WH to issue EO continuing indefinite detention at Gitmo

posted at 9:35 am on December 22, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

After the flop in the Ahmed Ghailani trial and the bipartisan hostility towards moving Guantanamo Bay detainees to New York City for trials in federal court, the Obama administration has two choices.  One, they could reverse their earlier decision to bypass the military commission system that Congress has authorized on multiple occasions in order to finally adjudicate the cases of those captured abroad by military and/or intelligence assets for terrorism, including the 9/11 plotters.  Alternately, they could sit on their hands and pout.

I guess it’s Option 2:

The Obama administration is preparing an executive order that would formalize indefinite detention without trial for some detainees at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, but allow those detainees and their lawyers to challenge the basis for continued incarceration, U.S. officials said. …

However, almost every part of the administration’s plan to close Guantanamo is on hold, and it could be crippled this week if Congress bans the transfer of detainees to the United States for trial and sets up steep hurdles to the repatriation or resettlement in third countries of other detainees.

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.”

The Bush administration worked with Congress three times to produce the current military commission system.  It wasn’t just the Bush administration that built it, and the final version was approved by a Democratic-controlled Congress.  Furthermore, the Obama administration has already said that they would use precisely this system with some of the detainees. Even at that time, people wondered why the commissions were good for some and not for others — especially the highly problematic cases of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and the rest of the 9/11 plotters.

What they wanted, though, was a splashy federal-court trial with the biggest fish to prove a point.  Unfortunately, that blew up in their faces with the Ghailani trial, when the attempt to fit in evidence not collected by following the rules for civil criminal cases got tossed — properly — by the presiding judge.  Eric Holder had scoffed at reservations expressed by members of Congress about this very problem, insisting that his team could get such evidence admitted without exposing crucial intel assets.  In the end, those reservations were founded on solid ground, and Holder ended up embarrassing himself.

Instead of going back to the thrice-approved military commissions, the Obama administration is petulantly insisting on not adjudicating the cases at all.  They want to once again impose “prolonged detention,” which functionally means the same as “indefinite detention” — which Barack Obama heavily criticized during his presidential campaign.  And instead of going back to Congress to make changes to the military commission system, as Bush did, Obama wants to change them by executive order instead.  I wonder where Barack Obama’s high dudgeon over the “unitary executive” went?

Jazz Shaw is less than impressed in the Green Room:

Going through the details of this plan, a shorter translation might be, “We still oppose the policies of George W. Bush regarding indefinite detention without trial for any suspect, so we’re going to handle every aspect of the situation differently unless we can’t.” …

This is shaping up to be yet another case where President Obama’s campaign trail promises of righting the perceived wrongs of the previous administration have slowly morphed into doing precisely what George W. Bush was doing.

It’s Hypocrisy Theater, with an opening act of spin.


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It’ll be kind of hard to follow the EO requesting to shut down of GITMO within a year if they have to follow the EO keeping it running indefinitely.
Barry O’Bama: “I was for closing GITMO before I was against it…”

mizflame98 on December 22, 2010 at 9:40 AM

Going through the details of this plan, a shorter translation might be, “We still oppose the policies of George W. Bush regarding indefinite detention without trial for any suspect, so we’re going to handle every aspect of the situation differently unless we can’t.” …

How about a better translation like “We are so not sure what the hell we are doing, we couldn’t find our own a**holes in an outhouse if the door was opened on a bright sun-shiny day!”?

pilamaye on December 22, 2010 at 9:41 AM

Democrats and Republicans, really not much of a difference.

PatriotRider on December 22, 2010 at 9:41 AM

Hey, they won, right?

Del Dolemonte on December 22, 2010 at 9:43 AM

Smart. Power.

search4truth on December 22, 2010 at 9:44 AM

Liberal Angst!!

canopfor on December 22, 2010 at 9:47 AM

Hollywood to release weepy movie about this in 3…2… when the next Republican president takes office.

The Mega Independent on December 22, 2010 at 9:47 AM

Pretty soon the Nobel Committee will be calling to say it wants its peace prize back.

Wethal on December 22, 2010 at 9:48 AM

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.

Is this proof that his EO to close GITMO was BS from the start? Planning to keep it open before the “closed in 1 year” time expired?

Me thinks he speaks with forked tongue.

BobMbx on December 22, 2010 at 9:50 AM

Kick the can.

Kevin71 on December 22, 2010 at 9:50 AM

military commission is so 2006….

cmsinaz on December 22, 2010 at 9:51 AM

If El Code Pinko AntiWar Moonbats had any brains,
they would pull a Lt. Choi,and hand-cuff themselves
to Hopeys front WH gates,and draw attention to Changeys
Campaign Betrayal!!!!!

It worked for DADT!(sarc).

canopfor on December 22, 2010 at 9:51 AM

You know what is depressing? Most average voters already assume that GITMO is shut down. They don’t think or care about what happened to the detainees. They heard on the news that GITMO was getting shut down, and never hear about any of the problems. They won’t hear about this one either, unless the media harps about it constantly like they used to.

Mord on December 22, 2010 at 9:54 AM

Live the dream canopfor :-)

cmsinaz on December 22, 2010 at 9:55 AM

It’s Hypocrisy Theater, with an opening act of spin.

There will be a long list of “appeasing spin” from his 2008 campaign promises. Reminding his base and the “farther left” will be a challenge for the lamestream media that printed every glorious “hope and change” / fabrication.

Rovin on December 22, 2010 at 9:55 AM

Why aren’t comments allowed on ‘No Labels Party’ apparatchik Jazz Shaw’s Sarah Palin-Iran green room headline thread?

Dr. Carlo Lombardi on December 22, 2010 at 9:56 AM

For better or worst, within the realm of national security and foreign policy this is shaping up to be Bushs’ third term with only 3 exceptions:

1. Flagrant pandering to Russia and the ENTIRE Muslim world
2. TOTAL failure in Israel/Palestine
3. An immense furthering of the potential dawn of Version 2.0
of the Cold War, only now with China

Indy82 on December 22, 2010 at 9:57 AM

I am sure with this news that the perpetually offended left will hit the streets protesting these war crimes along with

..Rendition…
…..enhanced interrogation
……..NSA wiretapping
…………bombing villages and killing civilians
………….
……………..oh wait….my fault
There is a democrat in the White House so “War is the Answer” now and these policies went from “war crimes” to “smart power”.

On to the coffee shops anti-war left!!!!!

Baxter Greene on December 22, 2010 at 9:57 AM

This Hypocrisy Theater may fly farther than some of the previous ones.

burt on December 22, 2010 at 9:57 AM

Live the dream canopfor :-)

cmsinaz on December 22, 2010 at 9:55 AM

cmsinaz:Hehe,ahem:)

canopfor on December 22, 2010 at 10:02 AM

Old and busted: Close Gitmo!

New and Hotness: Keep that place open 4-eva!

ted c on December 22, 2010 at 10:05 AM

and somewhere in TX, a steely-eyed leader is fixing his lovely wife Laura a nice cup of coffee and they are, once again, laughing their asses off……

Validation.

ted c on December 22, 2010 at 10:06 AM

My sources tell me the WH is deliberating over two draft EOs. One will give him special powers to enact laws by decree, the other will appoint GWB as POTUS until the 2012 election.

They’ll be discussing which one to sign over a beer later this week in Hawaii.

BobMbx on December 22, 2010 at 10:06 AM

ted c on December 22, 2010 at 10:06 AM

Obama’s legacy: Bush by proxy.

BobMbx on December 22, 2010 at 10:07 AM

Canopfor :-)

cmsinaz on December 22, 2010 at 10:07 AM

this post ought to be concluded with the FBHO EO signing ceremony over GITMO that now is the first bookend to his failed presidency….

truth.

ted c on December 22, 2010 at 10:08 AM

So, is Obama going to run against Obama in 2012?

tommyboy on December 22, 2010 at 10:08 AM

One will give him special powers to enact laws by decree, the other will appoint GWB as POTUS until the 2012 election.

They’ll be discussing which one to sign over a beer later this week in Hawaii.

BobMbx on December 22, 2010 at 10:06 AM

I’m sure FBHO will feel more comfortable acting a la Chavez than he is acting a la Bush.

ted c on December 22, 2010 at 10:09 AM

I am sure with this news that the perpetually offended left will hit the streets protesting these war crimes along with

..Rendition…
…..enhanced interrogation
……..NSA wiretapping
…………bombing villages and killing civilians
………….
……………..oh wait….my fault
There is a democrat in the White House so “War is the Answer” now and these policies went from “war crimes” to “smart power”.

On to the coffee shops anti-war left!!!!!

Baxter Greene on December 22, 2010 at 9:57 AM

Pick up any Lefty book published, say, around 2006 and it’s chock full of condemnation of wiretapping, etc. Now that Obama has continued most of these practices, where is the outrage? *crickets*

You won’t hear any outrage in the MSM. That’s because (judging by their actions) the Left doesn’t care about difficult issues. They only seem to care about one thing: self-congratulation.

visions on December 22, 2010 at 10:09 AM

So, is Obama going to run against Obama in 2012?

tommyboy on December 22, 2010 at 10:08 AM

Heh, call it the “No Sh!t, this time, we’re serious about this Change stuff” campaign.

Bush was so baaaad, he made me do bad all by my bad self….
/Obaama

ted c on December 22, 2010 at 10:10 AM

Basically, it’s another example of Obama voting “present”, at least until we get past the 2012 elections. But he and Holder can’t say they’re tying to kick the can down the road until 2013, so we’re in a situation where the most compassionate and wise government in human history has decided that — rather than have the Gitmo detainees submitted to military trials like that evil, stupid George W. Bush wanted to do — the U.S. will just keep the terror suspects and enemy combatants on permanent detention, with no plan for trials whatsoever. I’m sure the ACLU thinks nothing could be more humane and just than that.

jon1979 on December 22, 2010 at 10:13 AM

canopfor on December 22, 2010 at 9:51 AM

*crickets chirping* from that group…

cmsinaz on December 22, 2010 at 10:16 AM

wonder where all them civil rights kids are that was so vocal when GW waz s Prez…. HUMMMMMMMMM

roflmao

donabernathy on December 22, 2010 at 10:26 AM

what happened to all that terrorist recruitment tool crapola

roflmao

donabernathy on December 22, 2010 at 10:27 AM

and somewhere in TX, a steely-eyed leader is fixing his lovely wife Laura a nice cup of coffee and they are, once again, laughing their asses off……

Validation.

ted c on December 22, 2010 at 10:06 AM

“Gee, Laura…ya think Holder uses Just For Men on his moustache?”

Del Dolemonte on December 22, 2010 at 10:39 AM

canopfor on December 22, 2010 at 9:51 AM
========================
*crickets chirping* from that group…

cmsinaz on December 22, 2010 at 10:16 AM

cmsinaz:From Rowan and Martins Laugh-In,you can bet your
sweet bippy on that one:)

canopfor on December 22, 2010 at 10:42 AM

Good lord. Are you guys on the right side of any issue nowadays?
 
crr6 on December 21, 2010 at 1:41 PM

 
From another thread. (chuckle)

rogerb on December 22, 2010 at 10:43 AM

Wasn’t this in Obama’s campaign speeches, he was going to do this?
It doesn’t matter what Obama does, he gets a pass…pathetic man who is way over his head.

right2bright on December 22, 2010 at 11:04 AM

This is what happens when you don’t have a plan, merely a campaign promise. Too bad for us all of dear leaders plans weren’t promises.

Kissmygrits on December 23, 2010 at 9:51 AM