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Thread: The due-process-free assassination of U.S. citizens is now reality

  1. #61
    Silver Member albatross's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MohandasKGanja View Post
    Yes, it does apply, because of the reference to "public danger". For example, if a person is shooting wildly at shoppers in the middle of a mall, the police are not obligated to wait for the person to run out of bullets, tackle the shooter and then take them into custody for a trial. It could be argued that a police officer shooting a spree killer to end a massacre has acted as judge, jury and executioner, and deprived the spree killer of due process. However, the "public danger" exception allows the police officer to kill the shooter to stop the rampage. It applies to Awlaki because 1) he was committing ongoing attempts at terrorist attacks against the United States, 2) he admitted it, and 3) it was not feasible to take him into custody. Thus, he represented an ongoing public danger.
    The exemption does not apply - not even in your mall shooter example. The exemption you keep referring to specifically applies to US soldiers or militia (e.g. the National Guard). You keep focusing on the public danger, but ignore the fact that it applies to military personnel - that is the key exemption - "in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service". See Grand Jury Exception Clause for a full explanation, but here are some key points:
    The Grand Jury Exception Clause excludes people in the armed forces from the right to indictment by a grand jury.
    All American citizens are guaranteed the right to an indictment by a grand jury for serious federal crimes by the 5th Amendment, except for military personnel. Military personnel, whether on active duty or not, and members of the militia, which is today's national guard, cannot be indicted by a federal court. They must be charged in a military court. The military court has a whole different set of rules by which it functions that is not determined by the judiciary, but by the Congress and the military.
    Also, your mall scenario isn't the same as Awlaki. An applicable scenario would be the mall shooter escapes, then admits on Facebook he did it and says he'll do it again. In that case, the police do not get to hunt him down and kill him on sight.
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  2. #62
    Elite Member MohandasKGanja's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by albatross View Post
    The exemption does not apply - not even in your mall shooter example. The exemption you keep referring to specifically applies to US soldiers or militia (e.g. the National Guard). You keep focusing on the public danger, but ignore the fact that it applies to military personnel - that is the key exemption - "in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service". See Grand Jury Exception Clause for a full explanation, but here are some key points:
    I concede that point. Rereading the clause, it's a reference to military personnel.

    Quote Originally Posted by albatross View Post
    Also, your mall scenario isn't the same as Awlaki. An applicable scenario would be the mall shooter escapes, then admits on Facebook he did it and says he'll do it again. In that case, the police do not get to hunt him down and kill him on sight.
    I don't think your analogy is applicable either. Awlaki cannot be analogized to be the same as a killer who merely runs away and then admits he did it and will do it again. Awlaki is a member of an organization (confirmed by both him and the people, like Abdulmutab, who he sent out on missions) that is at war with the United States and has made numerous attempts, both successful and unsuccessful to carry out mass casualties. As an admitted leader of a terrorist organization, operating in a lawless area, he had elected to take the risk of continually engaging or attempting to elude the United States military, which is in active ongoing conflict with AQAP.

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    Elite Member CornFlakegrl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Novice View Post
    And that is why they use the CIA to .

    You really don't get the concept that this creates a precedent at all do you. Try substituting Awlaki for The Fonz & see how fair it is.
    The Fonz gets a coolness exemption per the 4th Amendment.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CornFlakegrl View Post
    The Fonz gets a coolness exemption per the 4th Amendment.
    You''d've thought he'd be against it, esp with da pretty ladies....



  5. #65
    Silver Member albatross's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MohandasKGanja View Post
    I concede that point. Rereading the clause, it's a reference to military personnel.



    I don't think your analogy is applicable either. Awlaki cannot be analogized to be the same as a killer who merely runs away and then admits he did it and will do it again. Awlaki is a member of an organization (confirmed by both him and the people, like Abdulmutab, who he sent out on missions) that is at war with the United States and has made numerous attempts, both successful and unsuccessful to carry out mass casualties. As an admitted leader of a terrorist organization, operating in a lawless area, he had elected to take the risk of continually engaging or attempting to elude the United States military, which is in active ongoing conflict with AQAP.
    You're the one who introduced the mall shooter analogy. I merely changed the analogy to point out that at the time of his death Awlaki was not a clear and present threat to the US or US forces. Unlike the mall shooter in your analogy, he wasn't brandishing a weapon and shooting anyone when he was killed. So, while he was a threat, like the escaped shooter, it was not immediate.

    But if it makes you feel better...The shooter isn't a lone gunman. Instead he is part of a nationwide organization determined to destroy all of the malls in the US. They plan attacks, claim credit, and vow to continue their war. Like other terrorist organizations, the planners don't generally do the heavy lifting. Instead, they recruit disenfranchised and convince them that food courts, anchor stores, and escalators are the scourge of the earth and must destroyed. In their eyes, the innocent shoppers are not innocent at all, they are all a part of the evil that is The Mall.

    None of that gives the police the right to hunt the gunman down and kill him on sight.

    As far as I know, there is no clause in the Constitution that says that "if you're evil and hang out with other evil guys, we can do whatever the fuck we want to you". If there was, there are a lot of people in this country that would be in deep shit.
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    Elite Member Novice's Avatar
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    Isn't this just another form of McCathyism with a different target?

    Well, except this now includes summery execution as well....



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    Elite Member MohandasKGanja's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by albatross View Post
    You're the one who introduced the mall shooter analogy. I merely changed the analogy to point out that at the time of his death Awlaki was not a clear and present threat to the US or US forces. Unlike the mall shooter in your analogy, he wasn't brandishing a weapon and shooting anyone when he was killed. So, while he was a threat, like the escaped shooter, it was not immediate.

    But if it makes you feel better...The shooter isn't a lone gunman. Instead he is part of a nationwide organization determined to destroy all of the malls in the US. They plan attacks, claim credit, and vow to continue their war. Like other terrorist organizations, the planners don't generally do the heavy lifting. Instead, they recruit disenfranchised and convince them that food courts, anchor stores, and escalators are the scourge of the earth and must destroyed. In their eyes, the innocent shoppers are not innocent at all, they are all a part of the evil that is The Mall.

    None of that gives the police the right to hunt the gunman down and kill him on sight.

    As far as I know, there is no clause in the Constitution that says that "if you're evil and hang out with other evil guys, we can do whatever the fuck we want to you". If there was, there are a lot of people in this country that would be in deep shit.
    Your additional Mall analogy somehow still assumes that the person is inside the United States. Awlaki wasn't. He was hiding out in a lawless area - counting on that, and protection from sympathetic tribal members to protect him.

    At the time of Awlaki's death he was a clear and present danger to the U.S. He was engaged in ongoing operational planning against the United States and admitted it. He was operating in concert with a group that has been at war with the United States at least 10 years. He said, "it's them or us" and he got himself blasted to smithereens.

    Do I think that the next Eric Rudolph (a somewhat better and more realistic analogy than the one you provided) is going to be killed by the U.S. in a drone strike because we have somehow set a precedent with Awlaki? No.

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    For goodness sake!!! This has got NOTHING to do with Awlaki.



  9. #69
    Silver Member albatross's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MohandasKGanja View Post
    Your additional Mall analogy somehow still assumes that the person is inside the United States. Awlaki wasn't. He was hiding out in a lawless area - counting on that, and protection from sympathetic tribal members to protect him.

    At the time of Awlaki's death he was a clear and present danger to the U.S. He was engaged in ongoing operational planning against the United States and admitted it. He was operating in concert with a group that has been at war with the United States at least 10 years. He said, "it's them or us" and he got himself blasted to smithereens.

    Do I think that the next Eric Rudolph (a somewhat better and more realistic analogy than the one you provided) is going to be killed by the U.S. in a drone strike because we have somehow set a precedent with Awlaki? No.
    I'm not making any assumptions about where he is hiding. He could have fled the country. He is a figment of your imagination that I sent on the run.

    It doesn't matter where he is. To quote from an earlier post in this thread:

    Quote Originally Posted by witchcurlgirl View Post
    An American citizen's Fourth Amendment rights relative to the U.S. Government do not change when he leaves American soil. Reid v. Covert ("When the Government reaches out to punish a citizen who is abroad, the shield which the Bill of Rights ...provide(s)... should not be stripped away just because he happens to be in another land").

    As for the dangers of this precedent, consider the following questions from a letter to the editor in the Washington Post:
    If the executive branch has the legal authority to summarily assassinate Americans in Yemen, on what logic does it not also have the authority to do so in Virginia? Such an act would be politically unpopular, to be sure, but is political reality the extent of our protection against the violent machinations of our own government?

    You seem happy to believe that the government knows what it's doing and would never cross a line. Good for you. I don't have that kind of faith. I see them selling out the American people every single day, and now they've just moved onto to killing them (but only if they're really, really bad, I'm sure).

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    Elite Member witchcurlgirl's Avatar
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    It's always a safe bet to put your faith in the US government- the most heavily armed, venal, and prolific killer on the planet today. What could go wrong?
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    Elite Member MohandasKGanja's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by albatross View Post
    I'm not making any assumptions about where he is hiding. He could have fled the country. He is a figment of your imagination that I sent on the run.

    You seem happy to believe that the government knows what it's doing and would never cross a line. Good for you. I don't have that kind of faith. I see them selling out the American people every single day, and now they've just moved onto to killing them (but only if they're really, really bad, I'm sure).

    Okay, back to your scenario. If a guy, who is a U.S. citizen, bombs malls and racks up casualties, and goes abroad, admits to what he's done, is corroborated by his co-conspirators to have done this, pledges more attacks (and that 1 million civilian lives would be necessary to even the score), says "it's you or me", and then hides out in a lawless region where he cannot be arrested, I have no problem with a drone strike taking him out. He has joined, and operationally led forces that are in active conflict with the U.S. Government, and if he gets himself blown up, that's what happens.

    Quote Originally Posted by witchcurlgirl View Post
    It's always a safe bet to put your faith in the US government- the most heavily armed, venal, and prolific killer on the planet today. What could go wrong?
    Do I think that the U.S. Government is the most heavily armed, prolific killer on the planet today? No. Not while Russia (Chechnya) and China (Tibet, Uighur provinces) still exist as sovereign countries. It doesn't put us in the greatest company, though.

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    Elite Member MontanaMama's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MohandasKGanja View Post
    Okay, back to your scenario. If a guy, who is a U.S. citizen, bombs malls and racks up casualties, and goes abroad, admits to what he's done, is corroborated by his co-conspirators to have done this, pledges more attacks (and that 1 million civilian lives would be necessary to even the score), says "it's you or me", and then hides out in a lawless region where he cannot be arrested, I have no problem with a drone strike taking him out. He has joined, and operationally led forces that are in active conflict with the U.S. Government, and if he gets himself blown up, that's what happens.



    Do I think that the U.S. Government is the most heavily armed, prolific killer on the planet today? No. Not while Russia (Chechnya) and China (Tibet, Uighur provinces) still exist as sovereign countries. It doesn't put us in the greatest company, though.
    Mo, what it comes down to is that if the Constitution doesn't apply to every American citizen, it applies to none. It is not a fact based application, it is a fundamental application. You do not start with justifications to violate the constitution, you bend over backwards not to violate it. No one is supporting the words and actions of this man, but who he was flat doesn't matter. It really concerns me that we have been bullied into accepting the everyday violations of the constitution and somehow that is supposed to make us more patriotic. History will not be kind to this era.
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    Elite Member witchcurlgirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MohandasKGanja View Post
    Okay, back to your scenario. If a guy, who is a U.S. citizen, bombs malls and racks up casualties, and goes abroad, admits to what he's done, is corroborated by his co-conspirators to have done this, pledges more attacks (and that 1 million civilian lives would be necessary to even the score), says "it's you or me", and then hides out in a lawless region where he cannot be arrested, I have no problem with a drone strike taking him out. He has joined, and operationally led forces that are in active conflict with the U.S. Government, and if he gets himself blown up, that's what happens.
    It doesn't matter whether you have a problem taking him out. Our system of laws does.



    It's amazing the knots people will twist themselves into to justify the taking of their constitutional rights.

    Be a coward, and decide not to stand up to a powerful and violent government infringing on your rights as a citizen. Be a fool, and think that this powerful and violent government would never come for you.

    But don’t be a coward and a fool, and know that the government could come for you but be foolish enough to cheer or rationalize the initiation of a policy and new cultural norm that permits the unconstitutional killing of American citizens.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MontanaMama View Post
    Mo, what it comes down to is that if the Constitution doesn't apply to every American citizen, it applies to none. It is not a fact based application, it is a fundamental application. You do not start with justifications to violate the constitution, you bend over backwards not to violate it. No one is supporting the words and actions of this man, but who he was flat doesn't matter. It really concerns me that we have been bullied into accepting the everyday violations of the constitution and somehow that is supposed to make us more patriotic. History will not be kind to this era.
    Quote Originally Posted by witchcurlgirl View Post
    It doesn't matter whether you have a problem taking him out. Our system of laws does.

    It's amazing the knots people will twist themselves into to justify the taking of their constitutional rights.

    Be a coward, and decide not to stand up to a powerful and violent government infringing on your rights as a citizen. Be a fool, and think that this powerful and violent government would never come for you.

    But don’t be a coward and a fool, and know that the government could come for you but be foolish enough to cheer or rationalize the initiation of a policy and new cultural norm that permits the unconstitutional killing of American citizens.
    please put your responses in pie charts so mohandas will understand and then we can move on.




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    Quote Originally Posted by witchcurlgirl View Post
    It doesn't matter whether you have a problem taking him out. Our system of laws does.

    It's amazing the knots people will twist themselves into to justify the taking of their constitutional rights.

    Be a coward, and decide not to stand up to a powerful and violent government infringing on your rights as a citizen. Be a fool, and think that this powerful and violent government would never come for you.

    But donít be a coward and a fool, and know that the government could come for you but be foolish enough to cheer or rationalize the initiation of a policy and new cultural norm that permits the unconstitutional killing of American citizens.
    The threat that Awlaki presented, and the response of the U.S. Government are not anything close to a threat to other American citizens, whether rapists or murderers. If, however, you want to be an American citizen, and then go abroad and be a ranking member of an armed group that has sworn to inflict mass casualties on American citizens - and carried it out multiple times - then, you are going to risk having yourself killed.

    We know where Roman Polanski is and what he's charged with. He's not going to be taken out with a drone strike. Nor will all the Americans currently on death row have their appeals canceled out tomorrow and be subjected to summary executions.

    Here is part of an article from Hussein Ibish, a Lebanese-born muslim-American scholar, on the death of Awlaki:
    The bottom line is that Awlaki preached that all Americans, of whatever origin, were fair game and should be killed at every possible opportunity. That, of course, includes Arab- and Muslim-Americans. So Awlaki not only threatened the reputation of these communities, but also potentially their members as well. This man wanted us all dead, so eliminating him was, quintessentially, an act of self-defense.

    There are real and important constitutional issues and due process concerns about this assassination, and they will have to be debated in the coming months. However, due process arguments need to take into consideration the practical implausibility of the capture and trial of these individuals, what such an effort would have entailed, and the real options the US government faced in dealing with them.

    These concerns notwithstanding, Arab- and Muslim-Americans should welcome the elimination of a man who posed a real and serious threat to their standing and, indeed, their very lives.

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