Right Thinking From The Left Coast
Adventure is worthwhile - Aesop

Lockdown
by Lee

Earlier this year I wrote a post about the power of lettre de cachet, and why giving this power to the president was something we really needed to do with our eyes wide open.  Here’s a perfect example of what I was talking about.

The Supreme Court won’t intervene in the odd case of two Chinese Muslims locked up by mistake at the Guantanamo Bay prison.

The men were accidentally captured as enemy combatants more than four years ago. And a judge has since ruled their detention isn’t legal, but the federal courts can’t help.

The administration doesn’t want to release them unless they leave the country, but Washington hasn’t been able to find a country to accept them. They can’t go back to China because they might be tortured or killed.

Even though the administration says they have access to rare Guantanamo luxuries like TV and soccer games, the detainees’ lawyers say their detention is still a hardship.

Four years in prison for something they didn’t do, and the court system is powerless to stop the government.  If you think America is well-served by giving this kind of unchecked power to the government there’s something seriously, seriously wrong with you.  One of the founding principles of this government was a system of checks and balances, and we have no checking or balancing here.  The president has assumed the power to imprison anyone he chooses, there is no recourse for the prisoner to get out of jail, and neither the courts nor legislature have any oversight.  That’s fucking scary.

Posted by Lee on 04/17/06 at 01:13 PM (Discuss this in the forums)

Comments


Posted by on 04/17/06 at 02:36 PM from United States

Not defending it, but seem like a better deal than being totured and killed in China.

Posted by on 04/17/06 at 02:41 PM from United States

But? There’s no but. This is morally wrong.

The Bush administration has put us into quite the pickle.

Posted by on 04/17/06 at 02:42 PM from United States

3 choices,

leave them there
send them back to China
Admit them into the US as residents

Which option would you have the administration do?

Your point is valid, you don’t want an administration with that kind of power, however, it depends on whether this case is the exception or the rule.

Posted by on 04/17/06 at 02:45 PM from United States

I’m not sure what the solution is but this is just one of many pooches screwed by the Bush admin.

The issue really isn’t these two innocent prisoners though. The issue is that Bush has this power. That’s not right.

Posted by on 04/17/06 at 02:47 PM from United States

Even if you still trust Bush, think about the next president to have this power or the one after that.

Posted by on 04/17/06 at 02:49 PM from United States

3 choices,

leave them there
send them back to China
Admit them into the US as residents

Considering it was the US government that unjustly imprisoned them for 4 years, I think giving them the choice between going back to China, or granting them asylum here, would be a reasonable thing to do.

Posted by on 04/17/06 at 02:50 PM from United States

The Bush administration has put us into quite the pickle.

How so?

If these guys were illegal immigrants arrested for shoplifting, you would have the same dilemma once their prison term or whatever was completed.

Posted by on 04/17/06 at 02:56 PM from United States

How so?

If these guys were illegal immigrants arrested for shoplifting, you would have the same dilemma once their prison term or whatever was completed.

If they were illegal immigrants arrested for shoplifting, the dilemma would be their fault, not ours. But they weren’t illegal immigrants, and the only reason they are on US property at all is because we arrested them in another country and brought them there.

Posted by on 04/17/06 at 02:57 PM from United States

First off, I don’t think it’s good policy to allow asylum to everyone found innocent in gitmo. Would you have the same policy for illegal mexicans arrested, charged and found not guilty of a crime?

You assume that they have only just been found guilty yet, that could have been realized years ago.

I’d give them the option of staying in gitmo, or going to China.

The other option is just to drop them off wherever they were picked up.

Posted by on 04/17/06 at 02:59 PM from United States

But they weren’t illegal immigrants, and the only reason they are on US property at all is because we arrested them in another country and brought them there.

So take them back to wherever they were picked up from...unless of course they were not in that country legally, in which case the point is the same.

Posted by on 04/17/06 at 03:03 PM from United States

You assume that they have only just been found guilty

Sorry, that should be “You assume that they have only just been found NOT guilty”

Posted by on 04/17/06 at 03:09 PM from United States

How so?

The pickle is multi-faceted:

1. We have an immediate problem with a number of innocent detainees. We have to resolve this somehow rather than just continue to waste years of their lives with further detainment.

2. We have guilty detainees that need to be dealt with eventually. Do something with them. Convict and sentence them.

3. The office of the president has this power that can be used again by Bush and future presidents. It is entirely likely that the power will be used and abused and more situations like the ones we are dealing with now will be created.

Posted by Mister Minit on 04/17/06 at 03:13 PM from United Kingdom

Lee: I couldn’t agree with you more (and that goes for your flat tax post as well).

Keep up the good work.

Posted by on 04/17/06 at 03:17 PM from United States

First off, I don’t think it’s good policy to allow asylum to everyone found innocent in gitmo.

Not everyone that was found innocent in gitmo, but everyone who was found innocent in gitmo who cannot be sent back to their own country for fear of being tortured and killed.

Would you have the same policy for illegal mexicans arrested, charged and found not guilty of a crime?

As far as I know, the Mexican government is not known to torture and kill people that are deported back to Mexico.

You assume that they have only just been found guilty yet, that could have been realized years ago.

I assume nothing. It doesn’t matter when they were found not guilty, or when they were arrested. They have still been locked up for 4 years when they didn’t do anything wrong.

So take them back to wherever they were picked up from...unless of course they were not in that country legally, in which case the point is the same.

The point is not the same. If they were illegal immigrants arrested in the United States for something they didn’t do, the federal courts would have the jurisdiction to do something about it. But since they were arrested in another country and are being held as enemy combatants at an offshore military prison, the federal courts are powerless to do anything. Only the Bush Administration has the power to do anything, and they have done dick squat.

And if they were mexican immigrants, the option of sending them back to Mexico would be a viable option, because they are not in much danger of being tortured or killed there if we send them back.

--

We should not be in the habit of enforcing immigration policies of other nations, but if these people were in another country illegally, we assume responsibility for them the moment we arrest them. When you are given a lot of power, you have to act responsibly. And a responsible person, when they erroneously wrong somebody else, they will do anything in their power to make up for it.

The Bush Administration, and the US military have been granted a lot of power when prosecuting the war on terrorism. Unfortunately, in many cases, such as this, they have not shown the sense of responsibility that should go along with the power they have been granted.

Posted by on 04/17/06 at 03:39 PM from United States

Make Canada take them.  Seriously, just make some sort of quiet deal where Canada gets a couple of American prisoners and then gets to crow about how generous they are.

Posted by on 04/17/06 at 03:44 PM from United States

They can’t go back to China because they might be tortured or killed

And the problem with that is?

Posted by InsipiD on 04/17/06 at 04:22 PM from United States

Perhaps they were captured by accident, but the reason noone has been willing to take them should be obvious...if you get taken ‘by mistake’ from the middle of a mob of Islamist terrorists, what are you?

Posted by on 04/17/06 at 11:00 PM from United States

As far as I know, the Mexican government is not known to torture and kill people that are deported back to Mexico.

But you also claim that if you wrong someone, you should do whatever you can to make things right. Doesn’t sound like deporting them meets that goal.

However, we can stick with China. If we falsely arrest someone from China, and they are acquitted, do we then have to grant them asylum? Is there a reason why we shouldn’t also offer them a million bucks to make up for their hardship?

. They have still been locked up for 4 years when they didn’t do anything wrong.

Yes, but you don’t know whether on day 2 of their arrest they said hey guys, you’re free, a plane will be here to take you to China, at which point they declined favouring sitting it out in the hope to get a free pass to the US.

The point is not the same

The point is the same in regards to where those people belong. Look, you arrest Joe Schmoe from Downtown afghanistan, find him innocent, you ship him back home to Afghanistan.
You find Joe Fong in Afghanistan, there illegally, you find him innocent, you ship him home to Afghanistan where he was. If they won’t take him due to their illegal status then you take them whereever they do call home.

Right now, they are choosing to call Gitmo home since they don’t want to go to China. The only thing the US did was put an end to their illegal immigration wherever they were.

If they were robbing a bank when they were arrested, is the US somehow obliged to pay them the money they would have stolen had they not been falseley arrested and taken away? I doubt it.

What they heck, they are Muslims, drop them in China and let Allah protect them.

Posted by on 04/18/06 at 01:32 AM from United States

I’m sorry I can’t find the link but these fellas were in Afganistan to learn terrorist tactics for their fight against the Chinese gov. That is why they don’t or can’t be returned to China.

Posted by on 04/18/06 at 08:34 AM from United States

What power is the Bush administration exercising that should not be within the authority of the Executive Branch?

They were conducting military operations approved by Congress. Our Pakistani allies in the conflict captured two Chinese Muslims and turned them over to the United States. Believing them to be enemy combatants, the military held the prisoners in a military prison. Now that we no longer view them as enemy combatants, there is no country willing to take them. Therefore, we continue to hold them at Gitmo instead of letting them enter the US (where they are not welcome) or shipping them to China (where they will be tortured or killed).

I can’t see how the Bush Administration has acted incompetently in this matter or how it has abused any power that should not be used by any future Administration.

Posted by on 04/18/06 at 09:35 AM from United States

I’m sorry I can’t find the link but these fellas were in Afganistan to learn terrorist tactics for their fight against the Chinese gov. That is why they don’t or can’t be returned to China.

I read about these guys in a AP story posted yesterday morning.  Here is the one paragraph that explains why they were captured:

Qassim and al-Hakim were captured as they fled a Taliban military training camp where they were learning techniques they planned to use against the Chinese government.

Most of the story goes over the horrible plight of these poor, harmless little victims.  However, with just this one paragraph, I suddenly lose all sympathy for them.

We send them back to China, they get killed.  We don’t want even more trained terrorists running around the US, so what do we do?  I think that the Bush administration is acting in a pretty humanitarian fashion on this one, but this is a position that I’ve come to only after getting the whole picture, as opposed to simply reading the headlines

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