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Obama to Restart Terror Tribunals for Some Guantanamo Bay Detainees

Discussion in 'Political Zone' started by Doomsday101, May 15, 2009.

  1. Doomsday101

    Doomsday101 Well-Known Member

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    WASHINGTON -- President Obama is expected to announce Friday that he will re-institute the military tribunals he initially put on hold, two senior officials told FOX News.

    Thirteen detainees have been identified as likely candidates for this approach, and that number may well grow larger, as prosecutors review a number of cases in which the re-instated military commissions could be used.

    Administration officials, however, refused to speculate on the precise number of cases that will be adjudicated in military commissions, and they wouldn't confirm an Associated Press report that 10-20 additional detainees in custody at Guantanamo Bay will be subject to these trials.

    One official said the additional numbers cited by the AP are "wrong" because prosecutors "have not made decisions" about how many detainees may be subject to military tribunals. Another official said the tribunal will not resemble those set in motion during the Bush years because detainees will have additional legal protections -- specifically more freedom to select their lawyers, block the use of evidence obtained through coercion and limit the use of hearsay evidence.

    Obama supported these changes while in the Senate, and officials say he will insist on these protections in re-started military tribunals. Administration officials say this is a key difference with the Bush approach, and Obama should not be open to criticism for reviving the Bush approach to prosecuting suspected terrorists. These are changes to the Military Commissions Act that Obama unsuccessfully sought during congressional debate on the act in 2006.

    The continuation of military commission proceedings, the officials said, is designed to obtain "swift and certain justice" that Obama lawyers believe can withstand judicial scrutiny.

    The White House is up against a 120-day deadline that ends Wednesday. Obama "suspended" the military commissions in January and is under pressure to develop a plan for what to do with the detainees at facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, after vowing to close the facility. There also is the issue of the trial of Ahmed al-Darbi, a Saudi accused of plotting to attack a ship in the Strait of Hormuz, which is scheduled to begin May 27.

    Another U.S. official who spoke with FOX News on condition of anonymity believes there are nine cases involving 13 detainees already in the system who will stay in the commissions. The official said there will be proposed changes proposed to the commissions, described to FOX News as "minor tweeking" that will be billed as significant to blunt attacks from the left.

    Congress would be notified of the changes and would have 60 days to consider them.

    The rest of the detainees would either be released, transferred to other nations or tried by civilian prosecutors in U.S. federal courts, an official said. It's also possible that some could continue to be held indefinitely as prisoners of war with full Geneva Conventions protections, a senior U.S. official told the Associated Press.

    The tribunal system -- set up after the military began sweeping detainees off the battlefields of Afghanistan in late 2001 -- has been under repeated challenges from human rights and legal organizations because it denied defendants many of the rights they would be granted in a civilian courtroom.

    In February 2008, during his presidential campaign, Obama described the Guantanamo trials as "a flawed military commission system that has failed to convict any one of a terrorist act since the 9/11 attacks and that has been embroiled in legal challenges." Critics, including many Democrats, cited the tribunals in assailing Bush, who had pushed Congress to create the system. They accused him of violating U.S. law by limiting the detainees' legal rights
  2. JBond

    JBond Well-Known Member

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    Obama is a clueless idiot. What else was he going to do? Just release them in the US and give them welfare? Maybe they can live with his aunt in a government created slum.
  3. ABQCOWBOY

    ABQCOWBOY Moderator Staff Member

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    Well JB, I have to admit that it does bother me that FP Bush and his Administration were treated so badly about these issues and that McCain was made out to be a Villain for the same reasons, all the while President Obama benefited from it. Having said this, I do feel good about that fact that the President seems to be trying to move in the right direction where these matters are concerned. At the end of the day, the first priority needs to be the safety of the Nation. I think that the President is slowly realizing that the Bush Administration did things the way they did for a reason. I hope he continues to make progress with relations to these problems.
  4. JBond

    JBond Well-Known Member

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    Whatever it takes to keep us safe. I'm glad Obama is growing up and realizes he is president, and is starting to finally act a little presidential.

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