Michael Dorf, a law professor at Columbia, has a damn fine column over at FindLaw about the difference between prisoners of war and unlawful combatants. Why should you give a damn? Because the basic breakdown is that the former are governed by the Geneva Convention, and the latter aren’t, for pretty good reasons. And this matters because it’s pretty clear that any Al Qaeda fighters are in the latter category, and it’s almost as clear that the Taliban fighters are, as well. Puts another context around the squabbling about the imprisonment conditions at Guantanamo Bay.


Under Bush Government, demonstrators can be “unlawful combatants”

from, Ross Striker - real@renonevada.net

Under Bush Government, demonstrators can be “unlawful combatants”

By calling arrested U.S. Citizens “unlawful combatants”, e.g., currently those who
allegedly supported Muslim terrorists, the Bush Government could be interpreted as
laying legal precedent for charging common U.S. political activists with being
“unlawful combatants”, thus preparing to subsequently deny American citizens their
Constitutional right to legal counsel and other Constitutional protections on the
grounds of the emergency status of the “War on Terrorism”.

The USA Patriot Act referred to U.S. citizens who “act” against
U.S. Foreign & Economic Policy and/or other interests, as committing
federal crimes. Under this act, common demonstrators may be interpreted
as acting “unlawfully” if they oppose any U.S. Government policy that the
U.S. Government deems in the immediate economic or political interests
of the United States.

Hence, under the vague language of the ‘US Patriot Act’, the Bush Government
can now cause the arrest of protestors — even retroactively after a legal
demonstration has taken place — by claiming that demonstrators supported a
“cause” working against U.S. interests.

• Posted by: Kenneth L. Vardon on Jun 25, 2002, 4:05 PM
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