Senator Joe Lieberman is proposing a bill (“Terrorist Expatriation Act”) that seeks to update a federal statue that outlines seven infractions that can result in Americans losing their citizenship. The measure would add to the list “actively engaging in hostilities against the United States or its allies” and “providing material support or resources” to a federally designated terrorist organization. He says the bill is design to “close loopholes” that allow individuals on the FBI’s terror watch list purchase firearms, explosives and to have basic rights of due process if and when they are tried for a crime.
Despite the fact that the FBI’s terror watch list has been repeatedly found to contain children, people of mistaken identity and individuals whose only crime was to attend antiwar rallies, the media is pushing the agenda as a fight over whether or not so-called terrorist should have any rights at all. The problem is that none of these people have been charged with a crime, let alone tried and found guilty by a trial of their peers. Nearly 1.5 million Americans would be stripped of their rights without trial and without recourse.
Among other things, the bill would permit the State Department to strip Americans of their citizenship if they support “terror networks”. It has drawn a cool reaction from the White House, even as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton appeared to embrace the measure.
“I have not heard anybody inside the administration that’s been supportive of that idea,” White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters Thursday.
But Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the administration would take “a hard look” at the measure, the New York Times reported. “United States citizenship is a privilege,” she told the Times. “It is not a right. People who are serving foreign powers — or in this case, foreign terrorists — are clearly in violation, in my personal opinion, of that oath which they swore when they became citizens.”
The dangers of Lieberman’s legislation are vast. Existing legislation, the Military Commissions Act, already allows for indefinite detention of Americans deemed “enemy combatants”. Now with Lieberman’s legislation, if passed, Americans can be in essence declared “enemy combatants” without even committing a crime. They can be stripped of their rights, convicted using secret evidence or anonymous testimony and shipped to a secret “black site” prison. No legal action or appeals process, only a direct act of Congress to reverse the law would save them- if it was even known who was being held where.
When we do not demand to be part of the system of justice and demand that the burden of proof lay with the government, not the accused, then we will continue to see more fear mongering and assaults on our liberties. One example, the recently demonized Hutaree Militia, was arrested and lambasted by the media for their supposed plans to kill police officers. Since then even the Judge presiding over the case as publicly questioned the government’s case against the men saying there is no evidence linking such a plot to the Hurtaree Militia. Yet, the media cannot be expected to recant or to reconsider their smear campaign against American’s who are active in militias, as this was their intended purpose. The Hurtaree case, the Times Square incident and second Times Square incident just yesterday (involving what the media called “a suspicious package”, yet turned out to just be a cooler) shows that the media is more concerned with pushing fear then they are with informing us.
Are we still the land of the free if we begin to strip people of their civil rights based on their political/religious beliefs? If we being to strip innocent children of their god given rights based solely on their names and do not provide any legal recourse or action of defense for these people, are we still a free society? Or has the military industrial complex that President Eisenhower warned of in his farewell speech grown to such proportions that it has swallowed this republic whole?