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24 February 2010
The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under a previous order of the House, the gentleman from Texas (Mr. PAUL) is recognized for 5 minutes.
2010 Ron Paul 8:1
Mr. PAUL. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
2010 Ron Paul 8:2
What have we allowed ourselves to become? Are we no longer a Nation of laws? Have we become instead a Nation of men who make secret arrests? Are secret prisons now simply another tool of Federal Government law enforcement? Is secret rendition of individuals now permitted, out of misplaced fear? Have we decided that the writ of habeas corpus is not worth defending? Is torture now an acceptable tool for making us safe? Unfortunately, the single answer to all of these questions from the leaders of our country and to many of our citizens appears to be ďyesĒ.
2010 Ron Paul 8:3
And now we are told that assassination of foreigners as well as American citizens is legitimate and necessary to provide security for our people. It is my firm opinion that nothing could be further from the truth. Secret arrests, secret renditions, torture, and assassinations are illegal under both domestic and international law. These activities should be anathema to the citizens of a constitutional Republic.
2010 Ron Paul 8:4
The real threat doesnít arise from our failure to torture. Rather, desensitizing our Nation to the willful neglect and sacrifice of our civil liberties, fought and died for over the centuries, is the threat.
2010 Ron Paul 8:5
The concept of habeas corpus existed even before King John of England was forced in 1215 by his rebellious barons to sign the Magna Carta. This basic principle and expression of individual liberty, which has survived 800 years, greatly influenced the writing of our Constitution and our common law heritage.
2010 Ron Paul 8:6
Today we hardly hear a whimper, either from the American people or a stone silent U.S. Government as our cherished liberties are eradicated. Instead, we have a government that deliberately orchestrates needless fear and makes people insecure enough to ignore the reality of their lost liberties.
2010 Ron Paul 8:7
The latest outrage is the current administrationís acknowledgment that we now have a policy that permits assassination not only of foreign suspects, but of American citizens as well. Of course the CIA has used secret assassinations in a limited fashion for decades, despite international, domestic, and moral law. When done secretly, as in the past, our government at least recognized that assassination was illegal and wrong. Frighteningly and astonishingly, however, the policy is now explicit.
2010 Ron Paul 8:8
National Intelligence Director Dennis Blair, in open testimony before the House Intelligence Committee on February 3 of this year, acknowledged that American citizens can indeed be assassinated at our governmentís discretion. The U.S. Government attempted to assassinate Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen without even charging him with a crime. We are told this evidence is secret, that he does not deserve any constitutional rights, and that some unknown individual in the administration has the authority to declare him a threat, and therefore a legitimate target for assassination.
2010 Ron Paul 8:9
Yes, I know, he is probably a very bad person. Yes, I know that only a few Americans are on the assassination hit list.
2010 Ron Paul 8:10
Yes, I know that artificially generated fear makes a large number of Americans inclined to applaud this effort which supposedly will make us safe. But if this becomes standard operating procedure and a permanent precedent is established, let me assure you that this abuse of the law will spread.
2010 Ron Paul 8:11
Itís time for Congress and the American people to wake up to the realities of the dangers we face. We must remember, as Members of Congress, that we have taken an oath to protect and defend the Constitution from all enemies, foreign and domestic. It should not be that difficult to distinguish the difference between the danger posed by the underwear bomber and the danger posed by a government that endorses secret prisons, torture, and assassinating American citizens.