FC: President Bush says military tribunals will try civilian cases

From: Declan McCullagh (declanat_private)
Date: Wed Nov 14 2001 - 06:47:22 PST

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    President Bush has quietly signed an executive order allowing civilians to 
    be tried by military tribunals. This may be outrageous.
    I say "may be" because the degree to which we should be outraged depends on 
    the details of this not-yet-released executive order. Does the executive 
    order apply only to non-U.S. citizens, as some news reports say? Perhaps it 
    applies only abroad, to Al Qaeda saboteurs trying to blow up U.S. military 
    bases? Does it apply solely to illegal immigrants? If it applies to people 
    living in or visiting the U.S. legally, what happened to our Sixth 
    Amendment right "to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury?"
    One thing that seems apparent is that the writ of Habeas Corpus, the 
    so-called Great Writ and bulwark of liberty, is in danger of disappearing. 
    The Constitution says "the privilege of the writ of Habeas Corpus shall not 
    be suspended, unless when in cases of rebellion or invasion the public 
    safety may require it." During the Civil War, President Lincoln suspended 
    the writ of Habeas Corpus and ordered that suspected political criminals be 
    tried before military tribunals.
    Alas, and predictably, you won't see anything on the White House website. 
    The staff there managed to place online an executive order creating a "task 
    force on citizen prepardness" 
    (http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2001/11/20011109-15.html) -- but 
    somehow neglected to do the same with news that's just a tad more important.
    WASHINGTON, Nov. 13  President Bush signed an order today allowing special 
    military tribunals to try foreigners charged with terrorism. A senior 
    administration official said that any such trials would "not necessarily" 
    be public and that the American tribunals might operate in Pakistan and 
    See also:
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