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David Prater 
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Recent Comments

Posted by David Prater on 04/25/2014 at 9:51 PM

Re: “Lyons: An act of war

This is deeply troubling and representative of confusion over acts of war and criminal acts; and Constitutional and human rights law. In terms of the first confusion, states do not go to war with individuals(unless those individuals are able to organize and engage in armed violence at a level of intensity and duration to constitute a non-international armed conflicts); states go to war with other states. Mr. Al-awlaki could declare war, well he could, just as I could, but it has no legal significance. Nor could Mr. Al-Awlaki commit an act of war unless he was an active combatant. There is no evidence of that. In terms of the second confusion, no evidence has been proffered to any reasonable, impartial mind in this matter that would sustain the conclusion that Mr. al-Awlaki was indeed involved in a grave and imminent threat to US national security or civilians(I do not believe Mr. Holder's statement about alleged statements from Mr. Abdulmutallab about alleged statements from Mr. Al-Awlaki are sufficient grounds to conclude otherwise). In this regard, the arguments of Yoo/Koh/Holder are eerily similar to the arguments made by military regimes in the cone of South America during Operation Condor - the massive anti-leftist campaign led jointly by those countries' military and intelligence organs in cooperation with the CIA and other 1st World intelligence agencies - to justify the executives' use of indefinite detentions, torture, and extrajudicial killings in the name of national security. Regardless of Mr. Al-Awlaki's political affiliation, he is still entitled to his Constitutional and human rights, just as much as the racists who plotted to kill President Obama during his inaugeration should not have been swept aside by a missile. For some reason, I suspect that last sentence will be controversial and raise much ire.

Obviously these are complex issues that cannot be fully flushed out in a comment on the interent. But to be untroubled and unreflective as Mr. Lyons, captures a particular naivity about American conduct. Why Mr. Lyons sees no reason to be suspicious about broad claims of executive power (especially when advanced from the corridors of an intelligence agency notorious for criminal activity) based on post-hoc legal rationalizations is beyond me. I think this is an unfortunate piece for many reasons and I hope Mr. Lyons will take some time to inquire further into the applicable law and the basis for the allegations (controlled leaks by USA agencies to media outlets are highly suspect in my view, i.e. "a senior government official said on the condition of anonimity, 'we have reason to believe [Al-awlaki]'s gotten involved in plots.'").

Finally, I do not think the question is whether the US is slidding into tyranny, but rather if the rule of law was ever applicable to the highest levels of our government. I think on this last submission serious consideration is due.


Posted by David Prater on 03/20/2012 at 5:12 PM


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