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DoJ Continues to Assert State Secrets Defense in Rendition Case:

ABC News is reporting:

The Obama Administration today announced that it would keep the same position as the Bush Administration in the lawsuit Mohamed et al v Jeppesen Dataplan, Inc.

The case involves five men who claim to have been victims of extraordinary rendition — including current Guantanamo detainee Binyam Mohamed, another plaintiff in jail in Egypt, one in jail in Morocco, and two now free. They sued a San Jose Boeing subsidiary, Jeppesen Dataplan, accusing the flight-planning company of aiding the CIA in flying them to other countries and secret CIA camps where they were tortured.

More from Marc Ambinder here.

UPDATE: The NYT reports on today's oral argument before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit:

During the campaign, Mr. Obama harshly criticized the Bush administration’s treatment of detainees, and he has broken with that administration on questions like whether to keep open the prison camp at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. But a government lawyer, Douglas N. Letter, made the same state-secrets argument on Monday, startling several judges on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

“Is there anything material that has happened” that might have caused the Justice Department to shift its views, asked Judge Mary M. Schroeder, an appointee of President Jimmy Carter, coyly referring to the recent election.

“No, your honor,” Mr. Letter replied.

Judge Schroeder asked, “The change in administration has no bearing?”

Once more, he said, “No, Your Honor.” The position he was taking in court on behalf of the government had been “thoroughly vetted with the appropriate officials within the new administration,” and “these are the authorized positions,” he said.

PC:
Related:

The 25 lines edited out of the court papers contained details of how Mr Mohamed's genitals were sliced with a scalpel and other torture methods so extreme that waterboarding, the controversial technique of simulated drowning, "is very far down the list of things they did," the official said.


You know, fraternity pranks.
2.9.2009 5:29pm
Oren:
State Secrets -- 50 years of lies and still counting.
2.9.2009 5:33pm
Anderson (mail):
Holder is said to've ordered a review of all state-secrets cases pending, so presumably we'll see the claim retracted in some instances.

I doubt that the Bushies had a valid reason in *every* case.
2.9.2009 6:05pm
Thomas_Holsinger:
I.e., we're still out-sourcing torture.

"A New Rendition of an Old Song

James Taranto

"Barack Obama has been president for less than three weeks, and it's sometimes hard to remember how different everything was before change. Example: President Bush's policy of "extraordinary rendition," in which, it is said, terrorists were turned over to foreign intelligence services for interrogation. Legend has it that the foreigners tortured the terrorists.

Technically, this was not Bush's policy exactly. It was instituted by President Clinton. But that just shows how averse Bush was to change. Not only did he refuse to change his own policies, he didn't even change some of his predecessor's policies.

Now, however, everything really has changed, as detailed in this Associated Press report on CIA Director-designate Leon Panetta's confirmation hearing:
The United States will continue to hand foreign detainees over to other countries for questioning, but only with assurances they will not be tortured, Leon Panetta told a Senate committee considering his confirmation as CIA director.

OK, we guess not everything has changed. The U.S. will still do rendition, but the important thing is that now, for the first time, we will demand assurances that they won't be tortured.

Oh, wait:
That has long been U.S. policy, but some former prisoners subjected to the process--known as extraordinary rendition--during the Bush administration's anti-terror war say they were tortured.

Panetta must be toughening the demands for assurance, insisting that foreign governments pinky-swear and that the whole process be witnessed by a notary public, or something like that.

Or not:
"I will seek the same kind of assurances that they will not be treated inhumanely," Panetta said Friday in his second day before the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Hmm, what could it be that the Obama administration is doing differently? Oh, we know!

At least now the U.S. will no longer render terrorists for the purpose of having them tortured.

Uh, guess that's not it either:

Panetta formally retracted a statement he made Thursday that the Bush administration transferred prisoners for the purpose of torture.
"I am not aware of the validity of those claims," he said.

Heraclitus observed that change is the only constant. Finally, that paradox makes sense!"


Won't Get Fooled Again

the Who

"We'll be fighting in the streets
With our children at our feet
And the morals that they worship will be gone
And the men who spurred us on
Sit in judgement of all wrong
They decide and the shotgun sings the song

I'll tip my hat to the new constitution
Take a bow for the new revolution
Smile and grin at the change all around
Pick up my guitar and play
Just like yesterday
Then I'll get on my knees and pray
We don't get fooled again

The change, it had to come
We knew it all along
We were liberated from the fold, that's all
And the world looks just the same
And history ain't changed
'Cause the banners, they are flown in the next war

I'll tip my hat to the new constitution
Take a bow for the new revolution
Smile and grin at the change all around
Pick up my guitar and play
Just like yesterday
Then I'll get on my knees and pray
We don't get fooled again
No, no!

I'll move myself and my family aside
If we happen to be left half alive
I'll get all my papers and smile at the sky
Though I know that the hypnotized never lie
Do ya?

There's nothing in the streets
Looks any different to me
And the slogans are replaced, by-the-bye
And the parting on the left
Are now parting on the right
And the beards have all grown longer overnight

I'll tip my hat to the new constitution
Take a bow for the new revolution
Smile and grin at the change all around
Pick up my guitar and play
Just like yesterday
Then I'll get on my knees and pray
We don't get fooled again
Don't get fooled again
No, no!

Yeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!

Meet the new boss
Same as the old boss!"
2.9.2009 6:06pm
wohjr (mail):
I am ashamed
2.9.2009 6:08pm
RPT (mail):
Sorry, Holsinger, but how can we know, on Holder's first day, if this is a decision made primarily as a practical matter by the Bush DOJ dead-enders, which will be reviewed and changed once Holder has a chance to review the case? After all, there are many secret memos which he has not seen, not to mention the ones Addington took with him. In the meantime, pplease post the copyright notice for your lyrical commentary on why we should reject the bogus tax cut suggestion as to how to avoid the next depression. Or are you saying that you were fooled the first time? Or just channeling Bush's memorable reference to "Fool Me Once..." et al?
2.9.2009 6:15pm
KenB (mail):
"wohjr: I am ashamed."

I am relieved--but only slightly. I don't trust the new administration's judgment to protect us.

Admittedly, rendition was probably the worst technique we used, but it offers the opportunity of Pontius Pilate-like hand washing, so the administration went for it. It would be more honest, and much easier on the subjects, if we were willing to do our own dirty work. The worst we did was water board about three people. Water boarding will likely be only the beginning of what happens in some other countries.
2.9.2009 6:17pm
Dissenting Justice (mail) (www):
Exactly as I predicted....I mean, on some level, any smart lawyer would retain a privilege that can help win cases. But it certainly contradicts a lot of the anti-Bush rhetoric. Combine this with the fact that rendition will continue -- and Panetta will ask to use harsher techniques if necessary, and you have Bush redux. Only bright spot: I get to say "I told you so" for eight years....
2.9.2009 6:18pm
Sarcastro (www):
I think this is proof that Obama is shocking innocent Arab testicles right now, and that liberals are hypocritically loving it.

I would also like to mention, apropos of nothing, that if America happens to be attacked soon Obama will totally get blamed and then we’ll have a Republican President not that I’m rooting for that or anything.
2.9.2009 6:23pm
Constantin:
Strawman-stro strikes again.

[Is there some kind of emoticon you can include to indicate your self-satisfaction as you hit "Post Comment," kind of a computer version of Seth Meyers grinning at the camera as he smarms off another Palin joke on Weekend Update?]
2.9.2009 6:38pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Constantin

I don't think sarc is strawmanning it. Part of the discussions in these areas is the fun in watching liberals defending what they used to claim was a Very Bad Thing. Until Jan 20.
It's not a straw man. It's the point.
And I suppose getting some righteous self-satisfaction back at you is disturbing. I'll have to worry about that.
2.9.2009 6:42pm
Anderson (mail):
Part of the discussions in these areas is the fun in watching liberals defending what they used to claim was a Very Bad Thing

Link, please, to one example of a liberal commenter at a VC thread *defending* extraordinary rendition, torture, or any other similar Bush-era practice, since January 20.

Just one, please. Since it's "fun" for you, I'm sure you have examples.
2.9.2009 6:48pm
DangerMouse:
Link, please, to one example of a liberal commenter at a VC thread *defending* extraordinary rendition, torture, or any other similar Bush-era practice, since January 20.

It's the dog that didn't bark which shows you're guilty. Libs used to complain to high heaven about this sort of stuff when Bush was president. Now that their Messiah is in office, they're silent.
2.9.2009 6:52pm
Anderson (mail):
If we're silent, then why are we commenting on this thread?

Also, where's the abortion tie-in? Off your game, DM.
2.9.2009 6:54pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Anderson.
You're commenting. You're not ranting.
No adjectives. No spittle. No Obamahitler.
We already had Ricardo say that wrapping someone in an Israeli flag isn't torture, but the BDSers claimed it was. Outraging personal sensibilities. Female interrogators. Fake menstrual blood. Now it's okay. Now.
2.9.2009 7:01pm
DangerMouse:
Anderson, I assume you're not using the royal sense of "we." Nevertheless, the world is far bigger than you and this blog. Where's the protests? Where are the press releases? Where's Amnesty International, Human Rights First, etc.? Where's code pink? Why isn't Andrew Sullivan gobsmacked, and disgusted, and gobsmackingly disgusted?

The left is fine with this sort of stuff, as long as it's done by a Democrat.
2.9.2009 7:05pm
SG:
Holder is said to've ordered a review of all state-secrets cases pending, so presumably we'll see the claim retracted in some instances.

I doubt that the Bushies had a valid reason in *every* case.


Correct me if I'm wrong, but this comment assumes that the possibility of a valid reason for rendition, i.e. the policy was not categorically impermissible.

Yet I don't recall there being any grey area with rendition back when GWB was POTUS. What's changed?
2.9.2009 7:05pm
Interlocutor (mail):
Funny you should mention Andrew Sullivan. I can't get the software to post the link, but he has a short post up. It did just happen today.

Glenn Greenwald has been complaining even louder on salon.
2.9.2009 7:12pm
Interlocutor (mail):
Greenwald's piece also provides a link for the sullivan post.
2.9.2009 7:21pm
Thomas_Holsinger:
I have no objection to extraordinary rendition in general, but I sure do concerning rendition to certain countries, of which Syria is No. 1, because they do torture prisoners and I don't at all trust their promises about not doing so in a given instance.

I would accept promises by Israel and Saudi Arabia that they won't torture prisoners they obtain from us via rendition, because they have acceptable track records in that regard. The Israeli judicial system provides effective oversight of prisoner treatment, while the Saudis have a record of preferring to rehabilitate prisoners and get them to confess. The recidivism record of the prisoners we've given the Saudis via rendition is comparable to the recidivism record of bad guys we've released from Gitmo, so we have little complain about in that regard. If we don't trust the Saudis to hang onto bad guys, we shouldn't hand them over to the Saudis in the first place.

Which does not mean that the Saudis and Israelis are Mr. Nice Guy concerning treatment of captured terrorists. It only means that they use torture rarely and selectively, especially compared to the Syrians.

There are no excuses about handing prisoners to the Syrians. While they don't torture all political prisoners and terrorists whose politics they don't like, they do it often enough that torture of prisoners we render to them can reasonably be anticipated. There might be some dire and exceptional instances in which American national interests would be best served by giving the Syrians some individual captives, but those should be as rare as possible, and without mealy-mouthing about believing Syrian promises.
2.9.2009 7:26pm
LM (mail):
We ought to have two comment threads for every post about political topic "X," one for the merits of X, the other for who's being a hypocrite about X.
2.9.2009 7:26pm
MarkField (mail):
I'm objecting to this. LOUDLY. There's no excuse for asserting executive privilege in this case. None, zero, zip, nada.

I'll add that I blame the courts for this as well. They don't have to give effect to executive privilege -- it's a judicially created doctrine -- and they have power over the extent to which they will accept it. If they continue to give credence to executive claims after all the information that has come out, they're the ones who should be singing "don't be fooled again".
2.9.2009 7:29pm
dr:
LM: Amen, brother. Would save a lot of reading time, wouldn't it?
2.9.2009 7:29pm
Oren:

I'll add that I blame the courts for this as well. They don't have to give effect to executive privilege ...

Usually lower courts are bound to respect (bad) precedent when it is on-point. Blame the SCOTUS but leave the lower courts out of it.
2.9.2009 7:34pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Thomas. You skeptic, you. Syria was on the UN Human Rights committee. They can't possibly torture. Sheesh.
2.9.2009 7:47pm
Thomas_Holsinger:
I agree with the DOJ positions of both the Bush and Obama administrations in this case. The political process is the proper place to attack extraordinary rendition. This case concerns an attempt to use the judicial system to achieve results denied by the political system.

War is not peace.

The legal issue here is the Constitutional one of separation of powers, not the horrors of torture/propriety of torture in interrogating terrorists, or whether extraordinary rendition is proper. Those who prefer to emote can expect heckling.
2.9.2009 7:48pm
PC:
The left is fine with this sort of stuff, as long as it's done by a Democrat.


One trip to Memeorandum shows your claim is false.
2.9.2009 7:48pm
Bill Kilgore:
Link, please, to one example of a liberal commenter at a VC thread *defending* extraordinary rendition

To the goalposts- I echo Neil Young and say, long may you run.
2.9.2009 7:48pm
MarkField (mail):

Usually lower courts are bound to respect (bad) precedent when it is on-point. Blame the SCOTUS but leave the lower courts out of it.


Fair enough.
2.9.2009 7:49pm
Garth:
i disagree wholeheartedly with the continued assertion of state secrets in this case. i can only hope that in due time holder will reverse course.

cries of obama is hitler may be a little premature. he's only been in office several weeks and holder even less.

however, i don't believe any progressive will countenance the continuance of bush excesses, nor do any have reason to expect it.

criticism is warranted, but the game is very, very early.
2.9.2009 7:55pm
methodact:
This feels almost diversionary, a red herring, misdirection. The framing is of a scalpal to genitals being actually "way down the list".

Perhaps this is yet but one more compelling distraction from the global looting and plundering going on that now reaches into the trillions of dollars and debases our very currency.
2.9.2009 7:59pm
Sarcastro (www):
Under Bush admin, there was waterboarding and "harsh interrogation" with some deaths.

Under Obama, some people say "Okay, no more A, B or C"

But what about D, huh? WHAT ABOUT D?

If the Left doesn't hate Obama as much as they hate Bush this proves bias!

If the Internets have taught me one thing, it is that disapproval is like a switch, with silence on one side and Hitler references on the other.
2.9.2009 8:07pm
MnZ (mail):
Following up on Thomas_Holsinger's point.

It is clearly appropriate for the Obama administration to be concerned about state secrets in cases where the plaintiffs' include (alleged) terrorists. Otherwise, every captured terrorist could force the exposure US secrets (including assets, tactics, and procedures) via claims of maltreatment. Heck, terrorist organization might even seek volunteers to be captured in order to cause these lawsuits.
2.9.2009 8:15pm
Dissenting Justice (mail) (www):
Given that Sullivan and Greenwald rushed to defend Obama from Glenn Miller's highly accurte LA Times article (on rendition), they really should complain loudly AND retract their earlier rush to defend the new administration.

PS: To the people who keep blaming this on the "outgoing" Bush people: The article says that the decision was "fully vetted" before the new administration. Face it: Obama is not the change you thought he would be.
2.9.2009 8:52pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Dissenting:
Are you sure they thought he'd be change? Or did they participate in the fraudulent salesmanship?
Personally, I think most of them believed him and are going to stretch facts and logic into mobius strip pretzels justifying their votes.
Some they should have known. Probably did but didn't care.
Some is a surprise but they won't admit to having been hosed, being so much smarter than the rest of us.
But some are not surprised.
2.9.2009 8:59pm
Guest101:

Where's the protests? Where are the press releases? Where's Amnesty International, Human Rights First, etc.? Where's code pink? Why isn't Andrew Sullivan gobsmacked, and disgusted, and gobsmackingly disgusted?

Press releases and protests tend to take more than 12 hours to organize. Check back in a couple of days and if the organizations you name haven't issued releases on the matter then you'll have a point. As for Andrew Sullivan:

The Obama administration will continue the cover-up of the alleged torture of the British resident. The argument is that revealing the extent of the man's torture and abuse would reveal state secrets. No shit. This is a depressing sign that the Obama administration will protect the Bush-Cheney torture regime from the light of day. And with each decision to cover for their predecessors, the Obamaites become retroactively complicit in them.
2.9.2009 9:05pm
CrazyTrain (mail):
What Glenn Greenwald said.

And although I disagree strongly with Greenwald's criticisms of Orin Kerr, I do think that he is proving "Orin's postulate" wrong, as are the regular "lefty" (or, as I call them, "pro-rule of law") commenters here.

And one thing that caught my eye in the ABC story is the remark re what the administration said in the "9th District Court"; where is this 9th District Court of which they speak?
2.9.2009 9:08pm
Bob from Ohio (mail):

Holder is said to've ordered a review of all state-secrets cases pending, so presumably we'll see the claim retracted in some instances.


Sure we will. Any case now. Really.

Its really touching to see such faith.
2.9.2009 9:10pm
DangerMouse:
Guest,

That's hardly the gobsmacking disgust that Bush was subject to. Notice the use of the word "alleged." I'll bet that's the first time THAT word has ever cropped up in his rants.

On the scale of the Andrew Sullivan freak out meter, I'd say this rates as a "Dismayed." It's a little higher than a "Chagrined" Definitely not an "Appalled" or "Disgusted" or "Sickened," though.

Maybe once it becomes evident that gay marriage is going nowhere in Obama's administration, Sullivan will crucify his new Messiah.
2.9.2009 9:11pm
Garth:
i'm not blaming this on outgoing bush officials. i think obama and holder are clearly to blame, to the extent that blame is warranted.

yes, i'm disappointed. yes, i think this was the wrong decision.

personally, i think it's a show of loyalty, aka sop, to the cia. whether it lasts, i'm holding judgment.

think of this as SimPresident. i'm willing to make allowances. ultimately, this stonewalling cannot stand, but, obama will have to be dragged into cooperation with the full accounting. by dragged, i mean he will cooperate he just won't be the driving force. this is what i hope.

but, as polls show, obama is popular. his plans are popular. stimulus, healthcare and withdrawl from foreign misadventures are popular and obama is still willing to listen to good ideas from whatever the source...

the opposition party has never been more aptly named... they are in opposition to the majority views of americans and making every effort to make the best of it... sorta like VC.

as i said, it's early...

but fasten your seatbelts, it's gonna be a bumpy ride.
2.9.2009 9:18pm
Guest101:
DM, you're veering close to Hillary Clintonesque terrotory here-- in other words you'd like Sullivan to both "reject" and "renounce" the Obama DOJ's position? How about compiling a list of synonyms that you deem necessary to avoid the charge of hypocrisy?

As much as you might wish it were otherwise, plenty of Obama supporters, myself included, are disgusted by the views expressed by the DoJ regardless of which president is in office. I haven't seen any groundswell of support for this position anywhere but the fevered imaginations of conservatives straining for proof that liberals' opposition to the policies of the Bush administration was nothing more than cynical posturing and frustrated by the fact that the left wing refuses to offer it.

(Incidentally, a search for the phrase "alleged torture" on Sullivan's site produces four hits, three of which were published during the Bush administration.)
2.9.2009 9:24pm
AntonK (mail):
Good thing the Bush era is over, eh?
2.9.2009 9:24pm
PC:
Good thing the Bush era is over, eh?

It's not, really. There's still a bunch of feces on the walls and the guys in the bunny suits just started cleaning. Take a look at Mr. Vollmer's testimony in front of congress where he was claiming executive privilege, well sorta, not really, even though President Obama did not tell him he could. It will take some time to ferret out those schmucks.
2.9.2009 9:34pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
He was going to change things.

Welp, it's early days.

It's different now.
2.9.2009 9:34pm
Just an Observer:
Given that Sullivan and Greenwald rushed to defend Obama from Glenn Miller's highly accurte LA Times article (on rendition), they really should complain loudly AND retract their earlier rush to defend the new administration.

I am having a hard time understanding your conflation of the state-secrets privilege issue with the underlying merits of rendition.

I am no fan of the state-secrets privilege as it has evolved. I think it is judge-made law in need of some discipline for the sake of checks and balances. I particularly don't like the way the privilege has been used recently -- not just as an evidentiary privilege, but a rationalization for dismissing whole cases up front. The effect is that the executive branch utters the "state secrets" incantation, all litigants are just supposed to pull up their pants and go home regardless of the merits.

However, I have never been so naive as to expect that DOJ would ever abandon the privilege entirely. I have had some hope that a new administration would pull back from the envelope of precedent Bush had expanded, but it looks like that hasn't happened. I admit that I am disappointed, but I am getting used to that.

Once lesson is that the balloon of executive power, once inflated, seldom deflates on its own. Some external actor has to push back to make that happen. Interestingly, there may be a possibility of a circuit split on expansion of the privilege if the Ninth should favor the ACLU position.
2.9.2009 9:34pm
whit:

However, I have never been so naive as to expect that DOJ would ever abandon the privilege entirely. I have had some hope that a new administration would pull back from the envelope of precedent Bush had expanded, but it looks like that hasn't happened. I admit that I am disappointed, but I am getting used to that.



this confirms what i thought would happen. i recall numerous arguments with others on the right who claimed that obama would dismantle the aggressive and secretive type tactics that are needed to fight against terrorists.

my prediction, and it is turning out right so far, is that obama is NOT an idiot. he aint dennis kucinich either.

it's one thing to criticize bushco etc. when you are running for president. who WOULDN'T?

but once you get in office and realize that sometimes govt. has to do nasty stuff, and has to keep lots of secrets from the people too, the rhetoric stops and the reality begins.

i realize that many progressives are only starting to awaken to the fact that obama is NOT (their version) of light and goodness only, and that he is pragmatic enough to do what is necessary when fighting against, for lack of a better term, the forces of evil.
2.9.2009 9:58pm
Anderson (mail):
Correct me if I'm wrong, but this comment assumes that the possibility of a valid reason for rendition,

I was talking about state secrets, not rendition.

Now, assuming that some of the above confusion is honest:

RENDITION is sending someone to a country where he's been indicted, without proper extradition procedures.

EXTRAORDINARY RENDITION (x-rendition for short?) is sending someone to a country to be questioned there, without his having been indicted.

Under Bush 43, this "questioning" was in many cases torture.

Panetta is claiming that x-rendition is okay if the "assurances of no torture" that Bush 43 pretended to adhere to are actually taken seriously. I have my doubts.

But I will complain about Panetta's actions when they happen, not his words. I can see some value to creating some uncertainty with apprehended terrorists about what will happen to them -- it would be great if they expected to be tortured &then found out that they would be treated with basic decency.

Also, I bear in mind that Panetta is having to make nice w/ his agency, which involves a certain amount of lip service.

That said, I am keeping an eye on every bit of news like this that comes down. Torture is torture, whoever's doing it, and I hope Obama gets his ass handed to him if he proves unclear on that concept.

Mark Field says that there's no excuse for invoking state secrets in the Binyan Mohammed case. He may be right; I'm insufficiently up on it to say. I would guess that the CIA may've landed its plane(s) in spots that would embarrass certain other governments. But that's just a guess.
2.9.2009 10:09pm
Vermando (mail) (www):
I love how the Righties on this blog immediately began to accuse the Lefties of hypocrisy for not criticizing the move, but then were proven completely wrong by all the criticism of this move, and now are trying to walk it back. Way to lead with your preconceived notions rather than waiting for the facts to play out, fellas!
2.9.2009 10:13pm
Anderson (mail):
Btw, is anyone else disapponted that Balkinization has gone AWOL on all this, now that Lederman's at OLC?

Considering that they were the go-to place for these issues, I think it pretty well sucks that they seem to've lost all interest in the subject. I obviously don't expect Lederman to post, but Balkin &others are harder to explain.

Scott Horton has been following things, and there's Greenwald, but Balkin's blog was less excitable and more reliable. I'm sorry that seems to've changed.
2.9.2009 10:13pm
Thomas_Holsinger:
I very much doubt this particular matter indicates a change of position by President Obama. He's now the leader of the Executive Branch, and it is his duty to uphold executive privilege and separation of powers in such matters.

This is not even typical "fed" behavior (in the perjorative sense). This is just a President doing his job.

Obama's continuation of extraordinary rendition, and prevarication about interrogation techniques, are matters that sincere lefties should hold against him. On this one though, they'd have to come out against the 220 year-old existence of AN Executive Branch, and the tri-partite form of our federal government, i.e., their objection would be to the Constitution of the United States.

Some things go with the territory. Executive privilege and separation of powers are inherent parts of our form of government. This matter is a natural outcome of those.

So, if lefties really, really insist that the law here is wrong, and would overthrow it to achieve their objective of the moment:
"William Roper: So, now you give the Devil the benefit of law!

Sir Thomas More: Yes! What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?

William Roper: Yes, I'd cut down every law in England to do that!

Sir Thomas More: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned 'round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, Man's laws, not God's! And if you cut them down, and you're just the man to do it, do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake!"
2.9.2009 10:17pm
Psalm91 (mail):
"DJ:

PS: To the people who keep blaming this on the "outgoing" Bush people: The article says that the decision was "fully vetted" before the new administration."

The article quotes the Bush Adminstration lawyer who argued the case. That's not quite enough for anyone who watched BA lawyers regularly perjure themselves. Wait until Holder expresses his own evaluation.

Or until the reports of John Thain's extradition come in.
2.9.2009 10:41pm
BRM:
Getting the case dismissed from the courts on State Secrets privilege grounds doesn't preclude the administration from reaching some sort of settlement with the plaintiffs. the dismissal just keeps the information out of the public sphere.
2.9.2009 10:50pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
vermando:

I love how the Righties on this blog immediately began to accuse the Lefties of hypocrisy for not criticizing the move


Not just that. Here's an example of one of the Righties making that accusation, while simultaneously citing a post that disproves the accusation. This kind of stuff totally transcends satire.
2.9.2009 10:53pm
Cornellian (mail):
What exactly is this defense that hasn't changed? Other than the title I can't see anything in the post that explains what that is. If it's the mere existence of a state secrets privilege, hasn't every administration taken that position?
2.9.2009 11:01pm
nicehonesty:
jukeboxspam:

Unless you're contending that Just an Observer is Jeralyn Merritt, then your complaint that I used a post by her to highlight Just an Observer's hypocrisy in defending Obama's war crimes (As JAO made so clear: "Those who violate Common Article 3 commit a war crime. ") makes no sense.

Have you already given up on pushing the meme that Just an Observer has made it pretty clear that he's not a liberal? Here you hold him up as an example of a poor persecuted Lefty who's getting called out because he was defending Obama's Torture Lite, but on the original thread you threw a fit that he was called a liberal.
2.9.2009 11:39pm
MarkField (mail):

Given that Sullivan and Greenwald rushed to defend Obama from Glenn Miller's highly accurte LA Times article (on rendition), they really should complain loudly AND retract their earlier rush to defend the new administration.


What JaO said. These are two different issues; one can reasonably defend A and not B.


Mark Field says that there's no excuse for invoking state secrets in the Binyan Mohammed case. He may be right; I'm insufficiently up on it to say. I would guess that the CIA may've landed its plane(s) in spots that would embarrass certain other governments.


My understanding is that the Swedish government has already paid $450,000 because of its role in the case. The Binyan Mohammed case is also the one in which the British court recently issued an opinion stating that the US government told the British government it would cut off intelligence cooperation if the British court described what happened to Mohammed in its opinion.
2.9.2009 11:46pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
Here you hold him up as an example of a poor persecuted Lefty


I'm not holding "him up as an example of a poor persecuted Lefty." I'm pointing out how disoriented you are.
2.9.2009 11:49pm
Anderson (mail):
My understanding is that the Swedish government has already paid $450,000 because of its role in the case.

Interesting; my guess may be on point.

The "don't reveal our tortures or else" bit w/ the Brits seems inexcusable however.
2.9.2009 11:57pm
Jack Black (mail):
The oral argument is here.
2.10.2009 12:00am
MarkField (mail):
Here's Hilzoy's post on this assertion of privilege.
2.10.2009 12:06am
Occasional Lurker:
I'm not sure why folks here seem to assume that Holder's intent to review assertions of the state secrets privilege will not change anything.

I don't know how to post URLs, so here's a quote from the CNN political ticker piece.

[quote from story]

Holder has instructed the department's top lawyers to begin the review promptly "to ensure that it is being invoked only in legally appropriate situations," department spokesman Matt Miller said..

Holder's instructions stressed, "It is vital that we protect information that if released could jeopardize national security, but the Justice Department will ensure that it is not invoked to hide from the American people information about their government's actions that they have a right to know," Miller said.

[end quote]
2.10.2009 12:17am
PC:
From ObiWi:

During one incident, Mohamed was cut 20 to 30 times on his genitals. On another occasion, a hot stinging liquid was poured into open wounds on his penis as he was being cut.


See, fraternity pranks! I hear some people pay for stuff like this so it can't be torture!

Of course this guy had to be the worst of the worst to get this treatment, right?

A British ‘resident’ held at Guantanamo Bay was identified as a terrorist after confessing he had visited a ‘joke’ website on how to build a nuclear weapon, it was revealed last night.

Binyam Mohamed, a former UK asylum seeker, admitted to having read the ‘instructions’ after allegedly being beaten, hung up by his wrists for a week and having a gun held to his head in a Pakistani jail.

It was this confession that apparently convinced the CIA that they were holding a top Al Qaeda terrorist.


Worst of the worst.
2.10.2009 12:34am
JB:
OK, everyone who claimed that Obama would relax our vigilance against terrorists by wimping out on interrogating them. I know you're out there. Time to man up and defend him for sticking with the tough techniques. This'll keep us safe. I guess you were wrong about Obama being a limp-wristed appeaser. Now the only challenge is to stop the libruls from convincing him to become one.
2.10.2009 12:36am
Just an Observer:
nicehonesty: Unless you're contending that Just an Observer is Jeralyn Merritt, then your complaint that I used a post by her to highlight Just an Observer's hypocrisy in defending Obama's war crimes (As JAO made so clear: "Those who violate Common Article 3 commit a war crime. ") makes no sense.

This is getting surreal. Not only have I never defended "Obama'a war crimes," you never have made a case that there was such a thing. (An ipse dixit assertion is not an argument.) So I still don't take your trolling seriously.

Of course, none of this has anything to do with the topic of this thread, but that seldom stops trolls.
2.10.2009 12:51am
Grey (mail):

I don't think sarc is strawmanning it. Part of the discussions in these areas is the fun in watching liberals defending what they used to claim was a Very Bad Thing. Until Jan 20.


Richard Aubrey, you troll, "liberals" are pissed off about this. There's no Jan. 20 expiration on the principle. We still think this is a Very Bad Thing.

Do you recall if the "Bushhitler" crap started 30 days into his presidency? No? Almost like it took both time and an accumulation of actions, circumstances and statements?

Are you really this dense?
2.10.2009 4:47am
Anderson (mail):
Are you really this dense?

Consulting my Magic 8-Ball, I get the "Signs Point To Yes" answer. Anyone else care to try?
2.10.2009 7:44am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Grey
Bushitler crap started about sept 15, 2001.
Before that, starting in the primary, he was a blockhead, an ignoramus, a fundie with theocratic ambitions, and a cowboy.
2.10.2009 8:06am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Principled liberals who are just hopping mad about this stuff can begin apologizing for their votes at any time.
At all.
2.10.2009 8:07am
Sarcastro (www):
Hmmm. Somehow I'm not sure if Richard Aubrey really finds this as amusing as he lets on...
2.10.2009 8:09am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
aubrey:

the fun in watching liberals defending what they used to claim was a Very Bad Thing


The real fun is in watching you phone in from your alternate universe, the one where Glenn Greenwald, Andrew Sullivan et al are "defending what they used to claim was a Very Bad Thing." Back here on Earth, what they're actually doing is criticizing Obama.

It's a nice planet (for now). Maybe you should consider stopping by for a visit.

Bushitler crap started about sept 15, 2001.


Yes, right around the time that Bush's approval ratings were at the highest levels ever recorded for any president in history. I guess this proves that lots of people were jumping on the "Bushitler" bandwagon. Makes perfect sense. Please keep inventing your own facts.

Principled liberals who are just hopping mad about this stuff can begin apologizing for their votes at any time.


You mean McCain was going to be softer on terrorists than Obama? Really? Why didn't McCain say so when it counted? I would have considered voting for him.
2.10.2009 8:53am
Bart (mail):
Rendition for the purpose of foreign interrogation of our enemies is far worse than the CIA coercive interrogation program because it usually involves genuine torture rather than simply wearing down and disorienting captures as permitted by the CIA and Appendix M of the Army Interrogation Manual. Because torture is less effective than wearing down and disorienting the capture, you also get a less reliable intelligence product.

Rendition is the preferred alternative of cowards who require actionable intelligence, but are at loathe to get their own hands dirty.
2.10.2009 9:06am
AntonK (mail):

It's not, really. There's still a bunch of feces on the walls and the guys in the bunny suits just started cleaning. Take a look at Mr. Vollmer's testimony in front of congress where he was claiming executive privilege, well sorta, not really, even though President Obama did not tell him he could. It will take some time to ferret out those schmucks.
But I thought Obama could walk on water?
2.10.2009 9:09am
MQuinn:
Richard Aubrey:

Principled liberals who are just hopping mad about this stuff can begin apologizing for their votes at any time.
At all.

Liberals may be disappointed that the current DOJ is asserting the state secret doctrine, but that hardly rises to the level of requiring principled liberals to apologize for their vote. A vote for McCain would have assured the continuation of these policies, but a vote for Obama brought about the -- still real -- possibility of moving away from the neocons' radial views on the war on terror.

Further, you should worry about the liberals' arguments, not your perception of their ideological purity.
2.10.2009 9:16am
MQuinn:
that should say "radical views," not "radial views." Sheesh! I can't type!
2.10.2009 9:17am
Anderson (mail):
Rendition for the purpose of foreign interrogation of our enemies

Well, it depends. If we were rendering someone to (say) the UK, or Germany, with assurances that the person would not be tortured, we would have some basis for believing those assurances, even given the checkered histories of those countries.

X-rendition to Egypt or Syria, OTOH, does not seem to serve many useful purposes.

It *would* be nice, for some suspects, to have an ally with (1) native Arabic interrogators who (2) don't torture, but I am having trouble thinking of many countries like that.
2.10.2009 9:55am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Anderson
wrt 1 and 2. Whyever not?
2.10.2009 10:05am
geokstr:

jukeboxgrad:

Richard AUBREY:
Bushitler crap started about sept 15, 2001.

Yes, right around the time that Bush's approval ratings were at the highest levels ever recorded for any president in history. I guess this proves that lots of people were jumping on the "Bushitler" bandwagon. Makes perfect sense. Please keep inventing your own facts.

Wow, talk about making stuff up. This was four days after the most devastating attack on US soil in history. Those high ratings were because the ordinary citizen was getting behind the president. And please tell us, what self-respecting reasonably patriotic US citizen wouldn't rally round the president after such an attack, at least until they could see how he would respond?

Yet even then, the die-hard BDS sufferers that make up a minority of the democratic party did NOT support the president, because, you see, he wasn't their president. He was, after all, selected, right? Not even for four stinking days could they do that.

I doubt that the approval ratings of BusHitler on 9/15 moved more than a tot over their pre-9/11 high of approx 2% among journalists, Hollywood, academics, government unions, and other assorted leftists. It just took a few months for the non-stop onslaught of vicious bile from these groups to wear BusHitler's ratings down again among the general population.

Just like now that Obama is in charge, those same groups will work their tuchusses off to make sure those ratings stay high no matter what he does.
2.10.2009 10:41am
Steve P. (mail):
geokstr — I'm pretty sure that you're the one making stuff up. Say whatever you want about JBG, he at least has cites to support his arguments. Where, exactly, is your 2% stat from?
2.10.2009 10:52am
11-B/2O.B4:
Conservatives: Please settle down a bit and wait for this to play out. You're making some of us who agree with you on many points look bad. Have a bit of patience, this case isn't a smoking gun for hypocrisy. The conservative base has never been shy about criticizing Republican presidents, no matter what people think of Rush and the like. Why would the ideological left be any different? They'll criticize, but in the end, they'll support him, because few people can conceive of more than two choices.

Liberals: Accept now and forever that "change" is the one thing that Obama is guaranteed not to provide. He can't. Not calling his presidency into question, but realize that all that crap about "ethics" and "change" and like codewords, as well as the bashing of Bush, was just a lot of motivating BS to get elected. We are talking about a politician, and he won't stop being a politician, no matter how hard you wish upon your Rainbow Brite blanky.
2.10.2009 11:09am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
11Boo has a point.
Barack either believed all that stuff libs were saying about the WOT and Bush, or he knew better but knew he had to pretend to believe.
Now that he knows the reality, there's no excuse. Either he does the effective thing or he is willing the results of doing the ineffective thing.
2.10.2009 11:46am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
geo:

even then, the die-hard BDS sufferers that make up a minority of the democratic party did NOT support the president


In the period after 9/11, the number of people who disapproved of Bush dropped down to as low as 6%. And in that 6%, there were probably some who disapproved because they expected Bush to be more hawkish. So what's your point? That 3-4% of the country consists of "die-hard BDS sufferers?" So what? Who cares? The nuttiness at the other end of the spectrum is just as nutty, if not more so. Do you want to try to prove otherwise?

their pre-9/11 high of approx 2% among journalists, Hollywood, academics, government unions, and other assorted leftists


And speaking of proving things, asking you for a citation would be expecting too much, right? Because it appears that you pulled that number directly from your posterior. Or maybe it's something that Rush whispered in your ear, after he found it in his own posterior.
2.10.2009 12:13pm
David Schwartz (mail):
Do we really want people sued for cooperating with the military while our country as at war? Have we really sunk that far?
2.10.2009 1:02pm
MarkField (mail):

Do we really want people sued for cooperating with the military while our country as at war? Have we really sunk that far?


Does the name I.G. Farben ring a bell?
2.10.2009 1:28pm
Thomas_Holsinger:
Bart,

Familiarity with the interrogee's culture is extremely important during interrogation, so there are valid policy reasons for extraordinary rendition to an interrogee's own government. My favorite example, and AFAIK this was done by the Syrian government to a prisoner we rendered to them, was:

They brought in the dude's mother to give him hell, and he confessed. They didn't threaten to torture his mother because she was angry and upset with her son for disobeying her orders not to go on jihad, and chewed him out for it.

The Syrians are not without subtlety. When the Syrian and Israeli governments had openly publicized negotiations in Spain, Syrian intelligence gave the press covering the conference copies of old British "Wanted!" posters for a young Jewish terrorist named Begin, who was the Israeli Prime Minister at the time of the conference.
2.10.2009 1:30pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
schwartz:

Do we really want people sued for cooperating with the military while our country as at war?


Do we really want people cooperating with the military when "cooperating with the military" means breaking the law? No, we don't. And people who think that "cooperating with the military" is a license to break the law should definitely not be protected from civil or criminal action.

And if you think our laws are interfering with our security, there's a remedy for that: work to change the law.

Have we really sunk that far?


Have we really sunk to the level of making excuses for lawlessness?
2.10.2009 1:36pm
David Schwartz (mail):
MarkField: So is it now the majority view that our system has sunk so low that it needs to punish those who cooperate with it?

Let me put it another way -- prosecuting those who cooperate with the military when the country is at war is on the same level as armed rebellion. If one is justified, so may be the other.

I don't think our country is that far gone.
2.10.2009 1:40pm
David Schwartz (mail):
jukeboxgrad:
And if you think our laws are interfering with our security, there's a remedy for that: work to change the law.
So then you have no objection to the administration using the State Secrets doctrine to make these cases disappear? After all, that doctrine is the law. And if you think it's interfering, you can work to change it.

An argument that argues against everything isn't a very useful argument. Sooner or later you'll want to take some position.
2.10.2009 1:46pm
C. Tigrin (mail):
The issue here should be the justification for the war not its methods. Even more, the issue is America's place in the world. On this issue, neither party maintains a position beneficial to the country or its citizens. Under the republicans, vast sums of money were spend on military expansion and debt servicing. Under Obama, it is already clear, even larger sums of money will be spent on military expansion, debt servicing AND lots of useless pork. Contrary to what some "revolutionaries" think, these funds do not come from "thin air". Contrary to what some liberals think, these funds do not come from the "government", nor from the "bank". The money comes from the remaining productive industries and they are shrinking every day. It's a vicious circle - the more the the industry is squeezed, the more of it dies or migrates, the less is left to squeeze, hence the need to squeeze even more.

Think about it: why on earth do we need infrastructure if there is no industry in the US? Are we going to drive around sightseeing or what? And who will pay for the gas if there is no industry to export products in return for gas? Not to speak about the quality of the bridges built by unprofessional, low paid, ghetto workers...

See, the US exported THE INDUSTRIES, not the products. Once they are gone - there is nothing left to export. What we are seeing is the result of policies gradually put in place in the last 30 years or so. I'm not saying the policies are illegal but legality is not the issue. Lawyers should be obliged to think beyond legality, to think about the justification and consequences of the policies engraved in the legal code. On this issue, both the politicians and the scholars of this country are nothing less than a gigantic failure.
2.10.2009 2:39pm
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):




I agree with KenB and Bart and would add that this appears to be a return to the rule of law, the law in question being the Law of Unintended Consequences. By putting greater restrictions on what our people can do during an interrogation and continuing the practice of extraordinary rendition and the result is going to be fewer people water boarded by US interrogators and more people actually tortured (or worse) overseas.
2.10.2009 3:43pm
MarkField (mail):

Let me put it another way -- prosecuting those who cooperate with the military when the country is at war is on the same level as armed rebellion. If one is justified, so may be the other.


The only people who can prosecute are those who can give orders to the military. They are the dog, not the tail.
2.10.2009 3:44pm
nicehonesty:
Just an Observer:

First, we had your comment:
That involves more than just "torture," but also Geneva's prohibition against "outrages upon personal dignity, in particular, humiliating and degrading treatment" (a/k/a torture lite).

Bush's Executive Order 13440 artfully modified the interpretation of what that prohibition entailed for a time. But that reinterpretation has been swept away, and the language of Common Article 3 itself is the minimum baseline governing all U.S. interrogators going forward. Those who violate Common Article 3 commit a war crime.


Then, from the article which I linked to you earlier in another thread, but which you chose to ignore:
Bradley...will reveal that Mohamed, 31, is dying in his Guantánamo cell and that conditions inside the Cuban prison camp have deteriorated badly since Barack Obama took office. Fifty of its 260 detainees are on hunger strike and, say witnesses, are being strapped to chairs and force-fed, with those who resist being beaten. At least 20 are described as being so unhealthy they are on a "critical list", according to Bradley.


(This also serves to rebut Anderson's claim that no one's been tortured under Obama [not to mention the Pakistani civilians he massacred his first week in office].)

Rock on, Obama Torture (and "Torture Lite") Apologists!
2.10.2009 3:48pm
Just an Observer:
nicehonesty,

Your repetition still does not comprise an argument. Do you have cites showing that force-feeding military prisoners on a hunger strike and reportedly nearing death (assuming the alleged facts are true) comprises "outrages upon personal dignity, in particular, humiliating and degrading treatment?" That is far from self-evident.

And again, so we understand your position, do you distinguish this allegation about the hunger strike reported today from similar actions under the prior administration during prior hunger strikes?

Still, I continue to wonder what you think this has to do with me. I never accused the Bush administration of war crimes for dealing with hunger strikes at Gitmo, and I have never "apologized" for Obama's actions.

(I have experienced nasogastric tubes, which perhaps saved my life. I did not feel degraded or humiliated, but extremely uncomfortable. Admittedly, though, there were no beatings. Had I been beaten by my own Nurse Ratched, I also might have complained to my lawyer. But the complaint would not have alleged a war crime.)

To be sure, I think Obama on Jan. 20 did assume command responsibility for Guantanamo. As I recall, almost immediately, on Jan. 22, he ordered a review of conditions there. I presume that the hunger strike being reported will become part of that review. It will be interesting to learn if guards at Guantanamo have followed their duly authorized procedures, and if the facts corroborate the allegations being made.

If it turns out that the law is being violated, and Obama and Gates do nothing about it, I will join you in your outcry. After all, no one is above the law.

Just so we'll know, what do you assert is the legally correct procedure for dealing with a hunger strike, by service members guarding them? Perhaps your gentler methods will be easier to implement and monitor in stateside detention facilities. In any event, as a matter of national policy, this certainly makes us look bad in the eyes of the world, because it is easily conflated with other stories of actual torture.

No doubt you will add your concerned voice to those arguing for rapid closure of the Gitmo prison, as well as for expeditious resolution of the habeus petitions outstanding, to mitigate such problems.
2.10.2009 4:54pm
nicehonesty:
Just an Observer:

Do you have cites showing that force-feeding military prisoners on a hunger strike and reportedly nearing death (assuming the alleged facts are true) comprises "outrages upon personal dignity, in particular, humiliating and degrading treatment?" That is far from self-evident.



with those who resist being beaten.
with those who resist being beaten.
with those who resist being beaten.
with those who resist being beaten.
with those who resist being beaten.
with those who resist being beaten.
with those who resist being beaten.
with those who resist being beaten.


Rock on, Obama Torture (and "Torture Lite") Apologists!
2.10.2009 5:21pm
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):
Personally I’ve always thought that the way to deal with anyone going on a “hunger strike” is to let them starve. The food’s available, whether they choose to eat it or not is up to them.

If a detainee’s health has deteriorated because they refuse to eat (as opposed to having food withheld from them), that’s on them and not on us.
2.10.2009 5:23pm
Just an Observer:
with those who resist being beaten.

Allegedly.

I remain curious about what the official investigation turns up, and what actions were and are taken by higher authorities. If there is proof of Rumsfeldian authorization of actual beatings being ordered, justified by Yooish opinions from Obama's OLC, I will certainly alter my opinion of Obama, Holder and Gates. We are not close to that yet.
2.10.2009 7:53pm
nicehonesty:
Allegedly.


Oh, of course.

When Bush was in charge was it appropriate to believe all the charges of abuse made by prisoners and their defense attorneys.

But now, in the Age of Obama, those prisoners and their legal defenders are a pack of dirty stinking liars whom we mustn't trust.

Got it.


Rock on, Obama Torture (and "Torture Lite") Apologists!
2.10.2009 8:47pm
Just an Observer:
nicehonesty: When Bush was in charge was it appropriate to believe all the charges of abuse made by prisoners and their defense attorneys.

Well, I never accused Bush of war crimes based purely on unproven allegations made about treatment of hunger strikers at Gitmo. Did you?

If so, repent. If not, take take up your imaginary strawman fight with someone else.
2.10.2009 9:11pm
nicehonesty:
Just an Observer:

I never accused Bush of war crimes based purely on unproven allegations made about treatment of hunger strikers at Gitmo [since Obama was inaugurated].


When Bush was in office you were willing to accuse him of war crimes based on charges of abuse made by prisoners and their defense attorneys.

But now, in the Age of Obama, you magnanimously choose not to accuse Bush of war crimes based on charges of abuse made by prisoners and their defense attorneys since Obama took office.

Got it.

Rock on, Obama Torture (and "Torture Lite") Apologists!
2.11.2009 1:04am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Thorley,
Problem with hunger strikers actually succeeding is that the useful idiots and their smarter enablers pretend that the Man starved the poor fools to death on purpose.
See the accusations against Thatcher when some of the boyos starved themselves to death at Long Kesh. Although, as a matter of solidarity, the IRA guys on the outside offered not to kill their families if the inmates did the honorable thing, still it was Thatcher's fault.
2.11.2009 7:42am
Andy Bolen (mail):
What a mind-numbing comment thread.
2.11.2009 9:39am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
andy.
Some days, starting out with a numb mind is just the ticket.
2.11.2009 10:12am
Just an Observer:
nicehonesty: When Bush was in office you were willing to accuse him of war crimes based on charges of abuse made by prisoners and their defense attorneys.

Again, I have no recollection of making such a thinly supported accusation, and you can't point to any such example from me. (Which is to say, more politely than you deserve, that you are lying.)

I do recall reading a wide range of criticism about Bush interrogation and detention practices in many quarters, some of it less supportable than others. I also recall reading about actual torture from sources other than defense attorneys, such as Judge Crawford. I know that waterboarding occurred not just because some "defense attorneys" say so, but because Gen. Hayden has so testified.

No doubt some commenters somewhere did as you claim, and made wild accusations based on reports from hunger strikes. But those commenters are not me. So leave me out of your rants.

This is a thread about state-secrets privilege, not purported "war crimes" associated with hunger strikes. (BTW, I have seen interviews with the striker's defense attorney, and she makes no charge of "war crimes" arising from the treatment of the hunger strikers. Only you have made that rhetorical charge, AFAIK.)

And you are a troll. Go find another thread somewhere about the Gitmo hunger strike, and make your parody there.
2.11.2009 10:21am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
nice:

When Bush was in office you were willing to accuse him of war crimes based on charges of abuse made by prisoners and their defense attorneys.


Please show an example of someone who was "willing to accuse [Bush] of war crimes based [solely] on charges of abuse made by prisoners and their defense attorneys."

By the way, here's some information about force-feeding. There are a variety of views.

From the World Medical Association "Declaration on Hunger Strikers:"

Forcible feeding is never ethically acceptable. Even if intended to benefit, feeding accompanied by threats, coercion, force or use of physical restraints is a form of inhuman and degrading treatment.


On the other hand (pdf):

according to jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights, ‘force-feeding' does not constitute torture, inhuman or degrading treatment if there is a medical necessity to do so, if procedural guarantees for the decision to force-feed are complied with and if the manner in which the detainee is force-fed is not inhumane or degrading


And there's this:

under German law … it is possible to force-feed a detained person if this person, due to a hunger strike, would be subject to injuries of a permanent character, and the forced feeding is even obligatory if an obvious danger for the individual's life exists


And this (pdf):

A measure which is of therapeutic necessity from the point of view of established principles of medicine cannot in principle be regarded as inhuman and degrading. The same can be said about force-feeding that is aimed at saving the life of a particular detainee who consciously refuses to take food. The Convention organs must nevertheless satisfy themselves that the medical necessity has been convincingly shown to exist […] Furthermore, the Court must ascertain that the procedural guarantees for the decision to force-feed are complied with. Moreover, the manner in which the applicant is subjected to force-feeding during the hunger strike shall not trespass the threshold of a minimum level of severity envisaged by the Court’s case law under Article 3 of the Convention


It seem that the way it's done makes a very big difference. Ideally it would be done by trained medical personnel using a thin, flexible tube, and with a lubricant and anesthesia.

In 2005 the Pentagon described the procedure as follows:

the "enteral" feeding -- meaning directly into the stomach -- is done with a nasogastric "Dobhoff" tube. The tube is flexible and 4 millimeters in diameter…only doctors and nurses insert the tubes and always use lubricant. They also always offer anesthetics and suggest stronger pain medication if a detainee appears to be uncomfortable. He described the Dobhoff tube as "very soft and non-irritating."


This article also has other details about the process used to decide if this procedure is necessary.

I commend you for showing such concern about the welfare of the detainees.
2.11.2009 10:22am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
Those interested this subject can learn how to do "Dobhoff Tube Feedings at Home."
2.11.2009 11:39am
Oren:
Those angry at feeding tubes might note that the Geneva Convention requires the jailer to keep the prisoners healthy. We are forbidden from letting them die and apparently we are forbidden from keeping them from dying.

Lovely.
2.11.2009 1:00pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
apparently we are forbidden from keeping them from dying


Well, not exactly. I think there's a lot of support for the idea that the procedure is permissible if done according to medical standards.
2.11.2009 1:23pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Oren.
Problem is, those who need them dead are vexed. Hence the complaints.
2.11.2009 2:42pm

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