PDA

View Full Version : Nor be deprived of life... Goodbye Constitution



Pages : [1] 2 3 4 5

patfromlogan
10/01/2011 10:36am,
It was a good run, the Constitution. Certainly violated by the takedown of Mossadegh (Iran), the assasination of Lumumba and the removal of Arbenz with Carlos Castillo in Guatemala (hey, 100,000 murdered? no problem...), the US has now crossed the proverbial line and with out trial has killed US citizens.

Amendment V, US Constitution: No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

LA Times: Reporting from Washington and Cairo—
A two-year hunt for an American-born Muslim cleric accused of inspiring and plotting terrorist attacks on Americans, including the deadly shooting at an army base in Texas, ended when he was killed by a Hellfire missile fired from a drone aircraft operated by the CIA. over northern Yemen.

The lethal strike that killed Anwar Awlaki was backed by U.S. special operations forces and Yemeni authorities, and marked the first known case in which the Obama administration tracked down and killed a U.S. citizen. The raid also killed a second American, Samir Khan, who had produced virulent, English-language online propaganda for Al Qaeda.

http://codinghorror.typepad.com/.a/6a0120a85dcdae970b01287770901f970c-pi

Grey Owl
10/01/2011 10:47am,
Is this not the same Government that deliberately infects people with STDs for experimental purposes? Locks people up without trial? Executes people with flimsy evidence of their wrong doings? Illegally invades countries?

Styygens
10/01/2011 10:52am,
Personally, I suspect this was a freak, Fortean (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Fort#Fortean_phenomena) event.

You know... Some days it rains frogs, and some days it rains Hellfire missiles. Life's strange that way.

Rivington
10/01/2011 11:01am,
In other news, radical American cleric Pat Robertson was killed today by a Venezuelan "Ai! Chihuahua!" drone. Robertson, who once ran for President of the US and who owns substantial media holdings from which he broadcasts messages of hate, was placed on the Venezuela's "Kill or Capture" list after calling for the assassination of Hugo Chavez.

hungryjoe
10/01/2011 11:32am,
First time I can remember being ambivalent to the fact the Constitution was violated.

Pat,

Were you waiting for him to be caught and sent here?

Politicians have been wiping their collective asses with our Constitution long before now.

Social Security
Federal Reserve
Obama care

to name a few

Styygens
10/01/2011 12:01pm,
It was a good run, the Constitution. Certainly violated by the takedown of Mossadegh (Iran), the assasination of Lumumba and the removal of Arbenz with Carlos Castillo in Guatemala (hey, 100,000 murdered? no problem...), the US has now crossed the proverbial line and with out trial has killed US citizens.

Amendment V, US Constitution: No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

LA Times: Reporting from Washington and Cairo—
A two-year hunt for an American-born Muslim cleric accused of inspiring and plotting terrorist attacks on Americans, including the deadly shooting at an army base in Texas, ended when he was killed by a Hellfire missile fired from a drone aircraft operated by the CIA. over northern Yemen.

The lethal strike that killed Anwar Awlaki was backed by U.S. special operations forces and Yemeni authorities, and marked the first known case in which the Obama administration tracked down and killed a U.S. citizen. The raid also killed a second American, Samir Khan, who had produced virulent, English-language online propaganda for Al Qaeda.

http://codinghorror.typepad.com/.a/6a0120a85dcdae970b01287770901f970c-pi

OK, Patfromlogan. We're going to have to agree to disagree. We're never going to see eye-to-eye on this. But let me at least explain my POV on this.

The United States is conducting military operations against a network of organizations that has openly declared themselves to be enemies of the United States. There is an established precedent, and good common sense, for the US military to be targeting the leadership of that network. Al-Awlaki (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anwar_al-Awlaki)was a leader within Al Qaeda in the Arabian Penninsula (AQAP) recognized both by us, and the organization. He freely choose his association and worked hard to rise to his position with the AQAP. He was tied by law enforcement and intelligence agencies to several actions directed against the United States. Leaving aside the question of his citizenship for just a moment, he was clearly a legitimate military target.

Your objection -- and it is a good, honest objection -- is that he was a United States citizen, and as such should be protected under the US Constitution and the Fifth Amendment's "Due Process" clause in particular. Given this fact, is he still a legitimate military target?

Let's consider that there is precedent here. The United States has conducted military operations against enemies who included US citizens within their armed forces. For instance, US citizens were present among the Axis forces in World War II. Yet we didn't ask each enemy combatant to produce proof of his citizenship before we shot at them. You might also recall that there was an American Civil War. The US did not recognize any right of the Conferderates to seceed from the Union; therefore every Southern soldier was still a US citizen.

So I think there is precedent for conducting a legitimate military operation against enemy forces that may contain personnel who still retain their US citizenship. One might even argue that given the Civil War precedent, we may -- in extremis -- conduct military operations against declared enemies with full knowledge they are US citizens.

This situation is different in that we did not accidentally meet Al-Awlaki on the battlefield during hostilities, but sought him out. Again, I point to the fact that he took on the risk himself when he sought a leadership position within an organization that declared itself an enemy of the United States.

The main criticism of the action against Al-Awlaki rests on whether his "due process" rights were violated. To my knowledge, this has never been a question in the above cases. If (and it's a big "if", one challenge already ruled the plaintiff, Al-Awlaki's father, had no standing, and that the issue was a "political question") a court ever actually heard an argument under these facts, I strongly suspect the court would first ask if "due process" applies during open, declared hostilities. (The court will probably find itself in a hopeless muddle about defining "open hostilities.") History seems to indicate otherwise.

The court might also ask what constitutes "due process" under these unique circumstances. Although "due process" usually implies a court proceeding, it does not always. A young US citizen may be deprived of his right to a public education by the administrative action of the school system. Personally, I would hope that a situation in which the US citizen may lose his life would warrant more scrutiny than a mere administrative action. But we don't know the full details of the scrutiny applied in this case. The news media has reported that the target list has been reviewed by lawyers, vetted by senior Intelligence officials, and signed by the President of the United States. However, the full details of this process have not been disclosed for security reasons. What kind of "evidence" was provided to the decision makers? Was a judge involved at any step? I don't know. But clearly this was not an arbitrary decision made by some trigger happy joystick jockey. It went through many levels of "process", culminating with the highest elected official in the nation.

The fact is, the Al-Awlaki situation is an extremely unusual, if not unique, circumstance. I think it is healthy to wring our hands and ask questions about the legality of this action. I would not want it to be common place. But I'm not going to feel too bad about taking out an avowed enemy of the United States. The Constitution is not a death pact.

patfromlogan
10/02/2011 3:04pm,
Thank you styygens for our thoughtful response. My reaction is where and who will make these decisions and where will it end? Being the Vietnam era lefty I am, I have little trust in the US government, and I'm afraid that the next target will be less of a recognized enemy. Of course I remember COINTELPRO (the "radicals" in the Santa Barbara Isla Vista bank burning were lead by FBI agents etc etc), William Colby (op Phoenix = >20K assassinated) was drinking buddies with my folks and so forth and so on.

From the LA Times:

"Viewed through the lens of ordinary criminal justice, for the government to kill a suspect rather than put him on trial is summary execution, clearly forbidden by US and international law alike," Diane Marie Amann, a University of Georgia law professor who has monitored terrorism trials for the National Institute of Military Justice, told Los Angeles Times on Saturday, October

"Viewed through the lens of armed conflict, the result is different, however: The laws of war permit a state to kill its enemies."

By defining US interaction in Yemen under the wide title of alleged war on terrorism, the US managed to escape any possible world condemnation for breaking US or international laws.

"The constitution guarantees due process for every 'person,' not just for citizens, and the laws of war do not preclude the possibility of one state's citizen taking up arms against his own country," said David Glazier, a national security law professor at Loyola Law School.

"From the US government's perspective, that's the real beauty of treating [the fight with Al Qaeda] as an armed conflict," Glazier said.

"Both US national and international law are in agreement that the nationality of the target doesn't matter."

Vorpal
10/02/2011 3:28pm,
So if a person is actively involved with an organization that has attacked America and killed thousands of American citizens our armed forces are prohibited by the Constitution from killing them? Hard sell. Good luck with it though.

It is Fake
10/02/2011 3:32pm,
Treason.

AlphaFoxtrot51
10/02/2011 5:17pm,
I'd say actively participating in combat and planning operations with an organization that was designated an enemy of the state would reach the threshold for renunciation of citizenship...

Styygens
10/02/2011 7:10pm,
Thank you styygens for our thoughtful response. My reaction is where and who will make these decisions and where will it end? Being the Vietnam era lefty I am, I have little trust in the US government, and I'm afraid that the next target will be less of a recognized enemy. Of course I remember COINTELPRO (the "radicals" in the Santa Barbara Isla Vista bank burning were lead by FBI agents etc etc), William Colby (op Phoenix = >20K assassinated) was drinking buddies with my folks and so forth and so on.

I gotta tell you, my in-laws are Vietnam-era lefty liberals who spent their careers in public education. And they are shedding no tears over a man who wished them, their children, and their grandchildren dead. Dead and in hell as the infidels he believed them to be.

I'm not sure where they stand on the abstract Constitutional issue. I suspect they have plenty of faith that the Constitutional Law Professor-in-Chief they voted for weighed those technical concerns very carefully for them.

Something else: I do care about the slippery slope. Don't think that just because I think this was the right thing in this circumstance I do not have one eye on the future. I respect your misgivings, because I have them too. Indeed, who will make these decisions, and where will it end?

And to answer your unspoken question, family Thanksgiving dinners go very smoothly, thank you.


From the LA Times:

"Viewed through the lens of ordinary criminal justice, for the government to kill a suspect rather than put him on trial is summary execution, clearly forbidden by US and international law alike," Diane Marie Amann, a University of Georgia law professor who has monitored terrorism trials for the National Institute of Military Justice, told Los Angeles Times on Saturday, October

"Viewed through the lens of armed conflict, the result is different, however: The laws of war permit a state to kill its enemies."

By defining US interaction in Yemen under the wide title of alleged war on terrorism, the US managed to escape any possible world condemnation for breaking US or international laws.

"The constitution guarantees due process for every 'person,' not just for citizens, and the laws of war do not preclude the possibility of one state's citizen taking up arms against his own country," said David Glazier, a national security law professor at Loyola Law School.

"From the US government's perspective, that's the real beauty of treating [the fight with Al Qaeda] as an armed conflict," Glazier said.

"Both US national and international law are in agreement that the nationality of the target doesn't matter."

I think the good Professor Glazier has an agenda, and is arguing in favor of it. He may even be arguing from his conclusion rather than to his conclusion. Lawyers do that. I did that in my previous post. I very clearly had a conclusion I wanted to reach. C'est le vie.

We're at war. It is not a war such as we have ever known. It is not a war against a nation-state. It is a war with no clearly defined battlefield. Even our enemy's personnel are ill-defined. The law is not in tune with the circumstances.

I think Prof. Amann hit the issue on the head: it seems the national policy is to deal with terrorism external to our borders as a military problem, and any manifestations of terrorism within our borders as a criminal problem; but I'm not sure this is clearly defined. Given the potential for a catastrophic terrorist act within our borders to require a military response, I'm not sure we want to clearly define that policy. But if Al-Awlaki wanted to retain his Constitutional right to Due Process, his best course of action was to stay within the United States.

He chose unwisely.

Doom on you, Al-Awlaki. Tango down.

DKJr
10/02/2011 10:12pm,
He was an active coordinator of attacks within a battlefield location as well as outside it. Fair game for assassination brah.

tgace
10/03/2011 9:59am,
I think that the due process argument supporters need to consider the question of what the alternatives were. Obviously the authorities in Yemen are not actively going to search for, arrest and extradite these terrorists. This guy is a key member of a terror organization with a goal of mass murder...so what? What do you do with a guy like that? Nothing?

This is a whole new evolution of warfare we have going on right under our noses. The old rules are going to be adjusted. Im with Styygens...Im not entirely "comfortable" with the WHOLE situation, but Im not too upset with this particular incident. We are navigating through new waters here.

Tom .C
10/04/2011 4:17pm,
As an American, he deserved the best munitions we could deliver. I think we did the boy proud.

Styygens
10/04/2011 5:03pm,
As an American, he deserved the best munitions we could deliver. I think we did the boy proud.

Does it count as a refund on his taxes? Assuming he paid taxes and wasn't a freeloader.

HereBeADragon
10/04/2011 5:40pm,
As an American, he deserved the best munitions we could deliver. I think we did the boy proud.

I think you have a profitable bumper sticker there.