Talk:Anwar al-Awlaki/Archive 3

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Archive 1 Archive 2 Archive 3

New news article -- useful?

[1] is about the State Department citing Anwar al-Awkali's right to privacy in denial of a FOIA request. They refer to his presence on the capture-or-kill list while still having protected privacy rights as a "disconnect". In addition to FOIA coverage, there is a lot of biographical information. Anything we can use here? Thundermaker (talk) 17:01, 6 September 2011 (UTC)


Here ya go: — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:58, 30 September 2011 (UTC)

College Years

If he went to college from 1991 to 1994, how could he have trained Afghan soldiers against the Soviet Union? The Soviets left Afghanistan in 1989. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:03, 30 September 2011 (UTC)

You've misread what it says there. It says "He spent a summer of his college years training with the Afghan mujahideen who fought the Soviet Union's occupation of Afghanistan with US and Saudi backing." meaning they trained him, not the other way around, after the war with the Soviets was over. I think changing it to "had fought" would make that more clear, I'll do that now. Beeblebrox (talk) 00:57, 1 October 2011 (UTC)

Ruling Family?

Was he a member of the Ruling Family of one of the former Awlaki sheikhdoms? СЛУЖБА (talk) 09:59, 1 October 2011 (UTC)

Find a reliable source that reports that he was and it will be added to the page. Otherwise, not. Guy Macon (talk) 17:39, 1 October 2011 (UTC)
What Guy said.--Epeefleche (talk) 18:24, 1 October 2011 (UTC)

Death of Anwar al-Awlaki

I propose a new article regarding the event, such as Death of Anwar al-Awlaki, since the assassination of a high-profile terrorist is very notable. Anyone agree? —stay (sic)! 10:03, 1 October 2011 (UTC)

I disagree. While he was a highly effective ideologue, propagandist, and al-Qaeda apparatchik as well as a terrorist, his notability stems from his being an Internet-savvy, English-speaking American citizen aiding and abetting Islamist terrorism. That said, the legal issues involved, such as those of American and international law, may yet deserve an article of their own. kencf0618 (talk) 14:11, 1 October 2011 (UTC)
At times, it makes sense, as with bin Laden. But I simply am not seeing sufficient RS material on the killing itself at this point to fill out an article.--Epeefleche (talk) 18:19, 1 October 2011 (UTC)
I agree with Epeefleche. His death (specifically) isn't getting nearly the amount of coverage as that of Osama bin Laden. Most of the coverage mentions his death and then goes into biographical info. causa sui (talk) 22:49, 1 October 2011 (UTC)
Yep. It's the nature of the beast that a double tap from a Navy SEAL generates more RS than an air strike from a drone. kencf0618 (talk) 00:49, 2 October 2011 (UTC)

"First U.S. citizen targeted" for killing

The media reports have run rampant with this allegation that Anwar al-Awlaki is the first U.S. citizen targeted for killing. Some have qualified it as "approved by the President" or "killing by the C.I.A." The central meaning is that he was targeted without due process (we will lay aside executions carried out under law).

Wondering aloud, weren't American citizens targeted for killing during the gangster battles by the FBI and local police during the first half of the 20th century; Indians during the 19th century; and rebel soldiers during the Civil War? I believe the statement that this killing is unprecedented is inaccurate without even further qualification. Jnmwiki (talk) 03:35, 1 October 2011 (UTC)

Three points. One -- if the RSs say it (and they certainly appear to), we properly reflect it. Second, targeted killing is an international law concept, that applies in jurisdictions other than the one in which the government acts, where it does not have control, so the gangster battles are inapposite. Finally, this sounds like an OR issue -- you may have a view that differs with the RSs, but we reflect what the RSs say, not what individual editors wonder. See Wikipedia:No original research. Best.--Epeefleche (talk) 03:49, 1 October 2011 (UTC)
I don't think any of your examples stand up as examples of targeted killings. It did not occur in the first instance (prohibition gangsters) that I am aware of; Indians were not always U.S. citizens (until 1948 in some cases, see Indian Citizenship Act of 1924) and violence often occured during warfare as is the case in the last example, the Civil War. Killing soldiers on the battlefield (soldiers who don't even consider themselves U.S. citizens) isn't much different than killing gangsters committing a bank robbery. But neither is targeted killing. Rmhermen (talk) 03:55, 1 October 2011 (UTC)
The claim is unlikely to be true. Reliable sources are wrong all the time and it's not original research to discount them. However, we don't need to debate whether WP:RS is a suicide pact in this case, as the sources cited in the article don't support the statement. The Telegraph called it "a rare move against an American citizen", implying that it was not the first. The Times called it "extremely rare, if not unprecedented", meaning they were not sure. The Post said he was "the first U.S. citizen added to a list of suspected terrorists the CIA is authorized to kill" (emphasis added). That's the real point and about as far as we can go. This is a new program authorized by Congress and subject to some formal review, and al-Awlaki is the first under the program. The US has certainly engaged in extrajudicial killings of citizens before, but under very different circumstances. - Wikidemon (talk) 07:40, 1 October 2011 (UTC)
"The US has certainly engaged in extrajudicial killings of citizens before, but under very different circumstances."[citation needed] and how is this an extrajudicial killings of citizens if it is authorized by Congress? Rmhermen (talk) 17:21, 1 October 2011 (UTC)
Our goal is verifiability, not truth -- even if you feel RSs are wrong all the time.--Epeefleche (talk) 18:21, 1 October 2011 (UTC)
Not so. WP:V and WP:RS establish a threshold for inclusion, not a requirement. If a factual proposition is wrong, it's just wrong. A vast amount of untrue stuff is verifiable to sources that as a technical matter are reliable but for being wrong. This is basic encyclopedia 101 stuff. BTW, neither Congress nor the Executive Branch have the authority to order that people be killed. That's left to the courts. That's what extrajudicial means, outside of the judiciary process. - Wikidemon (talk) 06:19, 2 October 2011 (UTC)
Wikipedia:Verifiability, not truth discusses the matter fairly well, IMHO.--Epeefleche (talk) 06:34, 2 October 2011 (UTC)
Indeed. An inclusion threshold. - Wikidemon (talk) 07:02, 2 October 2011 (UTC)

Yemeni official familiar with counterterrorism operations

I think that quote should go. It's a mockery of online encyclopedia that wikipedia aspires to be. Or get "Yemeni official familiar with counterterrorism operations" 's name... — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:21, 2 October 2011 (UTC)

It's properly sourced to the Wall Street Journal. It isn't our place to criticize what the WSJ choses to print, but only to accurately report it. --Guy Macon (talk) 07:18, 2 October 2011 (UTC)
That's not true at all. We don't blindly add whatever the WSJ writes; we use editorial judgment to determine whether we need to include it. And that pullquote is more characteristic of something from TIME magazine, not Wikipedia... NW (Talk) 14:50, 2 October 2011 (UTC)
Hi NW -- with respect, that's a bit of an oversimplification. We don;t ever determine what we "need" to include. There is nothing we "need" to include. Proper sourcing to a source such as an RS like the WSJ is an very important threshold issue. And, of course, we don't require -- as suggested by the original commenter -- that the person's name be reported.--Epeefleche (talk) 17:50, 2 October 2011 (UTC)
I think the article definitely relies too heavily on quotes attributed to anonymous sources. It's a great deal of the content, actually. causa sui (talk) 17:48, 2 October 2011 (UTC)
It's perfectly fine -- Attributed to high level sources. Normal for this RS reporting. Accurate. Relevant. And while it was appropriate when this article was a BLP -- and reviewed by many editors -- there of course are not even BLP sensitivities at this point. I recognize that there may be editorial POV, reflected in past kerfluffles on this page and elsewhere, that may influence views, but that should not influence decisions. Especially, when positions are exaggerated, as in the above. Guy is, in this instance, correct as to the issue discussed.--Epeefleche (talk) 17:53, 2 October 2011 (UTC)
No need to make it personal. We're talking about article content. causa sui (talk) 18:32, 2 October 2011 (UTC)

"...who was involved with planning operations..."

The claim that Anwar al-Awlaki was involved with planning operations is followed by several citations, none of which appear to support the claim. (it is clear that the Obama administration claims he was, but that's not the same thing.


Should the paragraph be rewritten so as to better reflect what is in the sources? --Guy Macon (talk) 17:20, 1 October 2011 (UTC)

I see a host of support for it -- not only claims by Obama.--Epeefleche (talk) 18:22, 1 October 2011 (UTC)


Where exactly, do you see that? I just looked at all six citations allegedly supporting the claim and found:

First cite: emails with Fort Hood shooter, Sept. 11 attackers visited his mosque. Consistent with recruiter, no evidence he planned operations (government has copies of emails, has not shown any that prove operational planning)

Second Cite: lot's of Muslims visit a large Mosque. His father didn't know he was involved with Al Qaeda. No mention of operational planning.

Third Cite: "Sources" say Awlaki was providing spiritual support, perhaps recruiting. No mention of operational planning.

Fourth Cite: More evidence consistent with being a propagandist and recruiter. No evidence of operational planning.

Fifth Cite: Internet spokesperson, maker of recruiting / encouragement videos. No mention of operational planning.

Sixth Cite: Finally something that might be considered operational planning. Arrested by the Yemeni government and later released on charges of being involved in an al-Qaida plot to kidnap a U.S. military attaché. But citation 53 (Allam, Hannah) claims he was an incendiary preacher and possible recruiter, not an operational planner. --Guy Macon (talk) 20:22, 1 October 2011 (UTC)

Per NPR, the trial of Rajib Karim "also provides the first public evidence that U.S. born radical cleric, Anwar al-Awlaki, was planning operations for al-Qaida's arm in Yemen." Source: New Evidence Of Al-Qaida Plotter's Role Jokestress (talk) 20:30, 1 October 2011 (UTC)
Looks like a good cite to me (unlike what is there now). We need to add it as a cite to support the claim, and then move the five cites that don't support it so that they follow something they do support. I can do this, but I would prefer someone who is more familiar with the subject do it - I just happened upon this page and noticed a claim that isn't supported by its citations. --Guy Macon (talk) 21:44, 1 October 2011 (UTC)
I agree with Guy Macon. There are similar problems with sourcing (citations to sources that don't support the cited claim) elsewhere in the article as well. causa sui (talk) 22:46, 1 October 2011 (UTC)
Here's some active participation in planning, an e-mail exchange -
On Page 11 of this, you can also see him giving tactical and operational advice to someone essentially asking "how do I become a terrorist?" -
Earthpig (talk) 23:17, 1 October 2011 (UTC)
Bad example. That's clearly recruiting and encouragement, not operational planning. Please keep in mind that nobody here is suggesting that he wasn't an enemy of the United states who recruited and encouraged people to commit terrorist acts. And with the new citation provided by Jokestress, nobody here is suggesting that he wasn't involved in operational planning. The issue here is one of really bad citations. I saw a claim that he "was involved with planning operations" followed by six citations, not one of which actually supported the claim. Causa sui found others. On Wikipedia every claim needs a citation backing up the claim, and every claim need zero citations that don't back up the claim. We have failed in this case, and so someone familiar with the topic really needs to crawl through every citation and fix the problems. The end result will most likely be the same claims that are there now, but backed up with citations to reliable sources. --Guy Macon (talk) 07:11, 2 October 2011 (UTC)


I may be opening a can of worms here, but this white house press conference...

...raises some serious questions in my mind as to whether Wikipedia should report "...involved with planning operations..." as an established fact as apposed to an allegation. Again, I am not wanting to defend Anwar al-Awlaki in any way. I just want to make sure everything we say about him can be attributed to reliable sources. --Guy Macon (talk) 18:34, 2 October 2011 (UTC)

Slightly off-topic but if you want a real sources challenge, Wikipedia declares dead both Al-qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula leader Nasir al-Wuhayshi dead (in two articles) and deputy leader Sa'id Ali Jabir Al Khathim Al Shihri with rather poor sourcing. Rmhermen (talk) 20:22, 2 October 2011 (UTC)
Sigh. It is understandable that these kind of topics generate strong feelings, but it appears that those strong feelings at times get in the way of proper sourcing. Somebody added those six citations that didn't support the claim they were attached to. I am loath to simply remove the citations because they are reliable sources on what they do say, but the reader deserves better. The reader should not see a statement like "who was involved with planning operations" with six numbered references after it, not one of which establishes the claim, and most of which don't mention operational planning at all. Nor should he see Wikipedia reporting someone dead without a proper citation to a reliable source supporting that claim. --Guy Macon (talk) 01:37, 3 October 2011 (UTC)
If you're worried about removing valuable sources from the article, you might consider removing the citations and then listing the deleted references on the talk page for re-integration. It's definitely a bad thing to have citations to references that don't support the cited claims. causa sui (talk) 02:09, 3 October 2011 (UTC)



Alleged and accused are appropriate when wrongdoing is asserted but undetermined, such as with people on trial for crimes.

causa sui (talk) 16:31, 3 October 2011 (UTC)

misuse of citation 23

the article states: "Al-Awlaki allegedly spoke with, trained, and preached to a number of al-Qaeda members and affiliates, including three of the 9/11 hijackers,[23]".

the original article states: "Authorities say the two hijackers had attended the Awlaki-led Rabat mosque in San Diego and the imam had numerous closed door meetings with the men, leading investigators to believe that Awlaki was their spiritual advisor and had known about the 9/11 attacks in advance".

the evidence doesnt support the language of the article. (talk) 21:32, 3 October 2011 (UTC)

Given the quotes you provided, it seems okay. Maybe it would be better to specify who is making the allegations, though. causa sui (talk) 23:24, 3 October 2011 (UTC)

Dead or not?

Mr Anwar al-Awlaki was acording to Yemen killed, but Al-Qaida says he's alive? Are these facts that Wikipedia can use, or is it not true? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:28, 5 October 2011 (UTC)

Can you point to an article that reports on al-Qaeda stating that al-Awlaki is alive? (For obvious reasons, I would prefer to not use/access a primary source here...) NW (Talk) 18:31, 5 October 2011 (UTC)
Yes, here i have 2 reports that's saying he is "alive". [2] And [3] — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:59, 5 October 2011 (UTC)
Yemen Post got something: Anwar Awlaqi Most Likely Alive and Al-Qaeda Claims al-Awlaki is Still Alive. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:38, 5 October 2011 (UTC)
[4] Now they say he's dead. Rmhermen (talk) 21:36, 12 October 2011 (UTC)

more cleanup — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:33, 11 October 2011 (UTC)


There is absolutely no basis on the claim that Anwar Al-Awlaki solicited prostitute. His "mugshot" was proven to be a complete fabrication using 3rd party error level analysis software.

Remove it immediately.

— Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 10:55, 17 October 2011‎

the source (the local police office, several media outlets, and a New Yorker article) meets all wikipedia guidelines for being verifiable. the prostitution section is notable. removal of it is blatantly POV, as there are literally thosuands of other articles about notable figures involved with prostitution, such as Hugh Grant. removing the prostitution section from the al-alwaki article is no different than removing it from the Hugh Grant article - neither one is really in keeping with the spirit of an encyclopedia. The website "islamicawakening" is not a suitable wikipedia source. please see Identifyng Reliable Sources for more information. Decora (talk) 22:17, 18 October 2011 (UTC)
even if islamicawakening was a good source, it would still not merit the entire deletion of the prostitution section, rather it would only merit a mention that some people believe the photograph is a fake. Decora (talk) 22:36, 18 October 2011 (UTC)

"IslamicAwakening" was not the source, it's the neutral Error Level Analysis software that's supposed to be the source. IslamicAwakening was used to merely convey the source.

But anyways, it's up to wikipedia to keep such a blatantly fabricated photo, perhaps the Awlaki family should be advised to sue for libel against something that's so obviously libelous.. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:00, 19 October 2011 (UTC)

I've left a standard warning message regarding legal threats. causa sui (talk) 22:36, 19 October 2011 (UTC)
Error Level Analysis is a tool, the Error Level Analysis website doesn't mention anything about Awlaki. The islamicawakening post says that ELA proves that the Alwaki booking photo is fake, but that brings us right back to the question of the quality of the source. The discussion about ELA itself is essentially "original research", which wikipedia tries to avoid, but beyond that, it's highly arguable whether or not their methodology reveals what they claim it reveals, it is not a simple argument like '2+2=4', but a large paragraph filled with buzzwords and jargon. Here is some debate about it. Lastly, it doesn't change the fact that even if the source were acceptable, it does not mean that the entire paragraph on prostitution should be removed, since it is based on multiple reports from good skoruces. lastly, something is not defamation if it is true. this is the law in the US as well as countries like the UK (see the Irving v Lipstadt trial for example) Decora (talk) 01:34, 22 October 2011 (UTC)

This talk page gives clarification on this issue

Trying to induce sympathy,guilt or whatevers induced in this article simply wont work. Islamic radicals,extremists whatever you say to them have "shared" enough.Anyways,it's internet era.These 3 threads are very informative.What is mental condition of islamicawakening forum participants and members.The insanity is never ending passing on to readers,persons alike Paulthorne87 (talk) 05:13, 18 March 2012 (UTC)

the 'mental condition' of forum participants is not necessary to analyze in order to make a decision about the prostitution paragraph. whatever one's personal feelings about the people who post articles at 'islamic awakening', doesn't matter. one can resolve the issue by considering the matter as a question of evidence, facts, and wikipedia's verifiability policy. it is a fact that he was arrested for prostitution, regardless of anyone's feelings about religion, politics, free speech, the war on terror, skepticism, etc. none of those things are necessary to think about in order to analyze the situation. notable public person X was arrested for prostitution twice, confirmed by the police, and it was mentioned in several news stories. should it be discussed in their wikipedia article? absolutely. it has nothing to do with politics, religion, or the 'mental condition' of internet forums. it is wikipedia 101. Decora (talk) 14:17, 18 March 2012 (UTC)

This article from is very informative on the issue.

Relevance should be given as well to these archived talk pages

This is an interesting thread as well Paulthorne87 (talk) 16:22, 19 March 2012 (UTC)

I suggest we close this discussion per WP:FORUM. Tks - Wikidemon (talk) 17:01, 19 March 2012 (UTC)

According to U.S. Officials

The first three paragraphs of the lede for this page are, essentially, views from the United States State Department, Military, and White House, all framed in the language of "according to U.S. officials..."

While these views are critical to the article on Awlaki, they are most of them made by the organization that assassinated him, or by Yemeni or Saudi officials, who rely heavily on the United States for backing in the region. I'm going to begin reorganizing the article somewhat so that this material isn't taken out, but is rather re-located. -Darouet (talk) 20:42, 16 December 2011 (UTC)

In general this article has acted as a sounding board for the US State Department. Over time many editors have tried to correct that trend and correct some structural bias. I'm philosophically in favor of such reforms and I hope you have better luck than past attempts. causa sui (talk) 01:16, 28 December 2011 (UTC)
I've taken out a statement from Douglas Murray; it added no content, was obviously POV, and its inclusion was furthermore questionable given Murray's attitude (and that of his think tank generally) towards Muslims in Europe. -Darouet (talk) 19:22, 4 February 2012 (UTC)

Abdulrahman al-Awlaki

I would like to open a discussion (meaning I neither support or oppose the idea before hearing what others have to say) about a separate article for Abdulrahman al-Awlaki -- or perhaps a section in this or a related article?) Abd. is certainly notable, and it could be argued that the current paragraph is a bit skimpy. Comments? --Guy Macon (talk) 08:52, 2 January 2012 (UTC)

Hello? Is anyone out there?? --Guy Macon (talk) 04:48, 3 January 2012 (UTC)
I guess not. --Guy Macon (talk) 21:25, 19 January 2012 (UTC)
You're probably right. Obviously the legal issues in the United States are substantial. -Darouet (talk) 19:23, 4 February 2012 (UTC)

what is this I don't even

[5] "His speech, in a carefully orchestrated address Monday at the law school’s Chicago campus, came after sharp questions over the Obama administration’s slaying of Awlaki, born in New Mexico, and how his killing comports with the oft-repeated stance from Holder and the White House that terrorists should be brought to justice in U.S. federal courts in this country.... Holder did not take questions from reporters after his remarks, and while he originally was going to answer questions from the law school audience, on Monday morning he abruptly cancelled that plan."

[6] "Since last year, U.S. drones have killed three Americans overseas. But Attorney General Eric Holder says the ongoing fight against al-Qaida means those kinds of deadly strikes are now a way of life... the program is covert, so although foreign governments and reporters have chronicled those strikes, no U.S. official is supposed to mention them directly. Instead, as Holder acknowledged, they use euphemisms like targeted killing or use of force."

[7] "'The Constitution's guarantee of due process is ironclad, and it is essential, but... it does not require judicial approval before the president may use force abroad against a senior operational leader of a foreign terrorist organization with which the United States is at war, even if that individual happens to be a U.S. citizen,' he said."

I'll try to write up those later unless someone else does first. Too mad. (talk) 03:20, 6 March 2012 (UTC)

It is hard to tell what you are proposing for this article, or even what you're mad about (that the US would do it, that the Attorney General would say the executive department can act outside the law, etc?). The news articles containing the quotes you cite are about Attorney General Holder's statements concerning targeted / extrajudicial / extraterritorial government killings or whatever you'd call it. They bear only indirectly on this particular article, which is about this one particular person's life and times. Think of it this way. If a famous person dies from a particular cause (say, a brick falls on his head), the main discussion about bricks, brick safety, laws about bricks, what government people say about bricks, and so on is in the articles about those specific topics. Any broader discussion about brick deaths in the biographical article of the person in question would be a quick reference plus a link to the main article on these topics. What I'm saying is that these things might be more pertinent to articles about Holder himself, the US "war on terrorism" (or again, whatever it might be called), extrajudicial U.S. killings, and so on. I haven't checked, but my guess is that these articles do exist, and they may address these things. Hope that helps. - Wikidemon (talk) 03:51, 6 March 2012 (UTC)
I was reading about this speech in the news this morning, and of course it needs to be covered in this article, which by the way, as I've mentioned above, needs serious revision. The discussion of bricks may be well intentioned but isn't helpful here. This is the major example of an extrajudicial killing by the American government of an American citizen in the War on Terror, and whether one supports or opposes the killing or its logic, Holder's explanation is critical not only to an encyclopedic article on extrajudicial killing by the United States Government but also on the man who has been killed, Awlaki. -Darouet (talk) 17:35, 6 March 2012 (UTC)
Belongs in Targeted killing - the only unique issue here is that the person targeted for extrajudicial U.S. killing was born in the US otherwise just one of many. See also wp:coatrack. --Geraldo Perez (talk) 17:52, 6 March 2012 (UTC)
This also belongs in Targeted killing, however as you'll see when reading the sources provided above from the Chicago Tribune, NPR and USAToday, Awlaki's citizenship is actually a very important issue to many people, including, arguably, to Holder himself. Regarding wp:coatrack, and for all who don't have time to read the articles above, the Tribune article is titled Eric Holder: U.S. can target citizens overseas in terror fight, the NPR article titled Holder Spells Out Why Drones Target U.S. Citizens, and the USAToday article, which is titled Holder: Constitution doesn't cover terrorists, states in its opening sentence, "...Attorney General Eric Holder said Monday that the Constitution does not protect U.S. suspects plotting to kill other Americans." All these articles discuss Awlaki, the obvious and essentially only known instance of the American Government targeting one of its own citizens. -Darouet (talk) 18:05, 6 March 2012 (UTC)
This is a biographical article about Anwar al-Awlaki. Anwar al-Awlaki#Targeted killing order and lawsuit against the U.S. talks to this issue, an additional line or two in that section mentioning the specific justification as it relates to this specific person would be the most that should be in this article. Anything beyond that is no longer about the subject of this article but about a much wider issue. The level of coverage desired for this issue belongs elsewhere in wiki. Geraldo Perez (talk) 18:23, 6 March 2012 (UTC)
Why is Awlaki notable enough to have an encyclopedia article written about him? -Darouet (talk) 18:30, 6 March 2012 (UTC)
I realize the question is rhetorical but the subject meets WP:NPEOPLE - "A person is presumed to be notable if he or she has received significant coverage in reliable secondary sources that are independent of the subject." He is not notable solely for this one event which is, I think, the point of your question. See also Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Anwar al-Awlaki from June 8, 2007‎ where the issue of notability was debated originally. --Geraldo Perez (talk) 19:01, 6 March 2012 (UTC)
I didn't necessarily mean that rhetorically, though of course I'm making a point (I appreciate that you recognize Awlaki's notability is due in part to his extrajudicial killing by his own government). I've been interested in the history of this article's evolution and had seen the AfD discussion you referenced. You'll note however that many of the 200+ articles cited here were authored after the United States government publicly admitted that Awlaki was on a CIA kill list. -Darouet (talk) 23:13, 7 March 2012 (UTC)
One more Impediment is this revision history every version changes from the time this article was created Paulthorne87 (talk) 13:22, 2 April 2012 (UTC)
Thanks Paulthorne87 for your contribution; could you clarify a little more how these previous revisions should influence our understanding of Al-Awlaki's notability? -Darouet (talk) 18:22, 3 May 2012 (UTC)
It is clear that making Islamic extremists into pariah demons can't change theoretical side of a religion whatever the crimes or alleged crimes the adherents of a religion commit isn't that like giving some extremists excessive importance by killing them in spectacular style as a deterrent what is the criteria for deciding what is and what isn't a Jihadi tape? Paulthorne87 (talk) 07:02, 9 May 2012 (UTC)

Banned from entering UK or US?

The section 'Reaching out to the United Kingdom' currently begins:

"Despite being banned from entering the United Kingdom in 2006,..."

The source for this claim is an article in the Telegraph. This article was subsequently removed, due to other inaccuracies it contained. I could not find any other source for this claim, as references to Awlaki being banned from entering the UK all seem to go back to the same article.

Is this claim true, i.e. can it be verified from a RS? If not, perhaps it should be removed or qualified within the Wiki article.

Interestingly, the Telegraph had previously claimed that Awlaki was banned from entering the United States ( - currently footnote 120). The Telegraph also seems to the main source for this claim; is there a RS for this claim? (There is currently no reference to this claim in the Wiki entry.)

UsamahWard (talk) 08:01, 4 May 2012 (UTC)

Doing a bit of research, I'm able to find sources stating that al-Awlaki was banned or "reportedly" banned from entering the UK or the US at a variety of times:
  • From Gordon Rayner of The Daily Telegraph of London, 27 December 2008, "The End of Time event at the East London Mosque, which is being publicised on internet sites including Facebook, will feature a videotaped lecture from Anwar al-Awlaki, who is banned from entering the United States after allegedly acting as a spiritual adviser to three of the September 11 terrorists."
  • From David Barrett and Ben Leach of The Sunday Telegraph, 12 April 2009, "Mr Awlaki, who is banned from entering the United States, has been accused by the US Department of Homeland Security in recent months of using video lectures to 'encourage terrorist attacks.'"
  • From Sean O'Neill of The Times of London, 28 December 2009, "Mr al-Awlaki was also a frequent visitor to Britain, preaching at major mosques and religious events. The Times understands that the cleric was banned from entering Britain in 2006. As the preacher was being excluded, Mr Abdulmutallab was studying at University College London. His life during his three years in Britain will be dissected and inquiries made into whom he met and socialised with, where he worshipped and whom he might have influenced."
  • From John F. Burns of The New York Times, 30 December 2009, "Earlier this year, Mr. Awlaki, who was banned from entering Britain, made a speech to worshipers at the Whitechapel center by video link from Yemen."
  • Patrick Sawer and David Barrett for The Sunday Telegraph (London), 3 January 2010, "Today, we can disclose that al-Awlaki has spoken on at least seven occasions at five different British venues via video-link in the past three years alone, despite being banned from entering this country since 2006."
  • From Jason Lewis of The Sunday Telegraph (London), 7 November 2010, "Awlaki spoke through a video address and live telephone question-andanswer session at the event last year, which was advertised with a poster showing New York under bombardment. The mosque claimed at the time that 'none of the speakers involved [was] banned from entering the UK or convicted of any hate crimes'. It later insisted that 'there was no credible evidence at the time of the event that Awlaki might be an extremist'. In fact, Awlaki was reportedly banned from Britain for his extremist links as early as 2006."
Hope this is helpful. It doesn't really clarify what the source of the claim ultimately is, but based on my reading of the January 2010 Sawer and Barrett piece it's probably American or British police officials. You can see at least that it's been widely repeated, especially in the British Press, and that it was contested at least once by leaders in a mosque where Mr. Awlaki was going to speak. -Darouet (talk) 16:23, 4 May 2012 (UTC)

Spelling of Name

This page should be reformatted to make the default spelling of his name "al-Aulaqi". It is true that the al-Awlaki spelling has been more common in media reports, and that it's an appropriate transliteration from Arabic. However, he was born in the U.S. This isn't an issue of transliteration. There are formal government do cuments in English which spell the name "al-Aulaqi", and this is in fact his birth name, not the Arabic and not al-Awlaki. [8] Wfredmason (talk) 09:34, 23 May 2012 (UTC)

That's as much as I need to support. If his name is registered on official English documents a certain way, that should be the default. --Jprg1966 (talk) 16:55, 12 June 2012 (UTC)
It absolutely should not. The default name should be the one that is used by the majority of reliable sources. Which is Awlaki. john k (talk) 14:16, 6 February 2013 (UTC)

John K is absolutely correct. That's not determinative under wp policy. See wp:commonname.--Epeefleche (talk) 16:12, 24 February 2013 (UTC)

Criticism of operation to kill al-Awlaki

This section needs expansion. Obama's quote is obviously appropriate, but the rest is lacking. Paul Craig Roberts is a marginal figure and conspiracy theorist, and his quote doesn't express the more mainstream concerns of people[who?] who claim the action might be illegal since al-Awlaki was a U.S. citizen. --Jprg1966 (talk) 16:54, 12 June 2012 (UTC)

By all means, please expand it. causa sui (talk) 22:51, 20 July 2012 (UTC)

I agree with restoring Paul Craig Roberts. He appears to be one of a number of similar-minded Americans who are apologists for Al Queda and Iran, and have appeared on anti-American media sites such as Press TV and Veterans Today and other sites linked to the Willis Carto network of anti-semitic conspiracy outlets. Even if such theories can be easily shown to be invalid, if they are the result of a deliberate disinformation campaign in support of antagonists of the US, then they should be identified rather than dismissed and buried. Which side a person attacks and defends is a stronger indication of what side he is on than his nationality. In this case Roberts is an American, but appears to spend most of his time arguing against the military policy of the United States and minimizing the threat of al Queda and Iran Redhanker (talk) 19:38, 1 August 2012 (UTC)

Referring to killing as assassination

Note - the editor initiating this conversation is indefinitely banned for tendentious editing - Wikidemon (talk) 18:47, 14 September 2012 (UTC)

I could of course easily decide, if I were president to call baby-eating "upgraded nutrition intake." I do not doubt that my loyal Wikipedian supporters would, the very next day, point out on my web page on Wikipedia that lately I had been partaking of "unprecedented upgradded nutrition intake." Obama had him zapped from the sky. No, it was a targeted killing. An extrajudicial targeted killing! No, it was an extrajudicial assassination! No, maybe it was a judicial assassination. No, that would be assassinating a judge. It was, in all likelihood a judicious assassination, he sounded like an angry guy. Settdigger (talk) 15:58, 30 August 2012 (UTC)

I get where you're coming from, but just to save time, I'll say what the response will be. Most of the mainstream media sources reporting on this used the term "targeted killing" and we are just following the sources. Your personal decision that "assassination" is the best term is probably not sufficient where there is a dispute. If you can provide sources describing his killing as an "assassination" then that may provide a basis for a revision. causa sui (talk) 18:44, 30 August 2012 (UTC)
Here's some references where Obama's dronerage is referred to as an assassination:


the daily show 10-3-11

- Azeem Ibrahim


- Andre Tartar


- Tom Carter


-- Let me know if you folks think they merit inclusion. Cheers-- Settdigger (talk) 20:41, 31 August 2012 (UTC)

No thoughts 8 days later, so I went ahead with it. Thanks - Settdigger (talk) 08:48, 8 September 2012 (UTC)
Reverted. You know this does not have consensus. Do not make this change again without consensus. - Wikidemon (talk) 12:07, 8 September 2012 (UTC)

A simple search on LexisNexis Academic shows that 763 newspapers refer to "Awlaki" and "assassination," compared to 247 for "Awlaki" and "targeted killing." The earliest references to the term "targeted killing" in these newspapers are given in the context of discussions with American intelligence officials. We are an encyclopedia and spokespeople for no one group.

It is good that Settdigger raised this issue, began discussion, and made revisions following no discussion for over one week. There was no obvious or heated debate in progress and the user's edits appear to have been made in good faith. In response however Wikidemon reverted Settdigger's edits, a reasonable response, but then indefinitely blocked them, which is not only unreasonable but also counterproductive to the creation of a friendly and collegial editorial community. I don't know if Settdigger's actions have been highly inappropriate and inflammatory elsewhere; here they have been within the bounds of ordinary editorial activity, and I would ask Wikidemon to unblock the user.

I'd also like to note that many mainstream publications have referred to Awlaki's killing as an assassination. The Christian Science Monitor wrote on April 7th 2010, when U.S. officials admitted that Awlaki was on a "kill list," that "in today's wars against 'nonstate actors' such as Al Qaeda, individuals may be targeted for what amounts to assassination."

The next day the Daily Telegraph wrote that "President Barack Obama's administration has authorized the assassination of the radical Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, a rare move against an American citizen." The Independent wrote, "There does not appear to be a precedent for the US to target one of its own citizens for possible assassination, at least not since the terror attacks of September 2001. The decision to target 38-year-old Awlaki - he is to be captured or killed - was reported by several US media outlets and was confirmed anonymously by some senior officials yesterday." New York's Daily News wrote, "President Obama has reportedly okayed the assassination of an American citizen-turned-radical Islamic terrorist who was a key player in the events leading up to 9/11, the Fort Hood massacre and the attempted Christmas airline bombing."

That same week, the National Post called Awlaki "the first U.S. citizen ever openly targeted for assassination by his own government." The Toronto Star noted that he had been added "to the CIA's hit list" and quoted the far-right National Review's commentary that "the president of the United States is authorizing the assassination of American citizens." The Denver Post wrote that "A Muslim cleric turned terrorist leader now targeted for assassination by the U.S. government is a Colorado State University graduate who honed his preaching skills in local mosques." The Age wrote that Awlaki "faces assassination by special forces," and the Philadelphia Inquirer wrote that "President Obama has authorized Awlaki's assassination."

In the next months and before Awlaki's death, open efforts to kill him were described as "assassination" by papers all over the United States and Internationally. The New York Times has been equivocal, writing for instance on the 13th May 2010 that "already Obama has authorized the assassination of al-Awlaki," but then on the 14th quoted Harold Koh, the State Department's legal advisor, in saying that "such targeted killing was not assassination, which is banned by executive order," because the killing was planned in self defense. The New York Times actually wrote an article on the controversy over the terminology and its own decision, on most occasions, to avoid describing the killing as an assassination.

-Darouet (talk) 02:14, 9 September 2012 (UTC)

Wikidemon, I see that Settdigger was apparently blocked on the grounds of inappropriate behavior elsewhere, and I apologize for not looking into this first (I've not tried to track down his other actions and so won't comment on them). Nevertheless, from what I can see immediately above, his behavior was not apparently inappropriate (spelling and sentence construction are another issue). I hope we can continue discussing the issue he raised. Best, -Darouet (talk) 02:23, 9 September 2012 (UTC)
I'm sure your apology is appreciated. Just a quick note that Wikidemon is not an admin and cannot block or unblock anyone.--Bbb23 (talk) 02:28, 9 September 2012 (UTC)
Thanks Bbb23. I'm no expert on blocking policies or Settdigger's problems, so I'll not get into all that right now. -Darouet (talk) 16:07, 9 September 2012 (UTC)
Generally assassination is understood to mean murder for political reasons. Murder being understood to mean illegal killing of a person. Whether or not the killing of al-Aulaqi is illegal or not is contentious – people will in good faith disagree and no court has ruled. People who believe the killing illegal will use assassination as the term of choice, people who believe the killing legal or at least not judged illegal use targeted killing. Pushing the conclusionary term assassination on to this article is pushing a point of view that they want the article to take and this looks like pushing an agenda other than making good wikipedia articles. Currently the article describes what happened and uses somewhat neutral terminology and there is no reason to change it. Geraldo Perez (talk) 02:41, 9 September 2012 (UTC)
Thank you Geraldo Perez for explaining the way you feel on this issue. While I appreciate your effort to understand the underlying logic or motivation of those who would use the term "assassination", I fear that such a method of determining appropriate terminology will yield no straightforward conclusion. It is rarely easy to discover the psychological motivations of one or another editorial group, and for every accusation of perspective pushing on one side, you'll find two arguments returned from the other. For instance, some might respond to you (and the New York Times has written on this issue) that "targeted killing" is a euphemism for assassination that attempts to obscure the moral or legal implications of the action.
If you wish to take that route, best of luck to you, but I disagree with your reasoning regarding the use of the word and I'd rather not begin an endless debate along those lines. One thing we actually need to determine is what our sources are saying. Are you going to argue that all of these major papers and reporters, in fact a great majority of them, are pushing a point of view? And you, an encyclopedia editor who has discovered their underlying motivations, will rescue our article from their prejudices and only city those authors who understand the truth?
I hope my points are understandable in some sense. Best, -Darouet (talk) 16:20, 9 September 2012 (UTC)
Given that sources disagree it is best to stick with neutral inclusive terminology. The article is accurately descriptive and people who read it can overlay the information given with their own personal ideals of morality and what is or is not legal. In a multi-cultural world do not expect that there is a commonly agreed upon interpretation of either. Geraldo Perez (talk) 16:41, 9 September 2012 (UTC)
Personal ideals of morality and opinions regarding legality shouldn't come up in this discussion. I understand that you feel that the term "targeted killing" is neutral and "assassination" non-neutral, but as an editor you are obliged to rely upon sources, and a great majority of sources use the term "assassination" to describe the killing. -Darouet (talk) 21:58, 9 September 2012 (UTC)
P.S. While I think that in order to avoid subjectivity and stick with our sources that our course of action is relatively clear, I'm interested in the origin of the term "targeted killing" and will try to get back to you on that. I am generally in agreement with your definition of the word "assassination," though I'm not a lawyer and am no expert on its use throughout time. -Darouet (talk) 22:03, 9 September 2012 (UTC)

Geraldo Perez, Wikidemon, causa sui and Bbb23, I'm wondering if there is some body of experienced editors that can help us in mediating this issue? Sources use both "assassination" and "targeted killing" to describe Aulaqi's killing, with a great many more appearing to favor the former term, but Geraldo Perez and I disagree as to which term is more neutral, accurate, fitting, etc. I see in the archives that this issue came up in the past, and am surprised that no one took time to empirically investigate which term most sources were using (which isn't easy, by the way, as LexisNexis search results sometimes return articles not relevant to the issue).

Assassinate is an old word of course. The first reference I can find to the term "targeted killing" is from a report on Contra activity released in 1986. A similar report issued the year previously used the term "targeted assassination" instead. But the term actually became used far more frequently a little over a decade ago, surrounding debate over Israel's "targeted killing" program. At that time many commentators both for and against appeared to use the terms interchangeably. Just FYI, if any of that proves helpful. -Darouet (talk) 00:14, 10 September 2012 (UTC)

I'm sure that any effort I make to mediate this dispute would be met with much breathing of fire and gnashing of teeth. I'll contribute my opinion like anyone else. The suggestion that 'targeted killing' is the neutral term and 'assassination' is the non-neutral term does smack of language moves like saying anti-choice when supporters would prefer pro-life or saying a pregnant woman is a "mother". Neither usage is strictly 'wrong' but political affiliation can be inferred by which word one chooses. The temptation I have is to discuss the contention in this article, but that would be better handled in targeted killing -- otherwise, we would wind up coatracking "targeted killing vs assassination" debate into hundreds of articles. I'm not sure there is an easy solution unless someone finds a secondary meta-study on which words get more "play" in other reliable source. causa sui (talk) 18:18, 14 September 2012 (UTC)
Not really. The terms are not equivalent at all. First, there is an entirely neutral term, which is killing. The US conducted an operation that killed him, period. If we want to be more specific about it we can call it a targeted killing or extrajudicial killing, two terms that are specific to this particular type of action. Calling it an assassination adds a value judgment without providing any more clarity or specificity as to what happened. To the extent assassination does imply a specific kind of incident it is misleading. The word implies secrecy and surprise - a sniper, a bomb planted somewhere, a quick raid - not a long range aircraft mission. In any event, few if any reliable sources refer to it as an assassination. The sources mention some dispute over the legitimacy and legality of this and other killings, which is a notable subject in itself, but they do not state in their authoritative capacity that it is an assassination. A number of prominent editors have opposed this change, and it seems very unlikely that any sort of dispute resolution process would support it. - Wikidemon (talk) 18:44, 14 September 2012 (UTC)
"In any event, few if any reliable sources refer to it as an assignation. [sic]" That's the nub of it, and it's the cause for my aimless wishing that someone would find the secondary study that would magically extricate us from this debate. Of course, it's unlikely that any such study exists. It seems that each of us is individually doing the research and judging personally which word is more commonly used, which is hardly scientific. causa sui (talk) 19:34, 14 September 2012 (UTC)
This being an encyclopedia, not a science project, here are sources for "targeted killing":
This is a routine content question where we can apply some common sense in the consensus process. The term is not used as a whitewash at all. In fact, many articles covering accusations of illegality or impropriety use the term, as do editorials arguing that it is unjustified or murderous. I don't think any reliable sources have been advanced for "assassination". A quick perusal of search results shows that most or all uses of that term by reliable news publishers are editorials, or characterizations of third party statements. The ratio of sources being N to zero it's pretty much a slam dunk. However, a reasonable argument could be made that we should favor the more general term "killing", which is used without the adjective "targeted" by many of the sources. - Wikidemon (talk) 20:35, 14 September 2012 (UTC)
I think there's plenty of merit to some arguments for using the term "killing," "extrajudicial killing," etc., but the contention that "few reliable sources refer to it as an [assassination]" is unequivocally and demonstrably wrong. That is why I began this discussion by citing figures from LexisNexis and quoting from articles published by English language newspapers all over the world in the first few days following disclosure that Aulaqi was being targeted. You can see text from those papers above: quoting them again is redundant. I don't mind going through the 750 articles from LexisNexis in greater detail to find out how many of them report "accusations of assassination" or something like that, but the early articles included only one editorial from the New York Times, which I mentioned was at odds with their official line.
To be honest, I agree with Wikidemon that both "assassination" and "targeted killing" terms may be used by those who either approve or disapprove of the policy, or have one or another moral sense of things. I've seen this in editorials, and the international debate in the early 2000's when Israel openly adopted the policy and was publicy rebuked by the United States. Before that time the terms were used interchangeably; in the 1990's "targeted killing" was mostly used to describe political murders by drug cartels, as far as I can tell from major newspapers.
When one looks at the page for targeted killing however, which I know you've both done, one can see that the term has taken on a new meaning in recent times, as this has become an official policy for some governments, and assassination as an instrument of policy is formally illegal in the United States. -Darouet (talk) 21:28, 14 September 2012 (UTC)
There do not appear to be many such sources, one really has to dig. Counting search results is a flawed methodology, completely uninformative in most contexts (see WP:GHITS). Most of the examples given above (next time, links would be helpful) to support using "assassination" are either not reliable sources or don't support the contention. All of Setdigger's sources are opinion pieces. The Christion Science Monitor statement that targeted killing "amounts to assassination" does not support the contention that it is assassination. It is an opinion about morality, not classification. Further, that piece also discusses "targeting".[9] The telegraph piece uses assassination and targeted killing in the same article.[10] The Toronto Star piece calls[11] it a targeted killing, not an assassination. The NY Daily News[12] and National Post[13] and New York Times[14] sources mentioned above are opinion pieces. Only the Independent,[15] Denver Post,[16] and Philadelphia Enquirer[17] pieces, written before the event, used the term assasination without also describing it as a targeted killing. These papers used targeted killing later when covering the actual incident[18][19] (although the Denver Post and Philadelphia Enquirer seem to generate little original international news content, and covered the incident almost entirely through wire sources). Viewing these sources supposedly supporting the term "assassination" as a whole, we should not use that term. I think they demonstrate that the term is not a neutral or definitive one. At best, even if we could show that the term is accepted as by some sources, we would then have a conflict among the sources, something that's usually resolved by omitting the contentious proposition entirely or, if the contention itself is noteworthy, finding sources for that and discussing it. The New York Times discussion of the terminology contention is very useful here, and is a pretty good guide as to why we should not use the term in Wikipedia's voice, but might mention the dispute or difference among the sources. However, a discussion of the legality and international reaction to the killing is a lot more germane and better supported than a discussion of a mere terminology difference. - Wikidemon (talk) 23:36, 14 September 2012 (UTC)

Thanks for your work on this Wikidemon. Please note that the Guardian piece you cite as evidence for mainstream use of the term targeted assassination places it in quotation marks in the title, and the term is written in the context of its use and defense by Eric Holder. Also, the WSJ blog piece you similarly cite also calls the killing an assassination: "Here’s a piece from Wired that explores the legality of the assassination."

Also, please note that the search results I provided were from the specialized news resource site LexisNexis Academic, which shows that ~750 maintstream newspaper articles reference Awlaki and assassination (they may also use the targeted killing term), and only ~250 referenced Awlaki and targeted killing (they may also reference assassination). If one includes blogs and newswire articles the list runs to over 2,000. The point is simply to show that news services indicate that use of the term assassination, in reference to Awlaki, is roughly threefold the use of the term targeted killing, whether articles are editorials, false positives or otherwise on either side. I wouldn't conduct such a search on google.

I think false positives are a problem in this case, because there are stories that reference Awlaki and killing/assassination that don't refer to his killing, so for interest I've conducted the same search through newspapers in the month immediately following Awlaki's death. In that case we find 198 articles referencing Awlaki and assassination (16 of those also reference targeted killing) and 64 referencing targeted killing (28 of those also reference assassination). Newspapers calling the killing an assassination and not a targeted killing, either through news or editorial articles, include the National Post, the Daily Telegraph, the New York Times, the Guardian, McClatchy Tribune, The National, The Washington Times, the Canberra Times, the Financial Times, the Yemen Times, the Australian, the Daily News, The Frontier Post, The Herald, the Independent, the Korea Times, the New Zealand Herald, the Record, the Sunday Times, the Washington Post, The Christian Science Monitor, and over 70 other papers.

You don't need to dig.

I'm open to the idea of discussing legality, but what are we supposed to do, decide between the arguments of the Obama Administration and the ACLU or HRW? Such a thing is theoretically possible but not practically so. That's really why I think the weight of these sources is more important. -Darouet (talk) 03:29, 15 September 2012 (UTC)

Since we don't need to be referring to Awlaki's death in the article continuously, it might be worthwhile to simply explain there that the Obama Administration called the killing a "targeted killing," while other sources have described it as an "assassination" (or something like that). This would be accurate and informative. -Darouet (talk) 03:31, 15 September 2012 (UTC)
(ec with below - responding to above points).  ::We don't need to choose between Obama's language or that his opponents - we can use the neutral term both of them use, as well as neutral sources: targeted killing. Both the WSJ law blog (...the ACLU sued to block the targeted killing program...) and the Guardian (Instead, the attorney general outlined a three-part test for determining when a targeted killing against a US citizen is legal) both use the term without quotes, although they both do use the term inside quotes as well. Single quotes, as the Guardian uses in its headline, are typically used either as scare quotes or to define a term the reader may not be familiar with. I note that European papers seem to put the term in quotes more than Americans do, probably because they're telling the story from a European perspective and distancing themselves from America. News blogs are considered reliable sources, but if you want a print article, the WSJ uses "targeted killing" in print too."White House Defends Targeted Killing Program". WSJ. </ref> Again, search results prove nothing. There are a whole host of things, probably dozens, that lead to systematic errors when counting search results. Most of those that apply to google also apply to Lexis, and a few that don't. Some examples - the story may be talking about a different event as an assassination, as many mentioned that Al Qaida had conducted some assassinations that triggered the US response. Lexis isn't as good as google at finding variant spellings and synonyms, and they both have difficulty suppressing duplicate results. The results apparently include editorials, and many editorials on the subject reflect opinions about assassinations. Editorials simply don't count here, that would imply repeating opinions in Wikipedia's voice. Any result that includes user comments will likely find a commentator discussing assassinations. There have been a couple orders of magnitude more than 1,000 articles on the subject. And so on. We don't have to decide between the administration's terminology and the opposition's. We can use WP:COMMONNAME as applied by the sources to descriptions for things, and the most neutral term specific to the thing we are describing. AFAIK there is no systematic method for determining the weight of the sources on Wikipedia. Editors working on consensus just look through the sources that have been offered in discussion, or those you can find personally perusing the net, and form your conclusions. My spot checking of google results, and choosing the major mainstream publications known for covering US international relations, shows an overwhelming preference for targeted killing, and perhaps a yet stronger preference for simply calling it a killing, drone strike, etc. We clearly need to link to the targeted killing article at least once, as that is the specific term for this kind of attack (if you have a problem with that title, we'd have to change the name of that article). We shouldn't refer to it as an assassination because, again, that is a moral judgment applied to the facts that does not clarify the subject at all. We should mention that the event triggered some debate on the legality of the drone strike program and other extrajudicial killings, and perhaps the debate over calling it an assassination or murder, but that is better covered in depth in some other article because it is not specific to Aulaqi. - Wikidemon (talk) 06:02, 15 September 2012 (UTC)
Here are some of the newspaper articles from around the world written in the first three days following news of the killing. I note in each whether the article was an obituary, news piece or editorial. I'm sorry that I haven't provided links: it takes long enough to look them up on this database, let alone find independent links on the web. I see that the first one was reprinted by the Vancouver Sun. It's clear that writers and papers favoring or opposing the killing refer to it as an assassination.
(Awlaki killed on 30 September 2011)
Oct 1, 2011
The Daily Telegraph (London), Obit, "Last year the CIA put him on its hit-list of assassination targets"
The Express, News, "Al Qaeda leader Anwar al-Awlaki, assassinated by a crack team of US Seals"
Financial Times (London, England), News, "The killing of Awlaki casts a fresh spotlight on the Obama administration's policy of targeting people it believes are terrorists for assassination wherever they may be found… Some legal experts say there is no basis in international law for the assassinations."
The Guardian (London), News, "US authorities were in no hurry to overtly claim credit for the assassination as they brace for the potential fallout in Yemen and across the Middle East," and "President Barack Obama authorised a request to target Awlaki in April last year, making him the first US citizen to be a legal target for assassination in the post-9/11 years… spokesman Jay Carney dodged questions about the legality of the assassination and details of American involvement."
The Herald (Glasgow), News, "let's take the man himself before looking at the method of his assassination."
The Independent (London), Obit, "the top of the Americans' "kill or capture" list and making him a target for assassination by US forces or CIA drones." (Language reprinted by The Irish Times)
The Straits Times (Singapore), News, "His US citizenship made targeting him for assassination by the American government a controversial move..."
The Times (London), News, "The assassination of the US-born terrorist Anwar al-Awlaki may have been part of a complex game..."
Oct 2, 2011
The Jerusalem Post, News, "This week, days before Awlaki's assassination, Inspire released its seventh issue… Awlaki's assassination is the latest in a series of American strikes against al-Qaida that have severely weakened the network."
Korea Times, not sure if is editorial or news, "Still, there are troubling aspects to his assassination."
The New York Times, Editorial, "…appears to be the first United States citizen that our government has publicly targeted for assassination."
The Observer (England), News, "The extrajudicial killing of two Americans is a cause of concern for civil liberties campaigners. They argue that American law demands a fair trial for US citizens suspected or charged with terrorism activities, and that targeting them for assassination is illegal… Born in the US to Yemeni parents, Awlaki was a radical cleric viewed as an inspiration to other extremists. He had survived several previous assassination attempts."
The Sunday Times (London), News, "the US announced in January 2010 that Obama had signed an order for his assassination."
The Sunday Telegraph (London), News, "Some 18 months after Washington had given him the ultimate terrorist accolade by putting him on a list of people authorised for assassination, he was still in the Yemeni mountains where neither his own government nor US drone strikes could reach him."
The Australian, News, "Before the targeted assassination that killed him and six other people two days ago, Awlaki was regarded by Washington as ``the most significant risk to the US because of terrorist plots he inspired… For the assassination order, the Obama administration relied on Justice Department advice and the authority of congress that Awlaki had become a high-level belligerent of enemy forces plotting to kill Americans…"
Oct 3, 2011
USA Today, News, "Targeted assassination must always be a limited tool, used only in war or to interrupt a direct threat to national security, and even then only with careful review."
The Washington Times, Editorial, "Terrorist assassination exposes hypocrisy of Obama policies"
Wikidemon, it might be worthwhile to reconsider your understanding of the term "assassination" in the context of its widespread usage by media as seen above, or, to reconsider your understanding of what happened to Mr. Awlaki.
-Darouet (talk) 05:39, 15 September 2012 (UTC)
Editorials don't count so we can ignore those. It's hard to process this list without links. Some you classify as news are either opinion pieces[20] or editorializing (the London Times piece, Sunday Telegraph). Some use both terms. I don't see a widespread use of the term in reliable sources. You have shown that there is some use, mostly in non-US sources. It is clearly not the preferred term. Perhaps European English speakers use the word differently than Americans but it clearly has connotations that do not apply in this case. Our own assassination article starts with this WP:DICDEF : An assassination is defined generally as: "to murder (a usually prominent person) by a sudden and/or secret attack, often for political reasons."[1][2] Alternatively, assassination may be defined as "the act of deliberately killing someone, especially a public figure, usually for hire or for political reasons." That contains the POV value judgment that it is murder and political motivation, and the inapplicable factual claim that the act was sudden or secret. I have no opinion at all on whether the killing was legally justified, or an assassination. If I did have an opinion I would do my best to check that at the door when trying to compose a factual article about the incident. - Wikidemon (talk) 06:13, 15 September 2012 (UTC)
This is becoming really inappropriate. Briefly:
1) None of the pieces I classified as news pieces are editorials. You might have noticed this from the term "news" in the link you gave yourself here (also, the article has been professionally categorized as a news piece by LexisNexis - SECTION: HS - NEWS; Pg. 2).
2) Journalists or other professional writers who in their news articles use the appropriate term, that you would rather not see written (assassination), are not "editorializing."
3) All of the above sources are reliable.
4) None of the articles I cite immediately above use the term "targeted killing."
5) I have shown that most sources use assassination, not some of them.
6) Wikipedia is not an American publication and even if it were, as an encyclopedia its sources would still be international.
7) Awlaki was prominent, the killing was the result of a sudden and secret attack, and you don't believe the reasons were political. That's too bad; I suppose most journalists either do think the killing was political, or don't believe that an assassination requires a political motive as you understand it.
At this point I've provided overwhelming evidence that assassination was the generally accepted term employed by English language media sources, in their news pieces and globally, for Awlaki's killing. That includes articles written after he was placed on a "hit list" (to use common terminology), in general, and also in the days immediately following his death.
Lastly, your insistence that "targeted killing" is the neutral term not only brazenly ignores the preponderance of evidence from major papers provided above, but is also logically and politically dubious. Given your refusal to accept mainstream, global newspapers as reliable sources, your refusal to empirically investigate or recognize the extent "assassination" has been used by these sources, and your warped conception of "neutrality," I can no longer believe you are editing in good faith. -Darouet (talk) 19:06, 15 September 2012 (UTC)
I disagree on each point. I've already given justifications, which I stand by, so I will not repeat them. You seem to be making a sincere effort, I am simply not convinced after reviewing the available evidence. You're starting to make some accusations of bad faith at this point so I'll disengage. Take this as a standing "no", we'll see if anyone else cares to chime in. - Wikidemon (talk) 01:09, 16 September 2012 (UTC)
Does anyone else have any thoughts on the seven or so points made above? Or the linked articles? Also, does anyone specifically want to be left out of any dispute resolution on this issue? best, -Darouet (talk) 19:58, 19 September 2012 (UTC)
I think your case is persuasive and I don't have much to add to it. I think it might be useful to have some mention about how the case relates to the "targeted killing v assassination" terminology debate, since this seems to be (as you've shown) often cited as the paradigm case. I also think escalating this article up in dispute resolution might be useful, given the long history of bullying and filibustering tactics that have taken place on the talk page here over the years. I probably don't have time enough to actively participate like I used to, but I'll throw my hat in where I can. My only advice is to remember that your statements aren't to convince Wikidemon, but to bring more eyes on the dispute and give them a way to navigate it. You might feel baited into making a series of point by point rebuttals, but that will only make outsiders weary of reading you as much as him. causa sui (talk) 03:14, 24 September 2012 (UTC)
Talk of baiting, bullying, and filibustering is counterproductive. A number of tendentious agenda-driven editors made this proposal on various articles. That does tend to chase away uninvolved editors. If we can filter out that noise and accept that there are sincere, thoughtful editors who also wish to make this proposal then it becomes a simple matter of making their case through sourcing and discussion. I don't feel that case has been made but I'm just one editor, and not one of the active editors here on this article. We'll see if there is a consensus one way or another. - Wikidemon (talk) 03:53, 24 September 2012 (UTC)
Typically, talking about bullying and filibustering is counter-productive, except when it's happening. Then it has to be pointed out and dealt with. I think if one reviews the history going back to about 2009, she will find that there have been a lot of isolated disputes like this one where people voicing similar concerns were bullied off the talk page by small two-to-one or three-to-one "mini-consensuses". That is destructive. Up to this point, the consensus for the status quo condition of the article has been a small, localized consensus of interested parties; that is, parties with a dedicated interest to this article and a few others like it. This is a very low traffic article compared to the interest the people editing have in it, and that means that when people who edit all over Wikipedia stumble in here, they may find it is not worth their time to have long-term talk page debates that are demanded and they wander off - their views are excluded. They know that if they escalate to dispute resolution with a big, wall-of-text back and forth debate already on the talk page (like this one), they'll come out looking no better than the people who caused the problem; especially when they'll be accused of assuming bad faith when they point out what is going on. So, one could have accidentally, and without any bad faith at the outset, learned that stubbornness is rewarded. But it shouldn't be like that. That's all I can say directly right now. causa sui (talk) 15:59, 24 September 2012 (UTC)
It sounds like you're just describing consensus process. The WOT problem, and some people being more stubborn than others, happens everywhere. To have a serious discussion I'd suggest starting fresh in a new section, keeping arguments succinct, perhaps advertising for wider input. I don't mind and I'll keep mine brief. But if it's only a terminology matter how is it worthwhile? If it is a POV matter, that answers the question, avoid loaded terms. Alternately, I would propose to simply call it a "killing" without a label about what kind of killing it was. In a section devoted to the repercussions and reaction or legal analysis, mention the controversy over whether this and other US killings by drone attack (sometimes known as "targeted killings" - we can use the scare quotes, and described sometimes as assassinations) are legal / ethical / productive, and point out that this is part of a broader category of extrajudicial killings. I may try a WP:BOLD edit to see if it sticks. - Wikidemon (talk) 17:45, 24 September 2012 (UTC)
Note - in process of implementing this and a few general purpose cleanup edits, I see the article could use some attention to organization. We've got thematic topic headers (final years, lawsuit against, U.S., and so on). Although the sections themselves are roughly in chronological order (reflecting the timing of when they arose), they overlap some. If we do it this way, instead of sticking to strict chronological order for the whole life narrative, we may have to reshuffle some things so they are in the right order. For example, as of now the failed drone strike is placed in the section that I've retitled Lawsuit against US, because that's when it occurred. But logically, it should be somewhere near the end of final years. Also, the lawsuit matter could stay there, and we can add some more about the legal dispute and post-death lawsuit, or we could move that whole discussion into a later analysis section. I have no strong opinion how we do it, but the article will be stronger if we think through the organization, topical versus chronological. - Wikidemon (talk) 18:11, 24 September 2012 (UTC)

(undent) I think Darouet did a good thing to split the discussion of reorganization into a separate heading. I also agree that a retrospective rewrite/reorganization would be worth pursuing. As to the comments about consensus, I think your view of the consensus process sometimes reflects reality, and that reality is impoverished and unattractive.

If many different editors voicing the same objection are pushed out of the talk page due to localized 'consensus' for no better reason than that they did not all comment at the same time, that is not a representation of the considered view of a community of editors. That they all reached the same conclusion independently and not even knowing the others existed is evidence that their views ought to be taken seriously, not disregarded. Instead, they are shot down in 3 to 1 !votes, one after the other over a period of months and years, in a kind of "divide and conquer" strategy. Except it's not a strategy; it's just an accident. That stubbornness, wikilawyering, and bullying tactics persuade them that the battle isn't worth really pursuing it or doing the kind of canvassing for opinion required to get a quorum just makes the problem worse, not better. Sometimes silence is not the same thing as consent. causa sui (talk) 22:51, 24 September 2012 (UTC)

I've made my points at least once in this discussion that we stick with the manual of style recommended neutral terminology and avoid loaded terms. Yes that is my !vote and I am probably one of the 3 who still care to comment on this. The apparent tendentious editing of a number of different people over time to insert a certain preferred label appears more to get the article to reflect a particular point of view then to maintain a neutral and accurately descriptive article. The fact that multiple reliable sources choose to describe events using different wording does not mean we should use that same wording, particularly if it conflicts with our MOS. The point of a source is the information it contains, not the wording they use to describe the information. At this point in time the article is neutral, accurate and fairly complete. I am not persuaded by any of the arguments that this article will be improved by the recommendation stated in the section heading. I wish we could just come to a final conclusion about this and not go through this particular terminology exercise again and again. There are no new arguments and this continued issue is getting a bit wearying. I expect most people who care are just tired of the issue and given that this issue will keep coming up I expect there will be even fewer people who will choose to engage in the future. That is about where I am right now. I think the few people who do still contribute to this on-going debate reflect a much larger consensus than what is shown by the number of !vote registered here. Geraldo Perez (talk) 00:03, 25 September 2012 (UTC)
It seems we are in an authentic "pro choice" vs "anti choice" terminology debate. The words used have significant meaning -- and that significance is evident from the debate we are having. But in what way do you think the proposal conflicts with the manual of style? causa sui (talk) 17:50, 25 September 2012 (UTC)
Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Words to watch#Contentious labels fits this case exactly. The fact that various sources are debating the proper terminology and pushing one version over another illustrates the terminology is contentious. Our discussions here reflect that. The MOS states: "Value-laden labels ... may express contentious opinion and are best avoided unless widely used by reliable sources to describe the subject, in which case use in-text attribution". The article so far is doing just that using neutral descriptive terminology generally and using in-text attribution when a contentious label is used per the guidance. No information is lost in doing so and the reader is well able to map the description on to their preferred label if they so choose. The proposal is to move us from the MOS recommendation and replace a neutral label with a specific preferred-by-the-proposer contentious value-laden label. Geraldo Perez (talk) 18:24, 25 September 2012 (UTC)
Thanks for telling others what their proposal is. You don't know what a reliable source is, and you falsely maintain that a politically charged euphemism is neutral. You also haven't read enough about targeted assassination and killing programs to realize that some advocates of these policies have themselves embraced or used the term "assassination." If you don't understand these simple things, our MOS will be useless to you. More problematically, you won't be able to make simple, constructive edits to any articles at all, because that's impossible if you subjectively feel that major world newspapers are unreliable.
Moreover, if reading through sentences in which journalists describe a killing as "assassination" to you is wearying, you shouldn't sign up to edit an article about someone who's principally famous for being killed.
In any event it's possible that Wikidemon has begun to broach a solution to this problem. Using the term "killing," and mentioning that sources use the terms "targeted killing" or "assassination" for different reasons, is probably feasible. Because that's a vast issue most/all of that discussion can probably go into the Targeted Killing and Assassination pages; here we simply need to avoid being insensitive to the issue. -Darouet (talk) 19:31, 25 September 2012 (UTC)
Both "Targeted killing" and "Assassination" are value-laden terms. The title of this section is to replace the neutral term "Killing" with the value-laden term "assassination". This is my disagreement and what is discouraged per the MOS. "Targeted killing" is also value-laden and MOS covers that usage as well. Use either term only as strictly necessary and with the required in-text attribution. So far the article is doing just that. Geraldo Perez (talk) 19:51, 25 September 2012 (UTC)
When you say "only strictly as necessary", do you think it would be worthwhile to go through the article and scrub it of each instance of either "targeted killing" or "assassination"? If so, what would we replace it with? If not, how do you know when it is strictly necessary and when it is not? causa sui (talk) 21:26, 27 September 2012 (UTC)
Details about legal actions and other official statements should reflect the words they use. General information should just say killed or killing. As far as I can tell, that is the state of the article now. Geraldo Perez (talk) 21:44, 27 September 2012 (UTC)
"Assassination" often implies value judgement (not always, as some who support a killing in editorials will call it an assassination), and could also be the preferred term of reliable sources, in which case we could decide to use it here too. I think however that "killing" is a good solution given the controversy here, and so want to thank you (Geraldo Perez, causa sui and Wikidemon) for implementing it.
"Targeted killing" is currently referenced a number of times in the article, which is fair, as that's the term used by the administration. I don't know why it didn't occur to me earlier, but we could always use "targeted killing" or "assassination" if we make clear what source is using the term, and if it makes sense to do so? An obvious place where this could be done is a section devoted to different legal, ethical views of the killing.
I'll get to the reorganization issues when I've time, but that'll be awhile... thanks again for your help all! -Darouet (talk) 19:07, 2 November 2012 (UTC)

Removed two opinion pieces

I've removed some recently added[21] paragraphs at the end of the killing section, describing two opinion pieces by writers of unclear stature and sourced solely to the opinion pieces themselves. A lot of people have opinions on extrajudicial killings, a serious subject, but we ought to be more orderly than randomly including two in particular. For weight and reliability reasons it would be better to note that there was some widespread criticism among legal scholars (and others?) of the US government approach, sourced not to the criticism itself but to a reliable source that describes and surveys the criticism, and then link to the broader subject of extrajudicial killings in the context of American anti-terrorism and war efforts. - Wikidemon (talk) 22:42, 7 January 2013 (UTC) and Greenwald are both well known and respected on the left. As to weight, much, much more should be done than just adding Greenwald's commentary to restore balance. As to reliability, the statements are attributed to Greenwald in the text added to this article, and anyone is free to agree or disagree with them.-Darouet (talk) 06:45, 8 January 2013 (UTC)
What do you mean by balance? Balance what against what? I don't know who Greenwald is, but a quick search on the Internet seems to suggest he's a self-promoter who's been caught sockpuppeting. A "civil rights litigator" or "constitutional litigator" as his bylines sometimes describe him is not a position of authority, it could be any lawyer who's raised a constitutional claim in a case. And the opinion pieces that were added aren't particularly helpful or relevant in explaining the biography of al-Aulaqi, partly because Greenwald is not a participant or s major authority on the subject, and also because they just aren't very insightful. He makes two arguments. The first is out of the mainstream and pretty farfetched, that al-Aulaqi was killed for expressing anti-American views and his killing therefore violated his free speech rights. The second is the primary criticism, that killing people outside of a criminal court context is out of process and doesn't ensure evidence-based results, but here Greenwald is all flowery language and rhetoric (e.g. the judge, jury, and executioner flourish). Surely there are more solid, authoritative critics, e.g. legal scholars, foreign leaders, law journal articles. At the very least there are plenty of mainstream secondary reliable sources that describe the criticism[22] instead of using an opinion piece as a source for the claim that a commentator happens to have a particular opinion. - Wikidemon (talk) 17:12, 8 January 2013 (UTC)
I agree with Wikidemon. I don't see the point of adding an opinion piece to the article. It is also a primary source and basically also a self-published source and those should be avoided and only used to support reliable secondary sources that address what is in that primary source. --Geraldo Perez (talk) 19:26, 8 January 2013 (UTC)

Possible article reorganization

I think that Wikidemon's comments are reasonable here. One major problem with the organization of the article at present is the absence of an "allegations of terrorism" section. Ideally this would follow the biography, which might be shortened somewhat, and perhaps precede the lawsuit section.

I don't think we've resolved the previous dispute regarding terminology. How are we to edit this article constructively if major newspapers can be called unreliable sources, if journalists are editorializing whenever they use words we don't like, or when Wikipedia is called an American encyclopedia that should rely primarily on American sources, rather than international ones? Or if we have no method other than opinion for determining what most papers write? -Darouet (talk) 21:01, 24 September 2012 (UTC)

I'm not sure where it was said that we ought to rely primarily on American news sources. Last I looked, there is explicitly not even a requirement that reliable sources have to be in English; they're only preferred. I can think of no reason, nor am I aware of anything in policy, that would suggest excluding reliable sources based on nation of origin. --causa sui (talk) 22:41, 24 September 2012 (UTC)
"Alleged senior al-Qaeda recruiter and spokesman" why "alleged" is there a person alive that disputes he was a senior spokesman for al-Qaeda?Mantion (talk) 05:22, 11 November 2012 (UTC)
Thanks Mantion for your question. It says "alleged" because U.S. authorities alleged that al-Aulaqi was a senior recruiter and spokesman for al-Qaeda, but that was never formally established, for instance by a court of law in the United States. The ACLU and Aulaqi's father both question the legality of the killing; his father has also stated that he was not a member of al-Qaeda. -Darouet (talk) 15:27, 12 November 2012 (UTC)
I agree. Now that the subject is dead we are relieved somewhat of the burden from WP:BLP, though the presumptions of guilt in this article were flagrant BLP-violations from about 2009 until he was finally killed. But we are still obligated to the reader to distinguish between government accusations and what he had actually been convicted of. --causa sui (talk) 21:42, 13 November 2012 (UTC)
I also agree. "Alleged" should stand since there was no trial. Additionally, this current artlcle states he had been in U.S. custody twice and was released, and the information was only divulged recently in Freedom of Information requests. Interesting stuff. Jusdafax 09:35, 29 November 2012 (UTC)

Hijackers tickets

Judicial Watch is saying newly released documents show that he bought some of the hijacker's practice flight tickets. The FBI is claiming that the highly redacted pages say something else but won't say what exactly. How do we cover this here? Rmhermen (talk) 00:54, 5 January 2013 (UTC)

Good question. There is a Fox News article about it here. The assertions made by Judicial Watch appear to be speculative based on heavily redacted documents; and if used in Wikipedia, their speculative nature would need to be clear. Some interesting quotes: (first from Judicial Watch): "If he was working for us, to then kill him, that's an extraordinary decision." And from the FBI: "The FBI and investigating bodies have not found evidence connecting Anwar al-Awlaki and the attack on Sept. 11, 2001. The document referenced does not link Anwar al-Awlaki with any purchase of airline tickets for the hijackers." Wildbear (talk) 03:33, 5 January 2013 (UTC)
Update: I have added a "FOIA Documents" section after the "Death" section. (It seemed appropriate chronologically.) Revise or revert as needed if any problem. Wildbear (talk) 04:47, 5 January 2013 (UTC)
I think you're reaching too far to push ideas into print. Wait until it develops. This is not a newspaper.Parkwells (talk) 14:48, 11 January 2013 (UTC)

Infobox: Influenced

Editors are really over-reaching to say Al-Alwaki "influenced" all those people when the evidence is so slight. Finton, for instance, quoted the cleric on his MySpace page. Are editors going to judge "influence" by every misfit that quotes a prominent public figure on their Facebook or MySpace pages? Are editors going to troll those pages to see who people are quoting? People doing this are feeding into his notoriety, rather than realizing that disturbed people latch onto public figures. Did Jody Foster "influence" Hinckley because he was obsessed with her and acted to impress her? Parkwells (talk) 14:48, 11 January 2013 (UTC)

I agree completely. The article reads as if it is stretching quite a bit, and attempting to lead a reader to a favored conclusion. causa sui (talk) 19:38, 11 January 2013 (UTC)
As long as the RSs so indicate, we simply follow them.--Epeefleche (talk) 14:20, 7 March 2013 (UTC)
If reliable sources state that U.S. officials maintain that Awlaki influences various people, that's another story entirely, and as editors we must recognize the difference. -Darouet (talk) 23:29, 24 March 2013 (UTC)

FBI Asset

Good information to incorporate from this new article: [ Exclusive Documents: Was Anwar al-Awlaki a government asset? By Catherine Herridge Published July 02, 2013]Redhanker (talk) 16:38, 3 July 2013 (UTC)

Name again

The decision to use "Aulaqi" rather than "Awlaki" was clearly wrong. Wikipedia does not operate on an "official name" principle, but on a "most common name" one. The most common name used for Awlaki in English is clearly Awlaki, not Aulaqi. The fact that the latter appears on his birth certificate, or whatever, is totally irrelevant. john k (talk) 14:18, 6 February 2013 (UTC)

I (regrettably) have to agree for this article. What do you think about Abdulrahman al-Aulaqi? – Philosopher Let us reason together. 08:14, 9 February 2013 (UTC)
I think both of them are generally referred to as "Awlaki," no? john k (talk) 17:32, 11 February 2013 (UTC)
Clearly a wrong decision. Should be moved back post-haste. Awlaki, per wp:commonname.--Epeefleche (talk) 14:19, 7 March 2013 (UTC)
I'll do it now.--Epeefleche (talk) 18:18, 23 March 2013 (UTC)
Done. ⇌ Jake Wartenberg 02:01, 24 March 2013 (UTC)
Anwar al-Aulaqi becomes al-Awlaki at The Washington Post. Marcus Qwertyus (talk) 17:23, 26 June 2013 (UTC)
One additional point: the spelling of his father's name (Nasser al-Awlaki) is inconsistent on the web, including a lawsuit ("Al-Aulaqi v. Panetta") using the spelling "al-Aulaqi". However, he published an op-ed in the New York Times where he was credited as "NASSER al-AWLAKI". . I feel that his own use of this spelling should be sufficient to ward off any future disputes about the spelling of his name.-Ich (talk) 17:50, 26 July 2013 (UTC)
We go by wp:commonname, which supports use of al-Awlaki.--Epeefleche (talk) 22:19, 26 July 2013 (UTC)


I've semi-protected this article for a few days, because an anon editor is repeatedly reinserting the following unsourced quote against the evident consensus of all those who are reverting it:

-"The fact that the US has administered the death and homicide of over one million civilians in Iraq. The fact that the US is supporting the deaths and killings of thousands of Palestinians, does not justify the killing of one US citizen in New York city or Washington DC. And the deaths of six thousand civilians in New York and Washington DC, does not justify the death of one citizen in Afghanistan" -Anwar al-Awlaki

As the anon editor has a dynamic IP, page protection seems the most effective way of preventing this becoming an edit war. As someone who has never otherwise edited this article or any similar ones I have no views on whether the quote should ultimately be added, or what its significance is likely to be - provided only that there is consensus for it, it has a reliable source and it does not otherwise offend any other Wikipedia guideline.

In the spirit of WP:BRD I suggest the proposed edit be discussed here and included (or not) based on that debate.

The protection is with some reluctance as I appreciate the number of anon editors who have an interest in this article. If anyone has a legitimate edit to make and cannot do so as a result of the temporary page protection, they should feel free to contact me at User talk:Euryalus and I'll try to assist. Euryalus (talk) 12:22, 17 November 2013 (UTC)

Source appears to be this: [23]. I have no view as to whether it merits inclusion, established editors of this article are in a better position to decide. UsamahWard (talk) 18:41, 17 November 2013 (UTC)

Actual target in strike at Abdulrahman

Who was the actual target in the killing (assassination?) of Anwar al-Awlaki's son Abdulrahman? Our article says

According to U.S. officials the killing of Abdulrahman al-Awlaki was a mistake; the actual target was an Egyptian, Ibrahim al-Banna.

but does not give a source. I found various claims on the net that the target was Ibrahim al-Banna, or that the target was indeed Abdulrahman, but none that give an actual government source. -- (talk) 12:11, 11 August 2013 (UTC)

Here's a article that also cites "anonymous US officials". I'm unsure if the US government has ever publicly acknowledge who the target was.--Craigboy (talk) 09:41, 4 January 2014 (UTC)

Robert Gibbs allegedly defending the killing of Abdulrahman

I removed it from the article, here's why. The source that was being used was Huffington Post which had an opinion piece for its source. So I decided to track down the interview in which Gibbs allegedly defends the killing. When asked if he thought it was justified, he avoids the question and never really answers it.--Craigboy (talk) 09:26, 4 January 2014 (UTC)

It took all of 2 seconds to find a better source.Dkspartan1 (talk) 10:42, 4 March 2014 (UTC)
Your source links to mine. Your source may also be an opinion piece, it's kind hard to tell when you look at the other articles the reporter has written. In the video it's pretty obvious the claim that "Robert Gibbs defended the killing of Abdulrahman" is at best misleading, and at worst a blatant lie.--Craigboy (talk) 10:05, 8 March 2014 (UTC)
Almost all the sources link to the video. It appears like the problem is the interpretation of his answers (in the video). I would like to have seen his remarks more clearly defined, rather than just removing it. The following is a solid source.
I'll rewrite the sentence and post on talk before including. Cheers. Dkspartan1 (talk) 00:08, 9 March 2014 (UTC)


This article is so biased it has next to no balance in the lead, a lot of the terms are subjective and POV of American political centered worldview. Naturally in that self-interest as opposed to the interest of NPOV. Unless you are already inclined to this political outlook of FOX and American so-called War on Terror it is not informative. Look at the length of the lede, is it even properly written as a lead? Nope.Bad punctuation (which I corrected). Its starts of with what his own country thinks of him. US officials say Well what do you expect them to say? CIA the same ones killing off African and Arab leaders from Lumumba to Walter Rodney Say.. . Then it goes into all kinds of slanderous things without one drop of balance. He was a radical, not everything he spoke about was remotely radical no mention of his notability for that stuff.. On and on, why is the lead so long? The entire point of NPOV is to present information about the subject from a NPOV, that means using terms carefully and dealing with the facts, not the facts per FOX news and a million other Western aligned extensions of US Imperialism and propaganda. All the numerous human rights groups critical of the citizen targeting did not make it into the lead, and actually that is what brought me here. --Inayity (talk) 11:05, 23 December 2014 (UTC)

I've reverted some changes and the addition of POV tags, partly based on the above. Although we do have to watch out for articles being unduly drawn from US and English sources, in this case focusing on the actions and judgments of US officials seems appropriate given that the subject of the article was an American, killed by the US government for his involvement in a terrorist group that focused on America as its mission. There's nothing to "balance" against being a terrorist supporter, although for biographical reasons it would indeed be useful to expand on other aspects of his theology and teachings. The reason the article over-uses phrases like "US officials say" is twofold. First, much of the article was written while he was alive, and for WP:BLPCRIME and WP:TERRORIST reasons editors must have felt it more appropriate to qualify these statements. Second, there is a reliance on news articles rather than more substantial sources, and that's the way journalists cover things, by reporting what different people say rather than asserting the truth of the matter. Any controversy isn't over whether he supported Al Qaida or whether that group is terrorist, but the appropriateness of extrajudicial killings, in this case the killing of a US citizen without any of the process that would be applied in a criminal context. - Wikidemon (talk) 12:40, 23 December 2014 (UTC)
I re-added the main NPOV tag, because we have not yet reached a consensus here.
Inayity, your suggestions are a little hard to follow because they have critical rhetoric mixed in. Please state what changes you'd like to see to make this article more balanced. Remember, balanced doesn't mean we remove the US-centric view, it means that we add others.
I did a Google search for the subject of this article, and of the top 5 hits (aside from this WP article), all of them mention his killing in the first or second sentences or in the title. Although he was notable before he was killed, he is most notable now for having been the first US citizen killed in a drone strike. That fact should be part of the first sentence, possibly even the first fact in the first sentence. As it stands, it's in the 17th sentence. Thundermaker (talk) 13:01, 23 December 2014 (UTC)
I removed the tag again, though I did not see your comments above. We don't need a consensus to remove an NPOV tag if inaptly placed and this one looks like the classic tag of shame rather than a bona fide dispute. A single editor complaining in the above way about the article's supposed bias (I'm trying to be respectful here rather than pointing out the obvious regarding the tenor of the complaint) does not constitute an unresolved dispute. Further, if we ought to cover more about the controversy over extrajudicial killings, or further biographical details about the man, that is an article improvement question, not a POV issue. - Wikidemon (talk) 13:21, 23 December 2014 (UTC)
Historically, an edit war over an NPOV tag has been viewed (rightly so, in my opinion) as a good indicator that the neutrality of the article is, in fact, disputed. --causa sui (talk) 06:03, 26 December 2014 (UTC)
OK, I'm still waiting for some more specific suggestions from the original tagger. I've gone ahead with my change. I do think he has a point about US government statements. They include labels like "militant", and facts are carefully selected from the secret dossier to support government actions. I think it would be an improvement to make the first paragraph only out of undisputed facts and put the US/CIA facts and opinion into its own paragraph. Thundermaker (talk) 14:35, 23 December 2014 (UTC)

Sources cite different numbers

Citation 18 references a Washington Post article that says his son was the third American killed, not the second as the citation reads. To be honest it sounds like the information was swapped for emotional effect. Sounds like editor bias. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:02, 14 January 2015 (UTC)

Sharif Mobley section

Anwar al-Awlaki and Sharif Mobley

Current Section Reads:

Alleged al-Qaeda member Sharif Mobley, who is charged with having killed a guard during a March 2010 escape attempt in Yemen, left his home in U.S state of New Jersey to seek out al-Awlaki, hoping that al-Awlaki would become his al-Qaeda mentor, according to senior US security officials as reported by CNN.[186] He was in contact with al-Awlaki, according to officials from the US and Yemen, The New York Times reported.[187] A Yemeni embassy spokesman in Washington, D.C., said he was not surprised by al-Awlaki's apparent links to Mobley, calling al-Awlaki: "a fixture in jihad 101".[188]

There are some discrepancies in this paragraph compared to the Sharif Mobley Page which I am currently one of several people maintaining. There is new information since this text was written in ~December 2012. (Revision as of 08:23, 27 December 2012 )

I would suggest the following alterations to this section:

Sharif Mobley had acknowledged contact with Anwar al-Awlaki. The Mobley family claims the contact was for spiritual guidance in further studies of Islam. The Mobley family went to Yemen and resided there for several years. The Mobley family decided to leave Yemen to return to the USA and went to the US Embassy to update the family travel documents. While waiting for updates to their travel documents, Sharif Mobley was kidnapped by Yemen Security Services and shot on January 26, 2010. He was then held in Yemen's Central Prison. Sharif Mobley disappeared from the Central Prison on February 27, 2014. His current location is known to the US Embassy in Yemen (currently closed 2015) but is withheld from his family and legal advisers based on US State Department Regulations on "US Citizens Missing Abroad".
Initial news media reports claiming that Sharif Mobley was connected to al-Qaeda remain unproven. All charges related to "terrorism/terrorist activity" where dropped by the Yemen government. There are no charges relating to allegations of "killing a guard during an escape attempt from the hospital" and there are no other legal proceedings against him in Yemen.
(see also: Sharif Mobley)

All the statements have corroborating support which can be found on the Sharif Mobley page and can be added to the text prior to update as needed.

Please comment on the changes. Thank you. KBR (talk) 16:17, 25 March 2015 (UTC)

Since there hasn't been any noted objections I will replace the text as proposed above KBR (talk) 16:27, 27 May 2015 (UTC)
I have a problem. You should keep in all RS sourced info you seek to delete. And attribute -- rather than state as fact -- the assertions. And not state things like "remain unproven" in WP's voice.Epeefleche (talk) 23:24, 27 May 2015 (UTC)
Thank you for your comment. It would be very helpful to me if you would just fix the parts you don't think work right. You have followed a number of my edits with comments that I really don't understand what you want me to do and you seem to be a Big Potato in the Wiki Pot here so just try to help out a small one.
ex: Attribute Assertions. I really don't understand this part at all. I AM trying to conform here to proper wiki technique. In the main article on SM there are "footnotes" that have both the outdated information and newer footnotes with better information. Returning those outdated footnotes to this section seem to be propagating known bad data.
Removing the old outdated references and pushing the topic to the SM main page where there are loads and loads of assertions and RS reports both old and new seems to be a better place to keep the history of this topic intact.
And where should I keep "RS Info" that needs to be deleted??? It maybe from a "reliable source" and was reported correctly at the time but now it's known that the information was incorrectly reported. This happens all the time. If something is wrong why would you want to continue to provide this as the "current and true" information? Should I just put those in my pocket? Do you have a special Wiki Bucket for "rather bad reporting from major news media outlets"? Maybe it's something simple like keeping those foot note markers at the end of the sentence even if the footnotes not longer apply?
If I am not to use the phrase "remain unproven" which is a fundamental issue about the situation for SM, what should I put instead? Accusations are not evidence, with no judicial proceedings or trial there cannot be proof of accusation. Direct statements from US Government Officials (anonymous and named ones) providing completely incorrect information about the situation are about all there is to work with. So what is a better phrase to use?
Please just fix it and stop rolling back the edits to bad information. There's only one entity who is served by maintaining the old information and it's not Wikipedia. I may not be the wordsmith you are but I would like to make sure that the topic gets fair play and is as historically accurate and factual as it can be.
Since I put my proposed change up here for comment sometime ago and you chose not to make any comment at all or offer counter suggestions on how to properly make the edits to your satisfaction or had any suggestions on how to improve the change until I pushed it live, I really question your true interest in the topic.
Thanks in Advance for your assistance on this matter KBR (talk) 02:09, 28 May 2015 (UTC)