while sitting in the yemeni desert eating breakfast, they saw a predator drone coming. they ran to the car. the car was incinerated by the missile. seven people, two of them us citizens, lay dead.
while the previous account may sound like the work of an organization charged with committing acts of terrorism, the murders of us citizens anwar al-awlaki and samir khan occurred as the result of a us-drone attack. both al-awlaki and khan were wanted by the us for their affiliation with al-qaeda; although according to the huffington post al-awlaki had not been formally charged with a crime. al-awlaki was on the us military kill list and served as chief of al-qaeda’s external operations, while khan worked as co-editor of the organization’s inspire magazine.
under the western-led war on terror, the us government has been at the center of an over-decade long debate regarding the legality of killing us citizens accused of terrorism without due process–the 5th amendment right to court proceedings. the fact that the obama administration came down on the side against granting due process is especially problematic in the case of al-awlaki, as presidential candidate ron paul *wrinkled forehead in disbelief* noted “nobody even knows if he ever killed anybody.” to add further clarity, glen greenwald, former constitutional law and civil rights litigator and writer for the salon.com noted:
“Despite substantial doubt among Yemen experts about whether he even has any operational role in Al Qaeda, no evidence (as opposed to unverified government accusations) was presented of his guilt. When Awlaki’s father sought a court order barring Obama from killing his son, the DOJ argued, among other things, that such decisions were “state secrets” and thus beyond the scrutiny of the courts. He was simply ordered killed by the President: his judge, jury and executioner. When Awlaki’s inclusion on President Obama’s hit list was confirmed, The New York Times noted that “it is extremely rare, if not unprecedented, for an American to be approved for targeted killing.”
aside from extra-judicial-targeted killings of us citizens, another concoction of the war on terror is the convergence of state repressive agencies, e.g. cia, homeland security, military, fbi, and local police departments. the recent reports of cia involvement with the ny police department in coaching a team of officers focused on apprehending alleged muslim extremists as well as the killing of al-awlaki and comrades by a cia/military-drone aircraft exemplify the conflation of state power.
a society where the government goes outside the parameters of its constitution and blatantly ignores the mandates of international law is as authoritarian as it gets.