US plans death camp 26may03Cowboy Khalil, from whom I got this, concurrently points out this story in The Guardian:
THE US has floated plans to turn Guantanamo Bay into a death camp, with its own death row and execution chamber. Prisoners would be tried, convicted and executed without leaving its boundaries, without a jury and without right of appeal, The Mail on Sunday newspaper reported yesterday.
The plans were revealed by Major-General Geoffrey Miller, who is in charge of 680 suspects from 43 countries, including two Australians. The suspects have been held at Camp Delta on Cuba without charge for 18 months.
General Miller said building a death row was one plan. Another was to have a permanent jail, with possibly an execution chamber.
The Mail on Sunday reported the move is seen as logical by the US, which has been attacked worldwide for breaching the Geneva Convention on prisoners of war since it established the camp at a naval base to hold alleged terrorists from Afghanistan.
But it has horrified human rights groups and lawyers representing detainees. They see it as the clearest indication America has no intention of falling in line with internationally recognised justice.
The US has already said detainees would be tried by tribunals, without juries or appeals to a higher court. Detainees will be allowed only US lawyers.
British activist Stephen Jakobi, of Fair Trials Abroad, said: “The US is kicking and screaming against any pressure to conform with British or any other kind of international justice.”
American law professor Jonathan Turley, who has led US civil rights group protests against the military tribunals planned to hear cases at Guantanamo Bay, said: “It is not surprising the authorities are building a death row because they have said they plan to try capital cases before these tribunals. This camp was created to execute people. The administration has no interest in long-term prison sentences for people it regards as hard-core terrorists.”Britain admitted it had been kept in the dark about the plans. A Downing St spokesman said: “The US Government is well aware of the British Government’s position on the death penalty.”
Red Cross denied access to PoWs May 25, 2003I have two things to say. First: If we genuinely care about the well-being of our military personnel overseas, we have to stop flouting the Geneva Convention. The traditional way to get the other side to stop mistreating your guys who’re held prisoner is to mistreat their guys in turn. This is hard on prisoners from both sides. Best to just not go there.
The United States is illegally holding thousands of Iraqi prisoners of war and other captives without access to human rights officials at compounds close to Baghdad airport, The Observer has learnt.
There have also been reports of a mutiny last week by prisoners at an airport compound, in protest against conditions. The uprising was ‘dealt with’ by the Americans, according to a US military source.
The International Committee of the Red Cross so far has been denied access to what the organisation believes could be as many as 3,000 prisoners held in searing heat. All other requests to inspect conditions under which prisoners are being held have been met with silence or been turned down. …
Unlike the Afghans in Cuba, there is no doubt about the status of these captives, whether PoWs or civilians arrested for looting or other crimes under military occupation: all have the right, under the laws of war, to be visited and documented by the International Red Cross. ‘There is no argument about the situation with regard to the Iraqi armed forces and even the Fedayeen Saddam,’ said the ICRC’s spokeswoman in Baghdad, Nada Doumani.
‘They are prisoners of war because they have been captured during a clear conflict between two states. If they served in the armed forces or in a militia with distinctive clothing which came under the chain of command of one of the warring states, they are protected under article 143 of the Geneva Convention.’ …Civilians held, she said, have similar rights because they have been detained by an occupying power, which the ICRC insists the Americans to be, even if they do not use those words of themselves. ‘Civilian prisoners under a military occupation have the right to be visited and documented,’ she said, ‘and for their next-of-kin to be informed.’
Second: My god, deathcamps. Shall we start admitting the possibility that these people are every bit as bad as they seem? If they have moral agency, which they do, it’s possible for them to be not just greedy, deluded, and incompetent, but evil.
We tend to shy away from that thought, in part because it’s so embarrassingly lurid-sounding; but being lurid and distasteful has never been enough to keep bad things from happening.
The other reason we shy away is because if they really are that bad, we’re in for some hard, ugly times before this is over.