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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Crimes, War Crimes and the War on Terror

    The Lewis and Clark Law School, Portland, Oregon, USA held this symposium in April 2007 and have now published a number of articles. This is the link:

    http://www.lclark.edu/org/lclr/issue_11_4.html and this one links to the speakers bios: http://www.lclark.edu/org/artslive/lawreviewsymp.html

    The subjects include:

    The Role of Federal Criminal Prosecutions in the War on Terrorism

    Federal Prosecution of Terrorism-Related Offenses: Conviction and Sentencing Data in Light of the "Soft-Sentence" and "Data-Reliability"
    Critiques

    Enemies of the State: Rational Classification in the War on Terrorism

    Combatant Status Review Tribunals: An Ordeal Through the Eyes of One "Enemy Combatant"

    Enemy Aliens, Enemy Property, and Access to the Courts

    Hamdan, Terror, War

    Why States Need an International Law for Information Operations

    Al-Qaeda and the Law of War

    Surveillance and Transparency

    Electronic Surveillance of Terrorism: The Intelligence/Law Enforcement Dilemma - A History

    Rays of Sunlight in a Shadow “War”: FOIA, The Abuses of Anti-Terrorism, and the Strategy of Transparency

    I've only read three, on surveillance, they are interesting for a non-American and probably of more value for an American.

    davidbfpo

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    The Challenges of Trying Terrorists as Criminals
    Because of the asymmetric effects of many terrorist acts, the public and the press ensure that governments place a very high value on the prevention of terrorism. But dealing with terrorists is problematic for the executive branch, charged as it is with protecting the public. As Alexander Hamilton put it in the Federalist Papers: “Safety from external danger is the most powerful director of national conduct. Even the ardent love of liberty will, after a time, give way to its dictates . . . to be more safe [nations] at length become willing to run the risk of being less free.” Certainly, if they consider it is not possible for terrorists to be convicted, governments will consider
    • changing criminal procedures and truncating the rights of accused terrorists to facilitate convictions
    • detention without trial
    • rendition (in all of its senses
    • military or paramilitary solutions
    • specialist courts or tribunals.

    Most if not all of those responses may infringe the rule of law. Equally, there is much at stake for the judicial branch in this context. Thus, when terrorism charges are brought, courts must strive to balance the rights of the parties, particularly the accused, on the one hand and national security on the other. Special and sometimes unique questions that arise in such cases include justiciability, deference to the other branches of government, admissibility of evidence, prosecutorial duties of disclosure, and the effect on the press and on public confidence of any departure from open justice.

    These issues, which are at the heart of public debate in the United States and a number of ally nations, require continued and close attention. An interdisciplinary colloquium held in January 2008 in Washington, D.C., considered some of them. A feature of the conference was the bringing together of lawyers (including judges, prosecutors, and human rights and international lawyers), strategists, terrorism experts, and intelligence, and law enforcement officials. International representatives also attended, bringing perspectives of U.S. allies, notably, the United Kingdom and Australia, to the debate. A summary of the course of discussion follows.

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    The question as to what type of trial to give to foreign combatants who are held prisoner begs the question of whether they should be given one at all. Is anyone aware of an explanation for why the detainees should be afforded a trial?

    Most arguments seem to assume that a trial should occur and then embark upon a debate over what type of trial and how to conduct it. But I have never seen a justification for why we should hold a trial. I don't understand why non-US citizens who were taken prisoner on a battlefield, during armed conflict, and held prisoner outside of our borders, should have protections in the US Constitution bestowed upon them. Rather than addressing this question, we are subjected to accusations of torture, mistreatment, and denial of due process (again, without clarifying whether the detainees are owed any due process).

    In the quote that begins this thread, there is a mention of undermining the rule of law. It seems that undermining the rule of law in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan was a good thing. Laws against shaving beards and flying kites don't seem all that virtuous to begin with. If the implication is that rule of law could be undermined in the US, then I don't see how that is possible, so long as the individuals are non-US citizens, not in the US, and captured on a battlefield during time of war.

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    Council Member marct's Avatar
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    Hi Schmedlap,

    Quote Originally Posted by Schmedlap View Post
    The question as to what type of trial to give to foreign combatants who are held prisoner begs the question of whether they should be given one at all. Is anyone aware of an explanation for why the detainees should be afforded a trial?
    There are several reasons why this should happen. Let's start with the obvious ones. First, are they "combatants"? This is a crucial question, because if they are, then they are protected under international law (at least under some interpretations of it). The US has taken a position that the Taliban are not legal combatants and, as such, no not fall under the purvey of the Geneva Conventions which, IMO, is ridiculous but it's still the reality we are dealing with.

    If, as the Bush administration has held, they are not "legal combatants", then what are they? The rhetorical answer was to call them "criminals", but even criminals have rights under international laws to which the US is a signatory. Thus we end up with attempts to create a new category that is not covered under international law. But this attempt has been viewed, both within the US and internationally, as way of operating outside of international law and contravening the UN charter. This is one of the legal reasons for giving them trials.

    A second and, IMO, more important reason stands behind all of the rhetoric: by attempting to declare these people as "non-persons" and outside of the law, they are being defined as "non-human" and, hence, anything done to them is fine. But, if history teaches us anything, every time a society has defined one group of people as non-humans (i.e. outside the law), that same society will turn around and define other groups the same way. This process is well summed up in the poem First they came attributed to Martin Niemöller.

    Quote Originally Posted by Schmedlap View Post
    In the quote that begins this thread, there is a mention of undermining the rule of law. It seems that undermining the rule of law in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan was a good thing. Laws against shaving beards and flying kites don't seem all that virtuous to begin with. If the implication is that rule of law could be undermined in the US, then I don't see how that is possible, so long as the individuals are non-US citizens, not in the US, and captured on a battlefield during time of war.
    How about laws against polygamy and polyandry ? Almost any law that enforces a moral code can, and will, be laughed at by people who don't agree with that code. For example, there are, I believe, still some laws on the books in parts of Ontario that make it illegal for an unmarried couple to dance within 12 inches of each other. And, as far as I know, it is still illegal to drive your flock of sheep down Younge street in Toronto between the hours of 1 and 3 PM.

    As far as them being non-US citizens, that is immaterial. They have been captured by US troops and, unless you wish to argue that US troops are not bound by laws when in foreign countries, they have to be treated under a rule of law scenario. If they are captured during a "time of war" then they should be treated under the Geneva Conventions or else the US is breaking those conventions.

    Where you (the US) are getting into trouble is by declaring them "criminals" or trying to create uncovered categories. By declaring them "criminals" and bringing them into US jurisdiction, you are automatically typing them and, as such, they have the full protection of your constitution.
    Sic Bisquitus Disintegrat...
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    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default OTOH, he said...

    Quote Originally Posted by marct View Post
    There are several reasons why this should happen. Let's start with the obvious ones. First, are they "combatants"? This is a crucial question, because if they are, then they are protected under international law (at least under some interpretations of it).
    True. Some. The issue is whether they are legal combatants as stipulated in the GC or not; they meet none of the criteria therefor. Oversight in the GC? Possibly but unquestionably they are not members of a uniformed military force.
    The US has taken a position that the Taliban are not legal combatants and, as such, no not fall under the purvey of the Geneva Conventions which, IMO, is ridiculous but it's still the reality we are dealing with.
    What's ridiculous; the US position or the GC failure to protect illegal combatants?
    If, as the Bush administration has held, they are not "legal combatants", then what are they? ... This is one of the legal reasons for giving them trials.
    True, sort of. The rules on illegal combatants say they've got to get sorted as PW or criminals and we blew that aspect. The Commissions are a cover for doing something too late and too little. Thus my contention they should've been called PW from the get go. The Admin didn't do that because they wanted to interrogate some of them which the GC prohibits. That could've been done had the control of those few been retained by other than the Armed Forces (an admittedly arguably illegal act -- but reality will intrude on legitimacy...
    As far as them being non-US citizens, that is immaterial. They have been captured by US troops and, unless you wish to argue that US troops are not bound by laws when in foreign countries, they have to be treated under a rule of law scenario. If they are captured during a "time of war" then they should be treated under the Geneva Conventions or else the US is breaking those conventions.
    That is subject to debate due to the legal combatant distinction.
    Where you (the US) are getting into trouble is by declaring them "criminals" or trying to create uncovered categories. By declaring them "criminals" and bringing them into US jurisdiction, you are automatically typing them and, as such, they have the full protection of your constitution.
    We didn't try to create an uncovered category; we applied a covered category far too broadly, came up with an abysmally stupid plan to hold and interrogate and then developed a really dumb legal 'process' to attempt to cover the stupidity. We get max marks for stupid, no question -- but I disagree we've been illegal (other than in a very few specific individual cases -- and those were probable no matter what had been done ).

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    Quote Originally Posted by marct View Post
    If, as the Bush administration has held, they are not "legal combatants", then what are they? The rhetorical answer was to call them "criminals", but even criminals have rights under international laws to which the US is a signatory...
    A second and, IMO, more important reason stands behind all of the rhetoric: by attempting to declare these people as "non-persons" and outside of the law, they are being defined as "non-human" and, hence, anything done to them is fine. But, if history teaches us anything, every time a society has defined one group of people as non-humans (i.e. outside the law), that same society will turn around and define other groups the same way.
    Forgive me if this is an exceedingly dumb question, but I am a pretty unsophisticated observer of legal whatnot, especially the international variety (but I think that my input is useful because I tend to have the same confusion over this issue that most average schmoes do). So long as the "war on terror" continues, why is it not permissible to simply keep these folks locked up? Isn't standard practice to keep POW's in detention until hostilies cease? It also seems to me that, rather than haggling over the current interpretations of international law, we should be pushing for revisions. In the past, we coerced a nation into submission and then their military hierarchy diseminated the order to cease hostilities. That cannot occur now, as al-Qaeda and similar organizations do not function this way, so it seems that we need to update our laws in order for them to be workable.

    Quote Originally Posted by marct View Post
    As far as them being non-US citizens, that is immaterial. They have been captured by US troops and, unless you wish to argue that US troops are not bound by laws when in foreign countries, they have to be treated under a rule of law scenario. If they are captured during a "time of war" then they should be treated under the Geneva Conventions or else the US is breaking those conventions.
    Understood, but there are a fair number of people who think that they should be tried in our court systems, as if they were normal defendants in a criminal case. That was my reason for emphasizing their non-US status.

    Quote Originally Posted by marct View Post
    Where you (the US) are getting into trouble is by declaring them "criminals" or trying to create uncovered categories. By declaring them "criminals" and bringing them into US jurisdiction, you are automatically typing them and, as such, they have the full protection of your constitution.
    That sounds about right, even to my unsophisticated brain. The lawyers seem to outnumber the chiefs and the indians.

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    Default Nice discussion.

    I love Ken White's "... the Lawyers totally blew it in an effort to outsmart themselves." We do that everyday; but it's not always noticed !

    Also, like Wolfsberger's quoting the GC provisions - RTFO is a good rule.

    The two L & C articles most pertinent to the present discussion seem to be:

    Tung Yin, Enemies of the State: Rational Classification in the War on Terrorism, 11 Lewis & Clark L. Rev. 903 (2007)
    http://www.lclark.edu/org/lclr/objec...4_Art3_Yin.pdf

    Mark Weisburd, Al-Qaeda and the Law of War, 11 Lewis & Clark L. Rev. 1063 (2007)
    http://www.lclark.edu/org/lclr/objec...8_Weisburd.pdf

    Despite being a U of M law grad, Weisburd's Conclusion seems quite rational.

    Tacitus and I have to talk about the Nuremburg and Tokyo trials someday - but not today.

    Also, Jedburgh citation of Rand's James Renwick, Gregory F. Treverton, The Challenges of Trying Terrorists as Criminals (2008), provides an overview of the practical procedural problems in the "Common Law, Magna Carta" jurisdictions.
    http://www.rand.org/pubs/technical_r...RAND_CF249.pdf

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    Council Member marct's Avatar
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    Hi Schmedlap,

    Quote Originally Posted by Schmedlap View Post
    Forgive me if this is an exceedingly dumb question, but I am a pretty unsophisticated observer of legal whatnot, especially the international variety (but I think that my input is useful because I tend to have the same confusion over this issue that most average schmoes do). So long as the "war on terror" continues, why is it not permissible to simply keep these folks locked up? Isn't standard practice to keep POW's in detention until hostilies cease?
    On the surface, it makes sense. The unfortunate thing is that "terror" is not a nation state. How can that "war" end? Will the President for Life of "Terror" sign a peace treaty ? Sorry, the sarcasm is coming from being incredibly frustrated with the confusion caused by assuming rhetoric as reality - it's certainly not with you or your question!!!

    The GCs assume a state on state conflict, so keeping someone as a POW makes sense, and they can be returned after the end of hostilities. I do think that the Taliban should be counted as a "government" (government in exile). For them, and their fighters, this would mean that the "war" would end IFF (if and only if) they are brought back into negotiations with the Afghan government and some accommodation is reached. AQ and the other irhabi groups are another matter...

    Quote Originally Posted by Schmedlap View Post
    It also seems to me that, rather than haggling over the current interpretations of international law, we should be pushing for revisions. In the past, we coerced a nation into submission and then their military hierarchy diseminated the order to cease hostilities. That cannot occur now, as al-Qaeda and similar organizations do not function this way, so it seems that we need to update our laws in order for them to be workable.
    I definitely agree that we need to change international law and the GCs to account for the current reality. We have to be able to account for para-state groups such as Hamas, Hezbollah, etc. as well as groups of the irhabi-network types. It might be an idea to go back to examine the situation in the Holy Roman Empire just after the Treaty of Westphalia and use that as an example for further consideration. After all, you had a really odd situation where "states" were members of another "state" (the HRE).

    Quote Originally Posted by Schmedlap View Post
    Understood, but there are a fair number of people who think that they should be tried in our court systems, as if they were normal defendants in a criminal case. That was my reason for emphasizing their non-US status.
    Hmmm, I think the problem is with the precedent being established. For example, there is a general agreement that citizens of one country may be tried by the legal system of another country for crimes committed in their jurisdiction and will enjoy all the legal protections of the country in which they are tried. There is also precedent for trying your citizens for actions in another country that contravene the laws of your country. But there really isn't much of a legal precedent for holding citizens of one country with whom you are not at war without trial.

    Khadr, and I'm sticking with him right now, is a Canadian citizen and his continued incarceration in Gitmo is being viewed by some as a breach of treaties with Canada. Think about it for a second.. If we captured a US citizen in Afghanistan fighting as a Taliban and held him in Canada without trial, what would the US reaction be?
    Sic Bisquitus Disintegrat...
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    Default Well said and I totally agree. Seems to me that

    the Lawyers totally blew it in an effort to outsmart themselves. Use of 'PW' instead of 'detainee' and keeping them in the nation where picked up -- or in Afghanistan for those from Pakistan or elsewhere -- would've been the simple solution and far better PR (and, no Lawyer but IMO, legal) decision. All that detainee foolishness and the arch stupidity that was and is Gitmo couldn't have been much worse if the bad guys were the planners.

    Hmmm...

    On the PR angle, the US is going to get tabbed by not only the opposition but by some of our 'friends' and by many here in the US as the bad guy almost no matter what we do. Why that is so difficult for the squirrels in DC to comprehend and attempt to mitigate by not being stupid I cannot fathom. They need to tumble to that fact and stop trying to 'do the right thing so the world will see we're really nice.' The world is absolutely determined not to see that and to deny it if it appears that way; been that way all my adult life and it's really not much worse now than it has been since about 1947 or so; we just communicate far more widely and rapidly today so it seems worse. Not as bad now as it was during Viet Nam.

    So on the PR front (since the late 40s) as well as the international terrorism front (since 1972) we refuse to adapt to reality; "It must be done as we wish it done." Get over it, Washington, not going to happen...

    NOTE: This was addressed to Shmedlap's post; Marc beat me
    Last edited by Ken White; 06-05-2008 at 02:39 PM. Reason: Old age and slow typing, Note

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    Hi Ken,

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken White View Post
    On the PR angle, the US is going to get tabbed by not only the opposition but by some of our 'friends' and by many here in the US as the bad guy almost no matter what we do. Why that is so difficult for the squirrels in DC to comprehend and attempt to mitigate by not being stupid I cannot fathom. They need to tumble to that fact and stop trying to 'do the right thing so the world will see we're really nice.'
    Too true! Isn't there a Biblical saying about "the meek shall inherit the Earth - a 6" x 6' x 3' plot"?

    On a more serious note, though, there has been a lot of international concern about the US governments position on international law in many areas, and the Gitmo experience (along with extraordinary rendition, etc.) only reinforces the concerns held by other countries (think Italy for a sec...). In Canada, we have been following the Gitmo travesty ever since Khadr was captured, and the ongoing French bedroom farce of his detainment makes headlines fairly often.
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    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default Marc and wm; good points. But...

    Quote Originally Posted by marct View Post
    ...On a more serious note, though, there has been a lot of international concern about the US governments position on international law in many areas, and the Gitmo experience (along with extraordinary rendition, etc.) only reinforces the concerns held by other countries (think Italy for a sec...). In Canada, we have been following the Gitmo travesty ever since Khadr was captured, and the ongoing French bedroom farce of his detainment makes headlines fairly often.
    True, our position on International Law has been subject to many blasts from the remainder of the world in my lifetime. Some warranted, some not -- those viewpoint dependent. Gitmo was stupid. Khadr has been mishandled by the ridiculous commission setup, no question but the fact that he was "a child soldier" who deserves release on that count is I believe wrong. He is said to be 'salvageable' and to have modified his attitude. Sorry, I'm an old cynic...
    Quote Originally Posted by wm View Post
    I do not disagree with your point, but I would hope that we could replace the motivation for doing the right thing. We ought not to be doing "the right thing so the world will see we're really nice." We ought to be doing the right thing just because it is the right thing. (Sorry if this sounds like I'm being naively idealistic )
    I agree with your goal but would point out that others do not operate that way and while some disadvantage to do the right thing can and should be accepted -- and we do that, all day and every day in many ways and knowingly and willingly give others an advantage -- there had better be limits or we will not be around to do the right thing. Thus, regrettably, I do suspect you're being a bit naively idealistic.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken White View Post
    the US is going to get tabbed by not only the opposition but by some of our 'friends' and by many here in the US as the bad guy almost no matter what we do. Why that is so difficult for the squirrels in DC to comprehend and attempt to mitigate by not being stupid I cannot fathom. They need to tumble to that fact and stop trying to 'do the right thing so the world will see we're really nice.'
    I do not disagree with your point, but I would hope that we could replace the motivation for doing the right thing. We ought not to be doing "the right thing so the world will see we're really nice." We ought to be doing the right thing just because it is the right thing. (Sorry if this sounds like I'm being naively idealistic )
    Vir prudens non contra ventum mingit
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    Quote Originally Posted by Schmedlap View Post
    The question as to what type of trial to give to foreign combatants who are held prisoner begs the question of whether they should be given one at all. Is anyone aware of an explanation for why the detainees should be afforded a trial?
    The simple answer is that this what a civilized, law-abiding nation does with people who act outside the bounds of accepted behavior (laws and civilized customs in other words).

    Quote Originally Posted by Schmedlap View Post
    Most arguments seem to assume that a trial should occur and then embark upon a debate over what type of trial and how to conduct it. But I have never seen a justification for why we should hold a trial. I don't understand why non-US citizens who were taken prisoner on a battlefield, during armed conflict, and held prisoner outside of our borders, should have protections in the US Constitution bestowed upon them. Rather than addressing this question, we are subjected to accusations of torture, mistreatment, and denial of due process (again, without clarifying whether the detainees are owed any due process).
    Protections of one's rights, as codified in the U. S. Constitution and its amendments, are viewed, rightly or wrongly, as the sine qua non of how to treat someone who has been accused of infringing on the rights of others. Another way of saying this is that when one infringes on the rights of others, the infringer does not thereby forfeit his or her own rights. To adopt the alternative position that one forfeits rights as a result of misconduct would be tantamount to adopting a position that "two wrongs make a right," a position that my parents and grandparents (and probably most other readers' as well) taught me was wrong (morally).

    Quote Originally Posted by Schmedlap View Post
    In the quote that begins this thread, there is a mention of undermining the rule of law. It seems that undermining the rule of law in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan was a good thing. Laws against shaving beards and flying kites don't seem all that virtuous to begin with. If the implication is that rule of law could be undermined in the US, then I don't see how that is possible, so long as the individuals are non-US citizens, not in the US, and captured on a battlefield during time of war.
    Undermining the rule of law is very different from changing poor laws. It may well be the case that sometimes one must use other than peaceful means to change laws, but even in those cases, there are lawful and unlawful ways to do so. By the way, I think it is open to argument whether what may have passed for the rule of law in Taleban-controled Afghanistan really was a version of the rule of law in the eyes of the rest of the cvilized world.
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    Smile On Dead Squirrels and Latin Varnished Jokes

    Quote Originally Posted by wm View Post
    Vir prudens non contra ventum mingit

    Right you are, my friend!
    Thank you and all posters on this thread for all the correct reasoning on the fate of terrorist prisoners. It all comes down to the simplest definition of our Torah: "don't do to others what is abhorrent to yourself". The rest is just explanation...
    As you all certainly remember, Israel recently discussed downgrading the inprisonment conditions of hamas terrorists in our jails - to bring them to the level of existence (if he has not , G'd forbid, been murdered already) of kidnapped corporal Shalit. Arab prisoners in Israel have privileges like the right to cook their own "halal" food, cable tv, marital visits, study up to college level... Israel is highly moral, these guys live better than many honest-to-G'd people. Even then, the world paint us worse than the devil - but that is another story.
    The Israeli officer that refused to let this motion follow through bravely said: "-I want to be able to look at my face on the mirror, when i wake up every morning."). It is a moral stance, and it sets us apart from the savagery of these NSA... Indeed, it is refreshing to see this sane debate, makes me proud of humbly "lurking" here and learning from decent people. Why, just yesterday the Jerusalem Post informed that two women had their fraud-preventing inked fingers cut off by the barbarian talibans ).
    But!!! thanks also for The Hearty Laugh!!! I studied Latin in College, so I could understand: "Vir prudens non contra ventum mingit":a wise man does not piss against the wind... A saying in Brazil goes "don't ever spit upwards: it will fall flat on your face"
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    Default New merits decision by Judge Kessler

    Judge Gladys Kessler in May entered a merits decision on the habeas petition of Alla Ali Bin Ali Ahmed of Yemen, ordering his release, which is discussed here and here.

    Judge Kessler has decided a second Yemeni case, Mohammed Al-Adahi, whose release was also ordered.

    Difficulty in justifying detention
    Friday, August 21st, 2009 8:16 pm | Lyle Denniston

    A federal judge’s lengthy but heavily censored opinion released on Friday demonstrated anew the difficulty that the Pentagon and U.S. intelligence agencies are having in trying to justify in court the continued holding of some of the prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. A prisoner with family links to terrorist leader Osama Bin Laden, with personal encounters with Bin Laden, with at least a brief round of training in an Al-Qaeda military camp, with close knowledge of some of bin Laden’s bodyguards, and with other alleged links to Al-Qaeda soldiers — all of that was not enough, singly or together, to justify the detention of a Yemeni national, Mohammed Al-Adahi, Senior U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler ruled. ...
    Judge Kessler's opinion is heavily redacted (references to classified evidence are blacked out).

    My comments to Judge Kessler's first decision apply equally here. In short, the judge accepted the legal definitions of the DoJ, as well as admitting its evidence; but found, as a matter of fact, that the USG had failed to make its case. So, no law was made (one way or the other) in this case.[*]

    You may judge for yourself, after reading Judge Kessler's opinion, whether you would have found the same lack of facts supporting the USG's case.

    -------------------------
    [*] Judge Kessler did clarify one legal standard. The "Miranda" and like rules of exclusion do NOT apply to these proceedings (p.21 n.14):

    14. Petitioner's counsel argues that all ex parte statements made by Petitioner must be excluded from the record. Pet.'s Mot. at 18 -20. They maintain that because Petitioner was represented by counsel as of February 7, 2005, and all interrogations after that date were not consented to by counsel, Constitutional and ethical rules require that evidence from those interrogations be excluded. Id.

    The Court concludes that the ex parte statements are admissible for the following reasons. First, under Supreme Court and Court of Appeals precedent, only defendants in the criminal context can claim Sixth Amendment protections. Montejo v. Louisiana, 129 S.Ct. 2079, 2085 (2009) (stating that Sixth Amendment "guarantees a defendant the right to have counsel at all 'critical' stages of the criminal proceedings.O) (emphasis added); United States v. Sutton, 801 F.2d 1346, 1365 (D.C. Cir. 1986) (finding that right to counsel attaches "only after the initiation of 'adversary judicial criminal proceedings, I e.g., formal charge, preliminary hearing, indictment, information, or arraignment."). Petitioner is not involved in a criminal proceeding, and thus the Sixth Amendment does not apply. Cf. Coleman v. Balkcom, 451 U.S. 949, 954 (1981) (Marshall, J., dissenting from denial of certiorari).

    Second, Petitioner argues that the Government's conduct amounts to a violation of ethical rules. The interrogators in this case were not the attorneys representing the Government in habeas litigation; rather; they were agents conducting an investigation. There is no evidence that Government attorneys controlled or guided interrogations of Al-Adahi. Consequently, there were no ethical violations. See United States v. Lemonakis, 485 F.2d 941, 956 (D.C. Cir. 1973); Sutton, 801 F.2d at 1366.
    In the end, the detainee's statements did the government no good. In general, Judge Kessler found no inculpatory statements proving AQ membership and a number of exculpatory statements, which she accepted.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Schmedlap View Post
    The question as to what type of trial to give to foreign combatants who are held prisoner begs the question of whether they should be given one at all. Is anyone aware of an explanation for why the detainees should be afforded a trial?

    Most arguments seem to assume that a trial should occur and then embark upon a debate over what type of trial and how to conduct it. But I have never seen a justification for why we should hold a trial. I don't understand why non-US citizens who were taken prisoner on a battlefield, during armed conflict, and held prisoner outside of our borders, should have protections in the US Constitution bestowed upon them. Rather than addressing this question, we are subjected to accusations of torture, mistreatment, and denial of due process (again, without clarifying whether the detainees are owed any due process).

    In the quote that begins this thread, there is a mention of undermining the rule of law. It seems that undermining the rule of law in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan was a good thing. Laws against shaving beards and flying kites don't seem all that virtuous to begin with. If the implication is that rule of law could be undermined in the US, then I don't see how that is possible, so long as the individuals are non-US citizens, not in the US, and captured on a battlefield during time of war.
    To Schmedlap:

    It is not the US Constitution that is the basis of providing the Taliban with a trial. It is the International Humanitarian Law & Law of Armed Conflict, which are both international customary laws that all countries follow. Even if the terrorist do not, civilized nations must. Because the Afghanistan government is a sovereign nation, the conflict they are fighting with the Taliban falls under Common Article 3 of Geneva. Terrorism, insurgency, rebels, they are nothing new and the laws have applied.

    The international issue with how the US handled "terrorist" was because they created the "War on Terror" which is a war without a State and then categorized the terrorist or Taliban as a third category outside of the law's categories of combatants and noncombatants. Even if the US says that the Laws of Armed Conflict under Geneva do not apply, there are still the International Humanitarian Laws which state that all humans have rights to ask why they are being held by any government. There is more to it than that and the way it is written basically they are stating that humans have a right to a trial. I don't think they explicitly use the word "trial" but based on the rights, that is what it amounts to. My source:

    Solis, Gary, D., The Law of Armed Conflict/International Humanitarian Law, 2010

  17. #17
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    Default The first problem with ...

    the Schmedlap and Yvonne posts is that no one is defining what they mean by "trial". More likely than not Schmedlap is questioning whether a detainee (call him a Gitmo detainee for clarity) has a right (from any source) to a criminal trial before a US military commission or a US Federal court. He can confirm or deny that.

    The pages of posts in this thread (going back to 2008) report all of the relevant opinions re: detainees by SCOTUS, DC Circuit and DC District. No opinion having present precedential value has held that a detainee has a right to be tried as a criminal either before a military commision or a Federal court. All legislation and executive orders have been to the contrary.

    What detainees do have is a right to contest their detainment via a merits hearing before an impartial magistrate. The two avenues of contest are by claiming either EPW status under GC III or civilian status (without being a security risk) under GC IV. In practice, the habeas petitions have claimed non-participation in or non-material support of AQ, Taliban or associated groups (as required by the 2003 AUMF) - that is, reduced to its salient point, the basic argument is that "I was a civilian who was not a threat under GC IV." No Gitmo detainee has claimed EPW status in the DC habeas proceedings - no surprise because that dog doesn't leave the kennel for the hunt.

    With respect to Common Article 3, it does provide rules re: the treatment of detainees taken in an armed conflict not of an international character. Obviously, CA 3 contemplates detention - and so have all US courts (SCOTUS, DC Circuit and DC District). To those courts, the 2001 AUMF is the triggering mechanism for Common Article 3 (and other informative rules accepted by the US under the Laws of War, aka LOAC and aka International Humanitarian Law):

    Art 3. In the case of armed conflict not of an international character occurring in the territory of one of the High Contracting Parties, each Party to the conflict shall be bound to apply, as a minimum, the following provisions:

    (1) Persons taking no active part in the hostilities, including members of armed forces who have laid down their arms and those placed hors de combat by sickness, wounds, detention, or any other cause, shall in all circumstances be treated humanely, without any adverse distinction founded on race, colour, religion or faith, sex, birth or wealth, or any other similar criteria. To this end the following acts are and shall remain prohibited at any time and in any place whatsoever with respect to the above-mentioned persons:

    (a) violence to life and person, in particular murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture;

    (b) taking of hostages;

    (c) outrages upon personal dignity, in particular, humiliating and degrading treatment;

    (d) the passing of sentences and the carrying out of executions without previous judgment pronounced by a regularly constituted court affording all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples.
    From the associated commentary on Common Article 3:

    Sentences and executions without previous trial are by definition open to error. "Summary justice" may be effective on account of [p.40] the fear it arouses, but it adds too many innocent victims to all the other innocent victims of the conflict. All civilized nations surround the administration of justice with safeguards aimed at eliminating the possibility of judicial errors. The Convention has rightly proclaimed that it is essential to do this even in time of war.

    We must be very clear about one point; it is only "summary" justice which it is intended to prohibit. No sort of immunity is given to anyone under this provision. There is nothing in it to prevent a person presumed to be guilty from being arrested and so placed in a position where he can do no further harm; and it leaves intact the right of the State to prosecute, sentence and punish according to the law.

    As can be seen, Article 3 does not protect an insurgent who falls into the hands of the opposing side from prosecution in accordance with the law, even if he has committed no crime except that of carrying arms and fighting loyally. In such a case, however, once the fighting reaches a certain magnitude and the insurgent armed forces meet the criteria specified in Article 4. A.(2), the spirit of Article 3 certainly requires that members of the insurgent forces should not be treated as common criminals.
    "Detention" is not an "execution", nor is it a "sentence" - that is the lesson learned from three years of habeas decisions. The law from those cases (20+ pages in this thread) establish that, on legal issues, the far out position held by such as John Yoo has gone done in flames. The substantive legal positions on detainment itself, advanced by attorneys for the detainees, have also gone down in flames. The habeas cases that have been won have been won on the basis of the lack of facts presented by the DoJ and DoD, and/or on evidentiary exclusionary rules.

    Citing Gary's textbook might be a winner in his classroom. It carries no more weight here than my opinions, or those of Andy Worthington, have - based on reference to and discussion of the original sources that are applicable,

    Regards

    Mike
    Last edited by jmm99; 10-05-2010 at 04:41 AM.

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    Default I don't remember this part in law school...

    Even if the US says that the Laws of Armed Conflict under Geneva do not apply, there are still the International Humanitarian Laws which state that all humans have rights to ask why they are being held by any government. There is more to it than that and the way it is written basically they are stating that humans have a right to a trial.

    Well, I guess I missed where international bodies can unilaterally bind US courts. Guess I'll have to change my presentation I just did where I mentioned Scalia's pithy view of international law in our courts.

    I do not use foreign law in the interpretation of the United States Constitution. . . . But apart from that, if you talk about using it [in regard to] constitutional law, you know, you talk about it’s nice to know that, you know, that we’re on the right track, that we have a same moral and legal framework as the rest of the world. But we don’t have the same moral and legal framework as the rest of the world, and never have. If you told the framers of the Constitution that we’re after is to, you know, do something that will be just like Europe, they would have been appalled. And if you read the Federalist Papers, it’s full of, you know, statements that make very clear they didn’t have a whole lot of respect for many of the rules in European countries.

    But of course even under Breyer, until our courts say so, it ain't the law, at least in this country.

    http://blogs.wsj.com/law/2010/04/02/...al-law-debate/

  19. #19
    Former Member George L. Singleton's Avatar
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    Default Excellent war on terrorism legal discussions/opinions

    David:

    This in my humble view is one of your best posts yet. I hope others will take the time to read over the click on postings.

    Myself, I find law professor Allen S. Weiner, topic HAMDAN, TERROR, WAR, to be absurd. He attacks the current sitting US Supreme Courts series of decisions in recent years, since 911 as wrong, and only "he" a mere law professor is "right."

    It is useful of course academically to have all points of view but we operate our US legal system based on legal precedents, as the pending confirmation hearings on Judge Sotomeyer demonstrates...not based on some crack pot indivudual, singular professors views of what the law is or is not or ought to be "in his singular opinion."

    Keep up the excellent postings.

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    Default Palau Offers to Take Uighur Guantanamo Inmates

    Interesting find from Spiegel Online:

    Seventeen Guantanamo inmates of Uighur origin may soon be leaving Cuba for Palau after the remote Pacific island nation announced its willingness to take the detainees. The Uighurs, refused by Germany, will encounter "paradise" there, said one Palau representative.

    The tiny Pacific island nation of Palau has stepped in to help in the tricky question of where 17 Guantanamo inmates of Uighur origin are to go when the camp closes.
    Vir prudens non contra ventum mingit
    The greatest educational dogma is also its greatest fallacy: the belief that what must be learned can necessarily be taught. — Sydney J. Harris

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