Forwarded from Anthony (interrogation methods?)

Jose G. Perez jgperez at
Tue Sep 17 21:20:49 MDT 2002

Anthony asks about the legalities of what the US is doing with its POW's.

Nothing the US in doing with regard to the persons it has captured in the
"war on terrorism" is in keeping with international or domestic law.

Indeed, the whole point of keeping the prisoners in Gitmo and other places
abroad is the claim that US courts have no jurisdiction there.

There is no provision in international law or agreements for this category
of "illegal combatants" that the U.S. government has invented to deny its
prisioners of war the treatment it solemnly undertook to provide them under
the Geneva convention.

The idea that placing people in Gitmo or elsewhere puts people in a legal
limbo where no laws and no guarantees apply is, of course, ridiculous. Only
under a legal system as corrupt and  morally bankrupt as the American one
could such a claim even be countenanced -- that human rights is something
that emanates from courts and judges rather than are something that by
nature belongs to all human beings.

Moreover, American courts claim extraterritorial jurisdiction over every
conceivable subject, and on these specific subjects, constitutional
guarantees of due process, etc., territorial limitations, or limitation
based on citizenship status, etc.,  are explicitly EXCLUDED by the wording
of the constitution.

The  Bill of Rights IN PARTICULAR  is not written as a series of positive
guarantees, i.e., the government will guarantee freedom of speech or of
religion, but as a series of prohibitions, things that at no time, in no
place and under no circumstance is the U.S. government authorized to do.
Thus the famous phrase "Congress shall make no law," and the taunt defenders
of democratic rights always throw at right wingers who want to cut them
back: "Just which part of 'no law' don't you understand?"

The formulations were not accidental. The governmental theory behind the
U.S. constitution was that of a government limited to certain, specific,
explicitly enumerated powers. And there is no catchall clause to allow the
government to look after "the common affairs of the nation" or provide for
the "health and well being of society" or any number of similar generic
phrases which serve as legal justification and constitutional cover in
countless other constitutions for naked class dictatorship.

Indeed in the Bill of Rights this is made explicit, saying all powers not
specifically granted to the federal government were reserved exclusively to
the states and the people. The argument of those who opposed, for a time,
the Bill of Rights was that is was quite unnecessary: the constitution
already did not authorize the federal government to restrict free speech, or
establish religion or any number of other things.

The obvious and only purpose in such awkward arrangements for the detention
of the prisoners is to violate their fundamental rights as human beings and
subject them to torture. It is a crime against humanity.

I await breathlessly the efforts of those European countries and others that
have said human rights is a subject matter of universal jurisdiction to show
this was not merely rhetoric to cover up using the judiciary as one more
weapon of imperialist domination of third world countries, but that they
really meant it.

Because the imperialist judicial heroes who wanted to impose imperialist
criminal jurisdiction over Chile and prosecute Pinochet in Europe (once his
work massacring the Chilean people was done, and he was safely out of power,
of course), such as Garzón, are strangely silent now, while the U.S.
government massively violates every international human rights treaty ever

In the specific case of Garzón, of course, he is too busy persecuting the
Basque patriots. He remains, as ever, a faithful servant of imperialism.


----- Original Message -----
From: "Louis Proyect" <lnp3 at>
To: <marxism at>
Sent: Tuesday, September 17, 2002 10:13 AM
Subject: Forwarded from Anthony (interrogation methods?)

Here's a question. What is publicly known about US interrogation methods
used on capitves suspected of being part of Taliban, Al Queda, etc.?

PLEASE clip all extraneous text before replying to a message.

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