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News Supreme Court Rules Bush's Military Tribunals Illegal!

  1. Jun 29, 2006 #1

    Astronuc

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    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060629/ap_on_go_su_co/scotus_guantanamo_trials_4;_ylt=AnAA3ePu334f9K110LZV6yg3NiUi;_ylu=X3oDMTBiMW04NW9mBHNlYwMlJVRPUCUl [Broken]

    http://news.yahoo.com/fc/world/guantanamo_detainees [Broken]

    It's about time.

    Imagine that - this president doing something illegal! Who'd've thought. :rolleyes:

    Sad though that three Justices sided with the administration.
     
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  3. Jun 29, 2006 #2

    arildno

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    I guess Tony Scalia opposed that ruling..::rolleyes:
     
  4. Jun 29, 2006 #3
    This is interesting:

    http://news.yahoo.com/fc/world/guantanamo_detainees [Broken]

    It's illegal under both U.S. law and the Geneva Conventions, but he seeking to work around that with new legislation. But how can he legislate around the Geneva Conventions, which are international treaties, without effectively withdrawing from them?
     
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  5. Jun 29, 2006 #4

    SOS2008

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    Damn liberal activist judges (except three :rolleyes: ). What are they thinking, supporting the Rule of Law and all. Geneva convention? We don't need no stinking Geneva convention. I thought we threw that out! < sarcasm >
     
  6. Jun 29, 2006 #5

    BobG

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    His comment is in response to Justice Breyer's opinion, which he prepared separately, even though siding with the majority:

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/13592908/
    One thing I've noticed is that the justices don't seem to get along very well anymore. Thomas read his dissenting opinion from the bench - something that's rarely done and never by Thomas before. In the Kansas death penalty case, Souter's and Scalia's opinions seemed to go off on a personal debate between the two that had little, if any, relevance to the case at hand. There was another case very recently where the dissenting opinion was read from the bench, but I can't recall which case, now.
     
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  7. Jun 29, 2006 #6

    Bystander

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    SCOTUS says, "Take no prisoners." So be it.
     
  8. Jun 29, 2006 #7
    Wow this is screwed up, look at what Clarence Thomas did:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/06/29/w...&en=1aa0983620edfa9b&ei=5094&partner=homepage

    Is that out of place or what?
     
  9. Jun 29, 2006 #8

    SOS2008

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    The Myth of Al Qaeda Bolstered by Torture

    Legality aside, these prisons are a waste of tax dollars and most of all America's reputation--including the "black" or secret prisons. Many journalists have debunked the Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld myth of Al Qeada and the so-called war on terror. A must read is Ron Suskind's most recent book "THE ONE PERCENT DOCTRINE." From one of many reviews:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/06/19/AR2006061901211.html?sub=AR

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/13600653/site/newsweek/ [Broken]

    In the meantime scores of prisoners have been released after years of detention because evidence was lacking. Yet Justice Thomas said: "the decision hobbles the president's ability to wage war against a stateless enemy fighting on a new landscape for combat." To hell with Justice Thomas and Bush. There is no excuse. We can combat terrorism and still abide by the Rule of Law and international treaties. Indeed we must, or we are no better than the lawless terrorists we condemn.
     
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  10. Jun 29, 2006 #9
    What is hobbling Americas efforts against stateless enemy fighters is the huge distraction of Iraq. Thomas should read the paper sometime.

    http://www.kentucky.com/mld/heraldleader/news/world/14926687.htm
    They are being generous when they say 8 of 10, 87% say the Iraq war is hurting the war on terror effort.
     
  11. Jun 29, 2006 #10

    Gokul43201

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    Wow! Unbelievable!
     
  12. Jun 29, 2006 #11
    Heh, that is nothing compared to what he said here:

     
  13. Jun 29, 2006 #12

    Gokul43201

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    In that statement, he is addressing a matter that at least ties into the legality of the case.

    The other statement (the one quoted by Rach) has nothing to do with the legality. Instead he appears to be assigning merit on the basis of factors other than legality.
     
  14. Jun 29, 2006 #13
    I agree on your assessment of what Rach presented. But as for what I quoted, I'm not sure how that can be taken as anything but an outright denial of his responsibly to check and balance the power of the other branches.
     
  15. Jun 30, 2006 #14

    Astronuc

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    Well, Rove's plan is a one-party state, where his party controls Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches of the Federal and State governments. One would have to concede that it would be more efficient - no need for elections. :rolleyes:
     
  16. Jun 30, 2006 #15

    BobG

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    Polarization within SCOTUS? It almost looks like the Supreme Court has been reduced to one person: Justice Kennedy. A lot of 5 vote majorities will cause a lot of frustration with the other eight.

    It would probably be unfair to compare Roberts in his first year as Chief Justice to someone who held the position for years, but it will probably be a stormy court for a while.
     
  17. Jun 30, 2006 #16
    Agreed

    The fact that most Americans aren't tracking the sum of all the changes at once concerns me the most, seeing only a spreckle here and there. Lets add it up....

    Police no longer need to announce themselves when serving warrants.
    When arrested, we don't get an atty for up to 12 weeks
    They can tap any phone line THEY deem worthy, without judicial oversight
    They have pulled the complete history on more than 30,000 libraries/without any judicial device i.e. warrants or subpeona JUST the NSA letter head
    The wrong look or name can get you blocked from travel
    They are obviously in the banking industry more fully than before

    When do they issue the SS for police officers?

    Rove, who got 95% of this country to agree on a war with a country that had no Navy, Air Force or a MBT main battle tank. Ya, that was a SERIOUS threat to our freedom.

    Former Navy (FCT) Suface Warfare
    Voter
    Todd
     
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  18. Jun 30, 2006 #17

    Gokul43201

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    How did you arrive at that?

    From what I've understood, the jist of what SCOTUS said is that prisoners taken during the war must be given all the PoW privileges afforded by Geneva. If an prisoner is not a PoW, s/he must be afforded the rights given to a US citizen. And further, that the Congress has not given Bush the power to hold prisoners that can be denied protection under both Geneva as well as the US legal system.
     
  19. Jun 30, 2006 #18

    selfAdjoint

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    Swell post! Al Qaeda wanted to scare us, panic us, and he did it! My own test case was the reaction of Dahlia Lithwick, the supreme court interpreter over at Slate, to the Patriot Act. Although she has the rep of a real devotee of the Constitution, she was critically soft on the Patriot Act and its (to me ) unconstitutional provisions. And the reason she gave, reading between her lines, was that she was in an al Qaeda funk and ready to buy any bunkum anti-al Qaeda nostrum the Bush administration offered.

    "I do not know when fascism will come to the US, but I know that when it comes it will be called Americanism." A rough memory of Will Rogers.
     
  20. Jun 30, 2006 #19

    selfAdjoint

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    Even Bush is now quoted as saying the decision "Doesn't mean the terrorists will be put out on the street." Get with the program, Bystander!
     
  21. Jun 30, 2006 #20

    Bystander

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    You sum up the sources of the conclusion pretty well in your next paragraph:

    The lacunae in jus gentium under which the situation must be examined are the same as those under which the Lafayette Escadrille of WW I, the International Brigade of the Spanish Civil War, the American Eagle Squadron and AVG of WW II, several thousand Canadians in U. S. service during the Vietnam era, the FFL in several conflicts, and who knows how many others operated: citizens of "neutral" third foreign powers engaged in armed conflicts; the "neutral" foreign powers recognizing those citizens, but not barring/banning their participation in the conflicts unless they had been taken as PoWs and repatriated to be interned; and, one difference, the conflicts taking place between organized, recognized political or demographic entities (nations), or at least some semblance of same (SCW).

    Geneva and Hague recognize "free agents" to the extent that occupying powers are expected to maintain law and order, public services, and whatnot for resident noncombatants during their occupations; this is called "martial law." Hundred years ago, "military tribunals" were composed of two privates and a Pfc; take a prisoner and check for uniform, ID, and arms; "No" to first two questions and "Yes" to third? Bang. Every tenth or hundredth would get a public tribunal and execution for purposes of "deterrence."

    Until such time as Geneva and Hague revisit the questions of "martial law," piracy, brigandage, freebooting, and general hoodlum behavior within the context of the laws of war, SCOTUS is doing the world a disservice by sticking its noses into the issue. This is an international issue, not domestic. What do you do with a bunch of hoodlums who get together in Afghanistan or Iraq, or elsewhere, to shoot people, kidnap people and demand ransom, and generally raise hell to no point or purpose beyond their own entertainment.

    "Take no prisoners?" Troops have very little time to read rulings and dissenting opinions --- they tend to "condense" things to the kernel, particularly when "in contact." Has it got the potential to get completely out of hand in the field? Certainly. Again, very poorly thought through by the "best legal minds in the country."
     
  22. Jul 1, 2006 #21

    selfAdjoint

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    I see here you have a somewhat more nuanced and rational objection to the decision than your earlier post would have suggested, and I apologize for my snarky response to that post.

    But I think you are mistaken even so. The Lafayette Ecadrille and the Abraham Lincoln Brigade were uniformed units in a legitimate state's armed forces. Note that in the case of the Spanish Civil war, the socialists were the legitimate elected government and Franco's forces were the rebels. The paricipation of different Nations in a coalition force, such as the "Iraqi Freedom" force, is also not at all problematical either in US law or in international law.

    Perhaps some of the current detainees fall into these categories, for instance fighting as recognized forces of the Taliban while it was still the government of Afghanistan. But the al Qaida members as such do not qualify for that, since al Qaida is not recognized by any legitimate state. It may indeed be true that we need new legal doctrine to handle this NGO/asymmetric warfare innovation, but whatever we devise should not vary from the legal principles that we and all civilized nations have devised for warriors.

    Your animadversions on the early days of modern warfare are in the first place not completely accurate ("Two privates and a corporal" is surely a fantasy?), and in the second place beside the point. What has happened both in early times and in all conflicts to date is that some soldiers in the heat of battle will massacre prisoners. For a couple of centuries now that has been defined as a War Crime. And the use of torture and humilation of prisoners is forbidden by both the US Constitution ("Cruel and unusual punishment") and the common law of nations, the Geneva convention.

    Resting their decision on these bases put the majority on very solid ground.
     
  23. Jul 1, 2006 #22

    Astronuc

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    This is a good point, and one for concern in the current military action in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Troops under fire do not have time to check policy - they must react immediately if to survive.

    However, it is up to the military authorities and the national government to 'train' the troops to understand their responsibilities in the field. Then the issue becomes one of - does the current administration observe 'appropriate conduct' in the battlefield - or does the current administration condone and encourage 'anything goes'? Certainly, the current administration has arranged for thousands of 'mercenaries' (private contractors) who they claim are not constrained by US law or the Geneva convention.

    Most of the detainees at Guantánamo have been released, which would seem to indicate that they weren't terrorists, but rather innocent people arbitrarily swept up. That in itself would seem to constitute 'terrorism'.

    The Bush administration exhibits contempt for due process, the rule of law, and the Constitution - even to the point of attempting to make 'legal' something which the Supreme Court has determined is illegal. :yuck:
     
  24. Jul 1, 2006 #23

    Bystander

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    Correct. The point being that in most legal codes it is not illegal for citizens to participate in wars in which their nation is not involved; it is, therefore, damned difficult to intern, detain, prosecute, deport, repatriate, or otherwise handle third party nationals under the best of circumstances (when they do conduct themselves within the strictures of international law).

    In which case, they're PoWs, and covered by Geneva and Hague, and are to be detained until the Taliban formally surrenders. Ain't no mo' Taliban --- Geneva and Hague do not provide for the existence of cultures lacking even the structural permanence and cohesion of L.A.'s street gangs. Apply Article I, Section 8, line 10? None of SCOTUS' business.

    "Innovation?" Nothing new --- Republican Rome chased bandits and pirates, Imperial Rome chased bandits and pirates, as did every nation before and since. "Warriors?" Since when are ski-masked murderers and kidnappers "warriors?" This is already covered in Geneva and Hague under maintaining public order, safety, and services for noncombatants in occupied territories, "martial law."

    They most certainly are accurate. Don't kid yourself for a minute that troops are going to fart around four years on a Moussaoui; depending on conditions, standing orders change from "shoot on sight" to "apprehend for formal sentencing" and back. "Two privates and a private first class" constitute a "formal" tribunal under "fluid" circumstances --- two fingers and a thumb in Flanders during WW I. Third parties, amateurs, freelancers, freebooters, call 'em what you wish --- ain't welcome on a battlefield --- can't trust 'em, can't depend on 'em, can't turn your back on 'em, and if they're "on your side," they're going to piss off the opposition more often than not to the point that things get really nasty --- at which point, Geneva and Hague conventions are applied in the most expeditious manner possible.

    It's exactly THE point --- Geneva and Hague provide for the dispositions of the detainees (hemp, sisal, nylon, or 9mm) --- they do not provide for delays of the length that have occurred in the present instance. That needs to be spelled out in an international venue; "individuals detained for criminal activities in war zones or occupied territories shall be tried and sentenced, if found guilty, within six months, or repatriated" --- something along those lines.

    Article I, Section 8, lines 9, 10 reserve jurisdiction for Congress; the establishment of tribunals is implicit in a declaration of war, and that authority is invested in the troops; "legal due process" is served through the judgments of the individuals charged with its exercise. The "majority" have been to law school, they've read the Constitution, they're politicking, or legislating from the bench --- no surprise. There hasn't been a qualified individual on that bench for 60-70 years --- again, no surprise, given that they've got to be approved by the Senate. The majority decision reads like a kindergarten essay on "The Joys of Being a Lamebrained Liberal," and the dissents read like some second graders confabulation of Grimm's Fairy Tales, Aesop's Fables, and a late 20th century high school government book written by a panel of M. Eds. and Ed. Ds.. They are all senile incompetents. The lawyers who presented arguments have to be likewise totally incompetent. This is the state of the judiciary in the U. S. going into the 21st century --- pathetic.

    You do understand the nature of the legal problems vis a vis jus gentium, and federal code? The detainees can NOT be released under international law, Geneva, or Hague --- their home nations are in most cases unable or unwilling to supervise their internment properly --- that is, they're apt to be back in the war zone tout de suite, constituting a "threat to life," therefore, verboten. (There may be supervision of internment through exercise of execution, mutilation, or who knows what else by "cooperative" governments --- again, G. & H. problems for the U. S..) They aren't PoWs in any real sense of the word, just a buncha punks out raising hell --- Geneva and Hague are written on the premise that even freebooters have the sense god gave garbanzos, and will align themselves with a political entity that has some formal recognition within the international community; implicit in the structure and language of Geneva and Hague is the assumption that piracy, brigandage, and international outlawry are extinct --- don't ask me where the framers of the documents picked up such an idea, but my inference is that that is the assumption they've made --- incorrectly it appears --- gonna have to be addressed. Same problem with federal code --- Congress has never sat down and defined "piracy, brigandage, freebooting," and whatever else might fall under Article I, Section 8, line 10 --- they are going to have to do that --- in a sane, sensible, rational fashion? Which Congress we talkin' 'bout?

    It's a "point for concern" in any military action --- hence, Article I, Section 8, lines 9-11, reserving such power to Congress.

    We'll give Willy his share of the credit here --- large part of his $50 billion surplus was posted at the expense of training (and weeding) the white trash guard and reserve units that screwed up at Abu Graib. "We'd spend the next week going over the UCMJ and Hague and Geneva conventions, but the budget won't cover it, so you do what you think's right." Is that what you mean by "anything goes?"

    Interesting question --- just what is the status of a "soldier of fortune?" 'Nother thing for Geneva and Hague redux.

    This is a "leap of faith" (or politics), rather than logic. "Rat out" a cache, safehouse, or hideout, and "get out of jail free" --- anybody's guess.

    --- as does SCOTUS --- eminent domain decision plus pathetic dissents, this decision plus pathetic dissents. You're looking at nine people who are desperately in need of a career change.
     
  25. Jul 2, 2006 #24

    Gokul43201

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    According to what I heard over the radio (NPR, perhaps) a couple days ago, the Military Tribunals are set up such that:

    The defendant is not permitted to be present during the hearing, and hence, may not refute any of the evidence produced against him/her;

    Neither is the defendant's legal counsel; and

    Neither the defendants nor their counsel are even granted access to the "incriminating evidence".


    What really, is the point of such a tribunal?
     
  26. Jul 2, 2006 #25

    Bystander

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    Staffed with law school graduates, probably nothing --- facts exist whether or not they are "admissable" as evidence --- the "discovery" process, "Miranda," assorted SCOTUS rulings on collection of evidence, "probable cause," and the other rituals of "due process" that get Elizabeth Manning and Danny Aravelo off with 2 yrs. for infanticide aren't "traditions" within the field of "martial law;" you can not assume that since that legal area has not been "civilized" to the point that the U. S. streets "aren't safe" (exaggeration --- too many weirdos loose, just the same), that it is incapable of arriving at "just" dispositions of cases.
     
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