Al Queda Prisoners



Loads of condemnation from certain upstanding members of our Society regarding the conditions that the Al Queda are suffering???  at the Camp run by the 'Yanks'  Any one got any feelings on this subject?? ;D


War Hero
If the last law of armed conflict lecture I got was right then the British and other foreign taliban are mercenaries are they not and al Queda is a terroist orginisation is it not. Therefore under geneva covention they have no status except for court martial and execution proceedure. Geneva convention also only applies by govt to govt agreement and in an international conflict.  So IMHO they are being treated very well indeed. BTW the US has an amended geneva convention.
I wish the liberal press, lefties and polititains who are hand wringing now would actually READ the geneva convention.



What about the bit about "If you are in any doubt as to the status of a prisoner, treat him as a POW"?  Or did you not teach that bit in your lecture?

Sadly, like it or not, the Taliban were the defacto government of Afghanistan and its soldiers were, therefore, not terrorists, but acting on the orders of their government.



War Hero
I don't teach loc but as a nurse have to have slightly different look on it all casualties are equal.
But if no govt-govt agreement exists Geneva convention doesn't apply. This could be why yanks are playing it this way. in Falklands war there'wasn't this agreement so Brits followed convention argies followed bits that suited them.
U.S. version of geneva convention is available online makes interesting bed time reading (better than temazepam).
As to taliban like I said the foreigners classify as Merceranaries as do the Gurkhas,Fijian's canadian's etc in British army under the legal definitions. The Al-Queda guys are terroists the sections on them are very clear.
BTW We retained personnell don't take POW'S


Without doubt some of the prisoners being held in Cuba are exceptionaly dangerous and need to be very closely controled and monitored.  No one can doubt that for the safety of those involved in guarding them they need special treatment.

However, perceptions are very important.  To put it bluntly, the Americans risk making these people martyrs.  To some they will always be martyrs, but it is obvious to anyone that at the moment world opinion is very much against how the US is handling this.  You cannot justify your actions by adopting the moral high ground, then when you've achieved what you want bin it.

It is fortunate for the US that the UK is willing to set about supporting the new government in Afghanistan with troops on the ground.  Without that it would just be the "coalition" (is there a list of who is actually in it?) dismembering a country for their own ends, then sodding off.

We went to "war" (not as it's actually defined in international law) for laudable reasons, and on the whole fought it in as honourable way as possible.  We cannot now afford to loose the moral high ground.  We beat them by showing them what democracy and decency is all about.


BBC News website this morning:

"Will the American Taleban member, John Walker Lindh, be tried by a military tribunal?

No, John Walker Lindh will be tried by a civilian criminal court in the United States - the District Court in Alexandria, Virginia, following President Bush's decision that only foreign nationals, not US citizens, will be sent to military tribunals.

He will be charged with conspiring to kill American citizens abroad and aiding Osama Bin Laden's al-Qaeda terror network.

If found guilty of the charges, he could face life imprisonment. A military trial could have ended with a death penalty.

A similar case has arisen with an Australian Taleban fighter who is being held in Cuba.

Australian Defence Minister Robert Hill has called for him to be tried in Australia under Australian law. So far, there has been no public response from Washington. "

So, one rule for Americans, another for everybody else. Why ?  And why doesn't Blair (or Buff !) have the balls to do what the Aussie Defence Minister has done.

All a great shame this.  The Yanks go and successfully do what all the moaning minnies said they wouldn't be able to do, they fought as precise a campaign as they could and managed to keep arab and muslim opinion as on side as you could have hoped for....and then they go an screw it up.

I note that they're not actually contributing to ISAF though....they're happy to steam in and and out, guns blazing, but when it comes to the nitty gritty of clearing the place up afterwards it seems like a different matter.


Book Reviewer
I tend to agree with the bulk of the sentiment here. My understanding is that a State is bound by the law of armed conflict if it has signed up to it - regardless of whether the opposition has.

The Al'Quaeda types would probably come under francs-tireurs and partisans and thus have a degree of protection; they're most certainly entitled, given the US government's frequent statements that it considers itself to be at war, to "...equivalent rations and accommodation to those supplied to regular members of the holding nation's armed forces" (which is a paraphrase, but substantially correct, to the best of my recollection).

Quite apart from the legal aspects, morally, this stinks. I could live with a robust policy with regard to taking these guys prisoner in the first place, but once they are hooked, they have got to be treated as full PoWs, despite their failure to display a clearly recognisable badge, mark or emblem at the moment of initiating operations.

Silly American sods, they're pissing all their advantage and all the moral high ground away in this.
Am I right in saying that so long as your opponent openly carries his arms (no matter whether they are in uniform or not) then they should be treated as POWs under the Geneva Accord of 1977? I am told that only 4 nations have not signed up to this accord.

If these Taliban/Al Q were caught fighting the Allies and openly carried their weapons then treat them as POWs we must.  Sadly the US will not listen to us or the UN - let's not forget the US are the UN's biggest debtors - they don't give a stuff about world opinion - why should they, they only really have the Chinese to worry about in terms of size.

I do believe it important for Blair and his cronies to solicite the same world opinion he solicited a few mon ths ago to ensure that we (the allies) are seen to and do treat this lot as fairly and humanley as possible under the conventions/accords we all signed up to and by which we would wish to be treated, no matter what the reality.


I too accept that many of the prisoners were and have the potential to be dangerous. I fully accept that special precautions had to be taken on the flight to Cuba but think that the Yanks are perhaps going a bit OTT in the way they are treating them now in the prison in Cuba. I am sure they have jails full of equally dangerous prisoners in the states who are not held in the same way.
I am not a lefty and actually do not really have an ounce of sympathy for the prisoners what does worry me is that as has already been identified, the Yanks could screw up the support which they (and therefore we) have from other Nations.


What is interesting is that the photos showing them bound and masked were taken by an official navy photographer and then posted on the  US DofD website. Not by a speculative journalist after a scoop. Equally every aspect of this war and the PR side has been very carefully considered by the US. The conclusion I draw is that it is being used for its deterrent value (and very effective it is too) equally when the conditions of how they are really being treated and tried come out I suspect that it will be further justified.

I have to say if I was given the task of guarding x hundred fanatical (if they are and you have to assume they are fairly hard core) taleban/Al Quaeda fighters I think I would err on the side of caution.
To be honest I was expecting to see them wearing numbered bibs - "Right Orange 23, you briefed me on your plan and you have 15 mins to complete the task.  Now get out of that!"

Isn't that orange colour the Welbeck College colour though?


The orange jump suits were the first tender for UK flying suit replacements but were felt to be too high quality and so the contract went to the lowest bidder.


I think that the Gurkhas, Figians etc who are part of the British Army might take exception as being described as mercenaries.  In the days of the crusades the mercenaries fought for whoever would pay them the highest wages and give them the best opportunity for a bit of rape and pillage.

The Gurkhas etc have a bit more than monetary loyalty to HMG.  Let's not cloud the issue with this sort of spurious argument.

The Taleban prisoners should be thankful for still being in the public eye and not in some dank Iraqui jail where you get woken up with a beating. Ask a few RAF types about that.
Damn, that's torn it.

Lightbob - why'd you lower the whole tone of the sight by referring to the RAF.  Compared to most of their messes Iraqi jails are actually pretty civil - the quality of guest is certainly higher.


Glad that this subject has brought out such strong feelings. My main concern with the situation, is that by showing the prisoners being treated like this the Yanks are basically pandering to their public opinion. They seem to have to prove that they are taking a very hard line, as if the amount of Hi-Ex they dumped on the Taliban was not enough. As has already been mentioned Blair and his cronies seem to have a short memory. Members of the British Army 'tapping the Boards' in front the European Court of Human Rights after similar treatment of Terrorists?? across the Irish Sea. I am not a 'pinko', I just feel that as usual there seem to be a major double standard, acceptable if you are a member of the great and good USA. George W will probably still enjoy his pretzels with peace of mind.
personally i think that the way the prisoners are being treated is disgusting!!!!!

but am i right in thinking that it is only the odd few that have been seen shackled and caged??

could this be a rather badly thought through ploy by the americans to show the world how it will be if you err towards the terrorists groups loyalties, and then get caught gun in hand????

what disturbs me though, is that these Uk, US, AUS nationals etc etc....  made a choice when they packed their bags and went to fight for almighty Osama, they should be kept with the rest and treated the same, even if this treatment is being frowned upon, at least the rest of the world wouldnt be getting hacked of with Americas "one rule for us" policy!!!!
The Yanks seem to have gone off on one  - as they tend to do - and despite the events of September 11 they must remember that there is more at stake then revenge on what is probably a minority of Al'Queada prisoners and the rest Taliban line soldiers. It wasn't that long ago that the CIA supplied the Taibannies with weapons and training teams to fight the Russians.
On a different note can I suggest that we send the TA infornmation/lecture team to camp X-ray. It'll probably contravene several articles of the Geneva convention, but the prisoners will be giving away state secrets before they get halr wayv through the lecture on TA deployment strengths and it'll give us all a break.


Watch it Goose!! Suggestions like that could get you tried a War Criminal :) I personally think Jim Davidson should go out an 'entertain' them, a few hours of that an Osarma would be delivered to the front door of the White House!!
Yes these are despicable terrorists who were personally responsible for executing people in football stadiums for looking at another mans wife (incidentally the only other place this is a crime is in the British Officer Corp - unless you are a Colonel in Chief of course) but the US is trying to win a propaganda war as well.

They can do what they want to prisoners if only they had paraded them around Disney World first and shown everyone what a caring nation they are. Or perhaps bringing an Afghan hill-billy face to face with a 6ft talking rat was considered too cruel. We must despatch Labour spin doctors over as quickly as possible to demonstrate to our US allies that you can make everything look rosy while treating people awfully. We have done it with the NHS for years!
The Geneva Convention...Well..Well!
A just and right standard of rules. Unfortunately a set of rules that is wide open to be turned in many different ways. Every paragraph within this document is open to and could be view in a different way by any different person, race or creed, to what it wishes to hear from that set of rules. The document is, by far flawed in so many ways.
That said I along with many others would be gilt stricken if, because information no mater how small or seemingly irrelevant had not been extracted and missed, and I say the word extracted reverently.
The information from these prisoners, at this time, might save thousands of people in the future. There is only this point in time and that is getting shorter and shorter.
There is and will always be a price to pay for any decision that are made, decisions that may upset and even enrage the oh so many decent people that may be looking in. I am also a where that my views are only but one in the already rampant discussion.
I only ask that you keep an open mind as to the reasons for their detention and what is hoped might be achieved from the darkness.
I apologise if my grammar is not up to the rest. But I have had my say!!

Keep your A RR SE's down and head up.

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