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View Diary: Due process at Guantánamo (78 comments)

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  •  The Hamdan issue (2+ / 0-)
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    Cathy Willey, smintheus

    seems to be that he can legitimately claim to be a prisoner of war - he was apparently a driver and bodyguard for OBL.  It also may be in his interest to claim that status, given the alternative of having been found to be an 'illegal enemy combatant'.

    Neither self-interest nor truth will prompt attention to this specific issue from most other prisoners, I think.  

    From the standpoint of self-interest, going for POW status is a loser for most prisoners: the consequence of being determined to be a POW is indefinite incarceration, given the Bush definition of this 'long war'.

    Respecting the truth of the situation,  the overwhelming majority of the Guantanamo inmates  weren't 'captured' on the 'battlefield' (they were turned in for a bounty in Pakistan or some other country).  Additionally, in my opinion, only a few of them are probably guilty of much of anything. So these people should really be tried in a court with normal rules of evidence and a burden of proof on the prosecution.

    None of this is to say that the court ruling on Hamdan is not a good thing.  Plus, I might be confused on the issue, and IANAL.

    •  What specific evidence do you have that (0+ / 0-)

      overwhelming majority of the Guantanamo inmates  weren't 'captured' on the 'battlefield' (they were turned in for a bounty in Pakistan or some other country).

      Not just some, mind you, but overwhelming majority.

      And even if that were true, I fail to see what difference that makes if the people turned over for bounty were subject to capture and detention.  In other words, if, for instance, al-Zarqawi were turned over for bounty, what difference would that make to his status as unlawful combatant?  

      •  It's true, and has been documented (1+ / 0-)
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        by looking at the government's own evidence from Gitmo. Only a very small percentage of these prisoners were picked up by US troops.

        Your refusal to see why it matters that most prisoners were sold for "bounties" speaks volumes about your credibility on issues relating to Gitmo. Either you know little about how these "bounties" worked, or you know perfectly well how dicey the whole set up was but don't allow that to interfere with the positions you're taking.

        Your tendency throughout this thread has been to repeat tired and disproven Bush administration talking points.

        •  This does not answer either of my (0+ / 0-)

          questions.  Instead of providing evidence you simply assert that the fact is "well known."  If it is, finding evidence should not be that hard.

          Second, you fail to explain why al-Zarqawi, had he been sold for a bounty would be improperly detained.

      •  Sorry, Just noticed your question. (0+ / 0-)

        I rely on the Report on Guantanamo Detainees: A Profile of 517 Detainees through Analysis of Department of Defense Data by Mark Denbeaux of Seton Hall University - School of Law and Joshua Denbeaux of Denbeaux & Denbeaux, published on behalf of the Social Science Reasearch Network.  

        This report was summarized by Mark Denbeaux on December 11, 2007 in testimony before a subcommittee of the Senate Judiciary Committee.  The hearing was chaired by Diane Feinstein, whose opening statement was uncomplimentary to the legitimacy of the Guantanamo processes.

        A report summary (emphasis added):

        1. Fifty-five percent (55%) of the detainees are not determined to have committed any hostile acts against the United States or its coalition allies.
        1. Only 8% of the detainees were characterized as al Qaeda fighters. Of the remaining detainees, 40% have no definitive connection with al Qaeda at all and 18% are have no definitive affiliation with either al Qaeda or the Taliban.
        1. The Government has detained numerous persons based on mere affiliations with a large number of groups that, in fact, are not on the Department of Homeland Security terrorist watchlist. Moreover, the nexus between such a detainee and such organizations varies considerably. Eight percent are detained because they are deemed "fighters for;" 30% considered "members of;" a large majority - 60% - are detained merely because they are "associated with" a group or groups the Government asserts are terrorist organizations. For 2% of the prisoners, a nexus to any terrorist group is not identified by the Government.
        1. Only 5% of the detainees were captured by United States forces. 86% of the detainees were arrested by either Pakistan or the Northern Alliance and turned over to United States custody. This 86% of the detainees captured by Pakistan or the Northern Alliance were handed over to the United States at a time in which the United States offered large bounties for capture of suspected enemies.
        1. Finally, the population of persons deemed not to be enemy combatants - mostly Uighers - are in fact accused of more serious allegations than a great many persons still deemed to be enemy combatants.
        •  That report does not suggest that the (0+ / 0-)

          majority of people were turned over by local villagers for bounty.  Whether they were captured by the US or allied forces is immaterial, just like it was immaterial who captured WWII war criminals, US, or UK, or the Soviets.

          •  You originally asked for evidence (0+ / 0-)
            that the overwhelming majority of prisoners were not captured on the battlefield.  That is what I provided for you.

            Now you say that the report does not suggest that the majority of people were turned over by local villagers for bounty.  If you would have read the report, you would have seen this on page 15 (emphasis added):

            The United States promised (and  apparently paid) large sums of money for the capture of persons identified as enemy combatants in Afghanistan and Pakistan. One representative flyer, distributed in Afghanistan, states:
            Get wealth and power beyond your dreams....You can receive millions of dollars helping the anti-Taliban forces catch al-Qaida and Taliban murders.  This is enough money to take care of your family, your village, your tribe for the rest of your life. Pay for livestock and doctors and school books and housing for all your people.

            Bounty hunters or reward-seekers handed people over to American or Northern Alliance
            soldiers in the field, often soon after disappearing; as a result, there was little opportunity on the field to verify the story of an individual who presented the detainee in response to the bounty award.  Where that story constitutes the sole basis for an individual's detention in Guantanamo, there would be little ability either for the Government to corroborate or a detainee to refute such an allegation.

            The bolded part is responsive to your claim that the method prisoner acquistion is immaterial.

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