While search for al-Awlaki drones on, WikiLeaks founder gets a warning

If the American Civil Liberties Union were to announce that it was chafing at the bit to defend a hapless orator in the sands if the Middle East against a heartless attack by drone launched by a bloodthirsty U.S. administration, that wouldn’t come exactly as a shock.

It might, however, be shocking if the bloodthirsty U.S. administration in question happened to be the one running the show now, not the one that was sent home two years ago by an electorate that had had it.

Yet it happens to be the case that the American Civil Liberties Union has come out against war policy as conducted by the calm, unruffled and civilized folk who now inhabit the White House and call the shots. The apparently all-too real shots, it seems.

The ACLU has applied to represent one Anwar al-Awlaki, the New Mexico-born imam whose habit of late has been to inspire people to take violent action against the United States, notably two of the Sept. 11 hijackers and one Maj. Nidal Hasan. The latter is the U.S. Army psychiatrist who is jailed but still drawing a paycheck from an unfeeling and coldhearted Uncle Sam, despite having shot down 45 fellow soldiers at Fort Hood, killing 13.

It’s possible to see how the White House, under any occupant, might have a beef with the likes of Anwar al-Awlaki.

The current White House, however, has taken the extraordinary step of deciding that al-Awlaki qualifies for summary execution as he wanders across the sands of the Middle East, having forsaken those of the Land of Enchantment.

If you care, for a moment, to contemplate the subtle irony inherent in a president whose citizenship is a constant source of irritating debate from certain quarters handing down an extrajudicial death sentence by drone against a person whose citizenship has never been in question, no matter how horrific his actions might be, now would be a good time. And now you can be done.

The ACLU, eternally on the lookout for the little guy, has taken up the cause of Anwar “The Kid” al-Awlaki, and not a moment too soon.

Having declared its intention to wrap Anwar The Kid in its legal mantle, the ACLU has all but ensured Anwar’s continued survival, much to the stated consternation of the White House.

Unless, of course, Anwar The Kid were to expire in an “accident,” the kind that could befall anyone.

While the White House has wrung one of its hands over its inability to rid itself if troublesome citizen imams, the other hand has been doing something quite different.

Despite decrying a barrage of leaks out of an organization called WikiLeaks that identified (and marked for death) Afghans and others who cooperated with American forces, the White House offered some gentle advice to the founder of WikiLeaks.

What Julian Assange — all the letters in his last name after the first three are silent — said was that “inside sources at the White House” told him it would be unwise to visit the United States, lest he be arrested.

Assange fears being detained as a material witness in the prosecution of a citizen, Pfc. Bradley Manning, who is charged with a variety of crimes related to leaking and mishandling secret information.

It’s worth wondering, exactly what must one do to be charged with treason these days?

Assange’s value to the prosecution of Bradley Manning might be minimal, but he nonetheless got a warning from deep inside the White House telling him to stay away.

Shouldn’t he have been not-so-subtly told to show up and fess up? And why the difference between Assange and Anwar The Kid?

Why did the White House warn one and threaten the other with sudden extirpation?

Maybe Anwar The Kid has less to fear from the White House than it might appear, the ACLU’s complaining notwithstanding.


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