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Journalists and Civilians Now Vulnerable to Military Justice

Posted on Jan 16, 2007

A provision slipped into a spending bill by the last Congress and approved by the president makes civilian contractors in Iraq subject to military court-martial. But legal scholars believe the rule could also be extended to include civilian government employees and even embedded journalists.

(h/t: Largest Minority)

Washington Post:

The provision, which was slipped into a spending bill at the end of the last Congress, is intended to close a long-standing loophole that critics say puts contractors in war zones above the law.

But the provision also could affect others accompanying U.S. forces in the field, including civilian government employees and embedded journalists.

“Right now, you have two different standards for people doing the same job,” said Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), who pushed the provision. “This will bring uniformity to the commander’s ability to control the behavior of people representing our country.”

One additional complication lies in determining who the new provision applies to. Graham said the change was aimed solely at holding contractors accountable. But legal observers say it could be interpreted broadly to also include employees with other government agencies, as well as reporters.

“One could imagine a situation in which a commander is unhappy with what a reporter is writing and could use the [Uniform Code of Military Justice] to pressure the reporter,” said Phillip E. Carter, a contracting lawyer with McKenna Long & Aldridge.

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By DennisD, January 16, 2007 at 8:30 pm Link to this comment
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Why not bring Ollie North out of retirement and have him shred what’s left of the Constitution. It won’t take long.

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By felicity smith, January 16, 2007 at 3:19 pm Link to this comment
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I’ve wondered how long it would take before the on-the-ground press in Iraq got grounded. Just like the coffins coming home at Dover, the American public has no right to be given a clear and honest picture of the Iraq war.  We pay for it, the blood of hundreds of thousands Iraqis are on our hands, we sacrifice our loved ones to die or be maimed for life in it, but we have no right to know what we are paying for in treasure and blood.

The press is our only link to the reality of the Iraq horror and the link is about to be cut. Only a fool would shell our his hard-earned money and send his loved ones to the slaughter for a cause he was forbidden to know anything about.

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By hairy reasoner, January 16, 2007 at 1:58 pm Link to this comment
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all we have to do is invoke the 25th amendment; ie bush has been crazy all along, none of his laws count.
everything bush has pushed was discussed by central california white supremacists in the 1980’s. bush is the grand dragon of the kkk, the reason the aryan brotherhood exists, and an avowed nazi.
when we admit all this, the next step is to imprison and shake down the cash from all his co-conspirators, the all too ready satanist billionaires of the media and military corporate covens.
then we’ll be people again and conspire toward life, not the craven sensations of spoiled white rich people.

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By mite, January 16, 2007 at 10:41 am Link to this comment
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A study of the Patriot Act, Domestic Security Enhancement Act 2003 (Patriot Act II) and Military Commissions Act 2006, and hidden provisions attached to bills since President Regan’s presidentcy to our present dictator have erased the people’s unalienable Rights by our creator.

The plans enacted by foreigners, and domestic enemies of this republic are about to finally come too reality. This war against our United States FOR The People BY The People continues before our eyes. And US (free people) gave up our sovereignty through acts of secrecy, treason, and our ignorance. What awaits us will make Starlin, Mao, and Hitler, seem like uneventful.

We will continue our ignorance and accept the media secrecy, our leaders lies, and comform to the masters plans for all of us.

We need to go outside the propaganda controlled media-press and find the truth.

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By Eleanore Kjellberg, January 16, 2007 at 10:25 am Link to this comment
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Who will ultimately determine the geographical boundaries of a “WAR ZONE”—-if an insurrection occurred in the U.S., and if   Marshall Law is implemented or if the Posse Comitatus Act is eliminated to squelch a civil uprising—-will the U.S. be designated a WAR ZONE.  Will those targeted by the military be labeled enemy combatants—-will citizens lose their rights to Habeas Corpus and due process, could citizens be indefinitely contained in Gitmo-like facilities.  What limits are being incorporated, to this and other similar legislation to protect the rights of U.S. citizens, can citizens protecting their own country against a fascist coup d’état, in the end be accused of being enemy combatants—-can we still afford to act like good German peasants.

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