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June 4, 2008 3:33 AM   Subscribe

By its own admission the US government is currently detaining at least 26,000 people without trial in secret prisons, and information suggests up to 80,000 have been ‘through the system’ since 2001.
even 200 years ago, there was a general insistence that prisoners be charged with and convicted of a crime before they could be condemned to the lower decks of an aging naval ship.
( prison hulks previously ).
posted by adamvasco (43 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
They are not being held.

They are just staying in Freedom Hotels, and when they have been bad, they get freedom tickled.

Now go on and have a nice day.
posted by sien at 4:07 AM on June 4, 2008


And please, please hurry up November.

Bush / McCain - not again.
posted by sien at 4:08 AM on June 4, 2008


26,000? That number seems a tad high, and the "source" in the linked press release is the head of the organization that issued the press release. This is a bit weak...
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 4:20 AM on June 4, 2008


5 would be a tad high - quibbling about exact numbers is a distraction from the real issue at hand. George Bush can lick my wiener, shame on him and his evil minions.
posted by Meatbomb at 4:29 AM on June 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


I don't want George Bush anywhere near my wiener, house, town, state or country. I want him on trial in The Hague.
posted by DU at 4:36 AM on June 4, 2008 [3 favorites]


What is taking place now as a part of the so-called Patriot Act and war against terror is of course attributed to the outrageous behavior of the Bush administration. But a bit of reading in the right sources will show you that a number of presidents have been doing terrible things, outlawed in theory but done in secret nonetheless. And this sort of thing--torture, domestic spying etc --has been done under the presidents of the two major parties. In the instance cited here, the ante has been upped.
posted by Postroad at 4:45 AM on June 4, 2008


I.e. IT'S CLINTON'S FAULT. STILL. SOMEHOW.
posted by DU at 4:49 AM on June 4, 2008 [3 favorites]


But a bit of reading in the right sources will show you that a number of presidents have been doing terrible things, outlawed in theory but done in secret nonetheless.

I categorically reject your unspoken implication that we should judge this administration any less harshly because of that and resent your other unspoken implication- that we're dumb enough to agree with the first.
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:51 AM on June 4, 2008 [7 favorites]


Detaining people without trial for any length of time is a shameful and uncivilised practice no matter how many people it's done to, but the scale of this is especially horrific if it's even within several orders of magnitude of that 26,000 figure. Hopefully the US will soon have a sane leader who'll pull the curtain back and expose this kind of abuse -- enough that the public will no longer be able to wilfully ignore it, and other nations (including mine) will no longer be able to support and further this kind of abuse.

It's nice to finally be able to say that last part with a straight face.
posted by Drexen at 4:57 AM on June 4, 2008


Very sad, the name of the prison ship mentioned in the article is the U.S.S. Bataan.
posted by marxchivist at 5:10 AM on June 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


type in "diego garcia, indian ocean" on google earth and zoom in on the lagoon of amerika's secret island.
posted by kitchenrat at 5:27 AM on June 4, 2008


I categorically reject your unspoken implication that we should judge this administration any less harshly because of that and resent your other unspoken implication- that we're dumb enough to agree with the first.

straw dogs are fun!
posted by jammy at 5:41 AM on June 4, 2008


I.e. IT'S CLINTON'S FAULT. STILL. SOMEHOW.

Well, Clinton started our "extraordinary rendition" program.
posted by delmoi at 5:48 AM on June 4, 2008


I.e. IT'S CLINTON'S FAULT. STILL. SOMEHOW.

Well, Clinton started our "extraordinary rendition" program.


Not quite. Clinton authorized its use by the CIA. International rendition has been used in the US since the beginning of the country, particularly by bounty hunters searching for runaway slaves in Canada.
posted by Pollomacho at 6:10 AM on June 4, 2008


I don't want George Bush anywhere near my wiener, house, town, state or country. I want him on trial in The Hague.

We should write up some complaints:
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
...
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.
...
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.
...
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
According to Wikipedia, "More American prisoners of war during the American Revolutionary War died on British prison ships than died in every battle of the war combined."
posted by kirkaracha at 6:18 AM on June 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


This was reported in UK + European media on monday and by Reuters that afternoon.
Why is this not running in the US mainstream media; why aren't Americans allowed to know what is happening ?
posted by adamvasco at 6:24 AM on June 4, 2008 [2 favorites]



"I don't want George Bush anywhere near my wiener, house, town, state or country. I want him on trial in The Hague."
I have to agree. I definitely wouldn't want George Bushytail anywhere near my wiener or anyone else's that truly matters to me.

America used to stand for a truly unique ideal-Democracy. It seems now it's all about hippocracy.

I really hope that for all our sakes that the Yanks wake up to the wolves among it's people and take action before such things as the Bill of Rights, and oh yeah, the Good olde constituition are completely overthrown at which point we might as well welcome back the dark ages, where such games as "burning witches" was considered fun and very needful or possibly, another revisit to the Spanish Inquisition days, and where people say "nah" the church, "oh" I mean the Government is empowered to say "Slay!"
posted by smartcookie at 6:30 AM on June 4, 2008


Perhaps because the actual report has not yet been issued, just the press release and because the story is not fleshed out at this point. The organization throws out the 26000 figure, but it actually does not apply to the ships in question, it includes the land based prisons. The DoD has admitted that prisoners were held for periods of time on ships, but claims that they do not have prison ships. The prison ship claim is really buried in the facts sited, which actually only seem to back up the DoD statements that prisoners were held on ships temporarily and then rendered to prisons. That is much different than a prison ship.
posted by Pollomacho at 6:37 AM on June 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


Yes, if there's one word I would use to decribe the US media, it would be "waitsuntilallthefactsareinbeforeissuingbreathlessreports".
posted by DU at 6:39 AM on June 4, 2008


This hurts me. I'm not a citizen of the United States, but it hurts me, just as if my real life neighbour was imprisoning people in their basement. The US wants to be moral and right and good, or at least they want to believe it. But then their government goes and does things like this. Things that are rightly condemned.

I hope Obama is the the guy you all want him to be. Because this needs to change.
posted by sandraregina at 6:41 AM on June 4, 2008 [2 favorites]


the Good olde constituition are completely overthrown at which point we might as well welcome back the dark ages, where such games as "burning witches" was considered fun and very needful or possibly, another revisit to the Spanish Inquisition days, and where people say "nah" the church, "oh" I mean the Government is empowered to say "Slay!"

Um, that would be unusual indeed, as the US and the Bill of Rights were but glimmers in the eyes of a few marginal philosophers in those days and not yet even close to existance. Sure, they hanged a couple of "witches" up in Salem in what would be the USA back in the colonial days, but really, killing heretics is such an Old Europe thing, not really our style.
posted by Pollomacho at 6:42 AM on June 4, 2008


Yes, if there's one word I would use to decribe the US media, it would be "waitsuntilallthefactsareinbeforeissuingbreathlessreports".

Well, seeing as how this is just a press release that quotes its own organization as sources, I'd say in this case there may be cause to wait until at least the actual report comes out. The "mainstream" media in Europe, and this is not to bash them, have obvious bias (and by obvious I mean they actually state their biases) and would have no problem running with reports that tend to paint the administration in a negative light. Again, I don't say this to dismiss the report or the European media, but the bias is clearly there and the facts of this case are not.
posted by Pollomacho at 6:52 AM on June 4, 2008


You know what sickens me the most is that no one in our damn Congress - including your hallowed Obama, can illustrate what policies like this mean for the rest of the world. Unconstitutional acts like this gives muscle to every dictatorship on earth. Now they can't point to the "shining city on the hill" to support their similarly brutal policies - and worse, it serves to silence any dissent that would normally be able to point to America as the model for an ideal society.
posted by any major dude at 6:54 AM on June 4, 2008


Where there is smoke there is usually fire.
posted by adamvasco at 6:56 AM on June 4, 2008


You know what sickens me the most is that no one in our damn Congress - including your hallowed Obama, can illustrate what policies like this mean for the rest of the world.

You know, there have been calls for impeachment. Even some Republicans called for it.
posted by Pollomacho at 6:59 AM on June 4, 2008


A press release does seem like a poor source for news... You'd think that 26k number would get some sort of sourcing.
posted by garlic at 7:11 AM on June 4, 2008


Also the 26000 number doesn't go along well with only the prison ships claim, since there's no ship they've found that has held more than 50 people, and they beleve the number could be around 17 ships. It certainly could have been made clearer that the numbers don't go together.
posted by garlic at 7:14 AM on June 4, 2008


USS Bataan? This has got to be fake or someone has a really twisted sense of humor.
posted by CrazyJoel at 7:25 AM on June 4, 2008


The USS Bataan certainly exists, whether or not it's actually being used as a prison ship.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 8:06 AM on June 4, 2008


Are we ready to give up our comfortable lives if that's what it takes to make this stop, or are we going to wait and see if we're going to get a solution in November?

Shouldn't we be raising a ruckus *now*, so that whatever candidate wins knows this is something the American people are not going to put up with anymore?

No other issue is as important as our rights, as all problems in this nation are based on the imperfections created by lack of observance or imperfect application of those rights.

Is there anyone already doing something active, already spreading the word, already organising around our loss of rights as guaranteed by the Constitution upon which all rules of the land are supposed to be based?
posted by batmonkey at 8:09 AM on June 4, 2008


Previously mentioned here.
posted by homunculus at 9:06 AM on June 4, 2008


FREEDOM!
posted by Artw at 9:28 AM on June 4, 2008


I saw this story several days ago and a US spokesman was quoted as denying it. I would like to see some evidence before accepting this as fact...
posted by btkuhn at 9:48 AM on June 4, 2008


Wouldn't be awesome if it were completely implausible, rather than the reaction being "yeah, that sounds about right"?
posted by Artw at 9:51 AM on June 4, 2008 [3 favorites]


The FPP and the linked press release claim that the United States is detaining 26,000 people "by its own admission." But there seems to be no link to where the United States government admits that. That number seems crazy high.

If the actual numbers really don't matter, than the press release should have said that "by its own admission, the United States is detaining 26 million people." That would be an attention grabber.
posted by Slap Factory at 10:43 AM on June 4, 2008


From a cynical, pragmatic standpoint, it makes perfect sense to do something like this on old ships; you can get out into international waters, and then you are no longer bound by the rule of law, and god forbid anyone find out what you were doing, you can scuttle it and hide any evidence of your wrongdoing.

It's kind of sickening, really.
posted by quin at 12:55 PM on June 4, 2008


.


x 18,000
posted by gauchodaspampas at 12:57 PM on June 4, 2008


From a cynical, pragmatic standpoint, it makes perfect sense to do something like this on old ships; you can get out into international waters, and then you are no longer bound by the rule of law, and god forbid anyone find out what you were doing, you can scuttle it and hide any evidence of your wrongdoing.

An old trick, recycled.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 4:11 PM on June 4, 2008


For the naysayers upthread I suggest that what Reprieve is stating is perfectly plausible given Bush's admission of secret prisons in 2006. The warships claim has been running since 2005.
On the record: A US navy spokesman, Commander Jeffrey Gordon, told The Guardian that "there are no detention facilities on US navy ships".
But he said it was a matter of public record that some individuals had been put on ships "for a few days" during what he called the initial days of detention.

Other ships according to Reprieve: USNS Watson, Watkins, Sister, Charlton, Pomeroy, Red Cloud, Soderman, and Dahl; MV PFC William B Baugh, Alex Bonnyman, Franklin J Phillips, Louis J Huage Jr, and James Anderson Jr
posted by adamvasco at 1:38 AM on June 5, 2008


MV PFC William B Baugh is not a traditional warship. These are not "grey" ships.
posted by adamvasco at 1:42 AM on June 5, 2008


For the naysayers upthread

Just to set the record straight, I think there was only one naysayer. I don't think that Reprieve's claims are implausible, just that a press release without the actual factual report is not news but rumor. Rumor is often true, it's just not the same thing as news.
posted by Pollomacho at 4:29 AM on June 5, 2008


Geneva Convention relative to the treatment of Prisoners of War
Article 22
Prisoners of war may be interned only in premises located on land. (via ).
posted by adamvasco at 12:41 AM on June 6, 2008


Don't go getting all legal on this. You'll just confuse the issue. Terrorists bad.
posted by Sukiari at 12:08 PM on June 8, 2008


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