Right Thinking From The Left Coast
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As I expected, the public courts system drops the ball

When the Obama team took over and huffed and puffed about how much more nobler they were than their predecessors - because they would treat enemy combatants like common criminals and put them through our court system instead of evil military tribunals, in my opinion because they wanted to paint the use said tribunals as something Machiavellian in nature to score cheap political points with people that have a hard time with the fact that things like this practically always fail to work in the real world as well as we would like them too – I predicted trouble. I was especially astounded by Holders nonchalant claim that he was certain that they would be able to get real and meaningful convictions against these terrorists. Well, at the risk of again saying “I told you so”, we have the results of the first such trial proving me right.

WASHINGTON (AP) - The first court conviction of a Guantanamo Bay detainee did little to push President Barack Obama closer to shuttering the island prison, making it increasingly likely his campaign promise will remain unmet by the time his current term expires. Jurors in New York City on Wednesday convicted Ahmed Ghailani of conspiracy to blow up government buildings in the al-Qaida attacks on two U.S. embassies in 1998, but they acquitted him on more than 280 other charges. He is the only person transferred from Guantanamo Bay for trial since the U.S. began filling the military prison in Cuba eight years ago. Jurors in New York City on Wednesday convicted Ahmed Ghailani of conspiracy to blow up government buildings in the al-Qaida attacks on two U.S. embassies in 1998, but they acquitted him on more than 280 other charges. He is the only person transferred from Guantanamo Bay for trial since the U.S. began filling the military prison in Cuba eight years ago.

While the article goes on to try and put a positive spin on the fact that Ghailani was convicted of the conspiracy charge, and it could possibly can lead to a life sentence, something the judge will have to hand out to avoid more political fall out on the fact that the DOJ was lucky to even get this result, the fact remain that even this small victory was reached by a last minute compromise, as the trail almost resulted in a hung jury. I would love to have the details of how much “compromising” went on to score even this crappy verdict. And I am not the one pointing out the verdict was a pyrrhic victory at best, the DOJ itself does so:

Despite the acquittals, which included murder counts for each of the 224 people killed in the bombings, the Justice Department said it was pleased Ghailani faces up to life in prison and said it would seek that sentence. But senior officials, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss private discussions, conceded that the one-count conviction, combined with big electoral wins for Republicans this month, will make it harder to close the prison. The administration had hoped for an overwhelming conviction to help ease congressional opposition to Obama’s long-stymied plan for moving the detainees to U.S. soil. The administration must notify Congress before any transfer, and Republicans have said they would block such efforts.

Demcorats love failure, as you contrast what they got compared to their mention of “hope” for an overwhelming conviction clearly proves, and this was a real failure. If this was such a win, there wouldn’t be the need to spin this disastrous result as a positive, and this is spin of the worst kind, or the need to blame the republicans for why Gitmo will not be closed. If Obama really wanted Gitmo closed he could have done so the first day he was sworn in. He was unable to do so because he knew there would be consequences and the blame would be squarely on him.

I laugh every timeI hear some idiot in the MSM, the Obama administration, or on the left state that the problem now is that there are nuanced complications preventing them from doing so. I laugh real hard too. Bush was an evil moron and that’s why he had Gitmo. Obama, whom campaigned on how evil the whole concept of Gitmo and military tribunals for these enemy combatants – a term the left refused to allow for these people until they were in charge and the ones that would incur the American people’s anger if these people got away and killed again – was, now can’t close Gitmo, but that’s because this whole enemy combatant trial thing isn’t that simple of a problem to deal with. Don’t take my word for it! Look at their new found wisdom:

Administration officials believe there are only a handful of options for closing Guantanamo Bay:

- Prosecute the detainees. Some, like Ghailani, could face criminal trials. Others could face military commissions. Regardless, the administration wants those trials in the U.S., not at Guantanamo.

- Transfer some prisoners to other countries. Many already have been cleared for release. But Yemeni citizens make up the largest contingent, and the U.S. doesn’t trust Yemen to monitor them if they are released. Two failed airline bombings originating in Yemen in the past year have made such release efforts even more difficult.

- Hold prisoners indefinitely. Top administration officials have said they don’t like the idea but would consider it in some form, if the detainees were held inside the U.S. with some review by courts.

Heh, right. This is just ridiculous. Do they – the Obama people and the MSM - really think that the Bush people didn’t go through the same horrible and excruciating problem of defining their options, all of them bad or worse, and then having to pick the least of them? Is anyone that isn’t blinkered going to be surprised when the Obama team faced with the exact same choices ends up with the same unpalatable solution as that made by the Bush people here? Or is it simply that Obama because claimed he really wanted to close Gitmo during the campaign period, but now that he has to make the decision simply couldn’t find a working solution that makes his not closing Gitmo work, that he is nuanced and gets a pass when Bush was evil for doing the same? I thought so.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican who is seen as key to any deal to close Guantanamo, said late Wednesday that he was disappointed with the Ghailani verdict and said the government was endangering the nation “by criminalizing the war.” “We are at war with al-Qaida,” Graham said. “Members of the organization and their associates should be treated as warriors, not common criminals.”

That’s the predicament the left now finds itself in after they politicized the war. All those things they merrily went about accusing the other side of doing out of nefarious reasons, suddenly are causing them heartaches with those of us that aren’t going to simply ignore the fact that their actions, or lack thereof, clearly are in contradiction with their help positions on the subject. Of course, we are never going to get an admission that with a very few exceptions, principled or not these people that really believe so are delusional IMO opinion, they opposed these things out of anything other than political expediency. There is some measure of justice however in the fact that they are reap all the consequences of their wantonly negative and destructive past behavior. In the mean time, the American people should remain vigilant to make sure they don’t simply throw us all under the bus so they can pretend they were right. 

One thing is for certain: they are really going to have to rethink their push to avoid the military tribunals. Unless they are willing to rig the court system to guarantee the results they need, or simply plan to go ahead and ignore the verdict of these courts if they don’t like the result and hold people indefinitely as they have pointed out themselves they would if they fail, that is. In either case I believe that they are engaging in a far greater travesty of justice than they accused the Bush people of. We all lose when they tell us they feel tribunals are a travesty of justice and that it demeans us when they then go ahead and rig the civilian court. And it is far, far worse for those that accused the Bush administration of being evil for holding people indefinitely without a trial, to then turn around and hold people indefinitely after a trail because they didn’t like the result. Don’t expect them to feel bad about it though. These morons have no problem avoiding logic, facts, or truth in their pursuit of their false self image. When you don’t have morals or a conscience, it is far easier for you to accuse others of being evil and excuse yourself for far worse behavior. After all, you meant well, and the others are just the real enemy!

Posted by AlexinCT on 11/18/10 at 10:07 AM (Discuss this in the forums)

Comments


Posted by on 11/18/10 at 04:30 PM from United States

I think the Yemeni prisoners should just be shot and dumped in the bay for the crabs to eat.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 11/18/10 at 05:52 PM from United States

Yeah!  Another blast of totalitarianism from Alex.  Hate to throw some facts in here but:

1) Ghaliani was not the mastermind of the operation and the evidence of his involvement was circumstantial.

2) Of course, more detailed evidence could have been presented, but Ghaliani was tortured (the feds admitted to such) and so any confessions or evidence he gave was no longer admissable.  nor should it have been since, as we’ve shown a million times, people will say whatever you want under torture.  A traditional interrogation would have yielded an admissable confession.

3) Military comissions have about he same conviction rate as civilian trials (link).

BUt keep advocating for your police state, Alex.  Truly we can not be are until people are grabbed, imprisoned for six years, tortured into confession, then shot and dumped in the ocean because we think they might be a terrorist.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 11/18/10 at 06:08 PM from United States

I would also point out that you are—as usual—being highly selective here.  Even if we count this as a failure, the civilian court system’s record on terror convictions is at least as good as military commissions, if not better.  You never say anything when a high-profile terrorist is easily convicted in civilian court—as many many have, including under your golden boy, Bush II. You only whine when one isn’t.

Posted by West Virginia Rebel on 11/18/10 at 08:31 PM from United States

From what I understand, this guy got a “Lighter” sentence (he’s still going away for at least twenty years) because Bush-era “Interrogation techniques” were used on him-and therefore inadmissable. This is one instance where Obama can blame Bush for something.

Posted by AlexinCT on 11/18/10 at 09:30 PM from United States

Yeah!  Another blast of totalitarianism from Alex.

Weak sauce, at best. I still have not had anyone explain to me how treating cowardly people that are at war with you, hide amongst regular people to kill, and are captured like common criminals, or better yet, like they are citizens, is totalitarian, but you can keep saying dumb shit like this if it makes you feel all smug & superior after I point out that you were wrong yet again. On the other hand, I am pretty sure that any government that lends so much lip service to our court system but then is not just prepared to rig the trials, but outright ignore any verdict they don’t like, is one of the hallmarks of tyranny. Funny how you pretend otherwise, and then simply because you have egg on your face.

Hate to throw some facts in here but:

1) Ghaliani was not the mastermind of the operation and the evidence of his involvement was circumstantial.

Ah, OK! So now we can only go seriously after the masterminds! Those that just help out, or just do the killing aren’t worth the effort. Did you seriously try to argue with this weak comment that this wasn’t a huge loss for the idiots that still pretend that you can not try terrorists at war with us and that know not only know the weaknesses of our court system, but actively use them against us, in military tribunals, but demand we treat them as common criminals didn’t just get handed a massive pile of shit with this verdict? Because even they admit it was a bad result despite the efforts to spin it otherwise.

2) Of course, more detailed evidence could have been presented, but Ghaliani was tortured (the feds admitted to such) and so any confessions or evidence he gave was no longer admissable.  nor should it have been since, as we’ve shown a million times, people will say whatever you want under torture.  A traditional interrogation would have yielded an admissable confession.

Oh no! Torture! Blah, blah, bah. First off, by this ridiculous standard that has made anything that they can make sound bad out to be torture, I think kids should drag parents and schools into court for torturing them into attending schools, and they would win.  The fact also is that these bad guys are trained to scream terror as soon as they are caught. They know it works. Even worse are the idiots that go along and pretend harsh interrogation is torture. That’s why we have military tribunals where they are not able to manipulate the system.

BTW, your whole argument about how “torture” (note the quote marks) doesn’t work falls to pieces when you consider that in this case it did. You do know that the evidence that was suppressed was deemed to be correct right? But don’t let that pesky fact get in the way of your grandstanding and moralizing. After all, other people are doing the dying and you are safe enough to act up.

3) Military comissions have about he same conviction rate as civilian trials (link).

LOL! Yeah sure. I will take that rag you are linking to saying so, with no evidence to back it up as truth, about as seriously as I take the claims by Rangel that he was framed. This is just another instance of some leftists playing damage control after a devastating failure in the criminal courts. Seriously, are you telling me that Ghaliani would have received the same verdict in a military court? That civilian courts have the same chance of successfully convicting enemy combatants that know how to manipulate the criminal legal system as a military tribunal that can basically stop all of that? Because if you are trying to sell me that broken bridge to nowhere, you are barking up the wrong tree.

BUt keep advocating for your police state, Alex.

Police state? Drama queen much? Again I ask: why is it tyrannical to want enemy combatants that avoid uniforms in order to cowardly attack and kill us, especially when they are masters at manipulating our civilian courts, not to be treated like common criminals? See I always thought a police state basically was a place where the citizens were thrown in jail for pissing off the government elite, not one where the government was actually treating people at war with us as such.

Truly we can not be are until people are grabbed, imprisoned for six years, tortured into confession, then shot and dumped in the ocean because we think they might be a terrorist.

Ah, and you have evidence this has happened? Or is this more of the grandstanding? Because even though I consider Obama one of the most likely people to pull the stunt of killing his enemies, the people that will be hauled off will be conservatives, not terrorists. I do notice that in all your grandstanding you ignore the fact that these bastards basically are engaging in show trials. They, after all, have pointed out that if they don’t get the verdict they want, they will just hold onto the prisoners indefinitely. Show trials are far worse IMO than legitimate military tribunals, but again, when you can play ostrich you don’t have to bother with these facts.

From what I understand, this guy got a “Lighter” sentence (he’s still going away for at least twenty years) because Bush-era “Interrogation techniques” were used on him-and therefore inadmissable.

No, he didn’t get a lighter sentence: the system, inadequate to deal with war criminals, failed to secure convictions.

This is one instance where Obama can blame Bush for something.

Shit, he blames Bush for everything. Even the fact that he can’t close Gitmo, has to resort to show trials and more of the same of the Bush years, despite the promise to do otherwise. It’s a dmaned convenient excuse for not having to admit the left was wrong about the whole thing, and now that they are in charge can’t find anything better or that works. That’s my point.

Posted by on 11/18/10 at 10:22 PM from United States

In the beginning I don’t think they ever intended for these guys to appear in civilian court. If they did they were total retards. The guys in Guantanamo had most if not all of their “constitutional” rights violated.

For those who say torture doesn’t work (I stayed out of the vicious debate that went on here a while back. Those were dark days for this blog) you should do some research into the kidnapping and torture of William Buckley by Hezbollah.

Posted by on 11/18/10 at 10:29 PM from United States

Ghaliani was not the mastermind of the operation and the evidence of his involvement was circumstantial.
“Ah, OK! So now we can only go seriously after the masterminds! Those that just help out, or just do the killing aren’t worth the effort.”

From what I got, thats not what he said.  Even though he was charged with all the murders, if they can’t prove it they cant prove it.  I think this verdict is more of an indictment of the prosecutors job than the plan itself.

Oh no! Torture! Blah, blah, bah. First off, by this ridiculous standard that has made anything that they can make sound bad out to be torture, I think kids should drag parents and schools into court for torturing them into attending schools, and they would win.

Torture is torture.  You can play loud music for 36 hours, or you can cut off a thumb.  The intent is the same.

3) Military comissions have about he same conviction rate as civilian trials (link).

“LOL! Yeah sure. I will take that rag you are linking to saying so, with no evidence to back it up as truth, about as seriously as I take the claims by Rangel that he was framed.”

Just as an aside, in all my time comin here, I have yet to see someone NOT insult the quality of a link to a liberal publication;)

Seriously, are you telling me that Ghaliani would have received the same verdict in a military court?

What makes you so sure he wouldnt?  Are the differences between the two so severe that a conviction is “guarenteed”?  Would evidence gained through torture be admissible?

I do notice that in all your grandstanding you ignore the fact that these bastards basically are engaging in show trials.

If it was a show trial, wouldnt he have been convicted of all charges? 

Because even though I consider Obama one of the most likely people to pull the stunt of killing his enemies, the people that will be hauled off will be conservatives, not terrorists.

This crap still? I fail to see, as I always have, how anything Obama has ever done would lead you to believe he is capable of this? Either ethically or in reality?  The guy is a mediocre president, not Pol Pot.

Posted by on 11/18/10 at 11:27 PM from United States

Would evidence gained through torture be admissible?

Yes.  Also evidence gained through classified means (informants that would be killed if their identities were known) can be used without revealing details about its source.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 11/18/10 at 11:56 PM from United States

Oh no! Torture! Blah, blah, bah. First off, by this ridiculous standard that has made anything that they can make sound bad out to be torture, I think kids should drag parents and schools into court for torturing them into attending schools, and they would win.  The fact also is that these bad guys are trained to scream terror as soon as they are caught. They know it works. Even worse are the idiots that go along and pretend harsh interrogation is torture. That’s why we have military tribunals where they are not able to manipulate the system.

Again, stick fingers in ears, ignore reality, lather rinse repeat.  It was the government that admitted to torturing him.  He did not claim this.  it was established as fact.

Seriously, are you telling me that Ghaliani would have received the same verdict in a military court?

The link I provided shows analysis of verdicts in military and civilian tribunals.  But there I go again, bring FACTS into it when your position is defined by pants-shitting fear.

Police state? Drama queen much? Again I ask: why is it tyrannical to want enemy combatants that avoid uniforms in order to cowardly attack and kill us, especially when they are masters at manipulating our civilian courts, not to be treated like common criminals? S

Because we don’t know, when we grab them, that the are terrorists.  For every Ghailani, there have been hundred seized, abused, imprisoned for years and eventually released without so much as an apology.  What about Maher Arar? Or Fouad al-Rabiah?  Or Jose padilla (an American citizen).  You just blithely assume, because its the easy thing to do, that every accused person is guilty and so torturing them is justified.  And then we get someone like this and say, “Ah-ha! He’s a terrorist!  It’s OK to torture him!” But you ignore those that weren’t terrorists, those that were innocent.

You’re like the liberals who are claiming GM’s bailout was awesome because some jobs might have been saved and blithely ignore the larger damager to the economy.  You only see benefits, not costs.  You get one tortured confession and to you that’s more important than hundreds of false ones.

Ah, and you have evidence this has happened? Or is this more of the grandstanding?

Try reading something, Alex.  This guy was grabbed in 2004 and only tried now.  The Bush Administration documented thousands that went through Gitmo or their black sites.

For those who say torture doesn’t work (I stayed out of the vicious debate that went on here a while back. Those were dark days for this blog) you should do some research into the kidnapping and torture of William Buckley by Hezbolla

I’m not sure what you mean by this.  People under torture have admitted to all kinds of things—true and false.  Just ask our soldiers who confessed to war crimes under Vietnamese torture.

Posted by on 11/19/10 at 01:12 AM from United States

I’m not trying to pick a fight or take shots. In Vietnam I think they tortured for punitive reasons and for propaganda purposes. They were successful in both cases in my opinion. They also were able to extract sensitive information about classified electronics with the aid of cuban interrogators.

In the cases of Buckley or KSM torture can only be described as a great success. The information gained in these situations could not have been acquired through traditional interrogation techniques.

I’m not comfortable with the US conducting torture except in extreme cases. But what is torture? This is why I stayed out of previous discussions on torture. Is sleep deprivation torture? How about putting panties on someones head? I don’t think so, but many people do. In the end nobody agrees and I end up wih a headache.

Posted by AlexinCT on 11/19/10 at 06:54 AM from United States

Torture is torture.  You can play loud music for 36 hours, or you can cut off a thumb.  The intent is the same.

Like I said: by this logic, some enterprising kid(s) should sue the government for subjecting them to the torture of having to attend school. It is ludicrous. After all, it’s all about the intent! This kind of moral equivalence is why people call the US evil and not only give real torturers a pass, but argue in their favor.

Again, stick fingers in ears, ignore reality, lather rinse repeat.  It was the government that admitted to torturing him.  He did not claim this.  it was established as fact.

Can you point me to that admission? I m 100% certain that government didn’t do this until the left got a chance to say so, and then only so they could score political points.

The link I provided shows analysis of verdicts in military and civilian tribunals.  But there I go again, bring FACTS into it when your position is defined by pants-shitting fear.

Erm, it did no such thing Hal. It was a fluff piece trying to make the ludicrous claim that the process worked. Your standards of proof seem consistently low on this.

Because we don’t know, when we grab them, that the are terrorists.

Are you for real? Practically everybody left in Gitmo was taken on the battlefield or identified as an enemy combatant. A large percentage of those they let go, because as you claim they could not confirm they were terrorists, ended up on the battlefield yet again, and many killed our guys.

For every Ghailani, there have been hundred seized, abused, imprisoned for years and eventually released without so much as an apology. What about Maher Arar? Or Fouad al-Rabiah?  Or Jose padilla (an American citizen).

Can you provide a list with a lot more names? Cause otherwise this is plain exaggeration at work. Are you also willing to carry your logic to the obvious conclusion based on your criteria, and call our entire legal system a sham? See sometimes “innocents” get picked up, subjected to the travesties of the system, which by mikedomi39’s reasoning is just torture, and even sentenced too! If they aren’t rich enough or able to procure funding from some nice middle eastern people that always somehow seem to empathize with the terrorist cause, like Ghaliani and many others have, they even have to deal with shitty public defendants! Pfeh!

Anyway, Maher Arar? You mean the guy Canada told us was definitely a terrorist and needed to be picked up and dealt with before he could do whatever he was up to? Take it up with them. I find people very fast to blame us for that, but quite lacking in any real anger at the Canadians. One has to wonder why.

Fouad al-Rabiah? Tell me again why was he picked up and who was it that told us he was a terrorist? Do you find any blame with the people that made it impossible for the Bush administration to hold military tribunals for these people in a timely fashion? Or is it that you have watched too much CSI and think cases should be solved in about 1 hr?

And Padilla lost his rights when he declared war on the US. Just because we have lost the will to call a traitor a traitor and do what the constitution says we should, doesn’t suddenly make Padilla a saint because the government treated him as he behaved.

You just blithely assume, because its the easy thing to do, that every accused person is guilty and so torturing them is justified.

Why not just say I am just a racist bastard that thinks all brown people should be tortured Hal? Don’t let the fact that I have never advocated for either of these things get in the way of your moralizing and grandstanding, though. There is a clear distinction between people we have picked up on the battlefield or have real hard evidence are enemies, and just people that have been randomly fingered and picked up. Not to mention that there is an even bigger distinction between harsh interrogation tactics and torture. Seriously, Bush should have hired some of Saddam’s guys to do some real torturing considering morons will continue to pretend there is an equivalence here.

And then we get someone like this and say, “Ah-ha! He’s a terrorist!  It’s OK to torture him!” But you ignore those that weren’t terrorists, those that were innocent.

You ignore the poor innocents that have been wronged by our civilian legal system! Ban the civilian legal system! We demand perfection. Or is it that we demand perfection when it can be used to taint the people fighting to protect us, because it lends itself to some real nice moral grandstanding?

BTW Hal, the fact that neither you or any of the others that share your “concerns” continue to avoid the fact that the Obama administration is doing far worse than the Bush administration by holding sham trials and even admitting they will just hold these people indefinitely if they can’t rig it and get the verdict they want, speaks volumes.

But what is torture?

Loud music!

Posted by Ed Kline on 11/19/10 at 09:23 AM from United States

or better yet, like they are citizens

If you’re at gitmo, you’re not being treated like a citizen Alex.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 11/19/10 at 11:00 AM from United States

[

In the cases of Buckley or KSM torture can only be described as a great success. The information gained in these situations could not have been acquired through traditional interrogation techniques.

I would not describe the torture of KSM as a success since he confessed to things we’re pretty sure he didn’t do.  Keep in mind that many statement made about his intelligence, such as it prevented the library bombing, have proven to be false.

Can you point me to that admission? I m 100% certain that government didn’t do this until the left got a chance to say so, and then only so they could score political points.

Here is the judge’s decision where the CIA told him to assume that everything he said was coerced.  See what happens when you do some research?

Erm, it did no such thing Hal. It was a fluff piece trying to make the ludicrous claim that the process worked. Your standards of proof seem consistently low on this.

Here. See the article I linked to had a link it that you could have followed for more information.

Are you for real? Practically everybody left in Gitmo was taken on the battlefield or identified as an enemy combatant. A large percentage of those they let go, because as you claim they could not confirm they were terrorists, ended up on the battlefield yet again, and many killed our guys.

Complete, utter, total bullshit.  Again, you simply do not bother to read anything that contradicts your point of view.  First of all, you’re talking about Gitmo detainees, not the thousands that have been run through Bagram and black sites.

Second, you may remember my post some time ago about the Gitmo suicides.  Two of those three were grabbed based on hearsay.  Arar was grabbed based on mistaken identity.  Hundreds were turned into Bagram for bounties and grabbed by US marines based on hearsay.  These guys were not arrested in combat operations.

Finally, about 1 in 7 Gitmo detainees “return to combat”. But as I pointed out (a) I might return to combat if I were an innocent person imprisoned for years and tortured; (b) “returning to combat”, by the Pentagon’s definition, includes complaining about being tortured (
link) and very few have, in fact, gone back to fighting.  In fact, one “returned to combat” ... for us.  Yeah, it’s Obsidian wings. So discount any facts they site because facts have a liberal bias

You ignore the poor innocents that have been wronged by our civilian legal system! Ban the civilian legal system!

IF our civilian system were getting one criminal for hundreds jailed and doing so without trial or accountability, then maybe I’d agree with this.

Posted by on 11/19/10 at 12:17 PM from United States

I would not describe the torture of KSM as a success

Would you describe it as a failure as far as intelligence gained?

Again, I’m not trying to pick a fight. I’m curious to hear your opinion and possibly see this issue from your perspective.

Posted by AlexinCT on 11/19/10 at 12:44 PM from United States

If you’re at gitmo, you’re not being treated like a citizen Alex.

You are damned right. You are being treated far better than they are. Free room & board, access to every grievance agency that wants to give the US a black eye, freedom to practice your religion, no matter how vile your brand of it is, shit, criminals incarcerated in the US should sue the government for treating enemy combatants so much better than citizens are treated.

Posted by AlexinCT on 11/19/10 at 01:29 PM from United States

I would not describe the torture of KSM as a success since he confessed to things we’re pretty sure he didn’t do.

Ever hear of misinformation? Standard tactic when you want to confuse the enemy and make them waste resources chasing down false leads. That he did some of this while purportedly being tortured doesn’t imply that he did it because he was being pressured. Some of what he said turned to be true as well.

Keep in mind that many statement made about his intelligence, such as it prevented the library bombing, have proven to be false.

Erm, not that I know of. Who proved it?

Here is the judge’s decision where the CIA told him to assume that everything he said was coerced.  See what happens when you do some research?

Ah so now coerced means it is torture. Anyway, that link you provided, here is the relevant text.

Abebe was identified and located as a close and direct result of statements made by Ghailani while he was held by the CIA. The government has elected not to litigate the details of Ghailani’s treatment while in CIA custody. It has sought to make this unnecessary by asking the Court to assume in deciding this motion that everything Ghailani said while in CIA custody was

*2

coerced.)

Maybe someone has a problem with English, but to me that clearly sounds like it was the government, you know Holder and the other lefties, that told the judge to assume all the information was obtained through coercion, just as I pointed out, and declined to fight to keep evidence against him.

Here. See the article I linked to had a link it that you could have followed for more information.

I read that article. It didn’t convince me of anything other than that it was put together by a bunch of academics with an agenda. It was replete with manipulated information that was cherry picked to make their point look good. It reminded me of muirgeo1’s rants.

Take a look at page 4. That 87% they grant civilian courts is based on any conviction. So just like with Ghaliani, where the only charge they could get - and then by beating a juror which wanted to declare him innocent into accepting some compromise charge – out of the near 280, including 224 cases of murder, was one where he was found guilty on a conspiracy to blow up buildings. If they had some terrorist they managed to send to jail for a few days on jay walking charges, they counted it as a success.

Then look at page 5. The average sentences they are getting are 5.5 years. That’s not very likely to indicate convictions on serious charges. I also wonder how much this average number was skewed up by the few cases where they might have gotten multiple life sentences.

Color me unconvinced of this report’s conclusions, Hal. You should be too. Here is a prediction: if they take Khalid Mohammad to trial in a civilian court, he walks.

Complete, utter, total bullshit.  Again, you simply do not bother to read anything that contradicts your point of view.  First of all, you’re talking about Gitmo detainees, not the thousands that have been run through Bagram and black sites.

How many people made it to Gitmo in total Hal? Let’s start with that. Then you can explain to me how hundreds of them were dragged through there on spurious charges. And how many people in the US are “dragged” annually the civil system only to then be let go because they are innocent? Again, you are demanding perfection from the military, but seem totally immune to the fact that there is no way for that to be accommodated.

Second, you may remember my post some time ago about the Gitmo suicides.  Two of those three were grabbed based on hearsay.  Arar was grabbed based on mistaken identity.  Hundreds were turned into Bagram for bounties and grabbed by US marines based on hearsay.  These guys were not arrested in combat operations.

And the civilian legal system never errs. Whatever. Way to miss the point.

Finally, about 1 in 7 Gitmo detainees “return to combat”. But as I pointed out (a) I might return to combat if I were an innocent person imprisoned for years and tortured; (b) “returning to combat”, by the Pentagon’s definition, includes complaining about being tortured (
link) and very few have, in fact, gone back to fighting.  In fact, one “returned to combat” ... for us.  Yeah, it’s Obsidian wings. So discount any facts they site because facts have a liberal bias

Ah, OK, so now your whole argument is that we are the ones making the terrorists! Nice.

Here is something you need to carefully consider Hal: while Gitmo was not a perfect solution it was the best of the shitty lot. Obama seems to have gone with, and obviously gotten away with this because the MSM is giving him a pass they would never have given his predecessor, the strategy where he simply orders the military to kill anyone we think is a terrorist (drone attacks) to avoid dealing with their captures, or gone back to the Clinton practices of sending the captured enemies to countries that do real torture, while trying desperately to score cheap political points for the left by trying to shoehorn the trials of Gitmo detainees into rigged civilian trials, he swears will deliver guilty verdicts. We have just seen how wrong that last part was. The alternative is indefinite detentions. Does that sound familiar?

Posted by on 11/19/10 at 02:01 PM from United States

Since we are back into this torture debate (and I am fine calling waterboarding torture*) I will ask a question I think I asked before without getting an answer.  Hal, your position seems to be that torture “doesn’t work.” Does this mean that you are claiming that in all human history torture has never revealed real information?  Or that it is prone to error but sometimes gets real information?

*Apparently, according to the government, waterboarding does not meet the legal definition of torture, see a rather lawyerly exposition of that here.  Whether or not that is true I am happy to concede that, apart from legalisms, it is torture.

Posted by on 11/19/10 at 03:54 PM from United States

I’ll jump in on this - torture isn’t reliable.  You may get information, but there may not be any information to get, so the victim just makes up what you want to hear in order to make you stop.

The point of torture is pretty much to torture, not to actually get information.  If you’re OK with inflicting unbearable pain and suffering upon another because they’ve earned it, then at least admit what you’re doing and don’t try to put lipstick on a pig and and call it pretty.

Posted by on 11/20/10 at 01:47 PM from United States

I’ll jump in on this - torture isn’t reliable.  You may get information, but there may not be any information to get, so the victim just makes up what you want to hear in order to make you stop.

Replace “victim” with “source” and this paragraph describes just about any intelligence gathering technique. 

The point of torture is pretty much to torture, not to actually get information.

How do you know what the interrogators are thinking?  Could it be possible, just a little bit, that trained CIA interrogators in the 21st century have slightly different motivation that a Jesuit during the Spanish Inquisition? 

Certainly torture has been used in the past to terrorize or inflict revenge.  It has also been used, throughout history, to get information. 

Intelligence gathering frequently involves putting several pieces together.  Sources, whether they are torture victims or paid informants, can be tested.  If you are torturing Khallid, you ask him something that you already know, but that he doesn’t know that you know.  A wrong answer invites a lot more pain.  Repeat several times before you move on to the stuff you don’t know but continue to mix in stuff you do know to check. 

You are assuming that the people running this program are idiots.  It is a very easy habit to fall into, but generally is a bad way to shape reasonable arguments. 

Note that none of the above is a dispositive point in the argument about torture.  But to argue something that is not true (“torture never works”) weakens the arguments-just like the “we are violating the Geneva Conventions in our treatment of terrorists” argument.

Posted by on 11/20/10 at 02:06 PM from United States

Good points hist_ed. I do get annoyed when people say torture never works. If it didn’t work one would wonder why the military and intelligence agencies consider information compromised when one of their assets is kidnapped.

Posted by on 11/20/10 at 03:05 PM from Germany

Of course, more detailed evidence could have been presented, but Ghaliani was tortured (the feds admitted to such) and so any confessions or evidence he gave was no longer admissable.  nor should it have been since, as we’ve shown a million times, people will say whatever you want under torture.  A traditional interrogation would have yielded an admissable confession.

Good, lord. Stop. Read a history book before saying something as dumb as, “torture doesn’t work”. Here are my examples to completely rebuff this idiotic argument.

1) The battle of Algiers 1957- The French Foreign Legion completely dismantles and breaks up an FLN terrorist network during an insurgency thanks to...severely torturing numerous detainees to ascertain the FLN command structure.

2)The battle of Kursk 1943- The Soviet Army learned exact time tables of planned German advances and artillery barrages by, hold on to your hats...by torturing German officers prior to the offensive.

3) The Cold War- The Soviets Again utilize torture effectively, and shut down foreign intelligence networks within their own country, and satellite countries of Eastern Europe. 

Torture does work quite effectively when used to interrogate people, whether or not America should be engaging in such a morally repugnant practice is another matter. But for the love of god stop pretending you know more about interrogations then dozens of intelligence organizations that saw fit to torture detainees to gather information.

Posted by AlexinCT on 11/20/10 at 03:36 PM from United States

Intelligence gathering frequently involves putting several pieces together.  Sources, whether they are torture victims or paid informants, can be tested.  If you are torturing Khallid, you ask him something that you already know, but that he doesn’t know that you know.  A wrong answer invites a lot more pain.  Repeat several times before you move on to the stuff you don’t know but continue to mix in stuff you do know to check. 

I doubt the CIA has done anything like this – use seriously painful interrogation like so many others, including the KGB which in its new incarnation has forgotten more about the interrogation craft than the CIA ever did know on its best day, or the people that work for thugs like Saddam where the inflection of pain in itself was a means to an end - simply because there has been no need for it. The mechanisms that help them break down resistance over time and get people to talk involve causing fatigue, disorientation, and fear, not massive pain. The objective after all is to wear down resistance and break the subject, not make him desperate to simply get it over with. The objective hasn’t been to use these methods the elftists morons have labeled as torture to get the information itself, but to remove the subject’s will to not divulge information. That’s precisely why I get so angry when people that have no clue claim sleep deprivation or waterboarding are torture. If you want to see torture, watch the various existing visual documentation of how everyone that really tortures, does it. I have seen some of the interrogations performed by Saddam’s people, and that’s torture.

And while causing heavy pain certainly is a mechanism that can be used when time is critical, it isn’t optimal. Not because the information is unreliable, but because in your desperate need to get intel to act upon, you might mess up and incapacitate/kill the intelligence source, and then you are up the creek.

You are assuming that the people running this program are idiots.  It is a very easy habit to fall into, but generally is a bad way to shape reasonable arguments.

It’s not that they assume they are idiots. It’s far worse. They also assume they are evil people that actually enjoy this shit for its own sake. That they could easily have gotten the subject’s resistance to cooperate broken with some feel good alternative they saw in some dumb ass movie, but simply decided they would much rather go about it this way. The proof is in the way they imply that this is all evil because the military has simply rounded up people, many of them simple innocents sold out by other people, and locked them up forever, or worse, put them through the ringer to then get a confession of guilt. As if the military had knowledge that the people they picked up were innocent and went about it anyway, just so they could close the case and avoid any issues. In the mean time this sort of cover-up and mistaken identity prosecutions happens constantly in our legal system, and yet they feel it is superior thus demanding that ununiformed enemy combatants be allowed to get their day in that court instead of a military tribunal. Go figure.

Posted by on 11/20/10 at 05:52 PM from United States

I doubt the CIA has done anything like this

I wasn’t suggesting that they did-just providing an obvious and simple example of how torture could work.

Posted by AlexinCT on 11/20/10 at 08:20 PM from United States

I wasn’t suggesting that they did-just providing an obvious and simple example of how torture could work.

Not implying you made that case Ed, I understood your premise quite well, but worried that others would not, and I apologize for not making that clear. BTW, ask the old Soviets if you want proof it works. They were masters at this stuff. Where do you think every third world thug got their torture education from, huh? The problem was that unlike the Soviets which did it to get information, these other guys did it for fun.

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