: Guantánamo Bay - a human rights scandal

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2005-06-02, 02:55 PM
Darned if I know. You have to trust the authorities in times like this and it seems to me it was reported in the papers about previous associations with suspect organizations. Now I know that this could go south in a New York minute if authorities got carried away on their definition of suspect organizations. But in North America there are legal remedies to abuses.

2005-06-02, 03:00 PM
Nanuuk, with all due respect, you said: There was evidence that Arar had a 'past'.

Where is it if you know? I'm asking because nothing of that nature was ever brought up in the court cases or the public inquiry. What is that so-called evidence?

Using blind trust is causing cases like these when torture occured. But if blind trust makes you say "There was evidence", then show it. What was that evidence?

2005-06-02, 03:23 PM
Maybe you should direct your obvious hostilty towards Syria, as they appear to be the ones guilty of "real" human rights violations.

2005-06-02, 03:29 PM
And why would he have been arrested in Syria if he was there? What's the evidence? Why can't anyone answer this of they all know what it is?

And who deported him there knowing they do practice torture?

2005-06-02, 07:08 PM

Arar holds both Canadian and Syrian citizenship.

On September 26 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/September_26), 2002 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2002), he was detained by United States immigration (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Immigration) officials while changing planes at JFK Airport (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/JFK_International_Airport) while returning to Montreal from vacation with his family in Tunisia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tunisia), where his wife was born. Immigration officials claimed Arar was an associate of Abdullah Almalki (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abdullah_Almalki), a Syrian-born Ottawa man whom they suspected of having links to the al-Qaeda (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al-Qaeda) terror organization, and therefore suspected Arar of being an al-Qaeda member himself. When Arar claimed that he only had a casual relationship with Almalki (having formerly worked with Almalki's brother at an Ottawa high-tech firm), the officials produced a copy of Arar's rental lease from 1997 which Almalki had co-signed. The possession of this lease was later widely interpreted as evidence of complicity by Canadian authorities in Arar's detention.

I am not getting into whether this is true or not. I don't think he should have been deported though.

Mike F
2005-06-03, 11:05 AM
You don't care about human rights in general, or only in this particular case where the offender is US?
How about the long list of other human rights violations by US:
http://web.amnesty.org/report2005/usa-summary-eng ?

War, huh, What is it good for... absolutly nothing... :P

I'm with Burrito on this one... there are LOTS of better examples of human rights violations in the world. The FACT is that this is a good chance for Amnesty to abuse the media to get a small win.

China, East Timor, North Korea, every middle east country, etc etc...

I'm sure Gitmo isn't a place I want to be... but I can guarantee that the prisoners don't want to be in general population in Sing Sing or some other US prison.

2005-10-19, 01:11 AM
I hope everyone is watching or watched the Frontline special tonight on the torture at Gitmo and Abu Ghraib.

If you were a Bush/Rumsfeld supporter before, and wasn't appauled by what was allowed to happen by the United States Government, then you are nothing but a brain-washed slug, and I have 0 respect for you.

2005-10-19, 03:32 AM
Since you didn't provide a link backing up what you're talking about, I can't say as to how I now hate Rumsfeld and Bush. I mean, I don't want to be a slug or anything, but PBS isn't a shining example of objectivity when it comes to anything Bush. Actually, I think they regard him as a brain-washed slug.

I googled around and got the usual kazillion hits on torture and such, but I don't see how one show can suddenly prove anything.

2005-10-19, 07:28 AM

2005-10-19, 09:03 AM
Here's a link (http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/torture/) to the Frontline website. The show transcript will be available there in 8-10 days.

While I didn't get to see the whole show, what I did see was superbly well done...and utterly appalling. I was particularly impressed with the people they interviewed, representing both sides of the debate.

2005-10-19, 10:22 AM
Same link as GDX. The show will be available for viewing beginning today at 12 ET.

2005-10-19, 12:23 PM
The video is up now.

2005-10-19, 12:25 PM
I dont spell good when I'm angry.

2005-10-22, 11:25 PM
I watched the Frontline programme on Abu Ghiraib and Gitmo, as well as reading this entire thread, and have the following observations.

Without trying to contribute to the 'noise' surrounding this topic I must say that we all need to stop and take a breather when it comes to accusations of 'torture'. Contrast what was highlited in this documentary as mal treatment of prisoners, the Geneva Convention as it applies to POWs, the policy of "Rendition" (read Maher Arar) and detainees.

A large portion was devoted to the conflict within the US Army on how these detainees were to be treated. The MPs were guided by their training to handle enemy POWs within the constraints ( pardon the pun) of the Geneva accords. The brass and Intel with their need for prompt intelligence. This culminated in the revelations of what went on inside Abu Ghiraib.
The policy of 'Rendition' was also touched upon. This allows the US to return detainees to their country of origin, in most cases we are speaking of places in the middle-east where interrogation methods are much more brutal than anything that went on when these prisoners were in US hands.

I hope this sums up what this programme touched upon to everyone's satisfaction.

The fact that there was no declaration of war, hardly possible due to the nature of the enemy, complicates the handling of any prisoners. This applies to both sides; the West as well as the terrorists. The interest of the military is for quick actionable intelligence and to remove captured enemy from the battlefield. Frontline did a good job in regard to the problems the US had in getting any good intel from these detainees especially those held in gitmo. Once a prisoner has gotten over the shock of being captured is is very hard to get them to talk, unless they are coerced in some manner.

2005-10-22, 11:26 PM
As for what to do with those prisoners that are deemed too dangerous to be paroled the decision made was to set up a camp where they could be kept for the duration of the conflict. A common practice in war-time and governed the Geneva accords. The difference here is that the placing of the camp outside of the US borders brings up legal difficulties as to what policies should be used in regard to these prisoners. Does the Geneva convention apply or US domestic laws? This question is still not fully clear. The situation is extraordinary, much like the conflict the west finds itself in. I believe no nation has fully grasped this problem.
Which brings up the policy of Rendition. This may be seen as an attempt to let others do the ‘dirty-work’. If that was the case why weren’t all the detainees left in Afghanistan, where local war-lords could do whatever they wanted and the US could reap whatever was gleaned, this question isn’t answered in the Frontline piece. Clearly the US army wanted the prisoners and other detainees in central location to streamline the gathering of intel and they were acting within the methods they were trained to follow. It is what you do as a military force with prisoners. The Intelligence community on the other hand saw an opportunity many years ago, Rendition as a policy is not new, to obtain information by means that were not within their powers, legal or otherwise. This allows intelligence to be obtained and any accusations of mal-treatment to fall on the host government. Their own laws and practices not allowing such treatment are easily circumvented.

2005-10-22, 11:28 PM
Whether the intelligence gathered is of any use is open to question. This brings up methods of interrogation and treatment. After the programme was over I had to ask myself where was the torture? The detainees like Maher Aarar that were returned to places like Syria certainly underwent some torture. However, how many prisoners died in interrogation in Gitmo? How many died in Abu Ghiraib? OK you don’t have to die to undergo torture, self defeating because you do not get any useful information from a corpse. The pictures from Abu Ghiraib showed abuse and there were accounts of prisoners being roughed up but nothing on the scale of say, the ‘Hanoi Hilton’ or the detention block of the Lubyanka. There was no mention of electric shock, removal of body parts, severe trauma, broken limbs. Having a dog bark at you, is that torture?
Actually the abuse related in the programme did not stray too far from what recruits at the SAS training depot in Wales have to endure. They undergo a selection process that includes two weeks of interrogation. They are stripped naked, verbally abused by male and female interrogators, doused with freezing water or thrown into the snow in winter, undergo sensory deprivation, stress positions for hours upon hours, hit, kicked, shouted at, tricked into revealing information. Sound familiar? After watching the Frontline piece I imagined former SAS men and former inmates of the worst of N. Vietnam wondering as I did where was the torture? Abuse, granted. Mal-treatment granted.
The question remained though; what useful intelligence did they gain? Sadly, not much. They are much more successful in Iraq at the field level however. The Frontline piece did touch upon this ever so lightly when they said that the culture of abuse went all the way to the field units, they hinted at rougher treatment than that handed down at Abu Ghiraib. This I would say is understandable. The moment of capture is always rough especially in combat. The best time to get information is shortly after the time of capture.

2005-10-22, 11:32 PM
The Germans in WWII, hardly paragons of virtue when it comes to interrogations, learned early on that the best time to get information from downed bomber crews was shortly after they were out of their parachutes, only then were threats of death or worse effective. Later on before the transfer to a POW camp kindness and guile were the order of the day, trickery, mis-information etc gathered even more useful intel. After that it was largely useless to try to get anything. That’s why the detainees in gitmo gave up so little and frustrated the gathering of intel. That long flight trussed up in a cargo plane may have been uncomfortable but hardly torture, many a paratrooper has spent long hours in uncomfortable circumstances in the back of a C-130. They had time to prepare before the interrogations got serious and any form of coercion was tried for some it may have been months, and most probably they had little to say that was worthwhile anyway.
Michael Yon in his blog from Iraq imbedded with an infantry unit in Mosul writes that the Iraqi and foreign fighters that are captured in battle or in sweeps in enemy held areas invariably talk almost immediately. This leads to cascading rounds of captures when one prisoner gives up a safe house that yields two more prisoners who then give up the weapons cache and the bomb maker who rats on the guys who brought him in from Syria etc.
This kind of information gathered may have resulted from abusive techniques by soldiers on the frontline but the lives it saved I would argue go along way to mitigating these methods.
Amnesty International is a good and useful organization. They are picking a fight over the detainees in Gitmo because that is what they do. Every prisoner in extraordinary circumstances is their cause and I hope they are there when I need them if ever. The day may come when the US won’t need Gitmo and AI can pick a fight with someone else but as of today we still need Gitmo and Abu Ghiraib and all the other high security detention facilities. We need intelligence to stop the bombers and the fanatics from carrying out the next operation. The success Israel has had in almost stopping entirely big suicide bomb attacks is largely due to intelligence and control over the movement of people. Sadly we have to learn from this success. If this was 1942 all Muslim-Americans would be in concentration camps scattered all over the desolate areas of the US west and the borders would be closed. This is not something anyone wants today. But the nature of the enemy is such that if we are to defeat their plans to wage this new kind of war, then we are going to have to live with these elements as distasteful and offensive as they are. We need Amnesty International and Frontline to ride behind us in our chariot and whisper in our ear.

One day we will not need either Guantanamo Bay or Amnesty International but not today.

2005-10-25, 10:16 AM
This link

details prisoner deaths while in the hands of US interrogators in Afghanistan and elsewhere.

2005-10-25, 10:24 AM
This link

details prisoner deaths while in the hands of US interrogators in Afghanistan and elsewhere.
It's not often someone admits online, not that they were wrong per se, but that they are willing to show when the other side of the arguement is, shall we say, more true.

I think it was just a matter of time before details like this came out.

2005-10-25, 10:28 AM
Agree with JesseJ. Kudos to birdman for being big enough to post this followup.