WBEZ | Anwar al-Awlaki http://www.wbez.org/tags/anwar-al-awlaki Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en President Obama's illegal war http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2013-02/president-obamas-illegal-war-105431 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/drone.jpg" style="float: right; height: 168px; width: 300px;" title="AP file" />This is what I wrote after <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/achy-obejas/2011-09-30/president-orders-killing-american-92687">the death of Anwar al-Awlaki,</a> a U.S. citizen targeted for killing by the U.S. president, on this blog on September 30, 2011:</div><p>&quot;We used to be afraid that President George W. Bush, pushed by his nefarious warmongering VP and a Department of Justice that justified medieval tortures, was going to expand executive branch powers to such levels as to threaten the very balance and foundation of our democracy.</p><p>&quot;That&rsquo;s why so many of us voted for Barack Obama -- because we wanted somebody who was anti-war, who would close Guantanamo; somebody who knew and understood the Constitution not as some sacred sentimental Old Testament but as a covenant of fairness, with inviolable safeguards, between the governed and the government.</p><p>&quot;One of those safeguards has always been due process -- the idea that individuals are protected by a process of law from arbitrary action by the state. In other words, that the government must follow its own laws. In the U.S. Constitution, it&rsquo;s so important that it&rsquo;s stated twice, in the 5th and 14th amendments.</p><p>&quot;Today, however, the media tells us that the president of the United States in the person of Barack Obama has now extended the power of his office to order the assassination of fellow citizens without a shred of due process.&quot;</p><p>Just exactly how empty of constitutional muster Obama&rsquo;s policy is can be seen in <a href="http://reason.com/blog/2013/02/04/someone-just-leaked-obamas-rules-for-ass">white papers acquired by NBC News</a> this week which details the administration&rsquo;s legal reasoning.</p><p>Here&rsquo;s one of the juicier parts:&nbsp; an &ldquo;informed, high-level&rdquo; official of the U.S. government may determine that the targeted American&nbsp;has been &ldquo;recently&rdquo; involved in &ldquo;activities&rdquo; posing a threat of a violent attack and &ldquo;there is&nbsp; no evidence suggesting that he has renounced or abandoned such activities.&quot;</p><p>But neither &ldquo;recently&rdquo; -- this week? last year? a presidential term ago? -- or &ldquo;activities&rdquo; -- actual killing? planning killing? drinking tea and talking approvingly of killing? -- are defined, and in legalese, that&rsquo;s not a detail.</p><p>Moreover, that &ldquo;informed, high-level&rdquo; official of the U.S. government, by definition, will not be an elected official -- someone chosen by the people, for the people, to represent the people&rsquo;s interests. That &ldquo;informed, high-level&rdquo; official will be a presidential appointee, and probably one strategically ranked so as not to even need congressional approval.</p><p>In the meantime, and speaking of congressional approval, the architect of the administration&rsquo;s clearly illegal drone policy -- a strategy that ends up <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drone_attacks_in_Pakistan">killing about 30 or more civilians for every militant</a> it eliminates -- John Brennan, is now Obama&rsquo;s nominee to direct the CIA.</p><p>But don&rsquo;t be fooled by the Senate&rsquo;s grilling during the confirmation process. The Dems who oppose him and his policy don&rsquo;t have the votes or the cojones to do anything about it and the Republicans -- finally in a position to be a real opposition -- actually agree with Obama on this one. Whatever fireworks comes from them should be viewed as spectacle and nothing more.</p><p>Barack Obama will get his moment in history&rsquo;s parade as the nation&rsquo;s first black president, and he&rsquo;ll be duly applauded for the long-term good of the Affordable Care Act. But his continuation of President Bush&rsquo;s drone war, his hypocritical endorsement of government secrecy by refusing to publicly explain what he&rsquo;s doing in our name in countries such as Pakistan and Yemen, his outrageous expansion of the executive office&rsquo;s war powers, and the murder of Americans on his orders will forever tarnish his legacy.</p><p>And, as we are seen more and more in the rest of the world as a lawless empire, these policies will haunt America&#39;s future.</p><p>Americans everywhere -- regardless of race or political party -- should condemn the drone war and, specifically, Obama&rsquo;s assassination guidelines -- which allow him to target U.S. citizens without due process or even a formal declaration of war.</p></p> Fri, 08 Feb 2013 10:12:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2013-02/president-obamas-illegal-war-105431 Attorney General Eric Holder speaks about targeted killings of U.S. citizens http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2012-03-06/attorney-general-eric-holder-speaks-about-targeted-killings-us-citizens- <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2012-March/2012-03-06/AP120305141703.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>U.S. Attorney General <a href="http://www.justice.gov/ag/" onclick="window.open(this.href, '', 'resizable=no,status=no,location=no,toolbar=no,menubar=no,fullscreen=no,scrollbars=no,dependent=no'); return false;">Eric Holder</a> broke the Obama administration’s silence on the legal justification for its decision to kill American-born al Qaeda operative Anwar al-Awlaki yesterday. In a speech at <a href="http://www.law.northwestern.edu/" onclick="window.open(this.href, '', 'resizable=no,status=no,location=no,toolbar=no,menubar=no,fullscreen=no,scrollbars=no,dependent=no'); return false;">Northwestern University Law School</a>, Holder said the decision to kill al-Awlaki in Yemen five months ago "is among the gravest that government leaders can face.” He justified the action as legal and sometimes necessary in the war on terror. Holder accused al-Awlaki of concocting plans to kill Americans, but he never explicitly acknowledged how the administration responded by targeting the cleric for death. Instead, the attorney general outlined a three-part test to determine the legality of killing targeted U.S. citizens.<em> Worldview </em>takes a closer look at Holder’s speech with our human rights contributor, <a href="http://law.nd.edu/people/faculty-and-administration/teaching-and-research-faculty/douglass-cassel/">Doug Cassel</a>.</p></p> Tue, 06 Mar 2012 15:33:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2012-03-06/attorney-general-eric-holder-speaks-about-targeted-killings-us-citizens- Fawaz Gerges talks about 'The Rise and Fall of Al-Qaeda' http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-10-31/fawaz-gerges-talks-about-rise-and-fall-al-qaeda-93638 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-October/2011-10-31/alqaeda3.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>According to the American counterterrorism establishment, al Qaeda is on the brink of collapse. Officials suggest that with a small number of additional blows, the U.S. can effectively extinguish the Pakistan-based organization that executed the September 11th attacks. For much of the past decade, this outcome was considered a distant and elusive prospect. But many observers sense some cynicism in the government’s assessment of al Qaeda. These individuals insist that the terrorist group has been ineffective and marginalized for years, and is far from a threat today.</p><p><a href="http://fgerges.com/" target="_blank">Fawaz A. Gerges</a> is a professor of Middle Eastern politics and international relations at the London School of Economics. Today, we’re talking to him about his new book, <a href="http://fgerges.com/recent-books.php" target="_blank"><em>The Rise and Fall of Al-Qaeda</em></a>.</p><p>Fawaz, a leading authority on radical ideologies and Muslim extremism, argues that Western powers have become mired in a “terrorism narrative” that's detached from reality. This narrative, he says, perpetuates the false belief that Americans are in danger of another devastating attack by al Qaeda. Ten years out from 9/11, Fawaz thinks that politicians and special interests use Americans’ deep-rooted fear of terrorism to further their own agendas.</p></p> Mon, 31 Oct 2011 16:55:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-10-31/fawaz-gerges-talks-about-rise-and-fall-al-qaeda-93638 Was the targeted assassination of American citizen Anwar Al-Awlaki legal? http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-10-03/was-targeted-assassination-american-citizen-anwar-al-awlaki-legal-92753 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-October/2011-10-03/yemen1.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Last Friday, U.S. forces killed Al Qaeda leader Anwar al-Awlaki in a drone attack in Yemen, along with U.S.-born propagandist Samir Khan. The State Department just issued a travel alert to Americans, warning of a heightened risk of violence in the wake of al-Awlaki’s assassination.</p><p>A dual Yemeni-American citizen, al-Awlaki was instrumental in spreading Al Qaeda’s message throughout the Arabian Peninsula through religious sermons and savvy online outreach. His death marks the most significant milestone in the war on terror since the killing of Osama bin Laden by a special operations unit in Pakistan.</p><p>But the manner in which al-Awlaki was killed raises questions. Has the Obama administration's armed drone program become the new standard for U.S. military campaigns?&nbsp; And is it legal? Does President Obama's decision to execute a U.S. citizen without judicial process set a precedent that will transcend his administration? And how will this assasination change relations between the U.S. and Yemen? The government has already accused the U.S. of disrespect for its repeated calls for President Ali Abdullah Saleh to step down. As Yemen's deputy information minister Abdu al-Janadi <a href="http://af.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idAFTRE78T0ZG20111001" target="_blank">told</a> <em>Reuters</em>, "The Americans don't even respect those who cooperate with them."</p><p><a href="http://law.nd.edu/people/faculty-and-administration/teaching-and-research-faculty/mary-ellen-oconnell/" target="_blank">Mary Ellen O’Connell</a>, a legal scholar at Notre Dame University and the vice president of the <a href="http://www.asil.org/" target="_blank">American Society of International Law</a>, discusses the ramifications of al-Awlaki's assassination.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Video of Mary Ellen O’Connell discussing the drone strikes:</strong></p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/-C_4UuDLVQw" width="560" frameborder="0" height="315"></iframe></p></p> Mon, 03 Oct 2011 16:29:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-10-03/was-targeted-assassination-american-citizen-anwar-al-awlaki-legal-92753 Worldview 10.3.11 http://www.wbez.org/episode/worldview-10311 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/episode/images/2011-october/2011-10-03/al-awlaki.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Since 2004, Manan Ahmed has explored U.S. policy on Pakistan, and the often reductive American conception of the nation’s 175 million people, on his blog <a href="http://www.chapatimystery.com/" target="_blank"><em>Chapati Mystery</em></a>. Jerome talks to Manan about his new book, <a href="http://www.justworldbooks.com/books/151-where-the-wild-frontiers-are%253a-pakistan-and-the-american-imagination" target="_blank"><em>Where the Wild Frontiers Are: Pakistan and the American Imagination</em></a>, a collection of highlights from his blog. And we delve into last week’s killing of Al Qaeda leader Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen. Coupled with the assasination of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan, his death could shape the future of targeted military strikes on foreign soil. <a href="http://law.nd.edu/people/faculty-and-administration/teaching-and-research-faculty/mary-ellen-oconnell/" target="_blank">Mary Ellen O’Connell</a>, a law professor at Notre Dame University, discusses the implications of al-Awlaki's death.</p></p> Mon, 03 Oct 2011 14:44:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode/worldview-10311 ACLU takes on U.S. government over targeted killings http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/aclu-takes-us-government-over-targeted-killings <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/Anwar_al-Awlaki_sitting_on_couch,_lightened.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki&rsquo;s anti-American preachings have been linked to numerous terrorism plots against the United States.&nbsp;Believed to be hiding in Yemen, Awlaki is often cited as the spiritual leader of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, which claimed responsibility for the recent plot to detonate packages bound for the U.S.</p><p>Not surprisingly, the US government considers Awlaki an enemy in the war on terror and he&rsquo;s now on a list for targeted assassination. But Awlaki is an American citizen, born in New Mexico to Yemeni parents.&nbsp;Last Monday, a federal judge in Washington D.C. heard arguments in a suit brought by the <a target="_blank" href="http://www.aclu.org/national-security/obama-administration-claims-unchecked-authority-kill-americans-outside-combat-zone">ACLU</a> and<a target="_blank" href="http://ccrjustice.org/"> Center for Constitutional Rights.</a> The suit seeks to challenge the government&rsquo;s authority to target an American citizen for assassination. The case raises a number of issues where there&rsquo;s little or no precedent in American law. <a href="http://www.law.northwestern.edu/faculty/profiles/JosephMargulies/" target="_blank">Joseph Marguiles</a>, from Northwestern University&rsquo;s School of Law, talks about what's at stake and the case&rsquo;s broader implications in the War on Terror.</p></p> Thu, 11 Nov 2010 19:25:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/aclu-takes-us-government-over-targeted-killings