Saturday, May 16, 2009

Questions About Terror Suspect Detention Policies As Gitmo Prisoner Is Freed

Released from Gitmo

A Guantanamo Bay detainee who was being held since 2001 on suspicion that he participated in a plot to blow up a U.S. Embassy is starting a new life as a free man in France.

Lakhdar Boumediene is from Algiers. But France has agreed to take him because he has relatives there.

He and four others who have been held there because the government believed they had planned to bomb the U.S. Embassy in Bosnia had been ordered released by a federal judge for lack of evidence.

His case goes right to the heart of the issue over the holding of suspected terrorists off of U.S. soil. Should the government continue to keep them detained because it fears that, if released, they will return to participate in terrorist activities against the United States or others? Or should they be permitted to go free because it can't be proven in a court of law that they actually are terrorists?

If the latter, does that mean there are innocent people who are being held in questionable conditions? And, if so, are those who were previously not extremists going to be so enraged upon their release that they then join the ranks of al Qadea to seek revenge?

All of this points to the need to be certain before the extra judicial incarceration of people that you aren't making a mistake. And the need for a process to adjudicate their cases promptly.

The issue of the treatment of prisoners also needs to be further discussed, especially in light of the current debate about the Bush administration's interrogation techniques. Are there people in U.S. custody who have been subjected to extraordinary interrogation techniques who are innocent?

These questions are difficult ones. But, if the United States is to be a beacon of freedom and rights - including human rights - they need to answered.


RICESKI said...

There is no difficulty with my decision. Knowing many of those released have already been caught [and some killed] going right back to their terrorist ways. Let them rot for their lifetimes if need be.

Stop the time and effort spent here and consider what to do to help those wounded by the terrorist and the thousands of family members effected by the relatively few terrorist on 9-11-2001.
Bleeding hearts will soon flip flop on this issue if just one of their hairs is put out of place by one of these terrorist.

Anonymous said...

The problem of releasing these guys is quite real. Assuming there are some real badasses in the pack, we won't be releasing them very quickly, but some poor dude who never did much of anything is now a real conundrum. He ought to be let go, in justice. But here the man has been abused, humiliated and terrorized for five solid years-- and so, yes, he's damn likely to be pissed off at America, about now. These knuckleheaded policies have made a minor player into someone with a real grudge, an actual menace.

The only 'sensitive' stuff involved in the trial of someone captured half a decade ago is the torture itself, if you ask me. No, what worries people is that these folks are utterly impossible to try in civilian courts, because testimony elicited under duress is inadmissable. 'Duress' is far broader in definition than 'torture' is. All of them would get off for that reason alone, which again forces Obama's hand. It's nothing Obama did, but the boiled-in stupid of these torture policies makes it necessary.

Dave Edgar

Perfumada said...

Morning Gary ...
In my humble opinion, I think around the world, to keep a suspect for long periods in prision, it is necessary that evidence be brought to speed and the process is handled more quickly. Judicial errors may occur throughout the parties, and every days, but fewer increasingly have immediate answers on those believed to part of the scheme of terror. Proven "guilty", will apply strict penalties and even in some extreme cases, die.
As the prisoner in question, as to date not proved his guilt, there is no need to keep him imprisoned. Track your steps temporarily to avoid "revenge" after their freedom, would be also a way to discover his involvement with terrorism.

WorthyOfUrAttn said...

I'm not sure if the U.S. Laws that we've incorporated in this country apply to those detained at Gitmo in Cuba. It would seem to me that if you are innocent until proven guilty on U.S. soil those same laws should apply on our territory in Cuba. If Lakhdar Boumediene has had a fair trial with a lack of evidence to a terrorist plot or attack, then he should be set free. As uncomfortable as this may make others feel, the law is the law. Worrying about a strike on our soil out of revenge from non-extremist is just a fact of life as we also worry about attacks coming from any zone even from within our own boarders from anyone. All we can do is tighten up security from our rural streets to the core of the U.S. Gov. Any attack is likely at any time. In all fairness, we can't consider if Lakhdar Boumediene has or has not been subjected to any type of torture in Gitmo while we have our own U.S. Citizens that are subject to police brutality on a daily basis. On either side of that coin, torture and brutality is wrong. At the same time, I wouldn't turn my back on Lakhdar Boumediene. Some subjects require extensive monitoring.

Anonymous said...

There must have been some sort of compelling evidence that caused these people to be detained in the first place surely?
The detainee who was most recently sent back to the UK was a Somali refugee who was granted leave to stay in the UK. Almost as soon as he gained this leave he set off on 'holiday' to Afghanistan. He was captured there under suspiscious circumstances at a camp where terrorist training activities had taken place. So, was this man a poor missunderstood tourist? Or was he a potential threat? On this 'circumstantial' evidence we have to let a potential threat loose and put more people at risk. Madness.
I don't believe in the 'shoot first and ask questions later' philosophy, but I do believe in erring on the side of caution when it comes to the safety and well being of the citizens of our countries.

Anonymous said...

As you say, questions about whether detainees may have been held on scant evidence - and may in fact be innocent - and may become enemies of the U.S. as a result of their incarceration point out "...the need to be certain before the extra judicial incarceration of people that you aren't making a mistake. And the need for a process to adjudicate their cases promptly." This is exactly the reason we have a judicial system founded on the idea that a suspect is innocent until proven guilty. And this is exactly the reason the entire Guantanamo Bay setup is wrong, and continuing the military tribunals, regardless of corrections, is still wrong. I fear we have already lost our right to be considered "a beacon of freedom and rights - including human rights." Thank you for stating the case articulately.

THE LonesomeDove said...

I had completely forgotten about this until TNT aired G.I. Jane yesterday. The movie was released in 1997 during the Clinton Administration and included a scene showing Demi Moore's character being waterboarded as part of a training exercise with the master chief explaining among other things that it's an effective interrogation technique. Oddly enough at the time, there was no controversy, no outrage and so of course, there was no need to offer any rationale. But then it was 1997 and if waterboarding was used as an interrogation technique under a Commander-in-Chief that just happened to be a Democrat then surely it was conducted in a much kinder, gentler and humane manner.