From SWAT Magazine

Discussion in 'Freedom and Liberty' started by Seacowboys, Jul 22, 2008.

  1. Seacowboys

    Seacowboys Senior Member Founding Member

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    Most people think the idea of ap*plying the laws of war to terrorist suspects originated with the Bush Administration, in response to 9-11.
    The actual origin of that idea was a 1996 law review article in the Oklaho*ma City University Law Review called "Justice for War Criminals of Invisible Armies: A New Legal and Military Ap*proach to Terrorism," written by two lawyers, Spencer J. Crona and Neal A. Richardson. (* tribunals/ docs/ crona.pdf)
    But it was not just suspected Islamic terrorists that Crona and Richardson had in mind. They urged the Clinton Administration to apply the laws of war to Timothy McVeigh and the entire mi*litia movement (even though McVeigh was not a militia member). Crona and Richardson argued that the Oklahoma City bombing was an "act of war," and "groups fomenting domestic insurrection, such as anti-government militia" were the equivalent of foreign enemies in wartime. They asserted that "citizen*ship of the accused poses no obstacle" to the application of the laws of war to such Americans, with the Bill of Rights providing no protection:
    "It is legally and intellectually disin*genuous to provide [suspected] terror*ists the same rights as persons accused of ordinary crimes against society. Our
    [FONT=&quot][/FONT]Bill of Rights was designed to protect individuals in society against the arbi*trary exercise of government power. It is not meant to protect commando groups warring on society through arbitrary acts of mass violence. We recognize that our proposal may have an adverse impact on the Bill of Rights. Regrettable as this may be, the demonstrable risk of harm to innocent persons posed by terrorism ... comparatively outweighs the specula*tive risk of such an adverse impact." The "commando groups" Crona and Richardson had most in mind were the domestic militias formed throughout the United States in the 1990s in response to Ruby Ridge and the Waco Siege, which ended in the deaths of 76 Americans, in*cluding 21 children.
    The militias stated repeatedly that their purpose was defensive, to de*fend against government abuse of the people-against more Wacos. Even the FBI concluded that the vast major-

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    ity of militias were purely defensive.
    But Crona and Richardson insisted that all of the militias should be treated as suspected terrorists and unlawful military enemies and subjected to "an in-kind response" under military rules of engagement and then tried by tribunal as war criminals merely for belonging to such organizations.
    It was just such a military style shoot-*on-sight rule of engagement at Ruby Ridge that resulted in Vicki Weaver be*ing shot in the head, while holding her baby, by a sniper at long range-a range at which the sniper was not in any dan*ger from Vicki or any other member of her family. That rule of engagement was later determined to have been illegal. However, if Crona and Richardson had their way, such would be the perfectly le*gal norm, not the abhorrent exception.
    The same goes for Waco, where military tactics, equipment and rules of en*gagement were used. Many Americans considered that a disaster of government excess. But under the New Military Or*der that Crona and Richardson envi*sioned, sucp methods would not only be appropriate, they would be the only way such situations would be handled-as all such actions, against all such people, would be "war," not "law enforcement."
    What if Clinton had listened to Crona and Richardson?
    We can only imagine what would have happened if the Clinton Adminis*tration had actually implemented this plan, with Clinton declaring members of militias to be "unlawful enemy combat*ants" and subjecting them to military tri*als and execution. That would have been the worst fears of the militia and patriot movement come true. The message from President Clinton would have been es*sentially this:
    For you people, who oppose the feder*al government, who form citizen militias the Bill of Rights is hereby forever sus*pended, and as "unlawful combatants you are subject to being shot on sight wherever found, subject to indefinate military detention, under my orders, and subject to the laws of war as applied by a military commission established by IT.2 under my authority as commander-in *chief of the armed forces. If that military commission finds you guilty, you will be

    executed, and any possible appeal will only be to me, as the final decider of your guilt or innocence, pursuant to my inde*pendent and co-equal Article II powers as commander-in-chief.
    However limited the initial applica*tion of such a policy, with the militia movement's worst fears now confirmed, they would have considered armed re*sistance appropriate and even necessary. Even if at first only one or two suspected militia members were held as unlawful combatants without trial, or one or two small groups, it is very possible that a cycle of action/reaction would have be*gun. A group resists. The government cracks down. More groups resist. The government cracks down harder. And on it would have gone.
    Thankfully, none of that happened because the absurd, dangerous proposal of Crona and Richardson to sidestep the Bill of Rights received little attention.
    So, we can all live happily ever after, right? Wrong. After 9-11, this idea was thrust into the limelight, and the ap*plication of the laws of war to terrorist suspects has now become official U.S. policy. But surely Bush Administration lawyers had the good sense to at least draw a clear line between citizens and non-citizens, right? Wrong again. Re*lying on the exact same arguments as Crona and Richardson, the Bush lawyers insisted that citizenship is irrelevant and any u.s. citizen the president designates an "enemy combatant" can be held in military detention and tried by tribunal. And the Supreme Court agreed, approv*ing of such detention of a citizen named Yaser Hamdi.
    The legal foundations for what Crona and Richardson only dreamed of in 1996 are now nearly completely in place. What keeps you from being declared an "enemy combatant"? Surely not the Bill of Rights, according to the Supreme Court. Now, it's just a matter of politics and who happens to be president.
    As I will explain further in the next is*sue, a future Presidential Administration *just might be foolish enough to fully turn the war on terror inward, on those they consider to be the real terrorists and do*mestic enemies of their plans-you. And that may be the spark of the next Ameri*can Revolution. 0
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