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Rebuff for Bush on civil liberties

  1. Dec 19, 2003 #1
    Well, now that a US court has agreed with what the world has been saying for two years...
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 19, 2003 #2

    GENIERE

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    These decisions will be tested in the Supreme Court so it’s an open issue at this time. My personal position is that all non-military US citizens must have a speedy, open trial, and access to an attorney irrespective of his crime. The burden of proof must be on the government. Some specific evidence and testimony may need to be presented in secrecy.

    Those presumed terrorists held in Guantánamo Bay present a more complex issue. I think they cannot be held indefinitely; perhaps after three years be tried in open court with some restriction on evidence. If released they could, should they desire, sue the US government, with the US picking up the tab.
     
  4. Dec 20, 2003 #3
    Unfortunatly, I am not well informed on Guantanamo Bay, but from what I've heard recently I'd have to agree that it is ridiculus. To hold someone captive, indefinitly, without charging them sounds like abduction to me.
     
  5. Dec 21, 2003 #4

    russ_watters

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    Its a tough issue. POW's get held until the end of a war.
     
  6. Dec 21, 2003 #5
    What POWs?
     
  7. Dec 22, 2003 #6

    russ_watters

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    Those prisoners could be granted POW status. It would be a step of from where they are now.
     
  8. Dec 22, 2003 #7
    You seemed to be saying that those people in Cuba should be imprisoned until the end of this alleged war (against an indefinite enemy, for an indefinite period, with indefinite goals), because they are POWs. Which is odd, since they are not POWs.
     
  9. Dec 22, 2003 #8

    Njorl

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    The case of the the Guantanamo Bay prisoners is difficult. There are no clear rules laid out by international law for their treatment.

    The case of Jose Padilla is one-sided and obvious. In 1971 the US congress repealed the law allowing the president to confine US citizens for national security purposes. They then passed a law specifically forbidding it. It will be interesting to see what kind of balloon animal Nino Scalia ties the Constitution into to justify supporting the president on this one.

    Njorl
     
  10. Dec 22, 2003 #9
    Actually there ARE clear laws laid out regarding the treatment of POWs. That's why the USA refuses to admit they are POWs. The whole rest of the world says they are POWs. The fact is, only military might allows the USA to get away with this crap.
     
  11. Dec 22, 2003 #10

    russ_watters

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    My point (from my first sentence) is that its a difficult issue. Njorl does a good job explaining further.
    [bold added] Thats strange - you seem to be contradicting your last post:
    [bold added]

    Perhaps (as usual it seems), this issue is just a tad more complicated than you have considered.
     
  12. Dec 22, 2003 #11
    Geez, russ, think abou it. When I said they are not POWs, I was pointing out the idiocy of the situation. They ARE POWs.

    And no, it is not that complicated. They are being held in tiny wire cages, without charge, without legal representation. They should be released.

    And no, they will not receive fair trials. Convictions (they won't even bother with charges, they'll just convict them of some unspecified crime) will be given so there is a justification for having kept them locked away so long.
     
  13. Dec 22, 2003 #12

    russ_watters

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    Well in that case, this is two contradictions then. If they are POWs then they can be held until hostilities end. And if they are/should be POWs, then they are not entitled to legal representation.

    You're picking and choosing contradicting parts of the various statuses. You can't have it both ways - and there are more than just two possible choices. They are currently being held as illegal combatants, a status below that of POWs or criminals.
     
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2003
  14. Dec 22, 2003 #13

    Njorl

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    Actually, quite a few have just been released with admissions from the US that they were wrongly interned. Evidently they had been accused of things by vindictive people in Afghanistan for personal reasons, and the claims had not been well investigated. No recompense to them has been proposed as far as I can tell. The US has simply admitted error and released them.

    While I find this despicable, it does belie Adam's paranoid, hateful anti-American prophecies that the prisoners will be convicted without trials to post-justify their internment.

    The Guantanamo prisoners should at least have some recourse to clarify their standing. It is entirely possible that there is a mix of genuine POWs, illegal combatants, international criminals, and totally innocent non-comabtants in the camps. If there are individual cases in which national security concerns are deemed to outweigh an individual's rights, those concerns must be entered into an evidentiary record, and the ones making the decision to abridge the individual's rights must be noted, so they can be held responsible if they are found to have acted unjustly. Secrecy and justice are not entirely incompatible.

    Njorl
     
  15. Dec 22, 2003 #14
    russ_waters, you have no idea. Follow the bouncing ball.

    1) The prisoners ARE prisones of war.

    2) The USA says they are not POWs.

    3) POWs are entitled to independent inspection, and their treatment to independent review.

    4) The USA refuses to allow any independent intervention.

    5) There is no such thing as "illegal combatant" or "unlawful combatant" or whatever doublespeak crap Bush has labelled them.

    If you wish to learn what legal status those people should have, read the law that matters: http://www.unhchr.ch/html/menu3/b/91.htm However, the USA is going against an international law they signed up for by not following this.
     
  16. Dec 22, 2003 #15
    My question is : why NOT confer POW status on the gtmo prisoners?
     
  17. Dec 22, 2003 #16
    Njorl

    Fantastic. When will we see the rest of them released? Or will the others face the future I predicted? Will those who were abducted and illegally imprisoned for two years have the opportunity to sue the US government for what has happened to them?

    1) My words might be considered hateful and based on emotion had I not provided evidence at every turn. Read and learn.

    2) I find it pathetic that the first resort of the patriot is to attack any criticism with emotional outburts and accusations of bigotry, rather than discussing the pertinent material.

    There is no such thing as a Bushspeak "illegal combatant". Read the law I have provided.
     
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2003
  18. Dec 22, 2003 #17

    amp

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    Wow, the question is begged...

    What is legal combat? Russ? When conditions deteriorate so far that combat occurs, hasn't legality exited the arena?
     
  19. Dec 22, 2003 #18

    russ_watters

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    Re: Wow, the question is begged...

    A legal combatant is a uniformed member of a nation's armed forces. They are required by the Geneva Convention to carry an ID card indicating their status as soldiers.
    For more detail:
    http://en2.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enemy_combatant
    #1 contradicts your statements that they should be released.

    3 and 4 are wrong: the Red Cross has visited them.

    5 - addressed above. (note the list of countries that recognizes the term - there may be some familiar ones there)
    They have been granted most of the rights of POWs. The difficulty though is in defining the war they are POWs of. If its the "war on terror" then Afghanis should be sent back to Afghanistan or the Hague or Washington to stand trial for applicable crimes. For guys from other countries it gets a lot tougher since as the law indicates you can hold them until the end of the war. But this is a tough war to define.

    One thing is for sure though: they are not automatically entitled to POW status because they are illegal combatants.
     
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2003
  20. Dec 23, 2003 #19
    Just a general rule of thumb: never trust anyone who wants to limit the rights of groups of people they don't agree with. If things are on the up and up, there is no reason not to play by the rules that allow the most rights to people. I still don't understand what rights it is important for the U.S. to deny prisoners. Should they not have access to a court, at least, to clarify their status?
     
  21. Dec 23, 2003 #20
    As I've said before, I don't know enough about international law, so I'm avoiding the main topic to say that I disagree with this:
    The rule of thumb is: Never allow the continued existence of anyone/group who limits the rights of any other one/group only because they disagree.
    It doesn't matter what the former wants to do unless there is reason to believe they will. If the former does limit the rights of anyone/group for a just reason, then it might be justified to limit their rights depending on how they do it and to what extent.
     
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