OPERATION (YOUTUBE

WTF ARE YOU DOING!) SMACKDOWN


December 19, 2006

Free Yozarian!

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/18/world/middleeast/18justice.html?ex=157680000&en=eec726aa9faf7c5a&ei=5124&partner=permalink&exprod=permalink

I urge you to read the New York Times article referenced above before proceeding further - it will give you a frame of reference.
While this is hardly a unique story, it is worthy of a quick read, but just in case you are the sort who ended up dancing around his desk in third grade before reading the "Ignore all directions above" line at the end of the worksheet, I will summarize the story thusly:
A US citizen (a native of the windy city) was in Eye-rack as a contractor for a security company. After a while, he got a "bad feeling" about his employers and contacted the FBI and other security types to report his bosses. Sure enough, the company was dealing arms to any and sundry bad guys. So they turn the case over to the Army "intelligence" boys, who perform a sudden snatch-n-grab on the company. This raid worked real well. The Army put the Qorner Gun Shoppe out of business, and arrested many-several badguys. Unfortunately, they also arrested our hero - the contractor-turned-FBI informant.
For the next ninety days, there followed a truly Kafka-esque drama, with the informant being tortured, isolated, and occasionally questioned as he repeatedly and honestly insisted on his role in the incident. He even (I kid you not) told his interrogators how to confirm his version of events - though evidently that was not a high priority for them. During his questioning, he was (allegedly) not allowed to see most of the "evidence" the interrogators were supposedly attempting to verify. Even after his story (that it was HE who fingered the gun-sale operation) was confirmed, he was still held in conditions that would get the county lock-up shut down by the feds and then released with ominous warnings that there would be trouble if he blabbed about his experiences.
Consider the irony, if you will, of this poor schmuck's fate. Consider that all of it resulted from his attempt to help the US effort by revealing corruption and crime. Consider the perfidy of his interrogators. Consider that, though quickly acknowledged as a citizen, his rights to habeas corpus, to legal representation, to humane conditions, were completely ignored. Consider that this is long AFTER the cock-up (pardon) at Abu Ghraib. Consider that during most of his ordeal, frantic inquiries as to his whereabouts and condition were being sent by his friends and family and elected representatives, and stonily ignored by the military.
I suppose the most infuriating aspect of this story is that none of it needed to happen. A phone call from the dim-bulbs running Kamp Kwestion to the FBI would have sufficed. A check of the informant's cell, his laptop or even (gasp) his paperwork, would have confirmed his version of events. And the Army - acting ever like five-year-olds with cookie crumbs on their shirts - KNEW they screwed the pooch here and AGAIN tried to cover it up, even to giving rather obvious consideration to "disappearing" their victim.
We won't even touch on the question of why a firm using US citizen-employees was selling guns to insurgents in Eye-rack under the noses and other facial features of our own "watchdogs" - that's a question for another day - but the Catch-22 experiences recounted here are truly rage-worthy.
Lemme hear an "Ooo-rah!"




Good try.

5 comments:

muninn said...

Aethelred.
So to summarize. A mercenary type (ex-U.S.military) goes to IraK for triple the wages he could make elsewhere. Gets involved with a bad bunch. Calls FBI to save his ass. Army busts operation and arrests everybody. Good guy(?) is detained 90 days and tortured with country music? The bastards even left the lights on at night!!! Holy David Perle, what an atrocity!.But wait.Army finally lets one guy go home, but keeps good guy to investigate further. Released after 90 days and sent home. Other guy goes back to work in IraK!!! Surely you are not suggesting a moral equivelance between the United States Military Justice System and our enemies who turn out snuff films and behead-athons for sale to the local Al-Jazeera guy. Those guys who blow up 100 or so civilian Irakis every day because they are simply inhuman monstors bent on delivering gods vengance. What point are you making here, that we need more lawyers to win the war? Are you truly shocked!Shocked!to find that habeaus corpus in the middle east is manufuctured mostly from unobtainium.That column is an insult to every trooper who has gone to save the rights of the very people impugning them.It is especially insulting to the families of all coalition prisoners murdered and REALLY tortured to death, live and in color at 10:00 by the jihadi goat fu**ing scum. As a former newspaper writer and owner,you should be the first to detect agitprop when you see it. I consider your post to be an embarresment, but at least it has your name on it not mine,and for that fact I am truly grateful.
P.S.
Jo Ann enjoyed the v-card, Thanks-Muninn

basil said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Aethelred said...

No, Muninn.
I am saying that acting like unmitigated bastards in the name of fighting bastardy is both stupid and reprehensible.
As for the "atrocity" of sleep deprivation, mental duress, and threats of an American citizen by a secret military tribunal ... yeah, I think that sucks.
"Agitprop," my sweet patoot?! This is truth.
I just cannot beleive that anyone could think it's okay to violate the core values of this nation on a daily basis, all in the name of "fightin' tare-ism".
Other than having the BFGs (while they have to make do with IEDs), how are we better than the nation we are occupying?
'Cause "we're us and they're them"?
Now your starting to drool - WAKE UP AMERICA!

muninn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Let me state the case explicitly. We need to differentiate between civilized norms during war vis-à-vis the barbarous choice of tactics used by our enemies. First, we must realize that the Geneva Protocols are a very recent effort to mitigate the excesses of war. Through prior millenia no check was offered by commanders on the atrocities that generally followed battle. Thus, for example, Hannibal annhilated entire Roman armies even after the outcome of battle was clear. He might have taken captives except that the standards of the day meant indescriminate murder of prisoners to the last man. Both sides understood this. Defeated armies tended to bolt en masse once the outcome was clear. No quarter was expected and none was given. Flight became the only possibility.

During the Middle Ages things began to change a bit when the possibility of ransom meant that it became more lucrative to hold captives than kill them. But as yet no written agreement existed between powers. Mercy on the battlefield began to develop as custom, though it was frequently violated on the merest of whims (witness the English army under Henry V). Civilians were regarded as legitimate targets for rape and pillage especially in the aftermath of a siege. Thus did things stand through the Thirty Years War.

Modern attitudes (post-1648) began to show themselves when victor and defeated alike began to sense a shared comradery between professional soldiers. Release of captives meant you might see the same man again later in the war. But it also meant that you could expect quarter because quarter was offered previously. Captured soldiers sometimes survived. By 1914, the transformation meant that unofficial cease-fires were usually honored to take away the wounded and recover the dead of both sides. A holiday armistice even brought opposing sides together for fraternizing. But only in the West.

The Geneva Protocols were drafted to codify practices that had already developed organically as understandings between combatants. Protection was extended to civilian populations, though this provision was frequently violated by practitioners of total war (witness Dresden). Nevertheless, a legal precedent had been established and signed by the great powers. Note that no protections were extended to those identified as "irregulars". During the Second World War, captured partisans were generally hanged. By the rules of war, it was legal to do so. A specific definition of "legal combatant" had been drafted into the protocols, but this excluded specifically anyone not in uniform. The rationale for this practice centered on the need to protect civilians. If you didn't have a uniform, you weren't supposed to be a target.

Fastforward to the present. Our enemies hide among civilian populations and deliberately wear no uniforms. They have violated, on purpose and with malice, those protocols designed to protect the innocent. Their tactics are a throwback to a more barbarous age. But then, they are barbarians, so we should expect no less. What are their rights under the protocols? None. It doesn't matter what lawyers might claim. They are wrong in their interpretation. And the lawyers are sacrificing the protections given civilians by claiming otherwise.

Does this give the U.S. the right to torture prisoners in custody? That's a moral question. Plato and Machiavelli would argue opposite sides of the issue. But they're long dead. The U.S. has the right, by law, to hang terrorists: Qadists, Taliban, and assorted other combatants out of uniform. Note that our enemies have chosen the basis upon which we can or may act when given the choice. We provide imprisonment, though we are not legally bound to do so. Quite frankly, given the barbarity of the adversary, I think that atrocity on their part relieves us of any obligation to provide quarter, or any other form of mitigation under the protocols of war. But again, it's our enemy that has chosen the terms under which we fight. The moral onus is on them, not us. Absent the law, the gloves come off and anything is legal (possibly even moral) under the circumstances.

My point about the poor schmuck who got nailed in his gun-running ring is rather simple. He has chosen to associate with criminals in a lawless land where the protocols do not apply. When one indulges in criminal activiity, he should recognize that civilized justice is not his biggest worry. In fact, legal justice is a haven next to other possibilities. Criminal syndicates usually find themselves in competition with other criminals. Ask the mob. Who is more likely to strike with lethal consequences? The Department of Justice, or another criminal organization? Recognize that a criminal enterprise operates outside the law according to different rules. Defeat can be lethal, as it was in the days of Hannibal. The poor schmuck was lucky. He might have been summarily hanged. To my mind: case closed.

~Basil