Foul, foul, Op/Ed in the New York Times

Here.

THE Obama administration wants to show that federal courts can handle trials of Guantánamo Bay detainees, and had therefore placed high hopes in the prosecution of Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, accused in the 1998 bombings of American embassies in East Africa. On Wednesday a federal judge, Lewis Kaplan of the United States District Court in Manhattan, made the government’s case much harder when he excluded the testimony of the government’s central witness because the government learned about the witness through interrogating Mr. Ghailani at a secret overseas prison run by the C.I.A.

Umm, no, the government learned about the witness by torturing Mr. Ghailani. An important difference to some of us.

Some, mostly liberals and civil libertarians, applauded the ruling,

Those pinko liberal bastards! Upholding the rule of law, why, we\’ll get them!

Sadly, it just doesn\’t get any better at all. The conclusion?

The government’s reliance on detention as a backstop to trials shows that it is the foundation for incapacitating high-level terrorists in this war. The administration would save money and time, avoid political headaches and better preserve intelligence sources and methods if it simply dropped its attempts to prosecute high-level terrorists and relied exclusively on military detention instead.

Yup, he\’s really saying that. The only method we have of determining whether someone is in fact guilty of being a terrorist is to try them in a court of law. The verdict defines whether they are in fact a terrorist who should have his liberty curtailed or whether he\’s not a terrorist and does not get his liberty curtailed.

We simply don\’t have any other method of making this distinction: having the CIA tell us all that he is and that thus we all accept that he is just isn\’t one of those things that is compatible with being a free or just society.

The writer seems entirely incapable of understand the whole point about trials, evidence, the rule of law. They\’re not there to protect dodgy Arab bastards from the righteous justice of the wronged, they\’re there to protect us, the citizenry, from the unrighteous justice of the government.

Jack Goldsmith, a former assistant attorney general in the George W. Bush administration, is a professor at Harvard Law School and a member of the Hoover Institution’s Task Force on National Security and Law.

What the fuck is it that they\’re teaching at Harvard these days?

45 thoughts on “Foul, foul, Op/Ed in the New York Times”

  1. A further problem with high-stakes terrorism trials is that the government cannot afford to let the defendant go. Attorney General Eric Holder has made clear that Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the 9/11 plotter, would be held indefinitely in military detention even if acquitted at trial. Judge Kaplan said more or less the same about Mr. Ghailani this week. A conviction in a trial publicly guaranteed not to result in the defendant’s release will not be seen as a beacon of legitimacy.

    That’ll be that hopey changey thing again. Good to have a community organiser in the White House rather than them Bush neo-cons, init?

  2. “What the fuck is it that they’re teaching at Harvard these days?”

    How to get to be President without ever having done anything, save be a token?

  3. Yes, I agree Tim. And I think that the US should withdraw their army from Afghanistan, and send over the police force. That way, they can walk up to the baddies and arrest them, read them their rights, carefully put them in the car (don’t bang their heads now!), and drive them to prison. In fact, now I think of it, what an excellent way to conduct all foreign conflicts – if only we had thought of this before, we could have arrested all those nasty Nazis and not wasted all that effort on those horrible battles in WWII.

  4. “Hardly the heavens falling, then.”

    Quite, but not a distinction that someone within the bomb’s detonation radius will care too much about.

  5. “Quite, but not a distinction that someone within the bomb’s detonation radius will care too much about.”

    I’m not sure that victims of an explosion are the best people to ask about changes we should make to our legal system.

  6. “I’m not sure that victims of an explosion are the best people to ask about changes we should make to our legal system.”

    But we should be asking the potential victims, perhaps?

  7. Dear Sir / Madam,

    We used enhanced interrogation techniques on a suspected terrorist and subsequently discovered that your home is in the explosion radius of a ‘dirty bomb’.

    Do you have any comment to make about our legal system? Should we get rid of habeas corpus, for example? Or the right to a fair trial? Do you think bureaucrats should be given the power to have anyone indefinitely detained without charge? …

    Yep, sounds like a great idea Roger.

  8. So tell me, O Great Trader of Strange Metals, what was done to Mr. Ghailani that constitutes torture?

  9. “But we should be asking the potential victims, perhaps?”

    Are you seriously suggesting the victims of a crime are able to dispassionately just the innocence or guilt of a suspect? Or pass a suitable sentence if guilty?

  10. “So tell me, O Great Trader of Strange Metals, what was done to Mr. Ghailani that constitutes torture?”

    Doesn’t really matter, does it? A judge thought it was torture, and that’s enough.

    When you’re even holding a debate about what is and isn’t torture, you’ve crossed the line. Just as the Indians have when trying to defend themselves by distinguishing between “excrement” and “filth” in the rooms of the althetes at the Commonwealth Games.

  11. “Yes, I agree Tim. And I think that the US should withdraw their army from Afghanistan, and send over the police force.”

    How about just doing the first of those?

  12. When you’re even holding a debate about what is and isn’t torture, you’ve crossed the line

    Not when people are claiming “mishandling a Koran” or “humiliation” is torture.

  13. Oh, Puhleez. I don’t think Tim understands what really consists of torture.

    Torture is sitting at your desk in your office and seeing a massive fire ball coming at you and having a second to decide if you want to die by fire or die by jumping 1700 ft to your death.

    Tim adds: Direct quote from the judgement:

    “The Court has not reached this conclusion lightly. It is acutely aware ofthe perilous nature ofthe world in which we live. But the Constitution is the rock upon which our nation rests. We must follow it not only when it is convenient, but when fear and danger beckon in a different direction. To do less would diminish us and undermine the foundation upon which we stand.”

    N’you, Missy, can fuck right off.

    As Larry Flynt pointed out when he won that Supreme Court case, and I paraphrase: If the law protects bastards like me then you can be sure that it will protect you.

    Because, you know, that’s what the Constitution, civil liberties, this whole rule of law thing, are all about. Protecting us from them: no, not protecting us from murderous Arab bastards, protecting us from our own government who would quite happily fuck us all over in a heartbeat.

    Once we use the rules which are used to judge us to judge Arab terrorits scum, sure, lock the cell and throw away the key. But if we breach those rules, if suspected Arab terrorist scum are judged by different rules, then, hey, how long do you think it will be that *we* are judged by those different rules?

    As, in fact, recent cases are already showing us. The President claims the right to assassinate a US citizen without trial or evidence. Y’all happy with that? For I sure ain’t.

    BTW, I write as someone who has had interactions with a number of government agencies, including the FBI and CIA (and equivalents from other countries) and I certainly wouldn’t accept what they said was “true”.

  14. “Torture is sitting at your desk in your office and seeing a massive fire ball coming at you and having a second to decide if you want to die by fire or die by jumping 1700 ft to your death.”

    The CIA are doing that now, are they?

    Oh, I see what you did there: try and equate torture by the state with an act of terrorism by criminals. Clever not sequitur.

  15. Also there is a big difference between an unlawful combatant and a common criminal. Unlawful combatants are not authorized miranda rights or protection under the US constitution. They should never be brought to America and hit american soil. They should be tried by a military court for war crimes.

    In a US court of law too much intel info can be heard and leaked. The military can control the information better. The US tax payer will not have to pay large amounts of money to hold these ridiculous trials and it simply is the right thing to do. These are not common criminals they are unlawful combatants/war criminals.

  16. Torture???? Dunking someone’s head in water with a physcian kneeling beside them to make sure the person doesn’t die….hmmmm

    What choice would you make Kate

    A) death by fireball
    B) death by jumping out a window
    C) being dunked in water knowing you will live and of course to stop the dunking all you have to do is tell them information that will prevent another 3,000 people from dying by TORTURE.

    Hmmm which choice would you make? this is a tough one….

    I wonder if you would think differently Kate if one of YOUR family members dies by a fireball.

  17. “Hmmm which choice would you make? this is a tough one….”

    D) Make up some plausible rubbish to stop the dunking in water. I might be forced to incriminate friends or colleagues before the dunking stops.

    Your mangled choices exclude the possibility that the person being half-drowned might actually be innocent.

  18. Agree with you, Tim.

    The article is dishonest. There isn’t an honest choice between civilian and military justice because there’s no “war” here – the enemy is protean and the conflict may never end and the geneva conventions are not applied. And the comments are dishonest, becasue there is never an actual trade-off between jailing a 15 year old forever and allowing a dirty bomb to go off in New York. Every generation has the emergency that feels like the unique emergency, the one we should ditch a thousand years of wisdom for, the one we can murder and torture and jail without trial for, somehow without destroying ourselves and what we stand for, and it never is.

    The US is in a hole, with us alongside her, and is still digging.

  19. “Hmmm which choice would you make? this is a tough one….”

    A false trichotomy because the torture doesn’t stop the fireballs, so what happens is that we get fireballs and a government used to torture at will. In other words, if we acquiesce to your twisted logic, we get the worst of all outcomes.

  20. “Your mangled choices exclude the possibility that the person being half-drowned might actually be innocent.”

    Or that Suzy is actually a terrorist trying to get us to remove our own freedoms. Quick, let’s torture her to see if I’m right.

  21. “I wonder if you would think differently Kate if one of YOUR family members dies by a fireball.”

    Of course not. But we have a justice system that prevents grief-stricken acts of revenge by the relatives of the victims.

  22. ” being dunked in water knowing you will live”

    AIUI, the point of this ‘enhanced interrogation technique’ is to convince the ‘interviewee’ that he’s drowning… otherwise, what is the point?

  23. So much misinformation. Let’s see you quote from liberal papers like the Washington Post and New York times and a liberal LOW level federal district judge in a liberal NYC, there can’t possibly be a liberal bias slant now could there? Nah. Give me a quote from a higher court perhaps from Justice Allito or Roberts and you will have my ear.

    Something is very wrong when people’s hearts bleed for mass murderous terrorists and they lie awake at night worrying about whether their dinner was to their liking down in Gitmo Club Med where they are living better than they ever had.

    I’m so sick and tired of these progressive liberals tying the hands of our teachers, police officers, military soldiers and CIA agents. I’m so sick of the whining about toruture and “your hurting them.” Teachers and administrators have lost controls of classrooms and schools because we can’t restrain the feral kids, right? Be careful how you handle the murderer, we don’t want to hurt them afterall. Give me a fucking break.

    Do not get your news from these liberal sources. This is the same liberal propaganda machine that portrayed Obama as an invincible super hero. The New York Times is on the verge of bankruptcy and is pleading for a tax payer bailout. Americans don’t want to read their garbage. You want to know what Americans think about topics and issues? Ask the people. Don’t read that garbage. I’m an average American, I’m part of the 65% silent majority, I’m active in politics and I’m part of the group who is fed up with it all. The New York Times is representative of about 20% of the progressive population.

    The silent majority is awakening and we are pushing back. We do not want this progressive bullshit and we WILL take back our country. We will start in about 3 weeks at midterm elections. We will not be bullied or intimadated and telling us to fuck ourselves will not make us back down as it does not make anyone more right it just makes them an idiot.

    I will give you one, though, Kate. I agree we shouldn’t be in Afghanistan as do most Americans. We did our job there and we should have left.

    But it is funny that you say we are trapped in a hole. You see, we view Britian as being trapped in a much bigger hole. You are enslaved to your government paying an effective tax rate of about 62%(that will reach 80% in a few years). With 50% or more of your population on the dole and/or working for the government…. well, you guys are just hosed. You are too far down this progressive bullshit path that you will now have to walk through the fire to get out. Things will get worse, there will be more protests and strikes which will then lead to more violence. We still have a chance. We do not want to be like Britain and we have a chance to kick these progressives back into the rathole where they came from before it is too late. We are taking back our country.

    Britain on the other hand has been neutered. You are all a bunch of liberal pussies.

    And since I find myself immersed with a bunch of progressive liberal idiots there is no point in wasting any more of my time here. Before I leave though, the interrogations worked. Google, information learned from the interrogations, there were several plots that were stopped due to the information learned. Of course, I don’t think any of the liberal papers carried any of that. You may think it is a shame to dunk heads, I can live with that if it prevented another 3,000 US, Brit and French innocent citizens from dying.

    Done here.

    Over and out.

    Tim adds: Umm, Suzy….To claim that we here are “liberals” in the US sense, well, sorry, but you’re way, way, off beam. I am reasonably well known in the UK as being one of the more extreme libertarians (to use American terms again). I work for the Adam Smith Institute, the closest thing to the Cato Institute over there.

  24. there can’t possibly be a liberal bias slant now could there? Nah.

    Ad hominem. In fact, it’s not just an ad hominem but an incompetent. It’s the same paper that hired torture apologists Charles Krauthammer, Bill Kristol and Mark Thiessen. No, there isn’t a “liberal bias“. Still, I guess facts are beyond you.

  25. Just because we insist that the rule of law is applied in ALL cases it doesn’t follow that we are “bleedin’ hearts” with sympathy for terrorists. When they are found guilty in a court of law I am quite happy to see them locked away for the rest of their natural lives.

    Oh, and that rule of law thing and the way we design our democracy also protect us from the tyranny of the majority. Tyranny is tyranny whether it is some perverted Muslim with a grudge or a bunch of people who believed that they know best and ignore the law.

    There is no evidence whatsoever to show that torture works. In the case of the ticking time bomb all the tortured person has to do is last out long enough either through resistance or lying and sending their captors on a wild goose chase. In the case of strategic information, they just need to last out long enough for the terrorists to change their plans. All torture does is find a few more willing volunteers to fill the suicide vests.

    24 was a TV show made for entertainment and just because Jack tortured a few baddies and saved the world doesn’t mean that it is reality.

  26. Suzy Q, recognise the following?

    No person shall be held to answer for any capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

    In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district where in the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense.

    Those are the kinds of values the US is founded on.

    Why don’t you emigrate to Iran? There’s all kinds of ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’ over there. You’d love it.

  27. “There is no evidence whatsoever to show that torture works.”

    Well, except evidently in this particular case, assuming that there was in fact any “torture” utilized, it seems to have produced the witness denied by the judge.

    As for ukliberty above, good points. And an excellent presentation as to why unlawful combatants were never prior to 2006 held to be subject to domestic criminal procedings. Even without any question of “torture”, the judge in this case could have just relied on “Miranda”, or the unlawful location of the trial, or a host of other disqualifications. A very good justification for a “no prisoners” doctrine in future.
    Those are, as stated, the kind of values the USA was founded on as applied to citizens.

  28. So Much For Subtlety

    SimonF – “Just because we insist that the rule of law is applied in ALL cases it doesn’t follow that we are “bleedin’ hearts” with sympathy for terrorists.”

    Well yes it does. There is no rational reasons to apply the rule of law for unlawful combatants. They are not American citizens. They by and large do not commit their crimes in the US. They do not follow the laws of war. There is no rational reason why they should have the full protection of the American Constitution. Those that argue they should are bleeding hearts.

    “When they are found guilty in a court of law I am quite happy to see them locked away for the rest of their natural lives.”

    Except they never will be.

    “There is no evidence whatsoever to show that torture works.”

    Whatever else this thread needs, it needs the truth. Which is that torture works. Torture worked on Khalid Sheikh Muhammed. It works on anyone. Given long enough anyone will tell everything. That is not to say it is justified, but the moral dilemma is acute here. Because it is not a choice between what does not work and what does, but between what works but is morally reprehensible and what does not work as well but is acceptable.

    “In the case of the ticking time bomb all the tortured person has to do is last out long enough either through resistance or lying and sending their captors on a wild goose chase.”

    You assume they won’t continue until the subject is either dead or has managed to convince them he is telling the truth.

    “All torture does is find a few more willing volunteers to fill the suicide vests.”

    That must be why Syria is inundated with suicide bombers. Oh wait, it isn’t.

  29. So Much For Subtlety

    ambrose murphy – “There isn’t an honest choice between civilian and military justice because there’s no “war” here – the enemy is protean and the conflict may never end and the geneva conventions are not applied.”

    Sorry but doesn’t that means there is an honest choice between civilian and military justice? Why should people captured outside the US be tried as if they are inside the US and entitled to its protections? If the Geneva Conventions are not applied – at least by them – why should Miranda? We have a choice: to try these people as criminals inside the US as if they were US citizens, or to try them outside the US as unlawful combatants. Why would we want to choose option A?

    “And the comments are dishonest, becasue there is never an actual trade-off between jailing a 15 year old forever and allowing a dirty bomb to go off in New York.”

    If you accept that prison deters you would find it hard to make that claim. If you accept that some times prisoners strike plea bargains to get a lesser sentence you would find it hard to make that claim. So I am interested to know what you actually mean.

    The fact is at the height of British liberalism, when Britain was vastly more free than it is now, we happily jailed people overseas with very little recourse to the courts. And vastly worse. Summary executions were not unknown. Some how it did not destroy democracy at home. The fear that we have to give every scum bag in Helmand the same protection as we give every scum bag in Hackney, or Harlem, or democracy will fall in the West is absurd.

  30. So Much For Subtlety

    ukliberty – “No person shall be held to answer for any capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger”

    Yet oddly enough no one asked every single British soldier at the Battle of Bunker Hill if they had been read their rights before the shooting started. Notice that bit after the “except”. As in “in time of War or public danger”.

    “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district where in the crime shall have been committed”

    Well that rules out virtually all terrorism prosecutions. Because almost all of them took place in Afghanistan. Not in a State or district in the United States. Which seems reasonable to me – send them back to Afghanistan for trial there.

  31. So Much For Subtlety,

    I’m not entirely sure why people conflate trials with warzones. It seems a bit dishonest to me.

    Now, I didn’t claim the same rules applied in war and peace-time respectively, but even military trials are supposed to be fair.

    Well that rules out virtually all terrorism prosecutions. Because almost all of them took place in Afghanistan. Not in a State or district in the United States. Which seems reasonable to me – send them back to Afghanistan for trial there.

    That’s OK, so long as it’s a fair trial.

  32. Why should people captured outside the US be tried as if they are inside the US and entitled to its protections?

    Because they are being held in US jurisdiction?

  33. So Much For Subtlety

    ukliberty – “I’m not entirely sure why people conflate trials with warzones. It seems a bit dishonest to me.”

    I agree. But which is someone like KSM part of? Not exactly a war zone, but not anywhere that demands a trial to US standards either. I am extremely uncomfortable with the growth of domestic jurisdiction, but even so, this is absurd. Someone captured in Pakistan is not entitled to any Constitutional Rights.

    “Now, I didn’t claim the same rules applied in war and peace-time respectively, but even military trials are supposed to be fair.”

    By all means. But not the same as a civilian trial

    “That’s OK, so long as it’s a fair trial.”

    That is a matter for Afghans to determine. Not for us.

    ukliberty – “Because they are being held in US jurisdiction?”

    They aren’t. That’s the point. Bagram, and Guantanamo for that matter, are not part of the United States and American legal jurisdiction does not reach there.

  34. I agree. But which is someone like KSM part of? Not exactly a war zone, but not anywhere that demands a trial to US standards either.

    I think you missed my point. You said earlier, “Yet oddly enough no one asked every single British soldier at the Battle of Bunker Hill if they had been read their rights before the shooting started.”

    That’s because the Battle of Bunker Hill was a warzone, not a high street in peace-time.

    Bagram, and Guantanamo for that matter, are not part of the United States and American legal jurisdiction does not reach there.

    According to SCOTUS, Guantanamo Bay is in US jurisdiction.

    As for KSM, he’s alleged to commit various acts of terrorism. I’ve no reason to doubt the US on this; I have no opinion on it. Presumably they have evidence. Just what is the problem with trying him for those acts of terrorism under normal criminal law? He’s trying to enter a guilty plea!

  35. Whatever else this thread needs, it needs the truth. Which is that torture works. Torture worked on Khalid Sheikh Muhammed.

    That’s rather doubtful, I think.

    Given long enough anyone will tell everything.

    Yes – anyone will tell anything that might get themselves a break.

  36. … Having invoked a historical perspective, I must acknowledge that, despite the Magna Carta, in harsher times England resorted to the expedient of sending prisoners beyond the reach of the rule of law. One of the charges made against Edward Hyde, the First Earl of Clarendon, in his impeachment in 1667 was that he had attempted to preclude habeas corpus by sending persons to “remote islands, garrisons, and other places, thereby to prevent them from the benefit of the law”, that is by sending persons to places where the writ of habeas corpus would not be available. In 1679 this loophole was blocked by section 11 of the Habeas Corpus Amendment Act 1679. For more than three centuries such stratagems to evade habeas corpus have been unlawful in England. – Lord Steyn in 2003, drawing a historical parallel.

    In placing the detainees in Guantanamo Bay and inventing a new category of prisoner, the US administration deliberately attempted to do away with the principle that everyone should have the opportunity to challenge the lawfulness of his detention.

    As far as it was concerned, if the Executive pointed the finger at you, good luck! It wouldn’t matter if you were guilty or innocent, citizen or alien; as far as the US administration was concerned, you would have no legal rights whatsoever, you could be indefinitely detained and subjected to any treatment. I think that is wrong – and I really don’t mind that it makes me a “bleeding heart”.

    Each prong of the Bush doctrine places America in the position of promoting double standards, one for itself, and another for the rest of the world. The emerging doctrine has placed startling pressure upon the structure of human-rights and international law that the United States itself designed and supported since 1948. In a remarkably short time, the United States has moved from being the principal supporter of that system to its most visible outlier. – Professor Harold Koh, Yale Law School, 2003

    While terrorism poses difficult questions for every country, it poses especially challenging questions for democratic countries, because not every effective means is a legal means. I discussed this in one case, in which our Court held that violent interrogation of a suspected terrorist is not lawful, even if doing so may save human life by preventing impending terrorist acts:

    We are aware that this decision does not make it easier to deal with the reality. This is the fate of democracy, as not all means are acceptable to it, and not all methods employed by its enemies are open to it. Sometimes, a democracy must fight with one hand tied behind its back. Nonetheless, it has the upper hand. Preserving the rule of law and recognition of individual liberties constitute an important component of its understanding of security. At the end of the day, they strengthen its spirit and strength and allow it to overcome its difficulties. – Aharon Barak, President of the Supreme Court of Israel, 2002 (he had some experience of terrorism)

    Yes, if a relative was a victim of terrorism, or if my home was in the potential explosion radius of a ‘dirty bomb’, I might think differently about such things. But let me turn that argument around: I think a supporter of placing prisoners outside the law on the word of a bureaucrat might think differently if one of his relatives was put in Guantanamo Bay.

    Of course that is unlikely to happen. But then it is also unlikely that he would be a victim of terrorism.

    In the days since [9/11], I have been struck by how many Americans—and how many lawyers—seem to have concluded that, somehow, the destruction of four planes and three buildings has taken us back to a state of nature in which there are no laws or rules. In fact, over the years, we have developed an elaborate system of domestic and international laws, institutions, regimes, and decision-making procedures precisely so that they will be consulted and obeyed, not ignored, at a time like this. – Professor Koh

  37. So Much For Subtlety: There is no rational reasons to apply the rule of law for unlawful combatants.

    The problem however is telling the difference between “unlawful combatants” and “innocent bystander” or “business rival of the local translator”, or “refused to sleep with a local US employee”. There have been in the past government employees willing to abuse their power in pursuit of personal objectives. There may well be in the future, or even now.

    They are not American citizens. They by and large do not commit their crimes in the US.

    And we don’t know if they have committed any crimes at all. Or at least, any crimes deserving being locked up for decades.

    They do not follow the laws of war.

    Quite possibly because they weren’t even trying to go to war.

    There is no rational reason why they should have the full protection of the American Constitution.

    Perhaps not, but there is a rational reason why they should have some protection from the American Constitution. How would you feel if the Americans grabbed you and slung you in jail, because of some political manevourings by a local bureaucrat you’d accidentally gotten in the way off? Or just because you were in the wrong place through sheer bad luck?

  38. So Much For Subtlety:
    Yet oddly enough no one asked every single British soldier at the Battle of Bunker Hill if they had been read their rights before the shooting started.

    That was a time when, for practical reasons to do with managing a large battlefield with artillery and muskets but no radios, professional soliders wore distinctive uniforms, clothes were expensive, and there was an identifiable opponent to make it easy to work out when the war was over and you could release the POWs you’d taken.

    Now society is trying to manage a war in which one sides’ fighters can look like civilians, and many of them are very happy to harm the people they live amongst, and also there’s no one entity that can surrender, or negotiate a peace deal and make it stick to the subordinates of their side. This makes the possibilty of powers being abused by government agents very very possible. (And there have been plenty of abuses by governments of their powers in the past too).

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