledge, nor any discussion of the bomber's intent with his teacher.

Yet, it was a mere two days after the parental piece that for the first time, the Christmas Day bomber specifically confirmed that he and Awlaki had met. This time though, there was a new twist - Awlaki had actually ordered the attack, according to Abdulmutallab, making him an operative in the War on Terrorism.

CNN's coverage of this particular aspect of the Awlaki story was noticeably nonexistent.

Several weeks after ties between Sharif Mobley and Awlaki had been publicly announced, the network continued to remain silent on the matter, again demonstrating they had no desire to cover the influence of a major jihadist.

More recently, the government has finally figured out the threat that Awlaki poses, placing him on the ‘kill or capture' list. Amazingly, CNN's main point of concern again is his father's pleas to spare his son.

Will the rest of the main stream media break free from the blind eye cast by the current Administration, identifying Awlaki for what he truly is - an outright terrorist?

While that remains unlikely with an administration and media more obsessed with right-wing extremists, man-caused disasters, and the impeccable success of our counterterrorism systems, perhaps it's time to start holding networks like accountable for their own unwillingness to connect certain jihadist dots.

But then we wouldn't want them to start 'jumping to conclusions'. Rather, they'll likely continue a governmental and media policy of crawling to conclusions instead.

Ignorance should no longer be considered bliss.

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