Tomorrow the long-delayed military commissions begin anew with proceedings against Australian David Hicks. The charges against David Hicks, along with many other documents related to the commissions, are available on the DoD's Defenselink news site.
The charging sheet reveals that convening authority Susan J. Crawford marked out the charge of "attempted murder in violation of the law of war," leaving two specifications of "providing material support to terrorism," a charge that carries a maximum sentence of confinement for life. It's one of 29 crimes laid out in the Military Commission Act of 2006. Judge Crawford was appointed to oversee the new commissions after completing a 15-year term at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces (CAAF), the military's highest court. Prior to joining the bench she served Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush in key Department of Defense legal billets.
The DefenseLink news site also includes the transcripts of the unclassified portions of the Combatant Status Review Tribunals (CSRT's) held over the last few weeks for the high-value detainees transferred to Guantamano Bay last fall. Detainees do not have access to counsel at these status hearings, but they do have the services of a misnamed "personal representative," a field-grade military officer with a top-secret clearance who is assigned to manage the detainee's participation in the process. The "personal representative" does not represent or advocate for the detainee (in fact, she cannot be a judge advocate) and may not treat as privileged any information gained in the course of conversations with the detainee. For more on the CSRT's, see Mark Denbeaux and Joshua W. Denbeaux's important study of previously released transcripts.