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Thread: We Are All Potentially Enemy Combatants

  1. #1
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    We Are All Potentially Enemy Combatants

    All I can say is: Amen.

    _________________

    We Are All Potentially Enemy Combatants
    By John W. Whitehead
    6/20/2007

    “There ought to be limits to freedom.”—George W. Bush

    The fabric of our nation is unraveling, and our freedoms are hanging by a thread.

    In a world where the president has the power to label anyone, whether a citizen or permanent resident, an enemy combatant and detain that person indefinitely without trial, no liberty exists and everyone is potentially an “enemy combatant.”

    According to the Bush Administration, Ali Saleh Kahlah Al-Marri is such a person.

    This legal alien, residing in Peoria, Ill., with his wife and children, was attending college when he was swept up by government agents. He was held in a military prison for four years without ever being charged with a crime. And for the first 16 months of his imprisonment, this man’s family was not even allowed to see him, speak to him or reassure themselves that he was alive and well.

    Because Al-Marri is not a U.S. citizen, the government denied him basic constitutional protections such as the right to hear the charges against him, consult an attorney and appear before a judge to determine if, in fact, he is guilty of anything. To some people, this is as it should be. But that’s not the way things are supposed to work here in America. Even the worst criminals in American history, from flesh-eating Jeffrey Dahmer to terrorist bomber Timothy McVeigh, were afforded an attorney and a trial.

    This issue is bigger than Al-Marri. It’s even bigger than the Bush Administration and its so-called war on terror. [B]The groundwork is being laid for a new kind of government where it will no longer matter if you’re innocent or guilty, whether you’re a threat to the nation or even if you’re a citizen. What will matter is what the president—or whoever happens to be occupying the Oval Office at the time—thinks. And if he or she thinks you’re a threat to the nation and should be locked up, then you’ll be locked up with no access to the protections our Constitution provides. In effect, you will disappear. [/B]

    Pandora’s Box has been opened for presidents to become imperial presidents, which should terrify anyone with any sense of history. Sadly, few Americans are up in arms over the ramifications, let alone concerned that it might impact them in any way. “I’m a law-abiding citizen,” one man recently remarked. “I have nothing to worry about.”

    That statement might have been true once upon a time, when a person was innocent until proven guilty and the judicial system could be relied upon to hear facts and ascertain truth. But such is no longer the case. We are now operating under a system of government where anything goes and everyone is suspect.

    A recent ruling from a three-judge panel of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals seems to have provided a temporary reprieve from the fear that our constitutional republic is floundering. In a 2-1 decision, the court ruled that American citizens and legal aliens like Al-Marri must be afforded basic constitutional rights such as access to an attorney and a court and the right to not be imprisoned unless charged with a crime.

    Even so, the courts will not be our savior on this one. The ruling will likely be overturned by the full Fourth Circuit, and the U.S. Supreme Court will probably uphold the reversal. So what do we do in light of that?

    First, we must recognize that, at a minimum, the accused has the right to present his side to a judge and jury. [B]We must remember that our Constitution protects “persons,” not just citizens. Indeed, the Fifth Amendment guarantees that “no person” will be “deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” The Sixth Amendment secures our right to a speedy and public trial by an impartial jury, to be informed of the charges brought against us and access to a lawyer. Together, they ensure that the government cannot take our freedoms away unless they charge us with a crime, place us before a judge and jury and give us a fair opportunity to confront the witnesses and evidence presented against us. [/B]

    Second, we must remember that America’s reputation as a defender of the rule of law is worth preserving. At one time, the Statue of Liberty symbolized our commitment to fairness and liberty. Today, our military commissions and secret military detention camps represent America’s hypocrisy.

    Finally, the Bill of Rights ensures that no public official can by fiat declare us outside the boundaries of the Constitution. We must always be leery of government reactions to emergencies and crises because the government’s natural response is to rein in liberty for safety. But as Benjamin Franklin once insisted, “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”

    In the end, it always goes back to “we the people.” It’s up to each of us to decide what America should stand for and what is worth fighting for. It’s up to us to elect public officials who understand and revere the Constitution. And it’s up to us to set the standard of fairness that should be the basis of all we do.

    About John Whitehead:

    [url]http://www.rutherford.org/About/AboutJWW.asp[/url]

  2. #2
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    A few American citizens have already been detained in such fashion. This administration has set the groundwork for a facist state. We need to put someone in power (Democrat, Republican, Independent, whatever) to reverse it.

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    Devil's Advocate Time:

    Scenario A: Foreign Religious Fundamentalist Organization sends Terrorist (Lets call him Bob) into the United States as a long term asset. He avoids detection for 12 years, going so far as to take the Citizenship Test and Pass. He is now an American Citizen. He is also a Suicide Bomber waiting to happen, with a deep and broad understanding of how to crack our paltry internal defenses.

    What if Bob had only been in the Country for 2 years, and was simply a Foreign Resident, not a Citizen?

    What rights does this man have? What rights is he owed? Is he entitled to everything one of us is, less, more?

    What if the evidence isn't enough for a conviction? Do we allow him to walk, dissapear, only later to reappear taking out 3000 of our people? Who would be to blame then?

    Is it better to hold this man and deny him rights, or to lose 3000 American lives? Good luck answering that one.......

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    [QUOTE=Warfish]Devil's Advocate Time:

    Scenario A: Foreign Religious Fundamentalist Organization sends Terrorist (Lets call him Bob) into the United States as a long term asset. He avoids detection for 12 years, going so far as to take the Citizenship Test and Pass. He is now an American Citizen. He is also a Suicide Bomber waiting to happen, with a deep and broad understanding of how to crack our paltry internal defenses.

    What if Bob had only been in the Country for 2 years, and was simply a Foreign Resident, not a Citizen?

    What rights does this man have? What rights is he owed? Is he entitled to everything one of us is, less, more?

    What if the evidence isn't enough for a conviction? Do we allow him to walk, dissapear, only later to reappear taking out 3000 of our people? Who would be to blame then?

    Is it better to hold this man and deny him rights, or to lose 3000 American lives? Good luck answering that one.......[/QUOTE]


    Scenario B: An Earthbound construction worker keeps having dreams about Mars. A trip to a false memory transplant service for an imaginary trip to Mars goes terribly wrong and another personality surfaces. When his old self returns, he finds groups of his friends and several strangers seem to have orders to kill him. He finds records his other self left him that tell him to get to Mars to join up with the underground. The reality of the situation is constantly in question. Who is he? Which personality is correct? Which version of reality is true?

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    [QUOTE=Warfish]Devil's Advocate Time:

    Scenario A: Foreign Religious Fundamentalist Organization sends Terrorist (Lets call him Bob) into the United States as a long term asset. He avoids detection for 12 years, going so far as to take the Citizenship Test and Pass. He is now an American Citizen. He is also a Suicide Bomber waiting to happen, with a deep and broad understanding of how to crack our paltry internal defenses.

    What if Bob had only been in the Country for 2 years, and was simply a Foreign Resident, not a Citizen?

    What rights does this man have? What rights is he owed? Is he entitled to everything one of us is, less, more?

    What if the evidence isn't enough for a conviction? Do we allow him to walk, dissapear, only later to reappear taking out 3000 of our people? Who would be to blame then?

    Is it better to hold this man and deny him rights, or to lose 3000 American lives? Good luck answering that one.......[/QUOTE]


    First of all, how do we know he's a suicide bomber waiting to happen?

    If we have a reasonable basis to believe that, there ought to be enough evidence to at least get a judge to authorize exhaustive surveillance. If he's really up to no good, the surveillance will turn up ample evidence to charge him with something.

    That's how we got the Ft. Dix and JFK guys -- legally.

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    Scenario C : A military satellite returns to earth, and a recovery team, in a single van, to avoid suspicion, is sent out to retrieve the satellite by radio detection. While on a live radio connection to the military base, the recovery team dies. A photo surveillance plane is sent to discover what has happened, and discovers the small town where the van went through to be obliterated, apparently the entire population has been killed. The base commander, upon seeing the film returned by the plane, dials a special tie line number in which a recording takes his message urging that the Wildfire team be activated because of a suspected extraterrestrial organism having been brought to earth.

    The primary team is a group of five male scientists who would be useful in determining the means to solve the problem of an extratrestrial biological infestration (a disease or parasite infecting earth). Dr. Stone has specialized in molecular biology; Dr. Leavitt is a specialist in disease pathology; Dr. Burton has specialized in infection vectors; and Dr. Hall is a surgeon with special interest in biochemistry and pH factors. The fifth member, Dr. Kirke, a specialist in electrolytes, is unable to be called up because he is undergoing surgery for appendicitis.

    The team of scientists have to find a cure to this terrible "disease" that has appeared in a small town in Arizona. They think the satellite that was designed to find upper-atmosphere microorganisms for germ warfare crash-landed in the town of Piedmont. It brought an organism that kills by clotting blood to powder. On investigating the town it is discovered that the residents of the town die in mid-stride or go "quietly nuts" and commit bizarre suicide. Piedmont's only survivors, the sick, Sterno-addicted, geriatric Peter Jackson and the always-crying infant, Jamie Ritter, are about as opposite as two humans can be. "We'll have the answer to this disease," says one scientist, "when we know why a sixty-nine-year-old Sterno drinker with a bleeding ulcer is like a perfectly healthy two-month-old baby."

    The man and infant are taken, along with the downed satellite, to the secret "Wildfire" laboratory, in Flatrock, Nevada, for study. More investigation determines that the causative agent of the bizarre deaths is a crystal-based extraterrestrial life form that contains the same elements as life on earth, but lacks DNA, RNA, proteins, and amino acids. It works by directly transforming matter to energy and energy to matter, "like a little reactor."

    The life form, codenamed "Andromeda" mutates with each growth making its properties change. The scientists discover that it only grows within a narrow range of pH, from 7.39 to 7.43. This explains why Jackson and Ritter survived. By the time the scientists notice this, however, Andromeda has mutated into a form that no longer turns blood to powder. Instead, it degrades plastic -— exactly what the doors and hatches in Wildfire are made out of. As seal after seal breaks, an automatic mechanism begins a countdown to the detonation of an atomic device, housed beneath the complex and designed to destroy (through an 2-million degree incineration) all traces of diseases before they reach the surface. However, given its ability to generate matter directly from energy, Andromeda would only find the bomb a bigger energy source. As Dr. Stone says to Hall, "When the bomb goes off there'll be a thousand mutations, Andromeda will spread everywhere, they'll never be rid of it!"

    To prevent the explosion, Hall runs through an obstacle course to shut down the atomic self-destruct device before it detonates. He shuts down the device with 34 seconds to spare. "Plenty of time. Hardly even exciting," he says, not realizing that level V, the level that nearly all the scientists were on, would have completely decompressed to vacuum at the 30 second mark.

    An epilogue to the novel reveals that a manned spacecraft, Andros V, burned up on re-entry as its polymer-based heat shielding failed. All spaceflight attempts were discontinued until further notice.

  7. #7
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    [QUOTE=nuu faaola]First of all, how do we know he's a suicide bomber waiting to happen?

    If we have a reasonable basis to believe that, there ought to be enough evidence to at least get a judge to authorize exhaustive surveillance. If he's really up to no good, the surveillance will turn up ample evidence to charge him with something.

    That's how we got the Ft. Dix and JFK guys -- legally.[/QUOTE]

    The judicial system in this country works? Who'd a thunk it... :rolleyes:

  8. #8
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    [QUOTE=parafly]The judicial system in this country works? Who'd a thunk it... :rolleyes:[/QUOTE]

    No, it doesn't. But that is a debate for another thread all it's own. You'll forgive me if I hold some doubts as to the abillity of our courts to ensure our safety, thanks.

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    [QUOTE=Warfish]No, it doesn't. But that is a debate for another thread all it's own. You'll forgive me if I hold some doubts as to the abillity of our courts to ensure our safety, thanks.[/QUOTE]

    We already have special courts set up that are designed to expedite warrant requests in these situations. No one is suggesting the person waiting for the terror-surveillance warrant wait in line behind the idiot suing McDs because she spilled hot coffee in her lap.

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    [QUOTE=nuu faaola]We already have special courts set up that are designed to expedite warrant requests in these situations. No one is suggesting the person waiting for the terror-surveillance warrant wait in line behind the idiot suing McDs because she spilled hot coffee in her lap.[/QUOTE]

    If you trust our Courts (which as a Liberal, of course you do) then I guess you'll feel perfectly safe if Terrorism is treated like Jaywalking.

    I don't trust our courts for a second. Hence our difference in opinion on the topic.

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    [QUOTE=Warfish]If you trust our Courts (which as a Liberal, of course you do) then I guess you'll feel perfectly safe if Terrorism is treated like Jaywalking.

    I don't trust our courts for a second. Hence our difference in opinion on the topic.[/QUOTE]

    I trust our constitution. You seem to view it as an obstacle.

  12. #12
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    [QUOTE=nuu faaola]I trust our constitution. You seem to view it as an obstacle.[/QUOTE]

    LOL. Since when did our Liberal Modern Courts pay any attention to the Constitution???

    My God the fantasy world some of you live in. And you say we're "sheeple", eh? :rolleyes:

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    [QUOTE=Warfish]LOL. Since when did our Liberal Modern Courts pay any attention to the Constitution???

    My God the fantasy world some of you live in. And you say we're "sheeple", eh? :rolleyes:[/QUOTE]

    I've never used the word "sheeple," so I don't know why you have it in quotes and attributed to me.

    I trust our courts --an actual branch of government checked and balanced by other branches-- more than I trust the Imperial President you clearly prefer, who would have the right to detain anyone for any reason without charges for as long as they wanted.

    God forbid we preserve due process.
    Last edited by nuu faaola; 06-21-2007 at 04:36 PM.

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    [QUOTE=nuu faaola]I trust our constitution. You seem to view it as an obstacle.[/QUOTE]

    No you don't, because you don't suppport originalist jurists like Scalia and Thomas, you said so yourself. If you trusted the constitution, you'd like them as jurists. The problem is that liberals always say they trust the constitution, but they don't really...they simply came up with some ludicrous "living documemt" story which allows them to change the constitution whenever they want and still hysterically try to claim that they respect the constitution. It's why such dramatic reservations about things like this make me laugh because liberals always pick and choose which parts of the constitution are sacred to them. Like everyone, liberals favor results that they like and will come up with rationalizations after the fact. Conservatives do too and yes, I agree that some potentially or actually troubling things have come about vis a vis expanded detainment powers post-9-11. I'd just appreciate the same unbending adherence to correct process when the results of any shady government action are consistent with liberal philsophy...and I don't see that very often.

    Also, the quote from Bush about freedom having limits is obviously intended to scare the reader, but no rational person believes that freedoms should not have limits, so it's a bizarre scare quote. Of course there should be limits to freedom...only a fool thinks otherwise.

  15. #15
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    [QUOTE=nuu faaola]I trust our courts --an actual branch of government checked and balanced by other branches-- more than I trust the Imperial President you clearly prefer, who would have the right to detain anyone for any reason without charges for as long as they wanted.

    God forbid we preserve due process.[/QUOTE]

    Of course you trust the courts, they are as Liberal a group as one could ever want these days. But please, do NOT preach to me about the Constitution and Original Intent. Our Courts **** on those concepts daily.

    And no Nuu, I DON'T prefer Bush OR his way of doing business. I've been open about that since the beginning repeatedly on this forum, and even went so far as openly say I was posting only as a Devil's Advocate on the "how do you handle it" issue.

    As I said, feel free to support treating Terrorism Threats as if they were Jaywalking. I guess we'll know how THAT idea works once Bush is gone and a Dem gets their shot (and a Dem WILL get their shot come 2008).

    Hopefully by then I won;t live anywhere near DC.

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    [QUOTE=jets5ever]No you don't, because you don't suppport originalist jurists like Scalia and Thomas, you said so yourself. If you trusted the constitution, you'd like them as jurists. .[/QUOTE]

    Oh, please.

    You don't have to be a strict constructionist to realize that the constitution requires that people have to be charged with a crime to be arrested, or that a legal search and seizure requires a warrant.

    The spirit and letter of the law do not diverge on those points.

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    [QUOTE=Warfish]Of course you trust the courts, they are as Liberal a group as one could ever want these days. But please, do NOT preach to me about the Constitution and Original Intent. Our Courts **** on those concepts daily.

    And no Nuu, I DON'T prefer Bush OR his way of doing business. I've been open about that since the beginning repeatedly on this forum, and even went so far as openly say I was posting only as a Devil's Advocate on the "how do you handle it" issue.

    As I said, feel free to support treating Terrorism Threats as if they were Jaywalking. I guess we'll know how THAT idea works once Bush is gone and a Dem gets their shot (and a Dem WILL get their shot come 2008).

    Hopefully by then I won;t live anywhere near DC.[/QUOTE]

    Well and good.

    What do you make of the Ft. Dix and JFK cases? Aren't those examples of how we can both follow the constitution and fight terrorism simultaneously?

  18. #18
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    [QUOTE=nuu faaola]Well and good.

    What do you make of the Ft. Dix and JFK cases? Aren't those examples of how we can both follow the constitution and fight terrorism simultaneously?[/QUOTE]

    Baldfaced Luck, on both counts. Treating Terrorism like Jaywalking sure as hell had nothing to do with it.

    Take away the informants who called in (and who many an ACLU/Liberal Judge/Privacy Advocate might attack for breach of privacy, especially in the Fort Dix Case) and these groups are NOT caught.

  19. #19
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    [QUOTE=nuu faaola]Oh, please.

    You don't have to be a strict constructionist to realize that the constitution requires that people have to be charged with a crime to be arrested, or that a legal search and seizure requires a warrant.

    The spirit and letter of the law do not diverge on those points.[/QUOTE]

    Nice try, but you didn't address my point. Figures. Hey, everyone is inconsistent/hypocritical and has biases and gets selectively outraged and tends to really only focus on process when the results of that process go against their views...my only problem is with liberals who pretend that they don't do these things, that's all. Conservatives do this too, but in my experience, liberals are more likely to be convinced of their own dispassionate objectivity....I've decided to find it endearing...almost child-like.

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    [QUOTE=jets5ever]Nice try, but you didn't address my point. Figures. Hey, everyone is inconsistent/hypocritical and has biases and gets selectively outraged and tends to really only focus on process when the results of that process go against their views...my only problem is with liberals who pretend that they don't do these things, that's all. Conservatives do this too, but in my experience, liberals are more likely to be convinced of their own dispassionate objectivity....I've decided to find it endearing...almost child-like.[/QUOTE]

    Let me ask you this, then:

    What do you think of a system where American citizens and legal residents can be jailed without charges, spied on without warrants and even subject to torture in the process -- just on the word of the president.

    As a "strict constructionist," what do you think about that?

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