White House Wants to Detain Guantanamo Prisoners Indefinitely

One step forward, two steps back. The day Obama signed the DADT repeal into law, it was announced that the White House is preparing an order designed to keep Guantanamo Bay prisoners indefinitely detained without trial, further trampling the constitution. When Obama promised to close Guantanamo Bay during the campaign, most Americans probably thought he meant he'd do something just and right with the prisoners, most of whom have been determined to be innocent. But apparently, that promise just meant he would literally close the prison, transferring the prisoners elsewhere without due process. The Washington Post:

Officials worked intensively on the executive order over the past several weeks, but a senior White House official said it had been in the works for more than a year. If Congress blocks the administration's ability to put detainees on trial or transfer them out of Guantanamo, the official said, the executive order could still be implemented.

"I would argue that you still have to go ahead because you can't simply have people confined to a life sentence without any review and then fight another day with Congress," the administration official said. "One of things we're mindful of is [that] you can't have a review conducted by the same people, in the same process, who made the original decision to detain. You have to have something that is different and is more adversarial, which the Bush administration never had."

However, the defense authorization bill includes provisions that would stop the government from transferring prisoners to the US for any reason, requiring all military commissions to be held at Guantanamo and keeping the prison open, as well -- another bad plan that undermines our country's whole premise for justice. The director of the ACLU'S legislative office, Laura W Murphy, said, "Indefinite detention without charge or trial is wrong, whether it comes from Congress or the president's pen. Our Constitution requires that we charge and prosecute people who are accused of crimes. You cannot sell an indefinite detention scheme by attaching a few due-process baubles and expect that to restore the rule of law. That is bad for America and is not the form of justice we want other nations to emulate."

Read the full story at the Washington Post.


AlterNet / By Julianne Escobedo Shepherd

Posted at December 22, 2010, 5:21am

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