Miranjihad rights

The Department of Justice has decided that the first words spoken to a suspected Taliban terrorist, say one captured in Afghanistan in the aftermath of a beheading with a bloody scimitar in his hand, should be these:

You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to speak to an attorney, and to have an attorney present during any questioning. If you cannot afford a lawyer, one will be provided for you at government expense.

TOC first suggested this prospect here in June, 2006. Then, I was imagining how Ramsey Clark would present the case for Abu al-Zarqawi had he been captured rather than immolated.

In January, 2009 I said this:

We all do hope President Obama is successful in his resolution of the problems represented by terrorists captured on the battlefield; problems compounded by his rush to accomodate those suffering residual Bush Derangement Syndrome. [Re: Gitmo] We also hope he is resolute in preventing any remaining Al-Shihri’s from being freed because they weren’t read their Miranda rights.

I wish I had been wrong, but we can now at least put one face on Janet Napolitano’s euphemism “man-caused disaster” – that of AG Eric H. Holder.

Related: TOC commented on SCOTUS’ Boumediene decision, in June 2008 – here and here.

Edited 5:28PM 13-Jun

Revisionism or ignorance?

Barack Obama noted that the United States has, in the recent past, been remiss in granting:

The same respect and partnership that America had with the Muslim world as recently as 20 or 30 years ago – there’s no reason why we can’t restore that.

-Barack Obama Al Arabiya interview, Jan 27, 2009

It might have been useful for Obama to provide us with an example or two of the partnership he would like to restore. Here are just a few he could not have cited:

The 1979 seizure of the US Embassy in Tehran and holding of American captives until 1981. An event still celebrated in Iran.

The Lebanon hostage crisis spanning the decade from 1982 to 1992.

The 1983 Beirut barracks bombing

The hijacking of TWA Flight 847 in 1985.

The Bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 Over Lockerbie in 1988.

The 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center.

In effect, the Justice Department puts the prosecution of individual perpetrators–with all the rights to a fair trial guaranteed by the U.S. judicial system–above America’s national security interest in determining who may be behind terrorist attacks.

And here is a late breaking reminder of what happens with terrorists, even when convicted, under normal procedures of the US Justice system. Remember Khalid Duhham al-Jawary? Neither does Obama.

Awaiting feminist notice

I’m waiting for a comment from NOW, or any other feminist organization:

Iraqi woman had 80 women raped then recruited as suicide bombers

I don’t know whether it’s more obscene that a culture insists women feel suicidal guilt because they’ve been raped, or that a woman would exploit that as part of a conspiracy to commit murder with the men who committed the rapes.

At this writing, the top rants at the NOW site are urging the appointment of Debbie Stabenow as HHS Secretary (it would get her out of Michigan) and complaining that the stimulus bill doesn’t do enough for women. Interestingly, the second of the items is titled Out of Touch with Reality.

Give me that old time rendition

Greg Miller in The Baltimore Sun: Rendition might expand in anti-terrorism efforts

The CIA‘s secret prisons are being closed. Harsh interrogation techniques are off-limits. And Guantanamo Bay will eventually go back to being just a naval base on the southeastern corner of Cuba.

But even while dismantling these discredited [?] programs, President Barack Obama left an equally controversial counterterrorism tool intact.

Under executive orders issued by Obama on Jan. 22, the CIA still has authority to carry out what are known as “renditions,” or the secret abductions and transfers of prisoners to countries that cooperate with the United States.

Current and former U.S. intelligence officials said that the rendition program is poised to play an expanded role because it is the main remaining mechanism – aside from Predator missile strikes – for taking suspected terrorists off the street.

…the Obama administration appears to have decided that the rendition program is one component of the Bush administration’s war on terrorism that it cannot afford to discard.

…”Under limited circumstances, there is a legitimate place” for renditions, said Tom Malinowski, the Washington advocacy director for Human Rights Watch. “What I heard loud and clear from the president’s order was that they want to design a system that doesn’t result in people being sent to foreign dungeons to be tortured, but that designing that system is going to take some time.”

…”The reason we did interrogations [ourselves] is because renditions for the most part weren’t very productive,” said a former senior CIA official who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the subject.

The most valuable intelligence on al-Qaida came from prisoners who were in CIA custody and questioned by agency experts, the official said. Once prisoners were turned over to other countries, such as Egypt or Jordan, the agency had limited ability to influence how much intelligence was shared, how prisoners were treated, and whether they were later released.

The most valuable intelligence came from prisoners in CIA custody? Like those interrogated at Guantánamo? The argument I’ve heard is that waterboarding wasn’t effective because those subjected to it would say anything. Go figure how that changed in favor of interrogation by Egyptians or Afghanis, at least during the time Obama’s figuring out how to write the executive order making them use the US Army Field Manual. Maybe they get to use the field manual of their own Armies.

Maybe rendition is considered “good” because it was made policy on Bill Clinton’s watch when Leon Panetta was his Chief of Staff. I did understand that Leon would be putting an end to this rendition thing now that he’s DCIA, but apparently I was mistaken. Despite my skepticism, maybe he has got some relevant experience after all.

How long will it be, though, before DemocratUnderground, MoveOn and The Daily Kos start calling Obama “ObaMaoHitler?” (For myself, I’d leave the “Hitler” off, but we know these guys really like it because they mistakenly think he was right-wing.)

I say unto them, be calm. It’s OK. The “right people” are in charge now. It’s a limited, secret plan. Human Rights Watch approves. Nothing will show up on the front page of the New York Times to upset the EU or give away clandestine ops to the enemy. If you want Barack to be successful, you mustn’t let this upset you.

Besides, the ACLU says sending the Gitmo prisoners to maximum security prisons on US soil is torture anyway. Compared to how they’ve been treated at Gitmo, I’d tend to agree.

Without Gitmo, I guess it’s either Egyptian dungeons or 72 virgins.

The Supremes sing "Freedom’s just another word for someone else to loose"

Kenneth Anderson, law professor at the Washington College of Law, American University, is also a member of the Hoover Institution Task Force on National Security and Law. He writes about the Boumediene decision here:

Supreme Court Flexes Its Muscles in Boumediene Decision. Read the whole thing.

…Habeas at Guantanamo affirmed in principle. But developing actual standards for individual cases — what the specific rights of detainees are and how they should be weighed against real-world security concerns — was handed off to the myriad federal district courts. The Court offered no glimmer of what it thought actual, workable principles should be. It is evident that Justice Kennedy has no idea; he simply believes that district courts will be better and, perhaps, have greater legitimacy at it – particularly in the world of global judicial elites in Europe in which Justice Kennedy basks – than the American people’s elected representatives.

On June 12th, I called this SCOTUS Europhilia an example of “…the insidious weakness of Western Civilization’s leftist guilt-quest for cultural self-esteem,” contending (in the comments) that, “the motivation arises from cultural guilt parallel to the Shelby Steele model: It has far more to do with the moral redemption of the 5 Justices than with the law…” The long link above is from Professor Anderson’s original article and it links to an article in The New Yorker magazine subtitled, How Anthony Kennedy’s passion for foreign law could change the Supreme Court. It was written in 2005. It didn’t take very long to come to pass. For anyone who’s been hanging out with Ted Kaczynski for the last 40 years, I’ll mention that The New Yorker is a “progressive” magazine. They approve of Kennedy’s sycophancy.

Here’s more from Professor Anderson:

…Prior to Boumediene, I would have said that the Court’s main concern has been that the war on terror is not “war” in the traditional sense, operationally or legally, and that just because the political branches call something war does not mean it actually is war, at least not if a consequence is the executive’s ability to detain anyone — which is where the administration started out, back with Jose Padilla, a U.S. citizen — as any enemy combatant solely on its say-so. If habeas did not apply to that claim of executive power, what was it good for? It is a fair question, but one that, as the chief justice noted in his dissent, is covered not just for citizens but even for aliens, by the MCA and DTA. Why the need to go beyond those? After Boumediene, it would seem to matter only if you see this as part of a larger project to carry the Constitution abroad, insofar as American agents and military act beyond U.S. borders, and to transform warfare into a species of large-scale law enforcement. If you are required to collect and preserve evidence in order to be able to hold alien security detainees picked up in foreign war zones, after all, war has become a very different activity.

Emphasis mine, because I agree with it. As I pointed out to an anonymous Ontarian in comments to that June 12th post, “You consider that laws of the United States ought to apply to foreign nationals on foreign soil. I can’t help but remember chief CHRC [Ironically, that’s the Canadian Human Rights Commission.] investigator Dean Steacy’s comment that, “Freedom of speech is an American concept, so I don’t give it any value.””

We can’t even export the responsibilities of American law to Canada in defense of its own Charter of Rights, but “enlightened” Canadians think we should be Mirandizing Osama bin Laden (as do Barack Obama’s advisors), Disagree and it means you’d like to see the Constitution “ripped up”. Thanks, but Anthony Kennedy is already on that job.

…Justice Kennedy is a human rights universalist — habeas corpus for aliens as for citizens, contrary precedents like Eisentrager be damned. And yet Afghan and Iraqi lives apparently are at a steep discount in the Boumediene majority’s weird, morally preening settling of accounts between liberties and security; so too, eventually, are American lives.

The obvious problem with exporting American Constitutional rights to foreign nationals is that we have no way to require any of the cultural behavior expected to be associated with having those rights. I wasn’t joking about Mirandizing terrorists, it is a straight line to that from believing habeas rights are due to POWs or enemy combatants on foreign soil. The only appreciation shown by those who respect neither habeas nor free speech is likely to be glee in killing more people who disagree with them.

I understand the objection: “You can’t just lock people up forever without lawyers because George Bush says so!” And I agree, but this is not at issue. How did this case come before the Supreme Court if Lakhdar Boumediene was denied a lawyer? Answer: He wasn’t. Access to lawyers, and to the Circuit Court of the District of Columbia, was part of the procedure to which Congress and the President jointly agreed, at SCOTUS’ direction. SCOTUS then found these protections inadequate on grounds it needn’t even have considered in this case. It was, indeed, a sad day.

See also, for more links to commentary on this decision.