Still more corruption from the Bush administrationgreenspun.com : LUSENET : Unk's Troll-free Private Saloon : One Thread
It's interesting that within 2 days AFTER indicting John Lindh on 10 charges, Dubya finally changed his mind to apply the Geneva Convention to Taliban fighters. The rules are now being changed, AFTER they claim they obtained incriminating information from Lindh, while he was under duress, and without a lawyer. Just coincidence that Dubya ignored Colin Powell's advice for several weeks, and waited until AFTER they charged Lindh? Yeah, right, heh-heh! It's obvious the administration is frustrated and embarrased that they still didn't get Bin Laden, so Ashcroft is determined to make the 20 year-old Lindh a symbolic scapegoat.
Thursday February 7 6:02 PM ET
Bush Applies Geneva Convention to Taliban Captives
By Arshad Mohammed
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Bush (news - web sites) decided on Thursday to apply the Geneva Convention to Taliban fighters held by the United States but not to al Qaeda members, a decision that will not change the captives' treatment but may help to protect U.S. soldiers and to blunt foreign criticism.
Bush's decision, criticized by some human rights groups, does not confer prisoner of war status on the Taliban detainees, which would have given them protections including the right to disclose only their name, rank and serial number under interrogation and to return home once the conflict is over.
Announcing Bush's move, White House spokesman Ari Fleischer (news - web sites) said that as a practical matter the decision would have little effect on the daily treatment of the captives, 186 of whom are detained at the U.S. military base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Despite harsh foreign criticism of their treatment. the spokesman said the United States had treated the captives humanely and would continue to do so, giving them three meals a day, medical care and the opportunity to worship.
Foreign nations including close U.S. allies like Britain and Germany expressed strong misgivings about the Guantanamo Bay captives after the Pentagon (news - web sites) released a photograph showing some of them bound, blindfolded and on their knees.
Analysts said Bush's decision may have been designed in part to protect the rights of U.S. soldiers who might be captured in the U.S. military campaign in Afghanistan (news - web sites) or elsewhere as Washington prosecutes its war on terrorism.
PREVENTING INHUMANE TREATMENT
The Third Geneva Convention of 1949 was designed to protect prisoners of war from inhumane treatment at the hands of their captors in conflicts covered by the treaty, ensuring that they receive such things as proper nutrition and medical care.
``President Bush today has decided that the Geneva Convention will apply to the Taliban detainees but not to the al Qaeda international terrorists,'' Fleischer told reporters in a hastily arranged appearance in the White House press room.
``The Taliban detainees are not entitled to POW status,'' Fleischer said, adding there would be ``no change'' in their treatment, which he said had been consistently humane.
The White House said al Qaeda prisoners were not covered by the treaty because the group ``is not a state party to the Geneva convention; it is a foreign terrorist group.''
The decision appeared to be a victory for Secretary of State Colin Powell (news - web sites), who argued that the prisoners should be covered by the convention despite opposition from others, reportedly including Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.
The announcement came as a fresh group of al Qaeda and Taliban prisoners arrived at Guantanamo Bay from Afghanistan on Thursday, two weeks after the U.S military suspended flights to build more cage-like outdoor cells to hold the captives.
Some human rights groups criticized Bush for not extending the convention to al Qaeda prisoners, saying the treaty was designed to protect all combatants and the White House did not have the right to decide who deserved prisoner of war status.
``They're stating that the Geneva Conventions apply, and in the same breath not applying them,'' said Alex Arriaga, head of government relations for Amnesty International USA. ``It requires a competent tribunal to decide if they are POWs.
``It's not left to the president of that country or the secretary of defense,'' she said. ``If U.S. soldiers were captured, we wouldn't want the president of that country making that determination.''
NAME, RANK AND SERIAL NUMBER
Prisoner of war status would have given the Taliban detainees a number of rights, including release once the conflict has ended, a monthly stipend, and even access to musical instruments during their detention.
It would also have allowed them to restrict their answers under interrogation to name, rank and serial number.
Interrogation has been of particular concern to the United States, which hopes to gain intelligence from the prisoners that may prevent future assaults like the attacks on New York and Washington, which Washington blames on the al Qaeda group run by accused Sept. 11 mastermind Osama bin Laden (news - web sites).
Tom Malinowski, Human Rights Watch's Washington advocacy director, said the issue had never been the actual treatment of the detainees -- saying he believes they have been treated humanely by the United States and would continue to be.
``The issue is the legal precedent and the extent to which the U.S. fully embraces the Geneva Convention,'' he said. ``What they have done is partially embrace them which is not going to fully satisfy anyone. To the extent they had a problem on this issue yesterday, they still have a problem today.''
Fleischer said for the captives to qualify as prisoners of war under the convention they would have to meet four conditions: be part of a military hierarchy, wear uniforms or other visible insignia, carry arms openly and conduct military operations in accordance with the ``laws and customs'' of war.
``The Taliban have not effectively distinguished themselves from the civilian population of Afghanistan,'' Fleischer said, adding that their support for al Qaeda ``terrorist'' activities was inconsistent with the laws and customs of war.
-- (email@example.com), February 08, 2002
How do you say American Bund in Arabic?
-- Carlos (firstname.lastname@example.org), February 09, 2002.
Posted on Fri, Feb. 08, 2002
FBI failed to get Lindh's statement in writing
BY LENNY SAVINO AND FRANK DAVIES email@example.com
WASHINGTON - The FBI may have violated its own rules in questioning John Walker Lindh by not taping or transcribing his statements, and that could determine the outcome of the case against him, experts said Thursday.
The FBI's only record of its two-day interrogation of the accused Taliban fighter is a summary form written by the agent who questioned him. Lindh did not sign the form.
`WHERE'S THE PROOF?'
''Everything turns on the confession. If it's thrown out, where's the proof?'' said former federal prosecutor Gregory Wallance, now a private attorney in New York City.
The defense and prosecution agree the case depends largely on the FBI's account of an interrogation with Lindh on Dec. 9 and 10 while Lindh was a U.S. military prisoner at Camp Rhino in southern Afghanistan. But the FBI's interview with Lindh appears not to have been recorded, an FBI agent testified this week, or transcribed and signed by Lindh.
Prosecutors say other witnesses and incriminating statements by Lindh back up what the government characterizes as a confession, but Lindh's defense team plans to attack the FBI's interrogation procedures and Lindh's treatment before responding to the FBI's questions. The government has said Lindh waived his right to an attorney, but the defense said he requested an attorney and was denied one.
Lindh, who turns 21 on Saturday, is charged with 10 counts of conspiring with Afghanistan's Taliban government and the al Qaeda terrorist network to kill Americans. He faces life imprisonment with no possibility of parole.
In a filing this week, defense attorneys argued that while at Camp Rhino, Lindh was stripped, bound, blindfolded, taped to a stretcher and kept outdoors in a metal shipping container with only one blanket to keep warm. After two to three days, he was taken from the shipping container to a tent and his blindfold removed. At that point, defense lawyers contend, Lindh asked an FBI agent for a lawyer and was told none were available.
RIGHT TO LAWYER
That's not what the prosecution's filings say. They say Lindh waived his right to a lawyer voluntarily and ``stated that he has been treated well by the military, and has received adequate food and medical treatment while in their custody.''
Here's the prosecution's problem: When asked at a bond hearing Wednesday whether any recorded or written statement was taken at Lindh's alleged confession, FBI Special Agent Anne Asbury answered: ``To my knowledge, no.''
Asbury said that she was not the agent who interrogated Lindh, and that she had flown to Afghanistan and prepared Lindh's arrest affidavit from the information provided on another agent's report.
The FBI's ''Legal Handbook for Special Agents'' states: ``Where possible, written statements should be taken in all cases in which any confession or admission of guilt is obtained.''
When a written statement is prepared, the suspect has the right to correct and amend it before signing it.
The FBI has offered no explanation as to why taking a written statement would have been impossible in Lindh's case, but a U.S. law enforcement official, who asked not to be identified, said Thursday that agents broke no rules.
On occasion, he said, an agent's official report on an interview, called a Form 302, can be used to document a confession. Typically, the agent fills out the form based on notes taken during questioning.
Beth Wilkinson, a former prosecutor in the Oklahoma City bombing cases, said the FBI often does not tape interviews.
''Just sitting there taking notes is less intimidating than taping and helps you get information,'' she said.
Legal experts say the government's highest hurdle will be convincing a jury that Lindh made the statements the FBI says he made and that they were given voluntarily.
''The case rises and falls with the confession,'' said Henry Hockeimer, a former federal prosecutor now in private practice in Philadelphia. ``It's a tough case from the government's standpoint because you may not have other facts to corroborate the conduct he supposedly confessed to.''
Despite the controversy surrounding the alleged confession, it will be hard for a judge to not allow the FBI's version of Lindh's questioning given widespread public sentiment against him, said Jon Sale, a former Watergate prosecutor and private attorney in Miami.
''In a perfect world, the burden is on the government to show Lindh knowingly waived his rights,'' Sale said. ``In the real world, given that the public views him as a most heinous traitor, it would take a lot of courage for a judge to throw out that confession.''
BUILDING A CASE
Lindh's lawyers, by their questions, appear aware of the FBI's rules on confessions and intent on using them to build a case for rejecting his confession.
Prosecutors, in their brief filed this week, said they plan to buttress the FBI account of Lindh's statements with a CNN interview with him on Dec. 2 and statements he allegedly made to U.S. soldiers who detained him in Afghanistan.
''The government will say there's nothing wrong in [soldiers] asking questions, especially in a battlefield situation,'' said Mark Tushnet, a constitutional law professor at Georgetown University. ``But whether you can use that in a criminal prosecution is a tough question.''
Sale said the CNN interview would likely be admissible ``if it can be shown that Lindh was lucid enough to know what he was saying.''
-- (firstname.lastname@example.org), February 11, 2002.
why dont you get a life
-- (email@example.com), February 11, 2002.
Care to elaborate, sick?
-- (firstname.lastname@example.org), February 11, 2002.
and even access to musical instruments during their detention.
Great research on the subject. ;<)))
-- Z1X4Y7 (Z1X4Y7@aol.com), February 11, 2002.
Not sure what you mean by that remark Z.
-- (email@example.com?), February 11, 2002.
Maybe he means that Camp X-Ray is not so bad as you want to imagine.
Detainees getting comfortable, Wash Post
-- (stockholm syndrome@Gitmo.Cuba), February 12, 2002.
LOL! That wasn't the point of this thread at all. Sounds like Z is either too illiterate to read or too dumb to figure it out. ;<)))
-- (firstname.lastname@example.org), February 12, 2002.
Oh sure, you know exactly what's going on and we're all stupid.
You really need help dickwad
-- shuttha already (email@example.com), February 12, 2002.
Just guess that you aren't up on the religous beliefs made into law by the Taliban.
-- Z1X4Y7 (Z1X4Y7@aol.com), February 12, 2002.
Z, some of this confusion could be avoided if you would simply keep your replies on topic with the original post, and refrain from making the extraneous snide comments.
Sicko, kiss my ass, then mind your own business.
-- (firstname.lastname@example.org), February 12, 2002.
Z's comment was a touch of wry humor which gave this thread a touch of quality it was in sore need of, considering the shit-stupid introductory remarks which started this thread off.
-- Peter Errington (email@example.com), February 12, 2002.
Oh, I see. Anytime you repugs see remarks you don't agree with, you insult the messenger instead of debating the point. Well, that's fairly typical behavior for narrow-minded, intolerant, lying, hypocritical repugs, why should you be any different?
-- (firstname.lastname@example.org), February 12, 2002.
OK, regarding your point: John Lindh is a worm. He richly deserves a harsh fate. Our getting Osama or not has nothing to do with it. Hope I haven't gone too fast for you, or thrown in too many complexities.
-- Peter Errington (email@example.com), February 12, 2002.
"OK, regarding your point: John Lindh is a worm."
How do you know that? Because Ashcroft said so? That was my original point, that he is being made into an intentional scapegoat. So far, the government has failed to provide any evidence of the things that Lindh supposedly admitted after he was stripped and thrown into a metal box. Not even the document they say he signed, waiving his right to a lawyer. You may be gullible enough to believe what they say in their attempt to make him a scapegoat, but I would like to see some real evidence.
"He richly deserves a harsh fate."
I cannot agree with that unless there is more solid evidence other than heresay. There is no evidence that he ever fired at any Americans, or ever harmed anyone for that matter. He is a confused 20 year-old kid who maybe went a bit far out on the limb to find himself, but I doubt that he is a terrorist. He was involved with the Taliban, who the US funded with $$$millions not long ago. There is no evidence that he was involved with Al-Qaeda.
"Our getting Osama or not has nothing to do with it."
This one is more a matter of opinion, but I think it does. Rumsfeld and the entire administration have been constantly fending off criticism for not having Bin Laden yet, and Ashcroft is trying to release their frustration and the frustration of the people upon Lindh by making him into a symbolic substitute for Bin Laden.
"Hope I haven't gone too fast for you, or thrown in too many complexities."
There you go again, making rude insults. I don't think I have given any indication that I can't keep up with you. I think that is just your way of trying to avoid having to respond to my argument with anything which is genuine and truthful. I understand how many rightwingers have a hard time admitting the corruption going on within this administration, but they are far from perfect, and I have a right to reveal the truth.
-- (firstname.lastname@example.org), February 12, 2002.
"Those who listen to music and songs in this world," goes the Muhammad-attributed threat used to justify its censorship, "on the Day of Judgment, molten lead will be poured into their ears."
Who is "narrow-minded" and "intolerant"?
-- (molten lead @ ya know what.I'm sayin'?), February 12, 2002.
He is a confused 20 year-old kid
Poor John-boy and his AK-47. ROTFL.
-- (email@example.com), February 12, 2002.
Loads of evidence, involved in Al Q up to his ears.
-- Peter Errington (firstname.lastname@example.org), February 12, 2002.
Where is the evidence Peter? Are you talking about the heresay?
-- (email@example.com), February 13, 2002.
Of course. As I suspected, no evidence.
-- (Lindh@totally.setup), February 13, 2002.
According to his interview with CNN, the Al Q's had him fighting in Kashmir before sending him to help the Taliban.
-- Peter Errington (firstname.lastname@example.org), February 13, 2002.
Al Qaeda was not fighting in Kashmir, they are strictly a terrorist organization. Could you please post the transcript of the interview?
-- (believe it @ when. i see it), February 13, 2002.
Al Qaeda is an international terrorist organization. We fight wherever Muslims are oppressed.
More importantly, I love kashmir sweaters.
-- (Osama bin Qa-Qa@jihad johnny's.tree house), February 13, 2002.