Sen. Lindsay Graham

The Times Square incident of April 31 must have brought back some very painful memories of 9/11.  There is no telling the extent of the damage had the makeshift bomb exploded. Times Square, New York City, on a Saturday night, was the perfect time and place to send a bloody message to the new administration.

Yet the Shahzad story differs from the regular events that chronicle the war on terror. Unlike the 9/11 masterminds or the underwear bomber, Shahzad is a US citizen. Married with children, cumulatinga BA and a MBA, owner of a nice house in Connecticut, Faisal Shahzad’s only link to Pakistani talibans may have been tedious, az nothing in his past suggested he would suddenly turn against the nation he called home. Despite taking off to Pakistan after cumulating financial downfalls and a separation from his wife, Shahzad is no ideological jihadist nor a professional bomber trained for years in Waziristan – a recent 8 months trip would have provided the informations he needed to come up with his set-up, but this was amateur, likely to fail technology.

Shahzad was arrested and taken for questioning, then immediately confessed.  At that time, he hadn’t been mirandized. The Pentagon issued a statement saying that a court appearance was not time-sensitive as it would put a stop the flow of confessions that could be of prime importance. Senator McCain, the unlucky runner of the 2008 presidential election, is applauding this move. Catering to his radical base, McCain is of the perception that it’s perfectly acceptable to bluntly deny a citizen his constitutional rights, calling Mirandizing a suspected a terrorist “a serious mistake”.

Keith Olbermann said it better than I could: not only could this imply that Shahzad, if experiencing a change of mind or better legal counsel, could walk free on grounds of unconstitutionality -it could also mean the beginning of a terror state, where citizens are no longer protected by the basic civil rights their own constitution provides. It would also be a violation of human rights. The danger here is that Attorney General Eric Holder seems to follow McCain’s logic. But the Constitution is clear: the Fifth and Sixth Amendments, both dating back to the aulde age of Magna Carta, later led to the 1966 case Miranda vs Arizona.  The Supreme Court decision is clear:

The person in custody must, prior to interrogation, be clearly informed that he has the right to remain silent, and that anything he says will be used against him in the court of law; he must be clearly informed that he has the right to consult with a lawyer and to have the lawyer with him during interrogation, and that, if he is indigent, a lawyer will be appointed to represent him.

In a broader, more general aspect, the International Convention of Political and Civil Rights (ICCPR) states the same in Articles 9-1 and 9-2:

Everyone has the right to liberty and security of person. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest or detention. No one shall be deprived of his liberty except on such grounds and in accordance with such procedure as are established by law. […] Anyone who is arrested shall be informed, at the time of arrest, of the reasons for his arrest and shall be promptly informed of any charges against him.

This is getting scarier and scarier. In order to accelerate the freefall into a well of north Korean madness, Senator Graham, no stranger to methods of control and coercion, went even further. One of the majr flaws exposed in the Shahzad hunt lied in that a terrorism suspect, already placed on the no-fly list, could still buy a gun or explosives. Mayor Bloomberg of New York City, convened with the safety of a city becoming a favorite target, suggested that suspected or hunted terrorists be blocked from purchasing firearms or detonating weapons. If that sounds likesheer common sense to you, listen to Graham’s response, as quoted in The Huffington Post (5-5-10):

“We’re talking about a constitutional right here,” he said, explaining that he could not support a bill that would force “innocent Americans” to “pay the cost of going to court to get their gun rights back.”

There is no limit to his hypocrisy. Graham argues his refusal to block anyone from buying guns is out of respect for the 2nd Amendment. Graham is going to considerable lengths to endanger a population in the name of the Constitution. The right to bear arms was written in out of protection against a potential invading enemy. Terrorism is precisely the enemy of the state. In that situation, regardless of their actions, a terrorist who would also be a citizen would receive the protection of the Constitution. It’s a noble, albeit slightly controversial position. But Graham is installing a hierarchy in fundamental rights – the purpose behind Miranda is to guarantee due process of the law, regardless of whether the suspect is a citizen or not. Being in America means receiving a fair trial and being protected by Habeas Corpus. Would this not be America anymore?

The utmost, fundamental, historical rights so clearly tied to America being “the land of the free” could and should be waivered, according to Graham. Let them buy explosives, but god forbid they should be given any rights, like that of receiving legal assistance or not to be indefinitely detained.  The right to kill would prevail over core civil liberties? That Lindsay Graham is allowed to hold office despite an incredibly flawed reading of the law is beyond me. I would put Graham on my no-fly list for reckless endangerment of the nation and of its interests, as  as violation of fundamental rights. Step down, Lindsay, and remember – you do not have the right to remain silent, and you do not have the right to a lawyer.