- Permit extended detention and questioning of Middle Easterners recently entering United States.
- Slow down the process for granting visas to Muslims.
- Allow monitoring of communications between people in federal custody and their lawyers.
- Non-U.S. citizens charged with terrorism can be tried in the United States, overseas, or even on military ships.
- Suspects brought before a tribunal will have no right to seek redress in any state, federal, foreign, or international court.
- Defendants could include suspects who attack Americans or U.S. interests.
- May hold and try suspects in secret, with no public scrutiny. Freedom of Information Act may not apply.
- Could impose any sentence, including death, with no judicial review.
- May allow conviction after a “full and fair” trial by a two-thirds majority, as opposed to unanimous verdict.
- Tribunals need not obey the principles of law and the rules of evidence used in U.S. District Courts.
- Only the president or the secretary of defense will have the power to overturn a tribunal’s decisions.
- The executive order has no apparent expiration date.
- The order applies specifically to Al Qaeda.
Assault on Liberty:
Abandoning the Constitution to Military Tribunals by Nat Hentoff
Military Justice Is to Justice as Military Music Is to Music by Alan M. Dershowitz
No to Military Tribunals: They Are Not Fair by Norman Siegel
Powers of Military Tribunals by Jeffrey Herman
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on November 20, 2001