Dear Followers, Friends, fellow Workers:

I have just begun a new blog/zine called
Chirot Zero Zine A Heap of Rubble--
Anarkeyology of hand eye ear notations
the blog is more exusively concerned than this one with presenting essays, reviews (inc. "bad reviews") , Visual Poetry, Sound Poetry, Event Scores, Manifestos, Manifotofestos, rantin' & raving, rock'roll, music all sorts--by myself and others--if you are interested in being a contributor, please feel free to contact me at
as with this blog, the arts are investigated as a part of rather than apart from the historical, economic, political actualities of yesterday, today, & tomorrow
as with al my blogs--
contributions in any language are welcome

Free Leonard Peltier

Free Leonard Peltier
The government under pretext of security and progress, liberated us from our land, resources, culture, dignity and future. They violated every treaty they ever made with us. I use the word “liberated” loosely and sarcastically, in the same vein that I view the use of the words “collateral damage” when they kill innocent men, women and children. They describe people defending their homelands as terrorists, savages and hostiles . . . My words reach out to the non-Indian: Look now before it is too late—see what is being done to others in your name and see what destruction you sanction when you say nothing. --Leonard Peltier, Annual Message January 2004 (Leonard Peltier is now serving 31st year as an internationally recognized Political Prisoner of the United States Government)

Injustice Continues: Leonard Peltier Again Denied Parole

# Injustice continues: Leonard Peltier denied parole‎ - By Mahtowin A wave of outrage swept the progressive community worldwide at the news that Native political prisoner Leonard Peltier was denied parole on Aug. ... Workers World - 2 related articles » US denies parole to American Indian activist Leonard Peltier‎ - AFP - 312 related articles » # Free Leonard Peltier 2009 PRISON WRITINGS...My Life Is My Sun Dance Leonard Peltier © 1999. # Prison Writings: My Life Is My Sun Dance - by Leonard Peltier, Harvey Arden - 2000 - Biography & Autobiography - 272 pages Edited by Harvey Arden, with an Introduction by Chief Arvol Looking Horse, and a Preface by former Attorney General Ramsey Clark. In 1977, Leonard Peltier... - # Leonard Peltier, American Indian Activist, Denied Parole And Won't ... Aug 21, 2009 ... BISMARCK, ND — American Indian activist Leonard Peltier, imprisoned since 1977 for the deaths of two FBI agents, has been denied parole ... - Cached - Similar - #

Gaza--War Crime: Collective Punishment of 1.5 Million Persons--Recognized as "The World's Largest Concentration Camp"

Number of Iraquis Killed Since USA 2003 Invasion began

Just Foreign Policy Iraqi Death Estimator

US & International Personnel losses in Iraq &Afghanistan; Costs of the 2 Wars to US

Number of U.S. Military Personnel Sacrificed (Officially acknowledged) In America's War On Iraq: 4,667

Number Of International Occupation Force Troops Slaughtered In Afghanistan : 1,453


Cost of War in Iraq


Cost of War in Afghanistan

The cost in your community

flickr: DEATH FROM THIS WINDOW/DOORS OF GUANTANAMO--Essays, Links, Video-- US use of Torture

VISUAL POETRY/MAIL ART CALL Cracking World’s Walls & Codes Concrete & Virtual

Cracking World’s Walls & Codes Concrete & Virtual

No Sieges, Tortures, Starvation & Surveillance
Deadline/Fecha Limite: SinsLimite/ongoing
Size: No limit/Sin Limite
No Limit on Number of Works sent
No Limit on Number of Times New Works Are Sent
Documentation: on my blog
David Baptiste Chirot
740 N 29 #108
Milwaukee, WI 53208

Miss Universe Visits Guantanamo: 'A Loooot Of Fun!'

Miss Universe Visits Guantanamo: 'A Loooot Of Fun!'

The current 'Miss Universe' Dayana Mendoza (formerly Miss Venezuela) and 'Miss America' Crystal Stewart visited US troops stationed in Guantanamo Bay on March 20th, the New York Times reports. Here's Mendoza's account of the visit from her pageant blog last Friday. She says the trip "was a loooot of fun!"

This week, Guantánamo!!! It was an incredible experience...All the guys from the Army were amazing with us. We visited the Detainees camps and we saw the jails, where they shower, how the recreate themselves with movies, classes of art, books. It was very interesting. We took a ride with the Marines around the land to see the division of Gitmo and Cuba while they were informed us with a little bit of history.

The water in Guantánamo Bay is soooo beautiful! It was unbelievable, we were able to enjoy it for at least an hour. We went to the glass beach, and realized the name of it comes from the little pieces of broken glass from hundred of years ago. It is pretty to see all the colors shining with the sun. That day we met a beautiful lady named Rebeca who does wonders with the glasses from the beach. She creates jewelry with it and of course I bought a necklace from her that will remind me of Guantánamo Bay :)

I didn't want to leave, it was such a relaxing place, so calm and beautiful.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

(Obama's "change") Fear of Crime and Things to Come By William John Cox


Fear of Crime and Things to Come

By William John Cox

Can we expect President Obama to be more respectful of individual rights than President Bush was? An answer can be found in his recent request for the Supreme Court to reverse its own 23-year-old decision prohibiting police from questioning a represented defendant until his lawyer is present.


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Theme: Gypsies
Deadline: Oktober 30, 2009
Media: Photographs, emails, cartoons, collages, poems, visual poems, paintings, prints,digital images...
Size: Postcard size
Your work will be displayed on my website
No jury,no fee,no return.
Send to: Ferikoy Mah. Sehit Erdem Canbas Sok. Merkaya Apt. No: 26 / 5 Kurtulus - Istanbul / Turkey

Sinasi Gunes

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Letter Opportunity;

WIB member 

LA Times: three items today: 
--- A page A25 article reports on demolishing a tiny settlement outpost on the West Bank by the Israeli government.  The settler movement immediatly started to rebuild, including a temporary shelter so that not one night will go by without people there.  Peace Now criticised the government action as a show, saying that if the government was serious they would take down a several large settlement outposts.
--- Excerpts of an interview with Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish on page A33.  Abuelaish is the Palestinian Dr. who spoke out for peace and continues to do so after his three daughters were killed by an Israeli airstrike at the end of the Gaza war.
--- Three letters on page A32 in response to two Op-Eds this past Monday.  Two support the dsrive for a Palestinian state alongside Israel, and one is opposed.

NY Times : one item today:
--- (this is the item listed yesterday as web only) "Israel Removes Illegal Settler Outpost in West Bank," http://www.nytimes. com/2009/ 05/22/world/ middleeast/ 22israel. html?ref= world that reports the outpost consisted of a couple of concrete structures and several temporary shacks, inhabited by four families.


You have an opportunity to write a letter to the editor to express your views about peace in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  A model letter to the LA Times is below our signature.  Use the model letter as your own, modify it as you see fit, or be inspired to write your own letter.  The LA Times letter may be applicable to the NY Times.     

E-mail your letter to

    letters@LATimes. com       and/or     letters@NYTimes. com      and please send a BCC to me.


Please pass this letter-to-the- editor prompt on to others who might be interested, and invite them to contact me to be added to this mailing list.  Let me know if you wish to be removed from this mailing list.


best jeff and Michael

MODEL LETTER - START # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # #

RE: "A West bank outpost is razed after Netanyahu's trip to U.S.," May 22
The Israeli government's demolition of one settlement outpost is nothing but a sham.  If the government really wants to remove outposts they should do what Peace Now outlines -  simultaneously demolish several large outposts, and keep settlers away so they can not rebuild.  Taking down one tiny outpost, allowing settlers to immediately rebuild including a temporary shelter so not one night goes by with the outpost unoccupied is simply a sop to President Obama who is demanding an end to settlement activity.
The Obama Administration will not be fooled by this play acting.  The Administration knows it is supported by majorities of Jewish Americans and Jewish Israelis who see the establishing a Palestinian state alongside Israel as the route to peace, and see the settlements as a barrier that must be overcome.
Your Name
Your city
Your phone number

MODEL LETTER - END# # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # 

##   ##



9/11 Commission official says public story “almost entirely untrue”

(Of course this person could just be generating hype to promote their book ahead of time--)

Farmer was AG & Acting Gov. of NJ. His book is due next Jan. There's many a slip...
Now, if even the co-chairs of the commission said that high officials lied about 9/11, whom can we the public trust? -AFS
Sent: Friday, May 22, 2009 5:32:06 PM
Subject: 9/11 Commission official says public story "almost entirely untrue"

http://www.examiner .com/x-1551- Fringe-Culture- Examiner~ y2009m5d21- 911-Commission- official- says-public- story-almost- entirely- untrue

Here's the official solicitation, care of Houghton Mifflin:

As of the 9/11 Commission's one of the primary authors report, John Farmer is proud of his and his colleagues' work. Yet he came away from the experience convinced that there was a further story to be told, one he was uniquely qualified to write.

Now that story can be told. Tape recordings, transcripts, and contemporaneous records that had been classified have since been declassified, and the inspector general's investigations of government conduct have been completed. Drawing on his knowledge of those sources, as well as his years as an attorney in public and private practice, Farmer reconstructs the truth of what happened on that fateful day and the disastrous circumstances that allowed it: the institutionalized disconnect between what those on the ground knew and what those in power did. He reveals — terrifyingly and illuminatingly — the key moments in the years, months, weeks, and days that preceded the attacks, then descends almost in real time through the attacks themselves, revealing them as they have never before been seen.

Ultimately Farmer builds the inescapably convincing case that the official version not only is almost entirely untrue but serves to create a false impression of order and security. The ground truth that Farmer captures tells a very different story — a story that is doomed to be repeated unless the systemic failures he reveals are confronted and remedied.

Though the exact nature and extent of Farmer's claims remain to be seen (you'll need to $26 bucks for the hardcover to find out in January), it's sure bet that his account will garner little to no coverage from the mainstream media.  After all, he's not the first Commission appointee to dissent against the official chronology of events.  In 2006, the two highest ranking panel members, Chairman Thomas Kean and Vice Chairman Lee Hamilton, released Without Precedent: The Inside Story of the 9/11 Commission, which plainly stated, "Fog of war could explain why some people were confused on the day of 9/11, but it could not explain why all of the after-action reports, accident investigations and public testimony by FAA and NORAD officials advanced an account of 9/11 that was untrue." 





Radio Host Waterboarded
Saturday, May 23, 2009 1:31 AM
Right-Wing Radio Host Gets Waterboarded, and Lasts Six Seconds Before Saying It's Torture
By John Byrne, Raw Story
Host Erich Muller says "It was instantaneous. ..and I don't want to say this: absolutely torture."

____________ _________ _________ _________ _________ ____

Khiam detention Center--Israeli/SLA Torture/Concentration Camp --Anniversary of its Closing

Khiam detention center

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search

The Khiam Detention Center, located in Khiam, Lebanon, was a former French barrack complex originally built in the 1930s. It became a base for the Lebanese army before falling under control of the South Lebanon Army (SLA) and in 1985 was converted into a concentration camp. It remained in use for extreme torture of Lebanese civilians until Israel's withdrawal from Lebanon in May 2000, and the subsequent collapse of the SLA. After the withdrawal, the concentration camp was preserved in the exact condition as it was abandoned and converted into a museum by the Hezbollah.

The Israeli Air Force destroyed the prison during the 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict.

Amnesty International[1] and Human Rights Watch[2] reported of the use of torture and other serious human rights abuses in the facility.

Israel has denied any involvement in Khiam, claiming to have delegated operation of the centre to the South Lebanon Army (SLA) as far back as 1988.

Robert Fisk, the British journalist who has spent 25 years informing from Lebanon, said about this prison:

"The sadists of Khiam used to electrocute the penises of their prisoners and throw water over their bodies before plunging electrodes into their chests and kept them in pitch-black, solitary confinement for months. For many years, the Israelis even banned the Red Cross from visiting their foul prison. All the torturers fled across the border into Israel when the Israeli army retreated under fire from Lebanon almost seven years ago."[3]

About brutality, Fisk wrote:

"The torturers were sadistic, often stupid men. There were pornographic magazines and cheap comics and puzzle books in their filthy quarters."[3]

Fisk says that Israel has admitted training the torturers. In a court case brought by Israeli human rights lawyers, the Israeli Defence Ministry admitted paying staff at Khiam, training the interrogators and guards, and providing assistance with lie detector tests[4].

[edit] References

[edit] External links

Sister project Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Khiam detention center

Boek861 : muestra de libros de artista roda de bara

Date: Sat, 23 May 2009 11:09:04 +0200
Subject: muestra de libros de artista roda de bara



En la conmemoración del tercer aniversario de la Biblioteca Municipal de Roda de Bará, y en un acto que estuvo presidido
por  Ingrid Virgili (Teniente Alcalde y Regidora de Cultura del Municipio), César Reglero hizo una introducción al libro de artista
y glosó la figura de Fabio Guzmán que hizo entrega a la biblioteca de un ejemplar único  conmemorativo
(En la imagen, y de izquierda a derecha la presentación de Reglero,  la entrega del libro por Fabio a la Directora del  centro de lectura Cristina Serrano
y la introducción de la Regidora de Cultura))


La semblanza de Fabio Guzmán fué presentada a su vez, en un ejemplar único de 17 metros de largo
donde se resaltó la importancia de este Bonaerense en el lanzamiento de proyectos contemporáneos
en el municipio. Por poner un ejemplo, destacar que la entrega del libro se hizo en caballo de raza.


Los libros de artistas que fueron presentados pertenecientes a los archivos del Taller del Sol (AMMA)
tenían como finalidad hacer una introducción a este género tan peculiar que fué muy apreciado por
los asistentes al acto que, en su mayoría, eran la primera vez que tenían noticias de esta disciplina artística.


Resaltar finalmente que el lleno fué completo y que Rodá de Bará ha demostrado, una vez más, que tiene
verdadero interés por el arte experimental y los libros. Desde aqui queremos felicitar a la bibliotéca por
la importancia y la relevancia que esta teniendo como punto de encuentro de proyectos vanguardistas.


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What War Looks Like: (inc. Excerpts) Afghanistan 1986-- Fotos, Graphix, Memoirs By Drs of Drs without Borders

What War Looks Like

Illustration from "The Photographer"

Published: May 20, 2009
It is impossible to know war if you do not stand with the mass of the powerless caught in its maw. All narratives of war told through the lens of the com­batants carry with them the seduction of violence. But once you cross to the other side, to stand in fear with the helpless and the weak, you confront the moral depravity of industrial slaughter and the scourge that is war itself. Few books achieve this clarity. "The Photographer" is one.


Into War-Torn Afghanistan With Doctors Without Borders.

By Emmanuel Guibert, Didier Lefèvre and Frédéric Lemercier.Translated by Alexis Siegel

Illustrated. 267 pp. First Second. Paper, $29.95


Times Topics: Afghanistan

Excerpt From 'The Photographer' (

A strange book, part photojournalism and part graphic memoir, "The Photographer" tells the story of a small mission of mostly French doctors and nurses who traveled into northern Afghanistan by horse and donkey train in 1986, at the height of the Soviet occupation. The book shows the damage done to bodies and souls by shells, bullets and iron fragments, and the frantic struggle to mend the broken.
The narrator and photographer is Didier Lefèvre. His black-and-white photographs — many reprinted directly from his uncropped contact sheets — are inter­woven with drawings by Emmanuel Guibert. The small sequential frames of the contact sheets merge seamlessly into the panels of artwork. The book, at 267 pages, is long. But its length is an asset, allowing the story to build in power and momentum as it recounts the arduous trip into mountain villages, the confrontation with the devastation of war, the struggle to save lives and Lefèvre's foolish and nearly fatal attempt to return to Pakistan ahead of the team.
The three-month mission was led by Dr. Juliette Fournot, who spoke Dari, dressed as a man and commanded the respect of the French and Afghans, including the village chiefs and local warlords. Her role, and her immersion in the Afghan society where she spent her teenage years, repeatedly shatters easy stereotypes about Afghan and Muslim culture.
Lefèvre (who died of heart failure in 2007) tells his story with a mixture of beguiling innocence and sensitivity. He retreats in tears to a secluded corner after seeing a wounded 10-year-old girl who will never walk again and will die of septic shock six months later. Photographs of the child are juxtaposed with Gui­bert's drawing of Lefèvre, silhouetted and hunched over in grief.
"In a corner, a woman with a white head scarf is watching over two of her children," one panel reads, "a teenage girl and a baby, both bloodied. The little boy is maybe 2 or 3. He hardly moves but from time to time lets out a little wail of 'Aoh.' "
This panel is followed by a yellow frame with the word "Aoh" in the upper left corner, a black-and-white photo of the wounded child, another frame with the word "Aoh," a picture of ­anxious relatives huddled outside the door and then a half-page photograph of the bewildered boy and his sister, her face covered with blood as she gazes at her doomed brother.
The book has the feel of a film, attesting to the skill of Guibert and Frédéric Lemercier, the graphic designer. But there is nothing romantic about Afghanistan or the Afghans, who can be at once courageous and generous as well as heartless and menacing. Lefèvre, on the way back, is abandoned by his feckless guides; his horse collapses and eventually dies; and the photographer nearly succumbs in the snowy mountain passes. "I take out one of my cameras. I choose a 20-millimeter lens, a very wide angle, and shoot from the ground," he says — "to let people know where I died." The next page shows his exhausted pack horse amid snowy boulders, followed by a bleak spread of the gloomy mountain pass. Lefèvre is saved by a band of brigands, who shake him down for much of his money but get him out. The physical toll of his trip left him suffering from chronic boils. He lost 14 teeth. But before he died he returned to Afghanistan seven more times in an attempt to tell the stories of those he first met in 1986, whom he could not abandon or forget.
The disparity between what we are told or what we believe about war and war itself is so vast that those who come back, like Lefèvre, are often rendered speechless. What do you say to those who advocate war as an instrument to liberate the women of Afghanistan or bring democracy to Iraq? How do you tell them what war is like? How do you explain that the very proposition of war as an instrument of virtue is absurd? How do you cope with memories of children bleeding to death with bits of iron fragments peppered throughout their small bodies? How do you speak of war without tears?
The book concludes with contact sheets showing Lefèvre walking with his mother on the beach in Blonville with Bienchen, her small dog. A postscript notes that she did not learn the details of her son's travels until the publication of this story, two decades after his first trip.
The power of "The Photographer" is that it bridges this silence. There is no fighting in this book. No great warriors are exalted. The story is about those who live on the fringes of war and care for its human detritus. By the end of the book the image or picture of a weapon is distasteful. And if you can achieve this, you have gone a long way to imparting the truth about warfare.
Chris Hedges, a former war correspondent for The Times, is a senior fellow at the Nation Institute and author of the forthcoming "Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle."

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Francis Bacon Centenary Retrospective --Multimedia, links--

Art Review | Francis Bacon

If Paintings Had Voices, Francis Bacon's Would Shriek

Estate of Francis Bacon/ARS, New York; DACS, London, via Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution

Francis Bacon: a Centenary Retrospective The exhibition, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, features a triptych inspired by T.S. Eliot's poem "Sweeney Agonistes." The show originated at the Tate Britain last fall. More Photos >

Published: May 21, 2009
Francis Bacon is an artist for our time. You may love or hate his work, which is still vigorously polarizing after all these years. But more than that of any other artist who emerged at the end of World War II, his work tells us about the strengths and weaknesses of the moment.



The latest on the arts, coverage of live events, critical reviews, multimedia extravaganzas and much more. Join the discussion.

For nearly 50 years, until his death in 1992 at 82, Bacon worked the fault lines dividing abstraction and representation and sometimes photography, where many contemporary painters from subsequent generations have staked claims of one kind or another.
His contorted figures and portraits, his screaming popes and apes, his flanks of beef and crime-scene gore, and his wrestling lovers bring to mind any number of video-melodramatists, most quickly Bill Viola, reflecting a taste for hokey humanism, spectacle and sensationalism that often seems pervasive today. His emphasis on loaded narrative over form, which can make his art seem formulaic and repetitive, is now nearly epidemic.
The stately if cursory survey of Bacon's paintings that opened Wednesday at the Metropolitan Museum of Art suggests a more lasting pertinence: Bacon's depiction of the love that until a few decades ago dared not say its name, much less demand the right to marry. Bacon convincingly painted men having sex and sometimes making love. Whether this makes him a great painter, it certainly secures him a place in the history of both painting and art. He emphatically turned the male gaze toward males.
Bacon did for men in lust or in love what his hero Picasso had done for men and women in the same spot — or at least for Picasso and women. He turned sex and genuine passion into a pictorial event, using paint on canvas with finesse and no small sense of drama and without getting clinical. He operated, like Picasso, under cover of modernism.
Picasso often diagrammed an itinerary of heterosexual engagement by mapping the female orifices and curves in a flattened Cubo-Surrealist style. Bacon specialized in blur and atmosphere; he captured the tumult of homosexual sex in motion by borrowing from photographs, film stills or images of other art, conveying a sense of athleticism and sweat, violence and tenderness, furtiveness and shame. Homosexual sex was a criminal act in Britain, where he lived most of his life, well into the 1960s.
The show, which originated at the Tate Britain last fall, has been slightly reconstituted and installed at the Met by Gary Tinterow, the curator in charge of 19th-century modern and contemporary art. It is freshest where it delves into Bacon's use of photographs, not only those clipped from magazines and books but also images he had taken of friends and lovers. He often blew up images and used their cut-out forms as templates. (You can see this especially with George Dyer, his handsome, distinctively profiled companion, whom he painted often in the 1960s and '70s.)
"Francis Bacon: A Centenary Retrospective" begins in full cry. First come the screeching fiends of "Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion," the triptych with which Bacon announced himself to the London art scene in 1944. Against bright orange grounds that would become something of a signature, gape-mouthed furies — part human, part monster, and one per canvas — foretell postwar deprivation, rage and existential doubt. The dogs of war are not going to be leashed anytime soon; the world itself is on the cross.
These overwrought creatures work better in movies, like "Alien." Their screams continue in the next gallery, where the open, dentally precise mouths gradually migrate to human heads, mostly from 1949, and the first of Bacon's famous, often glib screaming popes, after Velázquez, arrives. The Museum of Modern Art's "Painting" from 1946 is also here, encapsulating much of the Bacon repertory: matching slabs of meat that might be said to couple, a seated male, a half-hidden screaming face and the luxurious surface and color. Even so, his mastery was more than a decade away.
Only in the third gallery does this show dial back the hysteria and risk real emotion, in particular the tenderness passing between two men in "Untitled (Two Figures in the Grass)," from around 1952. Pale, soft-fleshed and naked, his back to us, one sits with his legs tucked beneath him, bowing his head over the other, who apparently lies in the grass, his presence indicated mostly as a pair of bent knees that are, ominously, faintly touched with red. Theirs is a sorrowing intimacy stolen amid a gale of blue-black strokes. The faint outlines of a bed and room hint at an imagined interior, a safe, private haven.

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4 Articles, Video: President’s Detention Plan Tests American Legal Tradition--NY Times

President's Detention Plan Tests American Legal Tradition

Published: May 22, 2009
President Obama's proposal for a new legal system in which terrorism suspects could be held in "prolonged detention" inside the United States without trial would be a departure from the way this country sees itself, as a place where people in the grip of the government either face criminal charges or walk free.


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There are, to be sure, already some legal tools that allow for the detention of those who pose danger: quarantine laws as well as court precedents permitting the confinement of sexual predators and the dangerous mentally ill. Every day in America, people are denied bail and locked up because they are found to be a hazard to their communities, though they have yet to be convicted of anything.
Still, the concept of preventive detention is at the very boundary of American law, and legal experts say any new plan for the imprisonment of terrorism suspects without trial would seem inevitably bound for the Supreme Court.
Mr. Obama has so far provided few details of his proposed system beyond saying it would be subject to oversight by Congress and the courts. Whether it would be constitutional, several of the legal experts said in interviews, would most likely depend on the fairness of any such review procedures.
Ultimately, they suggested, the question of constitutionality would involve a national look in the mirror: Is this what America does?
"We have these limited exceptions to the principle that we only hold people after conviction," said Michael C. Dorf, a constitutional law professor at Cornell. "But they are narrow exceptions, and we don't want to expand them because they make us uncomfortable."
In his speech on antiterrorism policy Thursday, Mr. Obama, emphasizing that he wanted fair procedures, sought to distance himself from what critics of the Bush administration saw as its system of arbitrary detention.
"In our constitutional system," Mr. Obama said, "prolonged detention should not be the decision of any one man."
But Mr. Obama's critics say his proposal is Bush redux. Closing the prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, and holding detainees domestically under a new system of preventive detention would simply "move Guantánamo to a new location and give it a new name," said Michael Ratner, president of the Center for Constitutional Rights. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates suggested this month that as many as 100 detainees might be held in the United States under such a system.
Mr. Obama chose to call his proposal "prolonged detention," which made it sound more reassuring than some of its more familiar names. In some countries, it is called "administrative detention," a designation with a slightly totalitarian ring. Some of its proponents call it "indefinite detention," which evokes the Bush administration's position that Guantánamo detainees could be held until the end of the war on terror — perhaps for the rest of their lives — even if acquitted in war crimes trials.
Mr. Obama's proposal was a sign of the sobering difficulties posed by the president's plan to close the Guantánamo prison by January. The prolonged detention option is necessary, he said, because there may be some detainees who cannot be tried but who pose a security threat.
These, he said, are prisoners who in effect remain at war with the United States, even after some seven years at Guantánamo. He listed as examples detainees who received extensive explosives training from Al Qaeda, have sworn allegiance to Osama bin Laden or have otherwise made it clear that they want to kill Americans.
Other countries, including Israel and India, have had laws allowing indefinite detention of terrorism suspects, said Monica Hakimi, an assistant professor of law at the University of Michigan who has written about the subject. But, she said, few provide for essentially unending detention, and several European countries have restricted preventive detention to days or weeks.
Mr. Obama's proposal, Professor Hakimi said, appears to be "an aggressive approach that is not commonly taken in other Western developed countries."
In a letter to the president on Friday, Senator Russ Feingold, Democrat of Wisconsin, said he was not sure Mr. Obama's idea would prove constitutional, and added that "such detention is a hallmark of abusive systems that we have historically criticized around the world."
Some critics of the Bush administration, who have become critics of Mr. Obama as well, have long said they are skeptical that there are detainees who are a demonstrable risk to the country but against whom the government can make no criminal case.
But some proponents of an indefinite detention system argue that Guantánamo's remaining 240 detainees include cold-blooded jihadists and perhaps some so warped by their experience in custody that no president would be willing to free them. And among them, the proponents say, are some who cannot be tried, in part for lack of evidence or because of tainted evidence.
Benjamin Wittes, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, said Mr. Obama's proposal was contrary to the path his administration apparently hoped to take when he took office. But that was before he and his advisers had access to detailed information on the detainees, said Mr. Wittes, who in a book last year argued for an indefinite detention system.
"This is the guy who has sworn an oath to protect the country," he said, "and if you look at the question of how many people can you try and how many people are you terrified to release, you have to have some kind of detention authority."
Civil liberties lawyers say American criminal laws are written broadly enough to make it relatively easy to convict terrorism suspects. They say Mr. Obama has not made the case persuasively that there is a worrisome category of detainees who are too dangerous to release but who cannot be convicted. The reason to have a criminal justice system at all, they say, is to trust it to decide who is guilty and who is not.
"If they cannot be convicted, then you release them," said Jameel Jaffer, a lawyer at the American Civil Liberties Union. "That's what it means to have a justice system."


Brain Power: At the Bridge Table, C

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