White House Fears U.S. Officials Could Be Tried Under War Crimes Act
Concern is growing within the White House that top members of the administration could be tried under the 1996 War Crimes Act. The law criminalizes violations of the Geneva Conventions and threatens the death penalty if U.S.-held detainees die in custody from abusive treatment. The Washington Post is reporting that Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has spoken privately with Republican lawmakers about the need to protect administration officials and soldiers from being tried for war crimes.
Proposed Law Would Allow Gov’t to Indefinitely Detain U.S. Citizens
The Bush administration is proposing a new law that could allow the government to indefinitely detain U.S. citizens and bar them from access to civilian courts. The draft legislation is intended to authorize the Pentagon to try detainees by military tribunal. But some legal experts are warning that the bill would also allow the military to indefinitely detain so-called enemy combatants. The bill defines enemy combatants as anyone "engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners who has committed an act that violates the law of war and this statute." According to the Associated Press, the administration's proposal would toss out several legal rights common in civilian and military courts, including barring hearsay evidence, guaranteeing "speedy trials" and granting a defendant access to evidence. The proposal also would allow defendants to be barred from their own trial and likely allow the submission of coerced testimony.
Report: Oakland Police Infiltrated Anti-War Group
In Oakland, newly released documents show that the city’s police infiltrated the group Direct Action to Stop the War three years ago. Two undercover Oakland police officers managed to get themselves elected to leadership positions in an effort to influence a May 2003 anti-war protest. The undercover officers ended up spying on the protest organizers and even helped plan the route of the march.