Monday, May 17, 2010

Yet Another Blow...

Against civil liberties is being proposed. On the heels of the latest proposal (to take away Miranda rights) comes this gem- if a person is suspected of being in collusion with a foreign terrorist organization, he or she will be stripped of their citizenship and detained indefinitely. By the military.

Oh joy.

Let's forget Constitutionality- again- and do what is needed to keep us...'safe.' Sort of.

This is so wrong, I don't even know where to begin. For starters- what part of 'inalienable' and 'not infringe' did you not understand?

Secondly, in America we have this wonderful thing that sets us apart from a lot of other countries (especially those ones we style as 'the enemy' and berate practically every day)- innocent until proven guilty. This has been a fundamental tenet of the American legal justice system for a long time. Apparently though, even that goes by the wayside while we're on a quest for this elusive 'safety.'

In closing, I'd like to bring attention this little tidbit-
"Citing with approval news reports that President Obama has signed a secret order authorizing the targeted killing of a radical Yemeni-American cleric, Anwar Al-Awlaki, Mr. Lieberman argued that if that policy was legal — and he said he believed it was — then stripping people of citizenship for joining terrorist organizations should also be acceptable."

Oh nice. Let's take one piece of bad decision-making, turn it around, then use it as justification for another piece of bad decision-making! Oh, I like it.

Only in the government...


Don Emmerich said...

I agree with your comments, Liberty -- this is absolutely unbelievable. Yet where's the outrage? Where's the outrage from the right? Where's the outrage from the left? Things keep getting more and more...awful, crazy, Orwellian. When will it end?

Obama issues the death warrant for a man who, as far as we know, has done nothing more than SAY a bunch of nasty, hateful things. Lieberman wants to strip the citizenship of people ACCUSED of being terrorists.

What's especially sad is that, had the Bush administration proposed these horrid ideas, most liberals would have been outraged. They would have taken to the blogs, taken to the streets with their silly little placards. But now that this is happening under Our Precious Obama, very few even care. Had John McCain won the election, we might still have more than a handful of vocal, passionate civil libertarians in this country.

suntzusays said...

Irrespective of whether Al-Awlaki is a likeable fellow or not (and it appears he has some rather uncharitable things to say), the usual means of establishing laws which protect the innocent from being treated as the guilty relies in large measure on how we treat the "guilty" and how laws are written or courts interpret them to establish the parameters under which freedoms can be taken away (usually defined as "due process").

Unfortunately, relying on people who are deemed "scumbags" is not the best means of establishing democratic human rights and freedoms for everyone else. As we can see when the treatment of scumbags, such as by targeting them for assassination, is treated not as an exceptional and remarkable breach of public trust, to be given only under strict supervision at best, but instead as an excuse to claim more powers.

Eman said...

Let me ask you a question Liberty.
Federal law states that after a convicted sex offender has served his/her sentence, the offender can be held indefinitely if he is found to be a continuing threat to society by counselors and parole officials. If the risk is high the offender will repeat the offence, they can hold the offender indefinitely. Are you comfortable with this law?

You see, according to Geneva Convention laws, prisoners of war can be held until all hostilities have ceased. Is this law bad too? Are you are saying these enemy combatants at Gitmo should be let go?

Liberty said...

Don- oh yes. Yet now that Obama is doing it, Democrats are going along with it, and Republicans are (albeit rather unwillingly) also falling into the name of safety. >.> Quite annoying, really.

Sun Tzu- yes, yes. I agree. :)

Eman- yes, I think that is wrong. I am in the camp of "get rid of them once and for all, so we don't have to worry about them," but meh. No, I am not comfortable with that.

The thing with the GCs is that people insist terrorists don't come under it because they aren't part of a uniformed military. I tend to agree. In all previous wars that did come under the GCs, it was easily verifiable if they were soldiers in the opposite military. The men wore uniforms, carried papers/tags, etc. However in this conflict, it is not easily verifiable who they are, so I tend to think that we should send them through the legal justice system, if only because we have to prove they are who we (or ISI) says they are first.

I think many of the "enemy combatants" at Gitmo are innocent. There are only four or five of the men who know anything beyond "Oh yes, and there was this thing to blow this thing up I think." We have no evidence to hold them, and hence we cannot.

suntzusays said...

Laws do not always have to be evaluated on a basis of "good or bad". There are also questions of whether the laws comply with Constitutional rights and limitations on government actions, upon which many of our expansive powers granted for supposedly emergency status have become more or less permanent excuses for broad power. Some laws may thus be "good" but also Un-Constitutional, others may be bad, but Constitutional. The important issue is that government action is subject first to a check upon whether it is permitted to take it under existing laws and limitations before considering what it is that government thinks it needs to be legally able to do to deal with a particular public goods problem like national security. The length and complexity of legal codes at this point makes it unlikely that authorities may be aware of existing powers they may already have and in particular the voting public capable of examining such claims for needed powers versus existing ones and thus applying a modicum of skepticism toward such things.

This is before even considering whether these laws purporting to counter terrorist activity are serving some end perceived good, which I doubt in many instances. In some, I suspect we are in fact committing the grievous error of confusing our good intentions (presumably public safety is a good intention) with good actions. And instead committing atrocities toward either ourselves and our general liberties, and possibly our overall safety and security as well, or toward people who are not in fact enemies or enemy combatants by treating them as though they are.

Teresa said...

There is already an exception to the miranda rule- the "public safety" exception, so I see no need for another law. Plus, I believe under current law our government can classify suspected terrorists, even U.S. citizens, as enemy combatants.

I also disagree with our government authorizing the targeted killing of a radical Yemeni-American cleric, Anwar Al-Awlaki. If he is on the battlefield, posing a threat to our troops,then yes by all means kill him.

Liberty said...

Sun Tzu- agree. :))

Teresa- I didn't know they could classify US citizens as enemy combatants. Do you have a law or anything I could see? I'd be interested. :))

Teresa said...

This might help:

This isn't as lengthy and might help also.