Indefinite Detention Sacrifices Human Dignity

Last weekend , NOW on PBS explored indefinite detention in its latest episode, "After Guantánamo." In it, host David Brancaccio interviewed Marine Lt. Col. Stuart Couch, who was tasked with prosecuting Mohamedou Ould Slahi, a Guantánamo detainee accused of 9/11-related crimes. In 2004, Couch became the first of six military lawyers to resign from prosecuting the military commissions cases assigned to them because they disagreed with the commissions' flawed system of "justice," which includes using evidence gained through torture and rigging the trials in favor of a conviction.

Lt. Col. Couch refused to prosecute the case because Slahi was tortured at Gitmo.

In the NOW interview, Lt. Col. Couch explains why he resigned:

We cannot compromise our respect for the dignity of every human being. And that goes to somebody that is alleged to have committed heinous crimes against citizens of this country. That doesn't change the immutable characteristic that they're still a human being, and it's a slippery slope that in the name of national security we decide to compromise that. If we compromise that, then al-Qaeda has been able to affect much more of an impact on this country than they have by driving a couple of planes into the World Trade Center or crashing one into the Pentagon. Because they've torn at the very fabric of who we are as Americans.

"After Guantánamo" also features an interview with Philippe Sands, author of Torture Team. Speaking on why the Obama administration should not create an indefinite detention system, Sands says:

The U.S. has a unique position around the world. There is no country that is more closely associated with the rule of law. That has given the United States, for good and for bad, a tremendous moral authority around the world. If the U.S. loses that moral authority, it will be come that much more difficult for the United States…to protect itself.

…The lot of a democracy is to fight with one hand tied behind its back, hostage to its own values, but a democracy is still stronger than those who face us down…We've got to keep our eye on our system of values, that no man or woman is deprived of liberty without due process. If that is gone, we become like those who seek to do us harm, and we don't make ourselves safer.

You can listen to Sands talk about accountability for torture with ACLU attorney Amrit Singh and Glenn Greenwald of Salon.com in this podcast (MP3). Philippe also wrote a blog post for our Accountability for Torture blog forum, called "Accountability Is Coming to the USA." And go to PBS.org to find out when "After Guantánamo" will be playing on your local PBS station.

 

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Terry Foust

LtCol Couch is certainly entitled to his opinion. But it's obvious he's a lawyer first, and a Marine somewhere after that. I have no desire to share a foxhole with him.

Juanita Estrada

You, the ACLU disgust me. Instead of protecting law-abiding Americans and their rights, you would rather protect non-American terrorists and criminals.

ACLU is very left-wing biased. The left-wing is out to destroy our liberties (our rights) yet the ACLU says nothing.

I have ethical and moral values, but the ACLU doesn't, it picks and chooses what it favors, usually the criminal above the victim, the terrorist above the American citizen. There wasn't any torture, they still have their heads, limbs, organs, etc. Torture is what happens when you are prisoner's or nonconforming women in their countries.

On top of that you put CIA agents in danger and our troops and country in danger and cost lives by revealing info to the enemy and hampering their work. They hate us because of our freedoms, and because women aren't covered head to toe, has nothing to do with how we treat them, in fact they would respect us more if we were tough.

joe

I'm glad to see non-citizens getting such good representation. AS an enlisted member for over 23 years I alawys feared being tried by my peers, 2/3 officers. To bad Lt Col Stuart did take such a stand aginst his fellow Americans.

Zane

You are all a bunch of America hating bastards.

Zane

Jimmy Carter,worst president in the history of the world.No wonder he supported Obama,Carter may wind up as second worst.

Vic Livingston

BULLETIN TO ACLU:

UNJUSTLY TARGETED AMERICAN CITIZENS AND FAMILIES ARE CONDEMNED TO A LIFE OF INDEFINITE DE FACTO HOME DETENTION; ORGANIZED COMMUNITY STALKING TERRORISM; AND MICROWAVE/LASER DIRECTED ENERGY WEAPONS TORTURE AND PHYSICAL DEGRADATION.

THIS IS AN AMERICAN GENOCIDE -- OR POLITICIDE, SINCE MANY ARE TARGETED DUE TO THEIR POLITICS OR ETHIC HERITAGE.

WHEN WILL THE ACLU CONFRONT THE REALITY OF THE EXTRAJUDICIAL TORTURE MATRIX SPAWNED OR EXPANDED UDER BUSH-CHENEY...

AND NOW ENABLED BY THE NAIVETE OF TEAM OBAMA -- AND THE ACLU?

http://nowpublic.com/world/gestapo-usa-govt-funded-vigilante-network-ter...

OR (if link is corrupted / disabled):

http://NowPublic.com/scrivener RE: "GESTAPO USA"

Fellow American

The behavoir of the John Adams Project is a disgrace. Protect Americans, not terrorists.

The ACLU used to stand for something good. Now you are a bunch of obsessed idiots.

Congratulations on your ability to turn something decent into a joke.

Brian

End justifies the means and I hope we continue to torture the bastards. America is the greatest nation on earth and does more good for worldwide humanity than all other nations combined.

June D Meek

There is no excuse for this pending Bill. It is anti American, and against everything the USA stands for. This bill is a direct attempt to undermine our Constitution and Bill of Rights. If this is what you believe in doing, then move to Red China. You belong there, not here.

Candobetter

You people are the worst kind of people right beside ACORN , We don't need you ,This hard working american is tired of paying for the likes of you and ACORN,

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