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US Government Can Kill US Citizens, But Not Strip Their Citizenship

Politics / US Politics Apr 27, 2014 - 06:21 PM GMT

By: Jeff_Berwick


While Daniel Swalm researched his family's genealogy, he learned about a particular episode in which his grandmother, born and raised in Minnesota, was stripped of her US citizenship after marrying an immigrant from Sweden.

Under the obscure 1907 law called the Expatriation Act, a US born woman who married a foreigner was required to "take the nationality of her husband."

His grandmother was forced to fill out an alien registration form.

"I could not figure out why Grandma Elsie had to fill one out, because she was born in the United States," Daniel said.

He's not alone. Others have discovered similar information.

"There are all these people doing their genealogy, and they come across relatives who were declared alien enemies during World War I, and they're trying to figure out why that would be if they were born in the United States," said Candice Bredbenner, a history professor at the University of North Carolina Wilmington.

A bill recently brought forth in Senate, which is likely to pass in a symbolic gesture expressing regret over the law, cites other women who lost their citizenship, including Ethel Mackenzie of San Francisco, who unsuccessfully challenged the law before the Supreme Court in 1915. The law was repealed and it has not been so easy to strip US citizens of their citizenship. Not as easy as in Britain, that's for sure! 


In this week's TDV Newsletter we go over how 42 Britons have lost their citizenship in just the past decade, 20 of which have been revoked in the last year alone!

How can Briton get away with it? Quite simply.

UK law states two grounds on which citizenship can be stripped: the Home Secretary finding a person’s presence not conducive to the public good, or a person receiving citizenship in a fraudulent way.

In the US, laws make it very hard to involuntarily strip someone of their US citizenship. But, rest assured, Barack O'bomber has a plan to get around that hurdle! Joshua Keating writes:

Since [a 1967 Supreme Court case called Afroyim v. Rusk], it’s been nearly impossible for someone to be involuntarily stripped of U.S. citizenship. Even if you join a foreign army fighting against the United States, the law says you will only lose your citizenship if you do so “with the intention of relinquishing United States nationality.” That intention can be tough to prove, and in Awlaki’s case, the administration made no effort to do so.

GOP House members have introduced legislation to investigate whether joining a terrorist organization constitutes a renunciation of citizenship. But frankly, given that US citizenship doesn’t seem to provide much protection when a drone has you in its sights, I’m not sure there would be any point.


And that brings us to the bitter truth about the United States. Although it has a history of stripping citizenship, it does not use the technique like Great Britain, which can summarily strip somebody of their citizenship, and generally does so while that unlucky person is abroad.

What the US can do, however, is kill its citizens. Or at least detain them indefinitely. The National Defense Authorization Act spells that out, a law the Obama adminstration defends fervently. 

But detaining its citizens indefinitely is not enough for a rogue government. Killing them is a reasonable proposition as well.

If you plotted to kill an American, you could end up in jail on a bunch of charges. When it's the president doing the killing, it's fine. You know, "legal."

Remember when the US went after an American abroad in Pakistan because he was planning attacks against the US? 

He wasn't  the only American the Obama administration had killed. According to the administration, it has killed four americans as part of its "War Of Terror."

On May 7, 2011, a US drone aimed at American citizen and key terror suspect Anwar al-Awlaki. The missile blew up a car with two other people in it, quickly labeled “Al Qaeda operatives."

That was not the first time the US tried to kill al-Awlaki. In one attack on his life, they blew up his teenage son. Nobody has argued that the boy was a part of any terrorist group, though former White House press secretary Robert Gibbs did commented that the killing was justified as he “should have had a more responsible father.”

FBI Director Robert Mueller gave some interesting answers before a House subcommittee in 2012. Asked if the president could order the killing of an American in the United States, he replied “Uh, I’m not certain whether that was addressed or not…. I’m going to defer that to others in the Department of Justice.”


Senator Rand Paul asked in 2013 if the president could authorize lethal force, such as a drone strike, against an American citizen in the United States. Attorney General Eric Holder answered that while the question was “hypothetical,” he could imagine “an extraordinary circumstance in which it would be necessary and appropriate under the Constitution and applicable laws of the United States for the president to authorize the military to use lethal force within the territory of the United States.”


The American public is being conditioned to accept the indefinite detention and possible killing of US citizens.  If you want to relocate with no strings attached, look into TDV Passports today and find out the steps to permanent travelerhood.  For those with considerable assets (small businesses, etc.), The TDV Wealth Management Crisis could help you save millions. 

But, it's not all bad, US citizens! Remember, your citizenship probably won't be stripped. Why would the US government do that when it can collect taxes on all of your worldwide income?

Anarcho-Capitalist.  Libertarian.  Freedom fighter against mankind’s two biggest enemies, the State and the Central Banks.  Jeff Berwick is the founder of The Dollar Vigilante, CEO of TDV Media & Services and host of the popular video podcast, Anarchast.  Jeff is a prominent speaker at many of the world’s freedom, investment and gold conferences as well as regularly in the media.

© 2014 Copyright Jeff Berwick - All Rights Reserved Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Individuals should consult with their personal financial advisors.

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