Why did President Obama order the death of Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, the 16-year-old American son of radical American imam Anwar al-Awlaki? Investigative reporter and VICE correspondent Greg Palast thinks he knows.

U.S. forces killed the younger Awlaki with a drone in Yemen in October 2011 two weeks after his father was killed hundreds of miles away. American officials erroneously claimed Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, born in Denver, Colo., was a 21-year-old militant. They were forced to abandon that story when the Awlaki family presented his birth certificate.

On his Facebook profile, Abdulrahman al-Awlaki listed his second name as “Ibn Al-Shaykh,” which translates to “Son of the Sheikh.” He also wrote that he loved swimming, rap and hip-hop.

— Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.

Greg Palast at VICE:

I am convinced the hit on al-Awlaki’s son was meant to teach a lesson; If you want to be a martyr, we’ll make your son and your mum and daughter martyrs, too.

Such terror-for-terror can be, I’ll admit, quite effective. During the Ronald Reagan years, that gutless faux-cowboy President sent weapons to Ayatollah Khomeini in return for the release of hostages taken by Hezbollah. The Russians got their hostages home another way. The USSR didn’t accept an arms-for-hostage deal. Rather, the KGB systematically assassinated the hostage-takers’ cousins, mothers and brothers one by one – until Hezbollah released all the Russian hostages.

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