Thursday, August 30, 2007

Piracy, terrorism and the wider view

The following is a personal outlook paper of The Jacksonian Party originally posted at Dumb Looks Still Free.

It gets immoderate, be warned!

The argument I am making to treat terrorism as piracy is not new, and thank you to Eagle for sending me a couple of links! One is to an article by Douglas R. Burgess Jr at Legal Affairs Magazine (July/August 2005): The Dread Pirate Bin Laden. I read that with interest as it goes through legal processes in an attempt to dig up and create a framework for prosecuting terrorism. He cites the problem the UN is having with creating such a thing, due to the political problems of Nations and 'terrorism'. From there he moves a bit further on to start digging into piracy and the framework around it. Later in Legal Affairs Magazine would be a debate between Michael Byers and Mr. Burgess on this: Can laws against piracy help stop terrorism?

With that I will try to present a wider view of piracy, civil law, military law and this last law that remains unaddressed: the law of nations.

In Mr. Burgess' article, he traces the movement of piracy as a concept from ancient times and its re-emergence after the fall of the Empire. By the 16th and 17th century piracy had returned along with trade, and so had the concept of 'privateers', which gave sanction to owned ships by merchants to be outfitted with war making ability to combat pirates. Under National sanction, flying the colors of that Nation, privateering allowed for Nations to engage each other on the high seas not only to combat pirates, but to be an auxiliary of the Navy of the Nation involved.

Now I will digress from the analysis of the article, some, to give some background. This concept of warfare is still enshrined in the US Constitution under the Letters of Marque and Reprisal language for Congressional war making capability and in the US Code giving the President a procedure to call upon Privateers to respond to National needs. The United States has a very different view of these things that cannot, ever, be wished away by treaty: these are specific powers granted to government by the People and only the People may amend the US Constitution. The US cannot sign onto anything that would limit its privateer power granted to the government, save to regularize them. For the US this means that piracy has a view to it that does not rapidly evolve, and that the ability to deem individuals and organizations as acting as pirates is one of the few things that has been stable on the landscape since the founding. Privateers act under US legal sanction, fly colors and are accountable to the Nation for their actions. Pirates are out for their own purposes, without sanction and unwarranted.

Thus when Mr. Burgess makes the statement of the 1856 Treaty of Paris outlawing privateers, which it did, even with signing it the US must consider those sections regarding privateers to be ineffectual and null. The US has established rules for this, from time to time, and the last time that privateers were used was in the US Civil War, and since then we have told most Nations we go to war with that we will not be using privateers against them. That is courtesy, not mandate.

His course of the evolution of piracy is good founding for it, but the depth of humanity's detesting of them really could be expanded a bit. From there, however, he shifts to National domestic laws and out of the law of nations concept, which looks not only at the domestic portion of piracy, but the overarching sovereignty of individual nations to conduct affairs in agreed-upon orderly fashion. To me the citing of the terrorist aspects of Blackbeard and other individuals is interesting, but not to the point: these organizations, which ships are, were acting as independent sovereigns to wage war for their own gain or purposes. Civil law must take that into account, but the waging of war via utilization of war like means (in the old days with 'wooden ships and iron men') meant that such organizations had no law over them. They had, literally, stepped away from the civilized law of nations and put themselves outside the law. It is not the form of the attack(s), or the view towards creating terror, it is the utilization of war outside the strictures of the nation state that is the crime.

Now, Mr. Burgess comes back to this, with this lovely paragraph:

TO UNDERSTAND THE POTENTIAL OF DEFINING TERRORISM as a species of piracy, consider the words of the 16th-century jurist Alberico Gentili's De jure belli: "Pirates are common enemies, and they are attacked with impunity by all, because they are without the pale of the law. They are scorners of the law of nations; hence they find no protection in that law." Gentili, and many people who came after him, recognized piracy as a threat, not merely to the state but to the idea of statehood itself. All states were equally obligated to stamp out this menace, whether or not they had been a victim of piracy. This was codified explicitly in the 1856 Declaration of Paris, and it has been reiterated as a guiding principle of piracy law ever since. Ironically, it is the very effectiveness of this criminalization that has marginalized piracy and made it seem an arcane and almost romantic offense. Pirates no longer terrorize the seas because a concerted effort among the European states in the 19th century almost eradicated them. It is just such a concerted effort that all states must now undertake against terrorists, until the crime of terrorism becomes as remote and obsolete as piracy.
That codified effort did work wonders during the 19th century and drove piracy to the further reaches of Africa, Asia and other places also remote from the easy reach of the Naval forces in those days. The US could not sign the treaty, but did work to remove piracy from the seas in accordance with other Nations. That old fashioned form of high seas piracy still exists in those places, to this day, and there are reports of smaller forms of it returning in the Caribbean. For the most part these are true independent actors out for their own gain in the old fashioned way of robbery on the high seas.

  • Before heading into the international aspects of this and yet more civil law, it is time to backtrack to earlier days of warfare and forces on land that operated in ways like this. One can start with the bandit army raised by Josephus against Rome in 66-73 AD and identify it as such and the Roman attitude towards such a thing. Mind you Josephus *did* switch sides, so the history may be a bit shaky, but the concept was quite clear: bringing down an army that was fanatically inspired by their religion. Still called a 'bandit army' however.

  • Henry Morgan was a privateer but became a designated pirate after a land attack on panama, in 1671, that violated the peace that existed between England and Spain. Yes, one of the best known pirates became that way by waging illegal war on his own. He did have no knowledge of the treaty, however, and *proved* that and had the label of pirate removed. That is the aspect of where the civil law, under the Admiralty Court, plays a role: to determine *if* an individual had *reason* under lawful war to do the acts that he did.

  • And while someone like Grace O'Malley could be seen as fighting for independence, the form of that by having no Nation nor government backing her did make her an "enemy of England". A freedom fighter that would not put herself to the accountability of standing up something better, and so fought a private war against England, something that was not appreciated in the 16th century.

  • Some mention should also go to Bartholomew Roberts or "Black Bart" as he was later known, who's first act as a pirate was not for booty, as such, but to revenge himself upon the Principe of Princes Island. While ships and treasure were his long term aim, being on land or sea to work his ways did not matter much to Roberts, who would ensure that his honor and that of his ships was kept, all the way to the end of his life.

  • Moving to the 1850's we find the bandit army of Joaquin Murrieta in California, and his gang The Five Joaquins were hunted down and killed in 1853, with trophies being taken from the bodies of the leaders in the way of a hand and a head. That would be absolutely uncivilized for treatment of those not obeying civil law, although far more in accord with military justice of that era. Indeed the list of worldwide banditti is a long one, with various types and outlooks from mere criminal robbers to individuals on the run from the law to those opposing the law.

  • Even more recently one of the first paratroop drops conducted by the USSR in 1929 was against a 'bandit army' or anti-communist army in 1929 as described in Peter Harclerode in Wings of War, and by the designers of a Play by Email game Fire in the East. The use of regular military against roving arms of bandits is not unknown in history, and this would be the first use of, yes, paratroops against such. Yes, roving bandits in the 20th century!
The characterizations, of course, are mine, and I am not so much 'picking and choosing' but looking at an array of similar activities that have been defined as 'outlaw' and 'piracy' and 'banditry'. That is what this is about: how these individuals did their work and their methodology. The 'how' would not matter if on land or sea and was adaptable to both: it is warfare. Their methodology would vary by aims, taking castles from Chinese highlands or raiding sloops and treasure ships in the Caribbean or riding out against those that would use the law to stop you, no matter what your deeds were. 'Terrorism' was a means to work an end, not an end in and of itself. These modern day 'terrorists' use their means to work many ends, be it Islamic Jihadism to narcotics trafficking to communist insurgency. What matters is that they hold themselves accountable to no law and consider themselves to be a separate law unto themselves.

These have been characterized by others before the modern times, and as the United States was born before the modern times and rests upon these things and grew up with their understanding, the basis for addressing them fall into how they were addressed and what, if any, treaties and obligations regularize these things. Do note that treaties can only allow the US Congress to regularize upon established points and none of those may contravene the Constitution which is the basis for the Nation. Only the People can do that, not a treaty.

For this the immediate precedent is Blackstone's Commentaries, in particular from Book 4, Chapter 5 on pp. 72-74, published 1765-9:
III. LASTLY, the crime of piracy, or robbery and depredation upon the high feas, is an offence againft the univerfal law of fociety ; a pirate being, according to fir Edward Coke k, boftis humani generis. As therefore he has renounced all the benefits of fociety and government, and has reduced himfelf afrefh to the favage ftate of nature, by declaring war againft all mankind, all mankind muft declare war againft him : fo that every community hath a right, by the rule of felf-defence, to inflict that punifhment upon him, which every individual would in a ftate of nature have been otherwife entitled to do, any invafion of his perfon or perfonal property.

BY the antient common law, piracy, if committed by a fubject, was held to be a fpecies of treafon, being contrary to his natural allegiance ; and by an alien to be felony only : but now, fince tha ftatute of treafons, 25 Edw. III. c.2. it is held to be only felony in a fubject l. Formerly it was only cognizable by the admiralty courts, which proceed by the rule of the civil law m. But, it being inconfiftent with the liberties of the nation, that any man's life fhould be taken away, unlefs by the judgment of his peers, or the common law of the land, the ftatute 28 Hen.VIII. c.15. eftablifhed a new jurifdiction for this purpofe ; which proceeds according to the courfe of the common law, and of which we fhall fay more hereafter.

THE offence of piracy, by common law, confifts in committing thofe act of robbery and depredation upon the high feas, which, if committed upon land, would have amounted to felony there n. as, by ftatute 11&12 W.III.c.7. if any natural born fubjeft commits any act of hoftility upon the high feas, againft others of his majefty's fubjefts, under colour of a commiffion from any foreign power ; this, though it would only be an act of war in an alien, fhall be conftrued piracy in a fubject. And farther, any commander, or other feafaring perfon, betraying his truft, and running away with any fhip, boat, ordnance, ammunition, or goods ; or yielding them up voluntarily to a pirate ; or confpiring to do thefe acts ; or any perfon confing the commander of a veffel, to hinder him from fighting in defence his fhip, or to caufe a revolt on board ; fhall, for each of thefe offences, be adjudged a pirate, felon, and robber, and fhall fuffer death, whether he be principal or acceffory. By the ftatute 8 Geo. I. c.24. the trading with known pirates, or furnifhing them with ftores or ammunition, or fitting out any veffel for that purpofe, or in any wife confulting, combining, confederating, or correfponding with them ; or the forcibly boarding any merchant veffel, though without feifing or carrying her off, and deftroying or throwing any of the goods overboard ; fhall be keemed piracy : and all acceffories to piracy, are declared to be principal pirates, and felons without benefit of clergy. By the fame ftyatutes alfo, (to encourage the defence of merchant veffels againft pirates) the commanders or feamen qounded, and the widows of fuch feamen as are flain, in any piratical engagement, fhall be entitled to a bounty, to be divided among them, not exceeding one fiftieth part of the value of the cargo on board : and fuch wounded feamen fhall entitled to the penfion of Greenwich hofpital ; which no other feamen are, except only fuch as have ferved in a fhip of war. And if the commander fhall behave cowardly, by not defending the fhip, if fhe carries guns or arms, or fhall difcharge the mariners from fighting, fo that the fhip falls into the hands of pirates, fuch commander fhall forfeit all his wages, and fuffer fix months imprifonment.
This is under the chapter "Of the law of nations" and this is offense #3 that is commonly noted as being against the law of nations. Blackstone is succinct that anything that would be an act of war in a subject of a Nation is, when done without warrant or National backing, piracy. The United States was fully cognizant of this, and had Vice Admiralty Courts in some of the colonies (the Massachusetts colony, as an example), so when the Revolution came, the idea of having such a concept embedded in the new Nation would have been present. Indeed, in the long list of the bill of particulars of the Declaration of Independence, there are some items dealing with the laws of the sea and the laws of nations:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
And this was followed up with:
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.
As part of that long list were things that established Nations did in the Admiralty realm that were being neglected or even transgressed against the People of the colonies. The Crown was going *against* the laws of the high seas as it existed, and was seen as illegitimate for that. By not hearing the pleas of subjects, by ruling without regard to established law and by going against the most basic sea rights of the colonies and even suspending or abolishing established courts, the Crown was seen, itself, as violating its compacts with its colonies. Further, the Crown then waged illegitimate war on its subjects, attacked coastlines and shipping and impressed individuals to fight against their own people in the colonies.

This was seen as unlawful under common law and even under the basics of the law of nations: not only was the Crown waging war and transgressing against its own people, but by doing so without giving them any ability to be heard in parliament. This was seen as illegitimate warfare to suppress the colonies and they revolted. The Declaration of Independence serves as a touchstone of what, to the US, is and is not legitimate in the way of the use of force by a sovereign power over its own people when said people are would normally have rights of redress via the courts and legislature. George III had gone piratical against the colonies at sea and on land and waged illegitimate war because he refused to uphold his own laws to hear grievances and have parliament address them. That was an act of an outlaw, stepping beyond the law. A Sovereign Nation may do that to enemy Nations, once declared, but to do that to one's own people when they have right of redress that is suspended from them is not legitimate.

Yes, the US is founded in a fight against an illegitimate war against its own people. That *was* what it was about about and it was war not waged for booty or personal gain, but as an act to suppress subjects of a Sovereign who was abusing said subjects and not giving them the rights that had been given mandate by the Magna Carta, and following laws, and by the concept of the Westphalian Nation State. (also text of Magna Carta here)

To run the Revolution and the Nation immediately after the Revolutionary War, the Articles of Confederation were established. This document was a relatively loose framework between the States so as to allow each to be Sovereign and yet have Confederated powers between them. One of these was addressing piracy:

The United States in Congress assembled, shall have the sole and exclusive right and power of determining on peace and war, except in the cases mentioned in the sixth article -- of sending and receiving ambassadors -- entering into treaties and alliances, provided that no treaty of commerce shall be made whereby the legislative power of the respective States shall be restrained from imposing such imposts and duties on foreigners, as their own people are subjected to, or from prohibiting the exportation or importation of any species of goods or commodities whatsoever -- of establishing rules for deciding in all cases, what captures on land or water shall be legal, and in what manner prizes taken by land or naval forces in the service of the United States shall be divided or appropriated -- of granting letters of marque and reprisal in times of peace -- appointing courts for the trial of piracies and felonies commited on the high seas and establishing courts for receiving and determining finally appeals in all cases of captures, provided that no member of Congress shall be appointed a judge of any of the said courts.
Here the Congress reserves for itself the right of creating the courts that will oversee all the interactions of the States with foreign powers, and will include determinations on piracy. The United States was not born into the modern era of grand Nation State warfare, but into the rough and tumble of those waging war on land and sea that are no Nation. The Letters language, here, indicates that such in time of peace is only done by Congress, and that all felonies on the high seas is amenable only to the courts set by Congress for the Confederation. That said, as each State is a true Sovereign, they also get their territorial or near sea jurisdiction, but it must conform with Confederal laws in that realm. This era of the 'prize capture' was one when smaller Nations often could not raise or keep a Navy and depended upon their merchantmen for defense. By outfitting merchant ships with arms, the Nation could be defended and the right to captured material and goods was a form of payment done, usually via auction. The system of Prize Courts is one in which acts of war and piracy are determined and the legitimacy of prizes is sustained when merchantmen fight for their Nation. Also note that this system of warfare is NOT limited to the seas and that captures on land or 'reprisals' against Nations at war or against those waging illegitimate war are fully upheld.

Prize Courts are of the Admiralty Jurisdiction, but civil in Nature, but often had naval officers or tribunals to determine the state of the law. A 'rough and ready' era of warfare and civil law, to be sure, and as later treaties would outlaw the use of privateers and codify everything to military jurisdiction, most of the piracy laws would fall, by default in the US and UK, into the civil realm. As it was civilian control of the military, so it was civilian control over the courts overseeing the Admiralty jurisdiction. And it is a separate jurisdiction *within* our current federal law, even though it falls under the US Code, and is heard by the Federal Courts. The reason this was done in the Articles of Confederation is that there was no Executive to serve as Head of State for the Confederacy: Congress had EVERYTHING that concerned the overall operation of the Confederacy under its power. That was the operation of the Confederation, which would give the States great say, except over all things foreign which was held as a common cause amongst them.

In the US the first Congress with the Judiciary Act of 1789 would further that, to remove any Naval input into the procedure, with this:
SEC . 9. And be it further enacted, That the district courts shall have, exclusively of the courts of the several States, cognizance of all crimes and offences that shall be cognizable under the authority of the United States, committed within their respective districts, or upon the high seas; where no other punishment than whipping, not exceeding thirty stripes, a fine not exceeding one hundred dollars, or a term of imprisonment not exceeding six months, is to be inflicted; and shall also have exclusive original cognizance of all civil causes of admiralty and maritime jurisdiction, including all seizures under laws of impost, navigation or trade of the United States, where the seizures are made, on waters which are navigable from the sea by vessels of ten or more tons burthen, within their respective districts as well as upon the high seas; saving to suitors, in all cases, the right of a common law remedy, where the common law is competent to give it; and shall also have exclusive original cognizance of all seizures on land, or other waters than as aforesaid, made, and of all suits for penalties and forfeitures incurred, under the laws of the United States. And shall also have cognizance, concurrent with the courts of the several States, or the circuit courts, as the case may be, of all causes where an alien sues for a tort only in violation of the law of nations or a treaty of the United States. And shall also have cognizance, concurrent as last mentioned, of all suits at common law where the United States sue, and the matter in dispute amounts, exclusive of costs, to the sum or value of one hundred dollars. And shall also have jurisdiction exclusively of the courts of the several States, of all suits against consuls or vice-consuls, except for offences above the description aforesaid. And the trial of issues in fact, in the district courts, in all causes except civil causes of admiralty and maritime jurisdiction, shall be by jury.


SEC . 19. And be it further enacted, That it shall be the duty of circuit courts, in causes in equity and of admiralty and maritime jurisdiction, to cause the facts on which they found their sentence or decree, fully to appear upon the record either from the pleadings and decree itself, or a state of the case agreed by the parties, or their counsel, or if they disagree by a stating of the case by the court.

SEC . 21. And be it further enacted, That from final decrees in a district court in causes of admiralty and maritime jurisdiction, where the matter in dispute exceeds the sum or value of three hundred dollars, exclusive of costs, an appeal shall be allowed to the next circuit court, to be held in such district. Provided nevertheless, That all such appeals from final decrees as aforesaid, from the district court of Maine, shall be made to the circuit court, next to be holden after each appeal in the district of Massachusetts.


SEC . 32. And be it further enacted, That no summons, writ, declaration, return, process, judgment, or other proceedings in civil causes in any of the courts of the United States, shall be abated, arrested, quashed or reversed, for any defect or want of form, but the said courts respectively shall proceed and give judgment according as the right of the cause and matter in law shall appear unto them, without regarding any imperfections, defects, or want of form in such writ, declaration, or other pleading, return, process, judgment, or course of proceeding whatsoever, except those only in cases of demurrer, which the party demurring shall specially sit down and express together with his demurrer as the cause thereof. And the said courts respectively shall and may, by virtue of this act, from time to time, amend all and every such imperfections, defects and wants of form, other than those only which the party demurring shall express as aforesaid, and may at any time permit either of the parties to amend any defect in the process or pleadings, upon such conditions as the said courts respectively shall in their discretion, and by their rules prescribe.

Do note, however, that in admiralty and maritime jurisdictions trial by jury is not necessary. I do love those minimums that are allowed for others to decide upon! 30 lashes, $100 fine or 6 months or less imprisonment! Those were the days of real maritime jurisdiction. It is here that the Federal Courts get the law of nations jurisdiction from, also. That was more than reasonable at the time, as most of the admiralty and maritime cases, even then, dealt with navigation, safety and contracted payments. That remains the case to this day.

Part of the modern day haziness on piracy is due to this era of warfare, before the modern, having captures of prizes serving as payment to merchantmen and other companies serving under the banner of the Nation. There is a linkage between these things, but they are NOT concurrent: the activity of waging war illegitimately is, separately, seen as an offense against the law of nations. The activity of taking prizes for auction, as part of that era of warfare, comes UNDER the heading of it and when done illegitimately then falls under that broader concept of wars waged against the law of nations. The heading of that is given many names, but piracy has stuck the hardest in the mind due to a certain romance of those casting off all connections with civilization and then preying upon civilization for sustainment.

The law of nations did proceed as a concept from the founding of the United States, and as a full Sovereign Nation, we had input to that outlook. One of the writers of that era was Monsieur Vattel who would dedicate a series of books to defining the law of nations and giving voice to the common framework of the nation state system. Book 4, in particular, deals with the pointy end of State to State conduct, and would seek to give deeper outlook into what is and is not allowable under that system of the law of nations. The following is from paragraph 67:
Legitimate and formal warfare must be carefully distinguished from those illegitimate and informal wars, or rather predatory expeditions, undertaken either without lawful authority or without apparent cause, as likewise without the usual formalities, and solely with a view to plunder. Grotius relates several instances of the latter.5 Such were the enterprises of the grandes compagnies which had assembled in France during the wars with the English, — armies of banditti, who ranged about Europe, purely for spoil and plunder: such were the cruises of the buccaneers, without commission, and in time of peace; and such in general are the depredations of pirates. To the same class belong almost all the expeditions of the Barbary corsairs: though authorized by a sovereign, they are undertaken without any apparent cause, and from no other motive than the lust of plunder. These two species of war, I say, — the lawful and the illegitimate, — are to be carefully distinguished, as the effects and the rights arising from each are very different.
Again, the declaration is precedential in typification: legitimate warfare is taken up by Nations while predatory wars are taken up by groups and individuals with no lawful backing. This is a hard and fast distinction between what is and is not seen as lawful by the law of nations, and without any Nation State backing, warfare is illegitimate. This is extended in paragraph 68:
In order fully to conceive the grounds of this distinction, it is necessary to recollect the nature and object of lawful war. It is only as the last remedy against obstinate injustice that the law of nature allows of war. Hence arise the rights which it gives, as we shall explain in the sequel: hence, likewise, the rules to be observed in it. Since it is equally possible that either of the parties may have right on his side, — and since, in consequence of the independence of nations, that point is not to be decided by others (§ 40), — the condition of the two enemies is the same, while the war lasts. Thus, when a nation, or a sovereign, has declared war against another sovereign on account of a difference arisen between them, their war is what among nations is called a lawful and formal war; and its effects are, by the voluntary law of nations, the same on both sides, independently of the justice of the cause, as we shall more fully show in the sequel.6 Nothing of this kind is the case in an informal and illegitimate war, which is more properly called depredation. Undertaken without any right, without even an apparent cause, it can be productive of no lawful effect, nor give any right to the author of it. A nation attacked by such sort of enemies is not under any obligation to observe towards them the rules prescribed in formal warfare. She may treat them as robbers,(146a) The inhabitants of Geneva, after defeating the famous attempt to take their city by escalade,7 caused all the prisoners whom they took from the Savoyards on that occasion to be hanged up as robbers, who had come to attack them without cause and without a declaration of war. Nor were the Genevese censured for this proceeding, which would have been detested in a formal war.
The actual things that Nations may do to those waging illegitimate warfare is to treat them as robbers, which on the battlefield was due some of the harshest penalties including summary execution. Here the concept of 'depredation' is used to characterize this unlawful warfare and that piracy falls into the category of 'predatory warfare', which also includes bandits and such behavior. As this goes against the law of nations and, indeed, is a threat to all nations, 'predatory warfare' is a scourge of mankind as it seeks to bring down civilization by holding to no strictures of the nation state concept.

With this we hit the hardest and fastest problem with those wishing to make terrorism something that is fit only for the courts: it is an offense against the very nation state system which makes such courts possible. This is mankind at its basest form in which individuals and groups of them declare that there is no law over them save what they set for themselves, and then wage war on humanity. In past the piracy laws have dealt with the sub-species which plunders, but not entirely and not all the time. We actually have laws on the books against piracy, but we have NONE on 'predatory warfare'.

Yes, coming from the era of the Hague and Geneva conventions, after the Treaty of Paris outlawing privateers, it was thought that no one would do that! Indeed, piracy laws on the books were thought to cover the various species of 'predatory warfare' and yet, today, in this highly and extremely legalistic environment, we find that those exact, same laws do NOT do so. Instead there is this running around trying to make some brand, spanking new term of 'terrorism', which was USED by pirates to attack folks and appear horrific and horrible, but to call that same activity today, shorn of booty, rum and parrot, now has all sorts of folks going all colly-wobble. Apparently trying to define a tactic used in 'predatory warfare' is NOT addressing 'predatory warfare'.

Even more fun, since the US does NOT define privateering and piracy as the same thing, and cannot because of the US Constitution, we come to the glorious conclusion that all those lovely treaties on warfare, necessary to restrict and humanize it as best as can be done for Nations have ZERO applicability to those waging 'predatory warfare'. When sending soldiers out to fight such critters, and when they are captured and found to be 'illegal enemy combatants' you have just defined 'predatory warfare'. It is a crime, and indeed the HIGHEST CRIME, against the law of nations as it seeks to remove the entirety of the Nation State system from this planet and replace it with personal warfare waged by unaccountable warlords. These individuals see no need to follow any law or be held accountable to it, not *just* robbery... although a number of them still do *that* too. Nor *just* robbery by attack on the high seas, although that still goes on to this day off of the eastern coast of Africa, in the near Asiatic waters, and even, if reports be heard about Jamaat al Muslimeen and the such, in the Caribbean. Apparently the way to get money is no longer *just* on the high seas or even primarily from it. Far easier to be a 'terrorist' extract funds from people too afraid to attack you, set up lawless camps in the high mountain regions or in jungle areas that can't be easily controlled or to exploit Nations too weak to fend off such outlaws, and then with those funds to work your will upon the world at large.

And yet we dare not call it 'warfare' nor codify it because that would give 'legitimacy' to such actors! Yes, calling them 'predators' and sentencing them to, say, life imprisonment as is done for pirates, is just far too much for the sensitive stomachs of the legal profession and the international law folks. There is a large portion of the legal community that wants to make damned near everything 'civil law', but they are stuck because they want to define a stinking TACTIC as illegal.

And what does *that* look like? Well, it has 904 Sections to it. Paragraphs and sub-paragraphs galore.

And the Piracy Statutes? A grand total of: 10. And the verbiage is tart and straight to the point.

Do we see a problem here?

So while the military shouldn't be in the business of trying those committing illegitimate acts of war against the US, perhaps civil lawyers shouldn't be influencing the writing of the law for it either. In fact, at this point in time, looking at the Piracy and Terrorism laws, the brevity of the former is something to applaud and heartily and hang my head in shame at the over-lawyered, weasel worded, multi-level, beast that forms the 'anti-terrorism' law in the US. If you can't simply call it a form of predatory warfare under the law of nations and unwarranted by any nation, then why not just SAY SO? Just like is done in 18 USC 1651:
Sec. 1651. Piracy under law of nations

Whoever, on the high seas, commits the crime of piracy as defined by the law of nations, and is afterwards brought into or found in the United States, shall be imprisoned for life.
Yeah. One sentence. Simple, short and to the point. How about this one, 18 USC 1653:
Sec. 1653. Aliens as pirates

Whoever, being a citizen or subject of any foreign state, is found and taken on the sea making war upon the United States, or cruising against the vessels and property thereof, or of the citizens of the same, contrary to the provisions of any treaty existing between the United States and the state of which the offender is a citizen or subject, when by such treaty such acts are declared to be piracy, is a pirate, and shall be imprisoned for life.
Model of brevity, while giving maximum flexibility. And making war at sea just against the citizens of the US is enough to do it, too... which is very, very strange as these are, by common agreement, 'outlaws', 'bandits' and waging illegitimate warfare... so, if they attack US citizens using warfare on LAND they are SAFE? Let me get this right: you can wage all the unaccountable war you want at sea and be a pirate, but go after citizens of the US via illegitimate warfare on land and we do NOTHING? Remember, piracy is a sub-set of 'predatory warfare' not the other way around. In theory a Nation should do something... but when the Nation is too weak or subverted or those doing this out of the reach of the law?

Thus you have it in the modern world: it is open season on citizens of all Nations by terrorists! Especially those 'terrorists' not of a Nation operating in a Nation too weak to counter them! They are not like pirates at all, right? Not pulling into a safe harbor to threaten the locals or anything, right? Don't mind the terrorist acts committed against the US in Iran, Beirut (three times!), Saudi Arabia (twice), Tanzania, Kenya, Yemen... that is just from two organizations. I mean waging war against the law of nations at sea is far, far different than waging war against the law of nations on land or in the air! And if those Nations can't bring themselves to call the organizations that sponsored and carried out such things as 'outlaws' or 'pirates', well we can't very well use our social values there, now can we? So you terrorists just keep on doing that and no one will really do much of anything to stop you, save put down hundreds of paragraphs of law that no one can read in which, if we can ever catch you, you have a good chance of skipping on it as it is just 'civil law' in support of 'civil administration' and not the Nation as a whole.

Much thanks to the lawyers and legislators and transnationalists of the modern world for signing the death warrant of civilization!

Too bad we can't call predatory warfare for what it is... just like piracy. Or re-examine the laws to see if what we truly were trying to get rid of was all forms of predatory warfare, of which piracy is a noxious sub-species that interbreeds with the main stock pretty often, or just the one type that keeps on cropping up. You are the folks that want to abandon the law of nations and go for some lovely international law that can't even describe predatory warfare. You've only had since the 1960's to do so, and failed mightily at it. Actually counter-productive as the organizations have become more plentiful, have more adherents and attack more brazenly than ever before.

So forgive me if I am not impressed with those who do want to utilize the law to protect those attacking it from the outside.

You know? Outlaws? Terrorists? Bandits? Brigands? Pirates? We are not placing them outside the law... they do that on their own.

hostis humani generis - enemy of mankind?

And the next time we have to go against those waging illegitimate war, can we send the lawyers in FIRST? They are so hot to help out and prosecute things, it is only right to see which is the worst predator of mankind: lawyers or those waging war illegitimately. Because I don't see us being made any safer by putting them in AFTER the hard work is done and then working very hard to LOSE it for us.

Now with that I am done ranting, it is time for the Supreme Court to weigh in, with the case of US v Wiltberger (1820), in which the following is given in the ruling section of the case:
Indeed it has already been, in effect, decided by this Court, that the statutes of Richard are not in force in the United States, as limitations of the admiralty and maritime jurisdiction granted in the constitution. By the judiciary act of 1789, c. 20. s. 9. seizures under laws of impost, navigation, and trade, on waters navigable from the sea by vessels of ten or more tons burthen, as well as seizures on the high seas, are expressly included in the admiralty and maritime jurisdiction of the District Courts. It is evident that Congress could not give the District Courts, acting as Courts of Admiralty, cognizance of any causes which were not 'of admiralty and maritime jurisdiction,' within the true meaning of the constitution; because, it would deprive the parties of their constitutional right of trial by jury. The objection was, therefore, very early taken, that seizures in ports, and in such navigable waters, as above stated, were not causes of admiralty and maritime jurisdiction, because those places were not, according to the common law interpretation in England of the statutes of Richard II. within the jurisdiction of the admiralty. But this Court has repeatedly overruled the objection, (La Vengeance, 3 Dall. 297. The Sally, 2 Cranch, 406. The Betsey and Charlotte, 4 Cranch, 443. The Samuel, Ante, vol. I. p. 9. The Octavia, lb. p. 20.) and thereby established the doctrine that the constitutional admiralty jurisdiction includes ports, arms, and creeks of the sea, as far as the tide ebbs and flows.

The learned reader will observe, that this position is not disturbed by the decision of this Court in the case in the text, (The U. S. v. Wiltberger,) or by that of the United States v. Bevans; (Ante, vol. III. p. 336. Bevans; (Ante, vol. III. p. 336. 387.) the only question in those cases being, not what was the constitutional authority of Congress, but how far it had been exercised; not what was the extent of the admiralty and maritime jurisdiction granted in the constitution, but how far it had been conferred by Congress upon any particular Court of the Union.
Now the ability to reach to pirates is, indeed, given here. This does, indeed allow sovereignty to a Nation of its waterways, but a foreign vessel that arrives is *still* on the high seas until it reaches fresh water or inland waterways. This is of particular interest to one attack, in particular that I went through in the previous post: that upon the USS Cole as it was re-fueling in Yemen on a 'good will visit' as an emissary of the United States. The argument is that the attack, taking place in Yemeni waters is under their jurisdiction. That is the case for the attack right up to the point it hits the USS Cole and damages it. Then the US, receiving an attack upon its vessel, while at sea, acting as an emissary above and beyond its normal protections, gives the US the ability to prosecute under the law of nations. That comes from three places:

1) Being in a saltwater environment which, while in Yemeni territory, is still viewed as the high seas by the US. We are there at invitation and protected via treaty and the Sovereign Nation of Yemen, and a vessel of the United States is considered under the laws of same for all activities on board the vessel and happening to it. This is three protections guaranteed by the law of nations: the vessel itself with its on-board law, the right of passage through Yemeni territory and not allowing an emissary to come to harm. Each of those was violated by the warlike attack. An attack upon the high seas that violates the law of nations is: piracy. One count for EACH violation as they are separate guarantees amongst Nations.

2) As being considered an extension of the United States, the USS Cole was attacked without warrant and the attack was disavowed by the Nation of Yemen. The attack was supported and accredited to and admitted by al Qaeda. Being no Nation it has no ability to legitimately wage war upon the US and that is an offense against the law of nations known as: predatory war.

3) By being no sovereign and basing an attack from sovereign waters upon a foreign vessel, al Qaeda violates the freedom of navigation and safety granted by Yemen of its near seas. This is a violation of Yemeni rights more than that of the US, and we suffer the effects of it in (1), but the Nation of Yemen suffers it directly and is a violation of the law of nations.

And as the Supreme Court, in particular, is very jealous of its rulings and precedents, and had already beaten down a number of statutes by Congress on this issue by 1820, it is very hard to believe that the US would sign over the sovereignty of its vessels to foreigners when still in a navigable environment not yet inland from the sea.

It appears that buried within the mass of law and decisions that there is some knowledge of this thing called 'law of nations' in the US and how to apply it. As I have pointed out before, on the military side between 1863 and 1898 the US Army did, indeed, summarily treat those acting like 'terrorists' as 'highway robbers or pirates'. And I place a whole lot more stock in Abraham Lincoln to authorize something that is legal and lawful for the armed forces than I do on the modern day crop of lawyers to make international law.

If 'Honest Abe' can find reason for the Army to throw those who wage illegitimate war into the category of 'pirate', then what is our problem?

Thursday, August 23, 2007

What is necessary to find terrorists to be Pirates?

The following is cross-posted from Dumb Looks Still Free.

The title asks the question and I am going to look and see if I can understand the law and the background enough to give answer. This is something, actually, which has meaningful underpinnings on how we view the world and its workings and will be heading into some places not often delved into. This is especially the case as the Civil Law of the United States of America is involved and it appears that no one is bothering to bring suit based on that law.

To start with it is always good to go to the beginning. The widest application of Piracy is held in the 18 USC 1651 and that is as good a place as any. That said my argument will be to the consideration of al Qaeda, as a whole, on the question of its being a Piratical organization. Thus we start with the Law as it stands:

Sec. 1651. Piracy under law of nations

Whoever, on the high seas, commits the crime of piracy as defined by the law of nations, and is afterwards brought into or found in the United States, shall be imprisoned for life.
That is very succinct in terms of outlay and, perhaps, one of the simplest laws in the US Code. One would think this is pretty obvious on the high seas part, but al Qaeda has been involved with that area, also, so it is best to start there. And a good as place as any to start is the USS Cole bombing in 2000. Jamal Mohammed Al-Badawi was sentenced and convicted of this crime, along with his confederates in Yemen, but he is also a part of this larger organization known as al Qaeda. This attack was after a failed attack by this organization on the USS The Sullivans in Yemen, which failed due to their explosive laden boat sinking before it could get to the US warship. The attack itself, in Yemen, took place in the 'Near Seas' of a Foreign Nation, which would normally be an act of war if this was done by that Nation. Established law gives the US Admiralty Court jurisdiction on all US vessels on the 'High Seas' plus all US ships at sea, regardless of their position within or outside territorial waters of another Nation. By that the ship, itself, is an extension of US Sovereign territory. While Yemen may prosecute for the actions taken in their territorial waters, the Sovereignty of the US was attacked and, as Yemen has denounced such attacks and had established safe passage for the USS Cole, this was an unwarranted attack.

At this point the Law of Nations must be looked at, which is, itself, relatively well established, thus allowing older documents to serve for a foundation of what is and is not acceptable behavior in this realm. To do this I will be using the translated text of Monsieur De Vattel from the Joseph Chitty edition of 1883: The Law of Nations. In Book 2, Chapter VI, Of the Concern a Nation May Have in the Actions of Her Citizens, in paragraph 71 we come to this passage:
WE have seen in the preceding chapters what are the common duties of nations towards each other, — how they ought mutually to respect each other, and to abstain from all injury and all offence, — and how justice and equity ought to reign between them in their whole conduct. But hitherto we have only considered the actions of the body of the nation, of the state, of the sovereign. Private persons who are members of one nation, may offend and ill-treat the citizens of another, and may injure a foreign sovereign: — it remains for us to examine what share a state may have in the actions other citizens, and what are the rights and obligations of sovereigns in this respect.

Whoever offends the state, injures its rights, disturbs its tranquillity, or does it a prejudice in any manner whatsoever, declares himself its enemy, and exposes himself to be justly punished for it. Whoever uses a citizen ill, indirectly offends the state, which is bound to protect this citizen; and the sovereign of the latter should avenge his wrongs, punish the aggressor, and, if possible, oblige him to make full reparation; since otherwise the citizen would not obtain the great end of the civil association, which is, safety.
Bolding is mine throughout. In the case of the USS Cole bombing the justice of Yemen is not the same as giving amends to an attack by an unwarranted organization. Such acts, when a Sovereign Nation disavows same, falls upon those that have committed such actions and for this it is more than just the immediate actors, although justice is done to them, but those who are their confederates in this crime against the United States: al Qaeda. For it is that organization that sponsored and committed this act through those that did the actual work. That work could not be done wholly on their own and the arrangement to put them into that position for such actions was consciously and deliberately done by their organization.

A ship of a Nation which represents the Nation in physical being and given safe passage is due the same respect as an Ambassador who is also a representative of the Sovereign Nation. Further, as the USS Cole was invited to such passage it did, indeed, serve as a Public Emissary to Yemen. These things are not without consequence, as Vattel would point out in Book 4, Chapter VI, Of the Right of Embassy, or the Right of Sending and Receiving Public Ministers:
Such being the rights of nations, a sovereign who attempts to hinder another from sending and receiving public ministers, does him an injury, and offends against the law of nations. It is attacking a nation in one of her most valuable rights, and disputing her title to that which nature herself gives to every independent society: it is offering an insult to nations in general, and tearing asunder the ties by which they are united.
It is not beyond reason to call an attack upon such a Public sending from the good will of the People of the United States to Yemen as represented by the USS Cole and freely offered safe passage and harbor by the Nation of Yemen to be a violation of the law of nations. If such an offense done by a Sovereign it is also one when done by those not a Sovereign. And when disavowed by the Nation in which this occured it is a violation of the law of nations in any event: it is the action that is described, not the intent. al Qaeda by doing this action was attempting to 'tear asunder' the ties being formed by the agreement to travel and the actual travels of the USS Cole itself. In Book 3, Chapter III, Of Just Causes for War, Vattel would look at the general cause for a just war in paragraph 26:
The right of employing force, or making war, belongs to nations no farther than is necessary for their own defence, and for the maintenance of their rights (§ 3). Now, if any one attacks a nation, or violates her perfect rights, he does her an injury. Then, and not till then, that nation has a right to repel the aggressor, and reduce him to reason. Further, she has a right to prevent the intended injury, when she sees herself threatened with it (Book II. § 50). Let us then say in general, that the foundation, or cause of every just war is injury, either already done or threatened. The justificatory reasons for war show that an injury has been received, or so far threatened as to authorize a prevention of it by arms. It is evident, however, that here the question regards the principal in the war, and not those who join in it as auxiliaries. When, therefore, we would judge whether a war be just, we must consider whether he who undertakes it has in fact received an injury, or whether he be really threatened with one. And, in order to determine what is to be considered as an injury, we must be acquainted with a nation's rights, properly so called, — that is to say, her perfect rights. These are of various kinds, and very numerous, but may all be referred to the general heads of which we have already treated, and shall further treat in the course of this work. Whatever strikes at these rights is an injury, and a just cause of war.
Due note must be taken on the defensive character, that receiving an unjust attack is due and sufficient cause to go to war in, and of, itself. He would expand upon this in paragraph 36:
Defensive war is just when made against an unjust aggressor. This requires no proof. Self-defence against unjust violence is not only the right, but the duty of a nation, and one of her most sacred duties. But if the enemy who wages offensive war has justice on his side, we have no right to make forcible opposition; and the defensive war then becomes unjust: for that enemy only exerts his lawful right: — he took arms only to obtain justice which was refused to him; and it is an act of injustice to resist any one in the exertion of his right.
Defensive war is always just against an unjust aggressor. The question is: is al Qaeda an 'unjust aggressor'? To most this should be obvious, but to examine this it must go to the heart of the type of organization that al Qaeda actually *is*. Those that can actually declare war are these things known as 'sovereign powers'. It is quite clear that to make 'just war' one must be a 'sovereign power' of a Nation or representative of that power. Chapter I, paragraph 4 is quite clear on this:
As nature has given men no right to employ force, unless when it becomes necessary for self defence and the preservation of their rights (Book II. § 49, &c.), the inference is manifest, that, since the establishment of political societies, a right, so dangerous in its exercise, no longer remains with private persons except in those encounters where society cannot protect or defend them. In the bosom of society, the public authority decides all the disputes of the citizens, represses violence, and checks every attempt to do ourselves justice with our own hands. If a private person intends to prosecute his right against the subject of a foreign power, he may apply to the sovereign of his adversary, or to the magistrates invested with the public authority: and if he is denied justice by them, he must have recourse to his own sovereign, who is obliged to protect him. It would be too dangerous to allow every citizen the liberty of doing himself justice against foreigners; as, in that case, there would not be a single member of the state who might not involve it in war. And how could peace be preserved between nations, if it were in the power of every private individual to disturb it? A right of so momentous a nature, — the right of judging whether the nation has real grounds of complaint, whether she is authorized to employ force, and justifiable in taking up arms, whether prudence will admit of such a step, and whether the welfare of the state requires it, — that right, I say, can belong only to the body of the nation, or to the sovereign, her representative. It is doubtless one of those rights, without which there can be no salutary government, and which are therefore called rights of majesty (Book I. § 45).

Thus the sovereign power alone is possessed of authority to make war. But, as the different rights which constitute this power, originally resident in the body of the nation, may be separated or limited according to the will of the nation (Book I. § 31 and 45), it is from the particular constitution of each state, that we are to learn where the power resides, that is authorized to make war in the name of the society at large. The kings of England, whose power is in other respects so limited, have the right of making war and peace.1 Those of Sweden have lost it. The brilliant but ruinous exploits of Charles XII. sufficiently warranted the states of that kingdom to reserve to themselves a right of such importance to their safety.
al Qaeda by being no Nation, having no territory and having none of the elements of being a 'sovereign power', as described earlier by Vittel, is not allowed to make war. There is no authorizing power for al Qaeda, not even their deity has granted them this power to make such war. Even with a claim of divinely granted right, it would still need to be contained in a sovereign power concept called a Nation. Without any linkage to being a sovereign power, the attack by al Qaeda cannot be considered to be just or legitimate.

In Chapter IV, paragraph 67 we can distinguish between lawful and unlawful war:
Legitimate and formal warfare must be carefully distinguished from those illegitimate and informal wars, or rather predatory expeditions, undertaken either without lawful authority or without apparent cause, as likewise without the usual formalities, and solely with a view to plunder. Grotius relates several instances of the latter.5 Such were the enterprises of the grandes compagnies which had assembled in France during the wars with the English, — armies of banditti, who ranged about Europe, purely for spoil and plunder: such were the cruises of the buccaneers, without commission, and in time of peace; and such in general are the depredations of pirates. To the same class belong almost all the expeditions of the Barbary corsairs: though authorized by a sovereign, they are undertaken without any apparent cause, and from no other motive than the lust of plunder. These two species of war, I say, — the lawful and the illegitimate, — are to be carefully distinguished, as the effects and the rights arising from each are very different.
The finding in the tribunals of Guantanamo have deep and distinct meaning by naming individuals as being unlawful enemy combatants. So, too, is the attack upon the USS Cole unlawful and illegitimate. Here we see that attacks purely for their own accord, given to spoils and plunder to benefit those doing the attacking but with no sovereign power to back them are illegitimate forms of warfare. Indeed they have special names attached to them: bandit, buccaneer, and, generally, pirates.

By the law of nations as described by Vattel, such an attack by this organization directly to its own aggrandizement, to go after the sovereign territory and good embassy of the United States as allowed for by Yemen is an piratical attack in and of itself. This is expanded in paragraph 68:
In order fully to conceive the grounds of this distinction, it is necessary to recollect the nature and object of lawful war. It is only as the last remedy against obstinate injustice that the law of nature allows of war. Hence arise the rights which it gives, as we shall explain in the sequel: hence, likewise, the rules to be observed in it. Since it is equally possible that either of the parties may have right on his side, — and since, in consequence of the independence of nations, that point is not to be decided by others (§ 40), — the condition of the two enemies is the same, while the war lasts. Thus, when a nation, or a sovereign, has declared war against another sovereign on account of a difference arisen between them, their war is what among nations is called a lawful and formal war; and its effects are, by the voluntary law of nations, the same on both sides, independently of the justice of the cause, as we shall more fully show in the sequel.6 Nothing of this kind is the case in an informal and illegitimate war, which is more properly called depredation. Undertaken without any right, without even an apparent cause, it can be productive of no lawful effect, nor give any right to the author of it. A nation attacked by such sort of enemies is not under any obligation to observe towards them the rules prescribed in formal warfare. She may treat them as robbers,(146a) The inhabitants of Geneva, after defeating the famous attempt to take their city by escalade,7 caused all the prisoners whom they took from the Savoyards on that occasion to be hanged up as robbers, who had come to attack them without cause and without a declaration of war. Nor were the Genevese censured for this proceeding, which would have been detested in a formal war.
This is predatory warfare conducted by an illegitimate actor called al Qaeda. Note that there is no consideration of 'civilized warfare' when dealing with those that wage predatory, illegitimate war. The US Congress has very kindly set a standard to be upheld when individuals are found to be waging illegitimate warfare from the high seas: life imprisonment.

What is interesting is that this is exactly how Abraham Lincoln authorized the US Army to deal with things in the Field Manual - 100, of 1863-81:
Art. 82.

Men, or squads of men, who commit hostilities, whether by fighting, or inroads for destruction or plunder, or by raids of any kind, without commission, without being part and portion of the organized hostile army, and without sharing continuously in the war, but who do so with intermitting returns to their homes and avocations, or with the occasional assumption of the semblance of peaceful pursuits, divesting themselves of the character or appearance of soldiers - such men, or squads of men, are not public enemies, and, therefore, if captured, are not entitled to the privileges of prisoners of war, but shall be treated summarily as highway robbers or pirates.
You have read that correctly. Those waging illegitimate war, who act as this thing we call 'terrorists' when captured by the US Army would summarily be treated as robbers or pirates. Those were immediate CIVIL PENALTIES handed out by the US Army, given SUMMARILY upon capture. Those waging illegitimate war in that era, who remain, to THIS DAY under all Treaties signed by the United States of America and ratified by the Senate, can be held to this exact same standard. The US has not signed nor ratified the 1997 Geneva Conventions on terrorism because we hold, quite rightly, that terrorism is NOT LEGITIMATE WARFARE.

It is Piracy.

I doubt, very much, if the Law of Nations has been revised so as to REMOVE the ability of sovereign powers to PROTECT its citizens against the depredations of those that would prey upon them. The United States has most assuredly NOT signed that right away as that would require a new Constitution. We the People hand the right to defend us from these Pirates, Buccaneers, Bandits and Outlaws to the President and to Congress to set the penalties involved. 'Terrorism' is an activity in support of Piracy, and there is one penalty given for Piracy.

Life imprisonment.

Unless someone can come forward showing and demonstrating that there is some *other* law of nations that the US operates under, then this would make a very, very interesting 'test case' the US Federal Courts to get al Qaeda branded as a Piratical operation and all those directly adhering to it as Pirates.

Might get the President off the dime on this too, come to think of it.

Any help on this is greatly appreciated.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

The Sea of Troubles we are in as seen from the Founding Generation

The following is a party outlook paper of The Jacksonian Party.

The idea that the federal government is the backstop of rights for the citizenry is a prime consideration for the generation that fought the Revolution and then saw the Confederation crumble under the weight of debt from that war. A war won to secure liberties was eroding them, by imprisoning the poor land owner, confiscating lands and concentrating power in the population centers of the States. The concept of a Republic to replace the Confederation was seen as a possible solution, but even then its track record in history was not a good one. The ideal of a Republic from the time of Plato onwards was just that: an ideal. While Atlantis may have had one, the remains of that civilization on Crete and the island of Santorini point out that it left no record of its prosperous form of government. Word of mouth kept it alive to be written down centuries later as an ideal government form, that somehow worked before it was extinguished from this earth by a volcanic eruption.

From that time onwards various forms of Republic had been tried by those at wits end as what to do so as to get accountable government. That failed time and again, and the Founders were seen treading into waters where the explosive mix of democracy and Republic would spell ill times for the future. To combat that the drafters of the Constitution did their best to ensure that some of the ills of past Republics and democracies were addressed. In the modern era we assume that this argument was superior as the unstable form of government created has lasted for over two centuries. That is, however, meager time to actually test this form of government and many pointed out the long-term ills seen from previous attempts:

Republics are divided into democratics, and aristocratics. The establishment of an order of nobles, in whom should reside all the power of the state, would be an aristocratic republic. Such has been for five centuries the government of Venice, in which all the energies of government, as well as of individuals, have been cramped by a distressing jealousy that the rulers have of each other. There is nothing of that generous, manly confidence that we see in the democratic republics of our own country. It is a government of force. attended with perpetual fear of that force. In Great-Britain, since the lengthening of parliaments, all our accounts agree, that their elections are a continued scene of bribery, riot and tumult; often a scene of murder. These are the consequences of choosing seldom, and for extensive districts. When the term is short, nobody will give an high price for a seat. It is an insufficient answer to these objections to say, that there is no power of government but may sometimes be applied to bad purposes. Such a power is of no value unless it is applied to a bad purpose. It ought always to remain with the people. The framers of our state constitution were so jealous of this right, that they fixed the days for election, meeting and dissolving of the legislature, and of the other officers of government.
That from Agrippa No. 15, by Agrippa on 22 JAN 1788. Republics, apparently, were known to have problems especially when the right to decide when to set elections was set by the government itself. Do note that the problems seen by previous Republics include such things as rule by force from the government in aristocracies and the outright corruption, bribery and mayhem that results from large districts in which voting is rare. The Constitution does, as Agrippa points out, try to address these problems, but is seen deficient in the actual powers given to the government:
I know it is a common complaint, that Congress want more power. But where is the limited government that does not want it? Ambition is in a governour what money is to a misar—he can never accumulate enough. But it is as true in politicks as in morals, he that is unfaithful in little, will be unfaithful also in much. He who will not exercise the powers he has, will never property use more extensive powers. The framing entirely new systems, is a work that requires vast attention; and it is much easier to guard an old one. It is infinitely better to reject one that is unfriendly to liberty, and rest for a while satisfied with a system that is in some measure defective, than to set up a government unfriendly to the rights of states, and to the rights of individuals—one that is undefined in its powers and operations. Such is the government proposed by the federal convention, and such, we trust, you will have the wisdom and firmness to reject.
Yes, this is the ringing endorsement of the Jeffersonian concept of suffering the ills of government until they are no longer tolerable showing up again 12 years after being put down in the Declaration of Independence. And the reason for that is a weak government between the States was seen preferable to a strong one that would seek to secure more power for itself over time. That concept of Ambition being to Governors as money is to misers - never having enough - rings true today as it did then. Those who seek ambitious ends for themselves seek to place ever more power in government and remove it from the People, who are the source of such power and legitimacy of government.

When that ambition is given into, and more power is vested in the government, it tends, as seen by Agrippa, to not be able to actually exercise nor utilize its powers well. Adding more power to government actually is seen as making it worse, not better and that major complaint shows up now, over 200 years later, with a Federal system that is decaying from the ambitions of those in the House of Representatives and the Senate to actually sequester power from the Executive and Judicial and place it in the Legislative.

The concept of 'representative democracy' is to have those elected actually known to those doing the voting for them. An ability to have a representative that does, indeed, represent your ideas and ideals and be held accountable for such are paramount. Brutus, in Brutus No. 4 on 29 NOV 1787, looks at this problem as it pertains to government:
In order for the people safely to repose themselves on their rulers, they should not only be of their own choice. But it is requisite they should be acquainted with their abilities to manage the public concerns with wisdom. They should be satisfied that those who represent them are men of integrity, who will pursue the good of the community with fidelity; and will not be turned aside from their duty by private interest, or corrupted by undue influence; and that they will have such a zeal for the good of those whom they represent, as to excite them to be diligent in their service; but it is impossible the people of the United States should have sufficient knowledge of their representatives, when the numbers are so few, to acquire any rational satisfaction on either of these points. The people of this state will have very little acquaintance with those who may be chosen to represent them; a great part of them will, probably, not know the characters of their own members, much less that of a majority of those who will compose the foederal assembly; they will consist of men, whose names they have never heard, and whose talents and regard for the public good, they are total strangers to; and they will have no persons so immediately of their choice so near them, of their neighbours and of their own rank in life, that they can feel themselves secure in trusting their interests in their hands. The representatives of the people cannot, as they now do, after they have passed laws, mix with the people, and explain to them the motives which induced the adoption of any measure, point out its utility, and remove objections or silence unreasonable clamours against it. — The number will be so small that but a very few of the most sensible and respectable yeomanry of the country can ever have any knowledge of them: being so far removed from the people, their station will be elevated and important, and they will be considered as ambitious and designing. They will not be viewed by the people as part of themselves, but as a body distinct from them, and having separate interests to pursue; the consequence will be, that a perpetual jealousy will exist in the minds of the people against them; their conduct will be narrowly watched; their measures scrutinized; and their laws opposed, evaded, or reluctantly obeyed. This is natural, and exactly corresponds with the conduct of individuals towards those in whose hands they intrust important concerns. If the person confided in, be a neighbour with whom his employer is intimately acquainted, whose talents, he knows, are sufficient to manage the business with which he is charged, his honesty and fidelity unsuspected, and his friendship and zeal for the service of this principal unquestionable, he will commit his affairs into his hands with unreserved confidence, and feel himself secure; all the transactions of the agent will meet with the most favorable construction, and the measures he takes will give satisfaction. But, if the person employed be a stranger, whom he has never seen, and whose character for ability or fidelity he cannot fully learn — If he is constrained to choose him, because it was not in his power to procure one more agreeable to his wishes, he will trust him with caution, and be suspicious of all his conduct.
In this view representative democracy that becomes distant from the individual voter and citizen is seen as less representative for those doing the voting. Complex ideas and ideals are not well represented with those that have huge voting population base, and their ability to actually speak out in a meaningful way for any majority of voters is hindered due to differences between the individual representative and the individuals they are representing. In the modern day House of Representatives the members represent, on average, 550,000 individuals and the ability of such representatives to be known for their wisdom and good deeds in their community is lessened and the ability for ambition to grow for any individual representative is high: by means of utilizing public goods and funds for their own purposes, members of the House have the ability to assure that their meager 'base' is funded. Laws passed from which Congress, additionally, exempts itself puts further distance from those that actually are the subjects of the laws involved, such as the labor laws instituted for the rest of the Nation or not putting forth the idea that 'freedom of information' should extend to the Legislative branch, also.

What is garnered from that are laws that the People will not obey in substance and often not in form. Taxation is rife for 'cheating' and seeing the unfairness of the tax code weighted, in theory, to have rich individuals pay more while companies and many of these rich individuals pay nothing. They are, even with that, the greatest source of income for the Federal government, but the idea of special tax law for one class over another distances the individuals, as a whole, from the common government. That devolves to the point where the power vested in the Federal government is not utilized to actually uphold its duties, say on immigration and naturalization or properly scoping out the size and needs of the Armed Forces of the Union, that the population loses confidence in these distant legislators who, apparently, now only legislate for themselves, their cronies and their vested 'special interests' that support the with kick-backs from Federal grants and contracts. Actual, simple things like identifying deficient bridges and repairing or replacing them are put secondary to funding such things as bike paths, State roads and even gardens for private institutions. The result, as stated by Brutus is painfully clear:
If then this government should not derive support from the good will of the people, it must be executed by force, or not executed at all; either case would lead to the total destruction of liberty.
Such government as this destroys liberty. If force be used it is a direct change from rule via the People to rule via the Strong. And if neglected the Laws of the Land fall into disrepute and the society and Nation slide into disunion, disharmony and destruction. Either is the death of Liberty which depends upon the structure of government and its acceptance and adherence by the People in a representative democracy. When that factor of personal knowledge and accountability is put at risk, Liberty is put at risk over time by the distancing of those that govern from those being governed.

That power of taxation and the influence of the wealthy and distant is seen as a major contributing factor to the destruction of representative democracy. In Cato No. 6 by Cato on 13 DEC 1787, the following passage is seen after speaking on the ills that taxation will not be able to address:
In what manner then will you be eased, if the expences of government are to be raised solely out of the commerce of this country; do you not readily apprehend the fallacy of this argument. But government will find, that to press so heavily on commerce will not do, and therefore must have recourse to other objects; these will be a capitation or poll-tax, window lights, &c. &c. And a long train of impositions which their ingenuity will suggest; but will you submit to be numbered like the slaves of an arbitrary despot; and what will be your reflections when the tax-master thunders at your door for the duty on that light which is the bounty of heaven. It will be the policy of the great landholders who will chiefly compose this senate, and perhaps a majority of this house of representatives, to keep their lands free from taxes; and this is confirmed by the failure of every attempt to lay a land-tax in this state; hence recourse must and will be had to the sources I mentioned before. The burdens on you will be insupportable—your complaints will be inefficacious—this will beget public disturbances, and I will venture to predict, without the spirit of prophecy, that you and the government, if it is adopted, will one day be at issue on this point. The force of government will be exerted, this will call for an increase of revenue, and will add fuel to the fire. The result will be, that either you will revolve to some other form, or that government will give peace to the country, by destroying the opposition. If government therefore can, notwithstanding every opposition, raise a revenue on such things as are odious and burdensome to you, they can do any thing.
Those that control the ability to tax will not know the bounds of restraint only of their ambitions, and those lead from the lightest of overall taxation to increased taxation on anything to raise revenue. Yes, the Federal government has gone much, much further than tariffs to: income taxation, tax on alcoholic beverages, tax on gasoline, tax on cigarettes. Any Federal government that can tax cigarettes can tax anything it wishes. By being able to win extensions of the 'interstate commerce clause' to have say over purely intra-state (within a single State) as seen in the recent Gonzolez v. Raich decision, then anything can be considered as 'having an impact on interstate commerce' be it legal or illegal, as the Raich decision was on ILLEGAL sales tracked by NO ONE. That is a bit of that folks not complying with laws bit seen by Brutus.

Purely this is abuse of power and seeking its extension by the Legislative branch and being agreed to by the Judicial branch and enacted due to the Executive prosecuting such laws. In theory the stated ability of Congress is de-limited to interstate commerce ONLY as no other power is granted to it by the People. The Executive by carrying out such law is complicit in agreeing to it and enforcing it and the Judicial is putting its seal of approval on breaking with the stated authority given to Congress and adding to it in a way strictly against the Congressional mandate from the People. Any government that can use any activity, legal or illegal, as an excuse to make law down to the lowest level within States due to 'commerce based activity' can legislate on anything it desires under that concept. That is a failing by all three branches in the modern era to actually just uphold the limits placed upon government by the People. I assume that yard sales will fall under the purview of this next. Or children swapping trading cards. All has value in commerce and, therefore, all can be taxed by the Federal government.

Now, not all of the Anti-Federalists were reasoned folks, and a few of them became quite immoderate and florid in their writing against the proposed Constitution and its backers. Yet, even in that floridness and vituperation, some sense of what can be lost and why can be garnered, as seen in Centinal No. 8 by Centinel on 29 DEC 1787:
But as it is by comparison only that men estimate the value of any good, they are not sensible of the worth of those blessings they enjoy, until they are deprived of them; hence from ignorance of the horrors of slavery, nations, that have been in possession of that rarest of blessings, liberty, have so easily parted with it: when groaning under the yoke of tyranny what perils would they not encounter, what consideration would they not give to regain the inestimable jewel they had lost; but the jealousy of despotism guards every avenue to freedom, and confirms its empire at the expence of the devoted people, whose property is made instrumental to their misery, for the rapacious hand of power seizes upon every thing; dispair presently succeeds, and every noble faculty of the mind being depressed, and all motive to industry and exertion being removed, the people are adapted to the nature of government, and drag out a listless existence.

If ever America should be enslaved it will be from this cause, that they are not sensible of their peculiar felicity, that they are not aware of the value of the heavenly boon, committed to their care and protection, and if the present conspiracy fails, as I have no doubt will be the case, it will be the triumph of reason and philosophy, as these United States have never felt the iron hand of power, or experienced the wretchedness of slavery.
That reads just like a modern day blog in its essence, although the command of the language is far, far higher than anyone in the modern era can, apparently, muster to express themselves. As one guesses the reason I concentrate on the Anti-Federalists is that they had some insights into how democracy and Republics can fail, and Centinal does point out that the blessings of liberty can become so commonplace that we forget it is special to us. We have seen historical examples of this in Germany, Italy, Russia, Spain... and many Nations of the 'third world' or lesser industrial powers in S. America, Africa and Asia. Rwanda, Somalia, Argentina, Panama, Laos, Cambodia, all attest to the failures of securing liberty against those that would seize power from a decaying system.

In Federal Farmer No. 8 put out on 03 JAN 1788, we get a view of the systemic problems of governmental systems that cannot adhere to common rule and the problems seen in Britain and Rome are compared and contrasted through the lens of historical analysis. Not bad for 1788! The piece concludes with this view of what happens when governmental systems decay in a representative democracy of free people:
De Lo[l]me well observes, that in societies, laws which were to be equal to all are soon warped to the private interests of the administrators, and made to defend the usurpations of a few. The English, who had tasted the sweets of equal laws, were aware of this, and though they restored their king, they carefully delegated to parliament the advocates of freedom.

I have often lately heard it observed, that it will do very well for a people to make a constitution, and ordain, that at stated periods they will chuse, in a certain manner, a first magistrate, a given number of senators and representatives, and let them have all power to do as they please. This doctrine, however it may do for a small republic, as Connecticut, for instance, where the people may chuse so many senators and representatives to assemble in the legislature, in an eminent degree, the interests, the views, feelings, and genuine sentiments of the people themselves, can never be admitted in an extensive country; and when this power is lodged in the hands of a few, not to limit the few, is but one step short of giving absolute power to one man — in a numerous representation the abuse of power is a common injury, and has no temptation — among the few, the abuse of power may often operate to the private emolument of those who abuse it.
When legitimacy is lost, either through outright corruption, usurpation of power or distancing of government from the People, then the government itself decays until conditions invite despotic rule. The concentration of power can happen not only by design but by neglect: the lack of oversight through incompetence or just not seeing something as a long-term problem. Thusly the concentration of power in the United States happens whenever fewer individuals represent more and more people. The President is chosen to lead the Nation in full, and the Senators to represent the interest of each State, but the House is the body meant to represent the will of the People and the neglect of actually having individuals that are respected and known in their communities by the majority of individuals creates a problem for representative democracy. By setting the size of the House by Public Law, the Nation has grown and each individual represents more and more individuals but has less and less accountability in the system. The Senate was created to give a stable outlook for all of the States and to quell the tumultuous view of the People with more reasoned guidance. Today that 'elder statesman' role is gone as the turnover in the House is so minuscule that there is no 'tumult' of opinion to quell. While the Nation changes to adjust to modern times as individuals, the tools of government lag worst in what should be the most representative body of the land: the House of Representatives.

When our most recent Congress came in with majority approval ratings after the election and has dropped month by month so that any approval is now near the margin of error of measurement for ZERO, one no longer has representative democracy with the consent of the governed. John Lansing, in his address to the New York Ratifying Convention on 24 JUN 1788, address the problem of what to do with unaccountable Senators and Representatives as he saw this as a prime concern when this National government:
Sir, it is true there have been no instances of the success of corruption under the old Confederation; and may not this be attributed to the power of recall, which has existed from its first formation? It has operated effectually, though silently. It has never been exercised, because no great occasion has offered. The power has by no means proved a discouragement to individuals, in serving their country. A seat in Congress has always been considered a distinguished honor, and a favorite object of ambition: I believe no public station has been sought with more avidity. If this power has existed for so many years, and through so many scenes of difficulty and danger, without being exerted, may it not be rationally presumed that it never will be put in execution, unless the indispensable interest of a state shall require it? I am perfectly convinced that, in many emergencies, mutual concessions are necessary and proper; and that, in some instances, the smaller interests of the states should be sacrificed to great national objects. But when a delegate makes such sacrifices as tend to political destruction, or to reduce sovereignty to subordination, his state ought to have the power of defeating his design, and reverting to the people. It is observed, that the appropriation of money is not in the power of the Senate alone; but, sir, the exercise of certain powers, which constitutionally and necessarily involve the disposal of money, belongs to the Senate: they have, therefore, a right of disposing of the property of the United States. If the Senate declare war, the lower house must furnish the supplies.

It is further objected to this amendment, that it will restrain the people from choosing those who are most deserving of their suffrages, and will thus be an abridgment of their rights. I cannot suppose this last inference naturally follows. The rights of the people will be best supported by checking, at a certain point, the current of popular favor, and preventing the establishment of an influence which may leave to elections little more than the form of freedom. The Constitution of this state says, that no man shall hold the office of sheriff or coroner beyond a certain period. Does any one imagine that the rights of the people are infringed by this provision? The gentlemen, in their reasoning on the subject of corruption, seem to set aside experience, and to consider the Americans as exempt from the common vices and frailties of human nature. It is unnecessary to particularize the numerous ways in which public bodies are accessible to corruption. The poison always finds a channel, and never wants an object. Scruples would be impertinent, arguments would be in vain, checks would be useless, if we were certain our rulers would be good men; but for the virtuous government is not instituted: its object is to restrain and punish vice; and all free constitutions are formed with two views——to deter the governed from crime, and the governors from tyranny.
That old concept of recall is embraced and enshrined as pertinent not only to the Confederation but to the Republic. The States would not agree to give up so fundamental a right as that so as to keep National government in check. Not *just* term limits for certain offices in the State Constitution are cited, but actual recall as a foundation not only for New York State but the Confederation. The seldom used right is one that indicates government is going far off track and the States under the Confederation had this power and its continuation via removing the legitimacy of the ballot by the State for its Senators and Representatives remains a primary right of the State as a negative right. It is asserted only to negate attempts by its elected officials to change the power structure in favor of the Federal government or just to the individuals involved. With the legitimacy withdrawn by the State, and the recall issued, such individuals are brought out of power by the State to ensure the Sovereignty of the States and the People within the Union.

No one person can catalog all possible ways a government can fail and revert to tyrannical rule, both Federalist and Anti-Federalist point out the ways it can fail. The Federalist side put safeguards into the Constitution via divided government, accountability of each branch to the other two and by putting in the ability of the States and the People to put the Federal government in check via the legitimacy of the vote and the power of the purse. Each of those pieces were designed, by the Federalists to answer the problems of the Anti-Federalists and to ensure that democracy in a representative form for the Republic would continue onwards. These were vital and necessary safeguards to protect against concentration of power, the distancing of those governing from the People and the ability to extract funds from anything that the Citizenry would do. Without those things government would trend, by action or neglect, to decay, disorder and then the rise of tyranny either by a single individual or by a group seeking to assert rulership over this disorderly system.

In a short span of 10 years these safeguards were all but removed from the Constitution by Amendment, with only the old right of recall still left in place. I looked at those years previously in a an article and looked at the social and societal repercussions of those actions taken to make government 'more active' and 'efficient' in the affairs of the Nation. That change in society because of those changes have moved away from the democratic ideals represented by the Constitution at the Founding. Direct election of Senators by the People removed the intermediary of State Sovereignty to keep the Federal system in check. Adding an Amendment so as to allow direct taxation of the People by the Federal government beyond mere commerce, but to go directly to individual wealth removed the distributed power of the purse held by the States previously, and, additionally, the Federal government passed into Public Law a set size for the House because it would be 'unmanageable' at 600 or so members by 1940.

Each of these basic and fundamental safeguards installed by the Founders into the Constitution so as to make it very, very difficult to undermine or corrode National governance has since led to a point in time where Congressional approval by the People of the United States has fallen to the level of noise in the polls. Congress has become so isolated that its support is no longer something that can be measured with accuracy, because that confidence in it has evaporated almost completely. The Federalist Hamiltonian solution of what to DO when you get to such a point is clear, and he wrote on that in Federalist No. 26 on 22 DEC 1787 about the abuses of Congress by action, but the same problem can be found by inaction as the Anti-Federalists point out in a section I do tend to cite quite often:
"The legislature of the United States will be obliged by this provision, once at least in every two years, to deliberate upon the propriety of keeping a military force on foot; to come to a new resolution on the point; and to declare their sense of the matter by a formal vote in the face of their constituents. They are not at liberty to vest in the executive department permanent funds for the support of an army, if they were even incautious enough to be willing to repose in it so improper a confidence. As the spirit of party in different degrees must be expected to infect all political bodies there will be, no doubt, persons in the national legislature willing enough to arraign the measures and criminate the views of the majority. The provision for the support of a military force will always be a favorable topic for declamation. As often as the question comes forward, the public attention will be roused and attracted to the subject by the party in opposition; and if the majority should be really disposed to exceed the proper limits, the community will be warned of the danger, and will have an opportunity of taking measures to guard against it. Independent of parties in the national legislature itself, as often as the period of discussion arrived, the State legislatures, who will always be not only vigilant but suspicious and jealous guardians of the rights of the citizens against encroachments from the federal government, will constantly have their attention awake to the conduct of the national rulers, and will be ready enough, if any thing improper appears, to sound the alarm to the people, and not only to be the VOICE, but, if necessary, the ARM of their discontent.

Schemes to subvert the liberties of a great community require time to mature them for execution. An army, so large as seriously to menace those liberties, could only be formed by progressive augmentations; which would suppose not merely a temporary combination between the legislature and executive, but a continued conspiracy for a series of time. Is it probable that such a combination would exist at all? Is it probable that it would be persevered in, and transmitted along through all the successive variations in a representative body, which biennial elections would naturally produce in both houses? Is it presumable that every man the instant he took his seat in the national Senate or House of Representatives would commence a traitor to his constituents and to his country? Can it be supposed that there would not be found one man discerning enough to detect so atrocious a conspiracy, or bold or honest enough to apprise his constituents of their danger? If such presumptions can fairly be made, there ought at once to be an end of all delegated authority. The people should resolve to recall all the powers they have heretofore parted with out of their own hands, and to divide themselves into as many States as there are counties in order that they may be able to manage their own concerns in person."
This goes not *just* for the armed forces, but whenever Congress via its actions of inactions drifts from representative democracy and into authoritarian governing. A scheme to divert representative democracy need not be by armed force: neglect and self-serving politicians can achieve the removal of legitimacy by sheer inaction and unwillingness to keep an accountable system in place. By removing the power of the purse from the States the Federal system now enjoys separate Sovereignty to do as it pleases without regard to State input. Funds need no longer be spent in the State's interest and, instead, the interest of the few in the Legislative can corrode the accountability structure to have National funds serve private needs.

We as a People were convinced that removing these safeguards in that era of 1909-19 would get the Nation 'better government' that was 'more active' in our daily lives. The counter to that is that any government that can reach that far down from the National to the indivdual without accountability due to removing State input and diluting the power of individuals and communities is then unaccountable to the People. The United States has badly erred in the last century, and while great progress in technology and the arts and sciences have come about, government has become unaccountable and untrustworthy in the extreme. As a People we will suffer ills of government until they are no longer sustainable, and then the thoughts of Jefferson come to the forefront. This system *was* accountable at one time: messy, lethargic, poorly funded and not too active in the lives of the People.

That is something known as: limited government.

Let us work together to return to it and accountability of such government to the States and the People.

Our very Liberty depends upon in it.