Safety and Justice...a fair tradeoff? - U2 Feedback

Go Back   U2 Feedback > Lypton Village > Free Your Mind > Free Your Mind Archive
Click Here to Login
 
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 06-26-2003, 01:12 PM   #1
Rock n' Roll Doggie
ALL ACCESS
 
sulawesigirl4's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Virginia
Posts: 7,416
Local Time: 03:59 PM
Safety and Justice...a fair tradeoff?

I'm aware that bringing this topic up is likely to lead to some mudslinging, but I feel so strongly about it that I feel that I must at least draw attention to it. Having grown up in a country where a militarized government was allowed to run rough-shod over human rights, I am distinctly unhappy with the direction that it appears the US, my passport country, is headed. I'm referring specifically to the treatment of prisoners held in the so-called "war against terrorism". The article I am posting is just one of many, but I thought I'd put it out to kick off some discussion.

excerpts

Quote:
The human cost of the 21st century's first war is already enormous. In addition to those who have died, staggering numbers have been detained around the world in violation of their human rights and international law. Paul Vallely investigates their fate, and asks whether this suspension of due process in the name of defending democracy can ever be justified.

Privately, the Americans admit that torture, or something very like it, is going on at Bagram air base in Afghanistan, where they are holding an unknown number of suspected terrorists.

Al-Qa'ida and Taliban prisoners inside this secret CIA interrogation centre - in a cluster of metal shipping-containers protected by a triple layer of concertinaed wire - are subjected to a variety of practices. They are kept standing or kneeling for hours, in black hoods or spray-painted goggles. They are bound in awkward, painful positions. They are deprived of sleep with a 24-hour bombardment of lights. They are sometimes beaten on capture, and painkillers are withheld.

...

What is perhaps most disturbing about all this is that the US officials who have leaked the information have not done so out of a need to expose something that they see as shameful. On the contrary, they have made it clear that they wanted the world to know what is going on because they feel it is justified.

No fewer than 10 serving US national- security officials - including several people who have been witnesses to the handling of prisoners - came forward to speak to The Washington Post, which has published the most graphic account of what is going on in Bagram, and in several other unnamed US interrogation centres across the world. "If you don't violate someone's human rights some of the time, one told the paper, "you probably aren't doing your job". He and the others involved are, in effect, saying: we are doing these things because we have to, and we want the world to know.

(rest of text can be found here at the Independent)
First off, I would like to make the point that regardless of one's feelings as to what should be done to those who are actually guilty of terrorist activities which directly lead to loss of life, most of the prisoners have NOT even been tried, but are still being subjected to cruel and inhumane holding conditions. Secondly, I feel that if we truly believe in liberty and in the value of human life, then it follows that we cannot have different standards for different humans. If we are willing to discard fair treatment in the name of vengeance or even protection, we play God (assuming that we can definitively predict the future actions of a free-will human agent) and that seems to me to be not only arrogant but dangerous. Part of what has made America great in the past is its championing of such principles as "innocent until proven guilty" and the right to a fair trial. I don't feel like it's morally right to stand by and watch these be taken away by a government that seems to have a dangerously narrow view of the world.

I think that a quote by Benjamin Franklin about sums up what I feel. "They who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security, deserve neither liberty or security"
__________________

__________________
"I can't change the world, but I can change the world in me." - Bono

sulawesigirl4 is offline  
Old 06-26-2003, 02:02 PM   #2
ONE
love, blood, life
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Posts: 10,881
Local Time: 03:59 PM
Re: Safety and Justice...a fair tradeoff?

Quote:
Originally posted by sulawesigirl4

I think that a quote by Benjamin Franklin about sums up what I feel. "They who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security, deserve neither liberty or security"
Interesting quote, heard it before, and since these are Combatants in a War on foreign soil they are not entitled to protection under the Constitution.

Haven't we discussed this to death on this board?

Anyways here is the qualifications for AL-Qaeda to be considered prisoners of war:

[Q]The criteria are: "(a) that of being commanded by a person responsible for his subordinates; (b) that of having a fixed distinctive sign recognizable at a distance; (c) that of carrying arms openly; [and] (d) that of conducting their operations in accordance with the laws and customs of war."[/Q]

According to the legal site Al-Qaeda does not meet these conditions. The major violation which does not entitle them to POW status is this:

[Q]Al Qaeda members deliberately attempt to blend into the civilian population - violating the requirement of having a "fixed distinctive sign" and "carrying arms openly." Moreover, they target civilians, which violates the "laws and customs of war." [/Q]

For the Taliban, they unfortunately were never recognized as the legal governement in Afghanistan. THis presents a problem, but not a major one, they were still the governement in place even though the UN and the US did not officially recognize them as such. The real deal is that according to this lawyer:

[Q]However, Taliban members did not appear to satisfy the second and third criteria, for they did not wear uniforms that bore a "fixed distinctive sign recognizable at a distance," nor did they invariably "carry arms openly." [/Q]


So clearly from this legal analysis they are not POW's. They are Unlawful combatants.

Now as to your comments about human rights and vengence. I would have to ask you one question....Is the WAR over? Has the Al-Qaeda network signed off to a cease fire or a truce or treaty? Has Al-Qaeda decided to not attack civilians INTENTIONALLY.

If they have not, we are still at war with an enemy that does not fight by the recognized rules of war. If they do not fight by the rules of war, they are not afforded the same rules as provided POW's. That is their choice.

I think Ben Franklin would agree along with many of the Patriot forefathers, that the British made major mistakes in not adapting to the enemy's methods. Lexington and Concord, demonstrated that.

So where does that leave me, well, the day one of the Taliban or Al-Qaeda operatives is brought onto US soil and due process is not given, then I will worry about the Ben Franklin quote because then it would apply.

Here is the legal site:

http://writ.news.findlaw.com/dorf/20020123.html
__________________

__________________
Dreadsox is offline  
Old 06-26-2003, 02:13 PM   #3
ONE
love, blood, life
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Posts: 10,881
Local Time: 03:59 PM
One thing, I do believe that it is a difficult place the administration finds itself in because they are looking at holding people indefinitely. This is not good I agree. What would I propose?

it is clear that this is a different kind of war. One that is not addessed in the Geneva Conventions. Therefore, what needs to be done, since it appears that this may actauly occur more often than not in the next century, we must upgrade the Geneva Conventions to give guidelines for this type of situation.

As it stands, we are within our legal rights to defend ourselves in thee manner the administration has chosen.

Peace

A law article on this topic.
http://writ.news.findlaw.com/comment...4_dworkin.html
__________________
Dreadsox is offline  
Old 06-26-2003, 02:21 PM   #4
ONE
love, blood, life
 
FizzingWhizzbees's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: the choirgirl hotel
Posts: 12,614
Local Time: 08:59 PM
Hi Dread.

I don't think we have really discussed this here before, as you probably noticed the article Sula linked to is very detailed and contains lots of information we've never talked about here at FYM. Besides, this is a hugely serious issue and I for one think it's worth taking notice of.

Now onto my reply to your post:

Firstly you state that the people being held aren't entitled to protection under the constitution. I'm not disputing that, but simply because they don't have that protection does not mean they should be treated inhumanely. The fact that they don't have the same rights as US citizens doesn't mean that it's okay for Americans to torture them.

The same criticism would apply to your comments about the people being held not qualifying for POW status. Their legal status doesn't make torture okay. Even if they don't have all the rights afforded to POWs (and IMO that is disputable) it doesn't mean it's okay to treat them inhumanely. Besides, as you'll have read in the article, many of the people being held may never have been guilty of anything they were accused of - in fact some prisoners have already been released when the US realised they had captured people with no links to either Al Qaeda or the Taliban.

I believe torture cannot be justified. The US (and the UK, because the article does also mention human rights abuses in the UK) claim to be civilised countries. How can we claim to be civilised when we will use torture against our enemies? How can we claim to have any kind of morality when we don't think twice before beating a person in order to make them tell us information?

Imagine if you found out an American soldier was being held in such conditions and was being tortured. You would be outraged, and rightly so. I would also be appalled. But when the US and UK lower themselves to that level, they lose the right to talk about moral standards - if they act in despicable ways, how can they fairly condemn others who behave in a similar way?

And finally - did Benjamin Franklin say his quote only applied to American citizens? You appear to suggest his quote doesn't apply because the torture is taking place in Afghanistan and in Cuba. In my opinion, the fact that it is AMERICAN soldiers carrying out the torture means that it impacts on the country regardless of where in the world it is taking place.

Looking forward to your response.
__________________
FizzingWhizzbees is offline  
Old 06-26-2003, 02:23 PM   #5
ONE
love, blood, life
 
FizzingWhizzbees's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: the choirgirl hotel
Posts: 12,614
Local Time: 08:59 PM
Quote:
As it stands, we are within our legal rights to defend ourselves in thee manner the administration has chosen.
Surely torture is not legal. Though even if it were legal, that clearly wouldn't make it acceptable.
__________________
FizzingWhizzbees is offline  
Old 06-26-2003, 02:32 PM   #6
Rock n' Roll Doggie
Band-aid
 
DrTeeth's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: The Q continuum
Posts: 4,770
Local Time: 09:59 PM
Re: Re: Safety and Justice...a fair tradeoff?

Quote:
Originally posted by Dreadsox
Interesting quote, heard it before, and since these are Combatants in a War on foreign soil they are not entitled to protection under the Constitution.
I was kinda hoping that the, in this case, US government applies the 'innocent untill proven guilty' rule because they believe it to be the foundation of a fair judicial system and not just because the constitution forces them to.

Another thing that disturbs me is that this is even blowing over to Europe, and more specific to the Netherlands, where our vice-president is quoted saying "...it is unacceptable that the rights of suspects should stand in the way of an effective anti-terrorism policy".

We are rapidly becoming that which we're supposed to be fighting against.
__________________
DrTeeth is offline  
Old 06-26-2003, 02:33 PM   #7
ONE
love, blood, life
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Posts: 10,881
Local Time: 03:59 PM
Quote:
Originally posted by FizzingWhizzbees


Surely torture is not legal. Though even if it were legal, that clearly wouldn't make it acceptable.
I am not sure that it is torture.....Are you?
__________________
Dreadsox is offline  
Old 06-26-2003, 02:36 PM   #8
ONE
love, blood, life
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Posts: 10,881
Local Time: 03:59 PM
Re: Re: Re: Safety and Justice...a fair tradeoff?

Quote:
Originally posted by DrTeeth

I was kinda hoping that the, in this case, US government applies the 'innocent untill proven guilty' rule because they believe it to be the foundation of a fair judicial system and not just because the constitution forces them to.
Why should we apply it when it hurts our ability to fight an enemy that does not fight by the conventional rules?

The Constitution does not apply to foreign soil? Why would it?
__________________
Dreadsox is offline  
Old 06-26-2003, 02:46 PM   #9
ONE
love, blood, life
 
FizzingWhizzbees's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: the choirgirl hotel
Posts: 12,614
Local Time: 08:59 PM
Quote:
The Constitution does not apply to foreign soil? Why would it?
But just because something isn't unconstitutional doesn't make it right.

In response to your earlier post, I do believe what people there are experiencing is torture. People are beaten and denied medical treatment. Two people have died already. People are denied sleep, which is a well-recognised way of torturing someone. They're kept in brightly-lit rooms 24 hours a day, again that's a recognised means of torturing a person. Maybe it isn't the most severe form of torture imaginable, but that certainly does not mean it is acceptable.
__________________
FizzingWhizzbees is offline  
Old 06-26-2003, 02:55 PM   #10
Rock n' Roll Doggie
Band-aid
 
DrTeeth's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: The Q continuum
Posts: 4,770
Local Time: 09:59 PM
Re: Re: Re: Re: Safety and Justice...a fair tradeoff?

Quote:
Originally posted by Dreadsox
The Constitution does not apply to foreign soil? Why would it?
I imagine that any written constitution is based on certain values. By not applying the constitution where they don't have to, this administration is clearly indicating that they don't necessarily agree with its contents.

In other words, if you agree with the values the constitution is based on, you should apply it even when you don't have to.

[childish illustration] I believe stealing is wrong, therefor I don't steal. Stealing has also been made illegal because my government thinks it is worng. If I am in a country where it isn't illegal, I still would't steal, because I think it is wrong.[/childish illustration]
__________________
DrTeeth is offline  
Old 06-26-2003, 03:08 PM   #11
Rock n' Roll Doggie
ALL ACCESS
 
sulawesigirl4's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Virginia
Posts: 7,416
Local Time: 03:59 PM
I guess I would be more interested in discussing the values behind this rather than whether or not we can rationalize legally what we are doing (which is, btw, very shaky on international grounds ie. Geneva Convention, etc). I very strongly feel that our moral authority and credibility is severely undermined when we stoop to these levels, even if we do it out of a good intention.

Maybe we could discuss the place of international law and international judiciary to keep all parties accountable. It seems to me that it's related. I would hope that if we feel that right and truth is on our side, then we have no reason to fear and nothing to hide. Instead, our government has been active in bullying, coercing and buying off other nations to keep our nation alone immune from the international rule of law. I think that's a big mistake that is going to come back to haunt us.
__________________
"I can't change the world, but I can change the world in me." - Bono

sulawesigirl4 is offline  
Old 06-26-2003, 03:14 PM   #12
Rock n' Roll Doggie
FOB
 
Lilly's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: back and to the left
Posts: 8,523
Local Time: 02:59 PM
Re: Re: Re: Safety and Justice...a fair tradeoff?

Quote:
Originally posted by DrTeeth
Another thing that disturbs me is that this is even blowing over to Europe, and more specific to the Netherlands, where our vice-president is quoted saying "...it is unacceptable that the rights of suspects should stand in the way of an effective anti-terrorism policy".



__________________


i think that regardless of the prisoner standards - be they POWs or non-combattants - there are indeed certain standards that should be applied to any human life.


the issue of the constitution being valid off american soil is moot. drteeth had it right when mentioning that any written constitution is based on shared values. these concepts are archetypal - freedom, liberty, happiness. how you get to them, what they mean, and other specifics are really the only thing that defines each country as different.

clearly a NEW geneva conference is needed that will make a set of rules to pertain to this type of warfare.


good thread, btw
__________________
Lilly is offline  
Old 06-26-2003, 03:21 PM   #13
Rock n' Roll Doggie
Band-aid
 
DrTeeth's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: The Q continuum
Posts: 4,770
Local Time: 09:59 PM
Re: Re: Re: Re: Safety and Justice...a fair tradeoff?

Quote:
Originally posted by Lilly
clearly a NEW geneva conference is needed that will make a set of rules to pertain to this type of warfare.
I can think of at least one country that won't be signing that.
__________________
DrTeeth is offline  
Old 06-26-2003, 03:33 PM   #14
Rock n' Roll Doggie
 
ouizy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: s p o r a t i c
Posts: 3,788
Local Time: 03:59 PM
I would hate to be hated here, but I have to agree fully with what Dread has said.

I do understand and appreciate Sula's position, however, I am to the point where I have to say that I cannot believe everything that I read.

If I do I would be under the impression that the US government, military, and corrections officers are violating our Enemy Combatants everywhere from Guantanimo Bay to Brooklyn to Afghanistan to New Jersey, and anywhere else they may be being held.

I cannot and will not believe this.

My question about all of this "innocent until proven guilty" stuff, is this: who is to say that we are even going to charge any of these people? It is not uncommon for the police department to hold suspicious people, question them, and then release them without charge. Why should we think that this is not happening in these detention centers? They are called detention centers for reasons. If in fact they are held and then let go without charge, let them then raise their complaints to the governments through the law. It is not against the law for us to hold them.

I do not believe the military is rounding up random people at will in Afghanistan for questioning at this point, not do I think this treatment is being done to the ones that they think have little to do with this. As for former Taliban, Al-Quaida etc, they are our enemy in the War on Terror and if you think the war is over because Saddam Hussein has skipped town, just take a look at the businessmen and women in Saudi Arabia who were just attacked by two cars of suicide bombers with links to Al-Quaida.

I believe in human rights, but I also believe in extracting information from those who are your sworn enemy if captured during a war.

Worldwide, we still are holding fewer "informants" than the 3000+ people who died a block and a half from where I am typing this, we have a right to ask questions and get the information we need to prevent anything like that from happening again.
__________________
ouizy is offline  
Old 06-26-2003, 03:35 PM   #15
Rock n' Roll Doggie
ALL ACCESS
 
sulawesigirl4's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Virginia
Posts: 7,416
Local Time: 03:59 PM
do the police hold suspects for over a year without charging them, letting them see a lawyer or anything?
__________________

__________________
"I can't change the world, but I can change the world in me." - Bono

sulawesigirl4 is offline  
 

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 03:59 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Design, images and all things inclusive copyright © Interference.com