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OK, we close down Guantanamo... what next?

There's a big push going on calling for Camp X-Ray, where about 520 prisoners from the War On Terror are being held. Setting aside the debatable question of "torture" allegedly going on there, let's for a moment say we do close down Gitmo. What do we do then with those 520 people?

Perhaps we should let them go. We've tried that, and several of them went right back to the battlefield. We've killed more than a couple former Guantanamo detainees on the battlefield.

Maybe we should return them to their home country, and let their governments deal with them. I can see three possible outcomes for that one: they will be lauded as heroes, they will be quickly executed as potential embarassments so their governments can score PR points with the rest of the world, or their deaths will be reported while they're quietly whisked away, given new identities, and sent back to the fight. None of those strike me as overly pleasant alternatives.

No, the main idea is to bring them to the United States and subject them to our legal system. Give them counsel, put them on trial, and punish them if they are, indeed, guilty.

This would, in my opinion, be a tremendous mistake. These people are not criminals, they did not violate American laws in a place where American laws hold jurisdiction, and have no claim to American rights and privileges and due process.

No, it's not the United States Constitution that governs their rights, and how we treat them. It's the Geneva Conventions, and they are abundantly clear on the issue. (This is not to say that the Constitution is irrelevant; it still applies to our troops. And every single member of our armed forces I've ever met takes their oath to "protect and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic" very, VERY seriously. It just doesn't cover those they have captured.)

Under the Geneva Convention, if they are legitimate prisoners of war, they can be detained until the cessation of hostilities. They must be treated humanely, accorded respectful treatment, and not abused in any way.

But the Geneva Convention doesn't hand out POW status willy-nilly. One must abide by the strictures of the Convention before one can claim its protection. To be a prisoner of war, one must be a legal combatant -- and that means wearing a uniform, respecting and protecting civilians and civilian structures, and in general behaving in an honorable fashion.

These detainees we captured on the battlefield did none of these things. By the Geneva Conventions, they are therefore illegal combatants, and are eligible for summary execution on the spot. The fact that we have not done so is more a reflection of our own compassion and enlightened self-interest -- they most likely have information that we can use to fight their cause.

The best analysis I've seen of the status and treatment of the detainees is over at Right Wing Nuthouse, which despite the name actually presents a very cogent piece. Go and read it, for it is Good.

It's what I've been saying for a long time -- too many people see lawyers as the be-all and end-all of all problems. People need to remember that a nation of laws is not a nation of lawyers. And not all problems are settled in a courtroom.


Listed below are links to weblogs that reference OK, we close down Guantanamo... what next?:

» The Shape of Days linked with What comes after Delta?

» The Shape of Days linked with Omnibus Camp Delta blog post of 2005

Comments (28)

There's another reason many... (Below threshold)

There's another reason many of the detainees are illegal combatants. Captured foreigners, i.e. non-Iraqis in Iraq and non-Afghanis in Afghanistan who have taken up arms against the “occupying power” i.e. the Coalition are neither non-combatants nor prisoners of war under the Conventions.

I say let's release them, b... (Below threshold)

I say let's release them, but not back to the Middle East. Let's set them loose in someplace like, oh, I don't know...Mobile, Alabama? Then let nature take its course.

I'm a lawyer, and I think w... (Below threshold)

I'm a lawyer, and I think we just line them up against a wall and shoot them. That's the usual solution for enemy combatants who are not in uniform. Why are my tax dollars being spent to feed these guys?

I think we should foster th... (Below threshold)
Just Me:

I think we should foster them with all the senators and moonbats who think we should shutdown Gitmo.

The question I have is not ... (Below threshold)

The question I have is not do we shut it down, but rather how long do we keep these people, to what end, and at what cost? If we are keeping them to get information, have we not had enough time? If we intend to send them to their home countries, what is the holdup? If we are keeping them in order to punish them for their crimes, why aren't they being tried? As McCain said today, even Adolf Eichmann got a trial.

I'm with Jim Rose, except I... (Below threshold)

I'm with Jim Rose, except I'd release them in any C&W bar located in downtown Houston.

Barring that (pardon the pun), let them be drained of any intel in ways their compassionate version of Islam understands, then shot dead, as per the Geneva Convention (that is, the part that Dems and such refuse to read, covering unlawful combatants).

Finally, for any of them who give intel for the sake of being let go, furnish them with bogus Israeli papers and drop them in Gaza, as "collaborators".


mantis, Eichmann got a tria... (Below threshold)

mantis, Eichmann got a trial in Israel.

I'm OK with that.


How about lodging our guest... (Below threshold)

How about lodging our guests at some Boy Scout camp near Montpellier?

I'm not opposed to giving t... (Below threshold)

I'm not opposed to giving them a military tribunal, but in no way, shape, or form should they be thrown into Federal courts and given a Federal Public Defender. These people fall outside of the realm of the Constitution in which they were committing crimes within our borders (or anything inclusive internationally), therefore I think it should be a JAG issue.

Mantis, there's actually an... (Below threshold)

Mantis, there's actually an intricate system of reviews in place to which every prisoner at Delta is entitled. I wrote about it at length in my take on this, available via trackback.

In short, every prisoner gets a Combatant Status Review Tribunal to determine whether that prisoner is an enemy combatant or not. After the CSRT comes an Administrative Review Board to determine whether the enemy combatant should be released or not. The factors weighed include whether the prisoner constitutes a threat, and how much intelligence we're getting out of him. If the ARB decides that the prisoner isn't a threat and that he has nothing to offer us, he's released.

So far, 167 prisoners have been released, 38 because they were not enemy combatants and 129 after an ARB.

It's not like we're just keeping these guys for the hell of it, you know.

In fact, a California Congressman named Hunter was on the Sunday shows this morning condemning JTF-GTMO for having a release policy that's too liberal. No fewer than 10 of the prisoners released have gone back to the fight; that number could of course be much higher.

Nick: No offense, but nobody is outside the realm of the Constitution. The Declaration of Independence says that all men are endowed with certain rights, not all men except the ones we're mad at. The prisoners at Delta are as entitled to due process as you or me. It's just that they're in a different jurisdiction.

"By the Geneva Conventions,... (Below threshold)

"By the Geneva Conventions, they are therefore illegal combatants, and are eligible for summary execution on the spot."

Jay, can you point to where, in any of the Geneva Conventions, summary executions are authorized? Can you point to any place in any of the Geneva Conventions where the phrase "illegal combatants" or "unlawful combatant" is defined and applied? Can you point to any place in any of Conventions that declares certain people, civilians or combatants, have no rights whatsoever, essentially existing in total legal limbo where their captors are the final arbiters of what rights and treatment they are entitled to, or not? Can you find me the passage that condemns certain persons to such a legal blackhole?

I think should be tried by ... (Below threshold)

I think should be tried by military tribunal. They are prisoners of war, not US citizens. If they are deemed not guilty then give them a ride home to their own country and let them do what they please. If they are guilty, then take them back home and drop them off over their own country at 10,000 feet. That should do the trick.

frameone, you're wasting yo... (Below threshold)

frameone, you're wasting your time. Jay isn't interested in the answers to your questions. He's not talking about the Geneva Conventions as they were actually written and implemented in U.S. Code. He's talking about the Hollywood-Geneva Conventions, as they have been portrayed in cheeseball B-movies staring washed-up wrestlers and failed porno actresses. In the latter conventions, you can pretty much mow anyone down who isn't a protagonist. It's only in the former ones where your questions are relevant.

Frameone: Protocol I, Artic... (Below threshold)

Frameone: Protocol I, Articles 46 and 47. Anyone engaged in espionage and anyone acting as a mercenary does not get prisoner-of-war status. That pretty much covers everybody we've caught in the War on Terror thus far. These prisoners fall under the scope of Protocol I, Article 2, which says "In cases not covered by this Protocol … combatants remain under the protection and authority of the principles of international law derived from established custom." The established custom is that spies and mercenaries are subject to lawful summary execution.

Those who wish to make a big stink out of such a quaint, antiquated and inapplicable document as the Geneva Conventions would be advised to, you know, read it. Especially before making an ass of themselves. I'm looking at you, S9.

Yeah. They should probably ... (Below threshold)

Yeah. They should probably also read all of it and not just the bits they like and then rely on, as s9 points out, whatever they saw in a movie for the rest.

Fourth Geneva Convention
Article 5

Where, in the territory of a Party to the conflict, the latter is satisfied that an individual protected person is definitely suspected of or engaged in activities hostile to the security of the State, such individual person shall not be entitled to claim such rights and privileges under the present Convention as would, if exercised in the favour of such individual person, be prejudicial to the security of such State.

Where in occupied territory an individual protected person is detained as a spy or saboteur, or as a person under definite suspicion of activity hostile to the security of the Occupying Power, such person shall, in those cases where absolute military security so requires, be regarded as having forfeited rights of communication under the present Convention.

In each case, such persons shall nevertheless be treated with humanity, and in case of trial, shall not be deprived of the rights of fair and regular trial prescribed by the present Convention. They shall also be granted the full rights and privileges of a protected person under the present Convention at the earliest date consistent with the security of the State or Occupying Power, as the case may be.

Dig that last paragraph Jeff. It's a doozy. It say you can't summarily execute anyone you want to no matter they were doing. You can detain them, but you have treat them humanely. You can keep them for the duration but you have to afford the due process rights to determine their status and eventually, "They shall also be granted the full rights and privileges of a protected person under the present Convention at the earliest date consistent with the security of the State or Occupying Power, as the case may be."

So tell me again where the Conventions say it's okay for someone to exist in a total legal limbo?

Er, it seems to me that if ... (Below threshold)

Er, it seems to me that if a person isn't covered by the Conventions, there doesn't need to be anything in the Conventions that says you can summarily execute them or hold them indefinitely.

If the Conventions could say yea, nay or boo about it, it would mean they were covered by the Conventions. But the Conventions apply to an actually rather narrow class of prisoners.

To which the Gitmo detainees appear not to belong.

Oh and Jeff. Remember, if y... (Below threshold)

Oh and Jeff. Remember, if you're going to site Protocol 1 you really better have read the whole thing first because Protocol One definitely frowns on what's happening in Gitmo and elsewhere.

First dig Article 45 from the First Protocol, you know the one just before the bits you paraphrased:

Article 45.-Protection of persons who have taken part in hostilities
1. A person who takes part in hostilities and falls into the power of an adverse Party shall be presumed to be a prisoner of war, and therefore shall be protected by the Third Convention, if he claims the status of prisoner of war, or if he appears to be entitled to such status, or if the Party on which he depends claims such status on his behalf by notification to the detaining Power or to the Protecting Power. Should any doubt arise as to whether any such person is entitled to the status of prisoner of war, he shall continue to have such status and, therefore, to be protected by the Third Convention and this Protocol until such time as his status has been determined by a competent tribunal.

2. If a person who has fallen into the power of an adverse Party is not held as a prisoner of war and is to be tried by that Party for an offence arising out of the hostilities, he shall have the right to assert his entitlement to prisoner-of-war status before a judicial tribunal and to have that question adjudicated. Whenever possible under the applicable procedure, this adjudication shall occur before the trial for the offence. The representatives of the Protecting Power shall be entitled to attend the proceedings in which that question is adjudicated, unless, exceptionally, the proceedings are held in camera in the interest of State security. In such a case the detaining Power shall advise the Protecting Power accordingly.

3. Any person who has taken part in hostilities, who is not entitled to prisoner-of-war status and who does not benefit from more favourable treatment in accordance with the Fourth Convention shall have the right at all times to the protection of Article 75 of this Protocol. In occupied territory, an such person, unless he is held as a spy, shall also be entitled, notwithstanding Article 5 of the Fourth Convention, to his rights of communication under that Convention.

Dig again those last two paragraphs. Now let's check out Article 75. Go ahead and read the whole thing. I dare you.

Article 75.-Fundamental guarantees
1. In so far as they are affected by a situation referred to in Article 1 of this Protocol, persons who are in the power of a Party to the conflict and who do not benefit from more favourable treatment under the Conventions or under this Protocol shall be treated humanely in all circumstances and shall enjoy, as a minimum, the protection provided by this Article without any adverse distinction based upon race, colour, sex, language, religion or belief, political or other opinion, national or social origin, wealth, birth or other status, or on any other similar criteria. Each Party shall respect the person, honour, convictions and religious practices of all such persons.

2. The following acts are and shall remain prohibited at any time and in any place whatsoever, whether committed by civilian or by military agents:

(a) Violence to the life, health, or physical or mental well-being of persons, in particular:

(i) Murder;

(ii) Torture of all kinds, whether physical or mental;

( iii ) Corporal punishment ; and

(iv) Mutilation;

(b) Outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment, enforced prostitution and any form of indecent assault;

(c) The taking of hostages;

(d) Collective punishments; and

(e) Threats to commit any of the foregoing acts.

3. Any person arrested, detained or interned for actions related to the armed conflict shall be informed promptly, in a language he understands, of the reasons why these measures have been taken. Except in cases of arrest or detention for penal offences, such persons shall be released with the minimum delay possible and in any event as soon as the circumstances justifying the arrest, detention or internment have ceased to exist.

4. No sentence may be passed and no penalty may be executed on a person found guilty of a penal offence related to the armed conflict except pursuant to a conviction pronounced by an impartial and regularly constituted court respecting the generally recognized principles of regular judicial procedure, which include the following:

(a) The procedure shall provide for an accused to be informed without delay of the particulars of the offence alleged against him and shall afford the accused before and during his trial all necessary rights and means of defence;

(b) No one shall be convicted of an offence except on the basis of individual penal responsibility;

(c) No one shall be accused or convicted of a criminal offence on account of any act or omission which did not constitute a criminal offence under the national or international law to which he was subject at the time when it was committed; nor shall a heavier penalty be imposed than that which was applicable at the time when the criminal offence was committed; if, after the commission of the offence, provision is made by law for the imposition of a lighter penalty, the offender shall benefit thereby;

(d) Anyone charged with an offence is presumed innocent until proved guilt according to law;

(e) Anyone charged with an offence shall have the right to be tried in his presence;

(f) No one shall be compelled to testify against himself or to confess guilt;

(g) Anyone charged with an offence shall have the right to examine, or have examined, the witnesses against him and to obtain the attendance and examination of witnesses on his behalf under the same conditions as witnesses against him;

(h) No one shall be prosecuted or punished by the same Party for an offence in respect of which a final judgement acquitting or convicting that person has been previously pronounced under the same law and judicial procedure;

(i) Anyone prosecuted for an offence shall have the right to have the judgement pronounced publicly; and

(i) A convicted person shall be advised on conviction of his judicial and other remedies and of the time-limits within which they may be exercised.

5. Women whose liberty has been restricted for reasons related to the armed conflict shall be held in quarters separated from men's quarters. They shall be under the immediate supervision of women. Nevertheless, in cases

where families are detained or interned, they shall, whenever possible, be held in the same place and accommodated as family units.

6. Persons who are arrested, detained or interned for reasons related to the armed conflict shall enjoy the protection provided by this Article until their final release, repatriation or re-establishment, even after the end of the armed conflict.

7. In order to avoid any doubt concerning the prosecution and trial of persons accused of war crimes or crimes against humanity, the following principles shall apply:

(a) Persons who are accused of such crimes should be submitted for the purpose of prosecution and trial in accordance with the applicable rules of international law; and

(b) Any such persons who do not benefit from more favourable treatment under the Conventions or this Protocol shall be accorded the treatment provided by this Article, whether or not the crimes of which they are accused constitute grave breaches of the Conventions or of this Protocol.

8. No provision of this Article may be construed as limiting or infringing any other more favourable provision granting greater protection, under any applicable rules of international law, to persons covered by paragraph 1.

"Er, it seems to me that if... (Below threshold)

"Er, it seems to me that if a person isn't covered by the Conventions, there doesn't need to be anything in the Conventions that says you can summarily execute them or hold them indefinitely."

You see McGhee that's exaclty it. If you read all of the Geneva Conventions and not just the bits you agree with you'll find that no one falls outside the protection of their basic human rights, the rights to due process and their rights to fair and decent treatment. No one. Absolutely. You will find several significant passages in the Fourth GC and the first Protocol, that Jeff so selectviely quotes from, which say as much. But you will not find any passage that says you can execute anyone you want whenever you want or hold someone indefinitely for a crime without due process.

You can find copies of the ... (Below threshold)

You can find copies of the Geneva Conventions and searchable database


Go ahead and learn something.

Just to make it more fair f... (Below threshold)

Just to make it more fair for you guys, you can find copies of the Geneva Conventions and searchable database


Sorry about the double post... (Below threshold)

Sorry about the double post there. But take it as a sign. You guys really do need to read the whole thing.

What is it with you libs?? ... (Below threshold)

What is it with you libs?? Why are you hell bent on defending, if not releasing, these animals??

It's not like we went over there and indicriminately cast a net to catch as many poor, missunderstood muslims as we could.. THEY WERE THERE TRYING TO KILL OUR TROUPS.. They were there trying to defend the indefensible!! They were fighting for the right of the Taliban to aid and assist a terrorist organization in the justification for the murder of 3,000 Americans (you do remember 9-11, don't you?)...

Boil it down to a smaller scale.. Look at what happens in our own backyard when some demented, twisted fuck is allowed to be let loose after he commits a heinious act, like child molestation.. He goes out and trumps it with a kidnapping and a murder of a little girl.. Ask Mark Lunsford if he cares about some "legal black-hole"..

Let people with conviction fight the battles you so blindly dismiss..

Warning, a really (unfortun... (Below threshold)

Warning, a really (unfortunately so) long post, dealing with lots of quotes in full. (hopiong this does not double post as well)

frameone: Hey, you should read a little deeper too.

"Art. 47. Mercenaries

1. A mercenary shall not have the right to be a combatant or a prisoner of war.

2. A mercenary is any person who:

(a) is specially recruited locally or abroad in order to fight in an armed conflict; (b) does, in fact, take a direct part in the hostilities; (c) is motivated to take part in the hostilities essentially by the desire for private gain and, in fact, is promised, by or on behalf of a Party to the conflict, material compensation substantially in excess of that promised or paid to combatants of similar ranks and functions in the armed forces of that Party; (d) is neither a national of a Party to the conflict nor a resident of territory controlled by a Party to the conflict; (e) is not a member of the armed forces of a Party to the conflict; and (f) has not been sent by a State which is not a Party to the conflict on official duty as a member of its armed forces.

Most of the terrorists in Iraq, oh, I'm sorry, insurgents, are recruited via promises of monetary gain. Also most do not meet the requirements under Article 44, as suicide bombers, and those who set up IEDs tend not to identify themselves before hand, or even after:

"Art. 44. Combatants and prisoners of war

1. Any combatant, as defined in Article 43, who falls into the power of an adverse Party shall be a prisoner of war.

2. While all combatants are obliged to comply with the rules of international law applicable in armed conflict, violations of these rules shall not deprive a combatant of his right to be a combatant or, if he falls into the power of an adverse Party, of his right to be a prisoner of war, except as provided in paragraphs 3 and 4.

3. In order to promote the protection of the civilian population from the effects of hostilities, combatants are obliged to distinguish themselves from the civilian population while they are engaged in an attack or in a military operation preparatory to an attack. Recognizing, however, that there are situations in armed conflicts where, owing to the nature of the hostilities an armed combatant cannot so distinguish himself, he shall retain his status as a combatant, provided that, in such situations, he carries his arms openly:

(a) during each military engagement, and (b) during such time as he is visible to the adversary while he is engaged in a military deployment preceding the launching of an attack in which he is to participate."

This all dovetails very nicely into Article 85 as well, which just about every terro... sorry, insurgent has made it a point to specifically target innocent civilians:

"Art. 85 - Repression of breaches of this Protocol
1. The provisions of the Conventions relating to the repression of breaches and grave breaches, supplemented by this Section, shall apply to the repression of breaches and grave breaches of this Protocol.
2. Acts described as grave breaches in the Conventions are grave breaches of this Protocol if committed against persons in the power of an adverse Party protected by Articles 44, 45 and 73 of this Protocol, or against the wounded, sick and shipwrecked of the adverse Party who are protected by this Protocol, or against those medical or religious personnel, medical units or medical transports which are under the control of the adverse Party and are protected by this Protocol.
3. In addition to the grave breaches defined in Article 11, the following acts shall be regarded as grave breaches of this Protocol, when committed wilfully, in violation of the relevant provisions of this Protocol, and causing death or serious injury to body or health: (a) making the civilian population or individual civilians the object of attack; (b) launching an indiscriminate attack affecting the civilian population or civilian objects in the knowledge that such attack will cause excessive loss of life, injury to civilians or damage to civilian objects, as defined in Article 57, paragraph 2 (a)(iii); (c) launching an attack against works or installations containing dangerous forces in the knowledge that such attack will cause excessive loss of life, injury to civilians or damage to civilian objects, as defined in Article 57, paragraph 2 (a)(iii); (d) making non-defended localities and demilitarized zones the object of attack; (e) making a person the object of attack in the knowledge that he is hors de combat; (f) the perfidious use, in violation of Article 37, of the distinctive emblem of the red cross, red crescent or red lion and sun or of other protective signs recognized by the Conventions or this Protocol.
4. In addition to the grave breaches defined in the preceding paragraphs and in the Conventions, the following shall be regarded as grave breaches of this Protocol, when committed wilfully and in violation of the Conventions or the Protocol: (a) the transfer by the occupying Power of parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies, or the deportation or transfer of all or parts of the population of the occupied territory within or outside this territory, in violation of Article 49 of the Fourth Convention; (b) unjustifiable delay in the repatriation of prisoners of war or civilians; (c) practices of apartheid and other inhuman and degrading practices involving outrages upon personal dignity, based on racial discrimination; (d) making the clearly-recognized historic monuments, works of art or places of worship which constitute the cultural or spiritual heritage of peoples and to which special protection has been given by special arrangement, for example, within the framework of a competent international organization, the object of attack, causing as a result extensive destruction thereof, where there is no evidence of the violation by the adverse Party of Article 53, subparagraph (b), and when such historic monuments, works of art and places of worship are not located in the immediate proximity of military objectives; (e) depriving a person protected by the Conventions or referred to in paragraph 2 or this Article of the rights of fair and regular trial.
5. Without prejudice to the application of the Conventions and of this Protocol, grave breaches of these instruments shall be regarded as war crimes.

Now, what is really funny is that people who accused Bush of war crimes can now see, laid out, that he is not guilty of any at all. No purposeful targeting of civilians. Detainees are still to be humanely treated (ordered to humanely treat them in fact). Religious symbols and areas are still treated with respect. We could go on and on. We even hold hearings to determine their (the detainees) status, all in accord with the conventions (the Combatant Status Review Tribunal). Go. Figure.

Nice to know that.

We can also see that just about every terrorist (insurgent is a label that should not be used for murderers who purposely target innocent civilians, especially when they target children) has committed war crimes and does not fulfill the requirements to be considered either a lawful combatant or prisoner of war. Is there any need to mention the beheading videos?

The article dealing with perfidy has not even been brought up, another one the terrorists willfully violate over and over again. Oh hell, let's quote them anyway:

"Art. 37. Prohibition of Perfidy

1. It is prohibited to kill, injure or capture an adversary by resort to perfidy. Acts inviting the confidence of an adversary to lead him to believe that he is entitled to, or is obliged to accord, protection under the rules of international law applicable in armed conflict, with intent to betray that confidence, shall constitute perfidy. The following acts are examples of perfidy: (a) the feigning of an intent to negotiate under a flag of truce or of a surrender; (b) the feigning of an incapacitation by wounds or sickness; (c) the feigning of civilian, non-combatant status; and (d) the feigning of protected status by the use of signs, emblems or uniforms of the United Nations or of neutral or other States not Parties to the conflict.

2. Ruses of war are not prohibited. Such ruses are acts which are intended to mislead an adversary or to induce him to act recklessly but which infringe no rule of international law applicable in armed conflict and which are not perfidious because they do not invite the confidence of an adversary with respect to protection under that law. The following are examples of such ruses: the use of camouflage, decoys, mock operations and misinformation."

That they are receiving the very humane treatment they are is a credit to the United States, because most other countries on this planet would have summarily executed confirmed terrorists (and most likely even those who have not been confirmed one way or the other); there would not have been a peep if those other countries had held such executions.

Well, that was fun/educational (and obscenely long).

Inquiring --Commit... (Below threshold)

Inquiring --

Committing a war crime, no matter how heinous, does not place you outside the law. You still have to be treated humanely and given a fair trial as a war a criminal. You cannot be summarily executed or tortured. There is not a single passage in any of what you've quoted to suggest otherwise.

Read again Article 75:

Any person who has taken part in hostilities, who is not entitled to prisoner-of-war status and who does not benefit from more favourable treatment in accordance with the Fourth Convention shall have the right at all times to the protection of Article 75 of this Protocol.


Essentially what the passages you are quoting say is that mercenaries are not protected as prisoners of war or more favorable treatment in the Fourth Convention but they are still entitled to article 75 protection.

Oh, and can you also explain to me why the soliders for hire aka "private security" working for the Coalition Provisional Authority and who still continue to operate at hte behest of corporations working in Iraq, were granted immunity from prosecution under Iraqi law by the CPA?

And lowmal, you're evocation of domestic criminal behavior is truly frightening. It suggests to me that what underlies this whole conversation is a dislike for the Bill of Rights. That is what we "libs" are defending here. The Bill of Rights isn't just a list of rights that we have as American citizens, it's a statement of universal principle derived from a beleif that all men are born with certain inalienable rights and that the most basic of those rights -- due process and humane treatment -- cannot be denied anyone no matter what they've done. You I'm making this argument because I don't care about our troops or the victims of violence. That isn't the case. I', arguing on the side of what our soildiers our supposedly fighitng for, the bill of rights and the rule of law.

frameone: You really are th... (Below threshold)

frameone: You really are that obtuse, aren't you? Please, read it again, and then specifically read where I said they do not have any protections. Quote me, at the very least where I said they should be summarily executed. Quote me, please, where I said they did not deserve a fair trial. Quote me. Oh please do.

What was that? Oh, I did not say they had no protections. I did not say they should be executed without at least a trial. I did not even say they do not deserve a trial to determine if detaining them was proper. In fact, I actually did nothing more than state how we are following those provisions.

Thanks for shoving words in my mouth.

Let's recap what I actually said. They are not prisoners of war. They are still combatants. They do not fall under any provision of lawful combatant because they willfully violate several provisions detailing what constitutes a lawful combatant. The United States actually holds a Tribunal that specifically reviews their combatant status, and then detains them or frees them upon conclusion. While detained they are treated in full accord with the Geneva Conventions. Being guilty of war crimes means they are subject to the harshest penalties the law can bring down, which includes the death penalty. It goes without saying that they would still need to be charged, and tried, for war crimes.

It was nothing more than an answer to you, speaking on in length about how we have to follow the Conventions, and that you did not at any point attempt to define what the terrorists are, which is vitally important given the nature of the debate. In fact, you actually challenged anyone to find the definition of unlawful combatant. By clearly establishing what makes a combatant lawful you can determine what is unlawful. They did not meet the criteria, thus they are not lawful (it is that black and white, because when you break the law you default to being unlawful). You’re welcome

You quoted protections at length, which is all very good, but you cannot know if their rights are being ignored if you do not know what they are considered under the law. Quoting every single provision that grants protections does not help your case. A Prisoner of War has differing protections from a spy, who has differing protections from a mercenary, etc, etc. I proceeded to go about defining what the terrorists are, and then refuted the idea we are not treating them in accordance with the provisions.

This was done to simply show that the United States is not only following the Geneva Conventions, but that the terrorists are getting far better treatment than they truly deserve, but are granted under law. For the record I am not arguing that they have those protections, even if I personally believe the Geneva Conventions are woefully incapable of dealing with the question of combatants who fight like the terrorists, violating just about every provision.

What is really sad, is that even though I do not agree with your stance on the Iraq war, my comment actually complimented yours, because it would have given you the chance, should you have taken it, to say, “Ok, so now we know, they are covered under Article 75 and cannot claim certain exceptions for their actions,” instead you preferred to be belligerent. I would claim surprise.

"Oh, and can you also explain to me why the soliders for hire aka "private security" working for the Coalition Provisional Authority and who still continue to operate at hte behest of corporations working in Iraq, were granted immunity from prosecution under Iraqi law by the CPA?"

Oh, can you please explain to me why you are suddenly talking about Iraqi law? I thought we were talking about International Law, specifically the Geneva Conventions. Why the change of subject?

To stick with the Geneva Convention: Yes, those security forces are mercenaries if they meet the Geneva Convention’s criteria. No argument there. At the same time they deserve all the protections. Glad we could clear that up.

Why not train them to mow l... (Below threshold)

Why not train them to mow lawns and send them to Hollywood Hills or Malibu to work for tom cruise or richard gere? Oh wait...teaching moslems to be gay and insert gerbils "where de sun don't shine" could be considered torture too...

Why not make them guests of... (Below threshold)
Sergeant Mac:

Why not make them guests of our federal prison system here in the good old United States? Does anyone doubt that the fine members of The Council of Prison Locals, which represents over 28,000 employees in the Bureau of Prisons, including 15,000 federal correctional officers nationwide would not be better qualified to see to their needs? Surely the general prison populations would respect the Koran and warmly welcome their new bunk mates.

I continue to be a... (Below threshold)

I continue to be amazed at how far Right the neocons can go. Anyone who thinks Gitmo is both necessary and providing valuable intelligence is simply not thinking. Clinton was just quoted few days back on this. Yes, it puts your own troops at greater risk…. Yes, if you torture anyone long enough they will tell you anything you’d like to hear. (are these two points really contested?)

This is a huge victory for the terrorists – The fundamental values that the USA is based on are being trampled on and curtailed. Rights and freedoms only apply when they challenge the establish authority.

“If you are in favor of freedom of speech – you are in favor of freedom of speech precisely for views that you despise.” (anyone know were this quote comes from?)

The right to a fair trial, the right to criticize the government, all of the basic freedoms that the USA is supposed to champion are all being lost. One by one they are being either legislated away, or ignored because of the ‘war on terror’ requires ‘temporary’ exceptions.

Who here thinks the ‘war on terror’ is either temporary or even winnable? Is Orwell’s book the first to be burned the new Reich?

Sorry, I live in Canada were FOX ‘news’ has not reached us – yet. Bleeding heart liberal, pot smoking homos all… but at least we have not compromised our deepest beliefs because it is convenient.

(few exceptions though, like the Canadian the US authorities grabbed and sent to Syria to be ‘softened up’. I’m sure the influence from the brokers of freedom is slowly on the move north)

I really am shocked at how far Right, the Right can go. It even crossed my mind that putting my name on this rant may not be a good idea – next visit to the land of the free might just get a detour to sunny Cuba?






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