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  • Whatever happened to Anwar al-Awlaki’s human rights?


    by Sunny
    14th April, 2010 at 8:59 am    

    Let me start with some cliches first. Any society should be judged by how it treats its most vulnerable and its most hated. And According to Wikipedia: “Habeas corpus has historically been an important legal instrument safeguarding individual freedom against arbitrary state action.” — in other words we are supposed to value ‘innocent before being proven guilty’. Or at least the right to a trial. Errr, not exactly.

    Last week President Obama authorised the CIA to “kill al-Alwaki no matter where he is found, no matter his distance from a battlefield“. Al-Awlaki is also a US citizen.

    No due process is accorded. No charges or trials are necessary. No evidence is offered, nor any opportunity for him to deny these accusations (which he has done vehemently through his family). None of that.

    Glenn Greenwald further notes that coverage of this has been very little in the US, apart from a brave stand taken by Keith Olbermann.

    Now. I wasn’t going to write about this because, although it disgusted me, I’ll admit that I’m usually unwilling to criticise Obama. But what irks me is that the same people who keep going on about how important human rights for all are, have said nothing about this incident at all over here. In fact, over at Harry’s Place blog they’re crowing about it. Nick Cohen is still pretending he cares about women’s rights while saying nothing about this either.

    You’d think that someone being assassinated by their government without trial would be regarded as a pretty big violation of basic human rights. Apparently it’s just not important enough. Far more important to pimp your book and tell everyone how lefties are in bed with Islamists. Hell, even Amnesty Int have said nothing about this decision. If they did, no doubt people would claim they were being leant on by Moazzam Begg et all. But that’s still pretty shabby.

    Disgusting as his views are, al-Awlaki has basically been stripped off his human rights without due process. Even Bush didn’t go that far; he merely wanted to listen into the conversations of US citizens. The lesson here is simple: if you’re Muslim then the state can take away your rights and self-appointed champions of human rights won’t say anything at all. That’s how committed they are.


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    Filed in: Civil liberties,Islamists,Terrorism






    244 Comments below   |  

    Reactions: Twitter, blogs
    1. pickles

      Blog post:: Whatever happened to Anwar al-Awlaki's human rights? http://bit.ly/ahn4VI


    2. Angoora

      RT @pickledpolitics: Blog post:: Whatever happened to Anwar al-Awlaki's human rights? http://bit.ly/ahn4VI


    3. Debating the legality of the Awlaki kill order at Random Variable

      [...] week, Obama authorised the CIA to kill Anwar Al-Awlaki, though it seemed to have evaded the British blogs until this week. Awlaki is not only an extremist, but has been an active recruiter for Al-Qaeda (AQAP), with [...]


    4. Liberal Conspiracy » Is it legal for Obama to have Awlaki assassinated?

      [...] Last week, Obama authorised the CIA to kill Anwar Al-Awlaki, though it seemed to have evaded the British blogs until this week. [...]


    5. Nicholas Stewart

      #PickledPolitics Whatever happened to Anwar al-Awlaki’s human rights? http://is.gd/byBZU


    6. smitty

      @sunny_hundal I mean, when was this, a million years ago? But you'll happily campaign for this man? http://t.co/n1z60TtM




    1. Salil — on 14th April, 2010 at 9:05 am  

      Isn’t what America wants to do to al-Awlaki the same as defensive jihad?

    2. cjcjc — on 14th April, 2010 at 9:09 am  

      Haha Salil - I was just about to say the same thing.

      “If you’re Muslim….” - bollocks.

      If you’re a terrorist, perhaps.

      I’ll admit that I’m usually unwilling to criticise Obama

      …so I’ll attack the REAL villain in all this.

      Step forward - Nick Cohen!

      Comedy gold.

    3. bananabrain — on 14th April, 2010 at 9:35 am  

      The lesson here is simple: if you’re Muslim then the state can take away your rights and self-appointed champions of human rights won’t say anything at all.

      congratulations, sunny, you’ve finally managed to start sounding like asghar bukhari and those delightful people from tower hamlets.

      b’shalom

      bananabrain (at 9.35am, note time lag due to apparent censorship)

    4. Mark T — on 14th April, 2010 at 9:56 am  

      Nick Cohen is still pretending he cares about women’s rights while saying nothing about this either.

      That’s a bit rich coming from someone who has admitted, in this very piece, that the only reason he is saying anything at all about this is because Nick Cohen has said nothing about it.

      FFS.

    5. Mark T — on 14th April, 2010 at 10:09 am  

      Can’t let this go either.

      In fact, over at Harry’s Place blog they’re crowing about it.

      The piece at HP has no mention whatsoever of Obama’s policy wrt Awlaki. Now obviously that is ‘ignoring’ it - but it’s a little hard to spin it as ‘crowing’.

      In fact I’d go further than that and say you’re talking utter bollocks.

    6. FlyingRodent — on 14th April, 2010 at 10:18 am  

      (Apologies - this comment was two paragraphs long, before I really got going with “edits”).

      You’re confusing the symptom with the disease here, Sunny.

      The problem is that the armed forces of western nations have spent the last decade sending flying killer machines all over Pakistan, Iraq, Somalia, Afghanistan and now probably Yemen, killing fuck out of huge, massive numbers of bad guys and civilians alike. You have to go back to Vietnam for the last time the American pilots flew this many missions or used this amount of high explosive.

      While we get the odd Ooops, our bad show of contrition from our militaries whenever they accidentally* - yet regularly - rub out whole families, wedding parties, buses full of civilians etc, it’s always seen as merely a well-intended balls up in our neverending quest to Get the Bad Guys, who we know are Out There Somewhere.

      So the question isn’t really What about headbanger(x)’s human rights? It’s more like What the fuck are we doing bombing places like Pakistan or Afghanistan in the first place?.

      The horrible answer is that we don’t know, which leads to the unpalatable conclusion that formal declarations of assassination - more Julius Caesar territory than George Washington, history buffs - are just another hyperviolent attempt to bomb and strafe some meaning into fundamentally insane and doomed enterprises.

      Even worse, the longer we keep doing this, the more we invest in “victory” against an enemy that naturally replenishes, thanks in part to our habit of murdering their friends and families in large numbers. Thus, every year pushes us deeper into the sunk costs fallacy that was the Americans’ justification for staying in Vietnam for over a decade.

      All of which reduces our noble wars for democracy to the level of a series of misbegotten and dishonest murder campaigns aimed at… Well, who knows what?

      *Let’s pre-empt the quibbles over the “accidental” nature of our civvy-killing, by the way. If you know before you act that your action has a very high chance of killing many innocent people and you then decide to do it regardless, that’s not an “accident”.

      That’s called “Accepting large numbers of civilian deaths as a regrettable but tolerable casualty of your war aims”. Note at this point - if you want to begin horse-trading on civilians killed vs. hypothetical good results of achieved war aims, it’s not clear at all that we actually have any war aims in any of the countries we’re currently bombing.

    7. MoreMediaNonsense — on 14th April, 2010 at 10:22 am  

      There is an issue here re targetted termination (esp using drones) which Obama has enthusiastically embraced. I too can’t find on a quick google what AI has ever said officially on this.

      Presumably as the US is at war with Al Qaeda the US just says laws of war apply and also any associated civilian deaths are “collateral damage” allowed if the military advantage is judged important enough.

      I imagine that Al-Alwaki is taken as having joined Al-Qaeda and not being in the US is a legitimate military target.

    8. Mark T — on 14th April, 2010 at 10:24 am  

      How many drone missions have the US flown in Somalia, Pakistan and Yemen, Rodent?

    9. MoreMediaNonsense — on 14th April, 2010 at 10:37 am  

      Well indeed Kojak, as far as I can see the US now under Obama could release the Gitmo detainees to some god forsaken part of AfPak and kill them soon after with a drone attack.

      Would anyone care ?

      Now if it had been Bush……..

      Of course this all brings back the real issue with Gitmo which is what to do with terrorist captives who are not covered by the Geneva Conventions (because Al Qaeda are not state actors). Some sort of international agreement is needed on this issue.

    10. FlyingRodent — on 14th April, 2010 at 10:38 am  

      How many drone missions have the US flown in Somalia, Pakistan and Yemen

      The figures are confidential, although AFAIAA Yemen has merely been added to the list of areas that the US regards as within its legitimate field of operations.

      Short answer - Pakistan: Hundreds that have been reported, God knows how many that haven’t; Somalia: Unknown, since they’ve used warplanes in the instances I’m aware of; Yemen: none as yet, but watch this space.

    11. Abu Faris — on 14th April, 2010 at 10:43 am  

      Disgusting as his views are, al-Awlaki has basically been stripped off his human rights without due process… The lesson here is simple: if you’re Muslim then the state can take away your rights and self-appointed champions of human rights won’t say anything at all.

      Actually, what is written after the ellipses, above, does not follow from what was written before.

      It does not follow that because one Muslim has been allegedly stripped of his human rights that all Muslims are in danger of the same treatment.

      In fact, as an argument is is entirely fallacious.

    12. Lucy — on 14th April, 2010 at 10:52 am  

      Sunny:
      ‘You’d think that someone being assassinated by their government without trial would be regarded as a pretty big violation of basic human rights. …Hell, even Amnesty Int have said nothing about this decision. If they did, no doubt people would claim they were being leant on by Moazzam Begg et all. But that’s still pretty shabby.’

      It is shabby.

      Does the new edition to the neocon family have any bearing on this?

      What Gita Sahgal achieved, it appears, is a climate of good versus evil. That old ‘with us or against us’.

      She had the noblest cause, just the right sort of human rights advocacy, so she said, and media headlines crowed along with her. As she battled away with high-minded indignation, questioning her objectives meant having to justify not being dupes or stupid liberals or terrorist lovers [or simply 'everyone' who disagreed with her]. Heck, you couldn’t even be ‘everyone’ without being accused of harbouring jihadis under the bed.

      How vulnerable to that onslaught is Amnesty International, you might ask, if they are keeping stum at this moment.

      Sahgal’s core position on guilt by association/ righteousness by disassociation is exactly what is not needed. A really sad state of affairs considering the obvious and overriding need for uncompromising voices on behalf of human rights in all of this.

    13. Paul Moloney — on 14th April, 2010 at 11:39 am  

      “I’ll admit that I’m usually unwilling to criticise Obama

      …so I’ll attack the REAL villain in all this.

      Step forward – Nick Cohen!”

      Comedy gold.

      Both Gita Sahgal and now Barack Obama have been led astray by Cohen. Is there no limit to his powers?

      P.

    14. Don — on 14th April, 2010 at 11:40 am  

      Does the new edition to the neocon family have any bearing on this?

      What Gita Sahgal achieved,…

      Yes. Gita Sahgal personally persuaded Obama to mount this operation.

      You are unbelievable.

    15. MFD — on 14th April, 2010 at 11:44 am  

      Agreed, good article.

    16. cjcjc — on 14th April, 2010 at 11:47 am  

      So, Gita Sahgal doesn’t much care for Islamists/jihadis.
      (Who does?)
      Therefore she is a “neocon”.

      What was that you said about “that old with us or against us” again?

    17. Paul Moloney — on 14th April, 2010 at 11:53 am  

      “Neo-con” is to the Noughties as “Commie” was to the Fifties.

      P.

    18. Laban — on 14th April, 2010 at 12:08 pm  

      “Any society should be judged by how it treats its most vulnerable and its most hated.”

      I confess that I can’t remember Sunny’s views on whether all BNP members should be sacked from Government jobs or not (famously Billy Bragg called for them to be duffed up in the streets), so I hesitate to accuse him of hypocrisy or inconsistency here.

      There’s a relevant Gladstone quote from 1879:

      “Remember the rights of the savage, as we call him.
      Remember that the sanctity of life in the hill villages of Afghanistan, among the wintry snows, is as inviolable in the eye of Almighty God as can be your own”

    19. Efrafan Days — on 14th April, 2010 at 12:09 pm  

      Glenn Greenwald further notes that coverage of this has been very little in the US, apart from a brave stand taken by Keith Olbermann.

      Is he risking a death warrant as well?

      Lew Wallace, in addition to writing Ben Hur, was involved with issuing Billy the Kid’s death warrant whilst the Governor of the New Mexico Territory. I await the literary output from Obama.

    20. Paul Moloney — on 14th April, 2010 at 12:14 pm  

      That “guilt by association” thing seems to be perfectly fine when Gita is accused of being a neo-con for the crime of allowing herself to be interviewed by the Times.

      P.

    21. Sunny — on 14th April, 2010 at 1:05 pm  

      I like the whataboutery on display here.

      Isn’t what America wants to do to al-Awlaki the same as defensive jihad?

      America is not being occupied. Although I’m intrigued Salil - are you now endorsing ‘defensive jihad’?

      It does not follow that because one Muslim has been allegedly stripped of his human rights that all Muslims are in danger of the same treatment.

      Then where was the outcry?

      The piece at HP has no mention whatsoever of Obama’s policy wrt Awlaki. Now obviously that is ‘ignoring’ it – but it’s a little hard to spin it as ‘crowing’.

      The blog post clearly criticises others for opposing this.

    22. cjcjc — on 14th April, 2010 at 1:20 pm  

      Is Afghanistan being occupied such that “defensive jihad” is OK?
      I thought you supported the Afghan war.

    23. Efrafan Days — on 14th April, 2010 at 1:20 pm  

      America is not being occupied.

      Al Awlaki makes the public case for those who target American civilians. He is American-born, and his family hails from Yemen. The only forces to have occupied Yemen recently have been Nasser’s Egypt.

      The Taliban was funded by the Pakistani and Saudi intelligence services, and staffed by Uzbeks and Chechens and Arabs and Pashtuns seeking to repress the Pashtun and non-Pashtun Afghanis alike.

      They were/are an occupation force.

      Although I’m intrigued Salil – are you now endorsing ‘defensive jihad’?

      You are being willfully obtuse if you’re suggesting that Salil was referring to anything other than Cordone’s invoking the Martial Races concept.

      Or, are you now suggesting “defensive jihad” is antithetical to human rights? Such as the human rights of Xmas travelers not to be blown out of the sky.

    24. Abu Faris — on 14th April, 2010 at 1:48 pm  
      Isn’t what America wants to do to al-Awlaki the same as defensive jihad?

      America is not being occupied. Although I’m intrigued Salil – are you now endorsing ‘defensive jihad’?

      And Yemen is being occupied by precisely who, for example?

      Al-Alwaki’s futuwa on such matters have a designed universal remit - they are not restricted to war against occupation. Indeed, they praise and encourage offensive war.

      It does not follow that because one Muslim has been allegedly stripped of his human rights that all Muslims are in danger of the same treatment.

      Then where was the outcry?

      There was no outcry precisely because your argument neither follows reasonably or rationally from your premise to your conclusion - and precisely because, in fact and reality, not all Muslims are or were endangered by state action against one (al-Awlaki). If there was any “outrage”, it was precisely and conveniently on the part of al-Awlaki’s Islamist fellow-travellers.

      The piece at HP has no mention whatsoever of Obama’s policy wrt Awlaki. Now obviously that is ‘ignoring’ it – but it’s a little hard to spin it as ‘crowing’.

      The blog post clearly criticises others for opposing this.

      No it does not. Read it again.

    25. Sunny — on 14th April, 2010 at 1:51 pm  

      And Yemen is being occupied by precisely who, for example?

      Sorry, did I say I was defending what Awalaki did, or is raising strawmen a good way to avoid the point?

      Do you believe Awalaki deserves a trial or not?

      No it does not. Read it again.

      Thanks, but I’m not concerned about my comprehension skills.

    26. Sunny — on 14th April, 2010 at 1:52 pm  

      Is Afghanistan being occupied such that “defensive jihad” is OK?
      I thought you supported the Afghan war.

      What does that have to do with Awalaki’s right to a fair trial?

    27. Efrafan Days — on 14th April, 2010 at 1:56 pm  

      Sorry, did I say I was defending what Awalaki did,

      To be honest, I’m not entirely sure what you’re saying. And nor, do I think, are you.

      or is raising strawmen a good way to avoid the point?

      What, like saying that America is not being occupied? Raising this, in a discussion about targeted assassinations, can only be assumed to mean that they are less justified because the executors of that order are not “under occupation”.

      I support Afghans in their resistance to foreign occupation. And, at the moment, they and their elected representatives consider ISAF to be assisting them in resisting the foreign-raised Taleban.

    28. Efrafan Days — on 14th April, 2010 at 1:59 pm  

      Sunny:

      What does that have to do with Awalaki’s right to a fair trial?

      Once again, Al Awlaki could be said to be engaged in a war with the American state. At this point, civilian law becomes less relevant.

      I’m not saying it’s right or wrong. Just that, you may well find, it’s 100% legal.

      Abu Faris:

      No it does not. Read it again.

      But he wrote it!

    29. Abu Faris — on 14th April, 2010 at 2:05 pm  

      Sorry, did I say I was defending what Awalaki did, or is raising strawmen a good way to avoid the point?

      Do you believe Awalaki deserves a trial or not?

      Defensive jihad is not what al-Awlaki is about. Yemen is not occupied by anyone (other than by Yemeni), yet Al-Awlaki raises the banner of jihad there too.

      Hardly a straw-man argument. Are you sure you want that expression here?

      On your point about fair-trial - is your concern al-Awlaki’s rights or America’s pursuit of a wanted fugitive?

      Thanks, but I’m not concerned about my comprehension skills.

      I am.

    30. Sunny — on 14th April, 2010 at 2:08 pm  

      Defensive jihad is not what al-Awlaki is about. Yemen is not occupied by anyone (other than by Yemeni), yet Al-Awlaki raises the banner of jihad there too.

      so you believe in ‘defensive jihad’ then? thanks for clearing that up

      Once again, Al Awlaki could be said to be engaged in a war with the American state. At this point, civilian law becomes less relevant.

      No it doesn’t. The Christian terrorists who were trying to kill policemen recently were also ‘in a war against the American state’. They weren’t executed on sight - they’ll get a trial.

      What, like saying that America is not being occupied?

      There’s no point debating this further with you or ‘Abu Faris’

    31. Abu Faris — on 14th April, 2010 at 2:13 pm  

      No, I do not believe in defensive jihad, Sunny. You are being ridiculous. My claim is that al-Awlaki does not believe in it - he believes in all out war against all who oppose his religious-political position. Exactly how does raising this point mean that I agree with a position of “defensive jihad”?

      It seems to me, Sunny, that your comprehension skills - along with your ability to form a reasonable argument are fatally flawed by your political agenda.

    32. Abu Faris — on 14th April, 2010 at 2:16 pm  

      Let me try to explain v.e.r.y s.l.o.w.l.y, Sunny.

      If I point oout that person X does not believe in some item (for example “defensive jihad”), or person Y does believe in that same proposition, how - in the name of common sense and reason, does it follow that this means that I believe in the same proposition?

      You are either being deliberately obtuse and disingenuous because you think that is clever, or you genuinely are a complete idiot. Which is it?

    33. FlyingRodent — on 14th April, 2010 at 2:17 pm  

      So, to recap this thread -

      Those with an interest in maintaining international human rights standards should look beyond petty distractions such as worldwide state-sponsored murder, extrajudicial detention and torture and focus on the real villains here - Amnesty International.

    34. MoreMediaNonsense — on 14th April, 2010 at 2:17 pm  

      “The Christian terrorists who were trying to kill policemen recently were also ‘in a war against the American state’. They weren’t executed on sight – they’ll get a trial.”

      But Awlaki isn’t in the US and has been deemed by the US to have joined Al-Qaeda in a war against the US therefore laws of war apply.

      If you don’t like that legal decision I suggest you take it up with Obama and his lawyers.

    35. Ravi Naik — on 14th April, 2010 at 2:19 pm  

      Once again, Al Awlaki could be said to be engaged in a war with the American state. At this point, civilian law becomes less relevant.

      I’m not saying it’s right or wrong. Just that, you may well find, it’s 100% legal.

      Except that the CIA is not part of the military, it’s a civilian organization. So the war argument is invalid.

    36. Sunny — on 14th April, 2010 at 2:21 pm  

      Awalaki is a fucking US citizen, and his assassination order applies wherever the fuck he is - including in a macdonalds toilet in Utah!

      he believes in all out war against all who oppose his religious-political position. Exactly how does raising this point mean that I agree with a position of “defensive jihad”?

      So basically, you’re now saying the US should behave like Awlaki does. If he declares war on them - they should declare war back. Who cares about silly things like the rule of law?

      Please do carry this conversation on because it only confirms my view of people who were only criticising Amnesty here recently for not upholding human rights.

    37. Efrafan Days — on 14th April, 2010 at 2:22 pm  

      I see FR’s desperately trying to make himself heard. It’s quite sweet.

      When ATF agents are dispatched to apprehend militia-men, they do so with firearms and, presumably, a remit which involves using lethal force if necessary. A hostage-taker with a gun to someone’s head could expect to be shot by a Police sniper.

      Of course, it’s much easier to do this when the individual’s on American soil.

      Awalaki is a fucking US citizen, and his assassination order applies wherever the fuck he is – including in a macdonalds toilet in Utah!

      Do you have evidence for that? If al Awlaki handed himself into an American Embassy, I’d hope he wouldn’t be shot there and then, just like the SAS tried to do with the surviving hijacker at the Iranian Embassy.

    38. cjcjc — on 14th April, 2010 at 2:22 pm  

      Sunny is taking it up with the power behind the throne - Mr Cohen.

    39. Mark T — on 14th April, 2010 at 2:28 pm  

      So, to recap this thread –

      Those with an interest in maintaining international human rights standards should look beyond petty distractions such as worldwide state-sponsored murder, extrajudicial detention and torture and focus on the real villains here – Amnesty International.

      Err… what thread is that?

      I can’t see anyone arguing that here.

      What are you on about?

    40. Efrafan Days — on 14th April, 2010 at 2:32 pm  

      Please do carry this conversation on because it only confirms my view of people who were only criticising Amnesty here recently for not upholding human rights.

      As I understand, AI brought opposition to the death penalty onto its books in the 1970s with stiff opposition from purists.

      But, of course I expect them to oppose judicial executions (which I suspect this is): a position which would be easier if their Director of Research hadn’t equivocated about “defensive jihad” when conducted by members of designated Martial Races.

      Except that the CIA is not part of the military, it’s a civilian organization. So the war argument is invalid.

      Militaries in democracies are controlled by non-military officials. I am a civilian, but I don’t get to plant bugs and spy on foreign governments.

    41. MoreMediaNonsense — on 14th April, 2010 at 2:37 pm  

      “Awalaki is a fucking US citizen, and his assassination order applies wherever the fuck he is – including in a macdonalds toilet in Utah!”

      Greenwald appears to be suggesting that in the article but I don’t see it clearly stated in any of the articles sited and anyway its the CIA that has been given the mandate.

      I find it highly unlikely that if Awlaki handed himself in at a US embassy he would be shot on sight. Mind you who knows, Obama seems to be getting a pass on everything to do with the “War on Terror” these days.

    42. Effendi — on 14th April, 2010 at 2:41 pm  

      I see Sunny is trying his best to move the rights of “defensive jihadists” such as Anwar al-Awlaki up the human rights totem pole. Bless.

      Reply to Sunny Hundal: Tell us the difference between Al-Awlaki and Baitullah Mehsud

    43. Efrafan Days — on 14th April, 2010 at 2:58 pm  

      As a “fucking US citizen” does al Awlaki have more rights than your average Pakistani or Saudi jihadist?

    44. cjcjc — on 14th April, 2010 at 3:00 pm  

      He is a US citizen?
      I had forgotten that.

      Well I think Obama should be as loyal to him as he has been to his country.

    45. Sunny — on 14th April, 2010 at 3:35 pm  

      As a “fucking US citizen” does al Awlaki have more rights than your average Pakistani or Saudi jihadist?

      constitutionally, if you care for those things, yes.

      anyway, good to see you guys are defending civil liberties and human rights to the hilt.

    46. Kojak — on 14th April, 2010 at 3:49 pm  

      Sunny,

      By deleting my earlier post in which I suggested that since your holiday you have made yourself look silly by writing articles based on your personal dislikes (in this instance Nick Cohen) you have only made yourself even sillier.

      A raw nerve, perhaps? Orr was it something you learnt from the junta in Burma - even they tell their people that they are the liberal ones.

    47. Abu Faris — on 14th April, 2010 at 4:12 pm  

      Actually, he has no more or less rights, constitutionally.

      Glad to see you using any opportunity and any tactic to lend credence to a ludicrous argument, Sunny. What next - shut the thread, as you recently did on another thread not going your way, because those who oppose your nonsense are allegedly not real bloggers or are regulars on HP?

    48. Efrafan Days — on 14th April, 2010 at 4:16 pm  

      From:

      constitutionally, if you care for those things, yes.

      To:

      anyway, good to see you guys are defending civil liberties and human rights to the hilt.

      Anyone would think we were admitting to being less horrified by state-sanctioned murder of citizens of one country than another.

    49. Naadir Jeewa — on 14th April, 2010 at 4:31 pm  

      “But Awlaki isn’t in the US and has been deemed by the US to have joined Al-Qaeda in a war against the US therefore laws of war apply.

      If you don’t like that legal decision I suggest you take it up with Obama and his lawyers.”

      Not quite. Last I checked, Spencer Ackerman was filing the FOIA requests to see the legal justification. NYU Security and Law Center have already said it violates the Fifth Amendment.

      I’ve been looking into executive war powers for some time, so I’ll try and dig around for any other examples.

    50. David Parker — on 14th April, 2010 at 4:35 pm  

      “What next – shut the thread, as you recently did on another thread not going your way, because those who oppose your nonsense are allegedly not real bloggers or are regulars on HP?”

      He seems to following Socialist Unity’s MO in simply deleting posts which he doesn’t like (not using insulting language, simply disagreeing with him and pointing out the flaws in his arguments). Not my idea of progressive.

    51. Abu Faris — on 14th April, 2010 at 5:04 pm  

      Whatever happened to al-Awlaki’s human rights?

      Well, in point of fact, nothing whatsoever.

      The real issue is not al-Awlaki’s human rights (which, presumably are inalienable), but rather Sunny’s issues with the US government’s active pursuit of this individual and its recourse to methods that are in dispute as to their legality. This actually is a rather distinct issue.

      However, what is not in doubt is the illegitimacy of moving from a particular to a general in the argument raised by Sunny (but not pursued) that American policy towards a particular individual who happens to belong to a particular faith community (Islam) means that every Muslim is under immediate threat of lethal assault by attack drone, CIA assassination - or, at the very least, the deprivation of their civil liberties (as it is Sunny confuses these liberties with human rights).

    52. Martin Bright — on 14th April, 2010 at 5:09 pm  

      Jeeez Sunny, you’ve really got to clear this place out, it fucking stinks of HP. You’ve got nearly the whole set; the laughably pompous Mark T, MMN, Moloney and the worst of the lot; that cunt Macpherson /Efrafan Days.

      Since nobody with even half a brain reads HP they’ve obviously decided to to make sure nobody will want to read yours either.

      Get rid; they’re fucking poison. No doubt the head twat Brownie will shuffle in soon.

    53. Abu Faris — on 14th April, 2010 at 5:16 pm  

      Martin

      As your mother should have told you, there is no such word as “Can’t”.

      Oh, wait…

    54. cjcjc — on 14th April, 2010 at 5:37 pm  

      Well as Sunny is a little obsessed with HP, attacking it on a regular basis, you only have him to blame for the “stink” - whoever you are.

      (Not the nice Martin Bright wot wrote for the NS before it went mad I assume!)

    55. The Queen of Fiddlesticks — on 14th April, 2010 at 5:43 pm  

      If the point of this post is to question human rights to a fair trail. I would say Awlaki has pretty much made his case public, and there is enough evidence to prove him guilty of inticement to violence.

      http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1277529

      I don’t have time to dig through all the ever changing actual laws around this, but does it matter if the person in question commits the acts personally or just sits back convincing others to participate in violence?

      Really, what good would it do to capture him go through the process of trial? Is he innocent? So he is brought back to the states and convicted - then what?
      I think he stirs up trouble everywhere -
      If I had one wish, it would be for people to start taking a wide angle view of the word… why is everything always “US” centric? Google “saudi arabia and yemen” tribal issues, mistrust of government, political divisions within Islam - from there you see other names come up often - like Iran….

      I am gonna question the opening cliches - if my most hated, is hated for the spreading of hatered/violence- and I believe society will ultimity be judged by the future it leaves its children.
      Am I the bad guy for not caring too much about the human rights of someone so filled with hate?

    56. Abu Faris — on 14th April, 2010 at 5:58 pm  

      Sunny now appears to be channelling Yvonne “Zionist tentacles” Ridley (*shudder*). Ridley’s take is remarkably similar:

      Surely the correct and honourable way of dealing with Imam Anwar al Awlaki would be to charge him in his absence and then ask the Yemeni government to arrest him and extradite him. This is the legal thing to do, this is the right thing to do and it is the civilized thing to do.

      As Habibi on HP points out, the Yemeni government have absolutely no intention of so arresting al-Awlaki. The Yemeni foreign minister is reported as follows:

      “Anwar al-Awlaqi is required to surrender to the Yemeni authorities because this is the way to defend himself during investigation and court if needed“, Yemeni Foreign Minister Abu-Bakr al-Qirbi said in an interview with the Doha-based Al-Jazeera Satellite Channel Television.

      The US administration has authorized the arrest or killing of al-Awlaqi after US intelligence agencies concluded he was now directly involved in plots against the US.

      The US authorities have claimed that al-Awlaqi had contacts with Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who was accused of attempting to blow up a US plane last year, and U.S. Army major Nidal Malik Hasan, who killed 13 Americans in a US military base in Texas.

      The Yemeni Minister said that al-Awlaqi will not be extradited to the US if he surrenders to the Yemeni authorities.

      http://www.sabanews.net/en/news211365.htm

      H/T Habibi on HP.

    57. soru — on 14th April, 2010 at 6:12 pm  

      If the point of this post is to question human rights to a fair trail. I would say Awlaki has pretty much made his case public, and there is enough evidence to prove him guilty of inticement to violence.

      In which case, I don’t see what is wrong with trying him in absentia, posting a global arrest warrant, and making appropriate noises to any country that didn’t cooperate on extradition.

      Personally, I don’t have a lot of respect for the letter of the law, especially international law. But simply claiming the unilateral right to legally murder is not a arguable violation of one interpretation of a un-prosecutable statute. It’s launching an airstrike on a courthouse and selling the gun camera footage on pay-per-view.

      If it’s really true that Amnesty are not objecting to this, than that’s a sign of the deep intellectual and moral difficulties they (or at least the US branch) seem to have got themselves into right now. Noone needs to be a nice person, a suitable campaign partner, in order to have the right to a fair trial (or declaration of war) before being murdered.

    58. The Queen of Fiddlesticks — on 14th April, 2010 at 6:20 pm  

      Though that sounds like a right and moral solution, what would be it’s actual long term political effect?
      If you do as I suggested and google -

      http://tinyurl.com/y4uuuzu

      These countries like Yemen are unstable, and for them to take part, may be the begining of increased political activism and very counter produtive.

    59. soru — on 14th April, 2010 at 6:39 pm  

      Which would seem to be a pretty strong pragmatic argument against sending in the death squads, to go with the legal ones.

    60. Refresh — on 14th April, 2010 at 6:42 pm  

      Fascinating how things turn out. I recall Yemen’s economy paid a heavy price as a result of not supporting the US in Gulf War 1. Saudi Arabia previously had use for migrant workers from Yemen, but were turned away as a consequence of Yemeni government’s decision. Thus impoverishing and destabilising it further.

      Obama is ridiculously short-sighted with this latest executive decision - its wrong on so many fronts that the life of this one man will have repercussions for decades to come.

      Awlaki would be safer if he invited in CNN cameras to his home or even had a glass house built in the style of Big Brother so his murder can be televised live.

      I ruled out AlJazeera, as Bush and Cheney had already set the precedence of bombing them and even sending their reporters to AlGuantanamo.

    61. Don — on 14th April, 2010 at 6:42 pm  

      I can only assume that Obama has taken advice and legally and constitutionally has this power, and I can only hope that a serious challenge is mounted. Passing a death sentence on someone with no legal recourse, no chance to offer a defence, not even a specific charge to answer is crossing a line and it won’t end there.

      Queen,

      If there is enough evidence to find him guilty of incitement to violence then let him be charged (in absentia if need be) and, after due process, found guilty. Is incitement to violence a capital offence?

      Of course, governments have long arranged for opponents to be assassinated in other people’s countries but at least it was seen as a crime and done clandestinely. Once the power to openly declare a person marked for death has been established it will be used again. And again. And finally routinely.

      You know what they say, the first time is the hardest then it keeps getting easier.

    62. The Queen of Fiddlesticks — on 14th April, 2010 at 6:58 pm  

      is there a chance we are all reading into this wrong?

      look at these -

      http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-
      dyn/content/article/2010/04/06/AR2010040604121.html

      http://www.cjr.org/campaign_desk/license_to_kill.php

      Does it really mean like his rights as an american citizen have been revoked in some way? like he is simply not protected and now seen as part of terrorist operations.

      Not “there is a hit out on him”

    63. Efrafan Days — on 14th April, 2010 at 7:14 pm  

      I ruled out AlJazeera, as Bush and Cheney had already set the precedence of bombing them and even sending their reporters to AlGuantanamo.

      Prefixing a hated organization/location with Al generally is to suggest it’s in hock with the ‘sinister Asiatic hordes’ (cf. al-Beeb, al-Graun, al-f’garnett).

      I don’t think this is Refresh’s intention.

    64. Salil — on 14th April, 2010 at 7:25 pm  

      Hi Sunny, you asked if I’m now supporting defensive jihad. No, as the old 7 Up ad said, never had, never will. But then I don’t like targeted assassinations either. And without trying to sound self-righteous about it, I think with all his flaws, that old man Gandhi had got the basics right. Non-violence. And on that count, plague on all those houses - the US Govt and Mr Al-Avlaki.

    65. Sunny — on 14th April, 2010 at 7:26 pm  

      Sunny now appears to be channelling Yvonne “Zionist tentacles” Ridley (*shudder*). Ridley’s take is remarkably similar:

      Why, you’re right Abu Faris. Your powers of deduction are simply amazing given that I linked to the piece already. Yvonne Ridley, myself, Glenn Greenwald, the ACLU and other dhimmis from across the world - with Awlaki on video-link, decided to blog at the same time about this. Damn! someone caught us out.

      but rather Sunny’s issues with the US government’s active pursuit of this individual

      Thats right. I’m sure I advocate above that its terrible the US are even bothering with this.

      Let’s sum up the thread with respect to the positions of cjcjc and Abu Faris:
      So far they are ok with a govt abandoning trial by jury, suspend constitutional rights unilaterally, deny anyone a trial, disregard even a military court etc.

      Anyone who does so is either defending Awlaki or Ridley or both - and ergo buys into their racism. Maybe they’re even in league with Al Qaeda. Why else would they be trying to defend Awlaki?

      I think I’ve got that right.

      Anyone else want to sign up to the list? MMN?

      I recall your mate Faisal smearing me and getting all het up over the idea of spying on Muslims. I’m really interested in what he has to say about just straight assassinating them without trial.

      this thread gets more comical by the minute.

    66. Efrafan Days — on 14th April, 2010 at 7:29 pm  

      this thread gets more comical by the minute.

      Yeah, that one about death warrants on American citizens being worse than non-Americans was hilarious.

    67. Abu Faris — on 14th April, 2010 at 7:29 pm  

      Let’s sum up the thread with respect to the positions of cjcjc and Abu Faris:

      So far they are ok with a govt abandoning trial by jury, suspend constitutional rights unilaterally, deny anyone a trial, disregard even a military court etc.

      Perhaps you would like to show us all where I actually argue any such thing?

      No, you cannot.

    68. Don — on 14th April, 2010 at 7:38 pm  

      I’m really interested in what he has to say about just straight assassinating them without trial.

      You could always ask him. Or are you guys just not talking?

    69. Abu Faris — on 14th April, 2010 at 7:42 pm  

      I’ll try again posting this:

      I recall your mate Faisal smearing me and getting all het up over the idea of spying on Muslims.

      I have no idea what you are writing about.

      I’m really interested in what he has to say about just straight assassinating them without trial.

      Let me assist you then, as you are clearly so interested that you appear to have missed this by Faisal:

      Reply to Sunny Hundal: Tell us the difference between Al-Awlaki and Mehsud

      http://www.spittoon.org/archives/6005

      this thread gets more comical by the minute.

      I’ve got to agree with you there. You have a gift for comedy of that rare, inadvertent kind only found amongst the self-righteous.

    70. Sunny — on 14th April, 2010 at 8:08 pm  

      Yeah, that one about death warrants on American citizens being worse than non-Americans was hilarious.

      Really? I see people are writing stuff for me. I said constitutionally it was different, that is all.

    71. Sunny — on 14th April, 2010 at 8:12 pm  

      I like how you call others self-righteous for daring to ask what happened to arguing for civil rights of citizens… and doing so by trying to question their motives or comparing them to racists. Well done. So far all you’ve done is offer lots of hot air. Rather like your mate Faisal, who claims:
      He does not appear to have too many problems with Pakistani warlords being killed by US military forces.

      See - you and Faisal are basically the same - unable to deal with nuance or any intelligent debate. Your sole purpose is to be a troll to smear people, as is Faisal’s.

      Apparently saying the Taliban should not be allowed to take power in Afghanistan is akin to agreeing to all drone attacks that kill innocent kids. In fact I’m surprised that idiot just didn’t title the blog-post: ‘Sunny Hundal advocates killing little Afghani children’.

    72. Abu Faris — on 14th April, 2010 at 8:13 pm  

      A posse ad esse non valet consequentia.

      A tag worth recalling when making odd accusations against those that disagree.

    73. Abu Faris — on 14th April, 2010 at 8:17 pm  

      Well done. So far all you’ve done is offer lots of hot air.

      Well, I am glad to see that all I offer is now “hot air”. After all, t’was but a little while back that you directly argued that I supported everything from CIA drone attacks on al-Q assets to the drowning of fluffy kittens in buckets.

      Not that you had a shred of evidence for the same.

      So, if you do not mind, I will take your accusations of my “smearing” or “trolling” rather lightly.

    74. Efrafan Days — on 14th April, 2010 at 8:19 pm  

      Really? I see people are writing stuff for me. I said constitutionally it was different, that is all.

      In a thread about the wrongs of issuing death warrants against US citizens, which appeared to animate you more than the rest, you were asked if he had more rights than non-Americans.

      You concurred. As this is not a thread about one’s right to run for political office, it is reasonably to conclude you were referring to his right to life.

      So, do you believe it’s more serious to preform targeted assassinations of American citizens, or was there no point to what you said?

    75. Refresh — on 14th April, 2010 at 8:30 pm  

      There is a strong reason for US constitutional right to be brought up. This directive potentially places all Americans under threat from their own government.

    76. Refresh — on 14th April, 2010 at 8:32 pm  

      ‘I’ve kept this thread going only to record how little regard for civil liberties and rights many of you critics of Amnesty actually have. confirms what I’ve been saying all along.’

      It does.

      I do not even believe they have any interest in non-Americans being terminated. I do not recall expression of indignation when the Dubai murder took place. He was non-American.

    77. Sunny — on 14th April, 2010 at 8:34 pm  

      Alec/Efrafan - you were asked if he had more rights than non-Americans.

      The constitution affords more rights to American citizens than non-American citizens. That is a fact. You can insinuate from that what you like but I simply pointed out that as an American citizen, his rights were guaranteed by the constitution in a way that could not be thrown away so easily by Obama.
      I’m sure you wish that weren’t true but it’s a fact.

      Now that I’ve clarified that - I’m not surprised Conor wanted you banned from Libcon given all you do is also try and smear people.

    78. chairwoman — on 14th April, 2010 at 8:53 pm  

      “Last week President Obama authorised the CIA to “kill al-Alwaki no matter where he is found, no matter his distance from a battlefield“. Al-Awlaki is also a US citizen.”

      Isn’t that the equivalent of telling the CIA to cover their eyes and count to 1000 while he runs and hides?

    79. Efrafan Days — on 14th April, 2010 at 9:15 pm  

      Well, it was fun while it lasted, and you took to add two and two, Sunny.

      Conor wanted me banned because of under half a dozen critical remarks. Hardly a hill of beans in Internet debate.

      The constitution affords more rights to American citizens than non-American citizens.

      Not with regards to right to life.

    80. Naadir Jeewa — on 14th April, 2010 at 9:23 pm  

      I’ve got a wonkish response on the constitutional legality of the kill order up here:

      http://www.randomvariable.co.uk/blog/2010/04/14/debating-the-legality-of-the-awlaki-kill-order/

      I welcome reasonable and reality-based responses as an aid to exam revision on the subject of constitutional war powers.

    81. Naadir Jeewa — on 14th April, 2010 at 9:34 pm  

      @81

      “[The US Constitution does] Not with regards to right to life [afford more rights to American citizens than non-American citizens”

      That’s demonstrably false. See Justice Kennedy’s for the opinion in Boumediene v. Bush regarding the suspension of Habeaus Corpus of Guantanamo Bay detainees:

      ..the Court’s reasoning in its other extraterritoriality opinions, at least three factors are relevant in determining the Suspension Clause’s reach: (1) the detainees’ citizenship and status and the adequacy of the process through which that status was determined;

    82. Mam Tor — on 14th April, 2010 at 9:59 pm  

      Sunny

      What is your point here?

      You seem to be saying that any form of extra-judicial killing by the state is wrong, no matter when, where or whom it concerns- is that correct?

    83. Martin Bright — on 14th April, 2010 at 11:14 pm  

      I would have thought Sunny’s point was blindingly obvious - Is it right that a politician can suspend a citizen’s rights without due process and declare a sentence of execution upon him?

      The fact is that the trolls who think it’s ok are all in favour of extra-judicial killing anyway. The Israelis do it all the time.

    84. Khosroe — on 14th April, 2010 at 11:24 pm  

      I am astounded as to why we have had so many comments attcking Sunny’s position on this. You make a choice you either support the adherence to the rule of law or you don’t, this is not ‘pick and mix morality’ here.

    85. tc — on 14th April, 2010 at 11:33 pm  

      How often does extra-judicial killing achieve any desired long term results? Does Obama get more votes for tough talking (like Bush) regardless if they get their man?

    86. Martin Bright — on 14th April, 2010 at 11:36 pm  

      Khosroe - we’ve had so may comments attacking Sunny because the filth that usually infest the HP sewer have decided to have a day out at Sunny’s expense.

      And theirs is VERY DEFINITELY a pick’n'mix morality - note their utter indifference to the actual existence of the US black prison torture network and the crimes of the IDF against the Palestinians. Then note how their knickers are all up in a bunch because Ridley mentions tentacles.

    87. Refresh — on 14th April, 2010 at 11:36 pm  

      ‘this is not ‘pick and mix morality’ here.’

      Agreed. Sunny’s detractors are moral relativists, and hypocrites.

    88. Martin Bright — on 14th April, 2010 at 11:46 pm  

      Efrafan Dolt - Conor wanted me banned because of under half a dozen critical remarks. Hardly a hill of beans in Internet debate.

      No, Conor wanted you banned for making jokes about the maiming of Red Cross workers. You puerile little man.

    89. Naadir Jeewa — on 14th April, 2010 at 11:53 pm  

      @86, Here’s leading AQAP expert, Greg Johnsen:

      Killing Awlaki will do little to disrupt Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). Inside that organization, he is a nobody—at best, a midlevel functionary in a local branch. There are dozens of men who could do more harm to the United States, and killing Awlaki would only embolden them and aid in recruitment. For an organization as resilient and adaptive as AQAP, his death would be a minor irritant, not a debilitating blow…
      Even his links to the two attacks are more speculative and assumed than concrete. Awlaki is known to have exchanged e-mails with Hasan, the Fort Hood shooter (he confirmed as much to Al-Jazeera), and to being in contact with Abdulmutallab, whom he called his “student.” (Abdulmutallab is thought to have attended one of Awlaki’s sermons in London.) But he never acknowledged meeting either man.”

      Oh, and by way of comparison:

      “Meanwhile, the face of Al Qaeda in Afghanistan is an American, Adam Gadahn (also known as Azzam the American), and there is no standing order for his execution—at least no declaratory position.”

      As to what we should do:

      There is, without a doubt, reason to believe that Awlaki’s fluent and idiomatic command of English can attract and inspire the kind of people who can bypass security restrictions in the West because of their passports. That is, perhaps, the greatest argument for silencing him. But the answer is much simpler than a potentially illegal assassination. The U.S. government has incredibly sophisticated cyberespionage tools at its disposal; it should DNS-bomb his Web sites, shut down his e-mail, and generally harass him online to keep him quiet and on the run. A hellfire missile is hardly the only option.

      Our knowledge about AQAP is far from perfect, but over the past few years we have learned who matters to the organization’s survival and who doesn’t. Anwar al-Awlaki is among the latter.

    90. Mam Tor — on 15th April, 2010 at 12:00 am  

      @ Martin Bright at 11:14 pm

      I would have thought Sunny’s point was blindingly obvious – Is it right that a politician can suspend a citizen’s rights without due process and declare a sentence of execution upon him?

      I would have thought that Sunny was stating the bleedin’ obvious, by it’s nature, extra-judical action circumvents ‘due process’.

      Is the nub the fact that Awlaki has citizenship or is citizenship irrelevant?

      If the nub is citizenship, then that is ‘pick n mix’ morality as much as anything else is.

    91. Mam Tor — on 15th April, 2010 at 12:03 am  

      @ Refresh - 11:36 pm

      Sunny’s detractors are moral relativists

      You almost make that sound like a bad thing.

      BTW All morality is relativistic.

    92. tc — on 15th April, 2010 at 12:09 am  

      Thanks Naadir..food for thought..

    93. douglas clark — on 15th April, 2010 at 12:11 am  

      The idea of state sponsored murder is probably OK in wartime.

      Which raises a couple of questions.

      Are we in a World War and I missed it?

      Why can’t we just stay neutral?

      Y’know what would be a really bad scenario? If al-Awlaki surrendered to a British embassy.

    94. Shamit — on 15th April, 2010 at 12:16 am  


      “The privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it.”

      That’s what the US Constitution says and as Commander In Chief - the President of the United States can decide what is a clear and present danger to the national security of the US. And there even the Supreme Court deems the President’s power almost limitless.

      So it is legal but that does not make it right.

      There is a war going on - and the people we are fighting such as Anwar al-Awlaki are fucking evil and we need to stop them. But what are we fighting for?

      We like the way we live - the free society - the right to speak, to demonstrate, to challenge and question those in power and hold them accountable and most importantly respect for the rights of individuals.

      Even those who among us are accused of the most heinous crimes should and must have equal protection under the law. That’s what these terrorists want to change.

      So, while I have no problems with Alwaki being dead (I would welcome it) but I think this elevates him in the fucked up world of terrorists and if he is killed (even by stray bullets from one of his idiotic brethren) he would be acclaimed a true Martyr and hero.

      Now we don’t really want that do we?

      But none of us here do get daily intelligence briefings so there must have been something or a series of things that compelled Obama to make this call and make it public.

      I am happy to give the man the benefit of the doubt.

    95. Naadir Jeewa — on 15th April, 2010 at 12:19 am  

      @94

      “The idea of state sponsored murder is probably OK in wartime.”

      This kind of nails it. Why is the 2001 Authorisation for Use of Military Force still in place? The AUMF only deals with those involved in 9/11. Awlaki’s relationship with the 9/11 hijackers is uncertain at best.

      What criteria are then being used for designation of public enemy status? I was hoping Eric Holder would say something about this before the Senate Judiciary Committee today, but the trial of KSM was the main topic of discussion.

    96. Naadir Jeewa — on 15th April, 2010 at 12:22 am  

      @95 Shamit,

      But the Supreme Court has already ruled against an expansive reading of that clause in two recent cases involving Guantanamo Bay detainees (i.e. Boumediene and Hamdan). So legality is simply not as clear cut as you presume.

    97. Not Really Martin Bright — on 15th April, 2010 at 12:28 am  

      Mam Tor - It is the fact that Awlaki has US citizenship and it is Obama, as his head of state, who has ordered his execution that’s the nub.

      It is a fundamental right of a citizen to expect due process from the state. If the head of state can decide which citizens deserve it or not, then we have entered the world of the dictator.

      As Naadir has pointed out; there is no operational need to go down this route. It’s announcement is for political ends. But our acceptance of it will set a dangerous precedent.

      The policy of targetted assassination, whoever carries it out, is morally repugnant. It is a weapon of terrorists. We should point that out to all our allies.

      This is not pick and mix morality. You are either for adherence to the rule of law, due process and human rights. Or you are for murder.

    98. douglas clark — on 15th April, 2010 at 1:10 am  

      Not Really Martin Bright @ 98,

      Well, sort of.

      I do not really approve of this idea that US citizens are exceptional. If a UK subject was to be the target of a US executive order to be exterminated with extreme prejudice, would that be better? That really would be the exceptionalism of birth.

      It seems to me it depends on whether you’ve got your war on or not.

      If you do see it as a war - a word that was excluded from polite conversation for quite a while - then, yes, you can target people. The extent and scope of that war probably defines whether you do it overtly, as is the case here, or covertly.

      The risk here is that the US feels it has an extra judicial right to kill people anywhere it chooses. Which actually is a counter to the ‘global jihad’ idea of Al Quaeda.

      I am asking the question. Are we in a world war, albeit low key, and no-one told us? I do not particularily want to be killed because of loose targetting by US drones.

      Who is pulling whose chain here?

      It seems to me that the franchise of American hegemony over the planet really is based on the premise that Al Quaeda are a genuine threat to each and every one of us.

      (They are experts at doing this. It is what they do.)

      Whether that is true or not is perhaps something the rest of us should concern ourselves about a bit.

      Lest we are railroaded into a place we’d rather not be.

    99. douglas clark — on 15th April, 2010 at 1:19 am  

      Naadir Jeewa,

      If I remember correctly, the ‘Public Enemy’ status used to be accorded to gangsters. The Al Capones of this world.

      It seems to have taken on a life of it’s own.

    100. Naadir Jeewa — on 15th April, 2010 at 1:24 am  

      Douglas,

      Sorry, just been reading Carl Schmitt recently…

    101. douglas clark — on 15th April, 2010 at 1:38 am  

      Naadir Jeewa,

      quick google

      Well, yes.

      Never heard of him before.

      I suppose it is a good thing to know what others think.

      Maybe ;-)

    102. cjcjc — on 15th April, 2010 at 6:22 am  

      Douglas - I think you’re safe from the drones unless you’re intending to undertake some Begg-style “tourism”!

      Anyone know why they might have made this decision public?

    103. tc — on 15th April, 2010 at 7:45 am  

      @102 What if I stood on a platform next to someone who’s undertaking said tourism and I get hit as well?

    104. Lucy — on 15th April, 2010 at 8:10 am  

      He is an embarrassment to America - not just because American Intelligence screwed up over the underpants bomber and the Fort Hood assassin, but also because the deaths due to ‘collateral damage’ don’t look good even when acknowledgement of mistakes or apologies from General McChrystal are on offer.

      Incidents of innocents being killed keep happening and they make people angry, needless to say.

      The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday, for instance, that: “when the Pakistan army acknowledged Wednesday that at least 45 civilians died in a military airstrike targeting Taliban leaders this past weekend,[this was] an admission that will likely fan domestic criticism [in Pakistan] of the U.S.-backed war effort against Islamic militants.”

      Going after Anwar al-Awlaki shows that the US can go after one of their own citizens if need be - before there’s another embarrassing incident. It also changes the media script for a time.

      Okay, he is an American citizen, but it is also pretty standard for the US to shine a spotlight on one enemy ‘leader’. It shifts the narrative, which President Obama as a war President, has the power to do.

      And there may be a genuine concern about more jihadi jane types or even more Timothy McVeys. Who knows?

      http://thenews.com.pk/top_story_detail.asp?Id=28313

      WSJ

    105. cjcjc — on 15th April, 2010 at 8:15 am  

      Perhaps you could carry out the hit?

    106. raff — on 15th April, 2010 at 8:18 am  

      I concur with due process point, but I am unsure why we should suddenly get excited about this one and not get excited by the general deployment of drones in targeted assassination. Bush had certainly authorized targeted assassinations using drones before this…

    107. Lucy — on 15th April, 2010 at 8:21 am  

      #105 You do like to needle don’t you?

    108. Lucy — on 15th April, 2010 at 8:26 am  

      #106 Bush had certainly authorized targeted assassinations using drones before this…

      As did Kennedy…

    109. Lucy — on 15th April, 2010 at 8:28 am  

      #108 though not with drones.

    110. Efrafan Days — on 15th April, 2010 at 8:32 am  

      No, Conor wanted you banned for making jokes about the maiming of Red Cross workers. You puerile little man.

      No. I was speaking firstly and only to Conor: in fact, I specificially stated I was not being drawn into a discussion about the events surrounding the shelling of the IRC ambulance. He mistook criticism of himself for criticism of whichever issue he was supporting.

    111. Sarah AB — on 15th April, 2010 at 8:52 am  

      “I am astounded as to why we have had so many comments attcking Sunny’s position on this.” I think partly because the post included distracting references to Nick Cohen, Harry’s Place, Amnesty, Begg - and the penultimate sentence was also problematic. The morality, legality and strategic consequences of Obama’s move are clearly worth a serious discussion - I wish the post had maintained a simple focus on those issues. Thanks to Naadir and Q of F for interesting links.

    112. Wibble — on 15th April, 2010 at 9:59 am  

      Well said Sarah.

      Meanwhile, the response thread at the Spittoon is like a bunch of Sunny’s jilted ex-lovers having a good old moan about him.

    113. Ravi Naik — on 15th April, 2010 at 11:11 am  

      I think partly because the post included distracting references to Nick Cohen, Harry’s Place, Amnesty, Begg – and the penultimate sentence was also problematic. The morality, legality and strategic consequences of Obama’s move are clearly worth a serious discussion

      I appreciate Sunny’s candid admission that what really irks him is the hypocrisy of self-declared feminists and human-right “defenders” when it suits their agenda, rather than Obama’s decision which I agree sounds like a blatant abuse of power, and has far more serious implications than what lightweight opinion makers think.

    114. Jai — on 15th April, 2010 at 11:29 am  

      One further note in relation to my earlier post (currently in the filter) — I’m not going to comment on the primary difference of opinion between Sunny and Abu Faris, but my point is that sometimes individuals who are good people in their own right can disagree on subjects (sometimes extremely strongly, especially if it involves a highly sensitive issue) and still be basically decent people who are not necessarily driven by maliciousness.

      Something for the individuals concerned to think about, regardless of whether you are affiliated with this blog or currently involved in the parallel debate over on The Spittoon.

      The storm will pass. Hopefully.

    115. Lucy — on 15th April, 2010 at 11:35 am  

      Whilst I agree with this:

      ‘I appreciate Sunny’s candid admission that what really irks him is the hypocrisy of self-declared feminists and human-right “defenders” when it suits their agenda, rather than Obama’s decision which I agree sounds like a blatant abuse of power, and has far more serious implications than what lightweight opinion makers think.’

      when

      General McChrystal, supreme commander of United States forces in Afghanistan,
      said in February: “We’ve shot an amazing number of people and killed a number and, to my knowledge, none has proven to have been a real threat to the (NATO) force.”

      that too puts ‘blatant abuse of power’ in perspective and it is just as hypocritical, if not more, in my view, when it is only a footnote to some human rights agendas.

    116. Efrafan Days — on 15th April, 2010 at 11:48 am  

      This refers to the killing of some 30 Afghan civilians at checkpoints or road-side incidents:

      http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/27/world/asia/27afghan.html

      Whilst clearly catastrophic for those involved, McChrystal was speaking in the context of such cock-ups where innocent people get lost in the fog of war - not deliberate killings as “blatant abuse of power” suggests.

      Anyone who supports the ISAF-led involvement in Afghanistan, as I understand Sunny does, should be aware that there is a moral responsibility to accept that such events do take place.

    117. Sarah AB — on 15th April, 2010 at 1:08 pm  

      @wibble - and myself. Of course if PP and HP suddenly decided to acknowlege the fact that they probably agree about quite a few things and only published measured, sensible posts - I might not find them quite so interesting! Perhaps Sunny should just write a post about Nick Cohen and nothing but Nick Cohen. That would be fun.

    118. Naadir Jeewa — on 15th April, 2010 at 1:20 pm  

      @Sarah AB -
      “Perhaps Sunny should just write a post about Nick Cohen and nothing but Nick Cohen. That would be fun.”

      No need. That function is delegated to Dave Weeden’s and DSquared’s Aaronovitch Watch (Incorporating World of Decency)

    119. Sunny — on 15th April, 2010 at 2:48 pm  

      People like cjcjc et al can[‘t stand it when the hypocrisy of their idols is pointed out. Nothing else needs to be said really.

    120. Quantum_Singularity — on 15th April, 2010 at 3:14 pm  

      This post makes no sense to me. The post cites to the concept of habeus corpus and “innocent until proven guilty”. Habeus corpus prevents unlawful detentions of suspected ordinary criminals it has nothing to do with targeted attacks in a military conflict. Innocent until proven guilty is a legal standard that applies to ordinary criminals when they go to trial again it has nothing to do with targeted attacks in a military conflict.

      Simply put we don’t have trials during military conflicts. The US/UK certainly did not try every Nazi soldier they killed in WWII. The US also targeted and killed Japan’s Admiral Yamamoto without a trial. Guess what? It is perfectly legal to kill enemy commanders/leaders in times of war.

      On March 26, 2010, Department of State Legal Advisor Harold Koh stated that “U.S. targeting practices, including lethal operations conducted with the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), comply with all applicable law, including the laws of war.” He further explained that the United States is in “an armed conflict with al Qaeda, the Taliban, and the associated forces” and thus has the lawful right to use force.

      Please lets not have too many social activists doling out legal conclusions…

    121. chairwoman — on 15th April, 2010 at 3:21 pm  

      “People like cjcjc et al can[‘t stand it when the hypocrisy of their idols is pointed out. Nothing else needs to be said really.”

      Their idols? Their idols?!

      I doubt that anybody here has any idols. Even you, Sunny, don’t appear quite as keen on the US President as formerly.

      This talk of ‘idols’ brings the whole tone of this learned debate to its true level, primary school!

    122. chairwoman — on 15th April, 2010 at 3:23 pm  

      Now, no doubt, I’ll vanish to the place you’ve sent Katy!

      LOL.

      That is the current playground term, isn’t it?

    123. douglas clark — on 15th April, 2010 at 4:02 pm  

      Quantum_Singularity,

      Usually wars are between one nation and another, but we have been told that al Quaeda are a ‘non state actor’, or sometimes a global franchise. If we take the quote you give from Harold Koh at face value, the US has declared open season on the rest of the planet, no?

      What are the realistic options for nations that want nothing to do with this war?

    124. MoreMediaNonsense — on 15th April, 2010 at 4:10 pm  

      Quantum_singularity - exactly.

      Its amazing how some people pretend not to understand what is allowed under the laws of war, including the collateral death of civilians if the military target is judged worthy by military commanders. As for the execution of enemy commanders that is one of the main war aims and I would imagine it is up to the US military to decide who they are.

      What precisely is the issue here ? Is anyone denying that the US is at war with Al-Qaeda ? I presume not.

      Or is it rather being argued a US court should first rule on whether Al-Awlaki is in Al-Qaeda solely because he is a US citizen ?

    125. Ravi Naik — on 15th April, 2010 at 4:11 pm  

      The US also targeted and killed Japan’s Admiral Yamamoto without a trial. Guess what? It is perfectly legal to kill enemy commanders/leaders in times of war.

      You are confusing things. Nobody disputes that during war the military kills. But this case is different, where you have a civilian organisation being authorized to kill a civilian.

    126. MoreMediaNonsense — on 15th April, 2010 at 4:21 pm  

      BTW - for anyone who hasn’t read it here’s the US govt’s case from the New York Times :

      “As a general principle, international law permits the use of lethal force against individuals and groups that pose an imminent threat to a country, and officials said that was the standard used in adding names to the list of targets. In addition, Congress approved the use of military force against Al Qaeda after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. People on the target list are considered to be military enemies of the United States and therefore not subject to the ban on political assassination first approved by President Gerald R. Ford.

      Both the C.I.A. and the military maintain lists of terrorists linked to Al Qaeda and its affiliates who are approved for capture or killing, former officials said. But because Mr. Awlaki is an American, his inclusion on those lists had to be approved by the National Security Council, the officials said.

      At a panel discussion in Washington on Tuesday, Representative Jane Harman, Democrat of California and chairwoman of a House subcommittee on homeland security, called Mr. Awlaki “probably the person, the terrorist, who would be terrorist No. 1 in terms of threat against us.” ”

      http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/07/world/middleeast/07yemen.html?hp

    127. Kismet Hardy — on 15th April, 2010 at 4:28 pm  

      ‘Probably the person…’

      Ha ha.

      Like them lot in Guantanamo Bay. They’re probably terrorists as well. We’ve established that’s a probability by now haven’t we? They need to be shot now surely

    128. Mark T — on 15th April, 2010 at 5:24 pm  

      The ‘probably’ refers to his threat status, not his status as a terrorist.

      Still, nice attempt to distort the meaning of that statement.

    129. FlyingRodent — on 15th April, 2010 at 5:29 pm  

      Well, the Times ran allegations that the Bush admin were well aware that the majority of the Guantanamo detainees were innocent of the crimes they were accused of, but continued to detain them in a legal black hole out of political expediency.

      http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/article7092435.ece

      Given that they subsequently released, what, three quarters or so of these people and loads of them turned out to be taxi drivers and teenaged goat-herders, I don’t think this is an extreme contention.

      But to take on this Yo War Is Hell Dude argument, I have to point out that

      - The US is not at war with Yemen. Nor is it technically at war with Iraq or Afghanistan, if I recall correctly.

      - What’s actually happened is that the last administration announced that it was at war with an abstract concept, then unilaterallly claimed the right to bomb more or less whoever and whatever it liked.

      - This war that is not a war is entirely open-ended - there is no expiry date, nor will there be a final victory. Rumsfeld himself once characterised “Victory” as being the moment when US citizens realised we were in a war that would likely outlive them. Thus, it could theoretically go on forever.

      - As noted, the “battlefield” in this “war” is the planet Earth. Note how many of the innocent, now-released Guantanamo detainees were described as having been “captured on the battlefield”.

      - And now, the Obama admin has merely formalised a pre-existing policy, i.e. its absolute right to kill the fuck out of whoever it likes, wherever it likes with as much or as little evidence as it likes. Ave, Caesar!

      You can call that whatever you like, but I defy anyone to cram this bloodthirsty bullshit into any kind of form where it meets the most basic human rights standards. States that extrajudicially murder people, illegally detain them in undeclared locations, torture and beat them then make them sign forced confessions to implicate themselves and others quite often struggle in that regard.

    130. Efrafan Days — on 15th April, 2010 at 5:42 pm  

      Nobody disputes that during war the military kills.

      Does that mean it would be acceptable to send The Unit in? Betty Blue, Betty Blue, come in, Betty Blue.

      But this case is different, where you have a civilian organisation being authorized to kill a civilian.

      Yes, it makes for an interesting discussion about jurisprudence. And, if one believes that such peddling in the shallows of philosophy is more significant that universal questions [about the President's ordering the deaths of named individuals], it is the most important question on the table.

      I don’t. Which is why I consider the President’s ordering the death of named individual US citizens to be no better and no worse than his ordering the deaths of named individual non-US citizens.

      I hope al Awlaki is captured alive, convicted and placed in a cell alongside those similarly treated following the 1998 East African Embassy bombings.

    131. MoreMediaNonsense — on 15th April, 2010 at 5:49 pm  

      FR - Do you then deny the US is at war with Al-Qaeda and the Taliban (both now non-state groups) ?

      If not what is the status of the conflict they are in and how should it be conducted ?

      If so what laws should govern this war ?

      I actually have some small sympathy with your view as the US previously refused to countenance the UK hunting down the IRA as it currently is with Al-Qaeda for domestic political reasons so their current actions are hypocritical. Imagine now what would happen if some Irish Republican dissident was found to be plotting with Al-Qaeda !

      However there has to be a difference between what is allowed in war and what is allowed in peace time and that is reflected in current law.

      Or maybe there should be different international laws for dealing with conflicts between states and terrorist groups based in other states ?

    132. Niels Christensen — on 15th April, 2010 at 7:11 pm  

      Well a positive thing is that Mr. Al-Awlaki now knows, that somebody is looking out for him, so he has the possibility to hide and/or change his profile.
      A lot of people killed by Mr. Al-Awlaki friends doesn’t get that change.
      Sunny is right to point out the legal problems in this, if Mr. Al-Awlaki’s disgusting interpretation of his religion is reason enough to kill, then a lot of Imams is next in line.

    133. FlyingRodent — on 15th April, 2010 at 9:54 pm  

      Do you then deny the US is at war with Al-Qaeda and the Taliban (both now non-state groups?)

      The US has declared itself to be at war with Al Qaeda and the Taleban. Don’t get me wrong - these are horrible people. They treat objects like women, man; they’re nasty theocrats and they disrespect statues of the Buddha etc.

      When it come down to it though, we’re stuck with a situation where the world’s foremost advocate for human rights and liberty is actively assassinating private individuals, kidnapping them off the streets, torturing the fuck out of them, extrajudicially detaining them for years beyond the rule of law and generally acting like a Mini-Me Soviet Union with a vaguely plausible disguise.

      Now, this can be defended - you can say, well, the Taliban etc. are so horrible that they’ve forced us to it; you can say that we face such a hideous, unprecedented existential threat that we have to hurl hundreds of unknown people into black jails to be interrogated beyond the rule of law.

      What you can’t do is turn around and get all fucko about human rights. Do you see? Human rights are for everyone - the Pigeon and Mutley; Neo and Agent Smith alike, Dawg; Popeye and Bluto, regardless.

      If you start making exceptions for your own boys well, you aren’t talking about human rights any more. You’re talking about total fucking bullshit, and that’s as see-through as clingfilm, kid.

      Oh, you had some questions about the IRA. You’ll notice we didn’t have to launch a trillion-dollar bloodbath in somebody else’s jurisdiction using high explosives as our weapon of first resort to beat them - lessons to be learned, you think?

      Or maybe there should be different international laws for dealing with conflicts between states and terrorist groups based in other states ?

      I would say we’ve already come up with methods for dealing with such conflicts - namely, we couldn’t give a fuck about laws.

    134. douglas clark — on 15th April, 2010 at 10:44 pm  

      Flying Rodent,

      You say what I think far better than I ever do.

      I hate you for that ;-)

    135. Leon — on 15th April, 2010 at 10:54 pm  

      anyway, good to see you guys are defending civil liberties and human rights to the hilt.

      Like you did when you disregarded the human rights abuses of women in Afghanistan by backing this intolerable ‘war’?

    136. Leon — on 15th April, 2010 at 10:56 pm  

      The point is too often people have principle when it suits them and pragmatism when it doesn’t.

      Bit hard to attack others on moral grounds when you yourself aren’t exactly as consistent as you should be.

    137. Katy Newton — on 15th April, 2010 at 11:17 pm  

      Now. I wasn’t going to write about this because, although it disgusted me, I’ll admit that I’m usually unwilling to criticise Obama. But what irks me is that the same people who keep going on about how important human rights for all are, have said nothing about this incident at all over here.

      The cognitive dissonance! It burns! Seriously - you, Sunny Hundal, who is noted for going on about how important human rights for all are, weren’t going to write about the fact that Barack Obama, your hero, ordered the assassination of one of his own citizens without trial, until you found out that other people who are noted for going on about how important human rights for all are, weren’t going to write about it?

      Do you not see how utterly wrongheaded that is? To only write about the human rights abuse itself when you realised you could use it to take a shot at other bloggers? What do you think that says about your priorities?

      *wanders away clutching head*

    138. Mark T — on 15th April, 2010 at 11:25 pm  

      Yep Katy. I noted the same thing at point 4.

    139. damon — on 15th April, 2010 at 11:38 pm  

      I’m reading all these comments but don’t really want to get involved because of accusations of trolling that get made so often when someone disagrees with the general line given in the original post.

      But I’m still an Obama fan and wouldn’t be so fussed if this guy was killed. Just like I don’t care for the human rights of Khali Shaikh Muhammad that much.

      Just like I don’t care what happens to Zacarias Moussaoui.
      They could have executed him and I think that would have been OK.

      The thing that does interest me though is the debate around these things, and whether what I have just said is to be considered ”right wing” and illiberal.

    140. Katy Newton — on 15th April, 2010 at 11:38 pm  

      I thought I might not be the only person who’d noticed it, but the thought of going back through the comments thread made me want to hide under the table…

    141. Sunny — on 15th April, 2010 at 11:50 pm  

      Like you did when you disregarded the human rights abuses of women in Afghanistan by backing this intolerable ‘war’?

      Leon - there are plenty of feminists, especially Afghani women, who backed getting rid of the Taliban. Would you like me to point to some links?

      The idea that I backed the war in Afghanistan because I don’t care for womens rights there is fatuous.

    142. Sunny — on 15th April, 2010 at 11:57 pm  

      Hi Katy - do you complain about the cognitive dissonance when the likes of Harry’s Place complain about others not blogging more about Sri Lanka and instead talking about Israel far more? I think I remember you agreeing with that point then when they made it, and I pointed out why Israel was covered far more in the media.

      But you’re right about one thing - I should have blogged it earlier. I was annoyed at what Obama did. I think its a travesty.

      But at least I’m not making excuses for it.

      What tipped me over the edge was the crowing going on over the decision at the HP blog. Implicitly, I thought all right-minded people who cared for human rights would think it was a very bad decision.

      But apparently there are a lot of people who crow on about human rights and how important it is while justifying extraordinary rendition and these kinds of assassinations.

      I don’t see any harm in pointing out their hypocrisy.

    143. Chatterton — on 16th April, 2010 at 12:00 am  

      You’re *all* useless, aren’t you?

      Reading this blog, anyone would think the US government hadn’t already got a record as long as your arm of murdering its citizens.

      It’s not even the first time they’ve knowingly authorised the killing of a US citizen in Yemen:
      http://www.wsws.org/articles/2002/nov2002/yem-n12.shtml

      That was under Bush - he issued an executive order permitting assassination by the CIA.

      What’s new is *announcing* you’re doing it beforehand.

      You can’t have the State assassinating people. That doesn’t mean I think anything other than that Awlaki types are anything other than an extreme threat to all of us and like Mussolini they should be strung up the first chance anyone gets. Those who favour arresting him, and those who favour assassinating him are cut from the same liberal cloth. First chance the State gets, it will be sponsoring the likes of Awlaki to destroy its enemies.

      Amnesty International has had its uses, but as Stuart Christie found it also has its limitations. Try to assasinate Franco and get stuck in a Spanish gaol? Amnesty weren’t going to get involved. Because, see, you’re not a “prisoner of conscience”. I don’t remember AI sharing platforms with the anti-Franco resistance and the Anarchist Black Flag. Begg has a story that needs hearing, and what happened to him should not happen to anyone, but AI should keep him at arms length. I don’t mind them having shared a platform on occasion, but they stepped over a line.

      I don’t buy contamination theory whichever way it cuts; that’s not the problem. The problem is they started trying to defend Begg’s politics. They work too closely with him.

      You know, the BNP has “human rights” too, apparently. It’s not inconsistent to oppose them but support their liberties. But you don’t go creating a relationship with them, not if you have a shred of socialist politics left.

      Defending the civil liberties of people you would need to shoot come the revolution is the real test of your commitment to freedom and human rights.

    144. FlyingRodent — on 16th April, 2010 at 12:06 am  

      Now, I love the idea that standard Yankee stupid and belligerent liberal interventionism - an equally murderous and deranged idea as wingnut insanity, in my opinion - is the objectionable part of a thread in which so many of the participants endorse or quibble over state-sponsored murder.

      I’m quite fond of the European Convention on Human Rights myself. It’s got fifty years of workable case law behind it. What does this Kill ‘Em All and We All Support Human Rights And Democracy bullshit have in its favour?

      Obviously, the answer is Ten years of non-stop ultraviolence and horror, and fuck all to show for it.

      Yer real democrats and true leftists, ladies and gentlemen. The excuse is that Islamists ate their homework, before they start.

    145. Katy Newton — on 16th April, 2010 at 12:34 am  

      Hi Katy – do you complain about the cognitive dissonance when the likes of Harry’s Place complain about others not blogging more about Sri Lanka and instead talking about Israel far more? I think I remember you agreeing with that point then when they made it, and I pointed out why Israel was covered far more in the media.

      *points and laughs*

      What’s that got to do with anything? Is this that thing called “whataboutery”? I did agree with that, yes. I’ve never denied that the Palestinians have a shitty deal, as you know, but I find it interesting that their shitty deal gets more publicity than other peoples’ shitty deals for reasons apparently unconnected with the scale of the abuse itself. There’s nothing inherently self-contradictory about that.

      You, on the other hand, not only profess to be deeply concerned about human rights, you have appointed yourself the arbiter of who is and is not sufficiently concerned about them in the blogging community. And yet here, when you learned that Barack Obama had ordered the assassination of a US citizen without trial wherever he might be in the world, your decision to write about it was nothing to do with the merits of the decision itself and everything to do with balancing your slavish support of all things Obama against your desire to score points off Nick Cohen.

      *shrugs*

      I think it’s fairly clear where the cognitive dissonance is here.

    146. Quantum_Singularity — on 16th April, 2010 at 12:45 am  

      @ douglas clark

      “Usually wars are between one nation and another, but we have been told that al Quaeda are a ‘non state actor’, or sometimes a global franchise. If we take the quote you give from Harold Koh at face value, the US has declared open season on the rest of the planet, no?”

      So suddenly killing one individual in a country (especially when that country is cooperating with you) is tantamount to open season season on the planet?

      “What are the realistic options for nations that want nothing to do with this war?”

      How about not harboring groups that attack other countries in your borders? Even this is not applicable here as Yemen cooperates with the US in the GWOT.

    147. Sunny — on 16th April, 2010 at 12:48 am  

      but I find it interesting that their shitty deal gets more publicity than other peoples’ shitty deals for reasons apparently unconnected with the scale of the abuse itself.

      Thanks, and I’m doing exactly the same - pointing out how Awlaki’s situation doesn’t get any attention (and even some implicit congratulations) while the same people are going on about how much they care for human rights.

      you have appointed yourself the arbiter of who is and is not sufficiently concerned about them in the blogging community

      Have I? Seems to me all those taking Gita Sahgal’s side - and claiming that everyone who didn’t sign up to all her words were worshipping Moazzam Begg - were doing that.

      I do enjoy how you accuse me of something, while indulging in the same but from the opposite side. And then accuse me of cognitive dissonance.

    148. Katy Newton — on 16th April, 2010 at 12:55 am  

      Yes yes. Eeeeeeeveryone who points out the inherent contradiction in your thinking, and that includes me, Leon, Ravi and Mark T amongst others, is a big fat hypocrite who doesn’t care about human rights. Thank goodness you’re here to put everyone right. Or something.

    149. Quantum_Singularity — on 16th April, 2010 at 12:58 am  

      @ Ravi Naik

      “You are confusing things. Nobody disputes that during war the military kills. But this case is different, where you have a civilian organisation being authorized to kill a civilian.”

      Whether in your view those who launch drone attacks are a civilian or military organization or whether in your view Alwaki is civilian or a combatant is really irrelevant.

      Article 51 of the charter of the United Nations says “Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defense if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations”.

      Alwaki screams his head off about going to war with America all the time. He incites US muslims to go kill their own countrymen. He instructed Nidal Hassan and Omar Abulmuttalab to attack the US. Therefore he is an enemy combatant and we are certainly within our rights to fry the guy.

    150. Quantum_Singularity — on 16th April, 2010 at 1:47 am  

      @ flyingrodent

      “But to take on this Yo War Is Hell Dude argument, I have to point out that

      The US is not at war with Yemen. Nor is it technically at war with Iraq or Afghanistan, if I recall correctly.”

      Your point?? The US is not planning to attack Yemen. We are at war with a bunch of terrorists and we have Yemen’s cooperation.

      “What’s actually happened is that the last administration announced that it was at war with an abstract concept, then unilaterallly claimed the right to bomb more or less whoever and whatever it liked.”

      Really? You mean when the US declared that it was in armed conflict with Al Qaeda, the Taliban, it was a unilateral right to bomb anyone?

      “This war that is not a war is entirely open-ended – there is no expiry date, nor will there be a final victory. Rumsfeld himself once characterised “Victory” as being the moment when US citizens realised we were in a war that would likely outlive them. Thus, it could theoretically go on forever.”

      So I am guessing when Churchill went to war with Nazi Germany he set an expiry date of 5 years???????

      “As noted, the “battlefield” in this “war” is the planet Earth. Note how many of the innocent, now-released Guantanamo detainees were described as having been “captured on the battlefield”.”

      The fact that that certain individuals were freed from Guantanamo does not imply that they were innocent, it merely says there was not enough evidence to charge them. To contrary many such “innocent” persons like Abdullah Meshud (Baitullah Meshud’s brother) managed to return Afpak and butchered many, thanks to lefties like you. Congratulations.

      “And now, the Obama admin has merely formalised a pre-existing policy, i.e. its absolute right to kill the fuck out of whoever it likes, wherever it likes with as much or as little evidence as it likes. Ave, Caesar!”

      Yawn, more mindless drivel from the left.

      “You can call that whatever you like, but I defy anyone to cram this bloodthirsty bullshit into any kind of form where it meets the most basic human rights standard”

      Article 51 of the United Nations Charter allows a state or individual or state to attack those entities or individuals that have engaged in armed attacks against them. There is no restriction that it has to be another state. I guess some did manage to cram this “bloodthristy bullshit” into some basic human rights standard.

    151. Lucy — on 16th April, 2010 at 1:52 am  

      “Mindless drivel from the left.” Sure thing. The Murdoch press you mean.

      George W. Bush ‘knew Guantánamo prisoners were innocent’
      http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/article7092435.ece
      From The Times
      April 9, 2010

      George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld covered up that hundreds of innocent men were sent to the Guantánamo Bay prison camp because they feared that releasing them would harm the push for war in Iraq and the broader War on Terror, according to a new document obtained by The Times.

      The accusations were made by Lawrence Wilkerson, a top aide to Colin Powell, the former Republican Secretary of State, in a signed declaration to support a lawsuit filed by a Guantánamo detainee. It is the first time that such allegations have been made by a senior member of the Bush Administration.

      Colonel Wilkerson, who was General Powell’s chief of staff when he ran the State Department, was most critical of Mr Cheney and Mr Rumsfeld. He claimed that the former Vice-President and Defence Secretary knew that the majority of the initial 742 detainees sent to Guantánamo in 2002 were innocent but believed that it was “politically impossible to release them”.

      General Powell, who left the Bush Administration in 2005, angry about the misinformation that he unwittingly gave the world when he made the case for the invasion of Iraq at the UN, is understood to have backed Colonel Wilkerson’s declaration.

      Colonel Wilkerson, a long-time critic of the Bush Administration’s approach to counter-terrorism and the war in Iraq, claimed that the majority of detainees — children as young as 12 and men as old as 93, he said — never saw a US soldier when they were captured. He said that many were turned over by Afghans and Pakistanis for up to $5,000. Little or no evidence was produced as to why they had been taken.

      He also claimed that one reason Mr Cheney and Mr Rumsfeld did not want the innocent detainees released was because “the detention efforts would be revealed as the incredibly confused operation that they were”. This was “not acceptable to the Administration and would have been severely detrimental to the leadership at DoD [Mr Rumsfeld at the Defence Department]”.

      Referring to Mr Cheney, Colonel Wilkerson, who served 31 years in the US Army, asserted: “He had absolutely no concern that the vast majority of Guantánamo detainees were innocent … If hundreds of innocent individuals had to suffer in order to detain a handful of hardcore terrorists, so be it.”

      He alleged that for Mr Cheney and Mr Rumsfeld “innocent people languishing in Guantánamo for years was justified by the broader War on Terror and the small number of terrorists who were responsible for the September 11 attacks”.

      He added: “I discussed the issue of the Guantánamo detainees with Secretary Powell. I learnt that it was his view that it was not just Vice-President Cheney and Secretary Rumsfeld, but also President Bush who was involved in all of the Guantánamo decision making.”

      Mr Cheney and Mr Rumsfeld, Colonel Wilkerson said, deemed the incarceration of innocent men acceptable if some genuine militants were captured, leading to a better intelligence picture of Iraq at a time when the Bush Administration was desperate to find a link between Saddam Hussein and 9/11, “thus justifying the Administration’s plans for war with that country”.

      He signed the declaration in support of Adel Hassan Hamad, a Sudanese man who was held at Guantánamo Bay from March 2003 until December 2007. Mr Hamad claims that he was tortured by US agents while in custody and yesterday filed a damages action against a list of American officials.

      Defenders of Guantánamo said that detainees began to be released as early as September 2002, nine months after the first prisoners were sent to the jail at the US naval base in Cuba. By the time Mr Bush left office more than 530 detainees had been freed.

      A spokesman for Mr Bush said of Colonel Wilkerson’s allegations: “We are not going to have any comment on that.” A former associate to Mr Rumsfeld said that Mr Wilkerson’s assertions were completely untrue.

      The associate said the former Defence Secretary had worked harder than anyone to get detainees released and worked assiduously to keep the prison population as small as possible. Mr Cheney’s office did not respond.

      There are currently about 180 detainees left in the facility.

    152. Sunny — on 16th April, 2010 at 1:55 am  

      Thank goodness you’re here to put everyone right. Or something.

      I’m not putting everyone right at all. I’m merely arguing my position. You can disagree, you can rant at me. You can accuse me of whatever. But I’m not here to put you right. I’m merely expressing my opinion given, you know, it’s an opinion blog.

    153. Lucy — on 16th April, 2010 at 2:04 am  

      #143 “You can’t have the State assassinating people.”

      Really? What about ‘Death on the Rock’?

      If you mean you can’t have the State assassinating people in public, that is obviously a different matter. Hence the premature demise of Thames Television.

    154. Lucy — on 16th April, 2010 at 2:14 am  

      fyi - Patrick Cockburn on - ONLY FOOLS RUSH INTO YEMEN
      http://www.counterpunch.org/patrick01112010.html
      January 11, 2010

      “…the mounting crisis in the country only attracted notice when a Nigerian student is revealed to have been “trained” in Yemen by al-Qa’ida to detonate explosives in his underpants on plane heading for Detroit. But this botched attack has led to the US and Britain starting to become entangled in one of the more violent countries in the world. The problems of Yemen are social, economic and political, and stretch back to the civil war in Yemen in the 1960s…”

      The dilemma for the US and Britain is that as they become more openly supportive of the Yemeni government they will be targeted as its sponsor by its many enemies. The south of the country, independent until 1990 and defeated in a civil war in 1994, is seething with rebellion. Government forces shoot at protestors. There have been many shootings, arrests and torture is endemic. “They can make a zebra say it is a gazelle,” is a chilling Yemeni saying of the government’s interrogation methods….”

      “…The US and Britain will face a similar difficulty in Yemen as they already do in Afghanistan. They will be supporting an unpopular and corrupt government. It is not that al-Qa’ida is very strong but that it will be swimming in sympathetic waters because the government is very weak.”

    155. Naadir Jeewa — on 16th April, 2010 at 2:36 am  

      @ Quantum_Singularity -
      The 2001 Congressional AUMF only refers to those who conducted and abetted 9/11, the classification of Awlaki as a non-citizen enemy combatant, rather than a criminal is not clear.

      @ MoreMediaNonsense
      “FR – Do you then deny the US is at war with Al-Qaeda and the Taliban (both now non-state groups) ?
      If not what is the status of the conflict they are in and how should it be conducted ?
      If so what laws should govern this war ?”

      Well, that’s the problem. What laws do govern this war, if that’s what we’re going to call it? I don’t think there is a legal basis for this action, so it stands as a purely arbitrary order.
      Charli Carpenter, discussing targetted killings in general, gets it right in calling for a new multilateral consensus on the application of law in asymmetric conflict.

      @ Chatterton - That’s interesting. I was looking for a suitable precedent, but it seems even American pundits have overlooked that one?

    156. Quantum_Singularity — on 16th April, 2010 at 5:12 am  

      @ Naadir Jeewa
      “The 2001 Congressional AUMF only refers to those who conducted and abetted 9/11, the classification of Awlaki as a non-citizen enemy combatant, rather than a criminal is not clear.”

      I made no references to the AUMF in any of my posts. Targeted attacks are allowable if the person is added to the target list which lists those considered to be military enemies of the United States. There is no exception if you are U.S. citizen, however, adding an American citizen to the list requires the approval of the national security council.

      “Well, that’s the problem. What laws do govern this war, if that’s what we’re going to call it? I don’t think there is a legal basis for this action, so it stands as a purely arbitrary order.
      Charli Carpenter, discussing targetted killings in general, gets it right in calling for a new multilateral consensus on the application of law in asymmetric conflict.”

      So a state that follows the rules of war can be immediately attacked but some terrorist who plants bombs on buses must have his rights vigorously defended? Sounds about right for the PC crowd.

    157. Quantum_Singularity — on 16th April, 2010 at 5:23 am  

      @Lucy
      ““Mindless drivel from the left.” Sure thing. The Murdoch press you mean.

      George W. Bush ‘knew Guantánamo prisoners were innocent”

      Huh? The topic was about targeted attacks on a person who regularly declares war on America, boasts about how he instructed Nidal Hassan to carry out his attacks, and howhe influenced Omar Abulmuttalb to carry out his attempt at terrorism. What does the alleged guilt or innocence or guilt of Guantanamo detainees have to do with this??

    158. douglas clark — on 16th April, 2010 at 5:59 am  

      Quantum_Singularity,

      It does seem to me that a traitor might have a special place in international law. I would be interested if you know more about that than I. American exceptionalism is not an answer, at least in my book.

    159. Arif — on 16th April, 2010 at 8:32 am  

      My response to this is a bit like Salil’s and FlyingRodent’s.

      Declarations of war bring with them implicit justifications for compromising on human rights. Mobilising against an enemy generally takes precedence over other concerns, although mutually agreed rules of war may help minimise its destructiveness.

      A war fought for universal human rights, if there is a claim for such a thing, would be very odd. At best it could be fought for the human rights of some at the expense of others’.

      I think these wars are primarily fought for other political objectives, and the common justifications (used by both sides) are self defence and national liberation, which appear to be sanctioned by customary international law. In the course of this, both sides will see human rights as dispensable and both will point to the human rights abuses of the other side as a continuing justification for their wars.

      Because of this, a critique of wartime behaviour on the basis of universal human rights has to implicitly stand outside the discourse of war (or explicitly oppose the war).

      A critique of wartime behaviour in terms of just war type theory (or defensive jihad as mentioned by others) is something different that can be undertaken for both sides within the framework of war. I think this is really what we are arguing about here in condemning or condoning the behaviour of Al Awlaki and Obama. And the nature of these theories is that they are quite moralistic about the justness of the goals, and sincerity of the leaders as well as limitations on the methods used, all of which seem open to wide interpretation.

      How do we judge levels of bad faith among war leaders? It seems quite easy to recognise bad faith in those leaders whose political goals we oppose, but I think we give a lot more leeway to leaders whose goals we believe benefit us.

      So for me, FlyingRodent and Salil, not believing in the benefits or inevitability of these wars, our interpretations of both sides are likely to be relatively harsh, especially when using human rights discourse.

      For people who identify more fully with the war aims of one side or other, such criticisms I guess are annoyingly beside the point in a war and sometimes seem like de facto support for their opponents (why else would someone doubt the war is just?)

      A lot of people, like Sunny, are halfway supporters of one side, and think full supporters and total critics may be too naive or dogmatic. While fully opposing the official enemies in the conflicts, Sunny seems to think it likely enough that they’ll be unjustly treated by his own side to be quite vigilant for signs of it.

    160. Lucy — on 16th April, 2010 at 8:35 am  

      Q-S, I don’t understand what you are questioning re the posting of the Times article — “George W. Bush ‘knew Guantánamo prisoners were innocent’” — in response to one of your previous points -

      You asked: “What does the alleged guilt or innocence or guilt of Guantanamo detainees have to do with this??”

      But you wrote earlier:
      “The fact that that certain individuals were freed from Guantanamo does not imply that they were innocent, it merely says there was not enough evidence to charge them.”

      So what’s your beef?

    161. Naadir Jeewa — on 16th April, 2010 at 9:11 am  

      Efrafan Days, the AUMF wouldn’t be important were it not for the war powers delegated to Congress.

      Again, here’s Spencer Ackerman today:

      A reporter-friend came up to me at the Constitution Project’s gala before Attorney General Eric Holder’s keynote speech. He didn’t look happy. “You’re not going to like this,” he said.

      Sure enough. Holder’s speech was in the classic telling-hard-truths-to-your-base mold. Once the Obama administration decided to retain the military commissions, Holder became obligated to defend the decision (or quit). What he isn’t obligated to do is go in front of the only people who desperately want to support him — Ginny Sloan, the driving force behind the Project, got a round of applause introducing Holder by pledging the community’s support for keeping Khalid Shaikh Mohammed in a civilian trial — and aggressively assert the wisdom, propriety and virtues of… well, of hearsay evidence, among other things. Nor for pledging not to try American citizens like Anwar al-Awlaki in military commissions while neglecting to mention that instead they’ll be targeted for assassination. Nor for saying that the administration needs both courts and commissions to “bring every terrorist to justice” while neglecting to mention the 48 people it refuses to either try in any forum or release.

    162. Quantum_Singularity — on 16th April, 2010 at 9:46 am  

      @Lucy

      “So what’s your beef?”

      My comment about mindless leftwing drivel, which you quoted as what you were responding to had nothing to do with guantanamo bay.

      Your article’s assertions about the “innocence” of said prisoners have already been answered at 162.

    163. Quantum_Singularity — on 16th April, 2010 at 10:01 am  

      @158

      “It does seem to me that a traitor might have a special place in international law. I would be interested if you know more about that than I. American exceptionalism is not an answer, at least in my book.”

      This is a bit confusing. Are you saying that if in addition to being an enemy combatant you are also a traitor this gives you some special rights? The basis for legally targeting Alawaki is because he is an enemy combatant who by his own words is at war with you (not to mention he has already instructed others to go to war with you). The fact that he also may be a traitor does not change that designation.

    164. douglas clark — on 16th April, 2010 at 10:44 am  

      Quantum_Singularity,

      This is a bit confusing. Are you saying that if in addition to being an enemy combatant you are also a traitor this gives you some special rights?

      Sorry about that. I’d have thought that treason was, perhaps, a sufficient cause - on it’s own - to withdraw the protection of the state from an individual. What I am trying to clarify is whether that is a correct assumption or not.

      Is the status of traitor not usually viewed as even worse than that of ‘enemy combatant’?

      I am thinking about Lord Haw Haw - William Joyce, here. My point merely being that constitutional arguements are, perhaps, a bit moot where treason is in play?

    165. Lucy — on 16th April, 2010 at 11:21 am  

      DC,
      Treason has some protection in US law, according to the US Constitution. See Article 3, Section 3.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Article_Three_of_the_United_States_Constitution

      although according to the Wikipedia entry, rulings on the ‘two witnesses’ requirement have been modified by the Supreme Court; the reference is not footnoted. But a bit of surfing seems to suggest that a case in 1947: ‘Haupt v. United States’ was the first time ever the Supreme Court sustained a conviction for treason.
      http://law.onecle.com/constitution/article-3/42-aid-and-comfort-to-the-enemy.html

    166. Ravi — on 16th April, 2010 at 11:29 am  

      Alwaki screams his head off about going to war with America all the time. He incites US muslims to go kill their own countrymen. He instructed Nidal Hassan and Omar Abulmuttalab to attack the US. Therefore he is an enemy combatant and we are certainly within our rights to fry the guy.

      And so a lot of white militias in the US. As an aside, remember terrorist Tim McVeigh - who declared war to the US? You will love this exchange.

    167. cjcjc — on 16th April, 2010 at 12:22 pm  

      Awlaki is a firm favourite with Islamic Socs in the UK too, so he is a threat to us as well as the US of course.

    168. Arif — on 16th April, 2010 at 12:23 pm  

      This argument seems both ridiculous and extremely important because it is trying to apply limits to a total war.

      Lots and lots of people are being killed and injured and losing their livelihoods, and each side is justifying what they do by pointing out what the other does.

      Eg. because of the terrible things done by US soldiers/Islamic terrorists we must fight them, and that means innocent people will die whether we like it or not - because it isn’t easy to tell the difference and our fighters would be in danger if they tried too hard. Furthermore, all our fighters’ supporters are innocent because we are on the side of justice, all theirs are guilty of supporting the killing of innocents. Eventually we will win because we can’t afford to lose. Etc etc.

      Against this some doves argue that we should be more careful because the more people their side harms, the more people join their opponents in disgust. While they want clearer moral differentiation in methods used, they don’t generally argue with the moral or strategic necessity of war, or define any alternative political goals which might limit its scope. I assume this is the same on both (all) sides prosecuting the war(s).

      For the sake of keeping pro-War on Terror doves on-side, al-Awlaki is defined above as:
      1. an enemy combatant.
      2. at war with you.
      3. (Presented as inessential to the justification): instructing others to go to war with you.

      By (1) he is constructed as having taken up arms personally (like a soldier). By (2) he is constructed as having taken up arms against me (so killing him is self defence). By (3) he is constructed as something more than a soldier - as not merely following orders but responsible for some orders.

      The doves are concerned to know what standards of evidence are used to come to such conclusions, and construct their concern in terms of the rights of US citizens to know the legal standards by which their government can target them for killing.

      They aren’t questioning the validity of using 1 and 2 as principles, but want to know the US Government’s basis for judgments on whether they are applicable in this or any other case.

      Given the confusion that maybe al-Awlaki is being targeted because of his views and his associations rather than because of armed actions, that seems to be a fairly minimal request for them to make.

      Doves may additionally argue a mixed moral and tactical case that US citizens are safer if the rules of war don’t seem to say that each side can target anyone they think supports their enemy’s troops rather than just the troops themselves.

      I think often their deeper moral concern is to avoid turning into the kinds of monsters they believe they are fighting against.

      I support these concerns, but maybe we (myself included) focus on them because we have no idea how we are going to stop the continual escalation of wars on our behalf.

    169. Naadir Jeewa — on 16th April, 2010 at 12:42 pm  

      “Naadir, it does have the potential to be an interesting constitutional discussion but, ultimately, I place the question of state-led assassinations above such philosophical shallows.”

      Errr…what is the “rule of law” other than adherence to the constitution?

      “Let’s say, for arguments sake, there a major British city had seen one devastating terrorist attack and an attempted one just over a fortnight. The civilian Police receive intel about a suspected terrorist boarding public transport… forget Chinese whispers, everything available to operation command *at* *that* *moment* suggests another attack is imminent.”

      Yes, deadly force is authorised in the face of imminent action against the state. This clearly is not the case with Awlaki.

      And no, you’re not a traitor until proven in a court of law.

      “Alwaki screams his head off about going to war with America all the time. He incites US muslims to go kill their own countrymen. He instructed Nidal Hassan and Omar Abulmuttalab to attack the US. Therefore he is an enemy combatant and we are certainly within our rights to fry the guy.”

      Circumspect evidence that he’s directly incited violence, as Johnsen & Ackerman note.

    170. Refresh — on 16th April, 2010 at 12:42 pm  

      Arif,

      I forsee another unintended consequence for the US mainland. That of reinforcing the homegrown far-right militia which thrives on the mythology of ZOG: that their government is at war with its people.

    171. cjcjc — on 16th April, 2010 at 12:50 pm  

      Possibly.
      Though it’s not just the right which believes in “Zionist tentacles” is it?!

    172. Refresh — on 16th April, 2010 at 1:08 pm  

      cjcjc,

      ‘Zionist tentacles’ is a massive misuse of language.

      Zionism has been a highly successful ideology, in terms of delivering results. This cannot be denied. How it achieved those results and continues to achieve them are no more than statecraft and to define them in any other way is most unhelpful when it comes to understanding reality.

      So it would be wrong to deny that Zionism does not have a checklist of goals it intends to achieve, and tactics it needs to use to achieve those goals.

      Avraham Burg talked of this influence as a matter of pride, whilst also noting that the Zionist movement picked on and turned the wrong people into enemies.

    173. cjcjc — on 16th April, 2010 at 1:12 pm  

      I thought you might be part of the tentacle tendency!

    174. BenSix — on 16th April, 2010 at 1:20 pm  

      …boasts about how he instructed Nidal Hassan to carry out his attacks, and howhe influenced Omar Abulmuttalb to carry out his attempt at terrorism…

      He does? Where?

    175. BenSix — on 16th April, 2010 at 1:22 pm  

      I wasn’t going to write about this because, although it disgusted me, I’ll admit that I’m usually unwilling to criticise Obama.

      Incidentally - why?

      (Ooh, that’s “where” and “why”. Someone bring up an obscure third-party so I can throw in “who” (or “what”).)

    176. BenSix — on 16th April, 2010 at 1:28 pm  

      He’s making a jolly good stab at it. He doesn’t do the dirty, but makes the rhetorical and logistical case. If you agree with the above, you should be able to see the benefit in ensuring he doesn’t get within a gnat’s crotchet of executing an attack.

      So, do you think attacks on commentators are justified, if they’re advocating violence (serious question; there’d be a case where, for example, Radio Rwanda was involved).

    177. Naadir Jeewa — on 16th April, 2010 at 1:38 pm  

      Doug asked a question about international law on the LibCon thread, so I include here a little Googling as it might be interesting to some:

      There’s a decent article discussing the issues (paywall). Basically, as we’ve seen in this thread, there’s a tension between a law-enforcement model and a just-war scenario. The author takes a mixed-model approach as follows:

      …use of lethal force to defend persons against unlawful violence is justified only when absolutely necessary. As seen above, the accepted view is that this test will be met only when force is used to stop an imminent attack. In other cases, law enforcement mechanisms must be employed. When the terrorists are not subject to the law enforcement jurisdiction of the victim state, and we are talking about violence of the scale and intensity required for the situation to be regarded as one of armed conflict, the parameters of absolute necessity have to be reconsidered.

      …I suggest that in deciding whether targeting suspected terrorists could be regarded as absolutely necessary we draw a parallel to a state’s inherent right to self-defence under Article 51 of the UN Charter. In exercising this right, a state’s actions are subject to the requirements of necessity and proportionality. Under the principle of necessity, a state may not use force if there are other means of defending itself. In the present context the implication is that a state may not target suspected terrorists if there is a reasonable possibility of apprehending them and putting them on trial…

      Applied to the 2002 cases, even in spite of the consent of the Yemeni government,

      “the targeting of al-Harethi and his companions was compatible with IHL. Had the Yemen authorities been able to arrest al-Harethi, the licence given to the US to act could not have made the targeting lawful.”

      Greg Johnsen already outlined what the US should do to greater effect to Awlaki, i.e. cyberdefence, that would silence him a lot longer, without risking civilian casualties in Yemen and radicalizing more recruits.

    178. chairwoman — on 16th April, 2010 at 1:41 pm  

      “I thought you might be part of the tentacle tendency!”

      No! No! No!

      Refresh is not repeat not a tentacle person at all!

      People (including myself initially) assume that he is anti-Israel and an antisemite.

      Refresh feels deep sympathy for the Palestinians and their cause, but has always believed in the two state solution, and is in no way anti Israel (or Israelis) per se, but loathes the current government of Israel (as he would loathe any right-wing government of anywhere :) ), and just wants to see everybody living in peace, harmony, security and equality.

      Refresh - Have I got it right, or should I have myself deleted?

    179. Refresh — on 16th April, 2010 at 3:20 pm  

      Chairwoman,

      You have it right. There is no other solution to achieving a just outcome, and if a two-state solution is not forthcoming then we are down to a single unified state.

      The play on words (eg ‘tentacle tendency’) is just so childish, and highly divisive.

      I do wish cjcjc would read Burg.

    180. Refresh — on 16th April, 2010 at 4:11 pm  

      cjcjc,

      Your response was exactly (and I mean word for word) the one I expected.

    181. cjcjc — on 16th April, 2010 at 4:18 pm  

      I aim to please.
      I’ll go and have a look at Mr Burg.

    182. Refresh — on 16th April, 2010 at 4:33 pm  

      I laughed and laughed when I read this:

      ‘For example, Rudy Giuliani, who was one of the leading neoconservatives making the case for invasion, just said: “Karzai’s there because of us, he’s our creation, we put him there… I’m not sure we want to engage in the fiction that we’re dealing with a democratically elected [leader]… that’d be a major fiction.” He said that now Karzai fleetingly follows his people’s demands rather than ours, there “might be grounds for shooting” him, and “we need to think about what comes after.” He then added, with no irony: “This guy’s a thug.” ‘

      Well worth reading the whole piece here:

      http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/johann-hari/johann-hari-the-shameful-bloody-silence-at-the-heart-of-the-election-1946255.html

      ‘Johann Hari: The shameful, bloody silence at the heart of the election

      Hamid Karzai is threatening to defect to the Taliban and still we won’t discuss it

      Friday, 16 April 2010′

    183. Refresh — on 16th April, 2010 at 4:42 pm  

      cjcjc,

      I couldn’t resist putting up my last comment with a link to Johan Hari. Although I was actually looking for one for you to go along with what you might find from Avraham Burg, so here it is:

      http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/johann-hari/johann-hari-palestinians-should-now-declare-their-independence-1920130.html

      ‘Johann Hari: Palestinians should now declare their independence

      Benjamin Netanyahu has responded to the US request with a big concrete slap

      Friday, 12 March 2010′

      And this section in particular:

      ‘How does this look to the Palestinians? Their story is so rarely explained without disinformation that it still seems startling when it is stated plainly. Until 1948, the Palestinians were living in their own homes, on their own land – until they were suddenly driven out in a war to make way for a new state for people fleeing a monstrous European genocide. They lived huddled and dazed in the 20 per cent of their land they were allowed to keep. They hardly fought back: they wept and dreamed of return. Then in the 1967 war, even these small strips were conquered with tanks and platoons.’

    184. Don — on 16th April, 2010 at 4:50 pm  

      Excellent piece by Hari, Refresh.

    185. cjcjc — on 16th April, 2010 at 4:55 pm  

      Wow - well that precis is a masterclass in disinformation in itself.
      But let’s not go down that road.

    186. Naadir Jeewa — on 16th April, 2010 at 5:21 pm  

      Independent needs to sort out its pundits, ffs.

      First, there was this from Peter Tatchell:

      “Punjabi supremacists have imposed an alien language, Urdu, on Baluchi-speaking people. Borrowing from the tactics of apartheid in South Africa, which forced black children to be schooled in Afrikaans, Islamabad has dictated that Urdu is the compulsory language of instruction in Baluch educational institutions. The cultural conquest also involves the radical Islamification of the traditionally more secular Baluch nation. Large numbers of religious schools have been funded by Islamabad with a view to imposing Pakistan’s harsher, more narrow-minded interpretation of Islam. This is fuelling fundamentalism.”

      WTF?

      Then Johann’s “Hamid Karzai is threatening to defect to the Taliban and still we won’t discuss it”.

      Rly? I think it was discussed in Foreign Policy’s AfPak Channel, by suitably qualified people.

      So for the record: Karzai is not about to join the Taliban.

      Oh.

    187. Don — on 16th April, 2010 at 7:29 pm  

      But let’s not go down that road.

      No. Let’s.

    188. Refresh — on 16th April, 2010 at 7:36 pm  

      Naadir Jeewa,

      Not sure how Hari’s article is at variance to your link. But the critical point is surely Giuliani’s comments which lays bare the pretense of democratic elections and rebuiling a sustainable Afghanistan. And of course the idea of universal human rights and self-determination.

      Will Karzai become the next Noriega? That is the question.

    189. RickB — on 16th April, 2010 at 11:36 pm  

      Got a passing mention on AI USA’s blog
      http://blog.amnestyusa.org/waronterror/obama-through-the-looking-glass/

    190. Quantum_Singularity — on 16th April, 2010 at 11:43 pm  

      @ Ravi for 166
      “And so a lot of white militias in the US. As an aside, remember terrorist Tim McVeigh – who declared war to the US? You will love this exchange.”

      Your point? If you are saying that Tim McVeigh could have been declared an enemy combatant, he certainly could have been. It was merely the US’s prerogative not too. I don’t understand the relevance of the link. Sean Hannity was merely showing his anger that that the Tea Party was being written off as bunch of extreme right wingers (which they are) hence the reference to Tim McVeigh wannabes.

    191. earwicga — on 16th April, 2010 at 11:54 pm  

      And a blog on Amnesty UK’s site:
      http://blogs.amnesty.org.uk/blogs_entry.asp?eid=6340

    192. Quantum_Singularity — on 17th April, 2010 at 12:04 am  

      @ Arif for 168

      “Eg. because of the terrible things done by US soldiers/Islamic terrorists we must fight them, and that means innocent people will die whether we like it or not – because it isn’t easy to tell the difference and our fighters would be in danger if they tried too hard.”

      It isn’t easy to tell uniformed American soldiers with American flag patches on their shoulders from innocent civilians?

      “Furthermore, all our fighters’ supporters are innocent because we are on the side of justice, all theirs are guilty of supporting the killing of innocents. Eventually we will win because we can’t afford to lose. Etc etc.”

      Erroneous. The US is in fact offering amnesty and money to Taliban fighters that lay down their arms and reintegrate them into Afghan society in fact a similar tactic was employed vis a vis the Awakening Councils in Iraq. They are not viewed as being “guilty” but merely as someone to bring back into the fold.

      “Doves may additionally argue a mixed moral and tactical case that US citizens are safer if the rules of war don’t seem to say that each side can target anyone they think supports their enemy’s troops rather than just the troops themselves.”

      I seriously doubt that the Taliban, AQ, or other militants every seriously considered following the rules of war. If this is the basis of the dove’s argument then it is a fallacy. How exactly does unilateral observance of the rules of war by one side motivate the other side to follow the same rules?

    193. not_Brownie — on 17th April, 2010 at 12:26 am  

      Oh, you had some questions about the IRA. You’ll notice we didn’t have to launch a trillion-dollar bloodbath in somebody else’s jurisdiction using high explosives as our weapon of first resort to beat them – lessons to be learned, you think?

      Not really. The IRA didn’t maange to kill as many people in 30 years as Al Qaeda did in one September morning so thre’s nothing remotely comparable.

      But you’re right that the war against the Provos was a good clean fight with no extra-judicial killings, detention without trial, torture or state-sponsored murder.

      Phew!

    194. Lucy — on 17th April, 2010 at 1:21 am  

      “The greatest source of error for the Americans in Iraq was not a policy mistake but an abiding belief that they alone made the political weather. Anything good or bad which happened was the result of American action.

      Thus if the Sunni insurgency against American forces started to come to an end in the second half of 2007 it must be because of the “surge”, as the 30,000 extra US troops and more aggressive tactics on the ground were known.

      The real reason for the fall in violence had more to do with the Shia victory over the Sunni in an extraordinarily savage civil war, a reaction against Al-Qa’ida, and the ceasefire called by the Mehdi Army to which belonged most of the Shia death squads.”

      If the US intervention in Iraq proved anything it was that the Americans never had the strength to shape the political and military environment to their own liking. Yet well-reviewed books on Iraq still appear in which Iraqis have a walk-on role and when somebody pushes a button in Washington something happens in Baghdad.

      These misconceptions are important because the mythology about the supposed success of the “surge” is being promoted as a recipe for victory in Afghanistan.

      This would not be the first time that false analogies between Iraq and Afghanistan have misled Washington.

      I was in Afghanistan during the war against the Taliban at the end of 2001 and the beginning of 2002 and one of the most striking features of the conflict was the lack of fighting.

      The warlords and their men, who had previously rallied to the Taliban, simply went home because they did not want to be bombed by US aircrafts and they were heavily bribed to do so. There was very little combat.

      Yet when I went to Washington to work in a think-tank for a few months later that year the Afghan war was being cited by the Bush administration as proof of America’s military omnipotence.”

      http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/patrick-cockburn-warning-to-the-us-beware-treating-afghanistan-like-iraq-1632281.html
      Patrick Cockburn 26 February 2009 The Independent.

    195. FlyingRodent — on 17th April, 2010 at 7:45 am  

      But you’re right that the war against the Provos was a good clean fight with no extra-judicial killings, detention without trial, torture or state-sponsored murder.

      No doubt - I propose that the fact that these things were done covertly is not insignificant, since it implies that the British government was at least a bit embarrassed about this stuff, or was even aware of how horribly that shit might blow up in their faces if it became common knowledge. It may seem like a minor point, but the distinction between slyly committing crimes and openly celebrating them in front of the world’s press suggests that a line has been crossed.

      I’m open to correction here, but I’m unaware of any British Prime Ministers taking to the airwaves to throw kung-fu combos while pledging to murder anyone and anyone he or she liked, at his or her convenience. I don’t recall any insane aerial bombardments of Derry; If Long Kesh was intended as a black prison in a third country, the existence of which the government kept secret, they did a real shitty job of keeping it quiet. Had the government used the methods that we’ve used in Iraq and Afghanistan, I reckon Belfast might look a bit more like Gaza City or Beirut than it currently does.

      All of which is rather tangential to the basic, undeniable point that those who actively favour all of these policies and make excuses for torture, extrajudicial murder etc. are mendacious bullshitters, and that their attempts to premise their arguments on the protection of human rights are tainted and fraudulent.

      The IRA didn’t maange to kill as many people in 30 years as Al Qaeda did in one September morning so thre’s nothing remotely comparable.

      Of course. I notice that we have spent the last ten years fighting with a motley mix of Pashtun tribesmen, part-time paid insurgents, Pakistani religious fanatics, sectarian Iraqi militiamen and God knows who else.

      There are plenty of excuses for keeping a massive military presence in Afghanistan and Iraq, and some of them aren’t cretinous or insane. The pretence that we’re fighting “Al Qaeda”, on the other hand, is an affront to the public’s intelligence.

    196. earwicga — on 17th April, 2010 at 11:28 am  

      There are plenty of excuses for keeping a massive military presence in Afghanistan and Iraq, and some of them aren’t cretinous or insane.

      Are there any reasons that aren’t related to the violence and occupation of Team America?

    197. Farley — on 17th April, 2010 at 7:14 pm  

      How about the overwhelming will of the Afghan people, earwicga? Or is that too gauche for your refined fascism?

    198. not_Brownie — on 17th April, 2010 at 7:24 pm  

      Are there any reasons that aren’t related to the violence and occupation of Team America?

      Will someone who knows and cares about earwicga take her to one side and have a quiet word?

    199. Lucy — on 18th April, 2010 at 10:11 am  

      http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/kim-sengupta-nine-years-after-liberation-afghans-continue-to-despair-1947856.html

      Kim Sengupta: Nine years after ‘liberation’, Afghans continue to despair

      “…’the Americans are determined to “clear” Kandahar and curb the power of local leaders.

      However, the risk of inflaming local opinion is great in this Pashtun heartland. Nasruddin Ali, a shopkeeper, appeared to sum up the mood of many in the city. “We have been suffering for a long time now, we have had members of our families killed and kidnapped, homes destroyed.What is the point of having thousands of foreign troops here if they can’t bring peace?”‘

      http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/13/world/asia/13afghan.html
      Civilians Killed as U.S. Troops Fire on Afghan Bus

      The governor of Kandahar Province, Tooryalai Wesa, called for the commander of the military convoy that opened fire to be prosecuted under military law.

      “If you want to stop the bus, it should be shot in the tires,” Mr. Wesa said. “Why shoot the people inside?”

    200. Farley — on 18th April, 2010 at 10:51 am  

      Why don’t you just come right out and say that you would like the Taliban back, Lucy? Because that will be the inevitable result of allied troops withdrawing at the moment. Goodbye to the education of girls, to the ability of Afghans to vote, to the small advances in the improvements of conditions of vulnerable social groups. Hello again to Al Qaeda using Afghanistan is one big training camp, good news for the Taliban in its quest to take over Pakistan and get hold of nuclear weapons.

      But the most important thing will be that western ‘liberals’ will be able to gloat about the precious human rights they demand for themselves being taken away from the Afghans. And of course you, earwicga and others can profess complete ‘not me, guv, it must have been the zionists’ fault’ ‘surprise’ when those things happen.

      The people of Afghanistan have indicated they overwhelmingly prefer having allied troops to having the Taliban back, but it’s good that there are so many progressive westerners who know better that what they REALLY want deep down is a violent, intolerant, misogynistic totalitarian theocracy again. It’s for their own good, isn’t it?

    201. Arif — on 18th April, 2010 at 11:08 am  

      Quantum Singularity (#192)

      I put my argument into a broad context as I see it. I accept that you see the context very differently, and I think it is absolutely proper for you to express your reading of the context the way you have.

      My position (broadly that human rights are applicable from my point of view because I cannot coherently position myself as being on a particular side in a war) will necessarily differ from those who consider the actions of one or other actor being part of a just war.

      I don’t want to explore further whether the war is just and why in this thread, because it would take us too far away from the focus on how we construct the human rights of Anwar Al-Awlaki into a general discussion of our values, backgrounds and commitments. And while I think these things underlie various constructions of Al-Awlaki’s position, I also think open, respectful discussions about them are hard to achieve on public blogs, so maybe I’m choosy when I take part in such discussions.

    202. Lucy — on 18th April, 2010 at 11:13 am  

      You may not have noticed, Farley, that the Taliban have not gone away and nor have the warlords both in government and in partnership deals.

      “Dealing with brutal Afghan warlords is a mistake
      One of the warlords who may soon star in the new US efforts to rebrand fundamentalists as potential government partners is Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, a brutal Afghan insurgent commander…”
      http://www.rawa.org/temp/runews/2010/01/17/dealing-with-brutal-afghan-warlords-is-a-mistake.html

      http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/may/04/afghanistan-president-hamid-karzai-election

      Flinging mindless accusations around makes what kind of case for your point of view exactly?

    203. douglas clark — on 18th April, 2010 at 11:21 am  

      Farley @ 197,

      On the question of:

      How about the overwhelming will of the Afghan people, earwicga?

      What do we know about that, exactly?

      That they voted? That there is still some sort of three way, maybe four way, civil war going on?

      It would be good to establish a social democracy in Afghanistan, but there appears to be no party that likes that idea.

      Anyway, you tell me.

    204. Farley — on 18th April, 2010 at 3:49 pm  

      “How about the overwhelming will of the Afghan people, earwicga?

      What do we know about that, exactly?

      That they voted?”

      Yes, that it is one rather large - and inconvenient for you, earwicga and others - indication, Douglas.

      “That there is still some sort of three way, maybe four way, civil war going on?

      What does that have to do with the will of the majority of the population? It tells us what we already knew about violent armed factions. They are not the majority of the country. They have power by dint of being armed and violent. That doesn’t amount to or trump the collective wishes of a nation of millions of civilians except in the mind of a fascist.

      There is also the results of the recent national survey there. Here are some of the best points (there are, as no one has disputed, still plenty of problems and criticisms):

      “After steep declines in recent years there’s been a 30-point advance in views that the country is headed in the right direction; 70 percent now say so, the most since 2005. Afghans’ expectations that their own lives will be better a year from now have jumped by 20 points, to 71 percent, a new high. And there’s been a 14-point rise in expectations that the next generation will have a better life, to 61 percent.

      Critical from the U.S. perspective is that, despite poor views of its performance, 68 percent of Afghans continue to support the presence of U.S. forces in their country – and nearly as many, 61 percent, favor the coming surge of Western troops initiated by President Obama.

      The Taliban, for its part, remains vastly unpopular; in addition to taking more blame for the country’s strife it’s increasingly seen as Afghanistan’s greatest threat – 69 percent now say so, a new high. Ninety percent prefer the current government to the Taliban (up 8 points) and there’s been a 16-point jump in belief the Taliban’s grown weaker during the past year.”

      http://abcnews.go.com/PollingUnit/afghanistan-abc-news-national-survey-poll-show-support/story?id=9511961

      “It would be good to establish a social democracy in Afghanistan, but there appears to be no party that likes that idea. Anyway, you tell me.”

      There appear to be a vast majority of people in Afghanistan who do want at least some form of democracy and don’t want the Taliban back. Your jaundiced view of this is selfish and arrogant. As for ‘you tell me’, you were evidently either ignorant of the survey or indifferent to it and the views expressed therein. Either way that says plenty.

      @ Lucy

      “You may not have noticed, Farley, that the Taliban have not gone away and nor have the warlords both in government and in partnership deals.”

      I have been fully aware, Lucy. Why did you duck the question about whether you want the Taliban back or not? That will be the result of allied troops leaving at this stage, something you don’t have the honesty to admit.

      “Flinging mindless accusations around makes what kind of case for your point of view exactly?”

      Not mindless accusations, simply making the logical inference from what you have posted and what you have avoided stating. I’m willing to admit I favour keeping troops in Afghanistan for some time longer until Afghan institutions are stronger and there are strong signals that the majority of Afghans want them to leave rather than stay. That is despite the mistakes and the bloodshed that this has entailed and will rpobably keep entailing to some extent. The Afghans appear to think overwhelmingly that the Taliban returning would entail far worse. They certainly don’t seem to imagine that once the allied troops have gone, the root cause of suffering and the deaths of civilians will magically cease or drastically reduce. Quite the opposite.

      You, by contrast, don’t appear to be willing to state a position on this. If you want the troops out now, contrary to the will of the Afghan people, then the Taliban will return to power. That is the simple, brutal truth. If you don’t support that, then you should support, however critically, the remaining of allied troops for the time being, in accordance with the wishes of the Afghan people. So which side of the fence are you on, Lucy?

    205. earwicga — on 18th April, 2010 at 4:11 pm  

      I had thought that was the survey you were referring to Farley. Have you by any chance thought about the realities of polling in a war zone? Others have as shown in this excerpt from an article which is well worth reading:

      In a word, no, say people who have worked extensively on the ground in Afghanistan.

      HuffPost interviewed Prakhar Sharma, head of research at the Centre for Conflict and Peace Studies (CAPS) in Kabul, who has done a large amount of public-opinion research work in Afghanistan, where he is based; Matthew Hoh, a foreign service officer who resigned last September in protest of the administration’s Afghan policy; Anand Gopal, a Wall Street Journal reporter who has traveled widely in Afghanistan; and Christian Parenti, a reporter with The Nation who travels frequently to Afghanistan and was the field producer of the Afghanistan-based documentary The Fixer

      Four of the five say that reliable survey results in Afghanistan are impossible for several obvious reasons, and some not so obvious. The obvious ones first: The Taliban controls large swaths of the country and the war has made much of the country unsafe to travel through. The Taliban doesn’t do surveys, so anybody approached by somebody with a clipboard knows that the person either represents foreign troops, the central government or a private company associated with one or both.

      Then there are the not-so-immediately obvious reasons: Afghanistan is a highly patriarchal society, meaning that getting a woman’s true opinion is extremely hard. Sharma said that his research teams have never been able to get even close to the 50-50 male/female split that the ABC survey claims.

      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/01/13/afghanistan-experts-doubt_n_422482.html

      You should also have a read of this report: http://www.wired.com/images_blogs/dangerroom/2010/04/kandahar-province-survey-report-5-apr-2010-for-isaf.pdf via http://stopwar.org.uk/content/view/1841/27/ which includes this:

      Both polling and embedding researchers have their risks, and their shortcomings: Two HTS social scientists have been killed in Afghanistan, but conducting surveys, even through local companies, can also be perilous. The survey draws on a total of 1,994 interviews covering nine of Kandahar Province’s 16 districts. But it leaves out seven crucial districts: As the survey’s authors note, there are “inherent dangers associated with conducting surveys in a conflict zone” like Kandahar Province, and interviewers stayed out of areas with active violence.

      In other words, the survey leaves out the populations that most need to be understood, at least from the coalition’s perspective. Still, the results are telling. Interviewers queried residents of Kandahar on everything from quality of services like clean water, electricity to the availability of primary schooling for girls and boys and medical care. They also asked local residents about security government effectiveness.

      Among the findings: Security on the roads is a major issue for residents of Kandahar. “When respondents are asked if they feel unsafe traveling within their district or around the province, in eight out of ten districts, at least half say they are unsafe,” the study says. And the biggest threat to security while traveling in the province, respondents said: Army and police checkpoints.

      Likewise, attitudes in the south are generally sympathetic to the Taliban. Reconciliation with the insurgency is a popular concept in the province, and a significant majority of respondents viewed Taliban as “our Afghan brothers.” Some 84 percent cited “corruption” as the main reason for the conflict. But most of that corruption in on the government side: 53 percent said the Taliban cannot be corrupted.

      When you have done the requitred reading Farley, they come back and talk some more about accusations of fascism. Or just don’t bother…

      You have said to Lucy:

      If you want the troops out now, contrary to the will of the Afghan people, then the Taliban will return to power. That is the simple, brutal truth.

      The Taliban never went away, ditto for the warlords. They are both well represented in the Afghan National Parliament. Without actual knowledge you cannot make the ‘logical inference’ that you have assumed you made.

    206. Farley — on 18th April, 2010 at 5:06 pm  

      “When you have done the requitred reading Farley, they come back and talk some more about accusations of fascism. Or just don’t bother…”

      I am already familiar with those reports, and I don’t neede you, Miss Schoolmarm, to tell me what reading is ‘required’.

      The fallacy at the heart of reports you cite is obvious. Your side is arguing

      1) that one cannot trust polling from warzones, indeed that it’s practically impossible to poll in them.
      2) that those satisfied with the change from the Taliban are living in the more peaceful majority part of Afghanistan and are, er… therefore unrepresentative and not to be trusted.
      3) that those living in the Taliban zones clearly support the Taliban, and we know this because er… the polling is easier and more accurate in the really violent parts of Afghanistan.

      Its own founding logic rots the argument to bits. It can only convince those who already want to believe it.

      “The Taliban never went away, ditto for the warlords. They are both well represented in the Afghan National Parliament.”

      The Taliban does not rule Afghanistan anymore. In case you and Lucy did not notice, they were removed and replaced by a democracy which you appear to greatly resent. There have been improvements in recents, most notably the education of millions of girls. Again, you appear to consider this no advance, since you pretneded not to be able to think of any possible good reason for keeping allied forces in Afghanistan. Then again, we already know you are no feminist, you have boasted about this yourself. You don’t want Afghan females to have what you take for granted as your own rights, and that is why you denigrate the allies and their Afghan supporters as being no better than the Taliban themslves, and serving no useful purpose whatsoever. So yes, you are a fascist.

    207. earwicga — on 18th April, 2010 at 5:11 pm  

      Farley, if you believe that Afghanistan has a democratic government then I have nothing more to say to you. I laugh at you.

      As for:

      Then again, we already know you are no feminist, you have boasted about this yourself. You don’t want Afghan females to have what you take for granted as your own rights, and that is why you denigrate the allies and their Afghan supporters as being no better than the Taliban themslves, and serving no useful purpose whatsoever.

      I have never said anything of the sort, but considering your comprehension skills it is believable that you think this. Your bad.

    208. Farley — on 18th April, 2010 at 5:27 pm  

      “Farley, if you believe that Afghanistan has a democratic parliament then I have nothing more to say to you. I laugh at you.”

      It is a form of democracy, yes. Very imperfect, certainly, and with a good way to go in improving the lives of Afghan people and making a fairer society, but still easily preferable to being ruled by a self-selecting council of religious nuts, I’m sure you would agree - if you held any value in democracy.

      To dismiss it with a laugh as you do once again appears to indicate an indifference or even resentment of such advances as have been made which any progressive should approve of - e.g. the education of females; the fact that it appears not to have done much good in your case doesn’t mean others should be denied it or that it’s an intrinsically risible matter.

      “Then again, we already know you are no feminist, you have boasted about this yourself.”

      “I have never said anything of the sort”

      That’s not true, though, is it? The following was on your own blog on the ‘About’ page until this morning at least, and I see now that you have removed it:

      “08 February 2009 2010*
      This is not a feminist blog. Much feminism today seems to advocate women’s rights above all others. This is not what feminism was founded on. It is not liberation. Following the take up today of the suspension of Gita Saghal because of her rank views on Moazzam Begg and Cageprisoners as a feminist issue leads me to say firmly that I am NOT a feminist.”

      Do you deny that? Any particular reason why you took it down?

      *Note: The 2009 was scored through and replaced with a 2010, which is why it’s pasted in in this form.

    209. earwicga — on 18th April, 2010 at 5:33 pm  

      Farley - that was there and there was an update underneath it that you also would have seen as it was made at the same time that I corrected the date which read:

      26 February 2010
      I was angry on 08 February when I added the comment above. Obviously I am still a feminist. It’s not something I can remove from myself. At some point in the near future I shall refresh this page properly.

      You can find a blog record of this here: http://earwicga.wordpress.com/?s=update+to+my+about+page or on the cached version of my About page: http://66.102.9.132/search?q=cache:0ZbAOiNaIdIJ:earwicga.wordpress.com/about/+site:earwicga.wordpress.com+earwicga+about&cd=56&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=uk
      Very poor attempt to smear me! I still laugh at you.

    210. Farley — on 18th April, 2010 at 5:45 pm  

      It’s not a smear of you. You admit now that you said it, but first you lied about it, saying:

      “I have never said anything of the sort”

      You did. Your own words, typed by you. You have been caught out lying.

      You have said since that ‘obviously’ you are still a feminist, but it’s not obvious at all from your pointed refusal even to acknowledge the fact of some improvements for women and girls in Afghanistan, however far from the ideal that may leave them. It suggests that when you said you weren’t a feminist, that was when you were actually telling the truth.

      Any reason you took it down sometime this afternoon, Earwicga? You still haven’t answered that. It wasn’t because you hoped that by deleting it the evidence for what I said in this thread would be gone, so that you could plausibly claim ““I have never said anything of the sort”, was it? Or are we supposed to believe it was just a complete coincidence?

    211. earwicga — on 18th April, 2010 at 5:52 pm  

      Farley: http://video.google.co.uk/videoplay?docid=3808304573841392701&ei=QTjLS6GHG9Dy-Ab-kP3fBQ&q=laughing&hl=en#

    212. Farley — on 18th April, 2010 at 6:02 pm  

      So you can’t answer. You can’t explain why you lied. You can try and laugh it off, but that won’t stop others seeing that you have been caught out lying. Well done, liar.

    213. earwicga — on 18th April, 2010 at 6:15 pm  

      Oh lordy Farley, you have real comprehension problems.

      You said:

      Then again, we already know you are no feminist, you have boasted about this yourself. You don’t want Afghan females to have what you take for granted as your own rights, and that is why you denigrate the allies and their Afghan supporters as being no better than the Taliban themslves, and serving no useful purpose whatsoever.

      I said:

      I have never said anything of the sort, but considering your comprehension skills it is believable that you think this. Your bad.

      You then selectively quoted from my blog to try to prove I am liar and fascist and that I ‘boasted’. I provided the full text and the links to what I did say. Nothing there to prove anything of the sort, well nothing there to anybody with comprehension skills…

      I am quite happy for it all to be read, which is why I quoted it here and provided links. I’m not with you on the dishonesty train.

      Still laughing at you Farley. Don’t bother waiting for another reply as I am not in the habit of wasting time on people like you.

    214. Farley — on 18th April, 2010 at 6:27 pm  

      “I am quite happy for it all to be read, which is why I quoted it here and provided links.”

      You were obviously not quite happy about it being read, or you wouldn’t have taken it down this afternoon. Your initial reaction appears to have been to delete the comment on your blog, and then deny having made it. When I quoted it, having found the information this morning and rightly suspecting you might remove it if it was referred to in the context of such an argument, you merely tried to mitigate your lie by citing your later retraction. It doesn’t change that you DID make that statement about not being a feminist, which you initially denied having made. You lied, you were caught out, deal with it.

      “Don’t bother waiting for another reply as I am not in the habit of wasting time on people like you.”

      Don’t worry, I don’t set much store on your replies as they are for the most part not full and honest answers, just a mix of high-handedness, spite and embarrassed lying. The main thing is that others can see the hole you dug yourself into on this thread by your dishonesty and underestimation of those who argue against you. Back to school, earwicga.

    215. Turnip — on 18th April, 2010 at 6:39 pm  

      Where did Hundal find this earwicga character? What an utter disaster she has turned out to be.

    216. KJB — on 18th April, 2010 at 7:09 pm  

      earwicga - this one’s for you.

      I believe the middle square (usually the ‘free pass’) and the one on the right of it sum up what you’re dealing with here, hmm?

    217. earwicga — on 18th April, 2010 at 7:19 pm  

      Cheers KJB :)

    218. Don — on 18th April, 2010 at 7:21 pm  

      KJB,I got three of those.Maybe four. Does that make me a bad person?

    219. KJB — on 18th April, 2010 at 8:37 pm  

      Don - Not necessarily, but it does make you in serious need of checking your privilege. I’m quite curious about which 3 - and dreading knowing.

    220. Ravi.N — on 18th April, 2010 at 10:02 pm  

      Don – Not necessarily, but it does make you in serious need of checking your privilege. I’m quite curious about which 3 – and dreading knowing

      I am afraid I also got 3, KJB. A solid 3.

    221. Farley — on 18th April, 2010 at 11:01 pm  

      KJB

      “earwicga – this one’s for you.

      I believe the middle square (usually the ‘free pass’) and the one on the right of it sum up what you’re dealing with here, hmm?”

      You can insinuate all you want that mine is the anti-feminist agenda, but I’m not the one treating the education of girls in Afghanistan as being unworthy of comment. If education for girls was banned in a western country everyone on here would rightly be howling furiously about it. When it’s on the cards in an Afghanistan that reverts to Taliban rule, you don’t seem to have a single honest comment on that, merely resorting to sniggering, sneering and insinuating about your opponent.

      You really have hit the pits when you treat the straightforward assertion of the rights of minorities and traditionally oppressed groups to equality as being suspect or driven by some right wing agenda. That’s just paranoia and cynicism. If your support in such instances is conditional on who else is supporting it, then what is the point in calling yourselves progressives at all?

      I have put my argument for keeping allied troops in Afghanistan on the table and none of those who have taken issue with me have asserted any subtantial counter-argument, merely jeered and smeared.

      I would be interested to know how you expect Afghan to progress forwards to a fairer society. If you really believe it has to be done entirely on its own, with the recent gains to be sacrificed for the moment in order to create a better long-term result from scratch, then by all means say it. I could respect that, although I don’t agree with it, and I doubt any of the millions of Afghan schoolgirls currently getting some education would welcome it. But in a debate on the future of Afghanistan it would help if at least those dismissing the case for allied troops remaining would articulate their alternative, and in doing so at least be honest about the likely losses - at least temporarily - of such advances as have been made in recent years.

    222. Refresh — on 18th April, 2010 at 11:25 pm  

      Farley, the cynicism (if that is what it is) may well be justfied given this:

      ‘For example, Rudy Giuliani, who was one of the leading neoconservatives making the case for invasion, just said: “Karzai’s there because of us, he’s our creation, we put him there… I’m not sure we want to engage in the fiction that we’re dealing with a democratically elected [leader]… that’d be a major fiction.” He said that now Karzai fleetingly follows his people’s demands rather than ours, there “might be grounds for shooting” him, and “we need to think about what comes after.” He then added, with no irony: “This guy’s a thug.” ‘

      See my link upthread.

      You will not encourage education by killing their brothers, fathers, uncles and cousins - and presumably their mothers as collateral.

      There are times when the justification demands jeers.

    223. Notabloodyfeminist! — on 18th April, 2010 at 11:25 pm  

      Our lady of the Selectivbe Causes is not a feminist if the blokes throwing acid into girls’ faces or dragging their wives and kids into a living hell hell for females are muscular muslim blokes; then she fellates and how!

      She becomes considerably more shrill in her ‘feminist’ credentials when the rapists and abusers are limpwristed catholics. It is a matter of what turns on one, you see.

    224. Naadir Jeewa — on 18th April, 2010 at 11:38 pm  

      Well, I think the issue that earwicga’s highlighting is the instrumentalisation of women’s right as a justification for the continuing the ISAF presence.

      I don’t kid myself with such BS, we’re in there for national security interests first. We might have some obligation for leaving Afghanistan as a stable country after fucking it up so spectacularly, but that’s about it.

      Which is why I’ve always had a standing order set up to this lot. A political party of liberal, secular, Afghan women who want the ISAF the fuck out of their country. Why? They were shut out of UN negotiations, who with US assistance replaced the Taliban with warlords with no better record on womens rights.

      Also, let’s not kid ourselves that Afghanistan is even vaguely a democracy. Competitive authoritarianism is the closest designation that the country deserves.

      Despite the reliability of the surveys, one thing is clear. Afghans have primarily Hobbesian concerns. They will side with whomsoever offers the greatest security. In some areas, that’s the ANP/ISAF, others Taliban. Afghanistan at the present moment does not exercise territorial sovereignty, and still wont if ISAF disappeared tomorrow. The whole point of the new counterinsurgency strategy is to swing the population to ANP/ISAF through clear and hold operations. Who knows if it’ll work…

    225. Farley — on 19th April, 2010 at 1:14 am  

      “You will not encourage education by killing their brothers, fathers, uncles and cousins – and presumably their mothers as collateral.”

      Oh look, a strawman. You can guarantee there will be no girls educated at all if the Taliban return to rule Afghanistan. How do you feel about that prospect? The Taliban certainly won’t encourage education by beheading schoolteachers and blowing up schools.

      I don’t believe for a moment that Afghanistan is some perfected democracy. It’s still a broken country with very far to go. Starting from the hellhole of Taliban rule, and with the Taliban still trying to wreck it, and yes, with corrupt enemies of theirs in parliament, how could things be otherwise? I do believe that despite all that, there have been some real improvements that have made a real difference to many people’s lives. I don’t believe that that should be thrown away lightly.

      If people really believe it’s better to get out, let the fragile gains fall to pieces and the country fend for itself and perhaps eventually come out the other side that way, then I can respect that, while disagreeing with the view that it has as much or more chance of working as continuing with things as they are in the hope that small gains grow into larger ones. I genuinely believe it will be to Afghanistan’s advantage in the long term if, among other things, girl’s education continues. Believing that doesn’t remotely necessitate believing that all is sweetness and light there and that the promised land has been found.

      “We might have some obligation for leaving Afghanistan as a stable country after fucking it up so spectacularly,”

      Do you really believe the western presence there has made it actually worse than it already was? Honestly? Do you genuinely believe it was a better place to live under the Taliban?

      “There are times when the justification demands jeers.”

      Even when the justification is by ordinary Afghans? Especially so?

    226. earwicga — on 19th April, 2010 at 1:21 am  

      Farley - can you provide some substantiated evidence that life for Afghan women and girls is better now than at the beginning of violence and occupation by Team America?

      PS - there is a lot of evidence which shows levels of violence against women and girls are the same now as then.

    227. Naadir Jeewa — on 19th April, 2010 at 1:39 am  

      Yeah, we fucked up in the Soviet invasion. They were imposing land reform that would have broken the power of the warlords the US ended up supporting, and universal education would have been instituted. We would be looking at a semi-failed post-Soviet state instead of the mess it is today.
      And of course, the US gave financial aid to the Taliban in the late nineties in the war on drugs.

      Also, you’re assuming the Taliban wont return to rule parts of Afghanistan in some form. Whatever happens, the Taliban is extremely likely to be part of the parliament in one form or another.

      At some point, the territorial sovereignty principle has to count for something. And if the benchmark for military intervention is female school enrollment, then perhaps you support the Chinese annexation of Tibet. After all, the education of girls was forbidden under the monasteries feudal order.

    228. Naadir Jeewa — on 19th April, 2010 at 1:50 am  

      @226

      To be fair to Farley, here’s the World Bank stats on female school enrollment.

    229. Refresh — on 19th April, 2010 at 10:30 am  

      I don’t do strawman.

    230. grifone — on 19th April, 2010 at 1:29 pm  

      “PS – there is a lot of evidence which shows levels of violence against women and girls are the same now as then.”

      Just saying “there’s lots of evidence” isn’t enough. Let’s see the evidence. And then we can analyse who the perpetrators are.

    231. earwicga — on 19th April, 2010 at 1:51 pm  

      grifone - in due time. I have asked for ‘substantiated evidence that life for Afghan women and girls is better now than at the beginning of violence and occupation by Team America’ - I really want to see it.

    232. grifone — on 19th April, 2010 at 1:57 pm  

      Well, you seem to think you have evidence that suggests that violence against women is the same now as it was under the Taliban.

      You say there is ” a lot of evidence” to suggest that. I really want to see if the violence against women is being perpetrated by “Team America”.

    233. earwicga — on 19th April, 2010 at 2:03 pm  

      grifone - so you don’t have an answer to my question then?

    234. Jai — on 19th April, 2010 at 2:03 pm  

      Earwicga,

      A couple of my comments on the “Asian Network - Pt 1″ thread have been trapped by PP’s filter. Could you please extract them when you have a spare minute ?

      Thanks,
      Jai

    235. earwicga — on 19th April, 2010 at 2:12 pm  

      I’d love to Jai, but I can only moderate comments on my own posts. Sorry. I could email them to you and you can try to re-submit?

    236. Jai — on 19th April, 2010 at 2:25 pm  

      That’s okay, don’t worry. Hopefully Sunny or Rumbold will be able to sort it out at some point today.

    237. grifone — on 19th April, 2010 at 2:54 pm  

      “grifone – so you don’t have an answer to my question then?”

      Well I didn’t suggest that levels of violence against women and girls has decreased since the fall of the Taliban. You should be asking that of the person who made the claim.

      However, you have quite categorically stated that violence against women is the same now as it was under the Taliban.

      Where is your evidence for that? You have claimed that there is “a lot”. Let’s see it. Then we can see who the perpetrators of said increases in violence is.

    238. grifone — on 20th April, 2010 at 1:04 pm  

      So no real evidence, I see. How not surprising.

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