This morning I listened to a really interesting debate between Scott Shane, who recently co-wrote a front-page article for the New York Times about the drone killing of al-Awlaki, and Jesselyn Radack, the National Security & Human Rights director at the Government Accountability Project.
It’s well worth a listen, and brings to the fore important questions about what we should or can expect from the mainstream media. Is this kind of coverage the best we can get from sources like the Times, and if so, is marginally critical commentary on the front page, better than none at all?
American news outlets are abuzz with the ongoing manhunt for Christopher Jordan Dorner. As the search for him continues, one thing has become strikingly evident: just how deeply the logic, discourse and tactics of the War on Terror have penetrated the American police state. The media and the LAPD have demonized Dorner as a crazed killer, rather than seriously engaging with the political rationale of his actions. With the threat of additional violence presumed to be high, and his capture hindered by the weather and mountainous terrain, the task force has even admitted that they’re employing drones. Now that the white paper on targeted assassinations in circulation, we have to wonder: how soon until ‘targeted strikes’ come home? In a few years, will ‘enemies of the state’ on home soil simply be killed from above?
He’s been on the run ever since. Speaking about the case, Police Chief Charlie Beck recently commented, "This is an act of domestic terrorism”.
Perhaps that’s fitting, given that “terrorism” has come to encompass essentially any illegal act purportedly committed with political (read: anti-imperialist, anti-capitalist, anti-American, anti-racist) aims. Dorner has been clear about the rationale behind his violence – just after the attacks he posted a 6,000 word message explaining his actions. As he opens his message Dorner writes:
“I know most of you who personally know me are in disbelief to hear from media reports that I am suspected of committing such horrendous murders and have taken drastic and shocking actions in the last couple of days. You are saying to yourself that this is completely out of character of the man you knew who always wore a smile wherever he was seen. I know I will be vilified by the LAPD and the media. Unfortunately, this is a necessary evil that I do not enjoy but must partake and complete for substantial change to occur within the LAPD and reclaim my name. The department has not changed since the Rampart and Rodney King days. It has gotten worse.”
Later he adds:
“...Sometimes humans feel a need to prove they are the dominant race of a species and they inadvertently take kindness for weakness from another individual. You chose wrong....
...I am here to change and make policy. The culture of LAPD versus the community and honest/good officers needs to and will change. I am here to correct and calibrate your morale compasses to true north...”
Dorner is presumed to hiding out in California’s San Bernadino Mountains. Officers fear that additional causalities may be inevitable if he is not captured, and are also worried he could escape across the border into Mexico – so the joint forces responsible for his arrest have begun to rely on warfare technologies. As one senior police officer commented, “The thermal imaging cameras the drones use may be our only hope of finding him. On the ground, it’s like looking for a needle in a haystack.”
Some news sources have suggested that the police are out to assassinate Dorner. The Express asserted, “Dorner has become the first human target for remotely-controlled airborne drones on US soil”. Despite these claims, there is no evidence to suggest that Dorner is being tracked by armed drones, and it seems most likely that that they’re employing surveillance drones to locate him more easily.
Then again, police forces have been killing Black men without charge or trial since before the birth of the nation. [As KRS-One taught us, ”The overseer rode around the plantation, The officer is off patroling all the nation... The overseer had the right to get ill, And if you fought back, the overseer had the right to kill, The officer has the right to arrest, And if you fight back they put a hole in your chest!...] With a $1 million reward on Dorner’s head, let’s not underestimate the lengths the joint task force will go to ensure that he’s neutralized, whether or not they use a drone [and let’s not forget the other Black men assassinated by the cops in recent years]. As one blogger wondered, “In light of current concerns about domestic “terrorists”, one wonders if the Panthers would be considered drone assassination targets under the current Justice Department guidelines if they were around today?”
The Obama administration continues to redefine the concepts of “imminence” and “proportionality” in international law to suit their needs, all to justify a secret program that assassinates US citizens abroad. That’s a reality that few of us could have imagined prior to 9/11.
I doubt Dorner will become the next al-Awlaki. But in ten years... who knows what will be legal on home soil?
One year since the assassination of Anwar al-Awlaki CagePrisoners publishes a report which reveals what role he really played in the Al-Qaeda leadership
فتحت قضية مقتل نجل القيادي في تنظيم القاعدة، أنور العولقي، الباب من جديد على النقاشات حول شرعية غارات الطائرات العاملة من دون طيار والعمليات التي تستهدف قيادات التنظيمات المسلحة، خاصة وأن القتيل من مواليد كولورادو، ولا يكاد يختلف عن أي مراهق أمريكي آخر، إذ تشير صفحته الشخصية على موقع فيسبوك إلى أنه كان يحب روايات "هاري بوتر" وموسيقى مغني الراب "سنوب دوغ
انتقد اتحاد الحريات المدنية الأميركي (اي سى ال يو) الحكومة الأميركية لأنها رفضت إعلان تفاصيل مقتل عبد الرحمن العولقي، ابن أنور العولقي، بطائرة «درون» (دون طيار) في اليمن في الأسبوع الماضي. وقال الاتحاد إن عبد الرحمن (16 سنة) مواطن أميركي ولد في دنفر (ولاية كولورادو)، عندما كان والده يدرس هناك، ووالده نفسه ولد في الولايات المتحدة، وكان يحمل الجنسية الأميركية عندما انتقل إلى اليمن حيث قتلته طائرة استخبارات أميركية قبل مقتل ابنه بأسبوع.
اعربت عائلة الامام الامريكي اليمني أنور العولقي الذي قتل في اليمن في 30 ايلول/ سبتمبر في غارة امريكية، عن سخطها الثلاثاء في صحيفة واشنطن بوست لمقتل احد ابنائها "في شكل لا يتصوره عقل" في غارة اخرى مؤكدة انه لم يكن يتجاوز السادسة عشرة
قال مسؤولون أمريكيون إن متشددين أمريكيين مثل أنور العولقي موضوعون على قائمة اغتيالات تعدها لجنة سرية من كبار المسؤولين في الادارة ثم تبلغ الرئيس بقراراتها
Andy Worthington reports on a US judge's distressing failure to challenge the Obama administration's "targeted killing" programme for US citizens.
The current US administration should reflect on the opportunity that it missed in Anwar al-Awlaki to understand the needs of the Muslim community and engage with it in order to reach a wider audience.
Anwar al-Awlaki was an Imam in the US and had a large following in the English speaking Muslim world. His status as someone well respected within the community was evidenced by his invitation to lunch at the Pentagon and the further invitation for him to preach the Friday sermon at the mosque on Capitol Hill.
Despite US officials repeating the allegations that New Mexico-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki is a known leader of al-Qaeda, Ali Hassan al-Ahmadi, the governor of Yemen’s Shabwa Province, the region in which the cleric is believed to be hiding from US assassins, has never been given evidence against him.
More than a decade has passed since Anwar al-Awlaki left Colorado, but the American-born imam's legacy still resonates in the place where he recorded innocuous sermons long before he began posting Internet rants promoting terrorism.
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