Gitmo Hearings

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In response to recent Supreme Court rulings, the Pentagon is holding hearings for all so-called enemy combatants held at Guanatanamo Bay. First up: Whether the prisoners there are in fact enemy combatants.

According to a UPI account, the first-round of hearings will be done by July 17 and will include the following procedure:

Each one will receive the help of a non-lawyer military officer acting as a "personal representative," who will assist him in preparing for the combatant status hearing. Detainees will be offered interpreters, and will be allowed to testify, present evidence, call witnesses "if readily available" and question witnesses.

Not exactly a red-letter day for the rule of law or ideals of open government, but it's better than nothing. Longer story here.

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  1. I mean, it’s not like any of them were captured on a battlefield during a war or anything.

    Oh so they’re POWs then right?

    And their incarceration and treatment is governed by the Geneva Convention right?

    So if they’ve been denied, oh say “individual parcels or collective shipments containing, in particular, foodstuffs, clothing, medical supplies and articles of a religious, educational or recreational character which may meet their needs, including books, devotional articles, scientific equipment, examination papers, musical instruments, sports outfits and materials allowing prisoners of war to pursue their studies or their cultural activities” then those administering their confinement are guilty of WAR CRIMES right?

    Bush, Rumsfeld and every officer down to the base commander should be on trial right?

    RIGHT???

  2. I mean, it’s not like any of them were captured on a battlefield during a war or anything.

    It’s not like any of them were innocents handed over to the US by Afghan warlords eager to curry favor.

    Oh, wait…

  3. Warren,

    Irregular (ie, out of uniform) combatants are not covered by the Geneva Conventions.

  4. Crimethink, better read the conventions before spouting off.

    Irregular, non-uniformed combatants are to be presented to a tribunal to determine their status as POW or not. They are to be treated as POW until their status is determined. So it really just depends on the judgement of the tribunal whether or not such individuals are “covered”.

    But what’s up with people pointing out that a guy without a uniform (I’ve seen many variations on the comment) isn’t protected? So what? They should still be treated humanely and according to the Conventions. We can decide that indeed the Conventions do indeed apply to everyone we detain, if we want.

  5. “Irregular (ie, out of uniform) combatants are not covered by the Geneva Conventions”

    Exactly so.

    Terrorists, spies and guerilla fighters aren’t part of a regular uniformend army and aren’t covered by the Geneva convention.

  6. Terrorists, spies and guerilla fighters aren’t part of a regular uniformend army and aren’t covered by the Geneva convention.

    How do you know that these people are indeed terrorists, spies, and/or guerilla fighters? Oh, that’s right, the federal government (the people who wrote regulations on the size of holes in Swiss cheese) said so. Except that later on the government said that some of the Gitmo detainees were innocent people captured and handed over by Afghan warlords who wanted to gain favor with the US (and perhaps punish those who wouldn’t do their bidding).

    Call me naive, call me a far-out leftist, call me whatever you want, but I’m glad to see that there’s finally some sort of process for Gitmo detainees to challenge their detention, to separate the wheat from the chaff.

    And if you don’t like that notion, well, you’re either with the Constitution or against it. We need to pre-emptively counter possible infringements of the Bill of Rights immediately, rather than waiting for the smoking gun to come in the form of a gulag for US citizens. If that means some pre-emptive hearings for people who turn out to not need them because they’re guilty, that’s just the way it is. You can’t make an ommelette without breaking a few eggs, and you can’t have due process without spending some time on trials for bad guys. We’re at war to protect our civil liberties, people! We need to drain the swamp of those who would trample on due process!

    Anyway, just felt like having a little fun by mimicking the hawks’ rhetoric 🙂

  7. “And if you don’t like that notion, well, you’re either with the Constitution or against it. We need to pre-emptively counter possible infringements of the Bill of Rights immediately, rather than waiting for the smoking gun to come in the form of a gulag for US citizens.”

    As far as I’m concerned, Consitituional protections in the Bill of Rights only apply to US citizens.

    Everyone else in the world can quite properly be viewed as mere pawns for us to use and/or dispose of as we see fit in furtherance of our own strategic, tactical and economic national interest.

    Roma Victa!

    LOL

  8. Everyone else in the world can quite properly be viewed as mere pawns for us to use and/or dispose of as we see fit in furtherance of our own strategic, tactical and economic national interest.

    Wow.

    I don’t even know where to begin a response.

    Wow.

  9. Gilbert,

    You are exactly wrong. Go read the friggin Geneva Conventions!

    Or maybe you are just funnin’.

  10. Better proofread that quotation again.
    Better proofread that quotation again.

  11. Gilbert,

    The original understanding should trump how far you’re concerned. The rights guaranteed by the Constitution sometimes refer to a citizen, and sometimes to a “person.” The distinction is there for a reason. In the common law of Great Britain and of the several states, there were certain fundamental rights of denizens that applied even to resident aliens.

  12. As I said, not exactly a red letter day but better than nothing. You can’t expect much from a non-lawyer military officer, but this at least starts a review process that I suspect will be subject to an increasing amount of pressure to be fair. Here’s hoping anyway.

  13. Nick,
    Hello, anybody home? Not had your coffee this morning? I’m not sure what that comment was suppose to be in response to, but…

    Better proofread that quote again
    Better proofread that quote again

  14. Right on, Nick. Better than nothing.

    Of course the ideal would be to have a full-on court hearing, and give the defendants a chance to surpress their confessions. Which is only right, considering the troops that captured them, or took custody of them from allies, probably never Mirandized them.

    I mean, it’s not like any of them were captured on a battlefield during a war or anything.

  15. “Or maybe you are just funnin’.”

    mmmm – maybe.

    Somedays I feel more empirish than others.

    “The original understanding should trump how far you’re concerned. ”

    As far as I’m concerned, NOTHING ever trumps as far as I’m ooncerned!

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