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Bush admin. wants parallel legal system for terror suspects


Date: Sun, 01 Dec 2002 19:18:18 +0100
Subject: In Terror War, 2nd Track for Suspects
From: Micha Schellingerhout <micha@127oo1.net>
To: <declan@well.com>

In Terror War, 2nd Track for Suspects
Those Designated 'Combatants' Lose Legal Protections
By Charles Lane
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, December 1, 2002; Page A01

The Bush administration is developing a parallel legal system in which
terrorism suspects -- U.S. citizens and noncitizens alike -- may be
investigated, jailed, interrogated, tried and punished without legal
protections guaranteed by the ordinary system, lawyers inside and outside
the government say.

The elements of this new system are already familiar from President Bush's
orders and his aides' policy statements and legal briefs: indefinite
military detention for those designated "enemy combatants," liberal use of
"material witness" warrants, counterintelligence-style wiretaps and searches
led by law enforcement officials and, for noncitizens, trial by military
commissions or deportation after strictly closed hearings.

Only now, however, is it becoming clear how these elements could ultimately

For example, under authority it already has or is asserting in court cases,
the administration, with approval of the special Foreign Intelligence
Surveillance Court, could order a clandestine search of a U.S. citizen's
home and, based on the information gathered, secretly declare the citizen an
enemy combatant, to be held indefinitely at a U.S. military base. Courts
would have very limited authority to second-guess the detention, to the
extent that they were aware of it.

Administration officials, noting that they have chosen to prosecute
suspected Taliban member John Walker Lindh, "shoe bomber" Richard Reid and
alleged Sept. 11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui in ordinary federal courts,
say the parallel system is meant to be used selectively, as a complement to
conventional processes, not as a substitute. But, they say, the parallel
system is necessary because terrorism is a form of war as well as a form of
crime, and it must not only be punished after incidents occur, but also
prevented and disrupted through the gathering of timely intelligence.


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