terrorism and the law

In 1942, eight men landed on U.S. soil, tasked by the Nazi government to carry out acts of sabotage within the U.S. One of them, himself actually an American citizen who had returned to Germany at the beginning of World War II, informed on the project to the FBI. The eight men were arrested, tried by a military court directed by FDR himself; and the six of them who did not cooperate were executed shortly thereafter.

This incident has direct implications for us today, since these tribunals are the precedent for the incarceration and trials of the Guantanamo Bay prisoners.

A new book discusses the case of the Nazi saboteurs, and argues that these proceedings allocate too much power to the executive branch, both then and now. Various accounts of the incident can be found at U of C law, the FBI, and about.com. The text of a 1942 White House press release about the incident is here.

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