Morally, all human beings have a right to presumption of innocence and any accusers must be required to present evidence against the accused. Nevertheless, throughout history societies have preferred to act on the primitive desire to deprive an accused person of life, liberty or property without the required due process.
When the Framers wrote the U.S. Constitution, the Fifth Amendment was included for the purpose of protecting each and every individual from the criminal actions of government agents arresting, detaining, or killing innocent people under color of law.
But even after the ratification of the U.S. Constitution, it did not seem to work out that way. Plenty of people in America have been immorally expropriated, or unlawfully targeted, arrested, falsely imprisoned and executed by officials of the government.
As Anthony Gregory, author of The Power of Habeas Corpus in America: From the King’s Prerogative to the War on Terror, pointed out in a LewRockwell.com article, the institution of habeas corpus has mainly been a government function and under government control. Gregory notes that the Constitution centralized habeas corpus into federal authority.
Some examples of the federal government’s habeas usurpations include the Fugitive Slave Law and the 1833 Force Act, which empowered the U.S. Army to enforce the feds’ overriding a state’s nullification of a federal tariff. In another LRC article, Gregory noted that the Revolution also brought upon the earliest stages of the warfare state with George Washington’s forming the American military forces based on the authoritarian British model, and making illicit use of state militia drafts and imposing death to deserters.
Even Honest Abe Lincoln abused his executive authority as President during his war of aggression against seceding states (also known as the American Civil War), in his illegally imprisoning political dissenters and Maryland public officials, and censoring newspapers and telegraphs, according to Thomas DiLorenzo, the author of The Real Lincoln: A New Look at Abraham Lincoln, His Agenda, and an Unnecessary War.
Sadly, wartime has been an excuse for American government officials to criminally suspend habeas corpus and violate the rights to due process of innocent individuals.
And it appears that yet another bureaucrat who opposes due process, Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, will throw his hat into the ring to run for President of the United States. And as he has indicated in the past, Graham still opposes the principles upon which America was founded: due process and presumption of innocence, and the right of the accused to require government bureaucrats to show evidence to prove an accusation.
So yes, this U.S. Senator who said in 2011, “If you’re an American citizen and you betray your country, you’re not going to be given a lawyer,” still doesn’t understand the difference between someone who is merely accused of terrorism and someone who is actually convicted of terrorism with evidence to prove one’s guilt, when just last week, in 2015, in Iowa Graham blurted out, “If I’m president of the United States and you’re thinking about joining al-Qaeda or ISIL … I’m not gonna call a judge … I’m gonna call a drone and we will kill you.”
Here, not only does Graham want to withhold legal counsel and indefinitely detain and imprison Americans or foreigners who are accused of something without evidence required, but he also wants to kill those who are accused of joining an organization or even kill those who are accused of merely considering joining it.
Graham supports the NDAA’s granting the military the power to abduct and indefinitely detain without evidence or charges anyone in the U.S. And that includes people who dissent and who criticize the government and the legitimacy of its policies including its illicit wars.
That governmental threat to the people’s liberty is why journalist Chris Hedges had sued President Barack Obama. Hedges stated that, as a journalist who has closely covered these wars and traveled overseas, he himself could be considered a “covered person” under NDAA and the Patriot Act. Hedges also noted that, because the provisions of such laws are so wide in scope, everyday American gun owners could also be abducted and jailed by the government and military.
Graham has also asserted that because we’re in a war, freedom of speech should be restricted as well as due process. Within the first year of post-9/11 irrationality, there were already many acts of censorship by the government, among other infringements.
And as Washington’s Blog pointed out, in America now it is considered to be “terrorism” to question the legitimacy of the politicians’ wars and their liberty-infringing policies. They emulate how the bureaucrats operate in Saudi Arabia, apparently.
But you see, when Graham says, “If you’re an American citizen and you betray your country, you’re not going to be given a lawyer,” he is really referring to someone who has been accused by bureaucrats or military officials of betraying one’s country. That is the whole point of why the accused have a right to legal counsel, as well as a right to remain silent, a right to not be “deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law,” and so on.
Because how do we know that some person is a terrorist or has betrayed his country? Just because Lindsey Graham or Barack Obama said so? Because a military bureaucrat said so? So we should trust their judgment? Let them be the judge, jury and executioner?
Given America’s most recent experiences with the judgments of our government officials, such as the U.S. government’s arming of fighters in Ramadi, Syria, Libya and Ukraine, or the bureaucrats’ continuing a 40-year long and failed War on Drugs, should we know enough by now to not trust the judgment of any government official?
And what about the judgment of a Bush Administration knowingly allowing innocent people to be brought to the Guantanamo prison, hundreds of innocent prisoners (including sick, elderly men and children) brought there by way of overzealous U.S. soldiers and Afghan villagers being paid bounties by the U.S. government? The government says that of the 620 Guantanamo prisoners released (out of nearly 800 captured), 107 were “confirmed of re-engaging” in terrorism. But the truth is, when you take innocent people who have nothing to do with al-Qaeda or terrorism, kidnap them and falsely imprison them for years without charges or evidence against them, and torture them, of course they might consider joining forces against you. So in other words, they (or at least most of them) were probably not “re-engaging,” as they hadn’t been involved in the first place.
So that was the judgment of our government, the bureaucrats, the U.S. troops, the CIA and FBI in their post-9/11 hysteria.
And American citizens should trust these officials’ judgment to be judge and jury?
Especially with the militarization of the police and federal threats against the people such as with the upcoming huge martial law drill the Obama Administration wants to conduct in several states, perhaps U.S. Senators and Presidential candidates such as Lindsey Graham ought to reconsider their support for their opposition to due process, their support for the NDAA and other violations of the rule of law.
Given the early Americans’ experiences under the British King’s rule, they had great concerns about even having a standing army in the first place, by the way.
So legally, morally and practically, these very concerns are why, if a government bureaucrat or military soldier or officer wants to accuse some individual of terrorism or treason, then he must be required to present evidence against the accused.
The good news is that Lindsey Graham is considered to be a long shot to win the U.S. Presidency. But the bad news is that most of the other candidates support the same kinds of due process-eliminating policies. Is there any hope for America?