This one I don't understand : LUSENET : Freedom! self reliance : One Thread

I read this and it kind of gave me chills.............what do you think??

Bush OKs Tribunal to Try Terrorists Photos AP Photo

By ANNE GEARAN, Associated Press Writer WASHINGTON (AP) - The Sept. 11 attacks and the threat of new terrorism justify President Bush (news - web sites)'s decision to allow the trial of noncitizens by military tribunals, administration officials say. The United States has not seen such tribunals since World War II. Bush approved the framework for such a court Tuesday, for possible use in cases involving terror assaults. His emergency order does not require approval from Congress. ``This is a new tool to use against terrorism,'' White House Counsel Albert Gonzales said. A special military court could try accused terrorists in greater secrecy than a conventional court, and much more quickly, lawyers in and out of government said. Rules for such a court could give the government a freer hand to introduce evidence or statements that probably would be excluded from a regular criminal trial, and military jurors might be more likely to vote for a death sentence, said David B. Rivkin, a Washington lawyer who published a legal paper on Bush's options this month. Convicted terrorists might be executed shortly after a trial, with few or none of the long delays for additional court appeals common in criminal courts, lawyers said. ``The easy way (for the government) to go is a military commission,'' former military prosecutor A. Jeff Ifrah said. Unlike U.S. district courts or military courts-martial, ``a commission is governed by whatever the president and to a certain extent the Congress dictate,'' Ifrah added. Military commissions date to the late 17th century, operating side by side with the better-known courts-martial. The United States last convened one on orders from President Franklin D. Roosevelt after German saboteurs secretly landed on U.S. shores in 1942. Detention and trial of accused terrorists by a military tribunal is necessary ``to protect the United States and its citizens, and for the effective conduct of military operations and prevention of terrorist attacks,'' Bush's five-page order said. The administration also could hold a trial in an ordinary criminal court, but said it wanted the option of using a military court. In either a military or a civilian court, any suspect would retain rights to a lawyer and to a trial by jury, the administration said. ``These are extraordinary times and the president wants to have as many options as possible. This option does not preclude any Department of Justice (news - web sites) options that might also be available,'' said Mindy Tucker, Justice Department (news - web sites) spokeswoman. Bush's order sets out many of the rules for a future military tribunal and rights of anyone held accountable there. A senior Justice Department official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said only noncitizens would be tried before the commission. The defense secretary would follow up with more specifics should a tribunal be needed, the White House said. Anyone ever held for trial before such a court would certainly challenge its legitimacy, said Eugene Fidell, president of the National Institute of Military Justice in Washington, and a lawyer who regularly practices before military courts. ``This is going to raise a raft of legal issues and will be a test of the president's power,'' Fidell said. Gonzales, the president's top lawyer, said a military commission could preserve the secrecy of U.S. investigations into terror networks. In a conventional court, a victory might require giving other terrorists information about U.S. ``sources and methods,'' Gonzales said. ``We don't want to have to do that.'' A military trial also could be held overseas, and Gonzales said prosecutors may feel a trial in America would be unsafe. Recent terrorism trials have taken place under heavy security in U.S. criminal courts, where the rules require the government to reveal its evidence either in open court or in filings it must fight to keep secret. Laura W. Murphy, director of the Washington office of the American Civil Liberties Union (news - web sites), said for a military trial to have constitutional legitimacy, Bush must justify why ordinary courts could not do the job. ``Absent such a compelling justification, today's order is deeply disturbing and further evidence that the administration is totally unwilling to abide by the checks and balances that are so central to our democracy,'' she said. Roosevelt had the World War II saboteurs secretly tried by military commission, and six were executed. The Supreme Court upheld the proceeding, although Rivkin said it is not clear whether that case would guide a modern challenge. An enemy who sneaked onto U.S. soil ``for the purposes of waging war by destruction of life or property'' was a combatant who could be tried in a military court, the Supreme Court ruled then. Military tribunals also were used during and after the Civil War.

-- diane (, November 14, 2001


This does not cause me to be unsettled in the least. I do not hold that non-citizens are entitled to any of the constitutional protections afforded to our citizens. Terrorism is an act of war. As an act of war, it is appropriate to be handled by a military court. too long in the USA have folks insisted on playing fair with these terrorists, willing that our intelligence service should reveal security sources in open court or let the folks go. Terrorism has taken on a new meaning for us..there are folks out there who would not lose any sleep over infiltrating our country and commiting mass murder of civilians. Do we afford these terrorists the protection given under the constitution to our citizens or do we treat them as what they are...foreign mercenaries who seek to literally destroy our country and everyone in it? I am against capital punishment for anyone for any reason. I would prefer to see justice done by confining convicted terrorists to a military prison for life...they don't have cable TV or pcs there for the inmates. Home-grown terrorists should receive the full benefits of constitutional protection throughout any detainment, arrests or court proceedings since they are citizens of America. I would be the first to loudly decry any attempt on the part of the government to loophole, bend or in any way distort these rights for citizens.

-- lesley (, November 14, 2001.

Amen Lesley,

It is about time we do something to these terrorists (war criminals) besides coddle them. We should not use the death penalty for them, not on moral grounds, but because death is the easy way out. Life at hard labor with no chance of parole would be a better alternative to the death penalty. Just them in their cells with no distractions every night would be a fitting punishment after a hard day of work.

For years I have believed that prisons should be places of punishment,not be places of luxury, ie. tv, internet, workout facilities and all of the luxuries that many working folks in this country struggle every day to have. (Can you afford a health club membership, I know I can't.)

Most of these guys are not citizens and should be treated as such for their crimes. American terrorists should be treated with respect to the constitution of the US, but the punishments for both should be severe.

Terrorism is a hideous crime that needs to be made a thing of the past, something you only read about in history books. If the perpetrators have much to fear by by being caught, perhaps it would deter them, maybe not . Either way this strong signal would deter at least some of them.

Talk to you later.

-- Bob in WI (, November 15, 2001.

Lesley, Bob, I'm very disappointed in you two. This is an assault on all our freedoms. I wonder if you realize how similar this is to what happened to a happily humming democracy in Chile, when Pinochet decided the military should start "disappearing" people?

It happens that I travel overseas every year or two, and I'd hate to think I could be treated this way by a foreign government (I've always been treated with great respect and equality by everyone but crooked cops).

I also see this as one more small step in the erosion of our constitutional protection from big governmet. Today the "foreigners", tomorrow the "domestic terrorists", a week later, "suspects", etc.

Watch this space!


-- joj (jump@off.c), November 15, 2001.

Just did a google search for Chile history miltary tribunal pinochet, and came up with LOTS of goodies. I have to go to (shudder) WORK, so I can't follow up on anymore, but here's one:

Some excerpts:

''It is unacceptable for the military courts, with their sorry history under the Pinochet dictatorship (1973-90), to be trying two old Pehuenche women for the alleged crime of ''physically abusing Caribineer officers,'' said the Observatory. During his regime, Pinochet gave the military courts extensive powers to deal with cases of civilians accused of ''mistreating'' police officers physically or verbally.

Environmentalists claimed the military courts ''used yesterday to lock up thousands of Chileans'' are today ''the instrument to persecute the Pehuenche and the ecological organisations.''

OK, maybe you guys don't like old women, environmentalists, or Pehuenche inigenas? Maybe, just maybe, the US's military tribunals won't like YOU, because of your "anti government" political statements.

Get it?


This whole military tribunal thing makes me purple with rage!

-- joj (jump@off.c), November 15, 2001.

JOJ, if you are disappointed in me, than I know I am on the right track.

-- lesley (, November 15, 2001.

Lesley, I'll also be disappointed in you if you throw yourself under a train.


-- joj (jump@off.c), November 15, 2001.

Then at least, you'll KNOW you're on the right track!

-- joj (jump@off.c), November 15, 2001.

Hey! That was funny. The track thing I mean. Anyway, Really do think JOJ is way out in front on this one. This series of actions being taken by our gubamint is a MAJOR step down the road to slavery or serfdom for all of us who are supposed to BE the Government.

I worry about when and just who is going to expand the definition of "Terrorist". I have no problem seeing where it could include anyone w/ "Impure" thoughts regarding many, many topics regarding goubamint actions. Can you imagine a more anti-gubamint document than the Constitution? Unfortunatly, it is already illegal to practice some of the "Rights" supposedly garunteed in that document. These new laws suspend much of the bill of rights. OK, it's only aimed at the bad guys now............but who will it be aimed at next time? And when was the last time the bureaucrats in Washington gave us back any thing they'ed taken?

I suggest again, all of you read John Silveria's excellant series at titled "The coming American dictatorship". Perhaps some of Claire Wolfe's books will help you steer your way to whatever level of freedom you may choose to try and achieve. Try being the key here.

This is one area of interest that ALL OF US should be able to agree on. I don't care what persuasion of anything you are. If you value your freedom, you should be worried about what is going on w/ these developments.

-- John in S. IN (, November 16, 2001.

Once the military courts are used against terrorists, it is only a matter of time till some other group begins to be tried there too. What about the sedition laws that have been re-inacted? I'm Southern to the bone, and have long heard all the stories of suppression caused by the sedition laws. Do you know why no one really knows how to do the famous Rebel yell now? It is because it was illegal to do it. Actually, I think it is STILL illegal to do it. One of the old men in our community used to know how to do it, and I remember hearing him do it a couple of times, but only when the gathering was just about to break up because he was afraid of the law showing up and arresting him. That was in the 1950's. He'd learned it from his father. The military courts are just another slippery slope down to a military government. Think about it. And if you want to know about how a military government acts, read some of the historical documents written during the civil war and during reconstruction. I'm afraid you will find several parallels with today's history shaping up. Those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it.

-- Green (, November 17, 2001.


Just wondering.

Has the government ever done anything that in your mind was not an assault on freedom ?

Talk to you later. (I'm sure of that)

-- Bob in WI (, November 17, 2001.

" OK, it's only aimed at the bad guys now............but who will it be aimed at next time? " And, I might add, just who will decide who is a "bad guy"?

Bob, "Has the government ever done anything that in your mind was not an assault on freedom"

Yes, absolutely. Not often, but sometimes. Why? Do you ask?


-- joj (jump@off.c), November 17, 2001.

I'm with Joe on this.

If you read the "patriot" law, you will see that terrorism is now defined as ANYTHING that endangers jaywalking, or reckless driving, or excessive speeding. I don't mind differentiating between citizens and non citizens but that in itself may become quite a freedom destroyer.

Yes, it does give me the chills.

-- Doreen (, November 20, 2001.

For once Joe and I agree on something.

-- Rebekah (, November 21, 2001.

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