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July 19, 2012

Awlaki family sues Panetta, Petraeus

WASHINGTON (UPI) -- The father of Anwar al-Awlaki, a U.S. citizen killed in a drone strike in Yemen, filed a lawsuit Wednesday against four senior U.S. officials, documents show.


Awlaki, a radical Muslim cleric who was born in New Mexico, was killed by U.S. drones Sept. 30, 2011, along with naturalized U.S. citizen Samir Khan. A second strike in Yemen on Oct. 14, 2011, killed several people including Awlaki's 16-year-old son, Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, who was born in Colorado.

Anwar al-Awlaki's father, Nasser al-Awlaki, and Sarah Khan, Samir Khan's mother, filed the wrongful-death lawsuit Wednesday in Federal District Court in Washington, The New York Times reported. The suit accuses U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, CIA Director David Petraeus and two senior commanders, Adm. William McRaven of the Navy and Lt. Gen. Joseph Votel of the Army, of authorizing and directing the drone strikes, the Times said.

"The killings violated fundamental rights afforded to all U.S. citizens, including the right not to be deprived of life without due process of law," the complaint states. The American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Constitutional Rights are assisting the plaintiffs in the case, which seeks unspecified damages.

In 2010, Nasser al-Awlaki attempted to obtain a court injunction against U.S. efforts to kill his son, but a federal judge threw the case out, citing, among other things, the U.S. government's contention that decisions about who to kill are "political questions" not subject to judicial review, the Times said.

"Some have argued that the president is required to get permission from a federal court before taking action against a United States citizen who is a senior operational leader of al-Qaida or associated forces," Attorney General Eric Holder said in March. "This is simply not accurate. 'Due process' and 'judicial process' are not one and the same, particularly when it comes to national security. The Constitution guarantees due process, not judicial process."

Comments :


Here's a fact about the Constitution: foreigners, ousidte the U.S. have no rights whatever under the Constitution. Neither do they have any obligations under the Constitution. It has no authority over them at all.All actions of the U.S. government towards foreigners ousidte U.S. borders are controlled only by what the President and Congress decide is a good idea. Good ideas may include protecting the U.S. against attack, securing U.S. overseas investments against confiscation, mutually beneficial trade, not having large numbers of people be murdered, preventing the spread of diseases, relieving the suffering from natural disasters, cooperation with other governments against criminals, among other things.The U.S. may adopt policies to achieve such goals. These policies may be enacted into law or treaties, but laws and treaties may be repealed or abrogated at the will of the U.S. they are not permanently binding, and the policies they embody are contingent. This year's good idea may be next year's bad thing.Awlaki was a U.S. citizen, true. But he left the U.S., voluntarily placing himself ousidte the jurisdiction and protection of U.S. laws, and indeed ousidte the reach of U.S. state power. He then engaged in activities which were violently hostile to the U.S. He did not pull the trigger himself, but he recruited those who did.The members of AQitAP are all participants in armed combat against the U.S. As such they are all liable to be killed on sight by the U.S. government. This fact is not changed by the intermittency of the combat.Awlaki didn't have special immunity because he had a U.S. passport.BTW, that intermittency confuses a lot of people. If a group of armed hostiles is attacking, the defenders have the right to kill them. Suppose a group of armed hostiles attack on Monday, retreat and regroup on Tuesday, attack again on Wednesday, and retreat and regroup on Thursday. The defenders have the right to follow and destroy them Thursday night, rather than wait for the attack to be renewed on Friday.This rule doesn't really change if instead of Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, one was to say 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011.The deliberate nature of the action is unsettling. But this is a slow battle. If a sniper draws a bead on an enemy, there's no limit on how long he can hold it before he fires.As for the lack of due process, it's not a matter of acting against the interests of the United States , it's making war against the United States . People who make war have war made on them. And there is no due process in war.When President Lincoln was confronted by armed rebellion, he did not deputize additional U.S. marshals to arrest the rebels. He referred to combinations too powerful to be suppressed by the ordinary course of judicial proceedings, or by the powers vested in the Marshals by law He called up the militia into U.S. service, and ordered them and the regular Army to suppress those combinations by shooting them on sight, with no due process.Awlaki and his gang were such a combination. They had military strength to resist capture therefore the U.S. could use military force against them. When and how that force was used is a matter of convenience, not principle.


Brian: Okay, what was the picture for if not to be taken by us as a ciarmposon?I assumed you picked it deliberately because you thought it relevant.In the US, an execution is the result of a legal proceeding; it's a legal sentence.A military killing of a military target in a military context is not one even if the killing was not in hot blood in combat.(Was Yamamoto executed when the USAAF shot his plane down, knowing he was on it and targeting him specifically?I don't think so.And I don't see a meaningful difference because the hostile combatant in this case was a citizen . There is no due process for the enemy, in warfare, for anyone but prisoners.Note further that if you demand, as you seem to, a trial for him before acting against him, he is untouchable (as I said and as you wish to deny), unless he can be captured.Why? Because there's a real due process issue with trial in absentia, and that's been definitely off-limits for over 100 years based on Supreme Court precedent.If you're worried about due process, what makes a trial in absentia, where can't offer a defense of himself, any better? Won't it just be mocked as a kangaroo court?I think it's far worse than killing someone as an undoubted active enemy, in Constitutional terms.Citizens are entitled to jury trials when they are charged with crimes. He was not charged with a crime. He was not executed for breaking some lawm any more than soldiers on the other side in WW2 were shot at for breaking some-law-or-other, or any more than they should have been given trials before being shot at while being enemy soldiers even if some one of them was a traitorous citizen.He was killed for being a hostile combatant in a war. There never has been a due process issue in that Rich made that point just as well with the Civil War analogy. The Southerners shot in battles were not shot for the crime of treason , nor were they being deprived of due process because of it.They were shot at because they were hostiles in a war, which has simply never required due process beyond noting that they were, in fact, hostile military forces. Nor should it.)

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