On 30th September last year, A CIA drone fired a Hellfire missile to kill Anwar al Awlaki. We all know about that. Less well known is the day another drone killed his 16 year old son, Abdulrahman.
On Oct. 14, U.S. drones pounded targets again, this time hundreds of kilometres away in the southeastern region of Azzan.
Abdulrahman, also born in the U.S., and his 17-year-old cousin were among the seven killed. They were apparently having a barbecue.
At first, media outlets reported that Abdulrahman was five years older than his actual age, had been militant like his father and, that a high-value Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) target was also among the dead.
But his grandfather, Nasser al Awlaki, a Fulbright scholar, former agricultural minister and prominent figure in Yemen, said Abdulrahman had nothing to do with his father since he had gone into hiding in 2009.
Nasser al Awlaki has never apologized for his son’s radical views, but said he had also worked hard to insulate his grandchildren from the controversy. He attempted, he said, to give them a ”œnormal life.”
Furious at the inaccurate reporting, he released his grandson’s birth certificate. It reads: ”œAbdulrahman Anwar al-Aulaqi (another English spelling of the last name). Born: Denver, Colorado. Sept. 13, 1995.”
It later emerged, but was not widely reported, that the strike did not kill its purported target, AQAP’s media chief, Egyptian Ibrahim al Bana.
The U.S. administration has refused comment.
We’ve been told that Obama personally reviews every drone strike in his assassination program, the one in which “due process and judicial process are not one and the same“, after a secret panel puts someone on the hit list. Killing an American minor without trial, when even the national law doesn’t allow the execution of minors, is surely a crime of the highest order. I’ll personally be holding Obama to the same bipartisan standard I held Bush – he should face a full civil trial of the kind he has failed to afford to too many. That’s the bottom line for me, and despite expecting many calls to support Obama in the coming election “because a Republican would be worse”, in good conscience I cannot do so.