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Saturday, February 21, 2009

Is the Obama Administration Challenging US Law on Political Assasinations?


What is U.S. policy on assassinations?


As a reaction to post-Watergate revelations that the CIA had staged multiple attempts on the life of Cuban President Fidel Castro, President Ford in 1976 issued Executive Order 11905.

In a section of the order labeled "Restrictions on Intelligence Activities," Ford outlawed political assassination: Section 5(g), entitled "Prohibition on Assassination," states: "No employee of the United States Government shall engage in, or conspire to engage in, political assassination."

A banner headline in this morning's NY Times reads:

Obama Widens Missile Strikes Inside Pakistan


By MARK MAZZETTI and DAVID E. SANGER
Published: February 20, 2009

WASHINGTON — With two missile strikes over the past week, the Obama administration has expanded the covert war run by the Central Intelligence Agency inside Pakistan, attacking a militant network seeking to topple the Pakistani government.

The missile strikes on training camps run by Baitullah Mehsud represent a broadening of the American campaign inside Pakistan, which has been largely carried out by drone aircraft. Under President Bush, the United States frequently attacked militants from Al Qaeda and the Taliban involved in cross-border attacks into Afghanistan, but had stopped short of raids aimed at Mr. Mehsud and his followers, who have played less of a direct role in attacks on American troops.

The strikes are another sign that President Obama is continuing, and in some cases extending, Bush administration policy in using American spy agencies against terrorism suspects in Pakistan, as he had promised to do during his presidential campaign. At the same time, Mr. Obama has begun to scale back some of the Bush policies on the detention and interrogation of terrorism suspects, which he has criticized as counterproductive.
continued here

Further background on US policy under every US president since Ford:

Since 1976, every U.S. president has upheld Ford's prohibition on assassinations. In 1978 President Carter issued an executive order with the chief purpose of reshaping the intelligence structure. In Section 2-305 of that order, Carter reaffirmed the U.S. prohibition on assassination.

In 1981, President Reagan, through Executive Order 12333, reiterated the assassination prohibition. Reagan was the last president to address the topic of political assassination. Because no subsequent executive order or piece of legislation has repealed the prohibition, it remains in effect.

The ban, however, did not prevent the Reagan administration from dropping bombs on Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's home in 1986 in retaliation for the bombing of a Berlin discotheque frequented by U.S. troops.

Additionally, the Clinton administration fired cruise missiles at suspected guerrilla camps in Afghanistan in 1998 after the bombings of two U.S. embassies in Africa.

Following the September 11. 2001, attacks, the White House said the presidential directive banning assassinations would not prevent the United States from acting in self-defense.

According to an October 21, 2001, Washington Post article, President Bush in September of last year signed an intelligence "finding" instructing the CIA to engage in "lethal covert operations" to destroy Osama bin Laden and his al Qaeda organization.

White House and CIA lawyers believe that the intelligence "finding" is constitutional because the ban on political assassination does not apply to wartime. They also contend that the prohibition does not preclude the United States taking action against terrorists.
CNN





7 comments:

  1. Another whack a Muslim effort, that missed the mark.

    A TOW missile at a building will not get the 40 to 50,000 Islamic extremists that Mr Obama said needed to be killed, sent off to Paradise, with or without their fruit basket.

    We're half-stepping to humiliation.

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  2. Six months, thirty strikes.
    Five a month.

    By sending 17,000 more troops to Afghanistan, will the rate of occurance of attacks in Pakistan increase?

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  3. There is another way. If it's not the actual, secret plan, it will be an overwhelming temptation: Don't pay the money back. So far, even as one piggy bank after another astounds us with its emptiness, there have been only the faintest whispers about the possibility of an actual default by the U.S. government. Somewhat louder whispers can be heard, though, about the gradual default known as inflation. Just three or four years of currency erosion at, say, 10 percent a year would slice the real value of our debt -- public and private, U.S. bonds and jumbo mortgages -- in half.

    Anyone who regards the prospect of double-digit inflation with insouciance is either too young to have lived through it the last time (the late 1970s) or too old to remember. Among other problems, inflation works only as a surprise or betrayal. It can never be part of any public, official plan. Plan for 10 percent inflation, and you'll get 20. Plan for 20 and you'll need a wheelbarrow to pay for your morning Starbucks. But if that's not the plan, what is?


    Michael Kinsley

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  4. I don't really see the point of talking about sending anyone anywhere w/o their fruit basket.
    I know Barney would not approve, and Barney is the face of the Democrat Party.
    He and the NIC.

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  5. How about I get my share of the stimulus in the form of an armed RPV?

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  6. Is it against US Law to Assasinate Michael Kinsley?
    His family wants to know.

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  7. It IS kind of a "Good" War in a way. There's very little chance you'll miss your target and hit someone who "Doesn't" Need killing.

    ReplyDelete