Awlaki Killing: Two Birds, One Stone
by GADI ADELMAN
October 3, 2011
Back in February I wrote about the New Mexico born Anwar al Awlaki in my article about Zachary Chesser, the man who threatened South Park’s creators that was sentenced to 25 years in federal prison. I touched on al Awlaki because he was such an influence upon Chessers’ militant views, writing:
Chesser admitted he became interested in Islam in July, 2008 and “became very extremist in his beliefs”. Of the videos and CD’s that he watched, his favorite presenter was Anwar Awlaki.
Awlaki is the American-born citizen who formerly was an Imam at the Dar al-Hijra mosque in Northern Virginia. Three of the 9/11 hijackers attended his sermons in VA.
That article went on to explain how the U.S. government viewed al Awlaki,
On July 16, 2010 the U.S. Department of the Treasury designated Anwar Awlaki, a key leader for al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), a Yemen-based terrorist group. The Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Stuart Levey stated it this way,
“Anwar Awlaki has proven that he is extraordinarily dangerous, committed to carrying out deadly attacks on Americans and others worldwide, he has involved himself in every aspect of the supply chain of terrorism - fundraising for terrorist groups, recruiting and training operatives, and planning and ordering attacks on innocents.”
I also wrote about the Saudi born American Samir Khan last November,
Samir Khan who came to America at the age of seven, referred to himself as “A typical American Kid”, according to a NY Times article by Michael Moss October 15, 2007.
How does one go from being “a typical American kid” to becoming the al-Qaeda English spokesman and web designer?
Both of these ‘individuals’ were evil, vicious terrorists. Perhaps my title “two birds one stone” is unfair. If they were birds they would fall into the vulture category, but that would be an insult to vultures.
The death of these two has opened up the question of “due process”; after all, they were Americans. Texas Rep. and Presidential candidate Ron Paul stated on Friday,
"No one likes these kind of people, but I also like the rule of law and I like our Constitution, that you don't just target people, assassinate them, someone who has not been charged and you have no proof of anything," Paul told Fox News. "So if we want to protect American citizens from that type of justice, we have to be more cautious."
Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, agreed with Rep. Paul and joined him in condemning the killing of al-Awlaki, saying that the Obama administration had,
"crossed a dangerous divide and set a dangerous precedent for how the United States handle terrorism cases."
Of course the ACLU jumped on this band wagon as well saying,
“the killing was a violation of both U.S. and international law.”
Anwar al-Awlaki was inspirational if not directly responsible for the Fort Hood shooter/terrorist Major Nidal Hassan, with whom he exchanged up to 20 emails prior to the terrorist shooting.
He was also allegedly responsible for Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, otherwise known as the Christmas Day plane bomber, or underwear bomber. Abdulmutallab was in Yemen in 2009 and it is believed al-Awlaki met with him just weeks before his failed bombing attempt.
He was also responsible for indoctrinating Faisal Shahzad ,the Pakistani American who pleaded guilty to the May 2010 Times Square SUV bombing attempt. Shahzad told interrogators he was "inspired" by al-Awlaki after making contact with him over the Internet.
Samir Khan turned up in Yemen in October 2009, and the first edition of the al-Qaeda “Inspire” English online magazine hit the internet in July 2010.
In the second edition of al-Qaeda’s internet “Inspire” Khan wrote the article “I am proud to be a traitor to America”. This brings up an interesting question: what does an American citizen have to do to relinquish his or her citizenship?
According to the U.S. State Department website there are several ways one may lose their citizenship,
POTENTIALLY EXPATRIATING ACTS
Section 349 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1481), as amended, states that U.S. citizens are subject to loss of citizenship if they perform certain specified acts voluntarily and with the intention to relinquish U.S. citizenship. Briefly stated, these acts include:
1. obtaining naturalization in a foreign state (Sec. 349 (a) (1) INA);
2. taking an oath, affirmation or other formal declaration to a foreign state or its political subdivisions (Sec. 349 (a) (2) INA);
3. entering or serving in the armed forces of a foreign state engaged in hostilities against the U.S. or serving as a commissioned or non-commissioned officer in the armed forces of a foreign state (Sec. 349 (a) (3) INA);
4. accepting employment with a foreign government if (a) one has the nationality of that foreign state or (b) an oath or declaration of allegiance is required in accepting the position (Sec. 349 (a) (4) INA);
5. formally renouncing U.S. citizenship before a U.S. diplomatic or consular officer outside the United States (sec. 349 (a) (5) INA);
6. formally renouncing U.S. citizenship within the U.S. (but only under strict, narrow statutory conditions) (Sec. 349 (a) (6) INA);
7. conviction for an act of treason (Sec. 349 (a) (7) INA).
The problem that I see with this is that it states “with the intention to relinquish U.S. citizenship”. So, is there not something that one can do whereby they would lose their citizenship even if they wanted to retain it? Further down on the same page it covers this question,
The premise that a person intends to retain U.S. citizenship is not applicable when the individual:
1. formally renounces U.S. citizenship before a consular officer;
2. serves in the armed forces of a foreign state engaged in hostilities with the United States;
3. takes a policy level position in a foreign state;
4. is convicted of treason; or
5. performs an act made potentially expatriating by statute accompanied by conduct which is so inconsistent with retention of U.S. citizenship that it compels a conclusion that the individual intended to relinquish U.S. citizenship. (Such cases are very rare.)
I am not an attorney, but I think anyone with any commonsense would come to the conclusion that number 5 noted above, even though “such cases are very rare” would have ‘expatriated’ both Anwar al-Awlaki and Samir Khan.
For those not familiar with the word expatriate, according to dictionary.com it means,
1. to banish (a person) from his or her native country.
2. to withdraw (oneself) from residence in one's native country.
3. to withdraw (oneself) from allegiance to one's country.
I would have to say that both Awlaki and Khan performed acts that compel a conclusion that they intended to relinquish their U.S. citizenship and that Ron Paul, Dennis Kucinich along with the ACLU all need to read this statute.
Those who are regular readers of my articles or know my radio show “America Akbar” are well aware of the fact that when it comes to the Constitution, I am the Constitutionalists Constitutionalist. But in this case I can’t understand how these two have any rights of any other American, they both voluntarily relinquished their rights a long time ago.
Putting all the legal issues aside, what if anything does killing these two really accomplish? My friend and colleague Dr. Walid Phares wrote about this on Friday,
As I made the case with Osama Bin Laden’s elimination, the US is not at war with a mafia of criminals who would be impressed with the elimination of the capo. The Jihadists who have already been indoctrinated won’t be deterred by the missiles or bullets that took the lives of their emirs or commanders. In fact, just the opposite will occur.
Walid went on to explain why just the opposite will occur,
The reason behind this clone-like phenomenon is ideology, which is in fact the center of al Qaeda, not its leaders. The ideology was created by Jihadism, not the other way around. When a product of this ideologic doctrine is eliminated, this doesn’t affect the factory; it will keep producing more, and will use their eliminations to mobilize further.
This is obvious to anyone who understands the ideology. Immediately following the deaths of these two terrorists both the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security issued warnings to field offices around the country to be on guard against any revenge attacks.
Walid put it succinctly in his article,
There is not now, and won’t be, any victory in the War on Terror (or the war with the Jihadists) unless there is a victory in the War of Ideas, which means that the ideology producing and inspiring the terrorists and would-be terrorists has to be identified and responded to.
Unfortunately the current Administration and the bureaucracy of the past Administration did just the opposite. Instead of identifying the Jihadi ideology, they covered up for it. And instead of partnering with the secular and democratic forces in the Arab Spring, Washington today is flirting with the Muslim Brotherhood.
This is what I continue to repeat week after week; Stop trying to understand Islam or its ideology by looking at it through Western eyes.
If we are going to win this war, the administration needs to stop thinking we can kill them by cutting off the head of the snake, this snake as hundreds and thousands of heads waiting to step up.
Untie the hands of our military and law enforcement so we can actually win the war rather than trying to force our democratic values on people that they don’t want them. Stop trying to be politically correct and change the rules as stated in the National Security Strategy so it will identify that we are at war with terror and its terrorists. Lastly, and most importantly, admit that the problem is the Islamic ideology.
This war can be one, if we fight it like the war that it is rather than treating it like a schoolyard bully who will back down when you fight back. Awlaki and Khan are dead, but there are thousands who want us dead too. They aren’t bullies, they are devout Muslims and they would enjoy nothing more than following in their sandals and becoming martyrs, getting their 72 virgins and taking a few of us with them.
FamilySecurityMatters.org Contributing Editor Gadi Adelman is a freelance writer and lecturer on the history of terrorism and counterterrorism. He grew up in Israel, studying terrorism and Islam for 35 years after surviving a terrorist bomb in Jerusalem in which 7 children were killed. Since returning to the U. S., Gadi teaches and lectures to law enforcement agencies as well as high schools and colleges. He can be heard every Thursday night at 8PM est. on his own radio show “AmericaAkbar” on Blog Talk Radio. He can be reached through his website gadiadelman.com.