pants_of_doom: (Default)
Wanna see a little video on copyright law made with snippets of Disney movies? Here.
pants_of_doom: (Default)
Wanna see a little video on copyright law made with snippets of Disney movies? Here.
pants_of_doom: (night plants)
All of this stuff on the military tribunals for prisoners in Guantanamo is something I've been meaning to write about, since I recently read a case on it in one of my classes.

The case I read was Hamdan v. Rumsfeld. This is what happened:

Hamdan is being held in Guantanamo. He petitioned the Supreme Court for a writ of habeas corpus and for a writ of mandamus, claiming that a military tribunal had no authority to try him.

While his case was pending, Congress passed the Detainee Treatment Act. One of the sections of the DTA says that no court will have jurisdiction to hear application for habeas corpus unless the DTA authorizes it. Instead of habeas corpus, the DTA gives the Washington, DC Court of Appeals exclusive jurisdiction to review the final decisions of the military tribunals established at Guantanamo as to whether the person detained was lawfully detained as an enemy combatant, or was guilty of war crimes. This provision limits the scope of the review to whether the rules were followed.

What this means is that there would be no way to write the Supreme Court, or any other court, and say "Help! I'm being held without a trial!" because your "replacement" was a post-trial appeal. It means that you couldn't appeal the decision except to say that the rules weren't followed at the trial, and the odds that the DC Court of Appeals will believe a prisoner over a bunch of officials are very, very slim. Most civil rights claims fail because the person bringing the claim is a prisoner whose rights were violated by cops or prison guards. These claims are brought by Americans who haven't been accused of terrorism.

Some of the other things they tried to set up were not letting prisoners see the evidence against them, having the Geneva Conventions not apply, and not letting people be present for their own trials.

The Court said no. They said the rules for Hamdan's trial were illegal. They said the Geneva Conventions applied. They also left open whether it would be allowed if Congress passed a new law that allowed it.

And now Bush is trying to legislate around this decision.

Want to see which senators voted to pass this thing? )

What I think:
Aside from thinking this whole thing is absolutely disgusting and not understanding why anyone thinks torturing people is a good idea (other than sadism, that is...torture is not an effective means of gathering information), I still think this is a legal problem. Granted, I'm a second-year law student and I don't know shit, but come on. The idea that any prisoners of the US government don't come under the jurisdiction of the federal courts is ridiculous, and that's the whole reason they're holding people outside the country - if they bring them into the US, they fall under federal jurisdiction and they have the same rights as we do, like the right to a speedy trial and all that. I frankly cannot imagine that any jury is going to let anyone with any real connection to Al Qaeda walk, and life in a US prison is not going to be pleasant for anyone convicted of being involved in the 9/11 attacks. Anything about increased security is bullshit - what are these people going to do, spread their ideology like a virus and join their powers to teleport the prison into the White House? More likely they're going to be beaten and abused by the other prisoners.

Also, what's up with continuing US hostility towards Cuba but us having a prison there? Is anyone else confused about that?
pants_of_doom: (Default)
All of this stuff on the military tribunals for prisoners in Guantanamo is something I've been meaning to write about, since I recently read a case on it in one of my classes.

The case I read was Hamdan v. Rumsfeld. This is what happened:

Hamdan is being held in Guantanamo. He petitioned the Supreme Court for a writ of habeas corpus and for a writ of mandamus, claiming that a military tribunal had no authority to try him.

While his case was pending, Congress passed the Detainee Treatment Act. One of the sections of the DTA says that no court will have jurisdiction to hear application for habeas corpus unless the DTA authorizes it. Instead of habeas corpus, the DTA gives the Washington, DC Court of Appeals exclusive jurisdiction to review the final decisions of the military tribunals established at Guantanamo as to whether the person detained was lawfully detained as an enemy combatant, or was guilty of war crimes. This provision limits the scope of the review to whether the rules were followed.

What this means is that there would be no way to write the Supreme Court, or any other court, and say "Help! I'm being held without a trial!" because your "replacement" was a post-trial appeal. It means that you couldn't appeal the decision except to say that the rules weren't followed at the trial, and the odds that the DC Court of Appeals will believe a prisoner over a bunch of officials are very, very slim. Most civil rights claims fail because the person bringing the claim is a prisoner whose rights were violated by cops or prison guards. These claims are brought by Americans who haven't been accused of terrorism.

Some of the other things they tried to set up were not letting prisoners see the evidence against them, having the Geneva Conventions not apply, and not letting people be present for their own trials.

The Court said no. They said the rules for Hamdan's trial were illegal. They said the Geneva Conventions applied. They also left open whether it would be allowed if Congress passed a new law that allowed it.

And now Bush is trying to legislate around this decision.

Want to see which senators voted to pass this thing? )

What I think:
Aside from thinking this whole thing is absolutely disgusting and not understanding why anyone thinks torturing people is a good idea (other than sadism, that is...torture is not an effective means of gathering information), I still think this is a legal problem. Granted, I'm a second-year law student and I don't know shit, but come on. The idea that any prisoners of the US government don't come under the jurisdiction of the federal courts is ridiculous, and that's the whole reason they're holding people outside the country - if they bring them into the US, they fall under federal jurisdiction and they have the same rights as we do, like the right to a speedy trial and all that. I frankly cannot imagine that any jury is going to let anyone with any real connection to Al Qaeda walk, and life in a US prison is not going to be pleasant for anyone convicted of being involved in the 9/11 attacks. Anything about increased security is bullshit - what are these people going to do, spread their ideology like a virus and join their powers to teleport the prison into the White House? More likely they're going to be beaten and abused by the other prisoners.

Also, what's up with continuing US hostility towards Cuba but us having a prison there? Is anyone else confused about that?
pants_of_doom: (Default)
Speak to me about downloading, here or over email.
pants_of_doom: (Default)
Speak to me about downloading, here or over email.

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