Obama Prepares Executive Order For Indefinite Detention

Tyler Durden's picture

First president Obama becomes Bush in all but name with respect to his predecessor's economic policies, and now he follows by espousing Bush's interpretation of "civil rights" as well. According to Pro Publica, the White House is preparing an Executive Order for indefinite detention. And while the premise behind a comparable draft has been circulating around for 18 months, the uptake was seen as problematic. The "humanitarian" premise behind the order is that it will "provide for the periodic reviews of evidence against dozens of prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay... and allow for the possibility that detainees from countries like Yemen might be released if circumstances change." That's the theory. The "practice" is that the Order will, as the name implies, afford the administration the option of "indefinite detention as a long-term Obama administration policy and
makes clear that the White House alone will manage a review process for
those it chooses to hold without charge or trial." In other words all those, and we assume that the Order is not merely targeting those involved in September 11, and is wider in its scope, who are perceived by the administration as "high value detainees" will be denied due process, and will be held in captivity essentially indefinitely with no legal recourse, for as long as the "review process" so deems fit. As for the "theory" aspect, Politico summarizes just how much of a bold lie Obama's promise two years ago to close Guantanamo has become: "Nearly two years after Obama's pledge to close the prison at Guantanamo,
more inmates there are formally facing the prospect of lifelong
detention and fewer are facing charges than the day Obama was elected." In other words, Obama has one upped Dubya not only when it comes to Republican economic policy, but has in fact surpassed his abrogation of basic human rights. And seeing how in the aftermath of the Assange arrest (speaking of which, Julian better run following this announcement), it is only a matter of time before that whole 'Internet free speech' premise is perceived to be a form of treason, by the likes of Biden, Palin and Lieberman, potentially punishable if not by death, then certainly indefinite, lifelong detention.

More from Pro Publica:

After taking office, the Obama administration reviewed the detainee population at Guantanamo Bay and chose 48 prisoners for indefinite detention. Officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that number will likely increase in coming months as some detainees are moved from a transfer category to a continued detention category.

If signed by President Obama, the new order will provide added review for detainees designated for long-term detention. The order, which is being drafted jointly by White House staff in the National Security council and the White House counsel, will offer detainees in this category a minimal review every six months and then a more lengthy annual review. Detainees will have access to an attorney, to some evidence against them and the ability to challenge their continued detention.

Prisoners who have been deemed "high-value detainees," including the alleged conspirators of the 2001 attacks, have been designated for prosecution in civilian or military courts.

In 2008, Guantanamo detainees won the right to challenge the lawfulness of their detention in court. The executive order aims to create an executive branch review which would occur separately from the court review and would weigh the necessity of the detention, rather than its lawfulness, officials said.

"Perhaps the dangerousness of the detainee's country of origin could change, or the group that the detainee is affiliated with could cease to exist," one official explained.

Sorry to interject, but the humor factor of the possibility that someone would be released from Guantanamo after the CIA lowers the threat level of i.e., Yemen from burgndy to mauve, is just as powerful as that of someone stating that Bernanke will ever stop printing monetary ones and zeroes.

At the end of the day, this is merely another example of what happens when Congress refuses to play ball:

Weeks later, administration officials said the White House had decided to work with Congress on indefinite detention, rather than through Executive Order. But by the end of 2009, the White House had said it would not support legislation.

Then, in 2010, a government task force on Guantanamo completed a year-long review that placed 48 detainees in long-term detention. In its report, task force members said those detainees would be "subject to periodic Executive Branch review."


Jameel Jaffer, a national security lawyer at the American Civil Liberties Association, agreed that "more review is better." But he said that an executive order would only "normalize and institutionalize indefinite detention and other policies," that were set in place by the Bush administration.

While we hope we are wrong, we have this very nagging feeling that the timing and sudden reappearance of this order on the docket is in advance of one or more charges of espionage about to be lobbed at Wikileaks... And to think, all Julian Assange threatened to do was to take down Bank of America, something that should have happened over two years ago if that whole 'free market', risk/return thing was even remotely close to what it is taught to be at various ivy draped business schools.

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Rahm's picture

Is this some kind of sick joke?

High Plains Drifter's picture

No, its not a joke, unfortunately.  I wonder is anyone watching?  Its like George Carlin said one time, nobody seems to notice, nobody seems to care.  It makes me sick to see what is happening in this country, sick to my stomach, knowing full well someday soon, good men will die for all of this , trying to stop them before it is too late. We Americans simply do not ever learn from history.

chet's picture


While this order is legal bullshittery, just as it was under Bush, it is clearly just an attempt to deal with the poor saps already locked up in Guantanamo, not an effort to end dissent and lock us all up.

The time to get pissed about this was when GW Bush started this crap nine years ago.  But I'm guessing that many of you Obama haters conveniently overlooked it at the time.

tmosley's picture

I love how you simply dismiss anyone criticizing this move because they should have criticized it ten years ago.  Here's a fucking hint, a lot of us WERE, and many more have since woken up and realized what is going on in this country.

Stop fucking pretending like everyone who is against the policies of the current administration is a member of the fucking republican party.  This partisan bullshit is EXACTLY the reason that we are all in the clutches of the two headed snake.  

Kyron95131's picture


divide and conquer

but in this case its the mind, which has already suffered massive casualties over the last decades

chet's picture

I'm troubled by it.  I think that the Constitution has been trashed over the last ten years basically without a peep from the judicial branch.

What I'm really just commenting on here is the ZH tendency to jump to conspiracy theories and a bunker mentality.

To me this sounds like nothing more ominous than attempt number whatever to deal with the prisoners at Guantanamo who no one can figure out what to do with. 

The administration's only other option is to take the position that they can't be held indefinitely.  Since no one knows what to do with them, that isn't really an option.

New_Meat's picture


"...the Constitution has been trashed over the last ten years..."

Try 80 years. or some here would go back to 1913 or so.

And the administration's position was that they could not be held indefinitely.

So I've fired up the ol' popcorn machine, got a bit of coconut oil, gonna sit back and watch the moonbats go crazy.  After all, they were promised an end to Camp X-Ray et al.

Oh, yes, they know what to do with "them".  just, well, either alternative isn't really politically attractive for their bigger picture.

- Ned

WaterWings's picture

Since no one knows what to do with them, that isn't really an option.

Uh, really? 

Hey, how dya like the TSA feel-ups? Oh, you go through the scanner?

docj's picture

Yours is pretty typical thinking for people who seem to believe all life started with Bush v. Gore in December 2000.

Here's a hint, we're nearing (hopefully) the end (hopefully) of a long train of abuses, going back at least to 1929 if not 1913 or even before.  History did not begin the day the phrase "hanging chat" pitifully entered our lexicon.

Things that go bump's picture

The kings of France had this power prior to the revolution.  They could have anyone thrown into prison at any time.  No charges, no trial, no appeal, no sentence, no release.  Those unfortunates stayed in prison until the king released them or they died.  It was notorious and could happen to anyone.  It was one of the causes of the French Revolution.  There really was a man in an iron mask imprisoned in the Bastille, you know.  He was held under a lettre de cachet.   

Aristarchan's picture

And these days, the French once again have this power....but as a collective, and, under more civilized conditions, I assume.

Things that go bump's picture

Do they really?  Isn't it funny how those old injustices we fought revolutions over long ago and thought were vanquished keep rising from the dead.

Aristarchan's picture

Governments, like all entities, are required by human nature to protect themselves via laws. No oppression every truly goes away, and no revolution ever truly wins. We only get the same, resurrected with new, temporarily palatable stripes. Much like business, human suffering and dissent is cyclical.

ronin12's picture

That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history. - Aldous Huxley

Slim Pickens's picture

The French now "collectively" have the right to imprison someone with no charges, no trial, no appeal, no sentence and no release?  What are you going on about?

Bob's picture

Meanwhile, we have Barry presiding over the end of genuine net neutrality while posing as the guy who is saving it:


Time to set Bush-Cheney bickering aside--not only could they have not pulled this stuff off, they are not now the guys driving it home.

ThePhysicist's picture

The problem with the detainees began when they became "detainees." Even Bush's policies were too politically correct in this regard, to take these combatants into custody. They should have been executed on the battlefield. No prisoners in the first place, problem solved.


BigJim's picture

Hmmm... you appear to be ignoring the fact that most of these detainees were not captured on a battlefield in the heat of battle, but handed over by our 'allies' in Afghanistan in return for bounty money.

SMG's picture

Many of the people here know what is going on.  Tell as many outside this forum as you can what is happening to freedom.  They won't understand at first, but keep at it. The truth in the hands of as many people as possible, THAT is our only hope.

Aristarchan's picture

Of course, you are right. But, I am not sure I really, fully understand what the real truth is. And, even a man who knows the truth must have the will, the desire, and the ability to act on that truth. Truth without action is just another lie.

"I will give you all the truth you can stand, brother, but will kill you if you accuse me of it."

- Aristarchan

LeBalance's picture

Take the covers from mine eyes,

See the fecal covered mass,

Used to see it as Red and Blue and White!

But I know it now as darker than night.

traderjoe's picture

A bit off thread, but relevant to the increasing fascism:


CNBC analyst pushing for a "global cashless society". Can you imagine - one further step to a chip implanted in you (with your bank account information) - with Big Brother able to access everything. 

Kali's picture


Just posted this on another thread, but,

May 1- new SS recipients will no longer gets checks in mail, electronic only.

March 1, 2013- all SS recipients will have to switch to electronic.


Testicular Cancer's picture


jeff montanye's picture

them sixes is the boxcars rolling over the obama admin.  i'm not saying what's next will be better, but this guy's losing.

traderjoe's picture

Everything he's done is a part of the 'plan'...

Problem Is's picture

"The 'Change' is in your pocket. You're unemployed now?  That is more of 'The Change.' "

"You see 'The Change' is working..."
Stupid Internet Bear #1

Johnny Dangereaux's picture

Not really off thread Joey...that guy is a typical Zionist scumbag and a bigger threat to OUR Country than any "terrorist"...Lipow? suck my ass now! He obviously is a dual citizen, just like that other lover of America and Freedom, Rahmdick.

AnAnonymous's picture

CNBC analyst pushing for a "global cashless society".


To  help America (the US)

US citizens will not be targeted by the bad consequences (or only a few of them, and mostly the usual suspects)

Nathan Muir's picture

The only people that care are the folks this tyrannical gov wants to lock up.  Anybody catch Holder last night...."American extremist" are America's biggest threat?  Watch out Paul/Kucinich supporters, this means you... the enlightened crowd, you're the enemy. Why has this happened here you ask....because abundance morphs into complacancy, which morphs into apathy, which morphs into dependency....and then comes tyranny.  It is coming....oh wait, already here. 

keep the bastards honest's picture

Guru Prechtor told everyone to get their things and get out 10 years ago.

DavidPierre's picture

The Elliott Wave Guru,  Prechtor, has the same intellectual depth and flexible perdictability that allowed pre-Coperican astrologers to explain all observed planet movements, even though their underlying theory of an Earth-centered universe was wrong. 

He's 30 years late and a few dollars short.

 Kent State Massacre, May 1970

          Ex-Pated, July, 1970


Déjà Vu




 Almost Cut My Hair


Must be because I have the flu this Christmas

That I'm not feeling up to par

It increases my paranoia

Like lookin at my mirror and seeing a police car


High Plains Drifter's picture

In the end, places like Guantanamo, were always meant for you and I, and  the innocent Afghans, that they threw in there, were merely test subjects to see how we would react to people being locked up without benefit of habeas corpus and adequate counsel. Nobody seemed to care because we were told this was to protect us from those evil terrorist, but now , just who is this evil terrorist? Well of course , it was always you and I all along. I have always known it to be so.

clymer's picture


"not one dime"

"you can take that to the bank"

"I will end the wars"

"I taught constitutional law"


..where are the star-struck democrats that railed against 'dubya'? Too proud to admit you got duped?

Plainview's picture

as an Obama supporter at the time -primarily because I backed him to win at 20/1- I have to agree. This guy is going to get his ass handed to him so bad in 2012; Eric Cartman has a better chance of being the next POTUS.

Jasper M's picture

+1! You made me waf. 

All I need now is to hear Holder demand "respect  ma  atority!"

High Plains Drifter's picture

We saw the Holder game during the Clinton years.

The Alarmist's picture

Nice sentiment, but you might want to look at the distribution of electoral college votes and see how close 2012 will already be, and then consider the fact that a number of "get out the vote" actions, including hundreds of billions of slush funds, aka stimulus money, are going to be dedicated to filling in any gaps. It would be reasonable to doubt that the Big O will get his A handed to him in 2012.

Hot Shakedown's picture

His Kenyon ass is toast. Never before has there been anyone in the White House who basically did the opposite of every campain pledge, lied, and openly espoused them self as :

Anti American
Anti Christian
Anti business

The guy is a joke and has alienated himself from EVERY demographic part of the country. How can he possibly defend himself in 2012? What is he responsible for to date? He is history.

chubbar's picture

Big O can't run in 2012 without handing over his long form birth certificate. The one that states the hospital, date/time of birth, delivery doctor and has a raised seal. Something he has spent over 2 million dollars to avoid doing to date. Several states now have laws on the books, passed since 2008 because of his reticence to produce his long form, requiring the proper vetting of presidential candidates, something you would have thought they would have considered without a law. Nonetheless, Obama is hiding something (reference his first presidential act of sealing all his past records) and will NOT run again in 2012 but will be removed or decline for some unknown reason. Remember where you heard it first :).

Fearless Rick's picture

While on the surface it seems dubious, you are absolutely correct. The states do have those laws and Onama will have to produce the BC, meaning he either will not run again or they've already produced a great-looking phony document.

For now, I'll go with the theory that he won't run, in which case, one of three possible scenarios emerges. One, he goes quietly into the night, on the grounds that he's worn out, wants to spend more time with Michelle and the girls, blah, blah, blah, or he suffers a primary defeat at the hands of the hated Hillary.

Third scenario is the nightmare, where we're under martial law, or at war with China or some other impressive foe (though China is the 800 pound gorilla).

Of the three, none are good, but I'd think the Hillary option is the one most likely.

The Alarmist's picture

Nice thinking, but the ship on birth certificates has done sailed, and Big O will no doubt be accepted on grounds of personal recognisance as being qualified to run for the office.

In fact, I would say the odds are non-trivial that he will still be in the WH in 2018.


Triggernometry's picture

I'd have to agree this policy will inevitably be turned against dissent.

Efficiency breeds surplus which breeds luxury which breeds inequality. Its no coincidence the societies with least technology have the least inequality.

samsara's picture
"The illusion of freedom [in America ] will continue as long as it's profitable to continue the illusion. At the point where the illusion becomes too expensive to maintain, they will just take down the scenery, they will pull back the curtains, they will move the tables and chairs out of the way and you will see the brick wall at the back of the theater." ~Frank Zappa