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    Friday, August 04, 2006

    Expanding Illegal Military Tribunals

    Stardate 6172.95

    It wasn't too long ago that many people cheered the Supreme Court's ruling that the Bush administration had overstepped their authority and contravened both US law as well as the Geneva Conventions with regards to the Military Tribunals and indefinate detainment of suspected terrorists.

    Apparently however, a new plan has been drafted up by the Bush administration which has much scarier and a broader scope than the previous tribunals.
    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.
    People who are *not* terrorism suspects? This plan would allow the Secretary of Defense to add crimes as he sees fit to those under the jurisdiction of the military. This would increase the number of people put before the previously ruled as illegal tribunals.

    There's more. because of the nature of these tribunals, many rights normally enjoyed by defendants would be waived.

    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.

    I am not sure which is scarier. The ability of the Secretary of Defense to add crimes at will to the list or the lack of rights the detained people no longer get. Is this Justice? Or perhaps is this a sign of even more things to come? Military lawyers complained that the new draft doesn't have enough "due process rights" for prisoners and it could "further tarnish America's image". Well no shit Sherlock.

    What really scares me is that they could detain you without charge for an indefinate time, decide that your crime is under the authority of the military, and then try you without you even being present. This is *not* right. No sane person should think it is. This is all starting to sound more and more like the black shirt and jack-boot gang is coming to town.

    h/t to NSA

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