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June 26, 2008


Then, too, being seized, tortured, and imprisoned without trial or any hope of being able to prove one's innocence could convince someone to make one last defiant stand.


Justice Scalia has an impressive mind, and he is an engaging writer. He is also a result oriented scold. In his case, I sometimes wish birth control were retroactive.

And this evidence wasn't somehow suspect; it was his very own statements.

Even though there is ancillary evidence that supports it, I couldn't wholeheartedly agree with this one sentence here without knowing more precisely when and where the statements in question were made. I see no reason to believe ex post facto that this was not a frank and sincere declaration on his part... but that's because we have the cooberation of his subsequent behavior. Lacking that, I'd still be suspicious unless I had very good reason to believe that his statement was being made consistently and in neutral surroundings, which the above-quoted report does not really suggest. That well is good and poisoned at the moment...

I would generally be extremely cautious about taking a CSRT/ARB summary at face value; they are always conclusory & often grossly inaccurate--remember the Corinne Hegland article? Detainee's statements that they saw Bin Laden on Al Jazeera rendered as "Detainee admitted knowing Osama Bin Laden", and the like? So to say that "the detainees' own statements" aren't suspect is, in general, actually totally credulous & a big mistake. The statement that he intended to kill as many Americans as possible, specific admissions about actual combat, etc. seem unusual & like giant red flags, and we have confirmation that he did intend to kill Americans. But just be wary of those summaries, in general.

(In fact, I would normally accuse someone calling such a summary "evidence" of extreme credulity.

I mean, this guy sounds pretty scary, doesn't he?

a. The detainee is a member or ally of Al Qaida or its network...Detainee is a close associate with, and planned to travel to PK with, an individual who later engaged in a suicide bombing....The detainee participated in activities with a group that is part of the Al Qaida network.

And there's nothing suspect about this summary; it's based on the detainee's own statements:

b. Detainee engaged in hostilities against the US or its coalition partners. Detainee admits that he conducted surveillance of buildings, hospitals and schools with another detainee. Detainee admits that he assisted with the transfer of chemical weapons at a compound near Kabul, Afghanistan. Detainee states that he trained several of the September 11 hijackers in martial arts and had planned to hijack a plane himself. Detainee was captured along with two German Muslims in Pakistan by Pakistani authorities

Except, the first of those is from Murnat Kurnaz's CSRT & is totally made up; the second is from Mamdouh Habib's & was made based under confessions extracted under torture in Egypt.)

I doubt Ajmi's case is actually comparable, but treating the CSRT summaries as reliable evidence is just foolish, even it's convenient in this case. Mind you, I would guess his release had as much to do with his Kuwaiti nationality as the merits, and I would guess in his case there was real evidence to support continued detention...)

Katherine: point taken.

ISN 220 was certainly an enemy combatant, but there seems precisous little evidence to justify catagorizing him as an unlawful enemy combatant rather than an ordinary prisoner of war. The evidence listed in the post shows him to be a member of the armed forces of the de facto government of Afghanistan. We might have had a basis for turning him over to the Kuwaitis for trial as a deserter, but there was no basis for holding at Guantanamo, as opposed to an ordinary POW facility, or to otherwise deny him the rights of an ordinary POW (including the right to release at the conclusion of hostilities).

There are possibilities

Perhaps they tried to turn him.

Or perhaps they released him thinking he would do exactly what he did.

Or perhaps they murdered him and faked to bombing as political theater.

With criminals like Bush gang, just about anything is possible.

I'm hope Katherine sleeps well...

I suppose, by your insipid insinuation, that you sleep soundly convinced that no innocents have ever been wrongly imprisoned or tortured at Gitmo or any other gulag prison this administration has set up?


That, or you just don't care.

I doubt she does. I find it hard to believe anyone who has paid attention to the actions of the Bush administration and who cares about the fate of the US sleeps well.

Bem, don't be a jerk.

Dear Hilzoy: I hope you are well.

This might be an old topic by now, but I disagree with the Supreme Court's disastrous ruling in Boumedienne vs. Bush. The basic error, IMO, lies in trying to fight a WAR as tho it was a mere criminal justice matter. And it's an error to treat foreign terrorists captured while waging war on us as tho they were legitimate POWs. They are not.

Sincerely, Sean

At this point, after all that has come out about the more than eight hundred prisoners who have passed through Guantanamo, it takes a real imperviousness to fact to proceed as if more than about thirty of them can in any way be described as "terrorists" or "waging war on us".

That means that the government had plenty of evidence that he was an enemy combatant

"Enemy combatant" ys, I believe, a term made up bu BushCo. Let's not use it. Ajmiis, under the description above, a prisoner of war, and must be treated as such.

The only reason why he might have been released is if all the evidence against him was produced under torture.

I think that if any if the evidence used against him was produced under torture, it makes all the evidence suspect. As Fred Clark would say. "Torture is wrong."

@Hilzoy: Katherine's is such a significant point that it might be worth an update to the post, which would show even more clearly that it's been taken.

Also, what Jeff said about the unasterisked or un-scare-quoted use of the term "enemy combatant". I realize that for the purposes of this post it makes sense to stay within the govt/DoD's own frame of reference, but still...

The basic error, IMO, lies in trying to fight a WAR as tho it was a mere criminal justice matter.

Who exactly are we at WAR with?

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