Saturday 20th of April 2024


The White House is seeking legislation that would allow people not affiliated with terrorism to be prosecuted in military commissions -- with far fewer rights than afforded civilians.

WASHINGTON - 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 al Qaeda members or the Taliban and are not directly involved in acts of international terrorism, according to officials familiar with the proposal plan.

The plan, which would replace a military trial system ruled illegal by the Supreme Court in June, also allows 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.

The draft proposed legislation, set to be discussed at two Senate hearings today, is controversial inside and outside the administration because defendants would be denied many protections guaranteed by the civilian and traditional military criminal justice systems.

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

An early draft of the new law prepared by civilian political appointees and leaked to the media last week has been modified in response to criticism from uniformed military lawyers. But the provisions allowing a future expansion of the courts to cover new crimes and more prisoners were retained, according to government officials who are familiar with the deliberations.


Bush seeks expanded military tribunal role

amerikan abdul .....

Heard it from a friend who,
Heard it from a friend who,
Heard it from another you been messin’ around.

~ REO Speedwagon

‘What may at first blush appear to be nothing more than the puerile paranoid ponderings of a pop song may soon become the law of the land – at least as far as the trying of accused terrorists is concerned. The Bush administration is proposing what are called "modest changes" to the procedural rules of military commissions charged with trying suspected terrorists housed at Guantanamo Bay. These changes can be defined as modest in the same way that guillotining effects a modest change on one's ability to wear a hat.

One proposed rule change would allow the use of hearsay evidence "unless it was deemed to be unreliable." That the very category of hearsay was created due to the fact that certain types of testimonial evidence are inherently unreliable does not seem to trouble White House legal "experts." This caliber of legal reasoning should dove-tail nicely with one of the proposed new "protective" rules which would bar the use of statements obtained by torture.

But if you remember, torture has been redefined by the Bush administration as "excessive force" which is "malicious and sadistic"; however, it does not provide a blanket exclusion from "the infliction of pain" if it is not the interrogator's "precise objective." All this may seem dry legalese – an example might be better.’

Bush Justice