Al-Libi was whisked off the streets of Tripoli on Oct. 5 and held aboard the USS San Antonio, where he was locked in the brig and questioned without Miranda rights, U.S. officials said. Because of what U.S. officials have described as a serious medical condition — his family says it is severe hepatitis — he was taken within a week to New York, where he has been under indictment since 1998.Something interesting is going on here. Notice the WaPo's article on this--one of the first out--and how they described the medical condition's factor in moving him from interrogation to Miranda Rights:
U.S. officials said a chronic preexisting medical condition had prevented them from keeping Ruqai detained any longer aboard the USS San Antonio, where he was taken after he was captured outside his home in Tripoli on Oct. 5. His wife told CNN that Ruqai has hepatitis C, which damages the liver.
The FBI-led High Value Detainee Interrogation Group had been questioning Ruqai aboard the USS San Antonio. He had answered some questions, but the questioning was cut short when Ruqai began refusing food and water, according to law enforcement officials.Bold to point out that a person who is "refusing food and water" is normally said to be on a hunger strike, since otherwise they will die. Refusing food doesn't normally lead to productive interrogations after a few days time.
The media is being very careful not to jump to that obvious conclusion, witness the New York Times and what appears to be a press release from Jay Carney suggesting that al-Liby's refusal to eat might not have actually been a hunger strike. Of course the result is the same--get caught, have a medical condition, refuse to eat, get moved to the criminal court system with no more interrogation. And according to the WaPo they hardly got anything out of him before he stopped eating:
The FBI-led High Value Detainee Interrogation Group had been questioning Ruqai aboard the USS San Antonio. He had answered some questions, but the questioning was cut short when Ruqai began refusing food and waterNow he's Mirandized and lawyered up and doesn't have to speak to anyone anymore, which can't be good considering his legacy status in AQ and reports he was trying to put together an affiliate in North African Arab Springistan.
It's obvious from the spotty and careful press coverage they don't want people to conclude that the CinC boxed himself in on this terrorism stuff by making a big production of how wrong and horrible Bush was and how he would never stoop to the same tactics. Up to now he's been using the 'kill list' to simply bump off AQ figures who popped up, which prevented this kind of messy problem.
But that was before the election. Now when they find someone who might be useful the terrorist knows going in that 1) they will only use the Army Field Manual in the interrogation, 2) Obama doesn't want anyone else at GTMO because he vowed to close it and has not, 3) force-feeding through tubes is not very popular on the evening news, even with terrorists, and 4) Obama has come out against 'torture', therefore the last thing he'd want is to be force-feeding someone in a secret Navy brig or God forbid have them drop dead.
So where is our advantage? The Constitution is protected, you say. But the laws of war allow someone deemed to be engaged in armed conflict to be picked up and detained until the end of hostilities. Obama has this power, which he partially used when directing Delta Force to make the capture, which was based on the AUMF. Now al-Liby has apparently forced himself from the War on Terror realm into the civilian terrorists-are-no-different-than-car-thieves realm--after less than 10 days. And if he's found not guilty in court he'll be free as a bird--no backup GTMO for him. Hopefully the president explains this to the American people.