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Author Topic: With the Stroke of a Pen...  (Read 4027 times)

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Offline CassandraNovaTopic starter

With the Stroke of a Pen...
« on: January 24, 2009, 06:47:57 AM »
Quote
"Executive Order 13440 of July 20, 2007, is revoked. All executive directives, orders, and regulations inconsistent with this order, including but not limited to those issued to or by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) from September 11, 2001, to January 20, 2009, concerning detention or the interrogation of detained individuals, are revoked to the extent of their inconsistency with this order. . . .

"From this day forward, unless the Attorney General with appropriate consultation provides further guidance, officers, employees, and other agents of the United States Government . . . may not, in conducting interrogations, rely upon any interpretation of the law governing interrogation . . . issued by the Department of Justice between September 11, 2001, and January 20, 2009. . . .

"Consistent with the requirements of the Federal torture statute, 18 U.S.C. 2340 2340A, section 1003 of the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005, 42 U.S.C. 2000dd, the Convention Against Torture, Common Article 3, and other laws regulating the treatment and interrogation of individuals detained in any armed conflict, such persons shall in all circumstances be treated humanely and shall not be subjected to violence to life and person (including murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment, and torture), nor to outrages upon personal dignity (including humiliating and degrading treatment), whenever such individuals are in the custody or under the effective control of an officer, employee, or other agent of the United States Government or detained within a facility owned, operated, or controlled by a department or agency of the United States. . . .

"Effective immediately, an individual in the custody or under the effective control of an officer, employee, or other agent of the United States Government, or detained within a facility owned, operated, or controlled by a department or agency of the United States, in any armed conflict, shall not be subjected to any interrogation technique or approach, or any treatment related to interrogation, that is not authorized by and listed in Army Field Manual 2 22.3 . Interrogation techniques, approaches, and treatments described in the Manual shall be implemented strictly in accord with the principles, processes, conditions, and limitations the Manual prescribes."


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Re: With the Stroke of a Pen...
« Reply #1 on: January 24, 2009, 08:18:09 AM »
Thank goodness - although it might take a year or more to actually shut the place down.

Offline Zeitgeist

Re: With the Stroke of a Pen...
« Reply #2 on: January 24, 2009, 09:39:09 AM »
Totally breaking my own unwritten rule here, but hey, its my rule.

There are those who take great glee in the belief that those detained in Gitmo are having the screws put to them daily and that government spooks are torturing them out of some sort of order by Cheney and Bush. We'll there is no proof of that, no evidence. Yes, there is one there we water boarded, among a small handful of others. But to think Gitmo is some sort of torture complex is not being realistic. Not that anyone in this thread or here said such, but there are many that like to believe the very worse of our government and country.

Also, this order, as it is presented does not speak specifically to Gitmo detainees. Though that mat be the assumed interpretation.

More important and to my point of replying. Why give your enemy the benefit of knowing what we are willing and not willing to do when if comes to interrogations? Personally I think that is foolish. Regardless of what you may or may not believe is right and wrong, why give that information away?

You might say perception is reality and that the idea we might harm people in our custody does our country damage. We'll to be honest, I'll take a bad reputation over the events of 9/11 happening again in heart beat.

But still, why not let people believe what they might, it only matters what we really do, and there are back channels to let our allies know what we really are or are not doing to any detainees, so as to calm any concerns. So whether you torture or water board or not, why even say? I think its foolish, and naive personally.

Offline CassandraNovaTopic starter

Re: With the Stroke of a Pen...
« Reply #3 on: January 24, 2009, 09:58:14 AM »
There are those who take great glee in the belief that those detained in Gitmo are having the screws put to them daily and that government spooks are torturing them out of some sort of order by Cheney and Bush. We'll there is no proof of that, no evidence. Yes, there is one there we water boarded, among a small handful of others.

There are two points on which I must respectfully disagree with you.  First of all, waterboarding is torture.  According to Judge Wallach in the Columbia Journal of International Law Review, within the past century:

  • Members of the Japanese military were prosecuted for their treatment of Americans during World War II. Seitara Hata was just one Japanese soldier charged with a war crime for waterboarding; Hatara was sentenced to 25 years hard labor.
  • A Sheriff of San Jacinto County was convicted for waterboarding Americans suspected of crimes in order to obtain confessions. The judge in the case said upon sentencing the Sheriff that “the operation down there would embarrass the dictator of a country.”
  • U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Colonel William Harrison came home from the Korean War, and his treatment by waterboarding was showcased as an example of the immorality of his North Korean captors. His experience of waterboarding was characterized as torture.
  • Army investigations of the treatment of Vietnamese detainees at the hands of American soldiers uncovered waterboarding — and specifically termed it torture.

Quote
But to think Gitmo is some sort of torture complex is not being realistic. Not that anyone in this thread or here said such, but there are many that like to believe the very worse of our government and country.

Including such people as Susan Crawford?  Judge Crawford is not a person I would think that believes the worst of her government and country, as she was the convening authority of the military commissions at Guantanamo Bay. Before that gig, she served as general counsel for the Army during the Reagan administration and as Pentagon inspector general.

And yet Ms. Crawford gave an interview to the Washington Post's Bob Woodward, in which she stated without equivocation that the treatment of alleged 20th Sept. 11 hijacker Mohammed al-Qahtani at Guantanamo Bay was "torture."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/01/13/AR2009011303372.html?hpid=topnews

Tortured.  Not, "subjected him to enhanced interrogation techniques."  Not subjected to advanced interview regimes, not abused or mistreated.  Tortured.  And because of this, Ms. Crawford would not allow the tribunal case against al-Qahtani to proceed.
« Last Edit: January 24, 2009, 10:07:52 AM by CassandraNova »

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Re: With the Stroke of a Pen...
« Reply #4 on: January 24, 2009, 10:00:07 AM »
Gitmo is not the only detainee camp the US has.  There have been issues with abuse at other places, though the news coverage has not been as wide spread.

And while people will probably hate me for saying this, I'm saying it anyways.  While I agree that even detainees should be treated as humanely as possible, they don't always treat our soldiers and sailors that way.  There are times when brute force is the only option.  While it is not allowed to degrade detainees, even just with words, they are allowed to degrade our service members with more than just words.  As the system is now, those service members just have to buck up and take it. 

An overhaul of the prison camps has been ongoing for the past 3 years.  However, no law passed will end the torture, the abuse, the things that go on behind the scenes until there are no longer prison camps.  One can only hope that the soldiers, sailors and airmen who must do their duty at these places hold themselves to the codes of honor the military has in place and do the right thing. 

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Re: With the Stroke of a Pen...
« Reply #5 on: January 24, 2009, 10:04:58 AM »
Okay, I'll give you the whole 'keep them guessing' advantage, but let me pose another scenario:

In Massachusetts right now, there is a trial going on where the defendant has been awaiting trial for ten years.  For those ten years, she has been housed in a full-fledged prison, since there is no women's jail.  She is also illiterate, and has an IQ below 75 (I've heard 70 and 71).  As a result, she may have a) confessed falsely to protect the actual criminal (her son was under investigation at the time), b) been manipulated into confessing falsely, and/or c) not been able to comprehend her Miranda rights or waiving them.  

Those ten years have been spent going up and down the appeals courts to ascertain the admissibility of her statements to police - which weren't recorded, by the way.  Despite the length of time that she's been in prison, and her right to a speedy trial, her appeals were not expedited.

Are you appalled?

Now, is this any different from the people that are being held at Gitmo without access to lawyers on the basis of even less evidence?  If the government thinks they're guilty, try them.  Put out the evidence, and do it right.  If they're just going to warehouse them, call it a gulag and be honest about it.

Offline Zeitgeist

Re: With the Stroke of a Pen...
« Reply #6 on: January 24, 2009, 10:07:16 AM »
Cass - I'm not going to quibble over what constitutes torture. More to my point is, why give our enemy the benefit of knowing what we will or wont do when our allies can be quietly assured we are not doing anything that would be of concern.

Additionally, I do believe we took out one of the more prolific and modern torturers and sadists in one Saddam Hussein. What did the Iraqi people do with him? They strung him up on a rope. I understand he flopped about too, before his end was met.

No, I'm not going to debate the wisdom or righteousness of taking out Saddam, I'm just saying, this country does not have anything to be ashamed of, in my opinion. The rest of the world is far ahead of us when it comes to torturous activities.

Offline Zeitgeist

Re: With the Stroke of a Pen...
« Reply #7 on: January 24, 2009, 10:13:46 AM »
Okay, I'll give you the whole 'keep them guessing' advantage, but let me pose another scenario:

In Massachusetts right now, there is a trial going on where the defendant has been awaiting trial for ten years.  For those ten years, she has been housed in a full-fledged prison, since there is no women's jail.  She is also illiterate, and has an IQ below 75 (I've heard 70 and 71).  As a result, she may have a) confessed falsely to protect the actual criminal (her son was under investigation at the time), b) been manipulated into confessing falsely, and/or c) not been able to comprehend her Miranda rights or waiving them.  

Those ten years have been spent going up and down the appeals courts to ascertain the admissibility of her statements to police - which weren't recorded, by the way.  Despite the length of time that she's been in prison, and her right to a speedy trial, her appeals were not expedited.

Are you appalled?

Now, is this any different from the people that are being held at Gitmo without access to lawyers on the basis of even less evidence?  If the government thinks they're guilty, try them.  Put out the evidence, and do it right.  If they're just going to warehouse them, call it a gulag and be honest about it.

I agree, that is appalling. However, we don't fashion laws to fit exceptions, we pass them to fit the likely scenario and adjust accordingly. In other words, appalling as it is, and deserving of attention the situation might be, this is an exception rather than the rule and doesn't wash away all the things that do go right.

I don't disagree with you about calling Gitmo what it is, indeed, call it what it is. The legalities are quite messy indeed, but Obama is faced with all the same issues the past administration was. Perhaps a better solution will be found, but I don't see it.

Offline Valerian

Re: With the Stroke of a Pen...
« Reply #8 on: January 24, 2009, 10:31:28 AM »
No, I'm not going to debate the wisdom or righteousness of taking out Saddam, I'm just saying, this country does not have anything to be ashamed of, in my opinion. The rest of the world is far ahead of us when it comes to torturous activities.
Simply being less terrible than certain other countries doesn't give the US anything to be proud of, either.

Part of what has given the US such a terrible international reputation lately (aside from Junior, may he never darken Washington with his presence again) is the fact the we're seen as putting ourselves above the usual restrictions of law and sometimes even common decency, thanks to places like Gitmo.  It's entirely possible that this public downstepping of those activities, whatever name you want to give them, may actually begin to lessen the need for such measures.  Of course that won't happen anytime soon, but it has to start somewhere.

Offline PhantomPistoleer

Re: With the Stroke of a Pen...
« Reply #9 on: January 24, 2009, 10:38:01 AM »
Quote
Cass - I'm not going to quibble over what constitutes torture. More to my point is, why give our enemy the benefit of knowing what we will or wont do when our allies can be quietly assured we are not doing anything that would be of concern.

Additionally, I do believe we took out one of the more prolific and modern torturers and sadists in one Saddam Hussein. What did the Iraqi people do with him? They strung him up on a rope. I understand he flopped about too, before his end was met.

No, I'm not going to debate the wisdom or righteousness of taking out Saddam, I'm just saying, this country does not have anything to be ashamed of, in my opinion. The rest of the world is far ahead of us when it comes to torturous activities.

You are justifying immoral and unlawful conduct by rationalizing that it's not as bad as the immoral and unlawful conduct of other nations.  This is a sublimely stupid rationalization for two reasons: it reasons that as long as we act in a manner that is less grievous than other nations, we're doing okay; it allows and actualizes immoral and unlawful behavior.

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Re: With the Stroke of a Pen...
« Reply #10 on: January 24, 2009, 10:59:37 AM »
We should lead by example, is all I'm saying.  Treat the prisoners as prisoners.  Providing access to lawyers and setting timely trial dates is something that we've done for 'the worst of the worst' under our laws.  If Timothy McVeigh could be given that, there's no reason to actively withhold it from the 'detainees' like they have.

Offline Zakharra

Re: With the Stroke of a Pen...
« Reply #11 on: January 24, 2009, 11:21:03 AM »
We should lead by example, is all I'm saying.  Treat the prisoners as prisoners.  Providing access to lawyers and setting timely trial dates is something that we've done for 'the worst of the worst' under our laws.  If Timothy McVeigh could be given that, there's no reason to actively withhold it from the 'detainees' like they have.

 There lies the problem. The people in Git mo are prisoners of war. not criminals caught in the US. that means they fall under a different set of rules and access to the US justice system is not part of it. Timothy McVeigh was apprehended in a criminal investogation, not captured on the battlefield in a time of war. People also forget the US does not subscribe to all of the Geneva Convention, but only parts and where we and the world run into problems is the interpretation of of those rules. The US saw it one way, Europe saw it another, yet by their interpretation, both were right/wrong. How would that be resolved?

Offline CassandraNovaTopic starter

Re: With the Stroke of a Pen...
« Reply #12 on: January 24, 2009, 11:35:38 AM »
Oddly enough, I was under the impression that it took an act of Congress to declare war.

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Re: With the Stroke of a Pen...
« Reply #13 on: January 24, 2009, 11:47:46 AM »
Timothy McVeigh was apprehended in a criminal investogation, not captured on the battlefield in a time of war.

To my recollection, the people at Gitmo weren't captured on a battlefield any more than the Japanese-Americans were captured during WWII.  Apparently the government wasn't as embarrassed by that incident as I thought.

Quote
People also forget the US does not subscribe to all of the Geneva Convention, but only parts and where we and the world run into problems is the interpretation of of those rules. The US saw it one way, Europe saw it another, yet by their interpretation, both were right/wrong. How would that be resolved?

I'd have to have a list of what the US subscribes to and what they don't to debate this effectively.  I do believe that 'humane treatment of prisoners' was one of the ones that was kept.

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Re: With the Stroke of a Pen...
« Reply #14 on: January 24, 2009, 12:01:26 PM »
I have to admit to a certain visceral urge to lay one of the people we have in custody out and kick them repeatedly until they cry. It's the same visceral reaction to hearing about a heinous crime - and I am against the death penalty, and certainly opposed to holding pens like GB. People are not against places like GB because they feel that the 'other side' deserves better, per se, but because we, as a country, should be held to a higher standard. It's the self-righteousness and the judgmental attitude that gets us in trouble in international cases - for right or for wrong, depending on if you are a relativist or a universalist.

But it doesn't mean I don't cringe for family members and friends who are still in the service and, like Ket, hope that they're being treated okay.

Offline Valerian

Re: With the Stroke of a Pen...
« Reply #15 on: January 24, 2009, 12:13:33 PM »
The US has ratified all of the Geneva conventions except the first as far as I know, and the provisions of the first were included in the second.

The text of the third Geneva Convention (regarding the treatment of prisoners of war) can be found here.  Articles 17 through 20 are the most relevant.  They don't allow for anything remotely like torture.

Whether or not the prisoners at Gitmo or any similar facility are actually prisoners of war is, as Cassandra implied, another question, however, and the root of many of the problems.

Offline CassandraNovaTopic starter

Re: With the Stroke of a Pen...
« Reply #16 on: January 24, 2009, 01:10:28 PM »
Interestingly enough, Dr. Wikipedia says on the qualifications for prisoners of war:

Quote
To be entitled to prisoner-of-war status, captured service members must be lawful combatants entitled to combatant's privilege—which gives them immunity from punishment for crimes constituting lawful acts of war, e.g., killing enemy troops. To qualify under the Third Geneva Convention, a combatant must have conducted military operations according to the laws and customs of war, be part of a chain of command, wear a "fixed distinctive marking, visible from a distance" and bear arms openly. Thus, uniforms and/or badges are important in determining prisoner-of-war status; and francs-tireurs, "terrorists", saboteurs, mercenaries and spies do not qualify.

Offline Trieste

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Re: With the Stroke of a Pen...
« Reply #17 on: January 24, 2009, 01:20:01 PM »
So you're pointing out that the folks in these detention facilities are not actually protected under the regulations re: POWs regardless of whether a war has been declared by Congress, because unless they are uniformed, enlisted, and saying "Sir", they don't count. It seems to make this post ...

Oddly enough, I was under the impression that it took an act of Congress to declare war.

... irrelevant.

It probably would be good to reiterate a point if you're trying to make one, unless you want to be misunderstood, and understandably so.

Offline Zakharra

Re: With the Stroke of a Pen...
« Reply #18 on: January 24, 2009, 01:22:01 PM »
Oddly enough, I was under the impression that it took an act of Congress to declare war.

 It did. There is no set formula in the Constitution that is definate for a declaration of war. The Congress did give the President authority to go after the terrorists in the manner he thoiught best. That is in essance, a declaration of war.

 
Quote
To my recollection, the people at Gitmo weren't captured on a battlefield any more than the Japanese-Americans were captured during WWII.  Apparently the government wasn't as embarrassed by that incident as I thought.

 Caught overseas in the battlefield with a gun in their hand or evidence they were fighting US forces. Essentually, the enemy.

The US has ratified all of the Geneva conventions except the first as far as I know, and the provisions of the first were included in the second.

The text of the third Geneva Convention (regarding the treatment of prisoners of war) can be found here.  Articles 17 through 20 are the most relevant.  They don't allow for anything remotely like torture.

Whether or not the prisoners at Gitmo or any similar facility are actually prisoners of war is, as Cassandra implied, another question, however, and the root of many of the problems.

 No. It's only ratified some parts, not all. That much I do know. Also the Geneva convention only applies to uniformed enemy fighters. The terrorists fall into a gray area. As far as the US is concerned, it is 1; war and the terrorists are 2; prisoners of war, that do not fall under the regulations of the Geneva Convention.

 
Interestingly enough, Dr. Wikipedia says on the qualifications for prisoners of war:


 That's interesting it too mentions 'Lawful' uniformed combatants. Not a terrorist.

Offline Zakharra

Re: With the Stroke of a Pen...
« Reply #19 on: January 24, 2009, 01:23:47 PM »
1So you're pointing out that the folks in these detention facilities are not actually protected under the regulations re: POWs regardless of whether a war has been declared by Congress, because unless they are uniformed, enlisted, and saying "Sir", they don't count. It seems to make this post ...

 2... irrelevant.

It probably would be good to reiterate a point if you're trying to make one, unless you want to be misunderstood, and understandably so.

 1The Geneva Convention is for war between nations, not ideologies, which by their nature, ignore man's rules since they are working for a higher purpose and the ends justify the means.

 
 2: It is relevant. He asked, twice, for the authority to  go to war, to take the fight to those that had attacked out counry and those that supported it.
« Last Edit: January 24, 2009, 01:29:47 PM by Zakharra »

Offline Trieste

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Re: With the Stroke of a Pen...
« Reply #20 on: January 24, 2009, 01:26:46 PM »
... but we didn't go to war. Whether or not a war has been declared is irrelevant to the treatment of freedom fighters, terrorists, backyard bombers, or whatever else you want to call them. They don't count as POWs by the definition posted by Cass.

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Re: With the Stroke of a Pen...
« Reply #21 on: January 24, 2009, 01:30:02 PM »
Quote from: Oniya
To my recollection, the people at Gitmo weren't captured on a battlefield any more than the Japanese-Americans were captured during WWII.  Apparently the government wasn't as embarrassed by that incident as I thought.

 Caught overseas in the battlefield with a gun in their hand or evidence they were fighting US forces. Essentually, the enemy.

I was actually referring to this incident.  There is a disturbing number of Gitmo 'detainees' who were picked up reasons no better than these people.

Offline Zakharra

Re: With the Stroke of a Pen...
« Reply #22 on: January 24, 2009, 01:30:31 PM »
... but we didn't go to war. Whether or not a war has been declared is irrelevant to the treatment of freedom fighters, terrorists, backyard bombers, or whatever else you want to call them. They don't count as POWs by the definition posted by Cass.

 ??  The US did go to war.

Offline Trieste

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Re: With the Stroke of a Pen...
« Reply #23 on: January 24, 2009, 01:44:03 PM »
Apologies, that wasn't clear.

Zakharra, I'm referring to this post. I was also asking CassandraNova to clarify her point; yours are understandable.

The 'war on terror' ... thing... is not an officially declared war unless I missed a press release somewhere (god, I hope not) so, much like with Vietnam (and possibly Korea; I don't recall if the Korean war was actually declared or not but I think it was), we find ourselves having to try and find a code of conduct for people captured under conflict, people who are considered enemies, but people for whom there is no official protection or designation save for under humanitarian laws.

Does that clear it up a little?

Offline Zakharra

Re: With the Stroke of a Pen...
« Reply #24 on: January 24, 2009, 02:01:39 PM »

 Caught overseas in the battlefield with a gun in their hand or evidence they were fighting US forces. Essentually, the enemy.


I was actually referring to this incident.  There is a disturbing number of Gitmo 'detainees' who were picked up reasons no better than these people.

 Wome have been undoubtably captured  mistakenly and I do think they should have been processed much faster than they were. So they can be released.