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Reid Wants The Geneva Convention Rewritten

#2
"But what if another threat develops?", Mr Reid asked. "Not al-Qaida. Not Muslim extremism. Something none of us are thinking about at the moment."

Perhaps Reid could do with reminding himself of Lenin's dictum - "the purpose of terrorism is to terrorise". If even he is drumming up further fears, it seems the purpose has been achieved.... and that sort of tub-thumping serves merely to do the terrorists' job for them.

Hey ho - it'll be another gong
 
#3
How are they going to decide imminence? Since there were no WMD...can the world trust that the intelligence is good enough to launch a pre-emptive strike.

Don't see why terrorists shoud be exempt from trial; court process doesn' have to be open to general public but there should be a trial. If there is enough evidence to detain someone for four years then there should be ebough evidence ot put him on trial.

Torture is out. How can you set an example and use torture? I know it is not a level playing field..don't care. I never would want to be in a country that was a signatory to anything that allowed torture. What is the proposal..no torture when dealing with inter state war but OK if the individual is a terrorist? Bol*cks.
 
#4
I can see his point, although I don't agree with it. The problem we have is the Geneva Convention was written before a terrorist threat existed as we have now; it was written with general warfare in mind. Unfortunately one of the threats faced now is from extremists (states or groups) who do not have regard for human life including their own. However if we go down the route of lowering our responsibilities we merely play into the hands of those we are supposed to be fighting.
 
#5
It is true that some islamic terrorists are not behaving as good terrorists did in the past...the IRA did at least phone in warnings which may/may not have given enough tme to save lives. However, terrorism is not new since the Geneva conventions have been written. Who is a freedom fighter adn who is a terrorist. There are some who would have regarded Nelson mandela as a terrorist...are we saying we would now approve of the torture to which he and his followers were subjected? Perhaps John Reid just means Islamic terrorists but not the rest?

Frankly I think any amendment is a disaster waiting to happen. It would be far better to actively encourage the NGOs that educate the poor which will help to steer them away from extremism. Unemployment in teh young Moslem male is a key to effective recruiting for Al Qae'eda. Additionally the West could force the Palestinians and Israelis to deal with the situation not just keep blaming each other. This situation is a running sore that just continues to allow extremists to target the West and blame us for all of its ills. It won't solve everything but it has got to be the start of a more stable world.
 
#6
Postie - I don't agree with changing the rules, I can just see Straw's viewpoint (however misguided). Just look at the problems caused by a few scrotes getting a slap in a riot and then compare what would happen if we had state sponsored torture. What happens when a government more corrupt than our current one uses it's new found powers to legally abuse legitimate opponents! Tinfoil hat moment I know!
 
#7
Yes, it is a tricky one. The Geneva Convention was written by responsible governments to 'regulate' limited and conventional warfare. 'Western' liberal democracies are now facing terrorism, civil unrest and guerilla-warfare in a manner previously unseen, so the issue does need to be addressed, I just don't think that there will be a satisfactory outcome of any conference to write new rules or clauses to the existing rules because there are so many variants that would make legal definitions all but impossible. Like communism, Islam is internationalist, thus the issue of 'foreign fighters' and 'illegal combatants' is disputed by certain Muslims, citing the Islamic brotherhood as their identifying and unifying characteristic rather than the normally accepted concept of nationhood.
 
#8
It is a bit strange. Recently highly esteemed mr.Reid said:

http://www.publications.parliament..../cmhansrd/cm060126/debtext/60126-13.htm#st_90

John Reid: I am sure that it is by the United States. It is always a dreadfully difficult task to balance the fight against a dreadful enemy who is unconstrained by any morality, any conventional norms of international standards and any Geneva convention. They will demean people, degrade them and show them publicly, and they are increasingly behaving in that manner. At the same time, we are fighting to a set of standards under scrutiny by the media, under international legalities, under human rights and other standards. It is always difficult to get the balance right. I would merely say that ourselves and our allies, the United States and others, try to get the balance right continuously. I know that it is always on our mind, but we try to ensure that it does not unduly constrain our troops. In the long run, the maintenance of such standards strategically is a source of legitimacy and strength to us, and that is why we take such care.
 
#9
KGB_resident said:
It is a bit strange. Recently highly esteemed mr.Reid said:

http://www.publications.parliament..../cmhansrd/cm060126/debtext/60126-13.htm#st_90

John Reid: I am sure that it is by the United States. It is always a dreadfully difficult task to balance the fight against a dreadful enemy who is unconstrained by any morality, any conventional norms of international standards and any Geneva convention. They will demean people, degrade them and show them publicly, and they are increasingly behaving in that manner. At the same time, we are fighting to a set of standards under scrutiny by the media, under international legalities, under human rights and other standards. It is always difficult to get the balance right. I would merely say that ourselves and our allies, the United States and others, try to get the balance right continuously. I know that it is always on our mind, but we try to ensure that it does not unduly constrain our troops. In the long run, the maintenance of such standards strategically is a source of legitimacy and strength to us, and that is why we take such care.
Do you suspect that his glorious leader told him to say that on proding from his glorious leader :? ..........my tin foil hat fits perfectly thank you
 
#10
More discussion on The Today Programme here... http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/today/listenagain/ram/today5_war_20060404.ram

A lot of people here seem to think he is suggesting relaxing laws on torture. I haven't seen a transcript of the speech but I doubt that's his intention.

From the Guardian article...
In his speech, the defence secretary addressed three key issues: the treatment of prisoners, when to mount a pre-emptive strikes, and when to intervene to stop a humanitarian crisis. In all these areas, he indicated that the UK and west was being hamstrung by existing inadequate law.
Seems like a reasonable idea to me...


Tricam.
 
#11
dui-lai said:
KGB_resident said:
It is a bit strange. Recently highly esteemed mr.Reid said:

http://www.publications.parliament..../cmhansrd/cm060126/debtext/60126-13.htm#st_90

John Reid: I am sure that it is by the United States. It is always a dreadfully difficult task to balance the fight against a dreadful enemy who is unconstrained by any morality, any conventional norms of international standards and any Geneva convention. They will demean people, degrade them and show them publicly, and they are increasingly behaving in that manner. At the same time, we are fighting to a set of standards under scrutiny by the media, under international legalities, under human rights and other standards. It is always difficult to get the balance right. I would merely say that ourselves and our allies, the United States and others, try to get the balance right continuously. I know that it is always on our mind, but we try to ensure that it does not unduly constrain our troops. In the long run, the maintenance of such standards strategically is a source of legitimacy and strength to us, and that is why we take such care.
Do you suspect that his glorious leader told him to say that on proding from his glorious leader :? ..........my tin foil hat fits perfectly thank you
No doubt, that mr.Blair is a very skilled politician. Does he understand that any changes that could weaken restrictions imposed by Geneva convention are impossible? Of course he does. Moreover, he understands that even a formal request would be very unprofitable from political point of view (for the UK as well as for USA).

But mr.Blair needs support from armed forces. He wishes to expose the Labour pary as a defender of British military. In this scenario mr.Reid is playing a role of a carefull father. He could say anything but look not at words, look at concrete actions. If you want changes in the Geneva convention then propose it to other signatories. Without it words are only words.
 
#13
tricam said:
More discussion on The Today Programme here... http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/today/listenagain/ram/today5_war_20060404.ram

A lot of people here seem to think he is suggesting relaxing laws on torture. I haven't seen a transcript of the speech but I doubt that's his intention.
I haven't seen it too and I suspect that the speech has been exposed by Guardian in the wrong way because recently mr.Reid said

http://politics.guardian.co.uk/iraq/story/0,,1713992,00.html

Wherever in the world they go, our forces are subject to military law and, therefore, English criminal law. And they respect the Geneva Conventions. Not just because we expect them to, but because treating people fairly - even the enemy - is the bedrock of our society.

Our commitment to the rule of law is seen by some as a tactical weakness, and in isolation that may be understandable. But whatever the short-term tactical drawbacks I believe it is a strategic strength.
 
#14
Does anyone really trust this buffoon? Why didn't he (or his predecessor) stand up for UK troops dragged before the courts even though the CO had thrown out the charges?
 
#17
Rt Hon Dr John Reid MP (Secretary of State for Defence) said in his speech to the RUSI.

The Geneva Conventions were created more than half a century ago, when the world was almost unrecognisable to today’s citizens. Those conventions dealt with important aspects of the conduct of war – how the sick and injured, and prisoners of war are treated; and the obligations on states during their military occupation of another state.
and
I may not have the answers to, or the precise means of resolving these questions and problems, but, just as we continually reassess whether we have the right military structure to meet current and future threats, I am sure that we should do the same for the laws that seek to regulate conflicts.
Before you go and altered something would it not be best to check that there is not a Protocal to stop you from using it as a means of legitimizing or authorizing any act of aggression.

Protocol 1 of the Geneva Convention the bits in blue might help here.

Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts, 8 June 1977

Preamble

Recalling that every State has the duty, in conformity with the Charter of the United Nations, to refrain in its international relations from the threat or use of force against the sovereignty, territorial integrity or political independence of any State, or in any other manner inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations.

Believing it necessary nevertheless to reaffirm and develop the provisions protecting the victims of armed conflicts and to supplement measures intended to reinforce their application.

Expressing their conviction that nothing in this Protocol or in the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949 can be construed as legitimizing or authorizing any act of aggression or any other use of force inconsistent with the Charter of the United Nations

Might be a good idea to bush up on the Charter of the United Nations too since you can not use the Geneva Conventions as a means legitimizing or authorizing war.

Article 1

The Purposes of the United Nations are:

1.To maintain international peace and security, and to that end: to take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace, and for the suppression of acts of aggression or other breaches of the peace, and to bring about by peaceful means, and in conformity with the principles of justice and international law, adjustment or settlement of international disputes or situations which might lead to a breach of the peace;

2. To develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples, and to take other appropriate measures to strengthen universal peace;

3. To achieve international cooperation in solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural, or humanitarian character, and in promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion; and

4. To be a center for harmonizing the actions of nations in the attainment of these common ends.

My question is in order to take military action against Afghanistan did the US and UK not use the following?

Article 51

Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defense if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations, until the Security Council has taken measures necessary to maintain international peace and security. Measures taken by Members in the exercise of this right of self-defense shall be immediately reported to the Security Council and shall not in any way affect the authority and responsibility of the Security Council under the present Charter to take at any time such action as it deems necessary in order to maintain or restore international peace and security.


And in the case of Iraq the US used the following United Nations Resolution number 1441, approved Nov. 8, 2002: and a list of other resolution going way back.

http://daccessdds.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/N02/682/26/PDF/N0268226.pdf?OpenElement


However if you want to attack a country or maybe you just feel the need to help out an old mate in order to deflect any possible incoming brown lumpy stuff at the next election which may or may not be soon you may even want to help his best mate that lives over the other side of the lake that may or may not have bent on the odd protocol may even had some bad professional advice you never know.

I can see why you need to change not just the Geneva Convention but the Charter of the United Nations both of which do not mention international terrorist and how to react to attack.

MY LAST QUESTION IS WHAT IS A INTERNATIONAL TERRORIST?

Could we call the following terrorist King Richard I, Alexander the Great, Napoleon, Julius Caesar, Hitler to name but a few in fact anyone that has invaded another country or tried to enforce their culture or idealism on them, if this the case then most of the leaders of the free world have in the past under the terms of providing financial stability, culture, military and or economic support. acted as international terrorists or is it just acceptable terrorism.
.
 
#18
Not sure I understand your point Seal_Master?

Are you saying that both the Geneva Convention and Charter of the United Nations need changing? If so, I think Reid agrees with you and was only mentioning the Geneva Convention as one example of international law that ought to be reexamined.

Tricam.
 
#19
Horridlittleman said:
I can see his point, although I don't agree with it. The problem we have is the Geneva Convention was written before a terrorist threat existed as we have now..........
Onh really? I thought

- The First World War was started by international terrorists
- The US went to war with Spain after accusing the Spanish of killing thousands of yanks by blowing up the USS Maine.
- Pre 1914 Europe was home to all species of bomb throwing anarchists and marxists.

The only difference is the context. The USA and its allies want to legitimise the idea that might is right.
 

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