Pre-emptive Prosecution
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    Pre-emptive Prosecution

    Time discusses the topic of "pre-emptive prosecution." Like other pre-emptive strikes of late, it is risky. It means relying on often unreliable informants to infiltrate insular communities, and it means making arrests before anything close to a terrorist attack actually happens.

    It is designed to apprehend terrorists in the plotting stage before they strike. Pre-emptive prosecutions also raise the odds that innocent people could wind up in jail, because intentions are more open to interpretation than actions. There is also the risk that the approach will stir fears in certain communities of entrapment, squelching communication between law enforcement and potential sources. If the rumors of entrapment become so corrosive that no one in the Muslim-American community feels safe talking to the FBI, then the government has lost its best potential ally.

    The linked article describes a pre-emptive case where five men have been charged with conspiring to kill soldiers at Fort Dix.

    Link:
    The Fort Dix Conspiracy - TIME



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    Re: Pre-emptive Prosecution

    "That's the problem," says Michael N. Huff, attorney for Dritan. "The government does not have to wait. So you'll never know what would've happened."

    I guess we should have waited to see if they would follow through with the attack, as they tried to acquire assault weapons and maps of the base. I mean, who knows? Lots of young people do that.

    My question is, did the lawyer for these people write the article?



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    Re: Pre-emptive Prosecution

    The writer seems to be suggesting that to avoid the risk of alienating the Muslim community, we should go ahead and allow them to attack innocent people. Then they will like us better, and that will allow us to better investigate them for later plots that we will then have to allow so that they still like us.

    Plus, look.......they have normal looking wives and kids. Here's the picture at the top of every page. It's a well known fact that people with the ability to marry and procreate can't be terrorists.



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    Re: Pre-emptive Prosecution

    As long as the minority reports are published, I'm ok with this. What I really want to know is where they found the three mutants that are telling us about these future attacks!!!



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    Re: Pre-emptive Prosecution

    I agree... You can stop them from doing it... but you can't prosecute based them for something that didn't happen.

    They have to have broken a law first... Then you can arrest and prosecute.



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    Re: Pre-emptive Prosecution

    The article is completely deceptive. There is nothing "pre-emptive" about arresting and prosecuting people for conspiring to commit a violent act, especially one aimed against the government.

    Fortunately for them, the plurality of Americans are either ignorant, or gullible enough to swallow the excrement written in this article.


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    Re: Pre-emptive Prosecution

    I agree "pre-emptive" is not the word I would use for this. I would say, depending on the type and quality of information, the arrests could be considered premature, possibly illegal, but not really pre-emptive.



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    Re: Pre-emptive Prosecution

    Quote Originally Posted by cmoneyr View Post
    I agree "pre-emptive" is not the word I would use for this. I would say, depending on the type and quality of information, the arrests could be considered premature, possibly illegal, but not really pre-emptive.
    Premature if you buy into the article itself. They gloss over the central point in the case, which is that this group of people were acquiring assault weapons and plans of a military base, in order to kill American soldiers. I suppose they should have waited until the bullets actually started to fly?



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    Re: Pre-emptive Prosecution

    Quote Originally Posted by superdorf View Post
    I agree... You can stop them from doing it... but you can't prosecute based them for something that didn't happen.

    They have to have broken a law first... Then you can arrest and prosecute.
    What about this law?

    Conspiracy is a separate offense, by which someone conspires or agrees with someone else to do something which, if actually carried out, would amount to another Federal crime or offense. It is an agreement or a kind of partnership for criminal purposes in which each member becomes the agent or partner of every other member. It is not necessary to prove that the criminal plan actually was accomplished or that the conspirator was involved in all stages of the plannig or knew all of the details involved. The main elements that need to be proven ar a voluntary agreement to participate and some overt act by one of the conspirators in furtherance of the criminal plan. If a person has an understanding of the unlawful nature of a plan and knowingly and willfully joins in that plan on one occasion, that is sufficient to convict him for conspiracy even though he had not participated before and even though he played only a minor part. A conspiracy may exist when the parties use legal means to accomplish an illegal result, or to use illegal means to achieve something that in itself is lawful.



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    Re: Pre-emptive Prosecution

    Prosecuting conspiracy is preemptive, which is a good thing. Why wouldn’t you want to preempt violent acts, when it is a crime to conspire to carry them out?

    I have to admit that it seems like I just read a somewhat different article than some of you. I did not read it as being overly critical of what the government is doing. Pursuing conspiracies is necessary and important (certainly beats the alternative), but it is inherently riskier from the law enforcement point of view than investigation of physical acts. Such cases must utilize less reliable sources of information, and are hence much more difficult to prove. I thought this was the main point of the article.

    I was left with the impression that in this particular case the government had conducted a careful investigation, eventually leading them to the conclusion that there was sufficient evidence for prosecution; although there might still be some possible reasonable doubts. Whether the evidence is really sufficient remains to be seen. Regardless, law enforcement is obligated to bring a case to trial when in their best judgment they belief the evidence to be sufficient, and even if they loose the case it does not imply they were wrong bringing it to trial.

    Finally, criticizing conspiracy charges as being risky or speculative is certainly not new to terrorism investigations, or as it says in the song:

    “They got him on conspiracy, they were never sure who with.” (Bob Dylan)



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    Re: Pre-emptive Prosecution

    I'd say that each of our reactions to the article reflects point of view bias. That's not necessarily a bad thing, either.


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