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maddezmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-18-04 03:52 AM
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Newsweek~The Road to the Brig
April 26 issue - In September 2002, just before the first anniversary of the September 11 attacks, a group of senior Bush administration officials convened for a secret videoconference to make a difficult decision: what to do with six Americans suspected of conspiring with Al Qaeda. The Yemeni-born men from Lackawanna, N.Y., were accused of training at a camp in Afghanistan, where some had met Osama bin Laden. The president's men were divided. For Dick Cheney and his ally, Donald Rumsfeld, the answer was simple: the accused men should be locked up indefinitely as "enemy combatants," and thrown into a military brig with no right to trial or even to see a lawyer. That's what authorities had done with two other Americans, Yaser Hamdi and Jose Padilla. "They are the enemy, and they're right here in the country," Cheney argued, according to a participant. But others were hesitant to take the extraordinary step of stripping the men of their rights, especially because there was no evidence that they had actually carried out any terrorist acts. Instead, John Ashcroft insisted he could bring a tough criminal case against them for providing "material support" to Al Qaeda.

On that day, at least, the attorney general won the debate, and the Lackawanna Six eventually pleaded guilty. It wasn't the first time, or the last, that top Bush officials would spar over such weighty legal issues. For government lawyers, the detention of foreign fighters at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, hadn't been a tough legal call. After all, they were soldiers fighting on behalf of a hostile enemy, captured on the battlefield. But the administration hadn't anticipated that U.S. citizens might occasionally turn up in the mix. In the months after 9/11 there were fierce debatesand even shouting matchesinside the White House over the treatment of Americans with suspected Qaeda ties. On one side, Ashcroft, perhaps in part protecting his turf, argued in favor of letting the criminal-justice system work, and warned that the White House had to be mindful of public opinion and a potentially wary Supreme Court. On the other, Cheney and Rumsfeld argued that in time of war there are few limits on what a president can do to protect the country. "There have been some very intense disagreements," says a senior law-enforcement official. "It has been a hard-fought war."
more: /

more rifts in the misadministration.
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maddezmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-18-04 07:19 AM
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1. follow up link to current story
High Court to Hear 'Enemy Combatant' Cases

To fight terrorism, President Bush has made the broadest assertions of wartime executive power since World War II. Beginning this week, some of those claims will face the Supreme Court's scrutiny for the first time since the president began to announce them in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

On Tuesday, the justices will hear appeals by suspected al Qaeda and Taliban members who are seeking a legal forum in which they can fight their months-long imprisonment at the U.S. naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. On April 28, lawyers for two U.S. citizen terrorism suspects who have been held and questioned by the military as "enemy combatants" will make a similar plea.

The cases pose a fresh challenge to the war policies of an administration already on the defensive over its handling of Iraq and its pre-Sept. 11 approach to al Qaeda terrorism. While the president is urging the Supreme Court to interpret its constitutional role narrowly -- to do nothing more than ratify what it says are exclusive constitutional prerogatives of the commander in chief -- advocates for the detainees and their supporters are telling the justices that the court is all that stands between the citizenry and the unchecked power of the executive branch.

"The issue is whether the president will be the sole judge of how the balance will be struck in reconciling the rule of law with the requirements of security," said Michael J. Glennon, who teaches national security law at Tufts University's Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. "There is a presumption . . . in cases such as this that neither the president nor the Congress will be the sole judge, that the Supreme Court will have the last word. The court will insist on a high in finding that presumption rebutted."


Just discussed on CSPAN...if you get a chance watch the rerun.
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0007 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-18-04 07:54 AM
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2. I wish DUers would read these two article!
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