The Bush Administration proposal to create star chamber trials for people it alleges are terrorists is a disgrace to the traditions of liberty that Americans hold dear. As the Washington Post describes the proposed secret trials:
Under the proposed procedures, defendants would lack rights to confront accusers, exclude hearsay accusations, or bar evidence obtained through rough or coercive interrogations. They would not be guaranteed a public or speedy trial and would lack the right to choose their military counsel, who in turn would not be guaranteed equal access to evidence held by prosecutors.
Detainees would also not be guaranteed the right to be present at their own trials, if their absence is deemed necessary to protect national security or individuals.
In the Post John D. Hutson, the Navy's top uniformed lawyer from 1997 to 2000, summarizes the proposed rules as allowing the government to tell a prisoner:
"We know you're guilty. We can't tell you why, but there's a guy, we can't tell you who, who told us something. We can't tell you what, but you're guilty."
Is the Bush Administration taking a cue from how the People's Republic of China conducts secret national security trials? The two Congressional committees hearing testimony today on this scandalously un-American proposal should hold Administration officials in contempt of Congress for violating their oaths to defend the Constitution and toss them in jail.