Obama: “Seriously Considering” Legalization of Permanent Prison Without Trial (a.k.a. “Indefinite Incarceration”)

By Kenneth J. Theisen

According to the Washington Post Senator Lindsey Graham has presented legislation to the White House regarding the handling of “terrorism suspects.” His “legislation” would in effect legalize indefinite detention of such suspects and strip them of basic constitutional rights.
But instead of being dismissed by the Obama administration because of the basic denial of rights, according to the Post, “Senior White House officials have begun briefing leading Democrats on Capitol Hill on the Graham proposal…” 
The Post goes on to report “…the White House is urging Democrats to treat the proposal seriously as a way to break the logjam over the closure of the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and other detainee-related issues.”
Graham has been urging the Obama administration to use the discredited and unconstitutional military commissions for the trials of 9/11 suspects. Since 9/11 thousands of “terrorism suspects” have been captured by the U.S. and it allies in the U.S. war of terror around the world. Despite this, the military commissions have completed only three terrorism-related cases, with two of three convicted defendants having served relatively short sentences. Prisoners of the war of terror have been denied basic human and legal rights and held for years without trial. Some, who even the government has admitted are innocent, are still held.
Senior White House officials reportedly have begun circulating a summary of the draft legislation to some members of Congress. Graham’s “legislation” outlines new procedures for circumventing habeas corpus claims and a new indefinite detention authority. It will legalize procedures condemned by most of the civilized world.
Laura W. Murphy, Director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office had this to say about the Graham proposal, “Despite pressure from Senator Graham, the Obama administration should not enact any policies that allow for the indefinite detention of individuals – potentially for a lifetime – without providing due process and a meaningful opportunity to challenge the detention. Indefinite detention without charge or trial flies in the face of American values and violates this country’s commitment to the rule of law.
The assumption that sacrificing our principles will make us safe is not only false; it is dangerous. If Senator Graham’s legislation is introduced, Congress must stand strong and uphold our most cherished values, not cement into law policies that rival the worst of the Bush administration’s legacy. Even during years immediately following 9/11, Congress never took the unprecedented step of passing an indefinite detention statute. Now that there is a president and Congress who have stated a commitment to the rule of law, it would be a terrible irony to have this kind of legislation seriously considered. We urge both the White House and Congress to reject any indefinite detention proposal.”
But since coming into office, rather than change the “Bush administration’s legacy”, the Obama administration has done much to extend and expand it. Not only has the administration continued the Bush wars, but they were expanded into Pakistan and other nations. The Obama Department of Justice has gone to court repeatedly to defend the national security state and to cover up the facts of torture and other crimes committed by the Bush regime.
Extraordinary rendition and indefinite detention have continued while Obama lawyers have gone to court to defend the denial of habeas corpus and other legal rights guaranteed by the Constitution to those taken in the war of terror. Massive spying by the NSA and other spy agencies continues unabated. The PATRIOT Act and other Bush regime laws such as the Military Commissions Act of 2009, have been extended and expanded. Hellhole prisons such as those at Guantanamo Bay and Bagram continue in operation. The National Security State is in “good hands” under Obama and the Democrat-led Congress.
Obama has insisted that the president has the authority to hold prisoners in the U.S. war of terror unilaterally without interference from the courts. His Solicitor General argued before the Supreme Court last year to have a case dismissed so that the president could detain prisoners indefinitely without trial. In 2009 his lawyers went to court to deny prisoners held by the U.S. in Bagram, Afghanistan the right to habeas corpus. All of this is why the administration is now treating Graham’s proposal seriously. It wants to legalize and institutionalize its criminal actions. And because this proposal, even if tinkered with, will legalize so many of the crimes of the U.S. Government, it must be exposed and opposed.


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] Organizers Kenneth Theisen Obama: “Seriously Considering” Legalization of Permanent Prison Without Trial (a.k.a. “Indefinite Incarceration”)


World Can't Wait mobilizes people living in the United States to stand up and stop war on the world, repression and torture carried out by the US government. We take action, regardless of which political party holds power, to expose the crimes of our government, from war crimes to systematic mass incarceration, and to put humanity and the planet first.