Sunday, June 05, 2005

One more thing about Amnesty International...

Just a reminder here kids, if you're going to call Gitmo a 'gulag', make sure you know what a gulag is first, and that you have evidence that there is, in fact, wrongdoing. Hi, i'm with the international group of peoeple who run their mouths about things we have no factual basis of.

The quick summation - AI 'does not know' if there has been any wrongdoing/gulag conditions in Gitmo. But apparrently, it's ok to label the Secretary of Defense as an 'apparrent high-level architect of torture'. It's also ok to make sweeping, baseless statements such as:
"... But there are some similarities. The United States is maintaining an archipelago of prisons around the world, many of them secret prisons into which people are being literally disappeared ... And in some cases, at least, we know that they are being mistreated, abused, tortured and even killed."


But remember kids, it's all about 'feeeeeeeelings':
"And whether the Americans like it or not, it does reflect how the more than 2 million Amnesty members in a hundred countries around the world and indeed the vast majority of those countries feel about the United States' detention policy," he added.


Damn, now i'm all cranky. I'ma go light a styrofoam bonfire...maybe discharge some aerosol cans for no reason.

5 comments:

Gable said...

It boils down to this: I personally find the idea of Gitmo reprehensable. I am one of those folks who believes wholeheartedly that the United States Constitution should be used as the method for how the United States treats all people, not just it's citizens (excepting portions detailing the responsibilities of the citizens to choosing their leadership) This does not mean that it should be likened unto a Gulag or one of a hundred other fetid death holes.

S.A.W.B. said...

Gable - To a point, I agree that the US should treat non-citizens, even those currently being housed as captured enemy combatants, with some degree of respect, but when you apply the law of the US Constitution to non-citizens, you end up completely selling short the rights of US citizens by cheapening the value of citizenship.

If I were to go to, say, England for example, and commit some horrible crime, say, brushing my teeth regularly, I would be subject to whatever punishment English law dictates for non-citizens, be it 7 years of boiled food, bad club music, or, preferably, death. The same thing applies here.

Yes, I realize the above statement is something of a stretch, but my point is that we are allowed to run things differently for non-citizens.

Do I think that there has been some wrongdoing at Gitmo, a-la actual abuse and torture, probably.

Do I think that things are being blown out of porportion completely, as is usually the case around here, absolutely.

Do I think for one minute that if there are any captured Americans in an Islamic country, that they are being allowed a Bible/Torah/whatever to pray for, or are being fed meals as perscribed by their religion, being given time to pray each day as perscribed by their religion, and generally having their captors tiptoe around whatever percieved religous transgressions are happening? Not for one bloody second.

Patrick Armstrong said...

Actually, I believe the United States Supreme Court has ruled in the past that the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution does, in fact, extend due process of law to non-citizens who fall under the jurisdiciton of the United States of America.

I think it especially had to do with ex-Confederates like Robert E. Lee who never got their citizenship back, but were extended the same rights in order to re-establish law and order.

But I have no factual basis as to why I think that, so I could be completely off base. I'm going to have to go and do some research to find the actual case law. Luckily I have to walk as far as my Dad's office to do so.

If I am right, however, the 14th Amendment extends due process of law to anyone over whom the United States has custody. Once that is determined, jurisdiction would be examined (ie: were they caught in Georgia?) If they were caught in no state or territory, they would be tried under Military Code or Federal code.

What is really wierd is that, and again, I could be way off base, if these detainees must be held as non-soldiers, they may actually have more legal rights by being caught by the United States than they would if the Geneva Convention was applied.

I'll have more on this tomorrow. If anyone has access to a Lexis-Nexis database, they will find out long before me!

Gable said...

I don't have a say in what or how other countries treat their prisoners. It's how my country chooses to act that I'm accountable for. Though I realize it's a fairly expensive process, I don't think that the line for how we treat "military combatants" should be drawn before legal proceedings to determine whether they should be there. Heck, I'd put those higher on the priority list than Qurans (but lower than 3 square meals for sure).

As far as short changing in the rights department, show me how making sure human rights are upheld is bad for anyone. As different classes of people are introduced into our culture, the easier it is to sweep their, and eventually our, rights under the table. Until the Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional, Gitmo was holding 2 US citizens without a trial. If there were no "Military Combatant" status, there wouldn't have been that class of individual for a citizen to fall into.

Before Iraq, the United States had the support and backing of the world, having been the target of one of the worst terrorist attacks in recent history. All of that goodwill was squandered because our forign policy could be summed up by the phrase "Don't tell us our business, devil woman!" Things such as trials for the Gitmo detainees would have helped keep some of this good will from being lost.

S.A.W.B. said...

quoting here for ease of reading -

QUOTE - "If I am right, however, the 14th Amendment extends due process of law to anyone over whom the United States has custody. Once that is determined, jurisdiction would be examined (ie: were they caught in Georgia?) If they were caught in no state or territory, they would be tried under Military Code or Federal code"

From what I can tell/read/hear, all of the detainees at Gitmo were 'acquired' by US forces overseas, therefore, the jurisdiction belongs to the US Military. Had they been caught in US territory, the would have been given the same legal protections that we give every other illegal immigrant in this country.

QUOTE - "I don't think that the line for how we treat "military combatants" should be drawn before legal proceedings to determine whether they should be there.

So, you'd rather extend rights guaranteed to citizens to anyone and everyone before sorting out who it belongs to? We could be shooting them all, and letting their various gods sort it out. It's a slow process, and one that is no doubt hindered by the unwillingness to talk by the detainees.

QUOTE - "As far as short changing in the rights department, show me how making sure human rights are upheld is bad for anyone. As different classes of people are introduced into our culture, the easier it is to sweep their, and eventually our, rights under the table. Until the Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional, Gitmo was holding 2 US citizens without a trial. If there were no "Military Combatant" status, there wouldn't have been that class of individual for a citizen to fall into."

Basic human rights are fine with me. Under my most recent definition, those are food, water, shelter. Beyond that, if you can figure out which direction Mecca is, bully for you.

With regard to the 2 US citizens that were being held, i'd wager that it took a bit to sort out who was who, being that Gitmo isn't exactly as well connected to the rest of the world as, say, Manhattan. Also, it was probably easier/cheaper/more efficent to detain them at Gitmo until it was determined that they were citizens than to just take them at their word and transport them to one of the federal lockups for pre-trial nonsense.

QUOTE - "Before Iraq, the United States had the support and backing of the world, having been the target of one of the worst terrorist attacks in recent history. All of that goodwill was squandered because our forign policy could be summed up by the phrase "Don't tell us our business, devil woman!" Things such as trials for the Gitmo detainees would have helped keep some of this good will from being lost."

Don't kid yourself. We had the backing and goodwill of about 3 dozen countries, and most of them are previous war losers, allies, or countries who generally hide behind the collective US skirt who we've helped to rebuild, (see - Japan, England, Canada.) France, Germany, Russia, and others all got cranky when we decided to invade because, surprise surprise, they were getting what looks to be MASSIVE kickbacks from Saddam's regime under either oil-for-food or illicit arms sales.

As for keeping the goodwill of the world on our side, screw 'em. World goodwill doesn't go real far. Ask Neville Chamberlain.