Just a reminder…

August 16, 2010 | By | 3 Replies More

…that we live in a country where it is necessary to draft legislation to prevent the government from killing you without due process.

H.R. 6010, introduced by Dennis Kucinich, would prohibit anyone (including the President!) from the extrajudicial killing of an American citizen.  It includes this reminder of just how far we’ve come from our foundational principles:

Dennis Kucinich, trying to stop the government from assassinating you without due process.

Sec. 2. (1): due process of law is a fundamental principle in the United States Constitution, the United States has a commitment to the principles included in the Bill of Rights, and no United States citizen, regardless of location, can be ‘deprived of life, liberty, property, without due process of law’, as stated in Article XIV of the Constitution

But that was back when the Constitution actually meant something, before we had to throw all those pesky rights away in the name of the “War on Terror”.  I should get over my insistence that we stick to an outdated thing like the Constitution.  After all, as President George W. Bush reportedly opined, “It’s just a goddamned piece of paper!”  There appears to be some debate over the veracity of that quotation, but I’m including it here on the basis that Bush acted as if the quotation were true, regardless of whether he ever actually said those exact words.

And there can no longer be any doubt that the Constitution is outdated.  Let’s review a couple of the rights which were formerly guaranteed to people in America:

And according to this brochure from the FBI (p.1), something like making “numerous references to US constitution” is a tip that you may be dealing with a “domestic terrorist”.  Apparently, only right-wing extremists style themselves as “‘defenders’ of US Constitution against federal government”.  Clearly, defending the Constitution makes them terrorists– the federal government would never do anything unconstitutional, would they?  Like, for example, killing American citizens without due process?  Nah, they would only kill terrorists that way…. uh-oh.  See how we come full-circle?  Questioning the right of the government to do whatever it likes (including kill you), makes you a terrorist.   And terrorists are eligible to be killed, with no oversight, no questions asked.

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Category: Current Events, World politics

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is a full-time wage slave and part-time philosopher, writing and living just outside Omaha with his lovely wife and two feline roommates.

Comments (3)

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  1. Erich Vieth says:

    Brynn: That is an excellent collection of links, and a depressing collection as well.

    Here's how far we've come. Despite the first amendment, our government officials are obsessed with whether a mosque can be built near the site of the World Trade Center, despite the fact that there is absolutely no evidence that the people building the mosque pose any threat to any American. Imagine if the Catholic Church were building a new church at the same site. There would be no outcry, despite the well-documented propensity of Catholic priests for sexually abusing children and covering up their dirty deeds.

    Our politicians should be saying: It's a religious organization deciding to build on private property. It's none of my business. But that's not what we're hearing. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/andy-ostroy/whats-t

  2. Erich Vieth says:

    Brynn: The Greenwald article on the media being a mouthpiece for government is especially disturbing. How amazing that newspapers consistently considered waterboarding to be torture until the United States started doing it:

    "A newly released study from students at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government provides the latest evidence of how thoroughly devoted the American establishment media is to amplifying and serving (rather than checking) government officials. This new study examines how waterboarding has been discussed by America's four largest newspapers over the past 100 years, and finds that the technique, almost invariably, was unequivocally referred to as "torture" — until the U.S. Government began openly using it and insisting that it was not torture, at which time these newspapers obediently ceased describing it that way"

    Greenwald adds this gem: "We don't need a state-run media because our media outlets volunteer for the task."

    http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald

    The Obama Administration's pursuit of whistle-blowers reporting widespread government corruption is disgraceful. http://www.williamkwolfrum.com/2010/04/30/the-u-s

  3. Brynn Jacobs says:

    <a href="http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2010/08/30/assassinations?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+salon%2Fgreenwald+%28Glenn+Greenwald%29&quot; rel="nofollow">Glenn Greenwald reports on the same issue, but from another perspective. He writes about a lawsuit asking for a court injunction to stop the Obama administration from assassinating U.S. citizen Anwar Awlaki without due process.

    Just how perverse is the Obama administration's assassination program is reflected in the rights Awlaki is forced to assert. He alleges — as the Complaint puts it — that the Government is violating his "Fifth Amendment Right Not to be Deprived of Life Without Due Process." Just re-read that and contemplate that in Barack Obama's America, that right even needs to be contested. The Complaint also alleges that using lethal force against a U.S. citizen in these circumstances violates the Fourth Amendment's guarantee against unreasonable searches and seizure, and also violates the Alien Tort Statute, which bars "extrajudicial killings." Reading Awlaki's Brief in support of his request for injunctive relief is almost surreal, as one witnesses an American citizen try to convince a federal court to stop the Government from trying — far away from a battlefield and without any violence used to resist apprehension — to murder him without due process:

    The right to life is the most fundamental of all rights protected by the Constitution and by international law. Outside the context of armed conflict, the intentional killing of a civilian without prior judicial process is unlawful except in the narrowest and most extraordinary circumstances.

    The United States is not at war with Yemen, or within it. Nonetheless, U.S. government officials have disclosed the government’s intention to kill U.S. citizen Anwar Al-Aulaqi, who is believed to be located there, without charge, trial, or conviction. . . .

    Outside of armed conflict, both the Constitution and international law prohibit the use of lethal force against civilians except as a last resort to prevent concrete, specific, and imminent threats that are likely to cause death or serious physical injury. An extrajudicial killing policy under which individuals are added to "kill lists" after secret bureaucratic processes and remain on the lists even in the absence of any reason to believe that they pose a threat of imminent harm goes far beyond what the Constitution and international law permit.

    That the government has kept secret the standards under which it targets U.S. citizens for death independently violates the Constitution: U.S. citizens have a right to know what conduct may subject them to execution at the hands of their own government. Due process requires, at a minimum, that citizens be put on notice of what may cause them to be put to death by the state.

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