Ron Paul – On Assassinations
[Congressman Ron Paul]
My topic for this evening is now is assassinations, what have we allowed ourselves to become, are we no longer a nation of laws, have we become a nation instead of men who make a secret arrests, are secret prisons now simply another tool of the federal government law enforcement, is the secret rendition of individuals now permitted out of misplaced fear, have we decided that the writ of habeas corpus is not worth defending, is torture now an acceptable tool for making us safe. Unfortunately, the single answer to all these questions, from the leaders of our country to many of our citizens, appears to be yes. And now we are told that assassination of foreigners as well as American citizens is legitimate and necessary to provide security for our people. It is my firm opinion, that nothing could be further from the truth. Secret arrests, secret rendition, tortures, assassination are illegal, under both domestic and international law. These activities should be an anathema to the citizens of a constitutional republic. The real threat doesn’t arise from are failures to torture, rather desensitizing our nation to the will for neglect and sacrifice of our civil liberties fought and died for over the centuries, is the threat. The concept of Ha-beaus Corpus existed even before King John of England was forced in 1215 by his rebellious barons to sign the magna carta. This basic principle and expression of individual liberty which has survived 800 years greatly influenced the writing of our constitution, and out common law heritage, today we hardly hear a whimper either from the American people or a stone silent US government as our cherished liberties are eradicated. Instead we have a government that deliberately orchestrates needless fear and makes people insecure enough to ignore the reality of their lost liberties. The last outrage is the current administrations acknowledgment that we now have a policy that permits assassination, not only of foreign suspects but of American citizens as well. Of course the CIA has used secret assassinations in a limited fashion for decades despite international and domestic moral law, when done secretly as in the past, our government at least recognize assassination was illegal and wrong, frighteningly and astonishing however, the policy is now explicit, National Intelligence Director, Dennis Blair, in open testimony before the house intelligence committee on February 3rd of this year, acknowledged that American citizens can indeed be assassinated at our governments discretion. The US government attempted to assassinate Anwar Maki in Yemen without even charging him with a crime. We are told that this evidence is secret, and he does not deserve any constitutional rights, and that some unknown individual in the administration has the authority to declare him a threat and therefore a legitimate target for assassination. Yes, I know he’s probably a very bad person. Yes, I know only a few Americans are on the assassination hit list. Yes, I know that artificially generated fear makes a large number of Americans inclined to applaud this effort which will supposedly make us safe. But if this will become standard operating procedure, and a permanent precedent is established – let me assure you that this abuse of the law will spread. It’s time for Congress and the American people to wake up to the realities of the dangers, we face. We must remember as members of congress that we have taken an oath to protect and defend the constitution from all enemies foreign and domestic. It should not be that difficult to distinguish the difference between the danger posed by the underwear bomber and the danger posed by the government that endorses, secret prison, torture, and assassinating American Citizens. And I yield back with the balance of my time.
The gentle men yields back. For what purpose does the gentleman from California arise.
To request permission to take ???zio’s time
Without objection the gentleman is recognized for five minutes.
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