Not Giving In

One of the worst temptations after a high-profile crisis like Boston is to surrender some of our freedom for the illusion of safety. Perhaps this was justifiable after 9/11, when he had 2800 dead and weren’t sure what Al-Qaeda’s capabilities were. But even in that case, we can see now, after ten years, that we gave too much. Warrantless wiretapping, surveillance, no-fly lists, TSA, torture, the spectre of drones in American cities, the Patriot Act. The last time we gave an inch, the government took about ten miles.

In the wake of Boston, many pro-“security” pols are already beating the drums for more restrictions on our freedom. They are as shameless and as opportunistic as those who called for immediate gun control in the wake of Sandy Hook. They are hoping that, in the passion of the moment, we will give them something they have wanted for a long time whether or not it would have prevented this tragedy.

But the idea that we should have a 9/11-type surrender of freedom after Boston is simply absurd once you push aside the emotions of the last week. As horrible as the attack was, it killed and maimed fewer people than a good night on America’s highways. As scary as it is that terrorists might start going after “soft targets”, there are literally tens of thousands of mass gathering throughout the year in the United States. We simply can not protect all of them, no matter what we do. And, as we have found out with the powers we gave the government after 9/11, any powers we give the government now will quickly be used for other purposes.

In Boston, at least one bad idea was used and several more have been proposed in the interest of “public safety”. To tackle three of them:

Lockdown: For years, we have had a growing problem with schools locking down the minute they sense some danger, real or imagined. In Boston this week, we had the strange case of a (mostly) voluntary lockdown put out by the Governor. This lockdown included MTBA, which basically mandated the lockdown for anyone without a car (with corresponding hurt to the working poor).

Murderers, rapists and muggers are always on our streets. But for one idiot kid, we shut down a major American city? If I were him, I would have been delighted to see millions of people inconvenienced because the police couldn’t find me. The cost of the lockdown has been estimated between $1 and $3 billion (although I think those are wild overestimates). Was it worth that? Was it worth the precedent? Ironically, the kid was found because the lockdown was lifted and one man ventured out of house and saw something in his boat.

The motto for this week was “Boston strong”. And the people of Boston have indeed shown a sterling resilience. I’ve heard many say they plan to go to the marathon next year as a show of defiance. But what is strong about telling people to hide in their homes and not go out?

I was living in Baltimore when the Beltway Sniper was on the loose. We didn’t have any killings up there (although it turned he was staying there). But the sense of tension and fear was very palpable. Much more so than this week because no one had any idea who the sniper was. But we got out and went to work. The idea of shutting down anything simply wasn’t on.

Look, I get the flip side: if he’d had more guns and bombs, he might have gone into a public square and slaughtered dozens. But that danger always exists. Criminals have weapons. Terrorists have bombs. That we knew this one guy was dangerous does not make any other day of the week safe. If you know of a specific danger, you can call in more cops and warn citizens. In an extreme case, you can use the National Guard. In short, you can increase the number of alert and armed people who are out there and improve the odds. But having everyone cower in their homes? It’s not only a violation, it’s an ineffective one.

(More on this from Popehat.)

Surveillance:

One thing being pushed in the wake of Boston is more public surveillance. We are being told that we need more security cameras and more police access to security cameras.

Never mind that the clearest video of these guys came from a private store’s camera. Never mind that more images came from the public. Never mind that, with ubiquitous smart phones, it’s almost impossible not to be photographed every day. Never mind that the public cooperates any time something like this happens. Never mind that cameras have never delayed or stopped a terrorist attack: London is one of the most heavily surveilled cities in the world but that didn’t stop the 7/7 attacks. No, we need more cameras say the police staters.

The police state supporters have always wanted more cameras. They have been pushing them on us for decades using any crisis — the War on Drugs, 9/11, Boston — to push for more. They are constantly walking through the blood of the slain in their efforts to get everyone on camera every day. Of course, these cameras are rarely used for counter-terrorism. Like the Patriot Act powers, they are mostly used for ordinary crime, including drug crime. And we frequently find that they are abused for purposes that have no relation to crime.

I would think that the ease with which these guys were identified and the images that came in from the public would indicate that we have enough surveillance already.

Justice:

Remember when Rand Paul filibustered the Senate over the use of drones, worrying that the President’s power to kill would be extended into this country against American citizens? Remember how crazy everyone said he was, how paranoid?

Well, guess what? Lindsey Graham and John McCain are now calling for an American citizen captured on American soil with no obvious ties to any terrorist organization to be treated like an enemy combatant. They want to deny him a lawyer, deny his Miranda rights and basically detain him indefinitely.

Now do we see why Ron Paul wanted clarity on drones? Now do we see why he wanted clarity on targeted killing? Now do we see why we shouldn’t have opened the door to indefinite detention and denial of rights with Jose Padilla? Once you have started to carve out areas of the law that are exempt from Constitutional rights, those areas will expand and expand until they enclose everything.

No extremist links have been alleged in this case, let alone proven. There is no evidence that he is tied Al-Qaeda or any other group. There is little evidence this was part of a larger conspiracy. It’s not even clear what, if any, role their religion played in this. But McCain and Graham simply want him declared an enemy combatant because … well, because he’s a Muslim who killed and maimed a bunch of people. They now want the “battlefield” to enclose the entirety of the United States.

Constitutional rights are not popular the best of times. Every time a high-profile criminal is caught, some subset of the population gets annoyed that he gets a lawyer and jail time instead of being strung up at dawn. If the Bill of Rights were ever up for a vote, I doubt it woud get 50%. That is why those who do value civil liberties, who claim to revere the rights and liberties enshrined in our Constitution must never give an inch.

I don’t object to a temporary delay in Mirandizing this guy to make sure there are no more bombs out there (and, indeed, the FBI has apparently made some related arrests this morning). But once that is done — preferably within a day or two — he should be Mirandized and given a lawyer. He should be tried in a criminal court and thrown in jail for the rest of his life (Massachusetts has a death penalty on the books but has not used it for thirty years).

Mataconis:

We have courts because they are essential to the protection of the rule of law and the rights of individual citizens, and they are the method by which we dispense justice under rules that are designed as much to protect us as they are to protect criminal defendants. Treating Tsarnaev, a naturalized American citizen who has lived in this country since he was eight years old, treated no differently from men who were captured on battlefields in Afghanistan and are currently sitting in the prison complex at Guantanamo Bay where they are likely to remain for a very long time, is a perversion of that system of justice in the name of a haphazard system of non-justice that has risen up in the years since the September 11 attacks. If Tsarnaey is treated as an “enemy combatant” then it would mean that any American citizen could potentially receive the same designation if the government so chose, and that they could be subjected to the same deprivations of rights, including lack of access to counsel for extended periods of time. That’s a perversion of justice and a perversion of liberty.

Lindsey Graham and others in the Republican Party would have us believe that this weeks events in Boston were part of a war that began nearly twelve years ago with the attacks of September 11th. At the very least, this judgment is premature because we have absolutely no idea what the real story behind the Boston Marathon attacks actually is. We don’t know if the Tsarnaev brother were motivated by religion, by a political agenda, by an unspecific generalized hatred of the society they’d grown up in based on the fact that they hadn’t achieved what they believed they were entitled to, or by just a desire to cause destruction and pain to people. Even if the attacks were based on some kind of religious/political motivation, we don’t know if they were acting alone or if they were surrogates for others, either domestic or foreign. Ascribing, at this early date, these attacks to a “Global War On Terror” is both premature and, quite obviously, based only on the fact that they are Muslim men. That is clearly not sufficient grounds to strip an American citizen of his rights and throw him in the rat hole that is Guantanamo Bay.

Our legal system has served us well, although admittedly at times imperfectly, for two centuries now. Sacrificing the values it represents in the name of the “war on terror” would be a fatal error.

Bingo. Mirandize him, give him a lawyer, put him on trial. Those are his rights as an American. No matter what he’s done.

Comments are closed.

  1. Mook

    I agree with most of your post, but I think you’ve drifted a bit offbase with this

    No extremist links have been alleged in this case, let alone proven. There is no evidence that he is tied Al-Qaeda or any other group. There is little evidence this was part of a larger conspiracy.

    It’s definitely been alleged, and several newspapers are saying there’s evidence that they were part of an organized terrorist cell.

    Furthermore, if he lied on his citizenship application claiming that he had no involvement with terrorist organizations, that would be solid grounds to revoke his citizenship.

    And what of American citizens who actively take arms against Americans fighting on behalf of a terrorist organization who is at war with the US? It’s not clear-cut whether or not to treat those individuals as citizens or enemy combatants if they really ARE the enemy…

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  2. Hal_10000 *

    Thanks for illustrating the point. That article has FBI agents speculating on a terror cell. But the arrests today seem to be on immigration charges. And we know that Tsarnaev isn’t talking right now because he was wounded in the neck and can’t talk. On such a wil-o-the-wisp, some people want to indefinitely detain him.

    And what of American citizens who actively take arms against Americans fighting on behalf of a terrorist organization who is at war with the US? It’s not clear-cut whether or not to treat those individuals as citizens or enemy combatants if they really ARE the enemy…

    Yes, but, we’re in a situation where this is never proven. Hundreds of men were detained at Gitmo because they were alleged to part of someone at war with us and they were later shown to be innocent. If you’re going to deprive an American citizen — or even permanent resident — of their rights, I think the bar has to be set pretty high before you can do that.

    Keep in mind also that, to the like of John McCain, being part of a “global jihadist movement” is enough to be declare an enemy combatant. You don’t actually have to be a part of AQ or any other organization. Given how nebulous that is (and that we still don’t know the motives here) what is there to stop them from, say, declaring someone to be part of the “Right Wing miltia anti-government movement” and indefinitely detaining them?

    These are not noses we should be allowing into the tent.

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  3. Mook

    Thanks for illustrating the point. That article has FBI agents speculating on a terror cell.

    Where in the article or elsewhere do you come up with claiming that they are merely “speculating” there was a terrorist cell? The quotes in the article suggesting something more definitive:

    We have no doubt the brothers were not acting alone. The devices used to detonate the two bombs were highly sophisticated and not the kind of thing people learn from Google.

    “They were too advanced. Someone gave the brothers the skills and it is now our job to find out just who they were. Agents think the sleeper cell has up to a dozen members and has been waiting several years for their day to come.”

    Bolding emphasis mine. I’ll agree that news from “unnamed” investigators should be taken with a grain of salt, but it’s not inconsistent .with the brother’s Facebook profile which described his outlook as “Islam”. Russia warned the FBI that the older brother may be involved in terrorism a couple of years ago.

    Hundreds of men were detained at Gitmo because they were alleged to part of someone at war with us and they were later shown to be innocent.

    Yes, and how many of those “innocent” men were later recaptured on the battlefield fighting our troops and/or suspected of more terrorist activities after their release? What’s your point? Innocent people and some guilty jihadis got arrested and detained then later released.

    While I share your contempt for Lindsay Graham and McCain, that doesn’t make them necessarily wrong in this case as you have asserted. If there is solid evidence that the kid is part of a terrorist organization, I don’t see why he should be given more rights than a foreign enemy soldier.. no different than Americans who joined the Nazi SS during WWII. The big question is – When and how is it decided that an American citizen is to be treated as an enemy combatant? You seem to believe the answer to that is “never”.

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  4. Mook

    The police state supporters have always wanted more cameras. They have been pushing them on us for decades using any crisis — the War on Drugs, 9/11, Boston — to push for more.

    I agree with you, but there’s something else to watch for which may be even more threatening to privacy rights – as spy technology improves, it will be increasingly more difficult to protect your privacy from government AND non-government entities (employers, employees, voyeurs, nosy neighbors, snooping girlfriends/wives, criminals, etc.) who want to plant a tiny wireless camera in hotel rooms, public restrooms, workplace, and even inside your own house. Imagine a $10 hidden audio camera with 3 yr battery life that streams picture perfect on a separate high-speed network that was included in the $10 cost.

    Right now, you have to wire a camera (cameras costs $100 or more each) and/or have it connected to a wireless network and usually require a power source (battery life is limited).. even with that, we now have a lot cameras covering a lot of area. As technology improves, battery lives will improve and go down in cost, and cameras will also go down in size and cost with corresponding increases to resolution with more widespread and cheaper wireless connectivity. Seen this personal drone on Amazon yet? It’s $299 and it can be equipped with USB for camera and other devices to accessorize it… read the Amazon comments. It’s the perfect privacy killer for watching your neighbor sunbathing and screwing. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg that’s coming our way. There will be a lot of positives with this technology, but privacy will be an ugly casualty.

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  5. Hal_10000 *

    Their no doubt is based on the sophistication of the bombs, as far as I can tell. However, there was a report today about various bombs being tested out halfway between Boston and Dartmouth that may be related. They’ve been working on this for a while. And during the faceoff with police at least two bombs failed to do anything.

    Always remember: these were the same guys who were sure Richard Jewell was a terrorist because he was too dumb to have identified the Centennial Park bomb.

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  6. Mississippi Yankee

    Just an observation Hal, do you only read people with an axe to grind concerning the Republican party?

    Your musings seems pretty close to what I believe but your mentors always appear to have the ‘red-ass’ for all thing …well red.

    Mayor Tom Menino (policy twin to Bloomberg) has said to day that authorities may never get any answers due to the fact this suspect “may” never be able to speak due to his injuries.
    This whole thing just gets skeezier by the minute.
    Have I mentioned I don’t trust my government?

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  7. Hal_10000 *

    Even if he can’t speak, he can answer questions. Stroke victims do it all the time.

    I don’t have grudge against the GOP. I have a grudge against certain parts of the GOP, such as those calling for a citizen to be deprived of his Constitutional rights. But I was also critical of Menino and Patrick, both of whom are democrats.

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  8. Mook

    Hal, I notice that you continue be against “certain parts of the GOP” even after you were informed that if he lied about terrorist connections in his citizenship application, that is all that is needed to revoke his citizenship. You also ignore the possibility/likelihood that he took up arms against US citizens on behalf of an Islamic terrorist network which SHOULD, in my opinion, forfeit his rights as a US citizen. If either allegation proves true, do you STILL support his being able to maintain the same rights as other US citizens? Because if you do, that’s fcked up

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  9. Hal_10000 *

    Prove those points. I think we default toward civil liberties and the case must be made that they should be stripped away (and even legal resident, which he was before citizenship, have legal rights).

    he lied about terrorist connections in his citizenship application, that is all that is needed to revoke his citizenship.

    You also ignore the possibility/likelihood that he took up arms against US citizens on behalf of an Islamic terrorist network which SHOULD, in my opinion, forfeit his rights as a US citizen

    It is extremely rare that citizenship is revoked. To my knowledge, it has only happened in this context once with Fawaz Mohammed Damrah. You don’t revoke citizenship on a whim; it’s a process. And when we revoked Damrah’s citizenship, we deported him. Where the fuck do we deport this guy? Do you want to deport him somewhere? Or do you just want to make him an “unperson” that we can do with as we please?

    And, yes, even if he weren’t a citizen, I think he should be given the right to trial by jury and other rights. These are human rights, given to us by God. They are not given to us by government. They are universal and our Constitution requires government to respect them. This is not World War II. We tried Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab in a court of law. We tried the ’93 bombers in Court. They weren’t American citizens.

    What’s fucked up is the eagerness to deprive him of his basic human rights. Based on wild speculation and a hearsay report in a tabloid and the feeling that he must be up to something. And for what? What is accomplished by dragging him out of the criminal justice system? He can still talk after he’s been mirandized. He can still talk after he’s been convicted. Do you really want the government, based on guesswork, to be able to strip someone’s citizenship and toss him a hole forever without trial? You want to give that kind of power to Barack Fucking Obama? Can honestly claim to be in favor of liberty and freedom if you want the government to be given the one power that no government should ever be given?

    Hot! Thumb up 7

  10. Mook

    To my knowledge, it has only happened in this context once with Fawaz Mohammed Damrah.

    Your ignorance does not = reality as the “context” is lying on a citizenship application. You should be more humble on subject where you don’t have a clue. Obviously you have never met Mr. Uzoma Okechukwu Osuagwu or heard of the Fleishers.

    As I stated upthread, if you are caught lying on your citizenship application, such as lying about involvement with terrorists, your citizenship can and will be revoked.

    And, yes, even if he weren’t a citizen, I think he should be given the right to trial by jury and other rights. These are human rights, given to us by God

    No, it is not a right “given by God” for foreign terrorists to be given the same rights as US citizens… and it’s freakishly bizarre that you claim such rights for all. And what’s with your finger pointing claiming that others are “eager” to “deprive him of his basic human rights”? Laughable and fucked up that you make such an assertion. Bring out the emotionalism Hal, it appears that’s ALL that you have here. It’s why you make those wild ass unsupported strawman assertions (stripping citizenship based on “guesswork”). All terrorists have “god given rights” to be mirandized and have the same rights as US citizens? Incredible.

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  11. Mississippi Yankee

    You want to give that kind of power to Barack Fucking Obama?

    ^This^ is the only part of your comment I could have sympathized with, It’s almost identical to a statement Lee made after 911.

    The reason I don’t support it now is because we have entered into a realm where this Regime will assume every ‘power’ they feel they need. And the people who would deny them grows smaller every day.

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  12. Seattle Outcast

    Perhaps the obvious thing to do at a time like this is to remove power from the government. After all, given over a decade of accumulating and squandering it, they dropped the ball entirely. Therefore, the experiment failed (which anyone that has gotten a plane since 9/11 could have told you), and you get rid of failed experiments after documenting the failed result and the process that got you there so don’t repeat them.

    Instead of piling on even more power into the hands of those that are documented of routinely abusing it and failing in their jobs, we should pull it all back, wash our hands of the failed government entities, and look for solutions elsewhere. I bet we can find better, cheaper solutions that don’t take so much from our freedoms without much effort.

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  13. Hal_10000 *

    Obviously you have never met Mr. Uzoma Okechukwu Osuagwu or heard of the Fleishers.

    I was specifically talking about terrorism cases, of which Damrah’s is the only one. What you cited was a money-laundering case and a marriage fraud case. And in both instances, they went through due process before their citizenship was revoked. In one case, he went to prison after a trial and conviction. In the other case they were deported. In neither case were they made an unperson deprived of any legal rights and detained at our President’s leisure.

    Try again.

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  14. Hal_10000 *

    I think Connor Friersdorf makes a good point today. The politicians clamoring for these guys to be treated like enemy combatants or to tighten down the security state are the same shitwits who bungled a decade of the War on Terror and saw every single prediction they ever made prove to be wrong. I have no idea why would anyone would listen to them anymore.

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  15. Xetrov

    Either he’s a citizen, and should be tried for treason, found guilty, and hanged, or he should have his citizenship revoked, and summarily shot in the head for his actions. Either is fine with me. The piss-poor leadership we have will do neither.

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  16. Poosh

    He is a traitor and should die if he is indeed a citizen or, if he is foreign, then no laws apply to him and you can do with him as you please as he is an enemy combatant (if you chose to be merciful then fine).

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  17. Poosh

    A lot of what can be done and needs to be done, has already been done,

    We’re at war. Your stupidity and ignorance, and pathetic denial of reality does not change that.

    The enemy was always going to get through. Always. If you chose to deny we at war and decide to treat this as some sort of domestic incident, how many Islamic terrorist attacks since 9/11 across the globe? 18,000? Allah knows, but if you chose ignorance and deny reality, decide this is just a few, or that Islam is not relevant, then you’re in for hundreds of years spent trying to repel these attacks, day after day. Costing billions. You have no one to blame but yourselves.

    Feel free to deny it, but you cannot escape the consequences of reality.

    Let’s not forget the numerous Islamist terrorist strikes our governments have prevented.

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  18. Thrill

    “I was tried in federal court as a US Citizen for a bombing that I committed as an act of war against the US Government. I would just like to verify that I was executed and am still very much dead.”

    Love,

    Timothy McVeigh

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  19. AlexInCT

    Didn’t Holder all but assure us he would get convictions for all terrorists? Why are you people worried. Its not as if they are going to get a fair trial. The guilty sentence seems to be a forgone conclusion.

    No wonder I am certain I will get a jury of my peers. My peers all need to work, after all, so they will get out of jury duty. Forget about fair trials with this politiczed DOJ too. But all is well in lala land. Don’t piss off Leviathan, whether you are a real terrorist or just an inconvenience to Leviathan…

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  20. CM

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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  21. mrblume

    To be perfectly honest, I’m quite enjoying this. The fact that people are seriously suggesting the enemy combatant route is a great I-told-you-so moment for all right-thinking persons. Once this precedent is set, the next Bill Ayers need not have a trial either, as he clearly is a terrorist and therefore an enemy, and by that time, maybe the courts will finally realize that they are not needed for gang shootings either.

    Feel free to deny it, but you cannot escape the consequences of reality.

    The reality is that the majority of people have now idea that they are in this war of yours. That’s pretty strange. Whatever this is, it is clearly not war. I know that the gays are changing the definition of marriage, but maybe we can leave the definition of war alone.

    Spending billons to protect us from terrorism over the next 100 years seems like a pretty good deal. I mean, the Iraq War alone is costing trillions and apparently wasn’t all that successful at stopping terrorism, and plus, you wouldn’t have to torture people, which is always nice.

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  22. balthazar

    Wow talk about fucing straw men, im sure you light up like a bonfire on a really sunny day MrB.

    Way to take one line out of context and make it seem like poosh said he was all for putting gangbangers in Gitmo.

    Yer an asshole.

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  23. Thrill

    As I see it, if you want to start calling people who commit terrorist acts on US soil “enemy combatants” and treat with them outside of the criminal justice system, you are effectively calling for martial law. Two questions to ask:

    1. Is the United States an active war zone?

    2. Are the federal courts unable to function and successfully prosecute terrorists?

    I come up with a pretty quick “no” for both. What is the justification for labeling US persons “enemy combatants” and what possible advantage could there be in declaring a suspect arrested on US soil to be one?

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  24. Poosh

    I don’t understand, this islamic terrorist gets a trial and a f’cking chance of a parade … but Al-Awlaki gets bushwhacked by Drones, but that’s cool?

    I don’t think he should be treated at an enemy combatant, if a US citizen. He’s a traitor and he should get a trial, as is the right of a US citizen, but his punishment should be fitting of a traitor. There is a moral imperative to treat traitors far worse than terrorists.

    As for punishment, quite frankly, spending time in a US prison is a fate worse than death or a cosy run at Gitmo.

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  25. Thrill

    The comparison doesn’t apply. The Germans were flying in from outside the UK, were uniformed, and conducting business as state actors in a declared war.

    Also, they were bombing a country that doesn’t have the US’s same constitutional protections.

    Let’s look at the US and its successful history of prosecuting terrorists in federal court. What have we NOT done that would have been somehow made better by treating them like prisoners of war?

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  26. Poosh

    Oh ok, so, let’s assume the Japs at Pearl Harbour weren’t uniformed. That wasn’t a war? then.

    Or if the Germans didn’t have uniforms and didn’t declare war… and then attacked, that wasn’t a war?

    If a Brit blew himself up in the name of the Third Reich, would that have been just an act of terrorism… or something more?

    The point which you’ve missed is that AS AN ENGAGEMENT IN A WAR both the blitz and boston were “acts of terror” – designed to spread terror and kill, but not “acts of terrorism”. Given this blog once upon a time taught me exactly these things, I am just flabbergasted.

    Try him as a TRAITOR in a WAR. Not as a terrorist, which he is not. I meam god-damn it, what has become of this blog? If these “terrorists” were twenty, shot up a few government buildings, then declared the land Islamic land, and installed Sharia Law at gun point in the name of global Jihad, would they still be bloody terrorists !? What more do they need to do.

    You’ve just had a taste of what countless countries are enduring on a regular basis. Islamist terrorism as part of a global imperial movement.

    The stupidity here probably in part stems from Bush for reasons of political correctness naming this The War on Terror – and the difficult modern concept of stateless actors waging war, which is uncharted territory for the human race.

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  27. Thrill

    The ultimate penalty for treason? Death.

    The ultimate penalty for terrorism using WMD? Death.

    Tsarnaev has been charged with a capital crime. I ask the question again: What exactly is it that is leading anyone to believe that things would somehow be better if we started pretending that people like him were soldiers or guerillas?

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  28. Thrill

    To a dead guy? No they don’t. What matters are the liberties of living people. I’m not convinced of the wisdom of declaring the entire US to be a war zone when I see what our government does to people in war zones.

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  29. mrblume

    To a dead guy? No they don’t.

    Exactly. They don’t matter to the dead guy, they don’t matter to the next “traitor”, because guess what, when he is building bombs, he kind of has already decided he doesn’t like you, but it does matter to Poosh, because calling the guy a traitor gives him a fuzzy feeling, and that is what’s important here.

    If these “terrorists” were twenty, shot up a few government buildings, then declared the land Islamic land, and installed Sharia Law at gun point in the name of global Jihad, would they still be bloody terrorists !?

    People who don’t believe that Islamic terrorism is an actual enemy in an actual war will not be inclined to apply the concept of treason, no matter the scale of the attack.

    You’ve just had a taste of what countless countries are enduring on a regular basis. Islamist terrorism as part of a global imperial movement.

    An extraordinarily fruitless movement, whose main success is getting the US to blindly fire in every direction. “Like a bull that carries around its own china shop”, as someone said.

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  30. Thrill

    because calling the guy a traitor gives him a fuzzy feeling

    See, this is what I’m afraid is the reasoning of those who are pushing the enemy combatant deal. It’s not about process or even outcomes. It’s the feeling that we’re somehow being tougher on the bad guys by doing it. Damn the consequences to our rights.

    I don’t mind locking the bad guys up for life in solitary confinement or hanging them. What I do not want is a solution that weakens civil liberties while not really changing what we do to the bad guys.

    Go read what Eric Rudolf thinks about the way his life turned out after setting off a bomb at a sporting event and getting prosecuted in federal court.

    Tsarnaev has 70 good years there to look forward to. We can do this without declaring ourselves to be a war zone where civil rights are arbitrary.

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  31. mrblume

    Way to take one line out of context and make it seem like poosh said he was all for putting gangbangers in Gitmo.

    I did no such thing. I’m quoting a single line for brevity, but I am adressing the gist of his position, which again, is the misguided notion that there is an actual war going on, but that people haven’t noticed the approaching enemy yet, and we should all wake up. Except that after then years of war, torture, drone strikes and no results, its hard to say what good *more* popular support would actually do. As a matter of policy, Poosh & Co have already gotten their way.

    He just wants more people running around talking about how evil Islam is. Ironically, a campaign to recognize the evils of Islamist idiology and to take it seriously as a competitor might force us to refocus on our own values, meaning we could maybe stop torturing and enganging in wars of choice, and that might alltogether be a much more successful strategy.

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  32. balthazar

    I did no such thing. I’m quoting a single line for brevity, but I am adressing the gist of his position,

    I didnt get that he wanted gangbangers sent to gitmo at all, yet thats the example you use and PROJECT onto him.

    GFY tool.

    I have no use for disingenuous fucks like you.

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  33. Mississippi Yankee

    Damn, ain’t I late to the party??

    Hal
    “After Boston: Don’t Get Fooled Again by the ‘War on Terror’ Hawks”

    Ah yes, he’s knocking (w/o saying) which side of the isle? And you nodding so fast I predict a neck injury.

    CM

    I’m wondering what country Romney would be preparing to invade had he won the election.

    I would have suggested New Zealand to Mitt. Yanno to wipe out the “troll” population?

    Thrill

    Let’s look at the US and its successful history of prosecuting terrorists in federal court. What have we NOT done that would have been somehow made better by treating them like prisoners of war?

    Bill Ayers and his wife Bernadine Dorhn +20 others

    Yanno, “Guilty as charged. Free as a bird”

    On October 31, 1969, a grand jury indicted 22 people including Bernardine Dohrn because of her involvement with the trial of Chicago 8. On April 2, 1970, in Chicago a Federal Grand Jury indicted 12 members of the Weatherman group, among them was Bernardine Dohrn, on conspiracy charges to violate the anti-riot act during the “Days of Rage” which was held in Chicago on October 8 through 11, 1969.[19]

    On November 21, 1972, all of the convictions were reversed by the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit on the basis the judge was biased in his refusal to permit defense attorneys to screen prospective jurors for cultural and racial bias.
    Wikipedia

    Equivocate That!

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  34. Thrill

    Oh, ffs, MY. Ayers? Born in Illinois? Is that what we’re going to start declaring to be an enemy combatant?

    You really want to hold up widespread, politically-motivated and illegal domestic spying on the part of Hoover’s FBI as a reason to dispense with the criminal justice system? Correct me if I’m wrong, but Ayers didn’t even kill anybody.

    You want to institute permanent martial law based on this?

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  35. Section8

    Didn’t Bush say, repeatedly, that nobody was being tortured? And didn’t he and others pass judgement on all those held at Gitmo (even though they knew otherwise)?

    For people that call themselves “progressive”, you sure seem to not want to leave the past. Bush is no longer in office. A new guy is in charge. His fuckups are his fuckups, and it’s irrelevant what the last guy did in justifying the current guy’s fuckups.

    As for Romney, maybe he would have invaded Libya, but your guy already took care of it with your approval of course. That meddling was good for whatever reason.

    I vote for public stoning.

    Might as well, it will help us get use to the Islamic culture and better understanding of those “victim” countries in the ME. Oh wait, let me check my PC flash card here. I desperately need to feel cool and self important by going against the grain. I meant Christians, they’re the evil ones. They did some witch burning a few hundred years ago, and seem to have some problem with butchering the unborn, and since there is no real organized State “revolutions” where Christians have gone nuts, we’ll just leave it to the imaginary and fantasize that they want to kill us all. What a bunch of assholes those Christians. That comment is more for other progressives that visit here. I haven’t heard much from CM on religion either way. God damn I really feel smart and self important now.

    Ironically, a campaign to recognize the evils of Islamist idiology and to take it seriously as a competitor might force us to refocus on our own values, meaning we could maybe stop torturing and enganging in wars of choice, and that might alltogether be a much more successful strategy.

    Ah the old we only have ourselves to blame. Who were we torturing on 9/10/2001? As for wars, agreed keep them to a minimum, including the UN ones under the guise of responsibility to protect. It’s only a matter of time before that gets twisted to the US manipulates the UN for war as after all, all our intentions have been nothing but pure evil and self serving all throughout history so why the change now? Anyhow, you go ahead and bend over and show your sphincter in all its glory and live under the illusion that will earn you respect. Good luck with that.

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  36. Mississippi Yankee

    What’s wrong Thrill, didn’t the Weather Underground reach your threshold of terrorism? Did Ayers’ incompetence while trying to blow up the Pentagon disqualify his domestic terrorist cred? I suppose the other members that blew themselves up while building bombs to detonate at Ft. Dix get a pass too. Chiseled on their tombstones Opps. How about the ones that succeeded on the campus of U of Michigan @ Lansing?

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  37. Thrill

    Ah, yes. How stupid of me to forget how the Weather Underground’s campaign of terrorism brought the US Government to its knees and fully cowed the American people into submission.

    Oh, if only we had given Richard Nixon the authority to deem anybody he chose as an enemy combatant so we could incarcerate them indefinitely without trial. It’s not like he would have abused it or anything.

    We should also give Obama that power, because Muslim teenagers are totally going to destroy us with their bombs that killed fewer people than some plant explosion in rural Texas.

    Good to know that this:

    Did I mention that I don’t trust my government?

    …means something akin to this:

    I totally trust my government to arbitrarily declare any US Citizen to be an enemy combatant with no legal rights who can be locked up forever based on the President’s determination because Muslim teenagers and stuff.

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  38. Mississippi Yankee

    Ah, yes. How stupid of me to forget how the Weather Underground’s campaign of terrorism brought the US Government to its knees and fully cowed the American people into submission.

    Thrill I doubt that you were old enough to pill yellow back then. We were a much different and much tougher country in those days. And just for the record U of M and the Pentagon were locked down for a bit. Ft. Dix was put on heightened security too.

    My whole point is I don’t want the bomb detonating, grenade throwing, illegal gun shooting radical little shit to be tried as a common criminal. I want the judge/judges to have the ability to deport him back to his point of origin. I don’t want to pay for his upkeep in Hotel Max Security for the next 70 years. I don’t want his face and personage to become the new “Free Mumia” movement. Period.

    Stop trying to put word in my mouth, it’s a cheap little CM trick but without the cute accent.

    ” movement.

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  39. Thrill

    Fine. I won’t put words in your mouth. But reconciling the attitude that US Citizenship is something that can just be stripped away so the Government can ignore your basic civil rights is something you will need to do for yourself.

    US Citizenship should mean something. An American citizen has rights that can not just be arbitrarily taken away simply because one committed a politically-motivated felony offense.

    If you want to make the case that we are better off deporting Tsarnaev back to Chechnya (where he’ll probably live happily for the rest of his days) instead of putting him in the Supermax to rot and play with himself for decades in abject misery, I’m not with you. He is a citizen and he will be punished as one.

    This “enemy combatant” business should be utterly toxic when we’re discussing American citizens. Bomb wielding radicals won’t destroy our way of life as completely as an unrestrained federal government will.

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  40. CM

    I would have suggested New Zealand to Mitt. Yanno to wipe out the “troll” population?

    That would require locating us first. That would buy us a few years.

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  41. CM

    For people that call themselves “progressive”, you sure seem to not want to leave the past. Bush is no longer in office. A new guy is in charge. His fuckups are his fuckups, and it’s irrelevant what the last guy did in justifying the current guy’s fuckups.

    I’m not “people”. And if you’ve got problems with Obama now, are you telling me you won’t ever be using it as a point of comparison when some “progressives” complain about what “your guy” is doing? Pulease!
    Anyway, what I mentioned is still very ‘current’ and ‘relevant’.

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  42. Xetrov

    This guy has been charged with “using a weapon of mass destruction to kill”…I didn’t even know there was such a crime coded in federal law.

    Beyond that though, I always thought a “weapon of mass destruction” was a nuke, or biological weapon or something similar that killed a LOT of people. When did a pressure cooker full of explosives and ball bearings become a “weapon of mass destruction”? If that’s a “weapon of mass destruction”, then Saddam had tons of “weapons of mass destruction”. Every IED that has killed one of our servicemen was a “weapon of mass destruction”? This just further highlights the problem with ambiguous titles for things in regard to legal definitions (such as “Assault Weapon”).

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  43. pfluffy

    Fine. I won’t put words in your mouth. But reconciling the attitude that US Citizenship is something that can just be stripped away so the Government can ignore your basic civil rights is something you will need to do for yourself.

    US Citizenship should mean something. An American citizen has rights that can not just be arbitrarily taken away simply because one committed a politically-motivated felony offense.

    If you want to make the case that we are better off deporting Tsarnaev back to Chechnya (where he’ll probably live happily for the rest of his days) instead of putting him in the Supermax to rot and play with himself for decades in abject misery, I’m not with you. He is a citizen and he will be punished as one.

    This “enemy combatant” business should be utterly toxic when we’re discussing American citizens. Bomb wielding radicals won’t destroy our way of life as completely as an unrestrained federal government will.

    Thrill, your thoughtful posts here are some of the best I have read on the Net about the bombings. If you want to weep for humanity’s ability to think critically, hop over to Huffington Post and click on any Boston Bomber thread. Unbelievable lack of thinking going on.

    I thought about you and your thoughts on profiling when I first saw the photos of the two bombers. One looks Euro-trash and the other looks like a heroin-chic underwear model. It is making many folks uncomfortable.

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  44. pfluffy

    When did a pressure cooker full of explosives and ball bearings become a “weapon of mass destruction”?

    Xetrov, it would appear that nearly everyone has the raw materials for bomb-making in their kitchens and garages. That should make anyone think twice about all of this citizenship stripping talk. *slippery slope ahead, use caution” We are all a burglary away from having our citizenship stripped if that movement grows legs.

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  45. Thrill

    Xetrov, it would appear that nearly everyone has the raw materials for bomb-making in their kitchens and garages.

    “If one were so inclined”

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  46. AlexInCT

    Oh, if only we had given Richard Nixon the authority to deem anybody he chose as an enemy combatant so we could incarcerate them indefinitely without trial.

    Meh, Nixon was a lightweight. The magic man in the WH right now believes it is better to drone strike these American citizens along with anyone he feels is a nuisance. Now that’s serious Cartmanesque “RESPEK MAH AU-THO-RA-TAY” shit right there for ya.

    After I saw the people of Boston so willingly follow what amounted to an unannounced case of martial law, I have lost all hope for this country and for us to reign in the out of control power play of the almighty state. Leviathan has won, and people are falling all over themselves to give Leviathan more power in exchange for the illusion of security.

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  47. Thrill

    Meh, Nixon was a lightweight. The magic man in the WH right now believes it is better to drone strike these American citizens along with anyone he feels is a nuisance.

    This is true. Which is exactly why I’m amazed that any conservative or Republican anywhere favors the “citizens as combatants” line.

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  48. pfluffy

    This is true. Which is exactly why I’m amazed that any conservative or Republican anywhere favors the “citizens as combatants” line.

    I can understand the desire of politicians to get intelligence from him to a certain extent. Thing is, he is a gravely injured 19-year old kid that is now effectively alone in the world. An interrogator worth his salt should be able to get whatever they need from him in the window allowed by the Miranda exception. Sure enough, it didn’t take long before they were done. We don’t need to lose constitutional rights over this.

    The fantasy is always better than the reality, and Johar is learning that lesson now that his brother is dead. I bet his brother’s great plan doesn’t really look so good now. His life is over. In Supermax, where he is likely to go, he won’t even be able to fashion himself a prison life as he plays basketball by himself in a drained swimming pool. I bet Eric Rudolph wishes he could be a prison bitch right now.

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  49. Thrill

    I can understand the desire of politicians to get intelligence from him to a certain extent. Thing is, he is a gravely injured 19-year old kid that is now effectively alone in the world.

    Exactly. The same compassion a lot of people are sneering at today is exactly what will break him. The interrogators will pull out all the stops.

    “We know that your brother was the one who pushed you into this.”

    “It’s important that the people who care about you know why this happened”

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  50. Thrill

    “You’re just a young guy who got all mixed up in this. I have talked to a lot of smart young kids who got duped into these plots by some shady groups. You’re a victim here. We’re really interested in knowing who may have wanted Tamerlan to make these bombs and why, not in seeing you pay for this mistake.”

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  51. Mississippi Yankee

    An interrogator worth his salt should be able to get whatever they need from him in the window allowed by the Miranda exception. Sure enough, it didn’t take long before they were done. We don’t need to lose constitutional rights over this.

    Didn’t this “One looks Euro-trash and the other looks like a heroin-chic underwear model” already LOSE a constitutional right by not being Mirandaized already?
    Or will you and Thrill be the arbitrators of constitutional rights in this case?

    [Which one was “Euro-trash” and which “heroin-chic”? I can’t keep up with you kids]

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  52. Mississippi Yankee

    That would require locating us first. That would buy us a few years.

    CM, I’ll use family ties to get Peter Jackson to help me. Then it’s “sunshine, the perfect disinfectant”

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  53. Xetrov

    Didn’t this “One looks Euro-trash and the other looks like a heroin-chic underwear model” already LOSE a constitutional right by not being Mirandaized already?

    He was mirandized (and charged) yesterday

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  54. Mook

    This “enemy combatant” business should be utterly toxic when we’re discussing American citizens. Bomb wielding radicals won’t destroy our way of life as completely as an unrestrained federal government will.

    So those US citizens who joined with the Nazi SS during WWII should be treated with full US citizen rights to depose the US Dept. of Defense, discovery, etc?? You mean during WWII, they were executed in violation of our constitution!? Your absolutist position is absurd as Hal’s assertion that “we’re all god’s creatures”.. except oh yeah, Hal said that ALL foreign enemies have a “god given” right to a trial with the full rights of a US citizen. You’re both dead wrong. Hal is close to being batshit crazy with his assertion on god given rights. Imagine putting Hal’s “law” into effect in the battlefield…soldiers dodging RPG’s in order to collect evidence, etc.. like I said, batshit crazy idea. Sorry to see that it sell so well on this site with so little thought

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  55. Mississippi Yankee

    A short video of the house to house search conducted in Watertown MA last Friday.

    “We don’t need no stinking 4th amendment man”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=2LrbsUVSVl8#!

    Hearing about it and seeing it are two different things…at least for me.

    WATERTOWN, MA — On Friday, April 19, 2013, during a manhunt for a bombing suspect, police and federal agents spent the day storming people’s homes and performing illegal searches. While it was unclear initially if the home searches were voluntary, it is now crystal clear that they were absolutely NOT voluntary. Police were filmed ripping people from their homes at gunpoint, marching the residents out with their hands raised in submission, and then storming the homes to perform their illegal searches.

    What say you Queen Sally I. Will your majority minions be squatting on this right too?

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  56. pfluffy

    Or will you and Thrill be the arbitrators of constitutional rights in this case?

    To date, I have not been contacted to perform such a role.

    Thumb up 1

  57. Thrill

    Mook: Before I take apart your argument, I want to make sure you know what we’re talking about here. President Obama asserts that he has the authority to deem an American citizen to be an enemy combatant with absolutely no due process. None. Would you like to know of any living person who is on this list of citizen enemy combatants? Well, you can’t. Better yet: The President believes (and he has done this) that he can have you killed by the CIA/military if you are spotted in a foreign country that we’re not even engaged in war with.

    That’s a problem.

    His Attorney General–very reluctantly–said that this power doesn’t apply on US soil, but I’m hardly alone on this blog in not trusting him.

    This is a major problem with the enemy combatant term to begin with.

    So you want to talk about Nazis? Fine. How about Richard Best? (Using Wikipedia for expediency’s sake, bear with me). Bad guy, right? Nazi propagandist. We totally treated him as an enemy combatant, right?

    Oh, no we didn’t. He was convicted of treason in absentia in 1943 with all the due process you can give a guy who is in a foreign enemy nation. When he was arrested and extradited, he was tried in federal court like Tsarnaev will be.

    Hmm.

    How about Mildred “Axis Sally” Gillars? Nope, tried and convicted in federal court.

    Well, how about the Duquesne Spy Ring? Oh, no. Federal court again.

    In fact, the only people I can find being arrested and held indeterminably held without due process were tens of thousands of American citizens who were either naturalized citizens from Axis nations or whose parents were.

    I’m sure you’re not arguing in favor of doing that again, are you? Unless you consider US soil to be “a battlefield”.

    As I said above:

    I’m not convinced of the wisdom of declaring the entire US to be a war zone when I see what our government does to people in war zones.

    You saw what happens when we start treating American cities like war zones in the article MY posted. You want forced curfews, people being pulled out at gunpoint, and having their homes searched without warrants?

    That’s what happens in an urban warfare zone. That’s Fallujah. That’s Mogadishu.

    Before you start demanding this, I expect you to know what it is you are asking for.

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  58. Thrill

    Oh, wait, Mook specifically asked me about American citizens who served in the SS. How silly of me.

    How about Lt Martin James Monti? Deserted and joined the SS, captured in Italy.

    Surely he was deprived of his due process rights?

    Oh, he wasn’t. The US Military convicted him for desertion, of all things, he was pardoned, and then later charged and convicted of treason for his actions (say it with me now) in federal court.

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