A Guantanamo Exit Strategy

We are engaged in a war to protect the civilian population. We are following the traditional laws of war. We are treating people humanely. That is different than oppressing people to keep yourselves in power. … And if indeed it puts us with less diplomatic leverage, that has to be weighed against the very real needs of fighting and winning this war.

Lee Casey on Open Source

Click to Listen to the Show (24 MB MP3)

Which would you prefer? [localsurfer / Flickr]

So it’s been four years since the first detainees arrived at Guantanamo. Four years that have seen allegations of torture and abuse, a number of releases, but only a handful of charges — the first of which, a conpiracy charge against a Yemeni named Salim Hamdan, was contested in federal courts and is now up for review by the Supreme Court in a couple of weeks. Last month, UN human rights investigators called for Gitmo to be shut down. And last week, more than 250 doctors condemned the force-feeding of hunger-striking prisoners.

It seems like a good time to ask whether Guantanamo is now a permanent state of affairs or whether there’s any way out of what is increasingly a global PR nightmare for the Bush Administration. So: What should we do next? Do the military commissions that will try Gitmo prisoners really stand on sound legal legs? If not, can we hold prisoners indefinitely until the end of the war (and how do you define that?) to avoid exposing sensitive evidence in a court martial or a US federal court? Is the pressure of world public opinion driving the U.S. to use other more secretive prisons for newer or more important detainees? Are Gitmo prisoners learning to hate the U.S. so much that they’ll be more dangerous when they’re released than when they went in?

David Cole

Legal affairs correspondent, The Nation

Professor, Georgetown Law

Katherine Newell Bierman

Counterterrorism Counsel, US Program, Human Rights Watch

Lee Casey

Partner, Baker Hostetler

Co-author, Bush’s Good Day in Court, Washington Post oped from August 4, 2004

Joe McMillan

Partner, Perkins Coie

Counsel for Salim Hamdan, Hamdan v. Rumsfeld

Extra-Credit Reading

BBC News, UN calls for Guantanamo closure, February 16, 2006.

BBC News, Doctors attack US over Guantanamo, March 10, 2006.

Jonah Goldberg, National Review Online Gitmo by Any Other Name…is still necessary June 15, 2005.

Larry Neumeister, Associated Press, AP Sues U.S. to Get Guantanamo Documents, April 20, 2005.

Anne-Marie Slaughter, TPMCafe, What’s at Stake in the Torture Debate, December 20, 2005.

Brandt Goldstein, Slate, Clinton’s Guantanamo: how the Democratic president set the stage for a land without law, December 21, 2005.

Brian J. Foley, Jurist, Why the U.S. Doesn’t Care about GTMO, and Why They Should, November 1, 2005.

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  • mulp

    A very important reference on this topic is “Habeas Schmabeas” on “This American Life” see today’s http://www.thislife.org/pages/home.html for a link to this segment as broadcast last weekend, or a special extended version.

    One thing that is surprising is at least one victim’s answer to the question “Are Gitmo prisoners learning to hate the U.S. so much that they’ll be more dangerous when they’re released than when they went in?” I believe that the answer “no” implicit in the segment is the result, not of the good treatment in gitmo, but of the transparency of the intervention on the part of Americans in these cases and the willingness of Americans to report America’s anti-America behavior.

    I believe that gitmo can be closed down, the criminals and victims rather readily separated, the victims compensated by simply letting them tell their story, and then giving them modest compensation and the ability to go where they wish. I think the best place for them to tell their story is in hearings before Congressional commitees or simply in public hearing held around the US. I believe that this would go a long way toward restoring the faith that those outside the US have held in American values.

    The obstacle to such simple action is the pride of the current Republican administrations in the White House, and both houses of Congress, and, to be sure, of a great many Democrats.

    One question to consider for the run up to the 2008 primaries: who among the many candidates will have the courage to issue an order closing gitmo within the first day of office, or even the first month?

    (While my admiration of Carter increases every year, I still hold his failure to have the courage to execute his campaign promise to repeal price controls on natural gas as his first action as President – his failure of courage had no material consequence as the controls expired less than a year later, but as a matter of trust, he betrayed himself. It was once necessary for great leaders to charge head long into battle, but today the true test of courage involves signing one’s name to a document that decrees merely that which was promised to the voters in order to win election. To do what is right, and true to America, requires courage that seems these days to be beyond the reach of mortal men.)

  • What should we do next?

    Impeachment.

    Do the military commissions that will try Gitmo prisoners really stand on sound legal legs?

    No, the evidence is not sound; and it is not presented for credible review. The “trials” and “reivews” are shams. Lawyers are not allowed to be present, only “representatives”.

    If not, can we hold prisoners indefinitely until the end of the war (and how do you define that?) to avoid exposing sensitive evidence in a court martial or a US federal court?

    Not legally. The “sensitive evidence” doesn’t justify anything. The real problem is the US made many mistakes and is illegally holding innocent people, and doesn’t want to admit their errors.

    Is the pressure of world public opinion driving the U.S. to use other more secretive prisons for newer or more important detainees?

    Yes, black sites in Morocco where torture is occuring.

    Are Gitmo prisoners learning to hate the U.S. so much that they’ll be more dangerous when they’re released than when they went in?

    No, the Gitmo detainees say they “enjoy the prison” because they are laughing at the guards. They will not be “more dangerous” because they are innocent. Rather, they simply roll their eyes at America.

    Summation

    The US failed to assent to the rule of law. Awarding bounties has triggered many bogus kidnappings. These should have been reviewed and screened out at a competent hearing, as should have been done under the Geneva Conventions. All White House assertions that the “laws of war do not apply” are frivolous — Title 18 of the US Code applies to US personnel in how they treat people in Guantanamo or Iraq. The US military and joint staff remain in rebellion against the Constitution and the laws of war. They are war criminals and should be tried as was done in Nuremburg.

    The US is making the same mistake as the United Kingdom did in 1679 — sending people away without trial. Lord Calendron was subsequently impeached. [For details: How the Guantanamo war crimes fit in with the impeachment and habeas corpus: Click] See my profile for more links.

  • mulp, it sounds like you are recommending something akin to the Truth Commissions in South Africa and elsewhere. That could go far.

    IMO, this topic is the same as many regarding the heinous actions of this administration and the unwillingness of the electorate to stop them in 2004. Nothing is going to happen. There are voices barely heard trying to shed light, but the majority are not listening. I’m still waiting for a true leader to emerge.One who is not ruled by fear or the desire for power or serve their own ego. I ask again, anyone see a leader on the rise?

  • I have just one request from all who comment on this show. If you say something about how the US is not complying to the Geneva Convention – go the web, read it and site the portion where we are not.

    Same with the US Constitution etc etc.

    All I can say to your answer to the questions above is “so says you” but the actual answers are often contrary to what you “feel” to be answer. The Geneva Conventions say that there are no charges to be filed because it is NOT a crime to be a COMBATANT is you act LAWFULLY as a combatant. Once again read the GC’s because it is VERY clear.

    And Constant – you say the detainees are “innocent” I agree that some probably are but there have been DOZENS who have been already relieved and who have since been killed or recaptured committing the same acts as before.

    And Constant yes, please push Impeachment becasue I want Republicans re-elected FOREVER! Not even Pelosi will come out for that one.

    And as far as the legality of the Tribunals – legality is, of course, for the courts to decide and it seems, at least so far and against all of your “informed” legal arguements, that the courts have said that they are.

    And Constant, finally, here is a link to the USC that you sited above.http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/html/uscode18/usc_sup_01_18.html

    I’ve just got a few hints, before this code can apply you have to be indicted and before you can be indicted you have to break a law and since you can’t cite a portio of any law that has been then you are a bit ahead of yourself.

    As I said, I would suggest that you actually read the Geneva Conventions, International Treaties, Uniform Code of Military Justice BEFORE you utter such nonsense as “war crimes”.

  • I think that this will be a very good indication of what people “want” to be true and what is “factually” true.

    As a primer on the GC I submit this link

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geneva_Conventions

    I know that this will be a “shock” for many but there is a link to the “laws of war”.

    Yes, there is a set of “ethical” guidelines that govern that act of killing (notice that I didn’t use the term ‘murder’) your fellow man.

    Murder is a legal term where you are “convicted” of killing someone “illegally”.

    If followed, the GC, UCMJ, and other internatioanl treaties make it LEGAL to conduct war. The people held in Gitmo are not protected by the GC because they had no Govt to sign it nor did they act accordingly.

    As is all legal contracts, it is 2 way street, if your govt agrees to the GC, you follow it then you are given its protection. NONE of those held in Gitmo have done that yet we are treating them IAW the GC. EVERY DESCRITPTION on ANY ACTION at Gitmo that I have heard is legal under the GC.

    So I have a challenge for Constant, find the most aggregious allegation of actions at Gitmo and then find where in the GC that is “illegal”.

  • Winston: It seems there is always a legal loophole available when those in power wish to commit acts of depravity.

  • I think allowing torture for any reason is a slippery slope. I heard a Tibetan Lama talk about his experiences in Chinese prison. He had no teeth because they’d stuck electric cattle prods in his mouth. This concerns me because I’ve heard the Bush administration refer to the environmental movement as our number one domestic terror threat. I just don’t think I would hold up as well as that Tibetan Lama.

  • And, claiming “legal loop holes” is an easy out for someone who doesn’t wish to actually discuss facts.

    It is obvious that you think that you have a personal definition of what “depravity” is and that somehow the Dali Lama has a special place in the the world that helps him “inform” you of what that is. Without discussing that specifically with you or him, I can’t say if I agree with it or not but I can say that, leagal or not, I don’t require hiding behind the definition of legality to personally feel comfortable with all that I have heard described happening in Gitmo.

    I would love to hear what you THINK you know has happened in Gitmo, why you think that is depravity and it may even be informative to hear how you think the Dali Lama might feel, but isn’t that the reason that this show will be aired?

    I ask you, acts of “torture” do you think has happened in Gitmo? And what is the “slippery slope” that you want to build as your arguement?

    I’ve got news for you, there are no cattle prods in Gitmo. Scour al the reports and you’ll find nothing but allegations and then descriptions of acts that are “paramount to torture”. Anything up to and not including torture is “paramount to torture” so what? That is simply saying that you don’t like what is going on there. If you don’t then I got a suggestion for you, don’t try and hide behind arguements that have no credibiltiy just say so.

  • Winston: Hey, You brought up His Holiness the Dalai Lama not me. I was talking about a different Tibetan Lama. To my knowledge His Holiness still has all of his teeth.

    What I was expressing is my opinion that torture, once begun, is likely to worsen. The reason I believe this is because patterns of normal ethical behavior are broken down. What is normal ethical behavior? I offer the golden rule of treating others the way you wish to be treated yourself as the most basic universally accepted description of ethical behavior.

    Maybe you are such a tough hombre that you actually enjoy having a hose crammed down your esophagus but 250 doctors consider forcefeeding unethical. I will refer to the British medical journal, The Lancet where 250 doctors signed a letter stating, “We urge the US government to ensure that detainees are assessed by independent physicians and that techniques such as force-feeding and restraint chairs are abandoned.” The doctors also said the American Medical Association should instigate disciplinary proceedings against any members known to have violated ethical codes while working at Guantanamo.

    You can stretch the definition of torture to suit your whim but that does not change how it feels to the person imprisoned without ever being charged or having any legal recourse, chained to the floor in the fetal position, laying in their own excrement and listening to Christina Aguilera at full decibels.

  • My apologies to Christina Aguilera.

  • Nikos

    Attaway Peggy Sue.

    Now, hold on a second, WSD – before your shoot your credibility in the foot (again) with yet another predictably reflexive ideo-answer, please consider this:

    Many of us hear very damning things about the behavior of the guards at Gitmo and, whether these apocryphal tales are true or false, let me first point out that I’m a realist when it comes to worries over unchecked nuclear proliferation – which the Gitmo incarcerations are in no small part born from.

    And which would quite literally ‘kill us dead’ were al-Quaida types able to pursue them (hence my slightly more hawkish attitude toward Iran than my political profile might otherwise imply – like you, I do believe that some governments are inherently less trustworthy custodians of nuclear weapons than others).

    So, the question that must be asked in the wake of Peggy-Sue’s acidly and accurately phrased response to you:

    How the hell do we know which of the folks in Gitmo are legitimate psycho-killers (ques-que-ce? – think Talking Heads) or simply poor, misplaced guys like the dude on last weekend’s This American Life who was picked up by accident but lumped into the ‘terrorist’ category and left to molder – wrongly – for 3+ years in Gitmo?

    What the hell do we do with our previously enviable credo of ‘innocent until proven guilty’ when our (questionably) elected government doesn’t want to bother with pursuing the rightness or wrongness of their incarcerations?

    This isn’t some ‘hypothetical’ problem – the credibility of the contemporary republican ideology you so enthusiastically espouse hangs in the balance.

    You know already what I think of said ideology – but what you might not know is that I deeply hope that this country of mine, before I die, reverts from discredited kleptocratic superpower to globally respected homeland of humanistic democracy. (And yet the more your scummy Republicans run the place, the less realistic this hope of mine seems.)

    So please ponder carefully your reply to Peggy Sue – and keep in mind that you’ll be talking to me, too – because both of us are wholly skeptical that your obvious boyish infatuation with rightwing ideo-dung has any humanly decent answer to our simple patriotic questions. (‘Simple’ because our idea of patriotism has no predicates of class loyalty – we are humanists first, and Americans second – like Thomas Jefferson!

    As in: “Experience declares that man is the only animal which devours his own kind; for I can apply no milder term to…the general prey of the rich on the poor.�

    And, more imprtantly: “He who permits himself to tell a lie once, finds it much easier to do it a second and third time, till at length it becomes habitual; he tells lies without attending to it, and truths without the world’s believing him. This falsehood of tongue leads to that of the heart, and in time depraves all its good dispositions.�

    http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Thomas_Jefferson )

    Hmmm…Sounds to me like the currently decadent condition of rightwing ideology…

  • loki

    The Base at Guantanomo Bay raises the larger question of our relationship with Cuba and our possesssion of land in Cuba. The Bush Administration claims that Guantanomo Base is not american soil therefore not governed by Federal Law therefore any rules apply to detention. The courts have demured. Needless, to say this basis is a “no-where place” for “no-where”people whose humanity deny.

    The fact is no one at “Gitmo” has any useful operational intelligence. By calling the base”Gitmo” do we cloak and deny that this off-shore facilty on foreign land in a country that we have no diplomatic relationship. Do we conduct that same brutal treatment on prisonesers that we claim Castro and his brother have done?

  • Winston: Cool it. You’re allowed to have your own opinions on this thread, and in fact they’re always welcome, because you seldom agree with the rest of us. This is fine. But if someone disagrees with you it’s not because he or she is unwilling to embrace facts or indulging in wishful thinking. It’s possible that other people read the papers, do the research and yet, strangely, continue to disagree with you.

    Nikos: Same goes for “predictably reflexive ideo-answer.” Winston is a sentient adult, capable of forming his own opinions. He represents a significant part of America, one that you can’t just dismiss as Fox-addled.

    Don’t make me turn this car around, boys, because I will take you both home and then NO ONE will get any ice cream.

  • Have you all read the article in the New Yorker about an insider’s attempt to ban the abuse and torture of detainees that was thwarterd? And, yes, it directly refers to the Geneva Convention (Common Article Three, to be specific, “which bars cruel, inhumane, and degrading treatment, as well as outrages against human dignity” and which “whether the Pentagon enshrined it as official policy or not… [has been] already written into both U.S. and international law.”

  • Uh, here’s the link.

  • What was the question? Oh yeah, What should we DO about Guantanomo ? I think we should open it up, air it out and clean it up. Let the Red Cross in. Let Amnesty International in. Let legal council in. Charge the prisoners and give them court dates followed by fair trials. If they are innocent let them go with compensation. Turn the whole place into a music camp for American students to study Cuban music.

  • Better yet an International Music Camp. The world needs more Cuban music.

  • Sabin Willett

    Two questions you need to ask tonight.

    1. Who’s at Guantanamo, anyway? A Seton Hall Study found that, according to the Pentagon, 86% were sold by bountyhunters. Only 8% are al Qaeda fighters. Only 5% were picked up on the battlefield. Hundreds are farmers, tourists, cooks, students. My own client was cleared of wrongdoing by the military on March 26, 2005. He’s there today.

    Or cases like Murat Kurnaz. There because he is a friend of a suicide bomber. Except .. the suicide bombing took place two years after Kurnaz was captured. Except … the suicide bomber is alive and well and living in Germany. It never happened.

    You’ve been told that “terrorists” are there. A review of hundreds of military records shows that that, most of all, is who isn’t there.

    Why do you suppose the Bush Administration doesnt want to have hearings? Is anyone afraid that a federal court would release a genuine terrorist?

    2. If the President has all these powers during the “war on terror,” how long will the war on terror last? Has terrorism not flourished for centuries? Does anyone think we’ll live to see the emporer of terror come aboard a US warship and sign the instrument of unconditional surrender?

  • Sabin Willett

    winston —

    CA 3 of GC’s forbid detention after cessation of international armed conflict. International armed conflict in Afghanistan is over (New parliament appointed; diplomatic rights recognized; former taliban persons admitted to us as, for example, Yale undergraduates.)

    CA 3 of GC’s forbid coercive interrogation

    CA 4 of GC’s forbid all cruel inhumane or degrading treatment of lawful or unlawful combatants

    CA 3 of GC’s require “sufficient tribunal” (such as article 5 tribunals we conducted in first Gulf War) to determine whether prisoner is POW or not. This has not occurred.

    Legal rights —

    habeas corpus is a right antecedent to statute and preserved in the constitution. It permits anyone in US detention to require the jailer to justify in law the detention. It applies equally to citizens and aliens. It cannot be suspended absent rebellion or invasion.

    Congress has never authorized the imprisonment of anyone other than al Qaeda or persons involved in 9/11. Therefore there is no legal basis for detention.

    Best wishes –

    SW

  • Potter

    The Bush administration “culture” is manifested at Guantanamo and Abu Graib. This is now famous internationally, working at cross purposes with the stated goal of spreading democracy and rule (and respect ) of the law, our own law and international law. In other words this adminstration is shooting this country in the foot.

    We shame ourselves- we discredit ourselves- we do NOT sway hearts and minds.

    This administration and it’s faithful supporters give our democracy and our justice a bad name and then have the chutzpah to lecture others.

    If this adminstration finds a law in it’s path, it’s time for redefinitions, reinterpretations,relocations, obfuscations, distortions, cover-ups and oh yes firing any person who points it out.

    And I would like these stories to be told. Each one.

    Thanks to the Associated Press and the ACLU (who we are very proud to support).

  • Thank you, Sabine. Its good to have someone well-versed in the GC.

    Thank you, Brendan. We need to get back to respectful discourse.

  • Nikos

    Apologies to Winston for low blows, facemask-grabbing, and other foul play.

    Sincerely,

    N

    A Proud and Founding Member of the ROS Mea Culpa Club.

    😉

  • Let’s play a game. It’s called “follow the standard you impose on others.”

    Let us consider the ramblings.

    â€?I have just one request from all who comment on this show. If you say something about how the US is not complying with the Geneva Convention – go the web, read it and site the portion where we are not.â€?

    Feel free to look it up yourself.

    �Same with the US Constitution etc etc.�

    You may choose to not do what you require of others – that is telling, but it fails to impress even the most idiotic. Etc.

    �All I can say to your answer to the questions above is “so says you� but the actual answers are often contrary to what you “feel� to be answer. The Geneva Conventions say that there are no charges to be filed because it is NOT a crime to be a COMBATANT is you act LAWFULLY as a combatant. Once again read the GC’s because it is VERY clear.�

    Which case law do you cite? You have none. Congratulations, you violated the standard you impose on others.

    And Constant – you say the detainees are “innocentâ€? I agree that some probably are but there have been DOZENS who have been already relieved and who have since been killed or recaptured committing the same acts as before.

    Do you suggest that — given no evidence — the accused are guilty? Surely, if that standard is true — then one could easily accuse you of being guilty and leaving it up to you to disprove the accusation.

    But the evidence before us is clear: you assert their guilt; and you do not comply with the standards you impose on other.

    Again, where is the case law that you cite show that they may legally be held — without charges — you have none. Your point if frivolous.

    And Constant yes, please push Impeachment because I want Republicans re-elected FOREVER! Not even Pelosi will come out for that one.

    Excellent! Then we shall lawfully revoke the power so abused and not asserted. You may choose to desire something, but the States may lawfully revoke the power with a Constitutional Convention.

    â€?And as far as the legality of the Tribunals – legality is, of course, for the courts to decide and it seems, at least so far and against all of your “informedâ€? legal arguments, that the courts have said that they are.â€?

    Tribunals must comply with the laws of war and UCMJ. However, given you have not cited a link — as you require of others — then we need not consider the plea for a link.

    Rather, you — as the government advocate — need to justify why we should believe your procedures are consistent with the District Court requirements. The burden is on the government to cite a case, to provide evidence, and to show why your argument is valid.

    You have provided nothing. Your argument fails.

    �And Constant, finally, here is a link to the USC that you sited� above.http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/html/uscode18/usc_sup_01_18.html

    Did you have a point?

    �I’ve just got a few hints, before this code can apply you have to be indicted and before you can be indicted you have to break a law and since you can’t cite a portion of any law that has been then you are a bit ahead of yourself.�

    Well, if that is true — that one “to be indicted” one must break the law — then explain why you are arguing with yourself?

    The matter is clear: To be detained one has to have been accused of having broken the law — or released in a timely manner.

    Again, your Poodle President offers no evidence, merely assertions; he — like you — asserts that the defendant, and the Open Source community — believe in rubbish and non-sense.

    It is your job to justify why the laws of war do not apply to Americans who are the detaining authority. You cite no case law to justify why the laws do or do not apply. Your argument fails.

    �As I said, I would suggest that you actually read the Geneva Conventions, International Treaties, Uniform Code of Military Justice BEFORE you utter such nonsense as “war crimes�.

    A wise fool knows how to bait a foolish one. Congratulations, you and your President command we know the laws of war.

    Small problem your Poodle President does not know the law — he merely acts in a reckless manner. Those he detains have far more love of life and the law.

    Your argument fails. The burden — as always rests with you and your Poodle President. He is a war criminal.

    We need not present the indictment — you have offered no such indictment against those in Guantanamo. Why should anyone reciprocate when no original exchange has taken place? You offer nothing but excuses; you command we explain; yet you do not justify your unlawful detention and violations of the laws of war.

    You have no defense. If you wish to defend your President, start. Otherwise, we need not seriously consider your non-sense. You fail as does your Poodle President.

    When we have some real hearings based on evidence in Guantanamo, we might consider assenting to your non-sense drivel. Until then, be gone!

    If you want to have the standard of “show your evidence” — as a basis to impeach the President or hold him accountable for war crimes — you must do that by example to the innocents who remain in Guantanamo.

    Until you assent to the standard you impose on others, your non-sense need not be given any deference; rather, your abused power shall be lawfully revoked.

    Nothing you have said warrants serious consideration. As always, the burden of proof is on you, not the People.

    Until the Guantanamo detainees are given fair trials – under the law, to which your Poodle President has sworn an oath to God – we need not consider any request for such as standard to be applied to your Poodle.

    Find another argument. Your words mean nothing. You fail to meet the standard you impose on others. You are a shining example of what the world despises: Hypocrisy as it relates to the abuse of power. Now you know what inspires free people in Iraq to stand up to the American war criminals: Contempt for hypocrisy.

  • Nikos

    Wow.

  • But why stop there

    ‘I think that this will be a very good indication of what people “wantâ€? to be true and what is “factuallyâ€? true.’

    It appears some want two standards — one for their Poodle in the White House, and a second standard for those who have been held without charges.

    Why the inconsistency? American poodles in the White House are hypocrites – they like to talk about the “American way of life� – but it is a lie. They have laws, but they offer no evidence; nor do they offer the basis to believe.

    ‘As a primer on the GC I submit this link’

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geneva_Conventions

    ‘I know that this will be a “shockâ€? for many but there is a link to the “laws of warâ€?.’

    Yes, and civilians may be tried for war crimes.

    “Yes, there is a set of “ethicalâ€? guidelines that govern that act of killing (notice that I didn’t use the term ‘murder’) your fellow man.”

    Too bad the US ignores these laws.

    ‘Murder is a legal term where you are “convictedâ€? of killing someone “illegallyâ€?.’

    No relevance.

    “If followed, the GC, UCMJ, and other international treaties make it LEGAL to conduct war. The people held in Gitmo are not protected by the GC because they had no Govt to sign it nor did they act accordingly.”

    Incorrect. The basis for “legal war” is not the standards — as one assert them to be — but the evidence as to whether there exists a lawful war in re just war theory, and imminent under the United Nations charter.

    Your Poodle President has offered no reasonable basis to believe there existed any imminent threat. Your argument fails.

    “As is all legal contracts, it is 2 way street, if your govt agrees to the GC, you follow it then you are given its protection. NONE of those held in Gitmo have done that yet we are treating them IAW the GC. EVERY DESCRITPTION on ANY ACTION at Gitmo that I have heard is legal under the GC.”

    Do not confuse a legal contract and a treaty. They are two different creatures. Cite your case law to justify your assertion. The burden is on you to prove you meet the standards which you do not apply to others. Your argument fails.

    �So I have a challenge for Constant, find the most egregious allegation of actions at Gitmo and then find where in the GC that is “illegal�.

    You go first: Prove the conduct is legal. You fail. The burden is on you.

    Habeas corpus: The burden is on you to justify the detention. You failed.

    You simply switch the burden of proof, as does your Poodle President.

    Release them.

    When they are released – or given a fair trial based on evidence – we might think about evidence of your war crimes.

    The government –and you—have the burden of proof, and the obligation to disclose; when you fail we may make adverse inferences about those who refuse to provide evidence.

    Until then – we may reasonably conclude and make the adverse inference you are guilty of supporting an unlawful rebellion against the Constitution.

    If you were in support of the constitution, you would know the burden of proof is on you. But your actions speak volumes – you demand the law be applied – then let us apply it: Your burden starts with Guantanamo.

    You are going to lose. Give up now, before you make it self-evident that you have fallen into a large trap that shall lawfully consume all you value: Power and the ability to manipulate others to assent to frivolous arguments.

    Rather than assenting to the rule of law over matters related to the FISA and NSA, we can make the reasonable adverse inference that your Presidential Poodle remains a war criminal. His only hope is to create distractions with the UAE, Iran, and other non-sense. But we see through this ruse.

    [See the link under my name for more details – that is if you dare.]

    You rather enjoy being in the trap you find yourself: Asserting others do things you will not do. How do you like being in this mess you find yourself?

    You walked right into this one. Congratulations! Your cause is lost, and the entire world sees that you demand the world do something that you will not do. Hypocrisy!

  • [Italics repaired]

    But why stop there

    ‘I think that this will be a very good indication of what people “wantâ€? to be true and what is “factuallyâ€? true.’

    It appears some want two standards — one for their Poodle in the White House, and a second standard for those who have been held without charges.

    Why the inconsistency? American poodles in the White House are hypocrites – they like to talk about the “American way of life� – but it is a lie. They have laws, but they offer no evidence; nor do they offer the basis to believe.

    ‘As a primer on the GC I submit this link’

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geneva_Conventions

    ‘I know that this will be a “shockâ€? for many but there is a link to the “laws of warâ€?.’

    Yes, and civilians may be tried for war crimes.

    “Yes, there is a set of “ethicalâ€? guidelines that govern that act of killing (notice that I didn’t use the term ‘murder’) your fellow man.”

    Too bad the US ignores these laws.

    ‘Murder is a legal term where you are “convictedâ€? of killing someone “illegallyâ€?.’

    No relevance.

    “If followed, the GC, UCMJ, and other international treaties make it LEGAL to conduct war. The people held in Gitmo are not protected by the GC because they had no Govt to sign it nor did they act accordingly.”

    Incorrect. The basis for “legal war” is not the standards — as one assert them to be — but the evidence as to whether there exists a lawful war in re just war theory, and imminent under the United Nations charter.

    Your Poodle President has offered no reasonable basis to believe there existed any imminent threat. Your argument fails.

    “As is all legal contracts, it is 2 way street, if your govt agrees to the GC, you follow it then you are given its protection. NONE of those held in Gitmo have done that yet we are treating them IAW the GC. EVERY DESCRITPTION on ANY ACTION at Gitmo that I have heard is legal under the GC.”

    Do not confuse a legal contract and a treaty. They are two different creatures. Cite your case law to justify your assertion. The burden is on you to prove you meet the standards which you do not apply to others. Your argument fails.

    �So I have a challenge for Constant, find the most egregious allegation of actions at Gitmo and then find where in the GC that is “illegal�.

    You go first: Prove the conduct is legal. You fail. The burden is on you.

    Habeas corpus: The burden is on you to justify the detention. You failed.

    You simply switch the burden of proof, as does your Poodle President.

    Release them.

    When they are released – or given a fair trial based on evidence – we might think about evidence of your war crimes.

    The government –and you—have the burden of proof, and the obligation to disclose; when you fail we may make adverse inferences about those who refuse to provide evidence.

    Until then – we may reasonably conclude and make the adverse inference you are guilty of supporting an unlawful rebellion against the Constitution.

    If you were in support of the constitution, you would know the burden of proof is on you. But your actions speak volumes – you demand the law be applied – then let us apply it: Your burden starts with Guantanamo.

    You are going to lose. Give up now, before you make it self-evident that you have fallen into a large trap that shall lawfully consume all you value: Power and the ability to manipulate others to assent to frivolous arguments.

    Rather than assenting to the rule of law over matters related to the FISA and NSA, we can make the reasonable adverse inference that your Presidential Poodle remains a war criminal. His only hope is to create distractions with the UAE, Iran, and other non-sense. But we see through this ruse.

    [See the link under my name for more details – that is if you dare.]

    You rather enjoy being in the trap you find yourself: Asserting others do things you will not do. How do you like being in this mess you find yourself?

    You walked right into this one. Congratulations! Your cause is lost, and the entire world sees that you demand the world do something that you will not do. Hypocrisy!

  • neil

    One of the most important questions about Guantanamo is whether we can stand the reflection we see when we look at it. We have imprisoned hundreds of people there without charge for more than four years. Whether the conduct of interrogators there is torture or merely tantamount to torture, there are reliable accounts (including interrogation transcripts released by the government) of deplorable conduct and abuse. The statistics Sabin cites concerning who is really being held at Guantanamo (stats which are taken directly from the military’s own documents) reveal a place that bears no resemblance to the one the administration has described. The statistics show that these are not the bomb-makers and instruments of terror that the adminstration has been telling us they are; by and large they are simple farmers. There is even a group of twelve men there locked behind concertina wire in a grim prison called Camp Iguana whom the military agrees were never enemy combatants but still refuses to release. (Indeed, is unwilling even to arrange a telephone call between one of these men and his aging mother back home who could only cry when I called her to say that her son sends his love.) The administration has a willing partner called Congress, which recently passed a law that purports to strip federal courts of jurisdiction to hear Guantanamo detainees’ habeas corpus petitions challenging the legality of their detention. It even has a willing partner in at least one federal court, which ruled the continued detention of my clients to be unlawful, but concluded it could not order the Executive to release them. In short: we are imprisoning people indefinitely with charge; the vast majority of those people appear not to be indictable in any event; we continue to imprison indefinitely even the ones who have been cleared by the military; we are treating human beings like animals; and our elected Congress and independent Judiciary are not functioning as effective checks on the Executive. Everything about Guantanamo is a wholesale rejection of the rule of law that distinguishes us (or used to) from tyranny. Not a pretty reflection.

  • Nikos

    No one’s gonna believe this considering how much I post here, but I prefer to read the brilliance of others to my own juvenile ranting rubbish – so big thanks to contributors like Potter, Constant, Neil, Sabin Willett, Peggy Sue, alokemon, mulp and Allison for so effectively handling the humanistic side of the issue.

    Appreciatively finished,

    N

  • I think we are for sure in an unfortunate position. It’s my feeling that the entire Gitmo thing has been such a disaster in regard to geopolitics that we don’t know exactly what to do now. This is not just a Republican issue this crosses party lines and I think that there may be a big concern in Washington that when we do cut these people loose someday they are really going to be upset. As a result they are probably going to be far far more dangerous than when we picked them up. I don’t know what the answer is but you can’t keep these poeple forever. Quit frankly I’m absolutly disgusted by this issue, it’s a failure on all levels and a bad idea in the first place.

    Oh yeah, the force feeding thing… it’s so 18th century, what a disaster.

    out

  • Nikos, I love your posts. Keep it up. i simply suggest that you avoid being baited into lowering our standards. Debate the validity of the point, not the person.

    As for Guantanamo, I think that even if we claim to be at war – which begs the question: “With whom” and call the detainees enemy combatants, we are legally obliged to follow the standards of the Geneva Convention. We signed onto that and if we are to claim that we are spreading democracy and humanitarianism with our war mongering, then we only make that truthfully if we abide by the same standards we claim to be establishing. And if the administration believes they are following those standards, they should not fear scrutiny.

    Let’s turn the tables and say that American citizens are being held by a another nation in the same manner that we are holding these detainees. Would we stand for it? What and who would we cite and call upon to assess and/or rectify the situation? And what kind of accountability would we seek?

  • I wonder if we could create a petition of US citizens calling on the UN or some other entity to intervene. Make it known publicly and with solidarity that we don’t approve of our government’s’ actions. (I agree that this albatross spans both sides of the political aisle.) That we are willing to stand up against them.

    Can’t we take action? How would we do it?

  • QUESTION: I am very ashamed of our activity at Guantanamo. But here is a question: Would the U.S. have been quickly involved in a Soviet-style Afghan experience if it had acted more moderately there?

  • cheesechowmain

    It is not surprising that a society (USA) with a large prison population will use a detention facilities as part of its strategic methodology in fighting an amorphous ‘war’. In previous apochs from history, these detainees would be turned into human chattel or killed summarily. This shows progess over the long haul for humanity. Yet, the activity here shows the USA falling short of it’s pre-nation ideals articulating by some patriots. Some of these ideals articulated in the declaration of independence.

  • cheesechowmain

    It is my impression that the U.S. cannot uni-laterally reinterpret the Geneva Convention and redefine captured enemies. There is a multi-lateral step in this process. Has this been done?

  • h wally

    I suggest we submit Lee Casey to some of the “non-torture methods” to see if he still feels the same about them afterwards. Not only is Guantanamo beyond the legal system. Our country is being run by people who believe they are beyond the legal system. Our country is being run by people who believe they’re beyond the legal system. You can close Guantanamo but they’ll just open another in a more secluded and secret place.

  • Michaelrf

    Does Lee Casey even know what he’s saying? Who has been prosecuted for Abu Grhaib (sp?)? charles Grainer and Lyndie England? Let’s get serious, what about commanders including generals and Secretary Rumsfeld? That’s who needs to be prosecuted, not privates.

  • Potter

    “Fighting and winning this war” in this way, does not win this war.

  • Chuck Schamel

    If nothing else, the international view of America USED TO include an impression of TRANSPARENCY.

    For cryin’ out loud – NOBODY knows what the $%^&* is going on there because nobody with ANY credibility as a neutral third party can verify the facts. AT A MINIMUM, we should be allowing the Red Cross access to the detainees.

  • today’s Democracy Now! program has a segment on Guantanamo…

    http://www.democracynow.org/

    “As we focus on the case of former Guantanamo Bay detainee Moazzam Begg, we speak with Victoria Brittain, co-author of his book, “Enemy Combatant: A British Muslim’s Journey to Guantanamo and Back” and leading British human rights lawyer, Gareth Peirce about the U.S.-run prison camp”. [includes rush transcript]

  • Chuck Schamel

    In agreement w/ Potter, I have to say that, in the fight against “terrorism”, Gitmo is a losing proposition. If we want to stop terrorists from attacking us, we HAVE to stop making ourselves look like the devil incarnate. Let EVERYONE (including us!) see what’s going on – if there’s anything going on that we’re embarassed to have out there in the open, STOP IT!!

    Finally, in DIS-agreement with Potter’s earlier entry – thank whomever that the administration is only shooting us in the collective FOOT with their damnable outrageous behaviour. After all, we COULD be dealing (hunting) with the VEEP!!

  • Ops – Actually Democracy Now! program has 2 segments on Guantanamo here’s the blurb about the other segment…

    http://www.democracynow.org/

    U.S. Exclusive: Moazzam Begg Describes Abuse at Bagram and Guantanamo and Witnessing the Killing of Two Fellow Detainees

    In a Democracy Now! U.S. national broadcast exclusive, we hear former Guantanamo detainee Moazzam Begg in his own words. He was imprisoned for three years without charge by the United States at Bagram airbase in Afghanistan and Guanatanmo Bay in Cuba. We broadcast his first comments in this country since the publication of his book in Britain, “Enemy Combatant: A British Muslim’s Journey to Guantanamo and Back.”

  • I reviewing the threads I love the fact that there is absolutly no desire to talk about facts.

    Example – I see Constant talking about such lofty terms as habius corpus – catch a clue. This doens’t apply. As I stated and provided a link to the GC applies and there is no such thing as charges so no such need for habius corpus.

    And, like a comment on the proposal for new shows says, all of this is simply the radmon rantings like ones found on the completing irrelevent Dem / Left / Libereal sites like DailyKos.

    I’ve never seen a group so fond of displaying their disdain for facts.

  • eugene_X

    Wow, the spokesperson for the Bush regime here is being given way too much leeway. I am a bit disappointed in Mr. Lydon for letting him go unchallenged at such length with such patently false, and insultingly disingenuous responses. The forked tongue routine disgusts me to the point that I have given up on the whole show halfway through, and I really am a dedicated listener.

    We have already seen all of this weasel’s arguments rebutted and exposed ad nauseum, most recently in the excellent hour-long feature on “This American Life” this past week.

    I ask you: who has more credibility at this point? Ira Glass or a spokesperson for the Bush regime?

    Hm. Thought so.

  • Nikos – You don’t have to be guilty of anyting to be in Gitmo – the GC governs the treatment of people WHO ARE NOT GUILTY OF ANYTHING.

    Like I said, if is unbelievalbe that people comment and don’t even understand the basic facts.

  • Ira Glass has just enough credibilty to be modestly employed on a 2nd tear radio show where is gets to spount his unchallenged opinions.

    He’ll be off writting his memoirs and eating onions grown on his organic onion farm when that gravey train peters out.

  • Brendan – Just read you post putting me in my place and cannot withdraw my earlir comments.

    I will do as I preach and only supply comments with links to pertinent material.

  • So, the same UN Human Rights Commission that says we should close down Gitmo is the one the Annan says should be abolished itself? I ask why? Maybe because it has no credibility? Maybe they should have read the GC and tried to cite it in their reports? Maybe they couldn’t becasue there is nothing the the GC that supports their findings?

    UN human rights investigators have called for the immediate closure of the US detention camp at Guantanamo Bay.

    BBC News, UN calls for Guantanamo closure, February 16, 2006.

    UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has accused the UN Human Rights Commission of failing to uphold human rights and said a new, permanent body is needed.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/4419333.stm

  • Pingback: The Morning Report » Eight Steps to Being Alone With the Sound of Your Own Voice()

  • So let me see, the point of this article is that 250 Drs say Gitmo is bad. I beleive that you can find 250 Drs that will back any proposition.

    Netherlands grapples with euthanasia of babies

    “In August, the main Dutch doctors’ association KNMG urged the Health Ministry to create an independent board to review euthanasia cases for terminally ill people “with no free will,â€? including children,”

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6621588/

    The premise of this article is silly – that any group of DRs “feelings” about Gitmo has ANY bearing on the situation. I leave the evalution of the logcal fallacy to anyone who wishes to fallow the link.

    BBC News, Doctors attack US over Guantanamo, March 10, 2006.

    “You commit this fallacy if you attempt to win acceptance of an assertion by appealing to a large group of people.”

    Argumentum ad populum (http://www.infidels.org/news/atheism/logic.html#anecdotal)

  • Constant – I beleive that you said that there was a difference between contracts and treaties? I guess the signers of the GC don’t agree.

    The Third Geneva Convention (or GCIII) primarily regarded the treatment of prisoners of war (POWs), and also touched on other topics.

    Art 2. specifies

    * That for “High Contracting Parties” any armed conflict is covered by GCIII;

    * That it applies to occupations of enemy territory;

    * That the relationship between the “High Contracting Parties” and a non-signatory, the party will remain bound until the non-signatory no longer acts under the strictures of the convention. “…Although one of the Powers in conflict may not be a party to the present Convention, the Powers who are parties thereto shall remain bound by it in their mutual relations. They shall furthermore be bound by the Convention in relation to the said Power, if the latter accepts and applies the provisions thereof.”

    (WSD – this means that if you don’t sign and abide by the GC then you do not get its protections. In legal terms, this is called a contract)

    *

    o 4.1.2 Members of other militias and members of other volunteer corps, including those of organized resistance movements, provided that they fulfil the following conditions:

    + that of being commanded by a person responsible for his subordinates;

    + that of having a fixed distinctive sign recognizable at a distance (although this is not required under Protocol I);

    + that of carrying arms openly;

    + that of conducting their operations in accordance with the laws and customs of war.

    o 4.1.3 Members of regular armed forces who profess allegiance to a government or an authority not recognized by the Detaining Power.

    o 4.1.6 Inhabitants of a non-occupied territory, who on the approach of the enemy spontaneously take up arms to resist the invading forces, without having had time to form themselves into regular armed units, provided they carry arms openly and respect the laws and customs of war.

    o 4.3 makes explicit that Article 33 takes precedence for the treatment of medical personnel of the enemy and chaplains of the enemy.

    * Art 5 apply all combatants, should any doubt arise as to whether persons is a lawful combatant they will be treated as such until their status has been determined by a competent tribunal. Art. 5 is currently one of the most controversial articles of GCIII, because it forms, (along with parts of 4 Art. of the GCIV and Art 5. of the GCIV ,) the Administration of the United States’ interpretation of unlawful combatants. The exact definition of “lawful combatant” has been subject to a number of discussions in view of a number of public military conflicts in the 2000s, including the U.S. invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. Because many of the people fighting are not members of the armed forces of a Party and do not have uniforms, they do not display a “fixed distinctive sign recognisable at a distance” and thus they may not be entitled to the protections of the Geneva Convention as “unlawful combatants”.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Third_Geneva_Convention

  • How long can individuals be kept un the GC?

    Article 111

    The Detaining Power, the Power on which the prisoners of war depend, and a neutral Power agreed upon by these two Powers, shall endeavour to conclude agreements which will enable prisoners of war to be interned in the territory of the said neutral Power until the close of hostilities.

    How are they to be tried?

    A prisoner of war can be validly sentenced only if the sentence has been pronounced by the same courts according to the same procedure as in the case of members of the armed forces of the Detaining Power, and if, furthermore, the provisions of the present Chapter have been observed.

  • I just think that discussions involving facts with links etc prevent few of the following problems:

    Anecdotal evidence

    One of the simplest fallacies is to rely on anecdotal evidence. Anecdotal evidence can seem very compelling, especially if the audience wants to believe it. This is part of the explanation for urban legends; stories which are verifiably false have been known to circulate as anecdotes for years.

    (WSD – I really like the part about “can seem very compelling, especially if the audience wants to beleive it)

    Argumentum ad numerum

    This fallacy is closely related to the argumentum ad populum. It consists of asserting that the more people who support or believe a proposition, the more likely it is that that proposition is correct.

    (WSD- I find that this is happening now, in this show and on this thread. “It must be bad if everyone says so”)

    Argumentum ad populum

    This is known as Appealing to the Gallery, or Appealing to the People. You commit this fallacy if you attempt to win acceptance of an assertion by appealing to a large group of people. This form of fallacy is often characterized by emotive language.

    (WSD – see the part about “emotive language)

    http://www.infidels.org/news/atheism/logic.html

  • Are Gitmo prisoners learning to hate the U.S. so much that they’ll be more dangerous when they’re released than when they went in?

    (WSD – If prison makes people more angry at those who imprison them and if Belgain prisons are worse than Gitmo then doesn’t it follow that we should close down Belgain prisons?)

    Guantanamo better than Belgian prisons: OSCE expert

    Inmates at Guantanamo Bay prison are treated better than in Belgian jails, an expert for Europe’s biggest security organisation said after a visit to the controversial US detention centre in Cuba.

    But Alain Grignard, deputy head of Brussels’ federal police anti-terrorism unit, said holding people for many years without telling them what would happen to them is in itself “mental torture”.

    “At the level of the detention facilities, it is a model prison, where people are better treated than in Belgian prisons,” said Grignard.

    He served as expert on a visit to Guantanamo Bay last week by a group of politicians from the assembly of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

    Grignard’s comments came less than a month after a UN report said Guantanamo prison detainees faced treatment amounting to torture.

    http://www.smh.com.au/news/world/guantanamo-better-than-belgian-prisons-osce-expert/2006/03/07/1141493645389.html

  • Salim Ahmed Hamdan

    On July 17, 2005, a three judge panel on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit overturned Hamdan’s appeal.[2][3] The military commissions were set back in motion. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts was one of the judges on that panel, and voted against Hamdan’s appeal. The panel said that the Geneva Convention does not apply to members of al-Qaida.

    On November 7, 2005, the Supreme Court issued a writ of certiorari agreeing to review the decision of the DC Circuit Court.[4] Chief Justice Roberts has recused himself from the case due to his earlier decision. The case is Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, 05-184.

    (WSD – Note that the US treats all prisoners at Gitmo as if the GC apply even though SCOTUS says that they do not. Also, note that in the wikipedia link it gives much details on how the military has used its legal system according to GC (see link above) to process Hamdan. Finally, with the DC Court of appeals, over turning his appeal, what do you think the chances are of Hamdan prevaling at SCOTUS? The prevailing legal theory is this – the only reason that SCOTUS would grant a hearing is the calrify the ruling of the lower DC Court of appeals so as to set a standard to which all hearings trials can be help to.)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hamdan

    And Constant you asked for precedents (I’ll give everyone a hint, there are more than a few and many involve SCOTUS. There is really no discussion about if there is precedent only how much / many and when they apply)

    United States Military Commissions: A Quick Guide to Available Resources

    http://www.llrx.com/features/military.htm

  • Torture – The International Committee of the Red Cross has charged in confidential reports to the United States government that the American military has intentionally used psychological and sometimes physical coercion “tantamount to torture” on prisoners at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

    (WSD – So, the IRC who are the arbiters of the GCs can’t bring themselves to say that there is torture at Gitmo they have to preface it with the term “tantamount to” because they realize that if they actually used the term torture they would lose all credibilty. Not very convincing)

    http://www.nytimes.com/2004/11/30/politics/30gitmo.html?ex=1259470800&en=825f1aa04c65241f&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt

  • And Constant jsut one more for you.

    I was just having an early morning read thru my RSS reader and got this

    The Feingold Resolution and the Sound of Silence

    “Democratic senators, filing in for their weekly caucus lunch yesterday, looked as if they’d seen a ghost.

    (They) fled the lunch out a back door as if escaping a fire.

    In a sense, they were. The cause of so much evasion was S. Res. 398, the resolution proposed Monday by Sen. Russell Feingold (D-Wis.) calling for the censure of President Bush for his warrantless wiretapping program. At a time when Democrats had Bush on the ropes over Iraq, the budget and port security, Feingold single-handedly turned the debate back to an issue where Bush has the advantage — and drove another wedge through his party.

    That gives Feingold two solid votes, including his own. The rest: avowedly undecided.”

    WSD – I have another article that says the Repubs gave him an hour on the Senate schedule to debate the Censure but that he didn’t show up. I also heard that they were going to continue to do that everyday until he either asks for a vote or withdraws it. It seems we can all guess who is going to win this one.

    Maybe his didn’t read that part of the contract / treaty?

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/03/14/AR2006031401519.html

  • tbrucia

    Whether or not the treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo is humane… The secrecy is stupid, since it creates the impression that one is trying to hide something, and it implants doubt in the minds of those who are ‘kept out’ of the know. If the purpose of all the secrecy surrounding Guantanamo is to weaken the Federal Government’s credibility, it has succeeded spectacularly. (Makes you wonder if the Administration isn’t firmly committed to a policy of undermining itself…objective unknown.)… It would seem obvious that — if influencing opinion is important in a war of ideas and sympathies — the Feds should open the gates to every curious journalist, camera crew, legislator, and critic, begging them to ‘come see for yourself’ how decently these folks are being treated. Maybe the Adminstration WANTS to lose the war of ideas?

  • The IRC has unlimited access to anywhere within Gitmo. That is common for all such facilities. This is also true for any official Congressional delegation as well. Doesn’t anyone remember the fiasco that Senator Durbin’s comments created for him after he returned from a tour? If I am not mistaken, and anyone can look it up, there have been hudreds Congresspeople who have went on such tours.

  • If anyone is interested (maybe Constant or even Feingold?) the following is a link to a decision by the UNITED STATES FOREIGN INTELLIGENCE SURVEILLANCE COURT OF REVIEW. In it the court, which has net only once in its history, decided that the NSA surveillance order by President Bush was legal.

    Decided November 18, 2002 In re: Sealed Case No. 02-001

    On Motions for Review of Orders of the United States

    Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court

    (Nos. 02-662 and 02-968)

    There is no disagreement between the government and the FISA court as to the propriety of the electronic surveillance; the court found that the government had shown probable cause to believe that the target is an agent of a foreign power and otherwise met the basic requirements of FISA. The government’s application for a surveillance order contains detailed information to support its contention that the target, who is a United States person, is aiding, abetting, or conspiring with others in international terrorism. [approx. 1 page deleted]3 The FISA court authorized the surveillance, but imposed certain restrictions, which the government contends are neither mandated nor authorized by FISA.

    Conclusion

    FISA’s general programmatic purpose, to protect the nation against terrorists and espionage threats directed by foreign powers, has from its outset been distinguishable from “ordinary crime control.� After the events of September 11, 2001, though, it is hard to imagine greater emergencies facing Americans than those experienced on that date.

    We acknowledge, however, that the constitutional question presented by this case–whether Congress’s disapproval of the primary purpose test is consistent with the Fourth Amendment–has no definitive jurisprudential answer. The Supreme Court’s special needs cases involve random stops (seizures) not electronic searches. In one sense, they can be thought of as a greater encroachment into personal privacy because they are not based on any particular suspicion. On the other hand, wiretapping is a good deal more intrusive than an automobile stop accompanied by questioning.

    Although the Court in City of Indianapolis cautioned that the threat to society is not dispositive in determining whether a search or seizure is reasonable, it certainly remains a crucial factor. Our case may well involve the most serious threat our country faces. Even without taking into account the President’s inherent constitutional authority to conduct warrantless foreign intelligence surveillance, we think the procedures and government showings required under FISA, if they do not meet the minimum Fourth Amendment warrant standards, certainly come close. We, therefore, believe firmly, applying the balancing test drawn from Keith, that FISA as amended is constitutional because the surveillances it authorizes are reasonable.

    Accordingly, we reverse the FISA court’s orders in this case to the extent they imposed conditions on the grant of the government’s applications, vacate the FISA court’s Rule 11, and remand with instructions to grant the applications as submitted and proceed henceforth in accordance with this opinion.

    http://www.fas.org/irp/agency/doj/fisa/fiscr111802.html

  • Begium Embasador’s visit to Gitmo

    Le Soir article on Lizin’s visit to Guantanamo

    Q: What kind of contacts did you have with detainees?

    Lizin: ‘We were only able to see them. We did not ask to talk to them, which would have required another composition of our delegation. There is a rule according to which all contacts with detainees must take place via the International Committee of the Red Cross, and we consider that this procedure is adequate.’

    Q: You were allowed to sit in an interrogation session. Can you talk about it?

    Lizin: ‘We did not have the sound. We did not want to participate in anything that would have individualized our observations. There were three people: a warden who did not intervene, an interpreter, and the interrogator, who was a woman. This interrogation – which we selected ourselves – took place in good conditions. The detainee was sitting and had something to drink.’

    http://brussels.usembassy.gov/lizin.html

  • Nikos

    Allison: thanks for your kind words and gentle remonstration, but, to be fair, Winston didn’t bait me.

    Funnily enough, although his opinions drive me absolutely nuts, I like Winston – at least as much as someone can like a writer one hasn’t met face to face, while imagining the person behind the distant keyboard. I respect his zeal – and someday want to pirate him away from his current political cause to mine – although that’s probably a foolish hope.

    I’ve crossed swords with Winston often enough to feel that if we ever met face to face, we’d probably shake hands, find a cool bar, and buy each other beers. (Although he might well not feel anything similar toward me!)

    We’d also probably have to promise each other to restrict the talk to music or football – or jokes!

    My intemperance the other night was exactly that: intemperance. I was checking the threads after a night of merrymaking to a soundtrack of lots of new and excellent rock and roll, and too much questionable but fun fluid affecting my brain’s judgment-synapses.

    So, my apology to Winston is sincere, and what I reacted so hotly to wasn’t so provocative that it deserved my cheap-shots.

    I’ve more to say, but will do it on the new ‘On Forums’ thread, found on the ROS Home Page. (Which would benefit from your input, I reckon.)

  • serious lee

    Hello, I think we need Guantanamo. If we close it where will we keep all those terrorists. I notice a lot of you seem to doubt that these men are terrorists. That’s why you’re not in charge. Luckily we have a President who knows the real truth about these horrible men. I think if we need to support the President. We haven’t been reattacked since 911 so maybe he does know more than you. Maybe those men in guantanamo would have been the next attackers of our country.