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Entries in Anwar al Awlaki (6)


US Feature: Justice Department --- Yes, We Can Kill American Citizens Overseas with Drones (NBC and DeYoung)

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Rachel Maddow features the Justice Department paper, "Lawfulness of a Lethal Operation Directed Against a U.S. Citizen"

The United States can lawfully kill a U.S. citizen overseas if it determines the target is a “senior, operational leader” of al-Qaeda or an associated group and poses an imminent threat to the United States, according to a Justice Department document.

The document defines “imminent threat” expansively, saying it does not have to be based on intelligence about a specific attack since such actions are being “continually” planned by al-Qaeda. “In this context,” it says, “imminence must incorporate considerations of the relevant window of opportunity” as well as possible collateral damage to civilians.

It says that such determinations can be made by an “informed, high-level official of the U.S. government.”

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Yemen Feature: Why is President Obama Insisting on Imprisonment of an Honest Journalist?

Abduelah Haider Shaye (Photo: Iona Craig)On February 2, 2011, President Obama called Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh. The two discussed counterterrorism cooperation and the battle against Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. At the end of the call, according to a White House read-out, Obama “expressed concern” over the release of a man named Abdulelah Haider Shaye, whom Obama said “had been sentenced to five years in prison for his association with AQAP". It turned out that Shaye had not yet been released at the time of the call, but Saleh did have a pardon for him prepared and was ready to sign it.

It would not have been unusual for the White House to express concern about Yemen’s allowing AQAP suspects to go free. Suspicious prison breaks of Islamist militants in Yemen had been a regular occurrence over the past decade, and Saleh has been known to exploit the threat of terrorism to leverage counterterrorism dollars from the United States.

But this case was different. Abdulelah Haider Shaye is not an Islamist militant or an Al Qaeda operative. He is a journalist.

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US Opinion: Are We Suffering from "Drone Hysteria"? (Osboune)

US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta justifies the killing by drone in Yemen of Anwar al-Awlaki, an American citizen

See also: US Opinion: Do Drones Undermine Democracy? (Singer)

Anyone who decries a “new surge” of military interest in drones is just admitting they never paid attention before, that they don’t know what they’re talking about, and that they are riding on the word “drone” because it’s trendy and scary. Such opinions should carry exactly as much weight as a paper airplane, because they aren’t really about drones at all but war in general. There is nothing a drone can do that could not be done up close and personal, though at greater risk. A drone merely removes risk from the attacker — which is what warriors have been doing since the invention of the bow and arrow.

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Yemen Feature: Drones & the Killing of an American Teenager (Greenwald)

Salon's Glenn Greenwald explores the moral and legal issues surrounding the use of drone strikes against militants by the United states. As the US draws down the number of troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, the use of drones is the newest iteration of the "War on Terror", and Anwar Awlaki's 16 year old son is one of it's most recent collateral casualties:

Two weeks after the U.S. killed American citizen Anwar Awlaki with a drone strike in Yemen — far from any battlefield and with no due process — it did the same to his 16-year-old son, Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, ending the teenager’s life on Friday along with his 17-year-old cousin and seven other people. News reports, based on government sources, originally claimed that Awlaki’s son was 21 years old and an Al Qaeda fighter (needless to say, as Terrorist often means: “anyone killed by the U.S.”), but a birth certificate published by The Washington Post proved that he was born only 16 years ago in Denver. As The New Yorker‘s Amy Davidson wrote: “Looking at his birth certificate, one wonders what those assertions say either about the the quality of the government’s evidence — or the honesty of its claims — and about our own capacity for self-deception.”

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Syria, Bahrain, Yemen (and Beyond) LiveBlog: Months of Protests and Violence

1905 GMT: A man claiming to be Moussa Ibrahim, the spokesman for former Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, has denied claims that he was captured this week by forces of the National Transitional Council, outside of Qaddafi's hometown of Sirte.

"This information is a lie and does not reflect reality," the man said in a live telephone interview with Syrian-based Arrai television, an outlet for declarations by Qaddafi and his allies.

On Thursday, NTC field commanders said Ibrahim had been captured as he attempted to flee Sirte in a car. A spokesman for the NTC's Misrata military council said the next day: "We cannot confirm he was arrested."

Meanwhile, the NTC has declared a two-day truce to allow civilians to leave Sirte, as its forces continue to try to take one of Qaddafi's last two strongholds.

And in the Libyan capital Tripoli, the first commercial flight since March --- a jet from Istanbul --- has landed.

Flags representing Turkey and Libya's new leadership flew outside Mitiga International Airport as the plane touched down.

A U.N. Security Council resolution had imposed a no-fly zone in March.

1855 GMT: An EA reader asks if there has been any footage of protests in the Deir Ez Zor area of northeast Syria this weekend --- a couple of answers among many clips, beginning with the Al Arfi neighbourhood:

And claimed footage from Al Quriya today:

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Obama's Justice and "National Security": The Emasculation of Attorney General Holder (Hylton)

As we went back and forth, I began to realize that it was impossible to know how much of his argument Eric Holder really believed, and how much he was merely willing to say. Like any good political appointee, he was prepared to defend the policy whether he liked it or not. And in that case, maybe it didn't matter what he supported; promoting the policy was supporting it. I was reminded of something one of his friends had told me, a former DOJ official who has known Holder since the beginning of his career: "Eric has this instinct to please. That's his weakness. He doesn't have to be told what to do—he's willing to do whatever it takes. It's his survival mechanism in Washington."

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