RANGER AGAINST WAR: Unprivileged <

Monday, February 01, 2010

Unprivileged

--The Burned Village (1942),
Alexander Deineka

If there is going to be change, real change,
it will have to work its way from the bottom up,

from the people themselves.

That’s how change happens

--Howard Zinn, historian


It's so easy not to try,

let the world go drifting by

--The Hobbit (animation)

______________

The Phony War on Terror (PWOT©) construction has created a miasma of legal contortions where before there was only clarity.

The blatant lies are the most grating: If the U.S. is at war with al-Qaeda and terrorism, then all imprisoned while engaged in such activities should be prisoners of war. Instead, they are what we choose to call them, and the sandwich board changes daily.


Now, they are Unprivileged Combatants (UC's) per International Humanitarian Law. An unlawful combatant or unprivileged combatant/belligerent is "a civilian who directly engages in armed conflict in violation of
International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and may be detained or prosecuted under the domestic law of the detaining state for such action" (per ICRC defintion). UC's do not qualify for P.O.W. status.

Since UC's are under the legal jurisdiction of the domestic law of the detaining state and the U.S. is the detaining state, then terror suspects are subject to Federal law, which covers crimes like murder, kidnapping, hijacking and conspiracy.


Yet despite the unambiguity of the designation,
the conservatives continue the bad fight to keep our laws and Constitution from working.

Senators Lieberman and Collins wrote last week that the decision to treat would-be crotch bomber Abdulmutallab as a common criminal
"almost certainly prevented the military and the intelligence community from obtaining information that would have been critical to learning more about how our enemy operates and to preventing future attacks."

Predictably, Democrats Blanche Lincoln and Jim Webb, Republicans Lindsey Graham, John McCain and Susan Collins, and Independent Joe Lieberman are still arguing that "The attacks of 9/11 were acts of war, and those who planned and carried out those attacks are war criminals," and said so in a letter to Obama last week.


For a larger perspective: If al-Qaeda is such a threat, why would they send a 24-year-old toss-away with no worthwhile operational knowledge of their techniques to execute such a feat of non-derring-do? Anybody believing that the crotch bomber has additional information to impart has ridden shotgun with Jack Bauer one too many times. Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab is no Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (whom the Wall Street Journal still insists on featuring at his 2003-Ron Jeremy best.)

This contingent harangues that by deny these criminals the right to remain silent, the detained can somehow be forced to spill the beans, like in an episode of the t.v. series "24". But if they will not talk in a criminal case, why would they talk as UC's?


A WSJ editorial last week whined,
"If the Administration is going to insist on treating the likes of KSM as ordinary criminal defendants, it would be clarifying if Congress voted on a bill laying down new limits to these laws (Congress and Terror Trials)." But why limit or constrict what works?

Congress cannot modify a legal construct such as the right to remain silent in a criminal case, or the right and dignity not to be tortured as a civilian non-privileged detainee.
Why does the U.S. accept the concept of Presidential War Powers to address what is clearly a criminal threat evident by terror activities?

Everything that terrorists do is covered by U.S. code --
EVERYTHING. Terrorism is criminal activity, not warfare. The president cannot unilaterally and extra-legally declare someone to be an illegal enemy combatant.

Our Criminal Code and courts were not designed to protect spooks and spies. The laws of the land do not exist to protect intelligence services and their methods and sources:
"Spies and terrorists are only protected by the laws of war if the power which holds them is in a state of armed conflict or war, and until they are found to be an unlawful combatant. They may be subject to civilian law or military tribunal for their acts."

The laws exist to defend the rights and dignity of all men -- even terror suspects. Taken pragmatically, we don't do it for them, but we do it for us.


While terrorism is not a war crime, the case could have been made that the attacks of 9-11 were Crimes Against Humanity, in which case its perpetrators should have been remanded to the World Court at The Hague. If we had critical thinkers in charge, they would have been able to discriminate the events of 9-11 from that terrorist activity involved in say perpetrating the takeover of the U.S. embassy in Tehran in 1979, which was an act of war. However, in neither case was the terrorism itself, war.


The government does not have my permission to torture or to hold suspects for long-term, open-ended imprisonment. That is NOT the American way. If it is, the Greatest Generation made a mistake in destroying the Nazi regime.

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5 Comments:

Anonymous Peter of Lone Tree said...

Some would say that the Nazi regime wasn't destroyed; it merely changed its name and base of operations.

Monday, February 1, 2010 at 2:48:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes Peter and I think it's just starting to raise it's ugly head because it no longer needs to hide in Amerika. Sad
jo6pac

Monday, February 1, 2010 at 6:12:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

if you look at the rise of fascism in europe you can see many of the plowed fields and seeds being sown.

the stage for the fascists was set by the final and inevitable collapse of the european monarchies. it began with the french revolution. (i'm discounting our on account of it wasn't a regime changer for the brits, the hanovarian dynasty had lots of time to go, and expanded mightily after we left the fold).

a series of stupid, and entirely avoidable wars kept bankrupting the monarchial states, finally all coming to a head with ww1.

the inevitable question that arises with the collapse (and for the hapsburgs, auchinschloss, bourbon, prussian, hungarian, ottoman states it was a complete and total collapse) is what's next huh?

in many cases, such as the germany left in cinders at the end of the opening rounds of the war (i'm of the school of thought that melds ww's 1&2 into one long ass war with a half time break for a world wide depression as the bad war debts worked their way through the economy of the world) was in no way prepared or understanding of how to meld together a democratic modern nation state. their first response to the crushing war debts and reparations obligations was to fire up the printing presses and print paper currency. this unbacked paper soon became inflated to the point of worthlessness.

things weren't working at all. business wasn't happening, money wasn't flowing on account of there was no real money to flow.

it was a very scary and confusing time for folks. the italians and the germans reached a point as cultures where the idea of a strong, unchallengable single voice of command was attractive. a furher, or a duce is not all that odious when you're talking about folks with a long history of hereditary kings.

so, you take countries demoralized by a string of costly defeats, factor in high inflation, crumbling or non-existant infrastructure and services, toss in some massive unemployment and hopelesness for seasoning, and the stage is set for the authoritarians to make their entrance. it always helps if they have flashy uniforms. (the heavy stagecraft of religion and extreme costuming efforts began around the thirteenth century when the pope was a real political monarch, and was expected to command troops in the field)

sinclair lewis pegged it straight:

when fascism comes to america it will come waving the flag and carrying the cross.

(i can get you such a deal on rifle optics with bible verses on them...)

Tuesday, February 2, 2010 at 1:47:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Ranger Hazen said...

I think there's more Stalinists on the right than Fascists...Folks get all bent out of shape if you're not wearing the Party pin only now they call it an American Flag...Loyalty and Purity Tests(ROTFLMAO that even their Dear Spiritual Leader Ronnie Reagan fails the "test")...and just like old Joe's Minions... Most of them are as stupid as a box of rocks just like Sarah...The vote against their own interests and think everyone should be as stupid as them...They rail against government takeovers of things like health care while collecting their VA and Social Security Bennies forgetting that Insurance Companies Kill 40,000 people a year...
I am not too worried...As long as Beck is Ranting on TV and Sarah has to spend 65,000 Dollars on her own books to jack up sales... We got nothing to worry about...They are still too busy trying to shove their heads up their collective asses looking for the light at the end of the "tunnel" :)

Tuesday, February 2, 2010 at 6:25:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Terrible said...

Things like war of aggression, use of banned weaponry and torture are also covered by US law codes. In surprisingly clear and concise English I might add. And yet our government seems oblivious to that too.

Thursday, February 4, 2010 at 9:40:00 PM GMT-5  

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