Guantanamo

Why Wouldn't You Trust the [REDACTED] Word of the [REDACTED] Pakistani Intelligence Service?

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New York Times legal writer Adam Liptak notes an opportunity for the Supreme Court to flesh out what it meant when it ruled in 2008 that the privilege of habeas corpus applies to prisoners at Guantanamo Bay and requires that each detainee be given "a meaningful opportunity to demonstrate that he is being held pursuant to 'the erroneous application or interpretation' of relevant law." The case involves a Yemeni named Adnan Farhan Abdul Latif, who offered what U.S. District Judge Henry H. Kennedy Jr. deemed "a plausible alternative story" explaining why he was in Afghanistan in 2001:

His version is that he was in a bad car accident in Yemen in 1994, suffering a broken skull and a punctured eardrum. He was sent to Jordan at his government's expense for treatment. In the years that followed, he complained of headaches and hearing loss. In 1999, he was told to return to Jordan for treatment, but at his own expense.

Mr. Latif said he could not afford that. Instead, he went to Pakistan to seek free medical treatment and then to Afghanistan to meet a Yemeni man who had promised to help him.

We can't be sure what the U.S. government's version is, Liptak says, "thanks to the extravagant redactions" in the ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit that overturned Kennedy's decision: 

"One need imply neither bad faith nor lack of incentive nor ineptitude on the part of government officers," Judge [David] Tatel wrote [in dissent], "to conclude that [BLACKED OUT] compiled in the field by [BLACKED OUT] in a [BLACKED OUT] near an [BLACKED OUT] that contain multiple levels of hearsay, depend on translators of unknown quality, and include cautionary disclaimers that [BLACKED OUT] are prone to significant errors."

Let your imagination run wild. Play with your kids. It is hard to fill in the blanks with words that inspire confidence in a system that places great weight on such a document.

Liptak says "a good guess" is that the document, which "seems to recite Pakistani claims about the prisoners' affiliations with Al Qaeda or the Taliban," was "a C.I.A. intake report prepared as agency officials received prisoners held by Pakistan, probably in exchange for bounties." The D.C. Circuit conceded that the report was "prepared in stressful and chaotic conditions, filtered through interpreters, subject to transcription errors and heavily redacted for national security purposes." It nevertheless concluded that the document was good enough for habeas corpus purposes. "If the justices agree to hear the Latif case," Liptak writes, "they can explain whether their Guantánamo decisions were theoretical tussles about the scope of executive power fit for a law school seminar or whether they were meant to have practical consequences for actual prisoners."

The D.C. Circuit decision is here. I count 268 occurrences of "[Redacted]."

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  1. I was so [BLACKED OUT] sick of the [BLACKED OUT] Bush Administration reinventing justice just so they could do whatever the [BLACKED OUT] they wanted to do–way back then. And I’ve even more [BLACKED OUT] sick of the consequences we’re still suffering for their short term [BLACKED OUT] non-solutions now.

    Will we ever be able to scrape the [BLACKED OUT] Bush Administration’s [BLACKED OUT] stink off our shoes?

    1. [REDACTED]

      1. [REDACTED] [REDACTED] [REDACTED] [REDACTED] [REDACTED]. [REDACTED] [REDACTED] [REDACTED]. [REDACTED] [REDACTED] [REDACTED] [REDACTED] [REDACTED] [REDACTED] [REDACTED] [REDACTED] [REDACTED]. [REDACTED] [REDACTED]. [REDACTED] [REDACTED] until the doorknob falls off.

        1. I’d [REDACTED] her [REDACTED]!

  2. Here’s the link for the reason H&R College Bowl Pick-em. It don’t cost nothin’ and the winner gets bragging rights until we think of something else to do.

    The loser will have a punishment to be agreed upon by the participants.

    Link: yes it’s on yahoo, but their leagues are free and easy to run

    password: liberty

    I expect those of you playing in the J sub D Memorial FFL to be signed up soon.

  3. “…Adnan Farhan Abdul Latif, who offered what U.S. District Judge Henry H. Kennedy Jr. deemed “a plausible alternative story” explaining why he was in Afghanistan in 2001:…”

    Why should he have to supply a story at all? How about: ‘It’s none of your business.’

    1. That’s Traitorspeech?, Sevo.

  4. “it ruled in 2008 that the privilege of habeas corpus applies to prisoners at Guantanamo Bay”

    If they are bound by American law then prosecute them in a criminal court and give them the same protections as we citizens have.

    However, they were not bound to American law so the nation wasn’t bound to the bill-of-rights. They couldn’t be protected from unfair court procedures since they couldn’t weren’t in court.

    The situation seems like a model case for military tribunals.

    1. Dunno:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M…..ted_States
      Yeah, I know it’s Wiki, but from what’s there, it looks like only FDR (damn his soul) used them until W. decided it would work.
      Why should the charged be denied the rights of US citizens? I’ve yet to see any honest answer to that.

      1. One reason is because if you say that anyone captured by the military will get US citizen rights to a fair trial, then suddenly you’ll find that a lot fewer people are captured by the US military and more die in combat or are left in the prisons of other countries. After all, no one questions the right of the military under orders of the President to actually kill people.

        This was my thought long before President Obama apparently started putting it into practice.

        1. John,
          Not seeing cause/effect.
          Do you really propose that Willy Dogface will shoot someone since Willy thinks that someone will get a trial?
          As regards ‘prisons of other countries’, the same question applies.

        2. There wasn’t any confusion about this before the Bush Administration–going back to George Washington’s treatment of captured Hessian soldiers.

          We’re Americans! We treat our captured prisoners like prisoners of war. Just because they weren’t in uniform–or whatever–was no reason why we couldn’t have treated them like full prisoners of war if we wanted to…

          Treat them like American citizens–why?!

          This is one of the things that shows how profoundly incompetent the Bush Administration was–they’ve had to release prisoners from Guantanamo, who may in fact have returned to the battlefield! And why? Because the Bush Administration wanted to try out some novel legal theory?!

          How stupid was that? If they’d just treated them like POWs–like we’ve always done before–all of those prisoners would still be locked up!

          You don’t have to try POWs in American courts. We could have held them until we pulled out of Afghanistan and Iraq, respectively, at least!

          The thing that really ticks me off about this is that there wasn’t any compelling reason to do what the Bush Administration did–except that they wanted to torture people.

          Avoiding this in the future won’t require any new legal theories. It will just require someone not making the same stoopid mistake as the Bush Administration.

          1. “We’re Americans! We treat our captured prisoners like prisoners of war. Just because they weren’t in uniform–or whatever–was no reason why we couldn’t have treated them like full prisoners of war if we wanted to…”

            How in hell do you determine if X-bin-Y meets the definition of POW under these circumstances?

            1. How in hell do you determine if X-bin-Y meets the definition of POW under these circumstances?

              Well, the first step is to legally declare a war.

            2. It doesn’t matter whether they meet the legal definition. Treaties don’t tell you what’s in America’s best interest to do–a president’s supposed to figure that out for himself. Was there something in our treaties somewhere that said we have to do what’s not in our best interest? That we have to treat prisoners like illegal combatants even if it’s not in our best interest to do so?

              We shouldn’t treat prisoners in the worst possible way our treaties allow–just because we can.

              We should treat prisoners in the way that’s smartest for us!

              Interrogating prisoners the way we did in Guantanamo? (And when that treatment incorrectly migrated to Abu Ghraib) That was a stupid thing to do.

              And there were only two reasons I can see to treat them like they weren’t prisoners of war.

              1) You have to release POWs at the cessation of hostilities–and the Bush Administration wanted to keep them longer.

              End Result? The Bush Administration had to release most of them anyway!

              If we’d treated them like POWs, they’d still be in POW camps. There was no reason why we couldn’t have tried them as war criminals either if that was appropriate. And you can keep war criminals for a long time! We’ve tried people for war crimes before–there wasn’t anything new about that.

              2) Second Reason not to treat them like POWs?

              Because you get to torture them–or whatever Yoo, Gonzales and Rumsfeld were calling torture back then.

              You can’t torture POWs legally.

              End Result of our Torture?

              I don’t know that there were any terrorist plots against American civilians that were broken up because of torture, but we lost a ton of initiative in the Iraq War and elsewhere once the Abu Ghraib photos hit the internet.

              Those photos were as good as recruitment posters for Al Qaeda and the insurgencies in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

              I remember in Gulf War I. When the Iraqi soldiers were surrendering in droves! Who among the insurgency would lay down their arms knowing what the U.S. was doing to Iraqi prisoners?

              Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib were of absolute negative worth as far as I can tell–I’m not convinced we wouldn’t have done better without them. They became a rallying cry for insurgencies in both Iraq and Afghanistan…

              Unbelievably stupid move on the Bush Administration’s part.

              1. Treaties don’t tell you what’s in America’s best interest to do–a president’s supposed to figure that out for himself.

                My point is that the President is only supposed to make those decisions once Congress lets him off the leash (i.e. declare war).

                1. Yeah, well, that train had already left the station.

                  I’m not buying the argument if you’re saying that because Bush maybe didn’t cross his “t”s on the constitutionality, that means he couldn’t have classified prisoners as POWs if we’d wanted to.

                  Didn’t we do the same thing in Vietnam?

                  Because we didn’t do the constitutional thing, that means everything else we do subsequently has to be stupid?

                  Not buyin’ it.

                  1. I’m not buying the argument if you’re saying that because Bush maybe didn’t cross his “t”s on the constitutionality, that means he couldn’t have classified prisoners as POWs if we’d wanted to.

                    No, I agree with you there.

  5. Why Wouldn’t You Trust the [REDACTED] Word of the [REDACTED] Pakistani Intelligence Service?

    OK. “Fill in the Blanks”

    For the first [REDACTED], I’ll go with “lying, smarmy”.

    For the second [REDACTED], I’ll go with “backstabbing, double-crossing”.

  6. “One need imply neither bad faith nor lack of incentive nor ineptitude on the part of government officers,” Judge [David] Tatel wrote [in dissent], “to conclude that porno tapes compiled in the field by Ron Jeremy in a toilet stall near an anime & hentai convention that contain multiple levels of hearsay, depend on translators of unknown quality, and include cautionary disclaimers that sex stories featuring pictures of enormous male reproductive organs are prone to significant errors.”

    1. ^^Thread winner^^

    2. That would have so been in my dissenting opinion.

  7. Get all your yucks out now, boys. We’re the only thing that stands in the way of a nuclear apocalypse coming soon in a neighborhood near you. Jury trials or mushroom clouds in the sky, your choice. Go Alpha Phi!

    1. Bullshit.

      Building a nuke is not something that can be done in a basement, despite whatever the CIA, DHS and other fearmongers claim.

      1. Building a nuke is not something that can be done in a basement

        I beg to differ.

        1. Nope. He had a dangerous amount of radioactive material, but he was a long way from fast reaction.

          1. Damn you Sevo and your fast reactions.

            1. Hey, I even read the damn link first.

          2. Sorry, wrong kid. I had him confused with this guy ( At 14, he became the youngest person in the world to build a nuclear fusion reactor).

            1. Nuclear FUSION reactor?

              Right.

              You might consider an article that makes that sort of claim a little tiny bit ignorant on the current state of technology, perhaps?

        2. Nope, while it’s possible for the average Joe to radiate the hell out of himself and a few neighbors…he was still light years from a nuke.

    2. “Get all your yucks out now, boys. We’re the only thing that stands in the way of a nuclear apocalypse coming soon in a neighborhood near you. Jury trials or mushroom clouds in the sky, your choice. Go Alpha Phi!”

      Maybe it’s becasue I’m old enough to remember life during the Cold War, but we’re nowhere near in as much danger now as we were in 1986 or so.

      That’s the other thing I hated about the Bush Administration–they tried to make a virtue out of cowardice. There should have been a banner behind every speech Bush the Lesser made that read, “If you’re not cowering in fear, then you’re not a real, manly American!”

      Even if fear of terrorism or nukes or whatever really did dominate my thinking, I’d be too ashamed to admit that to anybody. Can’t imagine suggesting to other people that if they don’t agree with me–it’s because they’re not manly and scared like me?

      Now that I think about it, it’s hard to imagine how Gingrich could be worse than Obama OR Bush the Lesser. I’m sure he’ll try his best though. They always do.

      1. What might save us me and you
        Is that the Russians love their children too.

        [retching]

  8. It doesn’t matter if the person in question is an American citizen or not. The U.S. Constitution does not grant rights; it controls the government not individuals.

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