Sunday, May 10, 2009

Military Tribunals, The Reboot

Yet another disappointment to the "civil liberties" element of Obama's teleprompter-induced coalition, i.e., those who bought into empty campaign rhetoric:
The Obama administration is preparing to revive the system of military commissions established at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, under new rules that would offer terrorism suspects greater legal protections, government officials said.
The rules would block the use of evidence obtained from coercive interrogations, tighten the admissibility of hearsay testimony and allow detainees greater freedom to choose their attorneys, said the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly.
The military commissions have allowed the trial of terrorism suspects in a setting that favors the government and protects classified information, but they were sharply criticized during the administration of President George W. Bush. "By any measure, our system of trying detainees has been an enormous failure," then-candidate Barack Obama said in June 2008.
In another legal development that puts the administration at odds with many of its supporters, the Ninth Circuit rejected the Justice Department's secrecy doctrine argument in a case revolving around the controversial rendition program:
A federal appeals court rebuffed the Obama administration's assertion of secrecy Tuesday and reinstated a lawsuit by five men who say a Bay Area subsidiary of Boeing Co. helped the CIA fly them to foreign countries to be tortured.
The ruling by the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco is the first major setback for the new administration's attempt to use secrecy doctrines to fend off challenges to clandestine activities authorized by President George W. Bush. President Obama's Justice Department is also defending a Bush wiretapping program in lawsuits pending in San Francisco.
Click here for the full text of the decision in Binyan Mohamed v. Jeppesen Dataplan Inc., Case No. 08-15693.