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The Illegal Assassination of Anwar Al-Awlaki

Anwar Al-Awlaki may be a bad dude. He could have been planning to murder thousands of Americans and deserves to die.  However, it isn’t a complicated question:

“No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation”

This is the 5th Amendment to the United State’s Constitution. It isn’t even mildly ambiguous. It’s not some obscure legal reference.

If you think the law is wrong, well there is a constitutional process to change it. Otherwise, we all are bound to it, including the President of the United States.

Incidentally contrary to anonymous sources:

“What constitutes due process in this case is a due process in war”

We all know damn well this is not what our forefathers intended and this is not what the courts have held. It makes good rhetoric, but it doesn’t make it legal. In fact such rhetoric is evil because it creates precedent to subvert the law.

Why do I care?

Well it’s not because I support al-Qaeda, terrorists, radical Islam, nor even Islam. I would give my life before I would allow the country to be ruled by Sharia law (I would give my life before I allowed the country to become a “theocracy” period). It’s not even that at a personal level I much care if he dies – should the government be correct, at some level, good riddance (though the world doesn’t need more death thank you).

It’s because some day it may not be about al-Qaeda. It might be citizens against some future war just expressing dissent and thereby “providing aid to the enemy”. It might be non-violent anti-abortion activists who are deemed a “threat of terrorism” because of the violent sort of anti-abortionists. It could be peaceful environmentalists because they are associated with “eco-terrorist” environmentalists. It might be gun owners, because gun owners have, well, dangerous weapons and can overthrow the government.

This is an enormously slipper slope, one that sadly it took a supposedly “liberal” President to openly subvert.

If you have a strong political opinion and travel (not that there’s a reason why this has to be constrained to foreign soil), then you should care about this. You are now a valid target.

Ok, if you’re not brown and not Islamic, will Obama kill you? No. Will Romney do so if he’s elected? No. Perry, Bachmann? Probably not. Ron Paul? Definitely not (he’s the only sane one in this argument).

5 presidents from now? Well the precedent has been set – that’s why you should care.

Finally, per the Washington Post:

There was no dissent about the legality of killing Aulaqi, the officials said.

Which means along with the Bush administration for openly admitting to torture,  the near entire top of the Obama administration is guilty of crimes. Murder specifically, since a police officer who kills a criminal without due process is a “murderer”. Same thing.


Would Al-Awalaki have “killed us” given the chance? I don’t know. No one knows because there was no due process and he did not see a “jury of his peers”. There was no habeas corpus, no evidence produced to an impartial body, no chance to rebut, nothing.

I believe the government probably isn’t lying – he’s probably a bad dude as stated. But this is exactly the sort of thing our forefathers took the time to add the 5th amendment for, and they weren’t ambiguous about it. They weren’t ambiguous because this is the same sort of shit the British monarchy was doing to us – summary killings without due process.

This is the core of totalitarian societies, and we have taken one large step closer.


I feel safer already:


Here’s another reason why we don’t want this:

Bahrain doctors tried for treating protesters

The U.N. condemned Bahrain’s brutal crackdown on anti-government protesters Friday. Human rights groups say that since March, 34 people have been killed and more than 1,400 arrested. And now, Bahrain has put doctors on trial — just for treating injured protesters. CBS News correspondent Mark Phillips spoke with one doctor who faces a long prison term.

What if our government goes bad and starts doing stuff like this to the “good guys”? The next step without “due process” is people disappearing (see Chile, El Salvador, Honduras, Columbia circa 1980).

If you think this is improbable any time soon, so do I. However remember this:

House Un-American Activities Committee

House Un-American Activities Committee



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