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Obama Seeks To Institutionalize Indefinite Detention
Press reports have revealed that the Obama administration is considering the creation of a prison and court complex on US soil to process and hold current and future terrorist suspects. It would include a facility to indefinitely detain people held without trial or any other constitutionally mandated due process rights.
The reports underscore the profoundly antidemocratic agenda of the Obama administration, which is not only carrying on the Bush administration’s sweeping and quasi-dictatorial assertions of executive authority, but is seeking to institutionalize them.
Administration officials have referred to the proposal as “a courtroom within a detention facility” that would be jointly operated by the departments of Defense, Homeland Security, and Justice. It would combine civilian courts and military commissions, further eroding the principle of a constitutionally independent civilian judiciary. It would mark a further assault on the bedrock democratic right of habeas corpus, i.e., the right to challenge one’s detention in a court of law.
The plan is being considered by a presidential task force, which is at the same time entertaining other possible measures to deal with the current Guantánamo prison population, numbered at 229, as well as future prisoners seized in the “war on terror.” The task force could make public some of its proposals this month. Read more.