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Extra-Judicial Murder of American by America in Yemen - Anwar al-Awlaki
#31

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 9, 2011

Dead Men Tell No Tales: The CIA, 9/11 and the Awlaki Assassination



[Image: reaper-drone-screen.jpg]


On September 30, the CIA and Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) assets under the Agency's control, assassinated the alleged "external operations" chief of the Afghan-Arab database of disposable Western intelligence assets, also known as Al-Qaeda, Anwar al-Awlaki, and a second American citizen, Samir Khan, the 25-year-old editor of Inspiremagazine, in a drone strike in Yemen.

As The Washington Post reported last month, the "commingling" of CIA officers, JSOC paramilitary troops and contractors "occupy an expanding netherworld between intelligence and military operations" where "congressional intelligence and armed services committees rarely get a comprehensive view."

Or any "view" at all, which is precisely what the CIA and Pentagon have long desired; an oversight-free zone where American policymakers operate, as Dick Cheney infamously put it, on the "dark side," a position fully-embraced by the "hope and change" administration of Barack Obama.

Awlaki's state-sponsored killing, like the May 2 murder of Osama Bin Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan, resurface many unanswered questions concerning the 9/11 attacks, the so-called trigger for America's global "War on Terror."

But before turning to those issues, it is necessary to take a detour and examine administration actions; specifically the deliberations undertaken by Obama's national security team which culminated in Awlaki's death.

White House "Death Panel"

Unlike the fantasies of the corporate-controlled Tea Party who charged during the run-up to the White House sell-out of health care reform that the administration would create "death panels" to deny care to the elderly, it has since emerged that Team Obama has stood-up the authentic article.

According to The Washington Post, President Obama's Justice Department "wrote a secret memorandum authorizing the lethal targeting" of Awlaki. The Post reports that the memorandum "was produced following a review of the legal issues raised by striking a U.S. citizen and involved senior lawyers from across the administration. There was no dissent about the legality of killing Aulaqi."

That memorandum, according to The New York Times, was drafted in June 2010, some six months after Awlaki had been placed on the White House hit list, by Office of Legal Counsel attorneys "David Barron and Martin Lederman."

Both former OLC lawyers are prominent "liberals" from prestigious universities; Barron at Harvard and Lederman at Georgetown University.

Ironically enough, in several scholarly articles they had railed against the previous administration's adaptation of the "Unitary Executive Theory" promulgated by "torture memo" authors Jay Bybee and John Yoo.

Under Bush, OLC opinions were used to justify everything from warrantless wiretapping, the domestic deployment of the military to arrest Americans, to the torture and indefinite detention of "terrorist" suspects at the Guantánamo Bay prison gulag and CIA "black sites."

This of course begs the question: if Awlaki's murder was "legal," why then was the authorization to do so reached in camera by officials following a deliberative process which can't be shared with the public because of "national security"?

The answer should be chilling and shocking to all Americans: because the nucleus of a death squad state recalling those stood-up in Chile and Argentina during the "dirty war" period of the 1970s may now exist.

Reuters disclosed that Americans "are placed on a kill or capture list by a secretive panel of senior government officials, which then informs the president of its decisions, according to officials."

"There is no public record of the operations or decisions of the panel," reporter Mark Hosenball wrote, "which is a subset of the White House's National Security Council. ... Neither is there any law establishing its existence or setting out the rules by which it is supposed to operate."

According to Reuters, "targeting recommendations are drawn up by a committee of mid-level National Security Council and agency officials. Their recommendations are then sent to the panel of NSC 'principals,' meaning Cabinet secretaries and intelligence unit chiefs, for approval."

A "former official" told Hosenball that "one of the reasons for making senior officials principally responsible for nominating Americans for the target list was to 'protect' the president," i.e., provide Obama legal cover under the thin veneer afforded by "plausible deniability."

McClatchy News reported that "broadly speaking" White House orders to kill Awlaki were based on claims that "the nation's inherent right of self-defense [is] recognized under international law." However, "international law also imposes limits: Targeted killing is banned except to protect against 'concrete, specific and imminent' danger."

And although the administration now claims that Awlaki was targeted for death because "his role in AQAP had gone 'from inspirational to operational'," Reuters disclosed that "officials acknowledge that some of the intelligence purporting to show Awlaki's hands-on role in plotting attacks was patchy."

In fact, the White House has failed to provide any proof whatsoever that Awlaki posed an "imminent danger" to the United States, although there is considerable evidence that he was on the radar of U.S. and allied secret state intelligence agencies for more than a decade, had close ties to several of the 9/11 hijackers and could have been picked up and indicted at any time.

Instead, federal law enforcement officials gave Awlaki a green light to leave the United States, unlike thousands of innocent Muslim-Americans swept-up and detained by the FBI in the post-9/11 hysteria that followed the attacks.

A "former military intelligence officer who worked with special operations troops to hunt down high-value terrorism targets," told the right-wing Washington Times: "I think it's pretty easy to understand why they didn't take him alive. Would you want to deal with the hassle of trying to put him on trial, an American citizen that has gotten so much press for being the target of a CIA kill order? That would be a nightmare. The ACLU would be crawling all over the Justice Department for due process in an American court."

That about sums up the dominant mindset of an Empire in sharp decline: the rule of law and due process for criminal suspects reduced to a "hassle."

Slouching Towards Dictatorship

Obama's national security team justified whacking Awlaki, as with their earlier hit on Osama Bin Laden, by referencing the Bush-era Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), hastily passed by Congress in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.

"A decade later," McClatchy reported, "the Obama administration contends that this wartime authority remains even if it's evolved for reasons the administration won't fully elucidate."

The relevant section of AUFM reads: "IN GENERAL -- That the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons." (emphasis added)

Readers will undoubtedly note that in passing the resolution, Congress not only ceded its authority to declare war to the Executive Branch but also planted the seeds of the administration's preemptive war doctrines along with an unprecedented expansion of its domestic surveillance powers.

More pertinently, is the reason why the administration "won't fully elucidate" how the Bush-era AUMF "evolved" chiefly due to the fact that secret annexes now exist which authorize the killing of Americans, not only in Yemen or other "War on Terror" fronts, but right here in the United States itself?

After all, it's not beyond the Obama administration to play fast and loose with the truth or hide repressive policies under layers of top secret presidential "findings" or a multitude of CIA and Pentagon black programs, as did the previous Bush government.

Recall that during the run-up to the reauthorization of three expiring provisions of the USA Patriot Act, civil libertarians decried the use of secret legal memos justifying everything from unchecked access to internet and telephone records to the deployment of government-sanctioned malware on private computers during "national security" investigations.

Recall too, that the Obama administration, as The New York Times disclosed in June, handed the FBI "significant new powers to its roughly 14,000 agents, allowing them more leeway to search databases, go through household trash or use surveillance teams to scrutinize the lives of people who have attracted their attention."

These "news rules," the Times averred, will give agents "more latitude" to investigate citizens even when there is no evidence they have exhibited "signs of criminal or terrorist activity."

It gets worse.

Last month, The New York Times revealed that the FBI "is permitted to include people on the government's terrorist watch list even if they have been acquitted of terrorism-related offenses or the charges are dropped."

Under these new standards, the Bureau may deem someone a "known or suspected terrorist," not based on evidence gathered through a criminal investigation, but solely if officials have "particularized derogatory information," including that derived from First Amendment protected activities, to support to support an individuals' watch listing or placement on a "no-fly" list.

One administration wag, speaking on condition of anonymity because to do otherwise would reveal "closely held deliberations within the administration," but did so anyway because this was clearly a sanctioned leak to stenographer Peter Finn, told The Washington Post that "what constitutes due process in [the Awlaki case] is a due process in war."

"The administration officials refused to disclose the exact legal analysis used to authorize targeting Aulaqi," Finn wrote, "or how they considered any Fifth Amendment right to due process."

We now know, thanks to Reuters, that authorization came from a White House death panel, an extra-constitutional committee of anonymous officials operating outside the rule of law.

As we have seen since Barack Obama took office, as under the previous Bush government, the Constitution is a meaningless scrap of paper with some words on it, duly trotted out on national holidays only to be cast aside in practice; that is, when it isn't used as a rhetorical hammer against assorted "new Hitlers" or geopolitical rivals whose resources corporate America seek to "liberate."

Dead Men Tell No Tales

As toxic to democratic norms and the rule of law as the Awlaki affair clearly is, there are underlying parapolitical themes surrounding his murder which strengthen suspicions that what took place in Yemen on September 30 is more than just another story about an overt power grab by the Executive Branch.

While the government and media continue to cover-up the role played by the CIA and other secret state agencies in alleged intelligence "failures" leading up to the 9/11 attacks, evidence suggests that the Awlaki killing, as with last May's murder of former bête noire and on-again, off-again ally, Osama Bin Laden, may have been a "clean-up" operation designed to remove inconvenient witnesses with knowledge of Agency involvement in the plot.

As Antifascist Calling reported nearly two years ago in the wake of the aborted 2009 bombing of Northwest Airlines Flight 253 on Christmas Day over Detroit, a plot for which Awlaki was accused of orchestrating, though evidence can't be supplied because it's "secret," The Washington Post disclosed that Awlaki had extensive contacts with 9/11 hijackers Nawaf Alhazmi, Khalid Almihdhar and Hani Hanjour who "had spent time at his mosques in California and Falls Church."

In a series of 2010 articles (here, here, here and here), I reported on the stark parallels between September 11 and the Flight 253 affair.

And as with the 2001 attacks we were told "changed everything," far from being a failure to "connect the dots," intelligence and law enforcement officials possessed sufficient information thatshould have prevented accused bomber, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, from boarding that plane and placing the lives of nearly 300 air passengers at risk.

And wile Awlaki wasn't given a free pass by the administration in that botched attack, earlier government failures to apprehend him certainly set the stage.

According to History Commons, "shortly before the [FBI] investigation [into Awlaki's alleged ties to the now-shuttered Holy Land Foundation] is closed," in 2000, Awlaki "is beginning to associate with hijackers Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar shortly before the investigation ends."

"For instance," History Commons avers, "on February 4, one month before the FBI investigation is closed, al-Awlaki talks on the telephone four times with hijacker associate [and suspected Saudi intelligence agent] Omar al-Bayoumi."

"The 9/11 Commission will later speculate that these calls are related to Alhazmi and Almihdhar, since al-Bayoumi is helping them that day, and that Alhazmi or Almihdhar may even have been using al-Bayoumi's phone at the time. Al-Bayoumi had also been the subject of an FBI counterterrorism investigation in 1999."

Keep in mind that at least two of the hijackers, Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar, figure prominently in recent revelations by researcher Kevin Fenton, the author of Disconnecting the Dots.

In a recent conversation with Boiling Frogs Post's Sibel Edmonds and Peter B. Collins, Fenton said that during the course of his investigation, drawn from the Congressional 9/11 Joint Inquiry, the 9/11 Commission, the Justice Department's Inspector General's report, and the CIA's still-redacted Inspector General's report, he discovered that the CIA had deliberately withheld information from the FBI that the future hijackers had entered the United States with multiple entry visas issued in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

Even though the Agency had identified the pair as international terrorists who attended a 2000 Al-Qaeda summit in Malaysia where they and others, including Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and Khallad Bin Attash, one of the principle architects of the 1998 U.S. Embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania, planned the assault on the USS Cole and the 9/11 attacks, they kept this from the FBI, information that could have led straight to the heart of Al-Qaeda's "planes operation."

Fenton provides substantial evidence that the CIA's Alec Station Director Richard Blee and deputy, Tom Wilshire, concealed intelligence from investigators, concluding this "information was intentionally omitted in order to allow an al-Qaeda attack to go forward against the United States."

As part of this continuing cover-up, Awlaki's ties to the 9/11 hijackers were far more extensive than secret state officials have led us to believe.

In fact, although the Obama administration has justified killing Awlaki with false claims that he was AQAP's "external operations" chief, his role before 9/11 was substantially more significant from an investigatory perspective: that of a "fixer," first in San Diego where he assisted Saudi spook Omar al-Bayoumi in "settling" Alhazmi and Almihdhar, and later in Falls Church, Virginia, where he did the same for Hani Hanjour.

In 2002, Newsweek revealed that "some federal investigators suspect that al-Bayoumi could have been an advance man for the 9-11 hijackers, sent by Al Qaeda to assist the plot that ultimately claimed 3,000 lives."

"Two months after al-Bayoumi began aiding Alhazmi and Almihdhar," Newsweek disclosed, "al-Bayoumi's wife began receiving regular stipends, often monthly and usually around $2,000, totaling tens of thousands of dollars.

Payments arrived "in the form of cashier's checks, purchased from Washington's Riggs Bank by Princess Haifa bint Faisal, the daughter of the late King Faisal and wife of Prince Bandar, the Saudi envoy who is a prominent Washington figure and personal friend of the Bush family."

With startling similarities to the Awlaki case, ten days after the attacks, al-Bayoumi is picked up by British authorities in London, where he had relocated in July 2001, at the request of the FBI. Although his phone calls, bank accounts and associations are scrutinized, the Bureau claim they found no connections to terrorism.

The Washington Post will report that by 2002 the FBI had concluded, the same year Awlaki leaves the U.S., "that no evidence could be found of any organized domestic effort to aid the hijackers."

Recall that new information linking some members of the Saudi royal family and its intelligence apparatus to the attacks has recently surfaced. Last month, The Miami Herald revealed that two weeks before the kamikaze assaults on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, a Saudi family "abruptly vacated their luxury home near Sarasota, leaving a brand new car in the driveway, a refrigerator full of food, fruit on the counter--and an open safe in a master bedroom."

Investigative reporters Anthony Summers and Dan Christensen learned that "law enforcement agents not only discovered the home was visited by vehicles used by the hijackers, but phone calls were linked between the home and those who carried out the death flights--including leader Mohamed Atta--in discoveries never before revealed to the public."

"Ten years after the deadliest attack of terrorism on U.S. soil," Summers and Christensen wrote, "new information has emerged that shows the FBI found troubling ties between the hijackers and residents in the upscale community in southwest Florida, but the investigation wasn't reported to Congress or mentioned in the 9/11 Commission Report."

In a follow-up piece that significantly advanced the story, researcher Russ Baker reported on the WhoWhatWhy web site "that those alleged confederates were closely tied to influential members of the Saudi ruling elite."

Building on information first disclosed by the Herald, Baker, the author of Family of Secrets, reports that this "now-revealed link" between those who consorted with the hijackers in Florida "and the highest ranks of the Saudi establishment, reopens questions about the White House's controversial approval for multiple charter flights allowing Saudi nationals to depart the U.S., beginning about 48 hours after the attacks, without the passengers being interviewed by law enforcement--despite the identification of the majority of the hijackers as Saudis."

Is there a pattern between the hands-off treatment afforded well-connected Saudis and Anwar al-Awlaki's casual, and inexplicable, flight from the United States?

"After 9/11" History Commons points out, "the FBI will question al-Awlaki, and he will admit to meeting with Alhazmi several times, but say he does not remember what they discussed. He will not claim to remember Almihdhar at all." Other accounts suggest that the relationship was much closer.

"The 9/11 Congressional Inquiry," History Commons avers, "claim that Alhazmi and Almihdhar 'were closely affiliated with [al-Awlaki] who reportedly served as their spiritual adviser during their time in San Diego. ... Several persons informed the FBI after September 11 that this imam had closed-door meetings in San Diego with Almihdhar, Alhazmi, and another individual, whom al-Bayoumi had asked to help the hijackers'."

"Around August 2000," History Commons reports, "al-Awlaki resigns as imam and travels to unknown 'various countries.' In early 2001, he will be appointed the imam to a much larger mosque in Falls Church, Virginia. During this time frame, Alhazmi, Almihdhar, and fellow hijacker Hani Hanjour will move to Virginia and attend al-Awlaki's mosque there."

Anecdotally, in 2003 Newsweek reports: "Lincoln Higgie, an antiques dealer who lived across the street from the mosque where Aulaqi used to lead prayer, told Newsweek that he distinctly recalls the imam knocking on his door in the first week of August 2001 to tell him he was leaving for Kuwait. 'He came over before he left and told me that something very big was going to happen, and that he had to be out of the country when it happened,' recalls Higgie."

The antiques dealer later told The New York Times, that when he learned that Awlaki would be permanently leaving San Diego, "he told the imam to stop by if he was ever in the area--and got a strange response." Higgie said, "'I don't think you'll be seeing me. I won't be coming back to San Diego again. Later on you'll find out why'."

Although the FBI suspected Awlaki "had some connection with the 9/11 plot," authorities claim there wasn't enough evidence to charge him, nor can he be deported because he's an American citizen. And when the Bureau hatched an ill-conceived plan to arrest him on an obscure charge of "transporting prostitutes across state lines," that plan collapsed when Awlaki left the U.S. in March 2002.

"But on October 10, 2002," History Commons reports, "he makes a surprise return to the U.S." Although his name is on a terrorist watch list and he is detained by Customs' officials when he lands in New York, they are informed by the FBI that "his name was taken off the watch list just the day before. He is released after only three hours."

"Throughout 2002," History Commons informs us, Awlaki is the "subject of an active Customs investigation into money laundering called Operation Greenquest, but he is not arrested for this either, or for the earlier contemplated prostitution charges. At the time, the FBI is fighting Greenquest, and Customs officials will later accuse the FBI of sabotaging Greenquest investigations."

Awlaki again leaves the U.S., this time for good. Although the FBI admits they were "very interested" in Awlaki, they fail to stop him leaving the country. One FBI source told U.S. News and World Report, "We don't know how he got out."

Inexplicably however, it was not until 2008 that secret state officials concluded that Awlaki was an Al-Qaeda operative! This beggars belief, and raises the question as to why he was allowed to leave in the first place. It certainly can't be for lack of evidence or that when Awlaki set-up shop, first in London and finally in Yemen, he is continually under surveillance by British, Yemeni and American intelligence agencies.

Although interviewed four times by the FBI after September 11, the Bureau concluded, according to The New York Times, that Awlaki's "contacts with the hijackers and other radicals were random."

Other investigators however, disagreed. "One detective," theTimes reported, whose name has been scrubbed from 9/11 Commission files, told staff that he believed Awlaki "was at the center of the 9/11 story." At the time of the Flight 253 affair, I wrote that "despite, or possibly because of these dubious connections he was allowed to leave the country."

In fact, the curious disinterest exhibited by authorities in bringing Awlaki to ground following September 11, were neither "errors in judgement" nor "mistakes" by overtaxed investigators but are rather, a modus operandi which suggests that Awlaki and others were part of a CIA domestic operation which allowed the 9/11 plot to go forward.


Nothing in what I have written above should be construed as justification for the extrajudicial assassination of Anwar al-Awlaki. In fact, the opposite conclusion can be drawn. The available evidence indicates that Awlaki could have been arrested multiple times. At the least serious end of the criminal justice spectrum he could have been charged with providing "material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization," to whit, Al-Qaeda, and legally taken out of circulation.

That he wasn't and continued to operate freely as a propagandist, despite substantial corroboration from multiple law enforcement sources that he was a key figure in the pre-9/11 domestic support network, suggests that Awlaki may have been a double agent, albeit one who had decidedly gone "off the reservation."

Awlaki's handling by authorities raise serious questions about just how extensive U.S. support for Al-Qaeda was prior to, and possibly even after the September 11 attacks, particularly in resource-rich global hot-spots.

As numerous journalists and researchers have painstakingly documented, Al-Qaeda, allied terrorist outfits and international narco-trafficking networks have a long, sordid history of supporting U.S. covert operations that targeted America's geopolitical rivals even as Bin Laden's far-flung organization plotted to attack the United States itself.

In this light, Awlaki's "targeted killing" as with the earlier hit on Osama Bin Laden, may be part of a larger CIA/Pentagon operation to remove inconvenient participants and witnesses from the scene who might have a thing or two to say about the crimes and intrigues hatched by the imperialist Empire.

After all, dead men tell no tales...

Posted by Antifascistat 11:20 AM


"Where is the intersection between the world's deep hunger and your deep gladness?"
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#32

US Intends To Maintain Super-Bases After Alleged "Withdrawal" for Hunting Human Beings

910
2011[US Forces to Build $100,000,000 Special Ops Base in Northern Afghanistan]

Special ops, CIA first in, last out of Afghanistan

[Image: 539w.jpg]
FILE This file image from video released by the U.S. Defense Department and made available Oct. 20, 2001, shows U.S. special forces boarding an unidentified aircraft at an unknown location, the day Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman, Gen. Richard Myers, announced at the Pentagon that U.S. special forces "attacked and destroyed targets" in Afghanistan. The Central Intelligence Agency together with U.S. special operations were the first Americans into Afghanistan after the attacks of Sept. 11th, and will likely be the last U.S. forces to leave. (AP Photo/DOD Pool, File)

By Kimberly DozierAP Intelligence Writer / October 8, 2011


FORT BRAGG, N.C.They were the first Americans into Afghanistan after the Sept. 11 attacks and will probably be the last U.S. forces to leave.



As most American troops prepare to withdraw in 2014, the CIA and military special operations forces to be left behind are girding for the next great pivot of the campaign, one that could stretch their war up to another decade.

The war's 10th anniversary Friday recalled the beginnings of a conflict that drove the Taliban from power and lasted far longer than was imagined.

"We put the CIA guys in first," scant weeks after the towers in New York fell, said Lt. Gen. John Mulholland, then a colonel with U.S. special operations forces, in charge of the military side of the operation. U.S. Special Forces Green Berets, together with CIA officers, helped coordinate anti-Taliban forces on the ground with U.S. firepower from the air, to topple the Taliban and close in on al-Qaida.

Recent remarks from the White House suggest the CIA and special operations forces will be hunting al-Qaida and working with local forces long after most U.S. troops have left.

When Afghan troops take the lead in 2014, "the U.S. remaining force will be basically an enduring presence force focused on counterterrorism," said National Security Advisor Tom Donilon, in remarks in Washington in mid-September. That will be augmented by teams that will continue to train Afghan forces, added White House spokesman Tommy Vietor.

The White House insists this does not mean abandoning the strategy of counterinsurgency, in which large numbers of troops are needed to keep the population safe. It simply means replacing the surge of 33,000 U.S. troops, as it withdraws over the next year, with newly trained Afghan ones, according to senior White House Afghan war adviser Doug Lute

It also means U.S. special operators and CIA officers will be there for the next turn in the campaign. That's the moment when Afghans will either prove themselves able to withstand a promised Taliban resurgence, or find themselves overwhelmed by seasoned Taliban fighters.

"We're moving toward an increased special operations role," together with U.S. intelligence, Mulholland said, "whether it's counterterrorism-centric, or counterterrorism blended with counterinsurgency."

As out-going head of U.S. Army Special Operations Command, Mulholland has been in charge of feeding a steady stream of troops to commanders in the field. He knows they need as many special operations troops as he can produce and send. Those special operations forces under his command include U.S. Army Rangers, known for their raiding operations against militant targets, and U.S. Special Forces Green Berets, whose stock in trade is teaching local forces to fight a common enemy so the U.S. doesn't have to.

A foundation for special-operations-style counterinsurgency is already under way staffed primarily by the Green Berets with the establishment of hundreds of sites in remote Afghan villages where the U.S. troops are paired with Afghan local tribesmen trained by the Americans, Mulholland explained.


The program has been so successful in the eyes of NATO commanders that they've assigned other special operators like Navy SEALs to the mission, and even paired elite troops with conventional forces to stretch the numbers and cover more territory.

Senior U.S. officials have spoken of keeping a mix of 10,000 of both raiding and training special operations forces in Afghanistan, and drawing down to between 20,000 and 30,000 conventional forces to provide logistics and support. But at this point, the figures are as fuzzy as the future strategy.

Whatever happens with U.S. troops, intelligence officers know they will be a key component.

A senior U.S. official tasked with mapping out their role envisioned a possible future in which Afghan forces are able to hold Kabul and other urban areas, but the Taliban comes back in remote valleys or even whole provinces.

In that event, the official said, CIA and special operations forces would continue to hunt al-Qaida in Taliban areas the Afghan forces can't secure. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss planning for sensitive operations.

"If the CIA built an intelligence network that could provide special operations forces with targets, we could do the job," said Maj. Gen. Bennet S. Sacolick, who runs the U.S. Army's Special Warfare Center and School.

The only question will be which organization is in charge, and that will depend on the Afghan government, the senior U.S. official said. If Afghan authorities are comfortable with U.S. raiders continuing to operate openly, the special operations forces can lead, the official said. If they want a more covert presence, the CIA would lead, with special operation raiders working through them.

The other branch of special operations the Green Berets and others Mulholland mentioned who specialize in training would continue to support the Afghans in remote locations, trying to keep the Taliban from spreading.

The notion of a pared down U.S. fighting force, consisting of a latticework of intelligence and special operators, plus the far-flung units in the field, has spurred some criticism on Capitol Hill.

"You cannot protect the United States' safety with counterterrorism waged from afar," said Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee's emerging threats panel. His concern is that the White House has paid too little attention to how special operations and intelligence will keep the Taliban from overwhelming Afghanistan's remote terrain.

"I would like to know how many special operations forces they need, and how many conventional troops they propose to support them," he said, "and a rough time line."

The smaller special operations footprint could work, if it's part of a larger tapestry of counterinsurgency efforts, said retired Gen. Stanley McChrystal, former commander of the Afghan campaign.

"I believe direct action operations are only effective when part of a holistic strategy," McChrystal said in an interview. "That does not necessarily imply large U.S. forces or responsibility, but it must include a spectrum of efforts that addresses root causes, partners with indigenous governments and efforts, and approaches the causes as well as the symptoms on extremism and-or terrorism."

In other words, diplomats and aid groups would have to replace the current military efforts at building Afghan government and services and do it without a large footprint of U.S. forces to provide them security.

The smaller numbers would also put the U.S. troops left behind at greater risk, officials concede, with fewer support troops to rush to the rescue.

That's the mission a group of elite special operators was on in August, flying into a remote valley to aid another group of U.S. raiders on the ground, when the Taliban shot down their Chinook helicopter, killing 38 U.S. and Afghan forces on board.

Asked if it could happen again, Mulholland stopped and bowed his head, taking a long pause to think back to how it started.

"From the beginning, we accepted that risk," Mulholland said, remembering the early days when he sent load after load of special operations forces into Afghanistan, with no sure way to get them out.

He paused again. "We still do."[Image: dingbat_story_end_icon.gif]



"Where is the intersection between the world's deep hunger and your deep gladness?"
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#33
Dead Men Tell No Tales: The CIA, 9/11 and the Awlaki Assassination

by Tom Burghardt

[URL="http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=27001"]http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=27001
[TABLE="width: 100%"]
[TR]
[TD="colspan: 2, align: left"]On September 30, the CIA and Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) assets under the Agency's control, assassinated the alleged "external operations" chief of the Afghan-Arab database of disposable Western intelligence assets, also known as Al-Qaeda, Anwar al-Awlaki, and a second American citizen, Samir Khan, the 25-year-old editor of Inspire magazine, in a drone strike in Yemen.
As The Washington Post reported last month, the "commingling" of CIA officers, JSOC paramilitary troops and contractors "occupy an expanding netherworld between intelligence and military operations" where "congressional intelligence and armed services committees rarely get a comprehensive view."
Or any "view" at all, which is precisely what the CIA and Pentagon have long desired; an oversight-free zone where American policymakers operate, as Dick Cheney infamously put it, on the "dark side," a position fully-embraced by the "hope and change" administration of Barack Obama.
Awlaki's state-sponsored killing, like the May 2 murder of Osama Bin Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan, resurface many unanswered questions concerning the 9/11 attacks, the so-called trigger for America's global "War on Terror."
But before turning to those issues, it is necessary to take a detour and examine administration actions; specifically the deliberations undertaken by Obama's national security team which culminated in Awlaki's death.
White House "Death Panel"
Unlike the fantasies of the corporate-controlled Tea Party who charged during the run-up to the White House sell-out of health care reform that the administration would create "death panels" to deny care to the elderly, it has since emerged that Team Obama has stood-up the authentic article.
According to The Washington Post, President Obama's Justice Department "wrote a secret memorandum authorizing the lethal targeting" of Awlaki. The Post reports that the memorandum "was produced following a review of the legal issues raised by striking a U.S. citizen and involved senior lawyers from across the administration. There was no dissent about the legality of killing Aulaqi."
That memorandum, according to The New York Times, was drafted in June 2010, some six months afterAwlaki had been placed on the White House hit list, by Office of Legal Counsel attorneys "David Barron and Martin Lederman."
Both former OLC lawyers are prominent "liberals" from prestigious universities; Barron at Harvard and Lederman at Georgetown University.
Ironically enough, in several scholarly articles they had railed against the previous administration's adaptation of the "Unitary Executive Theory" promulgated by "torture memo" authors Jay Bybee and John Yoo.
Under Bush, OLC opinions were used to justify everything from warrantless wiretapping, the domestic deployment of the military to arrest Americans, to the torture and indefinite detention of "terrorist" suspects at the Guantánamo Bay prison gulag and CIA "black sites."
This of course begs the question: if Awlaki's murder was "legal," why then was the authorization to do so reached in camera by officials following a deliberative process which can't be shared with the public because of "national security"?
The answer should be chilling and shocking to all Americans: because the nucleus of a death squad state recalling those stood-up in Chile and Argentina during the "dirty war" period of the 1970s may now exist.
Reuters disclosed that Americans "are placed on a kill or capture list by a secretive panel of senior government officials, which then informs the president of its decisions, according to officials."
"There is no public record of the operations or decisions of the panel," reporter Mark Hosenball wrote, "which is a subset of the White House's National Security Council. ... Neither is there any law establishing its existence or setting out the rules by which it is supposed to operate."
According to Reuters, "targeting recommendations are drawn up by a committee of mid-level National Security Council and agency officials. Their recommendations are then sent to the panel of NSC 'principals,' meaning Cabinet secretaries and intelligence unit chiefs, for approval."
A "former official" told Hosenball that "one of the reasons for making senior officials principally responsible for nominating Americans for the target list was to 'protect' the president," i.e., provide Obama legal cover under the thin veneer afforded by "plausible deniability."
McClatchy News reported that "broadly speaking" White House orders to kill Awlaki were based on claims that "the nation's inherent right of self-defense [is] recognized under international law." However, "international law also imposes limits: Targeted killing is banned except to protect against 'concrete, specific and imminent' danger."


And although the administration now claims that Awlaki was targeted for death because "his role in AQAP had gone 'from inspirational to operational'," Reuters disclosed that "officials acknowledge that some of the intelligence purporting to show Awlaki's hands-on role in plotting attacks was patchy."


In fact, the White House has failed to provide any proof whatsoever that Awlaki posed an "imminent danger" to the United States, although there is considerable evidence that he was on the radar of U.S. and allied secret state intelligence agencies for more than a decade, had close ties to several of the 9/11 hijackers andcould have been picked up and indicted at any time.
Instead, federal law enforcement officials gave Awlaki a green light to leave the United States, unlike thousands of innocent Muslim-Americans swept-up and detained by the FBI in the post-9/11 hysteria that followed the attacks.
A "former military intelligence officer who worked with special operations troops to hunt down high-value terrorism targets," told the right-wing Washington Times: "I think it's pretty easy to understand why they didn't take him alive. Would you want to deal with the hassle of trying to put him on trial, an American citizen that has gotten so much press for being the target of a CIA kill order? That would be a nightmare. The ACLU would be crawling all over the Justice Department for due process in an American court."
That about sums up the dominant mindset of an Empire in sharp decline: the rule of law and due process for criminal suspects reduced to a "hassle."
Slouching Towards Dictatorship

Obama's national security team justified whacking Awlaki, as with their earlier hit on Osama Bin Laden, by referencing the Bush-era Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), hastily passed by Congress in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.

"A decade later," McClatchy reported, "the Obama administration contends that this wartime authority remains even if it's evolved for reasons the administration won't fully elucidate."
The relevant section of AUFM reads: "IN GENERAL -- That the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons." (emphasis added)
Readers will undoubtedly note that in passing the resolution, Congress not only ceded its authority to declare war to the Executive Branch but also planted the seeds of the administration's preemptive war doctrines along with an unprecedented expansion of its domestic surveillance powers.
More pertinently, is the reason why the administration "won't fully elucidate" how the Bush-era AUMF "evolved" chiefly due to the fact that secret annexes now exist which authorize the killing of Americans, not only in Yemen or other "War on Terror" fronts, but right here in the United States itself?
After all, it's not beyond the Obama administration to play fast and loose with the truth or hide repressive policies under layers of top secret presidential "findings" or a multitude of CIA and Pentagon black programs, as did the previous Bush government.
Recall that during the run-up to the reauthorization of three expiring provisions of the USA Patriot Act, civil libertarians decried the use of secret legal memos justifying everything from unchecked access to internet and telephone records to the deployment of government-sanctioned malware on private computers during "national security" investigations.
Recall too, that the Obama administration, as The New York Times disclosed in June, handed the FBI "significant new powers to its roughly 14,000 agents, allowing them more leeway to search databases, go through household trash or use surveillance teams to scrutinize the lives of people who have attracted their attention."
These "news rules," the Times averred, will give agents "more latitude" to investigate citizens even when there is no evidence they have exhibited "signs of criminal or terrorist activity."
It gets worse.
Last month, The New York Times revealed that the FBI "is permitted to include people on the government's terrorist watch list even if they have been acquitted of terrorism-related offenses or the charges are dropped."
Under these new standards, the Bureau may deem someone a "known or suspected terrorist," not based on evidence gathered through a criminal investigation, but solely if officials have "particularized derogatory information," including that derived from First Amendment protected activities, to support to support an individuals' watch listing or placement on a "no-fly" list.
One administration wag, speaking on condition of anonymity because to do otherwise would reveal "closely held deliberations within the administration," but did so anyway because this was clearly a sanctioned leak to stenographer Peter Finn, told The Washington Post that "what constitutes due process in [the Awlaki case] is a due process in war."
"The administration officials refused to disclose the exact legal analysis used to authorize targeting Aulaqi," Finn wrote, "or how they considered any Fifth Amendment right to due process."
We now know, thanks to Reuters, that authorization came from a White House death panel, an extra-constitutional committee of anonymous officials operating outside the rule of law.
As we have seen since Barack Obama took office, as under the previous Bush government, the Constitution is a meaningless scrap of paper with some words on it, duly trotted out on national holidays only to be cast aside in practice; that is, when it isn't used as a rhetorical hammer against assorted "new Hitlers" or geopolitical rivals whose resources corporate America seek to "liberate."
Dead Men Tell No Tales
As toxic to democratic norms and the rule of law as the Awlaki affair clearly is, there are underlyingparapolitical themes surrounding his murder which strengthen suspicions that what took place in Yemen on September 30 is more than just another story about an overt power grab by the Executive Branch.
While the government and media continue to cover-up the role played by the CIA and other secret state agencies in alleged intelligence "failures" leading up to the 9/11 attacks, evidence suggests that the Awlaki killing, as with last May's murder of former bête noire and on-again, off-again ally, Osama Bin Laden, may have been a "clean-up" operation designed to remove inconvenient witnesses with knowledge of Agency involvement in the plot.
As Antifascist Calling reported nearly two years ago in the wake of the aborted 2009 bombing of Northwest Airlines Flight 253 on Christmas Day over Detroit, a plot for which Awlaki was accused of orchestrating, though evidence can't be supplied because it's "secret," The Washington Post disclosed that Awlaki had extensive contacts with 9/11 hijackers Nawaf Alhazmi, Khalid Almihdhar and Hani Hanjour who "had spent time at his mosques in California and Falls Church."
In a series of 2010 articles (here, here, here and here), I reported on the stark parallels between September 11 and the Flight 253 affair.
Similar to the 2001 attacks we were told "changed everything," far from being a failure to "connect the dots," intelligence and law enforcement officials possessed sufficient information that should have prevented accused bomber, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, from boarding that plane and placing the lives of nearly 300 air passengers at risk.
And wile Awlaki wasn't given a free pass by the administration in that botched attack, earlier government failures to apprehend him certainly set the stage.
According to History Commons, "shortly before the [FBI] investigation [into Awlaki's alleged ties to the now-shuttered Holy Land Foundation] is closed," in 2000, Awlaki "is beginning to associate with hijackers Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar shortly before the investigation ends."
"For instance," History Commons avers, "on February 4, one month before the FBI investigation is closed, al-Awlaki talks on the telephone four times with hijacker associate [and suspected Saudi intelligence agent] Omar al-Bayoumi."
"The 9/11 Commission will later speculate that these calls are related to Alhazmi and Almihdhar, since al-Bayoumi is helping them that day, and that Alhazmi or Almihdhar may even have been using al-Bayoumi's phone at the time. Al-Bayoumi had also been the subject of an FBI counterterrorism investigation in 1999."
Keep in mind that at least two of the hijackers, Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar, figure prominently in recent revelations by researcher Kevin Fenton, the author of Disconnecting the Dots.
In a recent conversation with Boiling Frogs Post's Sibel Edmonds and Peter B. Collins, Fenton said that during the course of his investigation, drawn from the Congressional 9/11 Joint Inquiry, the 9/11 Commission, the Justice Department's Inspector General's report, and the CIA's still-redacted Inspector General's report, he discovered that the CIA had deliberately withheld information from the FBI that the future hijackers had entered the United States with multiple entry visas issued in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
Even though the Agency had identified the pair as international terrorists who attended a 2000 Al-Qaeda summit in Malaysia where they and others, including Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and Khallad Bin Attash, one of the principle architects of the 1998 U.S. Embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania, planned the assault on the USS Cole and the 9/11 attacks, they kept this from the FBI, information that could have led straight to the heart of Al-Qaeda's "planes operation."
Fenton provides substantial evidence that the CIA's Alec Station Director Richard Blee and deputy, Tom Wilshire, concealed intelligence from investigators, concluding this "information was intentionally omitted in order to allow an al-Qaeda attack to go forward against the United States."
As part of this continuing cover-up, Awlaki's ties to the 9/11 hijackers were far more extensive than secret state officials have led us to believe.
In fact, although the Obama administration has justified killing Awlaki with false claims that he was AQAP's "external operations" chief, his role before 9/11 was substantially more significant from an investigatory perspective: that of a "fixer," first in San Diego where he assisted Saudi spook Omar al-Bayoumi in "settling" Alhazmi and Almihdhar, and later in Falls Church, Virginia, where he did the same for Hani Hanjour.
In 2002, Newsweek revealed that "some federal investigators suspect that al-Bayoumi could have been an advance man for the 9-11 hijackers, sent by Al Qaeda to assist the plot that ultimately claimed 3,000 lives."
"Two months after al-Bayoumi began aiding Alhazmi and Almihdhar," Newsweek disclosed, "al-Bayoumi's wife began receiving regular stipends, often monthly and usually around $2,000, totaling tens of thousands of dollars.
Payments arrived "in the form of cashier's checks, purchased from Washington's Riggs Bank by Princess Haifa bint Faisal, the daughter of the late King Faisal and wife of Prince Bandar, the Saudi envoy who is a prominent Washington figure and personal friend of the Bush family."
With startling similarities to the Awlaki case, ten days after the attacks, al-Bayoumi is picked up by British authorities in London, where he had relocated in July 2001, at the request of the FBI. Although his phone calls, bank accounts and associations are scrutinized, the Bureau claim they found no connections to terrorism.
The Washington Post will report that by 2002 the FBI had concluded, the same year Awlaki leaves the U.S., "that no evidence could be found of any organized domestic effort to aid the hijackers."
Recall that new information linking some members of the Saudi royal family and its intelligence apparatus to the attacks has recently surfaced. Last month, The Miami Herald revealed that two weeks before the kamikaze assaults on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, a Saudi family "abruptly vacated their luxury home near Sarasota, leaving a brand new car in the driveway, a refrigerator full of food, fruit on the counter--and an open safe in a master bedroom."
Investigative reporters Anthony Summers and Dan Christensen learned that "law enforcement agents not only discovered the home was visited by vehicles used by the hijackers, but phone calls were linked between the home and those who carried out the death flights--including leader Mohamed Atta--in discoveries never before revealed to the public."
"Ten years after the deadliest attack of terrorism on U.S. soil," Summers and Christensen wrote, "new information has emerged that shows the FBI found troubling ties between the hijackers and residents in the upscale community in southwest Florida, but the investigation wasn't reported to Congress or mentioned in the 9/11 Commission Report."
In a follow-up piece that significantly advanced the story, researcher Russ Baker reported on theWhoWhatWhy web site "that those alleged confederates were closely tied to influential members of the Saudi ruling elite."
Building on information first disclosed by the Herald, Baker, the author of Family of Secrets, reports that this "now-revealed link" between those who consorted with the hijackers in Florida "and the highest ranks of the Saudi establishment, reopens questions about the White House's controversial approval for multiple charter flights allowing Saudi nationals to depart the U.S., beginning about 48 hours after the attacks, without the passengers being interviewed by law enforcement--despite the identification of the majority of the hijackers as Saudis."
Is there a pattern between the hands-off treatment afforded well-connected Saudis and Anwar al-Awlaki's casual, and inexplicable, flight from the United States?
"After 9/11" History Commons points out, "the FBI will question al-Awlaki, and he will admit to meeting with Alhazmi several times, but say he does not remember what they discussed. He will not claim to remember Almihdhar at all." Other accounts suggest that the relationship was much closer.
"The 9/11 Congressional Inquiry," History Commons avers, "claim that Alhazmi and Almihdhar 'were closely affiliated with [al-Awlaki] who reportedly served as their spiritual adviser during their time in San Diego. ... Several persons informed the FBI after September 11 that this imam had closed-door meetings in San Diego with Almihdhar, Alhazmi, and another individual, whom al-Bayoumi had asked to help the hijackers'."
"Around August 2000," History Commons reports, "al-Awlaki resigns as imam and travels to unknown 'various countries.' In early 2001, he will be appointed the imam to a much larger mosque in Falls Church, Virginia. During this time frame, Alhazmi, Almihdhar, and fellow hijacker Hani Hanjour will move to Virginia and attend al-Awlaki's mosque there."
Anecdotally, in 2003 Newsweek reports: "Lincoln Higgie, an antiques dealer who lived across the street from the mosque where Aulaqi used to lead prayer, told Newsweek that he distinctly recalls the imam knocking on his door in the first week of August 2001 to tell him he was leaving for Kuwait. 'He came over before he left and told me that something very big was going to happen, and that he had to be out of the country when it happened,' recalls Higgie."
The antiques dealer later told The New York Times, that when he learned that Awlaki would be permanently leaving San Diego, "he told the imam to stop by if he was ever in the area--and got a strange response." Higgie said, "'I don't think you'll be seeing me. I won't be coming back to San Diego again. Later on you'll find out why'."
Although the FBI suspected Awlaki "had some connection with the 9/11 plot," authorities claim there wasn't enough evidence to charge him, nor can he be deported because he's an American citizen. And when the Bureau hatched an ill-conceived plan to arrest him on an obscure charge of "transporting prostitutes across state lines," that plan collapsed when Awlaki left the U.S. in March 2002.
"But on October 10, 2002," History Commons reports, "he makes a surprise return to the U.S." Although his name is on a terrorist watch list and he is detained by Customs' officials when he lands in New York, they are informed by the FBI that "his name was taken off the watch list just the day before. He is released after only three hours."
"Throughout 2002," History Commons informs us, Awlaki is the "subject of an active Customs investigation into money laundering called Operation Greenquest, but he is not arrested for this either, or for the earlier contemplated prostitution charges. At the time, the FBI is fighting Greenquest, and Customs officials will later accuse the FBI of sabotaging Greenquest investigations."
Awlaki again leaves the U.S., this time for good. Although the FBI admits they were "very interested" in Awlaki, they fail to stop him leaving the country. One FBI source told U.S. News and World Report, "We don't know how he got out."
Inexplicably however, it was not until 2008 that secret state officials concluded that Awlaki was an Al-Qaeda operative! This beggars belief, and raises the question as to why he was allowed to leave in the first place. It certainly can't be for lack of evidence or that when Awlaki set-up shop, first in London and finally in Yemen, he is continually under surveillance by British, Yemeni and American intelligence agencies.
Although interviewed four times by the FBI after September 11, the Bureau concluded, according to The New York Times, that Awlaki's "contacts with the hijackers and other radicals were random."
Other investigators however, disagreed. "One detective," the Times reported, whose name has been scrubbed from 9/11 Commission files, told staff that he believed Awlaki "was at the center of the 9/11 story." At the time of the Flight 253 affair, I wrote that "despite, or possibly because of these dubious connections he was allowed to leave the country."
In fact, the curious disinterest exhibited by authorities in bringing Awlaki to ground following September 11, were neither "errors in judgement" nor "mistakes" by overtaxed investigators but are rather, a modus operandi which suggests that Awlaki and others were part of a CIA domestic operation which allowed the 9/11 plot to go forward.
Nothing in what I have written above should be construed as justification for the extrajudicial assassination of Anwar al-Awlaki. In fact, the opposite conclusion can be drawn. The available evidence indicates that Awlaki could have been arrested multiple times. At the least serious end of the criminal justice spectrum he could have been charged with providing "material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization," to whit, Al-Qaeda, and legally taken out of circulation.
That he wasn't and continued to operate freely as a propagandist, despite substantial corroboration from multiple law enforcement sources that he was a key figure in the pre-9/11 domestic support network, suggests that Awlaki may have been a double agent, albeit one who had decidedly gone "off the reservation."
Awlaki's handling by authorities raise serious questions about just how extensive U.S. support for Al-Qaeda was prior to, and possibly even after the September 11 attacks, particularly in resource-rich global hot-spots.
As numerous journalists and researchers have painstakingly documented, Al-Qaeda, allied terrorist outfits and international narco-trafficking networks have a long, sordid history of supporting U.S. covert operations that targeted America's geopolitical rivals even as Bin Laden's far-flung organization plotted to attack the United States itself.
In this light, Awlaki's "targeted killing" as with the earlier hit on Osama Bin Laden, may be part of a larger CIA/Pentagon operation to remove inconvenient participants and witnesses from the scene who might have a thing or two to say about the crimes and intrigues hatched by the imperialist Empire.
After all, dead men tell no tales...
Tom Burghardt is a researcher and activist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. In addition to publishing in Covert Action Quarterly and Global Research, he is a Contributing Editor with Cyrano's Journal Today. His articles can be read on Dissident Voice, The Intelligence Daily, Pacific Free Press, Uncommon Thought Journal, and the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks. He is the editor of Police State America: U.S. Military "Civil Disturbance" Planning, distributed by AK Press and has contributed to the new book from Global Research, The Global Economic Crisis: The Great Depression of the XXI Century.

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#34
Good Article....Read and Weep!
"Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
"Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn
"If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and never will" - Frederick Douglass
Reply
#35
Moral Amerika strikes again....

In news from Yemen, the U.S. government is being accused of killing a 16-year-old U.S. citizen in a drone strike last week. The teenager Abdulrahman al-Awlaki become the third American killed in Yemen in a U.S. drone strike in the past three weeks. He was the son of Anwar al-Awlaki, the U.S.-born cleric assassinated in a separate drone strike last month. Initial news accounts reported Abdulrahman al-Awlaki was 21 years-old, but his family says he was only 16. They said he was born in Denver in 1995. Nasser al-Awlaki, the boy's grandfather said, "To kill a teenager is just unbelievable, really, and they claim that he is an al-Qaeda militant. It's nonsense. They want to justify his killing, that's all."
"Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
"Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn
"If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and never will" - Frederick Douglass
Reply
#36

U.S. Troops Will Soon Get Tiny Kamikaze Drone

October 18th, 2011Via: Wired:
AeroVironment calls its teeny-tiny killer drone the Switchblade. Essentially a guided missile small enough to fit in a backback and fire at a single foe…
Posted in Rise of the Machines, Technology, War
"Where is the intersection between the world's deep hunger and your deep gladness?"
Reply
#37
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RotIlVLUq...tube_gdata

Uploaded by MOXNEWSd0tCOM on Oct 18, 2011
October 18, 2011 MSNBC
[URL="http://MOXNews.com/"]http://MOXNews.com

The "missing" 12 seconds is on the MSNBC TV website.[/URL]
"Where is the intersection between the world's deep hunger and your deep gladness?"
Reply
#38
President Obama feels your Constitutional right to due process can be what ever secret 'process' he makes up.
This week, US Attorney General Eric Holder outlined the administration's supposed legal authority to secretly target US citizens for execution without ever notifying them of the accusations against them, officially charging them with a crime or offering them the opportunity to respond. Since the whole world is a battlefield in the vague 'war on terror,' the only due process afforded to someone who has been targeted for extrajudicial execution is a secret 'review' by the executive branch.
Just as the public demanded the release of the Bush Administration's Torture Memos to expose the ludicrous rationale behind their secret torture program, we too must demand to know the legal rationale for a program that allows our president to unilaterally choose to deprive someone of life and liberty - without the victim even being charged with a crime.
Holder's speech was a cheap attempt to feign transparency without actually releasing the legal memos that define the administration's execution policy.[SUP]1[/SUP] We need your help to demand the Obama administration release these memos immediately. Can you please sign our petition demanding the Obama administration release the Execution Memos?
Sign our petition demanding the Obama administration produce the internal memos and legal justification for their targeted execution program.
Click here to sign: http://action.firedoglake.com/page/s/release-the-memo
The administration's refusal to even outline this non-judicial 'due process' that allows US citizens to be secretly put on a kill list is beyond troubling to say the least.
As Salon writer Glenn Greenwald put it:
...the 'process' which Eric Holder yesterday argued constitutes "due process" as required by the Fifth Amendment before the government can deprive of someone of their life: the President and his underlings are your accuser, your judge, your jury and your executioner all wrapped up in one, acting in total secrecy and without your even knowing that he's accused you and sentenced you to death, and you have no opportunity even to know about, let alone confront and address, his accusations; is that not enough due process for you?[SUP]2[/SUP]
The ACLU, New York Times and others have been suing the Obama administration for months in hopes of securing the release of the Execution Memos, but as one of the least-transparent administrations in recent history, they have repeatedly blocked their release.[SUP]3[/SUP]
If left unchallenged, this secretive program could continue to expand under Obama and future presidents, and further erode America's most basic principles of justice. Without the memos we do not know exactly how far the Obama administration believes this unprecedented power extends. We need your help to build a groundswell of pressure to force the release of any and all legal justification for the targeted killings program so there can be an open debate in this country about our president's unilateral authority to kill.
Sign our petition demanding the Obama administration produce the internal memos and legal justification for their targeted killing program.
This is a serious and dangerous precedent, and anyone who took issue with the Bush Torture Memos should be even more concerned about this latest power grab by the president. I hope you'll join us in fighting to release these memos.
Deepest Thanks,
Brian Sonenstein
Director of Online Activism,
Firedoglake.com

1. Holder's Regressive Defense of Targeted Killings, Kevin Gosztola, FDL's Dissenter, 3/6/2012.
2. Attorney General Holder defends execution without charges, Glenn Greenwald, Salon.com, 3/6/2012.
3. The Worst Administration on FOIA, Kevin Gosztola, FDL's Dissenter, 3/5/2012.
"Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
"Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn
"If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and never will" - Frederick Douglass
Reply
#39

Legal Experts Destroy Rationale for Obama's Assassination Policy … And Slam Democrats for Supporting It

Posted on March 8, 2012 by WashingtonsBlog

Obama Expanding Program Started by Cheney

Attorney General Eric Holder announced at Northwestern University law school that the U.S. can assassinate U.S. citizens without any without disclosure of why they are even alleged to be baddies and without any review of any nature whatsoever by any judge, Congress or the American people.
Northwestern University's law school professor Joseph Margulies said:

I defy anyone to read [Holder's] speech and show any differences between Obama and Bush on these issues, They both say we are in a war not confined to particular battlefield. … Both say we can target citizens without judicial oversight and that can happen anywhere in the world.
Columbia law school professor Scott Horton notes that this assassination strategy was created by Dick Cheney, and is being carried out by the Obama administration:
A lot of this seems to have been put in place under the tutelage of Dick Cheney. So here we see one of Dick Cheney's ideas being ratified by Barack Obama and his Attorney General Eric Holder.
(Obama is also implementing Cheney and the boys' plans for war in the Middle East and North Africa.)
Top constitutional law expert Jonathan Turley slams the Democratic Party for its complicity:
The choice of a law school was a curious place for discussion of authoritarian powers. Obama has replaced the constitutional protections afforded to citizens with a "trust me" pledge that Holder repeated.
***
Senior administration officials have asserted that the president may kill an American anywhere and anytime, including in the United States. Holder's speech does not materially limit that claimed authority. He merely assures citizens that Obama will only kill those of us he finds abroad and a significant threat. Notably, Holder added, "Our legal authority is not limited to the battlefields in Afghanistan."
The Obama administration continues to stonewall efforts to get it to acknowledge the existence of a memo authorizing the killing of Anwar al-Awlaki. Democrats previously demanded the "torture memos" of the Bush administration that revealed both poor legal analysis by Judge Jay Bybee and Professor John Yoo to justify torture. Now, however, Democrats are largely silent in the face of a president claiming the right to unilaterally kill citizens.
Holder became particularly cryptic in his assurance of caution in the use of this power, insisting that they will kill citizens only with "the consent of the nation involved or after a determination that the nation is unable or unwilling to deal effectively with a threat to the United States." What on earth does that mean?

Former constitutional trial lawyer and progressive writer Glenn Greenwald agrees:
The willingness of Democrats to embrace and defend this power is especially reprehensible because of how completely, glaringly and obviously at odds it is with everything they loudly claimed to believe during the Bush years. Recall two of the most significant "scandals" of the Bush War on Terror: his asserted power merely toeavesdrop on and detain accused Terrorists without judicial review of any kind. Remember all that? Progressives endlessly accused Bush of Assaulting Our Values and "shredding the Constitution" simply because Bush officials wanted to listen in on and detain suspected Terrorists not kill them, just eavesdrop on and detain them without first going to a court and proving they did anything wrong. Yet here is a Democratic administration asserting not merely the right to surveil or detain citizens without charges or judicial review, but to kill them without any of that: a far more extreme, permanent and irreversible act. Yet, with some righteous exceptions, the silence is deafening, or worse.
How can anyone who vocally decried Bush's mere eavesdropping and detention powers without judicial review possibly justify Obama's executions without judicial review? How can the former (far more mild powers) have been such an assault on Everything We Stand For while the latter is a tolerable and acceptable assertion of war powers? If Barack Obama has the right to order accused Terrorists executed by the CIA because We're At War, then surely George Bush had the right to order accused Terrorists eavesdropped on and detained on the same ground.
That the same Party and political faction that endlessly shrieked about Bush's eavesdropping and detention programs now tolerate Obama's execution program is one of the most extreme and craven acts of dishonesty we've seen in quite some time.
***
To recap Barack Obama's view: it is a form of "terror" for someone to be detained "without even getting one chance to prove their innocence," but it is good and noble for them to be executed under the same circumstances. To recap Eric Holder's view: we must not accept when the Bush administration says "just trust us" when it comes to spying on the communications of accused Terrorists, but we must accept when the Obama administration says "just trust us" when it comes to targeting our fellow citizens for execution.
***
What's so striking is how identical Obama officials and their defenders sound when compared to the right-wing legal theorists who justified Bush's most controversial programs. Even the core justifying slogans are the same: we are at War; the Battlefield is everywhere; Presidents have the right to spy on, detain and kill combatants without court permission; the Executive Branch is the sole organ for war and no courts can interfere in the President's decisions, etc. I spent years writing about and refuting those legal theories and they are identical to what we hear now. Just consider how similar the two factions sound to one another. When it came to their War on Terror controversies, Bush officials constantly said back then exactly what Obama officials and defenders say now: we're only using these powers against Terrorists The Bad People not against regular, normal, Good Americans; so if you're not a Terrorist, you have nothing to worry about.
***
This is nothing more than an exercise of supremely circular reasoning and question-begging: whether someone is actually a Terrorist can be determined only when the evidence of their guilt is presented and they have an opportunity to respond, just as Holder and Obama said during the Bush years. Government assurances that they're only targeting Terrorists whether those assurances issue from Bush or Obama should reassure nobody: this is always what those who abuse power claim, and it's precisely why we don't trust government officials to punish people based on unproven accusations. [Indeed, we've gone from a nation of laws to a nation of powerful men making laws in secret.]
***
We supposedly learned important lessons from the abuses of power of the Nixon administration, and then of the Bush administration: namely, that we don't trust government officials to exercise power in the dark, with no judicial oversight, with no obligation to prove their accusations. Yet now we hear exactly this same mentality issuing from Obama, his officials and defenders to justify a far more extreme power than either Nixon or Bush dreamed of asserting: he's only killing The Bad Citizens, so there's no reason to object!
***
That this policy is being implemented and defended by the very same political party that spent the last decade so vocally and opportunistically objecting to far less extreme powers makes it all the more repellent. That fact also makes it all the more dangerous, because as one can see the fact that it is a Democratic President doing it, and Democratic Party officials justifying it, means that it's much easier to normalize: very few of the Party's followers, especially in an election year, are willing to make much of a fuss about it at all.
And thus will presidential assassination powers be entrenched as bipartisan consensus for at least a generation. That will undoubtedly be one of the most significant aspects of the Obama legacy. Let no Democrat who is now supportive or even silent be heard to object when the next Republican President exercises this power in ways that they dislike.
As does Charles Pierce:
The criteria for when a president can unilaterally decide to kill somebody is completely full of holes, regardless of what the government's pet lawyers say. And this…
"This is an indicator of our times," Holder said, "not a departure from our laws and our values."
…is a monumental pile of crap that should embarrass every Democrat who ever said an unkind word about John Yoo. This policy is a vast departure from our laws and an interplanetary probe away from our values. The president should not have this power because the Constitution, which was written by smarter people than, say, Benjamin Wittes, knew full and goddamn well why the president shouldn't have this power. If you give the president the power to kill without due process, or without demonstrable probable cause, he inevitably will do so. And, as a lot of us asked during the Bush years, if you give this power to President George Bush, will you also give it to President Hillary Clinton and, if you give this power to President Barack Obama, will you also give it to President Rick Santorum?
Greenwald also points out that it is unclear whether the poster child for assassination of American citizens Anwar Al Awlaki was even a threat:
Applying traditional war doctrine to accused Terrorists (who are not found on a battlefield but in their cars, their homes, at work, etc.) is so inappropriate, and why judicial review is so urgent: because the risk of false accusations is so much higher than it is when capturing uniformed soldiers on an actual battlefield. Just recall how dubious so many government accusations of Terrorism turned out to be once federal courts began scrutinizing those accusations for evidentiary support. Indeed, Yemen experts such as Gregory Johnsen have repeatedly pointed out in response to claims that Awlaki plotted Terrorist attacks: "we know very little, precious little when it comes to his operational role" and "[B]we just don't know this, we suspect it but don't know it." [/B]Given this shameful record in the War on Terror, what rational person would "trust" the Government to make determinations about who is and is not a Terrorist in the dark, with no limits or checks on what they can do?
***
Holder's attempt to justify these assassinations on the ground that "capture is not feasible" achieves nothing. For one, the U.S. never even bothered to indict Awlaki so that he could voluntarily turn himself in or answer the charges (though at one point, long after they first ordered him killed, they "considered" indicting him); instead, they simply killed him without demonstrating there was any evidence to support these accusations. What justifies that? Additionally, the fact that the Government is unable to apprehend and try a criminal does not justify his murder; absent some violent resistance upon capture, the government is not free to simply go around murdering fugitives who have been convicted of nothing. Moreover, that Awlaki could not have been captured in a country where the government is little more than an American client is dubious at best …
(Interestingly, Lt.Col. Anthony Shaffer who claims to have tracked several of the 9/11 hijackers prior to September 11th alleges that al-Awlaki was a triple agent and an FBI asset before 9/11.)
http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2012/03/l...ng-it.html

"The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it." Karl Marx

"He would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies. When asked in court whether she knew that Lord Astor had denied having sex with her.

“I think it would be a good idea” Ghandi, when asked about Western Civilisation.
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#40
Sadly [OH SO SADLY!], Nazis, dictators, Bush and the neocons would all be very proud of O-bomb-a. America now has no moral nor legal basis IMHO. the Constitution is moot. Thugism rules our military and foreign policy, as well as our financial system and how we treat citizens of the World and within our own 'nation'. Its a sinking ship run by mendacious, dangerous and evil captains! Too bad there are no lifeboats at hand. I think a mutiny is in order! NOW!
"Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
"Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn
"If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and never will" - Frederick Douglass
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