Skip to main content

View Diary: Was Al-Awlaki A Citizen When He Was Killed? (130 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  He absolutely WAS a citizen if Due Process Of (5+ / 0-)

    Law was not executed in order to revoke that citizenship. What such due process might be, per the Act specified, I do not know, but I'm guessing it requires that somebody actually do something. I'm also guessing that in this case nobody did. I'm also guessing that we'll never know.

    To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

    by UntimelyRippd on Sat Mar 09, 2013 at 08:24:27 PM PST

    •  Due Process? (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      skrekk, Paul1a, ParaHammer, diffrntdrummr

      He forfeited that when he went to war against the country.

      ...the GOP seems perfectly willing to hold their breath until the whole country turns Blue.

      by tommy2tone on Sat Mar 09, 2013 at 08:38:19 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  nope (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        chuckvw, Sparhawk, Bisbonian, OldSoldier99

        as a citizen, he should have gotten due process - he was NOT in a foreign military organization, and there's very little evidence that he did anything other than make speeches.

        (Is it time for the pitchforks and torches yet?)

        by PJEvans on Sat Mar 09, 2013 at 08:47:03 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  There is lots of evidence (4+ / 0-)

          that al-Awlaki was connected to several global terrorist plots.

          Wikipedia is a good place to start.

          •  Do Plots Nullify Citizenship? (7+ / 0-)

            Terrorists don't threaten nations, states, counties or cities. They threaten individuals, vehicles and buildings. They're criminals. Capone was a criminal not the USS fucking R.

            We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

            by Gooserock on Sat Mar 09, 2013 at 08:51:07 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I did not claim (4+ / 0-)

              that plots nullify citizenship.  I'm pretty sure the answer to that is no.

              But there seems to be this idea out there that al-Awlaki was merely a guy speaking out against American imperialism, when that couldn't be further from the truth.

            •  in today's world organizations = countries (0+ / 0-)

              it seems, even organizations that are relatively impotent.  al Qaeda struck its greatest and most telling blow on 9/11 but also blew its wad as analysis reveals, instead of grunts, the plot involved the brightest and best or the next generation of al Qaeda leaders.  Since 9/11, al Qaeda has not been able to mount any sort of credible threat to the US.

              However, even from the grave, I would argue that bin Laden continues to win the struggle as his actions have transformed our society into something it never would have been otherwise  

            •  A nation is comprised of citizens (0+ / 0-)

              The way to threaten a nation is through its citizens.

          •  who put it in (0+ / 0-)

            Wikipedia? do you trust them on this? do you trust the usual unnamed government officials?

            (Is it time for the pitchforks and torches yet?)

            by PJEvans on Sat Mar 09, 2013 at 08:55:33 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Were there 2 witnesses to the same overt act... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Sparhawk, Bisbonian

            ...or a confession in open court? Because that's the standard for convicting someone for treason, last time I checked Article III, §3. And it sure sounds like that's what he was being accused of when we targeted him for extrajudicial execution.

            "Speaking for myself only" - Armando

            by JR on Sat Mar 09, 2013 at 09:30:10 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Did not even claim that. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Bronx59, BvueDem

              I was responding only to the claim that al-Awlaki didn't do anything but give speeches.

            •  Red Herring. Not charged with Treason. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              BvueDem, Dr Swig Mcjigger
              •  "A rose by any other name..." (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                denise b

                First, he wasn't charged with anything when the President put him on a kill list and signed a standing kill order.

                Second, dress it up how you like, he was accused of making war against the United States. That was the justification behind his assassination. The reason the definition of what constitutes treason is right there in the Constitution is to prevent some administration or Congress from claiming that they're not actually claiming someone committed treason per se, but some new, inventive crime.

                Let's call it "unmutuality." (I love "The Prisoner.")

                Let's assume that, one day, the federal government declared the crime of "unmutuality" would consist of the same elements as treason, but, since it isn't treason ("it's unmutuality!") they could punish entire families (or, in constitutional terms, "work corruption of blood"). After all, that punishment is specifically banned for treason, but not for unmutuality. So what's the problem?

                Trying to weasel out of observing the Constitution isn't cool. Especially when the goal is to be able to extrajudicially kill citizens.

                "Speaking for myself only" - Armando

                by JR on Sun Mar 10, 2013 at 09:13:15 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

        •  It's actually true (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          diffrntdrummr, BvueDem

          read the 5th Amendment:

          No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
          If you go to war against the country, it does not have to provide you due process.

          And there is not one word about citizenship in there.  This applies to all persons equally.

          Now one can make the argument he was not in "service".  But citizenship has nothing to do with that argument.

          •  That exception applies to active duty military (0+ / 0-)

            during wartime.


            No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, [except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger] . . .
            Read more carefully.  Try again.
            •  I don't think an al-Awlaki crime is diary issue (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              BvueDem, Dr Swig Mcjigger

              I'm not at all sure what I think of the OP's argument, but the refutations along these lines aren't going to work. As I understand it, the killing of al-Awlaki is not an execution related to a crime for which he was unconstitutionally convicted, any more than criminal justice is implicated in the battlefield deaths of a few US Citizens who fought on the Axis side in WW2 (generally, because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time and got drafted in enemy armies).

              Nor am I impressed with claims he only made speeches and plots. Rear echelon guys are perfectly valid targets.

              What I do wonder about is whether he was a member of a foreign military organization at all, whether Al Qaeda minus an active operational wing qualifies. And, far from proceeding in secret, I think US Citizens who want to take their chances in a treason or terrorism trial should be identified and given a chance to surrender.

      •  There's a Treason Clause in the Constitution... (5+ / 0-)

        ...that covers exactly that instance.

        Your argument is invalid.

        "Speaking for myself only" - Armando

        by JR on Sat Mar 09, 2013 at 08:53:05 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  historical note: only Confederate executed was (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        commander of Andersonville by the name of Wirtz if memory serves.  Instead of summary execution, he was given a military court martial as were other Confederate leaders.  It seems that this standard has been abandoned

        •  This example doesn't shed much light (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          fou, BvueDem

          on Al-Awlaki's situation.  Wirtz (?) must have been prosecuted AFTER the war was over, not while the Confederacy was involved in active combat.  He was also a U.S. citizen on U.S. territory.  So he would have had due process rights.  Al-Awlaki was outside the U.S. and his claim on citizenship appears to have been tenuous at best.  So from a legal standpoint these aren't similar situations.  

        •  Tens of thousands KILLED in battle w/o trial (4+ / 0-)

          Here is the standard: If you are at war with the United States, you will be on the receiving end of incoming lethal force.

          This was true in the Civil war, as in every war.

          •  but WWII was our last war (0+ / 0-)

            everything since has been a "police action" so it really seems we should send in cops and not troops.  
            BTW are we currently at war with China since it appears they have mounted cyber attacks on various US companies or are we at war with Iran since we have mounted cyber attacks on their defense computer networks.

            Defining war in this day and age tends to get messy

    •  Isn't the question of due process irrelevant (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      when the citizen is outside of US jurisdiction?

      For example, there was no obligation to afford John Walker Lindh when he was on the battlefield, but once within US custody he was due far more due process than he ever actually received.

      •  He was treated more or less as a prisoner of war (0+ / 0-)

        Until he was brought back into US jurisdiction, and tried.   Following due process actually works!

        "We refuse to fight in a war started by men who refused to fight in a war." -freewayblogger

        by Bisbonian on Sun Mar 10, 2013 at 06:35:56 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Once he's within US custody he's due full due (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          process.    US jurisdiction includes Gitmo, Bagram air base, Abu Ghraib, or any other place else where the US is the controlling authority.  

          And it's quite clear that Lindh received little to no due process until his trial, otherwise Jesselyn Radack would still be a DoJ employee.

          •  True, I agree he should have recieved more (0+ / 0-)

            I guess the point I was trying to make was that he at least received some (i.e. not executed), and eventually a trial, and a sentence passed down by a judge.  It works.

            "We refuse to fight in a war started by men who refused to fight in a war." -freewayblogger

            by Bisbonian on Mon Mar 11, 2013 at 09:59:23 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Not Clear Is It? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      From the information on the State website it looks like it's empowered to make an administrative determination about someone's citizenship when they join a hostile military.  Of course, someone whose citizenship is revoked through such a process would have appeal rights including in the courts.  But it's probably difficult to invoke your appeal rights if you're hiding out from local and U.S. authorities somewhere in the mountains of Yemen.  

      •  So, did they? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        My proposed answer is 'probably not'.

        If it takes a State Department administrative determination, that's what it takes. There should be a piece of paper somewhere, probably with a number on it, that demonstrates that the decision was made.

        Blowhard 'oh, he was engaged in war' claims don't cut it if there's no State Department paperwork to back it up.

        (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
        Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

        by Sparhawk on Sun Mar 10, 2013 at 12:08:29 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  You're going in the right direction to gain an (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        understanding about the legal question of the decade.

        18 USC 1481 has to be read closely. In the list of potentially expatriating acts, the first and the last are the most applicable. Naturalization in a foreign country is relevant because Awlaki was a dual US-Yemen citizen. living in Yemen for two years before he was killed.  Pursuant to 18 USC 2385, simply advocating the violent overthrow of the US government could be expatriating and may have been established from recorded video statements.  The individual also has to state his intention to relinquish citizenship.  Without that, a 1990 statement of policy says that in unusual circumstances, it may not be possible to obtain such a statement, for example if the person is a fugitive. Therefore, in rare cases, the State Dept. may determine that a person’s expatriating actions accompanied by conduct which is so inconsistent with retention of U.S. citizenship, compel a conclusion that the individual intended to relinquish U.S. citizenship.  I would bet that this is where the government built its case.

        You may also find information on the State Dept website about a hearing in Congress on 4-25-2010, a year and a half before Awlaki was killed, on the subject of whether he should be stripped of citizenship. A year later, in another hearing, Congress considered whether it should have routine regular reports on his status/whereabouts.  Transcripts of the hearings are in the Congressional Record online.

        There is no existence without doubt.

        by Mark Lippman on Sun Mar 10, 2013 at 05:13:13 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  From the State Department language (0+ / 0-)

      it seems that it can administratively determine loss of citizenship when someone joins a hostile foreign military or becomes an officer in ANY foreign military.  It doesn't say what the exact procedure is.  If someone's citizenship is revoked administratively they would have appeal rights up to and including the courts.  Of course, it's kind of hard to invoke those rights when you're hiding out from local and U.S. authorities in the mountains of Yemen.  

    •  wrong. No specific process is (0+ / 0-)

      provided in the statute. Obviously someone on or in a battle space is not going to go down to the nearest consulate to ask for forms.

      Besides "due process" does not of necessity mean a trial in a court of law.

      I'm asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about real change in Washington ... *I'm asking you to believe in yours.* Barack Obama

      by samddobermann on Sun Mar 10, 2013 at 04:30:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Due process applies to 'persons' not citizens (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      This idea that US citizens are entitled to some due process that non-citizens are not is contrary the US Constitution and all examples of where 'due process' has been involved in actual cases.

    •  He never renounced his citizenship, so he's a USC (0+ / 0-)

      There's a formal procedure that must be followed for a citizen and national of the United States to relinquish his citizenship.  It's called renunciation, and requires that the person, if abroad, personally swear an affidavit before the US Consul stating (his) intention to relinquish citizenship.

      Section 349(a)(3) of the Immigration and Nationality Act [8 U.S.C. 1481(a)(3)] only comes up in cases where persons who have renounced their citizenship attempt to gain it back again later.

      It all goes to a clearly stated intention.  In the case of Mr. al-Alwaki, there was none. So, he was definitely a USC at the time of his extrajudicial execution by the US Government.

      If there was any basis under the law to question his US Citizenship, we would have head it from the Administration.

      Nice try.

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site