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What's the real problem with Elena Kagan

On August 3, 2010 Lindsey Graham made the below statements during the hearing to approve Elena Kagan for the Supreme Court.

Graham stated:

Her time as Solicitor General–Where she represents the United States before the Supreme Court–was reassuring to me.  She has had front line experience in the “War on Terror.”  She has argued before the Supreme Court that terror suspects should be views under the law of war.

She supports the idea that someone who joins Al Qaeda hasn’t committed a crime, they’ve taken up arms against the United States — and they can be held indefinitely without trial — if under procedures, they have been found to be part of the enemy force.

She understands that detainees held at Bagram Airbase in Afghanistan should not be subject to judicial review in the United States because they are prisoners of war in an active theater of combat.

If she gets on the Court — and I’m certain she will — she will be able to bring to that court some front line real world experience in the war on terror.

She’s had an opportunity to represent the United States before the Supreme Court arguing that this nation is at war and the people who attacked us on 911 and continue to join Al Qaeda are not common criminals, but people subject to the law of our conflict.

Her testimony when she was confirmed for Solicitor General was reassuring to me that she understood that very important concept.

Kagan’s testimony to Graham was also reported onn May 10, 2010 by The Raw Story:  Kagan supported detaining terror suspects indefinitely without trial:

Questioned as to whether she’d support the detention of al Qaeda suspects without access to US laws — or even a trial to prove their guilt — Kagan told Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) last year she backed the Obama Administration’s policy of “indefinite detention.”

Why is this a big deal?

On February 7, 2009 the Telegraph from the UK posted an article on a detainee by the name of Binyam Mohamed.  A man who was never charged with any crime.

The 25 lines edited out of the court papers contained details of how Mr Mohamed’s genitals were sliced with a scalpel and other torture methods so extreme that waterboarding, the controversial technique of simulated drowning, “is very far down the list of things they did,” the official said.

Mr. Mohamed was eventually released since they couldn’t find a legal reason to keep him locked up.  We can see why the US wants people like Binyam Mohamed to stay locked up, so they don’t keep getting out and making the US look bad.

A taxi driver by the name of Dilawar was taken to Bagram Airbase and beaten to death in five (5) days.  Dilawar–as far as anyone can tell– was an innocent man.  A documentary was made based on his death called Taxi to the Dark Side.

Film maker Alex Gibney, who made Taxi To the Dark Side told Amy Goodwin on Democracy Now Dilawar’s legs were smashed so badly from the beatings he received, Dilawar’s legs would have to have been amputated if he didn’t die.

On May 27, 2009 the Telegraph reported why the US torture photos were not likely to be released: Abu Ghraib abuse photos ‘show rape’

At least one picture shows an American soldier apparently raping a female prisoner while another is said to show a male translator raping a male detainee.

The graphic nature of some of the images may explain the US President’s attempts to block the release of an estimated 2,000 photographs from prisons in Iraq and Afghanistan despite an earlier promise to allow them to be published.

Further photographs are said to depict sexual assaults on prisoners with objects including a truncheon, wire and a phosphorescent tube.

We also have an article written by Craig Murray.  The UK’s former ambassador to Uzbekistan.  Mr. Murray wrote a book called Murder in Samarkand, which was never released in the US, but can be purchased on Amazon from the UK.  In an article Craig Murray wrote titled How a Torture Protest Killed a Career dated October 24, 2009 Mr. Murray had this to say:

One of the people who came to me was an old lady, a widow in her 60s whose son had been killed in Jaslyk prison and she brought me photos of the corpse of her son. It had been given back to her in a sealed casket and she’d been ordered not to open the casket but to bury it the next morning, which actually Muslims would do anyway. They always bury a body immediately.

But she disobeyed the instructions not to open the casket. She was a very old lady but very determined. She got the casket open and the body out onto the table and took detailed photos of the body before resealing the casket and burying it. These photos she now brought to me.

I sent them on to the chief pathologist at the University of Glasgow, who actually now by coincidence is the chief pathologist for the United Kingdom. There were a number of photos and he did a detailed report on the body. He said from the photographs the man’s fingernails had been pulled out while he was still alive. Then he had been boiled alive. That was the cause of death, immersion in boiling liquid.

Certainly it wasn’t the only occasion when we came across evidence of people being boiled alive. That was the most extreme form of torture, I suppose, but immersion in boiling liquid of a limb was quite common.

Mutilation of the genitals was common. Suffocation was common, usually by putting a gas mask on people and blocking the air vents until they suffocated. Rape was common, rape with objects, rape with bottles, anal rape, homosexual rape, heterosexual rape, and mutilation of children in front of their parents.

As Mr. Murray goes on to state in his article, people are not being tortured to get information on al Qaeda, they are being tortured in order to produce a larger terrorist threat than what actually exists.

Elena Kagan supports the Obama’s “indefinite detention” plan and does not believe detainees should have access to the US legal system if they have a grievance.  Should we be worried?

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