President Obama touted the killing of U.S. citizen Anwar al-Awlaki in a drone strike in Yemen September 30, raising constitutional questions of whether the President has become judge, jury, and executioner for alleged criminals. Obama noted that Awlaki was a longtime video propagandist for al-Qaeda, and claimed that "the death of Awlaki is a major blow to al Qaeda's most active operational affiliate. Awlaki was the leader of external operations for al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. In that role, he took the lead in planning and directing efforts to murder innocent Americans."
Awlaki wasn't the only American targeted in the drone strike. "The strike also killed a second U.S. citizen — Samir Khan, the co-editor of an al-Qaeda magazine — and two other unidentified al-Qaeda operatives," the Yemeni government told the Washington Post. The New American reported back in June that dozens of other American citizens are apparently on Obama's assassination list.
President Obama alleged that Awlaki "directed the failed attempt to blow up an airplane on Christmas Day in 2009. He directed the failed attempt to blow up U.S. cargo planes in 2010." Awlaki denied directing these attacks in a February 2010 interview with Al Jazeera, though he admitted he liked the idea of attacks on U.S. military targets.
A building superintendent in New Brunswick, New Jersey, opened an apartment door and was startled to find terrorist literature strewn about on a table and a computer and surveillance equipment in the next room. He immediately called 911, and police and FBI agents rushed to the apartment, arriving in time to meet its mysterious occupants — a secret team of intelligence officers from the New York City Police Department.
“From that apartment, about an hour outside the department’s jurisdiction, the NYPD had been staging undercover operations and conducting surveillance throughout New Jersey,” the Associated Press reported. “Neither the FBI nor the local police had any idea.”
Like much of what has taken place in law enforcement in the past decade, the roving jurisdiction of the New York police is related, however tenuously, to the “global war on terror.” And though the department’s presence in New Brunswick was unknown to local police and the FBI, it was probably no surprise to the nation’s Central Intelligence Agency. The AP’s recent investigative report describes the significant but largely unreported relationship between the CIA and local law enforcement in “a partnership that has blurred the line between foreign and domestic spying.”
FBI agents have collared another Muslim jihadist bent on mass murder and mayhem. The accused, arrested yesterday in Framingham, Massachusetts, is 26-year-old Rezwan Ferdaus, an American citizen who graduated from Northeastern University with a physics degree. His goal, he told undercover agents whom he thought were on his side, was to kill as many “kafirs” (unbelievers) as possible by flying remote-controlled airplanes into the U.S. Capitol, then commencing a shooting spree with automatic weapons.
It was all part of Ferdaus’ Jihad against the country in which he was born but to which he did not owe allegiance by the lights of his fanatical Islamic belief.
According to the affidavit for his arrest, he planned to “commit violent ‘jihad’ against the United States, which he considers an enemy of Allah.” The affadavit continued,
Presidents Bush and Obama have created a vigorous public debate since the September 11 attacks over whether suspects in the “war on terror” are entitled to a regular criminal trial, court-martial (the regular military justice system), or a “military commission” trial, or whether they are entitled to a trial at all. A “military commission” is traditionally an executive branch (or Article II) court, created to try war criminals in a time and place where there are no criminal or ordinary military courts to try suspects. But Congress has explicitly authorized them twice since the September 11 attacks.
Bush’s and Obama’s actions since 2001 raise a number of fundamental constitutional questions: Can the President — as Bush tried to do — detain an American citizen indefinitely without trial? Can the President — as Obama claims — kill American citizens without trial? Are Bush’s and Obama’s efforts to detain foreigners indefinitely without trial constitutional? When, if ever, is a “military commission” constitutional? Can U.S. citizens be subject to a military commission? How about foreigners? Do the Bush/Obama military commissions follow the Constitution? And finally, putting aside constitutional principles, are military commissions more effective on a practical level in punishing suspected terrorists? The following are 11 constitutional principles about the trial rights of Americans and foreigners during the “war on terror.”
Authorities in the United Kingdom have arrested seven suspects in connection with a terror plot. British intelligence raided more than a dozen homes and collared six men and a woman between midnight and about 7 a.m. Monday, according to news reports. They are connected, the New York Times reported, to “Islamic militancy,” which describes yet another plot by “British citizens” who are really "Asians" or of another nationality. Typically, those words are media code for Muslims.
No Surprise: The Name Is Mohammed
Police raided five neighborhoods in Birmingham to net the half-dozen suspects, who ranged in age from 25 to 32. The woman is 22.
According to the Times:
A West Midlands police official, who requested anonymity because he was discussing an unfolding operation, said initial speculation that the arrests were linked to Irish republicanism was unfounded. The official declined to confirm the BBC report that those arrested were Islamic extremists, but said the operation was “linked to international cases as much as local.”
America got two textbook expositions of the great progressivist myth in the September 12 CNN/Tea Party Presidential debate. The great progressivist myth is this: If government doesn't do it, then it won't happen. If the government doesn't do it, it doesn't count. If a person is against government intervening, he therefore must favor the ends the liberal or progressive claims will happen without government intervention. In short, the great progressivist myth is that you either favor government intervention, or you are an awful person who wants some horrible consequence.
One exposition of the progressivist myth in the presidential debate occurred when moderator Wolf Blitzer asked Rep. Ron Paul if society should let an uninsured man die — the assumption being that this would happen if government did not step in. The other exposition occurred in an exchange between Paul and former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum on the subject of our interventionist foreign policy. in the case of both healthcare and foreign policy, Dr. Paul argues that government interventionism does not save lives. The healthcare issue is the subject of a separate article by this writer; the foreign policy issue is the subject of what follows.
NATO and U.S.-backed rebel forces in Libya are reportedly engaging in systematic attacks against the black population in what some analysts have called war crimes and even genocide, sparking condemnation worldwide from human-rights groups and officials.
Reports and photographic evidence indicate that numerous atrocities including mass executions have taken place even in recent weeks. Many black victims were found with their hands bound behind their backs and bullets through their skulls.
Horrific internment camps, systematic rape, torture, lynching, and looting of businesses owned by blacks have all been reported as well. And countless sub-Saharan Africans have been forced to flee their homes in Libya to avoid the same fate.
The al-Qaeda-linked rebels’ campaign of racist terror began shortly after the Benghazi uprising in February. More than a few videos surfaced on the internet in the early months of the conflict showing brutal lynchings and beheadings while Western-backed rebels cheered.
Analysts are warning that serious chaos could ensue as a coalition of radical activists, leftist organizations, self-described “revolutionaries” and anti-capitalist agitators — some of whom are reportedly linked to the Obama administration — plots to “occupy" Wall Street starting on September 17. Under the banner of a “Day of Rage,” critics and supporters say the protests could be just the start of something much bigger — and the list of targeted cities in the U.S. and around the world is still growing.
The real goals of the effort remain murky. But despite the apparent socialist and collectivist bent of many participants, even some constitutionalists have expressed tepid sympathy after organizers released a statement blasting the American “kleptocracy” run by “banksters.”
“We must stop their influence, their motives, and their tricks, from continuing to destroy our democratic republic,” concluded a “tactical plan” released last week by one of the organizations affiliated with the movement. The group, known as US Day of Rage, also called for an end to the influence of money in politics.
The CNN/Tea Party Express debate continued to expose the difference between Texas Representative Ron Paul and the rest of the Republican field on the issue of America's multiplying foreign wars. An audience member asked the candidates if any defense spending cuts should be considered.
Newt Gingrich began the foreign policy and military-spending discussion with an alarmist and unrealistic statement that "I think we are at the edge of an enormous crisis in national security. I think that we are greatly underestimating the threat to this country. And I think the day after we celebrated the 10th anniversary of 9/11, we should be reminded exactly what is at stake if a foreign terrorist gets a nuclear weapon into this country."
Of course, only a handful of nation-states have nuclear weapons of any kind. And the ability to make easily transportable nuclear weapons is perhaps limited to the United States, Russia, and Britain.
Former FBI agent Ali H. Soufan remembers being at the American embassy in Yemen on September 11, 2001 when, a few hours after the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, a CIA official finally produced material, including photographs of two of the hijackers, that the FBI had requested months before.
"For about a minute I stared at the pictures and the report, not quite believing what I had in my hands," Soufan has written in his just-released memoir, The Black Banners: The Inside Story of 9/11 and the War Against Al Qaeda. "My whole body was shaking." Had the material, documenting an al-Qaeda meeting in Malaysia in January 2000, been combined with information from the investigation in the bombing of the U.S.S. Cole that same year, he believes, the suicide mission to hijack airplanes in the United States and fly them like missiles into key commercial and government buildings might have been discovered and thwarted.