Join 3,512 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


"How could I be an enemy combatant if I was not able to stand up?"
August 30, 2006 9:13 AM   Subscribe

Seventy-one-year-old enemy combatant released.
posted by EarBucket (147 comments total)

 
You got to be fucking kidding me. What's wrong with the US?
posted by chunking express at 9:16 AM on August 30, 2006


He beat Fidel in an arm wrestling match. That's how you win your freedom in gitmo. Haji may have hobbled away, but that was a hobble of pride.
posted by damn dirty ape at 9:21 AM on August 30, 2006


What Chunking express said. WTF?
posted by Sijeka at 9:22 AM on August 30, 2006


Mighty white of us, innit?
posted by DenOfSizer at 9:25 AM on August 30, 2006


Don't forget to vote this November!!
posted by matty at 9:31 AM on August 30, 2006


"To be eligible for release, the U.S. must conclude the detainee no longer poses a threat to the United Sates[sic][...]"

Nice subtle spin there. They're implying that he once DID pose a threat. What a pile of shit.
posted by Malor at 9:34 AM on August 30, 2006


With absolutely no context in that story, I'm not sure how anyone can speculate a positive or negative opinion of US policies. Of course, I am sure that the vast majority will use this story as a soap box for how the war on terror is 'teh Evil'.

Carry on the baseless cynicism.
posted by SeizeTheDay at 9:36 AM on August 30, 2006


Malor - Presumably his last tooth fell out.
posted by Artw at 9:37 AM on August 30, 2006


What a nice way to spend the last 5 years of your life. You've managed to survive 70 years in Afghanistan, so here's a present for ya: an all-expenses-paid trip to a beautiful island in the Caribbean, where we'll lock you in a windowless room with a bag over your head, ask you inane questions that you won't understand and feed you pork, because it amuses us. America the severely fucked up.
posted by doctor_negative at 9:45 AM on August 30, 2006


Carry on the baseless cynicism.

Hardly baseless, but what do you care?
posted by sonofsamiam at 9:47 AM on August 30, 2006 [1 favorite]


With absolutely no context in that story, I'm not sure how anyone can speculate a positive or negative opinion of US policies. - SeizeTheDay

With the context of the story being that the US holds people for years without ever charging them with any crime, I feel I have every right to speculate a negative opinion of US policies.
posted by witchstone at 9:47 AM on August 30, 2006


With absolutely no context in that story, I'm not sure how anyone can speculate a positive or negative opinion of US policies. Of course, I am sure that the vast majority will use this story as a soap box for how the war on terror is 'teh Evil'.

Carry on the baseless cynicism.


Please tell me this is sarcasm and I'm just missing it. Or has Dios changed his sock puppet?
posted by doctor_negative at 9:48 AM on August 30, 2006


Carry on the baseless cynicism.

I think not, SeizeTheDay. Locking people up in cages without charges or recourse to lawyers and a trial would be closer to my definition of baseless cynicism.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 9:49 AM on August 30, 2006


Carry on the baseless cynicism.

Paint that rainbow scene for me if the palette is chock full of options, wash away my willful ignorance with your strokes of reasoning.

Do not simply tell me I'm looking at it incorrectly.
posted by prostyle at 9:49 AM on August 30, 2006 [1 favorite]


doctor_negative: You forgot to include "..and forced to listen to Britney Spears albums 24x7".

I mean if you're going to make stuff up, go for the gusto, man.
posted by dsquid at 9:50 AM on August 30, 2006


This article was on Digg yesterday. Foolishly I tried to engage an apologist by asking "What positive outcomes [could he] expect from a conflict where troops kidnap 71 year old men from their homes because they can't afford the benefit of the doubt?"
His response: "The war can have 2 outcomes: 1. We win 2. We lose. Which one do you want? The positive outcome I prefer is: we win."

Times like this I am grateful for the relatively mature discussion on Mefi, and absolutely depressed how common that drivel is outside.
posted by Popular Ethics at 9:51 AM on August 30, 2006


In Hamden v Bush, the US Supreme Ct found that holding human being(s) in a facility like Guantanamo, and subjecting him to torture, denying him the basic protections afforded prisoners to war is a direct violation of Article 3 of the Geneva Convention (i.e. a war crime). There are over 450 prisoners at Guantanamo, approximately 13000 in Iraq, approximately 500 in Afghanistan, and perhaps as many as 100 at the CIA "Black Sites" around the world. At least 98 detainees have died, and 34 of these are being investigated as homicides. So Siezetheday, you can go on being a tool for the adminstration - the worst in American History - but to call the comments above baseless is dishonest and pathetic. If nothing else, the idea that the administration's atrocious behavior will never come back to haunt our (the US) country is mindbogglingly ignorant of human history. Self preservation should at the very least argue for treating these presumed enemies, if they are that, as POWs.
posted by Gaius Gracchus at 9:55 AM on August 30, 2006 [1 favorite]


The man was held on suspicion of links to Ahmed Shah Abdali.
posted by eddydamascene at 9:55 AM on August 30, 2006


I'm not trying to troll for "enraged comments" here. But let's look at what's given here. We're only presented with one fact. An old man was released from Gitmo. That's it. We don't know why he was detained (because I'm sure that's either classified or being covered up by the govt.); we don't know who this old man knows (bin Laden, Ronald McDonald, Madonna, Hussein); we don't know who authorized his detention (Bush himself, the Pope, or perhaps the boogie man).

So from one, ONE piece of information: "old man released from Gitmo", ya'll care to speculate that US policies are inherently bad, wrong, and in violation of Geneva? That the entire process is corrupt? That this is all Bush's fault? Hey, you could be right...but I've yet to see one shred of evidence based on THIS story that backs your claim.
posted by SeizeTheDay at 9:56 AM on August 30, 2006 [1 favorite]


With absolutely no context in that story, I'm not sure how anyone can speculate a positive or negative opinion of US policies.

no context? ... it's all over the place, you just don't want to see it

Carry on the baseless cynicism.

watch out! ... it's the afghan walker bridage! ... walk too slow and they'll hobble all over you!
posted by pyramid termite at 9:57 AM on August 30, 2006


Which is why I said that this thread is simply a soapbox for anti-War on Terror comments. Hey, I oppose this same war. But unlike some of you, I don't use tiny little soundbites like "old man released from Gitmo" to make my anti-war commentary heard. I'd rather choose credible, more comprehensive evidence of abuse of power.
posted by SeizeTheDay at 10:00 AM on August 30, 2006


We don't know why he was detained

we do know that after 5 years, that they couldn't find sufficient reason to keep detaining him

conclusion - they never had one to begin with
posted by pyramid termite at 10:00 AM on August 30, 2006


no context? ... it's all over the place, you just don't want to see it

No kidding. Is this the first news story you've read in 6 years?

I don't use tiny little soundbites like "old man released from Gitmo" to make my anti-war commentary heard.

Soundbites are what get people's attention. If that weren't true, we wouldn't be here now.
posted by sonofsamiam at 10:01 AM on August 30, 2006


'watch out! ... it's the afghan walker bridage!'


posted by mr_crash_davis at 10:01 AM on August 30, 2006


Fine, youre looking for more evidence. Meanwhile our government, governing in our names (sorry non-US'ers) is acting horridly. Any other President, any other adminstration would never have been allowed to act in this manner. History will judge our complicity with the course our nation has taken over the last 6 years as unworthy of those who claim to be decent and honorable human beings. But hey, good like finding a second link on the old man story, that should change everything.
posted by Gaius Gracchus at 10:01 AM on August 30, 2006


During internment in Northern Ireland (1971) the British interned several men who had last been in active resistance in 1916.

Faulty intelligence to blame. Probably something similar here.
posted by knapah at 10:02 AM on August 30, 2006


conclusion - they never had one to begin with

Unsubstantiated claim. Pure assumption. You don't know this old man's story.
posted by SeizeTheDay at 10:02 AM on August 30, 2006


But let's look at what's given here. We're only presented with one fact. An old man was released from Gitmo. That's it.

Khan was not charged with a crime and Ryan said the government never said why he was detained.

Oh, I'm sorry. You fucking lose.
posted by prostyle at 10:03 AM on August 30, 2006


Maybe he was the Afghani Jack LaLanne... (j/k)
posted by stifford at 10:03 AM on August 30, 2006 [1 favorite]


Unsubstantiated claim.

No, probable explanation.
posted by sonofsamiam at 10:03 AM on August 30, 2006


I'm not trying to troll for "enraged comments" here. But let's look at what's given here. We're only presented with one fact. An old man was released from Gitmo. That's it. We don't know why he was detained (because I'm sure that's either classified or being covered up by the govt.); we don't know who this old man knows (bin Laden, Ronald McDonald, Madonna, Hussein); we don't know who authorized his detention (Bush himself, the Pope, or perhaps the boogie man).

Or you could, you know, read the article:

U.S. forces captured the elderly detainee's son, Hiztullah Nasrat Yar, in a compound with some 700 weapons, including small arms and rockets, according to military records.

Khan and his son told the military panel that the younger man was guarding the weapons for the government of Afghan President Hamid Karzai. The father had said he was arrested while complaining about his son's capture several days later.


Now, maybe his son was telling the truth, maybe he wasn't. Maybe the son really was a terrorist--in which case, they really should have charged him and given him a trial by now, if they honestly had any evidence against him. Either way, it's ridiculous to be holding a seventy-something grandfather who can't even stand up under his own power. And if the old man really might be best friends forever with Osama, as you suggest, why are they turning him loose?
posted by EarBucket at 10:04 AM on August 30, 2006


Carry on the baseless cynicism.

YOUR kidding? Baseless? Let's review our baseless cynicism: ...do we need to go fucking on?

Baseless, my ass.
posted by tkchrist at 10:04 AM on August 30, 2006 [7 favorites]


SeizeTheDay: "So from one, ONE piece of information: "old man released from Gitmo", ya'll care to speculate that US policies are inherently bad, wrong, and in violation of Geneva?"

From that piece of information alone one can infer that he was held for five years illegally in a prison, without a fair trial, without a lawyer, without even the privileges accorded to a prisoner of war. This is entirely Bush's fault who claims to be above the American law and the international treaties the US signed. This is not speculation, this is fact. Would you care to explain how this perversion of justice fits in with your idea of a "legal system" or how anyone could condone something like this?
posted by PontifexPrimus at 10:06 AM on August 30, 2006


Unsubstantiated claim.

absolutely substantiated by the fact they let him go ... what fact do you have that argues against it?

Pure assumption.

innocent until proven guilty is a pure assumption ... or at least it's supposed to be in the u s a
posted by pyramid termite at 10:07 AM on August 30, 2006


You got to be fucking kidding me. What's wrong with the SeizeTheDay?
posted by chunking express at 10:08 AM on August 30, 2006


What's wrong with the SeizeTheDay?

Crack. He's free "base-less-ing."
posted by tkchrist at 10:09 AM on August 30, 2006 [1 favorite]


As much as I'm against what's going on at Guantanamo, I have to say that you'd have to be pretty damned foolish to think old = innocent. Pinochet was Chile's Commander-In-Chief of the Army when he was over 80 years old.

I don't doubt this man's story, but you don't have to be holding a gun to be a threat. Commanders, strategists, money men... there are lots of ways you can be a terrorist threat (or have important knowledge of same) when you're old.

(on preview) ...as well, just because he turned out to be innocent in the end does not mean it was unreasonable to arrest him initially.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 10:09 AM on August 30, 2006


SeizeTheDay: What more to the story could there be? A senior citizen was captured from his home, held at an extra-legal prison for years, then released without charge. His rights to liberty and due process have been patently abused. His I think your deference to your government is misplaced here.
posted by Popular Ethics at 10:10 AM on August 30, 2006


GhostintheMachine: did they arrest him, or did they snatch him from his country take him to america and make him sit in a prison not charged with anything? I think they did the later.
posted by chunking express at 10:12 AM on August 30, 2006


On the other hand, he is an Arab, so the government has that going for them.
posted by sonofsamiam at 10:12 AM on August 30, 2006 [2 favorites]


Okay, one last comment, because I'd just like to conclude my point before I'm called a Bush-lover, apologist, or fascist. Oh wait, too late.

I'm not making an argument to support the government's decision to detain this guy. I'm merely stating that given the incredibly small amount of factual evidence presented about this guy's case, it's impossible to intelligently speculate about whether or not his detention was legal. Further, as can already be seen by the comments in this thread, I feel like presenting such an isolated, fact-free story like this can only fuel unsubstantiated speculation regarding the war on terror, detentions at gitmo, and the Bush administration in general. Which may well be deserved, but without real evidence in this particular case, I fail to see how you can make a credible, generalized argument.
posted by SeizeTheDay at 10:14 AM on August 30, 2006


...it's impossible to intelligently speculate about whether or not his detention was legal.

Go back to school.
posted by prostyle at 10:16 AM on August 30, 2006


OH SHIT MY ARGUMENT NO CREIDBLE
posted by sonofsamiam at 10:16 AM on August 30, 2006


Just when you think things couldn't get any more embarrassing...
posted by effwerd at 10:17 AM on August 30, 2006


but without real evidence in this particular case, I fail to see how you can make a credible, generalized argument.

Boy, you are seriously back-tracking now.

You said "Baseless cynicism." You need to retract that first. We got plenty of "base" here.
posted by tkchrist at 10:18 AM on August 30, 2006


I'm merely stating that given the incredibly small amount of factual evidence presented about this guy's case, it's impossible to intelligently speculate about whether or not his detention was legal.

Since Geneva Conventions protocol was ignored for detainees, the entire detention process was illegal from the very start.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:20 AM on August 30, 2006


Being fair-minded is the most important thing of all, regardless of past behavior. It would be really terrible if people began to lose their trust in the Bush administration. How would Bush present the case for a righteous forward defense in Iran and Syria?
posted by sonofsamiam at 10:21 AM on August 30, 2006


ghostinthemachine: Ok, but holding him for five years without a trial?

I have no problem with arresting terrorists. (In fact, I think that's exactly what we should be doing, rather than invading unrelated sovereign nations.) But then charge them with a crime and give them an opportunity to defend themselves. If we can't prove our claim beyond a reasonable doubt, we let them go. Pointing a finger at someone doesn't deprive them of their fundamental rights.... just because 'terrorist!' is written on the finger, it changes nothing.

SeizeTheDay: Again, they held the man for five years and didn't bring charges. You don't have a problem with that? And you don't see that it makes it extremely unlikely that they ever had anything real on the guy?
posted by Malor at 10:21 AM on August 30, 2006


GhostintheMachine: That's really dangerous logic. Say you discover the government wiretapping a hotel room. They "arrest" you without charge for as long as necessary to keep you quiet, and win the next election, at which point they release you without charge, without explanation, and without recourse. You go from pundit to pundit trying to tell people you're innocent, that you were jailed for political reasons. Under your logic we should ignore your plight because "our government must have locked you up for good reason!"
posted by Popular Ethics at 10:22 AM on August 30, 2006


it's impossible to intelligently speculate about whether or not his detention was legal

speak for yourself, please
posted by pyramid termite at 10:22 AM on August 30, 2006


They're implying that he once DID pose a threat.

in the 1950's he was a total badass. and he may very well be Mohammed Atta's gramps!!!
posted by matteo at 10:23 AM on August 30, 2006


and he may very well be Mohammed Atta's gramps!!!

You know they're all related over there pretty much.
posted by sonofsamiam at 10:24 AM on August 30, 2006


it's impossible to intelligently speculate about whether or not his detention was legal...but without real evidence in this particular case, I fail to see how you can make a credible, generalized argument.

Habeus Corpus: It is illegal to hold someone without charge no matter what "untold circumstance".
posted by Popular Ethics at 10:28 AM on August 30, 2006


Wow! Go Team America! Destroy geriatric evildoers wherever they are.
posted by c13 at 10:29 AM on August 30, 2006


GAS IT
If you're making a post about Israel or Lebanon or Hezbollah or even Iraq you should reconsider, as many recent threads have ended in shouting matches that do nothing good for the site or the community. If you do insist on posting about those subjects, make sure it's actually something of major importance or at the very least interesting, and not just another news blip about war.
posted by boo_radley at 10:31 AM on August 30, 2006


If you're making a post about Israel or Lebanon or Hezbollah or even Iraq

This appears to be a post about detainees held in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba — who for the most part are originally from Afghanistan and Pakistan.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:35 AM on August 30, 2006


This thread isn't about any of those things though. The thread did end in a shouting match though. I think people react poorly when confronted with the stupid shit America does in the name of FREEDOM.
posted by chunking express at 10:36 AM on August 30, 2006


To be eligible for release, the U.S. must conclude the detainee no longer poses a threat to the United Sates, has no further intelligence value and does not merit criminal prosecution, said Navy Lt. Cmdr. Jeffrey Gordon, a
Pentagon spokesman.


This is the part I find most fucked up--that a "detainee" has to prove his innocence. In other words, this administration has no respect for the concept of natural rights, a concept upon which our nation was at least partially founded. And how can we expect to get any sort of cooperation or support from middle eastern peoples when we treat their fellows more like vermin than humans?
posted by Citizen Premier at 10:39 AM on August 30, 2006 [1 favorite]


No, this appears to be a paper sack filled with poop, left on metafilter's doorstep and set on fire.
posted by boo_radley at 10:40 AM on August 30, 2006


chunking: That's immaterial. The story here is suggesting that just because this guy was old and infirm, it would be ridiculous to consider him a threat. And that is absolutely wrong.

Malor: To be clear, I'm very much against the idea this guy was detained at all, even for a single day, without access to basic human rights and in (what I see, and what US courts now apparently see as a) clear violation of American and international law. So we're basically in agreement.

Popular Ethics: You've completely misread me. The dangerous logic is assuming that some random old guy can't possibly be connected to terrorist or other dangerous activities, simply because he's old and infirm. That is as far as my comments went, period.

Just because the guy's old doesn't make him innocent. Just because the US gov't couldn't find anything to charge him with in five years doesn't mean they didn't have probable cause initially. And just because I am defending a specific hypothetical here (that there might have been a justifiable reason to detain this guy initially) does not mean I condone or accept anything that happened afterwards.

Stop trying to put everyone in us vs. them camps. That's what leads to situations like Guantanamo to begin with.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 10:44 AM on August 30, 2006 [1 favorite]


Well, there's always the flagging system, Metatalk (looks like a thread is open already, though, ironically, etiquette wasn't followed by the OP linking to it here) or emailing the administrators.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:45 AM on August 30, 2006


On the other hand, he is an Arab, so the government has that going for them.

He's an Afghan.

Anyway, I'm with SiezeTheDay. You can argue that the whole system is unjust, but without further context, it's impossible to say if this case was particularly unfair. Old people can be dicks too.
posted by thirteenkiller at 10:49 AM on August 30, 2006


"the vast majority will use this story as a soap box for how the war on terror is 'teh Evil'."

You miss the point. The shenanigans Bush & Co are pooping out which they call "The War On Terror" are dumb. It's not a war, and we're aren't going after the terrorists. We're stalling in Iraq now that Bush's mission to take out Saddam is over. And we're creating as much fear as possible as a smoke screen for our failure to catch real terrorists.

If we were actually going to war to stop real terrorists, I think that would be pretty popular. But all I see from the administration is an inability to find solutions. What solutions? Well, just about anything. The budget? Catching Al Qaeda leaders? Resolving the Iraq quagmire? Looming global warming? Rebuilding New Orleans? Oil shortages? Middle East tensions? Social security? Pension bankruptcies? Losing economic ground to China, EU, India, etc?

Zero. We get nothing on those issues from Bush & Co. Just more speeches about how it's bad to question anything, and how hard doing stuff is. And The War On Terror is just the crowning jewel in this muddle of a policy.

This isn't teh Evil. It's teh Dumb.
posted by Wizzlet at 10:51 AM on August 30, 2006 [1 favorite]


thirteenkiller: we call 'em all arabs now. Not a terribly enlightened policy, but then we were never terribly enlightened to begin with.
posted by Citizen Premier at 10:52 AM on August 30, 2006


The real terror will start when this fella is given a Driver's License.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:53 AM on August 30, 2006


Captin Kirk is 75 and he's still dangerous.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:56 AM on August 30, 2006


"but without real evidence in this particular case, I fail to see how you can make a credible, generalized argument."

Your assertion that we only have one piece of information about how the Bush administration is handling this situation seems wildly at odds with the facts. We have plenty of context and none of it points to the possibility that this man was captured or held in a manner most people would consider reasonable.
posted by Wizzlet at 11:01 AM on August 30, 2006


"You can argue that the whole system is unjust, but without further context, it's impossible to say if this case was particularly unfair."

If the whole system is unfair then the logical burden of proof is to prove this particular case is the exception.
posted by Wizzlet at 11:04 AM on August 30, 2006


The story here is suggesting that just because this guy was old and infirm, it would be ridiculous to consider him a threat. And that is absolutely wrong.

Old and infirm and with no eveidence of being any kind of leadership figure.
posted by Artw at 11:04 AM on August 30, 2006


I respect GostintheMachine, thirteenkiller and SeizeTheDay's argument that his age does not guarantee his innocence. But the outrage is over the fact the US government employed executive imprisonment, a practice it knew (and now courts directly prove) was illegal. I don't care if he was hiding bombs in his depends garments - if you don't have any evidence, you can't kidnap him. PLEASE tell me you aren't willing to abandon this basic tenet of free society because you're scared.
posted by Popular Ethics at 11:05 AM on August 30, 2006


say i'm being totally pragmatic about this and i don't care if the US is just or that this guy was a human being, all i care about is reducing the threat of terrorist attacks on the US. we're still totally on the losing end with this because this is exactly the kind of thing that makes people hate us. i can't imagine this guy could have actually been more damaging to us free than we were damaging to ourselves by holding him for five years.

also, pinochet may have been 80, but he had an army. it seems like this dude pretty much doesn't have an army, hence, he's much less dangerous.
posted by snofoam at 11:06 AM on August 30, 2006


You know, i saw a commercial for a special report covering Osama on one of the news channels yesterday, highlighting in big, bold red letters "How did he get away?" and I immediately thought "well, once we're ok with him being gone again, they'll start letting all those completely unrelated innocents held in Cuba back home"...

Good for me, eh?
posted by phylum sinter at 11:07 AM on August 30, 2006


SeizeTheDay is right, of course... unpopular though it may be to take a deep breath and admit it.
posted by dsquid at 11:07 AM on August 30, 2006


Yeah. but Kirk don't need no walker, and he's hell on wheels with a paintball gun...


Waitaminute...

Wait just a goddamned minute!

Did that article say the old guy's name was...


KHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAN!!!!!!1
posted by stenseng at 11:10 AM on August 30, 2006


SeizeTheDay is right, of course... unpopular though it may be to take a deep breath and admit it.

Really? I find Wizzlet's lucid comment quite damning of SeizeTheDay's initial viewpoint. If the Supreme Court indicates the system is broken, the assumption of guilt before innocence is equally questionable.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:12 AM on August 30, 2006


SeizeTheDay is right, of course... unpopular though it may be to take a deep breath and admit it.

Oh, I'm sorry - you must have missed this particular comment from numero uno.

I can't believe I have to explain this.

Go now, shuffle away with your tail between your legs. Maybe you and STD can have a love-in after you wrench each other out of the fetal position?
posted by prostyle at 11:12 AM on August 30, 2006


You'd be surprised by the amount of explosives you can pack into a rascal scooter.
posted by robofunk at 11:13 AM on August 30, 2006


But seriously. They've had the guy for FIVE YEARS, and haven't been able to charge him with ANYTHING. I'd say that goes a LONG way toward indicating his innocence.

Further, given the myriad reports of Afghans being essentially sold to US troops by warlords, and the fact that US forces have detained tons of these guys, and how many have they actually charged now?

This whole thing is a giant cockup.
posted by stenseng at 11:13 AM on August 30, 2006


SeizeTheDay is right, of course... unpopular though it may be to take a deep breath and admit it.

Justify your claim: why should I disregard the many prior incidents where the government locked someone up without any evidence?
posted by sonofsamiam at 11:15 AM on August 30, 2006


I have no comment
posted by Postroad at 11:16 AM on August 30, 2006


tag this outragefilter, kthxby
posted by [expletive deleted] at 11:16 AM on August 30, 2006


SeizeTheDay, not trying to pick a fight here, but...just because this story's context is limited doesn't mean there haven't been any others about Gitmo, enemy combatants (a/o/t PWs or "normal" suspects handled through the Federal or state criminal justice systems). Are you new to all this?
posted by pax digita at 11:19 AM on August 30, 2006


I can't believe that people are defending the Gov't in this case. 5 years, no charges = Illegal.

He could eat babies every morning, but if you can't charge him with the crime, you can't detain him. How fucking hard is that to understand?!

Hell, I live in Canada, and moving to Europe is getting more and more attractive. I don't want to be anywhere NEAR the U.S. when they reap this particular whirlwind...
posted by WinnipegDragon at 11:21 AM on August 30, 2006


also, pinochet may have been 80

Surely Pinochet was 80 when they wanted to arrest him, not when he was actually committing his various crimes?

And of course, the reason they wanted to arrest Pinochet was so that he could stand trial for those crimes. If this old guy had been put on trial, then guilty or innocent, I doubt anyone would be voicing these objection.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 11:23 AM on August 30, 2006


Popular Ethics: I'm already outraged at the US government's activities at Guantanamo. To me, this gentleman, irrespective of his age, is a victim of illegal US detention. I can voice no extra outrage due to his advanced age or current frailty, however, for the reasons I outlined above.

It's like being a little bit pregnant, or a little bit dead. This individual's rights weren't extra-violated since he is old.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 11:24 AM on August 30, 2006 [1 favorite]


It's embarassing to me that any American could even consider the "arguments" posed by the naysayers above.

Situation: an old man's son is arrested. He goes to complain. He is incarcerated. The U.S. Government does not even allege any crime - they aren't even *alleging* that he's guilty of anything, much less proving it. Eventually he is released, which is certain proof of innocence.

And yet, U.S. citizens (as I presume those above are, perhaps wrongly) are willing to engage in the wildest speculation - "he might be guilty of something". Not even the U.S. government has alleged that he's guilty of anything, and yet you are willing to do so! You don't know what, but it must be something!

Never before have I seen so clearly demonstrated the prejudice against a defendant in a court setting. The fact of the arrest proves guilt, in some people's minds. How utterly embarassing to live in a country founded on "innocent until proven guilty" and yet have such a distorted worldview. I hope that if you are ever falsely accused of a crime, you may be judged by a jury of your peers - people who think, like you do, that the fact of one's arrest proves one's guilt.
posted by jellicle at 11:24 AM on August 30, 2006 [2 favorites]


All your baseless cynicism are belong to us.

Seriously though, are we done spitting on the folks who don't think the same way we do?

Maybe there should be a separate place where we can shuttle off these distateful brutes... GitMe? MeMo?
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:26 AM on August 30, 2006


The dangerous logic is assuming that some random old guy can't possibly be connected to terrorist or other dangerous activities, simply because he's old and infirm.

See Omar Abdel-Rahman -- old and blind.



Abdel-Rahman is currently serving a life sentence at the Federal Administrative Maximum Penitentiary hospital in Florence, CO, having been convicted of "Seditious Conspiracy" related to his participation in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.
posted by ericb at 11:28 AM on August 30, 2006


And yet, U.S. citizens (as I presume those above are, perhaps wrongly) are willing to engage in the wildest speculation - "he might be guilty of something". Not even the U.S. government has alleged that he's guilty of anything, and yet you are willing to do so! You don't know what, but it must be something!

It's psychotic. Among the Republicans, the first, irrational impulse is taken as a given and justified post hoc.

Old man in Gitmo? He must have done something.

Republican against Bush? He must not be a real conservative.

Complaining that the GWOT does nothing to prevent terrorism and everything to make a specific group much, much more powerful? Typical pinko partisanship, you only complain because you have no platform yourself! Probably hate America!
posted by sonofsamiam at 11:33 AM on August 30, 2006


"..and forced to listen to Britney Spears albums 24x7".

...and/or watch South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut.
posted by ericb at 11:35 AM on August 30, 2006


Abdel-Rahman is currently serving a life sentence at the Federal Administrative Maximum Penitentiary hospital in Florence, CO, having been convicted of "Seditious Conspiracy" related to his participation in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

After a trial. And charges were filed. AND he was an actual well known LEADER of a movement for many, many, years.

The old guy we are talking about is a frigg'n Afghan peasant that somebody handed a goddamned rifle to and told him to shoot the infidels.

But it's irrelevant to why people are smack'n down SeizeTheDay. He said we were "baseless" in out criticisms of this case. Which is absurd.
posted by tkchrist at 11:42 AM on August 30, 2006


After a trial. And charges were filed. AND he was an actual well known LEADER of a movement for many, many, years.

Nevermind such technical tripe!
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:47 AM on August 30, 2006


After a trial. And charges were filed. AND he was an actual well known LEADER of a movement for many, many, years.

The old guy we are talking about is a frigg'n Afghan peasant that somebody handed a goddamned rifle to and told him to shoot the infidels.


Understood and I agree that Gitmo detentions are illegal and immoral. Detainees should have been charged and given their day "in court" pursuant to the Geneva Coventions, etc.

Merely pointing out the logical fallacy in considering "old" equivalent "innocent."
posted by ericb at 11:49 AM on August 30, 2006


Justify your claim: why should I disregard the many prior incidents where the government locked someone up without any evidence?

My claim isn't your claim. My claim is that the article provided too little information.

By all means, continue to suspect if you're so inclined, but this article is the weak-sauce.
posted by dsquid at 11:49 AM on August 30, 2006


I have a feeling that no amount of information would be enough for some people.
posted by sonofsamiam at 11:53 AM on August 30, 2006


I have a feeling that no amount of information would be enough for some people.

Cognitive dissonance worked for the Germans.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:55 AM on August 30, 2006


old != innocent
released without charge == innocent (and I'm trying not to be too disgusted about the people who allege otherwise).
old (and crippled) == the situation looks that much more absurd.
posted by Popular Ethics at 11:56 AM on August 30, 2006


You got to be fucking kidding me. What's wrong with the US?
posted by chunking express at 9:16 AM PST


Old men can push the launch nuclear death button just as well as the young, right?
posted by rough ashlar at 11:57 AM on August 30, 2006


If the whole system is unfair then the logical burden of proof is to prove this particular case is the exception.

Yeah. I'm saying this case is not exceptionally unfair.
posted by thirteenkiller at 12:02 PM on August 30, 2006


Merely pointing out the logical fallacy in considering "old" equivalent "innocent."

Not many are saying that. People ARE poking fun at the assertion that one seventy year old peasant from a country barely out of the stone age is much of a threat to our massive technological empire Empire... as they frigg'n should.

Yes. One old guy CAN, in very rare cases, be a threat to a large number of people.

The point is there was no evidence of that in this case - this article doesn't NEED to have those details for us to know this. At this point it is a fucking given.

He was just in the wrong place at the right time and matched the Bush administrations definition of "The Usual Suspects".
posted by tkchrist at 12:03 PM on August 30, 2006


.

So the military says they (he and his adult son) had ties to the Taliban, the son was captured in a compound with a bazillion weapons, and everyone is complaining because they held this geezer???

I suppose you all think it's ok when old people shoplift, too, huh?

posted by tadellin at 12:08 PM on August 30, 2006


At this point it is a fucking given.

Assumption. Saying that something is "given" does not make it fact. He should have been detained. Probably should be still...
posted by tadellin at 12:10 PM on August 30, 2006


The old man was locked up for a reason. Not a legal reason, but someone in the CIA figured he might know something useful, even if it was just being able to identify his son's friends as possible terrists or possible friends of possible terrrists or possible friends of possible friends of possible terrrrists, so they figured they'd keep him until he cracked and talked. If they thought he was a threat, it had to be that someone in the CIA decided the old man wasn't revealing information that they considered dangerous to hide. And because they had no pressure from the top to release him, it lasted five years. I'm surprised they let him out at all.

That is just how a bad, bad government works. They don't have to show you any stinking badges. It's one very small step away from making people disappear, and they probably are doing that, too, but you aren't going to find out about it so easily. Don't act shocked. You knew it was bad. Just get rid of the fuckers to blame, close Guantanamo (the entire base) and give it back to Cuba, and get the fuck out of Iraq and Afghanistan.
posted by pracowity at 12:10 PM on August 30, 2006


Old men can push the launch nuclear death button just as well as the young, right?

Brings to mind: Nuclear Button Chaos Behind Reagan.
posted by ericb at 12:12 PM on August 30, 2006


I suppose you all think it's ok when old people shoplift, too, huh?

Why, yes, I am indeed down with grandpa stealing cough medicine, thank you very much.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:14 PM on August 30, 2006


The old man was locked up for a reason.

Blackmail/kidnapping comes to mind, too. Holding a family member so that others will talk would certainly be justified when facing as nigh-omnipotent a threat as TERRORism.
posted by sonofsamiam at 12:14 PM on August 30, 2006


jellicle, you're reversing things a bit. It's not a presumption that arrest equals guilt. Rather, it's the understanding that being released without charges does not mean arrested without probable cause. Innocent people are arrested or detained for crimes they did not commit, based on a reasonable amount of evidence. Innocent people can even go through a trial, be convicted, and end up on death row, based on evidence that appears to point to their guilt. Somewhere along the way, a mistake has been made in order for that to happen. It doesn't have to be malicious or a violation of one's rights every time an innocent person is detained. Sometimes it's completely reasonable to mistakenly arrest an innocent person for a crime the evidence appears to indicate they committed.

People ARE poking fun at the assertion that one seventy year old peasant from a country barely out of the stone age is much of a threat to our massive technological empire Empire... as they frigg'n should.

Yes, it's a very amusing image. But some of us would rather not have important, complex large-scale issues reduced to pithy, easily digested and just as easily dismissed footnotes. The general public, when hearing about this particular incident, will not suddenly jump to arms against the illegal detentions at Guantanamo. Instead, they'll chuckle at the absurdity of it, assume it's either a weird aberration or example of the systemic inequities of the detentions (as per their political leanings), and then most likely dismiss it from memory along with every other odd or quirky news story they come across.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 12:20 PM on August 30, 2006


And from the other end of the age spectrum...

Teens Being Held At Guantanamo:
"The U.S. has acknowledged that three teens, ages 13 to 15, are detainees at Guantanamo Bay. The Government says they did not know the youths were teens until after a medical examination.

...This Guardian article, however, reports 'Lieutenant Colonel Barry Johnson, a US military spokesman... would not say how old the youngest prisoner is.' Then again, today's Guardian article has Lt. Johnson saying they are 13 to 15."

[Talk Left | April 24, 2003]
U.S. Frees 3 Teens at Guantanamo Base.
posted by ericb at 12:23 PM on August 30, 2006


Somewhere along the way, a mistake has been made in order for that to happen. It doesn't have to be malicious or a violation of one's rights every time an innocent person is detained.

After being taken to the US and forced to server 5 years in prison I think it crossed the line into being malicious and a violation of his rights.
posted by chunking express at 12:24 PM on August 30, 2006


I suppose you think it's okay when teenagers shoplift, too!?!?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:24 PM on August 30, 2006


I gotta say--I don't know about this old dude's case and I think the situation in Gitmo is fucking horrific, but let's not assume just because he's 71 he can't commit crimes. It's pretty insulting to senior citizens to think them incapable of making "healthy, young adult" decisions.
posted by schroedinger at 12:27 PM on August 30, 2006


After being taken to the US

Actually to the U.S. Naval Base Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
posted by ericb at 12:28 PM on August 30, 2006


let's not assume just because he's 71 he can't commit crimes.

Please raise your hand if you think he's likely to be innocent because he's 71.

Ok, now raise your hand if you think he's likely to be innocent because he was just released after 5 years without ever being charged with anything.

Ok, then, that's settled.
posted by sonofsamiam at 12:34 PM on August 30, 2006


let's not assume just because he's 71 he can't commit crimes.

It makes it a bit less likely though, doesn't it? You will conceded that, surely?
posted by Artw at 12:36 PM on August 30, 2006


So the military says they (he and his adult son) had ties to the Taliban, the son was captured in a compound with a bazillion weapons, and everyone is complaining because they held this geezer???

The military "SAYS. " THAT's evidence?

And nearly everybody in Afghanistan "had ties to the Taliban." For fuck sake our last two energy secretaries "had ties to the Taliban." So what? What the hell does that prove?

This old guy was abducted from his home. Flown thousands of miles away. Held without charges or any legal recourse. With no evidence or legal representation for YEARS. All because his son was captured in a compound with weapons. In country RIFE with goddamned weapons? And this is ok with you?

He should have been detained. Probably should be still...

I wish YOU were detained.
posted by tkchrist at 12:36 PM on August 30, 2006


GhostintheMachine: It's not a presumption that arrest equals guilt. Rather, it's the understanding that being released without charges does not mean arrested without probable cause. Innocent people are arrested or detained for crimes they did not commit, based on a reasonable amount of evidence...

Your third sentence contradicts the second. Innocent people may be arrested justifiably, but they have the right to know the charge, to meet with council, and to an expedient, public trial. This man was denied all three. If there was "reasonable evidence" to justify his incarceration, the government is condemnable for not bringing it forward. If there wasn't, they are doubly so.

(ok, I'm sounding like a broken record here. Sorry, I'm done)
posted by Popular Ethics at 12:38 PM on August 30, 2006


chunking, you're obviously reading what I write. Why aren't you trying to comprehend any of it?

After being taken to the US [sic] and forced to server 5 years in prison I think it crossed the line into being malicious and a violation of his rights.

...whereas I think it crossed the line the first instant he was deprived of his rights. We're arguing from the same side of the fence, brother.

Understand, the US government could have had probable cause to suspect this guy was involved with or had knowledge of terrorist activities prior to his arrest - could have. Most likely they did not. But regardless, they could have proceeded at that point to legally detain him and hold him while still respecting his rights. They did not, and that is not in dispute. But this is exactly the same situation with every other Guantanamo prisoner. To suggest this case is special due solely to this guy's age is, as schroedinger points out above, insulting to older people.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 12:41 PM on August 30, 2006


To suggest this case is special due solely to this guy's age is, as schroedinger points out above, insulting to older people.

Oh. God. Is there nothing people won't do, won't spin and invert, to support bullshit?

Ok. Then it's aslo racist to suppose Afghani's can't be terrorists.

See. To suppose he isn't a terrorist is is not attributing full personhood and dignity to the Afghan race.

Must you Libruls assume that non-whites are all noble innocent savages and incapable of making full choices. Even bad ones?

Ageism AND RACISM! Oh noes!

To restore full personhood to this poor man we must execute him!
posted by tkchrist at 12:48 PM on August 30, 2006


Your third sentence contradicts the second.

No it doesn't. You're bringing all sorts of extras into it, basically the Miranda rights, which have no bearing on the initial suspicion and arrest. Just because those rights were violated doesn't mean the arrest was baseless. Being denied his rights just means he was denied his rights. As he was never tried, he is automatically presumed innocent. Being innocent does not retroactively mean his earlier activities could not have been considered suspicious.

OK, even I've had enough of this now. I yield the floor.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 12:52 PM on August 30, 2006


For what it's worth, we've got a lot more than one piece of information about this guy. Check out the Wikipedia article for a good summary about what the government has to say, and what he has to say, about why he was detained. If you (quite reasonably) distrust Wikipedia, there are also links at the bottom of the article to primary sources, including transcripts of his Combatant Status Review Tribunal. If you want context, you can go and get some there.
posted by moss at 12:54 PM on August 30, 2006


Unsubstantiated claim. Pure assumption. You don't know this old man's story.

Neither do you.

And "pure assumption"? You mean like gathering people up and holding them without legal consul or representation?

"We assume that these people have something to do with it. No, we don't have any evidence. Our assumption is all the evidence we need to hold people."

Man, I wish I could just lock up people I supsected of being my enemy. That would be very convienent for me personally. Hell, and now I have precedence! The US can do it, and I'm a citizen of the US, therefore I can do it. *makes his "suspected enemies" list*
posted by smallerdemon at 12:54 PM on August 30, 2006


something better
posted by semmi at 12:59 PM on August 30, 2006


Thank you moss. You've made this entire shitstorm of a thread finally worthwhile. That was indeed the context needed to make this a good FPP and worthy of commentary. Nice find.
posted by SeizeTheDay at 12:59 PM on August 30, 2006


For what it's worth, we've got a lot more than one piece of information about this guy. Check out the Wikipedia article for a good summary about what the government has to say, and what he has to say, about why he was detained. If you (quite reasonably) distrust Wikipedia, there are also links at the bottom of the article to primary sources, including transcripts of his Combatant Status Review Tribunal. If you want context, you can go and get some there.

Flagged as inevitably-ignored-by-apologists.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:00 PM on August 30, 2006


::snickers:: Little late for the snark, Blazecock, but well-crafted.
posted by SeizeTheDay at 1:01 PM on August 30, 2006


Yes, thanks for the extra material, moss. I'd like to point out that this man's "ties to the Taliban" seem to consist entirely of fighting with them against the Soviets in the 1960's. By that logic, we ought to have Rambo locked up in Guantanamo, too.
posted by EarBucket at 1:26 PM on August 30, 2006


Oh, and in Khan's own words:

"The terrorist ... came to Afghanistan and destroyed our honor and out [sic] dignity. Bin Laden, we hate him more than you guys and you people do not realize who is am enemy and who is a friend.

"When you came to Afghanistan everybody was waiting for America to help us build our country. We were looking for you guys and we were very happy that you would come to our country. The people who hated you were very few, but you just grabbed guys like me. Look at me. Our very happiness, you changed it to [bitterness]. I am still not mad at you guys, but in the future try to know the difference between your enemy and your friend..."

posted by EarBucket at 1:28 PM on August 30, 2006


Hey, you could be right...but I've yet to see one shred of evidence based on THIS story that backs your claim.

Yes, I've read some of your comments past this point, and I see that you do, generally, agree with others here (as it applies to being agaisnt the war in Iraq). However, going by what you said, it would seem that I would have to read each piece of news speratly and never "connect the dots".. each story would have to have it's own merits and I could never cross reference any of them..
posted by triolus at 2:24 PM on August 30, 2006


::snickers:: Little late for the snark, Blazecock, but well-crafted.

Just a gentle reminder that you're supposed to put lipstick on the pig before, not after you call out the post.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:03 PM on August 30, 2006


let's not assume just because he's 71 he can't commit crimes.

It makes it a bit less likely though, doesn't it? You will conceded that, surely?


George W is pushing 60. Just saying.
posted by Bugg at 3:49 PM on August 30, 2006


let's not assume just because he's 71 he can't commit crimes.

We don't draft 70 year olds into the army, do we? Now why is that?

They are far less capable both physically and mentally in combat.

Yeah. An 71 year old guy is STILL capable of pushing a button, making and sending out bombs, pulling the trigger on a rifle, and molesting little girls. He can do this reliably, on average, for what? Maybe 10 years? Maybe a bit more.

A twenty year old guy remains an active game potential threat for forty years.

We also tend to venerate older people for sentimental reasons. But also, when a guy lives to eighty, we make an assumption he had to do something right.

Often total assholes get rubbed out before eighty unless they gather an army or squad of goons to protect them.

So that we default to being a bit lighter on old guys than young guys is NOT purely an sentimental exercise.
posted by tkchrist at 4:08 PM on August 30, 2006


George W is pushing 60. Just saying.

60 years old, as of this past July 6th.
posted by ericb at 4:12 PM on August 30, 2006


Reagan served as President from age 69 to 78.
posted by ericb at 4:16 PM on August 30, 2006


And Reagan's finger had access to the nuclear button throughout that period -- except for during the day(s) following the assassination attempt on his life.

Ah, memories -- Alexander Haig: "I'm in control here."
posted by ericb at 4:22 PM on August 30, 2006


Reagan served as President from age 69 to 78.

And he played his age as a STRENGTH didn't he. He rely'd on the same grandpa sentimentality our Bush apologists currently decry.

Let's not forget WHY Reagan was selected by the power cabal at the Carlyle Group. His age was no less a reason. He was easily manipulated and seen as less a threat when presenting extremist policy.
posted by tkchrist at 4:25 PM on August 30, 2006


Bush and Reagan also has/had the machinery of one of the most avanced countries in the history of the world to make them dangerous.

A 71 year old Afghan probably has what? A few goats and perhaps a rusty AK.
posted by Reggie Knoble at 4:52 PM on August 30, 2006


let's not assume just because he's 71 he can't commit crimes.

Ugh. I hate to pound this into the ground, but he was never accused of any crimes. The reason this provokes outrage is not, not, not because old people cannot be guilty. It is because, though illegal detainment and torture should never be okay, it feels particularly savage when directed against someone who may not survive it. It may well be that this is no more horrifying than it is in any other case, but if you don't get why this rachets up the outrage, than you might want to look inside yourself for some human feeling.

If there had been any kind of legal system here, do you seriously think we would have had him in jail on fear of flight when he's been crippled since 1986?

Seriously, take a deep breath. Now put away all the gotcha arguments and decide if you really want to be on the side of people who torture the old and infirm.
posted by lumpenprole at 11:17 PM on August 30, 2006


Is this still going on?

Now put away all the gotcha arguments and decide if you really want to be on the side of people who torture the old and infirm.

Right, because there can only possibly be two sides to everything. Obviously I "want to be on the side of people who torture the old and infirm" because I suggested that age alone (in general, and not necessarily in this specific case) can not determine someone's level of threat or participation in (planning, facilitating, or executing) terrorist activities (past or future), even though I have repeatedly stated my utter abhorrence of the methods and actions of the US government in regards to violating basic human rights at Guantanamo, in this specific case and in all others.

And I thought the "for us or agin' us" mentality was mostly reserved for the Coulters, Limbaughs, and other raving lunatics supporting the Bush administration. Nice to see it being used by what I presume are US democrats as well, against me, a left-wing Canadian. It truly is a bizarre world.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 5:21 AM on August 31, 2006


“...because I suggested that age alone (in general, and not necessarily in this specific case) can not determine someone's level of threat or participation in (planning, facilitating, or executing) terrorist activities...”

And in that suggestion you are incorrect. Certainly what you’re suggesting is common sense and as an isolated comment, yes, it’s true. But what’s at work in this issue is not subject to that kind of analysis. Let’s look at the central concept that’s been danced around here: combatant.
GTMO exists for several reasons, their core mission is to detain enemy combatants in the war on terror. Your suggestion indicates you believe that an old man can be something of a threat on the tactical level. This is plainly not true. There are no superheros in combat nor super commanders. One ancient foot soldier - however highly trained - is no match for another younger one. When, say, (former SEAL) Chuck Pfarrer hits 80, I invite anyone to pick a fistfight with him. There’s a reason guys like that are writing books and screenplays (and comics) now. This can also be said about staff officers and the like. You lose a step when you get very old, but I’ll get to that in a minute.
The reason (apparently) he was let go was because he was being held as an “enemy combatant.” That means he would be involved, himself, in using arms or directing them in the field against the US. That’s obviously horse shit and the review board plainly thought so too, so let’s take ‘tactical threat’ off the table.
That leaves this old man as a strategic threat (as alluded to in your suggestion by ‘planning’ and such). Before all the facts came out - he may, or may not be. If he is, it’s easy enough to neutralize him by freezing his resources, defeating his troops, etc. etc. - myriad ways to do these sorts of things. But if he was a strategic threat there would be oodles of evidence and a network to tap into (computer records, money transfers, etc. etc. - similar to how they caught Abdel-Rahman, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, Ramzi Yousef, etc).
But ultimately if he was a strategic threat - that is not the mission directive behind GTMO. The mission there - whether one agrees with it or not - is to produce intelligence from field sources, (not simply detain high level operatives).
That is the crux of the argument from the administration to have GTMO in the first place. Strategic threats are supposed to be dealt with by other agencies through investigation, surveillance, etc. etc. We wouldn’t - for example - put OBL into GTMO because he’s a strategic level operative. He’s a head honcho, a big cheese - you gather information from sources to get TO him, not the other way around. Although certainly he could reveal a great deal about the operation - information from folks at those levels has a shelf life of about an hour and a half because he gets replaced and the operation changes as soon as he’s captured. Any organization smart enough to operate from a basic cell structure is insulated from this.
To put it more plainly - you don’t capture Pablo Escobar to get information on street level junkies (and in fact when you do kill Escobar you get Don Berna types, as we’ve seen).

In addition age alone can and does determine not only organizational agility (also - notice how charisma based movements lose steam when the boss gets old?) but personal ambition as well.
If this guy was not a tactical threat he did not belong in GTMO in the first place (per their mission) and if he was a strategic threat not only did he still not belong there (but on trial, which is the desired result, or killed) but he would not have been let go.

Again, I agree from a common sense standpoint certainly an old guy can be dangerous (lotsa examples), but many things are counterintuitive (the monty hall problem with the three doors comes to mind). And even more so where it concerns intelligence operations.
F’rinstance one can argue they could have - or even should have - classified him differently from the outset, but then would they have been able to bring him to GTMO? I don’t know. (I speculate that he was there to be used as an inducement to his son).
And then it’s FUBAR on many, many levels. Because they can’t use him as an inducement to make his kid (who could be an enemy combatant) cooperate anymore. So now what? Let the kid go too?
Wizzlet had the right idea: “This isn't teh Evil. It's teh Dumb.” - if you are going to use the iron fist - you have to go all the way. Why the hell didn’t they kill him? (I mean of course, make him have an accident - them old guys is frail). I mean in ‘92 we went and killed Escobar for example with the help of locals - why then this goofy bullshit?
Well, A. he probably was - and is - just some old man and people knew that and B. clearly the admin’s power isn’t that all-encompasing. So that being the case, why the hell wouldn’t you stick to law and custom? Bring the old guy in - hold him to see if he is a honcho - if you can’t find any evidence cut him loose. Which is the playbook many officers are still trying to run by. But there is this this half-assed Soviet-style political correctness bullshit going on as to how to classify an ‘enemy’ which is completely arbitrary. So even if you’re on board with the administrations program, how do you follow those orders in the first place? Fucking power point?

Reminds me of Louis Black’s quip - “If they were lying to us about Iraq - why did they stop?” and of course the answer is because they can get away with it and the least amount of effort the better. But these kinds of things mount up. Especially when you’re dealing with regular folks. Ask me to kill someone like Escobar and ok, I can deal with it. Ask me to kill some harmless old man just because he’s inconvenient to you politically - that’s a whole other thing. Meanwhile, we hold him, piss off all kinds of people from a variety of walks of life foriegn and domestic (sapping our will to fight btw, while arguing it’s ‘dissent’ that’s doing it) and then chuck the whole thing. He was arbitrarially captured - counter to I’m sure Capt. or Maj. Joe Blow’s common sense - arbitrarially classified, then arbitrarially let go (because as stated - if he’s innocent because he’s an old man - what about the kids and other innocuous folks there? Is there some matrix? Some order? I don’t see one and I’ve been looking).
I very truly have no idea what they think they’re doing. I really wouldn’t trust this administration not to fuck up a cup of coffee anymore.
posted by Smedleyman at 10:16 AM on August 31, 2006 [1 favorite]


OK, I guess I have to be even more FUCKING explicit.

I DO NOT THINK THEY SHOULD HAVE ARRESTED OR DETAINED THIS OLD GUY, PERIOD.

Fer fuck's sake, doesn't anybody read anymore? His detention at Guantanamo was wrong, illegal, and in violation of all his human rights, full stop, end of sentence, period. That he also happened to be old as the fucking hills is IMMATERIAL.

Don't go beyond my words to suggest I'm implying one thing when I'm explicitly saying the very opposite. I am most definitely not suggesting that because it's possible (albeit unlikely) for someone elderly to be a threat or "person of interest", that the US administration should be given the benefit of a doubt on his arrest. What I am saying is that the people greenlighting Guantanamo's inhuman and illegal practices should be castigated for each and every instance of rights violations equally, and this is just one more example.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 11:02 AM on August 31, 2006


“What I am saying is that the people greenlighting Guantanamo's inhuman and illegal practices should be castigated for each and every instance of rights violations equally, and this is just one more example.” -posted by GhostintheMachine

If your response is to my post let me clarify that my argument is that age does have a bearing on his apprehension and detainment for precisely this reason. I in fact did read and digest your argument. I wonder if you read and understood mine? I’m willing to cede that that misunderstanding might be poor communication on my part.
So to be clear: I did not address rights violations. I made the general assumption that you held the position in your above quote.
Unlike violations of rights and equal treatment under the law however there is a difference in how one goes about investigating and interrogating a certain sort of person. There there are methods to classify individuals. As an off the cuff example we’ve all seen the Mafia T.O.’s from the FBI in the movies and T.V. where you have a picture of “Don Corleone” (for example) with threads leading to pictures of his underbosses (Tessio and Clemenza) and their capos.
Operationally - you would not capture consigliare Tom Hagen and hold him for interrogation in the same way you would capture say Luca Brasi (or Paulie Gatto) and interrogate him. Entirely different sorts of threats, different kinds of intelligence you can derive from them, etc. etc. Luca Brasi is a dangerous hit man. Hagen is a top level operative and non-violent. They function in different operational capacities and to treat them with equal method in deriving intelligence is plainly stupid.

As I said, from a common sense standpoint I agree with you that it is immaterial that this particular guy is an old man. But if you are running an investigation or trying to gain intelligence it becomes a very real factor as much as - for example - a cop not showing up in court for major case (as is the case out here in Chicago with Miguel Melesio). Factors that would seem to matter, don’t - for example, does it matter that this cop is a many timed decorated officer and part of a special operations crew, etc. etc. etc.? Nope. What matters is a pattern of behavior. On of the things that factor into that pattern is age. A 62 year old cop for example that misses major cases is less likely to be indicative that he is a rogue than (in this case) a 42 year old cop doing the same exact thing.
In the same way a captured 70 year old in the field is a very different thing than a captured 70 year old in an office.
So in this case while it seems reasonable to treat each captured individual in an equal manner - operationally it’s a waste of time and resources. This is called analysis. It used to be done in intelligence work. Now, apparently, not so much. Whether that’s due to raw stupidity or redirection of resources (possibly one in the same) is a matter for another speculation.
But to make it clear - my argument addresses the efficiency in execution of the operation based on the stated mission at GTMO - not any human rights issues. As far as those go I assumed - and I agree - with your above statement. Age is a factor along with setting, suspected type of operative, etc. etc. Talk to a crime analyst (obviously a FBI profiler would be better, but there probably isn’t one at your local police department) and they can school you in these kinds of variables and how they enter into a given profile. That kind of on-scene work has apparently been completely ignored in this case - manifestly since he was held as a ‘combatant’ - in favor of apparently this arbitrary ‘catch and hold all’ policy. Which is a waste of time and a complete PR disaster.
I know people who are very critical of the resistance to profiling Arabs and Muslims at airports. (I myself favor some degree of this, but such methods must be used in addition to the only unbeatable system which is the unpredictable one - random searches) Why in such cases do we allow for judgement calls on the part of the field person (Joe TSA) but in this case argue against the adequacy of the judgement of the field men (the aforementioned Major Joe Blow)?
This guy was in custody for so long only because it’s policy - when any well run investigation could have cleared him in weeks.
That is a systemic problem, not a human rights issue. And this kind of blanket treatment wasting time and resources makes that clear.
posted by Smedleyman at 1:27 PM on August 31, 2006


“Why in such cases do we allow for judgement calls on the part of the field person (Joe TSA) but in this case argue against the adequacy of the judgement of the field men (the aforementioned Major Joe Blow)?”

General statement btw - your argument can be extended to imply that but I’m not saying you are making that case (hence some ‘people’)
posted by Smedleyman at 1:32 PM on August 31, 2006



You wrote in the MeTa thread about this:

Show me outside context that suggests that this PARTICULAR guy's detainment was unjustified. You can't. And I can't point to context that suggests that this PARTICULAR guy's detainment was legal. That's the point. We both start from a point of ignorance and intelligent conversation should naturally ensue? Please.

The whole point is that if there is no evidence that detainment was justified, then it was unjustified. It's either one or the other, and a lack of evidence of justice is the same thing as evidence of injustice. By definition.
posted by delmoi at 12:02 AM on September 1, 2006


On the other hand, he is an Arab, so the government has that going for them.

Actually since he's from afghanistan, he's probably a pashtun or one of the other ethnic groups around there, rather then an arab.
posted by delmoi at 12:10 AM on September 1, 2006


Given the context of the original post (and ignoring what we know from the WikiPedia article), this isn't a matter of "one or the other". It's a mistake to say, "Well, if no evidence of his guilt is presented, then he's automatically innocent" because this was a government detention based on classified evidence. Just because the evidence wasn't presented in this particular case does not mean that said evidence doesn't exist. And again, I said this without our knowledge of the WikiPedia article and without any other context (because none was presented).

This isn't to say that I'm arguing a justified detention; I was stating that it would be wrong for anyone to jump to that conclusion without proper evidence. A lack of presented evidence, again, does not mean that evidence doesn't exist. It was a shitty AP article with almost no backstory.
posted by SeizeTheDay at 8:55 AM on September 1, 2006


“A lack of presented evidence, again, does not mean that evidence doesn't exist”

That can be taken care of through procedure and intelligence analysis shortly after contact. The point is in classification and justification for holding him - he was being held as an enemy combatant, an active operative. Old men are not typically active operatives. Policy here has overriden procedural effectiveness. If someone is wanted for jacking cars the cops don’t drag in 80 year old men, it’s a waste of time. That there was evidence not presented is irrelevent to how one would classify a given prisoner.
posted by Smedleyman at 10:28 AM on September 1, 2006


/and everything you need to know is in the title - given the (stated) mission at GTMO. Similar to - “castrated unich sued in paternity suit”.
Certainly there could be some mitigating situation like he impregnated someone before he was castrated or it was a chemical castration and didn’t take or some odds curve breaking circumstances, but the first thought of the people looking for who impregnated someone isn’t “round up the unichs.” You would need some evidence before you go get him to prove it’s worthwhile and even then you’d look into the situation more deeply than you would a normal case.
posted by Smedleyman at 10:34 AM on September 1, 2006


« Older Two Formula One builders are teaming up...  |  Weirdest Instructional Music V... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments