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View Diary: [UPDATED] U.S. Citizen "Ghost Detainee" Accused of Bush Assassination Plot, But ... (127 comments)

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  •  What was it I read about Gonzales? (4.00)
    that he's trying to be a kinder, gentler AG?  This is a fine start.

    The only tiny consolations are that his parents know where he is now and perhaps the judge is right, that the U.S. marshals will not torture him.  I'd like to believe that the marshals will treat him right; they're good Americans who do dangerous work.

    It will be fascinating to see how the court handles this case, considering how much of the evidence was obtained.  If "witnesses" were interrogated in Saudi prisons, will their testimony be allowed?  Dunno.

    Susan in Port Angeles (my cat)

    by SusanHu on Tue Feb 22, 2005 at 10:44:50 AM PST

    •  My god. (4.00)
      A local paper in Falls Church, Va. reported on him:

      ... Salim Ali, the attorney for the detained man Ahmed Abu Ali, has alleged in an affidavit filed Oct. 12 that Assistant U.S. Attorney Gordon D. Kromberg "smirked and stated that 'He's no good for us here, he has no fingernails left,'" when Ali asked Kromberg about petitioning Saudi Arabia to bring his client back to the U.S. to face charges.

      "Falls Church Man Could Be Participant in U.S. Torture Program," Nov. 2004

      Susan in Port Angeles (my cat)

      by SusanHu on Tue Feb 22, 2005 at 10:58:18 AM PST

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      •  Right wing Morals in action (none)
        Unbelievable how free and easy the right is becoming with the language of hatred. Every time I hear it I still shudder to think that this is what our country has come to symolize under Republican rule... bigotry, hatred and torture.
        •  Nag (great handle, btw) (4.00)
          Let's see if -- maybe -- our courts can do something about this case.  There's been pressure to transfer this U.S. citizen's case to the U.S. courts.  Of course, with the truly sensational charge of plotting an assassination against the president, who knows if the courts will have the courage:

          [from Nov. 2004 story in WaPo] Morton Sklar, executive director of the World Organization for Human Rights USA, a group assisting Abu Ali's family with its petition, said court decisions have held that a U.S. judge does have jurisdiction in such a case if presented with evidence that "shocks the conscience of the court." Allegations about torture of a U.S. citizen would be an example of such evidence, he said.

          Sklar has argued in court papers that Salim Ali's affidavit "demonstrates exactly the type of circumstance that 'shocks the conscience of the court,' and indicates a 'joint venture' between the governments of Saudi Arabia and the United States with respect to [Abu Ali's] arrest, detention and interrogation."

          Sklar also has argued that the U.S. government has "not even taken the minimal step of requesting . . . Abu Ali's return to the U.S. in response to indications from Saudi officials that they would be responsive to such a request."

          The matter is pending before U.S. District Judge John D. Bates.  Official Allegedly Hinted at Saudi Torture of Va. Man, WaPo, Nov. 19, 2004

          Susan in Port Angeles (my cat)

          by SusanHu on Tue Feb 22, 2005 at 11:21:04 AM PST

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        •  Hatred and bigotry (none)
          Are unbelievably the current watchwords for Americans and what we stand for.  It makes me want to move somewhere, anywhere.
        •  what's (none)
          what's the best way to strike a balance between extracting information to protect us, and doing it in a humane fashion?

          it's scary to think that one of us can be arrested, sent to (fill in the blank), tortured, and indefinitely detained without due process.

          "Those that can give up essential liberty to obtain temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." -benjamin franklin

          losing faith in democracy...

          by Raiyan on Tue Feb 22, 2005 at 11:13:49 PM PST

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    •  Thank you Susan (4.00)
      For your work on this story and others.  The drum beat starts somewhere and you my dear are providing the steady rhythm.

      Would that I could share your optimism on the U.S. Marshalls.  They are working with the information our government, their bosses, provide and would be in the same situation as U.S. military in "protecting their country" at all costs. This violence is inherit in the system.  Justice must be brought to the system so the system can be brought to justice.

      •  I'm just hoping... (4.00)
        I've known some "feds" along the way and the ones I knew were truly decent, hard-working people.  But how will they treat an Arab kid, U.S. citizen or no, especially if they believe he tried to plot to assassinate Bush?  Even if they believe all that, and detest him, they'd be smart not to touch him.  

        I also wonder how in the hell the U.S. government got from accusing him of aiding rebels in Kashmir to plotting against Bush?  What is the real purpose of this?  (Tin-foil speculation, I admit, but...)

        And, thank you for your thoughtful comments.

        Susan in Port Angeles (my cat)

        by SusanHu on Tue Feb 22, 2005 at 11:12:36 AM PST

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        •  Thinking the same question (none)
          why this, why now? Could it be the beginning of a change of subject from SS back to National Security? I've seen comments here and elsewhere that it's only a matter of time before the fear factor creeps back into daily talking points. The scary thing is that every time this cycle comes around to fear, the rhetoric of hate gets a bit more discernable. The Fascists seem to be showing more fang in their snarl.
          •  Yep (none)
            This is quite clearly timed to distract. I predict several more big "revelations" the worse doo-doo Bush gets into on social security.
            •  and, just me or (none)
              is it getting very coincidental that just about the time the media gets a handle on reality it's time for a TERRA'LERT, or time for a BIG BIG ARREST...or whatever?   It seems to me that not too long ago the New Yorker had an article about the US hanky-panky in Iran, and lo and behold the administration started trotting out reasons we should all fear the Iranians right down to and including today's incredibly silly "no attack on Iran but all the cards are still on the table," message.

              Now, if I remember my last issue of the New Yorker correctly there was an article about how torture and extraordinary renditions don't work...and surprise: A Big Arrest (that won't last twenty minutes in front of a real judge). And then of course there's the doo doo about the French sending one officer to Iraq, college republicans chanting "Social Security has to go," and a budget no one likes.

        •  My guess (4.00)
          Aiding rebels in Kasmir is a much tougher sell than plotting against Bush, both for PR and legalistic purposes.  This administration needs to keep terrorism front and center and claim some victories along the way.  Charges of plotting against the president achieves both.  

          I suspect that any one of us could be charged with plotting against the president, especially when the government holds the keys to the evidence, legal representation and legal theories. The common link between all recent Bush nominees is the demonstrated ability to lie - to the public and to congress.  Manufacturing evidence is certainly something they are quite skilled in as well. Yellow cake or aluminum tubes anyone?

          •  i'm wondering how (4.00)
            i'd feel, locked up far from home, handcuffed to a wooden chair in the dark for days.
            or with  my arms strapped down and my fingernails pulled from my fingers...
            or electrodes hooked up to my genitals and fingertips.

            this is all under the watch of the great liberators, too...the people who told us they want to spread freedom and democracy.
            apparently, only to those who agree with them.

            ...i wonder how i'd feel...i'm not brown-skinned, i don't worship a god they dislike, so I may not ever know, if I keep my mouth shut...

            that's what they want to get across, huh?

    •  this could be huge if it's a precedent-setting (none)
      case. Just imagine...a judge throws out the charges because the evidence was obtained under torture. It would give new legal hope to god knows how many "prisoners."
      •  Torture victims and Bush (none)
        Jane Mayer's excellent New Yorker article, which I believe is linked as well as quoted above, makes the point that in the beginning, the "extraordinary rendition" program was a last resort for persons who were convicted in court in absentia by us or another country, and who were living abroad.  After 9/11, as Susan explains, it became the modus operandi for the Bush Admin, who wanted results but hadn't the wit or the patience to find out how to get them.  As a result, there are people who can't be tried because it would expose what was done to them even if in fact they are guilty of nothing more than being in the wrong place or knowing the wrong people, as well as people who may be guilty of something but also can't be tried.  What are we going to do with them?  Start dropping them from planes over the South Pacific like the Chileans and Argentines?

        Andrew Sullivan made a really good point on Chris Matthews Sunday.  It completely undercuts and belies Bush's "democracy" initiative in the Middle East when we send people to places like Egypt and Saudi to be tortured.  It was funny to see his fellow panelists and Tweety look dumb at that thought.

        If you're going in the wrong direction and you stay the course, where, exactly, do you wind up?

        by Mimikatz on Tue Feb 22, 2005 at 03:02:51 PM PST

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    •  Fox News (none)
      I made myself switch to Fox News .... "a plot to kill the president" ... plotted "in Saudi Arabia ... "MADE IN AMERICA !!!!"-  Shepherd Smith

      THIS is all most people will see:
      "Man Accused of Plotting to Assassinate Bush"

      Okay.  So how does one defend -- not the individual per se -- but the rules of law and basic decency that have been abridged in this case?  The word frame is way overused. But, how do we frame this?

      Susan in Port Angeles (my cat)

      by SusanHu on Tue Feb 22, 2005 at 12:11:17 PM PST

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      •  The judges in the Eastern District... (none)
        ...are actually not the worst on the planet.  Yes, they have a very, very fast system, and they're answerable to the ultraconservative Fourth Circuit, but the judge handling the Moussaoui case has issued some pretty enlightened rulings.

        I don't know of any U.S. district judge who would look favorably on questions of torture, and I also don't see how the government could sidestep the issue if it seeks to admit evidence obtained while the defendant was under extreme rendition.  Fourth and Fifth Amendment law are pretty damn specific on these points, and the evidence is inadmissible.

        Piss off Frank Luntz: don't use Republican issue frames like "Social Security crisis."

        by DC Pol Sci on Tue Feb 22, 2005 at 12:40:01 PM PST

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      •  How about this? (none)
        "A man tortured in Saudi Arabia will admit to anything."  More at 11...

        Alternate state, a blog about different choices, globally and locally.

        by zenbowl on Tue Feb 22, 2005 at 01:37:33 PM PST

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      •  Just keep repeating: (none)
        Torture doesn't work--even if you like the idea, it just doesn't do the job.  

        Why?  Most people under torture will say anything to make it stop.  The only ones who won't are those who believe that martyrdom is a good thing for them, and so aren't afraid to die, even painfully.  Thus, we simply can't get good intelligence about terrorist plots by torturing people.  Much better to use the FBI methods that DO result in good information, and are not in violation of human rights.

        The Sri Lankan torture expert who says it can be effective in saving lives was dealing with Tamils, who aren't Muslim and aren't jihadists.  

        If you're going in the wrong direction and you stay the course, where, exactly, do you wind up?

        by Mimikatz on Tue Feb 22, 2005 at 03:09:32 PM PST

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    •  FYI (none)
      I just updated the diary with some more info from the New York Times article.... easier than trying to insert it in the comments section.

      Susan in Port Angeles (my cat)

      by SusanHu on Tue Feb 22, 2005 at 01:03:30 PM PST

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    •  UPDATES INCLUDE (none)
      A quote from the Memorandum of the USDC, D.C., on the petition for habeus corpus ... it's powerful ... and it describes how Abu Ali was nabbed by the United States in Saudi Arabia and placed in a Saudi prison.

      It further describes how Ashcroft/Gonzales et al. do not think habeus corpus applies to a U.S. citizen outside the country.  Woah.

      Susan in Port Angeles (my cat)

      by SusanHu on Tue Feb 22, 2005 at 04:49:13 PM PST

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    •  Oh come on! (none)
      He's probably guilty after all. Better a hundred innocent men be tortured than a guilty terrorist go free, right? What's wrong with you people?!

      If anything, the travesty here is the whole "law & order" process which has demonstrably demonstrated how outmoded it is in the post 9/11 mentality. You don't hate America do you?

      I didn't think so. So what if they tore out some hang nails? You don't like see American citizens killed do you? We have to protect this country and if it simply in convienences someone, I think that's a fair trade.

      After all, you're with us or against us!!!

      --- If I were employed, my opinions would be my own and not my employer's.

      by Aexia on Wed Feb 23, 2005 at 12:25:57 AM PST

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