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July 01, 2006


"Is there any clearer indication that what we're doing with our extraordinary rendition program is akin to the disappearances of Latin America? And is perceived as such by our top officials?"

One might say that this is a pretty clear indication that the disappearances of Latin America were probably taught to the Argentine military (and to the Chilean military, and to the Uruguyan military, and the Guatamalan military and to the El Salvadoran military and, later on, the Columbian military) at Ft. Benning, GA.

Negroponte, afterall, is the head of national intelligence.

Yeah, I was thinking of that, kaleidoscope. While much of the rest of the world has realized those lessons were counterproductive, we're now the ones following the lessons.

Don't forget, we may still be sanctioning secret war in Latin America.

The Bush junta is just playing the odds. They won't be prosecuted. They're right.

Well, BushCo does have the advantage over Pinochet in that they don't really care to travel outside of the country, I suppose. Just so long as they get their travel advice from Kissinger, they may avoid prosecution.

as yea sow, shall yea reap

why don't these so called christians understand that ???

it's in the bible

bush is a lot younger than Pinochet

food for thought

I've been expecting them to start disappearing protestors and opponents for a couple of years.

The United States, which has only observer status at the forum, wanted the treaty to provide "a defense of obedience to superior orders" in a criminal prosecution.

Didn't we resolve this in 1946, with American legal officials holding that "I was only following orders" is not a defense against war crimes? We are now going to join the Nazis in making this defense?

Oh well, our military wears the Nazi coal scuttle and the uniforms all look like WW2 Wehrmacht uniforms, and the reported war crimes certainly read like items from the Eastern Front, so what's so suprising?


I think that the key word here is "abducting" and it is concerned with abductions outside of a "war zone", because the Geneva conventions implicitely allow for the "disappearing" of spies and saboteurs for at least a short period of time....

Under the current rules of war:

Where in occupied territory an individual protected person is detained as a spy or saboteur, or as a person under definite suspicion of activity hostile to the security of the Occupying Power, such person shall, in those cases where absolute military security so requires, be regarded as having forfeited rights of communication under the present Convention.


In each case, such persons shall nevertheless be treated with humanity and, in case of trial, shall not be deprived of the rights of fair and regular trial prescribed by the present Convention. They shall also be granted the full rights and privileges of a protected person under the present Convention at the earliest date consistent with security of State or Occupying Power as case may be.


the prohibition proposed is problematic, IMHO, because I see a legitimate reason for "disappearing" people who are part of "sleeper cells" outside of war zones. The problem, of course, is the potential for abuse of an exception for "sleeper cells"....

Wingnut Nation would purr delightfully at the "MoonBat" conspiracy theorists who see a slippery slope for domestic democracy. But they would be the first to screech and howl were they to fall victim. By the time they DO recognize the threat, it would be too late.

"Negroponte, afterall, is the head of national intelligence."

If memory serves, he was presiding over the central american
'death squads as Ambassador to Honduras in the '80s.

Pinochet may be proud, but Robert Jackson has to be turning over in his grave.

When the Bush Regime is finally turned out of office, will anything be left of our proud hsitory?

I'm still thinking about your legitimate disappearances comment, p luk. My first reaction is, they can't be trusted. There have been way too many verifiable mistakes, you simply can't disappear someone because there's no way to take it back. It seems that, in the post-9/11 everyone loves us stage, we were getting a lot of cooperation with people we wanted to target, save from our allies like Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. So we might have been able to use due process, at least in places like Germany and Italy, where some of our big mistakes have come. But now people don't trust us.

I don't know. I'm stumped.


"they can't be trusted" is really the crux of the matter.

The more I think about it, the more convinced I am that the treaty is a good idea. If we know about a "sleeper cell", the smart thing to do is keep those people under constant surveillance --- wait until THEY make a move, allowing us to find out more about how they operate and communicate, etc...

If/when they commit an overt act indicating that they are being activated is the time to arrest them....and perhaps hold them incommunicado for a week or two, tops...

There is some interesting commentary here at Jack Balkin's blog about the democracy-forcing aspects of the Hamdan decision, and an extensive comment on what it wouold take to abrogate the geneva Conventions. Bet they won't do it.

"So they're just going to try to write an obedience clause into law, so they can excuse those war crimes pre-emptively."

As noted above by TCinLA, the "obedience" defense ("I vas choost followink orderss") went down in flames at Nuremburg. It's amazing that, with such advanced legal minds as John Yoo et al. on their side, they would figure this would work.

With Hamdan, it seems SCOTUS has reaffirmed UCMJ and Geneva Conventions and that those laws cover everyone an actual uniformed soldier as well as enemy combatants.

If this is correct does it mean that those that ordered torture at Gitmo and Abu Ghraib and at rendition locations have committed war crimes? Where and who can sue them? How could they be tried?

Well, BushCo does have the advantage over Pinochet in that they don't really care to travel outside of the country,

If this is correct does it mean that those that ordered torture at Gitmo and Abu Ghraib and at rendition locations have committed war crimes? Where and who can sue them? How could they be tried?

Lederman at SCOTUSblog thinks the ruling partially addresses these matters. If he and Jack Balkin are right about different parts, some folk who claim they prefer to frequent panhandle pig ranches and Chesapeake hideaways might not feel quite so smug soon. Excerpt:

That Common Article 3 of Geneva aplies as a matter of treaty obligation to the conflict against Al Qaeda. (See also the AMK concurrence: "The provision is part of a treaty the United States has ratified and thus accepted as binding law. By Act of Congress, moreover, violations of Common Article 3 are considered 'war crimes,' punishable as federal offenses, when committed by or against United States nationals and military personnel. See 18 U. S. C. § 2441.") … Per today's decision, the Administration appears to have been engaged in war crimes, which are subejct to the death penalty. Although I don't think due process would allow prosecution based on conduct previously undertaken on OLC's advice that CA3 did not apply … practices going forward are bound to change, and quick. [My emphasis—pd]

Lederman's links on due process go to an article by Jack Balkin that describes a standard of reasonable belief that an office of legal counsel was giving reliable advice on, say, Geneva. But I wonder whether Balkin's description, while it might protect a CIA agent in the field who waterboards a prisoner under orders and is told that counsel says the practice is legal for the situation, would cover a policymaker who has disregarded, disdained, dismissed, discomfited into resigning, … counsellors who have adviced against the legality of these practices.

So much interesting information is coming forth in the last few days it is difficult to assimilate.

Woke up all too early this AM and tuned into CNN for a news program offered up as part of CNN International, the US News on a European Timeschedule. So much more detailed. Apparently the CIA has a thirty year long study that concludes that neither Torture nor extreme coercion produce useful intelligence. They examined thousands of cases (wonder how many were US cases??) -- and they found nothing useful. Apparently this study was personally given by George Tenet to Rumsfeld when the Torture policy was first under debate -- and fully briefed at the WH -- including Bush and Cheney. They totally ignored it. I think that small item is just priceless.

One of the problems we have is vaguely cultural. We keep saying "Uniformed Combatants" -- what we need to consider is the notion of "uniform" in an essentially tribal society. The guys up in the Hindu Kush have been fighting in the same uniform for hundreds of years -- and it just happens to be what they wear when they herd sheep, grow poppies and other things, and sit round drinking tea and smoking the water pipe. That's the Uniform. The only thing that is different is the size of the Turbin, the color, and whether it has colored threads twisted into it. That indicates Clan and place in the Clan -- the Turbin has to do with religious education. The bigger ones indicate more study. When is someone going to realize this???


Ah, but that study concerns whether they get actionable intelligence, not whether they humiliate someone sufficiently to be able to blackmail him into infiltrating a target group, which according to some versions is why we did what we did in Abu Ghraib.

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