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Bounty Hunters, Soldiers of Fortune, and Mercenaries for God

Gary Faulkner, recently arrested in Pakistan claiming he wanted to kill Osama bin Laden, isn't the only American engaged in an extra-legal manhunt for bad guys.

by
Annie Jacobsen

Bio

June 19, 2010 - 12:00 am
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Most of America knows that Colorado resident Gary Brooks Faulker was arrested in Pakistan on Tuesday, allegedly on a personal mission to kill Osama bin Laden. Faulker says he was seeking revenge for 9/11. According to his brother, he had accepted that he might die trying.

While several other individuals, including Americans, have been arrested trying to kill bin Laden, Faulkner is unusual in that he was not a bounty hunter (after the reward money) or a solider of fortune (a paid member of a small army), but rather a mercenary for God. “He’s a very deeply religious individual, very patriotic,” Faulkner’s brother-in-law John Martin told ABC News. “It seemed to be his thing. He thought it should be done and he thought he could accomplish it.”

On Thursday, I phoned the FBI seeking information about what the actual terms and conditions are for capturing or killing Osama bin Laden — without winding up in prison. In 2007, the Senate voted 87-1 to double the reward for the death or capture of bin Laden to $50 million. That’s a pretty big carrot to dangle in front of anyone, whether they are out for rewards in this life or the next one. With that kind of money on the table, there would have to be rules of the game, yes?

No. A, FBI spokesman said there is no official document per se, but that local laws and international treaties cannot be violated.

This is, of course, a paradox. Most lawless countries do not allow extrajudicial killings of people who live there — even Pakistan and Afghanistan. There is one notable exception in the lawless country of Sudan.

An evangelical preacher from Pennsylvania named Sam Childers is currently on a very public, very personal mission to hunt down and kill a man named Joseph Kony, the leader of a terrorist organization called the Lord’s Resistance Army. Childers roams around the desert in Sudan and Uganda accompanied by a small force of mercenaries on his payroll (he’s an arms dealer, among other things) seeking to kill the man Childers calls “Satan.”

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