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what a surprise(21 posts)

what a surpriseMJ
Jun 3, 2003 12:57 AM
Report: 9/11 Detainees Abused
Justice Dept. Review Outlines Immigrant Rights Violations

By Steve Fainaru
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, June 3, 2003; Page A01

Authorities violated the civil rights of hundreds of immigrants detained after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and demonstrated "a pattern of physical and verbal abuse" at a federal prison where 84 of them were held, according to a long-awaited Justice Department report released yesterday.

According to a review by its Office of the Inspector General, the Justice Department instituted a "no bond" policy for all detainees connected to the terrorism probe after the attacks -- even though immigration officials quickly questioned the policy's legality.

Without bail, terrorism suspects remained in jail for an average of nearly three months, much longer than the FBI projected before it cleared most of them for release, the report said. In addition, detainees faced monumental difficulties and weeks of delay before they were allowed to make phone calls and find lawyers. Some were kept for months in cells illuminated 24 hours a day and were escorted in handcuffs, leg irons and waist chains.

In one Brooklyn detention facility, some detainees complained of being slammed against walls and taunted by guards, claims that inspectors found credible.

The 198-page report by Inspector General Glenn A. Fine is the most thorough account to date of the government's handling of 762 immigrants -- most of Arab and South Asian descent -- taken into custody during the nationwide terrorism probe. All had violated immigration laws in some way. The inquiry focused on two detention facilities that housed the majority of the detainees, the federal Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn and the Passaic County jail in Paterson, N.J.

In the chaotic aftermath of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, senior Justice Department officials devised a far-reaching strategy to give investigators as much time as possible to determine whether detainees were connected to terrorism, according to the report.

The report, which emerged from internal government documents and more than 100 interviews with U.S. officials and detainees, "recognized the enormous challenges and difficult circumstances confronting the [Justice] Department in responding to the terrorist attacks." But the inspector general "found significant problems in the way the September 11 detainees were treated."

Only one detainee, Zacarias Moussaoui, who was in custody before the attacks, has been charged with a terrorism-related crime.

Justice Department spokeswoman Barbara Comstock said the report is "fully consistent with what courts have ruled over and over -- that our actions are fully within the law and necessary to protect the American people. We make no apologies for finding every legal way possible to protect the American public from further terrorist attacks."

In a letter attached to the report, Deputy Attorney General Larry Thompson wrote: "The detention of those illegal aliens suspected of involvement with terrorism was paramount. . . . My staff understood that the immigration authorities of the Department should be used to keep such people in custody until we could satisfy ourselves -- by the FBI clearance process -- that they did not mean to do us harm. Given those circumstances, I respectfully submit that it is unfair to criticize the conduct of members of my staff during this period."

However, Anthony D. Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union, called for congressional hearings into the treatment of detainees following the Sept. 11 attacks. The inspector general's report, he said, may form the basis for a lawsuit against Justice Department employees involved in formulating and executing the policy.

"I think overall
Nah, I'm not surprised.jesse1
Jun 3, 2003 4:34 AM
To protect a population of 250 some million free people, a few toes may have to be stepped on from time to time. If I need to have my bandana off the front of my face (against my mtn biking mantra by the way)in order to obtain a drivers liscence, then so be it - I'll make that sacrifice.
If I have to endure cameras getting into a stadium or on a busy street corner, I can probably hold off from scratching those sensitive areas or taking a leak if there's no restroom around.
I'm sure there are many innocents that are having to endure hardships due to where they're from or how they look. Better to error on the side of prudence than to make it easy for fanatics to enter the country hell bent on killing your familly or mine.
on that basisMJ
Jun 3, 2003 4:46 AM
maybe you should jail all anti-abortionists in the name of security - after all they may commit murder in support of their cause and elude law enforcement for years in the woods
Pretty weak argument MJAlpedhuez55
Jun 3, 2003 5:30 AM
Your argument holds no water. Abortion is legal and terrorism is illegal. Many of the detainies were in the country illegally and as your article states "all had violated immigration laws." So they are all law breakers and were justifiably being detained.

If they were badly abused,then go after the guards who abused them. I do not think anything things like throwing them into a cell wall, walking them around in leg irons or keeping them in lit cells is all that bad.

I think the real abuse here is with our immigration services. If they knew where the most of the detainees where to round them up after 9/11, why didn't they do it before 9/11? Maybe they would have detained a few of the murdering scum terrorists and prevented the attacks in the first place.

Mike Y.
Jun 3, 2003 5:38 AM
the anti-abortion argument is weak - I didn't feel the need to rehash arguments concerning the Japanese internments of WW2 and the right of all accused people to basic rights under the law - I think those more substantial points should be fairly self-evident...

how would you like it if your kid or a kid you know, whilst backpacking around somewhere in foreign parts, perhaps working illegally somewhere, gets slapped around a bit by the guards for spurious reasons after being detained - thrown in to walls and leg irons in cells is over the line any way you cut it - the implication behind the minor violence is the real issue

does breaking immigration laws entitle a little torture? what about traffic offences?

agree re INS breakdowns
Jun 3, 2003 6:13 AM
Well, if you are breaking a law in a foreign country, then you are subject to the laws of that country if you are caught, even if it is a traffic offense. And if you are in that country illegally, that is a crime in itself, even if you do not intend to break any others.

And in the case of American citizens of Japanese decent detained during WW2, that was wrong. These recent detainees were breaking the law to begin with. THere is not comparison.

I also do not see most of the things you consider tourture as being torture. If prisoners act up, guards should be able to slap around prisoners a little and have them walk around in leg Irons. Maybe it will keep more criminals from repeating their crimes.

When you are in a country illegally, you cannot expect to have the same rights as a citizen or legal resident. THe ACLU is wrong on many things and are picking the wrong fight on this one. If the ACLU were allowed to determine our prison and immigration ploicy, then we would not be a very safe place.

Mike Y.
Jun 3, 2003 6:21 AM
if you take that position to an extreme (which you are not) - one could justify any number of things including killing illegal immigrants - where's the breakdown here - when does slapping around become torture - when does torture become unacceptable - there should bhe one rule for all - there's no reason to treat those who are incarcerated poorly

I think you'd feel diiferently about it if it was you or your family
Havng to take things to extremes will not prove your pointAlpedhuez55
Jun 3, 2003 7:26 AM
Illegal Aliens are not entitled to the same rights as citizens. I do not think the accusations of the treatment given to the detainees was all that unreasonable. It was certainly not torture. I am not going to draw a line on what qualifies as torture. You need to maintain order in prisons though and guards should do what is needed.

The family argument is another weak debating tool. We all remember Dukakis falling into that trap in 88. The detainees were not my relatives. THey were people who broke the law.

Mike Y.
I've seen your tactics, and it won't work w/me.jesse1
Jun 3, 2003 5:34 AM
With your statement, you're making it sound as if I condone the internment of all that you referred to in your original post. I didn't & I don't. Bend the truth somewhere else.
That scares mePaulCL
Jun 3, 2003 5:33 AM
That you are very willing to give up pieces of your freedom and privacy for the good of all. From this point it is a slippery slope.....
.....what's next..."sure you can have some of my DNA so we have a national database so as to be able to track felons at a later date..." or "sure, my wife and I will only have 2 children since we don't want to add to over population..." or..."sure, I'll register with the government all of my travels so we can combat terrorism..."

I'm no fan of the ACLU, but complacency about freedoms and privacy will only lead to less freedoms and privacy. Don't ever give them away easily.
Just curious...jesse1
Jun 3, 2003 5:36 AM do you stand on gun control?
Gun controlPaulCL
Jun 3, 2003 6:59 AM
I think you should hold one with both hands..its' steadier.

Seriously...I was brought up in a home with guns. My father was an occasional hunter but collector of interesting handguns. I was an occasional hunter as well. I was on a rifle shooting team/club in highschool. I even went to some NRA "safe hunter" course as a boy. Heck, in 1972, I was the youngest person (10) to receive a deer hunting license in the state of Texas that year. Of course, that's the year I almost shot my Dad...but that's another story.

As a 41 year old, I have not held a gun in my hands in over 20 years. I wouldn't have one in my house - my wife would kill me if I brought one into our home. I have no problem with hunting weapons. I have no problem with people wanting to own handguns. There are inherent problems with both, but those are the responsibility of the owners.

What I do have a problem with is the need to own assault rifles, fully automatic weapons, etc. There is no use for those weapons other than in war. Nobody hunts with an AK-47. I don't buy the arguement that we should be free to "collect" those weapons if we want to...heck, we're not allowed to be a collector of SAMs or tanks, so why another weapon of war??

So, that's where I stand on gun control. Paul
Pretty much ditto.jesse1
Jun 3, 2003 8:34 AM
I thought I'd get you on this, but no.
I've never hunted and have no problems with that. As a kid, I was always shooting bb guns and grew up respecting them. I really enjoy being able to put something where I want it to go from far away. It's kind of like "redneck golf". I do own a SKS (Russian version), in it's semi-auto mode only. I don't see any difference between that rifle and a large capacity 30.06 that someone would be hunting with. In fact I have known some that have used a SKS for hunting deer.
I also support stringent pre-purchase checks and registration. I'm just not worried about the government conficating. If things ever got that bad, confiscation would be the least of our problems.
Pretty much ditto.PaulCL
Jun 3, 2003 10:03 AM
Nice to see another right thinking person on the board.

I also agree about the stringent pre-purchase checks. No-one needs a gun "this instant". I'm not worried about confiscation either. If we got to the point that the government wanted to take our guns away, we would all be in big trouble. I think there would be a rebellion...

I don't see how you thought you'd 'get me'. My other post coincided with my gun beliefs pretty well. My real message was to do all that you can to never give up any of your freedoms/rights/privacy becuase each small step is the beginning of another.
Ahh..I was in a mood.jesse1
Jun 3, 2003 11:32 AM
Sorry I mis-judged you. It's just another freekin' mid-Atlantic rainy day, and I needed to make my feet go round in circles, so...I had to move furniture out of the way, change the back wheel on the bike, bring the trainer & the bike up from the basement, get the floor fan from another room, and sit in front of crap on TV for 70 minutes!
But I'm MUCH better now.
it's funny howMJ
Jun 3, 2003 5:40 AM
liberals and conservatives actually agree on this kind of issue

(BTW don't recall where you stand)
Liberals, conservatives want freedom to change status quoContinental
Jun 3, 2003 6:31 AM
I think it's natural that liberals and conservatives are both wary of surrendering freedom to the government bureaucracy. Both groups need freedom of expression and freedom of assembly to form coalitions and advance their agenda. A healthy, continuous debate among groups with different politcal agendas helps insure basic freedoms. Middle of the road people with no opinions that yearn for an efficient bureaucracy, security, and personal safety are the greatest threat to our rights and liberties.
Liberals, conservatives want freedom to change status quoeyebob
Jun 3, 2003 7:48 AM
I'd add that anyone without INFORMED opinions are the greatest threat to our rights and liberties. Personally it's those on either side of any issue that just repeat mantra that scare me the most. It's worse when you're yelling at someone to make your point that you're really only regurgitating.

That's why I've never understood why some don't like the ACLU. Everyone should be thankful that there are goups out there willing to make sure "the Man" isn't stepping on us.

Jun 3, 2003 8:19 AM
BT, I do not consider an "Evil" organization. Though they are considered a liberal organization, they are not afraid to defend conservatives. Other organizations turn a blind eye to them. But I think like most special interest groups, they often go too far. I think in this case it is one where they are doing a poor job picking their fight. If they goverment were detaining citizens and legal residents it would be a different story. THat is not the case here.

I am not a fan of the new Homeland Security Department. I think it is way too big. I am sure the ACLU will keep an eye on them. But try to point out real abuses. So far I think they have done a good job, but I would hate to see a J. Edgar Hoover type get in charge of Homeland Security.

Mike Y.
Jun 3, 2003 12:53 PM
I think the ACLU is typically more anti-government than partisan. For example, if the government wants to block the KKK from marching, they step in.

Sole purpose is to defend the Bill of Rights...Brooks
Jun 4, 2003 3:34 PM
or didn't you watch "The American President" and the speech at the end?