USA: Bush: Guantánamo style ‘justice’ also for US citizens

Bush as Mussolini on Guantanamo, cartoonBy 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.

4 thoughts on “USA: Bush: Guantánamo style ‘justice’ also for US citizens

  1. *American Prison Camps Are on the Way*

    by Marjorie Cohn
    October 9, 2006

    Kellogg Brown & Root, a Halliburton subsidiary, is constructing a
    huge facility at an undisclosed location to hold tens of thousands of
    Bush’s “unlawful enemy combatants.” Americans are certain to be among

    The Military Commissions Act of 2006 governing the treatment of
    detainees is the culmination of relentless fear-mongering by the Bush
    administration since the September 11 terrorist attacks.

    Because the bill was adopted with lightning speed, barely anyone noticed
    that it empowers Bush to declare not just aliens, but also U.S.
    citizens, “unlawful enemy combatants.”

    Bush & Co. has portrayed the bill as a tough way to deal with aliens to
    protect us against terrorism. Frightened they might lose their majority
    in Congress in the November elections, the Republicans rammed the bill
    through Congress with little substantive debate.

    Anyone who donates money to a charity that turns up on Bush’s list of
    “terrorist” organizations, or who speaks out against the government’s
    policies could be declared an “unlawful enemy combatant” and imprisoned
    indefinitely. That includes American citizens.

    The bill also strips habeas corpus rights from detained aliens who have
    been declared enemy combatants. Congress has the constitutional power to
    suspend habeas corpus only in times of rebellion or invasion. The
    habeas-stripping provision in the new bill is unconstitutional and the
    Supreme Court will likely say so when the issue comes before it.

    Although more insidious, this law follows in the footsteps of other
    unnecessarily repressive legislation. In times of war and national
    crisis, the government has targeted immigrants and dissidents.

    In 1798, the Federalist-led Congress, capitalizing on the fear of war,
    passed the four Alien and Sedition Acts to stifle dissent against the
    Federalist Party’s political agenda. The Naturalization Act extended the
    time necessary for immigrants to reside in the U.S. because most
    immigrants sympathized with the Republicans.

    The Alien Enemies Act provided for the arrest, detention and deportation
    of male citizens of any foreign nation at war with the United States.
    Many of the 25,000 French citizens living in the U.S. could have been
    expelled had France and America gone to war, but this law was never
    used. The Alien Friends Act authorized the deportation of any
    non-citizen suspected of endangering the security of the U.S.
    government; the law lasted only two years and no one was deported under

    The Sedition Act provided criminal penalties for any person who wrote,
    printed, published, or spoke anything “false, scandalous and malicious”
    with the intent to hold the government in “contempt or disrepute.” The
    Federalists argued it was necessary to suppress criticism of the
    government in time of war. The Republicans objected that the Sedition
    Act violated the First Amendment, which had become part of the
    Constitution seven years earlier. Employed exclusively against
    Republicans, the Sedition Act was used to target congressmen and
    newspaper editors who criticized President John Adams.

    Subsequent examples of laws passed and actions taken as a result of
    fear-mongering during periods of xenophobia are the Espionage Act of
    1917, the Sedition Act of 1918, the Red Scare following World War I, the
    forcible internment of people of Japanese descent during World War II,
    and the Alien Registration Act of 1940 (the Smith Act).

    During the McCarthy period of the 1950s, in an effort to eradicate the
    perceived threat of communism, the government engaged in widespread
    illegal surveillance to threaten and silence anyone who had an
    unorthodox political viewpoint. Many people were jailed, blacklisted and
    lost their jobs. Thousands of lives were shattered as the FBI engaged in
    “red-baiting.” One month after the terrorist attacks of September 11,
    2001, United States Attorney General John Ashcroft rushed the U.S.A.
    Patriot Act through a timid Congress. The Patriot Act created a crime of
    domestic terrorism aimed at political activists who protest government
    policies, and set forth an ideological test for entry into the United

    In 1944, the Supreme Court upheld the legality of the internment of
    Japanese and Japanese-American citizens in Korematsu v. United States.
    Justice Robert Jackson warned in his dissent that the ruling would “lie
    about like a loaded weapon ready for the hand of any authority that can
    bring forward a plausible claim of an urgent need.”

    That day has come with the Military Commissions Act of 2006. It provides
    the basis for the President to round-up both aliens and U.S. citizens he
    determines have given material support to terrorists. Kellogg Brown &
    Root, a subsidiary of Cheney’s Halliburton, is constructing a huge
    facility at an undisclosed location to hold tens of thousands of

    In his 1928 dissent in Olmstead v. United States, Justice Louis Brandeis
    cautioned, “The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious
    encroachment by men of zeal, well meaning but without understanding.”
    Seventy-three years later, former White House spokesman Ari Fleischer,
    speaking for a zealous President, warned Americans “they need to watch
    what they say, watch what they do.”

    We can expect Bush to continue to exploit 9/11 to strip us of more of
    our liberties. Our constitutional right to dissent is in serious
    jeopardy. Benjamin Franklin’s prescient warning should give us pause:
    “They who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security,
    deserve neither liberty or security.”

    – – – – – – – – – – – – –
    Marjorie Cohn, a professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, is
    president-elect of the National Lawyers Guild, and the U.S.
    representative to the executive committee of the American Association of
    Jurists. Her new book, “Cowboy Republic: Six Ways the Bush Gang Has
    Defied the Law,” will be published in 2007 by PoliPointPress.

    Read this at:


  2. Pingback: Ex-Guantanamo guard about torture | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  3. Pingback: Musicians protest use of songs for torture | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  4. Pingback: USA: Marine sergeant on torture at Guantánamo | Dear Kitty. Some blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.