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Comment Re:yeah. (Score 2) 195

The POWs in Guantanamo do get Red Cross visits. As to the rest of their status - in order to receive the full protection of the Geneva Convention as a combatant you have to obey the Law of War. Al Qaida doesn't do that, quite the reverse. Their basic strategy of directly targeting civilian noncombatants constitutes a war crime. They are quite rightly recognized as unlawful combatants. And do note, it isn't that this categorization is unknown internationally, but rather that various advocates refuse to acknowledge that it exists.

The black sites? Last time I looked they were for detention and interrogation.

Now, there are a couple of factors that make these discussions more interesting. First, is the fact that Al Qaida teaches its members to lie about their treatment and not cooperate.

Al Qaeda Manual Drives Detainee Behavior at Guantanamo Bay

. . . Police in Manchester, England, discovered the manual, which has come to be known as the "Manchester document," in 2000 while searching computer files found in the home of a known al Qaeda member. The contents were introduced as evidence into the 2001 trial of terrorists who bombed the U.S. embassies in Tanzania and Kenya in 1998. . .

The closing chapter teaches al Qaeda operatives how to operate in a prison or detention center. It directs detainees to "insist on proving that torture was inflicted" and to "complain of mistreatment while in prison."

Chapter 17 instructs them to "be careful not to give the enemy any vital information" during interrogations.

Another section of the manual directs commanders to teach their operatives what to say if they're captured, and to explain it "more than once to ensure that they have assimilated it." To reinforce the message, it tells commanders to have operatives "explain it back to the commander."

One consequence of this lying, and international pressure on their behalf, is that committed terrorists have been released who then return to Jihad again, killing who knows how many.

Recidivism rises among released Guantanamo detainees

(Reuters) - The proportion of militants released from detention at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay who subsequently were believed to have returned to the battlefield rose slightly over the last year, according to official figures released on Monday.

In a summary report, the office of the Director of National Intelligence said that 27.9 percent of the 599 former detainees released from Guantanamo were either confirmed or suspected of later engaging in militant activity

Second, as does sometimes happen in war, service members will occasionally exceed their instructions, lose control, or develop a mental illness, and then engage in behavior that constitutes a war crime. Some people want to pretend that those actions are deliberate policy rather than the illegal actions of an individual or particular group. One prime example is the incident at Abu Ghraib. It resulted in a number of American soldiers going to jail, including the infamous Lynndie England. An isolated incident by a small number of soldiers that took an extraordinary number of pictures in a very short time, and gave a black eye to the US military and the United States. The actual events were magnified by the work of the media - the New York Times put stories and/or pictures on the front page 47 times.

Pay? Nobody pays me to post. But I do like to see the discussion occasionally enter the realm of facts even if it aggravates some people.

After all, facts that contradict some political view are "flamebait."

Submission + - Skylab: America's First Space Station Launched 40 Years Ago Today (wired.com)

cold fjord writes: So many things have happened in space technology and space flight that it is easy to overlook the pioneering work of Skylab, the first space station orbited by the United States. Today is the 40th anniversary of its launch: "With all the futuristic talk today about missions to Mars, lunar bases and asteroid mining, it's easy to forget that man has already been living off of the planet on and off for decades. Forty years ago today, Skylab — America's first outpost in space — was launched. The three-man orbiting laboratory was designed to conduct scientific experiments in space, such as studies of the effects of weightlessness on man and other living organisms, and observations of the sun."
NASA roundtable: NASAtelevision — 40th Anniversary of Skylab
NASA documentary: Skylab — The First 40 Days (1973)
NASA mission info: Skylab — America's First Space Station
Skylab Infographics
Skylab eventually reentered the atmosphere, broke up, and the pieces landed in Australia, where they made their way to Australian museums.

Comment Re:yeah. (Score -1, Flamebait) 195

You seem confused, so I'll help you sort it out.

the US with its imprisoning of more people (by absolute numbers and percentage of population) than any other country

They are imprisoned for what are recognizable as ordinary criminal offenses, such as drug offenses. People in the United States are not imprisoned for things like singing songs that insult the president, such as this.

Indefinite detention

You are referring to Prisoners of War. Completely legitimate and a recognized standard. You can keep POWs in detention until the end of the conflict. Unfortunate that they made a bad choice of fighting for Al Qaida.


The US waterboarded a total of three people, the most recent of which was 10 years ago. The US has waterboarded at least thousands, or tens of thousands, of military pilots and special forces personnel both before and since in the same way. It is certainly a form of coercion. But torture has a legal definition, and waterboarding under those circumstances didn't meet that at the time. Or would you claim that the US actually tortured its service members?

summary execution

Killing people on the battlefield or in the theater of war isn't summary execution, but simply killing, and in no way illegitimate. The people killed were in the same status as these people shot dead by the US Government without trial or warrant.

Yeah. The US has credibility when it comes to human rights.

Yes, it does.

Comment Meh (Score 1, Insightful) 195

Turnabout is fair play.

How the FBI Busted Anna Chapman and the Russian Spy Ring

No surprise - Putin has been trying to drag the US - Russian relationship back to Cold War times. He has become much more provocative with military probes around US territory, and has been dismissive of US diplomats. Apparently it plays well in Russia.

It looks like he is getting his wish. So much for the "reset" in relations.


Submission + - American Craft Brews and Brewing Making Inroads in Germany (washingtonpost.com)

cold fjord writes: Germans are importing American beer and brewing techniques, an interesting juxtaposition given the typical view of American beers. But they have a good reason: although it is of high quality, much of the beer dominating German markets adheres to the conventions of the Reinheitsgebot, the Bavarian beer purity law of 1516. Almost 500 years is a long time to use the same family of recipes. The increasingly sophisticated American craft brews and brewing techniques, and openness to experimentation, don't follow that convention, and offer some interesting variety, as noted in the article: "In the last year in Berlin, high-end U.S. beer — including one from California that is flown over in coolers — has become available in some grocery stores, and several U.S.-style craft breweries have opened. The efforts are aimed at challenging the dominance of plain-old pilsner, the mild lager that dominates more than half of beer sales in Germany. Beer consumption is slipping in Germany, and some brewers say their only salvation lies in fostering a drinking culture less constrained by a 1516 purity law that they say crimps innovation. “What we’ve found in the United States is this amazing variety of styles and the openness of customers to new things,” said Marc Rauschmann, . . . “We were really impressed.”"

Comment Re:Call me a neigh sayer (Score 1) 417

Owning a plushie and a couple of figures, watching the show, visiting internet forums would imply "big fan" to most people. None of those and even all of them together implies any kind of inteference with "life" as you put it.

None of these things are a bad thing to do with your life if you are an eight year old girl.

If you're a 40 year old man, sorry, it's just weird. I know at this point the slashdot libertarians will bring out the "you should be free to do anything you like as long as it doesn't harm others" card.

Fine, I didn't say it should be illegal. I just think that, taken seriously and not as a camp joke, being a brony is going to make people think you are weird. That's your right, but it is ridiculous to pretend you don't see why it's weird.

Comment Re:Call me a neigh sayer (Score 1) 417

> In short, you can like my little pony all you want. But when you go so far as to modify your life such that it now revolves around that show, and you feel compelled to convert others to your obcesson, then there is a problem.

What about religious people whose lives revolve around the religion and they try to convert others to the religion?

You're right, that's a (slightly different) problem too.

Comment Re:Call me a neigh sayer (Score 1) 417

So if a girl likes a guy thing like football or wearing pants that aren't skirts, that's normal.

But if a guy likes a girl thing, it's clinical fixation disorder.

You are what is wrong with society.

There's a difference between an adult guy liking an adult girl thing and an adult guy liking a girl child thing.

I've watched all sorts of crap with my kids over the years, but I wouldn't search it out to watch in adult company. This applies equally to Barbie and Ben 10, it's not a sexist thing.

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