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 And In The Darkness, Bind Them: Rendition - Perspective and History

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PostSubject: And In The Darkness, Bind Them: Rendition - Perspective and History   Sun Feb 08, 2009 8:45 pm


One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them
. - JRR Tolkien

They say that it's the little lies that get you caught – if one wants to be a successful liar, one should tell big lies.

Now that Obama's in office and “change” is the flavour of the day, the revisionists are climbing the walls, trying to figure ways for us to forgive and forget America's, and her allies' indiscretions regarding human rights abuses. One of the big crimes, kidnap and torture, euphemistically called “extraordinary rendition,” is possibly the most difficult to deal with.

We are expected to believe that Rendition is a recent phenomenon and put it down to a momentary lapse in judgement on the part of the US. Obama has put that right, and has started the healing process, with his executive orders to close the Guantanamo kidnap and torture facility, and other illegal “Black Sites,” around the globe, right?

Wrong, dead wrong.

Rendition has been practiced by the Americans since the 19th century. It has been a long standing practice elsewhere too. Many of us, peace activists too, support rendition. Many of those tried for their parts in the nazi holocaust, were kidnapped by members of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre in Jerusalem and brought to trial for their crimes. Many, myself included, find it hard to condemn such acts, whilst attempting to hold the moral high ground. But condemn it I do and I'll justifiy this before I finish.

It would be a simple matter to forgive the US, if this were but a hiccup in an otherwise perfect history of its relationship with the rest of the world. It is not the intent of this piece to show that America has a self-interested foreign policy that has been a blight on the world. Rather, it is this fact, acting as a backdrop, that illustrates this latest affront to dignity, morality and to justice.

In March of 1985, the mutilated body of Enrique Camarena was found close to the city of Guadalajara in Mexico. Camarena was an agent for the DEA and had been investigating the association between Mexican authorities and drug cartels, before he'd been kidnapped, tortured and then murdered. Some 22 indictments were subsequently issued by the US. One of those indicted, Humberto Alvarez-Machain, an obstetrician, had a bench warrant issued for his arrest. It was claimed that he'd been present during the torture of Camarena and that he'd used his medical skill to keep him alive, so that the torture might continue. After negotiations with Mexican officials failed to result in the handing over of Alvarez-Machain, the US had him kidnapped and brought forcibly into US jurisdiction to stand trial. The case against Alvarez-Machain fell to bits, because the court agreed with Alvarez-Machain's defence, that the illegal kidnapping of the defendant, prejudiced the trial and precluded justice from occuring, in other words: the US courts did not have the jurisdiction to try Alvarez-Machain. The US appealed this ruling and the resulting appeal came to the very same conclusion. The US brought the matter the Supreme Court.

On June 15th 1992 history was made in the US Supreme Court. The court ruled that US courts did have juristiction to try defendants who'd been kidnapped from areas outside US jurisdiction and brought into US jurisdiction to stand trial. It was a carte blanche, in a legal framework, for the US to ignore international law and instead to pursue its own interests.

The ruling of the court starts with the following statement:
The US Supreme Court wrote:
Respondent, a citizen and resident of Mexico, was forcibly kidnaped from his home and flown by private plane to Texas, where he was arrested for his participation in the kidnaping and murder of a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agent and the agent's pilot. After concluding that DEA agents were responsible for the abduction, the District Court dismissed the indictment on the ground that it violated the Extradition Treaty between the United States and Mexico (Extradition Treaty or Treaty), and ordered respondent's repatriation. The Court of Appeals affirmed. Based on one of its prior decisions, the court found that, since the United States had authorized the abduction, and since the Mexican Government had protested the Treaty violation, jurisdiction was improper.

Held:

The fact of respondent's forcible abduction does not prohibit his trial in a United States court for violations of this country's criminal laws. Pp. 3-15.

    (a) A defendant may not be prosecuted in violation of the terms of an extradition treaty. United States v. Rauscher, 119 U.S. 407 . However, when a treaty has not been invoked, a court may properly exercise jurisdiction even though the defendant's presence is procured by means of a forcible abduction. Ker v. Illinois, 119 U.S. 436 . Thus, if the Extradition Treaty does not prohibit respondent's abduction, the rule of Ker applies and jurisdiction was proper. Pp. 3-7.

    (b) Neither the Treaty's language nor the history of negotiations and practice under it supports the proposition that it prohibits abductions outside of its terms. The Treaty says nothing about either country refraining from forcibly abducting people from the other's territory or the consequences if an abduction occurs. In addition, although the Mexican government was made aware of the Ker doctrine as early as 1906, and language to curtail Ker was drafted as early as 1935, the Treaty's current version contains no such clause. Pp. 7-11.

    (c) General principles of international law provide no basis for interpreting the Treaty to include an implied term prohibiting international abductions. It would go beyond established precedent and practice to draw such an inference from the Treaty based on respondent's argument that abductions are so clearly prohibited in international law that there 504 U.S. 655, 656 was no reason to include the prohibition in the Treaty itself. It was the practice of nations with regard to extradition treaties that formed the basis for this Court's decision in Rauscher, supra, to imply a term in the extradition treaty between the United States and England. Respondent's argument, however, would require a much larger inferential leap with only the most general of international law principles to support it. While respondent may be correct that his abduction was "shocking" and in violation of general international law principles, the decision whether he should be returned to Mexico, as a matter outside the Treaty, is a matter for the Executive Branch. Pp. 666-670.
The full ruling can be found here: LINK.

Earlier I suggested that there was precedent that established that the kidnapping of people outside the jurisdiction of US courts, to forcibly drag them into US jurisdiction, that goes back to the 1800's. There's plenty to suggest that this practice was established long before this, but, to show this would not further the argument that such practices have arisen within a legal framework, and with legal blessing. There's another case, this time a very recent British case, where the claims I'm making here are part of the court's record.

This particular case involved Stanley Tollman and his wife. Tollman, a former director of Chelsea football club and a longtime friend of Margeret Thatcher was wanted in the US for bank fraud charges. Initially, Tolmann's nephew had been allowed to return to Britain by a canadian court that had ruled that his attempted kidnapping, in their jurisdiction, by the US, was unlawful. The Americans subsequently applied to have Stanley Tollman extradited from Britain. The US was partially successful, it secured the extradition of Tollman, but not his wife. It was in the subsequent appeal, that the dirt began to emerge:
Quote :
Alun Jones QC, representing the US government, was asked by Lord Justice Moses about the treatment of Gavin Tollman, nephew of Stanley, who was arrested in Canada in the hope he could be taken back to America. Mr Jones said: "The United States does have a view about procuring people to its own shores which is not shared." If you kidnap a person outside the United States and you bring him there, the court has no jurisdiction to refuse. It goes back to bounty hunting days in the 1860s."

Mr Justice Ouseley, a second Appeal Court judge, challenged Jones to be "honest about (his) position". "That is United States law," he said.
Link to the Telegraph article.

I said earlier that I'd justify my belief that all instances of kidnapping are indefensible. There is no legal justification that allows one individual to kidnap another, regardless as to the nature of the provocation that facilitated it. This hardly requires an explanation, much less a defence. The argument thus, must therefore be framed as: why is kidnap allowed by a State, when the act itself defies any argument to render it a moral act? The framing of the issue in this maner provides the answer. It is not about morality, it is about might.


Last edited by Hermes on Sun Feb 08, 2009 9:02 pm; edited 3 times in total
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PostSubject: Re: And In The Darkness, Bind Them: Rendition - Perspective and History   Sun Feb 08, 2009 8:48 pm

What do you mean kidnapping can never be justified? Can arrest of criminals not be justified? That's little more than kidnapping.
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PostSubject: Re: And In The Darkness, Bind Them: Rendition - Perspective and History   Sun Feb 08, 2009 8:52 pm

There is a stark difference between kidnap, which is in essence unlawful imprisonment, and lawful arrest. The latter is subject to many laws, the former is in itself against the law.
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PostSubject: Re: And In The Darkness, Bind Them: Rendition - Perspective and History   Sun Feb 08, 2009 9:07 pm

johnfás wrote:
There is a stark difference between kidnap, which is in essence unlawful imprisonment, and lawful arrest. The latter is subject to many laws, the former is in itself against the law.
Thus the only difference is provision for the latter by law. Disregarding the treatment of each by the law they are very similar acts. So it cannot make sense to say that kidnap is absolutely unjustifiable but then excuse arrest, which is essentially kidnapping justified by law.
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PostSubject: Re: And In The Darkness, Bind Them: Rendition - Perspective and History   Sun Feb 08, 2009 9:14 pm

Not really, there is a difference, it is defined in law but also it is apart from the State's law. You can only be arrested on foot of your meeting certain criteria, a breach of the law. You can only be arrested when an Act gives the power to the police to detain you for certain behaviour. You can be kidnapped with any motive or none. There is a difference, beyond the law, between the two.
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PostSubject: Re: And In The Darkness, Bind Them: Rendition - Perspective and History   Sun Feb 08, 2009 9:15 pm

evercloserunion wrote:
johnfás wrote:
There is a stark difference between kidnap, which is in essence unlawful imprisonment, and lawful arrest. The latter is subject to many laws, the former is in itself against the law.
Thus the only difference is provision for the latter by law. Disregarding the treatment of each by the law they are very similar acts. So it cannot make sense to say that kidnap is absolutely unjustifiable but then excuse arrest, which is essentially kidnapping justified by law.

But it is the law that defines and deals with both. You are effectively suggesting that an individual may choose, in contradiction to the law, when the law is valid and when it isn't.

You are correct when you suggest that both arrest and kidnap are taking and holding someone against their will. But with regard to the moral and legal implications, imo you're very wrong.
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PostSubject: Re: And In The Darkness, Bind Them: Rendition - Perspective and History   Sun Feb 08, 2009 9:25 pm

johnfás wrote:
Not really, there is a difference, it is defined in law but also it is apart from the State's law. You can only be arrested on foot of your meeting certain criteria, a breach of the law. You can only be arrested when an Act gives the power to the police to detain you for certain behaviour. You can be kidnapped with any motive or none. There is a difference, beyond the law, between the two.
But the OP said that kidnapping is unjustifiable regardless of motivation. So I might fancy myself as a bit of a vigilante type and go around kidnapping and holding people because they break the law; that's kidnap, not arrest. And thus unjustifiable according to the OP. It's the same story with a state like the US going around kidnapping people from other countries because it thinks they have done wrong. In practice there are great similarities between that kind of thing and arrest.

Now, you could also argue that in the case of arrest the State has a kind of moral authority to do the kidnapping. But that reasoning could also be used to defend rendition, and in any case I wonder how it would sit with an anarchist.
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PostSubject: Re: And In The Darkness, Bind Them: Rendition - Perspective and History   Sun Feb 08, 2009 9:29 pm

Hermes wrote:
evercloserunion wrote:
johnfás wrote:
There is a stark difference between kidnap, which is in essence unlawful imprisonment, and lawful arrest. The latter is subject to many laws, the former is in itself against the law.
Thus the only difference is provision for the latter by law. Disregarding the treatment of each by the law they are very similar acts. So it cannot make sense to say that kidnap is absolutely unjustifiable but then excuse arrest, which is essentially kidnapping justified by law.

But it is the law that defines and deals with both. You are effectively suggesting that an individual may choose, in contradiction to the law, when the law is valid and when it isn't.

You are correct when you suggest that both arrest and kidnap are taking and holding someone against their will. But with regard to the moral and legal implications, imo you're very wrong.
I never said that the legal implications are the same. Johnfás seems to think that's what I'm saying as well. What I am saying is that, in essence, law and morality are not inherently the same thing; what is lawful is not always morally right and what is unlawful is not always morally wrong. The State is not the final decider of what id morally right and wrong. Yet, to draw a distinction between arrest and any and all kinds of kidnapping, regardless of motive or context, on the basis that one is provided for by law and the other isn't is to put that power in the hands of the State. In fact, more generally put, to say that A is more morally correct than B because the law promotes A and punishes B is again to let the State be the final arbitrator of morality.
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PostSubject: Re: And In The Darkness, Bind Them: Rendition - Perspective and History   Sun Feb 08, 2009 9:45 pm

evercloserunion wrote:
Hermes wrote:
evercloserunion wrote:
johnfás wrote:
There is a stark difference between kidnap, which is in essence unlawful imprisonment, and lawful arrest. The latter is subject to many laws, the former is in itself against the law.
Thus the only difference is provision for the latter by law. Disregarding the treatment of each by the law they are very similar acts. So it cannot make sense to say that kidnap is absolutely unjustifiable but then excuse arrest, which is essentially kidnapping justified by law.

But it is the law that defines and deals with both. You are effectively suggesting that an individual may choose, in contradiction to the law, when the law is valid and when it isn't.

You are correct when you suggest that both arrest and kidnap are taking and holding someone against their will. But with regard to the moral and legal implications, imo you're very wrong.
I never said that the legal implications are the same. Johnfás seems to think that's what I'm saying as well. What I am saying is that, in essence, law and morality are not inherently the same thing; what is lawful is not always morally right and what is unlawful is not always morally wrong. The State is not the final decider of what id morally right and wrong. Yet, to draw a distinction between arrest and any and all kinds of kidnapping, regardless of motive or context, on the basis that one is provided for by law and the other isn't is to put that power in the hands of the State. In fact, more generally put, to say that A is more morally correct than B because the law promotes A and punishes B is again to let the State be the final arbitrator of morality.

I would never, ever, argue that the State is the arbiter, or should be the arbiter of morality. And I don't think that anything I've argued would promote such a view. Afterall, I've shown that rendition is a lawful practice, allowed for by US courts, but imo, that it is still an act that defies morality, regardless as to who makes an argument otherwise.

I argue principally that kidnap and arrest are essentially different in the core of their definitions. An arrest is made by an individual or individuals in order to begin a process that is supposed to arrive at justice. On the other hand, kidnap is an entity designed and intended to evade justice, and to follow one's singular intent in complete contradiction to the law. It is the difference between mob rule and democracy. The US may intend to put on trial at some point, some of the victims that it has kidnapped. But that is neither here nor there and is only a veneer of justice applied at the end of both a legally morally repugnant practice.

This has nothing whatsoever to do with suggesting that the State has any duty to act as a judge of morality. It's a red herring argument.
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PostSubject: Re: And In The Darkness, Bind Them: Rendition - Perspective and History   Sun Feb 08, 2009 9:53 pm

Right, so going back to the original question then, is lawful arrest not justifiable?
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PostSubject: Re: And In The Darkness, Bind Them: Rendition - Perspective and History   Sun Feb 08, 2009 9:56 pm

evercloserunion wrote:
Right, so going back to the original question then, is lawful arrest not justifiable?

Lawful arrest is very justifiable and should form the backdrop of any subsequent trial. Rendition does not involve a lawful arrest until the kidnap victim is arrested upon his or her entry into US jurisdiction.
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PostSubject: Re: And In The Darkness, Bind Them: Rendition - Perspective and History   Sun Feb 08, 2009 9:57 pm

But you have accepted that arrest and kidnapping are pretty much the same thing in practice. So how can you attempt to justify kidnap in some circumstances by calling it arrest while maintaining that kidnap is wrong in all circumstances?
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PostSubject: Re: And In The Darkness, Bind Them: Rendition - Perspective and History   Sun Feb 08, 2009 10:07 pm

evercloserunion wrote:
But you have accepted that arrest and kidnapping are pretty much the same thing in practice. So how can you attempt to justify kidnap in some circumstances by calling it arrest while maintaining that kidnap is wrong in all circumstances?

I have accepted no such thing. Please note the use of the word "backdrop" in my last post. In a rendition, eventhough a lawful arrest might occur at some point, the arrest does not form the backdrop of the trial, the kidnapping does. I maintain that kidnapping is morally and legally repugnant and can never be justified. I also maintain that arrest is a morally and legally acceptable practice. In other words, I see where the US supreme court is coming from in its ruling, to a degree. However, I argue that the supreme court's ruling cannot be morally justified. I'm arguing that there is a massive difference between the meanings of 'lawfulness' and 'morality.' I think your blurring of the two concepts, into one, is hindering you from seeing my point.
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PostSubject: Re: And In The Darkness, Bind Them: Rendition - Perspective and History   Sun Feb 08, 2009 10:13 pm

Hmm, okay Hermes. Could you explain the difference between an arrest and a kidnapping. You have already accepted that "both arrest and kidnap are taking and holding someone against their will". So where do they materially differ?
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PostSubject: Re: And In The Darkness, Bind Them: Rendition - Perspective and History   Sun Feb 08, 2009 10:21 pm

Is this not a bit like asking the difference between running and being in a race? The action is the same but they are quite different in substance.
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PostSubject: Re: And In The Darkness, Bind Them: Rendition - Perspective and History   Sun Feb 08, 2009 10:27 pm

evercloserunion wrote:
Hmm, okay Hermes. Could you explain the difference between an arrest and a kidnapping. You have already accepted that "both arrest and kidnap are taking and holding someone against their will". So where do they materially differ?

I'd be delighted to. But first let's get the obvious out of the way. Explaining either, by limiting ourselves to a mere physical act serves to muddy the waters. If we were to follow such a course, we'd have a viable argument that would suggest that a grandmother hugging her unaccepting and unappreciative grandson, arresting and kidnapping were all essentially the same thing.

They materially differ in the following ways:

i. An arrest should follow after evidence of the arrestee's criminality has emerged and been detected.
ii. An arrestee has certain rights.
iii. Kidnapping is considered heinous both morally and legally. Arrest is considered neither.
iv. An arrest is carried out by a lawfully authorised person. A kidnapping is carried out by a criminal.

All crime has three points to it's triangle of proof: Means, motive and opportunity. These criteria differ in a massive fashion, when applied to the concept of arrest.


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PostSubject: Re: And In The Darkness, Bind Them: Rendition - Perspective and History   Sun Feb 08, 2009 10:27 pm

johnfás wrote:
Is this not a bit like asking the difference between running and being in a race? The action is the same but they are quite different in substance.
What you are trying to say is that they are quite different in their motives, justifications, who carries out the act etc. But the OP claims that kidnap is always unjustified, regardless of motive and of who carries it out.

It is kind of like me saying that running is never ever justifiable regardless of motive or anything else and then saying that being in a race is okay.
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PostSubject: Re: And In The Darkness, Bind Them: Rendition - Perspective and History   Sun Feb 08, 2009 10:40 pm

Quote :
i. An arrest should follow after evidence of the arrestee's criminality has emerged and been detected.
Arrest occurs prior to trial, when criminality is only suspected and quite often incorrectly so. Evidence may have emerged but it has not been scrutinized and thus it is a rather spurious distinction to make.

Furthermore, kidnap may also occur after the emergence of evidence of some wrondoing. The emergence of evidence is relevant because it contributes to the motive and provocation of the act which as you said in the OP is irrelevant.

Quote :
ii. An arrestee has certain rights.
I'm not sure that's material. You said kidnap was always unjustifiable, and kidnapping is that taking and holding of a person against their will. So unless the arrestee has rights as against the taking and holding of himself by the arrestor it is still effectively kidnap. And again, a "kidnappee" may also be afforded certain rights or protections by a kidnapper.

Quote :
iii. Kidnapping is considered heinious both morally and legally. Arrest is considered neither.
Of course this begs the question.

Quote :
iv. An arrest is carried out by a lawfully authorised person. A kidnapping is carried out by a criminal.
He is only a criminal as opposed to a lawfully authorized person because he has broken the law by taking and holding someone without the assent of the State, as opposed to an arrestor who takes and holds with the assent of the State. So again this comes down to the moral difference being that of legal justification which necessitates an infusion of law and morality.
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PostSubject: Re: And In The Darkness, Bind Them: Rendition - Perspective and History   Mon Feb 09, 2009 6:55 am

And round and around we go...

It seems to me that we're having a semantical argument because you wish me to make some consession so that you might get to the point and make your point. This is a waste of effort on your part, I believe. I'll not be making such a consession.

Let me deal with the semantical argument before I deal with what I believe you wish to get to. If I'm wrong in my assumption you have my apology - please set me right.

This argument seems to revolve around the mistaken belief on your part (I believe), that because the act of kidnap and the act of arrest contain similar elements, they're essentially the same act. Not so. Say a paedophile snatches a small child into his van and drives away at high speed, but is nonetheless stopped by the police, before he can commit a further crime. The police snatch the paedophile and drive away at high speed. Note the interchangeability of the word "snatch," it is equally fitting that I use it in both instances. In this instance the word "snatch" is a compression of information and it is for the reader to decompress it. In this particular case and in the first instance, the word "snatch" compressed "kidnap" and in the second instance, it compressed "arrest." I hope we can agree that the paedophile did not arrest the child and that the police did not kidnap the paedophile. If we differ in this view, please say so.

I believe, and it's an assumption on my part, that you wish to argue that there are times when it's morally acceptable to kidnap a person. If this is the case, then just say so. There's no need to have a semantical argument so that we may start from some common ground. Your beliefs have not needed my acceptance thus far, in order to manifest. So why start now?

Firstly, with regard to rendition, kidnapping is used in an instance where a lawful arrest is either not possible or not feasible. So, in the very first instance, the concept of lawfulness is taken from the act and we're well on the way to seeing that morality is also missing. Secondly, a kidnapping seeks to avoid the gaze of the public. We must remember that not all morality takes a self evident format. I suppose that crimes like murder are self evidently lacking in morality, for the vast majority of human beings. Not so with other acts. Many such instances are defined as being moral or otherwise simply because the majority say so. Slavery, human sacrifice and other acts, at one time in the past have been considered moral. Not so now. Indeed, it would be fair for me to now argue, that my two examples fit into the self evident brigade. It's the Zeitgeist, the spirit of the time. There is no country that practices rendition, that condones kidnap. In other words, if the kidnapper were to stand trial for kidnapping and admitted that he did it, there would be no mitigating factor in his motive that would prevent a court from finding him guilty and sentencing him. You might well argue that in the case of the US, that many members of the public would side with the kidnapper. This may be true, but what if the shoe was on the other foot and a citizen kidnapped from the US to be put on trial elsewhere? How would public perception fare then. Would it be acceptable to kidnap George Bush, drug him and drag him to the Hague, or more fittingly, to some kangaroo court convened in Afghanistan? Or would it void an attempt at creating an international standard and law? I'd argue that such an attempt would bring upon the kidnapper the wrath of the US. And here's where morality comes into the picture. The morality of an act should be equally arguable from all frames of reference. If it is not so, then the morality of the act can at best be described as questionable.

Whilst I have been very broad in my condemnation of kidnap, this thread is essentially about rendition and the US practice of it. In essence, the US reserves the right to kidnap any person in any jurisdiction, for anything it considers to be a crime in its jurisdiction, regardless as to how this act is perceived in the jurisdiction in which the kidnapping occurs. Basically, it is to view the American perception of law and morality as the defining perceptions of each and to view other and international opinions as being meaningless and void. Such a belief is amoral in its essence and I challenge you or anyone else to attempt to argue otherwise.

The Americans have taken men, women and children and for the very vast majority there hasn't even been a charge outlined, much less a trial. If it was your children who were kidnapped and taken God knows where, it would be my bet that you'd pray that our State would intervene and secure their release. Rather than believe that our State and population would validate this American sense of superiority and supremacy.
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PostSubject: Re: And In The Darkness, Bind Them: Rendition - Perspective and History   Mon Feb 09, 2009 2:48 pm

To go back to your OP Hermes, I was reading recently (Marx and Engels on The Irish Question, Lawrence and Wishart) about the closed prison regime in which Irish political prisoners were held in Pentonville, England, in the late 19th century. It was conceded that many of the prisoners went mad as a result of being subjected to conditions uncannily similar to Guantanamo Bay. There seems to have been far more awareness then than now that these people were political prisoners, not criminals.

I had intended to start a thread on this, but you have done it first, so thanks for that. I'll post a bit more on this when I have the book to hand.
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PostSubject: Re: And In The Darkness, Bind Them: Rendition - Perspective and History   Mon Feb 09, 2009 4:44 pm

And around and around we go indeed.We are indeed engaged in a semantic argument Hermes, but not surprisingly I think it is you who is in the wrong and not I.

Before I proceed I should make one thing clear. I don't think I need to at this point but just in case. I emphasise once again that we are talking about morality here and not law. Of course the legal definition of kidnap contains the proviso that the act must be without lawful justification and of course you a police officer does not commit a crime by arresting a criminal.

Quote :

This argument seems to revolve around the
mistaken belief on your part (I believe), that because the act of
kidnap and the act of arrest contain similar elements, they're
essentially the same act. Not so. Say a paedophile snatches a small
child into his van and drives away at high speed, but is nonetheless
stopped by the police, before he can commit a further crime. The police
snatch the paedophile and drive away at high speed. Note the
interchangeability of the word "snatch," it is equally fitting that I
use it in both instances. In this instance the word "snatch" is a
compression of information and it is for the reader to decompress it.
In this particular case and in the first instance, the word "snatch"
compressed "kidnap" and in the second instance, it compressed "arrest."
I hope we can agree that the paedophile did not arrest the child and
that the police did not kidnap the paedophile. If we differ in this
view, please say so.
Why did the paedophile not arrest the child? Obviously because he had no lawful justification for doing so. And his motive was more sinister than that of the police. And why did the police not kidnap the paedophile? Because they had lawful justification, and that is the only reason. It is a legal distinction and nothing more. Of course there is also a moral distinction between the two acts in this case but that is because you used a very specific and unhelpful example.

Take another example. Tom, Dick and Harry are all drug dealers in two different areas, both have been selling heroin to kids for years.

Tom is snatched by the police to stop him selling drugs.

Dick is snatched by a rival gang to stop him selling drugs.

Harry is snatched by the concerned parent of one of his customers to stop him selling drugs.

Now it is obvious in this situation that only Tom has been arrested while Dick and Harry have been kidnapped.

My main point is that to single out lawful arrest, that is, being taken and held by the State pursuant to rules laid down by the State, as being morally right while any taking by a body other than the State pursuant to any rules other than those laid down by the State is morally wrong is to recognize the inherent and fundamental moral authority of the State over the individual. Now as a statist and a democrat I am okay with that. The question is are you.

Quote :

I believe, and it's an assumption on my
part, that you wish to argue that there are times when it's morally
acceptable to kidnap a person. If this is the case, then just say so.
There's no need to have a semantical argument so that we may start from
some common ground. Your beliefs have not needed my acceptance thus
far, in order to manifest. So why start now?
I have been trying to show that a central premise of your opening argument, the unjustifiability of kidnapping, is inconsistent with the justifiability of lawful arrest. From this can flow two possible conclusions: that lawful arrest is unjustifiable, or that kidnap may sometimes be justifiable. I am willing to accept that the first conclusion is unacceptable so yes, the second conclusion would seem to result.

There is an image of a pyramid that the mods like to bandy about here, with all the different kinds of argument on it. I don't have it to hand but one of the methods involves stating a contradicting viewpoint and using evidence to back that viewpoint up. I could give that a try. But instead the method I tried was higher on the pyramid, up at the very top in fact. I have taken what I see to be the central point of your argument and attempted to refute it. In effect its all the same thing, just carried out in a different fashion.

I'll address your specific points about rendition later.
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PostSubject: Re: And In The Darkness, Bind Them: Rendition - Perspective and History   Mon Feb 09, 2009 6:22 pm

You reckon that you have explicitly refuted the central point of my OP?

Fistly, the central point of the OP is that rendition has been a facet of life for well over a century and that it is not a recent invention as is commonly held. You have not even mentioned this, much less refuted it, explicitly or otherwise.

You seem to think that my view about kidnapping being unjustifiable is the central point. This is not so. More to the point, your methodology of refuting my belief is deeply flawed. You insist on removing inconvenient facts, in order to make your refutation in a vacuum. Whilst this might prove an interesting intellectual game on your part, it has very little to do with reality. You might similarly refute the theory of gravity by eliminating hundreds of years of science from the argument. Using this methodology you'd stand a good chance of reinvigorating the flat earth argument.

You state that this is solely about morality and that the law must play no part in the discussion. There's that vacuum. You cannot discuss the meaning of kidnap without at least a reference to the law that defines it, to discuss the nature and purpose of arrest in such a vacuum is meaningless. Surely you recognise that law seeks to uphold morality. Whether it succeeds in this or not is entirely another argument. As for your idea about the State defining and being the arbiter of morality - wrong also. The State invents nothing new, it follows a set of instructions. These instructions are and were written by you and I. If the State ventures outside these instructions, it violates the law and is immoral. Both law and morality are independent of the State. So it is your central premise that is flawed and I have just explicitly refuted it.
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PostSubject: Re: And In The Darkness, Bind Them: Rendition - Perspective and History   Tue Feb 10, 2009 12:05 am

I am coming perilously close to thinking that kidnapping Bush, Blair, Cheney etc and trying them for war crimes might actually be justifiable.

Check out yesterdays Observer with regard to what they did to Binyam Mohammed. And the UK Government knew all about it, or so it seems.

And am I imagining things, or are Obama and co lying low and hoping that the UK court case will just float past without bothering them unduly??

Do unto others as you would have done unto yourself....I assume that Bush and Bliar should have been familiar with that, since they profess belief??
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PostSubject: Re: And In The Darkness, Bind Them: Rendition - Perspective and History   Tue Feb 10, 2009 12:10 am

I get the impression that Obama's government has issued serious threats to the British Government and that this has hampered the judicial process in Britain and also restricted press freedom. I am surprised they have had so much difficulty with it as the British legal process now seems to countenance secret trials and soon maybe secret inquests - the Court of Star Chamber returns.
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PostSubject: Re: And In The Darkness, Bind Them: Rendition - Perspective and History   Tue Feb 10, 2009 12:19 am

cactus flower wrote:
I get the impression that Obama's government has issued serious threats to the British Government and that this has hampered the judicial process in Britain and also restricted press freedom. I am surprised they have had so much difficulty with it as the British legal process now seems to countenance secret trials and soon maybe secret inquests - the Court of Star Chamber returns.

The reporting I heard on C4 and the BBC last week was unclear as to whether Obama's lot had been contacted or whether they were going on the last words of the Bush admin. Possibly deliberate obfuscation by the authorities (UK or US)?? I don't know.
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