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Do You Support the Geneva Conventions or Not?

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From Ravings of John C. A. Bambenek:

You’ve heard the claims that we violate the Geneva Conventions at Gitmo under various (incorrect) theories. Let’s assume for the sake of argument they are correct. The interrogation methods are wrong, the facilities are illegal, and so on.

The same people say we need to have trials for these individuals and try them in civilian courts because military courts are obviously insufficient. If they haven’t committed a crime, they should be released. The problem is, under the Geneva Conventions we can’t try them, it would be illegal. And in the few circumstances that we could try them, the Geneva Conventions require a military court. Here are the appropriate quotes from the 3rd Geneva Convention.

Art. 83. In deciding whether proceedings in respect of an offence alleged to have been committed by a prisoner of war shall be judicial or disciplinary, the Detaining Power shall ensure that the competent authorities exercise the greatest leniency and adopt, wherever possible, disciplinary rather than judicial measures.

Art. 84. A prisoner of war shall be tried only by a military court, unless the existing laws of the Detaining Power expressly permit the civil courts to try a member of the armed forces of the Detaining Power in respect of the particular offence alleged to have been committed by the prisoner of war.

In no circumstances whatever shall a prisoner of war be tried by a court of any kind which does not offer the essential guarantees of independence and impartiality as generally recognized, and, in particular, the procedure of which does not afford the accused the rights and means of defence provided for in Article 105. (Hint: We try military members in military courts when they run afoul of their duties. The only time they hit the civilian system is when they are off-duty doing something off-base in the general population. And even then, they usually get a hearing in the military system also. No detainee has been in the US to commit such a crime).

Art. 99. No prisoner of war may be tried or sentenced for an act which is not forbidden by the law of the Detaining Power or by international law, in force at the time the said act was committed. (I’m still waiting on what law they’ve violated. They haven’t been in the US, and for the most part, were captured on the field of battle, so by and large almost the entire USC doesn’t apply.)

Art. 118. Prisoners of war shall be released and repatriated without delay after the cessation of active hostilities. (Hint: Al Quaeda is still fighting. There is fighting going on in Iraq, and to a lesser extent, in Afghanistan. Even if we tried them and convicted them, they’d still remain in general custody until hostilities have ended)

So what is it guys, do you support the Geneva Conventions or not? You can’t have it both ways where you support it only in X circumstance, but expect us to make up laws and crimes to try them and then release them contrary to the same Conventions you hold so dear.

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About John Doe

A political activist and security expert.
  • ummm Charles…try not to get your panties in a bunch, but Shark was feebly attempting sarcasm and humor there

    black Humor, it is true…but still in the realm of the absurd, poking fun at those within our Nation who are a bit on the jingoistic side and prone to overgeneralizations

    kind of like what you just did


  • Charles Bremer

    > Comment 9 posted by Shark on June 20, > 2005 06:18 PM:
    > I don’t understand why we don’t just
    > SECRETLY give the prisoners at Gitmo
    > some relatively fast-acting, deadly
    > disease and then let ’em go.
    > AIDS, TB, some kind of weird cancer:
    > suggestions, anyone?
    > BTW: It would be even better if the
    > disease were also contagious. Send ’em
    > each to their ‘home’ nations and sit
    > back and watch.
    > God Bless America,
    > Shark

    Spoken like a true Satanist. But that idea can swing and cut both ways, you know.

    If you like to fight with infecting innocent people with viruses and shit that are targetting their population in order to kill them, what’s to stop the Iraqis, the Iranians, the Venezuelans, the Haitis and the Afghanis from doing the same to americans?

    Sounds only fair that they would. Btw, why is it that only americans are spreading shit and ideas like this? Like how we should sign treaties but feign abiding by them, and still torture. And like you should somehow not abide by Bioweapons treaties and start doing this shit.

    I call that bullshit and lies. You guys are f*ckheads with no honor, with not value to your word or promises and you think that sh*it somehow equates to your being a true hero and patriot. All it equates to is an american assh*le.

    You guys are damn lucky the rest of the world has better morals than you do, imho.

  • Patriot

    RE: Comment 17

    What do you call those fighting against our involvement in their country?

    According to the definition of “nationalist“, they are nationalists.

    Nationalist definition: “Devotion to the interests or culture of one’s nation. Aspirations for national independence in a country under foreign domination.

    Saddam doesn’t qualify.

  • Nancy

    Maybe Shark was on to something…a nice case of Ebola or Bolivian hemorrhagic…slip on a soapy floor…? Even if tales of torture are false, can they be trusted to go home and admit they got chicken 3 times a week (the senator didn’t mention what part of the chicken, tho, when he was reading the menus)? I sure wouldn’t if I were any of them, just on general principle that I’d been held.

  • Strictly speaking, that’s Afghanistan’s problem. You send them back to their home country, there is no mechanism to send them some place else.

  • The question which always occurs to me when this comes up is what do we DO with these people if we release them? I can’t think of a country which would want them back or where we’d feel safe releasing them. Afghanistan certainly doesn’t want them under the current government. Iran might take them, but we wouldn’t want Iran to have them. So what do you do with them?


  • Well, this is the oddity of it all. Who would you rather be held by? The US where they might put you in stress positions and have dogs bark at you (and the Left complain about torture), or by Al Queda and friends were they cut off your head on TV (and the Left is notoriously quiet about that except to blame Bush).

    It is a big trade off, but the PR weight is largely crap. No one in the history of mankind has every treated engaging in warfare against another state as a criminal matter, yet that’s the insistence here. Yet the scrutiny about whether we hold the Koran correctly far surpasses scruitiny of the insurgents cutting off people’s heads and selling DVDs of it.

    It is what it is, but the criticism is nevertheless valid.

  • Eric Olsen

    this is a very difficult and complex matter: which is more important, PR or the security gained by continuing to hold and interrogate these people?

  • Re: Comment 11

    Are you kidding, Patriot? The al Qaida/Taliban folks may be a lot of things but they are most definietly not nationalists. Neither are the “insurgents.” In fact, the professed goals of these groups is to undermine the nation-states in the middle east so that their influence can pervade.

    Now Saddam, he was a nationalist. But Osama and the boys are anything but.

  • Gonzo:

    The fighting in Afghanistan isn’t quite over. There still exists hostilities in the frontier areas.

    My post wasn’t so say they are POWs, it said that if you want them to be treated as POWs, then all of the GC applies, not just the parts you don’t like.

  • Shark

    Patriot – Okay, Fine. I’ll set you up with the straight lines. bada-bing! You get the applause.

  • but Temple…it’s almost irresistable..

    Sloop John B. sez…
    *Pick a side.*

    and your humble Narrator sez…

    fuck that

    you do NOT dictate what the “sides” are in any kind of discussion with me..you can state your own..but i won’t fall for the false dichotomy of what you present as Logic…

    mental 3 card monte, time to find the red Queen…

    John B sez..
    *Learn your international law… war doesn’t need to be declared to exist under international law. US distinctions on the matter are irrelevant. And as far as I know Afghanistan was perfectly legit even under US law. You could make the argument about Iraq II, but still, the definition of international law matters here, not US distinctions.*

    ok..so by the Reasoning in your statement here, the prisoners at Gitmo fall under the GC as POWs….fair enough

    International Law quiz time…
    since the “War” in Afghanistan is over..a new Government elected, recognized by the US , the UN and the rest of the world…..

    how long can those POWs be held and not returned to the new Government of their home Nation, and under what legal pretense?

    i mean, isn’t that what happens a few years after the war is over?..you give back the POWs and let their home country’s Government figure out what to do with them?

    insert the same for Iraq here..after all , it has been quite a while since the infamous “Mission Accomplished” speech from that carrier…so if the “war” is over there, and since they have a new Government duly elected and all, when do they take over their own people?

    i am no lawyer, but the ones in Iraq are much less disturbing at this time for me….shit is still thick and deep there, and i am much more likely to side with the Judgement of the military Commanders on the ground when it comes to these folks…all the more Important for the process to be transparent to both the Iraqi government and the Red Cross etc…

    let them in, let them see the US treats prisoners properly…if for nothing else than the whole “Hearts and Minds” bit…

    that help Clarify a bit?

    i know, i keep cutting the Deck with Occam’s Razor…but never once did my fingers leave my hands…


  • My two cents, that are worth exactly that. Two cents: AI, and many others, biggest bitch other than “torture” has been the lack of no legal process in Gitmo. But there has been one.

    The Department of Defense, working through the National Security Council interagency process, established procedures that would provide appropriate legal process to these detainees, procedures that go beyond what is required even under the Geneva Conventions. These included combatant status review tribunals to confirm that, in fact, each individual is, in fact, an unlawful enemy combatant. Every detainee currently at Guantanamo has received such a hearing. As a result, some 38 individuals were released.

    In Hamdan V Rumsfeld, the Judge ruled (pdf file) that “the government must convene a competent tribunal (or address a competent tribunal already convened) and seek a specific determination as to Hamdan’s status under the Geneva Conventions. Until or unless such a tribunal decides otherwise, Hamdan has an must be accorded the full protections of a prisoner-of-war.”

    Many are demanding due process for the prisoners. They have had it, too bad so sad. That 500 plus can sit and enjoy the rice pilaf forever as far as I’m concerned.

  • Ignore it man.

  • Stark:

    Am I supposed to take banal 1984 references seriously? The constant charges of Zionist conspiracies or Nazism? I take them as seriously as a reasonable person should. I’m not going to engage in serious discussion someone who keeps using tired cliches about how Bush is going to send us all to hell with a handbasket except that he gave all our handbaskets to the rich already…


    Learn your international law… war doesn’t need to be declared to exist under international law. US distinctions on the matter are irrelevant. And as far as I know Afghanistan was perfectly legit even under US law. You could make the argument about Iraq II, but still, the definition of international law matters here, not US distinctions.

    Let me ask you something…

    When in the history of mankind EVER, has a nation fighting in combat taken troops of an opposing army and charged them with crimes?

    I’m not saying they are necessarily being treated as they should, and outsourcing interrogation is a problem in and of itself.

    But just because they aren’t POWs doesn’t mean international law suddenly does not apply. We declared them enemy combatants but of our own volition are treating them in terms of the GC. People say they should be POWs but then say they want a civilian trial, one which is NOT ALLOWED under the GC…

    Pick a side.

  • Patriot

    They already have an incurable disease — it’s called nationalism…

    And the neocons also have an incurable disease — unwarranted optimism that they can defeat nationalism.

  • Shark

    I don’t understand why we don’t just SECRETLY give the prisoners at Gitmo some relatively fast-acting, deadly disease and then let ’em go.

    AIDS, TB, some kind of weird cancer: suggestions, anyone?

    BTW: It would be even better if the disease were also contagious. Send ’em each to their ‘home’ nations and sit back and watch.

    God Bless America,

  • 🙂

    Apparently I
    can’t just leave the sun symbol
    so I will compose

  • we care, Temple..really..we do…

    but then again, we also care about the proper assortment of sprinkles on our ice cream…soOOOooOOOOOo

    your mileage may vary…

    but , you knew that….heh


  • Just to make it clearer. It’s not that I don’t take John’s posts seriously; it’s that his subsequent comments make it harder.

    And who gives what I think anyway?. Just making an observation.

  • it seems Sloop John B can’t manage to come up with stuff that doesn’t involve fallacious postulates or specious allegations…

    let’s take a look , shall we?

    as far as Gitmo goes, umm..what War?..none was declared, according to the Administration those are “enemy combatants” in there..they are NOT subject to the GC, by definition, which is why they were classed as such…

    the problem here is, why are we holding them?..if they have done something wrong..charge them, try them and deal with it…many have been there for 3 years with NO charges filed…

    now, before someone comes up with the semi-brilliant “we are getting Intelligence” from them, please..spare me..if they had anything worthwhile when they were captured, that info is 3 years old now and as anyone that has any kind of background in military Intel can tell you..that might as well be Napoleonic information for how out of date it is

    the only excuse for holding them is the concern they may go back and hurt somebody…fair enough…then CHARGE them…you can’t have it both ways, either they are civilians, and thus “enemy combatants” or they are “militia/guerillas” for the Taliban and thus POWs…either way, is there ANY excuse for treatment other than what we would want for our own soldiers?

    is anyone so quick to surrender the moral high ground to the fucking Taliban? much less the Public Relations nightmare that has been caused by this bullshit

    as for the Administration’s and the GOP noise Machine’s spewings about how “bad” the Red Cross and Amnesty INternational is for criticising them about Gitmo…remember, gentle Readers, the Administration used BOTH as sources detailing Iraq’s violations of human rights

    now..the whole POW and Geneva Conventions thing comes into play when you are talking about ANY prisoners taken in Iraq…you know..Abu Grahib and the others?

    clear enough?

    one last bit to note…look for yourself, and count how many prisoners were taken by “civilian contractors” and brought to Syria for “questioning”

    fun stuff, eh?

    any time we, as a Nation, treat others with less Respect than we want for our own Troops, we do them a disservice

    and need i bring up our own Declaration of Independance..you know the bit..”all Men are created equal”

    your mileage may vary


  • JR

    Why would you want to?

  • John, your responses in comments make it hard to take you and your posts seriously.


  • Your contribution to the jihad is noted.

  • Permanent War for Total Peace