Obama may give "close Gitmo" order as early as January 20

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Obama may give "close Gitmo" order as early as January 20

Postby clintonius » Tue Jan 13, 2009 12:27 am UTC

Article (on the Newser page; written by AP): http://www.newser.com/article/d95lqvmo0 ... anamo.html

Very much a step in the right direction. Moves like this are what our country needs right now.
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Re: Obama may give "close Gitmo" order as early as January 20

Postby EsotericWombat » Tue Jan 13, 2009 2:20 am UTC

Certainly encouraging. I'd still like to see some stronger language about pursuing prosecution of the Bushies.
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Re: Obama may give "close Gitmo" order as early as January 20

Postby Dream » Tue Jan 13, 2009 2:49 am UTC

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Re: Obama may give "close Gitmo" order as early as January 20

Postby 22/7 » Tue Jan 13, 2009 2:33 pm UTC

EsotericWombat wrote:Certainly encouraging. I'd still like to see some stronger language about pursuing prosecution of the Bushies.
I think the general consensus among politicians is that this would be "bad form". Couple that with Obama's repeated talk of "moving forward" whenever such a topic is raised, I'd say you're going to come up empty-handed on this one.
Totally not a hypothetical...

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Re: Obama may give "close Gitmo" order as early as January 20

Postby zealo » Tue Jan 13, 2009 4:49 pm UTC

clintonius wrote:Article (on the Newser page; written by AP): http://www.newser.com/article/d95lqvmo0 ... anamo.html

Very much a step in the right direction. Moves like this are what our country needs right now.

it is my understanding that gitmo is where the US is keeping prisoners taken in the two wars they are currently engaged in. there are several thousand prisoners?

so, uh, what happens to these prisoners when it is closed?
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Re: Obama may give "close Gitmo" order as early as January 20

Postby Scaredcrow » Tue Jan 13, 2009 4:53 pm UTC

The US, through the UN, is actively seeking other countries to grant asylum to the prisoners. One of the countries currently in negotiations is Australia. However, the Australian PM is pretty against this. There are also some European countries in negotiations.

Edit: Australia has declined and will take them on a case by case basis. Read here.

Apparently Portugal is the only place willing to take people in.
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Re: Obama may give "close Gitmo" order as early as January 20

Postby clintonius » Tue Jan 13, 2009 5:04 pm UTC

The number is more like 250, as stated in the article. While still a significant number of people, I suppose it's easier to find places for them than for ten times as many?
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Re: Obama may give "close Gitmo" order as early as January 20

Postby fjafjan » Tue Jan 13, 2009 5:06 pm UTC

Scaredcrow wrote:The US, through the UN, is actively seeking other countries to grant asylum to the prisoners. One of the countries currently in negotiations is Australia. However, the Australian PM is pretty against this. There are also some European countries in negotiations.

Edit: Australia has declined and will take them on a case by case basis. Read here.

Apparently Portugal is the only place willing to take people in.

What the hell? This is hillarious. Why should not American War prisoners, many of whom can't really be called war criminals (the war on terror is not a war just because the word is appended to it)
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Re: Obama may give "close Gitmo" order as early as January 20

Postby Indon » Tue Jan 13, 2009 5:21 pm UTC

Any prisoners they keep in custody need to put into a real prison.

There'll be no point to closing Gitmo if they just open up another Gitmo.
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Re: Obama may give "close Gitmo" order as early as January 20

Postby 22/7 » Tue Jan 13, 2009 6:36 pm UTC

Indon wrote:Any prisoners they keep in custody need to put into a real prison.

There'll be no point to closing Gitmo if they just open up another Gitmo.
You mean other than the political points for closing Gitmo, right?
Totally not a hypothetical...

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Re: Obama may give "close Gitmo" order as early as January 20

Postby Indon » Tue Jan 13, 2009 7:23 pm UTC

22/7 wrote:You mean other than the political points for closing Gitmo, right?


Yeah, I meant ethically.
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Re: Obama may give "close Gitmo" order as early as January 20

Postby 22/7 » Tue Jan 13, 2009 7:25 pm UTC

Indon wrote:Yeah, I meant ethically.
When did we stop talking about politics?
Totally not a hypothetical...

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Re: Obama may give "close Gitmo" order as early as January 20

Postby Noa » Wed Jan 21, 2009 6:35 am UTC

Well, not exactly an order to close, but it's better than I'd hoped:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/7841492.stm
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Re: Obama may give "close Gitmo" order as early as January 20

Postby Gelsamel » Wed Jan 21, 2009 7:14 am UTC

About where the prisoners have to be moved too. Why not move them into the US of A? Can't America take responsibility for it's 'mess'? Is there some physical infeasibility or is it just a "We don't want them" thing?
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Re: Obama may give "close Gitmo" order as early as January 20

Postby pollywog » Wed Jan 21, 2009 7:20 am UTC

America doesn't want them*, and many can't be sent back to their home countries for fear of persecution. This is especially so in the case of several Chinese Uighur Muslims.

*I don't know why. I assume because they are terrorists.
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Re: Obama may give "close Gitmo" order as early as January 20

Postby Gelsamel » Wed Jan 21, 2009 7:24 am UTC

pollywog wrote:America doesn't want them*, and many can't be sent back to their home countries for fear of persecution. This is especially so in the case of several Chinese Uighur Muslims.

*I don't know why. I assume because they are terrorists.


America may not want them but noone else wants them and it's America's problem. If they want to take responsibility and show that they're willing to do the right thing then they'll take them in and put them somewhere nice. No one wants to be allies with someone who constantly causes shit and keeps asking for help to clean up.
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Re: Obama may give "close Gitmo" order as early as January 20

Postby Pizzashark » Wed Jan 21, 2009 7:36 am UTC

Gelsamel wrote:About where the prisoners have to be moved too. Why not move them into the US of A? Can't America take responsibility for it's 'mess'? Is there some physical infeasibility or is it just a "We don't want them" thing?


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Re: Obama may give "close Gitmo" order as early as January 20

Postby Gelsamel » Wed Jan 21, 2009 7:38 am UTC

Some Asshole wrote:
Gelsamel wrote:About where the prisoners have to be moved too. Why not move them into the US of A? Can't America take responsibility for it's 'mess'? Is there some physical infeasibility or is it just a "We don't want them" thing?


Our prisons are already overcrowded as it is.


And therefore others should take them? Because America didn't build enough cages for the people that they're stripping freedom off? Plus I'm sure not all of them need to be in prisons anyway (or do they?).
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Re: Obama may give "close Gitmo" order as early as January 20

Postby pollywog » Wed Jan 21, 2009 7:55 am UTC

Any former detainees that are charged will go to prisons in the actual US. Any that are freed will be sent home, unless they can reasonably expect to be persecuted for whatever reason. That's why some of them need to go to Portugal.
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Re: Obama may give "close Gitmo" order as early as January 20

Postby Gelsamel » Wed Jan 21, 2009 8:05 am UTC

Why can't the US help locate those ones in the US, why do they have to ask Australia and other countries (of which apparently Portugal is the only one that accepted) to take those ones?
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Re: Obama may give "close Gitmo" order as early as January 20

Postby pollywog » Wed Jan 21, 2009 8:14 am UTC

It's simply not a viable solution in terms of domestic politics. "Obama welcomes former terror suspects to US soil" is a pretty nasty headline.

First Article wrote:Lawmakers have moved to block transfer of the detainees to at least two potential and frequently discussed military facilities: an Army prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and a Navy brig in Charleston, South Carolina. A Marine Corps prison at Camp Pendleton in southern California also is under consideration, a Pentagon official said.

Sen. Sam Brownback, a Republican who represents Kansas, said Monday that "it's hard to show why terror suspects should be housed in Kansas."
Some may not want to stay in the US, and yet cannot go home. Europe or Australia/New Zealand seems like the best bet, and Aus is on better terms with the US than NZ.
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Re: Obama may give "close Gitmo" order as early as January 20

Postby Dream » Wed Jan 21, 2009 9:28 am UTC

pollywog wrote:
First Article wrote:Sen. Sam Brownback, a Republican who represents Kansas, said Monday that "it's hard to show why terror suspects should be housed in Kansas."

What, are they going to let them out on day release to terror attack some Kansas farmland? Or are they just going to not let them out and create employment and gather investment to Kansas?
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Re: Obama may give "close Gitmo" order as early as January 20

Postby Mabus_Zero » Wed Jan 21, 2009 9:45 am UTC

What about the dozen other secret CIA prisons?
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Re: Obama may give "close Gitmo" order as early as January 20

Postby pollywog » Wed Jan 21, 2009 10:02 am UTC

Dream wrote:
pollywog wrote:
First Article wrote:Sen. Sam Brownback, a Republican who represents Kansas, said Monday that "it's hard to show why terror suspects should be housed in Kansas."

What, are they going to let them out on day release to terror attack some Kansas farmland? Or are they just going to not let them out and create employment and gather investment to Kansas?
If they were to be kept in Kansas, they'd be charged and tried. The state of Kansas doesn't want the responsibility of looking after terror suspects, though I'd assume they would be kept in a military facility.
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Re: Obama may give "close Gitmo" order as early as January 20

Postby Dream » Wed Jan 21, 2009 10:17 am UTC

pollywog wrote:
Dream wrote:
pollywog wrote:
First Article wrote:Sen. Sam Brownback, a Republican who represents Kansas, said Monday that "it's hard to show why terror suspects should be housed in Kansas."

What, are they going to let them out on day release to terror attack some Kansas farmland? Or are they just going to not let them out and create employment and gather investment to Kansas?
If they were to be kept in Kansas, they'd be charged and tried. The state of Kansas doesn't want the responsibility of looking after terror suspects, though I'd assume they would be kept in a military facility.

Yeah, my guess is that these guys are federal prisoners, and nothing will accrue to Kansas other than a heftily porked prison operation contract. Kansas will just have to sit back and watch the dollars roll in, while someone else, probably military or Federal Marshal or somebody takes the workload.
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Re: Obama may give "close Gitmo" order as early as January 20

Postby aleflamedyud » Wed Jan 21, 2009 2:49 pm UTC

So, has he done it yet?
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Re: Obama may give "close Gitmo" order as early as January 20

Postby wst » Wed Jan 21, 2009 6:43 pm UTC

pollywog wrote:It's simply not a viable solution in terms of domestic politics. "Obama welcomes former terror suspects to US soil" is a pretty nasty headline.
He could say it was based on 'keep your friends close, and your enemies closer'.
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Re: Obama may give "close Gitmo" order as early as January 20

Postby clintonius » Wed Jan 21, 2009 7:30 pm UTC

aleflamedyud wrote:So, has he done it yet?

Yes, in a way. He's called for a stay in the cases of certain suspects being prosecuted there now, and is expected to request a stay for the rest of the prosecutions. It'll be a while before the place is ready to close down, but the first steps have been taken.
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Re: Obama may give "close Gitmo" order as early as January 20

Postby Heisenberg » Wed Jan 21, 2009 9:18 pm UTC

clintonius wrote:
aleflamedyud wrote:So, has he done it yet?

... the first steps have been taken.

In other words, no. But he has shown he's willing to address the issue, which is good news, and he's thinking about issuing an executive order that would force its closure within 1 year.

As to why we can't take them in America, there's really no reason outside of shame, aka "National Security." If we try these individuals in America, they'll be tried via American justice, which affords its defendants rights. Essentially, we'll have to let many of them go, after admitting that we've been holding them without ever charging them (Habeas Shmabeas, W et. al.), and without a shred of credible evidence of wrongdoing, in many cases. The trials will be laughable, the press will have a field day reporting on the torture and 5 year imprisonment of a juvenile Canadian citizen, among others.

Essentially, by affording them basic human rights now, we have to admit that they are, in fact, human, and that we've been depriving them of rights for many years. Kind of an uncomfortable situation. Personally, I'm of the opinion that it still needs to be done, however uncomfortable, in the interest of civil liberty.

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Re: Obama may give "close Gitmo" order as early as January 20

Postby frezik » Thu Jan 22, 2009 12:19 am UTC

Heisenberg wrote:As to why we can't take them in America, there's really no reason outside of shame, aka "National Security." If we try these individuals in America, they'll be tried via American justice, which affords its defendants rights. Essentially, we'll have to let many of them go, after admitting that we've been holding them without ever charging them (Habeas Shmabeas, W et. al.), and without a shred of credible evidence of wrongdoing, in many cases. The trials will be laughable, the press will have a field day reporting on the torture and 5 year imprisonment of a juvenile Canadian citizen, among others.


Politiclly, Obama has everything to gain from this outcome. The left thinks the majority there are innocent (~20% of the population), the right thinks they're guility (another ~20%), and the moderates (everyone else) aren't certain or don't care. The situation above will cause a lot of outcry from already existing right wing blogs, but will only serve to shift moderates into the left column since such a stain on American Justice will inevitably viewed as being started by Republicans and stopped by Democrats.

The only way I see this backfiring is if Republicans are successful in highlighting cases of actual guilt (it's debatable how many there are, but there will definately be a few). That's going to be a hard thing to do; Obama is a master of media manipulation.
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Re: Obama may give "close Gitmo" order as early as January 20

Postby Mysidic » Thu Jan 22, 2009 12:25 am UTC

Obama announced that he would close it within the year. Pretty good, I think. Guantanamo bay with it's secret courts and torture is a rather large failure of the government... Trying to argue that the Geneva conventions don't apply shows the attitude of the administration behind it.

Give the prisoners their proper trials and then put them in a federal prison if guilty. Don't try to skirt around the issue with "Enemy Combatants" and then engage in human rights abuses.

Anyways, Obama's earned some respect points with moi.
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Re: Obama may give "close Gitmo" order as early as January 20

Postby e946 » Thu Jan 22, 2009 2:00 am UTC

frezik wrote:The only way I see this backfiring is if Republicans are successful in highlighting cases of actual guilt (it's debatable how many there are, but there will definately be a few). That's going to be a hard thing to do; Obama is a master of media manipulation.

Well the idea is that the guilty ones would actually be found guilty.

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Re: Obama may give "close Gitmo" order as early as January 20

Postby frezik » Thu Jan 22, 2009 2:42 am UTC

e946 wrote:
frezik wrote:The only way I see this backfiring is if Republicans are successful in highlighting cases of actual guilt (it's debatable how many there are, but there will definately be a few). That's going to be a hard thing to do; Obama is a master of media manipulation.

Well the idea is that the guilty ones would actually be found guilty.


I'm thinking in terms of public opinion. Freepers will point to every guilty verdict and say "see, we told you there were bad people in there", regardless of what the proportion of actual terrorists is. I just doubt they'll be successful.
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Re: Obama may give "close Gitmo" order as early as January 20

Postby ddxxdd » Thu Jan 22, 2009 3:28 am UTC

e946 wrote:
frezik wrote:The only way I see this backfiring is if Republicans are successful in highlighting cases of actual guilt (it's debatable how many there are, but there will definately be a few). That's going to be a hard thing to do; Obama is a master of media manipulation.

Well the idea is that the guilty ones would actually be found guilty.


That is a HUGE point of debate and it highlights the original reason why Gitmo was opened.

The American justice system is flawed in that if you tamper or destroy evidence, if you hire a good lawyer, if you get jurists that don't exactly understand how 1000 purchased cell phones could turn into IEDs, or if there's not enough evidence to prove anything beyond a reasonable doubt (which means there's about a 98% chance of guilt), then the terrorists are let go.

Think of the OJ Simpson case, and now think of a trial where you have to prove INTENT, where the consequences of a finding of innocense is thousands of dead Americans.

This point was best put by Supreme Court Justice Anthony Scalia in his dissenting opinion against the Supreme Court ruling that gave Guantanamo Bay detainees the same rights as American citizens:
Justice Anthony Scalia wrote:The game of bait-and-switch that today’s opinion plays upon the nation’s commander in chief will make the war harder on us. It will almost certainly cause more Americans to be killed. That consequence would be tolerable if necessary to preserve a time-honored legal principle vital to our constitutional republic. But it is this court’s blatant abandonment of such a principle that produces the decision today.

Today the court warps our Constitution in a way that goes beyond the narrow issue of the reach of the Suspension Clause. … It blatantly misdescribes important precedents … It breaks a chain of precedent as old as the common law that prohibits judicial inquiry into detentions of aliens abroad … And, most tragically, it sets our military commanders the impossible task of proving to a civilian court, under whatever standards this court devises in the future, that evidence supports the confinement of each and every enemy prisoner. The nation will live to regret what the court has done today.
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Re: Obama may give "close Gitmo" order as early as January 20

Postby EsotericWombat » Thu Jan 22, 2009 3:56 am UTC

Anyone else here not particularly interested in hearing the legal opinion of a man who said that the factual innocence of the condemned isn't sufficient to overturn a death sentence that's been handed down properly?
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Re: Obama may give "close Gitmo" order as early as January 20

Postby iop » Thu Jan 22, 2009 4:07 am UTC

ddxxdd wrote:The American justice system is flawed in that if you tamper or destroy evidence, if you hire a good lawyer, if you get jurists that don't exactly understand how 1000 purchased cell phones could turn into IEDs, or if there's not enough evidence to prove anything beyond a reasonable doubt (which means there's about a 98% chance of guilt), then the terrorists are let go.


The terrorists who did the WTC bombing all got convicted (except Khalid Sheikh Mohammed who is in Guantanamo). How come it should have become so much harder to convict terrorists a few years later? Surely not because the Bush administration pushed so hard for more personal liberties.

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Re: Obama may give "close Gitmo" order as early as January 20

Postby ddxxdd » Thu Jan 22, 2009 4:20 am UTC

iop wrote:The terrorists who did the WTC bombing all got convicted (except Khalid Sheikh Mohammed who is in Guantanamo). How come it should have become so much harder to convict terrorists a few years later? Surely not because the Bush administration pushed so hard for more personal liberties.

The issue is being able to convict terrorists while they're learning to fly planes without taking lessons on how to land; while they're making "innocent" calls to al-Qaeda that we learned about with our "illegal" surveillance program, and while they're training to kill Americans. It's not about being able to convict them AFTER they've successfully done all that and killed thousands.

EsotericWombat wrote:Anyone else here not particularly interested in hearing the legal opinion of a man who said that the factual innocence of the condemned isn't sufficient to overturn a death sentence that's been handed down properly?
Darn you, EsotericWombat, you sent me out on one heck of a research project to figure out the context of that quote. Well, I found this. The summary of the article is spoilered.

Spoiler:
article wrote:Oh my, there's a blockbuster of a quote. My initial inclination was to wonder what side of the bed Nino woke up on that morning or what the context could possibly be. Knowing Scalia, I assumed he meant nothing in the Constitution would prevent your execution if you were truly innocent but a court complying with the requirements of due process found you guilty and sentenced you to death. Surely, Scalia understands that just because something is wrong, unjust or simply shouldn't be, it does not follow that the Constitution provides a remedy.


but it continues...

article wrote:So, what did Scalia really mean? Helpfully, a citation to the appropriate Supreme Court case was provided. So, I figured I'd better read what Scalia wrote. Surely, he must have preceded the quote with some context that might make clear that his meaning isn't that it is morally OK to execute the innocent. But he didn't.

In fact, he never wrote that sentence. And there is no evidence he ever said it.

It's made up.

It's fake.

It's bullshit.
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Re: Obama may give "close Gitmo" order as early as January 20

Postby Briareos » Thu Jan 22, 2009 4:51 am UTC

ddxxdd wrote:The American justice system is flawed in that if you tamper or destroy evidence, if you hire a good lawyer, if you get jurists that don't exactly understand how 1000 purchased cell phones could turn into IEDs, or if there's not enough evidence to prove anything beyond a reasonable doubt (which means there's about a 98% chance of guilt), then the terrorists are let go.

Can I get a source for your 98% figure? I would remind you that the American justice system doesn't hinge on "reasonable doubt" just because the phrase sounds good. Courts don't have rules about the admissibility of evidence because they love letting criminals walk free. It's a precision/recall question: would we rather lock up all criminals at the expense of also imprisoning some innocents, or would we rather make sure all innocents are free at the expense of letting some criminals walk?

Think of the OJ Simpson case, and now think of a trial where you have to prove INTENT, where the consequences of a finding of innocense is thousands of dead Americans.

Fear-monger much? There is balancing to be done here. You may think that the most important thing is avoiding American deaths, and if we must accept imprisoning people indefinitely without trial, that is a price worth paying. But many people think that the most important thing is preventing government from imprisoning people on its whim, and if there is an attack in the future, that is a price worth paying.

This point was best put by Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia . . .

Fix'd.

Edit:
The issue is being able to convict terrorists while they're learning to fly planes without taking lessons on how to land; while they're making "innocent" calls to al-Qaeda that we learned about with our "illegal" surveillance program, and while they're training to kill Americans. It's not about being able to convict them AFTER they've successfully done all that and killed thousands.


Why did you put illegal in quote marks? Are you implying that the program was legal?

Learning to fly a plane is not a crime. Making a phone call is not a crime. If the government wants to present the acts as evidence in a trial for, say, conspiracy to commit a terrorist act, it is free to do so. And the jury is free to decide that the government's case isn't convincing. I believe it is called "due process of law."
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Re: Obama may give "close Gitmo" order as early as January 20

Postby ddxxdd » Thu Jan 22, 2009 5:02 am UTC

Briareos wrote:
ddxxdd wrote:The American justice system is flawed in that if you tamper or destroy evidence, if you hire a good lawyer, if you get jurists that don't exactly understand how 1000 purchased cell phones could turn into IEDs, or if there's not enough evidence to prove anything beyond a reasonable doubt (which means there's about a 98% chance of guilt), then the terrorists are let go.

Can I get a source for your 98% figure? I would remind you that the American justice system doesn't hinge on "reasonable doubt" just because the phrase sounds good. Courts don't have rules about the admissibility of evidence because they love letting criminals walk free. It's a precision/recall question: would we rather lock up all criminals at the expense of also imprisoning some innocents, or would we rather make sure all innocents are free at the expense of letting some criminals walk?

It's not an exact figure- it was just a learning tool used in my Military Law (suspicion means <50% chance of guilt, Preponderance of the Evidence means ~51% chance of guilt, Clear and Convincing Evidence means ~75%, while BRD means >98%; those numbers were just meant to be compared to each other).

Briareos wrote:
ddxxdd wrote:Think of the OJ Simpson case, and now think of a trial where you have to prove INTENT, where the consequences of a finding of innocense is thousands of dead Americans.

Fear-monger much? There is balancing to be done here. You may think that the most important thing is avoiding American deaths, and if we must accept imprisoning people indefinitely without trial, that is a price worth paying. But many people think that the most important thing is preventing government from imprisoning people on its whim, and if there is an attack in the future, that is a price worth paying.

Alright, buddy, since you'd rather not talk in extremes...
There is a definite balance that is needed. Of course, the point of balance must be MUCH further right in cases of terrorism, where the evidence is always scant and "illegally" obtained, and the consequences of letting a guilty man go is more, possibly thousands of, deaths.

How's this for a rule of thumb: The government needs to be strict enough that the risk of injustice from the government just slightly outweighs the risk of injustice from criminals and terrorists. That balance is EXACTLY why Gitmo was created to begin with.


Also, keep in mind that the deterrence created by Guantanamo Bay prison is far more cost-effective at stopping terrorism than the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
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Re: Obama may give "close Gitmo" order as early as January 20

Postby fjafjan » Thu Jan 22, 2009 5:11 am UTC

Keep in mind that Guantanamo Bay is an invaluable propaganda tool for all extremists in showing how evil the American Imperialists are. I would argue that Guantanamo Bay has caused a huge number of people to join terrorist organizations aswell as generally turned public opinion against America which hurts it in a variety of ways (for example people are less inclined to cooperate with American soldiers against terrorist organizations).
Guantanamo bay is not only a failure of justice and human rights, but also a strategic failure and show how misguided neo conservatism is and always have been.

Also keep in mind that the War in Iraq had NOTHING to do with stopping terrorism, it was planned out before 2001 and was basically a pet project of neo conservatives in America who among other things wanted to punish Saddam Hussein for being a bad puppet dictator. Iraq was always very much opposed to the regional enemies of america aswell, such as the Taliban, Hezbollah, Hamas and whoever else you want to conjure up.

So in closing, ddxxdd is spreading some pretty shitty propaganda up in that post above.
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