The United States just conducted numerous drone attacks, all in one day, in both Yemen and Pakistan, killing scores of human beings. I will focus on the massacre in Yemen for now. We will not know most of their names, nor the reasons for which they were executed. One name we do know, however, is that of Abdel al Awlaki, the son of Anwar al Awlaki, who was murdered two weeks ago. Anwar was an American citizen living in Yemen and one of several Americans on Obama’s hit list. Another American, Samir Khan, was killed at the same time Anwar was. The US had brought no charges against Anwar, because there was no proof of anything he had done that was actually illegal. He apparently wrote a lot of screeds against the US on the internet, but that is free speech protected by the first amendment, and therefore not a crime. He was suspected of encouraging terrorists to act out, but there was such scant evidence of this that the US was incapable of bringing formal charges. It doesn’t matter, in any case, since it is against the law to execute someone without a trial conducted openly after charges are brought and an arrest made. That is the legal order in which things are done. In the case of Anwar, an American citizen, we suspected he was a “bad dude” and simply assassinated him.
We have now killed his son, Abdel, in Yemen. Abdel was an American by birth-right citizenship. According to Reuters news, Abdel was 16 years old. There were a total of five separate drone attacks in Yemen Friday night, killing a total of 24 people. You will note a few discrepancies in the article cited below, particularly with regards to the spelling of Abdel’s name, his age, and the number killed; this was the first of the news stories available about these murders and new information is now coming out. I have made a few notes of my own about this article, which are contained within brackets.
SANAA, Yemen (AP) – American drone strikes in southern Yemen have killed nine al-Qaeda-linked militants, including the media chief for the group’s Yemeni branch and the son of a prominent U.S.-born cleric slain in a similar attack last month, government officials and tribal elders said Saturday….
The airstrikes late Friday in the southeastern province of Shabwa pointed to Washington’s growing use of drones to target al-Qaeda militants in Yemen. The missile attacks appear to be part of a determined effort to stamp out the threat from the group, known as al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, which U.S. officials have said is the terror network’s most active and most dangerous branch.
The Yemeni Defense Ministry identified the slain media chief as Egyptian-born Ibrahim al-Bana. Tribal elders in the area also said the dead included Abdul-Rahman al-Awlaki, the 21-year-old son of Anwar al-Awlaki, a Muslim preacher and savvy Internet operator who became a powerful al-Qaeda recruiting tool in the West. He, along with another propagandist, Pakistani-American Samir Khan, were killed in a Sept. 30 U.S. drone attack….
[Note how al Awlaki is a “savvy recruiting tool and propagandist”, but no mention is made of any actual and chargeable crimes. That is because there weren’t any. Both al Awlaki’s and Khan’s citizenship are blurred by referring to “American-born” and “Pakistani-American” – both were American citizens.]
The tribal elders, who spoke Saturday on condition of anonymity because they feared reprisals, said four other members of the al-Awlaki clan and another local militant were also killed in the same drone attack. There was no immediate confirmation of the younger al-Awlaki’s death from Yemeni authorities.
[The word “clan” is a bit foreign to American ears. It means Awlaki’s extended family. We targeted his family, presumably for simply being related to the man. We illegally and wantonly assassinated this man and now seek to rub out his family with the flimsiest of excuses – some of them might be “militants” or “suspected” al Qaeda. In the particular case of Abdel, his child, there are absolutely no excuses even offered. You will note there is no mention of his “suspected” activities, nor one word about his possible affiliation with any terrorist group. Go back and re-read the third paragraph of the article: the words “Muslim preacher”, “recruiting tool”, “propagandist” all refer to the boy’s father, Anwar al Awlaki. I assume they are used in this particular way in an attempt to obfuscate the fact that there was nothing to say about Abdel, aside from his relationship to his father. These words are also obviously used to imply something sinister or criminal about Awlaki, but none of these colorful descriptors is in any way indicative of an actual crime.]
Security officials said the drone strike was one of five [ONE of FIVE! We are bombing the crap out of these people.] carried out overnight by American drones on suspected al-Qaeda positions in Shabwa and the neighboring province of Abyan in Yemen’s largely lawless south. They said two more militants were killed and 12 wounded in other strikes in the two provinces.
The first strike late Friday targeted a house in the Azan district of Shabwa, but hit just after al-Qaeda militants had a meeting in the building, security officials and tribal elders said.
[I guess it was okay to hit a residence – someone’s home – because at some point earlier in the day, some al Qaeda “suspects” had been in it. Or near it. Or in the same country as it. Or something.]
They said a second strike then targeted two sport utility vehicles in which al-Bana and the six others were traveling, destroying the vehicles and leaving the men’s bodies charred. It was not clear whether other participants in the meeting were targeted in separate strikes…
[And trust me, nobody in the media will care enough to ask.]
Abdel was an American by birth-right. He was a 16-year-old boy. He was the third American abroad assassinated by the Obama administration in less than a month. None of the three had any charges brought against them, none of the three had committed any indictable crimes. Supposedly, you cannot be killed based on “Suspicion of Unsavory Activity”. Maybe you do not care about the fact that all the humans we are drone-bombing are only suspected of some activity or another; that most reside in countries we are not technically at war with, meaning they are not enemy combatants; that none are wearing the uniform of an enemy army; that many of them are not even suspected of one damn thing – they are civilians caught in the bombing by mistake. Collateral damage, as it were, and completely innocent of even the now-executable crime of being a “suspect”. Maybe you don’t care because their names are foreign, sound Muslim, or because they are nameless altogether – humans not worth giving a name to by the disinterested media who only report the numbers of “suspected militants” or “civilian bystanders” without bothering to find out or report their names. If you do not care who they are, I am not talking to you. You are not a fellow human.
You should at least be concerned, however, that our government is now murdering American citizens based entirely on speculation about their activities. If that doesn’t bother you, I am not talking to you. You are not only not a fellow human, you are not a fellow American.
Abdel-Rahman al-Awlaki. Say his name. 16 years old. An American boy. Had he lived here in the US, he would not have been old enough to vote or to drink. Say his name and think of your child and allow yourself to wonder if your American child will one day soon be blown to pieces by a drone buzzing overhead with its deadly ammunition – simply because someone (your President? Some CIA official?) suspects your child of … something. No charges brought, no trial, no sentencing. Just an execution and a phone call telling you to come pick up your child’s charred body parts.
Abdel-Rahman al-Awlaki. Say his name. Bow your head in shame that we have allowed our country to reach such a level of overt criminality and lawlessness. It is unspeakable.