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Military Tribunals?


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#1 Uncle Coulro

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Posted 04 April 2011 - 05:09 PM

In a dramatic and complete reversal of policy, President Obama has decided to subject the five Gitmo detainees (Khalid Sheik Mohammed, Walid bin Attash, Ramzi bin al-Shibh, Ali Abd al-Aziz Ali and Mustafa Ahmed al-Hawsawi) accused of planning the 9/11 attacks to a military tribunal rather than a criminal court.

Tribunals have long been a part of US wartime legal process. The main difference is a tribunal is an inquisition (the judges, the defense, and the prosecution are "on the same team") rather than the adversarial system used in US criminal courts.

There's definite precedent for this action, but I am disturbed this is one more broken promise made by the President. It's not the actual decision which bothers me so much as the apparent integrity issue.

Questions:

  • Tribunals are a wartime legal process - should we use them for criminal trials, like these? Seems like a bad precedent.
  • Do all these broken promises matter? After all, all the other presidents broke promises, as well.


#2 Uncle Coulro

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Posted 04 April 2011 - 09:22 PM

Guess I shouldn't be surprised. The anointed cannot err.

#3 Baidarka

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Posted 04 April 2011 - 09:33 PM

Seems like a bad precedent.


A present President precedent?

I'd say more the hit to the integrity than the decision.

Do we really need the details and secrets of how we know what we know(to whatever level of plausible deniability)heard in an open criminal court or by those whom I hope would have a level of security as not to sit down on E! after the trial, or write a tell-all book?

#4 Jwheelz

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Posted 04 April 2011 - 09:37 PM

Obama talked a lot about the Constitution and rule of law... so this decision actually makes me angry...this is the kind of thing that makes people become apathetic... I guess I should've expected a politician to lie, but I shouldn't have to expect that :plain:

#5 Uncle Coulro

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Posted 04 April 2011 - 09:44 PM

Do we really need the details and secrets of how we know what we know(to whatever level of plausible deniability)heard in an open criminal court

Gag orders and suppressed court records are not unusual in criminal trials where classified sources and methods are discussed. The same could be done here, so the issue isn't about protecting secrets. Tribunals are used by military governors because they are effective and quick. The precedent that concerns me is, if a tribunal can be used for these criminal proceedings, simply at the discretion of the Executive Branch, what's stopping their use in any and all Federal criminal cases?

#6 B. Diddy

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Posted 04 April 2011 - 09:46 PM

Maybe because the accused are not citizens of the US and as such do not have the rights we have?

We can't declare war on people who use terror, but we treat the effort of eradicating them like a war. So between the US and the terrorists, it IS war time, even if it's not declared. Thus the use of tribunals. Not arguing for or against, just giving the rationalization for the usage of military tribunals.

#7 Jwheelz

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Posted 04 April 2011 - 09:48 PM

Maybe because the accused are not citizens of the US and as such do not have the rights we have?

We can't declare war on people who use terror, but we treat the effort of eradicating them like a war. So between the US and the terrorists, it IS war time, even if it's not declared. Thus the use of tribunals. Not arguing for or against, just giving the rationalization for the usage of military tribunals.


That is the rationale provided, but I don't remember anything in the Constitution saying habeas corpus and the right to a fair trial only applies to citizens...

#8 Royal

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Posted 04 April 2011 - 09:50 PM

Wait I'm confused, no of the dudes have Iraqi names? :wink:

#9 B. Diddy

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Posted 04 April 2011 - 09:51 PM

Hmm.

From answer.com:

Does the US Constitution apply only to citizens?

Answer

No, the rights of both citizens and non-citizens are protected by the US Constitution. However, there are some right specifically reserved for citizens, such as the right to a Federal job and to vote.

In actuality, the Constitution doesn't apply to "citizens," nor does it even apply to "people." It applies to the government. It tells the government what it can and can't do (the body tells the government what it can do, and the Bill of Rights tells it what it can't do).

Immigration rules are administrative ones, and are mandated by Congress, not the courts.

While what is said above is legally true, in reality, non-citizen's rights are NOT protected by the US Constitution. The government cannot completely remove the right of aliens to keep and bear arms, have freedom of expression, etc, but it can greatly restrict those rights almost to the point where they are non-existent. This just goes to show that the interpretation of the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights is really completely arbitary on the part of the government.

Read more: http://wiki.answers....s#ixzz1Ias1KU4J

#10 Uncle Coulro

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Posted 04 April 2011 - 09:52 PM

Maybe because the accused are not citizens of the US and as such do not have the rights we have?

We can't declare war on people who use terror, but we treat the effort of eradicating them like a war. So between the US and the terrorists, it IS war time, even if it's not declared. Thus the use of tribunals. Not arguing for or against, just giving the rationalization for the usage of military tribunals.

OK. What do you think about the President's polar policy change, here. Just a couple of years ago, he and Holder said tribunals were wrong in this situation, because they set a bad precedent concerning the rule of law, and they would not use them. Was Obama wrong then, or is he wrong now?

#11 B. Diddy

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Posted 04 April 2011 - 09:57 PM

I wish I knew. We'd need to see how the next 100 years worked out in either case and then compare. So history will tell us if he's right or wrong on the issue.

In any case it's disheartening to see him going back on a promise, but promises are made considering the facts available at the time. As the CIC he's privy to all sorts of knowledge he didn't have as a candidate. Perhaps having the extra intelligence proved it was wise to change his stance.

#12 Uncle Coulro

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Posted 04 April 2011 - 10:02 PM

As the CIC he's privy to all sorts of knowledge he didn't have as a candidate. Perhaps having the extra intelligence proved it was wise to change his stance.

Over a year after his inauguration, he and Holder reiterated their commitment to criminal trials for these suspects. The Repubs criticized him unmercifully because of that. He may have better info, now, but if that's the case, he shouldn't have made a promise out of ignorance.

"These terror trials belong in a military commission at Guantanamo ... Today's reversal is yet another vindication of President Bush's detention policies by the Obama Administration." -- Rep. Peter King (R - NY)
"Federal courts have convicted hundreds of terrorists ... When Americans are murdered on American soil, we should not be afraid to bring those responsible for those heinous acts to justice in American courts." -- Rep. Patrick Leahy (D - VT)

#13 Julius

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Posted 04 April 2011 - 10:10 PM

OK. What do you think about the President's polar policy change, here. Just a couple of years ago, he and Holder said tribunals were wrong in this situation, because they set a bad precedent concerning the rule of law, and they would not use them. Was Obama wrong then, or is he wrong now?


Candidate then, incumbent now. That's all there is to it in my book.

#14 Count P-Funk

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Posted 04 April 2011 - 10:13 PM

I'm not pleased with the decision, but it's probably worth noting that congress kind of forced his hand here by passing a bill that prohibited the Pentagon from sending detainees from Guantanamo to the United States.

#15 Uncle Coulro

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Posted 04 April 2011 - 10:24 PM

Candidate then, incumbent now. That's all there is to it in my book.

In the Fall of 2009, a year after the election, Holder said the 9/11 defendants would be tried in a Federal court, and he and Obama were roundly criticized by the Repubs for that decision.

#16 Julius

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Posted 04 April 2011 - 11:41 PM

Honestly, for the 5 detainees in question, I'd be fine with a lobotomize and release program.

#17 PieDoh

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Posted 04 April 2011 - 11:54 PM

(crushing all) Hope and Change(ing the mind, L-I-B-E-R-A-L-L-Y)

#18 elder

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Posted 05 April 2011 - 01:56 AM

Candidate then, incumbent now....


... candidate again.

Wonder if he's going to re-run on the whole "change" thing again?


Same as it ever was, same as it ever was, same as it....ahh someone shoot me already.

#19 seany

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Posted 05 April 2011 - 03:11 AM

Candidate then, incumbent now. That's all there is to it in my book.


This. Lose the re-election support of lower NY/NYC (and possibly CT/NJ) and it's game over for a Democrat incumbent.

My feeling on the issue is that Obama had the right intentions on Guantanamo and trials in federal criminal court, but completely underestimated the politics of doing so. If he wanted to enact that policy, it pretty much would have had to have been done in the first year (as promised). Maybe it was more complicated than it seems - esp. the closing of Gitmo. Trials at home seems more like a political problem than a logistical issue, though one could surely argue that if they are tried by military tribunal it is a lot easier for the gov't to withhold evidence as classified and still get the conviction they want without the political hassles.

I think all presidents come into office with a long list of good intentions and quickly realize the have far less political capital than they thought they had. With the economy, deficits, wars, and healthcare, I can imagine this battle looks a lot less relevant today to them than it did two years ago. Doesn't make it right, but it's probably the reality.

Personally, I think Obama better get his house in order and come out swinging on 5 key issues very soon and articulate that vision and the reasons behind them very well. Else he's likely to lose the independent vote, provided the Republicans are able to quickly filter through the crazier stuff in their primaries and field a solid candidate. Obama is a pretty good orator in terms of sounding good, but saying nothing. And so far his policies have largely reflected that wishy-washiness. It's time to either take the gloves off and lead on principal or fold.

#20 vic

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Posted 05 April 2011 - 02:05 PM

one could surely argue that if they are tried by military tribunal it is a lot easier for the gov't to withhold evidence as classified and still get the conviction they want without the political hassles.


this...i think this whole thing has a lot less to do with the accused's right than it does with dirty laundry...and in this case there's plenty of it

#21 TEO

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Posted 05 April 2011 - 04:12 PM

As to integrity, has he explain was additional information or circumstances caused his seeming flip-flop?

#22 Joker

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Posted 05 April 2011 - 06:17 PM

Holder Blames Congress for Forcing Hand on Military Commissions for 9/11 Detainees

Congress tied the Obama administration's hands in trying the alleged mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks and his accomplices, Attorney General Eric Holder said Monday, announcing that he was left without a choice and has referred the cases to the Defense Department for trial.

In stark language, Holder lambasted Congress for imposing restrictions blocking any detainees from being tried in the U.S., saying that the "unwise and unwarranted restrictions" undermine the U.S. in counter-intelligence and counter-terror efforts.

Expressing his disappointment in no uncertain terms, the attorney general said that as a native New Yorker, he knows as well as anyone the federal court's capacity to try the suspects. He added that he's intimately familiar with the cases, much moreso than congressional members -- or the public -- who opposed allowing the cases to be held in the United States.

"Do I know better than them? Yes. I respect their ability to disagree but they should respect that this is an executive branch function, a unique executive branch function," Holder said in a press conference.

As a result, Holder said Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who has been incarcerated in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, since 2006, after being captured in Pakistan in 2003, and four alleged Sept. 11 co-conspirators will face prosecution by a military commission in Guantanamo.


Read more: http://www.foxnews.c.../#ixzz1IfqdW7dd