March 11, 2005


Pentagon Seeks to Transfer More Detainees From Base in Cuba (DOUGLAS JEHL, 3/11/05, NY Times)

The Pentagon is seeking to enlist help from the State Department and other agencies in a plan to cut by more than half the population at its detention facility in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, in part by transferring hundreds of suspected terrorists to prisons in Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan and Yemen, according to senior administration officials.

The transfers would be similar to the renditions, or transfers of captives to other countries, carried out by the Central Intelligence Agency, but are subject to stricter approval within the government, and face potential opposition from the C.I.A. as well as the State and Justice Departments, the officials said. [...]

The White House first embraced using Guantánamo as a holding place for terrorism suspects taken in Afghanistan, in part because the base was seen as beyond the jurisdiction of United States law. But recent court rulings have held that prisoners there may challenge their detentions in federal court.

Rendering Al Qaeda: So how is the CIA suppose to squeeze terrorists? (Opinion Journal, March 11, 2005)
It's hard to recall now, but in the wake of September 11 prominent liberals mused publicly about the possible need to torture al Qaeda captives. Only three years later they're devoting their time to assailing U.S. officials responsible for prying information out of terrorists.

The latest alleged scandal concerns so-called "renditions," or the policy of turning over prisoners to foreign countries so they can do the interrogating. Some of the places--Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan--don't have our legal scruples, so by turning over these suspects the Bush Administration is said to be condoning torture again. For a little perspective, allow us to cite no less a rendering authority than Sandy Berger, former National Security Adviser to Bill Clinton.

It happens that in the spring of 1996, the government of Sudan offered to deliver Osama bin Laden (then living in Khartoum) into U.S. custody. The Clinton Administration was aware of the threat bin Laden posed, but it worried it didn't yet have sufficient information to indict him on terrorism charges in court. Instead, the U.S. sought to have the Saudis take bin Laden and behead him.

"In the United States, we have this thing called the Constitution, so to bring him here is to bring him into the justice system," Mr. Berger told the Washington Post in October 2001. "I don't think that was our first choice. Our first choice was to send him someplace where justice is more 'streamlined.' " In the event, the Saudis were in no mood to take bin Laden, Mr. Berger did not press the matter, and bin Laden left for Afghanistan on a chartered plane.

In other words, the Clinton Administration used the rendering practice with the avowed expectation that suspects would be tortured, or worse. The Bush Administration says it uses it only on condition of humane treatment and assigns personnel to "monitor compliance." If this is a torture scandal, it didn't start on September 12, 2001.

Actually, renditions really are a scandal, though this has nothing to do with torture. The scandal is that this long after September 11 neither the CIA nor the Defense Department has a set of clear, effective and legally sanctioned means to extract actionable intelligence from terrorist suspects in their custody.

A Fine Rendition (MICHAEL SCHEUER, 3/11/05, NY Times)
AS Congress and the news media wail about the Central Intelligence Agency's "rendition" program - its practice of turning suspected terrorists over for detainment and questioning in third countries - it is time to focus on the real issue at hand. A good starting place is Page 127 of the tablets on which are inscribed the scripture handed down by the 9/11 commission.

Here we find a description of a 1998 conversation between National Security Director Samuel Berger and his counterterrorism chief, Richard Clarke, about the capture of Abu Hajer al Iraqi, the "most important bin Laden lieutenant captured thus far." According to the report, Mr. Clarke commented to Mr. Berger "with satisfaction that August and September had brought the 'greatest number of terrorist arrests in a short period of time that we have ever arranged or facilitated.' " Part and parcel of this success, the men make clear, were the renditions of captured Qaeda terrorists. [...]

[T]he rendition program has been a tremendous success. Dozens of senior Qaeda fighters are today behind bars, no longer able to plot or participate in attacks. Detainee operations also netted an untold number of computers and documents that increased our knowledge of Al Qaeda's makeup and plans.

If the Court is going to extend constitutional rights to our enemies for the first time in the history of warfare then an administration that cares about our national security will be forced to do some unpleasant things.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 11, 2005 7:28 AM

anyone know the process for removing a supreme court justice ? i know how it works at the state level, as we did just that in the 70's.

Posted by: cjm at March 11, 2005 10:05 AM

If, by holding them prisoner, you confer constitutional rights on them, the quick and easy work-around is to not take any prisoners.

In other words, summary executions.

We should all be . . . darn it . . . lookie dat! my "outrage" meter is pegged at off-scale low. Must be a bad sensor or something.

Posted by: Mike Morley at March 11, 2005 10:14 AM

We never should have taken them to Gitmo but merely had Gen. Dostum hold them for us in the Uzbek region of Afghanistan, and let his men handle the interrogations. That includes Johnny Walker Lindh.

Posted by: Bart at March 11, 2005 10:39 AM

WTF? Doesn't anybody know what happened during the Civil War? First Congress has to suspend the writ, then it's off to the races. Let the Court decide long after the fact, as in ex parte Milligan, whether the threat satisfies the constitutional conditions for suspension of the writ.

Posted by: Lou Gots at March 11, 2005 11:14 AM

Exactly what is unpleasant about the Executive informing the Judiciary that its decision is unconstitutional and that since the Executive has sworn to uphold the Constitution he will refuse to enforce the ruling? Do you seriously think Congress impeach and convict him for this? Now we're talking real nuclear options, a MIRV actually. The usurpatious Court gets wacked back into its position and our enemies get the heat.

Posted by: Luciferous at March 11, 2005 12:37 PM

I have compassion for Johnny Walker Lindh. He's just a silly kid exposed to leftist B.S. his whole life. Daddy a pervert. They should let him go.

Posted by: h-man at March 11, 2005 12:54 PM


Posted by: oj at March 11, 2005 1:38 PM

Yeah that too.

However his hero was Malcolm X, so let him rot in prison, the little sh*t.

Posted by: h-man at March 11, 2005 3:24 PM


At some time, we all take responsibility for our actions. He was an adult when he went over to the other side and aided and abetted terrorists targetting America. The only question about how to deal with him should be whether to use a sledgehammer or a machete.

Posted by: Bart at March 11, 2005 3:25 PM




I went to Memphis last Sunday and attended Church with Harold Ford.

Posted by: h-man at March 11, 2005 3:32 PM

Was he passin'?

Posted by: oj at March 11, 2005 3:43 PM

No apparently campaigning for something. Seriously Lamar Alexander was there and other politicians. (Retirement of Adrian Rodgers, his last services, former President of Southern Baptist Conv.) Not my church, but my brother's.

Posted by: h-man at March 11, 2005 4:53 PM