Guantanamo Bay

My faith and respect for Powell is restored:

Hear hear! The apathy about this issue has really been bothering me. Maybe it’s my own personal nightmares about being wrongfully incarcerated but it’s just wrong. Maybe if we saw them trying to determine who is guilty and who isn’t…

Like, you know, a legal system?

About fucking time. Everyone of them has the right to either a fair trial or a POW status.

Seriously. This POW camp was fine when first instituted, but it has become a travesty. It’s time to shut that thing down.

I was extremely down on Powell after his endorsement of the Administration’s position on that old Bin Ladin tape as “proof” Al Qaida was in league with Iraq. The dog and pony show in the U.N. didn’t do much for me either.

Over time I’ve come to the conclusion that, like Blair, he figures there needs to be some official, in good with the administration, with stature enough to oppose the neocons. Blair’s big concern is the rift between the U.S. and Europe. By walking the walk, he was in a position to blunt alot of the more radical considerations the Bush administration was toying with. The day after 9/11 Wolfie and Co. were already pushing attacking Iraq in accordance with their prefab ideology. Blair and Powell are among those that managed to counterbalance this thrust and, when it seemed inevitable, at least got us in front of the U.N… What’s amazing is how Powell is getting blamed for the outcome when it was comments and maneuvering by Rumsfeld and other hardliners, remember the ‘do what we want or be irrelevant’ speech that Bush gave, that alienated our allies to the point that they were never going to go along.

If Powell ever gives it up or Blair finally peels away that’s the canary in the coal mine, folks. They’re only around to mitigate the damage that’s being done and swallowing alot of pride and prestige in the process. If they give up the ghost we’re in for some really ugly times.

It’s good to see Powell finally kicking against the pricks though. I guess Gingrich finally pushed him too far.

It was never a POW camp, that’s the bloody problem with this place! POW’s get to return home when the war is over and have their rights guaranteed, these people are detained indefinitely in what is best described as an enclave where apparently no law or treaty applies. Illegal combatants my ass. Illegally detained, hell yes!

Yes, all these international terrorists deserve to be immediately released into the wild!

Seriously, you guys. We can’t just let them go. These aren’t just enlisted troops from some nation’s army, they’re criminals who sought out an organization they could join to wage war against the west. And there is no legal framework in place to deal with them. That’s the risk you run when you join an illegal army and wage an illegal war, you might get caught without any status. Frankly I have trouble getting my ire up about these guys. Presumably the military has already made determinations as to who poses a threat and must remain imprisoned. Some of them might be old, some might be young, all of them apparently hate America and it’s are very likely to resume their terrorist activities upon release. If we want to establish rights for these people the UN should probably get off its ass and come up with something.

Hey, the mercenaries and terrorists, I say lock 'em up and throw away the keys.

But aren’t some of these guys just Taliban soldiers? When you’re a regular soldier, you’re only a criminal if you commit atrocities, or your side loses.

But isn’t the whole point of Powell’s letter that the DoD has not made the proper determinations of who is a threat and who isn’t? Surely you are not advocating indefinite imprisonment “just in case”? We don’t how many of these guys are real Al Qaeda members and who is just someone who took up arms beside them to oppose an American invasion - a world of difference in my mind.

A year and a half later and no progress has been made on these decisions. Even if you accept that the initial detainment was lawful, some semblance of progress on resolving the cases here is something we should expect.

Troy

You can’t seriously be this trusting Brad. I don’t believe the military should ever get that kind of power and I’m disturbed that people aren’t questioning it. Especially self-described Libertarians. :wink:

If only one person in there is innocent. Just one. I think it’s a travesty and letting something like this go one doesn’t make me feel much safer, thank you. It scares the hell out of me.

When is it ok to release them? Two years? Three years? Ten years? How long is too long to hold someone without due process? A month? A year? Ten years?

How exactly do we decide who gets constitutional protection and who doesn’t? Are terrorists exempt from legal protection by default? Are all suspected terrorists guilty until proven innocent?

Wouldn’t that be handy. Throw them all away in some island prison and forget about them. Oh wait… isn’t that what we’re supposed to be fighting against?

A large number of them I would think should never be released. And the current lack of “status” means they aren’t due anything.

How exactly do we decide who gets constitutional protection and who doesn’t? Are terrorists exempt from legal protection by default? Are all suspected terrorists guilty until proven innocent?

Well, one rule of thumb would be the fact that the US constitution does not extend outside our borders. Terrorists who are illegal combatants apprehended by US forces on foreign soil in a combat zone who have no status and are not US citizens have no legal protection by default, yes. The laws don’t exist. As long as they are not on US soil they are SOL. And we aren’t talking about “suspects” here, we’re talking about armed men captured in combat during Enduring freedom. I have trouble imagining any innocents were inadvertantly captured, whose innocense remained undiscovered and who were flown around the world to be kept in a cage, unjustly, in Cuba.

Wouldn’t that be handy. Throw them all away in some island prison and forget about them. Oh wait… isn’t that what we’re supposed to be fighting against?

I’m uncomfortable with the legal ambiguity. But I can’t be indignant about these people being denied rights the law doesn’t actually give them. Ideally, I’d like to see those captured prosecuted in Afghanistan be tried there, but I don’t think their legal system could handle it. The article mentions a number of countries asking for individuals being held to be transferred to them. I got the impression we were talking about extradition for prosecution in many of those cases, and that would be acceptable as well.

They’re not due anything but a prison cell? Lack of status means they have no rights? Ever? You really don’t have a problem with that?

Well, one rule of thumb would be the fact that the US constitution does not extend outside our borders. Terrorists who are illegal combatants apprehended by US forces on foreign soil in a combat zone who have no status and are not US citizens have no legal protection by default, yes. The laws don’t exist. As long as they are not on US soil they are SOL.

I’m not a fan of terrorists, but saying, “That doesn’t count because we’re holding them way over here” doesn’t make me very comfortable that we’re doing the right thing. There’s a reason due process is in the constitution, even if there are ways around it. I’m glad you feel confident that the 600+ people rounded up over the last year-and-a-half are guilty, because I sure don’t.

I’m uncomfortable with the legal ambiguity. But I can’t be indignant about these people being denied rights the law doesn’t actually give them. Ideally, I’d like to see those captured prosecuted in Afghanistan be tried there, but I don’t think their legal system could handle it. The article mentions a number of countries asking for individuals being held to be transferred to them. I got the impression we were talking about extradition for prosecution in many of those cases, and that would be acceptable as well.

I don’t have a problem with these people being extradited, but if that can’t happen in a timely manner, then we need to either take care of it ourselves or let them go.

I understand that this is legally true, but ethically, I have a huge problem with it. This is a gross violation of the spirit of our laws, which are based on a set of “self evident” and “unalienable” human rights. We were similarly lacking in legal protection when we rebelled against the British crown; I know these people are not citizens of the US, but there is a strong historic precedent for the idea that our Constitutional rights are just that–rights, and not some sort of exclusive privilege of citizenship.

I understand that this is legally true, but ethically, I have a huge problem with it. This is a gross violation of the spirit of our laws, which are based on a set of “self evident” and “unalienable” human rights. We were similarly lacking in legal protection when we rebelled against the British crown; I know these people are not citizens of the US, but there is a strong historic precedent for the idea that our Constitutional rights are just that–rights, and not some sort of exclusive privilege of citizenship.[/quote]

I agree. I’ll be extremely disappointed if the U.S. determines that the right to a trial isn’t a basic human right that should be extended to everyone, including our enemies.

Brad, you really have no problem with people being detained in perpetuity in a camp that exists outside every legal system at the arbitrary whim of the US military?

If they are criminals and terrorists, as you claim, they have the right to a fair trial, legal counsel and are to be presumed innocent until proven guilty. They might not be covered by US law, but basic human rights apply to everyone, regardless of location or jurisdiction.

Do you have any principles when it comes to justice? The mere suspicion that innocents might be imprisoned without a trial should be enough to invalidate this camp.

For your reading pleasure, try The Process by Kafka. The similarities to Guantanamo are chilling.

You’re not out trolling again, are you?

Well, no matter. How on earth would the detaining authorities discover their innocence? Ask them nicely? Check the Taliban Membership Records? If I’m a terrorist, and I say I’m a farmer fighting as an irregular against the invasion, how will you disprove that?

The problem still is, who are terrorists and who are soldiers? These people were captured in Afghanistan, some of them were defending their government. Does the fact that they were defending the Taliban make them terrorists and thus not protected by POW status?

They call them illegal combatants, but what exactly does that mean? An organized militia is protected by our constitution, and yet these militiamen in Afghanistan are considered illegal because they didn’t formally enlist in a military structure as seen by the U.S.?

I have no doubt that some of the folks in the prison camp are terrorists. But I also have no doubt that there are some good old fasioned, patriotic Afghani citizens who thought the were defending themselves from American aggression.

What they’re saying right now, by keeping 600 people prisoner, is that every single person of that 600 is a immediate threat to drive a car bomb into the middle of an American city. If that’s true, then they need to bring these people to the U.S., hold a trial presenting the evidence that these people are indeed terrorists, and then do whatever to them.

“Inalienable”

Extremely well put Ben. This smacks of internment camps and reservations.