Action Update: Congress Must Assert Its Oversight Authority!

Earlier this week, President Bush issued an executive
order that would allow special military tribunals to
try non-citizens charged with terrorism. Just 12 days
earlier, the Administration issued a new
regulation that gives the government the power to
listen in on any conversation between a suspect
and his attorney. Both measures threaten to
essentially eviscerate key constitutional
protections.

Earlier this week, President Bush issued an executive
order that would allow special military tribunals to
try non-citizens charged with terrorism. Just 12 days
earlier, the Administration issued a new
regulation that gives the government the power to
listen in on any conversation between a suspect
and his attorney. Both measures threaten to
essentially eviscerate key constitutional
protections.


The impact of these measures will be far-reaching.
But even more disturbingly, they come on the heels
of a Justice Department announcement of a new plan
to seek “voluntary” interviews with at least 5,000 non-citizens who entered the United States in the last two years.


Congress has already given the Administration
virtually everything it asked for to fight
terrorism. But in the days since a sweeping new
anti-terrorism bill was signed into law, the
Administration has continued to announce
questionable policy after questionable policy.


Congress must take action now to ensure that the
President preserves the constitutionally
guaranteed checks and balances that are so central
to our democracy.


Urge Congress to Protect the Constitution!


* The Administration has failed to show that a jury
trial does not meet the needs of prosecuting
terrorists. Military tribunals would authorize
secret trials without a jury and without the
requirement of a unanimous verdict. They would
limit a defendant’s opportunities to confront the
evidence against him and to choose his own lawyer.
What’s worse, these important protections would be
removed in a situation where the defendant could
face the death penalty. This executive order must
be rescinded to ensure due process rights.


* It is unnecessary for the government to eavesdrop
on any conversation at anytime between a detained
suspect and his attorney. There is already a
long-standing exception to the attorney-client
privilege when a judge rules that a communication
is aimed at furthering criminal activity. The Bush
Administration is seeking to do away with the
judiciary’s role in protecting due process rights.
This new regulation must be revoked.


* The right to a trial by jury, to counsel and to
due process of law are expressly guaranteed to
every person in the United States by the Bill of
Rights. At a time when our resolve as a free and
just nation is being tested, Congress should ask
the President to rescind the executive order and
eavesdropping regulation. In addition, Congress
must immediately hold hearings to question the
Administration’s new policies and to assert its
oversight authority to protect the Constitution.


TAKE ACTION!


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http://www.aclu.org/action/dueprocess107.html

[ also see related items:

Surveillance powers: Changes being considered by Congress – http://www.theexperiment.org/articles.php?news_id=1517

Burying the Lead: Democracy Denied by Jim Naureckas – http://www.theexperiment.org/articles.php?news_id=1560

Al-Jazeera TV Leads the New Arab Free Press – http://www.theexperiment.org/articles.php?news_id=1555

Civilian Casualties We’re Not Hearing About in the U.S. – http://www.theexperiment.org/articles.php?news_id=1554

Alarm Grows Over Scale of Civilian Casualties in Afghanistan – http://www.theexperiment.org/articles.php?news_id=1521

Coming This Fall … More Media Deregulation – http://www.theexperiment.org/articles.php?news_id=1546

ACTION ALERT: Op-Ed Echo Chamber: Little space for dissent to the military line – http://www.theexperiment.org/articles.php?news_id=1543

ACTION ALERT: CNN Says Focus on Civilian Casualties Would Be “Perverse” – http://www.theexperiment.org/articles.php?news_id=1541

US Buys Up All Satellite War Images – http://www.theexperiment.org/articles.php?news_id=1523

MEDIA ADVISORY: Networks Accept Government “Guidance” – http://www.theexperiment.org/articles.php?news_id=1519

One Big Happy Channel: Media Consolidation and the Homogenization of the Public Mindshare – http://www.theexperiment.org/articles.php?news_id=1398

The War in Afghanistan 101: 47 Questions and Answers – http://www.theexperiment.org/articles.php?news_id=1539 ]

Author: The American Civil Liberties Union

News Service: ACLU Freedom Network – 11.15.01

URL: http://www.aclu.org/action/dueprocess107.html