October 18, 2006
@ 01:30 AM

From the ACLU press release President Bush Signs Un-American Military Commissions Act, ACLU Says New Law Undermines Due Process and the Rule of Law we learn

WASHINGTON - As President Bush signed S. 3930, the Military Commissions Act of 2006 into law, the American Civil Liberties Union expressed outrage and called the new law one of the worst civil liberties measures ever enacted in American history.
...
"The president can now - with the approval of Congress - indefinitely hold people without charge, take away protections against horrific abuse, put people on trial based on hearsay evidence, authorize trials that can sentence people to death based on testimony literally beaten out of witnesses, and slam shut the courthouse door for habeas petitions.  Nothing could be further from the American values we all hold in our hearts than the Military Commissions Act."

It's a good thing the American media is keeping on top of all the important issues like which gay Republicans were having inappropriate relations with heir male interns instead of mundane bits of legal mumbo jumbo like the death of Habeus Corpus.


 

Wednesday, October 18, 2006 2:35:55 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
I generally refrain from commenting on this sort of issue in a "work related forum". I read your blog for the technical aspects and you expert insight so, it feels work-related to me. But, whatever, I'll go out on a limb here.

That press release is...less than accurate. For example, regarding evidence obtained through torture:

"EXCLUSION OF STATEMENTS OBTAINED BY TORTURE.—A
statement obtained by use of torture shall not be admissible in
a military commission under this chapter, except against a person
accused of torture as evidence that the statement was made."

And, regarding hearsay:
"(E)(i) Except as provided in clause (ii), hearsay evidence
not otherwise admissible under the rules of evidence applicable
in trial by general courts-martial may be admitted in a trial
by military commission if the proponent of the evidence makes
known to the adverse party, sufficiently in advance to provide the adverse party with a fair opportunity to meet the evidence,
the intention of the proponent to offer the evidence, and the
particulars of the evidence (including information on the general
circumstances under which the evidence was obtained).
The disclosure of evidence under the preceding sentence is
subject to the requirements and limitations applicable to the
disclosure of classified information in section 949j(c) of this
title.

(ii) Hearsay evidence not otherwise admissible under the
rules of evidence applicable in trial by general courts-martial
shall not be admitted in a trial by military commission if
the party opposing the admission of the evidence demonstrates
that the evidence is unreliable or lacking in probative value."


So, it's really not one of those "you're with us or against us" situations. It's far more nuanced. People really should read the entire document if they're concerned about this (WHICH THEY SHOULD BE!)

http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=109_cong_bills&docid=f:s3930enr.txt.pdf

BTW, I completely agree with you about the state of media coverage.
Mike Padula
Wednesday, October 18, 2006 3:50:57 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
It's a little strong to call denying Habeus Corpus to foreign combatants in order to protect intelligence assets a death. Wound? Maybe. But seriously, if so, it's barely a scratch.
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