Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Shame of Barack Obama - protecting torturers

Lest anyone doubt how far we've fallen, as a nation, under a supposedly "liberal" "Progressive" President, read this from the New York Times:

The state secrets doctrine is so blinding and powerful that it should be invoked only when the most grave national security matters are at stake — nuclear weapons details, for example, or the identity of covert agents. It should not be used to defend against allegations that if true, as the dissenting judges wrote, would be “gross violations of the norms of international law.”

All too often in the past, the judges pointed out, secrecy privileges have been used to avoid embarrassing the government, not to protect real secrets. In this case, the embarrassment and the shame to America’s reputation are already too well known.
As Glenn Greenwald notes, the editorial is a response to a decision yesterday by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to deny the opportunity of 5 men to confront and seek punishment for torture they suffered that was arranged by the U.S. through its Extraordinary Rendition Program:

In a
6-5 ruling issued this afternoon
, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals handed the Obama administration a major victory in its efforts to shield Bush crimes from judicial review, when the court upheld the Obama DOJ's argument that Bush's rendition program, used to send victims to be tortured, are "state secrets" and its legality thus cannot be adjudicated by courts. The Obama DOJ had appealed to the full 9th Circuit from last year's ruling by a 3-judge panel which rejected the "state secrets" argument and held that it cannot be used as a weapon to shield the Executive Branch from allegations in this case that it broke the law. I've written multiple times about this case, brought by torture/rendition victim Binyam Mohamed and several others
against the Boeing subsidiary which, at the behest of the Bush administration, rendered them to be tortured.
Its not enough apparently to strut around on stage and call out Mr Bush for what are most likely violations of war crimes laws and federal statutes - as torture clearly is. Nope, apparently once in office, one has to actually enable future torture by protecting prior torture. That, so the current Democratic theory goes, is how we secure our nation, and show we're tough guys - and thus should be reelected.

Except this sort of thing is a major reason that I'm looking for other liberal candidates to support. Its a major reason that I do not believe the President when he speaks. Its a major reason that I do not trust the President. And since I vote, he ought to be worried about that. Of course he won't be, largely because I won't be handing him big campaign checks next year.

No comments: