RANGER AGAINST WAR: Ticket to Ride <

Friday, June 13, 2008

Ticket to Ride

--Eleanor's Rule, Rachel James

We gotta get out of this place

If it's the last thing we ever do

--We Gotta Get Out of This Place
The Animals


Though the title says "High Court Sides with Guantanamo Detainees Again," the real news is that the Constitution lives, and the Supreme Court recognizes that fact. The WaPo's Dan Froomkin called it, "Constitution 3, Bush 0" in George Bush's "slow and painful schooling in constitutional law."

"The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that foreign terrorism suspects held at Guantanamo Bay have rights under the Constitution to challenge their detention in U.S. civilian courts.

"In its third rebuke of the Bush administration's treatment of prisoners, the court ruled 5-4 that the government is violating the rights of prisoners being held indefinitely and without charges at the U.S. naval base in Cuba. . .

"Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for the court, said, 'The laws and Constitution are designed to survive, and remain in force, in extraordinary times.'"

Amen, Justice Kennedy. The Constitution has not been trumped by a Phony War on Terror (PWOT ©.)

The category "detainee" is a farce for a farceur. Most are political prisoners held indefinitely without arrest or due process; the rest are "enemy combatants," which = "P.O.W." in the parlance of a quainter time.

Ranger is not an advocate for terrorists or terror groups, but "terrorists" and "enemy combatants" are two distinct categories. It is extremely unlikely, for instance, that a Taliban rifleman or a grass roots advocate is a terrorist. When the U.S. invaded Afghanistan, these Taliban riflemen had a legitimate right to defend their homeland. This does not make us at Ranger unpatriotic; it does recognize their patriotism, however.

Even if they kill U.S. service members in the process, it occurs in legal ground combat, therefore if captured these personnel are P.O.W.'s. So it goes in the rules of land warfare.

In contrast to P.O.W.'s are terrorists who are captured in theatre, like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM). KSM should be arrested, charged, interrogated and tried in open court. How can anything he says in court be secret since he is aware of it?

If KSM knows it, so does al-Qaeda, therefore it is open knowledge. Moreover, it is five years old. The secrecy argument does not wash, and neither terrorists nor P.O.W.'s should be tortured.

The issue of categorization of detainees as Taliban or al-Qaeda has been rendered irrelevant. The administration has insured the release of all the Gitmo prisoners as torture was used across the board.

What happens to concepts like chain of evidence in these court cases? How can anything gotten via questionable standards be deemed bona fide evidence? No legal court will admit tainted evidence, which is all this administration can provide.

While there are terror types being held in captivity, constitutional justice will require their release. It's a thorny issue but democracy is messy, especially since George Bush started imprudently tinkering with established jurisprudence.

"In dissent, Chief Justice John Roberts criticized his colleagues for striking down what he called 'the most generous set of procedural protections ever afforded aliens detained by this country as enemy combatants.'"

Chief Justice Roberts needs to get a grip here. Enemy combatants (P.O.W.'s) are not the threat to the U.S. Terrorism is the threat, and the Court, Congress and the President always soft-shoe this fact by labeling everything terrorism. However, we have case law in place to deal with either scenario.

This administration's overreaction has caused more damage than terrorists ever could have. Of course, that is the goal of terrorism, and the U.S. fell nicely in line, thank you. Terrorism alone can not defeat America; terrorism is a nuisance, not a strategic issue. George Bush and Co.'s righteous overreaction elevated a terrorist act to Olympian standards.

"The court has ruled twice previously that people held at Guantanamo without charges can go into civilian courts to ask that the government justify their continued detention (petition of habeas corpus.) Each time, the administration and Congress, then controlled by Republicans, changed the law to try to close the courthouse doors to the detainees."

"In addition to those held without charges, the U.S. has said it plans to try as many as 80 of the detainees in war crimes tribunals, which have not been held since World War II.

"Five alleged plotters of the Sept. 11 attacks appeared in a Guantanamo courtroom last week for a hearing before their war crimes trial, which prosecutors hope will start Sept. 15."

The alleged plotters of 9-11 should be tried on charges of crimes against humanity or simple conspiracy murder. There is no "war," so why the levels of emotionally fraught charges?

The conspirators are not military types and their acts are not acts of war. They are simply criminals.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

The other day I saw Bush call for the release of all political prisoners in Cuba. Now if that's ain't the height of hiprocracy I don't know what is!

Friday, June 13, 2008 at 10:58:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...


Um, that's the Bush calling the tree green, eh?

Friday, June 13, 2008 at 11:24:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Anon, and meanwhile back at the ranch we still have Peltier from Wounded Knee still in prison as well as Black Panthers from the 60/70s. What are they if not political prison
The chimes of freedom flashing. jim

Saturday, June 14, 2008 at 10:12:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous tw said...

I think it's something like 2.5 million people in prison in the US. More people in prison than in universities. More people in prison than any other country in the world. Predominately people of color. More prisons than anywhere else and the percentages on all this put us in the lead in the world too. And we're building more prisons too and all of that has been outsourced to private companies. Prisons for profit.

Under 10% of the people in prison are there for violent crimes. Now you factor in where the Bush administration has been taking us with arrests and detention without trial and it sets up a real scary scenario for the future.

Saturday, June 14, 2008 at 12:12:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

It's obvious that our PWOT is exporting this trend to Iraq and Afghanistan and we're calling this progress.
I wonder what % of the popullation are now in prison compared to pre-invaqsion figures.

Saturday, June 14, 2008 at 12:55:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

one of the most startling revealations i had working the "shadow ops" was exactly who they were a secret for. when i would find myself in laos, or cambodia while presidents and diplomats were all saying that there wasn't a u.s. presence in those places, it wasn't a secret from the nva or v.c. holed up in their sanctuaries or working their way down the trail, they knew i was there on account of i was doing shit to them. if they had one of the semi-submerged bridges or a very well camoflaged tunnel bombed, if the bombs that fell hit a column exactly through triple canopy forest they made the logical assumption that guys like me were out there among them. if a flag officer's head disappeared into a pink mist one morning while shaving, they knew that there were americans, with great big rifles in the hills with them.

that kind of shit was secret from my mom, from the press back home. that's who it's secret from.

there is a huge dynamic that takes place. an inequality that is put in place for any rational discussion of policy when one side can say "if you knew what i knew. . ." it happened with nixon all the time. it's has been happening with the bush administration since day one. how can we have a rational discussion about important issues like energy policy when the vice president refuses to even tell us who he talks with?

nothing, not the torture, not the threatening of his children, not anything involved with his case is a secret from khalid mohammed. he was there. they don't want us to know that he was being waterboarded and electro-shocked to the genitals while they were, at the same time holding his two young sons and threatening to do the same to them.

the administration is insisting upon secrecy because deep down somewhere in the tattered remnants of their human souls they have to know that their conduct before, during, and up through this very day would shock the sensibilities of any rational, decent person.

they kept their secrets to get their war. now they are keeping their secrets to hide their crimes.

secrecy in a republic or democracy is a poison and an anathema.

Sunday, June 15, 2008 at 4:06:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

MB, great analysis BUT the sad part is that a great number of Americans still favor torture. After all these are terrorists- i've heard this so often that it's overpowering in it's ignorance
On a military note i'd prefer center of mass shots since it's hard to hit a flag grade officers brain. jim

Monday, June 16, 2008 at 9:27:00 AM GMT-5  

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