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View Diary: Gonzales Watch: Women at Abu Ghraib (140 comments)

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  •  Geneva Conventions anyone? (none)
    The US signed and ratified them, which makes torture illegal by US law.

    That's why they've been arguing emphatically that

    • the Geneva Conventions do not apply to certain people (enemy combattants, ...), and
    • in some locations (Guantanamo, ...) US law does not apply to US operatives working in US institutions.
    •  Your answer is not exactly accurate ... (none)
      I think hannah was asking if torture was legal in general in the US. That's different from asking if it is legal in war.  

      The Geneva Convention puts limits only on wartime behavior. Here's a fairly good history and summary reference as to what is covered by it. And it's a fascinating read: it's not as if the idea of limiting behavior in war sprang from the Western mind as a completely new concept in 1864. The idea has been around since at least the 6th century BCE when Chinese warrior Sun Tzu put the concept on the table.

      Perhaps the Bush Administration would think that an idea going on 3 millennium is untried and flawed. But they might also dismiss this as not being a Western idea at all. In their little neo-con minds they might regard it as not an idea worthy of the "Western Canon".

      But I digress (and so so with great cynicism)...

      As to torture in prisons or by the police or by some (wo)man on the street, I think it should be covered under assault and kidnapping laws, no?

      "You don't lead by pointing and telling people some place to go. You lead by going to that place and making a case." - Ken Kesey

      by Glinda on Mon Jan 24, 2005 at 07:07:34 AM PST

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      •  You're right (none)
        thanks for putting me straight; Hannah was indeed referring to the situation in the US in general.

        I will read up on the Geneva Convention sometime soon - thanks for the link!

        A question to you, as you are obviously well-versed in law (I'm just an interested bystander): how about the (UN?) Declaration of Human Rights? Surely it prohibits torture and states people's right to due process etc. I just have no idea whether it is part of US law, or if it was ever ratified by the US.

        I should google this sometime... (not now, I should get some sleep), but I would appreciate reading your views.

        Thanks again!

        •  Ooh! That was better than any '4'! (4.00)
          Thanks for the compliment! :-)

          No, I'm not a lawyer. And I don't want to misrepresent myself as one.

          I've just been "around the block for a few spins". Or, in other words, I'm at the age where I have fun selecting a random number (within reason) whenever anyone asks me my age. I do this not because I'm sensitive about my age. It's just that I no longer consider "age" an important issue. And I've gotten away with every number I've given ... both older and younger. Heh! It just goes to show, that when someone asks you your age, they're trying to stereotype you! But you didn't hear it from me!  ;-)

          But I digress ...

          I am a long-time (15+ years) software product marketing manager, the latter years of that, running Marketing Departments for startup companies (never a "dot com", mind you!) Part of the skills that job entails is to be able to read dense legal documents, to "parse" those documents, and to send only very specific questions about the contract, the patent, the statute, or any other legal instrument to actual attorneys, who make considerably upwards of $200 - $250 per hour. So, essentially, I save my company money when I have the ability to parse legal documents and understand at least one half to three quarters of the language.

          That being said, the link I sent you is not a legal document. It is a "lay person's" guide to the Geneva Conventions' original legalese, and as such is very readable and understandable. ...  By the way to really add weight to your argument, especially when losing, is to respond, when someone says "Well, the Geneva Convention prohibits ... (blah,blah)", with the retort "Which Geneva Convention were you referring to? There were four Geneva Conventions and two additional Protocols.

          And the other skill I have is ... I'm a mean researcher using Google as a tool. I can find anything!

          So bearing that in mind, let me know if you want me to look up the answer to your question about the UN's Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It would have certainly taken less time than this answer did, but then you wouldn't have had the "full disclosure" about my true level of expertise.

          "You don't lead by pointing and telling people some place to go. You lead by going to that place and making a case." - Ken Kesey

          by Glinda on Wed Jan 26, 2005 at 11:39:12 PM PST

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          •  Sorry! (4.00)
            I forgot to even give you your well-deserved four?! Sorry about that. I'm guessing that this thread is now long dead (apart from the two of us babbling on), but I'll give you 4s anyway - who knows if someone drops by and gives you another so you get some mojo :-)

            Anyway, nice to read a bit about your background. And I should really google the UDHR myself - I was about to go to bed when I found your reply yesterday night.

            As for me, I am an academic doing nearly fulltime research, and apart from that I spend way too much time on the web, especially at Kos. I'm from the Netherlands, now based in Switzerland (hence the handle), but I got very interested in (and worried by) US politics when I lived in DC for about 1.5 years (sadly W was about to take office when I arrived).

            So, I know zilch about law, but I do read lots on the web, in newspapers, weeklies, books etc, and sometimes I know a bit less than I think I do :-)

            Anyway (talk about digressing :-) ), I'll google the other stuff sometime. Thanks!

            •  Well nice to know you! (none)
              I'll be keeping a lookout for your handle!  ;-)

              "You don't lead by pointing and telling people some place to go. You lead by going to that place and making a case." - Ken Kesey

              by Glinda on Thu Jan 27, 2005 at 01:40:28 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

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