Saturday, November 26

Likely Unintended Effect of Fighting for Rights for Terrorists

The International Red Cross, the UN, the EU, Amnesty International, the ACLU, and the American anti-war-left all contribute to making the detention of enemy combatants a no-win situation for the US Government.

These groups are demanding due process and rights for those that do not deserve them, other than documenting that they are enemy combatants or terrorists. They also act as mouthpieces to pass on propaganda and false claims of torture by the US. (as opposed to isolated cases of torture)

This 'harassment' by the rights groups might actually create a situation where the US will simply prefer to neutralize terror suspects, given an option.

Since these organizations are making life difficult for the US to capture and hold terror suspects, it becomes much easier to just kill them off. For example:

A building is identified as a terrorist safe house. While it would make sense to capture those inside for questioning, despite a known danger that those inside, known to be armed will fight back, the Government might opt to instead have an air strike destroy the building. This will avoid the issue of dealing with the hassle of detaining 20-plus ‘insurgents’ for the opportunity to interrogate them. They will still leave behind a good deal of material in the rubble for intelligence to review.

Once the attack is over, no amount of bickering from the normal crowd will change anything. There cannot be any allegations of torture. No demands from lawyers to set them free. No concern that the persons neutralized will be able to escape or continue their war against the US if released, as has been proved by a number of released Gitmo detainees. there will also be no need to hunt around for secret CIA Prisons as there will not be a need for them.

The few High Profile detainees we can lockup in Federal Prison as illegal combatants. For the lesser terrorists that surrender, we can hopefully return them to their own countries to face justice. Many are wanted by their own Governments and face a much harsher fate than the US can dish out.

As a bonus, word will spread that the US can get them anywhere and that nowhere is safe.

Ever see the night vision video where a building is being watched? You know the one, where a couple of people walk out and look around and are then cut down by a hail of bullets before a cannon shot takes out the building. We need more of that.

Confusion lingers over Australian anti-terror laws - FT
CIA Holds Terror Suspects in Secret Prisons – Washington Post
Update: 5 December 2005
When a well placed bullet is better - Macsmind (Great Blog!)

4 comments:

Willio said...

Oh dear.

You probably want to moderate this.

I listened to your interview on RFF (good show) and you sounded pretty sensible. But I'm not sure you've really thought this through.

False claims of torture? I'm sorry - I must have misread you. There can't be many people left who believe the claims are false. We have the photos, we have the memos and we have the admissions. You can buy the "few bad apples" claim if you really have to, but noone else is buying it. That story's over - it happened. It's probably still happening. And it's not good.

I'm not sure the professional armed forces would like your suggestion that their motivation in taking prisoners (or not) is determined by the likelihood of their having to treat those prisoners according to the conventions of war. That's pretty damning. You should reconsider that.

What do you actually KNOW about the lads in gitmo? I suspect you know very little, other than rumour and innuendo, because you write off 'the left' (which I'm not a member of, IMHO) and 'the left' has the only media that will publish the comments and interviews of their lawyers, the red cross etc (if you look around, you'll find that these people ARE talking - but the mainstream media obviously isn't publishing any of it). You're asserting that they don't deserve rights ... why? Because they're terrorists? How do you know that? The initial contents of cuba was rounded up on a bounty scheme well before the US started bombing. They were turned in by people who didn't like them - for cash (estimates vary between US$1k and US$5k - which is several years' income for an afghani, either way). They collected a heck of a lot of taxi drivers, shopkeepers and people who owed money. The US sorted out a lot of grudges and bad debts in that little round-up. And that's what went to cuba.

I don't doubt that most of the real patsies have been released (hundreds of them so far, although the main determinant seems to be their parent country's willingness to take them back). And I'm sure that the people in cuba aren't a nice bunch of folks, But NONE of the 911 crowd were from afghanistan. So please explain: why don't these people deserve basic rights (an open trial, the right to question their accuser, right to not be tortured to extract a confession etc.)? Because they're not american? (Surely not!) How do you know what they've done? You can't know what they've done because they're being held incommunicado, their jailors have no obligation to show their evidence to the press (i.e you) and they're going to be tried in a closed court in front of a hand-picked judge before being taken out and/or shot. Not to put too fine a point on this - you're being had. And the people you so willingly deprive of "rights" are paying the price for it. If they've actually done anything, the US has more than enough ways to sentence them without keeping it all hush-hush. Drag it all out into the light and show us the goods, I say. Why does any of this need to be kept a secret? These guys have been behind bars for 4 years now - nothing they know can be sensitive. What (or who) is the secrecy protecting? Operational interests? Yeah, sure - and I'm the tooth fairy.

I have no problem with the government dealing with people who pose an actual threat, but lets just agree that they should try to get the right ones. The whole point of an open and fair trial is to prevent "the powers that be" from dumping on just anyone who comes along, which is pretty much what's happening now. And throwing up smoke and bluster about the bleeding-heart left doesn't change that - they're not the problem. Nixon himself would be astounded by the corruption and spin of the current white-house. They're obviously not working for you (check your bank account for trailing zeros if you aren't completely sure), but it's not unreasonable that we ask that they kill the smallest possible number of innocent people (american OR otherwise) while they stuff their pockets. Sadly, that depends on americans being clued in enough to rein them in, because noone else can.

Matt.

Willio said...

Hmm. On second reading, that was a bit harsh. But I stand by the basic content. I think there's a lot of smoke-and-mirrors going on at the moment about just who's being held and for what. And torture's just a cop-out. You can make anyone admit to anything if you do enough damage to them, which is why it's inadmissable. Or at least it should be. The suggestion that (a) it didn't happen or (b) in some cases it's ok to just relax the laws of logic (which, lets face it, is what a fair trial should be based on) just makes me see red. Particularly when the strings are being pulled by an administration that is so transparently corrupt (sorry to use the 'C' word - it's overly dramatic, but pretty close to spot-on in this case).

Fred Fry said...

"I listened to your interview on RFF (good show) and you sounded pretty sensible. But I'm not sure you've really thought this through."

Thanks. I actually deserve the criticism. The post was actually the second half of a much larger post. I have now posted the first part. I am a sensible person, even when it comes to fighting terrorism. I have had the benefit of spending time in the Middle East, which gives me much better understanding than many others about the people.

"False claims of torture? I'm sorry - I must have misread you."

They all claim torture. The al-Qaeda manual instructs them to claim it. Yes, there are some real cases. Look at Abu Graib. All those pictures are from one night. But the press would like you to think that that activity wnet on every night.

I would like to think that the US is not going to waste it's time with a goat farmer. There is no 'glory' that. These guys want to catch terrorists. Look at the Washington Post site and you'll see that most of these error captures have been released.

"I'm not sure the professional armed forces would like your suggestion that their motivation in taking prisoners (or not) is determined by the likelihood of their having to treat those prisoners according to the conventions of war. That's pretty damning. You should reconsider that."

I would expect the military to treat prisoners in accordance with the law, and suspect they get treated better than that. But why should they risk their lives capturing these guys when they won't play by the rules. One of the 93 WTC terrorists gouged out his guard's eye right in front of his lawyer in an attempt to escape. These people are dangerous and should be treated so.

"What do you actually KNOW about the lads in gitmo?" I have visited the cageprisoners.com site often checking names against any info they might have on their site.

"And that's what went to cuba."
Before that, they were in local camps and only those interesting enough went to Gitmo. Many have since been released.

"So please explain: why don't these people deserve basic rights (an open trial, the right to question their accuser, right to not be tortured to extract a confession etc.)? Because they're not american? (Surely not!) How do you know what they've done?" The US invaded Afghanistan. They did not lock up everybody. Just these guys. The information is available on who is still there. Who should be released who has not? (Other than the couple that the US wants to let go but nobody will accept.) That is the wonderful thing about not following the rules of war. One minute your in a crowd of people. The next you kill an enemy soldier and then back into the crowd. Why doesn't the crowd point the man out. They can only hide because others let them do it.

Putting them on trial is not always the answer either, especially when they do not respect the system. These things can drag out for years. This is not an excuse not to do it, but why does every explanation as to why they were there have to do with attending a wedding?

"I have no problem with the government dealing with people who pose an actual threat, but lets just agree that they should try to get the right ones."
I fully agree. The problem is figuring out who is and who is not a threat. Look at the recent arrests in Australia. Those guys technically have done nothing, yet.

"they kill the smallest possible number of innocent people"
Actually the left has harped this 100,000 civilian deaths to the point that the real 'low' number doesn't make the news.

Not for anything, but the US would be able to do a much better job of fighting terror if other countries would help a bit more.

Hey, Thanks for the comments! Much appreciated!

The_Bos'un said...

The Clinton administration tried to deal with terrorism as a criminal offense. The nature of terrorism complicated. It is a matter of wills and is not a behavior or social issue. Terrorists act out of idealogy.

We are in the middle of a serious asynetric war with people who want to kill off western democracy and replace it with totaliarian caliphate state.

We have to write to book on how to deal with these new enemies of western civilization. The rules are changing and we have to adapt to this new warfare. We cannot think of terrorists as criminals and rely on outdated laws.

Hey, these guys will cut your head off as soon as look at you. I am courious how these four liberal peacenixs are going to be treated and if we are going to see some fanatics yelling al akbar and cut off thier heads with dull knives.

Prisoners of thiers, well we have to try to prevent future 9/11s or worst. Imagine a low grade nuclear explosion in LA or New York or at the SuperBowl. If we an prevent it from happening we should be able to use every means available.