Pentagon planners are proposing that military commanders be authorized to declare someone an enemy combatant and detain him if he belongs to any of hundreds of suspected terrorist organizations, a human-rights group said on Thursday.
The extensive list of groups suspected of terrorism is part of a 142-page draft proposal to the Joint Chiefs of Staff that is intended to provide an all-inclusive guide for military commanders on their obligations and authority for detaining people.
John Sifton, a senior official of Human Rights Watch who provided the document, said it was a radical departure for the government to assert that membership in such a broad range of groups could qualify a person to be deemed an enemy combatant, a term that has previously been used mostly for members of al-Qaeda and the Taliban.
The government has used the term "enemy combatant" for detainees who are not covered by the protections of the Geneva Conventions. The Bush administration has argued that such detainees may be held indefinitely, unlike prisoners of war, who must be released when combat ends.
The precise reach of the term, however, has never been made explicit.
The draft report also contains instructions to military commanders to heed both domestic and international law against abusing detainees.
A spokesman for the Defense Department said on Thursday night that the document was still being reviewed.
"The development of this document shows the steps taken to help insure our service members understand the fundamentals of detention operations and the detainee safeguards necessary for successful detention operations," the spokesman said.
A coronavirus-free tropical island nestled in the northern Pacific might seem the perfect place to ride out a pandemic, but residents on Palau said that life right now is far from idyllic. The microstate of 18,000 people is among a dwindling number of places on Earth that still report zero cases of COVID-19 as figures mount daily elsewhere. The disparate group also includes Samoa, Turkmenistan, North Korea and bases on the frozen continent of Antarctica. A dot in the ocean hundreds of kilometers from its nearest neighbors, Palau is surrounded by the vast Pacific Ocean, which has acted as a buffer against the
Dutch scientists have found the coronavirus in a city’s wastewater before COVID-19 cases were reported, demonstrating a novel early warning system for the disease. SARS-CoV-2 — the virus that causes COVID-19 — is often excreted in an infected person’s stool. Although it is unlikely that sewage will become an important route of transmission, the pathogen’s increasing circulation in communities would increase the amount of it flowing into sewer systems, Gertjan Medema and colleagues at the KWR Water Research Institute in Nieuwegein said on Monday. They detected genetic material from the coronavirus at a wastewater treatment plant in Amersfoort on March 5, before
TRUE TOLL? Some Chinese are skeptical about official data, particularly given the overwhelmed medical system and initial attempts to cover up the outbreak The long lines and stacks of urns greeting family members of the dead at funeral homes in Wuhan, China, are spurring questions about the true scale of casualties at the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak, renewing pressure on a Chinese government struggling to control its containment narrative. The families of those who succumbed to the coronavirus in the city, where the disease first emerged, were allowed to pick up their cremated ashes at eight funeral homes last week. As they did, photographs circulated on Chinese social media of thousands of urns being ferried in. Outside one funeral home, trucks shipped in about 2,500
KEEN INTEREST: India is trying to procure medical gear from domestic producers and abroad, and China has emerged as a possible supplier as its factories reopen India is to buy ventilators and masks from China to help it deal with COVID-19, a government official said yesterday, even though some countries in Europe had complained about the quality of the equipment. India has recorded 1,251 cases of the coronavirus, with 32 deaths, but health experts said the country of 1.3 billion people could see a major surge in cases that could overwhelm its weak public health system. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government said that it was trying to procure medical gear, including masks and body coveralls, both from domestic firms and from countries such as South Korea and