Anwar al-Awlaki Killed in Yemen
Cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, an American citizen on the U.S. "capture or kill" list was killed by a drone today in Yemen.
A CIA drone finally got him, but that was only the tip of a much larger military operation. Missiles fired by the drone took out Awlaki's vehicle. That made the American-born cleric the first U.S citizen to be targeted and killed as a terrorist. A senior defense official said, "a very bad man just had a very bad day."
...Harrier jets flying from an amphibious carrier off the coast were ready to take a shot if the CIA drone missed. There was even an option for sending in Marine Ospreys with Special Operations Forces to collect any intelligence left after the strike, but that was never used.
President Obama proudly commented on the killing. [More...]
"This is further proof that al Qaeda and its affiliates will find no safe haven anywhere in the world," Mr. Obama said.Interesting timing, as the killing coincides with jury selection which is underway in the trial of Private Underpants, Farouk Abdulmutallab.
Abdulmutallab provided information on Anwar al-Awlaki during his unsuccessful cooperation bid. He never said al-Awlaki knew about his Christmas Day attack, just that he was his "teacher" and they had met and communicated, something al-Awlaki also acknowledged.
"Brother Mujahid Umar Farouk — may God relieve him — is one of my students, yes," Mr al-Awlaki said in the interview, which al-Jazeera reported on its website on Tuesday. "We had kept in contact but I didn't issue a fatwa to Umar Farouk for this operation."Al-Awlaki, who had not been charged with a crime, insisted his role was inspirational not operational and that he had no knowledge of either the Ft. Hood killings or Abdulmutallab's Christmas Day attack. He admitted to being a recruiter for Jihadists, and a very successful one. He was associated with AQAP. Does that make it okay to give orders to kill him on sight?
... A senior U.S. intelligence official said Mr al-Awlaki represented the biggest name on the list of people Mr Abdulmutallab might have information against. His information could provide fresh clues for forces attempting to kill or capture him in the remote mountains of Yemen.
We've moved from torture to outright murder of suspects, even before charging them with a crime. How abysmal, for a nation supposedly dedicated to freedom, due process and the rule of law. In his 2010 State of the Union Address, President Obama said:
"America must always stand on the side of freedom and human dignity."How does killing people instead of bringing them before a court of law meet that mission?
Update: The ACLU weighs in:
The targeted killing program violates both U.S. and international law. As we've seen today, this is a program under which American citizens far from any battlefield can be executed by their own government without judicial process, and on the basis of standards and evidence that are kept secret not just from the public but from the courts. The government's authority to use lethal force against its own citizens should be limited to circumstances in which the threat to life is concrete, specific and imminent. It is a mistake to invest the President – any President – with the unreviewable power to kill any American whom he deems to present a threat to the country."
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