Re: A Good Offense

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Cheered me right up, Becks. Thanks Tharticle & ruling are most excellent news.

In addition to the other interrogations, the judge said he would throw out statements whenever a government witness is unavailable to vouch for the questioners' tactics. He also withheld a ruling on a key interrogation at Guantanamo in May 2003 until defense lawyers can review roughly 600 pages of confinement records provided by the government on Sunday night.

Once tortured & abused, without much hope or legal assistance, always in fear & despair. Nothing the defendant, and all the other defendants, said should be admitted.

But "his actions are terrible?" I have only heard about conspiracy and aiding and abetting, and the article didn't go into detail. Just the driver, wasn't he?


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-21-08 6:49 PM
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Legal question:Would President Obama have the power to pardon all the Gitmo POW's?


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-21-08 6:53 PM
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Legal question:Would President Obama have the power to pardon all the Gitmo POW's?

Yes.


Posted by: Ugh | Link to this comment | 07-21-08 6:58 PM
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Wouldn't have to. He could just let them go. They haven't been convicted of anything to be pardoned for.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-21-08 6:58 PM
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That was to Bob. Ugh's "Yes" is pretty much just as accurate.

Also, Bob, they're not POWs. If they were, we couldn't interrogate them in any even remotely coercive way. Or if they are POWs, we're violating the Geneva Conventions even harder.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-21-08 7:00 PM
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They haven't been convicted of anything to be pardoned for.

Neither was Nixon. Just sayin'.


Posted by: My Alter Ego | Link to this comment | 07-21-08 7:01 PM
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npr has been horrible lately.

Today, NPR discussed how Bush kept reasonably asking for appropriate rules to try detainees but those darn judges keep telling them that the rules are wrong.

"White House wants Congress to decide Rules, not judges!" How about White House keeps running afoul of the Constitution?!?!?!?!?!

Bastards NPRS


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 07-21-08 7:03 PM
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Oh, sure. But he wouldn't need to if he just wanted to let them go.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-21-08 7:04 PM
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Or if they are POWs, we're violating the Geneva Conventions even harder.

That's my position. Looks like there is some kind of war goin on out there, in Afghanistan etc. They may have started it, like the Japanese.

I guess they could be uncommon criminals.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-21-08 7:21 PM
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LizardBreath!


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 07-21-08 7:21 PM
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Would President Obama have the power to pardon all the Gitmo POW's?

He could, but he wouldn't.

And this is not in any way a criticism of Obama. Not even a President Kucinich would give a blanket pardon to all the Gitmo detainees. I think the best we could expect of any president is that he or she would immediately order a speedy and thorough review of the evidence against all detainees, then order that those against whom there is scant or no evidence be released, and that the rest be given fair and speedy trials. But in no universe are all the detainees going to walk.


Posted by: My Alter Ego | Link to this comment | 07-21-08 7:39 PM
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You know, we're liberals. Let's go with the script and ask that they be given new identities, monthly stipends, American citizenship, and special training in demolition science so that they'll be employable.

Hear that, Mr. O'Reilly? That's what liberals really want!

And falafels. We should give them all falafels.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-21-08 7:53 PM
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As LB says, discussing it in terms of pardons doesn't make a heck of a lot of sense. No trials, no convictions, and no plans to charge a majority. A more relevant question: there's a decent # who there's no real evidence against, and a risk of torture/persecution if sent back to their own countries. Other countries are not eager to fix this problem for us, especially as we keep claiming that most of these people are enemy terrorists even in cases where the evidence for this is pathetic. Would President Obama's administration consider asylum? Granting it to even a few people might convince allies to offer it to others....

I think the Afghans at least should have been treated as POWs (and some Afghans are clearly protected by the Civilian Convention). They all should have gotten Article 5 hearings under the POW convention for that matter, simply as a means of figuring out who everyone was--the inevitability that we would be capturing some civilians, and the implications of this, does not seem to have occurred to *anyone* during the initial intra-administration debate about the application of Geneva.


Posted by: katherine | Link to this comment | 07-21-08 7:56 PM
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crossed with Emerson. See how good I am at the script!


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 07-21-08 7:58 PM
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I will always believe that Guantanamo was primarily theater of cruelty for Bush's core constituency. After that it was a provocation against civil liberties. Gathering intelligence may have come third. Finding and punishing the guilty was a weak fourth.

By now, bureaucratic self-perpetuation may be number one, of course.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-21-08 8:01 PM
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the actions he's been charged with are terrible and if he's guilty, he should be punished.

Here's one of the problems with the whole conduct of this administration. He may have indeed done horrible, horrible things, but I wouldn't believe a word of it coming from anyone attached to this government. Too extreme of a position? Perhaps, but where are those poor misguided fools from Miami right now for instance? Directly fucking over the powerless to cow a nation and secure positions of control over wealth and privilege. I guess it's a story as old as the hills, but geez. Asylum at the end of some considered process is at least a nod towards justice, but could anyone lift that in these United States right now after these guys have been the monster under the bed for 5 years? Doubtful.

Emerson has it right in 15. Grim kabuki of the most shameless order.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-21-08 8:10 PM
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In reference to the article, I am abstractly wondering if the "exclusionary rule" and other rules of evidence are collective punishments. Of course it is viewed differently in a courtroom by lawyers, but I think large portions of society have wondered exactly that, why society or communities should suffer for the misbehavior of individuals in the justice system.

This abstract argument I am unable to construct deals specifically with my personal feelings. Presuming all things possible , would I be satisfied with Khalid Sheikh Muhammed spending his life in Marion while Bush & Cheney & Yoo etc were tried for war crimes?

I think not.

The torture was an offense against mankind, but it was first an offense against KSM, and KSM deserves a measure of justice, some redress and remedy. I think this is very important.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-21-08 8:22 PM
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Something I've wondered is how much of Administration overreaction and media complicity is explained by the fact that (because of the Pentagon attack and the other downed plane) the people involved felt a level of personal physical threat that was completely foreign to them. Dick Cheney feels that an epsilon level of threat to Dick Cheney requires the total destruction of our entire constitutional order.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07-21-08 8:25 PM
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Note re:17 I have little sympathy for KSM, and would have no problems had he been shot in Karachi.

I think I am ok with trials based on other evidence when the exclusionary rule discards evidence based on an improper search. I think. But a coerced confession? I do have a problem with the beating on a suspect for three days and then convicting the suspect on non-excluded evidence, evidence other than the confession.

I know there may be remedies other than letting the suspect walk, but KSM won't have much use for a million dollars in Marion.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-21-08 8:34 PM
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Although I am pretty sure they will try to hang KSM, so Marion may not be in the cards.

And I think Marion, as I understand it, is torture and a crime against humanity.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-21-08 8:37 PM
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Marion?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-21-08 9:21 PM
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Marion SuperMax.

Bit I guess Wah on Terra Priisoners are kept in Florence

My mistake


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-21-08 9:32 PM
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I'd be satisfied with letting KSM walk in addition to locking up Bush, Cheney, Yoo, et al, if that's what you're fishing for. Well, "satisfied" isn't quite right - I'd also want to see reparations paid to Iraq and Afghanistan. And my own wombat, since I don't care for ponies.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 07-21-08 9:38 PM
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stras, you don't seem like the kind of guy who would consider it possible to actually pay "reparations" to concepts like "Iraq" and "Afghanistan". Who would get the money?


Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 07-21-08 9:55 PM
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I'd be satisfied with burying KSM, Bush, and Cheney in the same ditch.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07-21-08 9:56 PM
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I think 18 is seriously onto something.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 07-21-08 9:58 PM
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I am not really fishing for revenge fantasies. Or looking for an argument.

I spend time thinking about how you deter nations, gov'ts, societies from going crazy/evil. Or allowing crazy/evil.

Or maybe motivating nations to do good, or change for the better. Entire nations, millions. Now that the nominee is decided, I'm kinda whirly-eyed.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-21-08 10:11 PM
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Who would get the money?

Some money handed to whatever government's there after we leave, whether it's friendly or not, on various regional levels. Some to various reconstruction, aid and development programs, preferably ones administered by people that have nothing else to do with the US government. Basically, the US has spent shitloads of money destroying these countries, and should spend shitloads doing what it can to rebuild them - from a long way away. I think we should do the same for Palestine and Lebanon too, right after we stop arming Israel, as long as I'm wishing for things that'll never happen.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 07-21-08 10:24 PM
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Stras you crazy bastard, it's USA number one.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-21-08 11:20 PM
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And I think Marion, as I understand it, is torture and a crime against humanity.

I'm glad we had the explanation, because I figured Marion for some small town in Indiana where KSM would be set up with a small yard and a job at the corner pharmacy mixing malts, and sentenced to die of boredom.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 07-21-08 11:25 PM
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7 -- I was struck by the speed with which Chief Judge Lamberth responded to AG Mukasey with a press release. I'm not sure I can recall ever before having read a press release from a judge.

Listening to the AG, you wouldn't think that all the cases are in a single court, that all judges but one had agreed to have a coordinating judge administer the cases (the one being very pro-Bush), that the coordinating judge had asked the parties to brief a set of core issues this week -- all over the objection of the prisoners (who are arguing for leaving the cases to individual judges). I guess in the alternative universe where DOJ isn't getting what it wants, procedurally, the AG's request to have Congress step in has some purpose other than stalling everything.

I wonder how the weather is in that alternate universe.


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 07-22-08 1:54 AM
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And the pre-emptive pardon talk begins (or at least begins publicly).

Let's hope Bush the Petulant gets in a snit and says "Why do we need all these pardons?!!? You all told me this was perfectly legal!!"


Posted by: Ugh | Link to this comment | 07-22-08 5:40 AM
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Let him give pardons. Those folks he pardons can't invoke the Fifth.


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 07-22-08 6:12 AM
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Yo can't pressure them to talk, either, though.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-22-08 6:17 AM
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Let him give pardons. Those folks he pardons can't invoke the Fifth.

That's correct, but I would rather see some of these people in fucking prison.

Yo can't pressure them to talk, either, though.

Bring them before Congress under subpoeana, subject them to probing and effective questioning (I can dream), hold them in contempt for any false/evasive answers, refer them to the DOJ for prosecution under an Obama administration. The pardon won't apply for contempt of congress/perjury.

Also, an Obama administration could release all the previously withheld memos, emails, documentation, videotapes, etc. and let the public outcry deal with the war criminals (as before, I can dream). An Obama administration could also withdraw any prior claims of executive privilege, though I'm not sure if an ex-President could assert the claim (one would think such privilege would run to the office, not the person -- anyone know?).


Posted by: Ugh | Link to this comment | 07-22-08 6:22 AM
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Based on what I've seen, Obama is into the middle way and the end of partisanship. That didn't do Clinton any good though, so maybe Barack will have a clue.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-22-08 6:33 AM
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I also wonder, to the extent Bush pardon's someone, say, 1 hour before his term is up, whether President Obama could immediately rescind the pardon.


Posted by: Ugh | Link to this comment | 07-22-08 8:22 AM
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37: The Presidential authority to pardon is unreviewable and (almost) unlimited. Only if you could get the courts, up to and including the SCOTUS, to agree that one of the pardonees is guilty of treason, could you undo a pardon.


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 07-22-08 8:33 AM
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Further to 38: by "undo a pardon", I mean secure a conviction against someone for acts that fall under the hypothetical preemptive pardon.

The really lousy precedent here is Gerald Ford's preemptive pardon of Nixon. Had the principle stood that pardons can only be issued to individuals for specific crimes that they have already been convicted of, we wouldn't have to worry about the issue at all.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 07-22-08 8:36 AM
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that doesn't excuse using language dishonestly to lump his actions in with genocide

Anyone remember "weapons of mass destruction"? How about "has harboured terrorists who have attacked the United States"?

Really, it's a mistake to assume even an iota of good faith with these people.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 07-22-08 8:39 AM
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39: Yes that action set the tone and precedent for any number of subsequent negative developments over the next 30+ years. But I can say that at the time it did not seem to be that big of a deal to me or most folks. Stupid me, stupid us.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-22-08 8:44 AM
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The Presidential authority to pardon is unreviewable and (almost) unlimited.

Well, unreviewable by the courts and congress, whether a subsequent President could, on the same day, undo a pardon given by his predecessor is, I think, a different and undecided issue. Nevertheless, I doubt Obama would even try it.


Posted by: Ugh | Link to this comment | 07-22-08 8:50 AM
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i heard an NPR story on Mukasey's desire to get Congress to pass laws to preempt the court, this AM, and i don't recall them mentioning that the "war crimes" against Hamdan weren't actually war crimes...

maybe i missed it, but i like to think that kind of thing would've stood out.


Posted by: cleek | Link to this comment | 07-22-08 9:37 AM
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