Saturday, December 04, 2004

My jaw is still hanging open

Is this really happening? Is Fafblog still satire? Here's an honest-to-God AP story (excerpted merely for brevity). My emphasis.
WASHINGTON - Under detailed questioning by a federal judge, government lawyers asserted Wednesday the U.S. military can hold foreigners indefinitely as enemy combatants at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, even if they aided terrorists unintentionally and never fought the United States. Could a “little old lady in Switzerland” who sent a check to an orphanage in Afghanistan be taken into custody if unbeknownst to her some of her donation was passed to al-Qaida terrorists? asked U.S. District Judge Joyce Hens Green. “She could,” replied Deputy Associate Attorney General Brian Boyle. “Someone’s intention is clearly not a factor that would disable detention.” It would be up to a newly established military review panel to decide whether to believe her and release her. Boyle said the military can pick any foreigner who provides support to terrorists or might know of their plans. And the foreigners held on the U.S. naval base in Cuba “have no constitutional rights enforceable in this court,” Boyle told the judge. “That’s really shocking,” Thomas B. Wilner, attorney for 12 Kuwaiti detainees, told reporters after Green’s hearing. “People throughout the world will fear the United States is asserting the power to pick up little old ladies and men who made a mistake.” ... Green asked if a hypothetical resident of England who teaches English to the son of an al-Qaida leader could be detained. Boyle said he could because “al-Qaida could be trying to learn English to stage attacks there,” and he compared that aid to “those shipping bullets to the front.” Some detainees have been picked up in Bosnia and others in Africa. 'Where is the battlefield?' Noting the Supreme Court said detention was to keep combatants from returning to the battlefield, Green asked, “What and where is the battlefield the U.S. military is trying to detain the prisoners from returning to? Africa? London?” Boyle: “The conflict with al-Qaida has a global reach.” ...
Hat tip: Fafblog. I give money to Oxfam, which gives badly-needed aid all over the world. If some of that aid ever happens to indirectly benefit Al-Queda -- say, for instance, that Oxfam's aid saves childrens' lives in Sudan, and some of those children grow up to be terrorists -- will the government come after me? One thing is for sure: if the United States government ever subjects me to torture for accidentally abetting terrorism, I'm going in with a sense of righteous indignation.

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