Friday, June 15, 2007

Bystander: What would you do.

An excellent post from the Magistrates blog... with some very thoughtful comments - if you want to comment I would urge you to join in the debate over at Bystander's place

The Guantanamo/rendition argument has been well rehearsed. The Guardian runs a story today that will surprise none of us. Take the (unlikely) case that one of the CIA's aircraft has to make an emergency landing at a small airfield that happens to be in your jurisdiction. Take the (even more unlikely) case that the people who are taken from the by-now burning aeroplane find themselves in the hands of the local police. Some of them appear to be prisoners, and are in chains. By chance, a determined local solicitor is in the police station and he immediately takes legal steps to bring them before magistrates with a view to their release. We won't get into the law here, nor into probabilities (which, in reality, are likely to involve vans with blacked-out windows). So imagine that these men, who have never appeared before a proper court and against whom no charges have ever been laid appeal to you for their freedom. "I cannot say this case is allowed or approved by the law of England; and therefore the man must be discharged" is prayed in aid as an ancient judgment, as is that which declares the air of England to a substance than no slave may breathe.What, as a member of the judiciary, would you do?


Blogger Anglonoel said...

Hi Rachel, saw you on "Taking Liberties" at the Kilburn Tricycle last night. V.v.good film- you came over well! Jolted me into getting involved in NO2ID (I get their e-mails but that's it) but once I get back from hols in late July. I don't like the idea (courtesy of G.Brown) that big business should have access to the National ID database...that frightened me most. I've got a Nectar card, but that's it.

June 16, 2007 9:37 am  
Blogger Rachel said...

Thank you for seeing the film . I hope lots of people go and see it; it is v. good. No2ID deserve support: going by the Govt's track record of falling for fast-talking IT systems salesmen, anything that involves technology, databases and zillions of pounds of our money will be a total and utter disaster...

June 16, 2007 4:12 pm  
Blogger Tom Tyler said...

Bah, I told him what I would do, straight up. I'm sick and tired of Bystander's marshmallow liberal approach to terrorists, treating them as if they were on a charge of speeding or parking offences or something. In my opinion, civilian law doesn't even apply here, these people on the rendition flights are not civilian criminals, they are Jihadist warriors picked up in the battlefields of Afghan/Iraq. They are our ideological enemies, and must be handled accordingly.
Rachel, I know I risk offending you when I say this, but I think you know what my opinions are, and I hope I can be upfront and honest with you and say that at times I fail to understand your overall outlook on Islamic terrorism, especially as you are someone who has unfortunately seen its effects first hand. The sort of people who are on these so-called rendition flights are the sort of people who literally tried to kill you (well, not specifically YOU, but whoever they could kill, it did not matter to them) on 7/7/05. To my mind, they are in no way ordinary civilian criminals - there is an overall and well organised ideology behind their terrorism, and it wants both you and I dead. We cannot win the so-called "war on terror" if we still keep thinking of these people as random civilian criminals. They are warriors, engaged in a global Jihad against us, and we have got to start dealing with them in global military terms. I'm not saying that every Muslim is bad or an enemy, just that there is an ideological force here that must be dealt with in terms of warfare. I honestly do not believe that the USA is herding up plane-loads of innocent civilians onto those planes, based on nothing other than racial profiling. The people on those planes are there for a bona-fide reason, they are deemed a security threat.
Fighting and wars are not nice, and I guess like you I would prefer if it didn't have to happen, and if only we could all reach out to each other, we could solve all our problems without wars. That would be nice, but perhaps our difference is that I think sometimes there can be no reaching out, past a certain point, sometimes you have to recognise an enemy and just fight it.

June 19, 2007 12:26 am  
Blogger Rachel said...

Fair enough. But I don't agree with people not having trials. Give them trials. Find them guilty. Don't fly them off and torture them.

June 19, 2007 12:34 am  
Blogger Carole said...

I am all for due process of law. However, while that is being organized, I think taking a few people to Cuba is a nice way of disrupting terrorist operations.

The reason the trials haven't been conducted is because of a conflict about which set of rules applies to this process. They don't have the rights guaranteed by citizenship in the US, and surely their human rights must be protected. But, are they war criminals, prisoners of war, or enemy combatants? Different rules apply if you are a member of a military, as opposed to a private citizen. Should they be tried by US military courts, international tribunals? Which process will be most advantageous for discouraging terrorism, and will be least likely to return known terrorists to their evil tricks?

The worst thing you could do, I think, is return these people to their evil plots because we don't yet have the details worked out. Only a little 'less worse' is the possibility that someone who is innocent will end up being harassed in Guantanamo.

June 22, 2007 8:32 am  

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