Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Inflicting the Death Penalty Before Trial

-Jacob G. Hornberger
The case of Mohanad Mahmoud Al Farekh is a perfect example of how the national-security state apparatus that was grafted onto our federal governmental structure as part of the Cold War has revolutionized America’s governmental system.

Farekh is an American citizen. Two years ago, the Pentagon and the CIA — the two principal components of the national-security state branch of the federal government — were urging President Obama to authorize an assassination of Farekh. Apparently the request was controversial simply because the intended victim of the hit was an American.

Now, one might say, “Well, Jacob, what’s wrong with the national-security state’s assassination of an American? Haven’t you heard of the war on terrorism? In war, it’s okay to kill the enemy. And if the CIA and the Pentagon say that an American citizen is an enemy combatant, who are we to question that determination?”

Well, except for one big thing. Guess where Farekh is today. According to a front-page article in last Sunday’s New York Times, he is in New York City awaiting trial in US District Court! What’s the charge? You guessed it: terrorism.

That is precisely what I have been emphasizing ever since the 9/11 attacks. Terrorism is a federal criminal offense, not an act of war. It is listed in the US Code as a federal criminal offense. That, of course, is confirmed by the fact that federal officials are prosecuting Farekh in federal district court. At the risk of belaboring the obvious, if terrorism was an act of war, Farekh would be held as a prisoner of war, not being prosecuted for a criminal offense in federal district court.