Axis of Logic
Finding Clarity in the 21st Century Mediaplex

Human Rights
Axis of Logic: U.S. Government murders U.S. citizen Al-Awlaki without trial. Are you on a U.S. Government List?
By Les Blough, Editor
Axis of Logic
Friday, Sep 30, 2011

In April 2010 the Obama regime ordered the murder of Anwar al-Awladi, a Muslim Cleric and the first U.S. citizen to be killed without due process of trial by jury. When I first read the tremendous emphasis placed on the fact taht Anwar was a U.S. citizen I wondered for a moment if writers think the life of a U.S. citizen has any greater value of one of the millions of innocents who have been killed in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Libya and Palestine? Then I rememberd how those wars were often justified by the US government against leaders "who killed their own people."

The US government ordered Anwar's execution based upon accusations and demonization by a US congresswoman. the corporate media (Investors Business Daily) and architects of the U.S. Patriot Act with epithets like "terrorist number one" and "the world's most dangerous man," "the new Bin Laden" etc. They also used coerced out-of-court testimony by Faisal Shahzad who pled guilty to "the 2010 Times Square car bombing attempt" in a plea bargain to save his own skin. Faisal's "testimony" that he was "inspired by Al-Awlaki" was apparently damning enough to order the execution.

Last year, Anwar's father filed a suit in federal court in an attempt to stop his son's execution against President Barack Obama, Defense Secretary Robert Gates and CIA Director Leon Panetta to prevent them from killing his son in a drone missile attack. The lawsuit was backed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). But in December 2010 U.S. District Court Judge John Bates "dismissed the case on procedural grounds, saying that Nasser al-Awlaki (Anwar's father) did not have standing to sue and that the officials were immune from such lawsuits anyway." Judge Bates hedged his decision by saying that the US government's extrajudicial decision to kill a U.S. citizen raised "stark and compelling questions." But for Bates, those questions were not enough to stop the execution of a U.S. citizen without trial by jury. Of course Bates is himself an official in the same government that decided to kill the man. The ACLU issued the following statement after the dismissal:

"If the court's ruling is correct, the government has unreviewable authority to carry out the targeted killing of any American, anywhere, whom the president deems to be a threat to the nation."

Aside from the issue of morality, the "stark and compelling question" raised by this government's arbitrary and unconstitutional decision (Fifth Amendment) to murder Anwar by fiat is not a question at all. It sets precedent for the U.S. government to kill any U.S. citizen simply by deciding that he or she poses a danger to their own corrupt system.

Yesterday, Glenn Greenwald wrote:

"It was first reported in January of last year that the Obama administration had compiled a hit list of American citizens whom the President had ordered assassinated without any due process, and one of those Americans was Anwar al-Awlaki. No effort was made to indict him for any crimes (despite a report last October that the Obama administration was "considering" indicting him). 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."

USA Patriot Act

The USA PATRIOT Act was an Act of the U.S. Congress that was signed into law by President George W. Bush on October 26, 2001. The 2001 Patriot Act provides that:

  • The President has broad constitutional power to take military action in response to the terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001. Congress has acknowledged this inherent executive power in both the War Powers Resolution and the Joint Resolution passed by Congress on September 14, 2001.

  • The President has constitutional power not only to retaliate against any person, organization, or State suspected of involvement in terrorist attacks on the United States, but also against foreign States suspected of harboring or supporting such organizations.

  • The President may deploy military force preemptively against terrorist organizations or the States that harbor or support them, whether or not they can be linked to the specific terrorist incidents of September 11.

Countries, organizations, people on U.S. terrorist lists

Organizations and Countries: The U.S. government now has 49 organizations around the world listed as "Foreign Terrorist Organizations." The U.S. has had the following countries on their list for "State Sponsored Terrorism" : Syria, Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, South Yemen, Sudan. They have since removed Iraq, Libya, North Korea, South Yemen from the list. Being placed on this list makes a country a target for a U.S. military attack. In 2008 the U.S. congress began to demand that The Republic of Venezuela be put on their list of countries that sponsor terrorism.

People: Have you organized an anti-government protest or participated in one? Is your name on the U.S. "Terrorist Watch List?" (TWL) Impossible you think? The ACLU's last reported number of people on the U.S. TWL in 2009 was over 1 million.

But there are many conflicting reports about these numbers and just who is included because U.S. government wants to keep everyone guessing and in fear. While the ACLU reported over a million people on the TWL and growing in 2009, in April 2011 CBS News reported:

"The more expansive terror watch list includes about 450,000 names of people the U.S. intelligence community believes are, or could be, a threat to national security because of terrorist ties. Some of the people on the watch list are still being investigated, and there is not enough information for the government to arrest them.

This week the NYT reported that the FBI database has about 420,000 names with 16,000 people who are barred from air travel including about 500 U.S. citizens:

"Inclusion on the watch list can keep terrorism suspects off planes, block noncitizens from entering the country and subject people to delays and greater scrutiny at airports, border crossings and traffic stops."

The NYT also reported that even people who have been cleared of any crime can be kept on the FBI's Terror Watch List.

No Fly List

NPR, not among the most trustworthy media in the U.S., reports that the number of people on the No Fly List is "smaller than you think." Timothy Healy, director of the FBI's Terrorist Screening Center, which maintains the No Fly List says there are "about 10,000 people on their No Fly List and "between 500 and 1,000 of them are U.S. citizens. CBS reports that the FBI has blocked the flights of 350 people since 2009.

Moreover, it's impossible to find out if your name is on one of their No Fly List until you for example, buy your airline ticket, show up at the airport and are not allowed to board the flight. If you are one of the unlucky ones who discovers at the airport that you've been placed on their No Fly List it's virtually impossible to get your name removed from the list.

Webster Griffin Tarpley, author and journalist, says,

"Once you are on these lists it's almost impossible to get it off and you really don't have any clear legal recourse so this is the increasing climate of lawlessness and contempt for civil rights that has grown up in the last decade."

Who has the authority to put you on a No Fly List? Well, Timothy J. Healy, the director of the F.B.I.’s Terrorist Screening Center, says that "documents show" that the government was balancing civil liberties with a careful, multilayered process for vetting who goes on it — and for making sure that names that no longer need to be on it came off. I guess we have to take his word for that but there's really no way to know how they include or exclude individuals from their lists. There was at least one case of a UK immigration officer putting his wife on the No Fly List, preventing her from returning to the UK for 3 years. This worked until he applied for a promotion and it was found out.

But look at what the government has us doing ... arguing about who is on their terrorist lists and what they do with them/us. The obscure term, "terrorist" and the "threat of terrorism" have long passed into the realm of truism and are no longer to be questioned while the real terrorists bomb and kill innocent people, including U.S. citizens like Anwar al-Awlaki in foreign countries. Without a doubt, noone should be surprised when they begin imprisoning people on U.S. soil if/when they rise up against the government.

President Barack Obama has fully supported and expanded the Patriot Act enacted by the U.S. Congress under the Bush regime with some limited provisions. On May 26, 2011, Obama signed a four-year extension of 3 key provisions in the USA PATRIOT Act: 1. Roving wiretaps. 2. Searches of business records (the "library records provision"), and 3. Conducting surveillance of "lone wolves" — individuals suspected of terrorist-related activities not linked to terrorist groups. Title VIII of the U.S. Patriot Act provides "a number of measures were introduced in an attempt to prevent and penalize activities that are deemed to support terrorism."

These and other sweeping provisions in the Patriot Act along with the precedent set by the extra-judicial execution of Anwar al-Awlaki gives the U.S. government the power (not the right) to prevent you from flying, to arrest and imprison any U.S. citizen or even execute if it decides to do so. This is not democracy by any definition. This is legislated dictatorship by whoever happens to be shoe-horned into the office of president of the United States in coming "elections." To rid ourselves of the insidious Patriot Act will mean ridding ourselves of the U.S. government as we know it.


Salon: The due-process-free assassination of U.S. citizens is now reality (Greenwald)

U.S. Department of Justice (2001): The President's constitutional Authority to Conduct Military Operations Against Terrorists and Nations Supporting Them.

ACLU: Terrorist Watch Lists

Wikipedia: State Sponsors of Terrorism

AFP: US lawmakers want Venezuela on US list of terrorism sponsor

NPR: The No-Fly List: FBI Says It's Smaller Than You Think

CBS: U.S. claims 350 blocked by improved no-fly list

Schneier: UK Immigration Officer Puts Wife on the No-Fly List

NYT: Even Those Cleared of Crimes Can Stay on F.B.I.’s Watch List

Press TV: 'Names of innocent people on US terrorist watch list' (Tarpley)

U.S. Office of the Coordinator for Counter Terrorism: Current List of Designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations

Wikipedia: Anwar al-Awlaki

LAT - Punting on Alwaki

CNN: Judge Throws Out Assassination Lawsuit

Wikipedia: USA Patriot Act