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.