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March 05, 2012



If being a United States Citizen has signifigance vis a vis your rights, then the opinion of Jon Roland is correct. The problem is that the government has NEVER contained its actions within any exception it has ever created. Warrantless searches, the RICO laws, etc. This is a dangerous threat to civil liberties and to the citzenry in general. Holder's quote:
"The unfortunate reality is that our nation will likely continue to face terrorist threats that–at times–originate with our own citizens," Holder said in his speech this afternoon. "When such individuals take up arms against this country – and join al Qaeda in plotting attacks designed to kill their fellow Americans–there may be only one realistic and appropriate response."

Might as well end after "When such individuals take up arms against this country -" Just like the term "terrorist" has been twisted to apply to those merley disaffected or acting in defiance (think Greenpeace, animal activists, etc.), so to will be the the term "take up arms." The behavioral history of governments, ours included, suggests that this will eventually result in the murder or indefinite confinemnet of anyone who defies the government. As a U.S. Citizen this should be very, very concerning.


I appreciate the above analysis, however, when we explore the term "pirate" as was written in the constitution, we should define what activity a pirate performed. A pirate was a threat to trade which had to the potential to annoy an economy. The appearance of motive of a pirate was simply for goods--nothing more. A "terrorist" today wants to eradicate a way of life and use any means including commerce to achieve it objective. This is a far cry from a pirate who just wants goods to terrorist today who is trying exterminate a way of life. I suggest that the executive branch's powers are implicit in defending the constitution and country. That power gives broad authority to order killings of terrorist abroad.

Jon Roland

Holder's statements reflect the degraded state of constitutional exegesis among legal professionals today. The Constitution does not contain the word "terrorist", but it does cover the subject. If the AG would pursue real legal history and not just the law office kind that seems to pervade government, he would find that what we are calling "terrorists" are what the Founders called pirates, which were subject to the law of nations. From historical usage of the term "pirate" we can define it as a warlike act by a nonstate actor against a party foreign to it. (Against a party of the same nationality would be "treason".) Civilian courts and due process would have jurisdiction for such acts committed in or from U.S. territory, but military courts, with their own due process, would have jurisdiction for acts committed outside U.S. territory. However, although the President could take measures against pirates not on the soil of a foreign nation, congressional letters of marque and reprisal would need to be issued to the President and forces under this command to do so on foreign soil. Such measures could include killing as well as capturing, but only if capture cannot be done safely.

It is not, however, constitutionally authorized to indefinitely detain individuals captured on U.S. soil, without a trial.

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