A court ruling in the USA has opened the way for President Obama to order the assassination of Julian Assange – or even an American citizen – without trial, without conviction. To thwart extremists labelling Assange a “terrorist” and calling for his killing, the Australian Government should seek a public assurance from the President that he will not order the CIA to act “with extreme prejudice”.
Assange to be assassinated?
There is nothing stopping US President Obama ordering the assassination of Julian Assange, as many Americans (including members of Congress) have been calling for.
The last legal barrier to Assange’s instant execution anywhere in the world was lifted in a court in Washington this week.
The District Court there – probably the most notoriously repressive bench in the USA – gave the President the power to order execution of any American citizen anywhere in the world without trial.
If the President has the legal power to order the killing of an American passpsort holder, there is absolutely nothing to stop him ordering the hunting down and assassinating of an Australian or any other world citizen, without formal charge and without trial.
The Australian Government should immediately ask President Obama to give a public undertaking that he will not order Assange killed in response to political pressure in the USA, where some people have labelled the WikiLeaker as “worse than a terrorist”.
Here’s a précis of the alarming US ruling, which shows how far that nation has been dragged from the rule of law by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, following the USA-declared “war on terror”…
Judge Dismisses Challenge to Targeted Killing
By CHARLIE SAVAGE, New York Times
7 December 2010
WASHINGTON — A federal judge threw out a lawsuit on Tuesday that sought to block the American government from trying to kill Anwar al-Awlaki, a US citizen and Muslim cleric accused of playing a significant role in Al Qaeda’s branch in Yemen.
The ruling clears the way for the Obama administration to continue to try to kill Mr Awlaki and represents a victory in its efforts to shield from judicial review one of its most striking counter-terrorism policies.
The court not only rejected the lawsuit on the grounds that Mr Awlaki’s father had no standing to file it on behalf of his son, but held that decisions to mount targeted killings overseas are a “political question” for US executive officials to make – not judges.
In an 83-page opinion, Judge John Bates of the District of Columbia District Court acknowledged that the case raised “stark, and perplexing, questions” – including whether the president could “order the assassination of a US citizen without first affording him any form of judicial process whatsoever, based the mere assertion that he is a dangerous member of a terrorist organization.”
But even though the “legal and policy questions posed by this case are controversial and of great public interest,” he wrote, they would have to be resolved on another day or outside of the courts, since this case had to be dismissed at the onset.
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