October 12, 2004

HRW Cares

by PG

I have a slight fascination with Khalid Shaikh (sometimes spelled Sheikh) Mohammed that started when Pakistan arrested him and turned him over to the CIA over 18 months ago. He looked so undramatic in the photo, more like a domestic abuser than the suspected mastermind of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Since then, one hears of him intermittently; for example, this past summer the 9/11 commission's early reports of findings included information gleaned from KSM. Bush mentioned him during the first debate as an example of U.S. success in pursuing terrorists: "The killer -- the mastermind of the September 11th attacks, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, is in prison."

If Human Rights Watch is to be believed, however, KSM may not be the best example to use.

At least 11 al-Qaida suspects have "disappeared" in U.S. custody, and some may have been tortured, Human Rights Watch said in a report issued Monday. [...]
The report said the prisoners include the alleged architect of the Sept. 11 attacks, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, as well as Abu Zubaydah, who is believed to be a close aide to Osama bin Laden.
In refusing to disclose the prisoners' whereabouts or acknowledge the detentions, Human Rights Watch said, the U.S. government has violated international law, international treaties and the Geneva Convention. The group called on the government to bring all the prisoners "under the protection of the law."
I'm not sure how the U.S. government can be said to have refused to acknowledge KSM's detention, considering that Bush mentioned it in front of an audience of millions that presumably included some members of HRW. Nor, if these allegations are true, do I see a way to bring the U.S. government into line with the law. The Supreme Court ruling that changed procedures at Guantanamo Bay is unlikely to be extended to persons held outside direct American control.

October 12, 2004 12:23 AM | TrackBack

Even the government takes advantage of loopholes, not just practicing attorneys.

Posted by: Shag from Brookline at October 12, 2004 06:35 AM

I don't see any loopholes. I only see violations of law, and strong arguments that attack our credibility as a democratic nation. Even though I disagree with the notion that these prisoners have any rights under our U.S. Constitution, my reading of international law, including treaties our government has signed and ratified, does not jive with what our government is doing with these people, whether or not they are terrorists, even September 11 terrorists. Our government should disclose their locations and allow them reasonable access to a lawyer, and the Red Cross. No more than that, but certainly not less.

Posted by: UCL at October 13, 2004 06:33 PM

Red Crescent in these cases, I imagine.

Posted by: Tom T. at October 13, 2004 08:08 PM
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