Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Do We Want Captured Terrorists to Remain Silent?

Someone once said that the dialogue in the Law & Order television series sounded like ACLU talking points (we don't watch the show, so we're unable to determine if that allegation is on target). However, the Obama administration seems to want to fight the war on terror as if it is orchestrated by a L&O scriptwriter, which is precisely the wrong approach. The guiding principle should be the law of armed conflict, not the law enforcement model. The Weekly Standard reports the following:
For, the Obama Justice Department has quietly ordered FBI agents to read Miranda rights to high value detainees captured and held at U.S. detention facilities in Afghanistan, according a senior Republican on the House Intelligence Committee. “The administration has decided to change the focus to law enforcement. Here’s the problem. You have foreign fighters who are targeting US troops today – foreign fighters who go to another country to kill Americans. We capture them…and they’re reading them their rights – Mirandizing these foreign fighters,” says Representative Mike Rogers, who recently met with military, intelligence and law enforcement officials on a fact-finding trip to Afghanistan.
Rogers, a former FBI special agent and U.S. Army officer, says the Obama administration has not briefed Congress on the new policy. “I was a little surprised to find it taking place when I showed up because we hadn’t been briefed on it, I didn’t know about it. We’re still trying to get to the bottom of it, but it is clearly a part of this new global justice initiative...”
One thing is clear, though. A detainee who is not talking cannot provide information about future attacks. Had Khalid Sheikh Mohammad had a lawyer, [former CIA Director] Tenet wrote, “I am confident that we would have obtained none of the information he had in his head about imminent threats against the American people.”
Separately, former USA Today columnist Richard Benedetto joins several other pundits to raise questions about the disproportionate coverage of the abortion doctor killing vs. the terrorist shooting at the military recruitment center in Little Rock:
Which is more newsworthy — the murder of an abortion doctor in Wichita, Kan., by an alleged anti-abortion activist or the murder of an Army recruiter and the wounding of another in Little Rock, Ark., by an alleged Muslim convert who is said to hate the U.S. military?
Most people not involved in news-placement decisions would probably say they were equally newsworthy. But those in the news media actually making those decisions had a different view.
According to the way the two stories were played last week in the American mainstream news media, the shooting of the abortion doctor was far more newsworthy than the shooting of the two young soldiers, even though the two incidents occurred within one day of each other and seemed to follow a similar pattern: Both men were killed by men allegedly acting out their political, religious and moral disagreements with their victims.
The response from the commander in chief to the murder of Private Long was surprisingly muted too:
Even President Barack Obama apparently was more appalled by the killing of the abortion doctor than the Army shootings. Within hours of the doctor’s murder, he issued an official statement: “I am shocked and outraged by the murder of Dr. George Tiller as he attended church services this morning.It took the commander in chief two days to issue a statement on the shooting of the soldiers.
Meantime, a gunman opened fire today at the Holocaust Museum in Washington.

$12 Million Per Detainee

The Uighurs are finally on the move according to the AP. The small Pacific island nation of Palau has apparently agreed to take them:
Palau agreed to accept 17 Chinese Muslims who have languished in legal limbo at Guantanamo Bay, indicating a resolution to one of the major obstacles to closing the U.S. prison camp.
The announcement Wednesday by the Pacific archipelago, which would clear the last of the Uighurs from the camp in Cuba, was a major step toward the Obama administration's goal of finding new homes for detainees who have been cleared of wrongdoing but cannot go home for fear of ill-treatment...
President Johnson Toribiong said the decision of Palau, one of a handful of countries that does not recognize China and maintains diplomatic relations with Taiwan, was "a humanitarian gesture" intended to help the detainees restart their lives. His archipelago, with a population of about 20,000, will accept up to 17 of the detainees subject to periodic review, Toribiong said in a statement released to The Associated Press...
Two U.S. officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the U.S. was prepared to give Palau up to $200 million in development, budget support and other assistance in return for accepting the Uighurs and as part of a mutual defense and cooperation treaty that is due to be renegotiated this year.
Update: Bermuda is the new home of four of the detainees.