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BS: 'Taliban flee Afghan jail'

Beardy 15 Oct 03 - 06:27 AM
artbrooks 15 Oct 03 - 07:18 AM
Amos 15 Oct 03 - 07:39 AM
greg stephens 15 Oct 03 - 08:01 AM
Ebbie 15 Oct 03 - 03:02 PM
McGrath of Harlow 15 Oct 03 - 03:23 PM
Rapparee 15 Oct 03 - 05:18 PM
Murray MacLeod 16 Oct 03 - 04:11 AM
McGrath of Harlow 16 Oct 03 - 06:30 AM
Roger the Skiffler 16 Oct 03 - 09:25 AM
GUEST,af 16 Oct 03 - 12:47 PM
Dave the Gnome 16 Oct 03 - 01:18 PM
McGrath of Harlow 16 Oct 03 - 01:38 PM
Wolfgang 16 Oct 03 - 02:18 PM
NicoleC 16 Oct 03 - 03:18 PM
Wolfgang 16 Oct 03 - 04:03 PM
Wolfgang 16 Oct 03 - 04:15 PM
NicoleC 16 Oct 03 - 04:32 PM
Wolfgang 16 Oct 03 - 05:04 PM
McGrath of Harlow 16 Oct 03 - 07:20 PM

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Subject: BS: 'Taliban flee Afghan jail'
From: Beardy
Date: 15 Oct 03 - 06:27 AM

I thought there may have been some comment on this incident but total silence so maybe I was the only one to read this below.

From 'The Independent on Sunday' 12 October 2003, Page 2
Taliban flee Afghan jail.
Forty one Taliban prisoners, including at least five leaders of the old regime, were reported to have escaped yesterday. Officials say they removed 15 truckloads of soil to tunnel nine metres in Kandahar, Afghanistan.

Well that was it in its entirety. Has this just been dismissed as unimportant? How for gods sake can prisoners remove 15 truckloads of soil? In the old 2WW films they put the soil in their trouser legs, how big are trousers in Afghanistan? How can you not notice this extra soil appearing in a prison?

Was this reported in the US?

Any comments welcome.


Stewart


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Taliban flee Afghan jail'
From: artbrooks
Date: 15 Oct 03 - 07:18 AM

yes


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Taliban flee Afghan jail'
From: Amos
Date: 15 Oct 03 - 07:39 AM

For example, in this story.

Which doesn't answer the logistics question, though.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Taliban flee Afghan jail'
From: greg stephens
Date: 15 Oct 03 - 08:01 AM

In some parts of the Muslim world, men wear extremely baggy trousers, which is rationalised in terms of an old legend that Muhammed will come to the world again, and this time will be born to a man, not to woman. The extra space is tio catch the baby, in case there is a lack of advance warning. This applies in Bulgaria and other Eastern Mediterranean parts. Now whether this is true in Afghanistan I dont know, but it might be the explanation of how these vast amounts of soil were transported.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Taliban flee Afghan jail'
From: Ebbie
Date: 15 Oct 03 - 03:02 PM

This may answer the logistics question, from the same link: Senior government intelligence official Attaullah Khan said it was possible some prison guards assisted the escape, but Latif said the prisoners acted alone.

According to the story, Latif is the Taliban spokesman. I can easily believe he would say that no prison guards assisted, if only to keep them out of trouble and to keep those same guards in place for the next attempt(s). If guards did assist, it might not be too difficult to periodically back up a truck to the pertinent spot.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Taliban flee Afghan jail'
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 15 Oct 03 - 03:23 PM

I see they are referred to there as prisoners, not as "detainees" or "illegal combatants", or any of those strange terms invented by Wasdhington to provide a figleaf to cover the fact it is in breach of the Geneva Conventions about prisoners of war.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Taliban flee Afghan jail'
From: Rapparee
Date: 15 Oct 03 - 05:18 PM

Yes, it was reported in the US.

And why not? It's a POW's duty to try to escape. Says so right there in the US Armed Forces "Code of Conduct."

As for the dirt -- anyone remember "The Great Escape" and other tunnels?


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Taliban flee Afghan jail'
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 16 Oct 03 - 04:11 AM

........."Muhammed will come to the world again, and this time will be born to a man, not to woman .......

Is the old legend any more explicit on this particular matter ?

I am particularly intrigued by which birth canal route is anticipated, and would also like reassurance that infidels are ruled out as potential progenitors, otherwise I will always feel just the faintest trace of apprehension any time I wear my kilt ...

Murray


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Taliban flee Afghan jail'
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 16 Oct 03 - 06:30 AM

I've got a kind of a feeling that that might be an irreverent kind of joke to start with, a sort of cod explanation for the baggy pants. (Not originating with greg.)


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Taliban flee Afghan jail'
From: Roger the Skiffler
Date: 16 Oct 03 - 09:25 AM

The film version will no doubt be called The Wooden Camel.

RtS


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Taliban flee Afghan jail'
From: GUEST,af
Date: 16 Oct 03 - 12:47 PM

have you read the Geneva convention MCgrath?
if so then you would be aware that there are definitions of legal
and illegal combatants.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Taliban flee Afghan jail'
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 16 Oct 03 - 01:18 PM

I refer to the first post in the thread about the Maze prison breakout celebrations here and apologise for the plagurism...

Let us wind the clock forward 20 years...

Recently seen in a news item. A dinner and dance is to be held to celebrate the escape from an Afghan prison, 20 years ago a large number of Taliban prisoners, some of which are still at large. The forthcoming clebration is being condemned by Republican politicians. Does this mean that any one who celebrates for example Allied prisoners escaping from German POW camps during WW2 should also be criticised?

Need I comment?

Cheers

Dave the Gnome


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Taliban flee Afghan jail'
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 16 Oct 03 - 01:38 PM

Here is a a link to the Geneva Convention relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War. I am unable to find any mention whatsoever of the term "illegal combatants" or "unlawful combatants". Maybe "GUESTVaf" is referring to some other document?

These are terms which apear to have been invented by the Bush administration and used as a smokescreen for ignoring the requirements of the Convention.

The term might make some sense in the case of people directly involved in something like September 11th.   However, so far as those who were fighting on behalf of the de facto government of Afghanistan (recognised as the legal government by its most significant neighbour Pakistan, as well as by some other countries) against invading forces, there can be no question but that they are legally Prisoners of War, and that America has very clear duties towards them under the Convention.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Taliban flee Afghan jail'
From: Wolfgang
Date: 16 Oct 03 - 02:18 PM

there can be no question but that they are legally Prisoners of War, and that America has very clear duties towards them under the Convention.
I disagree that there can be no question. When one reads the text you have linked to one sees that article 4 defines who is prisoner of war (and by implication, who is not) in the sense of the convention. I have no doubts that the Taliban belong to this category, I have much more doubts that Al Qaeda fighters fulfill all requirements of Article 4, (2), (a) to (d). It all depends how you understand fighting on behalf in your post. The US government here has not such a weak position as some like to think. At least some of the prisoners they keep outside of Afghanistan may not be prisoners of war according to the Convention.

The UN charter of human rights, however, is not restricted to a subgroup of humans. That charter in my eyes is violated by the US government's treatment (no process, not even a timeline for such a proceeding) of the prisoners in Guantanamo and elsewhere.

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Taliban flee Afghan jail'
From: NicoleC
Date: 16 Oct 03 - 03:18 PM

The Geneva Convention specifically states in Article 3 item #3 defining combatants as:

3. Members of regular armed forces who profess allegiance to a government or an authority not recognized by the Detaining Power.

also item #6, which covers civilian resisters:

6. Inhabitants of a non-occupied territory, who on the approach of the enemy spontaneously take up arms to resist the invading forces, without having had time to form themselves into regular armed units, provided they carry arms openly and respect the laws and customs of war.


It doesn't matter if one side refuses to recognize the government army of another. It doesn't matter if they are part of an "official" army. Members of Al Q'aeda living in Afghanistan at the time of the US attack are covered because their membership in any organization is irrelevant to the Geneva Convention. But members of Al Q'aeda who were in the US attacking us without even the shred of government sanction or a declaration of war are NOT POW's, they are criminals.

And while the US may try this ploy to pretend we aren't voilating the Geneva Convention, the billions in aid we gave to the Taliban prior to 9/11 would suggest that we did, in fact, consider them a legitimate government, no?


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Taliban flee Afghan jail'
From: Wolfgang
Date: 16 Oct 03 - 04:03 PM

I agree it doesn't matter whether the government was recognised or not. I have not argued that point at all.

So let's look at Article 4 (not 3) item #3: regular armed forces?
I think it is at least doubtful whether this applies to Al Qaeda

item #6: 'inhabitants' seems to me in question here.

It could be seen differently after all by some jurists knowing about international law, but 'no question' seems to me overly optimistic.

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Taliban flee Afghan jail'
From: Wolfgang
Date: 16 Oct 03 - 04:15 PM

And also in #6, 'spontaneously' doesn't look to me covering Al Qaeda.

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Taliban flee Afghan jail'
From: NicoleC
Date: 16 Oct 03 - 04:32 PM

A persons membership in a militia group does not preclude them from belonging to any other group. Whether or not they belonged to said organization has no bearing on whether they took up arms in defense of their homeland against an invading force.

Further, Article 4 item #1 includes ...as well as members of militias or volunteer corps forming part of such armed forces. Members of a militia group, official or no, fighting with an army are included.

Item #2 includes Members of other militias and members of other volunteer corps, including those of organized resistance movements... The only red herring in item #2 is the requirement for a "fixed distinctive sign", which is a little bit troublesome for countries which cannot afford fancy uniforms and banners.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Taliban flee Afghan jail'
From: Wolfgang
Date: 16 Oct 03 - 05:04 PM

Nicole,

#1 'forming part of such armed forces' is the bit I do not see fulfilled in this case whereas it was in the international brigades in Spain. Al Qaeda was not part of the forces.

#2 you have spotted the tricky bit

I am grateful to McGrath for the link for it was the first time I have been reading the Convention with an eye to the Al Qaeda angle. I must say that I still fail to see a convincing argument why they are prisoners of war. That they'd love to have that status is understandable.

I have found your points weak, but I'll tell you what a strong point for your position is that you have not mentioned:

Article 5 ...Should any doubt arise as to whether persons, having committed a belligerent act and having fallen into the hands of the enemy, belong to any of the categories enumerated in Article 4, such persons shall enjoy the protection of the present Convention until such time as their status has been determined by a competent tribunal.

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Taliban flee Afghan jail'
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 16 Oct 03 - 07:20 PM

Within the context of the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan I would have thought that Al Qaida members should probably fall within the definition. I would think the same would apply within the Iraq context.

However it also seems arguable that members of units targetting the armed forces and the government of countries involved in the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan, anywhere could well qualify as Prisoners of War, more especially if they wore some kind of badge or uniform while engaged in that.

International law has not caught with the complexities involved. However in a sense this is irrelevant, since it is clear that the people with the real power here have very little regard for the niceties of international law.


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