Meta-Blog

SEARCH QandO

Email:
Jon Henke
Bruce "McQ" McQuain
Dale Franks
Bryan Pick
Billy Hollis
Lance Paddock
MichaelW

BLOGROLL QandO

 
 
Recent Posts
The Ayers Resurrection Tour
Special Friends Get Special Breaks
One Hour
The Hope and Change Express - stalled in the slow lane
Michael Steele New RNC Chairman
Things that make you go "hmmmm"...
Oh yeah, that "rule of law" thing ...
Putting Dollar Signs in Front Of The AGW Hoax
Moving toward a 60 vote majority?
Do As I Say ....
 
 
QandO Newsroom

Newsroom Home Page

US News

US National News
Politics
Business
Science
Technology
Health
Entertainment
Sports
Opinion/Editorial

International News

Top World New
Iraq News
Mideast Conflict

Blogging

Blogpulse Daily Highlights
Daypop Top 40 Links

Regional

Regional News

Publications

News Publications

 
Q and O: the no-comfort zone
Posted by: mcq on Friday, February 10, 2006

A reader ask, in the comments section of a post about the detainees in Guantanamo:
What's happened here at QandO? Add a little profanity and this post could have been written by Kos.
Not really. Kos toes a particular party line, so something bucking that line wouldn't show up on there. OK, that's a generalization, but it leads me to a point. This blog isn't here to enshrine or support anyone or anything except the principles of freedom and liberty. If we have a charter, it is to oppose anything which infringes on those principles. Thus the posts on Gitmo.

Yes, we should take steps to safeguard ourselves, yes, we should incarcerate those who are caught, gun in hand, waging war against our military or otherwise caught engaging in terroristic activities. But that doesn't give us the right to scoop up anyone, willy nilly and throw them in a cell for "the duration" without some serious attempt at determining their true status.

I don't know about you, but 4 years seems like a pretty fair amount of time to determine the true status of a relatively small number of detainees. And, given the evidence cited below, it seems we have the information on which to make that determination on at least 132 of them (and probably more).

I'm not going to get into the legal and technical aspects of this (they've been covered in detail by others). I'm talking about the plain, basic, common sense, human rights aspect of it.

The argument restated: If they're bad guys, we should determine that and hold them as long as we deem necessary. If they're not bad guys, we should determine that and release them. Now. 4 years is plenty of time in which to make that determination for the entire population of that prison and, given the evidence released by DoD, it hasn't been properly made for at least 132 of them.

If you are truely a civil libertarian (as well as a supporter of the WoT) you want to know why. It is a fair question and one everyone should be asking, whether a supporter of the administration and the WoT or not.

When it comes to a bottom line we should remember, these people work for us and are expected to further the cause of freedom and liberty without exception. And when they don't, it's our duty to call their hand on it, even if we voted for them, generally support them and are concerned about the political fallout of calling their hand. We shouldn't make excuses or argue banal technicalities in assinine rhetorical battles designed to obfuscate and limit political damage. That's politics and party above freedom and liberty.

When you find out that this sort of thing is going on, you have a duty to speak out, if liberty and freedom are a priority:
Much of the evidence against the detainees is weak. One prisoner at Guantanamo, for example, has made accusations against more than 60 of his fellow inmates; that's more than 10 percent of Guantanamo's entire prison population. The veracity of this prisoner's accusations is in doubt after a Syrian prisoner, Mohammed al-Tumani, 19, who was arrested in Pakistan, flatly denied to his Combatant Status Review Tribunal that he'd attended the jihadist training camp that the tribunal record said he did.

Tumani's denial was bolstered by his American "personal representative," one of the U.S. military officers — not lawyers — who are tasked with helping prisoners navigate the tribunals. Tumani's enterprising representative looked at the classified evidence against the Syrian youth and found that just one man — the aforementioned accuser — had placed Tumani at the terrorist training camp. And he had placed Tumani there three months before the teenager had even entered Afghanistan. The curious U.S. officer pulled the classified file of the accuser, saw that he had accused 60 men, and, suddenly skeptical, pulled the files of every detainee the accuser had placed at the one training camp. None of the men had been in Afghanistan at the time the accuser said he saw them at the camp.

The tribunal declared Tumani an enemy combatant anyway.
Speaking out for those like Tumani is no different that speaking out for people like Cory Maye. Tumani and Maye, given the evidence which is public, both deserve further consideration as neither seems to have been the subject of justice in their case. The disagreement, on principle, is the same in both cases.

My point? If you come to QandO to see your political sacred cows enshrined and worshiped, it is indeed the wrong place (unless those cows have "freedom" and "liberty" on their sides). If the administration is wrong we're going to say so. If that makes readers who worship the administration uncomfortable, so be it. They should be. It is the administration in power who's making these determinations. Who else should we skewer?
 
TrackBacks
Return to Main Blog Page
 
 

Previous Comments to this Post 

Comments

I certainly agree with your post. And I feel that I can truthfully say that, convincing evidence having been established, I agree with almost everything that I have seen written about what needs to be done. I have a real problem with the presentation of the evidence.
My understanding of the released DoD documents is that they are mostly the filings of defense attorneys working for their Guantanamo clients. If I examined only the documents filed by attorneys representing the persons who are incarcerated anywhere in the US for all charges I would have to believe that the vast majority of them were innocent. Put another way: what would I think of the work of attorneys working for the incarcerated if I deduced anything else, based primarily on their filings? That is why we have expensive investigators and DA’s offices to provide the other side [doesn’t everyone watch “Law and Order”?]. Now if we could somehow classify the filings of those DA’s, and also the court records, so that they could not be released, we could gin up a scandal of epic proportions and could make an excellent case to the public that most of those being held should be released immediately. I’m just sayin’...

Actually, I should take this comment one step further. People are not attorneys, but it takes a pretty dim bulb not to figure out that reading only the information provided by someone’s criminal defense attorney is going to result in a finding of innocence. So when someone rushes to judgement based primarily on such information, I really have a limited number of motives to attribute to them. If we rule out naive and stupid, what do we have left?
Look at it in context. Check the calendar. Starting with Feingold’s blatant political address on the floor of the Senate, there is obviously a campaign going on. It is also obvious that finding most of those held in Guantanamo innocent would be a major keystone in that campaign, dovetailing nicely with the purported position of the Democrats.
So, we have people doing something that is either naive, stupid or politically motivated. Or am I just missing something here? Obfuscating the nature of the evidence with weak weasel words instead of clear disclaimers making clear that there may be a “rest of the story” seems inappropriate to me if one is claiming non-partisanship. And straw "sacred cows" issues do not change that view.
 
Written By: Notherbob2
URL: http://
Josh,
I think the Constitution only applies to that legal category: U.S. citizens. And that France, Belgium, Zambia, and Indonesia might resent us extending it to include their citizens. Besides, all the protections promised in the document are premised on a Republican nation-model, which assumes a distinct, bounded nation with distinct, citizens’ rights.

(Not a citizen yet? Get in line.)

McQ, It’s hard to argue against a 4-year release date. It’s a reasonable compromise between civil liberities of non-citizens, and the need for a thorough vetting of each detainee.

But, if Gitmo’s reputation for indefinate confinement serves as a deterrent to Islamist militancy, then...
-Steve
 
Written By: Steve
URL: http://
My understanding of the released DoD documents is that they are mostly the filings of defense attorneys working for their Guantanamo clients.
No. They aren’t. They are the DoD’s final summations of the results of the detainees status tribunal.
 
Written By: Dale Franks
URL: http://www.qando.net
First point: I think the comment to the previous post referred more to the tone of the post sounding like Kos than the content. Please continue to gore sacred cows. But it is easier to consider the goring to be intelligently reasoned if it doesn’t sound like a Kos diary.

Second point: I have nothing to back this up, but I wonder if some of the Gitmo detainees might be considered "bad guys" but we just don’t have cold hard evidence against them. Not being a law enforcement officer or military man, I suspect that there are cases where the police "know" someone is guilty but they are unable to actually prove it. In this country, that guy goes free or is never even brought in to start with. That’s the price we pay for having a criminal justice system that presumes innocence.

However, the folks at Gitmo aren’t accused of robbing the Piggly Wiggly, they are accused of taking up arms against the United States. The stakes are somewhat higher when you consider releasing a "bad guy" whose motivation is likely the destruction of our society vs. a guy whose motivation is $38 and three cartons of Marlboro Lights. With this in mind, the legality of holding a person who you suspect would walk into Times Square with a dirty bomb if given a chance would seem secondary (ie. convoluted way of saying "the stakes are higher").

I say this not to excuse it, just to take a stab at the possible reasoning. Just a theory though.
 
Written By: Jimmy
URL: http://
First point: I think the comment to the previous post referred more to the tone of the post sounding like Kos than the content. Please continue to gore sacred cows. But it is easier to consider the goring to be intelligently reasoned if it doesn’t sound like a Kos diary.
At some point, it’s important to call a lie by its name. I wasn’t interested in making excuses for the administration. I was interested in calling ’em as I saw ’em.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.QandO.net
So the technical difference is that the DoD documents are complete summations, only as we see them quoted someone is only quoting the defense attorney’s filings? Where is the other side? Or is it just that we only got the defense’s opinion of the other side? Perhaps that is it. It only sounded like we were getting just one side. Well, that is fair comment, I guess.
 
Written By: Notherbob2
URL: http://
Jon, you wrote:
Instead, we’ve largely stood by while the Bush administration has run roughshod over innocent people; while the Bush administration detained innocent civilians and lawful combatants, and abused them into false confessions. And then that administration had the temerity to say that legislation removing legal recourse by those people "reaffirm[s] the values we share as a Nation and our commitment to the rule of law"....
Words and phrases like "roughshod," "abused," "false confessions," and "temerity" are inflammatory. This is not "calling a lie by it’s name" but rather the equivalent of calling it a "damn dirty lie by evil lying liars." OK, we get it, you are not happy. But how does it advance your argument to be inflammatory?

Am I so naive to think that we can have reasoned political discussion without devolving into Kos vs. LGF? Maybe I am.
 
Written By: Jimmy
URL: http://

My point? If you come to QandO to see your political sacred cows enshrined and worshiped, it is indeed the wrong place (unless those cows have "freedom" and "liberty" on their sides). If the administration is wrong we’re going to say so. If that makes readers who worship the administration uncomfortable, so be it. They should be. It is the administration in power who’s making these determinations. Who else should we skewer?


And that is why I — who voted for Bush in ’04 — keep coming back to QandO.

Carry on, boys.
 
Written By: Mona
URL: http://
But, if Gitmo’s reputation for indefinate confinement serves as a deterrent to Islamist militancy, then...
Conversely, do you believe that a n other nation has the right to incarcerate US citizens?
 
Written By: symptomless
URL: http://
Conversely, do you believe that a n other nation has the right to incarcerate US citizens?
Yes. Why not, if I violate the laws of the United Kingdom why would I NOT expect to be incarcerated for some period of time?

And Yes, they do and this is an argument that is falsely advanced by many, that US actions prompt counter-actions. The reality is that many nations or groups, think Lebanon in the 1980’s, functionally held Westerners and US citizens for indefinite periods. Was this/is this a response to US actions. My take, "No." Gitmo neither increases nor decreases the chance of unlawful, indefinite imprisonment by any number of groups or nations in the world. At best Gitmo provides a "justification" not a "reason" for their actions.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Words and phrases like "roughshod," "abused," "false confessions," and "temerity" are inflammatory.
"Roughshod" and "temerity" are editorial comments and this is a blog so you have to expect that.

However, if you believe the reports, "abused" and "false confessions" are a fact and Jon is reporting that fact. You can choose to disbelieve the reports, they may in fact be false. But that these words are inflammatory goes to the heart of the issue, that if the US goverment is doing this, then the people engaging and condoning these acts are betraying what we stand for at a fundemental level.

If the reports are true, God I hope they are not true.
 
Written By: Lighthouse
URL: http://
Well Lighthouse, I guess it depends on your definition of "abuse" don’t it. By many accounts ANYTHING is abuse, and then it morphs into "torture". So I would prefer a fairly clinical definiton of "Interrogation", "Abuse" and "Torture" before we start tossing these words out. Is prolonged questioning interrogation, abuse or torture? Is what occurs at SERE interrogation, abuse or torture? Can I translate what I can do to a B-2 BNO at SERE the same that I can do to a detainee at Gitmo? So unless we’ve done defined ur terms, yes abuse IS inflamatory and needs to be used sparingly.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Words and phrases like "roughshod," "abused," "false confessions," and "temerity" are inflammatory.
No, they are opinion. You may find that opinion inflamatory, but you ought to find the facts that give rise to that opinion inflammatory, and not the mere existence of the opinion. If the report is accurate, then those opinions are accurate.

In any event, you don’t even seem to be familiar with the facts that account for my opinion...
Well Lighthouse, I guess it depends on your definition of "abuse" don’t it.
No, it doesn’t depend on your "definition of abuse". The story flatly said that "tactics deemed unacceptable were [used]".

Whatever your minimum standard for abuse, surely tactics that produce "extreme psychological trauma" would qualify.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.QandO.net
Whatever your minimum standard for abuse, surely tactics that produce "extreme psychological trauma" would qualify.

Actually Jon, in a world where a PhD can recommend that a teenager receive a breast augmentation job, for reasons of improved self-esteem, the the phrase "extreme psychological trauma" has begun to lose its aura. Just a skim thru and I didn’t see anything "evil" occuring. AGAIN DEFINE ABUSE, either operationally (certain acts constitute abuse) or in a theoretical manner, certain physical/physchological results would constitute abuse. Otherwise I’m not sure I buy many things as "abuse". Now colour me a Dubya-Worshipping Neo-Fascist if you care to, but I’m not seeing it in the article.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
In any event, you don’t even seem to be familiar with the facts that account for my opinion...
I am familiar with the facts, I read what you wrote and linked. This is beside the point.

Please continue to state your opinion. My point is not that your opinion is incorrect, but that it was expressed in a way that was not helpful to persuading the QandO audience that, from my reading, is split on the issue of Gitmo detainees (and most other issues for that matter).
 
Written By: Jimmy
URL: http://
Jon, you’re right to call the balls and strikes as you see them rather than choose one side or the other to cheer or boo. The problem at Gitmo is the game keeps changing.

In the beginning the detainees were going to be handled in accordance with DoD procedures, then the federal courts got involved and stopped everything until DoD wrote new procedures, then DoD got started again and the courts said slow down until we decide whether detainees have rights in federal court beyond habeous review, then Congress decided to take a whack at detainee regulations and access to federal courts, and so on. You get the idea.

Every time DoD started to do what we all think should have been done a long time ago, the other branch(es) of government got involved and the process had to be re-reviewed, rewritten, and restarted. In general a great way to keep things confused but a lousy way to operate.
 
Written By: crazy
URL: http://
As commenter Jimmy noted:
First point: I think the comment to the previous post referred more to the tone of the post sounding like Kos than the content. Please continue to gore sacred cows. But it is easier to consider the goring to be intelligently reasoned if it doesn’t sound like a Kos diary.
The issue of the post’s tone is precisely why I wrote the initial comment, namely:
What’s happened here at QandO? Add a little profanity and this post could have been written by Kos.
As for the post’s subject matter itself, if indeed innocent persons were detained indefinately without proper safeguards, a great wrong has been committed, and by all rights those responsible should face a reckoning for such actions.

Terrorists deserve no pity, but to recklessly punish innocent parties goes against everything we claim to stand for.

 
Written By: clark smith
URL: http://
More info on the Dod reports and the Seton Hall study.
This is only the very first Google result I read, but it raises some serious concerns about the supposedly dispassionate pundits decrying the reports:
“One of the authors of the study, Seton Hall law professor Mark Denbeaux, represents two Guantanamo prisoners.
“The summaries do not use prisoners’ names nor do they include secret evidence the review panels considered.”
...”A few dozen of those who underwent the 2004 enemy combatant reviews have since been released.”
Since when are reports prepared by defense attorneys considered credible? Do you suppose that some of those released just might be those self-same examples used in the “chicken little” reports that we are seeing cited on qando? The reports did not include all the evidence considered? What is this, a kangaroo court? Or is the link I have cited not authoritative for some reason?
 
Written By: Notherbob2
URL: http://
Since when are reports prepared by defense attorneys considered credible?
When they’re not by defense lawywers:
Much of the evidence against the detainees is weak. One prisoner at Guantanamo, for example, has made accusations against more than 60 of his fellow inmates; that’s more than 10 percent of Guantanamo’s entire prison population. The veracity of this prisoner’s accusations is in doubt after a Syrian prisoner, Mohammed al-Tumani, 19, who was arrested in Pakistan, flatly denied to his Combatant Status Review Tribunal that he’d attended the jihadist training camp that the tribunal record said he did.

Tumani’s denial was bolstered by his American "personal representative," one of the U.S. military officers — not lawyers — who are tasked with helping prisoners navigate the tribunals. Tumani’s enterprising representative looked at the classified evidence against the Syrian youth and found that just one man — the aforementioned accuser — had placed Tumani at the terrorist training camp. And he had placed Tumani there three months before the teenager had even entered Afghanistan. The curious U.S. officer pulled the classified file of the accuser, saw that he had accused 60 men, and, suddenly skeptical, pulled the files of every detainee the accuser had placed at the one training camp. None of the men had been in Afghanistan at the time the accuser said he saw them at the camp.

The tribunal declared Tumani an enemy combatant anyway.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
As commenter Jimmy noted:
First point: I think the comment to the previous post referred more to the tone of the post sounding like Kos than the content. Please continue to gore sacred cows. But it is easier to consider the goring to be intelligently reasoned if it doesn’t sound like a Kos diary.
The issue of the post’s tone is precisely why I wrote the initial comment, namely:
What’s happened here at QandO? Add a little profanity and this post could have been written by Kos.
As for the post’s subject matter itself, if indeed innocent persons were detained indefinately without proper safeguards, a great wrong has been committed, and by all rights those responsible should face a reckoning for such actions.

Terrorists deserve no pity, but to recklessly punish innocent parties goes against everything we claim to stand for.

 
Written By: clark smith
URL: http://
The issue of the post’s tone is precisely why I wrote the initial comment...
Interesting. I’m usually the guy who gets dinged for tone. Glad to see it being spread around. ;)
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
OK. I’ll shut up. But this whole topic, as presented, doesn’t pass the "smell" test to me, even if Jon "Bush Lied" Henke certifies it.
 
Written By: Notherbob2
URL: http://
"expressed in a way that was not helpful to persuading the QandO audience"

I have only been visiting this site for a short time, but I have the impression that people here can cope with opinions, even inflammatory ones, and make up their own minds. But I am touched and grateful for your concern about my judgement being inappropriately influenced.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
OK. I’ll shut up. But this whole topic, as presented, doesn’t pass the "smell" test to me, even if Jon "Bush Lied" Henke certifies it.
(Chuckle)
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitheads.blogspot.com
"The tribunal declared Tumani an enemy combatant anyway."

Hmmmmmm, so the decision was based ONLY on the one prisoner’s say so?

Was there no other evidence?

Again, what QandO wants is 100% perfection and 100% transparency.

 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
Again, what QandO wants is 100% perfection and 100% transparency.
What we want, Harun, is the same treatment for Tumani you’d expect if you were in Tumani’s position.

You certainly wouldn’t accept what happened to him as just or justice if you were in his place, and, neither would we.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
Sorry I don’t buy it. As a member of the military if I were put on one of these boards and I have been on one court martial and two ADMIN boards I would see it as my duty to make sure all evidence was looked at and make an unbiased decision. Regardless of the beliefs of the black helicoptor crowd military members take their responobilities very seriously and would not be intimidated into making incorrect or biased decisions and last what was he doing in Afghanistan in the first place? This makes me suspect there is more to the story than what you or your source have given.
 
Written By: Oldcrow
URL: http://

 
Add Your Comment
  NOTICE: While we don't wish to censor your thoughts, we do blacklist certain terms of profanity or obscenity. This is not to muzzle you, but to ensure that the blog remains work-safe for our readers. If you wish to use profanity, simply insert asterisks (*) where the vowels usually go. Your meaning will still be clear, but our readers will be able to view the blog without worrying that content monitoring will get them in trouble when reading it.
Comments for this entry are closed.
Name:
Email:
URL:
HTML Tools:
Bold Italic Blockquote Hyperlink
Comment:
   
 
Vicious Capitalism

Divider

Buy Dale's Book!
Slackernomics by Dale Franks

Divider

Divider