By Patrick Martin:
Bush seeks to extend Guantánamo procedures to American citizens
1 August 2006
In draft legislation prepared in response to last month’s Supreme Court decision against the use of military tribunals for US prisoners at Guantánamo Bay, the Bush administration proposes to extend the practice of indefinite detention and summary trial by military commissions to include American citizens.
According to press accounts Friday, based on leaks from those with access to the draft, the bill would essentially legalize the military tribunals in the form decreed by Bush in 2001, with only minor changes, while for the first time making US citizens as well as foreign nationals subject to such summary proceedings.
The tribunals, commissions of active-duty military personnel under orders of the president as commander-in-chief, would have the power to impose death sentences based on secret evidence and in proceedings from which the defendants could be excluded whenever military judges decided this was “necessary to protect national security.”
The Washington Post reported that the draft legislation had initially reaffirmed the 2001 Bush order that limited the jurisdiction of the military commissions to “alien enemy combatants.”
This language was crossed out, the newspaper said, and replaced by language giving the commissions authority to try anyone “engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners,” regardless of nationality.