Re: Git-No

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But but but 9/11! Everything changed! Never forget! (Insert garish eagle-and-flag imagery here.)


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 05-19-09 9:04 PM
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Harry Reid, from the linked piece:

"You can't put them in prison unless you release them," he said. "We will never allow terrorists to be released in the United States."
Just when I think I understand how much Reid sucks, he goes and sucks a little more.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 05-19-09 9:06 PM
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It would be amusing if the Gitmo issue could force US prison reform, wouldn't it? Make our prisons work for teh terrorists, and as a byproduct finally confront longstanding systemic problems. A win-win! Clearly harsh rhetoric is needed to avert the possibility.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 05-19-09 9:11 PM
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Feinstein was on Maddow's show - I think, maybe it was another show - saying that we have prisons in the US that can handle terrorists. And that there are currently terrorists in some of those prison's cells. Probably still can't count on her vote, but it was good to see her making that point.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 05-19-09 9:12 PM
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If it's the prison system, given the amount of money we're spending towards Guantánamo, can't we just redirect some of that money and fix the damn prison system?

I don't know the numbers, but I'd be shocked if this wasn't off by many orders of magnitude. We don't spend that much on Guantánamo.

I'd really like someone to convincingly answer the question "The Guantánamo prisoners are uniquely worse than the worst homegrown prisoners because of ____" or "US prisons aren't equipped to handle the Guantánamo prisoners because of ____, even though they can handle the worst homegrown prisoners".

The Guantánamo prisoners are uniquely worse than the worst homegrown prisoners because they haven't been convicted in US courts, and have been treated in ways that makes such conviction almost impossible and their release extremely likely were their cases to come before US courts (including the fact that in many cases there's probably thin evidence of criminal activity in the first place), and oh, US courts have jurisdiction to hear cases filed by prisoners in US prisons.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05-19-09 9:12 PM
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On the jurisdiction question: could someone convicted and sentenced while outside the US to serve time at a prison inside the US then appeal the original conviction after arriving on US soil?


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 05-19-09 9:17 PM
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It's a distraction technique. Most of the big names out there arguing against this aren't really worried about the logistics of keeping Bad Scary People inside US borders at all. They just don't want to lose face, and they (correctly) perceive that moving prisoners to the US is another infinitesimal chink in the armor of "OhMyGodTheyAreUniquelyDangerousHomicidalManiacs UnlikeAnyOthersEverInThe HistoryoftheWorld".

If you move them here, you have to concede that they're just another type of prisoner, and we already have plenty of those. And it muddles the public perception of why these prisoners are not deserving of the same minimal rights we grant to others.

/end sarcasm


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 05-19-09 9:21 PM
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in many cases there's probably thin neither evidence nor even suspicion of criminal activity in the first place

Reid is right: for 90% of them, the first thing you'd have to do if you brought them to prisons here is release them. The Sixth Amendment would undoubtedly apply, which would kill the government's position in nearly every habeas case. Voluntarily bringing them into the US kills the government's position in Kiyemba (the ruling, cert currently pending, that courts can't order the government to present a GTMO prisoner in court). It ends the prohibition on applications for asylum -- GTMO is excluded from the immigration statutes.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 05-19-09 9:23 PM
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6: I'm stupid about international law, so happy to be corrected, but my sense is that yes, they could "appeal" (not technically the right word, but close enough), but the US court would respect the decision of the other tribunal so long as it possessed the usual indicia of being a bono fide and legitimate court (due process protections, etc.). But the US court generally wouldn't take a hard look at things (ie, the other court doesn't need to be structured exactly the same as ours; it would just need not to obviously be a kangaroo court.)

But this may be an unusual question of fact. Do any persons convicted and sentenced while outside the US serve time at US prisons currently? When/why would this generally occur?


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05-19-09 9:25 PM
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(Sorry, 7 should have made clear that "big names" meant the rhetoric of talking heads and politicians, not the actual legal questions, which luckily we have informed commenters available to explain.)


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 05-19-09 9:26 PM
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6 -- If a Canadian court convicted an American of a crime, and then the US concluded a deal whereby the sentence was served in the US? I don't know the answer to that, but I'm sure there is one.

GTMO alum David Hicks entered a plea deal in his Military Commissions case that had him serve the bulk of his sentence in an Australian jail.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 05-19-09 9:29 PM
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If by 6 you meant the Military Commissions, appeal is to the D.C. Circuit already. I don't think there would be any jurisdictional consequence if someone was moved from one military prison (GTMO) to another (Charleston) while his appeal was pending.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 05-19-09 9:33 PM
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Apparently it's called "Transfer of execution of sentence." A cursory Google gives me this (Word doc):

Under United States law (18 U.S.C. § 4100-4115), it is possible for a US citizen or nationals convicted of a crime in a foreign country to be transferred to the US where the person will serve the remainder of his or her sentence.15 The transfer of prisoners began with the International Prisoner Transfer Program of the United States in 1977 when the government negotiated the first in a series of treaties to permit the transfer of prisoners from countries in which they had been convicted of crimes to their home country.16 The program was designed to relieve some of the special hardships that fall upon offenders incarcerated far from home and to facilitate the rehabilitation of these offenders. A prisoner might be transferred to and from countries the US has negotiated a treaty.

Posted by: | Link to this comment | 05-19-09 9:35 PM
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Whoops, 13 was me.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 05-19-09 9:35 PM
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12: Yes, that was what I was wondering about - if we'd hear an argument that even after convicted a detainee would need to be kept outside the US because the rules would change if they were sentenced in the US. So Guantanamo would have to be kept open for whatever the length of the longest sentence was.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 05-19-09 9:40 PM
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11: Actually Hicks was in GTMO 2001-2007, then spent 9 months in jail in Australia. The case was certainly made that he *should* serve his sentence in Australia, but neither the Australian nor US governments covered themselves in glory in this matter.


Posted by: Nakku | Link to this comment | 05-19-09 9:41 PM
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Nearly all of Hicks tenure in GTMO was pre-conviction. His actual sentence was nearly all in Australia. Our Canadian friends ought to look at the little glory Australia can claim in the matter, and be more than a little embarrassed about their failure to extract Omar Khadr from the place.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 05-19-09 9:46 PM
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Where the hell did we put Timothy McVeigh?


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 05-19-09 9:47 PM
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"The Guantánamo prisoners are uniquely worse than the worst homegrown prisoners because of ____ a bunch of complete bullshit peddled by the GOP that, unlike every other shit-balloon they've been floating lately, is allegedly polling well."

Is my theory.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-19-09 9:48 PM
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I endorse Sifu's theory.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05-19-09 9:49 PM
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Weren't the prisons in Egypt where a lot of Zawahiri's people were recruited, after a failed Muslim Brotherhood uprising? Of course, on the other hand, I'd guess that in a US supermax, nobody gets to socialize enough to form extremist Koranic reading groups.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 05-19-09 9:49 PM
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18: the supermax in Florence, Colorado, along with the Unabomber and whatsisface the blind sheik who planned the first WTC bombing. In addition to being a human rights catastrophe in its own right, that's likely the most secure prison in the world, and the idea that somebody could escape (as has been suggested) is profoundly absurd.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-19-09 9:49 PM
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I was being rhetorical.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 05-19-09 9:51 PM
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22 is correct. Instead of being psychologically tortured in Guantanamo, they should be psychologically tortured like thousands of American citizens are, on American soil. On the other hand solitary confinement is the only way to psychologically torture them while simultaneously leaving no chance that other prisoners or guards will murder them and eliminate the problem/paradox/dilemma/embarrassment.

This all assumes they are guilty, which they aren't.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 05-19-09 9:52 PM
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23: well uh I uh me too. Totally.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-19-09 9:53 PM
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a human rights catastrophe in its own right

Indeed. Maybe eventually this country could get around to talking maturely about US prison conditions, but I reckon that the international spotlight that transferring GTMO detainees would shine on our Supermax systems would instead lead to...a not very mature reaction.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 05-19-09 9:55 PM
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Nah, people can always escape. Given a connection on the inside, and/or enough firepower on the outside, you can always get out.

"Can they escape?" is not the question we should be asking. Rather: "What earthly reason do we have to assume that a microscopic chance of escape should outweigh the other considerations?"

For example, those cited in 8. Lil' pesky things like, oh, not being guilty of anything.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 05-19-09 9:57 PM
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Given a connection on the inside

The very thing 23 hour a day isolation is intended to prevent.

Well, that and the prisoner's continued sanity, but you know. Side benefit.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-19-09 9:59 PM
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For example, those cited in 8. Lil' pesky things like, oh, not being guilty of anything.

See, that's just it. The security issue just provides a convenient dodge, and as long as you can stoke fear, why bother with inconvenient things like justice? Reid's statement was artfully done, I'll give him that.

About that supermax in Colorado: which state appalled Sayyid Qutb with its debauchery, starting this whole mess? Just to be safe, we should probably keep those guys out of Colorado.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 05-19-09 10:08 PM
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28: I should not be getting into a debate about this at midnight when I have to finish thank-you notes and go to bed, but no.

No, the point of supermax facilities is punishment, punishment, and punishment. The possibly-intentional side effect is that they send people insane. You can read ad infinitum on this topic. (I always recommend starting with James Gilligan, not to mention the absolutely outstanding Atul Gawande article in a recent New Yorker.)

But the rationale for supermax facilities was always the need for ever-escalating levels of punishment for so-called superpredators, who were a terrifying danger to society, other inmates, and guards.

If you want to break someone out of a supermax facility, you find a correctional officer (they don't like to be called guards) and you exploit a weak spot. It's not about getting buddy-buddy with an inmate; it's about a collaborator on the outside paying off a CO, or several.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 05-19-09 10:09 PM
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I don't think you're actually arguing with me, Witt. I'm not claiming that Supermaxes are anything other than horrific, and if I'm quoting rationales for keeping people isolated 23 hours a day, you can probably assume that I'm doing it as a bit of mordant humor.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-19-09 10:11 PM
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Ah, sorry, I thought you literally meant that prisoners making friends with guards was one of the stated public rationales for supermax. Mea culpa.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 05-19-09 10:14 PM
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Did you guys read about that prison escape in Mexico a couple days ago? Crazy. The investigators are looking hard at some of the prison officials for collaboration.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 05-19-09 10:15 PM
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Not the guards, but I think the idea of preventing prisoners from making friends with (and/or colluding or whatever) with each other is one of the stated rationales for that kind of lockdown.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-19-09 10:15 PM
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SIFU, YOUR TRANSPARENT JUSTIFICATIONS FOR BLOODY SHIRT WAVING ARE A TRANSPARENT FOR FIG LEAF FOR A OUTMODED REACTIONARY LUST FOR REVENGE.

GRANNY


Posted by: OPINIONATED GRANDMA | Link to this comment | 05-19-09 10:25 PM
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whatsisface the blind sheik who planned the first WTC bombing

Apparently, he's in NC at a Federal Medical Center, which are jails they park next to good hospitals for ailing prisoners, which I bothered to look up only because I've been to a Family Picnic Day(!) at the Minnesota FMC that's parked near the Mayo Clinic, and all the prisoners swore he was kept stowed away there.

(As an aside, Family Picnic Day, a less-visiting-room-style visit for very sick prisoners and their families ended after 9/11, at least at the MN FMC.)


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 05-19-09 10:30 PM
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36: Wait. Never mind. That article contradicts itself and also says he's at the Supermax. I guess they're keeping everyone guessing. Or it's wikipedia. Or both.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 05-19-09 10:33 PM
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... Is it something uniquely terrible about US prisons ...

The reason is the same as it has always been, to minimize the legal rights of the prisoners.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 05-19-09 10:34 PM
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37: they may have moved him back and forth IN A RAD SUPERMAX VAN THAT TURNS INVISIBLE AND NICHOLAS CAGE DRIVES AND IS MADE OF GUNS for medical treatment.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-19-09 10:35 PM
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Paging Wrongshore...summer-blockbuster script idea available. Aging male lead negotiable.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 05-19-09 10:39 PM
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Awesome! In my version, the dude won't be a GTMO prisoner--he'll be put in Supermax for blog comments he didn't write.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 05-19-09 11:07 PM
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(Who knew this pager would come in handy?)


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 05-19-09 11:07 PM
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||

I certainly hope this is true.

|>


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 12:15 AM
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I wonder why I used the "pause-play" ideograms when making an on-topic comment in a latent thread in the middle of the night?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 12:16 AM
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Many of Colorado's prisons are sited along the Arkansas River, from its headwaters in the Rockies to the eastern plains. Some of those places, including Buena Vista (pronounced Byoona Vista) and Canyon City, are pretty beautiful. Seriously, those cons get all the breaks.*

* I'm kidding, Witt. Really, I am.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 12:31 AM
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44: Because you're exceedingly polite, a slave to protocol even?


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 12:34 AM
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Sandow Birk did a series of paintings of California prisons (in the Hudson Bay style) which seem to indicate that they are, indeed, mostly in very beautiful places. It's a perq of nobody wanting you anywhere near them, I guess.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 12:37 AM
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46: I guess.

|>


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 12:37 AM
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48 wasn't very polite.

Ambinder's theory on how Obama's going to deal with DADT struck me as highly plausible. It's marginal value to my personal Obama hope-o-meter was... positive! On a subject on which I was already fairly positive that he'd get there in his first time, but anyow.

See, this comment should have had the pause-play marks. I'm just a mess.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 12:54 AM
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Plus, you didn't include a link to Ambinder! What's your damage?


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 1:35 AM
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I am filled with shame.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 1:42 AM
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Also there's the extra apostrophe above. Time to hit my losses and cut the hay.

Oh, darn.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 1:54 AM
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Torpedo the darns, Jetpack.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 2:00 AM
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I asked an American friend why she so resolutely supported the death penalty (said friend was pretty liberal and sensible in most ways) - and she told me quite seriously it was because of the high risk that murderers would escape and carry on their murdering ways.

At that I fell silent, and after a while she and her husband soliticiously changed the subject: it took a while before I realized that they thought they were being nice to me because I'd lost the argument, while I had just shut up because I couldn't think of a nice way to say how stupid I thought that argument was, or how ill-infoirmed she had to be justify killing people because of it.


Posted by: Jesurgislac | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 2:12 AM
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"You can't put them in prison unless you release them," he said.

AAAAAAAAAARRRRGHHH
*blam*


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 3:12 AM
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What this really, really needs is for the adminstration to release details on lots and lots of individuals (well, what it really needs is for the administration to go through whatever decent form of tribunal or trial it's going to before letting these people free and buying them townhouses in Newark) to debunk the 'worst of the worst' bit. As I understand it, the worst of what we're accusing most of the prisoners of doesn't make them Hannibal Lecter -- we were intentionally interrogating people we thought of as low level and unimportant because of the 'mosaic theory'.

It'd have to make the conversation much less silly if we were talking about individuals and the conduct each was accused of.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 4:07 AM
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What this really, really needs is for the adminstration to release details on lots and lots of individuals

First they need to sort out the details that are provably false, and those that come from utterly unreliable informants. It this respect, the government's conduct of the cases is, right now, this week,* totally shocking. If these lawyers worked for my firm, we'd fire them. If they didn't work for the government, they'd be looking at serious sanctions. Is there adult supervision of any kind?

* Nothing unique about this week. It's just that it's mid-May, and there's been plenty of time for DOJ to get a grip on itself.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 4:26 AM
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Gingrich explicitly made the argument in 5:

But setting this precedent that if you get picked up by Americans -- I mean, the Somalian who was recently brought here who's a pirate -- I mean, if you get picked up by the Americans, you show up in the United States, a lawyer files an amicus brief on your behalf for free, a year later you have citizenship because, after all, how can we not give you citizenship since you're now here, and in between our taxpayers pay for you -- this is, I think -- verges on insanity."

And then they'll buy Cadillacs when they're on welfare!
The most disgusting aspect of "law and order" politicians is the assumption that if you're released or acquitted after being accused (or even merely detained) by the state that somehow you got off on a "technicality." And they accuse liberals of being fascists?


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 4:36 AM
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54: I asked an American friend why she so resolutely supported the death penalty (said friend was pretty liberal and sensible in most ways) - and she told me quite seriously it was because of the high risk that murderers would escape and carry on their murdering ways.

There was an oped in the DMN a few years back explicating the theory that the real reason for the death penalty is that prison is bad. See, if a guy kills somebody, he'll go to jail for life. And if he's in jail for life, his soul will be corrupted by the awfulness and viciousness of prison and punishment, by associating with other evil men, and so on. Therefore, someone in prison for life will become less and less likely over time to attempt to come to Jesus and save their soul from damnation. Whereas, if there's a death penalty, the killer, with the end of his life heaving into immediate view, will have a strong incentive to find Jesus and save himself from Hell. Which is all that's really important. So, therefore, the death penalty saves souls from hell and we should speed it up and stuff.

And fair enough, when Carla whatshername Karla Faye Tucker became a committed Christian, various Christian groups came out and supported having her sentence commuted. Bush reportedly laughed at this and refused any commutation.

max
['So. Waterboarding for Jesus!']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 4:38 AM
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||

Can we have a separate thread discussing California? Anyone there planning to push for a Constitutional Convention? Can you all please push for some early prisoner release?

|>


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 4:42 AM
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Can you all please push for some early prisoner release?

I was thinking of that -- as a budgetary measure, declare a jubilee year and open all the prison doors. Let 'em all go.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 4:50 AM
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Example: see this guy? Since the story was written two or three more district judges have completely rejected evidence from him as completely unreliable. Government response? Continue to rely on him in communicating details to foreign governments, and, incredibly, relitigate his credibility in case after case after case. But for God's sake don't let anyone take his deposition, and don't subject him to cross-examination.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 4:55 AM
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58: Roughly quoting, "When people talk about criminals getting off on a technicality, they're generally referring to a violation of the constitution."


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 5:08 AM
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30: Yes, we've all seen X-Men 2.

61: Immanentize that eschaton!


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 5:14 AM
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The idea that american prisons aren't secure enough for these so-called terrorists is absolutely ludicrous. And I also disagree with the notion that as soon as these guys got into us prisons they'd be released. There's the convenient problem of immigration. I have former clients who finally got out on parole only to go straight from prison to immigration detention. I guess charleycarp is saying that they would be eligible for asylum? I dunno, I have a really hard time seeing any immigration judge grant those cases. But I don't know much about asylum cases, only that it's harder to get than you'd think.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 7:39 AM
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It's really hard to get asylum, and it's not automatic citizenship in any case.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 7:48 AM
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I can't recall who, but some relatively prominent nutjob had suggested we stick them all in Alcatraz. The prevailing idea seems to be that our detention policy should be based upon the assumption that our enemies are unable to swim.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 7:59 AM
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Honest to god, I think the Gitmo thing is my last straw. I've been alternately frustrated and disgusted with Senate Dems and Obama (Obama largely because of the civil liberties shit, but also for utterly failing to whip the Senate - AFAIC, he should be pulling Bayh into a meeting and telling him that, on Issues A, F, and I, if Bayh doesn't vote for Obama, Obama will personally campaign against him), and this shit - this utter failure to stand up to stupid, cowardly BS spouted by the discredited right - makes me ready to give up.

I can't believe I expected anything from these people.

Locally, 2 underdog progressives just got elected to City Council, making 4 of 9, with at least some of the other 5 amenable to progressive positions. I think my politics are about to get a lot more local.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 8:30 AM
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Oh, and I'm also disgusted over the stupidity of the guns in parks thing. It's just so fucking childish, and so pathetic that the Dems couldn't quash it (if it matters, then put it in a standalone bill. Oh, what's that? You could never pass it as a standalone bill? Then fuck off).


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 8:43 AM
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61

I was thinking of that -- as a budgetary measure, declare a jubilee year and open all the prison doors. Let 'em all go.

Let the likes of Sirhan Sirhan and Charles Manson out? Not I think a popular position.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 9:30 AM
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69

Oh, and I'm also disgusted over the stupidity of the guns in parks thing. It's just so fucking childish, and so pathetic that the Dems couldn't quash it (if it matters, then put it in a standalone bill. Oh, what's that? You could never pass it as a standalone bill? Then fuck off).

Apparently it is supported by majorities in both the House and Senate which makes it hard to quash.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 9:32 AM
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Let the likes of Sirhan Sirhan and Charles Manson out?

It would drive home the point that maybe the good citizens of California should quit gutting their own state's ability to raise revenue. I have a really hard time feeling sorry for California. One hundred percent their own idiotic doing.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 9:39 AM
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72: do you at least feel sorry for the sensible people in California being held hostage by the idiotic majority?

That's still a hell of a lot of people. Not to mention, California's problems could easily end up hurting the rest of us, depending on how things shake out.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 9:42 AM
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72 reflects my feelings about this and the water situation as well. California desperately needs adult supervision.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 9:47 AM
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I wasn't saying that everyone should be let out--just some of the 3 strikes and you're out folks whose 3rd crime was shoplifting.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 9:50 AM
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68.1 gets it exactly right. I spent my whole bus ride home just reading and reading that NYT article, audibly saying "What the fuckFuck."


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 9:53 AM
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I do agree that California should probably just be declared a failed state, and taken over administratively by the feds.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 9:54 AM
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Cleaning up after Bush: Send the detainees to live in Preston Hollow.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 10:04 AM
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I can't recall who, but some relatively prominent nutjob had suggested we stick them all in Alcatraz.

I believe the reasoning behind that was HA HA WE"LL SET THEM LOOSE IN NANCY PELOSIES DISTRICT TAKE THAT LIBRULZ!!!!!1!!


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 10:04 AM
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do you at least feel sorry for the sensible people in California being held hostage by the idiotic majority?

Well sure. Jesse Helms was my senator for 30 years, much to my chagrin. But governance by ballot initiative is such a blisteringly stupid idea, especially in a state that large, that they're getting exactly what you'd expect out of the process: stupid governance.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 10:09 AM
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78: Cleaning up after Bush: Send the detainees to live in Preston Hollow.

Yeah, there ain't no good open spaces around there. Put them in Highland Park, on the SMU campus.

max
['Maybe they can recruit some for the football team.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 10:11 AM
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being held hostage by the idiotic majority

We're being held hostage by a minority, who have a ridiculous amount of veto power because we incrementally backed ourselves into truly fucked governance.

I would, of course, love a thread on California's situation. I'd chat in this one, but the original topic is important enough that I don't want to hijack.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 10:31 AM
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Actually, we could easily house all the detainees at Tamms, Illinois' supermax. It's a horrible, horrible place, and it's way under capacity. Plus it has the advantage of being in Barack Obama's home state.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 10:35 AM
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What have we done with POWs from past wars? Can't we do that? A separate POW camp or something?

Of course, that would require reclassifying these people from "detainees" to "POW".... but if we are pretty much done with torturing them, I don't see the harm in that.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 10:38 AM
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With POWs, you hold them in camps, under Red Cross monitoring, until the war ends. Then you send them back home.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 10:43 AM
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85 sounds reasonable to me. All we have to do is figure out how we will know when the "war" is over.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 11:05 AM
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86: The War on Terror will be over when nobody is terrified any longer. Duh.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 11:15 AM
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So let's torture the terror right out of everyone.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 11:17 AM
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What do we do with foreign nationals released from prison in America (the relevant case is for a miscarriage of justice, but I imagine that the answer would be the same as for someone who completed a legitimate prison term) who their home countries don't want back? I'd be amazed if this has never happened at all, but I'd also be surprised if it was common enough in the past few decades that we have a standardized policy for it. What do we do with people without a country in general?

Absent any other answer, the default seems to be that we put them through the same reintegration-into-society programs as Americans released from prison. (Not that those are well-funded or taken seriously or anything.) Which would mean setting them free in America. Which is ridiculous, but if not that, then what?


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 11:19 AM
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Apparently the Tom Hanks movie The Terminal was based on the true story of an Iranian guy, exiled for protests against the Shah. After a few years as a refugee in Belgium, he won the legal right to live with family in the UK but, while in Charles de Gaulle airport on the way there, lost the paperwork proving it. England wouldn't take him without a passport, France couldn't let him enter the country without a passport either but couldn't make him leave the airport since he had got there legally, and under Belgian law a refugee can't come back once they leave voluntarily. They made an exception for him, but a very minimal one that would close the door on any chance of ever getting to England.

He spent 18 years in the airport.

The people in Gitmo are just like this, except a lot of them have been tortured, some of them actually should be in jail somewhere but the legal cases against them are farcical, they got to Gitmo because of not just red tape but actual malice and prejudice on the part of the U.S., and there are a few thousand of them. Thanks, Bush!

(FTR, Reid sucks, but this might be too much of a mess for a politician like LBJ.)


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 11:53 AM
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Which would mean setting them free in America. Which is ridiculous, but if not that, then what?

It's not even ridiculous! Set them free in America. Sounds appropriate to me.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 11:59 AM
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82: I don't think you're getting your separate thread, Megan, and this conversation is obviously dead anyway. I'd love to hear your thoughts on California's situation.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 1:01 PM
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Since we're on the topic of prisons: Michael Vick!

My prediction is that he'll play again, but the erosion of skill will be as severe and as obvious as we saw with the pre- and post-incarceration Tyson.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 1:14 PM
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91: Considering that a nontrivial fraction of them actively hated the US and wanted to kill Americans *before* entering Gitmo, I'm going to have to go with "no thanks." Releasing the prisoners from the Bush/Cheney Gulag into the US virtually guarantees the murder of Americans.

There are completely innocent people held at Gitmo, but let's not lose sight of the fact that there are also quite a few who were active anti-American militants when they were captured. Between torture and the general indifference by the CIA and the military to collection of evidence there is no way that even the guilty could be convicted under US law.

The hysteria, cowardice, and brutality of Bush/Cheney have created a problem that does not have a good solution.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 1:16 PM
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93, not quite as obvious, as the helmets worn during gameplay preclude any face-biting.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 1:18 PM
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Between torture and the general indifference by the CIA and the military to collection of evidence there is no way that even the guilty could be convicted under US law.

True, and when something similar happens in less controversial, criminal situations, painting with a broad brush of cours,e it's called a mistrial, the alleged perp walks free, and we count on the fruit of the poisonous tree doctrine to prevent too many recurrences.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 1:21 PM
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94: A non-trivial fraction of Americans hate America and want to kill Americans. And a non-trivial fraction of 300 million far outnumbers a non-trivial fraction of 300, if I remember my high school arithmetic correctly.

There is a perfectly good solution: set them free in America, pay them generous financial compensation for the years they spent in extra-judicial imprisonment, and treat them just like you treat your own citizens - subject them to warrantless surveillance any time the government decides they want to know what they're saying and doing, on account of their being dangerous, dangerous Muslim types.


Posted by: Jesurgislac | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 1:30 PM
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there are a few thousand of them

I think there are fewer than 250 detainees left at Guantanamo.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 1:34 PM
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we count on the fruit of the poisonous tree doctrine to prevent too many recurrences.

On the other hand, we can also rely on the current supreme court to gut any "fruit of the poisonous tree" arguments.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 1:35 PM
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90:
I do not understand the combination of "some of them actually should be in jail somewhere" and "the legal cases against them are farcical". Is it radical to believe that someone ought to be in prison ONLY IF there is a non-farcical legal case against them? In the interests of preserving political freedom (aka: a life worth living, not just bare life, as one would have in any tyranny), we ought to restrict our epistemology to what can be captured in the legal net. Sorry, but the alternative is being afraid w/o proof, which is just silly. "Suspected terrorist" means absolutely nothing if there is no good legal case for the suspicion.

I just can't seem to wrap my mind around this odd fear of suspected terrorists. Do these people have any idea how dangerous driving in a car is? Do they wet the bed everyday over the fact that OJ Simpson is free and walking around, OMG in your very neighborhood?


Posted by: Currence | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 1:35 PM
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100
I do not understand the combination of "some of them actually should be in jail somewhere" and "the legal cases against them are farcical". Is it radical to believe that someone ought to be in prison ONLY IF there is a non-farcical legal case against them?

Not radical at all. I'll take the blame for writing too glibly, if you want. "Some of them actually should be in jail somewhere" should be something like "some of them actually have committed acts which, even given due process, probably would have resulted in jail sentences."


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 1:40 PM
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OJ Simpson is free and walking around

OJ's been in prison since December on a 9-year minimum sentence.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 1:40 PM
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In the past, I believe we paid off Albania to take some of the "we know these guys are innocent by we can't let them live in the USA" prisoners our hands. Maybe we can move the rest of them through some kid of reverse auction among foreign governments?


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 1:45 PM
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97.last: And place them under 24 hour protection to keep them from getting offed by the local right wing nutjobs. Alternatively, don't, and let nature take its course. Liberals get to feel good about letting them out and conservatives get to feel good about killing them.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 1:50 PM
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102:
Good catch. Were they wetting the bed prior to December?

Nevermind, I think I've figured it out. It's alright to be a "tough guy" -- a bed-wetting coward -- if that means locking brown people in cages for no good reason or crushing people's testicles to get false information, etc. But, increasing taxes to pay for a social safety net to protect society's most vulnerable and weak is... for the liberal nannies? Bah, this makes no sense. Maybe if we crush the testicles of people who don't pay taxes, then it would be patriotic... or something? State mental health institutions are being shut down for lack of funding = more mentally ill on the street = the social safety net and the safety of whites who matter are not two separate issues. Surely there's a way to make this argument. Oh, I've got it: TAXES PAY FOR PRISONS. (I can't fathom people who get more pleasure from the prospect of inflicting pain than the prospect of helping others. Looking into the abyss, I guess.)


Posted by: Currence | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 1:51 PM
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OJ's been in prison since December on a 9-year minimum sentence

So I can take my autograph collection out of the safe deposit box?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 2:15 PM
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Maybe we can move the rest of them through some kid of reverse auction among foreign governments?

So we basically announce that we'll be dropping KSM off in whichever country pays us the least?

I think I see a funding source for UHC.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 2:17 PM
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I see Nauru winning these reverse auctions, then all its inhabitants leaving for Australia the day the psychologically devastated terror suspects touch down.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 2:22 PM
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Meh. Release the innocent ones into America (Obama could do this tomorrow if he wanted to, funding or no funding for "closing Gitmo"); try the ones (if any) we have enough non-tainted evidence for such that we think we can obtain a conviction in the U.S. in federal district court; and if there really is a "middle category" that are too dangerous to release in the U.S. and yet we don't have enough non-tainted evidence to convict, drop them off in secret on a road in the country where we picked them up with $1,000 in cash (or the local currency equivalent) and a bag full of food (I'm assuming they wouldn't be instantly killed by the local gov't/populace).

But this "special process" for a "special class of people" shit has got to be shit-canned right quick.


Posted by: Ugh | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 2:40 PM
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At this point my fantasy is that whatever the new military commissions process is will be a way of blessing the release of the prisoners against whom there is no case -- they don't think they can get away with simply letting them go, so they want a judicial finding of innocence. But I'm grasping at straws here.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 2:48 PM
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What do we do with foreign nationals released from prison in America (the relevant case is for a miscarriage of justice, but I imagine that the answer would be the same as for someone who completed a legitimate prison term) who their home countries don't want back?

In case anyone hasn't answered this yet: we put them in immigration detention for a spell while we try to deport them. We used to just keep them in immigration detention fairly regularly, then at some point the Supreme Court said we couldn't do that.

So then we let them go.

There are, I'm sure, hundreds of thousands of Cubans running around in America for whom this is true. They were convicted of crimes of "moral turpiture", which is a deportable offense even if they were here legally. But Cuba wouldn't take them back, and we couldn't hold them in immigration detention forever, so then we had to let them go.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 3:00 PM
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My house painter was deported for moral turpentine.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 3:04 PM
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That should be turpitude.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 3:05 PM
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Not only was that a terrible joke, but I'm also my only house painter.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 3:05 PM
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Alright, paging ToS: Feinstein, of all people, has spoken out on this topic, on the side of sanity.

Yes, we have maximum security prisons in California eminently capable of holding these people as well, and from which people -- trust me -- do not escape. So I believe that this has really been an exercise in fear-baiting. I hope it's not going to be successful.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 3:09 PM
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114 was tasteless.

(Actually, turpentine tastes horrid.)


Posted by: Jesurgislac | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 3:12 PM
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115 looks a lot like 4.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 8:25 PM
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But with value added, I should say.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 8:25 PM
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eb it's just too tempting to plagiarize you.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 8:26 PM
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Committing a plagiarism, taking anything one can lay hands on, even though it belongs to another, obviously leads to the second part of the dream, in which I am treated like the overcoat thief who for some time plied his trade in the lecture halls. I have written the word plagiarism - without definite intention - because it occurred to me, and now I see that it must belong to the latent dream-content and that it will serve as a bridge between the different parts of the manifest dream-content. The chain of associations - Pelagie - plagiarism - plagiostomi - fish-bladder - connects the old novel with the affair of Knodl and the overcoats, which obviously refer to an appliance appertaining to the technique of sex.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 8:31 PM
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110 -- As opposed to the old military commission system which was a mechanism for releasing people convicted of war crimes.

Next case up is Khadr. That one seems pretty problematic to bring in an ordinary criminal court, and it sounds like there may be reasonable doubt about whether he actually threw the grenade.

I don't know if it's hit the wires yet, but they're bringing one fellow up to NYC for trial in the SDNY. He was indicted back in 2004 for the African embassy bombings.


111 -- When Judge Urbina ordered the government to produce the Uyghurs in his courtroom (and sent a team of federal marshalls down to GTMO to collect them) he made it pretty clear that the immigration folks were not to fuck with them.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 9:35 PM
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121: Even if Khadr did throw the grenade, they are charging him with terrorism for what was essentially an act of war. A US soldier is a legitimate military target; killing one in battle - however objectionable that may be - is not a terrorist act.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 10:02 PM
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The prisoners seem intuitively to be walking-atom-bomb super-escapologists because we kept them at Gitmo, this mysterious place off the US mainland. Of course this was really just because the country was being run by madmen drunk on fear-power and Gitmo was thought of as a legal black hole where we could do anything we wanted to them. But it also created a psychological impression that these were the guys who could only be held by Devil's Island, so to speak, and that was probably part of the intended effect.


Posted by: Matt McIrvin | Link to this comment | 05-20-09 10:06 PM
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"But what are we supposed to tell the widow?"


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 2:14 AM
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Whee! Obama considers Preventative detention.

I guess we're fucked then.


Posted by: Ugh | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 4:23 AM
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re: 125

He's running the 'Blair' playbook like clockwork, it's almost scary.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 4:26 AM
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126 - but he's playing "the long game", so presumably the next step is to repeal the 22nd Amendment.


Posted by: Ugh | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 4:35 AM
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Even if Khadr did throw the grenade, they are charging him with terrorism for what was essentially an act of war.

There is the issue of not wearing uniforms, which muddies the water a bit. Not that I really know what I'm talking about


Posted by: Matt F | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 4:42 AM
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126. It gives me no pleasure at all to point out that I was shouted down by everybody except Emerson when I noted this nearly a year ago.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 4:42 AM
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re: 129

As was I, and as was dsquared [and maybe alex, too?]. All of us pointed out the parallels, and the likelihood of Obama taking a Blair-like trajectory. But yeah, no pleasure in it. It's shit when you discover that the democratic process is largely worth shite-all.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 4:48 AM
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Yeah, realizing that 'infinitely better than the alternative' is still pretty amazingly bad is very depressing.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 4:55 AM
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128:Khadr was also only 15 at the time he may or may not have thrown the grenade, which meant legally he should have been treated as a child who had been made a victim of the conflict: international law is pretty clear that children caught up in wars deserve support and help, not imprisonment/punishment.

This 15-year-old boy is one of those people Cheney was damning as "the worst of the worst" back when Guantanamo Bay was being set up: he's now spent about a third of his life in Guantanamo Bay.


Posted by: Jesurgislac | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 4:59 AM
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It's not that he wasn't going to follow the Blair line, it is that the Blair line is better than what we've had for 30 years, better than what our immediate choices were, and quite likely as good as we're going to do over the next 15-20 years. And even then it was something of a near run thing.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 6:10 AM
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Detention policy is one of the few areas where Republicans can get some traction with their fear-mongering. I'm pretty disgusted with what looks from the outside like astonishingly poor political management. Then again, maybe there is a pony down under the surface somewhere.

Moving the prosecution of the one guy to NYC is a real step forward, and a deserved poke in the eye to our solons.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 6:19 AM
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128: I have very little respect for the uniform requirement. It was created to favor imperial armies over local insurgencies. At the behest of imperialists.

The patriots at Lexington didn't wear uniforms. The kids in Red Dawn didn't wear uniforms. Were they terrorists? I think not.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 7:16 AM
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Well, except for the kids in Red Dawn, who were.

I don't think the uniform requirement is hard and fast -- I seem to recall that a force that doesn't have uniforms is still covered as legitimate combatants, or whatever the term is, so long as they're openly carrying weapons. The point is to distinguish someone who's openly a combatant from someone who's concealing themselves among the civilian population, not to privilege people who can afford snazzy matching outfits.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 7:52 AM
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129-131: several people around here were predicting this outcome. Obama was very clear from 2006 on that he would moderate / tone down but not end war on terror type policies. Really, Guantanamo Bay is a complete sideshow compared to expanding the war in Afghanistan, not to mention potentially cozying up to Netanyahu.

This administration's deepest priorities are basically domestic -- health care reform, global warming legislation, and a more equitable tax structure. Plus the stimulus would absolutely not have happened under a Republican.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 8:02 AM
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135: LB's right, Spike's wrong. The GC says that the treatment-of-prisoners-of-war rules also apply to "Inhabitants of a non-occupied territory, who on the approach of the enemy spontaneously take up arms to resist the invading forces, without having had time to form themselves into regular armed units, provided they carry arms openly and respect the laws and customs of war". (3 GC 4:6) So the kids in Red Dawn certainly counted.

The traitors at Lexington would not have been covered by this, because it wasn't an international conflict, but they would still have been entitled to humane treatment as laid down in article 3, and to a fair trial for their crimes.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 8:03 AM
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There is the issue of not wearing uniforms, which muddies the water a bit. Not that I really know what I'm talking about

Doesn't matter. The US was an invader, and you are very much allowed to fuck up invaders if you wear a uniform or not, as long as you are a popular resistance etc.

(also, when you realise that what passes for left in the UK still doesn't meet basic standards of human rights... (One wants to become a Republican human rights query quickly,)


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 8:17 AM
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) and then one realises that the US is even worse!

(And one can't do parenthesis or apostrophes,,,)


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 8:19 AM
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||

Disappointed not to find a single Emerson comment in this Crooked Timber thread.

|>


Posted by: Tom Scudder | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 8:26 AM
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OK, Obama is currently giving an excellent speech on the very topic of this thread . Perhaps we should read the man's words before excoriating him.

Love to see the views of Charley and others on the principles and choices laid out in this speech.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 8:29 AM
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138: If its wrong to shoot up a column of Soviet/Cuban occupiers of rural Colorado, I don't want to be right.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 8:32 AM
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Lots of it is good. This, on the other hand, sucks:

Finally, there remains the question of detainees at Guantanamo who cannot be prosecuted yet who pose a clear danger to the American people.

I want to be honest: this is the toughest issue we will face. We are going to exhaust every avenue that we have to prosecute those at Guantanamo who pose a danger to our country. But even when this process is complete, there may be a number of people who cannot be prosecuted for past crimes, but who nonetheless pose a threat to the security of the United States. Examples of that threat include people who have received extensive explosives training at al Qaeda training camps, commanded Taliban troops in battle, expressed their allegiance to Osama bin Laden, or otherwise made it clear that they want to kill Americans. These are people who, in effect, remain at war with the United States.

We can't lock people up forever because they make us nervous. That's got to be a firm principle, and Obama's not stating it as such. My whirlyeyed hope is that they won't determine that anyone belongs in that category (hope. Not expectation), but defining it as a legitimate category of people is evil and dangerous in itself.

But, like the curate's egg, parts of the speech were excellent.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 8:35 AM
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143: Your health service in Colorado would improve noticeably if Cuba were running it. As would the quality of your cigars.


Posted by: Jesurgislac | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 8:36 AM
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143: I actually don't remember what the Red Dawn kids did -- they might have been totally legit by the laws of war. I was just being a jerk.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 8:36 AM
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Hey, LB, I agree completely (144). I was actually going to quote exactly that paragraph as the most objectionable part of the speech, but decided I'd just wait for other people's views.

But man, the a lot of that speech is terrific -- a clear statement of values on torture and law.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 8:37 AM
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These are people who, in effect, remain at war with the United States.

Being optimistic here, but this leaves the POW solution open.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 8:37 AM
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143: Your health service in Colorado would improve noticeably if Cuba were running it. As would the quality of your cigars

I actually don't think either of those things are true, at least if we are talking about the actually existing Cuba rather than some non-embargoed hypothetical.


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 8:43 AM
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147: Oh, it is. It's been so long since decent, humane views on what's right and wrong in these matters even got lip service that the rest of the speech had me cooing with whirlyeyed adoration.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 8:47 AM
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Perhaps we should read the man's words before excoriating him.

You must be new to the interwebs.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 8:47 AM
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Wrong, wrong wrong. But Dick Cheney is on the TV (I'm in an airport, and stuck) being wronger at a level than almost, but does not quite excuse it.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 9:25 AM
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Of course, it all depends on how they populate the categories.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 9:29 AM
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Ummm, what the fuck are you talking about, Charley?


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 9:31 AM
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154: 144, I assume, and related stuff. What Obama is saying is wrong, Cheney being far wrong almost but not quite excuses him, and a great deal will depend on which prisoners they assign to which categories. Having a "preventative detention" category sounds bad, but if that category winds up having no prisoners actually in it when all is said and done, then that would be very good news and a rebuke to the fear-mongerers. (Except to the extent that that creates a framework that could one day be abused, I guess.)


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 9:38 AM
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Null sets, that's what I'm thinking about.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 9:40 AM
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Or, what Cyrus said.

The laundry list given for preventive detention is pretty bad. But I don't know how scared his people are really going to be, as time goes on. For example, is O really scared of the Saudi guy who surfaced in Yemen as the no. 2 guy in AQ of Yemen? (The guy who put out a press release because AQ wants to prevent the US and Yemen from reaching a deal for the release of prisoners). The guy who thereafter got a call from his mother, who told him to turn himself in, and did so?


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 9:45 AM
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We are now, as a nation, absolutely terrified of this guy's mom.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 9:48 AM
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'I told you this would happen if you hung around with those people."


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 9:53 AM
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Ooh. Link to story about the Al Qaeda guy's mom?


Posted by: Tom Scudder | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 10:05 AM
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"He's not the Mahdi! He's a very naughty boy!"


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 10:08 AM
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Just to prove I'm not completely lazy, here's an Al Arabiya story about the guy, but missing the crucial "mom" detail.


Posted by: Tom Scudder | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 10:16 AM
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Though, just to destroy the joke, I can think of one obvious circumstance in which an AQ Saudi in Yemen would get a call from his mother back in Saudi and decide as a result to turn himself in, and it's not a good circumstance. Like the US army, the Saudis are not above taking relatives hostage in order to force a surrender.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 10:18 AM
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I know that these debates lead directly to a call for a fuller accounting, perhaps through an Independent Commission. I have opposed the creation of such a Commission because I believe that our existing democratic institutions are strong enough to deliver accountability.

This is where I think our President is off-base. Has he not noticed that our primary institution of democracy - congress - is a farcical sideshow, and hasn't been able to deliver accountability in years?


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 11:03 AM
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149: Cuba's health service is ranked 39th, and the US is ranked 37th, in that wildly unpopular WHO report from 8 years ago. I doubt the US health care system has got any better in 8 years of Bush governance. (Life expectancy at birth in Cuba is 75.08 years: in the US, it's 78.06 years.)

So yeah, while I was being a smart-assed jerk, if Cuba were running Colorado's health care system, it would improve.

Dunno about the cigars, though (I don't smoke).


Posted by: Jesurgislac | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 11:13 AM
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Dunno about the cigars, though (I don't smoke).

Does Colorado grow any tobacco?


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 05-21-09 11:16 AM
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163 -- Yemen has a more benign but every bit as serious method: to be released from the political security prison, you have to get your family (or a tribal leader, or someone else) to post a substantial bond. IM(Modest)E, this is a culture where Bruce Springsteen's admonition man turns his back on his family, well he just ain't no good is damn serious.

Undoubtedly, there are people as far gone as KSM, who is said to have been willing to sacrifice his children, but strongly doubt that more than a handful of the 90 Yemenis in GTMO come remotely close to this.

There was a hunger strike in the PSO prison in Yemen recently, and (iirc) one of the spokesmen had an interesting story: he'd been arrested in a group of eight, all of whom were released on bond from a tribal or local leader of some kind. One of the eight got into a dispute of some kind with the guy a year or two later, and he revoked the bond for all eight. So they all went back to jail.

On the Saudi mom, I can also imagine that there are families who supported their sons involvement in the Afghan civil war in the 80s, but by 2000-01, it's probably as likely as finding some mom in the 90s supporting a kid following the Grateful Dead.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 05-22-09 6:02 AM
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