December 07, 2004
It's a long way from Geneva to Guantanamo Bay, writes Ted Lapkin:
The Guantanamo Bay detainees are illegal combatants whose actions placed them beyond the pale of international law. To afford them the privileges and protections of the Geneva Conventions, despite their crimes, would provide reward where retribution is warranted.
If the task of preventing the next September 11 requires that al-Qaeda captives at Guantanamo Bay be denied their full eight hours of slumber, I certainly won't lose any sleep over it.
I’m fine with it, too.
Posted by Tim Blair at December 7, 2004 02:15 PM
Well, I'm not. There is no further intelligence to be extracted from these people, after all of these months. Mistreatment of prisoners is barbaric.
How the hell would you know?
How the hell would I know that mistreatment of prisoners is barbaric?
Peter, that response is described by the acronym, "D.O."
As in "deliberately obtuse".
There is no sense in wasting cyberwhatsit in clearly misrepresenting somebody else's position.
The question is, do you think it makes you look good, or do you think it makes you look like a jerk?
Do you think it makes the other person look as bad as you clearly hope it would? Why?
In other words, what is the up side for you?
While it is true that tactical intelligence gets old rapidly, the other stuff (who was in charge at such and such a time, what were you thinking and what do you think now, and the cross checking of stories about the organization and other items not as likely to become obsolete so fast) does not.
All of which you know but couldn't afford to have occur to anybody, except of course it did despite your juvenile response.
So. You win or lose on this one?
Don't be stupid, Peter.
Since when has *any* nation released combatants before a peace treaty ending the war was signed on the basis that there was no point in interrogating them any longer?
"Mistreatment of prisoners is barbaric."
OK. Let's kill them now. I'll light the napalm.
Mistreatment of prisoners is barbaric.
My understanding is that:
* Most of the prisoners at Guantanamo Bay have been there over two years.
* They are a pretty motley bunch, very few terrorist masterminds amongst them.
* It hasn't even been independently or formally established that everyone there had anything to do with the war on terror.
* The treatment of the prisoners has been, in my view, unacceptable.
* The "ticking bomb" scenario mentioned by Ted Lapkin does not apply. Here is an example where you appear to claim the the bomb has been ticking for over two years and coercive mesaures still remain appropriate. This is totally inconsistent with the ticking bomb scenario, which is supposed to imply an immediate, armed threat.
* Ted Lapkin is associate editor of The Review, a monthly journal of opinion and analysis published by the Australia/Israel and Jewish Affairs Council. Do other members of the Australia/Israel and Jewish Affairs Council want to be associated with this type of argument? The argument seems to be that these prsioners have no rights, and that any abuse that is meted out to them is appropriate.
* Immediate personal abuse of anyone who doesn't completely follow the party line on this is a sign of your lack of willingness to face these issues.
Ah, Peter! Lets disguise the Ted Lapkin is Jew rant in a disengenious "Do other members of the Australia/Israel and Jewish Affairs Council...."
You are a racist idiot.
However, don't get me wrong. This is not immediate personal abuse - I am just observing that if you were on fire my sphincter would be unresponsive.
There is a little-known clause in the Geneva Convention that states:
[The ABC must only publish the "woolly jumper" version of David Hicks' photo - never the "rocket launcher psycho" version.]
Memo to: Rest of the World.
It can be conclusively stated that the Geneva Conventions went out the window in the mid-morning of September 11, 2001.
The enemies we now face are are cold-blooded, calculating, vile, despicable – and above all else – evil pricks who do not care about the sanctity of human life or respect other points of view. These people:
- Deliberately target innocent civilians for killing.
- Happily use human shields to protect themselves from attack
- Wear civilian clothing to surprise and ambush uniform-wearing (in accordance with the Geneva Conventions) US and Coalition forces
- Launch attacks from mosques, schools, hospitals and other buildings, deliberately to cause a dilemma for forces trying to keep within their rules of engagement.
I can only imagine the frustration faced by soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq on a day by day basis, trying as best they can to follow outdated rules and regulations fighting an enemy that care about neither.
In terms of Guantanamo Bay (and Abu Ghraib for that matter), what is key here is the issue of what is torture? What everyone needs to do right now is go to your history textbook and/or encyclopaedia, and look up Japanese treatment of prisoners of war in World War II. Of course, I don’t hold any ill-will to Japanese today – I’m a firm believer that current governments cannot and should not be held responsible for the actions taken by previous ones, but it’s important to realise that what happened to Australians, Americans and other Allied personnel and civilians duirng this dark period of our history is the definitive example of torture. It was after the atrocities that occurred there, and of course in Europe by the Germans, that the Geneva Conventions were written. It is important to analyse the Conventions in their context, and apply them as such.
Of course, that’s not happening. We’re at a point where every tactic used to glean information is considered a form of torture. Everything, from playing loud music to barking dogs to some sleep deprivation is now considered ‘torture’ by the bleeding-hearts brigade out there that forget who these people are and what they do (read 4 points above). What we also have is a media given unprecedented access to the front lines in an attempt by the US military to stem the flow of negative, unfactual reporting from the outside, only to have these idiots turn into self-appointed Hague judges, where upon seeing something a bit gruesome or heavy-handed (eg. Marine shooting terrorist pretending to be dead), plaster it all over the news and have US forces painted as the one breaking all the rules of war.
War is war. I do agree some of the methods that are employed are unpleasant, but we need to be realistic about who it really is that are breaking the rules of war – the callous, evil sub-humans appropriately called illegal combatants. Meanwhile, we also need to be realistic about these outdated rules of war, that leave the brave men and women of the armed forces hamstrung dealing with this new, despicable enemy.
Greg, check out Wretchard's
discussion on people who call other people "racist".
"* They are a pretty motley bunch, very few terrorist masterminds amongst them."
So I take it that seeing there are only a few terrorist masterminds they should be released?
The thing that pisses me off with these terrorist apologists is they have all this empathy for the jihadists and none for their own people.
What would Peter say to the victims of an attack by released inmates? I know. The U.S. or Australia bought this on themselves for being so inhumane.
People like Peter make me sick.
Rosignal and Gubbaboy, I haven't suggested that the prisoners be released. I have suggested that they be treated humanely.
Fight by the Marquess of Queensbury rules and benefit from the protection those rules bestow on you.
otherwise do not expect any kid gloves treatment from your captors.
I note that the editor of the SMH clearly agrees with Peter Watt, as one can see from their chocie of headline.
I hardly think that the "interrogation" techniques that are alluded to are real torture (as pointed out by jonathan above) and are not an awful lot worse than most people have had to put up with who have shared a dormitory at boarding school.
Finally, "prison" works mainly because you keep away from society people who have inflicted harm upon it in the past, and are likely to do so again.
I am very happy that self-confessed would-be terrorists like David Hicks are somewhere where they cannot practise what they preach.
I think that the amount of innocent tourists that were picked up and are currently in Guantanamo Bay are very, very limited.
Still Peter, as you are obviously such a supporter, why don't you ask that all the inmates come and live in your house in NZ, and you can volunteer to be personally liable for all their actions ?
British Gitmo prisoners released and repatriated to the UK and been found to have re-joined terrorist groups. The touchy-feely types in the UK, after pulling every string they could to get their poor, misunderstood, tortured fellow countrymen back home now have egg on their collective faces. Let's not fall the the same trick.
A lot of the preceding comments make an unwarranted assumption from the first post, "Mistreatment of prisoners is barbaric". True enough. But what mistreatment? Vigorous and prolonged interrogation is not mistreatment. Mistreatment would be medical experimentation, starvation diet and the like.
This assumption is still unproven but remains a favourite stick to beat the US with.
I'm all for ensuring that the Geneva Convention applies to the Guantanamo prisoners, and that they are executed as spies and saboteurs without trial the minute their usefulness has ended.
In my opinion, use of solitary confinement, temperature extremes, and use of forced positions is mistreatment, particularly when:
* It is for such a prolonged period... over two years.
* There is no "ticking bomb".
* The only "independent" views we have, from ICRC and Amnesty, condemn the treatment.
If ICRC and Amnesty have gone over to the dark side then we need some other sort of transparency in order to be confident that our team is acting appropriately. If we are not prepared to defend our actions in public, then we should not be carrying them out.
"In my opinion"
Peter, as my boss would say if I used that phrase: "And who the fuck are you?"
Well, Mr. Watt, in my opinion the treatment is appropriate, seeing how the discomfort -- even prolonged discomfort -- of some jihadis is a price I am easily willing to pay if it means getting more information on the global jihadi movement.
I will note the shifting of goalposts here -- Mr. Watt is not saying that any torture is involved, just "mistreatment," which offends him because he considers it "barbaric." I certainly don't consider such treatment "barbaric" -- I reserve that word for things like the stoning of women and the decapitation of hostages. That's just me, of course.
I believe there is plenty of transparency if American servicemen are guarding the prisoners, but the ICRC and Amnesty have been in to see them, and found no torture. How do I know this? Because they are now using weasel-language like "tantamount to torture," and protesting perfectly innocuous but "humiliating" gestures like blindfolding prisoners when transporting them. Give me a break -- Lubyanka this isn't. NGOs are allowed access to the prisoners and can report on their conditions; nothing says we have to accept their imbecilic conclusions.
Given the selection of potential roommates, solitary confinement seems like rather a bleesing to me.
'Peter Watt' is just Treacher taking the piss!
I too have been appalled at the treatment of the Gitmo prisoners. I continue to be appalled by what the US authorities have done in this matter.
David Hicks is being improperly treated, and has NEVER been treated in accordance with what should have been done. This makes my blood absolutely bloody boil.
Under the Hague Conventions, and according to the legally established precedents of the 1870-71 Franco-Prussian War, what should have happened to Hicks and his fellow prisoners is this:
1. They get captured.
2. They are observed to be carrying arms against the legal authority of the US and Allied Governments as defined under the Laws of Armed Conflict (LOAC). That legal authority being expressed in the form of armed troops openly carrying weapons, and openly bearing legal insigne of their country clearly identifiable at a distance.
3. They are observed NOT to bear a recognisable uniform or insigne assignable to any legal government.
4. They are assigned the status of Francs Tirieurs.
5. They are immediately shot.
I cannot understand why they have not been treated in this manner, which is the manner they SHOULD BE TREATED. By not being soliders in someones legal army who bear arms openly, and openly wear a uniform or sign clearly identifiable at a distance, they lose ALL protection of ALL of the agreements on LOAC between civilised nations.
"Rosignal and Gubbaboy, I haven't suggested that the prisoners be released. I have suggested that they be treated humanely."
OK Peter, maybe it's just me but I find it difficult to find the sympathy that you obviously have for these people. Maybe it is because you are a genuinely compassionate man.
So please what would you say to the victims of these terrorists? I would like to get a sense of your compassion on this matter.
I could have missed it, but did Peter ever bother to seriously reply to Andrea's question amidst all his moral posturing?
I am not a compassionate man. I regard the David Hickses of this world with contempt. Our contempt can very well be expressed whilst we treat such people in a civilised manner.
Either they are to be shot, or should already have been shot, as some posters assert, or else they must eventually be released. If they are to be released then we need to think about how to manage their behaviour going forward.
There is no denying that the men held are evil and have killed civilians and disregard all rules of war. I dont think anyone here is denying that. Neither do I think Peter is a "terrorist apologist".
But they are still people, and they still deserve to be treated in a humane fashion. They are also entitled to a fair trial and then if found guilty, a reasonable punishment (inprisonment or death, depending on what they have actually done). The trial process needs to be speeded up, the US seems to be dragging its feet in this regard.
The truth is none of us know for certain whether the captives have any useful information or not, so we cannot say whether they should be continually interrorgated or not. But you cannot use the "they are nasty evil people that killed innocents, etc, they deserve what they get" argument to justify any inhumane treatment. Id say most of them wouldnt be able to tell you more than Osama's favourite colour. The press needs to be given more access so we actually know what is going on. If the US have nothing to hide, why cant we get full footage? Otherwise all this is just speculation.
I personally have no problem with rigorous interrorgation and/or torture in general so long as the information to be gathered is important enough, like it would save lives from an immediate attack. However as Peter has pointed out this is not pertinent to the detainees in Cuba as there is no "ticking bomb".
As these people adopted Afganistan as their country surely they should be sent back "home" to be dealt with by the new democratically elected government of Afganistan. To do anything else would be terribely culturally insensitive.
The "west" is giving Milosevic a hearing. The "west" is giving Hussein a hearing.
Pol Pot was given a hearing.
We have agonised over Pinochet's frailty.
If we apprehended bin Laden, we would probably give him a hearing. And Adolf, for that matter.
What were the guys in Osama's training camp training to do? Teach macrame?
They got it right with Ceaucescu, though.
F*** David Hicks
It's only the treatment, or "mistreatment", of American prisoners that the so-called 'bleeding heart' Lefties are jumping up and down about with claims of "barbaric" human rights abuses. The prisoners of other countries can go to hell apparently. When was the last time you heard the usual suspects speak out on behalf of the prisoners of Kim Jong-il or Robert Mugabe? What about Russia's prisoners? Not even they get a look-in from the left-wing media. Not a peep about them from the ABC. Not one word on how the Russians dealt with their prisoners from the Moscow theatre seige. These poor sods would have been lucky to end up in a cell on Guantanamo Bay, instead their captors shot them through the head at point-blank range after they were rendered insensible and defenceless by the gas pumped in to subdue them. Silence too about the those taken prisoner by the Russians in Checnya. Since 1999 some 2000 men and youths have been arrested by Russian forces, most of whom were never heard of again! Why don't we hear about these prisoners and their rights??? Simply because these unfortunates can't be exploited by the ruthless Left and used as a platform for their own indulgent agenda!
Peter, wtf is this "managing behaviour going forward" crap.
These people were happy to brutally repress a populate and would most likely continue from where they left off. The conditions that created their mindset are still the same.
It does not take to much to realise that the purpose of their treatment is to break them mentally. Usefull information can still be gleaned as stories are checked, lies exposed, and network of relationships is built up. Unlike you, the military is not entirely clueless, they fully understand the value of this information and will rarely, if ever, trumpet any successes.
I really don't want to live in a world where murdering psycopaths can roam freely, just so that idiots like you can enjoy their next glass of chardonnay with a clear consiounce - miles away from where their crimes were committed.
These people are alive, unlike the prisoners they and their ilk took. I'm sure you seen the videos.
So Amnesty is concerned. That alone is reason enough to disredit reports of mistreatment.
This would be the same Amnesty that has criticised Australia's detention arrangements for illegal non-citizens (which Amnesty misleadingly refers to as "asylum seekers") and the "treatment" of aborigines.
Curiously, aborigines are slowly coming to the belated realization that their parlous conditions are in part, if not largely, self-inflicted.
If Amnesty can criticise one of the msot egalitarian and caring countries in the world in these terms, its views aren't worth a pinch.
I don't think we need take anything Amnesty says very seriously.
All of you who want to object to the Guantanamo scenario need to grapple with Jonathan's excellent post, or risk looking inadequate. Or should that be "grapple with and in all probability still look inadequate"? Rules are reserved for those who contract to abide by them.
Whenever you watch footage of the twin towers, you will see many pieces of paper fluttering to the ground. In many ways, that was your rule book; trashed.
Well Peter and Nic, since you care so much about these poor "barbarically mistreated" fellows, perhaps you wouldn't object to have them sent round to your place? After all, if we sent them home, they'd run the risk of possibly being maimed or killed by 1) a populace who recently did things like walk barefoot three days so they could vote for their own government, something that the prisoners in Guantanamo were working towards preventing, and/or 2) being maimed or killed by their former comrades, who will probably no longer trust them. But I guess you don't care about that -- the important thing is to get them away from the Evil Amerikkkans, who are subjecting them to awful things like three square meals a day.
Ted Lapkin has it just right!
I hate the whingers going on about the need for a 'fair trial'. but I would like to see them get a decent funeral - the sooner the better.
Ted Lapkin has a much more reasonable article here. It is possble that the SMH has sensationalised his material to undermine his broader message.
You guys are doing a pretty good job of that, too.
F*** David Hicks
Bumper stickers please!
I have just read a book called singapore samurai by a chap from south perth called penrod v. dean.
Dean was one of the few with the guts to escape from changi,no political correctness here you will note,myths are bullshit.
He and his mate got halfway up malaya,blew up a train,burnt the buildings at two rubber plantations,kiled two japanese soldiers with a booby trapped grenade in a jeep-,hung out with the communist guerillas and then got caught.
They were tortured for weeks by the kempetai,and then sentenced to two years solitary in outram road jail.They both survived and ended up in changi where dean found that english and australian officers lived in relative luxury thanks to rackets!
Dean had learnt to speak japanese fluently and was used to parley surrender with some japanese garrions,and was one of ten australians who participated in the war crimes trials in tokyo.
He is scathing about the behaviour of US officials in these proceedings and in genreal in tokyo.
The bottom line is that the japanese were guilty of war crimes including shooting the wounded and torture-today we australians have accepted the same barbarity.
We are shaming our veterans,shame australia,shame.
marklatham - If you actually do some real research, you will find that Australian soldiers fighting Japanese in WWII rarely took prisoners. Front line soldiers are trained to kill wounded enemy if treating them puts themselves at risk. A wounded person can still kill you. Welcome to the front line; not a nice place to be. Those in fallujah had a choice not to be there & fully understood the risks.
Its very silly to quote this book [which I have not read] without even making an effort to understand the american mentality in dealing with post war Japanese.
Their aim was to humilate the ruling class and rebuild the society from the ground up, into a prosperous democratic nation. The Japanese understood and played up to this, witness the silly get up the emperor wore to sign the surrend document.
History documents that this process was spectacularly successfull for Japan & Germany. It may sound familiar with what their aims are for Afghanistan and Iraq [& the middle east as a whole].
Just saying americans are evil is plain silly.
Peter, stop defending the barbarians. The people held in Gitmo have NO rights, under any treaty or moral structure. They're nothing -- slime -- and deserve whatever they get.
I wouldn't want them subjected to real torture, because I don't want to see our people have to inflict it, but the "harsh treatment" they receive is minimal compared to what they really deserve.
The bottom line is that the japanese were guilty of war crimes including shooting the wounded and torture-today we australians have accepted the same barbarity.
No Mark, we Australians don't accept this sort of barbarity at all. Only leftists do. That's why I don't give a shit if these terrorist vermin are strung up by the balls until they sing "Smalltown Boy".
There's an abuse story in Cuba that nobody wants to talk about. Human rights spokesmen and, yes even journalists are imprisoned as enemies of Castro's state. They are convicted in secret trials and recieve long prison terms (without visits from the Red Cross or AI) and some are even executed for speaking out against the government.
Guantanamo is not the prison abuse story in Cuba.
Read The Naked Island by Russel Braddon if want to know how allied prisoners were treated by the Japanese in WW2.
If indeed they were even associated with terorist groups, the prisoners at Gitmo and Agu Ghraib have forfeited all of their rights.
As was once said in the Goon Show:
"You are entitled to a fair trial and a fair hanging"
I received this delightful email from a person who's email name was 'humphrey bear'. I've decided against posting his hotmail address, as much as I really felt like opening this profanity-loving user up to some public abuse. Text appears unaltered:
Sounds like the japanese in WW2.
They shot the wounded and tortured people-just like us in 1994.
Yet we prosecuted them as war criminals.
Am I getting through your fucking thick skull,you dumb cunt.
Now we are barbarians too!
This picture shows POWs after being forced to complete the Bataan Death March during a week-long period in March of 1942. People who were ill were left for dead, as this picture shows.
Meanwhile, at Camp Delta in Cuba, among other facilities set up especially for the detainees is this operating room (Picture 1, Picture 2), to deal with any medical emergencies that may develop amongst the detainees.
Some barbarians we are.
Next time, humphrey, I think it would be more appropriate for you to give your reply IN this forum, so everyone can look at what you have to say and respond to it. In your case, you have stated nothing of purpose, and have used profanity to hide it. More to the point, I think you have taken the step of emailing me directly to avoid such criticism. If you have some balls, you'll post here.
(Main pages where above pictures were sourced: Bataan Death March; Camp Delta Information)
An earlier post had it right.
The Geneva convention does not cover these people. The convention was designed not only to protect captured comabatents but protect civilians by defining a combatent.
To attempt to ascribe the convention to non uniformed combatents puts civilians at risk.
They are Outlaw, outside the law in the classic old sense of the word. Hang them at the nearest crossroads, and let the crows pick at their bones.
he is right those deemed enemy combatants are not covered under Geneva...I addressed this in my blog and here exactly are excerpts from Geneva...
"2) The wounded and sick shall be collected and cared for. An impartial humanitarian body, such as the International Committee of the Red Cross, may offer its services to the Parties to the conflict."
under Geneva we are not bound to grant the Red Cross access to any of our detained prisoners. In fact being that they are a humanitarian organization we can grant them access to provide humanitarian services to the prisoners. But they seem to be doing more than just that. They seem to have become awfully political for an organization that provides humanitarian services.
To get POW status here are the rules applied under Geneva:
"(1) Members of the armed forces of a Party to the conflict, as well as members of militias or volunteer corps forming part of such armed forces."
"(2) Members of other militias and members of other volunteer corps, including those of organized resistance movements, belonging to a Party to the conflict and operating in or outside their own territory, even if this territory is occupied, provided that such militias or volunteer corps, including such organized resistance movements, fulfil the following conditions:[ (a) that of being commanded by a person responsible for his subordinates; (b) that of having a fixed distinctive sign recognizable at a distance; (c) that of carrying arms openly; (d) that of conducting their operations in accordance with the laws and customs of war."
"(6) Inhabitants of a non-occupied territory, who on the approach of the enemy spontaneously take up arms to resist the invading forces, without having had time to form themselves into regular armed units, provided they carry arms openly and respect the laws and customs of war."
The terrorists, not insurgents fail to qualify and in fact violate particular conditions of the requirements therefore the U.S. does not owe them jack
Yep. These are not POWs. Since when does "discomfort" mean torture.
Still, if I had my way, I'd have them irradiated and use their arses for runway lights.
Catracks you are right...we oughtta interrogate by any means available since Geneva does not apply to terrorists and give them the coup degrace when they serve no further purpose....treason oughtta be redefined so we can bring John Walker Lindh up on charges and execute him...alll these terrorists drop them with a weight to ankles alive or dead, witha few slits and leave them for the sharks....If no takers well shit happens...when it comes to terrorists though screw interrogation there should be a shoot to kill policy in place nothing short any liberals opposed can pick a side the civilized or join ranks with the barbarians...
Malaysia's deputy PM Anwar Ibrahim required spinal surgery in Germany after he was realeased by his Moslem detainers. He couldn't even walk unassisted. According to Mr. Hicks senior, detention of son David by the Americans had lead to weight gain!
That's because we forced them to eat Big Macs. Our cruelty knows no bounds!
This is hilarious,Lefties want FULL geneva convention rules applied for terrorists who follow no principles of war of any kind (like using civilians as shields,hiding in mosques,hospitals etc).No what exactly does 'torture' under Red Cross vocabularly mean?Does it include be denied halal foods,not getting 8 hour sleeps etc??No wonder the Red Cross has lost any credibilty whatsoever,The Lefties keep losing elections.
In view of this fashion of condoning torture and the murder of the wounded,I feel that we owe the japanese an apology.
After all we executed and imprisoned many japanese for the same crimes that we now condone.
An apology is due,wouldn't you righties agree?
What is the difference apart from the passage of 60 years?
check out what the Japs did and compare. You are obviously so young and naive that that you have no family connection to the War in the Pacific.