Martin Luther King, Jr. was a domestic terrorist.
Or at least that's how the government saw it back in the 1960s, when Dr. King threatened the status quo and forced the nation to question its constitutional responsibilities...
And while the details of FBI surveillance from 1956 to the day he died have been left out of most history books, there is no denying that the U.S. government felt threatened by King, and thus put him on a watch list that only a few privileged bureaucrats were cleared to see.
But who could've imagined that almost 45 years later, the government's surveillance of “potential terrorist threats” would've grown to include every single U.S. citizen both at home and abroad?
And even worse, who would've ever predicted it would actually turn deadly?
Well, that's exactly what has happened.
According to a recently uncovered memo, a Justice Department white paper argues that the government now has the right to kill any American citizen the government believes is affiliated with a terrorist organization.
Let that soak in for a moment.
In fact, say it aloud...
The government now has the right to kill any American citizen the government believes is affiliated with a terrorist organization.
Now ask yourself...
How is this legal?
According to attorney Jameel Jaffer, some of the white paper's key legal arguments don't stand up to even cursory review, as it omits crucial language from Mathews v. Eldridge, a case in which the Supreme Court held that the question of what process must be afforded to a person before he is deprived of life or liberty must take into account the risk of erroneous deprivation of such interest through procedures used and the value of additional procedural safeguards.
Jaffer went on to say:
This is a chilling document. Basically, it argues that the government has the right to carry out the extrajudicial killing of Americans. It recognizes some limits on the authority is sets out, but the limits are elastic and vaguely defined, and it's easy to see how they could be manipulated.
Attorney Hina Shamsi, who works to ensure that U.S. national security policies and practices are consistent with the Constitution, civil liberties, and human rights, chimed in on the issue:
This is a profoundly disturbing document, and it's hard to believe that it was produced in a democracy built on a system of checks and balances. It summarizes in cold legal terms a stunning overreach of executive authority – the claimed power to declare Americans a threat and kill them far from a recognized battlefield and without any judicial involvement before or after the fact.
And U.S. Judge Colleen McMahon told reporters that administration officials had engaged in public discussion of the legality of targeted killing, even of citizens. But they have done so in cryptic and imprecise ways, generally without citing any statute or court decision that justifies its conclusions.
Are YOU a terrorist?
There are few things I hate more than partisan slaves.
I find it beyond infuriating that some of the folks who called for the impeachment of George Bush over a highly illegal and highly unethical war in Iraq haven't said one word about this white paper.
In fact, one colleague of mine actually suggested that President Obama is simply looking out for our safety and well-being — to which I replied, "Well, if this paper lays the groundwork for the legalized murder of U.S. citizens, then the next president, who you may not like so much, will also share in this unbridled authority."
Look, I don't care if you're a conservative, liberal, Republican, or Democrat — make no mistake about it; such authority is consistent with kings and dictators, not democratically-elected leaders. And to ignore this threat to our lives and our liberty will be done at our own peril.
Because you never know if you, dear reader, could one day end up on a kill list, deprived of due process because some bureaucrat has decided you are a threat to an agenda that is neither honorable nor Constitutional.
Think I'm kidding? Let's review how some lawmakers have already defined Americans as "terrorists":
August 2011 – Vice President Joe Biden equates Tea Party supporters with terrorists.
August 2011 – Justice Department and FBI identify those having more than a seven-day supply of stored food as being potential terrorist threats.
January 2011 – Department of Homeland Security suggests those who pay cash for a hotel room might be terrorists.
March 2009 – Law enforcement report from the Missouri Information Analysis Center labels Ron Paul supporters, libertarians, and people sharing movies about the Federal Reserve as domestic terrorists.
March 2009 – Department of Homeland Security writes: “... the return of military veterans facing significant challenges reintegrating into their communities could lead to the potential emergence of terrorist groups or lone wolf extremists capable of carrying out violent attacks.”
As you can see, it's not so far-fetched to suggest that right here, right now, you could be identified as a potential terrorist threat.
And based on what that Justice Department white paper lays out, that is terrifying.
Live honorably, live free...
Jeff Siegel for Freedom Watch