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The US government has authorised the capture or killing of radical Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, currently based in Yemen, officials have confirmed.
The cleric, who is a US citizen, is being targeted for his involvement in planning attacks on the US.
Mr Awlaki was linked to the attempted bombing of an airliner bound for the US and a shooting on a US Army base.
US officials have warned that Yemen is becoming a safe haven for al-Qaeda militants.
l-Awlaki's father, Nasser, proclaimed his son's innocence in an interview with CNN's Paula Newton, saying: "I am now afraid of what they will do with my son. He's not Osama bin Laden, they want to make something out of him that he's not." As to his son's whereabouts, responding to a Yemeni officials' claims that he was hiding in in the southern mountains of Yemen with al-Qaeda to elude the manhunt for him, Nasser said: "He's dead wrong. What do you expect my son to do? There are missiles raining down on the village. He has to hide. But he is not hiding with al-Qaeda; our tribe is protecting him right now."
The Awlaq tribe is large and powerful, with a number of connections to the Yemeni government. "He has been wrongly accused, it's unbelievable. He lived his life in America; he's an all-American boy", said his father.
The Yemeni government is negotiating with tribal leaders, trying to convince them to hand al-Awlaki over. Reportedly, Yemeni authorities offered guarantees they would not turn al-Awlaki over to the U.S. or let it question him if he surrenders. Shabwa's governor, Ali al-Ahmadi, said in January 2010 that al-Awlaki was on the move with a group of al-Qaida elements from Shabwa, including Fahd Mohammed Ahmed al-Quso, who is wanted in connection with the October 2000 bombing of the USS Cole, which killed 17 American sailors off the coast of Yemen.
Meanwhile, in January 2010 White House lawyers were reportedly considering the legality of proposed attempts to kill al-Awlaki, since he is an American citizen; opportunities to do so "may have been missed" because of legal questions surrounding such an attack. But on February 4, 2010, The New York Daily News reported that al-Awlaki "is now on a targeting list signed off on by the Obama administration." On April 6, 2010, the New York Times reported that President Obama had ordered the assassination of al-Awlaki.
The United States has an active "dead or alive" bounty on al-Awlaki.
44 Ways to Support Jihad—Essay (January 2009)—Writes: "The hatred of kuffar [those who reject Islam] is a central element of our military creed," and asserts that all Muslims must participate in Jihad in person, by funding it, or by writing. Says all Muslims must remain physically fit, and train with firearms "to be ready for the battlefield."
Al-Awlaki has also written for Jihad Recollections, an English language online publication published by Al-Fursan Media, an apparent collaboration of online terrorist sympathizers.
Allah Is Preparing Us for Victory - a short book written by Al-Awlaki, 2009.
The American-born Muslim cleric who may have inspired the gunman in the Fort Hood massacre has a message for other American Muslims: turn against your country.
In a 12-minute audio message obtained by CNN, Anwar Al-Awlaki of Yemen calls his former country "evil" and praised Army Maj. Nidal Hasan, who has been charged with gunning down 13 people in Fort Hood last year.
"To the Muslims in America, I have this to say: How can your conscience allow you to live in peaceful co-existence with a nation that is responsible for the tyranny and crimes committed against your own brother and sisters?" Al-Awlaki says in the message, according to CNN.
Article 1 of the United States Constitution lists issuing letters of marque and reprisal in Section 8 as one of the enumerated powers of Congress, alongside the power to "declare War," and because the United States has not renounced privateering by treaty, in theory it could still issue Letters of Marque. However, the only vessel to operate under a letter of marque issued by the United States Congress since the War of 1812 was the airship Resolute, operated by civilians to patrol the seas for submarines during the Second World War (see Airship, § World_War_II).
The issue of marque and reprisal was raised before Congress after the September 11, 2001 attacks and again on July 21, 2007, by Congressman Ron Paul. The attacks were defined as acts of "air piracy", and the Marque and Reprisal Act of 2001 was introduced, which would have granted the president the authority to use letters of marque and reprisal against the specific terrorists, instead of warring against a foreign state. The terrorists were compared to pirates in that they are difficult to fight by traditional military means. Congressman Paul also advocated the use of letters of marque to address the issue of Somali pirates operating in the Gulf of Aden on April 15, 2009. However, the bills Congressman Paul introduced were not enacted into law.
Got no sympathy for him.