Friday, September 22, 2006

Bush Gets Deal on Detainee Treatment as Congress Caves

In a magical sleight of hand the Bush administration employed its usual wordsmiths to circumvent three Senators’ legitimate concerns. The news reported highlights of the agreement.

1. Requires that a defendant being tried by a military commission have access to any evidence given to a jury. That works if a jury exists. What happens when there is no jury? From Findlaw regarding military tribunals.

None of these problems exist with military tribunals. Trials without juries are always more efficient. And military officers have accepted the risk of personal harm as a concomitant of their work.

2. Drops a legislative mandate that a law alone satisfies America’s obligation under the Geneva Conventions.

3. Prohibits “grave” breaches of the Geneva Conventions and defines those as acts such as torture (already redefined by Bush), rape, biological experiments, and cruel and inhuman treatment. So much for the Bush team adding clarity to the existing language in the Geneva Conventions!

Will the U.S.’s use of new weapons on terror suspects be considered biological experiments? The military plans to use microwave radiation to disperse crowds. It also has plans to use other “non-lethal” means of inflicting pain.

June 2004 The Pentagon denied that a new "non-lethal" ray gun that fires millimeter-wave electromagnetic energy, which penetrates the skin and instantly heats water molecules to 130 degrees, might be used as a torture device. No one has been able to stand the pain caused by the weapon, known as the "Active Denial System," for more than 3 seconds.»[Sacramento Bee]

July 2005 The Active Denial System weapon's beam causes pain within 2 to 3 seconds and it becomes intolerable after less than 5 seconds. People's reflex responses to the pain is expected to force them to move out of the beam before their skin can be burnt….A vehicle-mounted version of ADS called Sheriff could be in service in Iraq in 2006 according to the Department of Defense, and it is also being evaluated by the US Department of Energy for use in defending nuclear facilities. The US marines and police are both working on portable versions, and the US air force is building a system for controlling riots from the air.

Where does this new technology fit under the Geneva Conventions and the negotiated White House/Congress deal?

The article went on to say “the details of the agreement were sketchy”. Yes, everything about this administration is sleazy, mean spirited, and covered in sketchiness. This is the same President who said:

On February 7, 2002, the President announced that the United States will treat the detainees "humanely and, to the extent appropriate and consistent with military necessity, in a manner consistent with the principles of third Geneva Convention of 1949."

Does this mean he didn’t know what he spoke about then as he called the Geneva Conventions open to interpretation? Maybe, but more likely is his minions spent 4½ years pushing the envelope on each and every standard. In Bush’s mind to break down a terrorist, America has to break down the Geneva Conventions. From here it appears our revenge minded national CEO already had his break down.

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