Obama Considers ‘Preventive Detention’ (a buried story)

Buried on page A18 of the New York Times:

Obama Is Said to Consider Preventive Detention Plan

By SHERYL GAY STOLBERG 
Published: May 20, 2009

WASHINGTON — President Obama told human rights advocates at the White House on Wednesday that he was mulling the need for a “preventive detention” system that would establish a legal basis for the United States to incarcerate terrorism suspects who are deemed a threat to national security but cannot be tried, two participants in the private session said.

The discussion, in a 90-minute meeting in the Cabinet Room that included Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. and other top administration officials, came on the eve of a much-anticipated speech Mr. Obama is to give Thursday on a number of thorny national security matters, including his promise to close the detention center at the naval base in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

Human rights advocates are growing deeply uneasy with Mr. Obama’s stance on these issues, especially his recent move to block the release of photographs showing abuse of detainees, and his announcement that he is willing to try terrorism suspects in military commissions — a concept he criticized bitterly as a presidential candidate.

The two participants, outsiders who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the session was intended to be off the record, said they left the meeting dismayed.

They said Mr. Obama told them he was thinking about “the long game” — how to establish a legal system that would endure for future presidents. He raised the issue of preventive detention himself, but made clear that he had not made a decision on it. Several senior White House officials did not respond to requests for comment on the outsiders’ accounts.

“He was almost ruminating over the need for statutory change to the laws so that we can deal with individuals who we can’t charge and detain,” one participant said. “We’ve known this is on the horizon for many years, but we were able to hold it off with George Bush. The idea that we might find ourselves fighting with the Obama administration over these powers is really stunning.”

The other participant said Mr. Obama did not seem to be thinking about preventive detention for terrorism suspects now held at Guantánamo Bay, but rather for those captured in the future, in settings other than a legitimate battlefield like Afghanistan. “The issue is,” the participant said, “What are the options left open to a future president?” …

A version of this article appeared in print on May 21, 2009, on page A18 of the New York edition.

 

Doesn’t anyone on the left ever listen to the words that come out of Obama’s mouth? I know no one in the Republican party or in our elite conservative media ever does, but you would think the left would listen because he’s talking to them.

Obama has never been against the war on terror, or preventive detention without trial. As with all liberals he just has problems with the way it’s being done. He’s just upset that it’s currently resulting in only foreign, black/brown people getting held for fighting in his mind a legitimate war against imperial U.S. He wants to turn it around and hold white Americans for racism, plots against abortion clinics, and white collar/political crimes. Also, unlike the current situation at Guantanamo, he would prefer if his program were kept secret by the MSM…. which it will be.

Obama Is Considering Doing Something Even Bush Didn’t Try: “Preventive Detention” of People Who Will Never Get a Trial

The New York Times is reporting :

President Obama told human rights advocates at the White House on Wednesday that he was mulling the need for a “preventive detention” system that would establish a legal basis for the United States to incarcerate terrorism suspects who are deemed a threat to national security but cannot be tried…

“He was almost ruminating over the need for statutory change to the laws so that we can deal with individuals who we can’t charge and detain,” one participant said. “We’ve known this is on the horizon for many years, but we were able to hold it off with George Bush. The idea that we might find ourselves fighting with the Obama administration over these powers is really stunning.”

The other participant said Mr. Obama did not seem to be thinking about preventive detention for terrorism suspects now held at Guantánamo Bay, but rather for those captured in the future, in settings other than a legitimate battlefield like Afghanistan.

What justification could their possibly be for refusing someone a trial? Remember, there are well-established procedures for making sure that sensitive information which would actually detrimental to national security if released is kept away from the general public, such as “in camera” hearings (which is legal talk for a hearing held “in chambers”).

Is Obama saying that an American citizen living inside the United States (America is presumably not a legitimate battlefield like Afghanistan – but see this) can be indefinitely detained without trial because Obama considers him a risk to national security?

What would constitute a risk to national security warranting detention? Revealing unlawful actions by the Bush administration? The Obama administration? Criticizing Obama?

Will the former constitutional law professor (Obama) use his knowledge of the law to safeguard the constitution, or – like the authors of the torture memos – to subvert it?

Today Stewart Rhodes, who wrote about this is 2006, had this to day: “Folks, this is what I have been expecting and dreading: This is the next phase in the “war on terrorism” being turned inward on us. Notice how there is no mention of Obama wanting to use “preventive detention” on only non-citizen foreigners.”

[Read more here]