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Airmid

Camp Guantanamo

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I'd like to discuss camp Guantanamo with you folks, especially with the Americans among you.

First I'd like to ask you: Are you being informed about the camp by the news or by way of other information channels? What kind of information are you receiving that way?

 

Airmid.

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Yeah I know it's hard to believe that the american public know about this place and actually let it go on... ...But believe me they know quite a bit I think.

 

Stranger things have happened.

 

 

I believe many see it as "unfortunate and wrong, but a matter of necessity"

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It's certainly well known here. So much so that I would suggest that virtually every American has formed an opinion on it to some degree. The inherent support that exists for it is grounded mainly in ideological partisanship. We also seem to have trouble in this country sometimes when it comes to applying our most fundamental principles to non-citizens (especially when threatened by them, which is probably the time when we most need to remember those principles).

 

That having been said, there is a long-standing sentiment that international affairs is an area where different rules apply, and if we're going to compete in that arena then we have to be willing to undertake certain means. This includes things like assassination and espionage. There is a legitimate argument to be made for these things, and my personal opinion is that some of them are agreeable and others are objectionable. It's difficult to get a search warrant on a home in rural Afghanistan, for example. Some support for Guantanamo (et al) comes from this area of reasoning.

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People here only know about it to the degree it's discussed in the mainstream news. Average that with claims by the underground media and you probably have a pretty good picture about what actually goes on there. Either way it's not pretty, but possibily necessary. Keep in mind you're asking your question on a forum of semi to well-informed people, which doesn't describe the average American. Ask someone on the street what Guantanamo is and chances are they will have no idea what you're talking about.

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The excuse normally given is that we must sacrifice some rights for security, but is a country like that, almost like Stalin’s USSR, worth defending.

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The excuse normally given is that we must sacrifice some rights for security, but is a country like that, almost like Stalin’s USSR, worth defending.

The comparison has a slight flaw: The US are giving up the rights of non-US citizens. So the "excuse" should be "they must sacrifice rights for our security". This also slightly alters the second part of your statement.

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Right, although I think it's revealing that Bob made that mental crossover from talking about domestic legal rights of foreign citizens to talking about domestic legal rights of citizens. The two issues have become intermingled in American policy debate, both in informal discussion and in the media.

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I was referring to the whole terrorism paranoia in general. And I consider war crimes more akin to the USSR then America. What the US basically did was pluck people from Afghanistan for looking suspicious then hold them on some godforsaken rock with out charges and “interrogate” (torture )them. In doing so they have turned formerly friendly or neutral people into terrorists and now were fighting them in Iraq and there threatening to take back Afghanistan! All in all Guantanamo, Abu Grab and whatever secret prisons are out there serve only as giant recruiting posters for the enemy. Domestic legal rights are a completely different issue that would make a good discussion.

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domestic legal rights of foreign citizens

May I point out that weren't even that until the US took them to US soil?

 

From the Aussie POV, the US loses moral ground every day people are in the camp. The big one for us is David Hicks. Yes, he was apprehended in Afghanistan, he's probably as guilty as sin, but 5 years without charge or trial? Come on. I have to ask exactly what "values" are you defending? When he was captured I didn't give a damn. You've now had him for 5 years and you still haven't got the evidence for a trial? Pull the other one.

 

I understand he will get a trial soon. "Coerced" evidence and hearsay evidence allowed. Even his Military Defense lawyer doesn't think he'll get a fair trial.

 

Detention without charge for years?

Unfair trials?

Military Courts?

No "Rules of Evidence"?

Show Trials?

Torture?

 

Come on guys, you've become all the things you hate. You've validated the tactics of every tinpot Dictator of the 20th Century. You're demonstrating to the world that American "Justice" is no better than IdI Amins. Please wake up from the nightmare and be the defenders of Justice that you always wanted to be.

 

If I may quote from one of the greatest Documents of Modern History. ( Most will recognize the source.)

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

What would your Founding Fathers think?

 

Like them I am "appealing to your native justice and magnanimity", and I have "conjured them by the ties of our common kindred. to disavow these usurpations."

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And that's just the thing -- we can say that single examples are not case-makers, in the sense that you might always find bad apples in a bunch. But that doesn't really provide an argument here, because we're supposed to be protected from mistakes by due process (i.e. you're picked up in a sweep but it all gets sorted out in the courthouse), and until now these people haven't had due process of any kind. So how are we to find out which ones are real terrorists and which ones are just... mistakes?

 

Anyway, Republicans wonder how they lost the moderate middle and the right-side Libertarian empathy, well this is how right here.

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Anyway, Republicans wonder how they lost the moderate middle and the right-side Libertarian empathy, well this is how right here.

 

 

being part of the moderate middle, I think without Iraq, this wouldn't be as big an issue. Of course, I may be biased, since I don't have a problem with it in the first place.

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Yes, he was apprehended in Afghanistan, he's probably as guilty as sin, but 5 years without charge or trial?

 

he presumably has to be assumed innocent at this point (untill proven guilty -- i believe the burden of proof for terrorism etc lies with the accuser, not the defendant, the same as with most crimes in the US). so... what if he's found innocent? what then? will he be re-embursed those 5 years?

 

and, with allegations that he'll not face a fair trial, you've got to concider what motive america has to actually acknowledge him as innocent, even if he manages to persuade the military (and presumably closed) trial that he's not guilty. should america hold it's hands up and admit that they held lots of people outside of US soil so that they wouldn't be protected by US laws, allowing them to be detained for years before their trial, and then, whoops, turns out this ones innocent and shouldn't have been inprisoned without a trial for 5 years. our bad.

 

or, should they sweep him under the carpet as guilty, rather than put up with the political back-lash that would undoubtably follow such an obvious ****up and infindgement of human rights, by both the international convention and the declaration of independance? must be quite hard to be honest under those circumstances. and, unlike the highest court of lawyers in the land (not shure what you're equivelent of our law-lords are, sorry), military magistrates aren't known for their devotion to upholding the law, as opposed to, say, protecting their country.

 

seriously, i'm not one for conspiracy theories, but i'd be forced to give credence to the theory that your country has put itself in a position where there's a lot of pressure on it to conspire to ensure that no one in the bay ever gets found innocent, because that'd be embarassing.

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seriously, i'm not one for conspiracy theories, but i'd be forced to give credence to the theory that your country has put itself in a position where there's a lot of pressure on it to conspire to ensure that no one in the bay ever gets found innocent, because that'd be embarassing.

Sorry mate, but they've worked out a way around it.

 

David Hicks was offered a "Plea Bargain" that if he pleaded guilty he would walk out a free man because, wait for it, he had already served 5 years. Don't you just love the logic? He turned it down on the grounds that accepting the offer would legitimise the Kangaroo court.

 

Since that tactic didn't work for the US military, his head defence lawyer is now being threatened with disciplinary action for "Showing contempt for the President". ( Like most of the civilised world isn't guilty of that one by now.:rolleyes: ) Should he be removed a new lawyer will be appointed and have about 60 days to prepare the case for the defence.

 

Where did you yanks learn legal theory? Pol Pot U?

 

From Merriam-Webster;

Main Entry: re·spect·able

Pronunciation: ri-'spek-t&-b&l

Function: adjective

1 : worthy of respect : ESTIMABLE

2 : decent or correct in character or behavior : PROPER

 

Are you?

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There's a theory that every powerful nation must at some point make a choice between its principles and its empire. It would seem that the United States is currently in the era in which it must make this choice.

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There's not any point bothering with a trial. Since the trial would be by millitary personel and their commander in chief has already stated that these are evil men, for the trial to find the poor sods anything but guilty would be insubordination.

 

There's also a potential advantage to permitting evidence gained under torture. (just stay with me here for a minute)

You can get anyone to say anything by torture so you can clearly get exactly the evidence you need to convict someone. It's easy, you just pick someone up and beat the s*** out of them until they say what you want them to. Then you get that "evidence" and use it in court.

That means that the outcome of the trial will be exactly what the "authorities" want. Since we know all that, those who think evidence gained under torture has any validity must see that the authority is always right. If that's the case then you don't need the trial and you don't need the evidence. If you don't need the evidence you don't need to torture people to get it.

In the long run, the acceptance of torture, and those things that follow from that acceptance, means that you don't need to torture anyone any more.

I'm suprised Amnesty International are not campaigning for it right now.

Of course there's the slight downside of the total lack of any sort of freedom and also of any accountabillity but surely that's a small price to pay for ensuring that torture is redundant.

On the other hand you could accept that evidence gained by torture is not only a debasement of any legal process, but logically invalid.

 

How did the US population get suckered into accepting this?

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These people were rounded up by the military, not the police. They may not even have charges against them, as they do not necessarily even have to be criminals. The military rounded some people up, threw them in a detention* center, and is trying to figure out what to do with them.

 

I don't see how lawyers have anything to do with this place. I do feel sorry for these people who got sent there having done nothing wrong, but really, a lot of blame can be placed on the process by which they were rounded up. A lot of people just started settling old grudges by saying someone was a terrorist, they'd get sent off with, probably very little afterthought. I also feel sorry for civilian casualties in the war. Shit happens, sometimes you die, sometimes you get stuck in prison for a while =/.

 

It's definately an issue that needs to be resolved however. I think it would have been fine if it had not been played up so much. Now you have a problem with trying to resolve the issue gracefully, rather than quickly. Which is just going to lead to innocent people being detained longer, because mistakes are no longer tollerated by any facet of the government, thus making a, "oops we screwed up, but we'd like to move along" statement all but impossible, because then you'd have to break out the trials into the foul up, then the formation of committees to oversee the trials, blah blah blah.

 

 

So the problem is filtering the dangerous ones fro mthe innocents. Well, pretty much anyone there is gunna be a problem once you release them, you've been holding them prisoner for quite a while. What does one do with PoWs once a war is over anyways? Just let them back into the country once the war is over? Well, the war ain't over yet, maybe once afghanistan* is stabalized to a reasonable level these people can all just be turned over to the gov't in charge of things over there. Because, when you just have the people sitting in Guantanamo you don't have anything to go on other than their word. Back in their home country you at least have aquaintences*, relatives, and that sort of thing to help figure out if they're a 'bad guy'.

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Saryctos, you say "I think it would have been fine if it had not been played up so much."

 

Er, maybe it's just me but I think that detaining people, many of whom have done no wrong and none of whom is technically guilty; without trial; indefinitely; at the whim of a bunch of soldiers and denying them any prospect of redress isn't "fine" in any set of circumstances, anywhere, ever. Playing it up, down or sideways really isn't the point.

 

There is a very simple way to deal with this mess; find the people who did this and prosecute them for false arrest, false imprisonment, common assault, and so on. If it can be shown that the people who did this were strictly "only obeying orders" (there's a phrase nobody likes to hear) then prosecute whoever gave that order. If that means G.W. Bush does time in jail, good- at least he will have had a fair trial. That would restore the reputation of the law and it might persuade politicians to pay some heed to decent behaviour in future.

 

As for "Just let them back into the country once the war is over?"

When, exactly, will the "war on terror" be over, and who signs the armistice?

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I'd like to discuss camp Guantanamo with you folks, especially with the Americans among you.

First I'd like to ask you: Are you being informed about the camp by the news or by way of other information channels? What kind of information are you receiving that way?

 

Airmid.

 

What news about the camp do you think we might be missing?

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These people were rounded up by the military, not the police. They may not even have charges against them, as they do not necessarily even have to be criminals. The military rounded some people up, threw them in a detention* center, and is trying to figure out what to do with them.

 

It will be interesting to see what happens the next time we fight a "real" war, if we ever do. I can just imagine the military struggling to keep up with the rules we put in place during this era.

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I'd like to discuss camp Guantanamo with you folks, especially with the Americans among you.

First I'd like to ask you: Are you being informed about the camp by the news or by way of other information channels? What kind of information are you receiving that way?

 

I get my news from The Onion, America's Finest News Source:

 

Cartoon-Hunger-Strikes.jpg

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It will be interesting to see what happens the next time we fight a "real" war, if we ever do. I can just imagine the military struggling to keep up with the rules we put in place during this era.
You can either fight for principles, in which case Guantanamo is a sorry blot on a noble country. Or, you can fight for 'my country, right or wrong', in which case Guantanamo is logical, international relations are in the gutter (or lower) and the US deserves any and all retribution that comes its way. As Sisyphus remarked, the choice is yours, as are the consequences.

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It will be interesting to see what happens the next time we fight a "real" war, if we ever do. I can just imagine the military struggling to keep up with the rules we put in place during this era.

 

like the rules against killiing unarmed soldures and civillians? the rules against using biological/chemical weapons? the rules about not mistreating captive soldures? in other words, all the rules that we complain about other armies for not following?

 

how, for example, can you complain about the terrorists for being so 'uncivilised' and 'barbaric' as to attack and kill unarmed non-combatant civillians, whilst your own army is breaking your own human-rights rules? how dare al quaida break your rules, that you yourselfes dont follow?

 

not to mention that, from a non-military point of view, not granting fair trial is something that we also complain about foreign govournments for doing *cough* china *cough*

 

from an international relations POV, this is definately hurting you. America isn't "the good guys" in this anymore, america is just "the less arseholish side".

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like the rules against killiing unarmed soldures and civillians? the rules against using biological/chemical weapons? the rules about not mistreating captive soldures? in other words, all the rules that we complain about other armies for not following?

 

Gee, I don't recall referencing any of these rules. Care to throw out ten more strawmen?

 

how, for example, can you complain about the terrorists for being so 'uncivilised' and 'barbaric' as to attack and kill unarmed non-combatant civillians, whilst your own army is breaking your own human-rights rules? how dare al quaida break your rules, that you yourselfes dont follow?

 

Which rules are you referencing? Can you be specific?

 

not to mention that, from a non-military point of view, not granting fair trial is something that we also complain about foreign govournments for doing *cough* china *cough*

 

Enemy combatants have always been given different treatment than US citizens. In WWII we didn't give every German we captured as a POW a "fair trial." Military procedures are used necessarily in a time of war. Does Britain, France, etc do this any differently?

 

from an international relations POV, this is definately hurting you. America isn't "the good guys" in this anymore, america is just "the less arseholish side".

 

Our image has been hurt by Abu Ghraib more than anything. That was the turning point and I wish the culprits would be tried under the harshest of laws. They did more damage to this country than any enemy has in decades.

 

The point that I was trying to make is that we have said we are in a war and the precedents we set now will be applicable the next time we have a full scale fight on our hands. You can't give full jury trials to enemy POWs and, in a real war, spies will be shot when found in our land without full trials. This is nothing new.

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You can either fight for principles, in which case Guantanamo is a sorry blot on a noble country. Or, you can fight for 'my country, right or wrong', in which case Guantanamo is logical, international relations are in the gutter (or lower) and the US deserves any and all retribution that comes its way. As Sisyphus remarked, the choice is yours, as are the consequences.

 

In other words, I can agree with you or be a mindless "my country, right or wrong" zombie. You have certainly simplified the situation in your own mind.

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Gee, I don't recall referencing any of these rules. Care to throw out ten more strawmen?

 

you seemed to be complaining about imposing rules onto warfare at all. my appologies if i misinterpreted.

 

Enemy combatants have always been given different treatment than US citizens. In WWII we didn't give every German we captured as a POW a "fair trial." Military procedures are used necessarily in a time of war. Does Britain, France, etc do this any differently?

 

but, iirc, terrorists aren't afforded protection under stuff like the geneva convention because they're considered naughty armed civillians, much like organised crime gangs (mafia, etc), as opposed to soldures.

 

so, you can shoot terrorists with non-standard rounds, and you don't need to afford them POW status; but, by doing so, you're placing them definately in the 'civillian' camp, rather than the 'soldure' camp. civillians taken by the state -- even if taken from another state -- should be afforded a fair trial.

 

in a 'real' war, you'd afford the enemies POW status, not fair trials.

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