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Author Topic: Bush to expand military tribunals beyond terrorism
Lalo
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quote:
White House Proposal Would Expand Authority of Military Courts
By R. Jeffrey Smith
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, August 2, 2006; Page A04


A draft Bush administration plan for special military courts seeks to expand the reach and authority of such "commissions" to include trials, for the first time, of people who are not members of al-Qaeda or the Taliban and are not directly involved in acts of international terrorism, according to officials familiar with the proposal.

The plan, which would replace a military trial system ruled illegal by the Supreme Court in June, would also allow the secretary of defense to add crimes at will to those under the military court's jurisdiction. The two provisions would be likely to put more individuals than previously expected before military juries, officials and independent experts said.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/08/01/AR2006080101334.html

Cue attempts to justify power grab, subsequent questioning of patriotism.
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Alcon
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quote:
Under the proposed procedures, defendants would lack rights to confront accusers, exclude hearsay accusations, or bar evidence obtained through rough or coercive interrogations. They would not be guaranteed a public or speedy trial and would lack the right to choose their military counsel, who in turn would not be guaranteed equal access to evidence held by prosecutors.

Detainees would also not be guaranteed the right to be present at their own trials, if their absence is deemed necessary to protect national security or individuals.

quote:
would also allow the secretary of defense to add crimes at will to those under the military court's jurisdiction.
O_O

The only thought that comes to mind with this is: OH F***, here comes the Gestapo! Seriously!

quote:
To secure a death penalty under the draft legislation, at least five jurors must agree, two fewer than under the administration's earlier plan. Courts-martial and federal civilian trials require that 12 jurors agree.
So what's to stop them from finding hearsay on just regular old US citizens they don't like finding that they were part of a terrorist act? And under this it sounds pretty damn easy to give em the death penalty. I don't like this one bit.
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The Federal Government
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You'll just have to trust us.

Now please, stay right where you are.

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ricree101
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I'm just hoping that 2008 brings a good president. I really don't like the direction this country is headed. Yes, this sort of thing isn't exactly unprecidented, but at least in the other cases there was an actual enemy. Terrorism is so vague that there is no real limit to how long this can last. If things don't change soon, I wonder if they ever will.
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Lalo
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There'll be a different president, but I highly doubt it'll be a different party -- not unless there's a huge enough majority to overcome even rigged machines. I used to have some faith in McCain, but given the way he's rolled over and begged for Bush, I have trouble doubting he won't let himself be run by the same people that ran Bush Sr. and Reagan.

It's the people who control Bush that are the threat, not Bush himself. And they're not going anywhere.

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cmc
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Can't wait 'til 2008. I'm tired of how dumb he is. It's pathetic that I can really laugh out loud and I mean belly laugh at the guy who politically represents the US.
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Lalo
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Also, from Americablog:

quote:
Would new Bush military tribunals cover American reporters?
by John in DC - 8/02/2006 09:44:00 AM

Sounds like it from the incredibly broad legislation they're proposing.

1. According to the Washington Post, "the plan, which would replace a military trial system ruled illegal by the Supreme Court in June, would also allow the secretary of defense to add crimes at will to those under the military court's jurisdiction."

If that is correct, then the federal government could add ANY crime to the list, ANY crime. So any American suspected of ANYTHING could be picked up and sent to a military court and never heard from again because, oh yeah guess what, the new legislation says you basically get a Soviet gulag trial:

quote:
Under the proposed procedures, defendants would lack rights to confront accusers, exclude hearsay accusations, or bar evidence obtained through rough or coercive interrogations. They would not be guaranteed a public or speedy trial and would lack the right to choose their military counsel, who in turn would not be guaranteed equal access to evidence held by prosecutors.

Detainees would also not be guaranteed the right to be present at their own trials, if their absence is deemed necessary to protect national security or individuals.

2. The part that could easily cover reporters, and political dissidents:

quote:
The military lawyers nonetheless supported extending the jurisdiction of the commissions to cover those accused of joining or associating with terrorist groups engaged in anti-U.S. hostilities, and of committing or aiding hostile acts by such groups, whether or not they are part of al-Qaeda, two U.S. officials said.
Aiding hostile acts? Who would that be? Well, according to the White House's own words over the past 5 years, every one of us who speaks out against the war, every newspaper who publishes articles about Bush's violating the law in his over-execution of the war on terror, is "aiding" the enemy. Remember, these are the White House's own words, folks. And now they want legislation that says that those of who "aid" the enemy can be basically tried in abstentia and never heard from again.

What the hell is happening to our country? Oh that's right, we have a Republican White House, a Republican House and Senate, and a Republican Supreme Court. So, nobody is going to stand up against this increasingly incompetent and dangerous president.

http://americablog.blogspot.com/2006/08/would-new-bush-military-tribunals.html


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Dagonee
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quote:
So any American suspected of ANYTHING could be picked up and sent to a military court and never heard from again
I swore to myself I would stay out of this thread, but the blatant lying or utter, absolute ignorance is just too much.

Military courts don't have jurisdiction over American citizens (Edit: except for citizens in the military) in any geographic place where the federal courts are operating. Adding a new offense to the court's jurisdiction doesn't change this very basic fact of American jurisprudence.

So, yes, reporters in Iraq might be covered by this, although there may be other restrictions on such application. It won't apply to anyone who happens to be within any federal judicial district - which is all 50 states plus the district plus territories. To say "any American suspected of ANYTHING could be picked up and sent to a military court" is such utter and blatant bull that nothing this person says can possibly have any credibility.

This is basic stuff that anyone writing such criticism could find out in about two minutes. This is not deep legal doctrine. The fact that he didn't suggests ignorance or agenda - probably both.

quote:
not unless there's a huge enough majority to overcome even rigged machines
Is this just a big echo chamber for you, Lalo? you started a thread on this topic claiming to be interested in hearing people's thoughts on RFK's laughable accusations in Rolling Stone, didn't bother to acknowledge the direct refutation of his claims, and now make the same slanderous accusations in another thread.

At least in this thread you were upfront about your intention not to actually discuss or listen to others:

quote:
Cue attempts to justify power grab, subsequent questioning of patriotism.

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Dan_raven
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OK Dag, realistic question.

Say that a major contributor to the Democratic party is in Paris for the weekend. Could he be picked up by our military, arrested, and imprisoned being convicted on hearsay evidence, etc, etc, his biggest crime being that he contributes or supports the wrong party?

If it appears that a Democratic candidate for the senate is very out-spoken on his anti-war platform. This could be considered "aiding hostile acts". He is invited to speak at a local military base. Once he steps on those grounds, could he be forced into a rigged trial?

Finally, would the retired generals, and ex-intelligence officers who have recently done such things as call for Rumsfeld's dismissal, or argue against the use of coerced evidence, or even questioned Iraq's WMD five years ago, be at risk of such trials?

I said Democrat as the good guys, implying Republicans as the bad guys, only because that's who is in power now. I am not worried that President Bush would go overboard with these powers, but I am worried what future Presidents might do with this precedent.

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Dagonee
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quote:
Say that a major contributor to the Democratic party is in Paris for the weekend. Could he be picked up by our military, arrested, and imprisoned being convicted on hearsay evidence, etc, etc, his biggest crime being that he contributes or supports the wrong party?
I seriously doubt it, and I'm not going to research it right now. The single refutation to the "any American" statement was simply the easiest, most inexcusable counter-example that this person missed.

There's nothing in the descriptions of the bill to suggest this would be possible - remember, the SecDef isn't defining the crimes, merely designating which ones are covered by the tribunals.

From my reading of the description of the bill, it appears that anyone who could be tried by a court-martial could be tried by these tribunals IF the crime with which they are charged is on this list.

In other words, unless that contributor could be picked up and tried by court-martial now, he can't be tried by a tribunal if this law is passed.

I have no idea if this reading is correct, but it's certainly more accurate than this blog entry, and I'm not trying to pass it off as fact.

quote:

If it appears that a Democratic candidate for the senate is very out-spoken on his anti-war platform. This could be considered "aiding hostile acts". He is invited to speak at a local military base. Once he steps on those grounds, could he be forced into a rigged trial?

Once again, if the "local military base" is within a state or D.C. (and some territories), he can't be tried by a military court. Further, the First Amendment still applies even if he could be tried by a military court.

quote:
Finally, would the retired generals, and ex-intelligence officers who have recently done such things as call for Rumsfeld's dismissal, or argue against the use of coerced evidence, or even questioned Iraq's WMD five years ago, be at risk of such trials?
No.
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Morbo
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Thanks Dag for some legal sanity about who could be tried by tribunals. I found this funny:
quote:
The accused would not have the right to confront their accusers, or to exclude hearsay accusations, or to bar evidence obtained through torture. The right to a public trial, a speedy trial, and to choose your own military counsel would not apply. Indeed, the commission could try the accused without him or her even being there.

The Navyís top uniformed lawyer from 1997 to 2000 said the rules would evidently allow the government to tell a prisoner: "We know youíre guilty. We canít tell you why, but thereís a guy, we canít tell you who, who told us something. We canít tell you what, but youíre guilty."

http://www.crooksandliars.com/posts/2006/08/02/white-house-proposes-solution-to-hamdan-case/
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Lalo
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Well, no. You're wrong. Jose Padilla was stripped of his American citizenship, on American soil, and has yet to be tried. I believe he was only charged after three years of being held without charges.

Don't let that stop you, though. Keep hedging your apologism for Bush's increasing grasp for power -- true, the executive branch is preparing to give itself free rein to decide what a crime is and to what extent to punish it; but we're probably safe so long as we stay within the fifty states and commit crimes which remain low-profile enough to fall within the jurisdiction of actual law enforcement.

Though to be fair, that's probably true. I doubt anyone here matters enough that they'll be detained to wait for a trial that may or may not come, that they may or may not attend, for charges they may or may not ever know. But I care more about those who do matter -- such as the reporter who's made an example to frighten the rest of the media. The political dissidents abroad who risk interrupting Bush's speech or marring his photo op. And why the hell do you think only Americans matter -- what about foreign reporters or dissidents? How can you possibly call yourself conservative and still unwaveringly excuse overwhelming government monitoring, secret prisons, and, oh yeah, fraudulent and blatantly wrong evidence to give no-bid contracts for defense contractors and companies this administration used to run?

I really hope you're just boning up on your debate skills by arguing as the devil's advocate.

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Zotto!
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Lalo, Dagonee has explicitly stated numerous times that his defense of the legality of a given situation does not automatically confer his approval or endorsement. I've seen no evidence to doubt his intellectual integrity, so I think it's appropriate to take him at his word. Describing his honest and reasoned response with unprovoked hyperbole as mere apologistic justification for an administration that he has repeatedly criticised in the past is, aside from being counterproductive to civil discussion, simply inaccurate and belied by the evidence of the bulk of his postings on Hatrack. I think that your assertions that he only cares about Americans and has little basis for calling himself a conservative are equally unsupported and out of line.
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Lalo
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You're right, Z -- I'm glad I checked Hatrack before heading to bed. I owe Dag an apology.

After six years of national complacency towards Bush's incredible failures and offenses, often encouraged by comforting promises of legality, I'm finding myself increasingly frustrated with a surprising lack of outrage or even criticism from voters. I can't think of many things the Republican party's promised that have been delivered, nor many Republican voters who take responsibility for supporting this incompetence. Instead, I see a corrupt party lining its pockets and hacking away at my rights, confident in the support of voters who would be outraged if it weren't their man committing the offenses.

I see this, and I grow increasingly tired of excuses for Bush. But Dag wasn't necessarily doing that, and to be fair, that blog I linked did exercise hyperbole (if not factual error). I can understand his upset, and it's probably not slightly my fault -- I'm angry about what's going on, and spoiling for a fight with those who've helped it along.

I'll bridle my outrage. Dag can justify without supporting, and simply because I rarely see his criticism of Republican policies doesn't mean he agrees with them. If he does support them, I'd be very interested in hearing why -- but I shouldn't mistake apologism for support. My apologies, guy.

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Dan_raven
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Lalo, what Dag is no more a Bush apologist than the Supreme Court was a Bush Hater for its recent decision. He is merely attempting to bring his own legal expertise into areas where innuendo and assumptions cloud the real issue.

Nowhere does Dag defend or attack the proposed rules for trials. He presents both legal facts, and legal opinions. The morality is for us to decide on our own.

As a PS, Jose Padilla's treatment is not very repeatable, legally.

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blacwolve
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Dag, I for one was hoping that you would show up in this thread and seperate out the truth from the lies. Almost every time a thread like this appears, I scan it looking for your post on the topic so that I'll know what's truth and what's hyperbole. I rarely post, but I do read and appreciate your thoughtful and unbiased posts in these threads.
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Lalo
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quote:
Lalo, what Dag is no more a Bush apologist than the Supreme Court was a Bush Hater for its recent decision.
Whoa, apologism's not an insult. From Wikipedia:

Apologetics is the field of study concerned with the systematic defense of a position. Someone who engages in apologetics is called an apologist.The term comes from the Greek word apologia (Ἀπολογία), meaning the defense of a position against an attack, not from the English word apology, which is exclusively understood as a defensive plea for forgiveness for an action that is open to blame. ...

www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apologist

Dag's doing exactly this, and deserves respect for it. It's easy to get outraged -- but it's more difficult to understand the legal defense of the offense, and he does a great job of outlining it.

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Alcon
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So was I. Though I still don't like this law, it still sounds very scary. I'm always glad when you show up in legal threads and give us the real deal, Dag, it's so hard to figure it out otherwise as one with absolutely no knowledge in the area.
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Tresopax
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That it will only violate the rights of people outside the country doesn't satisfy me. I'd prefer we have laws that are fair to everyone, inside and outside the borders of our country, and that don't lead to people being placed in places like Guantanamo for little to no good reason.

The good news is that this legislation can probably easily be prevented from passing, if we vote the Republicans out of office in November for what they have done to us these past few years. Hooray for democracy!

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Will B
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Remember when the SC "snubbed" GWB by striking down his alternate court system? It also granted him the power to keep people in prison for the duration of the conflict (forever) without trial. Some snub.

Democrats would never do anything like this. Except that they did, in the 1990's: Clinton's immigration bill, which denied foreigners the right to attend, present evidence to, get evidence from, or even know about, hearings on their deportation.

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Morbo
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It appears the administration is backpedaling quickly from it's leaked first draft, here's a clip from Gonzales' testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee:
quote:
Gonzales said the administration had no intention of using the proposed military commission system to try U.S. citizens or prisoners of war.

He said the proposal calls for having at least five members on commissions instead of three in the system the court rejected, and death penalty cases would require a unanimous vote.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/08/02/AR2006080201338.html

This is very troubling, though typical of the insularity of the Bush administration:
quote:
The military lawyers received the draft after the rest of the government had agreed on it. They have argued in recent days for retaining some routine protections for defendants that the political appointees sought to jettison, an administration official said.
from Lalo's original link
Why would they cut military lawyers completely out of the loop in draft legislation involving military tribunals? [Dont Know] The procedures followed by this administration continue to baffle me.

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Omega M.
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There just may be something to this law. I've heard that under World War II laws, a lot of Vietnam reporters could have been tried for treason; maybe the same thing is true for some reporters on our current wars.
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Storm Saxon
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Here is the ACLU's take on it.
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Dagonee
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Just responding to those items that touch on me personally. I no longer care to discuss the larger topic.

quote:
Well, no. You're wrong. Jose Padilla was stripped of his American citizenship, on American soil, and has yet to be tried. I believe he was only charged after three years of being held without charges.
As of December 2005, Padilla had not been "stripped" of his citizenship. Could you source this? I'd be very surprised if this is true. In fact, I'd be downright stunned, since I know of no way for a natural-born citizen to be stripped of citizenship short of renunciation, usually by accepting citizenship elsewhere.

Even the portions of Padilla's story you got correct don't contradict a single thing I said. As you stated, he was NOT tried at all, let alone by a military court. Further, once Padilla was charged, it was in a Federal District Court, not a military court.

Since my entire point was that a civilian citizen within the geographic jurisdiction of an operating federal court cannot be tried by a military court, the fact that Padilla was NOT tried by a military court certainly doesn't support your bold declaration that I am wrong.

quote:
And why the hell do you think only Americans matter -- what about foreign reporters or dissidents?
I don't. You're smart enough to realize that nothing I posted supports this cheap shot in any way.

I'm done with this. The only reason I bothered to post this was to respond to things that impugn my factual accuracy or misrepresent my views in a vile, disgusting manner.

[ August 10, 2006, 02:57 PM: Message edited by: Dagonee ]

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