Thursday, September 21, 2006

The devil is in the details:

As I wrote a few days ago, it's great that the Senate Armed Services Committee is putting up a big road-block to W.'s plans for torture and kangaroo courts at Gitmo, but I don't trust McCain and his fellow "rebels" not to sneak in a few crucial things W. wants while everyone is focuses on secret evidence and Common Article 3.

The alternate bill John Warner is sponsoring would retain Linday Graham's prohibition against allowing detainees to file Habeas Corpus claims against their detentions. This is a big deal. David McColgin, an attorney for one of the Afghan detainees at Gitmo wrote a LTTE today in the Inquirer pointing this out.

". . . The senators' bill is seriously flawed. It would bar the detainees from challenging their detention in federal court. The majority of the 430 detainees, such as the Afghani man I represent, were not picked up on the battlefield and will never be charged with a crime. So they will never have a trial in the tribunals Bush and the senators are fighting over. They have never been able to challenge, or even see, the evidence that supposedly justifies their detention. . . Their only hope for a fair hearing came when the Supreme Court said they could challenge their detention in federal court through habeas corpus petitions. But the senators' bill would do away with that right and leave them worse off than detainees charged with crimes, who would face tribunals."

The WaPo reports that now the Judiciary Committee is wants a piece of the action. Arlen Spector wants to review what the ASC has been up to. According to the article, Spector says that Congress "cannot act to delete the remedy of habeas corpus" and called the bill "unconstitutional."

The devil is in the details (can you smell the sulfer?) and I'm convinced the bill that comes out of all of this will contain some very poison pills no matter what happens. Or it may not happen at all, because Congress let's out next week and as messed up as things are in the Senate, the House is also having problems with this leglisation. When the two Houses meet there could be total stalemate (hopefully.)

CIA shut down secret prisons, not W.:

Meanwhile, the FT reports today that all of this supossedly came to a head not so much because Karl Rove thought this would be a good issue to beat the Dems over the head with during the elections but because:

"CIA interrogators had refused to carry out further interrogations and run the secret facilities, according to former CIA officials and people close to the programme. The former officials said the CIA interrogators’ refusal was a factor in forcing the Bush administration to act earlier than it might have wished. . . former CIA officials said Mr Bush’s hand was forced because interrogators had refused to continue their work until the legal situation was clarified because they were concerned they could be prosecuted for using illegal techniques. One intelligence source also said the CIA had refused to keep the secret prisons going."

But I thought these quaint restrictions against "outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment," were so vague that no one knew what was going too far. Now that the Supreme Court has said 'you have to abide by Common Article 3' all of a sudden everyone knows what it means.

The fact that these black prisons were shut down by the intergogators themselves shows you they knew what was waht. Not that they think it's wrong mind you, but they want to be immunized.


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