Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Who's The Terrorist Now?

This is from the recommended reader's posts at TPMCafé, and well worth a read. Kudos to the author, who goes under the name TESTING. Truly unruly.
Don't underestimate the implications of the Guantanamo rulings in the wake of the Supreme Court decision on habeas. They help peel away some of the layers of obfuscation the President and DOJ OLC created to hide this President's war crimes against protected civilians. The President and others did not take the (required) time to ensure civilians were protected.

The ruling declaring a POW was not properly classified as an enemy combatant turns Addington's applecart upside down.
There is some really nice reasoning here which can be simplified to three points.

  • SCOTUS has rejected the idea that any authority can be created by Congress and given to the Executive which allows them to create the designation Unlawful Enemy Combatants, thereby depriving them of their habeas corpus rights.

  • The administration has already rejected the idea that the detainees are soldiers, because then they would be POWs, afforded a whole set of protections under the Geneva Conventions.

  • So what does that make them? That's right, civilians. And the problem for the administration is that civilians are afforded even more protections than POWs are. In fact, interrogating them is an act of terrorism by definition.
OK, full disclosure, I added in that midddle point about POWs. I'm sure testing meant to include it. Anyway, it does lead to a very simple and straightforward argument against the Bush administration, not only for war crimes (which we unrulies always knew he was guilty of) but acts of terrorism as well - as defined by international convention.
There are no "authorized" interrogations of civilians during an armed conflict. Civilians are protected classes under Geneva from coercion, as interrogations inherently are.

Rather, the United States government has a problem: Interrogations of civilians could be construed as a separate offense under the laws of war, and illegal terrorism against protected civilians. Factors going against the government include:

A. the delay in guaranteeing the protected civilian status;

B. the lengthy civilian detention without a judicial review; and

C. the forced exposure of civilians to illegal interrogations despite ICRC demands to the contrary.

It was this President's policy to hide civilians prisoners from the ICRC, a subsequent violation of the laws of war.
There is only one problem here, not a legal one but one of practicality. Who in America has the nads to bell the cat? With impeachment off the table (even, it appears, in the case of crimes against humanity) and Bush's pet eunuch Michael Mukasey unwilling to enforce the law against the administration in the slightest regard any legal argument of wrongdoing is moot.

Such is life in BushMerika®.


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