The whole Guantanamo issue has to be one of the great bait and switches of our time. The fundamental human rights abuse was always the notion that civilians could be seized by the US Government and held, as they say in Britain, at the President's pleasure (ie as long as the Administration wants, up to and including forever).
Somehow, this whole issue got perverted into a debate about Gitmo, rather than detentions per se. I warned any number of times that if we kept focusing on merely the location of detention, rather than detention itself, it would give the government cover to close the facility and declare victory, while continuing the abusive practice of indefinite detention.
Unfortunately, I was right, both in this fear and my fear that Obama, once give presidential power, would be reluctant to eschew it.
Obama administration officials, fearing a battle with Congress that could stall plans to close the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, are crafting language for an executive order that would reassert presidential authority to incarcerate terrorism suspects indefinitely, according to three senior government officials with knowledge of White House deliberations.
Such an order would embrace claims by former president George W. Bush that certain people can be detained without trial for long periods under the laws of war. Obama advisers are concerned that an order, which would bypass Congress, could place the president on weaker footing before the courts and anger key supporters, the officials said.
Unsurprisingly, after talking about various approaches for Congressional or Judicial oversight of Administration detention decisions, the Administration has apparently dropped plans for this. Even the "security courts" of which I have always been suspicious (I always picture a jury full of TSA airport security screeners) have been ruled out by Obama. We are back to the Bush doctrine of detention at the President's pleasure.