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Author Topic: Bilal Hussein freed  (Read 5408 times)
Roscolo
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« on: April 17, 2008, 02:15:47 PM »
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Most are probably aware of AP photographer Bilal Hussein's story. I just read this article, and he is free. Another example of the U.S. saying one thing and doing another; saying they stand for freedom, openness and justice, but denying habeas corpus, evidence and journalistic freedoms. He was held for 2 years. Can any of you imagine being scooped up and thrown in prison for 2 years and then denied basic rights just for doing your job

Thank God he is free.

Here's the PDN link to the story:

http://www.pdnonline.com/pdn/newswire/arti...t_id=1003789997
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Adam L
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« Reply #1 on: April 17, 2008, 02:31:50 PM »
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The only reason why his ass is out of jail is because he was granted amnesty by Iraq's parliament.  There was no finding of guilt or innocence.

He had bomb making equipment in his possession.  He seemed to know where explosions were going to take place.  American troops died in places where he appeared.

I sure hope this thread is taken down.  If not I'll continue to post against Anti-American attitudes like yours.
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Roscolo
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« Reply #2 on: April 17, 2008, 03:16:03 PM »
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He had bomb making equipment in his possession.  He seemed to know where explosions were going to take place. 
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=190203\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Yes, you have listed the unsubstantiated, unproven allegations made against Bilal by U.S. military. The three key words being "unsubstantiated" "unproven" and "allegations."

Having had personal acquaintances detained and removed at U.S. airports after breaking no law or rule and for no reason, I hope you never find yourself in similar circumstances. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.
« Last Edit: April 17, 2008, 03:16:20 PM by Roscolo » Logged
Jonathan Wienke
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« Reply #3 on: April 17, 2008, 03:28:04 PM »
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And your claims about Bilal's innocence are equally "unsubstantiated" and "unproven", unless you have first-hand knowledge of the situation. You sound like the "free Mumia" crack smokers who insist he is innocent even though the gun that fired the bullet that killed Daniel Faulkner had Mumia's fingerprints on it, which is about as airtight as a case can get unless it happens live on CNN or something. The military, contrary to the assertions of tinfoil-hat conspiracy mongers like you, is not in the habit of arresting and detaining people without a fairly good reason.
« Last Edit: April 17, 2008, 03:28:24 PM by Jonathan Wienke » Logged

Roscolo
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« Reply #4 on: April 17, 2008, 03:48:02 PM »
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And your claims about Bilal's innocence are equally "unsubstantiated" and "unproven", unless you have first-hand knowledge of the situation......The military, contrary to the assertions of tinfoil-hat conspiracy mongers like you, is not in the habit of arresting and detaining people without a fairly good reason.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=190218\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Isn't one of the cornerstones of ours and any democracy, that one shouldn't have to "subtantiate" or "prove" one's innocence? "Innocent until proven guilty" isn't that something we all agree (or used to agree) on?

A "fairly" good reason? Are you kidding? "Fairly good?" How would you like to be held, blindfolded, and roughed up for days, weeks, months, YEARS, for a "fairly good" reason?
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DarkPenguin
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« Reply #5 on: April 17, 2008, 04:24:36 PM »
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It has been my understanding that John Yoo and company thought that due process wasn't technically required for, well, anyone or anything.

Edit: Removed spurious "is".
« Last Edit: April 18, 2008, 02:08:33 PM by DarkPenguin » Logged
Jonathan Wienke
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« Reply #6 on: April 18, 2008, 10:01:05 AM »
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A "fairly" good reason? Are you kidding? "Fairly good?" How would you like to be held, blindfolded, and roughed up for days, weeks, months, YEARS, for a "fairly good" reason?

His house had IEDs, insurgent propaganda, and a known insurgent inside. That's enough to get one arrested, confined, and tried in the US and most other countries. And he wasn't released because he was cleared of the charges against him, but because an Iraqi court decided that he was covered by an amnesty law.

The legal side of things gets more complicated when you have the military legal system and the Iraqi legal system trying to work together. My personal experience with detainees in Ramadi is that prisoners in American custody are treated much better than those in Iraqi custody. I've personally treated detainees being transferred from the Iraqi Police to American custody who were beaten until most of their upper body was a mass of bruises, and the anecdotal evidence I have is that such treatment is common for suspected insurgents captured by the Iraqi Police. For that reason, there is often reluctance to transfer prisoners from American custody over to the Iraqis, especially if the individual is suspected of terrorist activity in the area. There's a good chance that the Iraqis will take out their frustrations on the detainee.

The other thing to keep in mind is that there is a war going on over there, and civilian peacetime rules of jurisprudence are not really applicable. In war, it is entirely appropriate for captured enemy fighters to be detained until the end of hostilities, and there is no requirement under the Geneva Convention or any other legal system for such individuals to be charged with or convicted of anything. The "prisoner of war" categorization is not limited to uniformed enemy soldiers:

PART VII

APPLICATION OF THE CONVENTION TO CERTAIN CATEGORIES OF CIVILIANS

Art. 81. Persons who follow the armed forces without directly belonging thereto, such as correspondents, newspaper reporters, sutlers, or contractors, who fall into the hands of the enemy, and whom the latter think fit to detain, shall be entitled to be treated as prisoners of war, provided they are in possession of an authorization from the military authorities of the armed forces which they were following.


According to this, and and the reasonable suspicion of Mr. Hussein's insurgent activities, treating him as a prisoner of war instead of a civilian criminal is entirely justifiable and appropriate. The notion of prosecuting capured enemy combatants under civilian criminal law is actually quite a new phenomenon; in previous conflicts, enemy fighters captured engaging in hostilities while not in uniform were generally subject to execution after minimal legal preceedings:

The penal provisions promulgated by the Occupying Power in accordance with Articles 64 and 65 may impose the death penalty on a protected person only in cases where the person is guilty of espionage, of serious acts of sabotage against the military installations of the Occupying Power or of intentional offences which have caused the death of one or more persons, provided that such offences were punishable by death under the law of the occupied territory in force before the occupation began.

In most previous conflicts, individuals found in Mr. Bilal's situation were shot on the spot. Manufacturing IEDs (or allowing their manufacture in his house), harboring known insurgents, and giving information to the enemy would all qualify Mr. Hussein for the death penalty, and would certainly justify his confinement. His status as a prisoner of war means that there is no legal requirement to bring charges against him; he can be detained as long as hostilities are ongoing.

As far as I'm concerned, Bilal Hussein should feel fortunate he escaped execution.
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Roscolo
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« Reply #7 on: April 18, 2008, 10:52:29 AM »
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In most previous conflicts, individuals found in Mr. Bilal's situation were shot on the spot. Manufacturing IEDs (or allowing their manufacture in his house), harboring known insurgents, and giving information to the enemy would all qualify Mr. Hussein for the death penalty, and would certainly justify his confinement. His status as a prisoner of war means that there is no legal requirement to bring charges against him; he can be detained as long as hostilities are ongoing.

As far as I'm concerned, Bilal Hussein should feel fortunate he escaped execution.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=190402\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

And there are the problems. I suspect many an innocent person has been "shot on the spot." If one wants to establish a free democracy where there is "rule of law" it would seem counterproductive to not follow the most basic rule of law - habeas corpus.

Detention for "as long a hostilites are ongoing?" How long could that be? 2 years? 10? 50? 100? Based on allegations and "fairly good" reasons? This is why gathering evidence and having a real and speedy trial by a jury of one's peers where one is allowed to face one's accusers and dispute the evidence and present evidence of one's own is one of the basic cornerstones of a free democracy.

Habeas Corpus isn't just vital to those accused - it's vital to the credibility of the accuser, in this case the U.S. military. If one in power makes allegation after allegation and detention after detention, but does not follow the allegations and detentions with evidence and fair trials, the one in power quickly loses credibility in the eyes of the citizenry. Soon no one believes anything the authority says anymore.

At any rate, my purpose for noting Bilal's release in this thread was not to spark some political debate, it was because I first read about Bilal's situation about a year ago, and I agree; I also feel he is fortunate to have escaped execution. He is also fortunate to have escaped the open-ended detention described above. He has had the full support of the Associated Press and his colleagues and I think everyone is glad he has been released.

Regardless of politics, I think we can all celebrate that a fellow photographer is alive and again free and hopefully he can return to his work as an outstanding photojournalist.
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kikashi
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« Reply #8 on: April 18, 2008, 01:56:21 PM »
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Regardless of politics, I think we can all celebrate that a fellow photographer is alive and again free and hopefully he can return to his work as an outstanding photojournalist.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=190425\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
As long as that's the only work to which he returns, perhaps we can.

Jeremy
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dilip
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« Reply #9 on: April 18, 2008, 02:28:15 PM »
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The military, contrary to the assertions of tinfoil-hat conspiracy mongers like you, is not in the habit of arresting and detaining people without a fairly good reason.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=190218\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Perhaps they aren't in the habit of it, but there is a record of it. Off the top of my head, there's the case of Dilawar the Afghan taxi driver. Though it isn't strictly the military, there's also the case of Maher Arar (and due to the lovely nature of extraordinary rendition, it wasn't even the US government that imprisonned him, though it does case some doubt on the statement that handing people over to other jurisdictions is debated strongly).

I accept that it is often difficult to prove guilt in these situations, but that doens't mean that we should move to the standard of requiring people to prove that they are innocent.

--dilip
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Jonathan Wienke
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« Reply #10 on: April 18, 2008, 03:23:28 PM »
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Regardless of politics, I think we can all celebrate that a fellow photographer is alive and again free and hopefully he can return to his work as an outstanding photojournalist.

Cross me off that list; I've been to Ramadi and seen what IEDs can do to people, and it brings me no joy to see anyone involved in their manufacture, storage, or distribution being let loose.
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michael
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« Reply #11 on: April 18, 2008, 03:39:53 PM »
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This thread has veered far enough away from photography that I'm going to shut it down. There are forums for these debates, and here isn't one of them.

Michael
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