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Thread: Inside President Obama's meeting with human rights groups

  1. #16
    Elite Member witchcurlgirl's Avatar
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    The groups at the above meeting have responded:

    Civil Liberties, Human Rights Groups Not Assuaged By Obama's Speech

    Despite strong statements on the Constitution and national identity, President Obama did little to assuage the concerns of human rights and civil liberties groups when he laid out his national security doctrine at the National Archives today. Their primary concern is that Obama has solidified a precedent of preventive detentions without trial; one went so far as to say he betrayed the Constitution.

    "We welcome President Obama's stated commitment to the Constitution, the rule of law and the unequivocal rejection of torture. But unlike the president, we believe that continuing with the failed military commissions and creating a new system of indefinite detention without charge is inconsistent with the values that he expressed so eloquently at the National Archives today," ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero said, in a press release sent out after the speech.

    Romero has previously blasted the administration for its decision to use tribunals--a decision he says was made without the proper input. The ACLU and others have also criticized Obama's opposition to the release of detainee-abuse photos and the Department of Justice's invocation of the state secrets privilege--both of which Obama sought to explain in his speech today.

    "He wraps himself in the Constitution and then, in our view, proceeds to undermine it," Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) President Michael Ratner said. Obama spoke this morning in the Rotunda for the Charters of Freedom at the National Archives, where the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence are displayed.

    "If his legacy is preventive detention and military commissions, that's a real step backwards," Ratner said. "It would be a legacy for the future that I think will cause untold damage to constitutional rights in this country...it's very sad to me."

    Obama presented military commissions--to be used in some detainee cases, but not all--as "an appropriate venue for trying detainees for violations of the laws of war" that "have a history in the United States dating back to George Washington and the Revolutionary War."

    Ratner disagrees. "That's a-historical. It's not the use they traditionally had--it's modifying the rules of evidence, and there's only one reason they're using it: it's easier to convict people," Ratner said. Two of Ratner's big problems with tribunals are that they admit hearsay evidence coerced testimony--though not through harsh or degrading interrogation methods, as Obama pointed out today.

    That concern about preventive detentions is shared by Human Rights Watch, another group that has urged the Obama administration on detentions, tribunals, and detainee rights.

    The group appreciated Obama's support for human rights and the judicial system for detainees, it said in a press release sent out after the speech. But Obama "undermines that commitment by proposing a system of prolonged detention without trial for some terrorism suspects," the group said.

    "President Obama is absolutely right to emphasize that ignoring our values undermines rather than enhances America's security," Executive Director Kenneth Roth said. "But allowing detention without trial creates a dangerous loophole in our justice system that mimics the Bush administration's abusive approach to fighting terrorism.

    "It's not good enough to prosecute a few low-level officials while ruling out a truth commission to investigate senior officials who planned and authorized the policy of abuse and torture."

    In his speech, Obama said the government will prosecute Guantanamo detainees in U.S. courts if they have broken U.S. criminal laws. Other detainees will face military commissions, and others will be transferred to other countries, if they can be done so safely, Obama said.



    Civil Liberties, Human Rights Groups Not Assuaged By Obama's Speech - The Atlantic Politics Channel
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  2. #17
    Elite Member Cali's Avatar
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    Look, for all the reasons I've outlined in various posts on GR in the politics section, this is a really problematic issue.

    I'll admit that I personally feel that the ACLU and other human right organizations are missing the forest for the trees and I am frustrated with them. They aren't looking at this issue with the history of war, and they aren't looking at this issue in terms of the changing definition of war. And no, I"m not influenced by media articles on my stance- rather, I'm speaking as a person who has literally read the Uniform Code of Military Justice, who has read the Third Article of the Geneva Convention, and who has read the actual brief issued by US District Judge John Bates. I was troubled enough by the articles that appeared in the NY Times and Wash Post and I sought out the actual articles and judgements.

    Having read them, I can very confidentially assert that the media is honing on the most explosive points of those statements. Really, what was so landmark about Judge Bates' decision was that he LIMITED the federal gov's ability to apply material support to detainees. It wasn't that he left the door open to indefinte detention.

    And bear in mind, I'm as blue as they come, a total life-long, educated Democrat.

    And I have to say, the NY Times and the ACLU aren't looking at the bigger picture.

    I fully recognize that the examples in Obama's speech today may have exceptions and details that change the whole circumstance. But as it stands now, the Geneva Convetions don't provide a framework or a scope of reference to judge wars that are initiated by an organization that is independant of any nation and based on attacking the US. We need an updated Geneva Convetion and I fully belive that the Obama Admin is working to create such a framework. Today's terrorists don't belong to a single nation and the Geneva Convention doesn't address that, aside from Article 3, which is comparitively much more brief than any other parts of the Conventions.

    The Obama Administration is on the right track in terms of creating a new legal system in the US to fairly deal with these individuals, that includes immense oversight.

    And yes, I wrote all of that myself, not pulling from any other articles.

    I dont get why more people in the media and abroad don't understand that times have changed. it is no longer a case of Germany vs. the US, and as such we need new laws and approaches to dealing with this issue. And that is exactly what the Obama Admin is seeking to address.

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    I might feel better when there's concrete action with enough oversight to choke a horse.

    Right now, as with a lot of things, it's all talk or no talk at all.
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    Elite Member Cali's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grimmlok View Post
    I might feel better when there's concrete action with enough oversight to choke a horse.

    Right now, as with a lot of things, it's all talk or no talk at all.
    Right- if the Obama Admin backs off on their claims of Congressional oversight or asserts that the Executive branch should have unlimited ability, a la the Bush admin, to make those judgments, then I'm all for fighting and criticizing.

    But at this point, they are just beginning to formulate a plan to deal with these issues and they've promised that it will include immense oversight. And I'm comfortable with that.

    When / if they reneg on that portion, then we have a problem.

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    You'll pardon me if i have zero confidence.
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Grimmlok View Post
    You'll pardon me if i have zero confidence.
    I totally understand. Bush and Clinton were /are as corrupt as they come- never mind previous Presidents. I'm really not ranting from a political place- just from a common sense place- everything I've read that has educated me on this issue is freely available to anyone who seeks it out. Go ahead, seek it out, read it for yourself and make a judgment. This is mine.

    Our current legal framework doesn't adequately address the current issues. We need an update.

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    Friday May 22, 2009 09:23 EDT
    Facts and myths about Obama's preventive detention proposal

    In the wake of Obama's speech yesterday, there are vast numbers of new converts who now support indefinite "preventive detention." It thus seems constructive to have as dispassionate and fact-based discussion as possible of the implications of "preventive detention" and Obama's related detention proposals (military commissions). I'll have a podcast discussion on this topic a little bit later today with the ACLU's Ben Wizner, which I'll add below, but until then, here are some facts and other points worth noting:

    (1) What does "preventive detention" allow?
    It's important to be clear about what "preventive detention" authorizes. It does not merely allow the U.S. Government to imprison people alleged to have committed Terrorist acts yet who are unable to be convicted in a civilian court proceeding. That class is merely a subset, perhaps a small subset, of who the Government can detain. Far more significant, "preventive detention" allows indefinite imprisonment not based on proven crimes or past violations of law, but of those deemed generally "dangerous" by the Government for various reasons (such as, as Obama put it yesterday, they "expressed their allegiance to Osama bin Laden" or "otherwise made it clear that they want to kill Americans"). That's what "preventive" means: imprisoning people because the Government claims they are likely to engage in violent acts in the future because they are alleged to be "combatants."

    Once known, the details of the proposal could -- and likely will -- make this even more extreme by extending the "preventive detention" power beyond a handful of Guantanamo detainees to anyone, anywhere in the world, alleged to be a "combatant." After all, once you accept the rationale on which this proposal is based -- namely, that the U.S. Government must, in order to keep us safe, preventively detain "dangerous" people even when they can't prove they violated any laws -- there's no coherent reason whatsoever to limit that power to people already at Guantanamo, as opposed to indefinitely imprisoning with no trials all allegedly "dangerous" combatants, whether located in Pakistan, Thailand, Indonesia, Western countries and even the U.S.

    (2)
    Are defenders of Obama's proposals being consistent?
    During the Bush years, it was common for Democrats to try to convince conservatives to oppose Bush's executive power expansions by asking them: "Do you really want these powers to be exercised by Hillary Clinton or some liberal President?"

    Following that logic, for any Democrat/progressive/liberal/Obama supporter who wants to defend Obama's proposal of "preventive detention," shouldn't you first ask yourself three simple questions:
    (a) what would I have said if George Bush and Dick Cheney advocated a law vesting them with the power to preventively imprison people indefinitely and with no charges?;

    (b) when Bush and Cheney did preventively imprison large numbers of people, was I in favor of that or did I oppose it, and when right-wing groups such as Heritage Foundation were alone in urging a preventive detention law in 2004, did I support them?; and

    (c) even if I'm comfortable with Obama having this new power because I trust him not to abuse it, am I comfortable with future Presidents -- including Republicans -- having the power of indefinite "preventive detention"?
    (3) Questions for defenders of Obama's proposal:
    There are many claims being made by defenders of Obama's proposals which seem quite contradictory and/or without any apparent basis, and I've been searching for a defender of those proposals to address these questions:
    Bush supporters have long claimed -- and many Obama supporters are now insisting as well -- that there are hard-core terrorists who cannot be convicted in our civilian courts. For anyone making that claim, what is the basis for believing that? In the Bush era, the Government has repeatedly been able to convict alleged Al Qaeda and Taliban members in civilian courts, including several (Ali al-Marri, Jose Padilla, John Walker Lindh) who were tortured and others (Zacharais Moussaoui, Padilla) where evidence against them was obtained by extreme coercion. What convinced you to believe that genuine terrorists can't be convicted in our justice system?

    For those asserting that there are dangerous people who have not yet been given any trial and who Obama can't possibly release, how do you know they are "dangerous" if they haven't been tried? Is the Government's accusation enough for you to assume it's true?

    Above all: for those justifying Obama's use of military commissions by arguing that some terrorists can't be convicted in civilian courts because the evidence against them is "tainted" because it was obtained by Bush's torture, Obama himself claimed just yesterday that his military commissions also won't allow such evidence ("We will no longer permit the use of evidence -- as evidence statements that have been obtained using cruel, inhuman, or degrading interrogation methods"). How does our civilian court's refusal to consider evidence obtained by torture demonstrate the need for Obama's military commissions if, as Obama himself claims, Obama's military commissions also won't consider evidence obtained by torture?

    Finally, don't virtually all progressives and Democrats argue that torture produces unreliable evidence? If it's really true (as Obama defenders claim) that the evidence we have against these detainees was obtained by torture and is therefore inadmissible in real courts, do you really think such unreliable evidence -- evidence we obtained by torture -- should be the basis for concluding that someone is so "dangerous" that they belong in prison indefinitely with no trial? If you don't trust evidence obtained by torture, why do you trust it to justify holding someone forever, with no trial, as "dangerous"?

    (4) Do other countries have indefinite preventive detention?
    Obama yesterday suggested that other countries have turned to "preventive detention" and that his proposal therefore isn't radical ("other countries have grappled with this question; now, so must we"). Is that true?

    In June of last year, there was a tumultuous political debate in Britain that sheds ample light on this question. In the era of IRA bombings, the British Parliament passed a law allowing the Government to preventively detain terrorist suspects for 14 days -- and then either have to charge them or release them. In 2006, Prime Minister Tony Blair -- citing the London subway attacks and the need to "intervene early before a terrorist cell has the opportunity to achieve its goals" -- wanted to increase the preventive detention period to 90 days, but MPs from his own party and across the political spectrum overwhelmingly opposed this, and ultimately increased it only to 28 days.

    In June of last year, Prime Minister Gordon Brown sought an expansion of this preventive detention authority to 42 days -- a mere two weeks more. Reacting to that extremely modest increase, a major political rebellion erupted, with large numbers of Brown's own Labour Party joining with Tories to vehemently oppose it as a major threat to liberty. Ultimately, Brown's 42-day scheme barely passed the House of Commons. As former Prime Minister John Major put it in opposing the expansion to 42 days:
    It is hard to justify: pre-charge detention in Canada is 24 hours; South Africa, Germany, New Zealand and America 48 hours; Russia 5 days; and Turkey 7 days.
    By rather stark and extreme contrast, Obama is seeking preventive detention powers that are indefinite -- meaning without any end, potentially permanent. There's no time limit on the "preventive detention." Compare that power to the proposal that caused such a political storm in Britain and what these other governments are empowered to do. The suggestion that indefinite preventive detention without charges is some sort of common or traditional scheme is clearly false.

    (5) Is this comparable to traditional POW detentions?
    When Bush supporters used to justify Bush/Cheney detention policies by arguing that it's normal for "Prisoners of War" to be held without trials, that argument was deeply misleading. And it's no less misleading when made now by Obama supporters. That comparison is patently inappropriate for two reasons: (a) the circumstances of the apprehension, and (b) the fact that, by all accounts, this "war" will not be over for decades, if ever, which means -- unlike for traditional POWs, who are released once the war is over -- these prisoners are going to be in a cage not for a few years, but for decades, if not life.

    Traditional "POWs" are ones picked up during an actual military battle, on a real battlefield, wearing a uniform, while engaged in fighting. The potential for error and abuse in deciding who was a "combatant" was thus minimal. By contrast, many of the people we accuse in the "war on terror" of being "combatants" aren't anywhere near a "battlefield," aren't part of any army, aren't wearing any uniforms, etc. Instead, many of them are picked up from their homes, at work, off the streets. In most cases, then, we thus have little more than the say-so of the U.S. Government that they are guilty, which is why actual judicial proceedings before imprisoning them is so much more vital than in the standard POW situation.

    Anyone who doubts that should just look at how many Guantanamo detainees were accused of being "the worst of the worst" yet ended up being released because they did absolutely nothing wrong. Can anyone point to any traditional POW situation where so many people were falsely accused and where the risk of false accusations was so high? For obvious reasons, this is not and has never been a traditional POW detention scheme.

    During the Bush era, that was a standard argument among Democrats, so why should that change now? Here is what Anne-Marie Slaughter -- now Obama's Director of Policy Planning for the State Department -- said about Bush's "POW" comparison on Fox News in, November 21, 2001:
    Military commissions have been around since the Revolutionary War. But they've always been used to try spies that we find behind enemy lines. It's normally a situation, you're on the battlefield, you find an enemy spy behind your lines. You can't ship them to national court, so you provide a kind of rough battlefield justice in a commission. You give them the best process you can, and then you execute the sentence on the spot, which generally means executing the defendant.

    That's not this situation. It's not remotely like it.
    As for duration, the U.S. government has repeatedly said that this "war" is so different from standard wars because it will last for decades, if not generations. Obama himself yesterday said that "unlike the Civil War or World War II, we can't count on a surrender ceremony to bring this journey to an end" and that we'll still be fighting this "war" "a year from now, five years from now, and -- in all probability -- 10 years from now." No rational person can compare POW detentions of a finite and usually short (2-5 years) duration to decades or life in a cage. That's why, yesterday, Law Professor Diane Marie Amann, in The New York Times, said this:
    [Obama] signaled a plan by which [Guantanamo detainees] — and perhaps other detainees yet to be arrested? — could remain in custody forever without charge. There is no precedent in the American legal tradition for this kind of preventive detention. That is not quite right: precedents do exist, among them the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798 and the Japanese internment of the 1940s, but they are widely seen as low points in America’s history under the Constitution.
    There are many things that can be said about indefinitely imprisoning people with no charges who were not captured on any battlefield, but the claim that this is some sort of standard or well-established practice in American history is patently false.

    (6) Is it "due process" when the Government can guarantee it always wins?
    If you really think about the argument Obama made yesterday -- when he described the five categories of detainees and the procedures to which each will be subjected -- it becomes manifest just how profound a violation of Western conceptions of justice this is. What Obama is saying is this: we'll give real trials only to those detainees we know in advance we will convict. For those we don't think we can convict in a real court, we'll get convictions in the military commissions I'm creating. For those we can't convict even in my military commissions, we'll just imprison them anyway with no charges ("preventively detain" them).

    Giving trials to people only when you know for sure, in advance, that you'll get convictions is not due process. Those are called "show trials." In a healthy system of justice, the Government gives everyoneit wants to imprison a trial and then imprisons only those whom it can convict. The process is constant (trials), and the outcome varies (convictions or acquittals).

    Obama is saying the opposite: in his scheme, it is the outcome that is constant (everyone ends up imprisoned), while the process varies and is determined by the Government (trials for some; military commissions for others; indefinite detention for the rest). The Government picks and chooses which process you get in order to ensure that it always wins. A more warped "system of justice" is hard to imagine.

    (7) Can we "be safe" by locking up all the Terrorists with no charges?
    Obama stressed yesterday that the "preventive detention" system should be created only through an act of Congress with "a process of periodic review, so that any prolonged detention is carefully evaluated and justified." That's certainly better than what Bush did: namely, preventively detain people with no oversight and no Congressional authorization -- in violation of the law. But as we learned with the Military Commissions Act of 2006 and the Protect America Act of 2007, the mere fact that Congress approves of a radical policy may mean that it is no longer lawless but it doesn't make it justified. As Professor Amann put it: "no amount of procedures can justify deprivations that, because of their very nature violate the Constitution’s core guarantee of liberty." Dan Froomkin said that no matter how many procedures are created, that's "a dangerously extreme policy proposal."

    Regarding Obama's "process" justification -- and regarding Obama's primary argument that we need to preventively detain allegedly dangerous people in order to keep us safe -- Digby said it best:
    We are still in a "war" against a method of violence, which means there is no possible end and which means that the government can capture and imprison anyone they determine to be "the enemy" forever. The only thing that will change is where the prisoners are held and few little procedural tweaks to make it less capricious. (It's nice that some sort of official committee will meet once in a while to decide if the war is over or if the prisoner is finally too old to still be a "danger to Americans.")

    There seems to be some misunderstanding about Guantanamo. Somehow people have gotten it into their heads is that it is nothing more than a symbol, which can be dealt with simply by closing the prison. That's just not true. Guantanamo is a symbol, true, but it's a symbol of a lawless, unconstitutional detention and interrogation system. Changing the venue doesn't solve the problem.

    I know it's a mess, but the fact is that this isn't really that difficult, except in the usual beltway kabuki political sense. There are literally tens of thousands of potential terrorists all over the world who could theoretically harm America. We cannot protect ourselves from that possibility by keeping the handful we have in custody locked up forever, whether in Guantanamo or some Super Max prison in the US. It's patently absurd to obsess over these guys like it makes us even the slightest bit safer to have them under indefinite lock and key so they "can't kill Americans."

    The mere fact that we are doing this makes us less safe because the complete lack of faith we show in our constitution and our justice systems is what fuels the idea that this country is weak and easily terrified. There is no such thing as a terrorist suspect who is too dangerous to be set free. They are a dime a dozen, they are all over the world and for every one we lock up there will be three to take his place. There is not some finite number of terrorists we can kill or capture and then the "war" will be over and the babies will always be safe. This whole concept is nonsensical.
    As I said yesterday, there were some positive aspects to Obama's speech. His resolve to close Guantanamo in the face of all the fear-mongering, like his release of the OLC memos, is commendable. But the fact that a Democratic President who ran on a platform of restoring America's standing and returning to our core principles is now advocating the creation of a new system of indefinite preventive detention -- something that is now sure to become a standard view of Democratic politicians and hordes of Obama supporters -- is by far the most consequential event yet in the formation of Obama's civil liberties policies.

    UPDATE: Here's what White House Counsel Greg Craig told The New Yorker's Jane Mayer in February:
    "It’s possible but hard to imagine Barack Obama as the first President of the United States to introduce a preventive-detention law," Craig said. "Our presumption is that there is no need to create a whole new system. Our system is very capable."
    "The first President of the United States to introduce a preventive-detention law" is how Obama's own White House Counsel described him. Technically speaking, that is a form of change, but probably not the type that many Obama voters expected.

    UPDATE II: Ben Wizner of the ACLU's National Security Project is the lead lawyer in the Jeppesen case, which resulted in the recent rejection by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals of the Bush/Obama state secrets argument, and also co-wrote (along with the ACLU's Jameel Jaffer) a superb article in Salon in December making the case against preventive detention. I spoke with him this morning for roughly 20 minutes regarding the detention policies proposed by Obama in yesterday's speech. It can be heard by clicking PLAY on the recorder below. A transcript will be posted shortly.


    UPDATE III: Rachel Maddow was superb last night -- truly superb -- on the topic of Obama's preventive detention proposal:
    [youtube]1uuWVHT1WUY[/youtube]
    UPDATE IV: The New Yorker's Amy Davidson compares Obama's detention proposal to the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II (as did Professor Amann, quoted above). Hilzoy, of The Washington Monthly, writes: "If we don't have enough evidence to charge someone with a crime, we don't have enough evidence to hold them. Period" and "the power to detain people without filing criminal charges against them is a dictatorial power." Salon's Joan Walsh quotes the Center for Constitutional Rights' Vincent Warren as saying: "They’re creating, essentially, an American Gulag." The Philadelphia Inquirer's Will Bunch says of Obama's proposal: "What he's proposing is against one of this country's core principles" and "this is why people need to keep the pressure on Obama -- even those inclined to view his presidency favorably."

    UPDATE V: The Atlantic's Marc Ambinder -- who is as close to the Obama White House as any journalist around -- makes an important point about Obama that I really wish more of his supporters would appreciate:
    [Obama] was blunt [in his meeting with civil libertiarians]; the [military commissions] are a fait accompli, so the civil libertarians can either help Congress and the White House figure out the best way to protect the rights of the accused within the framework of that decision, or they can remain on the outside, as agitators. That's not meant to be pejorative; whereas the White House does not give a scintilla of attention to its right-wing critics, it does read, and will read, everything Glenn Greenwald writes. Obama, according to an administration official, finds this outside pressure healthy and useful.
    Ambinder doesn't mean me personally or exclusively; he means people who are criticizing Obama not in order to harm him politically, but in order to pressure him to do better. It's not just the right, but the duty, of citizens to pressure and criticize political leaders when they adopt policies that one finds objectionable or destructive. Criticism of this sort is a vital check on political leaders -- a key way to impose accountability -- and Obama himself has said as much many times before.

    It has nothing to do with personalities or allegiances. It doesn't matter if one "likes" or "trusts" Obama or thinks he's a good or bad person. That's all irrelevant. The only thing that matters is whether one thinks that the actions he's undertaking are helpful or harmful. If they're harmful, one should criticize them. Where, as here, they're very harmful and dangerous, one should criticize them loudly. Obama himself, according to Ambinder, "finds this outside pressure healthy and useful." And it is. It's not only healthy and useful but absolutely vital.

    -- Glenn Greenwald
    Facts and myths about Obama's preventive detention proposal - Glenn Greenwald - Salon.com

  8. #23
    Elite Member Cali's Avatar
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    ^^ Uhg. Do you really want me to do a Grimm-style point-by-point attack of his story? 'Cause I will, but only if you all will read it.

    Lately no one responds to my rebuttals on this issue (aside from Grimm last night which I thank you and I think we had a great discussion). I'm not going to take the time to do it if its going to be ignored and not foster convo / debate.

    ETA: Straight out of the gate, 'preventive detention' is a construct that (i believe) Rachel Maddow invented. Love her, but it is neither a legal term nor something that came out of Obama's speech. I'll re-read it though, just to be sure.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cali View Post
    That's the problem- they really can't be prosecuted at this time because there literally aren't laws on the books for those things. In the Uniform Code of Military Justice, there are only 2 applicable crimes: Terrorism and Providing Material Support for Terrorists. They could potentially be prosecuted for Conspiracy but it might be a stretch.

    The Geneva Convention and international law of war allows it during time of war.

    The difference is that we are American citizens and have a justice system that we can be tried through. That's not entirely true here- some of the terrorists can be tried in Federal court, some in the military courts.

    But that 5th category is the trickiest because we literally do not have a justice system or laws in place to deal with them. We are likely going to have to create a new system from the ground up.
    Are you really going to be comfortable with changing the laws so that they are in direct contravention to the rule of habeus corpus, as well as in likely violation of the 5th, 6th, 8th and 9th Amendments. This is not good, right?


    ETA: Straight out of the gate, 'preventive detention' is a construct that (i believe) Rachel Maddow invented. Love her, but it is neither a legal term nor something that came out of Obama's speech. I'll re-read it though, just to be sure.


    What legal term would you use for the "principle" Obama was talking about in this statement from his speech:

    "...there may be a number of people who cannot be prosecuted for past crimes, but who nonetheless pose a threat to the security of the United States... I am not going to release individuals who endanger the American people."

    I'm sorry, but I simply will not take Obama's word that people who are being detained with no legal recourse are dangerous.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sasha View Post
    Are you really going to be comfortable with changing the laws so that they are in direct contravention to the rule of habeus corpus, as well as in likely violation of the 5th, 6th, 8th and 9th Amendments. This is not good, right?
    In all likelihood, this wouldn't involve changing any laws or Amendments, and particularly not in the US federal justice system. It would likely be changes to the Uniform Code of Military Justice, and/or the Manual for Military Commissions. And those changes would have zero affect on you, an American citizen, unless you are in the military, or suddenly become a terrorist.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sasha View Post
    What legal term would you use for the "principle" Obama was talking about in this statement from his speech:

    "...there may be a number of people who cannot be prosecuted for past crimes, but who nonetheless pose a threat to the security of the United States... I am not going to release individuals who endanger the American people."
    The Geneva Convention calls them people who are hors de combat, or 'out of the fight.' In other cases, they are simply prisoners of war. My point is that this idea that ''preventive detention' isn't a legal term- therefore it doesn't 'allow' anything because it quite simply DOES NOT EXIST. It was seemingly invented by Rachel Maddow.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sasha View Post
    I'm sorry, but I simply will not take Obama's word that people who are being detained with no legal recourse are dangerous.
    Have you not read a single word of any of my posts on this issue? They DO have legal recourse, and they WILL have it.

    At the most basic level, Article 3 of the Geneva Convention affords that these detainees:
    '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.
    (2) The wounded and sick shall be collected and cared for.
    An impartial humanitarian body, such as the International Committee of the Red Cross, may offer its services to the Parties to the conflict.'
    International Humanitarian Law - Third 1949 Geneva Convention

  11. #26
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    Have you not read a single word of any of my posts on this issue?

    Sorry, I didn't realize you were the most authoratative voice on this issue.

    ''preventive detention' isn't a legal term- therefore it doesn't 'allow' anything because it quite simply DOES NOT EXIST. It was seemingly invented by Rachel Maddow.
    It was not invented out of whole cloth, they are applying the term to Obama's own statements on the issue. Besides, ""The first President of the United States to introduce a preventive-detention law" is how Obama's own White House Counsel described him""


    So I guess Rachel, Glenn, the ACLU and other human rights organizations are simply mistaken and what Obama is proposing is NOT in essence a 'preventive detention' program? In what way is it not? I guess all these people are also mistaken in believing such a concept is fundamentally un-American, un-Constitutional, and a violation of human rights? They are pissed off, and rightfully so, becuase the so-called WOT is a nebulous confabulation dreamed up in the fevered minds of genocidal neocons. It is not now nor has it ever been a proper 'war' in usually accepted sense of word. Are Military Commissions allowed to flout the Constitution?

    At the most basic level, Article 3 of the Geneva Convention affords that these detainees:

    Really? That is wonderful, but since these articles did not prevent '(a) violence to life and person, in particular murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture' I must confess I have little faith the gov't will suddenly begin faithfully adhering to the Geneva Conventions just because Obama rode in on white horse, and certainly not after the posture he has taken lately.

    And those changes would have zero affect on you, an American citizen, unless you are in the military, or suddenly become a terrorist.

    They affect me becuase I prefer to live in a law-abiding, humane country. They affect me because these issues inevitably become a slippery slope and you have to ask "What/who is next?" They affect me on a fundamentally human level when I think that the majority of the detainees may never have been combatants to begin with. Remember the Red Cross report that stated upwards of 90% of detainees of Abu Graib were completely innocent of any wrongdoing? They are are stuck in a hell not of their own making and presumed guilty.

  12. #27
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    I don't know how to say it anymore clearly than I already have:
    Quote Originally Posted by Cali View Post
    I'll admit that I personally feel that the ACLU and other human right organizations are missing the forest for the trees and I am frustrated with them. They aren't looking at this issue with the history of war, and they aren't looking at this issue in terms of the changing definition of war. And no, I"m not influenced by media articles on my stance- rather, I'm speaking as a person who has literally read the Uniform Code of Military Justice, who has read the Third Article of the Geneva Convention, and who has read the actual brief issued by US District Judge John Bates. I was troubled enough by the articles that appeared in the NY Times and Wash Post and I sought out the actual articles and judgements.

    Having read them, I can very confidentially assert that the media is honing on the most explosive points of those statements. Really, what was so landmark about Judge Bates' decision was that he LIMITED the federal gov's ability to apply material support to detainees. It wasn't that he left the door open to indefinte detention.

    And bear in mind, I'm as blue as they come, a total life-long, educated Democrat.

    And I have to say, the NY Times and the ACLU aren't looking at the bigger picture.

    I fully recognize that the examples in Obama's speech today may have exceptions and details that change the whole circumstance. But as it stands now, the Geneva Convetions don't provide a framework or a scope of reference to judge wars that are initiated by an organization that is independant of any nation and based on attacking the US. We need an updated Geneva Convetion and I fully belive that the Obama Admin is working to create such a framework. Today's terrorists don't belong to a single nation and the Geneva Convention doesn't address that, aside from Article 3, which is comparitively much more brief than any other parts of the Conventions.

    The Obama Administration is on the right track in terms of creating a new legal system in the US to fairly deal with these individuals, that includes immense oversight.

    And yes, I wrote all of that myself, not pulling from any other articles.

    I dont get why more people in the media and abroad don't understand that times have changed. it is no longer a case of Germany vs. the US, and as such we need new laws and approaches to dealing with this issue. And that is exactly what the Obama Admin is seeking to address.
    Quote Originally Posted by Sasha View Post
    Sorry, I didn't realize you were the most authoratative voice on this issue.
    I'm not, but I've been reading and learning about this extensively and I've posted extensively about it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sasha View Post
    It was not invented out of whole cloth, they are applying the term to Obama's own statements on the issue. Besides, ""The first President of the United States to introduce a preventive-detention law" is how Obama's own White House Counsel described him"
    The rest of that quote is important: "A good deal of policy research remains,” he said. “The door was not left open by accident. Obama wants the freedom to hear the recommendations of the most experienced and smartest people, on how to protect the American people while still respecting the rules of the road on liberty.He suggested that the Administration would prefer not to go in that direction."It’s possible but hard to imagine Barack Obama as the first President of the United States to introduce a preventive-detention law," Craig said. "Our presumption is that there is no need to create a whole new system. Our system is very capable."

    Quote Originally Posted by Sasha View Post
    So I guess Rachel, Glenn, the ACLU and other human rights organizations are simply mistaken and what Obama is proposing is NOT in essence a 'preventive detention' program?
    Yes, they are mistaken. They make it sound like Obama is going out and rounding people up just to hold them in jail forever. He's not. Lest we forget, these people were imprisoned by Bush and his cronies, and now Obama is in the unfortunate situation of having to find a legal way to remedy an illegal action. But what's done is done, and now we have to figure out a way to resolve it.

    Moreover, what Obama DID say is that 'whenever feasible, we will try those who have violated American criminal laws in federal courts -- courts provided for by the United States Constitution.' They are going to exhaust every avenue possible to bring these people to trial. If that isn't possible, then he is proposing changes of some sort, with an incredible amount of oversight to make decisions on what to do with these people.

    Like I said earlier, this isn't a new problem- we've had prisoners of war in every war in our history. We detained Nazi's so that they couldn't participate in the organization during war. Most of those people were released or re-settled once the war ended. But this war has no end and thats the problem. We are using antiquated war practices in a war that is never-ending. The current legal statutes and systems don't address the new and changing state of war.

    Are Military Commissions allowed to flout the Constitution?
    Though the military justice system is based on the US Constitution, it operates separately from our federal and state criminal systems.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sasha View Post
    At the most basic level, Article 3 of the Geneva Convention affords that these detainees:

    Really? That is wonderful, but since these articles did not prevent '(a) violence to life and person, in particular murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture' I must confess I have little faith the gov't will suddenly begin faithfully adhering to the Geneva Conventions just because Obama rode in on white horse, and certainly not after the posture he has taken lately.
    They didn't prevent it from happening because the Bush Admin held that the Geneva Conventions didn't apply when those practices were going on. That was wrong, and we know now that they DO apply. Obama had nothing to do with that initial judgement and since he's taken office, he's been very clear about stopping those practices. It is disingenuous and inaccurate to say that he will follow Bush's party line on this one.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sasha View Post
    They affect me becuase I prefer to live in a law-abiding, humane country. They affect me because these issues inevitably become a slippery slope and you have to ask "What/who is next?"
    Fair enough, but I posted that in response to your question about the Obama Admin expanding the laws to affect the Amendments and laws relating to US citizens. They wont. We are talking about two entirely separate legal systems.
    Last edited by Cali; May 23rd, 2009 at 12:53 PM.

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