Yemen Won't Hunt Down Anwar Al-Awlaki

Yemen's Foreign Minister Abu Bakr al-Qirbi says Yemen will not hunt down American born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, believed to be hiding in Yemen.

The U.S. put al-Awlaki on its "kill or capture" list but Yemen says it has not been provided evidence he is a terrorist and that he is not a terrorist. Background here and here. [More...]

In November, 2001, al-Awlaki, while an iman in Virginia, did an online chat with the Washington Post about Ramadan. He was asked about how the U.S. should have responded to the 9/11 attacks. Here's his answer:
Imam Anwar Al-Awlaki: The Taliban repeatedly said: show us the evidence and we will turn over whoever is guilty with the crime. The US should have given them the benefit of the doubt. Also our government could have dealt with the terrorist attacks as a crime against America rather than a war against America. So the guilty would be tried and only them would be punished rather than bombing an already destroyed country. I do not restrict myself to US media. I check out Aljazeerah and European media such as the BBC. I am seeing something that you are not seeing because of the one-sidedness of the US media. I see the carnage of Afghanistan. I see the innocent civilian deaths. That is why my opinion is different.

Keep in mind that I have no sympathy for whoever committed the crimes of Sep 11th. But that doesn't mean that I would approve the killing of my Muslim brothers and sisters in Afghanistan. Even though this is a dissenting view nowadays but as an American I do have the right to have a contrary opinion.

In 2002, a federal arrest warrant was issued for al-Awlaki in Denver for passport fraud and making a false statement to a federal official, but it was withdrawn before he was served with the warrant.

After 9/11, authorities learned that three of the hijackers visited al-Awlaki's California and Virginia mosques, but the FBI did not have enough evidence to arrest or detain him. In early 2002, he left the U.S. and started preaching on the Internet and applauding Palestinian suicide bombers.

It was while he was away that the U.S. Attorney's Office in Denver sought the arrest warrant. ABC News said it was based on the fact that al-Awlaki had attended CSU on a foreign-student visa, claiming he was born in Yemen, not in New Mexico, where he was actually born. Soon after he was briefly detained at JFK, he returned to Europe, and then Yemen.

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    I'm confused (5.00 / 2) (#1)
    by ZtoA on Sat Apr 10, 2010 at 02:41:33 PM EST
    The US CIA thinks "maybe" al-Awlaki met with the x-mas day bomber and "probably" was "very aware of this individual". They must have more than they are saying.

    I was not aware that if the CIA put out a "kill" order on someone that other sovereign nations were expected to carry out that order. Yemen is defending why they are not carrying out the killing.

    So does the US provide Yemen with their compelling classified evidence?

    In the WAPO article it said: "Alimi views Aulaqi more as an inspirational figure rather than an operational one; so do some U.S. officials." I hope that has changed and he is seen as operational and that there is clear evidence. If the evidence that he is a "terrorist" is that he holds certain views then who defines just what a terrorist is?? What views are terrorist? (such as, are radical Muslims terrorists, but the Hutaree are not? - seems clear that both have violent intent)

    Even with evidence it is IMO a monumental mistake to put out an official public "kill" on anyone. That the one to be killed is actually a US citizen makes that even more so.

    I know we probably hold similar views on the morality and political smartness of this, you, and others, know about the legal issues. I'm very interested in what you have to say about this.

    Yemen is refusing to attempt to capture (none / 0) (#7)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat Apr 10, 2010 at 05:30:17 PM EST
    him, not to kill him.

    We really should quit supporting these countries and let them go to Iran and/or other terrorist supporting states for support. They really aren't worth their salt.


    So if the US (none / 0) (#9)
    by ZtoA on Sat Apr 10, 2010 at 05:38:23 PM EST
    orders a capture (or kill) other countries are just supposed to comply? That is what is implied in the refusal.

    If you expect to be supported by the US (none / 0) (#16)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat Apr 10, 2010 at 08:55:28 PM EST
    then you should support the US. I can see them not wanting to kill him, but capturing and turning him over is an entirely different matter.

    Weren't these types of things not supposed to happen on Obama's watch?


    not sure what you mean (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by ZtoA on Sat Apr 10, 2010 at 09:48:00 PM EST
    about just what is happening under Obama's watch. I can guess you mean - did I expect that the elite military/CIA would not function under a democrat?

    I don't follow all the threads here (should apologize) but there was one where BTD and MT exchanged a knowing "someone or something must have gotten to Obama" (for him to so forcefully escalate war in Afghanistan) Frankly, I think pretty much any main stream candidate would have been gotten to.

    Capture and return home for a fair trial and kill are very different things PPJ aka Jim. And very public announcements are to be noted. I suppose as you say, tests of (media driven, visible, sound-byteable) "loyalty" are to be noted too. These "loyalty" issues are more cans of worms. IMO.

    Don't you wonder about the reasons for a public announcement?


    My point was that Yemen could say (none / 0) (#27)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 08:04:09 AM EST
    they will capture and turn over. They have said they will do nothing.

    If captured and turned over he will receive a fair trial.

    When you applaud and encourage jihad against your country then you have committed an act of war. That is treason. Capture or kill is deserved.


    Sounds Right to Me (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by squeaky on Sat Apr 10, 2010 at 02:47:51 PM EST
    Also our government could have dealt with the terrorist attacks as a crime against America rather than a war against America.

    But then the GOP's dream of permanent rule would have become a pipe dream... Imagine that, no patriot act, no bedwetting, no votes...

    No wonder they want to kill the guy, he is making too much sense.

    It's a pretty sad commentary on the (5.00 / 4) (#3)
    by Anne on Sat Apr 10, 2010 at 03:48:30 PM EST
    state of the American democracy when a foreign country not known for its protections of human rights and observance of legal protections is safeguarding the life of an American citizen against the actions of an American government  that seems to have abandoned all pretense at adhering to the rule of law or according constitutional protections to its own citizens.  Who ever would have thought this policy would be advanced by a Democratic president, and that the Democratic caucus would have little, if anything, to say about it in opposition?

    What's even sadder is the general "ho-hum, nothing to see here" attitude of much of the media.

    I wonder what it will take for people to wake up and realize how damaging and dangerous this policy is - and make some effort to do something about it.

    What About OBL? (none / 0) (#4)
    by squeaky on Sat Apr 10, 2010 at 03:57:42 PM EST
    Do you feel the same about non-american citizens who are considered enemies?

    If the American system of justice (5.00 / 3) (#5)
    by Anne on Sat Apr 10, 2010 at 04:25:22 PM EST
    is good enough for us, it ought to be good enough for even the worst-of-the-worst, shouldn't it?

    What does it say about that system of justice when we decide it is worth abandoning for expedience?

    Your question sounds remarkably in line with the "ticking time bomb" scenarios designed to put people on the spot to see if there are some circumstances when people otherwise opposed to torture would be willing to use it, and I just don't feel like playing that game with you.

    I'm aware of and familiar with the conflicts that can exist in some areas between the military and the civilian applications of the rule of law, understand the gray areas with Geneva, but I don't particularly like the trend of creating categories designed to allow us to abandon both, or the deliberate search for loopholes, however infinitesimal, to give ourselves an out for actions we should feel no pride in taking; it's just not a good precedent to be setting.

    And I am, frankly, horrified that we are now openly advocating the killing of American citizens with no arrest, no trial and no conviction; I would hope you would be, too.


    Now? (none / 0) (#6)
    by squeaky on Sat Apr 10, 2010 at 04:45:08 PM EST
    And I am, frankly, horrified that we are now openly advocating the killing of American citizens with no arrest, no trial and no conviction;

    Is it the fact that you believe that this is a new US policy, or is it the "openly" part that you find disturbing. There is nothing new about this US policy, save for the openness about it.

    Nothing about ticking time bombs in my question. From my point of view I find it odd that some are getting their knickers in a twist because a US citizen is being targeted, while at the same time unflinching about non-citizens who are perceived as enemies of the US.

    I do not see the difference.


    I think there is a difference (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by ZtoA on Sat Apr 10, 2010 at 05:57:02 PM EST
    with both the US citizen part and the openly part.

    Re: the openness part - I'm sure I'll be labeled a nut... but here goes. Why did the US have to order OBL killed? That is pretty much implied in "dead or alive". It seemed pretty convenient to me. The CIA has been killing people for a very long time and as far as I know Bush was the first president to publicly announce a 'target'. That focused everyone's attention, and no proof of his guilt was offered and no hope for a trial was offered so basically the government could say just whatever they wanted.

    I say 'convenient' because, 9/11 happened and then pretty much immediately OBL was declared guilty and a target. The 9/11 commission had all sorts of problems getting info, if I remember right, and the only narratives offered by the administration were OBL, Taliban and Iraq. They were the "bad guys", and Bush would not have been able to go on his macho 'we'll get you' rants if the CIA/elite military had not been OK with that as a tactic.

    So our attention is focused on these "bad guys". Are we missing something? We know the Iraq narrative was bogus.

    Re: the US citizen part - that is because it now separates the US government (or the CIA) from the citizenry. Any person who is considered an enemy of (what exactly?) is a target. Its another level in separation among many.


    That was really confusing, Z (5.00 / 2) (#13)
    by Inspector Gadget on Sat Apr 10, 2010 at 07:20:52 PM EST
    Do you remember Bush's Deck of Cards? I went to a USO charity auction a couple of years after we invaded Afghanistan "to bring OBL to justice" and there were several of those decks being auctioned off. The administration had enough decks made for just about every person in the military. It was a game to them.

    We murder our own all the time when we deploy them. What good has come of the wars against Afghanistan and Iraq? What is going on now in Afghanistan? It sure isn't the original mission to find OBL. Are we stupid enough to think the world hasn't figured out yet that we shoot first and ask questions later? Makes one wonder if this order doesn't mean Yemen is next.


    I agree with you (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by ZtoA on Sat Apr 10, 2010 at 07:50:51 PM EST
    even the 'confusing' part. I know I'm not expressing this very well, and mostly it is a frustration at not having information. I suspect there is propaganda (know that re Iraq and WMD) but am not sure. But things just do not add up and I have a 'feeling' about it. And I know 'feeling' is completely inadequate. Sigh.

    I feel that open public (as opposed to the usual covert) orders to target individuals are perhaps diversionary. Making it all a game with a set of predetermined 'cards' is also a diversion.

    What/who were on the playing cards? Creepy!


    It was how the news counted down (none / 0) (#19)
    by Inspector Gadget on Sat Apr 10, 2010 at 09:53:11 PM EST
    who we targeted to kill. I'm amazed you don't remember it.

    There are numerous locations on the web for more information.


    oh, thanks for the links... (none / 0) (#21)
    by ZtoA on Sat Apr 10, 2010 at 10:31:06 PM EST
    geez, yes I do remember that. Not sure I actually wanted to remember it. I still think it was a diversion.

    Not sure what "it" is that (none / 0) (#22)
    by Inspector Gadget on Sat Apr 10, 2010 at 11:06:09 PM EST
    you think is a diversion.

    I would know more (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by ZtoA on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 12:35:19 AM EST
    if I knew what it was a diversion from.

    I think that players in Iraq were a diversion from  the actual players for the 9/11 attacks.

    I suspect that OBL and Taliban were, if not a complete diversion, then not the whole story. Perhaps they were a diversion too. We have not been getting much real truthful info from government sources.  

    I wish I had that pack of cards tho. Maybe could sell it for $$ on ebay. Is yours for sale? (seriously)


    I don't have a deck (none / 0) (#29)
    by Inspector Gadget on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 09:55:20 AM EST
    Wouldn't want to own any piece of that horrible game that murdered so many innocent people.

    Check eBay.


    I missed substantial (5.00 / 1) (#35)
    by ZtoA on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 11:36:53 PM EST
    parts of the '00s due to health. Now that I'm reminded of this 'deck of cards' (which was a distraction) and actually saw it on wiki I'm sure I don't need to go any further. So, I agree, I "own" that deck of cards more than I really want to.

    But, I'm not saying it's okay to issue (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by Anne on Sat Apr 10, 2010 at 06:20:49 PM EST
    kill orders for anyone, so I guess I don't fall into that group that has a double standard, that is outraged about the order to kill a citizen, but is indifferent to kill orders for non-citizens.

    I agree that there is some of that going on, and I think it's proof of how well people have been indoctrinated and propagandized to be indifferent to the killing of brown people with funny names; some of the outrage over the order to kill a citizen evaporates when you tell people what his name is and what his religion is.  "Ohhhh...well...guess that's different."

    I have no doubt that kill orders have been issued for citizens before, but I have no recollection of this being so public, announced without shame or regret; I think it's a mistake to assume that what we didn't know hasn't - and doesn't - hurt us, and I think openly declaring that we are prepared to kill an American citizen without properly presented evidence, arrest, trial and conviction is troubling and cause for concern.

    How long before we find reasons to openly bypass the judicial system for the rest of us?


    Yeah (5.00 / 0) (#20)
    by squeaky on Sat Apr 10, 2010 at 10:11:27 PM EST
    It is good to be consistent. I am against warrant that states wanted dead or alive, FBI, CIA, bounty hunters, local sheriff... whatever.

    It is nothing new in America, though, citizens or not.


    Hasn't he lost his citizenship? (none / 0) (#8)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat Apr 10, 2010 at 05:33:30 PM EST
    I think he has. I also think he supports terrorists and applauds attacks against this country.

    I would prefer capturing and trying him by military tribunal. But killing him also works for me.


    He was born (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by Zorba on Sat Apr 10, 2010 at 05:56:53 PM EST
    in Las Cruces, New Mexico.  As far as I know, there is no legal, Constitutional way for the USA to "remove" citizenship from a native-born American.  

    Actually there are ways to lose US (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat Apr 10, 2010 at 09:05:59 PM EST

    Section 349 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1481), as amended, states that U.S. citizens are subject to loss of citizenship if they perform certain specified acts voluntarily and with the intention to relinquish U.S. citizenship. Briefly stated, these acts include:

    1.obtaining naturalization in a foreign state (Sec. 349 (a) (1) INA);

    1. taking an oath, affirmation or other formal declaration to a foreign state or its political subdivisions (Sec. 349 (a) (2) INA);

    2. entering or serving in the armed forces of a foreign state engaged in hostilities against the U.S. or serving as a commissioned or non-commissioned officer in the armed forces of a foreign state (Sec. 349 (a) (3) INA);

    3. accepting employment with a foreign government if (a) one has the nationality of that foreign state or (b) an oath or declaration of allegiance is required in accepting the position (Sec. 349 (a) (4) INA);

    4. formally renouncing U.S. citizenship before a U.S. diplomatic or consular officer outside the United States (sec. 349 (a) (5) INA);

    5. formally renouncing U.S. citizenship within the U.S. (but only under strict, narrow statutory conditions) (Sec. 349 (a) (6) INA);

    6. conviction for an act of treason (Sec. 349 (a) (7) INA).


    I would say item 3 applies, although it can be argued that al Qaeda is not a "state."

    That just highlights the fact that we need to start passing new laws on a variety of terrorism issues.


    jim, you'll notice (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by cpinva on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 07:59:26 AM EST
    that all of these require an affirmative act, on the part of the individual. our government can't just decide, on its own, that you are no longer a citizen.

    it isn't even a subject worthy of discussion, absent the re-defining of the term "state":

    I would say item 3 applies, although it can be argued that al Qaeda is not a "state."

    all of these still require some level of confirmable evidence, mere allegations are not sufficient.


    We don't know (none / 0) (#28)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 08:09:38 AM EST
    what his actions are. "Wanted" for any crime carries the possibility of death.

    Would you be happier if the government was more specific?


    yes i would. (none / 0) (#32)
    by cpinva on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 11:22:07 PM EST
    Would you be happier if the government was more specific?

    just saying someone is "wanted" is pretty damn meaningless. this, perhaps, explains the failure of the yemeni government to hop right to it.


    Problem may very well be (none / 0) (#36)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Apr 12, 2010 at 11:04:00 AM EST
    that if the CIA reveals what they know then their sources will be revealed.

    One one of the world's oldest conundrums is "Who will watch the watchers?" If you have no faith in them then you have a problem.


    They either need (none / 0) (#25)
    by Zorba on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 06:49:15 AM EST
    to amend the law, or amend the Constitution, then.  It's not a good idea for the government to decide "Well, we don't have an exact law to cover this, so we can do whatever we want."  It's not up to the Executive Branch to interpret the law, or to make new law, for that matter.

    how arrogant of the yemeni (5.00 / 2) (#14)
    by cpinva on Sat Apr 10, 2010 at 07:26:57 PM EST
    government, asking for actual evidence! don't they know what happened to the last government that was brazen enough to demand the same, from the US?

    we don't need no stinkin' evidence! countries, and people, should just do what they're told, er, asked, without question. we are, after all, the exceptional country. just ask anyone.

    jim, sometimes your vacuuity even astonishes me.

    Oh That Pesky 6th Admendment (none / 0) (#30)
    by john horse on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 10:45:00 AM EST
    According to our Constitution
    In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district where in the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.

    The 6th Admendment specifically does not allow the government act as judge, jury and executioner.  And regardless of how you interpret or misinterpret some federal immigration statute, the Constitution is the supreme law of the law.  That means it trumps that immigration statute.

    Even an act of treason requires a trial in an "open court" according to the 3rd Admendment to the Constitution.

    What is shameful is that President Obama's specialty when he was a college professor was constitutional law.  You might be headed in the wrong direction when folks like my old friend, PPJ, start agreeing with you.

    thus, no trial (none / 0) (#31)
    by diogenes on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 07:17:48 PM EST
    How can you have a trial to prove whether or not he is a terrorist unless Yemen extradites him to face a trial.  Are you saying that if I kill someone and leave the country that the US has to CONVICT me in absentia before seeking extradition?  

    i don't recall (5.00 / 1) (#33)
    by cpinva on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 11:25:34 PM EST
    seeing anywhere that the US has formally requested extradition, they just want the yemeni government to hunt him down and hand him over.

    extradition requires formal hearings, etc. you know, that whole legal nonsense.


    Yemen (5.00 / 1) (#34)
    by ZtoA on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 11:33:01 PM EST
    is saying evidence has not been provided - compelling evidence. And I thought a warrant had not been issued, just an "kill or capture order". Is extradition for "orders"? And the "kill" part does not fit parameters for extradition. Is extradition also include 'hunting'?

    If China ordered a "kill or capture" of some individual Chinese citizen they considered a terrorist, then would we, or any other nation, be expected to -no questions asked- comply?


    Seeing how much money we now owe (none / 0) (#37)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Apr 12, 2010 at 11:06:28 AM EST
    China we might decide it was the politically correct thing to do.