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The Asylum

Welcome to the Asylum. This is a site devoted to politics and current events in America, and around the globe. The THREE lunatics posting here are unabashed conservatives that go after the liberal lies and deceit prevalent in the debate of the day. We'd like to add that the views expressed here do not reflect the views of other inmates, nor were any inmates harmed in the creation of this site.

Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

Who are we? We're a married couple who has a passion for politics and current events. That's what this site is about. If you read us, you know what we stand for.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Some Things Never Change: The New York Times Is Still Wrong

Good morning, and welcome to a new day at the Asylum. For longtime readers, you'll remember that I was a guest-blogger on this site some months ago. I'm still continuing my fight against breast cancer, and I'm winning it. But the kids are away for a little R & R, and they asked me for a "return performance" on the site. So, for the next ten days or so, I'll be the one doing the writing. My name is Sabrina, and It's a pleasure to make the acquaintance of the newers readers; for the older ones, long time no see.

Onto business. When I left the site I had been dealing with a number of issues and events. One thing I see still hasn't changed is the New York Times and their idiotic portrayal of events. They totally screwed up the National Intelligence Estimate, and then offered up a a mockery of a defense of their amateurish interpretation of the report. Today, they presented another editorial--a gripe to Congress and the administration--for the recently passed anti-terror bill dealing with detainees.

The Times has several gripes in this piece, and I'd like to take them a step at a time. First, their lead-in to their list:

Last week, the White House and three Republican senators announced a terrible deal on this legislation that gave Mr. Bush most of what he wanted, including a blanket waiver for crimes Americans may have committed in the service of his antiterrorism policies. Then Vice President Cheney and his willing lawmakers rewrote the rest of the measure so that it would give Mr. Bush the power to jail pretty much anyone he wants for as long as he wants without charging them, to unilaterally reinterpret the Geneva Conventions, to authorize what normal people consider torture, and to deny justice to hundreds of men captured in error.

Point of order, your honor? The kids are right. nothing has changed. This bill does nothing but reinforce the laws that are currently on the books that deal with these sorts of prisoners. And the whining about the Geneva Convention is a bit on the melodramatic side. The Convention doesn't address fighters like these people. There are no Convention guidelines for an illegal combatant. For the record (and the benefit of the team of monkeys at the Times that NEVER went to law school) an illegal combatnat is some that:

--Wears no regular uniform with a sigil or flag on that uniform identifying their army.

--Bears no banner, sigil or flag in battle to identify themselves.

--Is not recognized or accepted by the nation they were caught in, and no other nation has stepped forward to claim them.

--They have no clearly defined commander or command structure in the field.

In every aspect of Convention interpretations, these people are illegal combatants. They are technically allowed no protections under the Convention, but the president has stated that these people will be treated under the Geneva Convention rules pertaining to POWs. There, the liberals should be happy now, right? Not even close. Allow me to continue:

Enemy Combatants: A dangerously broad definition of “illegal enemy combatant” in the bill could subject legal residents of the United States, as well as foreign citizens living in their own countries, to summary arrest and indefinite detention with no hope of appeal. The president could give the power to apply this label to anyone he wanted.

Earth to the Times, have we met? A terrorist who operates inside the United States is, in fact, an "illegal combatant." We don't know who thery are, where they reside, who their theater commander is, etc. So if we catch one here, in America, you bet your bottom dollar that he isn't going to get the cozy cell next to Moussaoui's. And summary arrest is a strong charge. We usually ask the government in question first, unless they already have them in custody (as is the case with the recent investigation by MI-5 in the plane terror plot). The detention is indefinite for a reason. If they were caught with the intention of committing an act, then I'm sorry but they're "ghosting" for awhile until we glean what we can from them.

The Geneva Conventions: The bill would repudiate a half-century of international precedent by allowing Mr. Bush to decide on his own what abusive interrogation methods he considered permissible. And his decision could stay secret — there’s no requirement that this list be published.

We just went down this road above. On the heels of the Supreme Court's decision in Hamdan President Bush ordered that all detainees be given the same treatment due POWs under the Convention. As for his decisions as president regarding their interrogations, he has nothing to do with that. That goes to the individual interrogators, and those methods have been approved. Thomas posted about this last week when the deal was reached, and he made an interesting note:

And then there is this from AllahPundit:

The Blotter says Hayden’s pleased with the deal and that all six techniques the CIA had requested have been approved. To refresh your memory:

The first — the attention grab, involving the rough shaking of a prisoner.

Second — the attention slap, an open-handed slap to the face.

Third — belly slap, meant to cause temporary pain, but no internal injuries.

Fourth — long-term standing and sleep deprivation, 40 hours at least, described as the most effective technique.

Fifth — the cold room. Prisoners left naked in cells kept in the 50s and frequently doused with cold water.

The CIA sources say the sixth, and harshest, technique was called “water boarding,” in which a prisoner’s face was covered with cellophane, and water is poured over it — meant to trigger an unbearable gag reflex.

These techniques have been used for quite some time. Waterboarding, for example, is a method used to train soldiers. It is an excellent interrogation tool, and we teach our soldiers how to resist the panic that comes with the feeling the method provokes. All of these techniques were approved by the DoD, our intelligence agencies, etc. There is nothing wrong with them. This is not abuse, and it sure as heck isn't torture. No one is being "permanently damaged."

The Times go on further in it's hysterics, and it just continues to sputter downhill from here:

Habeas Corpus: Detainees in U.S. military prisons would lose the basic right to challenge their imprisonment. These cases do not clog the courts, nor coddle terrorists. They simply give wrongly imprisoned people a chance to prove their innocence.

Are these idiots for real? Basic Constitutional Law here guys: US rights apply to US citizens ONLY. They don't apply to the foreign-born who aren't citizens. Any detainees being held in a military prison is subject to other provisions of the law. Military law and civilian law aren't mutually exclusive; they can't operate within each other's realms. That's stupid. The detainees, as they were captured during hostilities, is subject to the UCMJ, not the Constitution.

Judicial Review: The courts would have no power to review any aspect of this new system, except verdicts by military tribunals. The bill would limit appeals and bar legal actions based on the Geneva Conventions, directly or indirectly. All Mr. Bush would have to do to lock anyone up forever is to declare him an illegal combatant and not have a trial.

Is anyone else hearing the "Twilight Zone" theme in their heads right now? Not only is the final sentence a swipe at the president--some veiled allusion to Hitler's actions during his tenure as Chancellor--and of course the bill is going to bar civilian legal intervention int he process. The detainees don't have a right to it. When are news outlets like the Times going to realize that the Constitution doesn't apply to every Tom, Debra, and Hamid around the globe. It applies only to us. Besides, I'd question Congress if they included a provision where the civilian legal system could get involved. I think Moussaoui's trial proved that civilians can't handle the gravity of such a case.

Coerced Evidence: Coerced evidence would be permissible if a judge considered it reliable — already a contradiction in terms — and relevant. Coercion is defined in a way that exempts anything done before the passage of the 2005 Detainee Treatment Act, and anything else Mr. Bush chooses.

Okay, at this point I have to ask if intelligence has just left the building. Since when would a law in 2004 be accepted when a law in 2005 trumps it? And if this is to be their logic then why don;t they recognize the precedents leading up to Sealed Case as authorization for the president's NSA surveillance program? These people can't keep their logic straight. Add that plus the fact that these people we have captured aren't like any enemy we've taken prisoner before. These are people who have told their captors, lawyers and judges that if they get loose, they're going to kill them. The Islamic radicals take their war seriously. When will the Times?

Secret Evidence: American standards of justice prohibit evidence and testimony that is kept secret from the defendant, whether the accused is a corporate executive or a mass murderer. But the bill as redrafted by Mr. Cheney seems to weaken protections against such evidence.

Ah, but Ken Lay wasn't threatening to launch a terror attack on the US, and neither was that mass murderer. These are matters of national security, and the government must have the opportunity to protect its security interests. These people have visits from their families when permitted. What prevents them from getting a message out about a possible mole in a cell, or the fact that a house they once believed was "safe" here isn't any longer? It kills any sort of case the government can build if every time they turn around, they're being hindered--purposefully--by enablers that believe the sort of nutty nonsense the Times espouses. Also, it should be noted that Thomas covered this in his post about the agreement that Lindsey Graham made a big deal about this in an interview with Hugh Hewitt back on the 14th. In that interview, he alluded that this was the most important aspect of the bill, yet it wasn't even addressed.

Offenses: The definition of torture is unacceptably narrow, a virtual reprise of the deeply cynical memos the administration produced after 9/11. Rape and sexual assault are defined in a retrograde way that covers only forced or coerced activity, and not other forms of nonconsensual sex. The bill would effectively eliminate the idea of rape as torture.

If memory serves me correctly from law school, but rape and sexual assault are already defined as "nonconsensual," so why redefine them again? Is not the original definition good enough? And what other forms of "nonconsensual sex" are they referring to? If someone is sodomized, then they are raped anally. Notice the word "rape" in the previous sentence? Hey, at least the readers catch onto this logic. And rape is already defined as a crime, so why include it in torture provisions. The law is clear from the start on this subject. Only its interpretation by the Times is foggy.

There is not enough time to fix these bills, especially since the few Republicans who call themselves moderates have been whipped into line, and the Democratic leadership in the Senate seems to have misplaced its spine. If there was ever a moment for a filibuster, this was it.

We don’t blame the Democrats for being frightened. The Republicans have made it clear that they’ll use any opportunity to brand anyone who votes against this bill as a terrorist enabler. But Americans of the future won’t remember the pragmatic arguments for caving in to the administration.

The moderates have been "whipped into line?" Since when? Three of them just finished wasting time and money on a soapbox trip to score political points. Senator John McCain from Arizona led the charge on his hearty white steed (also known as Lindsey Graham), and they brought along their faithful squire John Warner in this little charade. But nothing changed within the law. The detainees will be treated as they always have been, not worse than before, and probably a helluva lot better.

And the Times gets is wrong with believing the Democrats are frightened because they're afraid the Republicans are going to hurl accusations at them. They're frightened because they know that the public is aware of their inability to handle issues of defense and national security. Their track record of allowing the threat to foment virtually unhindered, coupled with their incessant tirades demanding the retreat of our troops from the field of battle, only shows the voters what they already knew.

This piece, more than anything, almost sounds like a talking point straight out of the DNC. They're spinning this legislation as if it's something it's not. It's nothing. It's repetitive, and that's the damnable thing about this. We're in a war, and all they did was give the president what the Supreme Court requested: The tribunals. The detainee treatment doesn't change. We're still abiding by the Geneva Convention. And we can still use techniques that we've used for quite some time, like water-boarding. And I can only conclude by this pitiful editorial that the Times clearly knows nothing about what it purports to understand. They have no clue about the legislation they're opining about, and they have even less smarts in regard to the law. Now I know why Marcie keeps imploring them to have a lawyer fact-check them before these things go to print.

Nutty columns like this, with little rhyme or reason, defying logic in the process, is embarrassing. No wonder why their numbers keep shrinking.

Sabrina McKinney


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Sabrina! Welcome back. Excellent piece. Well done. I don't know where the NYT's is coming from with their lies. For the longest time I thought they wanted to be another Karl Marx. But since 9/11, they seem to be supporting the terrorists. I challenge anyone to prove that the Geneva Convention aka The Accords saved one American soldier's life from death or injury? Yet, the paper would have us bound by a useless piece of paper. We are at war! The enemy wants to kill us. They want us dead all in the name of their Allah. The New York Times, time after time, have given aid and comfort to our enemy all in the name of freedom of the press. The enemy does not recognize any of our freedoms. In fact, they would destroy them. Maybe the NYT's have a death wish? Rawriter

7:02 AM  

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