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Author Topic: Republican moderates triumph again
Ginger Yellow
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Senators McCain, Warner and Graham have reached a compromise with the White House over torture and habeas corpus.
quote:
“There’s no doubt that the integrity and letter and spirit of the Geneva Conventions have been preserved,” McCain said, referring to international agreements that cover the treatment of prisoners in wartime.
Quite right:
quote:
No person may invoke the Geneva Conventions or any protocols thereto in any habeas or civil action or proceeding to which the United States, or a current or former officer, employee, member of the Armed Forces, or other agent of the United States, is a party as a source of rights, in any court of the United States or its States or territories.

...

As provided by the Constitution and by this section, the President has the authority for the
United States to interpret the meaning and application of the Geneva Conventions and to promulgate higher standards and administrative
regulations for violations of treaty obligations which are not grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions.


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imp
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Yes, the White House started backing down on this a couple of days ago - not because they think torture is wrong, but because they realised they were going to lose the argument. It should beggar belief that they were arguing for this in the first place, but considering Rumsfeld and Cheney tacitly ordered torture from the start of the blah blah on terror, it's been hardly surprising to hear them continue to justify this vile policy.

Another climbdown has been the new softened stance towards Iran and the admission that a big part of the solution in the Middle East will be a settlement in the Israel-Palestine issue. What a long and bloody path these fuckwits have taken to reach this glaringly obvious position, all the way from when Bush took power in 2001 and they announced that they wanted nothing to do with the Middle East and would be taking a hands-off approach to the region (i.e let Israel do what it wants), through 9/11, a half-assed job in Afghanistan, several thousand dead and $100 billion wasted in Iraq , big macho threats to Iran and Syria, no condemnation of the Israeli attack on Lebanon, and now....hey, let's all sit down and think about negotiating. It'll be a wonder if anyone takes them seriously for a single second.

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Ginger Yellow
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Um, I don't see much of a climbdown. We still have an "interpretation" of Common Article 3 that defines away "outrages upon personal dignity" and "degrading" treatment. Only "grave" breaches, even of the "interpreted" Conventions, will be prosecutable (and of course this depends on the DoJ bringing a prosecution) and Bush gets to decide what to do with non-grave breaches.

And I forgot to mention that another part of the McCain/Warner/Graham bill strips all detainees not on US soil of habeas corpus rights.

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Gus Tomato
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a half-assed job in Afghanistan,

If only it were half-assed. They're getting their whooping goddamn asses kicked all over by a resurgent Taliban so badly that you'd almost feel that they're keeping the real bad news from us.
Not being a big fan of the stone-age Islamists either, it's a tough one to take sides on, but hey...imagine invading someone's country, initially defeating them militarily and then realising that you're gonna lose in the long -term 'COS IT'S THEIR FUCKING COUNTRY - , YOU'LL HAVE TO GO HOME SOME DAY, BUT THEY LIVE THERE!'
How did the strategists miss that one?

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imp
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Sorry GY, I should have read your post properly instead of relying on my memory of a news story I read two days ago - I falsely concluded from your (sardonic, I now realise) thread title that there had been a climbdown, but without looking at what you'd actually posted beyond the McCain quote. (Who's the fuckwit now? Me, taking McCain at his word.)

So, another disastrous decision. But who's counting, eh?

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Ginger Yellow
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That clarification of the law in full:

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Ginger Yellow
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Marty Lederman has good commentary here. This bill is a fucking disgrace.
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Eggchaser
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I ask you, invading Afghanistan. It makes you wonder if people have ever heard of Major General William Elphinstone CB and the British Army's highly successful retreat from Kabul in 1842.
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Exploding Vole, The
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To state the obvious, that chart obviously doesn't apply to America's own citizens, or at least not those who live in certain states.
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Exploding Vole, The
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To state the obvious, that chart obviously doesn't apply to America's own citizens, or at least not those who live in certain states.
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imp
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To state the obvious once may be considered unfortunate...
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Amor de Cosmos
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They're getting their whooping goddamn asses kicked all over by a resurgent Taliban so badly that you'd almost feel that they're keeping the real bad news from us.

In Afghanistan "they" tends to be Canadians, Romanians, Brits and assorted other NATO troops. The Americans are there of course — we know that because they occasionally kill a few Canadian soldiers to remind us. But Afghanistan, much more than Iraq, is an International operation and will likely only end when NATO passes it over to the UN, ie: not soon.

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Ginger Yellow
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SCOTUSblog has some interesting thoughts on the constitutionality of the habeas corpus provisions of the bill. The author notes that the Supremes declined to address this specific issue in Hamdan, but I still don't see how Congress can get around the clear language of the constitution:
quote:
The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it.

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Ginger Yellow
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Now the wonderful Republican moderates work their magic on the NSA programme. Unsurprisingly, nobody seems to have a fucking clue what the bill will actually do. This is, after all, the point.

quote:
Three Republican senators — Larry E. Craig of Idaho, John E. Sununu of New Hampshire and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska — had raised concerns about this and other aspects of the Specter bill, which would submit the wiretapping program to a secret court to rule on its constitutionality. With the changes, they said they could support the legislation, and Mr. Specter predicted he would have enough Senate votes to gain passage.

The three said the new plan would protect “the rights afforded to citizens in the Constitution,” in part by requiring that the administration get a court order if it wanted to listen to conversations of an American citizen or others defined as “U.S. persons.” In a statement, they said the new plan would require that “in order to conduct electronic surveillance of a U.S. person, a court-ordered warrant is necessary.”

Some lawmakers and civil rights advocates said they believed that the three senators had mischaracterized or misinterpreted what they had agreed to and that the White House was retaining the right to order wiretaps without a warrant.

The administration declined to say when it would choose to seek warrants under the new plan.

The program approved by Mr. Bush “does allow for the interception without court order of international communications where one end is within the United States, and this agreement would provide this authority and would establish a process for moving to individualized court orders with respect to individuals within the United States,” said Brian Roehrkasse, a Justice Department spokesman. He declined to elaborate.

I'll link to commentary when I can find some.
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Ginger Yellow
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For fuck's sake. With moderates like these, who needs extremists?
quote:
The government has maintained since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks that, based on its reading of the laws of war, anyone it labels an unlawful enemy combatant can be held indefinitely at military or CIA prisons. But Congress has not yet expressed its view on who is an unlawful combatant, and the Supreme Court has not ruled directly on the matter.

As a result, human rights experts expressed concern yesterday that the language in the new provision would be a precedent-setting congressional endorsement for the indefinite detention of anyone who, as the bill states, "has engaged in hostilities or who has purposefully and materially supported hostilities against the United States" or its military allies.

The definition applies to foreigners living inside or outside the United States and does not rule out the possibility of designating a U.S. citizen as an unlawful combatant. It is broader than that in last week's version of the bill, which resulted from lengthy, closed-door negotiations between senior administration officials and dissident Republican senators. That version incorporated a definition backed by the Senate dissidents: those "engaged in hostilities against the United States."


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