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Is Fraternity Hazing Torture covered by Geneva Conventions?

 
 
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 Sep, 2006 10:20 am
okie wrote:
I think a court martial is for crimes committed by our own military personel, and this has happened for soldiers recently in regard to their actions in Iraq, etc. I think you might be referring to military tribunals, but the problem arises in that we are still in process of identifying the status of many of the combatants and extracting information from them.

Extracting information is what trials are for -- no reason to extract it before you give them a trial.

If it suits your semantic preferences, I am happy to settle for a military tribunal that follows the same procedures as a court martial, thus guaranteeing the same level of procedural fairness.
0 Replies
 
okie
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 Sep, 2006 10:36 am
Thomas wrote:
okie wrote:
Setanta, the problem arises in that terrorists are not covered by the Geneva Conventions

Nothing but the laws of war give the US government the right to detain those people in the first place. If you say the Geneva conventions don't apply, you imply that the detainees are not prisoners of war. But then what basis in international law have you left for locking them up at all?


Thomas, its called war and benevolence and self preservation. I am not aware of any international law covering terrorist combatants are you? I have not seen anything that terrorists have brought to evidence that shows they are signatories of the Conventions, are a member of any army of any nation, or are covered by them. It is only our benevolence and our voluntary compliance with Geneva standards, not theirs, that prevents them from being abused, tortured, and/or killed.

I must also point out that it is obvious they do not comply unless you consider beheadings on videotape perfectly fine under the Geneva Conventions.
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Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 Sep, 2006 10:40 am
okie wrote:
Thomas, its called war and benevolence. I am not aware of any international law covering terrorist combatants are you?

No -- but I'm not the one trying to lock up anyone without a legal basis. If your legal basis for locking up the terrorists is the law of war, then the terrorists are covered by the Geneva Convention. If not, you have no legal basis for locking them up.
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 Sep, 2006 10:43 am
It seems pointless to continue to attempt to discuss this topic with you. You constantly assert that the people in question are terrorists, and you now equate them with those who video-tape the decapitation of hostages.

No tribunal has determined the status of the people being held in Cuba, and this is also true of many of the people who have been or are being held in Afghanistan and Iraq. Yet you continue to make appeals to the issue of how terrorists do or do not behave.

How do you know those in custody are terrorists is they have not had their cases reviewed by a competent tribunal? You have a serious mental disconnect here--you have already decided that they are all terrorists, and don't deserve due process of a trial of any form, and you're arguing from such a point of view.

There's no point in banging one's head against a brick wall. Bye . . . don't call me, and i promise not to call you.
0 Replies
 
okie
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 Sep, 2006 10:43 am
Thomas wrote:
Extracting information is what trials are for -- no reason to extract it before you give them a trial.


Uh, I thought prisoners in all wars were good for obtaining information without a trial?
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okie
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 Sep, 2006 10:46 am
Setanta wrote:
It seems pointless to continue to attempt to discuss this topic with you. You constantly assert that the people in question are terrorists, and you now equate them with those who video-tape the decapitation of hostages.

No tribunal has determined the status of the people being held in Cuba, and this is also true of many of the people who have been or are being held in Afghanistan and Iraq. Yet you continue to make appeals to the issue of how terrorists do or do not behave.

How do you know those in custody are terrorists is they have not had their cases reviewed by a competent tribunal? You have a serious mental disconnect here--you have already decided that they are all terrorists, and don't deserve due process of a trial of any form, and you're arguing from such a point of view.

There's no point in banging one's head against a brick wall. Bye . . . don't call me, and i promise not to call you.


Uh, if the people were caught trying to kill us, caught with terrorist plan documents, caught with a bomb, or caught in company with others with the above, it seems logical they just might be terrorists, Setanta. But then again, I am not privy to what logic you use, Setanta? So good riddance, bye Setanta.
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 Sep, 2006 10:46 am
okie wrote:
Thomas wrote:
Extracting information is what trials are for -- no reason to extract it before you give them a trial.


Uh, I thought prisoners in all wars were good for obtaining information without a trial?

Only for obtaining specific and very limited information: rank, name, date of birth, and service number. Other than that, no. You can ask nicely, but if the prisoners won't answer any more than those basic questions, they don't have to.
0 Replies
 
okie
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 Sep, 2006 10:51 am
Thomas wrote:
okie wrote:
Thomas, its called war and benevolence. I am not aware of any international law covering terrorist combatants are you?

No -- but I'm not the one trying to lock up anyone without a legal basis. If your legal basis for locking up the terrorists is the law of war, then the terrorists are covered by the Geneva Convention. If not, you have no legal basis for locking them up.


Uh, what is the legal basis for terrorism, Thomas?

As I said, I thought the Geneva Conventions was an agreement whereby nations chose to sign on to, and if somebody that has not signed onto the agreement engages in acts of war, and if the Conventions covers combatants representing a nation, how can terrorists expect to be covered by it? Obviously they don't abide by it. As to what legal basis we hold people caught trying to kill us, Thomas, I would call it using common sense in regard to acts of war and self defense.

Are acts of war legal?
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 Sep, 2006 10:56 am
okie wrote:
Uh, what is the legal basis for terrorism, Thomas?

There is none. But that's a red herring, because I'm not defending anyone's right to terrorize.

okie wrote:
As to what legal basis we hold people caught trying to kill us, Thomas, I would call it using common sense in regard to acts of war and self defense.

Even if I granted you that the Bush administration used common sense in detaining these people -- and I do not -- I still don't see any legal basis for you. No competent jurist recognizes common sense alone as a legal basis for anything.
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okie
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 Sep, 2006 11:08 am
Thomas wrote:
okie wrote:
Uh, what is the legal basis for terrorism, Thomas?

There is none. But that's a red herring, because I'm not defending anyone's right to terrorize.

okie wrote:
As to what legal basis we hold people caught trying to kill us, Thomas, I would call it using common sense in regard to acts of war and self defense.

Even if I granted you that the Bush administration used common sense in detaining these people -- and I do not -- I still don't see any legal basis for you. No competent jurist recognizes common sense alone as a legal basis for anything.


In a sense you are correct, Thomas. This era of terrorists has created a new problem for which the legal path to properly deal with it is totally plowing new ground. Unless you propose to turn them all loose, I don't see what else we can do but hold them, extract information from them, while "being nice" to them, and treat them as decently as reasonable, and go from here. It will probably end up with military tribunals, but I think the reason the wheels of justice are moving so slowly is that the authorities are somewhat stumped as to what to do, and holding them is easier politically than moving faster and possibly making more mistakes in the process. Remember, we have released a number that we consider to be low risk, and of even those, I've heard some have shown up again on the battlefield. I have been asked for evidence for this, and will when I get time. Do a websearch and it would probably show up.

Bottom line, we did not create this problem. Bush did not create this problem. They did. The vast majority of them are likely guilty as sin. A small number might be innocent. That is regretable, and hopefully virtually all of those have been released already. There are innocent people in prisons all over the world, this is a fact of life, justice is not perfect, and there are unintended consequences that are unavoidable.

And finally Thomas, not everything is done legally. If they were, there would be no wars.
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Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 Sep, 2006 11:12 am
This conversation having run its course, I think I'll just leave the last word to you. It's the only way it'll ever end.
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okie
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 Sep, 2006 11:20 am
Sorry, Thomas, I know this subject has been beat to death, but be my guest and offer a final opinion. Summarize the whole thread in your words.
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DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 Sep, 2006 11:28 am
I'll try:

"Okie wants to be able to lock people up and torture them because he's scared of terrorism. He has little regard for whether innocent folks are caught in the net; it's their bad luck to be in the wrong place at the wrong time."

That about it?
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joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 Sep, 2006 11:34 am
okie wrote:
But torture should be truly torture. Standing for long periods of time is not torture. If it was, I have suffered great torture recently, and I need to sue somebody.

When you were standing for long periods recently, did you have the option of sitting down? Did you have something to lean on? Was there something to keep your mind occupied, like work or television? Were you wearing comfortable shoes? Was the temperature comfortable, not too hot and not too cold? Were you forced to stand in one position, or were you able to move around? Were you adequately fed at the time? Were people yelling at you in a foreign language while you were standing there?

My guess is that your standing around for a couple of hours bore as much resemblance to the torture techniques used by interrogators at Guantanamo as waterboarding bears to a day at the local waterpark.
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okie
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 Sep, 2006 03:20 pm
joefromchicago wrote:
okie wrote:
But torture should be truly torture. Standing for long periods of time is not torture. If it was, I have suffered great torture recently, and I need to sue somebody.

When you were standing for long periods recently, did you have the option of sitting down? Did you have something to lean on? Was there something to keep your mind occupied, like work or television? Were you wearing comfortable shoes? Was the temperature comfortable, not too hot and not too cold? Were you forced to stand in one position, or were you able to move around? Were you adequately fed at the time? Were people yelling at you in a foreign language while you were standing there?

No, not necessarily, no, sort of part of the time, sometimes, a little bit not much, no, and although not yelling sometimes in a foreign language - are answers to the above. Yep, it was almost torture.

And speaking of torture, have you ever attended basic training in the armed forces? Have you ever "put up hay" on the farm? Have you picked vegetables or dug potatoes all day? Have you plowed fields all day, day after day, before cabs and air conditioners on farm tractors were available? Have you ever worked as a roughneck on an oil drilling rig? Have you ever worked in a coal mine? I could think of lots more things people do, not as torture, but simply to make a living. You should get the drift by now.

Quote:
My guess is that your standing around for a couple of hours bore as much resemblance to the torture techniques used by interrogators at Guantanamo as waterboarding bears to a day at the local waterpark.

My guess is that the Gitmo guys are living as good or better than some of our military trying to hunt more of them down in the mountains of Afghanistan.
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 Sep, 2006 03:21 pm
DrewDad wrote:
I'll try:

"Okie wants to be able to lock people up and torture them because he's scared of terrorism. He has little regard for whether innocent folks are caught in the net; it's their bad luck to be in the wrong place at the wrong time."

That about it?

Yep.
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 Sep, 2006 03:39 pm
okie wrote:
No, not necessarily, no, sort of part of the time, sometimes, a little bit not much, no, and although not yelling sometimes in a foreign language - are answers to the above. Yep, it was almost torture.

So, in other words, it wasn't at all like what detainees at Guantanamo endure.

okie wrote:
And speaking of torture, have you ever attended basic training in the armed forces? Have you ever "put up hay" on the farm? Have you picked vegetables or dug potatoes all day? Have you plowed fields all day, day after day, before cabs and air conditioners on farm tractors were available? Have you ever worked as a roughneck on an oil drilling rig? Have you ever worked in a coal mine?

No, no, no, no, no, and no.

okie wrote:
I could think of lots more things people do, not as torture, but simply to make a living. You should get the drift by now.

I got the drift long ago: you can't tell the difference between someone who is willingly inconvenienced and someone who is tortured. With that kind of profound lack of insight, you qualify to be secretary of defense.

okie wrote:
My guess is that the Gitmo guys are living as good or better than some of our military trying to hunt more of them down in the mountains of Afghanistan.

I'll believe that when some of our military guys volunteer to take the places of the Gitmo guys.
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 Sep, 2006 03:50 pm
I knew Okie would not answer to this. I think it shows cowardice that he didn't.

old europe wrote:
okie wrote:
Thanks to Setanta and other libs here you have confirmed what everybody knows already. You have more compassion for terrorists at Gitmo and care more about them than you do innocent people, all because of your political agenda. I have illustrated absurdity, the liberal agenda concerning so-called "torture," with my absurd thread. Some of you didn't even figure out what the thread was designed to do.

Some things described as torture at Gitmo pales in comparison to some of the things that have happened with hazing.


1. How do you know the inmates at Gitmo are actually terrorists?

There's the quite recent case of Murat Kurnaz. He was detained at Guantanamo for four years. Now it turned out that he just happened to be "in the wrong place at the wrong time" (he was picked up in Pakistan by the police during a routine control, then for some reason turned over to the US army).
(-> Learning to Walk without Chains)


2. The sentence for "some of the things that have happened with hazing" seems to be up to three years in jail. If you're okay with calling "interrogation short of organ failure" nothing more than hazing, I'd like to see the interrogaters go to jail for the same amount of time. The sad thing is that this is not what happens.

You might (or might not) remember the case where, in late 2002, two Afghans were detained at Bagram in Afghanistan. The detainees were a 22-year-old taxi driver named Dilawar and a 30-year-old named Mullah Habibullah. They where picked up at the site of a terrorist attack. However, they had nothing to do with the attack, just were "in the wrong place at the wrong time".
They were chained to the ceiling in standing positions. Over a five-day period, these two men were repeatedly beaten and died slow, excruciating deaths. An autopsy performed on Dilawar showed that his legs were destroyed and that amputation would have been necessary. Habibullah died of a pulmonary embolism caused by blood clots formed in the legs from the beatings.
Of the 28 soldiers participating in the abuse of the prisoners, only four were punished. One soldier has been sentenced to two months in prison, another to three months. A third was demoted and given a letter of reprimand and a fine. A fourth was given a reduction in rank and pay.
(-> Afghan Abuse Punishments Knocked)


Just two stories, okie. Read them, then come back and tell me again that all Gitmo detainees are terrorists, that torture doesn't happen or that those who were caught torturing actually got sentenced accordingly.
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 Sep, 2006 04:21 pm
okie wrote:
But torture should be truly torture. Standing for long periods of time is not torture.

You don't think so? Let me quote something to you. Read this and tell me it's not 'real' torture.

In 1949, George Paloczi-Horvath was arrested by the Stalinist regime of Hungary. In his memoirs, he reports his travails in vivid detail. This is some of it:

Quote:
In the cellar it was cold. I stretched out on the hard planks. I closed my eyes but the lamp glared down on my face. With closed eyes one looked through blood-red light. I turned towards the wall, away from the light. Bang! A face in the spy-hole, a harsh voice: "Lie on your back. We must see your face."

I turned into the required position, putting my heads under my head. Bang! A face in the spy-hole and the same harsh voice: "Put your hands palm upwards on the plank. We must see your wrists."

<snip>

"I have nothing to tell. I did not commit anything, I made no slip, small or big."

"Well, if that's your attitude, we have means to get you to talk."

It was just midnight. He rang the bell on his desk. A guard appeared. "This man will type his autobiography [..]. take him to the cellar, but he is not to sleep." [..]

He left. I typed. The guard had orders to prod me on with his rifle butt if I stopped typing. So I typed, half asleep, with reeling head, typed and typed, till the time came to go down to the cellar cubicle. A piece of paper had been stuck on my door. Evidently the order that I should not be permitted to lie down.

Bang. Five steps to the wall, five steps to the door, glaring light, bang [..]. I staggered up and down and looked longingly at the wooden plank. [..] Only to stretch out, only to get a second of oblivion. [..]

Then it started all over again - I wanting to know the accusation, he wanting me to confess. [..] The hearing lasted four hours. Then a guard came in and I had to type till 9 P.M. till the original interrogator arrived. He questioned me till midnight, gave an order that I should type till four in the morning, then down to the cellar to stagger up and down in the cubicle. [..]

This went on for three weeks. As far as the SP [Secret Police] officers were concerned, I never slept. But every second day the young peasant guard was on duty, and some other guards were slack. And I learned to sleep while staggering up and down. Sometimes a guard let me sleep during typing hours. [..]

During those first sleepless weeks everything was vague and blurred. Even suffering. [..] Everywhere in the building one could hear screams, groaning, whimpering, sudden shrill shouts. [..]

I was taken to a whitewashed room. I was ordered to turn to the wall.

"Stand closer. Still closer... All right now, stand at attention. Don't move, if you don't want to get kicked."

There I stood, my nose an inch from the whitewashed wall. They changed the guards every four hours. The guards had only one duty, to kick me or hit my back with their rifle-butt in case I moved. I stood in that position till the evening. [..]

After the first twenty-four hours I had to take off my shoes because my feet were enormously swollen. Standing there I learned about the famous "cinema" of prisoners. By the first evening the unevenly white-washed wall had started to vibrate. The little particles, the slight cracks, the dust on the wall took on various shapes. There were mirages on the wall. My dazzled eyes played tricks on me. Soon I saw snarling, squinting and grinning faces, eyes burning with hatred and loathing. There were hallucinations too. [..] The wall became full of spy-holes and through each a miniature SP thug glared at me. Next dawn I became quite faint. I hoped I should pass out soon. [..]

On the third day I fainted twice in the morning. [..]

It was again nine P.M. They took me to Tommyrot's room. As I staggered in he turned the reflector into my face but did not tell me to sit down. I stood there. Every inch of my body was hurting me, my skin, my bones, my insides. Everything in my body seemed to be terribly heavy. I stood there reeling. [..]

This was the beginning. [..] There is no point in describing pain. [..] All of us prison graduates had days when we were tossed about on a stormy ocean of pain. We were alone with our agony, alone like a small abandoned star in the vortex of a hostile universe.

Torture alone did not make us "confess." Sleeplessness, hunger, utter degradation, filthy insults to human dignity, the knowledge that we were utterly at the mercy of the SP - all this was not enough.

[..] we were sent back to our solitary cublicles to "rot away for a while." Now we were tormented by the intense cold, by the glaring bulb and the four walls which threatened to collapse on us.

We had to be awake eighteen hours a day. There were no books, no cigarettes, only thousands of empty minutes. Now our fear was insanity. Our heads were whirling, we imagined sounds and colours. Some of us had a nightmarish feeling of being drowned. Our [..] feverish brains produced eerie visions and hallucinations. Is it any wonder that many of us had no sound judgment, no will power to resist our tormenters?

(from pp. 141-150 of The Undefeated)

It is maddening to think that there are prisoners now, held in US captivity, transported across Europe as well, who are going through these exact things. At our hands - those of the free West. Enough to make you sink through the ground in shame.

Expect these words above to be repeated, in different memoirs, in ten or fifteen years from now. In Arabic.
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nimh
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 Sep, 2006 05:00 pm
And the most maddening of it all is that torture doesnt even actually work, either - as Lieutenant General John (Jeff) Kimmons, the Army's deputy chief of staff for intelligence, could tell you. So the whole argument about allowing torture being about "saving American lives" is bogus, in itself.
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