State Secrets and Deceit: Obama Embraces CIA Torture

..it now appears Obama, by casting his lot with war criminals, kidnappers and torturers has every reason to be concerned with his own criminal liability. These latest revelations follow on the heels of repeated threats by “U.S. intelligence officials” that they would “stop sharing intelligence” with the UK if evidence relating to Mohamed’s torture were disclosed. Indeed, Mohamed’s U.S.-appointed military lawyer, Lieutenant Colonel Yvonne Bradley, told a news conference on February 10 that Mohamed’s treatment “would make waterboarding seem like child’s play.” At Monday’s hearing in San Francisco The New York Times reports, undercutting arguments that the president is “distracted” by the economic meltdown, that when asked by Judge Mary M. Schroeder, “Is there anything material that has happened” in a sly reference to Obama’s November election, Letter replied, “No, your honor.” Judge Schroeder asked, “The change in administration has no bearing?” Once more, he said, “No, Your Honor.” The position he was taking in court on behalf of the government had been “thoroughly vetted with the appropriate officials within the new administration,” and “these are the authorized positions,” he said. (John Schwartz, “Obama Backs Off a Reversal on Secrets,” The New York Times, February 10, 2009) And indeed they are, demonstrating once again the continuity–and consensus–amongst ruling class elites when its comes to the defense of repressive national security policies. Represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, Anthony D. Romero, ACLU Executive Director said: Eric Holder’s Justice Department stood up in court today and said that it would continue the Bush policy of invoking state secrets to hide the reprehensible history of torture, rendition and the most grievous human rights violations committed by the American government. This is not change. This is definitely more of the same. Candidate Obama ran on a platform that would reform the abuse of state secrets, but President Obama’s Justice Department has disappointingly reneged on that important civil liberties issue. If this is a harbinger of things to come, it will be a long and arduous road to give us back an America we can be proud of again. (“Justice Department Stands Behind Bush Secrecy in Extraordinary Rendition Case,” American Civil Liberties Union, Press Release, February 9, 2009)  read more

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