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Guantanamo: Beyond the Law
June 16, 2008 8:09 AM   Subscribe

Guantanamo: Beyond the Law From the table of contents: "An eight-month McClatchy investigation of the detention system created after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks has found that the U.S. imprisoned innocent men, subjected them to abuse, stripped them of their legal rights and allowed Islamic militants to turn the prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba into a school for jihad." A few pieces are already up -- "We got the wrong guys", and "'I guess you can call it torture'" -- and more will be released as the week goes on. The project also includes a database of detainees and their stories of detention, documents acquired during the investigation, video and a whole lot more.
posted by cog_nate (45 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
Thank you for this, cog.
posted by digaman at 8:12 AM on June 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


...and allowed Islamic militants to turn the prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba into a school for jihad."

Wait, just like our prison system? Impossible!

We need to combine the CIA/Defense Department and the Bureau of Prisons into a single organization called the Department of Blowback.
posted by Avenger at 8:19 AM on June 16, 2008 [6 favorites]


Of course, abuse and being stripped of legal rights is wrong even against guilty people. Or at least it was in 1999.
posted by DU at 8:20 AM on June 16, 2008 [5 favorites]


Surely th-

Oh fuck it.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 8:23 AM on June 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


Also from McClatchy: Bagram prison worse then Gitmo. Remember, it's not just Guantanamo Bay, but also other prisons around the world (including some Prison Ships)
posted by delmoi at 8:26 AM on June 16, 2008


The world loved America after September 11th. This administration and its crimes have made America more despised than ever before. How can we change our path and restore hope to this country, to say to the world that yes, we can protect our citizens while respecting fundamental human rights, and conduct our diplomacy by the pen before the sword? How can we express that we are fired up and ready to improve our world? There is only one way - elect John McCain.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 8:31 AM on June 16, 2008


There is only one way - elect John McCain.

I laughed but then I cried. And I hesitate to fave because I have no doubt there are some out there who would take it seriously now that irony is dead.
posted by DU at 8:34 AM on June 16, 2008


Is a report like this light at the end of the tunnel? A chance to be better than we were? One of those 'acknowledgement of a problem is the first step to fixing it' type of things? Or is just a footnote, an abberation in the history of the "War on Terror"?
posted by sandraregina at 9:02 AM on June 16, 2008


Is a report like this light at the end of the tunnel?

I think it's more like the tail-light of the train that just ran over you.
posted by Thorzdad at 9:08 AM on June 16, 2008 [2 favorites]


That was then:
"...capturing bin Laden is 'not a top priority use of American resources.'" -- George W. Bush | September 2006

"I truly am not concerned about [bin Laden]" -- George W. Bush | March 2002
This is now:
Get Osama Bin Laden before I leave office, orders George W. Bush | June 16, 2008
I hear there's an election coming up. Guess the ol' fear-mongering will start to ratchet up. Next up -- the resurrection of the color terror alerts. Remember them? And how many more #2 Al Qaeda terrorists will be apprehended or killed before November?
posted by ericb at 9:51 AM on June 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


In related news -- Kristol: McCain And Graham Plan To Introduce Legislation Undermining Supreme Court Decision On Guantanamo.
posted by ericb at 9:55 AM on June 16, 2008


you release these fucks, they'll all come home and fist bump their wives
posted by matteo at 10:00 AM on June 16, 2008 [4 favorites]


If the path we took after 9-11 was a great test of our character as a nation, the path we take now in light of our own mistakes will be the much greater test. Do we value freedom enough to admit and address our own mistakes? We have imprisoned, tortured, and killed in the name of freedom, decency, and safety. I think many in the U.S. still do not realize or accept that this is what has happened, or that voters and politicians are both responsible for these events.
posted by Tehanu at 10:05 AM on June 16, 2008


Alright. I just became a member of Amnesty International.
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 10:08 AM on June 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


American soldiers herded the detainees into holding pens of razor-sharp concertina wire, the kind that's used to corral livestock.

That's fucking insane. No-one would ever use concertina wire for livestock. Livestock are valuable and you don't want them getting injured.
posted by stet at 10:14 AM on June 16, 2008


Of course, abuse and being stripped of legal rights is wrong even against guilty people. Or at least it was in 1999.

Why are jeopardizing America's future with talk like that?
posted by inigo2 at 10:26 AM on June 16, 2008


the detention system created after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks has found that the U.S. imprisoned innocent men, subjected them to abuse, stripped them of their legal rights ....

The detention system created before Sept. 11 was doing a pretty good job on that score too.
posted by three blind mice at 10:31 AM on June 16, 2008


I don't mind detaining people captured in other countries who are actively trying to kill our folks, until the end of the war.

The problem I have with *these* detainees though, is that there is no war. Wars are declared by Congress, and Congress has declared no war. This ideological struggle with fundamentalist Islam, which is not a war regardless of how many times people use the phrase 'war on terror', could go on for decades or centuries, and so far no one has said how exactly victory could be achieved, or by what measure we might declare victory (or defeat for that matter).

If Congress would specifically name the enemy which whom we are at war, go ahead and declare war against that enemy, and provide some way to assess when we have finished the war, then I'd be fine with keeping these guys locked up until the war is over. Lacking an actual war though, I don't think it's right to treat these guys as PoWs.

This whole non-war 'war on terror' is godawful Orwellian.
posted by jamstigator at 10:43 AM on June 16, 2008


jamstigator writes "Lacking an actual war though, I don't think it's right to treat these guys as PoWs."

They're not POWs. They're considered of the created-entirely-out-of-whole-cloth-type-of-people-labeled Enemy Combatants. No need to treat them like POWs at all.

brushes hands together
Problem encountered. Problem solved. It's the Bush Way.
posted by Fezboy! at 11:11 AM on June 16, 2008


Excellent work by McClatchy. I started reading this yesterday but haven't had the stomach to continue.
posted by homunculus at 11:17 AM on June 16, 2008


I think Obama can pull us out of the gutter. We'll have to help him though.
posted by wrapper at 1:01 PM on June 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


They're not POWs. They're considered of the created-entirely-out-of-whole-cloth-type-of-people-labeled Enemy Combatants. No need to treat them like POWs at all.

If you're talking about "unlawful combatants," then the phrase isn't really created-entirely-out-of-whole-cloth. Or at least not new cloth. See Ex Parte Quirin, 317 U.S. 1 (1947).
posted by Slap Factory at 1:23 PM on June 16, 2008


Bush: Critics Of Gitmo, Abu Ghraib And Rendition Are ‘Slandering America’.
posted by ericb at 1:23 PM on June 16, 2008


Yes, there's an election coming up: they are raising the "terror level" on every possible occasion:

[Quote:]
Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich said that the Supreme Court decision to allow enemy combatants to challenge their detention could lead to the nuclear destruction of a U.S. city.
What the fuck? Do the prisoners at Guantanamo have a nuke stuffed up their ass that nobody knows about, that they’ll set off the moment they appear in court?
posted by DreamerFi at 1:57 PM on June 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


The point being Slap Factory that the Bush administration was not interested in accurate classification so much as creating a human rights no man's land w/r/t international conventions and various treaties to which the US is a signatory. Further, the use of this classification for circumventing internationally recognized legal rights isn't particularly well received in the legal community.
The Quirin case, however, does not stand for the proposition that detainees may be held incommunicado and denied access to counsel; the defendants in Quirin were able to seek review and they were represented by counsel. In Quirin, "The question for decision is whether the detention of petitioners for trial by Military Commission ... is in conformity with the laws and Constitution of the United States." Quirin, 317 U.S. at 18. Since the Supreme Court has decided that even enemy aliens not lawfully within the United States are entitled to review under the circumstances of Quirin, that right could hardly be denied to U.S. citizens and other persons lawfully present in the United States, especially when held without any charges at all. Report by the ABA
While, certainly, the Supreme Court is doing it's best to guide the administration toward a more sensible detainment framework, it has taken, to this point, at least six years as the administration contines to duck the spirit of the current decisions as well as the original Quirin. A good one third of a generation has passed these individual people as they have been tortured and left to rot in a black hole by an ostensibly rational, free, and just society. These things have been done in my name and, frankly, quibbling as to whether this classification came straight from whole cloth or merely the current instantiation thereof really doesn't warrant a distinction in my mind.
posted by Fezboy! at 2:50 PM on June 16, 2008


These things have been done in my name and, frankly, quibbling as to whether this classification came straight from whole cloth or merely the current instantiation thereof really doesn't warrant a distinction in my mind.

I guess that if you say that a category is "created-entirely-out-of-whole-cloth," then you should expect to be called on it when it turns out that the category (regardless of your or the ABA's normative opinion of it) is actually decades old.

I'm not really interested in whether you think it's bad or not. I am just trying to keep the discussion accurate.
posted by Slap Factory at 6:03 PM on June 16, 2008


I just watched a movie where a traitor named John Rambo went to Afghanistan and helped the terrorist mujahideen fight our partners in the War On Terror, the Russians. Shocking stuff, and if it hadn't been for him then the Russians would've been able to liberate Afghanistan, and there never would've been a 9/11. Hopefully this Rambo fellow will be brought to justice soon.
posted by mullingitover at 6:10 PM on June 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


...and when he is, he'll be Al Qaeda's #2 commander.
posted by pompomtom at 6:55 PM on June 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


and allowed Islamic militants to turn the prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba into a school for jihad

Even if they somehow managed to stop this from happening, some Afghani goatherd or Iraqi taxi driver who's been stuck in maximum security for the last five years for no damn reason at all with no idea when or if they'll ever be released is, statistically, extremely likely to now want to kill as many God-damned Americans as he can. I certainly would.

Which creates a neat little multi-level justification for the indefinite continuation of these people's imprisonment.

When the US government talks to dumb people, it says "we can't let them loose; they're the worst of the worst, they'll immediately start killing American soldiers if we send them home."

When the government talks to smart people, it can say "we can't let them loose; the shit we've put them through means they'll immediately start killing American soldiers if we send them home!"

See also José Padilla, who most likely is not competent to stand trial, on account of what happened to him during the years while he was waiting to be tried for something. But they can't just let him loose - see above!
posted by dansdata at 12:47 AM on June 17, 2008


Wrongly jailed detainees found militancy at Guantanamo
posted by homunculus at 9:09 AM on June 17, 2008


Easing of laws that led to detainee abuse hatched in secret
posted by homunculus at 9:10 AM on June 18, 2008


Ooh, I can do that too!

John Yoo's ongoing falsehoods in service of limitless government power
posted by dansdata at 10:17 AM on June 18, 2008


Human rights group says it has proof of detainee abuse: Report cites medical review of former inmates
posted by homunculus at 1:01 PM on June 18, 2008


Thanks, homunculus, for posting the McClatchy articles as they come out.
posted by cog_nate at 4:30 PM on June 18, 2008


No problem. It's an important story.
posted by homunculus at 6:02 PM on June 18, 2008


Ex-State Dept. official: Hundreds of detainees died in U.S. custody, at least 25 murdered.
posted by homunculus at 6:02 PM on June 18, 2008


Here's the final article in the McClatchy series: Taliban ambassador wielded power within Guantanamo
posted by homunculus at 9:20 AM on June 19, 2008


There's more on this on today's Democracy Now.
posted by homunculus at 9:26 AM on June 19, 2008


Commentary: Gen. Taguba knew scandal went to the top
posted by homunculus at 5:13 PM on June 20, 2008


Report: Scalia’s Claim That Released Gitmo Prisoners Have Killed Americans Is An ‘Urban Legend’
posted by homunculus at 10:57 AM on June 23, 2008


Appeals court rules against Bush administration in enemy combatant case.
"The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit has 'overturned the Pentagon’s classification of a Guantanamo detainee as an enemy combatant,' undermining 'the basis for his more than six years in detention.' The court also rejected the argument that the President can 'detain people who never took up arms against the U.S.,' dealing another setback to the Bush administration’s detention program."
posted by ericb at 11:17 AM on June 23, 2008


The war on teen terror: The Bush administration's treatment of juvenile prisoners shipped to Guantánamo Bay defies logic as well as international law.
posted by homunculus at 8:45 PM on June 23, 2008


Gitmo Detainee’s Lawyer ‘Not Allowed To Tell Him’ He’s No Longer An ‘Enemy Combatant’
posted by homunculus at 9:29 AM on June 25, 2008


Bush's top general quashed torture dissent: New evidence shows that despite warnings from across the military, former Gen. Richard Myers shut down legal scrutiny of brutal interrogation tactics.
posted by homunculus at 8:20 PM on June 29, 2008


An interrogation class at Guantánamo Bay was based on a 1957 study of Chinese Communist techniques used to obtain confessions, often false, from U.S. prisoners.
posted by homunculus at 9:20 AM on July 2, 2008


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