Sep 30, 2011

American Born Anwar al-Awlaki Killed in Yemen

Before everyone raises their glasses and has some bacon to celebrate, let me remind you that he was still a US Citizen. The US has killed one of their own, traitorous and enemy of the State - yes, but with no trial or due process. He was an "enemy combatant," but not in the sense that he was holding a gun to American troops. Sure he sent emails and was in direct contact with the Fort Hood shooter, and did a whole pile of bad things - but he was not brought before a jury and tried as an American citizen.

But wait, hold on, he 'might' have been killed by Yemeni forces. Oh, well, then in that case Eric Holder's off the hook and carry on then.


WaffleMan said...

Obama assassinates conservative American for exercising freedom of speech?

Anonymous said...

“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,” ACLU Deputy Legal Director Jameel Jaffer said in a statement.

Donald Douglas said...

Check Kenneth Anderson, at Volokh, "Anwar al-Aulaqi Apparently Killed by Drone in Yemen":

My view of this targeted killing is straightforwardly, congratulations, Mr. President. What has been visible publicly leaves little or no doubt in my mind that Al-Aulaqi was deeply involved in AQAP in operations, and indeed at the highest levels.

And at the update:

Who? As an international law matter, is Al-Aulaqi a lawful target? The US government sees him as taking part in hostilities, part of the operational leadership of an associated force with Al Qaeda, the AQAP. So, yes, he can be targeted with lethal force — and targeted without warning, without an attempt to arrest or apprehend as a law enforcement matter.

Where? Does it matter that he was in Yemen, and not an “active battlefield” in a conventional hostilities sense? The US government does not accept the idea that the armed conflict with Al Qaeda — or armed conflict generally — is confined as a legal matter to some notion of “theatres of conflict” or “active battlefields” or related terms that have been used in recent years by academics and activist groups. As I understand the US government position, it sticks by the traditional concept of “hostilities,” and that where the hostiles go, the possibility of armed conflict goes too (I try to explain this evolution of these views in this short essay). So the fact that he was present in Yemen does not make him beyond targeting, because he is not present in some “active” battlezone such as Afghanistan.

This claim — the conflict follows the participants — frequently leads to a complaint that this means the US might target him in Paris or London. The US position is that the standard for addressing non-state actor terrorists taking safe haven somewhere depends on whether the sovereign where the terrorist is hiding is “unwilling or unable” to address the threat. No, there won’t be Predators Over Paris; Yemen or Somalia is another matter, as President Obama has repeatedly and without cavil said in speeches over the last few years.