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Oct 20 2011

Awlaki’s Teenage Son Killed in Yemen Attack

They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety. ~ Benjamin Franklin

The US has killed the 16 year old son of Anwar Al-Awlaki who was killed in last month in an unmanned drone attack ordered by President Obama. The teenager had run away from home to find his father. On Friday, Abdulrahman al-Awlaki was killed in unmanned drone attack in southeastern Yemen. The Al-Awlaki family is speaking out about the killings.

“To kill a teenager is just unbelievable, really, and they claim that he is an al-Qaeda militant. It’s nonsense,” said Nasser al-Awlaki, a former Yemeni agriculture minister who was Anwar al-Awlaki’s father and the boy’s grandfather, speaking in a phone interview from Sanaa on Monday. “They want to justify his killing, that’s all.”

Former Justice Department attorney and whistleblower, Jesselyn Radack discusses how the US has gone further down a very slippery slope into “Wonderland”:

In a still secret–yet described in detail in the New York Times–memo, the Justice Department justified assassinating American citizen al-Awlaki despite the myriad laws and the Constitution such a killing would violate. As New York Times journalist Charlie Savage pointed out, there exists

   an executive order banning assassinations, a federal law [that prohibits Americans from murdering other Americans abroad], protections in the Bill of Rights [the Fourth Amendment’s guarantee that a “person” cannot be seized by the government unreasonably, and the Fifth Amendment’s guarantee that the government may not deprive a person of life “without due process of law”], and various strictures of the international laws of war . . .

The Justice Department has refused to release the secret memo despite calls from major media outlets and a FOIA request from my organization (the Government Accountability Project), but has assured us that the justification for killing an American was for al-Awlaki only, and did not set a precedent.  But now we are sliding down the slippery slope.  The U.S. killed American Samir Khan–the publisher of the controversial magazine Inspire (clearly First Amendment activity) along with al-Awlaki and now, the young Awlaki was the third American killed in Yemen in as many weeks.

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But now we have taken to killing American teenagers without due process, an action the U.S. Supreme Court could not take even if al-Awlaki’s son had a full criminal trial. The Supreme Court held in Roper v. Simmons that even after a suspect receives due process in court–something al-Awlaki and his son were secretly and summarily denied–using the death penalty on juveniles is cruel and unusual punishment that violates the Constitution.

Speaking of the Supreme Court, the Court weighed in on the rights of American citizens labeled “belligerents” and has held that they must receive some measure of due process. In Hamdi v. Rumsfeld, Justice Sandra Day O-Connor eloquently explained:

   . . . a state of war is not a blank check for the President when it comes to the rights of the Nation’s citizens . . .

Many of us on the left and on the blogs were vociferously and adamantly opposed to the Bush regimes use of torture and we were truly dismayed when then House Speaker Nancy Pelosi took impeachment of both Bush and Cheney off the table. We were again disheartened when President Obama decided not to even investigate the criminality of Bush cabal. Now, one would think that there would be an outcry from the so called progressives on targeting American citizens for assassination and the use of unmanned drones which may well be a war crime but apparently not on the web site where Ms. Radack published her article. Those who were the loudest opposition to the Bush crimes and torture were out in force in comments with some of the most right wing rational for supporting Obama’s criminality:

the son was collateral damage. Get the father into a court room, and the son gets to live. Then when daddy Awlaki is locked up in a federal prison, sonny Awlaki can become a terrorist leader on his own. Then various people here can cluck over him when he finds his way into US military crosshairs for his own evil deeds. Perhaps by that time he’ll have had some little Awlakis of his own, who we can cluck over even more.  See, this can keep going for a long darn time.

Generations in fact.

This was addressed directly to Ms. Radack:

Because if there’s any right that’s sacred.. in the minds of most Americans, it’s the right to travel the back roads of Yemen as part of an organization proudly devoted to the destruction of the United States and the mass killing of its people.  After all, I’m pretty sure that’s all just idle bluster.

This is where I try to set aside my own views and offer what I think is some strategically sound advice to you, and you can take it as you will.  Why not focus on torture, rendition, and other stuff where you enjoy some greater chance of success, and then leverage that success into this toughest of nuts?

This comment was made by an African American lawyer

I’ll save my tears for things worth crying about. Some 16 year old kid winning a Darwin Award doesn’t cut it.

These are just a few of the degenerate, despicable comments that praised these killings and defended Obama. There were many responses that were horrified by such rhetoric. It makes one wonder just how far Obama cult of followers will sink before they realize their hero is not just very flawed but as evil as the last president if not worse.

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