The Military Commissions Act of 2006

(Excerpted from the actual text of the law)
With clarifying parentheses and paraphrases by Jonathan Selby (JS)

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“Begun and held at the City of Washington on Tuesday, the third day of January, two thousand and six”
An Act “To authorize trial by military commission for violations of the law of war, and for other purposes“, or:

The Military Commissions Act of 2006 Authorizes a:
“Trial by military commission (A “Bush Tribunal”) for violations of the law of war, and for” (whatever) “other purposes” (the President feels like)

“SEC. 2. CONSTRUCTION OF PRESIDENTIAL AUTHORITY TO ESTABLISH MILITARY COMMISSIONS.
“The authority to establish military commissions under chapter 47A of title 10, United States Code, as added by section 3(a), may not be construed to alter or limit the authority of the President under the Constitution of the United States and laws of the United States to establish military commissions for areas declared to be under martial law or in occupied territories should circumstances so require.”

JS Paraphrase: The president has the right to create these “tribunals” in any place or circumstances he feels require it, and no United State’s Code can be used to limit the president from establishing them wherever or whenever he wants)

Who is subject to these detentions and potential tribunal trials?

‘‘§ 948a. Definitions ‘‘In this chapter:
‘‘(1) UNLAWFUL ENEMY COMBATANT.—(A) The term ‘unlawful enemy combatant’ means—
‘‘(I) a person who has engaged in hostilities or who has purposefully and materially supported hostilities against the United States or its co-belligerents who is not a lawful enemy combatant”

JS Paraphrase: Any person (citizen or otherwise) who engages in what may be considered a “Hostility” against the United States (No definition provided in the act- This writing may even qualify as such), or any person that “supports” someone who demonstrates “Hostilities” against the United States, (You better stop reading this) or its allies etc., and who is not in the military (All civilian citizens) may be considered an “Unlawful Enemy Combatant” and subject to arrest and trial in one of Bush’s tribunals (and even sentenced to death: see “Punishments” below)

(Definitions Continued- “Unlawful Enemy Combatant)

Or; ‘‘(ii) a person who, before, on, or after the date of the enactment of the Military Commissions Act of 2006, has been” (or is) “determined to be an unlawful enemy combatant by a Combatant Status Review Tribunal or another competent tribunal established under the authority of the President or the Secretary of Defense“.

JS Paraphrase: It doesn’t matter when a person’s alleged “Hostility” against the US occurred, (“Before, on, or after the enactment of the act“) they can still be considered an “Unlawful Enemy Combatant” and are subject to trial by a Bush tribunal.

Therefore, Any citizen or non-citizen, can be rounded up and detained indefinitely, and if determined to be an “Unlawful Enemy Combatant” be put on trial by a military tribunal (or “Commission”).
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Other due process deprivations of the Act:

‘‘(d) INAPPLICABILITY OF CERTAIN PROVISIONS.—(1) The following provisions of this title shall NOT apply to trial by military commission under this chapter:

(Does NOT apply to one of these “Tribunals“)‘
‘(A) Section 810 (article 10 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice), relating to speedy trial, including any rule of courtsmartial relating to speedy trial.

No requirement for a “Speedy Trial”: (Once you are detained- you can rot in jail forever for all they care).

(Does NOT apply to one of these “Tribunals“)
‘‘(C) Section 832 (article 32 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice), relating to pretrial investigation.

No requirement for a “Pretrial Investigation”, (If they think you are an unlawful enemy combatant” no previous factors matter- you’re going to trial).

‘‘(ii) Hearsay evidence not otherwise admissible under the rules of evidence applicable in trial by general courts-martial shall not be admitted in a trial by military commission if
the party opposing the admission of the evidence demonstrates that the evidence is unreliable or lacking in probative value.

The Tribunal can use “hearsay” evidence (“he said she said etc) against you- unless you can prove its unreliable or inaccurate.

‘‘(g) GENEVA CONVENTIONS NOT ESTABLISHING SOURCE OF
RIGHTS.—No alien unlawful enemy combatant subject to trial by military commission under this chapter may invoke the Geneva Conventions as a source of rights.

Any non-citizen brought before one of these tribunals can forget any rights under or established by the “Geneva convention”- (these tribunals are above all that).

Once determined that you are indeed an “UEC” then what?

‘‘(c) DETERMINATION OF UNLAWFUL ENEMY COMBATANT STATUS
DISPOSITIVE.—A finding, whether before, on, or after the date of the enactment of the Military Commissions Act of 2006, by a Combatant Status Review Tribunal or another competent tribunal established under the authority of the President or the Secretary of Defense that a person is an unlawful enemy combatant is disparities for purposes of jurisdiction for trial by military commission under this chapter.

When it is determined by a review tribunal or one of their designees, at any time, before, on or after the enactment of this law, (regarding anyone) that they are an unlawful military combatant, they are subject to detention and trial by a tribunal.

‘‘(d) PUNISHMENTS.—A military commission under this chapter may, under such limitations as the Secretary of Defense may prescribe, adjudge any punishment not forbidden by this chapter, including the penalty of death.”
‘‘(c) NUMBER OF MEMBERS REQUIRED FOR PENALTY OF DEATH.—
(1) Except as provided in paragraph (2), in a case in which the penalty of death is sought, the number of members of the military commission under this chapter shall be not less than 12.

If all 12 members of the tribunal agree they can execute you

Bottom Line:

The “Military Commissions Act of 2006” authorizes the president, or any of his designated minions, to set up tribunals anytime and place in the world they care to, and to likewise detain anyone they want- simply by calling them an “Unlawful Enemy Combatant” and even have them executed.

What country would create such an Act !? (A,B,C or D)

Prewar Germany, Prewar Iraq, Prewar America or
All of the above ?

Jonathan Selby

Please Email responses to jonathan@pamca.org

or: www.pamca@yahoo.com