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How Fascism Starts - Molly Ivins

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Q Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-25-04 07:25 AM
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How Fascism Starts - Molly Ivins
Published on Monday, May 24, 2004 by the Creators Syndicate

How Fascism Starts

by Molly Ivins

"...The problems go all the way back to the administration's refusal to abide by the Geneva Conventions. President Bush, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Attorney General John Ashcroft "signed off on a secret system of detention and interrogation that opened the door to such methods. It was an approach that they adopted in order to sidestep the historical safeguards of the Geneva Convention, which protect the rights of detainees and prisoners of war," according to Newsweek.

Secretary of State Colin Powell and the military's lawyers objected. You may recall the military's objections (broadcast, as usual, by retired officers) were on the excellent grounds that if we didn't observe the Geneva Conventions neither would our enemies -- the very reason they were signed in the first place.

The Pentagon still insists that "suspected Al Qaeda followers" have no rights under Geneva III, as they are "enemy combatants" rather than POWs. Geneva III also has procedures for what to do if the status of a detainee is in doubt -- full Geneva rights apply until "a competent tribunal" decides. We have been holding 595 prisoners at Guantanamo for two and half years, not counting those we have already let go, in conditions in violation of Geneva. Only now are a few of these prisoners being assigned lawyers, and the lawyers are raising hell about the whole process.

The legal rationale came from White House counsel Alberto Gonzales, including the line, "In my judgment, this new paradigm renders obsolete Geneva's strict limitations on questioning of enemy prisoners and renders quaint some of its provisions." According to Newsweek, Bush first signed a secret order granting new powers to the CIA, a directive authorizing it to set up secret detention facilities outside the United States and to question those held in them with unprecedented harshness. The agency also schlepped suspected terrorists off to other countries known to practice torture.

In addition to the fact that torture is morally repulsive, it also doesn't work. Of course you can torture information out of people. What you can't do is torture accurate information out of people who don't have it. The Defense Department's JAGs were so concerned they finally went to a New York lawyer who specializes in international human rights law and told him, "There is a calculated effort to create an atmosphere of legal ambiguity" about how Geneva should be applied.
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supernova Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-25-04 07:43 AM
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1. I love Molly Ivins!

Gonzales ought to be put in jail and treated with the same conditions created by his outrageous legal wrangling to make the illegal seem acceptable.
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TryingToWarnYou Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-25-04 07:59 AM
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2. Another hit out of the ballpark...
Whats sad is that not enough people with influence read Ivins.
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