Execution without trial

Anwar al-Awlaki


Islamist cleric Anwar Awlaki ‘killed in Yemen’

The US-born radical Islamist cleric and suspected al-Qaeda leader Anwar al-Awlaki has been killed in Yemen, the country’s defence ministry reported.

US administration officials confirmed the reports, according to US media.

Awlaki, of Yemeni descent, has been on the run in Yemen since December 2007.

The US had named him a “specially designated global terrorist” for his alleged role in a number of attacks and US President Barack Obama is said to have personally ordered his killing.

The defence ministry statement said only that he died “along with some of his companions”.

It gave no further details of his death.


Al-Awlaki’s father, who still lives in the U.S., filed a lawsuit against the federal government, claiming his son’s civil rights were violated by the U.S. call for his killing.

A federal court dismissed Nasser al-Awlaki’s suit on Dec. 7, 2010, on the grounds that he had no legal standing to challenge the targeting of his son.

A statement from Yemen’s foreign press office said the al Qaeda suspect “was targeted and killed 8 KM (about 5 miles) from the town of Khashef in the Province of Jawf, 140KM (about 80 miles) east of the Capital Sana’a.”

Al-Arabiya television network cited local tribal sources as saying suspected U.S. drone aircraft – which are known to operate in Yemen – fired two missiles Friday at a convoy of vehicles believed to be carrying al-Awlaki and his guards.

The President of the United States ordered the killing of an American citizen without any trial or due process of law.

How do we know he’s guilty? Because THE GOVERNMENT SAYS SO!!!

Glenn Greenwald:

In recognition of that fact, the Obama administration — once the existence of its hit list became public — began asserting, with no evidence presented and usually anonymously, that Awlaki has an “operational role” in Al Qaeda. But as Yemen expert Gregory Johnsen said today in response to the NYT debate: “We suspect a great deal about Anwar al-Awlaki, but we know very little, precious little when it comes to his operational role”; he added in response to Mendelsohn’s claim that Awlaki “played an important role in a string of attacks in the West”: “We just don’t know this, we suspect it but don’t know it.” Of course, punishing (or killing) Americans based on government accusations that have never been proven in court happens to violate a different though equally critical Constitutional principle (the Fifth Amendment’s guarantee that “no person shall be deprived of life [or] liberty . . . without due process of law).

It will never cease to amaze me how acquiescent the country is to the seizure by this President of the extremist and warped power to target American citizens, far from any battlefield, for killing, all without a shred of due process. It’s not just a profound assault on due process rights but also free speech rights.

Don’t expect much outrage from Left Blogistan on this. In fact I expect to see some of them celebrating this assassination as proof that Obama is a decisive leader.

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55 Responses to Execution without trial

    • myiq2xu says:

      More Glenn:

      Many will celebrate the strong, decisive, Tough President’s ability to eradicate the life of Anwar al-Awlaki — including many who just so righteously condemned those Republican audience members as so terribly barbaric and crass for cheering Governor Perry’s execution of scores of serial murderers and rapists — criminals who were at least given a trial and appeals and the other trappings of due process before being killed.

      From an authortarian perspective, that’s the genius of America’s political culture. It not only finds way to obliterate the most basic individual liberties designed to safeguard citizens from consummate abuses of power (such as extinguishing the lives of citizens without due process). It actually gets its citizens to stand up and clap and even celebrate the destruction of those safeguards.

    • Mimi says:

      Evil little fucks.

    • WMCB says:


      This is why tribal ideological loyalties scare me. Because where tribal ideological loyalties exist, authoritarianism is not seen as a danger when your side is doing it. It happens time and again in history: The abuses of the dictator were evil, the abuses of the “freedom movement” that replaced him… not so much.

      These fucks never really had a problem with unconstitutional power grabs. They only objected to in whose hands that authority lay.

    • As pathetic and as fruck’in nuts as they usually are, they can still disappoint.

  1. Betty says:

    A federal court dismissed Nasser al-Awlaki’s suit on Dec. 7, 2010, on the grounds that he had no legal standing to challenge the targeting of his son.

    What is this “no legal standing” ? What is it’s history? Is it a new judicial avoidance tactic or is it an true legal hurdle? Can some one acquire legal standing or is it like, I was going to say hair or eye color but that won’t do, so legal standing like, gosh not gender either, like being a deciduous vs coniferous forest?

    • Karma says:

      Yup, I suspect they used something as lame as his age to weasel out of the case.

      “Your son is over the age of majority therefore you have no legal standing to bring this case/be concerned we trampled the Constitution/will murder your son.”

  2. WMCB says:

    This is so wrong. I myself have little doubt that the man was an evil fuck, involved in the deaths of many, and would have been involved in more.

    But you don’t shit on the constitution to get rid of him. If the laws we have, or even the constitution we have, is inadequate for dealing with the threat of someone like this, then you change it. In a legal fashion. ESPECIALLY for US citizens. Pass an amendment that says in cases of terrorism aimed at the overthrow of the united states, the citizen must be charged with treason and be given public notice to appear at trial, and if they do not appear, they can be tried in absentia.

    Or something. Even an admittedly imperfect law would be better than having our govt execute at will.

    • Betty says:

      Although I have no legal standing I wholeheartedly agree with this statement!

      “Pass an amendment that says in cases of terrorism aimed at the overthrow of the united states, the citizen must be charged with treason and be given public notice to appear at trial, and if they do not appear, they can be tried in absentia.”

      • WMCB says:

        Betty, I understand that it’s a problem – a loophole in our law if you will.
        And I understand that for people like al-Awlaki, the usual system lets him get off scot free, as capture is unlikely. It’s not that I don’t understand the reality that people like him are using our own system against us, and laughing about it. I do. And it makes me furious.

        But if that’s the case then CHANGE the LAW. Don’t just ignore and break it.

        • jjmtacoma says:

          It rarely has happened – that we know about. Having some form of trial to review the decision to go after a citizen would be a better first step, but even that might allow too much power over the fate of a citizen who isn’t “safe” to show up.

          I hate the idea that the president can decide somebody is a traitor and issue the death warrant without any meaningful oversight.

    • ralphb says:

      This is wrong and I have a lot of doubt that the cleric had done one damned thing wrong, other than speak his piece! How can anyone have faith in US Intelligence after the huge fuckups of the last 20+ years.

      Obama should be impeached and tried in The Hague! Along with the previous administration.

  3. vastleft says:

    Would you rather have Sarah Palin assassinating American citizens without due process?

  4. yttik says:

    It’s a very chilling precedent. A US president just ordered and carried out the assassination of a US citizen without any due process. It’s an insult to our Constitution and violates everything that America stands for.

    • Karma says:

      And Big Sis made all those Bush-type rumblings about various groups of American citizens possibly being terrorists.

      So what stops them from offing someone here? Is anyone not represented on those lists of citizens the govt is concerned about? In one way or another they define most of America.

      A very chilling precedent…..even if it stays off our shores.

      Of course, how big a leap is it from, rendition and torture, to murder?

  5. votermom says:

    My guess is the President is hoping for another dead terrorist poll bounce from this.

    Is it too much too hope that some on the libertarian right will see this as unconstitutional also?

    • Someone should do a cartoon where Obama and his henchmen go out and start shooting random Americans. After each hit, he turns to his press person and says, any poll bounce yet? And with each no, he shoots another.

      • Mimi says:

        How far are we from this now? Really. And if I hear another whining Obama supporter talking about death penalty abuses after full legal reviews and appeals have been exhausted I will throw something at them. Literally. All they care about is who has the power to kill people not that someone has illegally taken that power. Stupid fools.

        • WMCB says:

          Every single death row inmate ever executed in this country has had FAR more due process and right to defense than al-Awlaki had. By massive orders of magnitude.

          You’re right – every fuck who cheers this needs to STFU about the death penalty, forever.

        • ralphb says:

          People need to stop cheering for both!

  6. Don’t expect much outrage from Left Blogistan on this. In fact I expect to see some of them celebrating this assassination as proof that Obama is a decisive leader.

    Or even more bizarre, somehow bringing the right or leaders of the right into the equation. Like saying something about Palin, or about how the right applauds this too, etc.

    Seriously, how frick’in lame is that. American directed by its president murders someone without trial. An American citizen. And in order to deal with the obvious anger, frustration, disbelief, you talk about how people on the right react or what they might have done, etc. Sad.

  7. votermom says:

    Lawyer question – it’s obviously unconstitutional — but that doesn’t mean it’s an impeachable offense does it?

    • myiq2xu says:

      “High crimes and misdemeanors”

    • Sadly I think both sides of the isle are cheering and applauding to loudly to take notice. It’s becoming cliche, but no less apt: So this is how democracy ends, with thunderous applause.

      • WMCB says:

        I’m actually seeing some pushback on the threads at HotAir, FWIW. Many are cheering, but some are “not so fast”.

        They are pointing out that the fact that he was indeed a US citizen is a big problem.

  8. yttik says:

    This is very slippery slope, and it’s been progressively getting worse. The people in Guantanamo were “terrorists,” so people were uneasy but accepting. This guy targeted for assassination was a “terrorist,” so again people are uneasy but accepting. The problem is, people in the Bush administration also labeled opponents “terrorist sympathizers.” People in the Obama administration now label opponents “terrorists.” What stops an administration from ordering a hit on a political opponent? Absolutely nothing but the commitment of the people to NOT accept such behavior from our leaders.

  9. HELENK says:

    Yemen Defense Ministry says another American in al-Qaida, Samir Khan, was killed with al-Awlaki – @AP

    was a hit ordered on this guy too? or was he just considered collateral damage?

    unemployment needs to start in DC asap

  10. Karma says:

    Even the bastards that helped put in place the stepping stones to this type of thing says it goes too far…sorta.


    If the President has the power to order American citizens killed with no due process, and to do so in such complete secrecy that no courts can even review his decisions, then what doesn’t he have the power to do? Just for the moment, I’ll note that The New York Times’ Charlie Savage, two weeks ago, wrote about the possibility that Obama might raise this argument, and quoted the far-right, Bush-supporting, executive-power-revering lawyer David Rivkin as follows:

    The government’s increasing use of the state secrets doctrine to shield its actions from judicial review has been contentious. Some officials have argued that invoking it in the Awlaki matter, about which so much is already public, would risk a backlash. David Rivkin, a lawyer in the White House of President George H. W. Bush, echoed that concern.

    “I’m a huge fan of executive power, but if someone came up to you and said the government wants to target you and you can’t even talk about it in court to try to stop it, that’s too harsh even for me,” he said.

    However, if you go to the original article in the NY Times, Riven offers the cover of war as an excuse. Which brings us to treason not this horror show.

    Twisted pretzel logic from all of those creepy bastards.

    • Karma says:

      Here is the original NY Times article and Rivkin’s cover of war excuse and a nice quote from ‘officials’ how Obama will slide on this issue.


      But other officials have cited last week’s ruling as a reason to invoke the state secrets doctrine in the Awlaki lawsuit. They have also argued that few people are likely to perceive its use in this case as covering up an injustice.

      Mr. Rivkin said he favored a different argument: a declaration that in war who can be targeted — and where — is a “political question” for the executive branch to decide, not judges.

  11. HELENK says:

    backtrack is going to pontificate from the teleprompter about this.

    Obama will address al-Awlaki death during Join Chiefs change of responsibility ceremony, senior administration official says – @NBCNews

  12. Pingback: » Bad facts make bad law, Anwar al-Awlaki edition - Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion

  13. Dario says:

    Americans are aware that the government is not to be trusted. It’s a 2010 poll, but I don’t believe that the opinions have changed.

    CNN Poll: Majority says government a threat to citizens’ rights

  14. timothy2010 says:

    Democracy Now had Glenn Greenwald on this morning talking about t Awalki
    If interested the segment begins at about 11:45

  15. Three Wickets says:

    Did they even connect al-Awlaki with the Fort Hood shooter. That’s what DHS was alleging back in 2009.

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