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Assassination, Torture, Indefinite Detention – Welcome to Susan Collins’ View of America

If I understand Ms. Susan Collin’s position, she believes that if someone is caught in the United States trying to blow up an airplane with passengers aboard, that person should immediately be taken into military custody and be interrogated by intelligence officials in ways — not excluding torture — that would compel that person to provide “intelligence” about any other threats to public safety. I’m sure she’s not alone in that belief.

Since I can’t think of any logical reason why, once you’ve adopted this principle, it should be limited to foreigners or to those believed to be linked/sympathtic/similar to al Qaeda or only to those flying in from another country, Middle East or otherwise, or to traveling by plane vs bus/train/car or just walking . . . it would follow that Ms. Collins would also have supported applying the same procedures to lots of other people, including US citizens, apprehended after attempting bombings or shootings, or even after suspected attempts.

There are hundreds, perhaps thousands of such attempted killings every year/month in the United States, which means that what Ms. Collins is advocating is that the US military and CIA essentially take over a substantial portion of law enforcement responsibility in America. In that America, the Constitutional safeguards against injustice accorded those arrested for crimes would not apply, and the rules for treatment of those held in custody would presumably allow harsher means of interrogation, including measures some of us and much of the civilized world regard as torture.

That is the America Ms. Susan Collins finds acceptable, unless she can somehow explain how that’s not true.

So, I guess I should not be surprised that Ms. Collins and her political friends have, so far, not expressed alarm that a Senior US intelligence official in the Obama Administration candidly admitted to Congress that the President of the United States can order the assassination of anyone, including an American citizen, even without arrest, trial or any other Constitutional safeguards, merely by deciding that person was a potential threat to American security . . . or, since there is no check on the President’s discretion, for any reason at all but just claiming such person was a threat.

I must say that the Ms. Collins of this country have the strangest views about what constitutes a threat to America and the American way of life. These people don’t seem to have any moral limits when dealing with those they fear, don’t believe in the rule of law or the criminal justice system, have no regard for American (or English) history or traditions, and believe in what can only be described as state-sponsored murder and torture, that is, in all the things we associate with “terrorism.”

And they don’t seem to care that these actions all fit the definition of a state sponsor of terror and thus fit all the conditions by which any other nation’s people applying the same logic as Ms. Collins would feel justified in killing Americans.

I’d really like to understand how America’s Ms. Collins explain all this, and more important, how they think we ever get out of this trap, but I don’t think they can.


Marcy Wheeler, Assassination Permission Slips and Hall Passes

Glenn Greenwald, On the Claimed “War Exception” to the Constitution

Sam Stein, Republicans now attacking FBI

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John has been writing for Firedoglake since 2006 or so, on whatever interests him. He has a law degree, worked as legal counsel and energy policy adviser for a state energy agency for 20 years and then as a consultant on electricity systems and markets. He's now retired, living in Massachusetts.

You can follow John on twitter: @JohnChandley

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