Bush announces that detainees will be given Geneva Convention protections

JeffWartman

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High-Value Detainees Will Be Given Prisoner-of-War Status
President Bush Expected to Announce Major Reversal in Handling of Terror Suspects
By JONATHAN KARL
Sept. 6, 2006 — - ABC News has learned that President Bush will announce that high-value detainees now being held at secret CIA prisons will be transferred to the Department of Defense and granted protections under the 1949 Geneva Conventions. It will be the first time the Administration publicly acknowledges the existence of the prisons.

A source familiar with the president's announcement says it will apply to all prisoners now being held by the CIA, including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged mastermind of the Sept.11 attacks, and senior al Qaeda leader Ramzi Binalshibh.

The source says there are "about a dozen" prisoners now being held by the CIA.

Until now, the U.S. government has not officially acknowledged the existence of CIA prisons.


The Bush administration has come under harsh criticism for its handling of detainees captured in the U.S.-led military campaign to root out al Qaeda terror cells abroad.

Many detainees have been given the legal status of "enemy combatant," which includes both lawful enemy combatants and unlawful enemy combatants.

In an afternoon address, President Bush defended the aim of the secret program without specifically addressing controversial interrogation techniques first reported in November 2005 by ABC News' chief investigative correspondent, Brian Ross. The administration has c come under criticism not only for the secret detentions, but for the alleged psychological and physical stresses used on prisoners during interrogations.

While the prisoners were detained they were exposed to "Enhanced Interrogation Techniques" instituted in mid-March 2002 . The techniques were used on 14 top al Qaeda targets incarcerated in isolation at secret locations on military bases in regions from Asia to Eastern Europe. According to the sources, only a handful of CIA interrogators are trained and authorized to use the techniques, which include slapping and scare tactics.

One of the techniques, "water-boarding," involved pouring water over the victim to make them feel as if they were drowning, a maneuver that often resulted in a confession within a few seconds. "The person believes they are being killed, and as such, it really amounts to a mock execution, which is illegal under international law," said John Sifton of Human Rights Watch.

In Dec. 2005, CIA closed prisons in Poland and Romania had been closed due to Human Rights Watch reports. Since then, the locations of the prisons have been secret and the government has all but denied their existence.

The prisoners will be transferred to Guantanamo Bay Base, where they will receive the rights guaranteed them under international law through the Geneva Conventions. In late June, the Supreme Court issued a decision blocking military tribunals for detainees. A major rebuke to the Bush administration, the justices ruled that the president first needed the approval of Congress before ordering prisoners to be tried for war crimes.

The decision forced the administration to reconsider the legal battle against the prisoners, and made their future uncertain. The recently acknowledged al Qaeda prisoners recently transferred and held in the custody of the Department of Defense will be covered by this ruling as well.

As soon as Congress approves his request, the men suspected of orchestrating the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Towers in 2001 will be prosecuted.
From: http://abcnews.go.com/International/story?id=2400470
Looks like President Bush finally has realized that torture doesn't work, but I still don't think he's obligated to give the POWs Geneva Convention protections.
 

Hobbit

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Prisoners of war are only entitled to Geneva Convention protections if they, too follow those guidelines. These men were ununiformed and deliberately targeted civilians. They deserve no protections, and only recieve the ones we're willing to give out. We could torture these guys to death, mutilate them, and then hang them up on worldwide television as a warning, and it wouldn't violate the Geneva Convention.
 

Annie

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I thought the speech actually was a walk through of why these guys were NOT being held at Gitmo, until they had what could be gotten from them, which was substantial. Now the administration is kicking the mess to Congress:

http://corner.nationalreview.com/post/?q=MDEzZGM4NjAwN2Y1NjU0MGY4ZWYxZWM5OTljMTI4NzY=

The President Strikes Back [Mario Loyola]
The President just pulled one of the best maneuvers of his entire presidency. By transferring most major Al Qaeda terrorists to Guantanamo, and simultaneously sending Congress a bill to rescue the Military Commissions from the Supreme Court's ruling Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, the President spectacularly ambushed the Democrats on terrain they fondly thought their own. Now Democrats who oppose (and who have vociferously opposed) the Military Commissions will in effect be opposing the prosecution of the terrorists who planned and launched the attacks of September 11 for war crimes.

And if that were not enough, the President also frontally attacked the Hamdan ruling's potentially chilling effect on CIA extraordinary interrogation techniques, by arguing that Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions is too vague, and asking Congress to define clearly the criminal law limiting the scope of permissible interrogation.

Taken as a whole, the President's maneuver today turned the political tables completely around. He stole the terms of debate from the Democrats, and rewrote them, all in a single speech. It will be delightful to watch in coming days and hours as bewildered Democrats try to understand what just hit them, and then sort through the rubble of their anti-Bush national security strategy to see what, if anything, remains.
Posted at 2:42 PM
 

Annie

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Yep, more:
http://www.opinionjournal.com/best/?id=110008903
BY JAMES TARANTO
Wednesday, September 6, 2006 3:43 p.m. EDT

Raising the Stakes
In June the U.S. Supreme Court ruled, in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, that war-crimes trials of al Qaeda detainees could not go forward without congressional authorization for the military commissions that were to conduct those proceedings. President Bush had let it be known that he would announce his proposal for such legislation today. Earlier this afternoon he did so in dramatic fashion.

The president announced that 14 top al Qaeda detainees have been transferred from the CIA's custody to the military's. The terrorists, who were at a secret foreign location, now are being held at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. They "include Khalid Sheik Mohammed, believed to be the No. 3 al-Qaida leader before he was captured in Pakistan in 2003; Ramzi Binalshibh, an alleged would-be Sept. 11, 2001, hijacker; and Abu Zubaydah, who was believed to be a link between Osama bin Laden and many al-Qaida cells before he was also captured in Pakistan, in March 2002," the Associated Press reports. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (PDF) has bios for all 14.

This was a closely held secret. Less than a week ago we visited Guantanamo, where we were extensively briefed, but we didn't hear a word about these transfers. We were told that four Gitmo detainees had been charged with war crimes before Hamdan put the process on hold, so that the total presumably is now 18.

Our first reaction to this news is that it certainly raises the stakes in Congress. Before the announcement this afternoon, liberal blogs were all atwitter about "kangaroo courts"; it strikes us that it'll be harder for even the hard left to present the likes of KSM and Binalshibh as victims.

It should be noted that the U.S. is under no obligation to provide these enemy combatants with a trial at all. The liberal Justice John Paul Stevens acknowledged in the Hamdan decision that enemy combatants can be held without charge for the duration of the war; the Nuremberg trials didn't take place until after World War II was over. It will be interesting to see if any serious opposition arises to the president's proposal, given that the alternative is simply to let the terrorists rot.
 

Annie

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and one more:
http://www.realclearpolitics.com/blog/2006/09/understanding_bushs_speech.html

September 06, 2006
Understanding Bush's Speech

A source within the military forwards the following observations on Bush's speech:

The "old media" and Drudge have it all wrong. Bush is not reversing course and they are not getting "Geneva Rights."

Today, the President has wagered all of his "political chips" and sided with the uniformed Combat Arms Branches instead of the JAG Chiefs.

First, whenever the President brings up that the illegal combatants are not uniform, that is a clear sign to those of us in the military that these individuals are not covered by Geneva.

Second, he is very clear that the CIA Detention program remains alive and well. ONLY after all information is obtained will they be turned over to DOD for military trial. Then they will face a death sentence.

Third, the President directly attacks the opinion by SCOTUS.

Lastly, Congress is now up against the wall. There is now a "face" that the public will see in regards to this legislation. IF Congress does not pass legislation, these 14 detainees tied to 9/11 will not receive ultimate Justice. What member of Congress wants to argue for them?

This was indeed a brilliant maneuver by Bush and I am thankful that he is running with it.​

This sounds right to me. I'm not so sure Bush "put one over on the media" so much as they may have just flat out missed the story.

UPDATE: Sure enough, the White House has already issued the following email titled "Setting the Record Straight:"

*The President's Legislation Specifically Authorizes The Creation Of Military Commissions To Try These Suspected Terrorists For War Crimes. The Bill ensures that these commissions are established in a way that protects our national security and ensures a full and fair trial for the accused.

* Detainees Have Been Transferred To The Custody Of The Department Of Defense, At The U.S. Naval Base At Guantanamo Bay.

* Neither The President's Proposed Legislation Nor The Detainees' Transfer To Guantanamo Gives The Detainees POW Status. [emphasis added]
Posted by Tom Bevan at 04:35 PM
 

Gunny

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Looks like President Bush finally has realized that torture doesn't work, but I still don't think he's obligated to give the POWs Geneva Convention protections.
You of course can provide evidence that Bush condoned and or used torture on any prisoners?

Didn't think so.

The detainees need to be classified, one way or the other. Criminals or POWs. Technically, they are not POWs as defined by the Geneva Convention as they belong to no uniformed army fighting as an army. They belong to criminal organizations using military weapons and tactics to murder innocent people.

Problem with defining them as criminals, is THEN you loony-lefties want to give them legal rights afforded by the US Constitution to US citizens.

Defining them as POWs and entitled to Geneva Convention rights keeps them int he hands of DoD, and away from civil courts. Wisest course of action I can see.

Some liberal judge legislating from the bench would make a bigger martyr of Hassam Akim than him blowing himself up would, and probably award him damages and a new Caddy.
 

Bullypulpit

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Prisoners of war are only entitled to Geneva Convention protections if they, too follow those guidelines. These men were ununiformed and deliberately targeted civilians. They deserve no protections, and only recieve the ones we're willing to give out. We could torture these guys to death, mutilate them, and then hang them up on worldwide television as a warning, and it wouldn't violate the Geneva Convention.
<blockquote>Article 1

The High Contracting Parties undertake to respect and to ensure respect for the present Convention in <b><i><font color=red>all circumstances</font></b></i>. - (<i>emphasis mine</i>)</blockquote>

"All circumstances" means just that. And since the US <i><b>IS</b></i> one of the High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Conventions, our governement is obligated to adhere to all provisions of the Geneva Conventions in all circumstances. Anything else is a violation of US treaty obligations under the the Conventions and thus a violation of federal law.
 

Bullypulpit

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You of course can provide evidence that Bush condoned and or used torture on any prisoners?

Didn't think so.

The detainees need to be classified, one way or the other. Criminals or POWs. Technically, they are not POWs as defined by the Geneva Convention as they belong to no uniformed army fighting as an army. They belong to criminal organizations using military weapons and tactics to murder innocent people.

Problem with defining them as criminals, is THEN you loony-lefties want to give them legal rights afforded by the US Constitution to US citizens.

Defining them as POWs and entitled to Geneva Convention rights keeps them int he hands of DoD, and away from civil courts. Wisest course of action I can see.

Some liberal judge legislating from the bench would make a bigger martyr of Hassam Akim than him blowing himself up would, and probably award him damages and a new Caddy.
It WAS, Chimpy's Department of Justice that redefined torture as being any act that causes "organ failure, impairment of bodily function, or even death" constitutes torture and is punishable under law. Or had you forgotten?
 

CSM

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<blockquote>Article 1

The High Contracting Parties undertake to respect and to ensure respect for the present Convention in <b><i><font color=red>all circumstances</font></b></i>. - (<i>emphasis mine</i>)</blockquote>

"All circumstances" means just that. And since the US <i><b>IS</b></i> one of the High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Conventions, our governement is obligated to adhere to all provisions of the Geneva Conventions in all circumstances. Anything else is a violation of US treaty obligations under the the Conventions and thus a violation of federal law.
Nice try.

As a stand alone statement it looks like the US violates the Convention BUT there is a shole lot of text before and after that statement which defines what is a POW, etc. As you correctly point out, the US is obligated to adhere to the PROVISIONS of the Geneva Convention; one of which is that POWs are categorized as such IF they are wearing a uniform....

There is one major fact that makes me CERTAIN the US has not violated the Geneva Convention and that is not one Dem has suggested that the US be prosecuted for alleged violation of same....nor has any international body seriously suggested action against the US for any violation of the Geneva Convention.
 

CSM

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It WAS, Chimpy's Department of Justice that redefined torture as being any act that causes "organ failure, impairment of bodily function, or even death" constitutes torture and is punishable under law. Or had you forgotten?
It is not only the President's Dept of Justice...it's yours too! LOL. That fact alone makes me happy because I know it upsets you!
 

UnAmericanYOU

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When SCOTUS rules that the Bush administration's policy was unconstitutional, the decision to abide by the Geneva Convention rules (consider captured suspected terrorists POWs) was temporary, Bush still needs to consult Congress on drawing up another policy.

Another thing easier said than done, there were "secret camps" all along, if fifteen captured terrorists can be considerd a camp:

Fourteen such prisoners already have been transferred to the military detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

``In this new war, the most important source of information on where the terrorists are hiding and what they are planning is the terrorists themselves,'' Bush said today in an address from the East Room of the White House.

The announcement was made as Bush proposed for changes in U.S. law to allow for detainees to be tried before military tribunals. Bush's plan sets the stage for a fight with Congress over the tribunals, with the potentially biggest point of contention being the use of evidence obtained through coercive interrogations. A measure drafted by three Republican members of the Senate Armed Services Committee -- Chairman John Warner of Virginia, John McCain of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina -- would bar such evidence.
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601103&sid=azm7Bdw2DKbw&refer=us

Well, they'd better hop to it.
 
OP
JeffWartman

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You of course can provide evidence that Bush condoned and or used torture on any prisoners?

Didn't think so.
I never stated that President Bush used torture. I merely stated that torture doesn't work.
 

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