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October 05, 2005


I don't know. I think this gives the administration cover to argue that, "Well of course what we were doing complied with the old law, look, congress had to pass a new one to get us to stop." I know that not a convincing argument, but a lot of people will buy it.

And second, what makes anyone think that the administration, which is plainly doing what ever it pleases already, law or no law, is going to pay any attention to this one, assuming it passes? And even if they did they have their, "the President is above the law in conducting war" argument all teed up and ready to go. Habeaus corpus, what's that? And then there is the bad apples defense, the we investigated defense, and the just plain cover it up.

Finally, Michael Froomkin noted a few days ago that the law does not apply to the CIA. So it's still apparently hunky-dory if the CIA does it (or, it only violates the laws already on the books, which the administration now has additional spin material to throw at people in the form of this new law).

If they really wanted to help, they would appoint an independent commission to investigate this matter up and down the chain of command to see exactly who ordered what. Hell, they could get started in the mean time by reading Sy Hersh's book.

I know they're trying to do the right thing here, but I'd rather seem them do the right thing, rather than try.

Thanks, hilzoy. And about goddamned time, although better late than never.

In my experience emails simply are ignored, so I'm going to have to do a letter up on nice paper and force them to throw it away.

I disagree with Ugh, above. This will (hopefully) force a very public show of hands on the Hill.

I disagree with Ugh, above. This will (hopefully) force a very public show of hands on the Hill.

Don't get me wrong, I certainly hope this is the beginning of the end of this whole mess (where it doesn't happen anymore, the responsible people are punished, and we somehow get our reputation back), I'm just worried that it will backfire. Such as Congress, once passing the law (and assuming the Prez signs it or his vetos is overriden), sits back and says, "well we sure took care of that , onto estate tax repeal" and just forgets the whole thing.

Ah, good point.

I'm going to have to do a letter up on nice paper

Hope you're planning on hand-delivering it in the next few hours...

I think emails do help if they aren't the bulk mail kind. I never sign the MoveOn group emails, for example. In this situation an individual email will be treated like a letter.

Agreed on the PR value, but even within a DOD facility like a base or Abu Ghraib, wouldn't it be simple to have a sham "ceding of custody" to CIA spooks and their muscle boys?

While you're interacting with your Senator, you might want to mention the Graham/McCain amendment. It seemingly legitimizes the very poorly done CSRT and ARB proceedings, but on the other hand narrows the definition of unlawful enemy combatant quite a bit. On balance, I'd say it ought to be defeated, although a bill that specified fair procedures would be a good idea.

SA 2004. Mr. GRAHAM (for himself and Mr. MCCAIN) submitted an amendment intended to be proposed by him to the bill H.R. 2863, making appropriations for the Department of Defense for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2006, and for other purposes; which was ordered to lie on the table; as follows:

At the appropriate place, insert the following:

SEC. __.(a) Authority To Utilize Combatant Status Review Tribunals and Administrative Review Board To Determine Status of Detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.--The President is authorized to utilize the Combatant Status Review Tribunals and a noticed Administrative Review Board, and the procedures thereof as specified in subsection (b), currently in operation at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in order to determine the status of the detainees held at Guantanamo Bay, including whether any such detainee is a lawful enemy combatant or an unlawful enemy combatant.

(b) Procedures.--

(1) IN GENERAL.--Except as provided in paragraph (2), the procedures specified in this subsection are the procedures that were in effect in the Department of Defense for the conduct of the Combatant Status Review Tribunal and the Administrative Review Board on July 1, 2005.

(2) EXCEPTION.--The exceptions provided in this paragraph for the procedures specified in paragraph (1) are as follows:

(A) To the extent practicable, the Combatant Status Review Tribunal shall determine, by a preponderance of the evidence, whether statements derived from persons held in foreign custody were obtained without undue coercion.

(B) The Designated Civilian Official shall be an officer of the United States Government whose appointment to office was made by the President, by and with the advise and consent of the Senate.

(3) MODIFICATION OF PROCEDURES.--The President may modify the procedures and requirements set forth under paragraphs (1) and (2). Any modification of such procedures or requirements may not go into effect until 30 days after the date on which the President notifies the congressional defense committees of the modification.

(c) Definitions.--In this section:

(1) The term ``lawful enemy combatant'' means person engaging in war or other armed conflict against the United States or its allies on behalf of a state party to the Geneva Convention Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War, dated August 12, 1949, who meets the criteria of a prisoner of war under Article 4 of that Convention.

(2) The term ``unlawful enemy combatant'', with respect to noncitizens of the United States, means a person (other than a person described in paragraph (1)) engaging in war, other armed conflict, or hostile acts against the United States or its allies, regardless of location.

Porter Goss: 9/11 Clinton's fault, no discipline for individual CIA officers named in inspector general's report (okay, he actually didn't say it was Clinton's fault, but the article did say he blamed a lack of resources in the 1990s).

Yes, as we've learned over the last 2 years in Iraq, if you respond firmly to terrorists, they go away.

I think "firm response" and "torture to death" don't have to overlap at all, CC, but maybe that's just me.

On second thought, strike everything in that last from the last comma on. It's pretty clear that there's a whole lot of people HERE that would agree with that.

Slarti, wasn't CC responding to the Goss innuendo? Hard to make sense of your comment in that context.

I don't know if anyone on ObWing's linked to this yet: The Prisoner and the Guard: A Tale of Two Lives Destroyed by Abu Ghraib, I found it via TalkLeft.

Just finished reading it. Now I need to go away from the computer for a while.

Yes, Anderson, that's what I meant. Of course, we see as well that torturing people to death doesn't make others less inclined to fight us, but more pissed off.

Just when you think they're going to get it, finally, the Admin pulls something like the transfer of http://www.commondreams.org/news2005/1003-12.htm>Sami al Laithi. The guy's story was http://www.amnesty.ie/user/content/view/full/4479/>bad enough before, the the business of spiriting him out of Gitmo over the weekend, so as to avoid having to answer to a court (on a motion for reconsideration), is just beyond the Pale.

Well it passed. 90-9

my goodness.

this is what I've said for a while: when you force people to actually vote on it, the results are better than you think.

will he really veto it? they'll try to kill it in conference, that's for damn sure.

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