Assassination of U.S. Muslim Cleric is Illegal, Immoral and Unwise
By Bill Quigley. Bill is Legal Director of the Center for Constitutional Rights and Professor at Loyola University New Orleans College of Law. Quigley77@gmail.com
Agents of the United States are openly trying to assassinate Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, a US citizen, while he is in hiding in Yemen. Despite what the apologists for assassination argue this is illegal, immoral and unwise.
Assassinating Awlaki in the US would be murder, a capital crime, punishable by life in prison or even the death penalty. Morally, few would argue that agents of the FBI or the CIA could murder the cleric in the US. If it is illegal and immoral to kill a Muslim cleric in the US why would it be legal, moral or wise to do so in Yemen?
The Imam, who lived in the US for more than two decades, is accused of using his powerful speaking and teaching skills on behalf of terrorism. Authorities say he was in e-mail contact with the Army Major arrested for killing 13 people at Fort Hood, Texas. He is loosely linked to the Nigerian Christmas bomber. The Times Square SUV bomber is reported to have listened to the cleric's online lectures.
Assassination has been illegal since 1976.
In 1976 U.S. President Gerald Ford issued Executive Order 11905, Section 5(g) states "No employee of the United States Government shall engage in, or conspire to engage in, political assassination." President Reagan followed up to make the ban clearer in Executive Order 12333. Section 2.11 of that Order states "No person employed by or acting on behalf of the United States Government shall engage in, or conspire to engage in, assassination." Section 2.12 further says "Indirect participation. No agency of the Intelligence Community shall participate in or request any person to undertake activities forbidden by this Order."
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