Wednesday, February 10, 2010

US Forces Can Assassinate Americans Believed to Be Involved in Terrorist Activity

Democracy Now:

REP. DENNIS KUCINICH: Well, I think it’s incumbent upon the Attorney General to explain the basis in law for such a policy. Our Constitution’s Fifth Amendment, our Seventh Amendment, our Fourteenth Amendment all clearly provide legal protections for people who are accused or who would be sentenced after having been judged to be guilty. And what’s happened is that the Constitution is being vitiated here. The idea that people are—have—if their life is in jeopardy, legally have due process of law, is thrown out the window.

And, Amy, when you consider that there are people who are claiming there are many terrorist cells in the United States, it doesn’t take too much of a stretch to imagine that this policy could easily be transferred to citizens in this country. That doesn’t—that only compounds what I think is a slow and steady detachment from core constitutional principles. And once that happens, we have a country then that loses its memory and its soul, with respect to being disconnected from those core constitutional principles which are the basis of freedom in our society.

here to watch, read, or listen to the rest.

From the
Fifth Amendment to the US Constitution:

No person shall be...deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law...
Well, there you have it, and that's just one of the three amendments to which Rep. Kucinich refers. So, on its face, this carryover Bush policy mandating extrajudicial killings of US citizens is unconstitutional. But simply noting that such a policy violates the Constitution doesn't really make clear why this is so extraordinarily frightening.

I'll be more plain: all the President has to do is declare you a terrorist, wait until you cross the border, and then he can have you killed. You don't get to appeal your designation as terrorist. You don't get to appeal your death sentence. You might not even realize that you're in the cross hairs until you're dead. You don't get a jury. You don't get a judge. You don't get an attorney or even a trial. The President just says "you're a terrorist" and you're dead.

This is what happens in military dictatorships. Like, you know, Nazi Germany, or Soviet Russia. And our "liberal" President thinks it's just wonderful. If you trust the individuals who crave power enough to win the Oval Office with this ability, you're stupid. Commanders-in-Chief going back at least as far as Eisenhower have gravely misused their Presidential power in ways that have resulted in illegal killings: it is foolish to believe that anybody with such authority wouldn't use it against people who are entirely innocent.

I've straight-up asserted on countless occasions that the corporations have effectively rendered our democracy meaningless. But that's not the only force in our nation whittling away at our proud democratic tradition. Our elected leaders appear to be giving the corporations a run for their money.