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Old Dec 22, 2006, 07:28 AM
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gtstubbs's Avatar
Perth Westen Australia
Joined Jun 2003
443 Posts
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Friend or foe we just dont know

The looneys are truly running the nuthouse.

Blind fear has overtaken reason.

Python rules




Quote:

Refugees shut out by war on terrorism
Advocates say U.S. allies and those forced to help armed groups are not security risks and should not be denied asylum.
By Nicole Gaouette, Times Staff Writer
December 22, 2006

WASHINGTON — The first time they came for her, the Colombian guerrillas shoved the 31-year-old nurse blindfolded into the back of a green Renault sedan. Her kidnappers took her to a house and forced her to treat one of their commandants, who was writhing in pain from a bullet wound to the leg.

The woman said she was abducted seven more times in 1997 and 1998 to give medical care to Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia members. They warned her not to go to the police. "I know you have a daughter," one man said, prodding her with a gun. In 2000, after her cousin was tortured and killed, she fled. Now she is in Northern California, working as a nurse and raising her daughter.

Today, her hopes of staying in the U.S. have run smack into the war on terrorism. The Department of Homeland Security rejected her asylum claim. Their reason: By giving the guerrillas medical care — willingly or not — she was supporting terrorism.

Laws passed after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, deny admission to anyone who has provided "material support" — money, food, clothing, advice — to terrorist groups. In the last few years, these provisions and the definition of terrorism have been expanded to the point that they are disqualifying people who even immigration judges agree pose no threat to the U.S.

Refugee advocates cite cases in which the administration has denied asylum to Liberian women forced to cook and clean for rebels who raped them and killed family members. Colombians who paid kidnappers' ransoms to free family members also have been barred for providing material support. So many refugee applicants have been blocked for this reason that last year the United Nations Refugee Agency stopped trying to settle Colombians in the U.S.

Critics of the government's policy, who are pushing for legislation next year to change the system, say that such disqualifications are a big reason why refugee admissions in fiscal 2006 fell to 41,277 from more than 50,000 in each of the two previous years.

The material-support clause has even snared American allies who fought alongside U.S. troops or at the United States' behest. Cubans who tried to overthrow Fidel Castro in the Bay of Pigs uprising are being denied entry, as are Montagnards and Hmong who fought alongside American troops in Vietnam.

About 2,300 former combatants who have been admitted to the U.S. are unable to apply for permanent legal resident status, a step toward citizenship, because they fear that immigration judges would have to deport them under the expanded definition of terrorism, said Cassandra Champion, director of communications for the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service.

The administration defines a terrorist organization as any group of two or more people, organized or not, that uses any device or weapon to cause injury to person or property. Motive is not a consideration, the person's frame of mind is not an issue, and no exceptions are made if someone, like the Colombian nurse, helped a designated terrorist group only at gunpoint.

"They knew about my daughter; they knew where my parents are; they can make you disappear, and there's nobody in my country who can help you," said the nurse, now 40, in a phone interview. She asked that her name not be used because she feared for the safety of family in Colombia. "What would you do? I never did anything because I wanted to."

Unless she wins an appeal in court, she faces deportation.

Administration officials say they are trying to strike a balance between honoring the American tradition of welcoming asylum-seekers and refugees while managing the security risks of a world transformed by Sept. 11. That kind of transition takes time, they say.

"The president has said he wants to let refugees in," said Paul Rosenzweig, a senior policy advisor at the Homeland Security Department. "In the same vein, he's said he doesn't want to let dangerous people in. The conundrum is that this law applies to both, and the process of sorting them out is not as easy as waving a magic wand."

The government's policy has brought opposition from an unlikely alliance of conservatives, refugee advocates and constitutional experts, who say the Bush administration is clinging to the harshest possible interpretation of the laws.

Michael Horowitz, a former Reagan administration official and senior fellow at the conservative Hudson Institute, is critical of the administration's stance — particularly as it applies to "freedom fighters" and the broad definition of terrorism. He notes that, as written, it would apply to Jews who rose up against the Nazis in the Warsaw Ghetto.

"The administration is being undermined by this caricature of conservatism that is victimizing heroes," Horowitz said. "How does it advance national security when we're defining as terrorists people who fought on our side?"

...

Though the waivers can cover people who offered material support to so-called freedom fighters, they do not extend to the fighters themselves. The administration proposes to expand the waivers to include freedom fighters, but only if Homeland Security, the Justice Department and the State Department agree. The administration would be able to revoke the waiver at any time, for any reason.


Advocates say the government's unlimited ability to revoke a waiver means refugees entering the country that way could never feel entirely secure. "They're taking a bad problem and seemingly making it worse," said Melanie Nezer of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society.

...
Staff for Rep. Joe Pitts (R-Pa.) say he will reintroduce legislation that immigrant advocates strongly support. His bill would amend the definition of terrorism to apply only to those who threatened the interests of the U.S. or its allies.

"We recognize that there are some people who meet the definition who aren't in actuality a threat," said Rachel Brand, head of the Justice Department's legal policy office. "The answer to that is to waive them in, not change the definition…. Narrowing the definition would make it harder to exclude people who are actual threats."

Refugee advocates say Brand's worries are unfounded. "Refugees already go through so many security checks. They are fingerprinted, run through FBI databases … they're a very tightly screened group," said Jana Mason of the International Rescue Committee.

The Pitts bill would also address cases like that of the Colombian nurse, making it clear that people coerced into helping terrorists would not be considered supporters of terrorism.

Administration officials say they can't be sure that refugees' tales of coercion are true. They add that accepting such a defense could weaken their terrorism prosecutions if defendants start arguing that they were forced to participate.

Rosenzweig also cited philosophical reasons for rejecting a duress defense. "We should encourage people to oppose terrorist organizations wherever they are," he said.

Refugee advocates say opposing terrorists is not so easy when a loved one has been kidnapped for ransom.
http://www.latimes.com/news/nationwo...home-headlines
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Old Dec 22, 2006, 07:34 AM
Time for me to Fly...
Mr. Wiz's Avatar
United States, MI, Fenton
Joined Jan 2000
8,430 Posts
From the ridiculous to the sublime.... Is there anyone capable of making a decision on their own left in government, or is strict interpretation to the written law all that matters? If it is, I hope we've writen enough laws to cover every possible situation for the rest of time....
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Old Dec 22, 2006, 12:42 PM
Go get them Meg!
lrsudog's Avatar
Cabin 21...
Joined Jan 2001
2,118 Posts
Army doctors are treating wounded Iraqi "insurgents". Are they also giving aid to the enemy?
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Old Dec 22, 2006, 12:58 PM
Time for me to Fly...
Mr. Wiz's Avatar
United States, MI, Fenton
Joined Jan 2000
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lrsudog
Army doctors are treating wounded Iraqi "insurgents". Are they also giving aid to the enemy?
I certainly hope there is someone out there with enough sense to say that they are NOT supporting terrorism just because they have enough compassion to treat a wounded person on the other side of the war.
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Old Dec 22, 2006, 01:09 PM
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sarge's Avatar
Fayetteville, NC
Joined Dec 2002
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Wiz
I certainly hope there is someone out there with enough sense to say that they are NOT supporting terrorism just because they have enough compassion to treat a wounded person on the other side of the war.

They are compelled to treat the wounded, even if they are the enemy. They are compelled to do so on a basis of need rather than identity. If the enemy criminal has the gravest wounds, he receives care first. At least, thats the rule. As silly as it all sounds, I can see little distinction between the coercion used to force an Army doctor to treat an Iraqi prisoner and the coercion used to force this nurse to treat a wounded terrorist. In fact, the Army doctor is at risk of far less consequences by refusing. One possible argument might be that the Iraqi prisoner is no longer a terrorist, and treating him provideds the enemy no aide. Strange law.

I gave food to Iraqis, once. If that food (or the recipients themselves) aided the enemy, I suppose I am afoul of these laws, myself?
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Old Dec 22, 2006, 01:11 PM
An itch?. Scratch build.
eflightray's Avatar
South Wales U.K.
Joined Mar 2003
12,989 Posts
I think it's the growing problem of no one is willing to accept reponsibility for their own actions, just in case something goes wrong. People feel that if they stick to the 'rules' then they will be free of any accusations.

Taking it to its silly extreem, in the UK some schools have stopped inter-school sports matches. The reason?. If parents give someone elses kids a lift in their car to a match and anything goes wrong, the headteachers or education heads are frightened of being held responsible. So the easy way out is no travel to sports fields.

Stick to the rules, and then its always someone elses fault.

There are even 'rules of engagement', and I don't mean before you get married, (though perhaps there should be).

The only people who don't seem to stick to the rules or take any responsibilty are the rule makers.
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Old Dec 22, 2006, 01:18 PM
Time for me to Fly...
Mr. Wiz's Avatar
United States, MI, Fenton
Joined Jan 2000
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sarge
As silly as it all sounds, I can see little distinction between the coercion used to force an Army doctor to treat an Iraqi prisoner and the coercion used to force this nurse to treat a wounded terrorist.
Nothing silly about it. I didn't know army doctors were compelled to treat the enemy. That poor nurse is a victim of a bad interpretation of the law, IMHO. Common sense seems to be getting more and more scarce every day.
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Old Dec 22, 2006, 05:30 PM
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sarge's Avatar
Fayetteville, NC
Joined Dec 2002
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Wiz
Nothing silly about it. I didn't know army doctors were compelled to treat the enemy. That poor nurse is a victim of a bad interpretation of the law, IMHO. Common sense seems to be getting more and more scarce every day.

I agree. I want to add that I do not find it silly that policy and law require humane treatment of the enemy. I find the interpretation of this law, as applied in the pasted story, silly.
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Old Dec 23, 2006, 07:46 AM
AMA 951 since 1958
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USA, FL, Newberry
Joined Nov 2000
1,418 Posts
As long as people in this country keep sending lawyers to congress to represent them then you will get what you always got . . . and the mess we find the country in today will continue to get worse.
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