Torture me, PLEASE!

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,272492,00.html

An accused enemy combatant held at Guantanamo Bay told a military hearing he was physically as well as mentally tortured there by having to read a newsletter full of 'crap,' being forced to use unscented deodorant and shampoo and having to play sports with a ball that would not bounce.

I don't know what to say to this, really. Other than if this was torture, I had a case against my own parents and school system back in the day. And probably have a continuing case against the LA Times today. I mean, come on, who the hell in their right mind is supposed to take this kind of thing seriously anyway? Rush Limbaugh is right when he mocks the place as "Club Gitmo".
.........................
"It is pointless to resist, my son." -- Darth Vader
"Resistance is futile." -- The Borg
"Mother's coming for me in the dragon ships. I don't like these itchy clothes, but I have to wear them or it frightens the fish." -- Thurindil

Well. I guess that's that then.

       
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Posted on May 15, 2007 12:25 pm by Samson in: | 18 comment(s) [Closed]
Comments
1. Yeah, the guy's claims are more than a little lame. By those standards, you could equate my grade school with, say, Auschwitz, which is clearly not the case. And we had actual physical violence used against us more than a couple times, too.

2. That having been said, it's the physical bit that worries me, as mentioned by the guy's father later in the article. Maybe it's true for him, maybe it's not, but there are enough allegations of the same thing elsewhere, and enough people in our government and out of it over the years advocating torture that it's more than a little disturbing to me.

Nevertheless. Flat balls. Oi.

       
I'd have to agree, the concerning portion of that article was:

Ali Shoukat Khan said his son was kidnapped in Pakistan and that there, Americans tortured his son "for eight hours at a time, tying him tightly in stressful positions in a small chair until his hands, feet and mind went numb. ... He was often hooded and had difficulty breathing. They also beat him repeatedly, slapping him in the face, and deprived him of sleep."


The rest sounds like he had it about standard for the American prison system, maybe better than some American criminals, but then given that he hadn't actually been specifically charged with a crime yet, let alone convicted, he should've had it better than most American criminals anyway. But that begins to address the separate issue of how we should be treating these folk that are being held only on suspicion of terrorism.. or maybe that is the issue here? These people, rightly or wrongly accused, are only be detained on suspicion of a crime, they haven't been so much as charged with a crime yet, let alone convicted of one. While I fully understand the need to ensure these people can't commit suicide, they aren't actually criminals unless it can be proven that they are. While I understand that they are suspected and must be guarded, if we're certain enough that they are guilty to arrest them, we really should also be certain enough to charge them with a crime so that the criminal justice system can start the process of criminal procedings. :( By the same toke, if we're not certain enough that they're guilty to charge them with a crime, they really should be afforded the same rights as any other citizen (particularly in the case of a US Citizen) and not be detained so that the DoD/CIA can create their case. :(

       
It's all in the name and for the Glory of the Motherland.

       
Conner, if this jackoff had been an American citizen caught on American soil, I'd be all for providing for his Constitutional rights. There's just one flaw in falling for media hype. This jackoff was picked up in Pakistan and isn't an American at all. He's not even an illegal alien. Even if he were a citizen though, being caught in enemy territory and providing them material aid makes him a traitor if he's a citizen, and makes him a prisoner of war if he's not. Either way, he's an enemy combatant and he's being held properly.

Frankly I'm not willing to take the word of his father or anyone he knows over the word of our own soldiers and CIA agents. Sorry, but I have more loyalty to my country than that. Unless you can provide solid evidence that this man was indeed tortured, in an actual real torture sense of the word, then you might have something. Until then, he has no rights under our system and shouldn't be given that kind of protection.

       
I must've misread the article then, I could've sworn it said that he was a resident of Maryland who was arrested in Pakistan. Last time I checked Maryland was still U.S. soil and Pakistan still wasn't behind enemy lines. If he was caught behind enemy lines providing material aid to our enemy then someone should be treating him as a POW (or traitor if he is a citizen) rather than as a criminal suspect being detained pending further investigation which violates our constitional protections against unlawful detainment when applied to our citizens. I'm not saying that I buy into his torture pleas, that sounds like a crock just as much as the media telling us that Ms. Hilton is depressed now that she's in jail. And I'm not falling for media hype, but I have rather limited information to go on here. Did you have more information than the article in question provides?

       
In general, what Conner's been saying.

This has been a fairly interesting sort of article on the guy: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/09/09/AR2006090901024_pf.html

Also: http://www.foxnews.com/wires/2007Mar22/0,4670,FromSuburbiatoGuantanamo,00.html

As best I can figure out, the man's a legal resident of Maryland. Grew up there, in fact.

For all that Pakistan has a very deeply interesting status regarding the War On Terror, calling it "enemy territory" seems more than a little oversimplified.

Now, maybe he's guilty of what the government says he is, and maybe he isn't, and I frankly have no idea either way, and I suspect that neither do you, given the circumstances of his detention and I-don't-think-it's-actually-a-trial, which are largely, you know, secret.

Which brings to mind all sorts of worrisome issues, which other people have brought up better than me, but -

- We should, as Conner says, be applying to these people either the Geneva Convention rules or our own law, as applies to each person. We should not be holding people for however long without charges or trial. Nor should we be treating them in any other way than humanely. It makes us look good, for one, which we need, but more importantly, if we're going to run around trumpeting about how we're the United States of Freedom and all that, we need to damn well act like it, because it's the right thing to do.

- To the torture thing and the military and all, look. I know and you and we all know about how Abu Ghraib went down. And I think we all know that this administration does not precisely have what can be called a pristine outlook on the matter. If you go back not so long ago, you get all sorts of military/CIA messiness in Central America, Vietnam, and elsewhere. As much as I deeply respect our military and intelligence services, they're not always paragons of virtue, here.

All sorts of other deeply troublesome issues to be had here, but I've spent quite enough time on this as it is.

       
Ok, so it does say he's a resident of Maryland. However the article seems to have left out what his status is there. So I don't know if he's an illegal, a legal resident, or a naturalized citizen. If he's either a legal resident or naturalized citizen, then his case for being detained illegally has some merit. However he was captured in enemy territory, giving aid to the enemy, and in doing so made himself an enemy combatant.

His status as an illegal combatant invalidates any claims he might be able to get under the Geneva Convention. That only applies to uniformed military personnel under the banner of an actual government. It doesn't apply to terrorists or non-uniformed combatants of any type. Harsh as that may seem, that's just cold hard reality and people need to grow up and deal with it.

People also need to remember, this is war. Not a law enforcement issue. In wars, people captured on the battlefield or in other materially relevant situations don't get the same constitutional protections that they would get under normal conditions. Most of the time people captured this way aren't even Americans, so how could they possibly expect to be protected by our laws? It's only been in recent times with activist liberal judges that we've had to resort to keeping these kinds of people locked up in Guantanamo or other similar facilities since they've legislated from the bench that keeping them in a base on US soil grants them rights under our laws. People with actual brains call that insanity, but hey. This is our judicial system today.

As far as our world image goes, I could honestly care less what Germany and France think of us anymore. They've proven themselves to be our enemies anyway. The rest of Europe has hated us for decades and some of them still consider us occupiers after WWII so nothing's really changed there. I doubt very much that us keeping people locked up in Gitmo has had any impact on that. And Abu Ghraib was nothing but liberal media hype. Those people there weren't tortured either. If they were, then all of the frat parties on college campuses were horrible atrocities that demand congressional investigations. Sticking underwear on someone's head hardly qualifies as torture.

People need to keep in mind we're dealing with an enemy that doesn't give a rat's ass about how they look, what the world thinks of them, or whose rights are violated. They've made it abundantly clear that their goal is nothing short of world domination. Convert or die. You can't reason with an enemy like that. You can't follow traditional rules. As the saying goes, you either adapt or die.

       
And this makes it okay to deviate from the core principals imposed by our forefathers how? Then, it doesn't seem like you care a whole lot about humanitarianism as long as you come out okay. Slavery okay too? I mean, as long as you've got the whip and those people aren't American citizens, it's okay to violate their rights as humans, whether or not that coincides with government mandated civil rights.

Is the guy guilty? Maybe. Has it been proven? Apparently not. Is it okay to torture someone just because they might be guilty? They call the people that do that sort of thing terrorists and butchers. Sorry, can't stand behind a government that condemns the very actions it seems to be taken, or one that offends me as a person of good moral conscious.

       
I'm still a bit fuzzy on what exactly he was doing in Pakistan or on when Pakistan was officially declared enemy territory. But if that was the case, given that it's war and all that, someone could've avoided all this by just shooting him on the spot and calling it another kill, but since they didn't and instead they detained him and made it public enough to bring to light that he was caught on our side of the lines and appears to have been merely traveling abroad as a US Citizen from Maryland, I'd hardly see justification for completely discarding his rights. Now, you may well be right and I merely reading this all wrong. Then so be it, either way, we have one of three situations here:

1. He's either not a citizen thus a POW, since despite image issues, we're supposedly over there defending the rights of non-Americans to have humanitarian treatment and democracy and all that jazz, and someone captured him rather than shooting him. (Uniformed or not, if we're treating him as a enemy in wartime, our national policy is still to regard all prisoners of war as covered by the Geneva Convention rules. At least that's what I was taught when I served in the military in this country.)

2. He is a citizen and thus a traitor (which grants the military full legal authority to execute him with or without a trial).

3. He's being detained to determine what he was actually doing while in Pakistan (which isn't our declared enemy nor in declared enemy territory that I know of at this point) because he wasn't caught doing anything definitive and therefore he should be afforded the normal rights of any human being that we claim we're here to preserve while we legally determine his role. (i.e., given the situation of his having admitted to suicide attempts, I can understand keeping him under guard for his own protection and even our maintaining a watch of his activities so he doesn't disappear on us, but he shoudl not be arrested until we actually have charges against him.

Regardless which, I don't really think this is about whether or not he was being tortured, I think we can all agree that his claims of torture are silly at best. Though the claims of his capture involving physical abuses is very questionable. I think this is really about whether our current political administration really has the right to detain whoever they choose with no more reason than "we think he might be suspicious" and to give the CIA free reign to treat anyone anywhere however they please as long as they "try" to keep it reasonably quiet so the neighbors can sleep...

       
I'm just glad neither of you has a role in government because you've both got a terrible grasp on what the Geneva Convention lays out for this sort of thing. He's an illegal combatant. Geneva does not apply. It's really simple. And in order to avoid wacko left wing bleeding heartness, they detained him at Gitmo so some jackass activist judge can't declare his rights to have been violated and set him free without ever knowing what he's done.

None of us are qualified to know what goes on on the battlefield, or in military intelligence gathering. All of us know only what our chosen source of news is willing to tell us. At least I have the sense enough to look beyond the LA Times and the NBC Nightly News so I can arrive at a more informed position.

So if he's a traitor, and our military has the legal right to summarily execute traitors caught aiding the enemy, why didn't we kill the guy and get it over with? Probably because he knows something about Al Quaeda operations. A dead man can't provide you intelligence.

       
To be perfectly honest, I haven't even read the article you posted. I don't watch news. First I heard of this was here. I'm only responding the blatant denial of _HUMAN_ rights. I could give a crap what the Geneva convention does or does not say.

As I said, and Connor said again, we're a country that talks about how we righteously fight for civil and human rights for ALL men. Then we pull this kind of crap. And it's a wonder every other country in the world thinks we're power hungry scum?

No, sorry. Regardless of which side of the "law" the government says it's on, it's not the _right_ thing to do, and that's the bottom line.

If the guy is proved to be a traitor, I hope they execute him. Until then, Gitmo Spa and Retreat.

       
Either way Whir, the guy based his entire torture claim on a bunch of absolute crap, as quoted in the original post. That was my main focus here. Not whether the traitorous bastard had his "human rights" violated. The world certainly doesn't seem too concerned about violations in North Korea, Iran, Indonesia, Darfur, South America, Mexico, or anywhere else *EXCEPT* the United States. If we're going to pretend to be so concerned about it, why doesn't the UN do something about all those other places before casting their evil gaze on us here?

       
We should all be so lucky to have that be the worst torture we ever undergo in our lives, yes.

However, unless the sources I've been reading for the past couple of years are completely full of it (and they're by and large conservative sources, too), then I'm still rather worried about what's going on in Guantanamo. Heck, look at what happened with the bill where McCain et al. tried to insert a section banning the use of torture by the armed forces - as is already forbidden in the Army field manual and code of conduct - and Bush basically overrode it. Our country's leading officials say "we do not torture," but then they redefine "torture" so that it excludes, say, waterboarding and other techniques that were acknowledged torture tactics in the time of the Inquisition. And cases against terror suspects have been compromised because the evidence against them was extracted under torture and therefore isn't legally viable in any way.

Whether or not this one guy was tortured, the way things are set up now, the government has reserved the right to torture terror suspects, and it's quite possible that they have been doing so. That's what concerns me.

       
As far as just his claims of torture, if we're restricting this discussion to just that, I've agreed with you from the beginning of this discussion that those claims were silly, at best, rediculous at worst. Though I am concerned by the claims of the circumstances surrounding his actual "arrest". Beyond that, perhaps we should just let it go at "we agree to disagree" since it's obvious that we're not changing anything by discussing/debating it on this blog site and people seem to be get rankled over it.

       
I've said it before, I'll say it again. I don't mind if people get rankled. That's the point of having free speech, yes? Debates like this are healthy, and while people will disagree with my positions on things, don't take it as my trying to stifle it or anything. If nobody got upset, then frankly I'd be worried.

The problem with McCain's anti-torture bill was that it was far too broad in what it tried to define as torture. If it had passed, then this idiot at Gitmo would actually have a valid case to pursue under our laws because being deprived of sleep would have been classified as torture. Since nobody has any hard evidence there was actual torture, I think the point is moot and the ridiculousness of the guy's complaints speak for themselves.

Regina, since you didn't elaborate on which sources you were referring to as possibly being full of it, I can't really comment. But I will go so far as to say that the LA and New York Times have both been guilty of publishing false stories about much of what goes on in the Bush administration because they know nobody will question them on it. And they certainly don't hesitate to print stuff that they think will damage Bush. What scares me is that they do this without thinking about the consequences this has on our soldiers and on us here at home when the enemy reads about it.

       
*shrug* I hear what you're saying Samson, but I don't really want to participate in a debate that becomes heated enough for people to get bent out of shape over, especially on someone else's blog. It just feels wrong. :(

Well, I suppose it's really all about degrees. How long was he sleep deprived? Was he not allowed to retire until an hour past his normal bedtime and then awoken after only 7 hours? Was he not permitted to sleep for three days, seven? And, probably more importantly, how was he sleep deprived? Did someone tell him "no, you can't sleep yet"? Did they keep him up by jabbering at him? (Arguably torture for/from some folk in itself..) Did the beat him if he tried to drift off?

       
Sources? Mostly the Wall Street Journal and quotations from government officials, as linked to with commentary by Andrew Sullivan (www.andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com), who's a conservative. I read the NYT too, but it's not my main source here.

I think the sleep deprivation most people have been talking about is on the order of 2-3 days. I've also been hearing about waterboarding, hypothermia, beatings, etc.

       
Hey, it's all okay as long as they don't break out the rack or the iron maiden or actually (publicly) draw and quarter the guy (we don't want to have to watch that sort of gore, after all), right? </sarcasm>

       
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