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Thursday, February 07, 2002

White House: Afghan prisoners taken in war are not Prisoners of War

Today the White House will announce that Taliban fighters among the Afghan war detainees would be afforded the full protection of the Geneva Conventions but would not be classified as prisoners of war.

Under the new presidential directive, al Qaeda fighters and other suspected terrorists will not be designated as fighters covered by the Geneva Conventions.

"They will continue to be treated well," White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said. "There is no change in the protections they have been provided."

Saturday, February 02, 2002

Memo: the law of reciprocity, but CIA requests exemption

A memorandum from William H. Taft IV, the State Department's legal adviser, to Mr. Gonzales warned that the broad rejection of the Geneva Conventions posed several problems. Of concern was the reciprocity upon which laws of warfare are based.
A decision that the conventions do not apply to the conflict in Afghanistan in which our armed forces are engaged deprives our troops there of any claim to the protection of the conventions in the event they are captured.
An attachment to this memorandum, written by a State Department lawyer, showed that most of the administration's senior lawyers agreed that the Geneva Conventions were inapplicable. The attachment noted that C.I.A. lawyers asked for an explicit understanding that the administration's public pledge to abide by the spirit of the conventions did not apply to its operatives.