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TERRORISM: TNT shows flawed understanding of America

Letter by Richard Champion, Federal Way on Oct. 5, 2011 at 5:18 pm with 27 Comments »
October 6, 2011 10:15 am

The News Tribune’s editorial (10-4) on the assassination of Anwar al-Awlaki betrayed a fundamental misunderstanding of America by its editorial board.

John Adams said that “we are a nation of laws, not men.” Yet the editorial board would have its readers believe we are a nation of presidents (and their dictates). The mettle of Americans in defending their Constitution is tested when the issue at hand is difficult and involves loathsome individuals.

What we know is that al-Awlaki was a U.S. citizen who disseminated anti-American diatribes on video and in text. That is all we know. Everything else is what we are told. We’re told that he was integral planner of several terror attacks, but never has the U.S. government felt it worthwhile to show us any evidence.

Similarly we were told countless times that Jose Padilla was a “dirty bomber,” yet at trial those allegations evaporated. Al-Awlaki may have been a plotter of terror attacks, but our president never deigned to try to prove as much.

Why would The News Tribune scoff at worries of abuse of executive powers by any president as “ridiculous”? Because we trust this president? Because the lawyers he hired in the Office of Legal Counsel, in this case, told him it was legal? Because a president wouldn’t do such a thing?

We are a nation of laws, not men.

Leave a comment Comments → 27
  1. Vox_clamantis_in_deserto says:

    Gee Richard, did you have the same concerns for David Koresh? Randy Weaver? How about Weaver’s family?

    Just sayin’.

  2. I haven’t agreed with much of what the current president has done. But in this case, I applaud him and those involved in killing a snake.

  3. LarryFine says:

    I applaud him as well, but I can’t help but imagine how different the story line would be… say… 4 years ago.

  4. championrd says:

    The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution: “No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury”.

    For reference, we indicted Osama bin Laden. And in answer to a previous comment, Randy Weaver also had an indictment against him, think whatever you like of that case. In the case of David Koresh, there was a search warrant to inspect his compound. In these cases, evidence was presented to justify their pursuit by authorities. None of this was never even attempted in the case of al-Awlaki. Every time we violate this basic American tenet, we are sacrificing a little bit more and more of what makes the United States a great nation.

  5. slugoxyz says:

    Just because you are not presented the evidence does not mean it does not exist. It just means you are not privy to it. I’m relatively certain I am not privy to a lot of things that weigh on National Defense. I am completely fine with that. If the CIA/NSA or some other acronym agency knew he was a bad guy and they kill him to keep us safer here – even if only in theory, I am completely fine with that. If you want to be “in the know” than you should join the military, pick a career in intelligence or apply to one of those agencies. Otherwise, you’ll just have to wait for the leak. Give it a rest already. Your constitutional rights are just fine so long as you are not plotting to kill Americans. Unless you are plotting to overthrow America, I seriously doubt anyone is looking at you. And if they are, there is probably good cause. The Intelligence Community are pretty busy folk. I doubt they are taking too many “fishing expeditions” looking for targets. I’m sure the list is long and auspicious. Just stay off the list. That’s my advice.

  6. beerBoy says:

    slugo – wasn’t it Reagan who said “trust, but verify”?

    Trust us, we have evidence is hardly verification.

    Bushco said that there were WMD before he joked about the lack of evidence under his desk.

    Clinton said he never had sex with that woman.

    Nixon said he didn’t know anything about any Plumbers.

    LBJ said that we were attacked in the Tonkin Gulf.

    ESPECIALLY in this case, when we are giving the President rights over life and death that was denied eight centuries ago to kings and queens through the Magna Carta we shouldn’t just trust the government.

  7. beerBoy says:

    Just sayin’.

    Oh please……

  8. alindasue says:

    Vox_clamantis_in_deserto said, “…did you have the same concerns for David Koresh? Randy Weaver? How about Weaver’s family?”

    Yes. If we weaken the constitutional rights of due process to some, we weaken them for us all.

  9. Vox_clamantis_in_deserto says:


    Not that I think what happened to Weaver and Koresh, et al – as American citizens or otherwise – was right, just that I missed all the bleeding heart commentary in sympathy with/ for them, and the concern for their constitutional rights back then.

    One terrorist is the same as another in my book. Doesn’t matter what their nationality is. If they mean us harm – go ahead and take ‘em out. But, as was the case with these most recent cleansings, evidence of their culpability or intentions has to be – and was – a prerequisite.

    As for the former… not so much.

  10. beerBoy says:

    vox – you seem to be attempting to paint concern over extraordinary powers being taken by the president as sympathy for the alleged terrorist (I write alleged because there has not been any evidence presented to support the government’s claim)

    And, you seem to be attempting to paint “libruls” concern about this extra-Constitutional power as being somehow biased towards Muslims as your memory of your perception was that “libruls” didn’t get as upset about the Reno-led fiascos as the conservatives did.

    This is not a left/right issue. This is a Constitutional issue. Your attempt to turn it into a partisan gotcha seems more than a little cynical.

    I’ll say it again – “oh please”

  11. beerBoy says:

    And….vox…..your attempt puts you in exactly the same company as frosty…….I used to hold you in higher regard than that.

  12. aislander says:

    How’s the view from that glass house, beerBoy? I have a very vivid memory of your holding common cause with xtp when he was at his most vile…

  13. Vox_clamantis_in_deserto says:

    Sorry to disappoint, bB. But aren’t you being just a bit over the top here? I mean you are reading waaaaay too much into my comments.

    Relax, bB, I’m just tweaking a few hypocritical noses here. Yours?

  14. beerBoy says:

    I barely remember xtp……who/when was he?

  15. alindasue says:

    Vox_clamantis_in_deserto said, “Not that I think what happened to Weaver and Koresh, et al – as American citizens or otherwise – was right, just that I missed all the bleeding heart commentary in sympathy with/ for them, and the concern for their constitutional rights back then.”

    If you missed the concern for their constitutional rights back then, it’s because you weren’t paying attention.

    I’ve said it many times before and I’ll say it again:
    When we start denying constitutional rights to some people, we weaken the rights and freedoms of us all.

    My biggest issue with the so-called “Patriot” Act is that as soon as someone is even accused of being a “terrorist”, all constitutional protection seems to go out the window… and with it, our last claim as a country to any moral high ground.

  16. beerboy, doesn’t it really “frost” your b***s that more and more people seem to agree with my side than yours? Frustrating isn’t it?

  17. Pacman33 says:

    Since when did the American people start receiving these “evidence presentations”? Especially information pertaining to enemies we’re currently in the midst of a conflict with? Are they on C-SPAN or do I need to call my cable company?

    When Obama was complaining, I mean campaigning I don’t think he was referring to the password to the CIA file system with his promises of Transparency. He was talking about being invisible on jobs and economy growth. Never mind, I see him ……….. playing golf.

    But seriously folks, Anwar al Awlaki, a key player in the core leadership of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. Partial list of most recent to earliest events that Leftists have forgot or were recently told to rember differently by that Maddow guy on MSNBC.
    1.) al-Awlaki put out a video shortly after UBL was shot in the face, calling for the killing of American’s, same old shtuff. you know a couple verses from that splendid piece of literature.
    2.) DOJ, showing they can’t screw up everything, acts on a logic based decision and names al-Awlaki #1. If not for the novelty of Bin-laden, it would be a coin flip between him al-Awlaki for the greatest threat. Similar to the “utility player” in baseball, it was al-Awlaki’s versatility that made him so dangerous. Planning, organizing, motivating, recruiting, terrorist camp counsler and directing plots all in his cache, he was a Jack-of-all-trades. The al-Qaeda cleric’s top weapon was a triple-edged sword; citizenship, Koran, and Internet. al-Awlaki’s thorough knowledge of the US culture and language accompanied with the endless reach of the internet allowed al-Awlaki to forego the most difficult steps in planning. By using the literal interpretation of the Koran to (radical preachings in liberanese)indoctrinate in various chat forums and preaching through blogs al-Awlaki was able to recruit insurgents already in the US. He would then trade e-mails with recruits of intrest for additional motivation. By organizing American citizens he could utilize their cover and mobility inside the US without drawing suspicion.
    3.) Awlaki directed the failed 2010 plot to blow up cargo planes with explosives hidden in printer cartridges.y Ibrahim Hasan al-Asiri, the bomb-maker who allegedly designed those devices, is still at large in Yemen.
    4.) Awlaki took a direct operational role in the failed Christmas Day attack on Northwest Airlines flight 253. We only know of a couple of instances he met with Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab in person, but believe more occured. One of the instance that we know of is when al-Awlaki provided detailed, hands on instruction with the underwear bomb. LOL. A substantial and escalating total of their exchanges over web are also on file.
    5.) Anwar al Awlaki traded a series of around 20 Internet messages with accused Fort Hood gunman Major Nidal Hasan. After the shootings Awlaki praised Hasan as a hero. The emails between Major Hasan and al-Awlaki were intercepted by American intelligence agencies and should have set off warning bells. However, for some reason unknown, the government did not fully investigate if Hasan may be on the verge of attempting a journey to Firdaws. Fort Hood is the deadliest terrorist attack on Americans since 9/11.
    6.) Awlaki was kind enough to provide spiritual guidance for and met with at least three of the crew of five that hijacked the American Airlines jet that hit the Pentagon. At a San Diego mosque where he was an imam, Awlaki met two future hijackers, Khalid al-Midhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi. The spiritual leader became close to al-Hazmi while in San Diego. In early 2001, Mr. Awlaki moved to the Virginia mosque attended by a third hijacker, Hani Hanjour. Hazmi followed the good imam across the country to also be in Virginia. This is also the same mosque attended by Hassan and parents , the Fort Hood terrorist.

  18. LarryFine says:

    “When Obama was complaining, I mean campaigning…”

    LMAO! … couldn’t be more accurate.

    Great post Pacman.

  19. xx98411 says:

    nice post pacman, great summary

    hey bb – is this enough “proof” for you? (I am sure there is more) How about meeting a threshold of due process?

    I understand the issue with American citizenship, no sugarcoating anything. We blew away not one but a two-fer…

    with citizens like these… we really don’t need any more enemies.

  20. championrd says:

    Too bad Pacman has no idea what he’s talking about. This is exactly what I was writing about as what we’re “told”.

    Really should read this Reuters piece: http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/10/05/us-cia-killlist-idUSTRE79475C20111005

    “The Obama administration has not made public an accounting of the classified evidence that Awlaki was operationally involved in planning terrorist attacks.

    But officials acknowledged that some of the intelligence purporting to show Awlaki’s hands-on role in plotting attacks was patchy.”

    If you read further, you will see it was extremely patchy. You will see that Presidents can take out loathsome people, even U.S. citizens, on the thinnest of evidence. You can see why they never tried to indict al-Awlaki – because they never had the evidence. Shoot first, ask questions later.

  21. LarryFine says:

    “Really should read this Reuters piece…” LOL…. Yeah… wait… Didn’t Reuters precede Dan Rather with proving their credibility was suspect ?

    2006… doctoring photos… kooky

  22. championrd says:

    “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil”

    Larry, just keep ignoring anything that doesn’t fit your narrow interpretation of the world. And by continually proclaiming everything you don’t like as “kooky”, you reveal yourself as not a serious person.

  23. Pacman33 says:

    The most convincing evidence of the al-Qaeda leader’s involvement in acts of war against US is the White House themselves.

    In the long list of the administration’s wtf actions on terrorism (close gitmo=never mind, NYC trial=never mind, waterboarding bad=assassination good, new terrorism dictionary=screw it, can’t keep straight ourselves, Tea Party bad= -100 seats in congress)

    One has always and stood out to me.

    Team Obama’s baseless and frantic rush to declare that every terror attack on America is carried out by an isolated individual. Specifically insisting they have no connection to al Qaeda or other groups. It was the same unfounded, rapid response to the failed airline bombing on Christmas Day, to the Fort Hood shooter and, most recently, to the plot to set off a car bomb in Times Square.
    The claims have been dead wrong in all three cases. Each “lone wolf” was practically imediately shown to be the contrary.

    If these lone wolves were not actively involved and tied to al-Qaeda, with the liason, Anwar al Awlaki lending his skills of the trade to each of them. Believe me, the Administration wouldn’t hold the painstaking press conferences with them appearing more inept each time one is held. Holder is the best to watch, stiff lipped and constipated , barely able to force out the retraction. Again.

    All of this evidence of Awlaki’s al-Qaeda leadership and involvement in acts of war/terrorism against the US from FBI bulletins and White House press releases reported by CNN, NYT, ABC and CBS is prevalent across the web.

    I have a wild guess:

    You still feel foolish from slobbering all over the admin’s eager lone wolf fallacy in an attempt to have conservatives sound paranoid and hasty with the terrorist tag, only to end up appearing as admin-blowhards & terrorist apologists.

    Only now it’s paranoid terrorist apologist .

  24. xx98411 says:

    bb and now champion, the question I have is…

    Is it acceptable that the United States Government is authorized to kill an American citizen beyond the boundaries of the 50 states and territories?

    I purposely left out any conditions so as to determine whether ANY killing is justified. If the answer to the question is no, then no proof nor standard to get there would be acceptable to you.

    If the answer is yes, under certain alleged circumstances and a process used to determine whether they meet a standard / threshold…. then the question I have is what is that standard / threshold, is a panel (National Security Council) acceptable to determine whether that threshold has been met…?

    pacman has provided a series of incidents, there are more and as a reminder…

    *The CIA / DoD maintain a list of terrorist who are approved for capture / kill (they have met a standard or is your question, have they?)

    *If a person is a US Citizen then the inclusion on the list must be approved by the National Security Council. (is your concern that this is not due process?)

    *International law allows the use of lethal force against individuals who poise an imminent threat to the US (is your question how “imminent”?, second we are beyond the boundaries of the US so international law becomes a standard to measure against for threshold)

    *Congress has approved of the use of force against al-Qaeda (Bush wasn’t so dumb when he sought approval from Congress)

    Champion – in the article it states that the “…administration has not made public an accounting of the “classified” evidence…”

    Is your concern the process used to authorize this killing (or all killings of US Citizens)?

    Would a Congressional panel reviewing the “evidence” meet a threshold for due process for you? (Lieberman tried and got turned down by the Obama administration, that doesn’t mean a process doesn’t exist, it just may mean an administration is not following it or simply may not want to be held accountable.)

    Do this raise an issue of whether you trust you government and their justifications used to protect America?

    al Awakli is a douchebag, he is an American citizen, we killed an American citizen who is a douchebag… just trying to focus on what the specific issue is here.

  25. Pacman33 says:

    “This is exactly what I was writing about as what we’re “told”.”

    I know exactly what you writing about. It is now some elaborate, very elaborate international conspiracy. Falsified FBI bulletins, artificial White House press releases for only the purpose of spreading misinformation and a worldwide cooperation of media pact acting in unison with their goal of falsification, deception and dissimulation.
    When Obama’s goons sprinted to the press room after the terrorist events on US soil, Anwar al Awlaki aided in, to insist the perps were butthurt lonewolves and not terrorists, you Muslim Extremist apologists ate up every word you ‘told”. When it was clear to rational folks a couple hours isn’t nearly enough time for a sufficient investigation to make such a claim. Now that multiple investigations have concluded otherwise the results wrong. Facts, logic, truth …. mean nothing to you. You people will go to any length to protect and defend individuals who are cowardly and sinister enough to target innocent civilian with murder.

    I thought you people believed the Muslim Extremists you adore so much were innocent of lies we were told in the 911 attack conspiracy anyway. Wouldn’t that make all this a moot point?

    “The Obama administration has not made public an accounting of the CLASSIFIED EVIDENCE that Awlaki was operationally involved in planning terrorist attacks.”

    Did your mother have any children that lived? How can one read this quote, type this quote, submit the comment with this quote and read it one more time after it’s posted and still rant on about a delusion of a deficiency in evidence and cause to take out the logistical, spiritual and overall leader of al-Qaeda (post-shooting Bin Laden in the face).

    I’m left astonished. Is there any lengths to where you people will go to protect these savages who normal day consists of plotting, training, motivating others and fantasizing about their perversion of killing you?

    What is it that these terrorists have done to win your unwavering devotion?
    A devotion so strong it distorts your view of the irrational appearance portrayed by yourselves.

    “We take the govt’s word as gospel when they make unfounded claims moments after attacks and attempted attacks despite the fact lack sufficient time allow an investigation

  26. Pacman33 says:

    “We take the govt’s word as gospel when they make unfounded claims moments after attacks and attempted attacks despite the fact lack sufficient time allow an investigation to make such a determination. The administration had to be telling the truth because nothing negative was mentioned about my Muslim militant idols I worship ”
    “Now that enough time has past for multiple investigations to conclude and their findings verified and compared with sources and other compiled information, It’s wrong because it adds to the mountain of factsthat my Islamic Extremists buddies wish more than anything to kill innocent American civilians.”

    How can you people not see the irrational flailing you resort to in guarding your cherished murders?

    Do you admire their determination? Is it the common bond of intense anger?
    Is it being able to relate to their lack of shame and absence of a soul?

    Is it your shared hatred for Americans and The United State of America?

  27. LarryFine says:

    What was that my “moderate” friend said about Godwin’s Law and Stalin the other day ??? Hmmm…

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