Skip to main content

Can anyone explain the reasoning behind the US never charging Osama bin Laden for 9-11 or Anwar Al-Awlaki with terrorism before setting out to kill them?

Did it make it any easier to find bin Laden in 2001 - when he was supposedly in Afghanistan, had not yet taken credit for the 9-11 attacks, and the Taliban government suggested that instead of fighting a war, he be tried in a third country, asking for the evidence against him?  Couldn't charges and evidence have been helpful in enlisting international cooperation generally?  Of course, in 2001 the president replied, "There's no need to discuss innocence or guilt. We know he's guilty." Is that still our policy whenever it suits the president?

With US citizen Al-Awlaki, who appears never to have committed nor been charged with any violent or terrorism-related act, while drone attacks aimed at him in Yemen have killed innocent civilians, isn't the question even more serious?  Don't the current Material Support For Terror and other statutes make it easier than ever to charge real accessories when there's evidence?

Is the bottom line that if we have a president we respect, like, or voted for, these policies and actions are fine, shouldn't be questioned - are even heroic and terrific?

Thu Jun 02, 2011 at  6:07 PM PT: Readers clarified that bin Laden had been indicted for other terrorist acts prior to 9-11, but not for 9-11.  No one seemed to know evidence that would have been included in a proper 9-11 indictment against him.

Bizarrely, Al-Awlaki has only been formally accused of a passport violation and of violating the White-Slave Traffic Act of 1910 known as the Mann Act – not of anything related to terrorism.  Historically the Mann Act has been famously used to harass interracial couples and uppity negroes, including boxing champion Jack Johnson, and in political stings including the removal of former NY governor Elliot Spitzer.  No one here claimed that, if Al-Awlaki was a terrorist living in Yemen, this might be a good way to catch him or persuade Yemenis to turn him in.

Thanks to everyone who clarified these facts.

Yesterday's Criminalizing Free Speech by Glenn Greenwald at Salon suggests the reason Al-Awlaki has never been charged for terrorism is, his actual "crimes" are clearly constitutionally protected.  Five terrorism experts suggest that his primary threat to America is that he opposes US policies for a Muslim audience in fluent English.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site