Freed Briton tells of beatings

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by numediaman, Mar 12, 2004.

  1. numediaman macrumors 6502a

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    #1
    We'll see if we hear more about this over the next few days, so it will go quietly away. The Daily Mirror is a British tabloid -- so I can not attest to their standards. Any Brits here that want to comment?

    from The Guardian

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/guantanamo/story/0,13743,1167732,00.html

    Freed Briton tells of beatings
    Guantánamo Bay returnees say police questions were 'charade'

    Tania Branigan and Rosie Cowan
    Friday March 12, 2004

    One of the Britons freed from Guantánamo Bay spoke for the first time last night of the full horror of his ordeal.

    Jamal al-Harith told how US soldiers brought in prostitutes to the camp, and paraded them naked in front of the many devout Muslims. The 37-year-old also claimed he was kicked, punched and assaulted with batons . . .


    from the original Daily Mirror story:

    http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/allnew...eadline=-MY-HELL-IN-CAMP-X-RAY-name_page.html

    MY HELL IN CAMP X-RAY
    Their "cells" were wire cages with concrete floors and open to the elements - giving no privacy or protection from the rats, snakes and scorpions loose around the American base.

    He claims punishment beatings were handed out by guards known as the Extreme Reaction Force. They waded into inmates in full riot-gear, raining blows on them.

    Prisoners faced psychological torture and mind-games in attempts to make them confess to acts they had never committed. Even petty breaches of rules brought severe punishment . . .
     
  2. wordmunger macrumors 603

    wordmunger

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    #2
    This all seems rather tame, given what these folks were being held for. The Atlantic had a great article a while back discussing what all goes into interrogation. Pretty intense stuff.

    It's a shame that some apparently innocent people were held, but on the global scale of things, perhaps it's more surprising that there aren't more incidences of this.
     
  3. toontra macrumors 6502

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    #3
    Apparently they were being held for absolutely no reason whatsoever. If they had committed any crime at all, especially a terrorist act, they would have been re-arrested and charged when entering the UK. So now we know for a fact that these five men were innocent, why should we have any confidence that any of the others still detained are "bad men"?

    Once you renounce judicial process and the most basic of human rights, as the US have done in Camps X-Ray & Delta, you return to the jungle.
     
  4. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #4
    how positively mild. imagine that was your mom being beaten w/ batons in those camps. it would be a shame, huh?
     
  5. wordmunger macrumors 603

    wordmunger

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    #5
    They were captured on a battlefield and were treated according to the Geneva Conventions for prisoners of war, even though they were not soldiers for a sovereign state. They themselves, in conducting a war in this fashion, were in violation of the Geneva Conventions. They had no "rights" according to any international agreement. They were not U.S. citizens, so they were not subject to U.S. law. In fact, they were engaged in combat against the U.S. They were released because they were determined to be no longer a danger to the U.S.
     
  6. wordmunger macrumors 603

    wordmunger

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    #6
    Imagine the U.S. had taken no prisoners in Afghanistan and the terrorists regrouped and murdered *your* mother. *That* would be a true shame.
     
  7. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #7
    a little contradictory, wouldn't you say?
     
  8. wordmunger macrumors 603

    wordmunger

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    #8
    No, I suspect that if they were U.S. citizens they would have been tried and convicted. That's why I said "apparently" innocent. The U.S. released them into British custody, and Britain decided not to prosecute them.
     
  9. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #9
    just to make sure i understand:
    - the US justice system would prosecute regardless of guilt or innocence
    - the British justices system would free them regardless of guilt or innocence

    sure saves time -- and lots of HARD THINKING -- when dispensing w/ due process, eh?
     
  10. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #10
    is that what you think my position really is? am i allowed some middle ground?

    how about -- arrest those suspected, try them, punish those guilty, release those who are innocent. try to refrain from random beatings in the process and maybe give them access to lawyers.

    you know, "justice"
     
  11. toontra macrumors 6502

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    #11
    How do you know any of the above is true? You are taking GB's word for this, aren't you?

    That is what happens when the facts cannot be challenged by judicial proccess. It seems likely that all the released men were not combatants, were not captured on the battlefield and were guilty of, well, nothing at all.
     
  12. wordmunger macrumors 603

    wordmunger

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    #12
    What is "innocent"? What is "guilty"? They were fighting in an illegal war against the U.S. Wouldn't they be "guilty" by any definition? However, there are other things to consider--international pressures, how integral they were to the Taliban/Al Qaeda, how dangerous they are now.

    I think the problem here is the open-endedness of the situation. The "war" on terror is going to last years, if not decades. Legally, we can hold POWs until the conflict is over. Then, traditionally, they are released. But what if the war never ends? The sensible thing is to release them when they are determined not to be dangerous.
     
  13. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #13
    i'm sorry -- are you at all familiar w/ the judicial system? they were accused of fighting. doesn't mean they were. so who are we gonna trust to make that determination? an independent judicial system or the accusers themselves?
     
  14. numediaman thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #14
    Sorry for the sloppy topic head, I guess I must have hit "Apple V" twice -- damn Macs. ;)

    As for this Brit, the story makes it clear that he was not fighting an illegal war -- in fact, he was not fighting any war. Yet he was held for two years incommunicato. Two years!

    By the way, "illegal war"? You mean like the war in Iraq?
     
  15. wordmunger macrumors 603

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    #15
    Whose judicial system? By the Geneva convention, they are entitled to a military tribunal. Except this case falls outside the Geneva convention. Even a military tribunal is nothing like a "judicial system"--it's more like an inquisition.
     
  16. wordmunger macrumors 603

    wordmunger

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    #16
    Bush was an idiot for starting the war in Iraq. This doesn't mean U.S. actions in Afghanistan were unjustified.

    I'm sure every prisoner at Guantanamo can make up a story like this guy fed to the tabloids. Yes, supposing it's true, it's a tragedy. But things don't look good for him, given where he was picked up. If his story was true it was indeed unjust, but on the other hand he should feel lucky to be alive, driving in a truck through a war zone.
     
  17. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #17
    no, the geneva convention was ignored. w/in the GC, there's a clause that roughly states that all situations not other described w/in the GC still qualify for GC protection.

    the detainees were denied communication w/ their families. they were denied legal counsel. they were put on public display. they were humiliated and beaten. they were denied visits by the Red Cross. these are all illegal under the GC.
     
  18. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #18
    A: These men were specifically NOT caught on the battlefield. B: Absolutely no evidence has been presented to substantiate ANY of these allegations. C: The taleban (to whom we do not know if they had any connection) were NOT fighting an "illegal war". They were the duly constituted sovereign government of Afghanistan under attack by an invading force using high-altitude saturation bombing indiscriminately, and causing the deaths of thousands of innocent Afghani citizens.
    A: You are refusing to classify them as PoWs, holding them in a legal vacuum in a "no man's land" of your own invention expressly to avoid due process. B: You have replaced the Taleban with another highly dubious, corrupt and vicious puppet government, so your "war" is over as far as Afghanistan is concerned. C: You need to declare a war: this "war on terror" is not a real war, it's a propaganda-driven pretext for seizing control of the remaining oil supplies. Look out Venezuela.
     
  19. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #19
    dude -- you write textbooks?!?
     
  20. numediaman thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #20
    While I very much agree with your viewpoint, please do me the favor of not using "you". While I realize that it is "my" government committing these crimes, I think you understand that not everybody here agrees with the actions of the government. Just as I would say that not everyone in England agree with the actions of that government, right? Thanks.
     
  21. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #21
    My sincere apologies. I did not mean to tar you all with the same b(r)ush... :)
     
  22. numediaman thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #22
    No problem.

    But you really should be out on the town this late at night in England, instead of on a Mac board!! (I'm only here because in my PB is a new Wynton Marsalis CD blasting at me.)

    EDIT: by the way, what is the English press saying about the bombing in Spain? It really makes a difference whether it was ETA or Al-Queda. One is purely domestic, the other reflects Spains participation in the war in Iraq. The Spanish ambassador was on TV tonight sticking to the ETA claim. But it turns out he has an agenda -- he was kidnapped by ETA back in the 70's.
     
  23. wordmunger macrumors 603

    wordmunger

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    #23
    Indeed I do.

    Someone who disagrees with you can't write textbooks?
     
  24. wordmunger macrumors 603

    wordmunger

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    #24
    this is not true.
    Show me where the Geneva Convention provides for this.
    No they were not. They voluntarily told their story to the tabloids.

    So they claim. If this was punishment for misbehavior, it is acceptable under the G.C.
    No they were not
     
  25. wordmunger macrumors 603

    wordmunger

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    #25
    Let's not conflate the war in Iraq with the war on terror. Do you seriously suppose that the U.S. was in Afghanistan because of oil? There is no oil in Afghanistan. The U.S. responded to the most vicious attack on American civilians in history. As I've said before, Bush made a huge mistake in attacking Iraq. This doesn't mean that actions taken in Afghanistan to deter terrorism were not justified.
     

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