We all want national security; it does not matter whether you are American, Australian, British, Dutch, French, German or Swedish. National security is a matter that is not just set in laws; it is set in morality, in justice and in perception. Most of us are set in a stage where we are willing to give out many perks so that national security can be maintained. Many liberals grasp back at Benjamin Franklin who once said: “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety“, I would have agreed when he allegedly wrote it in 1755. In those days the biggest fear they had was England, the Dutch trade wars (the VOC) and apparently the French to the north. It was a very different age, in a setting where a naval was not done in minutes, but hours, battle settings took a while and there was clarity on who the enemy actually was (usually the one speaking your language and not firing on you, wearing the same uniform was also a nice indicator).
In this day and age it is not given, nowadays all the wolves have onesies looking like Shaun the sheep and often we cannot tell them apart. This is the setting where oversight, surveillance, data gathering and analyses can help, in equal setting there are a few players that still cannot get their algorithms correct and they are making the same mistake that I caught a few players on in the late 80’s.
There is however a new setting, a line that has been crossed and the Washington Post gives us that setting (at https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/there-have-to-be-limits-lawyers-for-guantanamo-inmates-challenge-lifetime-imprisonment-without-charge/2018/07/11/f3933faa-8533-11e8-9e80-403a221946a7_story.html). the title ‘‘There have to be limits’: Lawyers for Guantanamo inmates challenge lifetime imprisonment without charge‘ gives us that part and it is one that cannot be ignored, with ‘lifetime imprisonment without charge‘, we see not the first step, but an early setting that the law is changing into ‘Guilty until proven innocent‘ and I am not sure if that is merely a wrongful step, or a desire step for large corporations to give the setting a new life in other directions as well. There can be a setting where it is easier for the courts to work on that level. You see, when a corporation has failed their SLA’s, there will not be the documentation where they can prove it, yet when we see the application to ‘lifetime imprisonment without charge‘ the setting is very much inverted from what we find acceptable. We see the Post giving us “A handful of commission cases have inched along in pre-trial proceedings for years, many of them plagued by irregularities” and it is the ‘irregularities’ where we need to seek first, you see an abused system will rely on irregularities to remain in the shadows and active, whilst it almost never has bearing on National security and it will have even less a bearing on justice or lawful settings. The question becomes where it failed. There is a second side to the Post when we realise that the quote “Justice Department lawyer Ronald Wiltsie said authorities had a responsibility to detain suspects who could pose a future threat, even if it wasn’t clear they would actually take any action against the United States” is incomplete. The fact that we are faced with ‘it wasn’t clear they would actually take any intentional action against the United States‘. You see it comes with the setting that there is no proof that they had actually taken any action against the US, if so there would be a charge and that failure falls not merely on the FBI, it falls on the CIA, the NSA (data gathering agency) and most of all the investigator looking into the matter. We can illustrate this with the weirdest of examples.
In a spreadsheet we can use a random number, so we create 5 groups, each in one column, and each having 100 random observations. Now we will test for them stating that “IF(A2<0.2,1,0)“, I am setting the stage where 80% was guilty (so basically 20% was innocent). If the number is smaller then 0.2, they are presumed innocent. We do this for the 5 groups. Then we count the groups, in the initial test no one was innocent overall, but 3 were innocent on 3 counts and 20 were innocent on two counts. Now remember, this is merely 100 ‘persons’ tested on 5 elements. When we change the setting to “IF(A2<0.25,1,0)” (a joke on the premise that 3 out of 4 all people are guilty of something) we get a different setting. Now we see that two were innocent on 4 counts, yet 10 are innocent on 3 counts and 23 are innocent on 2 counts. Intelligence software works on facts not on random numbers, but the principle is partially the same, how many flags were raised by that one person, yet now not on 5 tests, but on dozens of tests, against people, places, actions and locations at specific times and as we consider that thousands are tested, in the random setting when the number of people are large enough we will get respectfully get a group that was innocent (less than 0.2 or 0.25) on all counts, that is the impact of random.
Yet on the flags raised in real live, we either have them guilty of something, which means that there can be a trial and a charge can be made, when you see the examples next to one another and we realise that the group of all people where no flags is raised did not occur (it will with a larger test group), we need to consider the flaws we are faced with and more importantly, the setting that we open ourselves to in legislation and in law when we allow for ‘lifetime imprisonment without charge‘. So in this setting, no matter how much we want actual national security Missy Ryan makes an interesting case. We get to see the larger issue when we look at Baher Azmy, legal director for the Center for Constitutional Rights, a group representing some of the detainees. With “Baher said the government had distorted a 2001 law authorizing U.S. military operations against al-Qaeda and affiliated forces by using it as a basis for indefinite imprisonment. He said insurgent wars, waged against small, clandestine and evolving bands of militants, could go on forever. But laws governing wars were devised with conflicts between states in mind, he said“, we are treated to the setting that we face in the upcoming decades. We are not waging was on nations, we are waging war on groups and tools. As Hezbollah is still the tool of Iran, the setting of a larger problem becomes apparent. In the first source (at https://www.terrorism-info.org.il/en/hezbollah-iran-handled-shiite-militias-integrated-syrian-army-campaign-take-control-south-syria/) we see “Shi’ite forces, handled by Iran, are being integrated into the campaign currently waged by the Syrian army in south Syria. There are at least two Iraqi-Shi’ite forces (the Dhu al-Fiqar Brigade and the Abu F–al-Abbas Brigade). There are also Afghan Shi’ite fighters in the Fatemiyoun Brigade. In addition, it was reported that Hezbollah operatives also participate in the fighting, including operatives from its elite al-Radwan unit, who were sent from Lebanon“, yet when we see “According to ITIC information, Hezbollah and the Shi’ite militias (some or all) have been integrated into the various Syrian army units and do not operate as independent forces. Pictures show Shi’ite militiamen wearing Syrian army uniforms, and it is difficult to distinguish them from Syrian soldiers“, we get the danger with ‘Pictures show Shi’ite militiamen wearing Syrian army uniforms‘. So now we get the setting of ‘who is exactly waging war on who’, or is that whom?
Not being able to identify the setting gives rise that Baher Azmy has a larger issue to deal with, because any denial from the Syrian army that these people were army units, and they get identified as militia who dressed ‘wrongly’, sets the stage that the defence ‘laws governing wars were devised with conflicts between states in mind‘ can no longer be upheld and that escalates the need for a much larger Guantanamo and indeed it continues and even fortifies the setting of ‘guilty until proven innocent‘.
the second source is a week old and gives us ““Hezbollah is a fundamental participant in planning and directing this battle,” a commander in the regional alliance that backs Damascus told Reuters. “Everyone knows this – the Israeli enemy, friends, and even the Russians.”“, it is given to us by Reuters (at https://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-syria-iran/hezbollah-role-in-syrian-south-exposes-limits-of-us-policy-idUSKBN1JV19U), so as the enemy changes its onesie (yup that was funny) we see a whole league of Shaun the sheep and we have no idea how to deal with them in life (the other alternative is solved through hiring people with the actual ability to aim).
Now change that setting away from the current ‘debacles’ in Yemen and Syria and consider the impact when we look at the Indian view of Pakistan (at http://www.dnaindia.com/analysis/column-terrorism-is-pak-s-business-2627746), it is not a hollow part, and there have been accusations from India and Afghanistan for the longest of times. In this setting we are given the quote: “India and Pakistan are not caught in some existential Punjabiyat love-hate relationship. Pakistan is a state sponsor of terrorism. No other nation has used terror so ruthlessly as an instrument of state policy as Pakistan has done for decades — principally against India but also against Afghanistan” is only the beginning. There are other headlines, even as they should be seen as no more than to illustrate that the issue exist, we cannot tell to what extent. So when we consider “The Islamic State’s flag emerges in Pakistan’s capital. How serious is the threat?” Is there a threat or is it merely a freedom of expression? So when we see the second headline ‘The terrorist group is increasingly present in Pakistan’s southern province‘, we are confronted with how to proceed, yet Reuters gives us 3 months ago “Islamic State claims attack on Christian family in Pakistan“, we see that the game changes. If state sponsored terrorism is the new ‘Letter of marque and reprisal‘, how can we proceed? Is there an actual option other than guilty until proven innocent?
What is clear is that the data crunchers will have their hands full because none of these algorithms and data gathering systems are ready for this leap. And it is not a small setting as Pakistan is a nuclear power who for the most is happy to push the button on India if need be, so the game is not merely changing, the players (Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic State et al) are aware that hiding under the roof of any government gives them options and they accept being the tool for those governments, yet the systems and our mandates are less equipped to act. Yemen has so far been an excellent example on how to not act and it will escalate beyond this. Now consider that I do agree that ‘lifetime imprisonment without charge‘ is wrong, but what options do we have? Until 2016 I believe that the data and the evidence was the weak link. Now we are in a situation where we need to wage war on three fronts, an overt one, a covert one, and a data intelligence war and we need to find a way to intertwine them and use them to find the right checks and balances. We need to evolve what we can do so that we can determine how to do things correctly, or perhaps better stated efficiently to the right opponent.
You might think that this is ludicrous, yet have you considered the actions in Yemen? They were firing missiles into Saudi Arabia, on civilian targets, yet the only thing we see is messages like ‘Yemeni security officials claimed that cluster bombs were dropped in a civilian area of the Western suburbs of the Yemeni capital Sanaa‘, whilst we see ‘after Houthi rebels fired a missile at Riyadh‘ any justification reduced to an 8 word response. The media at large does not give us: ‘Houthi rebels fired a missile on Riyadh, the Saudi Capital with over 5 million people, the fired missile could have caused the death of hundreds of people if struck correctly, Saudi Arabia reacted in the attack against its citizens‘, we do not get that do we? Yet that is the game that is the danger some face. In light of the missiles getting fired under the noses of Yemeni security officials, they need to realise that not stopping the missiles does have repercussions and innocent people will always be caught in the middle.
The change of conflict is large and it will be growing over the next decade. I am on the side of Missy Ryan in this, lifetime imprisonment without charge must be challenged and everyone needs to know about the setting we have here, but when it comes to the defence of that setting, I wonder if we have any actual option to oppose it, those who are send to that place are willing to (allegedly) support people who hide in other uniforms knowingly firing methods of termination on civilians merely because they can and because it makes them continue the fight that they believe is just for much longer. It is a dangerous setting that strips the veneer of civilisation in nearly all nations, look at France and Germany, they went through this several times. We need to set a different stage and we need to do this before we set a legal lawful setting of targeted killing and the wrong people are shot, because that will be the point of no return for all of us.
You see ‘Guilty until proven innocent‘ (forced or not) is merely a first step, when that setting is entered in stone we get the second danger, when cyber-attacks removes the option to prove innocence, what do you think happens next? It is what I personally believe to be the setting stage for chaos leading to anarchy and there the game changes again, because most governments have cut on so many parts in infrastructure that most cannot overcome anarchy for a much longer time forcing the hands of many governments, especially in Europe and I feel certain that some of the players behind the screens realise that too and they might just be banking on it.