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Report: U.S. may turn Guantanamo Bay into "death camp"


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It's so easy to see why we're the beacon of freedom and justice to the world.

http://heraldsun.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5478,6494000%255E401,00.html

US plans death camp

26may03

THE US has floated plans to turn Guantanamo Bay into a death camp, with its own death row and execution chamber.

Prisoners would be tried, convicted and executed without leaving its boundaries, without a jury and without right of appeal, The Mail on Sunday newspaper reported yesterday.

The plans were revealed by Major-General Geoffrey Miller, who is in charge of 680 suspects from 43 countries, including two Australians.

The suspects have been held at Camp Delta on Cuba without charge for 18 months.

General Miller said building a death row was one plan. Another was to have a permanent jail, with possibly an execution chamber.

The Mail on Sunday reported the move is seen as logical by the US, which has been attacked worldwide for breaching the Geneva Convention on prisoners of war since it established the camp at a naval base to hold alleged terrorists from Afghanistan.

But it has horrified human rights groups and lawyers representing detainees.

They see it as the clearest indication America has no intention of falling in line with internationally recognised justice.

The US has already said detainees would be tried by tribunals, without juries or appeals to a higher court. Detainees will be allowed only US lawyers.

British activist Stephen Jakobi, of Fair Trials Abroad, said: "The US is kicking and screaming against any pressure to conform with British or any other kind of international justice."

American law professor Jonathan Turley, who has led US civil rights group protests against the military tribunals planned to hear cases at Guantanamo Bay, said: "It is not surprising the authorities are building a death row because they have said they plan to try capital cases before these tribunals.

"This camp was created to execute people. The administration has no interest in long-term prison sentences for people it regards as hard-core terrorists."

Britain admitted it had been kept in the dark about the plans.

A Downing St spokesman said: "The US Government is well aware of the British Government's position on the death penalty."

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Guest SkinsHokie Fan

I dont think the 3,000 people that died because of the actions of these idiots had much of a trial

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They should just take them out to sea and throw them overboard. If they can swim back to the Persian Gulf then Allah smiled upon them and they can live.

I would chum the water wait for some fins and throw there sorry asses in. Film the whole thing and sell the pay per view rights and give all the money to the orphans and widows of 911 the US cole and other terrorist targets in the past 10 years. I would pay 100 bucks to watch them being eaten alive.:cheers: :cheers: :cheers:

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Jeez, you're act is getting old ASF. Let me let you in on a few things. Personally, I wish they hadn't wasted the gas to bring these a$$holes to Cuba. The plane should have taken off in Afganistan with a bunch of terrorist phucks and landed in Cuba empty. But that would be in Sarge's world. Here is something that counters the crap in the article you posted as to the status of the piles of sh!t in Cuba.

We receive training in LOAC (Law of Armed Conflict) every year. Here is how Air Force Phamplet 36-2241V1, defines the following;

Combatants - A lawful combatant is an individual authorized by governmental authority or the LOAC to engage in hostilities. A lawful combatant may be a member of a regular or irregular force. In either case, the lawful combatant's force must be: be commanded by a person responsible for subordinates: have fixed distinctive emblems recognizable at a distance, such as uniforms, carry arms openly; and conduct their combat operations according to LOAC. The LOAC applies to lawful combatants who engage in the hostilities of armed conflict and provides combatant immunityfor their warlike acts during conflict.

(I think we can rule these a$$holes out of this catagory)

Noncombatants - These individuals are not authorized by governmental authority or the LOAC to engage in hotilities and they, in fact, do not engage in hostilities. This catagory included civilians accompanying the Armed Forces, combatants who are out of combat, such as POW's and the wounded, and certain military personnel who are members of the Armed Forces not authorized to engage in combat operations, such as medical personnel and chaplins. Noncombatants may not be made the object of direct attack. they may, however, suffer injury or death incident to a direct attack on a military objective without such an attack violating the LOAC, if such an attack is on a lawful target by lawful means.

Unlawful Combatants - Unlawful combatants are individuals who directly participate in hostilities without being authorized by governmental authority or international law to do so. For example, bandits who rob and plunder and civilians who attack a downed airman are unlawful combatants. Unlawful combatants who engage in hostilities violate LOAC and become lawful targets. They may be killed or wounded and, if captured, may be tried as war criminals for for their LOAC violations.

BINGO........BINGO........BINGO. This is the answer for the slower people and conspiracy theorist among us.

Undetermined Status - Should doubt exist as to whether an individual is a lawful combatant, a noncombatant or an unlawful combatant, such person shall be extended the protections of the Geneva Prisoner of War Convention until status is determined. The capturing nation must convene a competent tribunal to determine a detained person's status.

Sounds like number three, unlawful combatant, eh ASF? Oh, and by the way, the LOAC does not stipulate what a "competent tribunal" is, nor does it stipulate a timeframe for a tribunal.

Don't you ever get tired of being shot down over the drivel you post?

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ASF, I oppose the execution of those prisoners without a fair trial. It's pretty un-American. But then again, I don't know about these sources you come up with. They seem to spew their share of venom about us, justified or not.

I think you seem to be drifting out of an American mindset, which tends to shift one to an unfairly critical perspective of our country. Face it, the world opinion is gunning for our country--- rarely for the right reasons. Believe me, after confronting these flimsy criticisms first hand, they boil down into a final, candid "I just don't like America". Probably for the same reason i hate the Yankees, Lakers, and... years ago... the cowboys. ;)

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Well, I heard they were either turning it into a death camp........or build another Hershey Park.....just much farther south.

The problem was that the chocolate would always melt under that hot Cuban sun. If they were to buy fridges....the profit margins would of been razor thin. Now, We already have the U.S. to thank for Velcro, driving on the right side of the road and the Flow-bie. Now, their options are limited and "Death Camp" was the cheapest way to work it.

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Originally posted by Air Sarge

We receive training in LOAC (Law of Armed Conflict) every year....

Unlawful Combatants - Unlawful combatants are individuals who directly participate in hostilities without being authorized by governmental authority or international law to do so.

BINGO........BINGO........BINGO. This is the answer for the slower people and conspiracy theorist among us.

Undetermined Status - Should doubt exist as to whether an individual is a lawful combatant, a noncombatant or an unlawful combatant, such person shall be extended the protections of the Geneva Prisoner of War Convention until status is determined. The capturing nation must convene a competent tribunal to determine a detained person's status.

Sounds like number three, unlawful combatant, eh ASF? Oh, and by the way, the LOAC does not stipulate what a "competent tribunal" is, nor does it stipulate a timeframe for a tribunal.

Air Sarge, thanks for your reply and citation of the LOAC. It's helpful to focus this debate.

First, let me pose a fairly obvious question: since Afghanistan had little semblance of a regular military, didn't the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan instantly make almost anyone who resisted in danger of being declared "an unlawful combatant"?

Second, in a conflict of this sort (fundamentally a guerilla campaign), isn't it highly difficult to distinguish between the usual categories of "enemy combatant", "non-combatant" and "unlawful combatant"?

Third, doesn't such uncertainty by default place most of these prisoners in the category of "undetermined status" until their status is determined by properly constituted tribunal? Until such resolution through due process, aren't these prisoners by your own field manual subject to the POW rights afforded by the Geneva conventions?

Fourth, how can we know whether these prisoners have even been told of their right to appeal for POW status?

Fifth, isn't it true that President Bush summarily revoked due process and rejected POW status for these prisoners?

Sixth, why is the U.S. government interested more in secrecy and denial of prisoner's rights than proving guilt in open court, where the world can be shown the just nature of U.S. law and U.S. prosecutions? Does not our confidence in our own government require that we be shown the fairness of our judicial proceedings, particulary in capital cases like these -- and particularly when entire U.S. acts of war are based on the unproven presumption of enemy guilt?

Our country was founded on principles of due process. Now our government seems to seek secret tribunals, revocation of civil rights and due process, and the exercise of absolute power. The last country that espoused those principles was the U.S.S.R. Please tell me we didn't defeat that evil empire only to become its successor.

Here's some bedtime reading:

http://www.sptimes.com/2002/11/10/news_pf/Columns/The_United_States_is_.shtml

The United States is starting to look more like Bush's kingdom

By ROBYN E. BLUMNER

© St. Petersburg Times, published November 10, 2002

In 17th century France the king could arbitrarily order someone's imprisonment in the Bastille by issuing a lettre de cachet. The executive authorization didn't have to designate a term of imprisonment and there was no appeal. Release was at the king's pleasure.

In 17th century France the king could arbitrarily order someone's imprisonment in the Bastille by issuing a lettre de cachet. The executive authorization didn't have to designate a term of imprisonment and there was no appeal. Release was at the king's pleasure.

Elements of this are appearing as a central organizing principle in our nation's "war" on terrorism. Hundreds of foreign prisoners are in a holding facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. All are facing indefinite detention and have no way to challenge the legitimacy of their imprisonment. The normal wartime processes for evaluating a prisoner's status -- as prisoner-of-war, civilian detainee, or innocent bystander -- are being ignored.

According to the Bush administration, the detention camp at Guantanamo was for "the worst of the worst." This is a place for "hard-core, well-trained terrorists," Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said.

The descriptions worked to sweep away any concerns Americans or members of Congress might have had about the treatment of prisoners there. As the tautology goes: Men sent to Guantanamo are not POWs or innocent civilians, they are terrorists plotting to kill Americans. And the proof of it is that they were sent to Guantanamo.

But no human endeavor is mistake-proof, especially one that involves dozens of nationalities, nearly as many languages, and relies, at times, on the word of Afghan warlords with their own agendas. Late last month, three Afghan men were released from Guantanamo after nearly a year of confinement. The Pentagon said they were not dangerous and had no intelligence value. The admission seemed to lend credence to the men's claims that they were wrongly sent there.

How many more of the 625 prisoners are like them?

"(Their release) is like the 13th dong of a clock," said Joseph Onek, director of the Liberty and Security Initiative at the bipartisan Constitution Project. "It is not only wrong in itself but casts doubt on everything that has come before."

Healthy skepticism of government is not unpatriotic, no matter what John Ashcroft says. We have a duty to ask why wartime rules of due process are not being followed. The answer reflects on us as a people and a nation.

By now, most people know President Bush flouted the dictates of the Geneva Conventions by summarily rejecting prisoner-of-war status for any of the Guantanamo detainees. A tribunal, not a chief executive, should be making those individual determinations. But what has not been widely reported is that the administration is also breaking clear military regulations by refusing to provide status hearings for detainees who request it.

Army Regulation 190-8, titled "Enemy Prisoners of War, Retained Personnel, Civilian Internees and Other Detainees," is a comprehensive set of rules for dealing with people in the custody of the armed forces.

One section states:

"A competent tribunal shall determine the status of any person not appearing to be entitled to prisoner of war status who has committed a belligerent act or has engaged in hostile activities in the aid of enemy armed forces, and who asserts that he or she is entitled to treatment as a prisoner of war." (I added the emphasis.)

The Department of Defense has failed to respond to questions asking for a count of Guantanamo detainees requesting POW status. But a spokesman for the department did make it clear that, regardless of any requests, the regulation would not be followed and no tribunals would be constituted. "The determination has been made as to the detainees' status," wrote Major Ted Wadsworth in an e-mail. "That determination was made by the President in his role as the commander-in-chief. His Article II powers (in the Constitution) give him the authority to made (sic) this determination. That authority is certainly greater than that of 190-8."

In other words, the president has the power to reject, modify or ignore Army regulations at will.

We call that being above the law.

"The release of the Afghans point up why these regulations are necessary," said Onek, who initially directed me to the Army rules. He said the process was a way to weed out mistakes.

Eugene Fidell, a Washington expert in military law, agrees. Status tribunals have been routinely observed in other engagements without it being too cumbersome, Fidell said. For example, during the Gulf War, approximately 1,200 such hearings were held. "The administration would have been well served to hold hearings even if it had the winning argument (as to why al Qaida and Taliban prisoners should not be considered POWs). It would have engendered public confidence in the detention, and blunted the criticism both domestically and with foreign audiences," Fidell said.

Kings, though, don't worry about what others might think. Who needs to bother with due process when lettres de cachet are available and the populace is more than willing to go along?

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ASF,

Members of the Taliban who were captured were and have been treated as Prisoners of War. Members of Al-Queda were not. Men captured not in a recognizable military hierarchy were also not accorded POW status by the Geneva Convention. But, the reason for that is simple.

The Geneva Conventions only apply to "all cases of declared war or of any other armed conflict which may arise between two or more of the High Contracting Parties." Afghanistan is a High Contracting Party. So is the U.S. Al-Queda is not. A Saudi Arabian man captured in Afghanistan -- a man who's not a citizen, naturalized or otherwise, of the country -- would not be accorded the same rights. Just like Syrian fighters caught in Iraq aren't accorded POW status by the Geneva Convention unless they meet a specific set of rules.

No rational argument can be made that would apply the standards of the Geneva Convention to the terrorists targeted and largely wiped out in Afghanistan. That we are holding these men in conditions that are appropriate to the terms of the convention is a nicety that often is ignored.

While you seem somewhat consternated as to how a country with little to no standing military should have fighters captured during war time treated, the fact is, it's not a close call, according to the Geneva Conventions. These men aren't Prisoners of War by the very terms of the Conventions simply because they are not members of the High Contracting Party and because as members of militias or volunteer groups who join the fight must have commanders who are responsible for them, must be wearing insignia to distinguish themselves, must be carrying arms openly and must be conducting war according to the conventions themselves to be accorded POW status BY the terms of the Geneva Convention.

The United States is doing precisely the right thing. American hating idiots throughout the world and Atlanta may have a different take, but that take is always colored by a simple overriding point of view that the direction the U.S. selects must therefore be incorrect. Even in cases such as these where it's clearly correct.

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The Geneva Conventions only apply to "all cases of declared war or of any other armed conflict which may arise between two or more of the High Contracting Parties." Afghanistan is a High Contracting Party. So is the U.S. Al-Queda is not.

So, what you're saying is, we can't be at war with Al-Qeda because they're not a country. (Which is what I've been saying for two years). So, therefore the criminal and civil laws apply, right? (Oh, but wait. We can't have juries because there's a war on.)

But, no, what the administration wants is the ability to declare unilaterally that NO rules of any kind apply, because any time somebody attempts to proceed under one set of rules, they simply claim that the prisoners aren't under that classification. It's sort of like the old game of driving a prisioner from jail to jail so his attorney can't find him, only in this case they're simply moving the prisioners paperwork from one file to another.

(Kind of like not declaring the war over, because if it's over, then you have to release your POWs.)

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No, Larry, I'm not saying in the slightest that we can't be at war with al-Qaeda. We are and can be at war with al-Qaeda. What we can't be is subject to a 50-year-old code covering the conduct of war as applied to signatories of code. Al-Qaeda is not a member nation of the Geneva Convention. We could string them naked, run them through Central Park and slaughter them and nothing in the Geneva Convention would apply to their treatment because the terrorist organization is not a High Contracting Party.

Given that we are, however, at war with this organization and that our armed forces are legally prevented from conducting civil or criminal law enforcement duties -- the often cited yet never understood Posse Comitatus -- like arresting criminals. Logistical support is fine, and if our law enforcement agencies had authority in Afghanistan to hold terrorists accountable for crimes against our nation it might be a reasonable idea to suggest we consider taking that action.

But, since our police don't have authority in these nations, and our military can't be a branch of U.S. law enforcement, it means something else. It means many things. But, mostly it means that in order to make what the U.S. is doing with the Cuban detainees one must create illegal or illogical (based on a fundamental lack of understanding) concepts as an alternative.

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I think that we should dump their bodies in graves filled with pigs blood and then cover them with pig carcasses. Then blast thos images over the airwaves so those sick ****s know we are capable of such heinousnous.

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Originally posted by Kilmer17

I think that we should dump their bodies in graves filled with pigs blood and then cover them with pig carcasses. Then blast thos images over the airwaves so those sick ****s know we are capable of such heinousnous.

Go right ahead, Kilmer. I don't really have a problem with that ...

... after a public trial that proves their guilt beyond reasonable doubt of crimes deserving capital punishment.

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I don't necessarily have a problem with that.

I think it would be a mistake, because it then invites our opponents to start a "war of attrocities", where each side attempts to top the other's. (And, I think that's a war we'll lose: atrocities on our part not only act as assaults on the terrorists, but on our own people, as well.)

Such a move also sacrifices what I see as one of our greatest assets: The ability to claim that "We're the good guys, because we follow the rules."

But, I think a case can be made, if Bush were to, say, make a speach, and say that Al-Qeda & Co. have declared (by their actions) that they want a war without rules. And, we'll be perfectly willing to start treating them like a real army just as soon as they start acting like one. (I think that position is wrong, but I can see that the argument has merit.)

But, all of this is based on the assumption (which the "kill 'em all" crowd seems to just be taking for granted) that it's been proven that every single one of these people are actually guilty.

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Originally posted by Kilmer17

I think that we should dump their bodies in graves filled with pigs blood and then cover them with pig carcasses. Then blast thos images over the airwaves so those sick ****s know we are capable of such heinousnous.

Don't know about you, but I'm certain some percentage of these guys were noncombatants simply swept up. Maybe a small percentage, maybe large, but they're there. We execute these people indiscriminately and we commit crimes against humanity. Hiding behind some legalisms won't change that.

I don't for a second believe we would do this without due process. Anything less would disgrace and dishonor America.

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Originally posted by Kilmer17

Why do they get a public trial? Where does the law say that?

Kilmer, the law does *not* say that. As Art and Air Sarge have explained, the U.S. has discovered a loophole in the Geneva Conventions and in U.S. Constitutional rights, whereby Guantanamo Bay can be turned into a drive-through execution chamber without public trials.

What they have failed to show is why exploiting that loophole is a good thing. Even Hilter's men were given public Nuremburg trials. Public trials and due process are exactly what distinguishes civilized countries from banana republic dictatorships and evil empires.

The 9/11 attacks and the "war on terrorism" were a historic opportunity to demonstrate to the world the superior moral position of the west in general and the United States in particular. Prior to 9/11, I didn't question that position. Now I do: we are not acting by the principles upon which our country was founded.

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Is anyone here still pretending they DON'T know how these prisoners are being processed? The U.S. has already revealed how these men will be adjudicated. It's hysterical to think that someone doesn't realize military tribunals have been held throughout our history for any number of reasons.

Some people may even call a military tribunal a trial. Like, ASF. :).

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Originally posted by Kilmer17

I think that we should dump their bodies in graves filled with pigs blood and then cover them with pig carcasses. Then blast thos images over the airwaves so those sick ****s know we are capable of such heinousnous.

Yeah, Art, I'd say that man isn't too concerned with careful adjudication.

We've done our best to free ourselves of any limits on how we treat these prisoners. As long as we're true to an American sense of justice and not indiscriminate, I have no problem with it.

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