Awlaki-Mania: The Rising Media Hysteria Over the New Mexico Cleric

Anwar al-Awlaki certainly makes for an interesting topic of conversation. The New Mexico-born cleric has not only spent the past few years as a vigorously outspoken critic of US foreign policy in the Middle East but has used the Internet quite successfully to get his message out, and it seems a message with more than a little currency in the invasion-weary Arabian Peninsula.

But Awlaki’s real claim to fame, at least recent fame, comes from an announcement last week that President Barack Obama had made Awlaki the first American citizen to officially grace the CIA’s assassination list.

The reasons for Awlaki’s impending assassination are vague, to say the least. Though officials have repeatedly accused Awlaki of being “in al-Qaeda,” he is not currently accused of any crimes and the only specific accusation against him is that he has criticized US foreign policy, and that this has made it easier for al-Qaeda to recruit.

Since this isn’t illegal officials insist there is something more that he is doing, but what that something is has never been stated or even really implied. Even Awlaki’s family seems to believe that the criticism is the real issue here, and his father suggested a “deal” whereby Anwar would stop criticizing the US in return for being removed from the assassination list.

But the media seems eager to fill in where the government has failed, and make the case for what a bad guy Awlaki really is. The Washington Times, light on details as ever, has declared Awlaki “the new bin Laden.” The only specific allegations made in the piece are his “thoughtful, well-researched” arguments and that he has potentially inspired other people who later launched attacks.

The accusation would be farcical if there weren’t a grain of truth in there, but Awlaki has become the new bin Laden indeed, at least in that he’s taken over bin Laden’s role as the war party’s bogey-man.

The cleric’s life is now an open book, except for the part where he actually did something to get assassinated. FoxNews.com is running an article which can only be described as a “reverse-birther” story, claiming that Awlaki may have lied about his place of birth on his application to Colorado State University to get additional financial aid.

The article cites Ray Fournier, a security official, as saying the US has been looking basically since 9/11 “tirelessly to find a reason to arrest or detain the American-born cleric.” Added Fourier about the apparently ill-gotten $20,000 grant: “that’s the taxpayers’ money.”

The penalty for lying on this application, however, is a fine of up to $20,000, and up to five years in jail. The penalty is not, and has never been, assassination.

20 thoughts on “Awlaki-Mania: The Rising Media Hysteria Over the New Mexico Cleric”

  1. While it is confusing that Awlaki, an American citizen, is scheduled to be assassinated rather than be brought to trial for his alleged 'crimes' before a jury of his peers, it is even more confusing that the FBI doesn't even mention him on its list of wanted terrorists: http://www.fbi.gov/wanted/terrorists/fugitives.ht

    To give them the benefit of the doubt, perhaps the list is not quite up to date, such that it only lists Osama bin Laden as wanted for the African embassy bombings but makes no mention whatsoever of 9/11.

    You will also note that only Muslims can be terrorists. Just an observation.

    1. Well, a lot of Americans can't live without a cosmic enemy. Used to be commies, n*ggers, joos, but they are mostly out of style. Now it's Muslims and Chinese.

  2. My advice for Mr Awalaki would be to show up in Turkey or a European country (France?) or just an embassy and get legal representation. Given the record on terror trials, my guess is all charges are acquitted. If the feds want him, he should let them try him.

    He might even try showing up at an US embassy.

  3. Falafael101:From Bu$h reborn iMachine to ZoObama Jihad Quranees..1.5B Muslimz r U$Kingcorpghanam except for few AaedAwlaki Men_hajj

  4. I've been listening to Protestant fundamentalist preachers for almost 40 years now, both as a fundie and now a post-fundie. I have to say, I can't imagine any Muslim preacher being more hostile to the US and the US government. E.g., my current favorite, Bro. Stair (www.overcomerministry.org) has often preached on nuclear and other destruction for the US because of it's vast and comprehensive wickedness. The Burning Bush, Obama-hallelujah, etc., all get the rough side of his tongue. He's against "Paytriots", too, however, because the New World Order, the Mark of the Beast, etc., are G-d's will, leading to the Second Coming.

    1. Dood! Brother Stair roolz! I often wake up at 4AM here in NYC out of habit to listen to him. He has one of the most convoluted "reality tunnels" [R. A. Wilson] ever. And that voice! The Ezra Pound of the Internet!

      The best part is when he takes calls [well. phone messages] and just lays into them. I've never heard a radio "commentator" express such deep hatred and loathing of his mildest critics.

      Br. Stair is the Ultimate Christian. God told me I'm the last prophet, this is it, believe me or go to hell, I don't care, you moron.

      I have to admit, his point that "you're an idiot because instead of quiting your job and moving to my trialer park compound 10 years ago you trusted the banks and your IRA and now your're broke on the streets, ha ha ha, enjoy Hell, jerkoff" is rather hard to refute….

  5. Does anyone else find it outrageous that the CIA even has an "assassination list?" What gives our government that right? Hardly anyone even mentions how depraved this is.

    1. Like a dog licking it's *ss, they do it because they can. Probably it's not just the CIA, either.

  6. This stuff is making me paranoid. Lately it has occurred to me that there could be a drone targeting my house, or as I walk my dogs at night I wonder sometimes if an assassin could be trailing me or my car could be rigged for some kind of failure. I know it's crazy – or is it ? What have I said in the past that could have been as incriminating as this guy Awlaki? Plenty, I think but I didn't keep records to check if I went 'over the line'. I probably did since i sincerely believed in the concept of free speech and there was plenty of outrages out there to get mad about.

    1. I agree with you. I've mean-mouthed the Bushies a lot over the last decade and I've start on the Obammies, too. I would not be at all surprised if I had p.o.'d someone who then denounced me to Homeland Security as a terrorist sympathizer or something. Once you're on this or that sh*t-list, it's hard to get off.

  7. Bro. Stair rules the shortwave band, too. He’s an alternative Voice of America! He boasts about the stations in Turkey and Israel, etc., that broadcast his rantings, to G-d knows what effect. Bin Laden probably listens to Bro. Stair!

  8. If "We The People" are ,in truth ,really at risk might I suggest that the real threat comes from the origin of the order not the "target".

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