Friday, October 7, 2011

Due process

Kill list

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
The above would be the fifth amendment to the constitution. This past week U.S. drones targeted and sucessfully fired upon and killed a U.S. citizen, all without so much as a hearing, inquest or real investigation. The accused had no chance to plead a case or offer any defense. By our own laws this man was murdered. It puts our government in the position of being judge, jury and executioner. It is not a good president. It reduces our legal system to that of a lynch mob. No matter the heinousness of the crime all persons are entitled to due process otherwise we have become a nation of no laws and are at the mercy of the whims of those in power. Even the death penalty itself is not administered in a just manner. Ask yourself if you can define the circumstances under which it is carried out. You can't because there are no set circumstances. But even when it is put "on the table" as a possible outcome no one can determine the rational behind the decision because there are no set parameters in our law.

So you may wonder if I am for or against the death penalty. I'd say I am for it but only in the most extreme cases. It should be the rarest of penalties and only administered after sufficient due process. I believe even Bin Laden was tried in absentia in the courts before we acted against him and he wasn't an American citizen. Still the amendment only says "person" and not U.S. citizen.

Addendum: There are those in this country who are teetering on the thin line of free speech when they advocate violence. Such is the case of one Alabama militiaman a few years ago who advocated throwing bricks through the windows of any and all democratic office windows. But he didn't stop with just such an incitement. He left the door open for further violence when he made this statement:“We can break their windows,” he said. “Break them NOW. And if we do a proper job, if we break the windows of hundreds, thousands, of Democrat party headquarters across this country, we might just wake up enough of them to make defending ourselves at the muzzle of a rifle unnecessary.”
And just what was his major grief? He was unhappy that there was going to be a Health Care bill, an effort to get health care for all. And indeed many office windows were broken and one member of congress was shot. So by some of our readers thinking this man should have no trial but be assassinated. He did incite violence by his speech. And I'd venture he could be linked to groups or individuals who did.


S.W. Anderson said...

This really is a sticky wicket. Reuters has a good story on it here. Unfortunately, it still leaves some important questions unanswered.

The tipping point for targeting Awlaki was when U.S. intelligence and/or the military determined he was no longer just preaching incendiary sermons but taking an active role in planning attacks against the U.S. It's fairly clear that the secret panel that made the decision it was time for Awlaki to go and the White House aren't about to tell all they know that went into making the decision. Doing that would probably compromise intel sources and could reveal methodology they don't want revealed.

Organized international terrorism poses a different kind of threat than that posed by conventional national armed forces of a hostile country. Not by choice, we're engaged in what's really an anti-organized crime and anti-conspiracy to commit crimes campaign against fanatics who sometimes pose a military-type threat.

Maybe we need some new legal definition of what constitutes being a traitor, one that carries the potential for being killed when and where that can be arranged. Promulgate that law so Awlaki types who'd rather hide out in Yemen and urge a U.S. Army shrink to go on a rampage and kill a bunch of innocent people will know where they stand.

I agree the precedent is worrisome. At the same time, had it been left up to me, I would have said it was time for Awlaki to go too.

Demeur said...

Until your name turns up on a terrorist list. We still have people who have difficulty flying because their name is the same as a suspect.
Sorry but I disagree here. The law is the law for all Americans and not disregarded for a select few. By your premise we should round up all the white supremacists and execute them with no trial. This is what America went to war for against Germany. You remember WWII.

BBC said...

Killing helps keep the populations down but it's nice and peaceful out here in the boondocks, maybe cuz I don't get on the internut that much and just don't give a shit if bad monkeys die, it's cheaper than keeping them alive.

Getting some wood split up though, this is good.

The Blog Fodder said...

Do they still have wanted dead or alive posters? If so, under what conditions?

Demeur said...

Unfortunately Fodder they do. I believe Bin Ladin had such a poster with his face on it.

Bustednuckles said...

That asshole is Vanderhough.
He talks a lot of shit and sits on his ass collecting disability.

A true to form Teabagger.

S.W. Anderson said...

"By your premise we should round up all the white supremacists and execute them with no trial."

No, that's not my premise and not what I said at all. Awlaki made himself not one bit different from OBL and al Zawhahiri. He made himself an enemy and mortal threat to Americans. He removed himself to where he could hide out in a foreign country, out of reach of U.S. law enforcement. There has to be a limit beyond which someone has de facto denounced U.S. citizenship and become a proactive enemy.

This is a new situation. Again, we do need a law covering it and to promulgate it so Americans who do what Awlaki did know the potential consequences.

Randal Graves said...

The death penalty exists solely so we'll feel better about ourselves, quench some archaic blood lust.

BBC said...

There must be a difference between a death penalty and a hit list. Both have their place I suppose.

Anonymous said...

" ...Not by choice, we're engaged in what's really an anti-organized crime and anti-conspiracy to commit crimes campaign against fanatics who sometimes pose a military-type threat."

And this is new HOW?

I submit in nothing but scale.

Have to agree with Mr.DeMeur here.