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Critics Say Bush Military Tribunals Will Be Kangaroo Courts

Between The Lines' Scott Harris spoke with Kit Gage, coordinator of the National Coalition to Protect Political Freedom, who explains why she opposes these recent executive orders which bypass Congress, rejecting the argument that these extraordinary measures are required to effectively fight the war against terrorism.
Critics Say Bush Military Tribunals Will Be Kangaroo Courts

Interview by Between the Lines' Scott Harris.

Since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the Bush administration has promoted legislation and issued executive orders that have provoked concern among a growing number of civil liberties activists. The USA Patriot Act, which passed Congress with little debate, grants the government new powers to monitor telephone and Internet communication and detain immigrants. More than 1,000 non-citizens are now being held by the Justice Department, which has kept the names of those detained secret and refused to specify the charges lodged against these individuals.

In the latest round of executive orders issued by the White House, the president authorizes the government to use secret military tribunals to try non-citizens accused of engaging in terrorist activity. These tribunals will put on trial any person the president dictates; can conceal evidence; and issue verdicts by a two-thirds majority with no right to appeal to any other court. Other recent executive orders include a Justice Department plan to question thousands of Middle Eastern men who recently arrived in the U.S. and eavesdrop on conversations between some prisoners and their attorneys.

Between The Lines' Scott Harris spoke with Kit Gage, coordinator of the National Coalition to Protect Political Freedom, who explains why she opposes these recent executive orders which bypass Congress, rejecting the argument that these extraordinary measures are required to effectively fight the war against terrorism(A RealAudioVersion of this interview may be found At www.btlonline.org).

Contact the National Coalition to Protect Political Freedom. For more information on the movement to protect civil liberties contact the American Civil Liberties Union at (212) 549-2500 or visit their Web site at www.aclu.org

Related links:

* "ACLU Tells Congress that National ID System Would Be Ineffective, Expensive and Deeply Misguided," ACLU press release
* "As Government Prepares to Investigate Thousands, ACLU Issues Multi-Lingual "Know Your Rights!" Pamphlet to Educate Public ACLU brochure.

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