So, the US Government assassinated two american citizens today.

Anyone who supports these deaths is a believer in trial by television and loud assertion.

All the government has done so far is MAKE ACCUSATIONS, loudly and repeatedly. That's it. That's all. And they've used the bully pulpit of network news to amplify those accusations, but not substantiate them. If you support this, then you are supporting trial by loud accusation, instead of proof.

The crime that these two gentlemen appear to have actually committed is to hold opinions that the US government doesn't like. They were killed, without supporting evidence presented in a court of law, because the government didn't like the content of their speech.

One point of clarification here. Al Quaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has been declared to be an associated force with the original Al Quaeda - by it's own statements, and by the US government - and that makes it subject to the same legal and military sanctions that were authorized by Congress against Al Quaeda. The question should therefore hinge upon whether citizenship alone protects someone who acts against the security interests of the US from being declared an enemy combatant.

An analogous situation would be a person with dual Japanese/American citizenship who helped to plan the Pearl Harbor attack.

BTW, Malor, we have direct testimony from a participant in an attack that Al Awlaki assisted him in the planning of the attack (the Detroit flight attempted bombing). If nothing else, that goes beyond speech.

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 offense 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.

-5th Amendment

I would think it would be hard to argue that a leader in a group that the US congress has authorized military action against is not a legitimate military target. Unless you're prepared to argue that Al-Awlaki wasn't an enemy actor. I mean, you can look for yourself on YouTube. It's not like the US is claiming secret documents or events, he made every action in a very public manner.

Also, again I would point out that him and his supporters opened fire on US military personnel who were trying to capture him. He pretty much signed his death warrant right there.

This was posted to my facebook page by someone debating a comment I made regarding this operation. It's an interesting read. Maybe not proving the point he wanted to, but it's pretty muddy, to be honest. The pertinent pull quote:

...the Supreme Court indicated that a U.S. citizen "has a constitutional right to remain a citizen... unless he voluntarily relinquishes that citizenship."

Further confirmation of the necessity to establish the citizen's intent to relinquish nationality before expatriation will result came in the opinion in Vance v. Terrazas , 444 U.S. 252 (1980). The Court stated that "expatriation depends on the will of the citizen rather than on the will of Congress and its assessment of his conduct." The Court also indicated that a person's intention to relinquish U.S. citizenship may be shown by statements or actions.

Military service in foreign countries usually does not cause loss of citizenship since an intention to relinquish citizenship normally is lacking. In adjudicating loss of nationality cases, the Department has established an administrative presumption that a person serving in the armed forces of a foreign state not engaged in hostilities against the United States does not have the intention to relinquish citizenship. Voluntary service in the armed forces of a state engaged in hostilities against the United States could be viewed as indicative of an intention to relinquish U.S. citizenship.

@mini

Factually correct, but as I pointed out in the 5th amendment service in a military/militia force against the US nullifies your right to due process. It happened in WW2, WW1, and the Civil War

Grubber788 wrote:
DSGamer wrote:
Grubber788 wrote:
DSGamer wrote:

Treason usually indicates declared wars against states. A person could literally go to a mosque that gave money to Al Qaida and be executed without trial under current precedent. That that isn't crazy to people blows my mind.

How would you fix this problem? The U.S. does have state-less enemies and we will presumably continue to see this problem in the future. Protesters talking about Big Brother aren't particularly useful to policy makers who have difficult decisions to make.

Well, if we make their jobs harder they can always knock us off, at least. That option is open.

My question was serious. [color=green]Great serious response![/color]

I gave you a serious response. The government didn't even bring forth evidence that he worked for Al Qaida officially. Many of Gitmos prisoners, who lost their rights and were tortured on the battlefield were guys the Northeen Alliance didn't like or whom their country offered up as a sacrificial lamb to stay on the US's good side. There at least has to be a legal apparatus for the govt. to bring forth charges so we know it's true beyond someone on a Sunday talk show saying so.

The question should therefore hinge upon whether citizenship alone protects someone who acts against the security interests of the US from being declared an enemy combatant.

Of course it does. This isn't even open to question.

The Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution wrote:

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.

When it's in the Constitution, it doesn't mean we do it only when it's convenient. It means we do it always. The government was holding secret evidence against these men, evidence it said it couldn't even show a judge. This is typical of bad evidence. This is the shield that the government hides behind when its evidence is no good, and would evaporate in the daylight.

All people everywhere have the fundamental right to examine the evidence against them and to confront their accusers. It just happens to be actually written down for US Citizens.

The government has now asserted, and exercised, the right to invent secret evidence and have you killed because of that secret evidence.

Don't you EVER EVER EVER claim this is a free country again. Not ever. You have no right to use that phrase ever again. America as a free country died with Al-Alwaki, and you cheered it on.

bandit0013 wrote:

Also, again I would point out that him and his supporters opened fire on US military personnel who were trying to capture him. He pretty much signed his death warrant right there.

Okay, put yourself in his shoes for a minute. He had no other option. The government had already declared that he was to be killed on sight without a trial. The government has already demonstrated that it will do this, executing bin Laden and dumping the body when they could easily have held him for trial.

So if he gives up, he'll be shot. Of COURSE he fought. Any sane person would. And that also excuses the extrajudicial death sentence in your view. He fights and dies, or he doesn't fight, and he dies anyway. And it's all good from your perspective; no proven evidence, no right to confront that evidence, no pressing danger to anyone, but it's okay to shoot him on sight, and it's extra-okay to shoot him if he fights back.

That has nothing to do with justice. It is a brand-new extrajudicial bureaucracy, and the one thing we know is always true about bureaucracies is that they expand.

Eventually, this new bureaucracy is going to start eating people you care about. It'll expand first into the drug war, and then eventually to people that think the drug war is a bad idea. But by then, you will be powerless to stop them, because saying that extrajudicial killings are a bad idea will be giving material aid to terrorism, worthy of a death sentence.

This is what happened to these men. The only proven evidence we have is that they had opinions the US government didn't like. All the other evidence was, as likely as not, fabricated or just wrong.

The government is terrible at this stuff. But now they don't even have to defend their legal theories in court, they can just shoot you. How much longer will it be until they start going after your family if you fight back and don't passively accept your execution?

I rarely agree with Glenn Beck, but on yesterday's show he made a good point that the US government has killed hundreds of thousands of American citizens in the past. It was called the Civil War. And I have a lot more sympathy for the Confederate soldiers who were killed than some extremist who was plotting to murder women and children.

That being said, I do want very strong protocols put in place for these sort of operations. I definitely want more oversight than what's in place now. For example, I want a Supreme Court judge and the Congressional intelligence committee reviewing and giving authorization.

jdzappa wrote:

I rarely agree with Glenn Beck, but on yesterday's show he made a good point that the US government has killed hundreds of thousands of American citizens in the past. It was called the Civil War. And I have a lot more sympathy for the Confederate soldiers who were killed than some extremist who was plotting to murder women and children.

That being said, I do want very strong protocols put in place for these sort of operations. I definitely want more oversight than what's in place now. For example, I want a Supreme Court judge and the Congressional intelligence committee reviewing and giving authorization.

The good thing about that system is that the Supreme Court isn't political.

Yeah, if we're gonna be killing people based on secret evidence, I totally want Roberts saying, "Okay, you can kill them for reasons I'm not allowed to know." That will make it much better.

bandit0013 wrote:
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 offense 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.

-5th Amendment

I never knew that Al Awlaki was a US military serviceman. If that were the case, then yes the 5th Amendment applied to him.

It must be exhausting being so angry all the time.

SallyNasty wrote:

It must be exhausting being so angry all the time.

Yeah. Much easier to relax and let the police state take over.

Farscry wrote:
bandit0013 wrote:
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 offense 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.

-5th Amendment

I never knew that Al Awlaki was a US military serviceman. If that were the case, then yes the 5th Amendment applied to him.

It applies to any service, not just US military

Malor wrote:

Okay, put yourself in his shoes for a minute. He had no other option. The government had already declared that he was to be killed on sight without a trial. The government has already demonstrated that it will do this, executing bin Laden and dumping the body when they could easily have held him for trial.

1) he was not bin Laden;

2) bin Laden was not a U.S. citizen; personally, I think non-citizens should be protected by the Constitution too, but everyone here seems to care he was a citizen;

3) all that demonstrates is that if we have to find you by way of a military mission, we will kill you. That is not "killed on sight."

DSGamer wrote:
SallyNasty wrote:

It must be exhausting being so angry all the time.

Yeah. Much easier to relax and let the police state take over.

IMAGE(http://images.cheezburger.com/completestore/2011/8/6/2a370b34-392f-408c-b0a8-3cc050255917.jpg)

Malor wrote:

Yeah, if we're gonna be killing people based on secret evidence, I totally want Roberts saying, "Okay, you can kill them for reasons I'm not allowed to know." That will make it much better.

No, under my proposed system the judge and Congressional members would have full access to all evidence and intelligence reports.

Once again, I'm not mad at all that they took a very evil man out. I also think it's a long way down to the point America has police death squads. I do share some of your unease though.

DSGamer wrote:
bnpederson wrote:

Oh sweet, we declared war? When was this?

Exactly. The nice thing about a stateless perpetual war is you can choose who is and isn't an "enemy combatant" and who is and isn't fair game.

Yeah, unless they are inside the United States. You can't say things like:

DSGamer wrote:
SallyNasty wrote:

It must be exhausting being so angry all the time.

Yeah. Much easier to relax and let the police state take over.

Take over what? Yemen? Yeah, I've got some issues with what America is doing in other countries, but how is this a "police state" when the whole argument is 'this guy is outside the borders of the United States'?

There's a lot about the War on Terror(tm) that threatens to undermine our freedom here at home--this does not.

In some ways, the harder the government argues this was permissible, the tougher it will be for them later to claim the government has the power to curtail our rights here at home. The more they argue the Constitution does not protect him because this was a military operation, the stronger the argument against letting the government do what it wants here at home where the courts are open and functioning.

I agree that this situation is troubling, but the hyperbole about police states and televised executions is even more troubling. It takes a potentially serious topic and relegates it to the land of paranoia.

It may be my home culture speaking, but I find nothing paranoid about watching your back when there's even the smallest step towards you by a stranger behind you whom you don't really know. I have always been afraid of the American government because it has always shown itself willing to exercise assassination or capture of individuals without recourse to due process. It seemed that citizenship was once some kind of protection against that, but this case erodes that presumption.

LarryC wrote:

It may be my home culture speaking, but I find nothing paranoid about watching your back when there's even the smallest step towards you by a stranger behind you whom you don't really know. I have always been afraid of the American government because it has always shown itself willing to exercise assassination or capture of individuals without recourse to due process. It seemed that citizenship was once some kind of protection against that, but this case erodes that presumption.

My point is that there is an important difference between saying that a certain breach of law may set a dangerous precedent versus saying that tomorrow I will be saluting a dictator. The latter statement weakens the impact of the first.

DSGamer wrote:
SallyNasty wrote:

It must be exhausting being so angry all the time.

Yeah. Much easier to relax and let the police state take over.

While I certainly agree with the point of the statement, I really would like to know what, other than debating it on an internet message board, folks have done about this (and this is not directed solely at you DS). Are folks here writing their congressperson? Local papers? Calling into talk radio shows? Deciding to run for congress? What exactly, for those who do feel so passionately about this, are you doing?

I go back to my original statement. I don't think this is the first time it's happened, but I think Obama and his administration's gloating over it has brought them the kind of problems they will deserve to get from it. I detest all the Republicans (in congress and running for President) "standing up" to condemn Obama for doing it. With very few exceptions, I bet that they would have made the same call had they been in Obama's shoes, with whatever information Obama had to make the same decision. They'd just be better with the cover-up story.

sheared wrote:
DSGamer wrote:
SallyNasty wrote:

It must be exhausting being so angry all the time.

Yeah. Much easier to relax and let the police state take over.

While I certainly agree with the point of the statement, I really would like to know what, other than debating it on an internet message board, folks have done about this (and this is not directed solely at you DS). Are folks here writing their congressperson? Local papers? Calling into talk radio shows? Deciding to run for congress? What exactly, for those who do feel so passionately about this, are you doing?

For my part I joined the ACLU after the Military Commissions Act passed. True story. I hadn't been a member before. Not sure why. I have been since. I gave money to the ACLU immediately and I call my senators and congressmen frequently. I should take the extra step and send a hand-written letter. I've heard that gets their attention more. So I've fallen down on that. And I haven't protested or worked actively with a non-profit to roll back this stuff. That's based a little on the fact that I don't know where to go to do that, honestly. If I knew of someone who was doing good work who could use my help with anything I would. I feel this is really important. I'm a libertarian with caveats for things like a social safety net. So to me freedom and a government that follows the law are the start and end to a functioning democracy. If I new where to put my time and energy for that I totally would.

Not an excuse, just the reality.

sheared wrote:

I go back to my original statement. I don't think this is the first time it's happened, but I think Obama and his administration's gloating over it has brought them the kind of problems they will deserve to get from it. I detest all the Republicans (in congress and running for President) "standing up" to condemn Obama for doing it. With very few exceptions, I bet that they would have made the same call had they been in Obama's shoes, with whatever information Obama had to make the same decision. They'd just be better with the cover-up story.

Of course Obama isn't the first person to do it. My anger is over the fact that the powers of the executive branch were expanded far beyond what they were before Bush. Before Bush the US did some terrible things. I've talked about them in P&C extensively. We meddled ceaselessly in the Iran, Viet Nam, Egypt, The Philippines, practically every country in Central America and most of the Middle East. We've done a lot of the bad in the world and earned a lot of the anger the world feels towards us. I've said that time and time again.

What changed under Bush and now Obama is that now we break laws out in the open and flaunt them. Now the executive branch has no check on it. They don't even get investigated for their crimes. What's happened over the last 10 years (from 9/11 through present day) has been one of the largest threats to the integrity of the US in history, in my opinion.

What's the deal with drone attacks? They don't actually drone do they? And if they do, I bet that's why they are so successful. "Yeah, yeah, I heard you the first time...Please I'll stop if you stop...I swear if you don't stop I'm just going to kill myself." I bet Sun Tzu had a chapter on droning: Sounding the Drones of War.

/Sienfeld impression off

In all seriousness, how would you guys have liked this handled then? I can understand this ethical principle, by-the-book outrage, but it seems like a lot more complicated situation than you all are considering.

An alleged terrorist, though I'm willing to assume our intelligence agencies probably have more info/evidence than we know about, is hiding in another country and refuses to comply with our system of justice. How do you bring said alleged person to justice?

Don't you EVER EVER EVER claim this is a free country again. Not ever. You have no right to use that phrase ever again. America as a free country died with Al-Alwaki, and you cheered it on.

Where, exactly, did I cheer it on? Or even indicate which side of the debate I'm on? It's so freaking tiresome to have you decide I'm a Nazi or a government tool or some other piece of dirt on your shoe every time I post something you don't like. Especially when you jump to conclusions that only embarrass you in the end.

Robear wrote:
Don't you EVER EVER EVER claim this is a free country again. Not ever. You have no right to use that phrase ever again. America as a free country died with Al-Alwaki, and you cheered it on.

Where, exactly, did I cheer it on? Or even indicate which side of the debate I'm on?

I just can't figure out why we died as a free country when this took place *outside the country*

Maybe our government became less of a liberal democracy or something, but the country of America is still free. Yemen? Maybe not. America, though, is still a place with due process of law, even if the American government is not an institution that always respects that principle.

Robear wrote:
Don't you EVER EVER EVER claim this is a free country again. Not ever. You have no right to use that phrase ever again. America as a free country died with Al-Alwaki, and you cheered it on.

Where, exactly, did I cheer it on? Or even indicate which side of the debate I'm on?

I would like him to define free. I mean, who would want to live in a country like America where you could be killed if you leave the country and become a spokesman for a terrorist force which has and continues to seek the deaths of citizens, and run with a militia guard that fires on American troops? I mean, if we're not free to do that, I don't know what freedom means!

Grubber788 wrote:

I agree that this situation is troubling, but the hyperbole about police states and televised executions is even more troubling. It takes a potentially serious topic and relegates it to the land of paranoia.

Ding ding ding!

It's a complicated situation that merits actual discussion. Instead we are treated to each side demonizing the other.

For what it's worth, I don't feel any less safe today than I did yesterday. I'm sure not going to waste time worrying about an American-born douche bag that that thought hanging out with Al-Queda was a smart move.

In my world, I went to work out this morning, had breakfast with friends, shopped a local bookstore (without fear that I might be killed for buying the wrong book!), and watched some football with friends. Later I am going to watch the cardinals in the playoffs, take my wife and daughter to the symphony, and then come home and play some video games that are going to abuse the bejesus out of me.

I live in a good world that could stand to be improved. And despite the 30+ years of doom and gloom I have seen, I'd say we are pretty much okay.

Malor wrote:

The crime that these two gentlemen appear to have actually committed is to hold opinions that the US government doesn't like.

"Well, I do say, Mr. al-Aulaqi, summering in Jawf was a smashing idea! This reminds me the Hamptons in the 1970s, before they allowed the rabble in!"

"Yes, it truely is quite refresh. By the by, Samir Khan and I were going to play a round of croquet this afternoon. It'd be an honor if you joined us, though I must remind you of the field's all-white attire policy."

"That would be most splended, sir. On another note, I was reading in the New Yorker this morning, about that rather sordid business regarding the U.S. I must say, I disapprove of their behavior i--"

And this is the moment when the missile strike landed, am I right?

The paranoid spokesman sees the fate of conspiracy in apocalyptic terms—he traffics in the birth and death of whole worlds, whole political orders, whole systems of human values. He is always manning the barricades of civilization. He constantly lives at a turning point. Like religious millenialists he expresses the anxiety of those who are living through the last days and he is sometimes disposed to set a date fort the apocalypse. (“Time is running out,” said Welch in 1951. “Evidence is piling up on many sides and from many sources that October 1952 is the fatal month when Stalin will attack.”)
As a member of the avant-garde who is capable of perceiving the conspiracy before it is fully obvious to an as yet unaroused public, the paranoid is a militant leader. He does not see social conflict as something to be mediated and compromised, in the manner of the working politician. Since what is at stake is always a conflict between absolute good and absolute evil, what is necessary is not compromise but the will to fight things out to a finish. Since the enemy is thought of as being totally evil and totally unappeasable, he must be totally eliminated—if not from the world, at least from the theatre of operations to which the paranoid directs his attention. This demand for total triumph leads to the formulation of hopelessly unrealistic goals, and since these goals are not even remotely attainable, failure constantly heightens the paranoid’s sense of frustration. Even partial success leaves him with the same feeling of powerlessness with which he began, and this in turn only strengthens his awareness of the vast and terrifying quality of the enemy he opposes.
The enemy is clearly delineated: he is a perfect model of malice, a kind of amoral superman—sinister, ubiquitous, powerful, cruel, sensual, luxury-loving. Unlike the rest of us, the enemy is not caught in the toils of the vast mechanism of history, himself a victim of his past, his desires, his limitations. He wills, indeed he manufactures, the mechanism of history, or tries to deflect the normal course of history in an evil way. He makes crises, starts runs on banks, causes depressions, manufactures disasters, and then enjoys and profits from the misery he has produced. The paranoid’s interpretation of history is distinctly personal: decisive events are not taken as part of the stream of history, but as the consequences of someone’s will. Very often the enemy is held to possess some especially effective source of power: he controls the press; he has unlimited funds; he has a new secret for influencing the mind (brainwashing); he has a special technique for seduction (the Catholic confessional).
It is hard to resist the conclusion that this enemy is on many counts the projection of the self; both the ideal and the unacceptable aspects of the self are attributed to him.

Richard Hofstadter, "The Paranoid Style in American Politics"