Solarbird (solarbird) wrote,

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More on Mr. Obama's plans for indefinite detention without trial

Glenn Greenwald discusses the indefinite-detention-without-recourse trial balloon here, and the wretched journalistic practices at work in it. Then he moves on to Mr. Obama directly - and this is significantly trimmed down, go read the whole thing - noting that:
There has now emerged a very clear -- and very disturbing -- pattern whereby Obama is willing to use legal mechanisms and recognize the authority of other branches only if he's assured that he'll get the outcome he wants. If he can't get what he wants from those processes, he'll just assert Bush-like unilateral powers to bypass those processes and do what he wants anyway... where those processes impede Obama's will, he'll just bypass them and assert the unilateral power to do what he wants anyway...

That... is the precise pattern that's driving his suppression of torture photos. Two federal courts ordered the President to release the photos under the 40-year-old Freedom of Information Act. Not wanting to abide by that decision, the White House (using Lindsey Graham and Joe Lieberman) tried to pressure Congress to enact new legislation vesting the administration with the power to override FOIA. When House progressives blocked that bill, the White House assured Lieberman and Graham that Obama would simply use an Executive Order to decree the photos "classified" (when they are plainly nothing of the sort) and thus block their release anyway. ...

This was also the mentality that shaped Obama's "civil liberties" speech generally and his "prolonged detention" policy specifically. In that speech, Obama movingly assured us that some of the Guantanamo detainees will be tried in a real court -- i.e., only those the DOJ is certain ahead of time they can convict. For those about whom there's uncertainty, he's going to create new military commissions to make it easier to obtain convictions, and then try some of the detainees there -- i.e., only those they are certain ahead of time they can convict there. For the rest -- meaning those about whom Obama can't be certain he'll get the outcome he wants in a judicial proceeding or military commission -- he'll just keep them locked up anyway. In other words, he'll indulge the charade that people he wants to keep in a cage are entitled to some process (a real court or military commissions) only where he knows in advance he will get what he wants; where he doesn't know that, he'll bypass those pretty processes and assert the unilateral right to keep them imprisoned anyway.

A government that will give you a trial before imprisoning you only where it knows ahead of time it will win -- and, where it doesn't know that, will just imprison you without a trial -- isn't a government that believes in due process. It's one that believes in show trials....

If there's one principle that can be described as fundamental to the American founding, it's that the state -- and certainly the President -- do not have the power to order people imprisoned without charges. Thomas Jefferson said that trials by jury is "the only anchor ever yet imagined by man, by which a government can be held to the principles of its constitution." Why is this painfully obvious proposition still necessary to defend after the November election?
Bold as in the original.
Tags: politics
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