al Qaeda frees six of its own, Houthis, Yemen – Iran big winner

Editor’s Note – With the closing of the United State’s embassy in Yemen this week, and the subsequent report that while leaving the Marines defending the staff and installation had to disarm prior to exiting the country, conflicting reports abound.

What it does show though, with alarming clarity, the Obama administration has yet another stark failure to its credit. But what is worse is the major gap in our ability to confront Al Qaeda, all while the Iranian puppets, the Houthis, gain yet another Middle East capitol comes under the Iranian orbit.FoxYemenMarines

But now the Pentagon is challenging that assessment:

The U.S. military has retained its ability to conduct counterterrorism operations inside Yemen, a Pentagon spokesman told Breitbart News.

“We still retain the [counterterrorism] capability [in Yemen],” asserted Marine Maj. Bradlee Avots, the Department of Defense (DoD) spokesperson, told Breitbart News Wednesday evening.

Breitbart News asked Maj. Avots whether the Pentagon was still able to fight Yemen-based terrorists such as al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) after the takeover of the U.S.-backed government by Iranian-backed Houthi Shiites and the country’s ongoing descent into utter chaos.

Of course the State Department also denied the reports but we are not the only ones officially severing embassy ties to Yemen, as Saudi Arabia, Germany, and Italy have closed their facilities as well.PsakiKellyYemen

In a blistering [interview] on the Megyn Kelly show tonight, State Department spokesmoron Jen Psaki denied any order came from them for Marines to disarm during the American evacuation out of Yemen, but could not say who did. (Read more here.)

But in the process, al Qaeda is boasting that it freed some of its fighters as the article below outlines. This raises many questions and seems to challenge Washington’s assessments.

After a Yemeni army installation was captured by Sunni Al Qaeda, and the Shiite Houthis took our embassy, it is hard to imagine how our counter-terrorism efforts are not severely in jeopardy.

It also clearly shows that the Obama administration will ‘say or do anything, or not do things’ all in fear that an agreement will not be reached with Iran in the nuclear talks.

Al Qaeda freed 6 inmates in Yemen prison attack, officials say

By Jason Hanna and Hakim Almasmari, CNN

(CNN)Al Qaeda militants freed six of their fighters from a southern Yemeni prison during an attack on the facility Friday, just one day after the group took over a military camp in the same province, security officials said.

AQAP raises black flag over military camp it captured in Yemen on Thursday.
AQAP raises black flag over military camp it captured in Yemen on Thursday.

These attacks by al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, which has long clashed with Yemen‘s military, happened in the Arab nation’s Shabwa province, more than 100 miles to the east of the capital, which has been in political strife for weeks after minority Houthi rebels took over.

Also Friday, at least three more nations announced they were temporarily closing their embassies in the Yemeni capital of Sanaa because of deteriorating security conditions, including neighboring Saudi Arabia.

Three of the six militants freed in Friday’s prison attack in Shabwa had been sentenced to death, provincial security officials said.

Information about casualties, and details about how the attack transpired, weren’t immediately available.

A day earlier, AQAP took over a military camp at the Sabwa town of Baihan, about 110 miles east of Sanaa, after two hours of clashes with government troops, three local security officials said.

This gave AQAP control of all of the camp’s weaponry, the officials said.

Before the clashes ended, the camp’s commander called on tribal fighters to intervene. When those fighters arrived, a ceasefire was called so that the tribal fighters could help evacuate Yemeni troops — including dozens of injured — from the camp, a tribal leader said.

Saudi Arabia, Germany, Italy join others in closing embassies in Yemen

Saudi Arabia, Germany and Italy said Friday they were suspending their embassy operations in Sanaa — joining the United States and other nations that made similar moves earlier in the week.

Saudi Arabia evacuated its staff because of deteriorating security conditions following a recent takeover of the Yemeni capital by Houthi rebels, the Saudi Foreign Ministry and two Yemeni Foreign Ministry officials said.

One of the Yemeni officials said the Saudi evacuations happened Thursday.Untitled

German Embassy officials left Yemen on Friday morning, Germany’s Foreign Ministry said on Twitter. Italy’s decision follows “recent events in the country and the progressively deteriorating security conditions,” a post by Italy’s Foreign Ministry reads.

The United States, along with Britain and France, said this week that they moved staffers out of their embassies because of instability in Yemen, after Houthi rebels seized control of key government facilities, dissolved parliament and placed President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi under house arrest last month.

The Houthis — Shiite Muslims who have long felt marginalized in the majority Sunni Muslim country — are now the preeminent power in Sanaa. But different groups there have resisted the Houthis’ attempted takeover of national government institutions, particularly in the south, where there’s a long-running secessionist movement.

AQAP, a Sunni Muslim terror group, vowed to attack Houthi loyalists nationwide last year.

The United States has had a long relationship with Yemen’s leaders, working with them to target AQAP militants.

It’s not clear what the Houthis’ takeover of Sanaa means for U.S. anti-terrorism efforts, but the drone program there still appears to be active. A U,S. drone strike killed senior AQAP cleric Harith bin Ghazi al-Nadhari and three other people in Shabwa province on January 31.

Jihad in America – Cells Already Here, Training Camps

By Denise Simon and Scott W. Winchell

With the surge of terror across the globe and here at home, especially after the Paris “Charlie Hebdos” attack and the kosher market massacre, everyone keeps asking, are they coming or are they already here?

They are here!

In fact, just today an Ohio man, Christopher Lee Cornell (Raheel Mahrus Ubaydah) was arrested by the FBI and was reportedly influenced by the same man who influenced the Kouachi brothers, Anwar al Awlaki and that Cornell also may have known the brothers from online networks:

The FBI has arrested an Ohio man for allegedly plotting an ISIS-inspired attack on the U.S. Capitol, where he hoped to set off a series of bombs aimed at lawmakers, whom he allegedly considered enemies.

Christopher Lee Cornell -– also known as Raheel Mahrus Ubaydah -– was arrested earlier today on charges of attempting to kill a U.S. government official.

Arrest caught on a screen shot - courtesy Heavy.com
Arrest caught on a screen shot – courtesy Heavy.com

Further investigation revealed his intent to attack the U.S. Capitol, and he planned to detonate pipe bombs there and open fire on any employees and officials after the bombs went off, according to government documents.

The FBI and Department of Homeland security issued a bulletin to law enforcement agencies across the country, notifying them of the case.

“The alleged activities of Cornell highlight the continued interest of US-based violent extremists to support designated foreign terrorist organizations overseas, such as ISIL, by committing terrorist acts in the United States,” the bulletin read. “Terrorist group members and supporters will almost certainly continue to use social media platforms to disseminate English language violent extremist messages.”

See the release at Heavy.com and other documents.

Just this past week, even Diane Feinstein, D-CA, the former Chairwoman, and now the Ranking Member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence said they are. She should know, and and so should the White House. Here is what she said:

“I think there are sleeper cells not only in France but certainly in other countries and, yes, in our own,” she told CNN. “This calls for vigilance. … Hopefully, we can be more active in terms of doing those things which enable us to find terrorists, see who they’re communicating with and to track that.”

With the Caliphate now formed in the Levant, better known as the Islamic State (Also ISIS, ISIL, Daesh) the spread of the threat has expanded and it appears the cell in Paris had roots to Yemen and Syria. In fact, AQAP release a new video today claiming responsibility and that it was years in the making the same day the newest edition of “Charlie Hebdos” hit the news stands. (Sheikh Nasr Ben Ali al-Aanesi spoke on the video.)

%CODE%

The lure appears to be working well for the master marketing team of al Qaeda and Daesh and the latest word of warning has been sent by officials that more cells may have been activated. We may not immediately because patience has been one of their calling cards but it appears likely that it will be sooner than later here.

Sheikh Nasr Ben Ali al-Aanesi
Sheikh Nasr Ben Ali al-Aanesi

With the Fort Hood Massacre, the Oklahoma Beheading, the Attacks in Canada, the Hatchet Attack in New York, and now the convert in Ohio, we are in a new era and we all had better keep alert.

But we ask, what has been done to secure us to date, especially since we have known about them for years and years right here at home besides this Ohio Muslim convert?

Many cases and studies have been done by those who were aware long ago of the rise of sleeper cells and training camps.

The FBI introduction to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) file on Clarence Smith—aka Clarence 13X—reads only, “Smith was the leader of the ‘Five Percenters,’ a notorious Harlem street gang. He was shot to death in 1969” [1].

Yet, as a lyrical sample from Lord Jamar (a prominent Five Percenter and hip-hop artist) reads in his Greatest Story Never Told, “Allah [Clarence Smith] was assassinated in 1969, that case was never solved. His movement survived him, today it’s known as the Nation of Gods and Earths” [2].

The Five Percenters are just one facet of indigenous Muslim evolution in the United States; others, like Jama`at al-Fuqara’, retain ties to Pakistan and are ideological affiliates of militant Salafist groups such as al-Qa`ida.

This article will examine trends among three predominantly African-American Islamic movements, at least one of which should be considered a domestic terrorism concern for the United States. It also serves to provide counter-terrorism professionals with knowledge enabling them to differentiate terrorist threats from more benign religious groups.

Heffelfinger  illustrates further where some of these groups are and the threat they have “today,” as in 2008, so imagine how much worse it is today:

Critical for intelligence and law enforcement officials is the ability to distinguish non-violent, pietistic or spiritualist movements from Salafist-inspired ones that advocate or practice militancy. Today, the Five Percent Nation is largely leaderless, with various teachers propagating the beliefs of Clarence 13X and poses no serious terrorist threat, although gang activity and criminality is a concern.Islamberg-NY-sign

The Seas of David will, in all likelihood, dissipate and pose no further threat. Such movements, however, may serve at times as a gateway to more conservative—sometimes militant—Salafist groups, such as Jama`at al-Fuqara’.

The Jama`at al-Fuqara’/Muslims of America deserves a more comprehensive treatment, as the group is clearly one of the most glaring domestic terrorism concerns for the United States.(Read more here, it is extensive and worth the read. Our emphasis added.)

Heffelfinger was not the only one by a long shot. As late as 2012 an article in Law Enforcement Today entitled “Informant: Islamic Compounds in America are Training for Jihad” was posted by Martin Mawyer. His introduction speaks volumes:

In Hancock, NY an Islamic community that sits on 80 acres of land has decided to form its own government.  They call their community: The Town of Islamberg.  They have their own mayor, deputy mayor and five town council members.  None of them are elected, of course.

They even boast that their “town” provides departments of education, medical, finance and land development services.

This Islamic compound has truly become a city-state.  Though not recognized as a legitimate township by the City of Hancock, this Islamic community nevertheless enforces its own laws on the “citizens” within its borders.  They do so by using the iron fist of Sharia law.

I interviewed a member of this camp, which sits deep in the Catskills Mountains of upstate New York.  The Islamic group that has established this camp is part a network known as Muslims of the Americas (MOA), which has documented links to Al Qaeda.

MOA has established similar villages in nearly three-dozen locations nationwide, with other prominent camps found in Texas, Virginia, South Carolina, Georgia, California and Tennessee. (Read more here.)

Anwar al-Awlaki
Anwar al-Awlaki

Remember, that interview took place in 2012, where are we today in 2015? Even further back in 2007, another article came out entitled “Red House, Va has radical Islamic terrorist training camp” and you can read the commentary with charges and denials by many including Muslims in Virginia. Read more from Eric Stackleback from 2012 on this case and view his interview.

Many of these reports have been published many times, where is the FBI and the White House? In 2012, World Net Daily posted an article entitled “35 Training Camps Now Operating Inside U.S. – Government does nothing to impede expansion of ‘Soldiers of Allah’ network.”

This is not new, but fortunately of late, many more people are discovering the work done over the years.

In the period between 2006 and now, Stand Up America staff has been part of some of these investigations and financing some of the work investigators performed on others like Adnan al Shukrijumah who was operating in Hamilton, Ontario, and who was just recently killed by Pakistani officials.

Ryan Mauro at the Clarion Project and Brigitte Gabriel’s group Act For America have also done extensive work on exposing the many enclaves, training camps and sights of older crimes that may be related to terror.

A Clarion Project investigation has discovered a jihadist enclave in Texas where a deadly shooting took place in 2002. Declassified FBI documents obtained by Clarion confirm the find and show the U.S. government’s concern about its links to terrorism. The investigation was completed with help from ACT! For America Houston.

The enclave belongs to the network of Muslims of the Americas, a radical group linked to a Pakistani militant group called Jamaat ul-Fuqra. Its members are devoted followers of Sheikh Mubarak Ali Gilani, an extremist cleric in Pakistan.

Be alert America, “see something, say something” applies at all times.

TerroristCells

 


This article was expanded from a cross-post at the Founders Code

 

Obama Releases More From Gitmo – In ‘Overdrive’

Editor’s Note – Obama is making good on his promises from 2008 to close the Guantanamo Bay Detention Facility in furious fashion. With the loss of power in Congress, this may be one of many executive actions we will see take place as Obama’s second term enters the last two years.

Once again, as Senator Kelly Ayotte R-NH said: “The safety of Americans, not the fulfillment of a misguided campaign promise, should guide national security decisions.” Obama is placing America’s needs behind his own as we now see was always his driving motivation.

Similar to what he did with the ‘Taliban5,’ Congress again was ignored:

Despite fierce opposition in Congress to closing the detention facility, however, there is little that lawmakers can actually do to stop the president from continuing to release detainees.

On paper, Congress requires the administration to give 30 days’ advance notice before any transfer, but that was flouted in the case of the Taliban prisoners who were swapped for Bergdahl.

Despite the fact that 56% of Americans want the facility to stay open and the detainees to remain in custody, Obama is moving in ‘Overdrive.’.

Obama’s big push on Guantanamo

By Kristina Wong and Jesse Byrnes – The Hill

102_2014_gitmo8201_c0-249-2187-1523_s561x327President Obama’s push to close the Guantanamo Bay detention camp is going into overdrive, with more detainee transfers in the last two months of 2014 than in the previous three years combined.

Since the Nov. 4 elections, Obama has released 22 detainees, in sharp contrast to the period from 2011 to 2013 inclusive, when only 19 were released.

In the first six months of 2014, he had released only six detainees from the facility in Cuba — including the five members of the Taliban who were swapped for prisoner of war Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.

With less than two years left in office, the president appears to be going full throttle, promising in a December interview on CNN “to do everything” he can to fulfill his 2008 campaign promise of shutting down Guantanamo, despite congressional opposition.

He released 44 people from the prison camp during his first full year in office in 2009, and 24 in 2010, but transfers then slowed to a trickle, largely due to opposition on Capitol Hill.

In 2011, there were only three transfers; in 2012, five; and in 2013, 11.

So far, Obama has released a total of 111 detainees while in office, according to a Defense official.

In total, of the 780 people detained at the facility, 643 have been transferred, and nine have died while in custody, according to analyses from The New York Times and NPR.AyotteNH

After the administration announced five more transfers on Wednesday, Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) said she was “deeply troubled by the administration’s continued transfer of dangerous terrorists from Guantanamo.”

“The United States must take every possible measure to prevent former detainees from returning to the battlefield,” she said in a statement Wednesday. “The safety of Americans, not the fulfillment of a misguided campaign promise, should guide national security decisions.”

Ayotte said that almost 30 percent of former Guantanamo detainees have reengaged or are suspected of reengaging in terrorism.

Those concerns are supported by some veterans of the Bush administration.

“The further you go into the pile of Gitmo detainees that are there now, the more dangerous they are,” said retired Navy Cmdr. J.D. Gordon, a former Pentagon spokesman during the Bush administration.

Gordon pointed to the Obama administration recently offering a reward for information on a detainee released from Guantanamo in 2006, who now allegedly serves as a top leader with Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

“They just put out a $5 million dollar bounty. So that shows the folly of releasing guys that we were reasonably sure, or we think, may return to terrorism,” said Gordon, who is a senior fellow at the Center for a Secure Free Society.

Despite fierce opposition in Congress to closing the detention facility, however, there is little that lawmakers can actually do to stop the president from continuing to release detainees.

On paper, Congress requires the administration to give 30 days’ advance notice before any transfer, but that was flouted in the case of the Taliban prisoners who were swapped for Bergdahl.

Taliban5Lawmakers have also included restrictions in their annual defense policy and spending bills. For example, the $1.1 trillion funding bill passed by Congress in December bars the transfer or release of those held in Guantanamo to prisons in the United States.

The president has said that under certain circumstances those restrictions could violate the “constitutional separation of powers” between the legislative and executive branches.

However, lawmakers who oppose closing the facility can lean on public support for their cause.

A Fox News poll released earlier this month found that a majority of Americans, 56 percent, want to keep Guantanamo open, compared to fewer than a third, 32 percent, who would prefer it to be closed, and its prisoners be transferred to U.S. facilities.

As part of the administration’s strategy to close the prison camp, officials have begun arguing that housing detainees at Guantanamo is too costly, and that they should instead be held at super-maximum-security prisons within the United States.

“The American people should not be spending hundreds of millions of dollars a year on a facility that harms our standing in the world, damages our relationships with key allies, and emboldens violent extremists. Closing the facility remains a top priority for the president,” said National Security Council spokesman Patrick Ventrell on Wednesday.KazakstanMap

The total cost of detention operations at Guantanamo for fiscal 2014 was $397.4 million, according to Defense statistics. That would bring the average cost per detainee in 2014 to $2.8 million.

According to Politifact, costs at a high-security federal prison as of 2012 are about $34,000 per year per inmate.

Of the remaining 127 detainees left at Guantanamo Bay, 59 have been deemed eligible for transfer after a lengthy interagency review process. Fifty-two of those eligible for release are from Yemen.

However, their potential release is complicated by serious political instability in Yemen. The Yemeni government may not be able to ensure that those released will not return to the fight

Another 10 detainees are currently undergoing prosecution via military tribunal at Guantanamo.

Of the remaining 58, at least 23 are designated for prosecution. Six have been re-designated for transfer, but the other 29 either await a periodic review board or are ineligible for transfer.

The president is hoping to bring those prisoners to a super-maximum-security prison within the United States.

“It does not make sense for us to spend millions of dollars per individual, when we have a way of solving this problem that’s more consistent with our values,” Obama said on CNN.

Veils Cast Over Truth – Terror, 'Khorosan' and Islam

By Scott W. Winchell and Denise Simon

What’s in a name? No! We are not discussing the rose, rather Islam. More specifically, who “IS” the “Khorosan Group?” Invent a name, hide the past. That is what resulted from an aide referring to the location this group from al Qaeda in Afghanistan came from sources tell us. Conveniently affording Obama and team a veil to cover the truth.

ISIL is not Islamic. No religion condones the killing of innocents, and the vast majority of ISIL’s victims have been Muslim.”

This now famous utterance by President Obama prior to 9/11/14 was assailed immediately by a large swath of experts and the alternative media here in the blogosphere.

Of course, that statement is just another manifestation of his penchant for deceiving the country to achieve his political ends.khurasan

Tell them some big grandiose tales with fervor and the masses will believe.

Tell the world that al Qaeda is decimated and on the run, the masses will cheer. Of course he said that to get reelected in 2012. It worked, but now we are paying for it.

On just two points, we can sum up Obama’s presidency – Islam is peaceful and al Qaeda is decimated! Both are blatantly untrue and we and many others have demonstrated this for years.

Think about it, change the name, you change the perspective, therefore you win in the political sphere.

The left is famous for labeling and redefining words, so why not call al Qaeda a new name as they emerge as a very clear and present danger again.

But it is actually worse when it comes to saying ISIS (Da’esh) is not Islamic. If that is true, then what are the people who make up the other evil forces emanating from Islam? Let’s mention just a few:

Hamas, Hezbollah, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Haqqani Network, Jumat al Fukra, al Aksa Martyr’s Brigade, Ansar al Sharia, al Shabaab, Boko Haram, Jabhat al Nusra, PLO, Moro Islamic Liberation Front, Abu Sayyaf, Jemaah Islamiyah, Uyghurs, Tamil Eelam, Kumpulan Mujahidin Malaysia, Jama’atul Mujahideen, Harkat-ul-Jihad-al Islami, Abu Nidal Organization,Gama’a al-Islamiyya, Palestine Liberation Front, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine PFLP, Revolutionary Organization 17 November, Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, Jaish-e-Mohammed, Asbat al-Ansar, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, Ansar al-Islam, Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, Islamic Jihad Group, Tehrik-e Taliban, Jundallah, Army of Islam, Indian Mujahidin, Jemaah Anshorut Tawhid, Abdallah Azzam Brigades, Ansar al-Dine, Ansaru, al-Mulathamun Battalion, Ansar al-Shari’a in Benghazi, Ansar al-Shari’a in Darnah, Ansar al-Shari’a in Tunisia, AQAP, Dhamaat Houmet Daawa Salafia, Morroccan Islamic Combatant Group, Salafiya Jihadia, Jama’a Comattante Tunisenne, al Ittihad al Islami, East Turkistan Ilsamic Movement, Sipah i Sahaba, Lashar e Jhangvi, Al Ghurabaa, Al Ittihad al Islamia, Ansar al Sunna, Ansar Bayt al Maqdis, Baluchistan Liberation Army, Hezb E Islami Gulbuddin, Imarat Kavkaz (Caucasus Emirate), Chechen militants, and let us not forget, the Muslim Brotherhood…

Notice any similarities? Yes, we thought you would – all are Islamic. This list is not even close to all that could be mentioned, but you get the point, Obama made a very disingenuous statement.

The question is, how many of these are al Qaeda affiliates or off-shoots? How many were created since 2009, or after Osama bin Laden was killed? Again, you get the point, Obama is misleading you for political cover or gain. You live in either Dar al-Harb, or Dar al-Islam – the land of war, or the land of Islam.

Our own State Department and Counter-terrorism Centers list most of these, and they far out number any other terrorist organizations like the Irish Republican Army, Japan’s Aum Shinrikyo, and FARC in Columbia. Terrorism is indeed a trademark of Islam. There are many people tracking these groups and many more. See also here, and here at Jihad Watch.

behead_islamAnother point we want to emphasize is that al Qaeda comes in many names, some they assigned to themselves, others that were assigned by the west – why? Because there are political games played right in front of your eyes – like the Khorosan Group!

Yes, Obama and team gave al Qaeda a new name so you would not notice that his boasts and football spiking were all dishonest and self-serving.

Al Qaeda is bigger and stronger than ever – but these are just names that are all one thing – Islamic Jihadism, fundamental Islam carried out as proscribed by their prophet, fanatically. Muhammad would approve, especially the beheading parts!

Now ask, who is supporting all of them – think in large measure, Qatar, Turkey, Russia, Iran, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia… the Muslim Brotherhood.

Let’s also consider another aspect, if it isn’t Islam, what is it? In your own words Mr. President, you tell us that Muslims die in far greater numbers at the hands of these evil doers. There is a reason for that, it is called apostasy. In Islam, by order, you are all in or you are an apostate. That brings us to another point; all these groups come from Islamic nations.

The Pew Research Center tells us there are 49 countries with Muslim majorities, with Nigeria about to become the 50th, but that was a number from 2011, so Nigeria may already qualify.

The Muslim world is over 24% of the Earth’s population, or almost 1.7 billion people and stretches from Morocco to Indonesia, so do all the groups listed above. The Muslim footprint grows daily and many countries’ indigenous peoples will soon become minorities in the west.

One large final question to ask, what are mosques in the West delivering in their sermons that fighters from the West are joining al Qaeda against the West.

ObamaUnApology2
Obama speaks before the UN General Assembly – and again apologizes for America, and Ferguson, really Mr. President?

The always insightful Andy McCarthy drives these points home:

We’re being had. Again.

For six years, President Obama has endeavored to will the country into accepting two pillars of his alternative national-security reality. First, he claims to have dealt decisively with the terrorist threat, rendering it a disparate series of ragtag jayvees.

Second, he asserts that the threat is unrelated to Islam, which is innately peaceful, moderate, and opposed to the wanton “violent extremists” who purport to act in its name.

Now, the president has been compelled to act against a jihad that has neither ended nor been “decimated.” The jihad, in fact, has inevitably intensified under his counterfactual worldview, which holds that empowering Islamic supremacists is the path to security and stability.

Yet even as war intensifies in Iraq and Syria — even as jihadists continue advancing, continue killing and capturing hapless opposition forces on the ground despite Obama’s futile air raids — the president won’t let go of the charade.

Hence, Obama gives us the Khorosan Group. The who?

There is a reason that no one had heard of such a group until a nanosecond ago, when the “Khorosan Group” suddenly went from anonymity to the “imminent threat” that became the rationale for an emergency air war there was supposedly no time to ask Congress to authorize. (Read the rest here.)

We agree with Andy – we were sold a bill of goods again!

DOJ Produces Legal Rationale of CIA Killing al-Awlaki

Editor’s Note – The killing of Anwar al Awlaki  and another US citizen, Samir Kahn by the CIA has raised questions of the legality of our government assassinating one of its citizens because he was a known terrorist operative/leader in 2011. Two questions arose.

The first was the legality of making that order, the second was whether or not it was legal for the CIA to carry out the deed. A third issue arises as well – if it was legal in the United States, was it legal in the land it was carried out in; Yemen?Drone-kills-Awlaki

Naturally, constitutional and international legal and diplomatic questions arose and many asked the Obama Administration for its legal explanation for coming to the conclusions they did and then relied upon when carrying out the assassination.

Congress demanded the rationale from Obama’s Department of Justice and just recently, the second of two documents were released finally. The first was released last year on the legality of the killing itself, and now the second provides the rationale for the CIA carrying out the order. Vice News provides us with the details below and the document can be read from a copy of the original.

You be the judge:

A Justice Department Memo Provides the CIA’s Legal Justification to Kill a US Citizen

By Jason Leopold – Vice News

“This white paper sets forth the legal basis upon which the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) could use lethal force in Yemen against a United States citizen who senior officials reasonably determined was a senior leader of al-Qaida or an associated force of al-Qaida.”

So begins a 22-page, heavily redacted, previously top-secret document titled “Legality of a Lethal Operation by the Central Intelligence Agency Against a US Citizen,” which provides the first detailed look at the legal rationale behind lethal operations conducted by the agency. The white paper [pdf below] was turned over to VICE News in response to a long-running Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Justice Department.

It’s one of two white papers the Justice Department prepared in 2011 after lawmakers demanded to know what the administration’s legal rationale was for targeting for death the radical Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, a US citizen. The first white paper, released last year, addressed why the targeted killing by the US military of an American abroad was lawful. This second white paper addresses why it was lawful for the CIA to do so. Neither white paper identifies Awlaki by name.

Anwar al-Awlaki, left, in a 2010 video, and Samir Khan, shown in North Carolina in 2008.
Anwar al-Awlaki, left, in a 2010 video, and Samir Khan, shown in North Carolina in 2008.

The May 25, 2011 document is based on a 41-page Justice Department memo that lays out the government’s legal basis for targeting Awlaki without affording him his right to due process under the US Constitution. For years, the Obama administration was pressured by lawmakers to share the memo, but officials refused — and wouldn’t even confirm that such a memo existed.

One of the most controversial legal arguments advanced in the white paper is the justification for civilians at the CIA engaging in hostilities abroad. The 1942 Supreme Court decision in Ex Parte Quirin, which is footnoted in the white paper, says that “by universal agreement and practice, the law of war draws a distinction… between those who are lawful and unlawful combatants.

“[A]n enemy combatant who without uniform comes secretly through the lines for the purpose of waging war by destruction of life or property” is an example of a belligerent who is an “offender against the law of war subject to trial and punishment by a military tribunal.”

‘They clearly realize they needed to come up with their independent justification of why [the CIA] has public authority to kill.’

Because CIA personnel are not part of the armed forces when they engage in hostilities, they are deemed to be unlawful combatants. The white paper acknowledges this, but argues that the CIA officers who are unlawful combatants are not war criminals as long as they comply with the laws of war.

The government is “very concerned with the status of the CIA,” said international law expert Kevin Jon Heller, a professor of criminal law at the School of Oriental and Criminal Studies at the University of London. “There’s absolutely no question that if any of these CIA agents involved in Anwar al-Awlaki’s killing ever went on vacation in Yemen or ever went on vacation in a state that has universal jurisdiction over war crimes, they could be arrested and prosecuted for murder. They certainly have committed murder under the laws of other states. Whether they have committed murder under American domestic law is another question.”

The white paper outlines five possible legal authorities that might prohibit the CIA from using lethal force against a US citizen abroad: three statutes (the foreign murder statute, conspiracy to murder an individual outside the US, and the War Crimes Act) and two constitutional provisions (the Fourth Amendment, which prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures, and the Fifth Amendment, which guarantees due process).

It relies on the 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF) and the relatively unknown legal doctrine known as the “public authority justification” to explain why the CIA’s actions are not unlawful, concluding that there is no law prohibiting the CIA from killing a US citizen in Yemen based on the facts of his particular case — redacted from the white paper — described by the CIA to the Justice Department.

Individuals typically use the public authority justification in criminal cases, arguing that the government authorized their actions. For example, a person wearing a wire for the FBI might be violating a state’s eavesdropping law. However, if the defendant successfully uses the public authority justification, he would not be found guilty even though he clearly violated the law. The white paper concedes that the public authority justification has rarely, if ever, been used to justify the government’s own acts.

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Heller says he agrees with the legal analysis of the public authority justification, but only as it pertains to the military’s lethal actions abroad — not the CIA’s.

According to the white paper: “Given the assessment that an analogous operation carried out pursuant to the AUMF would fall within the scope of the public-authority justification, there is no reason to reach a different conclusion for a CIA operation.”

homepage_targeted_assassinations_1Heller told VICE News this is the “sum total” the white paper says about the CIA’s public authority justification, and that the government falls short of making its case. Still, he says, the white paper is significant “as it indicates [the Justice Department] knew they had to talk about the CIA specifically, and knew they couldn’t just lump in the military and the CIA together.

“They clearly realize they needed to come up with their independent justification of why [the CIA] has public authority to kill,” Heller continued. “Unfortunately, the memo doesn’t really tell us anything because of the way it’s been redacted. If the question is, Where does the CIA get their authority to use lethal force abroad?, given that’s the necessary condition for them to avoid this foreign murder statute, this memo doesn’t tell us anything. It could be there. But if it is, it’s behind a redaction.”

Although the white paper says that the CIA expressed to the Justice Department that it preferred to capture “this target,” the agency assessed that a capture operation in Yemen “would not be feasible at this time.”

“The CIA has further represented that this sort of operation would not be undertaken in a perfidious or treacherous manner,” the white paper says.

A footnote states that the white paper “addresses exclusively the use of force abroad, in the circumstances described herein. It does not address legal issues that the use of force in different circumstances or in any nation other than Yemen might present.”

Still, the logic and legal rationale could be applied to the same types of lethal operations against Americans in other countries who the government may determine are part of al Qaeda or an “associated force” of the terrorist organization.