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iliana
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0 posted 09-30-2006 01:27 AM       View Profile for iliana   Email iliana   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for iliana


Cafferty on Bush: video

Interrogation Bill passes

The bill got passed on Thursday and may be signed by Bush before the weekend is over.  

Of particular interest in the text of the bill itself is this:  

"(a) IN GENERAL.—No person may invoke the Geneva Conventions, or any protocols thereto, in any habeas or civil action or proceeding to which the United States, or a current or former officer, employee, member of the Armed Forces, or other agent of the United States, is a party, as a source of rights in any court of the United
States or its States or territories."



So what do you think?

The full text of the bill, in case you're interested, can be located here:   Full Text: pdf format

And, it is definitely worth the read.  



[This message has been edited by iliana (09-30-2006 02:20 PM).]

Marge Tindal
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1 posted 09-30-2006 09:49 AM       View Profile for Marge Tindal   Email Marge Tindal   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Marge Tindal's Home Page   View IP for Marge Tindal

Personally, I think it's important to see that the measure was passed by such an overwhelming majority - 65-34 vote !
iliana
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2 posted 09-30-2006 01:49 PM       View Profile for iliana   Email iliana   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for iliana

Thanks for responding, Marge.  That is a valid point.  I just have to wonder why the standards of the Geneva Convention are not good enough and why Pres. Bush and his administration found it necessary to override the Supreme Court on this....and why our representatives went along with it.....hmmm....could it be election year?  Also, I'm kind of wondering what kind of signing order the President will attach to this bill.

[This message has been edited by iliana (09-30-2006 02:32 PM).]

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3 posted 09-30-2006 02:43 PM       View Profile for Alicat   Email Alicat   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Alicat

Though the Geneva Convention is much cited, it does not apply at all to countries which never signed on to the accords, or to armed groups which do not represent said countries, or who do not wear a recognizable uniform.  Were an American soldier dressed in civilian attire to fire upon another signer country of the Geneva Convention, that attacked country would not HAVE TO apply the Gevena Convention towards that soldier.  It would then be choice.  Just as the United States had a choice when they came across Iraqi Army soldiers in combat who were not dressed in recognizable Iraqi military uniforms, but standard civilian dress during the initial phase of the Iraq War.  In all prior engagements with Iraqi military forces IN Iraqi military uniforms, all captured forces received full protection under the Geneva Conventions.  It's just something the US does even if the opposing force's home country never signed.

Militant groups have long found loopholes even if the country they supposedly represent has signed the Geneva Convention by claiming they are an independant militia or political group, and therefor unbeholden to the same rules as that country's primary military, since they are not the country per se, even if they control it.  This logic is also utilized when dealing with the UN with great success.

In my more 'eye for eye' moments, which are rare, I'm of the mindset that we should only accord non-traditional battlefield combatants full Geneva protections when they do the same to our captured and kidnapped soldiers and civilians.  If it's good enough for them, it should be good enough for us.
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4 posted 09-30-2006 02:55 PM       View Profile for Mistletoe Angel   Email Mistletoe Angel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Mistletoe Angel's Home Page   View IP for Mistletoe Angel

I think that this passage is going to badly damage and undermine our credibility on the war on terror among the international community even further.

Although Senators John McCain, Lindsey Graham and John Warner, along with Colin Powell, publicly resisted Mr. Bush‘s demand that they redefine the Geneva Conventions, the final agreement also says "The president has the authority for the United States to interpret the meaning and application of the Geneva Conventions."

To put it another way, the central question of what CIA interrogators may do to suspects who might be innocent would be determined not by law but by Bush himself, and that he would have to release publicly those executive orders when he issues them. And though the final deal explicitly states the definition of torture as "severe physical or mental pain and suffering", it also seems to leave open the door ajar on alternative interrogation techniques such as waterboarding, as previously explained in a previous thread Local Rebel stated here.

So the upshoot of this deal is that torture is not prohibited, and really leaves the president with a wide scope of executive power. Jonathan Turley, a constitutional law professor from George Washington University who I saw discussing about this last week on "Countdown" on MSNBC I think gave a great analogy, where this is like "telling a teenager that I don‘t want you driving at 90 miles an hour" and then he thinks "Gosh, I can live with that, I‘d go to 89!"

This also gives an earlier torture memo some legitimacy, where Alberto Gonzales said in that memo that that they could do anything short of organ failure or death. And when you bundle it all up with that John Yoo memo following the September 11th attacks that basically suggested that the president could do anything he wants as long as he's fighting terrorism, it leaves our international law and treaties vulnerable to grave violations and moral cavities.

Moreover, in this case, the Geneva Convention cannot be cited in a federal case or trial. In terms of democracy, it basically tells everyone, "You can look, but you can't touch and you can't play!"  You also can't cite international sources in foreign cases under this.

It's exactly bills like this that reiterate why we have become so unpopular in the international community recently, why just last week at the United Nations General Assembly wackos like Hugo Chavez appeared to have warmer receptions than Bush when he spoke there. I feel there's great reason to believe we've arguably become more unpopular than at any other time in our nation's history.

The majority of the American public is to the left of the Democratic Party collectively on this issue. A CBS/NYT poll conducted last week revealed that a majority believes torture is never justified (56%-35%) while an even greater majority believes that we should follow international conventions on the treatment of prisoners of war (63%-32%) The Democrats are weak not because most of them opposed this bill, it's rather the opposite; they're weak because while McCain, Graham and Warner challenged Bush, the Democrats just stood aside, appearing like feckless observers on the sidelines.

But worst of all here, it's this sort of behavior that's going to encourage other countries to feel as though they can walk around international law too, and it also puts our young men and women in uniform in greater danger in result.

Sincerely,
Noah Eaton

"If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other"

Mother Teresa

iliana
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5 posted 09-30-2006 03:14 PM       View Profile for iliana   Email iliana   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for iliana

Ali -- I understand the logic; it's just that I truly believe that part of what made this a country to be admired was our ethics and high standards when it came to human rights.  It is my suspicion that as a result of the past five years and treatment of detainees that little bit of respect and admiration will be completely eroded on the international scene.  We're not above it all anymore.  

Noah, I agree.  Not only that, but in the text of the bill, an automatic, retroactive immunity clause is written in there for the powers to be. In my mind, it is also highly questionable how they define enemies of the state.  It appears to me...it is very broad and could possibly relate to dissenting American citizens.  Of course, everyone is reporting that is not the case...but, to me...the language is very malleable...oh....and subject to the interpretation of one man.  

[This message has been edited by iliana (09-30-2006 04:43 PM).]

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6 posted 09-30-2006 07:05 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

it also seems to leave open the door ajar on alternative interrogation techniques such as waterboarding,

I'd like to know where you got that, Noah. Even McCain stated that the new bill does NOT open that door.

I would really like to know why you and others are so eager to jump to such extremes. Reading you makes it sound like, with this new bill passed Bush is automatically going to start shoving bamboo shoots under fingernails, cutting off toes and fingers and who knows what else. Do you really  believe that? People seem to have a lot of definitions of torture. Some call sleep deprivation torture. Some call withholding priveleges torture. A sergeant fired a gun in the air to scare a terrorist into divulging information about an upcoming attack and he was relieved of duty for using torture. Well,speaking for myself and what I feel represents many people I do not consider these things torture and I see nothing wrong with the passage of this bill. There are those who claim that depriving a terrorist of sleep makes us no better than the terrorists who kidnap civilians and make videos chopping their heads off with bayonets. My response is..BULL.

Noah, I don't know what history you have studied but the United States has not had widespread approval from the world community for over 50 years. You make it sound like that's something new. It's not.

Iliana, the passage of the bill does not make the United States somehow less moral than it ever has been nor does it turn it's back on values. Actually, if you could somehow talk to Americans that served in WWI and II and tell them about this dispute over prisoner treatment, they would think the country has gone nuts.

Again, I don't know why you are all so eager to jump to the conclusions of the worst case scenario of torture ordered by Bush with the passage of this bill.

Alicat is right.The terrorists have  already stated that they have no obligation to observe the Geneva Convention since they don't belong to any country that signed it...and here we are with people upset that the terrorists do not have the rights normal American citizens have. Lawyers also have claimed that the terrorists should have the right to sue the US......why am I not surprised?
Grinch
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7 posted 09-30-2006 07:53 PM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch


Mike,

quote:
and here we are with people upset that the terrorists do not have the rights normal American citizens have. Lawyers also have claimed that the terrorists should have the right to sue the US......why am I not surprised?


Once you've proved they're terrorist in a fair trial Mike you can waterboard them, behead them, hang them or microwave them for all I care but until that point they're innocent and should be treated as such.

Should innocent people who have been held against their will and tortured without any charge being brought have the right to claim compensation when they're finally released?  Would you expect that right Mike? I sure as heck would.
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8 posted 09-30-2006 09:14 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Should innocent people who have been held against their will and tortured without any charge being brought have the right to claim compensation when they're finally released?  Would you expect that right Mike? I sure as heck would.

Yep,I would expect that right,too, Grinch, but  that was not the issue. The  issue was terrorists hiring lawyers while they were still prisoners, before any trial, for having their rights violated....not after.


iliana
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9 posted 09-30-2006 09:33 PM       View Profile for iliana   Email iliana   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for iliana

I disagree that this is what it is was about, Mike.  I believe this was a political maneuver to bring the terror issue back into play at the polls, not to mention the fact that the Supreme Court's ruling in June was contrary to what the administration was counting on, leaving people up there in Washington pretty worried; e.g. some top generals, Rumsfield and his boss.  It all played out very well for the Republican party overall...but I'm not worried about that.  What I worry about is the lines in that document that don't require habeas corpus -- in other words, we can go out, take anyone, not tell them why, hold them without reason, without counsel, and try them in a closed court on hearsay evidence, no less.  It all sounds very disturbing to me.  In a bad case scenario, I could call my local FBI and tell them I have a neighbor who is from Jordan here on a temporary visa who I believe is a terrorist.  Based on that one statement, this neighbor could be imprisoned, tortured, sent to trial, convicted, and punished, possibly even executed.  That is my interpretation of the new bill.  Hmmmm....maybe this is the answer to the immigration problem?  (just joking)  And, what really worries me...is so far, I'm not finding anything that prevents that from happening to a U.S. citizen (lawful "enemy combatant" including state militia) when you take the Homeland Security Act in conjunction with this.  
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10 posted 09-30-2006 09:59 PM       View Profile for Alicat   Email Alicat   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Alicat

You mean like Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols?
iliana
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11 posted 09-30-2006 10:03 PM       View Profile for iliana   Email iliana   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for iliana

Well...yes, I do, Ali, along with the Voluntary Border Patrol and the Texas Air National Guard.  Last time I checked, they were citizens of this country and guaranteed legal representation and a trial by peers. The Oklahoma bombers got their just desserts -- the system worked.  What about Lee Harvey Oswalt...to date, there is still much speculation that he was set up and not really the trigger man.  'Course, that was taken care of before there could be a trial or before he could get legal representation.  *grin*  The title of Senate Bill 3930....even the title....should concern people -- "To authorize trial by military commission for violations of the law of war, and for other purposes."  One should question, what is: "for other purposes" -- at least it makes me wonder enough to read the content.  It's just like the Homeland Security Act (HSA)...how many people have read that?  Did you know, for instance, that the HSA makes a provision that if a school is receiving funds from the federal govenment, then they are required to permit military recruiters and personnel on school campuses at any time?  (Wonder why it was deemed necessary to be in writing?  My high school didn't have a problem with military visits when I was growing up...so why, did this even need to put into law unless there was a particular motive?)  
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12 posted 09-30-2006 10:33 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

In a bad case scenario, I could call my local FBI and tell them I have a neighbor who is from Jordan here on a temporary visa who I believe is a terrorist.  Based on that one statement, this neighbor could be imprisoned, tortured, sent to trial, convicted, and punished, possibly even executed.

Good grief! Don't stop there, Iliana. Turn it into a movie or a tv series, at least

That's what I meant by my original comment...all you seem to be focusing on is a worst case scenario. Do you see that happening? First of all, a simple phone call reporting a suspicion is not going to get anyone jailed, tortured and executed. If that is an example you care to give displaying your reasoning, you may want to re-evaluate. That will only happen on the late night movies. ANY law can be abused. A police officer can search a car if he feels a crime has been committed. So what stops the officer from claiming he felt a crime had been committed to validate the search and then planting evidence to arrest the individual, then torturing a confession out of him and having him put to death? Do we then take that right away because someone can come up with this "bad case" scenario?

What would  stop the officer is the same thing that stops the police in your example. There ARE checks and balances and responsibilities and proofs that must be validated along the way. You may feel that,Bush being Bush, he would simply ignore all reason and run amok, torturing anyone he felt like, with no regard for law or order. I prefer to believe that NO president would act that way....nor would any president be allowed to act that way and be able to get away with it.

You may continue to imagine the worst case scenarios. I will imagine the good that can be achieved by such actions.  
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13 posted 09-30-2006 11:17 PM       View Profile for Alicat   Email Alicat   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Alicat

I made mention of those two individuals since they were not apprehended or questioned until AFTER the Oklahoma City bombing which killed so many innocent workers, visitors and children.  Those two had been monitored for some time, even the trips to the Philipines to meet with Al-Quida trainers and bankrollers, but were never detained and questioned until after the fact.  Partly out of legalities, but mostly from the Administration walking very carefully after the debacles of Ruby Ridge and Waco.

And the caveat for military recruiters on public campuses is there for a reason: discrimination among some public schools and universities which receive federal funds, most notably in California, which either bar recruiters from campus as an official stance, an unofficial stance, or a student body activism stance.  And I say discriminatory since this happens even on Career Days and Hiring Fairs.  Seems every occupation can be shown, even baby seal clubbers, but not the military though it is a valid career path.  Since military is federal by and large, with army and air national guard being federal and state, it's only fair that if a school accepts federal dollars, they should accept federal employers.
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14 posted 10-01-2006 12:52 AM       View Profile for iliana   Email iliana   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for iliana

Ali, perhaps this is food for another thread -- at my son's school in Houston and at my nephew's small rural high school in Ohio, recruiters are there on a daily basis.  They have basically now required students in my son's school to take ROTC.  The recruiters sit with the students at lunch and tell them what a great life the military is.  They convinced my son he could retire by the time he was 28 and inticed with $40K of sign on bonuses; he is only 17, but they have him as soon as he graduates.  I am proud of my son for wanting to serve his country, don't get me wrong (even though I oppose war)...I just think that when laws are made, the fullest advantage is always taken of them.  There have also been a number of recruiters raping underaged kids (relative to what is going on in high schools).  The "invasion" of public schools is not just about career day; it is the alternative to the draft for now and it is working.  Last year, recruiting exceeded its goals.  It is working because they catch kids at a very vulnerable time of their lives and entice them with the "perfect solution."  $40K buys a new car and every video game or computer they'd want.  If I sound cynical, or more precisely, skeptical, it is because I am.  

Mike, every citizen has the duty to be skeptical.  Skepticism does not equate to pessimism.  Yes, I chose a worst case scenario...but hasn't that already occurred to some degree when you think back about people who were detained, tortured and then released.  I know of a family -- a dutch woman married to an Iranian man.  They lived in Austin, Texas...had been here in the States for probably 15 years.  The husband owned an electronics recycling-type business where he bought old computers and gutted them for the gold in the wires...quite a lucrative business.  Their daughter was on the soccer team, the wife was very active in the community and on PTA, etc.  They were living the dream and loved this country. The wife's father is a major banker in the Netherlands.  As their daughter was becoming a young woman, the family decided to visit the grandparents in Iran.  On their return flight, the husband was taken by the government and detained for nearly six months in Europe.  His wife stayed with the 13 year old daughter in Europe rather than return to her home in Austin.  And, their business....well....they hired someone to run it, but it was more than she could handle.  Their house...just sat there vacant.  Of course, they left their dream of becoming U.S. citizens and living and working here (she was studying to be a nurse) and now they live in Europe.  Under the new law, the man might have never been released.  When I spoke to the wife about two years ago and asked if she was coming home, she said very unhappily that they felt like they weren't wanted in this Country.  My friends' predicament would make a pretty good movie, too...don't you think?  *smile*
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15 posted 10-01-2006 01:25 AM       View Profile for iliana   Email iliana   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for iliana

Ali -- another thing...I am not arguing that suspects should not be detained and questioned.  That is okay by me if there is enough evidence to support a warrant, properly executed.  That was another thread.
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16 posted 10-01-2006 04:15 AM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Iliana, I will agree that your portrayal of it would make  an excellent movie, indeed.

There have also been a number of recruiters raping underaged kids (relative to what is going on in high schools).

Well, let's see...

between 6 percent and 10 percent of public school children across the country have been sexually abused or harassed by school employees and teachers.
estimated roughly 290,000 students experienced some sort of physical sexual abuse by a school employee from a single decade—1991-2000. http://www.newsmax.com/archives/articles/2004/4/5/01552.shtml


Perhaps we should eliminate the teachers and school employees, too, to battle this problem?

I'll admit I'm intrigued by your account of your friend's problems with being held and would like to read it further. Do you have his name, by chance? I'm certainly not doubting you because abuse of ANY system can certainly  happen but I'd like to see both sides of this one. The internet is quite a tool...

Be well
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17 posted 10-01-2006 05:26 AM       View Profile for iliana   Email iliana   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for iliana

Mike, I have their names but I would not put them on the net...are you kidding?  It is a true story and an unfortunate one.  Perhaps, there is a lawsuit?  I have no idea....I suppose if there were one, then it would go to the World Court since they don't live here anymore...and maybe there are enough of those sorts of lawsuits that's why the laws have been rewritten.  Can you imagine not being able to attend to your home or your business for six months?  It would ruin me.  I suspect his wife stayed with her family in Holland until they were able to sort things out but I do not know.  
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18 posted 10-01-2006 07:58 AM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch


quote:
Yep,I would expect that right,too, Grinch, but  that was not the issue. The  issue was terrorists hiring lawyers while they were still prisoners, before any trial, for having their rights violated....not after..


Mike I think the problem is your use of the word terrorist, it prejudges the people being held and makes it easier for people to de-humanise them and ultimately deny them the rights that everyone else expects. If you or I were detained without charge, tortured and beaten and denied access to legal representation we'd be a little miffed especially if it was all a big mistake. If that were to happen to you or me I'd expect we'd be hiring Lawyers 30 seconds after having our rights violated, so why is it so surprising that these people are doing the same thing?

The real issue is not that the American government wants to treat terrorists in a manner they believe they deserve it's that they want the right to treat anyone as if they were a terrorist without first proving their guilt. Anyone, anywhere, at any time could find themselves incarcerated without charge and tortured as if they were a terrorist, that includes you, me and Khalid El-Masri.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khalid_El-Masri

Now that would make a good movie.

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19 posted 10-01-2006 10:10 AM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

grinch, I understand what you are saying and that is certainly a monstrous story about what happened to that gentleman. The only point I want to make is that those actions were not only inhumane but illegal by any law. They were illegal by our codes that existed and they would be illegal by the new bill just passed. This bill in question does not give the president the right to beat, drug and rape suspected terrorists nor do I believe he would knowingly allow it to be done. I'd be interested in knowing what happened to the CIA bigwigs that were involved in that. As far as the action itself....it happens. Should it? Of course not but it is not limited only to terrorists. Look at how many prisoners in penitentiaries have been released year after their sentencing after facts came out showing their innocence. The system is not perfect. Were these persons allowed compensation from the government? Yes. Should the fellow in your example be allowed compensation also? Definitely.

My original point was of different issues. It came out in the news several days ago and I wish I had saved it but the gist of it was that lawyers wanted to represent prisoners for such deplorable conditions as not receiving the food they wanted, not having their own cell, not having their religion respected as they wanted, failure to assemble in religious groups, and other similar topics which I would certainly not call torture nor even prisoner rights. That is what made it so ludicrous to me.

Iliana, you know their names and, by the precise details you related concerning their story, apparently many others do also so I don't understand your concerns over a lawsuit (and, no, I'm not kidding) but we'll let it rest there. Thank you.
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20 posted 10-01-2006 02:17 PM       View Profile for iliana   Email iliana   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for iliana

Well said, Grinch.  Thank you for making the point I was trying to make.  
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21 posted 10-01-2006 03:20 PM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch


No problem Iliana but actually Mike is correct in that this bill in isolation won't suddenly make torture legal, what it will do is remove the kid gloves that the Geneva Convention afforded  "unlawful enemy combatants" (that's anyone suspected of being a terrorist to you and me).

My point all along is that the bill seems reasonable when the recipients are terrorists but looks decidedly shaky when the recipients could in fact be guilty of nothing. Demonising and de-humanising the enemy (or suspected enemy) is an old trick, it allows normally good people to do some terrible things.

Mike,

I see your point about the suspected terrorists suing the government over seemingly trivial things, at first glance it does seem petty and paints them (and lawyers) as people just out to make a cheap buck. However there are several ways to look at it especially if the prisoners involved are innocent, one could be that they're using any and every measure to get their day in court, once there they can use the stage to protest their innocence and draw attention to their plight. Another is that the lawyers are using a scattergun technique; they're listing multiple counts to increase the chances of making one claim stick instead of one single claim of false imprisonment that's not likely to be heard due to " Reasons of national security".

Then again they could just be conniving terrorists out to make a cheap buck.

iliana
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22 posted 10-02-2006 04:25 AM       View Profile for iliana   Email iliana   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for iliana

I want to apoligize for giving faulting information regarding the HSA (Homeland Security Act) with regard to the Act which gives military recruiters full access to public schools -- suprised no one called me on this.  The correct Act is the No Child Left Behind Act which in Sec. 9528, requires public secondary schools to provide military recruiters the same access to facilities as a school provides to higher education institution recruiters.  Schools are also required to provide contact information for every student to the military if requested.  "No Child Left Behind"....ironic.  

[This message has been edited by iliana (10-02-2006 05:51 PM).]

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