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Bush could be next on the war crimes tribunal list





handfleisch
Quote:
George Bush could be next on the war crimes list

THE HAGUE – George W. Bush could one day be the International Criminal Court's next target.

David Crane, an international law professor at Syracuse University, said the principle of law used to issue an arrest warrant for Omar al-Bashir could extend to former US President Bush over claims officials from his Administration may have engaged in torture by using coercive interrogation techniques on terror suspects.

Crane is a former prosecutor of the Sierra Leone tribunal that indicted Liberian President Charles Taylor and put him on trial in The Hague.

Richard Dicker, director of the International Justice Programme at Human Rights Watch, said the al-Bashir ruling was likely to fuel discussion about investigations of possible crimes by Bush Administration officials.

Congressional Democrats and other critics have charged that some of the harsh interrogation techniques amounted to torture, a contention that Bush and other officials rejected.



http://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/news/article.cfm?c_id=2&objectid=10560243
ocalhoun
He should be investigated, and if the case is strong enough, prosecuted.
That way, we could end this once and for all.

I do think, however, we need an absolute reference by which we can determine what is torture and what is not.
deanhills
ocalhoun wrote:
I do think, however, we need an absolute reference by which we can determine what is torture and what is not.

A definition would certainly be helpful, but I would be very surprised if this should happen. Once Bush has been charged, then there will be no limits at all, as I am certain there are many more Government leaders in the world who have committed or condoned much worse sins, both of murdering and torturing variety. Israeli leaders during the latest bombardment of Palestine for example, Sudan, Mugabe of Zimbabwe for sure, latest atrocities in Rwanda (everyone is pretending it is not happening), Russian leader decisions in Georgia and Chechnea, Blair and other European leaders with invasian in Iraq, Syria in Lebanon, Syria in West Bank, Pakistan with terror attacks in Afghanistan, China with Tibet, Sri Lanka and the Tamils, Somalia, Ethiopia ..... etc. etc. I am certain Bush and the US would have interesting information they could manipulate and I think we have had a recent demonstration on withholding of information in the UK when Judges were persuasively requested not to make information on torturing available during a court session.
sondosia
This is ridiculous. If people are upset that they didn't know what was going on, the government should establish an independent, NONPARTISAN group that will investigate, publish documents that it finds, and create a resource for the public to find out what really happened and who made it happen. Just because the Democrats are in power now doesn't mean we need to have a Republican-bashing party now, especially when the economy should be our priority.

It is clear that Bush thought he had good reasons for using torture, so there's no need to treat him like a common criminal. Instead, we need to define torture (and update the definition FREQUENTLY) and make those acts illegal. Have Bush be the precedent, and do NOT let this turn into another partisan bloodbath.
Moonspider
handfleisch wrote:
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/news/article.cfm?c_id=2&objectid=10560243


You simply posted this reference (without any comment mind you) to be incendiary. As the article pointed out, the notion is utter nonsense. The United States does not recognize that court and no investigation would ever be ordered since the United States is a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council.

Therefore the opinions of David Crane and Richard Dicker on this subject carry no more weight or influence than the rantings of people in this forum. Their positions simply allow their rantings to get published.

Respectfully,
M
handfleisch
Quote:
You simply posted this reference (without any comment mind you) to be incendiary. As the article pointed out, the notion is utter nonsense.

It isn't nonsense just because it is unlikely; in fact it is very significant that an ex-UN prosecutor is calling for Bush to be arrested on war crimes charges.

It is also not about torture necessarily. Here is part of another article:

http://rawstory.com/news/2008/ExUN_prosecutor_Bush_may_be_next_0307.html

Quote:
An ex-UN prosecutor has said that following the issuance of an arrest warrant for the president of Sudan, former US President George W. Bush could -- and should -- be next on the International Criminal Court's list.

The former prosecutor's assessment was echoed in some respect by United Nations General Assembly chief Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann of Nicaragua, who said America's military occupation of Iraq has caused over a million deaths and should be probed by the United Nations.
...
"All pretended justifications notwithstanding, the aggressions against Iraq and Afghanistan and their occupations constitute atrocities that must be condemned and repudiated by all who believe in the rule of law in international relations," Brockmann told the Human Rights Council. "The illegality of the use of force against Iraq cannot be doubted as it runs contrary to the prohibition of the use of force in Article 2(4) of the United Nations Charter. It sets a number of precedents that we cannot allow to stand."

The Bush administration boycotted the Human Rights Council. The day Brockmann made his accusations happened to be the first in which the United States had observers at the council, on orders from President Obama.
ocalhoun
handfleisch wrote:

Quote:
the aggressions against Iraq and Afghanistan and their occupations constitute atrocities that must be condemned and repudiated by all who believe in the rule of law in international relations,"

Iraq was definitely a mistake, but it could be argued that Afghanistan was a defensive/retaliatory operation against the Taliban, who started the aggression. (Please tell me you're not a 9/11 conspiracy theory believer.)
davidfromoz
ocalhoun wrote:

Iraq was definitely a mistake, but it could be argued that Afghanistan was a defensive/retaliatory operation against the Taliban, who started the aggression.


Agree! Lets not lump Iraq and Afghanistan in the same pile.
deanhills
handfleisch wrote:
It isn't nonsense just because it is unlikely; in fact it is very significant that an ex-UN prosecutor is calling for Bush to be arrested on war crimes charges.


How can anything with an "ex" in front of it be of any signficance? To me it sounds like wishful thinking both on the ex-prosecutor and your part. Not to mention DISLOYAL. At least there should be a modicum of respect and loyalty for the office of the President of the United States of America. If you want to investigate him for war crimes, I believe that should be done internally by the people who elected him to his office and who are indirectly responsible since it is a democratic country.

Also Handfleisch, this is supposed to be a discussion forum, not a news bureau. You're supposed to let us know what your views are.
Moonspider
handfleisch wrote:

It is also not about torture necessarily. Here is part of another article:

http://rawstory.com/news/2008/ExUN_prosecutor_Bush_may_be_next_0307.html

Quote:
An ex-UN prosecutor has said that following the issuance of an arrest warrant for the president of Sudan, former US President George W. Bush could -- and should -- be next on the International Criminal Court's list.

The former prosecutor's assessment was echoed in some respect by United Nations General Assembly chief Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann of Nicaragua, who said America's military occupation of Iraq has caused over a million deaths and should be probed by the United Nations.
...
"All pretended justifications notwithstanding, the aggressions against Iraq and Afghanistan and their occupations constitute atrocities that must be condemned and repudiated by all who believe in the rule of law in international relations," Brockmann told the Human Rights Council. "The illegality of the use of force against Iraq cannot be doubted as it runs contrary to the prohibition of the use of force in Article 2(4) of the United Nations Charter. It sets a number of precedents that we cannot allow to stand."

The Bush administration boycotted the Human Rights Council. The day Brockmann made his accusations happened to be the first in which the United States had observers at the council, on orders from President Obama.


I actually believe you weakened your argument by quoting a Sandinista in an attempt to strengthen it. You might as well quote Hugo Chavez's opinion about the United States and any member of her leadership.

Respectfully,
M
handfleisch
Moonspider wrote:


I actually believe you weakened your argument by quoting a Sandinista in an attempt to strengthen it. You might as well quote Hugo Chavez's opinion about the United States and any member of her leadership.

Respectfully,
M


The initial article is based on the statements of an American former UN prosecutor and also the head of Human Rights Watch; the point being made in the second article is that the charges against Bush wouldn't necessarily stop at torture, they would include preemptive invasion of sovereign countries clearly against the UN charter. It's got nothing to do with the fact that this was mentioned in this article by a former moderate Sandinista. I actually am surprised that you would stoop to such a rhetorical low, rather than argue the case on its merits.
coolclay
While mistakes were certainly made by people in the Bush Administration (not necessarily Bush himself) they pale in comparison to the human rights violations that occur every single day all across our globe. Those posted by Deanhill for example.

This is simply a media stunt to attempt as many have already attempted to humiliate Pres. Bush, and make him look bad. People can't stand the fact that George W. Bush is a morally strong, steadfast human being no matter how much crap people sling at him, he doesn't falter. He is a stronger man than I and probably most people in this country. I know I couldn't be President and put up with all the crap he gets. I give him total respect for what he has done, and what he will continue to do even after his presidency. I don't agree with some choices his administration has made but I still respect and admire him for who he is.
deanhills
coolclay wrote:
While mistakes were certainly made by people in the Bush Administration (not necessarily Bush himself) they pale in comparison to the human rights violations that occur every single day all across our globe. Those posted by Deanhill for example.

This is simply a media stunt to attempt as many have already attempted to humiliate Pres. Bush, and make him look bad. People can't stand the fact that George W. Bush is a morally strong, steadfast human being no matter how much crap people sling at him, he doesn't falter. He is a stronger man than I and probably most people in this country. I know I couldn't be President and put up with all the crap he gets. I give him total respect for what he has done, and what he will continue to do even after his presidency. I don't agree with some choices his administration has made but I still respect and admire him for who he is.

Nice to hear someone say good things about Bush. He was not good at diplomacy, but at least was able to make decisions and see them through. I think history will treat him much kinder than the citizens of the United States while he was President. Not that that was necessarily a bad thing, as I can imagine the criticism must have kept him on his toes as well.
handfleisch
coolclay wrote:
While mistakes were certainly made by people in the Bush Administration (not necessarily Bush himself) they pale in comparison to the human rights violations that occur every single day all across our globe.


Really? Pre-emptively invading a country to search for something that didn't exist and then staying to occupy it, killing hundreds of thousands (a million by some counts) of people in the process? That happens everyday?
Moonspider
handfleisch wrote:
Moonspider wrote:


I actually believe you weakened your argument by quoting a Sandinista in an attempt to strengthen it. You might as well quote Hugo Chavez's opinion about the United States and any member of her leadership.

Respectfully,
M


The initial article is based on the statements of an American former UN prosecutor and also the head of Human Rights Watch; the point being made in the second article is that the charges against Bush wouldn't necessarily stop at torture, they would include preemptive invasion of sovereign countries clearly against the UN charter. It's got nothing to do with the fact that this was mentioned in this article by a former moderate Sandinista. I actually am surprised that you would stoop to such a rhetorical low, rather than argue the case on its merits.


If it has nothing to do with the opinion of a Sandinista, then why call him to the stand as a witness? It is perfectly acceptable to call into question the objectivity and/or credibility of someone when they are offering testimony or opinion, so I therefore take exception to you calling it, “a rhetorical low.” To the contrary, it’s a legitimate tactic.

But since you said Mr. Brockmann’s statements have nothing whatsoever with your argument, I’ll refrain from raking him over the coals in cross examination as he sits on the stand, even though I believe doing so would be easier than tossing a penny into the world’s largest fountain. That is why I believe you weakened your argument, because you chose to place a very poor witness on the stand.

I’ve argued the merits in similar discussions before, such as those regarding impeachment. In summary, I don’t believe anyone can legally prove that President Bush knowingly invaded Iraq on false pretenses. Therefore the argument that the preemptive invasion of Iraq was illegal fails. Any unbiased group of people would be left with some doubt as to whether the administration knew the intelligence was blatantly wrong and lied, or if the administration simply acted on weak or misinterpreted intelligence in launching a preemptive war (anticipatory self-defense). The latter is not illegal or “clearly against the UN charter.”

You also implied that Afghanistan was a preemptive war. (“…they would include preemptive invasion of sovereign countries)…”). This is most certainly not the case and I see no legal grounds for prosecuting a war crime based upon the invasion of Afghanistan. To do so would imply that President Clinton would also be guilty of war crimes for unilaterally breaching sovereign airspace in launching retaliatory strikes against Al Qaeda.

With regard to “torture,” that is also debatable. The extraordinary renditions may be a more solid case, (but still tenuous) but no unbiased persons are going to equate water boarding, sleep deprivation, etc. with breaking bones, hacking off extremities, electrocution, putting eyes out, busting ear drums, starving, etc. To my knowledge no detainee at Guantanamo is treated any worse than a U.S. military member going through an advanced SERE (Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape) course.

However this is all academic. The United States does not recognize any international court and it’s a permanent member of the Security Council. Furthermore, despite those at the United Nations who have delusions of grandeur, there is no higher authority than a nation-state. The United Nations is a forum, not a super-state with higher authority than any given country.

Respectfully,
M
ThePolemistis
ocalhoun wrote:
handfleisch wrote:

Quote:
the aggressions against Iraq and Afghanistan and their occupations constitute atrocities that must be condemned and repudiated by all who believe in the rule of law in international relations,"

Iraq was definitely a mistake, but it could be argued that Afghanistan was a defensive/retaliatory operation against the Taliban, who started the aggression. (Please tell me you're not a 9/11 conspiracy theory believer.)


The Taliban or AlQaeda?

Evn still, both were funded by the United States govt - the biggest funder of terrorism.
deanhills
ThePolemistis wrote:
ocalhoun wrote:
handfleisch wrote:

Quote:
the aggressions against Iraq and Afghanistan and their occupations constitute atrocities that must be condemned and repudiated by all who believe in the rule of law in international relations,"

Iraq was definitely a mistake, but it could be argued that Afghanistan was a defensive/retaliatory operation against the Taliban, who started the aggression. (Please tell me you're not a 9/11 conspiracy theory believer.)


The Taliban or AlQaeda?

Evn still, both were funded by the United States govt - the biggest funder of terrorism.

I don't know how it works, in fact I sometimes think most people do not know how it works, but I think there is an element of truth here. Sometimes I wonder whether there is something that is much more important in the scope of things: BALANCE OF POWER. And so that is quite an art to do. Like health in a human body. As long as you can preserve the body's natural homeostasis, being in balance, you're in a state of health. But if there are too many of the good cells, or too many of the bad cells, and things are out of balance, you get disease. So the US is tinkering here and there to keep things in balance. Sometimes they win, sometimes they loose, but in overall the US in cooperation/playing games with it allies and its enemies have managed to keep things in balance.
Moonspider
ThePolemistis wrote:
ocalhoun wrote:
handfleisch wrote:

Quote:
the aggressions against Iraq and Afghanistan and their occupations constitute atrocities that must be condemned and repudiated by all who believe in the rule of law in international relations,"

Iraq was definitely a mistake, but it could be argued that Afghanistan was a defensive/retaliatory operation against the Taliban, who started the aggression. (Please tell me you're not a 9/11 conspiracy theory believer.)


The Taliban or AlQaeda?

Evn still, both were funded by the United States govt - the biggest funder of terrorism.


Neither were funded, trained or supported by the United States at any time. That is nothing more than an appealing story and therefore continues to be propagated, and will undoubtedly continue to be so until enough time passes that no one cares if they even remember.

Al Qaeda formed out of foreign fighters in the Afghan-Soviet war. The United States trained and funded Afghanis in that war. (Wouldn't that make bin Laden one of the greatest hypocrites in the world if he had ever accepted anything from the U.S.!?) The Taliban came into being after the war when the U.S. cared very little about the internal politics of Afghanistan.

Respectfully,
M
deanhills
Moonspider wrote:
Neither were funded, trained or supported by the United States at any time. That is nothing more than an appealing story and therefore continues to be propagated, and will undoubtedly continue to be so until enough time passes that no one cares if they even remember.

Al Qaeda formed out of foreign fighters in the Afghan-Soviet war. The United States trained and funded Afghanis in that war. (Wouldn't that make bin Laden one of the greatest hypocrites in the world if he had ever accepted anything from the U.S.!?) The Taliban came into being after the war when the U.S. cared very little about the internal politics of Afghanistan.

Respectfully,
M

Thanks Moonspider. Think I understand and am glad to learn about it. And yes, looking at it from the point of view that Bin Laden could have been a beneficiary makes it pretty rediculous in retrospect. Thanks for the enlightenment.
ocalhoun
Moonspider wrote:
ThePolemistis wrote:
ocalhoun wrote:
handfleisch wrote:

Quote:
the aggressions against Iraq and Afghanistan and their occupations constitute atrocities that must be condemned and repudiated by all who believe in the rule of law in international relations,"

Iraq was definitely a mistake, but it could be argued that Afghanistan was a defensive/retaliatory operation against the Taliban, who started the aggression. (Please tell me you're not a 9/11 conspiracy theory believer.)


The Taliban or AlQaeda?

Evn still, both were funded by the United States govt - the biggest funder of terrorism.


Neither were funded, trained or supported by the United States at any time. That is nothing more than an appealing story and therefore continues to be propagated, and will undoubtedly continue to be so until enough time passes that no one cares if they even remember.

Al Qaeda formed out of foreign fighters in the Afghan-Soviet war. The United States trained and funded Afghanis in that war. (Wouldn't that make bin Laden one of the greatest hypocrites in the world if he had ever accepted anything from the U.S.!?) The Taliban came into being after the war when the U.S. cared very little about the internal politics of Afghanistan.

Respectfully,
M

It seems to me that the funding that they received (or did not receive) has no bearing whatsoever on if it was a war crime to invade or not.
handfleisch
Moonspider wrote:

If it has nothing to do with the opinion of a Sandinista, then why call him to the stand as a witness? It is perfectly acceptable to call into question the objectivity and/or credibility of someone when they are offering testimony or opinion, so I therefore take exception to you calling it, “a rhetorical low.” To the contrary, it’s a legitimate tactic. ...
Respectfully,
M


If a former Sandinista said 2+2=4, that wouldn't make it not true. That Bush's leadership of the US invasion and occupation of Iraq would be eligible for consideration (note word choice, please) as a war crime is not an "opinion", as you say, it's a very old and obvious fact (see "Pentagon Papers leaker calls Iraq invasion 'supreme war crime'" Also, the internationally renowned Spanish judge who went after Pinochet, Baltasar Garzon, said ""We should look more deeply into the possible criminal responsibility of the people who are, or were, responsible for this war and see whether there is sufficient evidence to make them answer for it." Links below.) So Brockman just happened to be the one saying on that day the article was written; your harping on his past just distracted from a simple truth.

http://rawstory.com/news/2008/Pentagon_papers_leaker_calls_Iraq_invasion_0402.html

http://www.elpais.com/articulo/opinion/Aniversario/elpepiopi/20070320elpepiopi_16/Tes
Moonspider
handfleisch wrote:
That Bush's leadership of the US invasion and occupation of Iraq would be eligible for consideration (note word choice, please) as a war crime is not an "opinion", as you say, it's a very old and obvious fact.


No, it is an opinion. Just as him not being eligible for prosecution of war crimes is an opinion. Just as him being a good or a bad president is an opinion. Just as, "was Lincoln legally right or wrong to suspend habeas corpus?"is an opinion either way you answer it.

Respectfully,
M
handfleisch
Moonspider wrote:
handfleisch wrote:
That Bush's leadership of the US invasion and occupation of Iraq would be eligible for consideration (note word choice, please) as a war crime is not an "opinion", as you say, it's a very old and obvious fact.


No, it is an opinion. Just as him not being eligible for prosecution of war crimes is an opinion. Just as him being a good or a bad president is an opinion. Just as, "was Lincoln legally right or wrong to suspend habeas corpus?"is an opinion either way you answer it.

Respectfully,
M


If we could concede a certain grey area between this:
1.George Bush is a war criminal
-and this
2. The invasion of Iraq would be on the table in war crimes charges against George Bush in the UN
-we could perhaps move on.

And maybe you could concede that it was not just the notion of a Sandinista (suggesting the motive of anti-Americanism) and instead one of respected judges and observers of international human rights.

Overall you have some pretty "interesting" reactions and views to issues of might-makes-right, torture and democracy. Some pretty questionable assertions of yours:

-That the whole war crimes thing against president (whoever) doesn't matter if country A is so powerful as to be untouchable and is one of the few countries in the world to refuse to cooperate with the court.

-That the UN is a mere "forum" (tell that to Milosevic)

-that that torture was not Pentagon policy (this one was pretty well debunked by recent news, if you go find those threads)

-not to mention that assertion that summary executioners of prisoners like those at Gitmo "would be a better policy"
deanhills
If your previous President was a war criminal Handfleisch, then quite a large number of other leaders of countries will qualify too. How about covering them in your daily despatches as well .... Rolling Eyes
ocalhoun
handfleisch wrote:

-that that torture was not Pentagon policy (this one was pretty well debunked by recent news, if you go find those threads)

Torture is NOT a Pentagon policy: Any torture that took place was performed by civilian agents, and the Pentagon published LOAC (Law Of Armed Conflict) Specifically forbids ALL military members from performing torture at any time.
Moonspider
handfleisch wrote:

If we could concede a certain grey area between this:
1.George Bush is a war criminal
-and this
2. The invasion of Iraq would be on the table in war crimes charges against George Bush in the UN
-we could perhaps move on.


Yes, I’ll stipulate that.

handfleisch wrote:
And maybe you could concede that it was not just the notion of a Sandinista (suggesting the motive of anti-Americanism) and instead one of respected judges and observers of international human rights.


And yes, I’ll concede that there may be those who believe President Bush committed war crimes who do not necessarily have an anti-American or anti-Bush view, or who do not have a political ax to grind, or who do not salivate at the prospect of prosecuting President Bush, and who are deeply saddened by what they believe to be the truth and the consequences thereof.

handfleisch wrote:
Overall you have some pretty "interesting" reactions and views to issues of might-makes-right, torture and democracy. Some pretty questionable assertions of yours:

-That the whole war crimes thing against president (whoever) doesn't matter if country A is so powerful as to be untouchable and is one of the few countries in the world to refuse to cooperate with the court.


No, it doesn’t matter. Not really. Morally and legally people can argue it all that they want but that’s purely academic. And the day the United States places itself beneath a higher authority is the day I submit my letter of resignation to the United States Senate and begin wondering which state will be the first to again secede from the Union. (I’ll bet on either Texas or South Carolina.)

handfleisch wrote:
-That the UN is a mere "forum" (tell that to Milosevic)


It is a mere forum, in my opinion. Actions are not carried out except as agreed upon by the nation-state members. It is not higher than any nation-state. Actions of the UN are collective actions of member states. And member states can and do undermine the efforts of other member states even if the majority agree to a specific course of action.

handfleisch wrote:
-that that torture was not Pentagon policy (this one was pretty well debunked by recent news, if you go find those threads)


Torture is not and has never been U.S. military policy. Any military member who tortured a prisoner violated policy and military law. I challenge you to produce a single document or statement that shows torture to be a part of U.S. military policy.

handfleisch wrote:
-not to mention that assertion that summary executioners of prisoners like those at Gitmo "would be a better policy"


I addressed that assertion in the other thread.

Respectfully,
M
handfleisch
OK, fine. The point of this thread could have been the subject of war crimes and not why, because the US is "untouchable" due to its power, it "doesn't matter".

Moonspider wrote:
handfleisch wrote:
-that that torture was not Pentagon policy (this one was pretty well debunked by recent news, if you go find those threads)


Torture is not and has never been U.S. military policy. Any military member who tortured a prisoner violated policy and military law. I challenge you to produce a single document or statement that shows torture to be a part of U.S. military policy.


As I said, this was dealt with on another thread. In a nutshell, if the Pentagon at the highest levels was knowingly orchestrating torture, as the latest evidence shows, then torture was the policy.
ocalhoun
handfleisch wrote:

As I said, this was dealt with on another thread. In a nutshell, if the Pentagon at the highest levels was knowingly orchestrating torture, as the latest evidence shows, then torture was the policy.

Again you accuse the Pentagon...
I thought I addressed that earlier.
Moonspider
handfleisch wrote:
OK, fine. The point of this thread could have been the subject of war crimes and not why, because the US is "untouchable" due to its power, it "doesn't matter".

Moonspider wrote:
handfleisch wrote:
-that that torture was not Pentagon policy (this one was pretty well debunked by recent news, if you go find those threads)


Torture is not and has never been U.S. military policy. Any military member who tortured a prisoner violated policy and military law. I challenge you to produce a single document or statement that shows torture to be a part of U.S. military policy.


As I said, this was dealt with on another thread. In a nutshell, if the Pentagon at the highest levels was knowingly orchestrating torture, as the latest evidence shows, then torture was the policy.


I've worked under U.S. military policy and the UCMJ for more than twenty years. It is not and never was policy or legal for military personnel to torture prisoners. I do not know to which thread you refer, but if it says otherwise, it is wrong.

Respectfully,
M
handfleisch
Moonspider wrote:


I've worked under U.S. military policy and the UCMJ for more than twenty years. It is not and never was policy or legal for military personnel to torture prisoners. I do not know to which thread you refer, but if it says otherwise, it is wrong.

Thanks for more personal anecdotes, but that doesn't prove anything. Though it wasn't legal, it might've been (undisclosed) policy. A rule in a book doesn't change the fact of what the Pentagon was doing. And if it was doing it in a concerted and organized way, then it was policy , like it or not, for public disclosure or not. We don't know yet for sure as the classified documents are just starting to be released. But the recently released documents seem to indicate serious Pentagon involvement in running torture camps all over the place.

The thread was here. http://www.frihost.com/forums/vt-95009.html

http://rawstory.com/news/2008/Unredacted_documents_reveal_prisoners_tortured_to_0212.html

Quote:
Quote:
Unredacted documents reveal prisoners tortured to death

The American Civil Liberties Union has released previously classified excerpts of a government report on harsh interrogation techniques used in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay. These previously unreported pages detail repeated use of "abusive" behavior, even to the point of prisoner deaths.

The documents, obtained by the ACLU under a Freedom of Information Act request, contain a report by Vice Admiral Albert T. Church, who was tapped to conduct a comprehensive review of Defense Department interrogation operations. Church specifically calls out interrogations at Bagram Air base in Afghanistan as "clearly abusive, and clearly not in keeping with any approved interrogation policy or guidance."

The two unredacted pages from the Church report may be found here.

The ACLU's release comes on the same day as a major FOIA document dump by three other leading human rights groups: Documents which reveal the Pentagon ran secret prisons in Bagram and Iraq, that it cooperated with the CIA's "ghost detention" program and that Defense personnel delayed a prisoner's release to avoid bad press.


more
http://www.harpers.org/archive/2009/02/hbc-90004387

Quote:
While Bush Administration torture-apologists continue to plead that the evidence cannot conclusively establish links between Rumsfeld Pentagon policies and the torture of detainees, the Senate Armed Services Committee concluded otherwise.
Moonspider
handfleisch wrote:
Moonspider wrote:


I've worked under U.S. military policy and the UCMJ for more than twenty years. It is not and never was policy or legal for military personnel to torture prisoners. I do not know to which thread you refer, but if it says otherwise, it is wrong.

Thanks for more personal anecdotes, but that doesn't prove anything.


Feel free to disregard my anecdotes as a career commissioned officer of the United States Navy regarding U.S. military law and policy.

handfleisch wrote:
Though it wasn't legal, it might've been (undisclosed) policy. A rule in a book doesn't change the fact of what the Pentagon was doing.


Then that makes it illegal and a violation of legal policy does it not? That’s my point.

handfleisch wrote:
And if it was doing it in a concerted and organized way, then it was policy , like it or not, for public disclosure or not. We don't know yet for sure as the classified documents are just starting to be released. But the recently released documents seem to indicate serious Pentagon involvement in running torture camps all over the place.

The thread was here. http://www.frihost.com/forums/vt-95009.html


Ah yes, I remember that thread now. (And if you’ll browse back through it, you’ll see my actual position on the harsh interrogation techniques. Wink)

handfleisch wrote:
http://rawstory.com/news/2008/Unredacted_documents_reveal_prisoners_tortured_to_0212.html

Quote:
Quote:
Unredacted documents reveal prisoners tortured to death

The American Civil Liberties Union has released previously classified excerpts of a government report on harsh interrogation techniques used in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay. These previously unreported pages detail repeated use of "abusive" behavior, even to the point of prisoner deaths.

The documents, obtained by the ACLU under a Freedom of Information Act request, contain a report by Vice Admiral Albert T. Church, who was tapped to conduct a comprehensive review of Defense Department interrogation operations. Church specifically calls out interrogations at Bagram Air base in Afghanistan as "clearly abusive, and clearly not in keeping with any approved interrogation policy or guidance."

The two unredacted pages from the Church report may be found here.

The ACLU's release comes on the same day as a major FOIA document dump by three other leading human rights groups: Documents which reveal the Pentagon ran secret prisons in Bagram and Iraq, that it cooperated with the CIA's "ghost detention" program and that Defense personnel delayed a prisoner's release to avoid bad press.


That article proves my point. As Vice Admiral Church stated regarding the interrogations at Bagram Air Base, they were “clearly abusive, and clearly not in keeping with any approved interrogation policy or guidance.” (Emphasis added.) Therefore, although the torturous activity took place, it was against policy. The purpose of Admiral Church’s investigation was to not only determine what happened and why, but to make recommendations on how to prevent such violations of U.S. military policy in the future.

handfleisch wrote:
more
http://www.harpers.org/archive/2009/02/hbc-90004387

Quote:
While Bush Administration torture-apologists continue to plead that the evidence cannot conclusively establish links between Rumsfeld Pentagon policies and the torture of detainees, the Senate Armed Services Committee concluded otherwise.


If such secret guidance or orders were issued than they were illegal orders and guidance. But until such documents, if they exist, are made public, it’s all simply accusations and hearsay.

Furthermore, you may have noticed, but President Obama followed through with a recommendation I made here on Frihost (http://www.frihost.com/forums/vt-100489.html) in response to you during the Bush administration: make the U.S. Army Field Manual regarding interrogation the policy for all of the U.S. government (including intelligence agencies). Thus, military policy regarding interrogation is now government policy due to this executive order: (Executive Order – Ensuring Lawful Interrogations)

I think our difference of opinion may lie in this. You are equating the possible acts of certain individuals in leadership positions (e.g. Rumsfeld), with U.S. military policy. Whereas I am saying if such leaders gave secret orders and/or guidance authorizing these torturous techniques, they were in violation of U.S. military law and policy. Thus from my perspective if such illegal activity occurred, it was not because official policy was changed but because official policy was violated.

Other References: Admiral Issues Report: No Policy Condoned Torture, Abuse
http://www.au.af.mil/au/awc/awcgate/awc-law.htm#treatment

Respectfully,
M
ptfrances
I think he could be judged especially for the jail of guantanamo...
I hope so.

Arrow
deanhills
Moonspider wrote:
Feel free to disregard my anecdotes as a career commissioned officer of the United States Navy regarding U.S. military law and policy.
I must say I feel really lucky (and honoured) to have someone with credentials like these participating in Frihost Forums, and this is in addition to awesome postings over all of the time that I have been with Frihost. Also great that you have so much patience to keep up the debate with substance and with good form, consistently all the time. Am learning lots.
Moonspider wrote:
I think our difference of opinion may lie in this. You are equating the possible acts of certain individuals in leadership positions (e.g. Rumsfeld), with U.S. military policy. Whereas I am saying if such leaders gave secret orders and/or guidance authorizing these torturous techniques, they were in violation of U.S. military law and policy. Thus from my perspective if such illegal activity occurred, it was not because official policy was changed but because official policy was violated.
This is perfectly put. Think most of us knew that instinctively from the first day. Sort of makes common sense. Pity the media is so much focussed on "sins of the Government" that people are associating those with Government policy.

Maybe this would be a good example for Handfleisch since he seems to be an intensely devoted fan of Obama's. If in a year or so the media would pick up that certain irregularities had occurred with large sums of bail-out money. I.e. a group of senior Democrat Government people were in cahoots with bankers and they did some illegal under the table deals through which they used millions of bail-out money. And the media picked up on this? Would that be as a result of Government policy?
handfleisch
Moonspider wrote:

Feel free to disregard my anecdotes as a career commissioned officer of the United States Navy regarding U.S. military law and policy.
...
Then that makes it illegal and a violation of legal policy does it not? That’s my point.
...
That article proves my point. As Vice Admiral Church stated regarding the interrogations at Bagram Air Base, they were “clearly abusive, and clearly not in keeping with any approved interrogation policy or guidance.” (Emphasis added.) Therefore, although the torturous activity took place, it was against policy. The purpose of Admiral Church’s investigation was to not only determine what happened and why, but to make recommendations on how to prevent such violations of U.S. military policy in the future.
...
If such secret guidance or orders were issued than they were illegal orders and guidance. But until such documents, if they exist, are made public, it’s all simply accusations and hearsay.
...


Thanks for this post. I believe we don't really disagree on this subject that much, as I will explain below. I meant no disrespect to your experience but felt (to use your own type or comparison) you were using it as a club to beat down the argument. Being a career military officer doesn't necessarily mean an expertise in policy or law; simply stating and proving that there are rules and policies on the books doesn't require that expertise, anyway.

You are the one who brought up whether or not the torture camps were policy. It is a distinction that is important to you (as was previously the distinction that it was the CIA and not the Pentagon doing the torturing, a distinction that is rapidly fading, yes?)

If Rumsfeld and many high-level military officers were knowingly and intentionally running torture camps, and it somehow satisfies you to say that this widespread organized activity wasn't policy, that is fine. I would say this distinction is meaningless on the ground if Rumsfeld, his staff and military brass can flagrantly violate that policy for an extended period of time with little or no repercussions. About these repercussions, when you say
Quote:
... equating the possible acts of certain individuals in leadership positions (e.g. Rumsfeld), with U.S. military policy. Whereas I am saying if such leaders gave secret orders and/or guidance authorizing these torturous techniques, they were in violation of U.S. military law and policy. Thus from my perspective if such illegal activity occurred, it was not because official policy was changed but because official policy was violated.

Since this distinction is important to you, wouldn't you then welcome the prosecution of Rumsfeld and staff and the generals for violating military law and policy if these documents reveal that, yes, they gave orders and guidance in running these torture camps against that law and policy?
ocalhoun
handfleisch wrote:

Being a career military officer doesn't necessarily mean an expertise in policy or law; simply stating and proving that there are rules and policies on the books doesn't require that expertise, anyway.


Actually, it would usually indicate that a person is much more familiar with US military policy than the average person. Anybody who is in the military has spent long hours being taught exactly what policy says about all kinds of things, including the treatment of POW's.
Quote:

Since this distinction is important to you, wouldn't you then welcome the prosecution of Rumsfeld and staff and the generals for violating military law and policy if these documents reveal that, yes, they gave orders and guidance in running these torture camps against that law and policy?

If they gave orders violating the UCMJ, the people receiving those orders should have:
1: Questioned the legality of the orders and requested clarification.
2: Disobeyed and reported the source of the orders to the next higher authority and/or military police and/or the inspector general.
This is also something that every military member has been taught: if they didn't do this, and obeyed the illegal orders, then they would become guilty too.

If these allegations of being ordered to torture are true, then not only would I welcome the investigation of the people who gave the orders, I would demand that they be investigated.
Moonspider
handfleisch wrote:
Moonspider wrote:

Feel free to disregard my anecdotes as a career commissioned officer of the United States Navy regarding U.S. military law and policy.
...
Then that makes it illegal and a violation of legal policy does it not? That’s my point.
...
That article proves my point. As Vice Admiral Church stated regarding the interrogations at Bagram Air Base, they were “clearly abusive, and clearly not in keeping with any approved interrogation policy or guidance.” (Emphasis added.) Therefore, although the torturous activity took place, it was against policy. The purpose of Admiral Church’s investigation was to not only determine what happened and why, but to make recommendations on how to prevent such violations of U.S. military policy in the future.
...
If such secret guidance or orders were issued than they were illegal orders and guidance. But until such documents, if they exist, are made public, it’s all simply accusations and hearsay.
...


Thanks for this post. I believe we don't really disagree on this subject that much, as I will explain below. I meant no disrespect to your experience but felt (to use your own type or comparison) you were using it as a club to beat down the argument. Being a career military officer doesn't necessarily mean an expertise in policy or law; simply stating and proving that there are rules and policies on the books doesn't require that expertise, anyway.


No offense taken. I may not be a JAG officer or an expert, but policy and law regarding the treatment of prisoners taken in war is training we all receive regularly (as well as how we our required to conduct ourselves if ever captured). I realize though that people outside of the military are probably not aware of this.

handfleisch wrote:
You are the one who brought up whether or not the torture camps were policy. It is a distinction that is important to you (as was previously the distinction that it was the CIA and not the Pentagon doing the torturing, a distinction that is rapidly fading, yes?)

If Rumsfeld and many high-level military officers were knowingly and intentionally running torture camps, and it somehow satisfies you to say that this widespread organized activity wasn't policy, that is fine. I would say this distinction is meaningless on the ground if Rumsfeld, his staff and military brass can flagrantly violate that policy for an extended period of time with little or no repercussions. About these repercussions, when you say
Quote:
... equating the possible acts of certain individuals in leadership positions (e.g. Rumsfeld), with U.S. military policy. Whereas I am saying if such leaders gave secret orders and/or guidance authorizing these torturous techniques, they were in violation of U.S. military law and policy. Thus from my perspective if such illegal activity occurred, it was not because official policy was changed but because official policy was violated.

Since this distinction is important to you, wouldn't you then welcome the prosecution of Rumsfeld and staff and the generals for violating military law and policy if these documents reveal that, yes, they gave orders and guidance in running these torture camps against that law and policy?


Absolutely. If documents come to light indicating certain individuals broke such laws, of course I want the United States to prosecute those personnel. Illegal orders are not orders at all, and following them is no excuse for illegal conduct.

Respectfully,
M
handfleisch
Moonspider wrote:


Absolutely. If documents come to light indicating certain individuals broke such laws, of course I want the United States to prosecute those personnel. Illegal orders are not orders at all, and following them is no excuse for illegal conduct.


Speaking of illegal orders, Lt. Ehren Watada is one brave soldier that comes to mind. He was the first officer to refuse to serve in Iraq. Here is the wiki link
Watada: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ehren_Watada



http://www.couragetoresist.org/x/content/view/235/58/
Quote:

The audacious officer is raising matters of principle that concern the right of all soldiers to full protection of the law. Under the enlistment contract, every soldier has a right, even a duty, to disobey illegal orders. The legality of Lieutenant Watada's orders pursuant to a "war of choice" is the central issue of the trial.

No American soldier has any obligation to participate in military aggression, in "crimes against peace," or in any operations that violate the Geneva Conventions. Under constitutional government, the authority of military command derives not from one person alone but from the rule of law itself.

There are only two conditions in which a war is legal under international law: when force is authorized by the U.N. Security Council, or when the use of force is an act of national self-defense and survival. Apart from these conditions, war is an act of aggression. The U.N. Charter, based on the Nuremberg Conventions, prohibits war "as an instrument of policy." And the war in Iraq is just that - a war of choice.

https://cornellsun.com/node/21147

Quote:
After serving in Korea for some time, Lt. Watada was reassigned to Fort Lewis to prepare for deployment to Iraq. Hoping to be as prepared as possible, he studied the history of Iraq, as well as the reasons the U.S. went to war there. From his research, he came to the conclusion that the war was based on “manipulated intelligence,” and thus was illegal.

...
“The war in Iraq violates our democratic system of checks and balances. It usurps international treaties and conventions that by virtue of the Constitution become American law,” he continued. “The wholesale slaughter and mistreatment of the Iraqi people with only limited accountability is not only a terrible moral injustice, but a contradiction to the Army’s own Law of Land Warfare. My participation would make me party to war crimes.”

Predictably, right-wingers were quick to denounce Lt. Watada as a coward and a traitor.
deanhills
He was not the only one. There were a number of people who acted likewise, and not only from the United States, as of course Iraq was invaded by more than the United States. Other countries were involved. And some of the soldiers of those countries acted similarly. This was just as tough, if not more so, on those soldiers who felt they had a duty to their country to enter combat. Everyone did what they think they needed to do, and all of them suffered as a result. War is ugly, period, a game of politicians and a major sacrifice by soldiers. I feel equally for all the soldiers involved including those who are no longer with us, as they made the ultimate sacrifice.
handfleisch
There's still plenty of time to get justice for the victims of torture by putting Bush officials on trial. I mentioned Baltasar Garzon above and now he is in the news again with more on this case:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20090328/wl_nm/us_spain_usa_torture

Quote:
Spain may open torture probe of six Bush officials

New York - A top Spanish court has moved toward starting a probe of six former Bush administration officials including ex-Attorney General Alberto Gonzales in connection with alleged torture of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, The New York Times said on Saturday.

The criminal investigation would focus on whether they violated international law by providing a legalistic justification for torture at the U.S. detention camp in Cuba, the Times said.

The paper said the National Court in Madrid had assigned the case to judge Baltasar Garzon, known for ordering the arrest of former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet.

Garzon has accepted the case and sent it to the prosecutor's office for review, the newspaper said, citing an official close to the case.


On edit, here's a very relevant article: So much for the BS that torture somehow kept anybody safe:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/03/28/AR2009032802066_pf.html
Quote:
Detainee's Harsh Treatment Foiled No Plots
Waterboarding, Rough Interrogation of Abu Zubaida Produced False Leads, Officials Say

By Peter Finn and Joby Warrick
Washington Post Staff Writers
Sunday, March 29, 2009; A01

When CIA officials subjected their first high-value captive, Abu Zubaida, to waterboarding and other harsh interrogation methods, they were convinced that they had in their custody an al-Qaeda leader who knew details of operations yet to be unleashed, and they were facing increasing pressure from the White House to get those secrets out of him.

The methods succeeded in breaking him, and the stories he told of al-Qaeda terrorism plots sent CIA officers around the globe chasing leads.

In the end, though, not a single significant plot was foiled as a result of Abu Zubaida's tortured confessions, according to former senior government officials who closely followed the interrogations. Nearly all of the leads attained through the harsh measures quickly evaporated, while most of the useful information from Abu Zubaida -- chiefly names of al-Qaeda members and associates -- was obtained before waterboarding was introduced, they said.

Moreover, within weeks of his capture, U.S. officials had gained evidence that made clear they had misjudged Abu Zubaida. President George W. Bush had publicly described him as "al-Qaeda's chief of operations," and other top officials called him a "trusted associate" of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and a major figure in the planning of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. None of that was accurate, the new evidence showed.

Abu Zubaida was not even an official member of al-Qaeda, according to a portrait of the man that emerges from court documents and interviews with current and former intelligence, law enforcement and military sources. Rather, he was a "fixer" for radical Muslim ideologues, and he ended up working directly with al-Qaeda only after Sept. 11 -- and that was because the United States stood ready to invade Afghanistan.

Abu Zubaida's case presents the Obama administration with one of its most difficult decisions as it reviews the files of the 241 detainees still held in the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Abu Zubaida -- a nom de guerre for the man born Zayn al-Abidin Muhammed Hussein -- was never charged in a military commission in Guantanamo Bay, but some U.S. officials are pushing to have him charged now with conspiracy.
ocalhoun
handfleisch wrote:

Quote:

and he ended up working directly with al-Qaeda only after Sept. 11 -- and that was because the United States stood ready to invade Afghanistan.

You can't expect to work with al-Qaeda and then be simply released after being captured by the US, even if you joined after Sept 11.

Trying to charge him with conspiracy is probably the correct course, because he was part of a group that was definitely guilty of that, making him an associate to it.

Yes, I'm saying that merely being part of al-Qaeda is a crime, at least being an active part of it is.
Solon_Poledourus
Back on the original point...
Obviously Bush didn't go in and beat prisoners with his own fists. So if there is any culpability on his part, it would be either that he gave such orders(unlikely, as that's left to military personell to give orders regarding treatment of prisoners), or that the simply knew of such orders given. If the latter is true, then his guilt is complaicance, at best. Which makes him no less guilty, but not quite the Stalin-esque monster that so many in the media and political aisles are making him out to be.
Since there is evidence of torture, it needs to be investigated in great depth. Those responsible should be prosecuted. Period.
Unfortunately, this has turned into a witch hunt, and any chance of it being a decent legal investigation has been lost, due to partisan hatred and media prejudice.
I would suggest a Civilian Ocersight Committee, consisting of non-Government investigators, lawyers, judges, etc. People who have no political axe to grind should be the ones looking into these events. Otherwise all we will have is people breaking rules to prosecute others for breaking rules.
deanhills
Solon_Poledourus wrote:
Back on the original point...
Obviously Bush didn't go in and beat prisoners with his own fists. So if there is any culpability on his part, it would be either that he gave such orders(unlikely, as that's left to military personell to give orders regarding treatment of prisoners), or that the simply knew of such orders given. If the latter is true, then his guilt is complaicance, at best. Which makes him no less guilty, but not quite the Stalin-esque monster that so many in the media and political aisles are making him out to be.
Since there is evidence of torture, it needs to be investigated in great depth. Those responsible should be prosecuted. Period.
Unfortunately, this has turned into a witch hunt, and any chance of it being a decent legal investigation has been lost, due to partisan hatred and media prejudice.
I would suggest a Civilian Ocersight Committee, consisting of non-Government investigators, lawyers, judges, etc. People who have no political axe to grind should be the ones looking into these events. Otherwise all we will have is people breaking rules to prosecute others for breaking rules.
Another awesome posting. It does me good to read postings with common sense in it and it is so true. Totally agreed, since Bush has technically already been tried and convicted by the media, it would be very hard to find an objective Committee of Investigators, especially if they were to get political mileage out of the hearings. And yes, most certainly he is far from a Stalin. Bush was part of a democratic country and those decisions would have been made by the military. I am not even certain it would have been made by the military in overall, but by select officers, who I am certain the military would like to be firmly dealt with as obviously what had happened could never have been official US military policy.
ocalhoun
deanhills wrote:
Solon_Poledourus wrote:
Back on the original point...
Obviously Bush didn't go in and beat prisoners with his own fists. So if there is any culpability on his part, it would be either that he gave such orders(unlikely, as that's left to military personell to give orders regarding treatment of prisoners), or that the simply knew of such orders given. If the latter is true, then his guilt is complaicance, at best. Which makes him no less guilty, but not quite the Stalin-esque monster that so many in the media and political aisles are making him out to be.
Since there is evidence of torture, it needs to be investigated in great depth. Those responsible should be prosecuted. Period.
Unfortunately, this has turned into a witch hunt, and any chance of it being a decent legal investigation has been lost, due to partisan hatred and media prejudice.
I would suggest a Civilian Ocersight Committee, consisting of non-Government investigators, lawyers, judges, etc. People who have no political axe to grind should be the ones looking into these events. Otherwise all we will have is people breaking rules to prosecute others for breaking rules.
Another awesome posting. It does me good to read postings with common sense in it and it is so true. Totally agreed, since Bush has technically already been tried and convicted by the media, it would be very hard to find an objective Committee of Investigators, especially if they were to get political mileage out of the hearings. And yes, most certainly he is far from a Stalin. Bush was part of a democratic country and those decisions would have been made by the military. I am not even certain it would have been made by the military in overall, but by select officers, who I am certain the military would like to be firmly dealt with as obviously what had happened could never have been official US military policy.

^Probably not military officers...
I'd bet on some intelligence agency official being the originator. They don't have the threat of being punished under the UCMJ to think about.
deanhills
ocalhoun wrote:
^Probably not military officers...
I'd bet on some intelligence agency official being the originator. They don't have the threat of being punished under the UCMJ to think about.
You're right and I withdraw what I said before as that does not make sense at all. Military is much too closely knit for that. An intelligence agency would probably have made more sense, perhaps especially to make it easier to do what it did. I can just imagine that it must have started with some noble intentions and maybe the original design of it was OK, and then it just got badly managed, and completely out of hand.
Solon_Poledourus
deamhills wrote:
You're right and I withdraw what I said before as that does not make sense at all. Military is much too closely knit for that. An intelligence agency would probably have made more sense, perhaps especially to make it easier to do what it did. I can just imagine that it must have started with some noble intentions and maybe the original design of it was OK, and then it just got badly managed, and completely out of hand.

This happens quite a bit with intelligence agencies around the world. A noble cause turns into a frenzy of finding enemies and information about enemies at any cost. Eventually, all they see are enemies all around, and the paranoia creates a tense atmosphere in which mistakes are made and good people do very bad things.
That's what happens when you have an agency built on secrecy with no legal accountability.
Such is the game of clandestine affairs.
deanhills
Solon_Poledourus wrote:
deamhills wrote:
You're right and I withdraw what I said before as that does not make sense at all. Military is much too closely knit for that. An intelligence agency would probably have made more sense, perhaps especially to make it easier to do what it did. I can just imagine that it must have started with some noble intentions and maybe the original design of it was OK, and then it just got badly managed, and completely out of hand.

This happens quite a bit with intelligence agencies around the world. A noble cause turns into a frenzy of finding enemies and information about enemies at any cost. Eventually, all they see are enemies all around, and the paranoia creates a tense atmosphere in which mistakes are made and good people do very bad things.
That's what happens when you have an agency built on secrecy with no legal accountability.
Such is the game of clandestine affairs.
I actually believe we need agencies like that. And that the real bad part was that it was organized in such a way that it got found out! Although not totally yet, maybe we will never get a true picture as perhaps the connectors to it go to high up, but to me there should never have been "an island" or "fixed location". It should have been dealt with in a an invisible way.
Solon_Poledourus
deanhills wrote:
I actually believe we need agencies like that. And that the real bad part was that it was organized in such a way that it got found out! Although not totally yet, maybe we will never get a true picture as perhaps the connectors to it go to high up, but to me there should never have been "an island" or "fixed location". It should have been dealt with in a an invisible way.

Clearly, this type of organization is a necessity for the survival of any nation playing on the stage of world politics. That is just a sad fact of life.
The key is to keep it very secret, and not to let it get so out of hand that ends up controlling the entire government. Also, we need to keep these kinds of organizations under our thumb just enough to prevent them from committing very heinous acts. A noble end never justifies a murderous means.
After all, what does it profit a man(or nation) to gain the world and lose his soul?
handfleisch
handfleisch wrote:

Speaking of illegal orders, Lt. Ehren Watada is one brave soldier that comes to mind. He was the first officer to refuse to serve in Iraq. Here is the wiki link
Watada: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ehren_Watada



http://www.couragetoresist.org/x/content/view/235/58/
Quote:

The audacious officer is raising matters of principle that concern the right of all soldiers to full protection of the law. Under the enlistment contract, every soldier has a right, even a duty, to disobey illegal orders. The legality of Lieutenant Watada's orders pursuant to a "war of choice" is the central issue of the trial.

No American soldier has any obligation to participate in military aggression, in "crimes against peace," or in any operations that violate the Geneva Conventions. Under constitutional government, the authority of military command derives not from one person alone but from the rule of law itself.

There are only two conditions in which a war is legal under international law: when force is authorized by the U.N. Security Council, or when the use of force is an act of national self-defense and survival. Apart from these conditions, war is an act of aggression. The U.N. Charter, based on the Nuremberg Conventions, prohibits war "as an instrument of policy." And the war in Iraq is just that - a war of choice.

https://cornellsun.com/node/21147

Quote:
After serving in Korea for some time, Lt. Watada was reassigned to Fort Lewis to prepare for deployment to Iraq. Hoping to be as prepared as possible, he studied the history of Iraq, as well as the reasons the U.S. went to war there. From his research, he came to the conclusion that the war was based on “manipulated intelligence,” and thus was illegal.

...
“The war in Iraq violates our democratic system of checks and balances. It usurps international treaties and conventions that by virtue of the Constitution become American law,” he continued. “The wholesale slaughter and mistreatment of the Iraqi people with only limited accountability is not only a terrible moral injustice, but a contradiction to the Army’s own Law of Land Warfare. My participation would make me party to war crimes.”

Predictably, right-wingers were quick to denounce Lt. Watada as a coward and a traitor.


Update with great news: Watada wins. Why isn't this all over the mainstream media? A truly liberal media would be splashing this all over the place.

http://www.starbulletin.com/news/20090926_Watada_discharged.html

Quote:
First Lt. Ehren Watada, the first commissioned military officer to refuse deployment to Iraq because he believed it was an illegal war, has won his three-year legal battle with the Army.

With little fanfare the Army at Fort Lewis, Wash., accepted the resignation of the 1996 Kalani High School graduate, and he will be discharged the first week in October.

Moonspider
handfleisch wrote:
Update with great news: Watada wins. Why isn't this all over the mainstream media? A truly liberal media would be splashing this all over the place.

http://www.starbulletin.com/news/20090926_Watada_discharged.html

Quote:
First Lt. Ehren Watada, the first commissioned military officer to refuse deployment to Iraq because he believed it was an illegal war, has won his three-year legal battle with the Army.

With little fanfare the Army at Fort Lewis, Wash., accepted the resignation of the 1996 Kalani High School graduate, and he will be discharged the first week in October.


I wouldn't go so far as to say he "won." True, he did win in the sense that he will not be prosecuted in another court martial. However he will still be discharged under "othe than honorable conditions."

Respectfully,
M
deanhills
handfleisch wrote:
Speaking of illegal orders, Lt. Ehren Watada is one brave soldier that comes to mind. He was the first officer to refuse to serve in Iraq.
Was he awarded compensation for cost of the trial? Legal bills over a three year period must have been horrendous, or did the Antiwar Activists provide financial support?
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