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The AP reports on UN scrutiny of potential abuses by the United States:
The American military is holding about 500 juveniles in detention centers in Iraq and has about 10 detained at the military base at Bagram, Afghanistan, the United States has told the United Nations.However, "Human Rights" groups are outraged:
A total of 2,500 people under the age of 18, almost all in Iraq, have been detained for periods of up to a year or more since 2002, the United States reported last week to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child. Most are believed to be 16 or 17.
“The juveniles that the United States has detained have been captured engaging in anticoalition activity, such as planting improvised explosive devices, operating as lookouts for insurgents or actively engaged in fighting against U.S. and coalition forces,” the report said.
The American report pointed out, “Although age is not a determining factor in whether or not we detain an individual under the law of armed conflict, we go to great lengths to attend to the special needs of juveniles while they are in detention.”
Civil liberties groups such as the International Justice Network and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) denounced the detentions as abhorrent, and a violation of U.S. treaty obligations.Also included in the story...
"It's shocking to me that the U.S. government has not figured out a way to keep children out of adult prisons. It's outrageous, and it is not making us any safer, I can say that about Afghanistan from personal experience," Tina M. Foster, the executive director of the International Justice Network, said Sunday.
Jamil Dakwar, director of the A.C.L.U.’s Human Rights Program, released a statement expressing his dismay.
“It is shocking to know that the U.S. is holding hundreds of juveniles in Iraq and Afghanistan, and even more disturbing that there is no comprehensive policy in place that will protect their rights as children,” it said.
The U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child was adopted by the General Assembly in 1989, with backing at the time from the U.S. government of President Bill Clinton, and with strong lobbying from then-first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, who now is competing for the Democratic Party presidential nomination with Barack Obama.But somehow left out of the story...
In August, the military announced it had opened the first detention facility meant specifically to house juvenile prisoners. According to the American command in Baghdad, the Dar al-Hikmah facility houses some 600 detainees from 11 to 17 years old and provides “basic education instruction.”And in Baghdad:
The U.S. military says the first group of detainees to attend a seven-week education program at one of the military prisons in Iraq has “graduated.”
Dubbed “The Hasty School,” the program at Camp Bucca gave prisoners “seven weeks studying Arabic, English, math, science, geography and civics to a first to third-grade level,” according to a news release issued Tuesday.
Military officials said the program was part of several initiatives to steer prisoners away from violence or crime. Other initiatives have included education programs and youth art contests.
CAMP CROPPER, Iraq — Sixteen students of the Dar al-Hikmah juvenile education center, or “House of Wisdom,” completed the school’s first civics course May 1, and their teacher could not have been happier with their performance.
During the 10-day civics course, students are taught a basic understanding of the importance of family, national service, Iraqi citizenship and the composition of the Iraqi government.
The civics course is poised for a larger enrollment in its second installation. Following the graduation of the 16 juvenile detainees from the first class, the second iteration, scheduled to begin later this week, has already received a voluntary enrollment of approximately 25 participants.
Dar al-Hikmah, which provides basic education to more than 500 juvenile detainees at the Camp Cropper Theater Internment Facility on Victory Base Complex, also provides programs in Arabic, history, science, geography, math and athletics.
In other news:
A youthful suicide bomber killed at least 23 people Wednesday in an attack against relatives of Col. Faisal Ismail al-Zobaie, a U.S.-backed police chief and former insurgent who has turned against his onetime comrades.Elsewhere:
Zobaie, the police chief of Fallujah in Anbar province, said a bomber of about 12 years of age attacked the funeral of Zobaie's uncle.
Militants linked to al-Qa’eda have set up training camps in Pakistan to teach children how to conduct suicide attacks.Neither the UN or ACLU have commented on those stories.
The Pakistani army claimed today to have overrun one such camp in territory where the notorious Pakistani Taliban commander, Baitullah Mehsud, operates.
Militants had transformed a government-run school near the village of Spinkai in South Waziristan into what one officer described as a “nursery for preparing suicide bombers”.
The school was part of a large compound above the village that included a small mosque.
Maj Gen Tariq Khan, the commander of the division that captured the area, said: “It was like factory that had been recruiting nine to 12-year-old boys and turning them into suicide bombers.”
He told the Dawn newspaper that at another location military investigators found film footage on a DVD that they believed depicts children at the school being taught suicide training.
The footage, which was shown to journalists, contained images of a masked teacher instructing rows of schoolchildren who wore white headbands inscribed with Quranic verses.
However, the ACLU is concerned for American children being abused by the US military, too. From their press release (which the AP reprinted nearly verbatim as their "news" story at the first link - minus this batshit crazy section):
The government claims in its report that Defense Department policy is not to recruit any youth under the age of 17, but a Pentagon-produced video game recruitment tool targets 13-year-olds, military training corps target youth as young as 11, and military handbooks instruct recruiters to target high school students as early as possible, says the ACLU.It's unclear from the press release whether the ACLU wants to prohibit the Navy from hiring "youth of color" altogether or simply set a UN-determined limit on how many can join.
"Contrary to the government report, recruitment does not begin when a high school senior signs a contract to enlist," said Jennifer Turner of the ACLU Human Rights Program. "The government fails to acknowledge that recruiters contact, cultivate, and at times harass potential recruits long before they are old enough to sign up."
The government report also reveals the high number of youth of color among enlistees. In fiscal year 2007, 43 percent of all new under-18 enlistees in the Navy were black or Latino, along with 32 percent in the Air Force, 30 percent in the Marine Corps, and 22 percent in the Army. In its submission to the UN yesterday the ACLU charged that the military targets youth of color for military recruitment.
The U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child is scheduled to question the U.S. delegation on its compliance with its obligations on May 22 in Geneva.
Al Qaeda has no treaty obligations, therefore their compliance or lack thereof is not an issue.
I love how the phrase is "youth of color" now. They couldn't simply spin it as another black - white racist outrage because even they know that the number of African Americans enlisting has been sharply declining while the rate of Hispanics is rising.
Trust me if there some hay to be made out of the recruitment of blacks the usual media whores like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson would be over it. The more they can stick to the Vietnam mentality in all things the more they move towards their goal of recreating '68.
In a semi related story the U.N. will be sending racism investigator to visit U.S. this month to probe racism in this country.Posted by Mrs G at May 21, 2008 06:54 PM
As perpetrators of what Geneva calls "perfidy", the war crime of dressing like and hiding among civilians, the AQ is pretty much "fair game", and all collateral damage resulting from attacking it are its responsibility.
Perhaps CNN and ACLU should be informed.Posted by Brian H at May 21, 2008 09:04 PM
erratum: "collateral damage and death ... are its responsibility."Posted by Brian H at May 21, 2008 09:05 PM
A youthful suicide bomber killed at least 23 people Wednesday in an attack against relatives of Col. Faisal Ismail al-Zobaie, ... Zobaie, the police chief of Fallujah in Anbar province, said a bomber of about 12 years of age attacked the funeral of Zobaie's uncle.
Militants linked to al-Qa’eda have set up training camps in Pakistan to teach children how to conduct suicide attacks.
O.K. Let's say someone grabs your 12-year old kid, convinces them to put a bomb on, and then either the kid sets it off in a crowd or the guy who grabbed your kid set it off by remote control.
Presuming the cops get to this guy before you do, what do they charge him with? Aiding/abetting a suicide? Or murder?
An act such as this that involves a minor child is not a suicide. It's a homicide of both the child and the other people that are killed. AP needs to change it's editorial style policy on these.Posted by RonF at May 22, 2008 06:35 PM
If you want some fun, ask one of these fine folks to define the phrase "person of color". See if they can give you a specific definition. I have fun with that because once they come up with something I get to tell them that I qualify because I have an African great-grandmother and great-great-grandmother. To look at me you'd never know; I'm so white I'm pink.Posted by RonF at May 22, 2008 06:43 PM Hide Comments | Show/Add Comments in Popup Window(6) | (Note: You must refresh main page to view newly posted comments here)