Killings Pose Legal and Moral Quandary [Moral quandry ?]
By EVAN PEREZ And KEITH JOHNSON
(with interspersed comments by Elias Davidsson)
Wall Street Journal October 1, 2011
Federal investigators needed a judge’s permission to wiretap Anwar al-Awlaki, an American who became a leader in Yemen’s al Qaeda affiliate. But to kill him in a drone strike Friday, the government could do so unilaterally.
The killing of U.S.-born Al Qaeda leader [so spake the US Government] Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen is seen [seen by whom?] as a boost in the U.S. war on terror. But as WSJ’s Neil Hickey reports from Washington, it’s raised questions about what actions can be taken against U.S. citizens. [the genocide of Jews by the Nazis “raised questions” about what to do against German citizens]
The case of Mr. Awlaki and his extrajudicial killing [you don’t know how to spell the word MURDER?] poses a legal and moral quandary for the U.S. [Mr. U.S. has to endure a sleepless night because of “moral quandry”]: Can a country that so closely guards the presumption of innocence [and particularly that of the presumption of innocence of those detained in Guantanamo] take a citizen’s life without so much as a court order?
A federal judge referred to this post-Sept. 11 dilemma in 2010, rejecting a lawsuit by Mr. Awlaki’s father, who challenged the legality of the Obama administration’s targeted-killing program.
U.S. District Judge John Bates cited the wiretap comparison. But he reached what he called the “somewhat unsettling” conclusion that a president’s unilateral decision to kill a U.S. citizen overseas in the interest of national security is “judicially unreviewable.” [Thank you WSJ for revealing the name of the judge]
Mr. Awlaki in recent years drew a following in jihadist circles with anti-American sermons circulated on discs and the Internet, and became one of the top U.S. targets [a human being is here designated as a “target” for murder] because of his effectiveness in winning recruits to al Qaeda.
The U.S. hasn’t made public any formal charges against him, nor any specific evidence to prove their allegations against him.While other Americans have been killed in anti-terror strikes abroad, Mr. Awlaki was the first American to be added to a list of U.S. targets deemed a danger to U.S. security. [“Is deemed a danger” a standard for assassination? Mr. Obama deems “a danger for world peace.” Would that justify his assassination?]
By contrast, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act requires the government to seek permission from a secret court [So, secret courts are part of the “democracy” the U.S. wants to export. Good to know] to spy on an American overseas, as it likely did in 2009, when the FBI discovered Mr. Awlaki had exchanged emails with Maj. Nidal Hasan, who allegedly carried out the Fort Hood shootings.
The Justice Department says it doesn’t comment on the existence of FISA court orders and hasn’t acknowledged the existence of the targeted-killing program [so apparently targeted killings (sorry, murder) is not an exception, but comprise a whole “program” of murder. It’s getting nastier by the paragraph] or said whether Mr. Awlaki was one of the al Qaeda leaders the U.S. sought to kill. But the Obama administration has asserted the laws of war give the government the right to target an American who joins a terrorist group and poses an imminent threat, but is out of the reach of U.S. authorities.[and I, Elias Davidsson, assert that according to international law, Mr. Obama is a war criminal and should be imprisoned for the rest of his life. Who is to judge impartially whether Awlaki or Obama are an imminent threat?]
Killed with Mr. Awlaki was Samir Khan, also American, who helped produce the Yemen-based group’s English-language magazine, Inspire, which regularly promoted its “exclusive” interviews with Mr. Awlaki. [So says the government which invited Al-Awlaki for lunch in the Pentagon after 9/11. Just google Al-Awlaki and the Pentagon and ask yourself why Al-Awlaki – among the millions of US muslims – was invited to the Pentagon]
The White House declined to talk about the propriety of killing the men because it wasn’t discussing the manner in which they were killed. [Why are they so shy telling us about HOW they killed him? Did they use secret chemical weapons? Did they cut him into pieces? Did they fry him alive? Is it a national secret that they shot him from a drone, or is story still more sinister?]
Mr. Awlaki made clear through his many Internet missives in recent years that he rejected the U.S. and didn’t claim any of the protections that come with citizenship. [How does WSJ know that Mr. Awlaki posted anything onto the internet? Was the journalist sitting beside him, as he typed on his computer?]
Many lawmakers welcomed the killing [Why are no names mentioned, so we can hug and kiss them for applauding the murder of a Muslim?], deferring to President Barack Obama on the effort to eliminate someone considered a threat. [I thought that “eliminating” people belonged to Nazi terminology. Sorry for the mistake]
The Hunt for Al Qaeda
The death of Anwar al-Awlaki, one of the U.S.’s most-wanted terrorists is the latest blow to al Qaeda’s leadership. [What “leadership”? Journalists always maintain that Al Qaeda is no organisation, but a loose network. Make up your mind!] See who’s still at large, and take a look back.
However one [and only one] lawmaker, Texas Rep. Ron Paul, a Republican presidential candidate, told reporters in New Hampshire he was troubled by extrajudicial killing of Americans. “If the American people accept this blindly and casually…I think that’s sad,” he said. [Sigh, sigh, very very sad. Not wrong, not evil, not criminal, just troubling]
Legal scholars have debated the constitutional issues. [Yea, in the civilized United States of America scholars “debate” whether the government may murder its citizens in cold blood] Robert Chesney, law professor at the University of Texas, doesn’t believe U.S. officials violated the Constitution by targeting Mr. Awlaki because they lacked the means to arrest him and considered him a threat to the country. [I, Elias Davidsson, believe that Professor Robert Chesney violated the academic norm against intellectual prostitution, by selling his conscience for an undeclared privilege. I pray and hope that decent Americans will ensure his dismissal in shame]
But he added: “I think we should all be uncomfortable” with the questions raised by the killing. [We should feel uncomfortable, not because a person was murdered, but because the “questions raised by the murder” are a “moral quandry”. We should probably also feel “uncomfortable” with “our” legal and moral quandry resulting from the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaky, the Vietnam War, the war against Iraq (that left one million dead, and other such trivia of Empire]. “Awlaki is sort of an easy case. But what about the next case, in which it’s someone we’ve never heard of and all the government’s information is classified”… What if they’ve got the wrong guy?” [According to the WSJ, the case is clear: Al Awlaki was the”right guy” to be eliminated because the boss in the White House said so. Bang bang. Thank you WSJ for revealing your philosophy]
Some have argued for a requirement that the government seek court review like that required for wiretaps before targeting Americans overseas.
Jameel Jaffer, the American Civil Liberties Union lawyer who argued Mr. Awlaki’s father case before Judge Bates, said Friday: “It is a mistake to invest the president—any president—with the unreviewable power to kill any American whom he deems to present a threat to the country.” [Jameel Jaffer, the compassionate Arab lawyer of Awlaki’s father, who objects to such Presidential Powers, might perhaps suggest a modification to the “right to murder” by proposing that a Committee of eminent persons, such as the President, the Secretary of War and the Secretary of Injustice, collectively determine the right of people to live or die. Such collective forum might relieve its members of pangs of conscience. The system works well with execution squads.]