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  1.  (9848.1)
    In this article, Glenn Greenwald takes a strong stance against the attempted assassination by drone, seeing it as nothing short of a hit against a US citizen, regardless of said citizen's positions and opinions.

    I agree with him, but I'd like to read your thoughts on the subject. Al-Awlaki's been part of a president-approved hit list for a year, and the decision to try and carry out the hit while riding the wave of success from bin Laden's assassination says a lot about how president Obama plans to use the huge amounts of political capital he's gained, and how he possibly knew the hit could turn into a political shitstorm unless it happened in a moment like this.

    Which in turn, says a lot about him, and his gradual and worrying transition into a smarter, well-spoken Bush.

    What am I missing?
    • CommentAuthorFan
    • CommentTimeMay 8th 2011
     (9848.2)
    I'm not an American citizen myself.

    The whole article is about the fact that they're trying to assassinate, not just anyone, but (gasp) *an American citizen*. And that *that* is against American law.

    So I see it as more "Americans are special" i.e. exceptional. I take it that the article is intended for American domestic consumption. I don't suppose it's very important.

    Does America ever get around to trying people 'in absentia'?

    If you want me to play at being a lawyer, how about this: on the subject of shooting at him ... I imagine he knows he's wanted, doesn't he, so, isn't shooting at him be analogous to using lawful force (to prevent his further harming innocent bystanders) while he's resisting arrest (which I expect has a lower burden of proof and is probably at the discretion of the officers who are trying to make the arrest)?
    •  
      CommentAuthorHEY APATHY!
    • CommentTimeMay 8th 2011 edited
     (9848.3)
    @ Andre - I wanted to say that I noticed your comments as intellectual prowess the first time I visited Whitechapel well over a year ago, you have not disproven me and I doubt very much that you have missed anything.

    The comic wasn't selling so the company hired a new colorist and additional dialogue (same writers, plot breakdowns/pencils) everyone was wowed and started buying the book again.


    USA! USA! USA! just kidding.
  2.  (9848.4)
    @Fan,
    You'd be wrong there. The article specifically states that he hasn't been convicted or even charged with any crime. He's just a radical cleric hiding in Afghanistan. That sounds a little shaky, mind you, but it's completely within his rights as an American citizen. The government has no legal duty to kill him, and I for one don't approve of the American government going above and beyond the call of duty when it comes to killing.
  3.  (9848.5)
    Transition?
  4.  (9848.6)
    I'm not an American citizen myself.

    The whole article is about the fact that they're trying to assassinate, not just anyone, but (gasp) *an American citizen*. And that *that* is against American law.


    That's simplifying it. It's one of the article's points, but not the only one. Greenwald is not saying it's wrong to order hits only against American citizens, but rather he's pointing out how unprecedented it seems to be, what that says about Obama's methods and how he's using his political capital.

    I'm not an American citizen either, but that's hardly a reason not to pay attention to something like this.

    If you want me to play at being a lawyer, how about this: on the subject of shooting at him ... I imagine he knows he's wanted, doesn't he, so, isn't shooting at him be analogous to using lawful force (to prevent his further harming innocent bystanders) while he's resisting arrest (which I expect has a lower burden of proof and is probably at the discretion of the officers who are trying to make the arrest)?


    He knows he's wanted DEAD. Al-Awlaki's been on a hit-list since April 2010. Going into hiding in these circunstances is not resisting arrest, it's survival. This interview with Al-Jazeera shows al-Awlaki is another radical shitbag promoting violence as an answer, but he's not bin Laden, denying him a trial and trying to murder him is an abuse of power and popularity on the Obama administration's part, one that might be repeated in increasingly less excusable cases. The way bin Laden was dealt with is not to serve as an example.

    @ Andre - I wanted to say that I noticed your comments as intellectual prowess the first time I visited Whitechapel well over a year ago, you have not disproven me and I doubt very much that you have missed anything.


    That's kind of you, thanks, but I think you're badly overestimating me. Still, appreciate you saying it.

    Transition?


    You have a point there when it comes to Obama's war effort, which from the start was a sequel to Bush's, with increased drone attacks that kill suspected terrorists and anyone who happens to be standing nearby. Obama did try to sugarcoat it with his impressive oratorial skills, but it just seems he never made a genuine effort to actually end any of the wars started under Bush except Iraq (formally), and possibly made them worse.
    •  
      CommentAuthorCat Vincent
    • CommentTimeMay 8th 2011 edited
     (9848.7)
    I've just watched this for the first time: Adam Curtis' The Power of Nightmares ...so just how flimsy the justifications for the War on Terror and the UBL hit were is rather fresh in my mind. Suffice to say I'm appalled, but not surprised, that Obama's making all the same excuses for the wielding of American-Exceptionalism-through-force as Bush41 & the PNAC crew did. Whacking a US citizen on foreign soil remotely is a difference of degree, not kind.
  5.  (9848.8)
    Yes, I read this a few days ago. And I'm agreeing with Greenwald. The problem is the precedent that's being set. Accuse someone of a crime, no actual charge, then you try and kill them. Oh, and by the way? It's your own country.

    Al-Awlaki's guilt shouldn't have to be brought into question. But because actual charges aren't being filed the accusations ring hollow...
  6.  (9848.9)
    I'm not saying I agree with this sort of action, but apparently even if our policy was to arrest this guy, then we'd just lock him up in Guantanamo Bay and leave him there without a charge or a trial anyway. I think we have to start with the ground up, and decide what our endgame goal is with a terrorist suspect, before we try capturing or killing them.

    I guess what I'm saying is, if once we have these people in custody, we are not going to show them rights of those incarcerated in our justice system, why would we treat them fairly as we hunt them down in the first place?

    If we change the way we treat them while in custody, to, I dunno, come close to basic civil rights, then we can address the policy of hunting them down (and not kill on sight).

    Until we get our shit straight, picking and choosing which terrorists get fair treatment and which get blown up by hunter drones just seems hypocritical.
    • CommentAuthorFan
    • CommentTimeMay 8th 2011
     (9848.10)
    > a terrorist suspect

    A quick skim of Wikipedia suggests that he advocates/encourages/preaches terrorism, i.e. of being a spiritual advisor to terrorists, not that he commits terrorism himself.

    I don't know how/whether/when preaching terrorism (and, perhaps, associating with terrorists) is within a citizen's constitutionally protected First Amendment rights. Perhaps it's a grey area for a court to decide; or, perhaps, a court is a place/time to hear both sides of that argument.

    Apparently/allegedly he doesn't recognise the authority of the courts, though, so.
    • CommentAuthorSteadyUP
    • CommentTimeMay 8th 2011
     (9848.11)
    I have no real moral problem with assassination in theory*, on a case by case basis. Like Fan, though, the thing that bugs me in stories like this is the notion that there's a legal distinction between American citizens and others. I'm no constitutional scholar, but "all men are created equal" seems purposefully distinct from "all citizens are created equal". If it's a serious moral breach to kill someone without a trial, and I'd never tell someone they're wrong to think so, then it should be equally so regardless of who the person is.

    * "in theory" not to be confused with "in practice", in which your multi-million-dollar drone misses and you kill two random fuckers instead. If the CIA could somehow arrange for Muammar Gaddafi to choke on a peach pit tomorrow, I wouldn't bat an eyelash, and would in fact be pretty impressed.
  7.  (9848.12)
    I think that it's rather crucial to consider that al-Awlaki has effectively turned his back on the US and made himself an officer in a foreign army that has declared war on a good portion of human civilization. Do we really have to wait for him to drop by a US Consulate and formally renounce his citizenship before we can treat him like all the other guys in al-Quaeda? Do we really have to wait for him to pull off a terrorist plot so we have something blatantly obvious to excuse assassination? Can we never kill him; do we have to send in a S.E.A.L team armed with tranquilizer darts to try and drag him home alive? Or do we just admit that this asshole crossed the mother of all lines and is publicly wallowing in treason?

    The protections guaranteed in the US Constitution are not absolute. The second amendment does not let people drive around in tanks or collect live hand grenades. The first amendment does not allow people to slander, threaten, or even shout “FIRE!” in a theater. And the right to due process does not mean that a citizen of the United States can join an opposing force, assist it in planning violence against America and her allies, all the while thumbing his nose safe the in knowledge that he need not fear repercussions unless he can be dragged out of hiding and into a courtroom.
    •  
      CommentAuthorHEY APATHY!
    • CommentTimeMay 8th 2011 edited
     (9848.13)
    @ Catvincent- thanks for the vid food for thought eh

    @ Andre, nope. keep writing , I don't say shit like that without reason\

    Just saw this all over the Toronto papers too. I was wondering why all the Binladen bs last week, maybe it was fluffer to get americans prepped, pumped and promoting the coming killing sprees ! USA USA USA just kidding



    there are better videos drawing connections between Bush & Obama than these 'but I'm too tired and too sad for all of this tonight ...





    • CommentAuthorRenThing
    • CommentTimeMay 8th 2011
     (9848.14)
    @Andre, et al

    It depends on whether or not you consider the US to actually be involved in a war.

    If we are in a war then, no, I don't think he gets any sort of protections as he's allied himself against this country.

    If we're not in a war then he has only committed the crime of inciting violence, which he should be tried for.

    Now, if someone wants to try him in absentia for treason, I'm down for that.
  8.  (9848.15)
    Can't try someone in absentia in the United States if they weren't present at the beginning of trial. Rule 43/Crosby v. US (1993).
    • CommentAuthorRenThing
    • CommentTimeMay 8th 2011
     (9848.16)
    @Atavistian

    Even in the case of treason? Hm.
  9.  (9848.17)
    Ren: Rule 43 being federal in nature and Crosby being a USSJC case I'm pretty sure it still applies to treason, but I could be wrong. There are a bunch of funny little exceptions with treason specifically, it being the only crime specifically defined in the US Constitution. This definition rules out trying Awlaki for treason, for the most part. Incitement and preaching don't count. Another of the main hurdles of such a trial, assuming Awlaki came back for it, would be proving that he "owed allegiance" to the US at the time of his crimes. The third requires testimony of two people who witnessed the same overt act.
    • CommentAuthorFan
    • CommentTimeMay 9th 2011
     (9848.18)
    > That's simplifying it.

    *sigh*

    Alright then, I've read it through now.

    > It's one of the article's points, but not the only one.

    It seems like almost the only one. "Citizen" is in the title, and (in some parts of the article) in almost literally every sentence.

    > Greenwald is not saying it's wrong to order hits only against American citizens, but rather he's pointing out how unprecedented it seems to be, what that says about Obama's methods and how he's using his political capital.

    Well ... my summary is that he's saying (perhaps sarcastically but that's not clear) that killing non-citizens isn't news; that Obama's assassinating a citizen is comparable to Bush's wiretapping without judicial oversight; that "liberals" were Fuck Yeah about killing Osama; that popular support for Osama's killing will encourage the government to kill more/others; and that Obama no longer needs to wage 'war' simply in order to avoid seeming weak on terrorism, and that therefore whatever he does in the future will be his choice rather than something that's forced on him by political considerations and 'face' (with a between-the-lines of "I'll be watching, and from now on it'll be Obama's fault").

    > I'm not an American citizen either, but that's hardly a reason not to pay attention to something like this.

    I think it's the media writing about the media and about the media's reporting of etc.

    I think "he has his head up his ass", if that's the right colloquial expression: the author's is an insider's view, and his concerns seem to be insider's concerns.

    > He knows he's wanted DEAD. Al-Awlaki's been on a hit-list since April 2010. Going into hiding in these circunstances is not resisting arrest, it's survival.

    My saying "resisting arrest" was meant as an analogy. Perhaps he's being targetted as a threat to National Security.

    Judge Dismisses Targeted-Killing Suit suggests that he could go (or could have gone) to court, or sent a lawyer of his own, if he wanted to.

    > Which in turn, says a lot about him, and his gradual and worrying transition into a smarter, well-spoken Bush.

    Is that your main point really?

    It reminds me, if I can be irreverent, of a joke I once heard about Toronto:

    "We have some good news; and some bad news. The good news, is that Toronto is being compared favourably with New York. And the bad news, is that Toronto is being compared with New York."
  10.  (9848.19)
    The only time the assassination of anyone could've been seen to be justified throughout this entire mess of a decade was right at the start, before a single bomb had been dropped.

    I was 17 and studying for my AS & A levels when the attacks across the US happened and I watched in amazement as the people of both the US and the UK lost all sense of objectivity and reason. I was fortunate enough to have had a brilliant history teacher for the proceeding three years who had always taught us to investigate the individual commentator's motives & perspective with regards to reporting/portraying events. So, along with a lot of people my age, I took a step back from the hype, accusations and shoddy reasoning that were flung around by politicians, religious leaders and (most importantly) the media, to take a breath and see how the situation developed.

    Suffice to say, I didn't need to wait for a Michael Moore film to help me realise that the entire construct and reasoning behind the "War on Terror" was fatally flawed from the start. It was rife with hypocrisy and out-right lies told/reported daily as fact, on both a national and international scale in order to justify the unnecessarily large military response that the Bush administration (and later the Bush-Blair alliance) believed to be necessary in order to emerge from the chaos as strong leaders.

    If, at the very beginning, the architects of this perpetual war had taken a moment to consult with their more experienced military strategists, then a targeted assassination of Bin Laden could have served as a viable option and may have been enough to appease the panicked multitudes whilst also, possibly, avoiding the creation of as many 'home-grown' jihadists in the process. But they lacked both the patience and professionalism to play the long-game and collect the necessary intelligence to execute such an undertaking. [I believe Mr Ellis has previously put forward this opinion in an issue of Gravel, whether it's his or just the character's I won't even pretend to know]

    In the end, this article's focus is off. I am not questioning Mr Greenwald's assertion that it would be wrong to assassinate Anwar al-Awlaki without charges or a trial. It is simply wrong to assert that his being an American Citizen should factor in to this equation at all.

    As for Obama turning into Bush? No. Any President, Democrat or Republican, would be lying if they said they wouldn't consider eliminating an additional 'threat' given the chance in a similar situation whilst their popularity (and public forgiveness) were riding so high. Do you think good ol' Dubya, or Senator McCain could pass up the opportunity to cross off another name on their constantly updated threat lists?

    The game is world politics; the rules were burnt before any of us were born.
  11.  (9848.20)
    @Fan:

    Judge Dismisses Targeted-Killing Suit suggests that he could go (or could have gone) to court, or sent a lawyer of his own, if he wanted to.


    It also suggests going to court with this would be useless or at the very least, lead to an unfair trial. "The judge acknowledged the 'somewhat unsettling nature' of his conclusion 'that there are circumstances in which the [president's] unilateral decision to kill a U.S. citizen overseas' is 'judicially unreviewable.'"

    Also relevant are these two bits:

    "Mr. Awlaki's father, Nasser al-Awlaki, brought the case with the help of lawyers from the American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Constitutional Rights. They argued the father had to bring the case as the younger Mr. Awlaki couldn't seek protection of the courts himself for fear of being killed."

    "The government, in its court arguments, didn't confirm plans to kill Mr. Awlaki. It argued that the cleric, as a U.S. citizen, could ensure his safety by turning himself in to U.S. authorities or filing suit himself."

    Which does not sound very assuring, considering U.S. treatment of terror suspects -- not to mention the Obama administration hasn't been well-known for proper prosecution, as evidenced by the very strange case against Julian Assange and the inhumane treatment of Bradley Manning (and incidentally, for those who haven't yet seen it, here's Obama declaring Manning guilty without a trial)

    > Which in turn, says a lot about him, and his gradual and worrying transition into a smarter, well-spoken Bush.

    Is that your main point really?


    Not my main point, no -- that would be my concern over the way the Obama administration is using its newly-gained political capital. But Obama has been acting like The Decider as of late, which also worries me. I, of course, understand he and Bush are not the same on several policies (Don't Ask, Don't Tell and Healthcare, for example), but when it comes to the war effort, the gap seems to be narrowing.

    @Mhengla:

    In the end, this article's focus is off. I am not questioning Mr Greenwald's assertion that it would be wrong to assassinate Anwar al-Awlaki without charges or a trial. It is simply wrong to assert that his being an American Citizen should factor in to this equation at all.


    On a purely moral level I agree. But isn't al-Awlaki's nationality judicially relevant? Doesn't it in any way favour proper prosecution, and create even less excuses to try and bomb the shit out of him?

    (Granted, Mr Greenwald should have touched on that in greater detail, being a lawyer and all)

    As for Obama turning into Bush? No. Any President, Democrat or Republican, would be lying if they said they wouldn't consider eliminating an additional 'threat' given the chance in a similar situation whilst their popularity (and public forgiveness) were riding so high. Do you think good ol' Dubya, or Senator McCain could pass up the opportunity to cross off another name on their constantly updated threat lists?


    Well, to consider it is one thing and to carry it out is another. Whether Dubya or McCain would carry it out, who knows. They might be assholes but I won't take that decision for granted. Point is, Obama did carry it out (or tried to).

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