GOP Wants to Deny Human Rights

We begin another week with me wondering what exactly is the path forward for the United States. There are so many wrongs and only a few rights lately. The tough part is that the wrongs are often being committed for the “right” reason. Just a quick look through the sites I frequent tonight show me the President looking to take action against financial institutions, which I understand, but it will have horrible consequences. I will be writing about this coming soon. Another article talked about using reconciliation to pass health care. Again, I have and will continue to write about this subject (The tough part here is that so few details are actually being offered by the administration or Congress, leaving the argument “there is no bill to criticize” on the table for all who want to avoid the debate). But I ran across this article last week. It didn’t get a lot of press that I saw. But I felt that it must be covered, because this is an instance where, in my opinion, we are wrong and for the wrong reasons. At what point to we become no better than those we denounce?

The article caught my attention because of the headline, “Lindsey Graham: White House Mulling Indefinite Detention.” I immediately thought to myself, indefinite detention, since when is that a good thing? I will admit that the headline led me to believe that I would be reading an article where Graham was finding fault with the White House position. But alas, it seems that instead what I found was that this was Graham’s position and he has finally gotten the White House to agree to sit down and discuss it. The article went like this:

The White House is considering endorsing a law that would allow the indefinite detention of some alleged terrorists without trial as part of efforts to break a logjam with Congress over President Barack Obama’s plans to close the Guantanamo Bay prison, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said Monday.

Last summer, White House officials said they had ruled out seeking a “preventive detention” statute as a way to deal with anti-terror detainees, saying the administration would hold any Guantanamo prisoners brought to the U.S. in criminal courts or under the general “law of war” principles permitting detention of enemy combatants.

However, speaking at a news conference in Greenville, S.C. Monday, Graham said the White House now seems open to a new law to lay out the standards for open-ended imprisonment of those alleged to be members of or fighters for Al Qaeda or the Taliban.

“We’re beginning to look at the idea we need to change our laws come up with better guidance” for judges handling cases of enemy combatants, Graham said. “I’ve been talking to the administration for the last couple of days. I’m encouraged that we’re going to sit down and do some of the hard things we haven’t done as a nation after September 11.”

“I think we need to change our laws to give our judges better guidance— rules of the road,” Graham said. “We need a statute to deal with that.”

Asked whether the White House is again considering a preventive detention statute, spokesman Ben LaBolt said: “We will review constructive proposals from Senator Graham and other Members of Congress that are consistent with the national security imperative that we close Guantanamo and ensure the swift and certain justice the families of victims have long deserved.”

The link is at the bottom of this article. So Graham believes that the way to handle those who are captured, arrested, detained, etc in our ongoing “War on Terror” is to detain them indefinitely, without a trial. Allow me to be as clear as I can be on this…

I believe that it is a violation of human rights to detain someone indefinitely without a trial or hearing or tribunal of some sort to determine both their guilt and the proper course of action in dealing with the defendant going forward.

I know that there are differing camps on this one. I understand that the die hard folks believe that the terrorists are out to get us and should therefore have no rights. Don’t get me wrong. Terrorists are about the bottom of the scum layer for me as well. I don’t care how much someone wants to claim they are simply resorting to the only weapon they have available. Killing innocent folks is wrong. And that means it is wrong when the US does it too. However, regardless of how low on the ladder of morality the terrorist falls, we must never surrender our own values and principles. Yes, these men are criminals when captured. I don’t doubt it for a second. But that does not mean that we stoop to their level. If I could share a quote:

The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons. Feodor Mikhailovich Dostoyevsky

If this quote is to be accepted as anywhere near the mark in terms of accuracy, what does this say about the degree of civilization in America. I don’t live in a shell. I know the world. And I am acutely aware that our prison systems are better than many in the world. Better, safer, and more humane. But that changes dramatically when we get into the shadow world of secret prisons, interrogations (of the enhanced type), and the treatment of war criminals. As the last several years have shown us, our track record there isn’t so hot. And it isn’t the fault of the Republicans or the Democrats alone. As Speaker Pelosi showed us, both sides are in on the game. The Democrats just do a better job of hiding their approval and calling out Republicans.

To be honest, I don’t really care which way we go in handling these “enemy combatants.” I know the big arguments about running them through civilian courts versus military tribunals. I have debated the issue before and you are all aware of my positions on this. The point is, regardless of which side of that debate you fall on, you want to see the accused go through the process. Put them in a civilian court. Put them through a military tribunal. Come up with some other way of doing it.


To say that we are somehow justified in holding a captured suspect forever without the process of determining his guilt or innocence is FAR below the acceptable standards of morality in the United States of America. I know, many of the folks opposed to our government will tell you this is just another example of the low level of United States morality. But our people are better than this. At least the vast majority of them. Our government may have lost all of its principles and values a while ago, but the average American citizen still knows the difference between what is right and what is wrong on a basic level.

The laws of War state that we can hold enemy combatants for the length of the war. This is a practice that has held for centuries, usually resulting in the negotiation for release once the war comes to some sort of conclusion. But here is the problem with using this practice in the current situation: There is no way for this war to come to a “conclusion.” The war on terror doesn’t involve a country we can conquer. It doesn’t involve a leader who can surrender to us and end it. There is no winning the war on terror. There is only fighting it. And at the rate we are going, we will be fighting it for the next century. It is never-ending and as unconventional as anything we have ever seen in terms of a “war”.

And that means that what is being proposed is that the people who are captured in this war on terror, if denied a trial of some sort, will spend the rest of their lives in our custody. They will never have the opportunity to plead their case or defend themselves. Under Senator Graham’s proposal, they will be held forever. It will be called a preventative detention. Under the guise of protecting us from potential harm, the government will deem that it is justified in denying the accused any form of due process while holding them.

There are two problems with this result. The first is obvious. What if the combatant is innocent of the charges leveled against them by the United States government? It certainly seems to be happening quite a bit. I have seen many different numbers out there, so it is hard to be accurate here, but you can get a feel for the reality. Almost 800 detainees have gone through Guantanamo detention facility. Over 400 of those have been released without charge. That is over 50%. Ponder that for a moment. Over 50% of the people that have ended up at Gitmo have been released without charge. So how many of the other 400, who haven’t been released, are also guilty of nothing more than ending up in American custody? I don’t have the answer. Under Graham’s proposal, no one will have the answer. Because there won’t be a trial to find out.

The second problem is not as obvious. I know many of you are reading this and thinking that it sucks but it isn’t your problem. What you fail to take into account is the fact that once the government has the precedence on its side of holding folks, legally, without a trial, indefinitely, there is no turning back. How long do you think it will be before we start seeing Americans ending up held in custody like this? Think about all the political debates and discussions you have had on blogs and at the news sites. Can you say with 100% certainty that you have never said anything that the federal government couldn’t twist into you being either a radical or a threat or a supporter of our enemies? So what happens when you end up held indefinitely without a trial, deemed by Janet Napolitano to be a radical or an extremist because you dared say that Washington is beyond fixing?

There is no power you can give government that they do not grow and cultivate until it becomes a monster that we can no longer control. Let us not forget that the income tax began as a tax of 1% on the income of the top 1% of earners in America. The other 99% all felt this was fair. How many of you think the income tax is still a fair deal? If we fail to hold them accountable as they treat others this way, they will eventually move on to any who oppose them, including us.

This is one area where the White house needs to stand its ground. I don’t always agree with how they want to deal with enemy combatants. But the White House last year said that they at least wanted to deal with them. Get them in some sort of justice system. To now be discussing a reversal of this position as a way to “break the gridlock with the GOP” amounts to, in my opinion, a sacrifice of moral principles for political expediency. That is never acceptable.

The GOP should be called out for this position. It goes against the very christian principles that the GOP so often wants to claim they represent. The United States was founded as a nation of law. A nation of principles and freedom. This policy goes against all of those. More important, this position goes against the basic tenants of human rights.

We have every right in this country to take the actions that are necessary in order for us to remain safe from those that wish to do us harm. Terrorists are becoming more active, more determined, and unfortunately, more numerous. However, this does not mean that we have to abandon the basic tenants of our values and principles in dealing with the threat. The first step towards defeating terrorism is to embrace the concept of conducting our selves in a manner that can be agreed is better than them. That starts with giving detainees due process. If the GOP wants to regain some of the moral footing they have lost so completely over the last 10 years, they could begin by dumping this moronic position on detainees.


  1. Good Morning!

    USW touched on it alittle, but if one’s digs into the Patriot Act, it is very easy to see that this is just another attempt at control of the masses. There have been many discussions about laws and the death penalty, designed as a deterent. This law will deter nothing, and I have sincere doubts that the intent is to do so, as far as terrorism is concerned. This might however, be the road for Big Brother to squash peaceful dissent.

    Peace and Live Free!


  2. I agree that this is not a good decision. I don’t see why we don’t just have a military tribunal right after they are captured. After all, if they are being captured we think they are terrorists right?

    “The first step towards defeating terrorism is to embrace the concept of conducting our selves in a manner that can be agreed is better than them.”

    The sad thing about this is that we will never be able to defeat this enemy if we stick to our principles (which we must or we become our own enemy)! If we lower our standards to defeat them, we are no better than they, but if we do not snatch suspects before they commit a crime, how are we supposed to prevent the crime? This is a sort of “Minority Report” moment. If we think someone may blow a bomb in the middle of a crowded marketplace, but we have no proof that would hold up in court, what then? What if there is no way to get such proof? Do we let them kill innocents because we can’t catch them?

    The dilemma is frustrating, but it is not unique to this case. The bad guys are unconstrained by morality and so have the upper hand over those of us who are. We will not give up our morality because it defines us. I certainly don’t know any solution.

  3. Ray Hawkins says:

    Preventive detention is already legal in the United States for sexually violent offenders and typically as part of post-punitive relief – meaning after they serve their period of incarceration. I believe it is narrowly defined from the SCOTUS decision in Kansas v. Hendricks (1997)then upheld in Kansas v. Crane (2002).

    So ask yourself this – do you approve of a narrowly defined and used law that enables preventive detention for SVP (sexually violent predators) after they complete their sentence?

    If you answer yes….

    How do you sync that with what to do with the folks in reference in this blog posting?


    Enjoying Monday & need more coffee….

    • Ray this is not an apples to apples comparison. Under Kansas’ Sexually Violent Predator Act a person nearing the end of his sentence has a court hearing to determined if they are to be indefinitely confined. It is also based on a mental evaluation and if they have had a history of predatory sexual violence. In Kansas v. Hendricks SCOTUS upheld the law in a 5-4 decision. In Kansas v. Crane SCOTUS in a 7-2 decision limited Kansas’ use of the law when they tried to apply it to Crane who was nearing an end of his sentence for exposing himself to children. These people were afforded the due process of law, not locked away without any hearing.

      As to your question:

      “do you approve of a narrowly defined and used law that enables preventive detention for SVP (sexually violent predators) after they complete their sentence?”


      “How do you sync that”

      The same way as I would not give a small child a knife/matches to play with, they do not realize there is danger there. They could seriously harm themselves and others. If after a mental evaluation a SVP is deemed not mentally able to control themselves it then becomes a medical question and not a punishment question. That being said I know nothing about what Kansas does with them and whether they offer them any mental treatment.

      Parenting is an adventure-enjoy it. Hope the little one is well.

    • Ray,

      Bama already answered this quite well. But I will add my thoughts. As he said, that isn’t a fair comparison. And it is precisely because the sexual predators in question did go through the process of being found guilty. My issue with preventative detention is not with the detention. It is with the fact that under Graham’s belief, we should be allowed to hold people indefinitely without due process. I felt that I was pretty clear in expressing that as my issue. Whatever form of trial we are going to use is a different debate, and one that I wasn’t attempting to have here. The point is that if we are capturing folks, we need to give them due process. If they are trying to blow up a crowd of innocent people and we stop them, we can execute them or throw them into a hole forever. But we must insure that they are guilty before we simply hold them forever. Do you agree with that sentiment?


      • Ray Hawkins says:

        @USW – I think you guys are missing my point – are there situations where preventive detention can be legally and morally justified? If that answer is yes – then it becomes a question over what circumstances are required to support it be it at the cradle end or grave end of the process if you know what I mean. The moral relativist would seem to say sure – it can work in “A” and “B”, maybe in “C” but definitely not “D”. Its like the Indecent Proposal line from Robert Redford………..

        Anyway – I wasn’t sure how the absolutists that predominate here would see it – maybe you guys are more relativist than you think.

        I would like to see them tried in Court and determine their fate thus. This is not the place for preventive detention.

  4. Were most enemy combatants not captured in either Afghanistan or Iraq? Why not return them to the country they were captured in with the reason for their detainment. That country can then decide under their legal system what to do
    with them, be it prison, execution or release.

  5. Haven’t posted here in a number of months but I read your articles daily. I’m posting under a new username to help avoid Big Brother tracking me down.

    Anywho – When the Patriot Act came out I was a staunch supporter of it. I basically had the mindset that if you are not a US citizen, the Constitution does not apply to you – any act taken against non-citizens to protect citizens was okay in my mind. Since that time, I have done a lot of reading and my eyes have been opened. The original framers of the Constitution based their document largely on Natural Law which is from the Creator endowed to all men and women. They apply to all people whether US Citizen or not, enemy combatant or not.

    Also, based on our founding documents, when given a choice between freedom or security, we must almost always err on the side of individual liberty. With liberty comes inherent risks that we must live with in order to enjoy that liberty. The only way we can approach absolute security of all citizens from terror attacks is by doing away with individual liberty. Many of our founding fathers realized this. One of my growing problems with the Republican Party is they do not realize this concept or are totally unwilling to accept the inherent risks that come with liberty.

  6. Ellen Spalding says:

    Good Morning All,

    I havent had my coffee yet this morning so fair warning! I believe that detaining someone without a trial is just wrong. If you have the evidence or witness to arrest this person, then put him/her up to trial and move on. The idea of keeping someone without getting justice is something I never understood. What if you are wrong, we had gotten bad info. We are going to detain someone who might not be guilty forever.
    I have never been a fan of the Patriot Act for a list of reasons. The big one is no accountability for the government in their control over us.

    Plus where do we drawn the line in the sand? Who falls under this notion. I believe that the box will get only bigger and the people who are “dangerous” will cover alot of different people.


  7. I’m with you, USW. The first thing that occured to me as I was reading was your second point. It won’t be long for the government uses this ruling on us. The tool box is being assembled for the big job. If you want know what the government is planning, look at the tools being assembled for the task ahead. Scary indeed……

  8. And right on cue…..

    Homeland chief: Domestic extremism is top concern

    Email this Story

    Feb 21, 5:31 PM (ET)


    WASHINGTON (AP) – Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano says terrorists who are U.S. citizens or live in the country legally and plot against the U.S. are just as big of a concern as international terrorists.

    She says that when she started as secretary a year ago, the focus was largely on international terrorists who want to harm U.S. interests. But in the past year, more of the violent extremism that has been seen overseas is showing up in the U.S.

    She says officials need to drill down and analyze the factors that make a young person, raised in the U.S., migrate to extremist beliefs and actions.

    Napolitano was speaking to governors who are in Washington for their annual conference.

    • Ray Hawkins says:

      @Cyndi – so – in lieu of trying to identify the root cause and actors involved in pushing our own people to join terrorist organizations and kill people you are suggesting what? Or are you supporting that we do do that? Wasn’t sure.

      • Ray,

        The problem with Islam and American converts is well understood because its been going on for DECADES.

        This new focus by Big Sis is a diversion for what’s really going on. I’m pretty sure that you believe Obama and his admisnistration really have your best interest in mind, and that you’ll accuse me of hating, lunacy, paranoia, etc. Fine. Think what you will. I’m not going to debate you on this so don’t waste your time with me.

        • Ray Hawkins says:

          No Cyndi – let me explain

          (1) I do believe that the Gov thinks they have my best interests in mind – they are not always right and they do not always execute well or as needed;

          (2) I really don’t understand what the diversion is that you speak of – who is diverting what from whom?

          (3) The issue of converts has been going on for decades – so has the conversions as done by Christians and so forth – the difference now is the acting upon the extremism that has grown but is not as widespread as some make it to be (at least not what I have read or seen).

          That’s all….


  9. another unrelated, but still interesting tidbit…

    A new advisory being sent by America’s third largest bank to its account holders has stoked fears that major financial institutions could be preparing for old fashioned bank runs if the economy takes a turn for the worse.

    Originally reported by John Carney over at the Business Insider website, Citigroup is sending the following information to customers along with their bank statements.

    “Effective April 1, 2010, we reserve the right to require (7) days advance notice before permitting a withdrawal from all checking accounts. While we do not currently exercise this right and have not exercised it in the past, we are required by law to notify you of this change.”

    An almost identical advisory to the one being sent out can be read on page 22 of Citbank’s Client Manual effective January 1, 2010, which can be read here from Citibank’s own website.

    “We reserve the right to require seven (7) days advance notice before permitting a withdrawal from all checking, savings and money market accounts. We currently do not exercise this right and have not exercised it in the past,” states the manual.

    According to the Future of Capitalism blog, Citigroup originally claimed that the warning was only sent nationwide as a result of a mistake, but that the measures do apply to account holders in Texas.

    However, in a statement, Citigroup confirmed that they had reserved the right to impose the new 7 day rule on all account holders nationwide, but claimed they had no plans to enforce it. The bank stated that they had been forced to enact the new policy as a result of federal regulations.

  10. USW….

    It seems to me tgat we have created our own problem. We split hairs on definitions of “war” or “terrorists” or “enemy combatants”….by creating this false approach that these terrorists are nothing more than lawbreakers is the most stupid thing we have done in a long time. These are enemy combatants….period. Nothing more, nothing less. You put them in military tribunals…..period. I do not care what past administrations have done…it matters not that an individual shoe bomber is on a civilian airplane….he is an enemy combatant in civilian clothes….I would personally execute the man for being a spy….but, I guess there is some argument that an army can now be uniformed in civilian clothes.

    we have rules in place now….enemy combatants are NOT entitled to any rights other than the rules of war. Treat them so. I am sorry but a man captured on a battlefield with a weapon in his hand is not there by accident….a man setting fire to his shoe in an airplane is an enemy combatant….Major Hasan is an enemy combatant if linked to a terrorist organization….

    The man that flew his plane into the IRS building in Austin….is a nut. He is not a tea bagger nor is he a enemy combatant nor is he a terrorist. He is a sick man that reached the end of his rope. That is all. There are differences.

    So, in this era of political friggin’ correctness….have we not created our own problem here? To hold someone indefinitely without a charge against them is wrong….as to the Gitmo detainees…there is a procedure and the procedure works. Some have been let go and are fine…some have been let go and are recaptured. That is the price we pay but there is a procedure. If they are determined, through military tribunal, that they are enemy combatants then do one of two things. Keep them for the duration of the war OR turn them over to the regime in charge.

    Kinda funny….no one on here is raising hell about the number two guy being held in Pakistan. we did NOT bring him back because we will not “extract” information. However, we are getting great information now…through Pakistani intelligence operations and their methods…..does anyone realize, you will never see this man again? So…give em back and let the locals do what we will not.

    I do not like the Patriot Act and I do not like the idea of indefinite incarceration or even selective incarceration. But, define enemy combatants narrowly and I think our problems get solved……except as to Big Brother. That is a much different story.

    • Ray Hawkins says:

      @D13 – so dear Colonel – we shouldn’t split hairs on when a war is or isn’t a war? Can I declare war on poverty so I have justification on indiscriminate social spending (oh shit, nevermind, we already did that)? Clever legal classifications are precisely what enable us to cast our morals and laws aside so we can do things to the accused we would not otherwise do. I also find it confusing that you and others will ascribe treatment protocols under ‘the rules of war’ – the rules of war defined by the very legal premises you seem to reject as “politically correct” folly or hair splitting. As for the guy in Pakistan – who actually caught the guy? Was it joint effort? Was there an agreement in place that maybe ‘we provide intel’ and ‘you provide the physical/heavy lifting’? Weird things happen when you encroach on sovereign soil to capture folks that have violated your law.

      BTW – you contradict yourself in beginning and end as to defining EC’s – narrow or not narrow?

      • Ray,

        Technically, under the rules of war that we ascribe to, many if not most of the people we have captured on the battlefield in both Afghanistan and Iraq should have been summarily executed as illegal combatants. They were captured on a battlefield, while armed, and without any markings distinguishing then as members of an organized armed force. It has been to our detriment that we took them into custody and held them. The detention camp at GTMO was established to a) get prisoners with potential intelligence value out of the theater, and b) still have them somewhere outside the US so that technically US laws didn’t apply.

        • Redleg,

          I do not agree.

          They fulfill all the requirements.

          They carried their arms openly.

          They were distinctive.

          They were fighting within the norms of war.

          They have a command structure.

          • What distinctive marks did they have? They were dressed just like anybody else in the country was.

            • They were on the battlefield dressed DISTINCTLY from their enemy.

              A uniform is not required.

              • No they were on the battlefield dressed distinctly like non-combatants. Under your definition here, we are justified in treating as combatants everyone dressed differently than us. That makes no sense.

                So if we take your definition, are we justified in shooting all the innocent women and children who are dressed distinctly from their enemy? THAT is the purpose of a uniform. To show that you are a combatant. They are intentionally attempting to not appear that way.

              • In Marjah they are dressed DISTINCTLY like the civilian population with one exception. They carried weapons which when things got hot they dropped and just walked away knowing they would not be molested because of the ROE.

          • On the contrary BF, that is one of the very issues that we are facing in theater. These folks are blending in with innocent civilians. That is their intent. You know this to be true, so why would you present it otherwise. Do so fit your version? Yes. But there are many others that don’t. That is the very nature of the warfare they are waging.


            • USWep,

              I have made that distinction – on battlefield.

              Many held ‘illegal combatants’ were seized on the battlefield

              • And therein lies the problem BF, there is no battlefield in the war on terror. Battlefields are markets, towns, etc.

                • The problem is not the battlefield, but the concept of war on terror.

                  No such ‘war’ exists – it cannot – by definition – exist.

                  The 30 Years War, ending in 1678 not only changed the map of Europe but changed the definition of war.

                  It was so horrifically devastating on civilian populations that concepts about war that were at best vague began to be actually discussed and codified – the first “Rules of War” whose primary purpose was to designate ‘legal participants’ and ‘legal targets’ of warfare action.

                  For over 300 years, there has been a general consensus of what a legal combatant was (disregarding whether any particular army recognized this distinction or not).

                  Suddenly, 300 years of definition is confusing??

                  It has been and currently stands that a person, acting under saboteur, spy, or civilian who inflicts harm or damage upon property in an area under control of an Occupying Power is an illegal combatant.

                  Why are you confused about this?

                  Are you confused about that condition and believe it is the same as a man in a battlefield under command holding a trench is the same thing???

                  I do not think so.

                  So put these two completely different scenarios into their right box.

                  • I am unsure what you think I do not understand or what I said that led you to the conclusion that I do not understand these two classifications of combatant. I understand and accept them quite well. My points in the article were, and are, that in the current situation we have people who are combatants who are not distinct in their appearance. As a result of this tactic being employed by those fighting against us, it can become confusing determining who is and who isn’t a combatant, simply because those who are combatants look like, and subsequently attempt to appear to be, non-combatants. Because of this situation, there are certainly likely to be people detained or captured who may not be guilty of anything other than being in the wrong place at the wrong time. The point I made in the article is that this is happening. Therefore, we must never agree to an indefinite detention without due process because we could be wrong about the captured person.

                    What baffles me is that I feel I was very clear in my article in stating that what I was opposed to was a lack of due process. Yet somehow this has been twisted into my being accused of failing to understand the law of war or the status of combatants under the rules. You use condescending remarks such as “suddenly 300 years of definition is confusing??” When in fact, my argument has been and still is that the people we are fighting are intentionally attempting to appear as a non-combatant. Something you know, yet fail to acknowledge for the purpose of…. what? Speaking to me as though I am too stupid to understand what you are saying.

                    You talk about these two completely different scenarios being in their right box. BRAVO…. you have made my point for me. The point is that the proposal that Graham and the White House seem to be embracing is one that DOES NOT properly differentiate between the two scenarios. Which is one of the arguments that I was making as to why due process is so important.

                    I swear sometimes I think you argue just to be difficult, because you know darn well everything that I just said. You are too smart to not understand what I was saying completely.


                    • USwep,

                      I think because you interjected into a dialogue between myself and others, you stepped in on one side of the discussion without defining the other side at the same time.

                    • Fair point. I have now defined my position, at least I think I have.


                Afghan Official: Taliban Using Human Shields

                Wednesday, February 17, 2010

                MARJAH, Afghanistan — Taliban insurgents are increasingly using civilians as human shields as they fight allied troops trying to take the militants’ southern stronghold of Marjah, an Afghan official said Wednesday as military squads resumed painstaking house-to-house searches.

                About 15,000 NATO and Afghan troops are taking part in the offensive around Marjah, which has an estimated 80,000 inhabitants and was the largest town in southern Helmand province under Taliban control. NATO hopes to rush in aid and public services as soon as the town is secured to try to win the loyalty of the population.

                With the assault in its fifth day, insurgents are firing at Afghan troops from inside or next to compounds where women and children appear to have been ordered to stand on a roof or in a window, said Gen. Mohiudin Ghori, the brigade commander for Afghan troops in Marjah.

                “Especially in the south of Marjah, the enemy is fighting from compounds where soldiers can very clearly see women or children on the roof or in a second-floor or third-floor window,” Ghori said. “They are trying to get us to fire on them and kill the civilians.”

        • Ray Hawkins says:

          @Redleg –

          Hamdan v. Rumsfeld?

          Boumediene v. Bush?

          Are these not part of the rules to which you/we should ascribe?

          The military commissions act is/was horribly flawed.

          • The supreme court should have thrown those out. The defendents never left military custody, they were treated IAW the laws of war, and the tribunals were duly constituted under the rules for courts martial.

      • Ray says: @D13 – so dear Colonel – we shouldn’t split hairs on when a war is or isn’t a war?

        D13 raises an eyebrow: Come on, Ray. You know perfectly well that I am referring to a shooting war…not a war on poverty and not a war on drugs…nor obesity. So, cut me a little slack here. The definitions are not even similar.

        Actually, the rules of warfare are very explicit and do not require very much interpretation. First of all, the persons that we are fighting against, at this time, do not subscribe to the “rules of warfare”. They do not recognize nor believe in the Geneva Convention, which is outdated and has several “amendments”. The Oriental philosophy also did not subscribe to the rules of warfare. The Japanese did not subscribe, the Vietnamese did not subscribe, etc. etc.

        I also advocated that I agree that holding “suspected” individuals without charge is not right. Charge them or let them go. If they show up again, it is not coincidence. If they have a rifle, pistol, wire cutters, bomb making equipment, knife, box cutter, or knitting needle and they are wielding same, they are combatants. I do not care, nor should we care, if they are uniformed with rank or in baby diapers. They are not criminals, they are enemy combatants and we are at war…even Obama says so now. HOWEVER….make a decision and go with it. To not make a decisions is even worse folly. So…do it and move on.

        Are there innocent civilians caught on a battle field…of course. Most officers and senior NCO’s know the difference. I know the difference, so does Black Flag, and so do you. I faced it in Vietnam and I faced it in Bosnia. Did not face it in Kuwait nor Afghanistan.

        My whole point….criminals is not what they are. We are at war. Charge them or let them go. Find them innocent or convict them and put them away. If they are caught with weapons, they are combatants and POW’s. It is not that hard to distinguish, they carry all sorts of things that go bang and poke holes in you. If they are POW’s, they are not subject to civilian law simply because WE caught them. It is war.

        Actually, (it is not classified any longer), it was a joint operation in Pakistan. We knew where the subject was and it was our…ummmm…clandestine personnel that captured same, with the “help” of the Pakistanis. As always, there was an agreement in place prior to the operation that they (Pakistanis) would get the prisoner…regardless… but we want the information and how they get it…we do not care. I have been on such operations…I know how it works. Very simple and very effective….no ACLU, no United States due process, no right to an attorney, no right to remain silent….Pakistan does not do that.

        • D13,

          Vietnam did indeed subscribe to it
          Country Accepted Ratified
          4th Convention
          Viet Nam 28.06.1957 28.06.1957. (text)
          China 10.12.1949 28.12.1956 28.12.1956 (text)
          Japan 1949

          3rd Convention
          Japan 27.07.1929
          (Vietnam was a colony of France and fell under their auspices)

          • Yes, Vietnam was a colony of France and point made at that time and North Vietnam specifically did not. Japan, of course, in 1949 AFTER WWII under the guidance of US administration. North Vietnam specifically denied any subscription to it….not only did they deny it, their actions proved it just as the actions of the Empire of Japan proved it.

            However, it really does not matter. We are going to go by the rules whether or not whatever enemy we have goes by it or not.

            Also, to answer your question of the legalities of war….I have been through no less than four classes of the legal ramifications of war and had them “renewed” several times. I am very familiar with it and recite it….verbatim.

        • Ray Hawkins says:

          @D13 – but my Colonel friend – our war on terror is not a war – this is where the vagaries of definition come into play – our war on terror is not a legal war, not so far in how (and strict Constitutionalists know this) we define what war is and how/when it is declared. In backing away from legal constructs gray areas of definition can easily be created – this is where the John Yoo-types live that can justify legalizing the term ‘enemy combatant’ to enable a whole slew of interesting and legally questionable tactics. Legal definitions matter and they matter greatly D13 – you know that as well as I. And I do recognize that the tactics we exercise in these invasions and conflicts follow the legal constructs of how and what we define and have defined as warfare – I just cringe that we suddenly think our systems for handling the output of warfare are somehow inadequate all of a sudden.

    • Colonel,
      Have you had your DP yet this morning? You seem alittle “off” here…

      So many contradictions, I don’t know where to start.

      it matters not that an individual shoe bomber is on a civilian airplane…he is an enemy combatant in civilian clothes…I would personally execute the man for being a spy…but, I guess there is some argument that an army can now be uniformed in civilian clothes.

      So enemy combatant, spy, or foreign army in civilian clothes? You seem to be advocating all 3?

      I am sorry but a man captured on a battlefield with a weapon in his hand is not there by accident…a man setting fire to his shoe in an airplane is an enemy combatant…

      So are civilian airplanes now battlefields?

      Major Hasan is an enemy combatant if linked to a terrorist organization…

      The man that flew his plane into the IRS building in Austin…is a nut. He is not a tea bagger nor is he a enemy combatant nor is he a terrorist. He is a sick man that reached the end of his rope. That is all. There are differences.

      So what’s the difference? Besides one being Muslim?
      Why is his civilian airplane not a battlefield? Or a weapon?
      Sounds like a right-wing extremist terrorist to me??

      as to the Gitmo detainees…there is a procedure and the procedure works. Some have been let go and are fine…some have been let go and are recaptured.

      How many have been convicted in military tribunals vs civilian courts?

      And some have been determined innocent but we can’t figure out where to release them…

      If they are determined, through military tribunal, that they are enemy combatants then do one of two things. Keep them for the duration of the war OR turn them over to the regime in charge.

      I thought they were enemy combatants already? But now the military tribunal has to make that determination? How many years to we hold them before we make that determination?

      Kinda funny….no one on here is raising hell about the number two guy being held in Pakistan. we did NOT bring him back because we will not “extract” information. However, we are getting great information now…through Pakistani intelligence operations and their methods…..does anyone realize, you will never see this man again? So…give em back and let the locals do what we will not.

      I believe he was captured by Pakistan with US help, so he’s in their custody.

      I do not like the Patriot Act and I do not like the idea of indefinite incarceration or even selective incarceration. But, define enemy combatants narrowly and I think our problems get solved…

      So, you don’t like indefinite incarceration, except for those people that you don’t like and then it’s Ok?

      except as to Big Brother. That is a much different story.

      But you give Big Brother an inch, and he’ll take a foot…

      • Hiya Todd….had my DP….TWO of em in fact. Ok to your questions:

        My point that I obviously did not make very well, is that the “uniform” of the Taliban is civilian clothes. They do not wear rank, they have no designated uniform, no uniformity in head scarves, no identifying marks. The Viet Cong did not either. I have fought both of them. So, civilian clothes is a uniform of choice for the Taliban and the terrorists cells. That was my point in that comment. We actually can define civilian clothes both ways….uniform and not uniform. Here is the distinction that we make. If a Taliban soldier is captured during an attack..attack is defined as organized tactical assault, then he is a soldier when captured and we subscribe to the so called Convention. It sucks, but we subscribe to it and as an officer, I was bound by it. However, if we captured an individual in a clandestine operation, we have the latitude to assume he is not a soldier and since he is in civilian clothes, we can treat him as a spy. (Example, a janitor working in the “green zone”.) If we caught him stealing information or such, he is a spy and is also not subject to civilian criminal proceedings. The difference…we are at war. If we were not at war and catch him…he is subject to criminal proceedings.

        Yes, to civilian airplanes. They are now a battlefield. So are the movies, the markets, the schools, the churches or anywhere else they bring the war to. These are not criminal acts but acts of war in civilian clothes.

        Being Muslim is the difference and advocating the belief if the Taliban or the extremist Muslim position, which the shoe bomber and the underwear man both advocated, retracted, advocated, retracted….The man that flew his plane into the IRS building…you bet his plane was a weapon…just as potent. The difference….his manifesto was that of a pissed off guy. He did not advocate any type of allegiance to Islamic extremism or the like. Right wing extremist is a label…by you and that is your opinion and you are certainly entitled to it.

        Actually you are wrong on the innocent ones. We are releasing them. But some of the problem is…their own country will not take them back…even when we do not have any reason to keep them. I am the same way. I do not care whether we could not find anything on them or not…I do not want them on my streets and I bet the majority feels the same. As to “convictions” by military tribunals. Do not assume that all Courts Martial and tribunals are huge types of trials. An Article 19 (disciplinary letter) is a Court Martial. There are various decisions that are made all the time without fanfare. Now, a true enemy combatant (captured with a weapon) should be treated as a POW and held. There is no court to be held.

        As a POW, you can hold them as long as the war lasts or negotiations take. I will argue that we do have a specific dilemma, however….like Korea, the war really is not over…we are in a cease fire but release of soldiers were negotiated as part of the cease fire. I think we can have the same thing here. I do not advocate an indefinite war. Therein lies the problem. I really think we can solve it. Why should we keep prisoners indefinitely and feed and clothe them and house them at our expense. Afghanistan has a government of sorts….I have absolutely no problem with handing them over. They probably will not house them nor let them go. We make decisions daily on prisoners. Daily. However, I will also say that we have created a monster now….so….do not hold them. Give em to Afghanistan.

        Yes, the lad in Pakistan was “legally captured” by the Pakistani’s. That is the official version and will be. The information that we are getting is priceless. The methods used are efficient. But, where is the outcry from the human rights organizations? He has disappeared. 🙂

        No sir, I do not like indefinite incarceration without charge for anyone. If they are POW’s then treat them as such. They are not entitled to our civilian laws. If they are holding someone without proof…then charge them or let them go…. but make a decision. Take them home and turn them loose.

        Actually, I am a little more cynical than you on Big Brother….can’t even give them a friggin’ millimeter.

  11. Judy Sabatini says:

    Hello All

    Just want to say, if these detainees are guilty, try them and get it over with. If they’re not, let them go, but send them back to the place from which they came. What good will it do to hold them indefinitely?

    As for winning the war on terrorism, I don’t think it will ever be won. There will always be terrorists, whether it be home grown, or from some other country. They have been around for centuries, and will be around for centuries more. What makes anybody think other wise? But, that’s just MHO on it.

    Hope all is doing well for a Monday.


    • Well said.

      Agree with virtually everything I have read today. Try ’em or release ’em, but you don’t get to bury them in a hole for the rest of their lives. Habeas Corpus is one of the founding principles of this country and we should not abandon it so readily.

      I would personally prefer to try them in New York, but a fair military tribunal is just fine with me, too.

      • Judy Sabatini says:

        Hey Mathius, welcome back, missed ya.

        I agree with you, Pick one or the other, and get it done and over with.

        Hope you’re doing good.

        • Judy… miss ya, too. I have to be honest, I may have been nice and warm but I was definitely in SUFA withdrawal. I even argued politics a little with my father-in-law (always a bad idea – he things W did a great job).

          Crazy day here today (whole week probably), so I’m just following along for now.

          Best to you and your’n

          • Judy Sabatini says:

            SUFA withdrawal symptoms, huh. That’s funny, but I know what you mean. I’ve learned, never to argue with family about politics, it’s a losing battle.

            Now, that you’re back, I’m sure you’ll get better, and all your symptoms will disappear, and you can get back into arguing mode.

      • Hiya Matt…..welcome back…the burrowing Raptors missed ya, huh.

        As to the prisoners…send em back home. As I have said, charge them or let them go. I prefer to send em home and let their own take care of it.

        Hope your vacation went well.


  12. Judy Sabatini says:

    New York City Terrorism Suspect to Plead Guilty

    Monday, February 22, 2010

    Sept. 17, 2009: Najibullah Zazi arrives at the offices of the FBI in Denver for questioning.

    NEW YORK — The key suspect in an alleged plot to attack New York City with homemade bombs has begun cooperating with investigators and is preparing to enter a guilty plea, Fox News has confirmed.

    Najibullah Zazi, a Colorado airport shuttle driver, has begun talking to authorities and plans a guilty plea that could come as early as Monday, law enforcement officials told The Associated Press. They spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation into the terror plot is ongoing.

    As important as a plea would be, Zazi may be far more valuable to investigators as a source for information about co-conspirators in the United States and Pakistan.

    Three people with inside knowledge of the investigation confirmed that the jailed Zazi volunteered information during a recent sit-down with his attorney and federal prosecutors in Brooklyn. The sit-down, known as a proffer session, typically signals that a defendant has begun cooperating in a bid for a plea deal.

    Zazi’s attorney, William Stampur, didn’t immediately return a telephone message Monday.

    Zazi — accused of receiving explosives training in an al-Qaida terror camp in Pakistan — told prosecutors that he was armed with bomb-making components while en route to New York City last year, but got rid of them along the way, the people said.

    Zazi’s account, if true, could explain what happened to explosive materials authorities suspect were meant for a possible attack on the New York City transit system.

    The government alleges the airport driver and others bought beauty supplies in Colorado to make peroxide-based bombs before he tried to mix the explosives in a hotel room there and then set out cross-country by car in September. Searches of his car after he arrived turned up bomb-making plans on a laptop computer, but no actual devices or materials.

    The cooperation by Zazi suggests prosecutors hope to expand the case and bring charges against other suspects in his case and possibly other terror probes. At the time of Zazi’s arrest, Attorney General Eric Holder called the case the most serious terrorism threat since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

    Amid the debate over whether alleged al-Qaida and other terror suspects should be tried in civilian courts, federal prosecutors have sought to demonstrate that they can persuade suspects like Zazi to cooperate and provide more reliable information without coercion.

    One of the people familiar with the Zazi case told the AP that Zazi decided to offer the information after being warned that his mother could face criminal immigration charges.

    Zazi’s father was charged earlier this month with trying to get rid of chemicals and other evidence. But it appears he was cut a break: After initially demanding that he be jailed in Brooklyn without bail, prosecutors agreed to a deal on Feb. 17 releasing him on $50,000 bond and allowing him to return to his home in suburban Denver.

    By contrast, bond for a Queens imam charged with lying to the FBI about phone contact with Zazi when Zazi was in New York was set at $1.5 million. A friend of Zazi, New York cab driver Zarein Ahemdzay, was jailed without bail on a similar lying charge.

    Another one of the people said that Zazi told prosecutors that he made roughly two pounds of a powerful and highly unstable explosive called triacetone triperoxide, or TATP.

    Court documents indicate that Zazi and others bought acetone — nail polish remover — and other ingredients that can be used to make TATP. The same explosive was used by would-be shoe bomber Richard Reid in 2001 and the terrorists who carried out the London bombings in 2005 that killed 52 people.

    In those instances, TATP was not the main charge; it was the detonator. The 1.5 grams in Reid’s show was supposed to help detonate the plastic explosives aboard a jetliner, and it was used to set off a mixture of black pepper and hydrogen peroxide in London.

    Experts has said the TATP in the Zazi case was most likely going to be just the detonator.

    But in each of those earlier instances, TATP was not the main charge — it was the detonator. It was supposed to help detonate the plastic explosives in Reid’s shoe aboard a jetliner, and it was used to set off a mixture of black pepper and hydrogen peroxide in London.

    The FBI’s New York office and the U.S. attorney’s office in Brooklyn declined comment on Monday.

    Authorities say Ahmedzay and another New Yorker charged in the case, Adis Medunjanin, traveled to Pakistan with Zazi in 2008. Medunjanin has pleaded not guilty to charges he conspired to kill U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan and remains jailed.

    The three men, former high school classmates in Queens, are scheduled to appear in federal court in Brooklyn on Feb. 25.

    Officials earlier confirmed reports week that Zazi’s uncle had been arraigned on a felony count in secret — a sign that he also could be cooperating.

    • Ray Hawkins says:

      Thanks for the article Judy.

      So it would seem we obtained useful and actionable information without shipping the guy to Gitmo and instead used our own legal system. That sucks.

      • Judy Sabatini says:

        Hi Ray

        You’re welcome, but have to ask, why does it suck and in which way do you mean? Or, are you just being sarcastic?

        BTW, hope all is well with you, and how’s the little guy doing?

        • Ray Hawkins says:

          hey Judy – sorry – was being very sarcastic. I think our system works and it has worked and will continue to work.

          The little guy is oh so close to walking. I never realized how utterly strong a 9 month old baby can be!

          • Judy Sabatini says:

            I thought maybe you were being sarcastic, but wasn’t sure.

            Glad to hear your little one is doing good and getting ready for the big adventure of walking. Just wait, once he starts, he’ll keep on going. At least that’s the way it was when our oldest son started walking.

  13. You know how these things get started, right? Fear. After 9/11, all we heard was terror threats and terror alerts and orange, red, and chartreuse terror warning levels.

    Even before 9/11 – Democrats were soft on crime/war. Republicans were tough on crime/war.

    Now it’s terrorists, and 9/11 just upped the ante.

    So what options does Obama have here?
    1. Agree with Lindsey Graham and piss-off his left base – and probably piss-off the extreme right too?
    2. Disagree with Lindsey Graham and be portrayed as soft on terror, or partisan, or not willing to work with Republicans?
    3. Explain why this is a bad idea? How many of you would accept that?

    Anyone who disagrees with any proposal like this is portrayed as soft on crime/war/terror. This leads to our current prison system. And while I agree it is better then many in the world, our attitude of long sentences, no parole, and 3 strikes are leading us to a prison system we cannot afford to maintain. Whether or not it is “just” is another issue.

    The Democrats just do a better job of hiding their approval and calling out Republicans.

    I don’t know about this – the Republicans do a pretty good job of portraying the Democrats as soft on crime/war/terror…maybe I missed the point here.

    But our people are better than this. At least the vast majority of them. Our government may have lost all of its principles and values a while ago, but the average American citizen still knows the difference between what is right and what is wrong on a basic level.

    I’d like to think so, but we’re willing to lock up a lot of people to “insure” our own safety, and keep them detained even after they have served their sentence. What’s the big deal with a few hundred Arabs that are obviously terrorists????

    How long do you think it will be before we start seeing Americans ending up held in custody like this?

    Oh, you don’t think this could really happen, do you??? 😉

    Think about all the political debates and discussions you have had on blogs and at the news sites. Can you say with 100% certainty that you have never said anything that the federal government couldn’t twist into you being either a radical or a threat or a supporter of our enemies?

    See, this is why I come to SUFA. To make sure I have documented proof that I am fighting against the crazy right-wing extremists – and reporting back to Janet of course!! 😉

    • Ray Hawkins says:

      Shhh Todd – you weren’t supposed to tell anyone that we’re undercover agents.

    • Todd,

      I agree completely on your perception of how Democrats and Republicans portray themselves and each other on soft or hard approach. They play an excellent game of cat and mouse in the media. You said that you weren’t suer what my point was. So I will clarify it a bit. My point is that regardless of all the claims and rhetoric that gets thrown around, both parties are equally bad in terms of their positions. The Republicans are outwardly tough on terror and run off at the mouth. The Democrats keep quiet about it but silently support many of the same tactics or beliefs in a different way. My point was that we are talking about yet another situation where they are both on the same team wearing different color shirts.

      Todd says: I’d like to think so, but we’re willing to lock up a lot of people to “insure” our own safety, and keep them detained even after they have served their sentence. What’s the big deal with a few hundred Arabs that are obviously terrorists????

      USW says: My difference here is that I think the average American citizen understands that the right thing to do is to give them due process, hence the point of the entire article. Yes I am willing to throw away the key or execute a terrorist if they are PROVEN to be a terrorist in a trial or tribunal. I assume you bolded the word obviously sarcastically. If they are obviously a terrorist, then it won’t be hard to give them due process before holding them indefinitely or executing them. What most Americans realize is wrong is doing either without due process.

      You asked what options Obama has… I say I am fine with option 3. Whether or not I accept his explanation depends on the explanation. You fall into a weird trap if you use our “expected” reaction as a reason for failing to uphold values. Are there some who would never accept his reasoning for why this is a bad idea? You bet. They aren’t going to like him no matter what he does. But, in my opinion, the RIGHT thing to do is EXACTLY option #3. If his reasoning is focused around the idea of due process, I will absolutely agree with him. If his reasoning is because purple left handed redheads like ice cream, I will understand people not accepting his reasoning.

      On a bigger scheme of things note, I believe that the American people will accept just about anything if you can provide a solid reasoning for why it is necessary. The problem is that the reasoning offered by Obama on many different positions is simply not solid reasoning. THAT is why we refuse to accept it. It is not, for most of us, a decision to reject any reasoning offered simply because he is Obama.


  14. The problem with this and another item – the authorization of killing of American citizens who are merely accused of being terrorists – is just that, an accusation.

    The State often has a lack of or insufficient evidence to prosecute said offense. To declare that merely accusations are enough to convict is very dangerous. That is called “witch trials” and will lead to abuse.

    • As I said above, many of the detainees were captured armed and on the battlefield, no question of their guilt, and no requirement for a trial under the laws of war.

      • Buck The Wala says:

        I wasn’t aware that the laws of war condone summarily killing those captured.

        • Buck,

          Yes, it does.

          Redleg is correct in repeating the Laws of War.

          This is why spies can be summarily executed. They fail the distinctive markings rule…

          For example, the Germans dressing up as Americans so to pass through American lines in WW2 is legal as long as before they begin combat, they remove the disguise and resume wearing their own uniform

          If however they entire combat while still dressed as Americans, they can be executed upon capture.

          I do not, however, agree with his position that the combatants failed in their measure.

          • Buck The Wala says:

            Interesting, but even so I would argue that we are above doing that.

            • Buck,

              I, too, would hope that as well.

              Sun Tzu made a very key point in the Art of War.

              Make surrender a very easy option for your enemy.

              Feed your prisoners well, care for them as best as possible.

              Make being a prisoner a better place then a fighter on the battle field.

              If the enemy believes it is better to surrender then fight, they will surrender.

              Killing prisoners, torturing them, etc. only steels them against the US.

        • Buck,

          The laws of war do condone executing those who are tried and found guilty of war crimes. One of those is that tricky thing about uniforms. During WWII, there were 8 or 9 Germans captured here in America that were found to be not in uniform yet serving the German military cause. They were executed.

          The laws of war are a bit tougher than our regular rule of law.


          • Buck The Wala says:

            “Executing those who are tried and found guilty of war crimes”? YES.

            But summarily killing upon capute as Redleg seemed to indicate? That I was unaware of and, even if the rules of law do condone such behavior, strongly believe we should hold ourselves to a higher standard.

            • Buck The Wala says:

              can’t type today — capute = capture

            • Buck see Battle of the Bulge and read what happened to German soldiers dressed in American uniforms.

              • Bama Dad,

                Indeed, so let’s review.
                Because these prisoners had been captured in American uniform, they were later executed by firing squad.[33] This was the standard practice of every army at the time, although it was left ambiguous under the Geneva Convention, which merely stated soldiers had to wear uniforms that distinguished them as combatants. In addition, Skorzeny was aware under international law such an operation would be well within its boundaries as long as they were wearing their German uniforms when firing.[35] Skorzeny and his men were fully aware of their likely fate, and most wore their German uniforms underneath their Allied ones in case of capture. Skorzeny was tried by an American tribunal in 1947 but was acquitted and moved to Spain and later, South America

                • Skorzeny was acquitted (he commanded but did not participate in the operation) but 16 of his men who did participate were executed by firing squads. German uniforms under American uniforms did not help.

            • Buck,

              Where in occupied territory an individual protected person is detained as a spy or saboteur, or as a person under definite suspicion of activity hostile to the security of the Occupying Power, such person shall, in those cases where absolute military security so requires, be regarded as having forfeited rights of communication under the present Convention.

              They still have rights – but not POW rights.

              Combatants who do not qualify for POW status

              A combatant who does not qualify for POW status can, under the provisions of the Geneva Conventions, expect to be treated humanely; and before he is punished, can expect to get a trial in “a regularly constituted court.”

              This “court” can be constituted by a military authority of sufficnt senior rank, on the battlefield.

              Non-commissioned officers are not sufficient rank.

              Usually a Major or higher is considered sufficient.

              • Buck The Wala says:

                That is perfectly fine by me – so long as there is some trial granted with some procedural safegaurds.

                What bothered me was the line that such captives could be summarily executed on the spot.

                • Buck,
                  Indeed – but in the midst of battle, where prisoner control is tenuous, usually the immediacy of execution is the norm.

                  That is why it is usually best to surrender en masse then singly.

                • That major, if he is given that authority, is judge and jury. Catching the guy on the battlefield, with a weapon, out of uniform is sufficient evidence to convict him of a war crime, and execute him on the spot. The whole process could take less than 15 minutes. That scenario falls fully within the laws of war, and the major is fully within his duty to do so. The fact that we do not do so so goes more to us holding ourselves to a higher standard than required.

  15. Redleg,
    Let’s flip this around. Russia invades the USA. You pick up your rifle to resist. You are captured.

    Are you an enemy combantant?
    Does Russia have the right to execute you on the spot?

    • Yes they do, the smart partisan would wear something to distinguish himself (or herself) as part of an organized group.

    • Redleg is correct.

      The rules are specific.

      The uniform thing is not as big a deal – as long as you are distinctive from your enemy is sufficient.

      The real tough one is ‘command structure’. Is there a organized command structure that – and here is the key – that of being commanded by a person responsible for his subordinates – which is usually meant to eventually land upon some recognized authority, such as a government in exile, etc.

      If you act alone you will be considered unlawful, like a vigilanty. You are acting outside of lawful authority – and not bound by the rules of law.

      If you act within a command structure and operate within lawful authority you can be a resistance fighter or guerrilla fighter, and be protected under the Convention.

      The key to remember is this.

      If you wish to avail yourself of lawful protection, you must follow the law in action

      If you do not wish lawful protection, you do not need to follow lawful action.

      • For example, in WW2.

        When armed combatants are captured, they are required to give rank and military identification such as serial number. “Name, rank and serial number”

        This is to establish lawful combatant status

        When partisans were captured, many refused to give this information – for much of their effectiveness was based on obscurity of personal. It was pretty near impossible to prove rank and command structure to claim lawful combatant status without also exposing the identity of other partisans.

        So though they may have been legal combatants – their refusal in providing substance to their claim landed them into ‘illegal combatants’ and were executed.

      • BF, its not distinctive from your enemy that is the key, it is distinguishing yourself as a combatant. That is usually done with a uniform of some sort.

        • Redleg,

          I agree.

          Usually being in combat is consider enough of a distinction of being declared a ‘combatant’, right? 🙂

          That is why the measure is merely being distinctive from your enemy. You are already – obviously – taken up arms against them in combat, thus, you must make yourself distinct from (1) people who are not fighting (civilians) and (2) from the enemy.

          The (1) can be easily established, for example, by merely being on a battlefield. Rarely are there “civilians” manning redoubts, trenches and firing positions on top of hills. Here, mere meeting (2) is all that is necessary (plus command and control structure)

  16. Judy Sabatini says:

    What do you people think on this? A random act of lunacy, or terrorism.

    Plane Attack Prompts Debate Over Terrorism Label

    Published: February 20, 2010

    Filed at 6:15 p.m. ET

    AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — When a man fueled by rage against the U.S. government and its tax code crashes his airplane into a building housing offices of the Internal Revenue Service, is it a criminal act or an act of terrorism?

    For police in Austin, it’s a question tied to the potential for public alarm: The building set ablaze by Joseph Stack’s suicide flight was still burning Thursday afternoon when officials confidently stood before reporters and said the crash wasn’t terrorism.

    But others, including those in the Muslim community, look at Stack’s actions and fail to understand how he differs from foreign perpetrators of political violence who are routinely labeled terrorists.

    ”The position of many individuals and institutions seems to be that no act of violence can be labeled ‘terrorism’ unless it is carried out by a Muslim,” said Nihad Awad, director of the Washington-based Council on Islamic-American Relations.

    Within hours of Thursday’s crash, which several witnesses said stirred memories of the Sept. 11 attacks, both federal and local law enforcement officials, along with the White House, said it did not appear to be an act of terror. A widely quoted statement issued by the Department of Homeland Security also said officials had ”no reason to believe there is a nexus to terrorist activity.”

    Yet at the same time, Stack’s motives for flying his single-engine plane into a seven-story office building after apparently setting his house on fire were becoming clear as detectives, reporters and others found a rambling manifesto on the Web in which he described a long-smoldering dispute with the IRS and a hatred of the government.

    In the note, Stack said he longs for a big ”body count” and expresses the hope that ”American zombies wake up and revolt.”

    ”To keep the government from getting money, he burned his house. To keep them from getting money he crashed his airplane,” said Ken Hunter, whose father Vernon, a longtime IRS employee, was the only person killed by Stack’s attack. ”That’s not the act of a patriot. That’s the act of a terrorist, and that’s what he is.”

    Stratfor, an Austin-based global intelligence firm specializing in international risk management, said the rhetoric in Stack’s rant clearly matches the USA Patriot Act’s definition of terrorism: a criminal act that is intended to ”intimidate or coerce a civilian population to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or to affect the conduct of a government by assassination or kidnapping.”

    ”When you fly an airplane into a federal building to kill people, that’s how you define terrorism,” said Rep. Michael McCaul, a Texas Republican whose district includes Austin. ”It sounds like it to me.”

    It doesn’t to Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo, who instead sees an isolated, criminal attack carried out by a lone individual. He said branding the crash as terrorism so soon after the plane’s impact could have provoked unnecessary panic and prompted residents of Austin and beyond to erroneously conclude that other attacks might be imminent.

    ”I did not want to use it because I didn’t want people that have children in school and loved ones at work to be panicking, thinking that, ‘Oh my God, is there going to be 10 more little planes around the country crashing into buildings?”’ Acevedo said. ”I knew that this appeared to be one guy in one city in one event.”

    Other experts agree. Ami Pedahzur, a professor of government at the University of Texas and author of the book ”Suicide Terrorism,” said that while Stack’s actions might be viewed as a copycat version of 9/11 attacks, they fall short of terrorism.

    Pedahuzur said there is no evidence that Stack was involved in a highly planned conspiracy, and descriptions of Stack’s state of mind in the days before the crash suggest the software engineer ”snapped” after suffering an emotional breakdown. His manifesto was filled with rants that were just as personal as they were political, such as his complaint that corrupt politicians are not ”the least bit interested in me or anything I have to say.”

    Pedahuzur compared the incident to the criminal rampage depicted by Michael Douglas in the 1993 movie ”Falling Down,” in which an unemployed defense worker angry at society’s flaws goes on a rampage.

    ”(Stack) seems to be trying to cover up a personal crisis with some type of political agenda,” Pedahzur said. ”It looks like terrorism, but basically it’s a story of a person whose anger was building up. It’s more of a personal issue than a large movement.”

  17. Judy Sabatini says:

    Homeland chief: Domestic extremism is top concern
    Eileen Sullivan – Associated Press Writer – 2/22/2010 9:30:00

    WASHINGTON – Americans who turn to terrorism and plot against the U.S. are now as big a concern as international terrorists, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said Sunday.

    The government is just starting to confront this reality and does not have a good handle on how to prevent someone from becoming a violent extremist, she said.

    In the last year, Napolitano said, she’s witnessed a movement from international extremism to domestic extremism – cases in which Americans radicalized and decided to plot attacks against the country.

    “What really is it that draws a young person being raised in the United States to want to go and be at a camp in Yemen and then come back to the United States with the idea of committing harm within the United States?” Napolitano asked without citing specific cases. “Where in that person’s formulation is there an opportunity to break that cycle?”

    One case is that of Najibullah Zazi, the Denver airport driver who has been charged with plotting to use explosives to attack the U.S.

    Born in Afghanistan, Zazi had lived in the U.S. since he was 14 years old. In recent years, prosecutors say, he traveled overseas to receive training from al-Qaida.

    Speaking to governors who are in Washington for their annual conference, Napolitano said this problem is one that needs to be drilled down and analyzed.

    Napolitano was in a wheelchair Sunday because she broke her ankle playing tennis a few weeks ago, a Homeland Security official said.

    John Brennan, President Barack Obama’s homeland security adviser, echoed Napolitano’s concerns about violent extremism Sunday.

    Countering violent extremism is not just a federal issue, Brennan told the governors; it’s something that needs to be addressed as a nation.

    The White House hosted a meeting to discuss these issues Friday, Brennan said.

    “There needs to be community engagement,” he said.

    Brennan pointed to a case from late last year when five young Pakistani men living in Northern Virginia traveled to Pakistan seeking training from al-Qaida.

    The FBI learned of the missing men from their families. After the men disappeared in late November, their families, members of the local Muslim community, sought help from a non-governmental organization, which put them in touch with the FBI.

    “It’s that engagement with those local communities that’s going to be the critically important mechanism to detect that radicalization even before they depart,” Brennan said.

    The government has been engaged in this sort of outreach for years. Homeland Security officials have periodic meetings with Muslim communities. And FBI agents in certain parts of the country regularly reach out to Muslim communities and leaders.

    • I’m so glad they have their priorities straight.

      Thousands From Terror-Sponsoring Nations Entering U.S. on ‘Diversity Visas’

      By Joseph Abrams


      In the wake of the botched Christmas Day terror attack, members of Congress are worried that extremists could use the State Department’s diversity visa lottery as a means of getting to the U.S.

      The State Department is planning to welcome thousands of immigrants from terror-watch list countries into the United States this year through a “diversity visa” lottery — a giant legal loophole some lawmakers say is a “serious national security threat” that has gone unchecked for years.

      Ostensibly designed to increase ethnic diversity among immigrants, the program invites in thousands of poorly educated laborers with few job skills — and that’s only the beginning of its problems, according to lawmakers and government investigations.

      “There are a lot of holes in this program in terms of security and in terms of fraud,” said Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., who has written legislation aimed at killing the lottery.

      Now, in the wake of the botched Christmas Day terror attack that emerged from Nigeria and Yemen, members of Congress are worried the system could be vulnerable to radicals looking to “play” the visa lottery as a means of reaching the U.S.

      Here’s how it works: to avoid getting stuck with 3.5 million others on a visa waiting list, hundreds of thousands of people put their names into the separate diversity lottery, which rewards countries that typically see low levels of immigration to the U.S. Immediate family are allowed to join lottery winners.

      Countries like China, where lots of immigrants originate, are excluded.

      Then a computer in Kentucky picks names at random from the qualified applicants, who need only a high school degree or two years at a job that requires two years of experience. The program accounts for about 10 percent of all immigrant visas each year.

      Included in the lottery are all four countries the U.S considers state sponsors of terror — Iran, Sudan, Cuba, and Syria — and 13 of the 14 nations that are coming under special monitoring from the Transportation Security Administration as founts of terrorism. Pakistan is excluded because, like China, it sends over tens of thousands of immigrants each year and doesn’t need to be in the lottery.

      Among the winners for 2010 are:

      Nigeria: 6,006
      Iran: 2,773
      Algeria: 1,957
      Sudan: 1,084
      Afghanistan: 345
      Cuba: 298
      Somalia: 229
      Lebanon: 181
      Libya: 152
      Iraq: 142
      Saudi Arabia: 104
      Syria: 98
      Yemen: 72

  18. USWep,

    No they were on the battlefield dressed distinctly like non-combatants. Under your definition here, we are justified in treating as combatants everyone dressed differently than us. That makes no sense.

    It is perfect sense!

    An organized resistance in the mountains of Bora Bora is not a civilian. It does not take any thinking to see this.

    Per the Convention:
    Article 5

    Should any doubt arise as to whether persons, having committed a belligerent act and having fallen into the hands of the enemy, belong to any of the categories enumerated in Article 4, such persons shall enjoy the protection of the present Convention until such time as their status has been determined by a competent tribunal.

    So if we take your definition, are we justified in shooting all the innocent women and children who are dressed distinctly from their enemy?

    You believe there were children in the mountains of Bora Bora??

    THAT is the purpose of a uniform. To show that you are a combatant. They are intentionally attempting to not appear that way.

    Uniform does do that precisely. It’s primary purpose, however, is not to create a legal status, but to identify yourself to your own army to avoid being killed by them.

    However, a uniform is not required. The Convention is specific in this matter, for a number of reasons – such as civilian pressed into duty by lawful authority in resisting armed invasion.

    “Home Guard”, for example, do not have uniforms, however are legal combatants due to command and control.

    • The Home Guard did have a distinctive insignia, just like the various resistance groups in Europe did after the Allied invasion. IT was usually just an armband in a distinctive color.

      • Again, the point I make is that civilians under the press of legal authority still qualify as long as the distinction is met.

        There is a reason the Convention did not mention a uniform as required and specifically said distinction. It also avoided – purposely – giving a specific measure of what ‘distinction’ was.

    • You are attempting to belittle me instead of recognizing what I am talking about. And you know better. No I don’t believe there are children in the mountains. Are you actually going to attempt to persuade me that there are no areas we have captured combatants except Bora Bora? I am talking about places like Marjah, Fallujah, Baghdad, Tikrit, and the like.

      The PLAN, whether you acknowledge it or not, is to blend in with the civilian population. They are not in any way attempting to make themselves distinct. In fact they are attempting to do the opposite.

      Why are you being difficult. You don’t have to argue EVERYTHING that is said. 😉

      • USWep,

        I am not being argumentative. I am being precise – because there are men captured from Bora Bora held as “illegal” combatants which is precisely what the big deal is all about.

        No one is talking about the yahoo’s captured in the streets who melt back into civilian life after an attack!

        • And that is my point. GRAHAM is talking about the yahoos captured in the streets that melt back into the civilian population after an attack, along with ANYONE else who is detained or captured in the name of the war on terror.

  19. A question to some of the vet’s here.

    Did you guys not get a course in your training regarding the Convention and specifically the rights of POW’s – both in capture and being captured?

    • Or I am the only one who paid attention in that course and the rest of you were sleeping …. 😉

    • BF, they aren’t POWs. That is the real conundrum here.

      • Redleg,

        That’s not the question.

        The course (which I was required to take – though it seems other did not) was what was and what was not a POW – and how to avail one’s self of Convention protection, etc.

        For me, as a pilot, it was entirely plausible to find myself downed behind enemy lines. It was also plausible that by certain actions at the wrong time, I could become an illegal combatant – which is why the course was required.

        There were times one could disguise one’s self from capture and other times such disguise would be “illegal” (and instantly fatal).

        • BF,

          I think you are missing the point of the article. The point is that Graham’s proposal is NOT making any such distinctions. The point is that those captured are not being afforded due process of some sort. THAT is what I have a serious issue with.


          • USWep,

            No matter how you cut the cake, indefinite detention without due process is illegal and complete contravenes all concepts of civil behavior – whether one reaches for the Constitution, Common Law, Civil Law, Pax Romanus or the Geneva Convention.

    • Yes I have received said training. Unfortunately so have the terrorists and they have adapted.

      I might have dozed during said training. I can neither confirm nor deny.

    • BF,

      Yes, I went through the training, annually! It was incorporated with our WMD training. Being in deployable units throughout my time, we had both sides of the training, being a POW, and dealing with POW’s we had captured. This was quite handy in PG1, as we had numerous Iraqi POW’s processed through our location. They were treated well, fed well, had water and a cot and blanket. They were allowed to do their daily prayers as well. During Operation Safe Haven, the Cuban migrants that led the riots were also dealt with the same, even though they were not POW’s.

      My experience is that we treat our captured humanely, where as I can’t say the same for our enemies. We are above their standard in this action.

      I also am against any detainment without some rights to trial to be proven guilty or innocent. Indefinate detainment is a liberty killer, even for the regular citizen.



  20. Judy Sabatini says:

    Enemy combatant
    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Jump to: navigation, search
    This article is about persons held as enemy combatants. For the book, see Enemy combatant (book).
    Search Wiktionary Look up enemy combatant in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.

    Enemy combatant is a term historically referring to members of the armed forces of the state with which another state is at war.[1][2] Prior to 2008, the definition was: “Any person in an armed conflict who could be properly detained under the laws and customs of war.” In the case of a civil war or an insurrection the term “enemy state” may be replaced by the more general term “Party to the conflict” (as described in the 1949 Geneva Conventions Article 3).[3]

    In the United States the use of the phrase “enemy combatant” may also mean an alleged member of al Qaeda or the Taliban being held in detention by the U.S. government as part of the war on terror. In this sense, “enemy combatant” actually refers to persons the United States regards as unlawful combatants, a category of persons who do not qualify for prisoner-of-war status under the Geneva Conventions. Thus, the term “enemy combatant” has to be read in context to determine whether it means any combatant belonging to an enemy state, whether lawful or unlawful, or if it means an alleged member of al Qaeda or of the Taliban being detained as an unlawful combatant by the United States.

    * 1 Change of meaning in the United States
    o 1.1 Military Commissions Act
    o 1.2 Boumediene v. Bush
    o 1.3 Following the Supreme Court’s Boumediene v. Bush ruling
    * 2 Obama Presidency abandons the term “enemy combatant”
    * 3 See also
    * 4 References
    * 5 Further reading

    [edit] Change of meaning in the United States

    In the 1942 Supreme Court of the United States ruling Ex Parte Quirin, the Court uses the terms with their historical meanings to distinguish between unlawful combatants and lawful combatants:

    Unlawful combatants are likewise subject to capture and detention, but in addition they are subject to trial and punishment by military tribunals for acts which render their belligerency unlawful. The spy who secretly and without uniform passes the military lines of a belligerent in time of war, seeking to gather military information and communicate it to the enemy, or an enemy combatant who without uniform comes secretly through the lines for the purpose of waging war by destruction of life or property, are familiar examples of belligerents who are generally deemed not to be entitled to the status of prisoners of war, but to be offenders against the law of war subject to trial and punishment by military tribunals.(Emphasis added)

    In the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks the United States Congress passed a resolution known as the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists (AUMF) on September 18, 2001[4], wherein the Congress invoked the War Powers Resolution. Using this authorization granted to him by Congress, on November 13, 2001, President Bush issued a Presidential Military Order: “Detention, Treatment, and Trial of Certain Non-Citizens in the War Against Terrorism”[5]. The administration chose to call those who it detained under the Presidential Military Orders “enemy combatants”. Since then, the administration has formalized its usage of the term by using it specifically for detained alleged members and supporters of al-Qaida or the Taliban. For example

    Under the provisions of the Secretary of the Navy Memorandum Implementation of Combatant Status Review Tribunal Procedures for Enemy Combatant Detained at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base Cuba … An enemy combatant has been defined as “an individual who was part of or supporting the Taliban or al Qaida forces, or associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners. This includes any person who committed a belligerent act or has directly supported hostilities in aid of enemy armed forces.” [6]

    This lead has been followed by other parts of the Government and some section of the American news media. The result of this new usage means that the term “enemy combatant” has to be read in the context of the article in which it appears as to whether it means a member of the armed forces of an enemy state, or if it means an alleged member of al Qaida held prisoner by the United States.
    [edit] Military Commissions Act

    Following the Supreme Court’s ruling of lexi Hamdan v. Rumsfeld the United States Congress passed the Military Commissions Act of 2006 which contains a definitions for lawful and unlawful enemy combatants. The Military Commissions Act mandated that Guantanamo captives were no longer entitled to access the US civil justice system, so all outstanding habeas corpus petitions were stayed.[7]

  21. Judy Sabatini says:

    February 22, 2010
    Clueless is as clueless does
    John Peeples
    Janet Napolitano, speaking to a gathering of governors, stated that her first year of on-the-job-training leads her to conclude that her earlier focus on foreign-spawned terrorism was misplaced. According to an AP article, the Secretary of Homeland Security opined that her department must “drill down” to determine why young, home-grown Americans are inclined to adopt the violent measures heretofore exhibited by international terrorists.

    Ah, yes. We must figure out what we are doing in this country that would drive our young adults to lash out in rebellion. If only we understood them! If we did, maybe we could “explain things” to them, or “communicate more effectively.” Had the proper interpretive procedures been in place, we might have prevented the massacres at Ft. Hood and the University of Alabama-Huntsville. If we only understood how our society failed! The policy of the prior administration (both foreign and domestic) must be blameworthy.

    If only we could reach out earlier to the “tenure victim” who would first slay her only sibling and later her professional associates….If we could only anticipate the unendurable pain of a radical Muslim in our armed forces as we pushed him beyond the reasonable bounds of service to his country.

    If we had properly “drilled down” into the motives and character of these two domestic terrorists, if we had “drilled down” into the blatant clues slapping us in the face, then, perhaps, we might have salvaged these two noble people.

    And, meanwhile, perhaps, the international terrorists–the scions of our domestic ills-will discard their ballistic diapers for environment-friendly nappies.

  22. Judy Sabatini says:

    Why Did Zazi Get a Break?

    By Annemarie McAvoy


    The lives of Americans are at stake, and we cannot afford to take the laid back approach to terrorists as the government has taken in the Zazi case.

    It is an outrage that Najibullah Zazi and his family gets a break, thanks to the fact that he’s in the federal judicial system instead of in a military tribunal, where he belongs. Zazi was planning to blow up thousands of people in NYC last year. He had the plans, the training, and the materials he needed. Luckily, he got picked up before he could follow through on the devastation he wanted to inflict on New York City and the United States.

    Zazi should have been interrogated immediately as an enemy combatant, by those trained to do so, in Gitmo. He then should have been handled in a military tribunal. Instead he was immediately sent to the federal judicial system and accorded all the rights given any U.S. citizen. As a result the government had to barter with him to get him to give us any information, giving his mother and father a break, and potentially him as well. As reported today on, “[o]ne of the people familiar with the Zazi case told the Associated Press that Zazi decided to offer the information after being warned that his mother could face criminal immigration charges.” As for Zazi’s father, also reported today that “[a]fter initially demanding that he be jailed in Brooklyn without bail, prosecutors agreed to a deal on Feb. 17 releasing him on $50,000 bond and allowing him to return to his home in suburban Denver. By contrast, bond for a Queens imam charged with lying to the FBI about phone contact with Zazi when Zazi was in New York was set at $1.5 million. A friend of Zazi’s, New York cab driver Zarein Ahemdzay, was jailed without bail on a similar lying charge.”

    Zazi himself will be entitled to credit for having “cooperated” with the government. As a result of his cooperation the judge will not be bound by the mandatory mininum sentences set forth in the sentencing guidelines. Since his cooperation is supposed to be considered in sentencing, it is likely he will receive a reduced sentence. In addition, he pled to lesser charges than might have been the case, as part of the plea agreement with the government.

    Beyond the fact that we have to give cold-blooded terrorists a break to get any information out of them, what we do get out of Zazi might well have be stale. The government wasted precious time working out a deal for him in order to get his “cooperation.” This is not the way a country under attack should be handling enemy combatants who are caught on the new battlefield, in this case the streets of New York City.

    We will never know whether Zazi had further information that he did not reveal. If he had been subject to interrogation in Gitmo by U.S. personnel trained to question enemy combatants in an effort to get out information to be used at a time of war, perhaps more information would have come out. Instead the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office handled this case just as they would a typical criminal case, such as a drug case, talking with the defendant, working out a deal with him and making concessions with him and his family in order to get whatever information the defendant he was willing to give.

    When is this administration going to smarten up? We need to be strong and sensible in the handling of these terrorists. They are at war with us, whether the White House likes it or not, and they should not be handled with kid gloves like Zazi and his family have been. The lives of Americans are at stake, and we cannot afford to take the laid back approach as the government has taken here. There are more terrorists out there, planniing to attack the U.S., and we need to push hard to nab them before they can do more damage to all of us.

    • “When is this administration going to smarten up?”

      I think the correct question is: When are the majority of Americans going to smarten up as to what this administration is up to?

    • Buck The Wala says:

      “We will never know whether Zazi had further information that he did not reveal…”

      So do you think we would have been better off torturing Zazi until we were ‘convinced’ that he had no further information? As far as I am aware, trained interrogators did question Zazi, who did provide certain intelligence information. I know you didn’t write this article, but what would you have liked to see done to Zazi as far as ‘questioning’ him?

      • Buck,

        How goes it today? Well I hope 🙂

        What is your idea of torture? I’m well versed in extracting information. None of the techniques I used, would I consider torture (as in physically harmfull).


        • Buck The Wala says:

          Doing well today – finishing up something and getting ready to leave the office in a few. How’s your day treating you?

          Inflicting psychological harm can constitute torture just as easily as inflicting physical harm. Here’s the definition used by the UN which I personally find pretty solid:

          …any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him, or a third person, information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity. It does not include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in, or incidental to, lawful sanctions.

          • My day is well, it’s raining, but at least I won’t have to shovel that tomorrow LOL 🙂

            I’m glad they used the word “severe”. But how would one regulate that as far as psychological, as everyone has a different psych makeup? Basically, a general statement, which means that the interrogator must know the signs of trauma during the questioning. Ultimately, it’s subjective, speaking of the psychological aspects.

            To answer your first question as to should we have tortured Zazi, that would be subjective to the one answering it, based on my input. But, yes, more questioning should have occurred.


  23. Judy Sabatini says:

    Just got ths in my mail box, and thought I’d share with everybody.

    Dear Vigilant Gun Owner,

    What is it again the anti-gun politicians say would be “all ours” if we’d just give up our guns?

    “Safety,” right? “Security?”

    That’s the gun grabbers’ Big Lie.

    And it’s the same Big Lie the anti-gunners are using to try to ram through a new “REAL ID” Bill (more appropriately named, DANGEROUS ID).

    That’s why I hope you’ll agree to help me fight back TODAY.

    You see, President Obama and the rest of his anti-gun administration are upset.

    Thanks to your help — and help from folks just like you from all over the country — 23 states have come to their senses and REFUSED to comply with the original DANGEROUS ID Bill!

    But Barack Obama and the gun grabbers aren’t giving up.

    In fact, they’re going all out to ram “PASS ID” — the new DANGEROUS ID Bill — into law.

    That’s the LAST thing we need.

    In fact, we should do everything we can to repeal DANGEROUS ID altogether!

    But that can’t happen unless you act TODAY.

    The fact is, the Obama Administration is trying to sell the new “PASS ID” bill introduced by Senator Daniel Akaka (D-HI) as a “softer, more palatable” version of the original DANGEROUS ID Bill.

    Not surprisingly, it’s anything but.

    Just like the old bill, the new DANGEROUS ID Bill is nothing more than a transparent attempt to establish a National ID System.

    And since drivers’ licenses are required to buy firearms, DANGEROUS ID will almost certainly be used to create a national gun registry.

    Have a concealed carry permit? Well, concealed carry information is commonly included in state police databases…

    …so you can bet your permit would be “registered” in the Federal Government’s new National ID system as well.

    And just consider the incredible authority Congress would transfer to Barack Obama’s Surveillance Czar Janet Napolitano should the new DANGEROUS ID Bill pass.

    If passed, she could establish virtually any standards she wants!

    Retinal scans. Fingerprints. DNA data. RFID tracking chips so anti-gun government goons can watch your every movement. You name it.

    Are you feeling “safe” and “secure” yet?

    I know I’m not.

    In fact, after reading all those Homeland Security “memos” and “directives” calling patriotic Americans like you and me “terrorists,” all this sends shivers down my spine.

    If you agree, please act today: Click here to sign the petition urging your Congressman and Senators to stop PASS ID, and instead repeal DANGEROUS ID altogether.

    But as bad as all this is, it gets way worse.

    You see, the anti-gunners tipped their hand during the debate over the original DANGEROUS ID Bill.

    In the original draft of the legislation, the proposed National ID database would have been linked to Mexican and Canadian ID databases.

    And the photograph requirements in the current “PASS ID” act follow the United Nations’ biometric formatting standards to a tee.

    Under these standards, government software can analyze facial characteristics and generate a unique identification number that includes not only your identity…

    …but virtually any other information an international bureaucrat might want to know about you as well…

    …like gun ownership, for example.

    You and I both know the anti-gunners ultimate goal is to strip EVERY private citizen of the right to own ANY gun.

    And if they have to use the UN or another world government body to succeed, so be it.

    Need I remind you that right outside United Nations headquarters in New York City stands a sculpture of a handgun with a knotted barrel?

    The fact is, you and I MUST do everything we can not only to defeat the new “PASS ID” act, but to repeal DANGEROUS ID altogether.

    The good news is the National Association for Gun Rights has a plan to do exactly that.

    First, I’ve planned a massive take-no-prisoners grassroots mailing to really turn up the heat on targeted U.S. Senators.

    With any luck, this will slow “PASS ID” down, and — just as importantly — begin building the support for a total repeal.

    But that’s far from all I have planned.

    You see, if we’re going to win, you and I are going to have to go toe-to-toe with the gun grabbers with a full-scale media campaign.

    You know the deal.

    Targeted leafleting. Guest editorials. Blogging. Media interviews. Even newspaper, radio and TV ads if possible.

    And just in case the U.S. Senate doesn’t get the message right off the bat, we’re going to be ready to hammer them with mailing after grassroots mailing until they finally “see the light.”

    But none of this is cheap.

    In fact, a massive program like this will be very expensive.

    Trust me, I know how tough things are for many folks right now, and I didn’t make the decision to launch a fight to stop “PASS ID” and repeal DANGEROUS ID altogether lightly.

    At the same time, the decision to fight DANGEROUS ID wasn’t hard.

    You and I don’t have a choice. We simply must win this fight.

  24. Bottom Line says:

    Things that make you go hmmmmmmmmm:

    • Good find BL 🙂

      It sure seems like the first 10 things he mentioned are in full speed ahead mode! Not a HHMMMMM moment for me, be an OH SHIT, It’s really happening, moment.

      Peace !


      • What’s the gist? I’m getting a blank square…..


        • It may take lomger for it to finish refreshing, be patient! 🙂

        • Bottom Line says:


          If it ends up not working…go to youtube and type in the search box –

          Mind blowing speech by Robert Welch in 1958 predicting Insiders plans to destroy America

          • Thanks! The connections from here are really slow. From home, I have trouble getting anything more than 2 1/2 minutes long from YouTube. The connection at work is a little faster but YT is blocked….


            Sounds like Mr. Welch may not have been a kook after all…….

    • Judy Sabatini says:

      HMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM, indeed. I find this amazing, like he can for see in the future.

    • Bottom Line says:

      Just like the title suggests – “Mind Blowing”

      • Judy Sabatini says:

        Yes it is. Still amazes me when I think about what this guy said. Maybe we should send it this administration, and let them get a gander of it. Right, like that would work.

        How you doing anyway?

      • BL!

        Send me the link to this, I can have it viral in two days!


      • Wonder what the guy would say about the state of the union today? Hmmmmmmmm!

        Good discussions today everyone.

        • He is rolling over in his grave!

          • Judy Sabatini says:

            How you doing G? You got rain, we got snow the other day, and for what they said on the news last night, it was 15 inches over night.

            Thank God the sun came out, and started melting it. It’s that real nice soft powdery snow.

            Glad to hear you don’t have shovel any rain.

            • Doing well! Ten days of snow coming, hopefully it will be small amounts at a time. Despite the last two days of sun and 40 degrees, still have a foot in the backyard. Spring is coming!!!!!

              • Judy Sabatini says:

                Spring, what’s that? We just had those teaser days and I thought spring was on the way, but NOOOOOOOO, went back to cold crap. And on top of that, it was foggy last night and this morning, but thankfully the sun did come out.

                Glad you’re doing well, especially for a Monday.

        • Judy Sabatini says:

          Hi Anita

          I really didn’t discuss, I just put up things I thought would fit into today’s topic.

          Hope you’re doing well today.

          • Hey Judy,

            My turn to shovel again. 7 inches of heavy wet stuff. Geez.. I’m getting too old for this. Finally my boys are earning their keep. $40 today $80 one day last week for shoveling neighborhood driveways. Cool…stay outta my pocket!

            • Judy Sabatini says:

              Hubby was out doing it yesterday, but a little at a time, he huffs and puffs too much. When our oldest comes over the first thing he does is grab the shovel, but we don’t pay him, he does it because he likes it, believe it or not. Says he enjoys it.

              Glad somebody does. They just said on the news, that Sparks had 16 inches of snow Saturday night and yesterday. Sparks is only a couple miles from us.

  25. Judy Sabatini says:

    Where’d everybody go?

  26. Judy Sabatini says:

    Well, goodnight all, hope you will have a good night and a pleasant tomorrow.

    Love you all very much.


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