Wednesday, August 02, 2006

"...Allow the Secretary of Defense to Add Crimes At Will to Those Under the Military Court's Jurisdiction..."

The Washington Post reports today:

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.
So who are these people not directly involved in international terrorism? Jouralists? Opposition politicians? Protesters? Me? You?

And what crimes do you think Rumsfeld might come up with to add to the cases against such people? Jay-walking? Protesting? Writing a critical letter to the President? Treason?

The proposal denies defendants such basic rights as the right to confront their accuser(s), to exclude hearsay, to bar evidence obtained with torture, to get a speedy trial and to choose their counsel. Their military lawyers would not have the same access to evidence as prosecutors. Sounds just like America!

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.
So, you could sitting in your cell at Gitmo for years, then one day have someone come in and tell you you have been found guilty and are now going to be punished... some more. Or, as "...John D. Hutson, the Navy's top uniformed lawyer from 1997 to 2000..," puts it:
"We know you're guilty. We can't tell you why, but there's a guy, we can't tell you who, who told us something. We can't tell you what, but you're guilty."
Yep. Just like America!

[Military lawyers] objected in particular to the provision allowing defendants to be tried in absentia, said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to describe the deliberations. Another source in contact with top military lawyers said, "Their initial impression is that the draft was unacceptable and sloppy." [emphasis mine] The source added that "it did not have enough due-process rights" and could further tarnish America's image.
Heck of a job, Bush-league administration!

Hat tip to Americablog.


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