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Alleged British Hacker Fears Guantanamo 661

Posted by Zonk
from the rational-response dept.
Magnifico writes "The BBC is reporting that Gary McKinnon, a British man accused of breaking into the U.S. government computer networks, could end up at Guantanamo Bay. His lawyer is fighting his extradition to the United States arguing, 'The US Government wants to extract some kind of species of administrative revenge because he exposed their security systems as weak and helpless as they were.'"
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Alleged British Hacker Fears Guantanamo

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  • by Niten (201835) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @11:35AM (#15121413)

    The problem is that the people held at Guantanamo Bay weren't simply captured on "the field of battle". According to information released under court order last month, fewer than half of the detainees were actually captured in battle against US forces. The majority were turned over by Pakistan, often for a cash bounty.

    Few of these "combatants" are even accused of having fought; most simply lived in a house or worked for a charity associated with the Taliban or Al-Qaeda. And you would propose that we have the right to indefinitely detain these people, held only on the grounds of a suspicion, without a fair trial? What, again, are these freedoms and principles that we are fighting so hard to defend in this "war on terror"?

  • by Spy der Mann (805235) <<spydermann.slashdot> <at> <gmail.com>> on Thursday April 13, 2006 @11:36AM (#15121419) Homepage Journal
    Sorry, I have to call bullshit on that one.
    Unless you call three squares a day and 5 prayer breaks torture.


    Sorry, but Amnesty International [amnesty.org] disagrees with you. OK, maybe I exaggerated, Guantanamo isn't one of the worst prisons in the world. It's one of the worst AMERICAN prisons in the world. According to Amnesty Intl, "Guantánamo Bay has become a symbol of injustice and abuse in the US administration's 'war on terror'. It must be closed down".

    There, happy now?
  • by Divide By Zero (70303) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @11:44AM (#15121496)
    Not true. BBC has a few good podcasts that I subscribe to, and if what they're reporting on is any indication of British public sentiment, they most definitely do believe it. There have been several stories in the last few weeks that seem to have been tipped off by a BBC reporter posing as a lawyer to get into Gitmo to interview one of these "detainees", who told stories about conditions there and forced feeding tantamount to torture. The Brits seem very concerned about it, to the point of getting Condi and ... some State Dept official whose name I forget on the BBC Today interview program and grilling them on it. (Not American media softball throwing, either. Real calling bullshit and holding feet to fire.) It represents an end-around bypassing due process, speedy and public trial, and probably a couple other Amendments. Frankly, they can't understand why Americans aren't as concerned as they are.
  • by TubeSteak (669689) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @12:09PM (#15121773) Journal
    The problem is that the U.S. hasn't issued any such guarantee.

    The fact that the U.S. of A. even has to make such a promise, puts them out of step with regards to the human rights most other 1st world countries take for granted. I'm not saying that people don't get dissappeared in other countries, just that the option isn't official public policy.

    I read another article about the guy off that site, and found this bit of information very interesting:
    "The British public need to ask themselves why British citizens are being extradited to the USA when the US government has not signed the extradition treaty between the two countries."
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/4721183.stm [bbc.co.uk]
  • by American AC in Paris (230456) * on Thursday April 13, 2006 @12:24PM (#15121932) Homepage
    Unless you call three squares a day and 5 prayer breaks torture.

    How, exactly, does that preclude torture? If somebody gave his kid three squares a day, let him pray whenever he wanted, and kicked him in the head with steel-toed boots every time the kid talked back to him, would you hold the guy up as a paragon of good parenting?

    OK, there has been some sleep depravation and one prisoner there did flush a Koran.

    There's more. One detainee had his head and mouth duct-taped. Another was "short-shackled" to the eye-bolt in the floor of the interrogation room. Detainees were subject to 16-20 hour interrogations plus sleep deprivation and isolation for up to 54 consecutive days. Strip searches were used as an interrogation technique. Detainees would be locked in a refrigerated room known as the "freezer" for extended periods of time. In the course of interrogation, a detainee was told that his family had been captured by the United States and that they were "in danger". Barking, growling, teeth-baring military dogs were used in interrogations.

    Go read the declassified FBI report. [defenselink.mil] Note how many things were authorized by SECDEF after the fact; note, too, how the report finds that nothing they found rises to the level of "torture or inhumane treatment".

    This is but one investigation, and it turns my stomach to read about some of the behavior in which my country is engaged. This is simply not how a nation built on the rule of law and respect for fundamental human rights should act. Three squares and five prayers is an empty defense of this truly reprehensible behavior.

  • by IgnoramusMaximus (692000) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @12:24PM (#15121933)
    Of course, since you haven't provided any links to verifiable accounts of said events, I'm going to rule everything you've said so far as 'bullshit', 'conjecture', and 'left-wing/liberal anti-bush/war propaganda' and move on

    You can't be this [latimes.com] dumb [bbc.net.uk]. Learn to use Google.

  • by Digital Vomit (891734) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @12:49PM (#15122169) Homepage Journal
    I think you are confusing Guantanimo and Abu Ghraib, and even then, panties on the head is hardly torture.

    Just "panties on the head", eh?

    Abu Ghraib torture and prisoner abuse [wikipedia.org]

    More photos [antiwar.com]

    Beatings, electric shocks, dog maulings, physical and psychological abuse.

    Or, maybe you like to refer to them by their more "patriotic" name: "Freedom tickles"?

  • by IgnoramusMaximus (692000) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @12:56PM (#15122238)
    So if you're taking an active part in the hostilities, you're not entitled to geneva protections as a civilian.

    No you are only not entitled to being a protected person, who is granted additional rights to a mere civilian.

    So if you're a combatant, but you don't follow the laws and customs of war or you don't identify yourself as the enemy, then you don't get Geneva protection.

    Which again, makes you a mere civilian, or more specifically, a civilian criminal.

    That's what "unlawful combatants" are.

    See above. That would make them criminals to be tried in a civilian court, and afforded all the same rights as any other civilian accused of a crime.

    They're people who are participating in an armed conflict who aren't eligible for Geneva protection because of how they are conducting their combat operations.

    That only removes their "protected persons" status, not their rights as civilians.

  • by WillFerrellLuva (968110) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @01:56PM (#15122788)
    President Bush did not make up the term "unlawful combatant." To say that he did is just completely wrong. The concept of an unlawful combatant (or more correctly, an enemy combatant) has been around for a long time.

    In Ex parte Quirin, 317 U.S. 1, which was decided by the Supreme Court in 1942, the Court recognized the presidents power to try enemy combatants in military tribunals instead of civil courts. This was the case, where the FBI caught a group of German guys who came to long island in a submarine. They were going to sabotage various parts of the American infrastructure.

    Basically what it all comes down is whether or not you believe that the United States should be considered at war when you think of "The war on terror." If you think that we are at war, then looking at our previous jurisprudence the president would be able to keep these people out of the American civil Courts. (not that i'm saying that his hacker is a terrorist) Here is an excerpt of that case:

    "By universal agreement and practice, the law of war draws a distinction between the armed forces and the peaceful populations of belligerent nations and also between those who are lawful and unlawful combatants. Lawful combatants are subject to capture and detention as prisoners of war by opposing military forces. 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." Id. at 30.

    And for my second point.....

    For what its worth, every person who is brought to gitmo has an opportunity to challenge the factual basis for their labeling as an enemy combatant before a tribunal. "...due process demands that a citizen held in the United States as an enemy combatant be given a meaningful opportunity to contest the factual basis for that detention before a neutral decisionmaker." Hamdi v. Rumsfeld, 542 U.S. 507, at 509 (2004).
  • by jotok (728554) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @02:05PM (#15122867)
    The reason we have those laws in place is because of an assumption on the part of the Founding Fathers that whenever the government is not being completely transparent, then it's up to no good. People in power always need a watchdog.
  • by dbrutus (71639) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @03:29PM (#15123761) Homepage
    Since the US government is representing in open court that he's not going to go to Guantanamo (read the article), what he's doing is asserting that the US government is lying and possibly purveying false documents purportedly from the US embassy in London in a UK court.

    He obviously hopes for a lighter sentence from a UK trial.
  • by deacon (40533) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @03:31PM (#15123780) Journal
    And actual detainees disagree with you!

    Cuba? It was great, say boys freed from US prison camp

    James Astill meets teenagers released from Guantanamo Bay who recall the place fondly

    Saturday March 6, 2004 The Guardian

    Asadullah strives to make his point, switching to English lest there be any mistaking him. "I am lucky I went there, and now I miss it. Cuba was great," said the 14-year-old, knotting his brow in the effort to make sure he is understood.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/guantanamo/story/0,13743 ,1163435,00.html [guardian.co.uk]

  • by citizenr (871508) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @03:43PM (#15123919) Homepage
    There is absolutely no chance that USA is evil and kidnaps people .. oh wait :

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/4555660.stm [bbc.co.uk]
    http://www.cnn.com/2005/POLITICS/12/06/cia.renditi on/index.html [cnn.com]
  • by Straif (172656) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @05:09PM (#15124889) Homepage
    Your argument is based on two key concepts:

    1)the false premise that the President made a unilateral decision to invade Iraq, against the wishes of the US Congress but the 'Joint Resolution to Authorize the Use of United States Armed Forces Against Iraq' was passed by both the House and the Senate in 2002.

    and

    2)that the United States can take no military action without a formal declaration of war. That argument is ridiculous on it's face, as it would require a formal declaration of war any time that NATO or the UN or any of the many countries America has some mutual defense pact with, were in need of military assistance.

    No matter how you try to spin it, this was not a case of the President's 'circumvention of Congress', this was a clear cut case of a President following the accepted method to take military action against a perceived threat to the United States. People may not like the result but the fact of the matter is Congress gave him their blessing and as you said, "If it looks like a duck ...". Any changes of heart by various members of Congress afterward does not change the fact that they authorized these actions.

    And from my understanding, the originalists interpretation of the constitution is to not read into it additional powers and protections that are not clearly stated (the right to privacy, 'seperation' of Church and State, etc..). According to the originalist view of the Constitution any rights or powers not directly assigned to or protected by the Federal government by the Constitution are the domain of the individual States, a view I happen to hold.

    Either way, I wouldn't see this as a violation of that interpretation as the President did indeed request Congress's approval before taking action, how they chose to give it is left up to them. By adding a stipulation that a formal declaration of war be made every time a military action is taken it is you that is creating a new requirement under the Constitution where none previously existed, in clear opposition of the originalist philosophy.
  • by js_sebastian (946118) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @09:11PM (#15126594)
    Can you name even one person who has been "shipped off sans due process to an offshore prison camp" who wasn't captured in a war zone under arms while not wearing a uniform?
    Abu Omar. This guy was kidnapped by CIA agents in Milan (with the assent of the italian government), and shipped to airforce base in aviano and from there to egypt to be tortured. None of this is conjecture, it's all over the news (at least here in italy).

    Take a look at this page too: http://web.amnesty.org/pages/stoptorture-050406-fe ature-eng/ [amnesty.org].

    And let me say 3 more things.

    One. If you think everyone in Guantanamo was an armed irregular in afghanistan or Iraq you are a fool. People have been shipped there from lot's of other places, like pakistan, bosnia, etc.

    Two. When you capture an enemy soldier it hardly matters if he has a uniform, there are international conventions on how you should treat prisoners, and none of them consider torture acceptable.

    Three. One of the things distinguishing a democracy from a dictatorship is the fact that when someone is arrested, his family is allowed to know that he is being detained and on what accusation. It is only dictatorships that make people just disappear.

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