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View Diary: Secret government panel can put Americans on 'kill list' (381 comments)

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  •  I agree with the gov't killing someone... (6+ / 0-)

    ... who speaks and writes to advocate violence against our country and our people as part of their job in an organization that carries out such attacks, and who is not otherwise reachable by our government or any other government.  The distinction between speech and action within a division-of-labor organization isn't as stark as you are suggesting; if it were, we wouldn't have people advocating the prosecution of Bush and Cheney and Yoo, none of whom even actually tortured anyone.

    "I think I threw the ball pretty good, except for the home runs"--Ross Ohlendorf, Pittsburgh Pirates

    by Rich in PA on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 09:00:16 AM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  Because prosecution and assassination (10+ / 0-)

      are so much alike.

      •  Prosecution in this case would do nothing (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Pozzo, malharden, We Won

        We don't prosecute people to make a symbolic statement; we do it to punish and to deter.  In Awlaki's case a prosecution, to the extent that one could have proceeded in his absence, would have been farcical because it would neither have punished nor deterred, and most likely it would accomplished the opposite: it would lay bare the toothlessness of our government and incentivize similar behavior by others.

        "I think I threw the ball pretty good, except for the home runs"--Ross Ohlendorf, Pittsburgh Pirates

        by Rich in PA on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 09:11:05 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Aren't there ever prosecutions where the defendant (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          lgmcp, antirove, jeopardydd

          is in abstentia?  Where they're given a trial where, if they're ever located and retrieved, they're subject to the punishment determined at those trials?  I'm asking, because I'd like to know.  For example, if a person is charged with a crime, but they jump bail, are they ever prosecuted?  They're given the chance to show up in court to challenge their accusers, but since they've fled, they've essentially declined that right of challenging their accusers?

          I may be confusing fiction and fact, but can't there be some method set up, if it doesn't currently exist, for this to be done?  I don't mean that we should make it commonplace, and be the first option to actually tracking down and arresting suspects, but in cases where the US has made an effort to try and deliver the summons, is there no way to then try them in abstentia?

          Just asking - curious for the responses.

          •  What good would this have done? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ColoTim

            I don't see what this would have accomplished. He wasn't in an area where INTERPOL or some other authority could grab him.

          •  Absolutely, there has to be (6+ / 0-)

            If your evidence is so strong, wait word from their lawyer, or appoint him a public defender. Lay the facts out, and have a JURY. If the jury convicts, then you go forward with the punishment.

            There are two things that are missing from the current process: 1) Public presentation of evidence. 2) jury (AFAIK, it's just judges making the decision).

            If they are American citizens, where they are at the moment is irrelevant. Otherwise, you just wait for somebody to go abroad, and then you have a carte blanche for any kind of an assassination attempt.

            One of the people who was assassinated was an EDITOR for an anti-US newspaper. You know who also has lots of newspapers criticizing this government, even calling for violence (the whole blood of tyrants and patriots bit)? Right wing militias. Are we going to target them next?

            The precedent is just way too dangerous. Not to mention  a scenario in which China starts killing its own nationals on our soil. You know, cause some judges over there said it's ok.

          •  Hardly ever. n/t (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ColoTim

            "I think I threw the ball pretty good, except for the home runs"--Ross Ohlendorf, Pittsburgh Pirates

            by Rich in PA on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 10:51:47 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  wrong, wrong, wrong (5+ / 0-)

          "Prosecution in this case would do nothing"

          it would give judicial oversight before killing somebody.

          this is required by the Constitution.

        •  he had already (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Johnny Q, lotlizard

          committed the so called crimes he was murdered for while he lived here, yet no one thought it was important enough to arrest him before e left the country.  if you remember he was identified as someone in contact with hassan in the base shooting.  but no charges.

           they not only knew about him, he had been a guest at the white house because he was a moderate cleric before he was radicalized by our own actions.   the only thing he did that was scary was move to Yemen, where his family is from, and continue his preaching amongst radicals there.

          what he has done is akin to what Glenn beck has done.  should we target beck with a missile?

          Ask not for whom the ban hammer swings. It swings for thee.

          by Nada Lemming on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 03:57:51 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  or not (0+ / 0-)
            what he has done is akin to what Glenn beck has done.  should we target beck with a missile?

            Glen Beck, as reprehensible as he is, has not fled the country and joined up with an armed terrorist organization.
            •  neither did al awlaki (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Johnny Q

              as far as you or I know.  all we have are claims from the government.  I wonder if you would have a problem with Michele Bach Ann lobbing missiles at Americans, because whoever the next republican president is, they will.  

              Ask not for whom the ban hammer swings. It swings for thee.

              by Nada Lemming on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 04:12:22 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  Oddly, the administration didn't try and make the (18+ / 0-)

      ... you present. Instead, they tried to tie al-Awlaki to concrete terrorist "events" (without offering a shred of evidence).

      I don't agree with your assessment, I might add. This guy preached hatred against the U.S. and our citizens, but there are radical preachers doing that all over the world. Are they all fair game? Who decides when the undefined line has been crossed?

      I am not comfortable with this concept at all.

      •  Left out the word "case" in that first sentence. (0+ / 0-)
      •  How many other radical preachers... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        lgmcp, Pozzo, malharden

        ...declare themselves actual members of a designated terrorist organization (there's a farcical aspect to the formal designation of organizations by our government, but it's an established process), and receive substantial direct support by that organization to do their advocacy?  Whatever that number might be, I'd say they are legitimately in the same jeopardy as Awlaki...but to my knowledge there aren't any others.  

        "I think I threw the ball pretty good, except for the home runs"--Ross Ohlendorf, Pittsburgh Pirates

        by Rich in PA on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 09:13:27 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  That is one of the most troubling features here (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Robobagpiper, enhydra lutris

        there is no limit other than being covered, in the opinion of the administration, by the AUMF and being outside the United States, on who can be killed

      •  He did more than "preach hatred" (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Pozzo, Seeds, AmazingBlaise

        The majority of his statements were not "America sucks" -- the majority of his statements were "It is your duty to attack and kill Americans".

        That's not a hyperbolic reading of his posts and statements by any stretch --

        Full Disclosure: I am an unpaid shill for every paranoid delusion that lurks under your bed - but more than willing to cash any checks sent my way

        by zonk on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 11:01:47 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Okay, fine. (6+ / 0-)

          Who decides when that line for spoken or written words has been crossed and someone can be killed? Some secret committee?

          •  I guess it all comes down to whether (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Pozzo

            you accept the GWOT as a "war" or not -- if you do, then history and case law is pretty clear.... the executive branch.

            If you don't, that's where I suppose things get murky.

            The interesting thing, I thought, from the dismissal of the case al-Awlaki's father and the ACLU brought when he was placed on the kill list -- was that the court didn't just dismiss on procedural standing grounds.

            Rather -- the judge cited al-Awlaki's own writings after being placed on the kill list (an interview/tape to al Jazeera, I think) where he specifically rejected the courts as a remedy.

            In effect, the DC District court said that al-Awlaki's father lacked "Next Friend" standing because they weren't acting in accordance with al-Awlaki's wishes.

            In effect -- that the 5th/4th amendment arguments people make against the kill list are moot if the individual doesn't wish to avail himself of those protections (and judicial remedy).

            Full Disclosure: I am an unpaid shill for every paranoid delusion that lurks under your bed - but more than willing to cash any checks sent my way

            by zonk on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 11:21:17 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  That also applies to speech? (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Hayate Yagami, lotlizard

              I can certainly see actions as constituting grounds. But my issue is that someone advocating killing Americans in speech only can be targeted by the executive.

              That seems like a rather broad and open basis for validating the killing of a citizen, abroad or otherwise.

              •  Well, I guess then we get to (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Pozzo

                whether you think al-awlaki was involved operationally or not.   The government certainly maintains he was.  The circumstantial public evidence we have certainly seems to support that... Umb-not-gonna-look-his-name-up trained in Yemen, supposedly with al-awlaki.   E-mail correspondences -- which we don't have the text of -- picked up between Nasser/the Ft Hood shooter and al-Awlaki leading up to the attack.

                Sure - none of that alone would be enough for me to convict on a jury... but I'm not on a jury, I'm simply rendering an opinion based on the public knowledge.  I'm comfortable saying that al-awlaki was likely involved in operational planning.

                Just based on what's in the public forum - I think you pretty have to think that the NSA/NCTC is lying or has fabricated things and released them to believe otherwise.... the real pity is that I completely understand -- but would cautiously disagree -- with those would say "maybe they have".

                Full Disclosure: I am an unpaid shill for every paranoid delusion that lurks under your bed - but more than willing to cash any checks sent my way

                by zonk on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 11:37:14 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  BTW - so far as "speech" (0+ / 0-)

                I guess I'd refer you back to the Vallindgham circumstances in the Civil War.

                Burnside issued a military order against Copperheads - an OH congressman, whom I don't think anyone has accused of giving material support to the Confederacy, spoke vociferously against the Civil War.   He was arrested and held without trial.   Lincoln basically tried to trade his freedom in exchange for other Copperheads toning it down (the Birchard Letter, I think) - when that didn't work, they basically expelled him to the south... and he then immediately fled to Canada where he tried to run for Governor of Ohio from Canada.

                Full Disclosure: I am an unpaid shill for every paranoid delusion that lurks under your bed - but more than willing to cash any checks sent my way

                by zonk on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 11:41:31 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  Not just war or not (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              LaEscapee

              Even if you accept the war against Al-Qaeda as a real war, there is a legitimate question about the limits of the Executive's ability to determine that American citizens are enemy combatants.

              •  Historically (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Pozzo

                The courts have always come down on the side of the CoC... they did for Lincoln (the Vallingham 'arrest' was upheld by SCOTUS), they did for FDR (the Japaneses interment, done by pure EO, was upheld by SCOTUS), etc.

                I wouldn't argue if you used the word "important" -- but if you are equating "legitimate" with "legal", well.... that shipped sailed 150 years ago, then kept sailing at the turn century, sailed even more a generation later, and kept right on sailing 70 years ago.

                Full Disclosure: I am an unpaid shill for every paranoid delusion that lurks under your bed - but more than willing to cash any checks sent my way

                by zonk on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 11:44:32 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I forget whether it was Hamdi or Boumedine (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  enhydra lutris, Johnny Q

                  but the courts have already indicated that American are entitled to judicial hearings to challenge executive determinations that they are enemy combatants.   That is not consistent with broad executive authority to designate Americans for assassination.

                  •  In custody... (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Pozzo

                    But the suit brought by al-Awlaki's father was dismissed because the DC court held that, based on al-awlaki's own statements, he didn't wish to exercise those rights.

                    In dismissing "Next Friend" claims, it left the larger question for another day.

                    In effect, you need a test case where the target on a kill list doesn't want to be on it... or at least, a court who will say that.

                    Full Disclosure: I am an unpaid shill for every paranoid delusion that lurks under your bed - but more than willing to cash any checks sent my way

                    by zonk on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 11:57:44 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

          •  SCOTUS and the "imminent lawless action" test (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Johnny Q, enhydra lutris

            Zonk's attempt at an example is explicitly protected.

            In the case that established that as the standard, SCOTUS found that the speech "amounted to nothing more than advocacy of illegal action at some indefinite future time," and was thus protected.

            Reality has a liberal bias.

            by Hayate Yagami on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 11:40:43 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  I've never understood (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          AmazingBlaise

          why so many on this site are apologists for this (ex) piece of anti-American scum. They are so eager to dismiss his actions as simply "saying unpopular thigns" when in fact, he joined an organization that has killed thousands of Americans, and makes no bones about wanting to kill many more. Many more would have died if they have just been a bit more competent. The angst over the procedural aspects, while misquided, is one thing. The outright defense of this guys' actions is sickening.

          •  Think for one second, then (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Hayate Yagami

            The US military has killed many more thousands of innocent civilians than Al-Qaeda ever will.  Real human beings with as much right to live as any American.  Just because a person was born in the US, within arbitrary and imaginary national boundaries, does not mean their lives are any more important or sacred; to believe it does is illogical, uninteligent, and bigoted.

            Do you then accept the killing of any member of the US military?  How about killing people who encourage the US military to attack and kill more people, knowing that inevitably innocents will die?  People who, say, encourage and support and try to convince others to support the US military acting unconstitutionally to murder American citizens for their speeches?  

          •  Because it's not about this one, particular case. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Johnny Q, lotlizard

            It's about the precedent it sets.

          •  Well, go back to the 2nd term of the Clinton era. (0+ / 0-)

            Would you have said that the Iraqi Defense Ministry was within its rights to mount commando raids and kill members of the Project for a New American Century?

            After all, PNAC was a group preaching a doctrine that, as we have seen, would end up inciting Americans to kill thousands upon thousands upon thousands of innocent Iraqis.

            48forEastAfrica - Donate to Oxfam The Dutch kids' chorus Kinderen voor Kinderen wishes all the world's children freedom from hunger, ignorance, and war.

            by lotlizard on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 07:23:39 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Well then maybe your beloved Obama (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Hayate Yagami, Johnny Q

      should shut his trap about the actions of Assad etc.......what they're doing is NO DIFFERENT

      Oh appart from the fact that Obam claims to be a good Christian whilst Assad is a Muslim......seems like americans believe that being an american Christian gives  you freedom to do whatever you want

    •  you are pro unconstitutional murder (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Hayate Yagami, Johnny Q

      This logic would've allowed murdering any American members of the communist party during the cold war. Far beyond the wildest ravings of McCarthy himself.  

      The article describes a secret committee, free of any democratic checks, empowered to put a name on a list and order an American citizen killed with zero due process. Even if you think killing this particular American was a good idea, there are simple, basic constitutional barriers to this behavior.

      In your bloodlust you are willing to ignore the constitution.

    •  "Imminent lawless action" is the standard (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Johnny Q

      Advocating lawless action at some indeterminate future time is explicitly protected by SCOTUS rulings.

      Reality has a liberal bias.

      by Hayate Yagami on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 11:34:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Are you a supporter of the death penalty? (0+ / 0-)

      If no, how can you support killing any citizen, especially without due process?

      Why was Timothy McVeigh given a trial?  He admitted to killing americans.

      At LEAST have a trial in absentia, present the evidence and convict to give SOME semblance of due process.

      To just say "believe us, we've checked it out, he should be killed", doesn't strike you as ripe for abuse?

      Forget about Obama, what will you say when President Republicon starts adding names?  OK by me?

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