Guantanamo prisoners dilemma

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The Cat

Guantanamo prisoners dilemma

Postby The Cat » Sat Jan 17, 2009 7:07 pm UTC

What do you do with the prisoners if and when Guantanamo is closed. Many can't be tried in the United States due to Civil Liberty violations, and even more face certain death if returned home.

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Re: Guantanamo prisoners dilemma

Postby ducknerd » Sat Jan 17, 2009 7:45 pm UTC

Well, hey, there's probably some territory in the Middle East where we can dump all these mistreated people. That worked great once, right? why not twice?
(that might be the most tasteless thing I've ever written)
On-topic: A large portion of the Guantanamo inmates are innocent (of the 800ish total people ever captured there, ~550 were released), so I don't know if releasing those people back to their homes would be such an awful thing for anyone. Wikipedia says something about Uighur fighters sought by Chinese authorities, so those might pose some problems. I don't know why the ones that were charged of crimes, formally or informally, can't be tried.
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Re: Guantanamo prisoners dilemma

Postby The Cat » Sat Jan 17, 2009 8:30 pm UTC

Well, hey, there's probably some territory in the Middle East where we can dump all these mistreated people. That worked great once, right? why not twice?
(that might be the most tasteless thing I've ever written)


One could only hope so. I can find humor in most anything, but that's far out of my reach.

On-topic: A large portion of the Guantanamo inmates are innocent (of the 800ish total people ever captured there, ~550 were released), so I don't know if releasing those people back to their homes would be such an awful thing for anyone.


The problem is that they might be killed on arrival for suspected terrorism. Another issue is, if they weren't a terrorist before, they are now. Evidence shows that many of the people released joined up with terrorist organizations.

Wikipedia says something about Uighur fighters sought by Chinese authorities, so those might pose some problems. I don't know why the ones that were charged of crimes, formally or informally, can't be tried.


No one was charged of a crime. They are considered detainees rather than prisoners. They cant be tried in the States due to civil rights violations, but china is a different story. Might as well just kill them in a humane manner and be done with it.

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Re: Guantanamo prisoners dilemma

Postby w4rwiz4rd » Sat Jan 17, 2009 9:10 pm UTC

Another issue is, if they weren't a terrorist before, they are now. Evidence shows that many of the people released joined up with terrorist organizations.

That might be true but should we do anything about that or take that into consideration. We should not lock people up forever because of some notion of probable precrime. The U.S. has messed up peoples lives and it is wrong to keep them in prison because the probably don't like us.

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Re: Guantanamo prisoners dilemma

Postby tgjensen » Sat Jan 17, 2009 10:29 pm UTC

At this point I think the best course of action would probably be to go through every single case and prosecute those who can be prosecuted. Get that part done with. For those whom you cannot build a case against inform them of their possibilities, the risks they may run by being put on a homebound plane, what countries are willing to offer them asylum etc. and then give them a hefty compensation for all the seriously fucked up BS they've been put through and let them choose for themselves.

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Re: Guantanamo prisoners dilemma

Postby The Cat » Sat Jan 17, 2009 10:36 pm UTC

That might be true but should we do anything about that or take that into consideration. We should not lock people up forever because of some notion of probable precrime. The U.S. has messed up peoples lives and it is wrong to keep them in prison because the probably don't like us.


I agree 100%, its a horrible situation that has been created. That's why we can't send them back to certain death. Its very complicated. Its like prisoner who went to jail for minor crimes returning as hardened criminals. The problem is that we created them, and now we are going to have to deal with them. However, after years of torture and begging for death, these people are going to be preconditioned suicide bombers. They want to die and hate the living hell out of the United States. What do you think, drop them in Afghanistan and wait? I'm sure we could get some intel from tracking them. I don't know, its very messy.

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Re: Guantanamo prisoners dilemma

Postby crowey » Sun Jan 18, 2009 2:58 am UTC

For those that would be persecuted if the returned home, couldn't America grant asylum to them?

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Re: Guantanamo prisoners dilemma

Postby SlyReaper » Mon Jan 19, 2009 8:49 am UTC

crowey wrote:For those that would be persecuted if the returned home, couldn't America grant asylum to them?


I very much doubt the prisoners would accept.
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Re: Guantanamo prisoners dilemma

Postby Iv » Mon Jan 19, 2009 9:22 am UTC

I think this whole thing will appear as even a greater fuckup of the Bush administration than it already does. Make no mistake, some of the prisoners are probably real dangerous terrorists and others are innocent bystanders who didn't like Americans much and accused themselves during a torture session. We'll send all of them in front of a tribunal and the tribunal will acquit all of them. Why ? Because they have been tortured, because prosecution can't be done legally anymore.

Will some of them join a terrorist anti-american group ? Hell yes ! Imagine that a country (let's say China) tortures and imprisons you for 6 years and then releases you after a long trial and claims to have changed because some president left and another president came. Then you go back to your home country and learn about the huge civilian death toll of the recent military operations. What do you think that most people would do ? Not being filled by hate would take an incredible dose of humanism, understanding and love, things that the prisoner camp tried very hard during many years to erase in you.

SlyReaper wrote:I very much doubt the prisoners would accept.

Sure, but that is no reason to not ask them about it.

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Re: Guantanamo prisoners dilemma

Postby gmm » Mon Jan 19, 2009 1:49 pm UTC

crowey wrote:For those that would be persecuted if the returned home, couldn't America grant asylum to them?


In the eyes of the American government and the executive branch (FBI, CIA etc), it seems to already be a done deal – these prisoners are guilty before proven so. Therefore, I don't think that would be an option, as they don't want terrorists in their country. Considering the treatment they have received, including no trials and torture, I doubt the United States would then suddenly embrace them and offer them citizenships.
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Re: Guantanamo prisoners dilemma

Postby crowey » Mon Jan 19, 2009 2:57 pm UTC

On the other hand, they have been detained for X years, interrogated, tortured and investigated and they still couldn't get enough evidence to convict. If doing this has made the detainee unsafe in their home country the least the US could do is offer a safe haven. Besides, if they are in the US they'll be easier to keep an eye on, right?

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Re: Guantanamo prisoners dilemma

Postby gmm » Mon Jan 19, 2009 4:10 pm UTC

crowey wrote:On the other hand, they have been detained for X years, interrogated, tortured and investigated and they still couldn't get enough evidence to convict. If doing this has made the detainee unsafe in their home country the least the US could do is offer a safe haven. Besides, if they are in the US they'll be easier to keep an eye on, right?


The length of the detentions shows the predetermined view of the United States, I'd say, as in a normal legal system they would've been released a long time ago. Maybe I'm cynical, but the United States I know does not feel like a country that would offer a safe haven to people they have already labeled as terrorists. They might be able to keep an eye on them more easily if they're in NYC than in some cave in the mountains of Pakistan, but it also means a greater risk of terror attacks. There are certainly ways to trick that system, but I think they'd be more successfully stopped if they have to go through passport controls.
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Re: Guantanamo prisoners dilemma

Postby zombie_monkey » Mon Jan 19, 2009 5:09 pm UTC

I seriously doubt these people would accept any offer of asylum by the US. It would be insane of them to trust the US government.

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Re: Guantanamo prisoners dilemma

Postby clintonius » Mon Jan 19, 2009 6:26 pm UTC

Brief, unsupported statements of opinion: this thread does not need any more of them.

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Re: Guantanamo prisoners dilemma

Postby gmm » Mon Jan 19, 2009 6:42 pm UTC

Okay, a little more substance: http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/2009 ... itmo_n.htm

The United States has supposedly been seeking solutions to the issue of how to deal with the prisoners when/if the base is closed––and asked Australia to accept some of the detainees.

That is, to begin with, very irresponsible and what answer did they think they'd get? "Sure, we'll accept some of the alleged terrorists that are too dangerous to be let in to your country, no probs"? The UK already did that.

Another USA Today article on the same subject: http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington ... namo_n.htm

I found this part particularly interesting: "Then there are about 110 men of whom little is known but who, the Pentagon says, may be too dangerous to America and its allies to ever be let out."

If they are so dangerous–-why not give them a fair trial and judge them accordingly? As someone who values human rights, this is ridiculous. A civilized country like the United States should be able to treat this seriously. USA Today also reports that they have been shipping off detainees to Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan and Pakistan since these countries are on relatively good terms with the U.S. and thus are willing to monitor the (ex-)detainees. This leaves a number of prisoners from Yemen on the base, since its government doesn't really give a crap and therefore it's an easy way to Iraq.
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Re: Guantanamo prisoners dilemma

Postby Filius Nullius » Tue Jan 20, 2009 2:34 am UTC

It seems everyone's making an assumption that the ones that are facing execution, or a trial upon returning home, aren't deserving and should get asylum?

Is there anything to back this up?

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Re: Guantanamo prisoners dilemma

Postby Silas » Tue Jan 20, 2009 4:57 am UTC

I think it would help to spell out what kind of people we're talking about when we say "they should be sent home to their own country" or "they should be brought to Chicago and given asylum and a hand-job" or "they should be taken behind the chemical shed and shot." Otherwise, we'll each have a different category in mind, and end up talking past one another.

I think these seven categories should cover pretty much everybody:

(A) Criminals/Terrorists (bombers, hijackers, water-treatment-plant-poisoners; you know, miscellaneous villains) against whom a legal case is expected to succeed in American courts. People who, it can be shown, committed or tried to commit crimes against America or Americans. People who, if we put them on trial, would be convicted. (I think it is not helpful to admit a sub-group of these who, if released, would not pose a threat.)

(B) Criminals/Terrorists whose actions are not in doubt, but cannot be tried, because of jurisdiction problems, chain-of-evidence problems, or other technicalities. Suppose a confession obtained through torture (or something else illegal- doesn't matter) led investigators to damning evidence against a man. That evidence, no matter how convincing, isn't admissible in court. (I think it is still not helpful to consider whether these people would pose a threat if released.)

(C) Suspected criminals/terrorists against whom the evidence is inconclusive. This one's pretty self-explanatory. (If released, they could be expected to pose a threat exactly if they were guilty to begin with.)

(D) Suspected criminals/terrorists who have been exonerated by evidence, but whom it has so far been procedurally or politically difficult to release. (They may be guilty of lesser charges either in the US or in some other country, but that's a secondary point.)

(E) Taliban or resistance fighters from Iraq or Afghanistan (who have waged more-or-less lawful the US and allies in those countries) whose role is not in question. (It may be relevant to consider whether they could be trusted to observe the terms of a parole.)

(F) Suspected Taliban or resistance fighters whose role in the hostilities is uncertain.

(G) Suspected Taliban or resistance fighters whom subsequent investigation has shown did not take part in the fighting.

(There isn't a special category for Taliban who were identified by inadmissible-in-court evidence, because the rules of evidence there are much looser.)
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Re: Guantanamo prisoners dilemma

Postby gmm » Tue Jan 20, 2009 5:52 am UTC

Filius Nullius wrote:It seems everyone's making an assumption that the ones that are facing execution, or a trial upon returning home, aren't deserving and should get asylum?

Is there anything to back this up?

From the second USA Today article: "About 500 detainees since have been returned home."
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Re: Guantanamo prisoners dilemma

Postby zombie_monkey » Tue Jan 20, 2009 7:41 am UTC

clintonius wrote:Brief, unsupported statements of opinion: this thread does not need any more of them.

~CM

Was that directed at me? And if so, did you take my statement to be figurative and not literal? "The US government will fuck them over, they would be idiots to trust it"? Becasue that's not what I meant. I was just pointing out a problem with these plans to give them asylum in the USA, that it would be literally a sign of a mental disorder for them to trust the US government. Something like Stockholm syndrome. Whether or not it's good for them is irrelevant. I don't see how a sane man would voluntarily accept such a proposition from a government that abducted and help him captive*, **, not to mention tortured him, for years. Mind you I think it is very likely they do have something like Stockholm syndrome, only worse.

*(in many cases for things like an informer of the CIA being jealous of their girlfriend or something, but that applies even to people who actually waged war***)
**refusing giving him any status as a human being, either civilian or military
***Hell, maybe there even are some people in Guantanamo that actually were planning a terrorist act, who knows; you can't tell at this point, really, and it's pretty much irrelevant for the way either the USA or a Middle Eastern dictatorship will treat them. They are now (former) Guantanamo detainees, that's their primary identity as it were.

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Re: Guantanamo prisoners dilemma

Postby Ixtellor » Tue Jan 20, 2009 9:57 pm UTC

Preface: I have always been against the concept and execution of the Gitmo solution.

However: The realist in me leads me to believe that the situation where we send a detainee back to his home country, where they execute him, is a... *gulp* good thing.
It reminds me of the scene in "Burn After Reading" where the CIA chief guy:
Spoiler:
After learning about the death of one of the main characters, responds:
"Great!".


It solves a problem of us dealing with a no-win situation, and yet gives us plausable deniability in absolving ourselves of the 'crime' of the execution.

Morally it is god awful. But in those cases where the people really are the baddie terrorists, but we just don't have a case against them (see OJ Simpson), their death can save us from having to pick between two horrible options. (Trial where they go free, set em free only to have em come back with a bomb)


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Re: Guantanamo prisoners dilemma

Postby Iv » Wed Jan 21, 2009 9:46 am UTC

Ixtellor wrote:their death can save us from having to pick between two horrible options. (Trial where they go free, set em free only to have em come back with a bomb)

Isn't it just another horrible option ? Why do you suppose real terrorists would be set free by a regular trial ? They will be set free only if there are insufficient proofs against them, which is just how justice is supposed to work. Sometimes, culprits are set free but the core and the legitimacy of the system is that it will try very hard to not condemn innocent people.

Plus, if you were a terrorist group leader. Would you trust anyone coming out of Gitmo to not be followed by the CIA ?

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Re: Guantanamo prisoners dilemma

Postby Mabus_Zero » Wed Jan 21, 2009 9:58 am UTC

Iv wrote:
Ixtellor wrote:their death can save us from having to pick between two horrible options. (Trial where they go free, set em free only to have em come back with a bomb)

Isn't it just another horrible option ? Why do you suppose real terrorists would be set free by a regular trial ? They will be set free only if there are insufficient proofs against them, which is just how justice is supposed to work. Sometimes, culprits are set free but the core and the legitimacy of the system is that it will try very hard to not condemn innocent people.

Plus, if you were a terrorist group leader. Would you trust anyone coming out of Gitmo to not be followed by the CIA ?


The right thing to do is to observe our own laws, and try those that ought to be tried on grounds of proper evidence. The problem emerges in that (a.) any sensible and sane person who's will wasn't entirely destroyed in the process of the torturous interrogation techniques permitted within Guantanamo should, and rightfully, desire some sort of retribution against that State, and particularly it's organ, that treated them in such a way, and (b.) a significant number of the United States population wouldn't entirely mind seeing them continue to be treated in such a fashion, so long as it's kept out of sight and mind.

I mean, we've dragged our feet pretty well on this issue, so no one owes us anything. And wouldn't you want a bit of vengeance? Especially if you'd been innocent, and then kidnapped by some local bounty hunter to fill a quota?

The human in me says, do right by the prisoners, try them if we can try them, and at least try to release the rest, and in a fashion that we minimize the hard feelings as much as possible. I don't think doing the right thing is politically feasible at the moment, however.
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Re: Guantanamo prisoners dilemma

Postby Iv » Wed Jan 21, 2009 10:45 am UTC

Mabus_Zero wrote:I mean, we've dragged our feet pretty well on this issue, so no one owes us anything. And wouldn't you want a bit of vengeance? Especially if you'd been innocent, and then kidnapped by some local bounty hunter to fill a quota?

For every prisoner in Gitmo, there are a dozen persons from his family, friends, colleagues, who feel the great injustice that is happening. It is not only the best way to prevent revenge, but the only way to prevent revenge than to give every prisonner justice, if not freedom.

Note as well that an innocent taking revenge from his arbitrary incarceration could well join a human rights league or fight for a greater power for international law. Terrorism is not the only way to fight an enemy, it is the way of the most desperate and uneducated people.

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Re: Guantanamo prisoners dilemma

Postby Mabus_Zero » Wed Jan 21, 2009 12:18 pm UTC

Iv wrote:Note as well that an innocent taking revenge from his arbitrary incarceration could well join a human rights league or fight for a greater power for international law. Terrorism is not the only way to fight an enemy, it is the way of the most desperate and uneducated people.


Oh, I agree entirely. Atrocity is a self-perpetuating process. But simultaneously, however, it seems, and I've felt this too, I'm sure all of us have, as though those that push and shove in the world have all the power, and the only language they seem to understand is a healthy dose of violent force and annihilation.

I mean...what can you possibly offer someone that you are complicit in pushing that far? That is also a part of my question. We are all reasonable people, if the situation allows, but as a favorite saying of mine goes; needs must, when the devil drives.
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Re: Guantanamo prisoners dilemma

Postby The Cat » Wed Jan 21, 2009 2:22 pm UTC

Stipulate that we can't try them, they don't want asylum, and they will be killed upon return home. Now, without drifting into the "what does it mean to be a good person" topic, what do we do with them?

While sending them home to certain death would be the easiest option, I couldn't agree with that decision. "washing our hands" of innocent blood for the sake of plausable deniability reminds me of Sunday school a little too much. I would let some criminals go free before turning one innocent man over to an angry mob. I'm not even a Christian. Oh, and if the only option is returning them to certian death, I would hope they would have the balls to finish the job themselves. Something humane like lethal injection. Hell, dogs and cats are entitled to humane treatment, why not people?

I think that some other countries are going to need to take them. spread them thin so the burden isn't too great, and of course the United States will be flipping the bill. I'm thinking the Australian outback. In return Australia gets favorable trade for X..........something along those lines. I think the most important thing is to make sure this never happens again.

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Re: Guantanamo prisoners dilemma

Postby drunken » Wed Jan 21, 2009 2:36 pm UTC

One thing that seems to be being overlooked is that there is a way to minimise the number who on release would pose a threat. Of course there are some that will be dangerous no matter what but I hypothesise the existence of at least 1 prisoner who would try to harm the US on relase, but who could be convinced not to do so. This would be achieved by bringing to justice those responsible for the wrongful incarceration and torture. If we have a huge series of war crimes and torture and wrongful imprisonment trials and a large number of guilty US officials and personnel get prosecuted and charged, I beleive that will go much further than financial remuneration in patching up hard feelings. Doing both, renumeration and punishment of the guilty might not only convince a few to go in peace but will also help to restore the confidence of the world in the US system.
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Re: Guantanamo prisoners dilemma

Postby crowey » Wed Jan 21, 2009 3:04 pm UTC

Ixtellor wrote:It solves a problem of us dealing with a no-win situation, and yet gives us plausable deniability in absolving ourselves of the 'crime' of the execution.

While there is deniability in the argument of "well I didn't pull the trigger", it doesn't really stand up to any level of reasoning. If the US did this they'd be sending an innocent person to certain death because the might pose a threat, in full knoweledge of the fact that person would be killed upon arriving home. It's not really any different to leaving them in the middle of a field full of landmines, sure you might not be the thing that directly caused the person to get blown up, but you sure as hell are responsible.

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Re: Guantanamo prisoners dilemma

Postby Zamfir » Wed Jan 21, 2009 3:49 pm UTC

Just as as a sidenote: America, inlcuding then-not-yet-official representatives of Obama's government, have been putting heavy pressure on allies, like Australia and the Netherlands, to accepts Guantanamo detainees. Up to the level that the ambassador speaks to the press to complain that countries that opposed Guantanomo are now not willing to take up its refugees.

This made me feel very, very bad about the US. If the you send troops to fight in their wars, even though you do not support the wars, and if you oppose the human rights violations they now seem to regret themselves, then your reward is to be pressurised to solve their mess after them.

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Re: Guantanamo prisoners dilemma

Postby The Cat » Wed Jan 21, 2009 4:15 pm UTC

I know it sucks, but what are the other options? Hopefully compensation will ease some of the burden and the new administration will regain their support. It was a tough chapter, but its in the past. Time to mop up and move forward.

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Re: Guantanamo prisoners dilemma

Postby tgjensen » Wed Jan 21, 2009 7:53 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:This made me feel very, very bad about the US. If the you send troops to fight in their wars, even though you do not support the wars, and if you oppose the human rights violations they now seem to regret themselves, then your reward is to be pressurised to solve their mess after them.


Actually I feel pretty bad about how most of the rest of the world has acted. Other than Portugal and Albania (and maybe a couple other countries?), everybody's turned the US down in accepting any of these prisoners. This from many of the countries that have criticized Guantanamo for years, claiming innocence on behalf of these prisoners? Even when it is completely obvious that many of these prisoners have absolutely zero interest in living in the States? Where the hell are they going to live, then?
They have the right to turn down these people, of course, but I think it's really bad form to do so, to flat out deny helping these poor bastards who have nowhere else to go.

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Re: Guantanamo prisoners dilemma

Postby Ixtellor » Wed Jan 21, 2009 8:16 pm UTC

crowey wrote:
Ixtellor wrote:It solves a problem of us dealing with a no-win situation, and yet gives us plausable deniability in absolving ourselves of the 'crime' of the execution.

While there is deniability in the argument of "well I didn't pull the trigger", it doesn't really stand up to any level of reasoning. If the US did this they'd be sending an innocent person to certain death because the might pose a threat, in full knoweledge of the fact that person would be killed upon arriving home. It's not really any different to leaving them in the middle of a field full of landmines, sure you might not be the thing that directly caused the person to get blown up, but you sure as hell are responsible.


1) I already said it is IMMORAL and basically an evil act.
2) I think the 'fallout' from having Syria kill the prisoner is less than if we did it. We can just say "Hey, we asked them to be kind, but those crazy Syrians...". But in the world of an uneducated and ill informed and poor family back in the ME, I think its plausible to shift that blame.


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Re: Guantanamo prisoners dilemma

Postby crowey » Wed Jan 21, 2009 8:31 pm UTC

Maybe for the domestic politics, but not so much for international relations, a LOT of people will be thinking "Whoa, fuck. the US held people captive, tortured them and then sent them abroad to be killed. Those bastards". Plus it's really not going to endear the US to those countries/groups of people who are already pissed at them, it'll just confirm the America are a bunch of callous assholes.
I really think it'll be the worst solution long term, the US needs to improve their international image, especially with regards to Guantanamo. The quick and dirty fix won't do that. The gov needs to either get proper legitimate convictions or kiss the ass of the prisoners they release and hope it's enough to compensate for the wrongs done.
Sure, they also need to keep an eye on those they can't convict and prevent them from doing any terrorising they might do, but letting these guys get executed is going to look really bad.

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Re: Guantanamo prisoners dilemma

Postby Ixtellor » Wed Jan 21, 2009 9:29 pm UTC

I think I will amend my position based on some of your posts.

I would prosecute all the inmates who
A) Were not tortured or harmed in anyway
B) We have a 100% knockout full proof case.

If an inmate does not meet both criteria, I would release them anywhere they would like to go. Yes I assume many of them will try to kill Americans, but in the big picture I don't think they will be any more dangerous than the thousands of angry muslims who already have that agenda. It just goes from 40,000 "I want to kill American" fanatics to 40,550.

I think your right that the negative international criticism is not outweighed by the harm these individuals will cause.

For those that we are really scared of, we still do this but then add in....

We keep a close eye on them for about a year, then assassinate them, if we truely truely believe they will come back to harm us and are capable of more damage than your average Al Qaeda member.


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Re: Guantanamo prisoners dilemma

Postby Azrael » Wed Jan 21, 2009 9:38 pm UTC

Ixtellor wrote:I would prosecute all the inmates who

B) We have a 100% knockout full proof case.

So you're proposing that the requirements for their indictment be *more strict* than otherwise required under US law? People go to trial when prosecutors convince either a grand jury or a judge to indict them. Not just in cases where the proof is incontrovertible.

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Re: Guantanamo prisoners dilemma

Postby clintonius » Wed Jan 21, 2009 10:06 pm UTC

Also, keep in mind that people have been tried and convicted at Guantanamo already. I find it difficult to believe that they've got an airtight case against anyone still being held there, and are simply keeping them for around kicks.
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Re: Guantanamo prisoners dilemma

Postby ddxxdd » Thu Jan 22, 2009 4:35 am UTC

I think we should try them all with military tribunals vice civilian courts. My reasoning is spoilered ahead.

I stated all this in a News and Articles thread, but I think it's relevant here:
Spoiler:
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 Anthonin 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: Guantanamo prisoners dilemma

Postby Briareos » Thu Jan 22, 2009 5:04 am UTC

Ixtellor wrote:. . . I would release them anywhere they would like to go. Yes I assume many of them will try to kill Americans, but in the big picture I don't think they will be any more dangerous than the thousands of angry muslims who already have that agenda. It just goes from 40,000 "I want to kill American" fanatics to 40,550.


This is an interesting point, and one that I hadn't thought of before. Does anyone know whether the Guantanamo detainees are high-level; say, capable of performing complex tasks of organization for future attacks? If they're low-level mooks, I'd say Ixtellor's argument is persuasive.
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Re: Guantanamo prisoners dilemma

Postby Iv » Thu Jan 22, 2009 8:59 am UTC

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is presented as the architect of the 9/11 attacks. Probably true but too many of the proofs hold against him result from torture.

Ammar al-Baluchi, put in the same category, could either be an organizer of travels for Al-Quaeda or just a simple computer engineer who did fake passports as a side job and who didn't know who he sold passports to. He got money from Al-Quaeda. Probably never killed anyone.

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Re: Guantanamo prisoners dilemma

Postby Zamfir » Thu Jan 22, 2009 10:20 am UTC

I am missing the "They have nowhere else to go" angle. Let's think what the US could do. It could to free these people, with deep apologies for its misbehaviour, give them a monetary compensation large enough to live on, and offer them the choice between moving home if possible, and American citizenship otherwise. With an American passport and a steady income, they could definitely move to other countries, if they choose not to live in the US. Especially if the US made clear that other countries really should treat them as American citizens.

If I were a Guantanomo prisoner, that would not be enough to satisfy me, but probably nothing would.

Of course, the US, or at least most of its public, doesn't want to do this. I can understand that, it would be a large humiliation aimed at people still widely perceived as guilty of crimes, proven or not, and who are at the very least enemies. But that doesn't mean it's impossible. It just means that the US doesn't want to do the most it could.


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Re: Guantanamo prisoners dilemma

Postby gmm » Thu Jan 22, 2009 10:54 am UTC

clintonius wrote:Also, keep in mind that people have been tried and convicted at Guantanamo already. I find it difficult to believe that they've got an airtight case against anyone still being held there, and are simply keeping them for around kicks.


People have been tried, but only one has been convicted. Ten inmates were convicted in a military court, but the Supreme Court later declared those to be invalid convictions.

(I found these stats on the Swedish Amnesty site, can't find them on the English one, but if anyone'd be interested here's the link: http://www2.amnesty.se/wot.nsf/(dokumenten)/FB399E4C37748601C125725F0071A720?open)
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