T Nation

Guantanamo Inmates / Geneva Rights

I am very pleased with this decision, and it shows that persistent criticism of the current US government’s policies actually has helped:

US detainees to get Geneva rights
All US military detainees, including those at Guantanamo Bay, are to be treated in line with the minimum standards of the Geneva Conventions.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/5169600.stm

US says Guantanamo inmates have Geneva rights
The US today reversed policy when it said all detainees at Guant?namo Bay and all other prisoners in US military custody were entitled to protection under the Geneva conventions.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/guantanamo/story/0,,1818027,00.html

Makkun

What I find funny is that the government is finally moving towards more sophisticated stances that they were originally criticizing.

The world isn’t black and white. Diplomacy is the desired way to move towards solutions. Human rights are important.

Doesn’t anyone else find this ironic?

IMO, this raises many more questions than it solves:

-To whom is the Geneva Convention referring when using the term ‘unlawful combatant’? Until recently, it was a fairly well defined 750 people (give or take 20%).

-Is there a need for the Convention? These combatants weren’t signers of the GC, nor were they members of an army bound by the GC, nor were they acting in accordance with the GC. Further, nor is the USSC bound to be guided by the GC. Since non-members acting outside of it are protected under it and members acting within it aren’t necessarily bound to it, is it still binding at all or in need of repair?

-Does this set a dangerous precedent? Was McVeigh wrongly executed and actually protected under the GC? Could John Lee Malvo and John Allen Mohammed claim protection from this?

-Are we not actually under the rule of a powermongering oil baron who is ‘flirting with fascism’? Even though, IMO, the USSC acted outside its power, it still remains that our ‘ruthless leader’ is still bound by checks and balances.

About freakin’ time.

The richest and most powerful nation on the planet has no right to criticise the human rights record of any other nation when they openly flaunt or interpret human rights conventions to their own preference.

‘You started it’ or ‘you think WE’RE bad?’ are no defence.

In other news, I loved the conversation between Bush and Putin when Bush was criticising Russia’s democracy and pointed to Iraq as an example of how the COULD be…

From Reuters:

…Putin, a former KGB spy, often produces unexpected quips in an attempt to expose the weakness of his critics.

U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice have both criticised Russia this year. But President George W. Bush backed away from confrontation on Saturday, saying Russia had its own style of democracy.

But when Bush urged Russia “to promote institutional change in parts of the world like Iraq where there’s a free press and free religion”, Putin replied: “We certainly would not want to have the same kind of democracy as they have in Iraq, I will tell you quite honestly.”

[quote]lucasa wrote:
IMO, this raises many more questions than it solves:

-To whom is the Geneva Convention referring when using the term ‘unlawful combatant’? Until recently, it was a fairly well defined 750 people (give or take 20%).

-Is there a need for the Convention? These combatants weren’t signers of the GC, nor were they members of an army bound by the GC, nor were they acting in accordance with the GC. Further, nor is the USSC bound to be guided by the GC. Since non-members acting outside of it are protected under it and members acting within it aren’t necessarily bound to it, is it still binding at all or in need of repair?

-Does this set a dangerous precedent? Was McVeigh wrongly executed and actually protected under the GC? Could John Lee Malvo and John Allen Mohammed claim protection from this?

-Are we not actually under the rule of a powermongering oil baron who is ‘flirting with fascism’? Even though, IMO, the USSC acted outside its power, it still remains that our ‘ruthless leader’ is still bound by checks and balances.

[/quote]

It makes good anti-America/anti-Bush propaganda for many in the media but lucasa brings up good points. Do the majority of Americans even know what’s in the articles of the Geneva Convention or why? And nice how it only seems to applies to us. No one is screaming about the Geneva convention when soldiers and Western contractors are being beheaded in the Middle East. But it sure sounds good when it applies to the evil Bush Administration, doesn’t it.

[quote]clovely wrote:
It makes good anti-America/anti-Bush propaganda for many in the media but lucasa brings up good points. Do the majority of Americans even know what’s in the articles of the Geneva Convention or why? And nice how it only seems to applies to us. No one is screaming about the Geneva convention when soldiers and Western contractors are being beheaded in the Middle East. But it sure sounds good when it applies to the evil Bush Administration, doesn’t it.

[/quote]

Erm… You don’t think there’s been any outcry about the inhumanity over kidnappings and beheadings? What utter rubbish.

However, it doesn’t matter whether those who committed those acts signed up to the Geneva Convention or not. It matters that the self-appointed champions of democracy and the free-world lead by example.

And part one of that is respecting and obeying both the letter AND the spirit of the aforementioned convention. Which they have not done.

[quote]1-packlondoner wrote:
About freakin’ time.

The richest and most powerful nation on the planet has no right to criticise the human rights record of any other nation when they openly flaunt or interpret human rights conventions to their own preference.

‘You started it’ or ‘you think WE’RE bad?’ are no defence.

In other news, I loved the conversation between Bush and Putin when Bush was criticising Russia’s democracy and pointed to Iraq as an example of how the COULD be…

From Reuters:

…Putin, a former KGB spy, often produces unexpected quips in an attempt to expose the weakness of his critics.

U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice have both criticised Russia this year. But President George W. Bush backed away from confrontation on Saturday, saying Russia had its own style of democracy.

But when Bush urged Russia “to promote institutional change in parts of the world like Iraq where there’s a free press and free religion”, Putin replied: “We certainly would not want to have the same kind of democracy as they have in Iraq, I will tell you quite honestly.”

[/quote]

Of course not. Putin would not be elected.

Putin is fighting radical Islam in Chechnya much like we are fighting radical Islam in Iraq.

The difference is America does not want to swallow Iraq as Russia has swallowed Chechnya.

Bush and America actually want to give Iraqis self determination and Putin wants Chechnya under Russia’s bootheel.

I don’t know what point you are trying to make by quoting this evil man that supports North Korea and Iran in their quest for nuclear weapons but it shows you don’t have a good understanding of world events.

Why don’t you ask him if Chechnan rebels are being handled according to the Geneva Convention by Putin’s forces?

Last thing I read from Amnesty International they were not and were being treated far worse than American prisoners.

[quote]1-packlondoner wrote:

And part one of that is respecting and obeying both the letter AND the spirit of the aforementioned convention. Which they have not done.

[/quote]

The US has met both the letter and the spirit of the law.

Letter of the law:
The terrorists do not fit the profile of POW in the Geneva Convention. This is indisputeable.

Spirit of the law:
The Geneva Convention is meant to protect our captured soldiers in time of war. It is not because we are nice guys. It is because the deal is we treat their guys OKand they treat our guys OK. Since the terrorists torture and behead their captives it is obvious the GC does not protect our soldiers. As such it is counter productive to follow all the guidelines of the GC when the bad guys do not follow any.

It is a shame Bush caved in to political pressure. It is amazing that a politician actually had the fortitude to do the right thing in spite of the overwhelming misguided negative press. Of course it is too much to expect a politician to keep it up forever under the pressure.

Granting terrorists Geneva Convention rights they do not deserve is a mistake.

[quote]Zap Branigan wrote:
Of course not. Putin would not be elected.

Putin is fighting radical Islam in Chechnya much like we are fighting radical Islam in Iraq.

The difference is America does not want to swallow Iraq as Russia has swallowed Chechnya.

Bush and America actually want to give Iraqis self determination and Putin wants Chechnya under Russia’s bootheel.

I don’t know what point you are trying to make by quoting this evil man that supports North Korea and Iran in their quest for nuclear weapons but it shows you don’t have a good understanding of world events.

Why don’t you ask him if Chechnan rebels are being handled according to the Geneva Convention by Putin’s forces?

Last thing I read from Amnesty International they were not and were being treated far worse than American prisoners.[/quote]

As for Putin would not get elected… Who knows? No-one thought Hammas would either.

If Iraq was where Canada is, and had the resources Iraq currently does, I think maybe the US would be more than happy to engulf it. As for Geneva convention talk - well as I stated previously, saying ‘we’re not as bad as them’ is no excuse.

Far more pertinantly, as I said, ‘in other news’. I wan’t making a point. I was just saying it was funny.

Hope you enjoyed getting all that off your chest though.

There’s less to this than meets the eye. The Pentagon was merely re-stating to comply with the recent USSC verdict and extend the provisions of Common Article III to the detainees – and no one really thought they were going to refuse to comply with that.

However, there are supposedly bills working through Congress that would effectively evisercate that verdict, because it was based on an interpretation of a U.S. law, and it used that as a springboard to talk about the Geneva Convententions.

We’ll see what happens, but this bit of news doesn’t change the picture from when the USSC came down with Hamdan.

[quote]Zap Branigan wrote:
1-packlondoner wrote:

And part one of that is respecting and obeying both the letter AND the spirit of the aforementioned convention. Which they have not done.

The US has met both the letter and the spirit of the law.

Letter of the law:
The terrorists do not fit the profile of POW in the Geneva Convention. This is indisputeable.

Spirit of the law:
The Geneva Convention is meant to protect our captured soldiers in time of war. It is not because we are nice guys. It is because the deal is we treat their guys OKand they treat our guys OK. Since the terrorists torture and behead their captives it is obvious the GC does not protect our soldiers. As such it is counter productive to follow all the guidelines of the GC when the bad guys do not follow any.

It is a shame Bush caved in to political pressure. It is amazing that a politician actually had the fortitude to do the right thing in spite of the overwhelming misguided negative press. Of course it is too much to expect a politician to keep it up forever under the pressure.

Granting terrorists Geneva Convention rights they do not deserve is a mistake.[/quote]

You are fighting Al Queada. They are ‘supposedly’ Al Queada. Surely that therefore makes them combatants if not by traditional definitions (and this is no traditional war), then surely according to the spirit.

I understand your reasoning, but you need to understand it leaves a very sour taste in the mouth for everyone else when a country that puports to have the high moral ground in the war against the ‘axis of evil’ or some other comic-book sounding cliche like the ‘war on terror’ - and then acts in this way.

[quote]I understand your reasoning, but you need to understand it leaves a very sour taste in the mouth for everyone else when a country that puports to have the high moral ground in the war against the ‘axis of evil’ or some other comic-book sounding cliche like the ‘war on terror’ - and then acts in this way.
[/quote]

It just leaves a very sour taste in the mouths of most people when innocent women and children are blown up and our soldiers are tortured and beheaded. We so easily lose sight of what we’re dealing with here and it’s to our own peril.

[quote]clovely wrote:

It just leaves a very sour taste in the mouths of most people when innocent women and children are blown up and our soldiers are tortured and beheaded. We so easily lose sight of what we’re dealing with here and it’s to our own peril.
[/quote]

Whereas the families of those massacred in Fallujah and in so many other places in the region by US troops had it coming, right?

What are the current civilian death tolls in Iraq and Afghanistan? Are they somehow not innocents because they are muslims?

And if you want to talk about killing of innocents then I reckon Nagasaki and Hiroshima might just beat all.

I don’t approve of any of Al Queada’s actions, but you cannot have it both ways. To condemn people as being evil for killing civilians you CANNOT then do it yourself. If you condemn the mistreatment of your troops when captured, then you CANNOT mistreat the prisoners you have.

[quote]1-packlondoner wrote:
Whereas the families of those massacred in Fallujah and in so many other places in the region by US troops had it coming, right?

[/quote]

This just proves you are entirely full of shit. We did not massacre families in Fallujah although the terrorists target civilians every day.

American Marines lost their lives fighting door to door to try to keep civilian casualties down.

We could have carpet bombed Fallujah or blown it off the map with artillery.

Although Fallujah was absolutely loaded with terrorsts we risked and lost American lives and let many terrorists escape rather than massacre families.

You should absolutely be ashamed of yourself for spreading a lie like this.

[quote]Zap Branigan wrote:
You should absolutely be ashamed of yourself for spreading a lie like this.[/quote]

Agreed. That was weak as shit. Also, I’d like to add that our military showed amazing restraint during the heavy fighting in not destroying mosques which the insurgents used to hide weapons and themselves. We could have called in airstrikes and easily wiped the enemy out if we hadn’t given a crap as to what the social aftermath would have been.

[quote]Zap Branigan wrote:
1-packlondoner wrote:
Whereas the families of those massacred in Fallujah and in so many other places in the region by US troops had it coming, right?

This just proves you are entirely full of shit. We did not massacre families in Fallujah although the terrorists target civilians every day.

American Marines lost their lives fighting door to door to try to keep civilian casualties down.

We could have carpet bombed Fallujah or blown it off the map with artillery.

Although Fallujah was absolutely loaded with terrorsts we risked and lost American lives and let many terrorists escape rather than massacre families.

You should absolutely be ashamed of yourself for spreading a lie like this.[/quote]

Strange how everywhere else in the world it is known as the ‘Fallujah Massacre’.

I work in TV and occasionally in news and current affairs. I have a tape here given to me by a colleague (when I spoke up about it just as you have done to me) of Iraqi home videos from Fallujah that has never been aired in the west. Yes, there was a massacre and It was absolutely horrendous.

But you won’t ever be made party to that because of wartime restrictions on free speech and the like… Same over here as it is over there.

I quite like America. I don’t go around making shit up just to make a point. This happened. I have seen it with my own eyes.

I have signed the Official Secrets Act and various non-disclosure agreements but I will see if there is any way I can get permission to post some stills. Maybe blank out faces etc…

Off the back of seeing that, don’t talk to me about shame. I don’t know how the people who did what I saw them do there can live with themselves.

[quote]lothario1132 wrote:
Zap Branigan wrote:
You should absolutely be ashamed of yourself for spreading a lie like this.

Agreed. That was weak as shit. Also, I’d like to add that our military showed amazing restraint during the heavy fighting in not destroying mosques which the insurgents used to hide weapons and themselves. We could have called in airstrikes and easily wiped the enemy out if we hadn’t given a crap as to what the social aftermath would have been.

[/quote]

I agree that you COULD have just carpet-bombed all the mosques but if you firmly believe you didn’t purely because you were really special peace-loving guys, and not because of the political sensitivities and global outcry it would have caused, then I’m afraid you are very naive…

Oh Zap,

I can understand why that might have angered you because obviously you’ve not seen what I’ve seen on it and don’t believe me. But let’s move on from that for a sec. As I mentioned I’ll see what I can do to post something.

What are your thoughts on the rest of my statement? I’m not out for an argument here - just genuinely interested in the moral as well as political aspects.

[quote]1-packlondoner wrote:
I agree that you COULD have just carpet-bombed all the mosques but if you firmly believe you didn’t purely because you were really special peace-loving guys, and not because of the political sensitivities and global outcry it would have caused, then I’m afraid you are very naive…
[/quote]

There is nothing peaceful about shooting somebody.

One could argue that there was plenty of global outcry and political mess anyway. The commanders ordered house-to-house to minimize civilian losses, plain and simple. Some of our guys got killed for that.

But I can understand why you can’t appreciate this. You’re a warm beer-drinking limey. :stuck_out_tongue:

Question: in the tapes you saw, were any of the guys shooting at our troops wearing uniforms or distinctive signs which identified them as soldiers? I’ll bet you a cold beer they weren’t. This fact = no geneva convention protection, FYI. That would be article 4 if you want to look it up. :slight_smile:

A film you might well be able to download for more info is:

Fallujah: The Hidden Massacre which went out in Italy. The following is cut and paste but are some of the highlights of this fascinating documentary.

The film documents the use of weapons based on white phosphorus and other substances similar to napalm, such as Mark-77, by American forces.

The consensus opinion is that white phosphorus is not banned by Protocol III of the 1980 Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons. The protocol specifically excludes weapons whose incendiary effect is secondary, such as smoke grenades. This has been often read as excluding white phosphorus munitions from this protocol, as well. The United States is among the nations that are parties to the convention but have not signed Protocol III. (obeying the letter, if not the spirit again)

Graphic visual footage of the weapons being fired from helicopters into urban areas is displayed, as well as detailed footage of the remains of those supposedly killed by these weapons, including children and women. The filmmakers interview ex US military solider Jeff Englehart of Colorado who discusses the American use of white phosphorus, codenamed “Whiskey Pete”, in built-up areas, and describes the Fallujah offensive as “just a massive killing of Arabs.”

The film alleges that the US military deliberately targeted Iraqi civilians and children during the Fallujah offensive as part of its campaign to exterminate opposition to its occupation.

The filmmakers interview ex US military sniper Garret Reppenhagen, also from Colorado, who admits to murdering civilians on order from his commanders.

In fact, if you go to Wikipedia there is a link to download it. That should serve as a decent intro to what actually happened there.


Please believe me when I say this is not me saying America bad, Saddam good or whatever, or even saying that Brits haven’t behaved badly too.

But watch that and tell me you don’t understand the depth of emotion around the world about the hypocracy of what the US Administration says and what the US military does.

THAT is where I have an issue.