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Only 8% of detainees at Guantanamo are classified by the DoD as Al Qaeda fighters. It gets worse, much worse.

The following information is something that--in my opinion--should be at the forefront of every media outlet and law school in the nation.  I do not care how the lawyers at the White House and DoJ couch it; the bottom line here is there is no argument or precedent that can be used to justify the suspense of Habeas Corpus.  

Back in March I was listening to "This American Life" on NPR.  This particular week Ira Glass was doing a story about the tweaking of U.S. law for detainees down at Guantanamo.  Essentially, the suspense of Habeas Corpus was the center of the story.  It's titled ""Habeas Schmaebeas".
 (Kind of like saying, ah screw the rights of human beings).

I understand all the different ways this administration has attempted to tweak the dimensions of this case, like move them to a place (Gitmo) where they can rewrite the law (ad hoc law) to tailor it for their objectives.  Moving them 90 miles from Florida does this for them (from their perspective).  From my perspective, when we move a site in an attempt to sabotage our judicial system, all bets are off.  Both sides lose their rights (prosecution and defense).  Bottom line:  If you are not on U.S. soil, you cannot play the game.  

Well back to my original point.  There are some facts in this story that BLEW ME AWAY.

Seton Hall's School of Law conducted a study of 517 records released by the DoD last winter.  What they found is not only infuriating, but also an abomination of the essence of America.  The fact that I was an active duty Marine (finished my service 10 months ago) serving this nation when this was all happening (and still is) really pisses me off!  

Here is how Seton Hall's abstract reads:

"The media and public fascination with who is detained at Guantanamo and why has been fueled in large measure by the refusal of the Government, on the grounds of national security, to provide much information about the individuals and the charges against them.  The information available to date has been anecdotal and erratic, drawn largely from interviews with the few detainees who have been released or from statements or court filings by their attorneys in the pending habeas corpus proceedings that the Government has not declared "classified."

This Report is the first effort to provide a more detailed picture of who the Guantanamo detainees are, how they ended up there, and the purported bases for their enemy combatant designation.  The data in this Report is based almost entirely upon the United States Government's own documents. This Report provides a window into the Government's success detaining only those that the President has called "the worst of the worst."

Among the findings of the Report:

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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. 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."

I recently wrote my senators about this issue.  I explained to them that it was their responsibility to challenge this administration and teach the American people about this subject.  I also stated that I felt that the House and Senate is and has been failing us miserably for not putting this subject (and many others) at the forefront of their agenda.  

This is our future.  Every Marine, Soldier, Sailor and Airmen that is now in harms way (as well as future generations) runs the risk of this same treatment.  We have created a dangerous precedent that can still be killed (with the proper amount collective rhetoric and action).  Right now, we only have a handful of Senators that have the balls to bring this type of issue up (Feingold, Byrd, Boxer, Harkin, Kennedy and Kerry and maybe some others).  I think we really need to change the dialogue by demanding that our leaders find the courage to save this nation.

This is all relevant.  It has never been more relevant than right now.  It affects every single one of us--including our leadership.  We put these knuckleheads in office and we can also take them out.  

Originally posted to flipflopper on Sun Jun 18, 2006 at 05:07 AM PDT.

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Do you think issues like this, to include this administration's Preemption doctrine, as well as the Patriot Act should be at the forefront of campaign issues for 2006 and 2008?

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90%9 votes
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Comment Preferences

  •  Maybe only someone (7+ / 0-)

    who had never been in a war could ignore the rules of war.  Bush is endangering our men and women.  No question about it.

    "In the beginning the universe was created. This has been widely criticized and generally regarded as a bad move." -- Douglas Adams

    by LithiumCola on Sun Jun 18, 2006 at 05:22:19 AM PDT

  •  Marine, I wrote a diary awhile back (7+ / 0-)

    About a long forgotten part of the US constitution, the part that says the legislative branch shall define and punish offenses under the "Law of Nations."

    The "Law of Nations" was the common law (judge made law of Europe primarily) and really was the precursor of modern international law.  A prominent Swiss legal scholar, Vittar, wrote a treatise on the "Law of Nations" and in it he discussed warfare between soverigns and non--soverigns.  It was well understood even in the 1600's that there was no such thing as an "enemy combatatant."  There were two kinds of prisoners, those who fought for soverigns and those who fought for non-soverigns.

    Those who fought for soverigns, were given ordinary POW status and returned to their countries at the end of the conflict.  Those who were non-soverign warriers were treated as criminals and were to be given a trial.  

    Piracy was the typical non-soverign warfare of the day.  If a pirate was captured, he was given a trial.  If he was convicted of the crime of piracy, he was put to death, which was the common penalty for piracy.  But the key thing was that a pirate got a trial.  In the US, pirates got trials in US federal courts.

    There was none of this "enemy combatant" crap where someone who was a non-soverign warrier,was held indifinitely in a prision.  How far we have fallen.

    •  Amen to that (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Avila, irate, Clem Yeobright, quinque

      We have fallen far, but I believe with the proper amount of pressure and education, we can light a fire under the legislative branch to instill some sanity in these strange days.

      If not, we are selling our souls.

      The only thing that we could use from this entire administration is the small provision in the Patriot Act that states the Intelligence community has to communicate with each other.  That is it.  Everything else can go in the garbage.  EVERYTHING.

      •  One explanation (among many) is that the DoD (0+ / 0-)

        expects to 'retain' all enlisted men and women until they die or can no longer serve due to injury, etc. Based on this diary: The military's enlistment "contract " is worthless. This also explains the lack of armor or VA funding. They'd rather the soldiers die than become liabilities. They will deploy them until they are used up.

        I wouldn't expect anything to change in Congress. The Republican members of Congress HAVE to toe the line or they will be hounded out in disgrace, never to be employed again, as the machine smears them into pariah status. This (my guess) is part of the way they do business and ensure compliance with the top-down agenda. Republicans do not care what the constituents say. They are beholden to the Party and their corporate bosses. The Democrats are a mixed bag, but most fear losing their next election and are unwilling to say or do anything for fear of how the Republican noise machine will twist it aginst them.

        Good diary. Thanks!

  •  We put our servicemen and women in harms way (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    irate, Clem Yeobright, flipflopper

    Then get involved in policies at Abu Garube, Gitmo Haditha and elsewhere that in the eyes of the people of Iraq put us in a category somewhere between terrorist and rabid dog, ie; shoot on sight.

    Iraq is not our enemy. Supposedly we are there to help them get the power back on and the water running so the government has the working infrastructure it needs to govern and make the streets secure.

    Unfortunately we have it backwards and are engaged in expending our childrens lives for the sole purpose of killing the people who's hearts and minds we are trying to win.

    Due to the Bush administrations lies as to why we are there in the first place we are struggling to accomplish a mission they have no interest in.

    They could care less about what happens to the people of Saudia Arabia, Jordan, Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bahrain, Kuwait, Yemen, Oman or the UAE in whose countries we are building permanent bases.

    They could care less about what happens to the troops whose lives and limbs they squander or even how much money goes missing lost in the pockets of faveored corporate cronies like Halliburton.

    The reason we are building permanent bases in the Middle East is that we have reached the point where we no longer can produce as much oil and gas as the world has a demand for and we are discovering that rivals like China which already has 120 million cars on the road want a piece of the action meaning less oil for us and an even more rapid decline of America as we know it.

  •  several quick thoughts (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    irate, Clem Yeobright, flipflopper

    even though you were discharged, I am willing to bet that you are at least still in IRR, in which case they could call you back up.  I would not put it past this administration to try to track down those critics they can place under military discipline precisely to silence them.  Just something of which to be aware.

    I have felt all along that the insistence of this administration of getting exemptions from the new International criminal court was because they were  already - prior to 9-11   - planning to act in a fashion that they knew violated international law as commonly interpreted.

    IANAL - but it is my belief that as a matter of international law a treaty cannot exempt one from the standards established by Nuermburg, and in our trial and execution of General Yamashita.   Thus there is nothing to stop another country - despite private agreements negotiated with this administration - from arresting and charging the high officials of this administration for crimes against humanity, to which I believe that they are justifiably subject.  And were a subsequent administration to attempt to prevent them from being so charged, that would put such an administration in the same category as the government of Serbia in its long efforts to protect first Milosevich and even today Karadzic and Mladek.

    Those who can, do. Those who can do more, TEACH!

    by teacherken on Sun Jun 18, 2006 at 06:14:22 AM PDT

    •  Great Comment (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Halcyon, irate, Clem Yeobright

      Although most servicemen only serve a 4-year term (unless involuntarily extended--stop loss), I served a total of ten years.  After serving a total of 8 years, I fulfilled my complete obligation to Uncle Sam.  I am no longer sunject to the UCMJ.  I am now a regular citizen with no strings attached.

      I really do hope that we have not reached to point of no return.  It is imperative that this debate emerges soon.  I am still an optimist for the times to come, but if we do not fix the problems that are plaguing the way we educate the public at large, we have some seriously hard times ahead of us.  

      We have so much that needs to be discussed.

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