U.S. Outsources Torture

Well why not? We outsource everything else. It’s good for a free market economy. On September 20th I wrote about the deportation of a Sikh man who claimed he would be tortured if returned to India. You see, it is against international agreements for the U.S. to deport someone if they know that person will be subjected to torture. In the case of th Sikh man there was controversy as to whether or not his claims were false. Soon though, that argument may be irrelevant. From the Washington Post:

The Bush administration is supporting a provision in the House leadership’s intelligence reform bill that would allow U.S. authorities to deport certain foreigners to countries where they are likely to be tortured or abused, an action prohibited by the international laws against torture the United States signed 20 years ago.

The provision, part of the massive bill introduced Friday by House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.), would apply to non-U.S. citizens who are suspected of having links to terrorist organizations but have not been tried on or convicted of any charges. Democrats tried to strike the provision in a daylong House Judiciary Committee meeting, but it survived on a party-line vote.

This of course is nothing new. Such practices were started up under Clinton, but greatly expanded during the Bush administration. Its just that now, we are trying to make it official.

Under the Hastert bill, U.S. authorities could send an immigrant to any country, regardless of the likelihood of torture or abuse. The measure would shift to the deportee the burden of proving “by clear and convincing evidence that he or she would be tortured” — a burden that human rights activists say is impossible to satisfy. It would bar a U.S. court from reviewing the regulations, which would fall under the secretary of homeland security.

This is all totally fascist and excatly what I’d expect from the current administration but the Pajamahadeen are on the case already so let’s see what happens. By the way, what countries might one be outsourced to? Such countries as Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Jordan and Pakistan

17 thoughts on “U.S. Outsources Torture

  1. So what, exactly would you propose we do to an “enemy combatant” whom we pick up in an Al Qaeda training camp, but who originates from “Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Jordan and Pakistan” and hasn’t committed any crime yet?

    Hold on to him here in the US even though we can’t convict him?

  2. seriously, it is pretty ridiculous the way the left thinks all the protections afforded US citizens should be afforded to non-US citizens.

    Patriotism requires an operational distinction between the privileges and benefits of the doubt extended to citizens vs. those who are not. I don’t believe that terrorists are common criminals who should be tried in a civilian court; they are levying acts of war against the United States of America and should be treated as such.

  3. And what makes them “terrorists?” Because you guys label them so, or because you implicitly trust your government? I call that naive. If you call someone a terrorist you better prove it, whether or not they are citizens. Non-citizens are humans to. This article clearly shows the government has no burden of proof requirements whatsoever. What is to stop a power hungry future President from labeling a political dissident a terrorist? The founding father would be rolling over in their graves.

    Also, I beleive that “Patriotism” is often used by people who really mean to say “Jingoisim.”

  4. i do agree that citizens (and also those on their way to becoming such) should have different status than say, illegal immigrants and people on temporary visas who do not intend to stay. however, basic human rights extend to all, regardless of citizenship status. a lot of people forget that. the reason we dont send people back to countries that torture people is supposedly because we are the united states, haven for refugees from lesser countries, and we are so above all that torture shit. but with guantanamo and the Iraqi prison abuse fiasco… are we really? but that is a topic for another day.

    i know the bill is supposed to increase our national security, but look at this Sikh guy. Terrorist? Seriously doubtful. But if they just want to get rid of him, ALL THEY HAVE TO DO is say ‘oooooh he wears a turban and is part of a religion we dont understand but he carries this knife thing with him so he must be a terrorist ok bye sikh guy’ and it’s over before it began.

    It frightens me that all you have to say is ‘i suspect them of maybe being a terrorist’ – no evidence or anything necessary. it is an easy way to wash your hands of any problem that may come your way, be it terrorist related or no.

  5. Abhi – I was asking a much narrower question. Scenario -

    1) we pick up someone in Iraq / Afghanistan 2) he’s Saudi / Egyption / Syrian 3) he hasn’t committed a crime and we don’t have the evidence to lock him up 4) what should we do with him? Keep him in the US or ship him back to Saud / Egypt / Syria?

  6. Yes, and we claim that the Constitution doesn’t extend there b/c it’s Suban sovereign territory (which cracks me up)

    The case which horrified me was a Canadian citizen, who was born Syria, who was flying from Europe? to Canada and was just changing planes in the US. They picked this guy up and “deported him” to … Syria, where he was tortured.

    As for the capacity of the US courts to deal with terrorism … historically, we’ve had lots of treason and terrorism, and it was almost always tried within the US court system. At the time, McVeigh’s attack was the worst ever on US soil. If you had suggested trying him in a military court, no member of Congress would have given you the time of day. As is, we had alot of trouble with the McVeigh and Nichols cases. We suspected they did more than we could prove, and some believe there were others involved, but we could never get to them.

    We tried soviet spies in the US court system, and they were a far graver threat to us than the Padillas and Hamdis of the world.

    The argument that any trials with security implications should be kept out of the civilian realm is one that was usually espoused by Communist and other Authoritarian dictatorships, and roundly rejected by America.

  7. Vinod, I understand that you were asking a narrower question, but that is precisely the problem. When in history has a ruler ever limited himself to a narrow interpretation of a law that could further assure his grip on power if applied in another situation? It is in the nature of governments to seize more power and it is the duty of the citizens to limit that power.

  8. Vinod, I understand that you were asking a narrower question, but that is precisely the problem

    I’m trying to force you to pick a side. If we pick up an Egyptian / Saudi / Syrian in Iraq…

    Either we detain him indefinitely in Gitmo, etc. when we don’t have enough evidence to “make a conviction stick” and the left gets up in arms about the detainment.

    Or we deport him somewhere. Pref. back to Egypt / Saud / Syria. In which case the left gets up in arms about the deportment.

    Critics can’t have it both ways.

    I know why both of the options are bad, can be abused, etc. What I want to know what other options there are (if any? Indefinite detnetion in a US Taxpayer-funded resort is NOT one of them). AND I want you to pick the one that’s least bad…

  9. Send him back to his native country. What’s not acceptable is taking a second-gen Syrian-Canadian who’s lived in Canada almost all his life and deporting him to Syria, where he was tortured.

  10. V — the left doesn’t get up in arms about deporting a Syrian terrorist back to Syria. They get up in arms about asking the Syrians to torture him for us, after we said we weren’t torturing anybody. And they definitely get up in arms when a Canadian citizen gets shipped off.

    Remember also that there is a very high rate of false positives amongst suspects in low intensity conflicts.

  11. get up in arms about asking the Syrians to torture him for us,

    BUT, that is NOT what the measure entails – it merely says “we will resume deportations to Syria as required” when before, the policy was “under no circumstances will we ever deport to Syria”.

    It certainly does NOT say “deport to Syria if we can’t torture him ourselves” –> that’s a big logical leap you + the reporter are making…

  12. It certainly does NOT say “deport to Syria if we can’t torture him ourselves” –> that’s a big logical leap you + the reporter are making…

    The point though isn’t whether or not its a big logical leap. The point is whether or not it is a big legal leap. The answer is no. Any law a government CAN legally break it will. All governments throughout history prove this. You cannot ask me to make a specific decision given the choices you provide because that limited scenario has already been proven irrelevant by the case of the Canadian. Conservatives always provide black and white choices in a world of grey. Thats why we are in this mess in the first place.

  13. This is funny. Abhi is making the classic conservative point above, the one contained in the 9th and 10th amendments, that if you give a goverment an inch, they’ll take a mile.

    Vinod, OTOH, is arguing for discretion and trusting the state, a position most often taken by a liberal. That we ought allow the state latitude to do what is most efficient in a particular circumstance, rather than having a rule bound procedure for the state all the time.

    Ah, I love inversion.

  14. You cannot ask me to make a specific decision given the choices you provide because that limited scenario has already been proven irrelevant by the case of the Canadian. Conservatives always provide black and white choices in a world of grey. Thats why we are in this mess in the first place.

    But that’s my point. There are no good answers here. The only 2 that you / i / the reporter can find are “hold indefinitely” or “deport”. Both are bad but you seem to be penning responsibility for the “bad” in both cases upon “conservaties”. That’s the weird part.

    It’s not “conservative ideology” that’s the problem here, it’s the fact that occasionally, life sucks and doesn’t present us with the ideal option. The “grey” choice here is actually “indefinite detention.”

  15. historically, we’ve had lots of treason and terrorism, and it was almost always tried within the US court system.

    Really? Suspension of habeas corpus ring a bell? Palmer Raids? Japanese/Italian/German internment? “Are you or have you ever been a member of the Communist Party”?

    There were good reasons at the time for all of the above. But whether you think they were good or not, Abhi et. al. would surely question their constitutionality if they were tried today.

    I should also note that it’s pretty funny to see leftists appealing to the Constitution now as a source of authority, given their total disregard for most of its provisions (especially the 2nd and 10th amendments) and their clear contempt for America and Americans.

    I should also note that anyone who equates “patriotism” with “jingoism” is the type who will be the first to feign mock outrage when someone questions your patriotism. First and foremost, patriotism is about acknowledging that – particularly in times of conflict – American interests come before the interests of other countries. You can’t be an international humanist who thinks all people are equal and still be a patriot. Patriotism is fundamentally about treating your extended family – your fellow citizens – with a different set of rules than you treat outsiders, just as you treat your mother differently than you would a random individual.

    Al Qaeda is levying war against the United States. They are not common muggers or robbers. They are an international conspiracy of terrorist cells, fueled by oil and Islamic fundamentalism, and capable of co-opting entire states (as they did in Afghanistan, and are currently trying to do in Sudan and Iraq) and exporting Jihad. They are not as smart as the Communists, and the threat they pose is not nuclear annihilation of the world but rather of one city. Nevertheless they have to be taken seriously.

    And that means acknowledging that the Constitution is not a suicide pact. There is absolutely no reason to extend the benefit of the doubt to the guys in Guantanamo, the vast majority of whom were picked up carrying AK-47′s and fighting for the Taliban and Al Qaeda.

    And when it comes to individuals suspected of terrorism who are NOT citizens of the United States – or who are “citizens” solely because of the technicality of obstetric tourism, like Hamdi – they should not get the same protections as born or naturalized US citizens.

    The other point that is of relevance is that the cost-benefit analysis being made here on the part of the left is juvenile. While it’s a morally bankrupt principle even in the standard criminal case (because it ignores the havoc wreaked by freed criminals), one REALLY can’t afford the “better 99 guilty men go free than 1 innocent man be jailed” mentality when it comes to guilty men who’re seeking to blow up the World Trade Center. The consequences of releasing the wrong guy are much higher when you’re talking about terrorists.