Mar 11 2013

The Assassination of Anwar al-Awlaki

(2 pm. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

Democracy Now‘s Amy Goodman wrote in The Guardian that Americans should be ashamed that Rand Paul and the radical Tea Party Republicans were the only ones talking about drone executions.

Members of Congress, tasked with oversight of intelligence and military matters, have repeatedly demanded the memoranda from the White House detailing the legal basis for the drone program, only to be repeatedly denied. The nomination of Brennan has opened up the debate, forcing the Obama administration to make nominal gestures of compliance. The answers so far have not satisfied Senator Paul. [..]

The issue of extrajudicial execution of US citizens, whether on US soil or elsewhere, is clearly vital. But also important is the US government’s now-seemingly routine killing of civilians around the world, whether by drone strikes, night raids conducted by special operations forces or other lethal means. [..]

Barack Obama and John Brennan direct the drone strikes that are killing thousands of civilians. It doesn’t make us safer. It makes whole populations, from Yemen to Pakistan, hate us. Senator Paul’s outrage with the president’s claimed right to kill US citizens is entirely appropriate. That there is not more outrage at the thousands killed around the globe is shameful … and dangerous.

For a thoughtful discussion of the Awlaki assassinations and the president’s claim that he can legally do so, Ms. Goodman was joined by Scott Shane, national security reporter for The New York Times and, in the second video, Jesselyn Radack, National Security & Human Rights director at the Government Accountability Project .

Anwar al-Awlaki: NYT Details How Obama Admin Justified & Carried Out the Killing of U.S.-Born Cleric

As John Brennan is confirmed to head the CIA, we examine one of the most controversial U.S. targeted killings that occurred during his time as Obama’s counterterrorism adviser: the killing of Anwar al-Awlaki. The U.S.-born cleric died in a U.S. drone strike in September 2011, along with American citizen Samir Khan. Al-Awlaki’s 16-year-old son, Abdulrahman, was also killed in a separate drone strike just weeks later. On Sunday, The New York Times published a major front-page article on the killing of Anwar al-Awlaki called “How a U.S. Citizen Came to Be in America’s Cross Hairs.The New York TimesScott Shane, one of the reporters on the piece, joins us from Washington, D.C. includes rush transcript

White House Changing Story on Anwar al-Awlaki? A Debate on NYT’s Inside Account of ’11 Drone Strike

The New York Times’ front-page account of the U.S. assassination of Anwar al-Awlaki has drawn criticism from critics of the Obama administration’s targeted killings overseas. In a joint statement, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Constitutional Rights called the story “the latest in a series of one-sided, selective disclosures that prevent meaningful public debate and legal or even political accountability for the government’s killing program.” We discuss the article and the White House assassination program with two guests: Scott Shane, national security reporter at The New York Times, and Jesselyn Radack, National Security & Human Rights director at the Government Accountability Project and former legal ethics adviser at the Justice Department. includes rush transcript

From Marcy Wheeler at emptywheel in which she shreds the NYT’s article and its authors:

Anwar al-Awlaki Is the New Aluminum Tube

Mark Mazzetti, Charlie Savage, and Scott Shane team up to provide the government’s best case – and at times, an irresponsibly credulous one – for the killing of Anwar al-Awlaki and the collateral deaths of Samir Khan and Abdulrahman al-Awlaki.

Yet even in a 3,600 word story, they don’t present any evidence against the senior Awlaki that was fresher than a year old – the October 2010 toner cartridge plot – at the time the Yemeni-American was killed. (I’m not saying the government didn’t have more recent intelligence; it just doesn’t appear in this very Administration-friendly case.) Not surprisingly, then, the story completely ignores questions about the definition of “imminent threat” used in the OLC memo and whether Awlaki was an “imminent” threat when he was killed. [..]

Moreover, the case they do present has various weaknesses.

The “linked in various ways” standard for killing Americans

The story provides a fair amount of space to Awlaki’s celebration of the Nidal Hasan attack (though it does make it clear Awlaki did not respond enthusiastically to Hasan’s queries before the attack). [..]

It uses far vaguer language to describe Awlaki’s role in the Faisal Shahzad and toner cartridge plots.

NYT doesn’t care about problems with the Abu Tarak explanation

Which leaves the UndieBomb attack as the sole attack in which the NYT presents evidence about Awlaki’s direct role. But there’s a problem with their claims there, too. [..]

NYT finally finds a WikiLeaks cable it doesn’t like!

There’s one other really irresponsible piece to this story. [..]

It is our job, and that of Congress, to ask these questions and hold the president responsible for violations of our civil liberties.

1 comment

  1. TMC

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