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US Military Tribunals Illegal

Discussion in 'The Pub' started by sonja, Jun 30, 2006.

  1. From the Sydney Morning Herald

    The US Supreme Court has ruled that the military commissions set up by the Bush Administration to try prisoners, including David Hicks, at Guantanamo Bay are illegal and must be abandoned.

    In a major blow to the Administration the five-to-three decision of the court said the Geneva Conventions covering prisoners of war had to be applied to proceedings against all prisoners at Guantanamo.

    With Chief Justice John Roberts excusing himself from hearing the case because he had ruled in favour of the Administration's position when he was in the Federal Court, the court ruled that the Bush Administration's position that prisoners held at Guantanamo and elsewhere are illegal combatants and not covered by the Geneva Conventions is unconstitutional.

    The decision threw the Administration into turmoil; it means it is back to square one in terms of setting up a system to try prisoners that complies with the conventions.

    It means that at the very least, the Pentagon will have to set up standard courts martial for prisoners, with all the protections afforded them under US law.

    It is not clear what the Administration's response will be or how long it will take for it to set up military courts martial to try prisoners, such as Hicks, who have already been charged with offences that may not be valid under Geneva rules.

    Hicks has been at Guantanamo for more than four years and is one of eight prisoners who have been charged with specific offences.

    The court ruled the Administration had the right to detain the prisoners held at Guantanamo, but said if they were to be tried, it had to be through regular courts martial with all the legal protections and access to US courts that this confers.

    The Australian Government has supported the Bush Administration's position on the military commissions that have now been ruled illegal by the Supreme Court, and is now faced with the prospect of Hicks remaining in detention at Guantanamo with no prospect of a hearing for a year or even longer.
  2. Heaven forbid alleged criminals actually receive due process.
  3. The saddest part baout this decision is that it just means it's all going to take a hell of a lot longer to resolve.

    There'll be nothing left of poor David Hicks by the time the US is through with him.

  4. Ok, so answer me this.

    David Hicks is not a member of any military force of any country; he's a free-lance terrorist, and therefore in the strict terms of law, a private citizen.

    So under what means could he be tried under a MILITARY Court Martial, which courts are only for serving members of ONE'S OWN MILITARY???

    The world has gone mad when learned judges come up with idiotic rulings like this......
  5. Hornet you are spot on. I served in the US military on exchange. A US court martial can only try breaches of the 'Universal Code of Military Justice' (UCMJ) It is 'Universal' only in the sense that it applies to all five branches of the US military, ie Navy, Marines, Army, Air force, and Coast Guard. Which of these did Hick's serve with? In any case you have to sign a pledge to obey the UCMJ when you join up, otherwise civil law still applies.

    EDIT- Doh' forgot the Army
  6. Isn't that what a court (whichever it is) is supposed to be determining? Or are we (like Bush) starting from an assumption of guilt? This is the whole problem with this matter. Bush is trying to pre-empt the due process of any kind of law, for political ends.

    Yeah, agree this seems an absurd outcome. But sadly one strangely consistent with a society that regards itself as the ruler of the world.
  7. So by that reasoning they should be Tried in a Civilian court, not a Military Tribunal.

    The Yanks want to have there cake and eat it to on this one.
    They are talking about how unjust the Iraqi regieme was and how unjust the Taliban were (Who they trained let's not forget) and yet they are not giving these people there basic rights under there own law.
    They are F#@^ing hypocrits!
  8. I don't think that the judge has ruled at all regarding Court Martials. The ruling is only in regards to the legality of the current setup.

    The Court Martial is speculation from the journalist, at least that's how I read it.
  9. It would seem to me that this is a piece-meal battle to over-come the directives of the Bush administration.

    I don't think that this is a stupid ruling, it is but one of many rulings to get the prisoners access to due process.

    By having the military commissions be ruled as unconstitutional, all it will now take is for someone to show just what you've all mentioned, that it is also not valid to try these prisoners under the UCMJ either, and then we'll get to the point where the prisoners will be tried under civic law jurisdictions, just as they should be.

    It all smacks of a step-by-step process to gradually wear down the political agenda set up by Bush's administration. If the lawyers aimed at the end goal they wouldn't succeed, and this is but one of many steps to get to the end goal, IMO.
  10. Agree with your general sentiments but this is not quite correct. The US and Britain were involved in arming and training Mujjah Hadeen guerillas led by local warlords (in the war with the Russians), who were subsequently overthrown by Taliban volunteers (largely supported by Saudis such as Osama bin Ladin).
    For my part, I strongly suspect that Hicks was one of many who was seduced by the rhetoric of local recruiters, that they would be fighting the "good fight" against the now-lawless remnants of the Hadeen, and possibly getting involved in Kashmir. A fool certainly, but maybe not much more than that. In any case we will never know without an open trial.
  11. Sorry but the whole thing is so murky that I really can't see any sense in it at all.

    Wasn't Hicks accused of fighting on behalf of the Taliban? Was not the Taliban fighting with the "Northen Alliance"? Could this be termed a civil war started / sponsored by the "Coalition of the willing"? So how does fighting in a civil war type situation automaticly make you a Terrorist?

    I mean if they have evidence that he actually was a terrorist (doing terrorist type stuff) then go ahead, try him anyway you want.

    I'm just disapointed that the "Good Guys" AKA World Police AKA George W. Imprison people just like the nasty countries that they liberate :roll:

    I'm a big fan of innocent until proven guilty. If they have the goods on Hicks then I say give him the high jump. But if they haven't got anything on him then cut him loose.
  12. The Mujjah Hadeen overthrew the encumbernt government that was being supported by the Russians, the Taliban split of from the Mujjah Hadeen and in turn overthrough them. But still many Taliban members had recieved training from the US as part of the Mujjah Hadeen.

    Wikipedia has a great Entry on how messed up it all was
  13. He was captured in the company of a group of mixed nationality that it is widely believed were being trained in the Al Qaeda training camps, which were supported by the local Taliban administration.
    Yes, both before and after the American offensive.

    It certainly was a civil war. But The US accused the Taliban of aiding and abetting Al Qaeda in its attacks on September 11. As a consequence, any foreigners (which included Saudis, Chechens, and many others) found in Afghanistan were deemed to have been there for the purpose of participating in Al Qaeda training and subsequently detained at Guantanamo. Some, such as the other Australian of Pakistani/Afghan descent, were repatriated when it became clear that they had legitimate reasons for being in Afghanistan.
    Hicks hasn't been able to come up with a good excuse, which is why he is still there.

  14. Ok, there's an element of truth in what you say. I suppose my comment was more to clarify that the US would never have knowingly supported the Taliban administration as such. At least not in the way it installed and supported Saddam Hussein.
  15. You mean "...which were supposedly supported by the local Taliban administration"?

    Which basically means that America:
    1. Assumed that any foreigner in Afghanistan was involved with Al Quaeda
    2. started shooting first and haven't bothered asking questions yet (they're very good at this)
    3. Have detained people illegally (no great surprises there, either)

    No, he's still there because John Howard has no balls and won't bring him back here for trial.[/i]
  16. Ummm.. because the Mujahideen were so diferent to the Taliban???

    There is no diference between the two. The yanks will support any one who helps them achieve there goals. and at the times there goal was to give the Russians a bloody nose.

    What is terrorist stuff? You mean killling inocents civilians? because the Americans have done vast amounts of that in both Afganistan and Iraq (And that is only in the reicent past0
    Or is it working against the ligitimate governments. Because the Yanks do this all over the world.
    so what is this terrorist stuff?

    The next question is that if you are going to "try him anyway you want." then you are bypassing Due process. and so how can you accuratly asses the quality of the "evidence" of ther "doing terrorist type stuff"

    If you throw your book of rules out the window you are as bad as the terrorist. And if you are as bad as them then what right have you got to try them?
  17. Or to those cute cuddly Sandanistas?
  18. I wouldn't consider them "cute and cudley" but i also wouldn't say they have quite the blood drenched history of the Taliban

    And once again more evidence of the Yanks supporting tiranicle dictators.

  19. Pinochet of chile supported by the yanks
    That crater faced drug runner in charge of panam
    supported by the yanks till he upset them
    supported by the yanks till he upset them
    Galtieri in Argentina - supported by the yanks

    Pol Pot's regime was the officially recognised regime in Cambodia by the yanks
    the list goes on and on.

    what do these dictators all have in common?
  20. Go on..get off the fence and say what you really mean...